Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Calling all artists

The newest rage, and I mean RAGE, is Old Navy's white cotton sweatshirts that read "Young Aspiring Artist", only, artist is colorfully slashed out with the words president or astronaut written in. Now, before we all get ourselves in a Starbucks red cup tizzy, let's just put down our batons, ballet shoes, and paintbrushes, and take a deep cleansing breath. I saw this ad this morning...before I saw the hubbub...and thought it was perfect. Reason: I took it to mean that we are looking for artists to BE president, astronauts, etc. I saw it as a call for creativity in positions for which artists are seldom encouraged to even consider pursuing. I know we are all artists to some degree, but don't we, now I'm talking to those of us that claim our art as our main profession, often muse on how the world would be a better place if artists and artistry were in the forefront? I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. That shifted over the years, and, yes, along the way, I've heard the , "Oh, you're a professional singer?...that's nice." What about everything else? I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm a baker, a cook, a seamstres--alright, alright, that one is a blatant misrepresentation--an accountant, a peacekeeper, an architect-they're legos, but they're a big deal-a friend, a teacher, a colleague, a co-worker, an actress, a singer, and the list goes on and on. I get it, artists are constantly fighting for validity, I use the term fighting loosely, since most of us are pretty peaceful people. So, let's take a second and think positively. Heaven knows, that's what this world needs. Oh, and I think a few more artists in high places is a phenomenal idea. Heck, maybe I'm gonna go get one of these shirts, you know, to announce my candidacy for POTUS.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Red kale soup: don't let the name scare ya away

There aren't many rainy days in Tucson, especially COLD rainy days, so, when there are, a girl's gotta monopolize on the opportunity. I decided that nothing makes a rainy day better than a great, hot soup. Nom.

I'm not one for specificity in measuring, but I'll tell ya exactly what I go from there.

2T avocado oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 yellow pepper, small dice
2T minced garlic
*Sautee until onion and pepper are soft
2T Thai red curry paste
1-2 tsp ginger (fresh would be great, but I didn't have any on hand)
10 jalapeno rings, diced (again, fresh would be great, but ya do what cha gotta do)
Stir together 'til veggies are evenly coated.
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes w/jalapenos
1 can tomato sauce
7 c water
2 c Turkey broth from Christmas turkey
8-9 carrots, sliced
Stalk of celery, chopped
Stems from 1 head of broccoli, sliced
1 bunch red kale, coarse chop
2T Red Boat fish sauce
Bring to boil. Cook until veggies achieve desired tenderness.

1 can coconut milk, return to boil.

*Optional and highly recommended:
Cook 1-2 chicken breasts up as prepping your soup. Let sit 5-10 minutes. 
Dice and add to finished soup.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To fat or not to fat...or is it TOO fat or NOT too fat

There is something that has been perplexing me a lot lately. It seems that there is this sudden trend of fatness. What I mean is, I see people boycotting books because of the use of the word fat. I see people blogging because they are fat (their words, not mine). And we are bombarded by TV shows helping people overcome their fatness. WTF--what the fat?

Apparently, some people are very concerned over the use of the word 'fat' in early education curriculums. They think that it sets a bad example and that it is "damaging for children of this age group". Really? Sometimes, I feel like fat is a four-letter word, you know, the bad varieties, but it's not. Some people are fat, I prefer just sounds cuter, and some people are thin. If we are going to freak out over the use of fat, then when will it no longer be acceptable to use the word thin? Just throwin' it out there.

Now, I realize that the "fat" adjective can be very hurtful, first-hand, but, let's be real, it's going to happen. So, how about we, as parents, aunts, get the idea...teach our children how to be kind. I'm not promoting that there be an influx of books about "fat" puppies, "fat" kitties, etc. I simply think that sometimes things are taken way too fat...I mean, far. Freudian slip...perhaps.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the full-bodied embrace of, well, being full-bodied. Big. Beautiful. And who am I to argue? I am a full-bodied woman, but that's not all I am and that's definitely not all I'm about. I don't mean to imply that these people are only good at being "fatties"---again, their term, not mine, but I don't get the OK-ness with their physicality. Can't we LOVE ourselves, regardless of the number attached to our waistband OR, heaven forbid, the number on the white square of doom located in bathrooms worldwide? I think that's what this all boils down to for me.

It seems that we either hate "fat" or we ARE "fat", but I propose that there is a middle ground, that is in no way associated with our middles. We can be fat, we can be thin, we can be too fat, too thin, or somewhere in the middle, but ALL of that can change. We can change. How about we focus on the inside, you know, the soft jelly fillings...I mean, feelings. Self esteem comes in all shapes and sizes, but it is NEVER wrong to strive for something better. I have plenty of friends that are at healthy weights that ssstrrrruggle with their self image/self worth; so, while they work on their insides, metaphorically, of course, I work on my outside.

Don't be complacent. Don't feel as though you're stuck with the body you are currently housed in. There's ALWAYS hope!! If you love your body, then keep it, but don't settle because that's just how you are...cause, let's be real, it's not. Oh. my. word. YES, I went there!

That's why we're all obsessed with those reality shows concerning extreme weight loss. No. You're not obsessed. Oh. My bad. Maybe it's just me.

Now, are we all supposed to be twigs? NO. When reality sets in, there is always something, concerning our health, that we can be doing better. BUT even beyond that, we're worth so much more than "fat" or "thin". I mean, I'm pretty sure you are cause I know I am. I'm a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a teacher, a singer, an artist, a creator, a child of God...yep, that last one's the kicker. I'm divine, you're divine, so let's just focus on that for a bit....or....forever!

~Happy in the middle, and striving for the top, Kenz

Funny story: I once told someone I was from Idaho to which they responded, "Yeah, you definitely look like pioneer stock." I had to chuckle (I find it much better for the soul than crying or taking offense).

At least they didn't call me "fat"...someone done brought 'em up right (said in my best southern accent).

I can tell ya that this 40+ pound heavier version of me was 
in a much darker place than...

this 40+ pound thinner version. And my hubby, after 60+ pounds lost, is also feelin' much better about himself...and let's be real, we both feel great 
about each other. Hubba hubba hubby! :D

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp Thankful

So, I've decided that I'm going to start a weekly tradition in my home: Thankful Thursdays. Why? You ask. Well, it's because I always have these moments of, "Oh, I need to drop her a note in the mail," or "I have got to write that down," etc. etc. Therefore the creation of Thankful Thursdays. This Thursday I was able to write some thank you notes and make some caramel brownies for my heroes from a couple of Sundays back when Bowen had his tooth---less adventure.

Now I find myself thinking, "What about the other days? I don't want them to feel left out." Well, I'm not going to name them or anything...Wacky Wednesday, French the urge, but I'm hoping to be more conscious of what's going on around me and take note every day. There's a reason for this sudden yearning to be doing something important every day: eo you realize that my baby with the cutest teethy smile is 13 1/2 AND my baby girl is leaving for Girls' Camp on Tuesday? Yes, folks, it's true. Where did that time go? I remember, vividly, rolling my eyes at my mother when she'd recommend that I soak it all in because time flies...well, much to my dismay, she was right. Ugh. I joke...sorta :D

This brings me to another note: Keragyn gets to go to camp next week; Yay. But seriously. Gavyn has been going camping for around 4 years now with various scouting adventures, and I've never really had an issue. (There may have been some worrisome tears shed when he left for his first whole-week camp trip, but who can remember for sure? :) Not sure if ya know, but fires are blazing like crazy down here in AZ...and I'm not just referring to our scorching temperatures. Unfortunately, these fires, and the extremely high risk for more fires, has caused a shut down of all of our forests...including Mt. Lemmon, the usual campground for Girls' Camp. Some stakes have canceled camp but our fearless leader, Dana Elmer, has gone through the ringer for our girls and found a legit camping experience. The problem: it's FOUR hours away. I am super stoked that Keragyn is going to get a real girls' camp experience for her first year, but I am seriously a little panicky about how far she's going. Gavyn has travelled much farther...but, apparently I'm just stressing about my baby girl. I may also be realizing just how much she helps me out; I'm extremely, blessed to have such wonderful children. I'm gonna miss her terribly!! EEeeeek. I'll be fine. Feel free to bring me some comfort food to help me through it. :P

Funny side-note: Keragyn, referring to her new camp location, says to me, "Mom, we have to use port-a-potties...ew." To which I, oozing with nothing but love and compassion responded, "I know. I'm stoked that you get to experience real I got to experience EVERY year I attended camp." I'm not bitter, not at all.

Grateful I'm a mama, Kenz

Monday, June 20, 2011

Boy Meets Table

Oh, how I love Sundays, and this Father's Day was no exception. It was a beautiful Tucson day filled with typical Sunday preparation: baths, fancy hair, the choosing of what to wear, etc. Then we went to church.

I am the new ward choir director, a calling I've had in the past, and I am really enjoying it. There is quite a turn out for choir in this ward, which is ALWAYS a blessing since usually people are "too busy". Now, I don't mean that as a chastisement for those that are legitimately busy, it's just that some of us are busy...clipping our toenails, catching up on the game, etc. It's all about priorities; this is coming from one who is currently working on her own priorities as well. Well, we had a full choir yesterday and they sounded BEAUTIFUL! Really! It was amazing, and, since it's my first time directing them, I'm as pleased as punch.

Moving on to Sunday school. The lesson was on hypocrisy and focused on 4 of Jesus' parables. I love the parables, even the ones that seem to be directly at me...and not in a good way. The lesson was so insightful and I really felt the spirit. I have already been trying to overcome my own little hypocrite inside, so this lesson was both helpful and hopeful for me because I know that as long as I'm aware of my shortcomings and willing to keep on truckin' and weeding out my garden, if you will, that I'll be O.K.

Then Relief Society...definitely an inspired lesson today...well, for me, at least. The lesson was on talents. We had the opportunity to chat with our neighbor and discover some of her talents. My neighbor was Sister Melanie Jeffries. I asked what her talents were and she totally deflected---I'd say that's one of her talents, the art of letting someone else be in the spotlight---and got me talking about myself. Anyone who knows me knows that, at this point, she was doomed. :) Anyway, I really enjoyed talking with her. She is truly a humble, obedient, and faithful daughter of our Heavenly Father. Truly and inspiring woman.
    Well, RS got over and I was chatting with someone at the door when, all of the sudden, I hear my name. Now this wasn't the typical name calling, this was a frantic, commanding, "MACKENZIE". I looked and saw Carrie Seegmiller carrying Bowen toward the bathroom; she was holding a hand over his mouth. I thought he was puking...if only! Well, I ran after and got to the bathroom. That's when I noticed the blood. Oh em gee-whiz, she moved her hand and I saw into his tiny, blood-filled mouth, and that was that. I was a goner. I was instantly crying and in shock. *DISCLAIMER-I never thought I'd be one of those mothers that gets wimpy when tragedy strikes one of her children...I now have compassion for "those mothers". I was a mess. At this point Jen Ball (angel), Kelli Riggs (angel nurse), and Matt Slivka (dentist extraordinaire...and my own personal Superman...pretty much forever) came to my rescue...and Bowen's rescue. They took him into the bathroom and started to assess the situation.

I'd like to say that I got things together and that was that, that, however, was not the case...I may have had another episode of shock. C'est la vie.

I finally did get control and went in to the bathroom. Dr. Slivka assured me that it looked worse than it really was. They had Bowen pretty much cleaned up, and then they showed me the tooth. The entire little tooth. Wow! It came clean out. Long little sucker. And it left a gap in Bowen's bottom row of teeth; Dr. Slivka assures me that everything is fine and that the gap will be filled when he's...wait for it....wait for it....10 or 11. Awesome. We're gonna have some pretty cute school pics fo' sho'. Matt said, "Every time you see that gap just remember how grateful you are that it wasn't one of his front teeth". AMEN!

I'm not exactly sure what happened in the nursery, and, honestly, I don't really care. Accidents happen. However, I do know that Carrie Seegmiller was in the right place at the right time and I am forever grateful; she saw the table falling and ran for it. She caught it at the same time that it hit Bowen; I can't imagine the damage that would have been done had his little face received the full impact. So grateful!

So, you see, the lesson on talents...inspired. Carrie--calm in the storm. Jen--compassion and reassurance. Kelli--healing hands and heart. Matt--healing and precision. All of these people showed compassion, kindness, and charity. I am forever thankful for them and their talents!