Friday, January 29, 2016

Simplicity of Childlike Snow

Everyone has been posting these beautiful pictures of snow all over the country 
and it's made me a bit jealous!
I grew up snow skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California and this year especially, I've been a little sad that I'm not giving my children that same experience.
My son is about to turn 7 and he's never seen "real" snow before!
Something had to be done about that!
So with a random day off school this week, we took the kids to the snow!
Because this is supposed to be an El Nino year for us Californians, there actually is a bit of snow on our mountains, even in Southern California.
So we drove through absolute desert, like sand, cactus legit desert, and the mountains that rose behind the desert were covered in snow!  As we headed up the incline, anxious to step out into the frothy fluff, my husband and I looked at each other with a bit of a grimace, thinking, "um, is this it?"
The kids were about to jump out of their seats, "CAN WE GET OUT NOW??"
But no, we kept driving, looking for the "prefect" spot to stop and play.
We assured them that we were not going home until we got to play in the snow, but we were just looking for a good spot to sled.
After pulling over to survey several spots, only to return to the car and move onto somewhere else, we finally found a decent area to play and allowed the kids to get out of the car.
The same grimace came over our faces as we stepped out, almost slipping flat on our backs on the hard, icy, snow.  As the kids ran ahead of us, my husband and I began picking apart this experience, "this snow is terrible, it's so hard and icy, we're all going to break our necks!  it's freezing out here, I have a headache already, this is miserable!" 
 Just then a kiddo ran back to us, "Come on!  This is amazing!  Hurry and grab the sleds!"
They were beaming from ear to ear.
They couldn't be more ecstatic with this "snow."
I looked at my husband and said, "Let's not say anything.  They're totally happy.  They've never been to the snow before, they have no idea that this sucks!  Let's not ruin it for them."
So we kept quiet, walked extremely gingerly so as not to fall and break anything, 
and let them have the time of their life!


On the ice, amongst the dirt, rocks and branches, they slipped and sledded down some hills and couldn't stop laughing and smiling.  It was a solid 35 degrees and I was grateful for all the snow clothes our neighbors lent us, even the pink boots for my little dude!  
(that's how much he loved the snow - he didn't even care that he was wearing pink girl boots!)
Such a great life lesson was once again learned!
Kids don't have a huge file of previous life experiences.  They aren't constantly comparing.  
They are totally present in the moment, loving every bit of it!
Every moment is a gift, even if it looks different than previous moments!
There is a new gift in every experience.
Look for it!
Find it!
Then ride it like you've never done it before!
Happy Friday

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

My little girl is a ferocious reader!
She devour books in no time and quickly is onto the next.
She recently finished, "Absolutely Truly," by Heather Vogel Frederick.
At the end of the book, which takes place in Pumpkin Falls, 
there is a recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
and she has been begging me to make them since she turned the last page!

and they were delicious!

Aunt True's Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. molasses
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt (only if using unsalted butter)

4 oz. cream cheese softened
6 T. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

For cookies:
cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, and molasses; beat until smooth.  In a separate bowl. whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Add to pumpkin mixture and stir well.  Using a teaspoon-size cookie scoop, drop onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookie springs back to the touch.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Generously frost the flat side of one cookie and top with another flat side of a cookie to make a sandwich!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

You Are Loved

In this day
whatever you face
whomever you meet
know that 
You Are Loved

Let it sink down deep.
You are the beloved of God.
Be loved
Receive it today.

Friday, January 15, 2016

We Are Not Troubled Guests

Wednesday night I went to a performance of sorts.
An honest, vulnerable, hilarious, storytelling by Scott Erickson.
I met Scott many years ago when I lived in Seattle and Scott is someone who always puts a smile on your face!  Whether he's showing up at your door with a "welcome basket" filled with random items like a can of soup and stuffed animal, 
or going out karaoke in a powder blue, polyester tux fully equipped with ruffles!
Oh, and did I mention he's a painter?
Oh yea, and that he loves Jesus!
And that he's married to a beautiful woman that I'm currently obsessed with 
(that's for another post! but check out The Modern Proper in the mean time!!!).

Anyhooch, Scott is currently doing a one man show called,


It's a mulitmedia presentation of his difficult conversation with God that came out of a dark time in his life, and lest you think it's moody and depressing, think again - there is a moment when he busts out with a little karaoke of Queen! 
 I'll leave it at that!

I had no idea what to expect, although I know Scott is highly talented and a person that I've always loved time with, I figured the show might me a bit too artsy for me and go over my head because I'm not really that "deep."  But oh no!  I was on the edge of my seat the whole show, laughing, borderline crying, but smiling for sure as he time and again revealed simple yet profound truths that stirred up all sorts of questions in me.

One thing he said that stuck with me was that people spend a lot of time in their lives trying to fit in and avoiding situations where we feel like we won't.  We want to belong.  This might cause us to be something other than who God has created us to be, 
someone who will fit in with society's norms and meet the world's demands.  
But if we are not true to ourselves, we are not living into who God has created us to be and fully reflecting His light to all around us, the light He put in us.
However, we are not troubled guests in this world.  
We belong. 
 Just as we are. 
 Just as God created us.
Go be who God made you to be today.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.

And if ever you hear of We Are Not Troubled Guests playing somewhere within a 5 hour drive of you, do yourself a favor, get in the car and drive!
Happy Friday.

Go to Scott's site for all sorts of rad art and videos of what he does!
Some of Scott's Rad Art!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What Would You Do If You Won?

The question has been swirling around the water cooler this week:
"What would you do if you won $1.5 Billion?"

We pulled into a gas station on Sunday and I couldn't resist, I just had to be part of the hype!
So I ran in and purchased 3 tickets.
You've gotta play to win!!
I had coffee with some friends yesterday and we discussed the possibilities of $1.5 billion!
My girlfriend said it feels like a mental vacation just to ponder the possibilities!
Isn't that true?

"Immediate purchase, impulse, you just won, what are you immediately going to buy?"

Whereas we all agreed that we'd settle down and wait awhile before doing anything major,
 we still all had that one thing we'd purchase right away.
Mine was a Hawaiian vacation that we've been dreaming about for a few years, but just can't pull it off.  I wouldn't think twice, I'd pick up the phone and book the trip without hesitation or regret.
"I'd buy my mom a house."
"I'd buy a new wardrobe."
My husband said he'd go buy the new Corvette!

I just can't imagine getting to completely buy whatever I want!
In some ways it would bring great peace to be financially set for life.

My girlfriend said not having to worry about money or anything again, to be secure, 
would be the best part of winning. 
It was ironic because just that morning I had read,
"The most common myth about money is that having more will make me more secure.  It won't.  Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors.  Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you - your relationship with God."
-Rick Warren from The Purpose Driven Life

No words could be more true as we did lose our wealth instantly through an uncontrollable factor - 
I lost 2 of the lottery tickets!
Somehow one is still in my purse and the others are not!
So tonight as those balls swirl around and land at random (or fate) at the winning numbers,
and you just so happen to be holding a ticket you "found,"
and all of your numbers line up...
after you wake up from passing out, please go book yourself a trip to Hawaii in honor of the one who purchased that ticket for you!  While you're there, I hope you meet Jesus who will give you life long security, come what may!

(and honey, I'm sorry.  I'll buy you a Corvette one day!)

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Recipe For A God's Girl

What are the ingredients that make up a Girl who belongs to God?
I spent the past 4 months discussing this question with my group of 4th grade girls - The God's Girls.
We gather a few times a month to challenge and equip these little girls to be who God has created them to be and to live differently as they step out bearing the title "God's Girl."
This past session was all about recipes - 
we discussed how recipes are guides that give directions to obtain a desired result,
we talked about the ingredients we must acquire to make us into girls more like Jesus,
and we made a few recipes in the kitchen for fun!

We started this series by decorating our own recipe boxes that would hold our prayer requests, notes, memory verses, and actual recipes that we would make during our time together.
The girls were over the moon!
I loved seeing their creativity and the sweet things they wanted written on their boxes.
This gathering of little girls has been a huge challenge and blessing in my life.
I know how much I greatly benefited from discipleship groups 
when I was in jr. high and high school.
But why wait until the girls are teenagers?
Why not start them early growing in their faith, relationships and accountability with other girls?
Female relationships are a treasure that the enemy is threatened by because he knows there is power when women, both young and old, come together in Jesus' name!
An area that God is calling me to be Brave in 2016 is with this ministry.
I'm scared.
I'm not sure how exactly to move forward with what God has put on my heart.
But I'm going to be Brave!
I hope to have more posts about God's Girls throughout this year!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Be Brave and Jump!

Happy Friday!
Each day has been a new opportunity for me to be Brave in some small way or another.
Being Brave is so much more than heroic courage that runs into a burning building to save someone!
Being Brave means setting aside the limits of self and taking the next step - maybe a jump.
We stand at the edge of a cliff, a decision, a moral crisis, a small choice.
We have to make the move to stay put, safe, and just look at what lies beneath, 
or to be Brave and jump!
Sometimes the hardest step is the first one, but after we are Brave and jump, we find that there are great rewards waiting on the other side.

This morning I'm faced with a small decision - 
to jump into a new experience where I won't know anyone and will feel uncomfortable - yet reap great rewards when it's finished,
stay home and be safe.
As much as I'd rather stay home,
I'm going to be Brave and jump!

What areas of life do you need to be Brave and just jump into?
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Noodles & Beef

When I was a child, I remember my grandparents from Illinois coming to visit us each year
and that meant 4 things -
cinnamon rolls, Reeses Pieces, giving up my bedroom, and Noodles & Beef!
My Grandmother would make her famous cinnamon rolls in Illinois and bring them out to us, individually wrapped in a foil package, waiting to be reheated and devoured!
But the Noodles & Beef, she'd make in our kitchen for dinner.

We celebrated my Father's birthday over the holidays with a special birthday dinner.  I wanted to make something special for him and having just received all of my Grandmother's old recipes when my Aunt came to visit in the Fall, I knew Noodles & Beef would be special for the occasion!

The recipe card was worn and stained, marking it as a recipe made often!
The recipe itself was vague, and left much to the imagination of a novice noodle maker!
But I was so excited to give it try and impress my Daddy,
so I approached the challenge with confidence and prayer!

I was shocked!
It was rather easy and the end result was divine.
A bowl of memories, comfort and a confidence booster!
Do you have a favorite recipe from your Grandma?

Grandma Jones' Noodles & Beef:
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 T water
3/4 tsp. salt

Beef Roast
1 carton Beef Stock
1/2 large Onion
4-5 Garlic Cloves
Chopped Parsley for garnish

For the Beef:
Start by generously seasoning your beef roast with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.  In a pot on medium / high heat, add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil and sear the roast for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Place the seared roast in a slowcooker.  Slice onion and place on the roast, crush the garlic cloves and place in the slowcooker, and add about 2 inches of beef stock.  Cook on low all day.

For the Noodles:
Whisk first 4 ingredients together.  Then "add flour."  How much you ask?  I have no idea!  I started with about 1 1/2 cups and then added small amounts until the consistency felt right!
Then divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces and roll out on a floured surface.  Roll out about 1/8 of an inch thick, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking.  Allow the dough to dry out for about 20 minutes.  Then cut into strips in desired width, I used a pizza cutter and did about 1/2 inch strips.  Let the noodles dry out for another half hour or so.

When the roast is "falling apart" tender and the noodles are ready to cook, remove onion and garlic from the slowcooker (it's ok of there are a few remaining pieces), take all the liquid out of the slowcooker and place in a pot on the stove.  Add remaining beef stock to pot and bring to a light boil. 
Add the cut noodles.  Keep them at a soft boil for about 10-15 minutes or desired doneness.  The dusted flour on the noodles will help thicken the stock.  While the noodles are cooking, shred the beef and set aside.  When the noodles are finished cooking, add all the beef, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.  Serve immediately with fresh, chopped parsley for garnish.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Happy New Year!
As is my tradition, I spent the morning of January 1, 2016 on the beach alone.

I've done this for as many years as I can remember - my time to reflect on the year that just ended and look ahead to the one just beginning.
With my journal, Bible and thermos of hot tea, I sat and stared at the placid ocean before me.
I got out and began to walk on the shore and happily enjoyed what Winter does to the beach -
the sand changes, little cliffs form, and bigger rocks and shells scallop the water's edge.
I looked down to see some larger than normal pieces of sea glass.
Pure treasure.
There was the normal green and brown glass, but I also spotted some unusual clear glass that had become frosted with the days of being worn down by the sand and sea.

"What must have broken to cause such large pieces of sea glass?"
I wondered.
The brown and green glass - beer bottles we all assume!
But the large pieces of clear glass?

What has to break to make such beautiful things?

That very question stuck with me as I walked.
Of course God makes beauty out of ashes, He redeems and makes all things new.
He takes our broken pieces and makes something beautiful out of them.

But what if breaking is intentional from the start, in order to create something beautiful?
Not just redeeming the brokenness, but purposing the breaking?
I sought the clear glass as I continued to walk, thrilled at each discovery!
When I got back to my car, I pulled out my journal and began reflecting on 2015.  But I also pondered 2016 in light of that question, "What has to break to make something beautiful in my life?"

I've had some ideas, dare I say "dreams," about some things but I'm a little insecure about them.
I don't know how to accomplish these dreams.
I'm afraid. 

What needs to break to make something beautiful in my life?
The strongholds of fear and insecurity that paralyze me - that's what needs to break!

As I journaled and reflected, my "one word" for 2016 came to me.
My one word for the year was hanging around my neck:

I saw this necklace, created by two beautiful women, that simply says "Brave"
When I read the inspired verse on Rebekah Gough's website, I knew I had to have it

"But you, GOD, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to GOD, His answers thunder from the holy mountain."
Psalm 3:3-4

 the Shield Collection was done in collaboration with Goldpress Paper and lettered by the amazing Alisha Sanvicens (who was a student in my college ministry).

I asked for it for Christmas and when I opened it,
I just knew it was more than a piece of jewelry for me.
This is my badge to wear this year.
I will not be bound by fear or insecurities.
By the power of God within me, I will break these strongholds and be Brave and watch beautiful things come from my life this year.


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