Friday, March 7, 2014

Another Step Closer for Ven Fulton Sheen!


I am so very excited to hear of Venerable Fulton Sheen's progress towards canonization!  When we named our own Fulton, we just knew that eventually the holy Archbishop would one day have his name listed among the greats.  And we wanted to be one of the first in line to have our child named after him.

My email is getting flooded with notifications about his progress and I rejoice every time I read of it.  My mother's heart goes out to Bonnie for the suffering she endured when her son James was born.  Her prayer - her very words - were my own words during those first 2 weeks at Fulton's bedside in those moments when it seemed so bleak.  "Fulton Sheen, please heal my baby!"  Bonnie, you are my hero, proving the power of a mother's faith and tears can move both the heart of a Saint (OK, saint with a lowercase 's' ... for now!) and the heart of Almighty God Himself.

I keep crying when I see that sweet boy's face - so very thankful we have such a merciful God who shows us His love through souls such as Ven. Fulton Sheen's! God is so good!

However there is another side to this that I am struggling with. And I am embarrassed to even admit it - because this is so NOT about me! 

I know you all mean well and know what this approval means to the Poppe family as well. But when I am told, "Keep praying - I know God will bring about a miracle for you, too!" this is a pressure becoming difficult to endure. Especially today for some reason. (more tears here)

I do not want other people to lose faith in God because their prayers for Fulton have not come to fruition in the ways we sometimes hope. And sometimes I feel I am letting all of you down somehow when Fulton's scars remain, his ears are still missing, etc. But please know that miracles are happening, nonetheless. Our Lady of Lourdes already saved him once. That is good enough for me!

As one dear, online friend put it: 

The miracle you've received in having Fulton with you here I think is enormous, wondrous and cause for being incredibly in awe of God every day. Fulton is a walking testament to the greatness of our God just the way he is. What God will do with his future will be a continuation of that miracle and whatever The Lord's goal is will be accomplished and for that I praise him.

 Fear not - I have not lost hope in those bigger miracles of which we Catholics marveled as children, and I continue to 'covet your prayers like candy' here, but please also accept that perhaps we are to go the long way with Fulton's suffering and the long road will be the best for our sanctification. (I'll take prayers for that intention, too BTW!)  Sometimes, well, most of the time, Our Lord chooses to work the great miracle of inward conversion instead of physical healing.

If He decides to miraculously heal him at some point, PRAISE GOD!

And if not, PRAISE GOD!


Prayer for the Canonization of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen 

Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people. If it be according to your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Prayer for Fulton's Miraculous Healing through the Intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 

Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit. If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Fulton J. Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession - that Fulton Poppe's body heals and functions normally and that he is spared any detrimental scarring. I make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Real Bread ...For Real


I have had many people ask me for my 'famous' bread recipe, and instead of emailing it to people when they ask for it, I have decided to just post it here.  Every Lent I get requests, so here it is again!  While I do make this bread by hand, I also cheat on busy days and use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do the kneading for me, as it takes far less time

Poppe's Perfected Wheat Bread

3 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour  (I use non-GMO, organic Prarie Gold.  Prarie Gold has the best balance of protein resulting in a finely formed loaf of bread)

2 cups warm water
2 Tbl instant dry yeast
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
2 Tbl wheat gluten
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
(Note:  You may substitute the powdered milk and vinegar with either plain or vanilla yogurt for a similar texture.  1/4 cup does the trick for me)

Use the paddle and mix on low until gluten is well formed.  This mixture will resemble moist cookie dough at first.  But as it mixes, you will notice that the gluten texture begins to 'spider web', meaning the dough will begin to bond together and stretch instead of breaking apart right away. This is the gluten beginning to form.  Soon the dough will take on a bubblegum like texture and you might have to cut it away from the paddle.  This is what you want!  When you have found this texture, add another half cup of flour, mix it in for about 3 minutes and let it rest for 20 minutes.  I recommend you remove the paddle and install the dough hook before it rests, as the dough will rise and can get messy if you wait.

After the 30 minutes, the dough should be pretty puffy.  Add:
1/3 cup oil 
1/2 tsp salt

I used to use canola oil because it has absolutely no taste and allows the yummy nutty-wheat taste to come through in the bread.  However I know that canola is a huge health no-no and I now use organic palm kernel oil instead.  I do not recommend coconut oil, as it leaves a subtle coconut taste.  I have also tried about 2.5 Tbl butter (not margarine!) with a splash of olive oil with good results.  If you just use the coconut oil in this recipe the bread is still good but there is a texture issue that needs to be fixed.  I'll let you know what needs to be done if I figure it out!

Knock this around with the mixer until it is well incorporated.  Then add more flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough is slightly sticky but not so sticky it is messy to handle.
 Do not use more than 6 cups total in this recipe or your bread will be super dry and blah.

Let your mixer work the dough for about 20 minutes and the dough can pass the stretch test.  It won't be as bubblegum-like as before, but if you flatten it out and sllllooooowly stretch it, it should almost double in size before it breaks.  If not, knock it around on the slowest speed for another 10 minutes.

Divide into 2 equal sized loaves and set into 2 greased loaf pans.  Cover and let it double in size (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the weather) 

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  Cover tops with foil if it is browning too quickly.  When time is up, use a meat thermometer and take the bread's temperature in the center of the loaf.  Dead center temperature should be 200 degrees.  Any reading cooler than that and you might get a raw center.  (Blech!)  If it is not done yet, continue baking and recheck temperature every 5 minutes.

When it is done, let them sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Pop the loaves out of the pans and brush the entire loaves with butter to soften the crust.  Slice and eat!

We eat these at dinnertime.  Any leftover bread is saved and used for delicious Frenchtoast the next morning.  Leftover bread also tastes great as hot buttered toast or garlic cheesebread.  I do not recommend you keep it around for more than 24 hours, as the wheat begins to ferment and it takes on a slight beer aftertaste.  There is nothing 'wrong' with the bread, but the taste is not so good for kids.