Friday, February 4, 2011


From two lines
instead of one
read in the window of a little white stick.

Just married,
barely grown;
a new life ahead,
an old one behind.

One last smoke,
I'll be good to my babe.
Other decisions will have to wait.

No honeymoon,
no newlywed year;
we're starting a family.
A family!

It's all a shock,
but there's no time to feel it.
We mustn't be selfish,
we cannot regret.

We're not home.
No loved ones round here.
No one to encourage,
no one to understand.
Everyone else
are youths, as we.
What can a young family glean from them?

Afraid? We cannot be.
There is someone about to arrive.
He will need us to be strong.

Oh, Lord!
May we be strong!

A Soldier's Orders: My One Great Regret

He came home one afternoon
with some papers in his hand.
His countenance was hesitant.
It was sickening news.

Our little family had a decision to make.
To reside in a new land,
amongst a new language
and a new culture
even further from our home!
Three years away
for our young family.

Or ...

One final year.
One more year to a normal life!
to a life back home!
to a start with our own little family!

Just one more year.

But a year separated.
Husband and wife,
Father and son
oceans apart.
Milestones apart.



How?! Damn this!
Oh, my heart!


One year or three?
Is this what it comes to?
It is how we see it.
Our babe still in arms,
still a nursling.
We make our choice.
One year.

So it was.

One year apart.
Husband and wife,
Father and son,
each suffering and longing
across the oceans.

Our infant leaves his mother's arms
to walk
and to talk.
Our babe in arms becomes a boy
and doesn't know his daddy.

One year lost.

A boy should have his dad.

Let it never be neglected,
the necessity of the bond.

This is my haunt.
My one great regret.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dictatorship of Pride

It is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices [Pride] can smuggle itself into the very centre of our religious life. But you can see why.

The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell. It is purely spiritual: consequently it is far more subtle and deadly.

For the same reason, Pride can often be used to beat down the simpler vices. Teachers, in fact, often appeal to a boy’s Pride, or, as they call it, his self-respect, to make him behave decently: many a man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill-temper, by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity - that is, by Pride.

The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride - just as he would be quite content to see your chilblains cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

How To Preserve a Husband c.1910

Be careful in your selection;
do not choose too young.
And take only such varieties as have been reared
in good moral atmosphere.
When once decided upon and selected,
let that part remain forever settled
And give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use.

Some insist on keeping them in a pickle,
While others are constantly getting them into hot water.
This only makes them sour, hard and sometimes bitter.
Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender, and good
By garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with smiles,
And flavored with kisses - to taste.

Then wrap them well in a mantle of charity.
Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion
And serve with peaches and cream.
When thus prepared they will keep for years.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or be lied about don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

~ Rudyard Kipling

The Happiest Home

Where is the happiest home on earth?
'Tis not 'mid scenes of noisy mirth;
But where God's favor, sought aright,
Fills every breast with joy and light.

The richest home? It is not found
Where wealth and splendor most abound;
But whereso'er, in hall or cot,
Man lives contented with their lot.

The fairest home? It is not placed
In scenes with outward beauty graced,
But where kind words and smiles impart
A constant sunshine to the heart.

On such a home of peace and love
God showers His blessings from above,
And angels, watching o'er it, cry,
"Lo, this is like our home on high!"

~ Author unknown

A Few Words From Great-Aunt Matilda ...

"Youth is what you might call the spearhead of it all. But that's not really what's so worrying. They - whoever they are - work through youth. Youth in every country. Youth urged on. Youth chanting slogans - slogans that sound exciting, though they don't always know what they mean. So easy to start a revolution. That's natural to youth. All youth has always rebelled. You rebel, you pull down, you want the world to be different from what it is. But you're blind, too. There are bandages over the eyes of youth. They can't see where things are taking them. What's going to come next? What's in front of them? And who is behind them, urging them on? That's what's frightening about it. You know, someone holding out the carrot to get the donkey to come along and at the same time there is someone behind the donkey urging it on with a stick."

~ Lady Matilda Cleckheaton, "Passenger To Frankfurt" by Agatha Christie, 1970

Unfortunately, this was my first Christie.  A frightful dud.  Given my amusement with Poirot and Miss Marple on Masterpiece, I was a bit shocked.  I had been collecting Christies as I found them at garage sales and thrift shops.  As it turns out, serendipity brought my hand to this book.  For it seems to consistently receive the worst ratings of her many works.  Certainly each author is entitled their dud. 

Still, there is great-aunt Matilda.  Most assuredly a refreshing and redeeming character in a dreadfully stale "thriller."  I have recollections of following the proverbial carrot as a youth.  Until I realized it was something unwise and/or unhealthy dangling it before me.

"Leadership, besides being a great creative force, can be diabolical ... " ~ Jan Smuts

Monday, January 31, 2011

Zucchini Soup

I stumbled onto this recipe in the summer of 2004, during a particularly prolific zucchini year.  I was mad for discovering new recipes, as well as getting complaints from the neighbors.  After all, what were any of us to do with so much squash?  Of course there is the delectable yet ubiquitous zucchini bread.  

I'm searching for something healthy.  Something that welcomes and celebrates the sweet, summery flavor.  And there are only so many evenings my children will tolerate them served, however exquisite, sizzling ever-so-gently in a glistening golden veil of extra virgin olive oil and promptly sprinkled with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

I digress, indeed!  You'll excuse me as I'm writing this in a January snowstorm.  Pangs of hunger from my blasted resolution asserting itself as a reminder of too many indulgences.  Anyway, much as we hate to admit it, children's complaints too often steer us from doing the things we'd like, or perhaps should.  Like serving vegetables.

That was a summer of extensive research for zucchini recipes.  I found some delicious recipes, but this one takes the cake!  Literally takes it away.  It's simple, easy, and my kids like it.  I serve it as a side with meals, to fill plethora bellies.  But I think it's perfect with just buttered toast.


This recipe, which serves 4, is from "The Mexican Kitchen" by Elisabeth Ortiz.
Always use the smallest zucchini available as these are the sweetest and preferred in Mexico, their country of origin.

2 Tbsp Butter
1 Onion, chopped
1 pound young zucchini, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup light cream
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in saucepan and saute onion until soft.
Add zucchini and cook, stirring, about 1-2 minutes.

Add chicken stock.
Bring to boil over medium heat and simmer about 5 minutes, or until zucchini are just tender.

Strain stock into clean saucepan, saving vegetable solids in the strainer.
Puree solids in food processor and add to saucepan.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in cream and heat gently without a boil.
Serve hot with a little extra cream swirled in.

This is a great idea for a book.

So why is zucchini bread on the cover?

Now this is clever!

I just don't know what to say.

Lets just try not to let this happen.

Father's Love Letter

My Child ~
You may not know me, but I know everything about you ~ Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up ~ Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways ~ Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered ~ Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image ~ Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being
~ Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring 
~ Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived 
~ Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation 
~ Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book  ~ Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live ~ Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made
~ Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb
~ Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born ~ Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me ~ John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love ~ 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you   
 ~ 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your father ~ 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could ~ Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father ~ Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand ~ James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs ~ Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love 
~ Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore ~ Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing
~ Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you
 ~ Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession
~ Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul ~ Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things ~ Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me ~ Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart ~ Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires 
~ Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine ~ Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager  
~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you ~ Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart ~ Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes ~ Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth ~ Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus ~ John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed
~ John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being 
~ Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you ~ Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you ~ 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love ~ Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me ~ 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again ~ Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen ~ Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father ~ Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is ~ Will you be my child?
~ John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you ~ Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad, Almighty God

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You've gotta try these beans!

I learned about a fantastic savory bean recipe last year.  I have had friends from Britain and the surrounding Isles who would occasionally pine for their "beans and toast."  Apparently, this is a quick and easy comfort food in England and shared by her neighbors.  A noticeably healthier alternative to our usual preferences of mac'n cheese (343 calories), PBJ (432 calories), and ramen noodles  (180 empty calories).  The sugar content is impressively lower (197 calories) than the Boston baked beans (387 calories) to which we're accustomed.  These have a cleaner taste, with more tomato flavor.

While we call ours "Boston baked beans" as is sold by Bushes, B & M, and Van Camps, Europe has Heinz "baked beans".  I learned also that the only place it could be purchased here in the Twin Cities was at World Market.  The stores we had near us have closed, so my next idea was to find a recipe.  This proved to be quite a task!  I searched through various recipe sites, found myself on British blogger sites, and finally found this tasty recipe on a sort of write-in site.  I don't know what the site was, but I was so glad to find it I wrote it down immediately.

English-Style Beans

250g   dried pinto beans  (1 heaping cup)
200g   bacon  (about 1c)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp treacle (molasses)
800g tomato, chopped  (3 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp tomato puree
chopped parsley

About Me

My photo
As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!