RECIPE: Fish & Greens & Grits

You know you’ve hit it out of the park when your food-loving husband stops to take  picture before he starts eating dinner.

On tonight’s menu: a bed of cheese grits with a layer of kale, bacon, onion, pepper, mushroom and garlic, topped with a perfectly-seared piece of salmon. OH YES!

This was incredibly easy to make. If you’ve followed my blog or Facebook posts for a while you know I’m not overly good at recipes with exact measurements.

Here’s what I did –

Took leftover grits (I use organic yellow corn grits from the bulk section) and added milk and butter. Microwaved and stirred in short spurts until hot. Then added Colby Jack and Italian shredded cheeses. Stir, stir, stir. If I’d made them from scratch they would have been even creamier.

Sauteed an enormous panful of kale greens in olive oil, added parsley, blackened seasoning, garlic, and a big dash of cumin. Added a little bit of water so it wouldn’t get crispy.

Took leftover bacon, peppers, onions, and mushrooms that I fried up yesterday for breakfast and stirred it into the greens.

As all that was cooking, I heated a cast iron pan to HOT and put down a little olive oil, I laid the three hunks of salmon (I buy frozen 6-packs for $20-ish at Whole Foods) down in the pan and cooked for about 3 minutes per side, then browned the sides. When nearly done, I sprinkled with blackened seasoning.

Big bowl: Grits, then greens with the tiny bit of liquid (some people call it “pot liquor), then salmon on top. A few sprinkles of parmesan and a little dab of butter.

Because the grits were pre-made, this was incredibly fast – maybe 15 minutes? And yummy! And fresh! It’s definitely a do-again!

Rush, Idris Elba, and the REAL James Bond

I kinda get what Rush is saying about James Bond. I couldn’t disagree with him more, but I do think all the hoopla labeling him as racist is, well, pretty racist.

Here’s part of it: “But now [they are] suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that’s not who James Bond is and I know it’s racist to probably point this out.” He then went on to compare it to casting white men as Obama or Mandela.

I think his analogy falls utterly apart. It would be better to compare it with “Morpheus” or “Blade” or “Virgil Tibbs” being cast by white guys. His point is not racist but LITERARY – a character is what a character IS … if you were making a movie about an Irish girl, you wouldn’t cast Whoopi Goldberg or Lucy Lui to play that role… any more than you’d cast Jennifer Lawrence in a role as a black teenager growing up in the civil rights movement. But you COULD cast any of those women as a woman, regardless of their skin color.

I hope this is making sense??

But that said, and as a Bond fan, I believe that Idris Elba would be a great James Bond.

I totally disagree with Rush that a strict conformance to the original storyline is necessary; mostly because the producers of the movies never felt that way. One of the stories I read on the subject says, “Limbaugh’s argument about Bond being white and Scottish appears easy to torpedo. Roger Moore was English, Pierce Brosnan Irish and George Lazenby Australian. Meanwhile, Timothy Dalton was born in Wales to an English father and American mother. In any case, Fleming only began adding hints of a Scottish ancestry to 007’s backstory after the extraordinary success of Sean Connery’s first movie as Bond, Dr No, in 1962.”  DO not that most Americans cannot even remotely distinguish between those accents.

Here’s why I disagree with Rush: The sole intent of film-makers is to capture the imagination (and the money) of the audience. The character of Bond is not particularly “Scottish” or “white”, even. Not in the way that, say, a black teen growing up in the civil rights movement would be, or an Irish girl during the Potato Famine. The question should not be “Does so-and-so LOOK the part?” — the question in my mind is, “IS this person James Bond?” Does that character capture my heart, my mind, my imagination? Does he spark something in me?

It’s those questions that cause movie producers to invite certain actors into roles, and why some roles have multiple auditions and actors trying out for that role. There’s one thing that is true of all great actors in a role that matches them… they have the spark of that character in their hearts.

Stop and think about yourself, for a moment. What part could you play in a film or in theater? Take race out of the equation, regardless of your ethnicity or skin color. What jumps up in your heart?

James Bond is a number of things that have nothing to do with one’s skin color, ethnicity, or even culture. He’s charming, he’s deadly, he’s set in his ways (shaken, not stirred), he’s a fast thinker, he’s witty, he can tell a good story, an impeccable dresser, he’s daring, he loves the ladies, is uncomplicated (and extricates himself from complications very well – for himself, not necessarily the others involved), has great taste and is able to mix and mingle with anyone in style.

The question is not, “What does Bond look like”, the question is “Who embodies that character?” … in this case, I believe that could well be a black Briton just as well as it could be a white Brit, an Irishman, or an Australian. I hope that (once Sony emerges from the ashes after the cyber attack) that they DO cast Elba in that role! Can’t wait. :)

Afraid of Ebola?

Are you afraid of ebola? I’m not. And I don’t think that you should be, either.

Concerned about ebola? I am. You should be too.

You should also be concerned about enterovirus, hurricanes, ice storms, influenza, wildfires, tornadoes, stock market crashes, and the totalitarian regime in Washington.

Here’s what Ken and I are doing to prepare for all of that and anything else that comes along:

#1 – We seek first the Kingdom, and we spend time in God’s presence. There’s nothing like time in the throne room and Heaven’s perspective to alleviate fear from one’s soul.

#2 – We have a supply of water that will last us two weeks. This is more important for us than most people, because I have a more severe reaction than most people to the poisoned water that comes from the tap. We also have a small water filter in case of a DIRE emergency (I got it for travel, though, not for armageddon… :) For me, being in an airport with only Dasani water available for purchase IS like armageddon)

#3 – We have a supply of food that will last us a couple of weeks, this includes a variety of highly nutritious things that can be eaten raw, grilled, cooked over an open fire, or even cooked in the comfort of our own kitchen. While we might not eat gourmet, we certainly wouldn’t starve if we found ourselves locked in our own home the way the Texas patient’s family did! We have also identified a couple of alternative food sources in case of a wide-spread or prolonged disaster.

#4 – We have a supply of essential oils and natural medicines that we believe will help our bodies to thrive no matter what happens, whether it’s threat of infection, injury, emotion, or attack. We do not rob our bodies of their God-given immune systems through vaccinations and drugs. We exercise judicious nutrition and supplementation so that we have the best defense available against any disease.

#5 – We have the means to protect ourselves from most anything.

#6 – We have a variety of cash and non-cash methods of payment (and for anyone reading this post and thinking, “Wow, I could go rob those people” – none of it is stashed at home, and read #5. There are no warning shots here.)

#7 – We help others be prepared … personally, we help people with numbers 1, 2 and 4 above, and we refer people to our friend Carol at Prepper Life for the rest (and she can help with 1, 2 and 4 as well!).

There’s no need to live in fear. Fear is straight from the pit of hell. There is great wisdom in preparedness. If you don’t believe so, think back to the last time the power was out for more than a few hours – did you have food to eat? Was it a hardship? Think back to the last time you or a family member was sick or injured. What was in your toolbox to help with that?

Want to know more? Contact us at https://www.facebook.com/livingtheessentiallife.

Should women wear dresses? What about “modesty”?

This is an old article I wrote seven or eight years ago on the subject of ladies’ dress and modesty. Some of it seems really funny now, because I have really changed my style – when I wrote this, my hair was very long and I was very plain. These days, I’m rockin’ a short highlighted hairstyle and wear makeup and much nicer clothes (and I love it).

Although I’ve grown and changed a lot, the article still has a lot of merit and hopefully will spur you to ask yourself some questions:By what standards do you live? Is salvation internal, external, or both. Who determines what is “modest” and what is not?

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Sometimes I look at the blogs and websites of homemakers (and homesteaders) – Over the years I’ve picked up many helpful, time-saving, and frugal tips this way.

One thing I’ve noticed is that nearly all of the Christian ladies also express a conviction to “dress modestly” or “be feminine” – in other words, to wear dresses all of the time. A few also wear headcoverings.

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Read up on the passages they frequently list as an apologetic for dressing a certain way. While I certainly can’t fault a woman for wanting to wear dresses all of the time, I don’t think that’s a requirement God has for us. (Modesty, on the other hand, IS). I’m not posting this to demean dress-wearing women – not at all! I simply wish to offer a counterpoint that other women can investigate when making a decision on this matter.

A frequently-heard verse is this:

A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this. (Deut. 22:5)

Speaking logically about this – men did not wear pants at the time this was written. The verse is not talking about pants. Today, men wear kilts and in some cultures, robes – and no one thinks they are “wearing women’s clothing”.  Methinks there’s a bit more to a concept of “intent” behind this verse than is often considered. The entire chapter is “do unto your neighbor” and “go through life without hurting anybody intentionally” – if this verse was simply about mode of dress, it would be rather out of context. If, instead, you consider intent/motive for wearing clothing, it suddenly makes sense in context: “A woman must not [pretend to be a man], nor a man [pretend to be a woman]…” My wearing jeans doesn’t hurt anybody, but if I was to bind my chest, wear a coat and tie, and affix a fake mustache… that’s deception, and it’s wrong. (not to mention that I’d look pretty ridiculous!) Likewise, if a man shaves his hair, dons dress, falsies, and makeup so he can pass himself off as a woman, this is wrong.

Another verse frequently mentioned is this one:

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Tim. 2:8-10)

Generally people who quote this passage start with “In like manner also…” – as I was preparing to copy same out of the online Bible, those four words stopped me. In like manner to what? In like manner to the men – praying everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Paul moves on to say, (paraphrasing) – Women, do likewise; don’t wear clothing, hair or makeup that will distract you or others from your Godly purpose.” I don’t see this passage addressing “Women must wear a dress”.

Have you ever been amongst a group of women and felt – well, rather like a sparrow amidst tropical birds? It happens to me quite often, as I tend to dress rather plainly, don’t wear much makeup, and if I do anything to my hair I’ll pull it back in a ponytail. I look at other women – wearing $300-$600 between dress, shoes, and purse, makeup that looks professional, and hair styled ever-so-perfectly… and they most always do it to be seen by others. So that women will envy and men’s heads will turn. I think that’s the sort of thing that Paul was getting at. (Is it wrong to dress nicely, to do your hair and makeup? Not at all. In fact, as we’ll see in a moment, it’s probably wrong to be a total slob). So ladies … for what purpose are you dressing up? (and as a side-thought… if you’re wearing a $500 dress, how much “good work” are you going to want to do? Goodness, might get it dirty!)

I also see this passage addressing the concept of “modesty” – a difficult word in our culture.  The word Paul uses for “modest” in this passage is kosmios – which Strong’s defines as “well arranged, seemly, modest”. He uses the same word in 1 Timothy 3 to describe the behavior of church leaders: (A bishop must then be… of [kosmios] good behavior)

Well arranged, seemly, modest, of good behavior. Begs the question: what is well-arranged, seemly, good behavior… and how does that relate to our dress? First of all, the obvious: if a woman’s body is for her husband, then a) the private parts of the body should be kept private – period, and b) a married woman should not dress in such a way that she commands the attention of men other than her husband, and c) an unmarried woman should dress in a way that reflects good behavior, and (if she’s trying to attract a husband) in a way that will attract the right kind of attention. Sorry, girls… dressing like a whore means that you’ll get someone who wants to treat you as such. Dress like a lady (whether that means a dress to your ankles or blue jeans and a t-shirt) and men will treat you like a lady. Likewise, men should be modest. Guys, if you want to wear a thong in your fenced-in backyard so you get a nice tan… go for it. Keep it off the beach.

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Another oft-quoted passage is 1 Peter 3:3,4:

Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

However, if you pull the entire passage (1-5) things come into context:

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,   

This is an if-then statement – If a woman is in true partnership with her husband (in a situation where she’s become a Christian and he

remains an unbeliever), her Godly actions speak louder to him than her dress. Key words in this passage are “own husbands” (as opposed to any other man), and “merely” – Do not let your adornment be MERELY outward. In other words, don’t neglect your appearance so as to be a bum, but know that what you do is far more important than how you look.


For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 sums it up:

Again… I’m not trying at all to say that women who choose to wear dresses are “wrong”. I’ve nothing against doing so! Sometimes I like to wear them. I also like to wear jeans and shorts and t-shirts and such. Some women argue that jeans are not “feminine” – I’ve never felt that way. I feel just as feminine in cut-off jeans as I do in a dress – perhaps feminine in a different way, but definitely not the opposite (masculine)!

So – that’s my thoughts on the matter. If you feel that you should wear dresses, then by all means do so! If you feel that you don’t need to, then by all means, don’t! And if you’re not sure… Ask the Lord for wisdom, consult the Word, read what I have to say, read what others have to say, and follow what God says to do! :)

My DHEA experience

Here’s a warning to all my health-minded friends – there is a supplement called DHEA which is marketed to both men and women who are past a certain age. It is a naturally occurring hormone precursor in the body, made by the adrenals. Given that I am a) of a certain age and b) recovering from adrenal fatigue, I decided to try it. We got 25mg pills, which I cut in half (I always try to go slowly with new things, and thank God I did).

Within 2 days, I was having tachycardia and high blood pressure (And I’m not prone to either), along with dizzy spells, feeling like my arms were going numb, and roaring in my ears. Yesterday morning (after the 3rd dose) when I got up I felt particularly bad, and actually considered seeking advice from an urgent care or even the ER at one point later in the day.

After some study, I discovered this is a side effect, and some people go to tachycardia after a very small dose (even smaller than what I was taking). I didn’t take it last night and this AM my BP is back to normal and my heart rate, though still a little high, is within the “didn’t just go jogging” range again. Hopefully another day and it will be done.

Be cautious, my friends … while this supplement may be good for some, it’s sure not for many!