The Greatness of God

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To continue without fear and to keep going despite the forces of evil, feels like an impossible task to undertake.

The father of lies will tell me: “you’ll never make it”, “sadness will never go away” or he will use the more cunning one; The temptation to “give up and give in”!

I’m inclined to make a bold statement here and I know some may disagree, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I believe that I as well as my child and surely others too, have fallen prey to the evil one’s lie when he says “”you must keep going and not doubt“. Because it sounds very biblical I easily believe it.

stress-depression-girl-full.jpgBut I have found that it’s used to cause stress and anxiety. Those are not from the Lord!! – so if you encounter that or something similar, please run it by the Book before you keep going!

Lies are easily believed simply because the road ahead is too hard to manage and fear sneaks in – and the evil one knows exactly what buttons to push in each and every person. But…

Nothing is impossible with God!

Hebrews 11:27 “the Voice”:
By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s wrath and
moving forward as though he could see the invisible God.

Or NIV if you prefer:
By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing pharao’s anger;
he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Or my personal favorite, the GNT;
It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back.

BzCCNrn.jpgThere’s such hope in these words.
Fear takes a backseat when Faith is driving the Lamborghini!

I have no idea how Moses navigated his way “as though he saw the invisible God”, but Moses refused to turn back. He kept going. He persevered. He somehow knew he was on the right track!

I can’t see my invisible God. But I know that I’m still Blessed;

John 20:29 “The Voice” 
Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me.
Blessed are all those who never see Me and yet they still believe.

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How can I see the Lord so I know I’m on the right path and can keep going and not give up or give in?

(seriously, you have to love this dog’s determination!!)

 

 

Philippians 4:6-7 “the Voice”

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests,so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Trust and fear has an ongoing battle. But only the Lord can bring hope and peace to any mind. Though satan can wrap himself in light and make me believe many things, he can’t give me the peace of God. God’s greatness is far beyond the strength of evil. It’s possible to delight in the Lord, to run to Him when fear comes knocking. 1418052245694.jpeg

 

How?

Maybe begin to list God’s many promises found in His Word!

May we all see the greatness of God and keep going.

 

Yes… and…

If I had a dollar – or 10 yen – for every time I had said “No”, I’d be one rich mamma!

Unfortunately the “no” never came with a money bank… or the incentive to put a 10 yen coin aside for more positive days.

As I’m learning about stress and my child from various books, I’m also learning about conversations and one book simply stated that a “no” always end the conversation. I may look at that slightly different than the author as my no has often been followed by the “why not” and “but I just want to…”, but anyway; I do get the point – A no does end a conversation (or puts it in a negative trajectory). So I try to learn how to not say “no”… let me be quite honest and straight forward with you: That is NOT an easy thing to do.

My “no’s” are so embedded into my own childhood and so far 9 years of being a parent and oh dear, is it ever difficult to zip the lip, stop and think and then go “Yes… and…” – Like this evening she called out from her room “mom, do you know how to catch a cockroach?”…”eh… no…. what??” to which she answered “then you’re not the one I’m calling!”. Couldn’t really come up with any “yes… and…” reply to that one!

But when I do manage to do it, and also come up with whatever has to follow the “and” part (trust me, that takes imagination!), it does work and my little darling daughter gets the positive vibe and so do I… it’s so positive it’s almost entirely unbelievable.

What it hasn’t done much for – yet anyway – is her anxiety. I was told that the positive vibe would reduce the stress and I’m sure it does, but so far the results hasn’t been seen. Last week she panicked in school and I was called to pick her up. It has reduced the stress in me and there is less strain between us… wrong – there is no less strain between us, it’s just of a more productive kind. Hmm; e.g. we have some tensions when she decides to follow her friends and play after school when I specifically told her to go home straight after because she has a playdate. E.g. more productive arguments. For me, it’s less stress. For her, it’s just another tense moment.

By the way – I did manage to catch and carry out the before mentioned cockroach!

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Embracing a soap bubble

Ever thought of teaching your kid how to be bored??
I have learned a great deal from watching my own kid and reading books and seeing counselors, psychologist and we are now on our way to see a psychiatrist and obviously, I’m far from an expert on the subject. But just a warning to you, the following may be a controversial subject to some.

My child doesn’t want to blow soap bubbles on her own, because it’s boring.
My child can’t blow soap bubbles with someone else, without turning it into some kind of competition.
This in itself may not appear to be a bad thing, but competition releases adrenalin into the blood. Too much adrenalin on a frequent basis is known as stress. Boring – or being bored is defined in the “Wiktionary” as “uninterested and without attention”. I may understand why it would be difficult to marvel over a soap bubble, when you can speed race a multiple-lives racecar-driver down winding mountains on your iPad… and it’s about the adrenalin again.

An adrenalin-kick can become addictive and most often without anyone realizing it, until it’s called anxiety.
My kid live in a world where everything is fast pace, high pressure, peer pressure, fierce competition with so many stimulating things kids “should” do and learn earlier than ever before. Here in Japan there are 2 year old kids who are learning to “read” kanji signs and hearing english sounds. Of course we want our kids to be the best they can be, but here is what I have learned about stress in kids during the past months while dealing with my daughters anxiety issues:
– Depression can stem from anxiety (most of the time though not always).
– Anxiety can be brought on by stress.
– Stress is – in short – what we feel when adrenalin and other hormones are released into our blood.
– Adrenalin is released when we are stimulated by anything that makes our “blood pump”. Have you ever watched a toddler going to some daycare place and the tears streaming when the kid has to be parted from its mom? yes, that’s separation anxiety and perfectly normal… but it’s also an adrenalin release stemming from fear and witnessed in full view (and even gently laughed at or found to be cute). Other examples may be watching or playing sports, videogames, tv, school test “I have to ace that test for school!”, “can’t live up to parents expectations”, halloween pranks, traumatic memories, saying goodbye to a loved one, watching someone in pain etc…
These are only examples. The list I’m sure could continue, but I’m not writing a thesis.

Adrenalin can help us get away from danger and it puts us on high alert and thus, our bodies in alarm mode. So adrenalin is designed to help us overcome and it will naturally wear off. But if adrenalin is released too frequent it becomes “just too much!”. People who suffer from PTS(D) have a very frequent dose of adrenalin released, due to whatever will trigger the memories of their trauma.

Every waking moment is filled with something in a child’s life today to the extend that kids aren’t bored and for some reason, kids “shouldn’t be bored” in today’s world. E.g. being bored means they aren’t doing anything educational, physical, academical or emotional. In essence kids may be on a constant “high” alert mode which isn’t healthy and just actually might explain the dramatic rise of kids who suffers from anxiety.

Have you ever wondered why watching tv makes you tired?
And have you ever wondered why being in God’s creation marveling at it doesn’t?
Sure, if you hike in the mountains you will get tired from the exercise, but just looking at the vast array of green colors the Lord gave a forest, will not put your brain in alert mode. We were not designed to constantly compete, learn, keep up and stay on top. Actually, Jesus took His disciples and withdrew from the crowds and often alone as well (Luke 5:16). He withdrew to pray and when we pray, we get so-called “down-time”. It’s a time when we pour out our hearts and stop our thinking. If you want to live a fearless life – a life without fear or a life without having a mind in constant alert mode – “withdrawing to solitary places to pray” might just be what you need.

For kids, or for my kid anyway, learning to be bored and enjoy those things that does not give her any adrenalin that will put her body into alert mode, is essential. This is where the soap bubble comes in…

Have you ever marveled at a soap bubble?

Have you ever been surrounded by plenty of small bubbles?

Have you ever stopped by a water stream, closed your eyes and just listened to the soothing sound of water flowing?

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I’m sorry this post got to be so long. I hope you made it all the way down here.
I have lots to learn yet about stress and my child, but I’m beginning to understand it.

 

“Who am I to you” asked the Lord

Just this morning during my morning coffee with Jesus, the Lord asked me “Who am I to you” and I… stopped for a minute to think about my answer.

He is the Creator, the Almighty Powerful Merciful one. He created man and woman and then we failedHe bought us back with His own blood and gives everyone a chance to belong to Him – if we want Him. I can’t imagine why there are people who doesn’t want God!… I can barely remember what life was like when I happily (eh…) had a life without knowing God. I have a tear-stained Bible with lots of coffee stains, highlights, post-it markers and bookmarks. I love my Bible and yet I’m guilty of not reading it every day!

“Who am I to you” He asked… He is my pole in windy weather. He is my raft on the stormy sea. My anchor in life. Cliches? Oh yes… but it’s the truth.

And when I feel like I’m floating in endless dark space… He is the meteor, the rock, I can lay on while drifting on and on and on. Things do not get scary unless I let go of the Rock! He always listens and answers my prayers. We have been through some nasty rough times together. Real bad times. But He gave me strength to do the hard things, the Spirit to pray through the tears and the love to continue the journey.

Having a child with anxiety issues makes for a stressed out mommy at times. A mom who feels useless, concerned and as if drifting in dark space that never seems to end. I know I need breathing space but my mind finds it difficult to rest when I know that my child is battling things she can’t handle. It’s at times like that, it’s good to remind myself Who the Lord is to me…

Thank you Jesus for chasing me down and adopting me to yourself. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for helping me remind myself of Who YOU are. Because it’s not about me. It never was and it never will be.

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Crunching munching breakfast

The TV is like a magnet if you find one of those “soaps” that just really gets under your skin, am I right? 

And once you are there before the screen, it’s kind of like being in a cinema without popcorn… So maybe you are like me and go grab something out of the snack drawer? 

I’m one of those lucky ones with an Apple TV and access to tv shows on demand, so I can set my own time for watching an episode and often that time is morning. Once I have gotten myself up, my daughter packed and taken to school, I got my morning exercise down 😇 and can’t wait to get home to my own peaceful breakfast. But a tv episode often lasts 45 or 50 min and if I eat a normal breakfast it’ll take 10… And, oh the temptation of going back to that drawer!

So I have come up with this long lasting crunching snack-like breakfast that’s actually a real health booster but only takes 5 minutes to prepare and I call it crunching munching. 

Slice an apple into boats (the thinner the slices, the better) and you have a healthy sugar kick to keep the doctor away…

Then a handful of almonds and a handful of walnuts, or pick your own favorite nuts of course, and then mix them with a small handful of raisins. Yes, it’s a trail mix… But preferably without any roasting or added salt etc. the raw nuts are the best. 

It will keep you crunching for a good bit and nuts makes your stomach feel really full for a really long time (I actually forgot lunch one day!) and the sugar is natural and will get you off the sofa when the soap is over. Those two bowls amounts to somewhere around 700 cal. No’b, I never said it was low calorie – just that it’s healthy for your body and very enjoyable when watching some favorite tv. 

Now, the real challenge is to stop after 1 episode! 

  

Gum anyone?

Do you remember sitting at a desk or other table and then found a chewed and “glued” gum stuck beneath it? Gross… In school that happened a lot to me and so I don’t really have a great relationship with gum?!? Silly really.

Chewing gum is just plain bad for your teeth! With or without sugar. Just bad. And it looks really bad when people are chewing gum… well, that’s a matter of opinion I suppose, but okay… I don’t chew gum because it makes my jars hurt, but then again, I can’t stop once I get going and that’s not good either.

However, I read this article here: does chewing gum reduce anxiety
and I decided to give it a go… the next time I’m at the grocery store.

In short, this is what the article says about chewing gum (this is taken from one of the notes found in the article):

“Chewing gum alleviates negative mood and 
reduces cortisol during acute laboratory psychological stress”

I should have known in a sense… I mean, in the movies the expecting daddy-to-be is always pacing the hospital hallway chewing insanely quick on gum. But in real life, that doesn’t really happen. I think. Maybe it does, but it didn’t to me. And given the scene, perhaps the mommy-to-be should be the one chewing the gum!??

Anyway… Gum anyone?

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Coconut sherbet – healthy ice cream

It’s impossible for me to keep this one to myself…!

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Ever since my husband gave me a Jawbone for Christmas – that’s a type of electronic bracelet which tracks my steps, exercise and sleep and I can log what I eat and drink in the “UP” app that comes with it – I have been logging, stepping, counting and working out how to change some habits of mine. Some of which I’m not particularly proud of… like munching on bread in front of the tv… but it’s been a great incentive to get some health habits in.

Anyways, the stonesoup.com website is an inspiration to me food wise and this coconut sherbet she makes on this youtube clip is really cool: Coconut sherbet

I tried it the other day with frozen banana slices in the magic bullet and… well, that didn’t work. The magic bullet simply isn’t powerful enough to chop up those frozen chunks of coconut milk.

But last night I tried it in the food processor and it was DELICIOUS!

I used about 300 ml of frozen coconut milk, 6 slices of frozen banana and gave them a good whirl. Since honey is a great help to eliminate anxious thoughts I added a tablespoon of that and then threw in a few pieces of chocolate (note: dark chocolate is great as stress relief. No really – I’m not just saying that!) – and an oreo. My family were so surprised that this wasn’t ice-cream. I would use more frozen fruits next time, but that was what I had in the freezer.

It makes a lot of sense to me to freeze coconut milk and some sweet fruits and then mash them all up in a food processor – adding whatever sweetener you feel like (Stevia, maple syrup etc.). I am loving this recipe so I’m sharing it here and hope others might want some “healthy ice cream”. My daughter can’t wait for next time!

Photo is taken from http://www.stonesoup.com.

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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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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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/