Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perfection. . .in a Pancake!

I have been on a mission, for a year now. A quest for the PERFECT buttermilk pancake. I wanted the light, fluffy, melt in your mouth kind of goodness you get at the Cracker Barrel. Ya know, where the syrup soaks into the pancake, and every bite is a mouth full of wonderful?

And I wanted it to come out of my kitchen.

I tweaked my recipe, trying this and that, determined that a mere buttermilk pancake would not get the best of me. And yet, after a year of trying, I still had not achieved pancake perfection.

And then, IT happened. That moment in the middle of meal preparation, when a child was in dire need of my attention. I was forced to leave my pancake batter, waiting by a hot griddle, while I dealt with the "emergency". But when I returned, I found a surprise waiting for me. Something I never would have thought of on my own.

And with that, the perfect buttermilk pancake was born, or poured. Yep. . .let's go with poured.

What you will need:

2 cups self rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cultured buttermilk powder
2 eggs slightly beaten
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cold water
100% real maple syrup
1 arm and 1 leg to pay for above mentioned maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. And before you ask, NO, you cannot substitute all purpose flour for the self rising flour. We are talking about the PERFECT buttermilk pancake here!

So, take your. . .

and your. . .

Then add your salt and your. . .

and also your. . .

And once again, no substitutes on the powdered buttermilk. Liquid buttermilk will not produce the same results. Remember, I spent a year testing this.

Now you are ready for your water and. . .

Remember to slightly beat the eggs, and melt the butter. Overlook the fact that my eggs are not beaten in the picture. They made a prettier picture this way.

Don't forget to have your griddle heated and ready to go.

Use a whisk to mix together.

Just until moistened. . .

Now, walk away. Go get the mail, put moisturizer on your face, solve latest child disaster, whatever you want. But only for 3 minutes. You will come back to this.

Notice how the batter has risen? This is why you need self rising flour, powdered buttermilk, and baking soda and baking powder. Letting the batter rise, is the secret I discovered by accident. I did not get a pictured of the pancakes right after I poured them onto the griddle and I am sorry for that. When poured, they will be thick and they will not run everywhere or spread out a great deal.

When you flip them over, after cooking on the first side, you can see them rise as they cook.

When they come off, spread with soft butter, and top with 100% real maple syrup. Only, I suggest planning ahead when purchasing said maple syrup. I would NOT buy it at the mom and pop health food store up the street. Nope, I would really not recommend that. Unless of course, you remembered your arm and leg for payment. I could tell you what my bottle of maple syrup cost, but then I'd have to, you know. . .

I recommend sending your husband to Whole Foods Market on his lunch hour, to purchase their brand of 100% maple syrup. That is a much better plan.

And yes, you can use pancake syrup. But it would be a crime.

This my friends, is the finished product. A stack of melt in your mouth, fluffy, buttery pancakes, with the syrup all soaked in.


Oh, there is one more thing.

Don't forget to do the dishes.

Please, if you try the recipe, be sure and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mercy and Grace: Part lll

Today, I am desperately in need of a reminder, of what Christ did for me. SO, on to part lll of my testimony.

I left off last time, talking about the realization of my eternal destiny. Even 14 years later, I am truly ashamed, that knowing what I did, I still did nothing. I KNEW my condition before God, and instead of falling on my face, as Saul did, I ran.

I had a lot of time to myself, during my recovery. My parents worked, my sister's were in school, and I stayed home, alone. I went to physical therapy and the chiropractor, but other than that, I was at home, on the couch.

I read, a LOT! My mom took me to Half Price Books, and I loaded up. I remember a comment she made to me. She told me that being confined like I was, was the perfect time to draw closer to God.

True. But there was only one problem, and it was a BIG one.

I didn't know God. To draw closer to someone, you have to already know who they are, and have some type of relationship with them.

I'll admit, that comment from my mom made me MAD! Who was she to talk to me about growing closer to God?! Saying that, implied that she thought I wasn't close to him.

I was angry. I did everything I could to keep from thinking about God.

Something I realize now, that I did not realize then, is this. . .

I was not angry at my mom. Oh, sure, I TOLD myself that I was. But the honest truth was that I was angry at God. I believed he existed. I never doubted that. That in itself was my problem. I knew God was real. I believed Jesus had died for my sin.

Now, what was I going to do about it?

If we are honest, doing nothing about Jesus, is, in and of itself, doing something. It is rejection. There is no other way to look at it. When we look at Jesus, believing he IS who he claimed to be, we do one of two things.

Accept him and the gift of salvation, or reject it and continue in our sin.

Accepting Jesus, and his free gift of salvation, is a very humbling thing. We have to admit that we cannot save ourselves. We have to face the fact that we are not good. We have to understand, that we come to Jesus empty handed, and he fills us with himself.

I spent months fighting this. I had grown up in a Christian home. I knew what the Bible said. The problem was, I had never put my faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ. I was trying to earn God's love. I went to church, and worked in the nursery, and in Sunday School. I went on visitation. I even read my Bible.

But it was all as filthy rags before God. I was making it all about me. After all, didn't God need me to do those things?

The Bible says in Luke 19:40:

40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Even if we are silent, and hold our praise, the stones will cry out in worship and praise to the Almighty God.

So no, God does not need me. BUT, he loves me. He doesn't love me because of what I can do for him. He loves me because he created me.

I find it hard to describe what it is like to realize that.

I said a few paragraphs back that I spent months running from God. It was 6 to be exact.

I will never forget the last week of March, in 1995. We had a revival at church. I was at every service. I sat through every message, as a battle waged, for my soul.

Wednesday night, God spoke to my heart. I knew with every fiber of my being that if I died that night, I would spend eternity separated from God, in hell. I went home in torment. Somehow I was able to go to sleep, but it was a troubled sleep. A sleep with no rest.

I took my Bible to work with me the next day, but I couldn't read it. I wanted to, I needed to, but I could not do it. Satan was fighting, tormenting me. I remember spending the whole day praying that God would let me make it to church that night, without dying.

It was the last night of the revival, and I had a sense of urgency. I HAD to be there. I HAD to hear the message that night.

I don't know how I made it through the day, but I did. I made it to church without any problems. I know the message was for me. It was like I was the only one in the room. The evangelist talked about how salvation wasn't about what I could do, it was about what God wanted to do for me. I remember sitting there wanting to yell, SKIP TO THE END!!!!

You know the part in The Princess Bride, where the king is in a hurry to get married, before it can be stopped, and he tells the priest to skip to the end?

That's how I felt! I wanted to skip to the end. I needed to get to the part where the invitation started.

When the message finally came to a close, and the invitation began, I did not waste any time. I was out in the aisle with the first note of music. I know the moment I accepted Christ. The second I stepped foot in the aisle, I had stopped running away from Christ, and started running to him.

I remember exactly what I prayed with my pastor at my side. I asked God to forgive me for fighting him, to forgive me for my sin and trying to do things on my own. I asked him to come and be the Lord of my life.

And just like that, my burden was lifted. I had taken the burden of my sin, laid it at the foot of the cross, and left it there. When I stood up, I stood righteous before God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Where would I be, if not for the mercy and grace of God?!

The words of this song describe what happened in my life. Jesus Christ truly is Beautiful!

Beautiful Beautiful

Album: My Paper Heart
Artist: Francesca Battistelli

Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace


Monday, October 26, 2009

Sharing Family Pictures

I HAVE to share our photo session from Saturday! My sister is an AWESOME photographer! SO,we headed to her house, for our Christmas pictures, urban style. And might I add, how very proud I am, that I already have our Christmas pictures taken care of, and it is not even November yet!!!

Finally I am EARLY for something.

This is just a sneak peek. I am sure I will share the rest when they are ready. To see more of my sister's awesome photography work, you can view her blog HERE.

Be sure and let me know what you think, in the comment section of my blog. Thanks for looking!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dinner and a Movie with a side of Power and Strength!

I'm taking a little detour tonight, but I promise to get back to Part 111 of my story, with the next post.

I have been thinking a lot about what direction I want my blog to take. I have been reading several blogs, taking note of content and the character of the writer. I've seen funny blogs, blogs about being a mom, homeschooling, cooking blogs, blogs focused on sharing the Gospel of Christ, and many, many more. I have finally decided on my purpose in this new found world of blogging.

I am going to stay true to myself! I will share recipes, funny family stories, stories about being a mom and homeschooling. BUT, my heart is in sharing my faith with others. And not just the Gospel, but how I have grown in my faith, the things I have learned about God and the passion I have for teaching my children about who God is, and how much he loves them.

Which brings me to a story I feel led to tell. This occurred at the dinner table last night and has been on my mind since then.

It involves this handsome guy.

Dinner was on the table, hands were washed, bellies were hungry, and hands were folded for prayer. After the food was blessed, I took a bite of the steaming hot chicken enchiladas my belly was growling for. I had spent the morning doing the prep work, so that it would be easy to get in the oven when it was time.

There I was, having taken that first bite and I see the cutie above, start to cloud up and rain. Before I could ask what was wrong, the rain turned into a storm! I was flabergasted! I had made a meal he LOVES, and he sat there crying his eyes out. I'm not sure what I expected him to say, when I asked what was wrong. However, I can assure you that I did NOT expect the answer he gave.

He had seen a movie recently, with daddy, his brother, and sister. Apparently, a part in the movie where someone's arm was twisted, had really gotten to him. It was a kid's movie. No one else knew what part of the movie he was talking about, but he was upset over it.

Very upset.

He sat and sobbed, while I tried to figure out what to do about it.

I told him that Satan brings things to our mind sometimes, to bother us. Then I reminded him that God is bigger, he's more powerful, because he is. . .well. . .GOD! There is no greater authority. He nodded his head, tears streaming down his face, as I picked up my fork to dig in.

And then I heard it. That still small voice, speaking to my heart, saying, if you don't go and pray with him, you will regret it.

I will admit, for a split second, I wanted to ignore it. But I could not do it.

I pushed my chair back from the table, and told him to come with me, to my bedroom. We sat down on the bed, and I pulled him into my lap, and looked him right in the eyes. I told him that the Bible says that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us.

James 4:6-7

6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I talked to him about how the devil wants us to think about bad things, things that bother us, and cause us to forget about God and how powerful he is. I also told him that mommy has told the devil to "get away" many times. I told him that sometimes I even say it out loud and quote the scripture that says he will flee.

I prayed with him and encouraged him to pray also, but he was afraid of everyone else hearing him and did not want to. SO, we went into the closet. And my little guy told the devil, in a very loud voice, to get away from him, and leave him alone because he was resisting him. Then he prayed, and asked God to help him think of good things, to keep his mind clean, and to help him remember that God is always there.

Then, he went to the table, and ate his dinner with a smile on his face.

I almost missed an opportunity to teach my son about the power of God in our lives. I pray that I never do that again, that I never hesitate to pray with my children over anything and everything.

I was an adult, and had been saved for 13 years, before I realized the power of the Holy spirit in my life. Through countless hours of Bible study, I came to understand that God's power can and WILL send the devil packin', if I but call on the name of the Most High God.

Ephesians 6:12-17 states:

12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Pray the word of God and Satan WILL FLEE!

God's power. . .

spoke the world into existence

parted the red sea

crumbled the wall of Jericho

felled a giant with a sling and a stone

stopped the mouths of the lions

stopped the fire in the firey furnace

made the blind man see

made the lame man walk

raised Lazarus from the dead

turned the water into wine

calmed the storm

fed the 5 thousand

. . .and this is just to name a few.

My prayer is that I NEVER forget the power of God in my life. I vow to teach my children of God's power, to pray with them, and teach them what the Bible says about God. By the Holy spirit working through me, my children will grow up knowing who God is, seeing his power revealed in their life, and understanding the nature of God's love for mankind.

Jeremiah 32:17-18

17Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

18Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,

P.S. I would love for you to share your thoughts on this, with me, in the comment section. If you scroll down to where is says "Comments", you can click and let me know what you think!


Monday, October 19, 2009

After The Accident: Part 2

I posted last about the accident I had in October of 1994. It took me a while to get the pictures in a form I could post. They are 14 year old Polaroids, so the quality is not the best. But I felt it was necessary to post them, so you can see what I saw, while I explain the emotions I felt.

I first want to tell you about my ER visit and my diagnosis.

The ambulance ride truly seemed to take FOREVER! I remember just sobbing the whole way, scared about what had happened to my body. Nothing hurt, and yet, I could not move. My biggest fear was a broken neck or broken back. I know the paramedics had the same fear because of the extreme caution they used when removing me from the car.

My mom arrived at the hospital while I was getting x-rays done, and I remember being so glad to see her. Hours later, we found out that the x-rays showed nothing was broken! I cannot even describe how it felt to hear that. I was shocked and yet so thankful, all at the same time.

I was released from the hospital, but I could barely walk. I could not turn my head or bend my neck at all. It was very hard to go from a laying position to a sitting position, or from a standing position to a sitting position. It was also extremely difficult to swallow.

I had pain medication from the doctor in the emergency room and was told to follow up with a doctor on Monday. To say I needed the pain meds is a HUGE understatement! Sunday morning when I woke up, the pain was there in full force. I don't think there was a muscle in my body that did not hurt.

I was due to start a new job that Monday, at a Private School. I had to show up early that morning to give them my note from the doctor. Obviously, I would not be going to work that day, or any day soon. Later that morning, I went for my appointment with the doctor I was scheduled to see.

My diagnosis was true whiplash, with problems to my back as well, although I do not recall the medical terms. When most of you think of whiplash, you probably think of people on TV or in the movies with a neck brace on. Most do not have true whiplash. True whiplash causes severe pain in the neck, swelling and loss of range of motion, as well as headaches and muscle spasms.

I had it all, as well as severe back pain. It hurt to sit for any length of time, and laying down was not much better. I was facing physical therapy and a long recovery time.

When I left the doctor's office, we headed to the wrecker's yard, where my car had been taken. The following are pictures of what greeted me.

After seeing the car and the condition it was in, one thought struck me. There was no glass broken. I found it amazing considering the abuse the car had taken. The driver that hit us was determined to have been going around 50 mph, on impact. The driver that hit me head on was going around 40 mph, and yet no broken glass. If you look closely, you can see that the impact put a crease on the roof of the car.

The next thing that amazed me, was the fact that I had not broken any bones. There wasn't a scratch on me, and no blood loss. I was hit twice, and though my body was hurt, and I was in pain, I KNEW God had protected me. It could have been so much worse than it was and I knew it. The thoughts of what if, scared me, because deep down in the depths of my soul. . .

I knew that if I had died, I would not be able to stand righteous before a Holy God.

The realization shook me to my core. It was my road to Damascus.


Friday, October 16, 2009

In Pursuit of my Heart: A Love Story

I stated in my last blog post, that I would share the story of how I came to Christ. I think you have waited long enough for that, so today is THE day! I also want to share the story of how my husband captured my heart. It is part of my love story, so it just would not be right to leave that part out.

Something I realize now, that I did not realize so many years ago, is that God has always been in pursuit of my heart. Loving me, calling to me, waiting for me. . .

Even as I sit here typing, I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Remembering my journey, where I came from to where I am now. I now understand that in order for God to win pursuit of us, we have to stop running.

My journey begins in the summer of 1994. My fiance at the time, had just ended our engagement, and I was devastated. It was the best thing for me. I know that now. But then, I was a big mess. I already had the dress, plans were under way, my life was perfect. Or as close to perfect as it could get. And then, out of no where, he called the wedding off and we went our separate ways.

I spent the summer mending my broken heart, working and getting ready for my third year of college. Life goes on, right? In September of that year, I started the new college year and was ready to start a new job. And then. . .October 1st, 1994 happened.

It was a beautiful day, much like the weather is today. Sunny and cool, the perfect Saturday. I headed out that morning, with my dad, to go looking at cars. Mine had been acting up and I was not happy about it. We went to a used car dealership and looked around, not finding anything to my liking, we headed back home.

I was driving, with my dad in the front passenger seat. We were on a very HIGH highway entrance ramp. You know the kind. They take you from one highway to another, curving around from high in the air, and slowly descending as they merge with the new highway. Did I mention that this one was HIGH? We were moving along, in single file fashion, coming to the end of the ramp. As I was getting ready to enter the highway, traffic stopped, and I looked down to see that the traffic on the highway was a little congested. THEN, I looked up in my rear view mirror, just in time to see the car that was coming up behind me at FULL speed. I knew it was going to hit me. The driver was coming too fast to avoid it. And there was no where for me to go.

I braced my body, the split second before impact. I blacked out, and have no memory of what happened next, until the paramedics arrived on the scene. My dad told me that we were knocked out onto the highway, facing oncoming traffic, where we were hit again, head on. The car was knocked down the highway and came to rest in the median, facing oncoming traffic.

When I finally came to, I remember all of the people surrounding the car, asking if we were okay. They could not get the door open on my side. The impact broke both front seats and left us in a laying position. I remember trying to sit up, and not being able to move anything.

I remember the fear I felt.

When the paramedics arrived on the scene, they had to work their magic, to get me out of the car. I remember one of the firefighters telling me that he had eaten mint chocolate ice cream before getting the call, so his breath should be good. It makes me laugh that I remember that.

After what seemed like forever, the firefighters were able to get me out of the car, and onto a stretcher. I remember being put in the ambulance with my dad, and sobbing as he held my hand. I remember the paramedic calling my mom to tell her what had happened, and letting her know what hospital I was being taken to.

It was a hit and run accident. The man that hit me first, fled the scene. There were people that went in pursuit, trying to catch him before the police arrived. But in the end, he got away.

October 1, 1994 is the day that God began an earnest pursuit of my heart. Like the driver of that car, I was running away.

This is the story of how God captured my heart.

I will tell my story in parts, so be sure and stay tuned. I have pictures of my car, taken after the accident, that I will upload later tonight. I also want to share with you the thoughts I had, the day I saw my car. Since I left it on a stretcher, it was the first time I had seen the damage.

Until tonight. . .