Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Learning To Live Intentionally

The past three days are what I would describe as average.  I didn't do anything out of my usual norm, my work was the same routine it is at the start of any week, I had little errands and housework jobs I had to do in my evenings.  I was living my normal, every day life.  I've been getting up for work, doing my Bible study, going about my day, completing whatever is on my to do list for that evening, writing in my prayer journal, then heading to bed. 

I didn't think anything of it until I read Psalm 16 this morning and verse eight stood out to me:

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord,
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken"

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  Always.  It's safe to say that always isn't the case for me, to be honest I'm lucky if I'm able to stay focused on God for more than five minutes during my day.  I allow myself to be swept up in the goings on of my life, even though their not all that exciting I allow my mind and my heart to be distracted by the various tasks I set for myself during my day. 

I very rarely set out my day with an intentional heart that is seeking to serve God in everything.  When I'm washing potatoes, or cleaning the dining area, or making cups of tea I never tend to think of it as a way in which I can serve Jesus. 

And this is where I'm making a very big mistake. 

I make time for God in the morning and before I go to sleep, but what about the rest of my day?  How can I grow in my faith and grow closer to God if I'm not living every part of my day for Him?

Since I'm not living my every day life for Jesus, it's making it very difficult for me to live my every day life with Jesus.  Even though I am currently facing a season where discontentment is creeping in and God needs me to be patient, this isn't an excuse to let Jesus slip from the centre of my heart and from my daily routine. 

I may find some tasks to be boring or mundane, but that doesn't mean I still can't do it with a heart for Jesus.  Instead of asking "how quickly can I get this finished and move onto my next task?" I should be asking "how can I do this with a heart for serving Jesus?" 

Jesus tells us in the gospel of Matthew to "love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind".   This isn't something that Jesus asks us to do, he commands us to do this.  And if I'm not doing this for Him then there's no wonder I'm struggling to live intentionally for Him, feeling grumpy for no reason, and slowly letting my heart be distant from God. 

Rather than just busying about my day I need to take a step back, slow down, and see how I an be fixing my eyes on God and living with a heart that wants to serve Him and love Him in everything I do.  Living with an intentionality for God in every moment of the day, not just for my Bible study in the mornings. 



Sunday, 22 January 2017

Kinder Chocolate & Nutella Cupcakes | The Baking Diaries

Sunday afternoons have often been a time when I love to bake.  When I was younger I would spend an afternoon in my mum and dad's kitchen with a new recipe and would bake away to my hearts content.  Baking is a hobby of mine but since it's become a part of my job I don't do as often Id like.
But this afternoon I decided to combine a recipe I found for Kinder Chocolate cupcakes from Musings & More and I idea that I had for Nutella cupcakes to create this recipe. 

Ingredients or the cupcakes:

175g of softened unsalted butter
175g light brown sugar
3 eggs
140g self-raising flour
35g cocoa powder

Ingredients for the secret filling:

400g jar of Nutella
100g of Kinder Chocolate bars

Ingredients for the buttercream:

150g softened unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
100g of Kinder chocolate bars
3 bars of Kinder Bueno


1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (fan oven) and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cupcake cases.

2.  Cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth. 

3.  Crack the eggs into a plastic jug and whisk them together.  Then add these to your creamed butter and sugar.

4.  Sift the self-raising and cocoa powder into the mixture and mix together until smooth.

5.  Then divide your mixture amongst the paper cases.  I like to use a medium sized ice cream scoop to do this so that there's even mixture in each case, also this means the mixture is in a nice shape when it goes into the case as well.  If you don't have an ice cream scoop then you can use two dessert spoons to divide your mixture.

6.  Let these bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a you insert a skewer into the cakes and it comes out clean. 

7.  While your cakes are baking you can make your Nutella filling.  For this I slightly heated a jar of Nutella then piped a swirl of Nutella onto a block of Kinder chocolate.  Then leave them to refrigerate until you are ready to add them to your cupcakes. 

8. It's now time to make your icing! Firstly you need to melt your Kinder chocolate bars.  I just melted mine in the microwave whilst stirring it regularly.  You could also heat it in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water on the hob. 

9.  In a separate bowl beat together your butter and icing sugar.  Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and a couple of dessert spoons of Nutella and continue to mix.

10.  Beat the melted Kinder chocolate into the buttercream mixture.  Continue to add Nutella to the icing until it is of a smooth but not runny consistency. 

11.  Fill a piping bag with your icing and using a star nozzle pipe a small amount of icing onto the middle of each cupcake.  Then firmly place your Nutella chocolate piece onto the icing. 

12.  Then pipe your Kinder chocolate icing around your Nutella.  I chose to leave a small amount of the Nutella showing at the top, but you can cover it completely if you would like.

13.  Finally, break up your Kinder Bueno bars and place a piece of each bar into the side of your cupcake, or you could crumble the pieces over the top. 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, I had a lot of fun making them and I'll probably be making them again soon.  I want to say a huge thank you to my friend Finlay for taking all the photos for me (you can check out his chocolate business by clicking here). 

If you have any ideas for what cupcakes I should try baking next let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you.



Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Gold In The Darkest Moment #8

I started my Gold In The darkest Moments series with the hopes of sharing more positive posts on my blog and as a way of documenting the little moments in life that make me smile.  As another way of documenting this I've started doing a line-a-day-diary to document little things in life, like dreaming of opening a coffee shop, the goings on at work, and being back at church.

1.  Lovely letters. 

I've only been back at work for a couple of weeks but already two of my close friends have sent me such lovely letters in the post.  It's so rare to send and receive letters nowadays so getting a really thoughtful letter in the post makes my heart so happy.  It's even better when it comes from your best friend in a really pretty envelope!

2.  Phoning my mum. 

I'm really fortunate to have a really close relationship with my mum.  I phoned her last night to quickly asked her something but we ended up talking for almost an hour, it was so nice to have a good catch up and to chat through all the goings on of life with my mum. 

3.  Bible Study.

At the end of last year I started getting up early in the morning to do my own devotions, and in the evenings I'm doing the Hidden Dreamer Bible study.  I'm really enjoying it and it feels good to be growing in my faith and strengthening my relationship with God.

4.  Road trip, praying & hot chocolate.

My friend Finlay and I cook our meals together (he's a genius in the kitchen!) and were driving to the supermarket last week.  I'd had a bit of a tough evening and was a bit upset with myself that I hadn't prayed about the situation yet.  So we spent our car journey praying and it felt so good.  Then we picked up some hot chocolate at one of my favourite little coffee shops before going shopping.
It was wonderful. 

5.  Re-branding my blog.  Again.

You may have noticed that I have rebranded my blog again, and it feels so good!  I have a new wave of love for blogging and I'm so excited to be involved in this community again. 

I'm hoping to make Faithfully Carolyn a space for me to share my faith, my love for baking, my travel adventures, and my thoughts and feelings as I look into my dream of starting my own business.  I'm excited for this new step in blogging and a chance to start afresh with my blog when I'm finally feeling in the right place to do so.

I hope the past few weeks are going well for all of you as well and that you're finding a way to appreciate the little moments of happiness that come your way.  It's what I've been doing and it's made me laugh at myself more, worry less, and be thankful for the little pockets of happiness in my life. 



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Another Re-Brand & New Bloglovin | Faithfully Carolyn

A few months ago I rebranded my blog from Carolyn's Simple Life to Stained Glass Stars.  I was doing this in the hopes of starting afresh with my blog and having a new wave of motivation for my blog. 

But as you have probably noticed, I've been rarely posting and struggling to be active in the blogging community.  I miss sharing my thoughts and experiences on here, blogging is something that was a huge part of my life and I am now hoping to really get back into it. 

I feel as though when I re-branded my blog to Stained Glass Stars it lost its personal touch and I feel as though I don't enjoy blogging as much. 

I've recently been sharing a lot about my faith on my blog as this is the most important thing in my life and is something that I want to share more on my blog.  I'm also making some huge life steps at the moment as I'm looking into wrapping up what has been my very long gap year and seeing what God wants to be the next chapter in my life. 

So I'm re-branding again, although this is something that I wasn't intending on doing again, I feel it's what I'm needing to do, so I'll now be blogging under "Faithfully Carolyn".

You can re-follow me on Bloglovin by clicking here