Monthly Archives: March 2015

Love Cookies

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I enjoy cooking and baking for people. It is my love language. But Sunday night my hubby baked for me. He made these amazing oatmeal cranberry cookies.

OH, MY. He must love me very much (or he just really wanted cookies). They are seriously some of the best cookies I have ever tasted. Definitely in my top five. I’m calling them Love Cookies since they were made with love and I love them so much. Go make some now.

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Love Cookies

 

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups quick oats
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Mix in honey and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in coconut, dried cranberries, and oats. Fold dry ingredients into butter mixture. Scoop dough with one inch scoop and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake until cookies turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Let sit 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

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Where’s the Beef

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Wheres-the-Beef1Remember that commercial with the little old lady peeping over the counter and asking, “Where’s the beef?” (I used to love that sassy little lady.) Sunday my pastor told a story about when he worked at McDonald’s. His first assignment was to assemble twelve burgers in two minutes. After two days he was finally able to meet the quota and was popping the buttons of his shirt with pride. Then a hullaballoo at the registers got his attention. In his focus on  condiment stacking perfection and the time challenge he had forgotten to actually put burgers on the burgers. He wrapped them up beautifully and sent them out in orders burgerless. Those poor customers were left wondering, like the lady from the commercial, “Where is the beef?”

Can you imagine ordering a burger and being given a bun with condiments with not even a hint of meat? That would make for some unhappy campers.  Where’s the beef, indeed!

Yet I wonder how many of us are missing the meat in our relationship with God in much the same way. (I know that was quite a segue, but just go with it.) We go to church, volunteer to help at the food bank, maybe even host a group at our home. Our faith looks good. But when it comes to the meat of the gospel, are we cheating ourselves? Are we missing the meat to load up on extras?

Going to church is wonderful. Helping the needy? Hoorah. Volunteering? Selfless and admirable. All these things are amazing gifts that are needed and appreciated. But without a daily relationship with Jesus all that is just a bun with condiments. It is not filling. It is not satisfying. It is not soul-saving.

The gospel is that Jesus was sent by God, that He was crucified for the sins of mankind, buried, and rose again. That’s the message. Everything else is a condiment.

[This would be a good place for a coupon for a free burger. I don’t have one to offer. However, if you would like to discuss Jesus over a good burger sometime, message me.]

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NLT

 

 

Spring

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Good morning, God. When I go through a hard winter, I never wonder if spring will fail to come. I know it will come. That is the nature of seasons—spring follows winter every time. It never fails (even though some years we have our doubts). I know that Your nature is even more dependable. Your love and Your grace will always be there. Your answers always follow my prayers. I can trust You. I give my heart to You and know You will keep it safe. Your love is more constant than the seasons.

You own the day, you own the night; you put stars and sun in place. You laid out the four corners of earth, shaped the seasons of summer and winter.
Psalm 74:16–17 MSG

Writerly Intentions

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God’s been dealing with me lately. He’s been asking me what I am doing with the talent and experience He gave me. I am not usually a person who puts things away to use once a year or to save for “good.” I’m a “use it all up and enjoy it right now” kind of gal. But for the last few years I have not been writing. What is up with that?

A few weeks ago God sent me to a “Shake Your Tree” workshop with Patsy Clairmont where the little dried up writer inside of me got rattled around a bit. The words started popping to the surface and the desire of my heart surfaced once again. I heard God saying, “What are you waiting for?”

So I signed up for a writers’ group at Patsy’s house. Last night was the first meeting. The twelve of us are varied in age, life experience, careers, and ambition. We are songwriters, letter writers, e-mail writers, book writers, poets, and backpack note writers. But we are all hoping to shake some words out of our brains and onto paper through creative exercises and story sharing.

Our first assignment was to take a random quote from a deck of quote cards and write a response, rewrite it in our own words, or just write something that builds on the quote. The quote I got to write about? “If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly, like a millionaire intent on going broke.” —Brenda Francis

How about that? God’s voice coming from a cute Sugar Boo deck of cards.

My response?

When I get to heaven I want to stand before Jesus able to say it’s all gone, I gave my all. I used my talents, turned them inside out and backwards and used them again like a pair of underwear when my luggage was lost. I want to be able to say I made dresses out of the drapes and snowshoes out of the tennis rackets of my life that weren’t being used for anything else. I want to be used up like toothpaste that has been scraped out of a cut-open tube in a prison camp. I want to write words that encourage, serve others until I’m exhausted, and love with abandon. But, most of all, I want to WANT all of this more than I want to watch the next TV show, try a new recipe, or take a soak in the tub. I do not want to keep anything back for a later time. I want to, every single day, be spent.

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.
1 Corinthians 15:58 TLB