Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome to 2010

It's THAT time of year when we think about the New Year and all the changes we want to see in our lives before the beginning of yet another New Year. Yep, that's right; I'm talking about resolutions. Some people make them, and others don't, but regardless, we all see the New Year as the beginning of a new page in our lives.

Usually I'm one of those people that don't make resolutions. Mainly because my experience is that I make a resolution and about a week later I kick myself because I broke it. I'm sure many of you are familiar with that scenario.

Last year, however Mark and I both wrote one word on a piece of paper that we wanted to accomplish during the year.  My word was 'unconditional love' (okay, two words).  Throughout the year, many scenarios cropped up to help me see that to love unconditionally is my choice.  I can choose to remain in the small minded and weak belief system I was raised in this lifetime to accept as 'normal' or move into the gentle flow of unconditional love and allow those belief systems to change.  All year long, I made choices and now, even though I know it is an on going process, I can see how much freer and lighter I feel having walked that gauntlet of choices.  I am very grateful!  

This year I have a phrase I will be working on.  'Lighten up; have fun; laugh a lot.'  I'm very excited to see how I can change some of the heaviness in my life to light and laughter.  It's going to be a fantastic year!  

What is your word or phrase for the year?  

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A New Idea

This past October was a really difficult month for me. You see, the month of October is 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month', so every time I went to the grocery store, I was bombarded with breast cancer awareness advertisements, PA announcements, and cashiers asking for donations at check-out. It was virtually impossible to escape this reality. Even the TV and Radio were relentless on making us all breast cancer aware. For someone like me, who is trying to keep very positive about this challenge in my life, it was very difficult.

The 'Law of Attraction' says, whatever you put your attention on and allow yourself to feel intensely
, you attract to you. It could be a positive or negative thought. Since I was being forced to put my attention on breast cancer every single day of the month, I was really concerned about the tumors in my body growing. Finally Mark and I came up with a solution.

We decided, instead of 'Breast CANCER Awareness' which makes one think of horrible disease and sickness, we would celebrate 'Breast Awareness', which makes one think of wonderful, bouncy, healthy, breasts. I know there are those who think it's terrible to focus our attention on a woman's breasts, but how much worse is it to focus negative attention on women's breasts and therefore attract more negative results?

Who wants to stand with me in this new movement I'm starting, called 'Breast Awareness'? I think if we all start putting positive happy thought into the universe about healthy breasts, perhaps, just perhaps we can move toward a cure. What do you think?

Recipe of the Day

Butternut Squash Soup

2 Onions, diced
6 Clove Garlic, peeled
3 Lbs Butternut Squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
1 Bay Leaf
7 C Vegetable Stock or Water
1/2 C Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1. In a large pot, combine onions, garlic, squash, ginger, bay leaf and stock.

2. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

3. When squash is tender, add orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, soy sauce, and nutmeg. Simmer another 5 minutes.

4. Puree in blender until smooth. Transfer back to pot, season to taste, and re-heat

(I have to tell you, I had my doubts about this soup being good, but it is truly delicious! I was very pleasantly surprised! It is now one of our favorite recipes. One tip, if you can buy already cut up butternut squash, it sure saves time!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Water Off A Duck's Back

My husband is a gem! He is my rock and the one person in my world that knows me better than I even know myself. He always knows exactly what I need to hear and has broad shoulders to help me carry all the burdens I put on myself. I never knew love until I met Mark. He shows me each and every day what 'unconditional love' is really all about.

Mark doesn't cook, or clean the house. D
on't get me wrong, he will gladly help with those chores if I need him to, but I consider those the smallest of things I can do for him for everything he does for me. An example of how astounding he is to me is the fact that no matter what kind of situation I get myself into, he knows just what to say.

The past few days have been a real challenge. The email debacle a few days ago kinda knocked me off my game. Not the fact it got sent to me; in fact I wrote an email back to the person who sent it and told her there was no reason for me to forgive her, because she was just being herself and I accepted her for who she is. I told her I had no right to tell her who she could talk or write to and who she could not. I really felt at peace about what I wrote. And I allowed Mark to read it to before sending it to make sure it came across with the love I intended. He had no problem with it. (And believe me, he would certainly have told me if he did!)

The next day, I received a scathing email back from her. She totally misunderstood my intention and twisted around my words. Needless to say, I was hurt. I re-read my letter to her and still I didn't see how she could have miss-interpreted my intention. Last night, I went to bed confused and upset, not knowing what I needed to do next.

This morning I woke up with one thought on my mind. Something my very sweet, wise husband told me. "Be a duck, and let it all roll off your back". So today, each time I started to think about it and get upset again, I reminded myself to be a duck. (quack, quack).

It occurs to me that some people just cannot accept who they are. When they come across a trait that does not fit into their belief system or which they have a tough time with, instead of dealing with it, they ignore it or try to dis-associate with it, even to the extent of pushing it off as someone else's problem. I can look at it from a clear point of view now, and I see that is how most people handle what they perceive as a weakness in their own lives. I totally understand this because it wasn't that far in the past where I did the same exact thing!

Now, I think I'll follow my genius husband's advise and just quack a lot!


Eggplant Sorrento

1/4 Lb.Baked Tofu (or I just use any veggies I have handy and leave out the tofu completely!)
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
8 Ozs Tomato Sauce
1 C Water
1 1/2 Tsps Oregano, crushed
1/2 Tsp Basil, crushed
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Tsp Cumin Powder
1 Eggplant, cut into 1" pieces
8 Ozs Spaghetti

1. Brown tofu in a stockpot over high heat. (or if using veggies, skip to step 2 and include them all in the sauteing process)

2. Add onion and green bell pepper. Saute over high heat until onions are soft and just turning brown. (use a little red or white wine to saute, or vegetable broth)

3. Add tomato sauce, water, oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and cumin.

4. Cook over medium-low heat.

5. Add eggplant to stockpot; cover and cook over low heat 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to the package directions; drain and stir into kettle just before serving. (I use whole wheat, brown rice, or corn spaghetti)

Serves 4

Add more seasonings to taste. I added more red pepper flakes for a snappier flavor. ENJOY!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Ugliness of Gossip

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
A Spanish Proverb
Today, I received an email. It was intended for a family member, but my email address was put on it instead. The person who sent it to me sends me emails all the time, so I thought nothing of opening it. The email was filled with gossip about Mark and I; our business and our beliefs which just happen to be different than the author of the email. In the letter, our family member was told how the author had talked to other family members about us and how disappointed and sad they all are that we have the life and beliefs we have. She went on to warn this individual to not read my blog, because of our 'new age' ideas. The impression she left with this family member and others is that we are demons that smile a lot.

After she sent that email, she sent me another email telling me how sorry she was! She told me she was soooo sorry for sending me the letter and asked me to forgive her.

As you can imagine, I was pretty hurt, since to my face, this person seems like a very nice lady. So, once I got past the shock, I began trying to understand and find better feeling thoughts than the hurt ones. Here's what I came up with. . .

The author of the email is a staunch Christian lady who views anyone who does not believe the way she does as wrong. It's what she knows. It's ALL she knows and her perception of what we represent really scares her. We have purposely not told her too much about our beliefs out of respect for her and her beliefs. But we have answered any questions she asked. We try to keep the answers short and to the point due to our respect for her beliefs. The author is also older and very set in her ways. She loves to talk to people and naturally wants to have interesting stuff to talk about. And because she is such a devoted Christian, she feels she must explain our business to others in order to request prayer for our souls. By the time I was finished trying to put myself in her shoes, I could laugh about the whole situation.

It occurs to me that if she had not accidentally sent the email to me, she would have sent it to the family member and thought nothing more of the hurtful gossip it was filled with.

I'm glad we had this experience, for it shows just how dreadful gossip can be. Even well meaning requests for prayer can turn into vicious, hurtful gossip. I've made it a rule of mine never to say anything behind someones back that I would not tell them directly to their face. Or better yet, never say anything about someone that would bring hurt or shame to them. The best rule is probably not to ever repeat anyone else's business to anyone else. After all, it's not my place to pass around information about someone. If they want people to know about their life, they will tell them themselves.

Of course I forgive this woman for what she did. I know who she is and accept her as the frightened person she is. My hope is that she can learn a valuable lesson from this experience too. Perhaps next time she is tempted to gossip, she will remember how it felt to be caught.

On a happier note: By popular demand, I will start sharing some of the recipes we try and and like. Yesterday's recipe is below.


2 Onions, diced
2 Celery, diced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
5 C Water
1 1/2 C Split Peas
4 Carrots, diced
1/2 Tsp Marjoram
1/2 Tsp Basil
2 Bay Leaves

1. Saute onions, celery, garlic, and parsley in a very small amount of vegetable broth

2. Add water, peas, carrots, marjoram, basil, and bay leaves

3. Simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as needed.

4. Remove bay leaves and blend in a blender until smooth.

Serve with a nice crusty whole wheat bread. Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Impossible, Possible Challenges

Because of the challenge I'm experiencing, I've totally changed how I look at life. I appreciate everything in a much deeper way than before. My husband; the wonderful crisp fall air; and even the noise of the street. There just is no room in my life for drama.

It seems sad that we have to be faced with something traumatic before we finally get to the point of enjoying life and appreciating what we have. Our spouses, our children, all are taken for granted. How about the warmth of the sun or the life giving rain? Or the jobs we have? Okay, it's sometimes easy to point those things out as things we should be grateful for, but what about everyday life and the curve balls that seem to get thrown our way? The driver that cuts us off in traffic, or the payment the bank lost for your mortgage payment? Or what about developing a dis-ease? How can we face those things and still not have drama in our lives?

This is what I do. . .

I look at everything as an opportunity; a contrast to what I want in my life. Each 'curve ball' represents a challenge to be the person I came to this planet to be; the most joyful and happiest person I know. Someone cuts me off in traffic and I try to understand they must really be in a hurry to get someplace. Or perhaps my angels are just trying to deter me from an accident happening several miles up the road.

Recently I lost the cash we had put aside to pay our Mortgage payment. Almost 350.00 gone! But instead of beating myself up like I used to do, I now realize, it's just money. Sure it means tightening up our already tight belt for a couple weeks, but in the long run, who knows what lies behind the curtain for us.

And how about the dis-ease I face now? Three years ago, when I first developed the cancer, I did a whole bunch of spiritual work learning to forgive those around me and myself for perceived wrongs I suffered in my childhood and adult life. If it was not for this challenge, (much to my dismay), I may not have delved into the deepest recesses of my fears and emotions. I made peace with all my past devils and moved on. (By the way, that's when the sunshine and the rain started looking much better to me.) Now, I'm on the physical journey. I'm excited to actually see my body heal itself as I give it the nourishment and love it needs to perform the task. I'm very grateful for being in this place at this time in my life. I know all is well, and am very excited to share this venture with everyone.

What are the 'impossible' challenges in your life? Are they really worth giving up your joy?

Tonight's dinner: Homemade Split Pea Soup and Crusty Wheat Bread.
(And on top of all other wonderful lessons I'm learning, like how to release all fear, I'm learning how to cook healthier than ever before.) Do you want the recipes I'm learning to make? Let me know and perhaps I'll start posting them on the blog as well.