The One with the Business of Baking

I have many hobbies. I love learning new things, expressing my creativity, making others smile. In the past few years, I’ve dabbled in crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, jewelry making, laptop slipcover sewing, cookie decorating, recipe creating, blogging, graphic designing, and photography. Honestly, I’ve loved every one of these activities, though some of them were more easily mastered* than others. 
*I use the term “mastered” a bit loosely. I would consider myself a life-long learner
I have high hopes for photography. I love my Canon Rebel. I love experimenting with settings. I love setting up a shot. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a technical understanding of this multi-faceted art form. I would really enjoy taking a few photography classes, I have dreams to develop a photography business with my husband, but most of all I want to capture the beautiful moments of life. 
One day–maybe someday soon–I’d love to take cake decorating classes at our local craft store. I have a set of decorating tips, but I don’t have much of an icing-making skill and creating anything other than a flimsy edging is beyond me. This hobby flows over onto my cookie decorating desires. I see so many beautifully decorated royal icing sugar cookies all over the blogosphere and I want to emulate them. Creating favors for showers or weddings or birthdays would be so much fun. I’ve already found my favorite sugar cookie recipe. Now to learn to sophisticatedly decorate them.  
Knitting and crocheting and sewing are super useful skills. Too bad I never had a real home economics class in high school. I envision myself embellishing existing clothes, making lovely gifts, or re-purposing old fabrics. I only know a stitch or two of each of these crafts, but with a book my grandma gave me, I’d love to learn more. 
Blogging and graphic design go hand in hand, and I can’t imagine leaving these hobbies behind. Being a part of the blogosphere is now more of a lifestyle for me than a hobby. I love connecting with friends–new and old–and learning from those with more (or different) life experiences than I have had. 
And then there’s my baking. If you know anything about me, you hopefully know I’m a lover all of things sweet. I can spend hours in the kitchen creating new treats, perfecting old recipes, and licking the batter off my fingers. (I wish cookie dough would stop being delicious to me. And don’t worry, I wash my hands.) 
I have tried various mini-business ventures in the past year and Kevin’s encouraged me along the way. Last week, though, we were talking and he had a wonderful idea. It is high time I focused. I need to focus my attention and energy on one hobby-turned-business and develop it into the best it can be. 
And so I choose baking. Cookie baking to be precise. The blogging and graphic design and photography skills are all essential elements to making an online bakery business successful, so I won’t have to turn my back on all of my newly developing passions. But I’m going for it. I opened my Etsy shop for business yesterday evening. Search for The Adorkable Bakery under adorkablebaker and you’ll find me! You should totally check it out. And if you have suggestions–design, recipes, or otherwise–let me know. 
For months now, our teens, our friends and our family have been filling my ears with praise for my cookie creations. I believe I make amazing cookies, and I would love to make this into a sustainable business. But I will need your help. If you’ve ever tasted my baked goods or peanut brittle or chocolate covered butter toffee, and you thought it was totally tasty and ridiculously amazing, please tell your friends about my shop [http://www.etsy.com/shop/adorkablebaker]. I’d love to do business with them. 
Whether it’s celebrating the exciting or cherishing the everyday, my cookies and candies are for you!

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword…

Now I’ll admit…this idea has always confused me. It begs certain questions…questions like “if the pen is mightier than the sword, why do actions speak louder than words?”
Think on that for just a second…I’ll wait.
I don’t think that the pen is mightier than the sword. I think ideas are more important than facts. I suppose you could say I was a romantic, at least as opposed to a realist. When it comes to what I want…I rarely have a specific outcome in mind…I just have priorities.
This has its advantages and disadvantages. Truth, for example, is one of the things I value above almost anything else. I feel like it’s important that I know the truth. Having the right perspective means you can make right choices. If your perspective or your facts are wrong, then why bother trying to do the right thing? You’re probably going to screw it up no matter how well-meaning you are.
I realize that for many people that may seem a bit harsh, and maybe I am. I’m not known for being soft and delicate. But think about it this way…which is more useful, a pastor who preaches the truth, or an atheist humanitarian? Which would you rather trust your kid to? Intentions may dictate how you react to the person, but ultimately we’re going to be judged on not only our intentions, but our beliefs.
That’s why the Bible says “believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Romans 1:9 Acts 16:31)…not “try your hardest and hope it all works out.”
What you believe matters. The Truth matters. I think that’s why the Word of God is so important. It “…is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) If we know the Truth, then we can share it with others, and we can know that we are doing what is right. The Christian walk isn’t about avoiding sin. The Christian walk is about becoming progressively closer to being perfect, as Jesus called us to be. That means that the more we understand God, the more we start imitating Him…and sin isn’t the problem anymore. It’s surrender to whatever He wants from us.
The greatest thing I can aspire to in this life is giving up…and letting God run everything. God, and everything He asks of us is right. Everything else is wrong, and is sin. That’s the idea that will change your life.

The One with the Dust Attack

Having spent the last hour dusting the long-forsaken tops of dressers and corner window crevices, I can tell you it was shocking how dusty my house was. (And still is…I haven’t finished yet.) I really dislike dusting. Vacuuming, I can enjoy. Wiping counters and such is a health issue necessity. Doing laundry is fine by me. But dusting?! BLECH. This is really not a good thing considering I have a bit a dust mite allergy. I think I’m growing out of it, however, considering the fact that I’ve been living amongst them for months now and have had zero issues. 
After changing the sheets on our bed and washing the flannel set that had been used for a long time (I won’t tell you how long because I can’t remember. ew), I thought to myself, “Self, you could probably run those drapes through the washer and in very little time eliminate loads of allergens.” And so I did just that. The job that I have ignored for far too longwashing the draperies. At least they’re not mini blinds. I HATE cleaning mini blinds. (Unless it’s 90 degrees outside and it’s part of my job at camp to take off my shoes and grab a bucket and hose and go to town on someone else’s mini blinds. Then it’s kinda fun.)
We bought those drapes a month after we moved into this house in November 2008. They haven’t been cleaned since. Does that make me a bad person
If so, then I really shouldn’t mention the layer of dust that came off of the top of our tall dresser/mirror. wowzers. Now THAT was embarrassing. 
Anyone else spring cleaning and discovering things you wish you could ignore forever??
if you can relate, maybe you should subscribe. :) 

The One with My [Not So] Baby Sister

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My little baby sister turned twenty-one years old yesterday. I cannot believe it. I am seriously in awe of the fact. First of all, it’s impossible because I’m still 17 and she’s 4 years younger than me. Secondly, it’s only 1998. And thirdly, there is just no way that we’re both grown and living on our own in cities far from home. 
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!!!

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But I am so thankful for my Ashley Bashley. (That’s what we called her sometimes. We are a little weird, I’ll admit.) Ash and I have an infinite number of memories and inside jokes. Friday nights with Grandma and Gramps, McDonald’s and Boy Meets World and maybe a little Rummy thrown in there. Summer afternoons with Mary playing drive-thru and swimming till our lips were blue. Oh, the ski trips. Running into SLOW signs, racing down the slopes and getting in trouble, showing off for dad, mom leaving you on the lift. 
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Mon Frere (another weird sister thing. yes, it means “brother” in French), I love you. I’m so proud of you. Happy Birthday!
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The One with …

Sometimes I really want to say things but I don’t have anything to say. Or, rather, I have far too many thoughts flitting around the infrastructure of my twisted-wire brain that even I can’t put words to them. And even if I could, well….
Add to that brain issue this throbbing headache and funky stomach and I’ve got myself the perfect start to the next 30 hours. 
Pray for me. 

The One with the Ten Internet Necessities

Ten Things I Forget How to Do Without the Internet
1) Request library books. Our county’s library system is pretty awesome and being able to zip onto the website and request a book to be delivered to my branch is excellent. 
2) Look up health symptoms. (Though my RN of a mom is still my go-to source.)
3) Make new friends. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I can still make friends in person and obviously that is optimal, but blogging friends are just awesome. I love you guys. 
4) Check up on every person I’ve never known via Facebook. It’s a creepy stalker world we live in now. 
5) Come up with the name of that one song I heard this one time that has these five words in it. Google it and BAM! answer!
6) Stay connected with friends and family who live far away. Wait what’s that thing called? The Post Office? 
7) Make calls to my mom without video chatting on Skype. Because why wouldn’t you want to see me in my sleepy-eyed pajama-ed state?
8) Contact the teens or their parents. Everyone is on email or facebook. It’s just easy as pie to mass communicate. 
9) Shop for birthday gifts, new computers, good books, and furniture. Between Amazon and Craigslist I’m set. 
10) Find information. of any sort. Friends, it’s crazy that we no longer have to look in newspapers or magazines or even the physical establishment of a business to buy a new car, find a new house, or pick the best restaurant. It’s all on the world wide web. 
And so, when the internet is down or unavailable, it takes a while to remember life without technology at my fingertips. In some ways, I love it. The communication, the connection, the accessibility. But I need a kick in the pants every now and again to come out from behind my 10 inch netbook screen and interact with the real world. 
Can anyone relate??
linked up with Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.
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The One with the Marriage Mission

A few weeks back, a friend of mine shared a Relevant Magazine online article with Kevin and I saying it reminded her of our ministry and hoped it might encourage us. It did. The words of this article entitled What’s the Point of Marriage echoed my deepest convictions of marriage and ministry. 
The Millers write, 

So on we went with what seemed like a recipe for marital disaster. Leading the youth group was the one thing we were doing together, yet it was extremely stressful. And we were failing at it. The group literally drove us to our knees. Before each event, we began to pray for the youth and for ourselves.

Kevin and I sort of stumbled into the youth ministry. Of course, the Lord guided our steps to this exact place, but the way we ended up here was totally unpredictable. I was the original youth pastor called to start a youth ministry at a small, growing church. Kevin helped out on Sunday nights, but he was busy with grad school and a 2 hour round trip commute to and from campus every day. He was stressed and frustrated and focused on his work. I may have also been a bit was stressed and frustrated and focused on my work. 
Our worlds didn’t exactly intersect. We updated one another on our days, but there was no deep connection. We ate dinner together, then vegged out in the same room. There wasn’t much more to it. 
But then Kevin felt the tug into deeper ministry. He began co-leading youth group with me. The teens loved him, he loved them, and before we knew it he was considering full time ministry. For the past two years, we’ve poured ourselves into these students for the sake of advancing the Kingdom of God. I’ve grown to love my husband in a new way. Watching him preach, plan, and love those students ignites new passion in my heart. I have a deeper respect for Kevin and a burning desire to continue ministry alongside him. 
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Having this common goal, this shared passion has given our marriage it’s purpose. I always said God had brought us together in marriage because we would be a more powerful tool united than separated, and I fully support that statement today. 
Yes, the purpose of marriage is companionship and raising up new generations. But we mustn’t neglect the third component of this God-established relationship (Gen 1:28, 2:15)

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it

The new couple was given a mission to accomplish and fulfill together. Ministering together is bringing full meaning of the two becoming one. It gives purpose, unity, direction. Without a shared mission, our marriage would lack meaning.

I encourage you to pursue a shared ministry with your spouse. You will see new love, new respect, new purpose to your relationship.
If you already have a shared mission, what is yours? 

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The One with the Favorite Kitchen Gadget

Thanks to CSN Stores, I was given the opportunity to test two products that I had on my wish list.  As per usual, the cookware.com branch of CSN stores had exactly what I was looking for, the right prices, and fast shipping. I highly recommend them to all of you. 
The Oxo Good Grips sifter is strong and sturdy yet perfect for the job of sifting powdered sugar or flour. I had two itsy bitsy sifters–seriously, they are 2 inches across–but they didn’t cut it for large baking jobs I undertake. This was exactly what I needed. 
The second item I chose is one of my favorite kitchen tools at the moment (and probably for as long as I use garlic in my cooking.) The Microplane zester is AWESOME. I saw Rachael Ray raving about zesters like this one and their usefulness for zesting and grating nutmeg, garlic, or cirtrus fruits. She was right on. This gadget saves me so much time and possibly a few cuts. I had been chopping garlic by hand and it’s difficult getting the pieces small enough and not including a few bonus skin cells. *blech* and *ouch* The zester grates it into a fine paste, perfect for incorporating into casseroles or pasta dishes. 

Thanks again, CSN, for this chance to review 2 of your endless products.

The One with the Life Microscope

I am an open book, heart-on-my-sleeve type of gal. I love being honest and transparent with people. To me, meaningful relationships are everything. I’m not a fan of putting on a happy face, grinning and bearing it, or saying “Fine” in response to “How are you?” It’s not real. 
And I’m real. 
But the difficult truth of my life–the life my husband and I have chosen to live–is one that requires prudence. Being in full time, under-the-microscope ministry means that our lives affect more than the two of us, more than our closest friends and family. Everything we say, everything we do, and even the things we don’t say or do are under scrutiny. I would love to share everything in my life with everyone I come in contact with, but the reality is, I can’t, I shouldn’t. I can still strive be my truest self–full of love and joy and peace towards others.
The reason I am an open person is because I value the connection made with another when I lay my laundry–clean or dirty–in front of them, and they still love me. Many times, my situation can be easily related to by that other person. Sharing my circumstances may give the opportunity to minister to someone in a way I couldn’t have otherwise. It’s the thing I love about blogging–knowing I’m not alone, not the only one who’s ever dealt with this or felt like that
Being a leader in the church is an awesome privilege, a high calling, and a deep responsibility. It’s important for us to be accountable for our actions, for the states of our hearts. But we must chose our mentors and confidants wisely. 
It’s hard to keep my lips locked at times. My natural tendency is share everything with everyone. But  Scripture states we should keep a tight rein on our tongues and think before we speak. If anything, this life’s work is teaching me that lesson very thoroughly. 
Do those of you in ministry understand?
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The One with the Adoption Auction

One of my good friends, Sara (who also happens to these design amazing cards), just shared this awesome opportunity with me. James and Emily, a wonderful Christian couple, are fundraising like crazy to raise the $25,000 necessary to complete the adoption process of a child from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Right now through Friday at 8pm, they are hosting a HUGE Auction with products for home, for baby, for kids, for wedding, and more!!  I would encourage you to check out their story and even more importantly BID on a few of your favorite items, helping them fulfill the dream God placed in their hearts!

Go check out the complete list of Auction Items and browse some of my favorites. 

Family Photography Session by Wellspring Photography.

Open Your Heart Necklace.

Custom Card Design and 50 4×6 prints by Less Ordinary Designs.
many, many more items HERE