Sunday, December 26, 2010

Under Pressure!

I can't wait to try out my new Pressure Cooker! Apparently Mom and Dad do pay attention to my requests and that large box that came from Amazon was indeed containing my very own shiny new pressure canner.

Imagine that. They put tons of warnings on these things. Do not operate until you have read instructions. I guess I better get on that.

My mother also added to my sometimes crazy dressing skills by buying me a pair of corduroy leggings. Purple and a little too scary to actually wear in public. We'll just have to keep those at home. My favorite part is the faux zipper and front pockets. But the back pockets are real!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Surprise!

Giving is always more fun than receiving. Tara and I, well mostly Tara, decided that it was about time for our mother to receive a cute little dog all for her own. We've been talking about it for years so Tara went and adopted an adorable little dog for a surprise Christmas present. We did good, Mom had no idea, and Dad did not freak out either. The surprise went down like this......

Oh what's this leash for?

My very own doggy!

 We're already besties!

What's not to love?

Snyder is a Poodle/Bichon mix, non-shedding, curly-haired, cutie. He's very curious, potty-trained, quiet, and well-mannered. He's quite perfect for Mother. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


What a day is has been! It is a really good thing that I so enjoy being around other people and that I feed off the energy of others. Today has been one of those days. Filled with a heavy heart, a joyful heart, an excited spirit, and a thankful soul I made my way through one packed day of socialization. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and I intend to make the completion of this day a restful one. A outline of events:

6:15 a.m. Alarm clock goes off
6:32 a.m. Amanda actually gets out of bed and wanders downstairs
6:48 a.m. Complete putting together an enchilada crock-pot casserole for after-church lunch
7:14 a.m. Get dressed and ready for a successful Sunday
8:00 a.m. Rush out of the house with my computer, book, bible, worship folder, crock-pot, apple, banana
8:15 a.m. Drop off crock-pot in Abilene, head to church
8:38 a.m. Run through worship practice
9:18 a.m. Spill my guts once again of my life uncertainty in petition for prayer
9:35 a.m. Begin discussion of Crazy Love book in Sunday School, spill my guts once again of the desire to live radical life displaying the love of Christ
10:40 a.m. Church service
12:15 p.m. Enjoy fabulous lunch with community group socialization spilling my heart, again, regarding my life options and possibilities of actually living the radical life of Jesus
3:14 p.m. Depart Abilene
3:32 p.m. Arrive home, pack away leftover casserole, start preparing hummus dip for second social outing
4:02 p.m. Arrive at neighbors' house for Neighborhood Holiday Party
7:02 p.m. Depart from the neighbors' house, head for home.
8:11 p.m. Chat with long lost childhood friend via telephone
9:25 p.m. Stand in awe of life's blessings: friends, neighbors, community and really great Christmas snacks!

Praise the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The grand finale of my days in the bakery science lab went down fabulously. During our final lab last week we made some scrumptious product. It was a pizza lab so to go along with lots and lots of cheese pizza we added another similar product, focaccia. That's pronounced \fō-ˈkä-ch(ē-)ə\ or foh-kah-sha. Basically focaccia is an Italian flatbread, typically made with herbs and olive oil. We went a little gourmet and added some additional fabulous toppings.

Check out our green apple, blue cheese, toasted walnut focaccia or perhaps the tomato, basil, asiago cheese focaccia.

Delightful, simply delightful. Focaccia is best warm from the oven, possibly with a nice glass of wine. Enjoy it later as a sandwich, simply slice that beauty in half and stuff with your favorite sandwich eatings.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Standing in Awe

For the third time in my life I am reading the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. This third time is different because I am reading it in community with my Sunday school group at church. I am very excited to see where God will take this lesson and how He will change each and every person in the group through this study. We just started so in the beginning we are taking a closer look at who God is and how the love of Christ is so different from what we, as Americans, typically see. The lives we are living are simply not as bold and radical as the life of Jesus and therefore, we're missing something. The core of the problem as Chan describes is our inaccurate view of God. Romans 1:20 says, For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. We are without excuse; God is being displayed all around us. I'd like to think that seeing God in creation is easy for me because I already adore time spent in nature, but to be honest I simply do not stand in awe of the invisible God enough. Standing in awe is the simplest honor we can do for our creator.

Check out this fabulous video to get just a little picture of how majestic and powerful our creator is. It definitely helps to put our world in a little perspective.

R.C. Sprouls writes, "Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God."

So today I am trying to be intentional in observing the awe factor of God. As I went for a jog earlier, I was blown away, almost literally by the power of the wind. It is an unseasonably warm day and I am trying to get in as much outdoor exercise before tomorrow when the cold weather is supposed to arrive. Anyway, the south wind was so strong as I was trying to pick my feet up and move that I decided to take the moment and stand in awe. As I held my arms out in the wind, I kinda felt like I was on the titanic or perhaps I was ready for take-off if I were a kite. Then I was trying to imagine if this wind feels strong, how strong must the speed of the earth's rotations feel if I were out there in outer space holding my hands out. I'm not sure that makes any sense, but it was an awe moment. I stood in awe as I watched the wind move the native prairie grass against the blue puffy cloud filled sky.

How have you stood in awe?

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:4-7

On Wednesday nights I have the amazing opportunity to hang out with some of the coolest kids in the neighborhood. I've been helping with Kids Zone which goes on at Zion BIC and have been entirely entertained by the kids there. This month we've been focusing on joy and our memory verse has been Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! It has been so great to hear those little voices scream this verse out. We've talked about being joyful no matter what situation we are in and although I'm not entirely certain they understand this concept it has been quite timely for me. Tonight as I look back to that verse I am amazed at how much I really need to focus on that entire section of truth. 

I mentioned that after next week I will no longer be working in the bakery lab at KSU. Although this was definitely a difficult decision I knew that it was one I had to make. As much as I enjoy hanging out with college students, eating lots of great baked goods, and generally having a no-stress job, it is simply not something I wanted to do long term. I kinda needed the push out the door to make me move on to bigger and better things. Obviously, I have not figured out exactly what those things are yet, but as Paul speaks to the Philippians, I must be patient. With prayer and petition, I am trusting that God will show me the next move.

Some of you may have noticed my new third tab on the blog. This is my new attempt to continue doing what I love, baking, in a manner which may generate some income. A little less risky than opening a bakery retail store, I hope to start generating some customers that will be willing to purchase my baked goods. Actually, I'm not limiting this to baked goods, I love all food and am thinking about incorporating catering/party hosting events. I'm not sold on the name "Quality Tastes" either, so if you have a suggestion for this new venture, please let me know. When I was younger and dreamed of my own bakery I used to always think I'd name it Panda's Pastries. However, that does not include all the greatness of artisan bread, local vegetables, and such that I love. So seriously thoughts, comments, ideas?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Official

I've been handed my very last stack of Bakery Science Lab Reports to grade.
I have been replaced.
I have no more crutch in the working world.
I really need to figure out what I'm doing with my life.
I baked some pretty decent artisan bread all by myself.

Mmm. Life is great!