Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Julie and Julia

The aroma of Beef Bourguignon danced through the air from the kitchen to the living room, tickling my nose. Hhhmmmm...what a delicious scent. It made my mouth water.

I was almost certain that I truly got a whiff of the famous dish that Julia Child made as it was recreated on the movie Julie and Julia. I felt like I was really with Julia in the streets of France as she ducked in and out of markets mingling with the delightful French people and inspecting just the right cheese that would be at its tastiest when she was ready to serve it.

After watching the movie I decided to delve into the book Julie and Julia. I just had to know more about this woman who had become an American icon. What did I find out? You really can be whatever you want to be in life.

The journey of these two women, Julie and Julia, was amazing. Julia Child moved to France with her husband, Paul, because of his job. Julia wasn't sure what she'd do with herself and she tried everything from hat making and learning French before deciding she'd go to Le Cordon Bleu, an infamous institution. It was there that she found her true passion, cooking. She practiced recipes fifteen to twenty times and dove into hours of researching the best products to use and proper cooking and baking procedures. When co-author, Simon Beck, proposed a recipe that what up to snuff for Julia, she brought a chemist from Nestle into her home to give her lessons on chocolate and the proper way to melt it for a recipe.

As many of you probably know, Julia not only wrote numerous cookbooks such as Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes I and II, The French Chef, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, and more, she became famous on television. Her show, The French Show, aired in 1963, ran for 10 years and won Peabody and Emmy Awards. Her personal kitchen is now on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Another notable woman, Julie Powell, was working for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in 2002 when she felt the need to create a challenging project for herself which resulted in the birth of The Julie/Julia project. Julie challenged herself to create 524 of Julia Child's recipes in 365 days in her tiny New York apartment. All the while, she kept a blog about her successes and failures. Eventually she wrote the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. Her latest book, Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, was released in November 2009.

We can draw some inspiration from both these woman, both who were unclear about what they wanted to do with their lives and both turned into two very successful people who made their mark in history. If you are persistent, you can be anything you want to be. It may be challenging at times, but don't get discouraged. There are times in our journey where we are going to fail, but we must get back up and try again. To quote Julie Powell's husband in the movie, Julie and Julia, when Julie failed at one of the recipes he said "Julia Child wasn't always Julia Child," meaning she wasn't always well known for her cooking. But thanks to her never ending hard work and determination she created mouthwatering recipes that will be passed down from generation to generation.

The next time you get discouraged about which direction your life is taking, just thinking of these two successful gals and cook up some Beef Bourguignon in their honor. "Bon Appetit!"

Check out videos of Julia Child teaching how to cook at: Julia Child: Lessons with Master Chefs. Need a giggle? Watch Dan Aykroyd's imitation of Julia on Saturday Live on The French Chef, a personal favorite of Julia's!

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't Despise Your Small Beginnings - Part II

Last week I welcomed Marlo Wallace Boux, Co-Host of The GodTalk Radio Show on CJOB for Part I of Don't Despise Your Small Beginnings. Read on to hear how Marlo's obedience to the Lord started to sow fruit.

Don't Despise Your Small Beginnings - Part II

In summer 2006 we sold our condo for DOUBLE what we paid for it. We came back to our home city with the profit and purchased a home. Because our mortgage payment was so low I was able to continue being home with our children. By this time our third child was born.

I kept pressing in with the business learning and growth but yet, nothing was manifesting the way I thought it should. I began doubting the Spirit was truly leading me. I shook off the doubt and always kept in mind that sometimes God has us do things for a variety of reasons. “His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not ours” as the scripture reads.

I began taking a Christian Ministry class and continued learning about marketing, social networking, audio editing, podcasting etc. But I have to tell you that aside from a ‘feeling’ that this was what I was supposed to be doing I didn’t have a CLUE as to WHY I was doing all this.

Then, in early 2009 I made some interesting online connections that ultimately changed my entire life. I met a Winnipeg pastor who also happened to co-host a radio show called ‘GodTalk’ on a local talk radio station. We built rapport via Facebook, Twitter and email for a number of months.

One day he sent me a message asking me to do a guest spot on the radio show. He was to take over hosting duties. I was petrified at the thought. Remember, this is the girl with major social anxiety issues in her past. Despite my fear, I agreed to do the spot.

Then I was invited to do another appearance on the live call-in show.

And another.

And another.

Before you knew it, I was invited to be the new permanent co-host of The GodTalk Radio Show.

Here is where things get really interesting. I had asked the host why on earth he thought I could do radio with NO formal training or education in media or communications.

Do you know what he told me?

He had found all of my past work online - the coaching, the business sites, the blogging, and the podcasting. All of that past work that I thought had ultimately been a waste of time ended up acting like a virtual portfolio of my skills and abilities!

God had been training me, stretching me, guiding me, and leading me the entire time!

He was preparing me my entire life – using things the enemy meant for harm and redeeming those hurts for a greater good. All of the online business work I had done had a purpose that I could not begin to fathom.

Do not despise your small beginnings. I am proof that God works in wondrous and mysterious ways. Because of HIS mindfulness of me I now co-host a radio show that reaches the unreached. He has positioned our radio program on the TOP talk radio station in Canada.

I pray this message has encouraged you. God IS mindful. He IS working in your life – even when you don’t see it or understand all that is happening. Continue to be obedient and faithful to His purposes for you and watch Him accomplish amazing things.

Thanks for sharing your past with us, Marlo, and giving us all hope for great things for our future.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Despise Your Small Beginnings

Good afternoon! Today I'd like to welcome special guest blogger, Marlo Wallace Boux, as she talks about her past and how far she's come. Thanks for sharing, Marlo!

Don’t Despise Your Small Beginnings - Part I by Marlo Wallace Boux

Growing up as a kid, in my teens, and into my early 20s I dealt with some pretty heavy things. I had done a lot of living and had gone through a lot of heartache. Some of my pain was self-inflicted while other experiences were not of my choosing. The result was years of struggling with depression, anxiety, anger, and self-loathing.

I had always been curious about God but frankly thought He must have forgotten about me.

When I was 24 I learned I was expecting my first child and I found myself alone. I ran into an old friend and she began taking me to church with her. This is how I came into a relationship with Jesus months before the birth of my firstborn. I finished my bachelor’s degree, got a job and took on life as a single mother.

Even though I was now a Christian, my personality was still a mess. I didn’t have much in the way of discipleship, guidance or accountability in my life so I bore the label but had no good fruit to show for it.

I ran into an acquaintance from years before. We began dating and attending church together. We eventually moved to a different city and got married. It was the year prior to our marriage that I started to get serious about my walk with God. I desired to live a better life and I was motivated to learn how.

Shortly after our wedding I began working with a mature Christian woman. She was the mentor I had so desperately needed. She modeled walking out the faith and helped me untangle the mess that was my personality.

In 2005, my husband and I had a baby girl. We felt I should stay home with the kids. I had always been entrepreneurial so I started blogging and working on some home business ideas. I poured my heart into learning about coaching women in business using biblical principals. I dove into marketing books, learned how to podcast, use professional audio editing software and more over the years.

The money never poured from my business efforts in the way I thought it should have. I really and truly felt God was giving me the passion to do this so I didn’t understand why after a few years it wasn’t replacing the income I had given up from a full time salaried job. We struggled financially sometimes but we kept pressing ahead.

Our obedience began to see fruit.....

Stop back tomorrow to read more about my small beginnings when I post Don't Despise Your Small Beginnings - Part II.

Co-Host of The GodTalk Radio Show on CJOB

Monday, September 14, 2009

Opportunities Await You

Image by disneymike found on

Romping around Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, we saw it all during the two days we were there. We enjoyed the Indiana Jones ride, bought Mickey Mouse souvenirs, and even took a picture with Minnie Mouse in her pale blue dress accented with small checkers that even adored her matching bow. Never mind that I was one of the only "big kid" in line fighting for attention. So what if I was 34 years old? I wanted my picture with her!

Tired as a hamster after its 100th lap on it's exercise wheel, Nick and I decided to take a break on a park bench while eating a Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel and discussing what else we would do this week. Did we want to go to San Francisco or San Diego? If went to San Diego we could check out Tijuana, Mexico, since it was only 20 minutes further.

As a watched a bouncing toddler go by wearing Mickey Mouse ears, I realized how much fun I was having and marvelled at how well this trip was turning out considering it was hardly the trip we planned. Only one week prior we had quite a different agenda.

"I don't think you should go on this trip," said my father-in-law as he sat at our kitchen table the Friday night before wringing his hands.

"I think he might be right," I told my husband Nick. "The weather report is getting worse and worse."

We planned our trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, for months and we were ready to go. It was Friday night at 9pm and we were set to fly out the next morning at 6am. My two Burgundy suitcases were stuffed to the brim with floral bikinis, flowing sundresses, and colorful flip flops. I was all set for a relaxing week of lounging on the beach that is until we heard the weather report.

Hurricane Dean's temper was raging and he was about to take his revenge out on Riviera Maya and the Cancun area. With a little bit of investigation, we discovered that the resort we had booked with was closing up shop. Sure we could come if we wanted to but they didn't recommend it because we'd spend our days in a shelter.

Since I am not into community sleeping arrangements, I told Nick it would be best if we went somewhere else. And since there was a weather advisory, the airlines agreed that we wouldn't lose our money as long as we traveled somewhere else within the next seven days.

Seven days? How would we pull that together? We are planoholics. At that point I had a choice. I could stew for days and have a pity party about the trip that could of been. I could have gotten all worked up that I was being pushed to stretch beyond my comfort level to pull something together in only seven days.

Instead, I decided to look at it as a new opportunity. I would get to see a new and different destination despite the fact that it wasn't where I originally planned and I embraced the idea of living in the moment and taking a spur-of-the-moment trip.

California seemed like a natural replacement trip. We always wanted to go there and we knew there would be tons of exciting things to see and do. Plus it wasn't exactly a deserted island so going without hotel reservations and finding places to stay along the way didn't seem like much of an issue.

I am glad we decided to go even though our plans were altered. We enjoyed Disney, San Diego, Tijuana and Los Angeles. And since we loved it so much in California, we booked a second trip two years later to see San Francisco and the surrounding area.

How much would we have missed had we just given up when our plans had changed? I am thankful that we recognized the shift in plans as a new opportunity to go on a different, but wonderful trip.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cinderella Before the Ball

Photo courtesy of piratekittybitch on Photobucket.

Scrubbing the range of my oven with an S.O.S. Brillo pad, I sulked to myself feeling like Cinderella just dying to go to the Ball if I could just get this cleaning done. I dreamed of wearing a fancy gown long enough to cascade behind me, with sparkling jewels, and a knock-out hairdo. Instead, I was barefoot wearing baggy shorts and a mismatched t-shirt with holes in it. And my hair? Surving a trip through a wind tunnel would have made me look good compared to the doo I was sporting that day.

And then the inevitable happened. I went from cleaning the stove to shining the sink. I pulled out all my storage containers and sorted through them, organizing those I didn't throw away. I sweeped and mopped the pantry and the kitchen floor and wiped the cabinets. I went from one thing to the other. If it was in my line of sight, I cleaned it.

"I hate cleaning" was all I could think. The way I was carrying on you would have swore that I just got up from cleaning the floor with my hair.

Next on the list: running errands with my husband Nick. Getting out of the house, away from the cleaning was a treat even if it meant only going to WalMart. While we were driving my mind was a whirlwind of activity.

"I still have to clean the rabbit's cage, vacuum, do the laundry, scrub the bathroom, and on and on." I really worked myself up into a state of doom and gloom thinking about all of it.

The site of a brick apartment building next to the traffic light we were at brought me back to me senses. It was several stories high, complete with rickety old ladders that I assume were used as a fire escape. Electrical wires leading to each apartment unit cluttered the air. There were just a few very narrow parking spaces circling the complex. The long concrete sidewalk seemed to go no where. And worse of all, there wasn't a blade of grass, a single tree or one of God's furry creatures running around the property.

As one of the tenants came out I wondered how it felt for them to look out their window and see nothing but dingy red bricks. I felt confined as a I realized there were no back doors for them to go out to linger in nature.

Don't get me wrong. Some apartments can be really nice. In fact, some may even be more grand then my comfy little house - think Donald Trump. But this complex was far from it. It really looked like the epitome of doom and gloom.

Here I was complaining about all the wonderful things I have to clean. I have a beautiful house with high ceilings, spacious rooms, a bright kitchen, and full basement to store all the things I have! Our one and three-quarter acre property is carpeted with green grass and we have our own forest of trees that makes the best playground for the wildlife. Squirrels are forever springing across the grass, bunny rabbits lounge under a shaded trees and the ground hog is forever making his trek from his home under an Evergreen tree to the area where I put out treats. He is quite the little snacker!

So what if I have to clean and maintain all this stuff? These things are such blessings. I am so much more fortunate than those in that dingy building they call home. In fact, I am so grateful that I even have a roof over my head. Not everyone is so lucky. I'll try to keep that in mind the next time I pull out my mop as I dance around the kitchen like Cinderella dancing with her Prince Charming.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Women's Size 8: the new plus-size

(Photo from Glamour magazine, September issue)

"I started doing some modeling recently," said my friend's hairdresser.
"Oh, really? That's great! What are you modeling for?" was my friend's response.
"I am working for a plus-size modeling agency."
"Plus-size? How could that be? You are so thin!
"Yeah, well they were looking for women who wear size 8."

Size 8? Size 8? Since when did the ultimate size that every woman strives for, size 8, become plus size?

It reminds me of an article I just read about a 180 pound women featured in Glamour magazine who was referred to as a "plus-size" model. While the woman is not in tip top shape and has a belly role and some stretch marks, she hardly looks "plus-size" to me. She looks like the rest of us normal ladies who are far from perfect. The question begs to be raised, who is defining what plus size is and who had the nerve to coin that term in the first place! It's an absolute ego buster for anyone!

When I sit and think about, I am just as bad. I am 157 pounds and I constantly obsessing about how "heavy" I am. My friends and I are always discussing it. In fact, just this morning my friend Marla and I were talking about weight and what it will be like to put on so much more weight when we're pregnant someday. Is this what I should be worrying about? I suspect not.

My mother-in-law told me a story that should help put this weight thing in perspective and it's something I try to keep in mind every time I am tempted to ridicule myself for eating that ice cream sandwich.

Her friend has rheumatoid arthritis and for a long period of time was unable to do hardly anything for herself. This highly active busy woman had to drop out of most of her activities and was even confined to a wheel chair. Her doctor treated her for a long time before finding the right medicine that really helped her gain her life back. Now she is back up and running from event after event, helping her community, working and tending to her family.

Although the medicine is working wonderfully, it has one draw back: it made her gain weight. She's not worrying about though. She is really grateful to have her life back and can't imagine why she, or any of us, should waste our valuable time her on Earth fusing over our weight. As long as we are healthy and able to move about and do what we want and need to do during our day, shedding a few pounds should be the last thing on our minds.

Let's focus on the important things in life and stop worrying about looking perfect. Ignore the media and their constant nagging to be thin and don't bother with the magazines that are always telling us how to loose weight. Focus on family, friends, good health, and the unlimited number of other blessings we've been given! God loves us just the way we are and we should love ourselves too.

Go enjoy that cupcake, ice cream cone, or decadent piece of dark chocolate candy! Life is short!


Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Bucket List

When you are overwhelmed at work, tired of hearing the kids cry, or at odds with the hubby, it can be really hard to focus on the good little blessings in life. But as Joyce Meyer's, Christian author and speaker, says "Your future is not determined by your past or present." Look beyond today and into the future and realize that things can and will improve. There is much to look forward to.

In examining my own future, I've decided to create a "Bucket List," a list of things I would love to do before I kick the bucket. I found the little exercise inspiring because I got the opportunity to see all the wonderful opportunities for enjoyment and personal and professional growth. And it serves as a visual check-list of things I want to do with my life.

If you aren't familiar with a Bucket List, rent the movie "The Bucket List" starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

Curious what's on my Bucket List? Here it is goes. Hang on, it's a long list!
1. Write a book(s)
2. Write my own column
3. Write for newspapers or magazines regularly.
4. Run a successful blog (hopefully this one!) that earns money some of which will be donated to charity.
5. Provide a scholarship for a college student.
6. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
7. Go on a helicopter ride.
8. Become a mother.
9. Teach in some capacity.
10. Learn to cook better and make elaborate meals for others.
11. Be helpful at church.
12. Grow a vegetable garden.
13. Take a Gondola ride in Venice. (I was there and wouldn't you believe we couldn't do it! It was raining and hailing so they weren't in operation! So close!)
14. Be an inspiration to others.
15. Read the Bible from cover-to-cover.
16. Visit all 50 states (I've been to 21 as of 7/09)
17. Visit southern Italy.
18. Be content with myself and my life.
19. Go skydiving.
20. Go hand gliding.
21. Go to the Greek Isles.
22. See the French Riviera.
23. See the Mexican Riviera.
24. See the American Riviera.
25. Visit Yosemite National Park.
26. Visit Lake George.
27. Visit Quebec and Toronto.
28. Visit Cape Cod.
29. Visit Sweden.
30. Visit Denmark.
31. Learn more than one crochet stitch.
32. Own a dog.
33. Be a successful freelance writer.

I've got a lot to do and I plan on doing most of it if not all, God willing!

So what's on your "Bucket List?" Feel free to share it with me.

Wishing you "Blessings from Above,"

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