Monday, April 30, 2012

The Zoo

My mom, dad and I took my five-year-old nephew and my almost-three-year-old niece to the zoo. It was a total blast and we saw some beautiful wonders of God’s creation. I found myself thinking, “Who comes up with these unique creatures? God! That’s Who!” When we first arrived, a HUGE lizard crossed our path…I’m convinced he escaped from the reptile house. There is just no way possible that he was supposed to be running around on the sidewalk. I was too stunned to even get his picture.

Immediately following the “lizard crossing” we saw these interesting “little fuzzy worms” as we called them. I’m sorry, I do not know the proper name, but we had to watch our step so as to avoid them.

As we walked around and looked at the different animals, I was reminded of a desire I had as a little girl to be a Zoologist. I remember thinking how fun it would be to play with the animals and spend time with them…I’m sure there is A LOT more involved than just playing with them…like feeding, cleaning up after them, tending to any medical needs, etc. But, there was just something about it that intrigued me. Though I did not grow up to be a zoologist, I still love animals and being at the Zoo reminded me that God is the Creator, Sustainer and Owner of all, including the animals:
I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. –Psalm 50:11
Taking care of animals is a blessing and responsibility mankind received from God:
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." – Genesis 1:28
All we ever need do is simply take a walk outside to sense the wonder of Who God is:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth. – Psalm 19:1-6

I must say, after seeing every animal at the Zoo, on this particular day I was most drawn to the Highland Cattle. This one so gently and calmly walked to the fence and stood for us to stroke his back. We could sense his gentleness immediately and from what I read, these guys do not stress easily….perhaps that is why I liked him so very much, that sense of peace...and he is just so cute. 

I also greatly enjoyed watching the giraffes. I couldn’t help but think “grace” as I watched them. They too had kind eyes and gentleness about them. Though their long legs may make them at first seem a little awkward, the ease with which they looked around and bowed their heads seemed so very graceful.

The Zoo…a perfect opportunity to take in the incredible beauty of what our Lord has created with just a word:

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1:20-25

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Good Is It?

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the balance and the tension between faith and works. How much do I ask, believe and wait for God to work all things for my good and His glory and how much to I actively participate in the fulfillment of His promises and blessings? What good is it for me to ask God to change a circumstance, yet I make no effort to change what I am doing physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually? Won’t the circumstance most often remain the same if my behaviors and attitudes that allowed or enabled the circumstance to occur are not dealt with and altered?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? …You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works… faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:14, 22, 26

Looking back over the last few years of my life, I can relate to this passage from Exodus just after Moses led Israel through the Red Sea…

Then Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When Moses cast the tree into the water, the water became sweet. – Exodus 15:22-25

When I faced a bitter trial, I looked up, I cried out to God for wisdom and direction and healing and asked Him to show me what I should do. I looked into His Word, I waited and He answered.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them is great reward. – Psalm 19:7-11

All of the answers did not come over night, but He graciously led me through a process of learning (through books, testimonies of others and trial and error) how to change my diet and consume foods that He created to fuel my body so that I am healthy and able to do the work He has prepared for me. I believe the process was a balance of faith and works. I had faith and prayed and believed God in His mighty power would heal my body and restore me to good health, yet I and my wonderful mom (who was right beside me all the way) worked as diligently as we could to soak up the information we needed and make the changes necessary to rebuild and repair what had been broken down. To me, “works” is synonymous with “obedience”. We thanked God for revealing to us the usefulness of His creation and simply did what we were led and shown to do as an act of obedience. He led us beside still waters to what is true and pleasant. Today I am thankful for all of the changes that have been made and that I can know Him personally as my Jehovah-Rapha.

I am the Lord, your healer. – Exodus 15:26

He restores my soul. – Psalm 23:3

Here is a favorite new recipe using whole foods that are nourishing and incredibly delicious! This spinach and mushroom frittata can be eaten with a salad for dinner, reheated in the oven for breakfast and served with berries or taken to the office for lunch with raw veggies.

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
2 (10 oz.) packages of frozen chopped spinach
1 large red onion, chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used baby portobellas)
12 oz. Beyond Organic Havarti Cheese
12 large eggs

Heat oil in an iron skillet on stove top. Add onion, garlic and spinach. Saute for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese and eggs, stirring until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch pie dishes with parchment paper and divide mixture between the two dishes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until egg and cheese are set. Remove from oven and serve hot with salad. You can refrigerate or freeze for a later date.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Curried Amasai Chicken Salad

It has been one month since my last blog post, so getting back into the swing of things I thought I'd share a new recipe for Curried Amasai Chicken Salad. It is SO DELISH and is a great dish to have ready in the refrigerator for a quick bite when life gets busy. Plus it is a cool and refreshing meal for the rising temperatures we are experiencing this Spring.

What is Amasai?

True whole milk, from GreenFed cows, that is cultured with probiotics and is a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats (including those Omega-3s we often hear so much about). Amasai is similar to yogurt or kefir and can be consumed as a beverage, eaten with a spoon or used as a nutritious addition in recipes. An excellent way to boost immunity and digestive function, Amasai is also easily digested by those like myself with dairy sensitivity...after many months of consuming Beyond Organic Amasai, I have had no digestive difficulties and attribute that to the breed of cattle which do not carry the casein gene that is common to conventional and standard organic cattle in the U.S. as well as the GreenFinished commitment of Beyond Organic to only feed the cattle what they were created to grasses and herbs. So what are you waiting for? Check out the recipe below and then check out some Beyond Organic Amasai!

Curried Amasai Chicken Salad


2 Organic Chicken Breasts (cooked, cooled and shredded)
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped
1 Cup Celery, chopped
1/2 Cup Raisins
2 Lemons, juiced
1" Fresh Ginger, grated
1-1 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1 Cup Beyond Organic Amasai - Plain

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stirring until well-mixed. Serve over mixed greens. Makes 3-4 servings.

Another benefit to this dish is the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and turmeric...two great inflammation fighters!