Thursday, May 31, 2012


I was at a nursing home the other day, and a lady came up to me in tears. She said to me, I'm terminal. But I couldn't help but be reminded that we're all terminal. We're all dying. We're all going somewhere.

That is an excerpt from a conversation I had with an older man one day at work this week. It was prompted by a simple question on a sheet I asked him to fill out.

Would you appreciate prayer today? (circle yes or no)

I get a lot of different responses from this question. Most people stop in surprise. Those who circle yes usually say something like, "Prayer is always a good thing." The people who circle no either say "Prayer is always good, but I don't need anything specific today." or don't say anything at all. Some don't even respond.

This kind looking older man came to my work station on a slow Tuesday afternoon. He greeted me with a  smile, and I began doing what I needed to do.

I don't know why, but I especially love it when I get older people. They're so sweet. They call me "hun" and smile, just happy to be there. My usually quick hands become much softer around their fragile bodies. If I'm lucky, they might even spontaneously recall a piece of their history. Those times are my favorites. I could sit and listen for hours to an older man or woman recalling their bits and pieces of their life. They have so much wisdom, gathered from years of experience.

I asked this older man to fill out the sheet, and he soon came to the prayer question. He smiled and circled "yes" with confidence.

"There is no such thing as too much prayer," he told me. I smiled a voiced my agreement. "We can't truly do well without God," I said. "His way is perfect."

"That's exactly right. Everyone needs God. We can't get through life properly without Him."

And as I finished what I needed to do, he told me a story from his childhood. He and some friends had gone rifling through a dump, looking for treasures. They came back home with what they thought was a glorious find: fireworks. They were setting them up in the yard, and were just about to light them when his older brother came home. He rushed to stop them. "Those aren't fireworks! They're dynamite caps."

Had this older man's brother come home any later, he might not have been sitting there recalling that story.

He shook his head, lost in the memory.

We could've been blinded. Or worse... dead. God's timing is absolutely perfect. I should be dead right now.

There's a certain magnitude of that I just can't ignore. Not then, not now.

Maybe I've never mentioned this, but I should be dead. I should not have lived longer than 30 seconds. The only explanation I can give for my breathing is God and His grace.

Really, God's grace is the only reason any of us are here. You are alive and reading this because God is full of grace and mercy.

This summer, I am learning about reality.

I know, that's a really odd thing to say.

I can hear your thoughts now...

She's learning... about... reality... what??

As an idiom, reality simply means in fact or truth.

This summer, I am learning to face the facts. To face and be aware of what is true, and shatteringly real.

Take my conversation with this older man for instance. The reality he left me with. We are all terminal.

We're all going to die. Life is terminal. It's the leading cause of death. It is the cause of death.

We're all going somewhere after we die.

Where are you going?

Is your destination Heaven?

Neither is there salvation in any other: 
for there is none other name under heaven given among men, 
whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Friday, May 11, 2012

{Food Experiments} Pizza

Fridays are the best days for dinner in my house. It's been our tradition for about ten years now to have pizza for dinner on Friday nights. At first, I was going to hunt around for a gluten-free pizza recipe. But then, I found a gluten-free pizza mix. Assuming it would be easier to make, I got it. And it was... interesting to say the least. But, it's delicious, so I must've done something right! ;)

recipe from Glutino

Entire bag of pizza mix
Enclosed yeast packet

Here's kinda what the box looks like...

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water or milk (depending on wether you have any dairy issues or not. I went with milk)
1 tsp cider vinegar (I substituted rice vinegar. Mostly because I didn't have cider vinegar.)
1 tbsp honey or sugar (I went with honey)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter (canola oil, vegetable oil, same difference...)
2 eggs plus 1 egg white or 1 egg and 3 egg whites, lightly beaten (I went with the first option and forgot to beat them. Whoops. It was still tasty.)

Baking Instructions:
Pour mix and yeast into large bowl. 
Combine remaining ingredients. 
Beat 2 minutes using a heavy-duty mixer.

The recipe says you should scrape the dough into a bread pan.
It's super sticky.
And not worth the time.
Cover it with saran wrap and let it rise for 40 minutes.

See, I was dumb and transferred the dough into a bread pan.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spread dough on lightly oiled cookie sheet(s) or pizza pan.
It's probably gonna be really sticky. Be ye warned.

Cover with delicious toppings.
I'm one of those people that loves a classic pepperoni pizza.

Put in oven.

Bake 15 minutes or until edges of crust are brown.

And then... eat!!

Om nom nom nom nom...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

{Food Experiments} Banana Bread

Something not many people know about me is that I have Celiac Disease (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, basically, I'm allergic to gluten). This is partially due to the fact that I only found out about it around October 2011. It was not the most enjoyable thing to find out about right after I started college, but going gluten-free has been the best thing ever for my health. God has sustained me and has been sufficient through every time I felt sick and just wanted to go home. I'm learning a lot about being healthier and how much I need to rely on God for everything. I can praise God for the ways He has grown and stretched me. While learning to how to drastically change my lifestyle as far as food goes was not top on my list for things to do in college, I would not take the past year back for anything. God's perfect plan is always better than our own.

So, all of this leads up to now. I am staring at four months of summer break. I will (God willing) be working, volunteering, doing a summer class, and spending time with friends. I also want to experiment with gluten-free recipes and chronicle these recipes and my experiments.

Today I began my food experimenting. With banana bread.

Aaaah, banana bread. There are many childhood memories infused into that delicious word. Whenever my mom said, "I'm making banana bread!" it was cause for excitement in the house. I can remember my younger brother and sister and I eagerly anticipating a warm slice of the tantalizing bread as the aroma wafted through our small military base house. Banana bread was my favorite treat. And it still is. My mom makes the best banana bread. So when I found bananas on the counter this morning, waiting to be turned into the delicious bread, I got excited. But then remembered... I can't have bread. But then the wheels in my head began to turn. I had for a couple weeks planned to experiment with gluten-free recipes. Why not start with banana bread, my favorite childhood treat? And so I opened my computer and began searching. I found a couple recipes and "pinned" them to my gluten-free board on Pinterest. Finally, I settled on one and, after my mom hit the grocery store, began baking.

Banana Bread
Recipe from Taste of Home


  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Baking Instructions:

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I often forget to do this step first when I'm baking... remember to do it first!! It saves you a whole lot of time in the end.

    In a large bowl, combine 
    the flour, baking soda and salt.

    In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla.

    Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

    Transfer into two 8 in x 4 in loaf pans coated with cooking spray. My mom has these really neat stoneware pans from Pampered Chef. I like using them because they supposedly bake breads better. 

    The recipe calls for you to put chopped walnuts on top of the batter after you put it in the pans. I was out of walnuts, and my dad loves pecans so I substituted pecans. 

    Mmmm.... chopped pecans... :)

    After you get the batter in the pans, put them in the oven that you have already preheated to 350 degrees for about 50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). 

    After you take the bread out, 
    let it cool for about 10 minutes. 

    Then you can take it out of the pans 
    and put it on wire racks. 

    And then the best part... 
    slicing it up and enjoying it! 

    My family and I loved it. 
    As you can see...