Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hello, Robin... Hello, Sparrow...



May the sweet words of this poem bring a calmness to your soul today.


Said the Robin to the Sparrow,
“I should really like to know 
Why these anxious human beings 
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
-Taken from Elisabeth Elliot’s Discipline: The Glad Surrender-
The ever-compounding uncertainties of life tend to muddle God’s sweet whispers in Matthew 6:25-34...
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Thank you Lord for this powerful reminder! Help me to rest in Your truth this week, setting aside my worries, and meditate in Your amazing love.
With Love, 
Danielle

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Festivities

Hello all! Can you believe it is November already? I am amazed when I reminisce about what life can bring you through in a years time.  Heads up for a blog in the next few weeks looking back on an amazing year in our life. My hope is to even get Clay to write a thing or two from his own unique perspective. :)
For right now, let's focus on Saturday's events. We began our morning with a Trek or Treat 5k supporting the Jay's HOPE foundation 4 children with cancer...
"Against all hope, in hope we believe." -Romans 4:18. 
The race went well and the course was rather enjoyable. Clay and I decided to do a "leisure" run with one another and not focus on our timing. For me, this was a nice switch from the time-centered running I typically do. Running alongside one another speaking words of encouragement and enjoying each others company was a fun way to exercise selflessness. On the home stretch we sprinted to the finish line together and it was great! The feeling you have after running a 5k (or any other long distance run) is, in my opinion, an amazing high. It's my favorite part!


Post-Race


After filling our bellies with some grub, I had to do what I have been putting off all week. Actually, Clay had to do it for me to avoid me having a panic attack....


It's now official.... I am all Georgia "Jones" and nothing Tennessee "Witherspoon." My license plate was the last thing linked to my home state. Becoming an adult with your own identity and family is a crazy realization sometimes. But, what a reminder in that our identity is found in the unchanging Christ and not in the ever-constant changing things of this world! 
After running a few afternoon errands, we made a quick trip to the Children's Ministry closet at FPC to make a last minute costume attempt....
This is what we found:
Helen of Troy meets "Super Cooper" the Hunting Dog






This is what we did:




This is where we did it:


This is why it was great:








My favorite story from the evening was when "Super Cooper" approached a child sitting in the back seat of a double stroller. Various children throughout the evening had their own take on Cooper. Some were mesmerized and others, well, traumatized. One adorable little chunker in particular was dressed in a sweet alligator outfit, sitting comfortably and patiently in his seat while his sibling grabbed some candy, then all of a sudden he sets eyes on this enormous hunting dog.... within an instant, the alligator was turned over, screaming and crawling out the BACK of the stroller into his mothers arms. I have never seen a child move so fast and he was maybe 2 years old. It was hilarious! The mom even cracked up.

Thank you Macon for showing me a whole new way of life where others serve one another with love and good times!
Wishing you all a wonderful week and Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Colorful Happy

Look! There was something beautiful in the sky today...



Genesis 9:11-17 

I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."


I can't tell you the last time I saw a true rainbow. What a sweet reminder of God's power, perfection, promise, and purpose!


Have you ever seen a double-bow?



Thank you Lord for allowing Your love to come though to us in such a magical way. Thank you for Your faithfulness and adoration of Your people. You are mighty and awesome!


In Happiness,
Danielle

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thrills, Corn Dogs, and Kangaroos


The Georgia National Fair's slogan of "What a ride!" rung true for Clay and I's first visit yesterday. The key word in that slogan is the article, but we will get to that later. Approaching the Perry exit, we were like two little kids yelling, "ooo.... look at that ride! No, look at that one. What do we do first?" As we were contemplating rides and orders of fried heart attacks, I noticed the lovely organization of the parking directors. I am bringing this to your attention because the Mid-South Fair lacks this feature all together. First impressions were made and they were good. 
As some of you know, I have the worlds smallest bladder and pee all the time! If you didn't know that, I'm glad our relationship just got a little closer. Anyways, we got out of the car, saw the lines to get in and I couldn't resist taking a trip to the oh-so-lovely port-a-potties lined up along the fence for people such as myself. A kind lady was walking away and notified me that the third one was clean and decent. So, I thanked her and headed to the third door, as she directed. I approach the door, and  I hear "not that one," in a confused voice. Which, therefore confused me, so I did the whole "running into someone and you both try to get around the other at the same time" dance. I turned and she was pointing to the next one, so I said "Oh, ok the fourth one." Meanwhile, my sweet husband made sure he was keeping a good eye on me...

Thanks, honey!

Once we made it through the entrance, we were ready for a blow out! With wristbands in tact and a soon to be known, useless map, we headed where any foodie would venture to first, the FOOD!! Once again, I was so excited about eating, I forgot to take a pic of our first endeavor... three kinds of fried cheese!! There are no words to describe, so Clay will, humbly of course, move us to our next treat....
Enormous Corn Dog and Fried Veggies! YUM!!


For those of us who are health conscious... does this count?
 I don't know. 
For the sake of our sanity, let's say yes!


This one is for you, Dad.
Across from our fried fiesta was the Aussie Kingdom! Clay was ecstatic. Oh, how I love it when he gets excited about cute fuzzy creatures like I do. He makes me happy.
This little guy partied too hard the night before.


And these were his wing Roos.
When we reached the adults, the conversation went something like this:
Clay: "I want one of these in our backyard."
Me: "What would you do with one of these in our backyard?"
A very serious Clay: "Watch it do that." Pointing at a Roo showing off his jumping skills. 
I smiled and adored his cuteness.
With our bellies full of fried goodness and lemonade, it was time for some tear-jerking rides! Our first thrill was "Speed." Was it true to the name? Well, not exactly, but the height made it awesome! The ride is 10 tickets and not wristband worthy. So, know that if you want to ride the best, you will pay $10/person. I almost hesitated for this to be our first, not because I was nervous, but because I knew how this ride could not be equaled by any other. But, the short line won us over and "Speed" did not disappoint us. Allow me to introduce you...


Thrill? YES, please. 
We like dangling 224 "feet" in the air.

Excitement.

Hence... What "A" ride!
To make a long story short, I'm gonna cut it to the chase.... the lines were SO long that wrist bands were a waste of $30 and we rode only two more rides to try and get some usage out of them. 


...and the little pig screamed "Weeeeeeee" all the way home...


 Oh, how raging winds and screaming kids ease my mind. 


Our friend here was a total shocker.... obviously.

Back to reality... Do you ever have those moments of wishful thinking and sometimes it comes true? Well, after realizing our wristbands were not beneficial for us, I had a quick thought of, "It would be worth it if we were able to give these to someone when we left. To be able to bless someone with a free fair experience would settle my dilemma of feeling cheated." It was just a thought....
After we walked around some more, Clay and I decided it would be fun to be gullible dorks and see the "Freak Show." Why not? 
Some of our extravagant site seeing included "mummified" mermaids, jarred multi-appendaged creatures, a five legged terrier, properly named "Cinco," a double snotty nosed two faced cow, and three workers who shared two-teeth. One even had human whiskers.... CREEPY!
Would you give him two names or one?
(Not the double snotty nosed two faced cow... 
sorry, my pic didn't turn out well.) 

Umm, flight risk? 
Maybe they thought he would feel more at home in a cage.
Deciding we should call it a night, we made one more valuable pit stop.... CANDY APPLES! I never knew how creative one could get with apples! Making these cute concoctions at home is now on the to-do list. We bought our white chocolate and peanut covered apple to go and made our way out. Then, something amazing happened...
I'll be darn if two young girls did not approach us and sweetly ask if they could have our wristbands! What a perfect ending to our night! They were excited, we were excited and both parties were thankful. Taking them off for future endeavors is top secret. Sorry kidos, the beans are staying in the jar here.
While recapping our festivities, Clayton and I have decided to A) wait a couple more years to revisit a fair B) venture solely for the food and C) if we see a ride that entices our thrill-o-meters, we will buy tickets separately. Good lessons? Yes. Make us old? Maybe. Do we care? No. 

The best part was spending the day with an awesome individual whom I am blessed to call my husband...


Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Because Somebody Believed in Me...

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine, Tammy, mentioned that her son's 21st birthday was coming up and she wanted to surprise him with a "Bear" Bryant hat cake. Being the secret wanna-be cake decorator I am, I offered to give it a shot. Not really having a clue of how to create a "hat" cake, much less with a houndstooth print... YouTube and I became the best of friends. I owe a huge shout out to anyone who has ever posted a "self-help" video because they were such a blessing! After watching tons of videos, conducting a little online research, and making many trips to Michael's with coupons, the real fun began. Tip: Michael's + no coupon = insanity... Always bring a coupon! My excitement and yes, honestly a little nervousness, grew everyday because I couldn't believe I was about to create my first four layer fondant cake!

I began the actual process on Thursday evening. I used one 12' round and three 8' round cake pans. Are you a Food Network fan? Chances are if you have watched it a time or two, you may have seen or heard of the show Charm City Cakes with Duff Goldman. What a genius! He now has his own line of cake products at Michael's and they are WONDERFUL!



The fondant is very tasty and the cake mix has the perfect density for creating a work of art. I'm sure his icing follows the rest of the cake line with its greatness, but I stuck with a traditional Duncan Hines chocolate icing from the grocery store. Again, this is another great reason to always go into Michael's with a coupon because one container of his fondant was $20 and one box of mix was $8. This adds up when you need four boxes of mix and other various items to make the cake a success. With a little patience, and help from my wonderful husband and Aunt Mary, I was able to use at least a 40% coupon on all major expenses. Its always good to have someone go with you so you can use two coupons in one trip.

Once the cakes were baked and cooled, I stuck them in the fridge overnight so that I would be able to cut them easily the next day. As I started to take them out and gauge how I wanted the cake to sit, I began to worry that I wasn't going to have enough height for the rim of the hat. Then, realizing that Tammy had sent me a picture of another cake, I took quick look and rolled with it. The bubble in the middle of the 12' round cake, which normally gets cut off, worked to my advantage and created a nice slope around the bottom. I checked all of my supplies once more, grabbed my camera, streamed the Otis Redding station on Pandora, prayed for the Lord to allow my gifts to glorify Him and then had the best time being a first-time cake artist!


From being so excited and focused, I forgot to take pictures up to this point, so you are now seeing the "crumb coating" stage of the cake. This allows a smooth surface for you to work with when you add your fondant or final icing layer.


Next, comes the fondant.... Prepping the work surface with powdered sugar is a fun necessity :)


Not like Duff's, but hey, it works great in the long run!


Here comes the icing!! I used Wilton's white decorative icing and piped the lines starting at the top, working my way down....







Homestretch! Now, I have to add the black icing on top of the white to create the "houndstooth" look.



Drum roll please, because here comes the most important piece... the Alabama "A!" I used a red fondant and added it to the cake with white icing. The ribbon around the cake circles added a nice contrast.




Whew! Who knew being a cake artist would be so rewarding and wipe you out by the end!


I would like to end this post with a special thank you to Tammy. Thank you for having a special confidence in the gifts the Lord blessed me with. Without your trust and encouragement, I may have never discovered this new hobby!

My heart is filled with joy when the Lord uses me to create beautiful things for others to enjoy... I was just the vessel of His great work.