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Perfected Vegan Mac n Cheese

Perfected Vegan Mac n Cheese

I call myself an “On again, Off again Vegan”.  I know.  It’s silly.  Usually you either are, or you’re not.  For the last month I have been strictly plant-based Monday morning through Friday evening (little to no processed foods included, per the true plant based definition) and then the weekend, anything goes.  I have found that even on the weekends though I am limiting animal products, sugar, and processed foods because I currently don’t have a strong taste or desire for those things!

5 years ago when I first tried a vegan lifestyle, I experimented with some vegan mac and cheese recipes.  A lot of the ones out there were super complicated and required you to do things like soak nuts, or puree sweet potatoes.  First, ew.  Second, no thanks.  Or, on the other hand, they would use highly processed, vegan cheeses.  After five years, I finally have done enough learning and tweaking to say that I have created a vegan mac and cheese recipe truly worth trying.  Please, please do.  The ingredient list looks long but I promise you, it is so simple, and if you are already vegan you probably have most or all of these ingredients any ways.

Here it is!

Perfected Vegan Mac n Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

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1 lb pasta

3 tablespoon vegan butter (I like Earths balance – the red one)

3 tablespoon flour

2 ¼ cup vegan milk (I prefer SoDelicious unsweetened coconut milk)

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon white miso

2 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoon white wine

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon each of turmeric, paprika, and nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Optional:

Frozen peas and corn

Directions

Boil pasta according to directions.

In a separate pot, melt butter over medium heat until melted.

Add flour and whisk, creating a roux.

While continuing to whisk slowly add milk.  Let heat for a couple minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients whisking between each one.

Allow sauce to heat to simmering and then reduce heat and allow to thicken a little while pasta continues to cook.  Make sure to whisk every so often, and don’t expect it to get very thick (you don’t want it to anyway).

When pasta is done, drain, and gently stir into the sauce.  Add heated, frozen-veggies if desired.

Voila!  Creamy, cheesy flavored, comfort food: the best vegan mac and cheese you could ever have.

 

 

The Homeschool Post

The Homeschool Post

I realized something the other day.  Our homeschooling journey began long before what it would seem.  To some, on the outside looking in, it seems random, and to others it can be rationalized with our move to Hawaii.  But as we approach the end of our first year homeschooling, and we talk about what our options are for the next school year, I have had a lot to think about.  We have asked many questions, and I have had so many memories flood my life.  I think one of the best things we can do as parents is ask questions.  It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness, and to just go through the normal systems and institutions and rarely wonder why or how.  I have nothing against the systems and institutions, in many ways I think they are great.  I am not so ignorant to not recognize their benefits and strengths, but I do think it benefits us to sit back and understand the active role we play in our children’s lives.  Whether that means reconsidering how we educate, or joining the local PTA, or even touching base one more time with a teacher.

For me, homeschooling was never off the table.  My philosophy is that I want to make decisions based on each kid, each year.

One of the reasons we chose to build our house where we did in NH is because the public schools there are some of the better ones in NH statistically, and in our personal opinions.  My husband graduated from the public high school in our town and has a lot of good to say about his experiences there.  He was supported, and paid attention to, even when he caused some incredible trouble that you would be shocked to read about.  We knew that it was the community we wanted to raise our family in.

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My daughter and her K teacher

During my daughters first few years of school she had great teachers.  She struggled with letters and learning to read and write in the beginning of Kindergarten and her teacher went above and beyond in helping her get to her best potential.  By the end of her first year, Natalie was several levels ahead of her classmates.   Her first and second grade teachers were also the perfect fit for her.  Academically, Natalie seemed to be thriving.

What did concern us were the teaching moments that we missed with her.  It felt like our lives revolved around the stress of getting up early, and dumping her at school for 7 plus hours a day to picking her up and then it was homework or activities, dinner, and bedtime.  We hated the stress of it all and the lack of time with her.  We felt like we were failing as parents, and that we were simply schedule keepers and bus drivers, too exhausted by the weekends most of the time to make up for what we felt like we lost during the weekdays.  She began to display some qualities that concerned us, because the reality is, as good as her teachers were, in a classroom of 20 plus kids it’s easy to get lost.  It is difficult for the teacher to hone in on each individual student and know them and help them to the best of their ability.  We would get notes about Natalie being too chatty and even blatantly ignoring her teachers reminders to be quiet and listen.  At home, we noticed that she was very concerned about things like fashion, gadgets, and social stuff rather than paying attention and growing to be her best in her academics.  My internal response to these notes or comments was that the teacher should deal with it!  Natalie is in her care during that time, there is only so much I can do from my house during those 30 hours a week she’s in the classroom.

I began to wonder if we should consider another option.  At the time, my husband wasn’t on board with the homeschooling idea.  He was under the wrong, and uninformed position that homeschooling is weird, anti-social, unable to provide proper academic instruction, or wastes time that could be used for other things like work and a social life.

You see, I knew that these misconceptions weren’t true.  I asked my husband if he ever had one friend growing up that was homeschooled.  He said he didn’t.  It was a world as foreign to him as botany or astronomy.  He had no idea.

But I did.  I realized that where my husband has no experience or knowledge of homeschooling and what that life looks like, I had a tremendous amount!  The childhood I had lived, the friends that my mom surrounded us with from a young age, I thought all of that was “normal” but I realize now how diverse my childhood friendships really were, and how thankful I am for that.

When my brother was in second grade he had a lot of trouble with letters.  By the end of his second grade year he wasn’t even close to reading.  The public school that he was in didn’t use phonetic teaching at the time, and rather than him receiving effective attention and instruction, the system told my mom they were planning to keep trucking him through into third grade.  Frustrated with their approach she decided to pull him out for a year, purchase her own curriculum, and get the kid reading at a level he needed to be at.  For his third grade year, he was homeschooled.  The local public school was happy to have him attend gym, art, and music classes if desired, and he was able to participate in the after school sports and extra-curricular activities.  (Thank you New Hampshire)!  During this time my mom met other local homeschool families, and made fast friends with many of them.  And so, our family became intertwined in that community for many years, even though my brother was only homeschooled for one.

Some of my best childhood memories take place within the homes of my homeschooled friends.  I have fond memories of sleep overs, playing dress up, spending endless outside time, holidays, and vacations with them, and their families were the ones that I remember enjoying those moments with the most in my school years.  I never once thought the kids were weird, or very different than any other kids I knew, but I bonded with them on a deeper level than some of my school peers.  The parents in those families, the mothers in particular, are the ones I look back on with some of the most admiration and respect.   Even now, some of the women I have come to know as adults that I look at and think “Wow, I hope I have that relationship with my children” tend to be parents that homeschooled.

Reflecting back, my experiences in the homeschooler world, even though I myself wasn’t, were very positive ones.  I realize now that my eyes and heart were opened to a beautiful world that most people never witness.  And that is the reason why homeschooling never seemed as daunting to me, and why I was always surprised when people had such negative comments about homeschooling.  Now I get it.  They don’t know the goodness it can be.  Yes, there are horror stories on the news sometimes, and yes there are probably parents that SHOULDN’T homeschool in my opinion, either because they can’t commit the time, or they are ultimately doing a disservice to their child.  But I suppose that is all based on perspective.  This is what I think, if the parents are in agreement, and the children are in agreement, and there is time and energy to be invested in the process, it can be a very beautiful thing.  I witnessed dozens of families in my own life where it was.

Hear me out.  I am not an advocate for homeschooling for everyone and anyone.  But I am a HUGE advocate for homeschooling for the right families under the right circumstances.  (And I understand that those things are subjective)!

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The curriculum that we chose and love.

Last summer when we found out we would be moving to Hawaii, I started to research the schools here, and unless you are in the most expensive parts of the island, the public schools aren’t that great, in fact compared to what we were used to, they were bad.  I knew public wouldn’t be an option. I realized, what a great opportunity and reason to try homeschooling!  Given the obvious reasons why we should try it, my husband gave me his support.  It has been such a success in many ways.  My husband has been amazed at the academic progress in the kids, and the maturing they have done, and has become a very active role in our schooling.  He actually has come to love it!  He is even advocating that we continue next year when we return to NH. It is a big decision though, so I decided to do a little more research into homeschooling in general.

At the end of the day, we want to make the decision that is best for our family.  The truth is, when I think of homeschooling my children again next school year, I get very excited!  But I am not going to make a decision based on emotions.  One of my college professors would tell me to use the SMART acronym.  (SMART GOALS).  Is it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely?  I believe, that in our situation, homeschooling is!

Within the next week I will write and post a brief research paper on some history and statistics of homeschooling, as well as the information and stories that I have personally gathered.  If you’re interested in my paper, make sure you follow me so you don’t miss it!  And as always, feel free to reach out with questions and comments.

Well I was born in a small town…

Well I was born in a small town…

It’s been a while since I have written anything, and if you’ve been waiting I apologize.
I have had a lot going on these last few weeks including an incredible Maui vacation, husband in and out traveling for work, and some new major life changes.

I haven’t been able to find time to sit and ponder a good post.  I do feel that I owe one though, for our journey has taken an unexpected turn.

We are returning to NH, just in time for summer in New England.

I know, there are a lot of thoughts, questions, and feelings around this change.  Feelings from me, my family, our friends in NH and our ohana here in Hawaii, and possibly even some readers that have been following my journey.

Some of those feelings I have felt or heard from others so far are joy, sadness, confusion, surprise.  Unbelief even.

 

You see, living through this journey has taught me many things and from the get-go, one of the things that I have talked about is that we should never say “never”, and be careful with “always”.  The truth is, we have no idea what is going to happen.  Sure, we can plan, and we should feel free to move forward and commit to things, but when we hold too tightly to plans, our homes, or even relationships, there is a potential that we are setting ourselves up for either complete devastation upon unforeseen change, or on the flip side, missing out on a different beautiful journey if the opportunity presents itself.

Take my life for example.

Dream home, great community, awesome friendships new and old, mostly good path and direction in life, and BAM!

Hawaii.

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What if I had said no?  What if I had said never? (I came close).

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One of our friends loving on Sage

I would have missed out on learning new ways of love by the young adults at church who love on my children in ways I have never seen and who have welcomed me into their friend zones without hesitation and reminded me of goodness and grace.  I would have missed out on picking up old passions and hobbies such as playing the guitar again or investing thought and time into creative writing, or being inspired to eat healthier and experimenting with plant-based foods or fish that I never even knew existed.  I would have missed out on experiencing life and nature in ways that I had never imagined, taking the time to breath and simply be, simply enjoy a sunset over the ocean, or watch a sea turtle napping on warm sand, or enjoying the time it takes to prepare a fabulous New Year’s eve meal and accepting that the preparation time isn’t a hindrance because why the frig are we always in a rush? We enjoy each other during that time too!

In my journey, we feel that it is time to return to the starting point.  How could this be?  We thought we were in Hawaii for the long haul.  We committed ourselves here.  We did everything in our power to make this our home and workplace.

For me, this next step of my journey is a beautiful and perfect, yet difficult and challenging one.

The next step is beautiful because I get to return home.  I will return to all the people and places that I have loved and missed and helped shape me in the first place to be who I am.  It’s beautiful because I get to return as a more seasoned and inspired version of my original self, with more gratitude and appreciation than ever before.

The next step is perfect because it just makes sense.  It makes sense to me that my aloha journey has been one of growth, lessons, love, and gain, and that now I must return to NH and apply all of it, to share this deeper love, and hopefully teach what I have learned.  It makes sense that something new has been birthed inside of me, and that the time is coming to see what we can do.  It makes sense because I was being prepared in a way greater than I even understood and there is a place being prepared for my family to step up and just do it.

The next step is difficult because we truly thought we were here for good.  We threw our hearts in with the friends we made here.  We committed to our new life, our new ohana.  We allowed ourselves to fall in love with the beauty and pleasures of living in the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian Islands.  To think of our leave is very depressing in some ways, and to feel like we are letting people down or disappointing people that have come to know and love us is devastating.  They have all been gracious and understanding, but it is still difficult.

The next step is challenging, for similar reasons why it is perfect.  Because the task of applying what one learns, and being one’s better self in an old environment IS a challenging one.  It is easy to keep growing and receiving in a place that is new, laidback and accepting and the catalyst for all that growth in the first place.  It’s a totally different challenge to go back to the familiar, the old life, as the new self.  I am nervous of failing.  I am anxious that I will be frustrated with the culture, or the old ways.  I am concerned that as a family, and as marriage partners, we will fall back into routine and not continue in a pursuit of greatness.  These are some of the challenges that we may have to overcome or accept in a new way.  Another challenge for me is staying in the moment still.  I keep hearing this voice, “Don’t act like you’re already gone.”  This can be a challenge because there is a lot to do to prepare for another cross-world move.  Especially one so soon after the first!  And there is a lot of excitement in preparing for our return.  But being present is so important, because I know that in two months there is still so much to learn, and growth that can still happen.  I want to soak up every bit I can.  I don’t want to miss out.

I plan to write more, way sooner than the last gap, but for now I hope that you are inspired in some way.  I hope that you are reminded that you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but where are you today?  What challenges do you face right now?  What love is before you at this moment to give, and to receive? Don’t waste those moments.  Don’t take for granted the impact you have, and don’t be so hard or tightly wound that you yourself can’t learn or receive.  Being open to what is around you today, in this moment, is a beautiful thing, and this right here is where you have the most influence, right now.

 

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

The Post You All Have Been Waiting For…

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamt about love and finding a husband.  But in a way, different than most girls might, I think.  From a young age, I imagined that I was going to have an incredible, strong, world-conquering marriage.  Before I even understood the fullness of matrimony, I knew I was destined to a partnership in the truest sense of the term that would stretch far outside of just the two of us.  I knew that an average, loving, healthy marriage would never be enough for me.  I wouldn’t settle for anything except “power couple” status and so I was going to make it happen.

In October 2016, my husband and I went to a Marriage Conference put on by our church.  I was so excited for the weekend as we drove to the small coastal town in NH, dressed to the nines in anticipation of a super fun, and super romantic experience where we could grow and learn together.

Fast forward to our ride back home.  It felt that my excitement and anticipation had metamorphosed into frustration and discouragement.

18274951_1445443225520363_9079635165776095689_n.jpgWe had a fun time, please don’t get me wrong! It was an excellent night away with some of our closest friends, enjoying food, drinks, dancing, and great words.  But you see my marriage was far from perfect.  It wasn’t a bad marriage; there were no major grievances between us, or struggles.  There weren’t any fights over money or whatever married people usually fight over, and despite my husband and I both being stubborn, independent, somewhat self-focused people, we always allow each other those qualities and we always are able to resolve conflicts and get to the same page.  But I really sensed, back in autumn 2016, that our marriage was ready to be taken to the next level.  I thought there was something I was going to learn, to change, to control, to help it get there.

During the ride home when my husband asked me what I thought of that weekend, I told him that I had had fun, and I felt that our pastors had spoken a lot of truths, but that my interpretation of what they were trying to share meant that my marriage would ultimately be doomed.  Hopeless.  Out of control.  I had taken the impression that my husband could be who he needed to be only by my constant reminders.  And what I learned that weekend was that ultimately, despite my greatest efforts, my marriage could never be top level unless my husband plays his role to make that happen.

I didn’t trust that my husband would ever step up in the fullest way, and I never trusted that he would let God work in his life unless I created that situation to happen.  And if I am not in control, my efforts are futile and so is my marriage.  Trust me, I know how dramatic this sounds given what I said about our marriage being an overall pretty decent one, but I was striving for power couple! Not decent! And I was the one that had to make it happen! (Yes, you can laugh at me, I sure do)

Going through the motions of the holidays and winter months in New England, I decided that the best approach to fill this sudden lack of control was to start seeking out “my mission” on Earth.  My husband had his construction business, and invested a lot of his time and energy into that, but now that I was not going to put the same efforts into making my marriage what I wanted, where else should I focus the mission?  I did a lot of reading, praying, and soul searching, and I learned some pretty cool stuff that I will write another post about someday.

Spring came, then summer.  A good friend of mine had invited me to attend a small concert with her in the same coastal town where the marriage weekend had been.  As we were hanging out on the pier waiting for the music to start my friend asked me if Frank and I were planning to attend that year’s marriage conference, and what we had thought of the previous one.  I told her we probably would because we had a great time last year.  I shared with her my feelings from it.  The ironic thing is, as I was explaining all those thoughts to her, my husband at that exact time was sitting in a hotel room in Honolulu where he was on a business trip, thinking and praying about our life and the direction it was headed.  He had landed some huge jobs that were requiring him to travel.  I was becoming increasingly frustrated whenever he took absence.  I viewed our separation as a negative thing, and a hindrance to the partnership I desired.  He was searching for the right resolve on how to fulfill his work duties, grow his business, but continue to grow our marriage and be with his children.  Although I had a lot of thoughts about all this and was open with him, I no longer was saying no to the things I wanted to say no to, or trying to advise him on what I would do if I were in his shoes.

A few days later when I picked my husband up from Logan Airport he told me that he had figured out how we were going to make this all work.  I got very excited because I assumed that he had come to the same solutions that I had thought of myself.  “We’re going to Hawaii!” I was shocked.  This was not the solution I wanted.

Despite the end result, Frank told me all the reasons why he felt that was the best decision.  And everything he had to say about our marriage growing stronger and our family being together and our spirituality increasing, was exactly what I wanted him to say.  I didn’t ask him to say it, I didn’t lecture him on anything to get him to say it.

You get the point?

In the same exact moment, I was reflecting with my friend about how frustrated I was that my husband might not do what I wanted and needed him to do, he was figuring out the answers on his own without my help.  Now I am not advocating that marriage partners do things separately, not work together, or whatever other accusation one might make toward me at this point in my story.  I am simply sharing in order to inspire, encourage, and give hope to someone because you see, I doubted if I would see growth or change where growth and change was needed because I wasn’t the one initiating it.  I was under the impression that most people would never change, or never grow, if someone wasn’t behind them reminding them to do so or helping them see “the point” all the time.

I wasn’t giving my husband enough credit for how thoughtful, intuitive, and discerning he could really be, and I wasn’t giving him the space to flex those qualities.  Thankfully, pre-marriage weekend, my husband was laidback and loving enough to give me grace during my attempts at control to either agree with me, or ignore me altogether.  In this sense, we are compatible.  He is a very strong person.

IMG_2372So, in less than a month’s time, we went to Hawaii!  Within a week of being here we felt that we were supposed to make the move more permanent than the 6 weeks we originally signed up for.  We had very clear direction and peace about making this our home, longer-term.  Although we knew that we would be going back to NH someday, we also knew that we should settle in a bit.  In many ways, it was difficult but we did it.

Regardless of business and opportunities to increase our coiffeurs it was impressed on us from the very beginning that the point of our time in Hawaii was going to be our marriage first, and our family.  That’s it.  Although we thought we saw ideal money-making situations, or invitations to ministry leadership, the only thing promised to us was that we would learn a lot about ourselves, each other, and taking our marriage to that next level.  That was it! Anything outside of that was just assumptions and distractions.  Anytime we started to focus on something other than self, and marriage, things got stressful, confusing, or felt “off”.  In fact, so far everything outside of us that we thought was going to happen fell flat.  All of the business deals we were offered when we first got out here turned out to be way less appealing than we were told.  All of the investment opportunities we thought we were going to take were held up by details that we didn’t consider, or couldn’t have anticipated.  But we got more calls than ever for work back East.

This past week, on Valentine’s Day, my husband was in Boston working a job.  He was feeling frustrated and discouraged that we were apart, and that he has so much work there, but now we are living here.  We had a beautiful conversation about this whole journey, beginning to now.

Why did we come to Hawaii in the first place?  What lessons have we learned here?  What growing have we done here?  In what ways are we in agreement and stronger more than ever before?

It was amazing to hear him open up and take the position of victory and gratefulness rather than how he sounded when he first called.  Even more amazing, later that evening I received an email from him where he’d written down some of the lessons he’s learned in great detail.  I am telling you, the words I was reading would make any wife swoon.  Better than any romance movie, or love song.  What he wrote is worth more than any opportunity or deal we could have landed out here. Worth more than living in a tropical paradise.  Worth more than gold.  He said all the things that I didn’t even realize I needed or wanted him to say.  Deep stuff. About our kids, about our partnership, about our God, about our future.

The opportunity was never about money, or influence, or status.  We were actually given the best opportunity ever.  Abundance in love and unity.  And in all His goodness and grace, we got to do it in one of the most beautiful places in the world, surrounded by some of the most amazing people we have ever known or have love us.

You see friends, you don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t! You don’t have to pressure yourself into the illusion of being in complete control.  You’re not! You don’t need to know all the details.  You don’t need to have all the directions.  Through these last six months, what I have learned, and do now know, is more valuable than anything. From October 2016 fearing that I was doomed to a healthy but boring, happy but uninfluential, content but routine marriage, all the way to now.  Now, where through this journey, I believe more than ever that I am walking in destiny.

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Faith Over Feelings.

Faith Over Feelings.

 

So this happened.

A Plane Engine Fell Apart In Midair 

One thing my close friends and family can say about me, is that they know what some of my deepest fears are.  In fact, I am pretty open about my fears, and sometimes I may come across as anxious or fearful, but I like to think I am just more honest and vocal perhaps than the next guy.  Because I’d be willing to bet he has just as many if not more, fears as me.  He just doesn’t think about them, or like to talk about them as much.

Probably the biggest phobia I have right now is my fear of flying.  I can’t tell you where it comes from, as I used to fly just fine! It wasn’t until about five years ago it started to develop.  I am actually wondering if I have a fear of heights in general.  The most scary and daunting situation to me is flying over the ocean, specifically the Pacific Ocean, mainland to Hawaii.

And yea, we live in Hawaii.

So, guess what, it is not easy at all for me to decide to fly back East.  I have wondered many times if I will never again leave the Hawaiian Islands, which wouldn’t be so bad except all my family, and closest friends are very far away, and it is not affordable for all of them to come see me!

My husband and eldest son are currently on the East coast, and about to get on a United Airlines flight to come back home.

 

 

 

I have already decided as of a couple years ago that I will never fly United due to their horrible customer service.  Statistics show them to be one of the “least safe” airlines due to mechanical failures and inability to keep up with proper maintenance.  Whenever my husband books with United I get irritated, because he knows how I feel.  (My flying preferences if you’re wondering, for safety and/or amenities is Virgin first, then Hawaiian.  Alaskan Airlines and Jet Blue aren’t bad either.)

As I was driving home from dropping my daughter off at school yesterday, I had the radio on, and the D.J. mentioned something about a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu having an issue but landing safely.  All day, I tried to ignore my curiosity what that was about.  But as I was preparing for bed I thought to myself, “I’ll just look into that, after all they landed safely and didn’t give much detail on the radio so it couldn’t have been that bad, and perhaps knowing will actually help me feel better”.

Boy how wrong I was.

The story was basically the beginning of my worst nightmare.  I went into a full-blown panic attack, the worst I’ve had in a long time.  It was a United Airlines plane, same airline as my loved ones are about to board, and it happened over the Pacific Ocean on the way to Hawaii, as my worst fear is concerned, and thankfully, they were only an hour away from the Islands, as if they’d been much further out the situation could have turned out devastatingly.

How was I going to rest until I knew that my husband and son were safely back across the Pacific?!  How was I myself, ever going to get back on a plane and cross over when one of my worst fears has now been proven true (thank God it wasn’t me on that flight!)?  I immediately began looking for one way cruises from Honolulu to the mainland, so that I could give myself a [false] sense of peace, that I had other options if I ever need to leave.

IMG_0033Here’s the thing.  I have read a lot about aviation, how the physics work, and what causes turbulence, etc.  I know all the statistics about how safe it is to fly, and how many planes are in the air every day with no issues, and how rare it is for anything to happen.  I have talked to therapists, and read about conquering fears, about how you aren’t supposed to feed your fears by avoiding them, but instead face them head on.  I have prayed for this crippling phobia to be taken from me, so that I don’t have to worry or obsess over flying anymore.  I have been on six different planes in the last five months, and will be getting on two more in a couple weeks (short trip to Maui).  And I can tell you, that my fear is no less now than it was a year ago, quite the contrary, I am MORE terrified.

The last flight I took was actually very pleasant and not too horrible turbulence wise, but I was borderline hyper-ventilating for at least three of the six hours.  It seems like an eternity up there in those planes where I feel trapped, and helpless, and terrified of plunging 40,000 feet into the ocean.

I was talking to one of my best friends about this today.  He said, “May I submit to you, that this is actually proof that you are living by faith, despite your feelings?”

You see, my feelings say “Fear, terror, lack of control”, but my decisions so far have said “Trust, Obedience, Courage”.  I have not felt courageous at all, while taking any of those six flights.  As I said, I feel more scared today than ever.  It seems that the advice of facing my fears was useless, because there has been no relief.  It seems that the advice of reading statistics and about how planes are designed or work has been pointless, because for every 50 good statistics I read, I find that one horribly fatal one and then that seems to be the one that sticks out most.

Upon moving to Hawaii so many people have called me brave, courageous, and talked about the amazing opportunity and adventure we can find here.  But really, this journey has been all about self-growth, and learning lessons.  That’s it. That simple.  Just as there hasn’t been any huge job landed, or perfect property opportunity, in my battle of this flying phobia there has been no huge release, or miraculous healing.  And I am starting to wonder if I have to just be okay with that!

There’s a scripture from Paul in 2nd Corinthians where he talks about how he has had many revelations, and speaks much truth, but he won’t boast about himself because he has a thorn in his flesh that he has pleaded with the Lord to take from him.  He believes that this struggle of his is not meant to be overcome quite yet because it keeps him from being conceited.  “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  And then he goes on to say, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For me this thorn in my flesh has not gone away despite every attempt to face it and will it away.  It would be amazing and nothing short of a miracle to never again have to worry about getting on a plane, or a loved one doing so.  But that is not my reality.  My reality is that it’s a very real and strong fear.  Do I cower, and find ways around it?  (I live on a tiny island now, so doing that doesn’t seem very fun or practical).  Do I give in to my fear and cry every time my husband or children get on a plane, and refuse to ever step foot on one myself?  Trust me, these are the thoughts and feelings that I have.  I would miss a lot of things and people in the rest of my life, but it would be so easy for me to succumb to those feelings.  It would be very comfortable.

Or do I continue to step out in faith.  Faith in our airlines and the FAA that they are doing their jobs to continue to keep us safe.  Faith in the steps that I take to conquer this giant in order to continue to live a life of freedom and truth.  Faith in my God, and that His grace is sufficient, and with His power alone I can be truly, perfectly strong.

I still don’t have all the answers, I still don’t know when the time comes what I will choose!  If I had to make a choice today, if I am honest, I think I would choose the cruise! But there is a lot to think about and consider in here.  If you have any thoughts or comments on the topic of faith and/or fear I would love to hear them.  You can message me at thebriarpatchco@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

I would encourage you also my friends, don’t let fear hold you back.  Whether it’s something as large and hindering as my fear of flying, or something smaller like reaching out to a loved one and apologizing, or something more creative like being afraid to give your all to an endeavor in whatever dreams you have.

Let’s put faith over feelings, and allow our lives to be true testaments of greater.

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Quiche Rhiannon

Quiche Rhiannon

This quiche recipe is pretty tasty!  One of the things I love about it is that in its simplicity, yet very good flavour and texture, it is easy to do all sorts of variations for fillings.

Last night, we made one in our personal favourite way: with swiss chard, and summer squash (and it’s the ONLY way I will eat swiss chard!).  We also added a leek this time, as I wasn’t sure what else I might be using the leek for.  One time I brought this version to our monthly Sunday Morning Zeal Meal, a monthly sharing of a huge meal and relationship with one another at our church.  That particular morning, I threw a couple sliced mushrooms in the pan with the onion and OMG the compliments that morning were endless.  Quiche can be so fun, and creative! Goodbye, Lorraine.  Hello, Rhiannon!

This make one large quiche, so I would not go over the suggestions, and if your eggs are on the large side or you’re planning to add a lot of filling I would cut down to four or five eggs.

Quiche Rhiannon

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 90 minutes

IMG_3611.JPGIngredients

Single pie crust, either store bought or homemade is fine. If you want a simple homemade recipe, comment below!

1 tablespoon of butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

6 medium eggs

¾ cup of half and half (or milk product of your choice)

1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice

½ teaspoon each: salt, ground mustard

a scant ¼ teaspoon each: paprika, nutmeg, black pepper

Variations: I would add ½ cup to 1 cup per ingredient depending on how many I am adding

Diced ham, crumbled/cooked bacon, peppers, mushrooms, feta cheese etc

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Place pie crust into an ungreased pie plate.

Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat for 9 minutes, lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the onion as cooking, and add the garlic in the last minute or two. Allow to cool.

Whisk together the eggs, and cream.

Add the onion, cheese, seasonings, and any other add-ins.

Pour the mixture into your pie crust.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until set. (this may vary slightly depending on what add-ins you have, ie. The more veggies the longer it may need to cook)

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

This can be eaten warm, cold, or room temperature.  Voila! The beauty of quiche.

Serve with orange slices, a fresh garden salad, or bacon and potatoes.

Here is my swiss chard variation

Added Ingredients:

One small each: zucchini and summer squash, peeled and diced.

One bunch of swiss chard, stems separated from leaves.  Stems diced, leaves torn.

4 to 5 minced garlic cloves

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Follow all previous directions but adding these:

After 5 minutes of the onion sautéing, add the chard stems and the squash.  Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and sauté for 3 to 4 more minutes, until the leaves are soft and darkened.

When adding ingredients to the egg mixture, include the extra garlic, and the parmesan cheese.

Proceed as previously directed.

 

 

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When Perfectionist is a bad thing

When Perfectionist is a bad thing

Another parenting post.

But perhaps this can apply in many other situations in our lives, whether with people that work for us, spouses, or anything really.

I was talking to a friend recently, who gave me some good advice.

“Don’t expect your 8 (5, 1) year old, to act older than their age.”

I have often been disappointed or frustrated with my children for things that could be considered normal behaviours.

img_3460.jpegExample: I pick up all the couch cushions and pillows off the floor, for the thousandth time this week, the millionth this year, and my toddler within minutes tears them all off again, laughing and finding it to be the best game he’s ever played.  I see the out-of-place pillows; I obsess over the dirt and dust they are rolling around in; my mind is wrought with concern over rips and tears; I get mad.  I have to remind him, AGAIN, that this is not the purpose of the pillows.  I resist the urge to yell “Sage! Stop!” as a last-ditch effort to end the madness.  It is futile.  I let it ruin my mood.

Why would I expect my toddler to care about the cleanliness or organization of my couch pillows?  To him, these are a great tool for fun!

Since my friend challenged me, I have been constantly checking my mind for unrealistic expectations.  And it is actually helping me! It may seem silly, and I don’t think I am being too soft, but now when my daughter starts to unpack her lunchbox after school, instead of getting upset that she ate only two small items (and usually the least nutritious), I expect that she didn’t eat ANY of the food.  Why would I expect my 8-year-old, who during lunch time at school has the freedom to choose what she eats or doesn’t, to choose the nutritiously dense items to eat first?  Of course, she’s going to go for the fruit snacks, or the muffin first as opposed to the cucumber slices or hard boiled egg.   Now, when she has eaten most or all of her lunch, I am ecstatic!

You see, I believe there are times when I SHOULD expect that my expectations be met.  i.e. “Please go upstairs and get your socks on so we can leave,”.  This morning, this direction was blatantly ignored, and so I had to make a correction.

But how many times in a day do we expect things, only to be frustrated and disappointed?

I realized that for me, there are expectations I have almost constantly that I was not even aware of!  I think that it stems from a “Type A” personality, or a “perfectionist” mindset, or whatever term you want to fill in there.  But the more I am understanding where these attributes are a weakness for my mind and heart, the more I can open my eyes to reality, and have a true sense of peace.

Do you have unrealistic expectations that are stifling your joy?  If you are finding yourself stressed, frustrated, or disappointed constantly, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that.

Let’s learn to live in better peace together.

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