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Archive for May, 2014

Asparagus and Potato Soup

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I’m so very happy that the spring is here. In fact, I’ve recently heard people complaining about how hot it is. All I can think of is how thankful I am that it is not snowing. A long winter is hard for many people. I find that I get sluggish and more depressed in winter months with the dark, cold, and this winter, the never ending snow. I can’t tell you how many times I would have dreams about waking up to a blizzard.

One of the many things I love about spring and summer is the abundance of fresh produce in its prime. I was at a fruit market near me and asparagus (one of my favourite vegetables!) was on sale for a dollar – so i most definitely had to buy some along with some other ingredients. Today I decided to make an asparagus soup and adapted a recipe from Simply in Season to match what I wanted as well as what was in my kitchen. It is so amazingly good that I needed to share it! Plus – the total cost for a pot of soup was less than $2 as I bought everything on sale!

Asparagus and Potato Soup (an adapted version of the Asparagus Soup in Simply in Season cookbook)

2 bunches of asparagus (chopped into one inch pieces, removing the tough ends)

3 cups of broth

2 large yellow potatoes or about 6 small ones (chopped into bite sized pieces)

1 small onion (diced)

1 full stalk of celery including the leaves (chopped)

salt and pepper (to taste)

Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Sweat celery and onion in olive oil for 10 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, asparagus and 3 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  3. Puree until smooth. add a little salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Robots, Dreams and Networking

Every once in awhile, I catch a glimpse of how my life has changed or how God has worked a miracle in my heart. Today, I was walking around the annex handing out flyers of some events that I am running in the near future and caught a glimpse.

For most of my adult life, I’ve been shy. I used to be the student who thinks and rehearses a response over and over and then the class moves to the next topic before I gain the courage to speak in class. I used to write out questions to ask people and things that I could talk about before grabbing coffee or making a phone call. Speaking in public was enough to make me sick for days before. And talking to strangers was something simply deemed impossible for someone like me.

Today, I boldly went to speak to parents in the park to invite them to some family events in the park near the church where I’m currently working. I boldly talked to them about the Robot making day and other exciting events. Some people looked at me oddly – I think in major cities such as Toronto, we are so innundated with material and requests that we don’t react friendly to the people handing us flyers. That didn’t stop me  – where a single rejection would have been enough at one point to curb my boldness, today I continued.

And as a result, there are families coming. Families that never would have walked through the doors of the church. Families that would never come because of a poster on a wall. Families that will come because they talked to a person and found out details. What I once could only dream about, I am now doing.

Funny enough, this is the part of my job that I love – meeting people, talking to strangers, putting myself and the program I’m heading up out there. I’m energized and passionate after meeting each family.

God has a way of healing us – and redirecting our paths so that we do the very things we thought we could never do.

There’s a Crack in Everything

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Back in Lent, I wrote about putting God on trial for the seeming absences and failure to act in my life. It wasn’t the easiest Lenten journey by any stretch of the imagination! I have frequently enjoyed a closeness with God in my life that has provided solace, peace, refuge, and even joy when not much in my life provided that. I would cry out to God, longing for His comforting presence during Lent, and to be honest, it’s been awhile since I’ve felt that closeness. And then there was fear and trepidation as I, a mere human, dared to question God Almighty claiming his failure and abandonment. Fear because if God is not a God of love, could I survive such accusations? Fear because what if I was right? What if God cared for everyone but me and was merely using me as a pawn for his glory? What then?

When I embarked on this journey, one thing was very clear – I could not do this alone. I needed people to hold me in prayer and accompany me on this dark journey. I needed people to hold onto the truths that with my head I know are true but my heart was questioning. I took a risk and shared with a few people in my church community who did not know my story along with those who did. It’s been interesting starting fresh in a new community. This community is incredibly welcoming and caring. But they have not journeyed with me for long. They do know the many twists and turns my life has taken over the 9 years I have lived here, the struggles I have faced, and the person I am. However, if this was to be the community that would walk with me through this time of questioning and darkness, I needed them to know a little bit. So I sent a prayer request note to them.

I don’t think I really have answers. Nor do I think I am done asking the questions. I still don’t have that warm fuzzy feeling that God is present back in my life. My days are still not easy.

Instead, something surprising has come out of this period. I don’t feel as horribly alone.

To understand this, one needs to know that I feel so very alone most of the time. I’m always managed to make friends and have fulfilling relationships. I’m often around people. But I have always yearned for that deep understanding from someone who has “been there”. I don’t know anyone who has lost relationships with their family (especially much younger siblings!) because they spoke out about the abuse. I don’t know anyone who found out they have another sibling by an email of a friend of a friend who had no idea that I had no idea. I don’t know anyone who was only told that their grandmother was dying on the condition that they wouldn’t call her. I don’t know anyone who has withstood a gruelling cross-examination – one that I have heard from several crown attorneys that it was one of the worst they have seen. In other words, I don’t know anyone who seems to really get me. People who are in my life catch glimpses of my story and every time it feels like dropping a bomb.

letting my faith community into my life has not really changed this. I still don’t know anyone who has been through what I’ve been through, who is steps ahead of me in the healing journey.

But – I know people who have deeply questioned God and wondered where God is in suffering. People who have journeyed with others in horrendous situations and have trouble understanding that God is good. People who have had periods of time without sensing God’s presence. People who have also felt like a pawn for God’s glory. People who still don’t have answers. People who still have faith in God despite not having answers. People who find strength in the absurd – in a God who we don’t understand most of the time. People who have felt alone in their questioning of God. People who have different stories than mine but who feel they put on a mask or drop a bomb into conversations. People who also dodge the typical getting to know you questions because they doubt people really want to know.

Leonard Cohen puts it really well – There’s a Crack in Everything.

we are all broken people living in a broken world. things happen that shouldn’t happen. and for whatever reason, God doesn’t intervene. Injustice continues to wreak havoc in our lives. Children suffer at the hands of those who should care for them.

There’s a crack in everything.

But that isn’t the end of the story. That’s how the light gets in.