Monday, March 24, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 8

I'm a sky gazer. It is both comfortingly familiar and yet always changing, my lifelong friend.

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was to play the cloud game with my mother. I'm sure you've done it yourself. You look up try to find familiar shapes in the cloud formations, the more intricate, the better. While searching the sky for a pirate ship or a cupcake topped high with frosting, my mom and I would talk about all kinds of things, important and trivial. Somehow, looking up and letting our imaginations wander helped us find words to express things to each other that may have otherwise gone unsaid in the hustle and bustle of our busy days. Even now, though my mother is gone, I still find myself looking up and smiling at the shapes I find. The vastness of the sky and the movement of the clouds reminds me that there is plenty of time to just be, to talk to people, to enjoy being alive.

As I write this now, I'm outside, listening to music composed by J.S. Bach, and watching the gauzy clouds float in the dark blue sky of night. And, I'm imagining that, some three hundred years ago, Mr. Bach looked up at the same sky, maybe taking a break from composing, or walking home after a long night of church organ playing. Could he have foreseen that a stranger, hundreds of years in the future, would take such pleasure from his compositions? Then I wonder who might be sitting in this very spot, hundreds of years from now, letting their minds wander as they lift their eyes up. This reminds me that we are all connected to one another, across time and distance, and we are all a part of this earth that is our home.

I remember a particularly breathtaking sunset a few years ago in Southern California. The billowing clouds, glowing in vivid colors of red, orange, purple and pink formed what looked like a grand staircase leading up to the heavens, with the rays of the sun spilling over their tops. I almost expected to see the pearly gates just beyond the blinding light. I sometimes think that God creates masterpieces of art every day, with the sky as his canvas, just for the sake of bringing beauty to the world. This reminds me that I am not alone, and that there are forces that are bigger than me.

Our powerful telescopes and the satellites that are now exploring space have brought us more knowledge about what lies "out there" than we, as a species, have ever before known. The tiny, glittering lights in the night sky which look to me like specks of glitter on a velvet blanket are actually giant bodies of gas and matter and are further away than I can comprehend. This reminds me that things are not always as they seem.

Have you looked at the sky today?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Live-Long Sauerkraut

I'm a big fan of fermented foods. I've written before about the benefits of the good bacteria that fermented foods add to our diet. Check out my kim-chee recipe for the details!

I love to make homemade sauerkraut, and with this easy recipe, you, too, can have your own homemade sauerkraut in just a few days. I call it my Live-Long Sauerkraut because, well, it's one of the deceptively humble superfoods that people have been eating for centuries to strengthen their immunity against disease.

This recipe uses powdered probiotics to get the fermentation started and to add an extra dose of probiotics to the sauerkraut. If you are unfamiliar with powdered probiotics, please take a look at my E3Live Probiotics page for information about what they are and how they are used. This is my own proprietary blend and I proudly recommend adding it to your daily diet.

Make a batch of this delicious sauerkraut and have some every day as a side dish, a salad topping, a snack - use your imagination! And, now, without further ado...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 7

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once."
-George R. R. Martin

All my life, I've loved getting lost in good books. Whether classic novels, science fiction, historical nonfiction or spiritual, every book I've read has given me new worlds to explore and new insights to mull over.

Lately (and, by lately, I mean since smart phones and tablets started to be my constant companions), I've noticed that I rarely pick up books any more. More often, I'm reading the latest article to make the internet rounds, or catching up on what my favorite bloggers are doing. 

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy these "fluffy" readings. It's just that, like fluffy foods and fluffy people, I'm left feeling a little unsatisfied. Like there's a hunger that went unnoticed and unfulfilled. And, I do read with and to my children, which we all enjoy immensely. But, it's a bit different from curling up on the corner of the couch and immersing myself in a whole other world.

I've started to look at books like long-neglected friends. The well-loved books that I've lugged through many moves from house to house, the books on library shelves that I've yet to become familiar with, even books that have become famous as movies. They are all calling to me and I've decided that, starting today, I'm going to make more time and room in my life for reading books.

Do you need reasons to read more books? There are plenty! Here's an excellent article that outlines some of the main advantages.

But, in my opinion, this one is the most important.