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Archive for June, 2009

father's-day-570Happy Father’s Day

to all the fathers!

I want to honor all the fathers. You are very important. You are an essential role-model for your children,  and children, honor and respect your fathers. Ephesians 6:1-4 says,  “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’−which is the first commandment with a promise−’that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

This year will be my dad’s twelfth anniversary in heaven. I miss him tremendously and think of him often. I know I will see him in heaven some day.

I loved both my parents deeply while they were alive and presently treasure the memories that were woven through time.

Working in my parent’s laundry spanned many years, from childhood to adulthood. I wanted to grow closer to my dad as I grew older. I spent many hours after classes from elementary school through graduate school in the laundry with him.

During this Father’s Day, I’d like to share one of these memories with you, part of a memoir I am presently writing.

Under a Canopy of Sycamores

The falling temperature in the store was a signal for me to lock the doors to the laundry. One by one the shopkeepers, who didn’t have their own heating system, closed for the day heading for their warmer homes-Joe’s Shoemaker. Morty’s Drugstore and Luncheonette. Harry’s Meats. Jean’s Beauty Parlor. And Sammy’s Dry Cleaning. As the store lights went out, the streets lamps came on to light the path for the few weary commuters who worked late.

In that in between time of darkened storefronts and shadow casting street lamps, was the most terrifying darkness. Jumping at the sight of my own shadow, I warred with the wobbly screen door-pulling as hard as my shivering hands could pull. Its weathered-frame dug its claws into the frozen cement and gripped the ground in protest. With fear fueling me, I won the battle and latched it. Then I double locked the wood-framed glass door. The uninvited cold surged into the store.

The sole radiator at the front of the store clanged it last clang and hissed its last hiss for the night. Our unheated space was warmed by the fiery hot irons my ba-ba and I wielded in our hands. We ironed to the beat of rock ’n roll. The lyrics didn’t matter although they were seared onto my mind and awakened memories every time I heard them as an adult  as oldies on the radio.

Get ready for the big chill. The mercury will hover around 25 degrees this evening. The winds at 10 miles per hour will make it feel like 15 degrees. The winds will pick up as the mercury drops tonight. Make sure you bundle up if you’re going out. Snow is expected tomorrow evening. Now back to Cousin Brucee.

Seventy-seven, WABC.

This is Couuu-zin Bruceee. Snow is on the way!  Let’s warm up with Sixteen Candles on this chilly evening. Numm-berr  ten in our countdown  this week, The Crests…

Happy birthday, happy birthday, baby

Oh, I love you so

Sixteen candles make a lovely light

But not as bright as your eyes tonight…

As the temperature continued its descent, we donned our thickest sweaters. Eventually adding more layers to keep us warm as the last store with its own furnace closed for the night and as lone shoppers made their way homeward with their bundles.

Moving up this week from the numm-ber ten slot is The Coasters. Numm-berr nine in our top ten countdown is Charlie Brown.

Fe fe fi fi fo fo fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown

He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown

He’s gonna get caught; just you wait and see

(Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me…)

I raced my father in an imaginary contest to see if I could iron more shirts than he did by closing time. I set the iron’s temperature to blister-making hot to keep my hand warm and to help me iron as fast as I could. Any slowdown would scorch the shirts and burn my hand. My left hand pulled the fabric taut so that the iron in my right could slide over the faint wrinkles like an ice skating blade gliding across the ice leaving a smooth remembrance.

First the front of the collar, and then the back. Now the buttonholes, first the front and then the back. Then the side with buttons.  Careful, around each button. Don’t rip them off. Around each gently…

This is Couu-zzin Bruceee with this week’s top ten countdown. Numm-berr six this week is Kansas City by Wilbert Harrisson…

I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come

I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come…

Left sleeve. Front and back. Right sleeve…

They got a crazy way of loving there

And I’m gonna get me some…

Not one wrinkle! Now all I need to do is to slip the paper inside the shirt and start buttoning. Remember to match the top button with the top buttonhole. Now the middle button and the last.

Burrr…It’s cold outside. Couu-zzin Bruceee with  numm-berr  four in our countdown this week, Paul Anka’s Lonely Boy.

Here’s the tricky part−flip the whole shirt over to the back without the paper falling out. One, two, three, flip. Great, the paper stayed in! Now fold the left side. Fold the long sleeve. The right side. Now the whole shirt in half. Flip again over to the front. A perfect rectangle!

How did I do ba-ba?

…I’m all alone with nothin’ to do

I’ve got everything you can think of

But all I want is someone to love

Someone, yes someone to love

Ba-ba props his iron up and walks over to my side of the ironing platform. He smoothes his right hand over the shirt like he’s re-ironing it. Inspects the corners closely. And rubs the starched collar between his thumb and index finger like he’s trying to separate the pages of a new book.

How smooth. Not one wrinkle. And so neatly folded. You iron faster and better than me, he says dotingly as he lowers his forehead to touch mine and kisses me on the cheek.

I love you.

Couuu-zin Bruceee here with this week’s top ten count down to keep you warm. Up frroom last week’s numm-berr  three spot is Venus. Herrre’s Frankie Avalon in the numm-berr two spot this week…

Hey, Venus! Oh Venus!

Venus if you will

Please send a little girl for me to thrill

A girl who wants my kisses and my arms

A girl with all the charms of you…

This encouragement fuels my hands to even iron faster.

I need to iron two more to be ahead of you, ba-ba.

Hey, Venus! Oh, Venus!

Make my wish come true.

That was Venus, numm-ber two this week. Couu-zin Brueee here with the top ten countdown for the week. Aaand nummm –ber one this week, two weeks in a row,  izzz… Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife!

Oh the shark, babe, has such teeth dear

And it shows them pearly white…

Time to finish up. Make this your last shirt. It’s getting late, and it’s getting very cold. We have to go home.

Can I just iron one more? Please? Please, baa-ba?

Now that Macky’s back in town

Look out, old Macky’s back!!

No. Finish the one you’re ironing. It’s late and getting too cold. Maa-me will have dinner waiting for us. We’ve got to get home.

Next time I’ll be faster! I almost ironed more shirts than you did tonight, ba-ba!

Remember to turn the radio off.

We bundle up. I in my gray and red-checkered coat with a gray fake-fur collar that feels two sizes too small and ba-ba in his gray wool jacket. I tuck my red wool hood into my coat collar and pull on my red gloves. My arms bulge like Popeye, and my body feels like a sausage. Buttons ready to pop.

We step into a night laced with crystals. The moon a yellow ball floated high above us in the blackest, black sky. We run across the street. The roar of passing cars become a distant hum as we walk under a canopy of sycamore trees. Its bare branches quiver in the icy wind as if ready to snatch me up. I tighten my grip on my father’s calloused hand. The chilled air teases a cough from my chest. I shiver and pull my head down into my coat like a turtle pulling its head into its shell seeking shelter.

Ba-ba kneels down to make sure my hood is securely buttoned.

Don’t worry. Everything’s all right. I love you.

Our foreheads touch. He gently kisses my cheek, and squeezes me in his arms. The whirling wind envelopes us in the fragrant pomade from his hair. Its lightness caresses my nose’s memory.

My eyes follow his tall, straight body as he stands up. A giant. Like one of the sycamore trees. His cheeks singed red from the cold. His thick, ebony hair slicked back. I feel the warmth of his hand through my wool glove as he takes my right hand again. Everything is all right.

Sometimes we talked as we walked. Our breath an alternating crystal mist dissipating into the darkness.

Now when you cough, don’t swallow the phlegm. Spit it into a tissue.

Yes, ba-ba, I’d nod.

I must remember to take tissues to school with me every day.

Sometimes he’d give me a little English lesson. When you have to go to the bathroom in school, tell the teacher, I need to go to the toilet.

I-need-to-go-to-toilet, I’d echo.

I will remember the words, ba-ba.

Most of the time he gave me words of caution and encouragement.

You, your sister, and brothers are our hope. Study hard. Don’t grow up and work in a laundry. Stay away from troublemakers. Confucius says that if you are near white, you will become white. If you are near black, you will become black. If you see someone doing something wrong, get away from them. You will be blamed, because you look different. You are Chinese. You must not shame me. You must bring honor to the family.

Yes, ba-ba.

Sometimes we raced the cold in silence. Drifting forward with the wind. Two misty clouds appearing and disappearing with increasing frequency under a canopy of quivering sycamore branches in the quiet race toward home.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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Muffin

This banana sweetened, chocolate chip quinoa muffin is a meal in itself.

There’s a reason why these muffins are called Mama’s Magic Muffins. Every time I make them, they disappear. They’re gobbled up by my family members as soon as they’re out of the oven. Well, as soon as they’ve cooled off.

These moist, light muffins are packed with nutrition. They’re made with soaked organic, high in protein quinoa flour, soaked organic pecans, mashed ripe, organic bananas, unsweetened, organic apple sauce, and semi-sweet organic chocolate chips (65%cocoa).

They’re so good that you’ll just want to gobble them down without chewing them just like my family! But slow down and savor each morsel with your favorite beverage as a nourishing breakfast or healthy snack. They can also be topped with a butter cream frosting as a festive, healthy cupcake.

It’s taken two years for this muffin recipe to reach perfection! My original recipe was made with unsoaked quinoa flour and the muffins had a quinoa taste to it. My sister said that she enjoyed the quinoa taste, but my goal was to subdue it and let all the other subtle favors delight my tastebuds as I chewed. They turned out so good and moist that I too wanted to gobble one after another. It’s starting to sound like there’re some turkeys around here!

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This recipe requires some planning ahead of time for the bananas to ripen and soaking time for the quinoa, and soaking and drying time for the pecans.

These muffins are sweetened with very ripe, organic bananas and the chocolate chips (65% cocoa). The bananas are usually the last three bananas of a bunch of bananas for the week in my household. If I plan on making a double batch, I set aside six ripened bananas. To be sweet enough, they should be brown and speckled. You’ll be able to smell the banana aroma without peeling them.

Two days before I make the muffins, I soak the pecans in filtered water with one teaspoon of salt overnight. I then rinse them, pat them dry, and place them in the food dehydrator to get crispy. It may take up to 12 hours in the food dehydrator. I usually soak enough pecans for snacking and for future recipes.

The day before I make the muffins I soak the quinoa flour in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 23 ounces of organic, unsweetened apple sauce. It’s usually one jar.

On the day I make the muffins, I mash the bananas with a fork until they’re liquidy. I chop the pecans into small pieces.

After soaking for 24 hours, the quinoa mixture in lemon juice and apple sauce has expanded and is light and fluffy.

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To this light and fluffy quinoa, stir in: 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla; 1/2 cup of butter, melted; and three range-free eggs. Mix all these wet ingredients together.

To measure for 1/2 cup of butter or any other fat that is a solid, fill a measuring cup with a 1/2 cup with water. Keep adding the fat to the water until the full volume measures 1 cup. The 1/2 cup of fat has displaced the water making the water level rise to 1 cup. Drain the water off and the melt the butter (fat).

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In a second bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (organic, soaked, and dried), 4 1/2 ounces of organic, semi-sweet chocolate chips (65% pure cocoa or higher). Add this dry mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together.

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Continue to mix until mixture looks uniform. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Laddle the muffin mixture into the muffin tin. Fill each liner with muffin mixture all the way to the edge of the cupcake liner. Because I soaked the quinoa, I had enough of the mixture to make another half dozen more muffins. How’s that for being frugal and stretching the dough!

Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin before removing them to a cooling rack.

Mama’s Magic Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Preheat oven to 350°

Place cupcake liners in muffin tin.

Ingredients:

Wet:

1 tablespoon lemon juice

23 ounce organic applesauce

2 1/2 cups of organic quinoa flour (already soaked overnight in one tablespoon of lemon juice and 23 oz. of applesauce)

3 very ripe organic bananas, mashed

3 range-free, organic eggs

1/2 cup grass-fed butter (melted) or 1 stick of regular, unsweetened butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dry:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped (soaked in salt water and dried)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 salt

4 1/2 ounces of organic, semi-sweet chocolate chips (65% pure cocoa or higher)

1. Two days before you plan on making the muffins, soak the pecans in enough water to cover them and 1 teaspoon of salt overnight. Drain the water and rinse. Pat dry and place in food dehydrator for approximately12 hours. They ready when they’re crispy.

2. The day before add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 23 oz. of organic, unsweetened apple sauce to 2 1/2 cups of organic quinoa flour. Stir, cover and let soak overnight.

3. Mashed 3 bananas with a fork.

4. Chop 1/2 cup of pecans.

5. Melt 1/2 cup of butter.

6. Add all the wet ingredients to the bowl of soaked quinoa: mashed bananas, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of melted butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix.

7. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 4 1/2 ounces of chocolate chips (65% cocoa). Mix all the dry ingredients.

8. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients. Mix well.

9. Laddle mixture into lined muffin tin. Fill to the edge of the cupcake liner.

10. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

11. Let muffins cool 10 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin onto a cooling rack.

Enjoyed!

Modifications and suggestions: These muffins can be made without soaking the quinoa flour and pecans. This will give you one dozen muffins that are denser than the ones made with the soaked quinoa flour. Based upon your preference, you can replace the 65% cocoa chocolate chips with regular semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, or carob chips.

Slightly under bake to get an oozing, burst of chocolate from the middle of the muffin.

Extra muffins can be frozen for future use.

Omit pecans if you have an allergy to nuts.

You can also replace the chocolate chips with raisins and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Top the muffins with a buttercream frosting and make it a festive cupcake.

To hasten the ripening of bananas, place them in a paper bag and leave on top of the refrigerator for a few days.

These muffins freeze very well.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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The Last One
Image by TimboDon via Flickr
Today is World Oceans Day. It is a day for reflecting upon the importance our oceans and its amazing inhabitants that God has created,  “… God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing which the water teems, according to their kinds… . And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas…'” Genesis 1:21-22.

It is also a time for us to consider how we’ve treated our oceans and to rethink how we can better relate to and co-operate with them instead of abusing them through establishing new habits that will help us take better care of these marvelous gifts from God. Our eco-systems are all inter-related-one ocean, one climate, one future.

The oceans cover 75% of our earth. It has the longest mountain ranges on the planet. Its bio-diversity is more numerous than the rain forests. The majority of the volcanoes are located in the oceans. It is also mostly an unexplored frontier. We have much to learn about from its depths and its inhabitants.

Please join me…

To whomever is not listening to the sea

this Friday morning, to whomever is cooped up

in house or office, factory or woman

or street or mine or harsh prison cell:

to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,

I arrive and open the door of his prison,

and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,

a great fragment of thunder sets in motion

the rumble of the planet and the foam,

the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,

the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,

and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So, drawn on by my destiny,

I endlessly must listen to and keep

the seas lamenting in my awareness,

I must feel the crash of the hard water

and gather it up in a perpetual cup

so that, wherever those in prison may be,

wherever they suffer the autumn’s castigation,

I may be there with an errant wave,

I may move, past through windows,

and hearing me, eyes will glance upward

saying: how can I reach the sea?

And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,

the starry echoes of the wave,

a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,

a rustling of salt withdrawing,

the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.

so through me, freedom and the sea

will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

Poet’s Obligation by Pablo Neruda

***

As the oceans and seas call to us and draw us, let’s get a closer look. Let’s linger and marvel at the wonders God has created.

***

Let’s linger and marvel at the sea of plastic man has created!

***

Let’s try to rethink how we can decrease the amount of plastic we use and try to aim towards its elimination from our daily use:

  1. A good alternative to plastic and paper bags is to start using a  furoshiki as as shopping bag like the Japanese have done in Japan.
  2. Buy shampoos, cleansers, and other products that are sold in bulk at food co-ops so that we can reuse whatever plastic bottles we presently have for as long as possible. That way we won’t add to the present sea of plastic each time we buy a new bottle of shampoo, household cleansers, or any other product bottled in plastic.
  3. Find a substitute for the cleaning products that come in plastic bottles. I’ve started to clean with vinegar and baking soda, both environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and economical.
  4. Reuse glass bottles, such as salsa bottles to store leftovers in the fridge.
  5. Instead of buying plastic bottles of mineral water, use a stainless steel bottle or reuse a glass bottle from mineral water (Perrier or Viche) to carry filtered water from home. In the long run this will be more economical and more healthful for us.  The dioxins and BPA (bisphenol A), carcinogens in the plastics leach into our drinking water from the plastic bottle.
  6. Take a stainless steel (interior also stainless steel), thermos coffee mug with you when purchasing coffee or tea from the coffee shop. I’ve seen ceramic cups with lids that look just like the paper cups and plastic lids that cups of and teas are sold in. Again, this will be more healthful for us since the paper coffee cups are lined with plastic!
  7. When eating out, take along a Pyrex or stainless steel container from home for the leftovers. This will require a little planning ahead, but it’ll be better for our bodies and our oceans. It will mean one less styrofoam or plastic container that will end up in the plastic soup. In addition to decreasing the volume of plastic soup in the environment, using glass or stainless steel containers will prevent hot or acid (tomato sauce, salad dressing) foods from leaching chemicals from the plastic into the leftovers. When it’s time to eat the leftovers, just pop the Pyrex dish or stainless steel container into the oven to warm up the food. This way you’re getting two meals for the price of one. It’s also a good way to shed those extra pounds by eating a smaller portion.

I’m interested in expanding my list of things I can do to lessen the use of plastics and aim toward eliminating them from my daily use. If you have any ideas, please  leave a comment and I’ll add your ideas to my list. Visit again to see what new ideas have been added.

There is hope as Charles Moore says in the following Youtube segment. It’s extremely important to give our oceans a rest from what we’ve been feeding it.

Please go to Here And There and Everywhere to read how bloggers around the world are observing World Oceans Day.

Please also view the World Oceans Day site to see what other ways you can help save the oceans and its creatures.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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A massive forest fire

A wildfire fire

sweeps over my spirit

I run, not knowing,

which way to turn,

searching for reasons,

I’m placed here to be,

a boat without a rudder,

a hawk without eyes,

Quench my unrest, oh God

where are you?

***************

I pursue the accolades

of man, only

to realize I am,

an eagle without wings,

a nightinggale without song,

Be my fulfillment, oh God

where are you?

***************

Lava Fields on Fire

War rages within me,

a spewing volcano

engulfing,

devouring

the landscape,

My tears, a reservoir

of disappointments,

Give me peace, oh God

where are you?

*****************

My pain lures me

to poppy’s seduction,

and alcohol’s forgetfulness,

Heal my memories past, oh God

where are you?

Where are you, oh God?

**********************************************************************************************************

My beloved,

Townsend, Tennessee
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve set the stars

in place to

give you night, and

dawn to disperse

the darkness

to show you

each day, is a beginning

to start anew.

***************

My beloved,

I am here,

I speak to you when unawares

I am here.

Delicate Fingers
Image by Chiceaux via Flickr

***************

I’m the innocence of the new born babe.

The whisper floating on the wind,

The calm of the evening sunset,

The hugs of trusted loved ones,

The comfort of the rhythmic seasons,

The green of the first glimpses of spring,

Snowflakes!
Image by nutmeg66 via Flickr

The lace of each fallen snowflake,

The majesty of the Milky Way.

The heartbeat of first love,

The tears of shared lost,

The disappointments of broken promises,

The devastation of betrayed vows,

The reality of dreams dashedmilky-way2

***************

I am in all of these to

gently guide you

to me,

I love you and am seeking you-

turn to me.

I’ve provided a way for you,

my beloved, in my Son,

Jesus.

**********************************************************************************************************

There are infinite philosophies from every culture, every nation, and every era. They represent the pinnacle of mankind’s thinking, creation, and imagination. Each has withstood the test of time. They deserve our respect and honor.

These philosophies have inspired numerous practices-sacred customs, magnificent artwork, exemplary standards for relating to one another, respect for God’s creation, healthful eating habits, caring for the less fortunate, and outward adornment that reflects a humble heart.

These philosophical practices have striven to seek and find God based upon human terms. Many of these philosophical practices claim that mankind is already perfect and good; however, if we look around us, at ourselves, we can quickly conclude that we are not. We are in need of a Savior, so…

What if ?

Just, what if there is a God who has set things right based upon His terms for us to come into a personal relationship with Him? After all, He is God. What if this God is who He claims to be and is the God of the Bible?

What if this God of the Bible is such a loving God that He sacrificed Himself, His only Son, instead of you and me, so that we could be set free from our sins, have a personal relationship with Him, and eventually have eternal life?

Just what if the Bible is true?

I’m not referring the cultural practices and traditions that have developed around God through the centuries. I’m referring to the loving, patient, sovereign God of the Old Testament; the sinless, sacrificially, perfect God the Son, Jesus Christ of the New Testament; and the empowering God the Holy Spirit of the present age.

A God who loves us just because He loves us. In turn, we love because He first loved us. We serve others in gratitude to God for what He has done for us and given us. We are who we are where we are and want to give away what God has given us.

What if all the claims are true-a fulfilling relationship with God, the healing of past hurts, forgiveness of sins, power to live the life He has planned for you, and in the end eternal life.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'” (John 14:6)

What if your purpose for being here is tied up with Him and His purposes for you?

What if the God of the Bible, the God who’s written a 66 book of love letters to you is who He claims to be?

Have you given the God of the Bible much consideration?

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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