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I'm a stay-at-home Dad suffering from Fibromyalgia. I homeschool my daughter and lead worship at my church. I'm also a gamer and a geek and proud of it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Finding Balance

I have been sufering from horrible migraines the last three weeks which have been directly caused by a lingering sinus infection. After repeated failed attempts to rid myself of the infection through natural means (forget water boarding lets just use a netipot on terrorists), I finally broke down and went to the urgent care to get some good old fashioned antibiotics, and some prednisone for the swelling. I know some folks don't like traditional western medicine,  but sometimes it really is just what the doctor ordered, and those that know me know my mantra in all things is balance.

This whole thing got me thinking. As always my thinking brought me back around to my faith in God. I have always tried to base my walk with God on balance. God is the all powerful creator and as such we need to approach Him with all the awe and and reverence that He deserves. He is also our source of comfort and help, He is father (i.e. daddy) to the fatherless,  Husband to the widow, and brings Joy to those who mourn. He is Lord and King, the righteous judge, the drill seargent if you will bringing discipline into our lives. He is also our closest friend and confidant, giver of mercy, and lover of our souls. He allows tradgedy to befall us yet never what we cannot handle and always works things out for our greater good, though we may not realize it at the time.

Worship becomes more of a conversation and a journey through song to where God wants his people to be

This balance naturally influence me when selecting songs for worship each Sunday. The first thing I do is ask 'what does God want to sayto his people this week through worship and what does He want from us in return.' Worship becomes more of a conversation and a journey through song to where God wants his people to be, preparing their hearts to receive the word that will be shared by our pastor. The I try to balance a healthy respect for past traditions and a need to continually move forward when it comes to the actual selection of songs, balancing both traditional hymns and choruses with more contemporary songs, always deferring to which ones will forward the theme God has given me. One of my guiding rules is to select one traditional hymn each week (this doesn't always happen, but the majority of the time I can find a hymn that will flow both thematically and musically). I also like to include songs that that speak about our God to others and songs that allow us to express ourselves to God directly. I do have some personal preferences as well, like wanting the opening song to have some element of inviting people into worship and the closing song having an anthem quality to it.

GOD should always be the focus of our worship.

The most important aspect in our worship, not just our songs by he way, is authenticity. People, whether they are in our congregations on Sunday morning or our next door neighbors,  need to see us worship i.e. serve in Spirit and in Truth. We don't need to puff ourselves up, our worship services are not a concert, and you are not the star. GOD should always be the focus of our worship.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Irish Soda Bread

So We just had our annual Missions Convention at our church, and since we had newly appointed missionaries to Ireland visiting we prepared a meal featuring some Irish fair. I had the opportunity to tryout a new recipe that went over so well that I will be adding it to my repertoire permanently. Since St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I have decided to share.

Irish Soda Bread


INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of all purpose flour
4 tbs of sugar
1/2 tbs of Kosher salt
1 tsp of Baking Soda
4 tbs of butter (half a stick)
1 egg
1 tsp of orange or lemon zest
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
flour for the raisins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl lightly whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and zest. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Add flour to the cup of raisins or dried cranberries and mix until they are coated. Add the fruit to the dough and mix until thoroughly combined.

Turn the dough out on a well floured board or table and kneed it a few times. Make sure the board has plenty of flour as the dough will be sticky. Form into 2 - 4 loaves. (You can bake it as one large loaf but I find  the smaller loaves are easier to deal with. Place the loaves on the cookie sheet and cut an 'x' in the top of each with a serrated knife. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a baking rack and serve warm or at room temp.

Note: though not 'authentic' the combination of cranberries and orange zest is out of this world.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quick Update...

So I haven't kept up with my blog lately but it really wasn't entirely my fault. It all started almost two weeks ago when I was going to post a worship article on a Wednesday morning. That was the morning my shoulder decided it did not like living in it's socket. So that put me out of commission for a few days. (I did the bare minimum that I needed to get stuff done.) Finally Monday rolled around last week and I thought I would spend the evening getting some writing done. Apparently that was not to be as I started to feel pale while waiting in the line of the bank and ended up with a full on Stomach Virus that landed me in bed all day Tuesday. Felt better on Wednesday and had to play catch up with our homeschooling and I had to work in the afternoon and Church that night. Thursday I was still feeling pretty run down but I thought I was on the mend, that was until Friday morning when I woke up with a scratchy throat and a runny nose that wouldn't quit. So now It is Tuesday and I am finally starting to feel better. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to get some writing in either tonight or tomorrow. This Friday is the first day of our Homeschool Co-op's Spring Semester and I will be teaching 2 classes this time around. The first is a music class for 2nd and 3rd graders focusing on percussion instruments. The second is a class on the Ten Commandments for 3rd graders. should be fun.

Until next time...