"Beam-ectomy should precede all mote micro-surgery. Just saying." Ginger Conrad paraphrasing Jesus Christ.

Paradigm Shift

“The list of health problems I think it would very hard to live with is SO much longer than the list of foods I previously thought I couldn’t live without,” Merrill Alley.

Monday, February 9, 2015

a full life

Praying For...Claire, our sweet, almost six year old girly-girl...that she will have a safe, innocent, secure, joyful, and happy childhood...that our neighbors and enemies will seek out the Prince of Peace for true peace on earth...that people will have good will toward all men, find joy in family life, plant gardens, play with their children, help their neighbors, and stop trying to usurp the liberty of others.

Jesus Word...if ye love me, keep my commandments...these words are my standard. Jesus says the true measure of someone who professes to love Him is His commandments. The ten commandments and the two greatest commandments are a good start.

Bibliophilia...I enjoy reading, but have a hard time choosing books. It's so frustrating to choose a book only to have it be a dud or worse. This week I read a book I thought would be excellent. It turned out to contain a bit of soft porn. After investing a few hours to get to the climax of the story, I was slapped in the face with this filth thinly veiled as literature. Uuuugh! Then I read another with swearing in it. Seriously! People only use words like that when their intelligence level isn't high enough to choose uplifting language. So I'm going to start reading children's and young adult works again as well as classics. I've not often been disappointed in these arenas. I sent Claire Snow White and Other Fairy Tales. Although it is a bit above her skill level, it's one she should really enjoy as a team reading book with her older sister. I also sent a cute living math book, Tally O'Mally, a nice historical fiction on her level, The Long Way Westward, and Beyond the Code 2. According to their mothers, the children love every book I send. I know I love them.

Pen and Brush...People keep asking what I do all day. Finally, I decided to tell people I'm retired now. I love this life, because it's so full. Painting is so relaxing but also engages the mind. This week I learned a bit about watercoloring flower petals. Although the actual painting wasn't a smashing success,  learning this new technique was rewarding and enjoyable. It's so amazing to find all the free resources on YouTube. Back in the day the only way to learn things was to pay for classes. Now so much is available for free from those who just want to share what they love.

Sound of Music...as with my painting, I'll never be anything more than a closet musician. Still, it brings me much joy. Gratitude for my parent's sacrifice to allow me lessons as a child fills my heart. Musicality allows a person to try new instruments, when age disallows old favorites. I miss playing my violin tremendously...maybe, just maybe this new strengthening program will allow me to pick it back up when I next see my old friend.

Teaching Little Children...Although I'm not formally called, I'm helping out with my old Primary class. It is so fun to see the growth in these children, who hold so much of my love. Even though trying to teach the feels a bit like holding back a stream of water with my hands, they do absorb much of what is being taught. I ask them to tell me what they learned, and each of them verbalize something about the lesson that was meaningful to them. They are so eager to learn even though some of them have a hard time being still. After teaching them for 17 months before and sitting in on their lessons now, I think I know one great aspect of leaving childhood behind. Stillness and peace are wonderful blessings. God hints at this, when He says. 'Be still and know that I am God.' AND 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.'

Cucina Fresca...I love soup but never did like the chicken soup my husband's grandmother taught me to cook. To me it tasted like hot, oily water. I like my food with kick and pizzazz. I've been thinking about Minestrone, which is delicious. However, it's not great held over, because the pasta gets soggy. So I decided to make Minestrone-like soup and came up with Italian Garden Soup. As usual with all my recipes, it is heart-healthy, low-calorie, soy-free, gluten-free, oil-free, cholesterol-free, cruelty-free, and full-flavored. S and J both gave it a 10. It serves about 6-8.

1/2 sweet onion like vidalia or walla-walla, chopped
2-3 small carrots, sliced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
4-8 oz mushrooms, sliced-I used a couple smallish portabellos
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
1 small can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
4 c water
2-3 yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1.5 cups cooked kidney or cannellini beans (optional)
1/8 t (or more) red pepper flakes
1 t dried Italian herb blend
black pepper
1/4 c minced fresh parsley
1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed (slice stems) and thinly sliced (chiffonade)
3-4 basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)(optional)

In a small soup pot, heat onion, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, and a dash of salt over high heat until they begin to sizzle. Turn down heat, cover and cook until onions and carrots are soft. Stir occasionally. Add tomatoes, water, potatoes, and sliced kale stems. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer until potatoes are desired tenderness. Stir in kale and parsley. Turn off heat but leave covered pot on stove for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with black pepper and basil (a splash of balsamic is good, too). Serve with green salad and fruit for dessert.

Another soup I perfected last week was simple potato soup. S was jazzed over this one, too. He said I had served him potato soup many times over the years, but he had never really LOVED it. What did I do different this time? My secret ingredient to this 20 minute meal is miso. I boil 4-6 potatoes with some herbs, red pepper flakes, half an onion and a couple celery stalks. When everything is soft, I scoop the onion and celery into the blender and blend with a tablespoon or two of soy and wheat free miso. This mixture is put back in the pot, where I also mash some of the potatoes. After I ladle it into bowls, I garnish with a couple twists of black pepper or red pepper flakes. This becomes Tuscan Bean Soup if I add mushrooms at the beginning plus minced kale and cannellini beans for a few minutes before serving.