Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's in Your Coffee?

Every once in awhile, something really amazing happens. Last week, that amazing thing happened to me. SheSpeaks sent me two bottles of Torani flavored syrups, asked me to try them and blog about them. A-MA-ZING. Come up with a recipe, they said. I say: Go ahead and send me an advance because I have got a whole book. Umm, @DouglasGarasic, can I get a title?

Seriously, for the past week, I have been living out my dream of being a Starbucks barista in my own kitchen. "You know what would be good in that hot chocolate? Some Torani Salted Caramel Syrup!" "Coffee? Oh, wait, how about some Torani Peppermint Syrup? Mmmm, we'll make it a peppermint latte!" My kids, who are equally easily amused, are enjoying their fabulous coffee house cocoas, but my black coffee husband is missing out.

I have to admit that as much as I wanted to love it, I've been disappointed with every Salted Caramel concoction I've tried. Until now. I cannot get enough of the Torani Salted Caramel Syrup. I mixed it with apple cider and whipped cream rum for a delightful adult concoction. I've added it to coffee and hot chocolate, and if I'm being perfectly honest, yes, I have also licked it off the spoon. It is THAT GOOD.

If peppermint and salted caramel are not for you, don't despair, they have a TON of flavors! Pumpkin spice, caramel, chicken and waffles--I'm serious, raspberry...what are you waiting for? Go! God Speed!

You might have gathered that this post is sponsored by SheSpeaks and Torani, but that in no way minimizes my love of these syrups.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm a Mess.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Again today, I felt our pastor spoke directly to me. It's a gift he has--I realize, after discussing with other people at our church who have also felt singled out. It's kind of creepy. Anyway, today's topic was the condition of our hearts. How God doesn't care if you are carrying a Louis Vuitton bag or a garbage bag, or if you have $100 shoes or holes in your soles. He isn't impressed by the airs people put on. He cares about our hearts. So, if we feed the starving, shelter the homeless, and clothe the poor, but don't do it with love, we might as well stay home and watch tv, because we missed the point. Well, I guess the poor, homeless, and hungry people benefit regardless of our motives, but you get the point, right?

So when your patience is thin, when your kids are arguing for the 65th time, when your husband has forgotten to take the garbage out for the fourth week in a row, how you react then shows the true condition of your heart. Not when everything is rosy. Not your Sunday morning shined up for church look but how you act when no one is looking. Well, I will be the first to admit: I am a mess, and I am ashamed of some of the ugly things that are in my heart.

I came home from church today thinking, "Why do you even try?" Because I do try. I try really hard to follow Jesus, to love God above all else and to love others, but I fully admit that when Lily calls my name for the seventh time in 10 seconds while I'm trying to read an email or send a text or whatever ridiculously important thing I'm doing, my response is not, "Yes, my love, what can I do for you?" Nope, it's more like, "WHAT DO YOU WANT? CAN'T YOU SEE I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING?" Ugly.

I will fully admit, when I get in the car to take Peyton to school tomorrow morning if the garbage cans are not at the end of the driveway, I am going to say ugly things about my husband. Maybe just in my head, maybe under my breath, and maybe fully aloud so that the skunks, oppossums, and whatever else might be wandering around in our yard in the early morning hours can hear. And they will undoubtedly think, "That's ugly talk, Mary Bell." But even if I don't say anything out loud, God will see the ugliness in my heart.

So, before I beat myself up any further, I decided to spend a few minutes mindlessly reading what people were grateful for today on Facebook. Unfortunately, that backfired. WOW! Add bitterness, and resentment to the ugliness in my heart. Good grief, so I took to the safety of my bed to pray, write, and sort things out.

On our message map today, it said, "Examine the condition of my heart." My heart is a wreck. But as I sit in my bed typing this a sweet little curly-headed girl crawls quietly in and snuggles up against me. Her presence pulls me out of the self-depracating depths and back into reality. And as I take a moment to feel her soft little cheek against my arm, I hear the still small voice of my God whisper, "Yes, you are a mess, but I love you anyway." And so I'll get up and try to do better.