Intentional Listening and Vegan Cupcakes

I had a lovely run this morning. It was still cool (….relatively speaking) when I went, and I got a good 6 miles in, which is really not bad on a busy weekend. A friend of mine who is a professional musician is playing the J.S. Bach St. Matthew Passion in a series of concerts. She’s been posting about the piece a lot on facebook, which has in turn sparked a discussion of it between me and my musician husband. He downloaded his favorite recording (yes, he has several….) of the St. Matthew Passion on my Ipod; I listed to the first hour of it this morning. This morning’s run and music, in combination with a moving passion service at church this morning and today being the anniversary of the tragic death of our good friends’ daughter, got me to thinking more about how I live my life on a day-to-day basis. More often than not, my life is completely hectic and busy busy busy: between working as a lawyer and a professor and a part-time (very) musician and a full-time mom, it is hard to slow down enough to really think and breathe and just be. I think a lot about every-decisions a lot: what to eat (not just vegan, but where the food came from, whether it is healthy, what are the environmental imapcts of the food, etc.), where to buy things (I will not shop at Wal-Mart. Period.), what products to use, etc., but I rarely just stop and think about being and existing and relating to other people. Music is one way that helps me do that, but more often than not I listen to music because I like it. Listening to the Bach this morning reminded me that there is value in slowing down (mentally/emotionally), really listening, and learning a new piece of music. It is always hard for me to learn music that I have not played; my mind and ear just naturally tend to be more interested in music I’ve performed, even if it was years ago. It is much more of a mental and emotional challenge for me to learn music just by listening, yet it is so rewarding to do so – and sometimes I think it forces me to listen even more.

So, this week, a goal of mine is to listen (both to music and words) more intentionally, and to try to understand the meaning of what I hear in a larger context in terms of people and thoughts. We’ll see if I can do it….I’m not always the most thoughtful of people. Slowing down and thinking will be good for me. Plus listening to Bach is always a treat.

On a much lighter note, the cookies and cupcakes and salsa and hummus we made for coffee hour today were all a huge hit. Those folks went through 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 3 dozen strawberry-almond bars, and (timpani roll please) 6 dozen mini cupcakes, plus a back-up sheet cake that I made only as a way to use up extra cake batter! As a friend of mine said, “these people are vultures!”. I did not advertise it as all vegan, so as not to turn people away, but when people commented on how good everything I tried to tell them it was vegan.

I was particularly pleased with how the cupcakes turned out. I used two standard vegan cake recipes and standard vegan buttercream, but they came out really cute because of the squiggly frosting. I used an old-fashioned frosting bag (or whatever they’re called) because someone (ahem) broke my fancy-schmancy pampered chef frosting dispenser. Oh well….

Anyways, I took oodles of pictures, and will post some soon. YUM.

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