My friend Alicia and I decided that on Monday we would begin reading Malachi together. Now, when I say together I really mean that she will read it in Pennsylvania and I will read it in Indiana, but we will be reading the same chapter on the same day. So yesterday was our day to start.

Since Jeremy was away, I stayed up until 2ish last night puttering around until my exhaustion forced me to my bed. It wasn't until after I had finally snuggled deep into my pillow and felt my body muscles relax into the softness of the mattress that I thought, "Oh yeah, I need to read Malachi chapter one." I considered the effort it would take to lift my arm from its comfortable position to reach the touch lamp on my headboard shelf and then to pick up my Bible from its place near the lamp. Ugh, I groaned internally, and I almost chose to sleep instead. Then I remembered my phone conversation with Alicia last week about how we keep promising ourselves and God to make reading His Word and time spent with Him a priority in our lives again.

Okay, I said in my brain with some resolve. Let's get this done. I sat up in bed, touched the lamp and opened my Bible to Malachi chapter one.

"If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my Name."

Contempt? Well, at least I know that verse doesn't apply to me.

"When you bring blind animals for sacrifice is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty.

Oh.

Half asleep at two in the morning is a crippled or diseased sacrifice in my heart. God walloped me with that Truth. It stung.

"And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty.

Have I read my Bible today? No? Well, I suppose I'd better get it done...

Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.

Yeah, how many times have I vowed? I don't even have words.

"For I am a Great King," says the Lord Almighty, "and my Name is to be feared among the nations."

Hooray for my Lord! I'm choosing to bow with a heart full of worship once again.
Mercy's third birthday was this past Monday, and we celebrated on Saturday with a few of her friends. I made a Chocolate Zucchini Cake that tasted incredible (if I do say so myself), but I made the mistake of letting Jeremy know it contained zucchini...before he tasted it. In fact, I was crunched for time, and so I did something even worse. I asked him to shred the zucchini for the cake. At first he refused on the grounds that vegetables do NOT belong in desserts, and he was just looking out for the taste-buds of our guests and for my reputation as a cook. When he realized that the zucchini was not going to be an optional part of the birthday, he reluctantly began shredding, but took every opportunity while he worked to point out the many reasons why this was a bad decision. When he finished the shredding process, he attempted to convince me that he could not figure out how to measure three cups of shredded zucchini in a glass measuring cup, and I almost fell for it...until I remembered that he is a Quality Engineer, and has been minutely trained in the fine art of measuring things. When I pointed that fact out to him, he caved in, and I even detected a tiny grin lingering at the corner of his lips.

Mmhm.

You can imagine his horror when he watched me pour applesauce into the cake as well.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup all natural unsweetened applesauce
3 cups grated zucchini
1 & 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs, oil and applesauce, mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips and the zucchini until they are evenly distributed. (I pushed them in with a spoon and then used the beaters on them to distribute...none of this delicate folding stuff for me!) Pour mixture into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (I found out the hard way that the chocolate chips prevent a clean knife, so don't judge the doneness completely by that method.) Cool cake completely before frosting with your favorite frosting. (We didn't use a frosting at all. The cake was that moist and delicious!)



Mercy enjoyed her cake and her friends, but life has been completely different now that she is three years old. For starters, I'm holding her to her promise that she would start pottying in the big toilet rather than in her diaper when she turned three years old. She tried to talk me out of it, but I reminded her that she made a promise, and so she's decided to honor her word. However, she has no compunction about having a bowel movement in her big girl panties. Sigh. We're still working on that. I knew I should have gotten her promise in writing.

My favorite after-effect of the birthday is that now every sentence ends with "because I'm three years old now." For example, "Mommy, I saw a bird sitting on top of that house because I'm three years old now." "Mommy, I can have a piece of candy after I eat my lunch because I'm three years old now." "Mommy, I don't have to go to bed. I can cuddle with Daddy and give him hugs instead because I'm three years old now."

My least favorite after-effect is Mercy's sudden observation skills. She notices all the things that she used to be oblivious to, like the hiding spot for my stash of chocolate chips or the two big bumps under my shirt (my breasts). "Mommy, what do you have under your shirt? Why is your tummy bumpy on the top?" She is also noticing everyone else's bodies. At Walmart today, she announced loudly, "Mommy, that lady has a BIG tummy and a BIG bottom and BIG legs." Then she added happily, "Like YOU, Mommy!"

At first, I cringed for the sake of the BIG lady behind me, but when she finished I cringed for myself. I slowly turned around expecting to see a HUGE woman, knowing from Mercy's tone of voice that the woman must weigh 7,000 pounds, but the only woman behind me seemed reasonably fit. I searched some more, and finally realized that Mercy was trying to tell me that the lady behind me was GROWN-UP (big)...like me. Mercy was trying to tell me that the lady had a nicely-curved chest area (big), a nicely rounded bottom (big) and tall legs (big).

We obviously need to work on expanding Mercy's vocabulary...or, maybe not! Can you just imagine what she would yell out in the store if I told her what the correct anatomical term is for those two big bumps at the top of my tummy?