what i would eat, friday.

if i could i would eat these things, right now. maybe it’s because i need to eat lunch, or maybe it’s because they look ridiculously appetizing. whatever the reason, i can guarantee you i will try them. and if you try them before i do…puh-lease let me know how it turns out.

breakfast:

oatmeal-pancakes Dee’s Oatmeal Pancakes

lunch:

tomato-bean-bacon-soupTomato, White Bean, and Bacon Soup

{allison: we’re making this, ok? }

dinner:

chipotle-chicken-sandwichChipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich

cheap grace v. costly grace.

Bonhoeffer talks a lot about what cheap grace is and how we ought to live like grace is costly, not cheap. i wanted to share this next excerpt from his book. i’m focusing more on costly grace, but i did include a glimpse of what cheap grace is.

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all the he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel  which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but God delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.'”

In not only this section, but in the entire chapter of the book i was so convicted of the concept of cheap grace. when i first started reading about it, i, as well as most people, would think “i’m not like that, i don’t live like there is cheap grace.” but, if i’m honest, i know i don’t always live like the grace that is given me is costly. and if i’m not living with costly grace, then im living my life with cheap grace. i know that sometimes i act like grace is the blanket that covers me, we all could admit that. i am grateful for forgiveness, and that God is always running towards me, directing me to Him, showing me how to better myself and glorify Him more.

things of which i’m certain.

1. i really miss b and i don’t truly realize it until after we spend hours together catching up. (i guess i’m so used to never seeing her, that i dont let myself miss her that much) i wish mississippi and japan were a lot closer. but, i can’t wait to visit japan one day soon. i love the fact that we’ve known each other since we were 10, that we can go months without seeing each other and pick up right where we left off. i love that she loves my whole family (grandparents, aunts and all) as much as i love her whole family. i will be so sad when she moves to japan for good this time next year.

2. i really love north metro church. i am so grateful that each time im there God speaks to me. i love echo. i love sunday mornings. i love my KCRG kids and volunteers. i love it all.

3. my sister is rad. and im pretty sure i laugh the hardest when im with her. i love that about our relationship. we’ve been through a lot together and im thankful for where we are right now. plus, she has a pretty cool son and husband.

4. i am pumped about the book me and al are writing. it’s going to be awesome. you’ll want it. speaking of, i cant wait to visit athens soon. :) not for the games, boo UGA. but for the company.

5. limiting my time each day for checking my email, facebook, blogs etc. has been really freeing. it’s given me a lot of perspective.

chocolate, peanut butter heaven.

i wish i had a picture to show you what i’m about to talk about. but i don’t. fail. let’s just say, that if you make this cake, everyone who eats it will love you ten times more than they do now. it’s to die for. seriously, the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever had. the cake recipe is from Hershey’s, and i mean, really? who else who know chocolate any better than them? well, maybe Godiva. or the Belgians or Germans. at least Hershey’s is up there, right? :)

anyway…..the cake is moist. and not overly sweet. just sweet enough, in my opinion. and chocolatey enough for peanut butter buttercream icing. most of the time im a cream cheese icing kinda girl…but because my sister doesnt like cream cheese anything, and this cake was for her, buttercream it was. i dont overly sweetened icing’s that cause you to stop eating the cake because it’s so sweet. a good icing should compliment the cake ever so much as to make you eat a second piece. not stop halfway through your first. but alas, the icing, incredible. like the perfect sweet and salty thing in your mouth all at one time. add the chocolate cake…and it’s heaven.

enough about it…make the cake. tell me how it goes. i’ll try to take pictures of it this weekend when i make cupcakes of these recipes for a church function.

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

and the icing….

Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 cup milk

In large bowl, beat peanut butter and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, beat well. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed, and scraping sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Re-whip before using.

Makes about 3 cups icing.

oh, Bonhoeffer!

this time last year i started reading through, Devotional Classics (which i would highly recommend), and it had an excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on “The Call to Discipleship.” it was rich. it was challenging. it brought about great discussion. i decided after our (my bible study) discussion that when i read the books that were already on my list to read, i would purchase Bonhoeffer’s, The Cost of Discipleship. when i realized earlier this week that the time had come, i was excited yet anxious. this book is no easy read, but still, i was excited. so…i’ve decided to share some of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts.

i love these words by Bonhoeffer as he begins his discussion of discipleship:

We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when his command, his call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirety. Only the man who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly, and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to perservere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light. ‘His commandments are not grievous’ (1 John 5:3). The commandment of Jesus is not a sort of spiritual shock treatment. Jesus asks nothing of us without giving us the strength to perform it. His commandment never seeks to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen and heal it.

a post about different things…

1. i took tyler’s 5 month-old pictures. here are a few of my favorites:

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2. i received an email today from a dear friend that posted this in the email from a devotional book. i loved it. and the quote is wonderful.

Everyone who asks received; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:8
As much as we hate to admit it, we are never more attuned to God’s voice than when we are in desperate need. We search our hearts for obstructive sins; we examine our relationships for hindrances of conflict or bitterness; we diligently dig into God’s Word for His promises and assurances; and we hang on to any little word of His faithful and unfailing character. We grow during these times more than any other. Most people looking back on their lives will readily admit that the times of need
were the times of flourishing in their relationship with God. And God built us exclusively for relationship.

Given this, why would God possibly want to rush us through that process? Why would He hasten to answer our prayers and subvert the purpose of this experience? We often think His delay is due to some divine indifference, a lack of caring on His part for those He says He loves. But it is just the opposite. His delays are granted us precisely because He cares so much. Immediate answers to fleeting prayers would never bring us this close to Him, no matter how much we try to assure Him that they would. He knows how we work.
He knows we can learn from Him and be conformed to His image in no other way.

We see our need as a desperate situation. God designs it for an opportunity to know Him more intimately.
When we are truly needy, we learn of Him as Provider.
When we are really sick, we learn of Him either as Healer or as Comforter–whichever role He wants to reveal to us.
We might think we are being punished by His silence. We are not. We are being rewarded.
He is drawing us closer to Him, saying, “Come nearer, learn from Me, know Me as your Strength, your Defender, your Refuge.”
Keep praying.
This is a far greater blessing than an immediate answer.

“It is when the answer to prayer does not come…that the trial of faith, more precious than gold, takes place.”
-Andrew Murray-
3. i enjoy nmc so much. the people there. the leaders. the staff. my south african team. my bible study girls. echo. the current series, “Cathedral”  is blowing me away…God has brought so much to the table. i’m so thankful that i have a family there…who fight for me. pray for me. love me. i am way blessed. and grateful.
4. i am soooo excited about d’s birthday present. :)

thankful.

i am truly thankful for all of my friends. i try not to take any of them for granted. each one loves me and cares for me unconditionally. but tonight, i want to take a second to give my gratitude to my dear, sweet ash. she is such an amazing person and has encouraged me, prayed for me and with me, laughed, and spent many hours talking with me…about anything. i pray all the time that God blesses her as much as she has blessed me.

here are some fun pictures…

the first: these were our costumes for the halloween dance our senior year at berry. i was her grandmother. (i had to be something that went with the absurdly large and inconvenient boot i had to wear at the time….an old person seemed to fit best.)

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the second: this is me singing and ash looking awesome at annie and aj’s wedding.

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life. is. good.

i know i say this ALL the time…i just can’t help it. tyler lee makes my day almost every day…today, this is how he did::

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i laughed until i cried.

and as if today couldn’t get any better…i get to be a part of echo tonight…if you live in or near kennesaw…be there. 8 pm.

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call me suzy homemaker.

when i was 12, my mom started calling me that. i loved to clean and have things organized and most importantly, i loved to cook. i’m positive i’ve lived up to that nickname before…but in the past two days, i have owned that name, as far as cooking is concerned. :)

i have cooked these things::

homemade granola…it’s so good. toasted until slightly crispy, but not break-your-teeth crunchy. throw some almonds and craisins in there, and you’ve got perfection.

homemade blueberry banana bran muffins…very raw and fresh tasting. they’re not super sweet but fill your tummy up.

homemade applesauce. i wanted to eat all of it while it was still warm. it would’ve tasted soo good over some vanilla bean ice cream.

vegetable soup. yum-o. tasty. satisfying. extra-healthy.

one problem with cooking this much….i need a bigger freezer. between the frozen vegetables, frozen fresh fruit, vegetable soup, and muffins with all of the other normal things in there….there’s not a lot of room. :)

ok…thats all. if you want any of the recipes…let me know. :) :)