At the end of December, I took some time off from my weekly baking projects. Because of the holidays, most of my classes in December were canceled, so I had no kiddos to bake for. I also came down with a head cold that inspired me to buy goodies for family gatherings instead of poison my loved ones with my cold germs. Christmas rolled around and I was overwhelmed with many baking themed gifts from my in-laws. I got recipe books, special baking sheets, spatulas, oven mitts… With so many gifts focused on my passion for baking, I felt that I would start 2012 off in a yummy way. The sad thing is… I didn’t… My first baking project in 2012 was a total flop. I had a box of gingerbread mix left from the holidays and I set forth to make my class of girls some ginger snaps. I was still on cold medicine at the time, so I’m going to blame for the drugs for my mistake. I added too much water to the mix. As I poured the water into my kitchen aid, it didn’t look right. I picked up the box to see that I had added 1.25 cups of water instead of the needed .25. What do I with an extra cup of water in there? At first, I started to scoop at the water since it wasn’t mixed in yet, but it was starting to dissolve into the mix and I wasn’t sure if I was taking out mix with the water. I then decided to add flour to thicken the mix and try to get the batter to the consistency I thought it should be. Well, when these gingersnaps baked up they were funny shaped and had a funny texture. Sadly, the batch of cookies went into the trash. Since I had to come up with something to feed my girls and I was too tired to brainstorm and complete another baking project, I decided to bring fruit snacks and granola bars from my pantry to class that night. What an epic failure to start of the new year with!!! I had all these hopes and vision of 2012 being the year of baking where I really provided my class and loved with new goodies and where I mastered more skills in the kitchen. This baking project kind of took some of the wind from my sails. However, I am happy to report that the next two weeks of baking where much more successful. I made some molasses cookies for my girls two weeks ago and last week I made an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie using white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and coconut. Very tasty!!! I’ve already started to ponder what I’ll be making my girls this week… After two better baking experiences, I feel like I’m back in the saddle again and I’m ready for a year of baked goodies!
Simply be you! January 23, 2012
For 2012, I have mixed up my Bible reading routine. Crazy, I know! Everyone has a favored translation of the Bible and for me I’m a solid fan of the NIV. Going to Bible college, I heard many a debate on which translation was the best. Translations fall all along the scale from extremely literal to more modern day language. At Multnomah, it was accepted that the NIV fell in the middle between literal and modern. I was used to the NLT being the top choice at my church and I was surprised to find that it wasn’t a favorite at my school. My first Bible that I used for personal use the NIV so it felt a bit like going home when I settled back into using my NIV as my Bible for both study and devotions. Ever since then I’ve been hooked on the NIV. However, this year I’m changing the translation… in fact, I’m not even using a translation. I’m using The Message which is technically a paraphrase. Bible college peeps really don’t like you calling The Message a translation… oh, those were the good ol’ days! So many details mattered back then!
I’ve been reading from The Message as a way to get a new perspective. Sometimes reading the same thing over and over can cause my heart to become numb. I’m no longer absorbing, I’m just reading what I always read just like I’ve always done. I find that things really jump out at me when I can switch to a new version of the Bible for a while. I was reading in Matthew 23 and a verse that I highlighted many years ago, jumped out at my yet again. I thought I would share it with you.
Matthew 23:11-12 “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
I may be 26, but I still feel like a newbie to adult life and to ministry. A lot of times, I feel inexperienced and I feel the need to make myself appear more confident then I really am. When I put on this confident mask, I’m hiding the fact that I really don’t know what I’m doing… I don’t want to puff myself and make myself appear like something I’m not. I’m reminded by this verse that if I’m truly okay with just being me then my life will make a difference. More than anything, I want my life to count for something. I want to give my all to be an influence for good in this world. I’m not some deep scholars, I’m not some gifted speaker, I’m not really that impressive in anything… not trying to be self-deprecating, but really I’m not much. I can see how inadequate I really am in light of all I feel I need to be. I’m still searching for the balance of contentment in myself while striving to keep growing and changing into a better person. I am constantly reminded by my loving, heavenly Father that it’s not about who I think I should be. It’s all about who He made me to be.
Ice Storms and Power Outages! January 20, 2012
I have to admit, I’m pretty happy that I have the ability to be writing this blog! Yesterday around noon we lost our power due to an ice storm that decided to move in right after the snow storm. The combination of lots of snow and ice made for many downed trees and branches all around the area.
Remember how I said in my last blog that things could be rescheduled? Well, that is exactly what had to happen! I made some calls yesterday and learned that most places were closed and want everyone else to stay home. Since Jeremy and I were still trapped in our house, now covered in ice, we knew that it was another snow day for us… I mean, ice day! Jeremy got the house all warm with our wood stove and then sat by the window with it open. Why would he do this? To listen to all the trees cracking, of course!!! It was like the 4th of July around our house. You could hear trees and branching going down all around us.
The power being out wasn’t too big of a deal. We had filled the bath tub with water so we could use our toilets. We had charged our laptops so we watched a couple of Smallville episodes. Jeremy’s parents were super sweet and offered to pick us up so on the main road so we could go to dinner with them. It was nice to get out of the house for a bit since I’d been home since Monday afternoon (I didn’t mind being home all that much). When we got home it was dark, no more natural light for our house. I pulled out a bunch of tea-lights and candles that I had stashed away for such a time as this. It’s crazy when you have no lights on how late it feels. We got home around 6:00pm, but with the darkness I seriously felt it was 8:00-9:00pm. After a few more Smallville episodes, Jeremy and I called it a night. It was amazing how dark things were with no house lights.
This morning, Jeremy discovered water coming out our freezer. It was starting to defrost from the lack of power. We called Jeremy’s dad, who had offered to let us borrow their generator the night before. Jeremy and I went outside to shovel the driveway so his dad could pull in. However, according to Bill we would still need chains to get into or out of our driveway. Jeremy and Bill got the generator all set up and our fridge all plugged in. Of course just a few moments later the power came on! That’s how it works!
So we are a still house bound. We have chains, but we don’t need to use them so we won’t. We’ll let the rain melt the snow a little more. Maybe tomorrow we can venture out without the help of others! It seems that wind is moving into the area tonight. The trees are still a bit icy and already slightly damaged from the ice storm. I’m still in power-outage preparedness mode. We’ll be ready if lose it again tonight. Along with wind, the snow melt poses a threat for flooding. Crazy times in Lewis County, folks!!!!
More Snow Creatures January 18, 2012
Okay, I thought 9 inches of snow was cool yesterday. Today, I woke up to 22 inches of snow! It was a pretty amazing sight! This morning my hubby, puppy and I set out to explore our extremely wintery wonderland. It was crazy to have the snow come up over my boots. Since I don’t own snow pants, it was sort of a chilly walk, but totally worth it. Toby, our dog, was bounding through the snow or following behind our paths we created. We called them snow tunnels and our yard is now a maze of them. When we walked on the road, we could find ruts that would make it easier for Toby to walk. It was fun to see the snow piled up higher than Toby.
We went back out again tonight since we weren’t sure what tomorrow holds. Jeremy kept brainstorming the next snow creation we could make. The snow creature took on many different possible shapes. It started out as snow horse…. it sort of looked like snow seal. It then become snow sphinx… then snow lion, snow tiger, snow…. dinosaur? We’re not really sure that he is! But I think he is cute no matter what he is!
It seems the local schools are already decided to cancel for tomorrow. Even though snow plows are clearing up roads, most people just like us, still can’t get to them. Our driveway is still buried in over a foot of snow! I’m not sure what tomorrow morning holds… I feel like tomorrow is the day I have to go back to being an adult. The kid in me wants another snow day, but somethings can not be avoided. I guess it really all depends on if we can drive out of the our driveway. Part of me knows I need to go back to the real world, but part of me hopes we can’t make it. Things can always be rescheduled, right???
Snow Day! January 17, 2012
It’s been snowing all weekend and yesterday into today it really started to come down! At this point, we have about nine inches on the ground! Right now the snow if falling thick right outside my window. It’s recovering from the mess my husband and I made this morning. Our snow is no longer pristine and untouched. Jeremy and I headed out this morning with a plan to make a snow creation. Last year Jeremy made a snow bear. It was really cute and made it’s way on to the news. It was Jeremy’s claim to fame! This year, I joined the force and we created what would be a snow grizzly that makes last year’s snow bear look like a snow cub! Our new and improved snow bear is about 8ft. tall! It’s always crazy to stand next to a snow creation that is taller than me! Earlier this weekend Jeremy went out and made himself a snow deer. Now that we’ve gotten many inches more, snow deer looks like snow buffalo. I’m sad to say that in the time that I took the shot and now, snow deer/buffalo has lost his head. Poor guy! Snow days are so much fun! I love getting to sleep in and play in the snow! I love the bright light that comes from the reflections on the snow! I love getting lost in the moment as I look out the window to many snowflakes pouring down. These are some of my favorite days! Now it’s not the back to routine lifestyle that I was thinking of this week, but I’m okay with it! Snow days are rare on this side of Washington. I have to enjoy these moments while I can. It seems like we still might have another foot or more in the forecast for tomorrow. We’ve already lost power for about a half hour, but lucky for us we have plenty of wood for our wood stove. It’s time to snuggle in and joy a snow day!
Getting Creative January 16, 2012
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. My sister just flew home to Kansas today after a three week visit. It was so great to have her and her husband come out to visit for the holidays. April was kind enough to stay through my birthday. Having April there to celebrate with me truly made it a special day. My sister and I are close. Very close. We spent a lot of time together over the break and I’m greatly concerned about withdrawals now that she is gone. My consolation prize is the fact that I got a blanket of snow for my birthday and it keeps getting thicker! So right now I’m snuggled up on the couch with a blanket on my lap, a fire in the wood stove and snowflakes falling outside as the last bit of daylight fades away. I’m sad to see my sister go home, but I am looking forward to getting back to some form of routine. Returning to a more regular blogging schedule would fall under that thought. Here I am! Ready to blog!
I’ve had many opportunities to hang out with my mom and sister. On Thursday, we ran some errands together. Mom and I had been invited to a friend’s baby shower so we hit our local Carters outlet for cute boy gifts. We decided to combine our efforts and give one big gift. As we purchased the box for the present, we all had the thought – I wonder if everything will fit in this box. I was over confident. I assumed that I could fold all the little tiny items into the right shape to shut the box. Well, I was wrong. A bear towel just wouldn’t fit. I tried to tuck it here and there, but no place seemed right. I was puzzled for a minute trying to figure it all out… then it came to me!!! I decided to turn the towel into the wrapping paper! It worked quite well! It made the gift super cute and feel super soft. I’ve collected ribbon from various projects so I tied the gift up using blue and silver ribbon. I thought the end result was nice and that I would share it with you. Sometimes moments of creativity come out of perplexing situations. Since the towel couldn’t fit in the box, I literally had to think outside of the box. Keep your eyes open for fun ways that you can jazz up gifts by using a part of the gift itself!
A new year and another year January 7, 2012
Right now I’m smack dab in the the middle of the New Year and my 26th birthday. It’s a very contemplative time as I ponder 2012 and turning another year older. What will this year hold? This might sound strange, but I’m not a fan of odd numbers, so I’m always happy when I enter an even calendar year and even year of age. As much as I don’t want to be another year older, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that it will be an even year. Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot… it’s something I probably do way too much in general. Here is what has been bouncing around in my head…
When asked what my new year’s resolutions are I had to say none. I have no goals set for 2012. My mom said this was healthy since according to her I’m scary when it comes to goals. I will be the first to admit that I like to be working towards something and that I have pretty high standards for myself. I’ve been thinking about a lot about my standards. I’ve been looking back in my mind to the standards I set for myself as a youth student. I’ve been remembering the things that I was passionate about and that shaped the adult I’ve become. I was blessed with a group of friends and family that held me accountable to the high standards I set for myself. Because of the high standards I’ve always had in place, I find that I hold others to equally high standards. Now I don’t judge when someone isn’t like me or not on the same page as me. I just care a lot about my friends and family. I want the best for them. This leads me to holding a pretty firm line in some areas of life. It’s been a challenge for me to watch some people that care about deeply make choices I don’t always support. I can give my two cents when it’s asked for, but really, I’m not in control of others (DUH!) and I’m not responsible for their choices. As a teacher at my church, it’s hard when this happens with students. I feel in some way that I let down in my training. While, I know that isn’t true, I feel the weight of their choices.
As I’ve been pondering the standards that I hold for others, I started to evaluate the standards that I currently have for myself. If you’re going to teach, the Bible says that you’re going to be held to the standard of your own teaching and higher. I started to look at myself deeply and wondered if I’m really walking the walk that goes behind all my talk. Now, I haven’t had any major revelations about poor standards in my life, but I have come to the conclusion that I need to do better. I have so not arrived yet… I’m so far off from being the person I need to be. Even today, I had to apologize for a blunder I made and a lapse in judgement. I’m still human no matter how hard I strive to be perfect. Tonight at church, we sang two songs that mentioned weakness and being weak. In the car ride to church I was praying about that is how I felt, so it no surprise for me to see the theme of weakness coming out in worship. I feel so weak. I know that in my weakness God can do great things. I also know His strength and power is revealed in times of weakness. I just don’t feel like some strong spiritual giant. I feel small. I’m a bit of a control freak who has through a lack of control in life turned a bit paranoid. I can see healthy tendencies in my thoughts and perceptions. I know there are roads I don’t want to go down. I need to refresh my mind and my way of thinking.
All being said, here is what I came up with as my solutions and in a way somewhat my resolutions for the this coming year. I need to pray more. I find that I’m good when I have time to write out my thoughts, but I need to be praying a lot more than I am now. When I try to do things on my own, I fail. I need God to be a conscience part of my every moment. I need to invite him to live each day with me. I know the lines of communication need to be more open for me to see growth in my life. I believe that a focus on prayer coupled with my Bible reading will be a backbone for growth in me this coming year. Bottom line – I want to be better. I want to be a better wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee, teacher, mentor and overall follower of Christ. I know that the people in my life and my Savior deserve my best. I pray that God will give me the strength to make changes in my own heart. If I start with making a difference in my life then I can truly do a better job of making difference in the life of others. This is what I look forward to in 2012 and hope being 26 will be defined as – a year of change – a year where I get better. I believe the this desire to get better will be something I struggle with every year. I think it’s the desire for eternity in my heart. It’s my desire to be truly made right and whole by the love of my Savior. I will someday know this feeling to the fullest, but for now I will make small strides towards the woman God wants me to become.