Monday, April 28, 2014

A Weed by Any Other Name is Food

  Spring! Spring! Spring! Don't you know how much I love it??? Of course you do because I mention it in every post. We have had some super warm days and some chilly days. The hubby and I get outside as much as we can and work on our little "farm." On Saturdays, we like to pretend that it is a real farm but I am not sure that a pet pig and eight chickens qualifies as a farm. It is just our little dream and it is good to share dreams with your spouse. It builds unity and bonds you together. Don't you think Adam and Eve had all kinds of dreams and secrets between them?  But I digress...

  So, on the farm this past Saturday the man announced that he would get out the tractor and cut the yard but I had just read my herb magazine about dandelions and pleaded with him to wait a bit so I could harvest some dandelion flowers. It was slightly chilly and no bugs were flying around so it was perfect for gathering flowers. I picked and picked and picked then I took my kitchen scissors and cut and cut and cut to remove the green bracts underneath the flowers (they are very bitter supposedly). As I prepped my flowers, I started to second guess the idea of eating them. They are wild plants, weeds for goodness sake. Would I really eat them? I reminded myself that I had eaten sushi, calamari, chicken livers, and various other things that seemed far more precarious than this yellow flower so I pressed on.

 The first thing I decided to do with them is make fritters. It is just the southern girl in me that led to this idea. Dipping edibles in batter and cooking them in hot grease is irresistible to us. I served them for lunch because the man works up a fierce manly appetite on Saturdays and he does not question much. About halfway through, he said, "What's in the hushpuppy things? Is this some new experiment?" Why yes it is! Okay, I did not answer that enthusiastically. It was more a whispered answer, "dandelion fritters." He thought I was joking but then he realized I was not kidding. "Hm, well, they taste pretty good for weeds," he replied and kept eating. Yea! Score one for dandelions. Here is how I made them:

Dandelion Fritters 
- 1-1/2 to 2 c. dandelion flowers, green bracts & stems removed (gather them from un-sprayed, untreated areas, 10 feet from road, not in pet areas)
- 1/3 c. gluten-free flour mix (mine is almond flour, millet flour, potato starch)
-1/3 c. corn meal
- 1/3 c. onion, chopped (I used red onion)
- 1/3 c. milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. turmeric
- optional: 1 Tbsp. chia seed or hemp seed to sneak in some nutrients

 Mix dry ingredients and seasonings. Stir in egg and milk and chia seed if you want to use it. Add in dandelions and stir well. Heat a pan of oil and drop spoonfuls of batter into pan. If it is not a deep pan, turn them while cooking. These cook very quickly so keep your eye on them.

 Next on the list for my dandelion haul was jelly. Maybe that is a southern thing, too, because down here the other option of eating food is putting it on a biscuit. What's a better fit in the cupboard next to my apple butter, peach preserves, and concord jam?

 Dandelion jelly looks so pretty, too. It is like sunshine in a Mason jar. I used the recipe from here: Simply Canning

  It does taste a little like honey. I like it and those little yellow sunny tops peeking out of the lawn are in danger, not because we want a pristine weed-free yard but because we are hungry! Thank you God for dandelions!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bill Nye/Ken Hamm ?, My Husband 1

Debate Logo
 Taking a break from learning about nutrition, I went blog surfing and hit upon a post about the Bill Nye and Ken Hamm debate. Not having seen it yet, I decided to watch it (sometimes I do live under a rock). After years of involvement with home school speech and debate, my tastes lean to debate as entertaining. I judged them and taught basic debate skills so I am little demented.

 Settling into my comfy seat in the living room, I prepared my mind to take mental notes. Ken started right out the gate the way a good debater should, defining terms. The definition of terms sets the tone and is crucial to the topic at hand. Ken set the definitions and if Bill did not agree with them, he never said. In debate, silence is concession. Unfortunately, the "debate" quickly became irritating because it went off-course chasing red herrings. It became a juggle of proving who had more info not if the topic could be affirmed or negated. Sadly, they got into the rebuttal with all kinds of new questions being thrown in and some of the original questions never being answered. That is just not good debate so, yes, I did get distracted and not pay much attention to who may or may not have been the winner.
herring (Photo credit: Wanderin' Weeta)

  In my distraction, I chased my own red herrings and  found some blog links that led me to an understanding of a point of argument in my house.

 Since my husband stopped attending church about two years ago, we have had some struggles. Removing Christ from my life is not like changing socks but more like removing my flesh. It is part of me. Days of frustration come and my husband flares up with questions like, "Who is right? You? Everyone else does not get it but your church does?" 

 Right now, I fall back on keeping quiet and just listening as much as I can keep my tongue still. It is a source of pain though, mostly because I could not understand why he was irritated. Well, my blog surfing opened a window to some understanding.

 Being an occasional inhabitant under a rock, I had no idea how much was out there to "watch" for heresy. Some men that I had counted as sound teachers had articles about their lack of judgment or errant decisions. As my brain throbbed, I read more to which I found myself audibly screaming a few times. It was overload. Is there none above reproach? Is there no teacher standing firm on the Word? Who is right? And are they proving that they are right by their actions?

 God peeled open a layer and showed me that my husband's struggle in some ways is founded. Until God reveals to him the Truth in the Word, it is easy to get caught up and tossed around and not know what is right and what is error. The problem is rampant and sin is muddying the water. Part of me wants to yell, "Stop it! You all are making a mess and hindering the true Gospel" but like a debate this world has a pre-determined flow. Red herrings and rabbits are unfortunately, going to be part of that flow. The Bible speaks of the existence of false teachers so it really should not be a surprise. 

 So, one point to my husband for an argument that has some ground but, to my favor, that ground is backed up in Truth! Now as I wrestle with 1 Peter 3 and how to present Truth in my marriage, I pray that all who are in Christ will be bold against false teaching, sin, and error in churches and "Christian" leaders. Be ready brothers and sisters!
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Propitiation Has Nothing To Do With Bunnies

  It has been a rather challenging week. Although my daughter is doing quite well in her Lyme treatment, she has had some struggles. We hit a more difficult bout of insomnia and a few bumps with problems concentrating. Schoolwork has been a challenge this year more than any other and a talk with a teacher of an outside class was frustrating. Lyme does not make life easy and it does not help that it is not well understood. Beating myself up for being a slouchy home school mom crossed my mind but then I remembered Resurrection Day is coming and there is too much awe for wallowing. 

 This time of year is perfect for using my favorite word, "propitiation." The days are breaking open with new life and seem to proclaim the theme of restoration and renewal. Where there was death, there is now life. Oak trees drop their brown leaves and sprigs of chartreuse are peeking out. All of nature proclaims that there is redemption. It is marvelous. 

  Now I agree that we should celebrate and worship but how do a junk-food-delivering bunny, colored eggs, and marshmallow chickens factor in? Of course, I would agree that chocolate is great for any occasion BUT being removed from under the wrath of God makes even chocolate lose its appeal. My tongue feels too unworthy of reveling in sweet, melting confections. The love of God extends beyond the sentence against my rebellion to the point of offering His own Son in my place. Whenever I try to contemplate it in some way that is comprehensible, I end up feeling a great weight because it is really a terrible trade. The perfect Son of God for the girl who shook her fist at God and declared that she would only read the Bible to find ways to transgress against Him. The Righteous Lamb for the rebel who had a hard, vicious heart and wanted to self-destruct. Why? That is all I can ask. How can I hold my head up? 

 The answer comes loudly in the picture of Spring's reborn life. The propitiation through Christ was redeeming. Death was conquered. Sin was triumphed over. I have been made alive, justified, and made new. This hymn I think puts it best:

   When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
    Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
    See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
    Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,

    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 Kind of makes bunnies and eggs seem ridiculous, don't you think?

Monday, April 7, 2014

When You Can't Fix It

  Nothing is more dreadful than watching your child suffer and you cannot do anything to help. This is my reality having a daughter with Lyme/Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Most days I have learned to keep going, trusting God for each step. It has gotten easier since she is feeling somewhat better but there are days where the unknown drags in dark clouds and I cannot contain my anxiety. 

  The difficulty is compounded by the fact that we live in an area that is not very "lyme-friendly." What I mean by that is doctors do not like to diagnosis lyme, consider lyme, or want to hear you say the word "lyme." We do have a wonderful doctor that is over an hour away and I know you are probably tired of hearing me sing his praise but, come on, it is justified (you rock Dr C!!!). This means that if my daughter gets sick and we cannot get to Dr. C, we have to go to a lyme-unfriendly doctor and the experience is not pleasant. You have to wrestle with keeping quiet about the lyme or listening to the comments that make you feel like a psycho parent.

  The crazy symptoms of Lyme are enough to deal with day in and day out. Sometimes it is a roller coaster. Knee pain today, splitting headache yesterday. Sinking feeling and weakness on the weekend, burning feet and memory problems during the weekdays. Severe stomach issues at night, anxiety and crying spells all day. Don't forget to throw in the random rash and hormonal problems. To top it off, all I can do is say, "It's the Lyme, honey. We're working on it as best we can. Now take the nasty tasting drops and handfuls of pills." Even worse than that is knowing that sometimes I am sure she does not like me at all. All the mom-ness in me wants to fix it and make it go away but I can't. 
   I do the only things I can do. I research, read, and probe every avenue for answers. I make foods that are nutrient-dense and vitamin-packed by very carefully stuffing them with things like chia seeds, hemp seeds and avocados. I mean, you have to be careful because people get suspicious when the mashed potatoes are green.

  But, at the end of the day, when you have failed to fix the insomnia or you cannot stop the joint pain, a little bit of your heart crushes. Caregiver failure. I am not enough but there is hope.

  Lord, strengthen me. Uphold me so that I might overcome and be able to glorify you. Most of all, Lord, adjust me so that it is not my will but Yours.