Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome to the end of the world.

Today is the day where I need to decide if I'm a good enough Christian to spend my last day on Earth eating Brie and croissants, or if I need to stay well to face the times of trial to come. There are two things keeping me from the noshing right now: the fact that I have, in the past month, been called a heretic by those who know me best, and the fact that I've watched too much Angel and Buffy to be overly concerned with another Apocalypse. If it IS coming, there are witty chaotic good folks out there with books and battle axes, preparing to save us all.
But say it does come. What will we be facing?
It was pointed out yesterday, by someone whose identity was probably quickly swallowed by the twitterverse, that RAPTURE sounds a whole lot like RAPTOR. The obviously means velociraptors, but don't forget, Raptors are also ships on BSG.
Add to this the fact that both This Old House and the CDC (yes, the CDC) just released Zombie apocalypse survival guides .
After discussing it with my family last night, the end is clear. God is going to send spaceships full of zombie velociraptors to torture atheists, heathens, and people who thought "Love Wins" was a great piece of theological writing, for some period of time; 100 days, 7 years, 21 years...something like that. Sheesh, people, I'm  a Lutheran, how well do you think I've read the Revelation?
Which means my family just might be hosed. We took stock of our weaponry last night and it looks bad. I've got a short sword and some bodkins....and the pommel on the sword is missing (plus it's still safety tied into it's scabbard from Ren Faire last year). Brian's kukri might make a great beheading weapon..if it's short range didn't allow the raptor to slice him with it's zombified disemboweling claw. We'll do better with our garden tools...our wood splitting axe, chainsaw and long handled snips just might keep them in bay.
Sounds like I should prepare for the end of the world by kickboxing, not indulging in verboten noms. I'll keep my eyes on the cheese plate just in case, though.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Attitude is a lot...but it's not everything

I hear this a lot: "Attitude is everything!" It's very true that how we react to out life is often within our control. However, I do know people who believe we can magically make our reality better with the right attitude.
And that may be true for some people, but it's simplistic to say that automatically works for everyone.
There's a certain type of person that is most true for, and that group of people is well educated white males with no disabilities and a stable family of origin. These are the people with the best choices in our society. The more you deviate from that demographic, the more likely your choices will be less good will be.
Right now, someone reading this is saying, "You're just being defeatist and looking for excuses!" Before you commit that in writing, check yourself against the above demographic.
Recently, on a message board I'm on, a member posted about buying a bottle of vitamins, and noticing after he'd opened it and started using it that one of the fillers was a suboptimal ingredient. His question- do I toss it, or use it up? The consensus was use it up and choose better next time. My vote too, but I made the mistake of saying that I couldn't afford to spend $15 on vitamins and then not use them. The original poster responded that (basically) if I was poor I had put myself in that position due to a lack of positive thinking.
Insert rude suggestion here.
I'm working poor. I hate being poor. It causes me much anger, sadness and resentment. But with the choices in front of me- as a woman from an unstable, welfare poor background, with three kids, with little formal education,  with a husband who came from working poor and finds staying there easier than trying ( and who is too damnfool proud to let us get food stamps or any benefits we are eligible for)....for where I am, I have made the LEAST BAD choice I can. being poor SUCKS BIGTIME, but it beats putting my kids in school, trying to look for a job in this economy, getting paid squat because that's what a few credits at Cc get you, paying for aftercare for one of my kids out of pocket (remember my husband's pride?) and THEN, because I am a responsible parent, coming home to try and cook a meal from scratch while spending almost as much time as I would spend on a day homeschooling my kids to help them with their homework. While I would never try to say others should make the choice I have, I know I have made the least bad choice I can for my family at this time. Yes, I own that. Yes, if I'd made better choices 15 or 20 years ago, I might have better options to choose from now. But please, don't insult me by telling me I can turn it all around and be suddenly not-poor with the right attitude, or that if I don't I never get to complain.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Have at thee, sir...(or ma'am)

One thing my children learn about in their grammar curricula is titles of respect. As both an early childhood education worker and mother of kids who have friends, whether or not these titles need to be used is an ongoing question. I always tell me kids, when meeting a new adult, to ask them what they want my children to call them. In my place of work, I always introduce myself as Jenna. If it becomes clear the child's parents want them to use a title of respect, I go with Teacher Jenna.
I am not always accorded the courtesy I require my kids to give other adults.
As for me, I want everyone and their kids to call me Jenna. Not Miss/Ms/Mrs Jenna, not Ms Carodsikey-Wiebe, and certainly not Mrs Wiebe. Most of my kids' friends DO call me Jenna. My two younger children however, have friends, siblings who are required to call me Miss Jenna. They are not allowed to call me what I wish to be called because that would be "disrespectful".
Of course, I have given some thought to why I want to be on a first name basis with everyone. In no particular order, here's why:
Equality  Several types of equality come into play. Gender, age, socioeconomic.... If we still had a social convention of different titles for unmarried and married  men as we do with women, I might have embraced Mrs. As we don't, I didn't, and find the first name basis a great way to avoid the use of a sexist title. I also do not hold myself to be better than children. Even though they may have to obey and take instruction from me, I am not *better* or more worthy of respect.

Formality Or lack thereof. I live in a pretty casual part of the country and that level of formality just feels *weird* to me.

Age It makes me feel old. I don't work out, eat superfoods, and moisturise just so some kid can call me ma'am (of fail to card me. whippersnappers.)

But most importantly,

Titles of respect can too easily take the place of REAL respect
Anyone who's read a book with dueling knows this is true.
And almost anyone reading this has experienced this in real life.
I prefer real respect, in the way people treat me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's your buy in to your way of eating?

Everybody has a way of eating. It may be something like the standard North American diet, which includes a lot of packaged and fast foods and not a lot of fresh veg, or you may be a raw organic vegan. You may eat whatever you want as long as it's real food, follow a paleo diet, or be a lacto /ovo vegetarian. Your religion may have dietary restrictions (Note: I'm not counting food allergies or intolerance here, as they are not really a matter of choice). And many of us, whatever way we eat, have differing levels of compliance. I call this "buy in".
Let me give you a few examples. I have a friend who is a vegan, but eats eggs from her neighbour's chickens because she can see what they are fed and how they are treated. I have had more than one Jewish friend tell me that "Everything is a Chinese restaurant is kosher, even if it isn't". A former co-worker who was vegetarian would eat meat when she went on missions to Haiti, because their hosts were feeding her out of their poverty and she would not insult them by turning it down. I have been on a semi paleo diet for two months now, but when Mother's Day and Chocolate Sunday at my church co-incided, I got a lovely homemade whoopie pie and ate every bite (with the help of a Benadryl) and I enjoyed it immensely
Since going down the paleo trail, I have of course checked out online communities related to that way of eating. I've seen the whole range of responses to noobs with questions, many of which are sure to just scare them off not just that board, but that way of eating altogether (If you somehow failed to miss this, this is true of everything An example:
Paleo Noob: I want to have some bread occasionally
Reply One : If you're going to have bread, get some really delicious stuff with all real ingredients from local artisan bakers. Make sure it's worth going off the plan!"
And so it goes.
One thing I've figured out from reading other posts by different types of responders is- what brought them to eat the way they do? The most rabid ones tend to some  from a place of obesity, diabetes, or other severe health problems, while the more accepting were doing pretty well to begin with, but for some reason eating this way clicked with them ( see how I've gone from the specific to the general here?)
So, what's your way of eating? Why do you eat the way? Why do you make the exceptions you make? I'd love to hear.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Coconut flax waffles (grain free/paleo)

I made these using homemade coconut flour- I just tossed Bob's Red Mill unsweetened coconut flake in my spice grinder, which all the internet said not to do, but it turned out fine.

In stand mixer fitted with whip attachment, whip three eggs on high for about 5 minutes. Add 1 TBL melted or very soft butter. Reduce to low and add 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/4 cup ground flax seed, 1 TBL honey, and 1/2 tsp each salt and baking powder. Bake in preheated waffle iron- makes two standard waffles. These are much more cohesive and taste more like standard waffles than the almond meal pancakes I've been making on paleo!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Ridiculously easy Mexican feast ( not for the authenticity fundies)

Our Cinco de Mayo feast is over, and as tends to be the case when I'm making a huge amont of food, I looked to make it as  easy as possible without sacrificing taste. This is not a feast for those overly concerned with authenticity, and those who are vegetarian or paleo will have to wade through-not to mention teetotalers- but I promise you will find something.

First, the beans: You need to start first thing in the morning. Empty a one pound bag of black beans into a pan and cover with water. Add a toss of baking soda, and soak til after lunch. Drain, and rinse thoroughly. Dump in one bottle of Negro Modelo and two bottlesful of water. If you don't drink, or you need to eat gluten free ( I will pay for this in the morning) you can just use water. Add about 2 TBL cumin powder, 1 TBL garlic, and 2 diced jalepenos. Simmer til supper, and salt lightly at the very end of cooking.

Next, start the mole. Chop and onion and 2 jalepenos. Throw in a large pan with a glug of olive oil . Brown while you cut up a standard chicken. Toss in the chicken pieces, 5 dried chiles,a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 TBL garlic, and one Theo chocolate Ghost Chile bar, broken in two. Toss on about 2 tsp cinnamon. Simmer for about an hour.
Now it's time for the rice. In a pan toss 2 cups rice, 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 can of water, and 2 sliced jalepenos. Salt to taste- usually 1 tsp for me. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
While the food cooks, it's times to make the guac. In your Cuisinart, toss 3 avacados, 1 bunch cilantro, 4-6 cloves garlic, juice of one lime, salt, and a jalepeno. Process. Yum.

The last think to make is the margaritas. Start by putting a glass for each imbiber in the freezer. For my husband and I we juiced 2 oranges and 7 1/2 limes. I also had 3/4 of a lemon I needed to use, so I tossed that in too and put it in the freezer til serving time.
When you're ready to party, salt your glasses. Add 1 cup citrus juice to each glass, and toss in three shots of 100 proof Tequila. We used 100 Anos.

The finished meal:

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Grain free Decadence cookies (with Mexican variation)

These cookies are based on Chocolate Decadence cookies by Alice medricM, modified to be gluten free.

Oven 350.

Melt in a double boiler, or in the microwave, 8 oz bittersweet chocolate and 2 TBL butter or coconut oil.
In bowl of a stand mixer, add the melted butter/chocolate mixture to 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup almond flour. Mix briefly. Add 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix briefly. Add two large eggs and mix til just combined. To make these "Mexican", add 1 tsp cinnamon. This will add depth while still having a subtle flavour.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop out cookies onto parchment covered trays. Using a medium scoop you should get 26, if your family can keep their fingers out of your dough. Bake 12 minutes. Eat warm!

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Love , indeed, wins

So I have just finished chapter 7 of "Love Wins" I love what Bell has to say about heaven. It ties in very neatly with what I have felt since college. I remember telling a more "charismatic" Christian class mate that I wasn't a good evangelist because I just can't say *I* have the authority to define another's path. (And I know it may sound ironic for me to say that seeing as I work in children's ministry). I feel like I've been in a spiritual closet all my adult life and Rob Bell has given me permission to open the door.

I've found the book to be so incredible the whole way through, nodding my head over and over and saying to myself, "I have thought this for so long!" "I feel vindicated!" "Yes, thank you for articulating what I haven't been able to!"
So many accusations have been leveled at Rob Bell since even before the book came out- from so- called Biblical "literalists" that Bell is either a universalist or even a heretic, and from both them and from non- religious people that this is just an example for "cafeteria style" religion. I doubt the people who have said these things have actually read Bell's book the whole way through.From my reading of the book, nothing could be further than the truth. Bell is going to the root of the Gospel... the amazing, radical love of God through Jesus for every single person, whether those are the people we like, or think deserve the grace of God. God's love. For every one. No exceptions.