Monthly Archives: November 2018

Dutch apple means grace

This Thanksgiving I baked three desserts: a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, a gingerbread cake with a warm vanilla sauce (ok, the sauce was from IKEA) and a Dutch apple pie. If you are like one of my children, you might ask what is a Dutch apple pie? What does Dutch apple mean? Well, Dutch apple means grace.

Officially, I am not sure where the term came from, but for me it basically means there is no need to roll out a beautifully latticed top crust. You simply mix a bit of flour, a generous scoop of brown sugar, oats and cinnamon and mix with pats of butter and dump on top. Like most things I make I have no real recipe. And most people bake more delicious pies than I do. As I mixed this one up for the holiday I was struck how similar this pie is to the grace of both Christ and his community.

It doesn’t look nearly as pretty as many apple pies I have eaten. I have tasted more warm and delicious desserts than the ones I make. However, when butter and brown sugar, cinnamon and apples all bake together it is hard to mess it up. There is grace in that.

Even my crust cuts corners. My mom’s sweet friend Willene in Big Spring, Texas gave us her recipe years ago when we were living in Vienna. I am confident she would not begrudge me sharing with you the fabulous and simple recipe that you mix and press out IN THE PIE PLATE! It comes out flaky and delicious each time. I have used it for cream pies, fruit pies and even quiches.

Miracle Pie Crust

1 and 1/2 C of flour

1/2 C vegetable or canola oil

Dash of salt

4 T milk

My pie doesn’t have to be the most artistic to be appreciated. My family will have no trouble putting away the baked apple-y goodness even without a well-executed lattice top.

The cinnamon and oatmeal crumble hides the fact that there is no proper finish on this pie. It is its grace. It covers my flaws as a baker. And when I am unsure of the quantities, I just add extra butter to it. And there is probably grace in that.

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Faithful

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Your children are certainly a credit to you.”

We have all heard these words of encouragement, either spoken to someone who has carefully parented and trained their children into impressive adults, or perhaps these words were even spoken to you at some point. Mostly they are said with all good intentions, giving honor to whom it is due, recognizing the hard-work and patience that is required in parenting. But it leaves me fearing that the inverse may also be true. What does it mean when your children make poor choices? What if they are not where they should be spiritually? What does it mean if life is hard and we are still in the trenches, losing battle after battle? Then, is the inverse true? Are the parents to be held responsible for rebelliousness or disobedience? Does it mean we are failing?

I don’t believe so. And yet, it doesn’t change my fear and sorrow and worry over my children. I began this blog over five years ago partly due to the encouragement from a friend, and partly out of a desire to record the daily ebb and flow of home schooling, as well as the spiritual struggles of parenting, particularly one on the autism spectrum. In five years they have grown, and not surprisingly, more quickly than I had anticipated. Out of respect for their privacy and to protect their dignity, I have written selectively and sparingly on any specifics regarding our struggles. This blog is likely to be from hereon a place where I come to confess my own shortcomings, to seek answers, and to share any morsels of grace.

In the middle of the trenches you just don’t know how things will turn out. Often, it seems I am failing. What if my children are not a credit to me? What if I am not a credit to them? What if the inverse really is true that I have failed in some way?

But I know this not to be true, even if I fear it. I know life is hard. And it’s not yet over. Christ has not called me to exact change on anyone, but only to be faithful. Most of the time being faithful is as much as I can handle.

The other day a friend, whom I admire more than I know how to write, handed me a piece of paper with a name written on it. It was a suggestion, a place to turn to for help. I think of her and know how faithful she has been, yet not without pain. Her eyes still reflected the same struggle, and reminded me being faithful is all I am called to do.

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:8

Marvel

Thanks to cashing in on my husband’s frequent flyer miles, my family just returned from a trip to Iceland. Although my husband and I have wanted to go there for two decades, the entire trip was planned and executed within a few short weeks. We are already wondering when we could make it back for a summer visit.

In a world which teeter totters between scientific pragmatism and truth’s relativity, I am thankful to have been able to experience a country which only increased my wonder and amazement at God’s power, fierceness and wild creativity. If we ever question the magic of existence, if we are ever tempted to think the world is humdrum, and long for the excitement of fantasy, we only have to throw a glance at the diversity and frightening beauty the creation reveals to us.

Who is this God who formed land, then caused it to catch fire and explode? In a country where it may be difficult to determine if the people are speaking imaginatively or not when they talk of trolls and elves, God’s breath and thumbprint, his intensity and love are in each stream and waterfall, in each wild horse and threatening mountain.

But so are they in my everyday life: in the turn into my neighborhood, in the willow tree in my backyard, in the monotonous routine of cooking rice, in teaching inequalities and diagramming sentences, and driving my kids to classes.

There is a beauty in the faces I see in my daily life, in the encounters of diversity, and in the souls I meet in my church family. I could only marvel at the geysers, and cliffs and freezing, roaring waters, because every day I see both the fierceness and quiet creativity of God as Creator working through us.