Archives for February 2011

Stirrings : Hope

Amy
There seems to be extremely difficult things going on in several of my friends lives right now.  I just received an email from a friend who lives in another state who just last year lost two parents, two grandparents, and a baby they had been planning for two years to adopt.  When they went to pick up the baby they found out there was no child and it was all a scam—and lost all of their money. They are moving to a new state with a new job for a fresh start.  Two of my other dear friends are dealing with some really tough situations in their family lives.  And another is coping with an illness taking their child too early in life.  I know those of you reading this could add your own struggles to this list. 

This morning, as I prayed about what God might want me to write about, I felt the nudge to share His hope and peace to those who might be reading this.  God’s word is the source of this hope….drink it in, rest in it, and know it is a true peace that is real and tangible in our hearts.  God loves us each, his Sons and Daughters, and wants to bring us peace in the midst of a turbulent, unpredictable, unstable and sometimes just unhappy world.  While He doesn’t always remove the difficult situation from our lives, he will carry us through to the other side of our trial.  He does this through a peace that he places in our hearts when we go before him and say, “God, I don’t know if I can handle this.  I need your strength and peace.  I trust that you have a plan for my life and know and see further than I can know and see.”  It is so hard to believe that God is present when we can’t see or feel him.  But that is what faith is all about:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we DO NOT SEE.”
 ~Hebrews 11:1

God has promised us these things:

Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant (the relationship between us and Him) and mercy (his loving kindness in our lives)for a thousand generations who love Him and keep His commandments.
~ Deuteronomy 7:9

For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you,
“Do not fear, I will help you.”  ~ Isaiah 41:13

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalm 91: 14-15

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.   ~Isaiah 43:1-3

Do you see that God knows we will go through trouble?  It does not say “if”.  Yet, he does not leave us hanging…he gives us these promises to cling to.
Because God knows our story, the beginning, the NOW, and the end, what if we were to trust him through it?  He is throwing out a life preserver to us….will we grab on?

The Winner IS

Annica!  Congratulations!  Have a wonderful Friday everyone!  Annica will you send me your address at gracefullhome@yahoo.com.  Annica there is a fun package heading your way!  


Keep an eye out for college shirts in elementary school sizes to donate this weekend.  Giving feels great!

Last weekend we checked out the The Wildlife Experience in South Denver.  There is a great frog exhibit!  We also saw Dolphins on the Extreme Screen.  It was FUN!  It was a perfect outing for a chilly Colorado afternoon.  We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
What are you up to?




Give Back : Help Kids To Set Their Eyes On College : Give a Shirt!

Jen
I just received this wonderful email on behalf of a local school.  If you don’t have time to read it all skip to the last paragraph.  Very cool!  Pay it forward! (PS. DON’T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR OUR GIVE AWAY!!! We will draw a winner on Friday!!)
 
So – I have unique opportunity for all of you that will not be possible without your help!  I just started working with a local elementary school in Lafayette, Colorado called  Alicia Shanchez Elementary School.  This is not your average elementary school…most of the kids that attend this school will not go on to graduate high school let alone go to college…that was until recently.  Sanchez elementary hired a lady to come in to give these kids and their families hope…she has taken kids from broken homes, kids that had no reason to want to learn, kids that don’t have coats, shoes, etc to wear, kids that were continually late or just never showed up and has given them reason to want to come to school by creating incentive programs with awards.  She has created an environment to get the parents involved with the school where as before, only a very small percentage of parents would even enter the school.  Bottom line – she has taken an elementary school that was filled with despair and she has filled it with hope!  Now she needs our help!!!
 
Here is where you come in…a high percentage of the kids come from homes where college is not even in their vocabulary…most of them would never dream of being able to attend college..until now!  What we would like to do for these kids is present them with a COLLEGE T-Shirt (any college is fine!) at the end of the school year.  We would like to at least plant a seed in them that college is an attainable goal and we feel this could be the first step to planting the seed.  Most, if not all of the kids that attend Sanchez could be the FIRST in their family to graduation high school and go on to college.  We want these kids to know that even though their circumstances may make it seem impossible to attend college, it is not impossible!!!
 
So – with all that said – we need about 320 college t-shirts.  The size doesn’t really matter except we will probably need a lot of small and mediums since these are elementary school kids.  Our goal is to present EACH and EVERY kid with a college t-shirt on the last day of school.  I have just a little over 250 people on this e-mail list, so if everyone will send me ONE college t-shirt (they can be in gently used condition) and then if you have friends that want to get involved…we will be able to make this happen!!!!!
 
So – I would love for you to be a part of this.  If you would like…please mail a t-shirt to the following address or if you live around the Broomfield area, I can arrange to pick it up!
 
Tawni Mansur

620 Lotus Way
Broomfield, CO 80020

 
I need to collect all of the t-shirts by the end of April!  Please let me know if you have any questions about this or would like more information on the school.
 
Thank you!!!
 
Here is a fun way for us to get to know each other better!  Leave us a comment on this post answering the following questions.
Let us know if you are going to send a shirt! 
From which college? 
Why did you choose that college?

Recipe : Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

Jen
These were my favorite whoopie pies that we tried.  If you enjoy bananas and peanut butter, I think, you will enjoy these too!  I would add a whole banana instead of a half.  Looks delicious!

Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

CAKES
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

FILLING
1 pkg (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional confectioners’ sugar

1.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a small bowl, combine banana and buttermilk.  Combine the flour, salt baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture.

2.  Drop by the tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking  sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set.  Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

3.  For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter and butter until fluffy.  Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread filling on the bottoms of half of cookies, about 1 Tbsp. on each; top with remaining cookies.  Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar.  Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Taste of Home February/March 2011
Prep: 40 minutes   Bake: 15 min/batch   Yield: 2 dozen

Recipe : Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Jen
These are two flavors I would not have guessed went well together, but they do.  Interesting!  One of the Whoopin’ it up friends, told me these were her husband’s favorite.

Lemony Gingerbread 
Whoopie Pies

CAKES
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar

FILLING
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 tsp. lemon extract

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in molasses and egg.  Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

2.  Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar.  Place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness with a glass dipped in sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set.  Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

3. For filling, in a small bowl, beat butter and marshmallow creme until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and extract.

4.  Spread filling on bottoms of half of the cookies, about 1 Tbsp. on each; top with remaining cookies.

From Taste of Home February/March 2011
Prep: 25 minutes   Bake: 10 minutes   Yield: about 2 dozen

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