Being a homemaker… or just really liking making my own food.

If I would spend all of my time in the kitchen, I would. I love making my own food. Today I had fun with two new recipes.

First, I made the easiest coconut chocolate pie ever. Martha Stewart certainly knows her way around the kitchen. It has just four ingredients – coconut, butter, dark chocolate, and heavy cream. Put those together in the right way, following the directions here – http://www.styleathome.com/food-and-entertaining/recipes/recipe-martha-stewart-s-crisp-coconut-and-chocolate-pie/a/34855?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sah_bb_110929 and you get this:

Pie that tastes like a mounds bar, but without all the extra sugar. Delish.

After I made my pie, I was left with 8 ounces of heavy cream. Then I remembered this post on 2 little hooligans – http://2littlehooligans.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-make-butter-in-canning-jar.html – how to make your own butter! So, after 50 minutes of shaking, I got this:

Fresh (except not fresh from the cow) butter! Amazing! I definitely doubted the process around minute 40, but decided to wait until I hit an hour to give up. Minute 50 rolled around and magic happened before my eyes. My arms may or may not be sore.

So much fun! I hope you have some adventures in the kitchen soon.

~Amber Joy

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Taking a deep breath…

I had a somewhat stressful end to my day.

On days like these it’s important to remember to stop and take a deep breath… and rest in God’s peace and comfort.

Tonight I’m taking enough time away from my stress and spending time in the longest Psalm.

PSALM 119

    א Aleph

 1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

   ב Beth

 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

   ג Gimel

 17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

   ד Daleth

 25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.

   ה He

 33 Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.[b]
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.

   ו Waw

 41 May your unfailing love come to me, LORD,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.

   ז Zayin

 49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, LORD, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, LORD, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.

   ח Heth

 57 You are my portion, LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, LORD;
teach me your decrees.

   ט Teth

 65 Do good to your servant
according to your word, LORD.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

   י Yodh

 73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.
79 May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.

   כ Kaph

 81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
84 How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to your law.
86 All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your unfailing love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

   ל Lamedh

 89 Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am yours;
I have sought out your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless.

   מ Mem

 97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

   נ Nun

 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.[d]

   ס Samekh

 113 I hate double-minded people,
but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your laws.

   ע Ayin

 121 I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, LORD;
your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.

   פ Pe

 129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.

   צ Tsadhe

 137 You are righteous, LORD,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.

   ק Qoph

 145 I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD,
and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, LORD,
and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.

   ר Resh

 153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, LORD, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

   ש Sin and Shin

 161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, LORD,
and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.

   ת Taw

 169 May my cry come before you, LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, LORD,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 119:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Psalm 119:33 Or follow it for its reward
  3. Psalm 119:37 Two manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text life in your way
  4. Psalm 119:112 Or decrees / for their enduring reward
As we sing in church each Sunday as the benediction:
Numbers 6:24
May Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face  toward you and give you peace.
~Amber Joy

Why I am thankful I learned Spanish

Remember that article I wrote about Invisible Children of Latin America (http://www.liberty.edu/academics/law/index.cfm?PID=22605&artid=43005)? That article is just the tip of the iceberg. This semester I will be writing two 25 page papers – one for my International Human Rights class and one for a contest on “A Christian’s Response to Human Rights.” When I wrote my article last spring, I uncovered no new research. It was all dated 2007 or earlier. I knew that in order to be successful with my papers this semester I had to have something new.

In 2007, when I first discovered the issue of Invisible Children of Latin America, I contacted UNICEF and got some information not available on the internet. I went back in my files and tried contacting the same women I was in contact with 5 years ago. Both emails got returned. BUMMER.

Knowing the children of Latin America need an advocate to get the word out, and also because I like research, I did some digging on the UN’s website and found contact information of a few employees at Latin America’s regional UNICEF office. The page I had gotten their emails from was all in Spanish, so I was unsure what language use. I therefore decided to write in both English and Spanish, out of hopes of getting a more prompt and thoughtful response. I also included a link to my article. After the email was sent, I didn’t have much hope. Who would take the time to answer an email from a random student in the US?

Today I received a response. It was an extremely thoughtful and helpful email written in Spanish, making me so, so thankful that I had 1)thought of composing the email in Spanish and 2)taken Spanish classes beginning in 4th grade. I had always seen the use of being fluent in Spanish when I travel abroad, but never imagined it would be a key to my academic research in law school.

Ana, the woman who responded to my email, first thanked me for providing a link to my article (!!!!!), then gave me current information that I had not yet uncovered from this past November, and also let me know she forwarded my email to the man in charge of the birth registration movement. Once again, God has provided above and beyond my limiting expectations. (https://henambj.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/trusting-that-god-will-provide/)

I have already read through some of the information Ana provided, and I know God is going to continue to do amazing things through my papers this semester.

~Amber Joy

Dream projects

After sewing my purse, I’ve been dreaming of all the different projects I could do. If only I had the time and money…

Here’s my list of dream projects that may or may not get sewn before the end of the summer:

DIY Shift Dress from Martha Stewart (http://www.marthastewart.com/267528/diy-shift-dress)

Day after Day dress from the Sew Weekly (http://www.sewweekly.com/2011/07/mtl-day-after-day-dress/)

In addition to these, I have the book One Yard Wonders with 100 projects I have not yet done. If only I wasn’t in Law School!!! I’m going to try to get one of these looks done before going to the Dominican Republic. We will see.

~Amber Joy

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I was in undergrad at Bethel, in St. Paul MN, we had a total of ONE snow day. Since coming to Liberty, in Lynchburg VA, finals have been delayed once, and we have had a snow day — that snow day being today! The funny thing is, since living here we’ve had less than a foot of snow TOTAL. School would probably still go on with that much in one fall in Minnesota. I’m not complaining that Virginian’s are wimps! Another thing that makes this ironic is most of the snow has already melted.  9 inches fell over 36 hours, and only patches remain after 10 hours of sunshine.  Before the snow melted, I got outside and played. After all, I am from Minnesota.

The view from the front porch.

Making tracks.

Yes, I, a 23 year old, built a snowman in my front yard.

It felt so good to be soaked to the skin from playing in the snow. It also felt weird to be 23 and playing in the snow in  my front yard by myself. I got over it, though, and had a good time.

I promise tomorrow I’ll stop focusing on snow for my posts, but I couldn’t focus on anything else today! It was great.

~Amber Joy

PS – I forgot to mention less than three hours after being created, my snowman was dead. As my mom said, he didn’t even get to see the sunset!

A forecast BETTER than anticipated!

SNOW!!!! I’m so giddy, it’s a little ridiculous. I just keep peaking out my window and smiling.

There is about 3 inches on the ground, with 2-4 more to come.

I love driving when snow is coming down, especially because the big flakes smash against the windshield.

This afternoon I put on my boots, and captured the beauty around my house.

There’s already a lot more than when I took this pictures.

I really feel like listening to Christmas music, now, unlike this past December.

I’m going to refrain myself, except for this one song:

Knowing Lynchburg, there’s a high possibility school will be called off tomorrow. We will see!

I hope you had a blessed Sunday and a restful weekend!

~Amber Joy

A Saturday worth anticipating.

Today was a wonderful day!

It began with completing my readings for Tuesday and Thursday. Normally I just do Tuesday’s over the weekend, but I overachieved today.

After I read I made some of my favorite cookies – Gluten Free, Sugar Free Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies

All you need is:

3 ripe bananas, smashed
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups quick cook oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients, then let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the oats absorb the liquids.

Drop tablespoons onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 325. The bottoms should begin to brown, and they should appear something like this:

These cookies are so good, and so healthy! Perfect.

Once the kitchen was cleaned up, I ate some lunch, then headed out to get my hair cut. I decided yesterday I was ready for it to be short again, so I made an appointment and here are the results:

Goodbye 8 inches! Hello, short hair! Don’t worry, I’ve had this cut before, I know it’s easy and cute. I’m pretty proud of my outfit (minus the slippers) too!

After my haircut I emailed the UN, in both English and Spanish. My brain got a work out, that’s for sure. (I’m trying to get some more research for my international human rights class).

Rather than spending the evening alone, studying, I changed it up.

One of my friends who goes to undergrad here decided we should do dinner and then a concert.

For dinner I chose Texas Roadhouse, because I had never been.

Here’s my obligatory first time eating this picture of the Road Kill Steak:

Steak with sauteed onions and melted cheese, paired with a baked potato and steamed veggies – YUM.

My final event of the evening was the Casting Crowns concert at Liberty.

To my surprise, the openers were AMAZING.

Lindsey McCaul (http://lindsaymccaul.com/):

Royal Tailor (http://royaltailoronline.com/):

Matthew West (http://www.matthewwest.com/):

Casting Crowns was about 1000 times better than I had hoped for. SO GOOD. (http://castingcrowns.com/)

I was dumb enough to not bring my camera, so was stuck capturing the thing with my phone. Here’s my best shot:

This was after intermission when Casting Crowns did an acoustic set. Oh, so wonderful.

I realized that I need to start listening to their new music. This song was my favorite of the whole night:

The concert was 3 1/2 hours long. My ears are still ringing, but it was more than worth it.

I think this day will give me fuel for a while. It was such a great day, filled with amazing experiences!

I hope you had a wonderful Saturday as well!

~Amber Henry

PS – The weather forecast is still calling for snow tomorrow! Possibly 5-7 inches by Monday morning!

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