Archives for posts with tag: joy

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

 

The church we attend has a time of praise and worship at the beginning of the service. There’s a lady I love to see there. She is humble and kind and truly depending on God. I’ll just call her Sister-Sister. I noticed Sunday that she was singing with such passion and and love for the Father. She was balancing her Bible in the air as though to offer God her greatest possession, His word. Oh that her example would encourage me and you to seek to give Him the praise He deserves… Because no matter what else, I have salvation… and all the oxygen I need.IMG_1474 Do it Sister-Sister!   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.

In 2004 my husband bought me a puppy as a surprise. He thought she would be a helpful distraction to ease my sorrow during the first Mothers Day that followed the death of our infant daughter, Kennedy. We named our puppy “Kondilisa” in honor of then Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Our version starts with the letter K because all of the names of the members of my nuclear family start with the letter K. Only my sister-in-law, Kathy, calls our dog by her full name; the rest of us called her “Kondi.”

Kondi has always been a smart, determined and optimistic doggie. When we moved into the house we live in now, we would put Kondi into the basement when we’d leave the house and when we returned she was always out. Hmm… “Kenny, you didn’t close that door tightly because Kondi keeps getting out.”

Kondi, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, 2011

One day, I put her down in the basement and waited quietly. From the bottom of the stairs, I saw Kondi stand on her hind legs and then use her paws to push down the universal door knob, to escape 1-2-3. (For those who haven’t seen them, a universal doorknob often has a handle rather than a round ball. It is designed to be easier for all human beings to use, especially those who might have physical challenges.) Clearly, these knobs work well, especially for smart doggies.

One of the best things about Kondi is that she has great expectations. She is always looking for something good to happen. This morning when I was getting ready to leave the house, I opened the pantry where I keep my soy bars and her doggie treats. She ran over looking like – “I sure hope I get a treat!” So I gave her one. The morning before, I was slicing an apple into pieces for my daughter to eat on the way to school. Kondi smells the aroma and sees me at the counter and she gives a quick happy wag of her tail. To me, it was like she was thinking, “wow, I might get a piece of apple.” And so I give her one.

Later it dawns on me – that I – am rarely like Kondi in this regard. And this is extra sad, because my “Master” is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and He is waaay more generous that I could ever hope to be. I wonder how much stuff I miss out on, because I am not expecting anything “good” to happen. I am often not expecting anything or if I am brutally honest I am worried that something bad is about to happen.

I am praying for God’s help to enable me to have a more expectant heart for His goodness.  Psalm 27:13 says “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” (NASB)

Kelly

When my daughter, Kennedy, died in 2003, I didn’t think I would ever “thrive” again. Like many people who have lived through a great loss, a part of us, dies with the hurt. But God was faithful to me, and in time He shared a model for living that enabled me to go from ashes to a new life where there is hope and joy again.

Occasionally, I host workshops to share the model and how it has worked, not only for me, but for many others. Some of these people were in tough situations like me and others were just going from one good place to another.

I will be hosting the next Thriving… One Day at a Time (half-day) Workshop for Women in greater Cincinnati on April 26, 2014.

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Details: Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9am to 12:30pm, At Boost… for Meetings Sake, 5939 Deerfield Blvd. Suite 201B, Mason, OH 45040. Cost: $25

There will be dynamic presenters who will focus on creating a vision (Kim Floyd), how to write to get published (Mary Busha), tips on managing personal finances (S. Yvon Harper) and I will be sharing the Better Day-Better Life model and how to use it to thrive in your life.

We will also feature a few women-owned businesses who will offer trinkets including: Park Lane Jewelry, Thirty-One and hand-made housewares.

If you are in the area, please plan to join us. Tickets are being sold via Eventbrite. Click the link below for details.

https://thriving-workshop.eventbrite.com

Come get refreshed and rejuvenated… “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. Psalm 52:8”

Thrive Logo Photoshop

 

 

 

Kelly