The Message of the Table

A number of years ago my parents made the big decision to move from our farm and family home into our small, very quaint town. As many of you know, a move like this is huge. There are memories in the home and on the property and you can imagine it was a big task.  After over 30 years, 4 children plus countless family members and friends, how does one capture all of that in moving boxes and containers? Is it possible?

I guess the answer is simple. Our memories are held forever in the recess of our minds, we don’t need stuff to tell us about the life we have lived. But they help, and so it is hard. Many of you reading this know what I’m talking about, you’ve gone down this road before. Whether it has been with your parents, in-laws, friends or perhaps yourselves. When we move we are faced with all the things that have accumulated. The stories, the artworks, the tree houses, the boxes of miscellaneous stuff in the attic … the list goes on.Read More


Recharge, Refuel, Refocus: 5 Tips on Expanding Your Capacity

Susan-Sohn-PromoIf there is one question I get asked on a regular basis it is this, “How do you do all that you do?” My question back is always, “What is it that you see me do that you want to know about?”

This question always results in the conversation of capacity and capacity is something that never ceases to fascinate me. Why is it that some people seem to have greater capacity than others?

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When Dreams Conflict and Collide

she-1I’m 44 and I feel like my life has just begun. How is that possible? I have three children, I have been married for 20 years and I have had a fulfilling career. However, the excitement, the desire and the drive that I find within feels more like it did in my twenties. What is this and where does this come from?

Allow me to reflect. I am a dreamer and I believe that, in the seemingly impossible, the possible can be found. I know that small steps will always lead to big steps and achievements. I’m a perpetual optimist and choose to dig deep and pull out the gold within, whether it be personally or in relation to others. I’m not afraid of hard work, nor rejection, for both are part of life and understanding that at an early age promises to rid one of burdens that can tend to hold us back. I choose to let challenging things like, rejection and hard work, fuel me rather than rule me.

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Winter Stew

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Needing a little something to take the winter chill away and to please any palate? Allow us to introduce our winter stew. Yes, it has been a crowd pleaser for both young and old (oh and Bentley, our dog, loves the leftovers). This stew is beyond easy and it is very more(ish) so relax and let the dish speak for itself whilst allowing you to show off your culinary skills.

 

Winter Beef Stew

Ingredients:

Beef Cubed – I use Chuck or Casserole or even better go to your butcher and get the already cut pieces – tell the butcher you’re making a stew and they will sort you out! Now, depending on how many you are cooking for will determine how much you need. I usually make for 8 so I would suggest at least 2 kilos.

Beef Stock – 4 cups/1 litre

Onions – have fun with your onions. Use 1 brown (chopped) and then add either pearl or shallots whole to increase the flavour. Throw in at least 3-4.

Garlic – It’s winter so be generous. Chase the flu bugs away with this perfect bulb. Smash and chop 2-3 and then add 3 whole cloves

Potatoes – Wash and quarter. I like using white potatoes but I’m not precious. I also like my potatoes to look like potatoes so I choose not to chop them to small

Carrots – 4

Celery – 2-3 stalks (preferably with leaves)

Frozen Corn & Peas

Flour + Dry Mustard (if you have) + Worcestershire + Coconut Oil + A splash of Red Wine + Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Chop your brown onion & garlic and sauté in 1-2 tbsps of Coconut Oil. Add your cubed beef and brown on a high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You want you meat & onions to absorb the salt, Once the beef is browned and the onions are softened add 3 tbsps of flour to coat your beef plus 1-2 tsp of dry mustard (if you have). This will turn the beef and onions rather grainy and a quite dry. You will wonder if you’ve made a mistake, don’t worry, this is exactly how we want it. Now add your beef stock (all of it). Stir and make sure you get anything that was stuck to the bottom of the pan off. You want this flavour to invade. Once you have this to a rolling boil add you potatoes and allow these ingredients some ‘getting acquainted’ time. Cover and let them simmer away for approx 20mins.

Now add your carrots (I like mine roughly chopped giving enough to dig a fork into) your additional pearl or shallots, celery and corn. You can also add your Worcestershire Sauce and a splash of red wine with a sip for yourself if it’s beyond 5pm :). Stir and make sure nothing is sticking to the base of the pan. Have a taste and if you need to add more Salt & Pepper please do so. Cover and let it simmer away making sure all your veggies are cooking and your meat is becoming more tender by the minute. In the last 10minutes of cooking I suggest you add your frozen peas. I don’t like to add these to early as they can get mushy and it’s just a preference of mine that I choose to wait on. In saying that, adding them earlier if it’s easier for you is totally fine.

If your stew has not thickened during the cooking process to your liking then by all means, add some more flour. Do this little by little as you don’t want it to thicken too much on you. Keep tasting and making sure the flavours are pleasing your palate. Always remember that each bite builds on the latter. Additionally, when cooking stove top I let my meat tell me when it’s done. This stew can be rushed and cooked in 1 hour or it can be brought along throughout the day lending itself to beautiful tender pieces that will melt in your mouth. It is a recipe that adapts well to your schedule.

Recipe Adaptations:

Use Lamb if you’d like | Add Pumpkin or other Veggies that you love | Use the slow cooker but make sure you brown your meat in a pan first as the slow cooker won’t do that for you | Use a pressure cooker | Swap the Beef for Chicken and the broth for Chicken Broth and add Mushrooms


The Ordinary into the Extraordinary

sohn-family-header

At the end of this month, Philip and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe it’s been two decades since we said ‘I do’, and if you include the on-and-off dating before that, we’ve pretty much been together for 25 years. We met when I was 19 and he was 21.Read More


Caitlin Roper chats to Susan & Nicole about Sexual Abuse and Violent Crimes towards Women

GetRealLive is passionate about keeping girls safe and doing what we can to celebrate the girls in our world and others across the globe. True to us, we love to tell peoples story and to hear and share and we are confident this will be one that we will remember for a long time to come.

Joining us tomorrow, we have Caitlin Roper who is an Activist, Survivor and State Coordinator for Collective Shout which is a grassroots movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture.Read More


A Cup of Warm Milk

milk-jug
So I’m sharing this article today simply because one of my readers had remembered this article and she shared how it had touched her. She asked if I would repost it so here we go…. I hope you enjoy!

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Everyone Has a Story

This a story that has made its way around the globe. I’ve talked about it countless times on my radio show and to family and friends. I’ve been reminded of it countless times. Why? Because we all desire wholeness in our lives.  And personally,  I think all of us can see a piece of ourselves in these events. After sharing this, I was asked to write my story, so I hope it makes its way into the right places.

The story is simply about a day in my life. A day that I know will stay with me forever.

I was at the supermarket doing my weekly shop. Normally, I am a very interactive shopper. I like to know what’s going on around me and I truly enjoy the supermarket experience. I go down every aisle because it is a time and space in a busy day to simply roam perhaps a little aimlessly. I love it! Today was slightly different for me, I was extremely focused on the job at hand. I was stepping outside of my culinary safety box and cooking something new for our dinner guests. So, with cookbook in hand I was charging through the shops focusing on my recipe and my trolley. Normally I would greet my fellow shoppers with a friendly ‘hello’ and a smile. Not today.

After making tracks through the supermarket, I made it to the checkout.

As I began to place my purchases on the sliding belt and the cashier scanned each item, I felt a sense of satisfaction. I had found almost everything I needed. I had completed my shop in record time which meant time for a relaxing coffee before the cooking began. I stood patiently, waiting for my transaction to end, smiling at the man who was doing his best to pack my groceries. Whilst I was at the checkout and daydreaming about my coffee and thinking about my impending culinary extravaganza. I turned to discover someone had joined my line. It was a man who appeared to be homeless, he would have been in his late 30s or early 40s.

His hair was matted, his clothes were very dirty and he carried a horrible stench. Sadly, his smell was so strong that it invaded almost the entire front of the store. As my groceries came to an end he began to delicately place his purchases on the sliding belt.  I can’t remember exactly what he was buying but I do recall it surprised me. His groceries, would have probably cost around $10. I stood, riveted to the floor, my feet wouldn’t move. My heart began to beat a little faster, my internal temperature increased. It was that feeling that maybe some of you get when you’re about to hear that ‘small voice inside’ speak loud and clear. That’s exactly what happened.

I heard that voice say, ‘pay for his groceries’.

I know many, if not most of you reading this story are familiar with that voice. We all hear it. Call it your conscience, call it the Universe but I call it God and I know that voice. It’s the voice that can warn me, caution me, motivate me…. so many moments I have heard that voice. Anyway, back to the story. I immediately began a debate in my head that went something like this: “What if he gets offended? What if he freaks out on me? How embarrassing, what if, what if.” I argued with myself for so long that others had joined the line. Again, I heard the voice say, “Will you not humble yourself to do something that will change a life? Have you not asked to be my hands and feet? Pay for his groceries.”

Being stubborn, I attempted to ignore the voice and my instincts.

I was becoming more uncomfortable. My internal temperature was raging like hot molten lava and my heart was beating faster. I was shifting from side-to-side. I knew what to do but I couldn’t step over my pride or fear to do the right thing.

My transaction was complete. As the kind cashier put my last bag into the trolley,  he said, “thank you miss, you have saved $16.00 today.”  I quickly realized that my savings (thanks to my supermarket club card) were greater than the homeless man’s entire bill. My heart sank. I had missed the moment. My internal temperature began to cool down, my heartbeat began to slow down and my head hung low.

Offering to pay for his groceries now would be awkward. I couldn’t add it onto my bill. I would have to stand and wait and there would be an uncomfortable silence. The excuses stacked up and I began to convinced myself that maybe I didn’t hear that voice,. Maybe I made it all up. I knew better, I knew I had missed a chance to ‘be the change I want to see in the world today’!

I wheeled my well-packed trolley to the exit and left with a horrible sense of sadness.

The sadness of walking away from a missed opportunity, is also associated with letting your pride stand in the way of the good we are offered to do. As I walked toward the exit, consoling myself I heard a well-spoken man calling out after me. “Excuse me Miss, excuse me Miss”. I turned around expecting the friendly cashier but found the homeless man with the matted hair and dirty clothes. He handed me my supermarket club card, explaining I had dropped it and he wanted to make sure it was returned.

Now, take a moment and allow me to paint a picture for you. This man had captured everyone’s attention through his looks, stench and the concern of him  generally perusing the shelves. Now he was following and calling out to me as I exited the store. Imagine, the fellow shoppers looking on, the store security almost ‘at the ready’. Can you see it? Can you hear the gasps and the looks of concern?

At that moment, I heard the voice again say, “here’s another chance.”

I ignored it and stood at the entrance saddened by my weakness. The well-spoken homeless man returned to the cashier to complete his transaction. I stood, once again, riveted to the spot. I was scared but desperate to BE in the moment, desperate to step over ME.  I was the only thing that stood between doing the good and the right and walking away and missing the opportunity to be a blessing. Finally, something within me broke and I began to rise up on the inside. What was happening, courage was taking the place of fear. Pushing it out like a storm within.

I began to hope that the man would take the same exit as me and silently prayed for a third chance to make a difference. I prayed that this courage I felt, this strength within would help me live beyond myself at that very moment.

Before I knew it, the homeless man was behind me ~ he had chosen the same exit!

He said, “I hope you don’t mind that I chased after you with your card.”
I looked at him and said, “No, thank you so much.” I paused and then continued the conversation, “How is your day going?”
He locked eyes with me and replied, “Not very good, it’s hard being homeless.” The conversation continued as we walked to the car park.
“You took a risk in there running after me to give my card back and now it’s my turn to take a risk with you,” I said.
“When we were standing in line I believe God spoke to me and told me to pay for your groceries. I ignored him because I was scared.”
His eyes remained locked on mine. He told me, “Everyday I ask God for direction, I wasn’t always homeless you know. I used to live in a nice area, I grew up there, I had a good job, life was great. Things just went wrong and life changed very quickly but I know I won’t always be homeless.”

I listened to him and was moved with compassion.

Our conversation continued and I said, “You’re in this space right now but God wants you to know that this isn’t how your life will end, that there is more and this isn’t forever.”
He replied, “It’s Angels like you that give me hope and today I needed hope. I just spent my last dollars on those groceries.”
I asked him if I could help him and he replied, “If you would like to – I want you to know that I’m homeless but I don’t do drugs, a lot of homeless people do but I’m just not one of those.”
At that moment, I believed him about the drugs but you know even if that isn’t the truth, God is in control and He orchestrated the entire encounter.

I asked him his name and introduced myself to him. I told him I would pray for him, that I knew God was going to do something great in his life and that he needed to hold onto hope and have faith. He extended his hand to shake mine and I was thinking, “Oh no, I don’t want to shake.” Again I heard the voice say, “Shake his hand well, place value on him.” I extended my hand and said, “God bless you and have the best day today.” He said the same and we parted ways.

When I made my way to my car and instantly began praying for him, I almost buckled over in tears. I felt such a huge burden for him. I cannot claim that I know how his story ends or how his life will change. But I know through God’s creativity this homeless man’s life can become what it was meant to be.

Today, I walked away from an opportunity to make a difference. But I believe I was given a second and third chance and I chose to do what was right.

I ended up giving him all that was in my wallet. Not a lot to most, but a fortune to him. Who knows what will happen in his life. All I know is that I’ve asked to be God’s hands and feet on this earth. Today I had the opportunity to speak into a hurting life. I realise now more than ever that on either side of our obedience there are people who will be affected forever.

My friends can attest to the fact that I always say EVERYONE HAS A STORY. I learned that from a great man … my dad. I believe that as we walk through life it is our responsibility to pull back the layers of our stories. When we do this we discover the gold that is within each one of us. Try to look beyond what you see. There is a why behind every what. Thank you for reading this simple story. I ask today that you say a prayer for this homeless man, my friend whose name is Sean.

Susan

Original date January 14, 2010. 


Peter Walsh Live in Sydney

PW16Sydney captivated by the king of de-cluttering. It was a night of laughter and tears as Oprah’s organising expert Peter Walsh delivered his unique blend of wit, wisdom and practical advice to Sydney fans during a one-off stage event.Read More