Thursday, November 27, 2014

eXpEcT a LaTTe (lot eh' ?)

Expect a Latte (lot eh'?)

Are you satisfied? Is your soul content? To answer the ponder, I personally have to define lines. The vague and often crossed lines between genuinely satisfied and merely gratified. They are enemies of one another that somehow, often mimic one another. Enemies, because the state of being gratified has often become a substitute for the true state of being sAtiSfiEd. A substitute that can prevent us from discovering the peace that comes from satisfaction and leaves us thirsty for more. If we aren't careful, we can fill ourselves with ways that gratify and never experience deep satisfaction.

Haiti is one of my favorite places on earth. On my last mission trip there,  I remember landing on the runway and declaring "I love this ugly country." It's quite odd that a place others would recognize immediately as ugly, sad, impoverished, stinky... is a place so dear and precious to my heart. This time of year, I always feel the deep longing to be there as I revisit the country and it's people in my mind.

After a visit to the third-world country of Haiti, it's an odd adjustment to American life that usually begins in the airport on the edge of Miami. My eyes slowly adjust from heart wrenching visions of a country in need, to one soaking in all things desired. After seeing the literal depths of need in one of the most poverty-striken countries in the world, something happens. I recognize our depths of gratification with dissatisfaction in one of the most prosperity-stricken countries in the world. It is a rocky transition that leaves me annoyed with myself. I'm part of a nation that is gratified, however remains constantly searching for more.

Why, if our people have minimal need and abundant ability, are we so dissatisfied? Proof of this reality is in the pudding:

*According to the Centers for Disease Control, anti-depressants are taken by 1 in 10 Americans age 12 and over. "From 1988-1994 through 2005-2008 the rate of antidepressant use in the U.S increased almost 400%". ( NCHS Data Brief)

Ouch.! Apparently, gratified doesn't equal sAtIsFiEd. It may be that our self-drive expectations may be impacting our state of mind. Is it possible that our desires of gratification are a little higher than healthy and when those are not met, we are left soaking in disappointment?

Simple mathematics:
Expectation > Ability = Dissatisfied

I'll be the first to declare I think we have some high expectations.  The addiction to having our desires met, leads to a constant state of living dissatisfied and in pursuit of what next can gratify.  Leading to disappointed, discontented...and at its worst, depressed.

It could be that we expect a latte (lot 'eh).  A simple revelation, revealed through a cup of joe upon the return of my last trip to Haiti. I was sipping on a custom-made latte as I piffled through a local retail store. It was the type of espresso drink that has a title and stipulations longer than any headline of the local newspaper. But I noticed that all my requests to make this cup my blissful beginning of the day, had not been granted.

My perfect drink, was not so perfect. My custom prepared espresso concoction was missing some components that I "expected" in order to make this sipping perfection. Missing this. Not enough of that. My stipulations of desire were met with a load of disappointment. I was unsatisfied because I was ungratified.

Let me put the point simply. Haitians don't expect lattes. The people of Haiti wake every day expecting the same thing.
There is no expectation of anything they will not receive that could render them in sulking disappointment. But here is the beautiful result. They live in a state of grateful thinking. Their expectations leave wide open room to recognize a gift, a blessing, a graced goodness for what it is. Then, thankful hearts begin to be overflowed with gratitude.

Hand a resident of Haiti a latte, and they surely wouldn't make special demands to their liking. They'd be quite grateful of the gift. Their satisfaction doesn't come from the gratifying of desires.

See the neon sign?  If we require the gratification of desires in order to feel satisfied, we have still yet to place hands on the source of satisfaction.  In other words, many people there could respond with the words of Paul. " I have learned in whatever state I am in, to be content". (Phillipians 4:11). The apostle Paul of shipwreck, imprisonment and multiple beatings, knew the fine art of contentment.

Do we? Or do we live in the opposite state of discontent because our expectations are so high? Do we expect a latte (lot 'eh) that leaves us unsatisfied?

Could it be that the discontent epidemic for Americans is somewhat self-induced? That we've become a tad bit demanding in our expectations? Even on the cliff of self centered.

I've never seen more hopeless glares from human souls as I did in a single glance in Haiti. The look of "nothing expected" was common. But, I highly doubt any of them would raise hand high if asked who was depressed.

When we begin to have expectations of what should be, we live in a state of measure to that misconception. Expecting everything in our path to measure to the standard we have placed on it. Then, when occurrences or circumstances don't meet those criteria, we find ourselves let down and never contented. We succeed to a constant state of discontent and self centered pursuit when we have persistent expectations driven by our self-centered needs of being gratified. We live from one gratified receipt to another... and never reach genuine contentment. Gratification is a substitute for the deficiency of being truly satisfied. It is a type of stand in or filler, on behalf of true contentment. Are we settling for the fulfillment of our driven wants and missing out on fulfillment of a greater kind?

Notice there is no gratitude in the earlier equation of the American thinker. No gratitude because we expect through entitlement, what we may receive. The sad result is obsolete gratefulness for anything gifted. If its expected, it's surely not a gift. A different mindset than those who live in constant recognition of the graceful hand of the providing God.

In all our prosperity, we have neglected to get something right, that most of Haiti has crafted perfectly. They have learned as Paul did, to be content. We can pursue satisfaction with the never ending and lesser substitute of having our desires to be gratified. Or we can find pure and perfect satisfaction in El Shaddai. The one of whom is said ..." you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing." (Psalms 145:16)

Where will we find satisfaction? Only in the hand of El Shaddai, God, a.k.a the all-sufficient Satisfier (Genesis 17:1). When we leave our portion and expectations in His hands, He provides as He knows best. And when He does, we can gratefully praise Him for His gifts.

Could we have more desires than God's ability to offer? Nope. But it is likely we have more desires than He is willing to spoil us with. It is accurate and shuttering to envision that we smack the hand of the Almighty and reject His goodness, in place of our own expectant desires. We re-live the days of the Israelites when we are found murmuring at our gifts. As they murmured at not having food, then again complained when God rained manna from heaven... because it was not what they expected. Are we as adults, pitching fits because, we don't receive what it is we selfishly aspire for?

Pure, perfect and true satisfaction is found In the hand of the El Shaddai. If you know The Satisfier personally, you have continual access to a "fountain of living water" that purely and perfectly satisfies. When we make El Shaddai our source of satisfaction, we will easily declare with Paul and those who are gratefully satisfied...
"In whatever condition I am in, I am content".

Scripture References:
Psalms 145:16
Phillipians 4:11
Genesis 17:1
Resource for statistics:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Podcasts Now Available !

The podcast for "The StOnE" is now available! 

Check it out at

You can also reach the site by clicking individual podcast titles on the right side of my blog page, under "Blooming by GrAcE Ministries Podcasts".

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Choco-Cherry Fluff Dessert

Choco-Cherry Fluff Dessert

The white fluff in this dessert could be eaten by shovel fulls!  It's not too sweet, not too cream cheese tasting... fluffy perfection!  Super simple to ensemble and no baking required. We always use cherry filling but any kind would be good on top. I want to try strawberry!

What Ya Need:
* 1 Can pie filling (you will have leftover)
* 22-25 double sided sandwich cookies.
   I used the kind with vanilla on one side and      chocolate on the other
* 4 Tbsp butter

Fluffy Filling:
Depending on your sweet tooth, you can make half or full portion.  I would totally make a full portion, which would double this recipe. You can save some to dip any thing into the fluff!

* 1/2 block of cream cheese
* 1 container cool whip (half will be used)
* 1/3 cup + 2 heaping Tbsp powdered sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 Tbsp cream ( use heavy, light or coffee creamer that is not special flavored but sweet)

What Ya Do:
1)Grab a 9x9 glass pan. No need to spray with oil.
2) Open and scoop out filling of sandwich cookies into a bowl.
3) Crush cookies by pressing with a meat tenderizer.
4) Melt butter and pour into crumbs.
5) Pour and level crumbs with your hand. Press firmly.
6) Place in the freezer while preparing the fluff.
7) Cream the cream cheese.
8) Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Cream until blended.
9)  Add the cream (light or heavy) and mix.
10) Spoon in half container of whipped topping.
11) Mix shortly on lo speed until just incorporated.
Do not mix on high speed or too long after adding whipped topping.  It will break down in the mixture.
12) Pull crust pan from freezer and spoon fluff. Even out with a spatula.
13) Add 3/4 can pie filling to top. I think the whole can is too much, so I had a 1/4 remaining.

***If you need a larger portion,  I'm thinking that using a 9×13 pan and doubling ingredients would work. That way you could use the whole container of whipped topping, the cream cheese and the can of pie filling.

Have fun and enjoy the Choco-Cherry fluff!

** fluff is similar to the filling No Bake Apple Delight from Six Sisters' Stuff. Their recipe for Apple delight is awesomeness!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Caramel Apple Muddy Mix

Caramel Apple Muddy Mix

This is a perfect pick for snacking on Thanksgiving Day! Munch your way between turkey and dressing!

I think it's fairly simple to put together. The only part that requires a little work are the muddy buddies.  They are s treat in themselves... caramel Apple Muddy Buddies!   We can do that recipe first.

Caramel Apple Muddy Buddies

What Ya Need:

* 8 cups square rice cereal
* 2 packages of powdered caramel Apple spiced cider drink powder
* 6 blocks of vanilla flavored bark
* 2/3 cup powdered sugar

What Ya Do:
* Melt vanilla bark
* Coat the rice cereal in melted bark
* Mix in large freezer bag or bowl, powdered sugar and cider mix
* Toss covered cereal mix
* Make sure all pieces are covered well in the chocolate and the sugar mixture
* Spread on wax paper until dry

These are great fall treat just to snack on, but if you want more of a party mix, then throw in the rest.

Mix and Shake:
* Muddy Buddies
* Pretzels (1/2 bag)
*1 box caramel covered popcorn
* Popcorn plain
* 2 bags dried apple chips
* 2 selections of Caramel chocolate candy:  rolo, milky way, milk duds...
* Fall colored chocolate balls/ candy

Monday, November 3, 2014

MoNsTeR MeRinGuEs


I have only attempted meringues once before and they were not a success.  This time, I discovered the awesome fun these little treats are!These are crazy fun and the kiddos love them!  I wanted to do something different for my son, Keebryn's fall festival class party, so meringues made their way into my mind :)

My Niece,  Teah wanted monster cupcakes for her last B-day, so she researched and found some cute ones. We piped some awesome hair on those babies last August. But I didn't want to do cake, so why not meringues.?  I was very afraid the idea in my mind would not work... but they turned out cute!
I started with a very simple meringue recipe and went from there with colors, piping spikes and eyeballs!  The funny thing that happened was my mistake in adding Kool aid to the purple and green ones... waayyy to much sour!  But I have to say, it's a perfect way to play a joke on someone if u I u want to send them running to the trash can.
So this recipe will be for the regular vanilla flavor of the orange ones.  The color is achieved by food coloring.  Let's get going with these.

What Ya Need:

Meringue recipe of any kind.   You can find a recipe for meringues just about anywhere.   I found some on the internet, my old cookbooks and the back of powdered egg whites.  You can make meringues using your own egg whites or from powdered egg whites found in the baking section of grocers. The final recipe I used was from the can of powdered egg whites and is below.

To Create the Meringues:
Recipe found on the can of Deb El Just Whites

* 3 Tbsp Powdered egg whites
* 1/2 Cup Warm Water
* 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
* 1 tsp. Vanilla flavoring
* 1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Mixing the Meringues:
1) Mix water and powdered egg whites until clumps are gone, using a fork.
2) Allow to sit until dissolved.
3) Pour into mixer and beat at medium speed until  peaks begin forming.
4) Add vanilla and cream of tarter.  Mix
4) Add sugar in 4 portions and mix on high between each addition.
5) Whip until very stiff peaks form. About 5-7 minutes.

Now let's begin the MoNsTeRs!!

What Ya Need:
* Neon Food Colors
    (Lime green, orange, purple, black)
* Piping Bags or storage bags (5)
* Parchment paper
* Three piping tips... Star tip, large round tip and grass tip.

What Ya Do:
1) Prepare your piping bag with round tip and grab your coloring.
2) Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3) Preheat oven 220 degrees.
4) Take 1/3 of meringue and color in a bowl. Add to piping bag.
5) Pipe a blob appx. 3/4 inch circumference.
6) Repeat for 15-20 cookies.
7) Now pipe spikes with round tip on top and sides.
8) Repeat by coloring two remaining portions and piping blobs.
9) Each color will require round large tip for the base, but use the star and grass tips to create monster spikes.
9) Squeeze and pull up!! It's that easy.
10) When all have been piped, slide into oven for 2 hours.

Meantime, work on the eyeballs because they require some drying/ hardening time. Eyes made with royal icing. Use your own recipe or the one I've used forever in my old cake decorating days :)  Found this recipe on net somewhere and made minor adjustment by omiting flavoring and halfjng the portion. It works well.

To Create the Eyeballs:

What Ya Need:
* 1 Tbsp. powdered egg whites
* 1/2 box powdered sugar
* 2.5 - 3 Tbsp warm water
* two piping bags and small round tip

(Royal Icing Recipe online)
1) Mix powdered egg whites and powdered sugar. Add water by tablespoons.
2) Mix on medium speed wile scraping sides apx. 4 minutes.  They are ready when the mixture is very white and thick like elmers glue.
3) Spoon 2/3 white royal icing in bag with small round tip.
4) Pipe different sized white dots on to wax or parchment paper.
5) Allow to dry apx. 30 minutes
6) Save the white icing in bag to make a glue.
7) Color remaining royal icing, black.
8) Place in piping bag and use smaller round tip to pipe centers to the white circles.
9) These should dry within 2-3 hours.


When meringues are hardened and cooking time is complete, pull them from the oven and let them cool.
The eyeballs should be hardened by this time.
Using royal icing, pipe small dot on meringues and place an eyeball, or two. .. or three!!

Now go make some kiddo's day!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PuMpKiN - SpiDaChiO Bread

Spidachio.... that's my son's word for Pistachio!  And that's way too cute not to use :) So that's why we named this awesome bread.... Pumpkin- SpiDaChiO Bread!!  And let me say, it is too good,  with a load of whipped cream cheese, spread on top. 

I used a recipe for banana bread, I found in a cook book for breast cancer fundraiser.  Then made some changes with the pumpkin, sugar, type of nut and spices.  It worked very well!

What Ya Need:

1 .1/2cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups all purpose flower
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
3/4 - 1 tsp Cinnamon
2/3 cup sour milk ( milk with 2/3 tsp vinegar added)
1 Can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup Pistachio nuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

What Ya Do:

1) Measure all ingredients and mix vinegar into milk and the baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into your flour.
2) Prepare two loaf pans by rubbing them with shortening and powdering (coating) them with flour.
3) Preheat oven to 325.
4) Mix the shortening with the sugars until well blended on lo speed.
5) Add eggs and mix while scraping sides of the bowl until well blended.
6) Add half of flour mixed with baking powder and spices to the mixture, and mix on lo, scraping sides of bowl for remainder of procedure.
7) Pour in the milk (with vinegar)
8) Pour in remaining flour (with added ingredients)
9) Place the canned pumpkin in mixture and mix until blended. 
10) Add the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Mix until blended well.
11) Stop the mixer and add Pistachios to batch with a wooden spoon. 
12) Pour into two prepared pans. 
13) If pans are thin and disposable,  place both on cookie sheet.
14) Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
15) Bread is done when a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.

I Hope you enjoy this fall bread!  It's now a fav of ours :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

FaLL FloWeR Basket - D.I.Y.

So I did not know what to do with my mums. Bought em really cheap of course, and I didn't want them to die. I found this old apple basket and figured I would toss them there. Super simple and perfect for outside decoration.

Because the basket is wood ... it will eventually rot :/  BUT I will replant hopefully, before it turns to dust! The good news is that if you want yours to last, there is a simple solution...

Line the bottom and sides by stapling a black plastic bag or clear drop cloth to the inside, with a sample gun.  Staple all around the inner rim before filling it with dirt. The plastic will prevent the wood from being so quickly consumed by the dirt and rain. On the outside of the basket, you can spray two coats of clear sealant.  This will make the degrading process slower on the outside of the basket.

For now, the simple toss the flowers in, worked for me :) I would love to try the preservation method...eventually.

What Ya Need:
1 Basket
2 Medium Mums or other flower
Potting Soil
Tulle (any fall color)

What Ya Do:
1) Fill the basket with Potting soil or mix of soil and a little degraded mulch.
2) Plant the mums and cover around the base with soil.
3) Measure Tulle , enough to wrap the perimeter of the basket and enough for a bow.
4) Wrap and secure Tulle with a bow in the front.
5) Smile :)  You're finished!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RoCkiN' Crockpot RoAsT

I am not as much a cook as I am a baker.  My husband usually is the meat man, but I getting better at boring cooking with boring meat.  My dad had secreted to me a simple two ingredients that an old friend had told him.  It is the base of this recipe - one can of cream of mushroom soup and one can of golden mushroom.  But that's not all!  The flavor comes by the other little toss-ins added over the years!   This crockpot dish is a winter staple in our home. It has a great flavor and the gravy is perfect over rolls or biscuits.

What Ya Need: ---------------------------------------------
1.25-1.55 lb of pot roast (top round sirloin)
1 Can Creamy Mushroom soup
1 Can Golden Mushroom soup
2 Cloves garlic - chopped fine
1.5 tsp Dales Seasoning (liquid)
1 Tbsp. Worshtershire Sauce
Season salt
Garlic powder
Montreal Steak Seasoning ( powder)
Black pepper

What Ya Do: --------------------------------------------------
1) Turn on your crockpot to lo setting. Pour both cans soup into pot.
2) Place the roast on top of soup.
3) Poke holes with a fork in the meat.
4) Sprinkle on top of roast all other ingredients, beginning with the two liquids. Portions of the powdered ingredients are at your discretion.  I basically powder the top of roast with the different spices as desired.
5) Sprinkle the chopped garlic on top of meat.
6) Cook on lo setting 5-6 hours. Storring occasionally to cost the roast. Turn on high near the last 1.5 hours if meat is not cooking fast enough.
7) Roast is finished when the meat in brown throughout and tears easily apart with a fork.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The "StOnE"

It's hiking time! Just the other day, my husband (Keith) my son (Keebryn) and I chose a Sunday hike for our day's agenda after worship and lunch.

I am the runner of the family. Keebryn is the soccer player. Keith... Well apparently, he's the hiker.
When we left cozy home with water-pack and hiking boots, I didn't grasp the reality that my idea of a leaf stroll would be Keith's idea of a Mountaineer's Quest ...along half of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Have mercy!

Keebryn, up for anything in the woods and totally resolved with being far from civilization, jumped and bounced his way along the trail. And often times off the trail :) Grabbing and climbing onto anything he could discover! Our little 9 year old was perfectly at - home among trees and rocks.

Me? I enjoyed watching the adventurers, adventure. I love the woods, but found myself after trecking far, day dreaming about pizza for supper.

Keith,  who has a bad ankle, bad shoulder, and bad blood pressure... tapped into energy and ability of a Wilderness Warrior! Many times, leaving us in the leaves as his hiking boots turned into rocket jets.

Somewhere along the trail, he ran over something unexpected. Being the first ahead, he was our scapegoat. I watched him in the path ahead, holding his ankle with the face that declared pain and gave light to what had happened. He had turned his ankle on a rock.

Along this portion of the woods, were scattered rocks that required intent focus in order to dodge. But something about this particular one was unexpected.  This rock grabbed his attention because it caused him to stumble. His size 11 boots did not prevail against this stone of stumbling that would not budge.

In Isaiah, the coming Messiah is referred to, as a corner stone, elect and precious. But He is also described as a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence..."

This coming Messiah would be, to our walk on earth, as this leaf covered rock in my husband's path.Forcing us to question our own humanity and thus, our need for and BeLiEf in the StOnE himself.

1 Peter 2:6-8 records, in short,  that we have a ChOiCe in what this "stone" becomes to us.

A corner stone is the foundation of a strong building. It stands to support and give strength. The metaphor gives us insight to Christ himself. If we choose to see him and accept his complete perfection, He becomes our Chief Corner Stone. Our RoCk in which we can be assured is a steady and sure absolution.

Was Keith offended that this rock, hidden under leaves had grabbed his attention. You bet. It was written all over his face. He was not a happy hiker for a couple moments :)

Christ did the same. Hidden under the humble title of a carpenter from little ol' Nazareth, He spoke with more undeniable wisdom than any Pharisee could comprehend. They were quite offended. As well as many will be until the return of Christ, Messiah.

They stumbled over His perfect simplicity.
"How could THIS be from God?"
They stumbled over their law in place of grace.
"How could grace of one Man be made available greatly enough to cover the law?"
They stumbled over a StOnE they refused to accept.

Many still question. They face a path of reluctance which refuses to acknowledge the absolution of this Messiah that prevails over humanity...Continuing to bruise their feet on something that doesn't budge. The StOne, disallowed, therefore becomes a continual place of falter.

Some will recognize this pure and perfect StOnE . The humble, loving Christ who came to earth, shook up the law and then left grace in its place!  To those, He is recognized as "Precious". He becomes the absolute and unshakable foundation in which we build our lives.  The Chief Cornerstone.

The only tipping of the scales between "The Stumbling Stone" or The Chief Cornerstone" is bElieF and aCCePtAnCe in the Messiah.

Two options:
A solid and sure foundation to life for this life and eternity OR a plaguing disbelief to stumble over and reject.

Which one He becomes to us, is up to us.
"To you who believes, he is precious." (1 Peter 2:7)

Can you sweetly confess...
He is my PrEcIoUs StOnE?

The "StOnE"

Scripture References:
Isaiah 8:14
Isaiah 28:16
1 Peter 2:6-8

Monday, October 20, 2014

NiFtY Paper Popcorn Holders - D. I. Y.

NiFtY Paper Popcorn Holders

These are so fun and can be customized to fit any event or party. Because they use scrapbooking paper, you can make them work for anyone or any event!  Polka dots or butterflies, dirt biked or dinosaurs. That's what my Keebryn would like! You can customize for boy or girl shower, bridal or even reception!
NiFtY Paper Popcorn Holders

I made them for a ladies movie night at our church. I have to give props to the young gal who showed the cup in mini style.  The template came from my Niece named Teah. She was crafting one in worship service one day, that stood about an inch and half high!  So cute! I don't know the original crafter of the technique and she probably doesn't either. She showed me how to fold them, but I'm a slow learner. So I unfolded her cute little cup and learned by the fold creases :) Then I made large, sturdy and colorful ones.

What Ya Need:
Scrapbooking paper sheets! The standard size that is equal in length and width.  You can get them at craft store or large retail stores. Sometimes you can find a deal on a book of paper. The individual sheets can be pricey.

So I've attached pics to show how it is folded and I hope that helps as you start.

What Ya Do:
Preparation: The important thing to figure out is what side of your paper you want to show the most of? If you are lucky, both sides may have color or design! The first two folds you make, will create the two side flaps that will show on sides. Whatever color you want the side flaps to show, should be lying face down.Now we start the folding.
1) Once your paper is layer correctly,  take one corner and fold it back until it reaches close to the half way across point.

2) Now fold the adjacent side to almost meet the point from the first fold.

3) Flip the paper over. Now fold together the two sides that have flaps and reinforce with your hand to smooth the crease tight.

4) Take the last piece of the shaped paper and fold it straight into the center, placing it under the side flap.

5) Do the same with the right side.

You can organize them in a basket for your friends or guests. These really do hold popcorn well!  Mine were displayed in a tin tub, but you could stack them in a basket or any way that goes with your event.  Have fun making and filling with delish popcorn!

NiFtY Paper Popcorn Holders

Add caption

Friday, October 17, 2014

Barn Board and Burlap Cupcake Stand: DIY

So this post may require some reading between the lines.  I made these cupcake stands for a young lady's wedding cupcakes.   I'd love to post those later with directions to make. They were precious. I made them replicas of the bow tie and tuxedo of the groom.  For now, the stand is what's on the mind.

I do wish I had photos of the process but I was in a rush and never really planned on posting.  I will try to make the directions very simple so you can do without pics.
 I made three of these that were varying levels in height.  That was for a staggered look. However, at set up,  three on the table was too much. I took one away and layered some cupcakes on a board on the table.  Looked good!

The base is made of a candle pillar that was spray painted.  The top is made of old barn board.  Let's get started...

What You Need:

* Candle Pillars (any desired amount and size) The ones I used were wooden in a pack of three for $5.00.  I lucked up at a cheap local store.
* Spray Paint
* Burlap Ribbon
* Old Barn Board
* Hot Glue Gun
* Measure tape and saw
* Heavy Duty Liquid Adhesive

What You Do:

* Spray paint your pillars. The most effective method of spraying is slow and at a misting distance. If you get too close you may get run marks in the paint. Paint in a slow motion and spray at least 8 inches from the pillar.  Two coats should be perfect.
* Measure and cut your boards. We cut these at 16 inches. If you make them much longer, they could be top heavy.  Have someone who is experienced in saws to help you cut them.   Be SAFE :)
* Cut your burlap so that it will wrap, loop and bow around your base. This may take some trial to get right.
* Once you have your bow length, wrap around the top 1/3 of your base and tie a bow. Now place a small amount of hot glue to hold it in place.
* Measure the length and width of the top barn board. Find the center point on the board and mark where these points meet on the underside.
* Lay the board on solid surface so the mark is visible.  Align it with the center point on the top of your pillar.
* Spread your heavy duty adhesive to pillar and stand it up to rest on the lying board. The entire cupcake stand will be upside down.  I glued mine with hot glue and they held through the reception but did come off its top later. I recommend using a better glue :)
* Let it dry to harden.
* Have fun with your little creation!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Hope of an Oak

An acorn is only bold enough to burst forth of its covering, when the burning hope and aspiration of becoming a great oAk, overwhelms it's ability to remain contained. 

There are acorns everywhere in my yard. We have this huge oak tree that was planted way before any of us in our little home, were born. The giant tree now sports a tire swing and a mirage of colored leaves. I am amazed by the growth process of something so tiny. A little acorn as a seed, has the capability to branch into an enormous creation, full of branches, leaves and color!

As my son and husband shot bow and arrow the other day, I was distracted by the crunch under my feet. The sound of acorns! Some squooshed under foot. Some literally wasting away, sadly, without a sprout of attempt. But some, began to reach.

These acorns had begun a journey. Such courage it took to gander high In the sky to the peak of their predecessor, and choose to sprout, aNyWaY.

They had sprouted this tiny shoot from the acorn top, which by miracle, found its way into the dirt.
The shoot grows. Slowly, but enough to clear the path and head for what is beyond the muck. Beyond the muck, lies something greater!

We can be quite similar.  Some, will let trodden feet break and destroy. Some, will become stuck in defeat and allow the aspiration of high proportions to defeat and paralyze. But some will dig deep. They will ChOOse to do something instead of nothing... to see what'son the other side of the muck. It may just prove worth the risk.

In the face of something that seems hopeless... Hope AnYwAy

*Job 14: 7-9 *

Pumpkin-Spice Cookie Balls

These are insane!  One of the best cookie balls I've tasted.  I totally just created this little bite of craziness and glad I followed through. These are simple and taste very pumpkin-like. So here goes! ...

What Ya Need:

* 10 Vanilla cookies  (both without the cream would equal 20)

* 4-5 Graham Crackers

* 1/2 Block Cream Cheese

* 1/8 Cup Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee Creamer

* 2 Tbsp EACH Powdered Sugar and Brown Sugar

* 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

* 1/4-1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

* 4 Blocks Vanilla Candy Coating

* 20 Walnuts (optional)

What Ya Do:

1) Soften the cream cheese with a short stay on the counter.

2) Remove filling from cookies and crush cookies with Graham Crackers until fine texture is reached.

3) Add your cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to crumbs and mix

4) Mix cream cheese for about 35 seconds or until soft.

5)Add the sugars to the cream cheese and mix well

6) Pour the coffee creamer into the cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth.

7)  Add your crumbs and stir with wooden spoon until incorporated.

8) Line a pan with wax paper and shape balls about 3/4 inch diameter. Place on the sheet.

9) Refrigerate 45 minutes to hour.

10 ) Melt four blocks of vanilla bark.

11) Dip the balls with a slotted spoon. Shake off excess and roll onto wax paper.

12) Place a walnut on top and make rows of the cookie balls.

13) Refrigerate until ready to be munched

* I hope you enjoy making and popping these treats.! These are perfect for a Thanksgiving midday snack... right between the two or three huge meals :)
Please feel free to leave comments or questions! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Almighty Author

Who's your favorite author? 
You know, the one that seems to speak through sentences, straight into your heart. 

I ran into a sentence yesterday, from the most accomplished Author of all time, and this is what he said...

"Is not my word like as a fire? said the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?"

Interesting inscription from an interesting Author. His word, like a fire.? Nothing stand against fire or competes against his incontestable truth! The fire of His inscriptions tests our humanity with tRuTh that burns away impurities. We cannot escape, without noticeable evidence of change when we get close to His fire.

His Word, is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.  If a rock we're human, it would boast of its absolution, foolishly declaring its grounds to stand, based on its strength and abilities. Are we so afraid that the hammer will break us to pieces and remind us of our lack, that we dare not to pick it up? 

Although we have a favorite few authors, this One takes the cake. The Almighty Author poured out more capable and intense utterings than we can withstand.

He poured His heart onto pages, through those who were quiet enough to hear and obedient to record. Then!!.., he made sure we could access them in His Book: proven, ultimate, unwavering, transforming and ABLE. Will we get close enough to allow the inscription of the Almighty Author to do as He promises it can?!

The one who "spoke" the earth into existence and "spoke" the raging sea to calm... Still speaks. 

Will we let Him sPeAk to us?

[ * Jeremiah 23:29 * Matthew 8:26 ]


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Carpenter of Souls

Carpenter of Souls

My dad is a carpenter by skill.   His ability is a gift of generations he uses in his spare time. I've seen him use many tools in bringing to life, a vision. Tools used to mold his workmanship from what it is not, to become what it should become. 

My Heavenly Father uses many tools to perfect His work in us. At times He may use His goodness and grace to grab the heart's attention. Other times, His mercy and love are refining. But there is a tool He donated that requires our hands in commitment to use. 

His Scripture.

His Words displayed in the Bible are designed to sand down the rough.
Chisel away at the heart.
Coat us with joy and peace.
And even pound us to the core.
...all to refine the souls of His work. 

Here's where it gets exciting! 
God sent a declaration to perfect His work. A promise that all the refining would be complete. He sent the One who promises perfection to the life dedicated to the refining of the soul! 

I love the SwEEt connection that the Refiner sent by my Heavenly Father was a carpenter by trade, on earth. (Mark 6:3)

Once, Jesus was an earthly carpenter. 
Now He's the Carpenter of Souls at the right hand of the Throne in heaven!

God, give me surrender to your tools of workmanship and the hunger to allow your BiBLe to refine my heart and soul.  Shape me from what I'm not, to what I need to become.

Matthew 4:4 shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.