A Call to Rebuild

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately remembering… remembering my childhood, specifically.

For every good memory I have, there’s a jar of heartache that sits beside it. That’s what comes from growing up in a dysfunctional family: laughs and good times are never far from terror and tears.

Thankfully, my heartaches were covered years ago by a gracious God. Now, in my adulthood – in this place where I stand as a woman, wife, parent – I know without a doubt that those that walked me through my early years did the best they knew how. I take comfort in that – comfort in the fact that none of the heartache was maliciously inflicted… it simply came with the territory in a land of brokenness.

Now that I am farming my own land, however, it’s my past perspective that wakes me up to the bitter roots I need to diligently purge from my present ground: chaos, selfishness, envy, fear, pride, separation. These are the roots that shoot up through the toughest of concrete, destroy the path, and cause others to stumble along the way as they follow in my footsteps.

My goal is to be a rebuilder of the broken roads I walked, thereby giving my children steadier feet, brighter eyes, and wider wings than I was ever given. I want them to step boldly, confidently…

I’m sharing this today because I’m in a season where I’m face to face with a 12-year old young lady coming up behind. She is strong, she is beautiful, she is determined… and, for all my good intentions, I often fail at being the love she needs. When struggle ensues, I find old ways of relating well up in my chest: I harden… I get weary… I shut down.

I hate it. I hate feeling like I’m perpetuating the cycle of my past!

But, the good news I’ve learned – and the truth that keeps me going – is this: every moment is a gift and a chance to change. Every moment is an opportunity to be more patient, to love more, to have compassion, to offer kindness, to rebel from the the junk of my past that I swore I would never perpetuate. No matter what I was born into or ‘born to be’… I have a choice: I can continue to walk a broken path… OR, I can choose to rebuild.

I can ask for forgiveness.

I can exercise self-control.

I can be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

I can be love.

Brick by brick. Moment by moment. Word by word.

Rebel on,
Elisha

It’s Valentine’s Day: Eat Sexy Quinoa

Okay, since it’s Valentine’s day and “love is in the air” as my 5-year old proclaimed this morning, I must post a sexy quinoa recipe.

Yes, I said “sexy quinoa”. Did you know it could be so?

Well, when you pair it with some foods touted as “aphrodisiacs”, there is nothing ‘blah’ about this favorite superfood of mine. To the contrary: what you get is a sexy, flavorful, spicy, ‘I want some more’ salad you’ll want to make over and over (whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not).

Lookie lookie:

A Sexy Quinoa Salad with Pomegranates, Basil, Ginger, Banans, Honey, and Crushed Chili Peppers

A Sexy Quinoa Salad with Pomegranates, Basil, Ginger, Banans, Honey, and Crushed Chili Peppers

Here are your ingredients… and, if you click on the links, you’ll learn why each ingredient is prized as a ‘sexy’ food:

  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1 small fresh banana, sliced into quarters and then diced
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, diced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • a sprinkle of dried chili pepper flakes (how hot can you handle it?)
  • 1 TBS honey and a splash of water
  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Warm the honey and water in the microwave for about 15 seconds so that it is pourable, and pour it over the salad.
  3. Stir thoroughly so that all ingredients are coated in honey.

It would make a great pre-dinner treat, or a really nice dessert salad to cleanse the palate.

Hey, maybe you just make it because you’re man is on his way home and you need a little pick me up before he walks through the door.

However or whenever you eat it, ENJOY… and love, love, love being with your man.

Happy Love Day, everyone!

Rebel on,
Elisha

You Are Wanted…

love your man If you are married, can I tell you something?

Your man wants you. He wants every inch of you. He wants to love on your body and hold your hand and nuzzle your neck and grab you close.

You know what else he wants? He wants you to want him!

He wants you to love on his body and hold his hand and nuzzle his neck and grab him close.

Just like you wish your man would appreciate and respect you, he’s dying for you to appreciate and respect him.

He’s longing for you to say, “You are a good man – and I’m so glad I married you.”

He’s wishing you’d say, “I’m dying for you to put those manly hands all over me and make me feel 25 again.”

He’s dreaming you’d say, “When we put the kids down tonight – we’re getting naked and “watching a movie”.” (Notice I said “watching a movie“.)

Our men need us desperately. They need to know they are needed, and appreciated, and that without them our lives wouldn’t be the same.

I told my man jokingly the other day, “I think you guys are perpetually 15: you just need to know we think you’re really hot, that you’re really good at stuff, and that we think about you all the time.”

“Yep,” he said. “We are pretty simple.”

Why am I saying all this? Because life is hard… and, as a mom and a wife and a friend, it’s really easy for me to get wrapped up in ‘my’ stuff: what I need, and what I want, and what I wish he’d do or not do. (I’m also saying it because we can get all wrapped up into good food and eating well… but then we forget that what really feeds our spirit is LOVE!)

But it’s not about me… it’s about US… and, most importantly, it’s about my kids.

The kind of wife I am to my man is speaking volumes to my girls about the type of wives they should be someday. So, with this in mind, I LOVE MY MAN.

I love him unconditionally.

I love him when it’s easy… but I love him when it hard, too. (Because what good is it to love only the lovable? Anyone can love who is lovable… but the greatest love is shown when we love the unlovable.)

I love him through my tone, through my words, through my time.

I love him by taking care of my body and my mind… and by remembering that just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I need to be ‘a mom’. He married a woman – and a woman I shall be!

Am I perfect? Of course not. None of us will ever be perfect.

BUT, what I never let myself forget is that little eyes are watching our love affair. Little eyes are learning from our example what love looks like; little ears are hearing through our tone and our words what love sounds like. Our love affair is the first one they will ever know… and will be what they take into the world as the standard.

Can I just encourage you today that, if you are struggling with your man, take a minute and remember why you married him.

Remember the tingles you felt when he’d call you.

Remember what your first kiss was like.

Remember the excitement of your wedding day and how you never wanted to be apart.

Remember the woman you were when you married him – and how you captivated him with your smile and your touch and your warmth.

Remember how it felt to be in love… and then – choose to love him. And, keep loving him. One day at a time, one word at a time, one moment at a time.

Rebel on,
Elisha

A Recipe for A Florentine Love Story

I am in love with a good, good man. Truly. And, we are just a few months away from celebrating the birthdays that will officially take us into the season where we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart.

We met when we were a wee 20 years old on a junior year study abroad program in Florence, Italy.  Yes, Italy. I was the island girl with the tough talk and half shirts; he was the tall, lean football player with a mop of hair and quite demeanor.

Firenze, Italy 1994

Firenze, Italy 1994

We didn’t like each other – but we sure enjoyed each other’s company. When we were together there was no pressure; we could could just talk about life. About weightlifting. About family. About dreams and hopes.

He taught me how to eat sunflower seeds by stashing a handful in my cheek. We’d pass hours on trains seeing who could keep a bottle cap stuck to their forehead the longest. We’d walk to classes together. Sometimes I’d meet him after class and surprise him with a slice of his favorite pizza; once he brought me the most beautiful calla lilly just because he knew I had had a hard day.

Capri, Italy 1994

We traveled together. We ate together. We confided in each other. We walked to and from classes together. We sat in piazzas on warm days doing homework, and drank wine late into the evenings in ancient Florentine pubs. We slept on trains, on beaches, in caves; we went to museums, and bull fights, and the Mediterranean coast – all just as two friends on an adventure.

And then… we fell in love in the midst of it. He went from being my friend… to being the only thing on my mind – and he’s never left.

Why am I telling you this? Because, no joke: there is something about this quinoa mandarine ginger parfait I just made that took me right back to the streets of Firenze.

A Florentine Love Story
Quinoa with greek yogurt, fresh mandarine oranges, crushed almonds, honey, and ginger.

Maybe it was the sweetness of the hint of honey, or the burst of citrus, or the crunch of the almonds with the spice of the ginger. Something about all of these flavors and textures coming together has me 20 again – and overwhelms me with the sweet lightness of falling in love in Italy. I have been pulled out of the grey of the day… and, oh man, I am counting the minutes ’til I see my hot man walk through the door.

You need that too? Well, here’s what you’ll need for this yummy dish:

  • heaping 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 mandarine orange, peeled and divided
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (I use a microplane zester – and, if you don’t have one, it is a MUST.)
  • 2 TBSP rough chopped almonds (I put 1/4 cup of whole almonds into my mini Cuisinart processor and grated on high for about 15 seconds and saved what I didn’t use for later)
  • 1-2 TBSP coconut milk

Mix it up, present it to yourself in a beautiful bowl, and dream on, girlfriend. Dream of love, dream of warm days ahead, dream of planting a big kiss on your man when he walks through the door…

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

“The First Step to Love” Salad

Wow – ever since Quinoa Week ended I have been dying to share more, more, more recipes with you! If I had it my way we’d be filming recipes every night… but, life gets in the way, you know? I mean, my sweet man not only did all the filming, he was also staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get the videos edited. After the “week” was over, we felt we had jet lag – yet, without a vacation tan; and, with three children that “lifestyle” just isn’t sustainable. LOL.

With all that said, I promise we’ll keep the recipe videos coming – just one a week, though. So, I hope you’ll come back every Monday and see what we’ve thrown together!

In between the videos, however, I WILL be posting photos and recipes (and, of course, I can’t help myself: some thoughts on this “rebel” life we’re trying to lead.) And the first photo/recipe I want to share? A little salad I call “The First Step to Love”.

Why the “First Step to Love”? Because this salad is the perfect way to introduce your man to quinoa. It’s so funny to me how many guys I know that, over the last week, have said: “My wife better not make me eat rabbit food.” BUT – they haven’t experienced the “First Step to Love”: a quinoa salad with BACON. (I wish I would have thought to post this before Valentine’s Day, but better late than never.)

Yum.

So, here goes – this recipe will make two side-servings:

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 10-12 dried dates
  • 3-4 TBS crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 strips of cooked bacon, cut into bite sized pieces (not bits)
  • 3-4 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put your dates into a small fry pan with just a little bit of water barely covering the bottom of the pan. Bring the water to a sizzle (which should take less than a minute), turn the stove off and cover the pan. Let the dates sit and soften in the steam while you…

Wash and dry the arugula, then roughly tear and put into a large bowl.

Drizzle the balsalmic and the olive oil over the arugula. Stir to coat.

Add in the quinoa, the goat cheese, and the BACON.

Dice up the softened dried dates and toss into the salad.

Continue to toss the salad together until everything is coated.

Serve salad onto two beautiful plates and serve your man. (It might help if you have something sexy on, too.) Tell him it’s the “First Step to Love”… I have a hard time believing he’ll turn up his nose to that “rabbit food”.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. I cook my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. It’s the BEST way to cook the stuff… it gets it perfectly crisp!