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beyond bath time

 

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A GREAT VIDEO BY THE AUTHOR!

 

If you or someone you know is in the busy-mom stage of life, you’ll want to enter this drawing for Erin’s awesome book Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role.

Having almost raised five kids (Olivia is 14, so we have a little time to go!), I would have loved to have had this book about 15 years ago when my life was full of laundry, toys, and nightly bath times!

As a teacher, I have seen firsthand the effects of Godly moms on their children’s lives.

From infants to high schoolers, children are starving for moms who will mother with a heart rooted in God’s love!

Be the mom God has called you to be……..beyond bath time!

 

As you read this book, you will discover that Erin has a humorous way of inspiring moms to embrace their role as mom as a sacred gift from God!

Whether you or someone you love is a working mom or stay-at-home mom,  you will love how Erin transforms the every day responsibilities of motherhood into gifts from the Heavenly Father!

In the book she addresses the following items in a powerful and meaningful way:

  • The most common lies women believe about motherhood
  • Why moms need to let go of the Wonder Woman myth and redefine real mom heroes
  • The freedom of Spirit-led parenting instead of a one-size-fits-all mold
  • What moms today can learn from the legacy of biblical mothers, including the ones that aren’t taught about in Sunday School
  • How the Titus 2 model of older women mentoring younger women can be a lifeline for young moms

Erin says, “I’m looking for a few good moms. 

Moms who will dare to hold on to a view that seems out-of-date and search for God’s heart on the issues of motherhood….

who will reclaim motherhood as a high and holy calling.”

 

If you would like to be entered to win this book, or if you would like to be entered so that you can give it as a gift,

please leave a post by clicking on “comments” below.

In the post, please leave your email address, so I can contact you if your name is drawn!!

 

The winner will be announced on Friday, July 6th!

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There’s something incredibly humbling about sitting in a jail cell.

Looking into the eyes of girls whose mistakes have caught up with them is a great reminder of just how close all of us are to captivity.

Actually, without Christ we are all slaves to sin,

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin.

John 8:34

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Galatians 4:3

Truly, all of us are in bad shape without the gift Jesus gave on the cross.

God has connected my deep grief over the loss of Nick with the grief these women face because of their sins and the losses it has brought to their lives.

The power of the resurrection is their hope in a jail cell just as much as it is my hope as a grieving mom.

I love this promise for grieving moms!

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,

that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus,

God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

I Thess. 4:13-14

I love this promise for the girls in jail!

 

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:24-25

Maybe that’s what keeps me going back every Friday night.

Knowing I need hope just as much as these girls do!

I feel called to share the love of Jesus with these girls.

They are hungry for Him.

They are searching for Him.

They want to change.

And the only Hope they have in overcoming their addictions, their pasts, their regrets, their mistakes,

is Him.

I understand the words Jesus quoted from Isaiah in Luke 4:18,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;

he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

Saturday night we went back and baptized three more girls, washing away all their sins!

 

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The girls did a thumbs-up picture for me in memory of Nick!

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Acts 2:38 was read,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

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Please pray for men and women in jail worldwide, that they will come to know Him Who loves them in spite of their mistakes.

Let us never forget that without the death of Jesus, we would all be in bondage to our sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him

Romans 6:8

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness

Romans 6:18

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

Thank you, RW, for allowing us the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with hurting women.

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Last night at the jail, we talked with the girls about the fact that the only thing keeping them from a relationship with God is themselves.

We talked about how He longs to be their Father, their Protector, their Provider.

We talked about the truth that there is no one on this earth who can make the choice for us to say the words,

“I believe Jesus is the Son of God, and I want Him as my personal Savior.”

Three more girls accepted Him last night and we are going back tonight to baptize them!

Praise the Lord!

 

As I was reading this morning, I was struck by these words that were delivered through Isaiah from God to King Ahaz.

Isaiah 7:9b

“Unless your faith is firm,

I cannot make you stand firm.”

Wow.

They line up with what we were talking about last night so beautifully, and I’m going to share these words tonight during the baptisms.

I believe we all long to stand firm.

We lean on God for the strength to do this.

But, I love that even in that leaning God has placed some responsibility on us.

We have to be firm in our faith.

 

That means we can’t be double-minded even in our times of trials.

James reiterates this truth when he says,

 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 

he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Today, as you venture into Saturday, remember that God longs to help you stand firm in your faith.

But first, your faith must be firm.

Commit yourself today to having a firm faith.

Not a faith that teeters back and forth between believing and questioning………..

When you can say,

“I believe that God is for me even when life seems against me,”

WATCH OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God is right there waiting to help you STAND FIRM and pour wisdom all over you!

Look at the James passage above again……..

God doesn’t promise to always answer our worldly requests when our faith is firm, but He does promise to give wisdom generously WITHOUT FINDING FAULT!

I love that!

More than anything in this world, I desire to know Him more!

And I believe that everyday He draws me just a little closer to His heart.

He longs to draw you closer today too!

Believe!

Ask God to help you with your unbelief just like the father in the book of Mark asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief when he was pleading for healing for his son.

Understand that healing for that father’s son happened in the story, but eventually that boy still went Home to be with Jesus,

so don’t lose your faith when God’s answer to your prayer doesn’t match your request here on earth.

Even though it’s hard.

Real hard.

I know.

Have a firm faith anyway……

and see what God will do!

 

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June 22, 1878

June 22nd, 2012

 

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charles hodge

Did you know that 100 years ago today, there was a funeral in Princeton, New Jersey, for a man who had impacted the lives of so many people that the entire town closed down for the day to honor him?

I wouldn’t have known about him if I hadn’t read about him in my devotional this morning.

Charles Hodge was a theologian and professor, and his impact on the lives of his students and community was life-changing.

Most of his students became ministers or missionaries, and the people who knew said his “chief power was in his goodness.”

The end of my devotion said this,

“Think of the people who are in your daily sphere of influence – your children, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. 

Whom do you believe God has give to you in whom you can invest your life?”

(From The One Year Christian History Devotional)

It closed with this verse,

You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. 

Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. 

II Timothy 2:2

This morning, I am praying that each of you can become a “Charles Hodge” in your community.

Our world needs Christians who are willing to study His Word and then share it with those around them.

Praying for you today as always,

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Oh My!! I’m Sorry!

June 19th, 2012

 

(They changed the way blog music is played through Blogspot.

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This morning, I scrolled down to my post about Elijah on June 13th and realized that with my writing about the drying up of the brook, I dried up too!

As I reread that particular post and read my words, “I’ll share more about this story tomorrow, because it gets even better…,” I cringed.

There was no tomorrow’s story.

There was silence for six days.

I am so sorry.

Not that your world was hanging on my next post, but my integrity was!!

I’m finding it incredibly “ironic” or maybe “Providential” that the next part of Elijah’s story seems almost as confusing as my failure to continue with my writing last week.

God sent Elijah from a dried up brook to the home of a starving widow and her son.

As a matter of fact, when he arrived and asked for a drink and a piece of bread, this is what the widow said to him,

 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied,

“I don’t have any bread-only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.

I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son,

that we may eat it-and die.”

Does this story strike anyone else as unusual?

It seems like God sent Elijah from one place of desertion to another.

From a dry brook to a starving widow.

Every time I read this story, I am reminded that life is so much like this.

We try and try and try to do God’s will.

We live for Him, work for Him, and trust in Him.

But eventually, because we live in a fallen world, our brook dries up.

We realize we’ve reached a place of barrenness.  Maybe it comes from working too hard and becoming burned out.  Maybe it comes from God’s nudging us to move on to another chapter in life.  Maybe it comes from significant loss that leaves us empty and broken.  Maybe it comes from our own lack of turning to God for our daily strength.

Whatever the reason, I think all of us can point to moments in our lives when the brook seemed dry.

In these moments, we finally reach a point where we are fully aware that in order to survive something is going to have to change.

But often, when we turn to what we think is a solution, we find that even that source of hope and strength is weak and floundering.

I think about my grief, because (for me) that has been the driest brook in my life.

I think of how it was impossible for me to turn to family or friends for what I needed, because grief was consuming them too.

I think of how church was often not the answer because so many people just don’t know what to do with a grieving mom.

I think of how support groups online couldn’t provide what I needed (even though they did help me feel somewhat normal in my sadness, anger, confusion etc.), because many of the people in the support groups didn’t believe in eternity so their grief left them flailing in despair and anger……I knew I could never make it through life if I landed there in my heartache.

Honestly, looking back, I realize that every single one of the places I turned and felt some sense of disappointment was actually a “starving widow” God longed to use and eventually did use to help me.

I believe God knew exactly what He was doing when He sent Elijah to this pitiful, desperate woman who was preparing what she thought would be the last meal for both her and her son.

God knew that in order for Elijah to know that He was supplying his every need, He had to send Elijah to someone else who needed Him desperately too.

That’s how God works.

He is the ultimate source of our strength, our hope, our restoration.

But He uses weak, desperate people along the way.

Today, I’m feeling as if I need to say three things:

First, if you are sitting at a dry brook hoping for water, you might need to get up and start looking somewhere else.

Second, if you have gotten up and started looking, but all you can find are more and more people with what seem to be their own kind of “dried-up brook” lives, then you are probably heading in the right direction.  See how God can use you to help them and I believe you’re water will appear more quickly than you could ever imagine.

And finally, if you’re feeling weary and another weary soul appears looking for help, allow God to use you even in your weariness……..You never know how God is longing to supply your needs by your act of selflessness in a time of spiritual drought.

I’ve been wordless lately, but I’m thankful for a God who restores and replenishes when a well runs dry……….even when He sends me from drought to drought.

He longs to replenish and restore you too!

Drink from His Living Water today……..read His Words.

They are the truest source of refreshment for a weary soul!

 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest.

Matthew 11:28

 

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I have felt so wordless lately.

Literally, out of words.

It happens to writers from time to time.

They even have a name for it…..They call it writer’s block.

When my students struggled with what to write about on “Free Write” days at school this year, I would often say something like, “Just write about the fact that you have nothing to write about and before you know it, you’ll be writing something!”

And usually, if my students gave this a try, they discovered that, “sure enough,” they ended up with some type of writing!

So tonight, when Olivia, Maria, and I got home from the Gungor concert at KCU, I decided that I was going to write something even if I couldn’t think of anything to say.

So, I pulled out my laptop (which honestly I’ve been avoiding more and more often this summer in exchange for time outside in my garden or by the pool) and opened up my blog software.

I told myself that even though it’s after midnight and I’m getting up at 4:15 a.m. to help Olivia and Tim get out the door for a little two-day father/daughter trip to Cedar Point, I am going to post SOMETHING on my blog!

I thought about just rambling on about what we’ve been up to our house, but who needs to hear that?!?!?

I thought about doing my own kind of free write in which I would write about not having anything to write about and then just see what happens by the end, but that kind-of scared me!  Who knows what I might end up saying.

So I sat and stared at the screen for a while and kept thinking, “I have no words.  Where are my words???”

AND THEN It HIT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Smack-dab in the middle of my eyes, I’m almost certain I felt a twinge of pain!

My blog is not about MY WORDS!

I’ve gotten to this place in my writing several times in the past four years.

This place in blogging where……

My words become the central focus of my blog.

My stories replace His story.

My personal journey dominates over the journey we are all on together.

My words somehow take precedent over His Words.

And when I reach this place, I just lock up.

I find it difficult to keep up with my own kind of words.

Will the next post be funny enough? serious enough? helpful enough?

These kinds of questions start rolling through my mind when I begin to write, and I find myself simply NOT wanting to try………..

So I end up thinking, “I’ll just write something later this morning or maybe this afternoon or maybe late tonight.”

And the next thing I know, it’s the next day and I have not written……..

again.

So, tonight, even though I’ve managed to write too many words without having a real purpose, I am thankful that I began writing.

It has been in the pouring out of my pointless words that I have once again been reminded of the reason I began blogging in the first place.

I never intended for my blog to be all about me.

I meant for it to be all about Him, and how He comforts me, encourages me, transforms me, convicts me, challenges me, and on and on and on………….

So tonight as I began to write about my loss of words, God reminded me of the power of His.

I’m reading a book right now called, “Passages:  How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Change Everything For You.”

I spent most of my adult life “trying” to read the Bible through in a year, but honestly, I would get to the sacrifices in Leviticus and find myself shutting down emotionally.

The next thing I knew, another year had ended; and I had not reached my goal…..again.

So the year that Nick passed away, I determined that I was not going to let this happen anymore.

I ordered a chronological Bible, and disciplined myself to keeping up with the reading dates suggested throughout the Bible.

I am thankful and humbled to say that since 2009, I have successfully completed reading the entire Bible through once every year.

So, when I saw the book, “Passages,” I wanted to know what the author knew about Bible reading.

Maybe it’s this type of focused reading that has helped me walk the road of grief!

Whatever the case, I wrote tonight mostly to let you know that I have not stopped writing!

I just need to refocus the “why” and the “what”  of my blog writings.

Until then, know that I love you and pray for you daily!

Please keep my dear friend Martha in your prayers.  She is in Houston awaiting her surgery (which has been scheduled for July 12th) and doing a few more rounds of chemo before then.

I’ll keep you posted about Martha.

Much love,

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Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:  “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”

 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.

Every time I read this story, I wonder what Elijah was thinking when he realized the brook was dry.

The brook – the source of water from which God had told him to drink was suddenly a trench of dirt.

He had gone east of Jordan just like God said and had followed this command, “Go, hide, drink from the brook, and eat what the ravens feed you there.”

Then, after a passing of time, the brook held no water.

The source of God’s provisions for Elijah ran dry.

Have you ever reached a dry place?

You were sure you were on the right road and then suddenly you questioned every past decision.

I have to believe that Elijah looked up at the sky as he watched dust blow around the pebbles lining the brook’s once water-flowing basin and said,

“Really?????”

What I love most about this story is that God didn’t flinch.

He didn’t scramble.

He didn’t go into panic mode.

He didn’t apologize for the inconvenience or try to explain the change in plans.

He simply said, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon.  I have instructed a widow to feed you there.”

I’ll share more about this story tomorrow, because it gets even better, but for today know this:

When you turn around and life doesn’t make sense or your brook seems dry and empty, God already has the next plan in the works.

Trust Him today.

No matter what.

He has a plan for you, and maybe just maybe the dry place is actually where He needs you to be in order to do His next great work.

 

I love you all so much,

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(They changed the way blog music is played through Blogspot.

If you want music playing while on my blog, go to my “IPod” on the right just below my photo and click the arrow to play music.  I added the music videos for David Nevue’s beautiful music as well.  I hope they are a blessing. I‘m researching some other options but for now this is all I could figure out how to do.Smile)

I love my doctor.

I really do.

But I don’t always love sitting in a waiting room and paying my co-pay.

So, when I discovered I had poison ivy a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I bought some anti-itch cream at the drug store.  Yes, I bought generic.  I read the label and the % of active ingredient in this and the name brand was exactly the same.

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I “tried” to avoid itching it because I didn’t want it to spread, but sometimes I forgot…..and it spread.

I “tried” to avoid going into areas that could have more poison ivy; but when the puppies were getting through the fence at the top of our hill, I decided to try to fix the problem myself and climbed the hill with leftover lattice from our porch and zip-ties.  I found the suspicious openings and fastened the lattice tightly so that the puppies could not push through the bottom of the fence.  But there’s something about vines growing through the fence that you are holding tightly that should scream, “Watch out!! I could be dangerous!”  But I didn’t hear them screaming, so I just kept on moving along the fence..zip-tying as I went! 

I remember riding around in the pick-up with my grandpa on his farm in Oklahoma and watching him “fix fence,” but I don’t recall him ever using zip-ties.  I think cattle are a little stronger than Dash and Domino; but as I think of Grandpa this morning, I’m thinking surely he was proud of me for trying to fix a fence!

If only I’d worn gloves and long sleeves, which Grandpa always did!

Well, needless to say, my poison ivy spread this week.

From my right leg to my left leg to my left arm and even to my stomach!

I’d like to say that the quickly spreading poison ivy pushed me to go to my doctor immediately, but I can’t.

Instead I went to Family Dollar to pick up some puppy treats and shampoo and asked the manager if he knew any poison ivy secrets.  He immediately hollered to another employ who appeared with a wealth of information.

“You need to put apple cider vinegar on every itchy spot; then go to the poison ivy plant because near every poisonous plant, grows the cure!!”

He then explained that I needed to find a long-stemmed plant with one orange bell-shaped flower on top and boil the stems until they were mushy.  Then apply this to the bad areas and it would clear up.

I went home and immediately applied apple cider vinegar and climbed my hill in flip-flops (never a great idea) to search for this miracle plant.  No luck. Sad smile

Later in the day, I drove Peppy to a little town outside of Grayson to get his summer haircut.  The sweet lady who cuts his hair is full of wisdom, so I said, “Look at my arm!” She immediately reached into her cupboard of her little store and handed me a bottle of honey.  “Rub this on every area that is itching.  Take a cotton ball and dip it in cool water and then dab the areas to take away the stickiness.”

As I drove home with my honey, I was almost laughing at myself……almost………

When I looked out my window and noticed long-stemmed plants growing all through the ditch with a single bell-shaped orange flower growing atop the stem!

I pulled into a driveway and turned around to try to find a place to pull over and get some of the flowers.  When I realized there was no safe place to pull over, I turned onto a side road and into the driveway of a trailer that had these same flowers growing in the ditch right beside it.

I sat for a minute wondering, “What will these people do if they see me in their ditch picking flowers?”  On top of everything, I was in my swimming suit with a cover-up on because I had left a friend and her daughter at the pool at my house while running Peppy to the groomer’s…I thought I would be right back!

As I sat in the driveway, a lady opened the door of the trailer to see why I was sitting there.

I got out of the car and quickly said, “You probably wonder why I’m here, but I have a crazy question.”  She replied, “I may have a crazy answer.”  She did.

I explained about being covered in poison ivy and about the man at Family Dollar telling me about this plant that was growing in her ditch.

She then walked to me, showed me her arm which was obviously in its own poison ivy-recovery mode and went on to say that the only thing that she had had luck with was Lava soap.

The next think I knew, she was back in her trailer getting me a brand new bar!

She then helped me pick some flowers.

I wish you could have seen my friend’s face when I returned 40 minutes later with all of this:

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Well, I’m going to be honest.

I never boiled the stems.

And I have yet to rub the honey on my body, but we did eat some of it for dinner and it is delicious!  If you would like some local honey, you can buy it in Hitchens at Flo’s little shop called “Family Affair”

I did, however, dip the bar of soap in my pool and begin rubbing it on my arms and legs.

I felt a little like an Appalachian Bathsheba bathing at the pool, but I promise I was wearing a very modest one – piece suit with a skirt; and if David had been next door, he would not have requested my presence in his palace.

Now, I was officially laughing at myself.

Later that evening, I walked with another friend and told her the story, and she looked in her medicine cabinet and found yet another bottle of anti-itch lotion that was almost to expire and said, “Here, use this!”  It did get me through the night!

IMG_3943Anyway, the next day my poison ivy seemed to be reaching a point of no return, and I bit the bullet and spent several hours in the waiting room of my doctor’s office as a walk-in patient.  Why does this look so less inviting than walking through the woods looking for a mysterious flower?IMG_3957

I told her the whole story.  One thing I have learned to do is be honest when facing a doctor.  You never know if they have a Lava detector in the room, so there’s no since taking a chance.

She offered to give me a shot and medicine, and my husband still can’t believe I opted for only medicine.  I truly hate needles, and when she said it would only speed my recovery by about a day; I decided it was worth one more day of agony to avoid a shot.  He thinks I’m crazy, but why should I start changing now?

Anyway, I am on the road to recovery……finally……..and I’m thinking all of the tips I received along the way probably do help in mild cases.  I just started asking for help a little too late.

Don’t we do that in life when we have a problem?

We try to fix it ourselves first?

Then when it gets out of hand, we turn to friends and even strangers for advice, counsel, and help.

Finally, we realize that only the Great Physician has the answer.

So we force ourselves to wait until He provides the help we need.

In the waiting, we always learn something.

Patience, humility, trust, dependence on Someone greater than us…….

Today, you may not have poison ivy, but maybe there’s something you’re dealing with that seems overwhelming.

Maybe you’ve tried to fix it.

Maybe you’ve even turned to friends.

And strangers.

I’m challenging you today to turn to God.

He is patiently waiting to take your problem and deal with it………

but here’s the most difficult part of doing this.

Remember that He deals with things in HIS TIME.

Not ours.

As you wait for His help, thank Him for the opportunity to grow more patient, the lesson in humility, and the chance to learn to trust Him more.

Thank Him for allowing  you to depend on Him.

I read in II Chron. 15:3-4 this morning,

“For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach, and without the Law to instruct them. 

But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought Him out, they found Him.”

I love that passage.

I love that the Bible speaks to every situation in our lives.

Turn to Him today.

Seek Him.

You will find Him.

Deut. 4:28,

There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone,

which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God,

you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Jeremiah 29:13,

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Love you all!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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When Teachers Bake…….

June 7th, 2012

 

Two weeks ago, I was in Washington, DC, with Olivia on her 8th grade field trip.

One of the stops on the last day of the trip was DC Cupcakes. Smile

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Olivia wanted to try the key lime cupcake, but I was drawn to the flavor “salted caramel.”

When I took a bite, OH MY! I had never had such a yummy combination!

The next week we were in Nashville helping Erich and Mallory pack for their big move; and on the last night there, we went out for ice cream at a place called Jeni’s.

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I couldn’t believe it when I saw “salty caramel” as one of the flavors!

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Where have I been while this combo has been becoming so popular?!?

Well, as fate would have it, two things happened over this past weekend.

First, we told the girls in jail that we would bring them cupcakes this Friday night if we could get permission.

Second, one of the men in our congregation came forward at the end of Sunday morning services and announced that next week there would be a cupcake fundraiser for Relay for Life.

When Vicki (my teacher friend from the homemade laundry detergent post below) and I heard about the fundraiser, we thought it was a perfect reason to practice making cupcakes by trying out a new recipe for the girls in jail.

So, this morning we got up early and gathered our supplies and dove in to a recipe we found for salted caramel cupcakes.

The recipe I loved best was located on a blog called www.werenotmartha.com.

So, I took their recipe and added my own photographs and comments.

I hope it is clear enough to follow successfully!

If not, remember “we are teachers,” we’re not even “werenotmartha!”

Here are the ingredients for the actual cupcakes:

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If you are overwhelmed by the number of ingredients it takes to make the actual cupcakes, you might not want to read on.

There is still a cupcake filling and frosting recipe to go!

I promise, this is worth your time, though.

At least one time for the memory!

Cupcake Ingredients:

. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
. 1 teaspoon baking powder
. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
. 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, room temperature
. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
. 2 large eggs, room temperature
. 1 teaspoon vanilla
. 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners.

I had to call my friend, Kim, who is the queen of cupcakes while lining the muffin tins.

I couldn’t get the papers to stay down in the pan…….she said they would go down when the batter was added and just hearing her say that made me feel better.

She also told me I didn’t need to spray my cupcake liners with non-stick spray…….why haven’t I used cupcake liners with my muffins through the years?

Here’s what you do next:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

I just learned a few years ago that it is super important to mix the dry ingredients very well before combining them with your liquids.

If the baking powder is all in one spot, for example, it won’t spread through the batter unless you mixed it well while it’s dry!

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Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium-high until the batter begins to look fluffy.

We never really felt like we achieved a “fluffy” mixture, so we went ahead and moved on………..

sometimes you’ve just got to make executive decisions, so we made one.

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Add eggs, one at a time, until each is mixed well into the mixture. Then add the vanilla.

Alternate pouring a little flour then a little buttermilk into the mixing bowl and mixing well until you have emptied both measuring cups completely into the butter/egg mixture.

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Fill each muffin tin about half way with batter and bake for 23-25 minutes.

This was a perfect chance to sit outside and have a cup of coffee.

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After removing cupcakes from the oven, they have to cool on a wire rack before the next step.

I’m going to be honest.  I didn’t bother to get out my wire racks…….just admitting this makes me want to Google the importance of wire racks in the cooling process, so I’m probably going to take a break from this blog post long enough to do this!

Well, I’m going to add this info from www.ehow.com so, unlike me, you will hopefully take time to dig out your wire baking racks.

WIRE RACKS

Function

  • Wire baking racks are also called cooling racks because they are designed to help baked goods cool quickly and evenly. When freshly baked items are placed on a cooling rack, the items are allowed to cool evenly because the steam and heat are able to escape from all areas of the item, unlike when items are left to cool in the pan they were baked in.

Significance

  • When baked items are left to cool inside the pan they were baked in, they tend to become soggy since the steam can’t readily escape from all areas of the item. When the steam can’t escape, the moisture is absorbed into the baked item. Cooling racks also save a baker time as they help to speed up the cooling process. The quicker cookies and cakes are cooled, the quicker they can be frosted.

 

As Vicki and I read on in the recipe, we realized things were going to get a bit more complicated, and we decided to take a lunch break.  I had a lunch meeting scheduled, and Vicki had some work to do for school.  So we said “goodbye,” left the cupcakes to cool, and decided to get back together in the afternoon.

The next step in the cupcake recipe was making the caramel filling.

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Here are the ingredients for the filling:

. 1/2 cup sugar
. 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
. 1/4 cup heavy cream

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In a large pot, melt sugar over medium/high heat. I am embarrassed to say that I did not know you could place sugar in a pan with NO OTHER ingredients and actually watch it melt!

You have to gently whisk the sugar along the way, but I promise that eventually it is bubbling like a liquid!

After the sugar melts, add the butter and mix again until it begins to melt.

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Fold in the heavy cream. The recipe says that the mixture will immediately begin to foam, so I had my camera ready to photograph this exciting moment because Vicki was not back at the house yet.  I didn’t want her to miss this monumental part of the cupcake cooking process!

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You can sort-of see the bubbles in the pan.  I was holding the camera while pouring the heavy cream, so I may have missed just how thrilling this moment was.  If you try the recipe, let me know how much yours foams up.

Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth. At this point in the cooking process, I was getting a little nervous because the three ingredients seemed to be forming into a rock-like surface on my whisk.  I was sure I had overcooked the caramel filling.  In the end it all worked out, though!

Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool down a bit.

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Cut a small circle out of the top of each cooled cupcake. Fill with a teaspoon of the delicious caramel sauce.

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I was extra happy to see that one of my scoops ended up looking like a little heart by accident!

I could feel the love immediately, and it made me smile and grab my camera (imagine that!)

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After all the cupcakes have been filled with caramel filling, place the cupcake “lids” back on top of each cupcake.

I guess I should have told you that sooner, so you wouldn’t sneak a little snack! Smile

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Finally, it’s time to make the frosting!

By now, you may be thinking, “How badly did I really want to try a salted caramel cupcake?”

Hang in there!

This part goes fairly quickly!

Here’s your frosting ingredients:

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. 1/4 cup sugar
. 2 tablespoons water
. 1/4 cup heavy cream
. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
. 1 stick (1/2 C) salted butter
. 1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter
. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

First, combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. The recipe said, to “Cook, without stirring at all, until it starts turning a deep brown/amber.”

This may have been the most difficult part of the day……..

waiting and waiting for water and sugar to boil and turn brown and not stirring the entire time we waited , but I promise it finally began to boil and change color!

Actually, once it started boiling, I think we waited a little too long to remove it from the heat and part of our “deep brown/amber” became almost black.  We ended up removing one clumpy piece of burned caramel…..but even it was yummy to eat (we both had a little bite).

After you remove the amber mixture from the heat, very slowly add the cream and vanilla.  I think this is because the mixture is very hot; and if it splatters on you, it burns. 

Believe me.

Lightly mix all of this until it is smooth in texture.

I’m going to quote ‘werenotmartha” on this next part, because they said it beautifully,

“Allow the caramel to cool, for about 20-25 minutes, but make sure while it’s cooling you keep an eye on it to make sure you’re still able to pour it.

If it gets too thick, you can add a touch of water, reheat on the stovetop, and continue whisking until the caramel is pourable again.”

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While the caramel was cooling, we went ahead and began mixing the butters and salt until fluffy.   We then added the powdered sugar slowly.

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By this time, the caramel was cool enough to add so we mixed it in and the frosting was ready to spread on our waiting cupcakes.

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I wish I could hand you a cupcake through the computer screen!

They really are yummy even if I had a part in their making!

It’s amazing how wonderful things can turn out when you follow a recipe!  I need to do that more often!

I can’t believe we’re going to attempt these again next week for Relay for Life!

Thankfully, it’s summer!

That’s about the only time teachers like me and Vicki have to try out new recipes!

Happy baking!

Every once in a while, I love to share something I’ve done that is sort-of out of the ordinary.

Well, today I put on an apron and spent a large portion of my day in my kitchen.

Even though I love these kinds of days, there are definitely very “out of the ordinary” for me!

Since it’s summer break and things are a bit slower in our worlds, one of my teacher friends (Vicki) and I decided to try our hand at a couple new recipes……..

This first recipe is NOT edible, so please don’t consider it as a dinner idea. Smile

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About a month ago, another friend (Dana) was telling me about making homemade laundry detergent and how much money it was going to save her every year.  She also talked about how clean her clothes were when she used it, and how it seemed to bring out the fragrance of her fabric softener more powerfully.  A couple of weeks later, she brought me some detergent to try; and I loved it! So I bought the ingredients and decided to give it a try myself!

Here’s all you need to make over four gallons of laundry detergent!

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Doing a load of laundry ends up only costing a few pennies!

And all four ingredients can be found at WalMart near the laundry detergent aisle!

The first step is grating an entire bar of Fels-naptha soap.baking day june 2012 0090009

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After grating the soap, melt it in a pan on low heat along with four cups of water. 

Stir frequently.

Once the soap is melted, add one cup of baking soda, one cup of Borax, and two cups of washing soda.

Stir until dissolved.

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Pour this mixture into a five-gallon bucket, add three gallons of water, and stir.

The detergent needs to sit overnight and then be stirred again in the morning.

You can then pour it into however many different containers it takes to store it all.

Dana uses old 2-liters and old detergent bottles.

We’ll be using those kinds of containers in the morning to store ours (after our mixture sits overnight).

For front-loading machines, you will use 1/2 cup of detergent for each load.

For top-loading machines, you will use 1 cup for each load.

(Be sure to always shake your detergent bottles before pouring as some of the ingredients seem to separate with time.)

Happy washing!

My next post will include our second recipe attempt!

It is edible!