Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hollandaise Sauce

One of my mom’s favorite breakfasts is Eggs Benedict.
You know, fresh sour dough English muffins, thick sliced, home smoked bacon, over easy eggs, and that thick buttery sauce that just is almost too delicious to be real!  
Sounds like it would be a complicated meal, but is actually very simple and easy to make! The hardest part is waiting for the sauce to be done! 
This sauce is another one of those recipes that you just have to eyeball it and make it according to taste. Some people may like their hollandaise sauce thinner, some thicker, some may like it more tangy, others may like to add paprika instead of pepper. This is a recipe that you can make totally your own! I love recipes like this! 

2 cups (250 grams) cubed butter
(Don’t worry, you won’t use all of it) 
3 egg yolks 
juice of 1/2 lemon (about a tablespoon)
Pinch of pepper 

Place a small pot over low heat (VERY LOW), and add egg yolks, lemon juice, and a couple cubes of butter. Using a whisk mix the sauce. Never stop! If you have to leave the sauce take it off the heat. This sauce is easy to make, but also easy to mess up. Constantly add more butter. Don’t wait until all the butter melts before adding more, add more before it all melts. What makes this sauce work is the cold butter bringing down the temperature of the sauce as it cooks. If the sauce gets too hot, the eggs will cook too fast and you’ll basically have buttery scrambled eggs. 
Continue to add butter until the sauce is thick and smooth. 



Serve over eggs and toast, or on broccoli or fish! There are so many things you can poor this delicious hollandaise sauce over!  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Stuff Gets Said

Gossip and "fake news" have been around since long before social media. People like to talk about things that are different. Sometimes they are afraid of something new. As missionaries, we are often surprised to learn some new stories people are telling about us. Some stories are hurtful, some are just puzzling, but some are downright hilarious.


The Hurtful Stuff


Regarding the hurtful things said, we have to deal with that just like anybody else does. The best thing is to take it to the Lord.  This is true in any land. We have to remember who we are in Christ, and remember that the truth will come out.


The Puzzling Stuff


Sometimes we hear misconceptions about ourselves or our church that make us scratch our heads.  Usually my snarky replies remain unspoken. 

"Is it true that you can't drink coffee in your church?" Um, no, thankfully.

"We heard that you aren´t allowed to celebrate Christmas." That house with the giant Christmas tree in the window, it's mine.


"Why can't women talk in your church?" It would be really hard for me to teach Sunday school without talking. 

"Why are you against science?" I'm not, but my kids might have wished I were when they had to take chemistry and biology.



The Funny Stuff



Then there are the stories about us that are so bizarre, we can do nothing but laugh about them. 

About a year ago, I was feeling really good about myself - I know, pride goeth before a fall - because a local teenage girl had told my daughter that I was really nice and pretty. Wow! A few days later one of our church teens told me that she had heard something about me.  I couldn't wait to hear it.  Someone else liked me perhaps? No. The Lord had a cure for that pride of mine. A rumor was going around our whole village and had spread to some other towns that I was killing cats. Apparently they thought I was putting poison out in the yard and enticing cats to come taste their doom. It was talked about at home, at school, and even in the grocery store. Who knows how this even started. Okay, it was a blow to my ego to know something so blatantly false, and strange,  was being said about me. That first night brought tears of self-pity, but the Lord helped change those into tears of laughter. I joined my kids, our church teens, anybody who actually knows me in laughing about the silliness of it. 

My favorite story about the church, though, happened years ago when the military base was still here. The church was trying to build but was being stonewalled from several places. Because of that, we couldn't afford windows in the building.  Having no windows invited all kinds of speculation about what was happening inside, but one local village was convinced they knew the truth.  The story went something like this: "Those strange people in the window-less church are evil.  They dress in nothing but long underwear, dance around strange lines on the floor, and sacrifice hens." So there were some military folks in long undies under their clothes, and we did admittedly have an AWANA circle for the kids' game time.  That said, none of us knows where the hen sacrifice part started.  And why not roosters, too?  This is one that still makes us laugh today.  

People say stuff. We have to learn to take it to the Lord, grow some thicker skin, and sometimes just laugh about it. 





Patrick and Vicki Weimer, Iceland since 1999








Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Praying for Missionaries


Over the years there have been people that I know pray for me.  As time goes by, I have lost some of these dear prayer warriors.  I lost several in recent years as they went to their eternal home.  When this happens, I find myself thinking, “Who will pray for me now?”  

Maybe you have experienced this too.  This has caused me to be more diligent in my prayer life for others.  I was introduced to a tool a few years back that has been life-changing for me.  It helped me to create a plan that works for me instead of trying to make myself fit into someone else’s mold.  

As a result of working on this vital spiritual discipline, I have learned to pray more specifically for others.  One of the areas the Lord has lead me is in praying Scripture.  I believe  the Lord delights in our prayers when they contain His Word.

If you are a missionary woman, you understand the burdens that we face more than others and can pray more effectively.  A few years ago, I heard of a missionary family that walked through the unimaginable.  Although I never experienced that myself, I could somewhat imagine the difficulty and I began to pray for her and her dear family.  I saw the Lord answer my prayers and it was a great encouragement to me.  I have never physically met this family.  They may not even know that I pray for them.  What matters is that God used me to pray for them and He used them to encourage me to pray more specifically.

If you are reading this and you are not a missionary, your prayers are no less important.  My husband often tells others that we need your prayers more than we need your financial support.  This is so true as we serve in a spiritually dark culture.  

The tool that I mentioned above is wonderful for helping me to remember who and what to pray for.  Here is a download that you can use to begin to pray for missionaries that includes Scripture references.  I hope that you will find this useful.  


“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  ~Hebrews 4:16

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Homemade Cheese


What is one of the foods you miss the most while on the field? My family probably misses dairy products the most. Cheese! Milk! Sour cream! All things that are cheap in America, and expensive on most fields. But what is a dairy product that is cheap (or cheaper) that most of us can get on the field? Powdered milk! Making cheese out of powdered milk is super easy! And it takes less than 10 minutes to make! 
The nice thing about cheese from powdered milk is that if you use one cup of powder you’re gonna get about one cup of cheese. So it’s easy to make for recipes. You can make small or large amounts without any extra math. 
The only problem with this kind of cheese is that certain brands of powdered milk don’t work. I don’t know why, I haven’t figured it out yet. So if you try this and it doesn’t work out like the video shows, try again with another brand.
To make simply mix the amount of powdered milk needed with just enough water to make a smooth paste. Then, add boiling water to the milk mixture until the mix is almost too hot to keep your finger in. Then, add vinegar (apple cider vinegar is my favorite) or lemon juice one tablespoon at a time until large curds form. When the liquid turns yellow you’ll know you’re ready to strain. Strain curds and toss the liquid. Add salt to taste, or seasonings. 
My family likes it when we put roasted vegetables or extra spices in the cheese. This cheese is great on just about everything! It’s great for tacos, nachos, or even as a substitute for ricotta or cottage cheese in recipes! 
I hope your family enjoys this cheese as much as mine does! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fitted Pieces

"What is your favorite thing about God?" is a question I have been asked numerous times.  Although there are so many favorite things one could share, my favorite is God's sovereignty.  I absolutely love looking back over my life, or even a moment in time, and see the pieces of my life's puzzle God was putting together.

I had every intention of becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner when I was in high school.  I even went to tour the neonatal unit of the hospital in Charlotte, NC while inquiring about their nursing program.  Little did I know, that even though He totally changed the desires of my heart to pursue a completely different career path, that I would need that little bit of knowledge of a neonatal unit when my son would be born, 11 years later. 

I became a teacher.  I went to my admission advising session to enroll as a Preschool Education major.  My advisor ended up getting stuck in traffic on the way to meet me and couldn't make it; her replacement had a degree in home economics and, after several questions, convinced me that was the path for me as well.  I taught Family and Consumer Sciences in high school for four years and at the university for eight.  Both times that I left my teaching positions, God had something awaiting me--unexpected to me, but planned by Him.

My last teaching position was at the university from where I graduated.  It was my "dream job."  I loved being there--my children were always welcomed with open arms to spend time with me in my office; they came to class sometimes; they were there for student events.  It was a wonderful experience.  I loved teaching.  I loved teaching Family and Consumer Sciences.  I loved teaching at Winthrop University.  I loved building close relationships with my students.  I loved where God had placed me and what He had me doing.  Then, I became restless...

I had always wanted to be in "full-time ministry."  I had always said I was willing to go anywhere and do anything God wanted me to do; yet, He had kept me in my same hometown, in my same church, in my same job for so many years.  As I saw youth pastors and pastors come and go in our church as God led them to different ministries, I would always wonder "when was my turn?"  He did move us to a different church, with the full blessings of ours, but it was only ten minutes away.  Really??  Then, God convicted my heart:  I was right where God wanted me to be.  My workplace was my full-time ministry and my neighborhood was my mission field.  Then, after God molded me and shaped me for several more years by showing me opportunities to make Him known right where He had placed me, He led us to pursue missions in Mexico.  One of the neatest things about this whole process is to look back and see who our financial partnering churches are:  almost every one are led by former pastors under whom we had served at one time or another in our home church.  They are the most supportive pastors of us, and we are so thankful for the relationships God had built for so many years.  We also have many individual partners from the relationships God had built through the years, from high school to now.  Winthrop University let me stay on teaching part-time as long as I could until it was finally time to move to language school.  God gave us ministry partners from our relationships there as well as opportunities to share about Him--from my students asking me why in the world I was leaving and moving to a different county to being interviewed by the university newspaper and being able to share His story that He had been working out in my life.  

As all of us can, I could share so many more stories of seeing God's hand in my life.  The pieces are still falling into place.  My life's puzzle is still being put together.  And, my prayer is that it shows the faithful sovereignty of an almighty God.  Because He is sovereign, I can find joy in the journey; and because He is faithful, I can find comfort in the valleys.    




A Famous Banana Bread Recipe

     This is a story about how God used a willing heart, some overripe bananas, and a recipe, to reach a soul for Christ...oh, and the attached recipe.

     A few years ago, while on furlough and after a few cancelled meetings, we decided to settle in a small apartment in a large metropolitan area that was within driving distance of most of our scheduled meetings, rather than continually having to look for housing. While my husband had to spend most of his spare time now working to pay for our apartment, I thought that my daughter and I could get busy witnessing and reaching out to people in this new mission field--which was the hundreds of apartments in our complex. My hopes of a door-to-door ministry were quickly dashed when the office told me that this type of soliciting was not allowed in the complex. After some discussion, they did, however, allow us to put some tracts in the office.

     Having a blow to my first plan was not enough to deter me. I knew that we would only be here for six months (and in and out of town often) and there had to be some way to help me connect with the people around me in a way that would give me the opportunity to communicate the gospel to them while showing them that I truly cared for them as people. 

     At the same time as all of this was happening, I noticed that in this much warmer climate, my bananas were ripening a lot more quickly. Growing up poor, and now living by faith, taught me that waste was an absolute no-no, but what to do with all these over-ripened bananas--I had no clue. I had heard that you could make banana bread out of them, so I started to do some research on the internet. Reading reviews and mixing and matching recipes, and some trial and error, ended in a quite tasty recipe being born.

     After making all the needed changes and using my family as guinea pigs, I started by baking the banana bread for my nearest neighbors for Easter; but soon, I was baking it for any holiday, special occasion, or any person with whom I could have a conversation--even baking one for the maintenance man after he fixed our oven. I gave a tract with the bread, and sometimes a homemade card too, depending on the occasion. We also prayed that God would open the heart of all these people to the gospel. One couple always thanked me and told me how much they liked it. I continued to make them a loaf each time I made a batch, and soon we were chatting every time we saw each other. After one particular conversation with the lady, I offered to do a Bible study with her. She had grown up going to church with a friend whose dad was a pastor, and she seemed responsive. One day, she knocked on my door with her childhood Bible in hand, saying that she was feeling guilty for the things that she had done in her life and wondering if we could talk. God was very evidently working in her heart. After a little over two hours of answering Bible questions and giving her the gospel, she accepted Christ.

      I became known for my banana bread; I even had someone knock on my door and offer to pay me to buy more ingredients to make her some more banana bread. At the church where we attended when we did not have meetings, word spread about my banana bread, and one lady who had an unsaved husband asked for the recipe in hopes that it would work to help to bring her husband to Christ--she knew it had no power, but she had tried everything else and thought that it couldn't hurt.

     It just goes to show that if you, "...do all to the glory of God," it doesn't matter what you have, God can use it. I have also used cookies or extra fruit from our fruit trees in the same way.

     BANANA BREAD

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (this is about 5 small bananas)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (176°C). Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon).

3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add in vanilla. Then stir in eggs and mashed       bananas until well blended.

4. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until moistened...do not over mix. Pour in loaf pan.

5. Bake 60-65 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

***Important things to note***

I have baked this with as little as four small bananas with no real change to the recipe. The more bananas, obviously, the bigger loaf. The recipe calls for a 9x5 pan which makes it more the shape of a breakfast cake. Most loaf pans are smaller and may tend to overflow; if this happens, try making a few banana muffins with the over flow. **I now use a 9x9 pan, lined with foil, and foil to create a divider, and use 1 1/2 recipes to make 2 loaves--one to keep and one to give.

Also, if you are like me, you may have a few bananas ready to make banana bread at any one time, but not enough for a full recipe. You can freeze the bananas and they keep very well until you have enough to make a full recipe.**If you do this, remember to thaw completely and add in all the water that is in the skin that comes from thawing. Removing the excess moisture will cause it to be dry, and not thawing fully will cause the bread not to bake properly.