Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The First Thanksgiving

General Thanksgiving
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:" 

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

George Washington

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things You Didn't Know Could Harm Your Pet

This past weekend we spent our Friday night at the Animal Hospital with Molly. While we were out getting some frozen yogurt (yes, even though it's November we still like going to the mix-your-own froyo place), Molly got hold of her bottle of Proin (for her incontinence) and ate almost all of what was left in the bottle. We did the math and discovered that 11 pills were unaccounted for. The normal dose is a half-tablet, twice daily. So long story short, we ended up going to the Animal Hospital, Molly was admitted overnight, treated, and went home early the next morning. She's going to be fine, but it was a VERY tense and scary night for us. Luckily, we already had the phone number on hand for our local after-hours vet and they were able to coordinate with a toxicologist from the Pet Poison Hot Line to determine Molly's treatment protocol.

If you are a pet parent and don't know where your emergency vet is, find out. If you don't have their number, get it and save it as a contact in your cell phone. Listed below are some important numbers to have on hand in case your pet eats something toxic:

Pet Poison Hot Line

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Home Again's Emergency Medical Care Hot Line

Additionally, here is a list of 101 things that can harm pets, courtesy of the ASPCA's pamphlet from the animal hospital. And if you think your dog would NEVER eat some of this stuff, recall the last time you saw him/her eating poo or rolling in something completely disgusting. I know mine do. Dogs don't always make sense. That's just part of being a dog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple and Pecan Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins

This recipe is a bit of an experiment. I've been craving sweets especially intensely for the past few weeks, fueled primarily by my new obsession: the cupcake shop downtown. This bakery puts out some of the most delicious cupcakes I have ever tasted in my life. They make eight hundred gazillion flavors, but so far I've only tried five. I go in at least once a week to try something new.

But I digress! So I have the day off from class and I've been studying the muscular system for tomorrow's anatomy and physiology exam all day. Studying always makes me crave sweets. I'm pretty sure it's all psychological, but I see no reason not to indulge today.

I found a box mix of "cinnamon swirl quick bread" and suddenly became inspired. What if instead of quick bread, I made muffins? Simple enough. What if instead of using vegetable oil, I used applesauce? How healthy! What if I chopped up a Granny Smith apple, added it to the batter, and topped it all off with some roasted pecans? Yummy!

The Ingredients - As it turns out, our applesauce had mold in it. So I ended up using vegetable oil after all. Oh well!

The Process
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or 325 if you have a convection oven like me) and grease/flour the pan, per the instructions on the box.

Slice and core a Granny Smith apple, then chop slices to desired size.

Combine quick bread mix, water, applesauce, and eggs per the instructions on the box. Fold in chopped apples.

Fill muffin cups to 1/3 with batter, top with cinnamon mix, and carefully swirl with a knife.

Pour remaining batter into muffin cups until 2/3 full each, sprinkle with cinnamon mix, and top with pecans.

Bake for about 24 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes and enjoy!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Paradox of Christ

The following sermon was written by Father Michael Cassabon of Saint Patrick's Catholic Church and is published here with his permission.

In many ways, Jesus’ teaching is a paradox.

He says, if you want to have life, then you must die to yourself. He teaches, if you want to be the first, then you must become the last and servant of all. And in today’s Gospel, he teaches his disciples: if you wish to be exalted on high, then you must humble yourself.

These are paradoxes, but they are important for us to understand in our minds and hearts and to live out in our lives.

Jesus teaches in these paradoxes because it is a reflection of his own life: He is the Son of God who became one of us in all things but sin…he traded his throne of glory for the humiliation of the Cross because he loved us. For a time, Jesus leaves the realm of glory to share in our suffering, in our darkness, and in our loneliness so that he can assure us that we are not alone in our pain and grief. He humbles himself; he associates with the lowly and the outcast, so that those on the margins of life can be reminded that they are beloved by God and that nothing can separate them from divine love.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Willow House!

A very dear friend of mine, Barbie, has started her own business as a Willow House consultant. Barbie is amazing and the Willow House product lines are amazing. You can check out the stand-alone page here on my blog or you can go directly to Barbie's Willow House site.

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy Roasted Potatoes

Here is a quick and easy recipe that I make ALL the time. I actually just made this recipe last night, but didn't think to snap a picture before we scarfed them all down. I'll try to remember to photograph them next time.

potatoes (recently I used red potatoes, but you can use whatever kind you like)
olive oil
minced garlic
salt and pepper

1. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces. You can do them smaller or larger, whichever you prefer, but keep in mind that smaller pieces will cook faster.
2. Put potato pieces in a bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic (or more if you like), 1 teaspoon of rosemary (or more if you like), and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once the potatoes are well coated, spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at about 400 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Mud Run

A few weekends ago, James and I ran in a local "mud run" with several friends to help raise money for the local parks and recreations department. The concept behind the event is that (1) people go in costume, (2) the "three-ish" mile course involves some obstacles, (3) and the run ends in a 300-foot mud pit. James didn't dress in costume, but the rest of us did (sort-of). We were quite surprised by how "out there" the costumes of the other participants were. So we're planning to go again next year (because it was so much fun) with a bigger group so we can do some kind of awesome group costume. I can't wait. Anyway, here are a few of the pictures from after we went through the mud pit.

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Twenty Questions about the Episcopal Church

The following is a pamphlet published by the Forward Movement. It is the 12th printing of the Revised Edition, 2007. 

1. What is the Episcopal Church?
It is the continuance of the Church of England, brought to these shores by the first settlers and reorganized as the Episcopal Church in 1785 after the Revolution by which the colonies in America won their independence from the mother country. After the Revolution it became self-governing and self-sustaining. Today it is known as the Episcopal Church. 

2. Is that when the Episcopal Church began?
No, it did not begin then. It took its new title at that time; but it was the same church that had been here from the founding of the American colonies in the seventeenth century. Those colonists who were members of the Church of England brought their church with them. Our church is a daughter church of the Church of England. 

3. Was the Church of England founded by Henry VIII?
No, it was not. The Church of England has a long history. It was part of the Catholic Church before there were any divisions in the church at all. For several centuries after 644 A. D. it did, in common with all western Christendom, recognize the pope as chief bishop; but at the reformation it rejected the claims of the pope to singular, universal authority. It did not, however, reject the catholic and apostolic faith which it had always held. It kept the historic catholic creeds and the three-fold ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons. The reason our church is called Episcopal is that it maintains the ancient episcopal order in its ministry. "Episcopal" comes from the Greek word episcopos, meaning bishop. 

4. But how can you be both catholic and protestant?
The word "protestant" was used in 1785 to distinguish our church from the Church of Rome, because of the English reformation in the sixteenth century. Yet this does not mean that we are simply one of the many protestant churches deriving from the reformation. Those made a greater break with the past than our church did. "Protestant" is not opposed to "catholic." The world "catholic" really means "universal," and we are certainly part of the universal church. It also refers to the ancient catholic faith as expressed in the creeds - and we hold that. So we rightly claim to be both catholic and protestant. 

5. What is the Anglican Communion?
This is the name given to all the churches throughout the world descended from the English church that are still in communion with it and with each other. As the British Empire spread, so did the Church of England, the established church of the realm. Other churches overseas were begun by the missionaries of daughter churches such as the Episcopal Church. Today the Anglican Communion consists of some 78 million members of more than forty national churches like our own. It is found on all the continents, with particular strength in Africa. Members of these churches are known either as Episcopalians or Anglicans because of their common origin and common heritage. Each national church or province is self-governing. International communications are maintained through the Anglican Consultative Council with offices in London, and through a once-a-decade meeting of bishops known as the Lambeth Conference. 

6. How is the Episcopal Church governed?
There are three principal levels of organization or expressions of the church's life: the local congregation or parish; the diocese, consisting of many parishes in an area under the supervision of a bishop; the national church. In each case, government is a mixture of hierarchy and democracy, with distinct role and privileges for clergy and a strong voice for lay persons, both men and women. In the congregation, the rector of the parish is chosen by the vestry for the people, with the approval of the bishop; and rector and vestry together are responsible for the work of the parish subject to the constitution and canons of the diocese and the national church. Each diocese had an annual convention or council with the clergy and elected lay deputies from the congregations to share with their bishop the work of the church on the local, diocesan level. At the national level, the chief priest and pastor is the presiding bishop. The highest governing body is the General Convention of the church which meets every three years to deal with the business of the church and to make its laws or canons. This convention is composed of two houses, one of bishops, the other of elected clerical and lay deputies; legislation has to be passed in both houses. For carrying on the work between conventions, an executive council is elected which is representative of the whole church, and  of which the presiding bishop is chair. 

7. Is a bishop's function simply administrative?
By no means. The bishop ordains men and women to ministry, confirms, and is pastor to all clergy and people. This is the primary work; all the rest is oversight of the diocese. 

8. What are the roles of the laity and other ministers?
The Episcopal Church teaches that lay members are also ministers called to share in the ministry of Christ in the world. Those ordained or set aside for special ministries in and on behalf of the church include bishops, priests, and deacons. Bishops are successors to the apostles and oversee the diocese. Priests usually are spiritual leaders of local congregations. The word "priest" comes from presbyter, meaning elder. Deacons usually assist priests and have a special ministry to the poor and the sick. The word "deacon" means servant. 

9. What are the doctrines of the Episcopal Church?
The main doctrines of the Episcopal Church are contained in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. These creeds were written in the days of the undivided church, and the Nicene Creed has been the standard confession of catholic faith ever since. Beside the beliefs expressed in the creeds, the Episcopal Church holds to other catholic beliefs and practices found in The Book of Common Prayer. It is this Prayer Book, in fact, that gives the authoritative doctrinal standards of the Episcopal Church. See, for example, "An Outline of the Faith," beginning on page 843 of the The Book of Common Prayer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Curious George

The following sermon was written by the Reverend Kate Alexander of Christ Episcopal Church and is published here with her permission. 

Each night, my two boys and I engage in a familiar routine: bath, book, bed, the “3 B’s.” For the most part, the “3 B’s” are non-negotiable, but the one variable we allow in the routine is that second “B”: book. They get to hear the story of their choice. Books about pirates, dump trucks, and cats in hats are standard fare, but now that we’ve been in the Halloween season, the top choice lately, and I mean every night, has been Curious George Goes to a Costume Party. It’s a typical tale of that inquisitive little monkey who can’t help but get into trouble. But despite his propensity for making messes, George is somehow always able to bring joy to those who witness his shenanigans. Mix mummies, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and ghosts into that timeless storyline and you’ve got a couple of happy kids.

On Halloween, Curious George and his friend, the man with the yellow hat, went to a costume party. Unfortunately, George didn’t have a costume. So the host, Mrs. Gray, sent him upstairs to look for a one in her box of dress-up clothes. To his great delight, he found a cowboy outfit. But when he put it on, he wasn’t tall enough to see himself in the mirror. So he stood on the bed, but he still couldn’t see. George was curious. What if he bounced on the bed to get higher? He started bouncing, higher and higher, and forgot about the mirror in all the fun. He fell off the bed with a loud thud, and got tangled up in a tablecloth. George heard the people downstairs gasp, ‘What was that? Was that a ghost?’ A ghost?! George did not want to meet up with a ghost alone. He dashed out of the room and down the hall, covered in the tablecloth, and slid down the banister into the arms of his friend. Soon everyone realized that the ghost coming down the stairs was not a ghost after all, but a monkey. Everyone clapped and cheered. They liked George’s Halloween trick.

This charming story has delighted children around Halloween for decades. Just about all of the Curious George books have a similar plot. George’s curiosity gets the best of him, he gets distracted from the task at hand, winds up in trouble, and is eventually forgiven, rescued, and restored to good standing with his friend, the man with the yellow hat. That restoration is always a joyful event, and George is always relieved. The reason this plot line is so successful, is that, it is pretty much true to life. We get distracted, sidetracked, and sometimes wind up in trouble in one way or another. And we know what it feels like to be forgiven, rescued, and restored to good standing. That is always a joyful event.

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month! This year, the Administration for Children and Families, an extension of the Department of Health and Human Services, is focusing on finding ways to "recruit and retain parents for the 115,000 children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families." To find out more information about adoption in general, adoption from foster care, or to see some of the children in foster care waiting for adoptive families you can visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway or

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our New Facebook Page

At the suggestion of several adoptive mommy friends, I have created a Facebook page just for our adoption journey. It includes lots more photos than I have the patience to post on this blog as well as some of our answers to the Adoption Spacebook questionnaire. Come check us out!
Our Facebook Page

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.