29 June 2012

Five-Minute Friday: {Dance}

I remember going to the Lakewood Center for the Arts at the tender age of 8, maybe it was 7, for ballet classes. It was a love/hate relationship. I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to have ballet slippers - the kind with the pink satin ribbon that would wrap around your ankle and up your calf, criss-crossing until tied off in a quick knot. But I distinctly remember not liking the teacher. Or the fact that every other week someone new joined the class and we seemed to start all over again. I was already keenly aware that I was big. Too big. And not graceful. I was already self-conscious and wanting to hide. My mother had made a deal with me that if I stayed in the class for a month (or was it three?), then she would open a savings account in my name and put $10 dollars in it for me. That seemed like a fortune and I patiently served my time in ballet class and the moment my sentence was up, I quit the class.
The ironic thing is, thirty-ish years later, I've gone back to dance and ballet class. I'm still not graceful. I'm still aware that I am 'bigger.' But it doesn't bother so much anymore. Instead I love the way it feels to move my body in the rhythmic flow and the way I can express myself without words, interpreting music with movement. In dance I have found another language - a heart language that I wish I had found years earlier. Like maybe thirty years earlier.

(A writing exercise from Lisa-Jo Baker, Five-Minute Friday)


Hello All,
How are you doing this Friday? True confession time: I have a fantasy of someday getting a tattoo. I doubt I’ll ever have the gumption to permanently mark my body with something for life, but I like to pretend that one day I will. And when that day comes, I want to be prepared with a design, something that represents me, says something about who I am, that will be true forever, and ever, amen! As I was dinking around on Pinterest last night I had the idea to type “tattoo” and “ink” into the search bar to see if I would get inspired enough to commit to something. Instead I questioned why I want to join a club of such freaky weird people. (C’mon – there are some frightening and bizarre tattoos out there!)

I looked through the images and thought, well… the time I’ve spent in central/eastern Europe has instilled a fondness for matrushkas. Apparently this girl really likes them too.
 I think I’ll stick with my lil’ pot holders that are mostly non-functional but so cute that I leave them on the counter (and use them as  trivets).

And as y’all know my favorite pastime is kitchen chemistry. I’ve been known to call my professional KitchenAid by the name “My Precious.”  While I am in awe of the artists ability to create the reflective surface, this may be a bit over the top for me. 

 Maybe I should just stick to the basics.

I have a severe case of wanderlust, and want to travel the world. How about getting the globe outlined on my feet? Oh, that’s been done. But I could have each state/country that I visit filled in and slowly color in the map and show where my feet have walked! But then my shoes would clash – that won’t do!

I am rarely without a camera. If I got a tattoo of a camera then I really would never, ever be without one – not that an inked one would be all that helpful.

I readily admit that I have a drinking problem. That’s not changing.

Coffee or tea??
One lump or two??

If an 8.0 earthquake hit, my home would stand strong – held up by books alone.

I like Animal! J (What girl doesn’t have a soft spot for the bad boy drummer??) J

This was the best find of the night!! In my perusing, I even found a photo of Eric's tatted up arm. Nice, dude! (For those who don't know, Eric is one of my co-workers who is constantly razzed about having squirrel slaves that power his house, which is in boon-dock New Hampshire.)

I just found this really funny. J

Well… I’m not inspired just yet. I guess the hunt for the perfect tattoo continues. 

24 June 2012

Party Cookies

Opening up my email on afternoon several weeks ago, I was greeted with a reminder for an event the next evening; an event to which I was supposed to bring a dessert. It would be so helpful if I had put that on my calendar. Alas, I needed a quick and easy treat, to give myself an extra challenge I wanted to use as many ingredients that I had on hand as possible. I turned to my favorite web-source of recipes: Pinterest. The weather is turning relatively warmer and chocolate seemed too heavy. I knew I had a package of funfetti cake mix in my cupboard, then I found a recipe for cake batter cookies, and with that I had a plan...

Lemony Funfetti Party Cookies!

Here is what you'll need:
1 - box of Funfetti cake mix
1 cup - white chocolate chips
1/2 cup - plain yogurt
2 - eggs
1 - lemon, zest & juice
1 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon - lemon extract
dash of salt

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350°

Like I said, I needed something quick and easy and that was a selling point on this recipe. Basically, you dump everything into one bowl and stir it up until just mixed. The dough was really sticky and stiff which made scooping it out a little challenging, I think this was due to replacing the oil with yogurt. I made the substitution to make it a smidge 'healthier' and in hopes of adding some extra tang.

Simply scoop the batter onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat®
Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 350°; they won't change color much, just a little tan on top, so be careful not to over bake them. 

I made mostly popper size cookiettes, but I also made a few bigger "regular" size cookies. Straight out of the oven (with a little time to cool) I think the bigger ones tasted better. Yet, the smaller ones tasted very good and even better the next day. 

Yummers! Tangy, zingy, lemony, creamy & happy cookies! 

01 June 2012

Hard Days Are Fighting Days

Some days are just hard.
It's still dark outside but the bladder will let you sleep no longer. Throwing back the blankets with annoyance, you take care of business without really opening your eyes. Wiggling back under the covers, sleep is just about to fully take hold again... and the alarm goes off. Hitting snooze leads to an arm being flung over the side of the bed - and staying there, until it starts to tingle, go numb, and the cold exposed skin wakes you too much to be ignored. Tucking the stray arm back under the covers, sleep starts to grab hold of you again. While not really awake, you rationalize that if you are this tired, you need the sleep and should maybe skip the gym just this one morning. Resetting the alarm, snuggling in for one more hour of shut-eye, suddenly you are wide awake. With a loud sigh of exasperation you throw the covers back once more, swinging legs over the side; today will not be the day to skip the gym.

It feels good to move the body, get the blood flowing, see the sweat dripping; better than sleeping one more restless hour. But the dalliance with the alarm has put your schedule off and now you are running late. While you make it in time for the train, it required bringing your make-up bag with you to apply it while riding along to work.

Stepping off the train early, choosing to walk the rest of the way to the office, it seems like it may rain making the choice questionable. An odd mix of people are passing by on the sidewalks first thing in the morning in downtown Portland. It's the crazy homeless man that spits loud and profusely on the sidewalk along Powell's Books that grabs your attention, not so much because of his looks, smell, behavior, or spitting - but because you caught yourself walking to the far side of the curb away from him. "What ugly, unloving behavior! He isn't so different than the residents at the hotel you minister at." you chide yourself with such remonstrations. And out of the blue you hear, "He's crazy, he'd probably ask you out too since it's only crazy people that have an interest in you. Well, the crazy, and the social awkward, or the scoundrel who absconded with more of you than he should have." Suddenly you are judging every man that crosses your path, many who can be 'interesting' in Old Town. But there are those few who are dressed for work, who took some care about their appearance, and don't seem to be crazy in the least; and as you check those things off, the whiny voice asks, "Why can't someone like that ask me out? What's wrong with me that only creepy Chris is interested in me?" With the tailspin starting, the ache of loneliness scourges out your insides leaving you achingly hollow. Is it the wind or the pit on the inside causing your eyes to water? No matter, they both sting. The mind wanders, back to memories with the scoundrel, and longing stirs into the mix. Not so much for the scoundrel himself, but for the connection, the togetherness and sharing of life. Walking down memory lane leads nowhere good, so you put a halt to the amble with a road sign that reads, "He REJECTED you!" Painful, but effective. Also effective at creating an opening for evil to lob their familiar arsenal:
You are unwanted!
You are unlovable!
You are defective!
You are utterly alone!
You have been forgotten by God!

Under this heavy unrelenting barrage, you buzz yourself through the front door of the office, but walls and structure provide no protection from this kind of attack. The ride in the elevator to the 7th floor is agonizing, as you want to seek refuge under the covers that were so comforting only four hours ago, you just want to hide and wallow.

Starting everything up, while programs boot, you start to get caught up on the blogosphere.
And you read this post:
The King is Enthralled By Your Beauty

Those bombs that have been exploding in your heart start to fizzle as truth starts to break through the smoke and ash.
You are loved!
You are delighted in!
You are thought beautiful!

And if you were still doubting, this blog post shows up:
beautiful you
Another cleansing sweep of Truth washes over the battlefield of your heart, reminding you that you are indeed loved, seen, known, and thought beautiful by the almighty King of kings who is always with you. He cares so much that He orchestrated two posts, using the same verse, to send His message.

Some days are hard.
Some days you just need to fight a little harder.
Fight for truth. Fight for love. Fight for healing.
And be generous with mercy and grace.

Learning to be loved by my Creator, allowing myself to be loved by myself and others, accepting that I am loved and lovable is hard work for me. I need constant reminders. On those morning walks from Jeld-Wen field to the office I keep my eye out for hearts, love notes from God to remind me on my way of whose heart I belong to and where I am kept tight.

Hearts abound

"Hearts Abound"