“…and I choose joy…”

Choose joy…

Today I read an interesting post. It spoke about how there is just so much ugly in the world – anger, violence, disrespect, war, famine, disease, deception…. over and over. It is almost like people are choosing the wrong thing on purpose…

There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

Stairway to heaven – Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant

In this post, the writer urged everyone to choose joy, to choose the right path. Choose to write, to compose, to dance, to sing in the rain, to love this crazy life and to be the light to others by the way in which we live. To be that example of a life well-lived.

Our son showed us a video last night. The video showed a pile on the floor of one jelly bean for every day you are going to live. I’ve lived over twenty-three thousand days. That’s a pretty big pile of jelly beans, so far. I’m hoping for ninety, so I have another 20,000+ to go! How many days did I waste? How many spent doing absolutely nothing of consequence? The video broke down bathroom time, TV time, relationship time, even how much time you will spend commuting! It brought me to a sobering moment – of the waste of what God granted to me.

Francis Chan and the Rope

Francis Chan is an evangelical pastor. I happen to like his approach. A lot of people do not like him because he keeps straying from his “lane” and sliding over into mainstream beliefs and he’s dissed the evangelical movement a little here and there. He’s sort of a spiritual rebel and I gotta say, I like it! The photo above is when he spoke about “what are we preparing for?” and he showed red paint at the end of a long rope. In his explanation, he said we spend so much time worrying about the red section and then we forget about all that length of rope, representing eternity. The red section is our time here on earth. It is very short. In light of eternity, it is miniscule. But we focus on paying bills and getting married, buying the right house and driving the right car. Some women collect purses or watches. Some men collect guns or sports memorabilia or fishing trophies. It is pretty insane. We seem to put our investments where our heart lays. Where is your investment?

Investments

I have been digging into my soul today. There are corners that need to be mucked out, that is for sure. Great Lent is just ahead. The readings for the Pharisee and the Publican were just read in Church. And once again I had to look at myself from the perspective of the Pharisee, and Publican, both.

Now he also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and told others they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. “Two men went up to the temple to pray; one a Pharisee and one a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and began praying in this manner to himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: swindlers, crooked, adulterers, or even this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I pay tithes all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to raise his eyes toward heaven, but was beating his chest, saying ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner.’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other one; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 12:9-14 (NASB)

Do I attend church so others can see me pray? Do I perform gestures or dress in a certain way as to gain approval from those around me? Or do I attend church because I need to be there?

The church is not a hotel for saints, it is a hospital for sinners.

St. Augustine of hippo

For me, finding God has been pretty much a lifelong pursuit. I have been baptized seven (7) times – you read that right. Seven times. Why? Each time my parents changed churches, we were baptized again. Because each time it was a different denomination of Protestant. Guess they didn’t trust the other guy. When I entered the Catholic Church, the priest and I met many times. He asked me about baptism and confirmation and any other sacraments I may have had. When he learned of all my baptisms, he asked if I had been baptized as an infant and I let him know that I had – St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. He said, “Yay! Trinitarian! We’ll take it!” I thought that was hilarious. But that started me onto another path, searching for God.

The Pathway to God…

I had an interesting chat with a friend’s mom yesterday. She told me she had left the Church for 17 years and the infant son of her daughter brought her back. And she discovered Christ in the Tabernacle. She knows, with no doubt in her heart, that Jesus is there, always. And she visits Him often. She worries for her daughter, because she no longer attends Mass, but I assured her the faith was there, just not the practice. She may not attend Mass, but my friend is a prayer warrior! Their pathways are different, but their common goal is Christ. And although many of us worship differently, we all share a common belief in Christ.

I really hate arguing about faith details, because to some, your salvation is judged by the denomination of the church you attend; how believers look down on you if you are not of their particular persuasion. People are becoming more and more black and white – judgmental. I am trying, as hard as I can, to be more accepting of others. To ignore, or look past the package, and see the person. As far as I believe, we are all endeavoring to make it to the presence of God in Heaven. The route might be different, but the goal (as I said before) is the same. I would propose we support one another in our chosen pathway, and assist as best we can. There are people who purport to be Christians, but they do not treat others like Christ would. They neither support nor encourage our walk with God. And that, my friends, is sad. Heaven is a big, big tent. None of us have been there and returned to explain the details. We all have the Scriptures and various preachers telling us how to proceed. Well, proceed with caution!

Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture! declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:1
The Cross and Crown

Today it is blowing snow. We are expecting up to 5″ just this afternoon. And we are supposed to get 2-3″ every day over the next week. The sun must be up there because we have “light” but it is hard to see the back fence. I know the sun is there, because I have seen it. I have spent gloriously sunny days mucking about in my garden. I know the brightness and the warmth of the sun on my head. I know the tingle my skin gets when I have had too much sun. And today, in a pretty crazy snow storm, I am choosing the joy of the sun! I know it is there, even though I cannot see or feel it. I know it is there.

God is there. Always. The King of Heaven, who hung on the cross for me. He is there always. Like my friend’s mom believes when she visits the tabernacle – He is there. And so today, it is a joyful day. Among the muck of the world and people losing their freedoms, shortages on the market shelves, and the black and white of it all, and all this snow – both God and the Son are there. So today, I am joyful.

“..be ready in season and out of season..”

butternut-squash-soup

Well, Whole30’ers, it is our 3rd day. I must say that I have discovered some things I did not know. I love butternut squash! Oh my goodness. I made butternut squash soup last night and it was so very yummy. As a family, we decided that the next time (yes, there will be a next time) I am going to add scallops to it! I added chicken this time, but next time we go seafood. And was it ever filling! Wow! Tonight we will experiment with those Brussel sprouts I spoke about earlier. A friend-of-a-friend posted photos of Brussel sprouts cut in half and sautéed until brown in ghee. With a little crisp bacon?? Yum! It’s on our menu!

sauteedbrusselsprouts

I have bought canning jars as I shared before. I have made 2 different vinaigrette dressings and they are in them. I am attempting my own mayonnaise and ketchup and ranch dressing. Wish me luck (my lucky family is my guinea pig!! Ha-Ha!). I am going to look for larger canning jars this time. I need more room!

canningjarsalads

One of the ideas I have run across is to prepare salads and meals ahead of time and store them in canning jars. Send the hubby off to work with his lunch layered all pretty in a canning jar. All he has to do is shake and it’s ready! And to get rid of all that plastic in your kitchen (which I have been doing the past few years – Tupperware is gone!) and replace it with glass. You can easily store leftovers in canning jars. And you can re-heat in them, too. You’d be surprised where I have found lots of my glassware! Garage sales, thrift shops, online sales, deals at my local store….I have slowly replaced all my plastic bowls and storage with glass. It is cleaner, and it does not leach chemicals into your food. I am trying to also not use the microwave. Boy oh boy, that is one convenience it is going to be hard to stop using, but I am determined.

Hebrews 11:7 “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by.”

firewoodstacks

I am also stocking up on all sorts of provisions (food, staples, TP, water, my oils and supplements, etc). The weather predictions for this winter are fierce. So many warnings about tons of snow, wind, and very cold temperatures. The Farmer’s Almanac is warning people in the East that last year winter took a vacation! With the storm bearing down on Florida right now, news stories have shown empty shelves in grocery stores and crowded highways as people flee the storm. This year looks to be particularly rough for the east coast, and rainy on the west coast. For us, the Almanac tells us it will be a bit cooler, but also milder insofar as snow is concerned. Except that the old timers around here are warning everyone to be prepared, and that this winter will be extremely cold and there will be lots of snow. Who do you listen to? Well, Noah listened to the Lord and sadly enough, no one else was listening. I keep getting pushed, from somewhere inside of me, to store up food, water, blankets, a generator, extra flashlights and batteries. I think it is the Lord, pushing me to be smart. A local man said to get battery-powered radios, too! We have tons of firewood. At least we think we do. I certainly hope we don’t have to go through all the wood we have stockpiled this season. If we do, I am not sure how we’ll come out the other side! We have a lot of wood. It would be a life-changing winter, that is for sure!

2 Timothy 4:2-5 “…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

I believe it is part of our calling to share when the Lord calls us to minister to our family, friends, and community. As I share this walk along my health journey with Whole30, I do believe the Lord has asked me to share my struggles at finding a healthy lifestyle, free from chemicals. I found my incredible Essential Oils and supplements…I simply have to share the graces I have found incorporating EO’s into our lives. I cannot just discover these riches and not share them with others. I have this blog, which a couple of people here and there read, and I hope that this venue allows me to touch just one soul, one life. If each of us were to do that, the Lord would smile.

sunsetmanhill

Matthew 24:42-44 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

There is nothing wrong with being smart and being prepared. I am working diligently on my health and our healthy lifestyle. Hearth and home are a part of that. I am looking into ways to store food and to be able to cook food, should our power go out. We live in a relatively wild area (compared to say, New York City) and help could be a long time coming, or not able to reach our area in time to really help us. That is reality (they don’t call it “The Last Frontier” for nothing). And it behooves us all to realistically look at where we live, what is around us, and what we would do if it all comes crashing down.

breadwatercross

The internet is abuzz with all sorts of theories about the state of the world right now. Germany is telling its citizens to stock up on food and water. Other countries are warning their citizens that times are going to get really tough. In the US, this election is getting insanely ridiculous, with both sides seemingly relentless in smearing the other. Mike Pence seems to be the sole rational person in the mix. Dependent upon the outcome, the world could look very differently by January 2017. And that timeframe coincides nicely with the dead of winter. Civil unrest is real, and it is happening all over the world. What if it gets worse? Are you prepared? Could you live without all the medications you take? What about simple things like water? One man said that to be honest, just save aspirin (general medication), water, and bread. You can survive on bread and water. It’s completely outside of Whole30, so I am going to store other things, but the basics are called basic because they are what we can survive on.

The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4.

And so I keep the faith. Not blindly, but fully aware. In the time of Noah, the people were warned but did not heed the words of God. Noah was given the graces to hear God speak directly to him. He followed God’s word exactly as it was spoken and his family was saved. It feels sometimes like we want to just throw up our hands and cry out, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” (Revelation 22:30)

comelordjesuscome

But honestly, as I have said in previous posts, “We are not guaranteed our next breath” (Fr. Justin Rose) The Lord has a plan. He alone knows when this craziness we call our world, will spin differently. We cannot know what the future holds. There is no reason not to prepare for natural, civil, and national disasters. What’s the downside? I guess it would be having a freezer stocked at all times with so much bread, you will never have to buy it, ever again. Or a basement filled with toilet paper and paper towels, water, and matches. You could have piles of blankets and sleeping bags, paperbacks you can read again, and board games to play. But that’s something I think I would rather have, than empty shelves as everyone flees the coming storm. Glory be to God in all things. And in preparing, being smart, eating to honor His Temple (your body), and living and sharing with one another this love He has shown us.

prayinghands