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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leave Your Fingerprints Behind

Yesterday I had an interview with a very sweet young lady from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Amie reminded me of a baby bird gathering enough information to be able to spread her wings and fly into the universe. The interview, although intense, was a very positive experience. The only unpleasant part was trying to remove the fingerprinting ink from my fingers. I still have traces this morning.

I recently volunteered to be a big Sister and I am in the process of being accepted into this very worthy program. I am very excited about the prospect of mentoring a young girl and I truly hope I will be able to make a difference in her life, whoever she might be.

As I thought this morning about some of the information I shared during the interview I realized it had not been my intention when we began talking. I also realize that many of the facts that came out will serve to help the organization provide the best match possible.

Thinking and talking about my own childhood caused me to see that if I had been given a mentor as a young girl perhaps I would have made better choices in my adult life. I am sure I would have developed self-esteem at a much earlier age.

Sometimes parents are just too busy, too stressed or have their own problems to help a child grow in a positive manner. They are not to blame it is just the way it is in today's world. A little help along those lines from someone not so involved benefits everyone concerned.

I have always wanted a little sister, now it looks like my wish will be granted and I can hardly wait to meet her. Hopefully I can leave the fingerprints of my soul mind on her life and guide her to be the best "little" she can be.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake

Today I thought I would share a tried and true recipe passed on to me by my deceased mother, who rarely cooked anything while I was growing up. It's not that she was lazy. It just wasn't her thing and as I have mentioned before my dad was a chef. This offering is delicious and best made with Granny Smith apples.

Fresh Apple Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
4-5 peeled & chopped apples
3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Mix ingredients in order given. Poor into 9"x13" greased pan
Bake 350 degrees 40 minutes

(Store loosely covered- freezes well)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ageless

Lately I have been acquiring many new friends and I just realized that the majority of them are somewhere around 20 to 30 years younger than I am. Interesting huh? Is the Universe trying to tell me something? No doubt it is.

Actually my whole adult life has always been a little off kilter with my peers age wise. Perhaps that is because at 40 God decided it was time that I had another child and I agreed. While my peers were getting ready to finish their job as active parents I was going to start all over again. I believe this decision has kept me younger than I would otherwise have been. It has kept me connected with a younger generation and I love it!

I have always thought that age is only a number between birth an death. I have decided that I want to die very old, as young (at heart) as possible! It appears there are some famous people who agree that we can be ageless.

"And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"May you live all the days of your life." Jonathan Swift

"To me old age is always 15 years older than I am." Bernard M. Baruch

"To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful than to be 40 years old." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It Gets Better and Better

Today is all about good news! After receiving my surprise thank you this morning I kept an appointment I had made to discuss my Wellness Fair blood test results with my primary care doctor. As some of you know I have been upset because my cholesterol and triglyceride levels were much higher than last year, but still within normal levels. I have been researching the problem and for the last two weeks have done everything I thought was necessary; eliminating what I read were bad foods and adding those that I read were good foods.

My doctor's visit started out great. First the scale told me I had lost a few pounds since my last visit- yea! Next my blood pressure was perfect 118/74.

I decided I would stick around for the discussion I had made the appointment for. Actually the first question I asked was, when is the best time to take blood pressure medication? According to a recent Dr.Oz program night is best. My Doctor said, "It doesn't matter as long as it is taken every day at about the same time." She added, "People who take it in the morning are less likely to forget."

The first thing out of her mouth after looking at her computer screen was, "Your cholesterol is great!" I'm sure my mouth was opened as I responded, "How can you say that?" I have been worried because it is up from last year. As a way of explaining she said, "Even when you have fasted, the results depend on what you have eaten for the last few days. The levels change daily." Yours are fine!

I told her all the things I had done because I was worried, apparently about nothing, and was informed all I really had to do was take fish oil, which I do, and eat fatty foods in moderation. I also learned it is not the sugar it is the fat in foods that is the problem.

As a result of such a great appointment and a great day I am going to treat myself to Chinese tonight, one of my favorite foods. I'm also eating the fortune cookie which just might provide a great message to top off a day that just gets better and better!

A Surprise Thank You

Today is turning out to be a super day. On returning from walking this morning I found a surprise on my front doorstep. It was a box with a card on top. Wondering who might have left it I ever so briefly pondered if it might be from my daughter, who decided a couple of months ago not to speak to me. Opening the card I found a very sweet thank you note from an even sweeter young woman who is a few years younger than my daughter. The box contained a beautiful crystal vase.

Although it is personal I am sure Mayka will not mind my sharing the contents of her note. She has somehow always been mentioned in my writings over the years. She was for several years a neighbor of mine and one of the girls I was responsible for in my short stint as a Mother Advisor for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls.

Barbara,
I wanted to thank you for always being supportive. You always remembered my birthdays & my graduation. It was important to me. I also want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your writings, books & life. You have motivated me to continue my dreams and being a strong independent woman.
Again Thank You,
Mayka


After high school graduation Mayka went on to realize her dream of becoming a trauma nurse and I am very proud of her. It was not easy, but she stayed focused and made it.

Thank you Mayka for your thoughtful gesture. You made my day-week-month!! Stay as sweet as you are!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Talk Radio-Help Hope Healing

Hi and happy Sunday to everyone! I just listened to my friend Cynthia Brennen's latest radio show. Her link can be found on my blog list. Her shows are archived and if you haven't checked them out you really should.This weeks program was an interview with Zen Buddhist Priest John Seniff.

Another friend of mine peaked my interest in Buddhism several years ago and I have been adding bits of information ever since. It seems to be such a calm, peaceful way of living. It is not a Religion as much as a way of approaching life. Following are some of the points I wrote down from Cynthia's program.

God is inside not separate from us.

Buddha means awaken. It is compassion/love/acceptance.

There are no mistakes only experiences.

A person is where they are depending on their experiences.

You have to experience in order to grow.

Look at your feet, that is where you are supposed to be.

Find the middle way- balance.

Buddhism is about being you.

Learn to love who you are.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spirits of Cibola County- Maxine's Story

(It has been awhile since I have shared one of my true life stories from my book "Wake Up!" This one is about a lady who I am willing to bet could have survived 69 days trapped in a mine.)

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade could have been written with 80 year old Maxine in mind. Some people might say terrible things have happened to her. She says, “Maybe they were supposed to happen.” Positive energy, faith and a sense of humor keep her going.

Maxine has been on her own most of her adult life. Her first marriage ended in divorce when her four daughters were young and providing for them became the most important thing in her life. She said, “I have never stolen anything, but I would have stolen to feed my children.”

One of her girls was diagnosed with polio when she was two years old. At the time they were living in Maine. This experience devastated her. A friend who had a private plane flew them to Boston for treatment. The child eventually responded to hospital care and overcame the disease.

Maxine lived in Florida for awhile. She was on a trip when a friend informed her a tornado had wiped out her trailer. There was nothing left and she had no insurance. Her positive reasoning was the trailer was paid for so she didn’t owe anyone anything.

She picked up her life and moved to Arizona. She obtained a job at the Motorola lab in Phoenix. She accepted assignments others were afraid to take because she needed the money for her children. She was the only one in the lab one night when an electrical storm triggered a serious accident. The lightening caused gasses and chemicals from the furnaces to escape into the lab.

The janitor had accidentally moved her gas mask from its usual location leaving Maxine no protection from the gasses. He was afraid to come in to help her and only shined a flashlight in so she could see. The storm was so strong it etched the glass out of the double pained windows. Maxine was finally able to get out of the lab.

The damage done to her body from the inhaled gasses and chemicals was not immediately apparent. She was unable to return to work because the company felt she might be a health threat to other employees. Maxine could not locate three required doctors to fight their opinion.

This experience probably caused several future health problems. She has had ¾ of her stomach removed, open heart surgery, a cancerous growth removed from her arm and several heart attacks just to name a few. No insurance company will cover her. Motorola gave her no compensation.

She took her savings and moved to Coolege, AZ where she bought and operated a motel near the mines. There were so little rooms available miners offered to pay to sleep on her porch. She obtained a loan, bought a few horses and started a small ranch.

Then another twist came her way. Her doctor diagnosed her with valley fever, caused by cottonwood. Her lungs were a mess and she was given the option of living in a bubble or leaving. Once again she moved, this time to Milan, NM, where she bought three pieces of property.

Maxine is a modern day traveling salesperson. She says, “I will do anything to make a buck.” She picks up Kachina dolls and jewelry from Native Americans and makes trips to Arizona where she sells the items. She also buys and sells property, cars and anything else she can turn into cash. To help with food she always has a garden and goes hunting every year, freezing the venison and making mincemeat.

Maxine would have made a wonderful pioneer woman. Picture her sitting cross-legged in front of a campfire, a riffle across her knees, waiting to shoot, eat or sell whatever came out of the wilderness.

(Until a couple of years ago Maxine, now 90, was also the caretaker of her daughter, Alice. Her death was an unexpected blow for Maxine.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mind Games

For the last week I have been making a concentrated effort to lower my triglyceride level. I have checked many web sites for helpful information. I am quite aware that my enemy is sugar and all the tasty treats I have been consuming for several months. So far I have not even eaten one single cookie. Good for me!!

One of the sites I checked out suggested making one day a week a cheat day in which I could eat whatever I wanted to. The idea really annoyed me. How can a cheat day be a positive move for anyone? I can see allowing a single “something” after six days of playing by the new rules, but I wouldn’t refer to it as cheating. How about a reward day for good behavior?

It reminded me of watching the “Biggest Loser” last night. They were all given an opportunity to eat their way through cupcakes, which apparently contained clues for a payoff of some kind. In my mind the real winners were the ones who chose not to participate.

You can't cheat your way to success. Your body knows you better than you know yourself!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ring Ring

Listening to Cynthia Brennen’s talk radio show this morning, titled "Understanding Your Dreams", brought interesting insight into my immediate vision. Her guest, Velva Lee Heraty AKA: Dream Momma, is the author of The Dream Belongs to the Dreamer.

The main fact that I left the show with is that our dreams are symbolic and are meant to provide insight and balance in our life. They are not meant to be taken literally.

Velva Lee shared a dream from one of her clients that got my attention. A woman had a recurring dream about a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing. The interpretation was that she was the phone always acting as the switchboard, connecting her family members. The dream could have been mine. Ever since I was a teenager I have assumed that role and blamed myself when it didn’t work out.

The thought of operating a switchboard caused me to think of Lily Tomlin and her comic portrayal of Ernestine the telephone operator. She was always sticking her nose into everyone’s business, even when it was not her job to do so. Truth has its roots in comedy.

I know the reason I was led to listen to Cindy’s program today. I clearly saw by looking at the life of someone else what I need to do in my own life. The role I assumed has been exhausting and it is time to let it go.

The next time my phone rings maybe it will be someone offering me a chance to experience a brand new exciting adventure- just for me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Be Careful Where You Step

When others try to add their negative perception of who you are to your life it is imperative that you be careful of where you step.

Stepping on them in retaliation is a definite no no! Side stepping by trying to prove them wrong is a total waste of your time. Nothing you say is going to convince them that they are wrong and why should you bother anyway? You know who you are. Stepping in their energy simply mixes it with your positive energy, resulting in a diluted version.

The only sensible path is stepping over or around them. Just leave them alone to deal with their erroneous perception. Mentally thank them for helping you realize that you are not the person they perceive you to be. It is not necessary to brag or believe you are better than they are. Simply express gratitude for the lesson they presented.

To quote Abraham/Hicks, “You can only get negative feedback from people outside of the vortex.” The place you are sure to get positive feedback is from God/Source.”

Know who you are, hold your head up and take concentrated steps in the positive direction you are headed, no matter what anyone's perception is of you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shine On

Recently I read a wonderful to the point message that deserves to be shared.

"The universe is wired with the electricity of God and each of us is a lamp. With every act of love we plug into God."

If we all kept that in mind the world would be peaceful. When we are plugged in it is impossible to be anything but loving extensions of our Source of power.

Stay plugged in and shine your light so that others can clearly see the positive path you are walking.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Health Cautious

Receiving the results of my Wellness Fair blood test caused me to take a look at what I am consuming. My cholesterol and triglyceride levels were up from last year. Although both were within normal levels it was disappointing. I had even added Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules to my diet for over a year.

I decided to have a talk with myself. The result was that I need to eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and consciously cut out cookies, pastries and candy. I'm sure the latter is the cause of most of my problem. It is time I realized I just can't eat the way I could when I was 20 or 30 or 40. Never having to worry much about my weight caused some very bad habits that I need to change.

Also my freezer is now full of very tasty soups and recipes I have picked up from friends. I seriously doubt that I will ever become a vegetarian, but I have had fun trying out new ideas. Meat is not an essential part of my diet, but it won't hurt to eat even more meatless meals in the future.

Nancy Hatch from "Spirit Lights the Way", offered the following recipe that I am passing on to you. I have been making it weekly just to keep on hand for a healthy snack. It can be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers. I also like to fill celery sticks with it. According to Dr. Oz celery is good for memory. There are of course, some things I would prefer to forget. Like my test results!

Hummus
1-16 oz organic garbanzo beans- drain & rinse
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb olive oil
1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 small onion chopped or 1/4 cup dry onion flakes
small can mushrooms-chopped
small can black olives-chopped
(I add a little hot salsa for more zip)

Blend in food processor until smooth & chill for several hours.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fear Not

Over the weekend I watched the ABC program “This Week” moderated by Christaine Amanpour. It was a Town Hall debate titled “Holy War Should Americans Fear Muslims”. I found it very upsetting and it left me with the feeling that we are instilling fear into the minds of our children.

One of the panel, Donna Marsh, who lost a daughter in the 9/11 attack said, “Americans should not live in fear of a whole group of people.” Peter Gadiel, who lost a son in the attack said, “To ignore the history of Muslim terror attacks would be unwise.”

The most biased quote in my mind was by Rev. Franklin Graham who said, “They want to build as many mosques and cultural centers as they possibly can so they can convert as many Americans as they can to Islam.” He has a problem with the principles of their religion. He also feels it is unfair that Christians can not build churches and temples on their land, but Muslims can build mosques on ours. I would think, being a pastor, he would know one of the freedoms we have in America is freedom of religion.

The quote that made my day was, “Using the word they to describe a group of people is the definition of bigotry.”

Not all Muslims are terrorists nor do all Christians live lives that follow the teachings of Jesus. There are moderates and extremists in both groups. The one thing that they have in common is that they are all human beings and came from the same Source.

Teaching our children to fear is not new, but it needs to stop. I remember when I was in school we were taught to fear Russian attacks. Instead of fire drills we were instructed to crawl under our desks and hide from anticipated bomb attacks. We grew up fearing people who are different and have passed that fear on to our children and grandchildren.

How about we just try for peace in the world and forget about fearing each other? As the song says, Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's in the Pot?

I truly love to cook. It makes me happy to take a little of this and a little of that and create something delicious. The last couple of days I have been filling up my freezer with inexpensive creations from my kitchen. I know this surge of positive energy sprung partly from the fact that my freezer was almost empty and winter is approaching. I also began to see it was the universe reminding me of my past.

The two people who were my cooking role models were my maternal grandmother and my father, who was among other things a chef. I can't make an apple pie without thinking of my grandmother and all the wonderful lessons she passed on to me from her kitchen.

My father, Sidney Halverson, was born on October 3, 1912 in the small town of Tolt (now called Carnation)Washington. He died in 1967 at the age of 54. He was a quiet unassuming man who was overshadowed by his wife. He was basically self-taught and had a thirst for knowledge. I remember his encouragement when I decided to take French in high school. He wanted me to teach him after I learned. I'm sorry to admit I didn't do well in the subject!

I believe one of the most valuable gifts I got from my father is my love of cooking. I remember him helping me with the very first turkey I roasted as a new wife. He not only helped me get it ready for the oven, but he made sure it was done so I wouldn't be the cause of my guests ending up in the hospital.

So today as I reflect on all the things I have cooked up in my pots this week I also joyfully reflect on the influence my father had on my current life.

Happy Birthday dad! I love you!!