Archives for category: Increasing Enjoyment

A few days after coming home from the grocery store my younger son, Kyler, said “I feel so loved when I see cranberry juice in the refrigerator.”

I smiled. Kyler loves cranberry juice. But he is the only one in our house who drinks it. When he is home from college, I buy it. I was good to hear that it shows love.

I think my husband feels loved when he smells homemade baked goods in our oven. That’s how his mom showed love. She regularly baked cakes from scratch.

After we got married, when I would take a box cake out of the cabinet he would ask me what was about to do with that. Then he would call his mom to make him a cake. This actually made me jealous, so I set out to learn. She tried to teach me, but she was a cook who didn’t write recipes down and since I didn’t grow up baking from scratch, I didn’t learn well that way.

I was determined to master this skill and I tried dozens of recipes and made lots of cakes that smelled like cake, but they were NOT cake. They were like corn bread  and only smelled like cake. Then eureka! I finally found a recipe that worked.

Cake

That was over 27 years ago. I found my go-to recipe in Woman’s Day Magazine. It was a winner! The first cake that was really a great cake. It has been a staple over the years. I bet I typically bake this cake every other month or so. It gives me (and now you) a way to celebrate and show love. Please make it for “Father’s Day” to show your appreciation! Cooking from your heart is a great way to show kindness.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

(You can make half the flour whole wheat to make a healthier cake)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

A pinch of salt

1 cup water

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Two sticks of butter

Two large eggs

1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake post 3

Directions:

Grease (with butter) and flour a large Bundt pan. Set your oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the water ad cocoa powder into a small saucepan. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the water/cocoa. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil and the butter melts.

Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and salt) in a large bowl.

Carefully pour the water/butter/cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and stir. (The whole  mixture usually cools down enough so that the eggs don’t cook when added. But if it is still really warm, let it cool down.)

Crack the eggs and mix them into the batter until incorporated well. Next stir in the yogurt and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes.  (Test for doneness after 32 minutes, by inserting a toothpick near the center of the cake. If it comes out wet like batter, cook for another 5-7 minutes. If it comes out like the cake is baked, remove from the oven.)

For the icing, I place a half a bag of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. (I use the Domino Confectioners 2-Pound Bag.)  Then I mix 2 teaspoons of cocoa power with 3 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer I begin to blend to sugar with the chocolate milk a tablespoon at a time. Once this starts to come together as a thick icing, I add a pat (1 tablespoon) of butter for creaminess. This is some what of a delicious art, because you may have to add more milk or sugar to get the consistency you prefer. But the tasting makes it worth every iteration. Once the cake cools, spread on the icing and hope your people don’t cut the cake, before you can take a picture and post it on social media.

When you bake this cake, I hope you will feel like a particular person from the New Testament. Her name was Tabitha, which means “gazelle.” She was known for doing simple things that greatly blessed the people around her.

“There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas.) She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.” Acts of the Apostles 9:36 NLT

Happy Father’s Day

Kelly

 

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I have a soft place in my heart for Halloween. Maybe it’s because October 31st is my birthday. When I was a little girl, back in the stone ages, we dressed up as princesses or cheerleaders and paraded through the neighborhood with parents watching. Today the world has more risk and caution is needed. Some in the Christian Community think it is “ungodly” to celebrate.

candy-cover

Several years ago I read an intriguing book called, Redeeming Halloween, Celebrating without Selling Out by Kim Weir and Pam McCune. They discuss the origin of the holiday and its tie to All Saints Day, which was a time to remember and celebrate Saints and martyrs from Christian history. In a practical sense it is a perfect opportunity to show the love of Christ to the people who ring our doorbells.

Before you start typing a rebuttal email, I ask you to consider two passages from the Bible:

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJ) and Jesus says of Himself, in Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In a nutshell the first verse says that the enemy has not created any days. October 31 is NOT his day. God is the Creator of time and every day belongs to Him. 10/31 is no different. So I am going to rejoice by giving out candied blessings to the people who come to Trick or Treat.

The second passage is where Jesus quotes Isaiah stating that He is now on earth to do what was promised. In the great commission Jesus extends this work to all His followers. Because of the Holy Spirit we now have the ability and responsibility to share the good news of His love with other people so that they can be fully connected with Him. One simple way to share this message is with the treats you giveaway.

A few years ago, our church provided stickers to place on candy that said “Because God Loves you BIG! (Not just fun sized.)” And they encouraged us to buy large sized candy bars to give away. You can create your own version on your computer and tape them to the candy and maybe include the website URL for the place where you worship or your address.

oyddesseyOur family often gives a sample Adventure in Odyssey CD to the first 20 families along with some candy. (Adventures in Odyssey is an outstanding children’s radio program that teaches faith-based concepts in a creative storyline. Check your local radio station for air times, or listen online at http://www.whitsend.org.) You can get samplers online.

If you’ve already bought a bunch of fun sized candy packs, maybe you can bundle them with a note that says – Here’s some Fun Sized Candy to say, “I love you” from a Super-Sized God.

I think this is a great way to show the generosity of our Father.

As you give out treats at your door or walk in your community, you could dress as a person from the Bible… or some other positive role model in history as you smile and share His joy. Who knows, your Queen Esther or Prime Minister Joseph costume might spark great conversations.

Please let me know how you decide to celebrate the Lord of the Harvest, with Halloween babies everywhere.

big-time

Blessings to you and yours,

Kelly

 

 

As Easter approaches or as my Pastor calls it Resurrection Sunday, I see people being more open to teachings from the Bible.

I am so glad that the Bible speaks about all aspects of life, including our dwelling places.

In Deuteronomy 6:9, it says that believers are to write God’s commandments “on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”

One modern way to do this is with art and décor. Here are two ideas…

FOS Art FOS Chair Jeremiah Vertical Jere

As you celebrate the glory and joy of the risen Savior on Easter, capture the season by hiding His word in your heart and displaying it in your home and office. This is a great faith builder.

 

 

Carrot & stick incentive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. If I am what I eat, I want to be made up of good things. Eating healthier foods and beverages will give energy and help with weight management. Whole foods will be featured at every meal.
  1. Water will be the beverage of choice. Soda will be a “treat” rather than a staple.
  1. Take a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to plan your dinner meals for the upcoming week. You can capture the plan on your calendar or smart phone notes.

Sunday – Lasagna & Spinach Salad

Monday – Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Brown Rice & Mixed Veggies

Tuesday – Roast Beef, Baked Potatoes & Corn

Wednesday – Beef Soup (made from leftover Roast Beef) and Super Salad

Thursday – Baked Chicken, Hash Browns & Salad with Beets & Goat Cheese

Friday – Pizza from Donatos (Kenny & Kids – Pepperoni, Kels – Veggie)

Saturday – Scrounging leftovers from the week’s meals

  1. Try to move more throughout the day. Experts say walking 10,000 steps each day is great for our hearts, bodies and minds. Stand up – while you type at your desk. Park far away from the door and use the walk from the parking lot to get some extra steps. Take the stairs up. Secure a pedometer in an after CHRISTmas sale.
  1. Get and stay connected. Call a friend while driving to work. Have a lunch date with your honey-boo. Text your tweens, teens and young adults between meetings. Write a hand-written letter to an older relative; ask him/her to respond to your family history questions.
  1. Laugh more.
  1. Hire a coach to help you set and achieve meaningful goals. Check out http://www.betterdaybetterlife.com for one approach.
  1. Take time to rest. Some days I realize that I hardly sat down all day. I don’t want to live like that anymore. This year I will rest more and take time to savor the moment. I might have some full days of Sabbath where I plan ahead and just focus on Christ.
  1. Fret less and pray more. Lean on God’s word as found in the Holy Scriptures. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (NIV). Memorize this verse and then speak it to yourself as needs arise throughout the day.
  1. Spend quality time with God, your Creator and Lord, daily. Perhaps the first 10-30 minutes can be spent in prayer and reading your Bible. (Start with the Gospel of Matthew and read through Acts by July 4th.) You might have to go to bed 30 minutes earlier, to be up early enough to get a good soaking in His word. It will be worth every moment that you invest, paying eternal dividends. I wish you a productive and joyful 2016!

 

Making Progress iStock_000000919492XSmall

As I write, I’m riding in my husband’s vehicle with my husband, daughter, son Kyler and his friend Teliek, a young man who lives on the same dorm floor as my son at the Ohio State University. We are taking them back to campus after fall break.

I met Teliek’s mom Sandra when she brought him to our house for the drive.

She said, “Thank you for taking my baby back to school.” I smiled as I looked at the 6’2 inch young man standing next to my 6′ son.

I feel the same sentiment about my babies Kyler, my oldest KJ and my girls Kennedy and Koah. There is something about the love and care of a good mom.

Last week my mom, Loraine, an attractive, petite 71-year-old fireball attended a workshop with me. I heard her say on several occasions, “I’m the mom of the speaker.” I had to laugh. She was proud like she was Mother-of-the-bride again. I think it was her way of saying that’s my baby. Even now.

A few years ago, my husband sent the picture below to me. I think it is funny because for many people it is very real. (If I knew here it came from I would credit the author.)

Mom Comic for Blog

So… even though we are nowhere near the official time of year when Mother’s Day is celebrated, call your mom, grandmother, big sister, or favorite aunt and tell her that you appreciate being her “baby.”

I love fresh-squeezed lemonade. And I make it very often. It’s actually really easy and hardly anything is better. Here ‘s how I make it.

I start by rinsing and drying three large lemons. To get the maximum amount of juice I microwave them on a plate for 30 seconds at 100% power.

Lemonade 1

Lemons vary widely in size and juiciness. From a big lemon you will likely get 1/5 to 1/4 cup of juice.

I have a hand juicer, which I what I typically use. I also have an electric juicer for times when I am making lots of batches.

Lemonade 2

When you squeeze the juice, don’t go crazy. If you twist the lemons too much you’ll get the pith along with the juice, which is bitter.
Lemonade 3
Shoot for at least 1/2 cup of pure lemon juice.

lemonade 4

Pour the juice into a pitcher. I prefer glass because it doesn’t hold flavors from one beverage to the next. (My husband loves Kool-Aid and I don’t want his flavored drink affecting my fresh lem-mo-nade.)

lemonade 5

Add 5 cups of water, stir, then taste. I know, it’s not sweet yet. But it is often easier to tell whether the juice to water ratio is right before you add sugar. If there the mix is too lemony add another half or full up of water until you get a the right ratio. I prefer more lemony than too watery.  If it’s too watery, add more lemon juice.

Next stir in the sugar. I add it 1/4 cup at a time. I like sweet lemonade, but some like it tart which might be at 3/4 cups of sugar.

I usually need a cup and a half. I know… make it to your own liking.

I’ll also use this a moment to make a plug for beet sugar. It dissolves well and some say it is easier to digest than cane sugar. I get my beet sugar at Meijer grocery store. It’s the only place I’ve seen it to date.

Now… that you have the perfect mix, you could add a few lemon wedges or slices to the pitcher for visual beauty. If you do, don’t leave them in over night between the lemonade will get bitter. Serve your delicious fresh squeezed lemonade in a beautiful glass, over ice.

lemonade 6
Bon appetit

Kelly

“Read it!”

When my now 18-year-old son was about 2 years old, he loved it when my husband and I read to him. He was relentless then and he is a voracious reader now. Sometimes I would be reading to him and then get distracted and stop. He would say very sternly, “Read it!” And if I remained distracted, he would hit me with a chubby hand and say more slowly – reeaad it! (This was during the time of Jerry Seinfeld’s popular TV show, and thus we occasionally called our son, the book Nazi.)

As I think about the arrival of 2015, I want to do more reading this year. I have a number of books already identified (and started). Some of the books on my plan are items that I am reading again. I think this is a mark of a great book. You can read it over and over and get something out of it every time.

My daily Bible is one such book. I came across the “One Year” version in 1999 at a Women of Faith conference. Author and speaker Becky Tirabassi introduced the audience to this product, which allows readers to go through the entire Bible in a year.

One Year Bible

There is a set of readings for each day that has a portion of Scripture from the Old Testament, New Testament, a Psalm and verses from Proverbs. This simple layout has been so beneficial to me, allowing me to see connections that I never saw before and giving me a simple process to read. I just brew my coffee and read while enjoying that time with God. My life is immeasurably better.

Another book I am planning to re-read, is called “The Hidden Art of Home Making” by Edith Schaeffer. It is a book that teaches readers the value of running a home and how we can use our homes to serve God and extend His kingdom.

Hidden Art Cover

A few weekends ago, I attended an open house CHRISTmas party. While there, I ran into a woman who had read the book that I wrote. She was very kind and said, “I loved the book and have reread portions of it often.” I was surprised… but totally delighted and honored to receive such a gracious compliment.

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It is giving me the boldness to throw my book into the ring for your reading consideration this year. Should you take this challenge, I believe you will be inspired to try a number of the tips and most importantly you will have a framework for managing your life. You will be positioned to have an even better life than you have right now.

May you do phenomenal things in 2015!  Hugs- Kelly

You can purchase copies of “A Better Day, A Better Life: How to Thrive, One Day at a Time” at www.betterdaybetterlife.com. Copies of the “One Year Bible” and “The Art of Homemaking” can be secured at www.amazon.com and other booksellers.