April 26, 2011

The Lamb That Was Slain

Lambs are a special part of our faith history. Exodus 12:1-13 tells the story of the Jews being directed by God to pick out one perfect lamb for their household, kill it, eat it and paint the blood around their doorpost to avoid the killing of the first born male in their family. The blood of that lamb covering their doorway saved them from death. Death simply passed by their home that night. Each year, the Jews celebrated Passover as commanded by God to remember how he passed over them and saved them from death.

Many years later, a very special baby boy was born, Jesus, the Son of God. When Jesus began his ministry, John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to the crowds saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29b) So why is Jesus called a soft furry, stupid (have you met a lamb? I have! Not the brightest!) and smelly animal? That first passover the Jews celebrated, clothes packed, shoes on, fearful, clinging to each other and their faith in God was the first glimpse of salvation to come. God needed blood, perfect blood to cover the cost of sin. On that night, the blood of a perfect lamb saved the Jews, but it wasn't a one time payment. That one lamb wasn't enough. They had to make sacrifices often and live by a set of strict rules. This way of life went on for generations. God had a plan, though! He loves us so much that he made sure we had a way to cover our sins when the first bite from the forbidden fruit was taken. God loves, but he is just and fair. So, he did the unthinkable. He sent his son down to us. His one perfect son. A perfect lamb.

We don't sacrifice lambs anymore, or eat them at passover because the sacrifice has been made. It's done. Finished. Jesus did it for you and for me. He took the blows. He took the nails. Our perfect Jesus, who did nothing wrong took the weight of yours and my sin on his shoulders and willingly shed his blood to cover yours and my sin. On that fateful day at 3pm as his mother and dear friends looked on, Jesus cried out from the cross taking his last breath. He died. Jesus is the lamb of God. Undeserving of death, his blood saves me from my own sin. It gives me life that I don't deserve and a home in heaven with my Father. No catch, no more payments needed, no amount of good deeds to do or rules to follow, no more lambs to sacrifice. All I have to do is believe in Jesus. He is the Son of God!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
John 3:16-17


I had the privilege to design and make an Easter cake for a local Christian preschool. I am humbled by what our Father had tasked me with and the amazing inspiration of his Son, our lamb. The following is the story of salvation through Christ in the form of cake and cookies!

Jesus, the lamb of God
Jesus is a gift for everyone. A gift that comes out of love from the Father.
God sent his Son only because he love us.
When we believe in Jesus, we have a new life. We are not only changed
here in this life and act differently because we love Jesus, but we have eternal
life at the end of this earthly life. This is not the end, only the beginning!

April 18, 2011

Grouchy On the Outside, Sweet In the Middle

Two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday and despite the fact that my husband was away and also had not planned ahead before he left, it was a wonderful day. Last week, my husband arrived back home. One night after work, he brought home a gift: Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream and 4 cookies. Hmmm, he had my attention! Before I continue, lets look at the background information. We live in Okinawa, Japan. Though we have lots of military bases and shop mostly there, almost all the employees are Japanese and saying they know English is often a stretch. If you live in Okinawa, you understand.

Okay, now your ready for the rest. Brad explained that the cookies and ice cream where to make Oscar Sundaes, my absolute favorite from my childhood (10 brownie points getting my favorite ice cream and 20 for remembering my favorite dessert growing up)! My next question was, how on earth did he get the cookies?! Brad purchased everything from Baskin Robbins on base..... from Japanese people. He not only thought of the idea all by himself but he endured countless attempts to communicate with a very nice Japanese man that he wanted only the cookies and not the whole ice cream sandwich (30 additional brownie points for going to the trouble to get the right cookie tops for Oscar!).

I find it ironic that this yummy, sweet treat pays tribute to such a grouchy character. Despite his bad attitude, Oscar sure does taste good! We all struggle with a bad attitude some days. Each of us can be grouchy. How do we change our attitude? Look to your sweet center! Christ who's alive and active in you! Look to Jesus to shine through your bad attitude and see the sweetness that he made you to be.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

1Thessalonians 5:16-18

Oscar Sundae

You will need:

Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Chocolate cookies
Brown, black and green food coloring
4 piping bags with couplings
Tips 7 (round), 12 (round), 16 (star) and 67 (leaf)
Ramekins: one for each Sundae

Place one scoop of ice cream into each ramekin then top with one cookie angling at about 45 degrees. Allow to harden in freezer while preparing frosting.

Make one recipe of buttercream frosting. Add coloring to the frosting and place in pastry bags with the needed tip.

    Color:                Body Part:                   Tip:              
                                               green                                fur                                     #67                                   
                                               white                               eyes                                    #12
                                               black                              pupils                                  #7
                                              brown                          eyebrows                            #16

Remove one bowl from the freezer at a time. Working with the green frosting first, make fur on top of the ice cream. It shouldn't look perfect. The frosting will not want to stick to the ice cream. Press down with your tip just before pulling it away from the completed leaf. 

Add hands to Oscar by making a long leave coming out of the ramekin and then adding small leafs on top to create his fur.

Use the white frosting to make his eyes close to the cookie. Make his pupils with the black frosting.

The last touch is his eyebrows. Use your brown frosting with the star-tip to make rough eyebrows. Give them an upward slant for that grouchy look!

Freezer your Oscar Sundae until your ready to enjoy or eat immediately. Enjoy!

April 13, 2011

Delivering a Promise: Can It Be Done?

In cake decorating, a bad color can make or brake your design. The coloring product promises to deliver a certain shade and if it doesn't, there could be trouble! People try to promise a lot in this life and unfortunately some of those promises are not met. From our nations leaders to the ones we love, all are unable to meet every promise made. It's a consequence of the fall of man that occurred all those years ago when Eve made a bad choice to disobey God and take a bite of that apple. There is only one that fully backs any promises made: our heavenly Father. You can be sure that if he make a promise, it will be. End of story. His best promise of all is that of our salvation and the eternal life that comes as a result (1 John 2:25). Confess Jesus as your savior and God promises to bring you home to him in heaven. End of story. No questions asked. What an amazing Father we have!

All these colors remind me of another promise; the one he made before Noah. God promised Noah that he would never again flood the earth to destroy it and to remind Him of this promise, God set a bow in the clouds (Genesis 9:8-17). For a people that deserve total destruction, this is a really great promise and makes the promise of eternal life even more amazing! God is just, but the bow calms him from unleashing water from the clouds again to drown me out. On top of that he put the weight of my wrath on his son, Jesus. This is a promise of a Father who certainly has a deep love for his children.

I was blessed with a birthday gift of cake decorating supplies (thanks Mom...and Dad!) including new food coloring! Wanting to see which food coloring was really the best, Wilton or AmeriColor, I gathered each companies basic colors which promised to deliver the best colors to my boring white frosting.

My results show that both Wilton and AmeriColor have delivered on their promise with all the basic colors except red. Neither company was able to deliver on the packages promise to produce a vibrant red (Thanks to a tip from a friend, I know that adding pink to red food coloring will make a true red color. Go figure!). Wilton's colors are slightly more vibrant than AmeriColor, however AmeriColor's squeeze bottle made coloring much less messy and did not require use of a toothpick saving a little time. The two companies also have similar pricing of about $13 for a twelve pack of varying colors.

Promise (almost) delivered!

April 4, 2011

Lightening the Load

My to-do list seems to be endless! The list of commitments seems to get longer despite my best efforts to shorten it and before I know it my attempts to achieve a lighter load of priorities quickly doubled from my original load! How does this happen? I need to lighten my load! Any takers for some tasks?

The past few weeks I've been taking a closer look at the Jewish life before Jesus died. Talk about commitments! There was a ritual for everything along with an extensive rule book for daily life! Now that's a heavy load! I can certainly rejoice when Jesus tells us, " For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30, ESV) Jesus abolished all the old rules the Jews had to follow. Praise God because I don't know when I would have time to follow them! I do need to sleep at some point! In addition to giving us a light rule book (follow him, love others, confess and believe; I think I can do that!) he'll pick up the load of burdens for us and carry them. While I do need to ensure that I don't overcommit myself, there will still be days when there just isn't enough time. In those times, I can call on Jesus and he'll pick up all my tasks, carrying them while helping me accomplish each one.

While working on getting a lighter load, sink your teeth into a lighter treat!


2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almod extract
8 oz finely ground blanched almonds (about 2 cups)
30 whole almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with a non-slip mat or parchment paper.

Beat eggs whites in a mixer for 30 seconds then add salt and beat on medium high speed for 1 to 2 minutes until soft peaks form.

With mixer still on medium high speed, slowly add the sugar beating for 5 to 8 minutes until stiff and glossy. Stir in almond extract.

Fold in ground almonds using a rubber spatula.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop dough onto lined cookie sheets. 

Add an almond to the center of each cookie if desired.

Bake for 14 minutes until lightly browned rotating cookie sheets halfway through. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling racks. May be stored at room temperature for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes about 30 cookies.

*Access this recipe without pictures here.