For God So Loved the World.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The past couple of days in seventh grade religion I have been showing my students "The Passion of the Christ" in installments. Yes, it is rated R, and yes, my students' parents all signed off on their children watching it. The thing is, it is rated R solely for the horrific violence it depicts -- violence that our Lord suffered in real life these many years ago. The thing is, I thought it was important for these kids to see it. We read Luke's account of the passion and death of Jesus, but now I felt like they needed to see it with their own eyes.

We are not able to watch it all at one time because class is only about 40 minutes long, and the movie is about two hours long. On Monday we watched the first 35 minutes, which shows Jesus praying in the garden, Judas betraying Him, and him being beaten on the way to seeing the religious leaders and Pilate. It was horrible, as you would expect, seeing Jesus being hit and beaten by these Roman guards.

But today. Oh today.

Today we watched Jesus's scourging at the pillar. I knew what was coming. I've seen this movie before. Only one or two of my students had seen it before, so right as the Roman guards were tying Jesus to the post, I said, "Guys, this gets graphic" as if those words would even skim the surface of being enough to impart the gravity of what they were about to see.

As we sat there, me at my desk and them at theirs, we watched Jesus being beaten mercilessly within an inch of His life. I should say -- I tried to watch, but often I had to turn away. I'll admit it, there were tears streaming down my face, and I think at least one or two of the students were tearing up also. If you haven't seen the movie, that scene goes on ... and on, and on, and on, and on. One thing that really gets me is when the movie shows Jesus lock eyes with his mother Mary. As he is being beaten, they just look at each other. And it is too much. Just a little boy and his mama. Mary just stands there, not making a sound, tears streaming down her face, as she witnesses the fulfillment of the prophesy that a sword would pierce her heart.

We watched through the scene where Jesus is crowned with thorns and then, regrettably, I had to turn it off because class was about to end. I stopped it about three minutes before the bell, though, because I knew we all needed time to decompress before second period. I turned the lights back on and told the kids as much. And I will tell you this -- those rambunctious 13-year-old boys and their energetic female classmate have NEVER been as quiet as they were in those moments. I asked if anyone had any thoughts to share and not one person raised their hand. I said, "There really is nothing to say, is there?"

I remarked to the kids that Jesus did this for us, for all of us, the whole world, but that he would have done it for any one of us individually. He would have done all that for just one. I also shared -- for them but also very much for me -- that every time we sin and turn away from God what we are doing is making a mockery of that sacrifice. Turning our back on that sacrifice.

I looked the movie up on the internet to find a link for it to share in the opening paragraph of this post, and I happened to see this review on Rotten Tomatoes:

Critics Consensus: The graphic details of Jesus' [sic] torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey.

And it made me laugh because that is EXACTLY the message the movie is trying to convey. That God so loved the world that He sent His only son so that we might not perish but have eternal life. And that the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life for the ransom of many. This is real life people. It really happened. Is it tough to watch? Oh man, absolutely. But it is a painful, painful truth. And one that is too easily forgotten by all of us.

Lemon Cookies

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I have a fun, quick, and easy recipe to share today! I found this recipe on Pinterest not long ago and thought -- what the heck? I'll give it a try. And I'm so glad I did! You can make these delicious cookies with four ingredients. FOUR! And it takes barely any time. With that, I give you

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies

1 box lemon cake mix
1 tub (8 oz.) cool whip
1 egg
Powdered sugar

- Preheat oven to 350
- Grease a cookie sheet (probably two)
- Combine box of lemon cake mix, the cool whip, and the egg
- Stir until ingredients completely combined (It will be fluffy and wet)
- Use two spoons to scoop up a bit of rounded batter and roll it completely in powdered sugar
- Place on the cookie sheet about two inches apart
- Bake for about 8 minutes

And that is all!

These cookies are so chewy and delish! I followed the directions totally as-is and it worked perfectly.

I hope you enjoy them! Let me know if you try.

My Heart Wants to Sing Every Song It Hears.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's one of the most recognizable beginnings of a movie ever. Birds tweeting, while the camera pans over the Austrian countryside. The fog clearing, and then ... that mountain. You know the one I mean. Followed by the nine words I've probably heard more than any others in my life:

The hills are alive with the sound of music

When I was little, my parents, sister, and I lived with my grandparents and my aunt and cousins in Morgantown. It was wonderful. My aunt took care of us during the day while my grandparents and parents worked, and I got to live the first few years of my life with my cousins (more like siblings) and my beloved grandparents.

In 1987, when I was three and my cousin Rebecca was four, someone taped The Sound of Music off television. Little did everyone know that VHS would change our lives. Family legend says that Becca and I got up every day for a year and wouldn't move on with our day until we had watched The Sound of Music. So when I say I've seen it hundreds of times ... I've seen it hundreds of times.

The Sound of Music has always been there. When I have gone through struggles in my life or times of anxiety or worry, I'd always watch The Sound of Music. I frequently listen to the music from the soundtrack in my car. Those words -- "I go to the hills when my heart is lonely," "... a dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live," "doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles" -- well they've always been there. The Sound of Music has always been the soundtrack of my life.

Last night I watched the ABC Sound of Music special. How funny it was to realize that I am now older than Julie Andrews was when she played Maria 50 years ago. What was so timely was that I watched it after driving home from Morgantown where I had spent the last few days with my grandparents, my aunt, and my cousin Rebecca. Rebecca and I are now 31 and 30, respectively, and Becca is a mother herself. But that ABC special took me back to being a little kid. No matter how many times I've seen those scenes or heard those songs, it will never be too many times.

Watching The Sound of Music is like getting a hug from my grandmother or sitting on my mother's lap. And, like most things I seem to like, The Sound of Music is a story of hope.

 My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Easy and Delish Chocolate Chip Scones!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Due to more crazy weather we're having in my neck of the woods, we haven't had school yesterday or today. For whatever reason, last night I went to bed with a hankering for something sweet for breakfast. I'm not a cook or a baker, but I'm not terrible either, so I thought about it and decided -- a scone! That'd be tasty. So this morning I got up and Googled "scones with Bisquick" because I have some of that (believe it or not) and I thought -- why not try?

Luckily for me, this recipe came up immediately. I made one quick modification because of an ingredient I didn't have on hand, but honestly -- if I have these ingredients at home then everyone does. (Trust me, ask Erin.) With that, I give you Easy Chocolate Chip Scones, a Betty Crocker recipe.


2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini ones.)

1/3 cup half and half (The original recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, but I didn't have that, so I modified by using half and half.)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional half and half

Additional sugar


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or grease with shortening. Stir Bisquick mix, chocolate chips, 1/3 cup half and half, 3 tablespoons sugar, the egg and vanilla in medium bowl until soft dough forms.

2. Pat into 8-inch circle on cookie sheet. Brush circle with additional half and half; sprinkle with additional sugar. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate.

3. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown; carefully separate. Serve warm.

AND THAT IS IT! They are really, really good! And trust me, if I can make these, so can you! The only problem is trying not to eat them all in one sitting! I dearly love all things English, so I probably should have had tea with these, but as I am an American, and tea is, of course, anti-American, I did have coffee with mine. :)

Took a bite out of this one already! Couldn't wait!

The Lesson in Dog Poo

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Last Thursday I was leaving my house around 7:20 to head to work and had some trash to take out before I left. Due to all the snow and ice we've gotten, and the fact my apartment gets very little sunlight, there was plenty of icy slush in the front of my house. Luckily (and I mean LUCKILY) I looked down as I began to walk the short distance or else I would have stepped on one of the two (or both) piles of animal poo laying there. 

I was like WHAT the WHAT? (As my friend John would say. I hear his voice in my head.) 

So, of course, I can't very well clean it up right then because I have work. So basically my day started with the knowledge that when I got home after a long day at school I would have two big piles of poo to clean up. Fantastic. (Also, because I'm me, I was in a slight panic all day that the mailman or whomever would see it and think I was gross and don't clean up after my animal.) 

Needless to say, I got home, it was still there, and I had to clean it up. I got some store bags from my house and went outside to pick it up. And as I did so, I thought that there must be some sort of Lenten message in this act. I bounced some thoughts around but never quite arrived at one. 

Fast forward to yesterday. When it happened. Again. Just one big pile this time, not two, so maybe that's something to be thankful for? At any rate, dog poo, cat poo, I don't know, but it's poo. And it's not mine. I have a pet. His name is Baby Snickers and he does NOT poo like that because he knows how to use a litter box like a civilized pet thankyouverymuch. 

So I began thinking again about the message in this. Something about maybe service for others, or maybe clean up the mess in your yard before you comment on someone else's (a different way of stating this verse, or, as Kid President would say, "Before you talk about the barbecue sauce on someone else's shirt, take a look at the barbecue sauce on your own shirt.") Both valid thoughts. 

But on the way to school this morning, it hit me. The lesson. And here it is -- sometimes life is crap. 

You heard me.

Sometimes life is crap. Sometimes life gives you crap. Sometimes life gives you a lot of crap and you have to clean it up. And it sucks. And that is really all you can say. 

But it's important that we remember not to let the crap overtake all the good things about our lives. And it's really important that you do everything you can to clean up the crap. Because if you don't, it just keeps piling up, making it harder to see all the good. And if you're lucky, you have some people willing to help you clean it up. 

And there you have it. What I learned from dog poo. 
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