The Greatest Gift / Flowers Watered by Tears

“You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe

We do not know
if in Life
we dream,
or if our dreams
are real,
and they dream us.

But we do know
if Love is planted,
even in a shallow way,
its roots will deep entwine
and one day
find
YOU.

Those in Love
are never apart.
What you feel
will never depart.

      Give them the lingering Sunsets.

If you have been
the only one
you are thinking of,
try to cast away
your mask of clay,
and come to realize
you were never
all there was
to be.

My Friends,
do not
just leave your children
in your will.
Leave them the will
to Love and Live.
Give them the lingering Sunsets
of your precious smiles,
the ability to walk
in your shoes
for many, many miles,
and the memories
of moments past,
that last
and last
and last.

Memories of moments past.

Children live
in a natural state of wonder.
They pay attention
to every detail of
Life and Living.

What fascinates you about life?
If nothing,
then you are living,
but not alive.

My Dear Friends,
truly fascinating things are constantly happening.
Every day,
every moment of every hour.
Pay attention
to everyone and everything
around you.
Your trip
to the grocery store
will only keep you alive.
It is not
Life!
The errand you are running,
is running you.
The time you waste,
is never wasted.

Put down the telephone.
Turn off the addictive
television.
Turn your gaze away
from cold, unfeeling sights.
Go outside.
This is your HOME.

Wander aimlessly.
Listen intently.
God
in His Wisdom,
is calling your name.
A songbird
sings it,
over and over again.

Let a flower
pick you.
Give it
to someone
in need of Love.

            Let a flower pick you.

There are many,
walking barefoot by a lonely river
of tears,
near a grave
to be.

Human nature
is God’s Love
in you and me.

Yes.
A fascinating mystery of Life
walked right by you.
Did you notice?
Did you look closely?

                       This is your home.

You cannot be Loved,
if you do
look
for someone to Love.
Flowers
just gather in the wind,
until you worship them,
and kneel,
and bring them home,
and thank Almighty God
for saying
Hello.

He
did not pass you by.
His Love was gently
waving in the
breeze.

“Let your mind start a journey
through a strange new world.

Leave all thoughts
of the world you knew before.

Let your Soul take you
where you long to be.”
– Andrew Lloyd Webber

How can you turn your nature
into the Human nature
it longs to be?

Most of the things
we pay attention to
are illusions.
They do not teach us
anything.

                                   Did you notice?

Become as a Child again.
Be Fascinated with everyone
and every Living thing.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying,
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child,
he is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”
– Matthew 18:1-4

Thank God
for the fascinating mystery of Life
that is
YOU.

Your Life
begins again,
every day you realize
you are alive,
you are Loved
and in Love
with everyone and living thing.

The greatest Gift
is
knowing.

Goodnight.

“Where love is planted
oh there it grows It grows
and blossoms like a rose.
It has a sweet and pleasant smell
No flower on Earth can it excel.”
– traditional Folk Music

“While on my lonely couch I lie,
I seldom feel myself alone,
For fancy fills my dreaming eye
With scenes and pleasures of its own.
Then I may cherish at my breast
An infant’s form beloved and fair,
May smile and soothe it into rest
With all a Mother’s fondest care.

How sweet to feel its helpless form
Depending thus on me alone!
And while I hold it safe and warm
What bliss to think it is my own!

And glances then may meet my eyes
That daylight never showed to me;
What raptures in my bosom rise,
Those earnest looks of Love to see,

To feel my hand so kindly prest,
To know myself beloved at last,
To think my heart has found a rest,
My life of solitude is past!

But then to wake and find it flown,
The dream of happiness destroyed,
To find myself unloved, alone,
What tongue can speak the dreary void?

A heart whence warm affections flow,
Creator, thou hast given to me,
And am I only thus to know
How sweet the joys of Love would be?”
– Anne Brontë

Flowers Watered by Tears
click here to read full story
The next time you lift a glass or a can filled with so much regret, so much unbearable pain, so much loss of life and precious love, say a prayer for the now nameless millions who have gone before you and left behind a landscape that resembles nothing but misery and death.

Please remember that as you wander further and further down into this valley of the shadow of death, you are taking your loved ones with you. Alcoholism is not a singular disease. It is always accompanied by other victims. It is a social disorder on a magnitude and scale that defies definition. It envelopes and destroys entire families, your other loved ones and friends, and frequently, many others that were simply going down the highway at the same time. Each year the number is in the millions. But the numbers do not matter as much as you do. They are insignificant to those who love you, if you drown in the sea of apathy and alcohol.

The consumption of alcohol frequently leads to a portrait drawn of the loneliest place on earth, a graveyard. And the flowers, yes, those flowers, are not what they seem. They are watered by the tears of the deeply loved and lost. They never blossom in the warm sunlight of tomorrow. They died. Their lives were stolen, along with all the precious dreams.
read more

Copyright Disclaimer – Section 107 – Copyright Act 1976,
allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research.
Fair use is permitted by copyright statute. Non-profit,
educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of “fair use”.

Lyrics/song texts/paintings are property and copyright of their owners
and provided for educational purposes.

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That’s All I Ask of You / Coping With Workplace Stress / Friday: At School (Shakespeare Play Rehearsal)

“We must know
that we have been created for greater things,
not just to be a number in the world,
not just to go for diplomas and degrees,
this work and that work.
We have been created in order
to Love
and to be Loved.”

–  Mother Teresa

God has been invited to come in.

My Dear Friends,
from this moment
Life can begin
again.

Imagine yourself
as another living Being.
And God
has been invited
to come in
and forgive you
of all your sin,
and rebuild the Life
that housed all your previous
days,
all the moments that for you
did exist.

             Life can begin again.

The first thought
that flies past you,
is that you cannot understand
what He is doing.

No.
No one can ever
really understand.

“Great is our Lord,
and abundant in power; 
his understanding is
beyond measure.”

Psalm 147:5

Because
the past
no longer exists.
Only tomorrow
is real again.

  The pain is no longer here to stay.

The pain,
from so many years,
that never
seemed to go away,
in one moment,
on one precious day,
is no longer
here to stay.

“For which cause we faint not;
but though our outward man perish,
yet the inward man is renewed
day by day.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:16
 .
God is preparing
a place for your
Heart.

Far
beyond forever,
will He stay
in Love with you.
For
He will never
not Love you.
And all
He asks in return,
is that you Love
Him.

Is this
not what we ask
of others
in Life?

“No more talk of darkness
Forget these wide eyed fears.
I’m here, nothing can harm you.
My words will warm and calm you.

Let me be your freedom.
Let daylight dry your tears.
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you

Say you Love me
Every waking moment.
Say you Love me
Oh, I do Love you
that’s all I ask of you.

Anywhere you go
let me go too.
Love me,
that’s all I ask of you.”
–  Andrew Lloyd Webber

Yes,
finding a way
to be,
is as simple as
“I Love You.
Please Love Me.”

Goodnight.

               I Love You.

Coping With Workplace Stress
by Diana Louise Carter
read more

 in Esperanza
(Hope to Cope with Anxiety and Depression)

click here for more

Taking steps to strengthen your resilience, plus seeking treatment if necessary, will help you handle cranky customers, toxic co-workers, and other on the job stressors.

After a really stressful day at work, Katie, an RN, spends a little extra drive time in her car.

“Once I leave the office, work stays here. I try absolutely my best not to take it home,” says Katie, who lives in Alabama. “Even if you have to drive around for a few minutes by yourself.”

That’s what professional counselors call a “calming ritual” – something that may come in especially handy for nurses like Katie, home health workers, bus drivers, social workers, and people employed in restaurants, real estate, personal services, and manufacturing.

Those are among occupations with the highest rates of depression, as ranked by two studies – one published in 2010, the other in 2014. Authors of the later study identified “frequent or difficult interactions” with the public or clients, high levels of stress, and low levels of physical activity as characteristics the jobs had in common.

No matter the profession, strains like cranky customers, uncivil bosses, unpredictable work schedules, unreasonable deadlines, and the 24/7 electronic tether of our mobile devices can challenge anyone’s well-being.

In the American Psychological Association’s 2012 annual Stress in America Survey, 65 percent of respondents listed work as their top source of life stress – but only 37 percent said they were “doing an excellent or very good job managing stress.”

Katie says hospital nursing is so demanding it’s sometimes hard to take a break to regroup.

“You’re the person who goes between the doctor and the patient,” she notes. “All of it kind of gets put on your shoulders. If it all goes wrong … nurses just catch most of the blame.”

Katie prefers to practice in a small clinic where the pace and workload are more comfortable. A case manager for an outpatient mental health and substance abuse program, she’s a fan of adult coloring books— “they’re actually very calming” – and journaling for stress relief.

CREATIVE CHANGES

Expert advice for dealing with job stress tends to fall into two categories: steps you can take at work, such as using all your allotted breaks or advocating for different duties, and steps you can take outside work to better your health and enrich your life satisfaction—getting more exercise, for example, or pursuing hobbies that make you happy.

Steven implemented both types of solutions when the demands of his brewery job in upstate New York contributed to an anxiety diagnosis in 2007.

Steven, 57, had to follow complicated and precise recipes to craft huge tanks of “malternatives” like fruit-flavored alcoholic beverages and hard lemonade. Once he was formally reprimanded for using an ingredient from a new supplier that hadn’t been certified yet, which meant the whole batch went down the drain. He found himself overthinking all the steps in making beer coolers.

He was able to implement one creative change in his work flow to reduce his second-guessing: He would line up ingredients before he started and as each was added, he’d remove it from the bench.

There were other aspects of the job came he couldn’t control, however. His schedule rotated through day, evening and night shifts—a documented risk factor in depression and anxiety. He would frequently be called away from one task to attend a process elsewhere in the brewery complex, which made it harder to meet his production deadlines. Cost-cutting layoffs shrank his department from five employees per shift to three.

To counterbalance on-the-job aggravations, Steven pursued nature photography on his own and with a meet-up group.

“Photography helps,” says Steven, who took a disability retirement last year due to a bum knee. “Taking walks, occupying yourself, looking around. Your mind isn’t replaying all that went on in work again.”

RESTORING RESILIENCE

The American Institute of Stress notes that job pressures in and of themselves may be less important than how individuals fit with the work environment. For example, there are people who thrive in pressure-cooker situations while others have a lower tolerance for overload.

What’s happening outside of work can make a difference, too. At times, life stressors plus job stressors may add up to more than an individual’s natural resilience can handle. That’s when buttressing your reserves with activities that strengthen your physical self (especially good sleep), reinforce a positive perspective (such as reframing problems), and dilute tension (yoga, anyone?) become even more important.

Allison got caught in a period of institutional upheaval shortly after starting a new job at a prestigious music conservatory in Rochester, New York.

“We had to downsize my department. I had to fire people to cut costs. I had to outsource services at the same time I was learning the job,” recalls Allison, who was hired to oversee publications and public affairs.

In her personal life, Allison was dealing with her mother’s declining health and her marriage was slowly unraveling. Diagnosed with depression, she worked with her doctor and therapist to come up with coping tools.

“My doctor suggested maybe doing art or exercising. I swam laps. I would sit quietly at night and listen to the radio and draw mandalas. I would paint,” says Allison.

As the environment at work worsened, Allison decided on a more radical solution: Leaving that job to look for opportunities where she could be self-employed.

The “take this job and shove it” approach may be the best option in some circumstances, but for many it feels like an impossible choice. Robert W. McLellarn, PhD, often counsels people who are stressed out because of their jobs.

“They feel like they have to keep going to keep the paycheck,” notes McLellarn, a licensed clinical psychologist in Portland, Oregon, who specializes in treating anxiety.

McLellarn says that taking some sort of action short of leaving a bad job can be a stress reliever. For example, pursue the skills or training needed to get a more fulfilling job. The goal is to feel less stuck.

“Even giving people some strategies, some ideas, some hope that this can change is rewarding,” says McLellarn.

 WORKPLACE ALLIES

Assuming clear guidelines from human resources and a sympathetic supervisor, negotiating accommodations can be an on-the-job option. Opinion varies on whether it’s wise to divulge mental health challenges, and a lot depends on an individual’s particular situation and comfort level.

Genella of Brandon, Manitoba, coaches individuals on managing stress and advises companies on how to establish “psychologically safe” workplaces through her consulting firm Partners in Discovery. Although more employers are recognizing the bottom-line benefits of reducing burnout, she acknowledges that ignorance and stigma haven’t disappeared.

“People understand if you have a cast on your leg, but if you’re stressed, people still think it’s a character flaw,” says Genella, who has dealt with depression and anxiety herself.

Similarly, Genella points out, people can see that someone with a broken leg needs an elevator to go between floors, but they may not know what sort of supports to offer for a person with depression or anxiety. 

Genella says Canadian law acknowledges addiction issues, but hasn’t codified accommodations for mental health.

Protections assured by the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act may come into play if symptoms interfere with job responsibilities, according to Job Accommodations Network, a program of the U.S. Department of Labor and academic and industry partners.

Lisa of Brooklyn found an ally when she went to work part-time as an admissions coordinator at a law school in New York City nine years ago. Lisa, 46, has lived with sometimes disabling anxiety since her teens. Her department head allowed her to switch around her schedule if a panic attack erupted on a day she was due in.

When Lisa feels overwhelmed at the office, she takes a bathroom break to practice deep breathing exercises. She also finds prayer calming.

Having a strong support network at home keeps Lisa fortified for work demands. She finds that in her husband and parents, who live in the same apartment building. Weekly visits with her beloved nephews, ages 5 years old and 4 months old, have become a vital tonic.

“I call them my sunshine boys,” she says. “They should just bottle babies and give that as depression medication.”

Genella, meanwhile, thrives on the “unconditional gratitude, acceptance and love” of her dog, Tucker.

“When you have those, you can’t have a stress response at the same time,” she asserts. “I suggest that a person find out: When you are stressed, what works for you?”

WORKPLACE STRESS: SWITCH GEARS

It’s important to leave work and all its worries behind once you get home. Creating a destressing ritual can help you move into a new frame of mind. That could be something as simple as changing into more comfortable clothes or having a cup of tea while reviewing the mail.

DOLLARS AND SENSE

If it’s not addressed, chronic work stress can have a negative impact on physical health, family relationships, and life satisfaction. It can tip vulnerable individuals into depression or anxiety, or trigger those already dealing with mental health challenges.

Quite apart from the personal toll, there’s a financial backlash for businesses. One widely quoted statistic puts the annual cost of job stress to the American economy at $300 billion.

That includes the estimated burden of accidents due to fatigue and inability to concentrate, employee turnover, and loss of productivity due to absenteeism and “presenteeism”—in attendance bodily but unable to work at normal capacity.

According to the Harvard Business Review, studies show that presenteeism due to chronic illnesses—including conditions like allergies and arthritis – costs employers two to three times more than direct medical care.

Looking specifically at depression in the workplace, the advocacy organization Mental Health American cites a figure of $51 billion annually in indirect costs to the U.S. economy.

In Canada, more than 30 percent of disability claims and 70 percent of disability costs can be traced to mental health issues, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. However, such payouts may yield a rich payback.

In a 2009 survey of 3,000 Alberta workers found that 255 people (or nearly 10 percent) confirmed they’d had a depressive episode in the year before they were interviewed. Those who had received treatment were significantly more likely to report being able to function at a highly productive level at work compared to those who had not sought help

 TOXIC WORKPLACE ANTITOXINS

Sometimes job stress doesn’t come from the work itself but from the people you work with. In her book Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, Christine Porath, PhD, chronicles the toll that a toxic workplace can take on employees and employers.

Productivity tends to decrease and work absences tend to increase. If workers burn out and leave, businesses face the expense of replacing them. People are likely to carry workplace stress home at the end of the day, with poisonous effects on their health and relationships.

Whether a single bout of yelling or constant “micro-aggressions” by a difficult supervisor, the effects “can stick with people for decades,” Porath says. “It takes a cognitive toll even if you just observe it.”

Minimizing face-to-face contact can be a legitimate strategy, such as steering clear of committee work with a co-worker who pushes your buttons. Some other recommendations:

For a reality check, discreetly ask co-workers whether they’re having similar problems. Try to evaluate where there’s an objective issue affecting everyone, like unreasonable deadlines or constant disrespect, or whether you are particularly reactive.

Try talking with your supervisor about specific behaviors and situations that are making you feel stressed. Some may welcome the feedback, others may react negatively.

If your supervisor is not receptive to your concerns, consider moving up the chain of command or turning to the human resources department or a union representative.

If unclear job expectations are creating stress, ask to work with your supervisor on developing written guidelines you can both agree upon

 FEEL THE BURN(OUT)

The Mayo Clinic lists these signs of job burnout:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints? 

  No one can ever really understand.

Friday:
Our plan to travel this Friday
has been postponed due to
inclement weather.
We will meet at school
on Friday
from 8:30 a.m.
to 3:15 p.m.
and work with our Director,
George Rodriguez,
on our upcoming
Shakespeare production.

IMPORTANT  DATES:

April 28             At School (Play rehearsal)
May 1                TUITION DUE for 2017-18
May 15 & 16      Shakespeare Production at Stage West Theater
May 22 – 26       Adventure Trip
May 26               Last Day of Semester.

Copyright Disclaimer – Section 107 – Copyright Act 1976,
allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research. Fair use is permitted by copyright statute. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of “fair use”.

Lyrics/song texts are property and copyright of their owners and provided for educational purposes.

A Song Begins to Form / Surprising Mental Benefits of Clean Eating / Friday: at School (Shakespeare Rehearsal)

“Nighttime sharpens,
Heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs,
And wakes imagination
Silently the senses
Abandon their defenses

Slowly, gently
Night unfurls it’s Splendor
Grasp it, sense it
Tremulous and tender.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart,
Richard Henry, Zachary Stilgoe

Remembering my precious “Kirby”.

There’s a whisper in the dark,
as Life comes to be
unafraid
to pierce the night
with imagination
and Love
and Light.
Unfolding in our dreams
we come to be,
where it seems,
there is no end
to what we can see.

Then a song begins to form
from deeply felt memories
that once were we,
echoing Love’s harmony
and joined in endless
flight
heard throughout the World
of our awareness,
on this precious
night.

And intoned we hear,
we shall never be alone,
as Hearts beat as one,
and again we find Love,

joined by cherished voices from the past,
and a deep Abiding Love
from Above.

“Oh Great Spirit,
Whose Voice I hear in the winds,
And whose Breath gives life to all the world,
hear me!
I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in Beauty,
and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength,
not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy –
myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when Life fades,
as the fading sunset
my Spirit

may come to you without shame.”
– Native American Prayer
listen here

Such is
the Miracle of Love,
that it goes
on and on and on.
Not through time,
that may have never really existed,
or space,
not without end,
but through
Grace,
Everlasting to Everlasting.
Such is the Precious Love of
God.

“Grace, amazing Grace,
takes the powerful nature of Love
to the next level.
Grace is the width, and depth, and breadth of Love
reaching out, rippling across the ponds of time
to reach into the Hearts
of the lost and searching.
Grace is the freeing element of Love.”
Antwuan Malone
read more

I am rendered silent
when trying to fathom
the “Grace” of God’s Love.
How great is the Love of our Father?
Were we to spend our entire Life
trying to comprehend,
we could never grasp
its depth.

“Yea,
I have Loved thee

with an everlasting Love;
therefore with Loving kindness
have I drawn thee.”
– Jeremiah 31:3

Day after day
God’s Love
rises like the Dawn,
and always shines
upon you and me.

And through the dark of night
voices from the past
keep calling,
until
the Light of Dawn
chases away
every whisper
of our remembrances and imaginings
that begged to stay.

Annie and Alex, ages 8 and 5 (1992)

Old friends they are,
the rocks I tread upon –
I kick out from
under my bare feet.
Familiar they are,
these old friends
as comforting as the
ground,
belonging to me
as I to them.

My memory
seemingly seeps from the
Sacred soil
and back into me,
giving me
a sense of Peace,
finding some comfort
here.

 The silence is my teacher.
The calming air I breathe,
I find warm and inviting
and free.

Under the comforting warmth
of a beautiful spreading Tree,
I look to the Heavens
through the flickering,
whispering leaves.

This Sacred Place
I can never leave –
It never left me.
I belong here,
beneath the beautiful
canopy
of God’s Eternal Love.
What God provides
in Nature,
nurtures me.
It steals my Heart,
and leaves my Spirit
free.

I Pray
you will find
God’s Love
hidden deep within
the Forest
of your Heart.

“There is One Ultimate Loving Energy
that is present in all that exists.
You may call it whatever you are comfortable with:
God, Spirit, Source, the Great I Am, Allah, Yahweh, etc.
This is not a personality outside of us,
but rather a Presence within each of us.
We are inherently Spiritual Beings
having a Human experience.
We live in an abundant, unlimited Universe
and within us lies all the Wisdom, Love and Power
needed to create full, Joyous
prosperous lives.”
– Rev. Lee Wolak
Agape Center For Spiritual Living

Such moments
as I am with my Mother,
Nature,
truly magnify
the Miracle of Life
in me.

Goodnight

What God provides in Nature, nurtures me.

“Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers.
The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change.
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change
Walking down the street
Distant memories
Are buried in the past forever.”
Klaus Meine
listen here

The Surprising Benefits of Clean Eating

by Matthew Solan
read more

Eating unprocessed food is a great way to improve your overall diet, but proponents say it can also do great things for your mental health.

Erica learned the hard way how food affects her physical and mental health. Ten years ago, she worked in the high-pressure, go-go-go TV industry. Meals were devoured in minutes. Drinking two cans of Coke a day was the norm.

The work stress became overwhelming, and she soon left. But it wasn’t until later that she made the connection between what she ate and how it made her feel.

“I was not happy and my job at that time was no longer rewarding,” she says, “but I came to understand how my eating habits and choices had contributed to that.”

Erica realized that her food choices had aggravated her episodes of stress – and, conversely, that her stress had contributed to poor food choices.

“When I adopted a clean eating diet, where I cut out the processed and comfort foods, I immediately noticed a change not only in my mood, but how I reacted when things went wrong,” Erica says.

“No longer was my instinct to reach for the chips, soda, or ice cream.”

Less packaged, more whole

The term “clean eating” is trendy nowadays.

An entire magazine is devoted to the subject. From TV chef Curtis Stone and Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey to actresses Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba, a slew of personalities and celebrities swear by clean eating.

But what does it mean exactly?

“Without all the excess sugar from processed foods and dairy, I had much less of the mental ups and downs that can happen when faced with daily stress.

“There are a lot of different interpretations, and no one fixed definition,” says

Pamela Fergusson, RD, PhD, a registered dietitian and consultant with Fresh Start Nutrition in Toronto.

“But generally, it refers to eating less processed foods and more whole foods.”

That means food in its natural or near-natural state, with minimal or no added chemicals, additives, or refined sugar. Ideally, what you eat should not be processed, or minimally processed, allowing it to retain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

One way to approach clean eating is to skip anything that comes in a box, can, or similar packaging.

But there are exceptions.

“For instance, beans come in cans that may add a little extra salt for flavor and preservation, but they are still beans, which are a nutritious whole food,” Fergusson notes.

You can ID processed foods as those that undergo changes from their natural state: think instant oatmeal instead of steel-cut oats, or French fries instead of whole potatoes.

Sound simple?

For the most part, it is.

“Clean eating encourages eating more of the right kind of foods without thinking about low-fat, low-calorie, or low-carb,” says Fergusson.

If you follow a particular eating plan – including a vegetarian, vegan or Paleo diet – you can still incorporate clean eating into your regimen. Just make a point to avoid processed staples.

For instance, vegetarians may enjoy frozen veggie burgers, but they don’t meet the guidelines of clean eating. Vegans may opt for soy cheese, but that’s often made with additives and preservatives.

Food-mood connection 

Clean eating can have a positive impact on your mood. Indeed, research is beginning to demonstrate how our food choices – not just what we eat, but what we don’t eat – can influence how we think and feel.

The scientific connection between our brain and food is an intertwining path, but here’s an abbreviated version:

When you get stressed, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, releasing the hormones adrenal and cortisol to combat the stressful event. This reaction typically suppresses our appetite.

If stress persists, however, and you find yourself in a constant state of worry, anxiety, or prolonged exposure to stressful situations, these hormones overload the body and cause heightened inflammation and negative emotions.

“The worse someone feels, the more likely they will seek comfort,” explains Eva Selhub, MD, author of the books Your Health Destiny, The Love Response and Your Brain on Nature.

“Food can act as that comfort, which is why we call foods high in fat and sugar ‘comfort foods.’”

While it can make people feel better in the short term, comfort food serves only as a temporary fix, Selhub warns.

“You find yourself craving more feel-good foods to help fight the stress,” she says. “High amounts of these trans fats and high-sugar foods can further flame inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which creates more mental fog and depression.”

Healthy diet, enhanced mood

While your diet can contribute to stress, it may also control how your brain responds to them.

That’s why the goal of clean eating is to eliminate unhealthy “feel-good” food and replace it with natural choices that can actually promote greater brain health.

Studies have found that people who follow the Mediterranean diet, for example – which includes plenty of whole vegetables and fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, and other seafood – have a 25%-35% lower risk of depression compared with those who follow a typical “Western” diet high in processed and refined foods.

One reason that a diet abundant in natural-state foods benefits your brain and mood is that these foods contain high amounts of antioxidants, which have been shown to not only soothe inflammation and oxidative stress but help prevent it in the first place.

A “sweeter” outlook, naturally

If you battle unhealthy cravings as part of your stress, clean eating is a way to break free from your dependence.

Taylor, co-owner of St. Pete Strength and Conditioning in Florida, turned to clean eating when he became more dedicated to his weight-training regimen.

His approach: stick with foods close to their natural state, which helped eliminate high amounts of refined sugar in his diet.

Taylor says he noticed an almost instant change for the better.

“I’m detailed-oriented, I sweat the small stuff, and I get stressed easily. But the clean eating helps me stay more focused and not get sidetracked with distractions.”

Taylor pointed to cutting out sugar, a feeder of inflammation, as the main factor for his improved outlook.

“Without all the excess sugar from processed foods and dairy, I have much less of the mental ups and downs that can happen when faced with daily stress. I’m much better able to go with the flow,” he says.

Another advantage to clean eating is that it can expand your palate, so you’re not always stuck in a food rut.

“Clean eating encourages eating more of the right kind of foods without thinking about low-fat, low-calorie, or low-carb.”

“Clean eating is more about what you can have rather than what you can’t have,” says Rebecca Katz, MS, author of The Healthy Mind Cookbook.

“You’ll discover that when you eliminate a lot of processed ingredients, you’ll add more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats that can turn into Technicolor meals full of bright greens, reds, and yellows.”

For her part, Erica discovered the many wonders of kale through clean eating.

“I learned that it was such a nutrient-rich food, and there were many ways to use it,” she says. “I use it in my breakfast smoothie, on lunchtime sandwiches, and as a side dish for dinner.”

Keep in mind that clean eating is designed to be flexible, so your healthy efforts will not collapse if you take a day off. If anything, the mental benefits of clean eating make it easier to rebound without guilt or stress.

“Now if I slip up, even over a few days, I’m aware of it and can more easily get back on track,” says Erica. “I don’t stress about it. That’s what’s so great about making positive change – it stays with you.”

Tips to Get Started

Here are some tips for making the move into clean eating:

Begin with breakfast. It’s a smaller meal and easier to prepare. Replace processed cereal with oatmeal, or a smoothie made with almond milk, greens, and frozen fruit.

Plan your meals. Organize and prep your meals for the week over the weekend. Have your fruits and vegetables chopped and stored in a container ready to go. It’s easier to reach into the fridge and grab what you need than to feel overwhelmed trying to prepare an entire meal from scratch.

Make a sweep of your kitchen. Get rid of processed foods lurking in your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. “This frees up space for you to add healthier alternatives that make cooking much more efficient,” says Katz.

Examples of “Clean Eating” Foods

The focus of clean eating is to consume more whole foods in their natural state and to avoid heavily processed foods.

When in doubt, read the label. “The ingredient list should be short and recognizable,” says Katz. “If you can’t say them, don’t eat them.”

Avoid anything with chemical-sounding names or phrases like “artificial coloring” and “flavors.” Here are a few examples of food staples that make up clean eating, according to Katz:

  • Healthy fats such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil
  • Fresh fruits – or canned, frozen, or dried fruit with no added sugar
  • Fresh vegetables – or canned or frozen vegetables with no added sauces or salt
  • Nuts like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts
  • Organic or vegetarian eggs
  • Unrefined grains, like whole-grain wheat bread and pasta, non-microwave popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat flour
  • Canned beans and legumes with little or no added salt (rinsing can reduce sodium by 35%)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Plain nut butters
  • Unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • Organic or grass-fed meat, including beef and chicken
  • Fresh or frozen fish, including Pacific cod, salmon, and tilapia
  • Herbs and spices such as turmeric, basil, rosemary, cinnamon, and ginger

Cooking Tip

How you prepare your food can also help you eat clean. Stick with flash-cook methods like stir-frying and steaming, which lock in more vitamins and minerals. Avoid high-fat cooking techniques, like deep frying or stewing your food in animal or vegetable fats.

“Hold on to what is good,
even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
even if I’ve gone away from you.”
Pueblo Indian Prayer

Beneath the beautiful canopy of God’s Eternal Love.

IMPORTANT  DATES:

April 28             Scarborough Renaissance Festival (Weather permitting)
May 1                TUITION DUE for 2017-18
May 15 & 16      Shakespeare Production at Stage West Theater
May 22 – 26       Adventure Trip
May 26               Last Day of Semester.

Copyright Disclaimer – Section 107 – Copyright Act 1976,
allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research. Fair use is permitted by copyright statute. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of “fair use”.

Lyrics/song texts are property and copyright of their owners and provided for educational purposes.

Grace Filled Living, Loving, Giving, and Forgiving / Maintaining a Healthy Outlook / Friday: At School

“The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for
JOY

and SING.”
Psalm 65:13

God’s Love is a mysterious voyage.

In the restless calm
of evening,
you can feel
the ever-presence of
God,
listening to our Prayers,
our thoughts,
knowing our deepest desires,
as
Life gains new meaning,
and Hope for tomorrow
begins to sing
your song.

My Friends,
the result of being
in God’s presence
is JOY!

“The JOY
of the Lord
is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10

Our trials produce Faith
and they develop perseverance.
And when we persevere,
we prove to ourselves and to others
that our Faith is real,
and our sense
of being in God’s presence
increases
along with our
JOY
.

 “Consider it pure joy,
my brothers,
whenever you face trials
of many kinds.”
James 1:2

out-of-body

   I am the Dawn of all time.

When the moon
is born again
to peer inside
your Sacred Heart,
the Beauty of its streaming

cuts the night
like a knife,
reflecting the Light
of God’s unbelievably
Beautiful Love.

The World
sees what it wants
to see.
But only
YOU

can gaze
inside your precious
memories,
and finally come to know that
from this moment on,
Life begins anew
and goes
on and on and on.

“Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight,
Someone’s thinking of me
And Loving me tonight.

Somewhere out there
If Love can see us through,
Then we’ll be together
Somewhere out there,
out
where
Dreams come true.
– James Ingram

          Somewhere out there.

You
are your Heavenly Father’s
daughter,
son,
everywhere,
everyone.

You can feel the ever presence.

So on this very brief
pathway of Life,

pause to reflect,
as you find
your mind
racing and retracing
all the Journeys
endured,
finally done.

They will lead you
back
to this moment,

and your new home
to be found
in the many Blessings
that abound.

I am
the hours

And moments of your yesterday.
I am your time gone by,
O’er days and ages fleeting,
Long since passed away
As endless years roll by.

I am the hours,
The days and moments yet to come,
Until the end of time.
All the centuries and
Seasons that are still to run,
As endless years roll by.

I’ll rise in the spark of Life
The Dawn of all time
I’ll call to the world still yet to be
The music is everywhere,
In life, in the sea and air
To join in the Perfect song
of all Eternity.

The noon of Creation rings,
And all in the Heavens sing
The Glorious song
through all Eternity.

I am
the Dawn of all time.”
– Libera

            A Dream just begun.

Stand up!
Shout at the
Sun.
Life
is not a lie.
It is a Dream
just begun.

Something
can change in you.
You can
from this very moment
be
everything you dreamed of,
whatever you wish
to see.

“The Keys to the vaults of Heaven
May be buried somewhere
in a Prayer.

The Keys to the vaults of Heaven
May be heavy or lighter than air.

Open up the vaults
We’ve got to find the keys.
The nights have been growing darker,
Even darker now
than sin.

We’ll open the vaults of Heaven.
The treasures are there within.
The keys to the vaults of Heaven
May be seen
in a pure child’s eyes.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Born again to peer inside your Sacred Heart.

“The two most important days
in your Life
are the day you are born,
and the day
you find out
WHY.”

– Mark Twain

When the birds
in their Heavenly trees
stop their singing,
and the Sun
has ceased its gleaming,
when the day’s journey
nears its end,
go to your Father
in thought and in Prayer.
To YOU
His Blessings
He will send.

Yes,
God’s Love
is a mysterious voyage.
He takes us
to places of the Heart.
And we
may stay there
forever and ever
and evermore.

       Life gains new meaning.

God can lift you away
from the dark of day
and free you
evermore.

“You were there,
In everything I knew,
From the moment I began.
Always there,
In every way I go,
Saved me falling,
Held my hand.

You are shelter from the storm.
The shadows fade away,
All cares pass away.

You are there,
Whichever way I go.
Keep me safely night and day.
Always there,
Whenever I’m alone,
Hear me calling,
Show the way.

You are shelter from the storm.
The shadows fade away,
All cares pass away.

Your love lightens up the sky
As it shines across the night
Stay with me through the dark
And bring me Home.”
play You Were There
by Libera

On the road of precious Living,
as our brief journey
nears its inevitable end,
direct your Sacred Heart
toward those around you.
  and be Homeward bound
again.

Let’s do some
Grace filled Living,
Loving
Giving,
and Forgiving,

before the day
we die.

Goodnight.

Maintaining a Healthy Outlook
from the University of California
San Francisco Medical Center

read more

We have busy, demanding lives. You may feel pulled in different directions and experience stress from dealing with work, family and other matters, leaving little time for yourself. Learning to balance your life with some time for yourself will pay off with big benefits – a healthy outlook and better health.

Steps you can take:

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Be involved in your community.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and do things that make you happy.
  • Keep your curiosity alive. Lifelong learning is beneficial to your health.
  • Healthy intimacy takes all forms but is always free of coercion.
  • Learn to recognize and manage stress in your life. Signs of stress include trouble sleeping, frequent headaches and stomach problems; being angry a lot; and turning to food, drugs and alcohol to relieve stress.
  • Good ways to deal with stress include regular exercise, healthy eating habits and relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation. Talking to trusted family members and friends can help a lot. Interacting with your Faith community is helpful in times of stress.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. Adults need around eight hours of sleep a night.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you feel depressed for more than a few days; depression is a treatable illness. Signs of depression include feeling empty and sad, crying a lot, loss of interest in life, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, get help right away. Call 911, a local crisis center or (800) SUICIDE.

IMPORTANT  DATES:

March 2 & 3 (Thursday & Friday)  Regular classes & school hours for all students
March 13-17           Spring Break Holidays
April 7                     Tour of Fire Station and Fire Academy
April 14 & 17 (Friday and Monday)   Good Friday and Easter Holidays
April 28                   Scarborough Renaissance Festival (Weather permitting)
May 15 & 16           Shakespeare Production at Stage West Theater
May 22 – 26             Adventure Trip
May 26                    Last Day of Semester

Copyright Disclaimer – Section 107 – Copyright Act 1976,
allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research. Fair use is permitted by copyright statute. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of “fair use”.

 In their Heavenly trees.

This Land of Mine / Cell Phones and Cancer / Friday: Western Currency Facility

forest-green

Keep well the forests, deep and green. Keep well our only home.

this-land-of-mine-page-one-b1

this-land-of-mine-page-two

sun-burst

      Keep lit the lamp of Hope.

In the Face of Love
there is nothing more
needed,
there is nothing left
to lose,
there is no where else
to go,
no need to choose.

In the wink of an eye
our Lives are turning.

What is this World
without you?

My Dear Friend,
without you,
our World would be
devoid of all Hope
that you
could ever be
the answer
to someone’s Prayer,
the Hope
in someone’s Heart,
the Salvation
of someone’s Soul.

old_aged_tractor-b

I gave this Land my toil free. It gave my Life to me.

The things in Life
that matter,
have nothing to do
with things,
and everything to do
with you.

“And as for fortune,
and as for fame

I never invited them in
though it seemed to the world
they were all I desired.

They are illusions.
They are not the solutions
they promised to be.

The answer was here all the time.
I Love you
and hope you Love
me.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber

The wind blows cold
when you are not there,
to warm the Heart
of one
deep in Prayer
to hear you
say,
my Love
is here,
here to stay.

My Friend,
the only real treasure
on this Earth
is a Heart
of Gold.
And the only
real measure
of Life
are the of tears
of Joy
you came to know,
and those spread upon
the ground
when its time for you
to go.

bright-sun-and-flowers

Care for the Living, ever present Dream.

Portraits
cannot be hung
on the empty
walls
of a hollow Heart
you allowed to beat
for only you.

My Dear Parents,
in our overly zealous rampage
to compete in a world of illusions,
our fragile children
suffer for their sanity.
Many
do not survive.

Unfurl your empty arms.
Embrace
this fleeting moment
with your Child.
The saving Grace
is knowing
all a Child ever wants
is for you to:
“Love me.
That’s all I ask
of you.”

sun-and-yellow-flowers

I give to you for your safe keep.  This Land of mine I call my own.

You are truly in
the Everlasting Arms
of God
when in the warm embrace
of your Child.

You can live
for evermore,
because of this
day,
the day an Angel
sings,
and you are a Child once again,
a Child
of your Dreams.

If Truth be told,
you are reborn
on the day
a child draws
Life from Love
and gives it back
again.

earth-reflection

And for the giving, and for the receipt.

Bitter memories
are stilled to silence
in a Forest
of Loving Dreams.

Today we stand
lost in a vast Universe
beyond our comprehension.

And there
we shall remain,
until the day
we share our Love
for everyone.

The light and dark
of our days on Earth
reflect the nature of death and birth.
We cannot have one
without the other.
We learn to appreciate
the Gifts of Wisdom
contained within their embrace.
But there is nothing to fear,
if we look into the shadows
and discover the Light they contain,
Light born of Knowledge,
illuminating Wisdom,
pointing the way
to Love.

Within the Vaults of Heaven
are many Loving
Hearts.

Goodnight.

butterfly

  In a Forest of Loving Dreams.

“Old man take a look at my life,
I’m a lot like you.
I need someone to love me
the whole day through.
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell
that’s true.”
– Neil Young

Cell Phones and Cancer

The World Health Organization
has classified cell phone radiation
as class B carcinogen.

Dr. David Carpenter,
Dean at the School of Public Health
State University of New York,
believes that up to 30% of all childhood cancers
are associated with
electromagnetic (EMF) radiation exposure.

Cell phones emit high levels
of electromagnetic radiation
directly into your head,
actually heating it up in the process.
There is increasing amounts of scientific evidence
linking this to brain cancers.

Multiple recent studies,
including international scientists,
are urging governments to place stricter regulations
on cellphone use,
particularly due to the latest outcome
of their investigations:
Young people who use cell phones
before the age of 20
are five times more likely
to be at risk for malignant brain tumors
than children who do not use mobile phones.

Researchers of the 2012 Bioinitiative Report
agree that approximately ten years of cell phone use
may lead to tumors.
There are significant studies that directly correlate
RF radiation from cell phones with brain tumors.

read more on cell phones and birth defects

Studies report that:

The chance of developing a brain tumor
goes up as much as 40%
after a decade of cell phone use.
Yes people are 5 times more likely
to develop a brain tumor
if they began using a cell phone before the age of 20.
People have twice the risk
of developing the cancer known as “Glioma”,
if they use their cell phones for half an hour a day
for more than a decade.

People using cell phones for 2000 hours
have 240% greater risk for malignant brain tumors.

A significant report was released in 2009
by the International EMF Collaborative,
a team of international EMF scientists and activists,
entitled “Cell Phones and Brain Tumors:
15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin
and the Truth Behind Interphone”.

read more on children and cell phones

Another study by an Israeli research group
found that there’s recently been a sharp 4-fold increase
in malignant tumors of the parotid gland
on the side of the face
the cell phone users generally hold the phone.
Parotid tumors have historically been very rare
and have shown up in people after the age of 50.
Most cases since 2001 have occurred
in people under the age of 20.

Cordless land line phones
emit high levels of EMF radiation
and can be even more dangerous than cell phones!
And usually we speak longer on cordless phones

More than 31 million children use cell phones daily –
close to four hours a day.
Cell phone radiation danger to children
is especially of concern,
as children absorb 50% more radiation than adults do,
because their skulls are thinner and smaller,
and EMFs penetrate much more deeply into their brains.
Their brains are more conducive to radiation
due to the higher water and ion concentration
in a developing brain.

Many health symptoms
due to cell phone radiation
show up early on and may precede
more serious disorders and diseases.

They include:

  • Chronic colds & flues
  • Headaches and “mind-fog”
  • Digestive disorders
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Memory Loss
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Dizziness

Brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia
as the number one cancer killing children,
and many scientists believe
this is directly linked to the exponential increases
in cell phone use
and other wireless devices.

One of the most comprehensive studies
testing the cell phone – cancer link on children
was conducted by Professor Lennart Hardell in Sweden.
The results of the study indicate that
children and teens
are 5 times more likely to get brain cancer
if they use cell phones.

A study conducted in 2009
by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
on autistic children
and their mothers during pregnancy
shows significant results,
strongly suggesting that:

electromagnetic radiation
in the sleeping environment
of the mothers during pregnancy,
as well as electromagnetic radiation
in the sleeping environment of children,
may be a key contributing factor
if not a causative one –
in neurological impairments in children,
including autism.”

click here to read more

Forgive us Lord,
for we know not
what we do.

Come on Folks,
put the [expletive deleted] phone down
and just talk to your child.
Old fashioned conversations
are GREAT!
And
much safer.

THAT
is called Love.

Now,
don’t CALL me
and tell me
you agree.

Copyright Disclaimer – Section 107 – Copyright Act 1976,
allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research. Fair use is permitted by copyright statute. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of “fair use”.

purple-flowers-two

              With my Love.

17-1-13-trip-to-western-currency20170111_16300111