Daring to Hope Review

     Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

Katie Davis Majors’s Christianity is not squeaky clean. It is gritty, uncomfortable and real. She is someone who lives and breathes her faith, whose obedience to and intimacy with her Savior is so apparent that we are forced to examine our own. I “met” Katie through Kisses from Katie shortly after its release and was confronted with my own obsession with my comfort above my willingness to obey God. So when I received Daring to Hope, I was almost reluctant to open it. You cannot read Katie’s words and remain the same; to read about her devotion to her Savior will force you to decide how deep your own devotion to that same Savior goes.
If Kisses from Katie left us in awe of a seemingly too good to be true young woman who has already accomplished so much for God’s kingdom, if it left us feeling that we could never be THAT good, THAT trusting, THAT faithful, THAT sacrificing, then Daring to Hope destroys those illusions. It’s tempting to think that Katie is more special, more chosen; that she lives a BIG LIFE and does BIG THINGS for God. If we believe that, then we who live little lives, whose worlds are small and lived out mainly in the confines of our family and our homes can feel a little better about choosing to be safe and comfortable rather than live in radical obedience.
God used the words of this precious young missionary in Uganda to speak directly to this stay at home mama in Tennessee. And her words are beautiful; she is poetic. She is raw and authentic and heartbreakingly honest.
Katie is a wife and mother. She makes a lot of bread and a lot of spaghetti. She yells at her children in weak moments. Her house is full. She hides in her bathroom for quiet moments with God. She wrestles with God and questions His goodness. She searches Him out, cries out, demands blessing, she hears His voice and she LISTENS. She knows His word and she obeys.
     Daring to Hope is challenging. It is comforting. Katie reminds us that we are not alone; God is good. He is good to us. When the endings aren’t happy, when we don’t get what we wanted, when “abundant life” doesn’t come wrapped up in the pretty package we expected, we are not alone. He is with us and He is not a way by which we arrive at the point,

He IS the point.

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So. It’s been a minute. Or 4 years.

Yeah… haven’t posted in a LONG time. In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

We left off with a fairly new marriage, a small, messy, two bedroom apartment, miscarriages, fertility struggles and a baby boy taking up residence and growing in my uterus.

Marriage? Still new. Or at least newISH. D and I have been married now for 6 1/2 years and all my (accidental) attempts at killing him have failed. The man is allergic to SO MUCH STUFF. Peanuts for one. Goat cheese for another. I have inadvertently served him both with a smile, but he lived to tell everyone we know. Thank God for that! It took me 34 years to land a husband. I don’t have that kind of time to invest in doing it again.

Small, messy, two bedroom apartment? That’s so 2013. We bought a house!

My uterine occupant? I left the apartment for a doctor’s appointment and unexpectedly delivered my oldest son a week later, making him a month early. The day I brought my beautiful baby boy home was my first day in the new house. He’s three and a half AND ALL THE MAYHEM THAT IMPLIES and absolutely perfect.

Gracie is still kicking. And jumping. And barking. And chasing our firstborn, M, around the backyard. Which brings me to…

Our second born, L. He is nearly eleven months old (can’t remember how many weeks because he’s kid number 2. He’s lucky I remember his name,) and he is the sweetest, most laid back, silly baby I’ve ever known.

So there you go. All caught up on the major points. I love Jesus. I love my little family and my psychotic dog. My house is not nearly clean enough. (Shocked, aren’t you?) I love my church. I sing in the choir when I can get the kids dressed and there on time, I help teach the kindergarten Sunday school class and I volunteer in the nursery.

I’m a cliche and I ADORE it.

 

 

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Turtle thumbprint cookies!

So, so yummy.

Tip number one: DO NOT USE A GLASS PAN FOR YOUR CARAMEL. It will burn. Not that I speak from experience… I’m PERFECT in the kitchen. (Crickets chirp as I pray no one mentions the exploding brownie fiasco from last weekend.) Metal is your friend in this recipe.

Since I forgot to print out the recipe, here ya go. I mean, you pull up Pinterest recipes on your phone or tablet in the kitchen anyway, right?

Caramel

1 stick butter (I prefer salted.)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup dark or light Karo syrup… I think it’s better with dark.

Combine in a sauce pan over medium heat, stir until it’s melted, cook for 2 minutes. Pour into a container that won’t explode (I’m now WAY BIG on preventing explosions,) and throw it in the fridge. Or set it in there gently. It’s up to you on how emphatically you place things in the fridge. I don’t judge.

Shortbread cookies

Preheat your oven to 350. You know, the magic baking number.

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened. (Don’t melt it. Plan ahead and leave the butter on the counter. Or just forget to take it out of the grocery bag and then it’s soft anyway. Sometimes pregnancy brain makes things more convenient.)

1/2 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

 2 c all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl combine everything EXCEPT the flour. With an electric mixer beat on medium to high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes if you actually count or time things. I go by the “That looks about right” method. Then add the flour and mix until combined. Using your hands, (because no one will eat your cookies if you use your feet,) form dough into a ball, wrap it up in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Take it out of the freezer and form 1″ balls. Place them a reasonable distance from each other on an ungreased cookie sheet and then press your thumb into each one until you have a well deep enough for a good amount of caramel. Just don’t press your thumb all the way down. You either get cookies with holes or cookies with burned centers. Eww.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

So, I know you’re technically supposed to cool them on wire racks, but I don’t have any. I carefully use a spatula to transfer them onto a plate and set them in the fridge to cool. If you have wire racks, congratulate yourself on being fancy and carefully transfer the cookies over.

Once cool, put them on a plate and then spoon the cooled caramel into each one.

Chocolate drizzle

Get a bag of chocolate chips. Melt some in a bowl. Dip a spoon into the chocolate, drizzle it over the cookies. 

Top with pecans, and I recommend sprinkling a TINY bit of salt over the finished product so your teeth don’t fall out over the sugar shock.

 

Don’t eat these by yourself. You should share. But you should also refrigerate them – it you don’t the caramel gets all runny and the get super gooey. 

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Baby is a….

BOY! 

And now I’m terrified.

Excited, thrilled, but terrified. 

On one hand, there are visions of Little League, Legos and Tonka trucks dancing in my head, all wrapped up in a cute little package wearing a sweater vest and a bow tie. I see Mommy-son dates, a toddler with a faux hawk (are those even cool anymore?) and a very comforting lack of a woman-to-woman period talk.

On the other hand, we’re responsible for raising a MAN. Someone’s husband and father. A spiritual leader. I’m a huge freaking amount of bit nervous.

I’ve always wanted a little girl, and never thought too much about having a little boy. My source of terror there was centered around teaching her to value and maintain her purity, to love the Lord, serve others, and not date until she was 49. But with a boy? I feel the need to play recordings of Billy Graham to the baby while he’s still safely tucked in my womb and is a captive audience. I feel sudden pressure to understand absolutely everything about football. I want to lecture teenage girls on covering their cleavage. I want to personally burn every copy of Playboy, etc. ever made. I want to hire private tutors to teach him to read at 6 months and do advanced math at 8. I want to handpick his friends now based on the women I know and respect that have little boys.

I have a super sweet husband. He doesn’t get sarcasm. My friend says it’s because he’s so genuine. He has an amazing work ethic, is an uber dependable volunteer at church, and loves football, bowling, Star Trek and children. My kid’s gonna have a great example in his dad. That does make things a little less intimidating. And we are so blessed to have so many other godly men in our lives. My father, my brother, my two best friends’ husbands – all amazing, different men that can teach him  to sell a computer, how to program one,  and how to teach it to take over the world all while throwing a touchdown pass, catching a fly ball in right field and preaching a sermon that even causes Baptist to shout “Amen.” 

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17 weeks and counting!

Wow. The past few weeks have flown, and I am now 17 weeks pregnant with little Baby Rhino. Why Baby Rhino, you ask? Because HOLY UTERUS STRETCHING, BATMAN! It doesn’t feel like I’m making room for a baby. It feels like I’m making room for a rhinoceros. Horn and all. Right now I feel like Baby Rhino’s horn is pressing right against my spleen. 

Or maybe a kidney. I don’t really know where my spleen is. 

Being pregnant so far is more like I’ve got a four month long stomach bug. Occasionally I see the cure little bug on an ultrasound, but for the most part the only thing I feel is sick. And weepy. And like my boobs have caught fire. 

I’m about to face my due date for Baby Mac, the baby I lost in March. It will be softened (hopefully) by spending a week with my hubby and my precious nephew Ethan. I’m not necessarily dreading the day, but it will be tough. I thought about planting a tree but they’re a little more expensive than I had thought. 

We find out next week what this little mongrel is… At first I was convinced I needed to buy lots and lots of blue, but if that “girls steal your beauty” thing is true, than we’ve got a princess on the way. I have so many zits that I currently resemble a cartoon used to describe puberty to teenagers. It’s that bad.

Not gonna lie… I’d love a girl. I’m dying to shop in the pink Barbie aisle. I’d be just as thrilled with a little boy. They’re just so sweet with their mamas and I have visions of little league baseball dancing in my head. 

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News!

So sorry that I’ve abandoned you. But it’s for a good reason – I can’t keep my mouth shut. I am terrible at keeping secrets. Awful. Especially if it’s good news. I want to tell everyone every time something good happens. Not only am I a big mouth, but I’m forgetful as well, which means that I’ll tell you my good news several times. (Please don’t stop me. Nod and smile, tune me out, but let me tell you again. Even if I’ve told you three hundred times.)

So here’s the news…. I’m pregnant! I am now almost 15 weeks. I pee every ten minutes, I have a huge zit on my nose, I cry at Taylor Swift songs, (I don’t even like Taylor Swift,) and I have become a HUGE fan of baked potatoes with sour cream. 

Baby McAbee is due right after Valentine’s Day. If it’s a girl you better believe she’ll come home in an outfit covered in pink and red and hearts. 

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…And we’ve moved on…

to the next step. 

Let’s face it. It’s fun trying to make babies. At least, the old-fashioned way is fun. Pretty sure that God would make it fun for the same reason that He makes babies cute – so we actually reproduce. 

Then infertility steps in and sometimes baby making looks a lot less like old-fashioned fun and a lot more like sterile environments, nurses, syringes, labs, sample cups and awkward encounters with receptionists. 

Yep. We have tried our first IUI (intrauterine insemination.) It was awkward. D didn’t even get to be in the room when it happened – instead I was there with two nurses I had never met before. There won’t be a next time. We both felt that once again I rushed ahead of God’s timing and did exactly what I wanted to do without consulting Him. I do this often. You would think I’d learn. 

Not that I believe ART (assisted reproductive technology) to be wrong; quite the contrary. I have a friend with a beautiful miracle daughter thanks to God working through IVF. What I do believe is that God is bigger than me, He is bigger than my infertility, and He is only good. His timing is perfect. He is trustworthy. I acted in direct opposition to what I believe. The good thing is that I still had time before ovulation for us to, um, show our fondness for each other. That way, if this cycle is successful, I can totally believe that it was good old-fashioned fun that brought about a little bundle of joy, and not a completely awkward procedure with two women I’ve never met.

Here’s hoping! (Sorry dear readers – you will probably be the last to know if it is successful. We’ve already determined that when we get pregnant again we’re keeping it under wraps until the first trimester is over.) 

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