February Prayer Letter

So this is later than it was supposed to be — my bad!! Totally forgot to post it on the blog! We had such an awesome Janurary — we went to California!!! Thanks for praying for us, our students and the ministry in central wisconsin.

Prayer Letter_February JPEG

The Best Blueberry Muffins


I don’t claim many things to be the best. I really don’t. “Best” is so relative. Maybe they’re just the best for the moment. Or for the season you’re in. It’s just your opinion. Everyone’s got their preferences.

But I’m confident in these little bundles of buttery, blueberry goodness. They’re the best. I’ve tried a dozen or so blueberry muffin recipes over the years and none of them come out quite like this. Favorite. Ever.

They’re moist and buttery, they’ve got just a hint of citrus to bring out the flavor of the blueberry, and have the crumbly topping. I LOVE the crumbly topping.

muffin dough

In my classic Courtney form, I’ve combined the genius ideas of a few recipes and made my own. It’s just the way to go, you know? You can do the same. Go ahead, merge my thoughts with your own. Or with your mom. Or Ina Garten. I don’t care. That’s the beauty of baking and cooking at home — it’s your own form of art. Live on the edge.


The Best Blueberry Muffins

adapted from Williams Sonoma, Smitten Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated
For the topping:

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup flour

For the muffins:

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cup tin with butter or a 24 mini-muffin cup tin.

To make topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugars and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Add flour. The order of the ingredients is important here — by adding the flour last, you’ll guarantee to have bigger “crumbles.” I like big crumbs. If you don’t care, throw it all together. 🙂

To make the muffins, in a bowl, using an electric or standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a third bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk mixture. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Be careful not to over mix — it just takes a few strokes to get those blueberries in there.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the topping.

Bake the muffins until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes (standard), 16-20 minutes (mini). A toothpick entered into the center of one of the muffins should come out clean. Transfer to wire wrack and let cool at least 5 minutes.



The blinking curser & a new year

Happy New Year.

Yes, I recognize that it’s January 23. I get it. I’m behind. I am aware that it’s been 2014 for a few weeks now, but I’m still living in the past — frantically trying to keep up and stay on top of things. I really had impractical expectations for my life from mid-December until … well … until today, really. Although life has been lovely, adventurous, and fun in some expected and unexpected ways, I’m finding that I’m just not quite caught up.

My heart, my life, and my brain are still processing 2013 — a lot went down last year. I’m doing that thing (maybe you do it too) when I have so many many many things to say that I rehearse thoughts and sentences over and over again so I can share the experience with you, but then I get all overwhelmed. I end up saying nothing. I keep it to myself because so much time has passed that the story has lost its luster. Besides…something, someone, someplace has already happened. There’s already a new story to share.

I’ve been staring at the screen of this neglected blog for months; watching an achingly depressing analogy unfold before my eyes. I was too busy, life was moving too fast, and other things were just too important for me to sit down and write.

There was so much to tell but I didn’t have time/take the time to feed words to the blinking curser flashing back at me. Too much to do. I didn’t leave space for me to write the words so I could actually live in the joy of the adventure He was allowing me to experience.

Much of my life — my relationships, my passions, my rest — took a backseat to my job these past few months. As much as I love my job there’s more to me than “Courtney, Cru staff.” And you may say, “Court, I know that!!” And thanks. Thanks for knowing that. I really do appreciate it. But honestly, I lost a bit of myself there for a bit. It was touch and go there for awhile.

I need me to know that there is more to me than this gig on staff. Yes, much of who I am is laboring with this ministry of college students. They are some of the most creative, passionate, real, and courageous people I know — these men and women show me Jesus and they speak so deeply to my soul. I LOVE that I get to see them every day as part of my job. I’m blessed. Truly. But my ministry — the life God has entrusted me with — is more than just them.

It’s my walk with Jesus, my service to the Savior who saved me and gives purpose to my life. It’s my sweet and brilliant husband. It’s the gifts God has given me to write, and create, and design. It’s relationship with friends who don’t live in my city and have known me for years, and it’s relationship with a friend who’s known me for just a few months and is just beginning to see the real story.

That’s my ministry. That’s His ministry. And I confess that I haven’t been the best steward.

So in the spirit of grace, a desire to pursue holiness out of a deep desire to make Him known to the world, and to share the stories with you, here’s a massive, rambling post about all the things that I may or may not finish talking to you about. 

I’ve planned at least 10 posts in my head — on finishing our support and reporting as full-time senior staff this fall, something we’d dreamed of for years; on moving into a house from our tiny apartment (it’s a great story, I’ll tell you eventually); MC’ing a conference, one of the favorite things I’ve done on staff with Cru; the end of the busiest five months of my life (seriously, never been busier); learning more about my emotions and how I’m discovering more about my temperament and why I cry so easily; my youngest brother graduated from college and is signing up for the Army, so many emotions; Christmas and how our life is changing and flowing and how it just felt different this year and I haven’t put my finger on why yet; the craziness and blessings of TCX and how much I love my job; parties in the new house, so many parties, and I’ve loved every moment; coming back to our staff team, only to leave soon after for a sunny, warm and lovely adventure to Los Angeles to visit some very very dear friends and hang out with 400 Jesus-loving Asian Americans who know they were made to be known and make Him known.

That’s the cliff notes version.

I think I’m ready for it now. 2014 is gonna be a good year.