Monday, June 30, 2014

Something to think about . . .


What if...


...you woke up this morning and found the only things you had left were the things you thanked God for yesterday?





"O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever."
1 Chronicles 16:34

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"The Weaver"

My life is but a weaving, between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors, He works so steadily.


Oft' times He weaves in sorrow, and I, in foolish pride,
forget he sees the upper, and I, the underside.


The dark threads are as needed, in the Weaver's skillful hand,
as the threads of gold and silver, in the pattern He has planned.



Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.

 ~ Benjamin Malachi Franklin


"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord
and whose hope the Lord is."
Jeremiah 17:7

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quick 'n' Easy Chocolate Cookies // Recipe


Today I am introducing a recipe that is not my own, but instead, a cookie recipe that my brother concocted.
This is a very simple recipe that my brother came up with the other day while I was still laid up. I wasn't able to bake anything myself so he decided to make these wonderful cookies to cheer me up. {So, my brother gets all the credit for this recipe.} :) 

Let me tell you though, these cookies are divinity! They are so simple and yet so delicious! I'm sure ya'll will love them!

Now, let's get started!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Directions: 

Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and 1 egg). Once the butter and chocolate are melted entirely, add to the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Plop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes (bake an extra 2 minutes if needed).


~*~
And there you have it! Fairly simple, huh? This recipe doesn't require mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, so this way it is quicker to make them.

Until next time!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Answers to my Upcoming Novel


Since I am currently in the process of writing a novel, I thought it would be fitting to begin listing things about my upcoming book. I found these questions on Naomi's Blog and took the time to answer them. Enjoy!


- What's the name of your project? When did you first come up with the idea? And how long have you been working on it?


"The Lady of Derbyshire". I came up with the idea for the story a while ago but began the process of actually writing it somewhere around 3 months ago.


- Sum up your novel in five words or less.


Historical Fiction Period Drama


- Who is your favourite character?  Tell us about him or her.


Diane Penhale. 

  • Heroine of the story. 
  • Brown hair, brown eyes. 
  • Reserved, warm-hearted and kind.
  • Has a strong love for her father and a great relationship with her older sister, Catherine.
  • Not the prettiest out of the three sisters, but considered fair and modest.
  • Tends to seem quite confused and distressed often times, but learns to overcome that later in the novel.
  • Develops a strong friendship with the male lead, Henry Claridge.

- Where does your novel take place?  What time period?


The early 1800's during the Regency Era


- What's been the hardest part to write so far?


The conversations between Diane Penhale and Mr. Claridge. She's such a modest, quiet girl and yet he's witty and talkative. So it's a bit interesting trying to fit both of their personalities into the conversations.


- Which chapter was your favourite so far?


The 1st chapter – it just turned out so well, I think.


- Can you share one of your favourite snippets?


   “Oh, you are too good, Diane; too precious to be in want of further character. Shall you ever be content, Diane?”
   Diane breathed a light sigh, realizing her lack of ebullience over the past evening. “Someday, I shall perhaps.”
   Catherine allowed herself to refer back to Mr. Wilcox. It was certain that Diane was alluding to the unfortunate event.
   “It is all Mr. Wilcox’s doing, is it not? I dare say it is he who keeps my dearest sister bound to the chains of love and refuses to release her. It would have been better if Mr. Wilcox should never have lived. He has brought you far too much pain and misery. He is certainly not a worthy man, nor amiable for that matter.”
   “Oh, but he was amiable! The kindest gentleman I have ever known.” She said in protest.
   “Well, amiable he may have been, but his disagreeable actions and lack of compassion must withhold me from thinking of him with high regard. And I do hope you do not have regrets. Pray tell me you do not, dearest sister.”
   “No. No, I do not. But I don’t know if I shall ever find love again. I have been meddled with more than I would like to admit, and though I long for it; oh how I do, I just cannot see myself happily engaged ever again.” Her response was that of repose and incompliance.
   “Do not speak so, Diane. I am confident that you will be introduced to love once again. Just give it time. I dare say Mr. Claridge is quite an agreeable gentleman. Have you not any regard for him?”
   “Oh Catherine, must we speak of this matter yet again? I have admitted my attraction to Mr. Claridge’s character and demeanor. But no, I certainly could not think higher of him than I do now. No, my heart is truly lost, incapable of ever being recovered again.”
   “Oh please, Diane. Do not speak so melancholic. I cannot bear it! I dare say that you will find your heart again. You need only look for it. I am sure, that with time, you will be fortunate enough to find it, in a place most expected. I am sure.”


- Are any aspects of your story drawn directly from your own life?  Give us an example. 


Not particularly, although Diane’s character is slightly (note that I say slightly) similar to mine.


- Your main character gets dumped into a big city in the modern era (or if you're writing a contemporary work, he/she gets dumped in medieval London).  How does he/she respond?


She would probably be quite confused!


- Who's the funniest character in your story? Tell us why! Give examples! Support your argument.  :D


As of right now, I must say Henry Claridge. He’s not particularly “funny”, but he is very witty and I thoroughly enjoy writing his dialogues.


- If you were forced to eliminate a character from your story--just wash them clean off the slate--who would it be?


Hmmm, can I select a character that has only been mentioned in my novel briefly? If so, then I’d probably opt to remove Mr. Needham, the clergyman.


- Do you have a dream-cast for your characters?


Winona Ryder 


as Diane Penhale


Max Irons 



as Henry Claridge


Morven Christie 



as Catherine Penhale


Richard Armitage 


as Colonel John Beckett


Imogen Poots 



as Anne Penhale


John Light 


as Robert Hall


And that is all I have for now. As of right now, I am unable to find good celebrities who could play the parts of Mr. and Mrs. Penhale (and other characters I have not yet mentioned).

~*~

So what do you guys think? I know I've never really posted anything about any of my books before, but since I have begun writing this one I've been more enthused to share small details about it. I guess I am more excited about it now because I've had a lot of time to write since I have been laid up for the past two weeks. So new ideas, plots and characters have made their way into my novel and I'm thrilled to be making such progress! I'm sure I will update more in the nearby future. But for now, if you have any questions, just leave me a note in the comment box!

   Until next time. :)




"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." - Anne Frank

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Strawberry Cupcakes // Recipe

photo via pinterest
Strawberry Cupcakes

~*~
I know, I know... I neglected to upload a recipe for last Snack Saturday... but, I have good reason for doing so. Unfortunately, I had a mishap with the pan shelf in my kitchen, which resulted in my right foot being painfully afflicted. I was laid up for about a week, so as you can probably assume, I wasn't able to bake anything. 
Although I am not 100% recovered, I am able to move around slightly. So the other day I attempted to bake something. Strawberry cupcakes seemed fitting since, after all, it is strawberry season. And as of right now, our refrigerator is loaded with strawberries! So I figured that strawberry cupcakes would be a fun treat. :) 
I will warn you though, the image posted here is not my own. My cupcakes looked a tad bit different because I eliminated the red food coloring and I made a different kind of frosting to surmount the cupcakes. And although normally I would take a picture anyway, my camera was in the possession of my younger brother at the time. So I decided to just borrow the photo from Pinterest. 
(gotta love good ol' pinterest!)


So without further ado, let's get started!

Ingredients

1 ½ Cups Sugar
½ Cup Butter
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ Cup Milk
½ Cup Strawberry Puree
½ Cup Chopped & Smashed Strawberries


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine strawberry puree, butter & sugar. 
Slowly add in eggs and vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients together and add into sugar mixture
Slowly add milk and stir gently.
Stir in smashed strawberries.
Pour batter into a cake pan or cupcake pan and bake a cake for 40 minutes, or cupcakes for 20 minutes.
Top with your favorite frosting recipe!


*Note*
I made the strawberry puree by juicing the strawberries in my juicer. It was a quick and easy way to get the puree, but if you are unable to make your own or if you do not own a juicer, you can always resort to buying some.


Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photo Friday #4


"It is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Unmerited Favor: The TRUE definition of Grace

"We hear a lot of talk about grace in the Christian community today. As if grace is its own entity, a fourth member of the trinity almost. We are supposed to be grace, look like grace, act like grace because after all, we owe it all to grace…..
Wait, what? Who?"

. . . Today I retrieved this very meaningful and compelling post from one of my fellow bloggers. I found this article to be very meaningful and accurate and it blesses me greatly to read something that rings with such truth! So many Christians today have the wrong view of the meaning of "grace". Grace hasn't been bestowed upon us human individuals because we deserve it. No! We are wretched, unearthly and filthy human beings who are all deserving of hell. But that is the wonderful thing about grace: Christ died for us even though we didn't deserve it. HE paid the price for all of our sins and has given everyone the opportunity to have a chance at residing with Him after our earthly adventure reaches it's expiry. 
    The true definition of grace is "a manifestation of unmerited favor". God gave us all something that we didn't deserve.

"Thank God for grace, but grace is not a person. Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth. Truth being the flame that ravages the hearts of men while grace is the perfume that makes it smell so sweet. You can’t have the perfume without the flame. You cannot give grace to people who think they deserve it. If we deserved it or worked for it, it wouldn’t be grace. That is why grace can not be grace without the truth of who we are - undeserving sinners deserving only of hell . . ."

Such well-spoken truth! And although I am indubitably thankful to God for grace, we need to stop giving grace all the merit. It is because of our Heavenly Father that we have that wonderful blessed assurance.


So go check out the aforementioned link!
And may you all be blessed by it!


"Grace isn’t the buffer that makes God “soft” on sin. 
It is the driving force along with LOVE that led Him to pay for sin with His life."



"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:6-8

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Keeping His Commandments

   There is an old tale about a man who spent all his days sitting by an old firehouse telling stories to the neighborhood children. The youngsters would flock around the man to hear him tell of bygone days. One striking feature of the old gentleman was that around each of his fingers he had tied a different colored string. The children would ask what the strings were for, and the old man would say that each one was to remind him of something important. This was the way he remembered things. But for everyone who came to him, he had this to share: "You don't need strings to remember the most important things. God gave us ten fingers and ten commandments, and if you keep one commandment on each finger, then you'll never forget any of them."


   The commandments of God should be as much a part of us as the fingers which are part of our hands. If we take care to remind ourselves of the laws of God, then they will be forever inscribed on the very "table" of our heart.

"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 
Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart."
Proverbs 7:1-3

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Lure of Sin


   Have you ever been enthralled with something of significant beauty although you knew that the thing could possibly be quite dangerous?

   Take a tiger for instance. I have always been attracted to the physical appearance of a tiger. Just look at a tiger's coat -- his most intriguing feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur. Very breathtaking indeed I'd say, as are all of God's magnificent creatures. I find them to be rather enchanting animals. And although I enjoy looking at them and studying their unique characteristics, when I am in their presence I am quite aware of the danger they can unveil. 
   The same goes for certain plants in nature which can be very lovely to look at but are rather deadly. There are many things in life that may seem attractive and appealing, but they have hidden traps. 
   Sin is similar to that. Most sins can be quite attractive and tempting and often times we find ourselves desiring things that could possibly harm us. We are lured by the things that we know can hurt us, but we want them badly enough to take that risk. It is completely and utterly nonsensical. Why would we do things when we are aware of the diabolical effect they can have on us?
   The 'wages of sin is death', and yet it seems that we pursue sin believing that its wages are the finest reward we could possibly attain. A wise person avoids situations like these. That is what we should do as Christians. We should do our utmost to avoid life-threatening situations which should be as odious to us as death itself. It is not enough to try not to sin. We should do everything in our power to eradicate its negative influence in our daily lives.
   We should make that conscious effort to avoid sin, just as we make the choice to do good.



"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men
Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."
Proverbs 4:14-15

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day



A very happy Father's Day to the best Dad a girl could ever ask for!  I am so grateful for his spiritual leadership, his loving-kindness, strength, and self-sacrificing spirit.  I am truly blessed to have a father like him. <3


"The glory of children is their father." 
Proverbs 17:6

Friday, June 13, 2014

Photo Friday #3


"Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus."

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Wissmann Family // 22nd Annual Tractor Day Event


It has been two years since I was first introduced to the Wissmann Family. The day I first heard them perform was a special one indeed, although I wasn't fortunate enough to speak to any of the family members personally that day. Today, on the other hand, was a delightful experience. Not only was I able to listen to the Wissmann's sweet family harmonies and hear new, meaningful songs, I was also able to meet the entire family (yes, all 23 of them)! Thrilling, huh? 
I know this is a Tractor Day event, but I must admit that all the photos captured from today were of the Wissmann Family's concert performance. So there are no pictures from the parade or anything, just to warn you. But it really was a thrilling experience, nonetheless.
Here are some photos I captured from today:




 Matthias is an excellent banjo player, though I must admit that I enjoy hearing him play the dobro most. :)



 Alaythia fiddling on her violin.


 Stephen's fingers really fly when he plays the mandolin, let me tell you!




These two lovely ladies bring a lot of liveliness to the stage when they're present!


Andrew is a great banjo player as well!


 Being a violinist myself, I must say that I am jealous of Hannah's fiddling talent!




The entire family got up there to share a song!


A snapshot of myself with Hannah Wissmann.


Souvenirs!


What a fun, eventful day it was!
God truly is good, isn't He? :)

I'm looking forward to seeing the Wissmann Family again very soon (hopefully)!


"He has made His wonderful works to be remembered:
 the Lord is gracious and full of compassion."
Psalm 111:4

Saturday, June 07, 2014

"Death by Chocolate" Cupcakes // Recipe


Ingredients:

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

  • 2 and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for decoration (optional)

Directions:

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a small pan. Stir until smooth and set aside to slightly cool.
In a medium sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until *just* combined; do not over mix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
Frost cooled cupcakes and top with chocolate chips as desired. Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  Store covered in the refrigerator is desired for up to 1 week.

Just to warn all of you chocoholics out there, these cupcakes are extremely addicting once you try them! They are a bit rich I will say, but they are also splendidly delicious and very scrumptious for choco lovers! Enjoy!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Photo Friday #2


"Every experience of beauty points to eternity."
Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Monday, June 02, 2014

Harmony with Christ




"Do not have your concert first and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him."

Hudson Taylor





"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."
Acts 6:4