Tuesday, December 27, 2011


            The Christmas season has come upon us and passed by so quickly... as it does every year. I was planning on writing this blog earlier...but I was too busy eating cookies. This year I have been fascinated by the cyborg element of Christmas.           
             Typically when we think of the word cyborg, images of half machine-half humans come to mind. However this term really just means the human body in direct collaboration with something else. According to theories by Derrida and Harraway it can include a blending with animal body parts such as a primate heart in a human body. It can even include our use of language (an invented tool) that allows us to think and speak. I want to take that concept a little bit farther and include Jesus as a cyborg, a blending of two things.
            Yahweh had unlimited options of how to get his son on earth: he could have materialized him at age 30, he could have had him be mary and joseph's son, or he could have had him arrive in a whirlwind of fire. But instead, he chose to partner WITH humanity. He overshadowed Mary and created his son as a hybrid of humanity and divinity, fully God and fully human.
           This is the supreme example of what he wants his church to look like. Ever since pentecost Jesus' followers have been cyborgs, fully human and yet filled with God in the person of the Holy Spirit. Our physical bodies are temples for God. God is not interested in doing everything for you while you sit on the couch. God is certainly not interested in you doing everything for him while he sits on the couch. Instead he is looking for a marriage.
         He called his church his bride for a reason, he wants to do things WITH us. When Mary partnered with God it created the most beautiful thing this earth has ever seen, Jesus. In this next season, let's partner with God and see what beautiful cyborgs (partly God, partly human) we can birth.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Songs of Freedom

In Your Arms

by, Meredith Andrews

I’m turning the world off
Embracing the silence
Walking away from all the voices
That are Screaming in my ear
I've been too caught up
I've been so stressed out
All of the noise replaced the whisper
That used to be so clear
So I close every door
Put my face back on the floor
And I'm in Your arms
Where I belong
There's no other place for me
Than right where You are
Some things just don't change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I'm in Your arms
I’m letting my fears go
Giving You control
For You are the one who holds me closer
In my soul's darkest night
Everything I see
Is so temporary
So help me to run the race before me
With eternity in sight
Now I close every door
Put my face back on the floor
To sit at Your feet
At Your table of mercy
To gaze on Your beauty, my Lord
To drink from Your well
And be changed by Your glory
How could I ask for more
Jesus, how could I ask for more


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drama queen...or...Poet?

My whole life I have been labeled:

“drama queen”
                                                             “overly sensitive”


Granted, some of those instances I really was just being a pain in the butt. However, a discussion I had in my M.F.A. poetry workshop tonight helped me see myself in a new light. Perhaps this hypersensitivity is a positive quality in my life and not something I should wish to brush under the doormat.

Writers, and poets more specifically, are keen observers, sensitive to the world around them, aware, and not asleep. This is not some fancy way of saying, “ all poets are super emotional.” Instead it is the highest compliment (which, yes, I am indulging in giving myself as a poet). Poets, as discussed in class, are watchers of the world, unafraid to point out the injustices, inconsistencies, and oddities. When most can turn a blind eye and deaf ear to an issue for “convenience” or “comfort” it is the poets sensitivity that will force those issues onto the page until they are heard loud and clear, their words perhaps opening the blind eyes and deaf ears. If I may be so bold as to use this verb, they must endure this sensitivity so that they can be watchtowers for society.

Poets are unafraid of asking questions of the ineffable, pushing beyond even what language can express. They can push beyond mortality, ask questions that stir souls, and baffle readers with an entire experience in a few words.

I’ll stop this self-congratulating now and commission writers out there:

Accept this sensitivity as a gift…
Push boundaries farther than you feel comfortable with…
Watch the world around you with everything you have….
Write the truth; write with complete presence of mind heart and soul…

It feels good to find a niche, to realize my personality plays into something I love. So from now on I am going to try and embrace my hypersensitivity and be happy to be a watcher and feeler of the world around me to the fullest extent.

Merry cheer and light,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can I getchya s'more cupcakes, ma'am?

There is nothing more American than toasting marshmallows over a campfire, squishing them between sweet honey graham crackers, and watching chocolate bars melt in the concoction. It screams of fall and camping and childhood memories to me. 

Soooo, when my nephew's first birthday party arrived and the theme was camping, I was on a search for the BEST  s'more cupcake recipe, and believe me, I've found it. They combine a rich chocolate cake, savory graham cracker crust, melted chocolate center, and light fluffy marshmallow frosting, perfection!

These babies are tedious to make, but (and I don't say this lightly) completely worth it. This might be the most delicious cupcake I've ever eaten. Cute too, right?

I've adapted them from foodbuzz.com


2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 large eggs
 1 cup whole milk
 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (this is a time consuming job, a few bigger chunks won't hurt the recipe a bit) 


1. Preheat the oven to 350 

 2. Mix the 2 cups & 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix ingredients together on low speed.
3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set aside. 

4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
*I used a potato masher to smash graham crackers. After that experience I would say a food processor would be a much better idea. They don't need to be perfect, either way.

5. Place 1 overflowing tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. The remaining graham cracker mixture is for the topping.

 6. Place a thin layer of chocolate  over the graham cracker crust...it should cover the crust. Transfer to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before removing.


 8 large egg whites
 2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 


1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. 
2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately. 
*If the frosting is runny try adding powdered sugar and meringue powder

Then add a piece of hershey's chocolate and a wedge of graham to garnish, it's just like camping! Without showering in a river!

Party idea:
I had a lot of leftover frosting so I made it a dip for "mini do it yourself s'mores" on a platter and people were loving it!

These are a lot of work but so worth it for this little guy:
Happy Birthday Carter!
Aunty Mongo

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chocolate Pear Tort

So, whenever autumn hits my fever for baking returns. And what says fall like pears? 

adapted from: 
This recipe is super easy but actually was a bit too bland for my taste. I suggest adding 2 tbsp. of cinnamon and nutmeg to your water when you poach your pears, adding some kick to the chocolate custard with cinnamon, and dusting the top of the tort with a sugar and cinnamon mixture to give it that warm holiday taste. 

Also, just to keep things easy I used a frozen pie crust, but of course feel free to make your own crust dough.

For the poached pears
5 ripe Bosc pears
4-5 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

*add 2 tbsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp nutmeg for added kick

For the custard (from Once Upon a Tart)
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

*add 1 tbsp cinnamon if desired

2 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon to glaze (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Thaw the pie crust.

2. Next, peel, halve and core the pears. Bring 4-5 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil in a large saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Put in the teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir to combine. Gently place the pears in the water (add more water if needed to completely cover the pears), lower the heat, and cook at a low boil until the pears are just tender when pierced with a fork (but not mushy). For me, this was around the 10-15 minute mark. Drain the water and set the pears aside.

4. Whisk the egg and the egg yolk lightly in a medium-sized bowl. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. In a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over an inch of gently simmering water so that the bowl bottom doesn't touch the water) melt the chocolate with the cream, stirring and folding with a heat-proof spatula to combine into a smooth and shiny ganache. Stir in the 1/4 cup sugar and cook a few minutes more, until the sugar has melted. Set aside to cool.

5.  Carefully transfer your pear halves to a cutting board and, holding each pear with one hand to keep it intact, carefully slice into thin slices. To fan out the pear slices, press the wide end of the pear gently towards the narrow end. Slide the knife under the fanned pears and arrange them in a circle inside the tart pan. As the tin becomes fuller make a double layer of pear slices

6. To make the custard, slowly dribble about 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. This warms the eggs, preventing them from cooking. Add the rest of the chocolate in a steady stream and stir to combine.

7. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart pan, pouring as much as possible around the pears rather than on top of the pears. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the chocolate custard is puffed and set (it will be firm to the touch and slightly cracked around the edges). Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

8. Remove the tart from the tart pan and slide onto a plate. If desired, brush the pears with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar and serve slightly warm with icecream and chai tea lattes

Mine didn't look at good as the picture of the finished product on the top of the blog, but yours may :) happy eating.

Monday, August 8, 2011

VICTORY...thanks grandpa.

A few months ago my grandpa passed away, today he gave me a gift.

I have BIG dreams in life, I want to change this place before I go, I want to make a difference and help people. I want to hold the victims of sex trafficking and let me them cry their stories until there is nothing left to be said, I want to feed the children in this world until they are full enough to run after the dreams they were created to fulfill, I want to love my husband with everything I am and be super woman for my children. I want to be a force to be reckoned with and a friend who can always be relied on. I want to be beautiful and loving and fierce and strong.

But today doubt crept in, I felt defeated, unworthy, and hopeless. Mostly I felt alone.

So what else was there to do? I prayed. I crawled into bed and cried, I wept and asked Jesus why I was still single, why I still have a crappy job, why I felt so small, and mostly just asked him to hold me. He did and I slept for a few minutes. when I woke something had shifted. I didn't feel great, I just felt like I wasn't going to give up. I turned on some worship music and just declared that He was big enough in me to do anything through me and WITH me. His love is so much bigger than anything we could ever fathom. How could I feel alone and unimportant? All those dreams I have of fairy tale romance are already true in my life...the prince I've always dreamed of, gave up everything and died for me so he could be with me. He is ravished by me!

I kept repeating "I am victorious! I am Victorious! I am victorious! I am victory! I AM victory!"

That was weird...why did I say I AM victory...like it was my name? And then I remembered a funny story my family always told growing up. When I was born my grandpa hated my name, he refused to call me natalie and for the first year of my life called me Victoria. We used to laugh about how weird and stubborn he was for doing that. But now, I've taken a different perspective.

Perhaps my grandpa felt something about me ...like that name was just right for me.

Gender: Feminine
Pronounced: vik-TAWR-ee-ə (English)  [key]
Feminine form of VICTORIUS, though later it was regarded as coming directly from Latin victoriameaning "victory". It was borne by a 4th-century saint and martyr from North Africa. Though in use elsewhere in Europe, the name was very rare in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when Queen Victoria began her long rule of Britain. She was named after her mother, who was of German royalty. 

Gender: Feminine
Pronounced: vik-TAWR-ee-ə (English)  [key]
Means "victory" in Latin. Victoria was the Roman goddess of victory.

From a young age I had victory spoken over me...so, no matter what happens I will remember that I don't need to strive for victory, that in Christ it is just who I am. He who is victorious lives in me so I no longer need to struggle, I AM victory, I AM Victoria. So thank you PaPa for seeing something in me that I would one day need to be reminded of, for seeing victory in me when I was too small to show it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our beautiful Generation

This is a a new song...a song of our generation...

think about what answers 

::you have:: 
available to the             ..questions.. 

the people around you 

are asking.

Helplessness Blues
by, Fleet Foxes

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don't, I don't know what that will be
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

What's my name, what's my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
I don't need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say "sure, take all that you see"
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me

And I don't, I don't know who to believe
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I'll come back to you someday soon myself

If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
And you would wait tables and soon run the store

Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
Someday I'll be like the man on the screen 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the art of play.

I haven't written in AWHILE! School has been so busy, but in this busyness God is reminding me of the importance of play in His kingdom. I have been so caught up in studying, learning, working, earning, striving, juggling, etc. that when I slow down I just want to sleep or turn off my mind or pray quietly in my room. All of those things are good, but I need to remember that God gave me the ability to laugh and again and again reminds us in scripture to be childlike.

So here, in the midst of my finals week and in the first week of summer for most people I just want to take a minute and remind you of PLAYFULNESS.

On Saturday night I went to see "Midnight in Paris" with my cousin, Heidi. Overall it was a silly love story but it had all the great modernist writers and artists in it ..
                TS Elliot

you get the point.

The movie was based around people who moved to Paris to dream and create art. I was so jazzed...I want to do that! Maybe not Paris, but I want to live an adventurous life full of art and spontaneity and beauty!

Anyhow, after the movie we felt like little girls..seriously, we were ridiculous. We ran to cold stone and get ice cream, yum. Drove back to my house, put on PJs, sweaters, and of course 1920s hats and grabbed some blankets and books. We sat out under the stars and read aloud to each other for two hours... poetry and short stories and maybe some of my stuff I'm working on :)

It sounds so silly now, but it was so nice to be swirled up in fun, to not feel the weight of responsibility, to be a child who knew how to play still.

That's all, very simple, just a call for you to have fun this week :) 

Be young at heart.
"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me..." Matthew 18

Saturday, February 5, 2011

mid terms

As mid-terms of my final months in college come upon me...I think I'll put this creepy woman I randomly found on the internet as my laptop's background to remind myself to enjoy these last few months of essays, lack of sleep, way too much chocolate, and crying.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

new uses.

random fact about myself: whenever I am cleaning up my car or snack trash from a table I stuff everything I can into water bottle...total waste of time but I love condensing everything.

Water bottles can be useful in a lot of ways. Consolidating trash. Sandals. recycled into new products in factories. Made into art.

How can you re-use the ordinary things around you to change the world?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hiking in puddles with dogs.

A Sense of Wonder.

This is how God made me feel today:          

"They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed."
              And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventerous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delighful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer."
-The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. ( C.S. Lewis)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Artist's Game of Telephone.

I am reading this blog for class that was featured in the Huffington Post that is amazing. It is called 7 Rings; An Artist's Game of Telephone. One day a poet posts a poem and a visual artist has 24hrs to respond to the poem with a painting. That painting becomes the next day's post and a new poet has to respond to that painting in the next 24hrs. That poem becomes the next post, and the game goes on and on like that. It is really interesting so I thought I'd share it.

ring ring ring     (<-- click)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2 random thoughts.

As I spent some time in prayer this Sunday evening at home, I felt two random thoughts come to the forefront of my mind. I thought I'd share them:

1) I took a trip to Mammoth last week with my quirky Antioch Family. My friend Jae got a vision from the Lord that really shook me up. He said he saw an arm with really strong forearm muscles and really strong biceps, but the joints in the elbow, wrist, and shoulder were extremely weak. He felt like this represented the church. Individuals are strong but if our connections to other parts of the body are weak we are essentially ineffective. This year let's focus on strengthening not only ourselves but also on connecting more than ever to other believers. I dare you to ask God who in your church to love on this week, who to bless with an encouraging note (not a love note, that is stalking), who to buy a small gift for, who to go to lunch with, who to call that maybe you feel awkward around, etc...let's BE the church.

2) I try to remember as often as I can to pray for the victims of human and sex trafficking. In my opinion it is the worst crime the world has ever seen, it breaks the Lords heart and consequently my own. Today while I was praying the Lord led me to pray not only for the enslaved but also the captors. It felt weird, honestly. But we are to love our enemies, right? I prayed that the people at the head of this evil "business" would be softened, healed, and fall in love with Jesus. I realized that if they become radical lovers of Jesus, they would be absolutely the most effective people at tearing down the entire operation. So it doesn't have to be human trafficking, but whatever you are passionate about, pray for the people who look like the bad guys. If we can turn the bad guys of all crimes into Christians...what will the victims have to fear anymore? Pray big in 2011, God is moving like crazy..

that's all. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Maya Angelou and 2011

I don't know if everyone can feel it...but most of the people I've heard from can...the excitement of this new year. 2009 passed without much exuberance the same as 2003 and 1994. But something about this new year is different, something about 2011 is worthy of celebration and jubilee. The Spirit of God is moving in a new way, ready to pour out fresh blessings and revelation and growth.

On 1/1/2011 the Lord put it on my heart to read poetry every night before going to bed. I didn't think I owned any books that I hadn't read yet, but I found one on the shelf called Celebration, by, Maya Angelou. The very first poem in the collection shook me to the core. It almost felt prophetic. It encapsulated all of the things people had been talking about for the upcoming year, all of the things the Lord had been laying on my heart for 2011. As if the butterflies in my stomach weren't enough for me to know that the Lord was using this poem to speak to me....the next night I went to see Narnia (which is amazing) with some friends of mine (Mady and Maritza). Afterwards we went to Borders to look at the C.S. Lewis books and in the church theology section between Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters was a very familiar book. In the completely wrong section was Celebration by Maya Angelou, just waiting for me.

We all sat down in the aisle and I read the poem to the girls. We made some  Nietzsche fans upset because we were blocking their section for the next 15min as we prayed, but it was a powerful time with God. Anyhow I thought I'd share this poem with you, I've bolded the parts that really stuck out to me.

On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here. 

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words 

Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me,
But do not hide your face. 

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side.

Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers -- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought,
Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours -- your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream. 

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness. 

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country. 

No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here, on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, and into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope --
Good morning.