It is a very difficult read for me as it exposes the treatment of women within this particular religious and geographical culture goes beyond being unappreciated to being devalued and even dehumanized. This is hard to slog through.
But because the author is a Christian and shares how she weaves the truth of God's grace, love and mercy for all humankind, including women, into the conversations she has with the Afghans, I keep flipping the pages to find hope upon hope for a people deluded and estranged from the true and Living God.
Eating: I've got two fabulous recipes for you this week. At this point in the summer, most people have had enough of the garden ripe tomato. You've either canned tomato-based everything until the skin of your fingertips peeled off from all the acid, or you have given tomatoes away to everyone you know and some strangers, too. Maybe, like me, you learned this wonderful tip of freezing whole tomatoes but now you don't actually know what you're going to do with all of those frozen tomatoes.
I have at least one, very good solution for you and it comes by way of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. When I discovered her fresh tomato soup, I knew I would never be able to consume canned tomato soup again. (*unless you graciously serve it to me at your table, and then I will spoon up every bit of it and kiss you for making food for me)
And, guys, it's not hard to make. It might seem intimidating, but just try it one time. But whatever you do, do NOT try the whole "you can make soup in your Vitamix thing." Ask me why later.
Here's the link to this delicious and nutritious soup: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cream-of-fresh-tomato-soup-recipe.html
Serve it up with grilled cheese made with garlic bread, and you have got yourself an awesome, autumnal meal.
I cranked out quite a few homemade desserts this week, and I'm not even entirely sure I know why I did that when I have six, yes 6, packages of Neumann-O's (like Oreos) in my pantry. Nevertheless, we had friends over on Saturday night, and my folks visited this afternoon and this dessert was a winner with both: http://www.jocooks.com/bakery/cakes/chocolate-magic-cake/
Doing: We had a low key Labor Day weekend last weekend because the recovery from my tooth extraction
Regardless, we were able to host two sets of friends on Sunday night for a small fire on our stone patio and s'mores while I iced my jaw. And, Monday, I felt well enough to make and take dinner to another friend's house where we enjoyed a small fire and s'mores again because, hey, it's almost fall and 'tis the season for fires and s'mores. Anyone with me?
We dealt with a recall on our Pilot and learned that we are apparently still not done with repairs. What is up, Honda? Lawrence told me we have three things yet to take care of on this vehicle, but they can wait. Like until we have money again, maybe?! Anyway, truly, I am grateful to have the resources to be able to take care of our vehicles and teeth even if it's not the most fun way to spend one's money.
On Friday, the kids and I had our first day of homeschool co-op called Crossroads. A part from some nervous jitters and a bee sting during gym, we all thoroughly enjoyed our time and are looking forward to our year learning with this community of fellow homeschoolers.
Friday night, I was able to attend a volunteer orientation with World Relief to learn more about how my family and I can serve the needs of refugees coming to our area. It was an enlightening time, learning from my friend, Nan Ross, the volunteer and church coordinator for World Relief.
Saturday was filled with cooking, baking, cleaning and hanging with friends. One of our friends spent the majority of the summer in Russia, where my girlfriend is from, and we were grateful to have some time to catch up on Saturday night over coconut pie and chocolate magic cake.
Today we thoroughly enjoyed a visit from my folks who made the two hour trek to see us. We haven't been able to travel up to Pennsylvania much this summer with the various car repairs and medical needs we needed to attend to. So, it was really nice to have a visit from them, eat fresh tomato soup that I made and vegetable beef soup that my mom made and catch up on all things family, house and health related along with a few games of Quirkle.
Looking Ahead: The fall schedule is about to commence in full force this week... a field trip, summer and fall extra curriculars overlapping and some really fun social gatherings for me and the kids. And, I am really hoping and praying I can hit the pavement again running. It's been two weeks! I miss it like crazy, but even the walks I've done (it has sadly, only been two) have left my tooth throbbing afterward. So, we'll see what my body says "yes" to this week.