On Making Plans: Thomas Merton Prayer

If all had gone according to plan, I would be arriving in Rome today with my husband and our friends Katy and Todd, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversaries. On Monday we would have boarded a cruise ship, which would have conveyed us across the waters to the single most important item on my bucket list: a guided tour of the Holy Land. All the while we were planning it, my heart raced to think of what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to visit the place where heaven truly touched earth.

This was my plan. As it turns out, God had a different plan. And so, this year Craig and I hosted Thanksgiving for a small group of family and friends, while Katy prepares to take the last round of chemo. They had tried to get us to go on the trip anyway … but I had made a pact with God. “Just make her well. The trip will wait until we can go together.”

Of course, it’s a bit foolish to bargain with God, who I am sure sees how it all turns out, and even knows whether we ever get to make that trip. All our plans, seen on that scale, really don’t matter. One of the most important lessons we need to learn in this life is that there is precious little that we can control ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to learn to trust.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton)

Wee Cook Wednesday: Bethany Baked Oatmeal

baked-oatmealRecently I’ve been thinking about the fact that each decade of my life has had a particular theme and/or formative experience. My twenties (the 80s) were the “Bethany Days,” when I attended Bethany College of Missions, an Evangelical missionary training center in Bloomington, MN. (I became Catholic when I was thirty … as it turns out, so did at least five other classmates. Four of us appeared on “The Abundant Life” late in the 90s.)

Bethany Fellowship International, which was also the center for Bethany House Publishers and Bethany Campers and Lefse Grills,  has evolved significantly since I graduated  in 1987 (I left in 1989 after a two-year internshp at BHP). And yet it remains a faith-filled Christian community that takes seriously the Lord’s call to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

The communal dining room at Bethany is the site of some of my favorite memories of the place. So recently, when I developed a hankering for some Baked Oatmeal, I hopped on Facebook and begged the recipe from a couple of friends who used to work there … thanks, Laurie and Diane!

This great stick-to-the-ribs brunch recipe is great for Lent. A hunk of the stuff (with maybe a handful of pecans or walnuts, and a drizzle of half-and-half) should keep you going most of the day!  And as you can see, this recipe will feed even the largest family. (I’ve cut the recipe down to manageable size in parenthesis, enough to feed 6-8.)

Bethany Baked Oatmeal (for a crowd of 50 or so)
applesauce – 3 C (1/2 C)
honey – 4 C (2/3 C)
eggs – 20 (3)
oats – 2 gallons (5-1/2 C)
baking powder – 6 Tbls (1 Tbls)
salt – 4 tsp (3/4 tsp)
milk – 10 C (1-2/3 C)
vanilla – 1 Tbls (1 tsp)
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Spray 2 large, shallow baking pans (1 9×13) with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients and stir 4 minutes. Bake 300 degrees for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Should spring back when pressed gently in the center.) Serve with nuts and milk or half and half.

Photo credit: http://Gingerlemongirl.blogspot.com   (Hers is much prettier than mine!)