Thursday, October 29, 2015


{photo credit}
New textbooks, sharp pencils, blue markers, clean whiteboards -
A desk-studded bird cage for parrots, well-taught.
With rote recitation of ready responses
They mimic
Their teachers,
With words they know not.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday Smiles

It's late. The rest of the house is sleeping, but clearly not the rest of the world. Through my open bedroom window, I could hear the coyotes calling to each other a while ago, but they have long since hushed themselves to join me in eavesdropping on the nearby shindig. It's a rare occurrence to hear such a hullabaloo on a street inhabited exclusively by my family and retired couples; my best guess is that it's echoing down to our street from somewhere up the hill. If the music is any indication, they're re-shooting a saloon scene from an old western movie. The bass is plunking away with a tune I'm pretty sure is straight out of "Bonanza," and there is singing, shouting, and dogs barking. I can't help but smile at the sound.

But it's just been a smiling sort of Saturday! Other smiles were...

1. My new print from Kaytch, with C.S. Lewis' quote: "Courage, dear heart."

2. My wee rose bush! I thought I had totally killed it, and was so sad! But now, after a couple weeks of babying it, these tiny little leaves magically appeared. I'm ridiculously excited about them. Aren't they cute??

3. This new marking on my calendar! I get to go see my dear friend in 3 weeks!! She may have only been gone a short time so far, but I'm already missing her to pieces and glad to have a countdown!

4. The glorious warmth and sunshine today.

5. ...and getting to spend the lovely day with this wonderful girl!

What have your smiles been today?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reflections on a Mirror

{photo credit}
If your mum was anything like mine, you grew up with your stunning 5-year-old fashion sense
constantly being challenged. "Don't wear plaid with polka dots," "your socks need to match," "petticoats do not go on your head" (yeah, it was a phase...) - it seemed there were always rules about what did and did not constitute an outfit. Even in my attempts to comply, I was rather flummoxed in following the "Laws of Acceptable Fashion," soon learning that such a feat was harder than it seemed.

The most obvious way to be mom-approved (an incontestable requirement for 5-year-olds) was to run through the list of individual dos and don'ts. Was I wearing plaid with polka dots? Did my socks match? Were there petticoats on my head? Never mind that my socks were dirty, or that my plethora of colors clashed at every intersection - if I was within the Laws of Acceptable Fashion, the girl reflected in the mirror felt satisfied and savvy. Inevitably, when mum would catch a glimpse of the eyesore I called an outfit, she would be scandalized. "What are you wearing?!" And I, having felt confident in my compliance with the rules, would have no idea what she meant.

Clearly, simply focusing on the rules wasn't creating a classy style, so what was a girl to do? As I grew, I learned the key to a good outfit involved not merely evaluating individual pieces, but stepping back, outside of the "rules," to view my outfit as a whole. Does this shirt and skirt look good together? Do I match overall - from hair-bows to shoelaces? Carefully, I would head downstairs, keenly aware of my every accessory, and there await evaluation.

{photo credit}
"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was..."

What causes men and women to look in the mirror, walk away, and immediately forget what their style is? What attitude or perspective determines that one's appearance is not worth a single thought throughout the day? Could it be that mere "hearers", like the 5-year-old-fashionista, are so sure their reflections are flawless, following every "rule," that they simply can't be bothered to consider them again? Of course, as it concerns actual mirrors and styles, I think this approach preferable; but as it concerns my spiritual attitude, I find it convicting.

Are we like the rich young ruler, who looked at the the Laws of Acceptable Behavior and didn't even know what he was missing? Interestingly, the word "law" used in this passage of James means "parceling" - a breaking up of our King's character into smaller pieces: pieces our finite minds can understand. However, when I look into the mirror of the law and consider only the individual dos and don'ts, will I notice if my spiritual socks are dirty with discontentment? Will I be aware that I've given imbalanced attention to the petticoats of works by wearing them on my head?

Will I see my great need to be adorned by His great grace?

"...But he who looks in to the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
{photo credit}
To be perfect is to be complete. When we look at our reflections in the law, not as individual dos and don'ts, but as pieces that describe a complete Character so entirely infinite that it dazzles the comprehension, will we feel "satisfied and savvy" with the  faces looking back at us? Will we walk away and "immediately forget" what kind of men and women we are? Or will it cause us to continue there, studying the perfect One, being changed into His likeness, seeking His adornment?

How do you look in the mirror?

Monday, August 10, 2015

As If

He works "all things together for good," so we hear.
As if blessings were really the sequel to tears!

As if evil surroundings of culture and man,
Could be turned into goodness, if left in His hand!

As if pain could be growth, as if hate garnered love-
As if all of this hurting is used by above!

As if blatant defiance, once seen and confessed,
Can deserve to be useful in showing His best.

As if turning our backs doesn't mean it's the end,
But instead is the proving of Who is our Friend.

As if when we, like Rahab, His law, careless, break,
And consider it right- a "white lie" for His sake -

As if such filthy rags, which our vanity airs,
Could be glorious tapestries, treasured with care.

As if scrawls on ripped paper were great works of art!
As if He, somehow - truly - sees only the heart,

And loves me in spite of the rest.

{photo credit}

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tasting the World Through Rose-Flavored Cupcakes

Hello, fellow cupcake lovers!

You may or may not have noticed (depending on your level of commitment to the cupcake cause), but May and June rolled by with nary a cupcake post, either here, or at the lovely Bright Corner. Alas, thus flies life. Amidst races, and recital preparation, and recital planning, and recital executing, and visits from our East Coast Cupcaker, a small reprieve was necessary. Happy July!

Last week, Lauren again began our delicious baking trend with Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes, and I'm here to follow suite with (drumroll, please):

Rose & White Chocolate Cupcakes

Shall we begin??

Last year, while up in Seattle for the day, I purchased a small vial of very strong rose flavoring from the Market Spice store. At first, my experiments with it in baking were border-line catastrophic, as I subbed in an entire teaspoon of the floral flavoring for a teaspoon of vanilla. The results were...barely edible, but I was determined to hit upon the sweet spot of flavoring. That perfect balance came together in the following cupcake recipe.

Sadly, pictures are a bit lacking for this post, as the cupcakes were snapped up and devoured - at least it's a testimony to tastiness!

Rose Cupcakes
2 c. gluten-free flour
{The first batch I made, I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix. The second time, I used 1 cup of sorghum flour + 1 cup arrowroot. I like the flavor the sorghum flour adds, but it seemed to be a bit drier. If I try these again, I may try equal amounts of sorghum, arrowroot, and coconut}
1 c. sugar
{For paleo, substitute 1/2 c. honey + 1/4 tsp. baking soda. also, reduce milk amount by 1/4 c.}
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
{If you're using a gf flour mix that already has xanthan gum, this is not necessary to add.}
1 c. almond milk
1 egg
{Chia seed substitute works well, too!}
3 TBSP coconut oil
1/8 tsp. rose flavoring
{Trust me - you want only this much!}

Whisk dry ingredients together before adding wet ingredients.

Don't over-mix! Batter will be wet, but just trust it. ;) Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes (until inserted toothpick comes out clean, but no longer!).

Let cool completely on wire rack, before frosting with:

White Chocolate Rose Frosting
6 oz white chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
{I used half a bag of good-quality white chocolate chips!}
1 c. room temperature butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. rose flavoring
1/4 tsp. salt

Whip butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly until fully incorporated. Follow with the white chocolate, cream, rose flavoring, and salt. Voila! White chocolate rose frosting to top off the cupcakes!
Warning: this frosting is delicious, non-nutritious, and very rich. "Heavy on the frosting" not recommended! ;p

Basically, I loved these cupcakes - they're probably my favorite ones I've made so far!! I still like experimenting with different flours (I think that will forever be the part of the recipe I mess with the most), but both batches I made were delish. These are easily made paleo and vegan (as you can probably see from my excessive notes in the ingredients list), but I have yet to find a good, paleo, butter-cream-like frosting. If anyone discovers one, do pass it along!

Happy Cupcaking!