Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Truth and Twilight

This morning, my friend posted the following video on his Facebook page.  I chuckled a little, then clicked on the play button.  When I saw that it was almost 14 minutes, I almost turned it off because I needed to head off to work.  I'm so glad I didn't do it.

We live in a world where Truth is forever changing and being redefined.  We are told that there are no absolutes, that Truth is relative to the age, time, place, etc.  I've always thought Mr. Driscoll to be a little radical in his presentation.  That is until I watched this video and listened to his heart as he started out talking about his preteen daughter and how much she loves to read.

It immediately brought to the forefront of my mind, my little two year old bundle of adorable cuteness.  And as the video continued, I wondered how well we, as parents, grandparents and caregivers, are protecting our children from Satan's grasp.

I must encourage you to watch this video.  It begins with what Amazon.com thought the reading list should be to a preteen girl.  It's important, but I think the "main course" starts at about 6min 25sec.  There is some truth there that I think we've begun to ignore.  And it's not JUST about the books.

The main issue is that every time we come to the line that I believe God has drawn we think we have the "right" or "knowledge" that allows us to pick up that line and move it farther from where we currently stand.  I am speaking from experience here, friends!  But look at my statement above!  Where else did this kind of "knowledge" get the human race in trouble?  Remember Genesis?  Adam and Eve?  What was the name of the tree that they were not supposed to eat from?  And what was it that serpent said?  "Surely you will not die."

I want to thank you for the time you took to read this and to watch the clip below.  God bless you.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Hello Friends!

  My family loves "soup weather".  We adore trying new soup recipes and nothing warms our tummies after a long, cool day better than a bowl of soup.  We have dietary restrictions here in our home (no dairy or processed grains for me, no food coloring or artificial preservatives for any of the boys...nothing healthy for hubby....)  OK, so Hubby generally doesn't like my cooking.  I make the more adventurous recipes while he's traveling for work.  One of our favorite new recipes has been Pumpkin Sausage Soup.  It is hot and hearty and very satisfying.  You can pair it with toasty French Bread or garlic bread.

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

2 pounds Sugar Pumpkin (We use fresh.  Can also use butternut squash or sweet potatoes)
3/4 pound spicy Italian Sausage (we get this from our meat market - no additives or preservatives)
7 cups (2 of those "boxes") Veggie or chicken broth
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 cup plain cream or milk (or milk substitute, I generally use plain (unsweetened) almond or coconut milk)
2 cloves garlic finely minced
salt & pepper to taste
************************

1. Cut pumpkin & scoop out seeds. Carefully peel off rind of pumpkin.

2. Cut pumpkin into chunks and put into a large stock pot and cover with water. Cook over high heat until       pumpkin is soft. Drain in colander.

3. Brown sausage in frying pan. Be sure to get some of the crumbles crusty and brown - this adds wonderful flavor to the soup. When sausage is just about done, add onions and garlic and stir constantly until onion and garlic are soft.

4.  Puree pumpkin (in batches) in food processor and put the pureed pumpkin into large stock pot.  Add vegetable or chicken stock to pot and stir well to incorporate pumpkin into the broth.

5.  Drain fat from sausage mixture and then add to the pumpkin mixture.  Stir well.  Heat over medium heat until hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole (Minus the Goo)

Before getting married, I didn't know sweet potato casserole existed. We ate canned yams, cooked on the stove-top with a little brown sugar and butter. It was a Thanksgiving staple. I didn't love them or hate them. I was indifferent toward the yam.


Then, I got married and discovered that people are passionate about their sweet potatoes. Some say yes to marshmallow, and some say absolutely NO to them (I would jump on that bandwagon). For some people, this dish is defined by pouring the canned yams into a dish and topping them with butter and marshmallow. For my husband's family, that was not the case. The sweet potato concoction which they enjoyed was a gooey, sweet dish that had things like nuts and coconut in it. They loved it. I didn't.


Then came 2005, the year Eric worked in retail and we had to stay in our little southeastern PA apartment for Thanksgiving with no family or friends to visit. Black Friday ruled our Thanksgiving that year. Eric still wanted sweet potato casserole. Imagine my happiness when I discovered that you could make this dish in a way that wasn't oozing with thick, syrupy goo. We accidentally caught a segment of The 700 Club just before Thanksgiving, and that is where we found this recipe (of all places). They were making this slightly healthier version that contains significantly less sugar than most recipes (though it is still plenty sweet). The good news for my sweet husband is that I now look forward to sweet potato casserole as much as he does, and for all of you who actually enjoy the flavor of sweet potatoes, you will actually be able to taste them if you make this recipe. Let me know if you try it!


Sweet Potato Casserole

8 C sweet potato pulp (4 large sweet potatoes) **
1/2 C butter, very soft
1 1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 T milk or cream

Topping:

1/2 C butter, just softened
1 C brown sugar
1 C oats
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

**Alternatively, use 4 C sweet potato pulp and 4 C butternut squash pulp (squeeze water out of it first)

Grease sides and bottom of large casserole dish. Set aside. In large bowl, combine sweet potato pulp (skins removed), butter, salt, egg and milk. Blend with electric mixer until fluffy and spread into casserole dish.

1 1/2 Hours before serving, pre-heat oven to 375. Combine topping ingredients in medium bowl with fork. Gently toss topping over sweet potato mixture. Bake until topping is slightly brown and bubbly, 45-60 minutes. Allow to cook and set for 20 minutes before serving.

Note: I bake my sweet potatoes the day before Thanksgiving, allow them to cool and then assemble the sweet potato portion of the casserole. It refrigerates overnight (covered). I add the topping and bake it the day it is being served. If you choose this technique, your casserole will likely take longer to bake because the mixture is cold, but it simplifies things the day of your gathering.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Raspberry Velvet

I was given this recipe during my brief tenure as a factory accountant, and I LOVE to make it for any sort of get together.  In fact, I will be making this to take to my church's Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday.  It's really simple, and pretty quick to throw together.

Ingredients:
2 cups of water
2 boxes of cook 'n serve vanilla pudding (NOT INSTANT)
2 boxes of raspberry Jell-o
12 oz bag of frozen raspberries (fresh berries will not work)
Cool Whip

Add the water, pudding and Jell-o to a pot and bring to a boil, stirring enough to keep it from sticking.  Once it's boiling, stir constantly for two minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the raspberries.  Pour into a 9x9 pan and refrigerate until it sets (about 3 hours).  Before serving, top with Cool Whip.

You can use any size pan you wish, depending on how thick you want the dessert to be. I like the thickness that the 9x9 pan gives, but 8x8 or 11x7 will work as well. I would also suggest that after you've poured it into the pan that you use the spoon to spread the raspberries evenly throughout.

I've also used sugar-free pudding and Jell-o without a noticable change in taste.  And if raspberries aren't your idea of a good time, you can use any fruit that can be purchased frozen and has a matching Jell-o flavor.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Broccoli Salad

When I first got out on my own, the only things I knew how to cook were desserts. I still don't view this as a problem, but the logical side of me said I needed to learn how to make SOMETHING of substance. Especially since my life includes a lot of carry-in dinners. So....my mother gave me her recipe for broccoli salad. I realize the news that this is one of my favorite salads may come as a shock to those of you who know of my distaste for vegetables. But this one has enough of the good stuff in it to mask the taste of veggies.

One Sunday I took this as my contribution to the church carry-in dinner (at my old church) and they ate every last bite! No leftovers for Bekah. It soon became necessary for me to bring a double batch of broccoli salad to every dinner if I wanted to be permitted to enter and eat. I've heard, now that I attend a different church, that others have jumped in to make this in my absence. (Sounds better than in my memory.)

I will admit this is one of the more expensive and time consuming dishes I make. Normally if something takes very long or costs very much, I refuse to make it. But this one is worth the hassle now and then. And since Thanksgiving is just a week away...I thought I'd share it with you...just in case you need one more dish to round out your Thanksgiving meal.

Recipe:
1 large bunch of fresh broccoli
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped onion
10 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
sunflower seeds (optional)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar


Chop broccoli and onion; mix together. About four hours before serving, mix the Miracle Whip, sugar, and vinegar, pour over broccoli and onion. Immediately before serving, add bacon, sunflower seeds and raisins.

The first time I ever made this, the only vinegar I had was white vinegar, so that's what I used. Turns out most people like it better than regular vinegar. People often ask me what's different about my broccoli salad...and that usually seems to be the key. I've also learned to use actual, fully loaded with fat Mircale Whip in this. No low fat/fat-free. No off brand.



Frying the bacon...takes FOREVER. It also creates a greasy mess in my kitchen. Just ask my sister about the time we made this together at 10 pm when my kitchen light didn't work. I kept checking the bacon with a flashlight. But someone taught me this trick which works well for salad purposes. I have a small bar pan from Pampered Chef and I load it up with as much bacon as it will hold. I cover it with paper towel and stick it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes or until it appears to be cooked thoroughly. The paper towel catches any spatter and the sides of the bar pan keep the grease from running through the microwave. The pan gets very hot, so use a pot holder to remove the pan from the microwave.

Here is the cooked bacon. Being the meatatarian that I am, I always put in more bacon than the recipe calls for. I usually start the bacon when I start chopping the broccoli and that saves time. It can cook while I chop!


After the bacon has cooked, I transfer it to a plate covered in paper towel to drain off some of the grease. Then I pour the remaining grease into a leftover pot-pie pan, which I save for just such occasions. Once the pan is full and the grease hardens, I toss it. I put a new layer of bacon on the bar pan and toss it back in the microwave for the next round!


I use a food chopper for my broccoli, so I begin by cutting the bunch into smaller pieces on a cutting board. I can just move my chopper from bunch to bunch and chop it all up. Then I can dump the cutting board into the bowl.


If I did not have a food chopper, I would never make this recipe. I'd probably chop off my finger trying to cut the broccoli by hand...plus I just don't have enough patience to chop it up into such fine pieces without the chopper. Mine is actually a Tupperware chopper, but I couldn't find it on their site, so here's the similar one from Pampered Chef. This is great for working out frustrations! You just put the chopper over the broccoli and the plunger goes down and chops for you!




And when I say I want the broccoli in fine little pieces, I mean FINE LITTLE PIECES!




Once I'm done chopping the broccoli, I move on to chopping the onion. I don't really measure the onion. I just chop however much I think I want. I use the chopper for it too, which helps reduce tears. :) I don't bother with washing the chopper first. If broccoli guts get on the onion, it's okay. They're all going in the same bowl anyway!




I usually make the salad (the time consuming part) the night before I need it. There are some parts you don't want to add at this time. So normally what I do is chop the broccoli and the onion, mix them together in the bowl and put them in the refrigerator overnight. Once the bacon has cooked, I crumble it up and put it in a storage dish in the refrigerator. The next morning (about 4 hours before serving, I mix up the dressing. It will be soupy.




Put the dressing over the broccoli/onion part and mix it up. As it marinates in the fridge, the sugar will begin to break down and it will look more like a salad. (That's why it's important to give it a few hours and not put this on right as you're serving it. The broccoli won't absorb it unless you give it some time.)



Right before serving, I add the bacon, the sunflower seeds, and the raisins. (Although I hate raisins, so sometimes I skip them altogether.) That is another key of the salad - don't put in the bacon too soon or it will be soggy.



This salad really only keeps nicely for about a day once it's assembled. After that it starts to get watery and soggy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scalloped Corn

This recipe was passed down to me from Grandma Vedvik. My husband is a big fan of scalloped corn, and I wanted to have a favorite recipe to please him. I had never had this dish before, and it quickly became a favorite of mine as well. Scalloped corn is still a staple in our house because it's a dish that my two little picky eaters will eat without complaint. After I had children I decided to take this as my addition to the Thanksgiving table at my grandma's house, and it was a hit. It's a perfect take-along because it's quick and easy to prepare, and it stays hot for quite awhile. I am happy to share this family dish with you as well:

Scalloped Corn

1/2 stick butter
2 beaten eggs
1 C. sour cream
1 can creamed corn
1 can regular corn, slightly drained
1 pkg. Jiffy corn muffin mix

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, and bake at 350 degrees for one hour (or until set) in a greased large round casserole dish or regular rectangular casserole dish. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Diabetes Journey

It started as a panic attack over a work related presentation - which was more annoying than anything else.  A pulse rate that would not slow down, a trip to the ER, and several blood tests later and was the recipient of a rather surprising diagnosis:  Type 2, insulin resistant diabetes.

My first thought was "There goes eating anything good."  Then I contemplated whether the easiest thing would be to go gluten free.  Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that I needed to make some changes.  Armed with a prescription and a phone number for a place to take classes, I left the doctor's office.

I made the call, and within a week, went to the first of three classes to learn how my life was going to change.  I learned that diabetes isn't an anti-sugar disease, it's an anti-anything that will raise blood sugar disease.  Pretty much carbs are my enemy.  Upon hearing this, I realized that gluten free wasn't going to be feasible, since the usual substitutes for gluten are corn or rice and both of those are high carb foods.

The first class explained diabetes.  Basically with insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes, my body produces insulin, but my cells don't recognize it.  Each cell has a "door" and insulin is the "key" that unlocks the door so that sugar in the blood can be turned into energy by the cell.l  Insulin resistance is the equivalent of the locks being changed, so the insulin cannot open the doors anymore.  Since the sugar can't leave the blood, there are problems.

Week two discussed the diet alterations that needed to take place.  It was stressed that cutting out all carbs would be detrimental to my system because the body needs carbs to create energy - even when the process doesn't work right.  Rather, the number of carbs should be limited.  Personally, I attempt to keep my carb intake to between 30 - 45 grams of carbs a meal, and if I feel like I have to snack, no more than 20 grams of carbs per snack. Some foods I have cut out completely, including most potato products.  I've cut back on spaghetti, and don't eat nearly as much bread.

Week three was the "scary" week.  It was the week that discussed what would happen if diabetes is left unchecked.  Things like:

  • nueropathy (numbness to the point of loss of feeling) in the extremities, most commonly in the feet,
  • blindness
  • heart problems
  • weight gain
  • pregnancy risks
I've been on medication for a year and have lost about 25 pounds in that time frame.  I feel better and have lost as much weight as I think is possible with only dietary changes.  Now I'm working on finding an exercise plan that I will stick to, since exercising 30 minutes three times a week will also help keep blood sugars down.  My goal is to lose another 80 pounds which should result in being taken off the medication and will allow me to manage my diabetes with diet and exercise only.

It's been an interesting journey, and given the possible risks, one I'm grateful to be taking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November: National Epilepsy Awareness Month

  In the Spirit of Health Week and to promote National Epilepsy Awareness month, I'd like to share some Epilepsy Facts with you.  As a mom of three children with Epilepsy, this is a "cause" near and dear to my heart.  My prayers daily include erasure of the stigma of Epilepsy.  Honestly, I have never felt the bitter stigma that is so often attached to this disease, for which I am most grateful.  Many people with Epilepsy are discriminated against, teased, abused and otherwise mistreated... for having a condition they have no control over.  This situation truly breaks my heart and I'm so thankful that we haven't had to endure this.  It gives me hope that one day, no one with this disease will have to deal with discrimination along with the daily uncertainty and health issues the disease carries with it.  I hope that the stigma that was so prevalent is a thing of the past and that my children continue to grow up surrounded by support and positivity at home and in our community.

  And now, those facts I promised!  Please visit the sites I've listed below for more information about Epilepsy and Epilepsy Awareness Month!  The following facts can be found on the CURE website (link below).

* Epilepsy affects over 3 million Americans of all ages – more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease combined. Almost 500 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed every day in the United States. Epilepsy affects 50,000,000 people worldwide.

*  In 2/3 of Epilepsy cases, the cause of the disease is unknown, or "idiopathic".


*  In over thirty percent of patients, seizures cannot be controlled with treatment. Uncontrolled seizures may lead to brain damage and death. Many more have only partial control of their seizures.

*  The severe epilepsy syndromes of childhood can cause developmental delay and brain damage, leading to a lifetime of dependency and continually accruing costs—both medical and societal.

*  It is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.

*  The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population and the risk of sudden death is twenty-four times greater.

*  Recurring seizures are also a burden for those living with brain tumors and other disorders such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tuberous sclerosis, and a variety of genetic syndromes.

*  For many soldiers suffering traumatic brain injury on the battlefield, epilepsy will be a long-term consequence.

For More Information, please visit:

CURE - Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy

Epilepsy Foundation - Not another moment lost to seizures

Epilepsy.com - Epilepsy Therapy Project

Epilepsy Advocate

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Soda: Give It Up!

Don't get your hackles raised from reading the title of today's blog. Those of us who have made drinking pop a life habit can definitely get very defensive when people tell us how bad it is. Know that I was someone who drank at least two cans of pop a day. I really loved my Dr. Pepper and even looked forward to it every day. Years of weight gain, general fatigue, and some more serious issues of dizziness and a rise in blood pressure woke me up. My doctor told me that pop wasn't worth poor health, and he was right! I "gave up" pop about 18 months ago, and I am so happy that I did! I feel better, I've lost weight, I haven't had anymore issues with dizziness and blood pressure, and I haven't had any new cavities. That speaks to me.

We've been hearing for years that pop isn't good for us. When I was younger, my parents never had it in the house. For a special treat on family night, my dad would go buy a 2 liter and we'd get pop and popcorn -- what a treat! Even though I grew up with this information, I became a pop junkie in college. It is crisp, sweet, and I liked the caffeine. Looking back on the introduction of pop as a daily intake for me, I can see how that started me down the road to weight gain and other health issues. We know that when we're talking about soda we should take issue with the sugar/empty calories, caffeine (depending on how much is consumed), and the acid found in pop. However, it has also been linked to calcium depletion, muscle damage, and new research shows a possible connection between long-term soda ingestion and esophageal cancer. (B)

A 12 oz. soda contains 10-12 tsps. of sugar, and adds about 150 calories to your diet. On a 2,000 calorie diet without any changes in activity level, you could easily gain up to 15 pounds a year from soda intake alone! (A) Soda consumption is a large contribution factor in the upward surge of instances of metabolic syndrome and diabetes as well. (C)

The carbonation found in soft drinks has also been found to cause calcium loss in the bones through a 3-step process:
1) The carbonation irritates the stomach.
2) The stomach "cures" the irritation in the stomach the only way it knows how, with the only antacid that it has at its disposal -- calcium from the blood.
3) The blood, now low on calcium, replenishes its supply from the bones. If it did not do this, muscular and brain function would be seriously impaired.
The more a person ingests soda, the longer this cycle continues; that person is headed straight toward osteoporosis. (B) Another problem with soda is the phosphoric acid (not to be confused with carbonation) that it contains. Phosphoric acid also contributes to depletion of the body's store of calcium. Soft drinks make your bones brittle and weak in three ways: carbonation reduces the calcium in the bones, phosphoric acid reduces the calcium in the bones, and -- many times -- the beverage replaces a calcium-replenishing option like milk or water. (B)

The last detriment I want to cover today is muscle damage. Low potassium levels can occur in people who consume soda on a regular basis, which can result in muscle weakness, muscle aches, and muscle cramps. In extreme cases, low potassium levels can cause arrhythmia or paralysis. Eliminating or cutting way back on soda can correct this deficiency as well as eating potassium-rich foods that will fill your body's need: fresh fruits & veggies; meats like beef, fish, and turkey; and natural juices. (C)

With all of this information in mind, I urge you to cut soda out of your diet. Whatever changes you can make in that area, the better: go cold turkey, cut back gradually, limit your self to one. Whatever it takes to make a step in the direction of better health and wellness is worth it. I still have a pop every now and then; I enjoy it, but I find it hard to finish one. My taste buds have changed now that I'm not bombarding them with soda every day! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (NLT) This verse was very convicting to me. I realized that I was not honoring God with my body, not providing a temple worthy of Him. In the grand scheme of things, giving up pop is a very small sacrifice that reaps great rewards.

Sources
(A) Meinke, Mardel. UNL Extension in Lancaster County Nutrition Education Program. 2011.
http://lancaster.unl.edu/nep/thinkdrink.shtml.

(B) Supple City. Soft Drinks are Unsafe. 2011. http://supplecity.com/articles/
softdrinksunsafe.htm(C) SixWise. Soda's Surprising Serious Impact on Your Muscles. 2009.
http://www.sixwise.com/Newsletters/2009/June/17/Sodas-Surprisingly-Serious-Impact-
on-Your-Muscles.htm


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eve, Apples, and PMS


I really don't like snakes. I don't like spiders, I don't like lizards, I don't want a pet mouse, guinea pig, hamster or any other rodent.  I especially don't want a snake.  It's snakes that really tick me off. 

Let me preface this with the fact that I am a sinner. I make mistakes daily. Sometimes hourly. I'm in a moment by moment relationship with God. I try to get through one moment at a time without blowing my stack or otherwise messing everything up. This is important as I have teenage girls.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE my teenage girls. But I can think of few things that can make you sin like breaking up a fight between teenage girls who know better. Or trying to teach a one of them to drive.

There are if you count them three “women” living in our household. Not counting one of the cats. So as you can imagine PMS is rampant in our home. We get a week of PMS then the “real deal” then the post. At any given cycle for one, another one is starting the next round.  (Perhaps I should take this moment to ask you to pray for my son and my husband.)  If ever anyone should be medicated it would be the parents of teenagers.

In the movie, Date Night, they discuss a book. In that book the girl gets her father and her brother to get into an argument so she can go off into the desert to menstruate in peace. In peace. If only.

Can you imagine if we were able to go off into our rooms and sit with our remotes, a stack of chick flicks, a pile of books that we've been wanting to catch up on, a bottle of Midol, and some bon bons so we could just menstruate in peace? Yeah, I know that's not feasible, but it's fun to dream. I tell my girls that women all over the world get through “that time of the month” without incident. If they didn't they would either kill each other or the men would do away with them and civilization as we know it would come to an end. They have GOT to get it together.

As adults we tend to have selective memories of our own childhoods. For example, I remember being a very good child. I was top notch.  I didn't run with the “wrong” crowd. I didn't smoke, drink or “get around” as they say. No phone calls were made to my mother about me getting into trouble at school.

Now I'll take my hipster boots off, wade out of the garbage I just fed you, and tell you the truth. I was a brat. I was a spoiled kid of divorced parents who tried to buy my love. There I said it. I wanted for very little. I had a big mouth and, on many occasions, I would open mouth and insert foot, thereby getting myself into a world of hurt.  I may not of have done any of the really “bad” things but I was bad in my own right. I was a PMS queen.

I now have TWO PMS queens. Thank you very much.

I blame Eve for this.  Actually I blame the snake (Hence my disdain for them).  But I'm no stranger to temptation. I'm sure the apple looked good.  Food is hard to pass up.  I have lost weight and said “I will never put this back on again. I am going to keep it off and prove I can do it.” Then I rediscover my love of ice cream, and pizza, and all those things that taste good but will kill your new found love of fitness. I have often said that the way to my heart is through my stomach.

I imagine that garden was filled with all sorts of delightful things to eat. The choices too numerous to count. Then the serpent comes and points out the shiny apples. Don't they look good? Surely one bite won't hurt anything?

Oh but it did. And now we get to experience the hurt every month over an apple. Disobedience is a killer. Raising my own children, I expect to be obeyed. I will not tolerate disrespect. It is the biggest pet peeve I have. Just yesterday my younger daughter was teasing her sister and called her dumb. The sister replied with dumping a plate of chips on her sister's head for her kindness. I had to force myself to calm down so I could speak to the elder sister. I found when I spoke to her about it and then spoke to them both they were able to forgive each other a lot easier than had I just lost it and yelled at them.

God knew of course what had happened.  I wonder if He ever just looks at us and says “Really? Have we not learned from this mistake yet?” I'm in a moment by moment relationship with God. I make mistakes. I hope that at the end of my life I don't have a mistake that will set in motion a series of events that could change an outcome for someone else. Eve was after all human. She had an apple and had Adam try it. I wonder if it was a delicious?

That one mistake many moons ago set into motion the PMS cycle of turbulence in our home. But through it all our God shows grace and mercy to His children. I think perhaps it is a test. With all the hormone surges and pain that comes upon women during that time, how can we show grace? How can we learn to live and walk with our Father? From what I've learned in my journey thus far I think only when we are broken can we fully see, only when trials arise do we really pay attention.

So when the teenagers start in next, I will think about Eve.  I will give them an apple and tell the story of one woman who made a mistake and then I will try my hand at showing them grace and mercy. Instead of laying down my wrath for their indiscretions. Then maybe some time when I'm having one of those days and I'm looking for chocolate before I lose it on someone, I will be handed an apple. And I will remember.