Sunday, April 14, 2013

Green Smoothies...good or not good...?

Green Smoothies are all the rage these days.
And being a gardener, I am all for fresh and healthy.
And I am by habit  and nature somewhat of an experimenter (as you will, no doubt quickly observe if you follow this blog long).   I am not however for healthy at all costs....  For example, "healthy but tastes terrible or has a bitter, fibrous texture" does not suit me at all.  So for the sake of brevity, after many recipes for green smoothies tried, let me share with you the ONLY one I can recommend without reservation:

  Becky's favorite green Smoothie

Spinach leafs washed and loosely packed, 2-4 cups 
Fresh Pineapple, 1 slice including the core, approximately 1 inch thick (although I have used canned with fine results)
One orange,with orange skin removed,  (I leave the white under skin on).  Quarter the orange.
1/2 a banana peeled
1/4 inch slice of lime, peel and all.  This is NOT optional.  Somehow the lime cuts the bitterness of the spinach and while the banana, orange and pineapple definitely provide enough sweetness, the lime makes this smoothie rise, from tolerable to DELICIOUS.  I have fantastic results with even a slice of a tiny key lime added.
1/2-1 tsp vanilla
4 ice cubes

Blend all together (having a Vita Mix blender makes this a breeze but I'll blog about that later)...enjoy.

I'm pretty sure you will like it;  even my picky teenagers liked this one, once they got past the beautiful  green color.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Not All Songs Are Happy

March 18, 2013 Bird Songs... Not all songs sound happy ... It is interesting how one can spend a day in nature and have both rain and sun in one day, as well as both the cheerful happy bird whistles of thrushes, or larks, and later the sad, mournful wail of a loon. I suppose in a way, March in the Northwest epitomizes change and contrasts. At this moment we have both sun and wind, although we woke to clouds and who knows what the future hours of the day will bring. That was like this weekend.... filled with the joys and togetherness, with our daughters Tiahna, and Kaloni and Kaloni's boyfriend Kyle Udall joining us for a lovely brief visit from college, but in the background, the underlying heartache of an unfolding tragedy among others of our loved ones. With all five of our children in college together in another State I have missed our children so, and looked forward with great anticipation for their arrival. Kaloni had sent all sorts of food requests, enough to last nearly a week and yet they would be here less than two days. So typical of a hungry, poor college student! We have been also planning for our 120 seminary students to move into our basement soon for classes when they begin to replace their old trailer building for a new permanent structure. With the delays of day jobs and volunteer help and life, we were blending in last minute priming and painting into the preparation so we could visit with the kids and still be prepared when the flooring people came early Monday morning. With the chaos and mess of this project, spreading throughout our home, yard, garage and life, we had much to try to clean up to make any kind of good impression on Kyle who has never been to the crazy, constant remodel work of the Bird household. Anyway, working together is something Jeff and I do pretty well, and we were blessed with unity and strength of body to get it all done in just the nick of time, to be free (if exhausted) to enjoy the evening and Saturday with our girls, and still strive to keep the Sabbath day holy! BLESSING! and so often deadlines are a good motivation. Our brief, less than 48 hours with daughter Kaloni and Kyle were wonderful as time with loved ones always are. These are the cheerful happy "songs" in our life, the Thrush and the Meadow lark if you will. But other "birds" were singing sadder notes this March weekend, that filled our hearts with compassion and our quiet moments and nights with tears of love and sorrow and deep grief. Our Nikelle, lives presently in St. George Utah area with her cousin Ashley Hansen (Ashley is Jeff's brother Terrels, youngest daughter), her husband Kurt and their 3 small children, 2 1/2 year old Amelia, 1 year old Jet, and 2 week old baby Cora. She loves this family and has spoken often of what a loving couple and fabulous parents they are. She loves the busy little children, and in short feels a part of this loving atmosphere that has provided her an introduction to and a safe inclusive place to have a new beginning as she has finished university and does her internship in preparation to hopefully make a life of her own in southern Utah. Unthinkably, sometime, on Wednesday 3 year old Amelia was the victim of a drowning accident. Amelia was life-flighted to Salt Lake Primary Children's hospital where she remained on life support as family, including ourselves and our children, joined across the world in fasting and prayer in her behalf and her local loved ones, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, gathered to be with her, seeking a miracle. We were reminded again how far we are from so many loved ones, and how sheltered we have been from so much of the deepest hurts of life. Everywhere I went Thursday through the weekend, the things I did, heard, and read, even the songs felt more meaningful to me than ever before. Hymns have taught my spirit in a special way, and easily bring me to tears. I find needed messages in them, guidance, occasionally a call to repentance and frequently comfort. Below, one seemed perfectly suited for what was happening. Hymn : How firm a foundation,: In every condition, in sickness, in health;.... Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. When through the deep waters I call thee to go, The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow; For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress. When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine..... The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. And lines from many others filled my nights and quiet moments . If you wish to find your own solace, look at especially, hymn 100 Nearer my God To thee 101 Guide Me to Thee, and 104 Jesus Savior, Pilot Me. 122 Though Deepening Trials, and 123 Oh May My Soul Commune With Thee My personal "Go-To" hymn for comfort is "Be Still My Soul" and yet again it hit the mark... But even a line on a CD in my car stood out anew. From hymn 309 As Sisters In Zion verse 3, the last line reads.. "Oh, naught but the Spirit's divinest tuition Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed"... ( in our purpose and mission to build up the kingdom of God by caring for needs of our fellow earth travelers.) It is in PAYING the tuition of spiritual growth, that so often comes through suffering that we gain spiritual attributes of Christ, that bring with them wisdom to understand how to lift and comfort those weary and weak around us whom we are sent to bless, but sometimes even the wisdom to carry on when WE ARE the weak and weary. Little Amelia was not granted the recovery miracle we know our Heavenly Father is capable of. She was instead called home to her Heavenly Home for an important work we can already sense. One meant to unite families becoming divided by distraction, or disobedience. She will become a beacon for us to remember and work towards. Her last breaths were taken in the arms of her mother, with only her parents present. And the Comforter brought to them the peace we each are promised if we believe in and seek it, in even a time of unspeakable loss. For one who covers her eyes and ears during the destruction scenes on TV, even if in cartoon form, or who cringes to watch children jump on trampolines, jump off diving boards or do back flips, to know of such real loss and hurt is almost more than I can bear, and has led to sleepless nights, and tears that seem to never be really ended. But I have been lifted myself to observe grieving parents, and grandparents, tie themselves ever tighter in this storm, to the hope and truth of the Plan of Happiness. To proclaim anew, that our Savior Jesus Christ really has overcome this loss making it temporary instead of permanent, if each of us lives to be with our Savior and his Innocent ones again. What a lesson to see the Atonement being LIVED not just believed, as all move beyond guilt and blame to love, forgiveness, trust and hope.! Gladys Knight sings a song that pleads, "Help us to live as we believe." Isn't that where the rubber meets the road? To proclaim belief is relatively to easy, until that belief is challenged by persecution or trial. Can I, WILL I LIVE as I believe in all times and in all things and in all places? Oh how I hope I can be like so many in our vast circle past and present of valiant Pioneers for Christ.! Teaching my busy, funny, sometimes even naughty 7 Sunbeams yesterday was very tender/tough with Amelia and her family on my mind and in my heart, and I know some wondered what was wrong with Sister Bird. But oh what I know each parent would give to have that naughty little person back if they were lost. But Elder Bednar said in a CES talk that "During difficult experiences, often filled with pain and suffering, character is built, hearts are purified,and souls are enlarged as individuals gain experience and spiritual tutoring. " And as the Bible Dictionary teaches us, prayer is work, and it is "the act by which we align our will with the will of Heavenly Father." His Will nor His Ways may be ours. And when the fiery trial comes we must choose if our faith is one professed only or truly lived. Will I continue to believe in and live for an All Knowing, All Powerful , All Loving God/Father who gave me something that does not feel like LOVE at all? Will I press forward in trust and Faith that even this undesirable, IS love after all ? The example of Kurt and Ashley and Jeff's brother and his wife have been just this... that Heavenly Father does love and care and THIS was His will for His own purposes. I am grateful to be related and associated with such persons of faith and example. I desire to be like them. Yes, in this life, the sad and mournful tunes of the Loon are an occasional part of some days. However, if I live with the Faith and Hope the Gospel Message of a Resurrected Christ contain, my days should mostly be filled with the joyful, happy whistles and notes of the Thrush, and Meadow Lark. I love my Savior and what He has done and made possible for me, and I long to obtain His attributes in every particular someday. I love my Heavenly Father and desire to trust my every moment into His loving care as I am on this "Pilgrims" pathway. May I sing a joyful song as I journey.