I literally have only ten minutes to write while my min mac and cheese bites bake.  I’m trying out a new recipe from Shauna Niequist’s book “Bread and Wine:Love Letter To Life Around the Table” for dinner and a welcome home/enjoy one more day basking in your honeymoon afterglow dinner for a newly wed couple on our launch team.  So, today’s FMF “beautiful” will be on fumbling my way through the recipe and even though I was completely overwhelmed attempting to make my own sauce the outcome was beautiful in an unexpected way. Disclaimer:  The pic and links took longer then five minutes..

And now…

Beautiful Intentions.

Mac and cheese!  C’mon how can you mess up mac and cheese?  A little milk, cheese, butter, and elbow macaroni…boom! Dinner.  Well actually, a little cheese powder, milk  (if it’s on hand), margarine, Phineas and Ferb shaped pasta. But there can’t be that much of a difference, right?

So, I peruse the dairy section at Trader Joe’s and find the perfect combination of cheese that says, “I’m super yummy AND a little bit hoity toity”.  I picked  swiss and Gruyere cheese. Gruyere is a cheese I can’t even spell! Which is why spell check just fixed it for me.  I figure if I can’t spell the cheese then it’s got to be awesome, way above my pay grade and palate.

So I’m good to go with my cheese, my butter, my elbow pasta, and my good intentions to make a beautiful meal for Emily and Albert.

So here we go…

Wait, why is the cheese all viscous?  And why doesn’t this recipe call for milk?  I mean, I add milk to Kraft, why not to this beautiful, wonderful, “So happy you’re married!”  meal?

Oh whateves, it probably has something to do with the baking aspect.  I mean I never bake the Spongebob shaped blue box of mac and cheese so my cheesy pasta repertoire is severely limited so let’s see how this goes….and we’re adding the al dente pasta now. ..

I said, “al dente” just like Giada and for a minute, I feel as sexy and intriguing as the Food Network Star.



Why is there a glop of cheese surrounded by lonely untouched pasta?

Why isn’t it gently coating the cheese before I place it in the oven?

Oh Lord, I bet it needed milk.  Can I add milk?  But there’s egg in it already, will the egg cook if I add milk?  No one likes random bits of scrambled egg in their upscale mac and cheese.

Well, let’s see how this goes….


pre-baked. Peep the glop of Gruyere on top. And the super cute heart pan up top. yea, spreading the love around one glop of Gruyere at a time…


yeah, baby. Oh and please forgive the toothpaste. That did not, I repeat, did not make it into the mac and cheese. I’m packing for our vacation tomorrow.

Ta-Da!  They’re beautiful.  Not the best looking baked mac and cheese but I’ll take it and I’ll gladly give it.  Because I’m learning something about these homemade gifts; someone will always make a better baked mac and cheese than me, someone will always nail the cheese sauce while mine is a gloppy mountain of good intention surrounded by neglected macaroni, theirs will be super creamy and delish while mine will be chewy and tasty, so presentation and perfection do not make these gifts beautiful and meaningful.  The thoughtfulness, the time you put in, the simple prayers on your lips for those who will eat your meal, and the joy of knowing that your hands were Jesus as you frantically whisk an unyielding cheese sauce or messily spoon pasta into tins make them meaningful and beautiful.

I know they taste great.  I’ve tried their yummy pre-baked counterparts and even if they don’t look beautiful, they are.  By simply existing, they whisper,

“You are important” and “Someone loves you”.

And that!  That my friends, is beautiful.

If you follow this blog, tomorrow you’ll get the first “Reel-Theology For Kids” devotional on “Despicable Me” in your inboxes.  My hope is these devos will help you capitalized on the extended screen time of the summer by connecting biblical themes found in popular kids movies.  They are short and on one major theme or topic.  Tomorrow’s topic will be: Loving the Lonley and the bible verse will be

Psalm 68:6

God sets the lonely in families,[a]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

So please subscribe at the top right and invite your mom friends to subscribe too, maybe y’all can plan a movie playdate and use the devo with the kiddos.

If you’d like to link up with this amazingly, fearless group of writers who write with abandon for five minutes, you can link up here with your best five minutes on “Beautiful”.