Friday, October 28, 2011

My Bread, Their Bread

Every Friday I celebrate communion with 4-year old M.  M is well aware of the importance of communion and can even say most of the words of institution.  Every Friday during chapel at seminary she sits on my lap.  During the singing and the meditation she wiggles a little bit and plays with my medic alert necklace and the ring I wear around my neck, but when the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving starts, she is all eyes and ears.  She starts to quiver with excitement as she mouths the words of institution along with the pastor who is presiding that week.  As we wait our turn to go forward to receive the elements, I review with her why we take communion and what the bread and the juice represent.  She knows the answers. And then comes the most awkward question of all: my bread, or the other bread?
Here at WTS we have two offerings for communion bread - there are two beautiful loaves of challah bread and then a little plate of gluten free communion wafers.  When the pastor is doing the words of institution, it is the challah that he or she picks up and breaks.  It is the challah that is held up for everyone to see.   In fact, the little plate of gluten free wafers is not picked up or touched at all.  In all honesty, I'm glad that the gluten free wafers aren't handled, especially after the egg-coated challah is handled.  That would quickly become an allergy nightmare and instead of celebrating with M I 'd be being rushed to the hospital (egg causes swelling in me upon contact.  We haven't challenged it with ingestion, but it would not be good).  But the two bread communion leads to a little bit of theological unrest and no small amount of confusion for the littlest of our brothers and sisters.
Today, when I asked M if she wanted my bread or the other bread, she very seriously told me that "the other bread' (my bread) wasn't really bread, just crackers.  She put into words, the words I hated to think.  That somehow, my bread, the GF wafers were separate.  I know cognitively they are not.   They are just as much the body of Christ as the challah is.  However, there is a degree of separateness when we have two communion breads.
I wish we could all be united in communion.  So far, it's happened once.  I cried that day, the day when we all took gluten free communion together.  I wish it could happen more.  Because that would be wonderful and then I wouldn't have to ask M which bread she wanted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Filling in the Blanks

When you hear like I do,  you are constantly filling in the blanks.  And when you’ve been hearing like I hear for as long as I have, you get pretty good at filling in the blanks.  Let me explain…
There are many word pairs that sound very similar to me/my brain.  For example:
loom – wound
lettuce – let us
send forth – send forks
scrolls – squirrels
Irenaeus (theologian) – urine on us
affect – effect
she – he
pants – dance
hooks – books
redress – regress
let – led
gun – done

This is just a quick list - things that have tripped me up in the last week or so.  At first glance, the words on that list look different enough from each other in meaning that it would be difficult to confuse them. But take a sentence like this, which I actually heard this week.  It was said by my mom, in reference to my 13 year old brother, who is rather accident prone (he doesn’t always think things all the way through) and who also weaves on a table top loom.
“I need to go help him redress/regress his loom/wound because it’s become un***n” (***  represent that I missed part of a word and had to fill in).  
I may have missed more than that, but don’t remember because the words were easy to fill in.  For example, I don’t think I heard all of the “him” or the “his” but they were easy to fill in because I knew she was talking about Isaac.  Based on what I heard/didn’t hear, I could have filled in the blanks in multiple ways, more than one of which made sense:
…redress his loom because it’s become undone
…redress his wound because it’s become undone
…redress his loom because it’s become uneven
...redress his wound because it’s become uneven
…regress his loom because it’s become undone
…regress his wound because it’s become undone
…regress his loom because it’s become uneven
...regress his wound because it’s become uneven
All of the options containing “regress” could be dropped quickly.  The word “regress” just didn’t make sense with the other words my brain tried to put in the sentence.  That still left me with four sentence options that made wonderful amounts of sense, but warranted two very different responses!
…redress his loom because it’s become undone
…redress his wound because it’s become undone
…redress his loom because it’s become uneven
...redress his wound because it’s become uneven
…regress his loom because it’s become undone
…regress his wound because it’s become undone
…regress his loom because it’s become uneven
...regress his wound because it’s become uneven
Had Isaac hurt himself or was his weaving project in jeopardy?
Acknowledging that I couldn’t fill in the blanks on my own and asking more questions led to the conclusion that Isaac was fine, his weaving on the loom had become uneven and she had to help him make it even again.
8 options for 1 sentence.  After my own work, 4 options for the 1 sentence.   For me, this is not unusual.  This is a part of my everyday life.  Every time I take in information using my ears, with or without the benefit of speech reading, I have to fill in blanks.
As frustrating and as confusing as this often is it is also a blessing.  I have a friend with a very similar hearing loss to me (different cause, similar results) and see agrees with both the frustrations and the blessings.
We are used to filling in the blanks.  This is great when you are learning a new language.  Because we are used to not hearing every word, when we try to learn a new language we don’t get upset about missing a word or two.  Of course, this has its downfalls too because we don’t always pay attention to the details such as gender and case (we miss most of them in our first language, why should we worry about small details such as gender and case?!?!). Naturally, once you get passed the beginning stages of a language, this becomes a problem.
Honestly there was no huge point to this post.  Just thought maybe someone would be interested in what it’s like to hear like me, so maybe you can understand why I sometimes ask questions that make no sense or respond inappropriately.  Cuz sometimes, I fill in the blanks wrong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weathering the Storms of Life

Those who know me best, know that I've been in a bit of a stormy time lately. Nothing overly bad per se has happened directly to me (the world around me is constantly full of tragedy), just a lot of unrest.  I'm sure my parents would testify to that...they probably got more phone calls from me in the last week or so than they get in two to three weeks when things are going well.
I've moved to more a place of peace now.  Not everything is solved and there is still a lot of unknowns (nothing has really changed as far as what I know or don't know about what comes), but I'm more at peace about what I don't know.  I'm going to plant some tulips on Saturday (I have to buy tulip bulbs at market before I can plant them).
As I was going through some old files other night, looking for something, I stumbled across this prayer that I had marked as coming from Thomas a Kempis.  In my original note, I'd notes that I had no idea who he was or what he'd done except that he was an important dead guy (he had to be important, he was in a textbook).  For those of you who care, he was a monk who lived a long time ago (died in the 1400's).
Anywho, I wanted to share this prayer with all of you.  Right now, it's giving me a lot of comfort.

"Lord, I know that you sometimes permit
trouble and temptation to come to me.
I cannot escape them
but, driven by my need,
I must come to you for help
that you may work this out for my good.
O G-d, I feel uneasy and depressed
because of this present trouble.
I feel trapped on every side,
yet I know I have come to this hour,
so that I may learn that you alone
can free me from this predicament.
Lord, deliver me,
for what can I do without you,
helpless as I am?
Lord give me patience in all my troubles.
Help me, and I will not be afraid,
no matter how discouraged I may be.
Let me bear this trouble patiently
until the storm has passed
and my heart is calm again.
Your power, Lord, can take this trouble from me,
as you have done many times before.
No matter how hard it is for me,
it is easy for you, O Lord."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why plant tulips?

Why plant tulips?
they take all winter.
i might not see them bloom
they are everywhere.
Why plant tulips?

Why plant tulips?
buried in the ground
doomed to die
threatened by the squirrels.
Why plant tulips?

Why plant tulips?
6 months, a year
2 at the most
then I move on.
Why plant tulips?

Why plant tulips?
pressing through the last glimmer of snow
waking up the world from its sleep
giving hope where there was none.
Why plant tulips?

Why plant tulips?
put down roots
not for you, but for the next
seek the peace and prosperity of where you are.
Why plant tulips?

Why not?

jep 25.10.11

inspired by Jeremiah 29
Tulip with dew, spring 2010, Pella, IA

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Response to 180: An Interesting Can of Worms

I posted a video on my facebook profile the other day.  It was a share from a friend.  I encourage you to watch it.  Here is the link.  It is closed captioned for those of you who prefer captioned videos. Just don't watch it with small children in the room.  There are some graphic images in it from WWII.
Since I know most of you won't actually watch the video (it's a whole 33 minutes...that's a long time to commit to any task!), I'll summarize what the main thrust of the video was supposed to be.  Basically it was comparing the Holocaust during WWII to abortion in North America and the number of babies that are legally killed.  It talks about morality and heaven and hell and salvation as well, but those weren't the intended main thrusts.  The abortion issue was and how many people were oblivious to the Holocaust as it was happening, and how it happened because Hitler started with little steps and led the entire people astray.  It ended with a political push not to vote for leaders who are in favor of legalizing abortion.
When I reposted to my profile, I added the comment: "A friend posted it and I watched it (it's captioned). I agree with much of what was said, but I struggled a bit with the political push it had. I am pro-life. There's no doubt about that, but I'm not sure I approve of single issue voting. There's always so much more to a politician's platform than whether they are pro-life or pro-choice. When voting, we need to look at the whole, not just a part."

Not surprisingly I received some push-back from friends, mostly centered on my resistance to single issue voting. If you're super interested in the whole conversation and how it developed, let me know and I'll get it to you (minus names) or check it out on my FB page.
The final back and forth on it went like this:
 ME: ...A law cannot dictate behavior. Sexual abuse is illegal. It has been dictated as illegal for years, yet recent statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexual abused before the age of this case there is a law dictating that something is bad and illegal, yet it doesn't stop it from happening.
Will a law end abortion? or will it take more education from the bottom up?
FRIEND: Does it matter if the law ended abortion or not? Are you saying you'd vote for someone who would legalize sexual abuse, child abuse, and rape? I mean, as long as they stood for something else that was "more" important? Is it fine since it would happen anyway? Why not make abortion illegal and then on top of that work with those who illegally still choose abortion. Wouldn't it be easier to let people know it's a problem if the nation even thinks so? How would you convince someone who is sexually abusing someone else that what they are doing is wrong if it's LEGAL? Isn't it hard enough already? Do you see what I"m saying? Or, when you pray to end abortion do you say ..."Dear Lord, please let abortion stop even as I am about to vote for someone who is for it." ?
ME: ... I also feel like we are possibly talking past each other, not actually hearing what the other is saying. I never actually said that I would vote for someone who wanted to legalize abortion. I also never said I wouldn't. I said that I'm not a fan of single issue voting and that it would take a lot of prayer and discernment. That applies to any type of voting, whether abortion is on the docket or not.
Abortion is not the only issue facing our nation today. There are lots of them. Who am I to judge what sin is worse than another? Murder is a sin, according to the ten commandments. Should it be illegal? I think so. Lying is also a sin. Are we going to legislate it as illegal to? What about coveting? Failing to honor the Sabbath? Dishonoring our parents? Is murder a worse sin than the others?
I stand a sinner condemned. Am I guilty of murder? According to the words of Heidelberg Catechism, which is based on scripture, yes. (Q&A 105, 106, 107) I am I proud of this? no. Am I cleansed by the blood of Christ and do I stand anew in His presence? yes.
Abortion is wrong. I never said it was right or okay. I never said I supported it. I simply said that I'm not a fan of single issue voting and that any voting I do will be the product of lots of prayer and discernment for all the issues involved, not just a single issue.

Thus far that is where the conversation ended.  I'm not sure if that is good or bad, since I really didn't want to get into an all out argument with my friends, but I can't agree to single issue voting.
Later another friend posted these two quotes in her status:
"We should not look to the state to compel women to complete, nor allow them to terminate, a pregnancy. Rather, God calls us to be our own people and our community - to witness to the world's scandal, to love and bind up those harmed by its values. If the energy now being poured into attempts to affect Supreme Court decisions were dedicated to establishing viable alternatives to abortion and substantive support and long-range care for victimized women, "unwanted" children, and families struggling with poverty, mental illness, and domestic violence, perhaps we would begin to see Christian community being born in our midst-a light to the nations and a sure refuge for these needy ones." - William Durland
 "We need to stop telling our non-believing neighbors how wrong their way of life is, and we need to start showing the power of the gospel in the way we live....Let me ask you: Which as greater power? Ten thousand people who fills the streets in front of abortion clinics and shame those seeking abortions, or ten thousand people in California who take to the state capital a petition they have signed stating they will take any unwanted child of any age, any color, any physical condition so that they can love that child in the name of Jesus Christ?" - Bill Tibert

Both of them succinctly sum up what I was trying to say. And since both these quotes were in a book, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they have a little more authority than I do.

It's an interesting can of worms.  What are your thoughts? (all opinions will be respected, not all will be agreed with.  Any disrespectful comment will be deleted.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Listening Prayer (Prayer Request)

When I was still at Central, about every two weeks or so we had an "event" where we would meet to engage in listening prayer for each other. It probably happened more often in less formal settings, but I was only there on Saturdays.  On the off weeks we'd meet and receive a teaching.
In listening prayer, we'd circle up around someone, often laying hands on them, and ask G-d for a word for them. One of the neatest things about praying in this way is that we didn't know subjectively what the person needed, sometimes we didn't even know who the person was.  We didn't ask for prayer requests, just that G-d would show us what the person in the center needed.  People would get words or pictures or song lyrics, anything really.  To the person getting it directly from G-d, it often felt random and out of place, but when shared with the person in the center, it usually was exactly what they needed to hear - not always, sometimes it was just "bad pizza", so there was always a process of discernment involved for the person that the "message" was for (the person in the center).
I liked it not only because I received a lot of powerful words from G-d, and got to be part of speaking truth into other people's lives, but because when we prayed in this way, we could be reasonably sure that what others were hearing from G-d on our behalf was not a creation of our own mind.

I'm human.  I know what I want to hear from G-d. It's just how it is.  Even when I try to listen well to G-d, I always am stuck in the place trying to sort out if what I heard from G-d was actually from G-d or if it was a creation of my very powerful imagination trying to keep me happy.  Maybe you know what this is like too, since I'm guessing that you are indeed human and know what you want too.

Right now I'm in a place where I could really use some people to engage in listening prayer on my behalf.  I know what I want to hear from G-d.  I know what I think I've heard from G-d, but I don't know if what I think I've heard is really from G-d, or if it's my subconscious trying to keep me happy.  Can you listen to G-d on my behalf?  Listen hard and intentionally and share with me what he tells you, even if it seems completely random to you?
I'm purposely not saying what I'm trying to figure out/what area of my life I really need to hear from G-d in right now, because if I do, then the temptation is there for you to try and figure out what I want to hear or what you think is best for me to hear, even if you don't mean to.  I want to avoid that.  So please, pray for me and let me know what G-d tells you.  It would seriously mean a ton to me. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to discern if what I'm hearing is from G-d, "bad pizza" or my own imagination. 

If you don't want to post what you hear in the comments, let me know and I'll tell you other ways to reach me.  Or just use one of the other ways that you already know. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The "What-If" Game

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been playing the “what if” game.  I played it as a child and I play now as a grown-up of sorts.
There are different kinds of what-ifs, some healthier than others.
Firstly, there are the ones that simply cause more anxiety:
What if the neighborhood cougar eats me when I take the compost out?  (although the neighborhood cougar was very real, it never attacked a human.  He preferred sheep and chickens)
What if it snows so much that we can’t get home from school? (at least once we were sent home early to avoid this)
What if Mommy gets in a car accident because the weather is so horrible and she doesn’t come home from work? (she worked homecare in a rural setting.  The weather was often very horrible at night)
The anxiety causing ones are typically things that are well beyond our control and we can do little to nothing to prepare for them.

Then there are the what-ifs that lead to being prepared:
What if instead of being sunny on our campout it rains? (hint: pack rain gear)
What if there is a fire in the building I’m in? (hint: know your exits)
What if I get stuck in traffic with 13 little girls in the back of the van? (true  story.  Hint: sing songs and make up games)
What if my Kingdom Kids finish their craft in 5 minutes instead of 15?  (hint: always overplan)
What if our trip takes a day longer than planned? (hint: bring extra underwear and extra medication)
What if we come upon a car accident while we are driving? (hint: keep your first aid training up to date and carry a first aid kit in the car)
What if I'm hungry before I get home? (hint: always bring a snack!)

There are some what-ifs that are more likely than others:
“What if I get kidnapped?” is a much less likely scenario than “What if I get hit by a car on my way to school?” (some mornings my eyes are barely open as I cross the street to school)
“What if I forget that it’s my Sunday to do liturgy?” is much more likely to happen than “What if I forget the way to church?” (It’s been a year, it involves no more than 3 turns and one of them is a forced turn)
“What if I forget to comb my hair?” is much more likely than “what if I forget to get dressed before going to class?”

Then there are the really fun what-ifs, the ones that let you play with the future and explore different ideas:
What if I decide not to go on my J-term trip?
What if I don’t turn in my credo paper on time?
What if I decide to stop going to school for a while and instead get a real job?
What if he actually loves me instead of just likes me?
What if I dye my hair purple?
What if I move to a different state?
What if I switch to distance learning?
What if I decide to get my nose pierced?
What if I find out I can’t have children?
What if I could find all the people who ever made me angry and beat them with a wet noodle?
What if the seizures never go away?
What if I could stop worrying about what people think about me?
What if this is my last day on earth?

The last list is by no means complete and not all of them are necessarily happy or serious.  They just are.  In one of my classes this semester, Play in Life and Ministry, we’ve been reading about creativity and how playing the “what-if” game can actually be healthy.  It helps you see outside of the normal bounds of society.  It gives you the freedom to look beyond what is immediate and play with the concepts of time and the future.  Of course, some what-ifs are just plain worrisome and should not be played with (see the first list).
So how do you play with the future and time? How do you relieve your stress by playing with your imagination?  What are some of your what-ifs?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How to convince your stomach to produce too much acid

1. Go to graduate school or seminary.
2. Get a urinary tract infection (UTI).
3. Instead of going to the doctor for your UTI, try and take care of it yourself with cranberry.
4. Consume about half a gallon of cranberry juice every day.
5. Skip school because you are in too much pain to go to class.
6. Finally go to the doctor when the pain become unbearable (after about a month of self treatment).
7. Take 10 days of the strongest antibiotics the doctor feels like giving you.
8. While taking the antibiotics, travel to a funeral in another state and back (9 hours of driving each way).
9. Miss three days of school right before midterms because you are going to the funeral.
10. Continue to drink cranberry juice at incredible rates while on the antibiotics.
11. Survive midterms by staying up late, eating lots of greasy food, and generally not caring well for yourself.
12. Finish the antibiotics.
13. Realize that you are still in pain and convince yourself that you still have a UTI, because it seems like the most pleasant option.
14. Drink more cranberry juice.
15. Add apple cider vinegar to your plan for kicking this UTI in the behind.
16. Drink more cranberry juice.
17. A week after the antibiotics are gone, realize you are still in pain and it's not getting better.
18. Go to the doctor again.
19. Let the doctor poke you where it hurts.
20. Discover that your stomach has decide that producing massive amounts of acid is the best way to get your attention.
And this my friends is how you convince your stomach to produce too much acid.
So now I'm on a low acid, non greasy, non spicy diet as well as acid reducers for the next two weeks to see if that fixes the problem. If not, it will be back to the drawing board again. 
 Unfortunately, most of my favorite foods fall into the categories of acidic, greasy, or spicy (or some combination of the above!). I suppose the bacon I ate the day before going to the doctor was a bad idea, as was the apple cider I had been drinking like it was going out of style and the cranberry juice and the cinnamon and, and, and....
It's definitely been a learning curve. I learned to broil fish today instead of pan frying it like I usually do. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my Sunday chicken to eliminate the grease. The best option seems to be to boil it, let it cool, scrape the grease off and then do something with the meat. Not quite sure what yet. Maybe chicken salad or some non-spicy type of chicken tortilla, though that doesn't sound too awesome. 
I'm open to suggestions, so if you have suggestions on how to eat "bland" (as the doctor so appealingly put it), please, please, let me know. Otherwise it's going to be a long 2 weeks!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is one enough?

Is one language ever really enough?
Almost everyday I find myself searching for words and more times than not, I come up with them in a language other than the one I'm supposed to be speaking. I was in class the other day and we were talking about how Jesus could have come in and demolished the Romans (but he didn't, because that wasn't the way he had planned), but I couldn't think of the word "demolished" or similar words in English. However, I knew the sign I needed and half way through my sentence I switched to sign language and threw the word out that I needed. It got my point across, and the sign I used was just a really fun sign (it's one of my favorites...I'm not sure what it says about me when many of my favorite signs are on the "violent" side of things. The sign for "bombs" is super fun too.) 
Another time, in a context where the primary languages were supposed to be sign and English, I caught myself thinking in German (and maybe even a little Greek!) and accidentally vocalizing a few times in German instead of English. Many times I'll know a German (or other language word) that describes how I'm feeling or what I want to say much better than the English words I know. Once I know the word I want in German I try and think of the English word and there just isn't one! How do you translate the word "kribble" (Ich habe einen Kribble in meinen Bauch) into English? The best I've ever come up with is to Anglicize it (My stomach is all kribbly) and then when people ask, try and use lots and lots of words to explain it. In this instance, "kribbly" can be describe as happy little butterflies dancing around inside, kind of like the feeling you get when you talk with that special someone...or are filled with excitement. They aren't the kind of butterflies you get when you are nervous about giving a speech or something. Those are mean butterflies. There are all kinds of other words I do that with, just because I don't know the English or English simply doesn't have the word I need. 
The other day I threw the Hebrew "Nephesh" into conversation (I may or may not have been feeling slightly kribbly at the time) because I didn't have an English word to explain what I was saying. (My conversation partner actually had to look the word up. Hebrew phrases weren't in their vocabulary.) 

So what is my point? That's a really good question. I'm still working on that minor detail. What bugs me is that so many of us in North America know one language. Just one. And mostly it is English, which although a beautiful and diverse language, is lacking in so many ways. 
Is there a way to fix this problem? I wish I knew. I wish I could tell everyone to go out and learn multiple languages so that we could have fuller communication. I wish there was a practical way to come up with a language that would be understood by everyone, everywhere, and encompass the fullness and richness of individual languages, but that's just not practical. Firstly, our world is too big for everyone to learn the same language. It just wouldn't happen. Secondly, we all have different language needs. Someone living near the equator would not need as many words for winter precipitation as we need in Canada.
I don't know the answer.  Do you?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Precious moments

This morning in church I sat right in front of 4 year old Abel and his dad.  I often sit in front of Abel and his family or across the aisle from them.  Today when it was time for the morning offering to be received, Abel decided that he was going to help his dad collect the offering (Abel's dad is a deacon).  Without missing more than a beat or two, Abel's dad handed him an offering plate and the two of them collected the offering together.  Abel was so proud as he passed the plate down the rows of people, and the look on his face as he walked down the center aisle with his dad and the other deacon to present the offering filled my heart with joy.  I got a high five from him as he went back to his seat.

Last week Friday I celebrated communion with 4 year old Miriam snuggled on my lap.  As the communion liturgy was read/recited she nearly quivered with excitement.  As I took the wafer and dipped it in the grape juice, she took a wafer and dipped it in the grape juice.  She knew that Jesus had died for her sins too.  Because she had been raised in a church (they had no Sunday School), she knew what communion was and she knew that this was part of her faith life.  When we were finished, she twisted around on my lap and smiled up at me. We shared that sacred moment together.

Children are not the future of our church. They are the church. They are the church now.  They will not become the church.  They are the church.

When will we realize this and stop sending them off to Sunday is the basement while we have church?  Why do we pretend to ourselves that once they are older they will want a part in the very church sent them off to their own space, their own classroom the entire time they were growing up?

Children can participate in "big church".  Abel collected offering this morning.  Children can greet people and hand out bulletins.  They can pass out cookies after church.  They can sing the songs and learn the readings and liturgy that we use week after week.

Children are the church now. Today.  In this time.

These are precious moments that we can't afford to miss.  If we miss these moments, then the church WILL die.  There is no doubt about that.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Angry Blog Post

I'm not usually a very angry person, but tonight, I am angry. So if you'd rather not read an angry blog post, stop reading now. I just need to be angry for a little bit.
Dear person who came onto our farm today and purposely opened a gate and left it open,
I don't know who you are, and you'll probably never actually read this.  This is probably a good thing because if I did know who you are, you would have to experience my anger in person. And right now, I'm not happy with you.
I don't know who you are or why you did what you did, but I don't understand why you recklessly endangered the animals like that.  Not only are alpacas very valuable and lovable animals, the gate you left open was to the moms and babies.  I spent a large portion of my summer delivering and caring for these precious babies.  These animals have done nothing to harm you.  Not ever.
If you have an issue with someone in my family, that is no reason to take it out on the innocent animals. If you have a problem with someone, grow a pair and talk to them.  Don't engage is such cowardly acts as opening gates or cutting fences.
If you have a hatred for alpacas, fine. You don't have to live with them or love them, but we do love them.  So leave us and them be.

End angry blog post.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Gluten Free communion bread

Today was Worldwide Communion Sunday.  For those of you who didn't grow up in the church or just have no idea what that means or why it's important, it's basically a Sunday where many churches around the world have decided to celebrate communion or the Eucharist.  It's really neat to realize that on this particular Sunday churches all over the world are doing the same thin, albeit often in very different ways.
The church I worshiped with this morning served communion with naan-bread and grape juice.  Other churches served wafers and wine.  Others served white wonder bread. Some bread had leaven, other bread was unleavened. Tonight a friend served me homemade gluten free bread with cranberry juice. Regardless of what was served and the exact theology each congregation holds to, it was all a celebration of the same thing, the marvelous sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
As I sat there, not taking communion in full (we were served by intinction (dipping the bread in the cup) this morning , but I got a cup from the elder that was serving those who couldn't get to the front), I thought about bread.  If you've read what I've written about communion before, you know that the bread is a big stumbling block for me. The gluten found in most bread can make me super sick. And that's not fun.  So, as I sat there I thought about gluten free options for communion (for the bread only...if you want to read more about doing gluten free communion properly/safely, read one of these posts: Post 1, Post 2 or talk to me (I've done some work on this topic) or someone in your congregation who has experience with gluten free eating.).

One option that is relatively easy and safe is to take gluten free communion wafers.  These are certified gluten free and keep really well.  Of course, if your church has been using bread since the foundations of time, it might be a bit of a huge switch and something you have to work through as a congregation.  The most common (perhaps only) gluten free communion wafer is from Ener-G foods.  It is free from just about everything including leaven, nuts, egg, dairy, shellfish, corn and more.

Another option is store bought gluten free bread.  If that's what you want to do, and if that's what is going to work best for your congregation, you want to pick one that doesn't have a huge list of ingredients.  The more ingredients the bread has, the more likely someone is to be allergic to something in it.  You also want to make sure you get one that isn't crumbly, which is hard.    If your congregation is nut free, Kinnikinnick foods are all nut free, but many of them have eggs and dairy in them, so if you are going with a store bought bread, check with your congregation.  I think they all have corn so I can't have any of them and I don't know how the crumble factor works.  Other companies such as Udi's or Glutino also make gluten free bread, which I think is nut free, but does contain eggs and dairy.  Again, check with your congregation to see if this works.  In Ontario check out El Peto.  They have lots of different breads and some are free of most allergens, such as their potato bread (one of my favorites when I'm on the farm).

Yet another option is to have someone in your congregation bake gluten free bread.  All the cautions that apply to using store bought bread apply to this option too, along with making sure the person is who doing the baking understands allergy friendly baking and the risk of cross contamination. 

The most important thing is to talk to your congregation.  Don't assume you know that they need. Because you don't.  Talk to you congregation and really listen to them. 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Gummy Worms!

Today, instead of doing my homework, I decided try out a recipe that my cousin had sent me.  It was for gummy worms.  I have not been able to have gummy worms for a long time because gummy worms tend to be made with lots and lots of corn syrup and my body really doesn't do well with corn syrup.  Which is problematic because I really like gummy candies.  (I like jelly beans too, but aside from one accidentally "jelly bean cake" I have not mastered the hard on the outside-chewy on the inside jelly bean).
I was a bit skeptical as I started.  All my previous attempts at candy (aside from chocolate) had been miserable failures, but this looked pretty failure proof.  I didn't even need a candy thermometer! And there were absolutely no substitutions that I had to make.  For a recipe, that is always a good start.
some of my gummy worms (there were and still are lots more!)
Gummy flutterby
Flutterby on a string!
Gummy Frog!
And then, just for fun I made scones.  I'd never had a scone before.  But they are yummy.  Olga and I sampled one fresh from the oven.  These are completely allergy friendly (top 8 free) and have chocolate chips in them.  As long as I don't eat them all before Monday, my peer group is in for a treat!  (if they keep well...the recipe said serve warm, so I'm hoping they hold until Monday)