Tag Archives: My Utmost for His Highest

Simply Beautiful

My dad works as a missionary among a North American Indian tribe in Oklahoma, and has enjoyed learning the art of making his own flutes from a reed or another piece of wood. His friends and family enjoy hearing him play various tunes or hymns at different events.

Some years ago, he and his wife, Candy, attended a Thanksgiving Service organized by several churches in their area. Members of the various churches each contributed in a different way; some signed up to play or sing a special number; others volunteered to serve in other ways. But, the exact songs each volunteer was planning to play wasn’t communicated to the others.

The next morning, my dad wrote the following:

Last p.m. Candy and I went to the McLoud Ministerial Alliance community Thanksgiving service. There were only two specials besides the big Baptist church's choir.
 My Tribute by Andraé Crouch was announced to be played just before me by the host church's flamboyant organist [with the help of a CD and full orchestra backup thanks to an electric organ key board set into what looks like a baby grand piano frame]. --Candy looks at me wide eyed and asks, "Is that what you're going to play?"
 The flow of a flowery intro started with a lavish and energetic display of key board excellence. --Candy turns to me and says, "That's okay, they won't know it's the same song."

After a flourish of cord exchanges, variations on the theme and a blur of fingers going furiously from one end of the key board to the other, the organist reached the grande finale.

 Applause.
 Silence.

I walked to the front with my music folder, fourteen inch cane flute in hand and a prayer in my heart.

I took a very deep breath and broke the silence by saying that I was glad that the host preacher had started the community service by saying, "The program is before you but the Holy Spirit has brought it all together; we preachers have no idea how this service is going to pan out."

"So," I said, "I'll be playing the second verse (there is no second verse) of what you just heard as if all creation were praising God. This (flute) is a piece of bamboo cane that was growing a few years ago over in Choctaw [a nearby town] and with God's help, He allowed me to make this into a Native American style flute." And with that being said, I played "To God be the Glory".

(For those who don’t know, To God be the Glory, is the same tune as My Tribute by Andraé Crouch.)

My dad’s note reminded me of the entry for November 16 in the daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, based on Oswald Chambers’ lectures and talks delivered from 1911 to 1917. Part of it reads, “It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us.”

A person living a simple life that glorifies God may be encouraged to remember that the simple tune created by a cane flute, as well as elaborate productions from full orchestras, bring God glory.

In 2009, when we were just beginning to cook from scratch without gluten, Brody developed a tasty dish. By the time we published our book, A Recipe for Survival, we had new favorites. This summer, I brought back this dish he created since I was looking for a different flavor and a simple dish during a busy season of our lives. I named it “Single Skillet Summer Supper.”

Single Skillet Summer Supper

Single Skillet Summer Supper

Coconut Oil, roughly 2 Tbsp

Oregano, 2-3 pinches

Basil, a pinch or two

Thyme, a pinch

Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

Fresh tomatoes, chopped

Zucchini, and if available, Yellow Squash, sliced

Cooked Chicken, broken into pieces

1. Melt the coconut oil in the skillet.

2. Add the spices, salt and pepper. Stir and heat for a minute, roughly.

3. Add the tomatoes and squash and cook until they are as tender as you prefer.

4. Add the chicken and mix well; when the chicken is thoroughly coated in the flavorful sauce, it is ready to be enjoyed.

5. Refrigerate the leftovers and enjoy several simple, satisfying suppers.

A simple meal can satisfy your need for nutrition even if it is not super fancy. And that is simply beautiful!

Better Hummus, Discoveries, and the Freedom of the Potter

Now and then, my mistakes in the kitchen result in new discoveries.

I tried following my recipe for Yummy Hummus one day and neglected to read the entire note on my recipe card… the result was the hummus was much too watery. Since I had wanted to try making falafel, I thought this might be an opportunity… I could take my failed rendition of hummus as a starting point, refer to the recipe my friend had drawn my attention to, and possibly develop something new! I decided to give it a try.

Another friend was visiting me that afternoon. I told her about the falafel recipe and my concern that Brody can’t handle fried food as well as he used to since he had his gall bladder removed. She suggested that I try to bake the little falafels. So, that’s what I did. I not only got to try a new falafel recipe, I modified the Yummy Hummus to become Better Hummus! Here is the result in both recipe and photographic forms!

Better Hummus with Crackers

Better Hummus

1 cup dry garbanzo beans

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1/2 tsp dried red pepper

salt, black pepper to taste

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

 

1. Rinse and then soak the garbanzo beans overnight.

2. Cook the beans until they are tender enough to pierce them with a fork.

3. Add the beans and 1 cup of the liquid from the beans to the Vitamix along with the other ingredients except the salt, black pepper, parsley and cilantro.

4. Starting on low and then switching to high speed, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

5. Add salt and black pepper to achieve the taste you like.

6. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, stir in the parsley and cilantro, and enjoy! We love this with crackers!

Freda’s Falafels

Better Hummus Ingredients

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup tapioca/rice flour blend (roughly 50/50 for the blend)

Sesame seeds

Butter for the cookie sheet

1. Prepare the Better Hummus recipe above, except use all the water that was with the garbanzo beans while they were cooking.

2. Combine the baking powder with the flour blend.

3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

4. Butter a cookie sheet.

5. Form the falafels into little patty-like shapes. Coat the falafels in sesame seeds and then bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.

As I experimented with these, I tried adding more flour to the mix with different batches.

Falafel Experiment from Hummus Mistake

I decided I preferred more flour. My first attempt resulted in falafels which were a bit “wimpy.”

Freda's Falafels Take 1

More flour in the batter produced a better final product. The result was the falafels stood “taller” and didn’t collapse as much as they cooled after baking.

Another attempt at Freda's Falafels

From time to time, I struggle with discouragement and discontentment when I consider how my life is “turning out” as compared to how I had thought things would go. If I dwell on what I had planned to be doing by age 40, I can become quite sorrowful… but when I remember that God is the One in charge of my assignments in life as a member of His household, then I experience more peace.

I know that He is good and He does good, so I can trust Him as He is working in my life. Brody often reminds me that our lives here on earth are not about accomplishing certain things. Instead, God’s purpose for us is to prepare us spiritually for Heaven and to bring Him glory in our lives now and for eternity. We know His love for His people is measured by the sacrifice He made on the cross for us. So, even as we face difficulties and disappointments, we can know for certain that He is not being unkind to us; He is lovingly working in our lives for our spiritual good.

Romans 8:28-30 from www.BibleGateway.com

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

My aunt took this photo a few months ago in New Salem, NC. She couldn’t remember the name of the studio. I would love to contact the potter in this photo to confirm that it’s okay to share the photo on my site.

Potter at work

This photo is a beautiful reminder to me of God’s careful shaping of my life. He does not make a life out of failed experiments as I sometimes make a new recipe out of mistakes in my kitchen; rather, he is masterfully carrying out the purposes He has had for eternity past. My little lifespan is a tiny part of what He has designed for His creation. Even with the pains and disappointments, I can trust Him that He is molding my character to resemble His Son more and more. Since He is the Potter, He has the freedom to make whatever He chooses from each lump of clay.

Psalm 33:10-11 from www.BibleGateway.com

The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Some years ago, my church gave us Sunday School teachers a gift of the classic edition of My Utmost for His Highest, a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers. For many years,  I read it every day throughout the year. Then I took up other devotionals for some time. Perhaps on January 1st, I’ll pick it up again for this coming year. I remember a quote from Oswald Chambers about God helping Himself to our lives…. I found the quote below from a cached page from www.utmost.org.

Wisdom from Oswald Chambers

Is He going to help Himself to your life, or are you taken up with your conception of what you are going to do? God is responsible for our lives, and the one great keynote is reckless reliance upon Him.  Approved Unto God, 10 R