Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mama Bear Gets Tough with her Baby

A big Thank You to my Aunt Irene for sending this video--and you have to love this Mama Bear, who is determined to get her mischievous baby out of that tree!  I could identify with her.


And P.S.  Happy Birthday to my sister Dana!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So I'm still on a baking kick . . .

Cade's Challah
. . . and bread is my latest fixation.  Ciabatta . . . focaccia . . . challah . . . brioche . . . yum!  I've been making bread like a fiend, and then sending loaves off to neighbors and friends.

Yesterday I was making Challah and nearly burned out my Kitchenaid mixer, so I had to spend half the day researching the latest models so I can find something that's up to the task of bread-making.  Anyway, after I braided two loaves, I thought about the boys across the street (ages 10 and 8, I think) who, bless their hearts, like my bread.  So I called their mother and asked if they wanted to come over after school and braid their own loaves.

Long story short, they did.  They braided their own loaves, took them home to let them rise and bake, and then sent me pictures.  :-)

Chance's Challah


Click/zoom to see the neighborhood sentry

Ciabatta dough getting ready to run away

The Bread Factory 
The other day I made a ciabatta dough, plopped it in the biggest bowl I had, and went off to take a shower. By the time I came back, it was climbing out of the bowl.  So from now on, I think I'm just going to leave the dough on the counter and cover it with damp (clean) dish towels.  :-)  That works better.   (The ciabatta photo is the one that looks like plaster footprints.) :-)

Enjoy!  And I hope you can take some time out to bake something today. It's therapeutic!

P.S.  And yes, I'm sure my next book will feature a bakery!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Feeling stressed? I've got just the thing.

I hope none of you were hurt or damaged by Hurricane Irene.  Any damage reports?  It completely passed over our western coast of Florida, so though we did have a small storm Sunday morning, it was nothing compared to the hurricane.

Many thanks to my pal Suzie T who sent this video to me . . . ah. Close your eyes, still your mind, and listen. You'll want to listen over and over again.

Peace to you. Christ's peace to you today.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sing . . . Even when No One is Looking :-)

My mom sent me this video clip and I love it.  Not sure where it's from, but I sure wish my dogs could/would do this.

Wonder what they do when I'm not home?


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Think your town's crosswalks are bad?

It's like Frogger in real life. Our county is notorious for being unfriendly to pedestrians, but this city (I believe it's somewhere in Iran) is far worse. Can you imagine crossing the street here?



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

I've been taking a sort of sabbatical from blogging--I read an author who suggested blogging less often with better stuff, and I thought he made sense.  But I found myself feeling disconnected from everything and every one, and I didn't like feeling that way.  So--for better or worse, for better stuff and worse, I'm back.  :-)   I may not post every day, but I'm going to be a lot more regular.

And what has filled my days this summer?  The Book in progress, of course.  And three other B's:  baking, baseball, and the baby!

I've already mentioned that my hubby and I discovered that we are grandparents.  My daughter is good about sending us photos, brief video clips, and updates on the beautiful baby's progress, so we've been enjoying those.  (That's our darling in the photo).  We are living several hours away, but we do plan to take many trips so the Adored One can know us and love us as much as we love her.

Baseball:  a friend of ours plays for the Rays, so we've gone a little over the top with baseball this year.  We go to as many games as we can, and when we can't go, we watch on TV.  In supporting our friend, we've grown to feel like we know many of the players, so we root for all of them.  Yeah, we wear jerseys and I carry a baseball app on my iPad so I can follow the games even when I'm traveling.  It's crazy, I tell you.  But fun.

Baking:  It began with cupcakes, but of course you know about that.  I then moved into cakes, then into bundts in particular (what a collection of fun pans I've gathered!), then into bars.  Now I'm into bread.  I took a bread baking class last weekend, so now I know all about bigas, and poolishes, and rustic breads and the beauty of a nice brioche . . . ah!   Fun, fun, and my neighbors seem to love it when I trot over with something baked in my hands.

I think I know why I like baking as opposed to cooking:  cooking is done to taste, but baking is an exact science, and I've always had an affinity for science.  :-)   Wish you could taste my crusty raisin-pecan bread . . .

The book in progress:  I thought I was done with FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR, so I let my agent read it . . . and her team made several good suggestions.  So I'm not done, and am doing two more drafts.  Don't ask my total--I've lost count.  ;-)

Have a great day!  I'll be back soon!


Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Writer's Pride

Did I mention that I have a granddaughter?

The world turned upside-down a few weeks ago when hubby and I learned that we have a beautiful granddaughter.  We promptly went  to see her, and we're thrilled to be able to hold and love this little girl.

Yes, I now carry a "Grandma's brag book" in my purse, though I prefer the name Nana, thank you very much.

But as one who works with words, I don't think the word "proud" applies here--after all, I did nothing to produce this little miracle. What would be more accurate is to say I'm simply delighted with her and by her.

(And, BTW, for privacy reasons, I never refer to my family by name on this  blog. You understand.)

Speaking of pride:

I was reading good ol’ C.S. Lewis a few years ago, namely MERE CHRISTIANITY's chapter on “the great sin.” You guessed it—pride. Lewis points out that most human vices come from “our animal nature,” but pride doesn’t come through an animal nature, but from Hell itself. (Ever seen an animal compare itself to another?)

Lewis says that pride is essentially competitive. The fault doesn’t lie in recognizing our abilities, it lies in comparing our abilities to others’. Pride doesn’t want us to say we’re good writers or have beautiful grandchildren, it wants to make us think we’re better and our grandchildren are prettier than everyone else's.

Lewis says, “If everyone became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”

That’s why I remind myself that in God’s ultimate reality, the earthly externals don't matter—what matters is if we were obedient to God’s call, if we were good stewards with the talents and abilities we were given, and if we obeyed the prompting of the Spirit.  And if, of course, we delight in others' grandchildren as we delight in our own. :-)

If we do that, and if we honor our brothers and sisters as we would honor ourselves, we ARE equally obedient in God’s sight. Competition disappears, pride dies.

Pride, Lewis says, is spiritual cancer—it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. He points out that pleasure in being praised is not Pride. If someone says, “Well done,” and you’re pleased, that’s okay. The trouble begins when you move from thinking, ‘I have pleased him, all is well’ to “What a fine person I must be to have done it.’

Lewis: “The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming.

Another thing I found interesting: Pride’s opposite is humility, but don’t think the most humble person is the one who hangs his head and goes around moaning about how untalented he is. He has taken the pendulum of pride in the opposite direction and is still self-centered. Lewis says that if you meet a truly humble person, “probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.”

Not like the grandparent who said, “Forgive me, I’ve talked about my grandchildren enough. Tell me—what do YOU think of my little darlings?”

LOL. May God help me to remember I am only ONE in a sea of redeemed believers in Christ. One happy grandmother.  One hard-working writer. May he help me to be faithful to my calling, and supportive of everyone else’s.

Until next time,