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Some events, for me, drip with ink even before they come to a close. Woe that they should ever escape the pen. Tonight was such an event. And I barely know where to begin. So I’ll just start, ….at the beginning.

Firstly, I will tell you that I have always said, “If you weren’t surprised, then God didn’t show up.” Because you know how we roll, us Christian folks. We orchestrate, really well, the Holy Spirit and how He ought to function. Our Sunday services are especially predictable and we know how to corral Him in. We usually end up with a finished product lifeless in its finesse. But, hey, we did the deed and got the job done, there is no denying it. That is, until the Holy Spirit actually shows up. And everyone is….you guessed it…surprised! But when the Holy Spirit genuinely shows up, we are more than surprised, we are blown away.

So from the beginning, as promised.

I had allotted space for the Holy Spirit this evening and space for a little fun as well. Here’s how that looked: Our Friday night plan was an early dinner, then out to feed and minister to the homeless in the park and finally we’d close with some live music downtown. It’s a Friday night after all.

I must preface this with some information you may not know. We are called to minister to the homeless. But not just the homeless. We are called to minister to those that aren’t really down with traditional church. You know, the North American model. Not everyone is down with that. Some of us think it may need a little tweaking. Some of us see a slightly different model portrayed within the pages of the Bible. Some of us see traditional church as limiting and lacking in flexibility, creativity, and heart. Some of us believe that the church isn’t the building, but that the church is the people. And “wherever two or more are gathered there I am [Jesus/God] in the midst of them.” We also believe that a lot of great things happen within the walls of traditional church and many of our nearest and dearest go to traditional church. We see their incredible hearts, and the work they are doing and we applaud them. But we are called to the ones outside the “church.” The ones who the traditional church can’t quite relate to and sometimes display more justice than mercy; more doctrine than compassion; more fault-finding than understanding; more us-versus-them, than admission of the level playing field at the foot of the cross.

We’re not so sure Jesus sees it like that. Not so sure everything is that cut and dried. Not so sure we can wrap this worship thing up with a pretty bow, and present you a package. So God gave us a vision to work outside the parameters of the traditional church and to let Him lead us daily in this, and to let Him dictate how that pans out every day.

But honestly, I kinda had tonight all wrapped up. But it’s worse than that. I even tried to back out of our visit with our homeless friends.

The conversation went something like this:

“Ho! It’s too late now, Tim. It gets dark here by 8 pm. We won’t get there til 8. We won’t get out of the streets til nine thirty or ten, and all the live music will have ended or be close to ending. Our day is pretty wide open tomorrow. Why don’t we just do it then instead.”

In true Tim Morgan fashion, he nonchalantly replied, “No Mommy, I have it in my heart to stick to the plan. Come on, I want you with me. Everyone’s been asking about you.” (I’d been sick 2 solid weeks).

At this point, I had a choice to make and I’m happy to say that I made the right choice.

It was, in fact, dark and 8 p.m when we saw our friend Jimmy nodding off on his usual bench on the corner of Harrison and Beach Drive. I don’t suppose the good-hearted city folks who provided this bench had any idea that it was going to house the behind of such a gracious guest forever more.

When we first met with Jimmy several weeks back, Tim asked him,

“Why you not in the park with everyone else Jimmy?” (referring to the majority of the homeless in this town).

“I don’t go over there. Too much drama. I don’t need no drama. I steer away from it.”

Well, you gotta know that stole our hearts right from the get go.

Tim laughed, “Too much drama, what you talking about Jimmy, too much drama?  I understand Jimmy, I understand.” And truer, faster friends were never forged.

(These pictures were taken in the daytime at our first meeting with Jimmy).

IMG_20160627_191147 (2)IMG_20160627_191352_1CS (2)We began our usual visit with Jimmy and I knew how it was going to go down. We were going to have some laughs, we’d provide a snack and some water, we would preach a little Jesus, and hear about his family and his early days. The days when he wasn’t here….like this. We’d pray with him. Wish him well and depart for the park.

Everything was going as I suspected it might until they showed up. Walking right down the street like they stepped out of a limo. Her hair was perfect, of course. He had on a crisp blue shirt and as they looked at us, I was sure they were afraid. I could tell they didn’t know if maybe they shouldn’t cross to the other side of the street. But I was gonna help them out. I was going to be an example. I was going to show them how this thing is done. Maybe they’d catch the fire. Maybe they, too, would consider, then, treating the homeless like people in the future. I would greet them with the heartiest hello, and flash a lovely, confident smile.

“Howdy, folks! How are you all toni……..”

But before I could finish my pious greeting, she whisked past me and handed Jimmy a McDonald’s food bag and the charming gentleman gave him the complimentary soda.

“Oh”, he said as he looked at Tim sitting on the bench beside Jimmy, “There’s two of you. I’m sorry I only brought one.”

And there they were. Angels in a muggy city in the heat of the night. And respecting Tim’s already established rapport with Jimmy, worked in tandem with us to minister kindness and truth to Jimmy. Cindy and I talked quietly amongst ourselves concerning shower solutions for Jimmy. Al & Tim subtly extracted Jimmy’s pant size and persuaded him to at least consider a new jacket. His leather military jacket was no doubt a cherished treasure. But most of the back was torn away and the arms were almost equally disheveled. Keep in mind it is often 100 degree heat here and he wears it almost all the time!

“We want to help,” Al pleaded afterward in private. “We want to be a part of what you are doing.” Cindy shed tears. “To see my husband like this, to see him take to this, it is an answer to prayer. I have been praying for years that Al would find a place in ministry. He has been so turned off church. Meeting you both tonight, I cannot tell you what this means to both of us.”

We had reason of our own to rejoice. Even before we arrived here, we had been praying that God would send the right people to work with us. People with hearts for something a little different. People who loved HIM. People with vision and compassion. We stood out on the street for a long time, chatting, exchanging philosophies, ideas, and phone numbers.

Now, you tell me. What are the odds of this couple showing up just around the same time we did in order to minister to this beautiful man? Can you imagine if Tim had listened to my logic – for it was logical- and changed his plans? What if I hadn’t joined him dogged in his mission? Would we have met this passionate couple on the same path as ours? Would she and I have established comradery and excitement for a vision? Would Al have found a niche? Would Tim have….Well, would Tim have had opportunity to bless the lives of not one person tonight, but four?!

Surprised? A little blown away? Do you think God showed up? I sure do!

I can tell you that I do not know what this mission God gave us to do will look like in the end.  I have learned not to micro manage these things and not to over-plan and just to let God, through His Holy Spirit, guide our footsteps every single day. I do not know what it is going to look like, but I can guarantee you that God is in it, and whatever it looks like in the end, it will be great. Tonight was great. What more could we ask for when all we have is today?

We do hope for open book Bible studies with our new friends soon and a gathering place to worship together with them in the great outdoors, with exceedingly great flexibility without agenda or program, or titles. Just friends helping friends.

Oh yes, I should tell you about the live music! It didn’t happen. We did end up going to the park and meeting with more of our usual friends and receiving even more blessings. Blessings that left me in tears. But that is for another blog. But I will share with you- as a little preview- that it was dark as you know. I was sitting on the bench talking to “Patty” and another homeless man, Alfonso (the ex NFL football player), was on his usual bench next to us. Tim wanted to leave for a bit to see about some others nearby.

“Are you okay here by yourself, Kathleen, if I go over here a while?”

I am never afraid to be alone with the homeless when I am doing God’s work.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine. You go ahead.”

But Alfonso stepped up, “Mr. Tim, you are a good man and you have my word that nothing will ever happen to your wife as long as I am around.”

Oh yeah, it went like that and it always does. And who needs the night life, when there is this kind of excitement going on?!

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By this time next year we will be in Florida. I have high hopes. I have a few plans. Of course I want to start up a tangible version of my Facebook group, Wild Flowers. To view what that is all about you can read the group description here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/367147110119734/

It’s basically a call to help us as women to put down our cooking utensils, our commitments to our babies and families, our jobs, and enjoy a little more time in outdoor adventures with other women of like-mind. Why? Well you can read about that here: https://simplelifesecrets.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/wild-flowers/

But I have bigger plans than just that. I love God. I love helping people. I hear a call to help the less fortunate. Tim and I try to give our “offering” or “tithe” or “purposing” (or whatever you like to call it) to people in need. Whether it be to help a struggling family, to feed the homeless on the streets of Austin, or to help a flooded community rebuild etc.

This week for instance we bagged 12 lunches and found the homeless in Austin. And that is good sometimes. Sometimes there is a conviction to do that.

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But mostly I like to help people I know. People who I can (or have) poured my life into.

So here is my big plan. (I’d do it where I am right now, but the long-term relationships this ‘ministry’ requires would fall short in light of the fact we will be leaving here in the spring/summer).

My plan is to incorporate the women of my Wild Flowers group (and any men who care to help), and start cooking meals together for people who have fallen on hard times. People they know. People I know. We take our own offering- our own money- and we pour it into buying the ingredients needed to cook the meals. We can also use the fresh produce from our own gardens. We do not register as a non profit. We are not under the umbrella of/ or need the assistance of/ any denomination. Why? In this way we avoid regulation, and the government can’t shut us down. We are simply friends helping friends. There is no law against that. Our reward is not in the tax return. Our reward comes from the heavenly Father and the sheer joy of doing what He asked us to do.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

It may not always be a meal. Sometimes we may choose to pool our money and help someone pay their electric bill or their rent etc. These will all be people our group knows or have been recommended to. People who have checked out as genuinely needy and going through a temporary hard time. People whom we can love on and build a relationships with. For me, it is ultimately because I want to show them Jesus. This may not be everyone in the group’s motive. But I do not judge that. As long as they want to help, let them, let us, help.

So here is my shout out to my ladies in Florida (Panama City/Mexico Beach area) who will live near me and want to spend time together outdoors and do a little good in the process. All I need is a few strong minded women who are full of compassion. Think about it. Talk to me. School me. Join me if you can. You know how to reach me, and for those of you who do not: sing53@hotmail.com is a good place to start.

Praying to the Lord to bless this and hoping great things in His name!
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

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We live in a new age. Everyone is an expert. Seemingly new ideas and philosophies are wowing those with improper upbringing and lack of a fundamental value system, common decency, common sense, and experience. So when a “new” idea comes along many takers jump on board.

Take for instance the idea of living a “positive” lifestyle. “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life.” is the modern cry. But I have noticed that many of the people who voice this stance are often perpetrating more negativity than they realize. Because I think many times there is a misunderstanding about the true nature of positivity. For what is true positivity? Is it living a care-free life void of conflict or distraction from their goals? Really?

I have  a few ideas on the subject, and I’ve laid them out here in: “What Positivity Isn’t” and What Positivity Is.” Tell me if you can get down with this, if you can get on board, if you can pick up what I am putting down. 🙂

What Positivity Isn’t:

  • A lack of true peace, contentment and inner joy, no matter what is going on around us.
  • The need to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • A refusal to look deep into one’s soul to examine if I may have contributed to a problem when dealing with relational issues.
  • The need of drugs or alcohol to achieve a calm and restful state of being.
  • Living from Monday to Friday without any greater goal than looking forward to the weekend so that I may party with my “friends.” Positivity is not getting drunk or high every Saturday night. That is a temporary ‘happiness’ that leaves one empty, yet again, the next day.
  • Having no concept of/or taking no responsibility for/ putting true effort into making relationships work. Fruitful and rewarding relationships take effort. An extreme amount of effort from both parties.
  • Hanging on to my possessions and my perceived freedoms at all costs
  • Not taking responsibility for my actions.
  • Positivity isn’t only to talk about subjects that make me feel happy or upbeat. Or to only hang around people who are seemingly only happy or upbeat. (“He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” -Isa 53:3) Why was Jesus like this? Ask yourself why was C.S. Lewis or Bob Dylan like this? All for the same reason. They contemplated the deep things of life, didn’t shy away from them, avoid them, or let them go. They contemplated pain and suffering, and they tried to do something about it. They always strove to go deeper, harder, stronger, longer. They were, in fact, the real deal.
    Does that mean they did not have inner joy? Of course not. I know for sure that all had serious inner joy. For knowing all things as Jesus did, and not being afraid to contemplate all things, as Dylan & C.S. Lewis did are what brings about ultimate peace. For if we do not search, then how can we ever arrive at the answers?
  • Positivity is not avoiding people who encourage you to be a better person and steer you toward better behaviors.
  • Positivity will not give in to the temptation of pride.

What Positivity Is:

  • Genuine peace, joy and contentment that can only come from a relationship with, trust in, and an understanding of Jesus Christ and what He desires for our life.
  • Living an honest life. Foremost being honest with oneself and before one’s God (“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” -Psa 139:23)
  • Tarrying with my brother or sister, hearing their concerns and bearing their burdens with much forbearance and kindness. (“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2).
  • Learning to be content with a few good friends in whose hearts you can trust, instead of the false validation of many friends whose hearts are not with you.
  • Does not avoid conflict, but deals with conflict head on as one who is courageous and one who is kind- who does not seek his/her own comfort. Realizing that without conflict no relationship will ever delve beneath the surface and become great or beautiful or truly comfortable. This is true in our adult relationships and is especially true when raising our growing children.
  • Positivity is gentleness and patience in attitude and manner. (Kathleen, especially, needs to work on this when she feels hurt from others)
  • Is knowing your own worth no matter what anyone else tries to tell you that you are, or you are not. God says you were uniquely and wonderfully made!
  • Deals with sin head on and honestly.
  • A positive person will not consider themselves as entitled or elite, but humbles oneself and avails oneself to service in the kingdom. Whatever it takes. Whatever the Lord requires at any given moment in order to build relationships, in order to mentor, or in order to build the kingdom.
  • Is not selfish with their things or their time.
  • Is not a respecter of persons.
  • Positivity is content with being alone when it is required.
  • It knows oneself and owns up to the good and the bad in oneself. Works on oneself and gives oneself a break at the same time. But more than that, knows one’s Savior and knows Who holds the entire universe, and everything that goes on in it, in the palm of His hand. And rests in that at all times, even when there is no one else standing beside you in the whole world. That is positivity at its finest.
  • Positivity is spending joyful hours with children and the elderly.
  • Positivity is giving to the poor and spending time with them. Realizing their value and their worth. (“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”- James 2:5)
  • Positivity is loving at all times in word and in action.

So maybe it is time to re-think the positive lifestyle. Maybe it is time to dig a little deeper. I guarantee that if you do, you will smile even in whatever darkness the world might throw your way. And then the, “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life” becomes a very big job indeed. But you will be on the right track and you will see great success.

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Here are a few definitions of the word “respect” from various dictionary resources:
Dictionary.com:
“esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability.”
“the condition of being esteemed or honored.”
“a formal expression or gesture of greeting, esteem, or friendship”
“to show regard or consideration for.”
The Cambridge Dictionary:
“the polite attitude shown toward someone or something that you consider important.”
The Oxford Dictionary:
“Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

Life for me over the course of the last few years has been a grueling lesson in self-respect.

I am a kind person. Known for giving family and friends second, third, and seventh chances. I think in many ways this is good and right. Forgiveness is necessary. It is necessary to purify the poisoning that un-forgiveness brings into our own soul. It is necessary for offering relief, mercy, and grace to the offender. And necessary in the greater recognizing of our own desperate need for forgiveness from a loving Savior and from people whom we have hurt.

I was also raised by an unassuming woman who would have rather melted into the walls behind her, than take anything for herself. Whether that anything came in the form of praise, rights, monetary gain, or respect for her opinions. Yes, more than once I saw her sacrifice her own self-worth in public only to cry lonely within the privacy of her four walls. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. Selah. Bless you Mama.

And though I am her daughter, I am coming to learn a different way. I am learning that there is a fine line between losing one’s self for others, and giving them your self- respect. Because in the end giving your self-respect to others is doing them an injustice because it isn’t Truth. And anything that is born out of a lie will not manifest into anything good in their lives. When you give others your self-respect, you are also doing yourself an injustice for the exact same reason.

How do I know that as soon as you give your self-respect away you begin living a lie? Because The Bible tells me that you are VALUABLE. You can see this concept fleshed out here in my blog, The Value of A Person.

But there is another way that we can know that to give away our self-respect is to live a lie. And this is in a much more practical sense, if you will. When we live a self-depreciating life style we are equipping the people in our lives to a) not know who we really are, and b) not respect who we are. People will eventually view us in the exact manner that we have taught them to view us.

I came to recognize this as a grave error in my own life in my late forties. So when I achieved that grandiose milestone of 50 years, I made a promise to myself. “Never again”, I said. From this day forward, I live who I am. Not who you want me to be- because that makes you happy and comfortable. Not who you want me to be. And not who you want me to be.  Me.  The ‘Me’ God created me to be. It was good enough for Him. It’s always been good enough for me. The only one it maybe hasn’t been good enough for is you.

But life is funny. Here is the thing I have learned. As soon as the Truth takes hold in us and permeates our being, the appollyon- the father of lies- the roaring lion- abaddon himself- will show up. And true to his namesake, will stop at nothing to remove the Truth from our lives and render us devalued once again.

For the past few years now, satan has manifested himself in this stratagem in various ways, and as a result:

• I have had to stop initiating contact with a close family relation because s/he proved time and time again that s/he did not value relationship with me as a high priority. I wasn’t a medium priority, and as it turned out I wasn’t even a bottom of the rung priority. There comes a point when we must accept Truth. Live in it. Don’t rescue friends or family from the consequences of the behaviors they exhibit. Live in the truth of where your relationship is at. Allow them to do the same. This is their expression of your perceived value in their lives. Respect: “the condition of being esteemed or honored.”

• I have had to acknowledge the bullying mentality of another close relative, and remove them from good standing, and re-erect old boundaries toward them in my life. This person also exhibited lack of respect and support for me as an individual and my choices. Respect: “to show regard or consideration for.”

• I had to acknowledge that a friend’s loyalty and desire for deeper friendship was lip service only when I tested my suspicions and stopped being the one to initiate every phone call and plan our every outing by not calling him/her, and naturally he/she has never called since, and I do not expect to ever hear from him/her ever again. Respect: “a formal expression or gesture of greeting, esteem, or friendship”

• I had to accept the fact and cut lose another friend who told me that I was a very important person in their life and that this person had connection with me that he/she did not have with other people, but dropped me like a hot potato whenever any of those other people were around. Respect: “the polite attitude shown toward someone or something that you consider important.”

• I always feel profoundly disrespected when dealing with ‘church’ people, since , when asked, I’ve always tried to patiently explain to them how my church service and worship to God may look quite a bit different from their church service and worship. And that I find the way I do it is, for me, more effective for my growth in His service. I always give them plenty of respect and space to worship God in any way they like and in their preferred gatherings. But when I do not show up to their particular form of worship, I am branded as backslidden or rebellious.” Respect: “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

• I love my husband. But he is a charmer. Sure, he charms me. But evidently he charms everyone else around him as well. Especially the women. I’ve been in a few relationships in my life, but can’t say that I have been in any before where I am pretty much invisible. I can sit down to visit with any number of our female acquaintances, and basically be ignored for up to two hours while they direct all of their eye contact, all of their questions, all of their laughter, and all of their dialogue at my husband. It cracks me up when they remember that I am there. You can see it in their eyes, “Oh, I should say something to her. But I have no idea what to say to her because I don’t understand her.” Then, bam, just as quickly as the thought of me got in the way, they are back to enjoying the light in his eyes. Ah, such is life. Disrespect. The world is rife with it these days. The course of action would be to say, “Would you like to visit with my husband alone? And why, exactly, do you introduce me along with him, as your friend?” But, really, what’s the use? At this point I have as little respect for you as you do for me. Even my husband says it is starting to get tiresome. Because, he says, when someone disrespects his wife, they disrespect him. Respect: “the condition of being esteemed or honored.”

So, it’s been a tough few years to say the least. Mainly because satan has attacked me through the people who once were the closest to me. But perhaps they weren’t as close as I thought after all. And if my standing up for myself and asserting some self-respect has cost me relationships, then maybe it is time to get new relationships. Perhaps it is not by coincidence that I find myself in a different country. And I do, actually, take ownership for some of it. For I have taught people how they may treat me. What they can, and cannot get away with. I thought I was being kind. But I wasn’t being kind, for I was only bringing a half Truth.

Still, I am not always good at assertiveness. In fact, it is my least favorite thing to do, truth be known. But it is becoming a little more a part of me every day as I realize the folly of other routes. These days the people who meet me learn pretty quickly who I am. Take it or leave it. I don’t run with crowds I have to impress anymore. I don’t run with people who aren’t impressed with me, or who haven’t got time for a little give and take.

Does this narrow my sphere of friends? Sure it does. But I would rather have one genuine friend than 10 friends who don’t respect who I am. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Still, I love those who have gone before. I pray breakthroughs in our relationships. I pray genuineness. I pray forgiveness, and God’s love to all. And to those who have gone before, I’m sorry for the confusion. Who I was twenty years ago, I am not today. Hopefully we are all constantly changing and growing.

With much love and respect.

*Note to self:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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Women- started off as little girls. butterfly

Who played with the boys
sometimes in the mud.
And tramped through the forest in their back yards
and built forts by the stream.
And rode on stallions with the best of them.
Defending the kingdom and rescuing prisoners
From the evil lords.

Yes, all women started off as little girls.

I have a heart for women. I have a heart for North American women aged 20 through 90. There is a collective, continental cry that is so profound in its sorrow, it becomes inaudible, and is scarcely heard at all. And yet this cry is so cumulative, so united, and so thorough in its sweeping of this demographic that I’m surprised at the oppression of its sound.
I think the silence is due to the women themselves. I don’t think women are even aware of one of their deepest needs. One of the North American woman’s deepest needs is to be wild like a flower. And for me, it is the most delightful thing on the planet to see a woman who has allowed herself to become a Wild Flower.

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We have a history. It begins around age twenty. We learn very quickly to leave the outdoors behind. We must forget about alcoves under aspen trees, picking our way across rocks in the stream, and leisurely reading books in the grass. We simply cannot drop everything and run out to build forts with the boys anymore. We have babies to hold, and change, and feed. We have meals to cook, and houses to clean. And at the end of the day when exhaustion sets in, we have sex to be delivered on demand like a vending machine. What we once enjoyed now becomes a chore when it is not coupled with conversation, compassion, camaraderie, and help in the kitchen.
The “boys” are still out hunting, riding motorcycles, monster trucking, poker playing, hiking, and diving into swimming holes. Insult is added to injury when our children complain that we are not any fun at all, and that with Daddy is the preferred place to be, while we are left at home with mounds of laundry still to finish.

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And what do women do? We stop looking for adventure. We replace our deepest need with shopping sprees, girls nights out, jewelry, the finest furniture our money can buy, the nicest car in the neighborhood, a rich husband, status in the community, our children’s apparent success, the fancy dishes that we serve, and our pretty clothes. And yet we are empty inside and we don’t know why. When really all we needed was one good sturdy bike and the courage to use it.
The courage to ride it every day to the market and buy fresh vegetables. The courage to plop it down by the river with our baby in his pack on our back, and our book to read. The courage to sink our toes in the grass. The courage to leave the dishes in the sink and not worry what the other women might think. The courage to dig our own gardens and sow our own seed. The courage to take a road trip with our friends and babies in tow. The courage to scale any mountain at any time of year. The courage to wear hippie clothes and build fires on the beach. The courage to visit the coffee shop daily and visit with the old timers in town. The courage to lie in a meadow with butterflies floating all around. The courage to be intentional about getting out in nature every single day, so that we DO NOT LOSE OUR CENTER. You can point to a thousand things that center us- meditation, prayer, reading good material, etc, but all of these lose their greatest potential for the greatest good when we fail to find time out in nature.

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You see, we were placed in the garden of Eden initially. We were not placed in a concrete sea. In fact cities were not anywhere to be found. That is not what God created for us. He created for us trees, and grass, and wind, and flowers, and animals, and rivers, and clouds, and sky instead. Why? Because He knows what is best for us. He knows where and how we will thrive.
And yet, we have come so far away. So far away from what we were created to be. We are children of the earth… and we are wandering around in shopping malls. We are lost. We are sad.
Before the industrial revolution Mommies and Daddies stayed on the farms and worked the land as a family unit. Babies were on backs, children were dropping corn into the rows, Mama was hauling water from the creek, and Papa was holding the reins on the plow horse. Everyone was in stellar shape and soaking up the sun. Then the factories took Daddies away, and eventually even the Mommies too. And Mommy traded her life in nature for a life indoors in a grand house, with a grand scheme to make her grand house even grander, and without even noticing it she became a slave to this endeavor, and very sad on the inside.
And so the cry. The silent cry. A cry strong enough to change white fluffy clouds into grey. And all across the nation I hear this cry every day.

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So I have started the ministry Wild Flowers. I want to reach out to women and offer them fun outdoor things to do together. I want to offer outdoor church on the beach for those who are interested (Once we relocate. Ask me privately where we are going and why we have chosen this spot if you like). I want to rescue young Moms especially who look like they need a little good, clean adventure in their lives. I’m interested in older lonely women who need a bigger purpose in their lives. For all who would appreciate daily hikes, bike rides, lifestyle changes, encouragement, and camaraderie in our quest to come alive again and to become comfortable in the outdoors often, with the wind on our face. And kudos to all of the courageous women out there who are already Wild Flowers and don’t need my encouragement at all. How you have inspired me!!
There is so much more to say, this is just the beginning!
Like how about becoming the catalyst for a Wild Flowers group in your area?

There is so much more to say AND DO, this is just the beginning!

Come and join my Wild Flowers group on Facebook. It is a group for women who already are, or would like to become, Wild Flowers and the men who support this lifestlye.  CLICK HERE: Wild Flowers group on Facebook

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I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater, but have recently stepped it up another notch.  I view my good health like a staircase that I am always climbing higher and higher until I reach the top.  Why not? Lofty goals are good!

If you continue scrolling down you will see the way I eat in the form of a list.  It might just be something you’d like to try! (hint; it’s freakin awesome!)

There are a few reasons that I eat this way.

First is I have a philosophy that God is no dummy.  Novel concept, right?

I figure since He is the One who made these bodies we walk around in, then He probably knows what is best for them.

Foods in their natural state (the way God designed them, and intended them to be eaten) optimize and energize our bodies better than anything else we can put into them. It is like fuel for a car.  We know that when we use oils with impurities, our cars will run sluggish.  It is the same with our bodies.  When we depart from pure food (or what I like to call God designed food), then it is going to have an adverse effect on our health.   We all know this, but developing a natural diet is hard for many of us.

Secondly, I have eaten like this before. For a short while. And it was heaven.  There are no real words to describe it.  You just have to do it and then you will get it.  If you do it, please write to me or comment to this blog and try to describe how you feel for the rest of the folks out there.  After only a few weeks, I felt like i was seven again.  That is truly the best words that come to mind.  for I kept saying that over and over again to my husband. “I feel like I am seven years old again!!” Do you remember how you used to twirl around and around and never get dizzy? Do you remember when you had boundless energy and rosy cheeks? Do you remember how your brain functioned clear and pure in thought?  Sound like an exaggeration?  Of course it does, but it is not.  The pollution is out- even in your thoughts.  Your thoughts are kinder, happier, and  infinitely more patient.  You’ll find yourself wanting to tackle puzzles and brain teasers and cuddle with your dog.  I’m just saying…and you need to do yourself a huge favor and at least TRY IT for two weeks! For me, it feels like euphoria.  But the sad thing is that it is just natural.  Everyone has the right to feel like that every day.  But we have polluted and damaged our bodies so badly with foreign “food like” substances (i.e., processed foods) which aren’t really food at all and offer very little pure fuel value, that we are stunned beyond words when we begin to experience the exhilaration of a genuinely healthy body. TRY it!

I found this to be the case when I went on what is known as the Daniel Fast derived from the Bible in the book of Daniel:

Daniel 1: 8-16

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us “pulse” to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and [more robust] in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them “pulse”.

So what is this miracle food, “pulse”? “Pulse”, in many of the Bible versions is loosely translated as “vegetables.” But “pulse” is really anything grown from seeds. That would include fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes.  Here is a great resource that helps flesh out a little more the origins of this fast:

http://www.planetpace.com/?daniel-diet-foods,45

But, because I have turned this into a “Lifestyle” of eating instead of a fast, I have made a few modifications to the diet that allows fish,  honey, herbal teas, and plain Greek yogurt. Here is my list:

Daniel Diet slightly modified to include, Fish, Honey, Plain Greek Yogurt, Tea & Herbal Teas

(“organic” food is always best because most foods are grown with too many pesticides these days)

This list is based on this resource: http://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/

Permitted Foods:

All fruits.

These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables.

These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains.

Including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds.

Including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes.

These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils

Including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages:

spring water, distilled water or other pure waters, tea & herbal teas

Other:

tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

Fish, Honey, Plain Greek Yogurt

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Foods to AVOID on the Daniel Fast:

All meat and animal products

Including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, and poultry.

All dairy products

Including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners

Including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All leavened bread

Including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast) and baked goods.

All refined and processed food products

Including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.

All deep fried foods

Including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.

All solid fats

Including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.

Beverages

Including but not limited to coffee, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

Print it out, try it, and enjoy your new life in the Garden of Eden!  You CAN do it!

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