24.3.15

Single Jesus



Last week I took a selfie of my heart and wrote honestly of the selfishness that plagues many of us, but especially young unmarried women.  This week I want to ask, "Have you ever considered Christ's singleness?"

I can almost see many of you purse your lips, squint your eyes, and ponder that question.   

We consider Amy Carmichael's singleness, we consider Corrie Ten Boom's singleness, and we consider Paul's singleness.  But we never quite stop to consider that the only perfect example we have was also single!  The realization that Christ was single on earth, still looking ahead to the glorious day when He could receive His bride, the church, was paradigm-shattering for me.  (Click here to read what I wrote when I first recognized this.)


What does this mean for me?

If Christ was tempted in every way that I am, then that means that He too was tempted to discontentment and selfishness .
Hebrews 2:17-18 provides two of the most comforting verses in Scripture: "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."

When Pity attempts to throw you a party, remember that Jesus admitted in Matthew 8:20 that He had "nowhere to lay His head." 

When Selfishness attempts to suck you in to put "Me Me Me" at the top of the priority list, remember that Jesus only had 33 years on earth to accomplish His purpose.  I fear these are the years that we singles waste the most, using them to grow up in the world rather than to change the world.

Jesus was not defined by singleness, but by His Sonship to His Father.  So I should not be defined by my relationship status, but by my daughtership to the King!
Nowhere in Scripture is Christ called "unmarried." 
Nowhere in Scripture is Christ called "single."

So while, yes, it is encouraging to consider that Christ is our perfect example in singleness, it is telling to understand that He is called Son of God at least 45 times, and that He refers to God as His Father even more than that.  

The beauty and mystery of each of our life stories will come into focus only from the vantage point of eternity.  For then we will realize that even the God-ordained relationship of marriage is only temporary, and the fullness of eternity brings with it the marriage of us, the Bride of Christ, to Christ Himself.  

With an engagement like that, who could waste this betrothal period of life in selfishness?



“Camargue Horse,” © 2008 wolfgang staudt, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

19.3.15

Cupcakes and Croutons


My savory cupcakes started out with nothing more than my imagination--what taste combination sounded most appealing? Almost immediately, I thought of kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes. Explosions went off in my head--and thanks to Ratatouille, I'm hopeful that you'll think I'm completely normal, instead of officially obsessed, to experience mental explosions over beautiful food combinations.



But alas, mine is a cautionary tale. As in--don't make my cupcakes. As in--make Lauren's cupcakes. Make Sarah's cupcakes (coming next week). But don't make mine. I spent several hours putting them together, and was delighted to take them along for a portable lunch as Joel and I toured the Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. But I found them to be dense, heavy, and with a flavor I didn't like (far from attributing this unpalatableness to the afore-mentioned brilliant pairing of olives and sundried tomatoes, I rest the blame squarely upon the shoulders of the gluten free flours I chose). Joel helpfully offered that the chunks of sundried tomatoes were perhaps too big, but that the cupcakes were really not all that bad. So here, I present to you the lessons learned from this experience:


  1. I loosely based my recipe upon this recipe which did not call for eggs. I don't recommend egg-free gluten free baking if you can at all help it.
  2. If you include olives and sundried tomatoes in your next savory cupcake venture, mince the sundried tomatoes (I slivered them, thinking that chunks would be pleasant to bite into, but I must agree with Joel that the chunks were not pleasant).
  3. Include more starches and less flours in your gluten free combination (I did 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, and 1/2 cup gluten free flour mix).
  4. Do try my savory cream cheese frosting on your next batch of savory cupcakes! It made them look good and taste somewhat better.

Savory Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 TB butter, room temperature

Combine ingredients and whip for five minutes, or until smooth and fluffy. Add herbs if desired. Frosts 12 muffins.



Thankfully, my tale has a happy ending. Last night, I cut all the remaining cupcakes into chunks (because neither of us could bear to eat them), tossed them with melted butter, salt, and garlic powder, and baked them in the oven until they were crispy. The previously inedible cupcakes transformed into deliciously golden-brown croutons which married perfectly with a green salad. And they lived happily ever after.



The End.



Cupcake Party: Chocolate Edition

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate
Chocolate Chunk Lava Fudge
Hazelnut Mocha

Cupcake Party: Savory Edition

Spinach Feta

18.3.15

Selfie of a Single





Are all your friends getting married, but you've resigned yourself to the fact that the only way you'll ever find The One is if Prince Charming drops from the sky onto your windshield?

Did you spend Valentine's Day in pajamas?

Did you move your purity ring from your left hand to your right because you were tired of people asking if you were engaged?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then I hate to break it to you, but you are probably single!

Sarcasm aside, if God has you single right now, you can trust that you are in the best place possible to fulfill His will through you.  And the moment that changes, it won't take men dropping from the sky for you to notice!

In the meantime, I have noticed a troubling trend in myself as well as in other single girls.  It is a problem found both among unbelievers and believers.  It is a disability that threatens to blind us to the beautiful purposes for which God has us single right now, and render us unfit in God's army.

Wake up, my single sister, and  smell the odor of selfishness.  

As singles, we are particularly prone to this sin. 
Let's face it: you really have no choice but to die to self when you're waking up for 2 am and 6 am feedings every night (have fun, Mikaela!).  

You have no choice but to die to self when facing a mountain of chores and housework and entrepreneurial endeavors and homeschooling all at once!  

While not all married women are supremely selfless, marriage tends to refine you in that area rather quickly!  On the other hand, just like our shower seems to be the perfect Petri dish for mildew no matter how hard or often I scrub it, so the single years seem to be the perfect breeding ground for selfishness.  

But they don't have to be if you discover a few important truths.

Realize that isolation and insulation are the greatest allies of selfishness. 
Picture this: sweat pants on, bowl of ice cream in hand, your favorite movie or book at the ready, and you are set for a single's date night.  

I find that it is always at this juncture that a family member bursts into my room with a world calamity/English question/announcement that I have a pile of dishes to wash that rivals the Eiffel Tower in height.  And of course I respond, "Why thank you for giving me this sanctifying opportunity to deny myself!"

In all seriousness, though, my response when I pull my face out of that bowl of ice cream is the best gauge I know of for testing where my heart is at and who is on its throne.  And this is a huge part of why I continue to live at home.  As an adult under my parents' roof, I have freedom and adulthood, but I am also brought face to face daily with my own ugliness: I am selfless only as long as my own plans are not thwarted or my own comfort is not threatened. 

While I recognize that living on your own takes its own set of responsibility and dishwashing skills, there is really nothing like living in close quarters with fellow sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to bring selfishness to the surface, ready to be rooted out!  And there is nothing like isolating and insulating yourself from relationship for breeding selfishness like rabbits.

So seek out accountability.   Seek out opportunities to immerse yourself in relationships and service.  These are the greatest enemies of selfishness.
 
Check back next week for the conclusion of this post!

6.3.15

Welcome Back to My Kitchen!

This month, we are taking a decidedly random yet tasty turn in our Cupcake Party.  We are detouring with the category of "Savory," which puts us more in the realm of muffins than cupcakes.  But for those days when you are craving something salty and delicious, this definitely fits the bill!  So come on into my kitchen, and let's whip these goodies up!


I announced to my family that I was making Spinach Feta Muffins, only to be met with doubtful stares and forced smiles. "Well, that'll be interesting," was the prevailing comment. I am unanimously considered "weird" by my family for my diverse tastes, so this didn't bother me too much. 

Thus undeterred, I pulled out all my ingredients, but decided to only make one recipe since it appeared I would be single-handedly eating them all...little did I know I would actually have to ration my muffins out!


Chopped spinach adds beautiful color and texture!


Mix the dry ingredients together: almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda.




The muffins are actually very quiche-like, since there are nearly equal amounts of batter, spinach, and feta. 


The recipe only made 9 muffins instead of the 12 it said, but I wasn't worried since, remember, I thought I would be the only one interested in eating them.

Let's be real about the aftermath of baking, shall we?

Now came the moment of truth: I pulled the pan of steaming spinach feta muffins from the oven, and they tasted amazing. And one by one, my family tried them and caved to my "weird" tastes!  Victory!

In fact, once Susanna worked up enough courage to try my creation, her eyes lit up and she said, "I like these even better than your peanut butter chocolate cupcakes...I need another one!"  

Now if that's not a recommendation, then I don't know what is!


What are your favorite savory muffin recipes?  Be sure to link them in your comment below, and watch for Mikaela and Sarah's over the next two weeks!


Spinach Feta Muffins
From Elana Amsterdam's Gluten-Free Cupcakes
 
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil and eggs.  Blend the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture with a mixer until thoroughly combined, then stir in the spinach and fold in the feta.
Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup.
Bake for 22 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then serve.

24.2.15

Looking Back and Looking Forward


Six years ago, on this exact day, we posted our very first post to "One Bright Corner." Since then, it's been an unforgettable experience. Through blogging, we've made friends with ladies we still keep in touch with to this day (we love you Keilah and Charae!), and we've gotten to know in-real-life friends all the better (we love you Elanee and Ruthie!). We got to ride the wild ride of being named Blogger's Blog of Note and have had the privilege of having many thoughtful people contribute to "One Bright Corner" in the form of guest posts.

We started our very first post only a year out of high school with so many events unexperienced, so many lessons unlearned, so many plans for the future, and so much love for writing. We've now completed 500 posts and find ourselves six years older with many experiences, lessons, and plans fulfilled. Yet life keeps rolling, the learning keeps happening, and our love for writing never wanes! We're so grateful for you, our dear readers, for supporting us, reading what we put up here (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), commenting, following, and sharing. Your encouragement is such a treasure.




Nine inches of snow and a week of temperatures in the single digits and teens have left Maryland a very frigid place (at least in comparison to the verdant, spring-like Washington State!). But good things do come of such weather: meet Hugo, the gentleman snowman. Isn't he cool? (Pun intended.)







Baby and I are now 17 weeks into the pregnancy and doing very well! Here, at his 14-week ultrasound, you can see him waving to his Mama and Papa, which of course prompted tears of joy, love, and awe. Is this truly our baby, already so perfectly formed yet so tiny, whom we'll get to hold in 23 weeks? Can he really begin to hear us now, with his fully developed ears, as the doctors tell us he can? What should we name him? Is that his tiny foot I feel, or merely lunch digesting? How can I love a little being so much, when I have yet to meet him or even know his name?

Becoming a parent is an incredible experience!

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