On My Mind Today...

So Terry has been doing this regularly lately... just doing a braindump of the things on her mind, and it's great. It really feels quite friendly-like and personal to hear what all a person is contemplating. So here goes. This may be the first and last, or perhaps I'll do this occasionally, I don't know... but here are some things on my mind:

Obama's here!
It's funny how starstruck we can become when we get remotely close to someone famous. Like, one time I passed Yoko Ono in Central Park. I tried not to flip out, but seriously... the woman oft-credited with breaking up the Beatles?! Incredible.

It's funny how even though I'm not crazy-glad (read: sarcasm) about how the last election cycle went (in any way... not just in the ultimate outcome), I still hear myself in my head saying things like, "so is there any way I could get to see Obama while he's here?" The boys were all perched up on our balcony last night with binoculars trying to catch a glimpse of Air Force One, but to no avail. Even though the flight pattern often sends planes right past our view, the clouds were thick last night.

I am LOVING seeing my language skills progress, even if I still talk quite babyish in the whole scheme of things. When we lived in China, I loved studying language, and I've pretty much had to shut that part of me down for the past couple years between all of the unexpected ping-ponging around the world and the normal events of life. It's fun to see some progress after years of living in limbo. Plus (of course) it makes it easier to really dig into life here, make local friends, etc.

Some friends & I have just begun studying through the book of Esther. Last night we tackled the first 2 chapters. It is amazing how much, even though the book doesn't tell us outright what her personality was like, you can see the inward beauty of what must have been a quiet and gentle spirit in her. Particularly in these early days, before she got that holy backbone to stand before the King unrequested. She:
  • submits to and obeys Mordechai, even though she had been orphaned and could have easily drifted into bitterness and rebellion.
  • wins the heart of the authorities placed over her in the harem, and submits to their wisdom rather than her own, and advances because of this. It's impossible to see her as a demanding diva... surely the eunuchs would have encountered some of those among the most beautiful women in the kingdom, but because of their quick affection for Esther, I get the distinctive feeling she was *not* like that.
  • continues to win grace and favor because of --what is never specifically described but everywhere implied-- that gentle and humble spirit that so pervades the story of Esther.
Truly, throughout the story of Esther, particularly in the early parts, it is obvious that God is the one uplifting her because she willingly humbles herself. Though Esther is the one book of the Bible that doesn't mention the name of God, His fingerprints... abasing the proud, and giving grace to the humble... orchestrating times, peoples, places, and events for His purposes... protecting and guiding His people for His glory... it's all there. An amazing book! I love how God reveals Himself so evidently through the pages of Scripture.

All my little people just woke up, in the last four minutes or so... so off I go to make Dutch Puff (a favorite around here). (For those who have asked, here's a great picture that shows what a dutch puff looks like.)

That's what's on my mind.... thoughts? Ideas to add?


Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

You know, I have often had many of the same thoughts when reading Esther. What an extraordinary young woman she had to have been.

I can understand the desire of an American wanting to get a glimpse of the President. Particularly when you live abroad and he is in your country of residence. Even if it IS a Pres. you don't enthusiastically support.

Julie said...

Hey Jess--

I've thought of you every time they talk about Obama's Turkish visit. :) Ooooh, I hope you do get to see him. I'm with you on seeing "famous" people--whether I like them or not, there's just something inherently cool about seeing a well-known personality.

Esther is everywhere I go! I am also studying it in person with three friends on Wednesdays, going through the Beth Moore study with a friend via email, and teaching it in an after-school kids' club at the elementary school here. The kids LOVE the story--very exciting to see them each week, waiting to see "what happens next."

Oh--now my baby's awake and ready for breakfast too!


gerolami19 said...

What size glass dish do you use to make the Dutch Puff recipe for 4? I don't want to use a pan so small that the peaks puff right out of the pan! Thanks!

Spencer said...

Jess-I saw Yoko Ono in Central Park too!!! How funny is that...
We are starting Esther in our women's bible study next week. I am eager to learn...

Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Speaking of Esther...I was discussing it with my mom the other day who has also started a study on it (she is only in the beginning of it) and she was questioning whether Esther was one of "active" harem girls.

I personally don't think that could ever have been Esther. Her character was one of purity and humility. Do you think the other women there were concubines??

p.s. I gave you a "Kreativ Blogger" award...hop on over to claim it :)

Jess said...

I don't really understand what you mean by "active" harem girls. It seems that Esther really was going in to be with the King intimately.

In chapter 2, it says that the concubines who had already been "deflowered" weren't kept in the same place as Esther. The text seems pretty clear that she was kept in the first harem, under Hegai the eunuch, and that after a girl had been with the King, then she went to a secondary harem to live as a concubine under Shemgaaz, hoping that the King might call them again (or not, if you didn't have a good first night, I guess). ;) But she would not have lived in that 2nd place as a concubine because the King opted to make her queen. At the same time, though, we aren't told about her living arrangements afterwards.

While the reason she was chosen was because of her purity (the King's edict specified that they all must be virgins),are you suggesting that maybe she didn't actually act intimately with the king because of her purity?

Read through chapter 2 and tell me what you see there.

Persuaded said...

i love the book of Esther.. it seems every time i read it through the Lord speaks directly to my womanhood.. if that makes sense. i know what i mean, lol;)

the mcleans said...

thanks for the recipe. we loved it! although we did add syrup=)

Jess said...

Ah, we always have it with syrup too. No worries!

Jess said...

Oh, and for the dutch puff recipe for 4, (sorry I forgot to respond until now) you can use a round cake pan or an 8x8 square cake dish.

I often do it for 6 (for just my 4 hungry kiddos) and use a large 9x9 (or maybe it's slightly bigger) square glass dish. So that kind of gives you an idea, maybe.

I've made it where it is very thin in a bigger dish, and made it in a too-small dish and the interior part is just fatter. Both ways cook all the way through, and the peaks seem equally high either way.

Hope this helps!

Susan @ HeartPondering said...

It's interesting to hear your take on 'seeing Obama' even though you theoretically don't go in for that type of thing and may not favor him personally. My family just moved to southern CA, about an hour from Hollywood, and find we encounter some of the same with the celeb culture. When we noticed Kevin Costner in the coffee shop with us a few months ago, it was noteworthy and interesting to us even though we aren't 'celebrity-stalker' types at all.

I also appreciated the link to your son's birth in March. Silas was our boy's name for our baby #3, due in August, till we just found out yesterday we're having a girl...! No settled girl's name yet, so back to the drawing board there. Very sweet pictures of your son as an infant (though now a year old, I know).

Thanks for the post.


Jess said...

Well, there was a REASON why we didn't see Obama's plane (besides the fog, etc.)! He wasn't here. He did a sneak trip into Baghdad. Wild stuff. :)

Holli T. said...

I am trying to read through the book Through His Eyes - God's Perspective on Women in the Bible - and not having a really successful time of it. I am in Community Bible Study and we have been doing the Servants of God study that included Esther. Wonderful. So happy for you that you have a group of women to study it with you.

We are working through the book you recommended and gaining a lot from it. Thanks again for the suggestion.

I'm going to try your Dutch Puff this Saturday!


Shannon said...

Think I'm going to try those puffs for breakfast in the morning. Thanks!

(They said on abc news [we downloaded it on iTunes] that Obama did go into Istanbul...but he also went over to Iraq....hmmm.....)

Shannon said...

That photo of the Dutch Puff is HILARIOUS! :D

Nikki said...

Do you speak Mandarin or Cantonese fluently? I am studying Mandarin Chinese now. i also lived in China for awhile and am preparing for an upcoming oral test in the language.

Jess said...

Shannon, I know, right? The picture cracked me up.

I WISH! No, I studied Mandarin for about 5-6 months total... I was making good progress, but it's been almost 2 years since I spoke it at all... and I still understand some basic things and probably could produce a little bit, but have (sadly) lost a lot of it.

Blessings as you study! It's a difficult language but (I thought) fun to speak!

Having It All said...

My preschool daughters and I LOVED making the Dutch Puff a couple of days ago. It was so fun to see how it puffed up! Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. Schaible said...

Dutch Puff? My Family is Swedish and we call them Swedish pancakes or puff puff pancakes. They are a family breakfast tradition. :)

Leanne said...

I just tried the Dutch Puff...and YUM!!!! I didn't realize it until I made it, but the "official" name for it is a pannekoeken, and we used to go to a restaurant of the same name all the time (until they closed!).

The traditional way to eat them is with fruit (I used strawberries and bananas), brown sugar, and a dollop of sour cream. It all melts together and tastes really "caramelly," if that's a word.

Thanks for posting the recipe - I'm sure I'll be making this all the time now!

P.S. Those of you who are like me and are married but don't have kids yet - you can cut the recipe in half for just two servings.