GMO Foods to Avoid

The New York Times, January 5, 2014 states that about 3/4 of processed foods now have genetically engineered crop ingredients, mostly in the form of corn syrup, corn oil, soy meal and sugar.

Hawaii is a mostly GMO-free zone, except for the now famous, or infamous, Rainbow GMO papaya. Farmers and activists in Hawaii continue to battle it out, through council meetings, articles, rallies, etc.

I wonder who will win the GMO war? Big Money, or Common Sense?

What do you think?

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Without a Vision, the People Perish

The vision will pull you forward, if you are obedient to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within you, and if you don’t feed the fear.

Be careful that you don’t start giving God directions, concerning your life, as filtered by the vision that He has given you.

Your eyes will adjust to the level of deficiency of your sight and so will the desires of your heart, if you let it. Without a clear vision for your future, you stay in “what you currently know”. Have you adjusted your vision to the level of what has happened up until now? Have you been programmed by past statements that are negative?Has your vision been corrupted or strangled altogether?

These are the messages my heart absorbed while growing up:

“You can’t do it!”
“You aren’t worth it!”
“Wish you never were born!”
“You are stupid, retarded, slow.”
“We just don’t understand you at all.”

We hold on to deficiency. They will stunt your vision. Ask yourself, “What deficiencies am I holding on to?”

“I am too young.”
“I am too old.”
“My kids are too little.”
“My husband wouldn’t understand.”
“My friends will make fun of me.”

Be pregnant with Vision, you have to take extra good care of yourself and that which you carry. Feed the vision with prenatal vitamins. Don’t expose your vision to people that are are haters and naysayers. They might kill off the fetus before it can be born. Eat healthy – get rid of the habits that will keep you from having a successful birth.

Be willing to do the things that scare you.

If God gave you the vision, He will give you the provision.

Affirm the vision every single day. Say, “I am…” statements. Not, “I will…” People become what they say they are. Know what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Live with intention and purpose.

Not confused – but awaiting clarity. Stay focused.

Never judge your clarity on how other people receive your vision, or choices.

Don’t beg God for your vision. Be still, and let your daily spiritual practice be the avenue by which God can speak to you.  Listen for instruction, don’t beg for it. Breathe, Listen, Shut Your Mouth, Listen, Be Still, and listen.

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Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals #4

Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals to help you cope!

(Post #4)

“Be Still My Soul”, one of my favorite old hymns, which means more and more to me, as I deal with suffering and waiting, wanting healing and answers.

I really like these reminder in the verses of this song:

  • Concerning leaving it to God to order my healing, and provide for it, however He sees fit, knowing that no matter how things change (loss of mobility, change in life-style), He remains steady and faithful.
  • He will guide my future, just as He has my past. I can be confident, even when doubt clouds my vision.

I can truly say that my thorny path, both in family life, and in physical pain, has led to a deep, deep joy that I would not trade for all the health in the world.

The mystery of suffering has indeed brought me a brightness, His loveliness, as I fellowship in His sufferings. Pain brings me closer to the cross, helps me understand a tad better, His last hours. His humanity. His physical vulnerability. He was made TOTALLY vulnerable…the great God of the Universe, for me, that I might enter into this same vulnerability of pain and suffering with Him. “Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine, through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.”

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

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Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals #3

Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals to help you cope!

Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals

Use a Timer to Feel in Control

(Post #3)

Did you know that having pain (that feels out of control) instantly sets off a chemical brain bomb, which tells me, “Your whole stinking life is completely out of control!

The last week has been emotionally stressful. Therefore, I am in a huge pain flare and exhausted.

To manage my (wrong) internal feeling that things are out of control, I am setting timers for every single little task I do. When the timer dings, I go on to something else. I am gaining endorphins by visiting so many tasks, even when they are not all complete. I feel like I have my finger back on the pulse of my life, and that alleviates a lot of internal stress and allows my pain flare to settle.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.”

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Sorrow During the Holidays Can Become Joy!!

sorrow at the holidays

Weeping Woman by Vincent van Gogh

I know you all don’t know my family, and cannot relate to the names in this post. I am posting this more for my own benefit, than yours, but hope at least that it spurs you on to try and think like a person looking back in their life, trying to find the good things that happened, not as a person who is currently going through the crucible we call the holidays!

Sorrow during the holidays is an issue common to all in the human race. Loneliness is a big cause of depression, and is especially difficult at these times. These are issues I deal with as each holiday of the year rolls around.

I really miss not being in touch with family at the holidays. Most of the members of my family are so toxic, I have had to make the long-past decision to curtail any contact with them.

There is blessing in the long, long silence, however. It is amazing the treasures that reflection will bring to me, if only I remain quiet long enough for the process to work.

Some years ago, I was able to track down the whereabouts of some of the family members that my mother had removed from our social circle growing up. She was a very wounded person, who only felt safe by exerting a super-human amount of control on her surroundings. She walked through life with “Shields Up”. If she ever felt offended by a person, or threatened, they were immediately removed from her life. One by one, I saw the people in my life disappear, until I was age 16, when she had run off my father, my siblings and all of our extended family. You could say that I lived in the incredible shrinking family.

Today, I received an email from my cousin, Karen. She was one of two family members that have tried to keep up the re-connection since I found them. I had been thinking about her a lot lately. Imagine my happiness when she emailed me! She wanted my address, but here is what she got instead…

“Hi, there!! I have been thinking about you so much lately. Glad you emailed. I need to call you and get caught up.

I really miss not being in touch with family at the holidays. Remember our crazy family get-togethers of old? Don’t miss all the craziness, but the parts that made me feel warm, excited, included, and happy. I miss watching Lu pour cream in her coffee and watching the swirling caramel colors as she stirred it. Or having her take me by the hand into her kitchen and talk about her latest cooking achievement. (Who knew then that I would love cooking as much as I do? Maybe she instilled that in me.)

I miss, in a kooky way, watching them all smoke like fiends, or playing cards for hours. I miss seeing my cousins, who always seemed more sophisticated and mature than me. LOL

Karen, I miss going in the basement of your dad’s house and playing on the xylophone. Big tradition for me growing up. Your family always seemed kind of mysterious and fabulous to me. So far apart from my own torn childhood. I loved just being “around” it all.

I remember seeing your mom, Junie, and Brian, and of course, my Grandma Ruth. She was always so sweet to me. Cannot ever forget Mager and Popo.

Bet you didn’t expect such a sentimental response, huh?”

Karen proceeded to thank me and recount her own memories of those times, even how glamorous my mother was. And she was. A dichotomy in so many ways.

But there are treasures there. Many treasures. Jewels that I can add to the necklace of life that hangs around my neck, reminding me, that even in the worst of times, good things are happening. Things to rejoice over!!

Rejoice with me, this holiday season, and pluck some jewels from the memories of your life, and add them to the necklace you wear!!

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Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals #2

Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals to help you cope!

(Post #2)

We can easily personalize chronic illness and pain to the point that we feel personal failure in thinking about our ability to function and participate.

I know that feeling all too well.

To help myself from going down that slippery slope, I keep focusing on the fact that Jesus didn’t associate hanging on a Roman Cross with personal failure. If He didn’t personalize pain as failure, neither should I.

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Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals #1

Chronic Illness and Pain Devotionals to help you cope!

(Post #1)

Chronic illness and pain create impatience and similar negative emotions. This list can help you become a more positive person:

1) Identify the specific things that trigger the negativity with yourself, personally – this is a huge step in avoiding the problems.
2) Simplify your life, where possible.
3) Be realistic – time moves at the speed of time, not your expectations.
4) Be spiritual.

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Roasted Pumpkin Swiss Chard Soup Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin Swiss Chard Soup Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin Swiss Chard Soup Recipe

I am laughing at my fall garden. You will see the expected fall favorites, but you will also see late summer veggies that barely survived the heat and drought, and are trying to make a late comeback. It is like we had two gardening seasons this year, Early Spring I and Late Spring II. One in February, and one in September. Nothing like making salsa in the fall, or harvesting cantaloupes, right?

Well, the chillier night air is making me think of the frost on the pumpkin and that inspired me to walk out to my garden and see what I could cook up this afternoon, with what I had at hand. I hope you enjoy my Roasted Pumpkin Swiss Chard Soup recipe as much as my family did!

Roast (350° – one hour):

3-4 pound baking pumpkin

1 dried chili ancho, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, not peeled

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Render (optional):

5 slices of non-cured bacon, diced

Sweat:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

5 stalks of Swiss chard, washed and drained

¼ cup white cooking wine or juice of 1/2 lemon

1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika

Simmer:

1 quart stock (veg or chicken)

1 tsp. sea salt

Season and Serve:

Fresh grated nutmeg to taste

Dollop of crème fresh, or 1 tbsp. half and half (optional)

Method

Wash the dirt off the pumpkin, then bang stem of pumpkin on edge of counter to pop it off. Cut the pumpkin in half, leaving the skin on.

Using a large, flatish spoon with a thin edge, scoop out the insides of the pumpkin, How to Roast a Pumpkin with Garlic and Herbsincluding the seeds, putting them into a bowl. Do NOT discard. They make a GREAT nutritious snack. Finish the prep by using a round-edged clean pot scraper to scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean.

Cut side up, rub raw parts of pumpkin with a little olive oil. Vigorously rub the thyme sprigs over the insides of the pumpkin, then rub on the fine chopped chile ancho, and sprinkle with salt, pepper.

Place 2 thyme sprigs, and 2 cloves of garlic in a pile on a large flat baking pan. Place one half of the pumpkin over this pile. Repeat with other half.

Roast the pumpkin in the oven for about an hour, or until the skin gives into slight pressure. The pumpkin should be soft. Roasting it concentrates the flavors, and infuses the pumpkin with the thyme and chile scents.

Cut the onion into ¼” pieces. Slice the stalks of the chard about 1.4” thick. Chop the chard Chopped Swiss Chardleaves into 1” pieces.

Optional) If using it, brown the bacon in a Dutch-oven on medium-high heat to render its fat. Keep it moving so that it doesn’t burn. Use a slotted spoon to put it on a small plate with a paper towel. Retain 2 tbsp. of fat for the next step.

If not using the bacon, put 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a Dutch-oven on medium-high heat.

Sweat the onions and chard stalks on medium heat, until onions are translucent. Do not let them turn brown from being cooked on too high a heat.

Add the garlic from the roasting pan, which should squeeze easily from their skins (like toothpaste), if you nip off a tiny bit of the end of the skins. Add the wine at this point, if you are using it. Let the alcohol cook off and absorb into the onions, about 1 min. If not using it, stir in lemon juice to coat all veggies.

Add the smoked paprika and stir to coat all the veggies.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven and turn each pile upside down to cool. Toss the thyme into the compost bin. When cool enough to the touch, scoop the pumpkin from the skin and  spoon it into rough lumps. Add to the soup pot and stir well to combine flavors.

Add the stock, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the burner Using an Immersion Blender (Bamix) to smooth soup.for a moment.

If you like a chunky soup, use an immersion blender to smooth the soup base now, or wait and blend the soup after all the chard has been added and cooked.

Add the chopped chard leaves, cover, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the bacon back to the soup. Grate a nutmeg over the pot of soup until you have added about 1 tsp. Stir, and serve.

Optional) Adding a small dollop of crème fresh, or 1 tbsp. half and half to the center of the bowl of soup, adds a whole other layer of richness and flavor. You will notice this as you savor a spoonful of soup, and taste the flavors unfold, one unctuous layer at a time. Bon Appétit!

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Still waiting to find Life Purpose?

Do you wonder why you are on earth? Ever wish you knew what you are supposed to be doing? Working hard to discover life purpose?

You were not put on this earth to promote your personality or uniqueness. You were put on this earth to fulfill the contract you have with your Maker. How did you get in contract with Him? By being born with His image stamped on your image.

What’s in the contract?

To use your life experiences, personality, gifts, and material blessings to do the work He sent you to do. He uses the positive and the negative to prepare you for the work. Both the good seasons and the ill teach you, and form your character to better take up the work. He uses that which you learn from Him, as well as from your adversaries. Nothing is lost. Everything has value. This is truly living with NO regrets. It is not about what happens to you. It is what you tell yourself about what happened.

Do you know who put you here, and why?

Psalm 139:13 says, “For You (God) created my inmost being (soul and spirit); you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” This is when the contract was sealed, the moment He breathed Life into your soul. His image being reflected in yours is all you need to know about Who the Creator is. Without Him, you have no Life.

Are you in breach of Spiritual Contract? What is keeping you from fulfilling the purpose for you life?

Have you forgotten Who created you? Have you rejected the relationship He created you to have with Him? Or are you not renewing the fallen self, in order to become aware of this pure and fulfilled image that is His.

Ignorance is the biggest characteristic of the heathen state. Blindness to one’s created state, one’s belonging to the Creator is a hallmark of the person that is in breech of contract. It is impossible to know one’s self and one’s work, except in the light of God

Knowledge and awareness is that hallmark of the person who is in keen relationship with their Creator. God’s Truth, the Scriptures, teaches a man the true knowledge both of himself and of God.

For those in relationship with Him ~ Your Maker provides, at all times, all that you need to keep the contract. You need not wait to find your work. That work was programmed into you when God knit your body, mind and spirit in your mother’s womb. It has always been with you. It is not waiting to be revealed by God, however we can squelch the awareness of it, by living or thinking incorrectly.

The Apostle Paul tells the followers of Yeshua Messiah in Colossae, that they cannot truly understand the work (or any other spiritual matter) without having aligned themselves with their Creator. “…and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

It didn’t require having a certain mother, father, home life, education, or a list of material things. It exists, period, to all who renew themselves with true knowledge based on the image of Him, stamped on our soul. But it does require a putting off of the old (pre-relationship) man, and take on a new self. That means thinking in present tense about our work. It means acknowledging the value in all life experiences, the value of seasons of life, the pre-existence of provision for all our needs, by Him.

The real question is in THIS moment:

  • Have you rejected this contract by rejecting the Creator?
  • Are you doing the work He gave you, now?

“From beginning to end, the Scriptures reveal that the foremost desire of God’s heart is not our salvation but rather the glory of his own name. God’s glory is what drives the universe; it is why everything exists. The world is not present, spinning and sailing in the universe so that you and I might be saved or lost but so that God might be glorified in his infinite perfections.” – Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

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Easy Turkey Kielbasa Recipe

Easy Turkey Kielbasa Recipes

Easy Turkey Kielbasa Recipes

TIP: buy kielbasa fresh, or buy on sale and freeze. Thaw in fridge over night. Toss on the grill with turkey burger patties, chicken breasts, and other proteins that you can use all week for healthy snacks and meals. The nice char lines on the sausage add a lovely smokey depth to the flavor of the whole meal. Never fear, however, if you don’t want to fire up the grill, just do the recipe as stated below.

Ratings Chart:†††=advanced skill & yummy ††=regular skill & yummy †=easy & yummy

Rating † Servings 4 Prep 15 mins Oven 400° – 30 mins

1 package turkey kielbasa
1 sweet bell pepper (any color)
1 large onion
2 large or 4 small potatoes

Pre-grill kielbasa, as mentioned in the tip, if desired.
Grilled or not, cut into 3/4″ thick slices.
Cut sweet bell pepper into 1″ wedges.
Cut onion into 1″ wedges.
Cut potato into 1″ pieces.

Toss all veggies in a dash of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Spread on large flat sheet pan. If not grilled, add chunks of meat amongst the veggies.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes with fresh meat, or for 20 mins. without grilled meat, adding the grilled meat in for the last ten minutes.

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