Praying For...Gayle, our 9-year-old dancing queen...she is so serious about herself and her jazz dancing; she's pretty good, too...praying that somehow she can grown up with beautiful memories of childhood...that she will be happy, healthy, safe, and know Jesus as her Savior and friend...that the leaders of her community, country, and world will consider her future before making decisions...that children everywhere will somehow have the necessities of life and other blessings I seek for Gayle.
Teaching Little Children...Every time I finish teaching on Sundays, I feel exhausted but spiritually high. I'm so grateful that God called me to do this and whispered the direction I should go to help these sweet but spunky children. They are so earnest and are now starting to ask some really deep gospel questions. I spent several minutes clarifying the resurrection of the dead after one little boy asked about it. As I made one point, he would ask another question. Then another child would make an inquiry. Finally, I dragged a glove out of my bag and showed them how the lifeless shell (the temple body) only works with the living spirit (represented by my living hand). They got it. Then the first little boy asked if we were going to have to dig out of the ground to get out. I said no, God will open the graves so He can resurrect us. "...they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened..."Doctrine and Covenants 88:97. He was quite relieved at that.
Cucina Fresca...Mollie Katzen's newish cookbook, The Heart of the Plate, inspires me to be more creative. Although she is a vegetarian, her recipes contain dairy, eggs, and way too much oil. She's tamed down the fatty foods in this new book; her older books had a lot more of these health robbing substances. Because I've been cooking low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based for so long, it is easy for me to convert her recipes for health. I made her Tunisian Lablabi. The flavors were different than any I've ever eaten before, although the ingredients were found right in my kitchen. First, slow-saute an onion, carrot, 1/2 t cumin, pinch red pepper flakes, and clove of garlic in 1 T water for about 30-45 minutes. Next, stir in 2 c undrained garbanzo beans (these had been previously soaked and slow cooked until quite tender), 2 t lemon juice and a bit of zest, black pepper, salt, fresh parsley, and 1 c chopped kale. Simmer until the kale becomes tender but still bright green. Mash some of the beans to thicken the broth. After filling a soup bowl, top it with minced roma tomato. Heaven...When I served the leftovers the next day, J said, "This is as enjoyable to eat as my grandma's cabbage rolls." Better praise than that cannot be uttered. It's that good!
Dr. Ginger, Medicine Woman...really just a student of herbalism. I like the idea of using herbs as a regular part of life, as part of my food as opposed to capsules, teas, and tinctures. My newest venture into this idea is the spicy breakfast oats we eat daily. For ages I have put spices reminiscent of pumpkin pie, mashed banana, diced apple, and vanilla into the mix. Now I add hawthorne and ginger, which enhance the taste wonderfully. Everyone knows what ginger tastes like. Hawthorne is mildly spicy/citrusy. Hawthorne treats and prevents diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure, angina, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure irregularities, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. After I started taking it my mitral valve prolapse reversed. Ginger is amazing for relieving arthritis, muscle, menstrual, lower back, and stomach pain, circulation issues, nausea, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, bronchitis, and chest pain. It is protective against dementia and cancer. And the benefits go on. Anyway, neither of these can hurt me but can do a world of good.
Silver Screen...watched a heart wrenching but lovely movie, Korczak. In Polish with English subtitles, it chronicled the life of Henryk Goldzmit, who wrote under the name Janusz Korczak. Doctor, teacher, writer, and champion of orphan children, he sacrificed all for his principles. Anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the Holocaust of WWII should watch it. Anyone who's been swayed to believe this atrocity never occurred, should watch it. As a little girl, I watch documentaries about this time in history at my father's insistence. I've seen the pictures of walking skeletons, gas chambers, box cars, and mass cremation ovens. It happened. But...some beautiful people acted to save humanity in their own small corners of the world. It inspires.
Naturalist Notebook...I spent quite a bit of time tramping in the woods on gloriously sunny days accompanied by a little soccer ball sized pit bull. No, really she's a Yorkie, but don't tell her. Walking in the forest makes me strong. I saw blooming, crocus, daffodil, flowering plum, and I think hawthorne. Tiny green leaves are poking their heads from their bud coats. And this morning...I heard the first songbird of spring! Sure, we'll have plenty more cold, dreary days, but who could complain living in a heavenly place like this!