Reflections on Growth
"1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." - Psalm 1
If you had to pick one of the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter - which would you pick to describe your life right now? Why?
In our society that is obsessed with productivity and busyness, we can tend towards the unhealthy expectation of constant fruitfulness. How have you seen the issue of comparison surface in different areas of your life?
READ THE MOMENT:
What is your current season? What may be some things that God is wanting to teach you in this season? What do you need in this season? Start a list. Write them down as they come to you.
REFLECT ON THE MOMENT:
Write down the four seasons, then write down a time in your life that corresponds to each. What were the lessons you learned? How did comparison influence that season?
RESPOND TO THE MOMENT:
What is a way that you can cultivate growth during the season you are currently in? Who can you invite in to help you?
Take some time to thank God for the seasons that you listed above and for the lessons you learned from them. Take some time to encourage those around you that may be in a Winter or Fall and celebrate with those in a Spring or Summer.
Week 1: How have you seen the reality of life happening in seasons within your life and the lives of others?
Week 2: What are the biggest frustrations you encounter during a hard season?
Week 3: What have been the biggest encouragement for you to persevere during a difficult season?
Week 4: How does healthy community foster growth during hard seasons instead of allowing competition to enter in?
QUESTIONS FOR THE TABLE:
Setting: This month we are talking about growth during the various seasons of life.
Opener: How would you describe each season? For example: What would it look for you to be in the midst of a winter?
Main: Think through each season, what do you think are the hard parts and benefits of each one?
Closer: As a community, how can we really help each other during the seasons of life? What does it look like in the scarcity of winter? What does it look like in the abundance of Spring?
PEACH BOURBON CROSTATA:
A crostata is a form of Italian pastry highly regarded for its versatility. You can make this dessert in a free-form format like I did, or use a tart or pie pan. The pastry can also be made smaller and enclosed with a lid for easier travel. Either way, you decide to go about it, all forms are delicious.
Brown Sugar & Bourbon Simple Syrup
100 ml Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey
1/3 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
For Pie filling:
3 peaches pitted & sliced
2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, small cubes
1/4 + ice cold water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (decor)
1 egg yolk + heavy cream to brush shell
Directions (yields 2 crostatas)
1. In a 1.5 quart sauce pan. Combine bourbon and brown sugar over medium heat until all sugar is dissolved. Then allow to simmer for two to three minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Mixture should be syrupy and coat the back of a spoon. Set aside and allow to cool.
2. Once mixture has cooled. add half of your sliced peaches and toss until all peaches are evenly coated. Allow to set for two hours or over night.
3. Place the first four ingredients of dough into a large mixing bowl. If you’re afraid to get dirty, then break out your food processor. You know the drill. If not, click here. Moving on, gently toss together the ingredients. Begin to pinch the butter while simultaneously mixing it in with the flour. Do this until you see pea size lumps begin to form.
4.Once mixture is mealy, add ice water two tablespoons at a time until dough comes together. You should be able to squeeze it and get clumps. but also be able to spot little specks of butter.
5.Pour dough onto lightly floured surface. Form into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. let the dough rest for an hour or freeze up to a month if you’re only making one crostata.
6. Preheat oven to 425 15 minutes prior to removing dough from the fridge. Place dough on to lightly floured surface and roll out in to an 12-inch disk. During rolling, occasionally toss a little more flour underneath dough to deter from sticking.
7. Drain the juice from your peaches. Place peaches in a spiral pattern layering them one on top of the other. Or just throw them in the middle of the dough and spread’em. Just leave about 1 inch of dough all the way around so that you can encase your filling. Using a flat spatula or pizza peel slide tart on a lined or buttered sheet pan and bake for about 22-26 minutes. And if you’re at all familiar with baking. Then you know that no two ovens are alike.
In the photo, I garnished the crostata with the a vanilla bean chantilly cream. (recipe follows) And the finished tart was accompanied with some vanilla bean ice cream. To each his own but I prefer Blue Bell. And as always, opinions are all my own.
Vanilla Bean Chantilly
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla split and scraped
1/2 cup 10x (powdered sugar)
1. combine all ingredients in standing/hand held mixer. Whip for 3-4 minutes until mixture comes to stiff peaks or holds to your your beaters or whip attachment. Enjoy!
--Recipe provided by Nashville Chef and Owner of The Salted Table: Charles Hunter III