Monday, September 27, 2010

God Lives Under the Bed

I received this story tonight in an email from my mother-in-law.  I'm not sure of the origin or if it's fact or fiction, but what I do know is that it's inspiring.  I have been struggling with a couple areas of life lately (have been thinking about writing about it but haven't been able to convey my thoughts to written words yet) and this made my eyes tear up and put a smile on my face.  I hope you find Kevin inspiring too.
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I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed....'

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Clause is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.

His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others.

His heart is pure.

He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spud (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery)

I'm not sure if I am becoming lazier, busier, or just coming up with ways to be more efficient. Whatever the case may be, I've found a way to embrace all three of the aforementioned scenarios! I remember watching the movie The Net with Sandra Bullock in 1995.  She played a keep-to-herself computer whiz who, in one scene, orders pizza online. 

 "WHAT?!" <--- <--- That's what I said in 1995. "How cool was that?!" Fifteen years later, I've discovered another thing that makes me say "How cool is that?!". I've discovered the world of online grocery shopping with Spud.com (the idea for Spud was born in 1995 btw!).  There are other companies that do this, such as Safeway and Amazon Fresh, but I've found Spud to be the best for a several reasons...
  1. Spend over $40 on groceries and there is no delivery fee, whereas other companies do have a delivery fee.
  2. Spud sells mostly local and organic, and each to next item you can see the farm where your item came from.
  3. Spud delivers any time during the day and will just leave it on your front porch, whereas other companies make you choose a delivery time window (and charge more for a smaller window).
  4. If I remember correctly, I was able to choose the delivery day, whereas other companies gave you no choice.

I have ordered groceries twice from Spud and am sold.  I do, however, go to the grocery store for last minute items or for things Matt prefers.  For example, I was told the organic "raisin bran" I bought tasted like cardboard, so I stick to the regular grocery store cereal for him.  I'm sold on ordering groceries online for a several reasons...
  1. Matt isn't with me when I go grocery shopping, but when I order through Spud he's here at home and I can ask him questions such as "Do you want me to get some bananas this week?"
  2. While grocery shopping online, I can pause if I need to answer my phone, use the restroom, or grab a drink of water and then resume my shopping. 
  3. I don't have to load and unload the car...which usually ends up being in the rain here in the Seattle area.
  4. I love getting anything other than bills in the mail; cards, books, clothes, and even groceries!  It's like Christmas when the groceries arrive and I get to unload them!
  5. I can create "lists" on their website, and also view past orders if I want a reminder as to what I ordered before.

Don't live in the Seattle area or the following areas?...
  • Portland
  • SF Bay Area
  • LA and Orange County
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Vancouver Island, Canada
  • Calgary, Canada

...Check with Safeway, Amazon Fresh, or another grocery store in your area.  Happy grocery shopping from the comfort of your home and "YAY" for supporting local farms!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Portobello Parmigiana


Portobello mushrooms are an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3), which is important for DNA repair (helps keep your digestive system, eyes, skin, and hair healthy) and helps your body turn carbohydrates into energy.  Niacin also aids in raising your HDL (high density lipoprotein) or "good" cholesterol.  We usually get enough from our diet, so don't run out and start taking niacin supplements becasue in excess doses it can be toxic to your liver.  One portobello mushroom has more potassium than a banana, and potassium helps the human body maintain normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle and nerve function.

Not only are these large mushrooms good for me, this is comfort food for me! With the way the weather has "turned" the last couple days with record-breaking rain (in Seattle, mind you), I crave hearty and warm meals like this.  It's a recipe from TheNest.com magazine I received in the mail last year and have already made this keeper a few times.  A "nestie" requested "a vegetarian dish a meat-&-potatoes spouse will eat".  Trust me, under the gooey pile cheese is a huge portobello mushroom waiting to be devoured and even though there's no meat in this one I honestly don't think you'll miss it.  I paired this with some steamed broccoli (calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and fiber) and a spinach salad (fiber, iron, protein, and MANY more!) with cucumbers, red peppers and carrots.

What you need:
  • 4-6 oz dry spaghetti (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour (1/4 cup is really all you'll use)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I used grated)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (I use the rest of the jar on the spaghetti)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbl fresh basil, chopped (I forgot this, even though I had it.  I'd say it's optional)
What you do:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.  
  • Scramble egg with salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Add flour to another shallow dish.  Combine panko, Parmesan and melted butter in a thrid dish.
  • Dip mushroom caps into egg, dredge in flour and then coat with panko and Parmesan mixture.  Place breaded mushrooms on a baking sheet and top each with 1/2 cup marinara sauce.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella on top of each mushroom cap and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Divide spaghetti between two plates and top each with one portobello.  Garnish with fresh basil (optional).
Happy, healthy eating! 
Please let me know what you think if you try it out!