Chocolate, Compassion, Dessert, Gratitude

I Am Magdalene

Today I am thankful for:

He Is Risen

Photograph by Cathleen Tarawhiti

1. A moment. She and I together. She has seen too much of life. Five children with several fathers. Time and time again, searching for love and coming up short… She looks at me, smiles, and says, “I am Magdalene.” She knows Jesus. Jesus sees her and loves her for all time. I feel as if I am in the midst of sacred beauty. Joy.

2. Happy Unbirthday. We surprised them again! Our kids came home from school, unsuspecting, to a house filled with decorations and a present for each of us. The Beatles’ Today is Your Birthday blaring on the stereo. “How did you do it again?” our daughter laughs with the biggest smile. Celebrate!

Happy Unbirthday

3. Dark Chocolate Pie! Our unbirthday celebration was made complete with dark, rich, chocolately goodness. Chocolate makes everything better!

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Dark Chocolate Pie

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Stir in milk gradually. Add chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Take off burner.
2. Give the eggs a brief whisk in a separate bowl. Take about a quarter of the chocolate mixture and, working with just a few teaspoons at a time, pour it into the eggs as you whisk continuously. Adding the chocolate mixture this slowly prevents the eggs from being cooked instantly from exposure to heat.
3. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into mixture in saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract.
4. Pour mixture into baked pie shell. Press a layer of plastic wrap onto filling. Refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 48 hours. Remove plastic wrap before serving and top with whipped topping.

Chocolate, Dessert, Gratitude

Birthdays

Birthday

Today I am thankful for:

Birthdays. Somewhere along the years I got into my head the idea that it was up to other people (my husband or family) to make me feel special on my birthday. As a mother, it was important for me to make others feel celebrated on their special day. But, when my birthday came around, I did not treat myself in the same way. Maybe I could only be worthy if someone else thought I was. It seemed un-humble or something to make a big deal out of me.

Several years ago, someone helped change my perspective. She said to treat myself in the same way I want my children to be treated. Make an effort to model for them what I hope for them. My desire for my children is that they feel loved, valued, and important… And that they know they are a super good reason for a party! My friend told me she buys her favorite cake every year and throws a party inviting loved ones to join in the celebration. If someone else makes a cake for her, that means more fun for everyone. What a wonderful gift to herself and her children. Chocolate Popcorn

This year I felt overwhelmed with gratitude throughout the entire day. My husband festively decorated the house. My family sang. I had lovely conversations with my sisters in Germany and Texas. Then, went to yoga where my yoga instructor gave me a wonderful little gift that included chocolate. She led the class in a mat-bound yogini rendition of Happy Birthday and played Radiohead throughout the entire class because she knows its my favorite. I was pinching myself at this point (thankful, thankful, thankful) and it was only 10:00. The rest of the day was full of chocolate, joyful messages from friends and family, and more chocolate. We topped off the evening with my very own homemade chocolate cake and shared dinner with dear friends. As I am writing, I am overcome with gratitude at the simple gifts that make life so meaningful. The best gifts were moments shared with beautiful people in my life. Chocolate Bar

I just want everyone to know that each and every one of us is a good reason for a party. Time to celebrate!

What are you thankful for today?

Chocolate, Compassion, Dessert, Gratitude

Daring Greatly, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dr. Who

Today I am thankful for

1. Dr. Brené Brown. A friend introduced me to her work two-and-a-half years ago just as my family was transitioning to Houston. Her work gave me permission to reach out and share my struggles with close friends (connection), be kind to myself on difficult days (c0mpassion), and have the courage to believe that I am enough just as I am. Productivity, success, and meeting up to other’s expectations do not define my value … even if I struggle sometimes feeling like they do. I am worthy of love and belonging simply because I am a fellow human being. She changed my life, and I am grateful. Over the next few weeks she is offering a free podcast (read-a-long) on her website to discuss vulnerability, courage, parenting, leadership, life, wholehearted living, our shame, and fears when we take risks, etc. Jeff got me her new book, Daring Greatlyfor my unbirthday, and I am thankful every time I pick it up. (An embarrassing moment was when I met Brené a couple of years ago and launched into a big hug before I could help myself. She was lovely and gracious.)

Daring Greatly

2. Chocolate Chip Cookies. I promise (cross my heart) that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Anyone want to challenge me? 

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Christian
350 degrees

3 1/4 c Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 C. White sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 ½ Tbs. Boiling water
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 C. Chocolate Chips (Ghiradeli’s bittersweet at Sam’s are big and wonderful!)

 1. Mix dry ingredients together in small bowl.

2. Mix sugars, oil, eggs, water, and vanilla in large bowl.

3. Add ½ flour mixture to wet ingredients until well blended, then add other ½.

4. Add chocolate chips.

5. Drop on ungreased cookie sheets.

6. 350 degrees for 9 min.

7. Savor!

3. Thankful for Friday nights. We often take Friday evenings to have a family night. Tonight we have big plans with Dr. Who and some Chocolate Chip Cookies. Love it!

What are you thankful for?