1. The other morning, I was speaking to the kids about the usefulness of writing down some of our experiences and blessings. When we are blessed by God in certain ways, we think we will never, ever forget what He has done for us, but ... we do. The next morning at worship, we sang these verses:
1 O thou my soul, bless God the Lord; and all that in me is Be stirred up his holy name to magnify and bless. 2 Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God, and not forgetful be Of all his gracious benefits he hath bestowed on thee. 3 All thine iniquities who doth most graciously forgive: Who thy diseases all and pains doth heal, and thee relieve. 4 Who doth redeem thy life, that thou to death may'st not go down; Who thee with loving-kindness doth and tender mercies crown:
Although we have many, many temporal blessings, the Psalmist here mentions his greatest blessings:
.... his iniquities were graciously forgiven;
.... his spiritual disease was healed and the pain relieved;
.... his life was redeemed.
Do any of you keep a journal of spiritual experiences and blessings? For years I didn't, but I am so glad to look back now over things I wrote over the past few years. They cause me to give thanks all over again for the many blessings 'He has bestowed on me'.
2. Do y'all remember the fella who gave us the St Kilda posts? What ... You haven't read them? You can read the first of the posts here.
In case you don't think it's worth going to read them, I'll give you a couple of photos as 'tasters'. No hurry here: I'll wait.
The second post is here, and the third St Kilda post can be found here.
Oh, you're back. They're good, aren't they? Anyway, that fella, Calum, sent me this photo yesterday:
This is a Cheviot ewe with a male Texel cross lamb.
3. Catherine turned eighteen this week. Yes, my second child is now officially an adult, and I still feel like I'm only beginning to learn this being-a-parent business.
Our kids get to choose the menu when it's their birthday, and Catherine's choice this year was lamb shanks.
I was cooking ten shanks, and had three different ways of cooking them.
Five of them went into the slow cooker with red wine and rosemary, as well as garlic, stock and seasoning. They bubbled happily in there for about eight hours, and made my kitchen smell delicious throughout the day. The recipe for those is here.
Three of the shanks were bundled up in cozy foil parcels with rosemary and thyme, butter, garlic and onion. They went into the oven for about two and a half hours. You can find Jamie Oliver's recipe here.
The final two were plain-Jane roasted. I had to roast some in this way to get that lovely almost-burnt stuff on the bottom of the roasting dish so that Catherine could have ordinary plain lamb gravy.
My order of preference was:
1. The foil wrapped shanks. The flavour of the butter and garlic through the meat, as well as the thyme gives this one winning status.
2. The slow-cooker shanks come a close second. The meat just fell off the bones, as it did with the foil wrapped ones. Oh, they were delicious.
3. I did like the onion-y roasted flavour of these, and if they weren't in competition with the other two, I'd be singing their praises. As it is, they come 3rd in my order.