Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finding peace and joy in December.

   As I write this I have so many things to do, so I'll have to make it quick!
   If we're not careful we can let December get away with us. Today as I drove from superstore to home, I didn't start driving as soon as the light turned green, I guess my reflexes weren't 100% but I saw it and was about to go when the car behind me honked really obnoxiously. I mean, obnoxiously, not a friendly reminder honk, but a loud long honk of a honk. So I drove all flustered, and as he pressed on the gas his wheels slipped, which I imagine only added to his little fit, and then as soon as he could he passed me doing twice the speed limit. I smiled as he passed, because I was content with the speed in which I was driving. To his dismay, at the next light I was right there behind him, and all his anxious speeding and cutting in and out of traffic didn't save him any time.

    Now, we've all been there, on both sides, we've been the anxious late, sporadic driver, and also the peaceful driver, so this isn't just bashing Mr. Honky pants, it's more of an illustration.

   I've had a pretty peaceful day, I'm feeling a little under the weather, but I just feel like I have a real concept of time today.  I know how much time I have, and that I can use it however I want, I can waste it, use it, bless someone with it, take away from someone with it, feel productive with it, dance in it, or sleep it all way.  This is rare for me.  Usually I waste it, and dread looking at the clock to see how much time I've carelessly spent, and other times I try to get way too much done, and dread how much time my work is taking up, knowing how much more I have left to do.

  In December, theres a tendency to try to do WAY more than we usually do, to make Christmas happier, brighter, and more joyful for others, but it is really adding these things if we're all rushing around, avoiding time itself? I don't think so. I'm really bad at this, but I've just experienced a bit of clarity today.

  So, I tried to bless someone, spending time I could have wasted, and they really appreciated it, then I decided to really enjoy all the time I had doing my work today.  Today I'm baking loads of Christmas cookies, and where last week I rushed through it, not really cherishing the time or the process, today I'm really enjoying the process, the colours, the textures, the smells, and just having an all around more peaceful experience.

So, yes there's a lot to get done, but I really want to add to the season and not take away from it.  I'm so thankful that Jesus is always here, coaching me through it all, and helping me to find peace and joy in the chaotic month of December.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

One day I'm actually going to blog on what I say I will, but until then here's an early new years resolution.

I love new years. I'm like my mama in that regard. There's something about a communal fresh start thats nothing short of refreshing to me.

On new years day I  like to wake up early and make my yearly January first journal entry.  It usually starts with a setting, where I am, who I'm with, how I spent new years, and how I'm feeling. (these journal entries are VERY fun to look back on!)... Then I move on to resolutions.

Depending on the spirit I'm in it may be a physical resolution (lose 20 pounds) a spiritual resolution, or an environmental (both the earths environment and my own little environment (thats in a physical, spiritual, or relational sense) resolution. Last year I allowed myself to make one  resolution in each category... I feel like I achieved bits and pieces of my resolutions...but not entire resolutions.. Which I've forgiven myself for :P

Anyways this year I'm going to take a cue from my dear friend Katy.  She doesn't know this yet, BUT I really admire her specific goal setting... And she always manages to get way more done than I could ever dream of.  I would resolve to "develop my art," and she'll set goals for 5 attainable projects.  She gets hers done, and I... Kind of swim around for months, acting only when the rare wave of inspiration hits.

So, I'm going to make much more specific goals this year... Attainable resolutions.  I am allowing myself one wide sweeping resolution, however, for old times sake.  The limit of total resolutions is 5.

Resolution 1:  I want to buy USED before I buy anything new. (this is my wide sweeping one).  This is both a spiritual and environmental goal.  Spiritually it will help me break a minor shopping hobby, as well as help me to focus more on what really matters, and environmentally its obvious (people buy and throw out so quickly now that you really don't have to sacrifice style anymore!).  I notice that when I'm shopping in new stores, I feel like I want more than I need and have, and when I shop used I feel creative and excited!  So this goal covers clothes, and all housewares and decorations, the exemptions are craft/art supplies, and of course obvious ones like food and such. We'll also save a lot of money... Buhbye ikea.

Resolution 2: I saw this really cool journal in a book store called the five year journal (I'll explain why this is cool) and I wanted to buy it but realized that I could easily make my own! Each page of the journal has the days date for the current year, and then the same for four consecutive years.  The idea is that you write one sentence about your day, and then close the book.  Then you do the same every day for the whole year, the cool part is when you go back the next year and start again at January first but for the next year, and you read in one short sentence exactly where you were one year prior.  I love it! I'm going to make my own, and really whats a one sentence a day commitment?

Resolution 3: In my other more than one sentence a day journal I'm going to be like Katy and write down all the little goals and projects for the month and ACTUALLY tackle them! All the art projects and cooking, and decorating things I've thought of and still want to do will have their chance to really get done! I'm excited about this.

So thats that for now, I have room for two more which I may or may not add, I've got a month of wiggle room!

Have you started thinking about your resolutions yet?


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clean eating week, day 3.

So you can't expect everything to always be peachy. 

Tal works night shifts, and I know that in the grand scheme of things, its not so bad, BUT, nevertheless we're finding it pretty hard. Anyways, I always really look forward to Saturdays because I see tal from the morning all through the night... But sometimes when you have high expectations... They flop.

So we hit up some hardware stores, came home and then tal slept for 4 1/2 hours. I don't blame him, he totally needed the sleep, but I had my heart set on a dinner date at the naam (a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in kits)... Oh well! :P you roll with whatever comes your way! Tonight Tal is getting a lot of sleep, so maybe we can do something tomorrow! (perhaps get a Christmas tree!)

On the food front, everything was pretty darn'd tasty! You can tell my bodies detoxifying though, I'm like a walking pimple...ew... It is nice to know that the toxins are making their way out though! 

A few new things... I bought flax seed oil today, which is super high in omega3 and omega6.  I'm supposed to take 1-2 tsp a day... But it smelt gross so I mixed it in with something I probably shouldn't have... A blueberry, coconut icecream milkshake! Yes, I had sugar, but I made it three days without it, and I can always start fresh tomorrow!

Thats another thing I wanted to talk about, I really like eating vegan and vegetarian dishes, in fact I rarely cook meat for Tal and I, and when comparing vegetarian to vegan dishes, there's no doubt that vegan is healthier... That being said I'm pretty flexible. I may have a soft spot for cows and pigs, and I may have cried when I saw a little pig on tv the other day, but the main reason I like to cook vegan is for the health... But if you invite me over for turkey dinner, I'm down. I figure that eating really healthy food thats good for the environment, and good for us is great, but putting people in an awkward situation by not being able to eat their food... Sucks. (any vegan/vegetarians reading this, I realize I have been officially shunned... :P)

Oh well. Moderation, respect, and the freedom to change my mind!

For dinner we had the most delicious sweet potato and lentil stew, with corn bread, and sauted spinach! I'm blogging from bed and I don't have the recipe with me, so I'll do the recipe tomorrow. Tal and I both voted this meal a 10/10!

Anyways, I'm thinking of doing a pantry list post for anyone interested in going organic, experimenting with some vegan dishes or just wants healthier ingredients in their cupboards! I'm thinking a picture dictionary style with each item and their health benefits! (the silliest things get me excited!)

Alright, off to bed to read!
Have a peaceful day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Clean eating week, day 2.

Even though I've been a little under the weather today, I've had a lot of fun!
For a long time I've ignored what I know is right, and it really feels right to live in harmony with myself and the knowledge I've learnt. For example, we all know about the great pacific garbage patch, but do we take better care, and watch what we buy and throw out? Some people are really good at balancing their busy lives and manage to take the time and effort to be conscious of the, environment, the welfare of the humans that inhabit it, and their own bodies... I for own am not one of those people. I'd love to be, but usually I tend to move like waves in and out of hobbies and interests and back again. But I really always feel there's room for another chance!

I rewatched a documentary called No Impact Man (its on netflix if you have it) and although living without any environmental impact is too large a commitment to carry out in the long run, there was a lot that inspired me. I was really inspired to cut back my consumerism. Sometimes I get lazy and just want to get back on the shop-and-throw-away train. I really only want to buy things I need, and try to get them used first. I was also inspired by the simplicity of life when you really get back to the basics. If you don't have the money to go out, you stay home and enjoy family and friends etc. I'd like to live a simpler life in that regard. I'd really recommend watching it if you're feeling like you need a little inspiration.

Food wise today, it was very delicious! I always get this idea that when I cook healthy I'm not going to like the dish, and then most of the time I'm surprised by absolutely amazing food! Plus, there's nothing like knowing that every ingredient in the meal your eating is good and nourishing for you!

For breakfast I had a doctored up bowl of instant oatmeal.  I about a half a cup of organic quick cooking oats and mixed it with a tbsp or so of chopped walnuts and raisins, two tsp of maple syrup, and a few shakes of cinnamon.  I stirred it until everything was coated and then I poured boiling water on top just until everything was under the water and let it cook for a few seconds! It was really tasty! A good way to get more fruit would be to chop up apple in to tiny bites and add that too :)

At dinner we has a really healthy tostada. The recipe is from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silver Stone, and holy smokes it was delicious!

You'll need:
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
2 tsp of olive oil
3 pinches of salt
1/2 cup of onion cut into half moons
1 carrot julienned
1 celery stalk cut thin
1/4 cup of corn kernels
1 small cucumbers julienned
1 avocado pitted and cubed
1 tsp chopped arugula
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

First heat the oil up in a pan and add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Let that cook for 2 minutes or so.  Then add the carrots, celery, and corn, along with two pinches of salt. Give that a stir and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Heat the tortillas up in a low heated oven, or if you like a crispier tostada, crank up the heat a little but watch it closely!

Now is the fun part! Put a tortilla on each plate and layer half the rice, then half the beans, half of the vegetable mixture from the frying pan, and then the cucumber, avocado, herbs, and sunflower seeds on top! Its absolutely delicious on its own but it can be topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt if you eat dairy, or a tofu cream made out of tofu, lemon juice, and veganaise.

Now is the best thing I ate all day! I've been trying to cut out sugar this week, and I'm really going through withdrawal.  Tonight I was so tempted to make up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and then I remembered a recipe I had read in a book a long time ago.  It was for raw chocolate mousse, and it was entirely vegan, and yet had the decadence of a yummy chocolate dessert! You have to try this, you won't believe it!

You'll need:
3 avocados peeled and pitted
1/2 cup pure organic maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Just under a cup of cocoa
Berries (any for the top)
Mint leaves (I didn't have any, but they would have been delicious!)

Its really simple, blend up everything but the berries and mint leaves in a food processor until smooth and then serve either in bowls, or fancy martini glasses topped with 3-5 berries and a couple of mint leaves. Please, don't judge this recipe until you try it, you'll be amazed! Yum.

So now that the dishes are done, well mostly done, and I've eaten all I need today, I'm going to sit back, crochet a slipper and watch old episodes of SNL :)

I think tomorrow we're decorating for Christmas!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

brown rice waffle with vegetable melange.

Today was really exciting on loads of levels!  It was the first day of our clean eating week, I bought a cart full of organic groceries and it was only marginally more expensive, and I went to a hormone seminar on estrogen and how it affects our bodies!

It was awesome.

The meal we ate tonight was really interesting, it's essentially a savory waffle with veggies on top, but it was so tasty and filling we both rated it pretty high.  Tal rated it 7/10 and I rated it 10/10.  This meal is SUPER healthy for you, and with the addition of beans it would be a complete meal with grains, veggies, and protein!  It looked so small when I was serving it, so I mentioned to Tal that there was left over soup in the fridge if it wasn't enough, but both of us were stuffed when we were finished!  I struggled to eat the last bite. So even though it's small, don't be deceived, it will fill your stomach!

So here's how to make it:

For the waffles you'll need:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon miso paste mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 cup of water

For the vegetable mix you'll need:
sesame oil
1 cup onion chopped in half moons
1 cup beans or other protein
1 cup carrots
1 tsp low sodium all natural soy sauce
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tsp dark sesame oil

So here's what you do!  You stir together all of the waffle ingredients and scoop them by 1/2 cup fulls onto a preheated and oiled waffle iron. Simple.

While the waffles are cooking heat up some sesame oil (about a tsp).  Once the oil is heated, saute the onion for two minutes.  Next add the beans or protein of your choice and saute for one minute.  Place the carrots on top of the onion mixture and add 3 tbsp of water to the pan.  Cover and let simmer for 7 minutes.  Add more water if this gets too dry.  Then add the broccoli and the soy sauce and simmer for 3 minutes longer.  Once the vegetables are cooked, remove from heat, stir, and add the the sesame oil.

Serve a waffle and heap of vegetables on top for each plate!  Voila!

You should definitely try it... regardless of how weird it seems to make a waffle out of rice!


Clean week. Day 1.

(I am currently working on the contented woman blog which I will post sometime next week... But in the meantime)

I think its time to 'clean house' when it comes to my digestive system.  I have been less than pleasant to it the past 6 months, and its starting to show (not only in stored fat but in heartburn, increased headaches, and many other issues).  This is why I came up with 7 days of clean dinners that Tal and I will TRY to stick to!

I hope that through this and the combination of omitting sugar that we go through a mild detox, and come out of it feeling refreshed and determined to not fill our bodies with junk again!

Today is day one! I'm trying to keep breakfasts simple, some sugar free organic oatmeal with peanut butter,miso soup,or leftovers from the night before. I'm going to make enough at dinner time that both Tal and I are able to take left overs for lunch as well!

Tonight I am making "rice waffle with vegetable melange" which is found in "the kind diet."  It sounds interesting! Its a brown rice waffle (or pancake in our case because we don't have a waffle iron!) topped with a miso steamed mix of veggies!

I'll pictures/recipe tomorrow morning :)


Why sugar sucks (and why its so hard to stop eating it!)

Nutrition is something that really interests me, no matter how healthy, or not healthy I've been eating, if I hear an interesting fact, or tip, I'm always inspired to 'clean house' and get back into whats really good and nourishing for my body.  Knowledge of sound nutrition is so vitally important because believe it or not, what we eat REALLY affects us! Food doesn't just taste good or bad, or make you thin or fat, it can make your body the healthy machine it was meant to be or a chemical store room being pumped with more prescribed chemicals to help you make it through the day. Research has proven that a healthy plant based diet rich in whole grains can actually reverse diabetes, cancer, and obviously obesity! Why are we searching for cures, when a remedy has already been proven! Well, there are two basic reasons, one doctors are paid to promote pharmaceutical companies, and what I think hits the closest to home... Its hard to change our diets.

With that in mind, lets get down to the dirty facts about two faced sugar. Sugar is really close to my heart, in fact I'd call myself a sugar addict, and I'd go as far as to compare sugar to crack! Don't worry I'll explain all this. Sugar is two faced, she's so sweet and tasty, but then she bitterly mucks up your body and keeps you coming back for more!

So whats so bad about her? Well, in a basic sense, there are whole foods which are created by God and found in nature, and then there are human processed foods. The whole foods each have unique combinations of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and beautifully our bodies can and know how to metabolize them perfectly! The processed foods, on the other hand, have bits and pieces of the original whole food removed which confuses our body, and stresses our health because we're trying to come up with the missing elements so we can metabolize them. This creates imbalance in our bodies, and imbalance always breeds more imbalance. Sugar is highly processed.

Nature created the coca leaf, which does not harm the body, and it was processed into highly addictive cocaine, the poppy flower, and poppy seeds that are great for you were created by nature, but then processed into heroin, and last but not least, sugar cane (whole, solid) is fine because it still has it's minerals and vitamins intact, but then there's the highly processed white sugar which rapes your health, and is so gosh darned addictive!

Specifically, sugar is linked to a lot of horrible things! Sugar takes our bodies and our bloods vital vitamins and minerals. When the sugar is digested our bodies give up these vitamins and minerals to help metabolize it, leaving us with extra fat and less vital nutrients. In fact food, real food is a nutrient because it nourishes our bodies, whereas scientifically sugar is often refered to as an antinutrient because it takes away from us! Sugar suppresses our immune systems, for example, if your diet consists of lots of sugary snacks (chocolate bars, Starbucks, baked goods etc.) it causes your blood sugar to go up, this, in turn, causes your body to create insulin to help it metabolize, but when it's done, extra insulin remains which causes an imbalance in your hormones, particularly related to your immune system! Phew! And if thats not bad enough, sugar takes on industrial toxins during the processing, which over works your liver, which also takes away from your immune system.

Eating sugar, like taking any other drug is a roller coaster. When you take in the sugar your blood sugar peaks, which at first makes you feel happy and excited, but then it causes headache and fatigue.  Then when your blood sugar crashes it causes moodiness/irritability, anxiety, dizziness, depression, and many other things (sound like withdrawal?). In Alicia Silverstone's book 'the kind diet' she says, "sugar consumption can leade to mood swings and behaviour that, over time, we misrecognize as our true selves. I can personally attest that life is much happier and more balanced off the (sugar) roller coaster." (The Kind Diet)

Sugar isn't looking so tasty any more is it? Well, I'm not done yet!

Sugar has been associated with cancer.  When the blood sugar goes through the roof, so does insulin, which results in too much insulin.  This excessive amount of insulin promotes the growth of certain types of cancer cells, particularly pertaining to breasts, ovaries, lung, colon, prostate, and stomach cancer.

This may seem redundant, but its so crucial that we know what sugar is doing to our bodies, especially when dealing with insulin resistance and diabetes. Up until awhile ago I didn't really understand sugar and how it related to diabetes, but I get it now, and I'll write it out as simply as possible. When you consume a diet high in sugar, it causes your blood sugar to be high, this causes your pancreas to release insulin to help the sugar get to certain cells where it turns it into fuel, but when the diet has too much sugar, your blood sugar is always high, which causes the insulin to stop working, so the sugar doesn't make it to the cells.  This is called insulin resistance. To make matters worse, if your blood sugar is high, and the insulin isn't working, then your cells don't get the sugar that turns into fuel, so... You CRAVE MORE SUGAR! This just reinforces the cycle, and over time your pancreas can stop working, then voila! Diabetes!

Now, I really want to stop taking sugar, but its so hard! And because I'm so infatuated with it, I'm blinded to what it does to me. Until your off it for about a month, you won't notice the visible affects it has to your body. Once you do go off it, however, you may notice these side affects if you slip up and eat a cupcake! You may get a headache, gain weight, feel tired and almost hung over, become depressed, moody, and of course, you'll crave more of it!

So what should we avoid (sugar comes in so many forms!) and what should we replace it with?  White/basic sugar is pretty obvious, but as well any ingredients ending with "ose" are to be avoided (dextrose, sucrose, maltose, fructose = all simple sugars!).  Please, Please, Please, avoid high fructose corn syrup! HFCS is just as addictive as sugar, is subsidized by government in some regions, has been genetically modified, has been linked to insulin resistance, and is a major contributor to our continents climbing obesity rate.  Its in nearly every processed food, but it really is poisonous to us! Evaporated cane juice may sound harmless, but really its only slightly less processed than sugar, and is just as addictive. Last but not least, honey, its just as addictive and quickly raises your blood sugar just like sugar. So now I've taken away everything... What will sweeten our food! Have no fear, there are a few alternatives. Now because sugar is actually quite rare in nature, I believe that it should be quite rare in our diets, but if you are craving something sweet try brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar.  These will flow into your blood at a much more moderate pace, replacing the sugar roller coaster highs and lows!

So, I'll try again, starting over is wonderful!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a contented woman (part deux)

I still haven't received all the questionnaires back from the women who asked to be interviewed for this little project of mine, so I can't give specific details yet, but I can rattle on about a little contentment issue I'm currently dealing with!

The other day I was answering questions for a healing course I'm currently taking, and it asked me to think back to the happiest time of your life, and what would it take to get to a place like that again... I was surprised when I really stepped back and thought about it, because, well, I think this is the happiest time of my life.  I'm so happy with my husband, our home, our friends, and our family, it's amazing.

I purged items to clear clutter awhile back, I've bought beautiful scents for our living room, I've decorated for fall, I've learnt how to bake pie, I'm knitting a sweater, I love teaching piano...

I couldn't think of anything that wasn't good and happy.

So I decided to think about it, and see when I was happy and not happy throughout the day.  It turns out there is an area where I'm not happy, and have been continuously disappointed for several years..  It's when I'm getting changed, when I hop into the shower, when I try on clothes...

Get where I'm going with this?

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my body, I really do, but I know that I haven't been really good to it... in a long time.  I used the excuse of "planning a wedding" and being stressed for almost all last year, and now the "newly wed" excuse is sort of wearing thin.  I want to love my body, and also be happy with it.  I know it's possible to feel better about my body, I've done it before.

So, to answer the first question,  yes this is the happiest time of my life, but there's always area to grow and change.  If you know me well, this won't come as a surprise... I'm going to do a 30 day exercising/healthy eating experiment.  I don't expect to lose much weight, but I know I'll feel better about myself.  It's great to have a wonderful life, but if there's an area where you feel like you're falling behind, or will never be able to feel good about... don't lie to yourself, chances are we're all able to change and grow a bit.

Stay tuned for "a contented women (part troix)" where I'll unleash all the research I've gathered!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a contented woman (paradox?). part one.

Two thoughts popped into my brain when I was considering the lies that women have been told over the past century.  There have been many lies, but I was focusing on two.  One, in the 40s-50s that said that women couldn't and shouldn't go to school (unless it was to get a degree in home economics, or fill a feminine role (ie: nurse/teacher etc.), and two, present time, that tells us that we HAVE to get a degree, or at least a career to feel fully content.

Both of these are on either side of a pendulum, and I'm suggesting a balance.  I think perhaps some women should go to school, and some women shouldn't, some should work in fast paced careers, and some should rear children.  Another thought I had, when considering these lies, was that woman have been in the same role for thousands of years, do you really think we had it wrong for that long?  Yes, I do believe there was oppression in some cases, but can we honestly say that all women being forced into the work force has helped our families, our homes, or our countries?  That's a big statement, I'll take a few steps back.

A lot, but not all women are natural carers.  We care for our spouses/boyfriends, our children, and really when it comes down to it, would do anything for them, therefore, whatever we do, it's often in support of the people we love, for example, if we're working, it's to pay for the families lifestyle, or if we're not working, it's so that we can raise the children.  Is this true?  Perhaps it is, or perhaps it might have been.  Nowadays, we've fallen under the belief that we need to "find ourselves," we need to know our "purpose," then we find jobs to fit that "identity" and are supposed to live long, prosperous, contented lives.

This really is a lot to think of, but the purpose of this series of posts, is to really find contented women, and see where it is that they find contentment.  I hope that in searching for this, we find where contentment generally is, and how to get there.  I think most of us would admit that we're not living in a time where contentment is really encouraged.

So, I've asked several women to answer a set of questions, and over the next few posts I'll be sharing the results of my research.  I really want to interview women of different beliefs, ages, and lifestyle choices. I'm really excited to see the outcome!

 Before I get to researching the results of the answers I've received, I want to leave you with one more thing to think about.  The woman that God wants us to be, the woman described in Proverbs 31, is not a one dimensional woman.  She doesn't just stay home, nor does she just work.  In fact it has been speculated that perhaps this "woman" is really a portrait of several different strong women.  The point is, however, that this woman (or women) is hardworking, provides for family, earns money, runs several businesses, and thinks for herself.  To stay home isn't to say that you're going to live forever attached to your couch watching OPRAH.  I'll leave you with Proverbs 31:10-31, what do you think about the woman described?

The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Perhaps the 50s didn't have it right, and we still don't now. A contented woman, who can find?  Let's see.


Monday, October 3, 2011


I guess it's in the whole spirit of Thanksgiving, but I've been thinking on this post for a while now... it just happens to work well because Thanksgiving is next week!

I am so incredibly thankful for how our lives are going.  Each day is a new adventure and each prayer is always answered.  It's amazing.

I guess this is going to be a list of sorts, but a detailed list.

A lot of people debate that there is no difference to a relationship whether you're married or not, especially since a lot of people live together before they're married anyway, and I counter that with, "well then why do people get married then?" :P Actually, I really believed this up until the moment I was married, I really didn't believe there was going to be any change in our relationship, except dealing with physically living with each other. Boy was I wrong.  I think being married is one of the most fulfilling feelings psychologically.  It's like before we were two people who loved each other, and now we're a unit, a family, legally.  It's amazing, and I'm so thankful to be in a loving family with Tal.  It's so amazing.  So yes, I believe there is definitely a difference to your relationship whether you're married or not.

The cool thing about getting married young, well married at any age I guess, is that there is a lot of growing and changing that you do together.  Both Tal and I didn't marry each other for who we used to be together, or for how we envisioned the other person to be in the future, we married each other for exactly who we were at the exact stage of life that we were at on our wedding day, both full well knowing that we'd be changing a whole lot more.  I think that's really important, to understand that your spouse and yourself are both going to continue changing throughout your whole marriage, and that your commitment to each other is stronger than those changes.  You roll with whatever change gets thrown your way.  I'm so thankful that Tal married me for me, and not for who he thought I'd become, or for who he fell in love with 5 years ago.  There's no stress in a relationship that allows for change on either side, as long as love and your commitment to each other remain in the center.

I'm  so thankful for all the changes that Tal has gone through this year.  He's become such an amazing man, and I'm so proud to be his wife.  I've joked about this before, but I really want a  button or a sweater that says, "I am the proud wife of an amazing husband."  He is so thoughtful and caring, and always looking out for me.  To try and show how much I think of Tal I'll tell you that the other day I was driving home alone from Aldergrove and trying to write a song about how thankful I was for him, and I couldn't sing it, because I couldn't stop crying.  He really is so amazing to me, and really, I am incredibly proud.

Our car! I'm thankful for our car!  Carlotta is really cute, but like we learned with the first apartment, the cute factor wears off really quickly.  The car was such a miracle to us, she was given to us for free at a time where we really needed her, and Tal was able to commute to and from work with her, and she really did help us get everything we needed to get done.  It was amazing though, even when things got bad, and she stalled at every intersection, both Tal and I had a sense of peace, that because we knew God had given us Carlotta, that she would continue working until a new car arrived.  We knew that we didn't have to stress about looking for a new one, because God was going to provide for us. 

If there's any lesson I've learned this year that I'm most thankful about, it's that God really will provide.  There's no use stressing, or worrying, if he takes care of the birds and the wildflowers, he most certainly will take care of us.  I still catch myself worrying, each time something comes up where I don't know where money/transportation/food is going to come from, but each time it's a little bit less, and Tal is so much stronger in this area, he always just says that he knows that God will provide for us, because he has in the past.  You can't say it's coincidence, it just isn't.  God has completely provided for our personal needs.  It's amazing.

I'm incredibly thankful for the family of friends that we've been able to be a part of.  Everyone from my close friends, to bible study friends, to church friends, they all just feel so much more like family to me.  I feel like my church has grown to be a lot stronger relationship-wise, and the same with a lot of my personal relationships.  I had a thought earlier this summer that if there ever was a situation where Tal and I needed a lot of help, and no provision from God had come, that he would provide for us through our "family." I have no doubt in my mind that our church family would help us in no matter what sort of situation we were stuck in.  We're so grateful for that.  It's so powerful to have a group of people that you know will stand by you.

I can only thank God for all of these things, but one that I find incredibly miraculous, is that every single time Tal and I think we're going to be tight for money for the next couple of weeks, EVERY TIME... we're given unexpected money within the next couple of days.  We've never gone without.  I think I'm going to get $500 and I get $1000, someone from church gives us a cheque, there's extra money from the government, there's just money, and we are so thankful.

I feel like God has been building us, so that no matter what life throws us, we won't be shaken because we know that God cares and provides for us.  No matter what.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

artisan bread in 5 minutes a day.

Yes, I scoffed.  No way can you make artisan bread in 5 minutes a  day... BUT I was proven wrong, and it's true, you can actually prepare artisan bread everyday in 5 minutes (30 minutes baking time).  So if I keep this up my kitchen will ALWAYS smell like fresh bread! Yum.

It's a really simple process with what I think is a lot of steps, but the basic premise is that it's a no knead dough that's quite wet which allows you to make a lot of dough at once and store it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks, and then just pull out a pound or so of dough whenever you want a small loaf. It's great for many reasons, no stale bread, no moldy bread, always having fresh bread, a perfect side to soups and stews, hearty for the winter, great for 2-3 sandwiches, delicious alone or with a slice of cheese, it's just perfect bread.  Also, the longer you wait to bake the dough, the stronger the dough will become, turning into a sour dough, and it's absolutely delicious.

The bread is a basic fresh boule which means... round... so it's a basic french round bread :)

So here's how you do it!

Basic French Boule (5 minutes a day artisan bread)

3 cups of lukewarm water (warm but not hot enough to kill the yeast)
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
6 cups of white flour (because this bread only rises once, whole wheat flour tends to be too heavy, but if you want to substitute whole wheat for white, use both and use more white than whole wheat... :S)

1. First you add the salt and the yeast to the water in a large bowl, you don't need to worry too much about what the yeast is going, just dump it in and get the flour ready.

2. Next you level off 6 cups of flour and dump it into the water and stir.  Don't knead the dough, but stir until you have a really wet dough.

3. Cover loosely and allow the dough to rise at room temperature from 2-5 hours.  You want the dough to double in size.  Once that's done, it's best to put the dough in the fridge in a container with a lid that's popped open, you don't want the lid completely closed.  Wait at least three hours or overnight before you bake your first loaf.

4.  The dough can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks, and now it's the easy part.  Every time you want bread, just give yourself 5 minutes to get the dough ready and 30 minutes to bake it :) That means fresh bread with soup for dinner!

5.  When you're ready to make the bread, preheat the oven to 450*, sprinkle the dough with some flour and scoop out 1 pound or a bout a grapefruit sized amount of dough and put the rest of the dough in the fridge.  Shape the dough by dropping it back in forth between your hands until it loosely resembles a ball, use flour, it's going to be sticky!  Slowly begin to pull the dough gently from the sides and gathering it at the bottom, you want the top as round as possible, and the bottom will become flat while baking.  Then when you're ready to do the final shaping, put the dough onto a pizza peal or a cookie sheet that's been dusted with cornmeal (you don't want the bread to stick!)

6. Sprinkle some more flour on to the top of the unbaked loaf and run a serrated knife across the top creating whatever design you choose, a grid, three lines, a circle?  Anything.  All this does is allows the bread to grow while it's baking.

7.  Now you're ready to bake the bread!  The magic to this bread is  in two factors, not kneading it, and in steam baking.  When you're ready to put the bread into the oven, first put a broiler pan with about 1 cup of hot water on the shelf below where your cookie sheet or pizza stone will be going, then put in your bread and close the door quickly.

8.  ABSOLUTELY NO PEEKING FOR 30 MINUTES!  Letting the steam escape while the bread is baking will harm the process.  I promise in 30 minutes you will have a perfect loaf of bread..  It will get quite brown on top, but the insides will be beautiful and chewy!  The steam makes a really crusty crust with a soft center!

and that's that! Enjoy! Just pull off another piece of dough whenever you want another loaf!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Free music by interesting artists.  It's amazing.


and if you want some of my music..

The Cold Feeling Inside Our Mouths


everyone has their ideal day.

Everyone has a criteria for their ideal day, regardless as to whether they know it or not.  Think about it, what would you include in your absolute ideal day?

This is my criteria for an ideal day: (these aren't in chronological order)

  1. Time with God in the early morning before the sun comes up.
  2. A made bed.
  3. Seeing Tal's face right when I get up.
  4. Time in conversation with someone (or several people) that I love.
  5. Doing a job or activity that I feel in my element doing.
  6. Cooking or baking something delicious.
  7. Getting outside for a bit, rain or shine.
  8. Time being encouraged or inspired by other artists.
  9. Dinner at the dinner table.
  10. Standing at my front door, wide open, looking out.
  11. Lots of music.
  12. Reading a really good book.
  13. Learning something on YouTube or other Internet source.
  14. Praying and meditating.
  15. YOGA
  16. An excellent cup of coffee.
I think if I implemented all of these things in a day, it would be a pretty ideal day... it's definitely not my everyday, but I think a little bit gets in everyday :)
What's your criteria for an ideal day?

the joy of doing what you love.

There's some days where I really let myself LOVE my work.  It's easy to just get it into your head that you aren't going to enjoy yourself because it's just that... work... but when you really let yourself LOVE your work, I bet you'll start really enjoying it!

Isaiah 55:12

The Message (MSG)
 12-13"So you'll go out in joy,
   you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
   bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
   exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
   no more thorn bushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
   living and lasting evidence of God."
Isaiah 55:12-13

I think that as little kids we really get this.  We really live with joy, the mountains and the trees singing along with us as we walk.  However, as we get older, that joy seems naive, and the hardness of life kicks in.  Not the physically hard or challenging, but the cold hardness of life and how adults are "supposed to act."

I teach little kids and big kids music, and it really has to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.  It's not only amazing to see progress in a little child who knew nothing about music and is now playing songs with two hands, but also just to be with the little kids and figure out how they think!

I have a list of why teaching little kids is amazing, but first here's a joke that one of my students told me today, upon walking in my door and meeting me for the first time (first he handing me a folded black piece of construction paper that was stapled together at one end) and here's what he said: "Open it, it's a joke."  I looked at the paper and saw two stick figures one with a tiny head and no hair, and the other with an enormous head and lots of hair, and mutton chops.  "It goes like this," he said, "Knock-knock, whose there? Big fat head.  Big fat head who.  Big fat head, bigger than yours because you're a baby and you don't have any hair, and I do."  When he finished his joke, he almost couldn't stand up straight because of his laughing, and I admit I was laughing pretty hard too!

Here's what I love about teaching little kids music:

  • I love their silliness.  Anything and everything can be funny if you say it a funny voice.
  • I love their open minds.  Anything is valid and reasonable to comment or ask about anything, nothing is embarrassing.
  • I love that shortly after being taught how, they want to do it by themselves, regardless as to whether they'll be able to or not... no fear of failure.
  • I love the quiet serious ones who barely crack a smile when I do something silly.
  • I love the ones who tell ridiculously tall tales and finish them off by saying, "just kiddin'."
  • I love when the little ones use the same figures of speech that their parents use daily, everything from the "Holy Cows!" to the younger sisters who look at their older brothers and say, "Are you listening to the teacher?" in a mommy tone of voice.
  • I love that I can say "criss-cross apple sauce," and they know exactly what I mean.
  • I love that I can sing really silly songs and they listen seriously. 
I could keep writing that list forever, I just love teaching little kids!  Does anyone else have a job they absolutely love?  Try to dwell on the fact that you love it and not that it's work... it will drag you down!
Have an awesome day, and I'm going to get ready for my next student!

Friday, September 9, 2011

back-on-track (confessions)

I don't know about you, but often I get totally excited about something... live with the reality of it for awhile... and then completely forget whatever it was I was excited about and move on to the next thing.

My dear friend Katy jokes that two months to me is like a year... meaning, two months is an unspeakably long amount of time!

Anyways, this is all going somewhere, I promise.

I've allowed myself to be completely immersed in wedding, moving, housewife(ing) etc, that I've let a few things slip... some are really important in general, and some are just really important to me, and it's time to get all these things BACK ON TRACK!

I have a credit card bill weighing over my head... as well as a few phone bills.  I HATE THIS!  This is just general stuff that needs to get done, but with the cost of wedding, moving, honeymoon, it's been put on the back burner until things "go back to normal."  I say enough with that and call today "normal."

The other day I was throwing out some lettuce that had gone bad, and my friend said, "you should throw that in the compost and rinse out the container to recycle it"... and... I was too lazy to do it :S

This next one is embarassing...

I ate mac and cheese .... 4 times last week.

So... here's to getting back on track of my bills, taking care of the environment when I can, and eating healthier.

It hit me the other day that if we want anything other than the status quo for our lives and our families lives, we have to live differently than the status quo. (duh... but nevertheless an epiphany)

1.9 million people 20 years of age and older were diagnosed with diabetes in the US in 2010 alone.
59% of Canadians over the age of twenty are overweight or obese.
26% of children in Canada ages 2-17 are classified as overweight or obese (this has tripled in the last 25 years)
In 2005 the average daily household TV watching time in the US was just over 8 hours per family, Canada was sitting at just over 3 hours per household.

It struck me that in order to not become a statistic, we really have to live differently than what the average lifestyle is.  If we don't want diabetes, we have to change our diet.  If we don't want to be obese, we have to change our lifestyles, if we don't want our families to be watching 3-8 hours of TV a day we have to limit our screen time.

I know this all seems very worldly and not entirely connected to my faith, but I think it is all very connected.  When there are disease epidemics in Africa, it's considered missions work to go and help them, and to tell them about Jesus, and yet, there's massive disease epidemics going on right here in North America, they're just accepted diseases (diabetes, obesity, etc.)  it's not okay to just watch a continent get lazy, and unhealthy.  We may not be dying of starvation, but we're killing ourselves slowly in the other direction.

Also, we're CALLED to be stewards of the Earth, not to use up one third of the resources and peg the pollution to other weaker economies.  It's horrible.

Our bodies are to be temples, and we're supposed to be the managers of the planet we live on.  We're running one corrupt corporation if we're being held responsible for how the earth is used.  The rich get fatter, and the poor get poorer.

This sounds preachy.  I'm sorry.  It is incredibly easy to just forget about this though, and fall into just living with our disposable lifestyle.  It's not just easy, it's encouraged, we watch TV, we go on the internet, we shop (shopping and watching TV are the most common pastimes in North America) and we're told to throw away what we have, and buy new.  It's sort of like brain-washing, and it's hard to stand up and walk in the other direction...


It is possible.

I used to think that with enough caring, and keeping, that the earth could be saved, but I now understand that that planet is a dying planet, and that it will eventually perish.  It's not up to us to SAVE the planet, but to respect it and to do the best we can... similarly with our bodies, our earthly bodies are mortal, we will die, but it shouldn't stop us for doing the best we can while we're here.  Our bodies and the planet are a gift, really precious ones.

Anyways, here's to new beginnings and small steps.

(here's 3 small steps I'm going to take to get back on track)
1. stop buying paper towel
2. eat more veggies (buying organic when I can)
3. not spending more than I have

Baby steps.

Here's to a more thoughtful way of living.

If you want more inspiration to be kinder to yourself and to the planet while we're here, google the Cache Creek landfill, it's where the greater Vancouver areas garbage is shipped.  Out of sight out of mind... in sight, in mind.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a woman who fears the lord, she ain't playin'

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 t An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11  The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12  She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13  She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14  She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15  She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16  She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17  She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19  She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20  She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21  She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.t
22  She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23  Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24  She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25  Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26  She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27  She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28  Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29  "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31  Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. 

So just like I assume many women who read this in our day and age, my first reaction to this passage was, "who the heck is this woman?"  You have to admit, she's pretty incredible.  All of a sudden getting dinner on the table and keeping up with cleaning, dishes, and laundry seems like children's play.

Of course I felt a little convicted. This woman is EVERYTHING. She runs a home, she keeps her husband happy, her children look up to her, she runs several  businesses, she buys property, she doesn't worry, she has complete trust... yada yada.

I was pleased, however, to read my study bible notes on this passage, and I think you'll be pleased to read them too... 

"Proverbs has a lot to say about women.  How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic.  Not so!  This woman is an excellent wife and mother.  She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant.  Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however.  They are a result of her reverence for God.  In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned.  Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.  The woman described in this chapter has outstanding abilities.  Her family's social position is high.  In fact, she may not be one woman at all - she may be a composite portrait of ideal womanhood.  Do not see her as a model to imitate in every detail -( I'm going to buy a vineyard...)- ; your days are not long enough to do everything she does!  See her instead as an inspiration to be all you can be.  We can't be just like her, but we can learn from her industry, integrity, and resourcefulness."

I LOVED this.

Yes, I am still convicted, but I'm also encouraged.  Just like every other person on the planet, I have been given talents and gifts from God, some of which are profitable, and I am guilty of not using them for His work, and for providing for our family with them.  I am guilty of laziness, being overwhelmed by my small daily tasks that many women in other places of the world would dream of having instead of their labor. I am also guilty of spreading evil with my tongue, and not gentle, kind wisdom.  Oh and yes, I tend to cry at the days to come out of worry, and not laugh because I trust completely in my husband and our heavenly Father.

Here's another thing I really loved.  In the study notes it mentioned that her appearance was not mentioned, and that her attractiveness was all from her character... you may be interested to know, however, that a few of the poetic devices used mention words about dressing and clothing and jewelry (all things used to enhance our appearance)... I don't know if I'm making myself clear, but here are some examples: 

- 7  She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
- 25  Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.

- 30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

My mom and I talked a lot yesterday about how women (and some men) are so sidetracked by "being attractive" and all the lies we tell ourselves to cover up our obsession with outer beauty.  This passage really highlights how we ought to perceive beauty.

It's true that charm and beauty can trick you, but what I notice most, is not so much it's deceiving nature, but it's shallowness.  Yes, I know, "skin deep," is cliche, but really, it is, isn't it?  For example, the women that I admire most in life aren't always the most beautiful ones.  Yes, there are some who are beautiful, and who have a knack with fashion, but really what I admire them for is their wisdom, their perseverance, and their hearts.

I've spoken about this group before, but I will again... there's a group of women who meet for a bible study in 70 Mile House once a week, that I absolutely love.  They are all so beautiful, and yet, style and outer beauty may not be that important to them.  They love the Lord, and they serve Him in such tangible ways.  One woman who used to be a school teacher takes a young girl who lives with her grandma to dance lessons out in 100 Mile House once a week and dances with her.  Another woman has a beautiful garden that provides her family with vegetables and has chickens for eggs, and tends to them daily.  Others keep strong healthy relationships with other women as their ministry, while they trust wholeheartedly in their husbands to provide for them.  Others make do with what they've been given, and still give generously.  It's also interesting to note that these women haven't had easy sheltered lives, a lot of them (most) have come from really hard back grounds, and now have a gentle, kind, giving, faithful spirit, that I admire so much.  They really understand this passage.

This is turning into two blog posts... oops.

It may be their disconnect from the coast, that allows them to let style and outer beauty rest on the back burner so easily, but I don't think that because we're on the coast and closer to an urban center that it should stop Christian women from trying to be more like this.  Of course, only through God will we ever understand how this passage should be lived out in each of our lives personally.

This is a lot to think about, however, I'm very inspired to be a more gentle, loving, resourceful, peaceful, trusting woman... and with that I'd like to leave you with a hilarious song taken from this passage... it's from 1992... DC talk style:
This may or may not have started a day long DC Talk nostalgia session...


Friday, August 19, 2011

fear and faith and fear and faith.

What I want more than anything is to have a faith in God that never quivers, that stands strong in the face of adversity, and that stands strong in times of plenty.  I want a faith that never falters or falls into fear. Sometimes I feel like my faith in fear is stronger than my faith in God to provide.  I trust that I'll be afraid, but not always in God's plan, His provision, His power.

Do I believe that God has a plan for our lives, for the lives of my family members, for everyone?  Do I believe that He will always provide for me, no matter what? Do I believe that He is all powerful, and that nothing is impossible for Him?

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jeremiah 32:17 KJV)

Lately when my heart has gone to fear, fear that we won't have enough, fear that I'll lose people I love, God has reminded me of His plan.  He has a plan for each of us, and His plans are to help us and to build us, not to destroy us.

Earlier this week we had a bit of confirmation that Tal's job would be a bit more certain, and then yesterday we heard something different, and then about an hour later we heard some good news again.  As a woman who feels the best in times of security... my emotions were flying every which way.  I wish that my faith could have stood strong even just for those few hours when things were up in the air, but I know that Jesus has forgiven me for my human qualities, and will continue to build my faith through these tests.

I know it has grown, even in the past six months.  I remember having such little faith, that I really didn't think Tal and I could get married, because I didn't think God would provide.  Now I still doubt, and have fears, but I'm quickly reminded of how God has been with us in the past.

Now, as I write this, I'm being reminded of how my purpose on earth is to show the love of Christ, not to be perfectly comfortable in my life.  He will provide for us, but to be perfectly honest, that's not where it ends.  Provision is really just the beginning, it's miraculous to be provided for, but it's the tip of the iceberg.

Where's my heart? Myself, my life, my husband, my home?  It's selfish. Bah. Now I feel funny about writing the first half of this blog, however, I'm not going to erase it because I think it's interesting that God decided to speak to me right in the middle of it.

I hope that my gaze can be redirected, trusting that we will be provided for, and reaching out to the world that needs Jesus.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Delicious Dinner.

I'm not completely out of the closet yet, but as of tonight I will be.  I've been eating meat for about 2 months now :S  There's a number of reasons why, which I won't go into, but in the long run it's easier for me to cook for our little family if we put both vegetarian and non vegetarian meals into the recipe box.

Anyways, seeing as that's out of the way, I figure I'd share this recipe with you!  I didn't know what to make for dinner, because my kitchen, although well stocked in some areas, is lacking in others.  So I figured I had spinach, dry pasta, and chicken breast, what could I make? some sort of Spinach Chicken salad with Pasta.  I think it turned out really well :)


1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp of soy sauce (try Bragg's liquid aminos)
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pasta (I made corkscrew pasta)
2 small chicken breasts cooked (or 1 large chicken breast)
4 cups of washed and chopped (bite size) spinach
2 stalks of green onion chopped

I started by roasting the nuts in 1 tbsp of the olive oil, once they were smelling delicious (as nuts do once they're perfectly roasted) I added the rest of the oil, the soy sauce, the red wine vinegar, the sugar, and the salt and pepper to taste.  While I was doing this I was cooking 1 1/2 cups of pasta.  Once that was all done I put my cooked chicken in with the pasta, and mixed the dressing on top.  I gave that a big stir (and tasted it) and put it in the fridge.  Let that chill for an hour or so.  Right before you eat, toss in the washed spinach and green onions.

Delicious... and really easy.


a bit of honesty.

On Saturday night I was trying to sleep, and all of a sudden a little spark of fear crept into my thoughts.  "What if Tal doesn't make enough money this month for us to pay rent next month?"  So I thought on this for awhile... and then, "What if the money we have now won't carry us from now until September 1st?"  Then I really started worrying.  I sat up in bed, and woke Tal up.  Tal wasn't amused.  He said, "I can't take care of this right now, I'll figure stuff out tomorrow, neither of us can do anything right now."

Sometimes I love masculine practicality, and although I understood the wisdom in what Tal said, I couldn't seem to shake it.  So I prayed, asking God to relieve my worries, and to remind me of all the times that he's provided for us, even in the past year.  Then I thought of how my dad always provided for our family, I never had to worry... it was never even a consideration in my mind whether or not we'd have enough money for the next month (and yet I'm sure my parents dealt with those worries :P).  Then I thought of how our future children would think of Tal that way, never worrying, because he'd provide.

Isn't that how I should think of my heavenly father?  Never worrying because he'll always provide.  It may not be how I think I should be provided for, I may not know where money is coming from 6 months down the road... but each day I know that I'll be provided for.  God's provided me with a responsible husband, and with so many times of provision in the past.

Life's not perfect, and we often have to go through times of need to strengthen our faith, but I'm so glad to have experienced the loving provision of God, yet again.  Tal's job is more secure than we thought it would be, his last cheque was larger than we thought it would be, and money in the mail is nothing to sneeze at either!

If you're worrying, rest, God's provision will come. (this may have to be my mantra for the next few years...)


first day of housewifery.

Tal woke up at 4:30 this morning to go to work to make money to pay our bills, to be a good husband, and I slept in until 9.  This was the first morning that I woke up alone since our wedding 2 weeks ago.  We've had a long luxurious vacation and today was not so much "back to reality" but "starting reality."  I really didn't know what today would be like at all. 

Being female and somewhat hormonal I immediately started to feel lost.  "What do I do with all this time?  You've wanted to be a housewife for so long, now it's here, and you miss your old house?"  So I googled "what should a good housewife do all day?" and surprisingly it showed me several blogs by Christian wives and mothers who were all trying to be good housewives themselves.  It was incredibly inspiring to realize that I wasn't alone, and that so many others are thriving in this vocation.  My lost feelings from the morning were replaced with excitement for becoming the "keeper of our home."

There was a great 6 (or 7) part article, written by 7 different wives/mothers on Titus 2:3-5 (one of the articles can be found here, with a list of the other articles and links at the bottom of the post (you may want to turn the volume down on your computer if you check out that link though, because there is a repeating mp3 being played that gets a little... testing :S)  I was particularly inspired by the second part of the passage, "...train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (Titus 2:4-5 ESV).  Of course I'm most inspired by those words that are so opposite from myself "self-controlled" "pure" "submissive," but it's good to be inspired by what you aren't and what you are striving towards.

Our culture teaches us almost the opposite of this verse, "train the young women to love themselves first, then consider their husbands and children (but they shouldn't consider marriage until they really know themselves and that love for themselves is strong), to know what they want, and be driven towards it, to do anything to get themselves where they want to go, working anywhere to get what they want, setting aside virtuous ways to get there way, and not letting anyone telling them what to do."  I'd say that was pretty accurate to what women my age are taught nowadays through media, school, and just life in general... and it's shocking to see that God's way is so opposite.

I hope and know I will find, deep satisfaction in following God, and learning to be more self-controlled, kind, pure, and submissive to my husband.  I know that the greatest joy in life is found in giving up yourself for others... it's the choosing selflessness over selfishness that's the hard part :P