Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorites: Songs of the Redeemed

Our church just celebrated its 20th anniversary and as part of the celebration, we released a new worship CD, "Songs of the Redeemed." It was recorded with a live congregation and worship band and makes you feel like you are sitting in one of our worship services. I have been listening to it when I drive in the car and am sure that people at stop lights are wondering what that woman in the CR-V is belting out so fervently!

I've blogged about my love for worship music before, but let me say again how much songs of faith are good for my soul. I can be having a down week/day/moment, but if I play some worship songs, I am quickly reminded of what is important and that it's not all about me! Some of the songs on the new CD were very meaningful to me after my dad died and it's very special to have them in a collection that I can listen to whenever I want/need to.

Worship songs also help me to "speak the gospel to myself" and remember the truths of God's word. I love that there are congregational readings on the worship CDs that our church has produced and that the words of Romans 8 ("Waves of Grace"), 2 Corinthians 4:5-11, 16-18, Luke 18:9-14 and other passages ("Songs of the Redeemed") can be embedded into my heart and mind as I listen over and over again.

If you don't already have it, you can download or order a copy of the new CD at this link. I think you'll see why this has fast become a favorite for me!

And before I go, let me give a quick shout-out to my friends, Jay and Kristi, who designed the cover of the CD, as well as the bulletins and banners that were unveiled at the 20th anniversary last week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorite: Downton Abbey

I wrote a post last year about my affinity for the show, Downton Abbey, but I just had to write about it again, since Season Three is airing now in the U.S. on Sunday nights.

Before the new season started, I went back and watched Season One and Season Two again. And I even got my sister and brother-in-law hooked and they got caught up on the story just in time to start watching Season Three.

On the weekend that Season Three was going to air, I had the idea that it would be fun to invite some friends over for "tea and crumpets" while we watched the two-hour premier. So I put out the invite and made plans to purchase some scones and made some cucumber sandwiches. My friends also brought goodies like petit fours, cheese and crackers and chicken salad. It wasn't "high tea" in the true sense of the word, but we had fun trying out our British accents and giving commentary as we watched the episode.

I've also been getting a kick out of hearing other people talk about the show, namely some male friends. The other night after choir rehearsal, two men and I were saying that we needed to get home to watch the next episode and ended up speculating about how things might end this season. In my opinion, it needs to have a longer run, but I guess they like to keep us coming back for more.

If you haven't gotten caught up in the Downton Abbey craze, you're not too late! Grab some DVDs or find it online and you'll be hooked!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Like a (Cake) Boss!

I have recently started watching episodes of "Cake Boss" on Netflix. Since I dropped my DirecTv subscription and lost home access to The Food Network, I've missed watching the reality cooking/food shows (I can still watch it while I'm on the treadmill at the Y, but that's another story). I like watching the shenanigans of Buddy and his sisters and coworkers at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ, and it's fun to see the elaborate cakes they come up with there.

A few weeks ago I was invited to make a cake to share at a dessert reception for a friend's wedding. About the time that I was asked to participate, the December issue of Southern Living came out with a cover photo of a beautiful white cake decorated with snowflakes made out of fondant icing, which became the inspiration for my cake. My mom and I were reading the magazine and talking about the cake on our Thanksgiving road trip and she offered to help bake the cake and I could do the fondant snowflakes. I thought it sounded like a good arrangement and so we made our plans and I bought/acquired the supplies (thanks to my friend Leanne for giving us the snowflake cookie cutters).

The wedding was this past weekend, so last week I took an evening to make the snowflakes and then Mom baked the cake. On Saturday morning she cooked the icing and I put some finishing touches on the snowflakes before my sister helped me transport the cake to the reception site. I waited until we got there to add all of the snowflakes and it all turned out so pretty! Like a (cake) boss!


I have to give a huge THANK YOU to my mom for baking the cake from scratch and even having to do it twice due to a slight problem with the cake sticking to the pan. As an aside, the slightly damaged cake was revived and she gave it to some other friends who my sister was taking a meal to that night. Double blessing!

I also want to thank my sister for letting me borrow her cake plate and for taking the time to go with me to bring the cake to the reception site. She held the cake while I drove and did such a great job, even when I accidentally hit a pot hole and the cake bumped against the side of the dome. It was her good idea to wait until we got there to add the snowflakes, so the little smudge on the cake was easily covered up!

It was fun to step out of my normal comfort zone and to be able to share in the beautiful wedding reception. Seeing all of the cakes that were made and all of the cake stands (those are a work of art all by themselves) made me want to try more cakes, but I think I'd still want my baking team by my side, unless it's a pound cake made in a Bundt pan!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This year: 2013

Wow! Happy New Year! I can't believe that it's a new year again and also that it is the year 2013! This year has been "in the future" for our family for so long, it's kind of surreal that it's actually here.

You see, back in July of 1995, when we held our tiny baby with a head full of dark hair we could hardly imagine what he would look like and who he would become. This year, Lord willing, that little baby boy will turn eighteen and will move into manhood.

Back in the year 2000, when we had a little boy starting Kindergarten and thought about the year he would graduate, it seemed very far off to all of us. Now, Lord willing, that little boy (who is now a young man), will graduate from Hume Fogg Academic High School in May of this year.

And when we we thought about what that little boy would do in his life and where he would attend college and what career he might pursue, we could only imagine and dream. If you asked that little boy what he wanted to be when he grew up, at different times his answer would be either "a Major League Baseball player," "an NFL football player," or "a construction worker." Later on, his answer became "a professional drummer." Now, Lord willing, in August of this year, that little boy (now a young man) will attend college at either Belmont University or University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and pursue a major in music/drums.

I will try not to be too sappy or sentimental as the year progresses, but I hope you'll understand if I feel the need to share lots of memories as I ponder the significance of this year in our lives. It is going to be a very exciting and eventful year for our family!

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV