{November} Meals for a Month


OH MY WORD! Where did October go? Hmm..I find myself saying that at the beginning of each new month! Seriously, though, it seems this past month literally flew by in a flash! So much so, I am carrying over a few meals from October to November because we didn’t get around to preparing them!

Why? Well, we hosted a couple of large-scale meals and events in our home in October, so we ate quite a few leftovers from those. As well, since it’s soup weather, I threw out the menu plan and opted to make several varieties of soup, which provided several meals for our family and plenty to share with others, too!

This month, we are looking forward to eating comfort foods and family favorites. Not to mention, spending Thanksgiving with our family in Montana for a few days! Although I am not preparing Thanksgiving dinner, I do hope to purchase a turkey because Turkey and Sausage Gumbo is a staple around our home during this time of year! Plus, the bones make an incredible broth, which I use in a variety of soups, stews and risottos. (Which reminds me, I must make a Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto this month!)

Do you have comfort foods & family favorites that you are looking forward to preparing and sharing this month? If so, what might they be? 

Kids in the Kitchen:
Homemade Pizza,  M & M Cookies (Jamison), Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload Cake (Jadon: didn’t get to make it last month!)

Clam Chowder, Lentil Chili,  Pork Green Chile Stew, Gumbo, Thai Chicken Noodle SoupCreamy Tomato Soup,

Meatless Meals:
Mujadara, Sloppy Lentils (meatless Sloppy Joes), Chili Cheese LentilsPenne with Roasted Tomates, Garlic & White BeansPinto Beans & Cornbread

Moroccan Chicken Thighs w/ Lemon & Olives*Chicken and DumplingsTurkey Quinoa Meatloaf, Herb-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Crawfish Étouffée, Fish Tacos, Roast Cod w/ Garlic Butter, Hake Fish Filets with Olive Oil, Lemon & Butter, Butter-Basted Halibut Steaks with Capers, Broiled Salmon with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette, Butternut Squash Risotto w/ Blackened Shrimp

Crockpot Roast Beef w/ Vegetables ,  Mama’s Pot of Beans, Homemade Chili-Cheese Hamburger Helper

Freezer Meals:
Chili, Bolognese Sauce, Taco Soup, Dump Chicken Meals (2)

Vegetables,  Side Dishes & Salads:
Roasted Broccoli, Green Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Roasted Brussels Sprout, Green Beans, Baked Potatoes, Sautéed Kale w/ Garlic, Normandy Vegetable Blend, Corn, Honey-Dill Carrots, Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash, Couscous Pilaf, English Peas, Quinoa, Various Salads, Rice, Veggie Tray w/ Hummus

Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes, Smoothies, Hot/Cold Cereal, Eggs/Bacon or Sausage, Fruit with Cottage Cheese, Baked Oatmeal, Homemade Muffins and Fruit, Sweet Potato Scones, Biscuits and Gravy, Toad in the Hole,  Shakshuka, Breakfast Bread and Fruit

No-Knead Bread, 30 Minute Rolls,  45 minute Cinnamon Rolls, Maple-Bacon Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, Banana Bread/Muffins

Quinoa Bites, Veggies and Hummus,  Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter, Granola Bars, Cheese, Energy Bites (NaNa’s recipe), Smoothies, No-Bake Cookies

{October} Meals for a Month


Where did September go? Seriously, it flew by for our family. And looking at the calendar, it appears October is going to be a very eventful, but fun month for us, too. This coming Sunday, we are hosting Pie with the Pastors at our home, along with the 7th Annual Cajun Food & Candy on Halloween.  For this event, we make a big stock pot of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or Jambalaya and serve it up to friends before Jon takes the kids out for trick-or-treating.

This month’s meal plan was heavily influenced by my kids. Today, we planned it over lunch. They really like to cook, and got inspired after watching a few episodes of a kids’ cooking challenge. I greatly appreciate their interest in cooking. However, we are continue to work on the cleaning up afterwards! :-)

Do you have favorite fall recipes? If so, what? Feel free to share your favorites recipes and links in the comment section.

Kids in the Kitchen:
Homemade Pizza (Jadon), Lasagna (Jamison), Baked Donuts (Jamison), Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (Jadon)

Lentil Chili, Chicken Noodle Soup,  Cheesy Broccoli SoupPork Green Chile Stew, GumboThai Butternut Squash Soup

Meatless Meals:
Mujadara, Sloppy Lentils (meatless Sloppy Joes), The Pioneer Woman’s Black Bean BurgerChili Cheese Lentils,

Moroccan Chicken Thighs w/ Lemon & Olives*Chicken and Dumplings, Sweet & Sticky Drumsticks

Fish Tacos, Chutney Glazed Salmon Baked Halibut w/ Sour Cream, Parmesan & Dill Topping, Roast Cod w/ Garlic Butter,  Salmon Croquettes , Tunafish Casserole

Shepherd’s Pie, Mama’s Pot of Beans, Homemade Chili-Cheese Hamburger Helper, Roast Beef, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Jambalaya, The Pioneer Woman’s Taco Pizza

Freezer Meals:
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Beef and Vegetable Soup, Chili

Vegetables,  Side Dishes & Salads:
Roasted Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Roasted Brussels Sprout, Green Beans, Normandy Vegetable Blend, Corn,Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash, Couscous Pilaf, English Peas, Quinoa, Various Salads, Rice, Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Baked Oatmeal, Pancakes, Smoothies, Hot/Cold Cereal, Eggs/Bacon or Sausage, Fruit with Cottage Cheese, Homemade Muffins and Fruit, Sweet Potato Scones, Biscuits and Gravy, Toad in the Hole

No-Knead Bread, 30 Minute Rolls, Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins, 45 minute Cinnamon Rolls, Maple-Bacon Sugar Cookies

Quinoa Bites, Veggies and Hummus,  Granola Bars, Cheese, Peanut Butter & Crackers, Energy Bites (NaNa’s recipe), Smoothies,

Leadership Lessons: Quacking, It Ain’t Just for Ducks!


Edited to note: To be certain, this post was not directed to or related to one specific instance or conversation. It was borne out of a question someone posed to me about how I, personally, and our family, collectively, have purposefully persevered in ministry over the last 20 years. Serving in ministry, specifically, and leadership, in general, one receives constant feedback, both positive and negative. Aside from a deep and abiding faith in Christ, what has sustained us is making sure to have truth-tellers in our lives and tools that help us discern the many voices and messages that we are surrounded by daily.  The following tools have been greatly beneficial in helping us not only to survive, but to thrive in ministry and leadership.

In the beginning, Jon was my boss, not my boyfriend or husband. Right out of college, I was hired by a para-church ministry and began working with him as part of his leadership team. And today, he’s both my supervisor and my husband! Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself!

Over the last twenty years, I’ve learned a lot about leadership from Jon. And I have grown significantly as a leader because of his belief in me and his insistence, er, I mean, encouragement to develop all the skills and abilities that God gave me, even if that meant living outside of the box of other’s expectations or personal opinions. Although he has shared many leadership lessons, there are two that stand out and have stuck with me over the years and in various vocational endeavors.

First, Jon insisted that our leadership team identify the truth-tellers in our lives. Those people we could trust and count on to provide honest, constructive feedback, which is essential to grow and develop as a leader. He assured us, these voices were the ones we needed to zero in on and clearly hear because there would be countless others trying to drown them out and pull us down.

To this very day, I have a cherished and respected group of truth-tellers in my life. People who come alongside me and share personal insight and biblical wisdom, so that I may grow as a Christian, a wife, a mom and a pastor. This is a network of individuals with whom I am completely vulnerable and authentic. No topic is off-limits. And I openly request and receive their feedback, insights and truth.

Along with identifying our truth-tellers, Jon also shared an important tool with our leadership team in dealing with the criticism and constant negative feedback from naysayers. Nearly two decades later, this tool continues to be one that I draw upon in those moments when a random person belittles me, criticizes me or tells me how I should be doing my job, how I should parent, or even their opinion about my role in my marriage.

What is this amazing leadership tool?


Pure and simple: I quack. Maybe not out loud. For then, I’d be labeled a quack. But with a big smile on my face, I go to my happy place in my head and I quack. Trust me, it works! Quacking is a metaphor for letting things roll off your back like water off of a duck’s back. And not taking the criticism to heart. Remembering to listen to the voice of Truth (God) and your truth-tellers.

In the Bible, we are told words can build up or tear down (Ephesians 4:29*). People have strong opinions about a pleothra of topics that directly relate to my life, my job, my educational choices for my kids, my marriage, and the list goes on and on and on. And, wouldn’t ya know, they freely and frequently share those opinions as God’s word to me from them. And ya know, sometimes, they’re valuable. Other times, not so much.

Along with the Holy Spirit, I do believe God uses godly people to encourage and instruct us. People who have been there and done that. A trusted circle who will purposefully share from a place of wisdom, instead of personal preference. For me, the voices that I readily listen to and hold close to my heart are those of my truth-tellers, not the masses.

Have you developed a network of truth-tellers in your life? If not, I’d encourage you to pray about that and to begin to identify who those people are in your life. As we learn to listen beyond the clutter of noise that infiltrates our lives, and to sift through the negativity, varied opinions and personal preferences, our truth-tellers become those voices for which we can depend upon to speak truth and life, even if it’s hard to hear in the moment. These are the voices we need to hear and to heed.

Are you dealing with a special personality in your place of employment or a challenging individual in your network of aquaintances? Oftentimes, these people haven’t earned a place of trust in your life or a right to speak so directly to you that you would even take it seriously. Even still, they believe they know what you should be doing, how you should be doing it, and when you should be doing it. Sometimes, it can be hard not to retaliate to what they are saying to you, especially if it’s hurtful or condemning.

As Pastor Jon shared yesterday, “At times, we need to speak the truth. But, sometimes, we simply need to keep our mouths shut.”

Trust me, this isn’t always easy, especially when it feels like a personal attack. It requires self-control. Or, perhaps, duck tape. I mean, it does come in many cute colors and designs now. We could make a fashion statement while keeping our mouths shut. Seriously, though, if this is the case for you, consider quacking! For many years, it’s worked for me. If you try it, let me know!

I have to believe that people don’t intend to be hurtful, or to put their foot in their mouth, or to act like they know-it-all. Or maybe they do. Even still, I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt. So, I keep my truth-tellers close and my quacking even closer. And maybe, just maybe, I will invest in some leopard print duck tape, too! I need all the help I can get!

* When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. (Ephesians 4:29 )


{September} Meals for a Month


Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kids. Can’t believe this is our sixth year of home schooling. And let’s not even discuss the fact that my son will be in sixth grade and my daughter will be in fourth grade! That is crazy talk!  Yet, here we are again. Summer is over! The following week, my work schedules kick into full-swing. And in a couple of weeks, the kids’ classes on Fridays and Saturdays will resume. It’s gonna be a fun, but full year. With navigating family life, work schedules and home schooling, meal planning is essential for me! 

For the last few years, I’ve planned meals for the month (with a few extras). Also, due to how my brain is uniquely wired, I plan according to categories, instead of by the day. This provides a general plan, but also offers flexibility. Taking the time to create a menu plan keeps me sane, saves money and provides leftovers for additional meals. Because we home school and since my husband brown bags his lunch most days, leftovers are essential for our family. So, I cook quite a bit. But I try to cook smarter, not harder. Thankfully, my kitchen is my happy place. 

Kids in the Kitchen:
Homemade Pizza, Not Ya Mama’s Mac ‘n Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lentil Chili, Chicken Noodle Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup, Cheesy Broccoli Soup, Pork Green Chile Stew, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, Clam Chowder, Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Meatless Meals:
Mujadara, Sloppy Lentils (meatless Sloppy Joes), Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers, Chili Cheese Lentils, Ricotta Pasta Pie

Moroccan Chicken Thighs w/ Lemon & Olives*Chicken and Dumplings, Sweet & Sticky Drumsticks

Chutney Glazed Salmon, Baked Halibut w/ Sour Cream, Parmesan & Dill Topping, Roast Cod w/ Garlic Butter

Shepherd’s Pie, Homemade Chili-Cheese Hamburger Helper, Louisiana Red Beans and Rice (or Quinoa)Roast BeefUltimate Swedish Meatballs (Whenever I work in the evening, I use the bagged meatballs from Costco.)

Freezer Meals:
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Beef and Vegetable Soup, Chili

Vegetables,  Side Dishes & Salads:
Roasted Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Roasted Brussels Sprout, Green Beans, Normandy Vegetable Blend, Corn, Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash, Couscous Pilaf, English Peas, Quinoa, Various Salads, Rice, Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Baked Oatmeal, Pancakes, Waffles, Smoothies, Cold Cereal, Eggs/Bacon or Sausage, Fruit with Cottage Cheese, Homemade Muffins and Fruit, Yogurt with Homemade Southern Sweet Potato Granola,
Sweet Potato Scones

Baking and Snacks:
Quinoa BitesNo-Knead Bread, 30 Minute Rolls, Apples w/ Nutella & Peanut Butter Dip, Veggies and Hummus, Salted, Caramel Crispy Treats, Granola Bars, Smoothies, No-Bake Chewy Granola BarsChocolate Zucchini BreadCinnamon Doughnut Muffins, Zucchini Bread Variations.  


Meals for a Month {August}


Needless to say, meal planning has sort of gone out the window for our family this summer. The only plan we’ve had was to make sure everyone was fed before they got HANGRY! (Hungry + Angry). Even still, with work and home schooling schedules about to kick life into high gear, I decided I’d best get back to menu planning. Who cares if half the month of August has slipped  sped by already! :-)

Kids in the Kitchen:
Homemade Pizza, Homemade Refried Bean and Cheese Burritos, Not Ya Mama’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Lentil Chili, Chicken Noodle Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup

Meatless Meals:
MujadaraPenne with Roasted Tomates, Garlic & White Beans,  Potato & Yellow Split Pea Curry w/ Basmati Rice, Shakshuka (Like eggs? Tomatoes? Then, try this one!), Sloppy Lentils (meatless Sloppy Joes)

Moroccan Chicken Thighs w/ Lemon & Olives* w/ Basmati Rice, Chicken and Dumplings

Blackened Shrimp Caesar Salads
Chutney Glazed Salmon

Lasagna, Salad with Balsamic Dressing, BLTs (We are growing tomatoes!)

Freezer Meals:
Spaghetti Bolognese
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Beef and Vegetable Soup

Vegetables,  Side Dishes & Salads:
Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Red Peppers, Roasted Brussels Sprout, Green Beans, Normandy Vegetable Blend, Lettuce, Corn, Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Couscous Pilaf, Quinoa, Veggie Tray w/ Hummus, Rice, Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Baked Oatmeal
Cold Cereal
Fruit with Cottage Cheese
Muffins and Fruit
Yogurt, Homemade Southern Sweet Potato Granola and Fruit
Sweet Potato Scones

Baking and Snacks:
Pitas (Vita-Mix)
No-Knead Bread
Chocolate Chip Cookies
30 Minute Rolls
Granola Bars
No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
Jada’s Cinnamon Rolls 
Chocolate Zucchini Bread

[Recipe] Fresh Peach (or any fruit) Crisp


Fresh Peach (or any fruit) Crisp 


4 cup of fresh or frozen peaches (berries, apples, etc.)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 C rolled oats


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sliced peaches (or other fruit) evenly in an 8X8 baking dish or a large cast iron skillet. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt into a bowl using a pastry cutter (or your hands) until evenly crumbled. Alternatively, you could do this step in a food processor. Add oats and gently stir into flour mixture. Sprinkle and press topping into peaches. Bake until browned, aprx. 30 minutes.

Now, traditionally, this is served with vanilla ice cream. However, I tend to break traditions and, instead, serve it with cinnamon whipped cream. :-)

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

cups heavy cream
1/2 cups powdered sugar
teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon.

The Day I Saw Life In Color Again

The Day I Saw Life In Color Again
by Jada A. Swanson

Some folks, even some “good” Christian folks, have shared some rather stupid and callous thoughts and remarks regarding Robin Williams’ death, the illness of depression, in general, and how it relates to the Christian life, specifically. Suggesting it’s predominantly a spiritual issue, and the person who is depressed merely needs to “get right with God” to be healed. As a pastor, and one who has walked the dark road of depression, specifically post-partum depression (PPD), I can assure you this isn’t the case.I wasn’t depressed because I lacked faith or didn’t believe enough.

In 2003, ten days after becoming a mom for the very first time, we made a cross-country move, were in the middle of selling two homes, and purchasing another one. Plus, my husband was joining a new pastoral staff; thus, our family was joining a new church. In addition to all of this, I was relocating my job to another state and continuing to tele-commute. Having no family near, living in a new state, attending a new church, being a mom for the first time–well, all of this was just a tad-bit overwhelming for me.

The summer my baby boy turned one, I was slowly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I could tell little by little, the ‘dark days’ were lifting. Just as I was beginning to feel normal again, I discovered that I was pregnant with our second child, my daughter. This pregnancy was a complete and utter surprise to us, considering we didn’t think we would be able to have anymore children. Thanks to the “happy pregnancy hormones,” the nine months that I carried her in my womb were clear and beautiful and bright.

But shortly after my daughter’s birth, my “ole friend” came to visit once again, this time with a vengeance. Everything seemed to be exacerbated by a hormonal imbalance and an inability to produce milk, which resulted in feeding difficulties. All of which required me to feed/pump/supplement my baby girl every two hours around the clock, sun up to sundown. Can anyone say insomnia? Regardless, I still had a 21-month old son to take care of, along with needing to return to work one month after my daughter’s birth because I didn’t have a job that offered paid maternity leave. All of this made me feel even more lost and alone, even though my husband was amazing, supportive and a complete hands-on dad.

After Jamison was born, I literally don’t know how I got through my days. I would get in the car, put on my seatbelt, start the ignition, and that was it. What happened from Point A to Point B is beyond me. I have absolutely no memories of driving to work or how I got there. Somehow, I managed to make it to work on the days I had to go into the office without having a wreck.

Although I never tried to commit suicide, there were many times I would think and tell myself that my family would be better off without me. I could hardly function. While at home, I was a shell of myself. Crying because I couldn’t find an article of clothing, only to discover I was holding it in my hands the entire time.

Unfortunately, during this time, healthy communication wasn’t my forte and more tears were shed and voices raised than I care to admit. My brain was just too foggy. I was utterly exhausted. And I felt nothing. I knew I loved my family, but I felt no feelings of love or happiness or anything. I was completely numb. Still, my husband stood by my side, unwaveringly. Yet, I am sure, this time was anything but easy for him. After the fact, he has shared with me how difficult it was for him, personally.

At church, I put on the smile that I was supposed to have. I played the part, or tried to play the part. While I was at work at the university, all I wanted to do was crawl under the piano in my office and take a nap, but I couldn’t. To this day, I think my job was God’s gift to me. Because of it, I had to get out of bed three days a week, shower and get dressed in something other than yoga pants or pajamas. But most importantly, my job allowed me to be around people, lots of people.

For whatever reason–pride, all types of fear, even lack of knowledge–I never went to the doctor to seek out help or medication. Looking back, I wish I would have. It would have saved my family and myself from so much turmoil and strife. But I will never forget the day that I saw life in color again. It was the first Sunday of July 2007.

Earlier that summer, my pastor-husband asked me to begin leading worship again. At this point, I honestly couldn’t bare to look at music or sit at the piano for more than five minutes. (Ironic that I was a music professor, eh?) A few times, I had been asked to sing on the worship team at church, but honestly couldn’t remember the words to songs I had sung my entire life.

Even still, I agreed to begin leading worship on one condition: only if it was a small team (me, a drummer and a bass guitarist). If I was sitting at the piano, surely I could read the music. Not to mention, I didn’t have to memorize the words. Plus, with a smaller team, there were fewer pieces of the puzzle to try to figure out. This was all good. Still, I was terrified.

That Sunday morning, I had willed myself out of bed because I had committed to do something. Even in the midst of the darkness, I wanted to keep my word. I walked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and did a double-take. Seriously, that’s how it went. That’s how quickly it all happened. It was just like the scene from “The Wizard of Oz” when it goes from black and white to Technicolor. It was as if a screen had been lifted from in front of me or as if scales had been removed from my eyes.  (A few years later, I did go for counseling, and my counselor told me that many people shared with her a similar experience when their PPD lifted.)

In that moment, I knew something had changed. Tears flowed from my eyes, but it wasn’t the tears that I had been crying for months on end. These seemed different. Cleansing, even healing. My brain felt significantly different, clearer and more responsive. I called out to my husband to get out of bed, so I could tell him what was happening. He could see a difference on my face.

When I sat down at the piano at church, I could clearly see the music on the page. Before this moment, the music was just a blob of black and white that didn’t make much sense. Or, at times, would appear to be moving, even thought I knew it couldn’t be or wasn’t. That’s how off my mental capacities were. But this day, everything was different. And I sang. And I felt whole. I FELT! I felt so much, internally and externally. I hadn’t felt anything in so many months!

After church, I walked outside and fully experienced the beauty of the Colorado sunshine, and felt it’s intense warmth enveloping me. As I went to bed that evening, I was scared that I would wake up the next morning only to realize it had all been a dream. That I wouldn’t experience the clearness or clarity again. But I didn’t. When I woke up the next morning, I knew I had finally said goodbye to my companion, Post-Partum Depression. It was finally over.

At this point my daughter was nearly 2 1/2 years old. Ironically, a few weeks later, I had an appointment to see my OB/GYN. Finally, I was able to  share all about the dark days, as well as the day I was, once again, able to see life in FULL COLOR. She confirmed that, yes, what I had experienced was PPD. And, most likely, this change was due to hormones being back to normal, consistently getting enough rest, and beginning to feel as if I had found a support system, apart from my husband. Before I left, she asked me why I had never come in for help, either for medication or counseling. I just shrugged my shoulders because honestly, I didn’t know why. Stubbornness? Pride? Fear? All of the above.

Throughout that season, I was hardly able to read my Bible, much less joyfully sing songs. But I prayed. Sometimes, all I could muster forth was, “Jesus, help me!” I cried out to Him. Although my brain was significantly foggy, I knew it had nothing to do with sin or because God was upset with me. And I was convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he hadn’t left me or given up on me. Still, there were dark days. Many dark days.

In fact, those were the darkest days of my life. And I thank God that I was able to get to the other side. To be honest, there were days I wondered if I ever would. So when I come across folks who make callous, casual remarks about depression, especially those who equate it with lack of faith or disbelief, I get a bit angry. You see, it’s personal for me. I have lived it and experienced it. I am not an expert, just someone who’s walked that road, and can now reach out to others who are walking it themselves.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression in any form or way, please don’t be like me and not seek out medical assistance. Reach out to others. Go see your doctor or a trained counselor. Know that there are resources to help you. And to others, please remember these words, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”** It may not be depression, but I can assure, it’s something. Be kind. Be available. Be compassionate.

**Edited to note: This quote above has been attributed to Plato, Philio and Rev. John Watson (aka Ian MacLaren). Regardless, it speaks a powerful truth.