DO HARD THINGS...From Parenthood to Peanut Butter Roll.

When my daughters graduated from high school, their youth pastor, Steven Bell, gave each one of them a book entitled Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris. In a nut shell, it urges Christian young people to rebel against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God. It's an incredible book and I urge any parent to buy it for your child, regardless if they're a teen or young adult. Written when they were 18 years old, the Harris twins give readers a tangible glimpse of what's possible for those who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential. It's powerful and brutally honest--just as we parents are often required to be as well. THAT IS HARD, TOO.

Although I meet wonderful young adults through relationships with my daughters, I also see or hear of just as many who seem to have not yet figured "IT" out. For some reason, they feel as if the world owes them a job, a handout, or both. I've also encountered young adults who seem to think they should be paid, right off the bat, a huge salary (regardless of their experience) and that it must be 100% perfect, according to THEIR expectations. IF these said demands don't materialize, then someone else is at fault. Some blame the color of their skin, their economic background, their parent's inept parenting skills, or that the world is just flat out against them. While I never wish to come across as unsympathetic, I just gotta say, ENOUGH ALREADY! Remember, this blog is all about being raw and real.

To any young adult who wishes to blame the world as a excuse to be rude or lazy, I'm just gonna say, STOP. ALL of us have experienced personal trials. ALL. OF. US. You may think that others have always had an easy ride but I beg you to think like an objective adult. You will never know another person's whole story, nor will they yours. But that is never an excuse to judge them OR to use it as as a crutch to defend your poor choices. You gotta own that. Yes, this world can be a cruel place, but we gotta push forward, take responsibility and EARN OUR WAY. That means on your own and not feeling as if it's your parents job to clothe, house and support you financially. It breaks my ever lovin' heart to see parents who constantly defend their adult children, not loving them enough to allow them to be independent, to choose their own friends, and to experience the consequences of their actions.

As a former high school teacher, I used to see parents who refused to see any fault in their child and practically drew out the map for their future. It was almost as if the child had no say so in their future whatsoever. It was all about fear and control on the parents part. Sweet friends, that's a very costly mistake to make, literally. I've watched parents go bankrupt as they sadly bail their adult children out of jail, out of debt, or out of facing the punishment they deserved. It's heart-breaking. Parents, we have to hang tough and encourage our children to do the same. They are watching us.

I'll never forget the first speeding ticket I received. I'd finally convinced my parents that I was responsible enough to drive to the next town over by myself. It took much pleading but once they agreed, I could barely contain myself. I had my 80's music blasting with the windows rolled down and my long hair blowing in the wind. I WAS FREE! I finally felt like an adult. After all, I had a summer job as a lifeguard, was teaching swimming lessons and thought I had the world by the tail. Have mercy. I had no idea how clueless I was. I also didn't see the state police car behind me as I was speeding along Route 80. As the blue lights suddenly flashed in my rearview mirror, a pit formed in my stomach that I can still recall to this day.

Regardless of how much I pleaded, the office had no sympathy and presented me with a citation. I cried the entire way home, as I could only imagine my parents reaction when I gave them the news. Of course I got a good chewing out, as my dear mom is a bit of a fireball. But after the lecture on how I could have been killed or killed another driver, she calmly said, "Well, Angie, I hope you enjoy your first pay check from your summer job. It might be just enough to pay for that speeding ticket you earned yourself." Gulp.

While I was naturally upset, I knew they meant business. After all, I'd also experienced their punishment as a result of being a door slammer. (What's your first clue that I'm a little passionate? I prefer that word instead of hot tempered:) I'd often get angry at my parents for telling me I had to limit my time on the phone to my then boyfriend. Back in the day, of course, we all had land lines and a long distance call to the next county over was pricey. Imagine my surprise when I came home from school one day to a bedroom without a door. My dad had taken it totally off the hinges, calmly stating, "Angie, when you learn how to close a door like a normal person, you'll get your door back. It's gonna be a while." Yes, I had that coming as well. THAT WAS HARD.

But what if my parents had paid my speeding ticket or allowed me to keep slamming doors? What if they did nothing but warn me time and time again, only for me to ignore them just as often? I think you know the answer to that. Such actions would have had long lasting consequences. I would have never learned to be responsible and my parents would have had a daughter who they'd be financially and emotionally supporting the rest of their lives. Thankfully, they didn't fear the consequences of being tough parents.

We have to love our kids enough to do the hard things, so that they, too, can realize hard things will be required of them.

Okay, rant over. Let's change the subject!

Since it's the Christmas season, I decided to try doing a hard thing as well: the KY time-honored tradition of making the coveted peanut butter roll. Cooked white fondant slathered with peanut butter and rolled into a beautiful pinwheel was something I looked forward as a child, every December. To be honest, my mom wasn't very good at making it so we often received it as a gift from our sweet friend, Ann Triplett. Oh, how my dad would get so excited to bite into that first piece.

So after 52 years of eating it, I decided to try making it myself. TALK ABOUT HARD.

From fondant splattering on everything in my kitchen to it being the consistency of tooth paste, it was an epic fail. I live at almost 8000 feet above sea level so I'm blaming that as part of my problem. Oh what a mess. You can check out the video below.

Dear readers and cooks, in this video I wanted to quit. And after blowing up four hand mixers, I did just that. I waved the white kitchen towel in surrender.

But only for a few days......I don't give up easily.

After my fifth try, I finally made an edible batch and even took a tray to an Enchanted Woods Jewelry trunk show. I was as proud as when I first rode a bicycle on my own! I suppose it's become sort of a rite of passage as a Kentucky cook to master this sweet confection. Trust me, I still have lots to learn.

Thankfully, I'm learning to be patient with myself and yes, that's a hard thing for yours truly. Whether it's trying to be the perfect Christian, the perfect wife or an exemplary cook, I get frustrated when things don't materialize on my self-created timetable. But praise Jesus, we have a Savior who knows exactly what we need and when we it need to occur, if at all. Sometimes his direction is not what I prayed for, but it's what I needed. He isn't happy when we make poor choices, but He loves us enough to allow us to learn from them. May we do the same with those we love.

Now, go in the kitchen and try this peanut butter roll recipe below. I DARE YA! (Hint, make sure you either have a bionic arm, a turbo hand mixer or even better, a stand mixer. You can thank me later.) Oh, and thanks to Jatanna Adams for this recipe! You rock, girlfriend!

Happy Cooking!

Angie

Old-Fashioned KY Peanut Butter Roll

4 cups sugar 1/2 cup corn syrup 1-1/4 cup water Boil the ingredients above to hard ball stage on candy thermometer (250 degrees on candy thermometer). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes.

While above mixture is cooling, beat 5 egg whites until they are fairly stiff. Pour hot syrup slowly into egg whites and whip with mixer until it loses it gloss. Pour onto buttered wax paper that's been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll out thin (better to press with hands) and spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the entire top. Roll into a log and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for one hour. Slice with dental floss or very sharp knife. As you can see, mine wasn't the perfect pinwheel, but it was still yummy!