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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a vanilla day...


He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

Dear Lord, grant me a vanilla day…

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
14 Timothy 6:6-8 (KJV)


Talked to my Gayle this morning, warning her that I’d asked God for a vanilla day.  I have lately regaled her with numerous tales of things gone wrong, unexpected challenges, you know, the things that make you go “hmmm…”  This morning, after dropping kids on time, I called her, full of expectancy.  I’ve asked God for a vanilla day. 

I like good vanilla.  Rich, complex vanilla bean, creamy and cold.  A singular experience, and metaphorically, something upon which you can focus, solely.  I’m taking a break from fireworks and complications.  I told her I didn’t want a hot fudge sundae  day with whipped cream and sprinkles, or some rich and exotic something I’d never experienced before…I just wanted vanilla.

Sometimes, when I’m thirsty, I ask for water.  Often, a gracious host will .offer tea, soda, something “grander.”  I demur politely, because all I really want is water.  According to 1 Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  That sounds like a plan.

Today, I actual have a plan to get a few, not a lot, of things done.  I’m trying to keep it simple.  I have begun cleaning my house for the holiday, decluttering, culling out, stripping it down.  Compounds and complications can be fun, I guess, they have their place, but I’m going simple.  Timothy also writes that “for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out…”  That being the case, let’s keep it simple.  It may not always come to us that way, but we can choose clean, or cluttered.  I’ve done cluttered for so much of my life, I’m asking for vanilla.

Tonight, I will bake cookies and brownies with my children.  I’m whipping up another batch of my oatmeal cranberry cookies, (my new addiction), but also a simple shortbread, clean and elegant.  Like vanilla.  Like my simplified prayers to You, Lord.  I don’t know what’s best for me, I do not know what is in Your plan, but I do know that You know.  Maybe You’ll grant me vanilla.  Maybe You’ll give me something new and wonderful, and I will humbly praise and thank You.  But, since I’m simply going about expectantly, knowing that I will be blessed but content not to concern myself with what that blessing might be, I say Thank You.  I am again reminded that God is Good. 

Today’s feast: Shortbread

Back story~ these are the cookie equivalent of vanilla ice cream.  Really good vanilla ice cream…

3 C  flour
¾  C sugar
¼  t kosher salt
1 ½  C cold butter (cut in small cubes)
½  t rum (or extract, if you’re teetotaling)
½  t almond extract
2 T cold water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, and salt); cut in cold butter until the mixture looks like streusel. Mix the rum, almond extract and  the water together. Fold into the dry ingredients, a little bit at a time, until the mixture holds together in a ball.

Roll the dough out onto a floured work surface, and sprinkle with flour; to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut into shapes with either floured cookie cutters or a knife, and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake 15-18 minutes, just until edges are lightly golden.  Cool at least 3 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to set up completely.  

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