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Wholly centered on that which is Holy.

7 Nov

Yesterday I went to an event that filled Rogers Arena, an event that sold out and had people standing in the aisles, an event that brought out 10900 people.  However, unlike most arena events, we weren’t of two sides, cheering one team over the other, or one politian vs. the others, we were there in unity, and that many people in unity is powerful.

I have and always will be greatly moved by masses of people agreeing on something.  I know I’ve blogged on this before, but the power of people meeting in agreement is earth shaking.  We were running late, and actually didn’t arrive at the stadium until it had already been going for 30 minutes, so we were forced to sit in the last possible section, at the top.  At first I was little disappointed that I may not be able to see or hear what was said , but being way up high gave us the best seat in the house.  We could see everyone.

Passion World Tour is a conference that goes to major cities around the world and encourages college aged people to live passionately for what the believe in.  What they believe in, being following Jesus Christ whole heartedly.

A lot of times being Christian in a secular world can feel lonely, or even pointless.  It feels like we’re not walking in the times of miracles that former generations witnessed, or that we live with the same passion as those generations did.  Then, however, you attend a conference of 10900 people all between the ages of 18 – 25 in Vancouver B.C and the majority are lost in worship to the creator, and passionate (at least for the moment) for the one that made everything and gives us life, and it all gets back in focus.  “Oh yea, that’s why I’m here.”

10900 people could do a lot.

There were several worship bands that were not consumed by pride, or any other problems that secular musicians struggle, and a speaker, Louie Giglio.

He spoke about how he wanted his live to he wholly centered on Jesus Christ, and why we needed to.  He wasn’t forcing us to, but just bringing up truths that most of us had heard all our lives. He opened with Collations 3:1-4 

 ” 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,      where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

He was so passionate about how what we did, thought, said, etc, had to be to the glory of God, regardless of what that life goal was, and it was inspiring and encouraging to be there, and to be ignited with that fire for it all again.

I tend to get distracted by food, people, social life, etc, and it’s all good stuff, but it’s all got to be to the glory of God.

That being said, I’m questioning my diet choices again… I know, I know, but this is a different issue that I haven’t thought of yet.  Here it is.  I don’t find being vegan hard, or depriving, or anything that most people think would come with the choices of the diet.  I’ve really seen it as a challenge, I love being healthy, and seeing what I can make, but there’s a few issues that have been brought to my attention.

Issue 1: I was reading “VegNews” (a vegan magazine filled with delicious recipes) on the way in to work on the train on Friday, and it hit me that the attitude of most people at that magazine, as well as a lot of vegans I’ve met is sort of a “holier than thou” type of thing.  They feel like all of their friends and family should accomodate them, that everyone should be incredible considerate, yada yada, where as I believe it’s a choice that one person makes and it’s not up to anyone else to follow or accomodate you.  So the issue was that I didn’t want people to automatically put me in that category and feel awkward eating around me or wearing leather or anything like that, because I genuinely don’t agree with that.

Issue 2: I’m primarily vegan for health, not so much the animals, however, I do hate the way animals are treated, but healthy farming practises don’t sound all that bad to me.  A lot of people though immediately associate “vegan” with “insane animal lover,” and I don’t feel comfortable wearing that hat.  There are rats running around in my house, which is disgusting, and I don’t want to feel ashamed about not wanting them there.  Also, I really love my leather purse.

(by the way, this being said, I still haven’t completely decided what I want to do with all of this, and I still want to be as healthy as possible, it may just mean ditching the title, and eating healthy vegan meals without being a vegan)

Issue 3: I’m getting married this summer, and Tals not vegan, and I don’t feel comfortable inforcing my diet on him… (which will most likely happen, because I do the cooking…) I don’t want him to feel deprived from a decision that he didn’t make, as well thinking way in the future, I don’t want our future children to feel like they are “different” and can’t eat what everyone else eats.  That being said, I want them to eat healthy, non-junk food foods, and try to limit sugar, and ban hi-fructose corn syrup from our household (which already will make them quite different) but if some kid is having a birthday party in school, I don’t want my children to have to play the snob and refuse a cup cake, you know?  As I get my mind around getting married, and my life becoming more “us/family” centered, vs. me centered, I feel like my decisions should reflect that of both of us, not just me.

Issue 4: (aka the selfish reason) It’s Christmas time, and don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are millions of recipes for delicious vegan goodies, BUT holiday baking can be quite disappointing.  Bananas are good egg replacers, but you don’t want all of your baking to taste like banana right? To tell you the truth, I’ve really loved the idea that I can’t have most Christmas baking (because of their non-veganess) and the idea that I won’t gain ten pounds over the holidays, BUT I do want to take part, and bake, and eat some decadent Christmas things that are creamy and made with eggs.

So I don’t know what to make of all of this.. but I’ll be doing research, and thinking about it.

(I still don’t think I could eat any lamb, cows, pigs, chickens, or even turkeys… I guess unless I went and saw where they were living… because I really don’t agree with the way that mass produced meat is produced.  I do however enjoy seafood immensly, and it has been one of the things that I’ve craved the most. I can get eggs locally, cheese? I don’t know… yogurt is nice, and I have missed it… milk? well I’m not really a cereal person, and I find dairy alternatives quite nice, and I still don’t agree that if you don’t drink it your bones will break down… I really don’t know if it’s necessary… with all the calium rich veggies out there… (my oh my, I’m ranting… sorry)) Anyways, it’s a lot to think about.

My friend Sophia is writing a blog about a 3 month (I believe?) local eating experiment in Australia (where she lives) and it’s really quite interesting and inspiring, I may try local eating? Who knows? I don’t know if I could live without wheat… you should check out her blog though.. http://ahundredmilesfromanywhere.wordpress.com/ She’s a delightfully talented writer, and I really recommend you read her blog!

Anyways, lots to think about.  Try to make loads of ethical decisions today!

Peace

It's way to late to be blogging.

11 May

I know that its way too late to be blogging, but I got all riled up with courses, and studying and now I’m wide awake.

Diet wise, the past couple of weeks, I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegetarian, but each time I try, I get really sick, so I’m back to 100% vegan.  What’s the point of changing your diet if you love the one you have?

I haven’t posted much lately because, one I haven’t cooked or baked much lately, and two, the lack of culinary activity was due to my obsession with studying for a History of music course (if I have to think about one more Gregorian chant or cantata I may rip my head off) as well as the fact that three other university courses started today.  Needless to say, my blogging and social life have been pretty much situated on the back burner.

However, this being said, I do believe that I tend to get rid of a lot of my stress through writing, therefore, I will try to write more often.

I hope tomorrow goes smoothly, it’s one of those days where everything is planned but the times are so close together, I have no idea how it’s all going to roll out.  It’s the beauty of life.  We’ll see what happens.

Maybe tomorrow or the day after I’ll actually get organized and cook good food, so I’ll start to feel normal again.

Peace.

Tomorrow, tomorrow. (orange poppy seed breakfast muffins)

29 Apr

Today was a … blah day.

I had taxes to do, history to do, reading to do, cleaning to do, and for some reason I couldn’t muster up any sort of motivation to  be excited about these things.

I dragged my heels, and got my taxes, some history, writing, and baking done. Once again the cleaning will be left for tomorrow.

Although, tomorrow is going to be a fun day in Vancouver, so the cleaning might have to wait until… Friday :S Well, perhaps when I get home tonight I’ll be able to squeeze a little cleaning in.

These muffins were one of the best things that happened today.

Orange Poppy Seed Breakfast Muffins

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup boiling water

2 3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 nutmeg

2 tbsp soy flour + 2 tbsp water

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup honey

1 cup soy milk

2 tbsp poppy seeds

the zest of one orange

First, preheat the oven to 375, and grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan with reusable muffin cups.

Soak the raisins for five minutes in 1/4 cup of boiling water, and set aside.

Put the rolled oats into a food processor or blended to create a coarse flour, you will need two cups of it.

Mix the coarse oatmeal flour with the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Strain the raisins and keep the water. Put the raisins into the food processor to chop coarsely, or chop by hand.

In a separate bowl, beat the soy flour and water (egg replacement) the oil, and the honey together, until smooth.  Then stir in the soy milk, the raisins (and the water), the poppy seeds, and the orange zest.

Add the wet to the dry stirring until it is just mixed well. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes.  You’ll know they’re finished when the tops are a crumbly yellow, and the bottoms are golden brown.

Serve warm.

yum.

Peace.

Natural Life Magazine

28 Apr

This magazine is very interesting.

Subscribe to Natural Life Magazine

http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/

It has loads of information on alternative lifestyles, recipes, and new ideas you may have never heard of… composting toilet anyone?

Definitely thought-provoking.

The TO-DO list.

27 Apr

Sometimes, if I’m organized enough, I get my act together early in the day and set to work ticking things off my to-do list.  Most of the time however, I start the day slowly, make my to-do list, and tick off one or two items.  This really has to start changing.  I’m going to try to create my to-do list in my journal before I go to bed the night before, so that I know what I’m going to do from the minute I finish my bible reading in the morning.

Today my to-do list was a lazy day one 😦

It reads as follows:

– sweep kitchen and bathroom floors

– plant parsley and raspberry plants

– bake bread

– work on history

– TAXES

-the “laundry issue”

-email my outline for a youth talk

I feel like this should be doable, and with the exception of getting those plants in the ground, I think I will be able to succeed in the rest. (fingers crossed)

What takes time?

27 Apr

“Time was – and not long ago – if you wanted to live in such a way as to be warmly connected with other people, the world supported your efforts.  Today that really is not true.  If you want community in any form, or family, or home, you just about have to invent it.  Your version will be unique with you.  But the first and all-important step is to dig in where you are and make a place.  When I suggest that we think of ourselves as pioneers, I’m not being quaint.  Ware on a frontier, surrounded by wilderness, and the job at hand is to make a clearing – to clear a space and determine that what goes on within that circle will be a prototype of the world as you would like it to be.  The thrilling thing is to see those small circles begin to touch upon one another here and there, and overlap – sturdy outposts, ground for hope.” – The New Laurel’s Kitchen

What takes time in our every day lives? Preparing good wholesome food takes time. Keeping a tidy house takes time. Preparing and tending a garden takes time. Preparing for social gatherings takes time. If you have kids, that takes time. Everything that goes in an around keeping a house takes time.

However, what my generation and a few before have been bred to believe is that we must work 9-5, five, sometimes six days a week to attain financial security.  I think most would agree that your family eating wholesome food in a comfortable home, with a providing garden, and lots of friends and children around is a pretty idealistic living situation that is now so counter-culture, it is nearly impossible.

A fabulous loaf of homemade whole grain bread can’t be whipped up in 20 minutes, and real meals of grains, vegetables and legumes take hours of cooking and preparing.

Why is that we agree that what we want is a more peaceful healthy home, but what we do is work more to pay for meaningless conveniences?

Scared of being freaky.

26 Apr

Often when people become conscious of whats going on in the world, how every decision we make, every thing we buy directly affects many other systems and people, it’s an eye-opener to say the least. You start with maybe not buying plastic water bottles anymore, then you start trying to eat a bit more locally, then you start a compost bucket for vegetable peels, then you’re conserving water, and the next thing you know you’re not flushing the toilet unless you absolutely have to.  These are very mild environmentally conscious symptoms, is this freaky?

Tell me whats freakier, the fact that 852 million people (13% of the world’s population) won’t have enough food to eat today, or the fact that a vegan doesn’t eat any animal products because they think that the amount of energy and food used to feed the animals would be better used to feed the starving people? Or the fact that 144,000 trees are cut down in Canada each day (trees that give us oxygen and prevent global warming) or that an environmentally conscious person stops using kleenex and paper towel and adopts their cloth equivalents?

I’m thinking that our definition of whats “freaky” in our culture, has got to change. Is wasting the planet really worth that small bit of pride that not being “freaky” is worth?

I believe that nearly all paper products could be eliminated from the home, and yes, according to society, it would be freaky, but you’d know that technically the way that our society is run is freakier.

Here’s a list of common paper products that most people buy regularly for their homes:

Paper towel, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, paper napkins, note paper, printer paper, paper lunch bags, cardboard cereal boxes (and other food boxes), disposable dishes,  and many other things.

I’ll work through the list and provide more friendly options for each, where I may not have a solution to completely eliminate all of them, we could definitely reduce the impact we have by using less.

Paper towel: Paper towel is one of those inventions that really did nothing for the average consumer, unless you see throwing a dish cloth in with your laundry once a week a major inconvenience. Paper towel is being marketed at us, to not only clean up spills but to literally scrub and wash dishes.  Not only is paper towel completely horrible for the planet, it’s not even half as efficient as a cloth or sponge for kitchen use.  For use on picnics or other outdoor occasions, paper towel may seem like a convenient alternative to a cloth, but here’s were being freaky comes in.  You know the damage paper towel has on our planet, therefore pack a cloth, use a bit of water from your water bottle and scrub your hands, your children’s faces, and the table with that, once against the cloth will prove to be much more efficient than a flimsy piece of paper towel, and it will only be slightly more inconvenient for you.  For more information on paper towel check out http://kleercut.net/en/ResponsetoKC .

Facial tissues (aka KLEENEX): When did having a hanky become gross, and instead using multiple pieces of paper tissue become more hygienic? If we saw the gross factor not in the boogers that have to boiled out of hankys and more in the amounts of trees being cut down to support our paper habit… then there’d be a lot more hankys.  PLUS what’s not cute about a personally embroidered hanky, and a little box to store them in?  So yea, you may look a little bit freaky with a hanky in your purse, but whats freakier, your future children not having a forest to hike in, or the hanky? For more info check out http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/26/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_gunther.fortune/index.htm.

Feminine Hygiene Products: Okay, so I’m guessing here’s where you think you’d like to draw the line right? Where I haven’t gotten this freaky yet, I am definitely looking into it. Tons of feminine hygiene brands, including Kotex and Tampax test on animals, and they also use an abundance of BC’s old forests.  One animal dies every 12 seconds in the UK alone, due to animal testing.  The freaky alternative? Well, you just look it up on google, and while you do keep in mind that,  “Over 12 BILLION pads and tampons are USED ONCE and disposed of annually, clogging our overburdened landfill sites. An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these end up in landfills, or as something the sewage treatment plants must deal with. Plastic tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are one of the most common forms of trash on beaches,” (http://www.mooncupsandkeepers.com/environment.html).

Paper Napkins: Ah, the useless paper napkin. This is definitely easier for my mind to get around than the previous alternative… CLOTH NAPKINS!  Cloth napkins are more efficient, they come in all sorts of cute designs and colours, they allow for cute environmentally friendly napkin holders, and… the best thing is that you can reuse them as much as you’d like (depending on how many times you have spaghetti… up to one week) before washing, and they aren’t going to take up very much space in an average load of laundry, just put them in with your colours and your dish cloths.  We don’t use paper bath towels, and cloth doesn’t seem all that inconvenient when it comes to a face cloth… so why with napkins? Wouldn’t you love to see these http://giverslog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/cloth-napkins-screenprinted.jpg at your kitchen table?

Note paper: This ones simple.  Most of us own a cellphone with a calendar or notification setting, learn how to use them and keep your notes electronically, or if you don’t have access to an electronic note system, almost everything we buy has some sort of cardboard or paper in the packaging, use the back side of it to write on, or even easier, junk mail can make excellent note paper.

Printer paper: Most printer paper can be eliminated through emailing documents, and requesting to pay bills online, however if you must print something out (ie papers, and such) print double-sided, and if it’s for home use, don’t forget to recycle it as note paper before you throw it into the recycling bin.

Paper lunch bags: …cloth lunch bags… you can wipe them out… they’re not inconvenient, I prefer them.

Cardboard cereal boxes: Most healthy cereals come in bulk, which you can then buy in a reusable cloth bag from the bulk section and store them in a funky thrift store find tin, or a plastic container, and most cereals that aren’t good for you come only in boxes.  I’m thinking that with this switch you would also get physically healthier. If you must buy cereal in boxes try to reuse the  box for kids crafts, scratch paper etc, before recycling. You may want to see if the local elementary school or preschool would want extra paper and cardboard for crafts as well.

Disposable dishes: No one likes a picnic where you’re cutting something on a paper plate, and it cuts right through the plate. Wrap your dishes in a towel, and use them.  It may be a bit of an inconvenience, but it truly is much less freaky than the amount of trees that are being cut down.

I hope these suggestions spark some motivation to cut back on paper products!

Peace.