Monday, January 20, 2014


I’ve mentioned this before, but on New Years Eve and New Years Day, I like to read/skim through the year’s worth of journal entries and see how the Lord has worked in my life and the lives of those for whom I have prayed. Last year started out with learning a hard and crucial lesson – not to fear. To commemorate the blood, sweat, tears, and time that went into the start of learning that lesson (still in progress, in case you were wondering :)), I worked with one of my favorite Etsy shops, Celebrate Today, to design this necklace:

Two charms:  “Be” “Fearless”. On the back of the “Fearless” charm, “Psalm 56:3-4” is stamped.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”- Psalm 56:3-4

I work to be fearless not because I am strong, not because I am in control, not because I have all the answers, but because He is strong, He is in control, and He has all the answers (whether He chooses to reveal those to me remains to be seen ;-) ). In this, I am pursuing fearlessness, while cultivating fear of Him. Sounds contradictory, I know, but fear of Him is recognizing His power, His presence, His worthiness. Fearing Him is giving Him praise, honor, and glory.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death” – Proverbs 14:27 
“And His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” – Luke 1:50 

“The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” Ecclesiastes 12:13 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever” – Psalm 111:10 
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!” – Proverbs 31:30

So, when you see my “Be” “Fearless” charms, it’s not in any way saying “I rock,” but rather, it’s saying, “He is my rock.”

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I've been inspired. I just finished reading "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak.



How is it even possible for someone to have the gift to make one ache, mourn, thrill, dread, die, and hope just by scratching words on a piece of paper?

Well done Mr. Zusak. Well done.

I'll give a much more thorough review later, because it's warranted, but just a taste of the haunting, insanely crafted sentences from this story, a story of a German girl during WWII, told by Death.

"The book thief saw only the mechanics of the words - their bodies stranded on the paper, beaten down for her to walk on. Somewhere, too, in the gaps between a period and the next capital letter, there was also Max."

"Three languages interwove. The Russian, the bullets, the German."

"A woman of wire had laid herself down, her scream traveling the street, till it fell sideways like a rolling coin starved of momentum."

I sat, paused, and stared off into space several times while reading this book. Mesmerized by the words, writing out my own impressions in my head. And mockingly laughing at myself as I found my thought-ed words to be mimicking the tone of the story - a bad mimicry, but one just the same. And I thought back to an email I wrote back in college - the friend I wrote it to responded with "your last email read differently, like you were channeling a poem or something." Ha, I had just read a bunch of LM Montgomery and had been subconsciously channeling Anne into my own thoughts. I've done that with Jane Austen too - read a few of hers back to back and you'll be thinking in early 19th century English before you can utter "wot wot?" Dickens will do the same. The power of a well-crafted sentence, a skillfully turned word. Think of how Shakespeare's phrases are still peppered throughout today's media - we quote them comfortably, admiring the way they capture exactly what we want to express at that moment.

As I sat thinking over my brain's sponge-like absorption of the written-voice, I thought - hmm, that also happens when I read my Bible. When I make the time to have consistent time in His written word. If the written word is powerful, oh the power of the words inspired by the Spirit, by Him! Imagine, just imagine, if His tone, His meaning, began constructing my thoughts, my sentences. If my written word was subconsciously structured to mimic His, if my spoken words reflected Him.

Mind blown.

Challenging thoughts my friends. Lord willing, not just thoughts, but thoughts that lead to actions.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Heb 4:12

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drawing from my Eastern European roots...

I made a soup earlier this week that called for cabbage...but only a little bit. I was staring at this head of cabbage sitting in my fridge and wondering what I could make from it before it went bad. I have purple cabbage that I also need to use this week, and I make that with balsamic vinegar, so I wanted something that would have a different flavor. I remembered the amazing cabbage my friend Jana and I had when we took our Eastern European trip ::gulp:: almost 7 years ago. I did some googling and landed on a recipe for haluska (in Hungarian) or haluski (in Czech). It's a cabbage and dumpling dish. Since I've got Hungarian blood in my veins and this is a staple recipe, I figured I should probably try my hand at it :)

It was super easy and quick. And really really tasty. I don't know if mine is traditional haluska, because I didn't have any potatoes, so my dumplings were just flour dumplings, not potato and flour, but ah well, I guess I Melissaized it a bit then ;-).

Cabbage and Dumplings (Melissa's version of haluska)

~1 head cabbage (I used Napa cabbage)
1 small-med onion
3 T butter
1c flour (I used Hodgson Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour and 1/8 tsp xantham gum)
~1/2c water
~2 cups water or chicken broth* (the broth gives the dumplings a better flavor)

Slice the head of cabbage finely (some even put it in a food processor). Dice the onion. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions. Sauté for a minute or so and then add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Boil the water/chicken broth. In a small bowl, mix the flour and 1/2c water. You may need to add water until it becomes a consistency that you can roll into small balls. I also added some garlic salt to add a bit more flavor. Once the water/broth is boiling, drop the rolled balls of dough (I kept mine to about the diameter of a nickel) into the water/broth and let them boil for about 5 minutes. Stir the cabbage. After 5 minutes, drain the dumplings and add them to the cabbage. Stir to combine and then serve. A simple, yummy dish that takes me back to my travels through the Czech Republic and Hungary.

*I didn't have chicken broth handy, so I used a spice I bought in Turkey that's used for flavoring rice - ends up having just about the same taste as chicken broth. It has herbs in it, so that's why the dumplings have specks in the picture