Brownies are Beautiful

Make these. You know you want to:

4 squares bittersweet baking chocolate
1 1/2  sticks (10 T) butter –none of that margarine stuff! 
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 T dark Kahlua (vanilla works instead … or regular Kahlua)
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
can of dark chocolate frosting

Melt together the chocolate & butter. Pour into mixing bowl.

Beat in the sugar, then eggs & Kahlua (or vanilla). Then flour.  Stir in pecans.

Pour into a well greased & floured 9×9 pan.  Sprinkle choc chips liberally on top

Bake @ 350 for 30 min or till a toothpick comes out with crumbs (still a bit soft in the center).

Let cool & ice.

Aliens & Strangers

“So Eve saw that the tree was good for food, and goodly to look upon, and she took of the fruit and ate it. And she gave some to her husband, and he ate also.” 
“And God came down to walk in the garden in the cool of the day, but the man and woman knew that they were naked and they hid themselves.”

If selfishness is the defining attribute of the sin nature, then alienation or loneliness is its chief result. Eve saw the fruit and decided her own “need” to be “wise like God” (as the serpent told her) was more important than His law. As soon as the first couple ate of the tree, they plunged the human race into a mire of self-centered depravity.

In God’s good creation, He intended humans to live in a warm glow of fellowship and service for one another.  But self-centeredness, by definition, makes us incapable of forming real bonds with other people. Thanks to the Fall, the great chain of friendship lies shattered in a million links. Humans sit alone in the dark and cold, refusing to believe that a warm fire blazes in the Great Hall of the Father.

Our relationship with God works itself out in a hundred “models” here on earth – called friendships. Just as sin cut us off from the Healer and Light, our sin nature pushes us toward loneliness and isolation here on earth. It is the fate of fallen humanity—apart from God’s gracious intervention—to feel utterly alone.

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Depravity guarantees our blindness to goodness, truth, and beauty. The hallmark of our fallen state, biased eyes fail to acknowledge God’s good gifts and favor even when He waves them in front of our faces. Instead, we doubt His motives, call His gifts “evil,” and stubbornly sit in a corner alone to nurse our own catalog of life’s “injustices.”

The Trinity existed in perfect harmony with each other for eons before God created humans. Perfect love, perfect fellowship, perfect unity flows among the Three-in-One. Yahweh intended to share that beautiful gift with His creatures … and even our perverse depravity cannot entirely shut out the warmth of fellowship. “In those moments when we find sweet fellowship here on earth, it’s like a taste of heaven,” a friend remarked to me recently.

God does not need us … yet He chooses to put up with the petulant cries of darkened humans who reject His love, doubt His motives, and stomp on His gifts. I’m talking about Christians here—about myself … God’s own family members. We are the ones who have the most reasons to trust our Father, yet fail repeatedly to even bother.

It is when my own attempts to love someone are rejected out of hand, trampled, or thrown back in my face with contempt that I catch a slight glimmer of how much heartache it costs our Savior to do the daily, gritty, mundane work of Redemption.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem – how often would I have gathered you to Myself like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you would not.”

It’s not me, it’s you, Windows.

I have been using one of the school’s laptops off & on this year — it generally makes my life a lot easier and reduces the amount of time I was spending at the school building in the evenings. (At least I can sit on the couch and work instead of abandoning Coart for most of the evening.)

I should say I’ve been using several of the school’s laptops this year, because none of them has worked consistently.  The first one (we’ll call it “NCS 5”) met its untimely death when the new battery melted into the motherboard (while the laptop was sitting in my livingroom overnight!).

The second was just an interim — “NCS 6” showed up at my door during one of the 8th graders’ newsletter work sessions.  We had a short and noncommittal relationship.

In late December, I thought I’d finally found “the one” — “NCS 9.”  Despite being plagued by the same irritating design flaws as all the HP laptops owned by the school (I swear I will *never* buy a PC laptop, and certainly not one made by HP/Compaq), Nine and I hit it off.  I created my own user account. (Is that kinda like moving in? Or when the girl puts her shaving gel & deoderant in the guy’s bathroom?)  I customized Outlook for my email account.  I nabbed a cool picture from the scene performances as my desktop and installed all the quirky Firefox extensions to make my life simpler.  It was a good Christmas, despite the fact that Nine ate my Italy photo CD (anybody know how to get a REALLY jammed CD-R out of a CD drive??)

This morning, Nine wrote me the PC equivalent of “F-off” and shattered our idyllic existence:
Apparently the power cord got dislodged this AM (it happens *all* the time — one of the design flaws I hate) and the laptop (on standby) ran the battery down to zero.  When I booted the thing a few hours ago to start my day, Nine had no record whatsoever of my user account.

*blinks*

All my files.  All my drafted emails.  All my handy-dandy Firefox extensions.  Gone.
The default saccharin XP desktop photo (green grass/blue sky) stared back at me from a computer with total amnesia.  As far as it’s concerned, “Lori Ramey” had no effect on its life.

[insert stream of expletives]

I’m computer-savvy enough to locate my documents folder (buried in the system files) and transfer it to an iPod. But I have no idea why the user account just …. evaporated.  And the problem seems to be recurrent — on the latest reboot, the computer didn’t even remember that a Lori Ramey user account ever existed. *shakes head*  It’s like living a cyber-version of 50 First Dates.

Since it’s too early in the day to drown my woes in alcohol, I headed over to apple.com to fantasize about buying a MacBook Pro and ending my relationship with Windows for good. (Is it really adultery if you never loved him in the first place?)   Alas, even my imaginative brain can’t justify the hefty price tag of an Apple laptop….

…yet.

My students. We gave them permission to beat the daylights out of one of the defunct CPUs. So therapeutic for all involved. lol
My students. We gave them permission to beat the daylights out of one of the defunct CPUs. So therapeutic for all involved. lol