Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Patient Waiting

These dear daffodils are faithfully pushing up through the frozen ground of our front yard as they do every year about this time. I'm so thankful, for they give nod to the warmer, brighter season forthcoming, the one I think we're all longing for at this point. I love remembering that while everything has seemed still and cold and dead since November, these little bulbs have been actively, secretly growing up and out. It reminds me of one of my most favorite passages by Henri Nouwen. I'll share here:

"Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.

A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her." / excerpt from Henri Nouwen in Watch for the Light

I pray, friends, that we will learn to be a patient, willing-to-wait people. That we would believe that this moment is the moment (for are we promised another?). That we would be a people who dare to believe---in times when our lives don't appear to be very alive nor our hopes realized---that something hidden and good is taking root beneath the surface. Lord, help us wait well. Make us patient and willing and alert to the moments you have given us. And help us to believe that what is hidden will manifest itself to us right on time.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas in Jacksonville | Afternoon at the Beach

Warm enough for shorts and t-shirts (by my standards), windy, noisy with people, freezing water, splashing, Lila hyper and terrified, M. pulled down the beach, lots of laughing: a quick ocean visit but such sweet memories for a December 28 in Florida.

Friday, December 12, 2014

When We're Sad

I've been sad today. We have some dear friends who are moving to the North Carolina tomorrow. It's in these times I'm reminded I don't like this kind of change. I don't mind rearranging bedroom furniture 3 times in a week (that kind of change I thrive on), but I don't like the way friends come and go. It's a natural flow and I trust there's a proper rhythm to it. But it sure makes me ache inside. Our pastor prayed over this family on Sunday, sending them off on their way, and he spoke of how this sort of goodbye makes him long for heaven, where goodbyes and tears will be no more. I've been thinking about those words this week and how they seem to join the refrain I'm hearing of late: the one echoing the reminder that every good thing we enjoy on earth will fade. It's a sad, true tune. The minute I grasp one good, happy, longed-for thing (i.e., marriage, job satisfaction, a growing friendship, that rug I've been wishing for, ____), I'm abruptly reminded that it won't last. As a baby grows up and is no longer dependent on her parents, as each flower blooms and falls to the ground, as every good day ends with the will each good thing pass away from us. 

But (thank God there's more) then I hear things like, "The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8), and, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and I make out that voice again, the blessed reminder that there is one Good who will not fade. One who will not shift like the shadows (James 1:17). He will never move away. And he is able to fill in and ease all these cracked, achy places, able to satisfy our every longing. 

In this season especially, I'm reminded and I'm thankful, so thankful, that Jesus came. God knew, of course, that we would be weary and struggling in our own darkness and sinful muck. He knew well this fleeting world and the lost creatures in it. And so he broke in. He put on flesh and came to us. He took his immortal, universe-creating power and pressed it into a tiny human embryo that would be born like us and die like us. This to show us that he loves us. Do you know how much? We simply cannot get it into our heads. It's far too great. But I want to believe it more. So, I pray we will. And that we will be encouraged by the truth that when everything, everything is changing and ending and leaving us achy and sad, there is One who will not, cannot change or leave us wanting. And he is for us, with us, and abounding in love for us. 

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, 
on them has light shined."
Isaiah 9:2

"Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee."

Sunday, December 07, 2014

A Pumpkin Muffin (of the gluten-free variety)

This is a modest muffin. It has little to offer by way of looks, but it boasts a healthy ingredient list and is totally satisfying, gluten-free as it is. I went on a sort of hiatus from sweets after making myself sick Thanksgiving week (moderation is hard) but was already, pathetically hunting for something in the cabinets a few days ago. I came across this recipe online and was intrigued to see how a muffin would taste minus flour, butter, sugar...and it's actually totally OK---great even. Subtly sweet, dense, moist, nutty, not overwhelmingly pumpkiny. I made a few tweaks, but this is pretty much the original version. If you're not already over everything pumpkin, give it a try. ;)

A Pumpkin Muffin
adapted from
yields 9 muffins

1/4 cup almond butter
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
6 T honey*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground**
2 T ground flaxseed**
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips, plus a handful to sprinkle on top (regular or mini)
handful of turbinado/raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375F and spray muffin pan for 9 muffins. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips, mixing together with spatula or wooden spoon until well-combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Distribute batter into muffin tins (to about 3/4 full) and sprinkle tops with remaining chocolate chips and several pinches of turbinado. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted mid-muffin comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.

*Tip: If you spray a measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out something sticky like honey, it will pour out more easily.
**I dumped 1/2 cup of oats into our Magic Bullet and ground it up till fine. I did the same with the whole flaxseeds we had on hand. A regular blender or food processor would work just as well. 
Ps: I loved these best the 2nd day.