Santa Fe Beeswax Candle Co. Ah the smell of Beeswax, I miss. Honey a plenty. The kind of ambiance that begs you to stay. A spirit to make a difference.
Victor La Cerva, Md. has put together a collection of global reflections to awaken the soul.
Today's reflection: December 22
sooch (suj) Kafir Kalash
We begin to enter into a more nourishing and dynamic harmony with ourselves when we relinquish the needs to be perfect. Sooch! The words are whispered as part of the ritual purification during a December festival in northern Pakistan. Bathing incense, special foods and ceremony combine in events around the world to encourage right living. Beyond simple moral compunction, sooch yourself and simultaneously accept yourself. Welcome into your life those who can be confrontative and supportive at the same time, gently pointing out discrepancies between your actions and your words. The more you relinquish control of your spiritual destiny, the greater freedom you will experience. The embracing of your unique shadows allow the brilliance of your light to shine forth.
I welcome the wholeness of my imperfections.
A little over two years ago I purchased a small notebook with this phrase on it.
I have an image of it captured as my phone's background.
I look at it often simply to remind myself that with my newly solidified faith comes peace, even when, especially when I am feeling anxiety, stress, worry or fretting over life.
My life, my God, our God shows me all the time just how present He is in my life. I go searching just the other eve for scripture to study, to reflect upon, to inspire. I open to a random place after a simple meditation and I find; The passage Phillipians 4:4-8.
I looked at several versions of the passage to really understand the language and absorb the message. To be able to express to all of you and to myself the meaning of this verse and what solace and wisdom it can provide.
I was tickled to learn that this one line that I had been carrying with me for two years had come back around full circle.
After jotting notes and doing a bit of research, I snuck a peek at a Christmas present from a dear friend. Again...God shows me He is here. Merely a few days after my first reminder, I stumble upon a lovely set of notecards:
Had I doubted its relevance or its importance, would not that have been the most classic case of purposeful ignorance?
Needless to say I did not doubt, but was overjoyed to have been blessed again. A simple gift becomes a moment to happily place amongst my treasured assurances that indeed Christ is alive in my heart and that I can be peaceful of mind due to this glorious fact.
For those of us that sometimes have our doubts, God shows us with signs and subtle connections that He is here working in our lives so that peace is possible.
Phillippians 4:4-8, speaks to me about remembering just how amazing God's presence is in your life. The Apostle Paul urges us to remember to set your heart and mind on God for this will bring a joy filled change of perspective. Although he is imprisoned while writing this letter, Paul sends the message to Rejoice, for the ultimate joy comes from Christ dwelling within us. Paul challenges Christians to lead by example. To show the world that the Lord works in all you do. He then goes on to say that you should turn your worries into prayers and let God's peace guard your heart against anxiety. Fill your mind with thoughts that are honorable, true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. That is, replace harmful input with wholesome material. And through all this, Paul asks us to be Thankful. Thankful for what the Lord has done and thankful ahead of time for answering your worried prayers.
Rejoice! Hallelujah! Thanks!
I am grateful today for the simple fact that Christmas lights makes my daughter happy. How much more joyful a car ride can be when you are keeping watch for the sparkle and glitter that signals a most wonderful time of the year indeed. Her little voice acknowledging another display with delight as her little eyes get heavy with sleep.
Sometimes I forget while driving she is there when I am lost in thought or concentrating on the task at hand.
Or sometimes I forget to be patient when I need to concentrate and she is demanding attention on her...NOW!
When in a difficult instant, that instant, you can choose to let all of the nonsense stop and enter the place of joy for every single display of Christmas lights from here to Missouri...
(I haven't made it to Missouri yet but I'm in the game.)
I am certainly overflowing with joy this Christmas.
A new appreciation for the celebration of a gift of love so pure and true that even the most avid skeptic cannot extinguish its radiance. Christmas represents a time when Jesus came close to us, a time where we were given the gift of seeing all that can be conveyed of God, in human terms. And so as to not be discouraged by the fact that we no longer live amongst this example, Christ gave us the gift of His love, a fire burning in our hearts, the Holy Spirit.
Nice. What a gift.
Recently I stumbled on this site...Go Gratitude.
I signed up for the installments of gratitude tips and practices to change the way you think and apply gratitude in your life.
I have gotten 6 installments thus far. I have to say I like it. Short, sweet tidbits, perception benders, attainable change in thinking.
Check it out and see if you too can Be A Wake...
And stay tuned for the rest of the gratitude excitement to follow.
Cannot wait to share the first 'exhibiting at a craft show experience' that I have had since I was a young lass as well.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
|Emotional intelligence is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.|
Well that is one definition. There seems to be a lot of research and factors concerning Emotional Intelligence beginning in at least the 1930's. There are tests available to scale your Emotional Intelligence but more practically, there are a wealth of sites out there giving us insight into why emotional intelligence is so important and how we can affect change in our lives by raising our emotional awareness overall.
1. Perceiving emotions (correctly)
2. Reasoning with Emotions, which is using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity
3. Understanding Emotions, which is to determine the true cause and meaning of the emotion
4. Managing Emotions, which is responding to our emotions and those of others as well as proper regulation of our emotions
These are the fundamentals when beginning to look at Emotional Intelligence. If you are to be successful, these are concepts you must now become familiar with and ready to act upon strengthening.
helpguide.org has an amazing article called 5 Skills For Raising Emotional Intelligence which includes links to other articles in their fine catalog dealing with ways to recognize components of these skills.
They define Emotional Intelligence as the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your emotions in positive constructive ways.
The core concepts to Emotional Intelligence, Jeanne Segal, Ph.d and Melinda Smith MA, go on to say are Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.
The Emotional Intelligence factor in our lives is very important to gaining personal mastery with regards to dealing with our emotional experiences both internally and externally.
These are tools we can use!
Back to the 5 Steps:
1. The ability to quickly reduce stress.
2. The ability to recognize and manage your emotions.
3. The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.
4. The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges.
5. The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.
With these steps in your tool belt, when emotions begin to fly, you will understand why and what you can do to address necessary issues and move through the feelings to the facts.
Say what? Emotional Wisdom is knowing how to identify and exert power over the brain and nervous system chemistry triggered when emotions arise.
We started with a simple cooked flour and water recipe. Boil 4 cups water, while it's getting there, prepare one cup flour and one cup warm water. When water boils add the flour mixture and stir until well blended. Cook for 2-3 min and you have PASTE!
Here it is tail and all, A Pigtastic helmet and wonderful children's project! What fun!
I had so much paste, (hee hee), that I started an art piece that I have been looking to begin for quite some time. I have a few pieces going and I am alreday pretty excited about it.
More to come...
Pass it ON!
And what an awesome task of compiling this information into a blog.
So, what brings me to this message was a little pamphlet I picked up from church called Our Daily Bread. It is a book of daily devotionals. I personally find them inspirational and it seems to provide lots of spark for things to study and write about.
This particular day, August 30th, 2011, Albert Lee speaks of a triathlon participant who not only brought himself, but his disabled son through the events. His father pulled him in a boat while he swam, he was in a seat pod on the bike, and was pushed while his father ran. This man, Rick, in his wheelchair was dependent on his father to finish that race.
We are dependent on Christ to proceed with ours.
"We cannot finish the Christian race on our own. We have to do so by depending on Jesus living in us." ~Albert Lee
So I died to the law-I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthy body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. Galatians 2:19-21
|Christ Liveth in Me|
|As lives the flower within the seed, |
As in the cone the tree,
So, praise the God of truth and grace,
His Spirit dwelleth in me.
Christ liveth in me,
Christ liveth in me,
O what a salvation this,—
That Christ liveth in me.
Once far from God and dead in sin,
No light my heart could see;
But in God's word the light I found,
Now "Christ liveth in me."
As rays of light from yonder sun
The flowers of earth set free,
So life and light and love came forth
From "Christ living in me."
With longing all my heart is filled,
That like Him I may be,
As on the wondrous thought I dwell,
That "Christ liveth in me."
Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.
I have been then gazing at my treasure of a book, In His Steps, by J.R. Miller. I was looking for inspiration for dealing with conflict and trying to grapple with the idea that many people believe that Christianity is based on a one time forgiveness of sins and cleansing of your soul, that from then on you will do no wrong. Or that you must be doing right. Phew. This one bugs me.
From Chapter three, "Forgiveness of sins is not enough. A man's lies and dishonesties may be forgiven; but if that is all, he is still a liar and dishonest. God's forgiveness regenerates. A Christian life is the setting up of the Kingdom of God in a human heart."
"This puts a responsibility on every Christian. We represent God in this world, and we are to live in such a way that from our life, others will learn the truth about God."
Within us all when we ask, is the light of God, which is present and connecting us all together in love. Let it Shine! Then as you grow stronger in faith through study and challenging your old habits and behaviors, your light grows brighter. And we make our aim to be as close as we can to this ideal of living like Christ.
We cannot actually achieve perfection, hence Christ's existence. We can only do our best to remain focused on living as if we could feel that Christ was in our heart's loving us. Then letting that love overflow into the world from within. You have what you need inside you already. And if you ask, the light can begin to shine where you have dark places.
I was brought to this all really while preparing my Sunday school lesson. The suggested song to sing for this week's gospel was This Little Light of Mine. Scripture tells a story that Jesus told for His teaching of a group of ten bridesmaids who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom for the festivities to begin. Five were well prepared and went to sleep with full lamps and extra oil. Five were not and their lamps ran low. In the middle of the night the bridegroom arrives and asks them to assemble. The five with no oil, ask the five with to share. They decline and suggest that the five maids go to buy their own oil. While they are away, the five prepared maids and the bridegroom begin to celebrate.
The five that went for more oil were not let in and were treated as unknown when they arrived.
Jesus urges us to be ready with a full lamp and extra oil. You never know when it will be the time you need it. Build your foundations, grow your light, do what you do well and with all of the love you can.
Simple White Cake w/Almond Sugar Glaze.
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c butter (softened)
2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk (I use almond milk)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan or use cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time and blend. Stir in Almond extract. Combine flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture, blend well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cakes for about 30-40 min depending on the size and cupcakes about 20-25 minutes. I cooked these mini cupcakes for 15 minutes and they were great! Cakes are done when they spring back to the touch.
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 1/2 tsp milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp butter (melted)
Blend ingredients together and add water if needed to make consistency more spreadable. Only a dab of water at a time.
When cool ice the cakes/cupcakes and enjoy!
Easy and better than any box cupcake out there!
I must admit as healthy as I like to be there are some recipes I do not mess with. Some from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook are too delectable to try and be overly healthy! Like Grandma's Sweet Potato Pie and Cream Cheese Fruit Tartlets. Oh my!
I often substitute applesauce for oil, I use only the best eggs and high quality ingredients whenever possible. Even though sugar can be found unprocessed and in its purest form, too much is not so good. I try to reduce the amount of sugar in my recipes but not sacrifice flavor by using almond extract instead of vanilla. Just some tricks I picked up trying different things and sharing my creations.
I have created a gluten free chocolate cake recipe that when iced tastes to me just like a chocolate glazed Dunkin Donuts donut. Only without all the excess fat, gluten and the sugar I use is high quality, unrefined sugar.
I always seem to have enough batter to make a loaf pan cake and 6 extra large cupcakes each time!
Amen to loving the art of baking!
I am hoping that once I get consistent results each batch, that this gluten free recipe will become so popular people will pay me to bake for them!
I cannot wait to begin planning for Christmas cookies. I had so much fun last year! I think I made about 8 different types of cookie in a frenzy one day but they were baked with joy and love and I know those who ate them felt it! Awesome.
We had a bake sale recently at my church, and I baked an Iced Banana Carob Chip Loaf. It was so good! I've never used carob in a recipe before and I was so pleased with the way it tasted with the banana.
I also have some baking pumpkins ready to cook up and make some stock for pumpkin pies and breads!
Ok...so today Wednesday Nov. 2nd, I decided to make my fabulous cupcakes! 2 dozen mini cupcakes. Perfect for bite size treats, iced or not, totally great recipe! I use almond extract for both the cake batter and icing giving them a little nutty sweetness. It is one of the easiest recipes to remember, follow and whip up whenever needed. I will share it in it's own blog...now!
I use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour to replace the regular flour when I bake these days. I put this into my Simple White Cake recipe and found that it worked pretty well. I think it changes the consistency which can be addressed using Xanthan Gum apparently. I think I would also add a little applesauce. This is a wet ingredient and would require adding an approximate amount of dry ingredient to equal it out. I would probably say I will try a 1/4 cup of applesauce and an extra 1/4 flour. I am going to get the Xanthan Gum to try to work on maintaing that fluffy cake form!
All in all these were good cupcakes! The icing was the same and still complimented the recipe nicely.
I am a big fan of the idea of celebrating the souls of those we love and have set out to understand more about its celebration and make it part of my tradition. I must admit I am no longer a big fan of Halloween. Once I got scared enough times, I think I decided I'd rather just stay in. I don't like many of the costumes, movies, and gore that goes along with it. But that's me!~
One of my sisters loves skull decorations and whilst gathering trinkets and treasures over the years and living here in a very Hispanic and Catholic Community, I was reminded of Dia de los Muertos.
A bit of simple background from a teaching plan:
November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.
So while enjoying the Halloween time I will remember what this celebration means to from a more cultural and spiritual perspective. We will offer praise to those loved ones who have gone before. We will put up a picture of them somewhere to and we will celebrate their love in our lives. We will also honor the spirits of people past wh o have spent their lives doing God's work. And we will have pumpkin carving or painting and yummy treats like these skull cookies.
I threw this recipe together and even improvised a few ingredients based on what was in the pantry and they were awesome! I used chocolate chips for eyes and yogurt pretzels for mouths. I will prepare much better for next celebration and bake some yummy treats!
My choice of music for Dia de los Muertos is Devotchka. A Denver based fusion of greatness! Totally appropriate for the occasion. I visited friends one year around Halloween and was priveledged to attend one of their shows. What a treat!
So a few years ago when I was moving back to Santa Fe, from an 8 month trial life in Austin, TX which is a beautiful city, by the way...I landed down pretty lost and discouraged. I was thin and negative without a purpose.
A friend of mine is an excellent photographer and a feisty spirit of tough love. I proposed that we do a photo shoot somewhere funky, outdoors and...that really represented me. I thought it would be fun and lift my spirits and self confidence. I was correct.
Mostly it was fun.
I highly recommend having a good friend who is a skillful camera whiz do a photo shoot for you. Get looking Sunday best and go have some fun...it feels AMAZING!!!
Laughing, joking, telling stories, costume changes, old mustangs...and east coast ramble.
I arrived at Ursula's to receive an amazing makeup and hair makeover from Svetlana Brit, since we all need help looking our best.
It was really fun to wear fake eyelashes, get all done up, and see natural shine right through. Svetlana did such a nice job, she was also quite nice and lots of fun!
Then off we went to an arroyo in the Espanola area to catch the best light of the day. It was November around 3:30pm and brilliant the day we went out. Lugging my gear through the dry sandy arroyo, some dogs playing in tow...we walked along to capture the light and the essence of me.
I share this because it was the next noteworthy batch of photos in my iPhoto collection.
God is good. He graces us with gifts for His work.
I was happy to be part of something that inspired someone else to do what they love. I felt that energy this day and I have much respect for the woman behind the scenes...Ms. Ursula Coyote.
I met Ursula when I first arrived in Santa Fe in 2000. She was running the karaoke evening at this swanky type lounge they called Bar B. Thursday nights. I was so nervous to even leave the house let alone sing so I brought my parents with me. That night while I was singing, feeling so afraid...she approached my family and encouraged me to sing more.
Pretty soon I was going every Thursday (w/o parents) and having some of the best nights of my life. Rich conversation, singing, dancing, watching life, having fun. Ursula encouraged me more over the years to branch out, try new things, and believe in myself. It has been a really wonderful healing aspect to my life and always will be...but I'm ready for more.
My desire is to begin singing about the Lord with a modern appeal mixed with some good old foot stomping gospel tunes.
I am blessed and grateful. I sing to my daughter, I sing at church, I sing whenever I can. I still go to karaoke and it's much more fun after years of practice and encouragement.
This town has a nice camaraderie around karaoke, if you find the right group. I am still singing with folks I met 10 years ago. It's great.
Sometimes we need reminding of our gifts and our calling to share those gifts with others.