A year ago my farfar passed away. As I reflected last year, since his death was unexpected and we live so far away, it still seems strange that he is gone. Like it still hasn't fully sunk in. I miss him. There have been so many times I wanted to pick up the phone/skype to catch up on life. To share with him the good times and ask for prayer for the hard times. Recently I was looking through old photos on my computer and was reminded of how many important events in my life, such as my graduation and wedding, that he was able to attend despite living in another country. I felt important to him as he was to me. He was a good farfar and I am thankful for the time we had together.
These whole wheat chocolate chip peanut butter oat cookies taste amazing! In fact the official name for this cookie should just be yummy cookie. The chocolate chip and peanut butter flavors blend together perfectly. Every bite offers a large amount of chocolate. The dark chocolate and milk chocolate adds a nice combination of flavor. All I can say is, do yourself a favor and make these cookies!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oat Cookies adapted from pinchofyum
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour (ratio: 2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together the butter and sugar until creamy.
Then mix in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg.
If you mill your own flour, grind your soft and hard wheat berries. I use my WonderMill on the pastry setting. Sift the flour once or twice to make the cookie less dense.
Mix in the flour, baking soda and salt to the batter.
Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.
Spoon the cookies onto a baking stone (or greased baking sheet).
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes until lightly brown.
Let the cookies rest on the baking stone for a couple of minutes before letting them completely cool on a rack.
Here we are at three years. I can't believe it has been three years! It often feels like that, but that is a really long time to have tried to get pregnant with no "success." Trying to have a baby has now become part of everyday life. In some ways it has become easier, in some ways not. You go through the motions being acutely aware of every little detail of what your body is doing on every day of the month and some times every hour of the day. Some people say just don't think about it or relax or take a vacation and it will happen. First of all, don't ever say that. You saying that gives me stress, so if you are suggesting that I need to have less stress about the whole thing, refrain from saying that. The thing is, despite the acute awareness, I am relaxed about it. It's just part of the routine such as buying groceries on Wednesdays because it is double coupon day .... I mean, I am not uptight about that, and neither am I unrelaxed about the monthly process of trying to get pregnant. I just can't be after three years. But of course that doesn't mean I don't have a deep desire for it to happen.
I read a good article on fertility the other day. While our story isn't the same, the author captured some feelings regarding hope well.
Infertility is a brutal cycle that steps on hands gripping hope. The cycle begins each month with hope only to be followed by disappointment.
At any point in this cycle you are constantly reminded of what you cannot do by running into countless pregnant women in the grocery story, at church, or at the gym.
Church is a good place to find support, but it isn’t always a tower of refuge. The American church is one place in our culture where marriage and kids is an expectation.... Young married’s are bombarded about when they will start having kids, as if their marriage doesn’t really matter until a child validates it.
Around church, having kids is talked about as if it is like scheduling a tune-up for your car. “Isn’t it time the two of you start having kids?” is one of the most painful questions a couple dealing with infertility can hear. Because thats exactly how they feel! It is time for them to start having kids. They’ve been hoping and praying and wanting and waiting for a long time for God to respond to their request. So yes, it is time, but no, kids don’t show up on a time table.
- See more at: http://natepyle.com/the-disgrace-of-infertility/#sthash.4I9zghDo.dpuf
It is difficult to hear people talk about when they are going to have children (a conversation I participated in before I realized how out of our control this process really is). As if it is simply a decision. The thing is, I don't think most people really really understand everything that has to happen in order for them to get pregnant .... knowing this, it is actually incredible that anyone gets pregnant. Our journey has forced us at a very deep level to understand the incredible miracle a child is, at a level we wouldn't have otherwise. Having our own children is not a right, not something we are promised, but rather it is an incredible gift that some are fortunate to receive.
I shared about our struggle publicly on this blog for the first time last year. And now as we have begun year four I am at a crossroads. Something needs to change. As I talk to different doctors and such I find myself feeling a sense of shame as I answer their question of how long we have been trying - three years. Like it is somehow my fault, that I did something wrong. I am exhausted from fighting to hold on to hope. Hope is starting to slip away. I want to keep holding on to it, but I just don't know if I can.
We are praying about what next steps God has for us. I know God loves us and wants the best for us. Our prayer is that His will be done, and in His timing. He knows more than we do and we are going to trust Him with whatever path we end up taking. Even though I often feel like I am white-knuckling hope, I feel a sense of comfort and trust in what God's plan ultimately is. For that, I am thankful.
When I came across this recipe there was something intriguing about it and I had to try it. I love pears and coconut and like using dates as a natural sweetener. And the cake turned out great! This rich and moist cake combines the flavors perfectly. Such a wonderful little treat.
1 generous cup dried dates, pitted and stemmed
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (ratio: 2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 pears, peeled and diced
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Add the water and dates to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Once it is boiling add the baking soda and immediately remove from heat (adding the baking soda will cause the date mixture to bubble).
Keep stirring the mixture for another minute. Set aside and let it cool.
If you mill your own flour, grind your hard and soft wheat berries. I use my WonderMill on the pastry setting. Sift your flour twice to make the cake less dense.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
In an electrical mixer mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Then mix in the egg on the lowest speed before adding the vanilla extract.
Then slowly add in the date mixture.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Blend it all together being careful not to over mix.
Fold in the coconut.
Finally fold in the pears.
Pour the cake batter into a greased 9 inch springform pan.
Let the cake bake for 45 minutes.
Then rotate the cake in the oven and let it bake for another 10 minutes.
The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. If it doesn't come out clean, keep baking and rotating the cake in 5 minute increments until done. The cake will become dark as it bakes as seen in the picture below. Do not let that alarm you - that is what it is supposed to look like:)
Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving. Sift some powdered sugar over the cake before serving.
As I mentioned in my last post, we had the chance to go visit Michael's sister and family while we were in Florida. One of the things we were really excited about was meeting our newest nephew, Joshua. He is such a chill baby that just goes with the flow of his three older brothers - what a cutie:)
I can't believe it is already February. Where did January go? Really, how did it go by so fast? If you feel like it was just Christmas and you still have some cranberries left over from the festivities, this is a great recipe to use those cranberries for.
Michael's sister and family moved to Florida last year so we didn't get to see them at Thanksgiving when we were in Washington. But when we were visiting my parents in Florida for Christmas, we took a short little trip to visit the Kelleys. We were thankful to get a chance to see them ... and to meet the newest addition (more on that in another post).
We had a great day getting to see where they live, their church, and town and just getting to spend some good quality time with everyone.