Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life Lessons From Running

Last weekend I accomplished my running goal for 2013. 

I ran a timed 10 km race.  I wasn’t first, but
I wasn’t last, and I passed a few people along the way, so all in all I was pleased with my accomplishment.

When I started running two years ago I couldn’t even run four minutes in a stretch. 
It’s been a lengthy training and strengthening process and I’ve learned a few useful tidbits on the journey. 
Here are some lessons gleaned from the last two years.

1.      Endurance is key, not speed - keep a slow steady pace

2.      When you think you can’t go any further…you can

3.      There are things to be thankful for even in the midst of pain

4.      To get your mind off your struggles, talk to God

5.      Set incremental goals

6.      Celebrate small achievements

7.      Psychological discouragement will come – plan in advance how to defeat it

8.      Positive thoughts energize, negative thoughts sap strength 

9.      Perseverance in the midst of trials will get you to the finish line

10.  Have a strategy for long term success – if you don’t have a plan you’ll never reach the goal

11.  Make time for what’s important.  Don’t compromise that time.

12.  Achieving a goal takes discipline.  Keep showing up, even when you don’t want to

13.  When you have a problem, don’t blame outside influences, do a self-assessment and see if the problem starts with you.

14.  Cheer people on, it keeps them going

15.  When you’re 3 km from home, in desperate need of a bathroom, and your muscles don’t want to work anymore, don’t quit.  The fastest way to the bathroom is to keeping running.

I’m not sure if that last one is particularly helpful, but it’s certainly true!

I’ve expanded on some of these lessons over the last two years in earlier posts.  You can find them under "Running" in the archive or by following these links:
Are there lessons on this list you can apply in your life?  Please share your thoughts by clicking on comments below.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Blessed To Serve

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  This is one of my favourite holidays.  The air is crisp, but the sun shines warm. 

Leaves glint golds and browns and flutter to the ground where they make a satisfying crunching noise as I walk; bringing a smile to my face.

I pause this weekend to read some of Ann Voeskamp’s, “One Thousand Gifts”.  And I record things for which I’m thankful in my own list of one thousand gifts.

My thoughts go back to this past Wednesday evening when my husband and I, along with other staff from Shine FM, the radio station where I work, helped serve a meal at the Mustard Seed.

The Mustard Seed is an organization in downtown Edmonton helping people in poverty by providing a hot meal, clothing, and personal items.

It’s something I’d never done before and I was unsure of what to expect.  But God challenges us to step out of our comfort zone to serve others.  This is how we learn and grow.

We chopped and scrubbed and cooked together as a team, and when it came time to
serve the meal, the Mustard Seed staff opened the doors to their building.  People filtered through the food line, friendly, grateful for the food and our service.

Some faces stand out in my memory…

  • A gentle looking man who spent his time after the meal sitting alone at a table, engrossed in a book.  Was this his chance to relax after a long day?  A few minutes of captured peace in a stress filled life of survival?
  • The fellow with a twinkle in his eye who, when I asked how he was doing today responded, “As fine as a hair on a frog”…I laughed, “that’s pretty fine”.  He laughed back and agreed.
  • The man who warned us not to get to close because he had pneumonia and didn’t want to make anyone sick.  My heart goes out to him.  I’m sure all he wants to do is curl up in a warm bed, but there’s no hot meal at home, so hunger drives him out.  I offer up a prayer of healing for the man.

  • The elderly lady who quietly comes through the line.  I see her walking alone down the dark street when we leave and I wonder what sort of life she’s had.  Why is she at The Mustard Seed instead of home with her children and grandchildren?  I offer a prayer for her safety on the dark streets of Edmonton.

  • The middle-aged man who comes through the line and tells me just seeing my smile has brightened his day.  I’m humbled that something so little seems like so much.

  • The children who come with their parents because there’s no food at home.  The staff brings out toys so they can play after the meal. 

People eat together, and talk about their day.  They share their lives with one another.  This is their community.  Most of these people have homes but have to choose between paying rent and buying food.  There’s not enough money on the wages they earn to do both.

The staff tell us some come from across the city for the meal.  Sometimes it’s not just about the food, sometimes it’s about the companionship.  People are lonely and The Mustard Seed provides social nourishment as well as physical.

After the meal we clean up and head back to our lives.  But a little part of us has been touched by the community at The Mustard Seed.  In serving, we have been blessed.  And this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for that.


Have you served the poor?  How did it make you feel?  If you haven’t would you consider it?  Please share your thoughts by clicking the link below.
If you’d like to support the Mustard Seed go to .

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Schmoo Torte

In celebration of the release of lactose free whipping cream, I give to you....

Schmoo Torte

If you're from the province of Manitoba you've probably heard about this delightfully, delectable dessert.  If you're from any where else you're probably wondering what I'm talking about.

Picture angel cake meets chiffon cake, filled and wrapped in whipped cream, and topped off with a decadent home made caramel sauce.

Can you say YUM...and GIVE ME MORE!!!!!

Lactancia brand has released a lactose free whipping cream, so all those off limit desserts for people with lactose intolerance are now back on the menu.

Now if only I could say fat free...NOT!

Looking for a relatively easy dessert for Canadian Thanksgiving next weekend?  Look no further...Schmoo Torte is here!

8 egg yolks

8 egg whites
1 cup white sugar (divided in half)
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Spray the bottom of an angel cake tube pan with Pam.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat eggs whites until almost stiff.  Gradually add cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of the sugar.

In another bowl beat egg yolks until light and add remaining sugar and vanilla.  Fold into egg whites.  Now fold in flour and baking powder.

Fold in chopped nuts.  Pour batter into pan and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn upside to cool. 

When cool remove from pan and cut into three equal layers.

500 mL whipping cream
3 tbsp. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Whip the whipping cream and sweeten with sugar and vanilla.  Spread between layers, restack the layers, then cover top and sides with whipped cream.

250 mL whipping cream
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Put whipping cream, butter, and brown sugar in a small pot.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool.

Just before serving drizzle some of the sauce over the torte.  Serve remaining caramel sauce on the side for extra yum factor!