Friday, September 30, 2011

Take a day trip

Cafe Homestead

It is quite easy to convince myself that I have much too much to do. I often lay to rest my adventurous inclinations for the sake of reading or studying. This past weekend, however, my dear roommate prompted me to do the unexpected and take a day trip together. We woke up bright and early, for a Saturday that is, and went about our morning routines. My roommate had to administer a test to a student at 9 a.m. and so she hurried off to school for a bit and I, after a cup of coffee, of course, headed off for a morning yoga class at the SLC. After some scrutinizing stretches and balancing exercises, my roommate came to pick me up and we were on our way.

We sat chatting in the car, catching up a bit and eagerly anticipating our arrival at Homestead Heritage. Only a 15-minute drive out of Waco, we soon arrived. A log cabin visitors center stood stately at the entrance, inviting us into a community bound by the joy and fulfillment of homesteading. We drove down the path a bit further and arrived at our destination: Café  Homestead. The quaint, charming café features daily lunch specials, such as deli-style sandwiches and offers homemade ice cream for dessert. As we arrived for breakfast though, I had to quell my temptation to order homemade vanilla ice cream at 11 a.m. in the morning. As such, I ordered a cup of coffee, of course, and a vegetable omelet garnished with mushrooms, tomatoes and swiss cheese. It was a much healthier choice and certainly satisfied my yoga-induced appetite.

After our leisurely breakfast together, we explored the grounds, visiting the shops and crafts village. We observed the craftsmen at work at the Heritage Forge and ventured into the Potters House where stoneware and porcelain pottery lined the walls and gleamed in the sunlight. It was a day marked by beauty and fellowship, . . . the perfect day. Find respite from the day-to-day routine of things and perhaps you too, we discover a place you have never been before.   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cultivating beauty

I would like to share with you a message from Ransomed Heart Ministries that spoke to my heart in the wee hours of the morning. While sipping my coffee and preparing my mind for the day to come, I was quite suddenly struck by the truth of these words. Though they are words I feel I have heard before, never have I truly listened and applied this lesson to my own life. It is so simple, and yet so quickly forgotten amidst the day-to-day challenges.   

Every woman possesses a captivating beauty. Every woman. But for most of us it has been long buried, wounded, and captive. It takes time for it to emerge into wholeness. It needs to be cultivated, restored, set free.

How do we cultivate beauty? How do we become ever more beautiful? By tending to our hearts with great care, as a master gardener tends to her work.

My mother's sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected. (Songs 1:6)

Yes, life is harsh on a woman's heart. It has been so on your heart. The assault on our beauty is real. But Jesus is urging us now to care for ourselves, watch over our hearts (Prov. 4:23). The world needs your beauty. That is why you are here. Your heart and your beauty are something to be treasured and nourished. And it takes time. Every gardener knows this. In our age of instant makeovers and microwave meals, we don't like to wait. But a newly planted rose's presentation in its first year is nothing compared to its second. If properly cared for, its second year's display doesn't hold a candle to its third. Gardens need to become established; their roots need to go deep, through summer rains and winter frosts. A garden's beauty does not diminish with age, rather it takes years for it to become all that it can become.

Our hearts need to feed on beauty to sustain them. We need times of solitude and silence. We need times of refreshment and laughter and rest. We need to listen to the voice of God in our hearts as He tells us what we need.

Contrary to what the world claims, Beauty does not diminish with time; beauty deepens and increases. "Your latter glory will be greater than your former." True beauty comes from a depth of soul that can only be attained through living many years well.

So often I abandon times of solitude and silence. I often choose studying over moments of refreshment and laughter. How are you cultivating beauty in your own life? I would so love to hear. In the posts to come, I will share with you my plans to apply this lesson to my own own life. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tis the season

Caramel Apples

Brown Butter Spice Cake

Photographs: 101 Cookbooks

Tis the season of caramel-kissed apples, spice cake sprinkled with crunchy, toasted almonds, earl grey tea sweetened with honey and cream, . . . just to name of few of its delights. In case you missed it, happy first day of fall to you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fingers crossed


Source: the-ILL

My roommate and I packed umbrellas in our backpacks this morning with a hope and a prayer. There is a 30 percent chance of rain and our hopeful hearts are holding out for the best. With fingers crossed, we ventured to class with our eyes on the sky. Texas is thirsting for a rainy day. Perhaps today is that day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend daydreaming

Set in the most magical cities and styled by the lovely J. Crew, these montages epitomize all things romantic. When weariness overcomes me in the midst of my weekend reading, . . . I can simply slip away and take a dreamy vacation to Rome or Paris! Fairly desperate, I know, but one can only read so much about differential gains from mass media and their implications for participatory behavior in democratic society before the daydreaming sets in. Any girl would long to be swept away to the sidewalk cafes of Europe by a fetching J. Crew model, . . . watch these clips and I am quite certain you will agree with me. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pretty picture, heartening words

Photo by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Psalm 37

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!

2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The holly-tree

Love is like the wild-rose briar;
Friendship is like the holly-tree.
The holly is dark when the rose briar blooms,
But which will bloom most constantly?

Emily Brontë

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Student-style banana nut bread

Sometimes shortcuts are simply necessary. With the leisurely days of summer slowing fading, . . . I often find myself in a bit of a time crunch. As such, when it comes to such things as baking, the task gets pushed to the end of my to-do list behind reading, research, tutoring, more reading, and so on. So, when asked to bring a baked good to a little get-together with other graduate students in my department, this easy peasy twist on a favorite of mine was precisely what I needed.

Banana Nut Bread

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package Jell-O Instant Banana Cream Pudding & Pie Filling
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350° F.
Mix all the ingredients well. Pour into 2 large or 4 small greased loaf pans.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Recipe derived from Real Simple