Friday, June 28, 2013

God's Sovereignty, Part 2

Day 2 Continued:

Day 2's theme revolved around the Sovereignty of God. The author pulls verses from the bible that focus on this truth. Again, the objective is to see what God is saying to me, during this process. How do I understand God's sovereignty through the words in each verse? When I worked through this assignment, I literally wrote from my heart, completing verse after verse. 

Below, the remaining verses of Day 2's assignment (pg. #'s for my reference w/in my bible):
If you are interested in re-reading Part 1, or have yet to read Part 1, click here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cupcakes

This lovely cupcake is topped with a Whipped Cream Mascarpone Frosting :) 
It stands up wonderfully! But here...
We care about the cupcake!
This came about as an accident. 
I made Cinnamon Sugar Butter for cinnamon sugar toast, I had to use it before it went bad -- remember, I tend to make more than needed! Creating the butter makes it much easier and cleaner to put on the toast, than doing each step separately. Now, I believe in making the cinnamon sugar to taste, or look. I know what color the mixture needs to be for my personal preferences. 

Here is the recipe (makes 9 cupcakes): 

Whipped Cream Mascarpone Frosting

I love homemade frosting, especially whipped cream frosting. 
But I found many of the recipe's too sweet, and lessened the sugar to cream ratio. 
I also wanted a denser, more substantial frosting. 
Somehow -- ;) -- Mascarpone Cheese entered my mind as a solution. 
I had no idea what this cheese tasted like, 
but I've seen in added to sweets and savories, 
making it a versatile ingredient. 
When I purchased it, I tasted it before adding sugar. 
In my opinion, on it's own Mascarpone is very bland. 
Once I added sugar, it's flavor came out, 
and I realized this cheese takes on whatever seasoning is mixed with it. 
So, here we are!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 16

Chapter 16, The Disorganized Mind
“Why have you kept silent for so long?” This question is asked by a man, clearly concerned, yet also bordering on angry.
I am sitting on the steps leading to the locked room. I know this now. The argument is taking place in the family room. It’s dark outside; I can hear the wind whipping through the trees. I am nervous, fearful of being caught eavesdropping.
“Because,” the words slow, thoughtful, but non-apologetic, “I thought it was the best thing for Ivy…” I recognize her voice, a memory within a dream: Mother. She sighs, sounding near to tears. I do not know where she is, for I am unable to see either of them, but imagine her sitting on the couch, elbows on knees, and head in her hands. Somehow, I have full recollection of what she looks like, how she positions her body, and the way her face changes with emotions. “I honestly thought I would never see him again.”

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Light

 We all have our days of frustration, and sometimes 
the negative things in life can start to take hold, bringing us down. 
I recently found myself in the “part” of being “down”. 
I started feeling tired and weak, 
all my energy gone. 
And on top of that, 
a wisdom tooth was having its way with me…
I hadn’t prayed in weeks. 
It didn’t even cross my mind. 
Then, one night, 
while I was moping on the couch, 
my son turned to me and said, 
“I love you, Daddad.” 
His eyes loving and as beautiful as a full moon, 
his smile as true and pure as the earth’s horizon – a light!

God’s Light!

And the more I looked around, 
I noticed it was everywhere. 
At that moment, I realized I had stopped looking for it, 
therefore, all I saw was darkness and gloom. 
From that moment on, 
I decided to only look for the light, 
for what made me smile, 
and for what I am grateful. 
Life is a gift. 
Be grateful; be pure; be positive. 
Trust in God’s love; He won’t let you down. 
He will teach you lessons and make you think, 
but He will always be there for you. 
And if you just look, you will find His Light everywhere…

The Rustic Knight

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finding Joy & Laughter In A Serious Place

Here is an excerpt from an email conversation with my wonderful friend. Fortunately, we both have a sense of humor. First, let me set the scene: My friend and I had our weekly girls night on Friday, I hosted. While she was here, I kept adjust my phantom glasses. Now, I just got a new contact lens prescription a couple of hours before she came over -- it has been almost 8 years since I last wore contacts -- and I had them in while she visited. My current glasses are 5 years old (I have new glasses on order). I believed that due to my glasses being old, out of whack, and constantly hit by my son's flailing arms, due to his inability to be aware of his extremities at any given time, was why I felt constant pressure on my nose...this was not the case. The symptoms became serious in a this-is-affecting-my-daily-life way, beginning a week ago, Wednesday. I could no longer ignore them and had to see a doctor. 

So, here is the excerpt (names changed):

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christian Person Week

Upon checking my email this morning, I came across this lovely forward, sent by my grandmother. This is the first I have heard of Christian Person Week, and decided to share this beautifully written poem with all of you. I am not sure who the author of this poem is, but I give credit to him/her. I hope you enjoy!

When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living.'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian', I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian', I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

Today is Beautiful Christian Person's Day.
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..

Be Blessed, Be a Blessing.

When you feel like you're drowning in life, 
don't worry -- your Lifeguard walks on water. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 15

Chapter 15, Silence Broken
“Ava?” I was astonished. I just stood before her, door open, my hand still resting on the door knob. She looked cold, still donning her lovely dress, though now adorned with a jacket. She clenched her clutch in front of her, both hands on handle. “Wh-what are you doing here?” That was not the only question running through my mind. I was also wondering, how did you know where I was? Why are you here in the middle of the night?
Stella approached my side, lightly placing her hand around my waist. It took me a moment to realize she was guiding me from the entry, to allow Ava passage into our warm cabin. “Hi, I’m Stella, Ivy’s friend. I just joined her. Please, come in. We have coffee. Would you like a cup?”
Ava tentatively crossed the threshold, unsure if she was truly welcome. Glancing at me, I came to and smiled, quickly saying, “Yes, I’m sorry. I seem to have forgotten my manners.” Able to move on my own accord, once again, I led Ava to the kitchen. Stella took her jacket and purse to the hall lockers. Suddenly, concern draped my body. Something had to have happened for her to come all the way out here, at two o’clock in the morning. “How do you like your coffee?” 

Friday, June 14, 2013

God's Sovereignty, Part 1

My mother had started a prayer study almost two years ago, sharing with me bits of her journey. After I expressed interest in doing the same, she picked up a couple of books for The Rustic Knight and me. I must say, I have had these for longer than I'd like to admit. For whatever reason, the timing just wasn't right. Now, I believe the timing wasn't right prior to The Paisley Butterfly's existence, for the purpose of sharing this experience with you :) And I am going to do my best to be completely honest and transparent with my thoughts and feelings in the moment of completing each section of this study...So, here we go!

The theme for Day 1 is: "Can I change God?"

To be honest, this is a thought that has never entered my mind -- that I can recall. I've understood prayer to be about opening myself up to God's will, to change me. I never had the intent to sway God to my wants, or to bend God to my will. Maybe it's the way I was raised in my faith, I have no idea. That's not to say I haven't needed much practice in prayer. 

I am asked in the study a multiple choice question, of what I assume happens in heaven after I pray. The options vary around the idea that we can change God's mind. There is an option none of the above. I choose this, writing, NO! Prayer changes us! 

Then, I am to read the prayer:
~ Psalm 25:4-5 ~
4 Show me your ways, O Lord, 
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my Savior.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lord's Prayer

If ever you find yourself in a place where words to pray escape you, remember the Lord's Prayer. This is given to us by Jesus, found in the new testament:

~ Luke 11:2-4 ~
Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 
Give us each day our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. 
And lead us not into temptation. 

The version I grew up with goes like this: 

Our Father, 
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come, 
thy will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, 
and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom, 
and the power, 
and the glory. 
Forever and ever. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stacked Grilled Cheese

I was in the mood for a grilled cheese the other day, inspired by Ivy's sandwich in Chapter 12 of The Secrets Held Within. So, upon staking out my fridge, looking for what spoke to my tummy, I opted for tomatoes and mushrooms.

Taking two pieces of bread, I layered the cheese and veggies: Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Provolone, Mushrooms and Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Provolone. Then, after placing the sky high sandwich within the toaster over, I set the temperature to 250 degrees.

And watched...

Once the bottom was browned, I flipped it over.

And watched some more...

Once I saw the cheese start to ooze, I was mesmerized.... All of that gooey cheese was going to taste so good. The thought of it made my mouth salivate. I don't know how much time passed, but all of a sudden, I had to hurry, lest the cheese separate from my sandwich and fall to the floor of the toaster oven! I rushed to plate it, opening the door and sliding it on a plate, before said disaster could take place.

Look how pretty it is!!! And it tasted just as wonderful :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Bible Study Is Really A Prayer Study

Alright, I know I said my first post for this bible study would come Friday -- and I will still post on Friday --however, having started this study, there are two things that I have come to understand. The first being, it is more of a prayer study than a bible study. The book has each day of the study broken down. There are weekly chapters, with daily assignments, if you will. Since my goal is to not only share the actual study with you, but also what is happening to me internally (thoughts, feelings, etc.), I am not sure I can follow through with my original plan, as it stands. Second, I believe my expectations of following the daily breakdown have been wildly aggressive. This is because the study is turning out to be more involved than I realized. If I complete the weekly study based on how the book lays it out, then try to pack all of that information, and my process, into one weekly post, I feel that I will be doing this entire experience a disservice.

So, that being said, I am altering my original proposal. I am going to forsake any time limit I have placed on this study, and the time expectations given by the book, in an effort to allow this study to unfold as it chooses. By spending more time where it deserves, I can truly share my thoughts, feelings, and understanding of this study with you. 

And, I am still planning on posting once a week in regards to my study. I just don't know how many "days" I will have covered within the book per post.

I look forward to sharing with you, and hope that you will continue to be patient with me on this endeavor! May God be with you! :)

Prayer Study Day 1 here

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 14

Chapter 14, The Visitor
“So, this is the book?” Stella was sitting on the couch next to me in the cabin. We each had a mug of coffee, steam swirling in lovely whimsy. I had a decorative pillow in my lap, playing with the fringe, as my other hand was bordering on burnt from the scorching hot mug. I breathed in the aroma of freshly brewed dark roast, with a splash of Irish cream creamer. Stella’s mug was currently residing on a coaster atop the coffee table, Lillian Sander’s book in hand.
It was late. Darkness had encased the earth some hours ago, bringing Stella with it. The sound of her car door slamming shut, followed by the clicking of her skipping up the stairs to the porch, was a sigh of relief from heaven. She welcomed herself in yelling, “Hey love! Momma is here,” the moment the front door swung open. She was adorable in a blue dress, falling mid-thigh, with ruffles around the collar, meeting in a V just above the natural waist. Under the palest yellow sweater I have ever encountered, a thick brown belt cinched it all together. Her hair fell to her shoulders, an interesting strawberry blonde.
I met her in the hall, sporting sweatpants, which came just below the knee, and a hoody. My brown hair pulled up in a messy bun. In five minutes, her glamour was gone, replaced with natural beauty in comfort, matching messy bun and all.
“Yeah, that’s the book.” I felt empty. No, confused numbness – too many conflicting emotions, the toll of discernment an unbearable weight, leaving the only course of action to close in on itself – is more appropriate. I feel that I am at a crossroads, only there is no road to take. This map is a jumbled mess of inaccurate memories, facts that are vague, and doubt becoming a very prevalent reality.

Friday, June 7, 2013

B.Y.O. Pizza & Pie Sleepover :)

Build Your Own Pizza & Pie!

Kit will be four in August. My friend's youngest child will be four in June. My friend and I were pregnant together, and our children have grown up together. May was the first time they'd had a sleepover together. And it could not have been more perfect!

Originally, I was planning on ordering pizza. Then, I remembered how much fun I'd had growing up when my parents would have homemade pizza nights. I took that memory a step further and thought, How much fun would it be to have them make their own pizzas AND pies?

The sleepover was to commence on Friday. I realized we had half of the ingredients necessary for such an activity:
  1. Fruit was residing within  my freezer and fridge: peaches, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, and grapes.
  2. I had all of the fixings for homemade pizza sauce: a can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, parsley, basil, and garlic and onions.
  3. Cheese! It was pre-shredded, and I had a couple of varieties.  
Kit and I went to the grocery store on Wednesday to pick up the remaining items we needed. This provided much fun, allowing Kit to participate in making decisions for his big night. The items we stocked up on were as follows: 

  1. Pizza dough -- I wanted to save time, so I bought pre-made pizza dough. Regular for the kids, and wheat for the grown up ladies...all of which turned out delicious!
  2. Pie crust -- I've tried making this from scratch, only to fail. Someday I will master a homemade pie crust, but this was not the event to perfect such a recipe. 
  3. Yogurt for the pie sauce.
  4. Mushrooms and sweet bell peppers.
  5. Sausage and pepperoni.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 13

Chapter 13, The Blonde
After scouring the shelves for other books penned by Lillian Sanders, I came up empty handed. It baffled me that this book was in the antiques section of the store. The copyright date is 1960, clearly not old enough to be considered an antique. And I had no idea my grandmother was a published author. There was a lot to learn about my mother’s family.
I went in search of Todd, ready to get back to the cabin to search the internet. I was going to find out what kind of a writing career Lillian had.
As I exited the antique book room to pay for this find, I noticed the same blonde from my first day in the village, the one that ran when she saw me. I hesitated. Todd was talking to her, she was laughing. They seemed to have a history of some sort, at least they seem to have known each other a while, regardless of context. A part of me wanted to approach them, but my motives weren’t entirely pure. I felt possessiveness over Todd that didn’t feel warranted. We haven’t even known each other for a full week yet. Who was I to lay claim? The other part of me wanted to become invisible, because I was still slightly unsettled from that odd non-encounter with the blonde days earlier.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Clicking Tangents

How many times have you gone to the source of the internet with the intent of gaining information for a specific situation, only to find yourself an hour later somewhere else, wondering: How did I get here?

This happens to me frequently, and tonight is no exception. I found myself reading this wonderful article expressing one view of blogging. I became utterly immersed. I relate.

Now, I didn't get there intentionally. I clicked myself there. It all started with looking up images of antique bookshelf ladders.
All I did was click on the picture above, and I was taken here. Curious, I poked around the site. I clicked on a beautiful kitchen sink. Then, my mouse, of it's own accord, clicked on an amazing rolling bench that I want to build with The Rustic Knight. After that, I found myself enjoying a lovely book mark. 

I became more than intrigued with the images posted, so I scrolled and found my eye catch a picture bringing old and new together, leading me to the wonderful article about what it means to blog.

Sometimes we need to just let ourselves be led to a place we might not take ourselves. Meandering through the wilderness of the internet can sometimes be incredibly frustrating. But other times we can learn something about ourselves when we come across things that speak to our hearts. I came to my computer this evening with a purpose. I found myself traveling down a path of whimsy that inspires me.

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 12

Chapter 12, The Bookstore
After my stomach felt the need to shout out to everyone at City Hall – bringing to mind the need to have a talk with my stomach – Todd and I decided to share our finds at Betsy’s Diner over a deliciously sloppy stacked Grilled Cheese Sandwich, homemade chips, and of course milkshakes.
“It appears your grandmother, Lillian, sold the property to a Bruce Jackson in 1996. I am going to do more research on the sale, but your family did own that property beginning in 1953.”
“Coinciding with the obit reference of residency in Copseville since 1953,” I thought aloud as I sipped my shake, awaiting the arrival of my meal. As we waited, we read through the copies of records before us, the shuffling of paper audible as we sorted out the relevant information held between the pages.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

'Confidence And Heart...' T-Shirt Purse

This purse, CONFIDENCE AND HEART GO HAND IN HAND, was made for a friend's high school graduation gift. She saw that I had made another purse out of a dress top for my sister -- On a whim -- and asked if she gave me a few t-shirts would I make one for her. Of course, I said Yes!