31 October 2015

Five Minute Friday ~ Almost


It's an oxymoron within a word.

Just stop and think about it...

A sort-of once upon a time compound word, all + most, and meaning not quite or very nearly...

Yet all by itself, all means the entirety, wholly and without limit

and most mostly means the greatest number, amount or extent.

How can you have a greatest possible... yet be without limit?

Doesn't possible limit, at least in a sense?

I've thought "almost" so many times this week...

I almost had that recipe just right... then the phone rang, I ran downstairs to answer it, got distracted until I smelled burnt.

She's almost over her cold... except that she's still keeping me up a chunk of the night with the coughing that no longer keeps her awake.

She almost got a good grade on her French exam - well, at least on half of it she did; the other half? Let's just say there is lots of room for improvement.

It's one of those words that can be good - if the very nearly was a bad thing barely escaped - a car accident, a brush with death, a goal so close to being attained...

Or it can be bad, if it is a not quite but desperately hoped for first soccer goal, your dad telling you how much farther before reaching the rest area and the bathroom when traveling, a failure that was so close to success...

Thankfully, almost never describes


the sufficiency of His sacrifice

the reality of His resurrection

He's surety for the future for all who've placed their hope and trust on Him.

First Five Minute Friday write in a loooooooooooong time!
Not linking up... just writing for the fun of it.

We'll see what happens next week!

Photos of Tori playing soccer
taken by her grandfather
Dick Stewart
Lansing, MI

28 October 2015

Uncomfortable Unknowns with Young'Uns

I wrote the original version of these words just over five years ago, in September 2010. Five years later, I could still be writing these words – it doesn’t feel like much has changed at all. And yet, our children have gotten older, it seems like the stakes are higher… everything has changed and just keeps on changing SO. VERY. MUCH! So I share these words again, today, in the hopes that they might encourage one who keeps looking for that light at the end of the transition tunnel only to uncover yet another bend with weakening flashlight batteries (or flickering candles, depending on where you minister). In our family, God’s grace and presence in this life chock-full of shiftings and switchings, has been rock-solid constant. Most days, our only response is rejoicing in all God has done and continues to do.
Our little Jonathan recently began school – a first language French school – for the first time. Yesterday, as he was sharing with us about his day, he told us about working on saying and writing the alphabet in French instead of English. Suddenly, he stopped and exclaimed: “AND Mama! Did you know they say zshee for ‘J’ and zshay for ‘G?’ THAT. IS. JUST. WRONG!!!”
We tend to resist anything that pushes, prods or pulls us from a place of the comfortable customary to the uncomfortable unknown. Jonathan expressed that rather eloquently, and while we laughed (for the look on his face as that realization dawned on him was priceless), my mind was drawn to the present struggles of our present state of transition.
Without a doubt, it is emotionally harder to move back and forth with older children and teens – for they are very capable of identifying, mourning, and resisting the change AND all that they’ve lost because of the changes we inflict upon them....
Please continue reading, over at a life overseas:the missions conversation, where I'm revisiting a passage of Scripture that continues to encourage me as we parent our children through yet another huge transition.

15 October 2015

The Enigma of Educating our TCKs


As a relatively large family (eight children spanning 13 years) that’s been on the mission field, essentially since the turn of the century (15 years - long enough to be considered career), we’ve tried several different education options: homeschool, local language schools, private school, public school, online school… We’ve not yet used the boarding option at a boarding school (unless you count our university aged kiddos living in a dorm, but that’s still a whole different ballgame). And, in fact, when we first left for the field, I would have told anyone who asked that home school was the plan, but also that boarding school was the only option NOT on the table. 


I would tell you that any possible option that presents itself makes its way to the table as a topic of discussion…

People have asked us before about our education plan/philosophy, and I used to think I had it pretty well figured out – actually, mapped out – before our first reached third grade. A special educator with several years of experience in the classroom… a professional trained to look at the individual skills, abilities and needs of an individual student – and one who was fairly good at what I did… I figured those skills would naturally transfer to figuring out an exceptional and best educational plan for each one of my own children. Since I was the professional educator, my husband – although always an active contributor to the many conversations – essentially followed my lead regarding what was best, educationally, for our children, although there have been compromises. 

I’ve discovered that it HAS NOT come naturally – because my own desires and dreams for my children often interferes with… even disguises… what might actually be best for them… educationally, emotionally, physically, socially… spiritually. Those best choices that I could see easily for someone else’s child weren’t nearly so obvious when it came to my own.  Sometimes, best choices actually get in the way of good decisions. Sometimes, we make what appear to be best decisions – only to discover down the road aways that we didn’t have all of the facts or experience necessary to know actually know what we were deciding…

We’ve I’ve made so many mistakes. 

I’m thankful for God’s grace and merciful children. 

Key questions we’ve started asking when it comes to making those educational decisions...

If you'd like to read the rest, please join me @ Missionary Mom's Companion, where I posted this article last weekend!

06 October 2015

Desserts on a Budget

It isn't something new... really...

Super fun to use my cake pedestal, which I received as a wedding gift many, many moons ago, and which has spent most of those moons in storage because I wasn't gonna take it to Africa!

But, with two in college and six in private school and the cost of living in Quebec, a new-to-us place, the corner cutting learning curve is rather steep.

But, I am able to apply some skills I learned from trying to grocery shop in Niger...

I don't plan menus. I gave up rather early on in my African days... when every Friday afternoon I'd plan out a menu for my Saturday grocery shopping day - only to get to the store and discover that something I needed was no longer available in town. One week, there was no butter. The next week, no powdered milk. Another, no eggs. It's not surprising that supply in a W. African town might be inconsistent, and it did get better over the years that we were there, but by then?

Habits had hardened and weren't so easily broken.

What I'd learned to do was know about how much food it took to feed my gang for a week and to buy enough of whatever was available in town and then develop a menu once I got home with whatever it was I'd found.

That strategy works just as well, here in the developed west - when applied to sales. That means I don't have to clip coupons, scour the sales ads, etc. I go grocery shopping at the store that happens to be convenient, buy what is on sale and then build my menu from what I have in the pantry, fridge and freezer when I get home.

This week - they had huge bags of beets on sale.

Other ingredients - butter, sugar, flour, eggs, cocoa - are all the type of things I almost usually always have on hand.

But, that meant the learning curve for the next few weeks would be how to cook with beets (Not borscht - we've already been there, done that; although Tim and the biggers like it, it isn't a fave with the littlers.). Since I need after school snacks as well as in-school snacks, the first thing I did was google "ways to use beets in desserts." The first entire page of search results all ultimately led back to the very first link listed: 

I must admit, the recipe/title did not interest me, not in the least - hence why I skipped it and kept on reading through the rest of the results.

As I kept coming back to the above page, however, the brilliant pink frosting, however, finally did pique my interest.

So I read on, and decided to give it a try... although I made cupcakes instead of a layered cake. And... I made a few changes... but for the most part, I followed the recipe as written.

2 beets - roasted and then finely grated
Spray of olive oil

3/4 cup grated beets
3/4 cup of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
splash of vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 "sorta" teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk soured with vinegar

1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 brick softened cream cheese
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp grated beets mashed with a fork
splash of vanilla
milk as desired

Preheat oven to 400'F.

Wash beets under running water, and trim leaves (although mine were already trimmed). Place beets in foil.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Seal up foil.  Place in the oven and roast until tender when pierced with a fork - which was slightly less than an hour. Allow beets to cool completely (that was when I went to pick the kids up from school).  Peel once cool and grate, finely.

Reduce the oven temp - 350'F.  Place cupcake liners into cupcake pan.

Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, a few minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Then beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

Combine milk and a dash of vinegar to make 1 1/4 cup soured milk. Let sit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low speed , slowly add soured milk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  

Spoon the thickish batter into prepared muffin pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until done. Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, remove from muffin pan and allow to cool.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar together. Add beets, vanilla and milk.

Frost cupcakes.

And, that's all there is to it! The step of roasting the beets does lengthen and complicate the process, but only slightly. And, they do say that beets have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as aid in the detoxification of the body. Maybe... maybe not - but at least "beet" might not be a bad word when I tell the kids that they play a prominent part in future recipes.

By the way, I left the brilliantly colored cupcakes prominently displayed as the gang was getting ready for school. The end result was Wrightlings anxious to get home and grab their after school snack! There's even enough left for tomorrow's after school snack as well!

Oh yeah! I can't forget to mention that I think the dad snuck one into his lunch on his way out the door... even though he was allowed to test taste the night before.

This recipe has been officially declared, by each and every Wrightling present,


(Good thing, since I bought 10 lbs of beets! But I guess I'd also better figure out a few more recipes that use beets!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails