Saturday, September 20, 2014

PSA: you're not alone

There is much darkness in this world. If you are hurting, deeply and profoundly, and it seems you'll never escape it, and if you try to it will just make things worse... those are the demons talking. Whether these demons are literal or figurative is not for me to decipher. The bottom line is that, whatever they are in a given situation, they LIE. They want you to suffer alone and hopeless and absolutely sure that nobody can understand or help. They are wrong. Your inner torment, your horrible secret, is never so extreme that it can't be shared and healed, but that knowledge is power the "voices" don't want you to have.

The real secret that those lying S.O.B.s don't want you to know is that you are loved by people around you and the Creator of the Universe, even if you can't see it. Those "demons" will do ANYTHING to stop you from understanding this. If you make a decision to get help, they will double their efforts to sabotage you. Someone once asked the great evangelist Charles Finney, "Do you really believe in a literal devil?" He responded, "You try opposing him for a while, and you see if he's literal or not."

It is very hard for most of us to ask for help, almost impossible if you're a man. It's part of the Frontier Code to be self-reliant. What we forget is that the Frontier Code also includes a lot of group support, like getting together to erect barns and houses, maple sugar boiling, harvests, childbirth, defending each other from bandits and other predators, and other events we should always be ready to help with.

If you have children, please, please teach them and model for them that there's nothing weak about asking for help, especially if it's with something serious. Tell and show the people close to you that you are always there to lend an ear if they need to unburden themselves. Will this end all personal suffering? Will it fix everybody's problems? No, but it might help somebody get to a place where they feel they can share the load.

Sometimes, no matter how much a person is offered help or told and shown that they have a "safe place" to find help, they fall under the constant onslaught from the darkness. Yesterday a friend of mine lost her spouse, and I lost a friend, to that oppression. I'm still in shock, but not so much that I can't be sad and angry.

Just remember: the darkness fears the light. The demons don't want you to know they're always, always running scared. [Mark 1:24] This is why they're so nasty. There's nothing like a cornered predator to show you a fight. You don't have to fight alone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chicken & Rice: the new, healthy version

And now, for something completely different: food!

Mom used to make a version of this that probably originated with a Campbell's soup ad in the 50s, since the principal ingredients other than "chicken" and "rice" were cream of mushroom and chicken gumbo canned soups. Oh, and a package of onion soup mix. I grew up on this and it's great hot or as a leftover (hot or cold). However.... packaged soups are full of really unhealthy ingredients. In the last few years I've noticed that I have serious GI issues after eating it, so I stopped making it. The other day I asked my spouse what some of his favorite foods were, and "chicken and rice" came up, so I decided to try to re-invent this thing without all the pasteurized milk, bad sodium, corn syrup, wheat thickener, MSG, and who knows what else. I think it's pretty darned good. Our local Costco is now carrying organic chicken, so it’s even better!

Remember: none of this is set in stone. Want to add peas? Hate mushrooms? Think it needs some celery seed? Go for it.

Oven to 350°


2 cups of rice (I use brown, but you can use whatever you want)
4 cups of water & 1 tsp. bullion paste, or 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken stock
Half a large onion cut into chunks
2 carrots, diced
Some sliced mushrooms
2 celery stalks, diced
Some paprika
2 packages of onion soup mix (I use Trader Joe’s, because it isn’t full of weird stuff)
Chicken pieces, as many as you want to fit in there.


In a 9x13 or equivalent baking dish/pan….

-  Stir up everything but the chicken and one of the packages of onion soup mix until distributed evenly.
-  Sprinkle some of the second soup mix on top.
-  Place the chicken in, pushing into the mix slightly.
-  Sprinkle the rest of the soup mix on top.
-  Cover with foil and bake for two hours. Take it out and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.