Keep moving to be stable.

This song means more to me than any other during this journey we are walking through. That is just it…walking through. One of the most amazing lyrics in it is ‘I’ll keep moving to be stable.’ This song takes me back to Ft. Langley days, Trinity days, Southgate days and rapidly transforming itself currently into the present moment of this day…running around doing the things I need to – to be stable. I hear this throughout my morning, afternoon, and into the early evenings…I just can’t stop moving. It is what seems to keep me stable during the time in my life which seems the most unstable I have ever known.

Vegan Reuben.

Lunch

Reuben sandwiches have been a personal favorite of mine since I was a young child. Across from the Value Village in Langley, there used to be a bistro named Patsy’s Uptown Bistro and they had the ultimate reubens ever! I used to eat it with a New York Seltzer Rootbeer…sheesh, hello 1980’s! This particular reuben isn’t like the ones I ate as a child or like the ones I ate habitually when pregnant with our daughter, but this is the one we have been eating since Sean has radically changed everything about the way he eats. This reueben pairs well with a little extra sauerkraut, a few slices of pickles, and homemade fries….yummy….but don’t forget to some greens to the mix!

Rueben Sandwich

Inspired by: Thrive Energy Cookbook.

Ingredients:

2 Thick slices sprouted bread (Silver Hills)

Virgin Coconut oil

1 to 2 tbsp Reuben dressing (see below)

1 tsp organic stoneground mustard

¼ cup Daiya cheese, mozzarella style

¼ avocado

4 slices tempeh, or tofu grilled each side for 2-3 minutes

3 large red onion rings (optional)

1/3 cup sauerkraut

1 small handful organic spinach leaves

2 large pickles, quartered, for garnish

 

How To Play:

Press the bread slices together and lightly spread some virgin coconut oil on the outsides. Cook in panini press (or oiled skillet) on medium high until golden and lightly crisp.

Pull the slices apart. Spread Rueben dressing on the untoasted side of one slice. Arrange the cheese on the other untoasted side of the other slice of bread, covering the entire surface. The heat of the toast will melt the cheese….

Arrange the avocado, tempeh, and onion rings over the Reuben dressing, then top with sauerkraut, baby spinach, and the top slice of bread. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally and serve with pickles.

 Reuben Dressing:

½ jar Wildwood Zesty Garlic Aioli (or homemade)

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

1 ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp organic ketchup

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp prepared horseradish

1 tsp agave nectar (I used maple syrup)

Pinch of freshly ground pepper

How To Play:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk together until smooth and creamy.

Enjoy.

 

Deep waters.

water

It is unfortunate a month goes by and the words and motions that I have gone through are trapped underneath the blankets of every smile, kind gesture, innocent prayer, loving embrace, and unimaginable compassion given to us by so many. Perhaps trapped is not the best word to use, but these very things have indeed been stored deep inside my heart, protecting, encouraging, and equipping me. There have been hours in which I have had Mahalia Jackson playing throughout my house while sobbing at the kitchen sink. There have been moments when in the shower I have burst out in tongues, praising God for His goodness despite not understanding the reports or the results in our hands. As I have layed on the hard tiles of our floor, and stared aimlessly, praying my children to never find me in such a place of vulnerability, absolute loss, or in a state of complete devastation. There have been times of such darkness in which I prayed for the Rescuer to rescue, the One who guides to just guide.

It was July 24th, exactly four months ago we found out it was cancer and three weeks later told it was not only a large mass in the colon, but had spread to the liver and the lungs making it stage IV colon cancer.

After getting off the phone with our naturopath, I stared out the kitchen window and realized that life was going to be forever different. A movie I would have turned off or a television show I would have switched. In life, we can’t turn it off nor can we switch it. We just do it. As I looked down at my hands, I took a mental photograph of them, for they were going to experience a new way of life, as well. Chopping, juicing, beet and carrot stained side effects, only one in a place of transition can get. Sean came down the stairs and I looked at him from the kitchen sink and told him what Mrs. Ewing had said. She said, “Until we are able to see him, juice vegetables, minimum fruits, mostly greens, go vegan, stay away from sugar and anything processed.”

Morning juice, afternoon juice, snack juice, dinner juice, evening juice, something just because juice, we juiced like crazy the first three months. Sean began to lose weight, but this was solely because he was no longer stopping off at Tim Hortons for a large double-double with Timbits or at the 7 eleven for a Coke is it and a package of superior Joe Louie’s. His skin began to clear, his energy levels completely changed, and his eye whites were whiter than I had ever seen them to be. He began to grow hair on his face, which was thick and bristly, and hair began to grow thick on his legs and lower back. What was happening? In absolute amazement of these sudden changes taking place in his body in only two months, we thought for sure his body was on the road to healing. We met with the cancer clinic oncologist who didn’t seem too concerned about his new found energy, happy spirit, or furry body, but more interested in getting him on the highest dose of chemotherapy right away and having an appointment to have a port put in his body. Two years. With chemo, he would only have two years. Um. This didn’t really seem to make any sense to me. Was I sad? No. In shock? No. I believed God was in control and leading us somewhere, but not too sure of where. We told the oncologist we were going to be doing an integrated approach with natural medicines as well. He right away shook his head and couldn’t understand why we would spend such money on things not proven to help extend a person’s life, when all the chemo and drugs were free. After much more blood work, Sean’s numbers were showing the cancer was aggressive and the doctor from Integrated Health phoned recommending he begin the vitamin C Intravenous treatments that day, so he did.

September 22nd Sean had his port installed. It was a crazy day. I remember feeling queasy about what was going to be surgically placed in his body. To this day, I still have no idea what it looks like or how it functions, because just the thought of it causes my legs to go numb and I want to faint. SO….the next day was his three hour stint of chemo. He was quite sick and vomited throughout the process, while a woman beside him having chemo too ate a chocolate bar. Sean walked home to a mess. A dishwasher was being installed and one problem after the next, the kind gentleman didn’t leave our house until quite late. We ended up ordering in food. Sean was able to eat toast and miso soup, but weakly made his way up to our room to sleep with his chemo baxter bottle hooked up to him, pumping faithfully every hour into his body. The next few days were absolutely insane, no in fact, the next few weeks were the most difficult I have ever endured. Do I remember them? Yes. I have a photographic memory, but what my memory chooses to remember is another thing. I remember the mouth like Cameron Diaz’s on the “substitute” doctor as she showed kindness to Sean when after two rounds of chemo saying she recommends he takes a break from chemo to get his mind right. He was unrecognizable spiritually to me and emotionally. Physically he was my corpse husband barely holding on to anything, but the blanket around his body. I remember the smell of the hospital entrance and the hand sanitizer that only draws be back to any previous times of entering a hospital and the nameless faces of those of hopelessness waiting in the room with us, as if we were all cattle going in for the slaughter. I remember the sounds of my shoes walking in the changing of the season. The dewy sound of my distressed oxfords as they hit the pavement and the squishing of soggy leaves that had fallen from the night before. The driest summer to be recorded, fall was welcomed with a faint embrace. My sister and I had joked how it was such a summer of sadness and shortly before hand Sean had preached that last year was such a time of death for us, with so many loved ones passing, that this year was going to be a year of life. I began to question this with his diagnosis. However four months later, we have experienced more life than we have ever in the last 10 years we have been married. There has been a unity in which man made strength could not possess. We have been blessed by a community we have loved, but have never known how love expresses itself in such a mosaic kind of way. The love of God, the love of man, the love of a brother, a sister, a stranger, has reshaped our whole way of thought and existence. This love is bringing life and healing in areas where there was no life or health. After one bad report of the next, I began to wonder if I was experiencing -on an incredibly small scale-post-traumatic stress disorder. I could not handle one more report; I could not face whispering one more prayer of hope, or anticipating the words that were going to spill out of the doctor’s mouth after he took a deep breath with a report of some sort of Sean’s in his hands giving a finite prediction of his timeline.  I really couldn’t handle the thoughts that raced through my head and swallowed me whole as I drowned in endless negative reports and contradictions of what I believed to be truth.

But Jesus, He does things in ways that benefits us and gives Him the glory. There has been a mirage of events, God happen chances in the last months in which I am endeavoring to record, for it is important for us to not forget His benefits, however the decisions we have chosen together to make, make sense for us. We are seeing results that are bringing hope and faith and our belief still remains the same, that there is a bigger picture. What that looks like, we don’t know yet, however, what we do know, is God’s hand is at work and we continue to remain His humble servants doing all things unto Him. His promise says when we go through deep waters, He will be with us. As we go through rivers of difficulty, we will not drown. When we walk through the fire of oppression, we will not be burned up; the flames will not consume us.

 

 

 

I will not be moved.

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I imagine if I proclaim, declare, or out rightly profess there is a hope unshakeable, a truth undeniable, and a power unquenchable, a few eyebrows would rise and the scribble from the pen on the paper to remind the oncologist how foolish I am later that night as he reflects back on his hum drum day, where one report after the next is negative and where one ounce of hope is snuffed out with fact, and one miraculous word is coughed over with a big old fashioned hogwash that I be the wife full of mullock. But I am saying, it is happening day by day, hour by hour and one long minute after the next. My head has pounded the wall more than I would like for it to have. My fists are bloody from pounding the ground and my knees…absolutely seized. I am not as agile as in my youth. Oh my youth. Again, and again, I am looked down on as a foolish youth, but my youth like faith is just how I want it to remain: unshakeable, undeniable, and unquenchable. I can be hot headed, arrogant, and rather crazy, but I refuse to be moved by man’s word. I want only to be moved by His word.

Walnut Lentil Burgers, Cabbage Hemp Salad and Potato Wedges

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Tonight’s dinner was a great success. I like it when after making a meal that seems to take almost two days to make, which I am sure no one wants to hear, but nonetheless, in my reality…sometimes it does, turns out good. Tonight’s response from Sean was, “Wow, that was really good!” Hearing those fine words, makes it all worth it…all the time in the kitchen hunched over the cutting board or over the recipe books, plural, truly pleases my heart to know that we are choosing to eat to nourish. And honestly, this food will please your body in more ways than one.

Walnut Lentil Burger:

Inspired By: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 piece bread, toasted OR 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chia/flax egg (1 tbsp ground chia or flax + 1/4 cup water)

HOW TO PLAY:

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl make the chia or flax egg and set aside. Place lentils in a small pot and add a couple cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove and rinse in colander. While the lentils are cooking, toast the walnuts by placing the walnuts on a baking sheet and cooking at 350F for about 12 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Let cool. In a food processor, process the garlic, walnuts, toasted bread OR breadcrumbs, garlic, spices & seasonings until combined. Now add oil and lentils and pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils should be visible and left chunky). Add the flax or chia egg and pulse a bit more until combined. Now shape 4 patties with hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. (I made 7 patties) Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes on each side for a total of 40-45 mins.

I use garlic aioli on all our burgers, thanks to Brendan Brazier. The burgers taste great with the aioli, and a spicy mustard….MMMMMM! And of course PICKLES!

 

Cabbage Hemp Salad:

Inspired by: Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Ingredients:

3 cups finely shredded cabbage (green and red mixed)

¼ cup red or yellow pepper

1 ½ avocado, pit removed and diced

3 Tbsp Hemp oil

1 ½ Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp diced green onions

¼ cup hemp seeds

3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

How To Play:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Massage and mix with your hands to tenderize the cabbage and cream the avocado, and serve.

 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes and Rosemary:

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1 ¾ fingerling potatoes…or whatever kind you have, sliced….

4-5 sweet potatoes, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary

4 Teaspoons Avocado oil

1 ½ tsp Maple Sugar

¾ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

How To Play:

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash potatoes and halve them lengthwise in a very large bowl.

Add the garlic, rosemary, oil, sugar, salt, pepper, and stir until the potatoes are covered. Roast for 35-38 minutes, stirring once halfway through the baking time, until the potatoes are golden.

 

Enjoy.

 

The Great Escape

Am I looking for a way to a great escape? To laugh, to cry, to be the emotions that weigh me down, but to free me at the same time? To stuff, oppress, or even to compress will not settle the fact that this day is what it is. It is a brilliant day. It is a wonderful day, it is a magnificent day, however this is also a day in which I wrestle and fight. I punch and I stomp. I laugh and I put my glasses on to block my washed out blue eyes from the sun behind the clouds, somewhere up in the sky. It is up there, somewhere, right? I can run my hands through my hair and feel. I can chop vegetables into unrecognizable states, and feel. I can feel objects, but the subjects of sickness, offence against my household, the afflictions on the wounded,  or the severity of one’s shame or humiliation pressed against the glass wall of hopelessness, I can but feel, only see, as if a part of a silent picture show in slow motion. July 24th will forever be a date in which time stood still for a brief moment, yet also for a lifetime. I am in awe of such stillness, a breathless moment in which my heart stopped for a moment, the air disappeared, and sound, all around became absent. A place to escape, there was none. A place to hide, there is none. This is real life. I must continue to stare at this through the rear view mirror. For it follows me constantly. It does its business around me, but it will not do it in me. Enough is enough.  Bad news will not take me down into the currents of despair and impossibility, to the places of no shelter or provision. For I will not dwell in a domain like this. Though I can’t escape the nay-sayers in my path, I can escape their words on my life. And that is what I determine to do, with my hands blood stained from the jagged rocks of their words and labels. My knees bruised, and my legs scraped as I hike up the God mountain from where my help comes, to soothe and caress, to give and to nurture. It is here where I will escape to. My eyes not on what lies before me, but on He who goes before me.