Monthly Archives: March 2012

Taming My Tongue

I’ve been studying Ephesians for a few weeks. It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. Look at some of the phrases—Glorious grace, glorious inheritance, incomparably great power, incomparable riches of His grace, lavished on us—these words depict a generous, loving God.

What about the truths in the six chapters? Blessed us with every spiritual blessing, chose us, saved us by grace, created us to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do—these are strong truths to cling to when life tries to knock us off our path.

My favorite verse from Ephesians is 3:20, “[He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…,” but the verse I want to highlight today is the verse that I failed just a few days ago, verse 4:29.

I chatted with my twin sons while we waited for their dad to fill the van with gas. In my discussion, I compared a group of people we had just visited to group from another area. Unfortunately, one of the words I used was oddball. When I finished speaking, Quinn asked, “Who were some of the oddball people, Mom?” As if on cue, that verse popped into my brain, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

I immediately tried to explain my point better. Then, of course, Lane joined in with, “Don’t start backpeddling now, Mom.”

If I had used interesting or unique instead of oddball, I could have made the same case, but the connotation would have been much more positive.  If I had heeded the verse earlier, however, I might have changed the whole conversation.  None of the comparison was necessary because the words weren’t helpful for building others up nor did they benefit those who were listening. My seventeen-year-old sons reminded me that thinking before speaking is a good thing.

Thank Goodness for God’s Word that teaches me how to live, for God’s grace and mercy that covers me when I fail, and for sons who keep their mother on her spiritual toes.

Irish Brown Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

I love the brown bread that’s served at almost every pub and restaurant in Ireland. It’s dense and coarse and full of whole grain flavor. I’ve tried several different recipes to recreate the taste but never came close until this recipe that I’m sharing today. I found it a few years ago in Good Housekeeping. This bread doesn’t taste exactly like the delicious bread I remember in Galway, but it’ll work until I can return. 

Heat a baking sheet to 350 degrees. (I use a stone.)

2 C whole wheat flour

2 C all-purpose flour

1 1/2 C wheat bran

1 C wheat germ

1 1/2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t salt

1/2 stick butter

2 1/4 C buttermilk

In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. Stir in the buttermilk. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead about 5 or 6 times. Shape into a ball and flatten to about 9 inches in diameter.

Remove stone from oven and place dough round on the center. Cut an X about 1/2 inch deep across the top of the round. Bake for 1 hour. Move to a cooling rack. Cover with a cotton towel and cool for an hour before slicing.

Enjoy the bread with Irish cheeses like Tipperary, Blarney Castle, or Dubliner. We also like dunking a slice in some spinach soup–my family’s favorite on March 17th.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day.