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Miss Kaydie’s Bars

photo (32)I had these for the first time at a funeral for a dear friend, they brought me comfort and a sugar coma all at once! My friend Kaydie Wald made up the recipe and was willing to share it with me, it is by far one of the most requested desserts I make.

 

Miss Kaydie’s Bars

1 box family size brownie mix (with eggs and oil for recipe)

1 bag mini marshmallows

12 0z  semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 c peanut butter (don’t use natural)

1 1/2 c. Rice Krispies cereal

1 T. butter

Prepare the brownie mix as indicated on the box and pour into q 9×13 pan. Bake as indicated but for only 26 minutes.

Removed from oven and pour marshmallows over brownies. Place back in oven for 3-5 minutes, allowing them to brown slightly.

Cool completely (I put them in the freezer for 20 min)

Meanwhile, melt the last four ingredients over low heat in a saucepan and pour over the marshmallows. Refrigerate to harden, cutting them into squares before hardening.

Anybody Seen My Car Keys?

keysSeveral weeks ago I noticed that one set of my car keys was missing. I looked in all the usual places but didn’t mention it to my guy because he HATES to lose things, gets very frustrated and tends to focus only on the finding. I knew they weren’t completely lost anyway, just not in the place where they should be. Misplaced. So I said nothing and quickly forgot about them.
Then last week I lost the other set of keys. I mean, they are GONE. We can re-trace our steps and remember when I had them last and where they should be as a result, and they are not there. Or anyplace else. We have spent a lot of time over the long weekend searching for the ability to drive my car again.
How does this happen? Why does this happen? I have several theories: there is a lesson in it for me to appreciate my mobility, and not take it for granted. My children have had the opportunity to see that I make big mistakes too (pretty sure they knew this one already), and my family has shown me a lot of grace over the last few days. It has been humbling to have to admit that I cannot drive my car and to find alternate transportation.
Now I have to call the dealership and find a way to get my car to them to create another set of keys. I think this is going to be an expensive lesson for me, both in time and money.
We have a high schooler who struggles in school. He has a lot of friends and has a whole lot of fun, but the daily rigor of schoolwork sometimes gets the best of him. We know he is in trouble when he stops talking to us about his classes, so then we check on his progress. It is as though we read from a family script of quiet/checking/threatening/confessing/achieving/repeat and we have all played our parts in this for years.
As parents we know that life would be so much easier if he would just buckle down and do the work placed in front of him, or at least reach out to us when he is struggling and ask for help. But then I am reminded of my own weaknesses when I lose my second set of keys.
I am thankful for a God who gently places reminders and cautions in our paths, humbling us and loving us all the way.

 

Rocks

photo (34)My guy and I were sitting on some large rocks, taking in the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. The sun was starting to set and couples were coming near with food and drink and blankets to watch the last few minutes of light leave their world. He asked me which way I wanted to take to return to land.
I checked our options; we could return the way we came, back up the manmade steps that was still well lit by the sun, or we could cross the harbor by way of those large rocks, like the ones we had been sitting on. Definitely rocks.
He went ahead of me and lithely jumped from boulder to boulder, calling to me to be careful, it would be very dangerous to fall. I wasn’t thinking about the danger at all, I was imagining how he probably was as a kid, cautious but willing to risk. Then I came to the first jump I would need to make to cross and I froze. I could not will myself to move. I heard the water hitting those big rocks just below me and my depth perception has always been a little off, so I felt certain I was going to fall. I couldn’t even turn back and go the safe way because I was halfway across by the time I realized just how dangerous it was.
I called out to my guy who quickly double-backed and was amused by my fear. Then he saw that I was truly afraid. He did exactly what he always does, held out his hand and helped me maneuver each step I needed to take, encouraging me as I moved forward with him. My brain knew that If I fell with him holding onto me I would probably be in more trouble than if I was on my own, because he would yank my arm tightly and break a bone or two, but reason was not working at the moment. I had to have the comfort of his presence in order to keep going.
My spiritual life has often been like crossing those rocks. I know we are on the adventure together, but often choose the harder path for no good reason and try to go it alone. I find myself scared and confused and call out to God, who is so willing to come alongside, His presence instantly making me feel safer and more capable. I don’t know if it’s pride or stubbornness that gets me into trouble, maybe both, but I am so grateful to have a God and a guy who are both willing to rescue me over and over.

Caprese Salad

photo (7)This is seriously one of my all-time favorite foods, we had one every day we were in Italy, and I came home to have another.

It’s traditionally meant to be served before dinner, and the colors are meant to resemble the flag of Italy.

The secret is to have the very ripest tomatoes and best mozzarella, oil and balsamic that you can afford, so in my opinion, it’s best in the hottest months of summer.

 

Caprese Salad

1 large, ripe tomato, sliced

4 oz. fresh mozzarella

3 sprigs of fresh basil

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

salt, pepper to taste

Place the tomato slices on the plate, top with mozzarella then bail. Lightly pour the olive oil over top, then balsamic dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with fresh french bread.

The Answer is Yes

shareYou know the drill: there is a birthday in your house and child 1 receives all kinds of new treasures while the siblings look on with hungry eyes. How do you teach birthday-child-who-has-more-than-they-could-ever-want to share his new bounty?
We had to institute a policy early on; the first day with the new treasure was just for the recipient, no need to share at all, but after that whenever asked if someone else could play with it, the answer was yes. I would watch as the new owner would begrudgingly stretch out their tight fist to hand over the item and often not be able to even watch their sibling enjoy playing with it at first. Usually within minutes they would both enjoy the treasure together. It can be painful to share our toys, especially the really cool ones.
We did this to try to teach them the joy of having new things, and the importance of sharing them with others, even while they were still new. The policy worked in your favor whenever it was someone else’s big day – you knew that you were going to be able to play with all that new stuff in less than 24 hours. Over time, it became something that we said in our house, “the answer is yes” and went on to mean that we share information or time or talent when we are asked, whenever we can.
Lord, help me to keep and cultivate this mindset in our house and in my own life. Help me to share what I’ve got, and to remember that the answer is yes.

Maybe….

Image

Relationship experts tell us that love is a verb, something that we have to make ourselves do sometimes; show love to someone and the emotions will follow. Often the hardest person to love is yourself, even though we all know it is so important to do so.

If you don’t love yourself, maybe you need to act like you do, until you do.

Getting More Than I Bargained For

jays-juiceAfter several days in Amsterdam I had a craving for my daily fruit/vegetable juice and went to my trusty Trip Advisor app to find a juice shop. It was a good distance away, involving taking a tram and walking several blocks in an area I had not yet seen. At first I was hesitant, but decided to go for it. This suburbanite dodged bicycles, motorcycles and people, maneuvered the tram and got the the area of town where the shop should be. Map in hand, I began to look in earnest. It took a long time but I finally found the shop so I went inside and stood in line. The man behind the counter was the owner and seemed to know everyone who came in, preparing their drinks from memory while discussing other topics. It was my turn and I said, “I’ve been looking for you for a long time!” The man locked eyes with me, came around the counter and took my hand. I thought he was going to shake it but instead he massaged it, then went up my arm to the elbow, still massaging. He muttered quietly, “you’ve been looking for a long time, all right. Relax and forgive and forget.”

Wha??

I laughed nervously and he proceeded to hug me. Close. He held me there until I relaxed. He talked quietly about my energy and massaged my back while holding me. It was powerfully intimate but not in a sexual way. People would come in and out of the small shop, talking to him all the while, making it seem like this was very commonplace. Thoughts were running through my head back and forth between, is this ok? and this is amazing….

He made my drink, he never asked me any questions except about the ingredients and was I feeling better than when I came in? I was. Other people entered the shop and he asked me to stay so he could explain, but when the shop emptied, he just held me. It was so bizarre. And so natural. When I stopped fighting the need to be appropriate I leaned in and allowed myself to feel the love this person was offering. We were not man and woman or even two strangers, we were simply two humans. In a juice shop. In Amsterdam. On a Thursday.

I said to him, “you have a profound gift for loving others.” He looked at me and said, “and so do you.” We talked a little more, he was from Aruba, previously an alcoholic and drug addict who got cleaned up years ago and opened his store to give people whatever they need; some need encouragement, some need a massage, all need love. Now, I don’t want to make too much of this encounter, but I also don’t want to shrug it off because I walked away changed. Changed in the way that you view the world a little differently now. I have rarely experienced pure love in my lifetime, that kind of love that wants nothing in return, that is simply willing to give. I have been writing a blog about three forms of love from the Bible for almost two years, and found something so simple and profound in an unlikely place. For all I know, this guy is half crazy and gets a kick out of seeing what he can get away with, but I don’t think that’s it. To me, this was a powerful example of Jesus’ love for every one of us. What if we leaned towards one another in an effort to connect more on a human level and let go of misconceptions and expectations? I still have so much more to learn.

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