Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gluten Free Pastry

** I cannot take credit for this recipe, I found it on a website somewhere but didn't write down the source!  If you come across it please let me know so that I can give proper credit where it's due, because this recipe is amazing!!
nobody had any complaints except the girl I made the pie for, apparently she doesn't like lemon meringue...Who Knew?

1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1 cup sweet rice flour (**I ground regular white rice in my flour mill and that worked just fine)
dash of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
rounded teaspoon of xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
4 tbsp ice water
sweet rice flour for rolling

1. Blend well together the flours, xanthan gum, salt and sugar (flours for gluten free baking must be well-blended - either sift them several times together or I put them all in a zip-lock bag and shake the bag - no dust-method, smile)
2. Cut in butter and shortening
3. Beat egg, add vinegar and ice-water.
4. Stir into flour mixture forming a ball. (Add a little more water if too dry)
5. You may knead this a bit since rice flour crust can stand handling.  Knead until you have a smooth, soft ball.
6. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or more to chill.
7.  Roll out between wax paper dusted with sweet rice flour.  Peel off top layer of wax paper, flip over onto pie plate and then carefully peel off the other layer of wax paper and fit pastry into pie shell fluting edges -
8. Bake at 375 until lightly browned

makes one double crust pie or 2 single crust.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review - If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure is a book of recipes, but not necessarily the kind you might expect.  Yes there are recipes that I am planning to try "Not-Really-Cheese Cheese Sauce" and the "Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Cookies".  However, most of the recipes are those that pertain to life and making some changes.  I personally appreciated the gluten free suggestions included in many of the recipes.

If you are craving change, rest, energy or celebration Shepherd has some suggestions or 'recipes' to help bring you to a foundational place on which to build soul-satisfying change.  She mixes faith, fun and food to guide you along the path to lasting change.  While not a deeply profound book and perhaps not new information, Sheperd presents truth in a way that is easy to swallow.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must mention  that Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

The Best and Worst of Fridays....


Because I am a hollowed out rock,
an empty place
waiting for a Saviour
to fill me up...

Review - You Were Made for a God-Sized Dream

Somewhere deep inside you there is a dream.  Remember the scene from the Disney movie Tangled?  Rapunzel tames a group of ruffians by sharing her dream and asking them about their dreams.  She pulled all kinds of things out of these tough guys; a longing for love, interior decorating, performing and much more.  The point is, that no one can tell what your dream is simply by looking at you.

Your dream is yours, sized to fit you perfectly by a God who knows you inside and out.  Unfortunately, it often seems like we are floundering around wondering where to go with that thing.

Flounder no more.  Let me introduce you to my friend Holley Gerth.  She will be your friend, too.  In her book, You Were Made for a God-Sized Dream she pulls up her chair near yours, hands you a cup of something wonderful and walks you carefully through a process that leads you, should you do the work, right into living your God-Sized dream.

The words in this book will help you realize and overcome the obstacles that have been standing in your way.  Online resources in the form of worksheets, access to her blog and e-coaching opportunities won't leave you high and dry. Holley will help you see that there is room on this planet for you and your dream.  If you are still breathing it isn't to late to start dreaming.

You Were Made for a God-Sized Dream has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Lizzy

Seven years ago today I stayed home from church because I wasn't feeling so great.  Kelly took all five kids and came home with none, they had all been dispersed to friends for the afternoon.

Over lunch we decided to head up to see our friend's new baby, Laina.  Before lunch was over I had had a couple of contractions but thought they were just Braxton Hicks since I was five weeks away from my due date.
Such a little dolly!

First steps!
We cleaned up lunch and headed off noticing that these contractions were pretty regular and rather strong.  We never made it to see Laina that day.  We figured we should get things checked out...I got admitted.  Six hours later the contractions had stopped and they were going to send me home, we let the doula go and then had to sit and wait for the doctor to come back and release me.
That dress was made by my mom, for me!! (with our German daughter Kathrin)

Unbeknownst to us another set of friends were in having their baby, our doctor was with them doing an emergency C-section.  By the time they were squared away I was back into full labour and we decided to proceed with having a baby.
Rockin' the tutu!

My family freaked out because it took about 12 hours for Elizabeth Johannah to show up, about seven hours longer than normal!!  Our preemie looked too big in the NICU, she had a few issues that cleared up fairly quickly.
photo shoot with my girls!
praising God for the canola - it got wiped out a few days later!

Since then that sweet girl has been such a joy to us.  She lights up our days, loves to dance and spin and make music.  She is petite and blonde and blue eyed and we love her creative spirit.  Learning is her delight and the teacher has to work to keep her challenged.  We almost stopped having babies after #5 but the Lord whispered in my ear that we weren't finished yet.
Birthday party with Grandpa (my dad) who turned 79!

Elizabeth Johannah - Beloved Promise of God. Three months before she was placed in my womb by God's grace we went through a devastating miscarriage and the Lord whispered to me then that He had a gift for me.  Her she is my sweet girl.  Happy Birthday darling girl, I hope you enjoyed your breakfast in bed today.
breakfast in bed, served up by Sasha
Linked in today at:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Living a God-sized Life

You’re reading a God–Sized Dreams post. Each Tuesday, a team of God-sized dreamers writes on the progress of their dreams, spurred by the wisdom in Holley Gerth’s new book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You. This week’s question is: What’s a typical day in your life like right now? How can you see God’s hand in the middle of the “small” and ordinary too? (I borrowed this blurb from Mandy, cause it looked good and she's so smart! - go read her blog over here!)

The way my day looks and way I want it to look are vastly different.

What I want is idyllic and perfect.  Rising from my fragrant bed to happy children kissing their mother.  Delightful smells emitting from the kitchen by some miracle before I have awakened.  My husband would lead us in a rich, insightful time of scripture and prayer.

We would then gather around the table for learning together.  The dishes and laundry and cleaning and finances would all be taken care of in due time, nothing late, no debt and I would always look put together and well rested.

We would sit down to candle-lit meals prepared and beautifully presented with zero mess in the kitchen.  All would gladly bless their mother for her amazing talents in the kitchen.  After volunteering to do the dishes and tidy the kitchen the children would go off to practice instruments, study the stars and read Chaucer whilst my gentleman and I would entertain those who need our counsel and prayer.

(or some other awful sound to bring you back to reality )

More often than not the younger kiddos are all awake and reeking havoc in the kitchen while the teen-agers are fastidious in their need of a pillow.  Breakfast is most likely toast and cereal.  We do try to read the Bible and pray together every morning but often that time is punctuated with correction and direction to someone who is doing something that is less than idyllic.

Four of our kids go to the local public school and two of them study at home.  These two are mostly independent in their learning so my job is to be the whip-cracker and make sure they are getting their assignments in, there is not so much direct impartation of knowledge as there was when they were young, I miss that and am glad at the same time that it doesn't take up so much of the day, leaving it open for my dreamy pursuits.

My dreamy pursuits look a lot like trying to find the floor of the laundry room, cook something edible and find the piece of paper that my husband needs to go to the accountant.

Somewhere in the course of my day my heart longs to create.

To put words out there that might encourage someone.

To take fabric and thread and delight someone's senses.

To meld paper and glue and bits and pieces and encourage someone with a card or get down the memories that make our family what it is.

Some days I get to do those things.  I dream of being gracefully disciplined so I can do those things.  My purpose, my destination is to share with others what I have been given, whether that's in words, or fabric or paper, on a screen or in person.  Today I am going to go lead a Bible study that is probably more for my benefit than those of the participants because I so desperately need to learn these truths myself.

I am learning to make shorter 'To Do' lists and give myself grace for the day.  I am trying to impart that grace to my children and at the same time motivate them to reach high and believe they can do it.  Today I will probably get frustrated that they aren't moving in the direction they are supposed to (already did *sigh*), I might even yell at them.  I will do laundry and cook something.

And I will keep on dreaming and living this life that is a dream come true.  I am surrounded by the love of an amazing man, I have six beautiful children that love me (most days!).  I live in the country where I am surrounded by fresh air and an abundance of life, even though it is still covered by thick snow.

This is my God-sized life and I am blessed to live in it every day.  It may not be idyllic or perfect or even enviable, but it is mine and if I'm really honest, I love it.  Sure I would like to tweek it, take out some debt, put in some more downtime...but we're on a journey to that place and I don't want to miss a thing!

I am just one of many God-sized dreamers, please come on over to Holley's site and be encouraged by reading a few of my sister's 'day-in-the-life' accounts!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cruising Love...(with some pics)

We found out that cruising is something we're going to do more of.  The depth of relaxation we experienced was so profound it is difficult to explain.  Realizing that you are actually right smack dab in the middle of a dream come true is pure joy, exhilarating and life-giving.

We spent a lot of time in the spa, resting.
The Thermal Suite - those beds are heated, pure heaven!!

 Yes, just doing nothing.

We were on a ship with a rather geriatric crowd. Being in our 40s brought the average age down by a sizable chunk...and we loved it.

Some of the great folks we met.

Being surrounded by folks who have lived full lives and are willing to share their experience is so much fun.  Many of the people we met had been married for more years than we are old!!  It was so sweet to be surrounded by that kind of faithfulness and tenacity.  We learned a lot, this lady gave us advice on marriage, parenting and finances in less than five minutes!

We got to go on a few adventures.  We asked God for a few mini-dreams and guess what, He answered those.  Kelly wanted to take some dance lessons, he ended up a  finalist on 'Dancing With the Stars at Sea' and we had so much fun!

Kelly, danced the waltz with Kaleo (one of the dance pros)
We wanted to go sailing and snorkeling (my dream) and we got super blessed - we were heading off the ship and there was a couple standing there who asked us if we would like to go snorkeling.  They decided not to go and didn't want the excursion to go to waste, no cost to us!  We went swimming with the sea turtles and got to use our new underwater camera.
Our Catamaran - I love sailing!!
Crush - the sea turtle!!
We met some new friends that we will see again on this planet, Lord willing.  We so enjoyed spending time with Ken and Shirley!

New friends - Ken and Shirley in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kelly singing a song he wrote at the piano bar.
When you use your gifts you get blessed.  Kelly and I got to use the gifts God has given in music to participate in on board ship services and open mic times to bless and minister to other guests.  What a treat!

For this dream there was an end.  You can only stay on the ship so long!  Apparently you can stay on a lot longer if you've got the bucks, we met a lady who had been on board for over 100 days.  Not every dream has and end but a lot do, or at least a turning toward something different.

It is time to focus on another part of our dreaming.  The cruise is over and we are so thankful that we have had the opportunity to do it.

THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT CRUISING - jot these down, they are helpful if you go on a cruise...

1. Spray on sunscreen needs to be applied evenly, thickly and then rubbed in, just ask the shoulder that didn't make the cut! (and the streak on my leg...and the weird splotch on my other thigh)
2. The smaller the ship the older the clientele.  We discovered, being on a midsize ship that the older crowd like to not have to run back and forth so far, they like smaller ships and they have more interesting itineraries and shorter line ups, if any.
3. You do not need to pack beach towels, shampoo/conditioner/soap or hairdryers.  A friend we met didn't think I needed to pack my mini-printer but then he wouldn't have received the picture we took together, so there!!
4. You should make sure you have ALL your luggage with you when you board the plane because you may end up having to buy a new suit before you board.
5.  Going a day or two before you sail is a good idea if the majority of your luggage might not make it.
6.  Make sure you fly between snow storms so as to avoid flight delays and airport closures (we made it through, others didn't)
7.  The ship really will leave you behind if you don't make it by sailing time - this happened to at least three people on our ship (we were not among them!)
8.  While all your regular food is included, the soft drinks and chai tea lattes are NOT!
9.  Internet is wicked expensive on board a ship, however, almost every port has a free WiFi spot near the dock - just ask a crew member where to go.

Did I mention we drove around in this sweet thing for the 2 days we were in Florida!?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: {Remember}

It's Friday and I'm home and I have five minutes to write so guess what event I'm participating in?

That's right, 5-Minute Friday, FMF, Lisa Jo's party where she invites one and all to come and plunk down words for 5 minutes on a specific theme.  The rules are simple: write for 5 minutes, don't over think or edit, link up and then go encourage someone else by reading what they've written.

This deal is all about community and not about competition and it's just fun to get to it!  Today's prompt is:



It's already putting out to sea and it's only a few days.  The cruise is a memory now that we will remember forever, I hope.

On the CastawayCat from which we went snorkelling! (a whole story there)

It already seems surreal that we did that now that we're back in the middle of kids and schedules and parent/teacher interviews, planning and laundry and farming.

But remember? Oh yes, we will, because it was a life-giving moment in this season of crazy life.  We were poured into like we haven't been.  Poured into through the hands of the spa ladies and the kind words of elderly folks who shared their memories of life with us.
Waiting for the sunset at El Moro in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Filled up with the beauty of creation and music that stirs your soul.  I will never forget the blue of the Caribbean sea, the white, powder soft sand at Half Moon Cay. The site of the sunset on the horizon of glistening blue.

And the sweet moments that were just meant for us.
Our first formal night - we had some beautiful pictures taken (not this one) with Maja, such a sweet girl.

Twenty years of making memories together was celebrated by this grand voyage.  It has been such an adventure, an unforgettable one.

Oh my, that sand!!
And now we're home and sharing the adventure with those we love inside these walls, pulling them along with us, planting seeds that will sprout into their adventures and the memories they will one day share with us.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Responsibility of Rest

We're all tucked in today.  Rather than spring we have a drive-way blown in with snow and the cold wind is howling outside. My children won't be at school today because the buses can't get through.

No more snowy linen napkins draped over my lap whilst enjoying a four-course gourmet meal.  I'll be making my own bed today and wiping down my own bathroom.  No one is going to make cute little animals out of towels and leave them with chocolate on my bed.

Responsibility's song is singing to me and because of the last two weeks I am not shutting my ears and begging that song to sing to someone else.

Rest is a powerful weapon against the desire to abdicate and hide in one's room.  I guess Jesus knew that since he mentioned it in Mark 6:31 And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while." For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

Rest allows my soul to refresh itself and remember what it was created to do.  God's workload and mine don't always jive.  I'm usually guilting myself into doing far more than what God has actually asked me to do. But He has a remedy for that...

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matthew 11:28-30 

Having had a relief from all responsibility save deciding what I'm going to eat and what relaxing thing I can do next has allowed me the benefit of embracing those responsibilities with a renewed heart and mind.

I have to admit, I am a stranger to rest and my body has been forcing me into a learning curve that I can't say I've appreciated until now.  I have been in adrenal fatigue for a number of years without knowing that this was the malaise from which I suffered.  I thought I was going soft, getting lazy, losing my mind and will to carry on, only to find out that there was a very real physical cause behind it.

Adrenal fatigue can only be recovered from by learning to rest, allowing your body as much freedom from stress as possible.  We did not seek out crazy adventures or long hikes in the the rain forest.  We didn't go white-water tubing or work out in the gym.  I rested.  I spent time in the spa, we drove around in a taxi, listening to an islander tell us about his beloved country.  We sat in quaint cafes and talked to our kids with free internet while listening to the waves crash against the rocks at our feet.

Coming home we feel refreshed and at peace, content with our lot and ready to pick up the reigns of our life once again. Just like the scripture said we would...shocking - the Bible was right after all!

I was reminded that my number one goal in this life is to love well.  To love my God, my husband and my children and those that God puts me in contact with.  I can't love well when I am so drained of all physical energy.  I must be intentional about where I dole out what precious little I have.

I read some great books these last few weeks, encouraging me to do just that.  I will be posting reviews on those books over the next few weeks, sharing some stories and pictures from our adventures. My task now is to learn to be at rest no matter what is happening around me.  To put the important things in order and not waste time doing things that I think are restful but are really draining away my spirit and my energy.

My theme for this year is grace-full discipline.  One wouldn't think that we needed to be disciplined about rest but scripture says otherwise...

There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11
Not entering into rest is a matter of disobedience...did you catch that? Diligently entering into rest is a command for God's people. Staying in a state of 'unfrazzled-ness' (I just made that word up!), loving well in the process...these are some of the precious things I've brought back from this trip.
See you the meantime, will you tell me how you pursue rest, I'd love to hear from you.
Toodle-oo for now
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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Letter to My Fellow Dreamers

Dear Fellow Dreamers,

That means you.  You are a dreamer even though you might not call yourself that right now.  Perhaps you're too scared to dream because you've been hurt and discouraged and your hope has been disappointed one too many times. Or maybe you think your dream is crazy or silly or you're scared someone else will think that for you.

I know how that feels, I can't take time today to tell you all the times my hope has been disappointed but I hope you'll trust me on this one...I really do know, but I've decided to start dreaming again.

I'm ashamed to say that I'm more of a glass half-empty kind of girl but it's the truth.  If I hadn't signed on to this team of dreamers I don't think I would have written down my current dreams.  I certainly wouldn't have posted them for the world to see.  And I wouldn't have been able to look back and see that there is progress being made, I'm stepping closer to the fulfillment of those dreams...I would not have been able to see it.

But I can, because I chose to be brave and look.

You can, too.

Please be brave with me.  Your God-sized dream doesn't have to look like mine or anyone else's.  Your God-sized dream is just the right size for you.  It's called God-sized because He sized it.  He made that dream and placed it in your heart.

But what to do with that disappointment over the last time you thought you had a dream and it didn't pan out the way you thought?

Take it to the Maker of Dreams, ask Him to heal that dream and re-shape it.

It might not look like what you expected.  His dream for you is not what our flesh dictates but what His desire crafts.

Dare to dream.

Be brave.

Today I am stepping out into one of the dreams on my list.  Perhaps the silliest and least 'spiritual' of all of them.  We leave today on a two week holiday to celebrate 20 years of a wonderful friendship that caught on fire and is still blazing.

The blog may be quiet, or it may be filled with delightful pictures of what we're experiencing because I would love to take you all along with us somehow.

Dream sweet friends.  Dream big.  

We have a really. Big. God.

Won't you leave a comment and tell me how you're being brave today?

Head over to Holley;'s (our Dream Team coach) and read other letters from amazing women who are part of the team. (psst you can enter to win a Dream Bag!! :)

Sometime in the next two weeks I'm going to post a review of Holley's new book, You Were Made for a God-sized Dream, it will contain a give-away for the book, so check back or sign up in the sidebar to get posts delivered right to your inbox in the Subscribe button. You can get her book on any of your favourite bookseller sites, it's so worth it...go grab a copy!

And now, I need to repack my suitcase one more time, because there isn't enough room for Katharine to come along anymore!  I need to make room for whatever God has in store for us...but that's another post.

Blessings abundant and grace for the day,
I am off to the Carribbean!!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Some enlightening thoughts on stress...

These aren't my thoughts, but in light of the stressful week we've been having in preparation for 'putting the glass down' (that will make sense after you read...) I thought this was something to share. My mom sent it to me in an e-mail.  Enjoy, I am off to the Carribbean!!

A Great Lesson on Stress

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and
explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of
water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half
empty or half full?'... She fooled them all .... "How heavy is this
glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

She replied , "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how
long I hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an
hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case
it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it
becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we
carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes
increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and
rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on
with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time
practiced.   So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your
burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the
night... Pick them up tomorrow.

1 * Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days
you're the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the
middle of it.

4 * Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was
probably worth it.

7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a
warning to others.

8 * Never buy a car you can't push.

9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then
you won't have a leg to stand on.

10 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11 * Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12 * The second mouse gets the cheese.

13 * When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

16 * Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

17 * We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are
pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different
colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

19 * Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.


20 *Save the earth..... It's the only planet with chocolate!*

Today someone asked me if I liked you.  I laughed, and I said, "Ha!
That's  funny!!   I absolutely LOVE  that woman!!  She's funny,
caring, crazy as heck, sweet, beautiful, she's  reading this email
right now & I love her!!"  Send this to ten ladies you love!! & I
better be one!!!
Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning
the devil says~~ "Oh Crap, She's up!"


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Anticipating the Trip! Feedback Please

Friends, it is 4 sleeps until we leave on our long awaited holiday.  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about that.  However, these days leading up have been more than a little hectic!  A 10 day mission trip, endless meetings, sick kids, cranky kids, events and unexpected responsibilities popping up.

Today the farmer/pastor guy started tossing the pile of clothes into the suitcases.  I'm not even sure what was in the pile anymore...all of my summer clothes.  That pile was not very big after my daughter got through with it.  We sent a few bags to the second hand store.  I bought some new clothes that I'm excited to wear.

This afternoon was spent on the computer compiling information for the grandma's and making up a book for the younger set for each day that we're gone so they have an idea of where we are.  That was fun.  Seeing all the pictures of the islands is making me even more excited to go visit them.  I love history and some of those islands have some pretty fascinating stories to tell I'm sure.  I hope the little book I made will help them deal with the fact that mommy and daddy are away.

I have a question for you...what would you like to see on the blog while I'm away...

1.  A 'what I wore' kind of thing - so looking forward to dressing up for dinner every evening - almost a little Downton Abbey feeling - no Anna coming to help me with my hair though!
2.  Pictures of the islands - hoping to find a new camera before we leave, ours kinda bit the dust unfortunately.
3.  Deep, spiritual lessons that I learn while I meet with God as we rest (hopefully).
I'd love to bring you all along but I'm going to be a wee bit selfish and just take the man I love the most in the world.

Give me the feedback...I'd love to hear you ideas of how I can share this trip with you!