Protector

I recently had the privilege of meeting a young lady whose sole/soul purpose is to protect. To be clear, she is a Protector. I capitalize that word as that is her title; it is who she is and what she does.

She doesn’t come from Earth. Outwardly, she looks and acts like a normal human. She is pretty but doesn’t see it. She thinks she needs to lose weight. She doesn’t like being noticed and dresses in clothes that hide her. It’s easy for her to forget she is a woman.

She is on constant alert. She doesn’t sleep well. She thinks about all the things that could go wrong. She plans. She keeps her mind active by creating scenarios of actions to be taken in the event something does go wrong. She is a wife. She is a mother.

During her session, I was afforded a nano second of a past life glimpse. She, then a man, was a Pharaoh’s guard and while he sat on the throne, her position was directly to his right. She was a highly trained adversary and her existence was dedicated to protecting and serving her king. Nothing else mattered.

She carries all of those honed instincts within her DNA today. She comes from a place where trusting in others will get you killed, or worse, cause the death of the one you swore to protect. She does not fully trust in this lifetime; not even her husband. The only one she completely trusts is herself.

She has never felt like she has fit in and because of her trust issues, she hides a lot of memories/emotions/feelings from others, including her mate.  Normally, when I see/hear this, the Guys are encouraging my clients to open their hearts. After all, you can’t receive complete love (from others, yourself and God) if you do not give it. But for her, they were silent.

She was told to eat “exotic and spicy” food as she is bored by “everyday food” and it doesn’t nourish her.  Their meaning wasn’t clear. It could physically mean she needs to branch out beyond (yawn) hamburgers and hot dogs OR it could spiritually mean she needs to find new and intriguing energetic foods to sustain her.

The Guys talk about her two children and the energy surrounding this topic instantly changes to all business. It sharpens and becomes tense as if it is on high alert. There is something almost animalistic about it. This Protector momma will leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety of her children. Now, don’t confuse what I’ve written by thinking she is a “momma badger” or a “helicopter mom” as she is neither. She is unconcerned about skinned knees, petty fights or bruised egos; she is concerned with their protection; their primal existence. They are her “charges.”

She can’t turn this off; this is who she IS. She came back to this world, this Earth, for a reason, a purpose. She is a Protector and has had to make many sacrifices due to this. She feels alone and lonely as she hasn’t found anyone else of her kind. What must it be like to not fully trust anyone but yourself or another Protector?

She feels different from other moms too, like an outsider. She is, as it was explained to me, like an advanced Being who has returned to life in the cave man era. She is highly telepathic and used to communicating in that mode but now she must use an archaic and slow form of communication called talking. To her, this way of communicating is outdated and clumsy.

She isn’t very social. She really doesn’t like people and she prefers to keep to herself. The reason for this is a bigger crowd means more threats. More threats mean more vigilance. More vigilance means more chances of something going wrong. More chances of something going wrong means more Plan B options.

Because her body is in a constant state of high-alert stress, her cortisol levels are chronically elevated and she suffers from cold after cold after cold.  Starting a new form of exercise induces fear because there are so many variables.

She is so very intriguing to me as I’ve not experienced anything like her.  Yes, I have given Reiki to amazing Aliens who just want to help mankind, but not Protectors. I have not had this fierce, gung ho warrior, “I’m-willing-to-die-for-my-charges” energy before.

Transformers 1She is Hollywood’s version of a Transformer. In fact, the name that was whispered to me was, “Magnatron.”   She is a woman, a human woman, but she can transform into a powerful, bad-assed weapon if needed.

Protectors; I see you. I can’t begin to understand the sacrifices you unquestioningly make but I can understand your drive to do so. It’s what you know. It’s who you are. I am in awe of your raw devotion and unwavering watchfulness.  Thank you.  Thank you for coming back to a place that is light years behind you. Thank you for walking among us and keeping your “charges” inexplicably safe.

And to my new client: Thank you for showing me, wowing me really, with another facet of what often remains unseen.

Channeled Message 5.11.15

“Dear Ones. We speak to you today as a show of solidarity; unity. There has not been one step of the way in which we have not been with you. Yes, we honor your feelings of loneliness and being abandoned but that is not the way it truly is. Some of you feel left out in the cold; others feel like they are sitting next to a warm fire. How can that be? Different “career” paths.

This One (Melissa) is tired. We see the strain this energy surge is having on her. She doesn’t know whether she is coming or going and yet she tends to the masses as much as we can. We adore her for plodding forward even when she wants to curl up on her famed couch and have a good nap or cry or both. She is chiding us now for letting too much personal information about her escape; she is private, this One.  But we do so to let you all know that we see all and hear all. Some of you doubt that; doubt us. It is time to put that all behind you.

The time that we have spoken about is almost upon us. Even now the spring rains cleanse all that cannot adhere. How can you apply that to your own life? Watch as you release the grip you have on that which no longer serves you. Watch as the color you hold so tightly in your hand begins to run and fade with the rain. It is all an illusion. Your control, your power, your greed; it is all an illusion.

We have asked many of you to forsake the “old” ways and many of you have. However, there are still a few of you (100,000 or more) who continue to rigidly and stubbornly cling to that which needs to be changed.  It is those people we are reaching out for today. It is those people who will feel like a Mack truck has hit them IF THEY DO NOT CHANGE. We cannot be any clearer; the 11th hour is upon us all.

If you know someone who fiercely clings to the old ways, it is up to you to help them see the light. You must be able to assist them, in any way they need.  We are all one. So for you to help them, means you are helping yourself. If someone is struggling to let go an outdated emotion, help them see the beauty in the New. Help them overcome. Help them succeed. Help them become stronger for to do so only helps all of you.

There will be more winds to blow away what the rain has loosened. Let it blow. There may even been electric storms as well. Let it happen. There will be change. Let it happen. There will be love and there will be sorrow. Let it happen. Let it happen. Let it happen.

We leave you now knowing many millions of you are just as tired as this Little One who patiently transcribes our messages and houses our Beings. Know that redemption is coming, one day at a time, a rest and playful time that is well earned and will be well received.

Be at peace. You are many. You are strong. You are empowered. Help those who cannot help themselves for to do any less is to let your own self down. Know that “this” is almost over and that a new cycle will begin.  Where will you be? Prostrate and bent or cautiously curious? We hope you join the “cautiously curious” breed as that is of the New.

We leave you now knowing nothing is as it shall be and the universe is your pearl. God speed.”

Channeled Message 3.4.15

“So many of you have recently asked, “What the hell is wrong with everyone?” and we will take a moment to answer.  They are caught up in something that is not of their doing. They are in a vortex, if you will. A whirl wind. They feel tossed about and battered. Up is down and down is up. Black is white and white is black. Nothing is working for them anymore and yet, bless their hearts, they keep trying to make the old work.

Here is the crux of what we wish to discuss; the OLD does not exist anymore; it has vanished. Poof! Gone like the wind that blows in your region. It. Does. Not. Exist. Any. More.  So can you imagine the frustration, angst and anxiety of those who are still trying (and trying and trying) to utilize the old way of doing things?  The buttons are not there, the levers have disappeared and yet they still blindly grope and grapple for them.

We have urged several of you to let go of the old ways and yet you fiercely maintained your attachment to them. We ask; how is that working for you?  Good?  No, we think not. You feel lost, like you woke up in an entirely new world and you do not have your bearings yet.  You feel anxiety and restlessness. You feel desolation and hopelessness. You feel fear. You feel anger (Melissa’s Note: Oh MAN, do we feel anger!).

We hear you. More importantly, we see you. We see each and every one of you down on Earth trying to Become. We see your struggles and your pitfalls and your breaks. We hear you saying, “What the HELL is going ON!?!” and with this One’s help, we will tell you.

The Earth has shifted on its axis once again. We don’t mean literally, we mean figuratively. There is new energy coming in once again.  As is the case for several millennia, when there is new, the old does not want to leave.  And you humans make this so easy for the Old. You cling to old values, ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and ways.

You cling to old habits, even though you have long outgrown them.  The childish tantrums, the unbridled rage, the “poor me” mentality, those are all of the Old. These need to go on their way. They need to be let loose; freed.  They do not and will not serve you any longer.

What will? Being open. Staying open.  New ideas, new values, new ethics, new tenants, and a new you. That will serve you best.

This One is asking us for black and white concepts. We will do so now. If you look before you leap, maybe it is time to leap before you look.  If you use harsh words in anger, maybe it is time to soften your tongue. If you are filled will fear, maybe it is time to find courage.

How do you know if we are talking to you? Simple. Have you been moody? Angry? Resentful? Chaotic? Have you experienced despair, loneliness and anxiety? Have you hurt those you love? Have you cast stones upon yourself? If so, then perhaps we ARE talking to you.  We smile at this because there is not one of you reading this, including our faithful servant (Melissa), that won’t benefit. Not one of you. Pretty enormous, right? That is how large the scope of this shift is.

We offer you this; be kind when you want to rage. Be thankful when you want to cast spite. Be humble. Be loyal. Be gentle.  Be loving. It sounds simple, but for several of you, this is not working.

We will leave you now knowing you are infinitely safe and protected. Be aware of your choices and know that YOU are in the driver’s seat.  We are merely passengers and as such, we are powerless to control the wheel, the speed or the direction you travel. Do not blame us if you are miserable; we have given you ample opportunity to prevail. You must do the work; we cannot.”   (Melissa’s Note: Gah gong.)

Slow

My starter husband and I, we took it slow.  In fact, I didn’t like him when we first met. The truth be told, I didn’t like ANY of the men I fell in love with.  Yes, really.

My starter husband and I met at work and I was very, um, territorial. He was the golden boy who moved to Fargo from a small Minnesota city. I didn’t want to know anything about him, I didn’t want to socialize with (the enemy) him and I certainly didn’t want a friendship with him.

I tried really hard to dislike him. I think he even saw through me and asked me about it once. But, as much as I tried to be cold and distant, I begrudgingly started to respect him not only for his work expertise but because he was so humble, respectful, soft spoken and kind. The friendship that grew from that surprised me.

Once I decided the new kid was alright, he and I were often among the last of the work gang to leave the bars. We would end the night talking and then go our separate ways. I wasn’t attracted to him in the least little bit; that came much later.

Then, somewhere along the line, that all changed. After a night of drinking, I spent the night at his place. We slept (passed out?) on the floor and he didn’t touch me. He was incredibly respectful even though we’d both had enough to drink to blame whatever happened on the booze.

It was the next morning we decided we liked each other in a way that was more than just friendship. We both agreed we’d like to see where this took us. But ‘this’ was going to be a major problem. A relationship with him was now taboo as he had just been promoted to the position I wanted. He was now my boss.

The rest of that story is in previous blogs or will be saved for another day. I want to stay on task here, or at least look like I’m trying.

After the death of my starter marriage, I begged God to send me someone who was compassionate and kind and would treat me the way I deserved to be treated. My needs? Simple. I wanted to be treated like a princess. And, I must say, God delivered even if it was in the most unlikely of packages.

My golf course recently hired a new golf professional/manager.  He was 6’ 5”, gangly and had faded red hair. I wasn’t attracted to him, either. But gawl dang it! He had the gift of gab and the patience of Job. He was kind, gracious and courteous and had a way of making me feel like the whole world revolved around me.

Weeks went by and I watched his interactions with the staff and with the patrons. He was quirky and liked to talk. I became interested. Days later, after I had rediscovered the lost art of flirting and acting like a 16 year old, I needed to call for a ride home (it was really a ploy! Ohh, harlet!) so I asked for the phone book. He said he’d give me a ride home. Bingo!

It eludes me as to why he spent the night. I think it was because he needed to be back at the course by 6 and it was already 3:30.  He, too, was a complete gentleman and slept on the couch. I slept in my bed with the door shut.

The next morning, on the ride to get my car, he held my hand. I knew then that I wanted to know more about him and I knew then he wanted to know more about me. I was starting to see his inner beauty and I was starting to find him interesting and attractive.

He treated me with kindness. He showed me, again and again through words and actions, the respectful way a woman should be treated.  He reminded me – and gave me hope – that there were men out there who would treat me the way I wanted (and deserved) to be treated.

Then along came my forever husband. Trinity was like a Mack truck compared to the other two. He was aggressive, direct, confident, engaging and flirty. He was, in my opinion, a player and someone not to get involved with.  I wasn’t the least bit attracted to him. Heard that before? Well, here we go again; same song, different verse.

He set the pace for our relationship and that pace was slow. Snail’s pace slow. Excruciatingly slow. This was not his normal as he was used to moving fast (think corvette fast). But for me? He wanted something different.

We didn’t start “playing house” right away. We didn’t talk for hours and hours each night on the phone; we didn’t see each other every spare moment. We didn’t call each other several times a day (this was before texting became so popular) and we didn’t overshare within minutes of meeting each other.  We took the time to get to know each other. As our friendship grew, my interest in him, and the attraction, began.

It’s not lost on me that three of my greatest loves were unlikely matches. For pity sake, I didn’t like these people nor was I attracted to them.  But in spite of that – or maybe because of that – these relationships took root, grew and blossomed.

Some of the most beautiful flowers manage to grow in the harshest environments.

Want to read more blogs about Trinity’s and my life?  Here you go:

Fate – Fate II – Communication – Vasectomy – Miracle

Radon

Radon is radioactive gas that naturally occurs from decaying uranium in our soil. It’s a killer. It causes more deaths per year (21,000) than drunk driving. North Dakota and Western Minnesota are in the ‘red zone’1 which means we have a high concentration of this cancer causing stuff.

We (well, most of us) take precautions against the radioactive energy the sun emits. We use sunscreen, hats and wear sunglasses to avoid injuring (tanning or burning) our bodies and eyes. We are aware of the harmful effects the sun’s radiation has on us. But most of us have never heard of radon and yet it is the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the top cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.2

Radon is insidious and it’s not just a house problem. It is in schools, dorms, work places, churches, apartments, day cares, etc. It can take years and years for the destructive effects of it to show up. And it’s not just from the ground, ooooh noooooo! This stuff can be in your water supply, although it’s much more common if you use well water or your city uses ground water (water held under ground). You will be exposed to it, although minimally, every time you bathe, drink or use water.

Before I continue, I want to share two things. The first is a story about a client of mine whom I had intuitively asked, “Are you a closet smoker?”  She said, “No! Never!” and I said, “well, there’s something with your lungs.”  She put it together and came up with the fact she needed to get her (Minnesota farm) house tested for radon.  She told me, after having a radon mitigation system installed, her breathing became easier and she had more energy within two weeks. To quote Polly, “It was as if I had a new life.”

The second is my daughter who has had a swollen lymph node on her neck since she was six months. The doctors aren’t at all concerned because there hasn’t been a change in the size of it. I, on the other hand, am concerned. I know this lymph node issue could be related to the radon in our house. After all, she didn’t have it at birth and her bedroom is directly above the room that contained the highest concentration of radiation.

What orginally brought radon to my attention was an article in the Fargo Forum a few years ago.  I got a bit excited (hyper!) about it at first but that’s where I left it.  Then Polly’s story…and Ceta’s lump.

We had contacted the radon mitigation company Polly used but they were leery about the results given the location of our sump pump.  I let it go until my mother-in-law put an offer on a home in West Fargo. She, a survivor of lung cancer, had the radon levels checked. They were, of course, very high.  As part of the sale, she stipulated the house must have a professionally installed, working radon mitigation system.

I should also mention that just because your house, or your neighbor’s house, has high radon levels, it doesn’t mean yours (or theirs!) will. It’s kind of a crappy luck of the (decaying uranium) draw.

This blog now becomes another story of when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I called the dude who installed her mitigation system, explained about our sump pump placement and he said he could almost always find a solution.  And he didn’t let us down.

We hired Valley Radon Mitigation and after Chris installed our mitigation system, our radon levels dropped from 13.0 to .08 in two days.  Did I mention the radon levels dropped from 13.0 to .08 in TWO days?!  All he did, and this is generalizing, was cut a hole in our furnace room floor, run a pvc pipe to the outside and installed a fan to move the radon away from the house.

What can you do? Have your home tested. We purchased our radon kits at a local hardware store and sent them in to be analyzed, but you can also hire a qualified radon tester (I actually typed, ‘texter’!!).  To find a qualified radon tester, you can check with your State Radon Office (yes, evidently, there IS such a thing!), your neighbors or even search google.

Next, know what levels are acceptable for your area.  The EPA states anything 4.0 and above must be fixed and anything less can still pose a risk and, in many cases, should be reduced. As I stated above, all of North Dakota and a large chunk of Minnesota (all except the Iron Range) is in ‘red’ meaning the soil contains a high concentration of this cancer-causing radiation.

Then find a reputable, professional radon mitigator(s).  Have them come and take a look, get quotes. But be careful! Some companies are quoting $6,500 because they carry a ‘certified’ label. Generally, the price averages around $1200. According to the EPA, the expense should be the same as “other common home repairs.”

Then, take action. Hire that someone. Get. It. Done. It only takes about 6 hours for a professional to install a radon soil mitigation system. The results are almost instantaneous and, dare I say, life changing (saving?). Yes, I dare.   Rebel.

For more information:

1: http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html

2: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/radon-danger-your-home

Trailblazing

My husband has been trying to grow his business but has felt stuck in a particular area. I was visiting with my friend Marilyn who mentioned an innovative program she was beta testing for businesses. She wondered if Trinity would be interested.  He was.

She schlepped over, pulled out a binder and a sweet little silver pendulum. She opened her binder, started her pendulum and well, we were off to the races.  First, she checked the ‘energy’ around Trinity’s business and reported it was off the charts, in a very good way.

Then she asked the Universe what was the reason Trinity wasn’t receiving qualified applicants. Immediately the pendulum swung to the “Relationship Team” portion of the graph.  Armed with that, she flipped to another page which indicated Trinity’s business was relatively unknown in the community. Plain and simple, people just didn’t know about his business.   Yes, that makes complete sense and resonated with both Trinity and me.

Then Marilyn asked another question; what it was is irrelevant, but you’ll love the response. He was to “ask his Guides and Angels for help.”  I was astounded by this and my jaw dropped. My poor husband; with narrowed eyes, I turned to him and gave him the, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me” look. He raised his palms defensively to the ceiling, scrunched his shoulders and said, “I ask for Their help, but not for this specific thing.”  Ohhhh chil’.

After that, her pendulum ticked and tocked and much more information came to light. For instance, my husband would do well to take lunch breaks, work less hours and get out of his head.  He might benefit from scheduling family time, paperwork time, “me” time and the mac-daddy of them VACATION time. (Cough; told you so, honey.)

Towards the end of his session, Marilyn once again checked the ‘energy’ around Trinity’s business and said it had grown even higher. How is that possible? It could be that Marilyn had uncovered the deeply buried truths and Trinity was already using his powerful mind to make positive mental changes.

So what am I talking about? It’s Tara Argall’s and Marilyn McMurray’s “Trailblazing Communications” modules. They were, to the best of my knowledge, originally designed to give a voice to those (animals/humans) that are unable to verbally communicate. Tara and Marilyn decided to expand these modules to include businesses, etc.

I have to say, I was really impressed and I see a lot of value in what these two ladies are doing.  Marilyn’s delivery style is compassionate, authentic and caring. She is also an amazing Intuitive who use her own personal and professional knowledge to offer possible solutions or ideas.

If you’re a chief cook or bottle washer who wants insight as to how to help your team or business, this program may be the answer.  If your personal life is messy and you’d like some direct insight, there’s something here for you, too.

Trailblazing Communications isn’t just for those who can’t/won’t communicate verbally; it’s for those of us who can’t/won’t listen.

–       If you’d like more information, you can find both of my above mentioned friends on Facebook, etc.

Relish

I was recently struck with the enormity of how much my daughter has grown. How did three years pass so quickly? How is it possible? More importantly, HOW did I get through parts of it?!

Far warning to my gentle readers, I am going to say the word, “nipple” about 15 times and be rather explicit about some of the pit falls of nursing. Continue if you have a strong stomach or if you totally dig my sense of humor.

I remember when I was pregnant. Women, with a nostalgic look upon their faces, would say, “Relish every moment! They grow up so quickly.”  Ok first of all, people seriously; this phrase needs to go to the same resting place as “Gag me with a Ginsu.”  I did not relish any part of the birthing process nor did I relish the post-birthing process.

I did not relish having nipples that were cracked, bleeding and often times so painfully raw I could tell when there was a low pressure system moving in. What? Never nursed? Well, let me give you some idea as to what this SORT OF felt like, for me anyway; Take any rough grade sand paper and rub your nipples.  Hard. Harder. Get ON it! Do this until they are roughed up and possibly bleeding. Then put salt or lemon on them. Orrrrrr, what the hay, go for broke and do both. Why not?!

I did not relish having plugged milk ducts that often resulted from said crying human baby blob who was, apparently, a shallow latcher.  I also did not relish relinquishing my precious sleep because nobody told me this could happen and let me tell you, four naproxen weren’t even taking the edge off. What madness is this!?

I did not relish surfing the internet baby bible (for me it was babycenter.com) for a possible cause/solution to my unbelievably engorged, burning, and throbbing breasts. Funny, the hospital’s Lactation Specialists don’t breathe a word of this when they’re helping your little nipple sucker latch on. OOOOH NOOOOO. And then whammo! Your breast is the size of a hot air balloon, it’s throbbing like the worst hangover headache possible and there are milk colored pustules all over your nipples.

I really did not relish abandoning Babycenter.com and going rogue either, but I found a potential solution that was not recommended or approved by them. And let me tell you, it worked. And it worked FAST. What did I do? Well, in the name of all the injustices I had and was suffering; why not add insult to injury? Why not tell a bazillion readers another private and personal tidbit about myself? I stuck a sterilized safety pin into the blister-like pustules. Yes. I did.  While I didn’t relish that part, I DID relish watching as my pent-up breast milk sprayed all over like an unmanned fire hose.  Whooooeeeeee! Yep. That, my friends, spells (pain) relief.

You know what? Side note, here. I wonder if Real Simple magazine would enjoy my use for a sterilized safety pin for their “Tell Us About Your New Uses For Old Things” segment.  Just sayin’.

I did not relish having to physically milk (think SQUEEZE the all-mighty hell out of) my own breast.  Can I just type that again? Yes, overshare here; I. Milked. My. Own. Breasts. Because of this wonderful now PTSD experience, it is yet another reason why I refuse to drink cow’s milk.  I mean, I lived it brothahh, you know? You hear what I’m saying? I lived being a human lactating udder.  Yep. Good times.

I did not relish waking up solely so I could drag my exhausted lily white bum out of a warm bed in order to use a cold breast pump. I did not relish not showering for days.  Well, ok. I give; I did sort of like not showering.  But it wasn’t the showering part that bugged me.  I LIKED showering. It was the “arduous” chore of drying off, combing my hair, blow drying my (short) hair, brushing my teeth, putting on deodorant and maybe applying lotion. THAT’S what took the time, my friends. That little regime was not relished.

I didn’t relish the fact that once my ‘girls’ were done being mangled, I never EVER looked at or felt the same about them again. They were off limits to my husband for at least 2 years. He never was a breast man, but still, TWO YEARS of a ‘no touch zone?’ After what you’ve read, could you blame me?

Trivia question: Did you know a nursing mom can still produce milk for up to 18 months after she stops nursing? Well, either did I! SURPRISE (insert jazz hands here)! Another thing ‘they’ don’t tell you. So imagine my shock (understatement) when my husband and I were having um, a stimulating adult conversation and my breasts started leaking TEN MONTHS AFTER I STOPPED NURSING!  Talk about the proverbial and literal wet blanket. Sheesh!  And NO I did not relish that.  That occurrence was yet another in a long line of what I now, red-faced, refer to as, “Melissa’s Mortification Moments.”

I suppose I could talk about how I didn’t relish the fact that newborns are like Octopi; they seem to have 8 hands when you remove a poopy diaper. I could talk about how said hand would find the soiled diaper and grab a big old handful of ‘soo-prise’ and then robustly and energetically thrust it into the air, waiving it all around, eluding mommy’s lunging grasp and thereby reducing  mommy to conniptions.

I could talk about how I didn’t relish the stupid, sleepless/stressed induced tiffs my husband and I would have. Suffice it to say that we gave each other the old stink eye from time to time while muttering (or barking) something like, “GEEZ! I can HEAR you CHEWING!” or “God! Do you HAVE to BREATHE so LOUDLY!?!!”

But I won’t.  I think I’ve traumatized you enough already and I’m certain I’ve re-traumatized myself. I know those women meant well. They wanted me to relish the coo’s and the sweet little (non-feces filled hand) that rested gently on my (non-flamingly engorged, one-step-away-from-mastitis) breast.  They wanted me to remember the studying, angelic blue-eyed gazes she would bestow upon me right before crap oozed out of her diaper.

Yeah, I get it. I really do.  So for me, writing a blog about this is healing. It’s another step towards seeing these events for what they really are; a tiny bit of insanity that didn’t and couldn’t last forever. And that thought? That bit of realism? Ooohhhh, yes, that I’ll relish.

Chef

It’s no secret I, like most of you, have a love/hate affair with money (I actually typed, “Monday” which would be sort of true too, right?). I love to save money and hate to spend. Saving money represents stability and security for me but I’ve already blogged about this so I won’t reinvent the wheel.

Not long ago, I receive this message from Tut.com’s “Notes from the Universe”:

When you spend money, Melissa, whether a little or a lot, wisely or not, do you celebrate that you’re creating opportunities, dancing with life, exchanging energy, supporting economies, feeding families, lessening poverty consciousness, demonstrating courage, validating life, eradicating fear, inviting magic into your life, and lifting humanity higher into the light?”

Yeah…ahhhhh no. No, I do not. I usually grit my teeth and clench the currency tightly in my claw-like hands.  But this message struck me deeply. I had never looked at my spending as feeding someone else’s family, supporting economies or helping lesson poverty.  But it makes sense, right?

So I set out to try and change my relationship with money and lo and behold (AHEM!), there was a ‘problem’ tailor made to help.

Trinity and I had been having ‘discussions’ for months about who was to do the cooking now that life was infinitely busier for the both of us.  First off, let me just state that I don’t like to cook. Secondly, cooking is work for me (conversely, baking is not as I ADORE that!). You have to conceptualize a meal, find a recipe, grocery shop, wash and prep the food, cook it, serve it and then clean up. I do not find enjoyment in any of this. But I need to eat and I have a family that needs to eat so ultimately, if Trinity isn’t going to take a turn in the kitchen, the responsibility lands on my shoulders.

I kind of half-heartedly floated the idea of having a part-time personal chef past Trinity and to my surprise he agreed. As soon as I could shut my dropped jaw, I burned rubber to post a quirky ad on Craig’s List. We had a response within days.

That’s when I started getting nervous. A personal chef? Isn’t that a bit pretentious and extravagant? Can we afford this? I mean, (gulp) doesn’t a chef cost a ton of bucks?

Then we met this young man. It was clear he has a passion for cooking; he is mature, professional, attentive, articulate and wants a better life for him and his new bride. He is a Southern California transplant and knows all about fresh, organic, vegetarian food.  His aspiration? To leave his food related day job and chef for families in the Fargo/Moorhead area.  Well, HELLOOOOO! Answer to my prayers!

We settled on a price and then the Budget Betty (that’s a family pet name for my mammy) in me kept going back and forth on whether we should do this or not. Can we afford it? Can we afford NOT to do it?  Well, we did it (duh) and it has been nothing short of a blessing from God.  He cooks for us once or twice a week and we all look forward to what he creates.

We have had cuisine that I never would have made nor would we have stepped out of our comfort zone to try. We’ve had Thai, German (he made his OWN sauerkraut!), Middle Eastern, Greek and Mexican, among others.  All of these dishes have contained a bevy of fresh vegetables (I found out I LOVE Brussel Sprouts! Who knew?!) and non-meat proteins. My favorite? It’s hard to pick just one, but I loved his Udon soup.  It was part of the first meal he made for us and I can still taste it.

He loves being challenged with ingredients, too.  Well, if you can call my basic palate a challenge, that is.  I’ve asked him to use fresh coconut, organic lemons, carrots and eggs. Wooo! Big challenge, I’m sure! Trinity has asked him to make Cajun  pasta, salmon and pizza.  By the way, he makes his own pizza crust out of Greek yogurt and it is unlike anything I’ve tasted before. I want more, more, MORE!

Is it expensive? Well, I really don’t think it’s something we could afford to do 5 nights a week. To give you some idea, the cost of each meal is equivalent to taking a small family (think three or four, NOT John and Kate Plus 8) out for an evening meal. But for me, the (almost) best part is all the work is done for you, right down to the dishes. It’s nirvana!

Think a personal chef might be good for you or help you resolve a repeated ‘discussion?’ Think you’d like to demonstrate courage, validate life, eradicate fear or maybe invite a little magic into your life (well, gee! When you put it THAT way….)? Well then, here you go. I’ve received permission to share our chef’s information through this blog.

                                   Spencer H.    760.822.2705

Dutch-Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

This recipe is just too, toooooo good not to share. One of the workers at Amanda’s Lady Bug Acres (the Veggie Barn) here in Fargo made these dark, chocolatey yummies for her customers. I was blown away by how rich and decadent they were.

She used, as the original recipe calls for, coconut sugar and unsweetened applesauce in place of the granulated sugar and coconut oil (you know I love me my coconut oil!) I chose to use. I also kept the skin on the zucchini (original recipe called for it to be peeled) and I increased the salt. I made sure I used a high quality pure vanilla extract.

If you buy a normal sized zucchini, you’ll use all of it for this recipe. If you use a jumbo one, you’ll use about half of it.  I buy a couple at a time (at The Veggie Barn, of course!), chop ’em up in my mini-food processor (it has two settings; chop and puree) and freeze them.  I did grate the zucchini the first time but in an effort to save time and my sanity, I went with the ‘chop’ selection on my mini-processor.

DON’T over bake these lil’ guys. They’ll still be good but more on the drier side.  Make sure the center jiggles a bit and to stop the cooking, cut them immediately once you remove from the oven.

I’m still working on the baking time.  It’s about 22 to 23 minutes depending on if I use a tish more zucchini than the recipe calls for.

Another thing, which I didn’t know, is there is a difference between Dutch-processed cocoa and natural cocoa powder (this is usually what we all use). Dutch-processed is stripped of acids making it darker in color which implies it is richer and deeper in flavor. You use baking soda in recipes that use this type of powder. Natural cocoa powder (think Hershey’s) is lighter in color, has all of its acidity and is used in recipes that call for baking powder.   Cool huh?

These are great by themselves or with vanilla bean ice cream.  The flavor is dark, rich and intense and really hits the chocolate craving mark in my book.

Zucchini Dutch-Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from: texanerin.com – August, 2014

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T quality vanilla extract
  • ¾ c unrefined or granulated sugar
  • ¼ c coconut oil – melted
  • 1 c whole wheat flour or whole spelt flour
  • ½ c Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 c grated (or finely chopped) zucchini (about 1 large or ½ of jumbo)
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ c mini semi-sweet (or milk chocolate) chocolate chips
  • ½ c chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, sugar and melted coconut oil and let sit for about 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy), baking soda and salt.  Make sure there are no lumps before continuing. Add the dry mix into the wet and stir gently until combined.  Be sure not to over mix. Fold in the grated zucchini and 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the pan and even the surface with a spatula.  Sprinkle the ½ cup of mini-chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until the middle doesn’t move when you jiggle the pan.  To stop the cooking process, once out of the oven, cut the brownies immediately.

You could store these in an airtight container on the counter for two days, but they won’t last that long.  These suckahs are that GOOD!

Tolerance

My jaw dropped this morning when the media released the story about how brutally and inhumanely a journalist’s life was ended.  My first thought went to his parents; those people nursed him and fed him and tucked him in at night and read him stories and taught him how to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and helped him with his math. They must be in incomprehensible pain. They have emotionally and physically lost a part of themselves in a brutal and horrifying manner. What’s worse (?) the vicious murder of their child, their son, is repeatedly displayed via social media for anyone who wants to watch.  Would you want that?!

Then I thought about a wife or a child(ren) he may have left behind.  This wife was robbed of being able to share her life and to grow old with her beloved. Her child(ren) will not get to hear their father’s voice, feels his hugs or learn from his wisdom any longer.

Then I thought about him, the victim, and the sadness and loneliness he may have experienced being away from those he loves while on assignment…a JOB for pity sake. I thought about the fear he must have had and the injustices he must have endured because he was an American pawn. Then I thought about the humans who committed these egregious acts.

While I understand there are two sides to every story, I just don’t understand why the world seems to be in such a snit. And why do we, the public, need/want to hear about this stuff? For me, personally, it’s overwhelming. To recap, we have children being raped and killed. We have pedophiles and drug dealers in our neighborhoods, sometimes in our own homes. We have parents willfully killing their infants. We have teenagers taking aim on schools. We have sects shooting planes out of the sky and we have militants using women and children as human shields.  It’s in our newspapers, on our radios, televisions and social media. It’s talked about in coffee shops, at dinner tables and for those like me, it reverberates inside my head.

Is it any wonder many believed the world would end in 2012?!

With great sadness (and more than a little disgust for my fellow human beings), I looked at my 2 ½ year old daughter and said, “{Expletive} I brought you into this hell hole. I chose to have you even though THIS is what’s going on in the world. And you chose to come. How are you supposed to help with this? What’s your part? How can you stop all this crap?” She looked at me and said, “Mommy not be sad. Mommy be happy!” and then she burst into a rousing rendition of “Bingo was his name O!”

But somewhere inside my head, I ‘heard’ the much older and wiser version of her say, “Teach tolerance.”

So what is tolerance?  Webster’s dictionary describes it as (among other things): “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.”   Yes, yes! I like that. My mom used to say, “To each his own.”  I, for the most part, did grow up understanding and using tolerance so maybe that’s why this stuff is so difficult for me to understand.

My daughter has a favorite Sesame Street book entitled, “We’re Different, We’re the Same.” I read it to her daily and it often reaches the ad nauseam point for me but she loves it. It talks about how our bodies are different but they are the same.  They “stretch and bend and work and play. They all need food and rest each day. They dance and wiggle and ride a bike. They might look different, but they’re alike.”  It talks about how our skin is different but our skin is the same. It talks about our feelings are different but our feelings are the same, “Lonely, worried, scared, excited, happy, loving, glad, delighted.”

You get it, right? We ARE all the same. We might look different, but we’re the same. We are all ONE. All of our blood is red. We all have a heart and lungs and skin. We all have emotions. We all have beliefs. We all have ‘baggage.’ We were all born and we will all die.

It’s now the end of the day and I’m still agitated. I’m left wondering, in a shell-shocked sort of way, what’s it going to take to stop all this killing and other injustices?  Is teaching tolerance the answer? Maybe. Teaching hate sure isn’t working.