Taking a moment to wonder and question

I am white, I am a woman.  And I have questions.

First my statement of belief:  I stand for the rights of all people.  People of color, people with disabilities, people with sexual orientation different from mine, people rich in things of the world, people poor in things of the world, people with high intelligence, people with low intelligence, people who are wise, people who are foolish, people who are peace loving and people who are fearful.  There are two distinct features that unite and divide us:  humanity and culture.  There is no denying either.  A group of people threatened typically unifies.  If our country was attacked by another country or by aliens, we would find common ground quickly and cultural differences would not be an important factor, safety would.

Culture is an interesting concept.  It molds and conditions our thoughts and actions.  Most times we accept what we know and is what is familiar (family, religious teachings).  It is comfortable to stay in this perimeter.  If we have a hard time accepting others different:  physically, morally, religiously, then could we stretch our imagination and wonder?  How could wonder change things?   What would it be like to be born in a different environment?  Could we expand our thoughts to be more inclusive?  How would we feel if a child we loved dearly couldn’t walk, talk or was deformed?  How would that change our life?  What if we were the one being judged, instead of the one looking and wondering what went wrong?  What if we were born with the genitals of one sex, but the mind of another gender?  How would that feel?  Would we question our idenity?  Would we be fearful, would we be loved and accepted?  How would that change our life and our life’s expression?

People of the world, people of America – we need to embrace the diversity that exists among us and not be fearful.  We are not minions, we are all individuals.  Even if we can’t love one another, let us at least accept that differences exist.  I encourage each of us to seek and to know our true self.  The self existing beyond culture, personality, and even beyond humanity.  Find the true self living beyond judgement.  The true self that is pure and not conditioned.  It is from this place true and lasting peace exists for us as individuals and as a people.

Cinnamon Raisin Super Muffins

Why are they super?  Because of the ingredients:  fresh apple, oatmeal, sweetened with pure maple syrup, coconut.  All wholesome, yummy ingredients.  Use your flour of choice for gluten intolerance.

CinnRaisinMuffins

Ingredients
• 1 ½  of cups flour
• 1 cup oat flakes
• 1 tbs of cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
• 1 ½ tsp of baking powder
• Pinch of salt
• 3 eggs
• 1 peeled, cored apple – shredded
• 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
• 1/3 cup of coconut milk
• 1/4 cup of coconut oil
• 1 cup raisins
• Topping options:
• ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
• Or cinnamon and coconut sugar
Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir all dry ingredients together in a bowl (except raisins)
In a larger bowl, mix together all wet ingredients
Shred with a cheese grater one peeled apple. Add to wet ingredients
Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and blend well
Stir in the raisins.
Pour mixture into either a silicon, greased muffin tin or paper cups in a muffin tin.
Bake for approx. 20-23 minutes (check for doneness with a toothpick). Toppings:  put coconut flakes on top half way through the baking process or
after muffins are done lightly sprinkle muffin tops with a dry mixture of equal parts coconut sugar and cinnamon powder while still warm.
Allow to cool slightly
Makes about 12 muffins
Keep remaining muffins covered in refrigerator, or freeze. Reheat in a warm oven. Source: Julia Parsell

You Might Even Like these Collard Greens!

They have a couple of unusual ingredients that make them especially tasty.  First the usual:  good quality bacon, chopped onions, garlic and then…… simmer them in beer with finely chopped raw beets and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Since my husband brews we usually have a keg on tap, but if not you could substitute vegetable broth or chicken broth.  The result  with beer was spectacular and you might even like them.  This takes about an hour from start to finish.  The picture is what they look like in the beginning, just after they “break down”.  They turn a dull green and are tender when ready to eat.  

IMG_4330

Julia’s Zippy Collard Greens
Julia Parsell
 
1 lb Collard Greens, organic and fresh

3 slices good quality bacon

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups good quality beer of choice

1 medium beet, scrubbed, julienned, chopped

Cook bacon, set aside to cool.  Add some olive oil if necessary and then the chopped onion.  Cook until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic and toss with the onion for a few seconds.  Add the collard greens and keep stirring them until they break down (wilt a bit).  Add the beer and beets.  Let come to a slight boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover.  I use a large carbon steel frying pan, but any large pan (non-aluminum) will work fine.  Do some other things while they simmer for about 45 minutes.  They make a perfect side and are great the next morning with eggs.  Enjoy!   I served them with the Colorful Chili and cornbread for a Sunday, late afternoon meal.

What to do with strife?

What to do with strife?

This is how I choose to live:  love more, judge less. If I have learned anything in these 6 decades of life, it is this:  at some point you and I will disagree. It’s just the way it goes. Does it have to be that one of us is right and the other is wrong? Isn’t existence bigger than that? Isn’t it even larger than hard facts?   The thoughts running in our head are often so loud we can’t hear anything else, let alone that you need of a hug and a blessing, not a scowl of disapproval. That you need to be heard, even if I can’t agree. It’s ok to disagree. It’s ok. Allowance is a beautiful thing. It’s expansive and gives rise to opportunity. It doesn’t break our mental or spiritual bank, but actually enhances it. What we fight against grows as well. The garden, the results, are usually not pretty. Large example:  warring against something causes increase, not decrease. War on drugs, war against cancer…waging war is not the answer.
Let us use a disciplined imagination for a brighter future, for smiles, hugs, and being ok that we will not always agree. It is ok. It is ok.

Color Full Chili

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 yellow onion, diced fine

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 lb ground beef (lean, grass fed)

• 1 tsp oregano

• 2+ tbsp chili powder

• 1 tsp gr. cumin

• ¼ tsp. cinnamon

• 1 tsp. turmeric

• ½  tsp cayenne pepper

• 1 tsp salt

• ½ tsp fresh ground pepper

• 2½ cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

• 1 cup dark beer

• 3 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1 15- oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed

• 1 15- oz can black beans, drained & rinsed

• 1 16 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

• 1 cup diced red or orange pepper

• 1 cup kale, chopped or torn into bite size pieces

• 1 carrot, grated or chopped

• 1 cup of veggies of choice:  summer squash, zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes

Directions

Heat oil in Dutch oven or 4 qt. sauté pan over medium heat.  Add onion, ground meat, garlic and cook until no pink remains (about 7 min).  Drain off any excess fat. Add peppers, kale, oregano, spices and salt and stir well to incorporate and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the broth, beer, and tomato paste and stir well to incorporate.  Add beans, tomatoes, and other veggies and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Serves 6

Source: Julia Parsell, HealthyEvolution

Our true north star is the joy,  possibilities regardless of what we see

Our true north star is the joy, possibilities regardless of what we see

My days of doing are over. My days of being will always continue. It is from this place that all is well and all is done in its completeness. I tend to the garden of my soul and all the while grow corn and potatoes. The sunlit garden of my soul, my eternal self, the divine within me beacons me to share love, peace, grace and peace during these days of turmoil. Fractionalized groups have emerged out of fear and fury has become common place. It is but a natural occurrence just as storms erupt or the fires rage and purification follows. All of us get caught up in the physical occurrences as if that is all there is and that doom is surely to follow. No, that is not what it is. We as egoic members of this world, think, think, worry, worry, fear, fear that we are the controller of all things and that is not so. We affect things yes, but the effect is not what we think. We are not the end all of the processes. What we affect more than we realize is how we respond, how we feel, how we perceive. It is from here that our effectiveness can be realized. We are so much more than physical and so is our world. Yes, we cry, we grieve, we wail and all the while we don’t realize the splinter will eventually work its way out and the pain will cease and the wound will heal. In the midst of the pain, can’t we acknowledge this fact? A healthy body heals quickly and health is available to all regardless of the situation. Regardless of the situation. Can we not get this? Are we so far removed that we have forgotten this truth? Faith is not by sight, faith is the inner knowing of the eternal truth that resides for all people, in all places at all times. Our feelings are the compass. Our true north star is the joy that is possible regardless of what we see. We must be compelled to sing, in mourning or in delight, but to express ourselves wholly and fully to the Divine in us all. To recognize that we are all one and the hurts can be healed when we truly love, when we truly feel peace and we let go of the pride of our wounded or inflated intellects. Love is not to judge, it is to walk in the other shoes and feel the connectedness. Join the conversation and don’t be upset when your peaceful manner offends, let love and peace continue. Neither shall we hit another in the face with our peaceful place, peace and love dissolve with this kind of smack. Empathize and lead the discussion to a place of common ground. If your still waters are moved, center yourself and remain calm. Look to the changing moons. A full moon lasts but for hours, but its will be full again soon in days. It is sure and constant in its ever changing state. Be of good cheer, pursue activities that bring your joy and pass the plate of peace and love to others.