What is Simply Sacred?

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Depression Era: Not Just History

Depression: Veiled life and reality



The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression. - Gary Larson 


I'm writing this right before I go hide under the covers and yearn for sleep to make me forget --- at least for a few hours.


You see I'm in a Depression Era right now. No food lines here. Just a long line of sadness, emptiness and a void, I'm unable to fill. 


Soup lines have become pharma lines -- just so I can find the right and healthy regime to make me feel like myself again. 


Depression/Anxiety ...  without a doubt is the most destructive force in the mind and spirit's nature. I was fine and going along without a glitch and then BAM -- I've turned into a zombie -- not wanting to go anywhere .. do anything .. be close to anyone ... and this has wreaked havoc in countless ways of my life. From getting up in the morning, to working, to even seeking out a cuddle from my husband. I'm a loner.


I feel like one of those guys sitting on the curb -- feeling hopeless.


I tell my husband if I have to live this way for the rest of my life -- I can't imagine doing this.


Depression runs in our family. I just happen to be one of the one's who is really affected by it ... suddenly!


I look to hope. That's all I have ... and sometimes even that's fleeting ... moments only


Let's strive for hope -- even if it starts as a mustard seed. Let's desperately find joy in our lives.


You're not alone, my friend. Take your depression seriously. Find help. Talk. If it takes drugs ... take them! Admit to it ... because a life lived with purpose is the greatest of all joys!

Simply Sacred Steps: 

  • Keep on keepin' on!
  • Get up in the morning. Shower. Dress -- even if its for a few hours
  • Sit outside ... even for a breath of fresh spring air
  • Try (and I don't want to discount the debilitating nature of depression) and do something ... one thing ... and be proud of that one thing
  • Pray for a miracle. I have experienced this firsthand. This time, I think The Lord is making me work a bit harder
  • Look for natural alternatives (some will work -- others just don't) I've experienced mostly they "don't"
If your depression keeps you from going out and doing right now ... Its OK.  How about listening to this beautiful duet by Sarah McLachan and Josh Groban ... then get a pot of soul warming soup bubbling. Its actually a U.S. Depression Era recipe. 


Simply Put and Love to Each of You, Jeanne


Cream of Carrot Soup

Another versatile Depression Era Recipe

CREAM OF CARROT SOUP

2 cups diced carrots
2 cups water
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fat
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt

Cook the carrots in the water until tender. Melt the fat, add dry ingredients, add gradually the 1 cup water in which the carrots were cooked and the milk. When at boiling point, serve with a little grated raw carrot sprinkled over top of soup. Any vegetable, raw or cooked, may be used in the same way. (cauliflower, cabbage, peas, turnips, etc)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Liar, Liar ... Pants on Fire!


You never find yourself until 
you face the truth  
- Pearl Bailey

Lies. Big … Little. White … Half. Whatever one calls them -- they are what they are.
As I write this blog, you are reading the words of one who is living a big, old, hairy ugly one.

I wish I could stand up strong, put on those proverbial “big girl panties” and tell the truth.  The hard part is being human and being too embarrassed to admit my weaknesses to the ones I love. Actually, for one who is so fashion conscious, these chains are heavy, not very pretty and drag me down in life … not a very attractive thing!

The hardest part is knowing full well what I am doing and still doing it. Knowing that I need to stop, drop and roll the hell out of this fiery mess I’m in.

Lying – whether it’s to others or to one’s self (which usually goes hand in hand) is not a simple thing to stop. Some lies can be stopped by merely shutting our mouths … others, are more deceptive in nature … those are the most tough of all.

We’ve all done this at one time or another and some of us are still struggling with this part of being human.

However, each day, we can take simple steps away from lying, deceitfulness and changing our steps towards honesty – emotional and literal.

Simple Sacred Step: 
(One step will be huge for some of us!)

Find within yourself the courage to admit what you’re doing is being untrue to yourself and to others. Courage carries one forward!

While you're gathering courage. Here's a little "Humble Pie" recipe for you to make and contemplate. 

HUMBLE PIE  
3 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, butter, sugar, flour, vinegar and vanilla. Blend well. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes.

While your "Humble Pie" is baking, watch this beautiful little piece called "Humble Pie." It tells the tale of telling the truth and finding the courage to admit your faults -- no matter how old you are or what status you hold in life.

Simply Put, Jeanne



Friday, March 16, 2012

Waggin' Good Fun!


If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.     - Andy Rooney



I just got done chasing a wagging tail! 
Actually, this little wagging tail had a pup attached to it! To be really honest here, the pup had no tail at all ... but if it did ... it would be waggin' up a storm! It's little butt was wagging its whole body.


My household cleaning had just commenced ... all doors open ... wind blowing out the wintry cobwebs and there right at my front door peaking in was this little mangy muse of a mutt!

This little pup showed up out of nowhere and wanted to play ... WITH ME! It was one of those teacup-ish pups ... so there no way was I going to let this little one out of my sight. No tags, no nothing ... just carried with it an Irish Wolfhound-size desire to play!


Vacuum off ... Swiffer on! The little one went after it like a rabbit. Grabbed it ... a couple a shakes later ... brought back to me for a repeat run!


The pup loved it. 
The cats hated it. 
Teacup pup didn't care. Teacup pup was having fun!


Its times like this when each of us need to WAG! To just throw down everything and play. Giggle ... squiggle ... jiggle.


Who cares what others think!


Play is one of the simplest of the everyday sacreds! Play brings us to the very essence of who we really are in this life. ALIVE!


Easy concept ... sometimes. Complicated by no one but US! Sometimes, we can be such bummers, party poopers and downers!


Just stop. Go out and play ... it's easy ... its a no brainer here, folks!


Simple Sacred Steps (or how to have puppy fun):
  • Be a puppy!
  • Look for fun ... tell silly jokes, do fun activities and let that "puppy" out to play!
  • "Wag that spirit" of your's ... Sometimes it needs a good shaking up!
  • Look for others who understand and can appreciate fun.
  • Or have some fun making, giving and eating this yummy recipe below ...

Puppy Chow
The Human being version. 
(Don't give this to dogs ... it has chocolate in it)


Ingredients:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Chex-type cereal
3 cups powdered sugar
Instructions:
1. Combine peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.                                    


2. Microwave for one minute then stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir well.                                                                                                                                                          

3. Place the 9 cups of Chex-type cereal in a very large bowl.                                                                        

4. Pour the peanut butter-chocolate mixture over the cereal and toss evenly, making sure all the cereal gets a good covering.                                                                                                                                        

5. Place the powdered sugar in a large zip-lock type plastic bag.                                                             

6. Add the peanut butter-chocolate cereal mixture to the bag, leaving enough room for the puppy chow to be shaken (you may have to divide the mixture into smaller batches, coating one batch at a time).                                                                        

7. Shake the bag vigorously to evenly coat each piece of the puppy chow with powdered sugar.                                                                                                       

8. Once the mixture is fully coated, place in a large serving bowl.                                                                                                                                             

9. Coat any additional pieces by shaking the mixture in the powdered sugar filled bag.  Add powdered sugar to the bag as needed until all the mixture is coated.

Simply Put, Jeanne
















Monday, March 12, 2012

A Pot Full of Family!



"When you eat, the meal is yourself."  
- Zen Proverb

The simple pleasure of sitting around the meal table, eating good food and feasting on time together is one of life’s most perfect recipes!

Our family is known to spend hours just sitting around chatting, laughing and telling stories that only can be spiced up by a full belly!

Coffee, tea anyone? More cake? These are our meal table mantras!

I’ve often wondered if this same scene is played out  at mealtime tables throughout the world. Different languages, different foods, yet probably the same conversation ... work ... school ... politics and even leaky roofs!

Whether its sausage or a simple soup … its all the same. When you really think about this … its actually not the food at all … it the “real meal” … the nourishing of family and friends spending time together. Food just makes our special moments together a bit yummier… richer … and isn’t that what family, life and living is all about?

Whatever part of this blue green ball we live on -- do your mealtimes have the same bonding ingredients? 

If so, what are your mealtime traditions or favorite recipe you would like to share here with those of us in the far flung reaches of this culinary community? Remember … families like to share recipes … and we are all “family!”

Simple Sacred Step: 
  • Think about a mealtime tradition or favorite recipe you would like to share here with those of us in the far flung reaches.

  • Remember … families like to share recipes … and we are all “family!”

One of our family’s favorite desserts is a simple warm rice pudding. Here is my sharing.

Rice Pudding aka Creamy Comfort 

1. Heat to scalding 2 cups of milk
2. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup UNCOOKED rice. 
3. Cover. Low heat until rice is soft and milk is mostly absorbed. Stir occasionally
COMBINE:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
Stir all above into rice and let simmer until pudding-like

FOOTNOTE:
  • My mother would "accidentally, on purpose" let the rice caramelize/brown a bit on the bottom of the pan. This makes the rice pudding even tastier!  (Need to watch to make sure not to burn)
  • You can serve warm or chilled.
  • Enjoy!
Simply Put, Jeanne






Thursday, March 8, 2012

Women: We Can Shake it AND TAKE IT!


Sure God created man before woman.  But then you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece.  
~Author Unknown



This is what I get for not posting everyday -- so much to yap about and not enough time, nor space to share with my worldwide friends. Well ... this will teach me a good lesson!


First off ... Happy International Women's Day! I claim this groovy gal, Elizabeth Cady Stanton as one of my own, Now .... she doesn't look like she was much of a powerhouse. Stanton narrowed her political focus almost exclusively to women's rights, she was an active abolistionist. She was also involved in issues including women's parental and custody rights, property rights, employment and income rights, divorce laws, the economic health of the family, and birth control. And on top of all this, she was Momma to eight children! Bonnets and petticoats off to you, Elizabeth Cady Stanton!



Last night, I had a visit from a woman who was just as powerful as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but in a gentle, loving way. She was my Godmother and one of my single aunts. Aunt Margaret died a month ago. I do miss her very much. In fact, every night, before going to bed, I whisper, "Meg, you can come for a visit tonight."


Well, last night, she took me up on my invitation! I was awaken by the sensation of my blanket being pulled up over my shoulders. (Which was the last thing I did before I said "cheerio" to her before her death.) Now, the husbster was upstairs working,  so who else could have it had been accept for the one women I invite into my dreams every night -- Auntie Meg! She was really there ... taking care of her little girl, who is going through a tough time right now. I actually called out her name ... but nothing ... Just the feeling, just the love ... that's all I needed.


This blog is for all the beautiful women in our lives. Mommies, StepMoms, Gramdma's Aunties, Sisters, Nieces, Friends and Ancestors.  They have made our lives what they are today ... fuller ... richer ... (maybe a bit crazier!) but still their influence DNA'S its way into our psyche!

Simple Sacred Step

What do you do to 

recognize the women in

 your life?

I bet you've never won a MAJOR AWARD ... no its not a sexy-fringed leg lamp! It's the Liebster Blog Award recognition for up and coming blogs that merit attention and KUDOS! I'd like to thank my beautiful (inside and out) friend, Melanie Weeks Kirtland for the SHOUT OUT! I will add my two fave blogs when I actually wake up for the day! Today's Yummy for the Tummy, will be my mother's for Rice Pudding recipe! For now, I'm going back to bed!


www.danccingcarrots.com
http://www.dancingcarrots.com/side-dishes/basil-and-pine-nut-pilaf/

www.http://www.mydomesticdesign.com
http://www.mydomesticdesign.com/2012/02/mama-to-daughter-sweater-refashion.html

/www.kelseypassey.blogspot.com
http://www.kelseypassey.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html









Simply Put, Jeanne

Friday, March 2, 2012

Can I Have One of Those Handsome Spaniards To Go, Please?


Our cute, and sophisticated Kathryn!
Once there was a girl named Kathryn. She was quite the adventurer traveler. Now she's in Spain and I am not .. does that actually make her "hot?"

In the "olden days" (think of the movie,"Room with a View.") Young girls were encouraged to travel the world. To learn the finer arts and return home to settle into domestic life. It all sounds so romantic (especially when you are end up making out on a windowsill with a gorgeous man overlooking Florence... like in the movie.)

Do we fantasize of romantic places, people and experiences. I do (within reason.) Sometimes those fantasies end up being sitting at home reading a good book about romantic places and people. Now, when I use the term romantic, its not in a love term. It's more of a term that gets one to reach outside of their everyday doings.

I'm not condoning a Bohemian lifestyle! :)
Kathryn just happened to choose Spain. My other niece, Meryn is going to the Scotland for a semester (there is NOTHING like a good looking Scotsman -- especially in a kilt!)

Some of us have had the chance to travel as young girls. Other of us have had to wait a while, but was worth it!

Travel is easy. No waiting in lines. Extra baggage fees or that uncomfortable seat mate.

We can travel the world in our minds. Watch it on TV. However, if you are ever given a chance to actually travel ... DO IT!

*How do you "travel?"*

Simple Sacred Steps:

  • Be a traveler. Doesn't matter where or how. Just do it.
  • If you get the chance. Add a little romance to your wanderings -- even with that man who keeps you up all night with his snoring!

Kathryn, make sure to grab some drop dead, dark, gorgeous stranger of a Spaniard and lay a "big one" on him before you come back here to good old America! (Then tell your Aunt Jeanne all the delicious details!)

Simply Put and Love, Your Aunt Jeanne






Today's romantic recipe:  Paella 
http://www.alicante-spain.com/paella.html   











Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life's Sticky ... Eat Peanut Butter!




"If you can't control your peanut butter, you can't expect to control your life." - Calvin and Hobbes

Happy Peanut Butter Lover's Day!



Peanut butter is much like life itself. I can be messy, get all over the place and sometimes gets stuck -- yet it tastes so yummy! Peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cups, Nutter Butters, Fluffer Nutters and the list goes Bubba Blue on and on!

Of course, I must bring up the one person who I know despises PB ... my mother beloved Scottish Mum! She hates the stuff! The funny thing is that all her seven kids LOVE IT! So for many, many year, my sainted mother would make PB&J sandwiches for our bag lunches and wouldn't complain not one bit.

I actually think there is a family tale of a sister (or was it Dad?) who tried to trick Mom into eating some on a sandwich ... to this day there are whisperings of what actually happened to that person, yet no one wants to really talk about it! 

So what's so Simply Sacred about Peanut Butter? Well, like I said, life can be messy, just like the stuff we're celebrating today! So, when life gets stuck, sticky and sometimes even looks a pile of peanut butter (use your imagination here!) -- take life one spoonful at a time. Enjoy the simple, yummy things that are all around you!

Simple Sacred Steps: 
  • Try not to care if life gets stuck or sticky. Take it one step at a time. (This one is for me!)
  • Work through the stickiness (like when you have to use your tongue to get the PB off the roof of your mouth!) The more you try, the more it works itself out!
  • Enjoy the simple yumminess of life!
* What do you do to get out of life's sticky situations?*



One yummy solution is to make ...


Peanut Butter Protein Perfection
(I know, I know ... just try it. You'll become addicted! I got brain freeze by drinking mine too fast!)

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cup rice drink
1-2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 whole bananas (freeze a few and use them for this recipe. If not, fresh ones are fine)
2 dates
1 scoop of protein powder
1 scoop of flax meal (not flax seed)
Almonds - 1 hand full







In a blender, add 1 cup ice and ingredients above. Blend baby, blend! (Let me know if you need clarification on this recipe!)

Enjoy! 


Simply put, Jeanne

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap or Limp?


All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience. 
- Henry Miller



Well, if you haven't looked at today's calendar yet ... look! It's not March 1. ... it's February 29 ... the day we all call "Leap Day." A day, when traditionally, a women can ask a man to marry (even though that's just a bunch of silliness!) 


I would prefer to consider today a day when we decide to leap or to limp. Which one? Do we take the leap into new territories, onto new paths or even eating something new ... OR do we just keep limping along?


Don't get me wrong. Sometimes we need to "limp" ... to heal. I'm still limping in many, many areas and some of my leaps will have to be Herculean when the time arrives.  This blog is my "leap" and I'm finding it to be just what I need right now. Its not an Olympian leap, but its a leap! 


What matters is that when we leap ... we're almost flying ...  doing something different ... something that we must put forth effort, momentum and lift ourselves above the same old landscape.


See that guy above? He really was leaping ... no Photoshopping here! Rodney Smith (who is probably one of the best B/W photographers around) had to take many shots before they could get the right image.


It's the same with us. It starts with a limp ... then a hop ... then a jump ... then that unbelievable, breathtaking leap!  


Simple Sacred Steps: 

  • Limp
  • Hop
  • Jump
  • LEAP!
How do you approach "A Leap?" 


Remember earlier, that "even trying something new to eat is a leap!" How about this recipe? To celebrate Leap Day ... I'm going to call this recipe "Leap Neeps." My Scottish Uncle Angus (Bill Smith) makes this dish perfectly! At first, I wasn't too sure, but when I tasted it ... I just couldn't pass it up.

LEAP NEEPS

  Cut off the outside of the Turnip or Rutabaga. Remove the skin to a depth of half an inch. This ensures the stringy, tough outer parts are not cooked.
  Chop the turnip into one-inch cubes.
  Boil in plenty of water for about 45 minutes.
  Drain of the water and mash the turnips through a colander.
  Return the turnips to the pot and warm them with butter, white pepper, and salt to taste. 
(Recipe from: Margaret Dods, The Cook and Housewives Manual, 1829.)

www.goodtoknow.co.uk
Simply put, Jeanne





Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Stare Down a Gorilla!

When I think of brave, I don't think of any lame superheroes! I think of my niece, Super Genevieve! This 2 almost 3-year-old girl (on Saturdayfound herself face-to-face with a huffing, puffing, bully of a gorilla! 


~ YOU DON'T SCARE ME! ~
Genevieve just stood there looking straight at this magnificent, strong and formidable creature. She was mesmerized! Not one bit scared!


Since the beginning of the New Year, I've been faced with some pretty big "gorilla's." Now, I must admit, I haven't stood tall against some of them. I've withered in sadness; not wanting, nor able to face up to the pain and confusion. Yet, human nature kicks in and, at this very moment we are given a choice -- face up or run the other way.


How do we react when the "big, hairy, huffing and puffing" challenges face us? 


How will the Simply Sacred strength rise up in each of us? 


Will we be able to stare each challenge down? Somehow find the challenge interesting -- one which we can observe with new, brave eyes? 

Simple Sacred Steps: 

  • Use your "eyes" of perspective. Is the challenge really as big as it looks? 
  • Use your heart. What is it telling you? To stand still and just listen. It will tell you what you need to do!
  • Finally, just STAND and KNOW YOU ARE STRONG enough to face your "gorilla's!"
How do you stare down your "gorilla's?"

If all else fails ... MAKE COOKIES ... GORILLA COOKIES and EAT THEM (well, not all of them!)


Gorilla Cookies
(There's many variations on this recipe. This one looks pretty healthy and yummy, too!)


½ c. honey
½ c. oil
1 egg, beaten
¼ c. milk
2/8 c. powdered milk
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. whole wheat flour
1½ c. rolled oats
¾ c. sesame seeds
½ c. coconut
½ c. raisins
1 c. chocolate chips or butterscotch


Measure honey and oil into bowl. Add ingredients in second group and mix well. Add dry ingredients in order. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto oiled sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 min.


Simply put, Jeanne







Monday, February 27, 2012

My "Ralphie Moment" or MSG + PMS = Potty Mouth

Right now I'm not feeling very "sacred." In fact, I'm feeling rather "simple" ... like a Simpleton! My potty mouth was in full flow as I tried to figure out why my blog site suddenly wouldn't recognize my email account and blog admin. 


Thank goodness for my laptop that was still open to the blog site and the admin rights! I got in and calmed down.


Sometimes the everyday sacred suddenly becomes the everyday secular or even profane. I had just come in from a wonderful family dinner at China King. Then BAM ... computer Twilight Zone and the screaming started! Well ... I think I'm going to blame my tizzy fit on the MSG served in the Chinese food! 


So, I had my "Ralphie Moment" I am not perfect. Decided against the soap in mouth.  I just turned off my iMac and hope that tomorrow I will be able to access my account.


Simple Sacred Step: Calm down, watch your words, make sure you don't eat Chinese while you're PMSing. Most important ... everything is better after a good night's rest.


What do you do to calm yourself and bring you back to that everyday sacred?






Sunday, February 26, 2012

Simply Sacred and the "Big Sister Bunny"


Tonight, we had a knock at the front door and there stood a couple who just had a baby. They were returning the container in which chicken soup I had made for then had been delivered.


In delivering the soup, I also included a stuffed bunny named, "Big Sister Bunny" for their daughter, who was having a bit of a rough go with a new little brother in their home. Now ... that "Big Sister Bunny" is the only thing she carries around the house!


The soup offered comfort for the new parents and the bunny offered comfort for a little one unsure of her place in her family. 


Comfort.  We all need it at different times in our lives ... don't we. Comfort can take the form of a hug, a squeeze of the hand, chicken/barley soup, chocolate chip cookies and even a "Big Sister Bunny!"  It's free and just feels just plain old good! Comfort comes straight from our heart. In giving it, we are connecting heart to heart and soul to soul. 

Simply Sacred Step: Look around you. YOU can give comfort. You will never know just how important this can be to someone else or, perhaps, even to you!
Below, Elmo knows exactly what to do! Watch and smile ... then pass some comfort on!






Below, in the comment area, share what sort of comfort you've received or have give to someone in need. Were you even aware you were giving it or the recipient of comfort? Share, share, share!
Simply Put, Jeanne