Sunday, December 25, 2011
This week I've been reading The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer, the chapter on Divine Transcendence.
Tozer says, "When we speak of God as transcendent we mean of course that He is exalted far above the created universe, so far above that human thought cannot imagine it. To think accurately about this, however, we must keep in mind that 'far above' does not here refer to physical distance from the earth but to the quality of being."
A few paragraphs later he says, "Forever God stands apart, in light unapproachable. He is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is but finite, while the gulf between God and the archangel is infinite. The caterpillar and the archangel, though far removed from each other in the scale of created things, are nevertheless one in that they are alike created. They both belong in the category of that-which-is-not-God and are separated from God by infinitude itself."
What an incredible thought. This is why it's so difficult to get our minds around God, and most often we don't try. But we must try, in order to get a more right perspective. When we realize the God we're dealing with, we hesitate to approach Him . . . and we should. It should make us pause, even tremble.
"In olden days," continues Tozer, "men of faith were said to 'walk in the fear of God' and to 'serve the Lord with fear.' However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful. . . This fear of God was more than a natural apprehension of danger; it was a nonrational dread, an acute feeling of personal insufficiency in the presence of God the Almighty."
"Yet we console ourselves with the knowledge that it is God Himself who puts it in our hearts to seek Him and makes is possible in some measure to know Him, and He is pleased with even the feeblest effort to make Him known."
For this purpose Jesus came to earth in the lowliest human form--a baby, completely helpless, dependent on others for survival. He came to make Himself known and to become the atoning sacrifice, thus making a way for men (women and children) to commune with their Creator.
Let's take a few moments today to ponder this incredible event.
Friday, December 23, 2011
DANCING WITH THE OBVIOUS
I love spending time with diverse teams of creative people because I get a bird's eye view of what's happening across the creative workplace. One thing I'm increasingly concerned about is the rising level of cynicism in creative circles (including in myself). On one hand, a healthy critical mindset can help us improve our work and learn from the mistakes of others. On the other, cynicism causes us to forfeit our sense of wonder and, perhaps worse, to worry that our work will become the target of someone else's ire.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Raise your expectations!
Pursue the impossible!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Chinese Hot Pot
Do you have any time saving tips for the holidays? Please post them here.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
1. Take a few moments each day (even 2-3 minutes) to slow your breathing and contemplate the "Reason for the season," to use a cliché. God came to Earth in the form of man because He is holy, and because He loves us, and because He wanted to make a way for us to be close to Him. He wants relationship with us. It's the greatest mystical union anyone could conceive, and it's not fantasy. It's real.
2. Take a bath once or twice a week with some relaxing essential oils. Aromatherapy works wonders. Try a few drops of Sandalwood or Lavender.
3. Add deeply colorful veggies to each meal. One easy way to do this is to have a salad with lunch and dinner. Use dark green lettuce, red peppers and/or tomatoes, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, and any other colorful produce that sounds good. Shake on some olive or walnut oil with a splash of lemon juice and you have a flavorful, nutrient-boosting meal. You can also eat greens (try kale or chard), steamed in a pan with garlic and a can of chopped tomatoes. Or try a baked sweet potato. Adding nutrients adds flavor as well, so you'll feel like you're spoiling yourself.
Treat yourself well this month and you'll have more energy to participate in all the activities or to volunteer and offer your energy to others.
Monday, December 5, 2011
This year, my husband and I are finally realizing that we have everything we need. Oh yes, I know some windows need to be replaced as well as the carpet and the deck. But there will always be needs in the house and we'll tackle those one by one. But this year we're asking loved ones to give a gift of money in our name to an organization that is making a difference in the lives of needy people.
Christmas is a time we usually receive gifts, small tokens of affection from those we love. This year, I suspect, many will give less expensive gifts since money is a little more tight. But even if the gift is only $5, it can make a difference to children like these. These children have lost their parents, their home, and their means of provision. Please read more about them on Inspire the Fire. And ask the Lord if you can do something to make a difference for them this holiday season. Or maybe the holidays are too tight. Why not plan to give at another time of year when others aren't thinking about it anymore?
Whatever you can do, let's join in prayer for these precious children.
Dear Lord Jesus, These are not unfamiliar faces to You. They are in your thoughts and in Your heart every day. In fact You saw their faces when You died on the cross. You saw their faces before the world was created. They are not less valuable to You. They are worthy of your life and death. But You desire more for them than salvation alone, You desire for their stomachs to be full and for them to have a safe place to sleep at night. These are the little ones You told us not to deny. You said "Let them come to Me." Please show us what we can do practically to help these loved ones of Yours. Amen.
If you have not read the short article about these children please go to Inspire the Fire now and read it.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Read that last sentence again.
Incredible! God is near to us, He is even flowing in and out of us. Breath is God's creative, living force moving through us.
I believe breathing is a gift from God, not only for life but for health. Find Here my very short blog about how deep breathing can help us relax and actually bring healing to our body.
To read more about God and breath, following is an excerpt from a blog by a Jewish rabi on the name of God and breathing (there is a link to the entire blog after the excerpt):
"What follows is a brief summary of my approach on the question of pronouncing the "Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei" Name of God that in transliteration comes out "YHWH":
1) It is unpronounceable in my view not because we are forbidden to pronounce it — that understanding is in my view a way of avoiding the deeper truth — but because if one tries to do so, pronouncing these four strange letters (semi-vowels, semi-consonants; linguists call them aspirate consonants) WITHOUT any vowels, one simply breathes.
You might pause to try this yourself: try to say "YHWH" with no vowels. Not "Yahweh" or "Yahovah," but with no vowels at all.
Over the years I have invited thousands of people at synagogues, retreat centers, Hillels, and conferences to explore what happens if they try to do this, and almost everyone who does this experiences either a breath or the wind.
The real Name is BEYOND pronunciation, unless you consider breathing pronunciation.
As the Siddur (prayer-book) says, "Nishmat kol chai tivarech et SHIMCHA." ("The breathing of all life praises your Name.") For the Breathing of all life IS Your Name.
2) The notion of YHWH as "the Breath of Life" accords with a deep sense of God as intimate and transcendent at once. If we have no breath in us, we die. If there is no breath beyond us, we die.
3) Moreover, it makes profound sense for at least one of the real Names of the real God to be not a Hebrew word, nor a word in Egyptian, or Latin, or Greek, or Arabic, or Sanskrit, or English - not in any single language but in all of them, or in some form of expression that both underlies and transcends language: just breathing, which all humans of all peoples do.
4) Still more, Breathing encompasses not only all humans but all life-forms. What the trees breathe out is what we breathe in; what we breathe out is what the trees breathe in. So YHWH as a breathing sound evokes "kol ha'neshama," all breathing beings, and "nefesh chaya," all those in which is the life-breath." excerpt from a blog by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 4/14/2004
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Although I enjoy the cooking, I find I've been so occupied that it's hard to focus on God. Just like Christmas, I'm often too busy to take in the real meaning. I need to stop and meditate on God's good gifts awhile, but the oven is beeping and the batter needs to be stirred.
Today I pledge to take enough time to give thanks to God and to exercise for 30 minutes.
The recipe I'm making today might turn out to be my favorite this year. Check it out at http://community.wholeliving.com/profiles/blogs/sweet-potato-pear-and-walnut-gratin
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Here's a recipe full of harvest flavors for Thanksgiving:
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We usually have a house full of people. Since my husband and I didn't grow up in Minneapolis we have no relatives here, so we make our own by inviting others who don't have family close by. I could be serving 17-20 people this year.
Traditionally Thanksgiving food is high in starch and not so high in fiber and nutrients, but it's not that hard to change things slightly and have a health-promoting, as well as delicious Thanksgiving.
I grew up eating Cornbread Dressing. I've tried a number of variations on it and regular stuffing. This year I have two recipes I'm considering and may do a combination of the two.
Here's the first of the two recipes:
from Real Food, Fall 2011
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (I'd use half cornmeal and half polenta)
1 Tablespoon sugar (I'd remove this one)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 extra large egg, beaten
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (I like sage, so I'll probably add that too)
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice (could use turkey bacon or eliminate, but the taste would be altered)
5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper if desired
1. For the cornbread: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together in a bowl flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir in milk, egg, and butter. Stir well and pur into well-oiled, 8-inch squyare pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until firm. Let cool.
2. For the Stuffing: Heat oil in a 6-quart pot. Add onions and celery and cook 15 minutes over high heat, stirring, until softened and golden brown. Add rosemary, bacon, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and bacon is cooked.
3. Cut cornbread into 1/2-inch pieces and add to pot. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Whisk together eggs and stock; pour over cornbread mixture and stir. Add salt and pepper if desired.
4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes and serve.
You can make this ahead and freeze it. Then thaw and warm in the oven before serving.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
There are many recipes for Cranberry Sauce (compote, marmalade, chutney, etc). I love cranberries so much that I want to try each one. It seems I try a new one every year at Thanksgiving. But almost every year I cook and can this recipe for Cranberry Apple Relish. It's a hit with the family and good for Christmas gifts too.
by Cynthia Lair, Feeding the Whole Family (an adaptation from The Natural Foods Cookbook, by Mary Estella)
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup currants
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup apple juice or water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Place cranberries, apples, currants, zest, maple syrup, salt, and juice in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, remove cover, and simmer 20-25 minutes until excess liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Add walnuts if using. Serve at room temperature. Will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator 3-4 days.
Or, you can can it while it's still hot. (my note)
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I'm not as surprised as I used to be when I read things in articles or see them on T.V. or online that illustrate God's truths. God's Word is indeed lived out in our physical world and studies prove it all the time.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Wok-Seared Chicken with Asparagus Tenders & Pistachios
Serve over rice or noodles.
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 Tbsp oyster-flavor sauce (or fish sauce)
1 tsp chile-garlic sauce
1/4 C shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus; cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken; cook, stirring for 4 minutes. Stir in scallions, ginger, oyster sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, 1-2 minutes more. Stir in pistachios and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings about 1 1/4 cup each.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
These are just a few examples of how choosing our diet by color can help boost nutrition. It also offers a pleasing meal for our eyes.
An easy weeknight meal for us is often Quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth), Greens (cooked in a large frying pan with canned tomatoes and chopped garlic) and a baked squash such as Spaghetti or Butternut.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Why do I categorize them as sins of our diet? They have been processed and refined until every bit of nutrients have been stripped from them. They fill our stomach while starving our body.
We hunger because our body needs something. It needs things like vitamins, minerals and protein. If we satisfy our hunger with empty calories, we gain weight but starve our body. We fool ourselves into thinking we're full but will be hungry again soon because we're still starving.
Years of this behavior can cause serious to deadly illnesses.
God designed our body and He designed our food. I love the way Rex Russel puts it in his book, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living.
What are your suggestions for avoiding the white sins?
|Check out this nutritious taco recipe|
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 tablespoons Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
38 ounces (one 32-ounce container plus one 6-ounce container) Vanilla Yogurt
1 1/2 cups granola with raisin.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Native Americans had a multitude of uses for pumpkins. They used the seeds and flowers for medicinal purposes. They baked them, cut them in strips and grilled them, they dried them and used them for bowls, they even used strips of dried pumpkins to weave mats.
Pumpkin seeds are full of nutrition and healing properties. They contain Vitamins A, B and E, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Protein and Zinc. Pumpkin seeds have been used as a pain reliever, an energy booster and a diuretic. The natives used them to expel parasites. They are anti-inflammatory and studies show they may prove helpful with arthritis pain. Phytosterols in these seeds can reduce blood cholesterol. On top of all that they're low in calories!
So next time you make a pie from scratch or cut a jack-o-lantern, save the seeds!
If your interested in learning more about pumpkins, here's a short History of Pumpkins.
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C apple cider
1/4 C butter
Place pumpkin in oven at 350 degrees and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Cut a hole in the top, around the stem, and remove pulp and seeds. Save the seeds to eat later, they're full of nutrients and healing properties. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour into pumpkin. Bake for 35 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve.
What's your favorite thing to do with pumpkin?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
"3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." ~2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NLT (highlights and underlining mine)
Can we honestly say, this is how we live?
Delicious, Healthy Chai Recipe
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
And direct your heart in the way.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
So here goes . . . my bucket list:
1. To be fully submitted to God's will and effective for His kingdom (with signs and wonders following).
2. To leave behind a godly legacy.
3. To leave an inheritance for our boys.
4. To publish a number of books (novels and non-fiction) that draw readers into intimacy with God.
They're fairly generic, I know, and they sound so over spiritual as I write them, but the working out of these goals will include many smaller, more practical goals along this journey of my life.
So what's on your bucket list?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Do we hold to the form, but deny the power of the gospel?
With power comes responsibility most of us don't want to carry. We enjoy our comfortable life. We want ease.
Paul encourages Timothy to suffer with him. We were called for a purpose. God intends that His people will bring His kingdom and push out the illegally, ruling authorities of the devil. Sounds like science fiction, right? But it's not. It's real. When was the last time you or I set someone free from an addiction or spoke miraculous healing to someone's body? This is God's expectation. He's already won the victory, paid the price, now we are to go make it happen.
But how? That's the question.
We can't make miracles happen. We're not God.
But we can seek Him. We can come before Him daily asking for His will to be done and offering our words, our time and our effort to Him.
Lord Jesus, teach us by Your Spirit. Give us a willing heart.
Kind of heavy for a Thursday morning, so I'll lighten it up a bit. Check out the cornbread recipe I promised yesterday. I hope you enjoy it with your Chili or whatever you serve it with.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Here's my blog on Whole Living with a great chili recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Today I'm in awe of His excellent work in creating all the different cultures in the world. I live in a very diverse area. We enjoy food and native medicinal wisdom from all over the globe right here in our own neighborhood.
In years past, we would never have had access the different styles of medicine around the world. But today, with our shrinking world due to technology, we can discover wisdom from any country on the planet. When I was growing up, the best we could do was order the National Geographic (which was great, by the way).
This morning I read an article about the benefits of Orange Peel and Orange Oil. You can read it for yourself here. I never realized that the peel of an orange can aid digestion, help fight cholesterol and many other things. This article also gives insight into the misleading advertising about Grapefruit Seed Extract. It just goes to show a little research can save a whole lot of money and help your health.
Today I thank our magnificent Father who created all cultures and from whom is all wisdom!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Isn't is amazing how the same truth is found in many places. I find this Sioux principle is a principle in the Bible as well. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love.
"O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend." Psalm 15:1-3
May I always check my heart before I speak. Even if I must speak correction or disagreement or establish a personal boundary, can I honestly say it is in love? If I can then God is pleased. Now to work on word choice . . . but that's for another day. ;-)
Monday, October 10, 2011
Cinnamon Stewed Apples (www.myrecipes.com)
6 Cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup apple juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Let stand 5 minutes
8 Cups apples, chopped & peeled
1/2 lemon, zest
3/4 tsp cardamom, ground
3-4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 Cup maple syrup
1 Cup apple juice
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, remove cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until excess liquid has evaporated. Cool slightly. Place apple chunks in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix back into the pot. Heat again if you are canning.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Native Americans consider the Morning Star to be an important spirit, often representing courage and purity of spirit.
I'm working on a book series entitled The Morning Star Series. Morning Star will be one of the character's names, but also representative of Jesus. He is our savior, the one who brought hope for a new beginning and an eternity with God.
Most mornings, as the sun rises, I think of God's grace and how each new day is a new beginning. May this day be all He wants it to be. And may we be all He wants us to be.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
This may sound simple at first, but think of all the things we consume in this age of technology and food production. Chemicals, dyes & colors, 'natural' and artificial flavors (which are both artificial, by the way), fillers, fat-replacing chemicals, and the list goes on and on. We may not even realize what's in the foods we eat and love until we read the ingredients on the label.
Here's a clue: If you can't pronounce it and don't know what it is, it's probably not a substance created by God for human consumption.
Here's another clue: What you don't know can hurt you. Read those labels.
What did God say?
Thursday, April 7, 2011
My first and most basic rules for diet come from Rex Russell, M.D. in his book, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living. I read his book years ago and always come back to his three principles. It makes choices so simple, though not always easy. Those principles are:
1. Eat only substances God created for food.
2. As much as possible, eat foods as they were created.
3. Avoid food addictions.
We'll explore each of these in more depth in the coming days.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
No more. I'm tired of being realistic and practical. I want to see my dreams accomplished. I want God's kingdom come, His will accomplished in my life.
Let faith have it's way in me.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain . . .falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." ~John 12:24.
The snow shouts from outside my window that winter remains, but I as I ponder my seed, I'm assured that spring is here and soon I can plant this tiny promise into the ground. And when this seed dies, it's life will be realized.
My thoughts shift to inward seeds. Birthed from our imagination, these seeds become dreams from which we make plans for life. But so often we discover that we must allow our dreams to die in the ground of circumstances and discouragement. With time and attention, prayer and faith these seeds may yet sprout new life.
If God has planted a dream in your heart and it seems like the dream is dead, be patient. Watch and pray. In faith, sprinkle some water on it every now and then. See what faith will do with that seed.
Don't give up. The promise of the seed awaits.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
For this and so many natural eruptions in our world recently we want an answer. We want to assure ourselves that we are safe. Often, as Christians, we'd like to say that it's God's judgment on an ungodly nation. But can we say the United States is godly? Hardly.
It reminds me of something Jesus said when asked why certain people died in a tragic accident. They were really asking Jesus what those people did to deserve such a death. Jesus explained that they were asking the wrong question. They should've been asking why the tower hadn't fallen on them.
Today I'm thinking of the natural disasters that have been in the news in the last few years. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes. These have happened all over the globe not missing our own nation.
Today I read a verse written by Daniel centuries ago describing his people and circumstances. See if it doesn't ring true with us today.
We are all sinners. We all deserve God's wrath. But God loves all people and is not willing that any perish, according to the Bible (2 Peter 3:9). He is patient toward us, waiting for us to turn to Him in repentance. If we do, He has already made the way to give us forgiveness--Jesus, the One who took our death-sentence and then rose victoriously to life again.
Natural disasters can bring our attention to God. What better time to seek Him in prayer and evaluate our own lives. But it is for all of us. It is not for us to judge another nation or group of people. And it is not for us to expect that we will not suffer similar disasters.
We're told in the Bible that nature (creation) groans. That's what I keep thinking about when I hear the news. The earth is groaning. Here in Romans 8 we see the weight of sin causing man and nature to groan under its curse. But here we also see the hope waiting for us just ahead.
Let us pray for those suffering from the earth's groaning and let us examine ourselves, looking forward to the hope we have in Christ.