Casting All Our Anxieties on Him

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 4:6-7

There are two trends I’ve noticed when it comes to prayer. One is televangelists who make claims such as “if you only make a donation of $___ the Lord will fill up your bank account!”. The other one, the one of which is on my mind today, is the hesitance to bother the Lord with our prayers.

I understand this, I will often forget to pray about the “little things” in life, because who am I to ask for something seemingly so trivial when He has blessed me so very much? The wonderful thing, though, is that this year the Lord has really been showing me how He desires us to bring these things to Him! He is our Heavenly Father and He values us! (Psalms 103:13-14; Matthew 10:30-31) We should go to Him humbly and wishing for His will to be done, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring all of our troubles to Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. “-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 While the Lord might not answer our prayers right away, or in the way we hoped, we know that His will is our best. Though He may not remove our trials when we would want, we know from His word that He uses these trials to help us become more Christlike and to grow closer to Him. (James 1)

I’ve been learning a lot this year through Him about prayer, and it amazes me those times when He confirms those lessons for me, both through His Word and through answered prayers. One such instance was back in March. I was shopping for some craft supplies so that I could send an encouragement package to my dear friend. I had found everything I needed, and then I looked down at the supplies I had in my hand and realized I had mistaken one item for something else, and then I couldn’t find what I truly needed. I started getting extremely anxious as I scanned all the items and was finding nothing like I needed, and I really wanted to do this something special for my friend. As I looked I was reminded of casting all our anxieties to Him and praying without ceasing. I said a simple quick prayer asking for His help in finding the object I was searching for, and as soon as I finished mentally saying the prayer my eyes landed on the exact object I needed. It wasn’t anything big, just an item that costs a couple of dollars for a gift, but it reminded me that He cares about those little things. He helped me remember to cast my anxieties on Him and then helped me see what I needed to encourage my friend. It may have been small, but it meant a lot to me and has stuck with me all these months. 

A more recent event was that I’ve felt isolated and the need for Christian fellowship, since we’re currently between churches and my health doesn’t allow me to get out very often. I didn’t know how He might work it out, but I prayed for an opportunity to have discussions with other Christians that would honor Him. A couple of weeks later I was invited to a weekly Skype group phone call where we pray and discuss subjects relating to Christianity and how to glorify Him through our walk. These discussions have truly been an answer to prayer and have blessed me greatly in the last few weeks since they’ve started.

I’m a terribly slow learner, but thankfully I have a Father who’s helping me along my walk in this crazy life, and will continue to do so until I’m Home with Him! 

What are some answers to your “small” prayers that have impacted you?

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Tiramisu Gelato

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I adore tiramisu, absolutely love it. I tend to save it for special occasions, since I’m the only person in my family who enjoys it. However, once a year on my birthday I make some homemade mascarpone or a cream cheese/sour cream substitute, lady fingers, and then start assembling my tiramisu. This year I wanted to try out an idea I’ve been contemplating. Homemade tiramisu gelato. I’ve seen some tiramisu gelato, but it’s more gelato with similarities to tiramisu. What I wanted was something fully tiramisu and fully gelato.

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The morning before my birthday I got started. I made my ladyfingers and mascarpone substitute and then started assembling the items needed for my gelato. After making a coffee tinted gelato base and chilling it I was ready to pop it into the ice cream maker. The motor was dead. Day before my birthday, I had everything ready for my tiramisu gelato ready, except a working ice cream maker. I ended up having to pour the gelato into the frozen ice cream bowl and stir it by hand. The gelato didn’t turn out nearly as soft as a similar recipe of mine did in the past, due to the ice cream maker problems, but it would do.

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This was a success. It was both completely tiramisu and gelato, neither was lacking. The combination was even more magically enchanting than I had imagined. When taking a bite your eyes slowly close as you savor the flavor of the creamy vanilla gelato with a hint of espresso and the sweet tang of the mascarpone cheese swirled throughout. It’s sweet, as gelato should be, however it’s also not overly sweet, fitting of tiramisu. 

When you come across pieces of the layered ladyfingers you get a wonderful burst of that sharp espresso flavor paired perfectly with the smooth cream..
Topping this off are some shavings of dark chocolate. Any added sugar in this chocolate is unnecessary, as it blends perfectly with the tiramisu gelato adding a hint of the rich cocoa flavor which pairs beautifully with the espresso and cream throughout.

I hope the above adequately describes how I feel about this dessert, as I’m in bliss with every bite that I take. This dessert can vary in preparation time, depending on the route that you take. You can make homemade mascarpone cheese, use my mascarpone substitute, or buy it at a local store. Likewise you can make homemade ladyfingers with this recipe, or buy some locally. 

Mascarpone Substitute
Yields 1
I've made both homemade mascarpone and this substitute of mine, and there's very little difference between the two. I would highly recommend this if you don't have the time to make mascarpone or don't want to pay the hefty price tag for it at the store.
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Total Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese
  2. 1/3 cup sour cream
  3. 2 TBSP heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Store in fridge.
Notes
  1. Both regular and reduced fat versions of the sour cream and cream cheese are acceptable.
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/
 

Tiramisu Gelato
A decadent dessert that is both fully tiramisu and fully gelato.
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Gelato Base
  1. 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  3. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  4. 4 egg yolks
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 2 TBSP espresso
Tiramisu
  1. 1 1/3 cup mascarpone or mascarpone substitute
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1 TBSP espresso
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
Ladyfingers
  1. 1 batch homemade stale ladyfingers or package of premade ladyfingers
  2. 1 cup warm espresso
  3. Unsweetened baking chocolate.
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot whisk together sugar, milk, and heavy cream. Heat over medium heat stiring continuously until it reached a simmer. Remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl containing the egg yolks ladle a small amount of gelato base over egg yolks whilst whisking quickly to temper the egg yolks. Add a little more gelato base and continue whisking. Poor egg yolk mixture into the pot with the gelato base and continue whisking. Add vanilla and espresso.
  3. Chill in the fridge or in the freezer until cold. If chilling in the freezer stir the contents every so often to prevent the forming of ice crystals.
  4. In a medium sized bowl beat the ingredients for the tiramisu until smooth. Store in the fridge until needed.
  5. Once your gelato base is compltely chilled pour it into your ice cream maker following the instructions that came with your machine. During the last minute of the gelato turning in the ice cream maker, after it is completely set up, add the tiramisu mixture and allow it to swirl almost compltely into the gelato. Remove from ice cream maker and place in the freezer.
  6. Dip your ladyfingers into your warm espresso until soft but still holding their shape. This will depend on the ladyfingers and the temperature, it might take a couple attempts to find the perfect amount of time, but it shouldn't be over a couple seconds, and sometimes it will be as quick as dunking the ladyfingers in and immediately removing them. Dunk one ladyfinger at a time then place it on a large plate.
  7. Once all your ladyfingers are ready remove your gelato from the freezer. Pour a small amount of the gelato in the bottom of a container, add a layer of ladyfingers, another layer of gelato, another layer of ladyfingers, then the last layer of gelato. With a vegetable peeler shave some baking chocolate over the top of the tiramisu gelato. Store in the freezer.
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/
If you try this out I hope you let me know in the comments what you thought of the recipe! Thanks for the photography goes to my sister, Caroline. Please visit her blog and Youtube channel! This week I’m linking up at Girl and the Kitchen, so be sure to check out her blog!

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“Well you might change your mind…”

Apple / Lavender & Honey

I’ve been in many online discussions, from homeschooling alumni forums and chatrooms to Facebook. One phrase that I’ve witnessed being told many times over is “well you might change your mind…” Please, I implore you, don’t use this phrase. There are many phrases that should be avoided in a reasonable discussion, and this is one of them, I hope I can show you why.

It’s Demeaning:

With this phrase you’re implying that the other person’s views are not as valid as your own. You’ve thought your views through and find them reasonable, but because the other person disagrees with you they must be wrong and therefore may change their opinion over to the right one once they are as wise as you.

It’s an Excuse:

I often see this phrase used as an excuse to validate someone not wanting to listen to the other’s opinion. If you don’t plan on taking someone’s opinion seriously and don’t want to listen to it be truthful about it, instead of giving yourself false excuses.

You Lose Respect:

When having a polite discussion the two parties should have a mutual respect for the other’s opinion. This does not mean you have to agree or think it wise, but you respect that the other person is a person and therefore has a right to their opinion. When you disregard their opinion with this phrase it causes them to lose respect for you, as you won’t show them any. Respect should be mutual

It Could Go Both Ways:

Yes, the other person could change their mind. That’s life, we all grow from our experiences and trials and come to a new opinion on aspects of life. If you tell someone they might change their opinion (to your presumably correct one), the same goes for you. You might very well change your opinion on the topic one day as well. If the possibility of someone changing their mind was a valid excuse to not listen to their thoughts then we would never listen to anyone, including ourselves.

I hope I’ve made the case for avoiding this phrase. We may disagree with someone and think their opinion is uninformed, but let’s avoid using this phrase. Instead let’s listen to them, truly listen, and then once they are done give a thoughtful response of why we either agree or disagree.

What’s a phrase or word you think should typically be avoided?

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Productivity Through the Craziness of Life

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Productivity is one of those tricky things. Sometimes you’ve got it and you feel as if you could accomplish anything. Other days you feel like all you did was eat and explore Pinterest or browse your Facebook newsfeed. I’ve learned a lot about less than productive days, being forced to spend many doing nothing other than laying in bed due to the parasites attacking me from within. Thankfully I’m now also learning more about productive days, and how to have them even on not so good health days.

One of the biggest things for me to being productive is waking up early. Everyone will probably have a different waking time that’s right for them, which is okay, but I found six just right for me. When I was little I would automatically wake up around then, but trained myself out of it as my health declined and I was missing sleep at night. I find it an absolutely lovely time of the morning; the golden light rising through the sky while I spend time in the Word and still have a full day ahead of me, it’s a wonderful feeling.

To-do lists are also a big thing. Oddly enough I never think of writing myself one on the days that I oversleep, but I always benefit from them. When I was younger I hated them because I felt like a failure if I couldn’t accomplish everything, but over the years I learned that it’s okay if everything doesn’t get done.
The feeling of marking off an accomplishment is always wonderful, so sometimes I’ll get rather detailed in writing my to-do list, just to be able to mark more items off. Thankfully a more detailed list is also helpful for a forgetful memory.

A few months back I was able to set up a desk in my room, which has become greatly helpful, as long as I don’t let too many books stack up on it. It’s great because it encourages me to be organized, it only takes a minute to write myself a list or grab a pen, and it’s also a good workspace.

Putting social media on hold is important. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking social media when I’m sick, so I have to fight that other times when I’m on my computer with the need of accomplishing something. When writing this post between paragraphs I’ll automatically start opening a new tab to check Twitter or Facebook, but then have to stop myself. If I can stay on my task I can get it done quicker, so I don’t allow myself to stop my current task to check social media. 

I’ve found that if I play music it can help me work smoother. Oftentimes when I’m having my brain fog I will have to stop a bunch of times to remember what I was doing, but if I have music playing it seems as if my brain goes on automatic and I don’t slow down. I find playing Pandora or one or several of my favorite albums on repeat helps me get much more done during the day.

Finally, the most important thing is to remember Who is in control of my life, every moment of it. It’s okay if I’m too sick to do the dishes on the counter that are annoying me, my hands are too shaky to work on my art, or if all I can do is take care of myself by sleeping all day. The point is to bring glory to Him through all I do, whether it be eating and drinking, being productive around the house, or working on healing my body. 

What are some things that help you be more productive? 

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Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cup Fat Bomb Candies

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Sarah is on a very strict diet to help with her autism, and we’ve noticed it helps. However, she doesn’t understand why she can’t have her favorite foods anymore. Lately I’ve tried to solve that problem by creating recipes that will replace her favorite foods, and that will get some extra calories and fat in her. My latest recipe is these peanut butter cup fat bombs, which taste really close to Reese’s–Sarah’s favorite candy. 

These have also been a good snack for Hannah, who is unable to eat many forms of fat, but finds the healthy fats in these good for her. I’m sure none of it has to do with her enjoying having candy around in the fridge nearly 24/7. ;)

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Tip: Check out Goodwill for silicone candy molds, we find great deals on them all the time. We paid $3.99 for a set of two gingerbread man silicone molds, regularly sold for $9.00 apiece. 

Seriously, these are really yummy. You have to keep them refrigerated or on ice, so they don’t melt, but I don’t see that as much of a problem. The peanut butter layer melts into a creamy pool as it hits your tongue and has a burst of sweet nutty flavor with a hint of  vanilla and salt. Then the chocolate hits your tongue and you have the perfect pairing of deep rich chocolate and creamy peanuts. 

 photo IMG_5672wm_zps63fa10ba.jpgAside from the flavor I also love the ease of making these. Just pop the peanut layer’s ingredients in the blender and pour it in the molds. While that sets up in the freezer you quickly melt the chocolate mixture and then pour it on top of the candies before letting it set up for a few more minutes in the freezer. 

Tip: Everyone who uses natural peanut butter knows the complete pain of trying to stir the butter and the oils together. It’s tough both for your muscles and for keeping a clean counter. Before mixing up my peanut butter mixture for my candy I just dumped my whole jar of natural creamy peanut butter in the blender and blended it on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Completely smooth and even peanut butter. It’s that easy.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cup Fat Bomb Candies
Yields 60
A delicious and easy recipe for fat bomb candies. A wonderful alternative to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Gluten, grain, dairy, cane sugar, corn, and soy free.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
35 min
Peanut butter mixture
  1. 3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  2. 1 cup coconut oil
  3. 3 TBSP coconut butter or Tropical Tradition's "coconut cream concentrate"
  4. 1/2 cup agave
  5. 1/4 cup fine peanut flour
  6. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate
  1. 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  2. 1 cup agave
  3. 3/4 cup coconut oil + 2 TBSP
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the peanut butter mixture ingredients in the blender. Blend on medium speed (or frozen drinks setting if using an Oster blender) until fully combine. Pour the mixture 3/4 into silicone candy molds and place in the freezer.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine all the chocolate mixture ingredients and melt over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until smooth. Once melted pull off the heat. Once the candies are set up pour the chocolate mixture into the remaining 1/4 percent of the molds and place back in the freezer until hardened.
  3. Pop the candies out of the molds once fully hardened and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/

What are some of your favorite desserts or candies that you wish were healthy?

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