Friday, November 16, 2012

Anne Lamott and Three Essential Prayers

Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Survival Prayers

Hot off the press, Anne Lamott's latest book is about prayer. It's small, barely over 100 pages, but every sentence packs a punch. It's one of those rare finds that churns me up inside, makes me weepy and a little uncomfortable, but also makes me feel like flinging myself forward into the wild and reassuring message like a kid launching a belly flop onto a pile of hot, clean laundry on Mom and Dad's bed. To say is "strikes a chord" doesn't quite capture it.

Favorite passages so far:
Imagining God can be so different from wishful thinking, if your spiritual experiences change your behavior over time. Have you become more generous, which is the ultimate healing? Or more patient, which is a close second? Did your world become bigger and juicier and more tender? Have you become ever so slightly kinder to yourself? This is how you tell [pg 21].
Domestic pain can be searing, and it is usually what does us in. It's almost indigestible: death, divorce, old age, drugs; brain damaged children, violence, senility, unfaithfulness. Good luck with figuring it out. It unfolds you, and you experience it, and it is so horrible and endless that you could almost give up a dozen times. But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on [pg 47, emphasis mine].

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Auntie Em's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love baking. Especially in the fall, when it gets dark early. The kitchen warms up with the oven and the smell of cinnamon makes the whole house feel cozy.

I've tweaked the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook version by adding more spices (nobody wants to eat a bland oatmeal cookie). I use a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (and sometimes ginger).

Fresh ground nutmeg is my new favorite.


Auntie Em's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup (softened) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup raisins or currants
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

Beat butter till light and airy. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Once combined, add eggs and vanilla. Add flour, then stir in oats and raisins with a wooden spoon (it'll be too thick for the egg beater).

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes (I take them out of the oven before they turn brown so they stay soft).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween 2012

On Halloween, my running group got together for our regular track workout. Even though it was pouring down rain, I wore a costume. If you're wondering how to make exercise more enjoyable, I highly recommend dress-up.

If it's a dark and stormy night and you're with fun-loving friends, all the better.

I was DRENCHED when I got home. But so happy.

Soggy feet, sideways rain, mud, cold, wind and darkness don't sound like the features of an enjoyable evening. But I had a blast. 

I'm learning that physical exertion is only part of the equation: regularly scheduled FUN is essential to my health.