Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tying knots in our tethers . . .

I reckon that nobody gets through this life without having experienced difficulties at one time or another. The test of greatness lays in how we handle them and what our attitude is towards them. When you look at those we seem to put on pedestals, you can easily see that they are no strangers to pain or disappointment no matter how charmed a life it might appear that they are living on the surface. Indeed, into each life some rain must fall . . . and into some lives more rain falls than in others. I was thinking about this the other day and found some great quotes that some famous people have made about this very subject.

General Charles De Gaulle said, "I find difficulties and problems attractive. It is only by coming to grips with difficulty that I can realize my potentialities."

Bishop Philip Brooks wrote, "I do not pray for an easy life, I pray to be a stronger man; I do not pray for tasks equal to my powers, but pray for powers equal to my tasks."

John Mason Neale, remembered for his carols "Good King Wenceslas" and "Good Christian Men Rejoice", is quoted as saying, "If possible it shall be done, and if impossible, it must be done."

Nobody can avoid suffering at some time and we are often tempted to ask when bad things happen . . . "Why me?" The truth is, that through our life's experience, both the good and the bad . . . much of the warmth, understanding and compassion inherent in each of us can and has the opportunity to emerge . . . if we will only let it.

I am reminded of the great composer, Sir Edward Elgar and this story. One day he sat listening to a young singer who was singing with faultless technique and marvellous tone . . .

"She is good," he said afterwards, "but not great. When something happens in her life to touch her heart . . . then she will be great."

I love the heartfelt prayer of an unknown writer, which says . . . "Lord, when I get to the end of my tether, tie a knot in it for me to hold on to."

May we, each one of us, find knots in the ends of our tethers and the strength to be able to get over the potholes in the road of life . . .

I have been slimming lately, or at least trying to. The hardest part comes in me trying to take the weight off, whilst trying to keep the weight on Todd. He is one of those lucky people who seemingly can eat whatever he likes and never gains an ounce. Actually he has a real problem keeping weight on and loses it at the drop of a hat and so it's a real struggle to keep him at a good weight. Anyways, it's been slimming food for me and of course I don't have time to cook two separate meals so he gets it as well and I try to augment it for him with extra potatoes and a treat or two. Yesterday I made him some gingerbread, which he really loves and I served it up to him after his dinner with a delicious Cider Lemon Sauce and a huge dollop of whipped cream on top. It went down a real treat!

Makes one 8 inch cake

This gingerbread is everything that a good gingerbread should be . . . dark, moist and spicy.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup molasses
(if you cannot get molasses in your area as is sometimes the case, use equal parts of golden syrup and dark treacle as a substitute)
1 scant cup of packed light or dark brown sugar
2 TBS ground ginger
1/4 tsp each, ground allspice, cinnamon and freshly ground black pepper
the grated zest of one lemon
2 cups of flour, sifted
6 TBS butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan and set it aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and frothy. Add the molasses and continue to beat. Stir together the brown sugar, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, pepper and lemon zest. Gradually add this mixture to the beaten egg mixture, beating it together until well blended.

Lower the speed of the mixer and beat in about 1/3 of the flour, then the melted butter and then another third of the flour. Stir together the buttermilk, milk and soda and then stir that into the batter. Fold the last third of the flour into the batter, mixing it in only until it is evenly blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the gingerbread shrinks slightly away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you find that the gingerbread is browning too quickly while it is baking, loosely cover it with some foil halfway through the baking time.

Cool it in the pan on a wire rack and cut into large squares to serve along with some of the following sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

*Cider Lemon Sauce*
Makes about 1 3/4 cups

Lemon sauces are perfect to serve with warm gingerbread. This one is a little bit different than the usual lemon sauce, and oh so very delicious!

1/3 cup sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pressed apple juice
pinch salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
the finely grated zest of one lemon

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a saucepan until the mixture is free of lumps. Whisk in the cider and salt and then place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and then boil gently, whisking until smooth and lightly thickened, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cool to lukewarm. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve spooned over the warm gingerbread. Any leftover sauce can be kept tightly covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.


  1. Marie, any ideas on slimming whilst still enjoying yummy food? Any particular recipes that you are using in your slimming efforts?

  2. Marie, your post is so true, it's all in how you look at it. I used to say "god I don't need any more lessons today" when I felt I'd had enought for one day.

  3. I understand about those "knots" I just wish I didn't have to go what I have been through so "extreme" just a little bit would have been nice :) The recipe looks great, this is another I'm going to save & try out on Cindy... she's going to have to stop being so darned picky about what she eats cuz I'm getting bored cooking/baking the same old thing all the time.
    Blessings, Teresa

  4. I like the title of this post, Marie...and all these wise quotes, as well as your own wise words. :o) Problems and challenges are ways for us to expand our horizons. The trick is, I think, to rise to our own occasion, to get past struggle, hurt, obstacles and see a greater truth. The path of life is never easy, and it's not meant to be. But the path has lots we can learn from along the way. And a long the way, there is dessert--hooray! ;o) Oh, I just adore gingerbread! It is such fall treat...and your cider cream is a wonderful finishing touch here! It's so hard for me to get molasses here, I've not made gingerbread in a long time. I made it once with a dark corn syrup...not quite the same--LOL! Hope to catch you for a chat today. PC issues kept me offline much of yesterday. See you soon...Love and ((BIG HUGS))

  5. I was just thinking about making some gingerbread this morning for my Christmas baskets! Tell Todd he's got a problem I'd love to have! If I don't keep my butt on the treadmill, it would just grow and grow!

  6. Marie: I know all about tying those kind of knots! That gingerbread looks fabulous, will have to try soon! Much love, Raquel XO

  7. Marie:
    What an excellent post! It reminds me of CS Lewis's analogy to building a house with your life. It hurts sometimes to turn into a grand castle. Still working on that. I have the same issue when I diet. My poor husband loses more weight than I do.

  8. so many great quotes and thoughts marie! thanks:)

  9. This is another beautiful post meant just for me today. Thank you Marie.

    I am trying to cook and eat right here in our house too. So far no slimming has taken place so I guess I'd better work a little harder at it.....after I have the gingerbread with cider sauce.

    Have a nice evening.

  10. Wisdom always in your thoughts and contemplations on this journey of life. We certainly could not enjoy the great joys in life if we had not sorrows. Tests and trials to refine us, are proof of God's love. Good things to think about today.
    Gingerbread...mmmm it is definitely going into my menu next week! Have a blessed day!

  11. I have had plenty dark times Marie,but I overcome saying without dark there would never be light.Yummy one of my favourites today.Looks scrumpcious.Mmmmmmmmm I hav elost weight since I moved over here doing nothing more than the extra garden which I never had at the coast.Alomost a stone Yippee .Have alovely evening.Thankyou for your visit to mine.regards to Todd.Take care God Bless Kath xx

  12. Marie, my Mom always enjoyed making us a nice gingerbread with lemon sauce and so I thought of all the times we enjoyed Mom's! Your sauce, I'm sure, is extra special! Both recipes go in my little dessert book once I get a chance to copy them down...I've been baby-sitting for our great niece who is 2 years and ill with a virus. Right now, she is shhh! Sleeping! Tell me how in the world can you create all these goodies, enjoy the scents while they are baked and not dare to eat any? You must really be in control of your eating while you are slimming! I just cave in and eat what I shouldn't...but that's because I am not on any plan yet.

  13. Marie, what a wonderful post and How did you know? :) I can relate to your weight woes w/ a hubby who can eat anything and not gain, whereas all I have to do is look at something and gain 10lbs! That gingerbread looks divine, btw!

  14. I love the bit about asking God to tie a knot in the end of your tether for you to hold on to. We all need that sometimes.

    If you didn't love him so much, wouldn't Todd just infuriate you! There he is dropping out of his clothes while you're trying hard to get into yours. Not fair, not fair at all. I bet he doesn't really notice whether he gets fed or not. I know a woman like that. Can't cook and if someone didn't lead her to the nosebag she wouldn't bother! And not even a spotty face!

  15. I know how hard it is Marie to have to cook for people , still make treats and try to loose weight. It's not easy but know you will do it.

  16. Great thoughts indeed. I love your inspiring ways and always look forward to the treat at the end. Wish I had Todd's metabolism~sadly I don't weight always an issue but one thing I can say is I am happy with who I am and if I loose great if not well I'll try anyway. Love you and enjoy your blog.

  17. Hello again dear. They excused us from the temple early tonight since we were subbing and will go again tomorrow. So tonight we got home a little after 10 which is nice.

    I am really tired so I won't wait up to say hi on your new post...but I am wishing you a really good day. Enjoy YM and seminary if you teach this week... I've lost track of which weeks you teach. I'll be thinking of you.

    Love, Lura

  18. You are so adorable. I just have to tell you again how much I look forward to each and every word you write, and taking in your sweet spirit. Thanks for all the warm and fuzzy moments you give me on days when I really need them.

  19. I just love coming to visit here Marie, although I sometimes am unable to post a comment for some odd reason or another. I hope I am able to today. Your wise words and quotes always inspire me and after reading them all I get a double doze of joy when I read your delicious recipes. Just wonderful!
    Good luck with your diet...Todd is a lucky man not needing to watch his figure...I wish...I wish! Sigh!
    Jeanie xxx


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