Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies- a new recipe which we loved

At Christmas a dear friend of mine bought me a cook book called "The Cake mix doctor bakes Gluten Free" by Anne Byrn.
Today I decided to try out a recipe and we were very pleasantly surprised, they had good flavor, texture and looked like a peanut butter cookie.

Here is the recipe
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
  2. Place the cake mix, peanut butter, butter, egg, milk, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients just come together and the cookie dough is smooth, 45 seconds. The dough will be stiff. Place the sugar in a shallow bowl. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball of dough in the sugar and arrange 12 balls on each baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart. If desired, press down on the balls of dough twice with a fork to make the classic cross-hatch pattern.
  3. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a metal spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely, 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

I made some adjustments to the recipe to make sure it was Gluten and casein free

This is what E thought of the cookies, we will definitely be baking these again. Dad didn't even notice that they were GF. 

Our Gluten free journey

So our Gluten free journey started almost 4 years ago. A preschool teacher of E's gave me a bunch of information on how the GF diet can help children who are on the Autism spectrum. As we started to eliminate gluten from E's diet, I was totally overwhelmed. It was a whole new world of learning for me.  I would stand in the grocery store reading labels and trying to figure out what to feed my dear child.  I wanted to give in so many times and let him eat whatever he wanted, but my dear husband kept cheering me on and encouraging us to not give up. About 3 weeks after eliminating Gluten we were amazed at the changes in our little boy! His once glazed over eyes cleared up, he became less puffy and red faced, he also became much more aware of the world around him. His sleep pattern was much better, he started waking up less through the night! It was amazing, I feel that it also helped him to learn and make the progress he has made. We also eventually eliminated Casein, which is the milk protein in dairy products. Again seeing amazing results in our little guy! He started to be interested in communicating, he had more regular bowel movements and became potty trained :)

At the beginning the variety of products was much less than there is now. It has been hit and miss with some foods, but he never complains and is happy if he has an alternative to what others are eating around him. It means planning ahead sometimes, taking food with us everywhere but again it has just become part of our life.

Friday, January 28, 2011

God Gave Me You :)

In December my husband and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary :) We were married on Dec. 28th 2000 on a very cold, snowy but beautiful day in Northern Ireland!

As I thought about our last 10 years this song that I have heard played on the radio sums up a lot of our marriage :)

We have been through a few bumpy times, but through it all we both know that we could never have got through those times without each other and more importantly without God! Together we have accomplished much :)  We were blessed with 2 special boys, we built our own house, we served together for 6 years of youth ministry, we also survived an Autism diagnosis for our son. Through all of our good and bad times we learned to love, understand and appreciate each other and also to see God's hand in it all, guiding us each step of the way!

We are excited to see what He has for us and our family over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years :) The picture above was taken in Seattle. We spent a weekend there to celebrate our 10th anniversary!

Dave Barnes - God Gave Me You (Official Video)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

James 1 : 12- 15

 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


Each of us as believers will be tempted or have trials. Satan is our tempter, if we allow ourselves to be overcome by the temptation it drags us away from God.

Our reward is eternal in Heaven.


As I was thinking about these verses over the last few days, I heard a DJ on the radio comment on  something that a Christian musician said and his name escapes me now but he said that " his joy in trials comes when he remembers that Heaven is his eternal home" What a wonderful hope we have that our trials and temptations are only on this Earth. Also that as we go through those trials and temptations we know that none of them are unknown to God, he has felt each one of them.
Trials are something that every believer has to go through, just because we are child of God does not mean we are immune to them. Our trials make us stronger, but also help us in relating to and encouraging other people. One of my favorite authors is Joni Eareckson Tada, she herself has gone through a lot in her life, one of her quotes I read this week that I felt was appropriate to this passage is
"The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God." If we come out of a trial with a deeper desire to love and serve God then it means that it was worth while. None of us like to go through trials as it causes so much pain, yet when we think of what Christ endured on the cross for us then our suffering seems very small in comparison. 
"God is more concerned with conforming me to the likeness of His Son than leaving me in my comfort zones. God is more interested in inward qualities than outward circumstances - things like refining my faith, humbling my heart, cleaning up my thought life and strengthening my character." Joni Eareckson Tada

I want to finish with the above quote of Joni's as I think it too really sums up  verses  12- 15.  Our trials often push us out of our comfort zone and often move us into a much deeper relationship with Jesus. In our trials we need to stay focused on God, Satan will use this time to make us doubt and even to fall away from God. This doesn't mean we can't be sad or feel the pain in our trial, but we also need to cling to Jesus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

James 1 : 7-11

7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.


These verses are related to the ones previous, when we ask for God's help we need to trust that we will receive it while we are going through our trials. That we will be patient and enduring and to accept it otherwise we won't receive anything.
I read this in Matthew Henry's commentary :
"A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions."

We are to look to the long term benefits of the trial and the difficult times. In our trials we have God's grace and this makes us rich.  Our afflictions are what makes us stronger. 
I know personally when I go through something difficult, that afterwards it helps me relate better to others and help them through their trials. It makes me a stronger person, knowing that God is the ONLY person who is in control of EVERY single detail of my life. I can choose to have Joy and keep my Joy that comes from a personal relations ship from Him or I can choose bitterness and  anger, which long term does not have any good benefits, it just makes me a sad and angry person and I also miss out in the blessing of relationship with God. I also desire to cling to God to help me through the storm. To cling to Him and not waver! Being humble in our circumstances is what makes us rich and blessed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joy :)

I have started doing a Bible study in the book of James and the word 'Joy' really struck me, it is a word we use so often :) What does Joy really mean?
JOY (noun)
  The noun JOY has 2 senses:
1. the emotion of great happiness
2. something or someone that provides pleasure; a source of happiness
  Familiarity information: JOY used as a noun is rare.

JOY (verb)
  The verb JOY has 2 senses:
1. feel happiness or joy
2. make glad or happy
  Familiarity information: JOY used as a verb is rare.

I know the times I feel Joy are normally at times that cause me happiness!
What brings me Joy
Watching my boys play
Drinking coffee
time with freinds I love dearly
laughing with my husband
seeing E conquer  something he has struggled with for a while
a funny comment from M
good news from family and freinds
seeing my family
a package from my family
a good meal

These are all things I can think of for now, but as I am doing this study I am realizing Joy is something that comes from a true and living relationship with Jesus. We have Joy because of what He did for us on the Cross, we have Joy because our sins are forgiven and we are free from Sin, we have Joy because one day we will join Him in Heaven.
Nothing in our lives can take away that true joy we have through our personal relationship with him, not even  trials or circumstances which each of us go through, no matter who we are :)
In my trials, am I going to choose to lean on than inner joy that comes from God and ask Him to help me trust Him  and walk with me through  my trial and circumstance. Knowing He is with me each step of the way and nothing, absolutely nothing can take that inner Joy away from knowing Him.

James Bible Study- Chapter 1 : 1- 6

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 

Observations on this passage- James Chapter 1, Verses 1-6
In doing some of my background reading, I found out that James is Jesus brother. When he refers to us as brothers it is a phrase often found in James, marking community of nation and of faith.
Pure Joy when facing trials, these trials help to develop our faith in Christ. We must keep going and not give up, even when we are in the middle of a hard time. v 2-4
v 5 God is the giver of wisdom and we need to ask for him to help us understand.
v6 when we ask God and he answers we are to believe what he shows us.

Application of these verses
How can I apply these to my life? I know for me when I am going through a trial, whether it is something physical, emotional or financial, I know my first thoughts are not to stop and think wow this is Joyful or wow I am going to think of this as a Joy, no I usually get upset and question God why he is doing this :) I worry or fret about the situation.
I am learning that our Joy is not to do with our physical circumstances or the things going on around us, but it is related to our relationship with Jesus and  our daily personal relationship with Him. So therefore we should have Joy within us at all times.Not just when things are going well, but our Joy is something permanent within us and also if we have Joy in our lives it won't matter what is going on around us.
When we are tested or going through trials, our response during those times often is a refelction ofour relationship with God and also we respond to what is going on.

 V 5 &6  , when we ask God for wisdom we need to trust Him, if we dont we become like a wave being tossed around. When I think of that I think of confusion and when we are confused we sink deeper into doubt and we fall even further away from God. 
I am so excited about this study, it is perfect for me right now in regards to a particular circumstance in my own life. When this particular thing happened I was panic stricken, it did not cause me joy, but in the weeks that have followed I have really stopped and questioned what I put my trust in and also if my Joy is really grounded in my relationship with Jesus? 
As I dig deeper I am excited to see what God does in my heart over the next 12 weeks!