Last week I explained all of the intense life-changes that seemed to bombard me within a matter of days. I wrote that post feeling rather overwhelmed and unsure of how the following week would unfold. For those that missed it, in a span of 48 hours I was suddenly without my family and best friends in a new apartment with my first car and a job. My narration was a bit dramatic I’ll admit, but I truly was apprehensive about the collection of new realities my life had suddenly adopted.
Like any adult does, though, I adjusted quickly—I often find the best way to familiarize yourself with a new skill or experience is to to be fully immersed in it. By the fourth day, I had reached a comfortable acceptance of my environment: I had begun decorating my room, I was feeling less anxious about my first day of work, I was driving more assertively. Saturday night, I pulled into my garage after being out at a lovely dinner with my friend and physical therapist feeling content, full, and more ready for this crazy year than I had felt yet.
A prolonged bang and screech made my joy retract back into me and drop with my stomach to the floor of the car. I watched in horror as my Honda Civic squeezed its way into my tiny garage–with the driver’s side mirror left outside. My breath left me for a moment as I grasped the tragic situation that had developed, and I sat motionless in the car, the entire scene ironically accompanied by the upbeat Queen music still buzzing through the speakers. I broke my temporary paralysis and gently opened the car door–as if my sudden caution could reverse the horror I’d just committed.
I stepped into the uncomfortably dark garage and surveyed the scene, hoping to find I’d somehow overestimated the damage: nope. My mirror was shattered and completely snapped off, no chance of repair. Crap. Crap crap crap. I hastily called my mom, taking no time to plan how I would explain to her that her capable twenty year-old had proven herself rather incapable of handling a car in less than 5 days of having one. This poor planning became evident as soon as she picked up, when I could barely get out a few “um”s between my weighty breaths. After scolding me for not starting with the fact that I was alive and well, she listened and responded with what I considered unbelievable calm. I almost felt guilty for the lack of retaliation I was receiving; surely an act so careless deserved punishment.
But then again, I wasn’t a kid anymore. I wasn’t indestructible. I didn’t get gentle warnings or second tries before my actions yielded immediate consequences. I didn’t have someone trailing me to clean up my messes. As small and powerless as I felt in that moment, it swiftly and violently whipped me into the reality of my independence. On this Fourth of July day as we celebrate independence, I’m feeling grateful for the lessons of life that God uses to realign us. As infuriating as mine was, I’m glad that I messed up–it was a wake up call worth receiving and that could have been much worse. Thankfully for me, the the worst of my chastisement was some shattered glass and a cracked ego.
What’s more, I explored my independence even further by repairing the mirror myself. No car shop, no big strong man, not even the most efficient tools. In my mind, I made the mistake, and it was nobody’s job except mine to take care of it. Plus, I saved hundreds of dollars with just some sweat and good old fashioned elbow grease. I did call my dad during the process for moral support; the proud excitement in his voice over the fact that his daughter just fixed her own car made just about all the humiliation worth it. Maybe it wasn’t the worst way to end my week after all.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Captain America Cherry Almond Hand Pies (V)
*makes 4 pies
These little patriotic treats bring you the goodness of a whole pie all in the palm of your hand. Stuffed with fresh cherries and topped with a crisp almond ring, they’re the ideal way to celebrate the Fourth.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 cups cold vegetable shortening
- 6-7 TBSP ice cold water
- 2 cups pitted cherries, chopped into quarters or halves (doesn’t have to be exact, just not whole)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 TBSP cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar (vegan if desired)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened (earth balance is great)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar (vegan if desired, Wholesome is great)
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- sliced almonds
- Make filling: mix together all filling ingredients in a bowl. Leave in fridge while you prepare remaining items.
- Make almond filling/topping: mix all ingredients in a bowl. Leave in fridge while you make crust.
- Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Add shortening to the bowl.
- Using a fork or pastry cutter, press shortening into the flour until pea-sized crumbles form throughout the mixture.
- Using a fork to mix, add water (one TBSP at a time) until the pastry begins to stick together.
- Using your hand, gently gather the dough into the center of the bowl until it forms a ball. Do not work dough too much, or it will become tough. If it’s still too dry, add just a little more water or wet your fingertips as you gather it.
- Wrap dough in saran wrap, and place in the freezer/fridge for a few minutes if it is getting warm. If not, you can continue.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 8 4″ circles using a cup or small dish as a guide. (You’ll have to cut some and then re-roll the remaining dough until you get 8). Put the circles in pairs, and roll one of the circles from each pair out just slightly so that it’s bigger than the other. The bigger circles will be the top crusts.
- Remove the almond filling from the fridge, and spread about 1 TBSP on the bottoms of each of the small circles.
- Using a small knife and a paper guide if you desire, cut out a small star from the center of each larger circle. Use more of the almond filling to form a ring around the star cutout, and line the edge of this ring with sliced almonds.
- Scoop some of the cherry filling into the center of each smaller circle, leaving a small section around the edge untouched. Repeat with all small circles. Be careful to use a slotted spoon to minimize juices out as you scoop.
- Place the larger, decorated circles on the top of each pie. Press the edges into the edges of the bottom circles to seal them.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
- Allow to cool before serving, if you can!