Thursday, October 27, 2016

Your friend's money

I have a newfound love of podcasts, and one that I am especially inspired by is Dave Ramsey.

I'm not all gung-ho about every aspect of his financial peace plan, but we are super frugal and have plenty of financial goals, so I find it inspiring to listen to. Plus, his EveryDollar app is amazing.

That said, he said one thing on a podcast a couple of days ago that really hit home to me. He said if your friend gave you $1,000 to watch over, not to keep, and said "I want you to give away $100 immediately to my church," it wouldn't be hard at all. After all, it's not your money. Of course you're going to do with their money what they want done with it.

Well, the money in our bank account, that's not ours either. It's God's. He has simply given it to us to watch over for him while we're on this Earth. So, it shouldn't be hard to give that first 10 percent back to his church in a tithe should it?

Those are my, Dave's really, brief thoughts for the day.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cinnamon Star Twist bread

Those who know me know that I love to bake. I enjoy cooking, but I LOVE to bake.

So when I was spending a weekend with my parents, I had an entire day free. That meant watching the Hawkeyes slaughter Purdue and baking.

My mom pulled out a recipe she had found in a magazine that she wanted me to make, so I went for it. It actually turned out quite perfectly! I posted it on Facebook and people asked for the recipe, so here is my tweaked version!

Cinnamon Star Twist
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Chopped walnuts, optional

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve yeast in water until foamy, approximately 10 minutes. Combine milk, egg, 1/4 cup butter and sugar. Add to yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of flour (or a little more) until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead in enough to make it smooth and elastic. Knead for about seven minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four portions. Roll one portion into a 12-inch circle and place on a 14-inch greased pizza pan. Spread some of the melted butter on top and sprinkle with a mixture of the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Repeat layers with the rest of the dough and topping.

Place a round glass or cutter (don't push down) on top of the dough in the center of the circle. With a sharp knife, make 16 evenly spaced cuts from round center to edge of dough. Remove center glass or cutter, grasp two strips and rotate twice outward. Pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining strips.

Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Mix the glaze ingredients and use a spoon to swirl across the top.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Is unconditional love real?

I love you no matter what.

No matter what.

No matter what?

We were listening to Dennis Prager talk about that odd phrase, that we actually use quite often. We tell our spouses, our children, our parents that we will love them unconditionally. But think about what unconditional really means --- would we continue to love them if they beat us? What if they tried to kill you? What if they beat or tried to harm your children? What if they stole your life's savings and got you kicked out of your home? Would you really love your family members then?

Prager talked about how odd it was that we say we would love people unconditionally, when that probably isn't true. We might love them if even they did terrible things, but I'm sure there is an end to our love. There is something that would put us over the line to the point that we would no longer associate with our family member anymore.

Then in church today, the pastor talked about the fact that Jesus loves us unconditionally, and I started to think that this is really unconditional love. Jesus loves abusers. He loves rapists. He loves murderers. He wants people to repent and come to him, literally, no matter what they have done.

He loves us despite what we have done in the past, what we have done today, what we will do in the future.

While true unconditional love might not exist on earth, as much as we might like to think that it does, unconditional love from our heavenly father truly does exist. And that is amazing.