Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday Shame

I'm so embarrassed about the behavior of my fellow Americans. Each year it gets worse. Each year the shopping season, also known as Christmas, creeps closer and closer to Thanksgiving. This year it invaded Thanksgiving as many stores opened on Thursday evening.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a day for family, it is a day to remember all our blessings and take time to give thanks to God. It's a day to feast, visit and rest. It is also a day when businesses are mostly closed, people don't have to work, buy or think about the cares of day-to-day life for one day.

I mean how desperate are we to buy one more thing? To beat someone else to the sale? To sacrifice our dignity, our compassion, and possibly our safety on the altar of materialism?

How I wish every single person in the United States would've boycotted the stores on Thursday. Can you imagine? All the stores that planned for sales on Thursday, forced their employees to leave family and friends to sell stuff and try to control the crowd, imagine if they were empty. Employees standing around staring at each other, their steps echoing through the empty isles. Ah, the image makes me smile. Maybe after that they never would've opened on Thanksgiving again.

But we Americans love to buy. It's now our national duty to buy and keep on buying. We must feed this insatiable monster inside us that continues to grow. And we won't stop until people are killed in the mass chaos of it all.

Then we'll have legislation that will help us control the beast within. The federal government will have to limit how stores offer sales because the people can't be trusted to control themselves.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.

Lord, we need more of your Spirit.

I wanted to put a video with this blog, but I can't bring myself to do it. If you want to see the horrors carried out by your fellow man this weekend, check it out on YouTube. There are plenty of videos from all over the country.

If you'd like to see our family's attempt to avoid Black Friday, check out my husband's blog, "What I Love About Black Friday"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Minimalism = Maximum Effort

I'm in the beginning stages of cleaning house. I'm not just talking about sweeping, vacuuming and wiping counters. I'm talking about the pull-everything-out-of-nooks-and-corners-and-get-rid-of-clutter kind of cleaning.

We've been in our house for about 15 years and all of us are keepers. We don't let go of things easily, especially books. I've been feeling like the walls are closing in on me for months, maybe years.

"Clutter is a state of mind. It can be the things we haven't done which prey on our minds, like unreturned telephone calls and appointments not made. . . Everything we do not use or wear, or which we are keeping in case it comes in handy one day. . . For one reason or another. . . we hang on to situations and ideas which do not let us move on. . . All these attitudes clutter our thought processes but by clearing out our physical clutter we see the benefits of 'letting go', which will help us to clear out the mental clutter restricting our development." Excerpt from the book FENG SHUI: Mind & Body; Spirit & Home, by Hale & Evans, page 82.

I love clean, open spaces. They make me feel like my spirit can soar. And I know that if my hands are empty, God can fill them. But it seems to take so much time to keep up with the clutter, to throw or give things away as soon as they enter the house. I feel guilty because something was a gift or it holds a certain memory, or I'm just not sure what to do with it, so I set it aside and put off deciding what to do with it for later. Yet holding on to all these things becomes oppressive and later the task is bigger.

FENG SHUI tells me not to try to tackle the whole house at once, but it's weighing on my mind. I try to do one room at a time, but that leads to another because if I move something from the bedroom to the family room, I must make room in the family room for it.

Another question I have is--Where do I keep all the stuff I want to give away until I have time to take it someplace? Oh and--Where do I take it?

Here's a before & after picture I found on the internet. 
Which one invites clear thought and enjoyable play? 

So today I struggle with this elephantine task. I hope to report success by the end of the year.

How do you tackle cleaning out? Or how do you stay on top of it every day?
I'd love to hear your experiences and tricks.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Phytonutrients Could Save Your Life

"Phytonutrients play perhaps the most important part in preventing cancer and heart disease." ~Don Colbert, M.D.

"Phytonutrients are . . . highly protective against heart disease and cancer." ~Andrew Weil, M.D. 

What are these miraculous nutrients? 

They are plant compounds that come from fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients are what give fruits and vegetables their color, flavor and scent. And they are naturally disease resistant so they help your body fight disease.  

So how do we get more phytonutrients into our bodies? We eat more fruits and vegetables.

You thought I was going to suggest some expensive supplement or juice, didn't you? 

There may be some of those products that add phytonutrients to your diet, but they are not as effective as adding more fruits and vegetables. You see God made the things we need. Given enough of the food God made, and told us to eat, we will have what we need. 

Obviously in today's world of technology, our food, water and air have been polluted, which is what makes it difficult to eat right. I don't claim that any of us can avoid all things that cause cancer or heart disease, but we can help the situation by being mindful of what we choose at the store. Organic produce is always better since you avoid the pollution of chemicals used as pesticides. Choose brightly colored produce. Eat whole, raw, or slightly cooked fruit and veggies as often as possible. And eat LOTS of different varieties, in all the colors God has created. 

Enjoy your phytonutrients! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yummy ImmuniTEA Boost

Have you felt that little tickle in the back of your throat yet? Or the dry throat syndrome that often accompanies cooler weather? Well here are a couple of yummy recipes that can help. 

Honey Lemon Tea
-2 Tablespoons (or more to taste) each Raw Honey and freshly squeezed Lemon Juice. Add to a mug
-Pour steaming water over them to fill the mug. 

Spicy Apple Tea
(recipe from "Organic & Natural," October 2012, by Lunds and Byerly's)

-Equal parts water and fresh apple cider or bottled apple juice.
-1 spiced rooibos tea bag, or 1 tsp loose rooibos tea per 8-oz serving.
-Cinnamon stick

1. Bring water/apple cider mixture to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. Add tea and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bag or strain, if using loose tea.
3. Serve immediately. For added sweetness, add a cinnamon stick to each cup of tea.

Each ingredient in these two recipes has wonderful, healing properties for winter colds and coughs. Plus they're just warm, sweet and comforting even if you're not feeling under-the-weather. Mix and match any of the ingredients or add other healing teas, herb or fruits to make your own delicious tea. 

Honey has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years. Up until World War II many used it for its antibacterial properties. Its wide-spread use dropped considerably when chemical antibiotics such as penicillin began to be produced. However, honey's healing properties have not changed. It is a powerful medicine, both internally and externally (on skin abrasions, for example).

Honey is good for joints, helps fight colds and respiratory infections of all kinds. It can help the battle against environmental allergies, bacteria and even parasites. Raw honey contains natural antibiotics, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which all help the body to heal. And honey is a natural cough suppressant. A spoonful of honey alone can calm a cough and boost the immune system. 

*Note about honey: Raw is better for its healing properties. Do NOT give honey to children under one year of age. 

Lemon have an abundance of Vitamin C, famous for treating colds, flus, and respiratory infections as well as a host of other benefits. Lemons contain antioxidants which boost the immune system and speed up the healing process. 

Rooibos is an herb from which a deliciously mild tea is made. It's full of antioxidants and has been known to aid in digestion, sleep, relaxation, and more. It comes from the bark and leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, which grows in South Africa. It's often called red tea, or African tea.

Apples, well, we all know the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." There are many reasons for that. Of course, apples contain Vitamin C and are good for the immune system. But did you know that they're known to help the body fight cancer, obesity, and diabetes? Apples are cleansers and can help eliminate radiation. Apples help reduce bad cholesterol while building the good stuff into the blood. You may want to take a Google journey to find out more about all the healing properties of apples.  

Cinnamon is not only delicious, but healing as well. "Cinnamon raises vitality, warms the system, stimulates all the vital functions of the body, counteracts congestion, improves digestion, relieves abdominal spasms and aids in peripheral circulation...The health benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, astringent and anti-clotting properties. Cinnamon is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium. It is also rich in fiber," says Kevin Hayden in 

How do you use these medicinal powerhouses?