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Month: August 2016

“Sea” Turtles

“Sea” Turtles

A favorite childhood candy store, See’s Candy, makes the most delicious chocolate caramel candies.  Once you make your own, healthy “Sea” Turtles, you won’t find yourself craving store bought candy again.  Makes 12.

Sea Turtles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (approximately 20)
  • ⅓ cup lucuma powder
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla flavoring
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup powdered cocoa
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar (or preferred liquid sweetener)
  • 12 whole pecans

 

Method:

  1. First, prepare caramel filling by placing dates in food processor.  Process on high, approximately 40 seconds, until a ball forms.  Add lucuma powder and vanilla. Process again on high for approximately one minute.  Mixture will initially be crumbly, but then will come back together into a ball. Let sit in processor as you move on to making the chocolate.
  2. In a small bowl, first add cocoa powder followed by coconut oil.  Mix well.  Add coconut nectar.  Stir to combine.  In a 24 cup silicone mini muffin mold, place a teaspoon of chocolate into 12  of the cups.
  3. Take the caramel ball and pinch into 12 portions.  Roll each portion between your hands to form a small ball.  Slightly flatten and press a pecan on one side.  Place caramel patty into the chocolate, pushing down slightly.  Continue for all pieces.
  4. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes, or until chocolate firms.  Remove from freezer, pop out of mold, and place in an airtight container.  Refrigerate.  This is of course, after you have eaten one…or two…
Prone to Wander

Prone to Wander

So, a few months ago, we decided to adopt a Great Pyrenees dog.  We named him Boaz.  Once we got Boaz home, we very quickly learned that he behaved just like a toddler.  He wanted to know exactly what he was and wasn’t allowed to do, and where he was and wasn’t allowed to go.  I have to admit that the first few weeks were tough as I was the primary parent of this curious 70 lb canine.

During those first few weeks, my youngest daughter and I returned home from the store. As my daughter was coming into the house, Boaz forcefully pushed passed her and ran out the door.  He proceeded to run with all of his might down the street.  I pursued…until I quickly saw that he totally out-paced me.  I slowed down and stopped, knowing that a foot pursuit was hopeless.  But, then I foresaw, or rather “foreheard,” my husband and daughters’ questions… “Mom, did you really give your best?  Did you run your hardest?”  I would have to honestly answer “no.”  The reality is that I gave up.

So, I started running again.  By the grace of God, a tree caught Boaz’ attention and he stopped to mark it for himself.  This was my opportunity to catch up with him and march him back to the house.  Winded and a bit unnerved, I returned wondering if this dog was a good choice.

God answered my doubt loud and clear.  He reminded me that I am just like Boaz.  God adopted me and brought me into the family of God solely by His grace.  And, what is my response to His gift?  I test my “spiritual” boundaries.  I leave the safety of Jesus and His Word, and instantly get tangled in self-centered sin.  I may still make good moral decisions, but my motives, thoughts, and affections become “I-centric.”  I stop trusting God. I start relying on other opinions. I start seeking my own solutions. I start looking for means to satisfy myself.   Worry and doubt creeps in.  In essence, I show a woefully low view of God and what He did for me on the cross.  I, like Boaz, run away from the best person and place in my life.

But, the good news is that God relentlessly pursues me.  He never gives up on me.  It boggles my mind to think of how He loves me even though my heart is prone to wander.  Psalm 139 shows us just how far we can run from God… BUT God…He so lovingly puts “trees” in my path (hardship, disappointment, failure, loss) to end my self seeking pursuits and draw me back to Himself.

I have recently begun to pray every morning that God would give me the desire for His will (I Chronicles 29:18-19), that He would give me spiritual wisdom and understanding as to His perfect will (Colossians 1:9), and that I would be filled with God’s grace needed to obey and achieve His will (I Corinthians 15:10). This daily prayer has transformed my life.  By God’s power, my desire for the things of world has been doused.  My passion for the spread of the Gospel around the world has been fiercely ignited. I have a clearer vision and sense of purpose for my future more than ever. I have finally found a true, lasting satisfaction in fulfilling my created purpose…to worship God and obey Him.

This three pronged prayer has unraveled the “prior” me. My wandering heart is being tamed.  My desires being transformed.  My early morning “coffee dates” with Jesus is the favorite part of my day.  And, the rest of the waking hours, “living out” my faith, are the most rewarding.

Do you wrestle with the trappings of this life? Do you long to be truly satisfied? Do you feel tangled in circumstances and uncertainties?  Look no further.  Your Good Shepherd pursues.  Just turn around.  Confess your wandering. Then ask Him for the desire for Him, wisdom from Him, and grace by Him.  He is faithful to provide all that you need according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).  Security, satisfaction, and joy come as the things of this world grow strangely dim.  Oh, what sweet soul-filling delight are found upon return to the safety and solace of our Father’s house.