I’m writing about healing because there has to be more than this. There has to be more than the father who takes his son to the altar every Sunday morning to be prayed for by the elders, just like it says in the Bible. James, he said it: Lay hands on the sick and they’ll recover.
Oh, and pray the prayer of faith. Maybe that’s it. Maybe he’s trying for a jackpot in the Sunday lottery. One Sunday, someone just might pray that Prayer of Faith, and pictures of halos will line up in a row like they do in a slot machine. Instead of coins, healing will come pouring out.
Well, he hasn’t hit the jackpot yet, because every Sunday there he is. His son is almost as tall as he is, body parts moving like they have a mind of their own, always wandering off and having to be corralled in, his father being the corral, as they make their way up to the altar.
The elder, or whoever it is up there, with the tag that says “Altar Worker” hanging from a lanyard making it official, prays. And sometimes they pray a long prayer through the boy’s wiggling and twitching, and I don’t know if the official person has faith, but I’m thinking the dad must, because he keeps bringing him every week like he’s expecting something to happen.
And I’m standing in my pew while we all sing, “I believe you’re my healer,” watching this and praying to God because how could God the Father look down on this father bringing his child and just ignore it?
Every week, I want something to happen. Inside I’m cheering them on. I never want them to give up. I want them to keep coming until it happens because I believe Jesus is our healer. Because God himself said I’m the God who heals you. And I’m thinking why would he say this if he wasn’t?
I’m thinking of the father who brought his son to Jesus. The son convulsed on the ground, foam coming out of a speechless mouth. Jesus didn’t pray. He spoke with authority, the demons came out, and the boy was healed.
That was Jesus, but he gave this same authority to us. Peter said to the lame beggar, “I don’t have money, but I’ll give you what I have, In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.”
I’ll give you what I have. I want to say this, but I don’t know where that authority is. Did I leave it in my back pocket and somehow it got lost in the wash or did it get lost in the mail? I don’t know. But I don’t have it. Because if I did, I’d run up to that dad and set that boy free, the way Jesus would.
Jesus never said, “God bless you in your sickness, my child. My grace is sufficient for you, now go and suffer in Jesus name.” But what more can we say, when we open our eyes and the person we just prayed for isn’t healed?
Have more faith. So we try positive thinking which is practically the same thing as faith. Isn’t it? Which is kind of like Dorothy clicking her heels together and repeating “There’s no place like home.” If we believe hard enough, it has to happen. It also helps if you close your eyes.
Don’t be discouraged. Your healing could be gradual. Like the blind man who saw vague outlines, men like trees, before he saw clearly. Healing in the two step process. Given enough time, like evolution, anything is possible. Unfortunately that doesn’t do much for the person who has to wake up sick every morning or the daughter given only a week to live. There’s something about healing that you want to have it in this lifetime, preferably right away.
This Sunday, I hope that dad and his son hit the jackpot. I hope I find that authority Jesus gave us. Because there are a lot of people in this world who need healing in this lifetime. They’re clicking their heels together, wishing upon a star, looking for the magic words. They’re confusing Disney with the Bible because at this point, anything will do.
And I just know there has to be more than this.
One of Pete’s favorite childhood desserts was “monkey bread,” little balls of bread dough rolled in sugar and cinnamon, layered in a pan, and covered with a sticky caramel. After baking, it’s turned out like a pineapple upside down cake — a kind of inside out sticky bun with a lot more sticky than bun. Served hot out of the oven, steaming bits of bread are pinched off and devoured.
This Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread is a (slightly) more grown up and sophisticated version. The addition of pumpkin makes the dough incredibly tender and helps you feel like you’re eating something nutritious. In fact, we were able to use all whole wheat, (with the exception of 1 cup), because of the pumpkin’s moisture.
What says fall like pumpkin and cinnamon?
PUMPKIN CINNAMON PULL APART BREAD
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 T instant yeast
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 5-6 c flour (white whole wheat and unbleached)
- 1 c milk
- 4 T butter
- 1 1/2 c pumpkin puree* (or 15-ounce can)
- 2/3 c packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 c granulated sugar
- 1 T ground cinnamon
- 3/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
- 4 T butter, melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or if you’re hand kneading, just a large bowl — or pot, if you’re like my mom), combine the salt, yeast, sugar and 4 cups of the flour.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter until the butter is just melted and the mixture is warm to the touch. If it feels too hot, let it cool until it is at warm room temperature.
Gradually incorporate the milk/butter mixture and pumpkin into the flour. Continue mixing, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should still be slightly sticky.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, (about an hour, depending on the temperature in your kitchen).
While the dough is rising, make the filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, lightly punch down and divide into two pieces. Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Lightly coat two 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ bread pans with oil.
Roll out one of the pieces on a lightly floured countertop to about 20-inches by 12-inches. Brush the dough with 2 T butter and spread half of the filling mixture evenly over the top, lightly pressing it into the buttered dough.
Cut the dough into 6 long strips (each strip should be about 2″ x 20″). Stack the strips like a layered cake.
Cut the stack crosswise into 6 even sections. Lay each section on its side in the bread pan (so you can see the layers from the top). Pressing them up against each other so they all fit into the pan.
Repeat with the remaining half of dough and filling ingredients.
Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap and let the bread double in size until very puffy (about an hour).
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is browned and cooked through.
Remove pans from the oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack set over a piece of parchment or wax paper. I probably don’t need to tell you to pinch off pieces of warm bread and eat.
Apparently it can be microwaved to reheat. We wrap loosely in foil and reheat in the toaster — if there’s any left.
*if you make your own pumpkin puree, squeeze out excess liquid before pureeing
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipe. Check out Mel’s step by step photos for rolling the dough. She also uses a vanilla glaze, which we omitted. I thought this was sweet enough without it.
I grew up with a pizzeria on every corner but not too many grills in backyards. Maybe that’s why I never thought of grilling pizza until the last few years. If you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you’re missing. The dough is so delicious, it always gets nibbled travelling from the grill to the kitchen.
Make your own pizza dough or ask your local pizzeria to sell you a dough ball. Depending on where you live, they might look at you oddly, but if it’s a place you frequent, they should be happy to oblige you. Tell them you’re going to put it on your grill. The ones in the supermarket will do in a pinch, but they’re a poor substitute.
Spread a thin coat of olive oil onto a cookie sheet. Stretch out the dough and drizzle with more olive oil.
Getting the dough onto the grill takes a little practice. You can see what works for you. This is what we do: Bring the cookie sheet over to the grill. Pick up the dough by one edge, swing it out and plop it onto the grill. It’s going to be irregularly shaped, but perfectly delicious. Flip it when it’s lightly brown.
A simpler method which we find ourselves using more often (it’s so much easier) is dividing the dough into smaller portions to make smaller, “personal” pies.
When both sides are cooked, add your toppings.
Return to the grill for a few minutes until the topping is hot.
Grilled pizza tastes best with fresh toppings. Layer the following:
- fresh tomatoes, sliced
- fresh basil leaves, whole
- dash of dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
or try this version with a garlicky cream sauce and shrimp: Shrimp Bella Venezia Pizza ala Bertucci’s
BASIC PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE
- 4 1/4 + cups bread flour
- 1 packet (2 1/4 t) yeast
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 3/4 c water
- 2 T olive oil
Whisk together 4 c flour with yeast and salt. Mix in water and oil until incorporated.
Knead on a lightly floured counter, adding remaining flour as needed to prevent sticking. Knead until the dough forms a smooth ball (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (1- 1 1/2 hours).
Divide dough into three pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Stretch each ball into a 12-inch round on parchment paper. Add toppings and bake or grill.
Dough can be refrigerated for up to 16 hours. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before dividing and shaping.
Little bits of candied ginger are optional, but add a nice, subtle touch. These would be great with a dollop of Greek yogurt and drizzle of maple syrup.
PUMPKIN GINGER WAFFLES
source: One Perfect Bite
- 1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 2 t ground ginger
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c buttermilk
- 1/2 c canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 c sugar
- 3/4 t vanilla extract
- 3 t unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of flour mixture and toss with crystallized ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Combine with flour mixture.
- Stir in butter and fold in reserved crystallized-ginger mixture. Do not overmix.
- Heat a waffle iron and make waffles, using about 1/2 cup batter per each one.
Keep warm in 200 degree F oven, if desired. Yield: 5 Waffles.
Dinner is going international this week.
I’m also “shopping my freezer.” They say a full freezer runs more efficiently, but I’m taking my idea of “full” down a notch or two so I can run more efficiently.
Pizza (is that Italian, American, or international?) and spring mix salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
Baked eggplant Parmesan, campanelle (pasta), and salad.
I’m planning to add some crumbled hot Italian sausages to this before I top with sauce and cheese.
Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, and vegetable stir fry.
I’ll have to hover over my mom while she does the stir fry and see if I can come up with some kind of recipe without losing my sanity. (Mom, how much of that do you put in? Oh, just keep adding it until you see it’s enough).
Note: Dinner this Week helps me to actually try the great recipes I read. So most of these are untried at the time of posting the menu. If I do like the recipe, eventually it will be featured with my tweaks and photos.
What’s stopping you from decluttering, getting rid of the stuff you don’t use?
“But I spent good money on that.”
We say this mostly about mistakes — things we’ve purchased with our hard earned money and haven’t been able to get our money’s worth.
It happens a lot with clothes or shoes. It doesn’t quite fit, it’s the wrong shade, or not really our style.
It happens with bargains. The incredibly good deal persuades us to buy something we didn’t really need and don’t end up using.
It happens when things don’t pan out the way we thought. Hobbies, new things we wanted to try.
We can’t bear to part with them because it would be such a waste. In the meantime they’re cluttering up our attics, crowding our closets, and pushing their way into our living spaces.
Are you keeping monuments to your mistakes?
Start getting rid of them today. If you can’t sell them, donate them.
Think of it as investing in someone else’s life and “buying” yourself some valuable space in your home.
That’s money well spent.
I had Grilled Creole Mahi Mahi on the menu tonight, but an Almond Parmesan Encrusted Fish recipe changed my mind.
This fish was perfect with creamy mashed potatoes, a last-of-summer zucchini, carrot, and onion saute topped with toasted almond parmesan crumbs.
My first time trying buerre blanc. (“White butter” — why does it seem fancier when you say it in French?). I didn’t have heavy cream, so I used half and half. It was a little thin, but butter and wine is always good, thick or thin. I’ll definitely be trying this one again. I’m glad I came up with a way to use up the leftover almond parmesan crumbs.
ALMOND PARMESAN ENCRUSTED FISH Recipe
- 5 servings (about 2 lbs) mahi mahi*
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c almonds, chopped
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Mix together bread crumbs, almonds, and cheese in a bowl.
Dip fish into the egg and coat with crumbs. Set aside.
Melt 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the fish and brown on both sides until fish is no longer translucent.
*Cod, haddock, or tilapia will also work. However, if you use a thinner fish like tilapia, you may need more egg and crumbs for 2 lbs.
“Toast” leftover crumbs in a skillet with a little butter. Sprinkle over sauteed vegetables and/or potatoes for a flavorful crunch.
BUERRE BLANC SAUCE Recipe
- 1/2 c good dry white wine
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons for cooking the fish
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine wine and lemon juice in a saucepan. Heat on high heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Whisk in heavy cream. Whisk in butter, on and off heat, one tablespoon at a time until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Remembering lives lost. Those who left and never came home.
Planes intersecting impossibly with buildings. Crumbling towers, thick black smoke. Across the screen again and again. Still we can’t believe. People jumping out of windows. This is not TV. Torn suits, blackened faces. Sky raining ashes, charred debris.
Giant shards of steel rising up from rubble, skeletal remains of what had been. Monuments to mankind, those who’ve gone before, those who risked their lives. Ground littered with fallen buildings, broken glass, and shattered lives.
Firefighters, emergency rescue, sirens wailing through the fog. Searching, digging, sifting. Hours run into days run into nights, waiting and wondering. Hope waning and burning bright. Faces lit in candlelight vigils. Flowers, posters, pictures taped and stapled, flapping in the wind. My daughter, my mother, my husband, my son. Any news? Anyone. Please.
When is it time to close the book, to end the chapter, to snuff out the candle and finally say goodbye? Wave farewell to the empty space because we don’t know where they are.
Memories in a photo montage. Here he is in high school, remember that hair? Our wedding, and here, with the kids. Big smiles everyone. Eyes glaze over, turning inward, remembering.
Life moves on through a maze of paper. Proof of a life once lived, documented in passports, policies, and bank statements. Every signature — yes, I can verify — another goodbye.
Healing comes slow. Hour by hour, year after year. Stitching back the remnants, a patchwork quilt. Something you hope resembles life before it was so torn.
Twelve years later. We don’t forget. Fountains and names engraved in cool granite reflecting the sun. A flicker of hope because the sun also rises on this space, in our lives, again.
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