One of those days

Lord, please just hold me while I cry.

I have to be strong and I can’t show my tears.

I have to get on and must hide the fears.

Please just hang on to me while I cry. On the inside.

Lord, I trust you.

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Photo taken from song on youtube “Hold me while I cry” by Karen Peck and New River. I have no copyright.

 

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Stress busting bread

425 grams of flour (use and mix any kind of flour you have. Personally I prefer rye, buckwheat and graham since I’m trying to cut out wheat. If you suffer from migraines, trying to avoid wheat may be a good try).

app. 12 grams of dry yeast. 

1 tea sp. of sugar 

2 tea sp. salt

Mix it and add 400 ml of lukewarm water. 

You mix it by hand using a spatula. The dough needs to be thicker than cake dough, but too wet to knead.

I then add seeds to my liking… pumpkin, sunflower, pine.

Pour it into tins (- and if you like, pour seeds on top and press them down with the spatula).

Place in cold oven. Bake at 250 degrees Celsius for 45 min. Cool off…

This bread has been a 100% success in my home. My daughter doesn’t like seeds, so I pour half the dough into one tin and then add seeds to the other half before pouring that into the tin. But they are baked together. Mixing the dough and popping them into the oven takes about 15 min. It’s a lot healthier than the bread you can buy (and cheaper).

You do not need the stress of baking good breads with lots of kneading, rising, heating up oven etc. Nor do you need a bread baker machine. This is truly the bread anyone can make and it only takes an hour from start to finish.

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Armor up!

– The Lord’s mysterious hand has once again shown me the way to go.
A  friend wrote, that I “just needed to put on the armor of God again”… And I thought I did.
My dear fellow blogger Jennifer Deg – the winds, the waves and the anchor wrote a comment saying “try to see yourself as God sees you” (which is a part of the armor) and yesterday morning my girl  said “I know the armor of God, but I don’t know how to use it”…
That really made me think that it couldn’t be just for fun. When the Lord speaks in multiples, you better listen!
So I dug into the armor and even though I know it, have read it lots of times etc, I learned many new things.
I then made a poster intended for my daughter so narrowed it down to a minimum of words and aimed entirely at how to use the armor. I plan on hanging it by my entrance door…
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Ephesians 6:10-18

Wear the Full Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. 11 Wear the full armor of God. Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. 12 Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world. 13 That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. 14 So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist. And on your chest wear the protection of right living. 15 And on your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. 16 And also use the shield of faith. With that you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. 17 Accept God’s salvation to be your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. 

Stress-busting warm veggie salad

I recently got a little bit hooked on healthy food again. After a while of not really doing much stress-busting meals but going back to doing those quick easy processed microwave foods, I am turning my eyes back on the healthy meals. After this trying spring and summer period, I am still on the road to recovery and I thoroughly believe/know that what goes into my body, matters!

A really tasty stress busting recipe on warm veggie salad comes here:

* Wash and chop 3 – 5 different kinds of veggies. Choose the ones you like… I chose zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, celery and baby corn.
* Boil the veggies in one go for about 3 minutes.
– Some veggies don’t need that much (like celery) so they go in last.
* Pour it all into a big bowl and sprinkle a spoonful of coconut oil on it.
* Add some favorite (dried) spices like paprika, garlic and basil.
* Then add a handful of dried fruits (cranberries and dates for me) and some nuts (walnuts in this case) and toss it all together.
* Want to add a final touch? Add some celery leaves on top and… dig in.

It may not be low in calories, but it’s very healthy for your body and it takes about 10 – 15 minutes to make. Bon Appetit!

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One day at a time

  I’m walking through a fog. Breathing through a haze. A few days ago I nearly went into complete anxiety attack and spin-out-of-control worries. My dad’s condition is worsening and a week ago I was told he is only active about 2 hours a day, are in a lot of pain but thankfully yet still eating somewhat. He is now transferred to the palliative care unit.  In a frantic mind I was trying to book flights and hotels and I succeeded, in tears and nearly dehydration, I tried to get the logistics right. Well, I booked and paid and then I fell on the floor asking my Lord for help. The week was full with to-do lists and things I had to arrange for and there was no way I could see that far into the future. Let alone getting myself to do what was needed. He promptly answered “focus on today”. Instead of worries I found today’s purpose. Instead of anxious thoughts I found faith that “God has this”. Instead of fretting I sought to see only what is needed today. He gave me peace once more.  A quick trip to the doctor to make sure we don’t run out of our medicine during the summer. A meeting with the school to discuss my daughters math comprehension. Meeting several friends for talks and having the last meeting of my Small Group this school year. Finishing up the things and now; packing the suitcases. One day at a time, I made it through this week without going way down into the pit of despair.  We fly out Monday morning.  At this point it’s as if the grief has begun before death has occurred. 

The best Doctor knows…

The good doctor has the knowledge needed, to know how to handle physical illnesses and how to guide a person who is going through troubled times due to more or less severe deceases.

The best doctor know all this too… But is in addition able to put his or her own heart into it, knowing that Jesus will carry the burden. Regardless of the patient having faith or not, a doctor who walks with Jesus and will listen to the Spirit and obey, will always be able to give any patient that little extra support needed and I believe that in this age, it is needed like never before.

Sometimes it’s just not the patient’s own illnesses but the circumstances of life that weighs down and makes everything that much worse, causing stress and anxiety and the best doctor will be that great listener who takes the time needed to respond with the right response. Perhaps a patient need explanation on an illness a parent is suffering from. Perhaps it’s a word of encouragement that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the patient just need a gentle touch. A pat on the shoulder.

I have the best doctor in the world. No kidding.

He first of all loved and prayed me all the way to Jesus – so right there you have my deep gratitude and affection for him. Next, he continually shows me how to love like Jesus. A constant inspiration. He taught me a great deal about prayer, just by praying for me holding my hands (he does that with most of his patients, not just me). It’s a spiritually healing touch. He supported me through the worst of the stress and anxiety times. He is available on the phone 24/7 and saved my girl when she had a bleeding stomach, so we could go see my sick dad 10.000 km away.

I wish more doctors would take their time with each person and give them a healing touch. My doctor is so special to me in so many ways. I love him so dearly.

Unfortunately, his clinic is about 2 hours travel from where we live now. But I still go… Now you know why.

Yesterday I took my daughter there. Her cold was turning into something else and I suspected asthma. With the circumstances in my life and my GAD, which my doctor knows all about, he also knew that I needed him to give my girl a thorough check-up, including stomach check etc. And obviously he did. Thankfully she did not have asthma, but a sinus infection. After the “doctor-stuff”, he holds my hands and prays for me, my family, my dad, our spiritual health and physical health. His prayers are so powerful that it feels like all the knots in my heart unties and they literally flows out of my eyes and down my cheeks in the form of tears. He knows that a mom with a sick kid needs as much attention as the sick kid! He knows that a daughter with a sick dad needs as much support as the dad. He knows that a wife with the life of a single mom needs prayers for her husbands salvation and their marriage. Jesus supplies the best doctor with the empathy only the Holy Spirit can give. Every time. With every patient. In any circumstance.

Praise the Lord for my wonderful doctor.

– Oh, and did I mention that I left his office yesterday with a present from him: coffee. He sure does know what a heavy burdened heart needs.

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To the far North

Where the sun sets after the moon rises and the sun rises before the moon sets (the little white dot under the clouds is the moon), God Blessed us with the gorgeous Danish mid-summer sunset. Considering it’s “just an iPhone” camera, I am pretty impressed the photo turned out this great.

Remaining Blessed in Him.

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Couscous – a stress busting food

I just posted this on the “stress busting recipes” page: 

Stress busting Couscous in any way your tastebuds like 

Couscous is about as easy to make as 1-2-3. Seriously, it surprised me just how simple it is and also how healthy it is. I use couscous to replace spaghetti/pasta (sorry, haven’t made lasagne work though… yet) and rice. Living in Japan rice is a basic food and easy to make, but it takes 45 min to 1 hour in the rice cooker and well, that doesn’t always work well when homework needs to be done and down time with my daughter also needs to be fitted in.

Couscous takes 4 min to make. 4 min!!! and then it’s done and ready to eat.

How to make it is described on the package, but here is my way:

Pour couscous into a measuring cup (for 1 pers. I use 50 ml.) then pour that into a small bowl. Then you pour same amount (1 per. 50 ml) of boiling water into the measuring cup and add a pinch of salt (not too much). Then pour the mixed water and salt into the bowl and leave it for 4 min. Then gently stir it to loosen it and bang – you’re done.

This mix is basic and can be used instead of rice for your curry or fried meat and veggie or even pasta sauce. Or you can let it cool off and mix it into a salad. Or what I personally enjoy is mixing it into a tropical salad with nuts, seeds and dried fruits and use it to top off the lettuce and then a nice dressing to go with it.

If you want it to taste of something in particular you just use a broth instead of salted water. If you want to fry it on a pan with vegetables and/or meat where you have added fruits like mango as well, you can let it soak in orange juice. It can’t say it’s my favorite but I know others who crave it.

Photo on 6-9-14 at 10.09

 

See the link for health benefits and more recipes: http://www.livestrong.com/article/440051-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-couscous/

And then… my daughter crashed!

I guess I should have seen it coming, but really – I didn’t.

My little girl was born into a family who loves her. A small family, but a family. When she was 3, literally 3 days after she turned 3, her grandmother passed away and her close-by and near family was reduced to mom, dad and a grandpa. But she was and is still very loved. She then began Japanese kindergarten in the hope she would learn the language quickly as all other kids I always heard about – “with full immersion they just pick it up”. Well, this girl didn’t that easily. The first year went by okay, but when the 2nd year began she just… couldn’t cope. Perhaps the teachers grew weary and tired of her not understanding what they said. She had little or no trouble with the friends in her class. The teacher informed us that “she had many kids to watch”, e.g. I really can’t be bothered with your child and it’s not my fault she hasn’t picked up the language. My girl grew sad and weary and it wasn’t long before the tears began to roll… fast forward to the night she broke down and begged me never to take her back. That was when she revealed to me how the teacher treated her and another child who had some learning difficulty. Shaking their arms, asking questions they couldn’t answer, demanding they say something they couldn’t say… all due to language problem and I suppose teachers whom more eagerly followed the rule book rather than care for each child. We pulled her out that very night and she never went back.

Being home with mommy helped her in the sense that she was relieved from the stress of being forced into a kindergarten 5 hours pr. day where she hated being. But being home brought other issues, such as watching mommy being so tired she couldn’t cope with things. It was during this time Japan and Kanto region had a lot of food issues and an upper limit of radiation in foods at 500 bg. pr. kilo. That’s 5 times higher than today. The stress of entertaining a 4 year old and the guilt of not seeing the disaster of the kindergarten sooner – it just all brought me all the way down, so what my girl was watching was not a mom who cared and played and talked and taught and learned to cope. It was a mom who slept 2 hours at night, who prepared food and then ate in front of the tv but not together, who took several naps during a day and basically… wasn’t really a mom. The best I could man myself up to was to bring her to the indoor soft play area where employees would be supervising and playing with the kids. I had to be there… but thankfully only in physical form. As much as I regret it, I didn’t get help in time and there are many sights I wish I would have spared my daughter of! She grew clingy to me because I could never give her enough. It took far too long before I got the needed help.

Once I began getting back on my feet we began to make plans to move. My girl had to start school, but since she couldn’t be in the Japanese system, we had to relocate and get her into an international school. We moved within a year from the time the disaster struck Japan, but back then it felt like forever. I knew we had to move, but I hated the idea. I loved the town we lived in. I loved the smell of the ocean, the convenience of things and the familiar doctor and dentist whom I could trust and all the friends… etc… But there was no choice and thus, the move became a reality.

My girl started in an international kindergarten and though she had teary eyes the first 2 days, she loved it. Because she loved it, I began to relax. Because I began to relax, she loved it more.

But the damage was done. She was sensitive to especially teachers mood and classmates and the atmosphere. Halfway through her time there, the school moved 2 blocks to a new and better place. She began getting nervous. But thankfully the teachers were the same and the kids too, so – it was just a different place. Still, she continued telling me she liked the old place much better. One time a teacher lost patience with the child sitting next to my girl, and “slammed” the hand to the table. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended to harm anyone’s heart or ears, but my girl got so scared of this particular teacher that she cried for several months every morning at drop off. They talked and she said it was fine, but she still cried. Not until she left the kindergarten did the two of them manage to rebuild the trust.

Starting grade 1 in a new school was nerve-wrecking. Perhaps for both of us, but I really love the school and was kind of counting on my girl sensing that so she would feel safe. And I do think she does… But new beginnings are hard for her and we went through several cycles of “making friends”, “learning school life” and “missing kindergarten” hardships. One day a teacher raised her voice and scared the living daylights out of my girl. It was never intended to scare her and perhaps it wasn’t even directed at my girl and maybe, this is just the teachers way of expressing herself… Either way, the fear of authorities is deeply engraved in my daughters mind. The teacher did a wonderful job re-connecting with my girl and they ended up being friends again. However, all through grade 1 my girl has displayed a number of pains which can only be explained by psychosomatic symptoms.

And then… my daughter crashed! 

I’m not sure if anything in particular happened, just that the psychosomatic symptoms got increasingly worse over a short period of time and it wore me down and out. On my knees praying and asking God to take over and deal with this… Meanwhile, my girl got scarlet fever and for some reason that seemed to be an onset of a number of illnesses. She got fevers that came and went for no reason. She got nausea on/off, stomach pains, headaches, coughs that wouldn’t go away etc. I took her to the local doctor whom, due to the scarlet fever got nervous about several more severe deceases. He did blood work and took an x-ray and she was cleared on all.

But the symptoms hasn’t decreased. It’s with mixed feelings that I received the “she is medically fine”. I’m happy because of course that means nothing serious is wrong. But I’m also fully aware that if it’s not medical then it’s mental. And dealing with something mental is often far more complicated than dealing with physical illnesses. Not worse, just more complicated.

I am praying that God will deliver her from the grip of whatever demon is hunting her down. I pray for the Lord to provide a Christian child psychologist/counselor in our area (and they do not grow on trees here in Tokyo!) with a great reputation and with a low fee… We are rapidly running out of money.

I know I can trust Him with my girl. He died for me and rose again, so I know… I also know that He will provide the right counselor for my girl at the right time. So I am patiently waiting and praying for His hand to move.

I am at His feet!

Twitching eye

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Have you ever had a twitch anywhere in the body? It’s… so annoying! Doctors say it’s usually caused by stress and I’ll vouch for that anytime. However, since I have passed the time of being beaten down by stress to the very core of my being, I shouldn’t have those twitches anymore.

But sometimes God allows us a “thorn” just like Paul had. Not that my eye twitching is anywhere near the pain Paul suffered!! My twitching eye is my cue and the first sign of my body giving way to stress again, letting me know that it’s time to kick back, cancel plans and take a relaxing day with Jesus! A twitching eye is my first sign of stress and tension in my body and it’s like God is telling me to stop and breath – and listen.

“Be still, and know that I am God” – is one of my favorite Bible verses. Because it says it all: Be still; Relax, let go, cast all your worries on Him. “Know”; Rest in His presence and believe He is with you. Know that He is sovereign and Lord and Savior and Almighty. “God”; He is God, not you. He knows the plans for you, not you. He understands you, knows you and will help you.

There are many things happening in my life right now: My dad is sick, an upcoming trip to Denmark is in the making (read; planning), school is so busy due to spring and end of school year, my daughter is suffering from various stress signs (test results from doctor has  cleared her so it can’t be explained medically), due to her being sick this past week I had to play “teacher” at home which is a big task for me but if I do not – she will fall further behind and make way for more stress, Bible study homework and another Bible study reading (and discussion where I often feel inferior)… Thus; I am open to stress and today my eye was pretty clear on this matter.

I have a Bible study tomorrow, but i think – God is telling me to take a walk with Him along the river and read a book and just “be still in His presence”. I can’t wait to be filled up again.