April 9, 2013 § 6 Comments
When I was a child, I discovered a book that spoke straight to my heart, and has continued to minister to my soul throughout my life. Hinds Feet on High Places is the story of Much Afraid- a pathetic, useless cripple whose life is dominated by her Craven Fear relatives and her own inhibitions- and her journey from the valley up to the mountain top, and the changes she experiences along the way.
Currently, what comes to mind are the traveling companions that The Great Shepard sends Much Afraid to assist her in her perilous journey up the mountain. Their names are Suffering and Sorrow. And you know what? Today, I realize that this is the part of the story that Hannah Hurnard got all wrong when writing Hinds Feet on High Places.
In the book, Suffering and Sorrow are quiet, harmless companions that really don’t do much besides follow Much Afraid around and sometimes lend her a hand in the rough places. But, if you have ever experienced suffering or sorrow, you, too, know that this is a false portrayal.
Sorrow is not quiet. She doesn’t meekly follow you around and quickly disappear. She doesn’t remain silent and unobtrusive.
She is loud. Loud like a roaring ocean in your ear drums that drowns out all other thought and reason.
Loud like sobs and dry heaves and screams that come from the deepest recesses inside of you.
She consumes your life, steals your joy and takes her liberties with you.
Sorrow is raw.
Sorrow is blinding.
Sorrow is bitter poison.
Sorrow tears your heart out and leaves you bleeding, but doesn’t allow you to die.
Sorrow is a thief that doesn’t have to sneak around or hide.
She is bold and unforgiving.
Sorrow is lonely.
Sorrow is cancer.
I’ll never understand Sorrow. No matter how many times I have experienced her throughout my life, every single time I face her, she is a new creature. Old tricks and new alike, she never fails to rock me to the very core of my being.
So here I am.
Sorrow has come, suddenly, swiftly, mercilessly. Once again, she has driven me to me knees.
Though I may be knocked down, though I may appear defeated, what Sorrow has failed to recognize is that she has placed me right where I need to be. Face down, broken, unable
to stand, and in desperate need of a Comfort that cannot be found in this world.
You see, she has unintentionally delivered me straight into the arms of Jesus, the Great Comforter. She has stripped me of my foolish pride, and unknowingly enabled and strengthened me to crawl, in my brokenness and humility to the foot of the Cross, the very place where sorrow and all her schemes were defeated over 2000 years ago when Love conquered death so that Sorrow and Suffering would no longer wield the sting of death. She has forced me to seek refuge and strength in the love of my Savior.
And in that place, I find my hope, my joy, my peace, my victory.
August 16, 2012 § 32 Comments
Such a small and simple word. A word uttered thoughtlessly, millions of times every day in a thousand different tongues. And while the dialect or pronunciation or delivery may differ, the meaning is always the same: Make me understand.
In this post, I told you how afraid and vulnerable and out of control I was feeling. I let you take a small peek at the life I was leaving behind. What I failed to do, was tell you why.
Why would I move 1500 miles away from all that I know and love? Why would I ever *leave my mother? Why do I have such a **potentially unhealthy obsession with lists and details and asterisks?
*There is still room in my suitcase
**I have no answers
photo source: wanderlustandlipstick
- I’m helping plant a church.
Now that you are even more confused than before, allow me to elaborate. You heard me right. I’m moving to plant a church in Columbus. What exactly does that mean? Well, in all honestly, your guess is as good as mine. But in order to try to help make sense of this strange statement, lets start at the beginning, shall we?
Back in May of this year – before laughing.loving.eating was born or even thought of - I went up to Ohio to visit Mr. Levi Loyde, my special someone, and his wonderful family. Ironically, or as I tend to think not so ironically, they are also life long family friends AND it was their church that I attended when I lived in Ohio the first time. It was on this trip that I was asked to seriously and prayerfully consider moving back to Ohio to plant a church in a somewhat rougher area of Columbus.
No building. No pews. No pulpit. No congregation. No lights or sound. No worship team or creative arts department. Nothing whatsoever resembling the modern-day “church”. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. *Just a handful of God-loving people who desire nothing more than to see the hearts and lives of hurting, broken people (just like you and I) transformed into something beautiful.
And friends, let me just say, I will always love Jesus. I will always love His church. I will always (try) to love His plans. Truly. But in that moment, when my heart started racing a thousand miles a minute and my palms started sweating profusely, I wished I didn’t love so much. Because I never, hear me, nevernevernever wanted to live in Ohio again. EVER.
My faith has never been so challenged. My fears, well they all have a thing or two to say about the idea, too. Usually on a daily, if not hourly basis, I’m reminded of all the things that could go wrong. I think about how I despise winter and adore the sun. I agonize over the fact that I am moving without having a job or steady source of income. I remember how sad and lonely and broken I felt when I lived in Ohio before. I worry that I won’t ever feel “at home”, despite being surrounded by incredible people whom I absolutely adore. I’m tortured by thoughts that are almost too horrific to name, like being unable to bake and cook on a semi-regular basis. I would cease to exist.
The moment the question was poised, in the midst of thinking that I would surly suffocate and die under the crushing weight of all my doubts, my selfishness, my insecurities and each and every one of my greatest fears, something like peace washed over me. Something that spoke louder than all that fear, that is still speaking louder than all the doubt, the confusion, the insecurities. Something like courage and hope and the belief that I am on the right path. Something that calls me, draws me, and moves me like I’ve never experienced before. So I’m going.
August 8, 2012 § 31 Comments
On September 1st, all of my earthly possessions, my main squeeze, and myself will cram ourselves into my little white Taurus and drive 1,500 miles away from sunshiny Florida, to buckeye-land Ohio.
And, let me just tell you, I’m thrilled. Absolutely tickled pink.
Amidst all that joy, mixed up in all the excitement, I’m sad, too. And terrified. And way, way, way out of my comfort zone.
I’m sad because going there, means leaving things behind here. People, places, and parts of my life that just won’t fit in my trunk no matter how many space saver bags I have. (Mom, don’t worry. I haven’t given up trying to find a way to squeeze you in.)
Waving goodbye to the tropical flavors that I have learned to love
Sayin’ sayonara to the breathtaking beauty of life near the equator
I’m terrified because the last time I moved to Ohio, I was *trying to run away from the mess that I had made of my life, and in the process, I just ended up hurting myself and the people I love the most. It’s taken a long time for those wounds to begin healing.
*in case you were wondering, life followed me
I’m so far out of my comfort zone because, well, to be honest I’m *somewhat of a control freak. Ok, ok. I AM 100% control freak. Everything I do is extreme. Perfectionist by nature, I am the definition of all or nothing. In my mind, black and white don’t fade to gray. I like plans. I thrive on details. And lists. Oh, how I adore lists. Unfortunately for me, this move was not planned. This move is not detailed. And there are no checklists.
I wish I was spontaneous. Really, I do. I would love to have a carefree mentality of taking everything in stride as it comes, and “rolling with the punches.” I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to leap before I looked. I’m sure, it’s bliss. The fact is, change of any and every kind freaks me out, throws me out of whack and turns my world upside down. I can’t even change shampoo brands without giving myself at least a week to adjust to the idea. I just hate it. I hate the unknown, the fear that comes when something is unfamiliar and thus potentially harmful. So to say this is a challenge for me, would be a grand understatement.
And the numero uno reason that I’m stressin’ so much? Four weeks (less than that now), is simply not enough time for me properly plan and execute the “perfect” move. Sadly, I’m not entirely sure that four months would be enough time. So now I’m rallying. I’m makin’ lists and checking them off like a mad woman. I’ve packed my car up a few dozen times in my mind to figure out what essential items are making the trip with me. I’ve calculated and recalculated how much money I’m going to spend on gas and food. I’ve scheduled *bathroom breaks and rests and potential sites to stop and see along the way. And I’ve done all of this, knowing full and well that more than likely, nothing will go as planned. Because when does life work out like that?
*this is a no judgement zone
Anyways, that’s the scoop. You’ve all gotten to taste a little bit of my brand of crazy, and I hope that I haven’t frightened anyone away with my antics and fanatical rantings. But this is my life, and this is what has been taking place in it lately. Stay tuned for part 2 of my big news!
August 1, 2012 § 9 Comments
Blogging is like friendship.
All about communication.
And lunch** dates.
**breakfast, brunch, dinner, coffee, and dessert, too. I don’t discriminate.
That being said, ask any of my friends, and they will tell you that I am the worst communicator they know.
It’s not that I don’t love them, or think about them, or miss them (or you). Because I do. All the time. Really, It’s me. I’m just awful at keeping in touch. Call it self-absorbed or rude if you like, but that’s just the way I am. I would love to chalk it up to technology failures, politics, religion or any of the other countless scapegoats out there that consistently take the fall for human short comings*, but then I’d be a liar, too.
*another post, another time.
So, to apologize for letting an entire week wiz by without so much as a how do you do? or even a simple recipe, I’m gracing you with some lusty food photos and a few other random “life-shots”, as a sort of quick peek into what I’ve been doing for the past week.
Baking sweet things
Eating obnoxious amounts of broccoli
Turning fungus into fabulous
Playing favorites with my fruits
Spending quality time with my sister
Did you even need to ask?
Embracing life as a beach bum
Missing this guy.
That pretty much sums it up. Let’s do lunch** soon, ok?
July 25, 2012 § 14 Comments
This foxy lady.
My mom.* (Hold the gasps)
*the woman my world revolves around, my inspiration, my best friend.
She had a birthday this weekend. Let me tell you, twenty nine* has never looked so good, madre.
*sometimes it’s ok to lie
And Mrs. Glamour?
She has a special fondness for all things coconuty and sweet. And raspberry. And chocolate.
So to celebrate this jewel, I created this gem.
Happy birthday, Mom.
I love you longest, deepest, and widest.
Coconut Raspberry Dream Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
She is everything cake should be.
Light, fluffy, and moist, moist, moist.
The most heartbreaking, delicate crumb that will ever pass your lips.
I dare you not to go back for seconds.
- 5 Large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 1/3 cups white sugar
- 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of your favorite raspberry jam/preserves
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch round baking pans.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs whites, add 1/2 c. coconut milk and the extracts; mix thoroughly and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low to break up any lumps.
Add butter and coconut milk and mix on low until combined. Increase mixing speed to medium and beat until fluffy and light.(about 2 minutes)
Add egg white mixture in 2 additions; mixing until just combined.
Divide batter evenly between the three pans and bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to sit for 10 minutes in the pans.
Remove cakes from baking pans and allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting.
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3-3/12 cups powdered sugar
Melt chocolate and cream over simmering water; allow to cool completely.
Cream butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar on high until light and fluffy; add chocolate mixture. Continue to add additional powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until the desired consistency is achieved.
*Will make more than enough to frost this 3 layer cake. Store any extra in the fridge.
Once your cakes have completely cooled, place your first layer on a flat, parchment covered surface (I recommend a cake stand or foil-covered cardboard) and spread with 1/2 of your raspberry preserves. Top with second cake layer, and spread with remaining preserves. Place remaining layer on top and frost entire cake with the butter cream frosting. Try to frost as evenly as possible.
Lightly press the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake, or just sprinkle on top (whichever you prefer).
Chill cake in the fridge for about 2 hours so that layers and butter cream sets. Take the cake out about 30 minutes prior to serving.
EAT AND BE MERRY!