Friday, August 31, 2012

@ Home Iced Coffee / Caramel Machiato ~ Tip 16

Iced Coffee 101
When I lived around college students one thing was always for certain, I had to have a stock of food, beverages , ingredients or a creative way of making something out of nothing/very little . I realized early on that one of the best ways to create fellowship in a dorm is to offer some sort of food . In my last years as a RD I began hosting weekly dinners with a different small group from each floor . It took about a school year to get through them all, but it was so worth it . I also began hosting a small prayer b'fast every Wednesday morning with my RA's . It was an effort for us to spend time together as a team and as sisters in Christ with the one purpose of prayer . No business . No games . Just talking to God as a team . Building our foundation one prayer at a time . I wanted to do my best to honor their busy schedules and not make it one more thing they had to get marked off the list . So, I started making breakfast for them . They'd come down from their rooms early in the morning before their first classes and I'd have breakfast ready and coffee brewing for them . Who doesn't love the smell of coffee in the morning ?! We'd eat and we'd pray . I started to find those Wednesdays one of my favorite days of the week . While it added a hour or so to each of our days I also found more energy to make it through the day with whatever ups or downs it had .
One of my favorite go to offerings for whatever meal focused event I was hosting was breakfast . Even for dinner ! Something about the idea of a meal together that is meant to start the day makes me feel all warm and cozy inside . The girls loved it too seeing how very few of them actually got up in time to make it to the dining hall each day for breakfast .
In an attempt to be resourceful and embrace my new motto of reduce ~ reuse ~ repurpose I started finding creative ways to freeze, store, and remake left overs into new things . One of my and the girls favorites was and still is, iced coffee . I'm proud to say I honed this skill long before my barista training . Here are the tips/recipe so that you can begin making your own at home iced coffee for yourself and for others .
If you are a morning coffee drinker this shouldn't add to your normal brewing schedule . Simply take the coffee that is left over from the pot and let it cool off . I usually just turn off my coffee maker and let it cool in the same pot it was brewed in . After a few hours I then transfer it to a seal able container and place it in the fridge . I have a small rubbermade-esq pitcher with a lid from a dollar store that I use . I tend to let it cool in the fridge over night before I use it for iced coffee . If you like strong/bitter coffee then I would take some of the cooled coffee and pour it into ice cube trays and let it freeze over night. If this is the case then it may take you several days of left over coffee before you have all the supplies you need. This is of course if you aren't brewing a special pot just for this purpose . Your ingredients will also include vanilla syrup (I use creamer), milk and of course ice or according to your preference coffee ice .
~ Stacie's Iced Coffee ~ Caramel Machiato ~
fill your glass 1/4 full w/ ice or coffee ice (depends on your preference of bitter vs sweet coffee)
(for iced Caramel machiato add Caramel sauce here, 1/8 c)
pour vanilla syrup about 1/8 c full if you use vanilla creamer pour a little more
pour milk to a little over half of the cup
add cold coffee slowly
 (for Caramel machiato add whip & Caramel sauce drizzle here)
When you are done you should be able to see each layer clearly.
I like to stir mine to get it all yummy and blended, but some people just drink it layer by layer.
Happy Brewing!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Familiar Face

One of the four definitions for familiar as defined by
is , one who is often seen and well known; especially: an intimate associate .
Familiar things happen, and mankind does not bother about them.
It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
Alfred North Whitehead

As I settle into month two of my new work place, position, and co-workers I've had a lot of questions from former co-workers, friends, & family about my new position and the people I'm now surrounded by . I've struggled for what I would consider proper or good enough answers . Mainly because I've been struggling with making sense of it for myself , much else to express it in words that others might understand .

My new job is not one that I planned for as it is . After five years of heavy responsibility and one year of sabbatical I was hoping to "ease" back into the work life . I thought I might find something that was not so full of responsibility , people , college kids , etc . A little "mindless" work if you will . Maybe some clothes folding, cashiering , or coffee making  just to get me back into the grind of the "real world" . I had been praying for well over a year about what the Lord would have for me after my time at my last job and sabbatical where complete . I had said more than one time, probably more than ten times that all I really knew was that I wanted what He wanted for me . I have sensed learned for perhaps the 100th sure of what you say in prayer , it is the God of the universe that is listening and waiting to respond to us after all .  As I applied for my current job I was sure that I would be considered for something "simple" . I didn't have much experience in retail so why in the world would I be considered for anything other than a small task ?! Jokes on me !! So, here I sit, I mean stand , for multiple hours a day working kids, people, and a load of responsibility . Several weeks into my job I cried at nearly every end of shift as I drove home . So upset with God and what I felt like was a disappointing answer to my prayer .  As the tears have dried and become fewer I've started to feel some inlightenment .

In the last few days I've been answering those questions I mentioned before from former colleagues , close friends , etc . The best way I know how to explain where I am at , is this , while I've never met any of the people I work with before now , they all seem familiar . Not one face feels out of place and none of the conversations I've had to this point have felt brand new . Everytime I enter the doors to our establishment I am greeted by smiling faces, waves and expressions of people who act as though they've been waiting for me to get there . And some how I feel as though I am reflecting that excitement back to them as well .  As I shared that explanation with a dinner table a few nights ago filled with dear sisters in Christ & mentors they looked at me kinda odd . Trying to grasp what I'd just said perhaps ? I believe one said , "in a weird way I think I understand what you're saying " . AHAHA!!! I love that I have honest friends .

Twice this week with out my sharing my "familiarity" thought,  I've had two co-workers ask where I worked before, went to school , etc. in an attempt to figure out why I seem , their words not mine , "familiar" . One of my gazillion bosses said , "Stacie, I feel like I know you from somewhere " . All I can do is grin . I now know that this is the Lords purpose for me, for now. It is His presence in my life they are sensing. I just know it .  Even on the days where it was taking me all I had to drag myself around the store and find some source of joy deep deep with in me to smile at those around me and try not to glow with disappointment over the Lords choice in placing me there . Even in that drudgery He was working in me and through me .

I may not always be as happy as I should be initially with where He places me .  This Daughter is a slow learner and I'm so happy that He gives me the time needed and sometimes the tutoring needed to figure things out . While, I'm not 100% amped about my work at the moment, I am however amped about the people.  I am over flowing with the thought that God has found a way to use my life even now , even here , even with me digging my toes in the ground and holding on for dear life .

I have realized through this that when you feel the call to ministry it isn't like a suit case that you pick up when you are ready to go and put down when you are not . It is ALWAYS apart of who you are . It is a innate desire to listen to , love on , and lead people in the way of the Father .

My prayer for you today is that you would find people that are "familiar"
and that you would be found "familiar" by them.
Romans 12:2 ESV    
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal
of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:6 ESV    
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
 let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
1 Peter 4:10
  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve
others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The September Issue

Now, prepare to judge me for being super shallow . It is the little things in life that bring me some of the biggest joy . Today I got my September issues in the mail . This is the largest issue that the majority of fashion magazines will print in a calendar year . Vogues' September Issue even had a movie made in it's honor . But for those of us who love clothes, fashion , and all things uber girly this is the issue we get our subscription for . I'm unsure if it's the thickness of the magazine , the splendor of how much brain candy it holds , the fact it arrives in September , m'birthday month or the reminder it brings that Fall is just around the corner . Fall being my most favorite of all the four seasons with it's light layers , crisp air , and pumpkin spice latte's . Whatever it is , it is pure bliss to me !!!

I realize that this much joy from something so shallow should be wrong . But if this is wrong then I don't wanna be right . I get great peace from flipping through the bright , glossy , perfumed pages of fashion magazines . Yes, the models are almost always unrealistically thin . Sure, the articles aren't always the most brain teasing of all the reading there is out there . But I love it anyway . BRAIN CANDY!!!!! With all the worry , stress , and negativity that one deals with on a day to day basis it is only fair that there be a little brain candy to reward oneself with for surviving it all .

Happy Early Birthday to ME!!! I plan to spend my next day off basking in the glow of new designs , accessories , make up & hair styles for the Fall 2012 fashion season . What's your favorite way to relax and treat your mind ?!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's Not You , It's.......

It's not you, it's my high heels . We've all heard or said the phrase , "it's not you, its me" . In a break up, parting of ways , an escape door from the truth, delicate way of giving the brush off the list could go on for days of situations this phrase has been applied . I've been known to say , "it's not IS you " . Today as I drove to work thinking over some recent events I got a little teary eyed . Even when a decision is the right decision it sometimes hurts . Sometimes it hurts so much that it has the ability to bring us to tears . When I thought about the one I was crying over and then realised the utter embarrassment of him seeing me cry I had several phrases of defence come to mind immediately . My favorite being , "It's not you, it's my high heels" . 

This very well may be the first and last time you see me quote a Sex and the City character . Mainly because the way singles are depicted  irritates me more than nails on a chalk board !!! However , the writing can also be spot on , case in point , "It's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes -- that's why you sometimes need really special shoes!" - Carrie Bradshaw . Believe it or not , but a beautiful pair of shoes can truly change everything about how a woman feels . Can I get a amen ?!
I have had sooooooooooo many of my sweet, smart, amazing talented and beautiful/handsome friends cry over their singleness . Even a seasoned professional single such as myself can find her self teary eyed over the trials of a singleton . It is not easy walking this life alone , but it is far better to be alone and single than alone with someone . As we wait for our Mr. or Mrs. Right , date as if it is a Olympic sport , cry into our pillows , laugh at the near misses , and dream of the possibilities that all this alone time will one day be longed for . Lets not miss the fun that is to be had walking in our single gal/guy shoes . Lets remind ourselves that not all choices are going to be easy , but when we have sought guidance , prayed and been honest with ourselves we HAVE to find a way to trust the out come.....even when it hurts .

With my recent tearful moments I am trusting that the Lord will bless the efforts I've made to "guard my (and another) heart with all diligence", as stated in Proverbs 4:23 . I want to be the kind of friend romantic or otherwise that a person is better for having had the chance to know . Even when it doesn't work out in the romance department . I want to have relationships (friends or romantic ) that lead me in a path that confirm to me the fact that good, Godly, and careful gentlemen do indeed exist .  I am going to do all that I can to BELIEVE that I have been given an amazing standard from my family and friends as to how I should be treated and wooed when it comes to friendship, romance , and even love . That anything less than being seen as absolutely magic in the eyes of a suitor, is less than the best for me . It , as with most of life , will not be easy . There will be days when it might be debated if settling for less than God's best is an option . There will be days that it feels impossible to believe that anyone could even begin to reach the standards my family & friends have set for how I should be treated and pursued .

And on the days I can't hold back the tears over loved lost , I'll be sure to claim the phrase , "it isn't you, it's my high heels " . I'll put on my sassy pair of high heels and somehow feel a little better . Some shoes are just that beautiful that they cause you feel brand new . There are magazines , shoe designers , and endless retail sources that would attest to that fact .

Walk with pride "all the single ladies (and gentlemen)" , it aint' easy being you !! But it sure can be fun !!!


Blessings, Let's Not Forget The Blessings

As I mentioned here , on my most recent to-do list is reminder to post about how God has blessed me . Yes, blessed me . Even in the last month when I thought I could barely go one more step . Even when I am crying out in desperation for His calming hand on my chaotic self ,  He has blessed me .

In the last several weeks I have realized that while I may be "single", I am far from alone . I have had the distinct blessing of coming home at the end of a very long day to dishes washed, a dog walked , and dinner in the fridge all at the hands of my sweet sweet grandparents . I've been surprised by the thoughtfulness of dear friends who heard the cry of my wear soles and sent me aid in the form of spa booties , fashion magazines , candy and a variety of other fun goodies .

Awesome Care Package
from Amber .
Awesome Care Package
From Sarah Nutt Johnson

I have also been blessed with fresh produce from my dads garden . He has made two special trips to my side of town just to deliver some yummy veggies . I even turned some of the garden goodness into baked goodness in the from of Zucchini bread . It was my first attempt and I think it turned out pretty good . So, good that I blogged about it , here .

So, while I am definitely going through some times of possible war fare , physical pain and flat out having days of being ungrateful of what I got . I want to be sure to combat all that with thankfulness every time I can . I read the following in my quiet time just a few days ago , "In every situation, you have a confrontation of duty. You can, by total dedication of your own being, turn every experience into a spiritual victory. It is the attitude with which you approach any day that will determine its outcome." - Come Away My Beloved . I also saw the following quote not too long ago , "what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you gave thanks for today" .  I don't know who originally said it, but boy did it strike a cord with me . In this time of physical stress it is so simple for me to focus only on that stress , my new schedule , and just trying to get a new balance to being . I don't want to miss the fact that I am still very very very blessed . Even as I write this , I got a call from my sweet daddy who is going to deliver some home grown corn . It's one of my favorite veggies !! Some would call me spoiled , I see it as Gods provision for my every need .

While I confess I am going through a difficult time I also want to confess I am grateful for all He has done and continues to do for me . I am sure that EVENTUALLY I will be able to gain some clarity over this time . I'm unsure how long it will last and I'm unsure where it will lead, but I'll do my best to keep holding on to Him through out . I appreciate your prayers as I continue this faith walk through life .

Thanks to all of you who have fb, private and public messaged me concerning my last post . I am grateful for the community and fellowship we share .