Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ambiguous Quest

Tiny fragments
Like shards of sanity
Surround my bleeding feet,
And cut me as I trudge forward
Through the thickest of dark
Towards the opaque window.
If only I can catch a glimpse,
Maybe I’ll know how to prepare.
But as always,
The unknown taunts me.
From beyond the space I cannot see,
It shrieks it’s familiar, high-pitched
Song of mockery.
I hum along.  I bleed.  I wander,
Searching for an exit sign.
Wishing for a guide, or a light
Or even just some shoes.
I stop for a moment.
I reach down and pull out a shiny sliver...
Oh look, it’s so sparkily...
So pretty.
I hold it up to my eyes and realize
It is a mirror.
The image I see in the broken piece
Is not my own.
It couldn’t possibly be.
The girl in the reflection is
Much too young...
Much too vibrant...
Too confident...
Too whole.
So I shake my head,
And set it down.
I step on it,
And bleed again.
I wonder a lot as I wander about.
My mind is brimming with
Ambiguous questions,
What’s on the other side of that window?
Why won’t the wretched singing stop?
How much can one person actually bleed?
What did the shiny mirror look like
Before it broke?
Who broke it?
Why is no one coming
To save me?
All these nagging questions...
I don’t have time for them.
I must hurry.
After all, I’m on a quest
To find out
What my quest is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cooking w/ a Challenge

My mom has been stuggling w/ health issues, the most recent of which is an ulcer, which has had her in agony for the past month, before being diagnosed with it yesterday (please keep her in your prayers).  One of the ways she is being treated is by a very strict diet.  There's a long list of things she cannot eat, which really limits her ability to, well, eat.  That has got to be so frustrating.  So, I have decided that since I live so close to her now, I am going to use my love for cooking to create very healthy, savory meals which omit any ingredients she cannot have, and include those ingredients which are healthy and good for her.

I made dinner again tonight, to show her she can love food, even with so many restrictions.  I googled some recipes on, and subbed out the bad ingredients, replacing them with healthy ones.  The following is what my mom, grandpa, son & I ate for dinner.  This meal fed all 4 of us, with leftovers.  ...Shrimp Dijonnaise, Vegan Yellow Squash Casserole & Raisin and Spice Brown Rice.  I have to admit, it was all pretty yum.  Even my 9 year old loved the whole meal.  He told me over and over.  Score!

Shrimp Dijonnaise

1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Worcestershire
1 TBSP Herbes de Province
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp crack black pepper
3/4 lb cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined

In a large resealable bag, combine the apple juice, coconut oil, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and herbs and seasoning. Add shrimp; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally. Drain.  Do not discard marinade. Broil shrimp 4 in. from the heat for 2 minutes or until pink.  Pour mixture into pan and add 2 Tbsp corn starch.  Bring just barely to a boil.  Let cool to thicken into a gravy.  Serve shrimp w/ the dijon gravy poured over the top.


Vegan Yellow Squash Casserole

4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion (sub 1 chopped apple if you don’t like onion)
35 rice crackers, crushed
1 cup diced vegan Cheddar cheese substitute
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut butter/oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place squash and apple in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and apples. In a small bowl, mix together water and rice milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup coconut oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Raisin and Spice Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/3 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring brown rice, chicken broth, butter, and bay leaf to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 45 to 50 minutes; discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and ginger; cook and stir until the bell pepper begins to brown on the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin and coriander, then stir in the celery and raisins. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until the celery becomes tender, about 5 minutes. Once ready, stir the bell pepper mixture into the cooked rice along with the soy sauce; season to taste with pepper.


The above recipes contain NO gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, beef, or acidic fruits or vegetables (like garlic, onion or citrus), and are very low in fat and calories as well.  See... who says you have to eat bland, boring food when you eat healthy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Relationship Advice from a Single Woman....

We as women are funny, funny creatures.  We strive for independence and thrive on being individuals.  And yet, for some inexplicable reason, almost all of us almost always sacrifice every bit of that, or at least most of that, for the man we love.  This may seem like a good thing to do, and it certainly comes naturally and usually completely inadvertently for us, however, it’s actually one of our weaknesses.  When we sacrifice our individual interests and desires simply because they differ from the man’s whom we have chosen to completely wrap ourselves around, it eventually breeds resentment within us, and in the long run, can often become the very cause of the “breakup”.

As an example, I have a friend who’s musical taste changes based upon the musical genre preferences of the man she happens to be dating at that time.  I have another friend who absolutely loves chic flicks, but never watches them because she knows her man doesn’t like them, so they only watch what he wants to watch.  Some women love to exercise, but wind up with guys who prefer to play video games all day, so they give up that interest in order to be near to and spend more time with their man.  In my past, I’ve found myself not going to church, which is something I really want to do for me and my children, because the man I am dating at the time does not like going.  I've also known women who were single moms, and started dating a man who was not fond of children, consequently, neglecting the kids for their man.  Not good!  Just a few examples, but there are many, many more that come to mind.

I know the guys we love appreciate the fact that we want to do what they want to do and take an interest in their interests, but I don’t think that they really desire us to give up every single thing we love, just because it does not fit their lifestyle, or past experience.  If they do, then hello red flag!  Run, he’s a control-freak.  No, the guys worth keeping, I believe, want us to have our own individuality and even respect us for it.  Just as we respect them for theirs.  A girl worth keeping is not a passive pushover with no opinions.  A girl worth keeping is not a doormat.  Same goes for the guys worth keeping.  Both sexes should mutually respect the other, and not try to control the other.  Both sexes should encourage each other in their separate hobbies and likes.

I do feel it is extremely important to have at least some, even if only just a few, mutual interests and activities.  This builds the bond between you both, and creates opportunities to spend time together.  If there is not one single thing in common, then that is also problem.  If you find yourself in a relationship in which you feel you have no compatibility, before giving up, try to create compatibility by creating common interests.  Come up with ideas that you both enjoy, whether it be playing pool, gardening, hiking, traveling, cooking, playing musical instruments, etc, etc, etc.  There are so many things you can do, even new things you have not previously tried apart from each other, that just might bring you closer together.

Ladies, please don’t hear me wrong.  I’m not saying it’s bad for us to adopt new interests, based on our partners.  That’s one of the ways we show them we love them.  And you never know, the new interest he has introduced you to can sometimes become one your favorite things as well.  When we take an interest in the things they enjoy, it shows them we genuinely care about them.   Please don't be confused... what I’m saying is, you CAN go too far with that.  Find the happy medium between doing the things HE loves, and doing the things YOU love.  Don’t ever sacrifice 100% of your desires, passions and dreams for a man , or mark my words, you will wind up blaming him for it.  If you don’t consciously NOT do that, you will lose both yourself AND your man.

So, I guess I’m saying (in all my wisdom about relationships... HA!), Girls:  it’s ultra important to maintain your sense of self, who you are, and what you love.  Yes, love your man and do things he loves with him, but don’t sacrifice every thing that you love.  It neither has to be all his way, nor all yours.  I can be a pleasant mixture of both.  Happy medium. This will help build a healthy respect, a balanced relationship, and well-rounded conversation.   Guys:  Be aware when your girl seems to only want to do the stuff you’ve made it very clear that you want to do.  She just may be subconsciously losing herself, and in time, it could be detrimental to your relationship.  Encourage her to express her feelings about her separate interests (actively seeking to learn about what she loves is a huge way to make her feel loved), and then don’t complain when she wants to do those things sometimes.  Again, happy medium.  Encourage each other to be individuals... this will cause you to be stronger as a couple.  These things are not the key to a healthy relationship, but they will definitely help to promote one.  Commitment, strong communication, mutual respect, affection, truly listening, kindness, generosity, recognizing when to compromise, refraining from insulting, looking for opportunities to love and spoil each other, etc. are also a few of the imperative things in creating an atmosphere of love.

Just a few of my thoughts on relationships.  Lord knows I’m quite the expert.  ...learning the hard way is still learning!  ;-)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hideaway Dreams

...So much to feel.
Too much to say.
Maybe I’ll pray for a hideaway,

Where the hurt can heal,
And all the pesky wishes can fade.
And I can finally learn how to meditate.

There, no one will see
The fractured life
That clutters up my cluttered mind;

Preventing the welcome breeze
From blowing nigh,
To wisp away these whispering lies.

Where tranquility and Zen
Exist only, and diffuse all the flame.
Where chaos has no name.

Where it’s just Him...
My guest only. No harbored blame;
No intruding, shadows of shame.

And sweet slumber comes.
Oh, how I yearn to dream
A happy, mesmeric string of dreams...

Not the dark ones
That flood my screen.
And cause me to awaken to the sound of my own scream.

I’ll steal a moment
From my surging day,
And take that time to look up and pray,

I’ll ask and own it,
(I guess they call it faith)
That I’ll seek and find my hideaway.