I have discovered over the years, that life can be challenging. God desires to sustain us as we look for "splashes of His grace" every day. My desire is that through posts, or book reviews, you may find something that points you to the grace of God, and that He ultimately will make a difference in your life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cape Disappointment

My daughter teaches Kindergarten, and recently she invited me to be a chaperone for the field trip her class was taking to the Fort Worth Science Museum and Imax Theater. I went and found it to be an interesting (though very crowded) place! After spending a little time looking at the exhibits, we settled into our seats at the Imax Theater to see the film "The Living Sea".  The screen of the theater surrounds you so you feel as if you are right there in the movie. It was fascinating to see the fish and coral and hear about the remarkable life in the sea that many people don't even know exists. But what struck me most was when we were introduced to the power of the ocean at a place off the coast of Washington called Cape Disappointment.  A Search and Rescue school for the Coast Guard is located there. The Coast Guard trains for search and rescue missions in these rough waters so they will be prepared for the 300-400 calls for assistance that they receive every year. We watched wave after wave crashed onto their boat. At times the waves seemed to swallow them whole.

When I got home I just had to "Google" it to get more information about Cape Disappointment because the name intrigued me. My disappointment sometimes "swallows" me like those waves did that boat, and I wanted to find out how this Cape got it's name. What I found was interesting.

This area is regarded as one of the most treacherous river bars in the world. The river entrance is often called "The Graveyard of the Pacific" because of the number of shipwrecks that have occurred there. In 1775 Bruno Heceta charted this headland as "San Roque" as he was exploring the Northwest Coast. He believed there was probably the mouth of a large river there, but because his crewmembers were weak and suffering from scurvy, he was unable to explore the entrance. Thirteen years later, Lieutenant John Meares, who after exploring the area, decided that no river entrance or channel exisited there, changed the name of the rocky headland to Cape Disapointment. Captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the bar in 1792 and found the river. He named it the Columbia River in honor of the ship, the USS Columbia Rediviva, that he captained. These men braved the sea, suffered through "disappointment", but ultimately discovered the river.

Photo of Cape Disappointment by razvan.orendovici 

As I thought about those crashing waves at Cape Disappointment, I couldn't help but contemplate on how "disappointment" affects me.  The dictionary defines disappointed as "depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations." There can be varying degrees of disappointment. Small disappointments can be discouraging, but you can easily recover from them. For example, you order something at a restaurant, and they, for some reason, are out of it? Are you disappointed? Probably, but you order something else and move on.  Disappointing? Yes. Was it life shattering? No. 

But then there are times when the disappointment is devastating! You loose hope. You wonder if you'll even survive. It is as if huge waves are crashing against your spirit. If you've ever experience a disappointment like this you know what I mean!  Your life's plan or dream has suddenly been twarted. You didn't get the job you expected to. You've been trying to have a baby, and another month comes and goes and you're not pregnant. Your child or close friend has made another poor choice with devastating consequences and once again those waves of disappointment begin to crash. The list can go on.....but what do you do when it's this type of disappointment? It's not as easy to pick up and move on. You want to believe there's a river there, a way of rescue from those waves, but at that moment all you see is Cape Disappointment. Figuratively you're at the "Graveyard of the Pacific".
In times like these, what do we need?  We need HOPE restored! Not the "I wish" kind of hope, but biblical hope -- the kind Romans 5 talks about.
"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that,
but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that afflictions produce endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.  This hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Romans 5:1-5   (HCSB)
Discovering this type of hope is our "river" at Cape Disappointment. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have been reconciled to God and now have access, by faith, to all the grace you need to live life now. We not only have the hope of eternal life after death, we also have hope to live every day through His grace and through the Holy Spirit. We have the ability to rejoice even in our afflictions, because we know that good can come out of even those things, which at the moment, are difficult! Affliction, trials, and disappointments may not seem pleasant while you're in the midst of them, but if you persist, grow, and continue to trust God, you end up with hope -- an assurance that God IS who He says He is. He will take care of you, whatever the outcome. We have "hope that does not disappoint because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (v.5)
So, if you find yourself at Cape Disappointment, don't give up. Look for the River. Through the Holy Spirit you have access to the River of Life.  He is there and will provide all the grace that you need, and if you let Him, He will rescue you from Cape Disappointment.
"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never loose infinite hope"
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore

The Amish are known for living a simple life that honors God. Their life revolves primarily around family, church, and the community.  Many of these events often include food!  This cookbook, Simply Delicious Amish Cooking, by Sherry Gore, is a collection of recipes gathered primarily from ladies from the little Amish community of Pinecraft, Florida, as well as from other Amish communities across the country.  This book contains more than three hundred recipes, and true to the Amish tradition, are made up of "simple" ingredients which most people will have in their pantry or can easily find in their local grocery store.
This cookbook reminds me of some of my own favorite cookbooks -- copulations of tried and true recipes from "real people". In fact, I found recipes in Simply Delicious Amish Cooking that I have made before and have loved, along with many new recipes that I plan to try.

The cookbook is divided into the traditional categories, such as Breads and Rolls, Appetizers, Beverages, Soups & Salads, Vegetables & Side Dishes, Meats & Main Dishes, Cookies, Cakes, Desserts, etc.  A very helpful index, organized by category, is also included in the back of the book for easy access to a specific recipe. Each section of this cookbook is introduced with a black and white photo of Amish life. There are also two sections of color photographs of some of the prepared recipes.  Interspersed throughout the cookbook are some cooking tips and excerpts from The Budget newspaper, which author Sherry Gore explains is a newspaper that provides "its Amish and Mennonite readers with a place where the good news reported in its pages routinely outweighs the bad." These little snippets show us a glimpse into the everyday lives of the people in this community. Some of these stories made me long for that "simpler small-town life."

The only slightly negative thing I found was the cover. It is a spiral-bound book and yet the front of the cover is not included in the binding. This makes it look like a regularly bound book if you put it on your shelf (which is nice), but it makes handling it a little ackward. You are still able to fold it completely back, which is convenient.
When I first saw the title I guess I anticipated finding "stranger" recipes, (although I did find one for Alligator Stew) but what I discovered was, Amish Cooking is simply down-home cooking -- comfort food. Food cooked with basic ingredients and a lot of love.  It will definitely be a cookbook that I will use. In fact, maybe I'll whip up a batch of Whoppie Pies this week! And if I'm ever in Florida, I just might swing by Sarasota, and visit the little Amish community of Pinecraft.
I received a complementary copy of this book from the BookSneeze Blogger program in exchange for my honest review.  I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.