Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meet your hosts for this year's Burned Cooking Baking event!

Hello there, Hope womenfolk! If you like to bake cookies, eat cookies, or chat with other women amidst a bustling kitchen filled with the aroma of warm baked goods, you should seriously consider signing up for this year's Burned Cookie Bake. 

We're still one week away from the cookie bake, but it's never too early to get excited about Christmas-themed baking! Am I right? So, as a pre-game appetizer we have prepared a very special post for you. The six women from Hope who will be opening up their kitchens for Burned have whipped up a few personal words about who they are and what you can look forward to if you sign up to bake in their kitchens.

And now, without any further adieu, I present to you your fabulous hosts for this year's Burned:

As an old timer at Hope I have hosted many events in my home throughout the years, but this is my first time hosting a Burned Christmas Party Event!!  I am so excited!! I love having people in my home…any size, shape or age…but a bunch of ladies here to bake…it’s gonna be fun!!!

We have a great space for baking and hanging out. If you don’t want to bake just come and watch and meet some new people.  We have a Wii with Just Dance in the basement, so if you need to redeem yourself from the slumber party…here’s your chance.

My two boys and hubby may pop in to say "hi" (which is code for coming in to sneak some cookie dough) before they head out for some guy fun.

So all you ladies from the north/east end of town come on over to Roseville. Let's have some fun and make my kitchen smell great!! 

~ Lorelei

Hi!  My name is Heidi :)  I moved to Minneapolis with my husband and two young boys a little over a year ago from Fayetteville, AK.  We quickly found Hope CC to be our church family as we live so very close by!  Much of my time is divided between building my Professional Organizing business as well as spending time at home with my 3 yr old.
I volunteered to host Burned last year and had such fun meeting new faces as well has having an excuse to try a new recipe and of course getting into the spirit by blaring Christmas Music.  I much prefer baking to cooking, but rarely find the time to do so.
I made Oreo Truffles last year, but I'm still debating what I'll experiment with this year. I look forward to meeting even more new faces, even if we have not met, I'd love for you to come - I promise to help you feel right at home!! Please bring all baking materials you'll need to prepare your recipe and if you have a few extra cooling trays, that would be helpful as well. 

I love having people over to my place! When my house is full, it just feels right. So, get excited to hang out with some wonderful women and to make some tasty treats. 

I am a way better cook then baker, but enjoy both. One time I made over 8 batches of cupcakes for a graduation party in Wisconsin. You ask, "But why would you make so many cupcakes in Minnesota that need to be in Wisconsin?" My answer: I DON'T KNOW!

The best part of this idea was to frost all the different batches to match the flavor of the cupcake. (Cause you know, each batch was different, of course). It was challenging to think of 8 different styles, and then coming to the realization: How do you transport all of these cupcakes to Wisconsin???!!! Well, let me tell you, if you sweet talk a baker at the grocery store he will give you trays that hold your millions of cupcakes. 

Come enjoy with me the tales of baking with no holding back and no limitations!

~ Katie

First, a small disclaimer. This is not a picture of me in my kitchen. This is my kitchen, but that is my friend Amanda (see the happy girl in the colorful apron, above). I chose this picture to share with you because it is from when I hosted last year for Burned. As you can see from Amanda's smiling face, we had a lot of fun!

I'm not sure how much baking actually took place... some women just stuck to cookie decorating, but that's OK! That's what is so great about this event: No baking experience required! You come as you are and you can be as serious or casual about your baking as you'd like.

Welcoming others into my home and sharing a cup of coffee is something I love to do. I really hope that you will come to Burned this year!

~ Stacy

I am a short-on-time baker, often wishing I could be a full-time homemaker. My favorite thing to bake is pies, but cookies are more popular with my boys. Last year, I hosted for Burned and we had a couple of great organizer girls who helped keep things moving. It’s great fun to have so many varieties of Christmas treats to savor. This year, I will likely prepare ribbon cookies, a great do-ahead slice ’n bake that are a family favorite. My house is going to be under construction that week, but hopefully the  dust will settle in time!

~ Carole

I love to bake and I love hanging out with other women, so Burned Cookie Baking just happens to be one of my favorite Women at Hope events!  My husband Jamie and I even remodeled our kitchen last year and installed double ovens for just for this event.  Okay, so there were other reasons for doing it too...but, I'm super excited to host and spend time with whoever comes, whether you're bakers or not.

If you come to my home, you'll get to meet our sweet boxer named Taffy (if you're not a dog fan, you can visit with her from outside her kennel) and maybe catch glimpse of our little ones, Evan and Britta, before they are whisked off...somewhere, anywhere that's not under foot.

I also love Christmas music, candles and munchies, so there will be plenty of that. And of course, plenty of just sitting around chatting (one of the things we women do best!) For those of you who love to travel (I do!), gazing at our wall-sized map of the world and dreaming of where to go...someday.  Can't wait! 

~ Suzanne 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The 4 F's of Christmas: Fun, Frosting, Film and Floor Hockey

Friends at Hope (and perhaps around the world),

I’m here to tell you that I love Christmas. What I love most about Christmas is that Christmas dreams really do come true.

First, God made our dream of having forgiveness and relationship with Him come true by sending his son Jesus to die for us. This brings joy to my heart. It also brings joy to my heart to hear Linus explain the Christmas Story in a Charlie Brown Christmas. Check it out, I promise it will bring joy to your heart too.

I’m also all about bringing Christmas cheer to people. This year, in order to learn how to better spread Christmas cheer, a dear friend of mine and I are taking a trip to New York. While there we hope to learn the basics of how to put up a giant Christmas tree, what it means to skate in the middle of the city, find out if a horse drawn carriage comes with one horse or two, and if there really was a miracle on 34th street.

Another dream of mine is spending Christmas with all of you. Hope and I have talked and we’ve decided to have a Christmas party.  Here are some of the things you can expect to see there:

 Home Alone
(The movie, not you alone at home. You will be at the party.)

Christmas cookies!


Ice Hockey (okay really floor Hockey, but it sounds more like Christmas if you say "ice").

Here are the basic Christmas Party facts:

Where: Hope Community Church (the building)
When: December 3rd, 2011 at 7pm
What: Fun, Frosting, Film, Floor Hockey

Thanks for making dreams come true and for joining me with Christmas cheer on December 3rd. I can’t wait to see you!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Learning to walk confidently in the dark

by Alisa N.

If I have learned anything from what God has done in my life the past few years, it’s that he will have his way and no amount of planning will stop him. As an LDI intern and an aspiring grad student, I have been forced to think about what next year holds for me a bit sooner than I would like. With grad application deadlines in December, I was already planning what states I would consider living in, which schools I would apply to, and what faculty members I would want to work with. Honestly, though, I’ve been compiling data since my freshman year of college. And, I like to consider myself pretty good at surrendering these plans to God, too, but the past month or so has shown me that I am still a complete amateur.

Near the beginning of September, my husband and I began questioning our desire to move to California next year for grad school. We talked about it every so often and when we finally sat down and prayed through it together, it became clear that we were both pursuing the move to a different state for reasons that were not God’s. Oddly enough, we both happily accepted this change to “the plan” and I applied for grad school at the University of Minnesota—the last place I imagined I’d study for my graduate career. God gave me a desire to stay in Minnesota that outweighed my pride and so I surrendered that decision to him. So far, so good, still rolling with God’s plan and loosening my grip on what I thought I was supposed to do.

I carried on, slowly working on my application when time allowed while delving deeper into the LDI experience. I am also a part-time student at the U finishing up my degree in Biochemistry. Being part-time, gives me a taste of what it feels like to be out of school, making the idea of grad school taste bitterer than when I was full-time, completely engrossed in research and studying.

I attended Slumber Party with a lot of questions rolling around in my head about what I could do next year—all the different possibilities and the beautiful picture of being finished with school forever in a month’s time. Listening to Shannon talk about how we are constantly seeking the next step in life that will satisfy us, I felt convicted. How much stock was I putting in what I do next year? I desired to be clued into “the plan” because I saw that as where I needed to be and I thought that just knowing the next step would satisfy me. To put it into Shannon’s words, I was gleaning from a different field and believing the lie that a different source would comfort me and leave me with the amount of control I needed to trust God. I left Slumber Party still desiring answers, but also telling myself that Jesus is enough.

Through the week after Slumber Party, I continued to wrestle through this desire to see what is coming for me and where God wants me to be. I knew that it was wrong to want control but was honestly scared that I would make the wrong decision and screw up “the plan.” I have had several people tell me that God doesn’t really care what job we take or where we live as long as we are pursuing him and seeking to glorify him with our lives. I believe there is some truth to that, however, that did not assuage my anxiety. I still felt like I would fail or ruin everything if I just picked one path instead of waiting for God to clearly direct me.

This last Saturday, I had the morning off and decided to spend a bunch of time just reading and enjoying the presence of God. After studying and journaling, I decided to try being silent and seeing if God would enlighten me, even just a little bit, about what I should do. Almost immediately, I fell asleep. When I woke up I decided I just was not any good at being silent in my mind and listening so I went on with my day. On our way to lunch with a friend, my husband asked if we could just spend some time in silence with God. I decided to once again just open myself to anything Jesus had to say and what came to mind was John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This verse just opened up for me in a way I have never experienced. The emphasis was on Jesus as THE way, THE truth, THE life. He made me realize that there was no way I was going to pick the right future if I was focused on the choice and not Christ. As I have continued to think through this idea this week, I have seen that even pursuing the will of God can become an idol in my life. I need to glean in Christ’s field because that is where salvation is. That is where true life is.

I’m so thankful for the promise of life that Christ offers if we remain in him, like how Boaz treated Ruth because of her loyalty to him. Of course, my works are not what save me, but Christ gives the clear outcome of what life in him is—joyful and full. Learning to be content with the uncertainty and trusting that he has the best plan in mind is important.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pure, redeeming love

by Kari K.

I have finally caught up on the sleep I [happily] lost while at Slumber Party. I had such a wonderful time getting to know you beautiful women. And while I am glad I am back to getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. My mind keeps going back to the book of Ruth and how applicable it is in our lives today. This is such an awesome book that portrays risk, loyalty and redemption. I can’t help but to continually be blown away with how Ruth’s redemption through Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, is so parallel to our redemption through Jesus, our kinsman-redeemer. God sent His one and only Son to redeem us! What an awesome reality we get to live in!

One thing that my mind keeps coming to since Slumber Party is when Shannon talked about the four qualifications of a kinsman-redeemer. In order to be a kinsman-redeemer, they must be the nearest kin, they must be free, they must be able to pay the price, and they must be willing. The two qualifications that I am struck with most are that kinsman-redeemers must be able and they must be willing. In Boaz’s situation he was not the nearest kinsman that would be able to save Ruth. However, since the nearest kin said no, Boaz was then able to redeem Ruth. But what is even more outstanding about Boaz is that he was willing to redeem Ruth. We can see in Ruth 3:11 and 3:13 that Boaz did not have to redeem Ruth, but he did and it shows how much Boaz loved Ruth.

This foreshadows Christ as the kinsman-redeemer of the Church. Ruth 4:14-15 says “The women said to Naomi: ‘Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.’” God sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for us in order to renew our lives and sustain us for all our days. This is what the Gospel is all about! Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the pit of hell. What a sweet, sweet sound to my ears.

So why does this all matter to us, the Women at Hope? Well, if Jesus had not died on the cross to save us from the pit, the Gospel would mean nothing. I am so thankful that is not the case. Jesus radically changed my life two and a half years ago and continues to show me how much I need Him. He distinguished my needs from wants the moment He broke me. I didn’t want Jesus two years ago. I wanted to go on living my broken, sinful, performance-based life that I had grown so accustomed to. I didn’t want someone to come and tell me that everything I was basing my worth on was absolutely wrong and was going to fail me every time.

BUT, did I need Jesus? YES! And everyday I NEED Jesus. He saw that God-shaped hole in me that I was filling with worthless stuff. Slowly, but surely He changed me and He changed my heart and mind and soul and will. And continues to do so! He continues to penetrate every part of me and break down things that I hold onto for comfort.

The biggest part of all this is that my need for Jesus started to become my want for Him. I needed Him so badly, more badly than I knew, but I also wanted Him. I wanted Him to fill my life, I wanted to sing praises to Him constantly, I wanted His glory to shine, because after awhile the only good thing about me was and still is Jesus.

Throughout this year, and especially since Slumber Party, Jesus is teaching me that He is the purest love I will ever experience. Boaz loved Ruth and because of that love, he wanted to save her. Because Jesus loves me (even more than Boaz loved Ruth) He wanted to save me, and continues to save me. Romans 5:8 reads, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The most merciful thing God is doing for me right now is showing me that He didn’t have to send His one and only Son to fulfill the law for me, but He did. Jesus as my kinsman-redeemer is allowing me to experience true love. What an awesome God we have.

EDITOR'S NOTE: What is your response to Ruth? We would love to hear it! If you have a story of Ruth or a personal reflection that you would be willing share on the blog please send an e-mail inquiry to 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I have 42 hoodies...and I like movies...

My (Naty) husband recently got into a discussion with a friend of mine at Hope about how many hoodies they each thought I had.  This discussion led to them making some guesses at how many there could actually be.  After the guessing was over, my husband went home and counted.  What he found was a number far larger than most normal people might have.  He found 39 clean hoodies and 3 in the laundry.  (For the more astute reader you will notice that we have small dirty laundry piles at my house.  I have a weird internal urge to launder things.)  Because I took calculus 1051 my freshman year at the U of M, I can tell you that makes a total of 42.  In my defense, those aren't all 'hoodies' in the conventional sense.  Those are a mixture of sweatshirts (with and without zippers), t-shirts & sweaters.  All with hoods. (Yes, you can find a sweater with a hood!)

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, we have a Clothing Swap coming up at Hope!  If you are like me and have an excessive amount of clothes, you can get rid of some older (gently used) clothes, belts, purses, or accessories and pick up something new (to you).  Maybe you could find something without a hood...or just maybe you can pick-up one of my stylish hoodies!  (It's ok to laugh at that.  I have seen my 'style'.)

If you would like to contribute clothes, please bring them to Hope and set them on the edge of the stage in the gym on or before November 12th.  Then come back on November 19th between 9 am and 1 pm to find some new things!  Like always, women do not need to attend Hope to come to this event, so we encourage you to bring friends.

For those of you who like movies... Film and Theology is THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, November 4th, at Hope. 

Join Tim & Shannon in a discussion (and showing) of the film The Adjustment Bureau.