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Portabello Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash. Make sure you drain the squash; it can water down the sauce! The Black Bean Broth and Kumatos make for a rich, red-brown sauce.

Lately I have posted a lot more faith articles than food, so it is good to get back to sharing some of my culinary exploits!  One of the most important parts of a Daniel Fast is to do meal planning in advance.  Here is our weekly Daniel Fast menu with links to some of the recipes:

PRE-FAST (the week before): Make sprouted black beans, sprouted lentils, sprouted wheat berries, and sprouted rice.  The cooking water from the black beans is “Bean Broth” and can be used in stead of chicken stock.  Store sprouted grains/legumes and cooked beans in 2-cup portions in the freezer.  Make Summer Squash Broth to supplement bean broth (if needed) and Green Soup to eat when you don’t have much time to prepare anything.  Buy lots of fruits and vegetables; to see which produce items should be bought as organic (Dirty Dozen), and which are safe to buy conventionally (Clean Fifteen), check out the Environmental Work Group’s Executive Summary for Produce.

Breakfast: Pineapple Oatmeal.  Since we have to avoid dairy, I use pineapple juice instead of whey to soak the grains overnight.  We have the same breakfast each morning to keep things simple!

AM Snack: Nuts, Organic Raisins & Fresh Fruit.  Nuts help me to avoid headaches from having too little protein, and raisins help curb sugar-cravings (grapes are notorious for having dangerous pesticides on them; only buy organic grapes and raisins).  Apples and Bananas are great options; apples have many healing and detoxing benefits and bananas supply carbs missed from leavened goods (like bread) and potassium lost through loose stools (although sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beet greens, and raisins have more potassium than bananas).  Again, only buy organic apples because they top the list of pesticide-ridden produce.

Lunch: Meal leftovers, Fruit & Veggies.  This is a great time to have a salad, or “finger snacks” like celery, carrots and tomatoes.  If it’s cold outside, Green Soup can help warm you up and relieve stress symptoms.

PM Snack: Salted Popcorn, Nuts & Raisins.  Use an air-popper if you are abstaining from oils; otherwise, to hold to the spirit of the fast, use only as much oil as necessary to pop the corn kernels in a covered pot on the stove; I use Palm Kernel Oil (in non-hydrogenated organic shortening form, Spectrum brand) since it has a high smoke point.

Dinner:

  • Monday: Portabello Spaghetti.
  • Tuesday: Savory Stuffed Peppers.  (Add Bean or Summer Squash Broth to leftover stuffing to make a tasty soup for lunch!)
  • Wednesday: Lion’s Den Stew.
  • Thursday: Greek Summer Squash Stew and Sprouted Wheat Berry Soup Biscuits.
  • Friday: Mushroom Pesto Pizza (Cheese-free; recipe coming soon)
  • Saturday: Bean Curry and Sprouted Rice (recipe coming soon)
  • Sunday: Roasted Root Vegetables and Steamed Broccoli.  (recipe coming soon)  This is a perfect day to take the organic potato peelings and use them to make Potato Peel Broth (recipe coming soon), another great source of potassium.

As far as drinks go, a true Daniel Fast uses only water.  However, what you drink on your fast is between you and God.  Some churches advise that fruit juices and herbal teas are fine; make sure to ask God what is right for you.  I drink water throughout the day, but I have a hot cup of green-tea infused Potato Peel Broth in the morning to help me wake up and replenish lost nutrients.

I hope this resource gives you a hearty helping of hope for your fast (it is achievable!); even if you aren’t fasting (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, for example), these recipes are still pretty tasty and economical.  Bon Appetit!

If you enjoyed this week’s Recipe thuRsday post, please share with a friend by using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

Ah!  It has been a long time since I had a Friday free to do one of these.  Te recap what we learned last year, I’m going to review the ten MIQVEH verses and use my engineering powers to rearrange and organize the verses to draw out additional meaning and see if we see a pattern.

To review, MIQVEH means “hope”.  It can mean something waited for but it often refers to a collection or gathering of things.  It is used to refer to bodies of water (the ocean, reservoirs, springs), possibly a drove of horses, a good future, and God Himself.  A key word that ties all these verses together is “SOURCE”; gatherings form sources of hope that we depend on.  We may conclude that the chief purpose of the word MIQVEH is to present God as the One, Unified Source of our hope.

The Father of Hope.

Jeremiah 50:7 presents God as the Hope of Israel and identifies Him as the Source of Israel’s rest.  This “rest” is associated with the chief person of the Trinity, our Heavenly Father, Who prepared a rest for us all to enter by faith in His Son.  We can link this verse to Genesis 1:10, the very first instance of MIQVEH, to see that just as the oceans were gathered into a MIQVEH that is deep and powerful, God is our unsearchable and incomprehensible “Gathering” or Source of Hope.  It is to the Father that we look as the paramount Source of Hope ; the only means we have of approaching Him is through His Son.

The Son of Hope

(Keeping in mind that “Son” in this sense doesn’t mean One who is born/created, but One who is an exact representation, carries out Another’s wishes, and has an inheritance.)  Jeremiah 14:8 presents God as the Hope of Israel and identifies him as Israel’s Savior.  We can link this verse to 1 Chronicles 2:15 that shows we cannot gather life together to hold onto it.  Jesus, Messiah or Christ, is the Second Person of the Trinity; as the Savior, He is our source of Eternal life and eternal hope.  He saves us from death and gives us the ability to endure beyond the grave.  He is the only Way available to Mankind to not only hold onto life, but have it in abundance.

The Spirit of Hope

Jeremiah 17:13 presents God as the Hope of Israel and its source of Living Water.  We can link this verse to Leviticus 11:36 which says that a spring or cistern cannot become polluted by an unclean carcass.  As we see Jesus performing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit, He touched “unclean” lepers and was not contaminated by them.  He taught and lived with sinners and did not become one of them.  The Holy Spirit is called “Holy” because He is separate from every form of uncleanness and darkness; like the cistern in Leviticus 11:36, He cannot be made dirty.  He is in direct contradiction to the concept of “Yin and Yang”; in Him there is no darkness at all.

The Holy Spirit is the Source of living waters in the New Testament that resulted in miraculous outpourings and supernatural giftings of the earliest Christians (and this still continues to this day).  Jesus is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit: Jesus is the One who gives the Holy Spirit to us.  We are born in the Spirit when we first profess faith in Jesus; the Spirit comes to dwell within us to change us to be like Jesus.  We are baptized in the Holy Spirit by Jesus when we are fully committed to Christ, are open to His work through us, and ask persistently for more of His power in our lives; as a result, the Spirit who is already in us from our conversion flows OUT of us more evidently and empowers us to be a potent cleansing force in a perverted and hopeless world.

Returning to the Source

Ezra 10:2 underscored our need to repent of our tendency to “muddy the waters” of our hope by mixing our faith in God with faith in other things.  The Jews had to put away the sources of syncretism in their community; the wives taken from pagan cultures around them.  In the same way, when we realize we have fallen short of declaring God to be our ONLY Source of hope, we need to put away all the influences that undermine dependence on our MIQVEH, God.  Many TV shows make it seem OK to be a Christian and yet consult with the occult, practice premarital cohabitation, or believe that there are many ways to God.  If we want the living waters of Hope to flow freely through us, we must unite with other believers in eschewing relativistic ideas in favor of putting all our eggs in one basket, one truth, one way, one MIQVEH.  Our hope is in God alone; the only way to Him is through Christ who gives us His HOLY Spirit!

Exodus 7:19 shows us that we cannot expect God’s blessing if we are actively oppressing other people.  Even if we believe we adhering to godly principles of resource management, those resources will become tainted if we are practicing injustice.  The Egyptians had reservoirs as a result of Joseph’s management of Egyptian domestic affairs; 400 years later those reservoirs turned to blood because of the enslavement and mistreatment of the Hebrew people (the Israelites).  If we want to ensure that our hope is not in vain, we need to represent the cause of the needy and make sure we are not mistreating one another.  To preserve hope, we must ask God for help to fight injustice.

Separating from the Source

1 Kings 10:28 and 2 Chronicles 1:16–identical passages, whether or not they are truly MIQVEH or QAVAH verses–demonstrate that material excess and military might are false sources of hope.  In fact, they are often connected with the consequences of injustice that Exodus 7:19 warns us about.  As we grow closer to the end of this world, the Bible makes it clear that more and more people are going to stop relying on God to make Man moral and instead rely on government, eventually global government.  Wherever there is military and material excess/disparity, there is always corruption and an abuse of power.

Jesus warned us against the deceitfulness of riches; this doesn’t mean that it is wrong to be rich, but that we are often misled to put our hope in riches.  Solomon, for all his wealth and human wisdom, his peace treaties and arms dealing, could not protect himself from being corrupted by lesser, inferior cultures whose gods were not gods at all.  It seems the only thing that Solomon believed in, at the end, was himself.  This is the ultimate death to hope that we are experiencing in the Post-Modern Age: having eschewed any real commitment to a confirmed deity, or any unique truth, we are “an end in ourselves” and “live to get rich or die trying”.  It seems to work if we’re one of the “haves”, but if we are one of the “have nots” we get resentful and think others are holding out on us; we don’t have anything else but money to hope in and don’t want to be treated as inferior. Our anxiety confirms that far from making humanity fair, post-modernism only makes big fish and little fish; no one wants to be the little fish.

Summary

If we trust in God, it doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor; we already have the most valuable possession, True Hope.  Such hope never disappoints, because we are convinced God loves us and will take care of us!  He is the Source of our assurance for the future, our passion for everyday life, and our motivation to reach out to others to share the hope we have.  He is deep and limitless, powerful and trenchant, compassionate and satisfying.  Where else would we want to go?

What is your MIQVEH?  Where are your hopes and dreams gathered? I challenge you to pray this prayer:

Father God, please reveal to me what I have been depending on.  Help me to put all my hope in You; take away my fears, my tendency to rely on myself, and any deceived notions I have about where my security lies.  You are my deep source of hope; I declare you to be my MIQVEH today.  Please send me Your Holy Spirit so I can spread your hope to others.  In the name of Your Son, Jesus, I ask.  Amen.

If you enjoyed this week’s Faith Fridays post, please share using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

If A Helping of Hope has helped you in the areas of Faith, Family, Food or Fun would you consider promoting it through Facebook, Twitter, or you other preferred social media outlets?

Thank you to all my wonderful readers!  I think this report gave me plenty of hope to keep writing for the upcoming year…A.M.

Howdy!  I apologize that it has been a long time since I posted anything.  In the middle of my ADVENT series, our family got sick.  We licked it in two days, only to have another sickness come back with a vengeance after our kids returned to school.  We spent the whole Christmas Holiday sick, hence so few posts. I think I will complete the ADVENT posts at a later date, in anticipation of next Christmas and re-post them at that time, with some editing.  (When I’m tired I tend to type too much!  I think I embody the term “ruminative writing”…I can hear my Written and Oral Communications prof shout “Cut the fluff!”  Ah, editing, how I love thee…)

I hope you had a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  This is the time of the year when we set goals and resolutions; this is all very well and good.  However, unless we were given superpowers as a gift at Christmas (!) few of us have acquired the necessary character and ability to keep our resolutions!  We know where we’d like to go this year, but we don’t have the steam to get there.  This Word-UP Wednesday is about a little-used practice that helps us not only set our compass in the right direction, but receive the God-power we need to get there: fasting!

Our first outside source is an interesting site called daniel-fast.com (which also has a blog on wordpress)  According to author Susan Gregory, the Daniel Fast is a restricted vegan diet practiced for up to three weeks.  It is based on Daniel chapters 1 and 10 where the prophet-statesman Daniel fasted from meat, bread, and wine and focused on eating vegetables and drinking water to humble himself before God as he prayed (presumably, three times a day as was his custom).  The word vegetables in Hebrew has been expounded to define anything growing from a seed–including seeds themselves–so that fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts are included.  Because this is a fast that includes solid foods, it can be maintained for an extended period of time: traditionally, for three weeks, the time it took for Daniel to receive an answer to prayer when he fasted as recorded in the book of Daniel, chapter 10.

Source: Uploaded by user via Amanda on Pinterest

Susan Gregory has developed recipe books on her website so give you ideas how to fast.  Recipes can be made for the whole family, adding meat and dairy for children or making modifications for family members with health concerns.  Here are some free recipes that should be easy to make.  I came up with a few of my own, which I hope will make it into a Recipe thuRsday post this week (like the Salsa-Stuffed Peppers above).

Our second outside source is a local area church (Bethany Assembly) who is doing the 21-day fast as part of its series on gaining Momentum in the New Year.  If you’d like to join in, here are short, daily devotionals–statements of faith and prayers based on Scripture–that accompany each of the 21 days.

Our third outside source (Jentezen Franklin Media Ministries) is a short outline of a Daniel Fast used to ask God for healing.  The website also has fasting contracts that responsible family members can sign and keep each other accountable to.

Explanations of the spiritual benefits and reasons for the fast are given at the above sites.  I hope you will use them to celebrate the New Year in a way that keeps you running strong in Hope until the next year (and beyond).  God really does speak to us when we seek Him with diligence!

Helping of Hope.  Right Choice: Use Daniel-Fasting to ask God FIRST what He may accomplish through you this year; humble yourself (through denying certain foods and acknowledging your dependence on Him) to bring yourself in agreement with His much better plan for you.  Bright Future: a greater power at work in your life to transform you into someone God can use to defeat giants, move mountains, and minister to hurting people!

If you enjoyed this Word-UP Wednesday post, please share with a friend using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Good Morning everyone!

May you have a wonderful time of celebration blessed by the presence of none other than Jesus Himself!  If He is the Savior of your heart, you already have the greatest gift of all; what a wonderful future awaits those who have put their trust and invested their hopes in Him!

For your enjoyment (I hope!) I have included a Christmas poem below that I wrote for my husband a few years ago.

Merry Christmas!

 

The Stable of My Heart 

Amanda Mauricio (c) 2005

He deserves a temple of gold,
A palace o’er His head,
And yet He came to rest in me,
A manger for His bed.
Within the trough of my desires,
The King of Heaven lay:
Such unmerited favor for
This heart of wood and clay!

Before the world retained a form
And sunlight spanned the sky,
The Father knew that Man would fall
And that The Son must die.
Knowing this, He did not select
A palace for Christ’s birth;
But chose the stable of my heart
And gave my soul its worth.

Had I but known the King would come
To rest within my frame,
I could have been a temple bright
And not a stable plain.
But even gilded palaces
Fall short of God’s design;
Man’s efforts are all futile for
This little Guest Divine.

He chose me just the way I am
With cobwebs, dust, and dirt:
Such an unstable construction
Weakened by years of hurt!
He didn’t come in judgment but
His life revealed all:
The dirty floors, dark corners, and
Rusty tools on my wall

I haven’t much to give: no gifts
Of Frankincense or Myrrh,
Just a life of disappointment,
Dreams that did not occur.
My accomplishments mean nothing;
My busyness is vain.
This I have to offer Him:
My guiltiness and shame.

My offering He bravely bore
Upon Calvary’s Hill:
What love the Christ must have for me
To do the Father’s Will!
To give up the joy of Heaven,
Forgiveness to impart,
And to take up residence in
The stable of my heart.

Since then the Holy Carpenter
Has chiseled at my beams,
Straightened a warped and buckled roof,
And repaired broken seams.
There still is so much work to do;
A stable still I am,
But I can be a palace when
I trust the Maker’s hands.

The hands that were once so little,
Wrapped up in strips of cloth;
The hands that hewed the wood that His
Creations were made of;
The hands that were pierced and bloodied,
He stretched them far apart:
He gave up His life to rebuild
The stable of my heart.

If you want to spread some Christmas Cheer, and a helping of hope besides, please share this with a friend using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

image

A healthier alternative to the jar!

I love mince pies at Christmas. It’s
an English tradition and it seems to have caught on in the ‘States too! Until now the only mincemeat I could find was the jarred variety: its main ingredient? Corn Syrup :-( Today I found this option which has fewer ingredients, all it requires is reconstitution with hot water. It is not a healthy as homemade (it contains brown sugar, dextrose, and cornstarch), but it is a much healthier version than conventional mincemeat products.

For a gluten free crust, consider mixing melted butter with almond meal (you can add a little honey or maple syrup if you wish) for a Graham-cracker crust alternative. Push the warm almond dough into the cups in a greased, mini-cupcake tray and bake for a few minutes until the insides look drier or lightly golden. Scoop reconstituted mincemeat into the shells and bake a few minutes more, until crusts are golden brown. (I’ll have measures and temps in recipe format shortly: if you experiment in the kitchen as I do, this should be enough info to get you started! You can always follow general Graham cracker crust and open mini-pie baking guidelines)

If you enjoyed this post, please share with a friend using one of the many options below. Thanks!

Just a quick note to apologize for the lack of posts over the past few days.  We’ve been fighting off sinus infections/colds in our house; we tend to take turns getting sick so it drags out over a few days.  We’ve recovered surprisingly quickly…much faster than we did before switching to whole foods!  Usually my kids would take one to two weeks to get rid of a hacking cough: we did it this time in two days!  Here’s how:

  • Breakfast: Banana (minerals, energy), Homemade Yogurt (probiotics, protein) flavored with Cranberry Jam (anti-infection), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Morning Snack: Hard-boiled eggs, 2 each for children, 4 each for teens and adults (vitamins), Sliced & Cored Organic Apples (fiber & vitamins), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Lunch: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with extra fresh, grated Garlic (minerals, vitamins, gelatin, natural antibiotic), Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Afternoon Snack: Grapes and Chips (Granny came to visit so chips became whole foods temporarily ;-) ) Honey-Juice (anti-infection, vitamins, comfort)
  • Dinner: Whole Grain Rotini Pasta (fiber) in Organic Spaghetti Sauce (vitamins) with Ground Turkey (protein) and Steamed Broccoli (vitamins & minerals), Grapefruit Juice (ran out of Honey-Juice!)

So what is this Honey-Juice, you may ask?

——————————————————–

Honey-Juice | A Helping of Hope

Honey-Juice helps to soothe sore throats and fight off colds!  Give 4 oz. (1/2 cup) to children over one year old every one to two hours.  Grapefruit Juice provides vitamin C and has an amazing ability to strip infection and film off the throat.  Honey soothes sore throats and has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (it also kills infectious amoebas, viruses, and reduces fever).  The added salt makes the liquid electrolytic, so it is more easily absorbed and better hydrates.

    • 1 cup Grapefruit Juice
    • 1 cup Filtered water
    • 1/4 cup Honey
    • 1/4 tsp Real Salt

Mix ingredients in a small pan (avoid nonstick) on medium heat until warm to the touch (do not over heat or allow to boil: high temperatures will kill off enzymes in the honey).  Sip before giving to children to ensure a safe drinking temperature.

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Did we use OTC drugs? Yes, somewhat.  Since I do not have a stocked apothecary (!) I still use Tylenol and Ibuprofen to help reduce fevers and Children’s Mucinex at night to help suppress the coughing (here is a better, all-natural option I need to try).  As a rule of thumb, I avoid drugs unless the fever approaches 102F and/or at night; a good night’s sleep is essential to getting better.  One day I hope to have natural remedies that are as effective as OTC drugs, yet without the artificial sweeteners and synthetic, side-effect inducing ingredients.  Until then, I use them sparingly and prayerfully, relying as much as possible on nutrition and physical rest.

Helping of Hope.  Right Choice: rely on good nutrition and rest to get well.  Medicines deal with symptoms, they do not typically give your body what it needs to function properly.  Supplements are not as well absorbed as vitamins and minerals in food and can be very expensive.  Antibiotics kill your body’s natural ability to fight infection and shut down your digestive system so you can’t get nutrients from your food.  Do as much as you can (with food and rest) as soon as you can to avoid having to take medicines, supplements, and antibiotics or it may take you several weeks to get back to normal.  Bright future: FASTER recovery time, less money spent on OTC remedies, no antibiotic-resistant illnesses, healthier immune system!

I hope this Christmas finds everyone well and not sick. If you find yourself ill, try the Honey-Juice!  It works wonders…

If you liked this…natural remedy? post (!), please share with a sick friend using one of the many options below.  Thanks!

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