Monday, March 18, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easy Sushi!

Nom, nom, good!

My family loves Sushi! We don't count Mr E.J. (pronounced "Eej", that nickname was inspired by the pout of Ebenezer "Scrooge", as in Mr. Scrooge) our five year old son! He doesn't eat much of anything. Last year, I created a simple way of making sushi without all the rolling.

We use raw Atlantic Salmon as our fish. I buy only sushi grade at Whole Foods Market. I plan for 1/4 pound per person-which comes to a reasonable amount of about $12 total. I have the fish monger dice the salmon for me. Before I serve it I pour low-sodium Soy Sauce over the fish as an added germ killer. I buy pickled ginger for about $1.75 at the sushi section there and they provide free wasabi,Teriyaki and Soy sauce. We like to use brown rice (I buy this cooked at the sushi counter or make this depending on time and if we are eating there)and just throw the fish, ginger, avocado and teriyaki all in a bowl. Done.

This day we bought Seaweed wrappers to make hand rolls (sans the bowl). I picked up a Persian cucumber to add something to my sister's roll because she doesn't eat meat or fish. You can store the soy sauce covered fish for up to one day in the fridge, it's freshest and safest the day of.
This is a delicious and inexpensive way to enjoy what can be a luxurious meal!

I'd love to learn your  Piece of Cake adaptations for recipes? Please Leave your creative ideas in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our family has some Big News!

I mentioned in my recent post Selah Yoga Retreat Part 1 that my yoga practice came at a time when I was definitely seeking stress reduction. My husband's company was undergoing many transitions and the effects of this was infiltrating my home life. I remember crying one time out of happiness because I was so grateful for my free yoga class that was giving me a safe and peaceful place to rejuvenate my body.

Patrick and I prayed for "doors to be closed" as I he sought new employment. I wanted the next career move he made to be one that he would have longevity and personal fulfillment in. Boy did those doors close! I knew  something grand was on the horizon and "kept the faith". After five months of ambiguity, the right door flung open!

I'm happy to announce ( I didn't think I would ever say this 6 mo ago) that I am officially a military wife!!!!

Yes, my husband joined the Air Force National Guard last month! We are very excited. He will train this summer and will be eligible for a job right here in our home town. When I first met him 16 years ago he wanted to join with his cousin. I discouraged him because I didn't want to be a military spouse ( I'm an Army brat). I've come full circle and have fully embraced this (hence my swanky new cap pictured). This is going to be a great lifestyle for our family. He will not be deployed and his day job has great hours. The benefits are amazing in the Air Force, ie. bonuses for a second language, college degree and even paid marriage retreats.

Our family is so happy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Selah Yoga Retreat Part 3

Dawn in Idyllwild on 3/3 ( Doesn't the sky look like the ocean?)

     Hello beloved, if you haven't read the first two parts you may want to before reading further.
I previously mentioned that the Lord brought me to Idyllwild last week to minister to the women in attendance. He blessed me for my obedience in a triumphant way!

On Sunday morning March 3, I set my alarm for 6:00 am. I wanted to experience what I conjectured would be a stellar sunrise. While the other 18 women were still sleeping, I grabbed a mug of hot tea and a big blanket and moved with urgency to find the perfect view point by 6:12 am! I had my Iphone set to videotape the emerging orange glow of the sun. I was so focused at the event on my left as 6:12 am arrived. What happened next blew my socks off!

In my periphery I see something startling to my right. I say "Oh, my gosh"! Is that a..., Oh, my gosh, that's not a plane! That's a shooting star! I was literally standing at the crux of night and day and witnessed a magnificent gift! The star glistened downward and left a lingering  banner of silver glitter in the sky. I felt so privileged to have been there, alone. It was a meeting with the Creator of Heaven and Earth- and the Sun I was so intent on viewing. It's as if the Lord was telling me "You came here to see something magnificent, but I'm gonna give you something even better"!

The women and I  enjoyed our last Bible study soon after. The verse in focus was Ephesians 3:20; Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we ask or think. I shared my testimony with my fellow yogis; they were so thrilled for me. I exclaimed how the sky "looked like glitter"! They all laughed because after only knowing me 48 hours I clearly struck them as a "glittery" person. They nicknamed me "Glitter" thereafter.
My gift:a shooting star during sunrise

     During our last yoga practice that morning I had another Holy Yoga encounter. The last pose in a yoga flow class is Shavasana; this is a Sanskrit word meaning corpse. The idea is you lie flat and cool down for about five minutes. It's a time to  rest and receive the blessing of your effort (or the Holy Spirit). During this Shavasana; the song "Beautifully Made" by Leah Smith was playing (you must You Tube it immediately following this entry!). I had never heard it and its lyrics moved me to purifying gentle tears. Within seconds I began to sob like I hadn't all weekend. Remember the movie "Ghost"? I had a Whoopie Goldberg moment! For the first time in my life, I actually felt the love of Jesus- like a hug! First the shooting start and now this; I was so overwhelmed by His grace and love I couldn't help but cry tears of thankfulness.

I hope to be back in Idyllwild very soon! I implore you all to lean in to that still small voice of the Lord. He wants to reward His children!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Selah Yoga Retreat Part 2

A piece of art in this "Dwell home" where I stayed

     I headed East toward Idyllwild. I was definitely nervous about the commute because I never drive long distances alone. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous California day in the '90's, so I rolled down my windows and blasted my radio (my CD player is broken). I was frustrated by the Friday traffic and upset I didn't leave earlier (my radio had no reception now). I checked myself and decided I couldn't change my arrival time now and that "God had me be late for a reason" (I'm usually punctual). When I came up to the T intersection of Palms Springs and Idyllwild, I began my ascent up a mountain. Having had such short notice of this trip it hadn't dawned on me that I would be going up a mountain! I was trepidatious. As I began my drive up; the local radio station kicks in to the Christian station, as I ascended I was enthralled by the beauty and totally calm. Playing was a soulful rendition of "The Lord's Prayer"; I start to cry at the emotion of it all.

     When I arrived at this mansion in the sky where a group of 19 women would stay two days, I noticed someone had just arrived as well. I was so grateful to not be the only one late! She and I entered together and joined the second half of the first yoga session. The waterworks started again! I was so shocked to be where I was in that moment. I am invigorated by the yoga, the music, the glass floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking such majesty. To be in the communion of women who shared my passion was so moving.

    The theme of the weekend was purification. That is: your core, motives, mind and purpose. We touched on physical detoxing as well, and enjoyed the nourishment of organic, gluten-free vegetarian cuisine by a personal chef.

Risotto-filled sweet bell pepper with avocado/tarragon wedge salad

The day I was leaving I connected with the woman who arrived simultaneously with me. I said to her "Do you know how beautiful you are?". She quietly replied "No". I said "Well, you are". I knew she needed to hear that. I let her know she had been on my mind since we met. She then shared a whopper with me.

She explained that when I saw her in the parking lot she had already went to the house and was leaving! Her fears and troubles had so burdened her, she couldn't face them. When she saw that the ladies were in session she thought "now's my chance"! I pulled up behind her blocking her in. That's why I was supposed to be late.

I saw similar stories unveiled during my time there. Onion layers being peeled back and deep wounds beginning to heal. I believe I was sent there to encourage and lift up these women. This was confirmed by the little "year book like" notebook we all received. Ladies could write notes to their "sisters" all weekend that could affirm them when they left. Each entry explained that I had brought brightness to the retreat. My favorite notation was "You are salt and light in this bland world". This resounded with me because I love food!

The Lord is "a Rewarder of those who seek Him" (this was the last verse of the song during my initial yoga session that touched me because over the last 13 years I have been told by 3 separate women to "seek" Him and I would be rewarded).

What happened next blew my mind...