Triple Chocolate Heart Attack Fudge: I Double Dog Dare You to Make This


The heart attack is optional, but you definitely want to make this! A velvety blend of white chocolate, milk chocolate and peanut butter makes this fudge irresistibly drool-worthy. I mean, I don’t want to brag, but the recipe for this doably delectable dessert was published in the Tyler Paper Christmas Dessert Contest of 2012. It didn’t win, but still. They saw the potential.

Little known fact: John Lennon was actually eating this fudge while composing “Imagine.” I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I also read somewhere that this fudge is used to torture terrorists. They hold out pieces of it just under the nose of the bad guy BUT NEVER LET HIM TRY IT. I’m not saying it’s humane, but sometimes they have it coming.

Heart Attack Fudge

List of Ingredients

6 cups sugar

12 ounces evaporated milk

1 cup butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

13 ounces marshmallow cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 package white chocolate chips

1 package milk chocolate chips

1 package peanut butter chips

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons baking cocoa


Butter bottom and sides of 13×9 inch baking pan, or line with foil. Heat sugar, milk, butter and cheese to boiling in a large pan over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 227ºF on candy thermometer; remove from heat. The temperature is imperative to perfect fudge! Make sure it’s exact.

Quickly stir in marshmallow cream and vanilla.

Pour 4 cups of hot mixture over white chocolate chips in large bowl; stir to mix. Stir chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter chips and cocoa into remaining hot mixture. Pour one third of white mixture into pan and spread evenly. Quickly pour one third of chocolate mixture over top, spreading evenly. Repeat twice. Swirl knife greased with putter through mixtures for marbled design. Do not refrigerate, but let cool on countertop till set. Cut into 1 inch squares with knife greased with butter. Makes 8 dozen.

I have, in the past, substituted mint chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips. Once I got really crazy and used dark chocolate instead of milk. There are rumors of photo evidence of this crime, but I’ve never seen anything.

For Dad: The ABCs of Grief

My favorite pic of Dad.

My favorite pic of Dad.

The ABCs Of Grief


Believing that in my own superhuman abilities, that I

Could, through the power of wishing on rainbows, stop your impending

Death with nothing but the power of my love, I foolishly

Envied but was powerless over time’s relentless pace and its total reign over our lives.

Forgetting for a moment banalities  of life such as

Grocery shopping, dog walking, and bill paying,

Having no life except my feeble attempt to extend yours,

I thought of nothing else but you those last two weeks.

Just these four walls of your living room, somehow

Kidding myself with the hopeless optimism that anythlng I did helped you at all.

Losing you, letting go, holding my breath as you left this place, was not my choice, nor yours.

Minutes hung like stars in the heavens, twinkling individually,

Near enough to touch. Your last breath here was

Only your first in the great expanse of the eternity you exist in now.

Pain: crushing, black, angry, all-encompassing, then

Quiet. Only the sound of the ticking of the clock as the rest of the world kept moving as if they didn’t know or care that the wonderful being of light that encompassed you had been extinguished,

Ripping the seam from this world to the next

Silence, deafening, closing in with the numbness,

Then a desperate scream coming from my lips as I drive home in the blinding rain

Unencumbered by any sort of social proprieties or expectations

Variations of blackness at first consume me as I question the need for prayer

Winter strips the leaves from the trees and I am glad they feel my naked sorrow too.

Extreme complacency grips me as if in the arms of a passionate lover, for at least a

Year. Then two, then five. Then, a glimmer of hope emerges that I might once again feel the

Zeal of a life remaining here, left behind.

Tightrope Walkers

Tightrope Walkers

We are fourth generation on the poverty level

Poverty begets poverty

Too poor for fun but too rich for food stamps

Too broke to have a decent car, and if it breaks we can’t fix it

Please God, don’t let it break

The gas furnace works, and burns hot in the living room, but doesn’t reach the back rooms

And cannot burn hot enough to warm my icy fear

Too poor for band camp, so we don’t sign up

The teacher calls, a day late, with a scholarship offer- she’s first chair, after all

But camp is full so she can’t go

Too poor for groceries and the electric bill, so we’ll have to ask the pantry,

the humiliation embraces us, ever present, like a discarded lover

I won’t complain, but I’m tired of freezer burned chicken and canned lima beans

The calendar stretches forever, pay day is always too far away… Didn’t you just get paid?

A cheap birthday ‘party’, a cake from a mix and a promise for a present

They pretend to understand when their friends get trips to Six Flags

Later, always later

Momma and Daddy are getting marriage counseling

Too many hushed ultimatums, tearful regrets, sleepless nights

Preacher says it’s cause they’re not tithing

The shame, ever present, of not making it work

(the elephant in the room)

It’s never enough, never enough

We don’t own an expensive car, or a house in the good neighborhood

The greasy mechanics down the street look at my daughters when they walk home from school

We don’t live above our means, except everything is above our means.

The oldest needs shoes again, and money for a field trip

How do you get money for a field trip when there’s none to get?

And Momma and Daddy work all day long

Poetry Corner: Sarah Stood In the Mountain Creek


Sarah stood in the mountain creek

Five years old, your first fishing trip. Do you remember?

We used marshmallows from our picnic for bait

Because you couldn’t kill the worms

Blue jeans rolled up to your knees

Your toes rested on a mossy rock

The cool breeze kissed your short fair hair

And freed a few strands that were tucked behind your ears

Your golden brown hair reflecting the sun,

The icy water swirled urgently past your ankles

A tadpole grazed your toe, and you giggled, the sound of fairies playing

Wrinkling your little freckled nose,

Unashamed in your delight

On Starbucks, Angel Sightings and Pregnant Teen Moms

christmas pic

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-35

I’ve often imagined this story as one of wonder–and terror.

So here’s Mary, who some say was about 14 when A FREAKING ANGEL SHOWED UP TO TALK TO HER.

An angel.

We’re not talking about a sweet little overweight cherub, flying around and sprinkling pixie dust everywhere. We’re talking about a full-grown (whatever that means) angel in all his terrifying glory, just randomly appearing to Mary was going about her day.

Can you imagine how this scenario would play out in modern times?

For example, Mary is stopping by Starbucks on her way to Jewish History class (because obviously there’s not a Christmas Break yet. Work with me, ok?). On her way inside the magical glass doors to the happy smells of ground coffee beans and white privilege she’s blocked by a glowing being.

Mary: “Excuse me, illuminated guy. I’m trying to get by to order my skinny white mocha before I’m trampled by the crowd.” Then she looks up, not to see a business man with a BlueTooth apparatus hanging off his ear, BUT A FREAKING ANGEL.

Mary: assuming that her Hebrew final has finally caused a mental break: “AHHHH!”

Angel: (Putting his giant hand on the shoulder of Mary’s “I’m a Belieber” T-shirt) “Mary, don’t be afraid.” Easier said then done, terrifying angel guy. Incidentally, have you ever noticed that when angels show up to speak to people they always begin the conversation with “Don’t be afraid” which is roughly translated to “Don’t stop breathing and fall over from a heart attack”  from the original Hebrew.

“God thinks you rock and has decided that…”

Mary, finally noticing that something is awry. “AHHHHHHH!”

Angel: “So here’s what’s going to happen. I know you’re still a minor and living at home but CONGRATULATIONS. You’re going to be MYSTERIOUSLY PREGNANT because God has decided that you are the perfect little girl to be the mama of Jesus.”

Mary, not wanting to offend the terrifying crazy guy while simultaneously trying to keep her heart from stopping, gently points out the obvious. “Oh! Well…I haven’t even had my first kiss yet, and my parents are old-fashioned and all, but I’m pretty sure that it takes more than that to get pregnant. Plus, ha ha, I was just playing with my My Little Pony set yesterday.”

Angel: “Not to worry. You don’t have to take out a personal ad in The Daily Scroll or anything. The power of the Holy Spirit will overcome you and … well, you may want to stop off at the 7-11 and buy some crackers and Sprite because you’re gonna be pregnant by sundown. You also might want to pick up some sweats and a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Messiah.”  By the way, your kid will be THE SON OF GOD.”

Mary: “AHHHHH!”

Actual Blue Tooth Business Guy, who’s annoyed at the hallucinating teenager who’s blocking his triple espresso. “Excuse me. Are you…” (noticing her paleness and assuming she’s about to have some sort of fit) “in line?”

Mary: Stepping out of the way, because she’s sweet like that and doesn’t want her personal issues to keep others from their happy coffee place. “No, not yet!”

Angel, patting Mary’s head: “It’s all gonna be ok, kid. You’re going places. Not only will you be talked about for the next several centuries, people are gonna write songs about you and tell your birth story over and over. Also, your face will be put on a candles that are sold at Dollar General and you’ll be in the movies. Better get an agent!” He disappears.

Mary, stunned and remembering that chapter in her health book that describes schizophrenia as appearing in the teen years, finds a place in line behind Bluetooth Guy.

Barista: “Welcome to Starbucks. What can I get started for you today?”

Mary: “I’ll have a Skinny White Mocha–decaf.”

Merry Christmas, Y’all!

Writing Pet Peeves #1: Capitalization

Tina Bausinger:

Excellent tips!

Originally posted on Write me a book, John!:


Photo Credit

I put #1 in the title of this post because there are several pet peeves I have when it comes to writing that I plan on discussing at some point. This will be the first. It won’t be a weekly thing, I don’t think, but I’ll add to the list whenever I come up with something new.

Okay. I understand that writing is pretty difficult for a lot of people. I’m talking those who struggle with writing a 2-3 page essay that makes any sense at all. Or those who struggle with grammar and punctuation. I get it. But there are some basics to writing that everyone knows, no matter how well you actually write. Punctuation at the end of a sentence. Capitalize the first letter of the first word when starting a new sentence. Capitalize proper nouns. At the bare minimum everyone knows these things. At least…

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Late Foodie Friday…Holiday Baking Ideas!

Tina Bausinger:

Oh my lanta.

Originally posted on all things messy...:

188071236Good morning all my Christmas baking friends!  If you haven’t had time to do your baking this year yet, I think you are definitely not alone!  And let’s be honest, it’s only December 6th – I think we can safely cut ourselves a break, we have a long ways to go my friends!

I, on the other hand, have been without a job and therefore have a lot more time on my hands than I’m used to.  If there’s anything God has taught me lately, it’s that time is a gift.  I’ve been prone to waste it in so many ways, not seeing it as a gift.  But, this week I feel like I finally learned that lesson – isn’t THAT a good feeling!?

Needless to say, a few weeks ago I did my sugar cookies and have shared that recipe here (make sure to add that little bit of…

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An Open Letter to Students from Your Professor: 10 Tips for a Successful Semester

Tina Bausinger:

As we prepare for finals and the end of the semester, I’d like to repost one of my most popular posts.

Originally posted on Tina Bausinger:


Dear Student,
It’s that time again…finals! I know this is hard to believe, but I was once a student too. I would like to extend some tips to keep you sane during this trying time of the semester.
1. Breathe. Everything that has to be done will be done, unless it’s just too late. In that case…
2. Get plenty of sleep. Pulling an all-nighter rarely works. If you haven’t studied before now, it is probably too late. Try to remember this angst-filled moment next semester so you don’t end up in the same place.
3. Don’t send panicked, rude emails to your professor, especially about your grade. She’s stressed out as well, and it won’t help your case in the end anyway. It’s too late to ask to make up the quiz you missed in January.
4. Do review your lecture notes and text with friends…sober friends

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What Bothers Me About The Movie “God’s Not Dead”

In this trailer, a bitter reporter tries to entrap Duck Dynasty people.


I have to talk about the box-office sensation “God’s Not Dead” which I just watched over the weekend with my sweet Aunt Sandi who has been raving about this movie since its debut.The arguments presesented in favor of Creationism were well done. Still, from practically the very first scene, I was worried.

I believe that those behind this film have only the best of intentions. But somehow, there is the least bit of deception illustrated here. It’s similar to what I felt after reading “The Shack.” Was this a wonderful book? Yes. Did it bring people to Jesus? I’m sure that God can use anything to his glory. But the same thing that bothered me about “God’s Not Dead” bothered me about “The Shack.”

Both stories are presented as being true (or at least a compilation of truth) when in fact they are both fiction. 

According to the Christian Post, the only true part of the story was when one of the minor characters in the film, a Chinese student, was based on a real person named Wing Mang was actually witnessed to by a college professor who led him to Jesus: In the film, he becomes a Christian as well, but not because of his professor–in spite of his professor.

At the end of the film, there’s a list of court cases that are supposed to be roughly representative of the plot of the film.

None of them really are. This is so disappointing.

I think one of the things that bothered me most is the fact that I am a professor and so much about this scenario does not make sense. If I humiliated a student the way the instructor did in the film, I would be in the Dean’s office before you could say discrimination. It’s not only against the law to impose my religious beliefs upon my class, it’s against the law for me to threaten a student’s grade on something so subjective. There are procedures in place both for academic grievances as well as non-academic grievances. What the film discusses–a professor who threatens a student’s grade unless he can prove God is alive–simply would not fly. 

I believe that movies like this do little but foster fear within the religious right. It makes people afraid to send their kids to anything but private Christian colleges.  Conservatives don’t need anyone fanning the flame of fear–they are already scared! They worry our country is off-track–that we need to “take it back” (from whom, I’m not sure). They worry that The World wants our souls–and the souls of our children. The last thing they need to worry about is this idea that if they send their kids away for an education, they will come back indoctrinated by atheists and Satan worshippers.

Aside from the overt attack on philosophy and liberal arts professors, the movie also demonizes a Muslim father (when he finds out his daughter is reading the Bible, he hits her and throws her out of the home). Do conservatives need a reason to hate Muslims? Not really.

Also, the Christians in the film were REALLY GREAT PEOPLE and everyone else was…well, evil. Without fail!

I don’t have anything against Christian films. I always root for them! I want them to be good, to compete with other films in different genres. I want them to reach out to those who are curious about Jesus. I really, really want them to be interesting enough to intrigue non-Christians. Sadly, many times, Christian films are only liked and applauded by people who are already Christians and don’t need saving.

Come on, Christian filmmakers. I think we can do better.

Sarah Bessey’s Post: Advent: The Ones Who Know Longing

Please enjoy Sarah’s newest post.