Living As I Write

Life is so busy that I hardly have time to do anything. Thankfully I’ve been given the chance to spend more of my time writing. If I were to choose any profession in the world, it would be to write. (Pro Mom is already a given of course.) But even though I have more time to write, it doesn’t seem like I’m making much headway. No matter how much I think and revise and work my stories don’t seem any closer to being finished.

Of course it would be easier if I wasn’t becoming a scheduling fiend. I still hold to my standard of “grace time” so I make sure there is a fifteen minute gap between every task just in case, but I’m still working on multiple projects at once.

It hit me while I was renewing our chalk board. I’m not sure why, but I wrote “Go on an adventure.” Adventures are such a big part of my life that I’ve always been hungry for more. With chalk on my fingers and the board in my hand I decided that it’s been too long since I’ve had an adventure of my own.

I became a writer because my mind is filled with adventures. I want to edit stories so that I can help other writer’s share their own adventures. But sometimes I forget that it’s ok to live your own adventures. Life has been a whirl of schedules, work, more work and trying to balance more schedules. (Ever tried to make the absent minded professor organize – and then stick to – a schedule? Try authors. They’re insufferable!)

My mind was made up; I put the chalkboard above the book section of our little toy store and closed up for labor day weekend two hours later. With my laptop in hand I stuffed everything else I brought into my car and walked to one of our local coffee shops. We have two, but I chose the one that had the best atmosphere for writing. (Dim lighting, comfortable chairs, organic tea that would make a hippy cry in ecstacy, art everywhere….yep.) I have no idea whether or not they have wifi. I didn’t ask. With my own personal little pot of tea I settled down in a corner and pulled out my laptop.

For once I managed to edit a chapter for another writer and work on revising my novel. Once I finished I looked around for a minute and thought of something….I was living my dream. Going somewhere I didn’t usually go, writing, taking in conversations and the pleasant environment around me.

I want to live as I write. When I say that I mean that I want to enjoy my life. Writing is a passion, not a pest. What no one ever told me is that passions were meant to be painful. (Look up the greek, peeps. Thanks, my theology professor!) So now that I know what I’m getting into – the easy days like Saturday, and the hard days like today – I still want to be a writer. And a teacher. And an editor. And a wife. And someday, a mother. If God wills it, I’ll get a blackbelt – maybe teach some little warriors of my own. #Goals

I’ve been so overwhelmed trying to choose from all of these things that I’ve forgotten. It’s not my will be done. Not even my will be done in my life – just God’s will….for the story that He is weaving I am but a thread. Were I to venture out on my own it would result in such a chaotic knot that only He could get it out. And where would the story go then? Would it not be greater to fulfill my purpose, no matter how difficult or impossible for me alone?

One word cannot make a story. Thus, it must follow the words that came before, and lead to the words beyond. Why would a single word wish to stand out above the rest? That is not how a story is made.

Why must everything I write seem so unoriginal? why would I choose topics like writing or women in the church or theology points that are most certainly beyond me?

Indeed, why would such a simple pair of ink-stained hands be given the opportunity to share her words with the world when she herself is nothing more than a life breathed by God?

That, dear one, is the key. Unlike words which are nothing on their own, a life breathed by God is loved by Him no less than any other. But like the heroes of your stories, you cannot write your own. No character has the power to direct their own lives without the will of their author. At times they do try, but it leads to chaos.

My life is not simple. It never was. One saturday long ago I was inspired to write a blog post. Months later, life went from chaotic to absolute….well…I don’t even know how to define it anymore. Let’s just say that “grace time” has disappeared. Time isn’t mine, it never was, and I get the feeling that I’m never going to have enough of it again.

The grace remains. Grace to live, breath & write as I am given.

Shalom.

Yael Eliyahu

 

 

Move With Purpose

So many strikes, with so many purposes. Executed with precision, deliberation, and perfection, they formed near-perfect forms; each one struck more than just the air. A story came to light in the eyes of each practitioner.

Watching the high ranks practice their poomse’s, an ache slammed into me. Unexpected, unforeseen, I hurt with a dozen realizations.

What am I doing here? Why do I go to Tae Kwan Do?

I haven’t practiced a single Kata in over a month. I haven’t worked on any of my karate skills in weeks. I miss doing team kata with my fiancé. I miss hearing our Sensei call out instructions & counts.

Poomse’s, Katas, forms…..they are all so similar yet so very different. Why, in the midst of a class that I have come to love, did I suddenly long for the old practice? Why is it that no matter how much I practice, I feel hollow? It’s never enough, it’s never quite right….the current of passion that thrills through me with every kata is not there.

Where is my passion? How can I love two classes for such different reasons and miss the one so badly?

I dwelt on these things through the end of class and on the drive home.

Understanding hit me hard – it seems that tonight my thoughts cannot come gently…only in sudden, overwhelming bursts.

The last month has been consumed with “what can I get out of martial arts?” Health, strength, speed, the betterment of myself, a good attitude, overall learning. Something is wrong and I don’t understand why it could be.

Images of slow, deliberate strikes repeated over and over came to my sight. Hours of practicing, going until my muscles ached.

That hasn’t happened in a long time. Instead, my time is devoted to overall training. Endurance, fitness, improvement.

These are good things. They are helping me a great deal. But that’s not why I joined karate. It’s also not why I joined Tae Kwan Do.

My interest in martial arts began with myself. All of the things that I mentioned before…”what can I get out of it?” Every answer was a good one, and I’ve got all of those things now. But by the time I was able to begin my training in Karate, my perspective in life had changed. First I found out that my brother also wanted to learn martial arts. Second, I had come to the realization that my body is a temple. One which is not for me, but for God. I was not treating  that temple with the reverence that it deserved. A few months before my first karate class, I started doing stretches and exercises with my siblings.

I have AWANA to thank for directing me to the bible verses that finally showed me why this is important. 1 Corinthians 9…..Paul’s words inspired me. I wanted to actually treat my body as a temple and discipline my body for God.

I learned something through karate that I’ve never learned anywhere else. Perfecting something for Him is an act of worship. Discipline is beautiful. It is worth working for, and it is never going to be the same.

It wasn’t the difference between my two classes that made me ache inside tonight. It was the reasoning behind them. This month I’ve forgotten why martial arts are important to me; it’s not about what I can get out of them. I practice martial arts to see what I can put into them. Into my body, the temple that I was given care of by God. Through martial arts I want to show God how much I love Him, & how I want to use what He gave me with honor and responsibility.

In giving this to God, he also gave me things I never expected through martial arts. 🙂 Relationships developed between both of my classes – I can trust my teammates in ways that I can’t trust most people. As for my fiancé, he was my first example of what it looks like to glorify God with karate. I miss doing team kata with him, and training with him. He’s taught me so much, and I thank the Lord for that.

My Tae Kwan Do class is full of people I look up to, enjoy being with and want to learn from. There are also kids who might benefit from my example, so long as I make it a good one. It hasn’t been the best of late, but I want to see what I can put into my classes – both of them. Yep, I’m going to find a way to practice both again. I miss it so much. If I can be of use to these kids, and to the adults & upper belts (they know more than me, and they are better than me, but sometimes a good student is invaluable to a good teacher…a lesson I learned from my own students.) I’m done looking out for me. It’s time I go back to the reasons I learned these things in the first place.

**********************************

This was written over a month ago (I need to remember to hit the publish button, seriously!!) but in this area of my life I still need practice, and continued discipline. In the weeks since I wrote this I’ve gotten the opportunity to get to know several of the kids. We play together, train together, and encourage one another. It’s improved the attitudes, skill sets, and stamina of all parties involved! 🙂 Furthermore, I have renewed my Karate training. Martial arts are not my highest priority at this time – due to my imminent departure my family takes precedence – but I will use them to the glory of God.

Shalom.

Yael Eliyahu

 

Call Me Thomas

Hold on. This is not how Sunday school goes.

Why’re you passing out water before class? It’s not snack time. We just got here. First you pray, then you read the bible and tell us a story, then you quiz us, and finally, we get snacks. What are you, a sub?

Whatever.

Yea, I was that third grader. The obsessive-compulsive-can’t-change-the-routine third grader. My poor teachers….

Despite that, the teachers were doing something different. That’s not what bothered me. Adults are far more prone to error than they want third graders to think; a fact that I was fully aware of. No, something else was going on. They were giving us water, and they were really excited about it.  I squinted into my little Dixie cup and sniffed its contents. Smelled like water. Looked like water. So what was the catch?

My eyes narrowed further as the teachers stood up in front and began an (in my mind) overdue explanation.

“You were each given a cup full of liquid. It looks like water…it smells like nothing – just like water – for all we know just by looking at it, it’s water.”  A glimmer shone in the head ladies eye. I should’ve known that she was up to something.

“Now listen close kids….this isn’t really water at all. You’re going to have to trust me on this, but don’t drink it yet! This is lemonade. It’s not water at all.” The lady smiled, all excited. I looked from her, to the cup in my hand. I wasn’t buyin’ it. Being the informative little snot that I was, I made sure she knew it.

“This isn’t lemonade. It’s water!” I said. The lady frowned, her countenance falling. “Yes, it is. You just have to trust me.” She said.

“No, it’s not! It’s WATER!” The louder I said it, the more it made sense. A couple of kids nodded in agreement with me. Most of them (outwardly) trusted the teachers. Some of the kids frowned at me. Others looked into their cups, even more confused than they were before. I knew that I was right.

“Just hold on a second, sweetie. You just have to trust me.” Condescension never rubbed well with me. “I still think it’s water.” I muttered. Teacher didn’t listen, and all eyes moved back to her. I glowered in silence until the teachers said that we could take a sip from our cup. I stared at mine and shook it a little. Water or not, it didn’t look poisonous. I took a slow, cautious sip and found….

A room temperature glass of lemonade. I looked up at the teachers, shrugged, and said, “Ok. It’s lemonade.” I downed the rest with no further protest. Acceptance came with proof. No need to be embarrassed or sheepish about it.

When the teachers introduced our story lesson, they had the grace not to use me as an example outright. Thomas was a man who doubted everyone’s word. He had walked with them for years, watched miracles with them, learned side by side with them, and trusted them on a daily basis. But his trust had limits. Thomas couldn’t believe the impossible.

Thomas was just like me.

That chord struck deep…we both believed that we were right. We knew, deep down, that there are few certainties in the world, and that those certainties are nearly impossible to change. People don’t raise from the dead. Water doesn’t turn into wine (or lemonade) and just because you want it to be true doesn’t make it so.

Thomas and I had to have proof. We didn’t just hope for proof. We insisted on it.

I don’t think either one of us thought about that when we started following Jesus. It made sense at the time. Follow the guy who has the most authority, the most power, and most importantly, is impossible to prove wrong. Who could ask for a better leader?

I wonder, did Thomas realize he would have to trust Him in everything – to trust Him beyond the shadow of a doubt?

I know that I didn’t. When I agreed to this as a kid, I didn’t realize that I would have to trust God to do the impossible. I didn’t realize that I would have to trust Jesus to get me through every single day or that I would be asked to do things that I couldn’t do without Him.

Seeing is believing. I never doubted that Jesus was real, or that He was the son of God. I saw Him work in my life, just as plainly as I tasted lemonade on that fateful day. Only fools deny what is right before them.

But believing without seeing….that’s faith.

Honestly, I could use some more faith.

I don’t see how everything is going to work out, where I will live, where I will be working. Beyond this summer, I don’t know. I’m not going to live with my parents anymore. (Yay!!) I will be married – that much, I’m certain of. (Then again, Yellowstone might finally pop. You never know.)

Unfortunately, those aren’t the things that Thomas and I share in common. Well, probably, but they aren’t the things that are worthy of doubt. They always sort out one way or another.

I still doubt that Jesus will keep his promise.

I deny that daily. I say that I trust Him completely, and when it comes to life & death matters I do.

But if I really trusted Him without a single doubt…why don’t I listen? Why do I still try to take my own counsel instead of taking it to the Lord in prayer? What in me demands absolute proof before I move on in anything? Every action I take, vision I see, and problem I meet, undergoes serious evaluation. Some would say that I am cautious. I know the truth. I’m afraid.

Fear destroys certainty.

Doubt is uncertainty.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Once he knew the truth, Thomas accepted it. He called out Jesus’s name, knowing Him for who He was. I want to live as Thomas did after he knew. I want to accept my Lord and my God without question, and without falter.

I have to do something that I don’t like, and that I’m terrible at. I have to live with what I don’t know.  Water is not satisfying, lemonade is not nourishing. I’ve been given living water.  Jesus leads me, and His word is true. I want that to be enough. It is enough.

Shalom

Yael Eliyahu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Not The Pastor’s Kid

Look, guys, it’s time I made this clear.

I’m not the pastor’s kid.

Yea, I know it’s confusing. My Dad is a pastor. But I’m not the pastor’s kid.

Really though, you should know exactly what I mean. You think I don’t notice, don’t you? You straighten up the second I walk in the room, like a saint just walked in. Oops, you dropped something on your foot. Shit.

And now that you’ve gone and said it, you’re embarrassed and your buddy whacks you on the arm, glancing in my direction. Let me ask you something….

What are you more embarrassed about? That you cussed, or that I saw it?

On Sunday’s I’m a friendly face. Another smile in the pastor family’s row during meet & greet. Any other time during the week, it’s like you don’t know me at all. You avoid me, or transform, or just kind of stand there and hope I disappear quickly.

I can’t fix that. However, I can tell you who I am. I’m not above you. Please, look me in the eyes, not at the ground. I’m a saint – that doesn’t make me saintly. Guess what! You’re a saint, too. All who follow Jesus Christ as their Lord are saints.

Unfortunately, so long as we live on this earth, we’re all sinners, too. We. I’m part of that.

That word you just muttered – I’ve heard it before. Hell, I’ve said it before. In three different languages, actually. (Perks of being an army brat.) Sometimes I get so ticked that I just have to run and jump and kick some hay bales or vault the gate. I’m selfish. I’m bad at communicating and worse at managing time. I recently discovered that I even get hangry. (To my great shame my fiance was on the reciprocating end of that discovery.) You don’t see that because you only really see the controlled version of me.

I work hard, I fight hard, and I fall hard. I give nothing but everything. It’s good when I’m doing the right thing – you can only imagine the terror that comes when I’m doing the wrong thing. Relying on myself, I’m really good at finding disaster. Right now I’m working on trusting God, and praising Him no matter what the situation may be. So far I haven’t even made it a whole day without a single complaint. A simple little goal that’s becoming quite the trial. Tomorrow I want to make it.

I don’t know what you’re working on. Maybe it’s cussing. If that’s the case, don’t look at me like I’m some sort of angel of justice come to rebuke you. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Bring your words to Him. I can’t forgive you when you apologize. You’re not sinning against me. You’re not hurting me. Your sins and your struggles are between you and God. There are times when as your sister in Christ I will remind you of your promise to Him. Please do the same for me.

I know we’re not the same. We’re never going to be the same. Doesn’t matter. Yea, my Dad just so happens to be a pastor. During my childhood he was a soldier. My father is the man God put in my life to raise me. Trust me, I’m not going to tattle on you to him. If you feel convicted when you’re with me, consider the One who I serve. I can guarantee that He knows before you or I say a single word.

I’m not a pastor’s kid. I’m a servant of the God most high, daughter of the King of Kings. Who I am is nothing to you or your behavior. Who is He to you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Obedience

Between the rows of asterisks you will read a post that I wrote last Passover. (Points if you know when that was. 🙂 ) Even though I didn’t publish it at the time, I think it is still of value today. For one thing, I was reminded of one of the many lessons God has taught me in this past year; in other ways it is a piece of the bigger picture that now forms my life. The words that follow this post, written so many months ago, will include what I have learned since.

********************************************************************

Today is Passover. We celebrate the Passover to remember what God has done for us, in sparing the Israelite’s from the plague of death. So let’s think about that. They obeyed God because to do otherwise would result in death. But why else did they obey? What happened to those who did obey?

God gave very specific instructions on how to sacrifice the lamb, cover the doorposts, eat the meal…so many details and each one has a very deep significance even today. I would love to go over those, but I want to look at just one thing right now.

Some of those Israelite’s grumbled – at first they celebrated, but discontentment soon followed. They were tearing their entire lives apart, leaving the only country they knew, and risking death just because God told them to. How many of them obeyed with a loving heart?

Well, I can’t say. But let’s look at a much tinier event. It has to do with this week and last week. I promise, it isn’t as significant as the Passover. But holy crikey, when God speaks, HE SPEAKS!

So two weeks ago, one of my best friends got a job at the habitat for humanity store right across from the toy store that I work at. I thought that was pretty cool, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever see him at work. His shift ends thirty minutes before mine, so I figured I might see him and wave as he walked home.

Little did I realize how much I cared for this to happen. One of the days I worked was supposed to coincide with my friend’s work schedule. So when it came close to closing time over there, I waited at the window. I didn’t even realize it at first. I tend to wander the store, looking for stuff to clean or staring out the window daydreaming. But then I realized that time was passing really……really….really slowly. It dawned on me that I was actually hoping to see my friend. A bit more than hoping. Time totally stopped, just because I couldn’t see him. Yea, sounds creepy, I know. That’s because it is creepy.

Anyway, about ten minutes after he should have walked through the door, I realized what I was doing. I was so focused on what I wanted-to see my friend-that I wasn’t doing or even thinking anything else. This might be a part of obsessive compulsive disorder, but that doesn’t mean I need to let it run my brain. Which I totally did. Absolutely nothing else was on my mind. I allowed my desires and my thoughts to take control of me. Now, nothing came of it. When I glanced at the clock for the third or fourth time I realized what I had done and, rather ashamed, made my way back to my desk.

Never again, Lord. I muttered. Maybe not for this, but sadly I do not trust myself to obey that. But to think that I was overcome by empty thoughts when I should have been focusing on what God desired for me to do made me feel shame.

Now guess what happened today. The whole AWANA section was on service. Yay. It was really hard. I didn’t like it…..but I tried to live it. I just started praying and asked God what he wanted me to do. The first thing that happened was a text from my coworker, confirming that I was working until the end of the shift. Ok, I can do that. Now what? Well then my Mom called and started giving me directions to my little sister’s dance lessons. The door opens and I glance over to greet my next customer. In walks this tall, blonde, blue-eyed man in a blue habitat for humanity shirt. Instead of freaking out, I patiently waited for Mom to finish talking to me. He calmly waiting until I had finished.

“Anything I can do to help you sir?” I asked. He smiled. “Yes Ma’am. I’m not working tomorrow, so if you wanted we could watch that movie tomorrow afternoon instead of Saturday morning. You aren’t working since it’s good Friday, and- ”

“Actually, it turns out that I am working….” and so our conversation continued. Basically he offered to spend time with my brother and I. But I can’t, because I will be working all day. Even last week I would have sighed and groaned and been totally bummed. But that’s the coolest part! I was so eager to do what God said, that 1. I didn’t even realize that I missed what I wanted, only to have something better walk through the door. 2. When a possible day of pleasure was offered, and I had to turn it down to work as the Lord called me, I wasn’t even upset. 3. I am so full of excitement to do what God said!

***********************************************************************

Nearly a year later, I wish that I could say I never had to relearn this lesson. If anything, I believe God saved this little post as a reminder to me of what He has done. Like the Israelites I am in a time of rejoicing. When I began this post, I cared dearly for a friend. That same man is now my fiancé.

Yet like the Israelites, I ran right back into grumbling. Life is so busy…so full of stress, excitement & work. Over the last two weeks I chose to focus on the stress. It boiled down to two things; time and sacrifice.

Last year I was so excited to do what God said that I could hardly contain myself, thus pounding out an eager and well-meant blog post. This year I dread making sacrifice of my time & plans to God. This came as a shock to me, but it was a gradual change as my future (namely, the people within that future) became more important to me.

Of course I can’t keep my own future. How dare I trust my own plans over God’s! No, better for Him to have it all, than for me to wrest it from His hands only to lose it. To say to Jesus, “more love to thee!” is more valuable than the perfect life in this world. For life without true love is not living.

Love is not love without sacrifice. May I delight in giving unto God once more.

Shalom.

 

 

Time

“Keeping time, time, time,

in a sort of runic rhyme,

to the tintinnabulation that so musically wells

from the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells,

from the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Always when I am late. Pressed for time and in a rush, the voice of Poe echoes in my mind like an alarm. I cannot explain why his poem repeats so often and so loudly on the days when I am losing time, but it has played non-stop in my thoughts in the last few days. Months, if I am honest.

As you know I have not had the time to blog. My life has taken a drastic turn since I graduated this last summer. No longer do I split my time between school and a quiet little toy store. My peers are gone to college, some close at home, others gone to universities & colleges elsewhere. I stayed here. A bus full of squirmy, eager, story hungry children was in need of an extra aid. It seemed perfect for a story-teller in need of work. Sitting still for two hours straight is just as difficult for me as it is for the kids, so we work together to make light of it with our tales. Unfortunately working with children on the bus exposes one to every germ available to the town, and I have endured more sickness over the course of two months than previously experienced in as many years. Last month my car suffered one ailment after another and left me stranded for several days. (In the middle of a house-sitting job, too. Praise God for all the people who helped me get to work & church!)  Within the last week I have acquired a second part time job; weekends involve projects given to me by patchwork press – a publishing company for which I am an intern.

Yet really, these are not what have turned my life so totally upside down. On November 5, 2016 I got engaged. The last two months have been unbelievable, between the ecstasy of knowing that I will spend my life with the man I love most, and the little daily trials and tasks that come from adjusting to that fact.

Hear the mellow wedding bells, golden bells!

What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!

Through the balmy air of night how they ring out their delight!

From the molten golden-notes, and all in tune, what a liquid ditty floats

to the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats on the moon!

Oh, from out the sounding cells, what a gush of euphony voluminously wells! How it swells!

How it dwells on the future! How it tells of the rapture that impels

to the swinging and the ringing of the bells, bells, bells,

of the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells,

– to the rhyming and the chiming of the bells! – E.A.P.

Happy am I for the day to come, but in the now I fight for time. Over this last week I’ve forced my schedule to accommodate time to study God’s word and pray. These pursuits have left me feeling dry and unsatisfied. I’ve done all that I could to honor God in this matter and I have set aside other tasks in order to know Him better, so why does He remain silent?

I asked Him just that, when He drew my attention to one fact that I had ignored. Always something – something that compels me to make “my” time and ignore the gentle prodding of the Maker of time.

“Lord, I have no time! But why?”  I asked. His reply was “What have you done with the time that I gave you?”

Time is so very short. Surely a small piece must belong to me? A few minutes here to look at wedding dresses, an episode of a t.v. show with my family there, a chapter or two of a fiction book in between bus rides…

Now I’ve squandered the half of it..soon, the whole. My time is gone. Above my heart a whispered tick-tock sounds from a pocket-watch hung round my neck. ‘Tis followed by the mutterings of a poem.

What I cannot manage in pennies I shall not be given in pounds. Like the servant who hid his money I hid my time for God. A precious, liquid gold to be treasured in ticks and breathes when it was meant to be used with all of my being. God gave me this little snatch of time, this day is His, this age bears His name, and He is beyond time.

My time is not borrowed or bought. It was given to me in measured supply- the vessel which binds duties, gifts, and lives into a single frame. Dare I call it mine, as if I were god of my own hours? By God’s grace I will learn to use a little that I may be given much. Let me be an investor of time, never a spender of time.

 

 

On A Mission For Ice-Cream

So a couple of days ago, I was in the middle of a sticky mess of cookie dough. In that moment I realized that not once have I ever blogged about food. (Ok, I may have mentioned peanut butter once or twice….)

That seemed odd to me. You see, food is a big deal in my family. You could say that we’re a bit crazy over it.  For some people, it’s about eating the food. Of course, I like eating food, but I gain a true sense of joy when I feed other people. You could say that it’s my universal love language.

I guess I learned that from my family. My Nana makes a special meal whenever there is a family gathering. My mom bends over backwards to serve even the most allergic-to-life guests food that they will truly enjoy. Almost all of my family members are sure that you can’t have a fun day without treating you to some sort of food, be it homemade or served at a good restaurant. Not only is it required to sustain life – for us, it sustains relationships.

Naturally, that includes growing new relationships. My mess of cookie dough was an experiment that I tried on behalf of my sister. (We shall call her Kit-Kat, my personal nick-name for her. 🙂 ). Since we have a cow who gives fresh milk in plenty, she wanted to make ice-cream with her friends. Her absolute favorite kind of ice-cream is cookie dough. Problem: you don’t bake cookie dough that goes in ice-cream. No eggs = no structure. My mission: Find a good recipe for cookie dough that contains no eggs, but still has that delicious cookie dough texture.

Now, I’m always willing to try something new, and this was a big deal for Kit-Kat. For the first time, she was able to invite her friends over for something that was just for them. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the first thing about egg replacements. Funny how the Lord works things out. 🙂 I went to work with a wonderful group of people all morning who had a ministry for college students. (It’s called Campus Ventures – I dare you to look it up.) One lady happened to know of several options I could try in place of eggs.

As soon as I got home, I got my ingredients out and gave them a try. One was just your traditional egg replacement – it worked well, but the dough was a little on the soft and gooey side. The other was much more pleasant to me, and some of my siblings. Bananas. Instead of eggs I smashed up half a banana and used the same recipe I would normally.

Dang, it tasted soooo good! A good chunk of the dough never made it into the ice-cream….some bandit snatched it when I wasn’t looking…..might’ve been a split personality thing. You never know.

Anyway, bananas make an excellent egg replacement. You have to like bananas though; the taste was subtle at first, but the next morning the dough had been overpowered by banana flavor. Even freezing the dough didn’t reduce that flavor. Personally I enjoyed it even more than the plain dough. Kit-Kat, on the other hand, requested the normal egg replacement for her friends.

With my mission accomplished, I froze the dough in little balls (more like blobs, but hey, they tasted better than they looked.) and they were ready to go the next morning. Before the girls came, I made a test batch of plain vanilla with the help of Kit-Kat, and my boyfriend.

Ice-cream has been my experimental project for the past two years now. My goal is to make the perfect batch of ice-cream that beats even the best store-bought brands. (Maybe that’s crazy – I delight in perfection.) A few weeks ago, it was recommended that I add salt. I tried it, only to find…..

The best. Batch. Ever! Mom said it was too sweet, but I had never had my own recipes ever turn out so well. As if that wasn’t good enough, the batch I made with the girls was even better! Since we were adding cookie dough and chocolate chips, I halved the sugar. I was also short on cream, so I replaced some of it with sweetened condensed milk. For the first time, the ice-cream didn’t freeze into a solid rock. Once I’ve typed it up, I may add the final recipe to this blog post.

For now, I am most thankful that my ice-cream experiment wasn’t the only success. The entire house rang with laughter as three beautiful girls made a sticky, gooey, sugary mess all over the kitchen. (Naturally I took no part in the mess making. Kit-Kat dubbed me “Head Cook of The Disastrous Messy Kitchen” by mistake.)

Our family has a tradition of sharing food with people. We use food to bring comfort, nourishment, support, and even laughter to everyone we meet. I am so thankful that my little sister got to share time with her friends, make a mess, and eat the best ice-cream ever made in the Eliyahu household.

 

****UPDATE*******

You all requested it, so here…at last…I give you ICE-CREAM!

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 tsp salt

4-6 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups sugar

9 egg yolks

3 ½  cups milk

3 ½ cups heavy cream

½ can of sweetened condensed milk

 

Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until they are a light, foamy yellow.

Pour the milk, cream and sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the egg mixture into the boiling milk, whisking the mixture vigorously. Once all the ingredients are blended thicken the blend over low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon. Be careful at this point not to overheat it or the egg will start to solidify.

Put the mixture in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturing instructions. *

 

*IF YOU ARE USING A HAND-CRANK MACHINE: Make sure you crank at an even, consistent pace throughout the churning process to ensure the best texture.

************************************

Y’all should let me know how it turns out, especially if you try any new ingredients! My next goal is to try honey as a replacement for sugar.