Thursday, September 17, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Bucket List

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The Five Gallon Bucket - More Than Meets the Eye (though...not a Transformer)

While I was a "Ma" to ten youth in my stake this summer, I took the opportunity to get to know them individually a little more. As we walked...and walked...and walked I asked them what they had in their buckets (we had a list we were supposed to have filled before we came on Trek). They told me the usual:

  • socks
  • jacket
  • extra shoes
  • mess kit (pie tin and a spoon)
  • cup with handle  and d-ring (for them to have easy access to their cups for water breaks)
  • toiletries ( washcloth, soap, hand towel etc)
  • no extra snacks
  • no electronics
Then I started asking them, "What if you were doing this for real, and you could choose only enough of your personal items to fit in a five gallon bucket, what would you take? They answered: 

  • my phone
  • my basketball
  • other similar answers

Then I asked the clincher... "What if the place you were going had no electricity? What would you take then?" The answers changed dramatically. 

  • a pocket knife
  • fire starters
  • soap
  • survival things
  • other similar answers

A phone was never mentioned again. Why? The obvious answer is, that without electricity, phones would not work and would then be worthless. It is amazing to me how such simple questions can change our thinking on certain issues. I think this can be a great lesson to us on many levels. 

Recently in the news I have seen the Catholic Pope under attack by saying things like, "Pope Forgives All Women Who Have Had an Abortion" or " Pope Endorses Climate Change." If the reader reads the full article, it isn't true at all. The headline has been misleading. The media can be so deceptive, so we have to be careful. It would be easy to abandon other faithful people of various Christian religions because of a headline. When we change our thinking just a little bit, like the bucket list, it can change our whole outlook. 

The most famous quote by Martin Niemoller (a German Protestant Pastor) who became a prisoner after he spoke against Hitler. The quote goes as such: 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Please, remember when we hear or read something about another faith, to do a little bit of research first before we pass it on. It might be inaccurate. We need to have all Christians on our side walking arm in arm for wouldn't it be amazing to have Catholics on our left flank, Protestants on our right flank, and Baptists surrounding the enemy in back? If we support each other, despite the differences in doctrine, we will become more united through Jesus Christ. 

President Henry B. Eyring said :

We see increased conflict between peoples in the world around us. Those divisions and differences could infect us. That is why my message of hope today is that a great day of unity is coming. The Lord Jehovah will return to live with those who have become His people and will find them united, of one heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.

What kinds of things could we put in our spiritual buckets to look forward to a great day of unity?

  • Kindness
  • understanding
  • let go of unrighteous judgments
  • release misunderstandings
  • forgive

Let us fill our spiritual buckets with things that would unite all Christian faiths. The persecutions of the past would be better compared to the second list above. They will be useless if we are to look forward to a "great day of unity" as President Eyring says. It will not only help us survive, but flourish and blossom as the rose.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Win One With the Kefir

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The gift that keeps on giving....

In 1940 Ronald Reagan played the role of George Gipp (real person) who was a Notre Dame football star. Just before the team was to play a monumental game, George was dying of a throat infection. His dying request was when things are tough to win it for the Gipper. The actually phrase, "That one was for the Gipper," was supposedly uttered by halfback Jack Chevigny immediately after he vaulted for a one-yard touchdown in the 1928 Notre Dame victory. That is why when Ronald Reagan ran for president, his slogan was, "Win One For the Gipper!" What does this have to do with the price of hairless chihuahuas in the Savannah? Well, just like football is a battle field where boys are turned to men, the flora (or good bacteria) in our gut is getting slaughtered by modern life. The "Gipp" played both offense and defense, but in our story, the battle cry will be, "Win One With the Kefir!"

Flora - Much More Than a Beautiful Latin Name

Our modern day has us loaded with everything, "antibacterial" - hand soap, hand sanitizer, antibiotics...sometimes multiple rounds, etc. All of these can be necessary at times, but used too often, leaves our beautiful little Latin good bacteria on stretchers being taken from the field of battle. Antibiotics kill the good, the bad, the ugly of bacteria, but we must have good bacteria in our gut or it will be overtaken with yeast. Yeast when kept in its proper place is necessary. Picture them as body guards. They help to keep the peace in the digestive system. The good bacteria are the peace makers. When there is too little flora, the yeast run around looting and pillaging because the softer side of the digestion circus isn't there to gently keep the yeast in check. When yeast over runs the digestive system, it then we have what we call "candida overgrowth". I have personally felt its destructive force and it was not pretty: headaches, yeast infections in the most uncomfortable of places, no energy (my thyroid was being targeted), serious eyeball headaches, inability to concentrate, uncontrollable sugar cravings etc etc. I had to kill it by starving it from the things it wanted. I couldn't have bread, sugar, anything with vinegar, etc etc. I lived on brown rice and vegetables with a little meat. It was very painful, but I did it. 

If we must have an antibiotic, we need to follow with good bacteria to keep those yeast where they need to be, and that is where kefir comes in. 

Kefir is a cute little squishy grain that gives cultures to milk and when consumed, fills the gut with the good bacteria. When it is added to a cup of full fat milk and left at room temperature on the counter, it does a beautiful dance (probably without castanets) and turns the milk to a gentle sour. The kefir grain is strained out to be added again to a new cup of milk to do its beautiful dance again. It is a gift that truly keeps on giving. 

This blog has some great information on kefir. Some sensitive people can't drink kefir because it upsets their stomach, the author explains why and how you can get around it:

Where Do You Get Kefir?

Amazingly enough, you can get a starter grain at Indigo Mountain for free. You can also get a starter from Amazon. When you get a starter, it will slowly grow bigger and bigger. Eventually you can break it off and give starters to friends and family.  It's like Amish Friendship Bread...without the bread...or sugar. 

How Do I Care For My Pet Kefir?

This is the easiest pet in the world to care for. 

  • You feed with with a cup of milk in a cup for 18 to 24 hours
  • It takes the milk and changes it with cultures
  • you strain out the lightly soured milk into a new cup
  • plop the kefir grain back into the original cup
  • add more milk
  • put it on counter or cupboard for another 18 to 24 hours

If you will be going out of town or don't want to drink it every day, it stays happy in the fridge and cultures the milk much more slowly. This pet just like any other can die if it isn't fed or if washed with chlorinated water. Commercial kefir must be it kills the good bacteria and is thus rendered useless. This is really the best way to do this.

Isn't Yogurt the Same Thing?

Here's the difference. Yogurt feeds the current good bacteria. It doesn't make more. Kefir has a wide spectrum of good bacteria plus healthy yeasts. It is so much different. Plus, if you want to keep the yeast in check, eating sugared yogurt doesn't help that situation, at all. Most commercial yogurt is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which is more like  "Frankin Sugar" anyway. Some people don't really like the "sour" flavor. I was raised on buttermilk, so its no big deal to me. It can be added to smoothies where you don't even know it's there - problem solved.

As you study kefir further, hopefully you'll get some great insight. Then you will know how to win this battle and keep your little Latin dancing soldiers in good numbers as they slide down and you are able to "Win One With the Kefir". Your body will thank you.