Wednesday, September 16, 2009

food for thought

Top Ten Things to Think About If You Want to Change the World

Mahatma Gandhi believed that we must be the change we want to see in the world.

This was well demonstrated when he helped India gain its independence.

Gandhi was a revolutionary man, but he accomplished India's emergence as a nation without starting a revolution.

In fact, he advocated no violence.

One of the most powerful countries in the world yielded to the commitment of one man and the dream of millions.

What change can we effect? What's the difference we want to make in the world?

Gandhi said, "In a gentle way you can shake the world."

Here are some things to think about how to do just that …

1. Know that all significant change throughout history has occurred not because of nations, armies, governments and certainly not committees. They happened as a result of the courage and commitment of individuals. People like Joan of Ark, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks. They might not have done it alone, but they were, without question, the change makers.

2. Believe that you have a unique purpose and potential in the world. It's not so much something to create as to be discovered. And it's up to you to discover it. Believe that you can and will make a difference.

3. Recognize that everything you do, every step you take, every sentence you write, every word you speak-or DON'T speak--counts. Nothing is trivial. The world may be big, but there are no small things. Everything matters.

4. To be the change you want to see in the world, you don't have to be loud. You don't have to be eloquent. You don't have to be elected. You don't even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.

5. Take personal responsibility. Never think "it's not my job". It's a cop-out to say, "What can I do, I'm only one person." You don't need everyone's cooperation or anyone's permission to make changes. Remember this little gem, "If it's to be, it's up to me."

6. Don't get caught up in the how of things. If you're clear on what you want to change and why you want to change it, the how will come. Many significant things have been left undone because someone let the problem solving interfere with the decision-making.

7. Don't wait for things to be right in order to begin. Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt's timeless advice, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

8. The genesis for change is awareness. We cannot change what we don't acknowledge. Most of the time, we aren't aware of what's wrong or what's not working. We don't see what could be. By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change.

9. Take to heart these words from Albert Einstein--arguably one of the smartest change masters who ever lived: "All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge."

10. In order for things to change, YOU have to change. We can't change others; we can only change ourselves. However, when WE change, it changes everything. And in doing so, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world.

The following is inscribed on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby (1100 A.D.) …
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Whew! What a week.
My last blog entry was a pretty emotional one.
My last week has been a pretty emotional one!
We decided to eliminate all animal products and by-products from our diet until we had been able to establish the emotional and nutritional needs of the family.

That’s always been my problem; I never do things in half measures. I just dive right in, and learn to swim while I choke on water.

So, we started out very motivated, the information and video footage very fresh in our minds.
I prepared incredibly creative meals 3 times a day. Homeschooling got put on hold, as I had no time to prepare lessons with all the washing up and food preparation going on.

We went out and bought Fry’s meals, veggie schnitzels, veggie hot dogs, veggie hamburgers, veggie sausages, and soya mince. Amazing… soya mince comes in every imaginable flavor… if you are willing to lower your standards and accept msg into your life… (We weren’t, so we just had plain soya”).
We bought soya milk, much to the boy’s disgust.
Oats has therefore replaced all breakfast cereal as it does not require milk.

I felt great, even though everyone was always complaining of hunger. Marmite sandwiches at 12 at night for me. My digestion was loving it. For someone who battled with regularity, going to the loo twice a day was like “wow”! TMI, I know!

Every night as we got ready for bed I would say to hubby, “hey, we saved a chicken today”. And we really did feel great! We were making a change, and being extremely healthy at the same time! 

Then, along came Wednesday….. Our homeschooling group.
I have always had the gift of putting my foot in it! Any situation and Samantha will be able to make someone feel uncomfortable!
So, picture us all. A group of opinionated, attachment parenting homeschooling moms, and Samantha raises the issue of food!
Ahhh! The shock, my beloved soya replacement was a universal no-no….. Genetically modified. Pure poison!
Well, I got it from all sides. I had a mom who would not eat anything that had been genetically modified. The facts she told me scared the living daylights out of me, so I thought, ok, no GM foods!
Another mom, told me about potatoes and tomatoes. Cancer causing foods. Ok, so no potatoes or tomatoes!
Another mom told me about colorants, flavourants, preservatives, another about processed foods, wheat, antibiotics, factory farmed veggies……
Polyunsaturates causing cancer and gallstones….
I learned about sprouting, dehydrating, fermented foods and even people who live on water alone….. 
Well, needless to say, at the end of the afternoon, my future was looking pretty bleak. Our stomachs would be even bleaker. Man, what a dilemma. What had started out as a genuine emotional concern was now snowballing into an anemic hell of choices and starvation!!!!

Bottom line? Consciousness! Being conscious of where your food comes from, and gratefulness for whatever life form gave it to you!

One of the moms said, “Please don’t discuss this with me, I have too much information already. It makes me dizzy. What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger”. She was of the opinion that you make the best conscious choices you can, but offer thanks for every meal regardless of its origin.
hmmm, not too sure how i feel about that...
I guess it’s the same as donations. You give with a good heart and trust that those receiving the donations, will do so with the same intentions. But if per chance, the person takes your offering and decides he needs gold plated bath taps more than the poor need food; does that make your offering any less meaningful? No, you gave with the best intentions.

The same with your food I guess. You make informed, conscious decisions, and trust that the food was raised with honesty integrity, purity of heart, and offer your own thanks before consumption….. I suppose it’s the best we can do.
Please don’t get me wrong. This is not a cop out! I will never support factory farmed anything, and doubt if I personally will ever eat meat again.
For me, at the moment, eating meat is a raw subject (excuse the pun). But for my family, I need to look out for their nutritional needs.
Adaptation takes time! The body does not like change!
The best bit of advice for the day came from Sally. Our resident Pink Hair girl. She said “Change your life bit by bit, start small and work from there. If you change too drastically, you can shock your family or body into just reverting back to the old habits”.
So, we are going to have one or two meat dishes a week until we have enough information to provide the family with the nutritional balance we need. I am still breastfeeding, and breastfed infants of vegan mothers suffer deficiencies of vitamin B12. Which is only found in animal foods and micro-organisms?
My very good friend Traci, has also had bad experiences with B12 deficiencies, beings force fed liver for a week for a vegan can be a pretty harrowing experience, along with the painful B12 injections!

So, go in peace, my friends, and good luck with your conscious choices…. Hold on tight, we are in for quite a ride.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

meet your meat

I am in a state of shock.
I have been sitting staring at the same space in front of me for ages, wondering how on earth I have managed to get this far in my life by being so ignorant.

You read articles, and definitions in passing conversation about vegetarian this or vegan that , and never give it more than a casual thought..

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a Buddhist friend who put into a totally new context for me. He said, “we choose to live an existence of non violence”. I was taken aback, how can a food choice be a question of living without violence?

His words have been working through me over the last 24 hours, until this afternoon, I went to the PETA site. Just out of curiosity.

I am now officially a changed person. And though it has been a process of awakening for a few weeks now, the curtain fell when I read PETA’s documentation of the facts, and watched their video “meet your meat”.
AAggghh. I am so disgusted right now, that my consumer choices have lead to so much pain and suffering.

And my children…… some might say I have no right to choose for them. I say, hell yeah! It is my duty to help them make the right choices. How can I lie to them about where there food comes from, or how cruelly and viciously they were bred and then slaughtered? How can I take them to the bunny park in the afternoon, and show them the cute piggies, and baby goats, and say “don’t throw stones at the geese, you may scare them”, only to bring them home and serve them a plate of food that consists of petrified, fear laden flesh?

And as for dairy? Do yourself a favour. You may think I am going off on a tangent, but find out for yourself. Go to the website. Read for yourself. You cannot call yourself human, and condone treatment like that.

Before you say it, what about halal? I researched that too….. even the Jewish community are moving towards vegetarianism as a part of their religion. It is all totally inhumane.

If you can go out on your own, and kill an innocent animal with your own two hands to provide meat for your family, then I say, go ahead. But for me? Looking into another pair of eyes, and seeing the light dance off them, watching mothers nurturing their young, my answer is no. I could never do it. As long as God is providing me with the seeds and fruit bearing trees that he promised in Genesis 1v27 ( yes, the bible promotes vegan diet, did you know that?), I have no need for meat.

As with all my choices that I have made in my life, I will respect any choice you decide to make for yourself, but I remain of the firm belief, that they must be informed choices. It is never too late to make a difference.

If every person stopped eating meat, do you realize that would be the end to our environmental problems? Our world poverty problems? Our water supply problems? Our health problems?

Its so frustrating not being able to change the world and say, hey wake up. I just did! And it feels great!

Every single action in my life now is a conscious thought. When I wash dishes or a load of clothes with bio degradable soap, I think, hey today I am helping the earth. And I feel great!
When I look at my children, and think, I have no right to be irritated, there behaviour is age appropriate, and they also have a right to get mad, feel frustrated and have opinions, and that they chose me to guide them, and they can walk around without a nappy beause its good for the enviornment and makes them happy. And I feel great!
When I go to the shops, and have no desire to fuel consumerism, walk past isle upon isle of products I used to support, and think, hey I don’t even want them anymore. And I feel great!

When I look into the eyes of every person I meet, and think , hey, we are the same. I wish I could hug you. And I feel great.

And then I get home, and look in the mirror, and see such a young soul with still so much to learn, in such a hurry and so impatient, and I think, heyslow down, you are doing the best you can! And I feel great!
Today, I made a difference! And I feel GREAT!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

homeschool group cob building project/ 7th birthday

to forget to tend to the earth and dig in the soil is to forget ourselves- Mahatma Gandhi

The ingredients:

Sand, clay rich soil, straw and water

A loving collection of river stones
A large tarp
A group of friends
with willing hands
and happy feet
and smiling hearts
a wise teacher

to build

a cob playhouse!

with blessings