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Peace. It’s a gift from God. What I love most about gifts from God, is there are no strings attached. It is yours because He loves you. All you have to do is receive it.
When was the last time you felt peace in your life? Peace and quiet can be felt when the kids go to go bed, or after a hectic day of work is over; but I’m not talking about that kind of peace. I’m talking about a deep, deep peace.
Our lives are built around hectic schedules of “to do” lists. We run from point A to point B juggling kids, spouse, work, home, and all the other tasks required to keep up. With all the technology, I think we, as a society, are more stressed out than ever! Technology is supposed to help, but I think it has hindered us in many ways. We’ve become “unplugged” from relationships, conversations, and gestors of kindness. We no longer need to “bump” into someone at the grocery store because now we can order our groceries on-line. No need to even get out of the car, as the customer service representative will load it for you! Don’t worry about getting your steps in….you can go to the gym...maybe, if your can squeeze it in! What will it take for you to slow down, breathe, and cherish life?
A deep peace can carry you through difficult times in life when things are uncertain. This type of peace is noticed by others you encounter. It shows in how you act, speak, and live your life. It’s quite refreshing to feel that even on the darkest day, God can give the gift of Peace that passes all understanding.
Maybe you are wondering how you can receive this gift? It’s quite simple, really. Just ask for it. The Lord knows your heart. He sees your hurts. He knows your struggles. He feels the tangles in your relationships.
As I sit, looking out my window, I watch a tidal river sway with its white caps that then settle and flow along. Each of us experience those white caps in life. The turbulence can be difficult leaving one to wonder how it will end, or if we will survive it. I’ve grown to appreciate life, because life is fragile. That fragility helps me gather the important people in my life and keep them close. Things can change in a second and that white cap becomes tall and resilient. The current seems strong and swift. Even in those days, peace is available to the recipient. All you need to do is ask and receive.
It seems simple enough, yet so many go through life not experiencing true peace. That includes me. It’s easy to get caught up in this world. We run from situations because it’s easier than dealing with them. We look for answers in this world and try to gain control, but it’s futile. The only answer is to turn it over to the Lord. He came to set us free from bondage. He came to restore peace and joy.
Think of life as slices of pie. Time spent is a slice out our of life that can never be reused, recovered or replaced. How that time is spent should be meaningful in building up the world rather than taking it down. Take a PEACE of pie today and enjoy each bite. Savor the love and warmth; remember to express gratitude to the one who set you free.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
“And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should. How long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.” Ephesians 3:17-19
health-bite: Take your gift of Peace and share it with others.
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A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients' needs.
When I was a little girl, I loved playing poker with my dad. It was usually the two of us with my mom's cousin at our family cabin. The cabin was primitive, and at night with no television, it was a time to play cards. We sat at the kitchen table with a kerosene lamp on the side. Because I was the young one with the best eyes, I usually sat in the middle where there was only limited lighting. We would divide the chips and "ante up" to begin the game. The dealer got to decide whether it was black jack or five card draw and what cards, if any, were wild. It was the only place my dad played cards with me. It's one of the best memories I have of him.
In life we are dealt circumstances, many beyond our control. The hand we hold will look different throughout our journey. Sometimes we can hold onto our hand and play, hoping it's enough to get through. Other times, it's necessary to throw a couple back and take a chance for something better or maybe even a wild card. Perhaps that new outlook will change the circumstances for the better.
How do you play the cards in your life? Do you hold onto your hand because you don't want to take a risk? Unless a few cards are exchanged there's no way to know if there's something better in store, but the risk is the next cards drawn could be worse. Sometimes we get stuck in our routines and cycles of life that may not be serving us well. While some people are big risk takers, others tend to be more conservative. Which area do you fall into?
Think about what's not serving you well. Is it your current job? A relationship that's holding you back? A health crisis? Imagine your life in a different way...what does it look like? What can you do today to make a change and find peace, joy, and balance?
I think in order to grow, we must give back some of those cards and explore what else is possible. It's a chance for growth and explorations and adventures! Even if you draw a deuce, it will be okay. Ever heard of the word, bluff? I was pretty good at that part in cards. Sometimes it's necessary to bluff in life too. What I mean by that is the attitude in which the deuce is handled. Being grumpy, mad, or having a poor attitude is not healthy and serves no good purpose. That deuce is a gift. It was drawn for a reason. Treat it so and treasure it as such. There is something to learn from it, so start learning.
Each of us is shaped by the cards we are dealt and the ways we play them. If you've ever had a royal flush, you'll understand the feeling that comes with holding the highest possible poker hand. It feels great to take that chance and win the hand. But it is just one hand in many events of life. It usually doesn't happen that often, the odds are against it. That's doesn't mean though you shouldn't take the chance. Look at the cards in your hand right now. What can you throw back that will allow the possibility of something better?
Health bite: It's not the hand you are dealt, it's how it's played.
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I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Moosewood. For those who don’t know what Moosewood is, it’s a restaurant located in Ithaca, NY. Home of Cornell University and Ithaca College, Moosewood is best known for their vegetarian menu that is derived new each day. Ingredients are purchased locally and in season to bring out the best in each dish served. While visiting friends in Ithaca, I entered Moosewood because it was on the top ten things to do while there. After dinner, I purchased five cookbooks. I kept two and gave each of my three daughters a cookbook of their own. The best part is the ingredients are “normal” goods a typical cook will have on hand. To me, that is key to ease of preparing meals in a timely manner.
I’ve made this dish many times, and it’s a family favorite. Over the course of preparation, I have omitted some of the cheese as it calls for more. Fee free to add more if you like, I’m trying to cut down on cheese as a personal preference. Dairy is a known inflammatory agent which has been linked to many chronic diseases. By the way, it is still delicious without the extra calories and fat of the extra cheese!
- 4 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 TBS olive oil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ cups cornmeal
- (½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (set aside for at least 10 minutes)
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach or combination of both
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms, white or cremini
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or mild provolone cheese, or a mixture of both (2 cups in original recipe)
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 cup fresh basil
- (½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese)
Put the water, salt, olive oil, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal as you pour into the boiling water in a steady stream. Bring back to a boil; reduce the heat to a very low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the texture is smooth and creamy, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, if using.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Spread the polenta evenly in the pan and set it aside while you prepare the vegetables.
In a large pot or skillet on medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, garlic, salt, oregano, and black pepper, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the mushrooms and cook covered, about 5 minutes. Add greens, still until combined. Cook, covered, until the greens have wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella over the polenta. Spread the cooked vegetables evenly on top. In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes and basil and then spread the mixture on top of the cooked vegetables. Finally sprinkle the remaining ½ cup mozzarella evenly over the tomato-basil layer.
Cover the casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is golden brown and the casserole is thoroughly hot, about 10 more minutes. Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurants Favorites
If you are looking for a hearty vegetarian patty that is gluten free, look no further. It's crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. It's sure to please even the pickest of eaters!
Full of rich flavor, this recipe will become one of your new favorites. Double the recipe and freeze a portion for another time. It will help make work night meal time easier and healthier.
It's also easy to substitute ingredients in and out of this one without much notice.
LIVE BETTER, LONGER