Archive | July, 2012

The Life of an Athlete

27 Jul

The countdown to the Olympics is over. Today the entire world sets their sights on London to watch athletes compete for the gold. I have to be honest.  All this talk about the Olympics has really got me reminiscing of my sporty days. Bet you didn’t know I once had a promising athletic career!

I think it began with track and field. Way back in elementary school I tried out for running long jump and found out I was actually really good. In fact I came first in my school (You can shake my hand when you see me). So off I went to York University to compete in the Regionals. It should have been a proud day for me. Until they found out that our star athlete was being disqualified from the 400m relay race for competing in too many events. What’s worse…she was running anchor, which is the position reserved for the strongest runner.  Rather than bow out of the competition our coach decided to put, in my opinion, the least experienced runner in her spot. That would be me. All I had to do was receive the baton and sprint across the finish line. I ran as hard and as fast as I knew how…and led my team to a dismal defeat.

We came in last…and that was the end of my track and field career.

Then there were my basketball days.  I actually don’t like basketball at all. It completely goes against my sporting philosophy: never over exert yourself to catch a ball. It’s just not worth it. Somehow I still made it on the team…probably because we’re talking about grade 7, and I don’t think anyone gets cut at the grade 7 level.  I actually have zero recollection of my life as a basketball player…except for one not so proud moment.

We were at the regional tournament. The opposing team was up at the free throw line. I was in position ready to take the rebound. Then, right before she  threw the ball I decided I wasn’t standing in the right spot. No one told me you weren’t supposed to move until after the ball was thrown. So the ref blew the whistle on me. He called a foul…or a penalty…or yellow card….whatever it’s called it was so not my fault.

Basketball career ends there.

But there was always volleyball. Now that was a sport I knew I was good at. I was proud to be on the team and really felt like this was a sport that would take me places. Then I hit grade nine. I tried out for the team and was cut after just one tryout. Now I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, but is that honestly enough time to judge someone’s abilities? One tryout? . That coach really made a wrong call. And so, at the ripe age of 14, I threw in my towel and decided that my life, as a competitive athlete, was coming to an end. I’ve played on lots of recreational teams since…but, it’s just not the same.

Despite the scars of a career gone wrong, I’m still really looking forward to watching the Olympics. I love watching the energy and utter devotion the athletes display…You can almost see their gaze focused on the one prize, and nothing, not even millions of spectators cheering them on,  not the pressure, not even physical injuries distracts them from their goal. In fact it has been said that an Olympic athletes spend their entire lives training, preparing and focused on those precious ten seconds.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

2”Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection…” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27a

Over the next few weeks, as we sit before our television screens and cheer the athletes on, let’s meditate on the truth of how our Christian walk is much like the journey of an athlete. We too train. We work hard, face difficulties and setbacks, and endure. When you see the look of determination in the athletes’ faces, ask yourself, do I share the same determination in my Christian walk? Do we display the same courage? Resilience? Do we forsake all distractions for the sake of our heavenly prize? Do we work and sweat for the purpose of the Kingdom?  I feel I have a lot to learn from these Olympic athletes. ….

But the believer’s story is quite different. We do not spend what seems like an eternity preparing for a moment that’s over in the blink of an eye. Our treasure does not rest on a mantlepiece.  On the contrary, Christians spend what appears to be the blink of an eye, preparing for the joy, the prize,  of an eternity with the Lord.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” . 2  Corinthians 4:16-18

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Think About Your Thoughts

20 Jul

Have you ever thought about what you think about?

No, it’s not a trick question! I’m serious…if you look back on your day, what have you spent your time thinking about?  What are the thoughts that have run through the hallway of your mind?

Mine are often consumed with a running commentary on what’s happening during the day:

  • Next I’ll do the laundry. Oh the laundry…why is that hamper always full? No matter how many loads of laundry I do, the hamper is always full! I don’t get it.
  • Next I’ll feed Amanda. I wonder how she’ll torture me this time? I really hope she doesn’t torture me.
  • It’s 6:00pm already? How did that happen?
  • I’m soooo hungry….actually I’m starving.  I wonder how many little chocolates make up a chocolate bar. One chocolate bar a day sounds reasonable.
  • It’s 11:00 already? When am I going to get to sleep? I really need some sleep!

It’s inevitable…our minds will entertain thoughts about the mundane, every day events of our lives. But if we step back and look over the course of our day, what pattern of thinking would we find? Have we spent our day complaining about our responsibilities? Festering over annoying qualities of people we’ve encountered? Grumbling about our circumstances and how we wish they had gone differently?

Here is another question. Have you ever noticed how much your thoughts impact the way you feel? How do your thoughts impact the way you speak, the way you act…in essence, the way that you live?

“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5

I love this verse because it reminds me that we are not victims to our thoughts. As a Christian I cannot use the excuse “I can’t help it, that’s just what came into my mind.” On the contrary as believers we have been equipped to take captive our thoughts and bring them under the authority of Christ.  Fears, doubts, complaining, jealousy…all the thoughts that are troublesome and contrary to what God wants for us….we don’t just have to sit there and have those thoughts. We can bring them under Christ’s authority and ask that He would help us have thoughts that are obedient to His word.

When I was young I used to be petrified of horror movies (actually, who am I kidding, I’m still petrified of horror movies). If something scary was on TV, I would hide my eyes with my hands, but keep my fingers slightly open, just wide enough so that I can peer through them to see when it was safe to look.  I desperately wanted to stop watching. And then one day it dawned on me.

I have the remote control.

If I don’t want to watch something, I can just change the channel. Why sit there and allow myself to be troubled? Why watch something that was frightening me so much?

Believers have the remote control to their thoughts. We can take captive our thoughts and bring them under subjection to Christ so that fear is replaced with confidence in God. Doubt can be replaced with trust. Complaining can be replaced with contentment.  Jealousy can be replaced with gratitude. That’s the power of Christ’s Spirit within us. We can take captive our thoughts and thereby determine our feelings, our actions, our conduct.

I’m reading a book by J.I. Packer called “Knowing God.” I’m still only on the second chapter, but already I’ve been struck by such an important truth. Packer reminds us that one of the evidences of knowing God is our thoughts….more specifically our thoughts about God. In his book he writes:

“Those who know God have great thoughts of God. He knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; He therefore will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; His kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart Him….Is this how we think of God? Is this the view of God which our own praying expresses? Does this tremendous sense of His holy majesty, His moral perfection and His gracious faithfulness keep us humble and dependent, awed and obedient..? By this test, too, we may measure how much, or how little, we know God.” (p. 29, 30)

Wow. Our thoughts are not only important because of how they affect our lives, our attitudes and even our behaviour. Ultimately our thoughts are important because they demonstrate how much, or how little we know of God.  And it was for this reason, knowing God, that we were created:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,” Jeremiah 9:23-24

Those who know God will have high thoughts of Him. And high thoughts of God will lead to right thinking about others, responsibilities and circumstances. And right thinking about those things will lead to right conduct that brings Him glory and pleasure.

And how else could we know God were it not for the Gospel?

And so I ask the question again, “Have you ever thought about what you think about?”

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

What will it take to drive a man to Christ?

16 Jul

Here are a few more words through pictures from the great Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones’ sermons on “Spiritual Depression”.

In order to know how to deal with spiritual depression, Lloyd Jones says that firstly that, unless there is “a conviction of sin, and if you do not realize that you are unworthy before God, and that you are utterly condemned and a complete failure before God, pay attention to nothing else until you have it, until you come to this realization, because you will never find joy, you will never get rid of your depression until you are right about that. Conviction of sin is an essential preliminary to a  true experience of salvation.” It must sound counterintuitive to say that in order to be joyful or truly happy, you need to feel condemned, convicted, and unworthy. But this is the truth. Jesus taught this in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are those who mourn, because knowing the truth about our sinful and helpless state is the only thing that will cause us to realize our need for Christ. Otherwise, we live as fools, trying self-salvation projects of all sorts, and depending on our own “righteousness”. Therefore, if this conviction of our guilt before God is not in place, we will never turn to Him, and as a result, we will never truly be able to deal with our spiritual depression. How many people believe they were saved because of an emotional experience, signing a card, or raising a hand and saying a prayer, but never felt a conviction of their sin? If a person has never truly understood the way of salvation, all their beliefs and efforts will be more or less useless. Once again, I can’t say it better than him, so here are a few excerpts from one of the chapters of his book.

 

 

Thinking Back

13 Jul

You know when you come back from vacation, you try desperately not to lose that “feeling” you had while you were away? The smells, the excitement of being in a new place, the unique taste of the food, the anticipation at the beginning of each day for all you will experience, the joy of the memories that are being knit together.

Well, I’ve been back from the Resolved conference for almost two weeks now, and I think my vacation feeling has faded. I’m pretty sure it happened sometime after the third or fourth load of laundry.

But that’s okay…feelings come and go….What’s more important are the lessons I learned while I was away, and I pray they will stay with me for however long they are needed…Here are just a few lessons I learned that I would love to share with you.

GOD SAVES PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE

During the final session of the Resolved conference I couldnt help but glance over at the man sitting next to Shady. Okay I didnt just glance once, I may have looked at him through the corner of my eye several times.  He just didnt look like someone who would be interested in a 4 day Bible conference. He looked like he would more prefer to be riding a Harley Davidson down the highway followed by a row of men that all looked just like him (not that men who ride a Harley Davidson down the highway can’t be interested in the Bible!) He just looked so rough, so intimidating, so…not what I would expect at the conference.

But he held this Bible. It seemed to rest in his hands with tremendous ease, as though his fingers were made for that very book. And the Bible itself, it looked like it had been places. The pages weren’t freshly pressed, they looked like they had been flipped through several times over. This man was clearly familiar with the content of his Bible.

And then it happened. The man on stage asked that all pastors and leaders in the room stand so that they could be appreciated for their labour of love in the church. So I looked around to see who in the room would stand….and he stood up!  I was clearly wrong in my first impression of him.

I loved that I was wrong about him. I loved that God used this situation to remind me that He calls people from all tribes, nations, cities, ghettos and highways full of bikers to Himself. It reminded me that it does not depend on man, but on God.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because off your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” Colossians 1:22-23

FIND A CHURCH…THEN COMMIT

“This church starts too early! This church is too small! The sermons are too long! The sermons are too short!” In the words of pastor Austin Duncan….”Goldylocks, stop it!”

Of course it is important to find a good church. One that teaches sound Biblical doctrine, that explifies the fruit of the Spirit and that operates under the authority of the Bible. But once we have found a good church, we need to commit. We need to plant our feet, roll up our sleeves, start serving, and stop hopping around. Too many of us spend years and years hopping from church to church to church. In order to fully live in the truth of the Gospel we must be firmly rooted and established in a local body of believers. It’s wonderful to belong to the universal church, but this must translate into committment to a local church. More on this next week!  For now, Austin Duncan’s full sermon can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsytV3wZseQ

THE JOY OF RECONCILIATION

One of the highlights of the Resolved conference was definitely the time of singing and worship. Each of the songs that we sung fixed our gaze on the sacrificial love, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These songs set my heart on heaven and reminded me of the common hope that those in the church share together. I was thankful to be a part of this corporate time of worship.

One particular moment stands out clearly in my mind. It was during an old hymn that you’re probably familiar with called It Is Well With My Soul. One line drove people to raise their hands in the air in humble praise and gratitude to God. No, it wasn’t an emotionally charged line. It wasn’t one of promises of pleasure or rewards in heaven.

“My sin, O the bliss, of this glorious thought….My sin, not in part but the whole…is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, O my soul.”

I shivered when I saw people’s hands being raised in response to these words.

We live in a culture that tells us to deny our sin.  Explain it away. Rationalize it. Compare it to someone else’s so it doesnt appear that bad. Calling something “sin”  is too harsh and is bad for our self esteem..it makes us feel poorly about ourselves. Call it an honest mistake and move on.

Unfortunately this way of thinking has even rubbed off on some churches. Many pastors are scared to talk about sin, so as not to offend, not to turn off, not to turn away its members. But this approach is so dangerous, and so unbiblical. If we’re never confronted with our sin, we will never see our need for a Saviour…we will never understand the magnitude of what Christ accomplished on the cross….we will never see our need for repentence…we will never be reconciled to our holy God.

1 John 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What sweet relief comes when we make this declaration. “It was my sin…my sin that drove the nails into your hands…and my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.” That is the sweet relief of forgiveness that comes only from the cross. That is what drove a room full of people to sing out their hearts to God, praising Him for reconciling them to Himself!

“Oh to see my name written in your wounds

For through your suffering, I am free

Death is crushed to death, life is mine to life

Won through your selfless love

This the power of the cross, Son of God slain for us

What a love! What a cost!

We stand forgiven at the cross.” (written by Keith Getty)

One more thing….the blogging team at This Passing Life would like to congratulate our Thursday blogger, Georgie, on the birth of her child yesterday!!! Um, Georgie, why didn’t you post yesterday?

Spiritual Depression

9 Jul

I picked up the book “Spiritual Depression” by Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones just about 2 years ago. I read it voraciously at the beach, looking forward to each new chapter. At the time, I had thought to myself, “Wow, what a great book for someone struggling with spiritual depression.” And now, I think that I can say as I read it for the second time, that this is a great book for every Christian, whether or not you think you struggle with spiritual depression. I am reading it now with new eyes, seeing myself, my own struggles with unhappiness, my own dejected countenance and inability to “hope in God”, and being blessed by new understanding of my own sin and the biblical way to deal with depression caused by all sorts of factors (mostly from within). I can honestly say that I am that Christian who often times looks unhappy, and dissatisfied. My countenance shows sadness, directed towards my own failings, towards the failings of others, towards life in general. But God, is graciously, slowly, showing me ways that I am too often looking within for solutions, and listening to my own thoughts rather than looking to Him. No doubt, this is the root of the problem. But identifying the root doesn’t always mean that the problem is then solved immediately. We are struggling with sin, which means that even though we want to do what’s right, we often won’t, and we often take much longer to learn obedience than we wish, but God is patiently chiseling away.

Without getting to into the meat of the thing, I will just preface my entry today by saying that, I think that each Christian to one degree or another will most definitely deal with this topic in their own spiritual life. I won’t do a good job at summarizing each chapter because there’s just too much in there that needs chewing on, so I thought I’d whet the appetite for further reading by drawing out a few lines and trying to highlight some of the main points of his introduction using some instagram photos, instead of just typing out the quotes. Enjoy!

 

Sexual By Design

7 Jul

I recently watched a video about Doug Wilson’s visit to India. He was conducting lectures on sexuality, you can find them here http://www.canonwired.com/bloomington/. At the end of those lectures he opened up the floor to any questions people might have…and they had many. A large crowd of people opposed to what Doug Wilson was teaching gathered at the lectures and seemed to dominate the question and answer period…not to mention the opportunity they took to heckle him from their seats.

I found the whole thing hard to watch (which is why I didn’t watch much of it). People were, at large, rude, irrational and didn’t really listen to what Doug Wilson was actually saying. But, I was reminded that these are the waters we swim in right now. People hate what the Bible says about sexuality and gender. People hate that Christians would even dare turn this discussion into a moral one. People hate that the Bible even has a moral standard. People hate God.

I would encourage you to watch some the Q and A I have linked above…and also take a look at the other articles I have linked below (the first I got off Paul Martin’s blog and the second off Tim Challies blog).  I for one am really disturbed by it all…but it’s making me want to read my Bible more so that I can be ready to give a defence for the hope that I have.

http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/prosecution+Linda+Gibbons/6792284/story.html

http://theaquilareport.com/first-they-came-forthen-they-came-for/

A Firm Grasp

6 Jul

We are back from sunny California!

I realized that I never shared with you the purpose of our vacation. Besides visiting many of Shady’s relatives who we have not seen for years, the reason we travelled to California was to attend the 2012 Resolved conference. If you have never heard of this conference, I strongly encourage you to visit www.resolved.org  to learn more about it. This conference is a ministry of Grace Community Church which is pastored by John MacArthur.  After eight years, this was the final time that the conference would be held, and we were so blessed to be able to attend!

This year the conference focused on the topic of “The Church”.  It was four days of listening to one edifying sermon after another.  Over the next few weeks I hope to share some of my personal highlights from the conference, including what I have learned from the various pastors. For today I would love to briefly share something I heard that resonated with me in a powerful way.

“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Our hearts are constantly grasping…reaching for something to embrace in the hopes of finding momentary happiness and satisfaction. This passage admonishes us to set our hearts on the Gospel…to hold fast to it as with a firm grip. One of the blessings of meeting together in a conference such as Resolved  is the encouragement our hearts receive to tighten our grip even more on the truth of the Gospel.

What does it mean, practically speaking, to hold tight to the Gospel?  It means to be unswerving in my commitment to God (something which I can only do through His power) .It means love for the Lord that is nurtured with scripture towards constant growth. It means obedience without compromise.  It means that Jesus Christ sits on the throne of life…my heart and my hands hold fast to Him.

Amanda knows what it means to hold something in her grip. She’s actually quite skilled at holding tight to just about anything that catches her attention. These days it’s my hair…my collar bone…but especially my nose. Don’t be deceived by the fragile appearance of her hands. Once those fingers hold onto something they are determined not to let it go. That is of course until she spots something more interesting.

My behaviour often resembles that of Amanda’s. I resolve to hold tight the words of the Gospel to my heart. But worldly temptations and distractions compete with my allegiance and slowly pry my fingers off of God’s words. Like Amanda I temporary release my grip to make room for that which looks attractive and appealing.

This is why it is so important to be in God’s word on a regular basis…why we need to encourage each other with the truth of Gospel…and why we need to be committed to our local church. As I was reminded this weekend, Christ didn’t die for a conference…He died for the church.  As much as conferences are exciting and edifying, they do not replace the assembling together as a church family on a weekly basis. We are called to be committed to a local church where we can experience all that the Gospel has to offer, within the context of His body.  And as we spend time with those in the body of believers we should be striving to encourage our brothers and sisters to tighten their grip on the truth of the gospel and to release our affection for anything that hinders our commitment to God.

How can I encourage others to hold fast to their commitment to the faith? How can you do the same? This is what I was left to ask myself…and I hope you will do the same.

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13

I’m including a list of the pastors that spoke at the conference, along with the link to their respective ministries/church. Each one of these pastors love God with their whole heart, soul and mind, and their passion for Scripture, for teaching it clearly, faithfully and applying it to their lives was so evident to me.

John MacArthur               www.gty.org

Steve Lawson                    http://www.cfbcmobile.org

Albert Mohler                   http://www.albertmohler.com

CJ Mahaney                       http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org

Rick Holland                        http://www.missionroadbiblechurch.com

Austin Duncan                   http://www.gracechurch.org/crossroads/media

Jonathan Rorke                 http://www.gracechurch.org/media/?filter=speaker&id=44

Spaghetti Sauce

4 Jul

I wanted to write something tonight. I really did. I wanted to write something profound, something amusing and winsome, something worthy of a link from ‘the’ Tim Challies. That’s the only reason I care to write, really. But I got nothing.

It’s technically Wednesday now, so I shouldn’t actually be posting anything, since I’m infringing on Amy’s day… my apologies, Amy. But lest all you avid readers out there should think I have disappeared forever, I shall at least post a recipe. Don’t we all need a good spaghetti sauce recipe?  I think we do. So if you don’t already have a fave, try this one out. It’s kind of a mish-mash of my own recipe with some ideas from Mel’s version.  Bon Appetit!

Spaghetti Sauce

1 tbsp or so of olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1-2 red peppers, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
1 carton fresh mushrooms, halved and sliced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomato, pureed with immersion blender
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 ½ tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pinch or so of fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and peppers (and mushrooms if using) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add ground beef and season lightly with some salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until browned and drain slightly if necessary.

Add tomatoes and the rest of the spices. Add more salt (1/2 to 1 tsp) and pepper, and allow to simmer for about 1 hour, over low to medium heat.

Feel free to add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a large handful of parmesan cheese at the end. I sometimes do, sometimes don’t.

Eating, “Exercising”, and Summer Faves

2 Jul

Summer is in full effect here in the Tdot. We are experiencing some serious heat! Trying to stay cool is a full-time job so in order to make the mugginess less burdensome I do things like bake stuff with the oven on high and then spend the next hour washing the dishes and working up a sweat. Which then leads to me getting even more hot, and then having to jump in the pool as a refresher! Times are hard. Some people like to do cool things like MapMyRun and post these great statuses on Twitter and Facebook that say things like “I completed my run in 20 minutes. I ran 10 kilometres!” Wow seriously? I don’t know anything about that kind of workout these days. Working out for me is limited to things like carrying a 30 pound baby around for at least an hour a day. Ummm, come to my house and I’ll show you how to add about 1000 extra calories to your day- that’s what I’m good at working out. So, right now, don’t come to me for advice on how to stay fit- come to me for help with eating. Because that, my friends, is something I am really good at. I’m not saying I’m good at making it all, but I’m trying and along the way I’m learning fun things that I want to share with you. So here it goes: I’ll give you a few things to chew on literally. My top five things to make/bake for the summer, and my top five places to eat and hang in the city.

EATING:

1) Make this cake. It’s super easy and you can substitute other fruit toppings. I did blueberries with lime zest and I’m sure you could do the rest of the berry family as well. Great to throw together for people coming over for dinner.

2) Make these meringues with fresh fruit: This was a little recipe I happened upon in Bon Appetit and I love it! It’s so refreshing and for those who are actually watching their calories, if you do it without the ice cream, I’m sure it won’t be to heavy. The French know their food so just trust them, you can’t go wrong.

3) Make this salad: This salad is a winner. It’s beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat (is there such a thing as beautiful to eat?? If not, I’m coining that because really beauty should be a verb and I feel something magnificent when I eat good food!). I used Stilton blue cheese instead of goat, which I prefer. The sharpness adds some punch to the dish.

4) Make this Salad Nicoise for your dinner: Again with the French. I’m telling you, they know their stuff! Nicoise refers to the region the salad originates from, and the type of olive you should use, but I sub in Kalamatas and I think they taste just fine. The potatoes, beans, and boiled egg make it a hearty meal, not just some wimpy salad dressed up as a main dish.

5) Make these spare ribs: These are crowd pleasers. Kalbi is a traditional type of Korean meat dish. The cut is thinner than traditional short ribs so you probably have to go to a Korean grocer like Galleria to find these, but they sell the marinade and all you have to do is put them in to soak overnight in the fridge, and maybe add some chopped garlic and you’re good to go. The link here is for a homemade marinade, but I personally have only used the store-bought version and I love it. These will not disappoint! Plan for about 4-5 per person.

PLACES TO GO:

1) Starbucks. Enough said

2) Menchies. Enough said

3) Terroni: I love the atmosphere at this place. It’s not so much a summer place, as it is an all year-round type of restaurant with great pasta and pizza.

4) Boiler House: I’m a sucker for ambiance. The meals are pricey, but they’re amazing! So if you only want to go for a snack or drink, I think it’s still worth it since the location (The Distillery), and the place itself are enjoyable regardless.

5) St. Lawrence Market: Food galore! Take your pick, there’s tons to look at and tons of choices of things to eat. I personally love the Peameal Bacon Sandwich from Carousel Bakery. My dad has been taking us there since I was a little tot! They are delicious any time of the year.

Happy summer eating, and for some of you ambitious ones, exercising!