Friday, March 1, 2013

Seven Somewhat Random, But Not Quick Takes

The First Random -- and yet no so very random thing on the list today:  It's the Feast of King St. David of Wales!  Dewey San Day! Good King St. David is the patron of all Davids and all Davises out there, our surname having been taken by our ancient Welsh ancestors in honor of  the great saint.  So, we're festing today -- a little bit.  Kinda.

Because ( and this really stinks) King St. David's feast is almost always in Lent.  And this year it's also on a Friday. (To add insult to injury.)  So, in celebration -- as much as is possible -- we'll have potato leek soup tonight for dinner.  Not exciting, but with some bread sticks -- and daffodils for decorations,  I expect we'll make a good time of it....  And it will work with my diet pretty well (more on that later down the list.)

But, back to St. David, himself.  Though the verifiable facts are few, what we do know about him makes for a honey of a life story, start to finish.  He was (no kidding) the child of a nun, he was a king, a bishop, the founder of a monastic rule -- and he lived to the venerable old age of 100 (give or take) in one of the most beautiful places on earth (and the homeland of my ancestors, though that surely doesn't bias me).

On my bucket list, should I ever get to be a world traveler, are the beautiful hills and valleys of Wales (conveniently right across the Irish Sea from my number one bucket list destination, Ireland -- the home of our other ancestors...).  I'm dying to see St. Non's Chapel and Holy Well (St. Non is St. David's Mother--  and what a story that is! Click the link for the specs!), St. Govan's Chapel, built into the cliffs on the Irish Sea in Wales (Amazing, awesome place!), St. David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, Wales (Breathtaking!), and  Llanddewi Brefi, the Welsh village in which the hill rose under St. David's feet so the folks in the back of the crowd could hear him speak.  Those are the holy places. But I'd also want to check out the site where the movie The Man Who Went Up a Hil and Came Down a Mountain is based --  Taff's Well (Ffynnon Taf in Welsh)...  And maybe hunt around for some geneological clues to both my maiden and married names.

To read the truly fascinating (and even somewhat strangely sordid) story of the life of St. David, you can check out this post.  (There's a really nice coloring page over there for the day, too!)
For another project, you can find an easy daffodil bunting totorial for here.  (Leeks and daffodils are symbols of the day -- for that quirky history, go here.)

And for the day, as well -- a tiny bit of an exception to our Lenten voluntary sacrifice (we gave up desserts as a family), we'll be having some of these after our leek soup:

Traditional Welsh Cake recipe

1/2 lb flour (200 g)
1/2 lb self-rising flour (200 g)
4 oz butter (120 g)
4 oz lard (120 g)
3 oz currants (100 g)
3/4 cup sugar (175 g)
1 tsp mixed spice (5 ml)
1 tsp ground nutmeg (5 ml)
1 large egg

Sieve flour and spices into a mixing bowl. Add butter and lard (Crisco if you don't have the real thing) and mix until the mixture forms crumbs like when making pie crust. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients.

Crack the egg in a separate bowl and add to dry ingredients, mixing well until it forms a ball.  Add a bit of milk if the consistency isn't quite right, but be sure not to make it too soggy.

Roll the dough out on a floured board to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (1/2 to 1 cm) thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter.

Heat and grease a heavy cast iron frying pan and when the fat has melted, wipe off with a paper towel. This leaves just enough non-stick for a help; the cakes produce their own "non-stick" with the butter and lard. 

You'll know when the pan is hot enough to start adding your cakes when you can hold your hand just above it for a minute.

Fit some cakes into the frying pan and wait until they're a mottled golden brown color.

Turn the cakes over and repeat on the other side. They are better cooked quite slowly (about 3-5 minutes each cake).

EASY Welsh Cake Recipe

3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. raisins
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
Mix shortening, sugar and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients and milk. Roll out dough quite thin. Cut with cookie cutter. Fry in frying pan at 350 degrees -- about 3 minutes on each side.

So here's something weird/ amazing/ crazy.  Though I gave it up for Lent, I have in the past months become a total Pintrest addict (Thanks, Cheryle M! ;0) Pintrest, Pintrest, Pintrest; Oh, how I love Pintrest. I literally have thousands of neat ideas, inspirations, recipes, and pretty scenery collected on my boards for that moment when we all know I will need them... If nothing else, just to look at and admire....  But, really, though...

We have used many of the recipes we've found on the boards, we've laughed at a lot of the jokes and silly videos and even used a couple of the craft tutorials.  The marshmallows pictured above, though? -- We never made them.  Though they seemed to be a super easy and clever little treat for St. Valentine's Day, we just didn't get around to it.

Nevertheless, from this one pin, I got 1,324 repins!  Like, WHAT?! No kidding! Valentine season is well over, and I'm still getting repins for these marshmallows.  Boggles the mind.

I wonder if anyone actually made them?

(PS:  Find me and follow me and I'll find you and follow you!  And here's the link to the marshmallow pin, if anyone wants it...)

The White Board.

Bad photo, I know, but I had to acknowledge that Dominic is thee master of the
White Board.  It 's his medium of choice.  He got the ball rolling
when he was home this summer and fall with his White Board
Challenges -- and it's just continued from there.  Sometimes
sublime, sometimes silly, thre's usually a work of art on there
 in some state of completion.  Here are a couple of the more sublime:


This one's Theresa's.  You can see what she's into, huh?
And now on the Board: Cathy's offering for Lent.
Nobody wants to erase it, so it'll be there the duration
of Lent.  Probably with added background.  I expect we'll see
something new on Holy Saturday... I'll let you know.

We give up the Netflix and DVDs every year for Lent.  It's a good exercise, for sure -- as it really does force you to change your routines, theoretically, for the better. But I'm blowing it a bit, I'm afraid.  Heaven knows, if I used the time I'd usually be watching I Love Lucy and Fact or Faked to do spiritual reading I'd be much better off.  Not that I haven't done any spiritual reading so far this Lent.  But I've not been doing as much as I could be doing.  Because -- well, I gotta come clean: what I've been doing with my spare time is reading perfectly useless fluff.  Silly stories, Amish romances, children's ghost stories, historic novels of the Irish Rebellion.... And not just casually picking up a story here and there.  I've been Reading, Reading, Reading...  Voraciously.  Nonstop. With no will power to put. the. books. down. (Ugh.  I'm so embarassed.)

So... Uh.  Hi.  My name is Lisa Davis and I am an obsessive bookworm. Out of the closet and on a rampage. I went through a twelve ten step program with the births of our children and maintained an almost novel-less state through the subsequent twenty-five years of diapers, dinners, housekeeping, and  homeschooling.  Stayed un-read for most of my adult life because I literally did not have the time to get into a book --   The Reader's Digest, blog posts, and kids' read-alouds, and dips into the Lives of the Saints were just about my only exception except on the infrequent slow holiday or the occasional snatches of books while hiding in the bathroom...

   But I know -- and I admit it:  I have a sickness. I was aware of it from the age of nine when I first read Charlotte's Web, followed immediately by Stuart Little, followed immediately by The Trumpet of the Swan -- and finished them all within a week and a half.... And it hasn't gotten better with age.  It's disaster for me to even start a novel of any size because  I can. not. leave a story unfinished.  Nope.  Gotta finish it to the bitter end. Eat while I read, barely function while I read, read late into the night, then dream about what I'm reading until I wake up and get my hands on my book again.  I could get away with my book mania when I was still in school, but with my busy life and many duties now as a grown up wife and mom, I've known it's best not to even start a book. There was always the danger of losing control. With determination to avoid temptation, however, I had been un-read and obsession-free for almost twenty-five years.....

 Until this Lent.  Then -- sigh--- I don't know what got into me. I fell off the wagon.  

Now I have to decide (in the midst of the wild and insatiable euphoria of  the books, books, books and more books available on my Kindle) whether to wean myself slowly -- or (dread!) cut the gratuitous reading off cold turkey.  Pray for me.   Now that I've tasted the forbidden sweetness again, it's gonna be hard.

Something else I saw and pinned on Pintrest....
This house and its overbearing mountain friend 
can be found on the south coast of Norway.

What do you think?  Would you live there? 
I would not live there.  Even if it were safe, I'd always feel like something was hanging over me... I love checking out houses, though. Since I seem to be in a frenzy of disclosures here today, I may as well admit that I'm also addicted to: 
 I can waste more time looking at houses I'll never live in in places I've never even seen... Or, who knows?  Maybe houses that I might live in -- in places I might yet see...  I don't know.  God knows.

(Oh, dear. Is it starting to look like all I do all day is sit around pinning on Pintrest, perusing house listings, reading silly novels, and eating bonbons?)

They'd have to be sugar free, gluten free bonbons...

So, yeah....  As I foreshadowed above. (Did you catch that?  Twice, actually.)  I'm on a diet.  Again.  This time, though, it's was not really to lose weight (at least that was not the officially stated primary purpose...) 
In order to allow my other health regimens to work better, minus critters and a systemic yeast infection, I put myself on the Candida Diet.  Since I've had what has been loosely diagnosed as  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I've tried everything to get back to normal, physically and mentally. And as much as I'd like to be able to hike up mountains again, it's the mental thing that's got me motivated to go for the hard-core, take-no-prisoners diet solution that seems necessary. It's bad enough being tired and achey all the time, but the brain fog that comes with this condition is really the pits.  I've made some headway with the naturopathic plan I've been on and will continue with it, but it seems that something is holding me back from recovering as quickly as I could.  But, God is good (and I'm assuming He'd rather I had my brain back, too....).  Recently, after a tip from my health provider, I read about Candida and took the quiz -- and was ten for ten (and then some) on the symptoms. It was an AHA! moment.

 If you have symptoms like fatigue, brain fog (inability to think clearly), muscle aches, stomach and digestive problems -- you may want to look into this, because addressing the Candida has made a night and day difference -- for me, anyway! Almost immediately.  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I have way more brain clarity, feel better, in general -- and, get this: as a side benefit, I've lost ten pounds in two and a half weeks!  Woot! (As my son, Kevin would say)

There's a catch, though.  With the Candida Diet you can eat almost nothing. No kidding.  You can't have grains, no dairy, no sugar of any kind, no fruit -- no happiness (as my son, Dominic quipped yesterday).... But, I feel much better without those things right now.  Except for the happiness. I still like happiness -- just have to find it in places other than sugar and carbs.   And you can see where the weight loss came from.  Argh.  It's hard. Lent to the power of ten this year.  But worth it.  And, like Lent, it won't last forever.  

Why We Do Lent

"Doing penance for one's sins is a first step towards obtaining forgiveness and winning eternal salvation. That is the clear and explicit teaching of Christ, and no one can fail to see how justified and how right the Catholic Church has always been in constantly insisting on this. She is the spokesman for her divine Redeemer. No individual Christian can grow in perfection, nor can Christianity gain in vigor, except it be on the basis of penance."
 -Pope John XXIII

"Lenten practices of giving up pleasures are good reminders that the purpose of life is not pleasure. The purpose of life is to attain to perfect life, all truth and undying ecstatic love – which is the definition of God. In pursuing that goal we find happiness. Pleasure is not the purpose of anything; pleasure is a by-product resulting from doing something that is good. One of the best ways to get happiness and pleasure out of life is to ask ourselves, “How can I please God?” and, “Why am I not better?” It is the pleasure-seeker who is bored, for all pleasures diminish with repetition."
 -Fulton J. Sheen 

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist." 
-Pope St. Gregory the Great

"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God."
-Thomas a Kempis

"Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps."
 - Jesus Christ
    (Luke 9:23)

(Just reminding myself here... ;0)

Blessings All!
Make sure and run over to Conversion Diaries for lots of Quick Takes
(Undoubtedly most are quicker than mine and less myopic, I'm sure...
My apologies. :0/ Once I feel caught up again, maybe I'll be able to look outward better.)


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