Monday, July 26, 2010

Two Weeks with my Daughter

Our daughter Kim was born in Minnesota.  She loves that state and is crazy for her relatives. She had just returned from a one-year-stay in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. While in Germany, she discovered her roots and fell in love with the country of her ancestors. Together with her husband, they decided to stay another year.  None-the-less, she returned to a home visit. 

One night at the end of July she returned for her vacation, my husband and I picked her up from the airport. From that very moment our family was again engaged in a whirlwind of excitement, talking, singing and a lot of laughter. She was telling us about all the differences between Americans and Germans.  Her report: "Americans are loud and outspoken, while Germans are more reserved, except for the World cup."

We spent two wonderful weeks together. Both she and I are coffee lovers. We discovered Caribou’s coffee and the many positive quotes they put on their coffee cups.

Positive words on a Caribou coffee cup:

life is short, stay awake for it

sleep under the stars

dream big, act bigger

take a seven day weekend

sip it, sip it good

max out your passport

stir emotions

hold hands, not grudges

run your feet, not your mouth

follow your heart

make today special

sing out loud

you are as wonderful as your dog thinks you are

smile first, asks questions later

As we were traveling, Kim took out her camera every time she saw a meaningful quote,

It didn’t matter where she saw it: at some relative’s house, in an antique store, at a rummage sale, at a gift store or in somebody’s window. It became quite a game. Along with hunting for positive quotes she also recorded her grandpa’s jokes and funny sayings. We discovered again his Minnesotan wit and humor which she never missed a beat to respond to. It was quite entertaining since neither one of them wanted to give up the last word, but most of the time she graciously surrendered to her grandpa.

Here are a few positive quotes:

If you begin the day with love in your heart, peace in your nerves, and truth in your mind, you not only benefit by their presence but also bring them to others, to your family and friends, and to all those whose destiny draws across your path that day.
~ Author : Unknown

When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
~ Buddha

Three small rules for a happy life:
1. Start each day with a grateful heart.
2. Focus on the positive aspects of every person you encounter.
3. End each day with a grateful heart.
~ Lucy MacDonald

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.
~ Henry James

Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside.
~ Brian Tracy

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
~ David Viscott

It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.
~ Anthony Robbins

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.
~ Mary Dunbar

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A person who sows seed of kindness enjoys a perpetual harvest.
~ Anonymous

Well, that's it for the quotes. The inspiration behind lays mainly with the energy and the presence our daughter brought back into our lives. She is gone now again, visiting with others whom she is going to entertain with her happy spirit and positive sayings. Our memories together will have to sustain us again for another year. In the meantime, I am happy to have had the two weeks with our daughter Kim.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How do I Know God?

“You can know the word of God but not Know God.” ~ Author Unknown

I have been following the advice of the experts: Pray, read the word, congregate with others and spread the word: this will unite us with the will of God. Why is it so hard to know God? Scientists today can prove that man is hard-wired  to be in connection with God.

Every human culture has an Adam and Eve story which shows that man fell away from God at the beginning of time. Is that the reason man is separated from God? Is that the reason we live in a sinful world? If God exists why does he allow human suffering? Why do we have to struggle? Why is there so much evil in the world? Why does God allow all these physical catastrophes to happen? What did I do wrong that my baby is getting cancer? I have been good all my life why do I get this disease? These are just a few questions many people have today, especially those who are pursuing a religious path.

I have been asking myself all these questions and more for many, many years. I started my quest in my early 20s and have not stopped because I am still looking for some answers.
Over the years I have been reading many books besides the scriptures. Some of them being very insightful, and enlightening.

Deepak Chopra’s book on  “How to Know God?” was very scientific and obviously written by a person not raised in the Christian tradition.  Dr. Chopra explores seven different personalities of God: Almighty, Creator, God of Miracles, God of Peace, Protector, Pure Being--I am, Redeemer.  How do I fit in with each and who am I in relationship to these personalities, is the question he asks again and again.

Michele Longo O’Donnell’s “The God We’ve created?”  was deeply moving and gave me a whole new understanding about how we create our own God according to our education, experience and beliefs. She has a clear picture of who God is to her, a loving, forgiving and merciful father who longs to be reunited with man.  Michele proves to us that man was not to live with disease or any other suffering.  Man has created certain images of God according to his own experience and belief.  With deeper understanding and spiritual growth, we can surpass that dis-eased stage which is basically ignorance and "sin" which she interprets as separation from God.  I have not heard anybody else explain sin as good as she has, since most people put sin equal to transgressions.  Transgressions are evil actions while sin is wrong thinking, ignorance and separation from God.

Just recently I picked up Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversation With God”. I like his simple approach of just questioning God. Most people have done that putting all these questions up to God. And doesn’t it say in the bible you should ask, and get the answers, knock, and get the doors opened? What is really our motivation asks Neale Walsch? Are we willing to listen, really listen? He discovered that God communicates mostly through feelings, next through thoughts (images and pictures) and experiences, and finally through words. Feeling is the language of the soul. To communicate with God, to know God we need to feel him and experience him in our daily lives.

How do we listen to God? How do we know our conversation with God is a two-way communication? Just like any friend and other human, God wants to be appreciated. We show God our appreciation through gratitude. By being grateful for our lives, for all he provides for us (even in advance) is a good way for us to discover the true nature of God. He created the whole universe for us, abundance everywhere. Faith will help us grow to discover the true God, the father, the source of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. With the same intensity we put out our prayers, with the deep sincerity we seek out God and the strong desire to know him deeply, he will reply our search.

None of the above literature gives as deep an insight into the nature of God as the Divine Principle, the teaching of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. I am sighting here an excerpt from the fall of man because it gives such a clear understanding of why God cannot intervene in man’s action, now and in the past.

Again, I want to reiterate, that it is not just enough that man knows God’s word, and can recite every word of the bible or any other religious text. Man was given a human responsibility and the freedom of choice to either believe in God or not.

Divine Principle – The Fall of Man ~ Section 6

The Reason God Did Not Intervene in the Fall of the First Human Ancestors

God, being omniscient and omnipotent, must have known about the deviant acts of the first human ancestors which were leading to their Fall and was surely capable of preventing them from carrying them out. Why, then, did God not intervene to prevent the Fall? This is one of the most important unsolved mysteries of the ages. We can put forward the following three reasons why God did not interfere with the human Fall.

6.1 To Maintain the Absoluteness and Perfection of the Principle of Creation

In accordance with the Principle of Creation, God created human beings in His image, with the character and powers of the Creator, intending that they govern over all things as He governs over humankind. However, for human beings to inherit the creative nature of God, they must grow to perfection by fulfilling their portion of responsibility. As explained above, the period of their growth is the realm of God's indirect dominion or the realm of dominion based on accomplishments through the Principle. While people are still in this realm, God does not directly govern them because He wishes to allow them to fulfill their own portion of responsibility. God will govern them directly only after they have reached full maturity.

If God were to interfere with human actions during their growing period, it would be tantamount to ignoring the human portion of responsibility. In that case, God would be disregarding His own Principle of Creation, according to which He intends to give human beings His creative nature and raise them to become the lords of creation. If the Principle were ignored, then its absoluteness and perfection would be undermined. Because God is the absolute and perfect Creator, His Principle of Creation must also be absolute and perfect. In summary, in order to preserve the absoluteness and perfection of the Principle of Creation, God did not intervene in the acts that led the human beings to fall.

6.2 That God Alone Be the Creator

God only governs over a principled existence which He has created and only sways the course of principled acts. God does not regulate any unprincipled existence which He did not create, such as hell; nor does He interfere with any unprincipled act, such as criminal acts. If God were to affect the course of such beings or acts, then they would necessarily be given the value of God's creations and be recognized as principled.

Consequently, if God were to have intervened in the Fall of the first human ancestors, He would have been attributing to those acts the value of His creations and recognizing them as principled. If God were to do this, He would in effect be creating a new principle that recognizes these criminal acts as lawful. Since it would actually be Satan who manipulated the situation to bring about this outcome, it would in fact be Satan who created another, new principle, and Satan would stand as the creator of all the fruits of the Fall. Therefore, in order that God remain the sole Creator, He did not intervene in the human Fall.

6.3 To Make Human Beings the Lords of Creation

God created human beings and blessed them with dominion over everything in the creation. Human beings cannot rule other creatures if they stand on an equal footing with them. They must earn certain qualifications to gain their God-given mandate to govern.

God is qualified to govern human beings because He is their Creator. Likewise, for human beings to gain the qualifications to rule all things, they must also possess the character and powers of the Creator. In order to give them creatorship and make them worthy to govern all things, God has human beings perfect themselves by accomplishing their own portion of responsibility until the end of their growing period. Only by perfecting themselves in accordance with the Principle can they earn the qualifications to rule the universe. If God were to rule directly and control the lives of human beings who are still in the state of immaturity, this would in effect grant the authority of a ruler to those who are unqualified to rule. That is, it would have the effect of granting this authority to those who have not yet fulfilled their responsibility or earned God's creatorship. It would contradict God's Principle because He would be treating an immature person as if he were mature. God, the Author of the Principle, would be disregarding His own Principle of Creation, which He established in order to enable human beings to inherit the nature of the Creator and govern the creation. Consequently, it was in order to bless human beings as the lords of creation that God had to restrain Himself from intervening in the acts of immature human beings, as He watched with trepidation their tragic fall.

It is crucial for man to understand that it is not God’s responsibility that we are in a mess. Man has to come to grip that we cannot blame anybody else, especially God for our misery.

How do I know God – discover for yourself the unbelievable truth and beauty of knowing God. Pursue him, court him, love him, more than you would a lover, a friend, a parent or sibling. This is the time where God is closer than ever – this is the time to know God.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Feed Your Muscles With Protein

Even if you are not interested in bodybuilding you want to consciously feed your muscles. Especially, as we are getting older it is crucial that we keep good muscles strength since they help us keep feeling young and strong.

Strength training and working out are good ideas and exercise is necessary, but what if you have already some health challenges like arthritis, etc.? Check with your physician before you start any kind of exercise program.

We all have had certain times when we were unable to exercise for a while either because of sickness or being too busy. The muscles become weak and we tire easily or even worse, we start to exert ourselves again and feel sore the next day.

Muscle recovery and building happens while we are at rest. The majority of it happens while we are sleeping. While we are performing our daily activities and workouts, we are breaking down our muscles. This is not a bad thing. We break down our muscles, so that our bodies will build them up stronger and better than before. The problem comes when we don't allow our bodies the opportunity to repair the muscles.

I went through a restorative regiment for my leg muscles just recently. The therapist emphasized how important it is to eat good protein. How much do we need? He suggested 1 gram per pound of body weight. I found that very hard to handle since my overall daily activities are still limited. When I passed the 100 gram mark I felt very satisfied. Naturally, for those who body build or do a lot of physical activities should have more.

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg

2. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.

Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Example: 154 lb male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights

154 lbs/2.2 = 70kg

70kg x 1.5 = 105 gm protein/day

What are proteins?

Proteins are the basic building blocks of the human body. They are made up of amino acids and help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and internal organs. Next to water, protein is the most plentiful in the body.

Most experts recommend that your protein intake be somewhere between 15 and 30% of your total calorie consumption.

What are good sources of protein?


Fish is a great source of lean protein, which will help your muscles since this macronutrient is the building block of life. Fish like wild salmon, tuna, rainbow trout and sardines are all high in omega-3s fatty acids. Some studies suggest that consuming omega-3s could help slow the breakdown of muscle mass that can occur during endurance activities like long-distance running.

Lean Cuts of Red Meat

When eaten in moderation, red meat is no longer the harbinger of health doom. In fact, it is a great source for vitamin B12, and if you eat grass-fed beef it will provide some omega-3 fats too. Be sure to select the leaner cuts like sirloin and tenderloin to keep your intake of unhealthy saturated fats to a minimum.


Eggs are considered to be a high-quality protein source. Egg protein helps preserve muscle mass and provides steady and sustained energy. The study recommends eggs as a protein source for endurance athletes since eggs are high in the amino acid leucine, which helps muscles utilize the fuel glucose

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese, like other lowfat dairy products, is loaded with protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D — all the things necessary for proper muscle function. Cottage cheese just happens to contain more protein than yogurt. To keep your fat intake down, make sure to opt for the lowfat version.


Quinoa is chock-full of protein, making it a healthy carbohydrate that fills you up, provides energy, and is full of all the essential acids your muscles need to grow. Also know that when lacking carbs as fuel, your body will use the protein you consume for energy rather than using it to create new muscle fibers. This whole grain is also full of iron and potassium.

The good news is that many grains, dairy and even vegetables are also good sources of protein, so that we can add fiber at the same time.

Suggestions for breakfast foods are: nuts, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, ham, soy milk, yogurt, cheese.

Suggestions for lunch foods: beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, tuna fish, meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, soymilk, cheese.

Other interesting facts about muscles:

Muscles get their signals to contract or relax from the brain. Muscles do important work in the body. They move your body into action.

The only ways for you to express an idea are with the muscles of your larynx, mouth and tongue (spoken words), with the muscles of your fingers (written words or "talking with your hands") or with the skeletal muscles (body language, dancing, running, building or fighting, to name a few).

There are two different types of muscles in the body, voluntary muscles and involuntary muscles.

Voluntary muscles are the ones that we can control. They move our bones around, they help us walk, run, or let us eat our favorite sandwich. The signal to move these muscles have to come from the brain which tell it to contract or relax.

The involuntary muscles don’t need any messages from the brain. They are the heart muscle which pump the blood 24/7, the muscles of the digestive system, and the tiny muscles at the bottom of the hairs on your body, which stand up when you feel cold or when you get scared.

Feed your muscles well and they'll take you whereever you want to go.

Monday, July 5, 2010


…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. …

These words from the declaration of independence give some people the idea that freedom is being able to do what you want to do. We have the rights to pursue life, liberty and freedom. When we look at our society though we wonder where these rights have taken some of us. Being overweight, addicted to alcohol, drugs or any other form of narcotics, pursuing free sex and other immoral actions, or just live a life of greed and self-centeredness will not bring us happiness. So we have to look a little deeper where that freedom can take us to bring the desired results.

I belief that the reason we always remember our soldiers and military on this holiday is that they exemplify a life lived for a higher purpose. Protecting our freedom is the ultimate sacrifice. Enjoy this video:

"When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free." ~ Charles Evans Hughes

In order to enjoy our freedom in the truest sense we want to live a life full of purpose. That means we have to get out of the default mode and make plans, define who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. I don’t want this to be religious writing, even though, when we talk about purpose it is hard to be avoided to think about our Creator.

As we celebrate this Independence Day 2010 I want to encourage you to be grateful for the freedom we enjoy in this country and make wise choices to keep this country a country where we all can pursue life, liberty and happiness…