Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesday

My apologies for getting this song, in particular, stuck in your head today. Sometimes we get pretty heavy around here on Wednesdays. This isn't heavy like that.

At all.

This is just "heavy, man". If you get my drift. And if not, well, then just shove me in the shallow waters before I get too deep. That's what I always say

This song makes me laugh. 1988. Really? Wow. I was 13. And I had her hair. Except with bangs. You know the kind: Curl two rows back and one row forward, then spray with as much hair spray as possible. Sadly, I kept that hair style far, far too long.

What is particularly Wow-ful to me, at this phase of life that I'm in, is how long Edie Brickell can stay in a squaty-crouch position without losing all sensation to her calves or having her knees lock up and prohibit her from standing.

Enjoy. :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Foodie Fridays

It has been too long, again, since I've shared a yummy food idea with you all. My apologies. But you are all clever cookies and I know you've been cooking your family favourites just fine without me. ;-)

Here is a yummy way to change up the hot cereal routine in your house, and mix in some fruit, and nuts, and dairy (or some variation of it).

I'm a big fan of whole grains. You've heard me go on about quinoa (keen-wa) and we only use brown rice, and we only use 100% whole grain whole wheat in our breads. And so on. We also eat our fair share of large flake oatmeal (much to my eldest's chagrin).

Instead of oatmeal, though, some mornings we have millet. Have you ever eaten millet? You should. It is delicious! But not only that, here's the rest of the deal with millet:

It is delicious! (oh, wait. I already said that!) ;-)
By the numbers, 100g of millet has 7.3g of protein, 3.6g of fibre, 72g of whole grain carbohydrates, and 328 calories, and only 1g of fat! Woot! So far so good right?

Plus, from a global happiness perspective, millet is easy to grow, and easy to store, and full of amino acids that people without access to a healthy and varied diet need in order to live well. What I mean is, in parts of India and Africa, the hundreds of millions of poor who live on inadequate diets, can find great nutritional benefits in millet, and it is consumed in many forms during the day for the various meals (as a grain, as a fermented beverage, as a 'sweet') and the ease of growing and storing means that even where farming practices are a little lack-luster, this crop can be a means of sustenance for the people, and financial strength for the community. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

Are you sold yet? It cooks up light and fluffy, almost like couscous. We use it in stuffed peppers; I toss it in soups; It makes a good substitute for bulgur in tabbouleh; you can eat it as a pilaf.

Or you can eat it for breakfast. Millet cooks in a liquid to grain ratio of 2:1. For savory meals I'll use chicken broth, but for breakfast I use half apple juice and half water.

Today I brought 2.5 cups apple juice and 2.5 cups water to a boil, and then added 2.5 cups of millet. I turned down the heat to a low simmer and kept the lid on the pot. After 10-15 minutes I check the pot to see if the water has been absorbed and if the grain is fluffy. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes.

Then we serve it with a heap of sliced strawberries, raw almonds, and a splash of soy milk (or the real deal if you are so inclined). If my kids are feeling particularly sweet-toothish we add a pinch or two of brown sugar, but the apple juice is usually sufficient.

That amount feeds my 7 kids, and if I'm quick I can get a bowl-full too.

It is delicious, and it easily satisfies until lunch time. Give it a try, and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heard at My House

So, how do you argue with this kind of logic?

Setting: Mom in the kitchen making breakfast. Three year old son playing with 4 year old sister in the living room. Lots of "light sabre being whacked on the floor sounds" being heard.

Me: Honey, let's not bang the light sabre so hard on the floor. Let's be more gentle, please

Son: But Mom, I'm getting the crocodiles on the floor that are eating my sister.

Me: Right, then. Carry on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesday

Have you ever asked the question "Why do bad things happen to me? I'm a good person. What is the point of this trial?"

My pastor has answered that question for our congregation by saying, "It is happening to refine you and make you more like Christ. It is happening to teach you to know how to comfort someone else who will go through a similar pain. And it is happening for a thousand other reasons that you may never know."

I've always loved that. There is a great comfort in knowing that there are bigger things at work than my puny life. There is a great comfort in knowing that my pain isn't being wasted.

Sara Groves wrote about this other brilliant female songwriter today. Christa Wells is a new name to me, but I am glad to have found her. And this song in particular.

A thousand things are happening in this one thing, she says. What will be the fruit of the experiences of your life? You may never know. But praise Him through it, and trust Him to use it.

Christa Wells -- A Thousand Things

And then go and read this blog post by Christa Wells. Just tripped across it. Love it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Battling Depression Part Four

This article is overdue. It was supposed to be submitted to the editor six days ago. And here is why it is late: I’m terrified to write it.

These last three posts have been significantly harder to write than I expected. What I’m finding is that in order to write convincingly and honestly, I have to relive a bit of what I felt in those dark days. I fully expected that it would be a theoretical reliving. What I found was that the darkness loomed much too close for comfort, crossing over from past memory to present threat. This, clearly, was not okay with me.

And so, with one final article to write for Heart of the Matter, and with a book in the wings on which I am working, I am finding the fear of what might be lurking around the corner to be a significant deterrent to getting the job done. I would love to be able to say to you, “I am willing to find myself back in the pit of Despair in order to write this book so long as even one person is helped by it.” But that would be a total lie. There is no part of me that wants to experience that pain again. Not for a moment. Not for you. Not for myself. Not for the sake of my family. Not at all. Period.

Please read my latest Heart of the Matter Online Article here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesday -- Birthday Flashback Edition

It is my sister's birthday today. Happy birthday! So in honour of her and her birthday, I knew that I *had* to find a video of a duet that she and I would do when we were kids. There are so many options (each one more ridiculous than the last).

I mean, do I pull out Whitney and her mom singing "I Know Him So Well"? It's a good one, but the video quality is very, very poor. So no. And we did it better driving in her K-Car anyway. She was Whitney. I was Cissy.

Then there is Kenny Rogers and Dottie West...but I'm tryin' to keep it clean around here :-) I won't even tell you how young we were sitting in the backseat, driving across the country for family vacation singing that one. She was Dottie. I was Kenny.

So here is the other option, and I think it is the best. Pretty sure we sang this around the organ. That's right. My sister is a very talented musician and singer. But she and I both started on the organ. And then I quit (story of my life) and she carried on to do much more musically. But picture us. At the organ. Singing this song (followed by "Memory" from Cats, and a selection of songs by Air Supply. I can't make this stuff up, people).

But do please note the ridiculously large stage they are on. And how ridiculously in her personal bubble the guy is. Wow. Can you imagine singing that close to someone? Awkward.

Here, for the Diana to my Lionel, is Endless Love. Happy birthday, J.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heard at My House

Setting: 3 year old boy. Gorgeous. Sitting beside me on the couch while I read a story to him and his sister.

Did I mention he is sucking his toes?

Me: "Buddy. Don't suck on your toes. That's kind of yucky."

Him: "No, Momma. They not yucky. They yummy. And delicious."

(mental note to self: Maybe I should stop telling him that he looks good enough to eat.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wow-ful Women Wednesday

Sara Groves. I know, I know. I've highlighted her here before. Many times. But seriously, how can I not?

Today's post has a few back stories attached to it. Here are a couple:

This song has some of my favourite lyrics of all time. There are a few perfectly written lines, in my mind, that in such a small phrase (lyrically and melodically) can sum up a precise feeling. And I appreciate the beauty of that.

This song, as you will hear Sara talk about, was inspired by a line in a movie which I had seen before I knew of this song, and liked very much as well.

This song makes me miss my husband, and makes me grateful for the fact that I do indeed miss him. He goes out of town every so often for work, and I am grateful that we have the kind of marriage that makes me say, "Boy I miss that guy" instead of "Shucks, is he back already?" There is an "incompleteness" to me and to our family when he is physically absent. And what a great thing it is to see that, and acknowledge it, and to be grateful for his return.

And finally, this song proves my pastor right. Sara, when she introduces this song, talks about the different kinds of happy in her marriage. I haven't experienced exactly what she is speaking of, but I remember my pastor trying to convince my love sick fiance and me that the high flame of newlyweddedness would subside and would develop into the longer lasting, more desireable, greater heatedness of long burning embers. I couldn't imagine anything changing in how I felt about my incredible man, and likely thought my pastor was wrong about us. Maybe other people's love slows down to a simmer, but not ours. But that's not what he was saying. And he was right. *This* kind of "we've been married for almost 15 years" kind of love is better than the "wow, I'm 20!" kind of love. And I'm guessing the "We've been married almost 30 year" kind of love will be better yet! Why? because now we have history. Now we have proof that the promises we made that day, we've kept. And there is a trust. And I'm so grateful. (Mind you, that doesn't mean my heart doesn't still pick up the pace with excitement when I see Chris walk into a room.)

So without further ado, here is "Different Kinds of Happy" by Sara Groves. And don't mind all the mood wrecking chatter with the radio host before and after.

go on and ask me anything
what do you need to know
I'm not holding on to anything
I'm not willing to let go of
to be free, to be free

I've got to ask you something
but please don't be afraid
there's a promise here thats heavier
than your answer might weigh
baby it's me, it's me

it's a sweet, sweet thing
standing here with you and nothing to hide
light shining down to our very insides
sharing our secrets, bearing our souls,
helping each other come clean

secrets and cyphers
there's no good way to hide
there's redemption in confession
and freedom in the light
I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid

better than our promises
is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy
there are different kinds of happy
different kinds of happy