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Smorgasbord

Definition of SMORGASBORD

1
: a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
2
: an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange
(Thank you, Merriam-Webster online…)
Also:

Examples of SMORGASBORD

  1. <every day the director has to first deal with a smorgasbord of problems before he can begin filming>

Origin of SMORGASBORD

Swedish smörgåsbord, from smörgås open sandwich + bordtable

First Known Use: 1879
(again, credit here shall go to Merriam-Webster, here:
Why do I start with this crazy word of Scandinavian origin?  Well, growing up, when we had a lot of leftovers to eat, my Mom would tell us that it was Smorgasbord night…meaning time to eat all the leftovers in whatever conglomeration they come.  Sidenote:  it was my Dad’s favorite meal.  He loved eating leftovers.  When they were heated and put in front of him.  Ahem (Is this a male thing?  Because honestly, my sweetie will also be glad to eat leftovers once they are heated and on a plate smelling delicious, but in the fridge in a container, they do nothing for him.  Funny. Random.  Moving on.)
Welcome to your Smorgasbord blog!  I just thought I’d throw out a few things that made me smile this week.  That’s all. =-)
One:  If you follow my blog, you know that we did not have a totally traditional Thanksgiving, so we made the little bits of a traditional Thanksgiving meal throughout the season…and early this week, I just finished the homemade and healthy Hallelujah Acres version of Green Bean Casserole.  It was YUM.  What it leaves out is the Cream of Mushroom soup, but you would never know it! There are mushrooms in it for sure, and yes, even the French’s fried onions, as they have minimal ingredients.  Check out this much healthier version of an old fave on their site:
Two:  I have been reading “Sweet Deception” by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Kendra Degen Pearsall for awhile now; it is a non-fiction book that mainly concerns the origins and problems of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, nutrasweet, splenda, etc, but it also delves into issues of the FDA and Big Pharma.  It has taken me awhile to read, because admittedly, it’s a lot of information and does not always have me on the edge of my seat.  I am still really glad  that I read it, and I highly recommend it!  Last night, though, one quote from the book totally spoke to me, and I was not expecting it:
“My conscience is formed by the voice of Christ speaking internally to me.  That’s what the conscience is:  it’s the voice of God speaking to each and every one of us about what’s right and what’s wrong.  I knew what was right.  If I walked away from that, nobody else would have to do anything.  I’d be beating myself up because my conscience would condemn me.  So, yes, faith plays a part in everything that I do.  It’s not saying I’m a saint, because I’m not.  But I can’t separate who I am from my religious faith.  It’s all part of the same person.”
Dr. David Graham, the “whistle-blowing FDA physician who testified before the Senate, in the wake of the Vioxx catastrophe, about the critical flaws in the FDA” on whether or not his faith had to do with his decision to testify.
I ask you, does that speak to you, too?
Three:  Raw Veggie Cereal is my new favorite cold cereal.  I love cold cereal.  I do.  And let’s just say that even the healthiest ones out there are still super-processed, unless you know how to make Buckwheat Krispies, which I do, but they have a distinct flavor that I don’t really want to have every day.  (I also love hot cereals, but that is not the point right now. snicker snort.)
For me, veggies at breakfast usually come in the form of A) blended into a smoothie–which is not always what I am longing for in the cold winter months, B) used in sweet salad in combo with fruit and nuts, or C) sauteed lightly before adding some egg to the skillet–great in the winter, but I am more of a sweet than savory breakfast kind of girl.  (Frittatas are awesome at lunch and dinner, though!)
I happened upon this link recently and thought, well, that sounds intriguing…a bunch of veggies, some fruit, and some nuts all mixed together making a “raw” cereal?  And I wondered about the taste when I saw that broccoli and cauliflower were among the ingredients…but let me assure you— THIS STUFF IS YUMMY.  I mean, mainstream flavor yummy, not that-chick-drinks-green-smoothies-yummy…you know what I mean.  I would never have guessed by the taste that there were some usually (dare I say it?) pungent veggies in there!  But processed with apples, pecans, and carrots, topped with coconut flakes, almond milk and cinnamon, and this stuff has raw-nutrient-deliciousness-that-tastes-like-cereal all over it!!!  And no sweetener needed!  CRAZY.
So, go try ya’ some…I dare you.  It made about 3 heaping 1 cup servings, I found, and I topped each with 1 Tbsp coconut, a dash of cinnamon and just enough almond milk to make it look like a bowl of cereal.
Ps…the blog site is hosted by Candace Cameron Bure, but the author of that post is Janelle of Comfy in the Kitchen, if anyone else happens to follow those blogs…I found both of them through Darlene Schacht of The Time-Warp Wife blog (see side panel)…all have great blogs to follow!!!  In fact, here is a post from Darlene that I adored this week (it was timely, you know…):
(and ladies, so you know…it’s not tips on how to WIN…it’s tips on how to love…good stuff!!!)
Finally, (Four) I loved this quote from Oswald Chambers:
“Believe God is always the God you  know Him to be when you are nearest to Him.”
So wonderful.  I so needed that.  For when I am nearest to my Lord, I am the girl who twirls around in her backyard with happiness.  I feel safe.  I can talk freely with Him.  I feel approved.  Calm.  Joyous.  Giddy. Yes, all at the same time.  So, no matter how I am actually feeling in a real time moment, I can believe that God is still the same God with whom I feel those glorious emotions.  He is still looking at me the same way.  He is still protecting me the same way.  He is still loving me the same way.   That has not changed.  Whatever my circumstances, I can remember that and hold on to it!  And it certainly gets me through to the next moment…

Me, in St. Louis, Open to His Grace (with Pinocchio, of course!)

I want to end this post with one of my most favorite scriptures.  So fitting no matter what your journey this week or next has been or will be.  Random? Focused? Busy? Slow?  Guess what God says–
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14
Hold on to Him, and don’t let go…He will guide you the entire way; He will see you through the journey.  He promised.
Much love to you all,
Robyn
Ps…what spoke to you this week?  What spoke to you from this post?  Feel free to leave a comment below!  (I will be off-the-grid for a little while, so-to-speak, but I will love checking them out when I re-enter techno world!)
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Finding center…

I am just going to be completely transparent here.  I have had this blogpost all mapped out in my mind for a day or two, and it was forming several days before that, running around in little sparks  within the lobes of my brain…an inspirational message to coincide with the new year beginning, and including things that I love: Scripture, yoga, healthy food…etc…

…and Life Happens…and maybe we don’t get to the blogpost as quickly as we hope, but at least we get there…but maybe more importantly, in between the time that one has formulated their oh-so-inspirational message and the time that it gets typed, life happens in such a way as to make them think, “who am I to write an inspirational message?”  I am human and flawed.  I make mistakes.  I get into arguments.  I get judgmental.  I have my heart get hurt.  I hurt someone else’s.  These things happen in a normal, human life, even when we have chosen day after day to strive to live a life of freedom and balance and never hurt anyone else or do anything stupid.  It can cause one to think, “is it hypocritical of me to type out this ‘oh-so-inspirational’ message, when I have surely already done or experienced a few less-than-inspiring things today?”

Yes.  And no.

It is why we all need fresh starts.  Why we needed a Savior in the first place.  HIS message never changes.  He tells us in His Word that hope never fails. (Romans 5:5 Amp)  I, for one, am thankful for the reminder and the assurance!

I could receive a thousand and one affirmations and confirmations from God that I am on the right track (and I have), and STILL I can stumble somewhere minute along the way (and I do/did)…

But like I have said and heard many times, He can use my mess to bring a message…and while this particular message was already planned out, isn’t it funny how it has been punctuated by life events?….

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  Phillipians 1:20 NIV

Are there any areas of your life that you struggle to yield to Jesus?  It’s ok, you can admit it.  I am  not actually there listening…but He is…and guess what?— He already knows.  It will be a relief to lay it down before Him, I promise.  There is nothing so funny/overwhelming/relieving as working yourself up to tell someone something big only to have them respond that they knew and they are ok with it, or even approve!  (Human life example:  calling home my freshman year of college to tell my parents that I was switching my major from Music Education/Therapy to Music Performance…they saw it coming, with approval, long before I did.)  I promise you, He will approve.  And if it is something you need help with, He will show you the way.
Maybe you are not struggling with anything, though…maybe you are actually just filled with hope about the new things He is doing in your life…AWESOME.  I love that, too.  I am in that place as well…and are you   so excited to see what happens next?!?

Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least.    Philippians 1:20 The Message

I also love this…
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+43:19&version=NIV

The thing we have to do in either case listed above (or quite frankly, any case we find ourselves in) is CENTER.  Center ourselves in Him, center ourselves physically.  Stop. Listen. Breathe.  Focus.  Keep to the point.  Keep to the purpose…no distractions…(or at least, take our focus AWAY from them for a time, and as much time as we can!)

We can do that spiritually AND physically.  I believe and know that everything has 2 layers: Spiritual and Physical.  Whether you realize it or not, it is true.  We ourselves are physical beings and spiritual beings.  For Christians, we know the Word is both a guidebook  and the Living Word.

So, I’d like to share a little about Child’s Pose in this post.  Stuff I have known for awhile, but stuff that comes home to me ANYTIME I actually sit in Child’s pose and just breathe.  just sit.  just listen.

Child's pose with arms back...

In the first picture (at the top of the post), you see someone in child’s pose on a bed.  I picked that one because I often do that!  As I begin my devotional time, I like to bow before my Lord and pray to prepare to receive whatever He has in store…Now, I don’t always do that, but I have to say, the times where I am just sitting upright with closed eyes just don’t feel right to me anymore, so lately some sort of folding forward humbly is the only way I like to start…and you know what?  He does tell us to come like a child…=-)

Anyway, in that first picture, you see the girl’s arms are reaching forward, whereas in the second picture, the arms are back.  Both ways are great.  (One of the wonderful things about yoga, it meets you where YOU are…just like God…)  So, if you are feeling any shoulder tension, the second picture is the way to go.  Being someone who tends to hold stress in her shoulders, guess which way I often choose?  Or, I do the first version with bent arms and am conscious to relax my shoulders away from my ears.

Child’s pose can be a relaxation pose between vigorous yoga flows, or, by adding a focus on the breath, it can become an active pose.  It is most certainly a centering pose.  Just being still, breathing, and listening…maybe praying…a great pose for encouraging an opportunity to focus, if you find your mind and your life getting too distracting!

Physically, it stretches the lower body gently; think ankles, thighs, hips and low back.  It can be practiced with knees together as above, or knees apart:

Child's pose with wide legs

There are certain contraindications, or “issues in your tissues” which might cause you to choose a gentler form of Child’s Pose, or not choose it all!  It is not the most fun with certain tummy ailments, but it can be a help with nausea, depending (again, yoga meets you where you are.  This attention on focus also means really listening to your body…if it seems like your body is saying “this is a very bad idea”, go with that thought.  Don’t panic, just come out of whatever pose you are in gently and gracefully–physically AND mentally.  No judgement.  Just adjustment.).

Ankle, hip, or knee injuries or inflexibility (we all start somewhere) may want to choose a modification with props to ease the tightness or give more support and release.  (I often say the stronger yogi is not the one who doesn’t use props, but the one who DOES…they have let their ego go and know what feels the most delicious!)

While this is a fun parter yoga pose, notice the cushioning used by the bottom partner: great for use by oneself as well, if needed for ease in the legs!

He probably feels fine, but if he notices any strain in the lower back, or wants to have this be a more relaxing pose, I would suggest a pillow or blanket between his lower legs and upper legs...

(And sometimes it is not about flexibility, but how you were anatomically created…some poses will never work for some bodies, and that is ok!)

I mentioned Child’s Pose for relaxation above…one of my own personal favorite ways to get into Child’s Pose is by using a pillow or bolster beneath me.  I like to either turn my head as these ladies are demonstrating, or situate myself far enough forward that I can rest my forehead on a neck pillow just in front of the bolster…

Sometimes I love this pose so much I want to hug my bolster, too…;-)

Another way we physically bring about focus is in our intentions.  I know that at this time of year a lot of people are going on a diet…or, I hope, choosing a healthy diet lifestyle, meaning being intentional about what we put into our bodies—physical,mental,and emotional– on a regular basis (NOT going on some fad diet or deprivation diet).

And guess what?  I am not going to write a blog post about cleansing or dieting!  Nope.  I would imagine you have seen plenty of those already…instead, I am  just going to talk a little (very little, in fact) about one food that I enjoy which has protein, fiber, nutrients, carbs (the good kind) and is even detoxifying…They are even green, so I suspect they must have some kind of chlorophyll; major score there!

Drum roll, please….

Mung Beans.

You can eat them as beans, you can eat them as sprouts, and they are used in a myriad of other ways as well…(I know, it’s wikepedia.  Take it with a grain of sea salt.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mung_bean

Since beans in general can be a strain on the digestive system, depending on the person I suppose, I like to soak dry beans for quite awhile first (soaking and sprouting also tend to make more nutrients active or bioavaiable in nuts and beans, just fyi),

and then cook them in a saucepan with a sheet of Kombu (a seaweed which helps to tenderize them).

Now, I don’t know if it is just a Southern thing at New Year’s holiday time, or if it is all over the country, but in my family, you cannot begin a new year without black-eyed peas.  My husband is not a fan.  He can just tolerate them in my Mom’s Hoppin’ John dish.  We were not spending New Year’s with her, however, so I made some Mung Beans for myself to take the place of the obligatory Black Eyed Pea.  They taste fairly similar to me, or at least enough.  (Mom will probably say I am doomed to bad luck this year…luckily, I know my God is bigger than that!)  So, I guess you could say I have started my year with a bit of green, detoxifying luck…doused with a bit of mustard or ketchup or cranberry salsa; yum!

(Another yummy way to use mung beans is in an Indian dish called Kitchari, which depending on how you fix it, can be very balancing.  I made some last fall and blogged about it:  https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/fall-real-you-or-real-frayed-italian-noses-and-frazzles/ )

My prayer for you is that this year in 2012, you are able to focus.  You are able to center.  You are able to ignore the distractions and do what you are called to do, and remain balanced along the way!  Whatever your goal may be, looking neither to the left nor right, but zinging in on your true purpose and letting all the yucky –whether past or present– fall away as you move forward.  I pray you know the One who loves you, and you let Him lead you.  I pray you have Peaceful Purpose and Purposeful Peace…

You have before you the chance and choice to live the life you are called to…May you embrace it with a full, two arm hug!!!  You have a win-win possibility, you know!

Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.  Phillipians 1:21 The Message

Amen.

Sweeties and Sweets….

Nope, this blog post is not about Canadian candy that we call Smarties here in the U.S….

It is about 2 things in my life with which I need to set boundaries and be moderate in my intake…see the previous blog post for a bit of background here:

https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/moderation-balance-biblical/

First, Sweeties?  I am talking about our Sweethearts…or rather our lack of Sweethearts, or our dreams about our sweethearts, or what we wish they might do (ahem)…And for this, I am going to point you to a great post written by my good friend, Sundi Jo Graham, about romantic movies.  Please do continue reading at the bottom of her blog to find my comment and the thoughts that I could have written a blog about myself!

http://www.sundijo.com/eight-reasons-why-i-hate-romantic-movies/

As for “Sweets”?

Well, unless you have been living under a carb-free rock for the last, I don’t know, millennium, you know that too much sugar is bad for you.  For some, even too much natural sugar from fruit can be bad!  Again, moderation.  I am a sweets-lover.  So, it is amazing too me when something is actually too sweet for me…and I definitely have to talk to myself and say, “you don’t HAVE to have something sweet after every meal.”  Brushing my teeth usually helps. That being said, there is another point here about balance that could be made…both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine tell us that we need to be balanced in our “tastes” at every meal, or we may actually become unbalanced.  So, when you keep yourselves from anything sweet all the time, it is normal and healthy to feel you need some…thank the Lord He made some good ones!  (And by the way, in those traditions mentioned, sweet doesn’t necessarily mean, sugary…sometimes it is another food, say for example, rice or oats that has a natural “sweet flavor” and balances out other tastes in the meal that be salty, pungent, bitter, what-have-you.  Also, I have heard it said that when one is craving sweets, they are lacking some “sweet” in their lives, so it is something to certainly to go to Our Father about and ask…and it may just be more time with Him that you are craving!)

ANYWAY.

It’s time for my awesome segue…

I love sharing healthy recipes with you, and since it is that time of year when sweets abound all around us, how about a sweet and healthy pie?

You may all be done with pie at this point, so feel free to skip away, but if you have another big holiday coming up and would like to serve something tasty that you can feel good about, maybe this is your option?

We did not have a “traditional” Thanksgiving this year…we went down to have lunch with my Grandmother in the nursing home, so we didn’t have to cook!  (Afterwards, we went to see the new Muppet movie.  It is Amazing, fyi.)  So, between my mom, hubby, and I, we are spreading out some of our “traditional” dishes through the holiday season, a little at a time.

I had seen a few recipes for “Raw Pumpkin Pie” this year, and after looking at them with sweet hubby, decided on one.  The funny thing is, we both like Pumpkin Pie, but it is not our favorite, so after getting a few of the ingredients (I had the rest already), I wondered, what I had been thinking?

Plus, we never got around to carving our pumpkin before Halloween (can we say totally busy and tired and out-of-balance?), so we had a perfectly good one ready to carve up for a pie…but it was HUGE!

And, I had just sent my BlendTech off to be repaired while it was under warranty (has been making an odd noise), so I was going to have to use my small food processor.

All of these little insights led me to only make HALF of this recipe and divide it between 4 little silicone tart pans to make my “Raw Pumpkin Pie Tartlets”.

Raw Pumpkin Pie (from Hallelujah Acres website)

http://www.hacres.com/recipes/cards/raw-pumpkin-pie

Submitted By: Jackie Graff – Sprout Raw Food

A sweet, tasty Holiday dessert with absolutely no baking involved!

(This is the full recipe; to do what I did, divide by half.  You will have a little extra filling, as well.)

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, peeled and seeded
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 4 dates soaked in 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup raw macadamias soaked 8 hours and drained (I used raw almonds because it is what I had)
  • 4 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup organic raisins
  • 1 tsp psyllium
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, washed, soaked for 8 hours, drained and dehydrated for 6 – 8 hours (I did not do this; I used Cashew Creme instead)
  • **1 date nut crust variation from The Hallelujah Diet Book (as opposed to the crust actually listed with this recipe.  For me, the other was easier, and I have used it many times before.)

Directions

  1. Place macadamias  (almonds) along with dates and their soak water into blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.
  2. Add avocado, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pumpkin and blend until very smooth.
  3. Add psyllium and blend well. Let this mixture sit for 1-2 minutes and blend well again.
  4. Fold in raisins.
  5. Pour into piecrust and top with ½ cup of pumpkin seeds. (or cashew creme, as I did)

**Date and Nut crust Variation: As I was running low on almonds, but had plenty of almond flour, I combined 1 cup of almond flour with 1/2 cup of dates, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt in my food processor with 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup honey until it gathered into a ball…I then separated it into 4 sections, pressing each into a little tartlet pan.  When the filling was ready, I scooped it into the pans and placed them into the fridge to chill while I made the Cashew Creme.

Nomi Shannon’s (The Raw Gourmet) Cashew Creme

DIRECTIONS

Soak cashews overnight. Drain. Put in blender with just enough water to allow blender to do its job. Add only enough water to make it smooth, then add dates one at a time, or agave syrup or maple syrup to sweeten, taste for sweetness. You want to achieve a fluffy whipped-cream type consistency. I like it best when vanilla is added too.

1 cup of cashews will make 1 1/2 or more cups of cashew crème. (I only used 1/2 cup of soaked cashews.)

–for more great raw dessert recipes by Nomi Shannon, go to:

http://rawgourmet.com/recipes#dessert

The verdict?  Yum!  Before I added the pumpkin, I noticed that the filling tasted a bit like Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, if you have ever had THAT. And I love that flavor!  The pumpkin really didn’t change that, either.

Here is my precaution:  These little dudes are SWEET.  I mean, so super sweet!  Like, I only ate 1/3 of mine (one tartlet) the first night!  The next morning, I used part of the rest (of the same tartlet) as my sweetener in my oatmeal!  And then at lunch, I used the last bit as a sweetener/thickener in my green smoothie!  So, if you like sweets, you will enjoy this, but know that it might not be as hard as usual to exercise moderation…IF you are eating consciously, and not while watching TV or something else distracting…

Do  they taste like Pumpkin Pie?  A bit.  Really, they do!  The spices are spot-on…I think the sweetness threw me a little at first, but then, I think Pumpkin Pie itself is super sweet, so there ya go…

Whatever you decide, know that these are nutrient giving, life-in-your-cells enhancing treats…

Also, since we had soooo much pumpkin left, I chopped or grated the rest into fry shapes and noodle shapes to use as a fun vegetable all winter!  Let’s hear it for pumpkin fries and pasta, and being a good steward with what God has given us!  AND, Jon roasted the seeds.  Num.

Here’s to moderation…and moderation of your moderation, sometimes.  I pray you seek Our Lord for His Sweetness, in love and life, every part you can…

With a great big, non-pumpkin-innards-covered fingers hug (cuz my sweetie was my hero and scooped them out FOR ME!),

Robyn

What’s on my Bookshelf, Pt 1…& Fun Feet Give-a-way!

Well.  It has been a little longer than I anticipated to get back here!  I have been overcoming a slight cold that led to some ear infection and ultimately, a ruptured eardrum, just to be factual…the details of the drama of the last 2 weeks are too icky and no fun to relate, so let’s just say…I am still resting when I can and trying to get back to “normal” in a  balanced way…meanwhile, I am, at best, getting used to the “extra instruments” in my right ear that come with having a hole there.  Honky-tonk piano, anyone?  Alien autotune?  How about an out-of-tune harpsichord?  It seems at any moment, I get to hear a few more sounds that the average Joe or Jill…At least it makes life even more interesting as a professional singer….but ANYWAY…

Truly, I have been praising God for His supernatural favor even and especially in this trial.  There have certainly been many little incidences where I can see His love and protection, even while the world would say I was at my worst…so, it’s all good.  Cuz He’s ALL GOOD, amen?!?

Today I am starting a blog series called “What’s on my Bookshelf?” where I will be talking about the various things I am reading at the moment…it will definitely come in parts, though I will not commit to the blogs being consecutive!  You just never know what life is gonna throw at ya’, so I choose to go with the flow in at least this area…=-)  (It’s a good thing, since I meant to write this particular post a week and a half ago…that is, before I came down with whatever-it-was…)

Something you should know about me: I love books.  Always have.  I love fiction, I love self-help, I love inspirational, I love non-fiction, I love biographies, etc, etc.  On any given day, I would guarantee you that I have a minimum of 4 books “cracked open” that I am switching back-and-forth on, depending on my mood.  Usually at least one fiction, one edifying, and/or one educating, not to mention my ongoing devotional and Bible choices…

As a yoga teacher, I am constantly learning more about yoga via books.  Sometimes the books are about a famous teacher’s method or style of yoga, sometimes they are about breathwork and meditation, sometimes they are about the lifestyle that goes with it (according to the author).  As a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, I actually HAVE to continue my education in this way (among others) to continue being registered, and I am actually quite thankful for that.  I also always have a few yoga magazines partially read, waiting to be finished, laying around my nightstand.

I like fiction for when I need to escape or DON’T want to think too hard…whether secular or Christian.  Usually they center on some interest of mine: a place, a time, a lifestyle, a country, a language, what-have-you…

And there is usually something else educational or thought provoking—-not necessarily self-help, but something that teaches me more in depth on a subject.

Finally, though, the most important book (or books) on my proverbial bookshelf?  My bible.  Ok, bibles.  I like to compare versions.  I like to study.  I like to revel in the amazing words and meanings.  So, let’s just start there…

There are bibles all over my house, really, so I am just going to discuss the ones sitting on my nightstand shelves. Typically I have an NIV (New International Version) Bible, an Amplified Bible, and The Message Bible.  The NIV, for those who don’t know, is probably the most commonly used “standard” version.  It is not so formal or high language as the King James version, but it is also not necessarily a contemporary language version, either.  Kind of right there smack in the middle of it all…So, I often look at it first, to read the Bible verses as I have heard them most of my life before I compare them to a different version.

The Amplified Bible has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  It has this wonderful way of expounding on the meanings that could be meant or conveyed for various words (based on the original Hebrew or Greek), so you can really get a thorough/deeper view of what is meant by what you are reading!  For instance, typically if one were to recite to you a “regular” version of John 10:10, it would sound something like “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”  Ok, pretty cool.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, because we are so grateful for that!

But here is what the Amplified Bible says: ” I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, til it overflows).”  Wow!  We don’t just have our lives because of Jesus, we are entitled as His followers to enjoy them, too!  And, a LOT.  Overflowing wonderfulness….wow, wow, wow!  Or often, when the word “blessed” is used in a verse, it says “blessed (happy, to be envied)”.  Doesn’t that just give you  SUCH a better picture!?!  So, I love to use this bible as I study…

When I TEACH, however….

I most often use the Message bible.  I do use the other versions as well, but most often, my class scriptures are from The Message.  Why?

I was introduced to the Message bible while doing my yoga teacher training.  I liked how it said things, sure, but I was still a major devotee of the Amplified.  However, my teachers certainly emphasized how it put things in such a way that was great for a class–especially when your students are currently relaxing and centering themselves with eye pillows over their eyes, it’s nice to keep things as easy and simple to understand, without too many words to complicate their meditation and stillness…..so, I looked into purchasing one.  It wasn’t until I learned WHY it was written that I became totally gung-ho…

The author, Eugene Peterson, is a pastor and a scholar, among many other cool things…feel free to look him up on the internet…but he didn’t start as those things.  He began as a teacher of Hebrew and Greek.  When he began pastoring, he noticed that people in his congregations either knew next to nothing about the bible, or they had been reading it for years and  it somehow had gone dry and boring for them…reduced to trite sayings and cliché’s, perhaps.  (Now, here is where I DO want to say that our RELATIONSHIP with our Savior is an ongoing thing, and if we are feeling dry, perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper?…but I totally understand what Mr. Peterson is talking about…)  Here is a portion of what he writes in the Foreword of my edition of the Message bible:

“I lived in two language worlds, the world of the Bible and the world of Today.  I had always assumed they were the same world.  But these people didn’t see it that way.  So out of necessity I became a “translator” (although I wouldn’t have called it that then), daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.

And all the time those old biblical languages, those powerful and vivid Hebrew and Greek originals, kept working their way underground in my speech, giving energy and sharpness to words and phrases, expanding the imagination of the people with whom I was working to hear the language of the Bible in the language of Today and the language of Today in the language of the Bible.”  He did that for 30 years with one congregation and  was eventually asked to write a Bible that expressed what he had been sharing with them.

I also love this quote:

“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can’t imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.” (from Wikipedia:Clint Kelly. “Eugene Peterson: The Story Behind The Message”, Use of Italics, mine.)

I believe it was that quote which sent me rushing off to buy my own copy…imagine!  The Bible written with language that expressed the emotion and passion behind the words, in a way that might make as much sense to me emotionally as reading a heartfelt letter from a friend or laughing at a joke someone tells!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I believe the Bible is the Living Word.  I can get a new revelation from a scripture I have read many, many times, each time I read it…and it doesn’t matter which version I am using…

But it is nice to know that the Message version is not just some “watered-down” version of the Bible as I have heard some suggest who have not actually looked into it or know its origins.  In fact, it is right on the money.  The real meaning with the real passion.

For fun, here is another description of why the Message was written:

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

I do compare the verses of different bibles often…and, there are times when I like the NIV best or another version over the Message…I just leave that up to what the Spirit is revealing to me at that moment!

However, here are a couple of my faves from the Message:

For instance, the NIV of Matthew 11:28-30 is classic, and I love it:

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I ALSO love this MSG version, though:

28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning how to “take a real rest” and “the unforced rhythms of grace” certainly appeal to this driven, type-A personality, let me just tell you….
Or, how about John 10:10, since we already mentioned it above?:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Now, I will tell you right now, my favorite version of that is still the Amplified…BUT, I do love the comparison of Real life and Eternal life…more and better than I have ever dreamed of??!?!  Wowza.  So, I basically cannot even begin to comprehend or imagine how amazing my life is intended to be according to my Lord’s standards…how cool is THAT?!  Both the life I am living here right now, and the future life in heaven…or both the natural life I am living practically, and my Spiritual life that is also happening right now in the heavenly realms…THAT is part of my inheritance in Christ…and all I need to do is believe and step into it!  So….

Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Or the Msg version says, As for me and my family, we will worship God. =-)

(Stay tuned for future blogs in the series, “What’s on My Bookshelf?” for fun reads, inspirational reads, things you might wanna’ pass on (maybe?), and things that will teach and reach you!)

This week at Vessels of Clay Yoga, we have been considering  God as our comfort, our refuge, our Answer, our Help…

Dear Lord, help us to give up our fears and anxieties and give ourselves fully to you.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

Psalm 20:6 “That clinches it–help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.”

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Finally,  it’s time for our Fun Feet Give-a-way!!!

The winner of this week’s give-a-way will receive the adorable pair of crazy toe socks of their choosing (from the photo), which can even be used to do yoga! 

Comment below to enter; need an idea of what to say?  Maybe you’d like to share what your favorite version of the Bible is…and/or perhaps include a favorite verse?  Or would you like to share your reading style? (one book at a time, no distractions, or multiple books going off-and-on, or just magazines thank you much, or are-you-crazy-I-only-read-blogs, etc, etc…) And/or say where you would choose to wear your crazy toe socks if you win!!!

Good Luck!!!  I will draw a winner’s name from the bunch early next week!  May God bless and keep you this week as you cast your fears and anxieties up to Him and lay back in His everlasting arms….

Resting…

Resting in Him today. Had a list of things to do, including this blog (and cleaning my bathroom, among other things), but I have been overcoming some “crud” and it seems rest is in order. Hard to do when you have a list that won’t get done without you! However, if you check out the Amplified version of 1 Peter 5:6-7, you find that casting your cares on the Lord does require humbling oneself…in other words, little robyn, you don’t make the world go ’round, and I (God) can take care of things while you rest. You just might find them easier to handle afterwards. I promised in my Word to exalt you in due time. Try me and see how much I look after!
So that’s that. I am humbled and resting. Holding to my faith.
Hoping to return Monday with the next post, What’s on my Bookshelf?, Part 1 and the next super-fun give-a-way! Stay tuned…
This week at V.O.C.Y. Was grab-bag week; what was your scripture (if you were there)? And if not there, what verse or life-happening has touched you today?

Fall: Real you, or real frayed, italian noses, and frazzles…

 What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? (Mark 8:36, The Message)

I am starting this blog post with a question from the Bible…what good WOULD it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real YOU?

When was the last time you tuned IN to the REAL YOU?  When was the last time you slowed down, stopped the noise– be it TV, technology, crazy spinning thoughts or what-have-you— and tuned in to yourself.  Your Spirit.  Your own soul as well as the Holy Spirit that chooses to live within you, if you have asked Him to…

What makes you beautiful?  What makes you handsome?  What makes your life glorious?  Are you experiencing that right now?  My guess is, for a lot of us this time of year, the answer might be…maybe?  sort of?  I am too busy too notice?

First, let’s get back to that first question–and I’d like to share a passage from a book I’ve read recently, Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani (it’s part of a series–Big Stone Gap–…lots of fun for Southerners and Italian Enthusiasts like me!).  She is discussing how Italians look, especially the women, and how it might not be our “traditional” concept of beauty (thanks for that, hollywood), but it IS beauty…real beauty…and why…

“I don’t know what makes the women so beautiful—you would never see any of them on a magazine cover in America—but they are striking.  Here (she is in Italy as she writes this) a strong nose is a source of pride.  Most of these noses wouldn’t last in America, with their length and their regal breaks in the bridge—they wouldn’t be appreciated.  Maybe these women are so attractive because they like themselves.  They accept what they are born with; even their flaws are a source of pride, the very thing that makes them distinctive and alluring.”

HELLOOO!  Why don’t we think like that more often?  I mean, as you read it, doesn’t it just RESONATE with you as TRUTH?!?

Or for the men: “The men are beyond handsome.  Even when they’re short (I guess height is an American thing), they have a strength that makes you believe they could take one of these Alpine boulders and roll it down the hill like a basketball.  They live in their skin like kings”…

You  know, it is said that Jesus was not a tall man.  Just fyi.

So, are you feeling like the real you lately?  Are you feeling beautiful or handsome, and is your life feeling glorious?  (and no, we don’t live by our feelings, I get that, and thank you to Joyce Meyer for reminding me…BUT!  Sometimes, our feelings give us clues to how closely we are tuned in to ourselves and our God…or not…)

Or are you feeling frazzled?  (I have a funny verse and story on that one, too, to share later…)

This time of year, everyone tends to feel a bit frazzled.  It is not just because school is starting, etc…it has to do with the change in season, even (which, guess Who created the seasons, remember?)!  In Ayurvedic medicine, this is a time when our more “thinky, anxious, nervous, airy, flighty, distracted, insomniac” selves may present themselves (those are some of the negative trademarks of a Vata Dosha imbalance–which may not mean a thing to you unless you know something about Ayurveda…no worries.  You can google it if you want to know more, or just know that I am illustrating enough of it for your purposes here, and you don’t have to know more than what I am writing to get it!).  If you have any nervous habits, they are likely a bit exacerbated right now…my cuticles have certainly been showing my personal nervous habit…Just as the leaves get a bit more dry and start falling off the trees, our skin gets drier, our thoughts get windier, and we get a bit off-balance….

So guess, what?  You are normal.  So, if any of this resonates with you, know that…and realize that you have been given a clue!  To combat these things, we need to make some time in our schedules for “slow down”.  Turn off the TV, or at least 15 minutes earlier than normal, have some warm milk (almond might be best if you are me) or hot tea, put on snuggly clothes, and just get quiet.  Be still and know…

Making My Tea

I subscibe to the Yoga Journal.  Recently, they offered the opportunity to their subscribers to participate in a free 7-day Fall Detox which helps to address these seasonal changes, etc…complete with recipes, asana (yoga pose) routines, health tips, lifestyle tips, lots of good stuff!  So, I thought, cool!  I began to gather ingredients and prepare…

Here is what I learned.  I don’t really have time for a someone else’s regimen.  It wasn’t a starvation detox, and I LOVE the kitchari, chutney, and tea that I made, but I found that the total life change required stressed me out more!  Plus, the daily e-mails for each days’ activities were coming, well, each day.  After I had already planned my day, ya know? Now, a lot of the tips they were handing out are things I already know about and do on a regular basis, so really, my life is a detox all the time…but some of the other things added in, well…became other things I would have to add in!  Slowing down can de-stress you….slowing down but adding back in A, B, C, and D because someone tells you to…not so much.

So, after spending a day of downloading, uploading, downloading, I realized, this is nuts right now.  I would rather have spent this quiet time with my Lord, or lying in a restorative pose and meditating.

I choose to slow down, period.  To tune in.  To incorporate bits and pieces into my life in ways that are not stressful, and to be grateful for wonderful new recipes and a large batch of kitchari for no-stress meal prep.

Vata-Pitta balancing kitchari

—SIDEBAR: on the line of no-stress meal prep, I made the raw pumpkin soup from my previous blogpost, using butternut squash as they suggested, and it is WONDERFUL!  Go try it!  When I have been in a hurry, I just threw it in a jar as a smoothie!—

So, again I ask you?  Are you tuned in?  Are you feeling like the real you?…or an exhausted, frazzled, lost version?  The Bible talks about their being different seasons, different times, and we are to turn (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)…maybe now is a good to time for you to turn…and tune-in…and slow down….and cover everything with a dash of cinnamon and Holy Ghost for warmth…

Let the Spirit within guide you from within, in the quiet…and you can be the real you again…who just so happens to look a lot like Him.

 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Amplified Bible (AMP)

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom).

18And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

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Ps…just for fun for the weekend…when I was a little girl, and I was maybe doing or thinking about doing something I shouldn’t, my Mamma could be heard to say that if I didn’t turn from that whatever-it-was, that she would “wear me to a frazzle”.  That definitely scared me.  I knew she meant business.  In my mind’s eye, I pictured a “frazzle” as being a pair of eyeballs surrounded with fuzzy hair, and maybe just shoes peeking out underneath. Recently, I ran across this verse, and shared it with my Mom…we laughed out loud.  She had no idea how scriptural she had been:

A parent is worn to a frazzle by a stupid child…Proverbs 19:13 The Msg.

I imagine that when we act like stupid children, we wear ourSELVES to a frazzle….so be wise, darlings, and slow down a little…

Have a wonderful, tuned-in weekend, everybody!

love,

Robyn

(pps, lest you think my Mama beat me, let me assure you that I only received spankin’s, and they were rare (and she cried, usually).The mere THOUGHT of Mom being mad at me was discipline enough! I love her so!)

Yumminess can come in many forms….

Yumminess can come in many forms. Yes, it refers to flavor, but does that have to only apply to food and drink? I think not. Flavor is needed to spice up life in general! As Christians, we are called to BE Salt and even to season our conversations with it. (Matthew 5:12-14 {NIV and The Message both!}, Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34, Colossians 4:6), I have heard a few interpretations on that verse, some saying that Salt makes people thirsty, drawing others to Christ. Others have said Salt brings out the flavor–whether it brings out the flavor in the other person or the one who is Salty, both seem like a great result to me! It is your own personal flavor that makes you who you are, and Who God created you to be. There is also the thought that Salt–the good stuff, mind you, not the over-processed and laden-ed with chemicals kind– is made up of Trace Minerals that we need…so it is FOUNDATIONAL to life.

–and yes, I know we can over-do the salt thing as an actual flavoring.  If you are on a low sodium diet, there are lots of healthy alternatives that you have probably looked into already, including celery salt, salt subs made from potassium (I think?), as well as Dulse flakes, and Bragg’s Amino Acids, to name a few.

–We can possibly even over-do our own personal Flavor of salt and wear out our friends and family with our “me”-ness…so we do need to keep turning our focus to Jesus and asking Him to help us sense when our Flavor is overwhelming our loved ones…but I digress…(one of the many attributes of my own flavor that I need to watch!) And luckily, there is Grace…again, check out Colossians 4:6.  Love it.

So.  Back to Yumminess.

This week my brand of Yumminess to share will come in both physical and spiritual forms…tastes, peeps, loves, and tastes again…shall we?

This week was my anniversary week.  I have been married for 7 years to a wonderful, wonderful (can I say that again?) wonderful man!  I was asked if we have experienced the 7 year itch…I would say that if we did, it was EARLY in our marriage, when things were quite rocky at times…but by the Grace of God and His leading us to a few workshops as well as the commitment we have made, we are stronger than we have ever been, in every way, and I am so grateful.  We have chosen to realize that at times it may be yucky, and we can say, “hey.  It is getting yucky.  Since I am not leaving, and you are not leaving, we have to choose either to live yucky the rest of our lives, or to fix it and live not-yucky again…”  Guess what we have chosen?  So, my first yummy flavor is love, marriage, hard work, fun, and love again and always, with my sweet baboo….Thank You, darling man.

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Flavor #2:  Olive Oil…Devo Olive Oil, to be exact. And Vinegars.  I love ’em!  One day a couple of years ago (or just one?), I talked my hubby into going into a Devo Olive Oil store with me; they had samplings of many Oils and Vinegars.  My husband does NOT like to sample.  I could repeat that thirty times, that is how much he despises sampling.  Somehow, I convinced him (probably with the help of their descriptions and flavors) to sample, and away we went!  I cannot imagine how many he tried that day!  As he was embarking on a healthier lifestyle, he went in and bought a sampler pack a few weeks later, as well as a big bottle of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, our favorite from the sampling day (do you know how much we love Italy and all things hinting of Italian?  Type “Italian” into the search window of this blog, and a few posts will come up…).

That was over a year ago…we are almost through with the sampler pack (by just a few drops, actually), but let me just say that we have been hoarding it a bit or it would have been gone in NO TIME! We finished the Lemon a few weeks ago…I finally let it go, as a wonderful friend of mine had gotten me some of the Blueberry Balsamic, and I felt free to move on…sigh.  Emotional attachment to food anyone? oops.  Thank You, Lord, for meaning more to me than food…but thank You also for yumminess!

Let me tell you something:  that Blueberry Balsamic?  amazing.  Like many of their fruit flavored balsamics, this stuff can go straight on a whole grain pancake with no other sweeteners needed, not to mention a salad!  In fact, I have been eating green salads for breakfast often since having that flavor in my kitchen!   A handful or two of greens, some pumpkin seeds or almonds, and 2 tsp of Blueberry Balsamic, and I am good to go! Sometimes I add a teaspoon of flax oil, just for added creamy buttery goodness and little bit of Omega-3…

Breakfast Salad of Spinach, Almonds, 2 tsps Devo Blueberry Balsamic, 1 tsp Flax oil, salt to taste

Another favorite of mine?  Using vinegar on popcorn.  Seriously!  I especially love using the Devo Honey Ginger White Balsamic mixed with a little EVOO (maybe a Devo flavor, or standard!) or some Flax Oil, and pour THAT over my popcorn!  So, so, so yummy, and you have cut out at least HALF the fat you normally used on your popcorn, if not more!  I dare you to try it.  A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and so good.  I cannot stand dry popcorn, but I don’t want to load up on yucky fats, so this is how I Flavor my life in that regard…Thank you Devo for so many great products!

Popcorn with a Traditional Balsamic and EVOO; I am out of the Honey Ginger White, but I just ordered some more Sicilian Lemon AND the Natural Butter Olive oil to try with popcorn!

You can check out the Honey Ginger White Balsamic in the 9- or 16-pack samplers with a whole bunch of other amazing flavors…if I list them all, I will start drooling, so maybe you should just go browse the website…The other flavors I have mentioned come in 3 sizes of bottles, so you can choose what fits your lifestyle and budget best!  Plus if you go to the website and get on their mailing list, they often have links and promotions where by “liking” them on facebook, following on Twitter, etc, you can get discounts off the products!  What is not to like about that?!?  So, follow my instructions: Right-click the link below to open in new tab (you don’t want to totally navigate away from this blog, do you?), and check out all that is Amazing and Flavorful at Devo Oil!!!

http://www.devooliveoil.com/

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Amazing flavor in my life #3?  My darling yoga peeps.  Got some more pics for you of my sweeties and their accomplishments…keep in mind, though, what I am REALLY PROUD of them for is not just some new and challenging pose (some were even doing jumpbacks from crow to plank…and we all LOVE flower!) –which is worth the praise for sure!— but their ever increasing ability to chill out and relax at both the beginning and end of class.  So wonderful.  If you could only see how they lay back and rest in their Savior’s arms and let it go…It makes me so very happy for them.

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Final Flavor this week…We are getting closer to fall, y’all!  I know, I know, we still have this holiday weekend to get through and it looks like it may still be hot as blazes for awhile yet, but with school starting up again, I keep thinking about the smell of a number 2 pencil and the crackle of fall leaves!  So when I saw this recipe show up in my e-mail box, I just had to share it…and you can eat it cold OR warm (or hot, if you aren’t trying to preserve the “rawness”), so you can have it even when it is still 101 degrees outside…ahem.

This comes from the Hallelujah Acres website, of the Hallelujah Diet book, etc.  I highly recommend the book…it has wonderful Biblical principles, testimonies of better health through a change in diet and lifestyle, recipes, and more! Slight warning/note:  they do promote some of their own brand products within the book, which I do not think are always necessary…other than that, I really think they are a good company with a good foundation, and this book has a balanced approach to raw food-ism, which includes intake of cooked food!  Don’t be scared!

Raw Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Submitted By: Rhonda Malkmus

This raw soup rivals any chilled soup from the fanciest of restaurants! Try it for Thanksgiving… your guests will be impressed!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw pumpkin OR butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 2 ½ cups distilled water
  • 1 orange (peeled, quartered, and seeded)
  • 1 red bell pepper (quartered and seeded)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
  • ½ avocado (pitted)
  • ½ tsp Celtic or Himalayan salt (or to taste)
  • ¼-inch piece of ginger (peeled)
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender and process until creamy.
  2. Divide into 4 soup bowls and garnish with raw pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme.

Organic ingredients are always recommended.

To print the recipe alone:

http://www.hacres.com/recipes/cards/raw-harvest-pumpkin-soup/print

So, I pray that you all have a wonderfully Flavorful weekend in every way!  How do YOU flavor your life?  comment below….

The entire breakfast: Sweet Spinach Salad, Sprouted Millet Porridge with Chopped Figs, and a little half-caf coffee with Almond Milk and Truvia

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