Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Foolish Shames the Wise

I've realized lately, that the people with all the right answers aren't always the people with the right heart or the right actions. Sometimes it is the people who are rough around the edges and a little questionable who actually treat people with respect and give them grace. Maybe it is because they know what it is like to be looked down upon, they know what it is like to be in the darkness and can sympathize.





Notes:
*I know this isn't true universally, there are plenty of polished Christians who also genuinely care about people and treat them with respect. Lately, I have just been faced with a lot of the truth behind not judging a book by its cover and this is influencing my thoughts.
*Also, I know that this is short and kind of shadowy, but it is a school night, so I am not going to expound :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perfect in Weakness

Do you ever think about how weak you are? How weak we are? We don't have much control, do we? Some things we have power over-- we can create bombs and visit other planets, that sounds pretty powerful. But how much power do we really have? I don't know many puberty struck teenagers who would say they feel in control. Face it, we are weak. We are merely humans and the things we can't control outweigh the things we hold power over. These thoughts might make you to curl up in a ball and beg for mercy from this all-powerful universe that controls everything and gives you no say in life. Well, I'm not sure that is the best response, but fear is inevitable. Being out of control is scary. Being weak is  terrifying.

I've noticed lately that a lot of people in our culture I've acknowledge this utter weakness and  lack of control. They want to be able to do something, but know they are inadequate. No matter how hard we try, we can't fix the world's problems. People are still dying, wars are still fought, and disasters still happen. It is obvious that humans are not strong enough. But where does that leave us? Doomed? Well, left to our own minuscule strength--yes. Humans cannot fix the world.

Fortunately, humans aren't the whole story. It is like a superhero movie when the townspeople are being attacked by the villain and have no hope of defeating the evil. Then in flies Superman to save the day! But what we have is better than Superman. We have the one who created humans and rules over everything with perfect strength and wisdom. He is all-powerful, able to defeat whatever He wants. He is also all-loving. Loving of you and me. What does all-powerful and all-loving equal? Sovereign. God knows are weakness, even better than we do; He also wants what is best for us. So even in our weakness, we can trust that God will work all things together for the good of those who love Him. When we love God, we are able to claim our weakness, trusting in the power of our Creator who works on our behalf. Bad things will still happen, but God will always be victorious. I am reminded of a line from my worldviews class, "The story of the world is a story of sin doing its best and failing." That one sentence speaks to all weakness and all power.

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Note: I realize a post on power and weakness is a big topic to tackle, too big for my ability. However, I went ahead and wrote one anyway. I've realized what a dilemma those who do not trust in God are in and that our world is crying out for answers. It gives me joy and peace to be able to find my answers in Jesus. So even though my thoughts are incomplete, I hope they lead you to scripture, which is complete. I hope you can be encouraged to know there is one stronger than you who is working on your behalf, and He will always be victorious.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Typewriters

 My typewriter. I've clacked many thoughts out on that typewriter! Every turning point in my life has been prominently cataloged with that typewriter. Recently, I organized all these papers covered in ideas, feelings, and typos. As I read them chronologically, I began to pick out the little phrases of each that encompassed all the ideas of the page and emotions leading to its creation. Each page is so different from its companions. Some are happy, some are sad. Some are hopeful, some are cynical. Collectively, they are the story of my life. But they also give proof to a much greater story. They are all illustrations of love. God's love. These pages, typed in times of deep distress and moments of overwhelming excitement, are changing. But they give evidence of an unchanging, everlasting love. In my brightest moments, God was there. In my darkest moments, God was there. God was-- is-- always there loving me. That doesn't change. Even when we are unpredictable and are changing everyday, God will always be in loving control. I get chills when I think about His continual presence! In the midst of this confusing, unpredictable world, it is comforting to know that we can always count on the love of God.


"Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you."-- Psalm 63:3



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Catching-Up

1. I went to Wreck-It Ralph last night and laughed my head off. I also "Awwed" a lot. The movie started with the cutest short film "Paper Man". Up started something with the 3 minute love stories without words. I  was able to watch a really cute, funny movie about video games which ended with this song:

A perfect song to dance/walk out of the theater to. I have a feeling it will be playing a lot in my house for the next few days.

2. Poetry is hard. I really like reading it, but it is so difficult to write! I am the kind of girl that rambles three pages off in my journal on a regular basis without saying much. Saying a lot in a 14 line sonnet is not good for me (actually it is probably really good for me, I just don't like it :P). It goes without saying that I will NEVER post one of my poems on here.

3. I am a crier. This is a new discovery I am making. I never used to cry much, only on very rare occasions when I thought my world was going to end. Now it seems like every emotion (or song) can bring me to tears:
So I just found this song this morning, it is really sweet...I like it a lot....

4. I have TWO new recipes! 


Oat Pancakes
Servings: About 4 pancakes

Ingredients 
1/2 cup oat flour (Just put a little more than 1/2 cup of oatmeal in your blender or food processor until it is flour consistency)
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
1 Tbs wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
1/2 cup milk
1/2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce

Directions
Step 1- Whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Step 2- Add egg white, milk, and applesauce. Mix with a wooden spoon  until thoroughly combined.
Step 3- Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto a slightly greased skillet at medium heat.
Step 4- Wait until pancakes are bubbly on the outside then flip and allow to cook through.
Step 5-Top with your favorite fruit or syrup and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (for the whole batch):
Calories: 287
Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
Sodium: 1166 mg (for this you might want to leave out the salt, this would make the sodium 596 mg)
Carbs: 47 g
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 17 g
Sugar: 7 g

The second recipe is entitled Breakfast Pockets and will be posted shortly.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Waiting for What?

"I am tired of waiting." Every girl has said it at one time or another. Young or old our hearts long for love. I remember being 14 and being tired of my singleness. I don't think 14 year-olds count as single, they are just too young for a boyfriend. But blame it on how we are designed or Disney, we crave companionship from a very young age.

I've liked several boys in my life. I've thought and thought and thought trying to decide whether I wanted to give my heart to these boys. I thought so much I may as well have committed my affections I was so invested mentally and emotionally through my contemplation.

The same phrase came up over and over again,"I am tired of waiting." Waiting for someone decent to come around. Waiting for that certain someone to like you back. Waiting to walk down the aisle and mutually confess unconditional love. Our hearts yearn for this, but our hearts have not been quenched.


Romance is addicting and alluring. Little girls are infatuated with it and it makes big girls cynical. It is not a nonsensical obsession, we are made to be attracted to the opposite sex and seek pure communion with others. But has our focus on romance destroyed our friendships?

What are we really waiting for? We think we like this boy so we need him to like us back and ask us out so we can be in a relationship. So we can get what we are waiting for. But, in a way, don't we already have them? We know them, we get to spend time with them. Why is this not enough? Why can't we allow relationships to grow without a definite destination? 

Relationships do not get their value by destination, but the beauty is in the journey. Even marriage, the closest human relationship anyone can experience, is by no means a destination. It is just a different stage in a journey of constant self-sacrifice and humbling oneself in order to serve and know another person.

I am not waiting to reach a destination. I am not waiting for prince charming to ride up on his horse, open his eyes to see that I am his Cinderella, and take me away to his castle. I am complete in Christ and I am blessed with many great friends, boys and girls, who I love journeying with. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday Pancakes

Today is Saturday. That means sleeping in until 10:30, staying in your pjs, and eating pancakes. Well at least for me it does...

Today I woke up craving blueberry pancakes. Yes, not just regular pancakes, blueberry pancakes. So I turned to the only clean-eating blog I thought I needed, because it has EVERYTHING. But I was sad to discover it did not have everything; it lacked a recipe for blueberry pancakes. So, thanks to Google, I now have another fall back blog that will hopefully fill in the blanks and give me healthy recipes for EVERYTHING. Including a blueberry pancake recipe I plan to make very frequently.

Clean Eating Chelsey is a vegetarian and also makes her recipes gluten-free. But the recipe I am about to post has been altered to comply to my lack of healthy ingredients (find the original recipe here).  My high hopes were fulfilled despite the recipe change. I topped one with banana slices and poured a tiny bit of maple syrup over another one. Both were good, but I ate the last one plain and that was tasty too, so feel free to experiment or eat plain!

Blueberry Pancakes
adapted from Clean Eating Chelsey
(One delicious serving)

Ingredients 
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs ground flax seed
3 Tbs warm water
1 and 1/2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbs milk
1/3 cup blueberries

Directions
Step 1- Prepare a "flax egg" by mixing 1 Tbs ground flax seed with 3 Tbs warm water band letting it sit for 5 min while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2- Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Step 3- Add wet ingredients, including the prepared flax mixture
Step 4- Mix wet ingredients until combined, then fold in blueberries
Step 5- Pour equal portions of pancake batter on a greased griddle at medium heat
Step 6- Wait until pancakes are bubbly on the outside then flip and allow to cook through.
Step 7- Top with your favorite fruit of syrup and enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sistas

Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Sense and Sensibility, White Christmas. What do all these things have in common? Sisters!

Recently, I was confronted with how important sisters are. I've grown up with four and they are the people that have impacted me the most. I look up to to my older sisters, and even my younger sister, and they are all my best friends by far. But as I get older I begin to wonder why we are so close and what makes me admire them like I do. I brainstormed eight things that my sisters have done or been in my life that have influenced my view of them and life in general.

1) Overlooked age. My oldest sister is eight years older than me, but she has always treated me just like one of her peers. About five years ago, Sarah and I shared a room. She was 19, I was 11. I remember trying to fall asleep as she talked to her fiance on the phone. Sometimes, she would recreate their funny conversations and tell me all about my future brother-in-law. I never felt 11. She let me be her peer and respected me; I will never forget that. I was at a point in my life when confidence was low and it felt like it was me against the world. But the fact that a 19 year-old cared enough to enjoy conversations with me made me feel valuable.

2) Took care of me. I am the second youngest in my family and I admit I am spoiled. I don't think I paid for my own food or entertainment until I was at least 13. My sisters always covered it. My two oldest sisters would take us to movies or out for ice cream all the time and always paid. Looking back I can imagine mom and dad probably gave them some money, but I am sure a lot came out of their own pockets. Few teenage girls are willing to give up their hard earned babysitting money to buy their younger sister a smoothie, but I am glad mine thought I was worth the sacrifice. It made me feel cared for.

3) Were patient. As I have previously stated, my sisters spent a lot of time with me. I realize now how hard that must have been. I was not a very pleasant child, in fact, I was downright annoying. My younger sister and I used to invade every time my older sisters had friends over, but we were rarely scolded. Our sisters usually just let us join in on the party. Even in my worst stages of life, my sisters have overlooked my blaring flaws and loved me.

4) Listened. My sister Mallory and I have spent many nights talking on and on about our lives. Generally, I wouldn't vocalize my emotions, but when I did it was to Mallory. She listened intently and gave the best advice. All my sisters did a good job listening, even to the small things. They know me better than anyone because they listened.

5) Talked. I said my sisters were good listeners, but they also talk. When you imagine a house of five girls you usually picture it loud and emotional, and this is pretty true. Someone is always talking, usually more than one someone is talking. My sisters would spend hours talking to each other and my mom about every topic imaginable. God, boys, work, church, music, friends, futures, food, anything you can think of. I used to love to just sit and listen to them talk. I can't even count all the things I've learned from these conversations, when I just listened, gleaning wisdom.

6) Spent time with me. I have already spoken a lot about the amount of time my sisters have spent with me, but this factor affected me the most. Our family has been homeschooling for around 11 years. Most days we spent together around the kitchen table just doing our school. We had friends, but we were not around them all day at school, we were with our sisters. I think this is why my sisters were able to impact my life the way they did. They could have done all the other things on this list, but if they only spent an hour with me a day, it would not have made the same impression. This isn't to say that only homeschoolers can be good sisters, that is not true at all! But I think time is the most important aspect of sisterhood. Haven't you ever wondered why sisters can be so much closer than friends? It is because you know each other from the day you are born, usually to the day you die and you see each other consistently. Every strong relationship needs the investment of time.

7) Through example. I would say all my sisters are very praiseworthy women. They have shown me all the qualities of a godly woman and through trying to imitate them, I have begun to imitate Christ. They have shown me what it looks like to be a woman striving after Christ. They have spent time with me letting me see their beauty, and also their flaws that leave them ever dependent on God. I am so thankful that I had worthy role models growing up that I can still look to now.

8) By moving on. This next one is hard. I couldn't always be 11 sitting on my sisters bed talking about her husband-to-be, soon she would have to marry him and move across the ocean. I couldn't spend my whole life in those moments talking about Mallory's passion, at some point it would be time for her to live it. People grow up and move on. If there could be one set back to being so close to your sisters, it would be that it becomes too hard when they grow up and move out. I am the oldest sister in my home now. It is weird. But I am learning just as much from their absence as I did from their presence. I can see that through imitating their qualities, they have become part of my character as well. They have shown me what it means to be a godly woman, so now when I let go of them I can cling to Him. Without them near me all the time, I can see that their love for me, in all its expressions, was just a reflection of God's love.

Growing up I had amazing sisters to look up to, but I know that not everyone did. I also acknowledge that not everyone is as close to their siblings as I am. But I implore you to try. There is no way to measure the value of a close sister or brother. Ultimately we should be pointed toward God, but we need companions. Friends can fill this space to some extent, but a sister or brother will always be there. It is a relationship worth investing in. It is hard work sometimes (ok A LOT of times...) but it is so, so worth it.

"That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is Christ, in whom are hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2:2-3

Friday, August 31, 2012

Monster Cookies

Yesterday I was called on to make cookies for Family Camp this weekend. My younger sister begged me to make normal cookies. Since it was a special occasion, I did. I had been craving monster cookies for a while anyway, so I decided to indulge.
Can you tell I'm not the clean-as-you-go baker?

The recipe I made produces 2 or 3 dozen GIANT cookies. I had to mix the dough by hand because our Kitchen Aid was full with just the sugar, butter, egg mixture. With so much dough I thought it unlikely a few snitches would be noticed, so I probably ate half a cookie before they were even baked. Then I went on to eat quite a few broken pieces. I learned monster cookies break quite  easily if you try to put them on the cooling rack too fresh from the oven. Eventually, I decided to make a bowl for broken bits to spare my tummy.
Monster Cookies
(2-3 dozen)
Ingredients
4 eggs
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peanut butter
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
7 cups rolled oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup M&M candies

Directions
Step 1- Beat together eggs, butter, sugars, vanilla, and peanut butter.
Step 2- In a separate bowl mix together baking soda, salt, and oats. Add to the peanut butter mixture.
Step 3- Mix in chocolate chips and M&Ms.
Step 4- Drop golf ball (or larger) sized balls of dough on an un-greased cookie sheet and press down with the palm of your hand or glass (it helps to get your hand/glass a little wet so the dough does not stick).
Step 5- Press M&Ms on top of unbaked cookies, place in the oven and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. 
Step 6- Allow baked cookies to rest on the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing enjoy!
Delicious!