Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tour of the Burrow

Several months ago, I promised a tour of our home once I decorated it. I'm mostly done. I'm still searching for a bathmat that doesn't disintegrate after a week, but really all that's missing is a crib and our baby girl!

Welcome to our home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Counter to my very nature

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but
in humility count others more significant than ourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

This verse hurts, because it is difficult to implement. The Lord is showing me, though, that when I live his Word, the results are rich with joy.

Pushing the stroller

Maybe it's just me. But Keegan looked so cute pushing his stroller around the fountain in the Sculpture Garden.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Reunion Highlights

  • Conversations over meals.
  • Losing at Hearts.
  • Laughing with Oma so hard it hurt.
  • Riding the very shady Chinatown bus between NYC and DC, and the mysterious stops it made in route.
  • Savoring chocolate cherry cake in a dining room packed with dessert-lovers.
  • Assisting with potty-training, or, trying to convince Xander to focus on the task at hand rather than re-enacting an airplane.
  • Making Keegan smile.
  • Cooking for my family.
  • Swapping pregnancy stories with three generations of mothers.
  • Falling asleep at night talking to Ev.

Reunion Images

We visited the Air and Space Museum. It made the same impression on me as it did twenty years ago: barely interesting. But Xander loved it, which made the trip more than worthwhile.

We lunched at one of my old DC haunts: the Sculpture Garden.

We finished the day at the Museum of Natural History where we observed that all kinds of mommies carry their babies on their backs.

And, finally, the traditional group shots in front of Oma and Opa's home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I'm off to see my sisters, mom, nephews, and grandparents in northern Virginia! I can hardly wait! I'll return to the blogosphere on Monday. Farewell for now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mr. Miller turns 28

Thanks to all our families and friends for remembering Mr. Miller's birthday on September 13. We spent the day doing what he likes best: reading the newspapers (the Times and the Sun), sleeping, browsing the web, discussing politics and theology, and EATING.

The cards you sent were so meaningful. (Aunt Tracy made the incredible guitar card on the right). We opened and enjoyed them together, giving praise to the Father of Light for placing Mr. Miller in these families and friendships.

Newsies musings

[WARNING: the following post will only interest cult followers of the film Newsies.]

Remember Newsies? The movie with all the teenage boys, catchy songs, and athletic dancing? The movie that was a must for any girls' slumber party in the '90s? The movie that spurred so many late night debates at the same parties over who was cuter: David, Spot Conlin, or Jack Kelly? (Special shout out to those rebels who liked Kid Blink.)

Well, living in Brooklyn frequently puts to mind the Newsies soundtrack. Last night while humming "I'm the King of New York" as I walked back to the burrow after dining with a friend in Manhattan, I got to thinking about the Sarah character.

Sarah is David's sister who captures the attention of Jack Kelly. She also inspired a generation of teenage girls to wear their hair half-up in a bun. Unlike many of the actors in the film, Sarah (real name: Ele Keats) seemingly disappeared from Hollywood after that role. I googled around and discovered that the actress now designs jewelry. Huh. So there is life after winning the heart of Christian Bale. ::grin::

Lay of the land

For those of you who are visual. Kinesthetic learners just need to visit.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Locals behaving like tourists

Last Saturday, Mr. Miller and I took to the streets of Manhattan like tourists. My older sister had gifted us ferry tickets out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and we finally made time to go. The weather was perfect--partially sunny with a breeze that fell just short of the Fall crisp. Here's a photographic tour of our day.

Mr. Miller skeptical of the "live" liberties

On the ferry, crowded against a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual tourist group,
which set the mood for Ellis Island.

Lady Liberty
Striking from a distance and up-close.
And unfeminine, which is perhaps fitting since she is the personification of an idea.

Ellis Island

Like most Americans, we are decedents of immigrants so we found Ellis Island, now a museum, a fascinating account of the many immigrant waves that made our country.

A tree of words in the American English lexicon
drawn from the many people-groups that came to our country.

Standing where they stood . . .

seeing what they saw first upon arrival.

Brooklyn Bridge
The day ended with a twilight stroll over the East River, and
dinner, underneath the bridge, at Grimaldi's Pizzeria.

Brains and bodies

As reported by Justin Taylor, a number of modern thinkers in the Reformed movement are discussing Federal Vision over at Daryl Hart's blog.

This particular quote by Doug Wilson made me smile: "There is a marked tendency in the modern Reformed world to think that God gave us bodies so that we would have something to walk our brains to church in." I had a vision of a headless man walking to a white-washed country church holding a bit of twine with his head tethered to it like a helium balloon.

More seriously, the quote brings to mind Ephesians 4:1 where the apostle Paul urges the church to "live a life worthy of the calling you have received." As Christians, we are called both to know our calling and to live our calling, to both mentally assent to truth and to incarnate truth with our bodies. How satisfying that we can honor the Lord with all we are.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's a...

Mrs. Miller and I walked accross the street to the hospital today. Oh, so convenient!

Our happy purpose was to have our little baby looked at by the ultrasound specialist. After a bit of a wait, we had a very good visit. The baby is completely healthy and we found out its sex.

And we're thinking about telling all of you.

Still thinking.


Okay, we can't hold out on you all any longer. It's a girl!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Once more, Eisley lilts nicely

The elfish homeschoolers are back with new melodies, but the same ethereal appeal.

Here's the story with Eisley. As many of you know, Mr. Miller and I got to know each other largely through e-mail after meeting briefly at a conference. Just a couple e-mails were enough to convince me that Mr. Miller was the most honorable, godly, brilliant young man of my acquaintance. Yet I had no clue whether he was corresponding with me to merely exchange ideas with a fellow law student and Sovereign Gracer, or, whether there was interest.

Of course I thought the worst. Thus, I was dismayed when I noticed that his e-mail signature read, "Eisley is lovely." I thought, "Great. He has a girlfriend named Eisley and he's trying to give me a hint." Still, the e-mails kept coming so in a moment of brilliance (or jealous curiosity) I googled Eisley and discovered that Eisley is a band, not a girl. Ok, it's technically a girl-band. But I still felt immediate relief!

Days later, Liz, my beloved friend who keeps me abreast of the music world, invited me to see Eisley in concert. Her invitation was fortuitous. Not only did I get to spend time with her, but I got to do so while listening to music enjoyed by this amazing-man-who-did-not-have-a-girlfriend-named-Eisley. Joy!

Last month, Eisley released its second album. We are all happy: Liz, Mr. Miller, and me. I am the most happy. I am married to that Eisley fan, and he's changed his signature line to, "Bethany is lovely."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Routine rhythm...and melody

Now that Mr. Miller has resumed classes, we've fallen into a routine in the burrow. The alarm sounds at 7:30. My husband heads for the shower. Fumbling with my glasses, I walk into the kitchen and start preparing his lunch, counting off the items as they drop in the brown bag: 2 sandwiches, 1 ziplock bag containing a salty snack, 1 bag of baby carrots, 1 apple. Then, I brew the coffee. Mr. Miller finishes his shower and dresses. I scramble two eggs, which I lay in a whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle with cheese and salsa. Breakfast burrito in a bag, coffee in the travel mug. All the food goes in the backpack, which Mr. Miller slings across his back. Then, his count by the door: wedding band, i-pod, wallet, cellphone, keys. Check. A quick kiss, and he's down the stairs. Closing the door, I prepare fruit and toast. Sitting down, I open the Word...

It's the same, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Yet the repetition is not monotonous perhaps because there is an elegance to our ease in executing a fairly complicated process. Consider if a film director were to shoot the same; coordinating the set and actors would take hours of preparation to achieve a smooth take.

The repetition is not objectionable for another reason: it permits us to play varied melodies to its steady rhythm. A few minutes of cuddling before answering the demand of the alarm clock; laughing over some spectacular bedhead; slipping cookies into the lunch bag; a great thought from the day before, recalled and shouted from or toward the bathroom; a compliment or extra embrace before leaving each other for the day. All these unplanned moments sound clearer, sweeter, deeper when contraposed against the predictable pattern of our mornings.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Food tag

Heather tagged me in a recipe exchange. My charge is to post four favorite recipes. Because I have quite a few, I decided to post four "spicy" recipes because my husband tends to like those best.

Submarine Chili
Aware that Mr. Miller loves chili, Rachel and Deborah gave me a chili cookbook at my wedding shower. I've worked through about 1/2 of the recipes. This is Mr. Miller's favorite.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef
2 cups water
1 (8 oz.) can tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 cups corn
2 cups red kidney beans
1/2 lb Cheddar cheese (cubed)

In a frying pan, saute the garlic and onion in vegetable oil. Mix in the beef. Pour in water until it's simmering. Add the tomatoes and seasonings, including sugar. Simmer for 1 hour. Dump in the corn and kidney beans. Simmer for another hour. Add the Cheddar cubes and summer for 15 minutes more. If you feel extra bold, add 3 squirts Tabasco per bowl. Serves 3-4.

Crispy Broccoli with Capellini in Broth
I discovered this recipe in a pregnancy magazine. It's vegetarian, but my husband still enjoyed it as a main course.
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 large head broccoli, stems removed and florets trimmed into pieces 2 inches long with a stem about 1/2 inch check (4 to 5 cups)
1 quart chick stock (I used canned chicken broth)
1 to 2 tsp hot red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 lb capellini
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the broccoli and season with salt. Cover and cook until just crispy and brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken stock and pepper flakes.

Add the capellini to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with broccoli and stock. Stir in half the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining cheese sprinkled on top. Serves 2 grown men, or 4 women/children.

Grilled Green Chile Quesadillas
Most grocery stores do not stock smoked Cheddar. You're most likely to find it at a gourmet food store. Because it is an expensive cheese, I have often mixed it with regular Cheddar cheese to make more quesadillas without increasing the cost.
2-3 fresh chile peppers, such as pablanos (any variety may be used, according to your tolerance for heat)
6-8 large flour tortillas
1 3/4 lb brick of smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (approx. 3 cups).

Char whole chiles all over under broiler. Remove from heat and split. Scrape away seeds with a spoon and discard; dice chiles.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Char a tortilla and blister it on one side, 20 seconds, then flip tortilla. Cover
half of the tortilla with cheese and chiles, then fold over. Press down gently with spatula. Cook quesadilla 15 seconds more on each side (til cheese melts) than transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 3 wedges. Serve wedges with salsa verde and sour cream. Serves 2-3.

I like to serve these quesadillas with Mexican Flag Salad, which consists of:
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into wedges
1/4 sweet onion, sliced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, halved
Course salt

Arrange avocado slices in center of plate. Then surround with tomato wedges. Sprinkle with onion slices and cilantro. Squeeze lime halves over the plate, drizzle with evoo, and season with salt.

Chai Tea
Heather Ventrella introduced me to this recipe over a long, enriching conversation in her home one crisp January afternoon. This recipe puts Starbucks' chai tea latte to shame.
3 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
14 cardamon pods (I've used ground cardamon at times, too)
14 whole cloves
1 1/3 c. milk
6-8 tbsp honey
4 black tea bags or 2 tbsp black tea

Place water in saucepan; add cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to boil. Cover Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Add milk, honey, and tea. Bring to simmer and immediately remove from heat. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes, strain, serve. If you're only making tea for 1 or 2 people, you can save the rest in a thermal pitcher. Serves 4.

Now I tag Aunt Tracy, Andrea, Kaley, and Janet to provide four recipes each.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One more book

Mr. Miller also browsed, Why Time Begins on Opening Day, at the Strand. He decided against purchasing it because, unlike with Murray and Horton, there's no controversy here.

Evangelicalism Divided and other books

Mr. Miller here. Wanted to give you all a quick update on what the Missus and I have been reading.

Evangelicals Divided, Iain Murray
I picked this up at The Church Formerly Known as Abundant Life just over a month ago. Even though it's been out for quite a few years, just today Justin Taylor linked to a hip-cool annotation of all the major reviews of it. I'm gonna chalk that one up as some Holy Spirit providence. The story Murray tells has many black hats (J.I. Packer, John Stott, Billy Graham all come out pretty poorly) and a nearly lone hero (Martyn Lloyd-Jones!!!).

Beyond Culture Wars, Michael Horton
Just this weekend, Mrs. Miller and I made our maiden voyage to The Strand. While it doesn't measure up to Powell's, there were a lot of books. We purchased this book so we could better respond to the bathing-practices-conscious Toby who studied under Horton. Look for more updates on this score!

--Signing off--

Saturday, September 1, 2007

When Windex fails

The windows in our apartment face the industrial section of the riverside. As a result, the exterior glass is really, really dirty. I've tried Windex over and over, but the glass just looks smeared though slightly cleaner.

Any advice on how to conquer hard-to-clean windows?

Granny carts

Brooklynites own these aluminum contraptions as a matter of necessity. Sans cars, they are the only means short of paying a taxi exorbitant fees for transporting groceries and large items from store to home. For example:

These are photos of me with my cart (aka "Blue Lightning) arriving home from a long voyage to Target. While suburban-eyes may see "granny," city-eyes see "functional." In other words, no one smirks when I rattle by them on the sidewall.

What a girl will do for a PCCM

"The pumpkin cream cheese muffin is back at starbucks!!", read Andrea's text message. I screamed.

It was morning in the Henry Street Burrow. Begging Mr. Miller to delay his bath, we rushed--sand still in our eyes--to the Starbucks two blocks away. The staff failed to celebrate the arrival of the pumpkin cream cheese muffin (PCCM) on their chalkboard outside, but there, under the glass, lay a row of PCCMs: golden orange with spices, a dollop of cream cheese, and sprinkled with candied sunflower seeds. We bought two and walked to the park to have at them.