It also gave me a good headache.
I’m a pretty good Bible generalist. I can remember the gist of verses and have to look them up for the specific passage. My dissatisfaction and unhappiness put me in mind of this passage:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. … I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. … not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
There are a lot of thieves today. Do you ever have the feeling that joy has been ripped from you? That something beyond your control took something precious and left devastation in its wake? If you acknowledge that evil exists in many incarnations, it is ridiculously easy to look around and find root sources.
Still, with time speeding along, with you and I swept in its current, even the most intrepid craft can get carried beyond, snagged in a rip tide. No matter how hard we try to steer with paddle and tiller, we get swirling within life’s eddies.
Abundance is an interesting concept. We know its meaning: you have lots of something, plenty, a veritable cornucopia of somethings. Your cup overflows. Not like spilled coffee or soda’s carbonation run amok. Like a bower of roses, like a waterfall, like a tail that won’t stop wagging.
Today, because I am tired of headaches, I decided to look for abundance. To map it out, to touch it, to plan for it.
My friends show abundant love and caring. My neighborhood is abundantly serene even with lawn mowers and legalized fireworks. My refrigerator has abundant food. My kids’ calls and texts are abundant. We have an abundance of trees in my yard. Even with the concern of gun control, safety abundantly surrounds me. My community welcomes visitors with abundance – we just celebrated with a festival that was abundantly attended. (This is me and my friend Lydia at Downtown Main Martini Bar & Grille. They have a menu overflowing with martinis and great tapas.)
Where is your abundance? What is the thief trying to steal from you? In what ways are you living abundantly?
I decided today to make friends with this word. I’m leery of “blessings.” It seems overused by evangelists and calls into question whether those who have less are not blessed. Do those who live in poverty not deserve blessings?
Instead, I am focusing on the ways I live in abundance. An abundance of tears and self-pity are my motivation.
If you know me, you know I have a somewhat disjointed sense of humor (and I thank you for sticking with me). But I was thinking, when I decided to try this recipe, that very soon we’ll have an abundance of zucchini. Those who plant it know of that which I speak. Those who work in offices where co-workers try to pawn off this abundance might as well embrace it.
When I was little, my mom’s solution to overgrown zucchini was to bake a dozen loaves of bread and freeze it. Why not give a loaf to all your neighbors and friends? Let’s overflow with abundance. Let’s make:
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Recipe adapted from Motiva Beaucoup from the Joy of Baking
(Makes one – 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.)
- 11/2 cups shredded raw zucchini
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 cup buttermilk*
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (coated in flour)
- optional: 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
Prep: Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Place chocolate chips in small bowl and coat with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour (this prevents the chips from falling to the bottom of the batter in the pan).
Grate the zucchini, using a medium sized grater, and set aside on paper towel to drain slightly. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.
With a mixer, beat the buttermilk, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake a toothpick/cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. You will be tempted to rush this, but it takes all the time!
Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.
(*Original recipe called for oil, but I’m tired of oil in zucchini breads, as they are so heavy. I might try sour cream on a different day. Use whatever you have in abundance.)