I know this is supposed to be Inspirational Wednesday (and I had big plans to do something on the FOODS that inspire me--now, that could be a very rich, decadent, mouth-watering post, so I may have to promise to do it next Wednesday; I do have a recipe at the end of this post, though, so you can read it and get a little bit of a Foodie Fix), but I had something else on my mind I wanted to write about today.
My oldest daughter has a really great guy friend in her youth group at church. He is my favorite male member of the youth group--and, let me tell you, that's not an easy thing for the mother of a 14-year-old girl to say! LOL He is such a cutie, very nice and polite, helps with the football team, is going for his Eagle Scout, friendly (even to the adults!), and just generally a good guy. The problem is that he himself doesn't seem to be able to see these things about himself! Instead, he suffers from depression and has even entertained the thought of suicide. He has a difficult home life and often feels like other people are making fun of him; he doesn't think he's good enough, even though he knows "on paper" that God loves him.
The other night, McKenna and I were talking about the situation and how she should handle it. The first thing I said, of course, was to let him know that he should never do anything desperate . . . there is always someone there--her--to talk to. There are also adults who are willing to help. And that there are professionals who can help situations like his. But I told her to also just lift him up, be a friend to him, let him know that others value him.
What this entire situation brought home to me is that we need to always realize that there are many people who wear masks and are hiding hurts on their inside. They may even walk around with a smile on their face, but underneath they are hurting. So many suffer from depression and self-image problems. So many people have problems at home that we are never even aware of (I often tell Delaney to stop and think twice when someone at school acts ugly to her, because she doesn't know where that person is coming from . . .what things away from school are causing him or her to act out that way!)
As a Christian, it is so important for me to reach out and try and help. I need to always be willing to take the time to dig a little deeper and make sure everything is okay with the people around me--even if it looks like nothing could possibly be wrong.
And as a mother, I want to nurture my children in a way that they will grow up feeling self-confident and loved (although that's never a guarantee!) and that they will always feel deeply for the people around them who are hurting.
So today, let's try and look beyond the faces and the smiles. If someone is joyful, of course share their joy with them! If someone is hurting, reach out and try to help--even in some sort of small way. And if you're a praying type of person, say a prayer for McKenna's friend.
Now, since I ditched my Inspirational Food post, I thought I'd still share a recipe with all of you. (In fact, I've been thinking that I may start posting recipes every now and then---because it's that time of year when I actually am known to cook dinners for my family and when I love to bake cookies, cakes, cobblers, all that sort of good Fall treats).
Okay, so I've recently discovered this yummy treasure called Nutella. (Adrienne originally hooked me into it, but I have since found it mentioned in blogs all over!) It's this cool concoction of cocoa and hazelnuts and it's really delicious! So far, I've tried it on bagels and croissants (my personal favorite!). If you like chocolate, chances are you'll like it! I googled Nutella recipes and found this one that I had to try!
I was already in the mood for a Breakfast Supper, so it was the perfect match for my plans last night. And let me just tell you--Gary and I pretty much MOANED while we ate it! It was delicious!
Baked French Toast with Nutella & Cream Cheese
(This makes four toast "sandwiches," but it's easy just to add an egg, more milk, bread, etc. to the recipe to make more. In addition to the chocolate-cream cheese filling, I also made some with cream cheese only as the filling, as well as some plain french toast. But both of those variations are baked the same way, so do whatever your family would like.)
4-6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons Nutella, at room temperature
8 slices white bread
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or cinnamon, if you like)
To make sandwich: Mix cream cheese and Nutella until combined. (I am thinking that you could also use some melted chocolate chips also, if you can't get nutella.) Spoon mixture on 4 bread slices and spread all the way to outside edges, then top with remaining slices to make sandwiches. (You can refrigerate until ready to bake.)
To make custard: In flat container large enough to hold a bread slice, beat together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and nutmeg or cinnamon. (Can cover and refrigerate until ready to use if need to.)
To assemble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cookie sheet or 9 x 13 cooking pan with butter or cooking spray.
Dip sandwiches into custard, turning to coat both sides. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for 20 minutes more, or until toast is golden brown on both sides.
Serve with sifted confectioners' sugar and with syrup, if desired.
I served this with sausage links and fruit, but I can also imagine it with a hot steaming pot of coffee or some morning champagne or orange smoothie drink. Also thinking that it would make a wonderful holiday brunch recipe! (My photos here show it with my regular drink of choice these days--cold iced tea!)
(If you try it, let me know how you liked it!)