Cooking with the Joy Project

Before I get into this post, I am going to ask you to read it, and then consider passing the word along. I don’t ask you to do that lightly. I don’t write for promotion or to advance myself. Primarily, I write to express myself in a place where no topic is irrelevant. Second, I write to keep in touch with friends. Finally, when my blog does get around, thanks to those who have found their way here, I always feel great delight.

I am asking you to pass this on because I think this could be a really exciting movement. Pass this on because it isn’t about me, but about a joy-filled young woman who inspires me every day. Thanks. 

I love to cook. A close second to my love of cooking is cooking with other people. I am not much of a teacher, but with a bit of experience (and my big brother chef on the other end of a cell phone) I’ve picked up a thing or two and I love to pass it along.

I’ve known Cydney for about 6 years now. She is  on the youth council of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and a blogger at Lutheran’s Connect. Cydney and I started sharing our cooking when I took her home to PEI for a long weekend. She was a student, living in student housing, and she asked me to teach her how to cook something. I picked Mom’s “Texas Hash”. It’s yummy, simple and cheap: Ground beef, can of tomatoes, green peppers, rice, s&p.

About 6 weeks later we were chatting and she said, “Can you teach me to cook something else?” Of course, I replied. What have you been cooking lately? She’d been cooking Texas Hash for 6 weeks!

Most recently, Cydney shared some scary news with me. She was a 20 year old woman with boundless energy, joy and faith, and she had been diagnosed with cancer. I was devastated. The thought of Cydney’s light dimming, even a little bit, made my world a lot darker. And yet, as we waited for tests to come back, she was full of hope and carried us all. As her journey began, raging extrovert that she is, she began a blog and The Joy Project.

Cydney sucking the marrow out of...ummm...something, on a beach in Greece.

Cydney decided to start a cooking project to help her appreciate food in a way that was difficult since her chemotherapy made her sick. She started by looking for a cookbook, which she found, and she would work her way through it, cooking for herself, her beloved, her family and her friends.

After the first post I was completely hooked and I desperately wanted to be with her in her kitchen. So, I asked her if I could accompany her on the Joy Project to which she very generously agreed. I bought the book yesterday.

So Cydney and I are cooking together, again, four provinces apart. I just tried the shrimp risotto with leeks and snow peas and–doh–forgot the lemon juice! Still it was yummy. I hope this is a gift to Cydney. I know it is a gift to me. I get to do something tactile that connects me with my awesome, brave friend even though I can’t be with her to hold her hand (or have her hold mine). Cooking has always been a practice of prayer and gratitude for me. Now I get to share it.

Please go check out Cydney’s blog, look inside my labyrinth heart as well as her posts on Lutherans Connect. Pass this on to your followers or your friends. Cook along with us if you like. Here is the book Cydney has chosen. This is totally Cydney’s project, not mine. I’m just along for the ride. If you want to know how I am getting along, come find me in the labyrinth heart comments.

Where to find Cydney:

Blog: Look Inside my Labyrinth Heart

Lutherans Connect: Doctor Proctor

Twitter: tugmyjersey

The cookbook: Inside the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine


Bottling up on Blog Action Day 2010: Water

Today, bloggers around the world, in over 100 countries, are spreading the word about the right to clean water.

For a few years now, I have done my best to avoid drinking bottled water. We have been convinced that bottled water guarantees that we will have safe, clean, tastier drinking water. In North America, that is a myth. And so, we take clean water from natural sources around the world, even in places where clean water IS at a premium, so that we can have a convenient plastic bottle of water to dispose of. Watch this video by Annie Leonard in the Story of Stuff series to learn about the environmental and economic impact of bottled water.

When I lived in India, the price of bottled water was regulated by the government for pennies a litre. Still, the minimal cost was still profitable because so many Indians drink it. In many other countries, pop is cheaper than water. Meanwhile, their natural water sources are being polluted by our outsourced industries and littered with our plastic bottles! So guess what happens? Bottled water becomes their only option, but only because of the bottled water industry!

I am not naive enough to think that if I boycott bottled water then companies will stop producing it. I carry my thermal water bottle when I drive and travel (and ask for refills) to remind others that we are privileged to live in a country where we do not need to worry about the state of our water. When our public drinking water is compromised, it is due to irresponsible industrial practices, and not the natural state of water. And so why should I give more profits to the industrial system that is responsible for harming our public water sources when it is compromised?

I have also worked with the Disaster Response Team of the Red Cross and have been grateful for the availability of bottled water for victims of natural disaster. Let’s keep bottled water as an emergency source, not a norm.

To celebrate Blog Action Day, this FANTASTIC piece by Lewis Black about the silliness of bottled water in North America as only Lewis Black can express.. Profanity warning. Enjoy.

Other posts today

Today bloggers are uniting to start a global dialogue about clean drinking water. Here are some from my blogger friends:

PWRDF blog: Happy Blog Action Day!

Elena_SC: Water footprint: How the fashion industry and your shopping impact the Planet

GreenBE’s blog: Hoy es el dia de accion del blog 2010 (with a cool short video in English about Blog Action Day)

Great Arquitect’s blog: Blog Action Day! (I think this is an English language version of the above blog)

A return to a new blog

Lately I have had a longing to return to writing. That may be a strange thing to say from someone who writes a 700-900 word essay for each Sunday. I used to do a lot of journalistic writing and, occasionally, even some poetry.

I have never taken to writing in a journal. Once in high school, when I journalled voraciously, my journal got lifted from the teacher’s desk and shared around school. I never really got over it. My deepest darkest thoughts are processed now through meditation or dialogue with one of a few, trusted anam cara (you know who you are), but I love to work out ideas through writing.

A hugely public blog is a little scary, so while this is not password protected, I am sharing this blog with trusted friends and family who are welcome to add me to  your RSS feeds etc. I would appreciate it if you asked my permission before sending anything I write on to any email lists etc. I have not fed this address to search engines, for example. I realize this is public and I am open to this gradually finding a few followers. The idea of this getting too much attention too fast is a little scary for me.

I am not going to guarantee regular updates and I will check as often as I can for comments and so on. I would love your feedback on anything I write, critical or praiseworthy.

This is also a new program for me and I am just learning my way around. There are lots of fun things I can do with it but figuring it out will take some time.