Thursday, February 26, 2015

Some updated tidbits from my commings and goings

I recently moved from Kamloops (interior of British Columbia) back to the Greater Vancouver area where my husband's family resides.

I was not happy about this one bit. But without going into details my husband and I both felt we had to. I am now looking for work as an Occupational Therapist. The job hunting has been tiring but so far ok. There are four health authorities between North Vancouver and our border with the US. Providence Health, Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and First Nations Health. Oh and theres also Vancouver Island Health across the water whom Ive posted a few resumes to. Theres also a huge private health industry here in the Vancouver area but personally they all ask for experience in the public health sector  and/or with experience with case management first and I'm still just a baby OT, so I don't quite yet want to stick my foot in that water (though I'd like to have a go in the future). Ive already had two job interviews and am patiently waiting back to hear from my latest one. Ive also got two other places on my radar that Im keeping my eye and ear on. Fingers cross eh?

I'll admit the break is lovely. Ive had a number of sleep in's. Im back to reading multiple books on the go (which I'll note below). Having this break has allowed me time to do some important things I just not have had energy for, namely, getting my full Canadian drivers license and updating my New Zealand passport and getting some leisurely time to do some exercise. The hubby and I have been living with his parents which has been interesting but Im now getting very very desperate to have our own place again. As most may know of me, Im a huge homebody. Most times I feel very cut into two about my identitty: on one hand theres the persevering academic career woman who loves her work, loves study, loves new info, new research, new chances to network and new ways of doing things. Im easily bored if I am not testing my knowledge and practical skill. One of my faveorite programs is 'The Good Wife' and as much as I like the character Alicia Florrick, the woman I love to watch the most is Diane Lockhart played by Christine Baranski (who also incidently plays the hilariously funny but Spock'ish Mom of Leonard on 'The Big Bang Theory'). Then there's the complete opposite: the idealistic housewife traditionalist who loves 1950s living, cross stitching next to the fire while her husband reads the bible out aloud (yes we actually do that). On that side of my life I like to think I very much model after Michelle Dugger except for the 19 kids, ghastly permed hair and that I have a much shorter temper than her.  

Diane Lockhart: Classy,  highly intellectual and passionate with a dash of ruthless
Michelle Dugger: Very Motherly, patient, multi tasker extraordinare
Actually now that I think about it, I think a lot of women may feel like me about this tug of war between two types of women. I think thats why we're all exhausted. And quite frankly I don't think we're capable of being 100% of the two and reaping the rewards of both. And its near impossible to have a perfectly equal 50/50 on this. There have been seasons in my life where Im about 80% Diane, 20% Michelle (namely college). When I first got married it switched. When we moved to Canada and then eventually moved to Kamloops for my first job, thats when it got tough. Practice practice practice I suppose... 

So anyway, we're back in Vancouver and besides job hunting theres already a few things on my mind Im looking into:
  • Learning a new language (deciding between Mandarin or American Sign Language) Both could be extremely helpful in my work.
  • Our next road trip/holiday to Redwood National Park in California (FYI tallest trees in the world!) Hopefully to occur sometime in the Summer.
  • Completing the Grouse Grind this year. But first I have to be able to walk up the hills in Port Moody without passing out..
  • Learning to cook more Chinese/Japanese food. I state this because Im trying to lose weight, I love their flavours and I note Eastern diets are very high in fish and vegetables and they eat their rice out of tiny bowls. Anyone seen an overweight Asian? They're rare and there's a good reason for that.
So anyway, earlier I said I was reading some new books, heres my current list I'm reading
  • 'Lectures to my students' (complete and unabridged) by Charles H. Spurgeon. Spurgeon was a great preacher/pastor of the 1800s and this book is pretty much a volume of transcripts of his enormously long lectures to his seminary students. From reading this guy Ive become a huge fan.
  • 'Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer was a German Pastor who very bravely stood up to the Nazi regime as a whole and their influence on the Church. Unlike a lot of German's he saw through the subtle lies that the Nazi propaganda machine put out in the early 30s as their foundation for war and genocide and was villanized and eventually murdered on the orders of Hitler himself three weeks before the war was over. An amazing man.
  • 'How to win friends and influence people in the digital age' by Dale Carnegie & Associates. This is a modernized version of his previously well known book of the same name. I started reading this book at the recommendation of a friend of mine to help my job searching/networking goals. The title sounds pithy and lame but the content is excellent and helpful.
  • 'The skinny rules' by Bob Harper. Appalling title for sure. Bob Harper is a personal trainer off the American 'Biggest Loser' series. I don't watch the show as I have a particular distaste of the tv network emphasizing and encouraging the all too familiar scene of reality show back stabbing and gossiping, not to mention I hate that they force the women to parade in sports bra's during the weigh ins. However that said I heard about this guys "rules" I read up on them and they made some logical sense and I appreciate that unlike a lot of others he never enforces one to cut out an entire food group (except junk food). If your curious about what they are heres a link. I think being no carb for dinner has been the hardest for me but Ive been doing it for about a week now and Ive added hill walking to my day so see how we go..
I recently bought some secondhand books in wonderful quality that I plan to read in the future:

I love reading history and as much as I think I know WW2 history back to front reading Bonhoeffer makes me want read it again so I bought this book 'The Second World War' and 'The Victorians' because I want to understand more of the context that Spurgeon was in. Reading the Victorians is a really good lead up because really to understand WW2 you need to understand WW1 and to understand WW1 you have to start with Queen Victoria and the Industrial Revolution. 

Anyway, thats all from me! I'll let you know over time how the new eating and exercise goes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What do make with - Cabbage

Have you ever bought an ingredient for a recipe you don't often make and then you have a ton of it left over and you're thinking, 'ok.. What do I do with this...?' You certainly don't want to let it go to waste (remember that food item you *ehem forgot about at the back of your refrigerator?) Been there done that! Ive recently been challenged when eating my way through the contents of my Summer/Autumn surplus and other items I buy then draw a mind blank on, to find recipes that neither taste or sound repititive.

Cabbage. Now thats a tricky one. I used to hate cabbage - growing up, I often had to eat this 'revolting' vegetable cooked, usually boiled, along with boiled potatoes, boiled silver beet/swiss chard and boiled brussels sprouts (can anyone else say EW). Thankfully I didn't have to eat all those boiled items together. I think it was my family's British food culture that's at fault for ruining this vegetable that I now think is wonderful. Brits seriously don't have a clue except they are pro's at boiling!! Haha jokes. The only time I actually liked cabbage was when it was raw and finely cut up, drowned in mayo and sold in the deli section and then we would traditionally eat it along side our deep fried fish n chips. Best food combo ever FYI. Except now Im not so hot on the mayo drowning. Less is more peeps.

Anyway, so what can you do with a cabbage thats the size of your head and theres only two of you to feed? If you have a family to feed then perhaps this will be easy for you. If you manage to find a half or quarter sized head of cabbage then I suggest go small but wheres the challenge in that? Just so you know when I say cabbage I mean the green kind. So heres five things that I did with mine:

  • Fish n Chips/Corn Dogs and homemade coleslaw
For those Kiwi expats like me who are disgusted with what North American's consider decent fish and chips and have just given up and just resort to eating processed coated fish while fantasizing about a beautiful piece of deep fried hoki. Or also like me you've tried deep frying fish yourself and it turned into a disaster - heres the lazy answer:
Go to your local Walmart or Superstore or whatever chain store you go to, go to your freezer section and find the best quality box of premade English beer battered fish you can find. Follow the instructions on the box. Next, go to your local 7/11 and pick up some corn dogs (or if your such a pro do this home made).  Next, finely slice up some cabbage, carrot, green onion, apple, pepper, add a few sunflower seeds and a light dose of your fav slaw dressing (I like poppyseed or thousand island). This meal is something I do probably like once every two months when I feel a bit homesick. Don't judge me. If you hate the idea of slaw with deep fried food then check out these interesting and healthy alternative coleslaw recipes

  • Perogies with sauteed cabbage, onion and peas with sage/paprika flavored bechamel
My husband LOVES perogies. Its a Mennonite thing that only someone of his gender and ethnic group can get away with eating on a regular basis. I don't mind them on a rare basis as long as theres more vegetables than perogies on my plate otherwise I would gain 5kg over night. If you don't know what a perogy is its pretty much an Eastern European/Russian dumpling filled with potato, cottage cheese, cheese or bacon then served in a butter sauce. I guess those poor peasants had to survive those winters with some kind of body fat to keep them alive while working the fields. Anyway, as we were eating our way through our freezer contents and there was enough for a meal I felt called to suck it up and make it a treat for the hubby and classy it up and add some colour to the meal for myself. I kept it nice and simple: From 1x bag of frozen no name brand bacon & potato perogies, pick out 7 per person (they're filling trust me) and boil til they float to the top of the saucepan then drain under cold water. In a large pan heat a bit of butter and saute an onion, then add the chopped cabbage and peas. Mix in the perogies. In a small sauce pan on med heat, heat a medium sized knob of butter and add 2 Tbsp of flour and whisk quickly. Allow to brown lightly then add a small amount of milk and keep whisking. Keep adding a small slosh of milk and whisk. Keep doing this til you've got enough bechamel to the thickness of your liking (I make mine a bit runny for perogies). Add salt, pepper, paprika and sage. Pour over the perogy and veg and garnish with some sliced green onion. Voila! Make sure you go for a jog the next day or else that meal will stay with you for months..
When I went to Japan at age 16 I fell in love with this meal. Its filling, healthy, unique and very yum. Okonomi pretty much means "What you like" and yaki means "grilled". Its a Japanese pizza (sort of) that they came up with as a way to deal with their leftovers. There are a few varieties but the main kind is owned by Osaka food purists. Its main ingredient is, you guessed it - cabbage. Check out the recipe link.

If you've never made kung pao chicken, *gasp! How could you not? The fact that stir fried cabbage, snow peas and carrots go well with it seems a bit obvious as well..

Another Mennonite/Eastern European classic soup made of beets, tomatoes, cabbage and depending on your recipe version, beef. Either you love it or you hate it. Try it.

Well there you go! Hope you enjoyed this and got some new ideas with what to do with cabbage. Now how to deal with cabbage farts? I'll leave that up to you lol.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Whole Wheat English Muffins!

I have been wanting to make these for such a long time! English muffins are I think are definitely a breakfast food or at least they primarily belong in that group of breakfast foods. Some people are into bagels, others crumpets or pikelets (mini pancakes) and others are just old school and like normal sliced bread in the morning. I love english muffins and whenever I go to Superstore or Walmart I always go to that hideaway little corner of the store (in the bread or dairy section) and theres always a multi tray on wheels with 75% off bread and stuff they have to get rid of by the end of the night to make way for the next mornings fresh breads. So really its only like 12 hours old. Thats still very fresh bread and Im down with hunting these awesome yummy things down. If Im lucky I may even get my hands on some cinnamon and raison bread/bagels or those expensive but tasty loaves of rye bread - score!

Anyway, since finishing some pretty intense (but fun) temp work Ive been in the mood to do some baking and I kept thinking about english muffins. I have two fantastic cookbooks I love to go back to frequently and they are The New Zealand Bead Book by Alison & Simon Holst and The Homemade Pantry: 101 foods you can stop buying and start making by Alana Chernila.


These books are awesome and I can't recommend them enough. If you don't own them, please amend that serious situation, they're worth it trust me. In case your not from NZ, Alison Holst is kind of like our Martha Stewart (but without the snobbery and fraud conviction haha) and she really only sticks to food and not homemaking stuff in general. Her recipes are delicious, homey and are really easy to follow and her other recipe books are fantastic as well. Id go as far to say I like her stuff more than the Edmonds Cookbook (a must have book in every NZ kitchen).

Anyway, with any bread related recipe, take more time out of your day and plan well. For me, getting a recipe wrong really upsets me but what is even worse, is dedicating an entire afternoon to making something and the result looking like a dog's breakfast because I didn't properly prepare or read something. My husband knows when this happens its best to ignore me and hide because a pat on the back and a "there there" just makes me angrier. Control freak yes I know.. Also, if your doing a particularly fiddly recipe that is also new to you, allow for lots of time and patience and make sure your ingredients and tools are set up. Also, the process like allowing the bread to rise will allow you to take a break and have a sit down and drink so don't stress! And do allow for some mistakes. Some ovens don't always match with certain recipes and I had to burn a few muffins here just to figure out what was going on and quickly find an alternative solution which eventually turned out fine. And lastly, try really hard not to compare your end result with a store bought version. Home made versions rarely turn out exactly like store bought versions so just get over it. They have special equipment and machines to make everything look uniformly similar and freakishly perfect. Once you get the hang of doing this sort of thing you'll eventually turn your nose up at a lot of store stuff (like me and pre made pancake mix, blasphemy!!)
I knew I got mine right when I ate a couple of my half burnt ones and the texture was the same to what I know. Judge food first with your mouth not your eyes then once you get practiced then you can worry about how pretty it looks.Below is the recipe. Note, I made a few changes as I wanted to make them using whole wheat flour and I suspect my North American oven is a bit different from NZ fisher and paykel ones so I made a few changes re cooking times and temperatures, but overall its pretty much the same. I also followed the 'By Hand Instructions' and doubled the recipe as I don't own a bread hook machine thing, so follow what best suits you.

For 8 English Muffins
25g butter
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp granulated yeast
2 tsp suagr
2 + 1/2 cups flour (I did 2 cups whole wheat and 1/2 cup of  plain white flour. Never do all whole wheat as it will be far too dense)
1 tsp salt
About 1/4 cup of corn meal

1 large mixing bowl (I used our huge glass fruit bowl)
Spatula (silicone works well)
An apron (unless you want flour on yourself)
Measuring cups
One knife
One small whisk
Dough scraper (very handy, see link so you know what Im talking about)
1-2 cookie/baking trays
Cling film
Cooking spray
Electronic kitchen timer (essential! I bought mine cheaply from Walmart and it works wonderfully)

Bread Machine Instructions
Measure the butter into the  bread machine, pour in the boiling water then leave to stand until the butter has melted before adding the milk, yeast, sugar and flour. Set the machine to to the 'dough' cycle and press 'start'. 

Hand made Instructions
Measure the butter into a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the butter, then add the the cold milk. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar and whisk until yeast dissolves. Lease to stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, until the surface bubbles. Add the flour and salt and mix with a knife by continuously cutting into the mixture until it is all combined (good luck using a whisk! haha). Leave to stand in a warm place until that mixture doubles in size (about 30 minutes).

Shaping and Cooking
Preset oven to grill/broil and the temperature to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F). Using the knife stir the mixture back to its original size, then on a well floured work surface (with just enough extra flour to work with it without it sticking). Keeping dough very soft, adding as little flour as possible, cut the dough into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Roll the balls in cornmeal (to stop them from sticking), then place each one on a cookie tray that is wrapped with cling film and sprayed with a bit of cooking oil. Once all balls are on the tray place in a warm spot again to rise for about 15-20 minutes or until they look a bit puffy. 

In a large oven safe fry pan/skillet, carefully place 4 dough balls top side down (do not oil/grease the pan, trust me), and flatten them a tiny amount with a potato masher so that they are kind of flattish on top. Transfer pan to oven and using a timer (very important must have!), cook for 4 minutes. Then using an oven mit, take the pan out, flip them carefully over and cook for another 4 minutes. You may need to repeat this process as the flipping of sides allows for even cooking. Once they look nicely tan on top, transfer to a plate. And repeat the cooking process with the other remaining balls.

My results
As you can see (on the picture to the right) I made a couple of burnt ones. I also made a couple of undercooked ones. Thats because the recipe told me to do it in a dry fry pan on the oven top with odd cooking times. That process was far too slow quite frankly (Im impatient I know!) So I shoved the pan in the oven and they definitely cooked! ie burnt. So I shortened the cooking times and adjusted a few things (and burnt my hand accidentally) and the ones to the left side of the pan are the result and are in my opinion what they should look like. The ones on the right are unflipped ones.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful to anyone who wants to have a crack at this! My husband happily ate the slightly burnt ones with jam and he still kept asking for more so there you go! Everyone is a winner. 

Eat them with jam and cream cheese or load em up as a sausage & egg or BLT sandwich. Yum!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Vegetarian Lasagne

 Recently watched "Diners, Drive in's and Dives" on the Food Network. I love this show! It pretty much has this bloke called Guy road tripping around the US and visiting (as the title says) diners, drive in's and dives. In other words anything that ISN'T a chain restaurant. People email him places with a fantastic reputation of service, food and flavour and uniqueness and he goes and visits them with a camera crew in tow. Of course don't expect the food he shows to be healthy in any way. Some are, some aren't.

Anyway, on the episode I saw, Guy visited a place called Cafe Nonna in  Nashville, TN an Italian place where the chef and/or owner makes food from his grandmas recipes (hence the Nonna part I suppose).
As what usually happens, I was watching the show when they started talking about vegetarian lasagne, and I quickly grabbed a pen and paper to write stuff down. I later found out the food network has the recipe HERE on their website.
As much as I was enjoying their thing my first thought was that their recipe looked too rich and creamy for me, but I liked the vegetable layers very much and decided to try and make a similar but more simpler bechamel version...

2  butternut squash
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2x  370ml cans evaporated milk (whole not skim)
3x  garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
1  brown onion, diced
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1  Tbsp dried sage
1 tsp paprika  
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 box of dried lasagna sheets
1 bunch of baby spinach, chopped (stems picked off)
1 cup of grated mozzarella

Special equipment: 1 large lasagna pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Cut the butternut squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Place on baking sheet cut-side down. Add some water and bake until a knife slides through the skin and squash easily. Cool and then spoon the flesh from the shell. Mash and set aside for later use.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

In a large sauce pan add 1 tbsp of butter and add the diced onion, mix well and allow to sweat. Frequently stir. After 2 mins add garlic and herbs and paprika. Keep stirring and allow to sweat for another minute before transferring onion mix to a bowl.

Melt the butter in same large saucepan, add the flour and mix with a whisk and allow to brown for 1 minute. Add contents of one can of evaporated milk and whisk the béchamel until all is combined and it begins to thicken. Open the second can and add contents a bit at a time, mixing constantly and allowing to thicken each time until contents are poured in

Spray the sides of the pan with vegetable oil spray. Take 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes and evenly coat bottom of the pan. Line the pan with the sheets of dried pasta overlapping each edge by a centimetre. Spread half of the béchamel equally over the sheets and top with the half of baby spinach.

Add another layer of pasta, then spread the butternut squash over each lasagna.

Then add another layer of pasta on each. Top with the remaining bechamel mixture and remaining chopped baby spinach. Add the last layer of pasta and pour the remaining cup of crushed tomatoes on top.
Finish with the mozzarella.

Bake for one hour.

Take pan out of oven and let it sit for a minute then slice up.

Nb – I precooked my pasta because that’s what I usually do when making my traditional meat based lasagna. As a result the lasagne was quite wet and fell apart easily when I dished it up. On a plus side it was incredibly tasty In this recipe I will presume that it is totally unnecessary to precook the pasta because the cooked squash, béchamel and spinach has so much natural liquid that it should soak through dried pasta sheets and cook it in the process, in that case after the first half hour I would lower the temp a bit lower and cook it and extra 15-20 past the hour. I suppose I should have figured that but now I know.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Honor your Father and Mother... Wha...?

Recently I watched this online sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church (Seattle) from his '10 Commandments' series. I had been eagerly awaiting this sermon with a friend of mine to hear his viewpoint on it. If you want to hear it yourself HERE it is.

Although I always enjoy his hour long practical scriptural based sermons and I totally support everything he said however I felt he only dipped his foot in the area of the question of how do you honor your parents when:

- You don't know either both or one of your parents
- You only have "spiritual parents" (a Christian person or couple in your church who mentor you in a parental manner)
- You are a foster child with "guardians/caregivers" not biological parents
- One or more parent has married again (does that step parent get the same or a different kind of honor as the biological parent they're married to?)
- One or more of your parents is not a Christian (is there a different standard?)
- One or more of your parents have displayed abusive behavior (emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual abuse) towards you, your siblings &/or the other parent. And if they are being abusive in their parenting, to what level do you show respect, submission and obedience as a child/adolescent when doing so will only ensure more abuse to occur?

These are really really hard questions that will take me a while to think and pray on and will probably require me to study into the issue.

To me the verse "Honor your Father and Mother" brings me to mind of deep hurts and devastating shame from the past. I have and still have no problem with honoring my Mother. After Jesus and my husband, she is the joy of my life. Even though I have walked through the process of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, even though Christ bound up and took upon himself my deep wounds I still have scars in my soul from the issues that arose out of not knowing my biological Father while dealing with abuses caused by my Mothers ex husband. 

This man did not abuse me 100% of the time. He did make rules that were not all dishonorable and and maybe in some instances he did act honorably at first. If he was Satan incarnate my mother would have never married him so he must have acted at some point honorably, only thing is I barely remember those instances. If I take away his abusive attitude and look at what he expected of me and my brother at the time I can definitely say that his expectations were high. To say he was strict is an understatement. When my brother joined the army and had to go through a grueling 6 month training period in Waiouru Army base in NZ, he told me after his graduation  that it was an enjoyable walk in the park compared to 10 years of living under our stepfather. And I totally believe him to this day on. This man made the Navy SEALs or French Foreign Legion look like a pleasant excursion at least in our eyes. 

Im not trying to be overly dramatic but that is sincerely how we both felt. And I think neither me or my brother would have absolutely no problem with this military like upbringing if it weren't for the fact that for the majority of the time, our step father did it out of malice, jealousy, fear, cruelty and anger. There was no gentleness, no forgiveness, no grace, no kindness. No love. If there was gentleness it was insincere and manipulated only to meet his needs. He had no servant heart. In his eyes he was under no ones authority, he was the top of the hierarchy. What made it worse was that he insisted on calling himself a "Christian" or as he liked to call it "a God fearing man." No church was ever good enough for him, however if he did meet professing Christians he presented as a very likable, respectable, "spiritual", articulate educated man with a lovely wife and children. He was very intelligent and clever, theres no denying that. He may have spanked us voraciously with a wooden spoon when we were small children, but as we grew intellectually he stopped the spankings before we caught onto the fact of what he had done and tell someone. Instead he graduated onto blackmail, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour and sutble sexual grooming towards me. He built over many years a foundation of terror so that even as intelligent growing adults we would still be emotional slaves to him. 

Meanwhile, as a preteen I was being witnessed to by a wonderful Christian couple who eventually led me by the hand to make a decision about Jesus. All I knew growing up was that God was my "Dad" and accepting Jesus kinda formalised the adoption process. I didn't really understand Jesus, I sort of did but sort of didn't either and wouldn't until I was 20. Anyway, I publically declared myself  a Christian, got baptised and started going to church regularly, got to observe other older mature Christians, read and understood my bible a bit better and grew in relationship with God.

Only thing is, the situation at home got worse. Far far worse. Prior to becoming a Christian myself, my Mum had been slowly, subtly and methodically removed from christian influences by our step father. He started by isolating her from church, then her friends and finally her family (although he never quite managed to get rid of my relatives thank God). He was used to being the sole influencer of our family and me becoming a Christian and opening myself up to godly outside Christians pissed him off big time and kind of tore a bit of that wall down. Thats because he knew the power of mine and my brothers influence, especially mine given the extremely close relationship I had with my mother. So to keep me in check, he used bible verses to keep me under his control - and his favorite verse (you guessed it) was "Honor your Father!!" and the other popular one "Submit to your parents, so that you will live a long and happy life!" 

So what do you do?
You're barely in your teens. You've been systematically put down, harrassed, abused, sexually groomed and terrified over a 10 year period by this person who scares the absolute crap out of you so much he even made you wet your pants in fear (on multiple occasions), he makes you faint and hit your head on the kitchen floor and then blackmails you and your brother to lie to your mother about it. He causes you at night time to scream in silence and dig your nails into your arms. You dream of running out the window, to the nearby playground and hanging yourself on a swing chain just for relief from the anguish. And on a few occasions you have nightmares involving rape, and a metaphorical child being murdered, and upon waking up crying and screaming and he would be there with your mother asking you what you dreamt about and not being able to say anything. What do you do when the bible you view and the God you worship as the biggest authority in your life tells you to honor your parents? To submit to them? WHAT DO YOU DO? 

Submit to them and wait it out right?
No. If you think that, your sadly misinformed and you need some more bible literacy. Unfortunately, I got that answer from a few people when I told them what was going on at home. Not very helpful, considering I was thinking of hanging myself from a swing chain. Not very helpful AT ALL. 
I found an exception clause. Quite a few of them actually. Now, Im not saying this is for everyone. Every unrepentant idiot out there is trying to find an exception clause in the bible for injecting themselves with heroin, coveting at the mall, cheating on their spouse, sleeping with their girlfriend or having an extra curricular porn/mills & boon habit til the cows come home. 

Thankfully and providentially, I had a Christian Therapist at the time who knew all the dirty dark secrets that were going on in my family and everything that was going on. She was brilliant. Firstly, she demanded that I stop thinking about killing myself, and second of all she told me I was not going crazy and that even though I had no physical evidence on my body, I was in fact being horrifically abused and that the judicial law AND Gods law supported me. That gave me hope and for the first time in my life peace of mind

The exception clause is this - Do not submit to evil. Do not honor evil. Do not respect evil. Submit, honor and respect that which is good and healthy. What is good and healthy is a parent who loves and cherishes their child. Abusing a child was and is EVIL. In fact according to the bible its down right satanic. She said, first of all, God is the only God I worship. Not my stepfather. However if he (along with my mother) expects me to maintain good grades, keep my room clean, act civilly, participate in chores, I was to submit to that. I continued doing all the household jobs that he expected me to do (which was no easy thing given the list and expectations) and he also was in the habit of verbally abusing me while I did those tasks but it was now like water off a ducks back. It had no effect. I was strangely no longer afraid of him. Third thing she told me, was that even though I was still in highschool, I had (in her opinion) the maturity and life skills of a grown adult and that legally I could and should leave home with government supports for my safety. She felt that I was getting dangerously close to being physically assaulted by my stepfather (the fact that he regularly stalked me and physically threatened boyfriends was a hint). Just because I had peace of mind and that he no longer was able to blackmail or control me financially didn't negate the risk I was in - in fact it probably made it worse. 

Theres a hierarchy that I often follow that comes from the bible when it comes to submission. the main idea is that God and his Word is always at the top. (If thats not your belief system or worldview bear with me as its mine and important to me)

1. God
2. Government 
3. Church Authorities
4. Father - Mother
5. Child 

If the parent sins in a horrific manner (as in my case), they are not the end of the law. I still submit, but not to them, I go to the next level up. Unfortunately, there are some church authorities that say I should still submit to parent/s even if they are being abusive. That is victim blaming and in my opinion ungodly and unbiblical, and if you ever get that from a church leader I suggest you find another church and Pastor. Technically speaking the church authorities are supposed to deal with the person using church discipline IF they are a Christian as well as call the police (if they broke the law). While my step father was saying he was a christian, any uneducated hillbilly could in fact state with authority - he wasn't. Therefore the next step is government authority - including the police and courts then finally to God.

When I became a Christian I put God on the throne of my heart. He always comes first. He always has supremacy of law because I know his law to be loving and just and because I know and understand that he is my ultimate Father. Capital F.

If you have never known your biological Father or Mother, the God of the bible calls you to forgive their absence and if possible do it in person. It doesn't excuse their behaviour or the hurt they caused, but it helps you to be cured of a disease called bitterness that will go on to infect your own children and grandchildren. Neither is forgiveness a guarantee of reconciliation but an option if possible. Forgiveness only requires you. Reconciliation requires both parties. I have forgiven my ex step father but I can never reconcile with him - mainly because he still believes he has done nothing wrong. And while he is unrepentant it would be extremely dangerous to seek him out. I have on the other hand forgiven and reconciled with my biological father whom I am fond of very much but can never have a parental/child relationship with. Thats not me being mean thats just a consequence of never knowing him til adulthood. I am not a child any more. That stage is over.

If you have a biological parent (or two) who had a history of abusing you and still does, get out. Know that you are not parentless. You are deeply loved and cherished, by the biggest and best  and perfect Father. Thats what makes Christianity so unique. No other "religion" has a loving parental aspect to it theyre all about what you HAVE to do to earn love. Being a Chrsitan isn't about what you do its about whats done FOR you. What you do after that, you do because of love. But you still need to work on forgiving your biological parent/s and praying for them in the hope for reconciliation. But if reconciliation cannot occur that is fine. Second of all, in Gods family you have potential for gaining spiritual parents. I feel during my teens God answered and gave me this. I thankfully had multiple wonderful adult men in my life who unknowingly were showing me that there was an alternative to how men should treat their wives and daughters. And that there were strong lovely wise men out there (otherwise I would have forever thought they were all evil) While I don't think they have the right to expect you to submit to them quite like a biological child you should have a strong enough relationship with them that if they have godly healthy advice or convicting to do, you should humbly consider and if so submit to the advice. But don't put them at the same level as God. Theyre imperfect sinners themselves and should be aware of that.

If you are a foster child, submit to the "parents" the government (as an authority on the hierarchy) have given to you unless of course they harm you in anyway, then refer back to the higher authority - your caseworker, school counselor, social worker etc. And use the links at the bottom of this post to support your argument of abuse.

If you are a Christian and your parents aren't, at the very least, salute the uniform and the fact that God did choose them to be the ones to conceive you. This might come as a surprise to some christians but some of the most loving parents Ive personally come across actually weren't practicing christians at all. At the very least be an example and a witness to them of your relationship with Christ if thats possible. You should still strive to care and provide for them in some way. And always strive to be loving and respectful. 

But if they stumble and sin and ask you to submit to their sin or join them in sin or advocate their sin, thats when you pull out the hierarchy card and look at your other options. You lovingly and boldly say no to them. They'll get angry for sure but thats how  most people react to fair boundaries. They'll get over it eventually. Always try to love. You can say no and still love.

If you've ever wondered about all the different kinds of abuse there are (most often people only think of the obvious physical kinds) then take a look at this link and if you want to know what the cycle of abuse looks like check out this link

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Some days you could say I deal with accent misinterpretation..
Actually, I have to deal with it EVERY day. Thats the downside of living in North America or anyone living in a country thats not their home country and that includes even countries where you both speak the same language.

 Schaeffers Deck Sealant and Caulk (mind the language haha)

I know that that commercial may come off as incredibly inappropriate and just a tad crass. But you know, as much as New Zealanders hate being called Australian and vice versa one thing we do share in common really well is our ability to not take ourselves so seriously and have a good laugh together.

On the other side of the spectrum is where there no language difficulties but people make a snap judgement about your ethnicity because of your appearance it tends to make the person asking sound like a really big idiot like the blonde guy in the video below. Whats interesting is since Ive lived in Canada for a while now, being an immigrant gives me a bit of a peek at the kind of behavior that non white immigrants have to put up with. 

 What kind of Asian are you?

Yesterday I went to a day course at a hospital downtown and the course was on HIV, Mental Illness, First Nations people and cultural safety. And the last topic they spoke on was cultural safety and the first thing they talked about was "white privilege" - a lot of Caucasian people will disagree that there is such a thing but Ive come to notice there is. When I speak to a native white Canadian a lot of them I notice automatically give me "Honorary White Canadian" status in their minds - until I open my mouth. My accent proves Im different and not from around here, and the surprise on their face as they hear me talk is really blatantly obvious.  And as a result they suddenly switch from treating me as their patriotic equal to dealing with their embarrassment by trying to come off as absolutely knowledgeable on everything to do with New Zealand and who I am as a person usually by using Australian stereotypes (think Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan. 

Only problem, they never ask me if Im a New Zealander first they always say really loudly and confidently - "Are you an Australian?!!"  I say no.. Im a New Zealander - A Kiwi (which Ive discovered its useless to go down that road as most Canadians I meet can't seem to get past that there is a bird as well as a fruit as well as a national colloquialism using that word). If theyre bright'ish, they will know where New Zealand is and speak of their boyfriends mothers cousin who visited ten years ago and give me a speel of their version on my home country as if they know more than me and tell me completely false and exaggerated historical information about New Zealand and then get really upset at me when I tell them theyre just a tad incorrect on the details.

My favorite example happened about a week ago, I was talking to a caucasian chap (who was North American, but I won't specifically say whereabouts as we must'nt stereotype ignorance). I could tell within the first five minutes of our conversation that he thought the sunshine came out of his shoelaces and upon learning that I was a Kiwi gave me a detailed "historical" account on the history of the signing of the treaty between the Dutchman Abel Tasman and the Maori King on top of One Tree Hill in Auckland in 1876. I had to try really really hard not to burst out laughing. On the other hand, I once visited the US on a day trip and in the space of a day met three different Americans who were nothing but respectful and polite and on hearing my accent did the right thing and asked (not tell me) if I was a New Zealander. I was absolutely delighted and had a lovely conversation with them and then realized I had caught myself in my own web of hypocritical mess by assuming Americans would have no idea.

Unfortunately New Zealanders are not that great at being unbiased themselves ESPECIALLY when it comes to America. A lot of people back home view America as the big loud mentally retarded bully in the playground called the world and anything or anyone that came from the US is likewise stupid. However they will most often treat Canada as an intellectual ally (as we support their struggle against the idiocy that is called the US while we struggle with our issues with Australia who we most often view as the lapdog of the US.  Of course this is all media inspired judgmental bollocks.  

What I realise even in my own prejudice I forget that I need to keep applying my biblical worldview on these language and racial issues. I believe that everyone including myself is a sinner (ie they have fallen short of Gods standard) but I also believe that prior to the man made "Fall" God also made us in his image and likeness. That means that while Im prone to saying, thinking and doing stupid things, I am also to be valued and be worthy of judgement based on MY character not the character of my country's government nor based on my race or language. Sure my government and culture may influence my character but it certainly doesn't dictate my character. 

Someone back home in New Zealand recently asked me in a very accusatory tone why I would go to Walmart in Washington State and enjoy myself. As if enjoying American low prices made me a turncoat traitor and officially meant that I joined "Camp Stupid." 

You know what the world has both lovely people and not so nice people. From what Ive seen theres an even mix in all countries including Canada, America and New Zealand.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday its FriDAY!!!!

Just thought Id put this out there - why is daylight saving SO long in Canada??
I just discovered the other day, it runs from March to November. Thats a tad long don't you think?
Whereas in New Zealand daylight savings run from September to April. Feels a lot shorter when your in NZ. Probably because Christmas and summer holidays are squeezed into 2 months thus giving everyone a mental break down and having no memory of where the time went and then spending the next 6 months of the year paying off Christmas bills.
Me personally, Im officially ready for the winter months - at least the enjoyable ones anyway, not the depressing endless days of rain but more like this - 

NOT this -