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I served my Thanksgiving company this dessert today, and they asked me if I had the recipe. I told them it was one I’d made up myself, and they asked me to write it down and put it on Pinterest.  To do that, I need to publish it on the Internet, so that is why this recipe is my blog entry for  today. Please keep in mind that although it is low carb, sugar free and also a  source for protein and calcium  its fat content is still relatively high. Hope everyone is having a wonderful, grateful, and fun-filled Thanksgiving.

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight

Ingredients:

1/2 c Cream cheese

1/4 c Plain Greek yogurt

1/8 c Hershey’s Kitchens Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

1/2 t Vanilla

1/2 C plus 2 T Splenda

1/4 C sugar free peanut butter (plain or crunchy)

Directions:

  • Soften cream cheese in microwave until semi-soft yet not warm (about 20-30 seconds on high, depending on microwave)
  • Add yogurt and vanilla  to softened cream cheese; mix throughly
  • Add Splenda, mix vigorously until well blended
  • Blend in peanut butter
  • Add sugar free chocolate chips, mix until evenly distributed throughout mixture

Serve as is or chilled, depending on your preference

 

 

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Now we come to the setting of the sun

If I have to hear the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial one more time I’ll scream. Only I can’t, my “scream machine” (throat, lungs, breathing) is on the blink, and it is all I can do to breathe in and out—–and sometimes that is a challenge. I remember when I used  to laugh at this commercial. However, I don’t find it amusing anymore as it is getting harder and harder for me “to get up.” Just bending over to feed the dogs is a challenge to my current malfunctioning breathing system.

But, ’tis the season to be grateful—–so let me get off the “pity pot” and just be grateful that I can breathe between coughing bouts and that my asthma wheezing is subsiding. And, having been ill for a week, I think I am most grateful for good old fashioned Amoxicillin with Kleenex running a close second. I am grateful my dogs no longer jump and run when I sneeze or cough. They have been desensitized.

I have found being this ill for a week has brought my emotions “to the top”—-I am easily irritated, I have no patience, and, at times, I find myself crying like a frustrated two year old. No longer is my attention fixated on the implications of our recently past election…..having to fight to breathe has a way of putting things into the proper perspective. I  have to focus on the present moment and what I can and cannot do. If I have to moan and groan to get more air in or out, it is OK in the moment. I have to admit that in the midst of coughing spasms when I am fighting to breathe and tears are rolling down my face I am intensely grateful I am not out in public. Ego and pride have not left me yet. However, it is time for me to put my self-focused attention aside.

To all of you out there who are engaged in Thanksgiving, I wish you good times, loving fellowship, and the ability to remember what you are grateful for in each moment and not just during grace before the big family meal. I shout out a loud “Thank you!” to Creator and ask him to keep those who:

  • are traveling
  • are standing vigil to protect sacred lands and water
  • are surrounded by pain, death, war
  • are in need of sanctuary;
  • are hungry
  • have no place to call home who are our peace officers
  • are in military service
  • serve as our health care givers
  • have lost loved ones
  • are and will be guiding our country

in His care not only on Thanksgiving Day but on all days.  May we all realize we are connected as one human family with all of Creation and Creator himself, and may this realization guide us in relating to each other with love and compassion. Amen.

sharen-sept-2010

Just feeling a bit strange.  My friend Sharen died on July 20, 2015. I still think about her almost every day. Some of you may have read the blogs I wrote while I was trying to survive her death, and you may remember that I explained she was my “go to” friend with almost anything at anytime and almost every day.

Today I got to “go to” her again. Face Book notified me that today was her birthday and provided me with a link for wishing her a happy birthday. I couldn’t help it. I went to her site (yes, it is still there) and wished her a happy birthday in heaven and told her I miss her. I couldn’t have done that this time last year without crying.  Now I am just tearing. I don’t know how Facebook accounts get discontinued following a death, but I wish they’d get a bit better at it.

Or, do I? Maybe it is important to continue remembering birthdays rather than focusing on death-days. There are no death-day wishes, parties, or cards. I know from experience that both birthdays and death-days of those we love are sometimes emotionally very difficult to get through even years after our loved ones have left us.

What I usually do in my blogs is find some spiritual tie into my topic, and I need to try to do that now. The death celebrations I am most familiar with are those that occur annually in my church focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have, over time, come to believe that God/Creator resides in all of us from the moment of our conception and will remain within and with our souls throughout eternity. I even believe our connection with Creator was a reality before we were born.

I also believe time is a concept invented by humankind and I should be able to  look beyond the concept of time and realize eternity is now and ever shall be in this present moment.  I believe my friend Sharen is connected to me through our common ties with Creator and that within the context of timeless eternity , perhaps, I am not terribly weird/crazy for wishing my friend happy birthday today.

In honor of her and her life, the photo I am posting with this is one of my favorites. It shows her, her little black dog, and my little white dog in my living room during one of the times she came to take care of me after I was discharged from Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. Even in the “worst” of times we had some really wonderful and treasured times. Happy birthday, Sharen!

venetian-blinds

Today I am being a hermit watching the world through venetian blinds. It is a beautiful world out there, and it is a beautiful world in here because I am giving my body quiet time to heal. Two days ago I had real trouble breathing to the point that I remembered the last time I felt that way I ended up in the hospital. My asthma “puffer” didn’t seem to help much.  Finally at the end of the day in order to sleep I took one of my inhalation treatments hoping that would help. Thankfully, it did.

I woke up fighting to breathe and had to take another “treatment.” The breathing got easier but the congestion in my head and the evolution of a unilateral slightly sore throat into a bilateral major sore throat  kept reminding me I wasn’t well. I started coughing up green mucous, and I knew then I needed to stop and take care of myself. Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to have a friend come over who with great kindness repaired everything that had gone wrong with my house during the past year. That was a wonderful blessing. I also discovered that helping move a refrigerator away from the wall can strain my lower back—-something that, thankfully, is a new experience for me. Evidently you can hurt your back without bending over. I’ve been taught healthy body mechanics for lifting someone, but no one ever taught me the right way to pull something heavy away from the wall.

Today both the breathing and the sore throat are less bothersome. I think I am getting well. The back pain will go away too. I am being helped by the support  of my friends and prayers from my priest and my prayer partner. Although I sound like a hypochondriac, I am gleefully pursuing recovery from this bout of minor illness……and gaining on it. And the mantra of “drink lots of fluids and take it easy” along with prayers and faith will help get me  there. Thanks for letting me rant!

 

fall-tree

This will be short today; at least I think it will, but I never really know once I begin writing. Today I noticed the color in the leaves, the partial and/or total absence of leaves clothing some trees, and the leaves already fallen on the ground. I found myself thanking God for the beautiful colors, and then I let my mind “free flow” around the topic of trees, leaves, and seasons.

Of course, I immediately identified with the trees that were “half clothed” with leaves who had already lost a good number of their leaves. For a few minutes I actually started thinking of myself as a tree. I realized I could be grateful for all the leaves [experiences] with which I have been gifted throughout my life. I can be disappointed because I am not the “brightest colored” or most beautiful fall tree, or I can accept the beauty of my own self just as I am who does not have to be like or better than any other tree.  I am also grateful for my leaves that have already fallen and the lessons they left imprinted on my soul. I can fret and worry about which “leaf” I am going to lose next—–will it be my hearing, my eyesight, my memory,  or my mobility? Would it be the death of those near me? Then I realized if I focused all my energy on what I have to lose in the future I would totally miss the gifts inherent in  my present moment.

I began to consider the inevitability of what it is going to be like when I lose all my leaves and stand naked before my Creator. That is how I came into this world, and it is how I will go out. I realize that winter doesn’t have to mean death; the coming of spring may furnish me with a “leaf and joy refill.”  But at this moment, in this moment, I am grateful for existing as an elder evolving tree only partially clothed in leaves. I am even comfortable with the realization that if death comes I will join my Creator and my body will go back to the earth.

I have spent a lot of time working on acceptance, and this practice has often brought me peace of mind I would not otherwise have. I am also feeling a lot of joy as I let myself accept the place and friends my life’s journey has brought me to, and I am enjoying the fruit of the lessons learned from the mistakes I made on the way to getting here.

So, in closing, today’s blog is actually a pre-Thanksgiving giving of thanks to my Creator and a testament to my growing trust of where my Creator is taking me.

 

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My current evolutionary process is surprising me. I had two major perceptual changes occur in my thinking yesterday. The first had to do with my long held pacifist based belief that if we just stayed out of war and conflict all over the globe the world would be a better place. Then yesterday I saw part of a documentary on the formation of ISIS.  I began to see that there is no real isolationism in reality. Countries are like objects hung on a mobile—–when one country is shaken the rest of the countries move too. In other words, much as I hate to admit it, Systems Theory applies to our world; what affects one country affects other countries whether that country is actively involved in the “fighting” or not.

For a long time I have believed we are “all one”—-all connected as brothers and sisters in God’s creation. What I tend to deny is that connection includes being connected with all aspects of each other—even the evil aspects. I can focus my attention and intention on “the good” or “the evil.” Most of what has been grabbing my attention lately is “the evil.” That reaction is fed by fear and unmet expectations.  In response I can have a childish temper tantrum or I can re-focus my attention and intention on supporting “the good” that is in creation. In my better moments I choose the latter. And, yes, my individual attempt at living the Golden Rule is not as big or as powerful as ISIS. But, if  each of us makes a “positive ripple” in our reality, the transformation in our reality will be epic.

The other perceptual change occurred when I watched last night’s 60 Minutes’ interview of our president elect. For the first time, I listened to this man speak in a normal tone of voice saying some things with which I found myself agreeing. The perception I previously held of this man as a narcissistic bully was suddenly replaced by the perception of him as a  human being faced with the challenge of running out country and willing to begin doing so with the intention of serving the needs of the American people rather than just his own. I even started to feel a glimmer of hope and to question whether his behavior prior to this was a “reality TV part” he played encouraged by media coverage and intended to manipulate the American public into voting for him. I still don’t trust the man, and I don’t know if I ever will or should. However, I must allow myself to see this man more objectively than I have in the past. I am hoping the media, and myself, will stop “fanning the fire of negativity” and start considering glimpses of positive, reasonable, and yes, caring aspects of this human being as something upon which we can focus our attention from time to time.

Enough said. I need to keep my heart and mind open and continue to use love as my compass as I follow this evolutionary path called life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

safety-pin2

It has been many moons since I have written something for this blog. I am at the point where I must write if I am going to survive. The past year has been brutal. The discord and just plain ugliness that led up to the election last week has been worse than I remember ever experiencing before. Like others, since Tuesday night, I have been in what we used to call  “a funk.” I currently define that as something just short of depression—–something that is almost paralyzing that makes it hard to do anything. I’ve stopped caring about doing what I know keeps me healthy. I’ve had trouble sleeping. I am forgetting to take my medication as prescribed. I am forgetting to eat, and when I do remember to eat I do not make the healthiest eating choices.

I’ve wanted to do something, and have—– but nothing has seemed to free me from this morass. I’ve crocheted, I’ve read, I’ve walked, I’ve made earrings and necklaces, I have shared concerns and feelings with my friends, and I have prayed and prayed. I have kept putting one foot in front of the other, as we say. I know I am part of the problem that shaped this political fiasco. I know I must be part of the solution.

Therefore, I have prayed about how to be part of the solution. I have been asking the God of my understanding what I need to be doing. I do not get loud and clear answers in response to my petitions. Instead, I get reminded that my role is, as always, to love because the rest is up to God.  But how am I to love in times like these? How do I love my neighbor when my very being, my beliefs, and my values have been trampled?

One answer I keep getting is almost too simple. It is as if God is saying, “Just do it.” I know the commandment is to love one another. Period. No exceptions. So I’m getting a strong direction, not to over-analyze or paralyze myself by indulging in fear and worry. It has been hammered into me for decades to pick up the pieces and just live one day at a time. There have been no promises that all those days would be easy. I do know that if I don’t want to be part of the problem I have to be part of the solution. So I am going to “keep on keeping on” and trusting God who keeps saying, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” I am not going to invest my energy in “what ifs”——instead, I am going to invest it in what is. And the truth is my thoughts and actions help shape my reality, and it is about time I broke out of my “funk” to start consciously participating in the solution.

Finally, last night something came through on Facebook that gave me something concrete I can do to start living in the solution. People have started wearing safety pins as a symbol of support for persons of color, women, LGBTQs, Muslims, Latinos, and anyone else that has been targeted with political bullying these past few months. Wearing this simple symbol lets those people know I am safe to talk to and that they can put their guard down when they are around me. And, since I am a woman, it is also a symbol that I value myself and others symbolically devalued in the election; it is a symbol that I will take a stand to protect our rights.

And then, this morning, I got another “answer.” Today at centering prayer, the leader said, “Breathe in, and everything changes.”  That gave me another simple focus that is helping me. Not only does my breathing in change things—–I also know what I breathe out makes a difference.  So, “goodbye, funk—–hello, breathing!”safety-pin