Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time in for mommy


a friend posted this article on facebook, and I realized that it's me. I'm feeling some serious mommy guilt now, as my little one sleeps in my lap as I type this.

So I'm taking some time out. I might not be back, or it might be a long long time. I need to focus on my girls and my mommy role. Time out on blogging and time out on spending endless hours reading other blogs and playing games on facebook. Time to call it quits. Time for a time out online and a time in for mommy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Given for me, Given for you

That hymn plays through my head as I begin the spiritual journey of making communion bread. (although I only know the chorus... and bits of the verses I still like to hum the tune). The recipe is in my head now, which makes it easier.
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt
4 t oil
1 c hot water (115 degrees)
3 T molasses
3 T honey
Pretty small cast of characters. This is an unleavened bread, so no yeast, making it simple, quick, and fool proof. The lack of yeast also causes no need for kneading, which made me to scrap my original title of this blog "kneading prayer". Catchy, but not applicable here. Maybe another post.

As I collect the goods, I thank God for my stocked pantry, for the food I eat daily, and the abundance I have. I pray for those whose pantries are empty this day, and whose tummies will grumble as they lay their heads to rest.
I mix the dry ingredients together. Moving them about with my fingers, thanking God for the convenience of grocery stores, and a product I didn't have to grow, harvest or mill to use.
Working the oil into the dry mix moves my thoughts and prayers to blessings. I thank all those in service to God who anoint the sick, who pray for them, and bring them the message of the risen Christ.
I carefully heat the water in the microwave and pray for those who lack clean water to drink and wash with. Being thankful for the faucet in my kitchen that flows with safe water each and every day for me and my family to drink and wash with.
As I pour and mix the honey and molasses into the hot water I pray for babies. Honey always makes me think of sick babies, since babies aren't supposed to have honey. I think of my dear sweet girls and am so thankful they are safe and healthy. Honey contains small traces of botulism and causes severe problems in babies whose immune systems can't fight it off like adults can.
I pour the dark, sweet mixture into the dry ingredients while thanking God for diversity on our earth, thanking him for the melting pot of life and praying for tolerance and understanding amongst those who differ from each other. Mixing the light and dry with the dark and wet until it forms one solid ball, which will be a bit sticky, but none the less, is one.
Diving the ball into four sections I pat each one into it's own ball and flatten it, giving it a little flour dusting to prevent sticking. Thanking God for my hands, and my ability to do work, my ability to be a useful and contributing member of society.
Each ball finds it's place on my baking stone and is scored with a serrated knife. While I score the symbol into the raw dough I think of taking up my cross, the cross to follow Jesus. The cross I bear, but Jesus died on, for my sins.
The loaves going into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. As the timer ticks I've done different things. Sometime I've read a short chapter in my bible study book, or pulled out the bible. This day, my dear sweet Clara awoke from her nap. As I waited for the oven buzzer, I held her in my arms and fed her. I thanked God for the miracle of her birth, and for bringing her to me happy and healthy. I prayed for her, and her big sister snoozing through her nap time.
I get the dishes to the sink and pray for my husband who is my dishwasher. Lord bless him!
The loaves come out after 10 minutes and are brushed with oil, giving them moisture. I pray for rain for the fields, and flowers. I think of the flood victims who have too much moisture, and the drought victims with too little. I pray for recovery in Fargo and the other areas effected recently.
The bread goes back into the oven for another 8 minutes to complete it's baking time.

Stacked on my table they cool. Usually after nap time the girls and I walk down to Wartburg to put the bread in the chapel. I use the walk to pray for all those who will partake tomorrow and thank God for their forgiven sins and the symbolism of that meal. On this day I will freeze the bread and walk it to Scott's house so he can make sure it gets to Chapel next week when we will be gone in North Dakota interviewing. Thank God for Scott and all the work and coordinating he has done this year for chapel linens and Communion bread making it to the table on Wednesday mornings. What a daunting and logistical task!

Most of all I enjoy making the bread. It's a wonderful spiritual time for me, being thankful for things, remembering to pray, being humble and doing something simple. I enjoyed thinking about how I would write this and present it as I made the bread and photographed my steps. I think it made the experience more fun this time. I hope the congregation we are called to uses fresh baked bread, and perhaps I can even be the baker of that special bread. I would really like that.

I thank God for the bread, given for me, and given for you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God will

Below is a link to one of the best pieces of sound engineering work ever seen. It is a composite audio/video of song whereby additional tracks were laid in by different singers and musicians from different places around the world. The finished product is tremendous!
The song itself is that classic standard "Stand By Me" originally released in 1955 by The Staple Singers and released again in 1961 by the Drifters. This composite version is a real toe tapper.
So turn up the speaker volume. Click here to listen
My sister posted this link. It really is an amazing collection and I'm glad she shared it with me. I wanted to share it with you.

When I hear that song.. of course it makes me thing... who's going to stand by me?

And of course I know the answer... God will.

So please listen and watch, and know who will stand by you. God Will.

more cake bites

 So these little bites of Delicious were made last week for a MOPS event I had to bring a dessert that didn't require a fork to. I remembered about 7:30pm on Wed night I needed this dessert, and was home alone with the girls. So there was no way I was going to try and hit the grocery store. I had the cake mix, frosting and candy melts already, and also had lollipop sticks. I had bought all this wanting to make little baseball cake bites for my nephew's birthday while we were in Omaha, but just flat out didn't have time. So these tasty little bites became a treat for the MOPS childcare workers luncheon. 

I did some things differently which I think made them 100 times better tasting and looking. I used yellow cake and chocolate "rich and thick" Betty Crocker frosting as opposed to the whipped stuff. Worked much much better. And I used just enough to make the balls tight, not crumbly. I put the cake balls on sticks, which was a great idea and made for much easier and cleaner coating of the chocolate. Although the balls were maybe a bit to heavy and a few fell off the sticks while I was dipping. there is no way they could have stood the other way, like a sucker, the would have all fallen off. My hubby commented they look a bit like chocolate covered caramel apples. Yes, I guess I see it too. Whatever they look like, I know they tasted AWESOME. I also took some to my friends at Pier One. While I never felt compelled to take food there while I was working over the holidays, for some reason I did this time. I brought donuts and strawberries one day, and these little guys another day. Pretty sure everyone had a heart attack they were so good. I wish I would have brought more and people could have eat more than one each. Oh well. Maybe next time. I absolutely have to make them smaller next time. Once again they were 3-4 biters, and after bite two, they usually fell off the stick, so they sat in your hand melting. I need to make them about half the size so you can just take one bite and eat the whole thing. I think that's how Bakerella does hers. 

So that's the next step in the cakes bites adventure. Don't have anything I can think of coming up that will call for more. But I am going to make communion bread for chapel. Perhaps I will do a spiritual blog about my "routine" I go through when I make it, and photograph it along the way. Good idea. Note to self... do that :) 
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where my soul is


This is a link to an article a friend of mine posted on Facebook. It's by the one and only Bono, whom I am secretly (no more, I guess) crushing on! Always have been. Yes, Robert knows :)

But more importantly this article made me think. Bono asks the question where is your soul? He talks of aid money congress is giving to help the third world countries, he talks of listening to the sound of praise in a small stone chapel, and he talks of the wonder of the Easter story. He says "Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea."

He mentions that many Americans are turing to service since they don't have the finacial means to donate cash to charity. I think this is a wonderful thing. In this recession I see many people turing back to Christ. Perhaps that is a trend for recessions. I'm not to sure... but it sure sounds logical. In a time when people can't make sense of a lost job, or not being able to make ends meet on a regular basis, they turn to Christ, they turn to something bigger than themselves. Christ has always been there for us. Always has his arms open wide for us. No, I can't explain why my friends at Pier One lost thier jobs and the store closed, but I know they can find comfort in Christ and in the Easter story, the idea that this life on earth is not the end.

I find comfort in that story. As I awoke the other day from a bad dream (which I've been having a lot of lately) I stood in the shower and worried. What if I was in a bank when it got robbed, what if someone kidnapped my kids, what if someone goes crazy and tries to shoot my husband during a service? I worry a lot. It's kind of my thing. I'm a worrier. But the worry of these things... worry I can't do anything about. Sometimes it overwhelmes me. Makes me cry, makes me sad, makes me scared. And the only comfort I have is the promise that this world is not the end. This is not all I have. When my time comes, it comes, and God has a place for me, and for you, in heaven. To experience something beyond our human comprehension. That promise of my sins forgiven, Jesus on the cross, and then rising again, gives me hope to press on. Hope to not hold up in my house and never let my kids out of my sight. It gives me the hope to live, not in fear, but in the love of Christ. What an amazing gift He has given us to live this way.

So where does my soul go with that? What do I do with that hope? Give it away of course. Share it. Share the news that Christ is risen, we are forgiven, and God reins in Heaven for all of us. Sharing the faith is the best way to begin again, begin again with that hope.

Okay. So now I need to do it. I've never been much of an evangelist. I'm really not even good at living like I should as a christian. A true christian, not those people who claim to be, but are really judgemental jerks, giving us a bad name. So what does that look like? I think I need to change a bit. I need to work on my walk with Christ, and my walk for Christ. Self preservation and focus is an important thing, but I might take it to the extreme. Being more selfless, I used to voulenteer, and use my "busy" life with children as an excuse not to anymore. That's ridiculous. I have all the time in the world if I make a commitment to it. Time for a change. Priorities. That's where my soul needs to be... in service. That's how I can show I am a true christian, how I live my life. Show others that hope in Christ, that he died and rose again, for our forgivness. That they are worth it, and that he loves them. Service, that's where my soul is.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


As some of you know, but most of you don't... we are not going to Western North Dakota for interviews this weekend. Boo! That makes me sad. We got a call on Thursday that our train, which was set to depart in just over 24 hours, had been cancelled with no other service available. We were told Amtrak made the decision for the safety of it's passengers to not continue rail service west of Minneapolis for the time being due to flood waters. They are taking it day by day, and didn't have a date when service would be restored. Great. So after many phone calls, and trying to figure out how we would get there... Robert and the call committee chairs decided to reschedule for the first weekend in May. Driving would have been 14+ hours in the car with the girls, and flying would have cost $1500 for one ticket. Both of those just not an option. The call committees were sad we could not make the trip, but very understanding.

Honestly I was heartbroken, at first. I had my heart set on the train trip, meeting people, seeing the parsonages and churches, and getting this process really going. And I pondered and prayed about this whole thing. I needed reasons. Wondering why I'm in such a hurry, not sure how on earth we would have made this trip work, knowing Robert had lots of homework to finish. That's a good reason. I'm getting sick with a sore throat and nagging cough, Brigid is also sick with the start of what I hope will be a short lived cold. Lots of reasons why this weekend was not a good one to go on a trip. We were all exhausted still from the trip to Nebraska for baptism. More reasons. Boxes need to be packed, I had to work on Friday. Good reasons. The time just wasn't right. Reasons.

While all of these reasons I listed may not be why the trip was cancelled, I know God has a plan of for us. He has his reasons.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a fast as I can handle.

Well, it's time. We leave on Friday afternoon for interviews in two towns. I'm so very excited about it! It's going to be a terribly busy trip. We leave on Friday afternoon to catch the train in LaCross Wisconsin. We'll board the train around 8pm. We've got the family bedroom, as we are taking the two little ones with us. The logisitics of taking the train are mind boggling. Traveling with two small children, and our destination does not have checked baggage, so everything must be carried on. So much to take. Beds for the kids, suitcases, baby bjorn, diapers, snacks, computer, both car seats... whoa. But I have the feeling God's going to be on our side with this trip. I just know there will be helping hands... more then we can imagine. Robert will be preaching at one of the congregations so I'll be single mommy in the pews. Just so different with two!

I'm so excited for this trip, to see where we might be living, to meet the people. And to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This whole seminary journey is ending. We're coming so close so fast. Graduation is in a month. Everything is happening so fast now! We started packing a couple of boxes. Packing up the office, so everything can be moved into the office as we pack other rooms. It's coming so fast. We could be moving in two months. Wow. So fast!

God is working in our lives. Bringing us close together as a family. He's been working on our hearts, opening us up to new experiences. He's been working fast. At Christmas time I was thinkng there is no way I'm ready for this. Not ready for graduation and interviews... then Clara came, assignments came, synods came, phone calls from congragations came, and now interviews come. So fast... seems like yesterday we moved back to Dubuque for senior year. Now it's almost time to move out. But God is with us in all this. Even though it's fast, I know I can count on Him. He will only take it as fast as I can handle. Through God all things are possible. Even this!
 My dear sweet baby girls posing for a cute picture. I love them so much!!
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Monday, April 13, 2009


 My little family at Clara Joan's baptism in Lincoln
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Cake Bites Adventure

So I have a particular additction to reading blogs. One of my favorites is Bakerella, which can be found here
She makes beautiful cake pops. Little bites of decorated cake deliciousness on a stick! YUM. So after her blog, okay numerous blogs, about Easter/Spring cake pops, I just had to make some myself. It's super simple (or so I thought) I decided to take a chaper out of her blog book and make a photo essay blog for you during my cake pop/bites endeavor. These cake bites were being made to take to the campus wide baby shower on Sunday. That's why they are decorated the way they are. I was going to try and make them like Bakerella did, the little bunnies and chicks and eggs, but I couldn't find all the decorating pieces she used.. so I went with simple cake bites, which I'm glad I did. I guess she has a food blog with hundreds of thousands of readers for a reason, while my blog is read by one or two people!!

Step one is to bake a cake. I didn't photograph this. We all know how to make a cake! Just a good 'ol regular Betty Crocker out of the box chocolate cake. Then the fun beings! You crumble the cake into a big bowl. I found my hands to be the best use of availible untensils.

Step #2 is to add a tub of frosting. I choose Betty Crocker whipped Butter Cream. Which I must admit may not have been the best choice. I'll talk more about that later. Perhaps choosing a frosting that is the same flavor as your cake with ease some of the problem I experienced with this step.

Then you mix. And mix, and oh yeah... mix
Next you take the wonderful cake mess and turn it into beautiful little balls! It was easier, but messier than I though. I used a cookie scoop to get even sized ball, and since Hubby was actually the one doing the scooping I didn't get even sized, but it's the thought that counds right? Should have just used my hands, but oh well! I did get 42 wonderful cake bites.
Put the cake bites into the freezer so they will harden up a bit and be easier to work with. The heat from my hands made the balls sticky and soft, hard to work with for the next step. So I choose the deep freeze, which Bakerella said for 5 min. I would say for more like 15 minutes. 5 minutes just gave them a little chill, not really any hardening factor.

While the cake bites stiffen up, I moved onto the coating. I used good old candy melts in white and yellow. They melt so nice and easy in the microwave, even stupid microwaves like mine can do it! (although my stupid microwave required that I sit and watch them as they melt and constantly be checking on them.. it dosen't have a 50% power, what it thinks is 50% power to to nuke the food 100% for 10 seconds, then just spin your food for 10 seconds, then nuke it again at 100% for 10 seconds.. you get the picture. Piece of junk.) I also used this time to prep my candy sugar topping. I had bought the pink one, planning on using it on the easter eggs, but didn't have blue. So I made some blue with some plain white sugar and two drops of blue food coloring. While it wasn't the large crystals like the pink, it still did the trick I was looking for. Gotta have pink and blue for the babies!

Bakerella suggests melting your candies in a narrow, deep dish, so that you can submurge your cake bite into the melted goo and not have to be rolling it around. I should have listened. While I did get the desired effect I wanted.. or well sorta (see the next couple pictures and the little bits of chocolate cake that peek out from the candy coating). I also got lots of little pieces of chocolate cake "floaties" in my pure white candy coating. So it turned into not so pure white.. but it still did the trick, it's not like these are gonna be eggs or anything!
So goes the dipping, and the drizzling. I found it easier (as suggested) to submurge the ball, then to take the spoon and spoon more coating over top of it. The less the spoon touches the balls, the less cake came off. Amazing!
And this is a finished, and decorated cake bite! I think it's pretty cute. Who wouldn't want to gobble up this wonderful little bite of delicious?? I admit it does look like a truffle, and I think a lot of people at the party thought that's what they were until they bit into them!
I have to tell you that while I was doing all the baking and coating, my wonderful husband was doing the sugar sprinkling and the pictures. I give him a big thumbs up for this one.. look at the way he captured the grains of sugar falling to thier new home atop a beautifully coated cake bite. The movement... the detail... the wonder. Way to go hunna. Great photography, and even greater sugar sprinkling! You get an A+!
And here they are. Finished product. While they aren't as cute as Bakerella's beautiful little eggs and chicks and bunnies... I think they are cute and I'm happy with them. They were a big hit at the party. And now I know how to make them and can say I have! Yah to me.
I will say that I did a good job. I will also say this. I have some things I would change. First off when I first bit into the cake bite, I guess I was expecting cake... right? Spoungy, soft, tasty chocolate cake. What I got was a cross between grainy frosting and mushy cake. When you mix frosting with little bits of cake, you don't get the texture of a frosted cake. Duh. But after popping a few of these little wonders into my mouth, I found that you get over that and they taste pretty good. It is cake and frosting after all.. I mean, can that be bad? Perhaps using a little less frosting, not the entire can, would ease this situation.
Secondly I would change the size. Maybe a little bit smaller. More of a two bite, or a pop in your mouth kind of deal. These were a little big and little rich for me. It was a 3-4 bite undertaking.
And thirdly I would use the same flavor of cake and frosting. Not that the butter cream and chocolate wouldn't be wonderful is thier own respective traditional cake roles, but as cake bites on a combined effort, butter cream just took over, and chocolate sat in the back seat for the ride. I was disappointed at the lack of choclate taste. I don't eat chocolate often, but when I do, I want CHOCOLATE taste.. in my face taste... not backseat to buttercream taste.

So I have learned some things. I also think it would be much easier to do these on sticks like Bakerella does. Getting an even coat would be easier. Anyways.

This food blog has been fun. Now that I spent 40 miutes trying to figure out how to get pictures in here! So maybe I'll do it again.. perhaps bread :) Yeah right! I'm a mom of 2 children under 2, like I have time to make bread.. maybe someday again.

From me to you, enjoy your cake bites and check out Bakerella here!