October 30, 2013

Just Talking - in point form

- Last Friday I headed out on the town for a girl's night out with four dear, wonderful women. We enjoyed a fondue feast at The Melting Pot and talked the night away. Despite my aversion to raw meat on a plate, it was actually quite fabulous to consume your meal in perfectly simmered (sometimes overdone to be on the safe side) bite-sized portions. Even better was the chance to get out for more consecutive hours than we usually do, and just. talk. And laugh, and ask for more mushrooms and collectively agree that if we wanted to, we could drink the salted caramel dark chocolate fondue straight out of the pot. Oh, it was fun.

- I am feeling quite opinionated these days, strong views on things like education, and those crazy articles people post on facebook have risen in my chest. I don't say much because I know I'll inevitably offend someone. So if you receive an e-mail from me about some random topic, it's because I know you'll understand. Have you seen how Sheldon (from the sitcom Big Bang Theory) twitches when he can't spew his crazy information on people? Yep, that's me.

- There is not one solitary snowflake on the ground in this town and it is the end of October. I am thrilled and wistfully hope that we can make it through November without shovelling ourselves out (though I know it's wishful thinking). To all of you already listening to Christmas music - stop - it is too early. It is still fall. Technically, the first day of winter is not until December 21st. Whoever made that decision does not live in Canada.

- I am reading through John again, it has to be my favourite book of the Bible. There is so much treasure there. One of my favourites; "In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4,5

- Our Slave Lake house has had a few viewings, but no offers yet. We kind of forget about it as we go on about life here. I'll remember it more often once we start receiving winter energy bills. It really needs to sell.

- Take Joy Designs is making an appearance at a local handmade Christmas Craft Sale later this month. I have been hard at work on some cute chalkboard Christmas pieces and a few card ideas. It will be my first ever craft sale as a vendor. Exciting, kind of scary, but it will be fun right? Right. 

- Our wall-neighbors in the condo like to play loud thump-y music sometimes. I join in by unashamedly belting out some Zerbin or Gabrielle Aplin. Then the thumping music stops. I'm not sure whether I should be offended, or glad that my warbling put an end to bad next-door music.

Speaking of music, I'm loving this song right now:

 Matt Redman - Never Once (Live)

"Never once, did we ever walk alone. Never once, did you leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, you are faithful."

Beautiful and true. I remember where we have come from, I'm loving where we are in the present (even with all the unknowns) and I know God can be trusted with each and every day in the future.

Whatever your week has held, whatever these days bring you, may you know the joy of friendship, the lightness of laughter, the faithfulness of God in hard times, and His love that can fill every corner of your heart.

October 23, 2013

In The Kitchen: Spiced Apple Pancakes

As the leaves continue to come down in blustery winds, I find myself gravitating towards comforting food in the kitchen. Apples, cinnamon, ginger and whole wheat combine into hearty, stomach-satisfying snacks and breakfasts. One recipe destined to be made again is 'Butternut Pecan Scones' from the Gluten-free Goddess. I don't have all the gluten free flours etc on hand, so I made mine with regular whole wheat flour, but if you are gluten-free you'll find a warehouse of amazing recipes over there!

I enjoy taking a basic, tried and tested recipe and modifying it according to what is in season. This morning I gave my old stand-by pancake recipe some extra zip by adding chopped apples, greek yogurt and dashes of cinnamon and ginger. I've had pancake issues in the past - too flat (too much liquid) or too thick and heavy (adding oatmeal has this effect I discovered...), but this recipe with a few fall flavour additions turned out amazingly... light, fluffy and full of flavour (especially with a drizzle of pure Canadian maple syrup - Neal's favourite!). Like to try it too? I'll post the recipe below.

Spiced Apple Pancakes

1 C whole wheat flour
2 Tb coconut palm sugar (Costco has it - or sub. brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then whisk together:

2 eggs
1/2 C plain greek yogurt 
1/4 C applesauce
2 Tb melted coconut oil

Add 1/2 an apple, peeled and diced

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine, then add:

1/4 C water (more or less) until a thick consistency is reached.
(Consistency is kind of a trial and error thing, and it depends if you like tall fluffy pancakes or thin flatter ones...)

Spoon into a medium - low heat skillet that sizzles when you flick water on it. Turn pancakes when air bubbles start to show in the middle. 

Recipe makes 6 large pancakes and could be doubled if needed.

Enjoy a warm & spicy taste of fall!

October 21, 2013

On The Hunt ~ A List of Thankfuls

Looking for Jesus in everything certainly does bring a welcome perspective. Here are a handful of things I am so very thankful for, places I have seen Him in these days;

Jesus is...

- in the faces and actions of students and staff at the schools where I teach
- in my husband's dedication to the very best learning for 'his kids' and their classes
- in phone calls to far away family
- in holding broken hearts and calling redemption, allowing me to use pain from my past to offer hope to another
- in smiling at strangers in the grocery store
- in the many kid-questions during Bible class, ("if the Garden of Eden was real, is it still here? Where is it?") I feel so inadequate, yet He is there
- in student-hug sandwiches in school hallways 
- in fiery pink evening skies as geese fly
- in songs on the radio
- in our midst as we gathered for Thanksgiving in my in-law's new re-built home, calling redemption and restoration again and again, turning a house into a home
- in early morning Sunday school classes and preschool voices loving Him so well
- in the daily grind, giving strength when I am all used up
- even in insurance headaches, and the aching to move on

He is good.

October 5, 2013

With open eyes

It is an early, quiet Saturday morning as I sit and ask questions, digging deep into my heart, confessing there are some things in there that do not belong. I feel like I'm searching for something, have tried to fill the search with temporal things, and need to ask forgiveness. 

The sun is barely peeking over the horizon and I sit frozen, so many thoughts running away. Thoughts on circumstances, the house and jobs all colliding with what I know to be true about joy and hope. In an attempt to focus, I open my bible to the last marked page and my eyes fix on this passage in John;

"Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying?'

'They have taken my Lord away,' she said, 'and I don't know where they have put him.' At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'

Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means 'Teacher')

Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'

Mary Magdelene went to the disciples with the news: 'I have seen the Lord!' And she told them that he had said these things to her." 
{ John 20:11-18 }

These words cut me open; 'Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'

Lord Jesus, in all these things, I am looking for you. I long to see you. May my hope not be in the perfect new house, in having children, in having the perfect job. May my hope be solely in you and not in these circumstances.

You are the reason I hunt for beauty, I'm looking for you. In the faces of students, Lord I'm looking for you. In all my relationships, I'm looking for you. 

A new focus is birthed, maybe I remember now. You are in all these things. It is you I should seek. I need help remembering, for I forget so quickly. Worry has a way of quietly covering my eyes. Eyes that should be open to see.

Lord, keep my eyes open, I'm looking for you.

October 1, 2013

Hello Harvest

It is most definitely fall. Frost has visited several times now and there is a serious drop in our indian summer temperatures. Leaves are falling in cool breezes and today I had to wear jeans, a long sleeved shirt, a scarf and most awfully - socks. How I miss summer feet freedom! 

In an effort to embrace fall (as it is one of the prettiest seasons), I've been out shooting the last of the grain harvest out in the country and the slow turn of leaves in the trees surrounding our pasture. 

A pot of sweet potatoes is simmering on the stove, on its way to becoming Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip cookies. Though I may leave out the chocolate as all I have on hand are mint chocolate chips. Mint and sweet potato just do not seem to go together. I'm thinking a good dose of cinnamon and spices will be just the thing for these cookies, hopefully a nice little taste of fall.

Happy Harvest!