It’s Foodie Friday! (Irish Soda Bread)

ooooooohh! I made this bread last night with a big pot of Cream of Chicken soup and it really hit the spot. It was quite cool and rainy here and it was a perfect soup and home-made bread kinda evening.

 

I just used the Bear Creek bag of cream of chicken, but I always doctor that up with an extra can of corn, carrots, and the diced chicken in a can. But the bread is the topper! It just doesn’t get any easier then this…

 

Irish Soda bread

 

3 cups all purpose flour

 

1 tsp. baking soda

 

1/2 tsp. salt

 

1 cup water

 

1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

 

1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In large bowl place all dry ingredients. Sift them together with your fingers. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and vinegar. Using your hands, mix and kneed the dough until you form a smooth ball. Add small sprinkles of flour and/or water if and as needed. Kneed for about five minutes. Form back into a ball and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly. score an X in the top of the loaf. In small bowl beat one egg. Brush the egg over top of the loaf to give it a slightly crusty top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and wrap in a cloth for an additional 30 minutes. When it is time to eat it, the bread will still be nice and warm. It is soooooooo yummy! This is a little bit heavier of a bread so it’s perfect to use with soup instead of a spoon. Give it a whirl!

May I ask you this question?

I hope you don’t mind me dropping in like this, a little unexpectedly. I have something I’d like to ask each and every one of you…

 

I would really love to know what it is that you are struggling with right now at this moment?

 

I’m not promising to be able to fix it or that I can make it go away, but I am offering a listening ear and I WILL do what I can do to help you in any way I can.  I look forward to hearing from all of you  🙂

If I Wasn’t Blind

Father in Heaven, you’ve impressed me with these words and so I ask now for You to reach who You had in mind. In Jesus name, Amen…

 

There have many times in my childhood and young adult life that I’ve pondered the possibilities for my life… if I wasn’t blind.

 

I had planned on entering the military to complete the circle of my Dad, Mom, and Brother all being in the armed services. I had envisioned myself as a Drill Sargent and whipping those young newbies into shape and teaching them all manner of respect. My kids say I would have been great in that position.

 

Giving honor to my family by following these forelayed footsteps was not to be. I would have been shoulder to shoulder with fellow soldiers… if I wasn’t blind.

 

I had wanted to be an airline Pilot for a brief stent. I pictured grabbing the speaker on the plane and announcing that this was Captain So and So speaking and familiarizing my passengers to the plan in case of an emergency landing.

 

Giving calming instructions as to how to place their own oxygen mask on before assisting other passengers. Yes, I wanted to have my pilots license… if I wasn’t blind.

 

I had wanted to be an Attorney for quite some time. In fact, that inclination is still there at times. I could see myself in a steller business suit and leather briefcase sauntering into the court room, whispers breaking out and saying “that’s the Attorney that’s never lost a case”. Fighting for the rights of the underdog. Changing unjust laws and making legal history.

 

I still like a good lawyer show. I had this dream for a time. My heart longed for it. I would have held exhibit A’s and read from other cases to prove my case… if I wasn’t blind.

 

Even now, I sit and wonder if I can pursue this writing dream. I know you don’t have to see to write well, but the process is so very different in todays world of publishing. Followers, subscribers, conferences, logos, graphics, research, computer usage, programs… and it just keeps going. I am eternally grateful for the technology that has been made and it obviously helps people like myself be a little more independent. But there are many steps in the writing journey that would be so very much more accessible… if I wasn’t blind.

 

But there is another side of my story that needs a voice. The side that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

 

This side says that this world can have all the road blocks in front of me that it wants too, but God is bigger. This story says that the words on the blog or in any book project may not have the inspirational impact God wants it to have… if I wasn’t blind.

 

There are people who need to hear the truth of Gods love for them and they may not hear my words the same way… if I wasn’t blind.

 

My children and husband are the biggest part of my journey. Life took me in many directions before I found the right map that lead me to my family. The detour signs were abundant, but I may not have found the treasure map God handed me… if I wasn’t blind.

 

My heart is to give the disabled community a voice, some recognition for their contributions, a chance to be seen and heard as a valuable member of society. Jesus had a three-and-a-half-year ministry while on this earth and most of it involved those with various kinds of disabilities. This connects me to Jesus in a very special way in my heart and maybe this wouldn’t be so… if I wasn’t blind.

 

The struggles I face everyday makes me aware of how much I need Jesus. He is the only one who makes blindness bearable. I want to surrender my will to Him in everything. I don’t want to want to be seen and heard by man and that is hard to admit; that the opinions of others hold as much value as Gods. Not that I don’t value my readers opinions, certainly I value them greatly. But I shouldn’t hold them as closely as I do Gods.

 

It is obedience to Him that I want my heart to desire. Obedience alone. Not accolades, not publishing contracts, not book sales, just obedience to Gods calling. Even if no one ever read a word I wrote, I want my heart to swell with the satisfaction of writing for my Father in heaven to read.

 

Oh I want all of you to be blessed. I truly do! But as I wrestle in my mind of why I feel called to write, I find myself choosing some of the wrong reasons:

 

  • Proving that people with disabilities can be valuable
  • Proving to my family that I can do what seems unlikely
  • Proving to myself that I have worth to spite my broken eyes
  • Fulfilling a deep ache to be depended upon the way I have to depend on so many
  • Showing the world that my disability has no bearing on my intelligence or capability on a given project

 

The list is longer but this covers most of it. I didn’t realize my desires were the reason my dream has been stagnant. My need to prove has proven that my focus is all wrong. My blindness isn’t my disability; it’s my inability to see.

 

I want God to open my spiritual eyes and really help me to see what He wants to do with my writing, with my ministry, with me.

 

Do you sometimes wonder what it is God is trying to do with your life, your ministry, your family, your job, or you?

 

Let’s examine these four questions:

 

  • What is my reason for doing what I’m doing?
  • Am I giving it the proper attention it needs?
  • Does this have the potential to change a life (even if it’s just mine)?
  • Would I continue doing this if no one ever saw the results but me and God?

 

These are questions I will be examining as well. I want my motives to be pure and I want that for you too. I want what I write to be heartfelt and genuine. What I’ve written has always been from my heart. But I want it to be from a heart that is always seeking the kingdom of God first, then it will always be a blessing for my readers.

 

God has us each in a place that we have the opportunity to best see Him. Maybe if you weren’t in the place you are, you wouldn’t be able to see or hear Him when He calls.

 

Maybe I wouldn’t have a desire to be a voice for the disabled and a small beacon of light for those trying to understand more about who God is… maybe I wouldn’t… if I wasn’t blind.

 

It’s Foodie Friday! (Except it’s Sunday)

Oh dear readers… Friday came and went before I even knew what day it was! My apologies for getting the recipe out late. I hope you like it so much that forgiveness is granted 😉

Pancakes

pancakes

1 ¼ cup flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup milk

2 tbsp oil or maple syrup

Splash of vanilla

 

Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and sift together to combine. Just use clean fingers to do this. In small bowl, beat the egg. Pour in wet ingredients (including the egg) into dry blend. Stir well. Don’t worry about getting it completely smooth. Pancake batter should be slightly lumpy and a little thick. Now to kick this up a notch, you can add any of the following ingredients:

 

1 to 1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

1 to 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

 

2 smashed bananas

 

Chocolate chips

 

White chocolate chips

 

Peanut butter chips

 

Blueberries

 

Cranberries

 

Brown sugar

 

Nuts

 

Oh the list just goes on and on…

 

Also try topping them with apple pie filling, cherry pie filling or any pie filling you fancy. This is a fabulous brunch with girlfriends or that lazy weekend morning. Hope you like it!

The “Wild Fire” called life.

Father in Heaven, please let these words touch the hearts of all those who read it. In Jesus name,Amen.

 

 

Pull up a chair my friends and poor yourselves a beverage and let’s get chatting.

 

Many, if not all of you know that “Little House On The Prairie” is my favorite show. (make no mistake that all my people know this as well) I can’t say I have a single favorite episode, though I have several favorites.

 

Of course I have a special fondness for the episodes that Mary Ingalls has center stage because of her blindness in season four. Then she marries Adam and her journey with blindness shifts a little.

 

There is an episode called “The Third Miracle” in season six, in which Adam wins the prestigious “Loui Brail” award and has to travel to St. Paul Minnesota. So he and Mary board the stage coach which has a rickety wheel issue and head to the train station.

 

Mary has had many struggles with her blindness just in living everyday life. I can relate to this. My dailies look something like this…

 

If I drop something on the floor, I have to get down on my hands and knees to sweep my hands across the floor and find it.

 

Remembering where I set every and any thing down because I can’t just scan the room to see where I’ve set it.

 

Dealing with people not always remembering (including myself) to push their chairs in.

 

Memorizing remote controls, phone tabs, microwave and stove buttons, channels on the TB because there is no reading the guide, and on and on…

 

I don’t even watch movies on demand or DVD because I have to switch the TV to another output and I can’t see the screen to do that. Watching TV at all is not my top choice as I can’t lay on the couch or sit in my cozy recliner and expect to see what’s happening on the screen. I will sometimes sit and listen with my family,but it’s kind of like being the only one in the room who doesn’t get the joke.

 

Then there are the times of the kids asking other moms’ to watch them do something because they know I can’t see them. Knowing that when my daughter walks down the isle, I won’t be able to see her face as it shines with joy and happiness. Knowing that I won’t see my son on a stage with whatever he decides to do… and it most likely will involve a stage!

 

In the Little House episode, Adam and Mary are traveling in the stage coach and the rickety wheel issue has reared it’s ugly head. The wheel comes off and the coach tumbles helplessly down a ravine. Adam is Thrown from the coach and is now pinned beneath it. The other traveler in the coach is of course unconscious and naturally the driver has perished. This leaves blind Mary the only one to save the day.

 

After making sure of the direction of the sun by feeling the warmth on her face, she sets out to do the impossible. She stumbles and trips and falls a few times, but fueled by the need to save her husband and fellow traveler (who is seven months pregnant by the way), she presses on. Hands outstretched in front of her to help guide her, she begins her ascent back up the ravine they tumbled down, she almost reaches the top and grabs hold of a fist full of weeds and grass but it gives way and she falls backward and gets knocked out.

 

By this time, there are people out looking for the stage coach as it was reported as not reaching it’s destination of the train station. Two of the men looking were Mary’s Father and his friend. There is also an over-looked fact that for reasons explained in the episode, Mary has her old eyeglasses in her pocket. This will prove to be significant.

 

While Mary lays on the ground in the blazing summer sun, a spark of a flame begins near her and it isn’t long before a brush fire is roaring. Mary awakens at the smoke and heat and quickly realized… she was trapped.fire

 

Pa and his friend happen down the road the stage took and careened down the hill. They hear Marys cries for help and set the horses to running to get to her. The flames are high and ferocious, licking all around her and threatening to consume her.

 

Does life often feel this way for you?

 

Like the fire of your circumstances threatens to consume you?

 

Blindness can leave me feeling the heat and ferociousness of it’s flames. Coiling around me and hissing things like “you can’t” or “you’re disabled, AKA, you’re not able”, or “someone else can do it better”.

 

Maybe for you it’s “you should be a better mom” or “you don’t even belong in this job” or “she could have done that better”.

 

The burning flames of life can leave us feeling scorched. Unable to breathe for the choking black smoke. Left to deal with ashes and chard remains.

 

But here’s what is left to tell of this episode… Marys Father sees her among the raging flames and knows what she can’t see… the way out.

 

He reaches her in the nick of time and rescues her from the blazing inferno. She doesn’t ask how he found her, she doesn’t ask him to identify himself, she doesn’t try to help him help her. She just clings to him and let’s him lift her out of danger.

 

Psalm 71:2  “In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline Your ear to me, and save me!” (ESV)

 

Mary cried out to her Father when she heard his voice. He said her name and she replied, “help me Pa, help me!”

 

Oh friends, when your life is getting heated and flames are licking at your face and the black smoke of circumstances seem to be suffocating you, cry out to your Father, your Pa, your Daddy. “help me Pa, help me” is all we need to say.

 

He holds us close and even though the flames may still rage, we can be protected from the heat and lung filling smoke. Blindness threatens to knock me down and clog my ears from hearing Gods calling for me. It wants to fill me with discouragement and tell me that I’ll never be a published author because no one wants to hear what a blind woman has to say. It wants to tell me that it’s to hard and not worth the hours and tears I put into it and someone who has no disability has a much better chance of my dream being granted to them.

 

But Gods’ all powerful arms lift me out of the flames of doubt and sets me at a safe distance. Oh I can still see the blaze, but now I’m not concerned that it will consume me. I can be at a safe distance to know what my challenges will be but not have them overtake me. I can breathe again without the stifling aroma of smoke.

 

Let God rescue you from your inferno by trusting that His end was before the beginning of the struggle. He longs to swoop in and pluck us right out of the flames. Call out to Him. Call on His Holy name.

 

Oh by the way… Marys glasses that were in her pocket? They fell out onto the grass covered ground when she fell. The sun glaring through the lenses is what started the fire. She never knew how the fire started, the camera just panned on the scene of her chard frames. Had the fire not been started, she never would have been saved. The fire is what her Pa saw and her cries to be helped is how she was rescued. Sometimes God uses a seemingly inconsequential thing to save us. It’s that one thing that we may never make the connection too but He uses it none-the-less. Nothing is inconsequential to God! Trust Him with everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Foody Friday! (BBLT’s)

Well I’d like to share a little story with you before the recipe if that would be okay? It is why I’m giving you this particular recipe which isn’t technically a recipe but more of a new twist on a very simple summer favorite…

 

When my brother and I were kids, my Dad always planted a garden. He wanted us  to have the experience of tending our own plants. So he went about the task of fencing off two smaller sections of the garden for my brother and I to call our own. Planting things like tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, onions and alike, gave us a scene of being a mini-farmer.

 

My favorite though was the tomatoes. I guess I liked their brightly colored flesh when they were ripe. My Dad gave me a taste for tomato sandwiches then and I still love them today.

 

I just today, had my first tomato sandwich of the year! I experiment with old favorites to try and put a new twist on them. Next time you have the famed “BLT”, try adding some of these toppings…

 

avocado

boiled egg slices

onion

green olive slices

sliced cheese

 

Then try something different for the dressing. Instead of traditional mayo, choose…

 

Ranch dressing

Sour cream

Premixed dressings for potato or macaroni salads

garden vegetable cream cheese

 

Putting a new twist can bring back some great memories and begin some new ones! Hope you enjoy these suggestions on the old fave!

 

P.S. If your wondering about the extra “B” in the title… I’ve named this the “Beyond Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich” Let me know how you like it! .

“Seeing” What I Can’t See

Father in heaven, please give us the vision to see what we cannot see on our own, In Jesus name, Amen.    Good Wednesday to all of you! Or just good day if your reading this on a different day. I hope you have had an opportunity to try some of the recipes. Ya know, there is nothing like sitting around the table with family or friends or just your spouse to have a meal and some cherished time together.

 

My family dynamic is changing rapidly and I’m not sure how I feel about that. My oldest child is almost twenty years old and going in all directions at once it seems. Work, girlfriend, the gym, and everything in between. I blinked and he became a young man who still needs guidance but is quickly approaching moving on and starting life outside the four walls of his childhood.

 

This is, if I’m being honest, a little hard for me. I have raised him to be a strong independent person who can stand on his own two feet and make decisions for himself. I may not always agree with those decisions, but I’m certain my heavenly Father isn’t always happy about my choices either.

 

Then there is my baby. Just graduated and starting college this fall. How… how did I get here? I have raised her to also be independent and strong. She marches to her own drummer but it is Jesus playing that drum. She is nervous about college and starting a new chapter, but then if she weren’t, I would worry that she wouldn’t be on her guard against the enemy’s attacks.

 

Then there is me… who am I now that my “stay at home mom” days are coming to an end? I have loved that roll even when I was cleaning up the endless spilled drinks and broken items and washing sticky… whatever it was… out of my children’s hair.

 

It occurs to me that I have always longed to just do normal things that other moms do. Then I realize… I do! Don’t other moms clean up spills? Don’t other moms wash stickiness out of their kids hair? Don’t other moms want to raise their kids to be strong and independent?

 

I wasn’t the perfect mom by any means. But I did do some of those normal things. I can hold onto that even when it seems kind of ridiculous to find contentment in that kind of normal. God gave me normal. I wanted that and He granted me that.

 

Friends God desires to give us what we ask for when it lines up with His plan for us. You see His plans for us don’t look like our worldly plans for ourselves. He desires much better things for us then that. My plans looked like being able to drive my kids to every event under the sun. Birthday parties, overnights, play-dates, school, library study times…

 

If I could have done that kind of normal, they may not have made the friends they did while riding along with other kids. They may not have made those extra stops that other moms had to make and then were part of a blessing that stop entailed. They might not have seen unique things on the walking we had to do to get somewhere. This was our normal.

 

But now what is my normal? My normal will be what God calls me too. I want it to be “normal” for me to respond to His calling. Wherever that may lead, whether it’s my office or the opposite side of the country.

 

If we make listening to Gods calling a normal practice, then wherever He leads and whatever He asks becomes normal. He asked me to carry the weight of blindness to better display His power, therefore whatever being blind requires, becomes normal.

 

Philippians 4:9 says this… “what you have learned and received and heard and seen in Me, practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

If we make following God a practice, we will have peace in “the normal”.

 

As I enter into the new normal events that God will place before me, I see Him calling me deeper into writing. Writing a devotional book for people with disabilities. Disabilities of all kinds. For those who have one and those who care for someone with one. This is what I feel God has placed on my heart and I’ve gotten positive feed back on it as well.

 

So I will no longer be washing sticky hair (unless it is my own) or mopping up spilled drinks (oh wait… I still do that after I knock one over) or clean up something that got broken (well, I guess I… hmm,) maybe it won’t be all that different after all!

 

In any case, it’s a new season and I feel God impressing me with four projects with one of them being at the head of the line. My devotionals that are being published come out in a couple of months, for the new year and it will be the first official published pieces for me. I am weighing my options for publishing my own devotional book and would ask that you keep this in prayer for me please. I want to honor God in that process.

 

I am learning that I can “see” what I cannot see when God leads. I will be looking for Him in new and possibly unlikely places in this new journey. Much like my dog in this photo is in an unlikely place atop my accent table to see something that she evidently couldn’t see from the chair. I want to practice what I do see from Jesus and pack it in my proverbial suitcase on this adventure.

IMG_3549.jpg

If you are interested in contributing to this devotional book project for people with disabilities, please feel free to leave me a comment here letting me know you’d like to share your story to possibly be used for a devotional. My goal is to bring some hope to those who feel the weight of disability. Either by having one or caring for someone who does. Blessings to all of you. See ya on Friday!