Two Days, Two Analogies

This one is better than last night's, I promise.

We were at K's grandma's for her birthday dinner today, and K's parents gave her two new Betta fish, a male and a female. If you don't know what a Betta fish looks like, stop reading now. Find a picture online, then come back. It will help.

The male, of course, is stunning. Vibrant dark blue and red with long, flowing fins. He's flashy, glamorous, fascinating.

The female, as is often the case in nature, is dull by comparison. A shimmery silver-grey color with clipped fins, the only apparent connection to her male counterpart is a smattering of red and blue on her tiny appendages. The two fish are in a single container with a divider down the middle, as the males tend to be cannibalistic. When the two approach each other on either side of the clear plastic divider, the male struts his stuff, fluttering his side fins boldly and making a general show. The female reflects his magnificence. Her silver sides turn rosy pink or smoky blue, depending on the angle.

It makes a great analogy. Christ, the bridegroom, is magnificent in his beauty. Fiery and brilliant, He lacks nothing. We, His bride, pale in comparison. While we might be considered marginally attractive in isolation, we are nothing next to His glory. Yet, when we draw near to Him, the reflection of His vibrance makes our simple scales glow with reflected glory and we are made beautiful.


Light to Pluck By

I apologize in advance for the absurdity of this analogy.

After washing my face and brushing my teeth tonight, I commenced plucking stray hairs from my eyebrows. (Yes, I confess I pluck. . .not expansively, but, since my brows are quite dark, frequently.) Since we've been away from home and in a hotel the last 2 days (hotel light fixtures not being known for their brilliant luminosity), I had catching up to do. Bright light is a must for successful plucking. Those light baby hairs that are just starting may be innocuous and invisible now, but give them a day and they become full-fledged dark monsters. Natural light is really best, but it's hard to come by in our apartment.

As I mulled this dilemma, fighting a particularly tenacious little sprout, I thought how good friends are like good light, illuminating the out-of-place bits of our lives that need to be weeded out. They're honest and courageous enough to point out even the mostly-invisible-right-now flaws that will inevitable rear their ugly heads in the future if not discarded now. They help get problems out while they are small and mostly invisible, before they really take root and cause pain. And, when we both miss a stray eyesore, they eventually help us yank it out by the root, even if it bleeds a bit. Every now and then, they prompt a complete overhaul and reshaping, from tip to tip. Real friends--friends who know us frontwards and backwards and sidewards, too--keep us trim and groomed and nicely-shaped.

Yes, in the eyebrow of life, friends are the light by which we pluck.



Chris and Sassi came to visit yesterday for the last opera of the season, and we took some pictures with our beautiful little goddaughter. . .who, thankfully, has a very healthy set of lungs. . .and likes to use them. We had a great day, though. It's good to have friends.


Simple Scrolls

Last weekend's wedding cake

Final Photos

These are two of the several historical church buildings in town. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the Methodist church, which is grey stone and beautiful, but these are also nice.

Scenery and Sunsets


Intelligent Design?

Here are some pictures from our trip:

the Visitor's Center

the falls that give the town its name

the really cool flower outside our hotel

the moment I knew I was born to live here. . .they have purposeless turrets!


Sometimes You're the Egg

You've heard the saying "Sometimes you're the windshield, Sometimes you're the bug"? Well, tonight I coined a similar phrase--a baking metaphor, given my current project.
Sometimes you're the bowl; sometimes you're the egg.
On the first recipe of this cake I am repeating too many times to tell, I bent my thumbnail back far enough to cause a fair amount of bleeding underneath the nail, effectively ripping the front half of my nail off the nailbed. I almost got the other thumb at the same time.

Sometimes you're the egg.

This recipe is so good, but it's really tough to get out in one perfect piece. . .too moist, I suppose. So, the first cake didn't quite come out of the pan as intended.

Sometimes you're the egg.

I need 3 batches of icing, but I only had 2 bags of powdered sugar. And, on top of that, I have to go to Rachel's to make icing, because my THREE MONTH OLD mixer died last week.

Sometimes you're the egg.

A free replacement mixer is in the mail.

Finally! Sometimes you're the BOWL.

While I wait on it, I do have good friends nearby with a durable mixer, who are even kind enough to share dinner and clean up after me.

Sometimes you're the bowl.

On my first large layer, I had the bright idea to not only cut parchment paper for the bottom, but to line the sides with strips. It came out perfect.

Sometimes you're the bowl.

And I chanced putting it on a cooling rack that often peels the top off a cake, placing a strip of parchment between the two as a hopeful safety net. An hour and a half later, the cooled cake slid right onto the waiting transfer plate.

Sometimes you're the bowl.

I can't add. Somehow, I only bought cake ingredients for half the layers.

Sometimes you're the egg.

My darling husband went to the store at about 1:30am to get what I was missing.

Sometimes you're the bowl.

The store I sent him to didn't have cake flour.

Sometimes you're the egg.

He also washed my pans and bowls for me. . .over and over and over and over.

Sometimes you're the bowl.

It's 3am, and I will be up for at least another 30 minutes. Then I'll snatch 4 (I hope that many) hours of sleep and continue. Weddings don't wait for cakes. Some days, no matter how many times you're the bowl, you still feel like the egg.

But tomorrow, when I watch our friends join their lives together and then see their friends enjoying this truly fabulous, moist, chocolate goodness. . .I will be the bowl.


Sleeplessly Waiting

It's one in the morning. . .Tuesday morning, that is, not Saturday, as you might think. I do have to work tomorrow. . .today. I should be in bed, sleeping soundly. But, being the incredibly intelligent person that I'm often not, I drank a medium-sized vanilla latte at nine o'clock. That means it had at least 2 shots of espresso in it, possibly 3. So now I can't sleep. . .go figure. And I'm starting to shake. It's all part of the coffee cycle. You'd think I'd know better, but I was swept off my feet by the charming company I had. And it wasn't even Kevin.

Before you get worried, rest assured that I was out with my brother. He invited me to dinner tonight (well. . .us, but if you know us, you know what Kevin spends all his time doing these days. . .one week to go until the big defense!), and then we went for coffee. I had a great time. If only I could now go to sleep. . .

In lieu of rest, I'll share my thoughts.

The people at Wittingshire posted a mini series recently on the theme of waiting. The phrase that keeps running through my mind is waiting in confidence. I'm doing a lot of waiting right now. The future is. . .unknown, to say the least. I don't know where we'll be 3 months from now, and those 3 months seems both very short and very long at the same time. It's exciting, and unnerving. There are other things I don't know. There are things everyone has to wait for, to wait to find out even: where we'll live, who we'll be close to, what we'll do every day, if we'll have children, how many children we'll have, how our friends and family will fare in their life choices, and more. We don't even know that we will be here tomorrow to wait for the things we're waiting for, really. For some of those things, we are waiting and wishing--fervently, sometimes desperately--for a certain result. We want things to happen a certain way. And the uncertainty of waiting becomes that much more unnerving.

That's where waiting in confidence comes in. It is waiting patiently in the secure knowledge that God gives good gifts to His children. It does not mean I know what those gifts will be. I do not know if He will give me what I wish for. I do not even know that I will always recognize His gifts as good when they come. But I know He has promised to give good. And I can rest in that. I can rest (at least when I haven't had too many shots of espresso. . .currently rest is a foreign word altogether) in the confidence that what God has planned for me is good in His eyes. I still wish. I still pray and ask for the things I wish for. But my confidence is not in the hope for those things. It is in the surety of God's good and perfect will for me, even when I do not know it.

There is peace there, and I welcome it in this time of waiting.