Thursday, February 25, 2010

Power Outage

The other night our power went out quite unexpectedly. With no bad weather in sight, we're still in the dark as to the reason for the outage. It happened right before dusk and lasted 5 hours, so we hauled out our hurricane supply box and lit all of our candles and operated by flashlight until we finally just gave up and went to bed. (Of course, then the lights came on!)

Builderman has a gadget that I used to tease him about. It's called a "cyclops headlamp" and he originally bought it for camping but found it's really handy in a number of situations. I coveted his light the other night, as he was hands-free with light shining wherever he looked. Hard to have a conversation when you're blinded by the light, but nevertheless, I want that which I used to mock him about.

(I thought "How ridiculous - CYCLOPS headlamp ?!?") Granted, I won't wear it all over town but who cares what you look like in the dark?

It's a major inconvenience to be without power. And I've been pondering this for a couple of days now. I dug out a quote that I haven't read for quite some time as I thought about how accustomed we are to all the high-tech gadgets that keep us plugged into the world.

John Taylor wrote these words in 1979 and they are more true today than when he wrote them.

The computer makes us fantastically more able to calculate and analyze.

It does not help us to meditate.

We have instruments to enable us to see everything from the nebulae to the neutron – everything except ourselves.

We have immeasurably extended our gift of sight but not of insight.
For that we have the same equipment as the eighth-century prophets.

Potentially the same, but actually poorer, for while we have been so busy extending one aspect of the knowing and telling self, we have allowed other aspects to atrophy.

We have built ourselves up into power transmitting stations, but as receiving sets we are feeble.

John V. Taylor “The Go-Between God”

I want to be a better receiving set, how about you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Visit to the Rabbit Hole

I’ve been focused on writing for business these past few days and am taking a clear break to tell you some random and little-known tidbits about me. Just for fun, you see.

As a child, a vivid imagination was always fed and encouraged. I loved being in plays when I was young (oh, the drama!), which I’m thinking is not a big surprise to you. (Why did I even write that in past tense?) I still love fun and fantasy, which is all the more reason why I’m thrilled to have a little person in my world to play that out with.

I was once the White Rabbit in a production of Alice in Wonderland. I was also the Caterpillar in a later production but the idea of being a rabbit is far more pleasant. I can still sing the song from start to finish, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date, no time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late….And when I wait, I lose the time I save…”

This particular show-stopping performance was given at Camp Crestridge in North Carolina when I was in Junior High School. I’ll digress here and say that when I visited their website, I was hit by a major trip down memory lane – it still looks the same! The lake, the dining hall, the tennis courts… it was fabulous.

Like the white rabbit, given my natural proclivity to try to squeeze too much into a minute, I tend to run late. However, professionalism and discipline win out most of the time and I don’t run late too often anymore. Ah- professionalism schmism. That's why I need a break in the rabbit hole.

Thanks for visiting my rabbit hole today. I know you are anxious to see my new partner in silliness and I’m happy to oblige. Rosebud is saying “mama” now so “nana” is not far behind….

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Health Is Still Wealth!

The state of the economy can't touch our most valuable assets.

I've been considered a bit of a health nut for all of my adult life. Like so many of my habits, I tend to experience ebbs and flows along the way. For instance, when the children were really small and I could control their diets, we did really well. Then sometimes, I would get exhausted with the effort to buy natural and prepare whole foods and would concede to convenience.

We've never been vegetarians.... Builderman is too much of a meat and potatoes guy for that. It's been really terrific to watch the movement towards health food sections within the grocery store. It delights me that eating natural foods has become so much more convenient.

A couple of changes we've made in the past year that I'm very happy about are:

1) Organic milk. We buy 2 kinds of milk (fat-free and whole) and I found that I was throwing slightly soured milk away a little too often. It's really gross! Organic milk has expiration dates that are about a month away (can't say I understand why) and the fact that I use every drop compensates for the higher price. I have a theory about hormones in our foods influencing our health which I won't get into right now, but I really like buying organic.

2) Organic beef. At my grocery store, Publix, they have a line called "Green Wise" that is delicious & affordable.

3) Cage-free eggs. Most of you know that we now have our own fresh eggs. Yum. Here are some stats that we are promoting as we are actually selling eggs. (!!?!)

Mother Earth News conducted an egg testing project and found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
• 4 to 6 times more vitamin D

4) Kosher salt. I know if you're on a low sodium diet, this is not a good choice, but we are enjoying it! It's said you use less salt when seasoning with this form. I'm not sure about that as I really love salt. Thankfully, I have low blood pressure rather than high and it's not an issue at our house.

Lest you think that eating healthy is not fun, I love the stastics that support eating chocolate! A 2006 John Hopkin's study showed that chocolate can be beneficial to your health. It's rich in flavonoids and packed with antioxidants. In addition, it increases serotonin levels and may help lower blood pressure. : ) You're welcome!

I don't take the gift of health for granted. I believe in natural remedies as a first step when symtpoms creep in. I think we should have wellness cabinets rather than medicine cabinets. A recent ad for a local "Health Fair" boasted 12 workshops and every single topic was a disease. Something is wrong with that picture!!!

All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it." ~Philippus Theophrastrus Bombast That (1493-1541)

Never, no never does Nature say one thing and wisdom another. ~Johann Frederick von Schuller

My prayer for you today is that you will prosper and be in good health!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Food is a Fine Thing...

A side-benefit of blogging is all the fabulous new recipes I've gleaned from others and added to my repertoire. I learned early-on that Builderman loves home-cooked meals so I set out to learn to cook. I've set off the smoke alarm more times than I can count, but such is life. Sara posted this recipe with this photo last month and it scored big points in our house. I'm positive it's not low calorie, but some people around here still weigh the same that they did some 30 years ago. Hint: that wouldn't be me. ; )

Beef, Cheddar and Potato Pie

2 lbs ground beef
2 carrots,cut into 1/4 in cubes
1 large onion, cut into cubes
2 stalks celery, cut into cubes
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup beer (you could use beef stock instead of the beer)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbls water.

Preheat the oven to 375. In a skillet, combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook, breaking up the meat, over medium high heat until the beef is cooked through and some liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the beer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste. let cool.

On a floured surface, roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch round. place in a 10 inch skillet or deep pie dish. Roll the remaining puff pastry sheet into an 11 inch round. using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat mixture to pie. lightly brush the edge of the crust with some of the egg wash, then pace the second sheet on top press the edges to seal.

Place the pie on a baking sheet. brush the top with more of the egg wash and cut an "X" into the pastry center. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, tenting with foil if the crust darkens too quicky. transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.

This is good winter fare and we surely have had winter this year. It even snowed a little at our house on Friday. I burned more than my share of firewood throughout the weekend.

Spring, where art thou?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Sea to Sky Highway

Victory and defeat. Triumph and tragedy. Diversity and unity. I love watching the Olympics. Looking at the beautiful scenery last night in British Columbia brought back a flood of memories.

Our family has travelled the sea to sky highway in British Columbia twice. The first time was when our children were 5, 10 and 15 years old. We had a grand adventure which culminated when we returned our rented van; unrecognizable from the sparkling van we drove off in. We had been many miles into the deep woods and up and down mountains on unpaved roads. We hoped that the thick layer of dust would cover the scratches we'd picked up in the forest. I don't have the pictures handy on my computer from that trip, so thought I'd share some from our adventures just a few years ago. Though we travelled in style on a cruise ship, Builderman managed to take us on some of the legendary outings he is known for. Believe, me, I can tell you some stories!

I just have to share a P.S. photo to my post earlier this week about high school memories. I had pulled out this photo of me and Builderman taken in my junior year in high school. He laughed and said "I still have that shirt!" and proceeded to pull it out of the closet to prove it. He defended it by saying. "it's a good corduroy shirt." Then he thanked me for marrying a guy who will wear the same shirt for 35 years. You make me smile. We've known victory and defeat. Triumph and tragedy. Diversity and unity.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Time Capsule

Happy Tuesday! I had an amazingly wonderful weekend. I spent Saturday at an Aglow retreat with speaker Mary Forsythe of Dallas, TX, whose first book was titled “Glimpse of Grace.” In light of my recent post where I commented that grace is probably my favorite word in the English language, you can imagine I was loving the message. I was honored to lead the music with a beautiful young friend and dubbed us “Ebony and Ivory” as we really do move together in perfect harmony. It was so much fun.

I've had a surreal experience with opening a time capsule over the last few days. I’ve been on Facebook for about 8 months and honestly didn’t spend time trying to find high school friends. I’ve never attended a reunion for the primary reason that I seemed to be pregnant every time they had one for awhile and the timing just never worked out. But the other day, I got connected with one former classmate and it has led me to a Facebook-style class reunion. I started a game in my head of trying to think of one adjective for what I remembered of each person and then I tried to think of one to describe myself at 16 or so. The first word that popped into mind was “lost”. The second word was “clueless”. I would be interested to hear what one word my classmates would come up with.

Here's my senior picture circa 1975. There was a typical disagreement with my parents when I selected this somber pose because I thought it made me look "cool". How funny is that? My parents said, "but you're always smiling!" Well, at least I can honestly say I have no desire whatsoever to return to that age.

Note on this photo: Builderman had this handy in the top drawer of his desk. How sweet is that? We've loved each other a loooong time.

So, what one word would YOU use to describe yourself as a senior in high school?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'd read a terrific book called "The Male Factor" by Shaunti Feldhaun that is a well-researched discussion on the difference between the the way men and women communicate in the business arena. Absolutely fascinating. In fact, I plan to integrate the material into a workshop for businesspeople.

This week, a friend sent me the link to this video by Mark Gungor and I had a really good laugh. I'm posting it on a Sunday on the chance you might have time during the Super Bowl to read blogs. ; )

This is on the difference between men's brains and women's brains and is part of Gungor's series on "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I See the Light of Heaven Sparkling in Her Eyes

I'm smitten. Completely.