06/27/16

Un-usual.

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” — Luke 5:1-11 

I read this familiar scripture again last week during a morning quiet time, and the thought struck me about how the Lord reveals Himself to us in unusual ways.

I mean, think about it.

These men were professional fishermen. They had been out to see all night, when you have higher likelihood of catching fish, and not one single bite.

Jesus sees these boats coming into shore, asks to borrow the boat, and begins to preach from it to all the people gathered on the shoreline. After He is done preaching, He tells the fishermen to go back out and let down their nets into deep water one more time.

I can only imagine the thoughts passing through their minds.

This teacher sidesteps from His message to publicly embarrass us and tell us how to do our job. Yeah, I don’t think so…

But, they do it.

And the results are no less than staggering. And because of their faithfulness and obedience, their belief is strengthened and they are the first of His chosen disciples. And so they leave their nets and follow Him.

Have you ever had a “leave your nets and come with me!” moment?

Have you ever been that awestruck by the Lord’s calling on your life?

Has He spoken to you and revealed even more of His character to you in an unconventional, unusual way?

In the past year, I have felt a tug on my heart to do something, to accomplish something, that in my own power, intellect, and reason, is impossible. And so, I tried to ignore it. The mounting fear was just too great. The tide of my doubts was just too swift. The remindings of my failures just too frequent.

And the tug on my heart continued.

Why me? When so many others have tried and failed?

But the idea persisted. Until I broke and I joined Him. And I prayed and I dreamed. And so, I began.

Only you can do what God has created for you to do. You have everything that you need, or ever could need, to answer His call. It’s already all inside you!

Inside all of us.

Isn’t that just a miraculous thought?

In discussion about this very topic this week with a friend and coworker, he shared with me his Romans 8:28 philosophy about stepping into the purpose that God gives you. His illustration came from Exodus, and he began to speak about Moses and the miraculous and unusual calling on his life. Moses would never have been the chosen to approach the throne Pharaoh, a god in ancient times, if he had not spent his formative years as a member of Pharaoh’s household. He would never have been granted an audience with Pharaoh if he had not first called Pharaoh “brother.”  He would not have been able to shepherd and guide the people of Israel through the wilderness and to the very edge of the Promised Land if he had not been so familiar with shepherding the fields of Midian along with his father-in-law Jethro.

He was quite literally perfectly positioned to accomplish God’s perfect plan. Speech impediment and all.

We should embrace our limitations. Embrace our shortcomings, our fears, our doubts, our failures even, because we serve a God who can and one who will provide exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask for or imagine.

So many fish that we need a 2nd boat to come help us unload all of our nets.

So, here me when I say… Bring on the fish!

xoxo…

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06/21/16

Carrot Cake Cupcakes for an “I Do BBQ”

I have a confession to make.

I have never actually made a classic carrot cake.

I don’t know why. I guess it has always been somewhat of an intimidating layered cake to master. The grating of the carrots, the whipped cream cheese frosting.

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But, these delicious classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes were well worth the effort and they weren’t that difficult at all!

And they made a delicious handheld dessert at my cousin’s “I Do Barbecue” from this past weekend.

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Classic Carrot Cake Cupcakes 

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, Copyright 2001

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

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Tossing the carrot mixture in flour will ensure that the carrots, raisins, and walnuts remain evenly suspended in the batter and don’t sink to the bottom of your cupcakes. But even if it does, they are still delicious.

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Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, and then drop the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Cool completely on a rack.

And at this stage, resist any and all urges to eat one warm and unfrosted.

Or don’t. Your call.

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For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve to some very happy party guests!

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Absolutely delicious!

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Happy Engagement Dustin & Casey! Many blessings and much love in the months to come as you prepare to be man & wife.

I love you Big-D!!!

xoxo…

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