18 September 2012

Outrageous Orange Muffins

A recipe post. Not my usual fare, but these are too good not to share! 

I woke up one day and wanted a muffin. There was a lone orange rolling around in my produce drawer, and I thought maybe I could do something with it. I went to Google and did a search. This is the first recipe I found: LINK

I read a few other recipes, before deciding on that one. I think I made the right choice. The flavor blew us all away. The texture is great. Plus, they are quite wholesome, using very little sugar and whole wheat flour. The fact the recipe calls for a whole orange---peel, pith and all---makes it's pretty outrageous.

I have baked these several times, and tried a few variations. The worst variation was using white flour. Big mistake. It really changed the flavor and texture. The best variation was using buttermilk in place of the orange juice. The muffin did taste less orange-y, but I think they were even better.

By the way, the recipe at the link site says you may use either melted butter or oil. To my surprise, we preferred the muffins made with oil. Also, we do not use the raisins. I might try dried cranberries one day, or nuts. And, once I did try glazing them. I they looked cute, but the muffin really is sweet enough.

Outrageous Orange Muffins
  • 1 whole orange (peel, pith, and all) cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat overn to 375 degrees. Butter or line muffin tin.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, plus the brown sugar, in a medium bowl. I like to mix them together with a fork or whisk.
  3. Blend the first four ingredients, until the orange bits are almost impossible to recognize.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed.
  5. Divide between 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes, until golden.
  7. Enjoy! 

11 September 2012

Falling Down

Read today about Sheryl Crow getting cancer again, and Robin Roberts. 

I've said rather casually, "Well, I'll probably get cancer again, because of the kind of cancer I had." I think I thought if I was casual about it, it would make the whole notion seem less terrible. Reading about these two women today has kind of sobered me. Nothing about cancer is casual. If I really believe in five years I might have cancer again, how can I ever be casual about it? How can I not be very serious about this life God has given me to live?

Cancer demands so much attention, you see, and I am all ready so challenged by the demands on life as it is. The thought of cancer intruding once more into my world is not a very good thought. 

While I won't sit and wait for it to show up, I do need to be more mindful of what its return could mean. For certain, it won't be tied up in a pretty package with a bow.

The challenge I am facing, though, is not how to be a good cancer survivor, but how to become a survivor of these new diagnoses I have received for ailments that cannot be cured, and almost can't even be treated.

I am living in the presence of my enemies.

For about one month in the Spring, I felt better than I'd felt in years. One month. I feel guilty now, saying I don't feel so good---so I don't. If someone asks, I can easily recall how cancer felt, how anemia felt, how my gaping incision felt. And, I can honestly speak to how good it feels to not have a basketball of cancer in my body, and how glad I am to not be hemorrhaging every day, and how happy I am to have the energy to live. Oh, YES! That does feel good!

It's Philippians 4:8, you see?

In yesterday's mail I received another invitation to participate in a RA study, and I just wanted to run away. Another slap of reality. I don't want RA. I don't want RA. I don't want RA!

But, it won't go away. Nor will fibromyalgia. It's here to stay, until I go away. Until I am liberated from this earth. 

So, there has to be a way to do this. I can't get away from how these conditions feel, or how they make me feel, but I can meditate on something better. And, is there any end to what is better? I think not!

Life is one day at a time for me, but it is for you, too. Maybe, you haven't learned that, but it is true. We only have right now. We may not even have the whole day! I guess 9/11 is a good day to remember that, isn't it?

When we began this missionary life, the Lord began teaching us to live one day at time in terms of our provision. And, there have been countless days where all we had was enough for that one day. I'm not expert at this lifestyle, but more often than not, before I worry I remember. 

It's Philippians 4:8, again.

How many times has God met our needs? Oh, yes. That's right. Every time.

Now, I am learning to depend on that same faithfulness to get me through these new physical difficulties I face. With cancer, I knew it would end. It took so much longer than expected for my recovery, but each day I knew I was closer. 

No such assurance now, but still! Still there is God. Still there is hope. He gives strength. He gives courage. (And, sometimes, it takes a lot of courage.) 

One last thing. No one else knows how hard you're working just to not fall down, so give yourself a break when you trip. It's OK. God isn't judging how well you walk this walk of faith. He is, in fact, just waiting for you to fall on Him.

02 September 2012

God Stories

One of my happiest childhood memories is getting into bed with my Mother and listening to her tell me stories of what God had done in her and my Dad's lives. She would tell me of miraculous healings, bold acts of faith, and divine interventions. I loved hearing those stories. She never told me one fairy tale, but she always had a good God story to share. My Mother used her own life to teach me about God---how He works, how He is faithful, and how He provides. I have never forgotten them. I don't remember every detail, but I remember what God did.

Months ago, Hannah posted a very daring status on her Facebook page. She said she believed that when she needed a car, God would bring it to her and park it right in front of her house. Though we have lived by faith for almost eight years now, and we have been given five cars in that time (including Remington, a car we ended up giving back), I still thought it was pretty gutsy for her make such a bold declaration. There is no denying that there are many ways in which a second car would be a blessing, but we've been a one-vehicle family for almost eight years. We've gotten by fine so far, and isn't that what missionaries are supposed to do? Get by and make do!

One of the God stories my Mother used to tell me was about a car. My parents were evangelists and church planters in Cuba in the 1950's, and while on a visit to the States someone donated a car to their ministry. She described it as a very nice car, a Plymouth, but they didn't have the price of the ferry to get it from Florida to Cuba. My Mother says my Dad was undaunted. He told her, "God gave us the car, it needs to go to Cuba, so it's going." My Mom says she was scared stiff, but he was emboldened. Without the money for the fare, they got on that ferry.

Well, wouldn't you know that while on that ferry my Father recognized a member of the Cuban baseball team. (She says now, with her eyes wide, "He knew him." She sounds as impressed by her groom as a newlywed.) My dad was a great baseball fan, and a very charismatic man, so I can imagine it was very easy for him to strike up a conversation and share what he was doing there. Can you guess how the story ends?

Yes, that's right. That Cuban baseball player paid for that car to travel to Cuba. My Mother still speaks of my Dad's great faith with awe in her voice, almost 60 years later.

One day, I hope Hannah will tell her children that God story. I hope she remembers the part about how much her Grandma respected her husband. I hope she will also tell them how that Cuban evangelist's granddaughter took delivery of NBF's new car this week, delivered right to her door, just as she so boldly declared.

I dare say she will have many more God stories of her own to share.
"Only take heed, and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your [mind and] heart all the days of your life. Teach them to your children and your children’s children." Deuteronomy 4:9