Last night, as I sleepily ventured from my bed for–well, what do you get out of bed for in the middle of the night?–eyes half-open, I stepped into the hallway.  My eyes flew open as I tried to process the information before me.  A bright strobe light flashed white onto the ceiling and walls.  No siren beeping or ringing though…

I called for my sleeping husband as my feet were firmly planted in place.  He rushed to my side, still mostly asleep, as I clutched my hand to my chest.  I sniffed at the air, willing myself to detect the oderless carbon monoxide that was setting off our hall alarm and that was slowly killing us in our sleep.

What if I hadn’t woken up?  Would I have felt the deadly affects of CO?  …What are the deadly affects of CO?

In the time I pondered these, Hubby sought out the source of the bright, silent strobe alarm.  As he brought a box down from the top of our open shelves, he calmly identified the cause of alarm.

It was a novelty, light-up hair clip that I had received at a bar mitzvah last year.  I had clipped it to the edge of the box because 1) I’m a packrat, 2) it was a souvenir of my first bar mitzvah, and 3) you never know when you’ll need a swatch of hair that lights up.  Like, all the time!

So in the end, we were no closer to death than what each breath brings us daily.

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Have you heard about the Canning Revolution that’s blazing across America?  Well, this past Saturday, I joined it, along with Natasha (of Living Learning Loving).

I’d seen so much on canning all over the Blogosphere.  It seemed everyone was into it, up on it, down with it, and all over it.  ….and I so wasn’t.  It looked so COMPLICATED!  Wire contraptions, jars, tons of produce from your garden.  I had none of it.  So I simply appreciated others’ pictures and the domesticity of it all.

No more!  I’ve now been indoctrinated into the World of Canning.  And it was a BLAST!

Produce not from our garden-but still yummy

Crushing the strawberries

We started by crushing up four cups worth of strawberries.  Followed by seven cups of sugar.  Well, we didn’t crush that, we just backed the truck up and dumped it in.

SEVEN cups of sugar

You can’t skimp on the sugar; it’s what helps the jam congeal. Then we added a packet of Liquid Pectin.

Pectin

On one blog, I read the dry stuff is easier to work with, but we followed the directions included with the packet and had no trouble at all.

Bringing to a boil

We then brought our concoction to a rolling violent boil – one that does not dissipate when you stir the contents.  Then we had a short conversation about our violent strawberries.  (I think that’s what Hubby wants to name his next metal band: The Violent Strawberries.  How hardcore is that?)

Filling the jars

After skimming the foam off the top (and putting it in a bowl and eating it on the side), we started filling jars.  We had read (and heard) from various sources that the wire contraption submerged in boiling water is not a necessary evil in canning.  Hurrah!  In order to keep our jars hot and sanitized, we ran them in the dishwasher on hot and took out one at a time.  Easy peasy!

Measuring

We measured with this handy-dandy canning tool to make sure we filled them to within 1/8″ from the top, cleaned the threads, and cranked on the lids.

Tightening the lid

Our first jar of jam!

Our first jar

We flipped it upside down (it helps with the sealing process, I think because it keeps the lid hot for longer), wrapped it in a towel (also slows the cooling that facilitates a better seal), and finished filling our other jars.

Start sealing

Then we made a better-than-a-Mexican-restaurant quesadilla dinner.  Then we baked a couple loaves of cardamom bread (to accompany our jam!).  A very productive and delightful Saturday!  I think in the end, we both felt quite triumphantly domestic.

And we both knew there was no going back.  We were both solidly in love with the Art of Canning.

Sorry!  Here I am, finally posting, and it’s not going to be very good.  I thought I’d share a picture from my newly developing album, “That’s so L.A!”

100_6450

A toaster under a tree on the way home from church?  Yep, that about covers it.  Hubby and I took some time wondering how something as random as a four-slot toaster would end up tucked under a little sapling.  Any ideas?

*drumroll*

Introducing the other half of this singularly sided blog (until NOW),

IT’S HUBBY!

Yeah!  I’m here, live and in the…uh…blog?

Well, enough with said stupidity.  Now for completely NEW stupidity!  Now I’m sure that some of you out there are hoping for something deep or theological or…uh…remotely, intelligent.

NOPE!

Not tonight.  I just got home from work, am tired, and have been talking to my wifey-sauce about her night and telling her about my night (NASTY!  Church custodial work can sometime be *shiver* …gank…nuff said).  As we were talking, she was telling me about her poetry post.  This “inspired” me to write a short, off the cuff limmerick about how bad I am at writing limericks.  She laughed and laughed and laughed and told me I “HAD to blog it”.

Which leads me to the now.  And the here.  And the now.

Here’s my run for the 2009 Pullitzer prize in “I dun hab gud skullz wid Englitch”:

There once was a girl who got Panera,

There was too many syllables in that line.

Doh! The second line didn’t rhyme,

DOH! Neither did the third!

Oh MAN!  I stink at writing poetry!

Please hold the applause.  Yes, I wrote that all by myself.  The Hibby & Hubby family hold the corner market on poetry writing.  HUZZAH!

Enjoy my masterpiece,

Hubby

Isn’t it weird to find something, tucked in the recesses of your computer, that you wrote ages ago?  It’s strange to be transported back to what you were thinking at the time.  I just found a poem I wrote a few years ago, while I was still single, still living in Minnesota, and still attending Bethlehem Baptist.  I find it, while to the best of my knowledge theologically correct, cumbersome.  It’s not a pretty poem, but it is interesting to see my thoughts from back then.  Very Piper-influenced, I’d say.

Can we understand love without
First truly knowing God’s devout

Love for Himself? Knowledge that He
Foremost considers His glory—

While offensive to some (for they
Would prefer to regard God’s way
As making much of themselves), is
Sweet truth to sages and pure bliss
To embrace. For otherwise idolatry
It would be for God to esteem
Another lovelier than He.

This truth, this reality be
To us but an invitation—
That we too may value the One
To whom all praise is due. In this
We find our commandments exist:
Love God with all our heart, soul, mind,
And to love our neighbor in kind.

What does love look like? In reading
Philippians 2, it’s being
Of the same mind as Christ. We must
Empty ourselves and become dust,
And in so doing, consider
Others around us as better
Than ourselves. We—so far below
Christ, who, in form of God and though
Exalted high, came not for fame,
Self-sacrificially became
The very form of a servant—
Thus, we must be of same intent.

His own deity He did not
Grasp, but came to give us blood-bought
Purity before the Judge. How
Can we, in self-importance, bow
Not our hearts in meek submission,
Finding our Holy Ambition?

Might this edict cause us to hear
And pray salvation-working fear
In us. And may God be gracious
To work, by His efficacious
Power, to will and to labor
To the end of His good pleasure.

I believe the beginning of my career in poetry ended just as it began.  However, I would like to recommend one of my favorite poems, written in this narrative style by a far better poet than myself.  It’s John Piper’s three-part Pilate’s Wife.  [[dramatic sigh to emphasize just how good this poem is]]  Of this narration, I could (and do!) listen to the third part time and again.

“What sense,”
The women used to say, “is there
In living with this man? We dare
You, Claudia, though he be rich
And powerful, there is no hitch
Unbreakable, and this one has
Been broken just as surely as
The man has failed in ev’ry vow
He made. You are not bound to plow
For this man like a heifer now,
Nor lie beneath him like a sow
To satisfy the lust of swine.
No Roman law has this design,
Nor any Jewish ordinance,
That you should keep your vow. So whence
This foolish faithfulness that keeps
You in the bed where Pilate sleeps?”

My own insertion here:  The next verse is powerful.  I turn up the volume at this part on the recording.  And with this, I conclude my Poetry Post.

And Claudia would answer them,
“O women of Jerusalem,
You speak as if there were no God.
As if there were no tender rod
To comfort me and lead me through
The darkest valley of my few
And painful years, as if there’s not
Nor should be higher aims than what
You’ve dreamed for man and wife, as if
The path were safe nor any cliff
Be close or any bitter wind
Be in my face, nor I be sinned
Against, or feel this constant grief
So long, my death would be relief.
How many women do you give
Such shallow counsel? As I live,
O, women of Jerusalem
Who counsel thus, I pity them.
As for myself, there is one love,
One covenant, one vow above
All married bliss or pain, and I
Once held the bloody price on my
Own lap, and heard him, dying, say
To me enough to show the way
A covenant is kept. Now go,
And learn what God designs to show
When Pilate crucifies his wife
And she is faithful all her life.”

It is such a blessing to be able to “keep house.”

This statement has become such a stark reality to me as of recent.  There are many theological reasons to prove this to my mind, such as the fact that I cannot lay claim to our little apartment myself–it is the Lord’s; He has blessed us beyond imagination with a place for hubby and I to begin our marriage.  We will always remember this apartment as our first home.  He has blessed us with furnishings to make the place comfortable, and He has even so much as given me an inclination and ability to decorate to make it homey…  He has given me all these blessings, and it is my privilege that He allows me to be the one to care for and keep this house.

There’s also the consideration that He is a God of order, and it is both my joy and my duty to reflect Him in the order that is displayed in my home.

Et cetera…  Yes, yes – my mind is convinced, but what about my heart?  My actions?  In all earnestness, my heart does not always find delight in the nuances of housework (does anyone?).  But most recently, after being forbidden (by hubby) because of restrictions (due to my back) from doing almost all the housework, for the few moments I am able to do something little (reorganize a set of drawers, file or purge papers and junk), I have found so much joy in it.

While hubby and I pray for my regained health when I may resume more regular housework duties, I do praise Him for the little He has granted that I’m able to do.  (The question is: will I remember this when I have young children “under foot” and an entire house to keep?  Good question…)

Blink, blink.

It’s bright out here in the blogosphere!  I guess it would be as I finally emerge from the dark hole I’ve been burrowed into for the holidays.  (See Frog and Toad Are Still Friends for current holiday status–she knows of four times as many holidays than I knew existed!  Therefore, I feel justified to still call it “holidays.”)  And if I see my shadow, we can expect six more weeks of blogging.  I suppose one can only hope…

And now, where does one start?  How about where I left off.  The beginning of holiday season!  I was so excited for my first married Christmas: my own tree to decorate, my own home to make cozy and yuletide-y, new traditions to make with hubby.  The day before Thanksgiving, I begged hubby if we could get our tree.  He consented, and we got our sweet, little “Charlie Brown” tree from Target.  We got home and as I was bursting at the seams with excitment, I gave him a guilty look.  He knew what it meant.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I put our tree up…the day before Thanksgiving.  Only the late hour stopped the faux pas from getting out of hand–I donned it with ornaments after Thanksgiving.  It was lovely, decorated in Swedish straw and red ornaments with a strand of white lights.  I had Twila Paris’ Christmas CD blasting from the speakers whenever I could, and I scored big time with a 60% sale on Christmas decor at JoAnn’s.  Whenever I could sneak a peek on the blogosphere, I loved seeing everyone’s Christmas posts, pictures, stories.

I know Christmas posts are passe now; we’re moving on.

The beginning of the year brought with it–among many other sundry items that so easily overtake schedules–hubby’s new semester, my birthday, an attempt at physical therapy for my back (great massages with no lasting effect), a trip to Las Vegas to meet up with my sister- and brother-in-law visiting from Nanaimo.

And Valentine’s Day.  The first day of a week and a half being bed-ridden due to my back completely giving out.  Not what I’d consider romantic, unless you consider the literary connotation of the word (I did feel, on occasion, I should be part of a BBC mini-series set in the British Regency or Victorian eras as the bed-ridden invalid confined to perfecting the fine art of crocheting…granny squares?).  Tomorrow will be the final day of my first full week back at work.

While it seems Christmas has been only a few weeks past, it also feels like we are quite on the other end of the year so much has been packed into those few weeks.  I do beg your pardon for such a dreary and whirlwind summary of our “holiday season,” but now we may move forward and…

Is that a shadow I see?

Yes, it’s true.  Two Wednesdays have passed with nary a post from me.  I told you I wish I had the consistency of those who wrote “theme posts.”  Yeah, I know.  That’s a total cop out.

Now in all seriousness, I have fallen behind due to a couple factors.  And I’ll shoot straight with you.  The main reason isn’t even a good one.

I’ve  become obsessed with Freecycle.  It’s just so exciting!  I’ve already gotten two large stacks of free (of course they were free; everything’s free!) magazines (more on what they’re for in a bit), and I’ve given away a couple of unneeded spools of ribbon.  See?  Like I said: exciting!

Also causing my posting to lack is the seeming insurmountable pile of homework waiting for me each night.  I believe all it takes is a little adjustment to this new nightly activity, but I’m still not there quite yet.

Excuses, excuses.  At least there’s always next Wednesday to be on top of things.  Perhaps next week I’ll detail what I’m doing with all these magazines I got from Freecycle!

Now, because of all of this [slacking], I feel I don’t deserve the blog award that Minnesota Mom so graciously bestowed upon me!  I am so very honored to receive my first award!  And it seems fitting to come from her.  The one who was primary in reigniting my blogging enthusiasm.  If I could, I’d give the award right back to her as her blog is positively delightful!

blog-award

————

The rules:

Put the logo on my blog
Link to the person you received your award from
Nominate at least 7 other blogs
Put links to those blogs on your site
Leave messages on the blogs you’ve nominated

————

My blog picks are as follows:

Mary-LUE at Life, the Universe, and Everything:  The first comment I left her in September when I came across her corner of the blog’verse stated that I was excited about finding her “treasure of a blog.”  It seems my first impression has proven quite true; I’ve found quite a kindred spirit in her!

Jen2 at jendaas:  My dear friend who writes posts that often seem to reflect the thoughts going through my mind that are unable to find expression in words; she finds the words for me!

bren j. at Stranger in a Stranger Land:  Not only does she write fun posts (and includes cute pictures of her adorable little’un), she’s a Canadian living in America–just like Hubby!  I knew I would like her immediately.

Whitney at Baby Tunnel Exodus:  She’s funny; she lives in Minnesota….  What’s not to love about her?!  (Plus, I think she was one of the first bloggers I started following upon returning to the blogosphere.  Fun!)

Jamie at Ohbecareful!:  I don’t know if this is against the rules, but the award has come full circle for her.  Nevertheless, I feel I must nominate her, because I love reading this (homeschool!) mom’s blog!  That, and she has better handwriting than I do; it’s true.

Emily at Lilies of the Field:  My sister has joined the blogosphere!  She’s just getting started, but what more motivating than an award to start you off?

And finally, Hubby (!!) at Watch Your Life and Doctrine or Armchair Theologian:  He started back into the blogosphere, but it’s yet to be seen which blog he’ll jump on board with.  Either one, I’m happy he’s a blog-mate of mine again.

Boy, is MY face red!

While it may not seem like anything short of insignificant, living through the dreadful hair-span of a moment was oh-so embarrassing.  Working in a Jewish High School, throughout the year, we have many semi-long-term visitors from Israel that set up camp with us.  Currently, we have a visitor—we’ll call him Uri—from Tel Aviv.  Late this afternoon, he was back in our very-tight, barely-room-to-breathe faculty room.  Not that I knew this when a caller came looking for one of our teachers.  I had to walk back through the faculty room to let this teacher know.  As I was shuffling myself sideways down the cramped row of teacher’s desks—and as I was inhaling as I was passing a standing Uri—my touchus got hung up squarely on his own.  Both aware of the situation, but not afforded much maneuvering room, there we stood for a good breath and a half with our bums caught on the other.  I mumbled a “pardon me” as I was finally able to un-stuck myself and continued shuffling down the room.  Doesn’t sound like much, but – AWK-ward!

Moving on, I am thrilled to officially state that as of last Saturday, I am a student again.  I have returned to school to finish up my Bachelor’s degree.  I am attending The Master’s College to obtain my BA in Biblical Counseling.  Oh, happy delight!  But with this excitement comes a load of homework that my schedule must adjust to support.  I’m not used to structured learning anymore!  Now, I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little excited about all the homework as well.  (coughgeekcough)  And while my blog writing has been infrequent and sporadic at best, I still love writing here when I do.  And because I secretly wish I had the organization and consistency to follow in the footsteps of those bloggers that have “theme days” to their writing – from Not Me Mondays to Works for Me Wednesdays to Flashback Fridays and all the ones in between – I’m going to have my own: Writing Wednesday.  With all the work that I now have to stay on top of for school, it doesn’t afford me much free time to happen upon a post (as I have hitherto now).  So I’ll try to structure my writing (I’m going to have so much structure in my life!) to write once every week.  On Wednesday.  We’ll see how that turns out.

Oh, and Minnesota Mom:  my Swedish blood is burning with desire to make a little LEFSE!

This morning I woke up and said devastatingly thrilled, “I’m sooooo glad it’s Friday…!”  Oh man, that was a hard one to have brutally corrected!