Until we meet again

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I celebrate his life and will never forget him.

We laid him to rest today after a life full of great overcoming. He was 72. I miss him, but am so grateful for the treasure he was to me on Earth and the eternally impactful gift he leaves me…answering my deepest relational query before my Maker.

I write this remembering my long visit recently with him in which I got to hold his stroke-withered hand, tell him how much I love him, how greatness reveals itself through him in the face of his most staggering heartbreaking journey. His response? Said with a quieter-than-normal Korean man’s grunt, “I have a lot more to work on on the inside.” My heart broke open more in the ensuing palpable silence and from that moment began this unexpected confluence of revelations.

I wrote this poem to describe my uncle:

LOVING WITH UTTERLY EVERYTHING

EXPECTING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

HOPING SOLELY, COMPLETELY ON THE LORD GOD ALONE

THIS IS FREEDOM AND HIS PEACE…HIS SHALOM

EXEMPLIFIED AND ONCE EMBODIED BY MY “SAMCHOON”—UNCLE SUNGJIN CHOI.

In the throes of final arrangements and interactions with family and his friends, I am hit more deeply and see more clearly the gift he truly was.

You see, I battled anger lately about how I come from a lineage and family that is so stubbornly, incomprehensibly self-sacrificing and given over serving others… as I had lingering thoughts that this may have further compromised uncle’s already hardship-wracked life and body. He could barely walk, yet he would load himself down with things others needed and delivered them on foot! That’s just one example.

I have seen too much (and too often) injustice; unfairness…things clearly “wrong” done towards those I love, including uncle. But then, in the time since his passing, my own angst and prayers were addressed. The answer from the quiet of His Spirit unlatched the prison encasing my hurting heart : real, eternally rooted love is unreasonable. And so, that’s why it is also hard to accept the endless, unfathomable, boundless, overcoming love of God, Agapeo, because it makes no sense to a finite human until the connection and flow from God is established and flourishes. It is still hard for our human hearts–oh, the deceitful beauty of humanity. But prioritizing this flow from heaven is essential in this life because it allows the liberty only eternal election can provide. For me, this means as much self-forgiveness as the forgiving of others. Still, it’s hard to quiet the wish I did more, with more care while uncle was still with me on Earth.

As the last human to see him and embrace him in this world, I am so unspeakably moved and grateful… I got to hug him and smother his chubby right cheek with kisses. For this, I am so joyful.

Pained with gratitude, I weep that I got to see how a human who seemed to “need” so much due to his disabilities and heartbreaks pursued and found true peace…showing me how to live with the love of God in Christ and reliant on that bountiful provision alone. He showed me how one’s true hope and expectation can be on the Heavenly Father with no other dependence to cause one’s soul and footing to waver too long. Because of my family’s faith and especially in this time, due to my uncle (and my mom whose heart bears her brother’s likeness,) the deepest relational puzzle has resolved for me. Having my heart ever full, and buoyant overflowing in God’s peace and love is indeed possible in the face of any painful situations with any other soul, including those in my innermost circle…for is it not when we are most vulnerable, the deepest soul wounds can happen? Yet, it requires brokenness to be made more whole than otherwise possible. The how of this is my own path with steps to discover, but I know that because my uncle proved it possible, it truly is for me, too.

Thank you God…Thank you Jesus for overcoming death, hell, and the grave and giving me real hope. I look forward to seeing my beloved uncle as he was first intended to thrive on the other side of eternity.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” Psalm 62:5

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walking and growing in faith…

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A gift from a friend to remember my uncle.

A gift from a friend to remember my uncle.

Oh, Our Soul… on Acting & Artistry

— “OH, OUR SOUL”

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(I am always so moved and filled to overflowing in being part of the rich artists’ community of BGB.)
These words just burst from me after a class working with fearless actors who help one another get free and have fun. So, I thought it was worth keeping and posting online to share as part of my celebration and gratitude for fellow artivists building such a sacred space.” See below…
—-
There are times I feel compelled and capture some fleeting words.  Wave after wave, the swells wouldn’t abate and so here they come for you and me…
After class, my heart-space panged against the limitations of my flesh as your faces and feelings ricocheted within riddling me with undulations of gripping and rending.  I’m sure that’s why we are human–because we are made most beautiful through bleakness and brokenness.
And it’s in figuring out how to live and show-up while in unspeakable pain that our otherwise divergent paths crossed enabling us to experience and elevate one another.  Who could have prescribed a better remedy for a weary and flat-lined soul than each and all of you?  To see and be…to be embraced… to feel so much — a jarring and delightful awakening.  I’m so privileged and grateful.
In each of you I see majesty, tenderness, ferocity and a can-do/must-do need to unleash the richness of yourself into this malnourished world.  Armed well through life’s chaos, loss, and seasons where celebration finds balance with purposeful suffering, our weapons of emotional warfare in this brilliant craft of acting finds its razored point unto breakthrough.  Therein and not beyond the maddening struggles and pain…there, will we all experience our greatest glory arise in strength, fervor, and clarity and we will all revel in that transformative, allowing emergence.
Fighting through and for a calling that only makes manifest sense to similarly crazed freedom fighters, our hunger to heal, urgency to connect, and the mandate within to imagine betterment sustains.  And yet, the brave pursuit crushes without discoveries of delicious uncensored truths … and destroys us if isolated and alone.
What a treasure it is that we don’t have to be so.  In pursuit of pure-honest-love, we war relentlessly and in due time, prevail.  And the victories are greater sweetly shared together.
Thank you for challenging me to weave deeply into this community, daring to believe that all is possible and real in our world of play.  In this place, I honor each of you and your commitment to thrive in the ways we are uniquely designed to powerfully and joyfully change our world.  And thank you for the lively black and white shot of me wrangling camera wires Casey !
Our class is remarkable.  We are SOULdiers!!! To me, BGB = Becoming.  Glorious.  Being…
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Broccoli and Acorn Squash Soup (V & GF)

 

20180119_215935.jpgINGREDIENTS:

-1 medium acorn squash baked for 40 minutes at 380 degrees.

-1 lb of broccoli –floret tops only– slice and use stems to eat dip with!

-1 small onion, diced

-3 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast (if needed, add salt and pepper to taste)

-4 garlic cloves, smashed

-garnishes of fresh herbs, olives, & sprouted pumpkin seeds

-splash of white wine (if you cook the soup to boiling and not leave partially raw)

WHAT TO DO:

1- Make your own scratch broth by putting celery, onion, ginger, bit of seasoning like salt and pepper, bay leaf, and white wine and then let slow cook at least 24 hours

2- Sautee onion and garlic

3- Put 2 cups of veggie broth into your power blender along with the broccoli florets (raw) and cooked squash you’ve scooped out and let blend until smooooooooth

4- Add sauteed veggies into blender and continue blending.

5- Pour into stovetop pot.

NOTE: My broth is intentionally spiced with overtones of ginger, so your broth flavor profile can reflect your taste inclinations!  If you want to sweeten this soup, add 1/2 small apple into the blender or add to the broth making process, but I enjoy savory for soups.  For more gusto, you can add pinches of fine red pepper and freshly ground pepper.  In my opinion, the salted pumpkin seeds that are sprouted and dehydrated make a huuuuge delicious difference 🙂

Using raw broccoli is intentional because it cooks slightly when warmed in the pot so you can have the best of both worlds… some raw benefits will linger while enjoying the comfort of slightly warmed soup.  Nutritional benefits do change by cooking.  Food for thought here: Broccoli both ways?

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POWERHOUSE PESTO–reinvented!

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An empowered take on a healthy classic, my version energizes this delicious condiment/sauce into a healing food. This is a vegan jubilee unless you add bee pollen for those added health benefits…it’s up to you!!!

20171112_184206.jpgINGREDIENTS: (all organic, favoring homegrown greens)

3 cups of Basil (used sweet Italian and Greek)

2 large garlic cloves minced

1/3 cup extra virgin cold-pressed (more if needed to food process smoothly)

1/4 cup raw, activated (if possible) apricot kernels

1/8 each activated (if possible) walnuts and pistachios

1 Tablespoon of Moringa Powder (Italian style)

few dashes of Himalayan pink salt (to taste)

splash of balsamic red wine vinegar

Option: Add pine nuts for more classic flavor by replacing above seeds and nuts and add 1 Tablespoon of local bee pollen. If thyroid support is your focus, substitute the pistachios with Brazil nuts since they are a good source for selenium.

Top with freshly ground black pepper.

What to do:

Put basil leaves, garlic, olive oil in food processor and keep going while adding all the other goodies until it becomes a rich thick paste or runnier with more olive oil or water as you prefer.

Mix it in to your raw veggie or kelp noodles or on spaghetti squash as pictured here… and top beautifully with more fresh, raw sustainably sourced produce.

It’s sooo rich in health values, it’s ridiculous that it can taste soo good and be versatile enough for anyone—carnivore or raw foodist. It is a super boost for anyone!

The Whys—Information to consider and explore as this world is full of natural health optimizing foods that is good to know about and try if you feel moved to!

Apricot Kernels for B-17 as a possible cancer fighter.

Walnuts and Pistachios for body soothing healthy fats.

Moringa powder for an array of goodness.                                                                                 (This is the brand I used, in case you would like to check them out: http://moringaforlife.com/)

Bee Pollen.

ENJOY this densely nutritious and tasty POWERHOUSE PESTO!

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CHICKEN BONE BROTH

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SOUP-ER GOOD!

Catching a cold or flu is no fun, but getting to enjoy rich, hearty soups can be a delight!  This 48-hour bone broth was prompted by a super special delivery from a most Fantastic-O…aka Omar, my fellow producer for The EATS Community.  He thoughtfully dropped off all the ingredients I needed to make this because I had the sniffles…Thanks Omar!

INGREDIENTS: Chicken (whole or pieces) with bone and skin on…pasture raised or organic only

3 average onions (halved)

1/2 bunch celery (rough chopped)

1 bunch carrots (peeled, chopped)

ginger  (peeled and smashed)

salt, pepper, and spices you like

bay leaves (2-3)

bok choy (1 bunch)

splash of white wine

honey is optional if the person you are serving has a really scratchy throat

extra veggies to put in at the end: more chopped celery and carrots, bok choy and julienned ginger with noodled carrots

WHAT TO DO:

Rinse chicken and fill large stockpot 3/4 full of filtered water

Peel, prep carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and ginger

Throw it all in pot with salt and bay leaves and simmer for 12 hours

Lift out all the veggies and chicken parts

Add splash of white wine and return chicken bones to simmer another 12 hours

Wait until broth is cool enough to strain through fine mesh

Taste and add your choices of seasoning as needed

Separate broth in to different pots to make varied soups, including classic chicken with veggie soup and east Asian inspired shiitake mushroom soup with noodled carrots, sliced green onions, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes to garnish.

I froze several portions of both soups for gifting and to have on hand to cook with for the next dish.

Note:  I like to brew the heck out of the chicken to maximize the bone broth’S nutritive value.  After all, if an animal is going to help fuel me, I want to do it justice by making sure not to waste any part of it.  Also, you can brew much shorter than the 2 days I spent deepening the flavor and health profile of this broth, but please do not brew any less than 8 hours.  12 hours or brewing would be an good compromise.

ENJOY THE SOUP…and enjoy sharing 🙂

 

 

TREAT for PUPS and PEEPS for WORLD ANIMAL DAY!

wp-1474013566328.jpgAs part of #WORLDANIMALDAY (October 4th,) let’s give our furriest friends some extra love!  To be honest, though, I give my beloved pups healthy treats very often… sometimes earned, but sometimes just because I love them immeasurably.

If you’re an animal-lover, one of the recent buzz phrases is “human-grade” food for dogs. Well, with our world full of commercialized pseudo-foods, it’s hard to make heads or tails (couldn’t help it) out of that.  That’s why homemade meals and snacks with sustainably sourced ingredients are so key to our health and that of our loved ones!

wp-1474013571828.jpgSuper quick and super easy… try this simple recipe for FROYO FOR PUPS!

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They are so well behaved, I can’t help but love them more!

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups or goat yogurt (I like humane certified brand Redwood Hill Farm.)

1 cup berries of your choice or skip and sub soaked dates

1 cup unsalted peanut butter

1.5 bananas (defrosted from frozen make it easier to mash up)

3 Tablespoons of ground flax seed

DIRECTIONS:

Mash up the fruit in a bowl, add yogurt and mix together.  Add peanut butter and mix again.  Pour into bowls ready to freeze. Sprinkle each with flax seed.  Freeze and pull out anytime for you and your pups!  You can add these frozen gems to your own smoothies.  I LOVE THAT MY FURBABIES AND I CAN SHARE A HEALTHY TREAT!!  If your pup is extra finicky, increase the amount of peanut butter by 1/2 cup and decrease the fruit.

wp-1474013580635.jpgI let Rocky and Tessa lick up the bowls and they couldn’t get enough!

I like to offer extra special treats like this for the times I need to leave the house…it makes them happy and occupies them for a bit.

ENJOY THE LOVE AND SHARED SWEETNESS WITH YOUR PUP!

Follow Rocky the Rescue and his sister Contessa Bear Smith on IG : http://www.instagram.com/rockytherescuedog and FB: http://www.facebook.com/rockytherescue for their ongoing sibling adventures!  Or http://www.ROCKYTHERESCUE.com . 🙂

You can see how much these pups love this treat on a video to be released on World Animal Day http://www.instagram.com/eatscommunity.org !

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Happy-making Homemade HUMMUS

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Add more olive oil and/or water toward the end of food processing to make yours more runny and light.  I love mine rather thick to scoop and eat by the spoonful!

It’s a handy to have healthy food ready because you know you’ll have a hankering for something when there’s no time to make anything good for you!  One of my go-to goodies is homemade hummus. Why?  It does not require a lot of time or ingredients and there are so many short cuts to make it even quicker, as long as you are not purist about Middle Eastern cuisine sticklers! lol

That being said, this version is for a traditional version, but I like adding various things to it or on top for fun and variety.  It’s your call…and per your craving.  I just want to help you make it a craving you will feel great about feeding.

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What you need other than tahini and chickpeas…skip tahini if you don’t have sesame seeds and try subbing another seed or nut butter.  Different, but doable and delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

1 BPA-free can of organic chickpeas (rinsed & drained) (save a few for decoration)

1/4 cup of organic tahini

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 cup juice of 2 small lemons

3-6 Tablespoons of high quality cold-pressed olive oil (The more you use, the runnier it will be.)

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt according to taste

dashes of paprika for granish

1/2 cup of purified water on hand for mixing needs

optional: nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, harissa, parsley

YOU MUST HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER YOU ARE PATIENT WITH.

WHAT TO DO:

1- Pour your tahini (found at most stores in ethnic aisle) in your food processor and process until smooth and then pour in lemon juice with olive oil and continue.

2- Add spices (salt, cumin, and minced garlic cloves) and process more

3- Skin the chickpeas if you have the time. If not, just add into food processor and allow at least 5 minutes to make extra fiber from the skin incorporate smoothly.  The mouth-feel removing the skin is minimally smoother and may not be worth your time to take to do this.  You decide!

4- Drizzle water to thin out hummus and make into creamy smooth goodness.

5- optional… ad a few drops of coconut aminos (if you are not purist) and want a smidge of savory, sweet in the flavor

6- Spoon into serving bowl, drizzle olive oil atop, dash with paprika, and dot with whole chickpeas…and serve!

SO EASY, QUICK, and all things are adjustable per your tastebuds.  Add or subtract salt or garnish with parsley and harissa (red pepper salsa of sorts) instead… This is so much fun!

If you are using this in lieu of cheese for a healthy pizza, for example, make sure you add nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavor.

Stop buying from the store and make your own, YOUR way! Yummy #DIY is a goodie any day!

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Took another 10 minutes to peel.

 

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