Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My prayer today...

Praise the Lord for He is faithful,
and His grace is sufficient and amazing.
He directs our steps and makes our path straight.
His ways are higher than our ways,
His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
He works all things together for good,
for His children whom he loves.
He holds us close in times of distress
Keeping us safely in the shadow of His wings.
He leads us gently through valleys unknown,
He provides water to drink,
He provides the sun for growth.
He longs for us to turn to Him -
To see His face -
To worship at His feet -
To glorify His name.
Let our lives glorify your name.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Corn & Potato Soup

This is my version of corn & shrimp soup from Cooking Light (my favorite cook book!)

3 cups chicken stock - divided (can be replaced by veggie stock)
3 cups frozen corn -divided
2 pounds potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
1 cup milk (I used soy)
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Peel potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks and put in pot. Boil for 10 - 12 minutes.

At the same time place 2 cups frozen corn in blender with 1 cup stock and blend. Set aside.

Chop onion and peppers and in large pan saute for 5-7 minutes. Add remaining stock, milk and corn mixture and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, remaining corn and seasonings and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Serve with fresh baked french bread.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We made it!

Well, I have to admit I wasn't good the whole time but for the most part I stuck to my daniel fast. Here are the benefits that I have noticed over the past 3 weeks of eating a strictly vegan diet.

  • Increased energy
  • Increased sex drive - might be due to the increased energy
  • I feel thinner - I've only lost a couple pounds but I just don't feel bloated.
  • Cravings are virtually gone - I went to the store yesterday and made my usual walk of drool through the bakery section. I was really surprised when I could look at the case of Haggens donuts and honestly not want one.
  • Taste buds must be back - I keep being surprised by the flavor of things that I had forgotten.
  • Out of cooking rut - I was totally in a rut but I have been trying so many new recipes. I am actually excited about cooking dinner again.
  • Food issues addressed - For the first couple of weeks I'd find myself automatically going into the kitchen and looking for something to snack on. Spending the extra time making a healthy snack addressed the issue of me eating just because I was bored.
  • More dependance on God - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That verse was held close to my heart.

So, this did feel more like a diet than a fast because I was pretty focused on what I could eat the whole time that I don't think I spent as much time praying as I would if I had completely given up food. But God's purposes will be accomplished right?

I think we will continue on this eating plan for the most part. We have to add back in some meat though. We have a freezer full of bear for one thing. We probably won't have it every night though and when we do have meat, since it will be more of a special occasion, I'll be able to buy the all natural free range meat. No more McDonalds hamburgers.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short Story - The Cost of Freedom

Here is a short story I submitted to faithwriters. It probably is not any good but I just feel compelled to remember what price we've paid for freedom and to not take it forgranted. By the way, I had a southern accent in my head when I wrote it;)

The Cost of Freedom

I will remember that hot day in the summer of 1944.

I could see a cloud of dust half a mile away as I stepped out on the front porch to get some fresh air. I covered my face from the afternoon sun and strained my eyes to try and make out this unexpected visitor.

Ruth, my daughter in law, came round the side yard with Tommy, my grandson. She too had noticed the approaching vehicle and a mixture of tension and curiosity furrowed her smooth brow.

“Who do you suppose is comin’ up to the house today?” Ruth joined me on the porch and Tommy grabbed onto my dusty apron wanting me to pick him up.

“I dunno, but we best are hopeful.” I knew what Ruth was thinking. I knew because I was thinking something similar. For John Robert, her husband and my son, was fighting in a war halfway across the world and there we were anticipating word each and every day. He left for the army the day after Christmas and hadn’t yet seen his baby son toddle about.

Ruth took Tommy and settled down in one of the rockers. “The longer John is gone, the more anxious I find myself when I see a car coming up the road.”

“Let’s just pray that he’s safe.” My feelings were mixed as I tried to pass on a hope I myself fought to possess.

John Robert had grown up on this farm which I now shared with Ruth and my grandbaby. He’d been our only child born alive and every day I treasured the gift he was. I could still see him now, my little boy swinging in the maple tree, running through the fields of knee high grass.
He grew to be a fine young man, strong and polite, helping his father on the farm, first when he arrived home from school each day, and when his father’s heart started growing weak, he quit school altogether and took over providing for our family.

When he joined the army it was a proud moment for me and I’m thankful to the Lord that John Robert Sr. stayed alive long enough to know that his son would serve our country, fighting for the freedom and Christian values we hold dear.

The car got closer and I saw the familiar wave of the Reverend Peter Stone, come to check on this widow. I sensed Ruth’s heart leap in her chest and she offered to make some iced tea, handing Tommy to my willing arms. I suspected there’d be some tears mixed in with the iced tea and sugar, but that was understandable. Ruth kept a brave face over such a sensitive young soul.

“Good day Miss Emily.” His warm smile reassured me further. “How are you surviving this heat?”

“Just fine Reverend. Won’t you join me for some iced tea?”

“Thank you Ma’am, I believe I will.” Ruth returned with glasses and I offered the reverend a place to sit down.

“You heard any news from the war?” I did my best to sound casual and polite.

“Yes Ma’am, I’ve heard things have taken a turn in our favor. I hear the end is in sight.” The Reverend took a long drink of his tear speckled tea. He paused and looked thoughtfully at us both. “Now I know you want to hear news of your boy. You just keep hoping and we’ll all keep praying.”

That night I sobbed into my pillow. I cried for my son, growing up and seeing terrible dangers that I could not imagine myself. I cried for the many soldiers who’d lost their lives, giving the ultimate sacrifice for the good of our world. I cried for the mothers and fathers who grieved so deeply but most of all my tears were for the young wives, like my dear Ruth, whose sacrifice hid politely behind a brave smile; She had sacrificed a comfortable life, meat on the table and the truth of it was she had sacrificed her future. She had sacrificed her dreams.

Later I learned that the turning point was when the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives that day. Young men, sons, brothers and brand new fathers, all serving our great nation.

Never would I forget that day. Never would I forget the great cost of our beloved freedom.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Unforseen Blessings

My broken dishwasher has been such an incredibly unforseen blessing. Yes I admit I am constantly washing dishes, and yes my fingernails have taken a beating and my hands need extra lotion, and yes I'm usually washing dishes when company arrives because every day I forget how long it actually takes me. often before did I take time to intentionally do work that would keep me in one place for 15 minutes or so? Basically the kitchen sink has become my refuge in a day filled with busyness. It has become my act of intentional service. It has become my time of prayer, reflection and my time to slow down and reprioritize my thoughts.

When my dishwasher broke I remember saying over and over again "why me?" Of course it broke at a time when my washer was already running at half capacity, mice had found a way to sneak in, I was struggling to naturally rid my cat and my house of fleas and my kids were in and out constantly with their dirty summer shoes and clothes. Since then we gave up the natural approach and quickly got rid of the mice and the fleas, school started and my husband surprised me with a washer he found on clearance. But honestly I'm in no hurry for a new dishwasher.

Fajitas and Naan

First of all I'm going to start out with saying I was so low on energy yesterday that I was completely good for nothing except laying around and watching TV. And I had a lot to do so it was really frustrating. I also have had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights and my legs have been a little achy. I looked in my medicine cabinet and found some iron supplements (Thorne brand - it's the best!) from my last pregnancy. I took one with dinner I noticed how much better I felt immediately so I also took a couple of calcium supplements. Just working out the kinks of this:)

Thank you God for providing wisdom to those who seek it!

Veggie Fajitas

Marinade ~
2 Tbls olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1 Tspl honey

Chopped onion
Chopped green pepper
Chopped red pepper
Zucchini cut julienne style
1 cup of frozen corn
1 can or 2 cups of black beans

Cooked rice

Mix together marinade, add veggies, except for corn and let sit in fridge for 30 minutes. Drain veggies, put in pan, add corn and beans and saute on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Serve on top of rice.

Flat Bread

This is basic Indian Flat Bread or "Naan", but I called it Elijah bread. I remember reading the story about Elijah and the widow who only had enough oil and flour for one more day before her and her son would starve to death. Well, Elijah asks for food and she serves him her last meal. Her oil and flour supernaturally multiplies so that she and her son are sustained through the famine. When I read the story I remember thinking "How can you make bread from only flour and oil?

2 cups whole wheat flour
water (Have about 3 cups on hand)
2 Tbls olive oil
More flour for rolling out
More oil for cooking

*(If I were eating dairy I would use yogurt and milk instead of water because it's supposed to make the bread softer. I also might experiment with spices, although if used as a bread for dipping it's fine as it is.)

Scoop flour into a mixing bowl. Add water and knead in with you hands until dough is smooth and can be formed into a big ball. Knead in oil. Cover with a towel and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Break off pieces and form into balls about the size of golf balls. Sprinkle flour on surface and on balls to keep them from sticking to rolling pin. Roll out to 6 inches in diameter. Heat oil in pan. Cook on medium heat until little bubbles appear. Turn and as you cook the second side press down edges. An air pocket will form and the bread is done when it's puffed up.

My girls enjoyed being truly authentic by using the bread to eat the rice and fajita mixture, but Bill and I cut the bread in half and dipped in hummus. Yummy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Veggie Wraps

A lot of people are starting off the first 21 days in January with what's called a "Daniel Fast". Veggies, fruits, whole grains and beans and that's it. I've added honey because I have such a sweet tooth and it is all natural. I have to avoid meat, dairy, coffee (I'm giving that up next week, it's all too much for me at once. Plus I need some mental clarity to figure out what to make for meals and I'm a zombie without my caffeine).

Veggie Wraps

Whole wheat tortilla
brocoli slaw (shredded brocoli, carrots and cabbage)
avacado slices
extra virgin olive oil
tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. honey
raisins (some might like these on the side)

Heat up oil in pan.
Saute veggies until color enhances or until they are tender crisp.
Add soy sauce and honey and mix around cooking another 30 seconds.
Remove veggies from pan and set aside in a bowl.
Cook one side of tortilla in pan until hot.
Put veggies on tortilla and then sprinkle with raisins and top with sliced avacado.

Yum yum:)

The new year...

I kind of unintentionally made resolutions for this new year.

1. I am going to eat better. No more peanut butter and jam crusts as my lunch! I'm starting out with fasting as a kick off, to cleanse and to get my head on straight after a busy few weeks.

2. I am going to intentionally do some sort of exercise every day, even if it's playing tag with the kids (actually that is a great workout! Serious endurance training)

3. I am going to be focusing on the positive in my relationships instead of seeing what I think needs to change.

4. (This one I say every year as a reminder) I am going to try to live each day with no regrets.

That's it. I think I can do it.


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