THE GARDENER’S GLOVE III

Good gardening produces tasty and healthy foods so we can make great salads and other dishes.

I sometimes return to older posts for refreshment of thought. I dedicated it to a great gardener Linda Christian and who is genuinely missed by so many of us.

Contained garden to keep out unwanted guests who like to serve themselves.

THE GARDENER’S GLOVE was a popular message and I love the lessons behind it. We have a beautiful growing container garden this year. I have mentioned our garden before but in watching our “crop” grow, I am amazed at how the rain, the pruning, and the feedings affect the amount of growth. It led me back to how proper care of ourselves can affect our growth and especially our health. Stay tuned and when we begin the harvesting, I will share some recipes and photos.    

TODAY THE WORDS are THEGARDENER’S GLOVE  This topic may seem a little strange coming from a lady whose husband does all of our landscaping and who considers herself blessed to not have to pull weeds (but he doesn’t do a lot of that with his routine weed control). I have several FB friends who grow beautiful gardens (Linda Christian whose birthday is today and she can make us envious of her gardening skills and beautiful spirit of sharing with others) , some who are in their rose gardens and flower beds, and there are my friends who do not like the outdoor gardening at all. I love flowers and there is nothing better to eat than fresh home grown vegetables but I think my resistance stems from my childhood.  

Let’s return to my childhood to give you my thoughts. In order to make some money, my Mother grew turnip and mustard greens in our back garden. Before school, and sometimes in the bitter cold, we would go to the garden, gather the greens which were ready, clean them off and bundle with string. Off to the grocery store they would go and off to school we would go. It wasn’t the work as I had too much energy; we didn’t use gloves. In those days, you used your hands (maybe others had enough money to buy gloves; not us). It was the smell of the greens on my hands and mind you, I washed my hands several times and they were as clean as they were going to be. I see my husband prepare, by putting on gloves, before he goes out to do yard work, gardening, and/or pruning. He is very particular about how the gloves have to fit as a proper fit will not slow him down. He jokes with other guys that his wife does yard work. He says “She tells me where to put everything and walks back in the house.” He smiles when he says it but I know he loves being in the yard and in control of its beauty. I am usually the one who is in charge of the interior of our home and I love doing it.  

Now for the deeper thought….as important as gloves are to a gardener or landscaper…..gloves of life are as important to our being. Gloves are a protective covering to avoid scratches, cuts and sometimes bites from insects. They wrap around the hand and fingers securely and when properly fitted, are an extension of our very bodies. They become a second skin in other words. Our “character” is a pair of gloves of life. We start, at an early age, to develop (or put on) our character which comprises of several things: our personality; our integrity; our work ethics and our moral ethics (may be the same or sometimes not); our nurturing persona; and our spirituality. With the proper gloves of life, we can garden our souls and protect ourselves from the scratches, bites, and burns which the garden of life brings. I am not discounting God’s influence in our gardens, but we as His Children, need to put on our gloves and protect ourselves too. Good gardening, my friends, and don’t forget your gloves. 

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:Genesis 2:9

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material, if known, is sourced to the original location for reference.

WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOU?

Good morning, blog followers! I had an early morning thought that was so riveting, I thought I should share with you. Recently, I have discussed how mind over matter in eating, and being positive. Those were received and gave some moments of personal evaluation. This morning’s blog is a little more intense so hang in there and let’s see where this blog thought goes.

When we are born, we are helpless by ourselves and we require a lot of care including feeding, hygiene, and nurturing. Our parents or a caretaker furnish our needs and we are not required to use our brains to live. We can observe while we learn how to do the simplest gestures and activity. We continually need care from another source. As we grow into teenage years we loosen the ties somewhat on day to day activities but require some guidance, even if we rebel, to make good decisions.

Then comes adult life and at this life changing event, we are on our own, or at least we should be. At this time, who takes over and makes decision? Who is in control of our minds? Sometimes, we marry at an early age and our thinking even though we want to say we think for ourselves, it can become a team thinking exercise with “What do you want to do?” “What do you think?” or “You decide.” statements. One dominant personality can seize control or it becomes a bilateral action. I have seen couples who have lived together for long periods finish each others sentences or speak for the other partner.

All of this information is pretty normal and is not the destination of this blog. I want to ask the question for each of us, separately from any affiliation or relationship, “Who is in charge of you?” Let me bullet point for you what I am asking behind this question.

  • When a decision is to be made, do you have to have others input or can you make a decision by yourself?
  • Do you value research or do you take what you hear either from others or media outlets, social media, friends, etc?
  • How confident do you feel in making decisions or do you second guess your decisions?
  • Do you seek counsel but make the definitive decision once you have listened to others?
  • Are you willing to make your own mind up on a subject no matter if your decision is an unfavorable one?

If you have answered these questions frankly, you have your answer to who controls you. It is advisable to research, seek other people’s thoughts, but you are in control of your mind if the last question was Yes. One of the problems in our world today is many people who are more than capable both intellectually and emotionally to decide for themselves are swayed by news media, celebrities, professors, community leaders, family, friends, and yes, even church leaders. Do not fall into this trap. Search for the truth, look at the history, practice critical thinking, and by all means, think for yourself. What might be right for me would not be right or at least comfortable for anyone else.

Here are some ways to practice thinking for yourself and regain your personal control:

  • Do not make a hasty decision before looking at the situation.
  • Consider short term and long term repercussions and outcomes from your decision.
  • Think before acting or deciding, “Can I live with my decision?”
  • Think before acting or deciding, “Can others live with my decision?”
  • Think back to previous situations and evaluate the outcome of prior decisions.
  • Decide to accept the adversity if others will not agree with your decision.
  • Finally, when making a decision, how do I feel about this decision? If you feel content that you have made this decision with as many of the facts involved, after weighing the conclusion and outcome, knowing that you and you alone came to this decision and can move on from this action, then make the decision and Move On.

As a self thinker, who loves to research and who values input but is totally capable of making my own decision, I encourage all of you to think for yourself but do it with respect of others who may think differently. Also, I consider the purpose behind others’ thinking and all factors which affect or relate to their conclusion. Their reasoning may not be appropriate with my reasoning but I can emphasize with them. I still want to make my own decisions after I have my mind equipped to make wise decisions. Do I accomplish this all of the time? Absolutely……not.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life to the Fullest by stepping up, voicing your thoughts, and love the fact you were given intelligence and the ability to think.

(c) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location for reference credit.

CUPID WENT INTO WITNESS PROTECTION


CUPID WENT INTO WITNESS PROTECTION was previously posted in 2019 but I found it an interesting read and decided to repost for this Valentine season.


EARLY HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all! I thought I would get your attention with the heading. Let’s have some fun in the midst of all of the hoopla of hearts flying, gifts given, love showed and shared with lovers all over the world, but why did Cupid have to go into hiding? I had forgotten the story behind Cupid, have you? Here is the caption on google to jog our memories of how Cupid developedE

Psyche is a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus becomes jealous. In revenge, she instructs her son Cupid to make her fall in love with a hideous monster; but instead he falls in love with her himself.
10 JULY, 2015 – 03:59 RILEY WINTERS
The ancient fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, where love endures against all odds
The mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche is one of the few Greek and Roman myths that has not fully become assimilated into modern consciousness. Though adapted somewhat into the better known “Beauty and the Beast”—first written by French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as “La Belle et la Bête”—the correlation to the earlier ancient text is relatively unrecognized. Cupid is often still portrayed as a chubby baby cherub with a fondness for arrows, and Psyche is still predominately unknown outside the psychological community –”psyche” means “soul” in ancient Greek and was subsequently utilized in the literature of psychologists. However, in the ancient world, Cupid and Psyche’s love was well documented and appreciated among the literary scholars. Despite that its original Greek form is now lost, the length of the text remains within Lucius Apuleius’ The Golden Ass , a side anecdote that—in many ways—overshadows the remainder of the novel.

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Once upon a time…
Cupid and Psyche’s narrative begins as most modern fairy tales do: with a kingdom, a daughter with an insurmountable burden over her head, a trial, and a subsequent moral. It is as follows: a king and queen give birth to three daughters, but only the third possesses unearthly beauty. Apuleius’ text claimed that her beauty was so astounding the “poverty of language is unable to express its due praise.” Rumors spread of this girl, Psyche’s, astounding loveliness, eventually reaching the ears of the Roman goddess Venus. Angry that so many mortals were comparing Psyche’s beauty to her own—and in many ways claiming that the mortal surpassed her—Venus calls upon her son Cupid to demand that he use one of his arrows of desire to ensure Psyche fall in love with a human monster.

Obedient as always to his mother, Cupid then descends to the earthly plane to do as she wishes. Yet he was so astonished himself by the mortal princess’ beauty that he mistakenly shot himself. From that moment, Cupid was irrevocably in love with the princess. Around this time, it became evident to her parents that Psyche’s attractiveness had angered the gods, as no mortal man would take her hand in marriage. Imploring the temple of Apollo, they learn that Psyche is destined for a much worse fate than celibacy: “The virgin is destined for the bride of no mortal lover. Her future husband awaits her on the top of the mountain. He is a monster whom neither gods nor men can resist.” Psyche, conscious of the mistakes of her mortal kingdom for praising her so highly, is content to follow the oracle’s advice

From the top of the highest cliff, dressed in funerary garbs, Psyche is swept away by the west wind, Zephyr. She is brought to a striking valley, in the center of which stands a palace so magnificent it could not have been built by any hands other than the gods’. Surrounded by luscious trees with a crystalline fountain at its heart, Psyche soon comes to the conclusion that this golden hall is her new home, further reiterated by the voice of her new husband echoing through the halls. This faceless stranger begins to visit her in the night, every night, to make love to her in the darkness. But despite his nighttime tenderness, Psyche is haunted by the oracle’s claim that he was a monster.h
Psyche’s Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones
Psyche’s Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones ( Wikimedia Commons )

Psyche’s Betrayal
When allowing her two sisters to visit, they are jealous of her beautiful home and insist that Psyche’s husband really is a monster and she owes it to herself to find out. So Psyche is convinced to break her husband’s only request of allowing his face to remain a secret and look upon him in the night. In doing so, she damns their relationship.

A single drop of oil falls from the candle Psyche lights to gaze at his face, waking him, and Cupid, in all his majestic beauty, flees their home, distressed by her betrayal. Distraught, Psyche goes in search of her husband, traveling for many days, until she comes to the temple of Ceres, the motherly goddess of grain.

Day of Love – the Complex Origins of Valentine’s Day
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The Abandoned Heroine Archetype in Greek and Roman Myth
The Trials
Ceres instructs Psyche to surrender herself to Venus and take whatever ill will the goddess throws at her. Obeying Ceres’ advice, Psyche is thus given three seemingly impossible tasks to complete. First, the princess has to separate the grains of Venus’ temple’s storehouse into piles of barley, millet, beans, etc. Second, Psyche has to steal golden wool from a herd of sheep; third and finally, Psyche is ordered to travel into the underworld and request from Queen Proserpina a little of her beauty to pass along to the goddess of love. This task, however, demands a further challenge: that Psyche keeps the box in which the beauty is placed tightly closed, for fear of terrible repercussions.

Unknown to Psyche, throughout these trails, Cupid is constantly at her aid. He instructs ants to help her sort the grains; and then the river god offers her instructions of how to steal the prize fleece from the shepherd. Finally, Psyche is given divine advice on how to surpass the dangers of Hades.

Her failure—foretold by Venus herself—comes when Psyche, greatly upset by the trials she had to overcome, opens the box and is overcome by the Stygian sleep, a sleep so strong she is considered the living dead. By that point, Cupid has had enough of his separation from his wife, and he flies to her rescue, lifting her sleeping form to the heavens, and pleading with the great god Jupiter to talk sense into his mother. Venus lifts her terrible curse from the girl, and once Psyche is awake, she is transformed into an immortal, and is properly wed to the young god of desire. (for the full article and photos you can go to: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/ancient-fairy-tale-cupid-and-psyche-where-love-endures-against-all-odds-003393

Note from blogger: As always, I have a deeper thought about love and life. When we read a myth, may we retrieve some thoughts to use in our lives. Out of the confusion, the betrayals, the trials, we can notice one consistency of Cupid. As the story unfolded, Cupid was constantly at her aid and made the effort to make her life and chores easier. Isn’t that what true love is all about? Also, this story confirms that we do not choose who we fall in love but when Cupid’s arrow is shot in the heart, life as we know it is changed forever. I made a remark about Cupid going into hiding but hopefully he is out and about today shooting love arrows into the hearts of many.

Whether you get chocolate or not, love yourself by pampering your mind and soul with loving thoughts.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, including photos, if known is sourced to original location for credit reference.

MANAGE WEIGHT by MANAGING YOUR MIND

I am turning 72 in June and have lost 37 pounds. No, not by any miracle diet, not by restricting or avoiding any particular food……Smaller portions and when I eat the good foods outweigh the bad ones….Literally. Today, I am not an expert but I want to share my experience in a lifetime of fighting the bulge. I used to be an exercise advocate and to all of you who exercise, Kudos. As I got older, the thought of having to exercise is not as exciting as it used to be. I do stay active for my age but never do I hit the gym or track like the golden years of youth. Here is how I have gotten to where I am today and maybe, some of it will make sense to some of you and you get off the diet track and get on the eating the amount of food that you can digest without a lot of digestive side effects and maintain and/or lose some pounds. This is not a solicitation for any method of culinary preferences, just a woman who struggled for as long as she wanted and found a way to make it happen for her.

Arline Miller, 71 years old, 37 pounds lighter, and still loving life.

About 8 to almost 9 years ago, my husband encouraged or maybe the better word is demanded I go have blood work. I was the worst person as I felt good almost all of the time but had somehow began to fall asleep in the late afternoon even sitting up. I say this lovingly, and now appreciatively, I went to get him to stop saying everyone needs a check up at least once a year. Okay, so I gave in with no idea of what I was about to find out. First, I had always been on some kind of “diet” or “program” since I didn’t want to be fat so I could name so many diets I tried. My thoughts are any diet will work for the time you can stay on them. It is the harsh truth that it is almost impossible to stay on any diet for a long period of time. We get bored eating the same foods; we feel victimized and controlled so we rebel; or the excuse event such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, cruises, trips, etc and we make the almost guarantee to fail on the diet statement of “I will eat a little now and go back on my diet, just this one time and it will be fine.”

PHOTO OF ME before the weight loss and I wish i showed a picture of my whole body at the time. This is me at my highest weight.

On to the chapter of the doctor’s appointment: I go and cheerfully think I will be fine. I was just tired, no problem. I am a go getter and workaholic so that is why I feel tired. Right? No, Wrong. I will repeat the words my doctor said to me, “You are a walking time bomb. You are diabetic with your A1C at 8 with hypertension, overweight, and your cholesterol and liver enzymes are out of sight.” What was he talking about? I was close to tears, in shock, and thought he was a jerk. He had to be talking about someone else, not me, not superwoman. Oh, did I walk out of his office in a fog, a stupor, and thinking he doesn’t know me. I had always had a mental theory I was okay as I kept a positive attitude.

When I got over my pity party. Yes, I had a big one and even contemplated accepting the bad news and not doing a blasted thing about it and go on with my bad self. Then it hit me that he actually said, walking time bomb. Uh oh, that meant if I didn’t do something to change or diffuse this bomb in me, it was, or rather I would explode. I woke up in the reality, what I was doing was not the path I had to choose.

Food satisfies when it is dressed up for the celebration of a meal.

Next, all of the dieting experiences I had previously performed looked like the way to go. On one program, then to the next, and then trying another one as I had a hard time either eating all salads or meats, or only bland food. I am a rebel and this jerked my chain and I would think even when I was losing weight that I am not living; I am existing.

I decided once I had lost 17 pounds and wanted more off that me restricting my foods only raised the element of rebellion in me. One day, as I wake up very early, I had an epiphany to try to eat small portions of those foods I crave and eat healthy foods in larger portions so here came my new eating way of life. If I made potato salad, I took out a heaping tablespoon of it and placed it with my other food. If I made a cake, I cut a small slice, almost a sliver, but I ate it. I cut my portions of meat down to 1/3 of a fried chicken breast and yes, it was fried or from the air fryer. I eat a tablespoon or two of mac and cheese, rice, potatoes, and I will eat 5 or 6 french fries. I don’t ever take out large portions and I eat a half bowl of soup, spaghetti, or a small plate of mini portions. I eat a good size salad and use my dressing of choice but I don’t pour it on, I use it sparingly. The surprise from this change is I am full even with smaller portions and find I cannot eat a large quantity of anything. I retrained my mind and that is why the title of this blog is Manage Your Weight is To Manage Your Mind.

Make your plate pretty and now, my plate would be a salad plate and a lot less quantity.

If you want to try this method, don’t do it all at once. Try cutting the portion of the highest carb or sugar foods first. Breads can be cut out or lessened in amounts. Just be conscious of the amounts not what you eat. If you have a sandwich, cut it into four (4) square pieces. The mind will adjust and feel you have eaten more. The next time, make a half sandwich and cut into two (2) pieces. You will be amazed at how you will feel satisfied since the separate pieces will give you the satisfaction of more than one. Cut pieces of meat into smaller pieces prior to beginning to eat as you will see more pieces and it will feel like more. The next time, cut a larger piece of meat in half and do the same thing and so on and so on. Peel fruit and go ahead and separate the slices on your plate. The next time cut the fruit in half and you will find yourself eating a lot less over time. Make your plates pretty no matter what you are eating. That is something I do feel I do that makes whatever, even if small portion, is enticing and calms the cravings and satisfies my desire from food.

The old saying of make sure you eat everything on your plate is the root of all food evil. On this luscious and healthy meal, there is nothing wrong with eating small portions and repurposing food for another meal. I will have some blogs on my repurposing food anther time.

As I think that i will spend some blogs on how this process has changed my life and how much sweeter it is now that I know a small taste of something good, instead of feeling deprived keeps me on track. It’s the mind, not the diet, that causes the best things to happen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known to the original location for credit reference.

CHOCOHOLICS, IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN

FOR THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY 2021, I found a great post about the big event so I thought I would repost it on the first of February to whet our appetite.

Calling all Chocoholics (Chocolate Lovers who might need intervention)! Valentines Day is coming soon so excuses are not needed as it is the reason for the season but WHY? Let us consider the pros and cons of downing the chocolate, milk, white, dark, or mixed with nuts, fillings, or whatever form we can get it. Is there a link to Love? Is it a feel good reason we have to have it. Today, we enter the river of flowing chocolate and get our mouths drooling. Here is an enlightening article I found giving us the psychological reasons and we already know the real reason is “we can’t live without it.”

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

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Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

The psychology behind why we love chocolate

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Source:Why do we crave chocolate so much? I consulted a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer, to help us understand why we desire chocolate so much (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

Dr. Albers: On a biological level, why do we crave chocolate?

Professor Stavnezer: We crave chocolate because it is good! It tastes good. It smells good. It feels good when it melts on our tongue. And all of those ‘feelings’ are the result of our brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. The experience of eating chocolate results in feel good neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) being released in particular brain regions (frontal lobe, hippocampus and hypothalamus—definitions a bit later).

Dopamine is released when you experience anything that you enjoy—sexlaughing, or watching your favorite Olympian claim the gold. This reward circuit is partially hard-wired by genetics, but it learns, changes and responds to your specific preferences based on your life experiences. This malleability of the brain is what makes each of us unique. In fact, there are supposedly people in the world who do not like chocolate.

By simply using one neurotransmitter system to associate rewards with actions, an efficient and powerful brain network evolved so that a positive outcome would be repeated. The dopamine signal sent through the reward circuit brings about positive feelings and assessments of the situation in the frontal lobe (just behind your eyes), creates a memory of the experience including where, who, what and why and links that to the positive experiences via the hippocampus (about an inch inside of each ear), and when food is involved, the hypothalamus (a few inches above the roof of your mouth) gathers information about the caloric and nutrient content for future hunger and satiety signals.

It was originally thought that chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly (like cigarettes and cocaine do). Chocolate does contain theobromine that can increase heart rate and bring about feelings of arousal, caffeine which can make us feel awake and increase our ability to work and focus, and fat and sugar which are preferred food sources for humans because they are calorie dense. However, elegant experiments in which the components of chocolate were separated out indicated that just ingesting the chemicals in chocolate without the mouth-feel and taste does not decrease craving.

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Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com



Maybe this is why we eat chocolate?

I found an excerpt from an article on the history of how chocolate became the ruler of Valentines Day. It is from National Geographic and is titled Why We Want Chocolate for Valentines Day

THE PLATE

Why We Want Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

3 MINUTE READBY APRIL FULTON

So how did chocolate become the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat?

The origins of the historic combination are far from clear. Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, and was once only available to the wealthy. Spanish conquistadors brought it back to Europe, and according to The Oxford Companion to Food, Italian chefs were shaving blocks over their risottos in the late 17th century. The French made pastilles in the 18th century, a favorite of the marquis de Sade. But it wasn’t until the cocoa butter extracted from the beans was processed into the rough form of a candy bar in England in 1847, according to Cadbury, and later rounded out with milk, that its appeal began to grow. Once candy became cheaper to produce, more people got to taste it. And once they tasted it, well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, the origins of Valentine’s Day are even more complex. They can be traced to Roman times and Lupercalia, a Pagan festival that involved fertility and feasting in mid-February. The Romans “were drunk. They were naked,” Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told NPR in 2011. Young women lined up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They thought would make them fertile.

Not too romantic, was it? It gets crazier. The early Catholic Church martyred a rebel priest named Valentine and tried to take the nakedness out of the Lupercalia festival by declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. Chaucer combined the essence of the pagan rituals with courtly ideas of love in one famous Valentine’s poem about bird sex: “And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make! For ech of hem gan other in wynges take.” And then Shakespeare took the notion of romantic love even further in the sonnets.

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Hopefully, this will get your Valentine craving for chocolate flowing and from this Sipping Cup of Inspiration blogger, Happy Valentines Day and now it is official, you have a natural reason for loving chocolate. My deeper thought is to LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by digesting all that life has to offer as long as you add to other’s lives and not make their lives unhappy. Eat chocolate or don’t, but love always.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference