Posted by: thewhimsicalbee | October 22, 2012

Stretching and Growing

Last year our church went through the book Radical. It changed many lives at our church. One thing I took away from it, that God was impressing on my heart, was

“Go outside your comfort zone. Become uncomfortable FOR ME.”

I have been working on that over the last year. And also to give more of my time. I am taking small steps towards that goal. God has given me opportunities to bless others by my uncomfortableness (On a side note: God never told us our Christian walk would be comfortable! So I should not be surprised at the nudging.) One of those was this past weekend.

Our women’s ministry was having a retreat (wonderful idea!) at the home of a dear, sweet, big-hearted church member.The retreat was titled “You’ve Lost that Healing Feeling.”

Our women’s ministry coordinator had sent me this message:

“if you plan to come, I was going to ask you to prepare a short devotional about “healing.” Wherever that takes you. Maybe about your short time of rebellion and how God restored your fellowship with him…Like I said, a 2-page piece on “healing” in your life. To read out loud to the women on Friday night or Saturday morning.

If you are able/willing to go… I am so forward.”

Well, yes, she is forward. But God was using her to further nudge me. I have only shared my testimony with people I am close to and feel quite comfortable with (like sharing a brief part with my Bible study–those ladies are wonderful and awesome and mentors to me, as well as beautiful sisters in Christ), yet I have not always shared all of it. So standing in front of a group of ladies from my church seemed a bit nerve-wracking. Yet, as soon as I read that message, I knew I was going to do it. I did not have any hesitation. I knew right then that God was going to give me the words to speak and work on me over the next couple weeks to enable me to be so vulnerable and exposed. And Hubby also had no hesitation on my going (I was staying overnight, so he was having the Girl all to himself), which was obviously a God thing as well.

I do not do public speaking well. My speech class in college did not do anything to help with nerves. At least this was a smaller group than when I spoke at our church’s Christmas Eve service. But the emotion of what I would be sharing is what got to me. After writing it out and doing some editing, I read it over a couple times, tearing up at the same parts. Therefore, I made sure to pack some tissues in my pockets.

God is still pushing me to be uncomfortable. That is why I am going to share what I read on Friday night. Here goes:

I was born and raised in a Christian home, accepting Christ at the age of five. I always attended church and thought it weird that not everyone did. As a teen I came to realize what it meant to be “on fire for Christ” and live a life sold out for him. I was plugged into an amazing youth group and formed friendships that still exist. I considered myself to be a strong Christian and my sister called me a prayer warrior.

I knew right from wrong.

And yet I wandered away.

I think of the lyrics to Casting Crowns’ song Slow Fade:

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away…

People never crumble in a day…it’s a slow fade

I did not wake up one day and decide that God’s way was no longer for me. It was small steps: I let friends pull me away. I let the world pull me away. I let the devil pull me away. I bought into his many lies: “God doesn’t love you. God doesn’t care what you do. God has turned his back on you.”

For a year and a half, I lived for me and for what I thought I wanted and needed. Church was no longer important. It was hard to get up early on Sunday when I had been out late on Saturday. My prayer life ceased. I figured God was no longer listening, so why do it. I made dumb decisions, decisions that could have had more serious consequences than they did. I did not see it then, but God’s hand was still on me. Though I had made choices I could not undo, and I thought I was all alone, I never was.

One night I was at a bar/dance club with friends. It struck me how I saw the same people each weekend. And I realized this life I was “living” was NOT what I wanted–spending weekends at bars, drinking too much, and living for only what I wanted, being so selfish. So I told my friends good-bye and left.

It was a horribly foggy Saturday night. I could barely see a few feet in front of my headlights. As I was driving, I started praying–to make it home safe and in one piece, for the other drivers. I could not remember the last time I had prayed, especially for others. God used an encounter on my drive to further impress upon me how wrong I had been and where I could end up if I did not change my life.

That night after I got home to my parents’ house, my eyes were opened to the truth: God had not turned his back on me–not once, but I had turned my back on him. He had continued to be there, though I thought I was alone.

The next day I went to church because I desperately needed to be there, needed to be in God’s house. My healing began that day. God forgave me of all I had done when I humbled myself and prayed for my relationship with him to be restored. He healed the spiritual and emotional wounds I had inflicted on myself. He healed the relationships with my family. I had believed another of the devil’s lies: “You are not hurting anyone else.” I did not know the hurt, pain, and grief I had caused my parents and siblings. I also did not know how hard they and my true friends had been praying for me.

God healed all my wounds and made me whole again. I still have scars, but they are a reminder of where I was and a testament to where I am.

Coming back to Christ, my prayer life is stronger than before. Prayer works–never stop praying.

I always liked these verses, but they have new meaning now:

My soul finds rest in God alone;

my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2

*God bless your day and week. Thank you for taking the time to read this.*

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Posted by: thewhimsicalbee | August 27, 2012

Adventures in the kitchen: Crepes

Quite a while ago I watched a wonderful episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” It is one of my favorite Food Network shows. I think it was about breakfast, hence the word crepes in this blog post title. Anyway, somewhere in these great United States, in a cute little trailer, someone came up with these amazing crepes. Nutella crepes. That’s right: NUTELLA. If you have not yet discovered this tasty little spread, well, you should. I am sure there are those out there that have not yet, seeing as how my sister just started using olive oil last year. (My next plan for her is to discover the joy of balsamic vinegar.)

Anyway, in this trailer out west (I think), this wonderful woman spreads Nutella on a crepe, then layers on sliced bananas and strawberries, wraps them up and drizzles chocolate all over them. Oh, when I saw that I had to try it on my own. Hubby wholely agreed, based only on my tantalizing description.

The first time we tried them Hubby used thinned down pancake batter. I was too intimidated to make true crepes. It was still a wonderful and tasty breakfast.

A couple years later, along comes Pinterest. And this gem of a pin. I read over the recipe and thought it could happen. I could add a new badge to my Kitchen Scouts sash: crepe making. (I do not really have a sash, but it kinda sounds fun. Or am I the only one that thinks so?) Anyhoo, that blog post took away the fear of crepe making. My first oh, five or six ripped and did not flip easy. Then I switched spatulas and greased the end and it was much happier in my kitchen. I am not a professional crepe flipper by any means, so I suppose I should make more to improve my skills.

This was the girl’s first time eating crepes. And she loved them! She ended up with Nutella all over face, throughly enjoying herself.

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Lesson learned: spread the Nutella on HOT crepes. You will most likely rip them otherwise. Place your sliced nanas on top of the Nutella, then your strawberries.

*I did not have fresh strawberries, so I substituted my strawberry freezer jam. Yum. Then wrap up your crepe and drizzle chocolate syrup on top.

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Hubby commented on how I made mine “look so pretty.” I responded that I had to so I could blog about our delicious dinner. I think I got an eye roll in response…

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Try the recipe I pinned. You will thank yourself. I still need to try out the cream filling recipe included on that post. Another day.

Oh, I placed wax paper between my crepes as directed, placed the leftovers (yes, there are only so many stuffed crepes a family of 2.5 can put away at one meal) in an airtight container and popped them in the fridge. Breakfast is partially ready. Yay.

Posted by: thewhimsicalbee | March 27, 2012

Recipes: English Muffin Bread

English Muffin Bread

I found a recipe for English Muffin Bread via Craft:, which directed me to “One Good Thing” by Jillee. My first thought was, “YUM!” Then I read the recipe and was trying to figure out the best way to trim it because I don’t have four loaf pans. Then I thought about how could I adapt it for my bread machine.

I knew that the maximum amount of bread flour for my machine is four cups, which is usually what goes into a two pound loaf. I decided to quarter the recipe for a one and a half pound loaf. It turned out great!

English Muffin Bread (adapted from “One Good Thing” by Jillee)

Makes a 1.5# loaf

  • 1 3/8 C. warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/4 C. bread flour
  • 1 1/8 tsp. active dry yeast

Place ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed above. Set on your basic or basic rapid setting, light crust.

(My basic rapid setting made this in two hours.)
**Update: I added between 1/4 to 1/2 cup additional flour during the kneading cycle, because the dough was runny and sticking to the side of the pan.

Nice crisp crust

On the original recipe, it calls for brushing melted butter on the loaves ten minutes before they are done. Cannot do that in the bread machine, but I think the crust is still nice and crispy.

The girl and I waited about ten minutes for it to cool before I cut into it for us to share a piece. It was wonderful warm and plain. Later I toasted a slice and buttered it, then drizzled honey on it. Phenomenal!

Yummy in the tummy!

Enjoy!

**Update: Works well for making mini pizzas! Spread sauce on a slice, add toppings and cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yum!

 

Posted by: thewhimsicalbee | February 28, 2012

Moustache stamp set

Next Monday is my birthday, and I happen to share it with a special man. My nephew! Nephew S is quite into Hot Wheels and Legos, but I wanted to make him something. And he is a bit quirky, like me, so it had to be fun and funky.

Moustaches seem to be the rage lately, so I decided to make S a moustache stamp set. I started hand carving stamps a few years ago and found it to be quite fun. And I know that S would have great times with these.

I am not going to post a tutorial on how to carve them, because Minna from Teal + Tea did a great tutorial. And she uses the same tools I do, so that is why I am sharing hers.

Erasers from the dollar store make great stamps!

Speedball carver, AKA linoleum cutter. Works great, comes with 5 nibs. I found mine at Hobby Lobby.

 

Partial head and three moustache stamps: classic, the broom (my term), and the Fu-Manchu.

My proof sheet, which I included in the gift.

I spray painted an empty mint tin (not Altoids) green, after having done a base coat of white.

I had to do a bit of sanding on the lid of tin where some of my paint pooled. That way it would close and open easier.

The lid of the tin needed some added decoration, so I drew a moustache on a piece of cardstock ...

cut it out with my X-Acto knife...

attached it using repositionable adhesive...

and used my black Sharpie paint pen to fill it in!

Viola! The tin is finished.

The stamps fit perfect in the tin, all I need to do is give the nephew a stamp pad to make it complete!

My sister has confirmed that the boy loves his gift.

Psst–and that is not all! I have another gift up my sleeve that I need to finish. Hopefully it will be done by our birthday. (:

Enjoy your day!

Posted by: thewhimsicalbee | February 21, 2012

Dinner: Mini Chicken Pot Pies

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Mini chicken pot pies. Last time I made CPP (which was also the first time from scratch) I made a 9″ one. And made Hubby take some extra with him for his co-worker. And the girl and I ate it for lunch. And we still had leftovers.
Which is why I decided to make mini CPPs.
Now doesn’t that look delectable? I used my most favorite pie crust recipe, the Perfect Pie Crust from the Pioneer Woman. I love that recipe. I love homemade pie crust! And I slapped the filling together pretty quick.
For my filling:
1/3 canned corn
1/3 canned carrots
1/2 C. Frozen green beans
10 oz. Can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can of milk
*I added 1/4 C. Potato flakes to thickened it some more.
Baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
They came out BEAUTIFUL. And ohsovery tasty! The girl ate just about half of one, which is wonderful considering how poorly she ate lunch.

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See that flakiness left in the pan? This is honestly the best pie crust recipe EVER. Every CPP should be made with a flakey crust, so that as you cut into it for a bite, it almost falls apart.
Yummy tasty goodness.

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