Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Morning

We lounged in bed for a while, the sun streaming up against the walls of our bedroom. The moment seemed too perfect to even try to push us out of bed, so instead we blew wishes into the late morning. I wanted my favorite breakfast. Scrambled eggs and pasta, a simple but yet surprising satisfying dish that reminds me of my home, every time. It was one of the first things I learned to make when I was young.

Using fresh or already prepared pasta, warm it up on a skillet with a generous amount of butter. Add in the eggs, according to the amount of pasta you are making. After that, salt and pepper the dish while the eggs are being scrambled with the pasta. *This dish is pretty simple but you will find that the amount of butter and salt is crucial to either making this dish either a success or not.

After breakfast "Genius" wanted to take advantage of the wonderful weather by working on the yard. But for Jenny and I, it meant we had time to go and hand out some Easter Baskets to family and friends. The baskets were filled eggs and complimented by a hand made item for each child. And although my baskets were ready, I couldn't help but feel like adding a touch of baked goods.

Madeleine's are one of my favorite go-to cookies in last minute ventures. So it seemed like the perfect choice until I quickly realized that the recipe I liked was in a book that was being borrowed. Looking through Epicurus I came upon one that looked interesting enough to try. Unfortunately, I didn't have Lavender honey or the Almond flour that it needed. So with a few minor adjustments, it was a success. But next time, if I have lavender I want to grind it in with the almonds....

Brown Sugar and Honey Madeleine's

9 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon honey
Special equipment: Madeleine pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter each madeleine mold in pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Melt 9 tablespoons unsalted butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter turns golden brown, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Set browned butter aside.

Next, using a food processor grind the powdered sugar and raw almonds together until the almonds are fine. About 3 minutes. *If you have some dried or fresh lavender, pulse some in.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, sugar, all purpose flour, and ground almonds in medium bowl until mixture is blended and smooth. Place honey in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat just to warm, 5 to 10 seconds. Beat honey into batter. Add browned butter; beat to blend. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared madeleine mold.

Bake madeleines until tops are just dry and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently tap madeleines out of molds. Place on rack to cool slightly.

To prepare additional madeleines, wash pan and cool completely. Butter and flour molds and fill as directed above. Serve madeleines warm.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dear Journey

So much has happened since the last time we talked, and it's amazing how much you have been on my mind. Each and every day I spent time with you, talking and getting to know you better. With that being said, I am so sorry for the way I handled our past conversation. A statement that seemed so simple to understand but came out in a frustration that was first triggered by anger and followed by sorrow.

I was watching you, along with others backslide into a pit of consuming guilt, tortured by ongoing choices, and then the fear of them. It seemed as natural to them as the weight of them on my shoulders. Pray for me they pleaded, as if a prayer would stop their poor decision making. As if the answer in their problems lied in the heart of my compassion. When actually it sounded more like an attempt to be rescued, because they didn't want to alter their behavior or open their mind. What they wanted was nothing more then Zedekiah wanted in Jeremiah. Release without remorse.

I felt the anger build up in me but this time I didn't persuade it to stop. I had a right. A sinful, human right to be mad. Mad that I stayed up half the night meditating on their personal behalf. Mad, that everything I hoped was not at all what it was. And perhaps it was because my lack of sleep, but as I sat in my pool of tears and tissues I saw myself frustrated with God and angry at myself.

I was anger with myself because I knew that I had judged them based on my own journey instead of remembering the paths of human weakness. The stubborn inclinations of our sinful hearts that don't give up until we give in. The constant need to wander and not restrain our feet. The stride we become a part of, that continually moves us backwards instead of forward. And even though it brings us only harm, it also has a way of making sense.

History has shown that we do not listen or pay attention. We follow our stubborn inclinations because for some messed up reason we trust them more. We do things that God doesn't command or mention, things that don't even enter his mind. (Jeremiah 19:5) and ignore his written promises to us. Promises that tell us that he can cure us of our backsliding, save us from the hands of the wicked, and redeem us from the grasp of the cruel. Until we are so over our heads that we need all of them.

So, you were right and I was wrong. I wasn't understanding you, because I had forgotten my own journey and the messed up places that used to be in. Thank you for helping me remember, not only my walk with him but also his promise. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." And now, more then anything I want to believe in it for you, until you believe in it for yourself.

In Blessed life, week 9, I remembered the weaknesses in my journey to reach him, and the patience that he had with me.

No longer frustrated, hope.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

First photo Shoot

Maria and I sat on the floor of the craft room, sprawled out in between rolls of fabric. We had gotten together to create a vision of spring collections for our little girls. Bumble Alley was an opportunity that I was excited to be part of and we couldn't wait to put our heads together. It was like we knew that each of us could only offer a part to the whole picture, but together, we could make it something that was even bigger then us.

The inspirations came from the gray spring rains along side the pastel colors of Easter. With that said, this was our first photo shoot.

Captivating, hope.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Snow Fall

Blessed life, week 7. Changed our family.

The rolling hills of fresh powder looked serene on the hill before us. The storm had piled over three feet of fresh snow in less then 24 hours and we were there, excited to be the first to make an imprint.

The kids were already digging in, jumping and rolling ahead of us, ready to explore the adventures that the mountain held. It seemed perfect, until the drastic turn of events where within minutes we had a lifeless body in our arms.

All it took was one throw, one hard surface, and one child to bring our trip to a screeching halt. Eugene was at the lower end of the hill, holding Derek. I was up a little higher, screaming for someone to hear me. "We need help. We need help!" was all I could think, but although my frantic cries seems to echo in my mind I was also unheard.

All I could do was cry out to my God, as I watched from the distance. Where from what I saw I will also never forget the state of my son. He was not breathing for the first minute, unresponsive the next, and moaning in the next two. His eyes were back and his body had no movement.

By the time I had a chance to slide to the bottom, I was thankful that he was screaming in pain. Breathing, at least. Feeling pain, at least. Recognizing us, at least. But even though I felt tremendous relief, we also didn't know how severe his injury was or could become.

Back at the lodge, we faced more uncertainty. The first aid staff, had already left for the day. The fire department would take as long as it would for us to drive to an urgent care facility and after much contemplation, we decided to wait a couple of hours to see if things would get better or worse.

In between hearing my son throw up for the next few hours, I went in and out of tears. I couldn't let him go or even see him shut his eyes without falling apart. I was so scared. I was so broken. And I had so many questions as well as regrets. But as the dark of the night fell upon our small room, I knew I also had to let go.

I could hear his deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling. Comforting me and then encouraging me to do the same. But somewhere deep, in a place that I have never been to before, I was aching. I could feel a pain that ran through my whole body with a tension that I couldn't break of out of. So much so that when I tried to breath, it felt more like I was gasping for air, whispering, "heal him" in between breaths.

I kept thinking about each minute of that day. Replaying the event, until I saw nothing else but the presence of God. I saw him strategically put us in a position where we were so close to help but yet not close enough to reach it. Until all we could really do, was reach out to him. It was almost like he stopped the activity of people and made sure that no one would see us, so that we had a better chance of looking for him.

It was like he placed me far enough away so that I would see the severity of the situation without seeing every detail of the moment. Almost like he knew every fear and thought that I would ever have or let live if I was exposed to the scene. So instead, he put my husband in a state of weakness and then challenged him with complete submission.

I began to see him occupying my other two kids. I began to firmly believe that before the black-out he also positioned my son's body in a way where his stomach first hit the small box he had in his pocket. I saw him right there, making a decision to put life back into a broken body. Bringing breath back into his lungs, healing to his stomach, memory to his mind, and peace inside of his heart. Until all we had left was a broken cardboard box filled to the top with innocent, 9- year old treasures.

I lay there long enough to feel like I could finally fall asleep, that nothing could go wrong because it already had a chance to. And that life's uncertainty had already been met by grace and mercy, by a God that loves his children.

With Easter only weeks away, it reminded me that he felt everything I felt as he watched his son from a distance as well. That he was just as hurt and broken as I was and that his gasps for air were nothing compared to mine. I can't even imagine.

How great is our God.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prophetic promises

We were on to the next venture of our blessed life, with a few things that needed to surface.

We were in a week where God spoke directly to us through the use of people in our church and friends in our life. Throughout the whole week we were given words of encouragement, words of knowledge, and prophetic words of prayer.

We were uplifted in his purpose for our life. A life of promised prosperity. A season of prayers that were about to honored through the break through of our finances, business, and family. And a time of rejoicing and gladness. We saw the fullness that he wanted for our life and every part of us was excited to receive it.

I remember the words a little more clearly now. Don't reject the process.....Don't reject the process.....Don't reject the process. The words seemed to echo around us in the following week.

When prosperity was promised. No money was coming in.
When family unity needed to come together. Rivalry broke out.
When business opportunities were being prepared. His business took a hit.
When encouragement was trying to live. Emotions were being destroyed.
When plans to get away were attempted. Every thing was brought to a stop.

Each day brought an additional hurdle and the following week, despair hit our home even before we had a chance to really smile. Instead, we were a couple broken hearts that were ready to give up.

I guess it should have been an expected emotion because as we reflected on our week we saw how discouraged one would feel if you only hear his loving side instead of his parenting side. His promises to us was not to excite us but empower us. To be warriors for the kingdom, meant that we would need to fight. To kick the enemy off his feet, we would need to stand firm. And although I feel like a fool, I am also sure that God knew what was coming ahead of time.

Am I only a God nearby? And not a God far away? Do I not fill the heaven and Earth? My eyes watch them for their good and I will build them up and not tear them down. Hope.