How To Take Over the World In One Not-So-Easy Step

Leo Babauta publishes Zen Habits. A plain Jane blog that gives me great advice on how to live my life better. Not how to change my life into a life the matches my ideal-life stereotype, but how to more fully live and enjoy the life I’m living now.

I like that, because there are a lot of things in my life now that I want to keep. Basically, the only things I want to change outside of my attitudes and habits are for my kids to have some better habits, which circles back to me, and . . . well, I guess that’s about it, really.

Today Zen Habits, in my head I sort of use that like it’s his name, wrote about “Mastering Discomfort.” Paraphrasing, he says if I can get used to being uncomfortable some of the time I can take over the galaxy! Sounds great, huh?!

And I’m sure he’s right. He has a pretty comprehensive list of areas I could improve. And several of them are areas I am looking to improve. I’m One that struck me was “writing.” It seems funny. I’m the only person I know (you know, like in real life) who avoids writing and feels guilty about it.

Not everyone writes. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most people don’t write. But do you know it takes as much thought and energy for me to not write as it does for me to write? Astonishing, I know. So why don’t I just do the writing and obliterate the guilt?

I’m uncomfortable writing. I stress about wording and whether I’m getting my point properly explained. I also feel self-conscious. Who am I to be bossing the world.? I’m not perfect, and I don’t have all the answers.

Okay maybe Mr. Zen Habits does have more answers than I do. Or maybe not. Maybe he just gets his good advice typed out more often than I do. And I’m going to venture a guess that this is because he has made himself follow his own good advice. At this I have not excelled. I know, but I don’t do. Wow, how dumb is that!

As a thank you for good advice received today: I wrote. I face my discomfort. We all can reap the benefits together. He writes; I write; you do the next thing. What have you been avoiding all day/month/lifetime?

Compulsory picture follows:
No I don’t always put one in, but I always feel the urge.

I let my kids paint. Definite discomfort time for me. They, however, loved it.

I let my kids paint. Definite discomfort time for me. They, however, loved it.


Testy Tuesday-General Tso Chicken recipe and menu planning software

This recipe is one of dd18’s great successes. Dd18 is not a bad cook per se. She has had her culinary ups and downs, like all of us. The one thing that sets her apart is that she has a vociferous younger sister, dd14, who brings added attention to her mistakes. The result is that dd18 sees herself as kitchen-challenged while dd14 considers herself culinarily-competent. But they both have some outlandish tales: dd18 glanced over a brownie recipe, saw the first three ingredients, butter, eggs, and sugar, and calmly proceeded to melt the butter in a skillet, fry the eggs, then stir in the sugar. Oh My!

But dd14 yesterday was helping me whip up some pancakes. She added 1/2 cup ammonia instead of vinegar. As I whisked the batter, it took my several seconds to realize why my eyes where burning. Oy Vay! Practically straight out of Anne of Green Gables; the two had been switched on the shelves, but seriously?!

Anyway, here is the recipe with formatting courtesy of Plan to Eat. I’m trying them free for 30 days. I changed this recipe a lot from the Emeril Lagasse original. Added more veggies for one thing.

Print Recipe

General Tso’s Chicken


Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Asian

Serves: 6


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound cauliflower thawed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped lightly toasted cashews
  • Green onions sliced on the bias, garnish
  • 2 cups white rice accompaniment


  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 3 cup of the cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours, or just fry.
  3. To make the sauce, in another bowl, whisk remaining 2 tablespoon cornstarch with of the chicken stock until smooth. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, the vinegar, and sugar and whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to finish the dish.
  4. In a large wok or pot, heat enough oil to come 3 inches up the sides to 350 degrees F.
  5. Remove the chicken and cauliflower from the marinade and carefully slide into the hot oil. Fry, turning, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  6. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil from the wok. (Alternatively, in a clean wok or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.) Add the peppers and onion and stir-fry until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the chicken stock sauce, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  7. Arrange the chicken on a platter and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with the cashews and additional green onions. Serve with hot rice.

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This is What I’ve Got to Say

I had a dream and simple, silly craziness was going on, the harmless and fascinating craziness of people who are trying to change their lives and live a new way. They need to blow off steam, because they feel the weight of the old ways bearing down on them now and again. But the craziness stopped when a criminal, handcuffed, was led in.

The craziness vaporized and the urgent message had to be shared with this criminal-lost-soul took over all thought. One sat near him and explained:

You have to change. Your life is messed up. You won’t fully realize the vast effects these changes will make, until you see your young daughter, all grown up and caring for your infant grandson.

Your young daughter sacred-married to a man who loves her more than anything in this world, a husband who stays and takes care of his family. Your daughter a wife and a mom filled with joy and cherished moments not tinged with regret and shame.

The changes you have made in your life will give you blessings that you can understand. But until you see the life your daughter is giving to your grandson, you will only catch glimpses of the good things that have come to your life.

You don’t have the background to understand how good a life lived-well can be, filled with tranquility, security, and honest happiness. Those qualities have seemed unattainable and even imaginary to you in the life you have lead; you may never trust them even as they come to you. But they will be real and constant to this future grandson who is raised in God’s light and is untouched by evil.

This boy’s life, growing up without fear and anger and abuse, will open your eyes to a realm of goodness you never knew possible. You will always struggle with the past stealing up behind you. But for him there is no evil past. And only then will you understand the magnitude of the change you have wrought to your family line. Goodness and God will prevail and it will have been you who brought this hard-won happiness in and made it the new normal for your future family.

I bear testimony that you have the power to change lives for the better in ways that you don’t know or understand and bring about a future more grand and filled with light and joy than you, right here and now, can even imagine. Have the faith—cling to it with your might, and start living the changes. We who are burdened with fear and sin have now before us the power to stop and bring light and faith to those who follow.

My Big 2013 Resolution

2012 is dead. Long live 2013.

New years always excite me. A new beginning. New calendar, new semester, new box for the tax receipts.

Yet here I am January 5th shaking in my socks and sandals because I need to post a blog.

I have a habit of way over thinking things. Like McKay, Stargate: Atlantis, I am a catastrophist. Let me tell you folks, it doesn’t add joy to your years.
But in honor of my growing faith and the hope I have for exaltation I name this year “Rejoice.”

It is my goal to be grateful to the All Mighty for this life.
Remembering gratitude will improve my service to others and ease the tension I harbor.
I have some smaller and more specific goals like cheerful morning greetings to my family instead of the bleary-eyed groan they’re accustomed to. But the main goal is: Rejoice.

I am thankful. I should show it.