Thursday, December 17, 2015

Can't Help But Love Luci

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Luci Swindoll? Actually I think I have, but I feel the need to gush about her again.

My first taste of her infectious enthusiasm for life came back in 2010 when I read her wonderful book Doing Life Differently: The Art of Living with Imagination.  
The book is so frankly and personally written that I couldn't help but fall hard for this crazy lady chock-full of wisdom and creativity, all wrapped up in an over-sized shawl of humility.

The story of her life is fascinating. She's chosen non-traditional paths in both her personal life and career and God has blessed her, and millions through her, in those choices.

Now in her eighties, Luci's "retirement" job has been one of encouraging speaker/motivator/helper to millions of women through the Women of Faith Tours.

She's written numerous books and I've read them all.

I have to agree with Jen Hatmaker who recently said," Luci Swindoll is my spirit animal."

I particularly enjoy reading little snippets of her interviews or quotes from her - here are some of my favorites:

Don't take yourself too seriously. It just makes life all the harder. It'll all come out in the wash anyway, because God's glory eventually will eclipse everything that goes wrong on this earth. Lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself. None of us is infallible. We make mistakes in life, and more often than not, they're funny. Sometimes, being your own source of comedy is the most fun of all.

The next time you stand in front of a mirror and want to scream, try to remember that God made that face. That smile. Those big eyes...and chubby cheeks. You are His creation, called to reflect Him. Spiritual transformation doesn’t come from a diet program, a bottle, a makeover, or mask. It comes from an intimate relationship with the Savior. He...appreciates us for who we really are. So we can too.

The most interesting people I know drink in life and savor every drop-the sweet and the sour. The good and the bad. The planned and the unplanned... Right in the midst of what seems to me to be a detour from the map, I'm often gifted with something precious and unforgettable. Capturing the moment is a choice, a way of life. It requires us to wake up, live life, and be present-here, there and everywhere. Sometimes that's scary; sometimes it's exhilarating. Always, it's an adventure I keep learning to welcome with a full and grateful heart.

And finally, this answer she gave to an interviewer's question,

"What do you know for sure?" 

Oh, many things—I am happy in my own skin. Jesus loves me, and I have a future with Him. Life is the greatest gift ever given. The world is full of fun and surprises. We’re the product of our choices. It takes a village to do anything well. We have only time, energy, and money to spend, so handle all three wisely. The richest life isn’t about wealth or prestige—it’s about love and caring. We only have what we give away. I’m rich. If I didn’t have a penny in the bank, I’d be a millionaire until the day I die. Everything has been paid for me; I’m the recipient of the One who became poor so I’d be rich. With Christ everything starts with life abundant: revel in it and doors will open. Will it be easy? No, but you will have Someone with you all the time—giving you life and breath and hope and joy. You can’t know ecstasy without knowing crucifixion. You can’t know health unless you have been sick. You can’t know victory unless you’ve known loss. You have no basis of comparison unless you’ve experienced opposites. I have worked hard to get the wrinkles on this face and to get to this stage. I’m very happy in the confines of a screwed-up world and a lot of challenges. Every day I draw in breath I say to myself, this is a gift. If God takes me today, I’m going right into His presence, and it gets even better.
But until then I want to be totally me, so that when I'm with the Lord face to face, it is my own life that I lay down and not the prefabrication of one who always tried to be somebody else.

So how would you answer? What do YOU know for sure?

Have a great day!

Monday, December 14, 2015

B and B

I'm guessing that some of you might soon be expecting a houseful of guests. I'm also guessing that houseful might expect and be delighted by a hot, tasty breakfast at some point during their visit.

The holidays can be hectic and at times a little exhausting, so spending just a few extra minutes to serve something special really shows how much you care.

I can't recommend these biscuits enough. While I've served many a biscuit that I've popped out of a can, nothing beats something homemade and these are simply some of the best. Flaky and tender, they practically melt in your mouth.

And also the taste? So worth it.

Try to handle the dough as little as possible to end up with the most tender, fall-apart biscuits.

Try to channel Mrs. Wilkes. Evidently she was one great biscuit maker.


 Boardinghouse Biscuits

1/2 c. butter, chilled
3 cups flour (I use cake flour for this)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (or maybe a little more)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter (or spray) a 9 inch cake pan.
Cut 1 T. off a stick of butter (set aside). Cut the rest of the butter into tiny cubes.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Put one cup of this flour mixture into a pie plate and set aside.
Cut the butter cubes into the remaining flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender. It should resemble coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. It should kind of look like really thick oatmeal. You can add a tiny bit more buttermilk if you think it's too thick.
Just don't stir too much.
Using an ice cream or cookie scoop (sprayed with cooking spray) scoop up a ball of the dough, plop it into the reserved cup of flour, roll it around to cover with the mixture, then toss it back and forth with your hands to remove the excess flour and place it in the cake pan. Be sure to place the biscuits quite close together.
Continue with the remaining dough. You should have about 10 biscuits. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven when golden brown and brush the remaining tablespoon of butter over the hot biscuits.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Good Different

Sometimes pictures just can't do a subject justice. Especially poor quality pictures.

I apologize.

Case in point: This easy, yeast-y cake is absolutely incredible and something well worth trying this special time of year.
It's a little bit unusual and a whole lot impressive.

So please use your imagination - it's cinnamon roll-ish, with a lovely, soft, pillow-y texture. The wonderful aroma of it baking is second only to it's delectable taste.

You need one.
I need one.
We all need one.

Don't let some of the odd ingredients (mashed potato flakes? powdered milk?) deter you!

Moravian sugar cake was evidently traditionally served in Moravian households as a breakfast bread at Easter and Christmas. I think you'll find that you don't need a holiday as an excuse to enjoy this comforting treat.

Follow the directions carefully and whatever you do don't be tempted to add any additional flour. The dough (batter) will be very sticky (almost gooey) but that's how it should be,

Let's hear it for gooey.

Moravian Sugar Cake

2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (110 F)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons non-fat powdered milk
1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted cooled butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour
For Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup melted cooled butter

Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into the 1/2 cup of warm water then set aside until yeast bubbles, and mixture is foamy.

Add the next 7 ingredients, and about 1 cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon.

Add remaining flour or a little more if needed, until sticky bread dough consistency.

Place in a greased bowl and turn it to coat.

Dot dough with butter, and let it rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Then, punch dough down, and place in a greased shallow baking pan (about 17 x 12 inches) Let rise 30 minutes, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Punch your fingers into the dough making indentations.
Pour on remaining 1/2 cup of butter, and let dough rise another 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375ºF for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lashing Out

So this will be a little change of pace.

It's rare that I would publicly recommend any kind of product, especially a beauty product, as you would be terribly hard-pressed to find someone more blatantly SKEPTICAL than me.

I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I have a ridiculously hard time accepting all the broo-ha-ha (this is so a word) that goes along with companies trying to make money on their products. And of course, we do know that's the bottom line, don't we?

In addition, there's no one who enjoys ensconcing themselves in a beauty/skincare/hair care rut and just hunkering down there for the long run like myself. This is evidenced by my long-time and exclusive use of only Vaseline for eye-makeup removal and lip gloss, and Dove soap as my ever-so-fancy facial cleanser. With the exception of a few forays into more expensive brands (it's all about the fragrance), I've used Suave shampoo for years now, and never use a conditioner or any other products at all.

Clearly I am not one to run out and try all the latest products, as I'm not exactly perched on the cutting edge.

This disclaimer then brings me to a little story about my eyelashes.

(Understandably, all of you are on the edge of your seats now.)

I've always had pretty good eyelashes, fairly long and sufficiently thick. As a teenage girl, when vanity rules most everything, my eyelashes and hair were both something I could typically hang my hat on. Other girls had other things (!), I had decent hair and lashes.

(Well, lets not forget that my feet have always been nicely arched) (Except that's not really something you can play up to get a date) (At least not a date with someone who doesn't also have a weird  "foot thing")


Anyway, that's all to say that I've never had to worry too much about the state of my eyelashes. Until about a year and a half ago.
Over a period of about 4 months I suffered a strange, scary, and frankly, hideous infection of the eyelid. There was pain, significant swelling, and (I'm so sorry) oozing. I made numerous trips to the opthamologist and was treated with antibiotics/pain medication, etc.
(And for all you armchair physicians out there, the Dr. assured me that it was not the use of my beloved Vaseline that caused any of the problem).
At the worst point the Dr. suggested that the next step would be to lance and drain (again, sorry) the affected area and in almost hysterics I actually begged him to please, Sir, do it that day because THE PAIN. He was concerned, though, that the swelling was so severe that if he did the surgery at that point the skin would never recover it's original shape.


My actual eyesight was beginning to suffer as well.

With continued treatment it thankfully and finally cleared, but not without some collateral damage. My eyelashes (especially on the right eye) were almost gone. They eventually recovered a little, but I was convinced they'd always be sparse and short.

While I'd heard claims of various eyelash treatment products for several years, I'd paid them little heed.
But on a whim one day as I was perusing the aisles of Ulta, I stumbled upon Rapid Lash. I figured it wouldn't hurt to give it a try- I mean I really had nothing to lose in the eyelash sense.
It's simply a clear liquid you apply (like a liquid eyeliner) at night before you go to bed.

I've been using it for almost three months now, and I can definitely see honest-to-goodness, significant improvement in both the length and thickness.

It's what I might even call nearly amazing. I would seriously not make this stuff up.

Yes, perhaps it's a coincidence, maybe my eyelashes just finally began to recover from the infection. All I know is that I've been using it for a certain number of weeks, and have seen a HUGE improvement over that very specific period of time.

Oh! And 2 things:

1) I know that in the scheme of things this is so far down on the list of "Life Problems" that it doesn't even deserve a number.


2) I am in no way being compensated by the Rapid Lash people. They have no clue at all who I am.

It all just seemed so unlikely that I felt obligated to share.

Hope you're having a great day!