May 22, 2008

Catching Up

So I’m horribly lazy at this blog thing. I love reading what other people write. And I think to myself that oh, I should blog about such and such, or this and that, or anything even. But I’m lazy like that and only think about it.

The other day Ladybug and Wild Thing helped me make cupcakes. From scratch. From the best recipe in the entire world for cupcakes. Seriously. It’s even easy to boot. Here’s a picture.

See? Don’t those look mouthwatering? They were. And it was fun to spend the time with the kiddos. I’ll post the recipe. Nothing like some Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting to chase the blues away. And, the recipe makes 24 cupcakes, and the only thing that’s better than eating one cupcake is eating a dozen two cupcakes.

We’ve had great weather (notice the past tense) and the kiddos have been playing out in their wading pools (and yes, they have two, the spoiled things. One on the deck, and another in the grass at the bottom of their slide.). Why do they call them wading pools? My children are so small that they are practically swimming pools. If I put more than a couple inches of water in the bottom they would be able to swim. Or rather, Ladybug would flail and Wild Thing would bob. I can just picture him, floating on his back, bobbing up and down gently on the waves that his sister’s flailing arms and legs create. She’s a born swimmer, that one.

When I was in church on Sunday, we sang the song “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin. Know it? The lyrics are “How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God, and all will see how great, how great is our God.”

It got me to thinking. Do I know and accept the greatness of God, or do I expect him to prove it to me? Is my faith founded on who God IS, or what I expect him to DO for me? Am I in a state of suspended faith, waiting for God to prove his goodness, and his greatness, and see his power and his mercy work in my circumstances? Or is my faith rooted in who he IS, mercy and grace and greatness and power personified? How do I, as a Christian, balance my knowledge of who God IS with the knowledge of what he is able to DO? And if I do not see his mercy and power exercised in my circumstances, then is my belief in his mercy and power shattered?

Because the thing is, some things are true whether one believes in them or not. And the reverse is also true – one can believe in something wholeheartedly and it will not be true. Even if I don’t believe in gravity, my unbelief doesn’t nullify it. And I can always believe with my whole heart that my body that has borne two children will someday fit back into my size two Vera Wang wedding dress. But that will never happen. Unless I get a tape worm. That doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing as eating chocolate cupcakes.

So anyway, before I get distracted with Googling where to buy a tapeworm, or selling my wedding dress on Craig’s List, back to the dilemma that I faced on Sunday morning. Do I believe who God is based on who he IS, or do I believe who God is based on what he DOES for me? Here’s what I think: I need both. Because I don’t want to have a relationship with God that is only intellectual or theological, but a relationship that is also active, demonstrative, that has a daily freshness to it because of what God does in my life.

You know, like in 1 John chapter 1, “He was from the beginning, and this is the One we speak about. Our ears have heard, our own eyes have seen, and our hands have touched Him – the One who gives life appeared! We saw it happen!” Now wouldn’t you like to have that kind of excitement about God in your own life? Not only knowing ABOUT him, but also being able to say, “Hey! I know all about it, but I also saw it! I experienced it! In my own life!”

It’s what I really want. And it’s what I really need. Not only in the complex circumstances that I call my life right now, but in “normal” life. I need the knowledge of his goodness, his power, his mercy, his love. But that’s not enough for me. I would suffocate if I didn’t have the freshness that comes from seeing it, experiencing it, in my life every day. That, and hopefully a chocolate cupcake.

Devils Food Cupcakes

Makes 24

2/3 cup boiling water

2/3 cup natural cocoa powder

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons instant coffee

4 eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), softened, but still cool

1. Adjust racks to lower-middle oven position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. Whisk boiling water, cocoa, chocolate, and instant coffee granules together in small bowl.

3. Whisk eggs, sour cream, and vanilla together in small bowl until well combined.

4. With electric mixer on low speed, combine flour, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl until blended. Add butter and mix on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture in 2 additions, then beat at medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until combined, about 1 minute.

5. Add chocolate mixture and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Divide batter evenly among 24 cupcake liners.

6. Bake until skewer or toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes.

7. Cool cupcakes in muffin tins for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

8. When completely cool, frost.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 lb powdered sugar

8 tbsp butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Mix all ingredients until combined, beating with an electric mixer. Add more milk or cream until desired consistency to frost cupcakes.

Sorry to be so vague with the frosting recipe… I just eyeball it and it comes out great every time. Frequent taste testing is required…

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