Mom, the Patient Mediator

There has been much scuffling around these parts lately. Big sisters picking on little sisters and the poor boy gets hen-pecked quite a bit, as well. I have taken the stance that there should be civility between siblings and even though the love may not be flowing, I expect politeness. The hormones combined with the temperaments together with the mixture of girls and boy and personalities have left me in quite an amazing lurch. I am sick and tired of repeating myself, I think we could all do better, and it needs to start with me.
I feel very lazy, deep inside, when it comes to my own behavior modification. My habits have left me a bit bitter – unwilling to compromise, and tending toward the too kind but necessarily firm. I yell sometimes, I cuss sometimes, and I always regret it and apologize. I am often no better than the children when it comes to self-control and temper issues. Arrrrrg!


I try not to let them fight, but all to often I find them negotiating/arguing/fighting with me about silly tiny things like who can sit in the front seat today, and so I catch myself in that moment and say, “You crazy people, none of you can sit up here! None of you are old enough, and the air bags aren’t meant for a little person, you sit in your seat, put your seat belt on, and BE QUIET!” It is at times like these when I think: ” Man oh Man – I sure do like to lay it on thick- that was a smidge of an over reaction! I could have just said, ‘No, please sit in your seat.’ But NOOOOO I had to run my mouth for a half hour and give a dissertation on the reasons why not!”

I do to them what I WISH they wouldn’t do to each other.

I recently became inspired to strive for better in our inter-family relationships, and this is what I came up with. If you speak or respond disrespectfully I will say, “Pencil, Paper, Dining Room Table!” I had two squabblers make a huge poster titled: My Goal for Today – and when the person who isn’t acting right hears that, they know it means to copy the fourteen goals I found in the Duggar’s book, ’20 and Counting.’

Here they are, for your pleasure, and use:
1. Always use soft words, even when you do not feel good.
2. Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
3. Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.
4. Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.
5.Think pure thoughts.
6. Always give a good report of others. Never tattle-tale unless physical harm will come to someone. Use Matthew 18.
7. Never raise a hand to hit.
8. Never raise a foot to kick.
9. Never raise an object to throw.
10. Never raise a voice to yell.
11. Never raise an eye to scowl.
12 . Use one toy/activity at a time.
13. Never let the sun go down on your wrath ( don’t go to bed angry).
14. Practice JOY: put Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last. Serving your family is the priority!


There are some things that I have learned from this: if I yell and scream at them for even for a serious reason, it invalidates this whole project. I have to be willing to work on myself, to become a better person, a better example so they can model themselves after a kind, controlled lady instead of a harried screaming me-me.
It takes prayer and perseverance.
I am a long way off.
Pray for me that I can be more consistent in training up these children, making sacrifices to do the right thing!!
Do you ever have your kids write sentences or essays for punishment!?
What do you have them write?

Victoria, I Have A Secret For You

Breastfeeding%20039[1] breastfeeding-mother-24[1] cassatt_mary_baby_john_being_nursed_1910-breastfeeding[1] Picture 10[2]

There is recent controversy about Victoria’s Secret starting a new line for young girls. These new undergarments are in my unprofessional opinion very sick and twisted. I know that there are plenty of other manufacturers of clothing that are also pushing immodest or overly sexy clothes for girls. So, I’m not just picking on VS. Believe me, this is one of the many reasons we don’t buy new clothes. I don’t want my daughters wearing trashy teenagery type sluttage just because they are in 1st grade. I think it really starts in 6X clothes.The girls do have the natural inclination to look pretty, sometimes too pretty, and  someone has to stop them, and that person is me. I let my daughters pick out their own clothes at Value World and as long as it covers them sufficiently, I allow it. There are exceptions to that rule, and I do have the power to veto their choices, and they know this. It’s important to let them choose because it gives them the opportunity to make mistakes. It’s like not letting your children pick out their own books at the library. Well, that is one way of doing it, but when they do come across questionable reading material, and they will! Will they have the ability to put it down? Self control is something we need to practice, and when we fail, we learn. I want my kids to be allowed to mess up enough while their consciences are still forming so that they will learn the art of discrimination. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I want this scripture verse to be their motto, and for it to be so ingrained in them, that they are able to obtain self-control and discipline in terms of all the things they choose to make a part of their lives.

So, incase you haven’t seen this: You should read it, and pass it on to all your friends. Some one at some point needs to start pitching a fit to the clothes makers, the movie makers, the book writers, the musicians, and anyone else who touches our children’s lives. The kids are going to pass on our faith. The faith that Jesus taught us, and in order to do this they need to be focused on what IS important. Lingerie, not important. Lingerie for children makes me sick to my stomach. It’s like endorsing child-porn. It’s just flat-out sin. I think Satan has a tactic called “distraction.” It’s where we are so busy being crazy mad and trying to make everything right we just forget to do the thing we came here to do. PREACH THE GOSPEL! Tell it like it is, folks, this and many other things in our culture ain’t right!

Interestingly enough, among all the 2987 comments I got in my inbox from the Rev. Evan Dolive’s remarks thread, no one seemed to think about the fact that Victoria’s Secret was disordered to begin with. I have made it my personal mission for years now to mess with the heads of the people working in that company. Just for fun. And a cause. Breastfeeding! I go into the store, and ask the kind and friendly staff if I can please try on their newest style, the NURSING BRA! They look at me a little sideways, and then proceed to go find the manager, who then comes over trying to make sense of the request. There is a major disconnect here, friends. They are all confused because, even though breasts have a fundamental purpose they can ignore it to such an extent that they aren’t even bothered by the irony.

Dear, Victoria, if you are willing to listen, I would like to share a secret with you. Breasts are for producing milk for babies to drink, for food. Babies often drink breastmilk as their only form of nourishment for a year or longer. They may stay attached to the breast throughout toddlerhood, which makes sense because the toddler is a fickle person, and milk mellows everybody out. Also, if you didn’t know, humans are mammals, and even though touching his partners womanly bosoms may be a part of the sex-act, their primary function is feeding the young. I just thought you should be aware of this fact so that you can take into account the reason why I do not shop at your store. I have been, for all of the years that I have HAD breasts, a nursing mom. And mom’s still like to feel nice and look pretty, so just a hint, maybe producing a good quality and beautiful nursing bra would be more profitable than you think.

I just now went to the Victoria’s Secret website to type in their search engine “nursing bra,” just to make sure I wasn’t falsely accusing them, or getting irrational: “no matches found for your request.” Hmm. I have a secret for you, Ms. Victoria: I am womancotting your store.  I know I should be more bothered by the whole kiddie-porn underware line coming out than this bit about a lack of nursing bras, but I can honestly tell you, I am unsure which is worse.

Make Me Little

therese[1]st-joseph-prayer[1]There are many Holy men and women that have come before me. Many crazy ones, too. I am hoping hard for the former. The Church has dubbed these folks “saints” and they are people we ask to pray or intercede for us, just like when you have a hardship you ask your friends and family to shout out a quick prayer to the Lord, we can also ask the Holy People up in heaven to pray. This is a somewhat forgotten biblical concept.

One charge made against it is that the saints in heaven cannot even hear our prayers, making it useless to ask for their intercession. However, this is not true. As Scripture indicates, those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. This can be seen, for example, in Revelation 5:8, where John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” But if the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God, then they must be aware of our prayers. They are aware of our petitions and present them to God by interceding for us. (Catholic Answers).

We all have our favorites, and Saints are no exception. We love Saint Joseph, cause (duh) he’s the patron of Carpenters! BTW- if you haven’t checked out my sweeties website, you totally should. We also really love Saint Francis because of his passion and fervor, and Francis is my Honey’s middle name, and our second daughter’s middle name as well. I’m pretty much walking around the house mumbling “Make me an instrument of your peace,” these days as we are expecting kittens any minute! He is known for preaching to animals when there were no people around! And lest we not forget to pray for Him- our new Pope is Francis! We love Katherine Drexel because of her amazing generosity, she was a very wealthy woman who chose to use her wealth to open schools for Blacks and Native Americans because she saw there was a need. Not an easy business to go into, and I’m pretty sure we will never really understand the sacrifices she made to get those forgotten and ignored kids into school. Oh, and my middle name is Katherine, and so is Cana’s! Gosh, we like to recycle those middles don’t we!? On our list of favorites would be Padre Pio. He is our car hero! Every time we get in a fix with our car situation we offer a prayer, asking Pio, who as daughter Judah pointed out, “lived when there were cars!” to give us some help, we see immediate results! When our Suburban dropped its engine on the highway after a late basketball game, we asked Pio to go before the throne of God for an afordable car for us, and literally less than 5 seconds later my husband sent me a picture of the van we now proudly call our own, except when it dies, like the other day. We were officially “stuck at home.” Dad and Eva went to get the battery checked, it was fine, so they thought maybe we should try to replace the starter. Sounds like no big deal, unless you are me. I love cars, I’ve just never been quite the genius when it comes to fixing them or, shoot even basic upkeep. So, Honey went ahead and tried to install the thing himself to save money. Here’s me, saying to Padre Pio: “You can’t leave it like this! You helped get us this van, and now it’s just going to DIE?!” I kid you not, less than a minute later, Abel and Eva were yelling and shouting, they had successfully installed the starter, and it worked! A miracle!

Other Saints we love: Saint Jude, sounds like Judah, patron of impossible causes, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mira’s personal favorite, patron of the Americas and the unborn, Saint Dominic, Siah was born on his Feast, he is known for starting the rosary (which for those of you who don’t know is simply a prayer that guides you through the life of Christ, and no we don’t worship Mary! for more info: ), Saint Martin DePorres3_3_drexel_child[1]8_8_st-dominic1[1]24St_Martin_de_Porres[1] assisi8[1], he was born of a Black mom and White dad, so I ask him to send some love and prayers Adams way! And now I bet you’re wondering about little Anya- who is her patron? I thought you’d never ask- her middle name is Therese, after the Little flower. I find Therese’s story very humbling, and I love her “Little Way,” the idea that we can do wonderful works for the people around us, without them even noticing, and it can bless them. It’s very inspirational for a loudmouth like myself to try to do small things with great love. It is a challenge I am putting before myself, one that I haven’t been successful at yet, but God can do a lot with a willing heart. I leave you with this sweet prayer from Saint Therese.

“May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.  pio[1]

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”
―    Thérèse de Lisieux

Lenten Lentils, and Goodbyes to Great Men

2013-01-29 18.29.13 It’s been an interesting Lent so far, Pope Benedict is retiring (gasp), and on top of that our dear priest, Father Fortunato is moving to a new assignment in Chicago. We went to see his last mass at Pius Union the Shrine of Saint Joseph today, not only to hug him and wish him farewell, but to spend time with a beloved family, the Campbells of Grasslake. Mark and Amy are the God Parents of our teeny Anya, and I have to say, that until Amy mentioned it, I had forgotten that tomorrow was her Baptism Day! I am pretty bad at remembering these things, I am lucky to remember their birthdays, but Baptism Days should be remembered! I was really pleased that the Campbells invited us out, and thought to have a little prayer session with the lot of us. We had a delicious brunch and sang many a good old song, with Tina on the violin and the husbands on guitar! We renewed our baptismal vows, oh that wonderous day when we received the Light and Life of the Risen Christ!

Just in case you are so baffled by said changes in the church and REAL LIFE, you can’t muster up the creativity to make simple yet delicious meals, here’s a tested and proven winner!

Mid-East Lentils and Rice

(a.k.a. The “Mess of Pottage” of Biblical Fame)

by Noel Furie

The recipe is for My Dear Mary Tew, sister in Jesus!! and wonderful wife to my brother and amazing mom to nephews and nieces that could melt your heart with their adorable sweetness! So thankful for YOU!!

1. Pick over 2 cups French Lentils to remove stones and debris. Turn into a soup kettle with 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Add 1 cup rice and 2 cups water and simmer 15 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 large Spanish onions. In frying pan, saute the onions in 1 cup olive oil until golden brown. Turn onions and oil into pot of lentils and rice. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 tablespoon cumin. Continue cooking until lentils and rice are well-cooked.

Serve this with pita bread and green salad or green beans. And if you’re not crazy like me (dairy free), yogurt and feta too.

Pita Bread

by Mollie Katzen

1 cup wrist-temperature water

1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 TBS honey or sugar

1 teaspoon salt

about 3 1/2 cups flour

Optional : sesame seeds, extra flour or cornmeal for baking tray

1. Place the water in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes it will become foamy.

2. Add sugar or honey and salt. Stir until everything dissolves.

3. Add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing enthusiastically with a whisk. As the dough thickens switch to a wooden spoon, and eventually, your hand. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes, adding up to another half cup of flour, as needed, to combat stickiness. When the dough is smooth, oil both the bowl and the top surface of the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

4. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean, floured surface. knead it for about 5 minutes, then divide it into 6 or 12 equal pieces, depending on the size of pitas you want. Knead each little ball for a few minutes, then use a rolling-pin to flatten it into a very thin circle (make sure you have plenty of flour underneath)!

5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, brush a baking tray with oil or dust with cornmeal. Place as many circles on the tray as will fit without touching. And bake for 6-8 minutes, or until puffed up and lightly browned.

6. Remove from oven and place in a bowl with slightly damp tea towel to keep the breads supple.

Enjoy! And join me in praying for our dear Benedict XVI and the new, upcoming Holy Father, and keep me posted if you happen upon a great Lent-inspired meal.

Many Blessings!


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Wandering Womb, Babies on Vacation!

Siah telling me, "Dis food is really good, mom!"
Siah telling me, “Dis food is really good, mom!”

By request, for my friends, family, and followers!

“There are few surprises left in life”, I thought the summer of 2007. I had three beautiful daughters, and one wonderful big guy- we had always gone with my husbands family to a small lake on the north-east side of Michigan. Great spot, safe, and family friendly, and enough room for our big family. ( my Honey is one of 10!) We call this excursion “Family Camp,” and it truly is that. We have a blast: many family games of tennis, basketball, volley ball, and most memorable for me, is the all-adult soccer game! What a great thing to get to spend time with your family in a relaxed environment, eating great food, swimming and fishing and games during the day, and campfires and singing by night. The best part for me is, of course food, you can go across the lake in a canoe or other boat and eat at a little diner on the other side. Very cool.

So, we were packing for vacation, and I knew I was close to my due date,which was the third week in August, and here we were going anyway, in the first week of August. I even remember rationalizing it to my friends, “What’s the worst thing that can happen, I have the baby in Alpena!” When we pulled into camp and the first person I saw was Janet Holtz, long time friend and doula, and famous baby lover. She works at the Perinatal Hospice and Tender Care Center of Washtenaw County, so my first thought was, well look who’s here, wonder if this baby will come?! And come he did. Just like Siah to keep me guessing, I lost my mucus plug on Monday, which in the past had been like a siren indicating:  the baby was imminent! I went about life as usual, staying out of the lake as much as possible (you know risk for infection and all), simply waiting for the next move. I had some contractions, but nothing serious, so I finally go it into my brain that if I walked enough the labor would get moving. Huh. It worked, but very slowly.

We stopped in that night to talk to Grandma Rebecca and Great Grandma Anne who were cleaning up our communal kitchen. I told them what was going on, and like the faithful grandmas they are, they stood me right there in the kitchen, damp towels over shoulders, and began praying over me. I have never been so touched. They had both given birth 10 times a piece, and knew where I was coming from. GiGi Anne said, “Let the power of the Holy Spirit fill you so full, there is no more room for doubt or fear.”  The answer to that prayer was found 18 hours later in the Alpena Regional Medical Center. We came in to this very small place, and saw elderly nurses, actually knitting baby booties and hats. There were times during that labor when they fed us, soup, I think! Not your traditional hospital birth at all. The troops were Doula Janet, Auntie Elsa, Auntie Rosie (aka Aubrey), Honey, and I. We marched around that hospital for the whole night, and we waited into the next day. My Honey went outside for some fresh air and fell asleep on the lawn, the security guards brought him back to me all sunburned and surprised. Poor fella. The sisters slept on the concrete floor, Elsa had to nurse at some point and I think they brought in a super special breast pump for us. I don’t know what I would have done without their loving kindness.

Meanwhile, back at the camp, all those wonderful people were watching all my children, Elsa’s children, and their own children. That is no small feat. I will be forever grateful to them for their sacrifices that year. Grandpa Peter, Grandma Rebecca, GiGi Anne (rest in peace, pray for us!), Lisa, Ryan, Kaitlyn, Shane, Kristen, Geoff, Hilde, Charlie, Jaime, Jesse, Bob, Mary, Cora, and Adam, and all the little cousins, thanks a billion! That incredible birth will always go down in my book as proof that God must really love me.

Siah Brown ( Brown after Anne Brown!) came, finally, he was posterior ( turned the wrong way, making the movement from inside to outside much more difficult). We were all waiting for him to make his entrance for so long, I think at the time of actual pushing I was in a dream state- not totally in reality, so when he did emerge, all itty-bitty 6 pounds of him, I was shocked to hear them all say, “It’s a boy!!” I didn’t believe it because I was pretty sure we did girls. I THOUGHT THAT WAS MY CALLING, TO RAISE DAUGHTERS! But I guess God has this way of always challenging us, just when we have it all figured out, just when we think we know what the heck is going on- BOOM- here’s something new.

And Siah (Hebrew for fire of God), is new. He is often the breath of fresh air that we need. He is funny, and active, and very sweet. I don’t know how many other mothers experience this, but boys can sometimes be way more affectionate than girls. I feel like Siah’s hugs are directly from the Lord. If someone that full of mischief and always wavering on potential disaster, can also say things in such a way that your heart almost implodes, well, God MUST be real!

There have been more vacations since that one, but few as eventful! When we came home to camp from the hospital I was shocked at how emotional I became. The whole crew was waiting for us on the steps of the big house and there were handpainted-Hilde signs, and tye-dye tee shirts hanging on the clothesline behind them. It was like too many good things at once, new baby BOY!, a loving family, a rainbow of shirts, the effort and love put into those signs, the people who took care of everything while I was at the hospital, it was so overwhelmingly beautiful I burst into tears. I looked at my husband and said- “It’s like the wedding feast in heaven, it’s like coming home!”  And it was. The relatives waited on me hand and foot, took care of the other babies, it was ideal in many ways. I sometimes wonder why people don’t go on a vacation with a small tribe of people like that instead of doing it at home. It created a time of joy so vivid in my mind that whenever I see the number 5, I think of Siah, this story, and I smile in thanksgiving.

On Birth, Babies, and Unsolicited Advice

There is no real authority on birth other than who ever it is in our lives that seems to be a great mom. I have many such examples in my own life, and I am looking forward to sharing their testimonies and birth stories with you in my book, Among the Children, due sometime in the next 15 years. Until then, I am continuing my research, interviewing women of all dispositions, hearing their unique thoughts and being a listening ear. Everyone wants to share about their birth, no matter how long ago, and I am by far the worst.

I have had one baby on vacation, two at home, and three in our local hospital. I also have a very tall and handsome bonus son, and I am ever grateful to his mom for keeping him, loving him, and raising him well! With all of these experiences and Doula training under my belt, I feel that I have had just enough experience to say, I don’t have the answers, and I don’t know what’s best for you when it comes to birth. When I was pregnant with my first-born, I thought I knew how it was to be done. I thought there was a formula for having the child: be tough, deliver at home, naturally, no drugs. I didn’t even have an ultrasound with my eldest because I was convinced the radio waves would mess her up.

Having had several more babies since then, and watching my friends and relatives have lots of beautiful children, I have changed my mind on the all-natural declaration. It’s simply not a one-size-fits-all world we live in, and little tiny people do not easily fit into a box, either! I have witnessed beautiful births where the mother needed an epidural to rest up before she could really be present at the time of pushing. I have seen a homebirth where until the mama laughed out loud, there was not going to be a baby. Having a baby is a type of release that must be felt in the heart, and then in the body! The laughter that a mom has in her mouth can be the ticket to the cervix opening! I have also witnessed in a most profound juxtaposition, a mom in labor one moment, and the next, five layers of her stomach tissue being splayed across her lap, and a feisty little newborn being ripped out of her! That c-section was an eye opener for me. There are times when neither preparations, good intentions, nor a healthy mother can change the facts:  sometimes emergencies happen. And sadder and more realistic still, there will be times when the baby ceases to be before we got to hold, know, and love them.

What should I do, the first-timer asks….I say, get ready for a life of unexpected bliss, heartache, and wonder. When God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply, He wasn’t saying this so we could have lots of children to help out on the farm, He wasn’t saying it to punish us, He was wishing that by co-operating with His will for our lives, we would experience JOY. The same joy He has in us, His children.

If you know a young lady (or an older one for that matter) who is going to have a baby, do us all a favor and smile at her and tell her “CONGRATULATIONS!” If you can offer to help, do. If she already has children, be sure to tell her she has a wonderful family. And if she happens to be one of the lucky ones, and had more than a couple of children, please, still remind her of the beauty of her children. There is nothing you can say about how outlandishly large her family is that she doesn’t know already. Don’t you think she is aware of the enormity of her commitments when she feeds them, or washes their clothes?

If she is a first time mama please don’t burden her with your unfortunate stories!2013-01-12 10.29.38 Advise her to read anything by Ina May Gadskin, self-taught midwife who writes about birth with a positive voice. Do not under any circumstances give her a copy of What to Expect or any such foolishness outlining the possible tragedies that may befall her! There is something to be said for understanding what is happening with your body, and how to care for yourself, yet generally, I find in most situations the difficult part about being pregnant for the first time is the anguish and anxiety about the birth. Ina May will help with encouraging and demonstrating through the power of storytelling how each mother encounters her birth differently than anyone ever will, and the outcome is very much related to the constant support and love of her partner and friends surrounding her during the process.

In peace and hope I offer this: Your time of childbearing may be over, your time may be up and coming, or you may be in the middle of poop and grocery-getting and sleepless nights at this moment, regardless of where you stand, even if you never have child, the same love that Christ asks us to offer our neighbor can be applied here. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Delicious Recipes 1

There have been lots of opportunities for trying new types of delish-mazing dishes. The thing about this diet we are trying (eliminating dairy and wheat) is that instead of relying on old standbys, you really have to be intentional about trying new things. Grill cheese just don’t fly. The most impressively wonderful things I will share with you here, the not so awesome flops we will leave out of the rotation. Try it. More fruits and veggies, less meat and dairy, no wheat. I feel more energy, less aches and pains, just altogether better.

2013-01-26 17.07.47

Easy Mushroom Stroganoff

adapted recipe by E. Meckler

Slice 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (I used Portobello, but you could use button)

1 large Spanish onion chopped, turn into frying pan with two cloves crushed garlic and two tablespoons olive oil

Fry over highest heat. Add 1 tablespoon paprika and 1 Teaspoon dried thyme. Cook, stirring well, until mushrooms are browned.

Add 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce, 5 tablespoons butter or substitute (I used Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread), either 1 cup sour cream, or if you’re dairy-free Plain Amande cultured almond milk works beautifully.

Bring to a simmer and finish seasoning with a little freshly ground black pepper. Add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. If it’s too thick, dilute with water until it’s the consistency you like.

Serve over noodles, we like rice fettucine, and top with chopped parsley, take my word for it- it’s just heavenly.

2013-01-27 19.46.17Mama’s Magic Minestrone

by Selma Miriam

I am sorry to tell you this, but my children hate soup. Sooooo I have been researching good recipes for minestrone – a soup with noodles, and if I avoid the word “soup” they eat it. It’s magic.

Pick over 1/2 cup red kidney beans and soak overnight or for six hours in water to cover. Drain, turn into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until beans are tender.

Meanwhile, dice 1 small onion, 3 celery stalks with leaves, and 3 carrots. Turn into soup pot with 1/2 cup good olive oil and fry until vegetables are golden. Add 1Tablespoon thyme and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. When garlic wilts, add 6 cups water and bring to a boil.

Cut 1/4 of a cabbage into 1″ pieces and add to pot with 1 cup canned tomatoes and 1 potato, peeled and diced. Bring to a simmer and cook until cabbage and vegetables are done.

When beans are cooked, add them and their cooking water to soup with 1 teaspoon salt, 2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, and 1 Tablespoon pesto.

Separately cook 1/2 pound pasta. I used rice rotini, cause the swirls make me happy! Serve with chopped green onions, and enjoy! And don’t forget to not call it soup, if your youngsters have universally decided soup is evil.

You Do It Unto Me…

3802_10151319243469292_383895841_n[1]There are some good things happening these days. The cold, soft, snow falls and covers the world and there is very little appeal to being out-of-doors. The cold brings you in, into the home. With the people closest to you. It can be a blessed thing. Today the eldest of my tribe, Judah, and I went to the Scrap Box together and marveled at the many odd and interesting  things they had there. We bought a 5 gallon bucket to put compost in, and fabric to make dolls for my homeschool co-op class. It was sensational. She carefully chose some random things to make a “found objects” picture frame for her new art group.

The dinner was delicious, it was a vegan mushroom stroganoff. With Portobello mushrooms and onions, garlic and tomatoes. We had it over rice noodles. It was amazing. Then we hung out until bed time, reading and watching movies. While I was preparing dinner and trying to keep the baby busy, I was listening to Ave Maria Radio (990 am), and they had Mother Theresa’s cardiologist, Dr. Wright, give a talk about his experiences with Mother. It was truly inspirational. He spoke of meeting her for the first time, and her telling him that his purpose in this life was to love. He asked her to define love, because of the difficult place he was at this time in his life, he felt that he didn’t know WHAT love is. She quoted scripture: Matthew 25:31-46 – The passage about separating the sheep from the goats. She asked him if he’d ever heard this before. Of course he had, he just wasn’t sure what she was getting at. She said, taking each finger one by one, “You do it unto me, ” then taking his hand and placing it over his face she told him he needed to help the people who couldn’t afford help, he needed to show compassion to the poor. He was very intimidated and didn’t know if he was strong enough to do what she was asking. He eventually did go work with the Sisters of Charity and serve the poorest of the poor.

I felt an immediate surge listening to this talk that I too, want to help in this way- I started fantasing about moving down to Mexico and serving the poor. My husband, the Honey, always bringing me down to earth, reminded me that we are actually already doing that. He said it in one of those moments, with the baby screaming, and the chaos ensuing, that I was pretty sure he was telling me the truth. It just seems so much more HELPFUL/ glamorous to help reeeallly poor people in another country, who truly have nothing, actual poor and hungry and diseased people. I suppose it almost even seems easier than serving my own, whiney and loud children.

Hopefully, I will remember this next time I am frustrated at whatever I’m dealing with. Mother Theresa was known to say something like, “God doesn’t go bankrupt, he just needs us to be faithful to what he wants us to do.” I think we could all use a reminder of God’s faithfulness on these dark, cold, wintry days. Among the many responsibilities we have, there is a deep peace when we are able to let Him be God, and just listen to His voice.

‘Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience.’

May you, too, feel the calling to go out and do the work of Christ, even if it is right infront of you, and even if it is screaming.

The Thrill is Gone!watch/279734?playlist_id=1387&asset_scope=movies

After trying to feed my family as healthily as possible for years upon years. I have hit a wall. The thrill is gone, friends, we’re moving on. We gave up wheat, dairy, and are pushing a more plant based diet for the lot of us. It’s not easy, we have complaints, we have hungry children, we have bitter mad faces at meals. And you know something? I’m okay with that. I’m ready to feel good, and lose a little bit of weight, and grow old with my husband, without disease! I have had enough of the chronic ear infections and headaches, and enough of the eczema, too. It’s one thing to have a little sensitivity here or there, but to essentially ignore the problems that are plaguing us, and toss it up to being too busy, well. I told you, I’m over it. So, even though the troops are downright disgruntled at the moment, I’m sure they’ll get over it! And hopefully, we will all start to feel better. The one thing I noticed right away was how all the little noses dried up! It was a box of kleenex a day for us until we started our Elimination diet! I got this plan from a book called ‘100 Natural Remedies for Your Child,’ by Dr. Jared M. Skowron. The thought that really awakened me, was: ” My rule for children is simple: feed them a whole food diet. If it grows from the earth, swims in the ocean, or grazes in a pasture, they can have it. There are no cookie bushes, bagel trees, or potato chip canyons anywhere that I know of.” Darn. That kinda hit me hard, because bagels and potato chips are two of our families most favorite foods. It’s not that it’s all we eat, not at all. We often eat sliced tomatoes and spinach on top of our bagels, and chips are just a little snack. You know. As a parent you would be fooling yourself if you thought you were in charge. I thought I was in charge once, but now I know better. I am only as in charge as I let myself be on any given day, and there are many contributing factors that can take away from my ability to TELL IT LIKE IT IS! One time when I become weak is during food times. I don’t like to force things down the childrens throats, and I like for meal times to be plesant and enjoyable for everyone. Easier said than done, eh?!
This whole new diet of more fresh foods and less processed and unhealthy options is really causing me to question my sanity. Especially when the time and effort is made to prepare such healthy choices and the children turn up their noses and little words sneak out of their little ever-adored mouths like “discusting!” And the hand starts to tingle because it wants to swing out to the very individuals mouth who dared utter such nonsense! I am slowly but surely developing a thicker skin, and I have my own little batallion of remarks ready now, too. The first weapon I have is “do-overs” so, you come to the table and sit down and have something negative to say about the food before you. Fine. Go out and come back in and try again, next time, it will be sentences. Secondly, if you are a little slow and don’t understand the program you can learn by repitition. My darling daughter (age 10) had forty sentences last evening, that went like this,”If I don’t have anything respectful to say at the dinner table, I will continue to eat without speaking.”
After that I don’t know what to do. Maybe no food? I don’t know, I have never been able to stick to that I always cave and give them an apple. Hopefully, none of them will get that far. I’m perfectly okay with them trying something, and not loving it enough to eat it all. That’s cool with me, but I already made dinner, and I’m not making anything else, so you are out of luck.
So, we removed all the wheat and dairy, and are slowly limiting the sugar intake. Next we will be cutting back significantly on meat. Why, you ask? Because the Honey and I watched this excellent film on HULU- Fork Over Knife, a documentary about how diet affects the human body. The two scientists and doctors who are shown trying to solve our problems with cancer and heart disese, both grew up on farms, in a world where milk was very good for you, and meat wasn’t even a question- it’s protien, right? Watch this film, and you might change your mind. I am encouraged by watching my friend Mary Jo do the Elimination diet with her family. If she can do it, so can I! Thanks Mary Jo for inspiring me! If God gave us our bodies as a gift, what legnths are we willing to go to- to care for this precious gift? Check out my recipies for new wheat and dairy free stuff! xoxo And please, if you have any glory stories about how diet has affected your family, for goodness sake, comment!