Archives for February 2008

The Possible Dream

I confess — I’m hooked on American Idol. Don is, too, though he might not want to admit it. We’ve been watching and pronouncing our own living room judgements since the second season. We didn’t discover the show until season one’s finale, or we probably would have jumped on the Idol bandwagon earlier.

We’re obviously not the only ones the show has struck a chord with — no pun intended :) Sounds like millions tune in every week. With my competitive streak and love for music, this show is right up my alley. To make things more interesting, Ryan and the judges do their best to keep the drama going throughout the season.

They’ve just finished airing the audition shows, and those always provide plenty of laughs. What in the world possesses people? Granted, there are several great singers that get their golden tickets to Hollywood, but the majority leave my ears cringing. (Can ears cringe? Mine do during Idol auditions!) I’ve decided these people must have absolutely no ear for music and simply don’t know how bad they sound. Kind of sad, pathetic, and funny all at the same time.

You’ve got to hand it to all who try out, though. They’re definitely putting themselves out there. Taking their shot at making it big. Basically, American Idol is the American dream at work. Anyone (within a certain age range) can try out, and some will indeed go on to succeed and find fame and fortune. That’s probably one of the big reasons the show is a hit. We like to see ordinary, everyday folks like ourselves achieve their dreams, and watching it unfold makes for great tv.

As I mentioned earlier, there are age limitations on this particular American dream, but I know about another opportunity — another dream — that is open to all. God offers to forgive our sins (yes, we’ve all done wrong things) and to give us eternal life in heaven with Him if we will believe in His Son Jesus and ask Him to be our Savior and Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV) That’s right — eternal life for “whosoever”, for anyone. And Romans 10:13 tells us that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Wow. A dream that is possible for anyone and everyone. I’ve called on the name of the Lord. Join me, won’t you?

*Anybody else out there watch American Idol? Confess it with a comment :)

*Flickr photo by BestWDW

As Requested…

A few of you requested recipes for a couple of the yummy chocolate treats that rated as favorites when everyone entered the Valentine’s Giveaway last week. This is a bit of a departure from what I might normally post, but far be it from me to deprive you of the roadmap to some sweet chocolate destinations :) I will include a couple of our family favorites as well.

As you prepare to feed your chocolate sweet tooth, let me encourage you to nourish your soul with something equally as satisfying — God’s Word. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight…” Jeremiah 15:16a

Oreo Truffles (from Heather)

1 package of Oreo cookies
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 package of almond bark-chocolate

Crush the cookies in the food processor until a fine powder. Then mix the cream cheese and cookie powder together. Roll mixture into balls. Place on wax paper and chill for about an hour. Then melt the almond bark and dip the balls into the chocolate. Then place on wax paper and chill until ready to serve. I like to drizzle white chocolate over the truffles. You can also dip them in white chocolate and drizzle with regular chocolate.

Lose Weight Chocolate Cake (from Norma)

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. boiling water
1 pkg. (16 oz) angel food cake mix
1 1/4 c. water
1 T. instant coffee powder
1 1/2 c. skim milk (or 1%)
1 pkg. Dream Whip whipped topping mix (can use Cool Whip)
1 pkg (1.4 oz) sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 10×15 in. jelly roll pan (or 10×13) with waxed paper. Whisk together cocoa, sugar, and boiling water. Cool to lukewarm.
2. Prepare cake mix per pkg. directions, using 1 1/4 c. water and adding cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 20 minutes or until top looks dry. Invert onto wire rack. Remove pan and paper. Cool.
3. In medium bowl, dissolve coffee in milk. Add topping and pudding mixes. Beat on low until moistened. Then beat on high until soft peaks form. Chill 5 minutes.
4. Cut cake crosswise into thirds (2 layers is fine – can be hard to do 3 layers. Norma used flat-edged cookie sheet as a large spatula to help separate the layers without tearing them to pieces). Cover each layer with topping. Stack. Chill for 2 hours. Serves 10. Per slice – 261 calories, 1.5 g. fat, 427 mg sodium

**Norma plans to try it in 2-3 round cake pans without splitting into layers.

Chocolate Sheet Cake (we love this with homemade ice cream!)

Mix in large bowl:
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt

In a sauce pan, put 2 sticks of margarine, 4 T. cocoa, and 1 c. water. Bring to a quick boil and pour over the above mixture. Stir. Then add:

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk (1/2 T. vinegar to 1/2 c. milk)
1 t. soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla

Beat. Bake in a greased and floured jelly roll pan at 400 for 20 min. or until done. About 10 min. after putting cake in the oven, make the icing. Spread over cake a few minutes after taking it out of the oven.


1 stick of margarine
4 T. cocoa
6 T. milk

Bring to a boil and add 3 3/4 c. powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and 1/2 – 1 c. chopped nuts.

Magic Cookie Bars

1 stick margarine, melted
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. chocolate chips
1 1/3 c. flaked coconut
1 1/3 c. (15 oz can) Borden’s Eagle Brand

Melt margarine in bottom of 9×13 pan. Add rest of ingredients one by one on top of each other. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over melted margarine, chopped nuts carefully over crumbs. Then distribute chocolate chips over nuts, flaked coconut evenly over chocolate. Pour Eagle Brand over all. Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into small squares.

*Flickr photo by mescon

On The Job

Old man winter snuck into town during the wee hours of Thursday morning, and by the time he crawled on through, he left us with about a foot of snow. I shot this picture that day from an area just outside our front door that had been protected from the drifts.

Most things came to a standstill in our community on Thursday. School was canceled and appointments rescheduled. Many who made it to work got to leave early before things got worse. Our paper didn’t arrive until sometime the next day. The streets, covered in the white stuff, stayed almost deserted.

It wouldn’t have surprised me not to get mail that day either, but the mail truck pulled into our neighborhood late that afternoon. The good ole mail service — not much can stop them, can it? They may get there late, but they get there. (The flood here last summer did stop them for a day or two, but that was probably because the mail couldn’t make it into town.)

The next day I watched our letter carrier trudge through yards where sidewalks had not yet been shoveled. The snow slowed him down, but he didn’t let it stop him. All over town, I’m sure the same scene was taking place. The U.S. Postal Service — faithful to do the job, persevering in spite of obstacles.

They set quite an example, don’t they? I want to live in such a way that people will be able to say the same of me. How about you?

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

*My photo