Aug 30, 2008

Spritual Sundays - Running the Race

Summer is winding down, school bells are ringing, and the 2008 Olympics have become recorded history. America was awarded with 110 medals and swimmer Michael Phelps received an unprecedented 8 gold medals, surpassing the world records of Mark Spitz and other champions.

It's amazing to watch buff bodies accomplish fantastic feats. However, ultimately, the Olympics are about perseverance, tenacity, and the overcoming spirit. Each athlete's story speaks to our own spiritual race...

In one particular event, the 4th and 5th place runners were moved to the 2nd and 3rd place positions after it was determined that 2 runners had stepped on lines—more than once. It seemed anticlimactic for the two US runners to accept those medals. In their minds, violation or not, the disqualified runners had still finished faster.

In track, the rules are strict. A sprint runner is confined to one lane. Runners are immediately disqualified for false starts, stepping on or over lines, or if there is interference of any kind.

The Bible compares our lives, also, to a race. So what's the difference between worldly and spiritual races? The biggest factor is God's GRACE. Spiritually, we should have been disqualified a long time ago. We've all violated the rules. Yet, God has graciously permitted us to continue. Can we be disqualified? Yes, if we choose to run our coarse without Jesus Christ.

Each race is uniquely designed and no one can run our race for us. It isn't a competition. We cheer for one another. We are instructed to run with excellence, drawing our strength from Jesus, who willingly entered his own race to endure the Cross.

So, what about those 2 runners who received medals by default? There's no doubt that it was an awkward moment for all but the gold medalist. Should they apologize or disqualify their accomplishment? God would say no. They submitted to the rules of the race. They ran with excellence. They finished.

Philippians 3:12 (The Message) - Focused on the Goal
12-14 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
2 Timothy 4:7 (The Message)
6-8 You take over. I'm about to die, my life an offering on God's altar. This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.

Aug 29, 2008

Tra la la...

The banner and the opera singer are from Artella's Postal Passion Kit

I finally did it! After over a year of blogging, I became bold enough to stick my toe out of the template. I have tried to explore digital scrapbooking before now, only to be shunned by manufacturers who don't like Macs. And, although I have Photoshop, I really don't have time for tutorials. So, I found an application that's tailored for Mac and I gave it a whirl.

The above banner is my second effort. Once I finished it, I took the total plunge and changed my blog template. You know how it is... One coat of paint and everything else looks lusterless. There's no turning back.

If any kind soul can tell me how to place wallpaper behind my blog, I will be eternally grateful.

NOTE: Need some good bubble popping therapy? Check out the bottom of my blog.

Aug 28, 2008

Teahouse of the August Spoon - 13

Today, with the last of my August Teahouse installments, I would like to share what I believe adds the HEART to teatime and/or coffee breaks: scrumptious treats! In my 12th post in this series, I asked my readers to share some of their favorite indulgences. Take a look at the contributions...

Jeanne of
Backyard Neighbor gave us this tempting dessert. She wrote, "I love tea and teatime. I do have a recipe (from scratch) called Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Delicious!"

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder.

Topping: Mix all 3 items together
6 Tbs sugar
5 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream sugar and butter. Beat until fluffy. Add the rest of wet ingredients. Fold in flour. Grease well a bundt pan. Place 1/3 batter in pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 topping. Add 1/3 of batter. Spread remaining topping. Add remaining batter. Preheat oven ˚350. Bake approx. 1 hour. Test at 50 minutes. When done let rest 10 min then turn out onto plate. Mmmmmmm!

Beverly of Tea Time and Roses had this to say... "I must say, I am not a avid baker but I do love a delicious butter cookie with tea! I adore these cookies, and at holiday time I make sure we have only the best for company and tea time! A simple treat, but oh so delicious!"

Bobbie Jo of
It's Good to be Queen slipped some chocolate into our beverage break... She wrote, "Dark chocolate is always a winner with me. For a home made treat try Self Filled Cup-Cakes. I use the recipe for the Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Hershey's Cake. Before making this, preheat oven to ˚325. Then you place the batter in a lined cup-cake tin. Fill 3/4 of the way full. The mixture for dropping in is as follows: 1 pkg. cream cheese softened, 1/2 c. chocolate chips, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 egg, and a dash of salt. Mix together. Then drop a heaping spoonful into each cupcake. Place in oven for 25-30 min. They will puff up and the cake mix will cover the filling. These are so yummy and don't last long around our house. Very good with a Jasmine tea."

Marilyn Miller of Delights of the Heart shared this... "I love a light fluffy cream scone with butter, cream, and jam. Two please."

Joyce of the Secret Gardener contributed this... "I love Cucumber Sandwiches and my friend, Marsha, makes the BEST ones in the whole world. Even Lord Wedgewood (from the "Wedgewood" china company in England) told her the same thing when he was here in Baton Rouge a couple of years ago."

Cyndi from Pennsylvania shared Ken's No Bake Peach Pie. "I made the most fun peach pie this afternoon. I heard it on our local radio channel while driving the other day. I went to the website and got it. Yummies. I used sugar—excellent, even without whipped cream. Oh, to get peach skins off, you boil water in a pan and then put 4 in at a time and let them boil for 5 minutes. Then I put them in a bowl of ice water for 5 more minutes. The skins will fall off. I used 8 peaches and that was too many. So Randy and I ate the extra ones that didn't fit in the pie."

Ken’s No Bake Peach Pie
By Ken Hess
Mechanicsburg, PA

1 cup sugar (or Splenda)
2.5 Tbsp corn starch
Pinch of salt

Place the above in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan and mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup of water, stir and cook on burner until clear. Remove from heat and add one package of apricot or peach Jell-O (Ken recommends apricot) stir until dissolved. Add 3 cups of fresh peaches; place this mixture in the refrigerator for 30-minutes. Remove and place contents into a Keebler 9” ready-made shortbread pie crust. Return to refrigerator for 1.5 hours minimum. Add whipped cream and serve. Delicious!

Carolyn (sea mystery) of Harbor Hon introduces us to this Baltimore goody. "My favorite teatime yummy is Berger Cookies. They are a soft shortbread with a huge dollop of dark chocolate icing on top. They have them here at the original Bergers Cookie Bakery at Lexington Market in Baltimore, MD, but you can also get them online. They are my one indulgence when it comes to a hot cup of either Formosa Oolong or Irish Tea."

Aug 27, 2008

Egg-cellent Tip!

I am working on a huge project right now, so please bear with me as I press toward the goal! I will be doing a teatime treat post much later tonight. And, tomorrow, I will be back to my blog strolls!

In the meantime, Karen in Lompoc, CA. shared an egg-cellent food tip that might just change your relationship with eggs! This tip makes removing egg shells a-peeling! The website includes a video and written description. Mild disclaimer: The host, Tim Ferris, does use the phrase, "pain in the a--." CLICK HERE.

Aug 26, 2008

Cuddles & Cranky on Facebook

Cuddles & Cranky on Facebook

Hey, Cuddles and Cranky made it to Facebook! It doesn't look like Cranky is doing the bunny hop either. Knowing Cranky, this is probably just a bad hare day!

NOTE: Tomorrow I am doing a post on all of your favorite tea or coffee treats. If you haven't already done so, swing down 3 posts to contribute.