Take Up Your Cross

What does Jesus mean when He tells us to take up our cross? I’ve been contemplating  that for a while.

As a catholic, I have the gift of the rosary to pray and meditate through the life of Jesus. The Joyful mysteries on the youth of Jesus, the Luminous mysteries on His public life, the Sorrowful mysteries on his being betrayed and then crucified, and then the Glorious mysteries of Jesus resurrection and sending the Holy Spirit.

I think we get a clue of what the “cross” isn’t when meditating on the youth of Jesus … there was the poverty and hardship of His birth away from the comforts of home or even adequate shelter but that wasn’t the cross. There was the flight into Egypt and living in a strange land as a refugee but that wasn’t the cross. There was the presentation in the temple to Simeon and the prophesy of the sorrows to come but that wasn’t the cross. There was the time Jesus stayed back in the temple and Mary and Joseph searched frantically for Him, but that wasn’t the cross.

The cross came after being betrayed by a friend and then God (Jesus) was judged by man (Pilate). The man at first aligned with God but then Pilate caved to threats of social unrest (the crowd was about to riot) and political correctness (you are no friend of Caesar if you let this man go).

So when we are told to take up our cross, I believe it is mostly about carrying the burden of the injustices the world sends us. To know, that as long as there is sin and temptations from the demons, and as long as people, even people we know and love, fall into sin and temptation, that we will unfairly be given a cross to carry. Any time we are betrayed by a friend or by a family member, the weight of the cross looms heavy.

I don’t think the cross is a bad job or being poor (people are happy and make a life in all types of situations) or having a tree fall on your house … those are all stressors to deal with for sure, but they aren’t the “cross.”

The cross comes from being unfairly accused, from being betrayed by others, and from someone in power caving into mob violence or political correctness vs. sticking up for what is really right. The cross is being persecuted from a lie or from an injustice when you are innocent and having nothing you can do about it but suffer the consequences. Wow. How unfair!

What did Jesus do in that unfairness? He forgave. That is so amazing. His life was being taken away and He said “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” And when Jesus tells us to take up our cross, I think He knows there will be injustice done to us and I think He knows we may be impotent to do anything about it, except for the fact that forgiveness is not impotence, it is power.

Is there someone you can forgive today? Someone who doesn’t deserve it? Someone you can pray for? Who knows, the power of God may just come into this world more and people may have the strength to say no to sin, and then there will be less injustice and more happiness for all. Ask God to come into your heart and help you forgive others and that cross may just seem a bit lighter.

This seemed like a good quote to end this blog: “This is an easy monkish practice for anyone to adopt, and I highly recommend it. At the end of the day, take an inventory of all the people who have angered you, and forgive them. Say it out loud. Then you can go to bed.”  FR. AUGUSTINE WETTA, OSB excerpt from ‘Humility Rules’

Time Off

When you live on a farm it’s hard to get time off. But we managed. September 15th is the opening of small game and my husband enjoys hunting. I enjoy taking photos and sitting in the cabin binge reading novels. We left Sunday morning, drove up north 3 hours and then came home Monday afternoon. Yeah, I know, it’s not a long get-a-way. But it was time off and quality time.

The dogs traveled well and hey, since I no longer have allergies to dogs thanks to essential oils (lemon, lavender, peppermint doTerra Seasonal Blend capsule), I traveled well too. lol.

Now I’m home recovering from the time off. Funny how that works, it’s almost like a jet lag type of feeling, even though it was a very short vacation and I chilled out reading most of that time. Maybe it’s the long ride; it is tiring sitting in a truck for hours (and to think in 6th grade I wanted to be a trucker but hey, that was in the 70’s when trucker songs and movies were popular).

Hubby enjoyed the time off and is already making plans from the next short get-a-way. I need a little bit more ‘time on’ before I can think about that. There’s nothing like getting settled back into the regular routine. Ah yes, wading through those 200 emails (mostly junk) and jumping in with three therapy appointments today and a visit to my parents.

I think I’m ready for bed now and it’s only 8:30pm. Yes, good night friends! I’ll catch ya next week.

Did you know?

There’s two things I enjoy everyday … coffee and flavored sparkling water. Both are calorie free and water based. Because of blood pressure issues, I even switched to a low caffeine blend of coffee.

As most of you know, I’ve been working on switching out products monthly and slowly eliminating toxins from my life. That’s the easiest way to detox, by preventing toxins from coming in.

I don’t use plug in air fresheners, I use therapeutic grade essential oils and diffusers. I stopped using plastic water bottles and use a Norwex filter with my well water (that has been tested). I get bodywork regularly and have gotten off pain medications.

But a couple of things totally escaped me. Did you know coffee was a heavily sprayed crop? I had no idea I was supposed to be buying organic coffee. I made that switch a few months ago.

And did you know that cans of sparkling water (and pop) are aluminum lined with BPA plastic? And that lining may protect you from aluminum leaching but it causes your blood pressure to spike? And BPA is also an endocrine disruptor, mimicking estrogen.

Yikes.

The last prescription medication I’m taking (and trying to get off of) is blood pressure medication. I seriously had no idea of the connection between cans and blood pressure until last week. And I’m already struggling with estrogen issues and menopause symptoms.

I was pretty much addicted to Lacroix. I stopped drinking all soda due to the artificial sweeteners of the diet type and the high sugar content of regular pop. Lacroix helped me make that switch since I craved a fizzy taste in my mouth.

When you learn new information, you can ignore it, go on as before, throw a tantrum (I wanted to), try and change the world of can liners, or simply switch out to a different safer product. I’m back to drinking out of glass bottles, no more cans for me. My new drink is Perrier water, low calorie light beer, and different flavors of organic Kombucha … all in glass bottles.

The coffee was an easier switch. Although I wish Starbucks had more organic choices. But I can’t tell you how frustrated I was when I learned about BPA in cans. Living a toxic free life isn’t exactly easy with so many bad choices so readily available. But thankfully, more and more research and information is available. And perhaps healthy buying choices will encourage companies to invest in healthy products and there will be real change.

To deal with the damages caused by estrogen disruption, I started on a supplement called Calcium D-Glucarate. This supplement is supposed to help the body detox from xenoestrogens like BPA. I’m curious if it will help with the hot flashes, I have a lot of years of exposure to canned drinks and products to detox from.

Do you have a favorite product that you gave up to live a healthier life? What did you switch out to?

Stress Management for Women

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Learning how to read my body and being proactive against the damages of stress has added tremendous value to my life. I can set authentic boundaries without guilt and dump being pulled into other peoples dramas. I can help my mom and dad as they are aging and not get resentful of the time it takes. I can better feel God’s love for me too.

It’s amazing what stress can rob from women. Last Thursday I hosted a bi-monthly stress management group for women focused on the topic of Change.

We started out sharing what types of changes we were facing … for some it was relationships, for others it was moving and job changes, health also came up with pain and weight issues, and there were the changes that were difficult to prepare for … death of pets and loved ones, injury, and a cancer diagnosis.

The next part of the group was a brief story on the human body’s reaction to stress and the need to use body strategies for stress management first to reactivate clear thinking.

Body strategies we practiced were breathing like a Navy Seal (balancing the Vagus Nerve), tapping certain acupuncture points (research shows this decreases the stress hormone called cortisol), and using a Brain Gym exercise called “putting on your thinking cap.”

Next we completed a guided imagery on a current change to clarify where we want to be, where we are and what obstacles lie between. The imagery included opening a gift (from the wisdom of your own subconscious mind) that would help you navigate the waters of change.

And finally we used the Emotion Code to clear out trapped emotions which were making the journey to change more difficult than it needed to be. Some themes that came up to be cleared were over an unknown outcome, fear of a lack of resources, not getting support from others with the change, past failure in changes, questioning of being able to adjust to the change, worry about failing in the current change, worry about the extra time change is taking, not noticing a difference with the effort being put in to change, being overwhelmed when change is happening too fast, feeling safe and comfortable in what is known vs. what is unknown with the change, dealing with loss of what is left behind with the change, and not having control to choose the change.

This was a rich topic and I hope you can join me in the next group call for stress management for women in October focusing on maintaining health through the winter and boosting the immune system. I can already see giving out a few essential oil recipes (diffuser blend, natural hand sanitizer), practicing research based somatic stress management strategies, discussing the link between stress and immune health, and using the Emotion Code to release toxic immune stressing emotions.

If you have anything specific you’d like to see covered in October related to immune health, just comment below!