Oh, how I need a few things in life… laughter, sunshine, flowers, my family and God. Did I mention my insatiable love for blueberries/raspberries, writing, Spanish Flamenco guitar music, Turkish, Mexican and American bbq food, well written fiction, the beach, palm trees, Maui (have I made my point yet :-)), adventure, living abundantly, old friends, blue jeans, the late afternoon sun, hot showers, white curtains, politics/law, the outdoors, architecture, beauty, directness, peonies, distance shooting, farm country, 100% cotton, barns, minimalist landscape paintings, joy, Lily of the Valley, smokey quartz, horses, european countryside and interior design to name a few. And, that is some about the person called Laurie Anne, with all her complexities, quirks, joys and flaws. 🙂
Honestly, what God has been reminding me about this week is a little difficult to write. Randomly, some old memories have come to the surface, like sediment at the bottom of a lake that gets stirred up with a summer rain. I actually think God allows that at times, so he can speak to and teach us. I have felt an odd combination of overwhelming gratitude for all the ways God has directed my life, like a burly mountain father, who takes his little one on his lap and asks about her day and gives insights, and little bit of heartache still at the memories. Have you ever experienced condemnation? I mean, people who have aggressive, verbose and condemning opinions about you and the things you hold most dear? How do you respond to that externally and internally? My life-long quest in those situations (because they happen to us all) is to kindly say how I really feel in the moment. When I was younger, and occasionally to this day, I will feel worked up or, even, “walked on” but I will say to myself, “It isn’t a big deal. Let it go.” While there is certainly some truth to that, especially for people who say everything that crosses their minds, the older I get, the more I actually think that is dead wrong of me. If I don’t “talk straight,” that person hasn’t received my honest thoughts and I have to hold them inside, like week old oyster stew. Let me tell you, that does a number on your belly! I have slowly forced myself to say, “Actually, I’m sure you didn’t mean this but here is how what you just said came across or made me feel.” I have realized that I am more authentic and internally more at peace when I do.
Daniel and I planted seeds in April. All Coloradans will know that we have had torrential rains here for weeks and weeks. Even today, I am looking out at gray skies and the sound of a steady drizzle, pattering on the tin roof of our barn. Those waters washed away 9/10ths of the seeds we planted. Yep, there was just dry dirt when the rain subsided for a bit last week. Our babies were rinsed right down into the ditch and meandered across to a large ranch across the road. I won’t be surprised if we see random corn growing there in September, like long hairs the barber misses. I would ask the herd of black cattle if they have seen my seeds but they always just huddle together and look at me rather vacantly. 🙂 So, last week, we replanted some fast growing crops, like lettuce, kale, etc. Isn’t growth important? You know those people who are like 55 and still act like they are straight out of the Breakfast Club mentality of their teens? That is because they haven’t grown much. While our baby crop coming up through the ground is fresh and brilliant green, with soft, untouched leaves, if it stays there, it doesn’t bear fruit and it is just young and pretty, never fulfilling its purpose. God has been whispering this to me- I love who I made you to be, so enjoy yourself and boldly go after the things that scare you the most. I believe that in grasping those words, I can become an orchard fat with tender and sweet peaches, with soft faces, just like my Great Grandma Haas’ cheeks felt when I kissed her to thank her for the gum each visit.
At this very moment, my parents are in northern Indiana Amish country, visiting our extended family. Whenever I think of summers in Indiana, the memory rises up like a glowing, idyllic sanctum in my mind, the perfect town. It’s unrealistic but childhood wonder is like that, isn’t it? I, invariably, think of lines full of crisp cotton sheets blowing dry in the breeze, acres as far as the eye can see of corn, like an army of men in gold armor standing at attention, fireworks over the lake, riding with my grandfather in the back of his mayoral Cadillac during the summer parade, jean cutoffs and trips “uptown,” where there were quaint dime stores full of bubble gum cigarettes and monkey claw back scratchers, and a tiny cafe where everyone knew everyone and a waitress named Pearl, with a pink striped pinafore and diner hat who looked like she drove the stake in the ground to demark the original township, served us and ended every sentence with, “sure thing, honey.” It was a classic midwest small town.
Eating as close to nature as possible is best. If people don’t have weight to lose, that list should include steak and butter too (in moderation, of course). Often, I have dreamt of owning a farm surrounded by the amish, tumbling green deciduous trees and cornfields. There is something so bread and butter about that part of the country; they are wholesome, community oriented and spend more time recharging in nature.
While I don’t fully understand the science, the reason bread has become such an allergen as of late, is because we are doing something different. Whether it is the drastically genetically modified wheat (Spelt is still fairly untouched btw) or the pesticides, I am not sure. While I am no expert, the changes to how wheat is produced and harvested have to weigh into the increase we are seeing with wheat intolerances and allergies. To our great grandparents, wheat was a staple! And, I can tell you from first hand experience now that people aren’t just making up the whole Celiac thing. While I do not eat wheat, because I blow up weight-wise, like a puffer fish who finally sees his beloved school after a month away at sea, I do serve my family whole grain, high fructose corn-syrup-free bread, either store bought or homemade. A couple months ago, one of my sons started to literally throw up every time he ate bread! It was that direct of a reaction and it went on for a month. Finally, we visited our family practice and they determined, from his blood work, that his body was making antibodies to wheat. Since the next step to absolutely confirm Celiac requires a scope and that sounds about as much fun as landing on a male bike the wrong way, we decided to go with the obvious problem and take him off wheat. Immediately, he was better. Let me tell you, that has created a massive learning curve for me. He wants to be able to enjoy desert sometimes and garlic bread with his spaghetti, etc, so I am on a quest to locate the best tasting, healthy and gluten free options.
Cynthia Miller, my amazing photo and text editor, made these Gluten Free chocolate chip cookies, so I asked her to jump into the blog this week and share her results! Because our family has a couple of camping trips and then a vacation planned, my blogs for the next month are going to be shorter and contain more pictures about the things we are doing. Vibrant Life will be back in full swing by mid-July. Thanks for tuning in! 🙂
Real-Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thanks Laurie! Don’t you just love her style of writing, the way she intertwines the deep pondering of life with humor? I look forward to reading Laurie’s blog every week! Recently, I decided to try a Paleo Diet for my health and came across Danielle Walker’s website, Against All Grain. She has two cookbooks with amazing looking recipes so, knowing my love for Chocolate Chip Cookies, I tried it out. The results were pretty good for a healthy cookie 🙂 (the above cookies were eaten shortly after being photographed)
Here’s her recipe for Real-Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies along with a few thoughts below…
- They taste fairly moist, and overall I liked the dough.
- I increased the honey to 3 TBLS instead of 2
- I used 100% chocolate! But it is bitter, so if you can’t stomach that you could use less than 100%. I didn’t have two kinds of chocolate. I think that would be also add depth to the flavor
Check out the Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook by Kelly V. Brozyna and her blog, the spunky coconut. The cookbook pretty much saved my sanity when I had to become gluten free. Spaghetti squash is a great alternative for pasta. There are lots of swaps. Message me if you ever need quick help to convert a recipe to be gluten free 🙂
Love this post (yes, I love Laurie’s writing!!) and love the recipe. Can’t wait to try it! 🙂