Sunday, July 29, 2012

Egg Fried Rice

This is an easy recipe that can be made in a very short space of time if you have left over rice and is also a great way to use up left over veges or rice.
I often will make more rice when I am using it as an accompaniment to a meat dish, so that I can make this recipe in a day or two.
If you wanted to, you could add bacon or leftover meat chopped up small if you felt you still needed to have meat with a meal by I find it really great to have at least one meatless meal a week and this meal doesn’t bother hubby and he is a real “meat and vege man”.

Egg Fried Rice 

Serves 2 as a Main Meal or 4 as an Accompaniment.

250g long grain rice
450 mls water
1 level tspn salt
2 tblsp oil
2-3 medium eggs beaten
1 tblsp light soy sauce
Ground pepper
1 small onion, chopped
125g vegetables (I used half a red capsicum; chopped cabbage; precooked peas)
Avocado and parsley to serve.

If you are not using left over rice cook the rice.
Run the uncooked rice under running water to wash away the starch.
Place the rice, water, salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot and bring to the boil uncovered.
Once it is boiling cover with a lid and turn off the heat.

Whisk the eggs with the soy sauce and a good grinding of pepper.
Heat a large pan and add the rest of the oil. (If you haven’t got a large pan use a pot)
Pour in half the egg and cook.
Once it is set, slice through with a knife and scoop onto a place.
Repeat with the remainder of the egg.
To the heated pan add the onion (and a little more oil if it sticks)
Once the onion has soften but not browned add the chopped red pepper, cabbage and peas, allowing them to cook and heat through.
Drain the rice, and add to the pan stirring the vegetables through the rice.
Lastly add the egg pieces mixing well but trying not to break the egg up too small in the stirring.
Serve onto warmed plates with sliced avocado and chopped parsley.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Woman’s Ten Commandments

 1. You shall not be perfect or even try to be

 2. You shall not try to be all things to all

 3. You shall leave things undone that ought
     to be done 

 4. You shall not spread yourself too thinly

 5. You shall learn to say 'no' 

 6. You shall schedule time for thyself and for
thy support network 

 7. You shall switch off and do nothing regularly 

 8. You shall be boring, untidy, inelegant and
     unattractive at times 

  9. You shall not even feel guilty 

10.Especially you shall not be thine own  
worst enemy but be thy best friend...

I can't remember where I go this from but its certainly something to live by when things seem too much.   

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Who Can Say What is Too Much?

When I was pregnant with our fifth child a lot of people, including family and Christian friends made comments about the number of children we already had and wondered why we would want more or even thought we “couldn’t afford” to have more children. Some were even so thoughtless as to say things like “don’t you know how it happens?” Normally this was made in jest but one wonders what their thoughts were to say that in the first place.

We used natural family planning after our first two children and although we didn’t actually plan our last three pregnancies (I had seven altogether) we were aware that all except the last one were going got happen and were happy to let the consequences come to birth so to speak.
When I was pregnant for the seventh time (it would have been our sixth child) we had been so offended in the past by peoples uncaring comments we chose not to tell many people at all. However in the twelfth week of the pregnancy I started to miscarry which took four days. At first we weren’t sure if I was losing it as the doctor tested that I was still showing pregnancy hormones so I was sent to hospital.
This meant letting some people know including grandparents who hadn’t thought it was wise for us to have more children. It was with mixed feelings to tell them that yes we were going to have another child, but I may be losing it.

The babies missing would have been between Sarah and Jennifer, and after Katrina.

2008 - Our five children Katrina, Daniel, Sarah, Jennifer and Theresa. The babies missing would have been between Sarah and Jennifer, and after Katrina.

For us when it finally came away and I was home again there was plenty of comfort from everyone with no mention of more children by anyone.
That was to be our last time of having a baby as we had then decided, after having five beautiful children and losing two by miscarriage, we would not try for more and took measures to stop. It was our choice and not something forced upon us by so called caring people.
Looking back I now wish we had had more children and maybe closer together. We are not a rich family financially but we certainly are in other areas and we have even been told by people over time that we are the sort of people that should have had more. Money is not everything when it comes to raising a family, but love, health, care and support from within are what make a family.

We have friends that have just announced they are having their seventh child in January.
How exciting for them and yes I will admit I am a little jealous.
No they don’t earn mega bucks either but they have beautiful children, they are a loving supporting family. The home is a wonderful place of open space, clean air, space to run, climb and grow and eat food grown on the land. They have supporting family living nearby and a regular guaranteed income.

They like us have children who are great learners and do (in our case did) really well at school and have talents in different areas.

But they too have had family say they shouldn’t be having any more and what did they think they were doing.

I am remindered of the scriptures we were given as comfort for our decision to have more.
3 Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

The Little Children and Jesus 
13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. 

When I listen to my friend tell me the hurt she felt I was saddened that she was experiencing the same things.

But even she made me realise I too have my own agenda and that they are totally walking in God’s ways. I said that I supposed they would be hoping for another boy (they only have one out of the six) but she told me that God knows what He wants them to have and He is in control.

Our family with two of our Son-in-laws and one of our four grandchildren. (2010)

For those who think that a family should just be one or two children, I ask you not to think of what you would cope with or how you were raised, but rather be in awe that those who can produce wonderful children to be part of our future, do so even if you don’t give them your support.

Take a look at this family.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn't know what to do!
So she gave them some broth without any bread,
And she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed!

This old nursery rhyme has come to mind as I have been thinking a lot about having large families. I will share more on why in another post, but I began to think what was the rhyme about and was it a put down on people who had many children even back then, as it seems to be today.

At first glance this would appear to be a purely nonsense rhyme but in fact it has origins in history! There are numerous choices of origin.
Debates over the meaning of the rhyme largely revolve around matching the old woman with historical figures, as Peter Opie observed 'for little reason other than the size of their families'.
One idea is believed that the character was based on Queen Caroline, the wife of Great Britain’s George II, who had eight children by him, seven of whom lived. George III, who was king after him, was actually his grandson, because his eldest son, Frederick, died before inheriting the throne, but had already had children of his own, so they became the direct heirs (George III) instead of George II's other children. The shoe refers to the British Isles.

Another version is thought to possibly be Mother Goose herself who they claim was Elizabeth Goose, or Vergoose, of colonial Boston. She had 6 children from her first husband, and, after he died, had four more with a second husband. At that time, she was getting pretty old, and it was hard for her to keep up with 10 children. She literally “Had so many children, she didn't know what to do.” The boot was the country she lived in.

Was the "old woman" actually a "he?" King George III (1738-1820) ascended to the British throne in 1760. From almost the start of his reign, Parliament and the common people developed a love-hate relationship with him that lasted until he essentially lost his power in 1810 -- due in large part to mental illness.
During the most strained periods of this relationship, King George who began the men's fashion for wearing white powdered wigs, was consequently referred to as the old woman! Supporters of “George III as the old woman” contend that the “shoe” represents Great Britain, the “children” are Parliament members, and the “bed” is a symbol for the houses of Parliament which he required them to have sessions in. Some think that the names “Broth” and “Bread” referred to actual personages — perhaps a prime minister or two. They also point out that even today the “whip” is a term used both in the English Parliament and the American Congress to describe a member whose job is to ensure that members 'toe the party line'. As a point of historical interest the wigs worn by women of the period were so large and unhygienic that it became necessary to include mousetraps in their construction

Another thought along the same lines is the “old woman” was the English Parliament, who looked after her many colonial “children” in the far-flung British Empire. Parliament whipped her misbehaving children by appointing the much-hated James I to the throne in the 17th Century. The earliest printed version in Joseph Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland in 1794 has the coarser last line:
    She whipp'd all their bums, and sent them to bed.
Even though James is bad-mouthed in this rhyme, he wasn't all bad.

Still another thought is that it is based upon a late 18th Century eccentric one parent family in France, steered at the helm by Margery Buttwhistle, a known village drunk and prostitute. Ms. Buttwhistle is believed to have had in excess of 20 illegitimate children (fathered during her financially-focused liaisons) and was unable and/or unwilling to bring them up in accordance with period mores. Vainly vying for their callous mother's attention, the children formed the notorious “Shoe Gang” which specifically targeted wealthy aristocrats in exile from revolution-torn Paris. They were so-named due to their targeting of their victims' footwear. Once thieved, these trophies were presented to Ms. Buttwhistle, who would barter them in exchange for mead. The incredulous local inn keeper who accepted this payment in kind stored the contraband in the cellar until it could be surreptitiously shipped up to Bristol by clipper. Because of her daily inebriated state, Buttwhistle would seldom leave the bar of a night, managing only to collapse in the cellar and sleep off her drunken excesses; with only the shoes for company.

Iona and Peter Opie pointed to the version published in Infant Institutes in 1797, which finished with the lines:

    Then out went th' old woman to bespeak 'em a coffin,
    And when she came back, she found 'em all a-loffeing.

The term "a-loffeing", they believed, was Shakespearean, suggesting that the rhyme is considerably older than the first printed versions. They then speculated that if this were true it might have a folk lore meaning and pointed to the connection between shoes and marriage, symbolised by casting a shoe when a bride leaves for her honeymoon. This later became the tossing of the bride’s bouquet, and the thought that the woman who caught it would be the next to marry.

One really is wondering why we teach our children some of theses nursery rhymes! But they are a loved memory of my childhood.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't Be Left Behind

As we are without a minister at the moment I am being called upon to do more and more sermons. Here is one from last week...

Earlier this year Fred Barrett’s home group did a study on the End Times.

I am not one to like this sort of thing as I find it a bit frightening. But as we went through it I realised I did not need to fear for myself as I have made a commitment to Jesus. For we read in

9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

It is a continuing journey and I am not there yet. I have confessed my sins, received forgiveness from God, tried to turn around from the sin and live a life that will bring glory to God even if I fail to live up to His expectations of me. His grace is enough to cover my sins and I know I have come a long way so far, but He continually shows me how He wants to refine me more.

I came away from the studies feeling grief for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour; who do not know the sins they make; and how these sins are going to separate them from God and be saved from the awful things in the end times, unless they have learnt about Jesus, believed in Him, confessed their sins, repented and allowed Him to rule their lives.

It says in

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 

Fred has had it on his heart to reach the people of Tirau and when he obtained permission from the Parish Council and asked for those who would like to join him in the door knocking I just had to help and join in.

As we started out I suddenly became very concerned as to what people would say/think of me.

I have lived in Tirau for 27 years and seen a lot of people come and go and know a good number of the locals. My mind started to have a field day as Satan grabbed at my insecurities and told me untruths as to my worth, qualification to be doing this and my inadequacies.

Each day we went out there was a team of people praying in the church for us the whole time. The first day they had visions of Angels. Not just one or two but huge ones standing at the gates of all the houses we door knocked on, protecting and going before us.

In Mark 6:6b-13 this morning we read
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. 

We went out in twos. If we were invited in we would enter stay and talk for as long as we were wanted. We found people in need, to talk, to have prayer, who didn’t know what we as a church do, who needed food parcels or other help. Some are now coming to the cooking classes, some have sent their children/teenagers to the youth activities we do. Some have asked for us to come back and others would like to come to the study we are going to have on Explaining Christianity. Only a few did not want us and we whipped the dirt off our shoes as we left their gates.

In fact the more often we went out the stronger the need to share came upon us and I for one wished I had been a bit more confident in the first homes we knocked on.

Reading in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks of boasting about knowing a man who was taken up to Heaven and saw things. People who prayed for the door knocking had visions and I will boast about them because the visions are what gave us all encouragement to know that what we were doing is in God’s hands and He is with us.

Paul goes on to say that he will not boast about himself and that he was given a weakness, something that he prayed and asked God to take away three times, but God did not. Instead God gave him something else far greater – “grace”.

9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

With this, Paul was able to live with his weakness and in doing so let go and allowed God to be in control as Paul couldn’t be. Then God was able to come through and be strong, make Paul strong and so reveal Himself.

My ‘thorn’ is a feeling of not measuring up, to God and to other people. This in itself is a sin for in God I am a new creation, an image of Him, so I am contradicting what He says. But God says I am a new person in Christ Jesus “let Christ’s power rest on me”

Made Alive in Christ 
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Allowing the truth that is in the bible be real to me means that the enemy cannot take it away - I will be triumphant in what God has for me. In the Old Testament reading for today (2 Samuel 5:1-10) it talks about David finally being anointed to be King over Israel. He then attacks the Jebusites who had invaded Jerusalem and is able to claim Jerusalem back. In

2 Samuel 5:9-10 it says 
9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. 

The Lord God Almighty was with him. He was able to do things he would not have been able to do on his own but because God was with him he became more powerful.

Even though I was feeling weak and inadequate and in our group of two; I was asked to do all the talking while my partner would do the recording – I was able to do far more because God was with me.

Did you know that even just this year we have broken families where the father/husband has walked out. People have had diagnoses’ of cancer and other life threatening medical conditions. People have lost their jobs and some cannot make ends meet.

Many think that they “know” it all because they went to church as a child. They don’t have a bible but hope they will go to heaven.

There are Jehovah Witness’s, Mormons, Muslims, Atheists, Witches, Diviners, Ratanas and Spiritualist just here in Tirau.

Detestable Practices 
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 

Some people don’t even have a Bible or have an understanding even of who Jesus is.

My heart grieves for these people who are lost and mislead but I find some peace in knowing we are doing what we can as directed by God and that even today there is still time for something to be done right here in Tirau.

They need Jesus just as we do too. Jesus loves us. He desires to have a relationship with us and to give us a life full of joy and purpose.

Here are 3 reasons why we need Him in our life:
  1. We have a past. You can’t go back, but he can. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He can walk into those places of sin and failure, wipe the slate clean and give you a new beginning. 
  2. You need a friend. Jesus knows the worst about you, yet He believes the best. Why? Because He loves you not only as you are now, but He sees the potential for all you can be with Him. What a friend! 
  3. He holds the future. Who else are you going to trust? In His hands you are safe and secure – today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. His Word says, “For I know the plans I have for you… Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray; I will listen” (Jeremiah 29:11-13
Let us pray - Lord Jesus I invite You into my life. I believe You died for me and that Your blood pays for my sins. I now turn from everything I know is wrong. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. By faith I receive that gift and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Saviour. 

 All scripture is from New International Version 1984

Monday, July 9, 2012

Microwave Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding

We have had this recipe for ages I can’t even remember where it came from. It came out when microwaves were all new on the market. I made it a few times and then each of my children have taken over making it as it is so easy and because they wanted it they just made it themselves!
Katrina made it last night so she could put it on her tumblr so I have stolen her pic and posted on here – because I can. 
I prefer it with whipped cream but this pic is with vanilla ice cream. Of course the healthy choice would be to have it with plain yogurt or even not at all! but then if you are going to indulge then lets just go the whole hug!

1 cup self-raising flour
2 Tbsp cocoa (1st)
½ tsp salt
¾ cup white sugar
25 gr butter
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut
1 tbsp cocoa (2nd)
1 ½ cups boiling water

In a bowl combine flour, cocoa (1st), salt and white sugar.
Add melted butter, milk and vanilla and mix well together.
Pour in to the dish you are going to cook it in.
Combine the brown sugar, coconut and cocoa (2nd) and sprinkle over the pudding.
Pour the hot water over gently. I find if you pour it over the back of a large spoon it helps.
Cook on high for 6 mins.
Check to see if it is almost cooked. It should be a little bit sticky. If not done try for one minute longer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Watch Out, Watch Out, Jack Frost is About

Winter is here and it was so cold the other morning. 
There has been a cold front passing over New Zealand and when it comes up from the south it tends to deposit snow in the South Island but by the time it reaches us in the middle of the North Isalnd it has moved off the country to the east and we are left the cold sunny days but that means it will start with a frost. 

This day the water in the chooks trough in their run was two centimeters thick!
I had to break it out with a rock!

 Early morning frost and after the sun has risen.

 Look Out, Look Out, Jack Frost is about.

Cecily E. Pike

Look out ! Look out !
Jack Frost is about !
He's after our fingers and toes;
And, all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.

He'll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he'll shake;
To windows he'll creep,
And while we're asleep,
Such wonderful pictures he'll make.

Across the grass
He'll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white;
Then home he will go,
And laugh, "Ho ! ho ! ho !
What fun I have had in the night !"
Jack Frost has been portrayed in many works of fiction over the years, Cecily Pike wrote a nursery rhyme above. This is a scary prospect for a child to be singing about, but if it helps to make children wrap up warm then I guess it works.
I had remembered this verse as “Watch out! Watch out! Jack Frost is about...” but searching for it I found it started with “Look out!”
As a child my mother would say the rhyme above and warned to wrap up warm so that Jack Frost didn't get to me and I have now felt the need to find out who or what this creature is and why exactly he was going to "get me" if I did not wrap up warm in winter time.

Jack Frost is a little elfish, sprite-like character who spreads the crisp, cold frosty, winter weather with roots in Viking lore. There, he is known as Jokul Frosti ("icicle frost"). In Britain and United States, Jack is a variant of Old Man Winter. Jack Frost is friendly but if provoked, he will kill his victims by covering them with snow. He is traditionally thought to be responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the nose and toes in such weather. He is sometimes depicted with paint brush and bucket colouring the autumnal foliage red, yellow, purple, and orange and leaving the frosty fern-like crystal patterns on windows on cold mornings in winter, which only disappears once the sun begins to shine.
In Russia, Jack Frost is known as Father Frost, whose job is to bind together Earth and water with heavy chains. He is also said to have originated from the Russian fairytale, Father Frost – a story about an evil stepmother who hates her stepdaughter and orders her out into the cold and dark forest.
While she is sat in the fields, Father Frost comes to see her and she is polite and kind to him. He rewards her with a chest of beautiful clothes and she returns to the house to the horror of her stepmother.
Greedy for her stepdaughter’s gifts, she sends out her own daughter to meet Father Frost. But the daughter is rude to him and Father Frost freezes her to death.
In Germany, it is an old woman who creates the snow when she shakes out her bed of white feathers.
It is said that Jack Frost is son of Kari, God of the winds.

Others think the fellow is an Anglo-Saxon and Norse creation, which ever you choose to believe, it still means that Jack Frost personifies the crisp cold mysterious appearance in the weather of winter and therefore is to blame for the ice on the roads when we are trying to get to work in winter time or when are car doors are jammed shut as they have been frozen to the body of the car.

So next winter, when you see the first signs of frost, just think about the small elf-like creature who is responsible for depositing it there, and before you moan about the icy ground once you've slipped over, just stop and think how beautiful the frost looks when it’s on the trees. Just don't forget to wrap up warm your fingers and toes are quite valuable after all!