Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BOREDOM AND VANILLA CARDAMOM TIGERNUT GUMMIES with astragalus, nettle, maca, and elderflower

As a mom, most days I can handle repeating my day over and over again. Wake to yelling "Mama, I'm hungry!", brush teeth, scramble to get breakfast on the table before the hangry takes over, dishes, laundry, cleaning, picking up, the gamut of menial tasks.

But some days, especially after a series of such days, my valiance wains and I feel the force of undercurrent emotions and questions that travel with me throughout my day. I'm tired of and bored with being a maid, a cook, a personal attendant, a teacher, an officer, public defender and judge. Is this it? Is repeating the day really what I'm made for? Is there holy in this? Refinement in this? Of course the answer is yes. There is immense beauty and challenge in growing and tending a soul, or a few. God can meet us anywhere, especially in the muck and honesty of life. 


Today I listened to a podcast and the speaker asked "is there a more noble task than being a mom and bringing up new life in this world?" I started to cry. Here's the thing - we all need to be reminded that what we do is so much more than what it looks like. There are those days when holy is a sweet memory, faded by spilled water and tears. The days when we're so bored we sit willing the puzzle to show us there is more to this life. Please tell me this isn't it!

Here's what we do when we're bored - we immediately try to escape it. Methods are plenty. We self medicate through distractions and busy and movies and media. We dive into anger and restlessness, depression and bed. And in a last-ditch effort some of us turn to food or drugs or alcohol, adultery or pornography. We all have our something or somethings - many levels to our boredom escape route.

I used to [ummmm...okay still do] escape by quickly moving onto the next thing or busying myself with tasks that make me feel like I've accomplished something, anything. If I'm checking things off the list, I can't be bored right? I can feel important right?

I am a mom, one who stays at home and let me tell you, it can get boring. Parenting is walking in the same direction for a long, long time type of thing. It's full of routine and rhythm and consistency - all things kids need and crave. For my kids it's the safety net that allows them to tiptoe away from the nest and explore one new bug, one skinned knee at a time.

There are days this routine and rhythm that keeps them comforted and confident can send me into mild psychosis. What keeps them grounded triggers me into a spinning mess, ready to jump in the UPS truck and on the road to anywhere.

But here's the thing. Boredom can be a powerful tool. A swift kick to get moving. It can also be a fantastic teacher. A mirror reflecting the deep, untouched area of our beings that need to be brought to the light and examined.

Why does busy make us feel important?

Why is slow so scary?

Why is more, more, more so addictive?

As I've asked myself these questions, I've uncovered old hurts and stories I've been told or have been telling myself. Areas of my being that need freedom and healing.

The more I sink into the stillness and rhythm of a slower pace of life, the more I find contentment and a beauty I never saw before. As if I was invited on stage to actively participate on an intimate level in this thing we call life. As I practice gratitude and compassion I find the one person who needs this most is me.

And the slow isn't so scary any more. The days not so long. The work not so menial.

The warm dish water becomes an opportunity to feel the heat on my hands and say thank you for clean water. It reminds me I care very much that everyone has this opportunity and it moves me to act. I drags me from my world and into connection with the greater world around me.

The smell of clean laundry reminds me how lucky we are to have the choice of wearing more than one outfit and a machine to do much of the heavy lifting. I challenges me to look at my closet, my spending, my wants and prioritize them in a more generous way.

Cooking connects me on the deepest level to the ones I love, to the ones who have gone before me, to the ground beneath my feet, and to the farmers who work tirelessly to put food on my table. It gives me a chance to stir and chop and breathe deeply the essence of life.

Writing and reading and painting and practicing yoga anchor me in the person I am and the things I love - the things I want to share with the world around me.

Walking barefoot in the grass, planting seeds, sledding down the snow covered hill outside our door, breathing in the crisp clean air all remind me that this world is precious and we only have one and it is so, so beautiful. Worth protecting and enjoying and caring for with wisdom and integrity and selflessness.

All of sudden I'm not just a mom. These moments, humble and small, catapult me to move, to care, to create.

They take me from mundane to holy.  

It's not easy and I miss out on it many of days. But I'm practicing and over time I'm noticing changes, subtle and sweet, that are leading me directly into a walk with the divine. I'm learning this can happen even if our responsibilities don't shift. The only thing that needs changing is our awareness. And that lies solely in the palm of our hands. The choice is ours. But it's worth it. Whatever it takes, it's worth it.

May you find a rhythm that allows you to pause and find gratitude in the very simplest of things. May you experience truly living rather than rushing and going and doing and producing. May boredom cause you to pause and examine and move or stand still. May you have eyes to see what already is and the patience to enjoy it. 


Astragalus has become a bit of a rock star in recent health circles however it has deep roots in Chinese medicine and has been used for many years medicinally to build immune strength, energizing and nourishing the entire body. It has quite an impressive list of qualities and uses and is worth familiarizing yourself with.

Nettle is also used traditionally in Chinese medicine, noted as a "long life" herb and a terrific whole body tonic. Many consider it a vitamin/mineral factory.

Both the flower and berries of the Elder plant are popular cold remedies and immune boosters in European countries and are gaining traction here in the states.


9 c. water, divided
1 c. tigernuts
1 handful of dried astragalus slices
2 T. dried nettle root
2 T. whole dried cardamom pods
2 T. dried elderflower
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
3 - 4 T. raw honey, local if possible
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. maca powder
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. unflavored, grass-fed gelatin [for extra firm consistency, less if softer consistency is desired]

Prepare a 9 x 13 glass baking pan by greasing bottom and sides with coconut oil. Set aside.

In blender, place 5 cups of water and tigernuts. Blend on high until very smooth. Place cheesecloth or mine mesh nut milk bag over large jar or glass measuring cup. Pour blended milk into the cloth or bag about 3/4 of the way full. Twist top of bag and begin to squeeze milk out. Add the remaining milk and squeeze until all of the milk has been released. Save pulp for crackers, baking or smoothies. Set milk aside.

In a medium size pot place 4 cups of water, astragalus, nettle root, cardamom pods, and a pinch of salt. Bring water to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered until about a cup of liquid remains [approximately 30 minutes]. Turn heat off, add elderflower, cover and let steep for an additional 20 minutes. Pour liquid through fine mesh strainer and discard herbs.

Slice vanilla bean along the edge, going deep enough to cut open but not all the way through.

Return herb tea to pot and add milk, vanilla bean, honey, syrup, cardamom powder, and sea salt. Warm over medium low heat until just hot to touch. Be careful not to boil!

Place warmed liquid in blender, add maca, and blend on high. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in gelatin. Increase speed as consistency of liquid thickens.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and refrigerate until just firm. Cut the gummies into desired size and shape. Return to refrigerator and cool until gummies are very firm.

Store for a week or two in refrigerator and enjoy!

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