Have courage…

There’s a word that has kept cropping up for me… whether in my thoughts, my prayers, my chats and discussions, my lectures, my reading, my downtime… well, you get the picture… it’s always there.  The word is COURAGE.  It’s a word that I frequently used, but I never really dug deep down and wallowed in the experience of courage; the sensation of courage; the action or display of courage… until now.

Courage is often thrown around as a description, or offered up as a compliment, and even displayed as a marketing tool.  Courage is something that EVERYONE experiences, not just those that fight wars, battle cancer or stare down a bear.  Courage is executed everyday by the child that tries to make new friends or is trying to find their way in a new school (which can be very daunting). Courage is executed when we make a decision – it could be a lifestyle change:  buying or selling a home, applying or starting a new job, making a commitment to another individual for life or even ending that commitment.  Courage is there when you decide to have a child and courage comes ten-fold when you rear this lovely little being into adulthood.  Courage is required and is that silent weapon that we use every day, but strangely enough, we take for granted.

The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, searched for it… only to be told by the Great Wizard… “All you need is confidence in yourself.  There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger.  The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” 

I urge you to recognize courage when you see it in yourselves and in others.  It’s not an easy thing – you need to look for it.  It doesn’t always come charging in on a battle cry. Sometimes it can be deceptive.  And sometimes it’s just a quiet voice urging you to try again.  Either way, courage is a tool we use every day.  So for those of you that are going through a personal battle, a loss, a hardship or difficulty… don’t discourage… Have courage.  Life is not without its trial and tribulations.  When we are challenged to face adversity, it takes courage to continue and that’s exactly what we are here for  What we are built for.  We all have it.  Sometimes we need to share it.  Sometimes we need to find it alone.  Sometimes we just need to find it again.

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Greek Lentil Salad

Summer is upon us and I have been ask share the recipe for a standard “go to” salad that I have been making for a few years now.  I believe I found it in a magazine while at my Mother-in-Law’s for dinner… I have since tweaked it to my preferred taste buds.  Bo… this one’s for you!

I thought I would include a few little health tidbits, for you to appreciate what this recipe has to offer and why I rave about it:

This Greek Lentil Salad is a great source of fibre, iron, manganese and folate (aka Vitamin B9 or folic acid).  Folic acid is needed for the proper development of the human body.  It’s also water-soluble, which means the body does not store it – so we need to consume folic acid everyday to ensure we have proper amounts of it.  Lentils are also very high in fibre and have more protein than almost any plant source.

Vitamin B9 is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy.   Lentils are one of the best food sources of slowly-digested carbohydrates and resistant starch. This means the starch that lentils contain, slowly convert to glucose and the starch does not get digested in the small intestine.  Eating foods in “high resistant starch” improves your colon health and promotes healthy bowel flora.  Eating more lentils can also improve glycemic control in diabetics.  If you are diabetic, than you may want to go with dried lentils and boil them, as canned lentils tend to have a higher glycemic index.

The overall goodness of this salad is tremendous.  I haven’t even touched on the health benefits of olive oil and lemon juice (but that’s for another post). This salad is not just delicious… it’s a win-win for your body.  As we say in Polish, “Smacznego!”

GREEK LENTIL SALAD

Serves 10 (1 kg)

 1 – 19 oz can  (540 ml)             lentils, rinsed and drained

½ cup            (125 ml)                calamata olives (or pitted black olives)

½ cup            (125 ml)                red onion, chopped

1 ½ cup         (375 ml)                grape tomatoes, halved

½ cup            (125 ml)                yellow peppers, chopped

1 cup             (500 ml)                cucumbers, chopped

¼ cup            (50 ml)                  feta cheese, crumbled or chopped

¼ cup            (50 ml)                  olive oil

¼ cup            (50 ml)                  lemon juice

1 tbsp            (15 ml)                  dried oregano

1.        In a large bowl, combine lentils, olives, onion, tomatoes, yellow peppers, cucumber, feta cheese.

2.       Whisk oil, lemon juice and oregano together in a separate cup.  I like to add a pinch of salt, to taste.

3.       Pour dressing over salad and toss gently to coat. 

4.       Can be eaten right away or covered and left in fridge to marinate for 2 hours before serving. 

The original recipe said that the salad can be made a day in advance, but I find the vegetable lose that fresh, crisp look about them.   Enjoy!

 

 

Let the summer begin…

Okay… so it’s been a good four months since I opened this blog.  Haven’t been in the head space nor the mindset to write anything.  I thought that it may be writer’s block… but I continually have ideas and thoughts that run through my head and think to myself “I should post that”.   Truth be told, I’m tired. I’m exhausted – mentally and physically – and I just need to wait this out.  Maybe having this update to post will be the catalyst that spurs on more posts.  We will see.  In the meantime, I vowed to myself that I would no longer chastise my lack of contact or news.  No news is good news, right?  and what a great segue for my next sentence: 

I had great news yesterday… My appointment with the Oncologist was a positive one.  Although my tumour markers have been rising steadily over that last seven months, my CT Scan showed containment.  My favourite sentence is now becoming “no significant interval change”.  Both the Oncologist and myself were more than pleasantly surprised – relieved would be my choice of words.  So I am still on my “maintenance plan” as I like to call it.  Steady as she goes.  

There seem to be more rough days but these ones are different than what I have experienced in past.  I have chronic pain now and they’ve confirmed that I have rheumatoid arthritis throughout my body.  I am more scatterbrained than ever (hecklers at the back can quiet down now).  All this will just be a new adjustment for me.  Although I must be honest, it has been trying at times… (most times).  Lack of sleep is a detriment to one’s mind.  It causes postpartum in new mothers, it weakens the immune system, it messes with the cognitive and reactive times – physically and mentally.  But that just means more reading and research to do and this too shall pass. 

I am scheduled for bloodwork in early September and will see the Oncologist again mid-September.  He has not ordered another CT Scan as he wants me to be off the radioactive syrup for as long as possible.  He will monitor the bloodwork for now.  In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful summer.  Fill it with laughter and love… peace and tranquility… memories and lunacy… take every opportunity to tell someone you love them… forgive the ones you don’t… and be thankful for every day that you are given.