Archives for posts with tag: music

Why stop now? People seem to like this format. Since my blog as of late has turned into a diary of sorts with which I confess the most selfish parts of me, let’s rip off another band-aid, shall we?

I’ve set out to really work on changing something about my character. It’s a fundamental flaw of mine – something so deeply embedded into my way of thinking that I only realize I’m doing it every once in a while. Maybe you struggle with this, as well, even if just in your subconsciousness. Here it is: I, for most of my life, only begrudgingly celebrate the successes of others. Sometimes I have a hard time even acknowledging when someone I know and/or love does something great. The center of this problem is my struggle with pride, which you can read about here.

Why do I do this? Honestly, I think the reason is that I misguidedly believe that if I acknowledge or celebrate the success or talent of someone else, it somehow diminishes my own talent or success. Which is ridiculous. But, for me, it really sometimes feels like admitting defeat if someone else’s garden is producing more fruit than mine. Or a friend’s photography or craft or baking business is really taking off and those things are really still just hobbies for me. Or – get this – someone I love and/or admire offers me insightful, intelligent, spiritual advice that I hadn’t come to on my own. Those are all real life examples of things I’ve not wanted to celebrate in other people because I have this problem where I think I need to be better. Man, that hurts me to say out loud.

The reason this is heartbreaking is because, often, what I’m really rejecting is a God-given gift, ability, or trait that someone is choosing to use for His glory! How could my response be anything but celebratory? Does it somehow make me MORE successful or talented to ignore the achievements of others? Of course not! And I really, really want my love for Christ and for others to be so great that a win for my friends really feels like a win for me, too. I want my people to know that I’m rooting for them and I really want to be a source of encouragement for people who are using their gifts!

I will say, there are some gifts people have that I have no problem giving a Standing O for. Singing is one of them. I am NOT a good singer. Not at all. I try and I dream and I pray for an angelic voice but, well, that request remains a prayer list staple… My sister is an incredibly talented singer. Since I know I’m not competitive in the singing race, it’s easy for me to give her praise and not feel a pang of jealousy. She’s better than me and that’s all there is to it. In fact, I cry happy tears when she sings because her talent is so wrapped up in the heart of God that I can hear him through her voice. Sometimes awesome graffiti makes me cry. Sometimes it’s a youtube video of a world class ballerina or a street drummer in New York. I can’t do any of those things well and they are using their gifts so beautifully that I am awestruck and grateful to the God who made them and gave them such talent.

But from now on, I want to be someone who applauds my “competition” instead of toeing the line with jealousy at their achievement. That said, I’m going to start calling out my friends and family for the things they do that are grand, be it a delishly prepared apple pie or the gentlest, most thoughtful encouragement, or a blow-my-mind expert parenting move. I want to celebrate you people because you are worth celebrating. You are inspiring and smart and beautiful and all kinds of talented. Thank you for embracing your gifts and sharing them with me!

This is likely the first and last time this will happen on my blog. Where I make up my own recipe. Maybe there’s this exact recipe floating around out there somewhere and I just have no idea – I haven’t looked. Feel free to tell me I inadvertently copied someone if that’s the case. Much like composing original music or painting beautiful abstract art, making up recipes seems impossible to my brain. If you are able to do one of those things, know that you have reached genius status in my opinion. I guess you can hone that talent and develop it; all I know is that I don’t have a knack. So, when I say “made up my own recipe”, it would be more accurate to say that I used years of following other peoples’ recipes to put together some ingredients that ended up tasting delicious to me.

I love sweet potatoes. They’re healthy and they’re on the clean 15 list. We eat them regularly in various forms (Matt prefers this application). For a not-so-sweet recipe, we’ll make a variation of this hash, usually adding something spicy. The other night I was in the mood for sweet potato casserole, but the recipes I’ve previously used were typically heavy on the sugar and butter. And then I saw a vanilla pudding mix in my cupboard. From there, a wonderful thing was born.

In case you've never seen a sweet potato before.

In case you’ve never seen a sweet potato before.

Heads up, this is a sweet potato casserole. In fact, I would call it a dessert, as opposed to a side dish. My tolerance for sweet things has no maximum so I loved it. Matt, on the other hand, definitely liked it. But he’s more a savory kinda guy. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients

Casserole:
3 medium sized sweet potatoes (cooked, skinned, and smashed)
3 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick melted butter
1 T vanilla
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 oz)
Pinch of salt
 
Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 T cinnamon
4 T solid coconut oil (you can use butter if you don’t have coconut oil; the CO is just healthier)
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8X8 baking dish. Combine all the “casserole” ingredients and pour into the baking dish. Combine the brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Crumble coconut oil (or butter) over the topping so that, when it melts, it will coat evenly. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes and then leave it under the broiler (on low) for 5 minutes so the topping crisps up.

That’s that. Sorry no pictures of the dish. It was devoured long before I thought I’d be writing about it on here. However, I do have a couple pictures of the can opener I rolled over on in the middle of the night, hidden in the cargo pocket of my sweatpants. Also pictured, the culprit who likes to hide things in there while I’m cooking. I know, I know. My bad for still wearing pants with cargo pockets. You won’t be sorry for following that link.

Looks nice and sharp, doesn't it?

Looks nice and sharp, doesn’t it?

Blaming it on Minnie.

Blaming it on Minnie.

We spent most of today outside because it was like this:

Sunny and 81. On December 4th.

Sunny and 81. On December 4th.

In other words, it was not winter. Don’t be jealous though, out-of-state friends and family: I hear our cold snap is coming overnight. A couple more before we dive in to Advent because these sunny and balloony pictures of my girls just make me feel good.

Harper, lover of the sun

Harper, lover of the sun

Cortland, burner in the sun

Cortland, burner in the sun

Day 4: Jesus is Good News!

Read: Luke 1.8-14
Talk About: Tell me some good news you’ve heard before.
                         How does good news make you feel?
Activity: Family band and dance party…and let’s really get down – you just got some good news!
 
It got pretty wild there for a while.

It got pretty wild there for a while.

Harper on the guitar, Mama on the spoon/pans, and Cortland eating the noise-shaker egg.

Harper on the guitar, Mama on the spoon/pans, and Cortland eating the noise-shaker egg.