"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Food for Father's DAy

Happy Father's Day! I must admit we are not big on holidays such as this. We are rather cheap about spending money on ourselves so it is a great excuse to buy stupidly expensive running clothes for each other. Other than that, not so much. But we love food and I have been promising some recipes to a few of you. So here are a couple of John's favorites

Honey Nut Maple Granola

2 Cups of Oats
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2  cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2  cup ground flax
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil (or other light tasting oil)
2 Tablespoons of real Maple Syrup
1teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients. In another bowl combine all the wet and the cinnamon and whisk together. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake for another 8-13 minutes are until golden brown. This granola is the bomb. We eat it with my homemade yogurt and then I feel all domestic and stuff.

Baked Kale Chips

1 head of kale washed and very dry
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Couple of shakes of sea salt (it goes a long way)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spread kale in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn kale over. Bake for another 8-9 minutes until crisp. Watch carefully because it will burn.

These chips are yummy and addictive. They go fast in our house and there is no guilt because kale is crazy healthy for you.

So there are a few of our favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cleaning After Sickness, Spiritual and Physical

So this is probably going to be rather rambly. I have ideas dancing in my head but they have not come to full clarity Who knows if they ever will? I will just write them down and see what happens.

The past couple of days has involved a lot of puke in this house. It has been worse than a fraternity house with free kegs. The house just stank. No way around it, it stank something vile. For me the most natural desire in the world was clean it and get rid of the ick as soon as we were feeling better. I think that is rather natural to many of us.

However, while doing this I had a conversation with my best friend. She is the coolest girl evah, seriously. She is really coming into her own and taking charge of her life. I love it. She is releasing herself from "shoulds" and from doing things just because of some tenuous obligation. I love it. I have been doing this process just a bit longer than she has so it is really cool and interesting to revisit it with her.

One of the common side effects of this endeavor is a voluntary seclusion, a stepping out of the world so to speak. It is a very strange thing in a society to lauds extroversion and pushes us to constantly connect on a superficial level. It is hard to stop and have true introspection at the speed of life so pushed by those around us. I am not sure you can have a close look at yourself and who you truly are if you don't eschew society, at least for while. But it still feels weird and feels as if you are somehow doing something wrong.

There was a conversation within all of this that made me realize I am now in a self perpetuating cycle of withdrawing and rejoining and it is very similar to cleaning after a sickness. I have strong boundaries and a strong sense of self but I can only take so much of the constantly battering of the petty manipulations and pressure that has become the norm in our culture. Don't believe me? Look at your local church. How often do you see a few beleaguered women trying to teach all the Sunday School, organize all the dinners, arrange all the flowers, etc because they truly believe the whole fabric of their world will unravel if they don't sacrifice their own needs and health for the "greater good"? So I find I can only take so much before I must withdraw and do a spiritual cleaning.

It is a time to nurture and refresh myself. I only allow an extremely narrow group of people contact during this time. Otherwise, I just isolate myself and my family. After this self imposed banishment, I can rejoin mainstream life and not be batted around too badly.

What is the point of this post? I don't know. Maybe just to say that if you need time, take it. Don't allow anyone to should you to the point of exhaustion. Better yet, don't let anyone should you including yourself. Take the time you need and listen to what your spirit is telling you it longs for.

Be at peace and spread joy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Musings, Loneliness, and the Importance of Things

I have not been blogging as much lately because to be honest Blogger is bugging me. It no longer allows me to put paragraphs in my posts. No matter how it looks before I hit the publish button, as since as I click it bye bye paragraphs. I despise reading run on anything so this is a problem. I should either figure out how to put in paragraphs or just change to Wordpress but I can't summon the energy to figure things out. I am not sure it is important enough to take the time. Besides, perhaps I can get John to figure it out for me. I am not actually very computer literate. This upsets my father because what if something happens to John??? Well, first if something happens to my beloved the fact I have to figure out my own computer stuff would be pretty low on the list. But I could do it if I had to learn. So no worries on that front.

 This summer, this time in my life has been very different for me. There have been many circumstances and things swirling around coming to a culmination. The first, or perhaps most important, is finally understanding I am an introvert. No, I am not shy at all. That is a misconception of what an introvert means. Being around groups of people, although fun, drains me dry. Being alone or with a very small, select group of friends, fills and refreshes me. I am embracing this part of me and learning about it.

 I find it necessary to rethink many thing in this light. There are many layers and trappings upon my life put there by perceived social expectations. How much of my thought process is me and how much are these social traditions and group think I have allowed to influence my life? These questions have led to some very interesting introspection. I believe we should question everything. If our views and opinions cannot stand up to questioning, then they are worthless. Believing things solely on the basis that someone else told you it was true leads to an unexamined life and that is not for me.

 I am learning to be okay enjoying my own company. I am learning to not be on the run all the time. I am learning to stop and relax. I think one of the most important lessons I am learning is to stop thinking all the time. I used to be someone whose mind never stopped. I thought, worried, and turned over everything constantly in my mind. It is not examining your life. It is just burning yourself out with unnecessary stress and worry. I am learning to mimic Scarlett O'Hara and just think about those things another day. To let these things go, to let them just float away, has been nothing short of revitalizing. It is such freedom to not be chained to our own thoughts and concerns.

 Figurative chains and bondage has also been on my mind. Namely, how much do we owe other people? Do they deserve to have us in their lives even when it is draining us and inhibiting our own freedom? Is someone allowed a greater hold of us under the guise of family? I know the obvious answer is absolutely not. No one has the right to curtail our freedom or to bind us with chains of guilt. But how often does this happen subtly, quietly? How many times is the idea conveyed that we must stay in bondage or they won't make it? How often do we assume responsibility for someone when we have no right nor any desire to do so? These are questions and issues I have been looking into each day.

 Besides the undue pressure and hardship we put upon ourselves by carrying another person's emotional baggage, we also do them a disservice and deny them the opportunity for growth. Perhaps trying to figure out what they need and how to help them is actually not a very kind thing to do. I think it is a better thing to allow them to devise a plan and put it into action. Otherwise, are we not stunting their personal growth? Does that not undermine any strength and self reliance they may derive from taking care of themselves? So, this is what has been on my mind.

 There has been much fun and play already this summer. I think it is going to be a great one for my family. But I also wanted to give you a deeper look beyond the adventurers and recipes.

 Oh I hope this post has paragraphs.