Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Simple Summer Dessert: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Memorial Day harkens the unofficial start of summer! And If you’re looking for a delightfully quick, whole-foods dessert to add to your festivities, this easy creation is sure to please. Start to finish, it only takes a few minutes, making this recipe a must-have treat to whip up throughout these coming summer months. With just a few simple, nourishing ingredients, this is my go-to when seasonal berries are at their peak. The whipped cream also pairs delightfully well with peaches, on apple pie, or dolloped in a cup of coffee.

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Summer Berries with Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

Fresh berries of your choosing
1 – 2 teaspoons organic whole cane sugar
1 lemon
1 pint organic whipping cream
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Prep your berries by washing and cutting (if necessary). Sprinkle one or two teaspoons of organic whole cane sugar atop your berries, and add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Toss to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours, up to 1 day in advance. Meanwhile, prep your whipping cream.

A Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and CompositionA Whole-Foods Treat: Berries and Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream | Faith and Composition

Maple-Sweetened Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is simply pure cream whipped until soft peaks form and then sweetened to taste. It was one of the first sweet treats I made when we began to switch to whole foods, and it can’t be any easier to prepare. Before beginning, choose a bowl that will allow the cream to nearly double in size. Chill the bowl and your beaters in the freezer for ten to 15 minutes.

Once chilled, whip the cream on high using a hand-held mixer until it nearly doubles and soft peaks form. Add 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Whip on medium until just combined. Taste and add more maple syrup if you like a sweeter whipped cream. Serve immediately over the berries. Enjoy!

What dessert will be gracing your table this holiday weekend? I’d love to hear some of your favorites in the comments! I’ll be back on Wednesday to post week 4 of the F&C Reading Group. Until then … happy Memorial Day!

Faith and Composition

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.

Succulents in a Coconut Half Shell

Succulents in a Coconut Half Shell | Faith and Composition

With spring in full swing and summer beckoning just around the corner, I find myself longing to infuse some fresh air into tired spaces. From a figurative standpoint, I’m trying to make a little room for some white space in my mind; trying to clear some anxious thoughts and replace them with the peace that passes understanding. And from a literal standpoint, I’m bringing a bit of green into our home.

I’ve always loved having living plants throughout our home, but admittedly, I can’t always keep them alive. Enter succulents. They’re rather fuss-free, so long as they’re planted in well-draining soil and are situated in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. If you’re looking for some living greenery that is easy in the maintenance department yet big on visual appeal, succulents are the way to go. And for an interesting presentation that adds texture and contrast, plant your succulents in a coconut half shell. For tips on planting, click here.

Succulents in a Coconut Half Shell | Faith and CompositionA coconut half shell serves as a perfect vessel for succulents. It’s impermeable, and the size is ideal for nestling one small plant inside. When planting in a coconut half shell, use only the half that has the coconut eyes. Those eyes will rest on the bottom, anchoring the shell and allowing it to sit flat when atop a table or shelf.

Succulents in a Coconut Half Shell | Faith and Composition

How about you … how do you bring greenery into your home? In what creative containers have you potted succulents or other plants? 

Faith and Composition

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted

 

Honest Contemplations and Week Three of the Reading Group

Sharing some honest authenticity, plus week three of the reading group | Faith and Composition
Do you ever have those days where the cumulative effect of the urgent, must-be-done-soon tasks is a bit overwhelming? I’m having one of those moments today. Thinking about the coming summer, preparations for vacation, home-repair projects for our soon-to-be-listed house, meals to plan, mouths to feed, diapers to change, budgets to make and keep, errands to run … it can all hit me hard. This life is so busy. Sometimes I embrace it wholeheartedly, and other times I long for the simple, the slower pace. I long for space that invites my kids to run and my mind to breathe, unfettered by the trappings of maintenance and responsibilities.

I don’t have a pretty conclusion to those thoughts today. I’m just sharing an honest confession of where I am. But I do know that grace will trump guilt every time! And I know that when my spirit feels harried, it’s usually because I’m not anchoring myself in the rock that is higher than I. So if you’re feeling a bit like me, try to carve out some time in God’s Word (even if it’s a single verse as you wait in the carpool line), and let your soul lap up the life-giving water that flows from the well-spring of life itself. And you know what? I’ll say a prayer for you. Will you say a prayer for me too?

And then if you have some more time this week and want to dig a bit deeper into the unquenchable grace of God, join us in our online reading group featuring  Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl. We’re diving into week three today, but it’s never too late to join! You can be as active or passive as you’d like. You can also choose to read the book on your own, or use the questions posed here as a springboard for a larger group study. Just know that an invitation stands. If you’re new here, you can find all the details here. Then click over for week one and week two. And remember, you can get a 40% off coupon code for the book (click here to buy) when you subscribe to F&C. Just enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right, and click “I want to Follow F&C!” The 40% off coupon code will arrive in your inbox shortly. 

A Reading Group with Faith and Composition | Week Three, Grace for the Good Girl 

WELCOME TO WEEK 3.

This week we’ll be reading chapters 7, 8 and 9. Remember to leave comments via BookShout! as you go so we can all interact and have an ongoing dialogue. Then use the following questions as a way to dig deeper into the text yourself, or use these as a source of discussion for a larger group study.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR REFLECTION:

If you’re studying the book as part of a larger group, share a little bit about your testimony. How did you come to know the Lord? How has your testimony affected your view of grace?

In chapter 7, Emily write that what looks like strength on the outside is actually a deep cavernous well of neediness. How do you mask your own needs? Why do you mask them?

Do you agree that “there is more power in sharing our weakness than our strengths?” Why or why not? When we share our weaknesses, who gets the glory? (see Corinthians 12:9).

Do you (consciously or subconsciously) prevent people from getting too close because you’re afraid they will discover your own weaknesses and insecurities?

Read Luke 15:11-32. Who do you empathize with? The younger son or the older son? Why?

The younger son sinned in obvious ways; the older son’s sin was more subversive. How did he sin?

What does the older son’s response to his father reveal to us about his understanding of grace?  

I look forward to hearing from each of you on these thoughts, dear friends! Have a blessed week!

Faith and Composition

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.

 

Encouragement for When You Have a Dream

A Little Encouragement for When You Have a Dream | Faith and Composition

In the small map-dot town of Mansfield, Missouri stands a home that houses a desk bearing a unique claim to fame. In the early 1900’s, a woman sat down at that desk to pen the adventures of her pioneering childhood. By today’s standards, she was considered a senior citizen when she started to write. Sixty-five years were behind her when she published her first book; her hair was graying, her skin showed wrinkles. But she had stories to tell, and age would not hinder the storyteller.

The efforts of this beloved author have resulted in an enduring legacy loved by millions of readers, but she couldn’t have seen that then. In the early 1900s, when she picked up a pencil and scratched out words on a paper tablet, she was merely answering the call to write; giving life and breath to the stirrings within.

A few weeks ago I stood in that home with my mom and kids. As my husband served on an international mission trip, the kids and I spent time in my hometown, foraging familiar haunts, exploring a few historical sites. Earlier that week we’d traipsed across a civil war battlefield, treading the ground that had seen the clash of Union and Confederate soldiers. On Wednesday, we drove an hour outside town to tour the home of this beloved writer. And as I stood and looked at the place she sat, I wondered if fear or doubt ever consumed her. Did she ever wonder if her words would impact readers? Did she dare to hope that her stories might inspire adventure?

Inside the heart of any writer is a life bursting to spring forth on the wings of words. But the birth process is painful. Fear and doubt can be constant companions, and there’s a certain amount of inner trembling that occurs every time I begin to compose thoughts and order them into coherent prose. I think that’s true in any creative pursuit. I think that’s true in life. A heart fully alive demands a certain amount of bravery.

Nowhere was that truth more visible to me than in the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because standing in her Missouri farmhouse, I saw how the life of the revered luminary author intersected with the reality of a 65-year-old woman who simply chose to answer the call to write.

The Missouri home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Missouri home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Laura could have said no to the stirrings within. With nearly seven decades behind her, she could have used her age as an excuse to stifle the storyteller. But she didn’t. Laura Ingalls Wilder silenced the critic within, gave breath to bravery and wrote. And in so doing, she gave the world the gift of well-loved literature that has spanned generations.

I don’t know about you. I don’t know what desires may be planted in your heart. You may not be called to impact millions of readers through pages of prose, but I know this: I know the fingerprints of a creative God are imprinted on your very soul. He has a purpose for you, and He has uniquely gifted you to accomplish that purpose.

That truth is exhilarating and exciting, but it can also be frightening. Fears and doubts may storm within. Feelings of inadequacy and insufficiency may paralyze. The critic’s words may rage. There are a lot of formidable obstacles, I know. But I also know that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power

So the questions remain for you and me. What stirrings are waiting to take flight? How has God gifted you? And how might you choose courage over fear to nurture those gifts?

If the seed of a dream is planted deep within, I pray you may be encouraged by Laura’s story. Silence the critic, be brave, do the work. And remember … age didn’t stifle the storyteller. 

 

/ / /

Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!” Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

Our Whirlwind Travels and Week Two of the Reading Group

A Reading Group with Faith and Composition | Week Two, Grace for the Good Girl

This last week was a busy one for us. Last Sunday, my husband boarded a plane bound for the jungles of Belize. It was his third year to participate in this particular mission trip. And although I had traveled with him the first year (an experience that led me on a journey through anxiety and ultimately revealed God’s goodness), I opted to remain in the states with the children this time. So while he headed to Central America, the kids, my mom (who had flown down Saturday), and myself headed to Missouri. We spent the week with my family, touring some historical sites and soaking in time with loved ones. On Friday we loaded up the car and drove back home, only to drive my mom to the airport on Saturday so she could fly back home. God bless my sacrificial mom; there’s no way I could have made the drive with all three kids by myself! The hubby returned late Saturday night, and we were thrilled to have him back!

Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind week, and we are loving our time back home! I will be sharing a bit more on our adventures and some thoughts I had while in Missouri later this week, so be sure to check back soon. But for now, it’s time for week two of our F&C reading group!

A Reading Group with Faith and Composition | Week Two, Grace for the Good Girl


Today begins week two of our little online reading group. If you’ve already joined, I hope you’re enjoying the book! And if you’ve yet to join but want to be a part, it’s never too late!
 If you’d like to hop in and start reading with us, the
details are all right here. In short, we’re reading Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl together, as one collective community. Using the e-reading platform BookShout!, we get the opportunity to interact with one another via comments as we journey chapter by chapter. Each Monday, I share the weekly reading assignment, as well as questions for discussion or reflection. Ready to join? We’re so glad to have you along! Just download the bookreview the details, and then hop back here. Now let’s dive into week two!

WELCOME TO WEEK 2.

I hope you enjoyed week 1. (If you’re just joining us, you can grab week 1 right here, and then come back here for week 2 at your own pace.) This week we’ll be reading chapters 4, 5 and 6. Remember to leave comments via BookShout! as you go. That way we can all interact and have an ongoing dialogue. You can also leave comments here on the blog. Apply the following questions after you’ve read the chapters as a way to dig a bit deeper into the text and God’s word. You can meditate on these yourself, or use these as a source of discussion for a larger group study.  

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR REFLECTION:

How can we begin to let go of flat, “I’m fine” answers in exchange for gracious honesty with one another?

What prevents us from being honest and transparent in the first place? And how does that hinder intimate friendships?

Let’s take it a step further … do you ever go to God with an “I’m fine” attitude? He knows when we sit and when we rise; He perceives our comings and our goings; He knows our every thought. So what happens when we go to God with an “I’m fine” attitude when in fact, we’re not?

Read John 4:1-26. This is the story of a woman who’s hiding behind a mask. She’s not a “good girl,” but she is in hiding. She’s come to the well at a time when the other townspeople aren’t there so she can avoid them, hide from her reputation. But she meets Jesus there. And He mercifully unmasks her (verses 17-18). How does the unmasking before Jesus impact this woman?

How are others’ lives impacted because she is authentic with Christ?

In what areas of your life do you strive to be good based on your own volition? How might that change if you surrendered it completely to the Holy Spirit, instead of relying on your own striving?

Read Luke 10:38-41. How was Martha striving to be good? What did she miss out on as a result of her striving?

Fast forward to John 11:17-23, and we see that Martha gets it. Mary and Martha’s brother has died. What does Martha do in verse 20? What would she have missed out on if she had stayed behind and done the “good” duties?

In Philippians 3:1-11, Paul says he was a Pharisee of the highest degree, a good Jew, a faultless law keeper. Read Paul’s litany of “good” behavior. How might you be like Paul? Are there areas of your life where you strive to be faultless?

How did an encounter with the risen Christ change Paul? How should an encounter with Christ transform our efforts at “good” behavior?

I’m enjoying the opportunity to walk this journey with you, and I so look forward to hearing your thoughts, friends! I’ll be back on Wednesday, but until then, have a blessed week!

Faith and Composition

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted.