Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Take Time Tuedays

The Father and the Child

The child spoke:
Father, I am tired. It seems that I am always tired.

I know, My child. You need rest.

But I don't have time to rest! I can't even get everything done as it is.

The rest I speak of is a special rest that only I can give. But you must come to Me to receive it.

How long will it take?

It will take a lifetime.

A lifetime? I don't understand.

My rest is given to those who are willing to give up living life in their own strength. This means that you allow Me to be your strength, your Shepherd who will guide you all the days of your life along the right paths.

Living in my own strength, is that what I have been doing?

You have complicated your life by trying to do too much. You busyness has kept you from what is essential: your time to know Me and what I desire for you.

Is there a simpler way?

My way is the way of freedom, peace, and rest. My way is the way of simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

May I have the rest that You give?

Yes. Come, take My yoke.

It's so true. And yet, I make it so difficult. Now is the time to sit at His feet and seek His wisdom and allow Him to show me the way He desires me to go...

I wonder... What will it look like? Will I really make the time to devote to this study? Will I resist what He's trying to teach me or be open and allow Him to transform me and my life? Am I ready to embark on this journey? Are you?

Next Tuesday, we will discuss Chapter One: Profound Simplicity. Hoping and praying that you will take time this week to spend time in His Word and open your hearts and minds to hear what He is saying to us!

Abundant blessings my friends!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Portland, Oregon Day Trip

First stop of the day... Starbucks, of course (there is not a Peet's Coffee along I-5)

Woodlands, Washington ~ a town off I-5, but this isn't a Starbucks in Seattle.

The counter gal could not get my drink correct and really didn't know what I was talking about... Talked directly to barista to get it right!

Gorgeous Fall day in Portland!

Such a gorgeous setting!

A whole aisle dedicated to gluten-free products!

An example of the stone wheels they use to grind the flours...

Maybe we got a little carried away...

This store is HUGE now...

Found a King-size wool blanket (prototype) for a great price!

The awesome Navigator!

Another old favorite store! Huge fabric selection...

Thrilled to find the wool fabrics that I was searching for!

Now I have fabric for next year's Christmas stocking project... :)

A beautiful drive!

Lloyd Center (big mall) in Portland. Ready for some serious shopping!

Tired shoppers with a Jamba Juice for the road... Ready to head back home!

A really great day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall garden delights!

Yesterday's garden harvest ~

Though neglected, the brussel sprouts are coming along well!

Sugar pumpkins ~ going to have to try making pies from scratch!

Spaghetti squash

Broccoli, blackberries, a banana pepper and a couple brussel sprouts (to see if they're bug infested - nope!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take Time Tuesdays

I'm really ready to get this study started, but know we're still waiting for a few people to receive their books...As of now, I'm planning to share about the first Lesson on November 3rd! I hope you'll be ready too. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and what God is sharing with you!

Today, I'd like to take a few minutes to share some thoughts regarding what a friend posted on his facebook on Monday...

Tim Keller: "We never imagine that getting our heart's deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us."(via @challies) posted by a friend and local pastor, Darren Larson, on his facebook this morning.

And a response to it from Kevin Ferguson: "That for which we long for may not be that for which is moral nor good. That for which we desire and thirst for may cause us great pain in the end. That for which we love may be only a shadow to that which we need to love. I agree with Keller, we often can pursue with all our heart that for which is opposite of what a transcendent and yet intimate God would want for us. To lose may be truly to gain. To let go may be to embrace what is truly ethical and right."

When I saw Darren's status, it was actually a jolt to my system. Ugh. Wait. But, I thought...

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

It's a good thing. It's a happy, positive blessing that comes from delighting ourselves in the Lord. This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. One of my anchors and encouragements to keep on day after day...

To be honest, I'm not very happy about what Tim Keller said nor the response that Kevin gave, because it's messing up "my little world" and the thing that often keeps me going is "my heart's deepest desire" and believing that one day God may bless me in this way and I will achieve a level of contentment and peace in my life... You know where this is going, don't you?

Could it possibly cause a negative outcome in my life? Could what I desire fulfill my "self", but leave me feeling empty in not doing God's work in God's way or reaching out to those He desires with His love in a place I desire not to be? When these types of things cross my path, it makes me cross. It's NOT fair! Life is a struggle right now and it has been ever since we moved to this area. To be honest, I don't enjoy living where we are right now. We don't feel completely connected to our church. The people we live near, we just haven't been able to connect to on a friendship level, there are Hispanics that live nearby and listen to music too loud with a bass level that is irritating to me and many don't care about keeping their yards/homes looking nice, there are young black males who think they are 'all that' and can drive their cars fast through this neighborhood and listen to their rap music at insanely loud levels and the bass can beat its way into my home (and sometimes they sit in their cars by the park late at night and think they are so cool sitting there listening to their loud music and no one knows they are there... Oh yes, we do!), and commercial jets rumble my house and my brain (and I long for peace and quiet)... Oh, to live in the country on my little farm with Blaine and I running a sweet, comfortable bed'n breakfast inn (gluten-free, dairy-free, allergy sensitive and family friendly)! Can't you just envision it? Wouldn't you love to come and stay on your next vacation? Please, Lord!

All I've ever wanted is to "run away and live off the land". To learn to live in peace and harmony and be a good steward of the land; growing organic fruits and veggies and caring for a few animals. To create a place of peace for others to enjoy with us. Perhaps a lovely barn in a garden setting for weddings and special events. The ideas flow freely and easily, but when I think of here ~ in the city, in the noise, so many people... I just want to run the other way! And why does it seem that "others" receive great blessings and have been given an 'easier way of life', but not our family... To cope, I allow my heart to find comfort in my 'desires', but then God always interrupts those lovely thoughts with turning my head back to the city, to those who need the love of Christ shared in their lives, reaching out to those who can't help themselves; reminding me that there are those He calls to go out with His message and those He calls to remain here and be ready for the nations He is bringing to this place... To be His hands and feet in reaching out to others with His love, lending a helping hand, walking toward others when they cannot walk toward Him. How can I look the other direction and walk away?

And so, the battle continues in my heart and in my life. This ongoing tug-of-war between my heart's desire and letting go COMPLETELY and allowing God to have FULL control over my life. Possibly guiding me to places I won't desire to be. Perhaps blessing me, one day, with my heart's desire and perhaps not. Will I ever learn to be content? Will I ever learn to fully allow myself to "Bloom where God plants me" or will I always be looking for that next place that might be better than this one? And I ask myself, will I thrive in a place that God has not chosen for me? Is it not best to be exactly where God desires? This life is not about me, but about Christ living in and through me to reach the world with His love. Lord, please help me for I have fallen so short. I'm trying, but I don't seem to be making progress. Please give me a sign that I might know You are with me and encourage me with Your presence for today and in the days ahead. I don't want my 'desires' to be the worst thing to happen to us. I want Your life and love in and through me to be a blessing to all those around me!

And yet, even in my greatest weakness ~ God meets me there. He comforts me, encourages me, and blesses me in spite of my selfishness. I know I need to take some difficult steps in the days, weeks and months ahead. I need to make myself available to God's work, but I'm not certain where to even begin. Yes, I do know the answer. I need to spend time in His Word and in prayer for as I ask and seek and knock, He will show me the way... He is so good and His love endures forever.

I know He desires each of us to make ourselves available to Him ~ right where we are, in the midst of all that is happening in our lives; even when it doesn't seem like we have time. He wants to stretch us, cause us to grow and continually be transformed. I'm so thankful He never gives up on me...nor any of us!

In doing some research for this post, I stumbled across Quill Cottage (a blog I believe God guided me to. I love these posts and think you will too) - Bloom where you are planted: Part 1 and Part 2

Want to know more about Tim Keller - just click on his name...

Abundant blessings dear friend. Praying you dwell in the simplicity of Christ; knowing He is our HOPE every moment of every day! We are blessed to be a blessing to others ~ all because of Jesus and God's great love for all His children...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still processing apples into pie filling...

A plant that keeps on giving...

Our 'queen' broccoli plant is still producing small heads of broccoli ~ even though it's now October 19th and it's been growing for many months... What a blessing!

So thankful Blaine's former boss, Steve, told him that I should not pull the plant out when I harvested the main head...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gluten-free pie crust

The BEST gfdf pie crust! (In my humble opinion)

Donna Jo's Dream Pastry
(from The Gluten-Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman)

1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 potato starch
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt (I don't use that much)
Dash sugar
1/2 cup margarine (I use a stick of Earth Balance buttery sticks)
1/2 cup shortening (I use Spectrum organic shortening)
1 egg, cold
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I use coconut vinegar)
4 Tbsp ice water
sweet rice flour, for rolling

For recipe substitutes, visit Living Without.

To begin, measure 4 Tbsp of water into a cup and set in the freezer.

Blend together the flours, xanthan gum, salt and sugar. Cut in the margarine and shortening in small dabs until you have the "butters" the size of lima beans (I actually blend until it's small than this size). In a bowl, beat the egg using a fork; add the vinegar and the ice water. Stir into the flour mixture, forming a ball. You may knead this a bit, since rice flour crusts can stand handling. *For me ~ I usually use a fork to begin this final mixing process, but always finish with mixing it with me hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for an hour to overnight. *Because I've worked with this recipe for years now, I rarely refrigerate it any more ~ although if the temperature is quite warm outside or in your kitchen; it's a must!

Rolling out dough: measure out a piece of plastic wrap and place on counter. Sprinkle generously with sweet rice flour. Divide dough and place half on floured plastic wrap. After flattening the dough down, generously sprinkle the top with sweet rice flour. Measure out another piece of plastic wrap and place over top. Now, roll out dough as you normally would to size of pie plate. Remove the top piece of plastic, position pie plate right next to dough. Reach both hands under rolled out dough and the plastic. Lift it up and flip over into pie plate. (See pictures below for visuals of how to get dough into pie plate) Shape before removing the plastic. Bake as directed for the filling used.

If you're trying gluten-free pie crust for the first time, it's going to take some time to really get used to how this dough feels. It's much more fragile than wheat dough and it can get a little frustrating at times. However, the dough is very soft and molds easily. Make a few pies and you'll become comfortable with the process!

The ingredients

Rolling out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap ~ floured well with sweet rice flour

Preparing to flip the dough into the pie plate

2 hands under the plastic ~ move quickly!

Laying it in the pie plate

Shaping the dough before removing the plastic

Ta-dum! Time to remove the plastic and roll out the top crust

I evenly trim the bottom crust dough ~ and use it to measure out where to trim the top crust

Adding apple pie filling ~ but this crust is for any double crust recipe

(See how easy it is to make apple pie when you've already got the filling made up?!)

Is your mouth watering yet? Can you smell the aroma of a homemade apple pie cooking in the oven?

Top crust rolled out and positioned next to the pie

Laying it on...

Trimming it up

With this dough, you squeeze and mold the two pie crust layers together and I try to slightly flip the top crust over the bottom crust (for a better seal) and pull it up and away from the pie plate.

Fluting the edges
(this is a soft dough and will not look perfect, but it's delicious)

Sprinkle top crust with sugar (to aid in browning)

Ready for the oven

Combine with this recipe and you'll enjoy a delicious apple pie!

This recipe is likely to become a family favorite for years to come... Many of our friends who are able to eat gluten, LOVE this pie crust ~ so tender and flaky! :)

I get to make a pie this afternoon for my Mom's birthday tomorrow... Today is a great reason to make and share a pie with those you love!