Sunday, November 28, 2010

Awareness Examen

AWARENESS EXAMEN
 
        This short prayer exercise is to help increase one's sensitivity to the Spirit working in one's life and to provide one with the enlightenment needed to co-operate and respond to this presence. If you use this daily you should find it helpful in noticing spiritual movements.
Thanksgiving ....
        Begin by looking over the day and asking to see where you need to be thankful. Do not choose what you think you should be thankful for, rather, by merely looking over the day see what emerges, what you notice, even slightly. Allow gratitude to take hold of you and express this to the Holy One who at this moment beholds you.
Ask For Light ....
        This is a prayer for enlightenment from God. In the next step we will use our own reflection skills to dispose ourselves for the awareness that we hope will come more directly from God. This often happens unexpectedly or by way of a special little surprise even when we are expecting it! We have a hard time to believe that our own reflection and self understanding here is but a disposition for the Spirit's teaching us (Matt 10:20). Therefore ask the Spirit to show you what God wants you to see.
Finding God In All Things ....
        Again look over the events of the day. This time ask the Spirit to show you where God's presence has been in your life, either in you or in others, and in the events of public life:
        What public events from your local environment and larger world have impact or should have impact upon you? 
--  where are the signs of the Spirit?
--  where are the destructive or divisive powers?
        What interior events were significant for you?
-- notice what stands out even slightly, such as joy,
pain, turmoil, increase of love, anger, harmony,
anxiety, freedom, enchainment, presence of God, isolation.
        Where do you sense you were being drawn by God's Spirit?
        How have you been responding to these events or experiences?
 
Respond To God In Dialogue ....
        Is there any one area you are being nudged to focus your attention on, to pray more seriously over, to take action on? This is where your energy needs focus instead of on the many other things you think are important. Discuss this with Jesus.

  Express what needs to be expressed:
 ... praise ... sorrow ... gratitude ... desire for change ...
 ... intercession ...

Help And Guidance For Tomorrow ....
        Ask God for your needs for tomorrow. For example, you may need to pray to overcome something ... to be more sensitive to God's activity in your environment ... to celebrate in some way you ... to let go ... to deal with some issue ... to be open to conversion in some area ... to make some decisions to act against some destructive forces in the various worlds of your life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shopping

Well, here in the US the day after tomorrow is known as Black Friday.  The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would  occur on the day after Thanksgiving.  Use of the term began by 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or "in the black."  (Taken from Wikipedia) 

Honestly, I think I've only been out once on Black Friday, it was the year that Tickle 
Me Elmo was hard to find, maybe 1996?  I don't much like crowds, so shopping the
day after Thanksgiving doesn't much appeal to me.  I have a few tips in general when 
it comes to shopping, at least for clothes.  

1.  Go by yourself or with a good friend.  It's too hard to shop with kids and if you 
want a second opinion on how something looks you want an honest opinion. 

2.  Try everything on.  Don't buy stuff without trying it on, chances are you'll have to 
return it.  And try stuff on that you wouldn't normally wear, I have a couple of tops that 
I didn't think much of on the hanger but once I tried them on I loved them. 

3.  Let sales people help you.  A good sales person will get different sizes for you 
and give you honest feedback.  I once had a lady at a jewelry store tell me the bigger
necklace I was looking at didn't look as good on me as the smaller one.  She was more
interested in what looked good on me than making a bigger sale.  Guess what?  
We went back to her for the next three jewelry purchases we made.  Clothes are 
the same way, a good sales person will tell you what looks good on you and not try 
to sell you stuff that's unflattering.

4.  If you shop online, do your online returns through the mail.  Almost all companies these
days send you a return label, go ahead and send that item(s) back.   (Side note, another 
reason to go into the store and try stuff on!  So you know it fits)

5.  If there's an item that you really really want, save your money and get it instead of buying stuff
you don't really want or need.  Chances are you you could have gotten what you really wanted
instead of all those things you bought for $10, $15 or $20.

If you're going out on Friday or just shopping in general I hope you find great deals and things 
you look beautiful in.  The world needs more beauty!


Ciao.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipe of the week: Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative for pasta, and much healthier!  (About 42 calories per cup and pasta is about 220).  When my kids were little, they thought the squash was really pasta, unfortunately now they know better.  The hardest part of this is cutting the squash.

Preheat oven to 375.  Get a large knife and cut in half.  Scoop out the seeds like you would with a pumpkin.  Once you have it cleaned out, put it into a large class pan 9x13 or larger depending on the size of the squash.  Place it skin side up in the pan, fill with 1/2-1 inch of water and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  You want it tender and stringy but not mushy.  Remove from oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes before handling.  I use an ice cream scoop or a pasta fork to get the squash out of the skin.  Serve with you're favorite sauce.  I like marinara and a little Parmesan cheese on mine, pesto would be good.  I tried it one day with salsa and pepper jack.  When my son was little he didn't like tomatoes, so the only thing he'd eat on his was butter and Parmesan.  As always, play with you're food and let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's just a feeling

Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are.  Ugh, if I could only remember this!  It's not what we're taught by our parents, teachers or society.  Feelings are those spontaneous, internal, instantaneous responses to our thoughts and or our beliefs about actions or events; they are our own unique internal reactions to something we see, touch, taste, smell or think.

It's when we try to live by our feelings (or make decisions about things)  instead of what we know is truth that we get into trouble.  Time by yourself, to really get to know yourself is really important, so that you know what is true for you.  Large amounts of beauty helps.

I hope you are finding beauty in your life.  Today was one of those 'the clouds have parted and I feel like I live a charmed life' kind of days.

Ciao

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recipe of the week: Corn Chowder

I love Mimi's Cafe corn chowder.  I've had their recipe for several years and love to make it at home but like everything else I've modified it a bit.  Mine has more vegetables and less fat.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

Corn Chowder



Ingredients
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery, large dice
3 cups hot water
2 1/2 cups raw potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
16 oz bag frozen corn (white or yellow)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
5 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups half and half
2 1/2 cups milk
fresh ground pepper



Directions:
In a large pot or dutch over, melt butter.  Add onion, celery, simmer until softened but not browned.  Add water potatoes, corn and seasonings.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until tender.  Whisk flour into 1 cup half and half and stir into soup.  Add remaining half and half and milk.  Simmer 15 minutes, until soup thickens.  Add salt and pepper.  To thin add a little more milk, to thicken simmer 5-10 more minutes.  Serve with fresh ground pepper.  Enjoy!