Thanksgiving is coming

I feel reflective each November. I think about the blessings of the past year. I think about the difficulties. This year I find myself a bit adrift. My mom, one of my biggest cheerleaders, passed away some months ago. I miss her. Yet she is in my heart, of course.

I find myself feeling vulnerable and fragile at times. Sometimes comments that would normally roll right off of me stick to me, unexpectedly crush me instead. Perhaps that us part if grief.

When criticism has come this year, as it does to all of us, I have immediately taken it to heart. I find myself holding back my opinions, feelings, and suggestions rather than come across in a way that isnt authentic to my heart. I want to do all i can to not overpower others.

I decided partway through the journey of this year that if someone is, for instance, accusing me of being nasty or uncaring, they are probably right. My job is to change how i am behaving so that people no longer feel that way about me. I apologize and say that i will work on that flaw. I thank them for letting me know. I then try to improve.

As a result, i attempt to empathize more. Again, i fall short. So this November, I am grateful i have been given more days. I continue to seek the Lord’s counsel, and ask Him to guude my thoughts, words, and actions.

I ask Him to heal my sorrow for all the times I have come across as an unkind person to anyone. As we inch toward Thanksguving, I remember so many past Thanksgivings with lovely gatherings of family and friends. May this Thanksgiving be special.



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Contemplating my mission for the next year of my life…

Well, today I celebrate my birthday. What a year it has been. The passage of time makes me reflect on what is behind me and what lies ahead. In the last year, my mom died. So this next year, I am pondering….what should my theme and mission be?

Certainly, I have prayed upon that. I wonder what God has in store for me? My mom and I used to discuss that at length. I know she would tell me to step forward boldly and that God is with me always and all ways.

She was well aware of my tendency to over analyze things and to be too self critical. So here is the thing. If I had a theme song for each year, I could provide a list. Some of my favorites would include: What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong); Those Were the Days My Friend; Circle Game; You’ve Got a Friend; Somewhere Over the Rainbow; Forever Young; I Will Survive; Amazing Grace; Tis a Gift to Be Simple; Irish Eyes Are Smiling;  How Great Thou Art; and so many more.

But this year, I cannot pick a song. I can’t pick one for the past year. I cannot decide what to pick for the next year. I usually have so many things to say to try and put encouraging words in my posts so that people can gain strength. I do not know how exactly to do that today. God strengthens me through it all. He provides people to encourage me. I am grateful for that. I would dearly love to gather my friends about me today, or any day for that matter.

I definitely need a theme and mission for the next year ~ it needs to be more than getting everything done on my massively overwhelming things to do list. Perhaps my mission and message needs to be to be attentive and mindful to what is TRULY important in life. Perhaps it is to reflect on what brings joy. Perhaps it means to rediscover what brings joy to my days. It conflicts at times with all that needs to get done.

I would imagine others have this push, pull in life. I feel like time is passing much too quickly. My days and evenings are far too task filled. BUT, I know that this next year is going to HAVE to contain BALANCE.

Today my wish for you is that there be some joy time or some quiet time or some time of peace.

Thank you for being here. My blogging has been far too sporadic. I appreciate you.



























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The Path I Took

It is said that we stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us. When I was a little girl, I planned to be a writer, business woman or teacher, wife, and mother. I had loads of great examples around me. My mom, grandmas, aunts, teachers  and friends’ moms encouraged me to learn, grow, and follow God always.

Our daughter was born with multiple birth defects and went through 8 major surgeries in her too brief life of 10 months.

As a result, when we adopted our son, every moment with him was so much more precious. I knew we are not guaranteed endless time with our children. I wanted to see him discover the world. I wanted to witness his first steps. I wanted him to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he matters and was loved beyond measure. I wanted to fill his bucket moments with love.

I have always known, but knew even more deeply after the death of my daughter, that every moment of our lives is a precious bucket moment. My time with my son has been precious,  there is no doubt about that.

The path I took has meant that I have indeed seen him discover life, the world, friendshio, knowledge, joy, heartache, and all the wondrous stuff of life.

When I was in high school and college, I had plans to be a bigshot CEO. I was going to be impressive, maybe even famous. It was the I am woman, hear me roar era.

But you see, my dreams changed. I decided to marry and hoped to have many children. God had other plans. And I know there are all kinds of women whi have career and motherhood.

He gave us a daughter for a brief while. We have a son. I lost two other children in pregnancy. I just wasn’t going to do career and motherhood. I wanted to be home with my son.

I have the privilege of being a mom to my son. I am not perfect, by any means. I have taught him what I know of the world. I have shown him how to seek God’s path. I have tried to show him how precious life is and that he is loved. Does he understand that in his soul? He doesn’t completely,  but do any of us?

I guess I am feeling reflective today. My birthday is Monday. It makes me want to rate my own strengths and weaknesses. I believe we do the best we can. I believe I have many shortcomings to work on. But I have made progress. Those who know me well are fully aware of my shortcomings, that is a fact.

So today, think about the fact that each moment of our lives can be a bucket moment. Make today special somehow. What goes in your bucket?

You are special. Joy is on the other side of pain, sorrow, and weeping.  Don’t quit before the miracles.








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Be steadfast

I go through phases. Do you do that? I find that in stressful times, especially prolonged stressful times, I became emotional and reactive instead of proactive. I am driven by circumstances, rather that “believing anyway”. Is my faith weak? Not necessarily. However, during prolonged stress I get worn down.


At those times, of course, there is something I need to do. I need to spend more time in prayer. As soon as I feel that anxiety creeping in, I need to instantly pray. I need to insistently hand those worries over to God. I need to openly state that I trust that He will provide me the grace to get through it. I need to remember that the issues or problems I, or a loved one, face can be solved.

If I am steadfast I will be insistent and determined to release that anxiety. Even if I am exhausted, I will reach out to God and remember that whatever it is that I face is survivable. No problem that I face is bigger than God.

Today I plan to do some things at home that will reduce my anxiety as well. What? Catch up on chores, paperwork, de-clutter, while I sing and pray.

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. For God my Savior, has ransomed me.”

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Cast your cares


Sometimes we can become consumed by worries and anxieties, or at least I can. Of course, worrying and fretting never improves a situation. What is called for is a clear head. That is easier said than done when we are faced with huge challenges. There are days when I supposedly give a situation to God, and then almost instantly grab it right back. Psalm 55 addresses this. “But I will call upon God, and the Lord will save me. At dusk, dawn, and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard. God will give me freedom and peace from those who roar against me.” (Psalm 55: 17-19).

I was at a presentation last night, and the speaker was talking about this psalm, and went on to mention Psalm 55:23 “Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you”. I was in a group discussion after the presentation, and I said that this particular verse really hit home with me. I noted that the verse is He will sustain me, not He will prove to everyone that I was right and they were wrong. Sustaining is really all we need. His sheltering arms and His grace are all we need in order to get through some of life’s biggest challenges. No one has a magic wand.

i love to go a-wandering along the mountain paths, and as i go i love to sing, my backpack on my back

Magic wands are not what mountain climbers use to reach the top of Mt. Everest. No, indeed. The successful climbers go through physical training, a lot of planning, gathering a team of climbers and support personnel, and develop a schedule and plan that includes setting up camps for rest along the route.

When we are dealing with challenges, we do so successfully when we use this approach. For me, part of facing challenges must involve my support team and putting God in charge of it all. Then I need to listen for hints about what approach makes the most sense.

One of the keys for me is to resist the urge to panic or overreact. Just because I do not instantly have a plan or solution to a situation does NOT mean there isn’t one. Once I calm down and trust God, the early part of the path becomes visible. If we trust God, and step forward on that path, we will continue to see the way unfolding. Or, if we do not see it, perhaps we will have peace in our hearts and be able to figure out a path. What I am saying today is this: He will sustain us. He will strengthen and support us through it all. His grace is enough.


If you are worried or anxious today, may His promise in the Psalm sustain you and give you peace. If you have been off the path and gotten tangled up in underbrush, look around and head towards what appears to be a path. Don’t worry, keep asking God to reveal His path. You WILL head towards the correct path. Face it, if I can find a way with the help of God and loving friends, so can you. You are less alone in your battle than you realize.

May God bless you today ~ and every day. Just around the corner may be a friend, a friend who blesses you with her friendship and a cup of coffee. My God is an amazing God ~ He gave me this friend and a few others who have reached out in these past few months, with perfect timing, and loving non-judgmental hearts. Yes indeed, God sustains me.


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Writing can heal and change

I have always felt that sharing and openness can help to effect change–not only in ourselves, but in others. I came of age during the time when my generation shared their feelings, journaled, participated in encounter groups, went on retreats, etc. Our parents were more stoic. However, my parents encouraged my brothers and me to communicate and discuss. Anyway, I have known forever and a day that when I am burdened I need to share. Sometimes the sharing helps me to define why I am in pain. Perhaps that applies to you, too. A friend of mind shared a link about the healing that can come through writing. It is an article from Time magazine. It is written by  @maiasz

Here is the link, and I am pasting the article here as well. I found it to be fascinating. Note the difference between the impact writing has on stoics and non-stoics. I am going to do a follow-up article about stoics, writing, and healing. Stay tuned!

How Writing Heals Wounds — Of Both the Mind and Body


Talking about difficult experiences can be a way of easing the emotional pain of trauma, but the latest research shows that expressing emotions in words can also speed physical healing.


The study is the latest delving into the mind-body connection to suggest that expressing emotions about a traumatic experience in a coherent way may be important to not just mental but physical health as well. It showed that the calming effect of writing can cut physical wound healing time nearly in half.

Researchers led by Elizabeth Broadbent, a senior lecturer in health psychology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, studied 49 healthy senior citizens, aged 64 to 97.  For three days, half were assigned to write for 20 minutes a day about the most traumatic event they had experienced, and were encouraged to be as open and candid as they could about exactly what they felt and thought at the time. If possible, they were also asked to share thoughts or emotions that they had never expressed to others about what they had undergone.

The other participants wrote for the same duration about their plans for the next day, avoiding mentioning their feelings, opinions or beliefs. Two weeks after the first day of writing, researchers took small skin biopsies, under local anesthesia, that left a wound on the arms of all participants.  The skin tissue was used for another study.

A week later, Broadbent and her colleagues started photographing the wounds every three to five days until they were completely healed.  Eleven days after the biopsy, 76% of the group that had written about trauma had fully healed while only 42% of the other group had.

MORE: How Child Abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness

“This is the first study to show that writing about personally distressing events can speed wound healing in [an older] population that is at risk of poor healing,” says Broadbent.

It’s not the first, however, to reveal the intriguing connection between state-of-mind and physical health. In previous studies, this type of emotionally expressive writing, as opposed to writing on neutral topics, reduced viral load in HIV-positive patients and increased their levels of virus-fighting immune cells. The practice also increased the effectiveness of the hepatitis B vaccination by increasing antibody levels generated by the vaccine and speeding wound healing in young men.

But in terms of psychological health, the results are more conflicting. A recent study found that writing about disturbing combat experiences may improve marital satisfaction among soldiers returning home from war zones while another paper in which patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) wrote about their difficult experiences did not find that the practice reduced symptoms. Putting emotions down in words did, however, improve mood and reduce levels of stress hormone  in these patients.

One way that writing about distressing events could give the body a boost is by promoting sleep. “We found that people who got at least seven hours of sleep most nights had faster healing than those who got less sleep,” Broadbent says. Sleep deprivation can lower levels of growth hormone, which is important for repairing injuries. And writing about their traumatic experiences also seemed to help participants to actually get more sleep.  “Many people who have written about their negative experiences report that it allowed them to gain greater insight into what happened and to put the event into perspective,” says Koschwanez, “This might reduce the extent to which the event troubles them and possibly improve their sleep.”

The writing may also help the body by reducing stress; less anxiety means fewer stress hormones, which can interfere with chemicals needed for wound healing. While Broadbent’s study did not find such a link, it’s possible the researchers were not evaluating the right anxiety measures.  “It might be that our perceived stress questionnaire was not assessing the right type or duration of stress,” says Heidi Koschwanez, a study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Auckland.

MORE: Blogging Helps Socially Awkward Teens

It’s also possible that emotional writing is not helpful for everyone. In one study published last month, when people who typically are stoic wrote about their worst trauma, their anxiety actually increased.  Those who were accustomed to being emotionally open, however, showed a drop in worry measures. That suggests that different people may have different ways of coping with traumatic events, and that writing may be an effective outlet for those who are normally more expressive, while pushing people to express feelings when they are not inclined to do so can actually increase risk for PTSD.

For those who do experience relief from expressing their emotions, however, writing may become an important part of helping them to recover —both in mind and in body— from difficult situations.

Read more:

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Vegan Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffin

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

What You Need

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ cups of mashed banana
  • 2 egg replacers (use flax + water for a healthy boost) [i assume if you prefer eggs you can use 2 eggs instead)
  • ⅓ cup vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix well: flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients: banana, egg replacers, butter, vanilla.
  3. Mix dry with wet and stir until just combined; don’t over mix
  4. Spoon the batter into muffin cups or greased muffin tins. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Oven temps may vary, mine were done around 13-14 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
  5. Enjoy!
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