Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Staff, Snake, and Brownies

When Moses was confronted with the burning bush, and the voice of God telling him to go and lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, he was a little resistant. He had several logical reasons about why he wasn't a good choice, and why God should choose someone else, and what if no one believes him.

 And so God asks him, "What's in your hand?". Moses replies, "A staff".

(This is my favorite part...) Then God gives him instructions to throw in on the ground and it becomes a snake, which freaks Moses out, and he runs away until God tells him to reach out his hand and pick it up by the tail, and it then becomes a staff again.

The thing that I love so much about this is that I imagine Moses giving his objections out of his own insecurities and then God says, "Fine, what's in your hand? A stick? Great. We'll use that then, so you will know this isn't about you anyway."

This idea "What's in your hand?" is beautiful to me. That rather than feeling insufficient for what we don't have, or who we are not, we can just run forward with whatever we're holding in the moment, because it's not about us anyways, and trusting that God can move in our lives as He chooses.

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On the outside

When I jumped into the contest for Dream Jobbers and needed to create a social buzz for votes, I looked around and thought, "What's in my hand?" The answer was brownies and 8th graders. Aidan trotted off to school with a lunch bag stuffed with homemade goodies. Soon enough, we had quite a following. Some became so dedicated that they obsessively checked my progress, and created multiple accounts in order to cast a vote for all their family members.  Some people (who shall remain nameless) created accounts with names that could have only come from an 8th grade boy, and left comments with spelling errors and enthusiasm for my awesome skills. Voting spiked at Angevine Middle School's lunch hour. I discouraged plots to sabotage other contestants, offers to hack the system, and schemes to boost my street cred with falsified claims about my ability to cure cancer.

World Vision ended up picking someone who had in his hand some sweet videoing skills. Whatever. I still made some kind of impression on the tender hearts of children. In fact, just the other day, Aidan came home with a request from a friend who hadn't seen baked goods in a while. "When is your mom going to try to go to Africa or something again, so we can get some more food?" Brownies matter too, take that, video guy.

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Fluffy, the broody chicken
In conclusion, here is a picture of a broody chicken. This is an example of a sweet, small brained, shy little hen, turned into a crazed velociraptor that chased the German Shepherd around the yard. Proof of what hormones can do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ginger Black Pepper Cookies

You know those food blogs that promise a recipe and then make you scroll through 25 pictures (sometimes artfully photographed) of their food, and short stories about everything under the sun, until you finally reach the recipe? That annoys me. Cut to the bottom line, as my dad used to say. Give me one beautiful, picture to see that it looks yummy, and the goods. Seriously.

In fact, I'll even go first. Here's a recipe for my new favorite cookie: (Adapted from "The Kitchen Ecosystem" by Eugenia Bone.)

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cookies for all
Chewy Ginger Black Pepper Cookies
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
2 heaping tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, or 2 tsp ground ginger
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
Raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour and spices. (If using fresh ginger, wait and mix in with butter mixture.) In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Adding one at a time and beating well after each addition, beat in egg, molasses, and fresh ginger (if using). Add flour mixture and beat to combine. If you cannot roll into little balls without it sticking to your fingers, add up to 1/2 C more flour.

Place raw sugar in bowl. roll dough by heaping teaspoons and then roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet 1-2 in apart.

Bake 8-10 min.

And there we are, short, sweet and to the point.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blue Funky

There's a creative blue funk I'm sitting in right now. I keep waiting for it to go away, but it seems to be lingering, leaving a lack of creative motivation as its calling card. All of my usual jump starts are not jump starting anything, and I keep making coffee only to leave it sitting untouched in the mug. The only creative juices that seem to be flowing are in regards to how to next email Aidan's teacher.

There was nothing else to be done, but to head to the florist and gasp in sticker shock buy plants, because putting things in order makes me perfectly happy, and quite frankly, the front yard looked like an overgrown beard begging for a trim. I've conquered my fear of the weed eater, no doubt inspired by my brothers' dire warnings of chopping my legs off. I also have an irrational fear of spiders that can be laid at their feet.

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The good news is that I did not chop my legs off, and my favorite part of weed eating is making crisp tidy lines around the sidewalk. Instant gratification.

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pansies & creeping thyme
We finished the day with Sicilian Pistachio gelato because today was officially the end of science fair. The board is packed up, and ready to be made into a dressing room or whatever other creative use Chloe will dream up. And since we survived with minimal scarring, no complete meltdowns, and all of our hair, I consider it to be a raging success.

And as a side note, we couldn't even view the winning project because the dad was standing in front explaining everything to a captive audience...