Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa is still coming to our house

Over this issue of Santa Claus I can sense that I might be in the minority in our Christian school but our family has had fun with the idea for years. Bekah still enjoys the giggling fun of Santa. My own pastor dresses up as Santa for his kids (when they were younger anyway!). It's just fun. And fun is good! :)

We also celebrate Advent all month as well as St Nick's day where we learn about St Nick - but on Christmas morning, Santa Claus and his reindeer visit our house. I actually kinda believed in this fun little fantasy through 7th/8th grade.

As a mom now, I love that I can give to my children "in secret" as this is a Christ like model of giving that someday, my kids will be able to do for their own children. I now look back on Christmases of my youth and tearfully realize, that my parents were the sacrificial givers of those gifts I knew had to be from Santa because "there was no way they could afford it." That's Christ like love personified.

I whole heartedly agree with James Dobson's perspective on this and thought I'd send it along:

"Can Teaching Your Children about Santa Claus Interfere with Their Spiritual Beliefs Later in Life."

James Dobson: "I don't believe that those early, early fantasies really interfere with later Spiritual beliefs. I haven't seen any evidence of that, either in the life of my kids or in the lives of those I have had anything to do with. To allow a little bit of fantasy in a child's life enriches his intellectual life and I think he needs it. Children thrive on fantasy. It enriches our mental existence. Reality can be a pretty cold and hard place. I think children need the fantasy that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and other childhood mythical creatures bring.

Dr Bill Maier: Childhood fantasies can be fun and help develop a child's imagination. As long as the fantasies are not unhealthy, there is no need to "correct" your kids any earlier than necessary"

For this same commentary in audio form here is the link:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest time!

What fun it is to harvest in the fall!! We had a cool summer, so harvest is smaller, but it's filling us up with fresh, organic, delicious, life giving food!

This is just a sampling of today's picks...the tomatoes are coming on too...haven't dug up the beets or potatoes much, but they await our dinner table, sucking up the last of the nutrients.
Collard greens, lettuce, swiss chard, yummy with garlic and olive oil sauteed up to perfection,
Herbs, glorious herbs!! Basil, surrounded by oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and chives.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's all good...

Had another epiphany from God today on my run....probably should credit the epiphany to the 2 hour yoga class I did with over 500 "yogis" on the Deschutes River today instead as that's where a lot of these mini thoughts started coagulating in my mind.

God is so clever in the way he gently teaches me. It's always little lessons, spread over months and months, and the final "aha" doesn't come until the exactly perfect time when it all comes flooding through my mind and finally the dots are connected. I always smile up at Heaven at this point, thanking Him for his unending patience.

At the end of last school year I had all but decided that I had given this full time teaching thing a good, honest try, and "thanks, but no thanks", I best be on my way now. However, God divinely whispered to my heart that that might not be the answer and that He'd like me to speak to a couple of fellow teachers. I obeyed, made some phone calls, did some talking and a ton of listening and knew in my heart that I was to return.

So why then, did I spend such a big chunk of the summer dreading this decision? God, where's the Peace that follows after your will? I wrestled with this all summer.

Then God placed another little angel in my life in the form of a stranger on a bus. We had just finished another major backpacking trip - one in which we needed to take a bus to the trailhead - and were on the return trip back to our vehicle - when I just shared openly with the lady next to me about my internal struggles with taking on full time teaching again. She listened attentively and then turned to me and said, "YOu are going to have the best year of your life."

Woah!! That settled hard and fast in my mind and as I pondered her spoken blessing over my life for a few days, I knew it, FINALLY, in my heart! It's a choice! It always is. God is just waiting to hand us His blessings, but we need to choose to receive them as grumbly, hard little hearts aren't capable of it. I will choose to wake up each day and grab God's hand and say, "with you God, I choose Joy.:

The final person in this string of mini lessons (we are up to 3 people already- I am a slow learner), happened today after an invigorating 2 hour yoga class on the Deschutes River, and this time it came from a sweet older man in his 70s, with gray hair, and a thick Spanish accent....and it came in Spanish. We got to chit chatting about the weather and I laughingly admitted that I am a hot weather gal, I love it hot, and am not looking forward to this next winter which is predicted to be a real snowy, cold, and wet one. I said I'd love to live somewhere hot, where coconuts grow on trees and mangos grow in my backyard.

He stopped. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You can't leave us. You belong here. You are supposed to be in this community right now, blessing those that you encounter, HERE. Don't push against what happens - like the winter - learn to embrace it, enjoy it. No, you can't leave us. We need you here." (keep in mind, I met this sweet man 5 minutes before he boldly lectured me)

Es la verdad!!

After all of this, I needed a good trail run on the river. I knew God needed to put this all together. And here's what He told me:

We need each other!! Every one of these conversations spoke life into me. And because these people, along the way, spoke life into me, I am now ready to spend a school year, hopefully, speaking life into my students.

As we seek God daily, He fills us up with His life and then we go out into the world and have thousands of little moments, full of hundreds of interactions with other people, and we have the chance to speak life into each of these moments, into the people all around us.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer sun has set

We play hard. We do.

A 2 month road trip (5,000 miles of road gravy!)? There were some moments when I might have wanted to dilute the concentrated togetherness, when the trailer or tent seemed a bit too cozy, and when I did wish I could just drop them off to play with someone else for a change. I knew I would and sure enough I am, kicking myself for even daring to think these thoughts. In these precious few years where I am still "Mama" and the playmate of choice, I am so grateful that our lives allow for such concentrated time together. So, YES, I will go toss the football with you all afternoon after swimming with you all morning. YES!! Summer months are rather liberating for kids, I think, because the adults in their lives can say Yes more - sure we can have icecream for lunch, why not! - sure we can get up, skip chores, and bike all day, why not! - sure we can swim all morning and eat berries and honey all day - why not! It's that blessed time of year where "No, it's a school night" turns into "YES!"

We were not indoors (other than our trailer or our backpacking tents) once. But what we were doing is a lot of looking into each others eyes, holding hands, eating every single meal together - all day - laughing - a ton - swimming, running, jumping, and of course....
walking miles of trails, getting gallons of water out of pristine streams, seeing God paint the canvas above with insane colors every evening...
Courtesy of

To get to these locations, we had to also work. Work hard. (100 trail miles for the Sprouts!!) It's that gentle tug of balance - play hard, work hard - and God smiles down. He seems closer when you are up at 11,600 feet after boulder hopping and climbing your way up, up, up for an entire day, seemingly reaching for Him. His sunsets up here inspire awe. Instant awe. The surrounding ragged 13 and 14,000 feet peaks that surround create humility. ("God you are so huge...yet you know ME and love ME!")

It's these moments and the thousands of other moments we just cherished together as a family, as a team, conquering mountains, lakes, streams, together that have filled us up, refreshed us and will send us forth this year to work hard, to bless our classrooms full of precious children, and to keep our family team thriving in His Love.
courtesy of

Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me You are with me
I I I can't deny
No I can't deny that You are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me

From the Afters song, "light,light,light up the sky"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dirty fingernails to celebrate the end of the year

Well my blogging friends, I have just completed my first year as a full time teacher, mom, piano teacher, wife, friend (did I have any time for that??!), performer, runner, whew!!!!

So, I celebrate by hoeing, digging, weeding, and planting. All year I felt the ups and downs that accompanies working with kids ages 6 through 18 (and the adults that surround them all). Their emotional rollercoasters, I vowed, would not become mine but as you love, pour into, nurture, weed, hoe, and water you hope that you will get to see the beautiful harvest by June.

Unfortunately, with kids, the harvest isn't completed in a neat 9 month period. Some kids I saw blossom right before my eyes as the year unfolded. I watered, nurtured, and poured into those kids with easy enthusiasm. Others seemed like the weeds of this world were choking them out and their color seemed to fade from bright green to a pale yellow, their fruit never quite had a long enough growing season to ripen.

A few weeks ago, my mind was so focused on the few that I didn't reach, didn't see change for the better, or didn't see mature that I lost focus of the bountiful harvest happening right around me. This blog tends to chronicle my "aha moments" on my runs of which I share this latest one - I spent the full 7 miles slowly moving from student to student in my room, praying over them and letting God flood my heart with a clear picture of His giftings in their lives - are they courageous, joyful, spontaneous? Are they servants, shephards, or pastors? Are the industrious, perseverant, or determined? And sure enough, each student's giftings, their fruit, became perfectly ripe in my mind's eye and I decided to spend the next class period, publicly blessing them with the fruit I discovered in them.

So today, as I plant, weed, hoe, and dig I do so knowing that my efforts will bring forth a more guaranteed result of a bountiful fall harvest that we will eat on all school year. Unlike with kids, I can see these little seeds grow. I can easily determine what to do to help them with their struggles by weeding, picking off bugs, and watering more. It's part of the restorative process my heart needs this summer to get ready for another year in the fall. I need some time to see the fruit of my labor on silent little plants, reaching towards the Sun, and growing just to nourish my family.

yes, a summer working with the more predictable will render me ready for the more slow process of nurturing kids that comes in the fall. Good thing that the start of the year is coupled with the fall harvest as it provides a beautiful daily reminder that if I tend the garden carefully, a harvest will happen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dear Cade

Since he wrote us a letter, I decided I oughta write him one. How fun it is to write love letters back and forth! Thank you Bo, from for your inspiration for my letter.

Dear Cade,

I look at you and see a boy who knows for sure that he is a fast runner, a good leader, a strong kicker and a smart thinker.

At nine, your only kryptonite is "perfectionism", but somehow your weakness with that seems to make everything else more charming. You love to play and love to win, but you also love to try. You give everything 110%, even though it scares the perfectionist in you to find your limits.

I love your spark, your joy, your refusal to – almost never - give up. I love that you believe in the goodness of the people around you and pray that someday you'll believe in the goodness in you. I love how your eyes twinkle when you are learning, that you crave to learn about anything and everything, including your insatiable desire to read the Bible.

But I wonder (and this is where the mom road gets a little rough)…

…who will be the first to bend your belief system? Someone will do it. Someone will make sure you understand that you aren’t that great or that fast or that kind. Someone will disregard your sparkling storytelling abilities and define you by your internal struggle to define everything in this world as black or white as you painfully learn, this is an impossible pursuit.

A boy who hasn’t been well-loved will want to become a winner by making you a loser. An insecure girl will make herself feel beautiful by convincing you that you are ugly. It will happen.

And sometimes – as crazy as it sounds – I am tempted to pave the way for the breaking. Sometimes I feel like I should prepare your heart for the sting of reality. To soften the blow of that moment when you will feel the rush of the wind, only to discover it’s someone passing you by; winning your race. I wrestle with the dueling desires to “build-you-up” and “let-you-down-easy” and so I ask for wisdom.

Wisdom that keeps me from speaking words that would define or destroy.

Wisdom that helps you learn to define yourself less in terms of black and white, because that system will only leave you believing you are less than your Creator made you to be, and more in terms of the beautiful rainbow of colors that make you YOU.

Wisdom that helps you find both your breaking and building in the arms of Jesus.

Wisdom, to hold you close and launch you freely into a world that isn’t kind, but so deeply needs someone a lot like you.

So I stand in the shadows of your indefatigable optimism and I pray that when the day comes that you discover that there are those who cannot cheer you on, no matter how much they may secretly want to; you will hold tightly to the knowledge that there are those who always will. No matter what.

We love you more than words can say,

your Mommy and Daddy, Bekah, Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, and Papa


Friday, April 16, 2010

Is it possible that I learn more from my kids then they do from me?

My little Wildman Sprout has been leaning more towards the "wildman" then the "sprout" in his 3rd grade year. He is testing the waters, figuring out what might work in this world and finding out, the hard way, that, darn it, life is hard.

My guy is a bit too smart for his own maturity. His little body has not caught up with his brain and all this is trying to wrestle itself out, crammed in a school desk all day.

His loving teachers are constant reminders to me that, sigh, it does indeed take a village to raise a child and they are part of our village.

Instead of coming up with excuses today like, "why should I do homework when I get As in everything?" he took the advice in stride, seemingly understanding that in the real world, we all have to do things we don't want to do or even sometimes see the point of at all and that part of responsibility is sucking it up and being willing to do our best, always, even when it's the last thing we want to do.

And then he wrote us this letter (note: Character grades are given in 7 different areas with 2s and 3s being the lowest and 1s being the highest):
Dear Mommy and Daddy,
I am a new kid now. I have changed very much. I won't lie. I won't be a distraction in class. I will slow down in my work. Everything you said I will do. You will find me getting nonstop 1s on my report card. You will find As on tests. You will find the teacher saying "Cade has been wonderful." All those bad memories are gone. I have a brand new start.

What I learned from this: May I always be as teachable and willing to be molded by God as my son is.

May I: find the eternal treasure in the temporary trial.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A lot of happiness for $4.99

Our weekly run to Trader Joes is one of our rituals that brings happy times. Maybe it's their catchy tunes playing, or tons of food that is $1 or $2 or $3 (how many stores have so many things for sale that start with $1, $2, or $3!!)...maybe it's their yummy samples...

One thing that I can safely pin all these happy feelings on is the weekly flower bouquet I choose to adopt, bring home, and call our own. I walk into the store and just like at a puppy store, they all sit there, with innocent looks just quietly unassuming and obviously desiring to be the "chosen" one that will be plucked from their flower fellowship to be brought home to bring joy to us humans.

This week, my son picked out some lovely delicate purple flowers that now grace our table and join about 10 other potted plants that are brightening up our kitchen from our weekly TJ runs over the past months.

I look at them each day and see growth, when outside it's still grey and brown. I look at them and am reminded of the hope that Spring always brings, of new life, new color, new growth.

That's a lot of joy for $4.99.

It's the time of year too when my husband gears up for wildflower hunts and weekends are full of soccer games and sprints to fields of wildflower blooms to hike, camp, and capture on camera the latest color explosion. To catch your own wildflower brilliance wherever you live, check out the forestry service website:

Somehow, the simple act of chasing wildflowers is so easily capable of reminding us of God's Glory, to be grateful for all things, and to keep our perspectives in order. Happy flower adventures to you!

For more photos like this, check out

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Filled up

Simple post to say how filled up I am today -
  • With the joy of spending my life with such an amazing friend, gentle man, and the encourager of my soul
  • With my son's joy and exuberance for every thing he does, his swimming lessons he is doing with his class, his soccer practice in the evenings with his traveling team, his book reports, his family
  • With my daughter's creative approach to life - through cards for every one for anything, her eagerness to dance to an Uncle David song at the school talent show, how she sings and twinkles during most moments of her day
  • With my many jobs - from teaching my students piano to hanging out with high school students in my Spanish classroom and co-creating choreography with my elementary students during music class to touring the country with my brother doing shows

FILLED to overflowing. Our GOD is so good.

What is your heart filled with today?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sex part 2

The actual words of her lovely "Kid" appropriate book: "Do not have sex with anyone other than your husband or wife." Or another wonderful line from her new book:

It's better to marry than to wish for sex all the time.

Where did she read this? No it was not in a Playboy Magazine for was her brand new, Kids Bible for 6 to 10 year olds. The Day by Day Children's Bible.

She has now been asking about sex, mentioning this new word around Cade (who said he's never heard it either...what is that?) and trying to figure it out.

Obviously, we had to do some explaining. And we did. And we kept it simple. But I am appalled at this author's decision to write it that obviously a poorly written. She could have written this a ton of ways like
  • You can only be married to one man or one woman - the original verse is about adultery anyway.

I never remember being told in Child development 101 in college to make sure we include stories about "Not having sex with anyone but your spouses" at circle time for 1st graders or to encourage them to make sure they get married someday so that they don't wish for sex all the time. It's insanity. Pure insanity.

There is a time and a place. God tells us that He will disseminate knowledge to us as adults as we can handle why do we dump stuff like this on young kids? I don't care if it's in the Bible. It's not appropriate for young kids. Period. The Bible is full of stuff that is not appropriate for young kids.

I am now descending from my soap box.

I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Don't buy the Day by Day Children's Bible. (Now I feel even better!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Thought that title might catch your eye.

So, anyone out there think this is appropriate reading for a just turned 7 year old girl? Just wondering if you ever ran across this in any kid's stories out there:

And a man should not have sex with anyone but with the person they have married....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seeds catalog - AHHHH!!! Spring

Spent an hour this afternoon, laying on the grass in the sun looking over a seeds catalog, dreaming of all the fun possibilities for this Spring and Summer garden.

It always amazes me the life that God packed into a tiny seed - that from a little seed, planted in the dirt, with God's Sun and Rain, can burst forth life giving, nutrient rich food.

Bring on the dirty nails!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oddities while looking for a Bible

My kids are 6 and just 9. They both read. My 9 year old can read any thing...highschool level is not a problem. My 6, almost 7, reads chapter books.

So, they have been begging me to read the Bible. But it is a book full of violence, sex, immorality, and rock and roll...if you know what I mean.

Does my 6 or 9 year old need to be reading about "women lusting after women and doing depravous acts with their bodies" ? etc. (Straight quote from Romans. )

Just because they can read, do they have to be reading about the horrendous violence in the Old Testament - simply because it's in "God's Word".

Today I went to the Christian Bookstore. Maybe that was my first mistake. Of course, they had cute covered Bibles for all different ages. The covers were different, but the inside was always the exact text. No editing out of "prostitutes" and "men lusting after men" or "sexual sins with their bodies"...just all the raw gorey details of the Bible.

There was a lady checking out who overheard my questions and decided to jump on her opinionated box to declare to me, "well, if your kids can read it then I feel they are ready to know about the full sinful nature of mankind. It's God's Word after all. If they can read it then they should know about it all." Blah blah blah. I sort of tuned out to the rest of her speech. I did let her know that I did not agree with her.

Truly, do non-Christian, loving parents, seeking to raise their kids morally look at the things that are taught to kids in Sunday schools at early ages about extremely violent acts in the Bible and think we are crazy? If I stopped for a moment and stepped out of my Christian bubble, I'd definitely be confused as to why we think we need to be talking to 2 year olds in Sunday school about some of the violent moments in the Old Testament like Cain killing Able or having them memorize the 10 commandments asking mommy as she changes their diaper,"What is adultery?"

Just because my daughter mastered the English language by 2, she was not ready to be sat in front of any English spoken R- rated movie. Just because they are great readers does not mean they have to be burdened down by our adult issues of sexual lust, violence, and all the rest. That's not their burden to bear yet.

I would love to hear your thoughts! I just want a truly age-appropriate Bible!!

In the meantime, I ordered this Bible for my soon to be 7 year old:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reason #227 for why I love working with High school kids

Frankly, talking to some adults can feel a bit like talking to Eeyore. I have to step aside so the rain cloud over their heads doesn't get me wet too.

But high school kids - despite the economy, despite the date on the calendar, despite the gray skies, despite, despite, despite, still deep down, have HOPE!

For I know the Plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to give you a hope and a future...

Adults write this on a 3X5 card and tape it to their mirror in an attempt to try not to let this truth slip away from them completely while the average 15 year old just knows this is true.

They don't question it. They don't desperately beg God to not let them forget this. They just walk around knowing it, believing it, and looking forward to it. You can see it in most of their twinkling eyes that they just can't wait to see how it all will unfold.

The funnest question to ask a teenager is: "SO, what are your plans after high school?"

Try it - their eyes usually light up and their voices raise a bit, as their hopeful plans for their future unfold, reminding us all to keep dreaming as God is not done with any of us yet.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chin up everyone

I know it's gray. I know it's STILL January. ( I had to remind my husband of that today - Do you know, I told him, that it is STILL January??!)_

We haven't seen the sun in a long time. THis vitamin D deficient soul is relying on a dwindling backup supply to keep the 'ole smile.

So sometimes, I sort of force a smile - it tricks my body - my body must not be so smart as it says to itself, "Self, the face is smiling...we must be happy...let's get those happy endorphines flowing 'cause the owner is clearly smiling...."

And then, soon enough, the smile that tricked the body now has a happy body, and the happy body tells the face to keep smiling....and this is probably why January takes so long.

To read more about why this actually can and does work:

So, CHin Up everyone. Let the words from Wilbur remind you to choose JOY!!

Chin up, chin up
Everybody love a happy face
Wear it, share it
It’ll brighten up the darkest place
Twinkle, sparkle
Let a little sunshine in
You’ll be on the right side
Looking at the bright side
Up with your chinny chin chin…

Chin up, chin up
Put a little laughter in your eyes
Brave it, save it
Even though you’re feeling otherwise
Rise up, wise up
Make a little smile begin
You’ll be happy hearted
Once you get started
Up with your chinny chin chin!

Chin down, you can't come frowning
Turn around
Start clowning
Think sad
Your troubles double
Think glad
To burst white bubbles

Chin up, chin up
Every little time your spirits wilt
Chin up, chin up
Give your attitude an upward tilt
Twinkle, sparkle
Let a little fun begin
You’ll be on the right side
Looking at the bright side
Up with you chinny chin chin
Chin up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

World's Healthiest Foods website!

Check it out!

We are eating one of the "world's healthiest foods" tonight as I am currently baking some swiss chard in the oven (with some cabbage).

So get get some chard! I blend it into green smoothies and learned from my sweet friend in Sisters about baking it...set the temp high on your oven, smother the chard or the kale in olive oil and garlic, and bake it until it's crispy-ish. Kids love it.
Here's some more chard recipes:

Both the leaves and the roots of Swiss chard have been the subject of fascinating health studies. The combination of traditional nutrients, phytonutrients (particularly anthocyans), plus fiber in this food seems particularly effective in preventing digestive tract cancers. Several research studies on chard focus specifically on colon cancer, where the incidence of precancerous lesions in animals has been found to be significantly reduced following dietary intake of Swiss chard extracts or fibers. Preliminary animal research also suggests that Swiss chard may confer a protective effect on the kidneys of those with diabetes through reducing serum urea and creatinine levels.

If vegetables got grades for traditional nutrients alone, Swiss chard would be one of the vegetable valedictorians. The vitamin and mineral profile of this leafy green vegetable contains enough "excellents" to ensure its place at the head of the vegetable Dean's List. Our rating system awards Swiss chard with excellent marks for its concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Swiss chard also emerges as a very good or good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Swiss Chard contains:

1. Vitamin K - The vitamin K provided by Swiss chard-306.3% of the daily value in one cup of cooked Swiss chard-is important for maintaining bone health.

2. Vitamin A - Our food ranking system qualified Swiss chard as an excellent source of vitamin A on account of its concentrated beta-carotene content. Once inside the body, beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A, so when you eat Swiss chard, it's like getting both these beneficial nutrients at once. One cup of Swiss chard contains just 35 calories, but provides 109.9% of the daily value for vitamin A.

Both vitamin A and beta-carotene are important vision nutrients. In a study of over 50,000 female nurses aged 45 to 67, those who consumed the highest dietary amount of vitamin A had a 39% reduced risk of developing cataracts.

Beta-carotene has also been the subject of extensive research in relationship to cancer prevention and prevention of oxygen-based damage to cells

3. Magnesium - yet another nutrient on Swiss chard's "Excellent Source" list, helps regulate nerve and muscle tone by balancing the action of calcium. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature's own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium's entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they enervate) relaxed.

4. Vitamin C - Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin C-just one cup of this cooked vegetable supplies 52.5% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage in the aqueous environment both inside and outside cells. Inside cells, a potential result of free radical damage to DNA is cancer. Especially in areas of the body where cellular turnover is especially rapid, such as the digestive system, preventing DNA mutations translates into preventing cancer. This is why a good intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
An important electrolyte involved in nerve transmission and the contraction of all muscles including the heart, potassium is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Swiss chard can promote your cardiovascular health by being an excellent source of not only magnesium but potassium, too. A one cup serving of Swiss chard provides 27.4% of the daily value for potassium along with its aforementioned 47% of the daily value for magnesium, making Swiss chard an especially good choice to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

5. Iron - Swiss chard is an excellent source of iron, a mineral so vital to the health of the human body that it is found in every human cell.

6. Vitamin E - Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin E, the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. By protecting these cellular and molecular components, vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.

7. Fiber - Swiss chard's health benefits continue with its fiber; a cup of Swiss chard provides 14.7% of the daily value for fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis. Fiber can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, so Swiss chard is an excellent vegetable for people with diabetes. Swiss chard's fiber binds to cancer-causing chemicals, keeping them away from the cells lining the colon, providing yet another line of protection from colon cancer.

8. Manganese - That same cup of Swiss chard will also provide you with 29.0% of the day's needs for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates, and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids that are important for a healthy nervous system and in the production of cholesterol that is used by the body to produce sex hormones. Manganese is also a critical component of an important antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is found exclusively inside the body's mitochondria (the oxygen-based energy factories inside most of our cells) where it provides protection against damage from the free radicals produced during energy production.

9. Vitamin B6 - A cofactor in the reaction that regenerates glutathione, riboflavin help ensure adequate levels of one of the body's most important antioxidants. Among glutathione's many beneficial activities, it protects lipids like cholesterol from free radical attack. Only after it has been damaged by free radicals does cholesterol pose a threat to blood vessel walls. In addition, riboflavin is necessary for proper functioning of B6. Vitamin B6 is involved in an important cellular process called methylation at the juncture where homocysteine, a dangerous molecule that can directly damage blood vessel walls, is converted into a helpful amino acid, methionine. Without riboflavin's assistance, vitamin B6 cannot change into the active form in which it catalyzes this conversion. Once again, we can rely on Swiss chard, which supplies us with both nutrients. A cup of Swiss chard contains 8.8% of the daily value for riboflavin along with 7.5% of the daily value for vitamin B6.

10. - Mental Performance - Mental performance normally declines with age, but the results of Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that eating just 3 servings of green leafy, yellow and cruciferous vegetables each day could slow this decline by 40%, suggests a study in the journal Neurology (Morris MC, Evans DA, et al.) Compared to people who consumed less than one serving of vegetables a day, people who ate at least 2.8 servings of vegetables a day saw their rate of cognitive decline slow by roughly 40%. This decrease is equivalent to about five years of younger age, said lead author Martha Clare Morris, ScD, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The History of Medicine

"What causes one person to catch a cold or the flu and another to avoid it? Why, with serious outbreaks of infectious diseases, are only a certain number stricken, and of those, why do only some people die?"

This is how the new book I am reading begins. (The Immune System Cure by Lorna R Vanderhaeghe and Patrick J.D. Bouic, PH.D.)
This link will take you to a digital copy of the entire book:,+PH.D.&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=hZZTS4b8Op2ssQOt2vD4DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=The%20Immune%20System%20Cure%20by%20Lorna%20R%20Vanderhaeghe%20and%20Patrick%20J.D.%20Bouic%2C%20PH.D.&f=false

I love it! Can't wait to see the details of this unfold, as I ask myself this question all the time.

When I started working full time this year in a school you wouldn't believe how many people's attempt to encourage me sounded something like this, "Oh boy! You are going to be so sick this year! The first year teaching in a new school - you'll catch everything."

I knew they were wrong but didn't know exactly why. Why did the Swine flu not touch us? Why does strep rip through our school each year and my kids don't get it? How can I be surrounded by kids with fevers, green snot, coughs, and everything else and remain healthy? Why has not one member in my family even had a cold this entire school year so far? We'll probably get at least one cold this year...but some years that doesn't even happen.

So, I plan to include you in this discovery - and maybe inspire us all to make healthy changes or continue doing some of the things we are already doing.

Clue #1 - could be wrapped up in how we deal with sickness. We don't medicate. We don't use antibiotics or cold medicine or antacids. If we begin to feel slightly under the weather, we use herbs, eat more organic vegetables, drink nourishing teas, and rest. Period.

Opening poem in the book:

The History of Medicine

2000 BC
Here, eat this root.

1000 BC
That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

1805 AD
That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this portion.

1940 AD
That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

1985 AD
That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

2000 AD
That antibiotic doesn't work anymore. Here, eat this root....

Stay tuned for more clues as I discover them and share here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How great thou art

2010 I welcome with wide open arms!

I have very strange reaction to the New Year. It's change. And I really don't like change, of any sort. I get used to my rut and like to stay comfortable, wallowing in it's sameness. I cried every time a new term started in college (that's a lot of crying! Undergraduate and graduate years - the tears just flowed)

Why? Well, I'd get used to the schedule. I learned to like the new schedule - liked when I could squeeze my runs in, study, see friends, go hiking, have an easier day and then boom, right when I absolutely fell in love with the new routine, it was done...and the next one was upon me and darn it, it was different.

So, I usually find that Jan 1st is my least favorite day of the year. I am sad that the year I have worn like a comfortable blanket is now done. I worked so hard to do all the details of the year - b-days, holidays, vacations, - ahh the glory of a well-oiled, smoothly flowing, familiar system - and now, it's all done and I Start over????

But, this year I am actually finding I am noticing amidst my typical melancholy woes of a new year that I am excited. 2009 was so full of conversations with hurting people - economically, spiritually, emotionally, and bodily health - and what became familiar in 2009 was comments about the sad state of affairs with the economy, the housing market, the health of our nation, our government, the bleak future....

And well into the year, I did get tired of it because I like to smile more then these conversations ever allowed me to do, but unfortunately, I more often then I care to admit, fell into the negativity myself. It became the 2009 thing to do.

This year, 2010, despite the fact that probably none of these bleak conversations have been concluded in anyway, I plan to try to turn the tide, one conversation at a time. I hope to talk more about the beauty of humanity, God's creation (, and the good to behold in each and every day.

Yes - this year I resolve to focus on How Great He Is.

How Great Thou Art (as performed by my brother David Klinkenberg and I in Molina, IL for a radio station listener appreciation concert we put on for their community):