Author: Amy

food adventures diary: paté

As some of my friends know, I love to cook and especially like tackling really big and exotic meals I’ve never prepared before. It seems like anything I’ve ever made for a gathering of people was my first time making it. Cardinal rule #1: never try out a new recipe for a big party. Or so the cooking wisdom goes, which I have ignored. If I get some big idea, there is no stopping me from trying to pull it off, and expecting a glamorous outcome.

I am remembering several of these memorable meals. Cooking a big Indian curry feast for my friend Sandie’s 40th birthday, which included my first attempts at naan, chicken masala, and even mango lassies. I still haven’t figured out naan. There was also the big Spanish-themed meal for Jessica’s birthday, in which I made my own saffron-spiced mayonnaise (whipping egg yolks to perfection!), coriander-spiced creme sauce for seared salmon, etc. I even attempted–for this same meal–to make my own roasted New Mexico green chile sauce, roasting the chiles from scratch, boiling them down into a pork-flavored stew. Which, I discovered, is just no the same with Hungarian peppers. (We were in Czech Republic.)


a poem for berlin and for us

the fall of the berlin wall was just a taste

when we no longer feel trapped by the familiar

when we feel free to pass through gates

when we feel free to be who we are,

no longer suspected, no longer hated, no longer threatened

when we feel free to run past the bullets

and cry to the other, the one on the other side

You are my brother,

when tears and hugs of joy

Jew and Gentile

when we are thankful

to be

when the wall inside of us has gone down

and we no longer have to hide

or scream because we feel threatened,

then our land becomes champagne, popping open

and pouring over our neighbor

when Arab and Jew, when brother says to brother

I will protect you

then will unleash the force of life

death overcome, graves opened,

the tyranny of the walls will be gone

no one will stop crying,

laughing, yelling, singing,

climbing up and over and back again

(was it real?)

no one will stop waving banners

everyone will dance,

this nation did it

known for their reserve

they did it,

they got drunk and silly

and soldiers forgot their bullets

and children stayed up all night

and everyone forgot to let go of each other

he tore down the dividing wall

Just got back from a trip to berlin. We love Berlin and have visited it before, but for some reason on this trip its scars had a particular poignancy. The first few times we were there, we spent a lot of time finding where all the new energy is, where things are happening creatively, but this trip had a lot of history in it–really beholding the past and how it drives the present.

Berlin has some very powerful symbols, and they are hard to ignore. The tearing down of the Berlin wall was probably the most powerful symbol of the 20th century; I never get tired of looking at photos of the euphoria and celebration as east and west Berliners climbed the wall and shouted, hugged, danced way late into the night for a 2-day party that was broadcast around the world. In just one day, there was such an explosion of sheer joy and freedom, that I remember being glued to the television when it was happening, and racing to the library from college classes to watch more. All over campus, the school put up impromptu televisions to broadcast this unbelievable event. Even now, years later, I look at these photos and I get very emotional. There is something in them that is more powerful and more liberating than all the pictures of bombs and wars and grief we see in the papers every day.

People that were there said things like, “there was a certain electricity in the air, like some giant force had just been let loose.” Everyone knew they were a part of something bigger, bigger than politics, bigger than history–

These pictures are from an internet exhibit about the wall. You can also watch a video with some of the original BBC footage.

I think the images and story are still powerful because there is something eternal in them. The fall of the wall was an eternal symbol. It really exists in God forever–the one who tore down the dividing wall–who came to bring unity and freedom…

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Everything he does is about tearing down those hostile walls that keep races, even families, separate. Racism is one of the most horrific assignments against humankind–wanting to separate people out of fear, distrust, pride of self. Obviously there has been no contemporary nation that has grappled so out loud with the issues of racism as Germany. Berlin in particular has embraced its role as a teacher of these things–as a warning sign and also a memorial to horrific results of division between people. Berlin has so many scars of what happens when people are split apart from each other.

One of the most profound memories of these wounds was the detonation of the “Chapel of Reconciliation”. This church was established in the 19th century particularly as a congregation of Christians who wished to provide help to immigrants–people of other cultures and nations, but it became an eye sore for the East German government. Once the wall was built, it literally separated the congregation, who mostly lived to the north of the wall in West Berlin, from the building, which remained south of it in the eastern sector. (The wall wasn’t just a straight up and down line; it criss-crossed through the whole city.) There was a path that ran between the actual border and the wall, which east German soldiers manned, and the church was the only non-military building which stood in this path, making it the only area of Berlin in which the soldiers did not have a ‘clear shot’ at the wall. So, in the interests of ‘national security’ the East German government decided to detonate the church. This happened as recently as 1985, just a few years before the wall was to come down.

This picture of its demolishing was broadcast around the world, causing shock and outrage. In response the congregation performed ‘a dance on the wall’, and in a speech one said, “We can do something. And if we have faith in symbolic actions, then we know that symbols have a silent power which can make the ‘impossible’ possible.”

The chapel’s destruction was so clearly a metaphysical message and symbol, and not just one of a government–but something outside of it all saying, no, I will destroy the thing that stands as a bridge and a safe zone between people: the cross, the power of reconciliation.

But he cannot destroy it. It lives in us… in Jesus we are made peace, and we carry that message as ministers of reconciliation. I feel this position as I travel Europe, which carries in it deep and old wounds of racism. These wounds have not disappeared and feel more potent than ever as Europe tries to unify itself under a political and economic banner. Underneath the banner, however, the tensions run deep. The nations here are so different from each other and many have not healed from ancient hurts. There is only union on paper, but the kind of union where people laugh and hug and dance together wild-eyed late into the night, calling each other brothers, as they did that wonderful day, is missing.

But the fall of the Berlin wall was a clear sounding bell, and anyone with ears to hear knows that it was a prophetic promise to Europe, and also to the human race, tapping into something that’s very deep inside of us–the desire for freedom and acceptance and oneness with each other.

World Cup

To all you good prayer people, some friends recently tuned me into the Global Day of Prayer movement that was a time of praying and intercession for 10 days leading up to the day of pentecost. At least from what I know of prayer movements, never has such a movement been so worldwide, and affected so many different parts of Christianity. This movement started about 5 years ago with an African man’s vision of all the nations of Africa uniting in a of a day of prayer, which would then spread as a call for all nations to pray for the whole body of Christ. I was amazed at the sheer variety of people who joined this: the Vatican, the coptic church of Egypt, charismatic churches, baptist, non-denominational, every nation. There is a video on their website that shows many nations who were participating:

It is very exciting to see Christians of all varieties gather in prayer. It always seems to us that prayer is the one thing that you can get different Christians to agree is a good thing. We disagree on forms, on doctrine, we are divided by racial and denominational divisions, but when it comes to prayer, none of us can disagree. Which is why God is probably birthing all these prayer movements–prayer chains, prayer centers, more prayer meetings.

Anyhow, the same folks behind the Global Day of Prayer are giving a call out to pray for the World Cup 2006, which is being hosted in Berlin this summer. The Kick Off 2006 is a German-initiated movement to gather youth and prayer people to invest time in prayer for the World Cup. Many nations will be present; it is as significant as Olympics in its international scope. Derek and I have a special heart for Germany, but when a big nation asks the world to pray for it, this is a big deal. We think about praying for poor nations or nations in need but we do not think of what it would mean to pray for a nation every day that has as much economic, political and spiritual potential as Germany.

From a personal standpoint, I feel that Germany is often shocked when people want to be friends, and not just because they are capable, but because they are worth loving and praying for and also I feel that the Father has a special affection for them. Both spiritually, in the church, and politically, Germans often get used for their talents and economy. To pray so regularly and from a sincere heart for them during this time will be learning to love and befriend them in a way they are not used to…

From a prophetic standpoint, Germany has a very profound spiritual destiny that in some ways exceeds even my own nation in its impact on Israel and Europe, and most certainly needs to overcome centuries of devastating self-hatred to rise up in its spiritual gifts.

The 30 day prayers they have chosen for their nation are based on the Moravian prayer book. Today’s prayer comes from Isaiah 44:22:

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,

your sins like the morning mist.

Return to me,

for I have redeemed you.”

Most Germans are still ashamed of their identity as Germans, due to the atrocities committed in their country during World War II. They need to hear that they are forgiven by other countries and through the blood of Christ. But God also wants to lead the German people back into the destiny He has prepared for them in His love and mercy. To accept this, Germany needs spiritual insight and courage to return to a lifestyle of humility under God’s leadership for the good of many nations.

Please pray that Germans

• recognize their need for historical and personal forgiveness.

• accept forgiveness for the past and present.

• recommit themselves and their nation to their destiny based on God’s forgiveness.

• have courage to serve the nations using all the gifts and abilities God has given them.

You can download the prayer sheet by clicking here. I think it should download directly onto your computer as a Word document. It won’t show up in your browser window.


purple coneflower

before Since about January, I have been caught up in what I call a gardening craze. I looked out on my backyard one morning, it was dry and leafless and cold as all gardens must look in the dead of winter, and the ground was one big dirt patch, not helped out much by our ever-pacing border collies. And I realized I hadn’t the faintest clue about how to garden–how to make something magical, how to grow flowers, anything aside from the occasional random flower planting.

For my birthday in October, the Jones and Jessica and the Standerfers bought me a lovely olive tree. It sat in its pot on our front porch until March, losing all its leaves and looking nearly dead, and I realized it was time to plant something. Little did I know that once I began I couldn’t stop. On the coldest day of this year (and admittedly, in this year’s weirdly prolonged Texas heat drought, there were only two days in which frost hit), I was outside in my winter clothes and shovel and digging around and looking at the plants that we’d inherited all over our yard and some kind of wild thing came over me. I liked being cold, I liked digging in the dirt, I liked the weird toil and grunt of tackling the earth.


toy deconstruction

toy deconstruction

Originally uploaded by circus and light.

thought some folks out there might like to know our children. yes we still have the ‘david bowie’ dog. Freda has one blue eye and one brown and is the sweetest, most eager and most submissive dog, who has more energy than a tiger. She is big sister to Pearl, a very rambunctious and stocky dog who takes no punches. They’re both border collies, which means lots of energy and lots of very cute ‘please play with me’ looks all day.


I had a dream about 5 months ago in which people were putting trash covered with ants into their cars to make them run. It was seriously exactly like that scene at the end of Back to the Future. “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!” The very next day Whitney was telling me about a friend of hers who uses vegetable oil to run cars. I had never heard about this before, but I’m getting more and more interested.

Just found this site:… they offer biodiesel classes in Atlanta and will convert your car to accept vegetable oil. Now if only I lived in Atlanta!

In the same dream, I was looking at all these power sources, and watched as a pair of hands reeled up power lines into a tight coil and then handed them to me. On the reel it said, “the history of power”. As I read this history, I realized that the ‘alternative resource’ community was about to come into maturity.

The oil companies in America are getting grippy. The three biggest reported at least 68% percent increases in their third quarter, making them among the highest quarterly profits ever made by any company. Obviously a large part of this was their profiting off of the hurricane scares and perceived potential oil shortages. We can expect more of this to come, and I am not one of those who thinks the oil companies are a part of a grand conspiracy, but I do think that as these discrepancies make it into the public consciousness there will be greater demand for alternatives.


a solution to email woes

Gmail was finally again offering free email accounts. Maybe they were doing this for awhile and I didn’t notice, but there was a point when it seemed gmail people were in some inside clique and the rest of us couldn’t get in. But there was some window where I magically was able to sign up for a free account. Now I’ve gone back to discover that if you want to open a gmail account you have to be invited by someone else who has gmail. So we’re back to the clique, but now I’m IN. Heh. Well, I’ve gotten spammed to death in hotmail (and especially after you don’t check your email for 3 months, they charge you to re-open!), now I’m getting victoria-secreted to death in yahoo, so I am thinking of going for gmail now. All you have to deal with is small text ads at the top.

farmer girl

This is my first year trying to take care of a lawn. I have no idea what I’m doing, other than reading a lot of stuff on the internet. I’m trying to put down ryegrass seed, a type of grass that grows in winter, so things don’t look so dreary and colorless. Our backyard is a big dirt field anyway, it looked that way all summer, especially the hotter and hotter it got, the more baked and pale and dusty everything was. I’m not battling sun anymore, but it does feel kind of strange planting something in December, even though it’s not unheard of. I am going out every day looking at the seed on the ground and begging it, ‘please go into the ground, don’t just sit there!’ it looks sad and forlorn laying on top of our dusty texas dirt. I water it down saying, ‘please go germinate.’ I have to battle our cute whiny border collies who love to trample around in mud and want to herd the sprinkler, so I must let them, hoping they are not really mucking things up… or else I face the choice of leaving the sprinkler off and then having to fend off the the constant congregating of doves and grackles who have decided I am the neighborhood food source and are happily picking up my forlorn seed off the ground.

but something about doing this has kind of tapped into some deep farmer part of my soul. My grandfather was a farmer, had a big midwestern farm with just fields and forests and ponds around it, his father was a farmer who had a bee/honey farm, goats, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats and every assortment of life. I step out in my yard and I feel like the urban child disappears and something of the no-nonsense midwestern farmer’s daughter steps in. I have no idea what I’m doing but I really liked raking leaves this year. I wanted to rake all day, and preferably in the cold. I am from Michigan after all. I close my eyes and look out and feel my land growing and growing, I have acres and acres of land, some of it just to look at… and then I come back to myself and see I am still in the city but i have this little plot of land to try out my ancient self on.

my first complaint email ever


I am writing to register a complaint on the use of Victoria’s Secret fashion show ads today on my yahoo mail account. In general, I would prefer to not have any Victoria’s Secret ads at all, but the ads for this fashion show–whether they are paid for by Victoria’s Secret or by CBS–are pornographic and unacceptable.

I am asking that you please remove these ads immediately. I know that advertising is a part of the free email service, but it would be nice if mail users could pick what sorts of ads appear. I also know this ad appeared in all yahoo mails regardless of gender, as my husband received them, too. We disapprove of the use of pornographic marketing, even if it is the “soft” face of Victoria’s secret, and no matter who it is solicited by.

Since my email is also used as a family email, I do not think these are family-friendly ads. I enjoy yahoo’s service and am grateful that you provide spam-filtering, etc. It would also be nice to provide protection against advertising that is offensive.

Thank you,

Amy Chapman