Sweet Sayings: Swirls

I've discovered this YUMMY, and easy recipe.  I call it Tiger Stripes.  It's modified from this recipe.

1 lb. Milk Chocolate
1/2 C. Chunky Peanut Butter
1/2 C. White Chocolate
1 T. Butter

Melt milk chocolate in microwave. (Begin with 1 min. at half power, then add 30 seconds at half power as needed). After chocolate is melted, add in the peanut butter until it's melted.
For ease of cleaning, layer a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture in the pan. Swirl the chocolate around to make a thin layer.
Melt the white chocolate using the same method as the milk chocolate. Add the butter until melted. Drizzle the white chocolate over the milk chocolate. DO NOT MIX. Drag a butter knife through the two chocolates in various directions to form the swirls. Put in freezer for 5 minutes. Pull out and break into pieces or use cookie cutters to create shapes.

I dare you not to smile while you're eating this!

He Noticed Me!!

My daughter has a crush on a teenager who goes to church with us.  She has "loved" him basically since the first day she met him 4 years ago .  He's a great kid and takes it in stride.   He walks her to her Sunday School class each week, and she tells me he is her best friend!  In fact, one time, she told me, "Mommy, I want to marry him.  [Sigh] But I just don't think that will happen."  (Considering that he's 10 years older than her, I suspect she's correct, but my heart still broke a bit for her that day.)  One time, his family went on vacation for a few weeks.  My daughter missed him like crazy while he was gone and probably started thinking he may have abandoned her.  She pondered as we drove to church after 2 weeks of limbo if he would still be out of town.  I told her I wasn't sure.  As we walked into church she saw him.  She quickly turned to me, tugged on my sleeve, and pointed out that he was there.  (Oh joy, oh rapture!)  He was doing something else, so we made our way in and sat down.  My daughter (who was 4 at the time) sat with a coy look on her face blinking in his general direction.  After a few minutes, he noticed us sitting there and gave a smile and wave to us.  My daughter took a quick intake of breath and waved back.  Then, she turned to me, smiling from ear to ear, and excitedly said, "Mom, he noticed me!"

I've had many times in my life that the Lord has decided to leave for a few weeks and leave me on my own.  I've felt small, and insignificant, maybe even abandoned.  Without fail during those times, I'm allowed to see with clarity through the dreary fog to the fact that He cares more about me than I can ever know.  I read in Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God".  Would I ever abandon my children when they are hurting?  No.  If we are God's children, would he ever abandon us?  No!  It's in these moments of clarity, when the truth comes shining through.  I can feel God's love for me and say excitedly, "He notices me!"

Camping (AKA Remake of "A River Runs Through It")

This warmer weather we have had the last few days brings my mind around to camping.  We started a camping tradition about three years ago to go camping with some friends in the spring. Another friend of ours gave us a 15-20 year old tent.  Yes, it was a bit old, but it appeared fairly sturdy. We weren’t sure if we would continue our camping traditions, so we didn’t want to buy a new tent.  This story is about the second time we used this tent.  We noticed the previous time we went camping that some of the seam tape was coming off.  We kept meaning to repair it, but never got around to it.  We also meant to buy some of the waterproofing spray to protect the tent, but didn’t do that either. Besides, the weatherman promised us beautiful weather the whole weekend, so we didn’t have any worries!
The weatherman was 95% correct.  We had gorgeous weather 95% of that weekend.  The second night we were there we noticed lightening on the other side of the lake.  We talked to the camp host who said we might get the tail end of a large storm, not much rain, but probably a lot of wind.  He suggested we bring in most of gear, which we did.  However, since we weren’t anticipating much rain, we decided not to put our tarp over the tent (we didn’t have a rainfly).
After pulling everything in, we all bedded down for a nice evening, or so we thought.  I awoke at 1:30 a.m. to rain splashing on my face, puddles all over the floor, soaked kids, and a very frustrated husband.  (At one point, part of that seam tape I mentioned earlier fell off and stuck to his backside, making it look like he had a tail!  That would have been hysterical had it been any other moment but right then!) My then 2-year-old son ended up in a slightly less damp spot on our bed because rain was pouring in on his. My then 5-year-old clam shelled herself up in her sleeping bag trying to keep the water off her.  Eventually the rain subsided and we were able to go back to sleep, but needless to say, we figured out that night that it was time to weatherproof our tent.
Like our tent, we need to do some weatherproofing of our own lives to protect us against the storms that Satan will throw at us. In this particular instance, I say Satan is none other than…the weatherman.  Oh, the weather’s good, you don’t need your tarp, maybe it will rain, but only a little bit.  He works in partial truths, 95% of what he tells you will be true, but that 5% that isn’t true will trip you up.  One of the lies he’s spreading now that’s very popular is that what we do only effects me, no one else.  However, like my children who got drenched because we didn’t weatherproof our tent, others are very much effected by our actions, most especially our family members. Don’t follow the “weatherman”.  He’s a pied piper playing sweet songs that would ultimately destroy our eternal lives of happiness.  He doesn’t want us to be happy.  He wants each of us to be drenched and soaked in misery, just like him.
Weatherproof your lives against the fiery darts of the adversary by not listening to Satan, keep out anything wet and unholy, use the Holy Spirit as your tarp, spray the scriptures on your heart and mind, and have plenty of stick-to-it-ivness to endure to the end so that we may say as Paul said “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

PS - Just in case you were wondering, we bought another tent shortly after this incident!

Sweet Sayings: Dance, Love, Sing, Live

Seeing that tomorrow is what Marvelous Matthew refers to as a made up holiday, and the rest of the world refers to as Valentine's Day, I felt like this was an appropriate Sweet Saying for the week.

Confessions of a Killer (Enduring / Testimony)

Hasbro Clue Game:  1998 version

Was it Miss Scarlet in the Library with the Revolver?  No!  It was Miss Lynnae in Savannah with Neglect.

Each Spring I am filled with a masterful delusion that leads to my serial killings.   I walk down aisles upon aisles of colorful flowers, fragrant herbs, and beautiful young trees.  My head fills with visions of grandeur.  This will be the year I will do it!  I will be a master gardener with luscious fruits, delicious herbs, and a bountiful garden.  My plenty will be abundant, and my garden will be one of greatness.

I carefully select my victims, as they scream for mercy, "Not me!  Pick that one!  Please!  What have I done to deserve this wretched fate?" I chuckle mercilessly as I place them in my (shopping cart or buggy, you decide).  I coo to them, "Didn't you hear me?  This will be the year!"  To this they pathetically reply, "Yes, the year I will die by your hand."  I take my victims home and survey my yard.  My yard is unchanged, it doesn't have good light, soil, or a place where my victims will not be tromped on by dogs and kids.  I think to myself, "Ah, this random spot here might work.  Yes, I haven't tried a victim here yet!  Quick, randomly dig and plop my destined victim in the ground."

I water my victim, talk to my victim, but never name my victim.  That would be much too heartless!  For the next few glorious springtime weeks, I attend to my victims, proud of myself, sure that this will be the year that I will reform.  Then, the brutal Savannah heat begins, bugs overwhelm me and the springtime showers dry up.  The attention I showered on my victim wanes, and nature takes over.  The lack of water, love, and immense, brutal heat dry up my victims to a crunchy, brown mass.  I feel a sense of remorse as I realize I have struck yet again.  Another victim, dead by my lack of attention, a crumbly heap that would never serve as my amazing masterpiece.  I totaled up the number of victims killed by me over the last 6 years.  The total is no less than 36 and probably much higher as I'm positive there are victims I can no longer remember!  What could have changed this sad outcome?  What could make my victims success stories instead of just another number in my line of killings?

I have a friend who diligently plants a garden each year.  She prepares her soil, and waters her plants (yes, I must refer to hers as plants, not victims) daily.  If she goes on vacation, she even arranges to have someone come and water her plants or pick the fruits and veggies while she's gone.  (What a novel idea!)  Her plants bloom, grow and produce beautifully.  She even has some to give away she gets such a nice crop!  She endures the heat, bugs and drought and receives bounteously in return.

James 5:11 states, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."  After my friend endures, she can happily look at her bounty and even share with others.  I don't endure, which leads to sad, shriveled up victims.   I've discovered that my life and testimony of the Lord are much the same way.  My testimony, like the plants, can grow and flourish if I provide it with the essential nutrients it needs such as reading scriptures, attending church, praying, and serving others.  If I don't give these essentials to my testimony, it may shrivel in the brutal heat of this world.  I hope to continue giving my testimony the nutrients it needs so it doesn't become just another nameless victim of carelessness!

Sweet Sayings

Just a follow-up to my last experiment.  This will probably be the last one with the candy sticks, but I'll probably do more with different candies.  Did I mention I love candy?

My Buddy and Me (Trust In the Lord)

My Buddy, Cooper

I have a confession.  You know how moms aren't supposed to pick favorites?  Well, I have a most definite favorite!  Before I can delve deeper into my confession, you need to know a few things.  I got my first dog, Cooper, shortly after Marvelous Matthew and I started dating.  Over the next two years, my dog family grew by one with Cheyenne.  Next, I acquired Marvelous Matthew as a husband.  Two weeks after we were married, I received an e-mail from a friend who worked with a dog rescue saying that they were looking for a foster home for a dog that would be put to sleep within 24 hrs if they couldn't find a place for her.  I called Marvelous Matthew and absolutely assured him we would only be temporary fosters for that dog.  Well, 8 years later, she's still part of the family and that's how Shadow joined us.  (Yes, Marvelous Mathew has never let me fully live that one down).  Finally,  two children have rounded out my family.   All three of my dogs are fairly big, each weighing in around 85 lbs., and I didn't listen to all the naysayers who told me while I was pregnant about how my dingos were going to eat my babies!     My kids have a good amount of respect for the dogs (even though they adore giving them "crowns", "jewelery", and any amount of bling they can get their hands on to adorn the dogs).  Overall, it's been a really good experience having dogs and kids.

Ok, I hear you, "blah, blah, blah, come on!  Tell me what your confession is!  What dirt can I dig up on you!"  Well, here it goes.  Cooper is my absolutely favorite dog.  I hang my head in shame a bit each time I admit it because, as I said before, moms aren't supposed to have favorites.  However, it's the truth.  It isn't that I don't love my other two dogs, but Cooper basically worships the ground I walk on!  How many of you have a guy who, no matter what you do, perfectly adores and worships you?  For 12 years he has endured countless moves, and many life changes.  No matter what life curves I've thrown at him, he still looks at me with absolute, unabashed love!  He follows me around the house, and always has to know where I am!  He is almost always within arms reach for me!  He just rolls his eyes at me when I pull his jowls out to make him look like a King Cobra (he has a lot of loose skin, so he is not harmed in any way during his cross-species training exercises).  He has what I refer to as "First Dog Syndrome".  The sky is the limit with the tricks he knows!  He knows how to dance in a circle for his treat, and play dead when I "shoot" him with my finger and say, "Bang!"  My other two dogs know how to sit and that's the extent of their tricks.  The funny thing is, if you ask just about any adult who is acquainted with all three of my dogs, almost without fail they will each tell you that Coop is their favorite dog too!  He's simply a great dog.

He hasn't always been so great.  Cooper came into my care when he was about 5 months old.  I do not know his history prior to that time, but I do know it couldn't have been good.  I had been scouting around for a dog, and one of my roommates came home one day.  She brought with her the news that one of her co-workers had a 45 lbs puppy show up under his deck and wanted to know if there was anyone who wanted the dog.  I met Cooper the next day.  The only good thing that could be said about him at that time was that he wasn't horribly underweight, but he was terrified of EVERYTHING.  He was scared to go outside, and scared to come back inside.  He would tremble all over if you came close to him, and howl if you left the room.  To look at him, all you could really see was a train wreck of a dog!  He was so messed up.

No matter how messed up he was at the time, I could feel that there was more to him than just his psychotic-ness!  I worked with him, loved him, and made him feel safe.   Cooper started trusting me more and more.  I've never done anything to break that trust.   He's truly been a good buddy for all these years.  He's come so far from where he was, a broken down puppy with no hope, to everyone's favorite dog.

I've found in life that there are many times I feel pretty broken down myself.  Life can get perfectly terrifying sometimes, and I don't know which way to turn.  However, I've also found that as I trust in the Lord, He never does anything to break that trust.  He works with me, loves me, and leads me to safety.  In Isaiah 26 were told, "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."  As I put my trust in Him, He helps me to become all that I can be.   He knows how much more there is to me that just my "psychotic-ness."  He knows that He can change me from feeling broken, to someone who has great strength, if I will let Him.  He know precisely how far I can go!