Death, no matter when it occurs, is a difficult thing for us. It is especially hard when the one no longer with us is young. Last week our community suffered a shocking loss that even now, almost a week later, we struggle to wrap our brains around. Sam told Sarah yesterday that he didn't know what to do with these emotions he was feeling. When she asked him what he meant he explained that he felt loss and he never had before and he wasn't sure what to do with it.


While it may not be the first time some of us have felt loss we are all struggling with it. The questions have flown fast and furious since the news broke last week. What happened? When did it happen? How did it happen? We want answers. We need to make sense of it and somehow if we ask the right questions and get all of the answers we can make sense out of the unthinkable, the unbelievable, the unbearable.



When I was praying for the family last week I asked God to be merciful. And as soon as the words left my mouth I stopped. In my mind being merciful meant that this father and mother would still have their son. That a boy would still have his big brother. That a girl would still have her boyfriend and people would still have their friend. It was a very harsh reminder that His ways are not our ways.





It was a stark remembrance of the sin that taints our world and the one who seeks to destroy. It was a reminder that death is always ugly and painful but is also a defeated foe. Somehow, out of this hideous sorrow God is working out His good and perfect will. On this side, for those of us left to grieve and search for understanding, we feel the heaviness of a precious life gone. But Grant David, he stands before his King, holy and without regret that his life seemingly ended too soon. He knows, in a way that we cannot yet know, that from his first breath to his last, his first step to his final one, that he did what God required of him. 

And God's mercy? It is here, fully present, as we come together to weep with those who weep. His mercy shades our grief with the hope and truth that this separation is only temporary and that one day we will all stand before our King, knowing fully, finally,  just as we are fully known.

Later today many of us will gather for a memorial in honor of our young friend. Tears will fall and more than a little laughter will be heard as stories are told and memories are revisited. We will realize our questions don't matter and we'll realize the answers we have sought aren't really the answer. Mercy will be found as we come together, one family, but truly one body, in His name sharing in a burden far too heavy for one or two or even three to hold.

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16


Have you ever smelled something and the scent instantly transported you to a long ago memory? Noxzema does that for me. I smell it and immediately my mind is flooded with childhood recollections of sandy beaches and sunburns. Isn't it remarkable how God engineered us so that scents and tastes can bring to mind such vivid memories?

One bite of this cake is a reminiscent mouthful of Christmas past. Seriously, it is the flavor of Christmas with its tangy orange zest, fresh cranberries and spicy overtones. The cranberries give it a zing like the crisp winter air. Rather poetic I know but really, it is the flavor of the holidays I think. Try it and let me know what you think.

cranberries_oranges_pound_cake_ homemade

What you'll need:

For the cake ~
3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBS orange zest*
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese**
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh cranberries

orange_zest_cranberries


What you'll do:

Whisk the first three ingredients together and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time.
Mix in the vanilla, orange juice & zest, spices, and mascarpone cheese until well combined.
Add in half of the flour mixture. 
Stir in the buttermilk.
Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until the flour disappears.
Gently fold in cranberries.***
Pour into a well greased bundt pan. (I am a huge fan of Bakers Joy.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Let cake rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Coat the cake with the orange glaze and allow to completely cool.
Pour the orange cream cheese frosting over the cake.

Orange glaze:
Mix 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar with 1/3 cup orange juice until smooth.

Orange cream cheese frosting:
Mix together 4 oz softened cream cheese with 1 TBS orange zest, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth.



This is one of those cakes that really taste even better the day after you make it and the flavors have all gotten cozy with each other so don't be afraid to make it up ahead of time!

*    Orange zest...smells so good!
**  If you can't find mascarpone cheese you can use 1/2 cup sour cream.
***My family enjoyed the cake but found the cranberries a little too tart for their liking. I figure the         next time I make this I may reduce the amount down or leave them out all together.


It has been over two months since I shared a recipe?! To make up for it I have a really scrumptious pie recipe for you and it's just in time for the holidays!

A pie confession...I've never been a huge fan of pecan pie which I know can get me kicked out of the South but there you have it. It always made my teeth feel weird. The thing is though that I love the center non-pecanny part. But it's rude to scrape off all of the pecan topping so it's always just been off my menu.

But then I came across this recipe and oh my goodness, it is just like a whole pie that is made up of only the inside of a pecan pie and it is the best thing ever! It's got just the right amount of chewiness and crunchiness. It was a big hit at my church (our weekly fellowship meals are my testing ground for new recipes) and will definitely get made again.

oatmeal_pie_homemade_goodness_pie_recipe


What you'll need:

1 9 inch uncooked pie crust 
6 TBS butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cups regular corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup regular oats

What you'll do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cream together the sugar and butter.
Mix in the corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
Stir in oats.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the center is only slightly jiggly.

Serve plain (it is seriously so very, very good!) or I guess you could throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like.

recipe_oatmeal_pie_homemade


What kind of pies and desserts do you have during the holidays?


The deed is done and the die is cast. Donald Trump, of all people, will be the next president of the United States. For some there is great relief - not that he won necessarily, but that she didn't. I'm glad she didn't win, too. But I am angry this morning.


The abortion issue and it's connection to the Supreme Court nominees was an incredibly important consideration during this election. For my friends that felt the weight of that during this election and voted accordingly, I commend your for your faithfulness to seek to protect unborn life, to be a voice for the voiceless.

So, how can I be angry this morning? How can I not see this as a victory? Because it is not enough. Because too many will think they have done their pro-life duty and, while they may keep a distracted eye on what follows as nominations are made, the urgency to be pro-life will ease. 

And really, it shows that mostly we are simply anti-abortion and not truly pro-life. We want abortion to be banned. We want Roe v. Wade overturned. But changing the law doesn't change the heart. It doesn't change the culture that sees death of the defenseless as an answer. Changing the law won't invest in the lives of those who feel they have no other choice.

We absolutely should seek laws that reflect a high view of life. But to be pro-life means that we should, that we must, have a high view of all life. We can't dismiss people as freaks and faggots. We can't call them whores and junkies and just walk away.

We have to be a voice for those who can't speak or are too afraid to speak...not just the unborn but the old and frail, the homeless, the orphan and yes, the immigrant, illegal or not. We should value nothing, absolutely nothing, more than the well being of those who bear the image of God, no matter how they act or live.

To be truly pro-life means that we afford everyone a common dignity no matter our differences. It means that soup kitchens should be over run with volunteers year round and not just during the holidays. It means that nursing homes and retirement centers are overflowing with people coming to sit and talk with residents. It means that we find out the needs that foster homes have and fill them. It means we find out how we can join ministries that help the countless kids that age out of the system get a strong start in the adult world. It means that we give our time, our money, our clothes, whatever we can to shelters and pregnancy resource centers. It means that we call and find out how we can help with the women and children's shelter in our area. It means that we volunteer at prisons and halfway houses. It means meeting our neighbors down the street. It means saying please and thank you and letting people know we appreciate them. 

Now is not the time to rest, Christian, to think that we've dealt a body blow to death.  Now is the time to put our hand to plow like never before, to put action to our words and line up our behavior with our rhetoric. Now is when we become the hands and feet of Christ. Now is when we live the Gospel.



So the blogging is sporadic but it is happening and that's good, right? It's something anyway.

It's been a busy few days around here.

Last Thursday was Grandparent's Day at the kids school and then on Friday we had our annual gala/auction. It's one of the two major fundraisers we do each year and a personal favorite because it's an excuse to get all gussied up and be fancy. My friend loaned me her dress and I looooved the lacey bottom!



Saturday morning the girls and I went to a baby shower that had a woodland theme. How precious is this little hedgehog cheese ball and cute owl veggie tray. Pinterest is the bees knees for ideas, y'all!



Saturday evening I spent some time with a lovely family doing some generation pictures. Those are some of my favorite sessions. There is something really special about seeing where God has taken the love of two people and multiplied it.

Sunday was a lovely reformation celebration at church complete with games and face painting.


The church also surprised Rob with a really fun birthday gift. There is a long running joke within the church and suffice it to say that among other things Rob will be the proud owner of a pair of cowboy boots as soon as he can get to the store with his gift certificate.

Monday was a fun Halloween night complete with friends, hot dogs and mac-n-cheese, and giant marshmallows. One hundred thirty-five chocolate dipped giant marshmallows to be exact along with 4 gallons of lemonade and three pitchers of ice water. Everyone is always so grateful for the drinks and I wonder why it took me so long to come up with the idea of that simple show of hospitality for the neighborhood?


Hoping things will slow down a little but we'll see. November is here and that pretty much puts the holiday season in high gear.

So what are you up to?


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