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Category Archives: My Life

Charter for Compassion

I am continuing to grow and constantly see the beauty in all things. I am a flawed human and I do make mistakes, but each day I try harder to overcome them. The past few years and even more so the last year I have noticed such an increase in hatred, anger and violence. I have been asking myself the past six months ‘where is the compassion?’ ‘why aren’t people compassionate anymore?’ ‘where is the love?’

I have been trying really hard on Facebook and Twitter not to say or share anything that is considered mean or hateful. I know have failed in some instances, especially when it has come to politics and certain people in the political sphere, but each day I make a conscious decision not to go that route and slowly I am getting there.

Do you believe in synchronicity. I definitely do and today was a great example. Today I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Karen Armstrong (if you haven’t ready any of her books, definitely go to the library and start reading, she is a wealth of information when it comes to religion) and it was about compassion. The whole hour was about what I have been asking for the past six or so month.

So today I made a commitment to be more passionate and compassionate. I vow to do better at treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect. I also realize that I have harbored hatred by disparaging others, especially those in the political arena, and I really feel that this is a denial of their common humanity. From now on, especially in my Facebook feed, if I feel anyone is going against this charter I will no longer keep their feed in my stream. I also will work harder to portray compassion to all. I hope you will join me!

Hugs!!

Namaste!!



The best idea humanity has ever had…

The Charter for Compassion is a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences. Supported by leading thinkers from many traditions, the Charter activates the Golden Rule around the world.

The Charter for Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other, and lies at the heart of all religious and ethical systems.


The text of the Charter for Compassion:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

 

If you represent an institution, organization, or community interested in signing the Charter, please visit the Charter for Compassion web site. For Individuals sign below.


 

Are You Grateful?

When tend to run around like mad people, whether it be running children around, doing errands, cleaning house, getting meals prepared, even volunteering or working a full or part-time job plus doing the aforementioned. Then we usually add to that some sort of drama of the day, and our way to respond to it is throw up our hands, plod on through putting out those fires, and don’t stop to breath until we get into bed. And that might just be a maybe, if you are like me you play over and over again in your head things that happened that day or even last week and usually they are should have, could have, would haves. It is really hard for us to stop for just a moment to breath and rest.

I was one of those that just let my day drive my life, now my life drives my day. One thing I started doing that has been a big help is playing an audiobook before bed. I have the Audible app on my iPhone and iPad and there is a sleep timer which I set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes if I am still awake I reach over and restart it. I have yet to still be awake after the second set. Listening to the book keeps my mind from being busy and constantly chattering – monkey mind is what I like to call it. Now in the mornings I feel more restful.

The next biggest thing I started doing was a gratitude journal. I bought this lovely Studio Oh Deconstruct Journal from Amazon which has the lovely art work of Katie Daisy who is truly amazing.

Filledwithjoy

I went ahead and started decorating the inside page

IMG_5988

Just a little something to make me feel good while I’m using it.

So now at some point during the day, I stop a moment, take a deep breath and be thankful for five things. If I have the time at the moment I put it in my journal, if not I wait until later that evening when everything is quite. It takes me some time because I like to decorate and use different inks and letterings, but you don’t have to, just write your grateful things in list format. I know how hard it is during the busyness of your life to stop a moment for yourself and be grateful, but the important thing is to take those few minutes to breathe, gather your thoughts and be thankful. You will notice a big difference in your life. I know I do.

 

Namaste! Hugs!

Ginger Peach Jam

This post is part of Faith Filled Foods for Moms Wonderful Wednesday Linky Party which I’m proud to be part of.

This Ginger Peach Jam came out really delicious. A dear sweet friend of mine asked me if I would make it into a tutorial so I did and here it is. Just for you Terry – a thanks for all the shortbread recipes you sent me. If you want a jar to try let me know and we’ll get together.

I am not new to canning but I never made this jam before. I found the recipe for the Ginger Peach Jam with Liquid Pectin on the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

You will need 4 1/2 Cups crushed Peaches (about 3 1/2 pounds of peaches).
1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
1 or 2 ounces of Candied Ginger
7 Cups of Sugar (I did not use 7 cups – we don’t like overly sweet things so I tasted after adding each batch.)
1 pouch of Liquid Pectin (not in this picture)

Peaches

My Mom bought me the scale to weigh my yarn as it does grams and pounds – it has been the best gift ever, I use it all the time.

Canning utensils that I use.

My water bath canner and wire rack, pot in which the peaches will cook, another pot with hot water for the rings and lids (do not boil the lids it can ruin them), funnel, pectin, bubble remover (it is a long thin piece of plastic, pictured below), jar lifter.

Inside the canner are my jars and the canner is filled with hot water. I first place my jars in the dishwasher and wash them. While they are hot I place in my canner which is filled with hot water, and I start the water to boil while I’m preparing the peaches. It needs to be boiling after I put my filled jars in and the jars need to be hot so they don’t crack/break when putting in the jam so I find heating and sterilizing the jars in one step helps.

Between these two things using the kettle for boiling water is a big help so if you have an electric or stove top kettle use it. This sure saves time.

Set up a water bath to peel the peaches.

Fill one pot with boiling hot water and another with cold water. Dip the peaches in the hot and then the cold for easier peeling. I also had an extra bowl nearby to put my discards in for our compost. Then take out pit and stems and slice up, putting into a bowl and mash with a potato masher, then place the mashed peaches into a large measuring cup, I have a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cus. I did this in stages so I didn’t have to many peaches cut up.

Now places peaches in your pot, add the sugar, and stir.

Peachesdiced

Then add your candied ginger.

Grab a nice chair and a book or magazines.

My step-stool that has been with me for years and has served me well :-)

My step-stool that has been with me for years and has served me well :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring to a rolling boil for one minute. The whole top should have bubbles.

Peaches boiling

Peaches boiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is starting in the picture above. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, but you’ll still need the chair for when your jars are in the canner.

When the peaches first started on the stove I did this…

Yummoginger

Cleaned up the mess and washed the dishes. See the candied ginger on the counter LOL I had a hard time not eating all the ginger in the canister so I put a few out for me to nibble on and quickly placed the canister in my spice cupboard. YUM!!! Something about the bite of the ginger and the candied part – kind of like Bailey’s Irish Creme – I love the hint of whiskey and the smoothness of the cream. LOL.

After the peaches have boiled for one minute take off the stove and add in your pectin and stir. Skim the top (I read you can put pats of butter on top and this will take care of the skimming but I have never tried it). Take your jars out of the canner using your jar grabber, tilting to remove any water inside, and place your canning wire so it hangs off the top of the canner (the jag in the handles are designed for this).

Place funnel in jar and scoop jam into jars leaving a 1/4″ head space (the space between jam and jar top.

Canning

Remove funnel and wipe jar top.

Remove funnel and wipe jar top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use your bubble remover and slide down edge of jar doing this all around to remove the bubbles.

Use your bubble remover and slide down edge of jar doing this all around to remove the bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put on lid and ring, do not over tighten.

Put on lid and ring, do not over tighten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place jar in your wire rack. Repeat this process until either you have filled your wire rack or your jam is finished. I ended up doing this in two batches.

Using your jar lifter and some other tool – I used a spatula – to bring your wire rack into your canner.

Waterbath

 

Put lid on canner and check every once in a while to see if it is a full rolling boil. Boil according to your altitude, I boiled them for 10 minutes. See recipe link above.

This is where your chair and book/mag comes in handy.

When you are done boiling, user your jar lifter and another tool to grab the handles (you can see them folded over in the above photo) and lift out of the water or hang the handles on the side of your canner. Take out one jar at a time and place on a counter, about 1 or 2 inches apart. Do not put in drafty areas as you don’t want the glass to chill to quickly.

Now be real quiet shshshsh listen – ping, ping, pop the jar are cooling, listen for that noise – I love it. Let sit for 12-24 hours. See if sealed by pushing down on lid, it should not give, it should be nice and strong and not move. You can remove the bands now. Wipe jars, label and put away.

I ended up doing it in two batches which meant I had to reheat the jam, new jars and lids, and do the process again.

YUM!!!!

Yummygoodness

9 pints of Ginger Peach Jam goodness. If you have a little extra you can just place in a bowl and refrigerate instead of using another canning jar.

Enjoy!!!
Hugs!!!
Namaste

 

 

 

Imperfection

I'm Imperfect and I'm Enough

Five weeks ago I started an Oprah Lifeclass based on Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. It has been an extraordinary journey and one that has truly opened my eyes. Along with the readings we do lessons and a journal using multi-media crafts.

To be able to say ‘YES I am imperfect, but that is okay,’ has been truly freeing. To realize that I am me and accept me the way I am, and not as you expect me to be, is so liberating. One of our assignments has been to cultivate self-compassion by letting go of our imperfections.

Here are two of my journal pages for that week:

Gifts of Imperfection Week 3

Gifts of Imperfection Week 3

ChildofGod

This has been a truly spiritual journey. I leave you with words from Dr. Kristen Neff “self-compassion has three elements: self kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.”

~Namaste

Aurora Colorado Shooting So Sad

It was a tragic end to a wonderful evening where family and friends had planned to go the midnight screening of Batman The Dark Knight Rises. Many were gunned down by 24 year old James Holmes, who was dressed in body armor and a gas mask, at the Century 16 Cinema. Last count was 58 people hurt and 12 killed.

Many are questioning how and why something like this can happen. Some ask ‘where is God in all this?’ ‘How can he let people suffer.’ I don’t have answers, but I know an answer dropped in my email that day. Actually two emails, both from Chris Sigfrids, Senior Online Marketing Manager at WestBrook Multnomah. He quickly heard about the tragedy from his wife, as he was leaving his house for work. On the way to work he heard the rest of the story on the car radio. He, like most of us had questions. Many that seemed to come to him as he listened to the news reports and drove into work. In his first email he explains that

“I drove down I-25 listening to what had happened, just 50 miles up the road, I began to consider what the appropriate response was. Should I be angry? Should I forgive? Should I get a concealed carry permit? Should we have tighter gun laws?

In the second email he explains while in his office

“I … went to my bookshelves and found Randy’s [Alcorn] book, If God Is Good. I had read it a couple years ago and went through the table of contents to find chapter four. It gave me personal encouragement and I thought it might encourage others….”

Well I guess he got a lot of flack for his first email, people screaming that he was trying to sell books in face of this tragedy. He says that

“after spending 10 minutes with just a portion of Randy’s book, I felt comfort. I had answers. I found my orientation amidst the flood of possible responses.”

He wanted to share this comfort with many people; clergy, lay leaders, just us every day folks.

“My heart was simply to encourage others. I wanted to DO something about this senseless act, and this is what I thought I could do…something I could contribute,. A way to reach out and be an encourager,” he explained in his second email.

So in hopes that I can reach out and give others comfort also, I am embedding and giving a link so you can download chapter 4 of the book If God is Good by Randy Alcorn. I am also going to include the YouTube Video link of Randy being interviewed by Greg Laurie at Harvest Fellowship.
Randy Alcorn Interview

Here are links that Chris included in his email.

 Randy Alcorn’s website

A link to chapter 4 so you can download the chapter to read on the device of your choosing.

 

Hugs!!!

Namaste!!!

Read the book here: just keep scrolling.

[scribd id=100603311 key=key-1eihd21dx3ko3211fefz mode=list]

Forgiving is Hard

Someone asked me last night how I am dealing with drama in my life that occurred a few weeks ago. This post is my reflection on that question.
 

Forgiveness is one virtue I have a very hard time with. I am trying, and trying very hard. I am putting my faith in Jesus to lead me and show me the way. I must admit I am a lot better at it now then say 10+ years ago. I am finding with my new-found faith in God through the Episcopal church, it is easier than it has ever been before.

Every day that I read the Bible I find another passage that strikes home, like

Philippians 3:13b “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,”


which makes it easier and easier for me to place everything in God’s hand and rely on Jesus to help and guide me. 

In Forward Day by Day Saturday’s reading had a wonderful saying:

“The eternal God is whispering: “Don’t fill your life

with broken shards of the trivial; tell someone you love

them; forgive from the heart. Don’t defer joy to some

future which never arrives. I stand knocking at your

door.”"

I know for me (my great-aunt, who was like a mother to me, died in my arms, and my brother-in-law passed away while my husband was with him, so very unexpectedly) these deaths brought the realization of forgiveness and numbered days. However, I know someone who has had both parents die young and tragically and yet they harbor resentment and fill their life with broken shards of the trivial. I pray for this person every day that he/she will realize we need not harbor resentment in our hearts, because we just do not know when tragedy will strike. Instead we need to love one another and live each day as if it is the last. The whole meditation really spoke to me and I pray that it will also speak to you and those who need it.

Here are a few Bible verses that I go to during those times when I am struggling, or when that feeling of resentment begins to bubble deep down inside and I can feel it gurgling and know I am going to slip into what ifs, and coulda, shoulda and wouldas.

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

“Love prospers when a fault if forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

“…Lord how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times.” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25

and finally Colossians 3:13-15 really hits it home every time.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”

I took my confirmation on Sunday into the Episcopal church of The Holy Comforter in Burlington NC. Now these verses in Colossians really mean a lot to me because Bishop Gregg asked us if we will renew our commitment to Jesus Christ, and I answered “I do, and with God’s grace I will follow him as my Savior and Lord.” He also asked the congregation – the members of the one body – “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” and they answered “we will.” Then the bishop said to the congregation, “Let us join with those who are committing themselves to Christ and renew our own baptismal covenant.” Therefore, I am reminded even more of what Jesus stood for and how he died for us.

Fun Vacation

Skyland Resort restaurant view

Which vacation is your favorite? Did you feel closer to our Creator? I know I did.

I actually have two, they weren’t my dream vacation but they were close. I really am unsure as to what my dream vacation would be, but it definitely would include water.

One was the cruise hubby and I took around our 25th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t for the anniversary – KT was employee of the year and they gave him a gift certificate to a travel agency. We left Port Canaveral, went to Key West, Belize, Cozumel, Progreso (I think there is was one more but I cannot remember). KT and I had a balcony room and it was pure bliss. Mornings we had breakfast delivered and we would enjoy on the balcony. We saw so many wonderful birds and fish from the boat, and when we went snorkeling in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. It was so restful.

The second was just after hubby’s brother Jim passed away last year. On the way home hubby really needed some R&R, so driving south on I-81 I pulled out my iPad and started looking for mountain cabins or lodges. Along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park are a few lodges. I found Skyland an absolutely beautiful slice of heaven. Here is a place where you can commune with nature, literally.

Ursus americanus

Can you see the bear? Click the picture to make bigger.

We had just settled into our room, I had made coffee and we took them to the back deck that had this amazing view.

View from deck - Skyland Resort

Just as we sat down I noticed something moving just below in the little valley.

Just behind our room

To the right of the tree. It was a black bear! We had Chantilly Lace (RIP baby girl) our Yorkie with us, thank goodness she was inside at that moment. I am sure if she saw it she would have been flying off that deck to check it out.

To show you how close it actually got check this out:

On the left is hubby's arm.

We stayed here from Friday through Sunday and it was the best thing we ever did. It was just so relaxing. We would just sit and read, walk Chantilly around, hike to the restaurant to eat. The staff was so friendly. Actually when I called to see if they had any openings, the woman who answered was wonderful. I told her I wanted a really nice view and she made sure to find us one, the Canyon Room. AWESOME!!!

I am thinking of doing this again within the next few weeks. Just sit back, relax, bring my bible and some books. I definitely feel very close to our creator here.

If you come here always remember:

No caption needed - this explains it all!

This post was brought to you by the prompt from

Hugs!!!

Namaste!!!

Serenity

Do you have a special place you can go to for solitude? for meditation? a little peace? some soul searching?

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long Psalm 119:97

We bought our house and 3 acres in 2001 and I have set up a few peaceful places in my house. My craft room and bedroom have little sitting areas. Outside I had three places, my back deck, a little spot by the chickens, and a little area in front with a bistro set.

Our property is almost like a rectangle and on the first acre and half sits the house with front and back yard, the other acre and a half in the back is woods, a stream, and a small clearing near the stream. This little spot has always been a favorite of mine. I am not sure what it is about water; streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, I love them and am drawn to them.

 

AS A DEER LONGS FOR

FLOWING STREAMS,

SO MY SOUL LONGS FOR

YOU O GOD.Psalms 42:1


A few weeks ago I bought two Adirondack chairs. Sweet hubby mowed the area and put down some organic bug stuff. Today I went down with my Bible, my reading, and my journal and had some solitude. A time for meditation. It was peaceful, and my thoughts were as clear as the stream in front of me. I could feel God’s presence all around me, in the ferns, the cedars, the beeches, the birds and dragonfly.

Hubby and I decided we are going to clear it out some more, bring down a fire pit and a few insect torches. It is just to peaceful a spot and so close to God to ignore it.

Tell me about your spot. Where do you go?


Hugs!!!
Namaste!!!

Dayspring

katherines corner
Did you ever have one of those weeks or even months in which you were bombarded with the same thing over and over again. Okay well maybe bombarded is to strong of a word, but it is constantly present. For example, I kept seeing posts about a book called 1,000 Gifts, I would see it in bookstores, and I would hear people talking about it. So I caved, I bought it.

I went to a website called Dayspring and got lost in all their cuteness. They had so many wonderful things I had a problem in deciding what not to buy.

Not only did I pick up the book 1,000 Gifts, I also picked up a little workbook on community, a t-shirt, and the cutest purse and make-up bag. This is not your ordinary make-up bag. It is larger than most.

Across the front pocket it says ‘truly beautiful’ Ecc. 3:11. I am using it to keep my pens, pencils and highlighters for when I read the Bible. The front pocket holds my daily devotional Forward Day by Day. Inside is a zippered compartment and two pockets. It has a ton of room in there.

The bag is big enough to hold my Bible, my journal, my devotional book, whatever book I am reading, the make-up bag, plus a lot more. On the front it says ‘found & treasured’ II Thessalonians 2:13. It also has a zippered compartment and a pocket inside.

The picture was taken in my dinette, which leads out to our big deck and faces the backyard. On my table are roses cut from the bushes we bought over the weekend. I love them! They are in one of my teapots, I thought they matched perfectly. The table is decorated with a handmade embroidered tablecloth my Mom made me for Christmas. I adore it! I love when I receive handmade items, I feel so honored that I am so thought of for someone to sit, for hours or days, and make something just for me.

Here is a close up of one of the flowers, there are four, one in each corner.

She also hand crocheted the edging of the tablecloth. Usually I keep it in my bedroom on a little table where I have a small sitting area. I keep my precious mementos on that table; an angel my g-aunt gave me, a handkerchief by Laura Ingalls Gunn’s (from Decor to Adore) that belonged to her grandmother. You can see a picture of it here, without the homemade tablecloth, a book Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh.

Do you have a special area in your house? What do you use it for?

Remember you can click on a photo to enlarge!

Hugs!!!
Namaste!!!

Empty Nesting

Have you been? Will you be? Are you just? I have been an empty nester since 2005 and again in 2012. I count the six months my oldest and his wife lived with us, because we had them in the house, living, breathing, moving people, other than my husband and myself.

It was strange to change my routine when they were here, and then to redo it all again when they left. I must admit when they were here we lived a more structured life. Breakfast, lunch, dinner all served and scheduled, but I believe it is something we must do in order to survive with a group in the home.

When it is just hubby and I we don’t have a set schedule. Sometimes he isn’t hungry when he gets home and other times he is starving. He calls me every day when he leaves work and this is how I gauge when we are going to eat. I don’t mind waiting for him to be hungry before we eat. There are also days we call growl and grab, when our stomachs get growly we grab something from the fridge and eat, not necessarily at the same time. However, one rule – we always sit together, even if one person isn’t eating.

One routine we had when the boys were little still remains today. Matter-of-fact my eldest (who lives in southern Ca., with his own little family) commented on it one day. He said it always stuck with him and now he tries it with Jill. Whenever we would get home, whether it would be me from school (I was a nontraditional college student) or work, no matter how busy we were between baseball games, or soccer, or whatever it was, we would always sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss our day. Husband and I, just the two of us, boys welcomed to join if they wanted to. However, saying that, the boys had their time at the dinner table also. We always sat together for meals.

Yes, we are a talking family, no matter what, we talk about things, talk it out, discuss. My oldest and I could sit together in the evening, usually his younger brother was in bed and hubby could be bowling or he did service calls in the evening, and older and I would talk forever. He had the gift of gab and we talked about everything, for hours at a time. I think this is the hardest part about being an empty-nester, there is no one around to talk to during the morning, the day, or the afternoon.

Now that I have come back to Jesus, I spend my day talking with him. I gather talking was important to Jesus because there are so many scriptures where He has healed mute people to be able to talk again. In Matthew alone there are these:
Matthew 9:32-33
Matthew 12:22
Matthew 15:31


Brooklyn Museum: Jesus Heals a Mute Possessed Man (Jésus guérit un possédé muet)

Jesus heals a mute possessed man
Brooklyn Museum
James Tissout, French 1836-1902

Do you spend your day talking with Jesus? How important is this in your life?

Hugs!!!

Namaste!!!

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