it takes more than a resolution, it takes a tenacious faith

There is nothing wrong with bringing resolution and courage to the new year,
but life is precarious. And dealing with the death of friends,
tragedy striking unexpectedly and bits of one’s body giving up,
needs more than just well-gritted teeth.

Gavin Ashenden


(a Norwegian wolverine demonstrates tenacity, grit and a fearsomeness)

Life is indeed precarious.
None of us know where it will take us next.
I dare say we all have some sort of notion of where we’d like to go,
even as to how we’d like to get there…but again, there are no guarantees.

Bishop Ashenden, in his wanderings and wonderings over the notion about new years
and their resolutions, has a bit of a lesson for each of us.

Now first we must note that we are a number liking people—-
just consider the fact that we are all about stats and numbers,
especially if we are wanting to justify or clearly define that with is unjust or undefinable.

Statistics show that they, being stats, are stacked against resolutions.
This we know.
Numbers don’t lie right?

Just yesterday I read some headline stating that by February, 80% of every New Year’s
resolution, is simply scattered by the wayside…
discarded and forgotten.

I don’t even bother.
I learned years ago that resolutions are simply short lived—
somewhat feeble attempts of being a better/ healthier person.
It takes more than just a resolution for those two things to take hold.
And when push comes to shove—the resolutions get shoved.
And it is that very reason, the good bishop notes,
a resolution will simply die…
Because Life simply has a different plan.

Life will put up a brick wall and all resolutions not to mention stamina, mindset
and determination quickly head out the back door.

Yet for many of us, a new year becomes some sort of giant reset button.
A time to review, remove, rewrite, renew….
And that certainly has its merit….
that is, up to a point.

Yet what the good Bishop is reminding us of is that as life has a way of
steamrolling over our best of intentions and plans, so much so that when that happens
as it eventually will, it’s going to take a lot more from within to survive
the steamrolling…
much more than a resolution or even gritted teeth that are grinning and bearing
can endure.

Life is hard.

It is not fair nor is it often kind…

And yet….we always seem to think that with some sort of twisted finagling,
we can beat it and actually win.
And we might actually do so but only for a while…for eventually,
Life in the end will have its way and that is when we in turn call it calamity,
sickness and even death.

And so the good Bishop looks to one who has gone on long before us but yet lives
on in her writings….
St Julian of Norwich (1373).

Julian had a tenacious belief in God.
She was what was known as an Anchoress….or one who literally attached
or anchored themselves to a church.

She was literally sealed up into a cell attached to the church of St Julian’s
there in Norwich, hence her name—as we really don’t know her actual name.
(here’s a bit of history lesson concerning this dear woman:
http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/norfolk/norwich/st-julian.htm)

Julian spent a lifetime devoted to God and ministering to those who would come
to the window of her cell seeking solace, prayer or wisdom.

Julian experienced visions and wrote these visions down—
as the writings eventually became a book, Revelations of Divine Love.

Tenacious and unrelenting—the only way Julian would extol that one should or could
best live…and that was to be anchored to the Divinity of the Creator and to the Love
He offered as in the tangible being of His Son…..

Bishop Ashenden notes that “it’s this belief in God that offers the kind of
affirmation for us that equips us best to deal with uncertainty,
and even tragedy, as we face the future remembering the disturbing
uncertainty of the past.”

The good Bishop relays a story of one of the many visions that Julian
was so famous for having–visions of God as Divine Creator.

Delusions of a mad or even physically ill woman some would claim….
but a gift of visions is what the faithful know….

So when Julian witnessed God taking the planet Earth and holding it in
His hand she responds by asking Him about its now seemingly smallness…..

‘It is all that is made.’ (God replied) I marvelled how it might last,
for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness.
And I was answered in my understanding: “It lasts and ever shall,
for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.”
Julian of Norwich

Throughout her visions she was taught that God could and would bring good out
of evil and because of that there was no need for anxiety.
Her motto and mantra became,

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

and perhaps Julian gives us the best of resolutions…to know that all shall indeed be
well when we rest in the Divine Love of God which is found incarnate in Christ, Jesus.

Belief in Christ brings the affirmation needed to strengthen our resolution.

Resolutions

When you rise in the morning, form a resolution to make the day a happy one for a fellow creature.”
― Sydney Smith

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Ok, so I originally wrote today’s post wising to discuss my new healthy purchase. I veered off the subject as usual, verging on a rant regarding our Society’s obsession with beauty, über health, thinness and of our obsessive fear of aging. Things got too wordy, albeit all correct, plus my intent has never for my little blog to be stage for ranting, although there is a great deal I could rant about–Now that being said, this sacred space is reserved for that of a retired Yoda’s musings—plus I was certainly not on topic with that of my new little blender–so he is now the abbreviated version.

I’m not one to make resolutions for the New Year. I just think that we should all try our best, each and every day, without needing some sort of mile marker pointing us in the right direction year after year–those “resolutions” are the things which should be determined each morning as we open our eyes—a daily sort of quest of determination to do right and do better by not only ourselves but our kinsmen as well. Isn’t that a novel concept.

And so it was on the Monday to the new week to the new year—no more sweets, no more fats, back to my little weight lifting regime, loose this excess of weight, get that elliptical machine for the basement, get healthy, get lean. . .hummm. . .
have I ever been lean?

Remember, I’ve got a wedding in June.
“Wedding?”
No silly, not my wedding, my son’s wedding.
“Ahhh, mother of the groom eh?”
Yes and I want to look nice and I want to be able to fit into a dress.
“But no one will be looking at you, they’ll be looking at the bride.”
So you say.
I’ve been to those weddings and you have too– as they escort the mothers in you turn and whisper to you friend, “She surly has aged. Wow she’s gained weight since the retirement. I don’t remember her being so grey. . .” and the litany goes on.

As I take stock of myself in the mirror, wondering what it is that I need do in order to get into “the mother of the groom” sort of shape, I’m noticing that I can no longer tell whether or not I have eye lids, my mouth has more lines around it than a road map and those things that are supposed to be up on my chest, the things that I think folks refer to as breasts, now seem in a position closer to my navel. Hummmm…

I suppose I should start with not only some exercise but perhaps a bit of monitoring of my diet.

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(Please note the word “fiber” in the lower left corner–NO MORE FIBER PLEASE!!!)

I’m certain it comes as no surprise to you that the new trendy super vegetable is Kale. Every time you open a current cooking magazine or search the web’s plethora of foodie sites the once humble green is now all the rage. This simple prolific winter crop of greens which has kept many an Irishman happy as he ate a hearty bowl of Colcannon is now the darling of health food. Funny how the lowly collard and turnip green, along with cousin kale, have taken the eating healthy stage by storm. I’ve been eating such for years—of course the southern style–simmered in chicken broth, a little hot sauce a piece of bacon, or for those hard core southerners, fat back. That my friend is the South on a plate.

Not to be left out of the latest food craze I too have fresh kale on hand. But as far as those kale salads and kale chips are concerned, I’m good. I’ll stick to my spinach and mesclun lettuce for salad and the only chip, as far as I’m concerned, is a potato. I don’t buy potato chips, as I do try to watch what I put in my mouth, I at least know where they are if I need them–right there on the chip aisle–not the kale chip aisle.

Everyone is screaming for kale and I’m still in wonderment over my butter making jar. Now that’s something truly special—butter. And I say all of this as I type under the watchful eye of the placard hanging in my kitchen— “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream” Those immortally wise words of Julia Child.

But let’s get to my point shall we—I bought a Bullet.
A what you ask?
I had not heard of it either but it seems to be a most popular little device.

What started this new little move to health was actually founded in a bit of guilty indulgence. Monday, I decided that I would make chocolate pudding. My poor husband has felt quite deprived since the new year’s healthiness began. Pudding would be okay. But then I saw a fun recipe by the pioneering red head, Ree Drummond for Pots de Creme, which sounded quick and easy. Put the chocolate chips in a blender along with eggs, grind, then add the hot coffee. I did as instructed and as the chips began “grinding” , suddenly my very nice Kitchen Aid blender stopped. I thought the chips were stuck to the blade–but as luck would have it, the chips killed the blender. Who knew?!

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Obviously I had to get a new blender. It was suggested that I try a NurtiBullet, as in a magic bullet to health, which will enable me to make those wonderful healthy smoothies which are now all the rage. Really? I want to do that? Who says I want to do that? Blenders are for fun little cocktails, and the blending of the bases of various soups. . . milkshakes, yes, smoothies, ok—but what’s this healthy business?

I proudly bring my new Bullet in the house and unpack it. Looks easy enough. It’s smaller than a traditional blender and it even has a nice little recipe book.

As it is lunch time and I am a tad hungry, I immediately pack the blender cup with the suggested items–peaches, blueberries and kale, filling it with water. I used frozen peaches and blueberries hoping to eliminate the need for ice as I don’t like a smoothie full of hunks of ice. Pop that puppy up on the base, plug it in, and ZIP—within seconds a beautifully deep purple, dotted with little specks of green, smoothie. “This looks really good,” I’m thinking as I bring the cup to my lips. Big sip. . .
AAAGGGHHHHHHHH—eeeoooo, gag–cough, cough

Oh my Lord, I’m drinking grass! All I can taste is the raw kale–no sweet peaches, no tangy blueberries. Honey, I know, it needs some honey!!
Let’s just say that honey will not blend into something very cold, it stays a clumpy cold mass–so now I have a cup full of purple raw greens with a wad of honey hiding within.

Ok, I do see some potential here, but I’ve got to think this through— rather than just throwing any healthy thing in a cup thinking I can blend it up into a palatable concoction, there must be balance. Back to the grocery store I go. More fruits. Some Greek yogurt, some frozen yogurt, add some dashes of perhaps protein powder, this new rage of flax seed meal, some chai and gogi crap. I can do this.

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I am now armed with an arsenal of “additives”–all in the name of health. Do you know what excessive fiber can do to your system if you are not use to such. Let’s just say it’s not pretty nor comfortable as a smoothie is pretty much cold raw fiber in a cup. And this is what I wanted?? Hummm

Now on day 3 it’s gotten a tad better. Peaches, strawberries, a banana for texture and potassium, some Greek yogurt, a little coconut milk, cinnamon, a tad of honey—ZIP again, voila, pretty smoothie and one that is much more palatable. Next, blackberries, frozen peaches, pineapples, frozen yogurt, cinnamon, almond milk and a sprinkling of Qia—What in the heck is Qia?? Some sort of magical mix of super seeds—ZIP it up again and I now have a pretty crunchy smoothie. Hummm—I don’t like the seeds, I doubt my intestines like the seeds. No more seeds
At least however, there are possibilities. It’s easy to use and clean–I can give it a try for a while. I wonder if the yogurt, peaches and almond milk would enjoy a shot of Amaretto? I think I would. Oh, this is breakfast, I forgot, nix the alcohol.

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This will definitely take some playing around with in order to appreciate the full potential–ratios and combinations are certainly coming into play. And yet, I’m still drawn back to the pudding. So much smoother–such a wonderful feel in the mouth–none of this stick in the teeth seed business. Chocolate and creme–a thing of beauty in the mouth–and what’s more these two would appreciate a shot of Amaretto, Rum, Bourbon, you name it!!
Oh what would Julia say?

The moral of this tale—make no big yearly resolutions, simply tell yourself each morning that you will make good daily choices for yourself and others— while always making room for a little added pudding.
Now I’m thinking I may just go back to my fig newtons for lunch–figs and whole grains—now that sounds healthy!