Friday, December 18, 2009

19 December 2009

As promised, we will talk about prayer today. To take off on a popular saying, the family that prays together is the family that stays together. Prayer can unite us, but most important it lines us up with God and his will. I recommend prayers on several levels. Depending on whether or not you and your spouse are morning or evening people, I recommend that either after you have gone to bed, or before you get up in the morning, that you pray about your needs and your children. This would be especially about prayers you might not want to pray in front of the children.

At some point, you and your spouse should also pray alone. Remember that Jesus often went off by himself to pray. It is good for each of us to have a time and place to go read the Bible and pray. You may be fortunate as we are to have a room you can use as a chapel. Otherwise you may use the corner or wall of a room. You can put up a cross, icons, candles, incense, etc. Let it be known, that when someone is in the chapel or prayer area, they need to be left alone. Lit candles could be a sign to let others know, or the woman with her head covered, or the men fold wearing a tallit.

It is also important to pray with your children. Part of the reason for this is so your children can learn to pray. We all learn to pray by listening to others. Depending on when you do your prayer, you might want to do Matins (Moring Prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer around Sundown) or Compline (bed time prayers). In our family we do both Matins and Compline as a family, and we have intercessions at both. As head of the house (and Bishop) I remember the needs of the church and the nation, as well as friends, relatives and family. We encourage the children to remember their friends and teachers as well as anything going on in their lives. The Daily Office may be found here: but may not type up well, or may be purchased from A person could also use the Episcopal Prayer Book or the Orthodox as well as several others. For our family use we do not follow the lectionary that accompanies these books. It skips too much. Each morning we read in course a chapter from the Old Testament, and a pericope (a section) from the Gospel also in course. At night we read a section from the Epistles. The first Sunday of Advent each year we swap the Epistles and Gospels. This way the entire New Testament is read through several times a year, and the Old Testament once about every five years. After reading we allow some time for reflection, and maybe a brief explanation or discussion. If Mom and Dad are both ready for this, and haven’t done it before the kids will usually go right along, although teen agers may resist. Of course if they have done it since they can remember it is a different story.

Officially Dad is the spiritual leader, but at his discretion the kids and he and Mom can take turns leading the prayers. It gets the kids more involved. The boys and men in our house wear tallits for prayer. They represent the blood of Jesus which covers us. The women as per the New Testament wear veils. If you decide to do Compline instead of Vespers, always give silence before beginning the confession, and if necessary allow the kids to confess their sins out loud. Compline is also a good time to thank God for the blessings of this day.

As part of our personal devotions, Christian radio often has good stuff. For women, between 9:00 and 10:00 AM there are excellent studies for women at From 8:00 to 9:00 there is good stuff for men or women. My habit when I was working a full time job was to do Terce in the parking lot when I arrived at work, Sext at lunch time, and Nones in the parking lot again just before leaving for work. Most people of course will not just start with the seven fold office. It is something that one usually works up to, but it is something that helps us to grow in faith as we hear God’s word and pray for the church and the world. Remember, the goal is to pray without ceasing.

Now for three easy turkey recipes:

First make sure you thaw out the turkey sufficiently. We want to avoid food poisoning, especially salmonella. A twenty lb. turkey needs about five days in the refrigerator to thaw out. Twelve to fifteen lbs. about four days. If you come down to the wire and the turkey is still frozen put it in the sink and fill it with tap water, not hot. Allow it to thaw out and as quick as is practical get the neck and giblets out, which will allow it to defrost more quickly. Don’t leave it on the counter and don’t use hot water. Also, every time you touch raw turkey (or turkey bacon, ground turkey, turkey sausage or chicken) wash your hands before touching any other food product. We do not want to spread salmonella. Keep a cutting board just for raw meat, and wash it with peroxide after use, this will save much grief.

OK, easiest first.

Rotisserie Turkey

Do you have a gas grill? Take your turkey and put it in a zip lock bag filled with beer and chopped coriander (cilantro), hot peppers, and onion. Allow to soak overnight. Put your turkey on the spit, plug in the rotisserie and turn up the grill. Maintain the temperature at 325. Depending on the size of the turkey it should be ready in one to one and a half hours. Use the meat thermometer. 180º for turkey to be done. Let it sit about 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Cooking in this way has the advantage of not heating up the house (if you are cooking this in the summer, of course in Texas sometimes that is a problem in the winter) and freeing up your oven for other things.

BBQ Turkey

As in the first, marinade your turkey overnight as above. Take a can of beer, open it and stick the open end of the can into the turkey and stand it up. There is a little stand that can be purchased so as to keep the turkey standing up. Light charcoal about thirty minutes before starting the turkey. After putting the turkey in the smoke, add hickory and oak. (you can use pecan instead of hickory or mesquite) If you use just hickory, the turkey might come out bitter. Leave the vents almost closed so that the fire stays low, you are smoking the turkey, not roasting it. I baste periodically with the beer mix. Add wood as needed, not too much at once or it will catch fire instead of smoldering. I soak the wood in water overnight which helps keep the wood from burning too fast.

Under 10 lbs: 25 minutes per lb.

10-16 bs,: 20 minutes per lb.

Greater than 18 lbs: 18 minutes per lb.

If the turkey is not done, go ahead and put it in the oven at 325 and heat till the internal temperature is 180º. Let sit 15 to 20 minutes before carving and serve with BBQ sauce.

Traditional Roast Turkey

Remove all the entrails. Cut a couple of onions and apples into 8 pieces, and insert a clove in each piece. Cut the outer stalks of celery and some parsley. Put apple onion and herbs in both ends of the turkey. Don’t pack tight. You may sew up the neck if desired. Cover the turkey with really fat bacon. Place in oven or roaster and cook according to the table above. I usually put the turkey breast side down. After one and one half hours, begin basting the turkey every 30 minutes using the drippings from the bacon. .When done, allow to sit some 13-20 minutes before carving.

Gravy: Take some of the drippings from the turkey and put in a frying pan. Heat till hot and add several tablespoons of flour and cook till it bubbles. Add milk and cook till thick. Add a bit of salt, and poultry seasoning to taste. Chicken broth can be added as well. If it gets too thick add more milk. Too thin, cook a little longer, and maybe add some more flour.

Dressing: Melt ½ stick of butter. Take a cup of chicken broth and cook onions or celery in it. Allow to cool, put in blender, with melted butter and add a good handful of parsley, a handful of rosemary (strip the leaves off the branch first), four or five leaves of sage, and strip leaves off thyme. Add to blender and grind up fine. Take a nine inch round loaf of corn bread and crumble in, and add butter. If too dry, add drippings from the turkey. Microwave on high about five minutes and fluff. You can also bake it, but if baking add a beaten egg. Cook at 300, and keep an eye on it.

After you have stripped the turkey, you can boil the skeleton with celery, onion, a handful of rice and the turkey drippings for a really nice turkey soup. Boil until all the meat comes off the bones and simmer for an hour or so until it is reduced. Yummy.

As today is Saturday, there will be no message for tomorrow. As part of our Sabbath discipline, the computer is turned off before sunset on Saturday evening, and does not get turned back on again until after Sunset on Sunday.

As mentioned before, we are grateful for donations to allow us to continue in this ministry.

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