Sunday, November 14, 2010

A potter, from the beginner to the most experienced, starts with a lump of clay.
And starts to turn the potter's wheel. At first the potter's design isn't obvious. One might doubt whether there is a design in mind.
As the potter continues to work, to mold the clay, to push and change its shape, the clay reacts. If the clay is responds correctly, the expert potter can build a useful and beautiful pot.
As we see the form take shape, we may see possibilities. The potter has a detailed plan in mind. He might want to add to, or take away some of the form or shape, to make the design needed.
We might wonder, if changes are necessary. Perhaps the clay is uneven, or the the walls unbalanced. The potter can see that changes are necessary. If the changes are made in time, the mistakes can be remedied easily. If the the clay doesn't mold correctly, the potter knows that the pot will be useless, and must be discarded, or reformed.
So the potter takes care to mold and form the pot, patiently and expertly,
to make a pot that might have been hard to imagine before.
But, even after the shape is finished, the pot needs to be fired, and subjected to high temperatures, to harden the pot. Otherwise, the pretty shape is useless. But when, it is finished, the potter's design, care, shaping and firing produces a useful and beautiful pot.
When I read Jeremiah 18: 1-6, I think of what kind of clay I am.

"1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Arise, and go down to the apotter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this apotter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."

Do I let the Lord mold me according to his expert and thoughtful design? Or do I resist, and try to keep my unbalanced spirit, to not yield to his at time firm, at other times gentile molding. Does He wonder if it is time to start over?

Is the clay greater than the Potter? What great works of art and utility can be produced by a The Potter, with clay that shapes and forms according to His loving and all-knowing workmanship!

Downstairs renovation update

Above is the hallway at the bottom of the steps, after you turn right. Here we look north, towards where the old laundry/storage area used to be. Then, to the right, in the corner, where you used to enter Ben/Eric's bedroom and the bathroom, now is just the entrance to the downstairs bathroom.
Going in, you see the newly tiled tub
and the new sink and vanity (my favorite!)
Coming out of the bathroom and going west, our old bar is now a storage room -
Here's the hallway where the bar used to be on the right, and the furnace on the left. Ahead, where the pool table and tv room used to be are Ben's bedroom, to the right, and Sarah's/Rachel's, to the left.
Ben's bedroom door (i dasn't look behind it)
Sarah/Rachel's bedroom hall (see the duct corner, above where the noisy vent is).
Here we go back to the stairs, and turn left instead of right.
At the bottom of the stairs, immediately to the left, (where the old bedroom hall way entered Rachel/Sarah's old bedroom) is a closet.
Opposite the closet, we look to the southeast, standing about where the wall between the bedrooms used to be, looking at the new french door, where the window used to be.

Looking north, we see the second french door, and the north end of the family room.

Going back to the bottom of the steps, we turn right instead of left, and see the kitchen/dining area, with the new blackboard on the left.
Here is the kitchen area straight on, with the checkerboard tile floor. You can see where the new appliances, countertop and reset cabinets will go.
Here is a close-up of the kitchen area, where you can see the microwave, and the repainted cabinets, awaiting the appliances, countertop, sink and repainted bottom cabinets. Different, huh?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On this Easter morning, we were greeted by ....

more snow.

But pressing forward in spite of the weather's cold shoulder, we did Easter with the Livingstons. Emily found all six baskets.

And, Melanie continued with her conference brunch masterpiece.

This year, quiche replaced the casserole.

But the fruit and the blueberry buckle was there. Since the traditional participants were off doing good things, some with their own families, we had to find replacements for them.
Uncle Jay's trip to hospital for pancreatitis kept Aunt Melissa at his bedside. But Megan, Matthew and Emily kept their Spring Break rendezvous in the West with their brother and sister, and Utah cousins. The Livingston's made delightful substitutes, and distractions for Mike and Melanie from the reality of those who weren't there.

Rachel did make the trek from Cedar and represented her siblings. Greg relaxed during the sessions, and Emily kept busy.

When it was time for the Livingston's to literally take off, we were sad, but hopeful that they could return. Word to Matthew: keep practicing your skills; someday you'll be able to compete in Ping-pong, Scrabble or Pool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This week was the annual celebration of Lowell, in his absence. Despite our attempts to go elsewhere, Dad made his wishes come to pass, and we returned once again, to Crown Burger. We received some scans of Dad's slides, including a few that reminded that once I was young , and at least more handsome.

For a while, I had a thing for canned corn beef sandwiches, and was caught in the act.

I'll bet you didn't know I was a discus thrower! My coach never thought I was either.

I did however learn to drive, in Davis County, no less. My younger brother Rob taught me.

But the best part was to remember my dear departed father, and how much he gave to all of us, and to think of all the good people that have come after, that were blessed somehow by his being here. Thanks Dad!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Top Chef(s)

The movie we wanted to see (Blindside .. for Rachel's benefit. Its already one of Melanie's favorites. But that's another story) was sold out. So, we decided to do something that didn't involve eating. So doing our own Top Chef was the answer, not bothered by the apparent inconsistencies of our goal and our choice.

We each had to do an appetizer using the same budget. We went to Smiths, were each given a budget of $5, which some of us respected more than others. Then, inspired by our Congress, raised the debt limit when it seemed inconvenient to $10.

Melanie seemed to enjoy the opportunity to wear her recently acquired Chef's shirt ($3 at Downeast clearance), and we all went to work. We recruited that well-known celebrity, Miriam, to sample and choose a winner.

Here Rachel is working the judges a bit, using her knowledge of nutrition and her winning smile. Padma, look out! She chose to do a tacquito with chicken, cream cheese and avocado. Melanie whipped together some crabcakes. Lacking crackers, she added oats. Celery, garlic and onion rounded out the recipe. Mike did a bacon wrapped around an asparagus spear nestled in a cream cheese and roasted pepper filling.

Rachel worked the judge a little.

Melanie seemed justifiably content with her choice. Her recipe let the crab meat flavor shine. Mike's was tasty, but the bacon and its salty was a bit strong. Rachel's tacquitos were a nice balance of the mildly crispy texture of the tortilla and the deftly woven flavors of the avocado and cream cheese chicken filling.

The contestants all seemed happy with their work. The judge was suitably complimentary, and polictically correct in not choosing a winner.