Friday Family Bake Night (#2) – Strawberry Pie

For round two of our bake night, we decided to pick some strawberries together at a local farm and make a strawberry pie. While we were preparing it, we made a spontaneous decision to use the remaining strawberries to make jam as well. Trust us, it was an excellent decision.

Bake #2 – Strawberry Pie (recipe)… and jam

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Picking strawberries!

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Beautiful…

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Collecting strawberries for the pie

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These will go on top

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Making the strawberry whipped cream

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Finished!

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Very light and creamy

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Now, on to the jam

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Mixing with the sugar

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Rolling boil

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Strawberry jam!

 

School Poems

The air in study hall was thick with the smoke of pencils,

Scribbling to find fire on the page, ten teenagers

Looking for love in the smile their words might make.

 

Over in the library, some have rolled their sleeves,

Bent over a row of screens,

Their hurried breaths gyrating the pinwheels of their poems

As their fingertips clicked like cleats on the pavement of their laptops,

Letters dripping on documents,

A thousand rain drops on an old tin roof.

 

I walked past the boy on the steps with a halo of reverb

Plugged in from ear to ear, connected to a phone synced to his heart,

Drumming his palms against his knees like his life

Had been lived only for this moment, the wild abandon

Of one who’d learned to walk the plank

As the pirates of passion loomed behind him with their thick beards

And blades sharpened

As if to say, “Rock this one out or you’ll sleep in the ocean.”

 

The girl in the courtyard crooked one leg behind the other,

Curling her fingers around her phone in the cold

Like she knew the next message he sent would make her warm.

So she bubbled her poetry in blue, mailed it on the airwaves, and waited for his ellipses,

Three dots in Morse before three words she longed to read.

 

Down the hall, the kindergarteners knelt outside their classroom,

Upturning waxy bags of crayon and a dozen safety scissors,

Peeling the ghosts of Elmer’s glue from their palms

As they told their parents they loved them

With a red construction heart and a firm crease in the center,

A greater declaration of devotion than any sonnet could ever sing.

 

So I kept walking briskly in the air of this century

Where people still write poetry, breaking pieces of their body

Like bread for summer swans

And pressing them deep into a dozen syllables,

The friction of pounding feet and chattering teeth

As they toss their own words into the rushing waters of time.

Friday Family Baking Night (#1)

So, the Huff house is beginning a new family tradition together: a weekly baking night every Friday (or, if Kristen is off, Saturday) evening with the whole family in the kitchen. It is our Friday Family Baking Night.

Kristen and I have been watching The Great British Baking Show together and wanted to try new baking recipes with our daughters as a fun evening every week. Happy is the home that smells of cookies, yes? 🙂 There is nothing better than a home full of laughter, feasting, and deep joy, bringing glory and praise to the Lord through fellowship and good food. That is our aim, and this is our first bake:

Bake #1 – Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe)

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Mixing the dough…

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Set to cool…

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Soft, mild, yet very flavorful butterscotch chocolate chip cookies!

Oranges

I slipped deftly into Botticelli’s Primavera one afternoon,

Begging the pardon of the Three Graces in white

As I wandered toward the orange grove.

 

The little cupid, bow at the ready,

Failed to notice the bent flowers beneath my feet

And my slow reach into the branches

 

Where I carefully felt for a perfect orange,

Tore the globe of skin from its stringy flesh,

And held the dimpled smoothness of the flayed world in my palm –

 

The shred of color,

The fragrance of gravity,

The naked hue of hunger.

 

Then, like my father before me,

I dug my teeth into the tender spot and, somehow,

I have spent the sudden years trying to dig myself back up.

Quick Plug for a Drip

4511374-coffee-cup-wallpapersIf you are a fan of good coffee and good books (who isn’t, really?), let me recommend an excellent new blog titled The Light Roast. It is run by two young ladies who are self-described coffee and literature aficionados, and their chosen subtitle – To Bean, or Not to Bean – speaks for itself. With nods to Orwell, Hawthorne, and Tolkien sprinkled in their site, in addition to reviews of coffeehouses in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles so far, The Light Roast is a must-follow for anyone who loves coffee and wishes to invest in the local shops rather than the proverbial green giant (or siren…).

I recently subscribed and hope you will do the same!

Here are just a few:

Atlanta

New York

L.A.

 

Coloring

When God found me,

Wobbling my patched knees on the cobblestone of old roads,

We took a side street where

He beckoned me beneath the curtain of a tent,

Red and white, the blare of trumpets,

The breathless circus of all his grand design.

 

He showed me an elephant, and I sat down

Criss-cross applesauce

To marvel for half an hour.

 

Then he tipped his hat and pulled out a canvas,

Stretched in white like a swollen sail.

He dropped it in my lap and told me to

Fingerpaint my theology, make it as big as my grandfather’s shoes.

 

So he held my shoulder as I bent over my creation,

Pressed thumbprints and fanning fingertips

Smearing the colors of childhood across my makeshift doctrines,

And I looked up to see him smiling at me,

His eyes as warm as lions.

 

He noticed I’d drawn two bluebirds, gliding in the sunset,

And an old man sitting on a bench –

I said they reminded me of him, for only

A good and loving God could create a bluebird

As well as the old men who noticed them.

 

That night, God and I sat together, coloring,

Weaving our fingers along the grain of each new blankness,

Picture after picture,

Until he finally helped me to my feet and commended me for my coloring,

For to see the glory of God, we all must learn to

Dye.

Ludwig van Beethoven

It was just him and me that evening

In a dimly lit coffeehouse on the south bank of the Thames,

Like we’d somehow met halfway.

 

Though I knew the Atlantic to be wider than his short jaunt from Vienna,

I offered to pay for the drinks

As he was the one who soared valiantly across the stars of two centuries

To meet me, and I simply took an early flight and a cab.

 

When we sat down, I happened to glance over his shoulder and out the window,

Catching the London fog along the length of the still river

As if it had wandered straight from some

Penciled copy of Eliot’s poetry

Or a chapter from that Dickens novel

Sitting softly on the shelf in a used bookstore near Piccadilly.

 

But all I could do was ladle my mug with both hands

Like a beggar warding off frostbite

As I tried to think of what to say, desperately wishing to avoid

The stilted air of an interview

Or the false pretense of coziness, talking about the weather

Or something equally grey and dull.

 

Yet, in the silence,

As the moon held its head above the water of the gentle, pebbled tide,

I looked to his navy coat, his shock of famous hair,

And, finally, to his curled fingers on the table

As they drummed lightly beside his empty cup and the black dregs

Splattered like notes along the bottom.

 

They spoke for themselves

The way they’d spoken all those years ago

In the Moonlight Sonata, the riot of the Fifth Symphony,

The glorious Ode to Joy.

 

And now, strolling down the street into the marble cool hours of night,

I slowly attach these headphones

And choose his Seventh Symphony in A major,

The one he reportedly wrote to convalesce from the storms of illness.

 

And I carry two thoughts, one for each pocket,

The first, how beautiful the winter air,

The second, a quiet wish that I could tell him how good it is to know

He’s still got it.

Passion

Behind my open eyes, I’m taking pictures of the lightning.

You see, I’ve got pitch-perfect timing, the shutter speed

Of eyelashes fluttering, stuttering through a thousand flashes.

 

And all the ribbons of this clacking typewriter in my ribcage

Spin faster than aging, ink hammers exploding,

Pumping blood just like it’s flooding.

 

So I pull back the curtained skyline, tear the North Star from its system

And grip it till it trembles, tremors shimmering like fool’s gold,

The cold charm of blindfolding a supernova in slow motion,

Surging through the paper-thin skin of my grasp into the bloodstream.

 

They say it’s not enough to have this engine

Raging in my iron bones,

But I’m so full of green lights, I’ve got Gatsby in my vision,

New York printed in my vein lines,

And I’m showing no signs of stopping,

For like that shining city, you know I will never sleep.

 

‘Cause this bonfire’s been howling, synapses hyper in the sparking,

Sending signals like embers

From my thoughts into the evening,

Till they burn from all this dreaming, decades in the making,

Taking laps around the circuits in my hands

As they seize lightning,

Rope it down and crack it open ’til I find the silver lining,

Write this poem before it blinds me, then rewind to the beginning.

 

Though these words may be my ending,

They may also be my living,

For that’s what passions do, they claim your life,

Like fire you just can’t take them lightly.

So let them course through every brainwave,

Even after my touchscreen flatlines,

‘Cause in ten thousand years, this typist will still be typing,

Writing on the pages of forever, etching metaphors for glory.

 

Till then, my lens is calling to open my eyes a little wider,

To fill my teeth with every whirlwind of dusk

And all this lightning, palms ready for thunder.

Little Icarus

Little Icarus stood by the wood chips.

 

He was twelve when both his wings broke, tangled up,

Trying to tear through the fabric of his polo,

Caught beneath the floorboards of his shoulder blades

As his cheeks flushed with shame.

 

He wore a slipshod buzz cut and chubby jowls that

Framed his braces and the crooked grin they fenced in,

Standing alone as yesterday’s rain lay simmering on the blacktop.

 

A blur of children sprinted past him, laughing,

And he buried his dry tongue beneath the dirt in his throat,

The stiffness of death in the mouth of a boy

Who never knew what to say.

 

Not a word about the jungles he’d seen in gym,

The knotted rope of humiliation and the sting of the lash

As the rich kid rat-tailed his back in the locker room

And all the cool boys snickered behind their elbows,

The cute girls giggling later over sandwiches.

 

But don’t you fear, little man,

For I have brought an army of book nerds,

Dreamers and choir singers,

Carrying their lisps and scars in rucksacks,

Glasses, buck teeth, and southern accents,

The boys who cry at movies and the girls who still have nightmares,

Walking our bikes over to invite you to our treehouse

Where white-out is outlawed

And your freckles are the confetti of God

Like He cut up the birthday cake of the sun just for you.

 

And together there, we’ll patch your feathers

And tell a couple of stories

Before we lean our heads back against the beams of our home,

Look up at the stars through the crack in our creaky roof,

And slowly drift to sleep.