1 Peter 3:3-4

I wrote this for my Chaucer/Medieval lit class. We had to do a modern retelling of a tale or create our own. Mine is a combination retelling of the Wife of Bath’s Tale along with creating my own based on 1 Peter 3:3-4. I’m a bit of a helpless romantic, lover of all fairy tales with a concentration in Medieval/Ren lit. SO here’s an original by yours truly.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Once upon a time in a far off land there was a Princess. She was not just any princess but a spoiled, rotten, flirtatious princess. She was beautiful, so beautiful that men came from the ends of the earth to gaze upon her beauty. And she, in her vanity knew and used this. She played cruel tricks on the men of the court. Even her own father was under the spell of her beauty and trickery. There came a day when her games had gone on for too long. All the men in the court were sick except for one. He was a new courtier from a kingdom from the Middle East. He dazzled her with his stories and foreign magic. She was smitten. Being the cruel, selfish princess that she was, she decided to trick him into staying in her court.

She used her womanly wiles and snuck into his bed chamber one night. As the courtier roused from sleep he could smell her fragrant perfume near him. He had caught the princess slipping between his bed sheets. “How dare you!?” He cried out. Unabashed, the princess simply bat her eye lashes, “Why whatever do you mean?” she asked coyly. “I know of your schemes! The entirety of the court is almost in ruin because of you! But I am above your tricks and wiles! You are selfish and trying to keep me here longer by slipping into my bed.” The princess had been caught and knew it, but was unaware of how to proceed. She stared at him with wide doe eyes. “Enough! No more will you torture the men of your father’s kingdom or those who come to gaze upon your beauty for you will have it no more!” And with that the courtier spoke in a language unknown to many, and when he was done the princess fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning she awoke with a start! Remembering the night before she looked around to find she was in her own room. She tip toed to her dressing table only to shriek in shock. Her once beautiful milky white complexion was marred by freckles of the peasants. Her illustrious shining smooth hair of deep brown silk had become limp and mousey. Her bright mischievous eyes had become dull and hollow. Next to the mirror was a note-

Dearest Princess,
Not all who are beautiful possess true beauty, and not all who are without are ugly through and through. I will return to court in a years time. It is your duty to find your beauty. Look to the ponds and the swamps and cricks through the land. Look for the frog that possess true beauty and kiss him. It will only be then that you will regain your own beauty and save him from his tragic life of mud and bugs. However, if in a years time you are unable to seek true beauty yours will be gone forever.
Your humble servant-

The princess was stunned. “What am I to do!?” she wailed. No one could see her in this state. She quickly grabbed her cloak and slid through the servants’ entrance, down the terrace and into the court below. She slipped out the side gate to the gardens and beyond. The first place she went was the pond in the center of the gardens. Here as a child she had seen plenty of frogs of all colors, shapes and sizes. After a short time she found a beautiful frog. He was a shining apple green with dark spots the color of holly leaves. She scooped him up and said “How beautiful you are dear frog, are you the one?” The frog opened his mouth and replied “Why thank you my dear, I am beautiful indeed! My croak bellows, my legs are of pure muscle and my colors make others swoon.” Thinking that this was the most beautiful frog she could find, the princess kissed him. And nothing happened. Through the day she continued as such, going from pond to pond through the land around the castle, finding the prettiest frogs she could spot, but to no avail. She still could not return to the castle, so she found herself an abandoned house to spend the night in. The next day she began her search again, and again to no avail. Soon she had searched the ponds, lakes, and creeks all around her father’s kingdom and had found beauty many times over- but none for herself.

She was running out of time. The princess in desperation left the safety of her father’s kingdom to continue the search. After months of searching she still could not find the right frog. Frustrated, angry, and humbled the princess carried herself back to her father’s kingdom. She returned to the pond she had searched her first day. She lowered herself onto a bench and began to weep. A frog hopped out of the pond and onto the bench next to her. “Why are you crying?” asked the frog. The princess sniffed and looked over. There, sitting next to her was one of the ugliest frogs she had ever seen. He was not a beautiful shade of green, and was half covered in mud. He had some warts and no stunning markings like other frogs she had searched for. The princess responded “I was once beautiful and have lost that beauty. I have run out of time.” With endearing eyes and quiet voice the frog gently whispered “I have never been beautiful.” It was then the princess looked at him again. He was an ugly frog, but was the only frog in her quest that had asked her why she was on such a journey. He was the only frog that had stopped to question why she was crying. Reaching down she picked him up and said “You are the most beautiful frog I have ever met.” And she kissed him. Suddenly he croaked, and croaked and continued to croak like he had the hiccups. He hopped off the bench and swam away into the pond.

The princess was sure she had truly run out of time. Her last hope had just swam away. Dejected she entered the great hall of her father’s castle. The noble knights and busy courtiers, ladies in waiting and servants turned and gasped. With head hung low the princess made her way to her father’s throne. Kneeling the princess said “I have been gone for many months. My beauty was taken away from me. My vanity and selfishness ruined me and I was ashamed. I have spent these past months looking for my beauty and have failed in this quest.” Confused the king and all in attendance looked to each other. “My dear,” her father said, “you are as beautiful as ever.” The princess stood and turned to look at a mirror on the wall. In front of her stood the courtier who had cast this wicked spell on her and a stunning stranger. The two stepped forward. “My princess, I am glad to see you in such good health! It has been some time since I’ve seen you.” “I don’t understand,” replied the princess. “My dear, you were a beauty on the outside. Your hair of deep silk, your eyes bright and lively with skin as pure as a young maiden’s; but your heart, your soul, they were ugly. You needed to find beauty within others to find it in yourself.” Dumbfounded the princess gazed at him. “And my I present to you, your beautiful frog-a prince of my kingdom. He could never find a woman to love, for they all rejected his plain looks, no one dared to see beyond into his heart. In trust, he allowed me to show him that one day he would find a beautiful woman inside and out to love him as well, in exchange, I would make him handsome.”

Laughing the princess ran to them both. She finally understood that though beauty is fleeting, and in order to be truly beautiful one must have beauty from within. The courtier left the courts that day, and was never seen again. The princess and her frog prince were married on a fine spring day next to the pond where she had found him. When the time came, the two ruled the kingdom and lived happily ever after.

The End

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“Mr. Darcy’s Diary” Amanda Grange

‘The Meryton assembly! God save me from country assemblies!’ I remarked.
‘You have been spoilt by superior company,’ said Caroline.
‘I have indeed.The London assemblies are full of the most elegant people in the country.’”- Excerpt from “Mr. Darcy’s Diary.”

Everyone has either read or heard of Jane Austen’s best selling “Pride and Prejudice.” A juicy love story about a poor, brilliantly witty, lovely country girl meeting and loathing a spoiled, hansom rich man. But in a twisted trail of events, find that they are madly in love with each other. Unlike “Pride and Prejudice,” Grange takes another approach to the grumpy male lead- by way of his diary. Written in a first person point of view, the author gives the reader the male perspective of not only the society in which they live, but his feelings as well. In Pride and Prejudice, the story is more focused on Elizabeth Bennet (female lead), and the only understanding of Darcy’s comes through the few conversations he has and the interaction in the book. His feelings are shown, but not to the extent of a dairy. While reading “Mr. Darcy’s Diary,” I felt a little bad. It truly felt like I was reading his diary and the words that would come out of his mouth and that I was trespassing on his deepest thoughts. I also found that by reading this, it gave me a whole new perspective on “Pride and Prejudice.” The internal struggles in which he faced- to love the girl with no social standing and risk his social life or to ignore the obvious attraction and save face. Should he expose Mr. Wickham and expose his innocent sister, or keep his mouth shut and allow Wickham to cause more harm?

I found myself telling Darcy he was dumb, or a jerk, and at one point I had to just put the book down and walk away. I felt like he was so shallow, but I guess for the time and due to social and family pressures he had to measure his choice to love Elizabeth carefully. I read the book in one sitting. Other than my brief moment of disdain, I could not put the book down. This tantalizing love story had me laughing, crying and yelling at its characters. It is not a very long book so it was very easy to accomplish. I was begging for more as I turned the last page, just as I had when I finished “Pride and Prejudice.” Highly recommended as a light read, an extra spin for Jane Austen fans, and perfect for sitting on a porch and reading on a good summer day. By the end of the book, anyone will fall in love with the snobbish and insufferable Mr. Darcy.

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Marinated Pork Steaks, Parmesan Potato Slices, Steamed Veggies

I’ve been forgetting to take pictures of food as I make it lately but I finally remembered this evening! Obviously we are a HUGE fan of potatoes in our house. Just about every recipe or meal has them somewhere. Why? Well because they are one of THE most versatile foods EVER!!! Cheese, buttermilk, gravy, bacon, sour cream, butter, chives, onion, basil, paprika- I bet you probably couldn’t tell me something that doesn’t work on potatoes. The first recipe is Parmesan Potato Slices

Ingredients: The amount of all ingredients is dependant upon how many/how big the potatoes you’re using are.
potatoes (any kind will do. We had goldens in the cupboard)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Basil
Parsley
Minced onion
Butter
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Salt/Pepper

1. Rinse and Dirty peel the potatoes. Cut potatoes into thin slices. Make sure to use a sharp knife or a mandoline. (I had 5 medium-small potatoes)
2. Put slices in a bowl. Combine enough olive oil, parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, salt and pepper to give a good general coating on the slices. I only used a sprinkle of minced onion so as to not take away from the rest of the flavors.
3. Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil, layer potato slices in. It can be pretty or just throw them in. Top with a sprinkling of parmesan and a few thin pads of butter. They should look something like this.
taters
Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 20-30 min or until potatoes are soft. Uncover and let bake another 5 minutes to brown the top. You finished product should be beautiful parmesan crusted baked potato slices!
finish potato

The main event of this meal!? The marinated pork steaks!
Ingredients:
Bone in pork steaks (I had 3 HUGE ones)
1/3 cup EVOO
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cups water
1 tbs sugar
3 tbs dried tomato powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/3 tsp paprika
1 tsp basil/parsley

1. Whisk evoo, vinegar, water, tomato powder, crushed red pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, basil and parsley until well blended in a med-large container. It should have a great red/orange color seen in the pic below.

2. Add in pork. It can be thawed or frozen. Let sit for at least 2 hours, shake around every so often to redistribute marinade- it will look a lot like this
pork

3. Heat grill to med-high heat or between 300 and 400 degrees if your grill has a thermometer

4. Cook each pork steak for approximately 10 minutes on each side. Again this depends on how thick the cut is and how your grill cooks. After the 10 min on each side I flipped them again for another 3 minutes on each side to get the good grill marks and finish browning the outside. Hot off the grill they should look a lot like this-
finished pork The marinade is clearly visible along with the beautiful browning from the grill! There is nothing like a good moist pork steak!

Steam up some fresh green beans, plate your delicious parmesan potatoes and top it off with your pork steak.
plate

Crazy Love Francis Chan

1 Corinthians 13 “1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Love is a crazy thing, in its human form. God is love; perfect, pure, unwavering, undoubtedly, honest and faithful. I read this book with my small group at church this summer. The youth leaders told us this was a pretty in depth crazy book, and I didn’t think much of it. There have been plenty of books in my life that fit this category but I underestimated, and was so wrong. This book not only makes me realize how small I am, and how wrong the world truly is, but how much I truly rely on God. One of the most profound statements for me, while reading this book was this “What are you doing to test your faith in God.” This question then made me evaluate my definition of faith. This is what I came up with. “Faith is the reliance on God. It is the belief and total assurance not only of His existence, but of His ability to take care of me. Faith is knowing that even when I feel alone, He is there, when I feel hopeless He is my hope. Faith is more than just believing, it is living daily knowing that He is my firm foundation.”

Other points that “The Chan Man” brought up were such as “The Lukewarm Christian.” The christian that goes through the motions, goes to church, does basically what they’re supposed to, but they’re not all there. They have the horizontal earthly thing down, but they have no true relationship with God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, replace the word Love with your name. “Anna is patient, Anna is kinda….etc” When you put it into human terms, you can see how insufficient we really are with love, but God’s love is perfect and fits the bill. He is everything we are and everything we aren’t. What I like about Chan is that he doesn’t make things look flowery if they’re not. He starts the book making it very clear that although God is merciful and loving, he is also just, and should be feared. Let’s face it, he wiped out a whole people because of their wickedness. He is not one to be taken lightly; but in the same token, Chan points out all of the beauty not only that God has created, but the beauty that we hold and the beauty of his Love. This book made me sit back and take a hard look at my life, how I’ve been acting, where I’m headed, and how I want to change it. More than once I found myself on my knees in worship, in awe, in love, in shame, in joy, in peace and in reflection.

If you want a book to turn your world upside down, if you want a book that will give you a new perspective on life, read this book. If you are not ready to take a good look at yourself, if you aren’t ready to look at the world around you and see what truly needs changed, don’t read this book. I would not recommend reading this book in one sitting. I have always had issues with reading bits of books, but reading a chapter or two at a time is life changing enough that reading it all would be a tidal wave. I recommend reading this book with either a small group or partner, reading it individually would be ok, but not nearly as fun or thought inducing. So, I ask this- how Crazy in Love with God are you?

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Baked Parmesan Chicken

Everyone knows the classic breaded chicken parm. The greatest thing about chicken is its versatility. You can put just about anything on chicken and it tastes delish! This is my own twist to the classic fav dish.

Chicken breast
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or as much as you want!)
2-3 cups bread crumbs
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or minced garlic)
If bread crumbs aren’t preseasoned, feel free to add basil, oregano, garlic and onion

Pre-heat oven to 375

1. Combine olive oil and garlic powder. Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese

2. Dip thawed chicken breast in the olive oil/garlic mixture

3. After the garlic/oil dip, coat the chicken in the bread crumb/cheese mix

4. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish before putting the chicken in.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 20 min. Uncover and let cook for 10-15 min, or until juices are clear and centers aren’t pink to give a nice golden finish.

Place on a bed of penne and top with tomato/spaghetti sauce of your choice!

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“The Cat in the Hat”- Dr. Seuss

Its a little late but the wonderful amazing Dr. Seuss’ birthday has just recently passed! I have a list of books a mile long, novels, classics etc…why in the world would I do a review on “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss!? Well it’s simple really, a friend of mine referred it to me as a book I should read. My first instinct was just as yours might be, why would I do that!? But then I realized how silly it was to NOT. Dr. Seuss for me, as I’m sure for many children through the years, inspired me. He inspired my imagination and ecouraged me to read. Reading Dr. Seuss is like stepping into a world of silly adventure, with a little story and something to learn at the end. And let’s face it, WHO DOESN’T LIKE “The Cat in the Hat!?” I love this book. It’s one of my favorites. Having a little brother myself, and being the older sister I can relate to this book. Written in 1957, the book has reverberated throughout generations of children. Bringing giggles and jumps for joy as it is usually one of the first books one learns to read. The crazy cat brings chaos and destruction to the lives of 2 children left alone. I remember thinking that I wish the cat would come spend a day with my brother and I. Dancing around the house, breaking dishes and playing with the fish are pretty common practice around our house so I don’t think he would really have a need to come visit though 😀 Like the children’s mother, my mom is somewhat of a germaphobic neat freak (she has gotten better though) so I totally understood Sally’s woe in the Cat destroying her house. My brother tends to be the clown and although he’s not a trouble maker, some days getting him to chill with the jokes can be a challenge. It is very easy to compare and relate to many of Seuss’ books which I think adds to their popularity. What more can you say about this book though? It’s epic success or how ingenious it is? It has been translated into Latin with the title Cattus Petasatus and into Yiddish with the title “di Kats der Payats.” You know a book is epic when it’s translated into Yiddish (just sayin). It was nice, after reading such complicated books with big words and that are over 100 pages in length, to just read Dr. Seuss. Some days going back to basics, where one started, where the exciting world of reading began is the best thing in the world. Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” will continue to stand the test of time and forever be one of my favorite books.

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