Monthly Archives: December 2011

While The Biscotti Bakes


I have a lot of choices while the biscotti bakes. I could start laundry, do the dishes, pick up around the house, read facebook posts, or even watch tv. But today I decided to write in my journal and read a little. At one point I looked out the window and had to write about this.

I’m reading ‘Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places’ by Eugene Peterson. Today’s chapter is titled ‘Exploring the Neighborhood in History’. The first paragraph reads:

“When we first look around the neighborhood we are struck by the sheer profusion of life – a rose in blossom, a red-tailed hawk in flight, a cat on the prowl. White oak and blue whale, amoeba and giraffe give fresh and eloquent witness to a mystery that ever eludes us but never, if we take the time for it, fails to put us on our knees in adoration. This is especially the case with human life. Every time a baby is born the gospel is preached. The virgin birth of Jesus provides the *kerygmatic center to all this world of experience in which we receive the revelation of God as Christ plays in creation.”

With Christmas approaching these were good words to ponder. I also had a conversation with a friend yesterday that bought a new perspective on these words. I thought about those involved in birthing human life and their role in this kind of preaching of the gospel.

This is what I’m thinking about today, while the biscotti bakes.

I had to look this up: *kerygma definition noun

  1. preaching of the Gospel
  2. emphasis on the essence and spirit of the Gospel, as in preaching, catechesis, etc.

Related Forms: kerygmatic adjective


Staking Plants


While placing the last of the biscotti dough on a pan to bake, I noticed through my kitchen window a small tree with a stake next to it. The stake was placed there to keep the tree upright as it grew. There was a stretchy plastic tie attached at one time but it’s no longer there.  The tree seems to be standing on its own so I was thinking maybe I should remove the stake now. But then I thought, “What if a strong wind storm comes and there is nothing in the ground to tie it to?”  I decided to leave the stake in place maybe just one more year.

Plants that are left to grow ‘naturally’ don’t need to be staked. This particular tree is actually a shrub forced to be a tree. It has pink blooms in the spring and it’s been pruned to be shaped like a lollipop. I don’t think there is a tree that naturally grows in the shape of a lollipop.

As I was thinking about this I thought about how similar parenting seems to be. When our children were very young we were firmly planted close enough to keep a strap attached tight enough to keep them from falling over but loose enough so that their own roots would become strong. As they grew the strap was lengthened and stretched out from the pulling away they and the elements necessitated.

One child’s stake has been removed from the soil but it’s still in the same yard, back by the trash cans. The other child’s stake is still close beside him but there is no strap attached. It’s almost time to remove the stake but I keep thinking, “What if a strong wind storm comes?”

Truthfully if and when the strong wind comes it will most likely be in the dark of night with me asleep in bed. It is doubtful that I will run down in the rain and wind and place a plastic tie on this shrub turned tree. And our adult child will most likely chafe against any ties designed to keep his trunk straight in the wind.

At some point the stakes must be removed and the tree is left to either grow or be knocked down. Most trees don’t really fall all the way to the ground (although some do), most trees just lean if they’ve experienced repeated strong winds. But every gardener places these plants with their future beauty and maturity in mind, so it makes sense to start out with the stake and plastic tie.

A wise gardener prunes each plant based on it’s species, learning it destined shape rather than forcing it into a shape that will require life-long attention. We tried to do this with both our children, discover their God given shape and as they grew giving them freedom to live out the shape they choose. But it’s not easy to remove the stake completely, especially when the leaning starts to show and the sucker branches grow up from the roots keeping the top from flowering.

I’ll watch from the window and see what’s in store for these little trees. I anticipate the Spring when I’ll enjoy the flurry of pink blossoms. I choose to enjoy their beauty and not worry about the coming storms, misshapen form or possible uprooting. It’s time to remove the stake.

Cranberry Orange Scones


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 T. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2 T. sugar

1 T. grated orange zest

½ cup butter, room temperature

2/3 (or more) cup buttermilk

1 cup (or less) dried cranberries


½ cup powdered sugar

1 T. fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk or sift together. Cut in butter with pastry blender until crumbly. Add orange zest and cranberries, stirring to loosely mix together. Add buttermilk in the center and stir until all is moistened. Add more spoonfull at a time if it doesn’t stick together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead just until it forms a smooth ball (2 or 3 three turns, don’t overwork it will be tough).

Shape into one or two discs (one for large scones, two for smaller scones) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Cut into 8 wedges each and pull 1 inch apart for crunchy edges and leave closer together for soft edges. (They can be frozen at this stage and then allowed to thaw about 10 minutes before baking Christmas morning, may take longer to bake.)

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool on wire rack.

Glaze: Mix powdered sugar with orange juice to desired thickness, drizzle over scones (if they are still warm make glaze thicker or it will just melt off). Serve warm or room temperature. Makes 8 large or 16 small scones.



Our family at the beginning of Wedding Weekend….blessed.


My husband walking our daughter down the isle on her wedding day; she was relaxed, happy, beautiful, gracious, full of love and sparkle…blessed.

Our daughter and son-in-law enjoying the reception as the new Mr. and Mrs. Block….blessed.