Recipes and Food Finds: Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls and they are dairy/egg free!

Best Ever Dairy Free/Egg Free Cinnamon Rolls. Truly- so tasty- you would never know!

1 cup vanilla soymilk

1/3 cup canola oil

4 TB water

2 TB olive oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp. baking powder (aluminum free)

2 1/4 tsp. yeast from jar

Place above ingredients in order into bread machine and put on dough setting until completed.

Filling (mix together):

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 1/2 TB cinnamon

1/3 cup melted margarine

Roll the dough out into a 21″ x 16″ rectangle. (I divide the dough in half and roll each half separately on an individual giant pampered chef cutting board.)  Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough. ( I use half at a time.) Roll the dough from long side to long side into a tube and pinch the ends together. Cut the dough into pieces approximately one inch in size.   Place the rolls onto a greased baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place. About 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Bake at 400 for ten minutes. Drizzle with Icing.

Icing:

4 TB margarine

1 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar (to your preference)

1 tsp. real vanilla extract

Drizzle on rolls. Serve hot, cold, room temperature, any way at all. They are DE-LICIOUS.

A Holy Trust

A Holy Trust: precious children.  My newest little one is just over eight months- and oh- how my heart has often been stirred these past few months toward the preciousness of children and the privilege/responsibility of caring for them.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV

My little one spent the first few months, nestled under my chin, cuddled into my comfy maroon rocker with me. We often sat- just so. And I loved it. I relished it. I joyed in it.  I bought the Willow Tree-Demdaco figurine: Angel of Mine before he was born. I would study it while I was pregnant. That tender mother holding her precious bundle.  And then he came- and there I was- holding him under my chin.

Tonight, I began the normal nightly ritual of brushing my two year old’s teeth. This mundane task that must be done every day…every. single. day. took on new light for me as he lifted his beautiful blue eyes to mine.  I am doing for him what he is too small to do for himself- and I am called to account for how I behave in this moment and others. While I can encourage myself that it won’t be long until he is doing this task for himself… and I know this little boy can’t wait for that day! I don’t want to waste the opportunity to walk in the Spirit and cherish God’s blessing wrapped up in this precious little boy.  I want to walk in the reality of this Holy Trust.

Every day I face these moments, day in and day out… the daily tasks of caring, correcting, training, teaching, feeding… bathing, dressing…

I am convicted anew of all those times when I have served myself, been selfish, and unfaithful to one of my little children whom I am called to shepherd and help toward the Savior- not hinder. Sin is such hindrance.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Even as I was typing this post my baby woke crying. I have a choice every single time. Will I promptly care for him? or will I selfishly delay.  This week- and for always, I am going to be more intentional in this area in the ministry of my home.  This is more poignant for me- as a mom to many little children. It is not just that precious first and second born who need me and call for me… no, my ministry stretches through six precious souls…and while my eight year old’s needs are vastly different than that tiny baby’s- they are still there and they still call to me to Be There , Be All There for him.

With little ones- too small to do for themselves- am I gentle? tender? kind? long- suffering?

Do I sense the sacredness of this moment and others? I do- I felt it keenly while bathing my newborn. I felt it keenly while brushing teeth tonight.  I pray my heart be always open to this truth- this truth that likes to become bogged down in footprints, and toy remnants, lost pencils, and bickering.

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 NIV

In some ways- little children can be “the least of these.” They are small. They are needy. In the beginning, they can do nothing for themselves (but melt your heart with their sweetness!) They are dependent. Do I realize when I offer that little child a glass of water, I am offering it to Him?  I am. I truly am.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 NIV

Spiritual Gold

The King’s daugher is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. Psalm 45:13  KJV

“What can I tell her?” she asked, feeling her friend’s pain deep in her own heart.  Cuddling her own precious new baby to her heart.  “What can I tell her?” “Why must she struggle?”  “I have held her in prayer.”

The Lord touches all of us with our own unique struggles. One person experiences trials in an area of life quite different from another.  Yet it is all His touch, it is all His shaping Hand…

Receiving His work: “Be it done to me according to Thy will…”  It is not easy. It is not “pat.”  It is not shallow. It can be sharp- like the blades of the plow. Turning deep- turning deep the soil of the heart.

I pondered the heart cry of this dear one, too. The cry of: “Why must she suffer? When I just gave thanks?”

I remember: her journey to receive that very precious bundle. It was not a smooth walk. It was not a rock- free path.  In fact, at times- there were boulders blocking the way toward that day when that precious babe was laid in her arms.

We ponder.  The Lord could have given that baby right away. The walk could have been smooth, the destination- easy. It wasn’t. 

And yet- what did she get… precious baby- and spiritual gold.

We reflect:

all that the Lord did in relationships and her heart as she walked the rocky path-in faith and in trust… that was sometimes so hard to uphold.  Spiritual gold has been wrought in her soul, in her heart, and when she holds precious baby, he is wrapped in that gold. He is held and he is blessed in the truth that has been sown, rooted deep, and grown- as he has grown and been given in love.

So I say, Tell her of

spiritual gold- that will be wrought

in her heart, and in her soul

as she trusts in her Lord- as she brings Him her pain and her worry,

and fear…

as they pray for His Hand to bring forth their own life, precious gift of their love, precious baby…

As she suffers with loss, with worry, with fear…

looking forward with faith.  He is the One most dear.  The gold that will be wrought in her soul, in her heart,

the thanksgiving that will spring from the ground so deeply plowed…

will wrap that baby in joy, and in tears, in love, and in prayers… His Gold.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknessess, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  ESV

“Fix it please, Daddy.”

A little girl with long hair, dappled eyes, and a smile as radiant as the sunshine.

A little girl whose eyes were clear and unclouded; joy-filled and happy.

A little girl with a little wagon.

Little wagon.   Little wagon was broken. It simply wouldn’t go. The ride was bumpy, crooked, and hard- one of the wheels was askew.  No more smooth sensation of wheels gliding over pavement, no more easy, fluid ride where all you had to do was concentrate

on getting from one place t’other.  No- it was broken.

So-

she brought it to Daddy. 

Wonderfully free of concern. Totally confident. 

Of course he would fix it.  He was faithful, trustworthy, true.

She played out her happy childhood secure in his love, held in his care.

She handed it to him. “Fix it, please, Daddy.” 

Then off she danced, as light as a breeze, as unconcerned as a butterfly in Spring.  No cloud of concern crumpled her brow, no worry storm-tossed in her eyes. She knew. Fix it, he would.

And I wonder-

Is it that simple for me, too?

“Fix it, please, Daddy.”

And I hand Him my broken “wagon”- right into His lap.

Confident of His Love. Secure in His Care.

Never, never considering  that it might not be done. 

I give Him the wheel that I just can’t fix.  The road is so bumpy– the ride- so– not smooth. “Fix it, please, Daddy.”

I dance away happy. Leaving His presence:

 light as a butterfly, fluid as the breeze…

No need for worry, for pestering,

 or fear.

Trusting and carefree-

as happy

as confident

as she.

Matthew 18: And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” NIV

Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” NIV

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. NIV

Stronger Than You Think You Are

Moving to a new area, new culture, new climate… new! — has sometimes just completely flummoxed me.  Startled me. Frightened me. Disoriented me. Worried thoughts poured down all around me.

It didn’t help- that I just completely, sort of- tanked spiritually here for awhile. 

The thoughts rage:  No accountability… where would the appropriate standard for our family be?… no fellowship- those secret sins- how would I evade them?… how would I hold to the path, fulfill the call, walk the walk…???

All the scriptures about companions of fools, walking with the wise, conforming to the world, the flesh, …. tormenting me.

“You are stronger than you think you are…” the words echoed audibly in my head. Startling me… surprising me… encouraging me.”Stronger than you think you are….”  The Voice speaking them: surprisingly clear, familiar.  Will I, in my fear, reject those words?

It is my fear-

in my weakness- I will just mold, form, become… be less…

That I am not strong- I am weak.  That I will not lead- I will follow.

I am weak. I am small. In Christ, I am held.  In Him- I am stronger than I think I am.

Maybe I will rest in that.

A Humble Example

Today, I have been pondering humility. Actually- I have pondered it in the face of this example for quite some months.  But especially today.

When we lived in Pennsylvania, I was privileged to “know” for a very short time, a dear sister in the Lord. Little does she know the example she has been to me!

Many things have ministered to me through her life… but one of the most striking was her humility. At the time that I knew her: She was a home schooling mom of nine children- at least two of which were aged eighteen or older (one was newly married) … the youngest was still in the toddler stage then.  Her children were walking with the Lord. She was a successful home school speaker, writer, and curriculum creator…  when I was in her home- I evidenced her love of the Lord and her love for her children and her true and living faith… faith in her daily walk through life; faith in her children being gifts from the Lord; faith in the Lord’s provision, faith in her endeavor to home school…

and yet-

She had a humble, teachable spirit. She was always eager to learn. She never, ever confessed to “having all the answers” or something having to be done ” this way.”  A seasoned mother herself- she was quick to share what she had learned and benefited from the younger moms in the church.  A seasoned home schooler herself- she eagerly listened to curriculum thoughts I shared- and then saw them at convention and remembered!  A manager of a busy household herself- she took the time to listen to me and encourage me- on the phone… several times. When I brought different areas of concern- and never realized I might be putting a finger on a tender area- she was completely forthright- gentle, and most of all NOT OFFENDED.

I have learned that: in the ocean of God’s grace… there is always room to learn and grow. True humility is greatness.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.  Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 ESV

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Taking her example to my heart today-

Book Review: The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

From time to time this blog will “host” book reviews by me. My first review is: The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaeffer. How delighted, surprised, and blessed I have been by this wonderful book. I am dismayed it has taken me so long to feed upon its riches. I first learned of L’Abri and the Schaeffers, long ago during my one semester of seminary… then as I embarked upon the home schooling journey- I read For the Children’s Sake and learned a little more… but I was never enticed enough to purchase and begin exploring the writings of the Schaeffers. Let it be said- I am now enticed! and look forward to much happy and fruitful reading as I study their books in the future.

I am going to allow this book to be a “slow burn” for me. I will savor, I will linger, I will turn to these pages again and again. It will be a friend…  I have been positively inspired, nurtured, and compelled by what I have read in the pages of this book.

From page 31, ” I would define ‘Hidden Art’ as the art which is found in the ‘minor’ areas of life. By ‘minor’ I mean what is involved in the ‘everyday’ of anyone’s life, rather than his career or profession.  Each person, I believe, has some talent which is unfulfilled in some ‘hidden area’ of his being, and which could be expressed and developed.”

From pages 104-105 [Flower Arrangements], “Children growing up in an atmosphere where beauty is considered an important part of daily life cannot help but be inspired to develop their own original ideas in these areas, nor can they help being prepared to live aesthetically themselves.  There is a ‘togetherness’ in sharing a prepared table that even very small children feel, although they cannot express it verbally…Even the little one in the high chair will like to smell a single rose and look at it for a few minutes.”

From pages 124-125 “If the one who cooks is the wife in a family, her attitude toward the marriage as a whole should be to think of it as a career.  Being challenged by what a difference her cooking and her way of serving is going to make in family life gives a woman an oppurtunity to approach this [the hidden art of “food”] with the feeling of painting a picture or writing a symphony…The cook in the home has opportunity to be doing something very real in the area of making good human relationships.”

How I have begun to apply what I am learning: I have enjoyed taking care in serving some special meals for my family. One cold Saturday recently, when I was alone with my children, I took care to serve them warm cocoa and fresh made cinnamon rolls, warmed ham slices, and grapes for their noon meal. All this was served with some beautiful music playing in the background and special care taken in the preparation of their plates. They were suprised and pleased by this special treat and the obvious show of my love.  They were also quiet and well behaved… in response the peaceful atmosphere ( I hope!…)

I have taken up the writing of this blog… in the hopes of stirring the embers of my long laid aside writing gifts. I minored in writing in college and filled rubber maids with journals when I was young… hopefully this will help me stir up this gift once more. I found that I write for myself- it makes me better- it makes my life more real. I live. If this blesses someone else too- what joy and blessing!

I am encouraged in my goals toward developing music talents in our family. We are hoping to start some of the children on piano lessons soon- and my oldest has learned a small amount of recorder. Then we can experience the joy of music and worship together.

These are some of my applications from this thoughtful book. It is a rich and meaty read. And I… with my days filled with one task after the other… and varied thoughts that flit so maddenly around at times… cannot hope to apply all- but one step at a time… it will make a difference.