Friday, March 27, 2015

Lent... Fish Again?

Yes, it is that time again. The time of year that we are supposed to step back, reflect on our faith, take action to become less selfish, and evaluate our action as it relates to pour faith... it is Lent! Well, in all reality, it is almost over, but it still is for a few more days!

At our house lent is fairly simple. We reflect on our faith, identify ways we can exemplify our faith and then decide what we are going to give up or in some cases take on. Of course, it also means no meat on Fridays.Now, I kind of enjoy this part-- I LOVE fish, seafood, noodle, and grilled cheese! But my family on the other hand is not nearly as excited!

So a few weeks ago I tempted to try something new... Something that the family might get a bit more excited..... So I made Veggie, Lentil Penne Alfredo.... It was simple...

I chopped up some Kale and Spinach, a small onion, 2 Roma tomatoes, a few stalks of celery, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I then mixed in a jar of alfredo sauce, a cup of sour cream and about 2 cups of milk. Next, I boiled ,get this, red LENT-il penne pasta noodles. Drained and let them cool. Then I mixed the noodles into the veggie and sauce mixture, poured it all into a 9x13 pan coated in cooking spray and cooked uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

It came out of the oven delicious!

I paired it with parmesan crusted Tilapia (for me), fresh mixed greens salad and petite cold carrots!
Despite thinking I was pretty corny using LENT-il pasta during Lent, the meal was a hit!

One just never knows what a family with 5 kids will eat... I am learning to never expect a certain result, but to be grateful for the opportunity to provide! Opening ourselves to new experiences is what living is all about!

"Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life..." -- Pope Benedict XVI

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Simple Amazon Search- Oh My!

Today I was ordering a few items to share with friends. I almost always use Amazon to do so. So I typed in the phrase "Plan B" looking for Suzy Toronto's "Life is All About Plan B" items. I often search for things using various search engines and websites and know that the responses are often not what you initially are looking for; but, today I was caught off guard.

I entered "Plan B" into the search box. A minute later I got the following results....
Plan B emergency contraception,

A book, What to Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would: Plan B,

and then the Suzy Toronto items I was looking for
.... What a wide variety! In all honesty I was shocked, perhaps even appalled!

Amazon sells a TON of stuff. I buy a TON of stuff from them. It is convenient, a fair price most of the time, I don't have to drive an hour to get stuff, and it's delivered to my door in 2 days! But emergency contraception throws me for a loop! Should it be that easy to access what used to be called "the morning after pill" and used to require a prescription? I know the FDA has approved it for over the counter sales and I know that other stores sell it too. But it is in a section in a store in which I would expect it. A person has to be looking for it in order to find it. It doesn't just "pop" up! What seems to get me bothered as much as I am is the way I stumbled upon it. I wasn't looking for it at all.

I have to ask....How many others will do the same? Will it promote reckless behavior? How many reckless teens and adults will purchase and use this? How many will use it as a result of a tragic experience? I do not have answers just more questions. There may be some positive sides for some, but I being a conservative believe that this is not a solution. It is a product looking for more trouble.

So, what does this search today teach me? Search terms are important! Be prepared for what you may come across. It is a free market world that we will live and products will be sold and named as companies are approved to do so and choose to do. I need to be more specific with my search terms! I need to prepare, teach, and guide my children to make choices that align with our family values and faith.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Be Bold... Wonder Women

March is National Women's History Month. It is a series of dates in which women past and present are highlight, celebrated, acknowledged for their contribution and accomplishments. As I look back at the past 37 years there are many people I would put on a list to celebrate. They all have one thing in common.... They ALL took risks and stepped out of their comfort zone.

Over the past two years, I have been fortunate to participate in a national leadership program, Partners in Agricultural Leadership. Despite agriculture's need for leaders, feet on the ground spoke people, and communicators, being part of this program has developed me to use leadership, communication, problem solving, research, listening, issue development and empathy in real life. In real life I value these skills in relation to our farm/ agriculture and within in my involvement in my state and community. It is with these skills that I have stepped back and realized that if I am going to complain and desire something different, then I better be ready to offer solutions.

Today, many women have found opportunities to be involved. They have discovered that they do not need to be part of a group or club designed only for them. They know that they are valued for more than their ability to bake, make decorations, and care for children. Today, women, although more difficult in some regions of our country than others, are leaders, communicators, and connectors out in the open, not just behind closed doors. Today, women are electing to participate in women's and ladies' groups because they see value and comfort in them and by choice, not because that is their only opportunity!

So, for all you women, moms, aunts, business owners, homemakers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, young ladies, athletes, musicians, students, service workers, etc..... BE BOLD, celebrate yourself, your talents, and passions. Step up and be involved, let your desires, concerns, ideals, and solutions be heard. YOU have a lot to offer!