Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Psalm 131 - Come to the Quiet - John Michael Talbot

Day 6

Day 6 has arrived with some changes.  I broke my juice only fast last night by eating a banana and a scrambled egg.  I just felt bad.  My gums and tongue have been beyond sore from all the juicing, which I now found out is pretty normal.  I felt shaky and weak.  The little meal helped so much.  That all being said, I am still committed to doing this fast, perhaps with a modification here and there, like having a small meal when I feel the need, keeping it mostly raw, unless I feel  like I need an egg from our hens.  I did 5 days without eating solid food, a good detox.  Now, its a "rebooting" time.  I have lost 5 lbs in 6 days.  My bursitis in my knee is gone for the first time in  two years.  My blood pressure is the lowest it has been in a long time, its not been high, but now its like when I was 20.  106/65 seems to be the average for the past week.  But, aside from all the physical aspects of this fast, the spiritual side is by far the most beneficial to me.  I can only sum up how I feel by using the word, "centered".  It is no surprise to me at all that all the major religions in the world use fasting as a means to a deeper spiritual connection.  I suspect God has programmed us for this in some way.  It feels as though in a matter of two days, I saw with extreme clarity, the important aspects of life.  The "what really matters".  Sure, I knew all this before the fast, and would tell you what really mattered in life had nothing to do with anything beyond what we hold in our hearts, but now I FEEL it in a depth I have never experienced before, well, I take that back.  I have felt it with a sense of panic each and every time my children or grandchild has been in grave danger. But that is not a comforting sort of knowing something. This is.  I feel at peace, knowing what I need to discard from my life and know without a doubt what I need to treasure, nurture and cultivate.  I feel the presence of God. It is as if His breath can be felt on my head each time the air stirs.  Its changed my direction in life, changed what I had come to value in things and status. 
I long for quiet times, and music that I had been listening to, sounds like chaos to me now.  I long for more prayer time, and a deeper understanding of what God really wants from us, from me on a far deeper level.  Its so much more than knowing the right lingo, the right phrases to say in regard to my relationship to God.  For this alone, this fast has been priceless.  I suspect there will be days in the future where solid food is just not in the picture so I can hear that small still voice so clearly.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dala "Best Day" from FolkAlley.com


Just puts a smile on your face to listen to this...Think about my grandblessings when I listen to this song

Day 2

Day 2 of my juice fast.  I am sleepy and was last night.  Had a hard time staying awake to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  I won't lie to you and say I am not hungry, because yesterday I was.  This morning, not so much.  My strawberry, pineapple, cucumber, juice seems perfect for me.  Later I will have a big glass of the Mean Green Juice.   I weighed myself this morning and am down 3 lbs since yesterday morning.  That is encouraging !  It would not matter to me if it was just fluid weight loss, its good to see the numbers lower, regardless.  Its a funny thing about fasting or even being vegan, it brings out the worst in people when they find out how you are eating, or in my case right now, not eating solid foods.  The comments from folks are just often unkind, as if they felt threatened by your choices.  Strange behavior and its not because they love you or care about you, since many times the comments are made by just casual acquaintances.  We often fear what we don't understand. And, folks often feel guilty of their own food choices that are no so good, and that puts folks on the defense.   I was one of those.  Thought doing a juice fast was extreme behavior and certainly not necessary and in part I still see it that way.  Its not necessary for everyone to go on a fast, it is extreme.   I am doing it for two reasons.  The main one, I have intestinal candida, and it has been a battle for a year or more now and I have no desire to kill all the bacteria in my gut just to get rid of the bad.  I was on a lot of antibiotics a couple years ago for an infection that would not clear up, sounds now like what has been on the news as the super urinary tract infection from chicken.  Whatever the cause, the treatment caused another problem.  I did all the natural cures, and still would have some issues and on and off, mostly on, I would get a candida rash on my arms and chest.  I was sick of it and willing to do something like this juice fast to restore my health and loosing some weight was one of my motives for starting too.  
What I didn't expect from this fast was the spiritual re-awaking it has brought to me.  My mind is feeling gently pulled closer to God, as if He is taking my hand, pulling me nearer as a Father would to his child when he wished to tell him something good.   This is perhaps what this fast may be all about, and I could only be convinced to do it for other reasons.  Time will tell.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Rebooting" A Vegetable Juice Fast Adventure




A few weeks ago, I spent 48 hours doing a vegetable juice fast.  I went to Whole Foods and purchased freshly made vegetable juice and spent the entire weekend just taking in vegetable juice.  What surprised me most, was that I never once felt hungry and by the second day I felt like a new person.  I felt 20 years younger.   There was a pep to my step that I had not experienced in a long time.  I felt lite, inside and out.  Now to be honest here and disclose all the facts, I had done an intestinal cleanse the two days prior to the vegetable fast, so I had a head start on the cleansing aspect.  My mind was clearer, my thoughts more organized.  I slept fantastic and my energy was top speed.  I had only committed to 48 hours and that's what I did.  However, in the days and weeks that followed, all I could think about was how I had felt, and how much weight I had lost in such a short time, weight that did not go back on once I started eating again.  More than a pound a day was gone.  I have been fighting with bursitis in my knee for a long time and even that was better. 
I decided to do more juicing, only problem, our beloved Champion Juicer decided to die after 27 years of service.  A friend suggested I try a Breville Juicer this time and since I trust her advice, that is what we purchased.  While I was waiting for it to be delivered., I spent lots of time reading about vegetable juice fasting and watched the DVD, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  I was convinced that I to wanted to try a prolonged juice fast.    I watched the movie on Hulu free but ordered the DVD anyway, just to have it.   My new Breville Juicer arrived in the mail today and I headed right out to the food store to purchase what I needed for the first weeks fast.  I opted for all organic produce, its more expensive, but for me it was worth it and doable.  I fasted with water all day, and had my first Mean Green drink tonight and it was wonderful.  Good taste and it was satisfying.     I got a bit carried away with juicing, its so much fun and so easy with this juicer, so there is enough juice  in the fridge for a couple days now.
I am committing to two weeks, and if all goes well, then a month and if one month is giving me the results I desire, then I will go for the full 60 days, having blood work done at the one month mark and then further along should I continue on to the 60 days.  Looking forward to a renewed health and lots of energy !  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beauty In The Ordinary










A child's play cloths catching the morning sun, Princess slippers, shadows, sunshine, figs ripening on the tree, woods begging to be explored, Edgar waiting for breakfast, Quackers and Cheese enjoying their pool, sage and morning glories.  All part of my ordinary day, all extraordinary in some way.   Life is good.

Contentment









"Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty"
~Socrates~
Spending time with family, having a welcoming home, having a life filled with love, good health, all give one the greatest level of contentment.   Each day I wake up thanking God for the life I have.  This past weekend we spent in Austin with our oldest daughter and her husband in their new home.  What fun we had.  And this week, I have had lots of time with two of the grandchildren and nothing could be better than be surrounded by children's laughter and all those hugs and kisses they so freely give.   Yen, got kissed good-bye from mommy when she was headed off to an appointment, he had the evidence on his face to prove he was kissed !  Miss Mei is doing well, still needing prayer as her last visit to the neurologist was not a good one.  There is a serious problem with her spine that needs to be watched, with a few restrictions put on her activities that will be difficult for a 5 year old.    In life, we learn, the things that matter can not be purchased, but are the things we hold in our hearts.  Contentment is felt in the heart !



Friday, July 20, 2012

What If ?

This afternoon I was thinking about how we practice Christianity has changed just in my life time.  When I was a girl, one would not have heard sermons about praying for prosperity, or imagined going to a service that had big screens and bands.  Before you feel offended, notice I don't say anything about if these things are good or bad, I just mention them as examples of how "religious practice" has changed.   As is often the case with my brain, one thought turned to another and another.  I sat thinking about there are times I no longer know how to believe.  The world we are living in is full of changes, daily.  One just needs to study diet and in a weeks time you will be totally confused.  Eat meat, don't eat meat.  Eat fat, don't eat fat.  Etc.   The modern church is a bit like that.  One says something matters, and another church will say, "oh no, that was done away with".   Each denomination has there own take on a certain scripture, claiming all else has it wrong, but then in a few years time, even that might change.  
So, what would the Christian fellowship look like if tonight, God sent all His angels to sprinkle some sort of dust on us that made every single Christian forget all that he/she was taught about their faith.  No knowledge of what preachers or parents taught them.  There were no longer stories of saints, no Popes, no Denominations, no conferences, no books that taught us how to believe or what to believe, apart from the 4 Gospels !  And along with erasing our memories regarding all that we have been taught to believe, we were giving an insatiable desire to study these 4 books that contain all the teachings of Jesus without any preconceived ideas and concepts and have a desire to live according to what we read ?.  Just pure desire to live according to the words of Jesus.  What would the Christian church look like without all the folks telling us how to understand what we can read for ourselves.   ?  What would the church look like ?  How would we treat one another ?   What would our Christian politicians be talking to us about ?  "Love one another as we love ourselves" ?  How would we see one another ?  Would that sad and lonely person on the street, stir within us a tenderness like Jesus has for each of us ?  Would we live to get more of this and more of that, or share whatever we had with those in  need, no matter how they became in need ?   Would would we dress like ?  Would we even watch TV ?  Would we overeat  or share whatever we don't NEED on our plate ?   Would we live each moment in fear or full of peace ?   Of course we would not be perfect, but we would not be living our Christianity in the shadow of anothers experience and concept of what was meant.   I would be different for sure.  I would not have a mind full of quotes from other people about what Jesus meant or didn't mean.   I would be filled with NO judgement and more compassion, since that was what Jesus taught.   I would only have things like the Sermon on the Mount as a code to live by.  Phrases like " Do not worry about what you wear...eat" etc would be more ingrained in my thinking than wondering which diet guru is right.  Certainly my heart would not be drawn to fashion.  I might have a keen eye on what is happening across this great globe we live on, wondering if Matthew 24 is relevant to our times.   I guess I would go to church on Saturday, maybe, but I would be ok picking grain on that day..   I think, our hearts would be bigger, our homes simpler and there would be so much less fighting with all that turning of the cheek thing.  I think without all the divisions among the believers we would do lots more good in the world and there would probably be a lot more Christians around.   Offerings would go more to the people and less to supporting mansions on earth.  There would be more accountability since we would all be united in the same belief, without all the "well, they believe this" kind of commenting going on.  We wouldn't think this group or that group of Christians was going to hell because they didn't do what Peter, or Paul said and how the church fathers told us what to believe.   If we had this mind from the begining, there would be no" Martyrs Mirror" to read, no caves needed for hiding places.  There would have been no "indulgences"  no need for the Puritans to flee to another country.  I think though, we could all think about this a bit and see just what Jesus did have to say.  Just him.  His words are enough to show us the way.   

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mei-Ling

Last week, Mei-Ling had what we all hope and pray, was the last surgery for a long time.  It was number 17 for her.  Way too many for a child of 5.  She is now enjoying life to the fullest once again.  Yen, got to stay with me while Mei was having surgery and what fun he is to be around.  A happy child that never seems to get into trouble and listens the first time when you do tell him "no".  Well behaved children are tiny treasures for sure.




                                                      Mei-Ling one day after surgery !

Summer Rains



My days seem to be racing by faster than I would have ever imagined them to at this age.   How much fun their is to each and every day.  Discovering new interests, playing with the Grandchildren, going on dates once again with the love of my life.  This is a joyful time in life even though we have had some difficult moment in the recent past with Mei-Lings health, she is now back to her old self, full of giggles, full of this delightful girlishness that brings a smile to my face over and over.   Life is indeed, good !
Summer here has been so much nicer than last year.  For the past few weeks we have had summer rains fall quite often, chasing away the heat.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Garden Fresh


What a joy it is to pick fresh veggies from the garden and prepare a meal with them.  Life is good !

Reading "Living the Savvy Life"









Purchased the book, "Living The Savvy Life" by Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibons, recently and have found it full of good advice.  My husband has been skimming over the pages too and keeps telling me, "we do it right" and I guess we do and have for a long time.   We have carved out a life for ourselves that has centered around needs more than wants.  Granted, now that the children are all grown and married, we have a bit more spending money for things we enjoy but even so, we are big on not spending needlessly.  I am not as good at that as my husband is, but he has been a good influence on me over the years and I have come to the place where just about every purchase I make comes with some serious thinking attached to it...."do I need this?"  "Will it be something of value for more than 10 minutes after its purchase ?"  And the big question I ask is..."Am I just in a buying mood ?"  Right now I am trying to decide on what kind of Gas Range I want for the kitchen.  We were going to do a big re-do in the kitchen, new counter tops, cabinets etc, then I thought about it and to be honest, I would be doing that just for show, I don't care about the counter tops or new cabinets, the ones we have work fine for my needs.  The cabinets hold my food and dishes without complaint and the counter tops hold the gadgets and provide a good work surface.   Nothing is chipped or stained.   But the stove, that's a different story.  Our daughter needs a new stove, ours is only a couple years old.  Works great but I would like a 6 burner range, and am thinking with all the baking I do, a convection oven would be nice.  So, I would give my daughter our present stove and buy a bit more expensive one for myself to cook on and put the money on the gas range rather than a big re-do in the kitchen.  I will be happy with new paint for the walls and perhaps a tile back splash.   I really don't want a big fancy kitchen, I don't need to impress my friends or family and when I think about the history of our house, I am sure in its near 100 years, many wonderful meals have been made here under far less than I have at present.   I am being savvy about what changes I make.  Going for a better gas range and the rest is just looks.    In this book, "Living The Savvy Life" there is a quote that many would do well to copy and past across the check book or the debit card..."Save money on the things that aren't as important to you so you can afford to spend money on the things that are important to you."   Then the author goes on to say..."It sounds easy, right ? And yet, how many times have you gone into a store such as Target or Wal-Mart for one or two items and walked back to your car pushing a shopping cart loaded with bags?  As you walked through the store, things kept "jumping" into your cart.  You didn't realize how many stowaways you had until you started loading your car."    How many of us can relate ?
Living savvy is not about being cheap, its about thinking purchases through and deciding seriously what is important to you.  Some folks have travel dreams and never realize that all those things that jump into the cart that you really don't need, could have been passed by, money saved, and that special trip a reality in no time at all. 
Our children never realized just how poor we were when they were growing up because we spend our money on the things that were important to the family, to them, rather than on things like a total makeover of the kitchen or a new car.   They didn't care what the counter tops were made of or what the washing machine looked like.   They wanted farm animals and a pony to ride.  They didn't care if the refrigerator was not the most modern color.  They liked having parents that were not burdened down with worry over needless debt.  They enjoyed having parents that didn't fight about money like so many of their friends had.    When our grandchildren come to visit, they like that we have made toys for them and that its a house that is filled with love.   They have never said, "your kitchen is so outdated Grammie" or asked, "Why don't you have a better car? "  They only say, "We want to stay longer Grammie and can we come back again tomorrow ?"    

Sunday Blessings

Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...