Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The other day it was warmer than it has been in months. It was 40 degrees and sunny and beautiful. If you live in the Northern hemisphere you may know of a specific phenomenon that happens on the first warm day of the year - on the day that follows months of cold and winter and quiet and burrowing in.

Everyone around you comes out of hibernation and the sense of communal happiness and relief and energy is palpable. We wear t-shirts and shorts, roll down our windows, and can't help but smile at everyone we see.

It was on this day I drove out to the lake, to my Holy Place, to celebrate the coming of spring and the gratitude that comes with it.

Here's what I mean by Holy Place:

It's the first spot that comes to mind when I'm overjoyed or devastated with grief or consumed with anger and confusion. It's where I go to work through emotions, think through my deeper thoughts, meditate, or simply sit and watch. I take my kids sometimes but most often go alone or while my youngest naps in the car. Sometimes I bring things to do and on other occasions I play the music really loud. Sometimes I just sit and soak up the silence.

This spot beckons in a more powerful way when the days are short and temperatures keep me cocooned indoors. I drive out to my Holy Place when it's almost blindingly sunny yet the air has an icy chill and the wind is biting. There, in my spot, the world seems so large and luminous while at the same time filled with peace and balance.

It's my Holy Place because it's the space where I most strongly sense the presence of God and the Spirit within myself. It connects me to something larger than me yet grounds me to the present moment happening immediately around me. 

It's the space that embraces me as me - no projections, no demands, no expectations.

No matter what baggage or praise I bring to this place, it accepts me. And it reminds me that life is larger than most of the chatter in my head yet is as small and intricate as the tiniest grain of sand.

Here's the thing - I didn't always have a Holy Place. In a way it sort of found me. One day, a normal kind of day, I had this intense feeling I needed to drive out to the lake. I didn't know why but followed it's call. Ever since, this place keeps pulling me back to remind me that we live in a holy, beautiful, unbelievably large, and unbelievably small, world. And to help me remember to live in the present moment as if it is the most precious gift. I have been changed by this space - this very regular spot I call holy and claim as my own.

And that's the gift isn't it?

Any place can be holy if you have eyes to see and a heart ready to experience it's wonder.

May you find and notice and answer the call of your Holy Place and may it connect you to this deep well of love and acceptance and grace that is yours for the taking.  


Here's why I love these recipes. First, both are unbelievably simple with a short ingredients list. Clean up is a cinch which is important to me. I'm not particularly in love with baking. To take on the task and have major clean up after is mostly more than I can handle and will quickly talk me out of the recipe before I begin. These recipes take a bowl or mixer bowl, blender [opt.],  one teaspoon, one tablespoon, a measuring cup, and maybe a spoon. Baking bliss.


This bread is great for sandwhiches, French toast, croutons, breadcrumbs, and really is a great multi-purpose bread.


I find that putting the water, milk, and vinegar in a blender or mixer, and then slowly adding the psyllium husk powder while it's running on low - medium makes a better [less chunky] gel. 

For a molasses or dark style bread, I replace the honey with molasses. 

Once I've mixed the dough, I let it sit for a few minutes while I clean up the very minimal dishes [seriously, less than 5 minute clean up]. I find this firms even dough that is a little on the wetter side and gives me a better gauge for adding additional flour. 

I almost always double the recipe. After the loaves have cooled, I thinly slice and freeze one of them.


This bread makes awesome whole-grain style toast, especially with seed butter and raw honey or a favorite jam.


I use pumpkin seeds in place of hazelnuts [for a nut-free option] and like to really grind / finely chop the pumpkin and sunflower seeds to a chunky flour. 

I like to use quinoa flakes in place of oats. I find this makes a bread that sticks together better than with the oats but really both work great.

I almost always double the recipe. After the loaves have cooled, I thinly slice and freeze one of them.

I've found that making a double batch can be useful in another way. This recipes asks you to really press the dough down into the bread pans. I use the extra loaf pan to press on top of the dough [place a piece of parchment on top of loaf being pressed]. It seems to give me more leverage and force. 

When the recipe calls to remove the bread from the pan and continue to bake, I place them loaves on a cookie rack rather than directly on the oven rack. It makes for an easier removal of the loaves from the oven.

No comments: