Will this be cute in 10 years?

Thanksgiving 2015As the kids were growing up, when they’d do something slightly naughty or disrespectful we often asked ourselves, “Will this be cute in ten years?”

It wasn’t hard to guess. Emily was the assistant house mother for around 40 teenage girls. And there were a couple hundred teenagers at the boarding school. We could easily imagine our kid’s behavior in “teenage clothes” and realize that it wasn’t something we wanted to encourage.

And it has paid off. Big time.

Our kids are now 16, 13, and “almost 11.” And they are a blast.

Take our dinner conversations for example. Yesterday was my birthday. Our conversation ranged from:

  • Different forms of birth control – I shared my mother’s womb with a Dalkon shield so that tends to come up on my birthday
  • To a quote from the IT crowd – Moss’ “My ears are not a toilet!”
  • To lines from “The Banana Song – “Guac-amole, Gauc, Guac-a-mo-oh-oh-le”

Sure they’re human. But they are nice humans

In thinking about our dinner last night, I remembered that “Will this be cute in 10 years” question. Sure, our kids are human. Like the rest of us so they have good days and bad days. But I’m really glad we asked that question all those years ago. Because our kids are a delight.

And if you’re interested in that last song…here it is. You can’t un-hear it.

Wandering or following a calling? Thoughts in Advent

“While other people wandered the mall wondering, our kids were following a calling.”

My friend Jon Swanson wrote this about the treasure hunt they led their kids on in a mall. But today, I’d encourage you to take a second look at the wandering person you care most about. Could it be that they are following a calling that you simply don’t understand?

Wandering and following may look the same from the outside

They might not understand the calling either. They may just be trying hard to figure out the next clue. And they may be feeling incredibly lonely and exposed doing it.

Might that help turn your with and nagging to kindness and trusting silence this Advent?

Read Jon’s entire post at http://300wordsaday.com/2015/12/01/anticipating-a-conversation/

Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Recipe

Wondering what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Yesterday, I wondered about using some Thanksgiving leftovers to make muffins.

Today, I created some! My base for the recipe was a Savory Sausage, Cheese and Oat Muffins recipe over on AllRecipes.com. But I made some modifications.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Recipe

1 1/4 C unbleached flour (we like King Arthur)
3/4 C old fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder (heaping)
1 tsp onion powder (heaping)
1/3 C butter (melted)
1 egg (beaten)
1 C milk (we use skim)
1 – 2 C leftover turkey (cut into small pieces)
1/2 – 3/4 C grated extra sharp cheddar (we like Cabot New York Extra Sharp)
Some cranberry sauce (the canned variety)

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (but wait to add the turkey and cheese).
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Fold in the turkey and cheese.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
    • Put some batter in to cover the base.
    • Add a spot of cranberry sauce.
    • Cover over the cranberry sauce with batter on top and sides.
      Putting the cranberry sauce in the Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffins
  7. Put the tin in the oven until the muffins are brown. I found this took about 15 minutes.
  8. Let tin cool on rack for 5 minutes.

The results? Yumminess!

Since it’s basically a turkey and cheese sandwich, I tried one with mustard. That made a nice lunch.

Thoughts for the next time I make the Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffins

These are moister than the normal chocolate chip and oat muffins I make every week. Next time I will let the muffins cool out of the muffin tin but on the wire rack before putting them on a plate.

Also, next time I will try using vegetable oil instead of melted butter. And I think I’ll add more cranberry sauce – the sweetness was nice. (I didn’t want to over do it this time and was very pleased that none of the sauce leaked out!)

To see more goofy pictures of the Lego muffin guy, look out for the #weeklymuffin on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Savory Muffin Success

No gotchas

There are so many surprises on the journey of entrepreneurship. One of them is with all the fees you can end up paying!

I knew I wanted to be able to take credit cards for my FundraisingCoach.com work. But when I signed up for a merchant account, no one warned me about the “gotchas”! Between the bank, the merchant account, Authorize.net, and the credit card companies, there were lots of opportunities for fees. I wonder if all the layers re to make these fees seem less significant. And these fees were removed automatically from my bank account. I know it’s the cost of doing business but I didn’t like the roller coaster ride. I’d see sales happen so I’d think I’d made a certain amount of money. But there was less in my account than I expected due to them taking fees out multiple times a month.

A few months ago, I started with Infusionsoft Payments. One thing I love about Infusionsoft Payments is how straightforward it is. What is sent to my account is mine to keep. No games, no gotchas.

And no gotchas lets me focus on what I love doing: helping my clients and creating new content!

When “safe” no longer is…and possibly never was

Sunday, my family and I worshipped at an A.M.E. church in our new home city of Greenville, South Carolina. We’d been intrigued and slightly annoyed at the lack of diversity in all the congregations we’d been too. So we decided we wanted to try an A.M.E. church.

It wasn’t until I entered the sanctuary that I realized how much white privilege affects me.

Crossing the threshold to worship, I remembered that it was a white guy who shot A.M.E. members, after praying with them. In their own church. In the same state I was in.

And with all I’d thought about prior to attending a black church, I had not in the least considered that my presence may have set them on edge. I desperately wanted to reach out and let people know we weren’t like the white guy who’d traveled to Charleston. But bringing up the shooting seemed even dumber than not being aware that my presence might be scary for some.

I remembered the lessons my dad taught me about how to behave if pulled over by a policeman. So to help set people at ease, I intentionally tried to keep my empty hands visible during the service. Fortunately, that’s not hard to do an an A.M.E. church! But it was a conscious choice to keep my hands on the empty pew in front of me when I wasn’t clapping or taking notes during the sermon.

And I wondered how it must be for the pastor to see one white family in the sea of his congregation. Just three months after nine people he may well have known were shot in their own sanctuary. Nothing can be the same. There must be a new awareness. A new wariness.

And today, I pray for the teachers and professors around the nation that are approaching their classrooms. Rooms that were once unquestionably their sanctuary. Their domain. Where they taught students. But today are now potentially unsafe places full not of students but of possible threats.

Church on Sunday turned out to be a wonderful worship service with a gracious group of fellow believers. We received only hospitality, welcome, and hugs. It was great.

But I end this week realizing how random acts of violence affect all of us. And I mourn the increasing loss of “safe” spaces. That mourning almost seems silly when I realize the violence people around the world suffer on a daily basis and even those of differing races and backgrounds have suffered in my own country.

So I enter the prayers of those around the world and across millenia in saying:

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison


Say what?!

And God said, โ€œI will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.โ€
– Exodus 3:12 NIV

Reading my 14 Minutes a Day reading today, I stumbled across Exodus 3:12 (quoted above.

I always think of Moses as a bit annoying. God says to go, so go, darn it!

But this verse jumped out at me. Basically God is saying, “Go confront the global power of the Earth on behalf of the oppressed. Just to prove this is from Me, after you’ve successfully completed all the tasks involved with confronting the leader of the world and taking what he sees as his stuff, you’ll be back in this very spot worshipping Me.”

Say what?!

Can you imagine Moses response to “As a sign to you, after you have done all this well, you will worship Me.” “Gee, thanks God. Would it be too inconveninent to also give me some help with the details? Did you notice they had an APB out for my arrest when I left? Or that my people have been slaves there for four hundred years? Or that my people didn’t even want my help the last time I tried? Just sayin’.”

Being in the midst of a move to Greenville, SC, I feel some of what Moses must’ve felt. Ok, we’re not (knowingly) going to right the wrong of centuries of oppression. Or to confront world powers by standing up for the poor and oppressed, although my wife and I do want to be more intentional in that.

But I do hear myself saying, “The movers would like to know where they’ll be delivering our boxes. Could You please look in Your address book and let us know too?” ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s all good. I know that. He’s moving things so fast.

  • Our house was under contract 8 days after the first showing.
  • When our son auditioned for a jazz program two weeks ago, he was accepted on the spot.
  • And every talk I’ve given since April has had someone either from Greenville or with a Greenville connection.

They’ve all been wonderfully helpful and hospitable. Still, I’m reminded me of the Smalltown Poets song “Hold it up to the Light.”

The search for my future has brought me here
This is more than I’d hoped for, but sometimes I fear
That the choice I was made for will someday appear
And I’ll be too late for that flight…

Now as soon as I’m moving, my choice is good
This way comes through right where I prayed that it would…

I guess God likes motion. So I’m glad we’re moving. And I’m so thankful that all our kids get to see this side of their Mom and Dad.

And I’m sure we’ll have an address before long.

You can hear the whole Smalltown Poets song right here:

If you want to hear the folksy intro from David Wilcox about how the song was written, go here: https://youtu.be/uPc1wZABLDM