Friday, September 30, 2011

Not One Sparrow is Forgotten - University of Utah Singers

A Corner of My World











I have no need to travel far and wide to experience Gods beautiful creation.  A simple walk around our land yields sights and sounds to delight my soul.   Light and shadow, flowers faded or bright.  Seeds hanging on until a cold wind carries them off.   Birds nests abandon, gives me opportunity to see how well they are made, homes to raise young.    My heart fills with contentment as each step brings something new into view and I see the love of the Father in each little detail.  I recently read a study that said people that spend time in nature, in the forest, have improved immune systems.  God has designed that we live beyond concrete jungles, that we live amid His handiwork.   That our hearts experience the serenity of walking in the quietude of nature, breathing deeply fresh air and having our bodies gather in nutrients from the sunshine.   His creation should not be lost to us, our free time need not be spent in Malls or driving in traffic to chase down our next want.  We should walk in the manifestation of His profound love, seeing the very things He created for our enjoyment and our health.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shaker Dictum

"Don't make something unless it is both made necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don't hesitate to make it beautiful." -- Shaker dictum

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rosh Hashanah




Mei-Ling dipping apples in honey
Yen making faces at his honey cake which he loved and ate two pieces
Mei-Ling enjoying her honey cake
The men  enjoying the food.

A Bit of My Day in Pictures




silver polished, table set, challah made, food in the oven, honey cakes made. We are all ready for Rosh Hashanah.  

Intolerance. . .

"Intolerance lies at the core of evil.

Not the intolerance that results
from any threat or danger.
But intolerance of another being who dares to exist.
Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us,
because every human being secretly desires
the entire universe to himself.
Our only way out is to learn
compassion without cause. To care for each other
simple because that ‘other’ exists."
- Rabbi Menachem Mendle

This undefined feeling...


Thought more about this feeling of being undefined and where it originates within me.  Trying to figure out if its some kind of rebellion within me or if its just that feeling of being born a few generations later than what my way of thinking is.    Probably its a bit of both.   This morning I realized there is one label for me that is non negotiable,  I worship God and call Him my father.  My personal theology may not always fit nicely into a box, but one thing remains constant, my love of God.  My goal in life is also never changing, I want to be a better person each and every day.  Filled with compassion and never judgement.  The judgement part is not my job.  I would be lousy at it anyway.   Every day I want to be a better person, live a better life.  I know God looks on the heart, He says so in 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
For us, doing the externals, the appearance thing is so much easier than to have a pure heart.  Far easier to deal with the things we can hide under than to think about showing whats in our hearts to everyone.  Of course there may be a time when we reach a point where the externals match the heart and perhaps the externals can help us maintain a pure heart.  Externals are not just our clothing, far from it.  Its our music we listen to, its our conversations, its our movie viewing, our computer life, its the way we drive, the way we show impatience.  Those things can be worn right on the outside, reflecting whats deep inside of us.    Angry people, drive angry.  People at peace drive with patience and calmness.
Right now in my life, I feel like my externals, particularly the way I dress, no longer matches up with whats in my heart.  I feel a bit rebellious about this, a bit undefined in my own mind.   Life is a journey, with lots of twists and turns, and often we find ourselves retracing our steps when we feel a bit lost on the road, wondering where we missed the correct trail to take, or perhaps, we just need to go a bit further to find the next road to take.   Love that God has never allowed my life to be boring. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feeling Undefined

"When you let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are, what happens to the confusion ? Suddenly it is gone. When you fully accept that you don't know, you actually enter into a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could have be. Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself."

~Eckart Tolle~


Today I felt undefined, which is not a bad thing since it allows me to follow my own heart song.  I dislike labels yet often finding myself wishing to have one, at least I feel that way for a moment or two, then I decide that labels are limiting, tight fitting and as my daughter Melissa just commented on my facebook when I said I was feeling undefined.... her comment was, "you're a freebird" and I am.  Marching to my own drumbeat, my own heart song.  I am not any religion, but respect some aspect of all. I love freedom to think and feel in the moment.  Often I have quoted a line from the movie, Under The Tuscan Sun that sums up exactly how I live my life.  Federico Fellini said, "You have to live spherically--in many directions. To accept yourself for what you are without inhibitions, to be open.

Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way."
I am not a this or a that.  I have no church membership or political party affiliation.  I do not dress one way or another.    I am unfolding, learning and undefined, just the way I like it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Consumption - Lori Almost Live

Preparations for Winter

Monday Morning Ramble

While it is still officially morning for me, I thought I would share a bit of my day.  Rounds of golden light mixing with the shadows from the leaves are dancing on the table next to me, its hard to concentrate on writing when such a magnificent show is right next to me.  Light and shadows, something one misses when the curtains are drawn at the window.  The house is filled with the smells of falafels and tabouli for our lunch today...felafel's always take me back to a favorite falafel vendor in a small town in Israel.  Right near the bank, on the sidewalk, a small stand but a busy one.    Garden planted, fingernails prove it.  My hands are the hands of a woman that works hard.  Dishes washed in the sink, no dishwasher here.  Bread kneaded by hand, no bread machine here.   I know how to plow with our cultivator, hoe by the hour and birth animals that need help.   I can haul a bale of hay and lift feed sacks without a struggle, but I also know how to smooth a babies hair and cool a fevered brow.   Recently when Melanie was so sick in the hospital, headache so bad that morphine hardly touched it, she said, "mom, will you rub my temples like you used to do when I was a little girl when I could not sleep." and I did.  Mother always, no matter the age.   I love my life, it is filled with loving work, joyful work.  Gibran has so aptly described work as "love made visible."  How true it is.  We should see our daily tasks as our love poured forth from our hands to make the lives of those we love better.   There is no doldrums in a seemingly menial job if we realize that it is a manifestation of our full hearts wanting to make life orderly and softer for those near and dear to us.   No meal is a dull task when we think of all that is says to our children and our loved ones.  It may not even be appreciated, but that's not why we work for our family, we work to nourish the souls, bodies and minds of those we love.   Christ sought no praise for His work.  His work was His love made visible to us.  Oh to have the mind of Christ in all we do and say !  

weekend breakfast of Amish Fried Cornmeal with Tomato Gravy

Fall Planting



In just a few minutes, I will be out digging in the dirt, planting our fall garden.  At least some of it.  With the lack of rain that has resulted in extreme drought, the thought of gardening has taken on a lot more "what if's".   Since we built raised beds last spring, we are going to plant them and consider what we will put in the big garden spot with great care.  Watering is expensive here and with such a water shortage, we have to be modest on how often we can and are willing to water a garden.  But, its hard to imagine not going outside to pick collard greens, fresh lettuce, watch the cabbage grow into big round heads and enjoy the delight of fresh spinach for most of the fall and often throughout the winter.
 This simple life of ours feels a bit more complicated this year with the way the weather is.  Hay is almost impossible to find, gardens were a bust this spring.  The fruit trees did nothing.  The nut trees look more like its December than September.  The herbs faded fast and are now just dried on the stem.
Our wood supply for winter is good so no worries there.  That is a blessing to be sure. So much to be grateful for despite some hardships regarding the weather.   Life is abundant.  Life is good.  There is a gentleness to each day that is rich beyond what I can express.    Harmony.    Contentment.   Serenity.  Good things, great things, if you think about it. 

What We Talk About

Lately, I have noticed a real connection to what people talk about and how it relates to who they are as people.  You know someone that continually talks about themselves, every word has something to do with what they have done, what they are doing, or what they are going to do.   Then there is the person that rambles on over and over about what they eat or don't eat.  I am not talking here about the excitement of a new discovery of a recipe.  I am talking about the folks that tell you what they bought at the food store, what they keep in their cupboards and then like some over zealous missionary, discuss how they eat this or that and so should you.  Not another subject passes their lips for hours.   Then there are the folks that discuss politics and religion, with such single minded tunnel vision that you want to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.   It is often said that we are know by what we say and that we all tend to become like that which we love.  If that is the case, there are lots of folks out there that love themselves, love food and love politics and religion.  Religion is a much different thing then the spiritual life.  And as in all things, balance is good along with times of silence so we can hear the other person.   I can't imagine that Christ was a motor mouth or a person that harped on one subject all the time.  We see from the words he spoke, a gentle balance that covered a lot of ground and yet was always focused on one thing, pointing the way to a better life.    What you say, or even write about on your facebook page, your twitter account or your blog if you have one, says a lot about what you love, what you care about.   Our words need not be eloquent to express what is in our hearts, they need only be honest.  I read once that Jesus spoke about 30,000 words in the New Testament.   Words of compassion, even if He was pointing out the sins of a person.  His wish, that all would find peace. 
Another goal for me...
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
let my heart and my words be filled with love not for the externals in life, or myself, but for something far more important.   Keeping things simple in life, allows us more time to think about what we really care about.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Masters Painting


Tonights sunset was beautiful !

Asking for help ! WALK TO CURE DIABETES

Our precious daughter Melanie has been diabetic for 21 years.  We came very close to loosing her when she was 7.  Five days in ICU in a diabetic coma.   Days I never want anyone else to have to experience.   Her life has been difficult due to this disease.   Checking her blood 4 times a day, 3-4 shots a day.    Complicated pregnancies.   Low and high blood sugars on a regular basis.  She doesn't complain and she doesn't sit at her own pity party.   I admire her so much for her ability to deal with this.   Being a child and not being able to eat the things other kids do.   Having to give a shot on her first date.  The worry about being alone in her own home with small children, all the what if's..she passed out with low blood sugar etc. 
She will be walking for a cure next month.  Her family and friends will be walking with her.  How I pray daily for a cure for her and all the others with the disease.  She didn't ask for diabetes, she didn't get it because she doesn't take care of herself.  Her pancreas does not work !
Nothing would make Melanie happier than to have lots of support for her walk.   Please consider making a donation in her name.   Any amount would be a blessing.    It would be like you were walking right next to us.  
WALK TO CURE DIABETES  MELANIE SANGSVANG
just click the link above to donate.  Thank you so much !!!

Amish Autumn


a view of simplicity on this beautiful Autumn morning.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Officially Autumn








It's officially Autumn !
This year, more than any other year of living in Texas, we were anxious for fall to arrive.  The brutal heat of summer is now behind us.  The drought however is still with us.  Our prayers daily are for rain.
Last evening after work, Emery tilled the back garden, we will plant a few things, collard greens, cabbage, lettuce and perhaps some broccoli and kale.   It was hard on us this year not having a harvest from our garden.   Made me appreciate that we can go to the grocery store and buy what we need.  All summer I thought about the early settlers and how devastating a year like this would have been to them.
This is a wonderful time of year.  Last night we went to bed with windows open, fans on and by 3 am Emery was up, putting a quilt on our bed.  It was in the 50's !    I love the smell of the air when the cold fronts blow through.  So clean smelling, so fresh.  As I was baking yesterday, the kitchen was hot and then a cold front blew in from the north and cooled the kitchen in a matter of minutes.   A blessing, a real blessing.   Life is good.  Abundantly so.

Life


Life

~Edgar Guest~

Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn't a thing to be stored in the chest
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn't a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.
Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day,
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don't keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You'll find that in service its beauty improves.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Melanie is home from the hospital


Melanie was able to go home from the hospital late yesterday afternoon, actually it was early evening.  She is doing much better, but still not feeling wonderful.  She was so happy to be home with her little family.   They missed her all so much. 
I thank all who prayed and wished her well.  Prayer is a powerful thing !

Melanie and her family on her birthday this year

Autumn Meal Time

I know its not official until tomorrow, but the weather tells me its time for an Autumn meal tonight.   !

Oatmeal Crackers



Emery and I are embarking on a healthier diet.  We joined the CHIP program.   The classes last for about 5 weeks, meeting 3 times a week for the first month and then one final meeting.   Its a vegan diet which is not much of a problem for us since we eat almost no meat anyway.  The eggs and milk will not impact my way of eating but Emery will miss them a bit.   I have lost 30 lbs in the last 8 months, most of that is recent however, but still have a ways to go to get where I would like to be.  Most importantly, I would like to lower my cholesterol.  Its not bad, but I would like to see it lower.     We have upped our exercise and I have been averaging about 15-20 miles of walking a week.  Change for the better is always good.  Today I made some oatmeal crackers that can be found in the
Optimal Diet Cookbook  to go along with the pumpkin soup I am making for supper.  Smells really good simmering on the stove !  No recipe, just adding the spices we like.   Life is so good, we want to be around as long as possible to enjoy it.  To be fit and healthy, able to embrace life with enthusiasm and joy !  
A cold front just came in....windy and 69 degrees F.   Wonderful day for baking and soup for supper.   Living abundantly with joy : )

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blessings and Peace


The sun was huge this morning and a very bright orange, if you painted it, it would seem harsh and garish but somehow the Master can paint the sky with such vibrant colors and it works.   There were just enough clouds this morning to frame the sun with gold.  What a wonderful way to start the day, seeing such beauty. 
Good news on Melanie, she sounded so much better this morning when I spoke to her.  No fever and she has been able to eat.  Seems like it may be the flu and that can really play havo with a diabetics blood sugars.   She has not seen the Doctor yet this morning so not sure if she will be able to go home or not.  Certainly though, prayers were answered.  Thank you so much for praying for our precious daughter.
Today is International Day of Peace.   How wounderful world peace would be !  How wonderful peace within our own hearts would be, total peace, rest from worry, fear and stress.   To be able to let go of all the burdens we carry and live in full faith that God is truly in control.    I have made great progress in this department in the last couple of years, but still, there is room for improvement.    


2 Thessalonians 3:16
 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Update on Melanie

We saw Melanie tonight and she was not feeling well at all.  She had ice packs to try and lower her fever that is not responding to medication.   She is having bad headaches and still feeling sick to her stomach.  Sure seems like she has the flu.   Had her flu shot yesterday !   Praying for a speedy recovery.   When we left the hospital tonight, Mei-Ling told us as we pulled out of the hospital parking lot, " I miss my mommy, she is my friend"  Mei-Ling was so sweet to her mother, patting her hand, making sure her blankets were right and very worried any time something beeped.  She knows all too well what its like to be in the hospital. 

Prayers Please




Our daughter Melanie is in the hospital this morning, she has been a type 1 diabetic for 21 years and this is only the second time she has been hospitalized for Ketoacidosis.   The first time was when she was first diagnosed.   She was very very sick last night and we are unsure of what has caused the high ketones.  Your prayers are greatly appreciated.   I am so thankful they are just down the road from us so we can help with the children easily.