Wednesday, November 30, 2011

insanely ridiculous

Look at what a student left on my desk for me! 
They are LED Christmas lights that plug into the USB port on my laptop. 
They are insanely ridiculous, and oh, so, fun!
They change colors too, but in a nice, subtle way.

It is crazy that tomorrow is December 1!
I was sick, really sick, for the first 3 weeks of November and half sick for the fourth week,
but at least I will have a stronger immune system for whatever God has ahead after this year. 
I will be praying for a healthy December all the same.

Coincidentally, today I taught the Latin root, "sanus," which means healthy, not diseased or injured.
 The English words sane, insanity, sanitation, etc. are derived from it. Nifty!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fatherly love

I talked briefly with my dad today, while I was walking the shampoo isle at Target. He was telling me how I was his favorite daughter and I joked that it really takes a lot of work being his only daughter. His tone changed a bit, and then he told me that he had been thinking about the roughest patch we had in our father-daughter relationship when I was a young teen. He said, "It took me so long to realize that you wanted me to be your dad before your pastor."  It is true; I wanted to know that my father was for me.

My father is one of my favorite people. He is far from perfect, but a man of humility and faith. He means so much to me for so many reasons. Over the years he has guided me so faithfully to grow in my understanding of my heavenly Father. I remember those early teen years were the absolute suckiest, ever! I was trying to find my identity in the things of this world, and needless to say I found myself to be a failure in every way. I insulted myself with such certainty. I'm sure the words I spoke broke my parents' hearts. Yet, they were so patient with me, especially my dad. He just kept on preaching the gospel to me. He reminded me of all that Christ did on the cross to secure me as His child. He told me blunt Truth out of such sincere conviction, love and sternness, repeating it to my seemingly deaf ears for weeks. One day my heart was pierced. "Alissa, every time you say those things about yourself, you're slapping Jesus in the face and telling Him that what He did on the cross for you doesn't really matter to you." In that moment, the lies I had held so tightly to were called sin and were no longer a place of solace. There was no other choice, but to run to my Father and to walk in the Truth of His Word, knowing that I was without condemnation, a new creation, and a child of God, free before Him in Christ!

How sweet it is to know that the God of all things is pleased with us and has such deep love for His creation that He was willing to send His Son to live a perfect life, die a sinless death, and victoriously conquer the grave to bring us to Him, redeemed!

Abba, Father, how great is the love You have lavished upon us that we should be called the children of God, and that is what we are! Lord, what a sweet thing it is to know that we are Yours. You are for us, with us. Who can be against us? You have what is best in mind and You are able to secure it. Father, all You do is good and nothing is too hard for You. I am so thankful to know You. My heart cannot contain my thankfulness and yet, my lips could never praise You enough! O Lord, may I love others freely and fearlessly knowing how set Your love is for me? Lord, grow us for Your glory. Ground us in the love of Christ, cause our roots to grow deep that we may bear fruit in season. May Your love continue to go out from us. There are so many people aching for Your love. Open their eyes to see You, let their deaf ears hear and let their minds understand the love You have for them in Christ!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

while the pies are baking

"Count your many blessings, Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, See what God has done!"

What a simple and beautiful chorus for the grateful heart! (I just noticed I had a typo in the chorus. I had typed "Count your man blessings..." lol! I'm sleepy so that is really funny.)

On this Thanksgiving day, and every day, it is good to take time to thank God for what He has given us. As I was baking, I was struck by the abundance of blessing that I have in the people in my life. There are so many faithful, wise, and fun saints in my life. In the last few months it has been amazing to think back on how the Lord has led me all this way, often using different people to challenge and encourage me. There are so many nuggets of wisdom that have been passed down to me over the years. One of these nuggets is something that Don Allen (LB Nav staff director) often says, "There are three things that will last forever: God, His Word and the souls of men. I don't know about you, but I want to live my life in light of the eternal." Oh how I desperately want to live my life for eternity and for His glory!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 

I keep letting the Spirit smack me in the face with this chunk. How prone I am to discouragement when life is hard, but my life is but a blip on the radar. God is working for His glory and how sweetly He invites me, and you, into His story for His glory!

Lord, thank You for the abundance of blessings that we have in knowing You as our Lord, Savior, Maker, Redeemer, Shepherd and Friend. I can't imagine what my life would be like without You. I thank You that You are at work in my life, in seen and unseen ways. Thank You for making me Your child. Lord, grow my understanding of who You are, continue this work that You have begun, that Your truth and love may reach those who don't know You. Grow us as we walk in faith. Thank You, thank You, thank You for Jesus' work on the cross, for His atoning sacrifice. Lord, that we are blessed in the heavenlies though we were by nature objects of wrath is a wonder to me. How gracious You are! Lord, I am a least one, but You love me still. Thank You for giving us so much significance. Thank You for good music and apple pies, too.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Apple Doughnut Holes

Have you ever had so many apples that you don't know what to do with them?!

All of my baking years, I have been spoiled with my mother's stocked kitchen and devices. One of the most fabulous tools she has is an apple corer/slinkier. It is amazing! It peels, cores, and evenly cuts through apples in no time at all. I currently do not have this wonder of a machine. So coming home from work to a boatload of apples, I needed a recipe that did not require peeled apples because I didn't feel like peeling them! I put the apples into my food processor and was left with 5 cups of apple slop. I wasn't sure what I was going to make with it. I was thinking of something completely different, but then thought it would be worthwhile to make some type of apple fritter. My creation was more of an apple doughnut hole, than a fritter. Here's the recipe. Luke made me write it down before I went to bed; he says it is the best thing I have ever made.

-5 cups of food processed apples
-1 cup of butter
-5 eggs
-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup oat meal
-5 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups brown sugar
-2 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground clove
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 cup skim milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla

For cooking: 1-2 quarts of oil (I used vegetable, I know so little about frying food).

Combine softened butter and sugar, mix until smooth. Then add the processed apples and eggs. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Prepare the glaze by adding the milk and powdered sugar. After stirring with a whisk, add in the vanilla and stir again. In a pot heat oil on medium heat. After a few minutes test a small piece of dough. The oil is ready when the dough immediately begins to sizzle once it hits the oil. Once your oil is ready, you can begin to drop a few dough balls into the oil. Let the fun begin! I used a cookie scoop for this. It helped to streamline the process. Let the doughnut holes cook until they are a deep golden brown and crispy. You want to make sure they are cooked all the way through. This took at least 3 minutes, but the time would vary depending on how hot your oil is. Take the fried doughnuts out of the oil with a slotted spoon and let them cool. Then toss them in the glaze. I sprinkled them with powdered sugar too. This made at least 70 doughnut holes.

Here's the finished product!

This is what the plate looked like when I picked it up from the teacher's lounge.
Somebody must have really loved them to turn my label into a heart.

These were good, but I also made the BIGGEST mess I have ever made in the process. On my very last batch of doughnuts, the oil boiled over and went everywhere! Last night I learned how to disassemble, clean and reassemble an electric stove top. It was fascinating!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

summer breeze

I am home sick today and as the good Lord would have it my parents are here visiting (and really for Dr.'s appointments). So I have had the wonderful blessing of my mother's care today, which makes being sick so much more bearable. I'm still in bed, but I want to share with you one of my all time favorite songs. It was penned by one of my favorite people, Miss Rachel Wade, whom I affectionately call "Wheezy Wade" on occasion because she has laugh induced asthma. I hope you enjoy it. I would hope that you enjoy it as much as I do, but that's probably not possible!!