Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

4.28.2009

Passing on the Faith

Have you ever come away from a movie where you laughed, cried, “met” new people, learned new things, were challenged to rethink some ideas, and—most importantly—didn’t sleep? Envision such a movie…that was what you would call an “amazing movie,” right? This past weekend Papa, Mama, Lauren, Melanie, and I volunteered at the 4th annual Christian Heritage Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference of Washington state. And let me tell you, we laughed, we cried, we met new people, we learned new things, we were challenged to rethink some ideas, and we definitely didn’t sleep. ;-) This was certainly a magnificent conference. Unfortunately, with Mama helping out at registration all weekend, Dad serving as “room host” (keeping his room session-ready and introducing the speaker), Mel working in the Vendor Hall, and Lauren and I running the Bradrick family’s booth, none of us really thought about taking pictures to document the event, so you will have to rely on my ability to paint pictures with words (we hope).
This conference I speak of (see here for more information) is held in Redmond, WA; this year’s speakers were Voddie Baucham as the keynote speaker, the Scott Brown family and Mike Riddle as featured speakers, and many other top-notch Christians teaching workshops as well. Praise God with me for the continued success of this conference (many hundreds more people attended this year than last), and if you live in the area, please consider coming next year (April 22-24, 2010); Lord willing, I’ll be there!
Although I wasn’t able to attend all of the sessions due to my volunteering responsibilities, Dr. Baucham’s were definitely my favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed all of Dr. Baucham’s sessions as well as catching up with him since the last time I saw him, when my family and I met him for dinner in Portland last summer. In one masterful sermon, “The Culture War: Passing on Faith in a Faithless World,” he first presented the elements of a worldview, and then expounded on the two warring worldviews (Christian Theism and Secular Humanism).
Singing in the chorale with over 100 other young people was amazing (without fail, every year someone comes up to me and tells me that we made him or her cry ;-). We somehow mastered and confidently sang arrangements of “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”; “Our Hope for Years to Come”; “Hallelujah” (by Beethoven); and “Keep Your Lamps” (a spiritual) after only four short practice sessions. This was only possible because of our inimitable director, Mr. Neil Craig who somehow manages to teach the advanced singers something new while teaching the beginning singers how to sing while keeping everyone focused while regaling us with his zany humor!
There’s so much more I want to tell you about (family night…special music performances…) that I can’t possibly fit into a sensibly-sized post. Thus I am forced to conclude that the only possible way for you to truly understand the magnificence and inspiration of this event is to charge you firmly and sternly to attend if at all possible next year. Until then!
All pictures taken from christianheritageonline.org except for the chart (made by me) and the last two pictures, which were taken by my sister, Melanie.

4.27.2009

Followers

Did you know that "following" is a Biblical concept? Ephesians 5:1 says, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." Of course, despite diligent searching, I have yet to find a verse that says, "Be ye therefore followers of One Bright Corner." :-) The wonderful thing about following one another's blogs, however, is that we are all endeavoring to live out Ephesians 5:1, and this is one way we can encourage, inspire, and edify each other towards this end.
So I would like to take this moment to direct your gaze to the right-hand side of this page. See those little pictures that are so small you can't decide if they're people, places, or things? Well, they are people (click on 'em!), and they are followers of our blog! Thank you so much to our diligent, faithful, patient followers who, altogether, have succeeded in bringing us to our first "blogging milestone": TEN whole followers. Are you a follower of One Bright Corner? Join blogger (a short, 5-minute process which does not require you to divulge any personal information you don't want to give away and does not require you to have your own blog), then go to your "dashboard" and follow us. We'd love to know that you, too, are a reader of our blog. ;)

4.21.2009

The Four Seamstresses

It usually starts sometime in January, about every other year, when someone comes up with a bright idea. Someone will ask, “Hey, why don’t we sew Easter dresses?” This year that bright person was me, and no one could think of a reason not to make dresses, so we made them. We knew what we were getting ourselves into (or did we?) as we trekked to Joann’s to pick out the pattern and fabric. Our Joann’s is notorious for its disorganization, bad customer service, and dirty floors. Nevertheless, we finally found the perfect pattern (Simplicity 3745), but it wasn’t until we had toured two more fabric stores in Portland that we finally found a fabric that we could all agree upon, one that our Joann’s had had all along. (Funny how that works!)
Then the real work began. The plan was for Mikaela, Melanie, and I to sew our own dresses. Then Mikaela would help Susanna sew hers, and I would make Mama’s. We had many adventures, including staying up very early ;-), putting in invisible zippers, and Melanie sewing through her finger. (The needle went all the way through, and as she screamed, Mikaela had to pull it off. Sorry, I should have warned you queasy ones! You will be happy to know that she is fully recovered, and that I didn't get a picture of that.)
I know you’ve already seen the finished product in my Easter post, but I wanted to give you a taste of our time making those five dresses.


Mikaela pauses in cutting out her dress to smile for the camera.



Melanie is hard at work!




Great! We now have 14 yards of fabric cut into jigsaw pieces--now let's put it back together again!


I'm doing-what else-cutting out Mama's dress.



Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown



Hmm... who's that laying down on the job?



Scissors in action!


Hallelujah! We finished them (barely)! It was so fun to sew with my sisters. (By the way, Susanna really did work hard, although for some reason we didn't get any evidence of it on the camera!)
In closing, may your bobbin always be full, your needle ever easy to thread, your scissors continually sharp, and your machine always in a good mood!
Note: This weekend is the annual Washington Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference, so Mikaela won't be posting on Friday. However, she will be prepared to give you a full report and an insider's look at the conference on Tuesday. We would appreciate your prayers for the conference as well!

4.17.2009

Soundtrack of the Reformation

The conflict was heightening; the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V desired peace at the expense of the Lutheran's convictions, and they refused to compromise. Thus, the Lutheran leaders wrote the most enduring foundation of Lutheran faith and the backbone of the entire Reformation and Protestant movement: the Augsburg Confession. These Godly men not only clearly laid out their beliefs based on Scripture; they also bravely declared what was unbiblical about the Catholic religion.
None of this was running through my mind as I attended the Southwest Washington Symphony’s first practice for our last concert of the season. Without even looking at the music, or knowing what it was, I hastily turned to the last movement—as directed by my conductor—and started playing. Curious, I thought. That sounds familiar! The tune was inescapable as the entire symphony erupted into a gloriously and brilliantly arranged rendition of none other than Martin Luther’s own “A Mighty Fortress”! This was quite the shock to discover in a thoroughly classical piece by Felix Mendelssohn, but I was even more astounded when I turned the music all the way to the beginning and saw the title: Reformation Symphony No. 5 in D Major. Felix Mendelssohn, a Jew by heritage but a Lutheran by choice, wrote a symphony honoring the reformers and their courage in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (you did read that first paragraph, right?)!
Combining firm march themes with pretty but shallow melodies common in the Catholic Church, Mendelssohn shows the conflict between the two religions. My conductor, Ryan Heller, is not a Christian, however, and he had an entirely different perspective on the piece. “It’s interesting how this Dresden Amen [the Catholic melody] is juxtaposed against graver themes throughout this; it’s as though Mendelssohn was calling for compromise between the two factions.” When Lauren heard this, she whispered to me, “It’s not the Reconciliation Symphony, it’s the Reformation Symphony!”
Modern society and humanistic thinking has brainwashed even Christians into thinking that calling sin “sin”, wrong “wrong”, and right “right” is intolerant, mean-spirited, and fanatical. Reformation, however, requires identifying the sin and doing away with it, something that the likes of Martin Luther, John Knox, and John Calvin did bravely and excellently. Felix Mendelssohn could be included in that list as well. When asked why he would write such a piece, Mendelssohn replied, referring to the Reformation, “In those days, men had convictions; we moderns have opinions!” Let us change that trend now, at this very moment, because opinions are not worth dying for, so they cannot be worth living for.

The Southwest Washington Symphony (in which Lauren and I both play) will be performing the Reformation Symphony and other pieces this Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 3:00 at the Rose Center. Click here for more information.

4.14.2009

Resurrection Weekend!

Easter is probably my favorite holiday because of what we celebrate. The eggs, good food, and fellowship are wonderful, but in the end it is the celebration of Christ's love and His triumph over death that make it so special.
Rather than just tell you about our Easter weekend, I thought I would show you...
On Good Friday, we had fun coloring eggs in the morning. Jonah shows a special egg to the camera. His hands appear to be fairly clean at the moment, but they were eventually dyed along with the eggs!Here's a shot right before we headed off to Good Friday service, where we reflected on Christ's sacrifice and took communion.


On Saturday, we drove up to our aunt and uncle's house near Olympia. We had fun with a wild city-sponsored egg hunt in the park (complete with police to control the feisty egg-hunters!). Here is Uncle Joe testing the oil for his famous deep fried turkey. Yum!


How many Easter treats can you spot, Micah?

" Hey! What's that growing in the tree?"

" Imagine that! Was it there all this time, Mom?" I love it!


Ten of the cousins on my dad's side. That's all but two, and we had a lot of fun! Fashion shows, egg-hiding, game-playing, and lots of other top-secret family things that people would kill me over if I confessed! I know they look sweet, but... (-;


Easter Sunday dawned bright and...rainy. Of course. But when we headed off to church, the weather didn't really matter anymore because we were celebrating the greatest day of the year: Christ's resurrection. He is alive!

Here is a snapshot of me and the ever adorable William.


Below is our church enjoying our Easter breakfast.

My family, decked out in Easter best, stands in front of a cross.


On Sunday evening, we got together with some friends. We started the night off by singing some wonderful Easter songs. Mikaela accompanied on the piano. Don't you think we need to sing those Easter songs every week?


We finished our weekend with games. Mad Gab, Outburst, and, of course, Guesstures! There's an action shot of Susanna.



Family, friends, thoughtfulness, joy, celebration, chocolate--those are all keywords in this glimpse of my family's Resurrection weekend. Nothing, not even the rain, could dampen our excitement to remember once again Christ's sacrifice above all sacrifices and His triumph over death.
Most or all of these photos were taken by Mama.

4.10.2009

Big Bad John

Have you ever heard “Big Bad John”? Slightly before my time, this classic song was written in 1961 and made it to number one on the Billboard list!

Ev'ry mornin' at the mine you could see him arrive
He stood six foot six and weighed two forty five
Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip
And everybody knew ya didn't give no lip to Big John.

John is not only big, though—he’s bad. Rumor has it that he actually killed a fellow over his sweetheart before coming to work in the mines. He is a man one would respect not because of his character, but because of the fear he instills. One day, however, the unthinkable occurrs: the mine caves in.

Through the dust and the smoke of this man-made hell
Walked a giant of a man that the miners knew well
Grabbed a saggin' timber, gave out with a groan
And like a giant oak tree he just stood there alone-Big John
And with all of his strength he gave a mighty shove
Then a miner yelled out "There's a light up above!"
And twenty men scrambled from a would-be grave
Now there's only one left down there to save-Big John
With jacks and timbers they started back down
Then came that rumble way down in the ground
And then smoke and gas belched out of that mine
Everybody knew it was the end of the line for Big John
Now they never reopened that worthless pit
They just placed a marble stand in front of it
These few words are written on that stand
At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man, Big John

John may have been big, and he may have been bad, but he gave his life so that the rest of his crew could go free and live their lives. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I am moved by this story within a song, which, despite its fame, I had never heard of before this week. It allows me to look at a hero with fresh, new eyes. I realized, though, that this story that touches me so mirrors, to a small degree, that age-old story which I have heard every week of my life. That story of a man who, knowing that the entire world was perishing, chose to give his life up and die to save every single person who has ever lived. There is one difference, however, between John and Jesus Christ: one was bad, mean, and violent, but the other was good, perfect, and loving. The world lost a brave man when Big bad John died, but the world lost a blameless, perfect man when Jesus died.
Jesus died for you—He died for me! We are the miners who are able to scurry free because Jesus valiantly and painfully held the beams just high enough for us to see the light. If you will acknowledge that you need saving and accept Jesus’ free gift, you too can live and have eternal life in heaven. If you refuse, however, you will not only be rejecting the greatest sacrifice anyone could make for you, but you will also die, only to live in eternal agony in Hell. Jesus has written the climax, but how will you end the song? Will you scramble out of your would-be grave, or will you wallow in it? Perhaps you have already made the choice to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for you; take today to remember it, thank God for it, and share it with everyone you can.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

4.07.2009

Do you want to make a difference today?

So how much are you willing to stand up for the lives of innocent babies? You vote pro-life, you have lively discussions with your family, and you read articles about the atrocities committed against babies. Have you ever thought about what follow-through your convictions would have if you were a doctor or a nurse? Honestly, I had never put myself in their shoes until a few weeks ago. Imagine an America where pro-life doctors or nurses who refuse to perform an abortion are swiftly dismissed from their jobs. Imagine an America where those healthcare workers who refuse to murder a baby or dispense certain pills are persecuted for their stand or are fined for their beliefs. In a few months, this could be the America that we live in. Here is a video about this distressing situation that brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.


In 2008, President Bush put into place regulation that states that government funds will be denied to programs where doctors or nurses are fired, fined, or discriminated against because of their conscientious stand against abortion or other issues. Last month, however, our new and increasingly godless presidential administration announced that they would rescind, or get rid of, that regulation. Senator Tom Coburn spearheaded an amendment to protect the rights of doctors and nurses, but it was voted down last Thursday.
So why am I telling you this? Because I want to depress everyone on a beautiful spring day? No, rather I share this with you to challenge you as I have been challenged. These doctors and nurses are willing to endure anything rather than murder a baby. What are you willing to do to save lives and help those doctors? Are you willing to click on a link, type in a few comments, and submit it to the White House before midnight, April 9? The public has an opportunity to comment on this proposed regulation. Will you take this opportunity? Many pro-choice groups have organized their members to send in comments to the government, and we must not let that minority control the majority of comments. Each of our voices are small, but together we can make a difference.
Here’s how you can comment:
You can send an e-mail to: proposedrescission@hhs.gov
You can click on this organization’s link which also gives some good ideas on what to say.
You can click on this government link and click on add comments.
You can mail one original and two copies of written comments to: Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201.
Remember, though, this all has to be done by midnight Thursday. So please show by this simple act how much you are willing to stand up for babies across America. I will close with one of my favorite quotes, one that you will probably see a lot if you stick around this corner. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) devoted the best years of his life to fighting slavery, an atrocity not unlike abortion. He challenges us all with these convicting words that I leave to echo in our ears:
“Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Here are some links for those who want more information or ideas on what to say:
Faith and Family (this is a little out of date, but it still gives some good ideas at the end for comments and lays the foundation for why rescinding this regulation is wrong)
World Magazine article

4.03.2009

Eating Mediterranean

A few weeks ago, Susanna and I made dinner for our family. This is something that we regularly do and thoroughly enjoy. In fact, I would encourage all of you to consider doing it! It gives the “regular-meal-maker” a well-deserved break, and it provides valuable experience in planning, executing, and serving a nutritious meal. For this particular meal, we decided to do a “Mediterranean” theme, which was a lot of fun since it forced us to make foods (and eat foods) that we had never attempted before. The meatless meal included falafalah (fried chickpea patties which were DELICIOUS), homemade pita bread, and “Orange You Glad to See Me Salad,” which is not Mediterranean, but was a scrumptious complement to the meal and a family favorite from the Voeller Sisters' cookbook From the Kitchen of Two Sisters. Dessert was chocolate baklava, which of course had to be good since it was saturated in butter and stuffed with nuts and chocolate!
Following is the pita bread recipe which we used; it turned out awesome! Mama, who was gone all day, sat down to her late dinner, and was amazed to learn that we had made the bread; she thought that it came from the store. Anyways, you simply must try it. The recipe could not be simpler, with ingredients that you likely have on your shelves at this moment. The time factor is minimal as well since, although the bread does rise for several hours, it only takes five minutes to bake (seriously)! The very next day, Susanna and Micah made a double batch for all of us to enjoy at lunch as veggie sandwiches or broiled “pizza,” according to everyone’s inclination. Enjoy!


Chocolate Baklava


Pita Bread
Serves 10 loaves
Ingredients:
2½ cups all purpose flour –plus additional flour for sprinkling
1¼ cups water – lukewarm
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
Directions:
  1. In a cup or small bowl combine the yeast with ½ cup lukewarm water. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside for about 7 minutes to proof.
  2. Add 2½ cups flour to a bread or large mixing bowl. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon.
  3. Make a small well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix it with the flour until you get a compact dough.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured wooden surface and slowly add water as needed. Continue kneading the dough for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic and it doesn’t stick to your hands. At the end, shape it into a ball.
  5. Wipe a large bowl with half a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dough in it and rub it gently against the bowl walls so as to cover it uniformly with olive oil. Cover with a tea towel. Put it in a warm draft free area and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
    Punch the dough down and let it rise again for 10 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
  7. Sprinkle a little flour on a wooden surface. With a wooden rolling pin, roll each ball into a flat round loaf 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter and about 1/8 inch (4.5 mm) thick. Cover the flattened dough rounds with a cloth and let them rise a little bit for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 450°F (230ÂșC). Slightly flour a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. Now place the first batch of dough rounds on a baking sheet. Bake on the lower rack for 3 minutes or until the dough forms a puffed up ball. Turn it over and leave in the oven for about 2 more minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and stack the pita bread loaves on top of each other. Wrap the pita bread loaves in a clean tea towel until ready to serve. This will keep them warm and soft.
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