Archive for September 2014

Ephesians 2:1-10   Leave a comment

My summary of last week’s sermon:

Grace is re-making us.  It’s not just for salvation.

He paid off our debts and is also paying for the future.

God prepared good works for us to do; he’s the master planner.

It is up to God to see to it that I make it to the end.

The remedy to our desire to let our performance declare our value is hearing God say that we are his masterpiece because we are in Jesus Christ.

This means we now have the freedom to fail because it is all covered.

We don’t have to live in fear.

Posted September 25, 2014 by swanatbagend in identity

May Be My Favorite Dessert   Leave a comment

No special occasion.  I have just started making homemade vanilla ice cream and Grandma’s chocolate sauce because it is so good!  If you have an ice cream freezer, I think it’s worth the time to make homemade.   Later, I decided I needed brownies also.

So, here are the recipes.

Almond Butter Brownies (from my cousin Meghan with a few adjustments I made)

1 16 ounce jar creamy roasted almond butter

2 eggs

1 cup honey or maple syrup

1 T. vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, warm up the almond butter until it stirs easily.  I microwave it on low.  Blend in eggs, then honey and vanilla. Blend in cocoa, soda and salt.  Then fold in the chocolate chips.  Bake in a  greased 9×13 casserole dish at 325 for 35 minutes.


Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups milk

1 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 T. vanilla

6 cups heavy cream

Scald the milk in a large pan until bubbles form around the edges.  Stir in salt and sugar until dissolved.  Then add the vanilla and cream.  Chill 30 minutes and then put in your ice cream maker and freeze.

The consistency of this is better than most homemade ice cream, because I don’t use half and half.  Just go for the cream.


Occidental Hotel Hot Fudge Sauce

This is my grandmother’s recipe.

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

3 T. flour

Stir together these ingredients well in a large saucepan.  Then add

1 cup milk

and cook on medium heat until thick.   Remove from heat and then add

1 tsp. vanilla and 2 T. butter.

Store in the fridge and serve either hot or cold.


You won’t regret the effort on these.  I guarantee it.

Posted September 24, 2014 by swanatbagend in food

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I’m getting older   Leave a comment

I realize this is painfully obvious.  But I just have to say it, to get it out of my system.

I’m — getting —  older!

Parents of young children look to me like they are still in college.  People in college look like they are in high school. People in high school certainly appear to be in middle school.  I’m only on base with children under 10 as far as guessing ages any more.

I look in the mirror.  I see grey hairs.  I see wrinkles.  Sure, I’ve had the wrinkles between my eyebrows ever since I got windburn on my motorcycle trip to Minnesota with Uncle Dwight when I was seventeen, but I have a lot more wrinkles than those now.

Please tell me that I’m not the only person who truly thought she would be exempt from growing old?

Growing up, yes, I saw that coming, but growing old, never.  Intellectually I know people don’t live forever.  But some part of me just seems to assume I will.

In the past, I observed other people’s children growing up, and read obituaries, and noticed those old people over there at the next table.

But now, yep.  I seem to actually be a member of the human race.  Just like those old people over there.  The ones who aren’t really that old.

Speaking of which, when you read the paper,  have you noticed how young many of the couples look who are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversaries?


Posted September 20, 2014 by swanatbagend in reflections

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Little Things   Leave a comment

I thought I would get off scott-free this time, when the entire first week of school went by and I felt perfectly normal.

After all, we’ve already done this.  We’ve said goodbye to our son in the dorm lobby, prayed with him, and hauled the huge tubs back to the van for the trip back home so he doesn’t have to try to store them in his dorm.

It is different this time.  It just didn’t register as fast.

But about ten days in, I started feeling a bit raw.

Small things.  Or maybe big things.  How big is an empty bedroom?  It has clean sheets piled on the bed, that hasn’t been re-made yet.

Well, mistakenly setting the table for five. That’s relatively small.

So is thinking the van would be completely packed for the trip to the concert last Sunday with Grandma and Grandpa.  Then eventually the realization that there are not seven people in this party.

What however is the littlest painful thing?

It’s what’s missing.

There’s a little cheerful bright blue light on our router that remains on whenever wireless is working.  Zach finally asked me to stop turning it off each morning and just leave it so he could do his online class this summer. He promised me the radiation wouldn’t damage me significantly. So it was on from mid-June until he left.

Now it isn’t.

Each time I see that, right next to the fridge and the trash in the kitchen, where I am working all the time, it scrapes the wound again.

It’s tender and doesn’t like being picked back off. It flares in a burst of remembrance, concern, grief, loss, panic, all in about two seconds and then settles down again to just plain remembering.  But that’s kind of how it goes.


Posted September 19, 2014 by swanatbagend in transitions

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September   Leave a comment

this morning on my way to an early appointment

pink sky

cattle black mounds in fields

sheets of gauze over the fields

nothing quite real yet


on one leg still dozing by the pond

steam rising from the water like the heat of some peaceful caldera

in mist pink September

in Kentucky

Posted September 9, 2014 by swanatbagend in reflections

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Battle For The Net   Leave a comment

Cable companies want to slow down and break! your favorite sites, for profit. To fight back, let’s cover the web with symbolic “loading” icons, to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like, and drive record numbers of emails and calls to lawmakers.

via Battle For The Net.

Posted September 9, 2014 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

Deceived   Leave a comment

I’ve been deceived all these years.

Or maybe I was just deceiving myself.

With the slow turn of the seasons, I welcomed back the aspects of those times I liked most.

When a cold front blows in September, blues the sky, and knocks down leaves, I’m so glad to open the windows and let it in.

There’s a certain damp smell in spring in Kentucky that happens in March.  You know winter really will end.

And with every season, there are holidays and landmarks that you count on.  School starts up.  It’s time to pick pumpkins.  Christmas is coming. You know there will always be Tax Day.  Spring break is definitely looked forward to with a good level of enthusiasm, especially when you are anticipating driving south through Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, spring fast-forwarding around you in dogwoods, red-buds and azaleas, until you arrive at the beach.

These landmarks of my life are reliable.  They return annually, which brings joy and comfort.

What deceives me is the feeling that they are thus the same.

But they’re not.  It’s not the same spring break, not the same Thanksgiving, not the same anything.

We don’t get a re-do.

I don’t mean in a spiritual sense with God.  He is the author of second chances and forgiveness.

I just mean there’s no re-do for any given day.

Obvious, of course, but not in my heart.

When I have a bad day I can find myself playing the what-if game.  When I spend a good day with friends, inside myself I’m thinking how good it will be to do it again.

I can pick a day that’s now in the past, which was really blessed, and I realize that not only did I treasure the day,but some part of me believed it was a preface to more days–just like it–with those people.

Thankfully, of course, there is consistency in my life.  I do get to see many of the same people, most weeks.  But to assume those same dear people will assemble again in the same way another day is to fool myself.

I don’t spend much time thinking this, usually, because, frankly, it’s disturbing.

Lord willing I will use this reality to live fully in each moment, not thinking about the what-ifs, or wishing that day was different, but being grateful for what is, and who is there with me.


Posted September 7, 2014 by swanatbagend in reality, reflections

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