Solitude, Self-Care & Tortellini Soup (Welcome Author & Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman)

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(Becky) I’m thrilled to share our blog today with new author, compassionate therapist, and dear friend, Lucille Zimmerman. We’re celebrating the fresh release of her new book on self-care for women titled Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World.

Book Lu

I was thrilled to endorse it and wrote: “This is a book that I want to give to every woman I know. It contains wisdom I wish I had at twenty, and reminders I still need at mid-life, to regularly refill my own well. Lucille shows that in order to have something to give to those we love, we have to replenish our physical, spiritual and emotional energy. With wonderful personal stories and a therapist’s keen insight, Renewed, is a like a cup of cold water to women who are parched for permission to take care of themselves.”

Seriously, you gotta get this book.  Even better, pamper yourself futher and  read it while you sip her comforting recipe for Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage.

Below are some personal words, a short excerpt on self-care and Lucille’s soup recipe. One of the reasons she loves it is because it allows her to chop veggies, a calming and centering activity for her. Enjoy!

Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman, Author of Renewed

Guest Blogger Lucille Zimmerman, Author of Renewed

(Lucille)

I’ve noticed I’m the most stressed when I can’t focus on one thing. Right now I’m trying to finish up the grades on the counseling course I taught, I have a series of blog posts that need written, a daughter who is planning a wedding but is prohibited from driving until medical tests prove she’s not having seizures, and I’m launching my first book. Needless to say, the multitasking is causing me stress. I am in need of solitude.

Here is a little excerpt from my book, Renewed, on the topic of solitude:
 

So what do people gain from spending time in solitude? One researcher said the mere presence of other people obliges us to coordinate our actions. Right now I am alone. Snow is falling silently outside and the only sound I hear comes from water trickling in my office fountain. Right now I can do whatever I want. I can slurp my split pea soup while taking intermittent bites of a chocolate bar. I can sit on my chair with one leg tucked under in unladylike fashion. I can take a break to let the dog out, and I can sing badly while doing all of the above. I’m still wearing my workout clothes from yoga, my bangs are hanging in my face, and I don’t have on a stitch of makeup. These little freedoms are not to be underestimated.

Humans may be social beings, but solitude has been shown to have great societal value. It is like the rests in a line of music, giving information, nuance, and structure to the melody. Without it, our lives are a cacophony, a never-ending noise that wears us down. Solitude is essential for our spiritual experience – it is where we hear the still, small voice. Jesus was our model, showing us how to balance being with people and being alone. ‘Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed’ (Mark 1:35), and ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ (Luke 5:16). In these verses we see Jesus becoming known as a great healer and teacher, but he still took time to rest and pray.

So in spite of my to-do list, I put everything aside and took a walk in the sunshine. Then I made a tortellini soup. If anything brings my calm and focus back its sunshine, exercise, solitude and chopping fresh, colorful and fragrant vegetables. 

(Excerpted & Adapted from Renewed, by Lucille Zimmerman, Abingdon Press. Lucille’s info and blog is at http://www.lucillezimmerman.com)

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Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage: shared by Lucille Zimmerman


1 lb sweet Italian or turkey sausage
1 cup onion
2 garlic cloves, diced
5 cups beef broth
1 cup water
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
½ T. basil leaves
½ t. dried thyme
1 (8 oz) cup tomato sauce
1 ½ cups zucchini, sliced
1 (8 ox) fresh tortellini pasta
3 T. fresh parsley (use less if dried)
Parmesan cheese

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In a 5-quart Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain, reserving 1 T of drippings. Sauté onion and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, tomatoes, carrots, celery, basil, oregano, thyme, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and parsley. Simmer 30 minus. Add tortellini last 10 mins. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Exciting Announcement: “We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook” Will be a Book!

“My Nonny and Aunt Rachel have been keeping a secret. But I can’t stand holding it inside anymore. It’s time to tell!” (George, Becky’s grandson, age 5)

(Becky, the Butter Lovin’ Mom)

We’ve been keeping a secret for about a month, but finally have the go-ahead to make the GRAND ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

My daughter and co-author of this blog, Rachel Randolph, and I are deliriously happy to share that we have signed a two book contract with Zondervan Publishing!

Becky, signing her part of the book contract for We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook with Zondervan Publishers.

Baby Jackson helping his mother, Rachel, sign her part of her very first book contract. A two book deal! Woo hoo!

Our editor, Carolyn McCready, is a longtime friend and one of my favorite people on the planet. Not to mention one of the most talented editors and nicest people I know. Carolyn and I (Becky) worked together on many fun projects at Harvest House Publishers, where we grew from editor/author to close friends. Those were some of my happiest days in publishing, and we are delighted to find ourselves working together again.

Carolyn McCready, longtime friend and editor for this project!

The first book is slated to have the same title as this blog, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, and will debut in the fall of 2013.  We’ll wait to announce the name of the second book as a future surprise.

The literary agent for this project is none other than my husband, Greg Johnson, president of Wordserve Literary Agency.

Greg Johnson, our literary agent, President of WordServe.

The first book will be about our unique mother-daughter journey thus far, our mutual love of cooking, storytelling, and laughter,  along with the challenges that our differing styles and personalities bring to the kitchen table. Rachel is a Type-A Vegan, and I am a Type-S (Scattered) Butter-Lovin’ Mama. This poses plenty of opportunities for humor, mutual understanding, acceptance and biting our tongues.

Yes, writing is a family business, and has always been, for me. I can’t believe it has almost been twenty years since I wrote my first book (Worms in My Tea & Other Mixed Blessings) with my mother, Ruthie Arnold.

The first book I ever wrote, with my mother, Ruthie Arnold, almost twenty years ago now!

My daughter Rachel was just a little girl with a curly pony tail when I began pounding the typewriter (my “office” was my bedroom closet), learning all I could glean from my mom, who was already published and a fabulous writing coach.   I love this picture taken on my birthday last year of my mom laughing in the background at something I just said.  She was not only my best coach, she was (and still is) my best audience!

Becky with her mom Ruthie, laughing in the background. Ruthie taught Becky to laugh, to cook and to write!

Little did I know that almost two decades later, I’d have more then forty books under my belt, and that my little girl would grow up into an amazing woman, wife and mother, a fabulously healthy cook, and a funny, poignant writer. Or that we’d have the incredible privilege of writing books together.

My little girl all grown up, married, a mother, and now… an author!

Today is one of those days when I am completely overwhelmed with the goodness of God. I’m grateful for all the stories that bind my daughter and I together: the stories that brought us closer through laughter, and those where we cried tears over heartaches. And the everyday stories that unfold as we chat in our kitchens sharing our mutual passion for cooking good food for those we love.

Thank you all, dear friends, for your encouragement in our journey thus far.

To celebrate the signing of the contracts, we invite you to join our new Facebook Fan Page where we will keep you abreast of book news, blog postings, and some of our favorite quotes, funny quips, and foodie or health news. If you could help us spread the word of the blog and fan page, we’d be enormously grateful, as we work to build an audience for the new book.