Monthly Archives: December 2011

28 years

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28 years

It’s my 28th birthday and in honor of that I’d like to share with you a few of my most hard-earned lessons.

  •  It’s important to love people, and love them as well as you can. Mother Teresa said ” I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” I agree.
  •  Nothing that I own is mine, it all belongs to the community of God. I also feel the same about what they own. We give what we have that others need and we receive what we need without embarrassment or shame. It is harder to receive, but there is also a great joy that accompanies it.
  •  Surround yourself with people who are older than you and who love you. Ask them a lot of questions and really listen to what they say.
  •  Ask other parents what they are doing right and what they wish they could do better. Learn from different types of parents and don’t feel threatened when their opinions and methods differ from your own.
  •  Family is important.
  •  Time alone is important.
  •  Quality time with those you love is important.
  •  Cut yourself some slack.
  •  All women were created beautiful.
  •  Don’t put people on a pedestal. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment and you’re making them feel uncomfortable.
  •  If you’re upset with someone, talk to them. Even if they have hurt you so deeply that you no longer want a relationship with them, still try to work out some sort of resolution. Bitterness is deadly and it starts with sweeping things under the rug.
  • Saying you’re sorry is extremely important. Being the first to say sorry is best.
  •  It’s okay to be an emotional person. That doesn’t make you weak.
  •  Be respectful.
  • I don’t know everything and I really don’t want to.
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You are beautiful

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You are beautiful

I can’t say this enough. Girls, teenagers, young women, old ladies… YOU. You are beautiful. Maybe some of you don’t believe that God designed you, that He formed you, thought of you, breathed life into you, but I do. The creator of every flower and perfect snowflake and strong sturdy oak made you and He made you well.

Beauty magazines didn’t form you, in fact, they never formed anyone except through photo shop when they removed “imperfections” from models who are already starved and deprived of robust life.

Men didn’t form you, men formed addictions to the things that we pretend that we agree are beautiful. Men will believe what we tell them is beautiful. And we, ladies, we are beautiful. We are perfect.

We were made to be strong, to be slim, to be curvy, to be soft, to be muscled, to be whatever you are. There is no one mold for beautiful. If you believe that than I strongly urge you to examine the television shows you watch, the magazines that you read, the people who you surround yourselves with. If the company you keep feels negatively about your beauty than weed that company out of your life. Be around women whose beauty shines from within them.

Be proud when you form smile lines, because they are a sign of a happy life. Be proud of your stretch marks, mama, you carried human LIFE in you. Be proud of your curves, ladies, of your softness. Think of the loved ones who have received comfort from it. Be proud of your muscles, ladies, it’s not unfeminine to have them! You are strong, we are proud.

Your weight does not define you. You do not have to wear make up to be presentable. It’s okay to hate high heels, or to love them. Your hair is just hair. You don’t have to straighten it, curl it, put it up or wear it down to be a worthwhile member of the world.

We are beautiful. Not hot, or sexy, or good-looking…. you understand that what I am saying goes beyond your appearance, right? That no one has the right to label you based on that, don’t you?

Please, be proud to be a woman.

 

Soft and delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Soft and delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I know that just about everyone already has a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I did, too. My mom always used the tollhouse recipe and so did I, with much success. But after Charlotte was born our wonderful friends, the Donaldsons, brought some truly delicious cookies over that made me reconsider being a one recipe woman. I now fluctuate between the two recipes, but this one is definitely a favorite. The best thing about them is that they stay soft forever! I am making them both for Christmas with my family and for our CLG Christmas party this year. I hope you try them, they do not disappoint!

This recipe makes 6 dozen cookies:

  •                     4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •                     2 teaspoons baking soda
  •                     2 cups butter, softened
  •                     1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  •                     1/2 cup white sugar
  •                     2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  •                     4 eggs
  •                     2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •                     4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.

Add  in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.

Blend in the flour mixture.

Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Hot Chocolate you will cry for

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Added to the list of things that are too ridiculously easy to make: Hot chocolate mix. After doing a quick search online I came across a crazy easy recipe that could easy be adapted to several different types of recipes. Here’s the base:

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder

2 cups powdered sugar

1½ cups cocoa powder

1½ cups  chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon salt

Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk.

And, done! I think the next batch I make I am going to substitute the chocolate chips for Andes Mints. Oh, my!!!

When you put this powder in a mason jar with a ribbon it also makes a really cute gift. Each batch yields about 20 servings. Enjoy, friends.

When rest isn’t optional

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The last few weeks I have been really tired and really trying to push past it. What mother of 2 kids 2 and under isn’t tired? But a week ago today I found myself with a really high temperature, a migraine that wasn’t playing games and a wish to be put out of my misery.  A trip to the ER and one to the doctors later and I get the diagnosis… MONO. Who gets mono when they are 28 years old? Crazy.

Since then I have had a lot of rest. There is no way to look at this mono as all bad (all though it is frustrating to not be able to take care of my family.) I am catching up on a lot of missed sleep from the last few years, I am experiencing the love and help of my community and friends in overwhelming quantities, and I am getting to spend much more time with Matt than usual because he has taken off of work (and canceled a 2 week trip away) to be here with me and take care of everyone in his family. That’s beautiful.

With this rest has come a lot of time to just lay and think. I’d like to tell you that I am having epiphanies left and right but really I am just resting. It’s beautiful. There is no pressure on this rest. If I do not emerge refreshed than I rest some more. If I have a disturbing dream, I pray for the next dream to be beautiful and go back to bed. If I do not have a fresh experience with the Lord, I remind myself of the wonderful and glorious things He has given to me and shown me in the past.

Every day I see people outside of my family that I love, as dear friends come and bring delicious food.

I know that I am loved.

That’s beautiful.