Monthly Archives: January 2010

A Day in the Life…


…of an almost 50 yr old.

I’m currently watching Martha Stewart discuss geriatric care and I am paying very close attention. I guess I’m having a mid-life crisis of sorts. A friend from Toastmasters sent us all a link to a motivational speaker who has a 10 year plan to change our lives. I love all that goal setting and examining your life stuff so of course I signed up to start getting the pdf forms to fill out and email updates. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me: in 10 years I will be turning 60! I know how fast 10 years will go by and I know they seem to go faster each passing year.  I’m not saying my life will be over when I turn 60 but it’s likely I will have life limiting health conditions at least on the horizon by then. My husband is talking about 10-15 good earning years left. These are sobering thoughts that all lead to the age old question – how do I decide to spend my time each day, starting with this day.

On New Year’s Day of this year, I asked my husband and my 17 year old son what they wanted in the coming year. Not a specific goal but a desire, a hope for the future. My husband said ‘a sane wife’, my son said ‘a sane mother’. I instantly knew what my first priority would be when it came to my own goal setting for the year. Goal #1 Sanity. One step toward that goal is exercise but specifically yoga to add a calming effect. And it’s time for my second class this week so off I go, blog to be continued…..


Mind/Body Connection


My mind is making my body sick. That is not a new concept. I really know very little about this but I have been experiencing it all my life.

I just had a memory flash in my mind of the day my little puppy Tippy was killed by a car in front of our house. I’m not sure how old I was but it had to be before age 10 based on the house we lived in at the time. I’m guessing 7 or 8. I remember the trauma (not sure if I witnessed the incident or just heard about it), I vaguely remember seeing Tippy dying or dead…but even that could be inaccurate. The part I’m certain about is very shortly after the incident I found myself at a neighbor’s house experiencing the physical side effects of pain in my heart. The other kids were laughing and playing. I remember quietly observing, not feeling connected to what was going on. Sitting in the chair my legs began to shake uncontrollably. If I concentrated I could stop them for a moment but I was not ‘choosing’ to move them. I was numb emotionally, clearly sad (is that a contradiction?). I’m not sure how long that state lasted. I’m curious to talk with my mother about how she remembers that day. I don’t know if she suggested I go ‘play’ with the other kids or if it was my idea. I don’t think I wanted to be there. I wonder if it would have been better to stay in my room and cry all day. Or maybe it was good that I was out with others, pushing through the day. Sounds like the same choice I must make every day now.

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Grace and Beauty (so I’ll know how to live)


Today I started my day by reading Proverbs 4 in The Message by Eugene Peterson. When I’m not sure where to start reading in the Bible I turn to the Proverb of the day. The days of the month coincide with the chapters of the book. Today is Jan 4, 2010.  As I think about the new year; resolutions (or goals), plans, dreams and priorities, it was good to be reminded of a few simple truths. Here is the whole passage, to see how these verses impacted me today click through to read more.

Proverbs 4 The Message

by Eugene Peterson

Your Life Is at Stake

1-2 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice; sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live.
I’m giving you good counsel;
don’t let it go in one ear and out the other.

3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee,
the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me:
Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!

Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;
love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it;
never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace,
she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”

10-15 Dear friend, take my advice;
it will add years to your life.
I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,
I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road.
I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys,
or wasting time making wrong turns.
Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip.
Guard it well—your life is at stake!
Don’t take Wicked Bypass;
don’t so much as set foot on that road.
Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.
Make a detour and be on your way.

16-17 Evil people are restless
unless they’re making trouble;
They can’t get a good night’s sleep
unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody.
Perversity is their food and drink,
violence their drug of choice.

18-19 The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.

Learn It by Heart

20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health.

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.

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Borscht (Recipe and History)


I got this in an email forward from my cousin Sandy 🙂 the history is as interesting as the recipe! Teresa

> Folks,
> Here’s something for those cold winter nights. . . .
> Bors or borst is a Ukranian cabbage soup with vegetables — often using beets. The name comes from the Slavic word for beet.
> The Mennonite version of the soup comes from the Mennonite colonies of South Russia (as Ukraine was called at the time) in the years 1788 — 1900; where tomatoes and potatoes were substituted for beets. In that case the name came from its low-German spelling: “Borscht.”
> The Dutch-originated Mennonites emigrated from Danzig (Prussia or North Germany; today Poland) to the Ukraine beginning in 1788.
> Borscht originated with the Ukrainians: a mildly tart soup made of root vegetables (beets, potatoes, onions, turnips, carrots) because they could be easily preserved in cool weather. It was cooked alternately with beef, pork, or chicken. It included tartness by adding beets or rye (or fermented beets or rye or yeast).
> Mennonites used, instead: tomatoes, lemon juice, and vinegar for tartness. They added cream or cream cheese when it was served.
> Mennonites adopted cabbage as the main ingredient instead of beets.
> Sometimes they used hot peppers in the soup.
> The Mennonites from the Molotschna colony especially liked dill weed in their borscht.
> I grew up on Borscht and have cooked it many times over the years while I lived in LA. My Grandma Penner and Grandma Hildebrand cooked it often; I still remember their versions. My Mom’s version is the main source for my recipe.
> It’s a poor-person’s food. Over the years in LA (especially in the early 1980s when I was hard-up) I could cook a large pot for very little money (using only vegetables and beef or chicken bones) and keep re-boiling it every two days. It lasted a long time. It saved me from going without food many times.
> I decided recently that I would cook a large pot on New Year’s Day (I haven’t done this in years) and also bake zwieback. (I’ve baked zwieback.a number of times recently and I’m getting good at it.)
> Anyway – I decided to ask what you think of my version of the recipe of Borscht. Do you have variations? Am I doing it according to tradition? Is it right? I’d be interested to know.
> Here’s my version:
> Mennonite South Russian/Canadian California Borscht:
> By Rick Penner (his version of recipe)
> Ingredients:
> Beef bones
> Beef shank
> Salt
> Pepper (peppercorns if possible)
> Vinegar
> Garlic
> Onions (and/or green onions)
> Carrots
> Celery
> Parsley
> Bay leaf
> Star anise
> Dill weed or seed
> Basil (my invention)
> Potatoes
> Cabbage
> Tomatoes (I cut up fresh; and sometimes add tomato paste or juice; I don’t use canned tomatoes, though this is common)
> Cream cheese
> Beef broth
> Note: What makes this version Canadian is the addition of star anise: my Mom (Ella Penner) and Grandparents came from Canada: they always used star anise which they used to get from relatives in Canada (they would send it in a box; apparently it came from China; in the 1950s/1960s you couldn’t get it in our stores here in USA).
> Allspice is another Canadian addition. I sometimes use this in very minor quantities (so it’s “sensed” instead of actually tasted).
> What makes it Californian: I add basil (my invention) because it goes good with soup. Also: garlic is not always used in early Mennonite recipes but I consider it a necessity. I sometimes also add cut squash or corn or bell peppers; or use green onions instead of regular onions. You can use other vegetables based on local availability but you cannot use those that significantly change the original flavor (or it’s not Borscht).
> IT MUST HAVE: cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, dill, parsley, vinegar (or lemon), and pepper to be authentic South Russian Mennonite (Molotschna) Borscht.
>Full directions after the jump…. Read the rest of this entry