There is Room for You

room enough

There is room for all of us.

Imagine a space with no capacity.

Imagine a space that shifts generously to compensate for growth and every square foot has your name on it. Your name. My name. Our names.

Yes, there is room enough for all of us.

There is room for your dreams.

There is room for your voice.

There is room for your gifts.

There is room for you.

Christ calls us beyond the limits.

Christ crashes through the overhead; the low ceilings that box us in.

Today, Women, Sisters, lift your eyes. Look up. SEE your value.

Today, Men, Brothers, lift the women in your lives up through your words, lift them up. We must do this work of rising-up together, men and women working together in the rising.

TOGETHER, men and women working together to push beyond the limitations placed over our lives; to raise the ceilings that have been set at a lower height. This work is not just for women to empower women, this rising-work is for men to contribute in the activating, in the lifting, and in the empowering ALSO.  –We need you. We need you in the voice of value-lifting.

May we be life-givers together, working symbiotically on the waking of dry bones.

On this day as we celebrate International Women’s day, may we remember that to truly be empowered we must also empower. Activators in the waking of value.

Your voice matters…You are valued. Your contribution is especially worthy. Your gifts are especially unique. You are especially loved.

When the doubt of “who do you think you are” sets in, remember, there is room for you to activate your hearts-call… for it has been planted there for a reason and for such a time as NOW.

On this day, a day that honors women, my hearts-call is that we rise up together. Not us and them. Not some. Not others. — My hearts-hope is that we rise up together in a sisterhood and a brotherhood. As a family. As a church. As a bride. As a people that choose to lift our eyes up and over and beyond the limitations of low ceilings placed on our women! Globally, cross culturally and locally.

May we be people that act in the mind-set of victory. The work of Love is limitless and there is never a set capacity, there is always room for more. There is room for your voice.

May we be people that crash through the limits. Audacious in our progression of Love. Bold in our declarations of freedom. Leaving no one behind.

Not just today…but always.

– Jenny Rose Foster

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WE

ONE

Our J’s had their very first big concert to date Friday night. The whole experience was ice cream and 7-up. The atmosphere was a blend of rockin and rollin and jumping around to the beat in fantastical expression!! It was a lot of clapping and singing along. A lot of laughter and huge smiles. It was my little girl who got to jump on the stage and groove. It was my boy sitting on the shoulders of his daddy; waving his hands around.

My husband and I love to attend live music and recently decided to start taking the kids with us a little more often. It is extra money to get them in,yes, but the experience is worth it. Here is why: MUSIC BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER> It really does and it is an experience I want my kids to remember having with us. I think that is why I enjoy it so much. The gregarious uninhibited freedom to dance…an uncomposed sense of self to really feel the palpable sounds and the sing alongs. The stand out part is that it is among others. You are singing together. You are dancing together. It is the togetherness that makes the whole experience magical.

In fact, whenever I am in the moment singing along I feel myself enter into a sense of worship. As a believer of God my Creator and Jesus my Savior, I feel Holy Spirit in ALOT of music, regardless if it came from an organized church group of claimed believers or not…regardless of the singers beliefs, regardless of the crowd, regardless — I feel God in a lot of music genres … in the image of God WE ARE…WE ARE ALL CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD and that reflects God’s beauty and spirit through us whether we claim Creator or not. — And through that connection; through that camaraderie…through that beauty of human expression, living life together for “life is love and love is life” we embody our Creator. DO YOU think we people of humanity made up that kind of emotion. That is God emulating through the very fibers of our beings!!

Before the concert, my husband and I worked a very full, very hard day. We both own our own company together. We partner as co-owners of a remodeling establishment. We love our work; as any business owner knows, the work is never over. Thus we left our home at a later time than we should have. We arrived to the show at a much later time than ideal. The show was a sold out Micheal Franti explosion of patrons. We rushed in as quickly as we could, just as the opening band began to sing out their first set of notes.

Our eyes scanned the beautiful outdoor arena smothered in blankets and chairs and people. Hardly a dot of a spot left to be claimed, unless you wanted a lovely giant tree in the way of your view. Bummer! I was so disappointed. I wanted this experience to be so good for my children.

As we walked up and down the narrow grass aisles we found nothing and nowhere to place our little bundle of concert chairs. Just before we relinquished our efforts and headed to the very back, a man approached us and asked if we were looking for a place to sit. “YES!” we answered. He pointed back a little ways towards his spot and said, “Do you see that blue blanket on the ground…THAT IS FOR YOU!”

Wait. What?!! Absolutely floored, I follow this man to the very center of the outdoor seating arena. He lead us to the most coveted seats. Front & center at the precise decline of the grass hill creating a scenario where the people below would not be in the way of our kids being able to see the stage. Impeccable seating! I couldn’t believe it! — “So you have no one you were saving these spots for?” I asked. The man and the woman sitting next to him, both shook their heads and the man said, “That blanket is yours. We were saving this spot for you…” —

We Were Saving This Spot For You! Intentional LOVE. Pre-schemed Pre-meditated LOVE! —  My heart literally exploded into a million gushing pieces of WOW. I told them my thank you’s… and said, “You are both going to make me cry, I am so touched by this.” … As we settled our J’s into their little concert seats, I held back tears. I was literally feeling an overwhelming desire to just weep of gratefulness for the beauty of the human spirit which echoes the image of God, was just roaring out of these two people. Gush!!! My heart felt such an intensity of warmth that words have no comparison of expression.

I left to go get ice cream for my J’s on that sizzling hot summer evening and while standing in line I wiped away little tears that kept wheezling their way out. I stood in that line reflecting thankfulness for those people. Contemplating the beauty that they conspired. Apparently, they arrived to the concert early and they told me that they remembered what it was like to try to get out of the house with kids; they decided to set out a little blue blanket in anticipation for a family. They waited. They waited in that massive crowd for us.

Being of a mind of WE allows us to view the world with a lens of readiness. A lens of how can I bless YOU. How can I see you. How can I listen. How can I prepare a way of kindness. 

This is what the kingdom of heaven looks like: The kingdom of heaven looks like a couple of people saving a spot in a crowd of hundreds for a family that they don’t even know. This is a living on earth as it is in heaven mentality. 

After the concert was over and we were all packing up in a crowd now hushed to the hum of hundreds of people in conversation; I turned back towards the couple and told them again, “Thank you! Thank you so much for your kindness. You crushed me with love. You made our night special! What you did is kingdom living!” — I have no idea if they understood what I meant, I have no idea what they believe spiritually, but in my eye-sight their actions were kingdom living! There is enough already in this world that we conjure up in our minds that creates shallow senses towards one another. Enough of it! They saw God in my eyes and I saw God in their eyes. It is the word Namaste ~ which means: I honor the Holy One who lives in you.

May we live life honoring the Holy One that lives in all of us. For whether we say it out loud or not, the Holy One is part of our image and we are all brothers and sisters and we are all neighbors — locally and globally. WE ARE ONE. ~ Blessed Are The Peacemakers ~

– Jenny Foster

A Time To Lament…

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I know that I am not alone with this. I know that you also feel it too. As far apart in distance as we span in this nation…so many of us are collectively feeling this burden. Collectively holding hands. But my sadness and exasperation of these tragedies is nothing more than a glimpse of empathy… the pain I feel is real, my empathy is real, my desire to want to do something to show that I care is REAL… but it doesn’t hold a candle to the sorrow that so many families are engulfed in; living all of the nightmares in the reality of their loss.

Last week was one tragedy after another. Pain upon pain on top of pain. Hurt on hurt. Hate on hate…FEAR on FEAR… This is FRESH…but only a few weeks ago we had more of it… and months ago and years ago… it is not new…it is HERE; it is NOW; and it is PAST and the fallibility of the human condition is still trembling with pain.

Last weeks tragedies shocked, enraged, and stirred up the nation. And as it so often goes, the social media posts began pumping out “answers”, opinions, gun control banters and gun freedom banter. blue lives vs. black lives, polarizing comments full of exclusive nature… Confusing statements of judgement and demobilization of progression, and of course questions… so many questions… questions of how can we speak up for the injustice? How can we bring change? How can we make resolve … so that it is not our FUTURE…

I have always been the kind of person that sees a problem and wants to fix it. Sometimes to a point of being so confident in my self proclaimed ability to come up with solutions or make sense of things that I forget the bigger picture and I forget how little I really am. — When tragedy hits the news media and everyone and their cat wants to banter a little or push some point to be made…and mind you, many people are incredibly well meaning!! I am guilty of it. I most certainly want to say things that I think would make some sense of a situation, I am as contemplative and deep thinking as the rest of us…but sometimes it is better to simply stand back and soak in the reality of what it is that is actually happening…and to give time for lament.

Lives were lost because of deeply rooted issues…Issues of exclusion. Issues of elitism. Issues of segregation. Issues of supremacy. Issues of hate. Issues of fear…   stories from the past that are still rumbling to this day. The cords of our past stories have not been cut off… If we pretend that our history doesn’t influence our future, if we forget about the past because it is simply “long ago”, then we have the ability to pretend that the now is OK… but that kind of mental pretending can catch up to us all when the tremors of the past rise back up… Sometimes we have to face the past to address the pain that was never healed… Our Nation holds a lot of pain that has never been properly faced, and the darkness of these stories of our past are still living in action today…there is much work to be done. Healing takes time and healing takes care and healing takes change.

When I heard the news last week I wanted to say a lot of things…I did say a little, and I even re-posted a few things that I thought were so good at the moment, but then admittedly I deleted them after realizing that maybe there were aspects of this that I still need to understand. I know that I need go deeper. We need to dig deeper as a nation. Dig into our history and really take a truth look at how far we have come and also to see how much we still must push towards…Every time I feel like I have found good perspective, solid understanding…Every time, I am turned and twisted upside down, baffled by my own thinking…realizing time and time again how much MORE I need to listen and how much MORE I need to learn…it will be an always process. If we think that we know it all…or if we think that we have come to a place where we have the answers…then maybe we are the very people that need to shut up! 

At the moment, I have no answers except for this: I think I (we) need to LISTEN MORE and I think that I (we) need to PRAY MORE… here is the thing about prayer: prayer really doesn’t stay right there in a physical stance of prayer, but prayer really is action. To become what we pray for .

We pray for peace…then BE PEACE.

We pray for more love in this world…then BE LOVE.

We pray for grace…then BE GRACE.

We pray for understanding…then BE A LISTENER.

We pray for healing…then BE A HEALER.

We pray for freedom of injustice…THEN BE JUSTICE.

We pray for change…THEN BE CHANGE.

if We pray for black lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER. 

if We pray for native lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER.

We pray for all lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER…

… starting with the “least of these” …

(that runs deep in so many directions if you let that settle a bit).

A simple band-aid answer simply says… “God cares about all Lives…Jesus is our answer”. Whilst I believe this to be essentially true; I would hope that I am not guilty of simply throwing some Bible verses at the pain and assuming I DID something to help with the injustice. As a believer of the the faith of The Way of Jesus Christ, I have great admiration for how Jesus lived… and what he did that impressed me so much is that HE DID what he said, and he lived out his PRAYERS...he lived out his love and died for the ultimate LOVE… he didn’t slap a label — A hash tag — A bible verse — A Love or Peace sign — a quote — a word of “wisdom” onto the pain of this world…no…he LIVED IT! His LIVING IT, is what was REVOLUTIONIZING and is the very thing that HEALED. LOVE IS LIVING and moving and breathing. LOVE IS ALIVE. LOVE IS MOVING. LOVE IS EMBRACE. LOVE IS EYES OF VALUE.

So before we speak too much… may we quiet our mouths for a moment and lament…

Saying the names of last weeks loss…

Brent Thompson.

Patrick Zamarripa.

Michael Krol.

Lorne Ahrens.

Michael Smith.

Alton Sterling.

Philando Castile.

To those that lost your lives last week I lament. I light a candle and I will say your names. You are deeply valued. Oh there are so many more names to call out. Name of scattered throughout history…names; valued names.

And in this moment I know there is much work to be done. There are so many ways that we can stand with one another…but I am not going to spout or banter solutions right now… I am going to do my best to live out understanding, respect and love in my personal realm of influence that I am given, that is a place to carry out what you live. May I be a person that shows value to every person that my life encounters… that is my prayer that I deeply desire to live and become… and may I never shy away from the hard questions. From the hard topics and from speaking up for injustice.

In this moment may we pause then, with all of these thoughts and light a candle to lament…

 

Humble Beginnings From Torn Up Roots…

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Grapes growing, wildly overgrown, in my yard. Can’t wait to taste their ripened sweetness again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has only happened once… maybe twice, when I have tasted a grape, the kind with seeds inside and I could taste my childhood.  There was a forgotten grape vine in my backyard yet I was always there, as a child, gleaning from that wild vine…

Within every suburban/urban yard there is life! Life in those flower beds, life in that green grass, life in the city limit lot that you now own or rent. We, as North Americans, mostly maintain own our little city plots of land…this is what we have, this is what we work with, this is our claim.

I have a dream to live in the country one of these days…Oh yes, one of these days I want to live and breathe and smell the country air with all of my heart and soul.  However, today is not that day… and if everyone wanted to live in the country we would no longer have country.

The city is an interesting place, an energetic magnet of thousands upon thousands of people with voices and opinions; diversity pulsing through it’s ebb and flow… and of course there are the real-time responsibilities of  jobs and needs and homes and yards and…yet… within the crazy hectic beating heart of the civic lands there is the inherent desire to stretch out, the appetite to smell the roses so to speak; to reach our arms high into the patterns of the sky and shout, “I- am – Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!” Like wild beasts raising our chests to the thunder of freedom after the lightning strikes.

I know we all feel that. I know we all want that. I know…  because I feel it too.

I say, make revolution where you are at. Anywhere that you stand. Peaceful revolution.  I am!… OR more honestly– I WANT TO! That is why I write! I desire to write with the voice that I want to be and the vision and hopes and dreams and the current of what is and what I want to see.

I cannot say that my humble garden, a first year gardener, as a rudimentary edible creationist, is ever going to make front page news! However, I can say that we can make use of our lots in a simple kind of way… we can make some amazing things out of our small or regular sized plots of earth. You and I, let us do this together. Far and wide, close and cozy, let us do this collectively! With each garden, each edible landscape; with every bit of bee and butterfly friendly plants measured into your safe and anti-chemical yards; we can create a revolution together.  Not one little humble garden but many!

I have heard those doubts in my mind of, “Oh I will farm or garden or grow things or take care of animals when I move away from the city, when I have more room.” OR “I am too busy right now, and I don’t have a spot for a garden.” Anywhere that there is earth you can grow, I can grow, life will thrive if we let it!

There is no longer space for that doubtful frame of mind. I know far too many revolutionary artisans of the urban garden, caretakers of the backyard chickens, and makers of bee-keeping whom all live within the city in their regular lots… hence I can no longer say, “yes, let’s wait till we have more room to grow…”

NO! I am here in my city home, I can grow a garden… Then what is next, what more will happen later? I know that by taking one small baby step forward, new things will be added, life is happening. You can take a stroll through my humble garden.  It would take you 1 or 2 minutes to see all there is to see within my 3 long coffin-like garden beds streaming with life.  I am a writer so I passionately write on what fills me with inspiration, even the most simplistic of things; I write as if it is the most epic happenstance of all of history. I am daily filled by an outpouring of affection for my humble little first time garden and I am excited about what may grow from this.

I know many neighbors and friends that may have organic life exploding out of their yards, much more than I do; more robust with more seeds sowed and massive amounts harvested and I envy such beauty, in a loving-awestruck way. I am thankful for their example and efforts and I hold them as exemplary humans to seek wisdom and understanding from.

You see, as a child, I was hardly taught to live like this, I wasn’t trained to be a gardener by example, but I was surely trained to be a consumer. Yet there were those every other weekend hikes in the summer months to “Terabithia” with my father where he taught me to dance with the trees of the forest, and to pick mushrooms and to smell the pines and firs of the great trees. I love him for that, He taught me the seeds of change in that particular way.

My father was the cultivator, a man whom I had no idea that he had wisdom to grow life until I was in high school and he started with the only garden that I can remember in a rental that we lived in on those rare weekends. I am sure he gardened before that, in fact I know he did; I grew up in the deserted remnants of his garden work, with wild grape vines and empty rabbit cages on that far side of our forgotten yard,  but the garden in the backyard of his rental when I was 16 was the first one that I can remember him tending to.

So much of my life seems to have to do with what was lost… I want to cultivate and grow things, and in some way it makes me feel like I am re-birthing the empty spots of my childhood.

I am a feeler, one of those people that deeply senses everything. My intuition is on hyper drive and I can understand where most people are at. I think that comes with the territory of trying to find oneself at the same time.

My humble garden is growing better than I had ever expected! My modest suburban yard, it is nothing but yellowed grass under this sun-burnt summer sky. I am merely a writer, that expresses the simple things of every day life, if we all would just sit down and write about our little yards, wow what a phenomenal anthem that might be!

Potatoes Taught Me Faith…

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There are hidden treasures below the surface…sometimes we merely need to dig a little while in order to find them…

So often this year, I have just stood there and stared at my garden after watering it. Sometimes after I get out of my car from wherever it was that I had gone, I step out and just gaze. I get wonderstruck in the effort of gardening and begin to daydream. As a first time gardener I want to do more than I do, but I don’t always know exactly what is specifically needed within each step, I am in the midst of learning tricks, so sometimes I revert to the job of simply peering into each bed and musing over it’s growth… it’s more of a fascination really.

A lot of times, it seems that it is after I have already finished something that I find that there is a “better” way that I could have done it. I planted potatoes on a whim.  They were not part of my original list of vegetables to plant in my garden beds.  One afternoon my nose lead me to a smell of rotting potatoes in the pantry, organic Yukon Golds wasting away.  They weren’t quite obsolete in value though; I noticed that all over the spuds there were sprouts protruding outwards.  Instead of composting them I decided, why not take a chance and plant them.

I loosened the soil with my hands and cut the potatoes into halves or into thirds.  Then placed them below to see what might happen.  After a couple of weeks the hibernating potatoes brought forth into view from the depths of the soil these adorable little green leafy plants! I was thrilled! I wondered though; will these be void of fruitfulness when all is said and done. Sure, the potatoes might grow up into these large and robust looking plantae, but what will I find within the soil after the growing season is finished, will it simply be a flourishing amount of greenery, or will there be a hiding harvest to be discovered?

I have heard that you need to purchase actual seed potatoes and that I shouldn’t use the grocery store bought ones because they may not yield any new potatoes.  I had also read that it is good to have your potatoes in acidic soil with a pH level of 6.0 or below and that one should add alfalfa meal, soybean meal or another high-nitrogen organic fertilizer. Lastly, I read that you should not plant your potatoes in soil that contains manure because this can create rough patches on the skin. All of this may be true and is very helpful information, however, I of course read all of the above after I had planted my “faith” potatoes.

I call them faith potatoes because against all odds and against the grain of conventional directions I planted them and I continued to hope that below the surface something was happening…

My garden beds have manure in it. My sprouting Yukon Golds were from a local grocery store,  I have no idea what my soils pH level is because I haven’t gotten around to testing the soils balance. I did not add a single dosage of organic feed to the soil.  I simply took the sprouted potatoes, planted them, and watered them.  Yes, I did sing them a song or two. My plants love it when I sing to them…

After a while my lovely potato plants, well more like miniature bushes because they grew so high and green and wide, they began to flower. Little dainty white flowers with a yellow center.  Again, I admired all that I could see; the flowers and the lush green foliage. Yet, I continued to hope and wonder what might be happening below the surface.  By this point I had read all of the do’s and don’ts of potatoes and I had discovered that I had accomplished a lot of the don’ts… My expectations were not extremely high at this point, but I waited and I wondered that possibly, just maybe, we might be getting some of our very own potatoes from this earthen patch.

Months had gone by, the plants continued to visibly grow untamed, tall and wide. Then today, a hot Saturday afternoon in July, we arrived home from a fantastic time at our local farmers market and all 4 of us did that thing that I tend to do. We climbed out of the car and just stood there and stared at the garden, watchful and hopeful.  My husband began to look at all the tomatoes that are finally showing up.  Then as I was introducing him to all of the green cherry tomatoes he began pushing his hands into the soft soil below one of the potato plants.

“Careful Josh, you might hurt the babies!” I warned him. I was thinking that if there was anything reproducing beneath the soil that they were still so young; vulnerable little spudlings that needed to stay within the dark cocoon of the earth…  And then…dirt I dig you potatos2

Out of the dirt rose beauty… Out of the unknown he starts pulling out these baseball sized golden potatoes, bright, fresh and gleaming; all covered in rich dirt. My children squealed in delight.  I gasped in shocked excitement. It was an amazing experience to see these edible treasures come forth from a place that I could not see that will now feed my family …

Beneath the soil things were happening that my eyes could not perceive…life was forming in the spaces of mystery.  There is a precarious line in life of visual-factual understanding and faith-understanding.  I have always thought faith was strange, because I feel like I have faith and hope; I feel like I can believe in what I cannot see…yet that doesn’t mean I didn’t ever doubt. Although, I was always taught to never doubt… However, without doubt how can one have faith? If there isn’t anything to wonder about, if there was never any reason to question things than faith would not exist…it would merely be factual and the guess and the mystery would be gone…

Here I am tonight with a bowl full of potatoes in my kitchen. Soaking them in vinegar water, cleaning all the dirt from their skins; like a baby birthed from the mysterious womb and then washed, cleaned and wrapped into the arms of her mother.

All I can say is I have faith in potatoes… potatoes taught me faith and that is good enough for me. I have learned that there are rules and tips and guidelines that will show you how to do something based off of what others have already done, but there are times when nature shows off it’s wild side, free and fertile; nature wants to thrive…all living things want to grow…it is the elemental connection that we all have, we all want to be and feel alive! Thank you Creator for this humble harvest.

Without Waste…and Learning and STILL Learning.

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A pattern has evolved in the household of our FoStew domain (Fostew is the abbreviation I give to the valued names of our last name-hood combined in this household).

First, I have really engrossed myself in the mysterious and amazing world of compost… this elemental practice is the gateway into the beginnings of life as we know it in regards to the food chain.  Now, that has lead me to think more actively about my daily actions of what can be re-used, recycled, or re-purposed. New ideas are hitting the fan all the time…  for now it goes a little like this… learning and observing and enjoying the fascinating actions of simplistic practices that I find phenomenal (like a kid in a candy store), which I am just now taking hold of and realizing that a very many of us today (especially my generation and younger) do not practice similar customs that really should have continued to be passed on down the generations.  My version of “age old cooking” and “recycling” and “reusing” is new to me, and old to me… it is a lot of information that I have gathered for years but have hardly put it into REAL practice… again, my efforts right now at this baby stage are truly simplistic compared to the hard work practice of my ancestors who are the real ambassadors of frugality… my learning has only just begun, because somewhere along the lines the traditions of simple homestead, earth making and sustainable practices for the most part have been deleted from the upbringing of today’s western society…but it begs me to wonder where was the fracture? Why have these traditions of re-using so much within the home, including the diet have come to an end in practical daily ritual for so many households in today’s world.

I know it was for me, until I became enlightened to the simplicity of the daily evaluation of intake, out-take and re-take; if that makes any sense.  Another thing that I have thought about is that for so long I have studied and known so many facts and with a head full of knowledge I could spout out many things that are good for us and good for the earth but in practice only a few things would meet my verbal standards. Admittedly, I am fond of knowledge and get thoroughly excited as a sanguine personality type can sometimes be shallow and thus my attempts at following through with my heart spasms are not always finish line worthy, although not intended, but a track record of not finishing is indeed an old habit.  That is why when practice and purpose takes form in my life, my heart is just leaping forward!! My actual current practice and progression in life is slow on the get go right now because I want to actually create a lifestyle here and slow steps are the answer for me; creating habits to LIVE by.  With these simplistic easy no brainer ways of conducting my home I would imagine that there are some people that may scoff saying, “That’s old news…”  Well sure, it is old news, very old news and it is certainly too bad that this old news of simplicity is not practiced by a majority today. It is so simple that it baffles me as I learn to change habits in our home.

Do you follow me?.. I know, I am ranting. Lets begin with what has inspired me tonight:

Sundays have within the past few months become my ritual day of preparation for the week.  Today I started dinner with the help of my daughter. My son was engrossed in Legos and my daughter was begging to help. My son, also begs to help but tonight he was not interested. My husband was out chopping wood all day to provide enough wood to heat our home for the next year and even though today is not a formal “work day” I consider it a day of rest for this human whom provides every bit of bread and butter for this family.

I am a feminist, and to me the word feminist really stands for “equalist”… it is a term that defines a way of life involving the awareness and activism and progression ascending towards a way of equality, therefore it goes both ways in regards to gender… specifically gender is not a question, yet socially it often is… we are both humans, we love each other, we work together and we both contribute to the household and that is pretty much it; the whole topic is really not all that complicated.  Regardless of gender, my husband is the money maker by choice and I am the college student, the teacher of our children (in cahoots with a local home school geared educational program lead by certified teachers), and also a stay at the home madre… and we all know the work that comes along with that title…no need for the mile long list. This is our current set-up ONLY because we chose this path while we raise our children ( I could go into depth as to why we chose this path; pointing at how most men make more money than women, mostly pertaining to two individuals without a college degree… and so on…but I will save that for another time…however, to throw out a bit of thought my spouse would just love to do my job if I had the opportunity to have a position to work outside the home that would make the same or more than he makes…).  I then as an equalist step forward with common sense and consider that my partner has worked very hard all day and I have also worked very hard, however, I consider my position as a place of freedom in comparison to his place of position at work, working under authorities and restrictions. Therefore, I find it liberating to be able to be the provider of meals and nourishment and health in our family.  I attempt to do the simple necessities such as laundry, dishes, sweeping and so forth during the week. Usually on the weekends he and I both cook, both clean, both take care of household needs… it is an equal system, not an expected system.

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Some busy kitchen action on a Sunday night. Chicken bone broth, leeks a sizzling, acorn seeds drying out in the colander, water boiling for dinner tonight, kale being chopped, garlic being smashed and gizzards slow cooking for a side dish of nutrient abundance!

OK so to the point of tonight’s blog entry:  Tonight while cooking dinner, I am multi-tasking every single thing that I do and it hits me… I realized tonight that I have created a new pattern for myself and I am really stoked about this.  As I explained above, this is all new to me, so when it really hits ground and I am actually doing it out of second nature and pattern; it feels pretty darn good.

I began with this… Cutting open acorn squash and erecting the seeds out of the middle and washing them in a strainer to set aside for slow roasted squash seeds in which to make later as a healthy snack. Also putting the squash guts into a giant stock pot I am preparing for bone broth.  I then throw the squash in the oven on top of coconut oil and proceed to grab the thawed whole chicken out of my fridge. I holler over to my beloved because I am still dealing with allergic eczema issues on my hands, I feel hesitant to dive into the carcass of a whole chicken with my vulnerable fingers.  He then preps the chicken, pulls out the neck and gizzards for me to re-use.  We throw the gizzards into a pan to slow cook so that we can eat it on the side with our meal tonight, providing a hefty amount of protein, iron and zinc, as well as, vitamin B-12.

I then throw some chopped up leeks onto the cast iron pan with a spoonful of coconut oil and Himalayan sea salt… I let that sizzle for a minute while I hop over to the cutting board to chop up some fresh veggies (celery and carrots and onions) to the bone broth stock pot. Then I jump back to the cutting board for more work on tonight’s meal and choppity chop up some fresh Italian kale leaves to add to the leeks and then I  threw a couple of diced garlic cloves into the mixture. I throw the stems of the kale into the stock pot. As that all simmers together, I boil some spelt noodles in a pot of water and then continue to work on the bone broth preparations, which is the staple of nutrition in our kitchen that has recently become a health revolution in this home!! Link for more info on health benefits.

The next step is to put the chicken and neck as well as the chicken feet into the stock pot. Let us not waste anything… the chicken feet included! What a gelatin rich broth you are missing out on without those feet! I fill the pot up with water and then add carrots, celery, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, about 8 to 10 cloves of garlic, and left over vegetable pieces and egg shells that have been previously frozen from former meal preparations.  Again let nothing go to waste.  When chopping carrots make sure and save the carrot tops in your freezer, along with the tops of your leeks, the pieces of kale that you might not prefer if they are too tough, as well as, any vegetables that have just sat in your fridge that you would prefer to not eat but could just as well freeze and save for a broth.  Also, I have recently learned from the advice of an acquaintance to keep egg shells and put them in your stocks.  Basically anything that is edible; save the left over pieces and use them to create a nutritious addition to bone broth or compile left over vegetables to create an amazing vegetable broth. Keep it all in your freezer until the time is right.  Such simple money saving practices that literally use every element of the meat and produce that you purchase. You wouldn’t believe how many years of veggie scraps were simply piled into the garbage or disposal after mindless cooking sessions in the kitchen.

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My current freezer stock of vegetable pieces. I learned this trick from the master composter Mrs. Potter whom teaches our gardening class. I of course should probably put all of this into glass jars or non plastic containers, but this is what I got RIGHT now and as I continue adding new habits into our home I continue to adapt to new habits… for me success is learning and doing with ONE step at a time.

My growing weekly compost pile from our family of 4 is also invigorating… with every meal I add to it, the little pieces left over from the cutting board, the apple cores, the banana peels, the avocado seeds and skin… the list goes on with every meal.  I can’t help but to feel excited about the nutrition that I am planting into the earth from the organic material.  I may be a total earth loving nerd, but I am telling you, this simple stuff really rocks my world!!  If you are making vegetable broth from the vegetables that you freeze, after the broth is complete then simply add those veggies to the compost as well. Any and all vegetable scraps from your kitchen should be added to your compost container.  This is the very first step of the practice of “re-using” which promotes the sustainability and health of your own backyard soil and garden and essentially the EARTH 🙂 !!!

Also, please note: you do not want to add vegetables that have been cooked with meat or meat products to your compost, it may attract animals such as raccoon’s etc. to your compost pile(s) and can create a pest control issue in your yard.

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Compost over flow! Time to get out into that wintery weather for this weeks batch of compost to add to our lasagna gardening layers going on in big pots right now.

As we all know there is no paper or plastic these days that we should set inside the garbage can unless you have a specified recycling service that does not serve to recycle a certain number style of plastic.  Look into that for your own area.  I usually throw my recycling pile for the day into the far corner of one of my kitchen counters. Also, just a note, I am learning to request paper only, strictly learning to do this because of the issue with the form of plastic bags that are used at the grocery store, yet still I often forget… it is all about baby steps of progression and then as long as I am actively trying… one day it just suddenly fits, like a puzzle, stuck with me and BAM a habit is born.

In my house I generally hate clutter, I despise it actually, yet with life and children and busy days clutter is a constant battle…I have not gotten around to finding a bin to place under our sink in order to organize the clutter from recyclables, once I do, it will generally help out even more but in the meantime my counter corner works 😉 .  Whatever works for you, just make sure that recycling goes out there. It truly makes a difference rather than just filling up our land with garbage heaped land fills.

Tonight, I look over at my chaotic kitchen with piles of recyclables a midst my re-use of many products and my creations of meal based staples for the week, usable veggies being tossed in the freezer, unwanted veggie scraps thrown in the compost, as well as, a meal for this evening and I feel pretty darn good. My whole chicken will create endless meals.  Not only will the tender chicken last for 2 to 3 meals, the bone broth made, which is plumb full of vitality for the human body, will be used as soup broth, morning tea, and used to cook with rice or quinoa… basically most kitchen recipes that call for water, simply add broth.  It is so useful and so nutritious! Also, I usually cook my whole chicken on simmer with chicken feet and bones and all the other goods for at least 10 to 24 hours… the longer the better! My daughter adds her job into the mix by pulling out the savory acorn squash from the oven and douses them with cultured butter, cane sugar and salt. I mix up the spelt noodles with the leek, garlic and kale and some fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.  To top it off I celebrate this divine evening with a simple solitary glass of wine.  Ahhhhhh tonight feels good.

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Simple dimple: Recycle, reduse, reuse and close the loop 😉
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The stock pot filled with water and all the goodness included, now it is not officially to be called bone broth until it simmers for the next 10 to 24 hours… preferably 24, at least

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And lastly out of all these neat and tidy photos, I would like to share with you an actual photo of the whole chaotic picture of my kitchen land… and yes, we do draw on our floor with sharpie markers.  It is an old floor, why not have fun with it.  😉

With all that is expressed above I am doing this on a penny pinching budget… we have never been more “poor” than this time in our lives right now. So many expenses this year, but learning to create sustainable habits actually saves you money and you are eating a heck of a lot better.

This kitchen is a place where a lot happens and more is happening all of the time, the kitchen is a place where nutritious meals and tonics and staples are being created that fill our bodies with wholesome food and as I learn I continue to progress into a place that not only fills our bodies with good things but also gives back to the earth.  Goodness all around.  Not perfect yet, not even close, and hardly ever will be… waste still happens, but tonight I was stoked at the progression that is happening around here. Slow but progressive.  I was not raised to cook like this. In fact, I was raised pretty darn awesome considering circumstances and I have no sense of lack from that perspective.  However, I am joyful for the opportunity in my adulthood, and motherhood and personhood at this stage in my life to learn; to soak in the value of what good quality nourishment does to the human vessel and what the practice of sustainability in the kitchen can actually do for the environment around us… Imagine if this simple, easy cheesy puddin pie idea of sustainable practices in the kitchen, the stinken kitchen of all places, spread around the communities that we live in.  Our earth would definitely say thank you and so would our bodies.  Our purchases would begin to speak volume, as well as, the awareness we would experience as we begin to acknowledge the power of putting our money where our mouths are… supporting local farms and avoiding mass manipulative corporations that are controlled by only a few in this nation… imagine what the kitchen work of men and women of households can do with their simple actions. I am enlightened by this simple domestic revolution… 😉

And as I learn I continue to learn AND as I learn I continue to LEARN… and each time I learn I realize that these values are so darn simple… what have we lost within so many generations… practices of our ancestors that can speak wisdom into our lives TODAY.