in which maranatha and queso go together

Maranatha. 

That word is like a breath of fresh air to my soul.

I first learned of it listening to a sermon on fasting a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It means “Come Lord Jesus, come.” It’s a urgent prayer, a desperate calling out, a if-you-don’t-show-up-then-I-have-nothing cry of the heart.

It was the cry of the early church; one of the few Aramaic words that didn’t need to be translated into Greek because the church said it so often that everyone knew what it meant.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus. The last words spoken by the church in the entire Bible. Followed immediately by the only other word that didn’t need translation from the original text: Amen.

The early church was hungry. Hungry for their Savior to return again. Hungry because they had tasted his perfect goodness, his love and grace, his power and truth and they could not possibly settle for anything less. Nothing of this world would satisfy. It had to be Jesus.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of fasting with a few of my college-aged friends. We talked about what fasting meant- that it was an urgent prayer, a physical expression of a deeper spiritual need for Jesus to come and reign in every aspect of our lives. We talked about how we so easily go to physical things of this world for false satisfaction- food, alcohol, social media, busyness, TV, boys, ourselves- and how at the end of the day, those things always fall short of Jesus.

And at the end of the fast, we broke it together in the only way that seemed appropriate living in Austin, Texas: with chips and queso and community. In the middle of Kerbey Lane, we shared stories of how Jesus showed up that day, of what he taught us. We confessed our weakness and our tendency to go to everything but Jesus, and maranatha became real to us. We laughed and enjoyed the sweet taste of cinnamon roll pancakes, and learned of the abundance we have in Jesus.

jamie_queso

IMG_0633

IMG_0628

We were reminded of his grace and love, of his power and truth, and our hearts grew with the cry of maranatha.

pancake-1

an easter tradition

If you’ve known me for longer than a year, then you know that my maiden name is Reese. 

You also know that, true to my name, I think the peanut butter/ chocolate combination is proof that God not only exists, but that he loves us very deeply. 

And for that reason, it’s only appropriate that this delightfully delicious combination would be highlighted around Easter. 

Growing up, I looked forward to Easter for a variety of reasons. Being a kid with a major sweet tooth (not much has changed on that front), one of the major reasons I loved this holiday was the Peanut Butter Easter Eggs that my mom would inevitably make. 

Peanut Butter Eggs

Peanut butter, mixed with rice krispies, butter and an ungodly amount of powdered sugar, dipped in chocolate, then put in the refrigerator to harden. It’s that simple, and that delicious. Every time I opened the refrigerator, they were quietly calling my name. My young self-control couldn’t bear it, and I would ultimately give in. It didn’t matter if it was 7am and I was on my way out the door to first period. I just needed a bite of that sweet peanut butter and chocolate. If I’m honest, not much has changed on that front either. I may have eaten one for breakfast this morning. Don’t judge me. 

The tradition started with my great-grandmother, and was passed down to my grandmother, my mom and now to me and my sister. Since I moved away from home to go to college, I’ve made my great-grandmother’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs every year.

This time around, I wanted to share the tradition with a few of my dear friends, Jane and Kelly. We had a blast hanging out, forming the peanut butter into egg-shaped balls, and messy-ing the kitchen with dipping chocolate. I got to share a part of my history with them through something as simple as a dessert recipe. I got to invite them in to my family, share with them something I love, and was reminded that life is sweeter when we live it together, when we are truly known even in the smallest details.  

As an Easter treat for all of you lovely people, I’ve included the super simple recipe below. Maybe you can invite some friends over, share the time together, and enjoy a nice little treat. 

Happy Easter, friends. 

—————————

My Grandmother’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs 

Ingredients: 

– 1 stick of butter 

– 2-3 C. Peanut Butter (I typically use smooth, but these are your eggs. You do whatever your heart desires.)

– 3 C. Rice Krispies (Completely optional, but adds a nice little crunch.)

– 1 box (16 oz) confectioners sugar (I told you it was an insane amount of sugar. Just don’t think about it. It’s fine.)

– Melting chocolate 

Instructions: 

Soften the butter for about 20 seconds in a microwave safe bowl. You don’t want it completely melted, just soft enough to mix in. Add the peanut butter, sugar and rice krispies in the same bowl and mix together until throughly combined. Form the peanut butter mixture into egg-shaped balls, and place on parchment paper. I typically line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy transferring to the refrigerator after dipping. Melt the chocolate either on the stove or in the microwave. The type of chocolate you use is completely up to you. My favorite is dark chocolate- the bitterness cuts the sweetness of the peanut butter perfectly. Once chocolate is melted, use a spoon or tongs to dip each egg into the chocolate. Once full coated, place dipped eggs back on the parchment paper. Refrigerate until the chocolate is hardened, or for as long as you can stand it without trying one. Store in the refrigerator, and there you go! I dare you to not eat one every time you open the refrigerator from now on. 

 

 

my life for the last month

When I think on all that has happened in the last month, it feels a little impossible. I’m pretty convinced that somewhere in there God slowed down time to enable everything to get done. 

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks, I’ve been working on this. The company I work for branded this event, so needless to say we’ve all been working late nights for the last month. The event happened this past week, and all the hard work was worth it when I realized that David Robinson was sitting right next to me at dinner on the last night. Yes, THE David Robinson. Taylor told me he wouldn’t believe it without a photo, so here you go. Please note that he is bending down a little in this picture, and I am definitely standing on my tip toes so we could both fit in the frame. 

photo

And somehow, in between the working until midnight and feeling like I didn’t do anything else except sleep, eat, work, repeat for an entire month, some other pretty great things happened. While they seemed stressful at the time, looking back I’m so thankful that they happened when they did because Lord knows I needed some happiness mixed in with my stress. 

Here’s a little recap of last month’s little moments of greatness: 

In January, my dear friend Katie asked Taylor and I if we would run the Warrior Dash with her in March. If you haven’t heard of this race, it’s similar to a Tough Mudder where you run, go through obstacles and ultimately, get really really muddy. Never ones to turn down an adventure, we obviously agreed. Plus, we got free beer at the end of it. I mean, what more could you want? 

It was a blast- climbing walls, running through mud, sliding down mud slides, crawling under barbed wire, trail running. Most of all, it was fun to do something new with two of my favorite people on this planet. 

IMG_5828Screen shot 2014-04-13 at 10.23.08 AM

The next weekend, one of my roommates from college, Rachel, got married in Dallas. My senior year I lived in a house with 10 girls, on a street in Austin named Enfield. Thus, we now refer to ourselves as Tenfield. Since graduating, we’ve kept in touch and made it a point to have reunions every so often. As you may guess, a wedding is a perfect opportunity for a reunion. Rachel looked gorgeous, and it was a blast getting to catch up with these great friends, and take way too many pictures in the photo booth. 

Yes, we still love Texas.
Yes, we still love Texas.

 

The next day, my sister-in-law Lindsay, got engaged! I mean, talk about a wedding weekend. My in-laws held an engagement party at their house on Saturday night, and it was just wonderful. Lindsay was so surprised, and so happy. It was incredibly special to be there, and get to celebrate Perry joining the family! 

10171895_10203520609158562_1821026116_n

 

And then last weekend, I hosted a bridal shower for my sister, Corrie, who is getting married in June. As tired as I was, I loved it. It was great getting to know her good friends better, and to host people in our home- something I’m hoping to do more now that work isn’t as crazy. We drank mimosas, ate four different kinds of cheese, fruit, and of course, chips and salsa. My mother-in-law, Betsy, baked the most delicious, gooey chocolate cupcakes and they were a complete hit. It’s such an honor to get to walk with my sister through this season, and I’m glad I could stop for a little bit last weekend to celebrate her. 

1959466_10152340683812173_7134829318465959305_n

So, there you have it. My life lately has consisted of work work work, weddings, and getting really muddy. As relieved as I am that a slightly slower season is coming, I’m thankful for the last few months as well. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I react in these seasons- something maybe I’ll share here after I’ve had a little more time to process- and learned that I wouldn’t have made it without my family and friends supporting and cheering me on the whole way. They are truly a gift, and the time I got to spend with them in the past month is how the Lord encouraged me and kept me going. 

Here’s to seasons. The first four months of this year have been a little crazy. Yet, it’s in the crazy that I’ve learned to look harder for the little daily gifts, the little moments of joy and celebration and peace. I’ve learned to listen and sit more in those moments as they implore me and strengthen me to persevere.