No-Bake Cookies

03/06/2013

 
One of my favorite things to do on a snowy day is to make sweet things to eat. I am like a moth to the flame. I can't help myself. This is one of my all time favorite recipes. It is a little different than most of the no-bake recipes out there and being a no-bake snob, I think it is the best. Originally my grandmother's recipe, I have fond memories sitting around with my mother and sisters eating it right out of the saucepan with spoons. So good. But beware, this recipe doesn't have as much sugar in it as other recipes do and I found that it is harder to stop with just one. Sorry their are no pictures because that takes the joy out of making them.

No Bake Cookies


Melt one stick of butter over medium heat in a saucepan

Add:
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/2 cup Milk

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and let boil exactly 90 seconds (not stirring). Remove from heat. I use this time to get my 1/2 cup of peanut butter around.

Add:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir until peanut butter is melted.  The sooner you get the peanut butter into the chocolate after it has boiled the easier it is to make the peanut butter melt.

Add:
3-4 cups Quick Oats (you add the oats until it seems like it will be a firm mixture)

Drop by the tablespoon full onto wax paper and let cool. Or, it you can't wait, you can just eat it out of the pan with a spoon. :)


 

Desire

01/11/2013

 
"So did you know when you where done?" a friend at the pool asked me one day. "I've heard women say that they just knew. And I am just not sure I know. Did you know?"

It was an interesting question to be sure and one that I definitely knew the answer to. That answer is: yes. Yes,  I knew when I was pregnant with my oldest son Jonathan that I was done bearing children. I knew it somewhere deep down and unexplainable that I was done. That he was the last one that I would give birth to. If you notice I said oldest son. My youngest son came to us through adoption and to say that I know I am done with adoption is a topic for another time. 

But this question of "doneness" caused to me reflect a little bit on God's grace in my life. Jonathan's birth was almost perfect. Aside from the small amount of chaos he caused by coming surprisingly early, it was perfect in every other way.  I can remember this incredible peace I felt after giving birth to him. I can remember thinking, "Wow! Thank you God for this perfect gift. " I was amazed at the peace of the "knowing" and the beautiful experience this "last" time was. Its almost like the Father was letting me say good bye. 

Fast forward  a few years, not many but a few, to something more recent in my life. Theatre has always been a passion of mine. Something I have spent a good deal of energy and time developing and honing as a craft. I love to act, direct, teach. The desire and passion that fuels that love is deep, even though my children and family have made it necessary to take a break from it, that light has never quite gone out. In the back of mind, I have spent countless hours dreaming and plotting how to make it work and still be the wife and mother I want to be. Dreaming of the kind of theater I could open someday or how to find the time to begin the audition circuit again. 

This past fall, an opportunity presented itself that enabled me to audition for a local theater. My husband and I decided that we would just make it work. The day of the audition came, and can remember the confidence I felt. Not the kind of confidence in that would know I would be given a part or that I was some great performer, but a more quiet confidence in knowing who I was, in all its grandeur and short comings, and I was okay with that. Not the familiar nerves that usually accompany me to an audition. I remember that I went in and sang my heart out. It was thrilling how my voice filled the room and I told myself that this is where I belong and just like that it was gone. Just like that my desire and drive for the world of theatre was sucked out of me and in its place was a peculiar peace. I could almost hear God whisper, its ok, its time to say goodbye. 

In fact just this week I received an email announcing a local play reading and my usual anxious anticipation was gone. I struggled between the send and delete button for a long time. It was painful actually as my thoughts made war with each other. Again a whisper to let it go willed me to delete it. And that peace filled my soul again. Looking back I can see God's hand gently moving me into this direction but to this day I don't really understand it. Especially since theatre is a place I felt God had called me. Drawn me to. Required a leap of faith to follow through with it. Could God really call me to lay down a desire he had given me? A good desire. Was all this just a stepping to stone to the next step? Really? Its hard to swallow especially when what God might have considered a stepping stone, I saw as the whole island.

Honestly have no clue what the next stepping stone is. All I know is that I am thankful for good byes. I always want to be ready to say not my will but thine... but honestly I am afraid of what the actual cost will turn out to be. To be honest I was perfectly content with an island.  But I know looking back on my life I will be grateful for the Father's gentle hand that pushes me to the next stone. 
 

Go in Peace

09/18/2012

 
Today during our Mother's of Preschooler's Meeting (aka MOPS) we talked a lot about forgiveness. Our theme this year is going deeper in relationships with those around us. Forgiveness is a huge key in all this.  On my heart and mind today is someone with whom the tense nature of relationship requires quite a bit of forgiveness (I'm sure on both parts). This particular relationship is with someone where the option of ending the relationship is just not possible. 

Several years ago, my husband and I were introduced to a gentleman by the name of Ken Sande and the Peacemaker ministry he started. It really has change the way that I view conflict and relationship management. I wanted to share a few of his principles here in hopes that he can help you like he has helped me. I will only scratch the surface and you can certainly go deep on his website (www.peacemaker.net) and in his book Peacemaker.

1. Get to the Heart of the conflict. All conflict starts in the heart. If we fail to evaluate our "heart" in the conflict then true reconciliation is not possible. Do we truly want our relationship to be reconciled? Or are our motives out of selfish gain, to punish another individual, to judge them or to be seen as right? If our heart is not set on reconciling the relationship any and all attempt at peacemaking with fail.

2. Resolve your conflict using the Four "Gs". Glorify God. Get the log out of your own eye. Gently restore. Go and be reconciled.

Be prepared for unreasonable people. 
  • Control your tongue (Bless those who curse you)
  • Seek godly advisors (Identify with others. Do not isolate yourself)
  • Keep doing what is right
  • Recognize your limitations
  • Use the ultimate weapon. Focused LOVE.


3. The Seven A's of Confession. If someone has come to you with an offense. This is how you should respond.
  1. Address Everyone Involved. (all of whom you have affected)
  2. Avoid if, but and maybe (Do NOT try and excuse your wrong)
  3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions) example: I am sorry that I hurt you when I said...
  4. Acknowledge the hurt. (Express your sorrow)
  5. Accept the consequences 
  6. Alter your behavior
  7. Ask for forgiveness


4. The Four Promises of Forgiveness. When we agree to forgive someone this is actually the promise we make, biblically speaking, to our offender.
  1. "I will not dwell on this incident."
  2. "I will not bring up this incident again or use it against you."
  3. "I will not talk to others (maliciously) about this incident."
  4. "I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our relationship."

I do not pretend to admit that I practice each of these perfectly but between my meeting this morning and writing this blog today has challenged me to pursue true relationship reconciliation. Please for more information see Sande's website: www.peacemaker.net.
 

Soaring

09/11/2012

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Maybe it was the fact that my son came to the door half naked with poop running up and down his leg, because he has discovered the great joy of being able to go to the bathroom outside.  (Although it appears that going number #2 was a dismal failure, thank the Lord!)  Maybe it was the ten hundredth time my oldest talked back or complained. Or maybe it was the fact that my youngest still occasionally bites his siblings. But there are times and days when motherhood is much less than glamorous. Times when it feels like all your doing is walking on a treadmill. All work and getting no where. The same  routine. 

Get up.  Get Dresses. Make breakfast. Clean up. Dress the kids. Clean up. Work Out. Make Lunch. Clean up. Change a diaper. Enforce Naptime. Give up. School Pickup. Make snack. Clean up. Prep for Dinner. Make Dinner. Make tomorrow's lunch. Punish child for trying to jump off the deck. Clean up. Put the kids to bed. Clean up. Take a shower. Go to bed. Repeat.

For me keeping a good focus is so difficult. What is all this for? It feels meaningless. Like chasing the wind. My lists and goal sheets have long been forgotten. Finding time for meaning feels fleeting. Reading and writing and searching and feeling like you may be only searching for the rest of your life. Never really going anywhere.


But then my son wants me to listen to him sing a song on his homemade "guitar." The song from Vacation Bible School this summer and one about Star Wars. His sister dancing to the beat. My oldest asks me to work with her on her memory verse. My youngest comes to me for a high five because he just shared one of his toys. And you catch a the glimmer of light. Chaos still ensues and the treadmill keeps spinning but in those moments meaning comes through the fog almost like pixie dust. The kind where if you can hold on to your one happy thought, you just might be able to soar.
 
 
Today I took my children to Chick-fil-a. I struggled with the descision. The lines where long and the "political" atmosphere hot. First, I do not hate anyone. I actually have been angered by the hate spewing on both sides. I don't care who you are, what your choices in life have been, you are worthy of love and respect. Second, I feel like the media has made mountains out of mole hills, and I can tend to be a rebel about these things. But honestly I am tired, mostly of the media, for making these mountains out of mole hills and systematically attacking a man who has worked his whole life for the good of others. And if you look at the real details surrounding these atrocities and the true story of this company, you might just find that the journaliam and the hype are ludicrous. I'm tired of being told what to think. I am tired of looking the other way.

So I took my kids to Chick-fil-a for ice cream. A treat on both counts. We frequent Chick-fil-a. The food is great, the service better. The kids menu has healthy items. With four children, they always carry my tray to my  table, refill my drink without me having to leave my table.  But I felt I needed to go for other reasons. I wanted my kids to know, that sometimes standing for what you believe in is tough. Sometimes you will feel all alone. Sometime people will make fun of you and call you names. I explained that Mr. Dan Cathy is the president of Chick-fil-a. He is being made fun of because of something he believes and making fun of someone is wrong. Today we are showing Mr. Cathy that he is not alone. I want you to remember, when you are standing strong for something you believe in and you feel like you are the only one, I want you to remember this day. Mr. Cathy doesn't live here, he doesn't see us, but by purchasing this ice cream we are saying thank-you.

Thank you, Mr. Cathy, for standing even when it's hard and unpopular. Thank you for pouring your life into today's youth through your WinShape Foundation. Thank you for giving us free chicken when we dress up like cows. Thank you for the opportunity to show my kids that even when they feel like they are standing alone, really there are thousands standing with them.

 

Merry Christmas!

12/27/2011

 
 
 

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion.
Psalm 20:1 & 2

I find it so interesting that in your day of trouble God wants to send help from the sanctuary. A place set apart where we experience God's presence. Now, just as a warning and a side note, comparing us wives with God is not, and can not be, a direct correlation. I am gleaning and giving my thoughts and opinions about the subject and in doing so hope to be encouraging and not irreverent. With that said I will continue.

When you think of home, what images does it conger up for you? No doubt that depending on the reader there could be positive and negative answers to this question so maybe I should rephrase. What kind of images do you want to have come to your mind when you think of home? A place where you can be yourself? A place where you are fed and refreshed? Maybe place that is safe and warm? 

Now you and I both know that as wives, when it comes to the home, if we want it to get done, we usually have to do it ourselves. No one else cares about it like we do. I think that natural instinct is God given, divine. In our function as the helper, I believe, we have this amazing privilege and opportunity to provide for our families a sanctuary, a place where they are loved, safe and strengthened. That sanctuary is our home. Whether we work inside the home or outside of it, wether we choose to be intentional about it it or not, we as wives, are largely responsible to create the atmosphere that is present in our home. 

I don't think that my sanctuary will look anything like your sanctuary and the things that bring my family peace would not bring your family peace. I don't know that I could live in a hallmark card and I definitely do not always have warm wonderful smells coming from my oven. And truly, housekeeping is not my gift. Somedays I do better than others, but I think the important thing not that our home be picture perfect but rather that we are intentional about creating that peaceful sanctuary. 

We are the ones who set the tone of our homes. We set the overall schedule. How are we doing at that? Are we tired and frustrated. Angry? Do we run our children and ourselves ragged with our schedule? Or is our home a place of peace and relaxation? More than just a place where we sleep and sometimes eat. Do we keep it so neat that no one can enjoy it or at the opposite end so unkept that it is hard to relax?

The Psalmist says that he send us help from the sanctuary and support from Zion. Are we creating the kind of sanctuary that helps our family be the best that they can be? A place to run to in their day of trouble. 

I know that many times when I think of the house and all the duties that keep it running, it feels mundane. Boring. I mean how many times can you prepare a meal or pick up the same toys without going a little crazy. For me it helps me to remember this concept, that what I am doing is more than picking up toys or preparing dinner, wiping bottoms or runny noses, kissing boo boos or managing relationships, what I am doing is creating a sanctuary. Seems so much more worthy of a calling.
 

The Helper

09/26/2011

 
 At church, recently, we have been looking at what makes strong families. It is always a good reminder and encouragement to fight the good fight pressing on towards the goal. So much so that I wanted to dig a little furthur into what the role of the wife entails. 

I have heard, both in our church and from other good teachers, that we are supposed to be the Helper/ Completer for our husbands but what does that mean exactly? Does scripture give us anything more to go on (beyond submission) that can guide us to be more Godly wives, and in turn experience more satisfying marriages? Is their anything that we can work at being intentional about it?  I think as women we want our men to be strong leaders but sometimes we are at a loss at how to "help" him become that leader and God's man that we desire. Now I think that God's version of "help" is not the nagging type of help that Solomon speaks of in the Proverbs (in fact this particular proverb is mentioned three times)



"It is better to live on the corner of a housetop, that live with a quarrelsome wife." That word quarrelsome speaks of one who is contentious, someone who is given to argument or sparking controversy.

In contrast both the Psalms and the Proverbs speaks of a good wives as "fruitful vine," "crown of her husband," "from the Lord," and "more precious than Jewels." But how exactly do we become that wife, that helpmate that God intended?

In Genesis, the bible tells us that women were created because there was no suitable helper found for man. The word for helper here, in Hebrew, is ezer, which means to help or succour. This word succour was unfamiliar to me so I looked it up. It speaks of someone who provides assistance and support in times of hardship and distress. The archaic meaning actually speaks of reinforcements for troops. And actually this word, ezer, never actually appears again in reference to a person. It is always connected with God.

Now I don't think that means that we are supposed to be the Holy Spirit in our husband's lives but it does mean that this task of helping is no small task.  In the next couple of blogs I would like to explore other verses that use that Hebrew word ezer  and hopefully gain a deeper insight into how we provide can more fully fulfill our role of helper/completer in our marriages.

I hope that it is a help and encouragement to you as we work together to be the strong women and the beautiful wives god intended us to be.

 

Joshua Walking

08/22/2011

 
Here is a video of Joshua walking. This clip is a few weeks old and he is now doing more walking than crawling and anxious to pick up speed so that he can keep up with his siblings. So cute. 

 
 
Well, I did it. I'm not sure what exactly made me think that it was time, but I have decided it is time.  I guess that it is part of the Mom insanity. Today I bought Jonathan some big boy underpants. I know that I am insane because I HATE potty training. But I did it anyway.

I know that I have two girls who use the potty by themselves with a fair amount of success, and you would think that I have it all down pat.  But I don't.  Jonathan shows a lot of readiness signs of which, quite frankly, I have been ignoring because well, I hate potty training. The poop and the pee, changing clothes a hundred times a day while they catch up to the learning curve, is exhausting and frustrating to me. I have tried lots of different methods and have actually combined a few that I find helpful but in the end it still amounts to a whole lot of work. Usually with both parties in tears. Trial and error. Trial and error. Trial and error. Until finally, hopefully success. And then NO MORE DIAPERS!! The sweet joy. 

My Mom always likes to remind me that there are not too many 18 year olds that run around wearing diapers (or sleep in their parents bed, or still crawl.) Often times it's that perspective that gets me through a lot of the tough stuff of toddlerhood. It comforts me when the days of training do not go perfect to know that there is always another day, and another and that with persistence and a little patience eventually everything works out ok.

You can remind me of that next week when I am about to pull my hair out. No more diapers...No more diapers. Say it with me.  Some days you have just gotta live with the end in mind. No more diapers.
 

    about.

    Welcome. Let your hair down, grab a cup of coffee and join me as we find beauty in the ordinary and life in the chaos. As a stay-at-home mother of four, I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that life doesn't operate in the realms of perfection. In fact, on the days that I can let go of my quest for perfection, I tend to find the most beauty. Ok, there's chaos too and mess, but still little glimpses of light. 


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