Monday, December 29, 2008

Deep listening is followed by loving speech. And loving speech is followed by loving cooking!

The next chapter in True Love is titled Learning to Speak with Love Again. It's a fairly brief chapter that basically states that after you've practised deep listening you must also have the ability to hear your loved ones suffering and empathize with it. Then express that empathy with loving kindness in your words. In order to do this the book advocates being able to recognize and embrace your own suffering. Next follow up by visualizing your loved one experiencing a similar form of suffering and in your mind offering them a smile and a loving embrace to ease their suffering. In practising this the author believes you will find freedom, joy and calm from acknowledging your pain along with your loved ones pain and then embracing the suffering itself. I don't feel this chapter does an adequate job of depicting the process. But, you get the general idea, feel your pain, know your loved one feels the same pain and offer them compassion.

Now onto cooking. October's soup was pumpkin soup, November's was both chicken and dumplings and Tx bbq chili. December's soup is taco soup. I've made it 3 times this month and with each batch it's gotten better and better! Thank you to Marianne for sharing a bowl with me last night, and to Nancy for sharing one with me tonight. I photographed the process of making it by using my timer, so my head is chopped off in one or two of them. Don't worry it's a headless soup.

The finished product. Top with a teaspoon of sour cream and cheddar cheese. Yummy!
The pot's a brewing.....or is it stewing??

Okay, I chopped my head off, but I screwed it back on nicely before it landed in the pot.

See all back to normal.

Getting ready to enjoy my soup. All dressed up with no where to go. But at least my head settled back onto my shoulders very nicely.
Marianne fixed my mac & cheese on Christmas Day and said it was a hit! I'm glad you got to enjoy it Marianne. Today I'm replacing it with my taco soup recipe. So, if you want to fix Lisa's Mac & Cheese you'll have to email me a request and I'll send you the recipe.
My recipe for you for the day is deep listening, loving speech and embrace your suffering. Then make a big pot of soup and eat up buttercups!

Deep Listening

Merry Christmas and onto new beginnings with the New Year!

I must be squeezing her too tight, she doesn't seem to be enjoying the hug as much as I am! Sorry Naomi. Perhaps she sees what Erik is up to on the computer. Pretty scary for me too Naomi.

Ahhh!!! Snuggling with Mom. Much more fun!

Not sure Sparky is enjoying my hug any more than Naomi was. I must perfect my amount of pressure. Perhaps I was more tense than I realized. We do look a tad tense, don't we? Hmm......

Oh, now that is more like it!

Not sure anyone is really going to enjoy listening to this! Hm...oh well...I must do what moves me....prepare yourselves!

Ahhhh....Our ears do perk up when Bud and Sherri begin talking about food! Place your orders. Thank you Sherri for the best tasting Chicken Parmesan EVER. And I do mean EVER. It was delectable! Bud, your Pesto smelled divine as well. Can't wait to come back for the taste test.

I'd like to remember what I was listening to here. Or, maybe not....

Oh....the sweetest pair(s) of listening ears ever!
So why the segue into listening. Well, I must be clairvoyant because the next chapter in my book study True Love is titled Deep Listening which is how I wrapped up my previous chapter summary last post. Every day we may say or do something that causes an "internal knot" in the person we love. This knot sort of festers and grows in the person we love without our even being aware of it. Then the knot becomes sort of like a bomb ready to explode at the slightest of tremors. Sensing there is something stirring under the surface, you may want to avoid the rumblings and steer clear of the bomb. This only leads to more internal rumblings because the person you love feels you're intentionally avoiding them and their suffering only increases. When this happens True Love suggests practising the act of deep listening with calm and understanding to ease your loved ones suffering. This type of listening requires letting go of pride as the previous chapter mentioned. This sort of deep listening requires no words, just breathing deeply, keeping your heart open and practising the act of deep listening.
As I mentioned a while back, forgive me if these posts appear overly indulgent or "preachy" telling you things you already know. The purpose isn't to inform you as much as it is helping me process the information I'm learning. So, again...self indulgent I know...but it is my blog. (-:

Okay, just for fun tell me what your favorite things to listen to are. Some of mine, are a crackling campfire, laughter, children asking questions, and Sparky growling under his breath for attention.
More Christmas photos coming soon....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow day!

Ice skating. What a great idea Melody!
Sparky and I enjoying the winter wonderland.

An angel making a snow angel.

Attempting a snow man. Though the snow wasn't wet enough yet.

Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake!

The finished product!
The caramel, chocolate drizzles and toasted pecans. All from scratch!

Mixing the cream cheese, sour cream and other ingredients. All low fat! How fabulous!

Seperating egg whites and yokes.

My niece Nevayha helping me stir in the pumpkin and spices.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Little Of This, A Little of That

Sparky and I showing off my new bedroom set that I truly LOVE! What you can't see is the long dresser with the mirror and the flat screen tv that completes the package very nicely. This is the coziest spot in my home now. I just sit on the bed and read, knit, watch television, talk on the phone, drink tea and watch tv and of course sleep. It is the coziest spot in my house. Where is the coziest spot in your home?

Now onto True Love, the book study I started a few weeks ago.

I chose this photo because it depicts a very simple way of being present with the one you love. Just being together can be enough for the one you love.

True Love, when I left off I had just summed up the chapter on the 4 elements of true love and how to be present with the one you love. The next chapter sort of piggy backs on the being present issue to how to recognize the presence of the one you love. Being there is the first step, the second is recognizing your loved ones presence. "To love is to be; to be loved is to be recognized by the other.". That is sooo very true. In my last relationship this was a huge missing piece. I often didn't feel recognized, but felt quite the opposite. I often felt like a nick nack that was just laying around to be taken off the shelve to be admired when the one I loved felt the need to admire me and then was placed back on the shelve to wait for the next session of admiration. It won't take long for the one you love to grow tired of waiting to be recognized. It really is such an easy task to truly love, just recognize the presence of those around you and be present in the moment with them.

The next chapter talks about overcoming pride. I can sum this chapter up in a phrase. In true love there is no room for pride. The chapter states that part of overcoming pride is going to the person you love and sharing your suffering with them. Especially if the suffering is being caused by the one you love. Let go of your pride and let the one you love know of your suffering. My note to that is to also let go of your pride when the one you love is sharing their suffering. Sometimes it can be hard to let your loved one know of your suffering because the one you love can take your sharing as a personal attack, letting their pride cloud their ability to truly listen to what you are trying to share.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Feast Fit For a King. Or, at least a dog named Sparky. Serve it up and let me know how it went!

Turkey Thyme Meat Patties with a sweet and spicy gravy, mashed yams, cheesy garlic and chive mashed potatoes, green salad and sweet peas.
I love the image of food cooking on the stove the steam and the smells all remind me of sharing love and comfort. Please don't worry the peas in the bowl on the back burner are not cooking. The burner isn't turned on. The gravy is made up of chicken stock, spicy mustard, green onions, brown sugar, molasses, hot sauce, butter, ketchup and flour. I think I would either omit the brown sugar next time or reduce the amount. The recipe called for 1/4 cup. A bit too sweet for me.

Mixing the turkey with thyme, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, worsteshire sauce, an egg and 1 tbls 1/2 & 1/2.

Cooking in EVOO.

Boiling the yams for mashed yams! Add chicken stock and a touch of brown sugar.

More Cooking in the Fall!

Grilled chicken breast with an apple pear topping served over cheesy garlic and chive mashed potatoes and baked squash.

Cooking up the apples in nutmeg, honey, and cinnamon.

Sparky checking that all is well on the stove top. He takes his kitchen duties very seriously. A crumb will not touch the floor on Sparky's watch. He keeps a careful eye on the happennings to stop any messes from occuring.

I'm always stirring the pot in one way or another!

Oh, the joys of cooking.

The squash baking in butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, honey and molasses.

Chicken grilling in butter, olive oil, salt, peppper, garlic powder, and basil.

Boiling the potatoes. One of my favorite sounds is water boiling. Don't ask me why. It comes in about 5th place behind raindrops falling on the roof of a tin barn, horses chewing on hay/grain, horses sneezing while eating, (I sense a them here), Sparky wading in the creek, and then water boiling.

Chopping the pears for the topping. Can't wait to eat up! If you try the recipe, let me know how you liked it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Neil Diamond's in the House!

I've got Neil Diamond to set the tone. September Morn's playing in the background.

I've got all the ingredients in place.

Browning the meat in red pepper oil and a bit of red wine. Oh, I wish you could smell the aroma.

The onions, pasilla peppers, red chili peppers, chipotles, garlic and chicken broth are boiling and filling the house with such a fragrant air. I'm a little sad thinking there's no one here to enjoy this waft of all these smells floating through the air with me.

Oops. Guess I'm not alone. Here comes Sparky to enjoy the smells with me. His favorite place is in the kitchen when I'm cooking. He's sort of like my cooking mascot.

Once the broth has boiled and simmered for a short time, it's time to puree' it in the blender. Then I add the meats and beans. This is what the finished product looks like. The broth was very thick, rich, creamy and SPICY! I didn't get a picture of the complete serving, but serve with a dallop of sour cream, pepper jack and/or swiss cheese and chopped cilantro.

No longer alone, friends came to join me for a tasting of the Smoky BBQ Chili. My good friends Nancy and Chris listening to my very engaging stories about what type of wild animal I would own if I could own one, what my favorite smell in the world was, and what movie(s) could I watch over and over again. Not necessarily "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy", but no doubt my friends were riveted nonetheless.

Sparky listening to my very engaging story thinking, "You'd better not bring a black panther in here. I'll have him for lunch!"

Sparky in his second favorite spot. My lap. My good friend Connie was sort of pushed aside by Sparky. But, then he eventually pushed me aside and wanted to be in Connie's lap next. What a lucky dog he is!

Nancy and Chris feeling very detoxified after the Smoky BBQ Chili which is spicy enough to sweat out even the evilest of toxins from one's body. Marianne's not picture here, but she joined us for dinner as well. We had a great time and will be fixing it up, feasting, chatting, watching movies, and just doing what friends do again very soon. Tomorrow I'll finish the book study of True Love.