Monday, July 28, 2014

Now about roommates …

My husband asked me if this last week was a life-changer. Well he put it this way: “Do you think this conference will change the trajectory of your life?” And I guess I would have to say yes, and for a variety of reasons, but one significant motivator came through my roommate.

4261Fabian_00115God gave me Grace Fabian as a roommate, an author, linguist and former missionary to Papua New Guinea. Grace’s husband and translation partner was murdered as he was translating I Corinthians 13, the love chapter.  It was only love for God and the people of Papua New Guinea that kept Grace in Papua New Guinea continuing to work on and finish the translation of the New Testament.  Her book Outrageous Grace is the story of not just the events of her life, but it also recounts her faith journey from her husband’s senseless murder leaving her with four children, and the accompanying grief and nightmare of decision-making – leave or stay, bitterness or forgiveness, depression or faith.

Our trials will probably not be exact parallels of hers, losing a mate in Papua New Guinea, but for sure, we will face similar challenges to our faith in different packaging. We will lose someone or something we love, and it will make us wonder how this can be God’s best for us.  We will face hours, maybe days when staying the course will seem impossible, and maybe not even something we want to do. But Grace will encourage you as she shares her journey.


Grace brought the final challenge of the week to us as writers, and I want to share a few thoughts from that message with you.  First, the theme for the week was the Silver Links in God’s Eternal Plan, and Grace asked us if our chain (of silver links) measures up to the tasks of life.

Think links as resources that we turn to as we face the roles we are called to play and the bumps and potholes we face on the road of life.  Who are the people who have the greatest influence in our lives?  Do they move us toward God and hope, or away?  What do we have in our minds; what have we read, listened to or seen and stored up?  Do we have lots of Scripture, encouraging words and events to remember that the Holy Spirit can bring back to our minds to enable us to navigate those potholes or battles?

And if those links are weak, like the link of a necklace compared to the links that connect a car to a tow truck, what are you going to do about it?  What relationships should change? What do you need to work on reading more closely or memorizing, so that it is available when you cannot think otherwise?  We do have choices to make, choices no one else can make for us.

Finally, Papua New Guinea forces foreign nationals to leave at the age of 65, but Grace did not retire to hobbies, though she does have them. She continues to steward the messages God has given her, touching lives through the spoken and written word.  I believe God gave me the perfect roommate encouraging me and all of us to be faithful to continue to speak and write, so that our last words are words that glorify God and are useful to Him.,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Road Trip Calling

First we were four: my younger sister Susan could scarcely walk when we were last all together living under the same roof; that was the year our brother left to serve in the military, and then we were three. Our oldest sister graduated from high school and was off to nurses training at Robert Packer Hospital a few years later, and then we were two.  It would be another 11 years before I left to go to college, and Susan was the only one left.  Oh, we all flitted back home or to reunions to spend a few hours together, two or three or even four of us, for a few hours, but not to spend even an overnight, all of us together ever again….until this last week.
My sisters and I all live within a couple of hours of each other; my brother lives in Virginia in the summer, an hour from Tennessee. The rest of the year he lives in Florida…a longer way away from us.  So, we three decided on a road trip to Virginia, the first time the three of us have spent such a long time together and in such confined circumstances, but you know what, it could not have gone better. And we had a great week at my brother’s, remembering.

First you have to understand that when my brother left, we may have been church goers Sunday mornings, but none of us had a relationship with God. But God who works in mysterious ways moved in our lives, and now the four of us share our faith in God. It may not seem like a big deal to you, to have siblings who know Christ, but it is a big deal to us.
To my knowledge, when my dad came back from the war, he never again set foot in church.  My mother had taught Sunday School in the Episcopal Church, had played the piano there, but her God was too lofty to know personally, and eventually she stayed home with my dad Sunday mornings. But God….He worked in each of us, through our circumstances, through our relationships, to eventually bring us all to Himself, and to each other in newer and deeper relationships.

This last week, I listened again to my brother pray, and even as I type this tears come to my eyes.  My brother is a man of God and has been used of God all over the world, through his life as a military man.  This last week it dawned on me, perhaps for the first time, that although Jim and I and our children served as missionaries in Africa for a period of time, my brother was a living messenger of God to the world, from Viet Nam to Hawaii to Iraq to Guam to California to Newfoundland…well, you get the idea.
The focus today is not to honor my brother, though he has a Bronze Star among other awards, (proud sister) but to praise God for His work in the life of our family.  I was reminded this last week how blessed we all are to know God and to have each other speaking the same faith language…and I am so thankful that road trips are not just for the young.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Freebies: dessert recipes!

A friend asked me for a specific recipe, so I thought I would post it here.  Before I tell you how to make it, you gotta know how versatile and practical it is.  First, it is gluten free for those who long for a sweet without regular flour.  Then, you can tint these cookies according to the season – red and green for Christmas, red and blue for July 4, pastels for Easter, well, you get the idea.  And the same goes for flavoring: green and mint go together well with mini-chocolate chips or use red coloring and crushed candy canes.  You can use mini M and Ms as well, and sprinkle with chocolate jimmies or colored sprinkles.

Oh, and make these when the rest of your baking is done.  You put them in a 350 preheated oven, then turn the oven off; leave them in it over night or at least five hours.  I like to store them in clear glass jars so everyone can see how pretty they are.
So here it goes for 2 dozen  Forgotten Cookies: You need 2 egg whites, ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar,  2/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ½ to 1 cup of chocolate chips (I like the mini kind).

Use a glass bowl or stainless steel, deep and narrow is good,  and clean of any kind of grease beaters.  Put the two egg whites into the bowl with the cream of tartar. Beat slowly for a few seconds to mix the cream of tartar in; then beat at top speed until the meringues will stand in stiff peaks.  (Any grease will keep the eggs from turning into meringue.

Very gradually, like a tablespoon at a time, add the sugar, continuing to beat at high speed.  When the sugar is all incorporated, add the vanilla and coloring and chocolate chips or M and M’s. This time, you don’t have to beat for very long, just to mix it all in.
Drop on cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment paper.  Put it in the oven, that you have turned off and fuggedaboutit.  (I was just trying to be smart!!)  Anyway leave it there for the five hours or overnight…Then put them in your airtight container, and enjoy.  No flour and not a lot of sugar. And\ this doubles well – color half the meringue one color and the other another, if you wish

Key  Lime Pie
You need a graham cracker crust.  Mix on high till smooth: 1 tablespoon lime zest, (or not, it won’t kill the pie, just improve it), ½ lime juice, 2 egg yolks (from the meringue maybe), and 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk. Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour.  I made this first in Africa using lemons, and it quickly became a favorite.  You can top it with dollops of whipped cream and a half slice of lemon or lime or some zest. 
These two recipes can be made the same day – the pie first, then the cookies, so you don’t waste the yolks or whites.

Now, how does this fit in with what I normally write here?  Simple, God calls us to love one another, to use our gifts to bless one another, and I love to cook and bake and write, so there you are.  I hope these recipes make for you the great memories our family has of them.

 The image of the cookies came from pinterest.