Beauty

Don’t be alarmed.  I will not be giving out any tips on hair and makeup today so this post is appropriate for both male and female readers, but have you ever taken time to really think about beauty?  The word is defined by both intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics, such as outward appearances and personality.  In today’s society, the word is more precisely associated with body shape, clothing labels, hairstyles, body piercings, fame, charm, and the opinions of family, friends, coworkers, and strangers.  The sad thing about all of this is that it places way too much importance on things that not only do not matter but that will fade.  Proverbs 31:30 describes this perfectly as it says “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  I want you to think about this for a moment if you will.  What does this really mean?  How do you define beauty?

Beauty to me is defined by the way you love and care for people.  It is the way you recognize God’s plan and take action towards pursuing it.  It is about passion for making a difference and praising God through even the most difficult of circumstances.  I can think of several people who exemplify this type of beauty, but one amazing woman in particular always comes to mind first.  Her passion for making a difference in the community, her love for family, and her great love for the Savior were just three ways she modeled this true beauty.  She just had that special something about her that left you feeling encouraged and valued after talking to her if only for a brief minute.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, just like her melodic laugh!  Although I do not understand for sure why her life was cut so short since she was making such an impact on the community and praising God with every step she took, I am simply thankful for the legacy of love she left behind and for the true representation of beauty that she was.

I’m sure you can think of an example of beauty like mine, but I want to make one last and ultimate point in this lengthy post.  You are beautiful!  You might not realize this or feel like this every day, but God does not create anything that is not beautiful.  You have a purpose and you are loved.  Share this message with others you come into contact with this week and thank the Beautiful Savior who loved you enough to shed His blood so that you and I may one day experience the beauty of a perfect forever home in Heaven!

Sweet Treat!

This year I received one of the most fun and useful utensils I have ever seen…the Easy Accent Decorator from Pampered Chef!  I must admit that I am slightly addicted to this wonderful creation now because it has made my once hideously decorated cupcakes turn into cute little creatures!  I somehow manage to use this every weekend now as I try to find new ways to use this awesome tool.  Below is one of the recipes that my wonderful boyfriend/kitchen sidekick tried this past weekend.  I highly recommend trying it–so delicious!  (And if you have an Easy Accent Decorator don’t forget to use it to spread on the icing!) 

Happy baking!  :)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/red-velvet-whoopie-pies-recipe/index.html

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:  45 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
 
Level:Easy
Serves:  18 servings

Ingredients

For the Cookies:

  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce milk chocolate, chopped
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped

Directions

Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the semisweet and milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in four equal batches, whisking each batch completely before adding the next. Stir in the melted chocolate.

Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and smooth the tops with a damp finger. Bake until the cookies spring back when lightly pressed, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds. Sandwich a heaping tablespoonful of filling between 2 cookies; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

Photograph by Kate Mathis

Pure Joy

Sheer terror.  Now I know that this is the complete opposite of what the title of this post is, but today has been one of those days where I have just felt uneasy and terrified.  Why you might ask?  I received my student teaching placement for next fall.  I realize that this is an exciting time and that this is nothing to be afraid of but it’s the strangest thing.  This is something I have looked forward to for months and suddenly now that I know this part of the future I’m left feeling uncertain about my abilities and my future career.

By now you’re probably thinking Get to the point, Kasey…so here it goes.  With all of this nervousness and discomfort today (and this week in general) I felt led to go to Fellowship of Christian Athletes tonight.  I am so glad I did.  It put things back into perspective for me.  As one person said, “God is bigger than homework.”  That goes for anything.  God is bigger than my fears.  God is bigger than my desire to please people.  God is bigger than my teaching abilities.  God is bigger than ________________ (you fill in the blank).  No matter what the future holds this truth of God’s presence and power in all things will remain.  Therefore, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).  Today I faced fear and worry, but knowing that God is going to be there and being reminded of that through fellowship with other believers is what is helping to strengthen my faith. 

Whatever you’re going through today please know that God has a plan for you and that the trials you are facing are part of that in order to help you grow and strengthen your faith.  We don’t know our futures (and as I learned today it’s usually best if I don’t know what’s in store for me) but God always does, and the best part of all is that He is more than capable of handling it all on His own.  I hope you can find pure joy in this moment and praise God for the work He’s doing in your life.  :)

Music for the Soul

I am in love with the new song by Casting Crowns, “Glorious Day.”  It is so encouraging and puts things into perspective–which I frequently have to reprioritize so this is so helpful.  I hope you enjoy it and that it speaks to your soul this beautiful Friday.

Oh and the video has the lyrics with it in case you like to sing along like I do.  :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXp6xcY5IqU

3:16!

Today has been just one of those days where I haven’t felt very productive and have just been struggling in general with different thoughts and worries.  Fortunately, I heard on the radio this morning that today is 3:16 Day, because the verse John 3:16 corresponds with the date March 16th (3-16).  What is this you might ask?  It’s a day that we can use to our advantage as Christians.  It is the day that if for no other reason than the date itself, we can gather up our courage and share our faith with non-believers and encourage fellow believers through the simple truth of John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Our world is crazy right now as any news station is willing to point out.  The fighting, the wars, the shaky government, and now the tragic situation playing out in Japan, this all adds up to one thing.  Our world needs a Savior now more than ever before.  Think about your family and your friends.  If your situation is anything like mine then you have loved ones that are ill, hurting, grieving, struggling in life, love, work, and finances.  With everything seemingly falling apart, have you bothered to share the Truth with those you love so much that need something Permanent to get them through?  Today, I realize that I have not been as outgoing in this area recently as I should be, and today, I am hoping to take the first steps in changing that and hope you will too.  Dare to dream for just a moment about what the world would be like if Christians were more vocal about our love for the One that truly defined love, the One that came in the form of a baby to grow up and be the only One to ever lead a sinless life and then suffer the most brutal beating ever recorded in history, all to pay the price for my sins and your sins.  Wow!  Now that is love! 

I hope you are encouraged and fired up about sharing your faith now or that if you don’t know my Savior, Jesus Christ, that you now have a hunger to get to know Him better.  Find a way to share your faith today.  Post it on Facebook, send someone an encouraging text message, whatever it is but do something.  Have a blessed day sharing the Truth of John on 3:16 Day!

Blessings in the Midst of Turmoil

There is so much going on in our world today:  wars and fighting around the world, struggles in our nation, a mess of our state education system, and many difficult and stressful situations in the lives of those we love.  With all of those things it is so easy to get bogged down in the messiness of life, but fortunately, we have an amazing and incredible God that loves us and will NEVER give us more than we can handle.  Sometimes I think He has more faith in me than I deserve and that that I really can’t make it through the stress and mess, but it’s amazing what He teaches me through those times of trials.

This week has been one of those stressful times that comes with the life of a college student.  Classes were hectic and everything, but I realized just how blessed I am last night when I spent time with wonderful friends and family.  Those are just a few of the blessings I am counting right now when my future career seems so distant and confusing.  Other blessings that have made my list include:  a wonderful and supportive boyfriend (that introduced me to blogging), my church, the opportunity to go to school, my health, and the right to freely express myself just to name a few.

So now it’s your turn!  What are you most thankful for?  Take a minute today and count your blessings, then take some time thanking The One who provided them all.  :)

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