Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Push Towards Meditation and What It Means for Christians

Everywhere, ok not exactly "EVERYWHERE", but in a Big way,the modern push towards meditation and "mindfulness" has quickened.

As a christian this change in society has been both inspiring and alarming, comforting and disturbing.

When I go to a local gym, there are "Yoga" classes teaching meditation.
Even in the public school system, some of the teachers are taking the time to teach the class room of vulnerable minds, how to meditate and practice their own version of "mindfulness".

What Encourage me is the following:

1/ I am encouraged that society has become self aware of the need for stress reduction strategies in the classroom and the work place. We can't control stress, but we certainly can learn how to deal more constructively with it in our daily lives. We CAN control how we react to stress.
2/ There is a spiritual quality to meditation which has been touted by such business leaders such as
Ariana Huffington and others. Ariana Huffington gives credit to the Biblical applications of meditation as described in the Bible, for the promotion of interaction with God and listening for His impressions.
3/ It is always a healthy sign when leaders in society allow and even encourage their workers to
take "meditation" breaks during the work day. This practice allows a christian to spend time with God in the practice of prayer, scripture study, and meditation in the scriptures and prayer.
4/ Meditation and rest are cousins. Those who promote meditation promote rest and usually are peace loving folks. Who doesn't like a peaceful person?

What Concerns me about meditation and mindfulness training:

1/ I don't want my children to be taught spiritual principles outside of the teachings of the Bible. Although
I want my children to learn how to "self calm" via deep breathing and focusing on God and His word, I am concerned that some of the modern bents of meditation training does not respect a traditional understanding of christianity or the Bible, but has assimilated a few concepts from many of the major religious groups of the world and mixed them into some kind of strange new unscriptural religion.

2/ Some meditation techniques involve "emptying" the mind, which is not what the Bible teaches. The bible teaches us to renew our minds by filling it with God's Word, as revealed to humanity in the Holy Bible.

3/ What precisely is "mindfulness"? Is is being aware of what we are thinking constantly? Is it obsessing over
ourselves and making us into even yet more self centered humans?
Not to be too simple minded....but what should our "minds" be full of???
According to some gurus, our minds should be blank slates? But who are we clearing our minds for?
For God to write on? Yes, that would be great. But what if we are being encouraged to empty and clear our minds in order for some false religion to start to fill our minds with their priorities?

I don't know about you, but the only "being" or "person" who is permitted to write His thoughts onto my mind, is God, Jesus and His Holy Spirit. I know that narrows down my options, but that is a choice I have made in calling myself a Christian. Christian IS a narrow road, and does not embrace any and all religions. To pretend that Christianity embraces any and all religious teachings is simply wrong and inaccurate.

So how about you, my friend in Cyberspace? Does modern meditation comfort you? Or does it set off warning bells in your heart?
Looking forward to reading your comments,


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don't Throw Out that Pumpkin! Make Old Fashioned Fried Pumpkin Seeds!

Some of my neighbors make displays around this time of year with whole bright orange pumpkins....They don't even carve them up, they simply arrange them..... perhaps with some other decorations to make their front porch look "harvesty" and abundant.

Well, as a professional scavenger, I refuse to let these beautiful pumpkins go to waste.
I was also given some great big pumpkins via my local Fruitshare organization that also has the same
"Waste not, want not" mentality.

So, our family set about to fry up some good ole fashioned pumpkin seeds and I'd like to share the simple and low cost process with you. Since we fried them in vegetable shortening and only seasoned them with salt, they are actually a vegan item. Yay :)

So hear goes......
 First you get a fresh whole pumpkin and cut a hole in it big enough to reach your hand in to collect the raw seeds. It's best to use a pumpkin that no one has tampered with holes, bruises or carvings at all.
If you pumpkin is whole and complete, then the seeds inside will be perfectly fresh and ready to fry. Pumpkins stay fresh longest when they remain unopened and uncarved. Storing whole pumpkins is best done in a cool place such as outside or in a cool basement or garage.
Then you place all the collected seeds into a container complete with all the gushy orange odd pieces that come from the inner pumpkin.

Then you wash the seeds in a collander or some kind of sifter until the seeds are clean and free of all debri. If you don't own a real sieve, then you can also use the upper pot of a double boiler and they work well the holes in the upper pot of a double boiler are small enough to wash down and away the extra orangey stuff while not allowing the seeds to go escape down the drain.
Then you melt at least three large heaping tablespoons of vegetable shortening in your favorite frying pan or sauce pan. Add some salt to the seeds as well. Just use your individual taste to make sure you have just the right amount of salt.
Voila, it will probably take you about 10-15 minutes to fry up one pan of pumpkin seeds.
Take care to let them cool down a bit before you nibble.

Tasty and fresh and a great source of fiber as well.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Three Products that Have Never Failed You

Ok, I'll start..... my three products that have never failed me would include:

Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid,

Clorox Liquid Bleach

Kellogg's Corn Flakes.....

I know branding is sooooo vital...because it can take many years before a brand name becomes entrenched into the social psyche as a "reliable" and "valuable" brand name item.

Let's take "Johnson and Johnson", which provides, among a myriad of other products, skin care products that are suitable for the very youngest humans, our precious babies.  I would not hesitate to purchase any item that Johnson and Johnson has labeled as suitable for babies. But I would also be the first to admit that it has taken Johnson and Johnson many decades of deliberate hard work and public relations efforts to foster that sense of trust that the brand evokes in my mind.  It has also helped their cause that their company faithfully snails mails out high value coupons to any consumer that bothers to email or call them on the phone.

Building a brand name attracts not only faithful consumers, but also interest in the investment world.
Folks who follow the edicts of the Legendary Warren Buffet, try to focus on "simple" companies that market
products that we all recognize and use almost daily. Johnson and Johnson succeeds in that front as well.

Ok, now it's your turn. What are three products that, in your mind, have never failed you? Does their brand name pop easily into your mind?
Looking forward to reading your comments in the section below.

Peaceful productivity,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Who Decides there is an OIL GLUT? Or Dwindling Supplies?

With all the ruckus about low oil prices, I've really come to wonder about the ACTUAL reality of oil supplies in North America.

Apparently, according to the media.... there was an "OIL GLUT" over the past year which has caused the price of a barrel of oil in North America to plunge below $50 on a regular basis.

But then again, I just read more blurbs from yet more media this week about "dwindling supplies" of oil in
the U.S.  So really.....go figure. Who is right? How much oil do we really have "seen or unseen" in storage tanks within North America?

What I find amusing is that there seems to be more of a market for hyped opinions than for actual scientific facts. Yes, my friends.....oil can certainly be literally measured....but really isn't it just more fun to make up stuff?

There could be professionals who make it their life's work to go around to all the major oil storage facilities in North America and actually MEASURE how much oil is sitting there. But perhaps it isn't feasible to have that kind of broad "access of information" regarding our precious oil resources. Maybe REAL data is too valuable to disseminate to the general population.

So perhaps we need to continue just be like blind sitting ducks and wait and "believe" whatever hype the media wants to sell to us on a daily basis.

Oil and Gas is a huge industry that props up huge swaths of our economy. And no, there's nothing wrong with that. But it appears that folks make a tad too much money from selling "hype" when it comes to the oil and gas industry. People like talking about "plunging prices" or conversely, about "peak oil" scarcity when the mood suits them. News channels love to report about how many good folks are to be laid off from working in the oil fields.

But I would like to encourage myself and any other willing souls to simply determine to seek out the facts, where ever they might be available or even if they are "hard to find"..... and to use ONLY the facts to form the opinions that we  want to hold.

Peace and prosperity,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A "Food Not Bombs" Dinner Invite

Well, I had read about it for years on the net and was always just a wee bit curious as to what it was all about. Feeding humans for free can't really be all that controversial can it?
Apparently so...... I read that "Food Not Bombs" was at one point, considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Perhaps that was many years ago, when even John Lennon was considered a "suspicious" person by the U.S. Government. Perhaps passivism was not quite in line with those who had a penchant for "war".

But anyway, my family and I were invited the other day to a "Food Not Bombs" community dinner to be held in a local politician's head quarters who would get some good free publicity from the event.

So, remembering the event at the last minute, I convinced the family to join me in an adventure at our very first invite to a "Food Not Bombs" community dinner. As we arrived, I noticed that several of the dinner guests had arrived on foot or by bicycles parked near the tidy white building. As we entered the politician's domain, the dinner guests had sprawled around a few haphazardly placed rough wooden tables and chairs. Most were chatting quietly and scoping out the looks of the other unfamiliar attendees. The dinner guests, a colorful array of local humanity, as far ranging in character and social standing as the colored stones scattered about the parking lot. No two alike, each with a different world view, a different kind a life, home and way of being. No talk of economics or stock market fluctuations could be heard. Just forks scraping plates and jesting between those who happened to know one another. Fertive glances towards those, like my family, who didn't know our way around. Glad to see that the courageous gal who had invited us, was there too, happily hosting and welcoming the motley crew.

No paper plates, just real Correlle plates and a mish mash of unmatched oversized ceramic plates to claim as we made our way to the buffet array of vegan dishes. Some were hot..... some were cold... but all were very clearly prepared with love and concern and a certain spartan determinism.

You see, all of the food that was used to prepare the dishes served at the "Food Not Bombs" dinner was donated by local businesses, and generous individuals. I was informed in advance that the meal would be vegan, but I must admit that I was unprepared for the delicious and broad array of brilliant dishes to choose from.

The only thing I really missed was having "traditional" mayo or salad dressing to add to the great veggie salad. But the silky homemade hummus more than made up for it's absence.

A radio turned to a local pop rock station floated and bounced tunes round the room. The guests outnumbered the wooden chairs, so we sat down on the edge of a landlocked dock out back.... taking in the cool breeze and bright evening sunlight dancing on the wild grasses just behind the landing.

Munching on my vegan feast, I mused quietly.Can it be possible that we can really "just feed" other humans, without having some kind of ulterior motive? Can it really be this simple, just to invite other humans for a meal, prepare the meal and be ready to dine in style with perfect strangers? It's so amazing, I hadn't heard anyone talk about  money for the entire meal. No collection plate is passed and no tickets were sold for the event. Just free food, for free humans. Amen sister.

The vegan feast included a hearty veggie salad complete with dark leafy greens, tomatoes, sesame seeds, and chopped fresh mushrooms. A dollop of homespun hummus smoothes it all out.
Then there was a potatoe and kale hash dish, warmed and comforting. A wholesome dish, that I don't really know the name of,  contained veggies and ripe red kidney beans. All and all, the meal was fresh and complete.

 There were several other dishes and a pot of soup that I didn't get a chance to sample, as I was simply just too full from the monster size salad and bean dish.
For desert there were fresh local pears, shiny vegan chocolate cake, of which my son helped himself to two slices, and a crunchy apple crumble in abundance.

How can all this be vegan, so tasty and satisfying and still be "free"???

Well, as nerve wracking as it can be to force oneself and one's family to venture into completely new social settings, it was an adventure that I am glad we undertook. To be met and greeted by the lady who prepared the meal and gave us the invite made for a friendly community vibe. Photo ops and thanks were made to the politician who let "Food Not Bombs" use her campaign head quarters at no charge.

I must say that it is ultimately VERY refreshing to meet a group of people who simply believe in feeding other human beings, without any other strings attached.

Not to get too philosophical.....but let me close by saying the obvious: Some folks talk alot and others folks sure do write alot....and then there are those blazing trails with their quiet example. Peace.

Thank you for the invite!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In my opinion...There is NO Energy Shortage

Let's have a heated discussion shall we?

All the rage over the past ten years there have been too many pundits crying about some "looming"   ENERGY CRISIS.

But, when I look around me,  or dig through any manner of intelligent magazines or newspapers, there is massive evidence to the contrary. There are so many forms of energy already being utilized and there are therefore unlimited ways in which to tap it .

There's something called the "E=MCsquared" formula which Einstein coined.
So basically "anything" .....any item and object in and around our earth has potential energy contained within it simply because it exists. The question is simply how to coerce energy out of these objects in the most viable manner. What is possible is not always financially practical....or may be simply too awkward to pursue.

The bottom line seems to be that there are enormous financial obstacles as well as the huge invisible hand of the business and political community. Let's start by admitting to ourselves that the world isn't running out of energy!!

 There is something also called "The Law of the Conservation of Matter" which according to my limited  understanding would also support the idea that there really is no lack of energy in our world.....things simply change form....they actually NEVER lose their "mass" a.k.a their "weight".

Therefore, If an item has a weight to it....then it exists and can be plugged into the "E=MCsquared"
formula. Every "thing" has potential energy contained within it, just because it exists or has weight.
Ok, 'nuff about that.... Now let me spout about the related issue of financial support and political will.
With all the current and more "well known" energy technologies such as
geo-thermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, hydro electric energy, and
bio-mass seems to me that what is lacking is simply the political and "business" will to support and mass market these newer technologies. When governments pull up their sleeves and start REALLY supporting these alternative energy may actually create a society in which regular consumers can choose which energies to utilize for their regular and business activities instead of being forced to simply plug into the regular electrical grid.

Permit me to be a little long winded today...(.If you want short blurbs...go visit Twitter ok?)
For a real life example......In my area of Ontario, Canada, where I reside, there are numerous road construction projects underway.
What caught my eye are the orange colored traffic control lights and flashing signs that are solar powered, with easily visible little black solar panels keeping them humming along.

Now, I would like to know....why is it that the construction industry has figured out the cost efficiency of using solar powered gadgets on road projects, but the average regular "consumer" is still stuck plugging everything into the usual grid???

If there really was loud and vocal support for solar in my neck of the woods, I would assume that at least HALF of the appliances and gadgets in my home could operate independently from solar/wind energy that I gathered, and processed on my own home turf.

Why is it that the government has only supported solar projects that feed back into the status quo
regular energy grid??? If I am going to produce/collect my own solar energy, I MIGHT NOT WANT TO SELL IT BACK into the electrical grid. I might just wanna be selfish and use it all up for me and my family and my immediate neighbors. THAT would be REAL energy independence. THAT would also protect me and my family from any province wide blackouts ...that happen when you utilize a public electrical grid.
I find it really strange that "energy independence" is all the rage to help "develop" rural African communties and regular folks are being empowered "literally" to buy and install solar power cells onto the roofs of their humble tin roofs, thus creating a very low cost, sustainable and INDEPENDENT power source for
isolated rural individuals and families and small businesses in Africa.

What I don't understand is that there seems to be so little political will to doing the same for regular Canadians.  For the record...I am just really tired of paying very high electricity bills. It seems like
that cow is just being milked so staunchly that no one really wants to chop into that money making machine that is our utility grid. Don't even get me started on that proverbial "sliding scale" that gives lower energy prices for corporations instead of regular consumers.

Ok,  rant complete..... I would love to have your feedback, my dear readers. Do any of my comments ring true for you?


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Check out M&M's New Gluten Free Items!

Twas a great relief to discover this summer that all of my favourite beef burgers selling at 
M&M  Meat shops were ALL GLUTEN FREE!

It seems that they have extended themselves to cater to those who want to observe a gluten free lifestyle and I couldn't be more delighted!

Check out their website :  M&M