Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Struggle

Wow. I really don't know what to say about tonight. Amazing, I suppose lol...

So, for those of you who didn't know (or who didn't remember =P) tonight was the Awakening art show, with the theme of Struggle. There were many great performances, including dance, poetry, readings, music, and singing.

I am completely amazed at how God worked through us tonight. All of us. Blown away.

I am in awe with Kayla and the way her body moves with the Spirit when she dances. Girl, you are beautiful!!!!!

I am in awe with Binh and the power of the Spirit that's in his voice when he speaks. Awesome, man! Awesome!!!

I am in awe with Carla and the way she allows the Spirit to move her flags as she dances. Wow!

I am in awe with Shayani and the passion of God in her voice when she reads. You are GORGEOUS!!!

I am in awe with Betty and her willingness to accept God's leading to join in a dance so last-minute.

I am in awe with Christina and her bravery to share what she shared so unexpectedly tonight. I know it was tough, I remember seeing your pain on the one-year anniversary of his death.

I am in awe with Alisha and her courage to share her photography that I know means so very much to her. She shared with me her apprehension and nervousness of exposing so much of her struggles from her life. And I am so proud of her =)

I am in awe with Debby and her humility. Man, I barely saw her all night! I think she was in charge of the food table and art-for-sale table? Beautiful pictures she had for sale! God has given her such a great eye for photography!

I am in awe with Jon and his love that he freely shares with anyone and everyone. You sir, are a true blessing from God!

To all of you, thank you. You are all beautiful and special to me. I am proud of each and every one of you for being so willing and open to sharing your struggles. I understand how personal they can be, I was struggling myself to share. I love you all dearly. Thank you for allowing the Spirit to come through you. He has spoken to me very clearly tonight.

I have spoken to Alisha tonight about what I got out of tonight, what God has told me. I'm unsure if I'm ready to share it yet, even though it doesn't even seem that self-exposing. But because I'm feeling this hesitation, I am gonna sit on it for a bit before writing more...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas?

So, the mother of a friend of mine posted on her Facebook status the other day, "We can't say Merry Christmas now we have to say Happy Holidays. We can't call it a Christmas tree, it's now called a Holiday tree? Because it might offend someone. If you don't like our "Customs" and it offends you so much then LEAVE I will help you pack. They are called customs and we have our traditions" and then an added bit asking to repost if you agree. I did not repost, cuz I generally don't repost stuff, but I did comment:

"I always call it Christmas stuff... Cuz it is Christmas to me! If others are offended, that's their problem."

Which in turn, led someone else to comment:

"o.O? Seriously? Religious holiday forced down someone's throat with a 'culture' label? Huzzah to happy holidays because it doesn't ignore how multicultural we are and allow us to check out what other people are celebrating without just assuming everyone is celebrating christ-mas.. Hope everyone has a wonderful Yule!"

Which frustrated the crap out of me!!! So I commented back (my frustrations are explained):

"I think it's great that different people celebrate different holidays, that's what multiculturalism what it is, and that's awesome! But don't lump everything into one single "holiday celebration." I want to celebrate Christmas, just as the Jewish want to celebrate Hanukkah, and Muslims celebrate the Islamic new year and the day of Ashura. I am not offended by these religious celebrations.

I think that just lumping everything into "happy holidays" actually takes away from multiculturalism because then we're all becoming the same. There's no multi- anymore, it's all just "happy holidays." But if I say "Merry Christmas!" to someone, and they tell me that they're Jewish, then I will say, "Happy Hanukkah!" no problem! If they tell me they don't believe in the salvation of Christ and they believe in Allah and follow the teachings of Mohamed, then I wish them shalom.

I really could get into a big religious debate about all this, about what gods everyone worships and the gods they celebrate in their holidays and whatnot, but I don't think this is really the place for it...

Canada is a country built upon Christian forefathers, an thus we are considered a Christian nation. As such, Christmas Day is recognised as a national holiday. If people from other religions don't actually celebrate Christmas, that's fine, they are still able to enjoy the day of rest if they choose.

For those who immigrate here from other countries, welcome to Canada, we here celebrate Christmas on December 25th. You don't have to, but we will wish you a Merry Christmas nonetheless. You can accept it or not, but we will wish you wellness. Feel free to celebrate your own holiday, I think that's fantastic!

[Previous commenter], I don't mean to make it seem like I'm ranting specifically at you, or even ranting at all, I just get frustrated when people try to take Christ out of the originally reason for celebrating Christmas because they want to be politically correct and non-offensive to anyone."

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this that they'd like to share? I'm totally up to discuss different opinions, even welcoming religious debate, because I do believe that this would be an appropriate place to do that! =)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ladies... ;)

They start young...

"Just As I Am" Nichole Nordeman

I wondered how to come to You
I did not dare believe it true
That You regard the orphaned ones
Beloved daughters, worthy sons

The broken and the barren too
I heard I could find some rest in You
What kind of love in injury's place
Would leave instead the stain of grace?

So I come in sorrow and I come in shame
I come to the cross with my pain

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come

The pardon that I found from sin
Spilled out from where the nails went in
My heart will ever more proclaim
I had not lived until that day
(O Lamb of God, I come...)

And I know there is a crown for me
Beyond where mortal eyes can see (I fly away...)
And I don't nod to any man
But offer me just as I am

So I come rejoicing with hands held high
I come singing words of new life

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee
O Lamb of God
O Lamb of God
O Lamb of God
I come

The Politics of Race and Gender (in Therapy)

I went to the library with Alisha today because she needed some books for a paper, basically asks the question, what would the history of psychology be like if women had more influence than men? One of the books she took out is called The Politics of Race and Gender in Therapy (an anthology edited by Lenora Fulani. On the bus heading back to my place, I was holding her books, and this one book was the one on top, so I started looking through it. There are some really interesting submissions, I would like to read them all myself just to read them! I want to share some of the entries, one being a poem, the other an article (I'll pick out some quotes). The article has what some people would call some foul language, and for that I do apologise to those who would be offended, but I will write it just as it is written in the book.

"I Am a Woman" by Jessie Fields
Eyes on me daily
Frankly staring

My heel-less height
Wild natural fair, unadorned ears
and unfeminine clothes
Shock the eyes accustomed to the sight
of styled hair, make-up, and earrings.

I stand before the eyes wide with the question:
"Are you a man or a woman?"

The sex code broken.
The dress code defied.
And no slot to put me in.

It is an unwritten rule
that all female children must have their ears pierced
That all women must
wear earrings.

If you don't believe this as a rule
Defy it as I do daily.

Stand with me
when someone calls me sir
Listen to me say
"I am a woman"
Watch them star past me,
and continue to call me sir.
Listen to them say
"Women can't be that tall"
"You don't look like a woman"

How does a woman look?

I am a woman
A woman looks
like the woman she is.
I look like myself, a woman.
I define myself.
I define the woman I am.
And how this woman looks
And what this woman does
And who this woman loves
And I will be
no less than all of me.
I am a woman.


"The Necessary Bitch" by Judy Simmons
Sometimes I act like a bitch for the same reasons that Sojourner Truth ripped off her bodice in public and asked, "Ain't I a woman too?" I mean, really, am I not somebody's child? Don't I bleed if you cut me? Haven't I dreamed of flying?

A woman is a bitch if she stands up for herself, speaks her mind, insists on her rights and space, isn't deferential to men and would rather make a scene than die or turn the other cheek. Except if she's over 65 and a grandmother: Then asserting herself is okay because she's already sacrificed herself for home, hubby, kids, church and community, so she deserves a little indulgence. Besides, she's no threat.

I saw Black women bent double for 12 hours a day, eight-foot sacks harnessed to their backs, picking cotton with cracked, bloody fingers. In 1955. One of them was my college-graduate mother, who wasn't paid enough as a Negro teacher in the segregated South to feed, clothe and shelter only the two of us.
I saw my dark-skinned, country roommate at Talladega College who kept her eyes on the floor and meekly submitted to bullying because that's what a black Black girl with nappy hair could expect and deserved. In 1960.
I saw the women of Laurel, Mississippi, whose work in a chicken factory gave them bloated, ulcerated arms, and who bled through to their outer garments because they'd be fired if they left the line to change their menstrual pad or tampon. In 1980.

[Talking about the word "bitch."] ...The word was profane and had the concept disgusting. It referred to a loose woman who had sex without benefit of marriage and was vain and worldly - a gaudy, painted harlot who probably sand "Gimme mah gin!" and wiggled her hips, tempting upright, God-fearing men to stray from the straight and narrow. Virtuous girls had to avoid even the appearance of evil by keeping their legs crossed, their eyes downcast, their mouths full of soap and their heads clouded with fear and guilt for having sinful thoughts.
Sinful thoughts included sexual ones, of course, but those were venial compared with an even worse heresy; thinking that you, a mere female, were as good as or even better than boys and men.

I think we're cheating ourselves by accepting the bitch label and trying to make it mean something positive. We're having enought trouble gaining self-esteem as it is, without using a very suspect word to label the kind of person we're struggling to become. Bitch is too easy and narrow a concept for what's really going on with me, with us women.

Many Black women are unwilling to identify with feminism, apparently feeling that a feminist is a privileged white, racist, anti-male woman. In fact, feminist means exactly what some of us are trying to make bitch mean: a woman who takes her power out of others' hands and into her own and decides who she wants to be, how she'll be responsible and what she'll make of life on her own terms.

Frequently those of us who do pick up on some of feminism's flashier aspects make the fundamental mistake of wanting the privilege without paying the price. Taking power and directing our lives isn't simply a matter of flexing our women's-lib mouth muscles and throwing jargonistic tantrums to get our own way.
Being a new-style bitch of a feminist isn't just a matter of waking up one morning and shouting "I gotta be me." I've been doing that for years, and all it makes me is a rebellious child who has spent her life reacting against people instead of moving toward her own identity and goals.

I want to stop being my own worst enemy and start being my best friend. I want to decide who I am, mostly, and what work I want to do, seriously. I want to spend half as much energy and ingenuity making myself economically and politically powerful as I've spent trying to show some man how worthwhile my love, loyalty and talents are to him (I'll be filthy rich in six months). I want women and men to respect their separate-but-equal struggles to be whole, balanced human beings. And when I'm standing up for myself and my beliefs to the best of my ability, I want to be recognised as a complex, loving, hurting, angry, courageous woman. Maybe a feminist. Definitely much more and much better than a bitch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay"

What a great post! I got this because it was shared on FB by a friend, and so I thought I'd share with you all! It's a bit of a long read, but well written and well worth it!

I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay

I do have many of my own thoughts on this, but I am exhausted and have no energy to sit here and write, so I am hoping to get to it another day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apples of the Earth

"What the heck is that???" you may ask... Well my dear friends, for those of you who speak French, you will understand that I'm talking about potatoes! The French word for "potato" is "pomme-de-terre," literally, "apple of the earth."

Anyways, the other night I had cooked up some chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, and veggies:
Dinner Plate

The chicken was baked with sage, sea salt, and Indian masala, the veggies were sauteed in coconut oil, and the sweet potato was boiled then mashed with the zest and juice of one lime. The chicken was a bit overdone, it was a bit dry but otherwise delicious. The veggies, OH-EM-GEE I LOOOOOOOOOOVE veggies done in coconut oil!!!!! =D The sweet potato was, well, a bit strong on the lime, so I only had a couple bits of it.

So tonight, while trying to decide what to make for supper, I thought about how I could fix my sweet potatoes so they didn't go to waste. And I thought, "Hey! I have a few red potatoes in the fridge... Maybe if I cook them up and mash them and mix them into the sweet potatoes, it'll mellow it out a bit!" So that's exactly what I did! I also added a few garlic cloves, 1/2 a red onion, and a leftover chicken breast chopped up, sauteed in - of course - coconut oil (seriously, that stuff is AMAZINGLY delicious!!! =D). Once mashed, I added some butter, sea salt, and pepper, and mixed both potato dishes together.

So once everything was all cooked and mashed together, this is what it looked like:
Potatoes

And let me tell you, it is MUCH better!!! I can still taste the lime, but it's not overpowering. In fact, I'm about to go for some seconds... =)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Christ Is Coming Back!

I had a dream last night about the book of Revelation. You know, the last book of the Bible that describes what it will be like when Christ returns? Yeah, that one. But it doesn't really come across that way in my dream, but stick with me and I'll explain.

I dreamed that I was ready to die, but not wanting to do it myself. I was lying in bed (wasn't my actual bed, but in my dream it was) and outside of my window I could see two building-type things that were about to let out a whole bunch of poisonous gas. I lied in my bed, knowing that this was it, this was the end of the world, and I was willing to just die. I watched as the building things let out this grayish green gas, and I just lied there, waiting to die.

Then I'm not really sure what happened between this and the next part (funny how dreams work like that, eh?), but all of a sudden those buildings were gone, as was the gas. I was fine. And this dark blue gift bag tied to a Mylar balloon came floating through the wall to me. Inside the bag was a note from Jesus saying, "Life is worth living." And I was filled with such hope and determination! It was amazing!!!

I know it sounds odd, but in my dream, this was the beginning of the Revelation. No, it wasn't the Rapture such as in the Left Behind series, it was Christ showing His love and giving hope to His creation.

After this point, everyone I talked to (still dreaming) I told them about Christ coming back soon, and I needed to know if they knew Christ as their Saviour. If they didn't, (such as a friend of mine from work), I told them about sin and what Jesus did to save us from that, and would beg them to accept Jesus into their hearts, cuz He was coming very, very soon.

I also figured in my dream, I was wondering what would come next after Christ shows His love and gave hope, and I thought, "Oh it's the judgments coming next... Will I be able to survive them?" Of course, these judgments are found in Revelation 6-16 (the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls).

That was about it... I woke up crying, so full of gratitude for Jesus' love for us, for ME! I've been wondering about this dream all day, wondering if this is, in fact, sent from God, or if it was just like any other dream that I have. I have had visions in my dreams, and I can tell the difference between visions and dreams because my visions are so real , like they could actually happen in real life. This dream was like a regular dream, it couldn't happen in real life as I had dreamt it. But the fact that it was so emotional, both in the dream and after waking up, I wonder..... What do you guys think?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Something New

I love pomegranate juice. Seriously, best juice ever!!! But I've never tried an actual pomegranate fruit. So this morning while grocery shopping with the mom, I broke down and bought one. I must admit, I was a little intimidated by it, simply because it was something new, and I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, and I didn't want to waste it.

So I got home, and in my actual timeline of how my night has gone, it took me FOREVER to get this thing done! But to be fair, I was doing laundry, baking a pumpkin pie and some caramel pumpkin spice mousse tarts AND cinnamon buns! But in between switching/folding laundry and having stuff in the oven, I worked on the pomegranate. Holy crap it has a lot of seeds!!! Which is good I suppose, they'll last longer than say, eating an apple...

I am actually eating them right now while the cinnamon bun dough rises, but I only have another few minutes til I gotta go roll it out...

I am trying to get to the dishes, there's lots to be done... But I just can't stop eating these... Mmmmmmmmm......

It's okay though, once the buns are in the pan, they need to rise for another hour, so I'll get to the dishes before coming back to the computer...

Also accomplished today, I (finally) bought some material to make my own reversible bucket hat! =D Cost me almost $50, but it was for two different patterns and the interfacing that goes in the brim, and I prolly have enough of everything to make two hats. So since I'll have two identical hats, FIRST ONE TO CLAIM THE EXTRA HAT GETS IT!!!!! =D I'll post a picture at the bottom of the materials. They're pretty cute, even my mom likes them lol =)

Okay, off to roll out the dough...

*ONE HOUR LATER*

Alright, so dishes are done, cinny buns only have a few minutes left in the oven, smoke detector only went off four five times... Sheesh! The butter at the bottom of the pan went over the sides and onto the element, so yeah, it got kinda smoky in here... But I threw my window open and set up my little fan to blow all the smoke out, so we're all good now =)

Anyways, here are some pictures of my day! =)

New Bed Sheets
New bed sheets for the futon, a couple new 50"x60" blankets ($3.99 each at Jysk!), and the fabric I got at Mitchell's Fabric.

Hat Fabric
A better view of the fabric I'll be using to make my hat. Remember, there'll be (at least) two hats made, first to claim one gets it! =)

Pie and Tarts
Pumpkin pie and caramel pumpkin spice mousse tarts, definitely delicious!!! =)

Pomegranate
Pomegranate, about half eaten lol

Dishes Done
Dishes done, yay!!! =D

Cinnamon Buns
Cinny buns ready to go into the oven, yum!

Anywho, that's it for me tonight, it is after 11pm and I gotta work in the morning. I will post recipes another night. Gnight y'all! =)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Awakening: The Struggle

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!! December 4th, 6-8pm, at the U of W!

I am hoping to have a few entries in the show, but we'll see... I have a few songs, a reading, and possibly some picture ideas, but I'll have to go through my albums and take a picture walk. Or two. Or three or four or more... =P

Pretty excited! I'll be sure to keep y'all up to date! =)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Test 1, 2, 3 (Anything But That...)

So, I'm trying to set up my blog so that only certain people can see it... I'm not sure if I've done it right, so this post is a test.

PS the title is totally a reference to the musical Rent, in case you didn't catch that =P



Update: Woohoo it worked! =D Also, if I've sent your invite to the wrong email addy (and you're viewing this with that wrong email addy), leave me a comment or send me an email (margnis@hotmail.com) with the email you want to view this with. Thanks! =)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BAM!

Internet has arrived! Thank you, Shaw technician man! =D

Expect more blog posts more often, yay! =D

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Feel

Broken.
Torn.
Hurt.
Confused.
Angry. At everything and yet at nothing at all.
Scared.
Closed in.
Trapped.
Alone. Even surrounded by people.
Small.
Insignificant.

I know these are not true, but it's how I'm feeling. I'm recognising that I'm getting to a low point again, I've been trying really hard these past couple weeks to fight it, but I'm getting tired.

People keep telling me to give it up to God. I do! The problem is, I snatch it back. It's such a struggle to leave it in His hands...

I've done so much baking this past weekend, I had to use up my pumpkin, but I also had to keep myself busy and distracted. I always do that... I'm afraid to face my storms cuz I'm afraid that I will get lost in them.

I want to be very clear on this right now. I have not intentionally hurt myself, nor do I plan to. Thoughts are there, yes, but I do not want to put them into action. But in saying that, I can definitely understand why cutters cut, I imagine it would be a big release. I say it again: I am not going to intentionally hurt myself.

Please pray for me... I'm not willing to share publicly yet, but there is a lot happening in my world right now, it's really hard to process it and deal with it all at once... I know that I will have better days, I just gotta get past these harder days first...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick Post!

No I don't have internet yet, yes I am doing this from my phone, but this is because I'm super excited about it and wanted to share! :) This morning I performed a solo at my church for the offering, which was totally last minute, but worked out perfectly!

The song is called "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road, and it's a song that's been really speaking to me this past week, and so I needed to learn how to play it, which I did. Then when I got to church, Karen (who was leading worship cuz the Butlers were at CFOT with the Hickmans for their welcome weekend service) mentioned that she didn't have a song picked out for the offering so we would just do one of the other songs again, unless I had something about holiness. So, of course, I mentioned this song that God had laid on my heart this week, and ta-da! We had a song for offering. So here it is :) it's not perfect, but I was nervous :P

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sorry...

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I currently have no internet at home, and it's such a pain to post via my phone... Takes a while, especially if I have lots to write. So hopefully soon I'll get a chance to post a nice big update for y'all, and share some new recipes! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thankful

I was about 2 seconds away from death (or at least serious injury) today.

I was walking from work up to Notre Dame to catch my bus. I was on the side of the sidewalk where I was walking with the traffic flow, and had to cross Notre Dame. On the second half of the road, where there cars were going towards my left, there was a semi in the closest lane to me that had stopped in the pedestrian area, and so I went to walk around in front of it.

ZOOM!!!

A van in the next line goes zooming by, going through his red light.

Had I been even just two seconds earlier, he would have hit me. Having to already walk around the front of the semi, I could not see any oncoming traffic. But seeing as how their light had turned red and I was already halfway across the street, it's not like he was trying to run through a yellow and I was just darting out into traffic.

He just went right through his red light.

I can only assume he didn't see that it was red. It didn't seem like he was speeding, and there were no cops or anything coming after him, so it's not like he was running from something.

I don't want to make any assumptions, because it happened so fast that I didn't even see the driver, nor did I catch the license plate. I don't even remember what kind of van, or even what colour it was.

Two seconds.

I'm even getting shaky again just thinking about that.

There's no doubt in my mind that God had a hand in making me that two seconds late. It's funny, it was just this afternoon that I put in my Facebook status, "Stacey has read a bunch of different statuses from a bunch of different friends about trusting in God instead of myself... Ya think God's trying to tell me something???"

And Alisha told me that for some reason, she felt like she needed to pray for my protection today. That gives me shivers. She did pray how the Spirit was leading her to, and I'm so glad she did!

Two seconds.

That bothers me a bit, actually. I can't explain why, because I know that it was God that saved me today... But I can't get it out of my mind: what if I had been two seconds later?

It's got me thinking about my life. Am I where I want to be? Where I should be? Where God wants me to be?

Have I made sure people know how I feel about them? I know things can be applied and taken for granted, but when's the last time I actually told the people that I love, that I love them?

I called my mom tonight. I did have another purpose to call her (my neighbour had boxes in the hallway, and I wanted to check to see if my mom wanted them for her friend that's moving before I went to my neighbour to ask about them). But I really just wanted to hear her voice.

I don't really like to talk on the phone. But it's amazing how comforting my mom's voice can be sometimes.

I love my mom. And I told her so tonight.

It's a start =)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mango Salsa Spaghetti

Oh my goodness. Best thing I've had in a loooooong time! In fact, I'd almost say it beats coconut rice and stir-fry!

This recipe is from Metro (where else? =P), and I kinda tweaked it to what I had...
-I didn't have a "box" of spaghetti because I keep it in a container, but I just used up what I had and it worked.
-I only had 1 mango and 1 red pepper, but again, it worked.
-I didn't have large shrimp, nor did I have skewers, so I just used the small shrimp, tossed it with the specified amount of dressing, let it sit for the 10 minutes, then cooked it in a pan. Yes, it worked.
-I don't have a food processor, just a blender, so I used that. The salsa's a bit more pureed than it should be, but the flavour is still as delicious, I'm sure, so, it worked =P
-I left out the jalapeno peppers. I learned my lesson last time. And also, I didn't want a spicy dish.
-I forgot the coriander... Haha whoops...

So without further ado, here ya go:

Mango Salsa Spaghetti
1 box (375 g) whole-grain spaghetti
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsp oil
2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tsp honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb peeled, uncooked large shrimp
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, chopped, and divided
2 red peppers, chopped
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk lime juice with oil, lime zest, honey, and garlic. In a separate bowl, toss shrimp with 2 tbsp of the dressing. Let stand for 10 minutes. Thread shrimp onto 6 large wooden skewers that have been soaked in water to minimise flare ups.

Meanwhile, place remaining dressing mix and one mango in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining mango, red peppers, onion, jalapenos, salt, and pepper; pulse until coarsely chopped.

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions; drain well. Grill shrimp skewers for 3 minutes per side or until pink all over. Toss hot spaghetti with mango salsa mix and coriander. Garnish each portion with a shrimp skewer.

Serves 6.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh Snap

So, I haven't posted many favourite trolls lately... Sorry 'bout that guys, here's a velociSNAPter...

VelociSNAPtor. found this little jewel on the interweb, thought I'd share it with my FJ brothers!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coconut Rice

I don't know why I've never made this stuff before. It is absolutely amazing!!! Especially when mixed together with my Asian stir-fry, yum yum!!! =D And it's pretty much the easiest recipe ever!

Coconut Rice
2 cups soup broth
1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk (398 ml)
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

In saucepan, bring the broth and coconut milk to a boil. Stir in the rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Ta-daaaa!!!! So simple! And sooooooo delicious!!! =D

Sorry though, I didn't take a picture. I was too busy chowing down on the deliciousness. =P

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mountain

Tonight I was listening to the radio, tuned to CHVN 95.1 FM, the Christian radio station in Winnipeg. One of their features is Blessings From the Bible, where they basically just quote a Scripture verse. One that was played tonight was Matthew 17:20, and this is how they read it: "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to your mountain, 'Move!' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

"Say to your mountain, 'Move!'"

If I have faith as a grain of mustard seed, I can say to my mountain, "Move!" and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for me.

My mountain...

Trying to get over it is tiring. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually. I am exhausted.

But Jesus Himself just told me tonight that I don't have to worry about trying to get over the mountain.

Because I can just tell it to get outta my way.

So mountain, MOVE!!!

Happy 101

My friend Alison has blessed me with the "Happy 101" blog award, right on! =) So because I don't think I actually did this last time she gave me a blog award, I'm making sure to do this right away so I don't forget! =P


Here are the rules:
1. Copy the award image into a post.
2. List 10 things that make you happy.
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
4. Put in a link to their blogs.
5. Notify the award receivers.
6. Recipients should link back to the sender’s blog.

10 Things That Make Me Happy (in no particular order...):
1. Jesus
2. Deep relationships
3. Alisha
4. Long hugs
5. Someone telling me to my face that they love me
6. Being goofy with my kids at work
7. Visiting my mommy
8. Music
9. Cooking for other people
10. Trying new recipes

10 Bloggers Who Brighten My Day (in no particular order...):
1. Alison - it's great to get almost daily updates it seems, whether it's how her day went, recipes, or pictures, always a great read!
2. Alisha - what an amazing woman she is =) I enjoy reading her updates and poems, as well as seeing her pictures.
3. Sherrie - I can't link to her blog because she has her privacy set up that only those she invites can view it. But I love reading her blogs because she is not afraid to say, "this is who I am, and I am proud of me, whether you like it or not."
4. Melissa - I love reading updates from this gal, and her kiddo says the darndest things!
5. Tammy - she posts about her life journey, often with interesting insights from her kids =)
6. Jaclyn - she posts on her journey through life as a Salvation Army cadet, and now lieutenant! =D
7. 1000 Awesome Things - Seriously, it's the smallest things in life that seem to be the awesomest!
8. PostSecret - Every week, I find my own secrets sent in by other people, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone.
9. Books of Adam - Fantastic for a good laugh, and great pictures too lol
10. Hyperbole and a Half - Another one for a good laugh, though currently she seems to be on hiatus working on her book that's due for release in autumn 2012, exciting!!! =D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dentist Visit

I would like to point out that I love going to the dentist. I grew up loving the dentist, it's just never been a frightening thing for me.

What I do NOT like is getting cavities filled. It's not the filling itself, it's not even the noise of the drill. It's the freezing. I hate having half my mouth frozen for a few hours... Especially when I'm thirsty and I can't drink because I can't keep my mouth on the glass, and then I can't keep the water in my mouth before swallowing.

Never mind food... I am so hungry, and having trouble eating this coconut rice... Lol actually, it's pretty funny... But NO PICTURES FOR YOU!!! (imitating the Seinfield soup nazi...)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Avocado Banana Bread

I personally did not care for this recipe, but I'm not a big fan of banana bread. But for those of you who love it, and would like a bit of a twist on it, this is for you! =)

This recipe is from the Metro Winnipeg, exactly how it is in there, I was pretty excited to see that it calls for whole wheat flour, and honey instead of sugar!

Avocado Banana Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 pureed avocados
2 mashed bananas
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the avocados, bananas, honey, and vanilla. Fold the dry mixture into the avocado-banana mixture. Spoon the batter into 8 greased mini pans, ensuring you spread it evenly.

Bake the Avocado Banana Bread for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle of each loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool then run knife along edges and invert onto wire racks.

Sorry, I did not take a picture of it...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Citrus Asparagus Salad

This is another recipe from Yum In My Tum, seriously some great recipes on that site! This was super yummy freshly made!!! =D Though not so good the next day; still alright, just...not fresh lol. So this recipe is approved, though not for leftovers.

Asparagus Citrus Salad
1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 tbsp EVOO (I didn't use this much though...)
S&P
Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 ts phoney
Zest of half a lemon
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard (I just used yellow)
EVOO
S&P
1 blood orange, peeled and segmented
1 orange, peeled and segmented
(I just used 3 mandarines, cuz I'm not a big fan of other oranges)

Preheat oven to 350F. Drizzle asparagus with EVOO and season with S&P. Place asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup), and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until bright green and tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar, honey, lemon zest, and mustard in a bowl and slowly whisk in EVOO until desired consistency is reached (I used 1/4 cup but found it was too much). Season with S&P to taste.

Plate asparagus and drizzle liberally with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Top with orange segments and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette to taste. Garnish with thin ribbons of Parmesan cheese (I did not, cuz I didn't have any, surprisingly!).

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Recipes!

So, I got a few recipes from Yum In My Tum, and figured I'd try a few out. So here goes!

Egg Nests
4 slices of white bread (I used rye, came out fine)
2 cubes of chopped frozen spinach, moisture squeezed out (I used fresh, just a little bit, though it definitely could've used more!)
Butter
4 eggs
Grated cheese
Crumbled cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a muffin tin.
Cut the crust off the bread. Gently push each slice into a muffin tin, making a little bread bowl.
Put a bit of spinach in the bottom of each bread bowl. Top with a little bit of butter. Slowly top with a raw egg. Top with salt and pepper if you wish.
Bake for 15-20 min. or until the egg is cooked and the bread is lightly toasted. Top with a bit of cheese and the crumbed bacon.

As you can see, I didn't add the cheese or bacon, but these were delicious nonetheless. And what a brilliant idea, cooking them in a little bread cup in a muffin tin! Delicious, definitely an approved recipe!

Next one, from the same site:

Warm Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag (10 oz.) broccoli florets (I just bought broccoli not in a bag...)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup chopped carrot (about 1 large)
3 tbsp finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive/grapeseed/flax oil)
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt

In sieve, rinse quinoa with cold running water. In saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Transfer quinoa to large bowl.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli until tender-crisp. Add to quinoa in bowl.

In blender, combine carrot, ginger, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, water, and salt; blend until pureed. Add to quinoa, broccoli, and tomatoes and toss to combine. Serve salad warm or at room temperature.

This as well is super delicious!!! I was a little wary of the ginger, cuz I'm pretty sensitive to ginger ever since trying candied ginger once, but I'm apparently coming to accept ginger as not such a terrible thing after all! I was also a bit worried that there might not have been enough dressing to cover the salad, but it's actually the perfect amount, considering the such strong flavour of fresh ginger. Approved!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts

I have quite a bit of stuff on my mind tonight, a few things that God has put in my head tonight when I was at my friend's Awakening art show.

First of all, there was a point where there was a girl who was using like, flag-type things and dancing, and it was explained that what she was doing was completely inspired by the Holy Spirit, not rehearsed at all. And it lead to explaining how we can worship God by simply following the Holy Spirit and doing whatever He leads us to do.

And it got me thinking about music. Especially when listening to music. I find that if I am listening to music, I move. Like, not get-up-and-dance kind of moving, though I have been known to randomly do that too haha! But like, foot bobbing or tapping, or playing table drums with my index fingers (y'all know what I'm talking about, right? =P)

Which led to me thinking, what is it about music that makes me move? Why is my body so prone to moving in response to moving?

No, I don't really have an answer, but it just got me thinking about it... Am I meant to dance? To dance for God, like David did? (But preferably clothed...)

Another thing I was thinking about was the story of Ezekiel prophesying to the dry bones. The group at the show did a piece about it, where they sang and read the Scripture passage:

Ezekiel 37:1-15 - The Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

Let's stop here. Can you picture being Ezekiel in this situation? Being asked by God, "Can these dead dried up bones live?" I don't know about you, but I would've been like, "Uh... No." And yet Ezekiel says,

"Sovereign LORD, you alone know."

Wow. It almost sounds like Ezekiel doesn't want to give a straight answer for fear of being wrong. Had he said outright, "No," it would have shown lack of faith that God can do anything. And yet he doesn't straight out say, "Yes," which to me says that he doesn't quite have the faith that God could do it, but he's afraid to reveal that to God.

Moving on:

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"

WHAT??? These bones are dead! They've been dead for a long time, long enough to be dried up and all piled up like this! You're trying to tell me that these bones could come to life?

It's almost like God was asking Ezekiel to test Him. "Do it! Tell these bones that! See if I can actually make them live again!" Could you imagine where this story would have gone had Ezekiel doubted God and didn't prophesy over these bones because of a lack of faith? Could God have gotten His point across as effectively? Would He have chosen someone else to prophesy to the bones, and Ezekiel would've just lost out on that opportunity? My mind reels with all the different what-ifs!

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then imagine actually seeing these bones really coming back together as bodies! Seeing that God CAN do something so extreme and impossible! Actually seeing God doing what He said He can do!

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

And then, not only have these bones become bodies again, but they come alive!!! It kinda reminds me of the creation story in Genesis 2, where God molds the mud into a human shape, then breathes life into the nostrils to make Adam come alive. Except in this story, the breath comes from the winds, not directly from God Himself. Huh.

Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Calling All Prayer Warriors!!!

I met some AWESOME people tonight during soup van, and lot of people are in need of prayer! And so I am calling YOU to pray too! I cannot name them because there's rules around that, but I can let you know what to pray about!

A lady needing forgiveness
A lady needing strength
A lady needing to kick her alcoholism
A man who has accepted Christ as his Saviour, HALLELUJAH!!!
Two AWESOME dudes who pretty much travel around on their bikes and witness to people! They are the ones who led the man to Christ tonight!
A lady who believe in the Lord and struggles with addictions

I am SO pumped right now from tonight! I had the honour of praying for the first two ladies, and was a part of the prayer for the third lady. I was serenaded by God through the two dudes and their guitar and harmonicas, and even danced around with them, absolutely amazing those two! I was able to bless the lady who believes in the Lord with a new hat, it's amazing how something so simple as that can make someone's day!

Man, God is so incredibly cool!!!!! =D

"Charade" Amanda Falk

Another day, paint on a face that they expect to see
It’s not all I want, but it’s all I’ve got to make this world believe
Nothings wrong with me...
I’m an artist of emotion, a master of deceit
And the many faces I portray are nothing at all like me
How I long to be free

From this never-ending maze, oh my head's in a daze
Every time I think
Of this over-played charade, oh my hearts gonna fade
And I can’t go on...

It’s a tug-of-war each moment, to hide this pain inside
Or to open up and spill this cup of feelings that I hide?
But what would people do, what would people say?
When hear the truth, will they turn and run away?
Will they throw a stone, or lend a shoulder to lean on?

From this never-ending maze, oh my head's in a daze
Every time I think
Of this over-played charade, oh my hearts gonna fade
And I can’t go on...

It’s not fair, I can’t take this anymore
Oh these tears are drifting me from shore
Is there hope for someone just like me?
Then I hear a voice inside me say, "I can set you free

From this, never-ending maze, I will be your strength
If you let me in
So just, take my hand and see, if you follow me
You can be free..."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Delicious Asian Dinner!

Behold:
Yeah, you're jealous, aren't you?

But no worries, you can make it yourself! =D

1 red onion
Some asparagus
Some bean sprouts
Some chow mein noods
Olive oil for frying the onion on med. high heat
Some sesame oil, soy sauce, and oyster sauce to go in with the veggies and noods.

Ta-dahhhh!!! =D

Pretty simple, I basically used my stir-fry recipe, but I just used different noodles, and added asparagus. And I didn't measure anything. But oh my goodness it was delicious! And I have enough left over for seconds, AND lunch tomorrow, woop woop! =D

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life Choices

I had my staff evaluation at work today with Maria (my boss) and Cindy. 'Twas good, I was looking forward to it and was glad to hear that they have pretty much the same thoughts as I do when it comes to the different areas of evaluation, if anything they rated me as higher. Definitely was a much needed ego boost.

At the end we talked about some options I have there. I did make sure to be clear that I don't want to be moved from my room, I love my kids and can't see myself being with any other age group, and they agreed with me. But Maria let me know about Red River College's work placement program for the ECE diploma. This is where I could take my 2-year ECE course full-time, but I'd only attend class 2 days a week, and the other 3 days would be spent at work, implementing the stuff I'd learn in class. I'd need to have worked at the centre full-time for at least two years, so if I did this, it would have to be next September, since I've only been full-time since last March...

But Maria had said that in order to do that, I'd need her written approval for the school, and she would totally do that for me. She explained how this would be for someone who is willing to invest their time and energy into the daycare, since the daycare would be investing in them. Not everyone would be suited for something like that, for example the last person whom the daycare supported through the workplace program. I won't name her here, but in that case, things didn't turn out so well, and as soon as she was done her program, she left. Needless to say, Maria wasn't too happy... Now I don't know the entire story of what had happened, but I do know she had moved out of town, so I could understand that's prolly a big reason why she left...

Anyways, financially it would be pretty awesome too. Having my ECE would almost double my salary, if not more. And I would still be paid for 40 hours of work each week, which means I'd be paid to go to class. Of course, I'd still have to pay the tuition, but Maria had said that there's even options there, like bursaries and grants. So it's got me thinking: get paid to go to school for free in order to get a higher salary... Sounds pretty sweet!

My only thing is, am I willing to invest that much into the daycare? I mean, I love my kids, and I overall enjoy the work that I do, but I'm not planning to be there for 10 years... I'm even uncertain whether or not I'd be there for 5. Don't get me wrong, I do plan to be there for the next couple years anyways...

What I really want to get back into is cooking. I love cooking. I don't like cooking in a casual dining environment though. My dream is being able to create my own menu, change it up every month or so, and cooking my menu items. It'd be great to work in a small restaurant with a sous-chef, but it would have to be someone that works the same way I do. There's nothing worse than working a kitchen with someone who works differently. Not that the way they do things is wrong, it's just not the same as my way, and so sometimes it causes issues. Been there, done that...

But I don't want to have to own my own restaurant. I don't want the hassle of management. I just want to created menus and cook the food.

I was talking with Dennis about this the other day, cuz his dream is to own his own restaurant. But he wants to get into baking. Wouldn't it be great if he owned the place, I did dinner dishes, and he did desserts? And we could give each other ideas on dishes? Like, I'd suggest desserts to him, and he'd suggest dinners to me... Man, that'd be soooooo awesome!!!!! And I have worked with Dennis in the kitchen, and we work well together. We get each other, and we can get each others' backs when needed.

Anyways, I guess I just need to figure out what I'm going to do about career choice... I suppose I have until next year, and lots happens in a year... So we'll see...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Potato Casserole

So.... I had a bunch of potatoes, and some green onions that needed to be used up, so when I was going through a bunch of recipes on my table from the Metro that I'd like to try, I found one that I actually pulled from the Winnipeg Sun that uses potatoes and onions, hurray! =D It does actually call for an onion, but I used green onions, and then I added turkey bacon bits cuz I had some of those in the fridge too... And of course, I left the skins on the potatoes, cuz that's the best part! =D

Potato Casserole
2 cups potatoes, cooked and mashed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
(does anyone really measure salt and pepper? lol...)

Combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, onions, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake in preheated 300F (150C) oven, uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
Serves 2.

Of course, I licked the beaters and the bowl, and now after tasting it after being baked, I almost like the way it tasted beforehand... Although it's still delicious!!! =D

Monday, June 13, 2011

Frustrated

Am I really that strong? I've been told by a few people that it takes a lot of strength to go through this the way I am... Is it really strength? Cuz I don't feel strong at all. I feel weak, worn out, exhausted from fighting this over and over again. I don't see myself as strong, I see myself as a coward because I fear the physical pain. I almost want to, just to prove that I'm not afraid of it, but I know that those thoughts aren't my own.

Just to be clear, I'm not going to hurt myself. Those aren't my thoughts.

I'm more frustrated with myself. It seems like it's a never-ending cycle. I'm good for a while, then BAM! I'm down here again. I'm frustrated that I keep getting back here. I keep resisting what those voices are telling me to do because I know that they're not of myself.

But it's so tiring, I almost feel like I'm suffocating...

I was asked once what I hear in my head, but I can't actually give an exact answer of what they're always saying, it's always different depending on what I'm doing. Like one time when I was walking to my bus stop downtown, I was waiting to cross the street and there was a bus coming, and there was that voice telling me to just walk in front of the bus. Call me crazy, but I almost felt like I was being pushed, but I stepped back.

I don't even know what the point of this blog entry is, I just feel like I need an outlet, a means of communicating what's on my mind. That's the whole point of blogging right?

Sigh I don't know, perhaps I should just go to bed...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hot Cheesy Steak Wrap

I just made this with some leftover steak I had in the fridge. I cut it up into small pieces, chopped up a shallot, and fried it all up in a frying pan with a few squirts of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Then I set that stuff aside, cleaned out the frying pan, put the wrap in it, shredded some cheese on top, and put half the steak/shallot mix in the middle. When the cheese started melting, I put the wrap on my plate and wrapped it up. Then I made the second one. It was really good =)

Clarification

Just so you know, my previous post was not a suicide note. It was not in any way a means of me saying that I was going to hurt myself. I do not want to hurt myself, and I have no intentions of doing so.

What I was trying to say is that life is hard, and sometimes it just gets to a point where I'm tired of it. I look forward to the day that I don't have to live this life anymore, but I'm not willing to end it myself.

Just so you know, I am safe, it just gets overwhelming at times. I will be alright, just not right now.

Meltdown

I don't even know what to write here anymore... I don't know how to express what I'm feeling. Where am I going in life? What's it all for? What's the point of it all? I'm scared to reach out to anyone cuz I don't want anyone else to get involved. I just don't know what to do anymore, I just wish I could go home...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rice Pilaf

I got this recipe from - where else? - the Metro Newspaper. Man, this paper has some great recipes! =D

Rice Pilaf
1 cup basmati rice (I only had jasmine)
1/4 cup orzo pasta
2-3/4 cup chicken broth (I used half veggie cuz it was in my fridge)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I subbed raisins, I don't like cranberries)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced (I used 3/4 of a red onion, was in my fridge)
1/3 cup almonds, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 scallions, chopped

In saucepan over high heat, combine rice, orzo, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Once rice has cooked, quickly stir in cranberries, then cover and set aside for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While rice and cranberries sit off the heat, prepare the rest of the pilaf. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add cinnamon, cumin, and black pepper, then cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add almonds and carrots, then cook for another 2 minutes.

Add rice and cranberries to skillet; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in chopped scallions. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

The article mentions that if you don't like almonds, you can sub chopped cashews or pistachios, and instead of the dried cranberries, you could use dried currants, cherries, or golden raisins.

Aaaaaaaand I didn't have any scallions (Superstore had none today), but here's a picture of what I made! =)

It tastes alright... I think it'd be better if the scallions were in it - both the flavour and the look would be better... And the look of food always adds to the flavour ;) But I'm unsure about the cinnamon... It reminds me of rice pudding, which I don't really care for... So I will take the article's advice and will "take this in any direction [I'd] like" when it comes to seasonings! =)

Family Social Night

Last night was Weston's Family Social Night, intended to raise money to help fund our summer camps. It was a great night! Not a super great turn out, but there was enough to raise $547, woohoo! =D

There was a jail, complete with jailers who went around arresting people with some pretty good charges - Alisha got arrested for not dancing lol! It cost $2 to bail someone out, and unfortunately I had no cash to bail out Alisha, but luckily Dave lent me a couple bucks and told me to go get her out lol. Thanks Dave! =D

There were also some silent auction prizes, and I ended up winning two! The first consisted of 8 passes for Laser Jungle (2 free passes, and 6 two-for-one passes), and some "Fuze beads" or something... Pretty much just Perler Beads. Anyone remember those? Those little beads you put on pegboards and then iron them... I use to have so many! I gave them to Drake, cuz he had said to me earlier that he really wanted them.

The second prize was pretty cool! a $10 gift card for Rona, which I can use to buy paint! I want to paint a couple walls in my place, white is so boring... Also included in the prize was a set of little journals put out by DaySpring (it's a Christian card company), meant to be used for sermon notes, prayers and praises, bible study, and reflections. Pretty cool! There was also "The Serenity Prayer" by Trevor Hudson, a little book that pretty much dissects the prayer and teaches us how we can transform our lives. Lastly, there was "The Names of God" by George W. Knight, which studies the over 250 names of God, covering names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Cool!

So all in all, I spent $40 on those prizes, but that money is definitely going to a worthy cause! Thank you to all of you who helped plan, organise, set up, run, and clean up. It was a great night, I had a lot of fun! =)

Oh yeah, and before I finish, remember my neighbour that had some trouble last week? She came to my door again yesterday to thank me for helping her, and handed me a card in an envelope. I told her it was no problem, that's what neighbours are for right? So I thanked her for the card, and she went back home. But when I opened the card, I found $40 in it! It didn't feel right to keep it, cuz I was just doing what I was raised to do when someone needed help, but I didn't want to have to go back to her and refuse her gift, cuz I didn't want to be rude... So I put it in the offering plate this morning, so that money too can be used for a good cause =)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Long Weekend

There was a bunch of stuff that happened this weekend, all of it was pretty awesome!!! =D Well, I guess except for the weather on Monday... But that's petty lol. So here's some picture highlights!

Friday: Brandy and Liam came for a sleepover! =D
Once the Liam-raptor was down, I began teaching Bran how to cross-stitch. It was interesting to see what it's like for a beginner... A little bit frustrating for me, because I wanted to teach her all the little shortcuts I've learned over the years, but knowing she just needs to learn basics to start, I left it alone. But it was good! She got the hang of it, and was able to follow the pattern herself, and changing her threads, and even changing her colour on her own, way to go B! =D

Saturday: I just did laundry in the morning, then Liam went down for a nap just after noon, but by the time he woke up, Logan had come over, and we were all going to the Forks for the afternoon, woot!

Side story: right before Liam woke up, my elderly neighbour came to my door completely in tears, and immediately I went into panic mode, because I know she has a sister living a few floors below us and I thought something had happened to her. But it turned out that my neighbour had locked herself out of her apartment when she went to the laundry room, and her niece was supposed to be calling her to come visit, and our landlady wasn't home. Her sister was also moving out this weekend, which was stressing my neighbour out like crazy. But all was well, I helped her make some phone calls, and got a hold of our landlady so she could get into her place.

So, back to the Forks. I was supposed to be volunteering in the soup van handing out refreshments at the Jam for Dignity under the canopy, but it was raining so they moved the event indoors, so they didn't need the soup van, so I didn't need to volunteer, so I was able to just hang out =)

There was a HUGE puddle under the canopy. Seriously. And I, being a puddle jumper, had to go play in it, of course =)

I also bought myself a new sweater! =D It's super warm, pretty thick, and nice and soft inside =)

In the evening, Alisha and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather some more! We had some fun on the swings, and we had also brought out our tea, and I had my cross-stitching.

Then as we were heading inside (cuz it was getting dark and there were a few bugs coming out...), we were surprised by some fireworks going off at the Forks! I figured it would've been Monday night, but I guess not!

Sunday: Went to Weston, went shopping with my mom, and bought some new shorts and a skirt! =D Sorry, no pics yet...

Monday: Chillaxed all morning, then went for a walk around the neighbourhood with Alisha just to explore! It was pretty chilly though, so we didn't get too much area covered. But we are planning to take walks every weekend when she's over =)

So here's some stuff we found!
A dandelion on the bus bench:

A tree that only half blossomed...?

A secret hidden spot behind the front steps of La maison des artistes visuels francophones!

A field up Tache so full of dandelions it almost looked like a field of canola!

A view of the river:

A memorial park! There were plaques all around about Goulet, his work in forming Manitoba, and about his death. He was being chased by a mob on the now-downtown side of the river, and he was trying to swim across to St. Boniface for safety, but the mob threw rocks, and one hit him in the head, knocked him unconscious, and he drowned. Another plaque explains how this park's rolling "hills" represent the waves of the river, the rocks haphazardly placed around represent the rocks thrown, and the white infinity symbol sidewalk represents the symbol of the Métis. Very interesting indeed!

Then we got to the railroad tracks:

And I found these plants growing, and I'm unsure of what they are... But the second one almost looks like an herb or something... Prolly just weeds lol...

Then we found this tower! Turned out to be a part of a waterworks booster pumping system, but it was cool nonetheless!

Then there was this wooden tower thing, that turned out to be a part of a wall climbing club, pretty sweet!

THEN we found a GIANT ice slide!!! Why have I never been on this before?!?!?!? And no, it's not the one at Festival du voyageur, cuz we found that one too, and it's NOTHING compared to this one!

Then my camera battery died, and we were both pretty cold, so we headed back to my place for hot chocolate =) Then Alisha left about 3:30 so she could be home to watch Oprah's show. So I made dinner!

Ready for this???

"An adventurous take on steak."

Another recipe from the Metro newspaper, yay! =D Marinated Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce. Except I didn't have Gorgonzola cheese, but since it's a crumble cheese, I subbed it for Feta. Add a side of steamed green beans and a side of mushrooms and red onions cooked in butter, and there's my dinner! It was DELICIOUS!!!!! As you can see, I put some sauce on my beans too, and I'm pretty sure it tasted better on them than on the steak, so I'll be keeping that in mind! I'll put the recipe at the bottom.

And because my friend Alison posted pictures of her newly reorganised spice cupboard, and I commented about my own spices, here's the pictures:

And while I'm at it Alison, here's my Post-It note recipes! =P


Steak Strips with Gorgonzola Sauce
Keep in mind that I was only cooking for myself, so I quartered the recipe.
Marinade:
2 cups beef broth (I had veggie broth)
1 cups dry red wine (I subbed red wine vinegar)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 NY strip steaks, each 10-12 oz and about 1" thick, trimmed of excess fat (I just had a sirloin, still tasted awesome!)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt (I just used sea salt)
Ground black pepper

In a large glass baking dish combine the marinade ingredients. Whisk to dissolve the tomato paste. Submerge the steaks in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450-550F).

(Note: I live in an apartment without a balcony, so I just cooked my steak in a frying pan on the stove.)

Lift the steaks from the dish and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Lightly brush the steaks with oil and season evenly with salt and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before grilling. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Sauce:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp minced shallot
1 cup sour cream
4 oz (1 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (As I said, I used Feta)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 2 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the sour cream and cheese and cook until the sauce begins to simmer and the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, add 1/4 tsp pepper, and cover to keep warm.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the steaks over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to your desired doneness, 6-8 minutes for medium rare, turning once or twice (if flare-ups occur, move steaks temporarily over indirect heat). Remove from the grill and let rest 3-5 minutes. Serve warm with the sauce. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

God's Garden - Genesis 1 Reflection

"Grab a Bible and read Genesis 1. Consider the wonder of God's creation."

The Bible I ended up with is The Message, excellent! =D I love this version! Reading this today, I can really picture what's going on: "Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness." I can imagine this, because I've felt it. Bottomless emptiness. Nothing. Darkness. No hope. No life. But then, in Genesis, what's the first thing God does? "God spoke: 'Light!' And light appeared." God spoke. One single word. "Light!" And it was there. God spoke into the darkness, and with the coming of light, the darkness is gone: "God...separated light from dark." Light and darkness cannot mingle together. There is either light, or there isn't. Even the faintest bit of light pushes away darkness. Amazing! God has done this in my life! Into my darkness, God spoke, "Light!" And there was light. There was hope. There was a promise of more to come in life. "God saw that the light was good." Indeed!

As I read through this chapter, I can't help but picture God smiling as He creates everything. Everything He makes, He sees it as good. In my own experience, when I make something good, and I take a moment to step back and really look at it, at the whole picture when I finish a part, I can't help but smile. Right now I'm working on a cross-stitch project, and every time I hold it out to look at the big picture, I smile. Picture God creating stuff, using words to just make everything appear, stepping back after each day to see the big picture, and saying, "It is good." What else would He do but smile? =)

I like God's pattern during the six days of creation. The first three days are spent creating Day and Night, sky and water, and land. The next three days are spent filling Day and Night (sun, moon, stars), filling sky and water (birds, fish), and filling land (vegetation, animals).

And after all that, He makes man. And not just any kind of creature man, but rather, man made in God's own image: "reflecting the nature of God." We are mirrors, reflecting God. God created us to "be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the Earth." God has given us the Earth to take care of it. But I don't think we've done a very good job of it... Nowadays there's so much talk about globacl warming, polar ice caps melting, holes in the ozone layer, the list could go on, and that's just about the environment! We don't even take care of each other: child labour, poverty, hunger, slavery, human trafficking. We are not taking care of anything except ourselves. And in the long run, we're only going to end up destroying ourselves.

"God looked over everything He had made; it was so good, so very good!" He says this AFTER creating humans. We are included in that statement! God sees us and says we are so very good! I often wonder: does He still say that? I'm reminded of the song "Wonder" by Jaylene Johnson. There's a line that goes, "Do you look at what you've made, do you look at what you're making every day, do you still look down and say, 'It is good'?" I guess that question in itself could open up a big theological can of worms...

Women's Camp 2011

This weekend was amazing, despite my allergies being super flared up... Headaches, plugged ears, stuffed sinuses, stuffed/runny nose, coughing/sore throat... And my left hip and knee were acting up too... But I made it through, and I was feeling better on Saturday actually...

Anyways, Friday evening and Saturday morning, I missed the sessions because of not feeling well enough to be around the loud music and singing, and sitting in a chair for so long. But we had gotten there on the Friday right when dinner was starting, so we just went straight in. After dinner, instead of going to the session, I unpacked, got my bed ready, then chilled for a bit cuz I got hit with a massive headache. I couldn't even stay up and play cards, I just went to bed.

Saturday morning I set my alarm for as late as I could to still be up for brunch, and I figured if I was awake earlier and in time to go to the session then I'd go, otherwise I figured my body needed some extra sleep. Which it apparently did, cuz I was feeling a bit better. After brunch I went back to my room to rest some more. And stitch haha I did quite a bit of stitching done this weekend, which is awesome cuz I'm almost done this project I've been working on as of late! =)

Then at 2 was the auction, which is always fun lol! I ended up winning a beach set for $24, woohoo!!! =D It includes a towel bag (a towel that folds inside out into a bag), a bamboo mat, a competition size frisbee, and a pair of size 8 sandals.


Side note, does anyone need a pair of size 8 sandals? My feet are size 9.5...

After that was dinner, then a small group of us from Weston went to the prayer room that was set up. I really enjoyed the prayer room, but I didn't have time to visit all the stations. There were four, but we were only there for 45 minutes before the next scheduled thing (which was the Crosseyed Rascals), and I spent most of that time at "God's Garden," which focuses on Genesis 1. I had quite a bit to write in my journal while reflecting on it, which I will post in a different post, cuz this one is already getting long lol...

But yes, the Crosseyed Rascals came out to do a show for us! They were soooooo funny LOL! The best part was when they reenacted Major Winnie's day on Friday. Beautiful nachos anyone??? =D

After that we had some snack (home-made coconut cookies, they were AMAZING!!!!!), then campfire, hurray!!! =D Captain Tiffany and I led the songs, and oh boy was it ever fun! =D

Then of course, once all the scheduled activities were done for the day, we went and played cards. Game of the night: Apples to Apples! =D Geez I love that game!!! First round, I ended up being adorable and cuddly haha then the next round I ended up being a cheesy ancient American... Except I only actually won ancient, the cheesy American was given to me lol!

For those of you who have never played Apples to Apples, that last paragraph probably made no sense... All you need to know is that I won the cards with those words, so "adorable," "cuddly," and "ancient," but I was given "cheesy" and "American."

Anyways, got to bed sometime after 1 am, but had a great time! =D

Sunday morning (today), I got up at 7:30am in order to make it to the cadets' devotions, which was really cool! =) Then we had breakfast, then praise and worship, then the last session, then lunch, then we left!

One of the highlights for me, as always, is having a secret sister. This is a tradition in our WWW group (Wild Wild Weston, haha!), secret sisters are planned out, put together by Trish and Bernie. I was given Liz, and it was great to be given that chance to pray for her all weekend and to make her a card, even though I'm really not that creative in that way... But it was fun =) My secret sister ended up being Sylvia, which is really funny because I was going on and on about how excited I was over my gifts from my secret sister, and I really should have been able to figure it out that it was her by the looks and smirks she was giving me, but I do like to be surprised, and so I try not to guess and figure it out.

Anyways, I had received three things from my secret sister. Friday I got a bookmark and an Aero bar tied on with ribbon:

Saturday I got a card with a Peppermint Aero bar:

Then this morning I got a card and a stone:

My secret sister knows me so well =) Aero is my favourite chocolate bar, and the peppermint only makes it that much better! And I have a rock collection! =)

So that was pretty much my weekend. I took quite a few nature pictures too, I'll share a few here to finish the post. Enjoy! =)

Here's a video we watched at our last session, take a few minutes to watch it.