Sunday, November 25, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. What I would say to my 13-year-old self

What I would say to my 13-year-old self




Here I am on my 13th birthday. Nice glasses, huh? The cake looks better. :)
 
You may recall I asked four questions in the last post.

1. First, try and sum you up in about three sentences, if you feel you have a calling, that kind of thing.

2. What does living an authentic life mean to you? Where in your life do you feel the most authentic? The least?

3. Can you describe a situation you have experienced wherein you felt you were being asked to be less or different than who you authentically are? How did you respond? Do you have suggestions for others who may find themselves in a similar situation?

4. If you were to go back to, say, your 13-year-old self right now, and tell her what you wished someone would have told her or that she would have already embraced (maybe she already had) at that age, what would it be?

As I was writing these questions for Gina, I realized I had some answers of my own. In particular for my 13-year-old self.

-Always speak your gut truth, compassionately and respectfully.

-See, feel, honor, and respect your emotions, and allow yourself to express and release them, whatever those emotions are.

-Trying to make someone “like you” or to “fit in” is an exercise in futility. Just express sincere, compassionate interest in other people, and you will be fine.

-If you have a burning desire in your heart to create or do something, create or do it. Don’t worry about anything beyond that, just do the creating part and the rest will take care of itself.


Me, age 13, with my cousin Amy and horse Princess. 
 
Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Authenticity. Four Questions: Gina Williams


What Does Authenticity Mean? Four Questions

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. –Sarah Ban Breathnach

I asked Gina Williams four questions about what authenticity means to her. Gina is a writer, photographer and communications professional. She works by day as Public Affairs Director for the Oregon Business Association and enjoys a creative life as well, as a poet and photographer.

 
Gina then. :)  

 
The questions I asked are:

 
1. First, try and sum you up in about three sentences, if you feel you have a calling, that kind of thing.

 
2. What does living an authentic life mean to you? Where in your life do you feel the most authentic? The least?

 
3. Can you describe a situation you have experienced wherein you felt you were being asked to be less or different than who you authentically are? How did you respond? Do you have suggestions for others who may find themselves in a similar situation?

 
4. If you were to go back to, say, 13 year old Gina right now, and tell her what you wished someone would have told her or that she would have already embraced (maybe she already had) at that age, what would it be?

 

1.       I can best describe myself as a hard-working free spirit, artist, mom, communications professional & professional goof-off with a zest for life. There is a saying that I love: “Be a human doing, not a human being.” That pretty much sums up my life philosophy. I am married to an amazing and talented man who is also an artist who gives me the freedom to follow my dreams. I am the proud mom of two incredible teenage sons who are the loves of my life. I write sentences for a living and write poetry and fiction in order to fully live.  I love to play with my camera, ride my bicycle, run, roller skate & explore this amazing planet as much as possible.

 

2.       Living an authentic life, to me, means never giving up on dreams – not the outrageous ones, not the tiny ones. Living authentically means being honest with myself and others about the fact that I am a complex person, as most of us are, but none of us should settle, ever. Living authentically means being proud of things that others might not approve of or understand and living large, in spite of societal pressures. Living authentically means helping others achieve their dreams, as well. As for the least authentic part of my life, I suppose that would be giving in to fear or anxiety occasionally.  I can slip into “worst case scenario” mode at times. (I can hear my husband laughing right now). The disruption in positivity caused by my own fretting can be extremely frustrating.

 

3.       I’m not sure if I have ever been “asked” to be less or different than who I authentically am, but I have felt disrespected and caged in the past. I handled that difficult time by looking deeply within my soul and examining my goals and dreams from top to bottom, inside and out. I concluded that art will always be a hugely important part of my life – as critical to my survival as oxygen. Without it, I am broken. The fact that some people haven’t agreed and/or do not agree with this, I finally realized, was not my problem. Once I accepted the very real need that I have to nurture the creative spirit that I’ve had since I can remember, my wings grew back and I’ve never been happier. As for advice, I would tell people that they already know themselves and to honest with about what gives their life meaning. I would also tell people not to take themselves or others too seriously and have fun! Don’t let shame or fear dictate the direction of your life. Say yes more than you say no.

 

4.       If I could go back and speak to my 13-year-old self, I would tell her that I am proud of her, then and now.  I would tell her to never, ever let society, family or anyone else dictate the course of her dreams. But I also don’t believe in regret and although I have had some difficult times, even painful and soul-sick times as many of us have had, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would just give my young self a big hug and tell her to listen to that voice in her head that says, “fly, fly” and keep on, keeping on because the future is going to be amazing. I would tell her that yes, there will be some dark days, but in spite of life’s arrows, she will never lose her childlike joy and delight at the simplest of things.
 

Gina now. :)

 
I would love to hear your answers to these four questions!  

There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. -Nehru

 
Authentically Yours, Laura

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Lasanga recipe

Lasanga Recipe (Great Aunt Martha Dale)

I had a couple of requests for the lasagna recipe, so here it is! I should tell you a little bit about great aunt Martha and uncle Don first, though. Both have passed now. They lived in Chicago, and every year they came to visit our farm in South Dakota was a celebration.

Don worked with the Coca-Cola company, and would bring us all this free shit (ie, promotional materials) every year…to this day I have a red button pin with white lettering that says, “I believe in elves.” I tend to stick it to my shirt every holiday season. I’m not sure where it came from, but…thinking back…I wonder if Keebler was a subsidiary of Coca-Cola at the time. Maybe it still is. None-the-less, I love that pin, and I do like a good Coke (regular, not diet) from time to time. Martha and Don also introduced our family in South Dakota to real honest-to-God bagels and Fanny May candy.
 
 

Don liked his manhattans; I remember that. He gave me a Carpenter’s album for my 16th birthday when we were visiting them in Chicago. That was an utterly amazing trip for a 16 year old, I am telling you.



When they visited South Dakota, Martha would play cards with the gals while the guys were out pheasant hunting. She was always quick with a joke, smelled like leftover cigarettes, coffee and powder, and was an amazing, warm spirit. To me, she was like an exotic angel from another exciting realm. One of the fondest memories I have of Martha is while waiting for chicken at White Fence Farms restaurant in Chicago, and then after the chicken arrived. This was on my 9th birthday, not the 16th. I think! We just kept going “mmm, mmm, mmm.” It was an “inside” joke between us after that.

 
 
I am somewhat tweaking her recipe (like add more garlic!) but basically it remains true. Don’t be stingy on the salt.
 
Meat/tomato mixture:

1 lb. ground beef

Minced garlic (her recipe is one clove – I’d do more)

1 TBSP parsley

1 ½ tsp salt

2 cans tomatoes (or one large can)

2 cans tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

Brown the beef first with garlic and onion, drain, mix all together and simmer 30 minutes.

Cheese mixture:

3 cups small curd cottage cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 TBSP parsley flakes

½ C parmesan cheese

Mix together and set aside.

Pasta:

9 lasagna noodles cooked in boiling water until just tender, rinse in cool water, dry.

Shredded Mozarella cheese

In 9 x 13 pan, place half of the pasta. Layer half the cheese mixture, then half the meat sauce, then half the mozzarella. Repeat the layers, placing the pasta sideways instead of lengthways this time. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Love the food you make, and the people you share the food with.

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Lasagna Dinner

Lasagna Dinner

It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so entwined that we cannot think of one without the other. –M. F. K. Fisher

We must eat. We inhabit bodies which require fuel in the form of nutrients to continue functioning.

Can eating be reverent? Can cooking be an expression of our simply authentic selves? I believe so, absolutely. 
 
I remember my ex-husband once saying, after we had woken up early in the morning as I was preparing for a family gathering and meal that day, “You are so completely in your element here.” He had a huge smile on his face.

My friend Stella, whose mother is Greek, told me the most important ingredient to put into the food is love. Amen! Have you read the book or watched the movie Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel)? I cooked once when I was angry. The menu was split pea soup and I nearly chopped off the end of my left little finger along with a carrot. I carry the reminder to this day with a scar and loss of sensation in that finger. When I cook now, although it’s not nearly as often, I prepare food with joy, love and appreciation in my heart.

For a dinner party recently, I made my Great Aunt Martha’s lasagna recipe, which takes about three hours to prepare before baking. This is not for the kitchen-feint-hearted! I typically prepare the lasagna a week ahead of time and put it in the freezer until the day before the dinner party, so I’m not rushing around at the last minute.

 
Tomato and meat sauce. When cooking for a good friend who is vegetarian, I substituted baked squash and eggplant for ground beef. It was fabulous, if I do say so myself! My friend thought so too.

 

Pasta.

 
Cheese mixture. Cottage instead of ricotta, and didn’t grate the mozzarella myself!

We can bring our simply authentic selves to any meal – fast food in the car or on the couch, a take-out pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – as long as we do it with love. But if you do decide to cook, please don’t do it while you’re angry! Trust me, you don’t want a bunch of blood on your cutting board alongside the carrots! That might be a pizza-ordering moment. J

Simple, good salad recipe: Spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, mandarin orange slices from a can, glazed pecans or cashews, raspberry vinaigrette dressing, freshly ground black pepper.

 

Everything is nearly prepared. The dinner party was meant to be for four, but turned into two due to unforeseen circumstances. I froze individual servings of the left-over lasagna, and it was just as good heated up a couple weeks later.


I inherited Grandma Handke’s china and silverware. The bouquet is from Artistic Flowers & Home D├ęcor. www.artisticflowers-decor.com. The gold tapers are from Cost Plus/World Market and burned beautifully. I picked autumn leaves at a park, and put them in a large, heavy book to flatten. I will be able to use them again for Thanksgiving dinner.

As the holidays approach, have fun with any simply authentic cooking you may do, and definitely with the eating!

Soul food is just what the name implies. It is soulfully cooked food or richly flavored food, good for your ever-loving soul. –Sheila Ferguson

Authentically Yours, Laura