5

Artificial vs. Authenic

 

Since February 27th, I have not eaten any refined sugar.

I’ve gone off sugar before, but this time I’m doing because I think this is what He asks of me. Do I do everything He wants of me? Answer: It took me over a year to get to this point. So with two weeks under my belt, I am scouring all the whole eating cookbooks from my library. I don’t want to feel that I don’t have a good supply of recipes that are mainly plant-based (with some meat eating) food.

All my life my Mom has taught my sister and me on what to eat and what not. She bought unbleached flour in bulk from Health Food Stores where only the earth-loving people bought from. She was always looking for ways to eat healthier for herself and my sister and me.  My sister and I were fortunate because there are a lot of people who don’t know how to eat what’s good for your body.

If there is a theme to be had in my life, it is to be authentic

Not everyone is on the whole food bandwagon, but I wish they were because we swallow way too many pills. Most people don’t eat this way because they’re not convinced, or it’s too much work. Anything that is of quality, or has the ability is going to require work. Even though I can’t see the inside of my body, I am hoping in years to come, I will be able to experience the beauty that comes from eating a diet that aims at nourishing the inside of me.

When we think of taking care of ourselves, most of us think of facials, manicures, pedicures, massages, etc. But what about the inside?

I’ll admit myself here first; it’s laziness. There are all kinds of words that I could use on the majority of us. Few of us have experienced the kind of food our grandparents grew up on, which I believe was a lot healthier. We’re busy, and I am too, but what about choosing your busyness? Yep, we choose where and when we are busy. It’s easy to skimp on the healthier choice because it’s cheaper. It usually tastes good, and it’s simple to prepare, which (not always!) means it’s probably full of refined sugar.

It’s important that if you’re going to live authentically in any shape that you need to look at what kind of food you are putting into your temple. All the points I have spoken about in the past, echo with what kind of food you’re putting into your body. Why poison your body when it’s the one place where we come to union with Him. Why consume artificial ingredients when you can have the real thing.

When we put down our masks and take off our costumes, and the next level of wholeness can open up to us. Lately the Lord has been encouraging me to stand up for my needs, and in particular voicing them aloud. It’s something I was scared to do in the beginning, but I know who I am and who I am not. It becomes a burden that isn’t mine to shoulder when I know there is a practical answer. I watch people all around me and I wonder if they know who they are, and do they want to know. I feel as if I’ve been given a gift by going below the surface to understand who I am. There is so much to us if we would just take the time to seek Him. What is put in our body affects the spiritual part even though some would not admit that it does. We are called to be a good steward of our land and our resources, but are we being good stewards of our body?

 

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3

Colour Blind

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Squeaky wheels always get the most attention.

I‘m the one who is quiet and sits in the back so I won’t be called on. Curiosity crawls inside of me, but often the questions remained inside my head. Inside, the high tides of anxiety overwhelm me and any thoughts or ideas were washed off in the waves of fear.

Value thy self

As I was reflecting back to growing up, I resembled a mixed up Rubik’s cube. All that was needed was someone to turn all the cubes back to what it looked like in the store. In many ways, I am to blame to how and what I believe about myself now. Instead of acting out, drinking, taking drugs, I isolated myself from everyone and thing. It wasn’t the greatest self-care.

I wanted to be valued but I had zero value to for myself, but to be honest, I didn’t know how to value who I am and was as a little girl.

Lately, the Lord has bringing been up how I don’t value myself, and he’s been showing me through my love languages. Even when you don’t love yourself, He continues to love and show me that I am deserving and worthy of all of his gifts that he has given me. I am priceless to Him.

People come from all over the world to see famous paintings such as Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, or the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. But most of us don’t put much work into ourselves because we’ve been taught not to value who we are. Trying to find your value in what you are or to others, will never satisfy the thirst to be all that you were made to be, and what is that? When we start to see ourselves through God’s eyes, the labels we attach to ourselves aren’t what we once thought they once were.

I don’t want to be confined to what I am, defined by what clothes I wear, or who I associate with.

Some of my clients call me their cleaning lady, and if I was a kettle you would see me boiling over with anger. I don’t consider myself just a cleaning lady, but it is a huge aspect of what I do every day. A lot of the seniors I work with want and need to make a connection – we all do – and sometimes I am the only person they will see all day. I have been doing this job for over five years, and every day I am working to do a better job. By putting value into my work maybe they will know they are valuable. Maybe they won’t feel the sting of being forgotten by their family or long for things to be the way they used to be.

Where we are now is to know how much God values us. He doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, or so were told. I am learning that this might hold true when we surrender what isn’t ours to hold onto, and put value into what He is giving us right now.

The value of our life does not depend on the place we occupy, it depends on the way we occupy that place.

St. Therese

11

Cultivating Poverty

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A staff member from Madonna House asked me how I thought about having a mother whose poverty was so deep. No one had ever asked me this question, so I had no ready answers. How do you live and love someone who in many ways is opposite of you.

My Mom is simple.

For over forty years, she had run a home day care out of her home. She plans on working until – the Lord tells her otherwise. Once she turned 60, she made the decision, one child for each hand, as she often says to anyone who will listen. She teaches the children who are in her care about the birds sitting in the trees; and they listen and know each bird’s song, the many wondrous shapes of the clouds. They stop to smell flowers and, she discusses what colour is on the city bus or the school bus. She knows most of the employees who work at Herb and Spice Shop, where my mom does her groceries. She grew tired of the big groceries stores and just being another customer. She knows the name of each employee, and if there is a new one, give her time because she will learn their name, and use it every chance she gets. If they don’t know her name, they know her by her familiar face.

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. ~Gilbert K. Chesterton

Growing up I thought she had the greatest job because she got to work from home. She loves to take photographs of nature, she stops to smell the flowers especially the wild pink roses, the ones that are full of bees humming and buzzing around. She sees the world very differently than I see it. What I see or notice months before, takes her months to see, and in it she sees its simplicity. Each morning after the parent(s) of each child arrive, my mom insists on a hug to start the day. She’s big on letting both the boys currently in her care having lots of time to play. They visit the library and sing songs with Jennifer on Tuesdays, and on Thursday there’s playgroup. The other days there’s grocery shopping, and sometimes they go riding on the city bus.

My mom has always maintained she would never want a big house because then she would have to clean it. But I always point out to her, if she had a big house, she would probably have money to hire a cleaner. She is generous to a fault, and I find as time goes on, she is always trying to find ways in which to give. She doesn’t mind stopping to give money to those asking on the streets. But she keeps her toonies because they pay for her bills.

How is she simple? She just is. In her knowledge of the world, herself, her God, and to those around her. Her poverty comes from a purity of heart that she cultivates the entire day. She delights in His creation. Whether she has her eyes closed seated with her bible underneath her fingers; or as she goes for her morning walk. Smiling to those who pass by her. Even though she doesn’t realize it, she is surrounded by people who live in poverty. Sure, monetarily she makes less than them, but she is abundant in what really matters, and what really and truly turns the world round. She is on a personal mission to learn everything she can from God and without knowing it, she shares it with those who he brings into her life.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it:  do not shun it and call it hard names.  Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.  Things do not change, we change.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.  ~Henry David Thoreau

2

Beggars of His Heart

 

There was this guy named Peter in High School, who would consistently end the majority of his conversations with, “You know … beggars can’t be choosers.” Somehow, he would or could always link it with what was said and it was annoying. I didn’t want to be or think of myself as a beggar. In reality, it would put me alongside the homeless who beg for money on the street. At that point, I firmly believed that there was no way that I could stand beside the homeless who beg, and have anything in common with them.

We are dust, and without a Creator, we are nothing. (Genesis 2:7 – paraphrased)photo-1414637104192-f9ab9a0ee249

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten our roots, our very foundation. We have become a society of puppets believing we are entitled. We will lie, cheat, brag, be prideful just to garner what we believe is rightfully ours, but most of  us don’t remember that Adam and Eve had everything they needed, but it took a snake – a talking snake – to convince them to take a bite of the apple.

Poverty is a gift that most shun because it seen as degrading. The one with the most money always wins. What if I told you that God sees the beauty in poverty – not in the materialistic sense – but a poverty that begins and ends  with him. The person lives with knowledge of providence, and because of that he/she lives simply. They are not possessed by their things, and they would willingly give everything away if it meant they could be closer to their Lord. They long to be who they are in Him. Beauty isn’t the diamond ring on a finger, though, yes it is beautiful, or the house where those who you love most reside. It’s something profound inside of you that He has personally placed in these individuals. They delight in their Lord and the life that He represents to them. A reality of a personal relationship with the Lord God of the Universe is so palatable and their enthusiasm for life and God is contagious.

Most of us think poverty is something that we can get rid of, but the poor, as Jesus reminds us, will always be with us. Trying to eliminate the materially poor population is like trying to get rid of mildew. Jesus lived in poverty while on earth. In simple obscurity in Nazareth, He learned the trade of carpentry from his foster father Joseph. For 30 years, we don’t have any records of what exactly Jesus was doing in that period, but we can be certain he was learning what it meant to live and be in poverty. His heart was and still [is] poor, but he was, and is open and full of the Spirits leading. Our attachments to the stuff in our life hold us back to receive. The more we let Him in, the more we can and will experience to live in His poverty, which is all of His magnificence.

2

Beauty Surfacing

Waiting for the bus can sometimes seem to bring up old insecurities in me. As always, I am watching and observing everyone around me; how they’re dressed, or talking on their smart phone, or speaking with a colleague. I don’t know why but I haven’t yet convinced myself that I am not even in their radar vision.In a perfect world, none of my incompleteness would be naked.  xqjmjagghmw-ben-white
                                                  

All that I thought had been healed returned. Overwhelming me with memories from the past that I had believed to be settled. I wanted to hide the ugliness that only I could experience, but further into the hurt, I was made aware that He was chiseling away old beliefs, and making room for more of His Grace inside of me.

Imagine the struggle, the caterpillar goes through to make it to the next stage of its life, to become a butterfly, and to be the beauty of its purpose. All the stages the fauna and flora goes through to stay alive in an ecosystem that has become a battleground. No longer is spring silent, it is crowded with those that want to destroy the beauty rising to the surface and simply created to glorify Him.

Hatred filled my heart, but it wasn’t of who I was, but of what I lacked. I hated the girl in me who couldn’t speak in social settings, the teenager who couldn’t make friends, and the woman who hungered to connect and to stop drowning in her own misery. So, I tucked it away because I was afraid to squander it to the wrong person.

There are certain things that you learn within the margins of your family, the environment that ultimately nurtures you into the person that you have become.

Easter Lily

It’s a joy and a struggle to be all that we are called into being. Jesus came to set the captives free, but the captives are stuck in the slime of sin. It a trap for us, and pulls us away from who we were meant to be. It’s not the purpose of God to have his children confused about who we are.

Vulnerability is a silent voice that leads us to a true exposition of a person. It allows love to penetrate the places we guard and invite someone else to experience the subtle, distinct, heartbeat of what waits to be discovered.

Part of the struggle of living in a fallen world is we aren’t taught to fight for our dignity and the dignity of others. It’s not about human rights, it’s about preserving our dignity that each one of us is given in His image. The means finding our real, authentic beauty, the kind that only God bestows on us.

Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it.

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0

You Know What …. There’s More!

During my journey to becoming a Catholic over 14 years ago, the Lord began to heal certain aspects of my ‘old nature,’ which included being my own worst enemy. I wanted to be smart, confident, beautiful, etc. Instead, I felt like an ugly duckling that had just wobbled out of its eggshell with its hair sticking out everywhere. I carried this ‘ugly duckling’ belief around like a badge of honour. For me this aptly described me to a ‘t.’

Bullied throughout school, I was terrified of hanging around people my age. I had dealt with my pain by isolating myself, and building an invisible wall of protection, so no one could hurt me. It didn’t help that I was already very quiet and shy. I kept telling myself they wouldn’t find me very interesting. However, the Lord knew the desires of my heart better than I did because I really did want a friend close in age.

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Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. Eleanor Roosevelt

Then the Lord brought Catherine in my life. She is beautiful with blonde hair, and blue eyes, and is smart, caring and fun. She surprised me by getting my phone number, and showing me that she wanted to get to know me. Through my friendship with her and His spirit, I have become and am becoming the person he always intended.

illustration, public domain(Kate Greenaway)

0

A Peace that Transcends all Understanding!

It’s only the second week of Lent and already I can’t wait until Easter! It will be my fourteenth year as a Catholic, time really does fly by. So instead of focusing on suffering and toil, I thought a mid week quote on peace would be sweet.a_careful_stitch-small

I found a short quote on
peace that hopefully will do what ever you need it to do.

~

Peace begins with a smile.
Blessed Mother Teresa