Follow Your Bliss

This Saturday I was conversing with one of my sisterfriends, and we were lamenting the economic woes of some Generation Xers. We’re the generation after the baby boomers, but before the Millennials. We noted that some of our contemporaries are having a difficult time navigating the requirements for success in this economy. We concluded that our difficulties began with the shift best described by Thomas Friedman in his March 31, 2013, column entitled Need a Job? Invent It: “…there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job- the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job.” The article then goes on to say that motivation, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration are 21st century skills required for success. We can’t go back in time and change our upbringing that taught us that going to college was all we needed to have a middle-class lifestyle, so I’d like to offer my antidote to Generation Xers for navigating this economy. I figure since too many of us are in careers in which we are undervalued, underpaid and talents underused, we need to create our own paths. We need to follow our bliss!

Sunday’s Houston Chronicle offered a perfect example of why it’s important to follow your passion. It was a story on Colleen Hoover, a Texas mother of three making $9/hour and living in a trailer. She decided to e-publish her book, and to her surprise she had so many downloads that her book became a New York Times bestseller’s list. She has gotten a book deal to publish with a major publishing house. More importantly she was able to move out of the trailer into a real home. Following her bliss has brought her economic freedom that was otherwise unattainable to her. I know it takes courage to go after your heart’s desire, but I believe the alternative is even scarier.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Colleen Hoover’s blog is found on www.colleenhoover.com 

Thomas Friedman’s column referenced is http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/friedman-need-a-job-invent-it.html?_r=0

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Invictus

For several weeks, much of my spiritual reading has been on the power of the subconscious mind and our ability to control it.  I thought today my post would serve as an exemplar of what it means to control your subconscious mind. What greater example than Nelson Mandela! A man who walked out of 27 years in prison with no bitterness, anger or vengeance. His only aim was to continue his steadfast goal to free South Africa from apartheid. Here is the poem Invictus that Nelson Mandela would recite daily.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
 
I think we would all do well to memorize these powerful words to empower our daily lives.
 
until next Sunday,
lillieth

Finding Your Voice

Intuition is the spiritual faculty that does not explain, it simply points the way. – Florence Scoval Schinn

Eating raw foods, Organic Soul Foods, vegetarianism, Christianity, Baptist, teacher, knitting, etc: my lifestyle choices! Lifestyle choices represent what we want our biography to encompass when we become “dust to dust”! It also represents our voice in the world. Follow a script or create our own script for our life is the question that we answer subconsciously or consciously by our lifework. “Scripts” have been written for humanity through cultural expectations, things humans are expected to do as we age, i.e. go to college, get married, have children… The scripts change depending on nationality, religion, race, or gender.  

This week I have had a stream of thoughts about what is significant about creating my own path in life. Why go against the grain? Why not do what society expects? For me the only conclusion I can come too is that creating my own script in life makes my life feel more authentic. I feel as if God created me for a definite purpose, uniquely designed just for me. I feel as if I am listening to the voice of God, and  guided by the will of God. It requires me to have faith in my choices, even when others say differently. Truthfully I find it to be a more interesting, engaging way to live.

Thanks for reading my ramblings this week! 🙂

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Resurrection

Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus this Easter Sunday. Today I’d like to resurrect the original reason I began this blog: to eat raw foods for 365 days. Currently one of my sister friends is on a juice fast. Her commitment has brought back those original feelings I had that sparked my desire to eat raw foods.

Self reflection is powerful! I was asked for some tips to enhance a juice fast. The first thing that came to mind was the Boy Scouts’ motto: Be Prepared! To be successful with any endeavor, most especially a change in eating habits, you must be prepared. Eating is such a visceral experience that any changes to your routine can cause all sorts of havoc if you’re not prepared for it. As I reflect on my attempt at eating raw foods, through reading my first blog posts, there was one glaring fact. I was NOT prepared for the shift to eating raw foods. I ask myself why I was not prepared and how I did not realize it.

I underestimated what it meant to be prepared. I bought food equipment, gathered recipes, attended classes and potlucks all in an effort to create a community and have the tools to be able prepare a variety of raw foods. Where I fell short was in my household. Having personal space is required to eat a raw foods lifestyle. What I found is that my household was/is out of order. Currently my household has been in transition for nearly a year now. I underestimated how not having my personal space conducive to eating raw foods has been a major impediment. It stopped me from being adequately prepared for the shift.

As my fifth grade teacher used to always say: knowing is half the battle. Today I acknowledge what has made me unprepared for eating raw foods. So, the first order of business is getting my personal space in order to eat raw foods. I don’t put any time limit on it, just as long as I am actively working towards the goal of getting my personal space in order. Though this finding throws my whole timeline out of whack, my overall goal is to eat raw foods not adhere to a time table.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Since most of my blog posts are food-related I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a few lines to recognize that today is Cesar Chavez’s birthday. Chavez was a farm labor organizer and “led the first successful farm-workers union in the U.S. He won industry-wide labor contracts in American agriculture,” according to James Harrington in the Houston Chronicle.  Check out www.cesarechavezfoundation.org for more information about Cesar Chavez’s life.

Tears

Keeping with the theme of water I thought I’d share an excerpt from Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, dated March 21st.

I cry out with my whole heart. -Psalm 119:145

Water purifies. Water nurtures. Water is the healing force of the universe. Water cleanses. Water corrodes. Water refreshes. It is the conduit of growth, protection and maintenance. Crying produces salt water. It purges, protects and expands the spirit. Crying is a release, a cleansing, an expression. However, we must learn to cry with an agenda. Are you crying to release, to purify, to cleanse? Are you angry, frightened, worried or elated? We may cry because of a particular situation, but there is underlying emotion we really need to express. When done properly crying brings clarity and healing to the body and spirit. It can be a refreshing experience, so do it as often as you like. The moment the tears start to flow, just write down your agenda.

– When I cry with an agenda, my needs are met.

This whole post has been an excerpt from Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Benefits of Water

I know there are tomes written about water and its significance and benefits. I know I don’t have anything new to add to the subject, but I’d like to take a few lines to emphasize the importance of prioritizing water daily. It’s important that we each plan our day to include water. It may sound trivial, but it is essential to quantify how much water we’re in-taking daily. Water’s health benefits can’t be overstated. Here’s a list of reasons/ benefits of drinking a sizeable amount of water daily.

1) Our body is made up of about 60% water and needs to be replenished daily.

2) Drinking 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily helps replenish water loss.

3) It’s reported that people who drink sufficient amounts of water daily helps regulate their metabolism.

4)  Drinking enough water also helps with overeating, often our body is thirsty when we think its hungry.

5) Water keeps skin, hair and nails looking supple and hydrated.

If you want more reasons to prioritize daily water intake please reference the article “6 Reasons to Drink Water” on WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I value any holiday that is symbolized by my favorite color, green. 🙂

Water

I thought I’d post a poem this week:

By Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803–1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.
 
Until next Sunday,
 
lillieth
 
P.S. Forgive the lateness of this post. My 92-year-old uncle passed today, and I was called to his house minutes after his passing. I spent the better part of the day there.
 
 

Blue Gold: Water!

Water! I can’t believe in the eight months I’ve been blogging about the significance of eating raw foods I have failed to mention water. Water is a liquid made with two hydrogens and one oxygen molecule. It has been said that three days without water and you’re dead. Even with that knowledge water is constantly taken for granted.  Newspapers are replete with abuses that man exacts upon water. News such as fertilizers draining into waterways like the Mississippi River and streaming all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and causing dead zones (no oxygen in the water so the water creatures die). There is plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean that spans a 1000 mile radius choking the life out of fish. Autopsies on the fish show their stomaches filled with plastic. Water wars in communities especially with the drought that has plagued the U.S. for the past couple of years. Water rights contested private ownership vs. public ownership. There are now countless movies about water. Even here in Texas the state legislature is debating whether to pass bills that will build infrastructure to accommodate the expected population growth by 2050.

Maybe the way we treat water is a commentary on how we as humanity think of ourselves. If the very elements that keep us alive are the elements that we abuse the most (you can substitute water for air with the same dismal findings) what is that saying about us!

Until next Sunday,

Lillieth

P.S. It has been said that one should drink in ounces half one’s body weight.

P.P.S. Not to leave on such a down note about water, here’s a TEDTalk on the ancient ingenuity of water harvesting by Anupam Mishra:

http://www.ted.com/talks/anupam_mishra_the_ancient_ingenuity_of_water_harvesting.html   

Throwback Recipes

This post I thought I’d share some of the recipes from the books I referred to last post. I thought it’d be fun to share the book covers and a couple of recipes from books that are not easily found. Enjoy!

P.S. I have just spent the last 2 hours trying to upload the images of the book covers and recipes from the last post. I have been unsuccessful in this endeavor and concede defeat. Hopefully, next week I will be successful.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Food and Black History Month

Since we’re more than halfway through Black History month, I thought I’d merge the month’s focus with my ever-present topic of eating raw foods. Through the years, I have built a mini-library of raw foods, vegan, vegetarian, and general food books. I have been preoccupied with the topic of food for some time now. I thought I’d use this blog post to recommend a few books that have served me well through the years.

I initially started dabbling with a raw food diet in 1997. There were two books I used during that time. I’m not sure they’re still in print today.

1) Sunfried Foods: Cookless Recipes – Aris La Tham :This book is more of a pamphlet of raw recipes written by a Jamaican man who toured the U.S catering events. Last I heard he was preparing raw foods at a resort in Jamaica. I learned how to make almond milk from scratch using this book. At the time, I was able to get fresh squeezed sugar cane juice for my almond milk and raw cactus juice for my salad dressing! Beyond yum 🙂

2) 30 Days @ Delights of the Garden – Imar Hutchins: I just did a google search, and I believe the book is still available on Amazon.com. I was a huge fan of the Greener Hummus recipe. This book was a great help because it gave daily affirmations and the back story on the importance of eating raw foods if only for 30 days. The brother that wrote this book had a restaurant named Delights of the Garden in Washington, D.C. I’m not sure if it’s still open.

A vegan cookbook I’ve taken to lately is Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. On the back cover Terry is described as an eco-chef in Oakland, California. He uses his recipes to debunk the notion that soul food, African-American southern cuisine born out of slavery, is always bad for our health. If you saw the independent film “Soul Food Junkies”, you would have seen him in it. This book was at least published in this century (2009). 🙂  He also pairs the recipes with a soundtrack generally from jazz, African, or blues music.

Two other books that have broadened my understanding of food are Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and terra madre: Forging a Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities. The first is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by noted author Barbara Kingslover. The book journals Kingslover year long commitment to eating only food she grew on her Virginia farm or bought in her neighborhood. The book chronicles the intense preparation needed to maintain a commitment to eating mostly what she grew. The book gives perspective on eating local and the challenges that go along with it. She comes up with a catchy term: vegetannual. The second book is terra madre: Forging a Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities by Carlo Petrini. Petrini is a journalist turned activist as well as the founder of the Slow Food movement. He began the Slow Food movement as a reaction to the ever-increasing “homogenization of food and culture”. Every two years Terra Madre hosts an international event that highlights indigenous and traditionalists who share their food cultures in Turin, Italy.

Lastly, all books by food guru Michael Pollan helps with understanding the history of the American food diet how it began and how it has effected our present-day lives and lifestyle.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth