Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Last Day of October!

We made these cute little guys to hand out to the shut -ins we deliver meals to on Thursday during October!  Healthy and FUN!

We made these cute little guys to hand out to the shut -ins we deliver meals to on Thursday during October! Healthy and FUN!

I’m all about ways to maximize my time.  Time isn’t something some of us have more of, we just all use it differently.

What I learned having 8 kids in 10 years, is that the time isn’t MINE…. it’s God’s and I better move a pretty good clip to get things done.

Fast forward to my life now… and nothing is new, it always feels like there isn’t enough time.

But there is always enough time to get done what God would have me do.  It’s true I can’t do it all, but God doesn’t want me to do it all anyway.  So I focus on what NEEDS to be done, and do that.

Wednesday night is our errand night.  We restock on groceries and household items, and run around like crazy people.  We usually cover 3 grocery stores, the dry cleaners, Target, and anywhere else (like the library).  When we return home the kids help dad unload the van, and I start on baths for the littles.  We are blessed with more than one bathroom, so showers are started with the older kids at the same time.  It still takes at least an hour to get everyone to bed, AND get things put away.  (usually longer with the older kids!)

As that is happening I’m working on other things, blend the almond milk for tomorrow, soak the apples from the store, start a chicken in the crock pot for broth and chicken later this week, pop chicken breasts in the oven for tomorrow’s lunch, soak 3 cups of nuts for tomorrow’s banana porridge, and then take the almond meal from the strained milk and bake it with cinnamon to make granola bars…  I go on like this… mixed in with cleaning dishes and putting things away for a few hours each night.  Some nights I’m on my feet for 2 hours following errand night.  On a regular baking night, when we are “home” for the evening, it’s a good five-hour stint between preparing dinner and getting things ready for the next day.

So in my time crunch, I’m also thinking of ways to maximize our food and never be wasteful.  Just like using the carrot pulp from my juice for muffins or making sure we eat left overs!  One thing I’ve learned to do is use the almond “meal” from my almond milk – and make homemade paleo “Granola” bars!  This works out great a few times a week, and provides a seriously yummy snack, that is pack full of SUPER healthy fats, for a lot less!

BARS

So if you’re left with almond meal after making milk, and you’re wondering what to do…  here’s how it works:

MIX
ALMOND MILK “MEAL” PALEO GRANOLA BARS

(This is assuming you’ve made milk with 2 cups of soaked, raw almonds and uses all of that meal for this recipe)
Take the almond meal out of the cheese cloth and spread it on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and put it in a 350 degree over for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

In another bowl, mix the following:

1 cup of almond butter (I love Barney Butter – crunchy!)
1 1/3 cups of Coconut Oil (melted)
2. T Coconut Flour (I use Honeyville)
3 T. Molasses
2 T. Pure Vanilla

2 cups of shredded coconut (I use Tropical Traditions)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I use blueberries or raisins)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

** Once well mixed, add in the baked almond meal and stir all together.

Line a 9×13 glass pan with parchment, and then press bars into dish.  Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour, and then cut.  I usually wrap most of them up so they can travel easily, but it would work to stack and store them in a dish.  Either way, refrigerate until you eat them!  (Your welcome on the parchment paper “lining” this is crazy-slick!)

If you don’t have time to put the bars together following baking the almond meal, just simply lift the sides of the parchment paper, and slide it into a ziplock bag.  Store in the fridge until you are ready!

 

 

 

PULLOUT

 

“Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
    and an idle person will suffer hunger.
 Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
    he who despises his ways will die.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and he will repay him for his deed.
Discipline your son, for there is hope;
    do not set your heart on putting him to death.
A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
    for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Proverbs 19:15-21

Paleo Cinnamon Roll Cake

CAKE_CINNAMONROLL

Paleo Cinnamon rolls aren’t the easiest thing going …  if you’ve ever tried to make them.

{I’ve had a few fails myself!}

They’re dense.  Hard to roll.  Easy to fall apart.

I still make them though, because they TASTE great… and that’s what matters, right?  Not how things LOOK?

But then I saw this recipe for a regular version of cinnamon roll cake.  I though… hmmm…  I bet I could make that Paleo?

And I did!

It was way easier than paleo cinnamon rolls and family loved it.  I think you would even SKIP the glaze sauce…  and obviously this is a special treat, because it’s pretty sugar loaded.  BUT, considering what a regular cinnamon roll would be – this is a much better option.

CAKE_CINNAMONROLL2

PALEO CINNAMON ROLL CAKE

Cake:

1 cup coconut palm sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup of coconut butter

1 cup of almond flour

1 cup of arrowroot flour

1/2 cup of coconut flour

Topping:

1/2 cup of coconut oil or coconut butter

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

2 T. coconut flour

1 T. cinnamon

Optional:

Top with 1/4 cup diced pecans after you swirl cake and topping.

Mix everything for the cake.  Pour into 9×13 baking dish.  Drop topping evenly over batter and swirl with knife.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  When cooled, (if desired) top with glaze before serving.

Glaze:

1/2 cup of honey

1/2 cup of coconut butter

5 T canned coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Psalm 46:10-11

Missing Things

My husband was missing his "Starbucks" Frapps that he used to get.  About a week in from giving them up for 90 days, he realized just how awful they had made him feel - but he was addicted and didn't know it!  He says - never again, it's not worth it.  Now instead, I can make him a mock-frapp with this "dandy" - which is GF and "like" coffee without the bad aspects.  I can use homemade coconut milk or almond milk and some organic chocolate, a banana and ice - and voila!  Much better for him than the excitotoxin  frapps from Starbucks!  He's not missing them any more...

My husband was missing his “Starbucks” frapps that he used to get. About a week in from giving them up for 90 days, he realized just how awful they had made him feel – but he was addicted and didn’t know it! He says – never again, it’s not worth it. Now instead, I can make him a mock-frapp with this “dandy” – which is GF and “like” coffee without the bad aspects. I can use homemade coconut milk or almond milk and some organic chocolate, a banana and ice – and voila! Much better for him than the excitotoxin frapps from Starbucks! He’s not missing them any more…

Counting 1000 gifts is no small task!  I’ve chosen to break it down into bite sized pieces…  just 10 a day.  (Here is why)

So, at the end of the day… I take a moment and recall 10 things that stood out from my day… that I’m grateful for, the blessings.

They can be big or small, simple or complex… but 10 things on my heart.

I’m over a hundred things I’m grateful for, and enjoying the counting process…  it slows me down, but gives me more time… it lightens my heart, and gives me perspective.  It brings me peace.  contentment.  joy.

What things matter in my life?

What things do I count… ALL joy?

What do I truly value?

Someone told me this week, “I was telling my husband about how you can only have 12 foods or something…”

“Twelve foods?” I thought.

That really isn’t true.  I suppose any more I don’t really “miss” most foods I can’t have – I don’t really think of myself as deprived… it’s just a given, this it what it takes to keep me well.

This is what it’s going to take, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take…

Each day is a gift, I count all joy.  A gift from God who led me to understand the “what” of why I was sick… and a way to be well.

But more than me ever missing food, I sometimes grieve things I’ve noticed are “missing” since getting sick.  Some of them left quickly, others gradually … faded away.   Unknowingly changing and then, just seemingly – Gone.

Some I might have assumed were just from “mommy brain” over the years my memory slipping a bit… or others I’ve just assumed I was out of practice on this or that…  but now, knowing what I know… 

That’s not the truth.

Saturday a friend and I were talking.  She asked me the names of the players on my child’s soccer team.  One… and then another… and then another.  I stumbled, stammered, and for the life of me… could NOT remember their names.  Not a one.  Even though I KNOW that I knew them.

Things like this happen frequently to me.

It’s not like an, “Oh I can’t remember this second…” type of things… these are things I totally know – but I just simply can’t recall – even the slightest bit of information and it never comes to me on my own.

It’s embarrassing… and frustrating.  Would it be sad to say I’m starting to get used to it?  If my husband is with me, he helps me – which is nice.  It breaks the silence of, “I’m sorry, there is a blank where that information should be!”

I’m not sure when it will come back… if it does… ever.

Another thing is my penmanship.  It was getting worse over the years.  I was assuming it was lack of practice?

Looking through some old letters this summer I was in awe at my lovely writing and neat letters from college, even 10 years ago.  Slowly it’s deteriorated…

Some days it just hurts to even hold a pen – but I do it and those days, it’s REALLY bad.  On a good day, I remember how I used to make it work – but on a bad day I’m simply embarrassed that “THIS” is my writing.

Sloppy.  Difficult to read.

Lastly, one of the things I miss is ability to recall Scripture the way I used to.  It’s been something I’ve been relearning and working on this year, but again – I’m unsure if I will get that memory and those skill back.  Earlier this summer a friend called and wanted to read a letter to me.  It was one I had written to her, encouraging her during a time of trouble.

I literally broke into tears.

“I wrote that?”  I asked.  I was simply in disbelief that I had the knowledge to encourage so powerfully from the Bible… and how deep my knowledge had been back then.  I was on fire.  More than anything, it made me realize just where I am now, comparatively.

It made me frustrated.  Wondering…  will I get that back?

All of these things, and more have been hindered from auto immune disease.  My body simply attacking itself from food or toxins in my system that it views as the enemy.  Any given trigger can start-up a reaction that can last for days to weeks to up to 3-6 months and many flares in my brain I will have no clue are occurring because there are no pain receptors there.

This is why “cheats” (or choices) or mistakes can be so devastating to my future health.

Does that mean I live in fear of what my future holds?

No way.  Not a chance.

Do I really count it all joy?  Even the things I’m missing?

I should. 

Maybe some day I won’t even know what I’m missing. 😉

I live in faith with an assurance that this has all happened for a reason, and that MY God isn’t going to leave me.  No.  In fact, He has prepared me for this walk that is my life, and He is drawing me closer to Himself through it.  Plus, He specifically tells me NOT to fear.  It gives me great peace to know I’m not alone, and not without a purpose.

Yes, on the days you would NEVER choose for yourself.  The really hard ones?  Trust God.  He is not shaken.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

Psalm 46:1-4

Paleo Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

COOKIES

In the season of all things pumpkin, I’ve been on a roll.  I often print out lots of recipes and pull from them later on what I might fix.  Unfortunately, I’m also known to print out things that I assume are paleo, and they are not.

I’m getting better at understanding which flours work for substitutes and how to work my way around even a regular recipe to make it work for Paleo.  So when the Pumpkin Snickerdoodle recipe graced my pile, I knew it had to be transformed “Paleo”.  My kids and husband said these were like pumpkin cake, so I’d say that is a success!

ROLL_INSUGAR

PALEO PUMPKIN SNICKERDOODLES

1 cup of coconut oil

1 cup of coconut sugar

2 large eggs

tsp cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 can of organic pumpkin

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 cup arrow-root flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

COATING (in small bowl to roll balls into before smashing):

3/4  cup of coconut sugar or date sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

*****

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine ingredients for cookies, and coating – separately.

Take small amount of dough with cookie scoop, and drop it into the coating bowl.   Roll in bowl to coat and drop on lined cookie sheet.  Flatten all cookies with a small square of parchment paper before baking.

Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown, and cool before eating.

 

 

 

 

SMASHINGI thought I’d share something positive with you today, but I’m feeling really horrible.  I’m pretty sure it’s some pastured pork that I tried again – yep, I’m pretty positive it’s grain finished.  It’s days like these, that I just hurt all over, I can’t barely bend my fingers to hold something and my head throbs…  that I think – UGH, Lord, really?? Praying to enjoy this moment and being grateful for the struggle!  My go-to verse for my less than ideal days, when there is no time for pity-parties?

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Cor. 12:9

 

Little House On The… Prairie?

Each year after the pumpkin patch trip, each child brings home a pumpkin.  They usually sit for decoration and rot.  Not this year!

Each year after the pumpkin patch trip, each child brings home a pumpkin. They usually sit for decoration and rot. Not this year!

Sometimes I feel pretty domesticated.  I’ve got tea in my crock pot, making food from scratch, and an opossum holed up in our garage this week-end.

Opossum 2, us – 1.  (No wonder those garage cats were spooked!  That is a one UGLY mouse with a nasty long tail!)  Yuck.

So, back to my make-believe time warp action I have going on…

While cooking and baking so much from scratch seems to be so foreign in our country, we’re really only one generation removed from knowing how to cook and live this way…  and we can see where that has gotten us!

“Get out of your house more,” they say….

“Don’t be stuck in your kitchen,” they say…

“Choose convenience,” they say….

and where did that get us exactly?

People are tired and stressed, families are broken and we have more disease than ever before, with “technology” inventing chemically laden foods, and a disease-care system laughing all the way to the bank.

This is progress?

One of the biggest gifts is having to slow down… having to think, plan and to really consider for our family, what we need to say no to in order to say yes to restoring our health while strengthening our relationships.  We’re also able to attempt so many things we weren’t able to before – together.

Personally, it makes me much more adventurous and wiling to tackle things I wouldn’t have bothered with before.

SEEDS

Gutting a pumpkin isn’t super hard. Sure it’s a little messy, but roasted pumpkin seeds are worth it. Boiled for 10 minutes, and baked for 25 at 350 degrees. Just a little coconut oil, salt and cinnamon – and you have a tasty treat!

Cutting the pumpkin in half, we turned it over and roasted for one hour at 350 degrees on a plain baking sheet like this.

Cutting the pumpkin in half, we turned it over and roasted for one hour at 350 degrees on a plain baking sheet like this.

This weekend it was roasting our whole pumpkins and freezing the “meat” to use later.  I was preparing a large batch of roasted pumpkin seeds too!  Maybe not a big deal to you – but for me, it was showing our children the goodness of God in what He has provided for us in the things He created!

 

MEAT

The pumpkin was easy to scoop into 1-2 cup portions and bag flat for the easy storage in the freezer.  Some of it we just ate fresh with a little bit of a cinnamon.  Yum!  It smelled delish!

The pumpkin was easy to scoop into 1-2 cup portions and bag flat for the easy storage in the freezer. Some of it we just ate fresh with a little bit of a cinnamon. Yum! It smelled delish!

So that was some of our weekend wrapped up with a bow!   {If you are in my neighborhood,  I apologize for screaming out last night when the rodent came towards me.  I know I had a shovel – but irrational fears controlled my voice box when it moved towards me as we shooed it out.}

“We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like Him.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

Life Has Choices

 

This delicious chocolate layered cake was from the Against All Grain cookbook.  SO yummy.

This delicious chocolate layered cake was from the Against All Grain cookbook. SO yummy.

 

Well it’s been since June that I’ve made a really poor decision.  I was due.

That’s really not fair.

In my defense, my doctor asked me recently if I had “tried” nuts again…  and I hadn’t.

A bite of birthday cake seemed like the logical answer.

Offenders?

Chocolate, almond nut flour, eggs, honey…  what could possibly go wrong?

It was ONE bite.

ONE.

And it smelled sooooo good.  SO good.

Vanilla icing nestled in 3 layers of chocolate/chocolate cake and topped with a chocolate butter cream/meringue frosting.

The kids had rated the cake a 10.  My husband, watching me work hours on the cake encouraged me to try “just one bite.”

Within 10 minutes I felt my chin starting to hurt like a breakout was on the verge.  The remainder of the evening my head felt like it might explode and my eyes were swelling.  I felt, quite simply, SICK and so tired.

It was one bite too many.

The next day followed more of the same…  pain, aches, swollen eyes, and a grouchy disposition, brain fog.

The cyst on my chin let me know it was in the for long haul.  We’d be friends at least a week.

Boo!  Hiss!!

I’ve read it can take up to 3 years to heal and seal your gut.  I’m sure set backs don’t help that situation much.

I’d call it a cheat, but I made a choice.

It was a choice to see where my body was in the healing process while celebrating my son’s 7th birthday.

“Not there yet,” it spouted back at me.

“I’m listening,” I answered.

I made my second birthday cake in less than a week, my 3rd child turned 11.  This time a chocolate bundt cake with chocolate fudge drizzle.

It smelled amazing…

As I chewed my dates, I pretended they were chocolate cake.

It works for me!

My body was much happier with that.

We started a new Bible on having true JOY in God through counting our blessings.   I’m grateful that my body knows and can tell me when something is making me sick.  It truly is a blessing and a gift.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Psalm 19;14

 

 

Do You Spray Gasoline On Yourself?

Our beautiful fall Kansas sky.  There are some great scents of fall.  Make sure you enjoy the natural scents that God created for our pleasure!

Our beautiful fall Kansas sky. There are some great scents of fall. Make sure you enjoy the natural scents that God created for our pleasure!

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, or MCS for short.

It is just what it sounds like, a sensitivity to multiple chemicals…  but what exactly does that mean?

As with most sensitivities, it can affect all people differently… but for me, it is headaches (migraine) and feeling “ill” or unable to breathe well.

How is it triggered?

Have you ever been in an aisle at the store… with specifically cleaners or perfumes and gotten an instant headache or felt light-headed or sick to your stomach?

That’s a pretty good indicator that you have a sensitivity to chemicals, and it’s messing with your brain, body or hormones.

I used to be able to wear perfume.  I loved candles and car scents… vanilla, and spices reminded me of fall.

Not any more.  I can’t tolerate it – at all.

It’s difficult to be seated by someone with strong perfume without getting sick.  I get an instant headache.  Once in church I thought I wasn’t going to be able to breathe – it was that over whelming to me.  Instead, I sat there with a headache the entire time feeling like I could throw up – and it left relatively soon after I left church and was in the open air.  Sometimes it ruins my day.

I always thought “smell goods” were a good thing… I really never considered what all they put into them – and just how that effected me.

NOW that the effects are clear – I can’t imagine ever going back to wearing those toxins.

Just like that, my husband and I got rid of all of our perfume and chemically scented washes and candles.

With a liver that doesn’t methylate toxins well, you can imagine it’s quite an overload to people “like us”… but it’s causing an effect on everyone truly.  Imagine the little people?

I remember a few years ago, a lady at church asked another person to please move because their perfume was making the person ill.  I thought at the time I would have just moved myself… but the other side of me (insensitivity) thought, “SERIOUSLY?  You’re that sick from perfume?”

And I had issues at the time with lots of smells…  I Just didn’t realize how serious of an issue it was, or really WHY it was an issue at all.  When I first read up on it, I noticed it fell into the “quack watch” area of research where western medicine was debating whether or not it was a “real issue” stating that people who “claimed” to have issues already had psychiatric issues already, or (of course) depression.  That seems to be a “Catch-all” in western medicine, which means, “We really have no clue how to help you, therefore, it must be in your head.  Here, take some pills.”

Here are some of the symptoms of MCS:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intolerance to heat or cold
  • Earache
  • Stuffy head or congestion
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Memory problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain and/or stiffness
  • Bloating or gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Mood changes

Sounds “made-up” or in your head, right?

Hardly.

Now, after learning more – I realize it’s certainly a methylation issue of the liver, and tends to go with auto immune disease and gut issues (especially chronic fatigue, and fibromyalsia… which western medicine doctors stink at getting to the source of the cause.  Once again, they miss the mark – and people needlessly suffer.  They call people loons, and people start to question their sanity.

Well, except meI know I’m crazy.

What are some of the poisons in these “scents” that are toxic to our health and hormone disrupters as well?  Read about that here.  It’s not so sexy.  It’s quite disturbing.

There is a reason why they’re “intoxicating” scented… it’s because that’s exactly what it’s doing to your brain function.

No thanks.  I need all of the brain cells and brain function I can hold onto to be Healthy for Him!

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    He drew me out of deep waters.
 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
    He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:16-19

Another Love

COOKBOOK_MAKE_AHEAD_PALEO

No, I’m not cheating on my diet, or anything for that matter!!  (I prefer the word CHOICE, vs. cheat anyway… every choice has a consequence!)  I just found another GREAT new Paleo cookbook that I had to share, because you’re definitely going to want this one too!

The layout and form remind me of Against All Grain, which should be a staple in any healthy kitchen – but with some additional great twists and creative dishes galore!

You know me, the first place I dig is for is the desserts, and snacks.  I love things to go with our healthy meals… (and this book has PLENTY of great ideas there too!)  It’s therapy to bake things I can’t have.  So far I’ve made the chives crackers for my husband (who loves some stinky-crunchy snacks!) and some SWIRL cookies for the kids… which were GONE in one day.  (I made them for soccer snacks, dessert and frozen some back for my Bible study girls as well)

Chive crackers - great with bone broth soup!

Chive crackers – great with bone broth soup!

We tried out the pumpkin pancakes this weekend and they were a grand slam.  If you’ve ever attempted paleo pumpkin pancakes, you’ve probably ended up with a HUGE mess.  Not so with this recipe!  Super easy to follow – and lovely consistency as well!

Yep - Pumpkin pancakes that weren't dime sized, and actually LOOKED like the picture when they were cooked up.  Excellent!

Yep – Pumpkin pancakes that weren’t dime sized, and actually LOOKED like the picture when they were cooked up. Excellent!

Again, I think it was the different flour combos, similarly to Against All Grain.  I did also try some new flours – which (sadly) put Bob’s Red Mill to shame.  (Sorry Bob!)  The brand is Honeyville, and I got it off of Amazon.com.  They are finer in texture, and come in 5lb bags!!  (Thank you Lord for larger bags, because we go through a lot!)

FLOUR_HONEYVILLE

Have an awesome week!  Love these beautiful FALL days!

“God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the POWER that worketh in us.”

Eph 3:19-20

 

Too Difficult To Understand?

Following a nature walk with my kids, this is their collection of things to show the seasons are changing!  Thankful God gives us variety, and allows US to change through our seasons of life.  Glory to Him!

Following a nature walk with my kids, this is their collection of things to show the seasons are changing! Thankful God gives us variety, and allows US to change through our seasons of life. Glory to Him!

My friends and I concluded another Bible study this past week.  In the past 9 years we’ve grown a lot towards the Lord, but there is always more learning  and relearning to be done.  We covered 12 women in the Bible, and some very difficult topics over the past several months.

Specifically Gomer (Hosea 1:2-11, 2:14-3:5) was the most difficult woman for ME to embrace.  Her story was one of prostitution, and unfaithfulness.  She deserved nothing, and yet, her husband – a pastor, continued to come after her – and court her.

It was the story of Israel and of God’s love that is full of UNDESERVING mercy and grace.  In the story, I really disliked what God was saying; that this man, a pastor, was called to some things TOO difficult to understand.  That’s life, isn’t it?  Often times, we don’t understand!)   As if being a pastor called to married a prostitute wasn’t horrific enough, he was publicly shamed for obeying God.   Then, after a broken marriage and children, she continued to be unfaithful and leave the marriage.  What did God call him to do?

Get this:  GO AFTER HER and court her.

Whoa.

Really God?

Yes really.  Think about it…

This is the type of love God give US – each day.  An unconditional love that we do not deserve.

This is not the same shallow, conditional, “love” of the world.

While I’d love to consider myself the righteous pastor man in the story, always obeying God and following His will while being hurt undeservingly, I know in my heart I’m very much Gomer.  I’m making mistakes constantly, ignoring God plenty, and in need daily renewal when my unfaithful heart goes astray.

I share this with you because in our final lesson of our study, the study guide asked, “What Bible lessons that are difficult for us and why…”  and this Bible lesson was still on my heart.  I thought of my attitude towards difficult situations that challenge me to truly love people who have hurt me deeply.

I’m called to do that too…  I know that.

I thought of how I used to really avoid people when I didn’t understand their struggle, as in, “whew, glad that’s not me -quit your belly-aching.”  Ironically, now it’s much so easier to draw close to those who share a similar struggle – they “get me”… we have a common bond and we don’t have to hide what is going on.

Yes, God has changed me.

Before this season in my life, I was immature in the level of empathy or understanding I had.  I was obviously limited by my experience.  Maybe a better way to say it is; my experience was limited and so was my heart.

But I can see how God has molded me, and continues to do so through this journey…  and I’m grateful for that gift.  I’m able to meet people in that place where THEY feel all alone, and unheard, and not understood.

I hear them.

I’m able to encourage them, and point them to His truth in healing!

In my darkest of moments, I learned how God understands me and my situation, more than anyone else could.  Might I love like Him, even when it hurts.

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.”
Isaiah 40:29

Milk Makin’

MILK
I stopped drinking milk regularly about 7 years ago, but my family still went through about 8 gallons a week – right up until we realized just what we were drinking over a year ago!  While some people can tolerate RAW cow’s milk, we can not.  (Yes, we tried.  We tried goat’s milk too!)  The inflammation to our bodies was undeniable!

For a time we switched to store-bought almond milk for double calcium, but later we learned that it wasn’t the best option due to the carrageenan being horrible for our gut to attempt to digest.  WHY do they put these things in our food supply?

So, we stopped drinking milk altogether… and decided to focus on our weekly bone broth, and other sources of calcium in our diets.

Then the FOOD BABE had an interview on the top 5 “healthy” things we are not to eat  (Beware, the interviewer uses the Lords name in vain 3-4 times), but what the Food Babe had to share was great.   Again, she mentioned almond milk from the store being an unhealthy very bad for you.

But the facts are, we still cook and bake with milk, and now and then we like to have a glass of milk.  What is a person to do?

I decided to do what anyone does in this day and age.  Watch a few YOUTUBES on the subject!

How to make Coconut Milk

How to make Almond Milk

My first attempt was making almond milk.  I was surprised at just how EASY it was!  I just soaked 2 cups of nuts in filtered water overnight, and then blended it up with 8 more cups of filtered water, 2 dates and some vanilla.  My family agreed that it would be ‘ok’ to cook with – but they definitely preferred something sweeter.  (BIG surprise)  You can soak the nuts 8-48 hours, and I wonder if that has something to do with the consistency also…  so I may try longer next time.

I made sure to use the unbleached cheese cloth to avoid other chemicals and such in our “milk” as well.  I can’t eat nuts, so I opted to not drink anything, but it was frothy and smelled great!  I look forward to trying the coconut milk next!

“which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler,

the King of kings and Lord of lords,  who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.

To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 6:15-16

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