Sunday Offering

Sunday Prayer

 

I come to you at a slant, like a reverse sunbeam

from self-imposed exile. Was it easier with manmade ladders?

I’m not sure my sincerity always showed up.

Does it disappoint you that I am not in a row 

with the rest, doing my best to fit in, and failing?

 

Do you mind if the familiarity of sameness and routine 

has been cast aside in favor of singing praise

to you like falling rain or as the trees, simply by standing? 

 

I don’t want to hurt your heart 

or muddy your name with my red-lettered life. 

If you asked me if I loved you I would tell you 

I do and always have done.

 

Saints are called so for a reason and I am not one. 

Just a person with a few parts missing 

or in need of repair, coming to you 

looking for love and absolution. 

 

Some see you as dead as Zeus. 

Some don’t see you at all.

I see you everywhere mothering, fathering 

tending. Winsome and kind.

 

It is how the wind breathes into the hair of firs and 

the light gleams down on the dead brown grass.

How the birds return in spring and fly away again in the fall that I know. 

 

Perhaps my tears really are in a bottle that you keep. 

Perhaps it does matter to you if I bleed. 

Perhaps you will forgive my trespasses and 

welcome all the versions 

of myself that I present to you. 

©2018/by Kim Zimmerman/All Rights Reserved

 

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Links I Love

Here is where I will share a few links of podcast episodes, blog posts, websites, TED talks, new books, etc. that I favorite each week. Refresh your imagination and fill up your inspiration tank. Happy weekend!

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Srini Rao’s The Unmistakable Creative Podcast is definitely on the top of my new favorites. (It’s not a new podcast, but one I just started listening to.) I’ve been inspired to think differently and encouraged on my nontraditional path of living creatively.

The first one I listened to is with Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful and The Last Safe Investment: Spending Now to Increase Your True Wealth Forever, both which I ordered second-hand copies of as soon as I finished listening. Spending Now to Increase Your True Wealth Forever isn’t really about spending, but it is about investing, about taking a risk and being willing to live differently in order to have a meaningful life. I sent this one to my son, an Uber-creative person in the hope that he listens too.

The second one is with Kate Swoboda: The Courage Habit. She is the author of a book by that title as well as a life coach who has a training program for other life coaches. In this podcast, Kate talks with Srini about facing our fears and acknowledging they exist, but not letting them run our lives. You need to hear this! I can’t wait to read her book.

In honor of National Poetry Day, here are two blogs that are pure poetry:

Caliath.com is poetry blog from a fellow WordPresser. I’m so glad I found it! This poem is a lovely pick.

David Whyte just released a new collection of poetry: The Bell and the BlackbirdI can’t wait until my copy arrives! Also, view David’s TED talk here.

And lastly, two posts on the importance of poetry: Why Poetry is Necessary by Elizabeth Alexander and How Poetry Can Change Lives by John Burnside.

 

Happy National Poetry Month!

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Mulling

 

Is it outside myself, whatever I reach for

or will I find it by seeing what I already hold in my hands.

Recognizing raw and real and rock solid the substance

and courage to climb the next hill and the one after that.

 

It is what I have–the choice to be on fear’s leash

or turn and drag fear behind me, trembling

with every step forward. Looming failure is a facade

full of hot air. Terrifying beforehand, but

 

once I’m there, facing him, I only need acknowledge his presence

and he deflates, shrinks down until I fold him up

and put him in my pocket with the others.

Or, depending on the day, simply step over him and walk on.

 

©2018/Kim Zimmerman/All Rights Reserved

 

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Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe

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I grew up in an Italian-American family where it was considered a sacrilege if one ate canned pasta sauce. Ever. In fact, I never ate canned sauce unless I happened to be at a friend’s house. My mom, who is not Italian, diligently learned how to make amazing “gravy” as we all called it, from Italian women in my dad’s family and friend group. This gravy always included meatballs and often, sausage. She didn’t make marinara sauce very often, which is a quick meat-free sauce, and when she did, it often seemed over-acidic to me.

 

When I decided to follow a vegetarian diet nearly five years ago, I knew I needed to find a good marinara sauce recipe; one that was rich, garlicky and had just the right balance of acidity and mellow mouthfeel. I bought Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, and liked her marinara sauce recipe. I’ve tweaked it a bit and here is what I make once a week to use on pasta and homemade pizza.

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As I almost always do with recipes, I give you an amount range for a few ingredients. For example, if the tomatoes you are using are sweet and not too acidic, you might not need all the sugar or milk. You also might prefer a less garlicky sauce, so use less garlic. Cooking has a lot to do with personal taste, so adjust it to your liking.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup of water, approximately
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond (optional)
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil, chopped (optional)

In a thick-bottomed pot on medium heat, heat the olive oil, add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds until it turns golden, stirring and watching it carefully to prevent burning.

Add water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any garlic that might be sticking.

Add tomatoes and the salt through milk, and bring to a simmer, stirring gently to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.

Adjust seasonings. Add fresh herbs if desired.

Notes and Options:

This lasts for about a week to ten days in the fridge.

It can also be frozen and thawed for a later time.

Feel free to add dried fennel, basil, thyme, or other dried herbs you prefer.

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A Little Island Addition (Juice Recipe)

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My eyes are doing so well these days! It’s not that I don’t have to be careful when I want to open them when I wake up. I still proceed with caution and a bottle of eye drops in hand, but I have not had an extreme episode of corneal erosion since I started juicing again last month.

Do I get tired of washing, peeling, and cutting up vegetables and fruits and cleaning the juicer afterward? Yes, of course I do, but I just have to remind myself of the alternative (extreme eye pain, puffy, scratchy, red eyes, light sensitivity, migraines…loss of productivity) and then my perspective becomes clearer. It’s a very small portion of time and energy out of my day and the benefit of eye health far outweighs any inconvenience. I’m so thankful for the simplicity of the solution.

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Because my eyes are what I am mainly treating with juice, I’m always using carrots as a base, but this week, for some variety, I added pineapple. So here is the recipe; it makes about three pints, which lasts a couple of days for me and Alan. Feel free to cut it in half.

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  • 10 carrots, tops cut off
  • 4 cups, peeled and cut up pineapple
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
  • 2 oranges, peeled and halved
  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 pear, cut into large pieces

 

Enjoy!

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Starting My Aromatherapy Education

 

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I was a teenager when I first bumped up against the likes of Lavender and Patchouli and a host of herbal and homeopathic medicines that my friend’s mother used in their home for common complaints.

In my late teens I decided I wanted an herb garden. As I worked at a bookstore, I read books on herb gardening and herbal medicine and was fascinated to learn how to make my own lip balm, salt and sugar scrubs, body butter, and more using natural and plant-based ingredients.

When I was raising my children, I read books on homeopathy and natural medicines so that I could limit my kids’ exposure to pharmaceutical drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter. For everyday things like colds and coughs, trouble sleeping, minor earaches, insect repellent, and immune-system building, I went to Nature as often as I could. My kids roll their eyes even now, but I believe it was better for their health.

I also made some of my own cleaning products, incorporating essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus and lemon into my recipes. Cleaning a bathroom or mopping the kitchen became almost a delight because of the pleasant aroma of the oils.

This past December, I decided to join Young Living as a member, which enables me to purchase their products at a discount and also allows me to directly sell to others. For the most part, I am delighted with the quality and ease of use of all the essential oils and blends I’ve purchased. That said, there are other reputable companies that sell essential oils and I purchase from them as well.

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As I began to read Young Living literature and the information that is spread around the internet about essential oils, I felt a need to start an education in aromatherapy. I needed to learn how to safely administer oils to myself and loved ones. I wasn’t completely sure what are the best practices for making blends, butters, salves, balms, etc. But I wanted to learn what those were if I’m going to continue to sell natural body care products.

Looking up recipes on Pinterest is fine and most of the time I love the results, but I clearly needed to know how much and which oils to put together and why.

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Just because a substance is natural doesn’t mean it can’t harm you. (I’ll blog about this subject more in an upcoming post.) And when I’ve heard the dosing advice, particularly for internal use, that friends of mine have been given, I wince, thinking about the possible harm they could be doing to themselves in the name of essential oils and natural remedies/wellness. This can give aromatherapy a bad reputation. Any one of us who sell essential oils or make and sell aromatherapy products owe it to our customers, friends, and family to do this the right way.

Within weeks, I realized how ignorant I was and decided that I wasn’t going to take an essential oil company’s word at face value. Not that I’m assuming they’re lying, but ethically speaking, receiving education from an institution of learning, rather than a commercial enterprise selling the product they’re educating about, seems more responsible. I needed to go to school and that’s what I’ve been doing.

I signed up for two free webinars with Andrea Butje at Aromahead Institute. Following those, I enrolled in two online classes at Aromahead. I also signed up for a free 18-hour online class from New York Institute for Aromatic Studies taught by Jade Shutes. I’m thoroughly enjoying this class and am considering enrolling in classes there eventually as well. My goal is to at least become a Level 1 Certified Aromatherapist so that I am knowledgable enough to formulate my own blends and products for sale, and to be able to use aromatherapy for myself, family, and friends in a responsible manner. And who knows where this path will lead?

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Finger Lakes Wines I’m Loving

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I seem to be on a foodie trail lately, so I’ll just go with it. I wanted to share my current favorite local wines with you. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Finger Lakes Region, you already know how much fun we have here. New wineries seem to spring up overnight around these lakes.

Last year, for Mother’s Day, we went over to Keuka Lake to Hunt Country, Dr Frank’s, and Heron Hill for a tasting at each. That was my first time at those wineries and I enjoyed interacting with the staff, tasting their delicious offerings and the views of Keuka Lake as well.

So here are my late winter picks:

Wagner Vineyard’s Vintner’s Riesling is one I picked out at Trumansburg Wine & Spirits about a month ago and immediately fell in love with. Sorry, out-of-towners, but you can only purchase this at local stores. Which means you will have to come visit! It’s a great price and easy to pair with light meals.

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Six Mile Creek Vineyard’s Ithaca Red is all berry jam and spices. Yum. This wine was one of the only things I could sample at last year’s Downtown Ithaca Chili Festival. It’s a fun wine to share with a friend on a cold day.

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Hector Wine Company’s Soul White is a semi-dry blend that I enjoy drinking anytime. Alan and I brought a bottle to the first Big Mean BBQ that we attended together to drink along with our fare from the Silo Food Truck. So it brings back happy memories for me whenever I taste it.

Hector Wine Company’s 2016 Riesling is their semi-dry wine that Jason served us after our show there a couple of weeks ago. Cheerful, fruity and perfect for a celebration.

There you are, dear readers! It’s Friday, so pick up a bottle of fabulous Finger Lakes wine, make a delicious dinner and enjoy your evening.

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