Thoughts

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I see it around my house, I (used to) see it on TV, I see it with my friends, and I even see it on the scale (and on my plate). What is it that I see?

EXCESS

Everywhere I look I see excess. We live in a very excessive culture. Did you know most of the world lives on LESS THAN $2 a day? It’s even hard to order a sweet tea at a restaurant for less than $2 these days, so imagine trying to live on that. It changes your perspective a little doesn’t it?

Almost 2 years ago, I read a book that really really really made me think. ALOT. The book is called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. In a couple of weeks, I, along with a few friends are going to embark on our own mutiny against excess. It’s exciting to think about getting rid of many of the things that clutter up my life and I’m excited to go on this journey with some friends as well.

That said, I read an outstanding article today from RELEVANT Magazine titled The Socially Acceptable Sin by Jason Todd. It speaks about how our love of excess and more is simple gluttony. This really hit home with me:

Is the desire for excess sinful? It depends on whether the soul is addicted to a finite excess or an infinite excess. Do we ever think of gorging on God? Do we relish the chance to spend a few more minutes in prayer, hidden away from the world for just one more taste of the divine? When was the last time we lingered long over the pages of an open Bible because we just couldn’t stop admiring the honeyed flavor of an ancient truth? If the Bible is the story of the only infinite good, why do we spend so much of our lives at lesser tables?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

5 Reasons TV is Dead

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Laura:

I think this is a great article, and since I haven’t wrote much lately, I thought I would share it with you!

Originally posted on Resurrected Living:

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In 1979 The Buggles lamented the death of one era and celebrated the beginning of another with their hit single “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The song contained the lyric “We can’t rewind we’ve gone too far.” Much has changed since the television boom following WWII. We now have computers, tablets, and smartphones. These devices do what television does and more. They entertain and inform. They also do it better and with less commercials. One could argue that television will always be around just like film, but television and film are two different things. Television is a medium by which we receive entertainment and information. Film is an art form. Television has more in common with a smartphone, whereas film has more in common with a painting or a symphony. The mediums which we use to entertain ourselves or receive information come and go, but art is here to stay.

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The Jesus Challenge week 1

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Like many other followers of Christ, I often have a hard time applying the actual “following Christ” part. Sure, I live a pretty good life, go to “church” and Bible class 3 times a week, pray and read my Bible, but if I’m honest, there’s more to following Christ than this. That’s why, when I first saw my cousin Danny’s facebook post about the “Jesus Challenge 2013” I was immediately interested.

Simply stated, the Jesus Challenge 2013 is a Facebook group started by Danny to challenge us to ACTUALLY LIVE like Jesus! Every week for 2013, he will post a short passage from the life of Christ along with some brief thoughts, a challenge, and a prayer. The challenge is to help us apply a characteristic that Jesus exhibits. Then you can post your own thoughts, receive encouragement and the like. I LOVE this idea! It’s a very easy way to help you be like Jesus in your daily life!

Last week, I thought I had the challenge in the bag without even really trying. It seemed so simple. Like Jesus noticed the little children, he also noticed others who often get overlooked and he made them feel special. The challenge: to notice people in our daily lives others often overlook and to let them know you noticed them. I thought this would be very simple. Kids, I notice them, I work at a preschool, it’s hard not to notice and appreciate their special gifts. The poor, they’re all around us and my heart breaks for their situations, and I try to help when I can. The addicted, I have family members who struggle with addictions. Etc. . . I honestly thought this was going to be an easy week. WRONG!

Friday, I began to notice someone, and it truly makes me feel ashamed. It may sound trivial, but it’s not. No unnoticed person is trivial. I noticed my UPS man. Actually, a friend noticed him for me. I have lived in the same house just one week shy of 3 years now. If you know much about my husband, you know he has a rather large personal theological library. Many, if not most of these books have been acquired from the Internet. Plus, that used to be how we bought diapers. Needless to say, when you have free 2 day shipping on Amazon, and you do a lot of online shopping, the UPS truck will be at your house…ALOT! Our UPS truck visits our house at LEAST once a week, and often more than that. I have had conversations with our delivery man several times and even told him how I got diapers so cheaply. Needless to say, I learned his name Friday. From a co-worker, who was talking to one of the kids in my class, who’s father makes the UPS deliveries in town. My town, to my house. . . OUCH! What really stung is my friend knew more about him than I did and he isn’t even her UPS man. AND I didn’t even connect the dots and realize his child was in my class and had been since August. She connected the dots for me. Talk about a fail.

This all got me to thinking, like it should. I wonder how often do people slip in and out of my everyday life without me even noticing? How many opportunities have I missed to share Jesus with someone just because I didn’t notice? I think it’s safe to say I pretty much failed the challenge this week. I only say “pretty much” because I did realize who I was not noticing but I haven’t had the opportunity to let him know how much I appreciate the great job he does, and how his child makes my days easy and enjoyable.

I plan on carrying this challenge out, for this week as well as my entire life. I pray that my eyes are not closed to the people around me and the opportunities I have to share the love of Jesus with everyone around me.

Do you want more information on the “Jesus Challenge 2013″ or want to join me in this challenge to be more and more like Jesus? If so, follow this link to the Facebook page: Jesus Challenge 2013

Cards Anyone?

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Cards Anyone?

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This year, on October 23, we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary! Wow! 8 years is a long time. I wasn’t even in college that long and it took me FOREVER to graduate! We have had some pretty fabulous years so I wanted to do something special for Scott.

Scott is usually a really great gift giver. He always comes up with something great that I just mentioned in passing, or he thinks up something that I really need/want that I never even thought about. I, on the other hand, am not. I am very indecisive and look too closely at the price tag. If I talk myself into getting something for someone, I usually end up talking myself out of it for fear of them not really liking it or needing whatever it is. I have gotten much better in recent years, but I’m still not close to being an equal with Scott. For example, the first gift I ever bought Scott was a cheap game I had never played and some playing cards. I guess I thought he would like it, but I didn’t put much thought into it. He tried not to show it, but he was disappointed. After all, he had just given me an expensive diamond ring and had offered to spend the rest of his life with me. What was I thinking?? Then there was a couple of years ago where I ran to our local hallmark store, the day of, and bought him a picture frame….it still does not have a picture in it.

This year, I had some great ideas, but I also knew I was a little short on money and he would not want me to spend much, if anything on him. However, I really wanted to give him something special so I consulted Pinterest, of course! What would be better than something mushy and made from the heart?

This is what I came up with:20130115-134052.jpgA deck of cards (Anyone else see the irony?), made into a book, each page being a reason I love Scott. How awesome is this idea? It can even be revamped for different things. How about an awesome quote book of your kids quotes on their favorite card game? What about a teacher gift, “Things I Learned In School This Year.” Or something special for parents or grandparents, “52 Things You’ve Taught Me About _____” fill in the blank with life, marriage, God, etc. . .

I really LOVE this simple, meaningful gift. Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for… This craft really is simple. All you need is a deck of cards (new or old), a hole punch, ribbon (or ring clasps), sandpaper, printer (unless you have nice writing), Mod Podge, and any small embellishments.

Let’s do the hard part first….making your “list.” Just joking, this parts not hard! There are even some “generic” lists online you can find if you are having trouble. I wanted to use stuff like this: 20130115-130709.jpg
You need to measure your deck of cards and figure out what size of paper you want to put on them. Some people cover the whole card, I wanted to show the card. Once I found my measurements, I made a template on the computer and copied and pasted. If you have a program like MSExcell, just make each box the size you need, leave some space in between and add a cute border. I didn’t have that luxury but it was easy enough. I only wish I could change a couple of things. I wish my boxes were a bit smaller to show a little more of the card, and I wish I had some white paper. Originally, I was going to stain my cards, but they kept warping. 20130115-134232.jpg
I had to abandon that idea so in the end, my paper didn’t match the color of my cards and the red ink wasn’t as red as I wanted. I still think it turned out nice.

The next part is fun, and super messy… SANDING! Definitely put some paper down under your deck of cards because it will leave a MESS! For our honeymoon, we took a trip to Vegas. It’s a fun place to go and you can stay at some really nice hotels fairly reasonably. We saw some shows, rode horses in the desert, saw the sites, and ate at some awesome places! We also brought back a BUNCH of card decks for souvenirs and gifts for family/friends. I REALLY, REALLY wanted to make this gift out of a deck of cards from our honeymoon hotel, but I could only find one deck from there. I decided it would not be a good sentimental idea to destroy this deck of cards in my experiment if something went wrong. So instead, I purchased a brand new deck of cards with the most interesting back I could find. Then I lightly sanded to roughen up the cards, give them a little character, and to remove most of the plastic coating so they would glue nicely. I’m not sure how well the mod podge will adhere if you leave on the plastic coating. I didn’t want to risk it, so I sanded…and sanded…and sanded the front and back of 52 cards and 2 jokers. 20130115-130918.jpg
After dusting the cards off, use a very thin layer of mod podge and glue the reasons to the front of each card, making sure you center it so there is room to punch holes on the left side. Mod podge the “Title” to the BACK of a Joker card.

After this dries, give the paper side of your cards 2 thin coats of mod podge. Originally, I only gave one coat, and then decided to add the second. It really made a big difference. It also made my deck of cards really thick. 20130115-134340.jpg
When they dry, start punching holes. I made a “template” with my cover and kept using it to make sure everything was lined up correctly. 20130115-134444.jpgThen, stack the cards up, put some ribbon through the holes, and wrap that gift up! 20130115-132621.jpg

A Birthday Cake on My Birthday!

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Today is my birthday. The 32nd to be exact! It is a sad occasion, not because I’m getting older, but because it’ll be an entire year before I’m an odd number again. (I know, I’m a nerd!) Fortunately, next year is 2 odd numbers (that happen to be my FAVORITE number twice!!!) so it should be extra good! Haha

Anyway, I decided I would post a couple of pictures of a cake I made in September for my sons best friend, Grady! It was a fun cake to make. Grady is a fan of “Team Umi Zoomi” and his cake is a reflection of this. I combined a couple of ideas I found online. The cake is covered in buttercream with fondant accents and decorations.

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Coke Float! {Cupcakes}

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This summer I had some fun baking projects! The jelly making came before my quick trip to Oklahoma and the next project came after it!

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COKE FLOAT CUPCAKES!!!

My good friend, and distant cousin, Connie provided the inspiration for these cupcakes! Connie and I go back as long as I can remember. We are only 6 months apart and lived 2 miles apart for the first 18 years of our lives. We spent as much time together as possible. Our moms did everything together, including making jelly, and so did we. I could write a rather large book about all the mischief we got into and the good times we had, but that isn’t what I’m writing about today! We now live hundreds of miles apart, but we still share a special affinity towards baking.

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This was after one of our first “solo” baking endeavors. We made cinnamon rolls for my dad, who ate them graciously. I’m surprised no one broke any teeth, but that was a long time ago. We have gotten better (at least I hope!)

So, naturally, when Connie sent me a text asking for my opinion on some cupcakes she was making, I loved her idea so much I had to try my own! This is my tale on “Coke Float Cupcakes!”

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I found a very simple chocolate “coke” cupcake recipe and then made a “coke” buttercream and topped with a stabilized whipped cream and cherry.

I found the cupcake recipe here.. It is a simple recipe, just spray your paper liners with cooking spray or your cupcakes may stick. These were good, but you couldn’t taste the Coke much with the chocolate. If I make them again, I’ll try using a vanilla cake as the base instead of chocolate. I hear you can even use a white cake mix and a can of Coke +eggs? to make cupcakes that actually taste more like Coke.

The butter cream was really good! It wasn’t as sweet as typical buttercream and it tasted like you were eating a can of Coke! It was awesome…and super simple!!!

Take 1 stick of butter, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix them until smooth. Then start adding Coke in tiny amounts, very slowly until you can’t add any more. Everytime you add some, it will slosh around really weird in the mixer bowl, but keep it going and when it’s full absorbed, add some more! If I remember right, I added about 1/4 cup of Coke.

Then I topped my frosted cupcakes with a stabilized whipped cream and cherry, added straws and sprinkles and viola! Coke Float Cupcakes!!

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If you would like to check out some of Connie’s cakes, and even order from her, then check out her Facebook page! Connie’s Sweet Cakes

Jelly Jammin!

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I realize I’ve been posting a lot of “thankfulness” posts, but I haven’t posted any of the cool things I’ve been doing over the past 5 or 6 months! I have to correct that! So, I’m going to start with this:

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JELLY!!!!!

This summer, as I was out preparing for my first 5k, I noticed all of the wild grapes on the vines by the church parking lot. This reminded me of all the blackberry, dewberry, and sand plum jelly my mom and Dottie used to make when I was a kid. I also remembered all of the possum grapes we used to pick on the side of Waco & Fishmarket road before someone cleared the fence line to put in a new fence. These vivid memories of my childhood made me want to do 2 things: get to picking grapes and make some jelly!

I quickly consulted my friend Erin, who knows everything there is to know about native plants. She informed me the grapes were in fact grapes and not poisonous, but very sour. She said they make the best grape jelly. When I told her what I wanted to do, she jumped onboard and picked grapes in other locations so we would have plenty!

As we “researched” recipes and methods of making and canning our own grape concoction, we came to the realization that we needed help. Desperately. What came to my mind was the passage in Titus about the older women teaching the younger women. It may be a stretch to think the apostle Paul was talking about how to make grape jelly, but isn’t grape jelly a necessity in a well-run modern household? 😊 Needless to say, we brought in our dear friend Margie and she was the keys to our success!

Erin and I had a blast, Margie was an AWESOME teacher, and the outcome was incredible!!! We definitely could not have done this, with as much success, if Margie had not been there, showing us the ropes, and letting us use her jelly making supplies!

Here are some pictures of our fun evening! I wasn’t able to take pictures the entire process, but I got most of it!

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Filling the jars….

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And half of the finished product!

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Or should I say this is the finished product?

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