Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ruth Study: Peasant Bread Recipe

Hello Beautifully Made readers!  As we have been studying Ruth I have a special treat for you today for all your hard work!  We have been learning about barley and wheat and the threshing floor, so what would better go along with that than an easy homemade bread recipe?  Leesa Mead from Save a Skillet is guest blogging today, you're gonna love her!  When you are done reading today's blog, hop over and subscribe to her's, it's seriously one of my favorite blogs! 

Peasant Bread
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
                                                             Psalm 3:3

 Good morning!  My name is Leesa, and I write a blog over at Save a Skillet where we delve into how food and fellowship are intertwined and how to get back to having a love relationship with food. 

I am very excited to write this guest post today for Chrystan and the Beautifully Made readers.  Today I am going to share my favorite bread recipe – Peasant Bread.  Bread… so simple, yet so daunting to most cooks due to kneading it, letting it rise and then after all that hard work (and dirty dishes) it turns out tough or it falls in the middle (the worst!). 

But not today fellow readers, nope today is going to be your best bread experience ever. You are going to start being known as the Bread Baker (or Mr/Ms BB for short) in your friend circle.  You will walk in the door and people are going to be in awe of where you learned such a talent.

Not a fan of bread you say? Not impressed, huh?  I would go on a limb and say everyone’s favorite food is a good homemade bread.  Don’t believe me… what is your favorite food?  Lasagna?  Nothing pairs better with lasagna than delicious bread to sop of the leftover cheesy sauce.  Turkey with Mashed potatoes and gravy?  How are you going to clean all the leftover gravy off your plate without a fresh squishy roll?  I feel I have made my point.  J

Seriously though, this bread is pretty awesome. It always turns out perfect AND no kneading!  You mix ingredients, toss them in the bowl and wa-lah, let it rise and toss it in the oven.  Done.

Peasant Bread
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit       Total cooking time 30 minutes

·         2 cups warm water
·         2 teaspoons active dry yeast
·         3 teaspoons sugar
·         4 cups of all-purpose flour
·         2 teaspoons kosher salt
·         2 tablespoons softened butter - greasing bowls

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Let this sit for 10 -15 minutes until mixture is foamy.
In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt.
Now stir in the yeast mixture.
Mix until all flour is absorbed. Dough will be very wet.
Cover bowl with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Tip :  For a good rising temperature, turn oven on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 minute, then turn oven back off. The oven is now a good temperature for bread to rise.

Take bread from oven
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Grease 2 oven safe 1 liter size bowls with softened butter (Pyrex, Corningware)
Using two forks punch down dough, scraping from sides.  Dough will still be very wet.
Using two forks (due to wet dough, this is not easy) divide dough down the middle and separate into equal portions.
Scoop up half of dough into one of the greased bowls, and then the other half of dough into the other greased bowl.
Let the dough rise again for 20-30 min on countertop.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and turn loaves onto a cooling rack.  If the loaves are not as golden as desired place back into oven for an additional 5 minutes, not in bowls.

Cool for 10 minutes prior to cutting bread.

(Recipe adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen - My mother's Peasant Bread) (seriously, go check her out!)

Much Love,
Chrystan & Leesa

PS- The final chapter in Ruth coming next time!!! Can't wait to give you a BIG announcement! Sit tight!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Story of Ruth: Redeemed Part 1

This weekend I celebrated my 5th anniversary.  Oh there is so much to say about this man that I have been blessed to call my husband.  Though I feel God chose him for me at just the right time in our lives, I got to choose to say yes or no when he proposed.  It was my choice, though there was clearly a right answer as I loved him and desired to spend my life with him, I still made the choice.  God knows what choices we are going to make, yet he gives us the right to make those choices.  With Adam I am thankful to have chosen him for my husband.  I am also thankful to have chosen to follow God and that we choose to follow him in our marriage.  As we continue to lean into the book of Ruth we see how Ruth's choices affect her and Naomi.

Ruth and Naomi have found themselves in a situation as we round the bases and head to third in our study of Ruth.  They are without men, they have traveled to a foreign land and they are basically alone in this journey. Just the two of them at first and now we see Boaz enters the scene.  Back in the early Biblical days women did not get to choose their husbands and if they were widowed it was likely they would be passed down to the next relative in line (see Leviticus).  In Ruth's case she chose to stay with her mother in-law in the passing of her husband, with no option of being re-married.  Ruth chose a life of hardship to do what she felt was right.  At the end of chapter two we see Boaz has become fond of Ruth and is taking good care of her.  He is giving her extra food and goods and providing for her in many ways.  She has turned his head with her work ethic and good character.  Ruth doesn't get to choose her man as women were not held in high esteem at this time, however, Ruth got to choose what her actions were going to look like. She changed her life by choosing to stay with Naomi, by choosing God and by being a woman of good character. Ruth could have chosen the easy way, gone back with Orpah and lived a regular life safe in Moab.  Instead she chose a path less traveled that has led her to the threshing room floor (read Ruth Chapter 3).

During harvest time the owners of the fields would stay overnight to either work or guard their fields from thieves.  Boaz was this type of field owner, he was there guarding and working when Ruth came to the threshing floor to state her intentions.  This is not a sexual matter, it is easy in this day and time to say that Ruth was after Boaz here, but she wasn't.  Ruth was obeying and following the lead of a Godly woman to do what was the right next step. Ruth followed Naomi's instruction for indicating to Boaz that he could be her kinsman redeemer.  Laying at his feet showed Boaz that as a relative of Ruth's he could find someone to marry her or he could harry her himself.  (Boaz was a distant relative of Ruth's husband)  What an interesting thought, to lay at the feet of a distant relative to spur on the next relationship in your life, can you imagine! So, Boaz is flattered but in comes a curve ball. He informs Ruth; "I am not the next in line, but if this other guy is ok with it I'll have your hand in marriage. I will redeem you." (paraphrased for understanding).  We leave our girls Ruth and Naomi at the end of the chapter unsure of what will happen when Ruth is presented to this other relative.  Naomi is reassuring Ruth that Boaz will settle this matter quickly.

Where are we leaving you today?  Have you chosen the easy route?  Ruth's path has not been easy since she chose Naomi over returning with Orpah.  She's had to work hard and venture into the unknown, but she has displayed great character through this process.  I'm sure she had her doubts and days where she looked back towards Moab and longed for the path well traveled, but in the end she is blessed for her choice.  If you feel like the path you are on is not a good one you can choose to make a change!  I'm am telling you from experience the path less traveled is the best one to be on.  I do not believe a life well lived by God's standards is an easy one, but if you are following hard after God's leading you will be cared for by your Savior.  You will be poured into and loved on as Boaz has for Ruth.  He saw her choosing the right path, working hard and seeking good things and was led to provide for her out of what will we find out later is love.  God sees you girl, he wants you to lean into him so he can pour into you.  He's waiting for you to follow him whole-heartedly so he can redeem you in his love.  As in the case of our girl Ruth, choosing Him and seeking more of Him will change your life!

There's so much ahead of us as we close out Chapter 3 of Ruth and look towards Chapter 4!  I cannot wait to dive into the end of the book of Ruth with you this week!  We will also have a fun guest blog from my gal pal Leesa Mead author of Save a Skillet to close out this study, I cannot wait to hear from her, ya'll she's so good! Until then let's spend time this week praising God for his creation in us as FEARFULLY WONDERFULLY MADE girls in his image.

Much Love,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Story of Ruth: God's Perfect Timing

Have you ever missed the bus, taken a wrong turn or had a flight cancelled?  Did you praise God for that event...hmmm...probably not.  This morning I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. You see here at Ferrell Farms we don't live right in town, it's a little bit of a jaunt to get to the grocery store and the pharmacy.  So, when I go into town I am intentional with my errands. This morning I had 4 tasks; kids to daycare, Pharmacy, UPS and coffee.  When I arrived at the pharmacy the drive through window was still closed, 30 minutes after their opening time.  I called them as I sat there and the manager informed me they had a sub coming in, he wouldn't arrive for another hour.  Bummer.  Remember, jaunt and to do list. As I drove away I began to be frustrated, this was not part of the plan this morning. I need to get home, now I have to come back!  Then I had a sweet reminder of my study of the book of Ruth.  I was reminded of God's perfect timing and I smiled.

In Ruth chapter one we meet Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi after great tragedy has struck their family.  Three women were left to fend for themselves.  Orpah, Ruth's sister-in-law, has left the picture.  Ruth has insisted Naomi let her stay by her side, no matter what.  Chapter one closes with a very BIG detail that we as readers can easily gloss over:

"So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning."

God has brought these two women back just in time!  There were two harvest times, spring and fall. The women were returning during the spring barley harvest, which was a time of hope and plenty.  Bethlehem was a farming community and because it was the time of the harvest there was plenty of leftover grain in the fields.  This grain was left out for the poor of the community to collect (glean) which they then made into food.  Do you see how God is providing? Do you see here how his timing is so perfect!?  It get's better... (read Chapter 2 of Ruth)

In chapter two we meet a man, a good man name Boaz.  Ruth goes to glean in his field for her and Naomi.  She is such a hard worker she caught the eye of this great man.  Exhibiting admirable qualities in our lives is so important, we never know who is watching and who is taking notes.  Boaz saw these great qualities in our girl Ruth and he admired her from a far.  Because of the qualities of Ruth and because God is so good, Boaz found favor in her and began to give her a little extra throughout the remainder of the barley harvest.  Let's walk away from today with two great take homes:

1. God's timing is perfect and way better than ours!  Even though there was tragedy. Even though they had to leave Moab and journey into the unknown, God provided much more than these two ladies could have ever dreamed!  He continues to provide for them greatly, he remembers Ruth and finds favor with her.  You sweet girls are no different.  He remembers you.  Continue to seek him, follow hard after his ways and walk his path. There is blessing in that, I promise!

2. Good character and reputation go far.  Chapter one showed us Ruth was loyal. Chapter 2 showed us Ruth was hard working on top of being loving, kind, faithful and brave.  Ruth's life exhibited admirable qualities consistently and it was noticed.  It turned the head of a good man and played a part in how God moved and worked in her life.  Boaz is going to change Ruth's life and redeem her. The story gets pretty exciting!

Ruth's life was changed by God.  His timing was perfect, her qualities were more than admirable.  Let us all rejoice this week in God's perfect timing for our lives and thank him for always having our best interest in mind. His ways, not ours, are the very best!  I pray this week that each of us reflect on the qualities we are exhibiting and adjust accordingly.  Strangers, friends, boyfriends, husbands and our children are watching us to see what our character is.  Let it be said of us that we are loyal, hard working, loving, kind, faithful and brave....and don't forget FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE in our good God's image!

Much Love,
PS- Chapter 3 gets good...more coming soon!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Story of Ruth: Chapter 1 Your Tribe

Let's face it family can be complicated.  Mostly made up of a group of people randomly thrown together through marriage and the unlikely combination of DNA and genes that intertwine them.  Family, it's a whole thing right?  My family has some very interesting dynamics.  I have the Fuller side who are pretty much all extroverted (except my step-mom bless her heart she's stuck with all of us) and some of whom are extroverted introverts which is like a real thing and very complicated. The Fuller side brought me to Jesus.  Then I have the Foster side, which is my mom's side.  We are all pretty much sassy in our own right over on the Foster fence.  Full of strong, fierce women, the Foster side has fought hard to get their family where it is today.  They have taught me how to be strong, stand up and stand in for my family.  The Foster side also brings in my Grandaddy who passed away this year.  He was one of my favorite people.  The Foster side taught me that family is a person who walks in the front door.  There are no thick blood lines there are no walls up, just a welcome hug and sweet tea in your hand.  This is why I would say that my family has become more of a tribe than a family.  We are missed matched, some are here by marriage, some are here because they don't have a family so they have ours, some are here through a series of strange happenings that I don't even know the details to but I still call them aunts, uncles or grannies.  The Ferrell's bring a beautiful dynamic of a more quiet, serving support which has taught me so much. I wouldn't have my family any other way.

This is where we find Ruth in the Old Testament of the Bible as we launch into our 2 week study of our sister Ruth (take a minute to read Ruth Chapter 1). A brief intro of Ruth will tell us that she basically enters the story a destitute widow of the wrong kind of people. Ruth was a Moabite and had married outside of her tribe.  When we meet her we are walking into her tragedy immediately.  She has lost her father in law, brother in law and husband one right after the other.  Leaving the women with no men, which back in these days was a really big deal.  Through this tragedy we meet Ruth's mother in law, Naomi.  Naomi really has taken the hardest blow here. She has basically had to walk through the death of her entire family at this point. Shes in a foreign country with two sad, scared little girls Ruth and Orpah.  This is where we see Ruth make family her tribe.  In verses 10-14 we hear Naomi telling the girls she basically has nothing to offer them and she urges them to go back to their people.  Which really would leave Naomi completely alone, but she is wanting the best for them. Right here is where we find some of the most beautiful verses in the Old Testament (personal opinion)

16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me"

She is pledging her life to Naomi no matter what that means to her!  In our society mother in laws get such a bad wrap.  Ladies, I love my mother in law. Linda Ferrell is the kindest most loving woman.  I am so blessed and happy to be in her tribe. Here we see, Ruth pledging to leave all opportunity to re-marry and to have safety and provision in order to stay with Naomi.  We also just saw a HUGE thing happen to Ruth.  She pledges her life to God, even though she doesn't know yet exactly what that means at this time. When she pledges her life to Naomi she also chooses to follow her God, which just so happens to be the God of the Universe. Coincidence, I think not.  This decision will not only change Ruth's life on Earth for the better, which we will see play out through the next few chapters, but her name ends up in the lineage of Jesus and she gets to spend eternity in Heaven. Huge decision here for her.

Family, it's a whole thing right?  I didn't get to talk about the Jacobs side of my family.  Grandma Nancy is my sons grandma.  She loves him with the fire of a thousand suns, rightfully so, he is her grandson. The flip side of that coin is she loves me and my boys and my husband.  She treats us as her family and she doesn't have to.  She gives my kids baths, she buys us Christmas presents, she feeds us and sometimes we stay at her house and her at ours. She is in our tribe by choice.
You see family is who you fight for. It's who you stick with.  Naomi and Ruth maybe didn't see eye to eye on all the things.  They probably voted for different presidents in the last election.  Naomi likely wanted Ruth to have some babies, maybe that was sore spot. However, here in just the first chapter we see them choose each other no matter what.  They became for each other and because of that love relationship God was glorified and their lives were blessed.

What's your tribe look like?  Are you harboring bad feelings for your mother-in-law or that brother that stepped on your toes the last family gathering?  Let's decide that we are going to fight for the family unit again.  Let's fight for our tribes and stop letting the world break them apart over silly things like who makes the jello mold this year at Thanksgiving. Satan hates family. He was to destroy it.  Lets shout out loud, where you go I will go, your people will be my people. Love on your mother in law today and that tricky brother. Grow your tribe in love!

Today is a beautiful day for restoration, go restore those hurts so you can walk together down the road to the next chapter, BEAUTIFULLY MADE and all!

Much Love,

See you in a few days for Ruth Chapter 2, where we meet Ruth's new man!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

This Is Amazing Grace: Remembering the Journey

I dated a really bad guy once.  A really bad guy.  He was abusive in a way that I'm not sure you will understand if you haven't experienced it before.  He was controlling and emotionally abusive through his control of my life.  He made me feel teeny tiny and unworthy of him.  I changed who I was for him, I gave up my beliefs and pushed my family aside to be with him.  Through all the warnings and red flags I couldn't see the forest for the trees.  I try not to say I regret things in life, as God uses those things to mold and shape us and bring us somewhere beautiful, but it's the closest thing I have to regret. (If you are in an abusive relationship please seek help today!)

Today I am typing from my front porch at Ferrell Farms.  I am about to celebrate 5 years of marriage to Farmer Adam and I am blown away by where God has brought me.  My college years were rough, the world won me over in my 20's.  Cohen's birth and raising him as a single momma saved my life.  The years that followed were filled with extreme highs and lows.  Dating an abusive man took a toll on me but after that I began to find a personal journey in my walk with God.  It became less of something my parents brought me up to do and more about a need and desire.  I had an ache I was trying to heal with a lot of things, an ache that only God had the medicine for.  When I met Adam the first time, we were no where near ready for each other, so a year later God tried again and we have been together ever since.  In this time the Lord has worked in our lives in the most incredible ways.  He has blessed us with two more boys, kept us together fighting against the world for our marriage and most importantly he has drawn us each so closely to him that we have become one unit.  I sit on this porch saying there is no way I could have ever dreamed this big for my life, my God he is so BIG!  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I am reminded this morning of one of my favorite Bible stories. One that I fell in love with when I fell back in love with God.  The story of Ruth in the Bible is incredible.  It is a love story, but not exactly the kind of love story you would think of.  This story has a special place in my heart, because it was the first time I fell in love with the words of the Bible.

In honor of my love story meeting it's 5th year anniversary this month and to celebrate a new chapter coming in my life, we are going to do a 2 week study together of the book of Ruth.  I am not a theologian, I barely know how to spell that word.  However, I believe that God is calling me to go deeper with you and for you to step in closer to him through his words revealed through this blog. This will be a great journey together and I am excited to share my love of this book in the Bible.  So join in on the fun and let's discover together how God worked in one woman's life so greatly he put her name in the lineage of Jesus!  A lowly widow of the wrong kind of people group ended up in the lineage of Jesus, I mean how big is our God!

Can't wait friends!  You can join in by subscribing to my blog or following me on social media for more posts which will lead to a BIG announcement at the end!  Eeek so excited!

This week as you step into all the hard places look forward into the eyes of your Savior! Step in knowing that God's plan is so great, that you are FEARFULLY, BEAUTIFULLY and WONDERFULLY MADE in his image!

Much Love,

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