Between Christmas and New Year’s…

I love year’s end!

Right now we’ve got snow drifted everywhere…enough that it completely blizzarded us in on Christmas day. Since Christmas dinner for the family was to be at “our place” we’ve got a lot of leftovers to enjoy! It’s a good thing we all love turkey…

So I have a couple of 2009 parting gifts for you…

First, here’s my favorite turkey soup recipe, dug up from the Weekend Kindness archives. Enjoy!

Wendy’s Pumpkin Soup

  1. Melt 2 TB butter or margarine in a large kettle
  2. Add 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (optional) and 1 small chopped onion
  3. Saute bell pepper and onion in melted butter till soft, not brown
  4. Blend in 2 TB flour and 1 tsp salt
  5. Add 2 cups chicken stock, 1 15 oz can unsweetened pumpkin, 2 cups milk, 1/8 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 cups precooked poultry (chicken or turkey), 1 cup precooked brown rice.
  6. Cook till heated through and enjoy!

And second, do any of you have any encouragement for the rest of us concerning your personal or family devotion time in 2009? If you remember, I posted a New Testament reading schedule a year ago, and I’m just a bit curious to know if any of you pursued that in any way. Here’s a funny…someone I don’t even know personally, but knows a friend of a friend, challenged her Sunday School students to read through the NT in 2009, supposedly after reading my blog post last year. Exciting! Happily, our family made it through the New Testament too. Now we just need to decide where we’re going to start in 2010! Everybody seems to have their own ideas on what we’re doing. We only have five days to figure it out!

In looking through past posts, I found this one that has some ideas in comments for how you guys fit time for God’s word into your day. It might be worth re-reading! I know it blessed me! It’s titled, “When you are cut, do you bleed the Bible?”

Here’s what Tommy Nelson says about the subject,

“Live life on purpose! Get up at 6 A.M., and get you an addictive substance.” (That would be coffee) “5 pages a day will get you through most Bibles in a year…”

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Merry Christmas 2009!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Ahh…this is my favorite portion of the music in Handel’s Messiah. Majestic, isn’t it? All month it’s been singing in my heart. Though tonight, with the blizzarding and wind gusts slamming into my drafy old farmhouse, the lyrics going through my head are more along the lines of Winter Wonderland. Sure is “frightful” out there! But so cozy to be inside, out of the cold.

This Christmas with so many of us feeling the reality of this economy on an already tight budget, it’s a good time to take the focus off of ourselves and our needs and wants, and instead be grateful for the many blessings God’s granted to us. Number one: our Savior! The world is truly a “frightful” place without Him reigning supreme in your life. If you haven’t already, come into His “light” and find peace and warmth, and eternal security by believing that Jesus died for you personally, that day at Calvary.

I am so grateful for His loving mercy and grace in my life. He’s blessed me with a godly husband, and three pure-hearted daughters, and though living on one income these days is a challenge, we’re reaping the benefits of all this time spent with each other. My cup is so full.

Let’s remember the wisdom from Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest,

“Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives.”

Probably of all the thing competing against keeping Jesus the center of Christmas, self-centeredness or “self-awareness” is a biggie.

Praying for a day of Christ-awareness in your life and mine today!

Blessings,

Mary

Let’s talk organic!

Okay, the bottom line is age related problems and diseases are widely thought to be caused by two things: consuming insufficient nutrients and adding on top of that, a lifetime truckload of toxic chemicals. This alone is a huge argument for eating organic food when possible–firstly because it is chock full of nutrients, antioxidants and Omega 3’s compared to your non-organic foods and secondly…it contains no toxic chemicals or heavy metals–while unorganic foods are saturated with them in various forms, thanks to fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

(Go read this article at Science Daily for just one example of how toxic chemicals found in pesticides cause things like Parkinson’s disease, and for more stats on just how much healthier organic foods are than their unorganic counterparts visit this article.)

Yet, very few people–at least in my experience here in the mid-west–want their family and friends to label them as organic fanatics! So here’s my disclaimer to all my family and friends: going all organic is my *someday* goal, but never to the point of “bringing my own snacks to parties” etc. Our family loves food, loves fellowship and we have plenty of unhealthy eating habits. That said…I have to write this post. It’s pretty important info in today’s McDonald’s “dumbed down” culture where kids are raised loving refined products made from white flours and sugars, where genetically modified foods abound, and grocery stores sell HFCS everything and milk-flavored drinking beverages. What has happened to real food??? And why aren’t more people demanding answers?

I’ll tell you what happened…this profit driven, fast-turnover, long shelf life agenda happened. Sadly, going “organic” has had a bad rep in past years, but as more people get educated about health, they’re seeing how valuable real food really is. Organic is simply the way people grew food before the chemical ways became the norm. Back when dirt was dirt, and honeybees weren’t dying from all the pesticides.

I recently viewed The Truth about Organic Food, a 75 minute 2007 DVD interview of David Getoff, a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor with a full time health and wellness practice in San Diego, California. Wonderful introduction and overview of what “organic” is, why it’s beneficial and necessary for a long, healthy life, and how to know which “organic” products are worth buying. For instance, grass fed, free range, cage free and natural all mean varying degrees of “good for you”…and certain organic beefs were only organic (hormone & antibiotic free) for their last 90 days on this earth, according to organic standards in labeling. Organic labeling can be tricky, and just because something is organic does not mean it is healthy. Sure an organic candy bar is probably more healthy for you than a normal one, but as David Getoff says, “Cobra venom is organic–mercury, arsenic, and lead get pulled out of the earth and they’re organic!” So do your research, or better yet, grow your own!

Interesting history regarding fertilizers…

Chemical fertilizers replaced “green manure crops” as a way to put minerals and nutrients back into the soil, more time and cost effectively. Farmers and scientists must have put their heads together to find a way to grab back those seasons spent raising rye grass or other “green manure” crops that would then be plowed under as a way to naturally replenish the soil of all the goodies that crops take in their making. Somebody did the research, and found that the top chemicals the soil needed were N, P, and K–the ones found on all the fertilizer bags you buy at the farm store: Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus. So they reasoned, let’s just pour this on, and get things back in the ground. Money talks, and this would be cheaper than growing a green manure crop, not to mention, you’d get those months back for growing a cash crop. Makes a lot of sense. Problem is, there are SO many minerals that our bodies need for health that are not contained in a bag of NPK fertilizer! For instance, one that Getoff shared in the DVD was Boron–Boron is a deficiency duly noted in osteoporosis patients. Selenium is another, if you don’t get enough Selenium, the cancer rate goes way up.

But on the outside, these plants grown with chemical fertilizers look great. They are cheaper for the farmer, but they are not giving the people what they need–trace minerals and nutrients, AND the foods don’t taste as good.

Organic growers have found a wealth of minerals still in the ocean and use soil amendments such as kelp meal, crabshell meal, fish meal to put the minerals and life back into nutrient robbed soil. Visit www.groworganic.com for more info. For even more info, check out the book: Worms Eat My Garbage.

Interesting thoughts regarding pesticides…

Okay, so in the beginning, somebody wanted to keep the bugs from eating plants. As in a lot of things, no one seems to have put a lot of thought into the far-reaching effects of dumping chemicals in the ground. How would insectisides affect beneficial insects, birds, bees and pollination…the soil itself? It is interesting to note, that on big organic farms, pests aren’t a terrible problem. It almost seems as if the pests are attracted to the wilting, unhealthy plants, leaving the others alone. However, if today’s conventional farmer were to give up using his pesticides after years of use, all the insects in the world would demolish his crop. David Getoff likens it to the way a shark is attracted to a dying fish. I know personally, if I remember to put newspaper collars on my tomato seedlings, I never have cutworms. Good-bye Seven’s dust forever…now if only there were an easier remedy for squash bugs than squashing…

Avoid unorganic fats because of pesticide saturation

Another biggie that I took away from watching this DVD was the fact that pesticides are fat soluble. This means that the pesticide residue on our fruits and veggies (which by the way, is not easily washed or soaked off) binds to our fat cells. Fat soluble, NOT water soluble…these buggars are not going to be eliminated via sweat or urination. And so many people are on low-fat diets, that these toxins are going to sit around in their fat cells indefinitely. The good news, is that you can let go of these old fats by eating new, organic ones. And it’s a pretty important step to take in the organic process…switching to organic fats. Because so many toxic chemicals bind to fats, David Getoff recommends definitely switching to using EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), organic butter, and buying organic eggs for the high-fat content in egg yolks, and organic pastured poultry meat for the good fats found in the skin. Same thing with nuts, since they are very high fat. Buy organic.

To sum up, make changes where you can. Our family has been taking small steps as we’ve found the avenues to support this way of eating. Okay, maybe butchering my own chickens hasn’t been that “small” of a step, but it sure didn’t happen overnight! Switching to organic fats (EVOO, Coconut oil and butter), organic free range eggs and raw milk are things we definitely all should look into, as these things contain more toxic residue that sits around in our bodies causing trouble.

Yes, organic costs more. So put less money into the less important things. Do you really need that new car? Good health is more important. Organically grown foods have more vitamins, no toxins, and thousands of percents more minerals. There are ways around the cost, one of which is to grow your own foods without pesticides, etc. Or find a CSA farm in your area and see if they’ll let you work off part of a season’s food share. Find a food co-op at which you can purchase all your favorite health store goodies at wholesale prices, and so much more!

Finally, if you aren’t yet convinced, a Rutgers University study compared commercially- vs. organically-grown fruits and vegetables. They were astounded at how organic produce whopped the competition!

Commercially grown fruits and vegetables are less expensive, are prettier to look at, contain approximately 10-50% of the nutrients found in organic produce, are often depleted in enzymes, and are contaminated with a variety of herbicides, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.

In comparing organically and commercially grown wheat, researchers found the organic wheat contained 20-80% less metal residues (aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury), and contained 25-1300% more of specific nutrients (calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, and zinc).

Why should we buy organic? Why indeed…