Posted by: Heather | May 30, 2010

Happy Reunions and Cookies…

I Chronicles 16:8-10  Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.  9  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.   10  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Hello, everyone! I hope your last few days have been very blessed ones. I’ve been away from my computer for several days now. Memorial Day weekend always brings with it one of my favorite events of the entire year…the annual NC homeschooling conference.

As a homeschooling mom, the days can sometimes get very long and tiring. But for this one weekend a year, parents from all over NC (and other states) can come and get re-fueled, and have their vision renewed as to why we continue down this path we call homeschooling. It is very tiring, but at the same time very rewarding.

I’ve been attending this particular conference for many years. To be exact, this was my 15th year in attendance, and I’ve never missed one since I started going. It never fails to encourage me. However, for the past 3 conferences, I took up a new habit …volunteering. I came into it innocently enough. My older children and I offered to come and help set up the volunteer table early that first year we volunteered. In so doing, I was able to offer my services to the volunteer coordinator. Each year, my volunteer time has increased to the point that I actually went to no workshops this time. I did visit the book and curriculum fair for a few hours throughout the weekend, but the majority of my time was spent sitting behind the volunteer table with the ladies I have grown to love over the past few years, and some new ones that became part of the ‘family’ this year.

From behind that table, we often get to hear comments of all types. We find out what people liked and what they didn’t. We see the beauty of families that walk together with the Lord, and feel a kinship with people we’ve never met before.   We even had the opportunity this year to talk with a dad who wants to homeschool his children, but his wife and her friends have a stereotypical view about homeschooling families.  He drove almost 2 hours alone for one afternoon to gather information about these ‘homeschoolers’.   There was also a young mom attending with her own mother.  This young mom is planning to homeschool her children, but her own mother isn’t too sure how this is going to work.  We were also blessed to be able to set some of this grandmother’s fears to rest that her grandchildren wouldn’t turn out to be social or academic misfits.

Of course, the best part for me is during those times where it quiets down a bit, and we get to talk.  Through the course of the weekend, I listened to one of my ‘table buddies’  give thanks to God for things He’s done in her life, changing her in areas that many would think unchangeable.   She spoke of how she dealt with this certain attitude in her life, and how God had completely transformed her into another person.  I also got to see a gentleman come to the table distraught over having lost his wallet.  I was working on something else at the time, but she prayed with this man, asking the Lord to allow his wallet to be found.  Within 10 minutes, the lost wallet was returned to our table.  Then I witnessed the extreme joy she had to be able to call and let him know his wallet was found intact and how God answers prayer.   The weekend passed with many moments such as these, and my being able to hear the joy that she displayed at the wonderful things God has done in her life, even recently allowing her to win someone to the Lord that she had not seen in 20 years, until they got back in touch through Facebook.  She probably thought I didn’t say much while she was speaking, because I didn’t.  But, she’ll never know how much she ministered to me this weekend, along with the other ladies I had the opportunity to spend my time with.  I have been truly blessed in ways I still believe I can’t even grasp yet.

Although I saw many things this weekend…some good, and some bad, I do remember that most of the time, God was getting the glory for something.  Did I miss anything by not being able to attend the conference workshops?  No, not really.  Don’t get me wrong…this weekend is needful for many of us as parents to renew and refuel our vision.  I know there were many good, encouraging workshops to be heard, and I plan to hear them.  My chance for ministry comes later.   Through the hours my family volunteered, we earned most of the workshop CD’s I wanted.  So, I get the best of both worlds…to be available to minister to others through the weekend, and the opportunity to BE ministered to as I listen to these CD’s I received in return for my volunteer time.  God has such a way of working things out so He is glorified!

Even though I’ve just been doing this a few years, it already seems like a happy family reunion every time we get together.  We enjoy seeing one another, and ‘pulling off’ another conference.  You’re probably wondering what cookies has to do with this reunion.  Well, get a bunch of ladies together, and what do they usually want?  Chocolate, of course!  And every reunion has its share of desserts.  But, this particular group likes to have their chocolate in the healthiest way possible.  So, this gave me an opportunity to bless them with a batch of healthy chocolate chip/peanut butter cookies!  I promised them I would post the recipe to my blog so they could have it.  I brought a large box, and they all managed to disappear before the conference was over, so I would consider that a hit.   The biggest surprise about these cookies was an unusual ingredient (which by the way, I’m famous for).  LOL  I had recently heard that butter could be replaced in cookie and other baking recipes by pureed beans!  Yes, beans!  I couldn’t believe it myself, but the results were raved about by all, so I’m a believer now.

So for all of you, my ‘volunteer table buddies’, with the Lord’s help, we did it again!  One more successful conference is now under our belts, and I am now at home again, ready to enjoy all of those workshop CD’s, being blessed myself after blessing others!!   Others may think pointing the way to registration for a ton of people would be boring, but it’s not just a job…it’s an adventure!  Always look for the opportunities during those seemingly mundane tasks to give glory to the LORD.    Praise the LORD, and thank you my friends for a memorable weekend!   I already look forward with anticipation to next year, when I can once again be reunited with my friends, and swap stories of God’s grace and provision.  Lord willing, I’ll be there with bells on, carrying a bigger box of cookies!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from a recipe in Bread for Life, Volume 1, Beth Holland)

½ cup white beans (great northern, navy, etc)*

½ cup natural peanut butter

½ cup honey crystals (or evaporated cane juice)**

½ cup Sucanat

1 egg

1 tsp real vanilla

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup flour***

1 cup chocolate chips

*Beans may be used in place of butter.  They give a nice texture without the fat, and add lots of fiber!

**Evaporated cane juice can be found at Wal-Mart under the brand name Florida Crystals with the sugar.  Sucanat is usually found at the health food store.  It is much darker and used like brown sugar.

***You may use wheat flour, which is readily available at the store.  I have a grinder for my grains, so I substituted equal parts of whole barley, spelt, and brown rice, grinding them together into a flour.  You may also grind these in a blender, ONLY if you have a blender that can handle dry grains.  Please be sure your blender will handle them before trying it.  That’s a good way to burn up a blender.  LOL

Place beans (with some liquid) in a food processor, along with peanut butter.  Process until smooth.  Cream this mixture with honey crystals and Sucanat.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Mix dry ingredients together and add to wet ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a non-stick sprayed baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Responses

  1. Thank you and all the other ladies who volunteered. Every single time I walked by the volunteer table there were smiles and laughter. The NCHE board truly appreciates all that you ladies do.
    Judy Eddy

    • Judy, you’re so welcome! It was definitely my pleasure. Thanks to all of you who do so much to make the conference happen every year. 🙂 God bless you!

  2. Dearest Heather,
    How true all you said and how encouraging your words are. I love how God causes paths to cross….He has crossed mine with some unbelievable ladies whom I cherish.
    I too am SO looking forward to next year’s conference……
    blessings!

    • Thanks, Debbie! I too am amazed how God accomplishes this. But, He always does!

  3. Heather,
    What a great posting. The conference is a wonderful time of reunions, refreshment and renewal of purpose.
    Thanks for the recipe!
    But mostly, thank you for your servant’s heart.
    Peace.

    • Lynne, thank you so much! It was great seeing you there too, and we appreciate all the help you gave!


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