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This is not representative of my religion.

I was sitting recently, amongst some friends who were talking about parenting, food, and other topics, when one casually said, “I just don’t get how some people make their food choices like a religion.” Some nodded along and the conversation drifted to other topics while I sat there… taking that in, wondering…. “Who and what did she mean by that?” She had followed up this statement with a quick add-on about time and other things, but I wondered if there was more behind her words? My paranoid self said (to me only of course), “Hey…are you talking about me?? Is that what you think?” While my defensive self (again, only to me) said, “Hey…do you know why I do what I do?? And by the way, Orthodoxy does mean more to me than my food…” So I’ve thought about this for a while. And I want to answer it….though I may be way off base by what this friend meant, but it’s something I wonder about. Are people judging me because what they see is this obsessed woman who spends an awful lot of her time in the kitchen, reading labels, and worrying about what her family will eat when they go away for the day, let alone for several days in an unfamiliar environment?

Food is not my religion. But it does play a really large part in my life as it is a (but not the only) top priority.

You see, without the food choices I make for our family, our family would be entirely different from what it is today. My cupboards would be overloaded with pharmaceutical drugs instead of organic nuts and other foods. I’d be lucky if I had enough stamina to make a pre-made laden with chemicals frozen dinner let alone make a well-balanced meal from scratch. My daughter would probably not be in college and may have had to spend time in a psychiatric unit by now.  I may not still be married. My son would probably be driving his high school teacher and principal crazy as we would probably not be homeschooling. And my youngest…well who knows, he may not even be here.

It is the food that some may think is my ‘religion’ that has saved us from what could only have otherwise been lives full of anxiety, depression, chaos, upheaval and nightmares of every sort. I will not go into the details here…I am not ready. You can certainly read  my earlier post that hints at the ordeals of our past life without Real Food and what we learned and how it changed us:

Our Food Story

In short, Real Food has brought us health. We no longer carry labels of mood orders not otherwise specified, bipolar-disorder, anxiety, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, and the countless other labels added on and taken away here and there throughout several years of dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean we are perfect people. We still have stressful days, weeks, etc. but we can deal with them with clear heads and make rational decisions and think through the problems that arise and feel healthy while doing so. We can rise to the challenge of life without always feeling we will succumb to each one leading to great consequences. Occasionally we get colds and viruses too but they do occur much less frequently and we suffer by far less than we use to. And after doing the Whole30, I don’t even have the inclination to hide away with a bar of chocolate anymore! 🙂

This is closer...

But the food is not my religion. ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY  is. Worshipping God as taught by the Church as taught by the apostles…. That is my religion. But the very food that is one of my biggest priorities, right after God, my husband and children, the food that has saved my family from sure destruction comes from the Eternal, Unchanging, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, all-good, all-righteous, all-sufficient God that I pray fervently to and worship with all my being. It is He that makes our health possible through His creation.

I only ask that you try to see there is a difference and not judge me because it may APPEAR to you that I take it more seriously than God Himself.  I don't.  I spend time in prayer as well as time in the kitchen.  And I also know that eating the food we do will not extend our life beyond what God intends.  But I do believe that God gives us choices.  We have a choice to eat the food He has provided - giving us all the nourishment we need - or the food products and chemicals man has tampered with - giving us disease and poor health.  While food is not my religion, I am choosing the side of God in my choices. That is a determination I have made for myself and my family and want to share.

I will not judge you  -  so please don't judge me.  (I judge the food industry…it’s true…but not you) I hope (and pray) that you find the truth about the food industry and that you find the time and ability to cook from scratch for the betterment of the health of your own family…but do I judge you? No.. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I know it’s not easy.   I will not judge you. But I WILL encourage you. I WILL share what I know when I think it might help. I WILL give pointers when I think it might be possible that you’ll listen. That’s not judging…it’s sharing… its me feeling awful that I might know something that could help you and others and  feeling HORRIBLY guilty if I kept it to myself. But it’s up to you to do something about it…up to you whether you want to look more deeply into what I share with you and here, on this blog. You are my friend…I will not judge… but I will try to educate…it’s what I feel led to do. But it’s not a religion. Okay?

Other Relevant Posts: (in case you haven't read these yet 🙂 )

The Truth About MSG

Children And A Restricted Diet

Epigenetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Today I write of Mary, the greatest woman who ever lived.  She is known to the Orthodox as the Theotokos.  I hope, even if you are not Orthodox, you will read this to find out why we Orthodox Christians highly honor this blessed lady.

A vast majority of Protestants are under the impression Orthodox Christians worship Mary (Theotokos).  This is simply not true.  She is honored greatly.  She is not worshipped.  Worship is for God. And while I know I am one person that cannot sway the mind of someone who has committed to this thought the majority of their lives', I hope that I can at least put a thought into their mind...that perhaps this idea is inaccurate and perhaps he or she could do a little further research before deciding to stick to this conclusion.  And maybe, just maybe, he or she will have a little better understanding of why we do honor Mary and why he or she  should as well.

Theotokos is a Greek term meaning 'birthgiver of God'.  This is the Virgin Mary.  This is the woman who was the first to accept Christ into her life. This is the woman who played an immense role in man's redemtion by her consent to bear Christ. This is the woman that leads us to Christ.  This is the woman the bible has shown us that we should honor. This is she who contained Christ, God who is uncontainable, within her womb.

The bible tells us that Mary was a virgin when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.   The prophet, Isaiah, predicted this conception.  It is written, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

We honor Mary because she is the mother of Jesus Chrsit.  Mary was not just any random young girl.  Mary had found favor with God.  "Do not be afraid, Mary," said Gabriel, " for you have found favor with God"( Luke 1:30). Mary was chosen by God for an honor that will always be hers alone. And Mary accepted the task given to her.  Mary had free will.  Mary could have run and hid from the angel.  Mary could have protested.  But Mary was willing.  She answered the angel, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).   In this action, Mary was the first to accept Christ into her life.

In accepting Christ into her life, accepting her role of the incarnation, Mary played an immense part of man's redemtion:

"Christ saves men, who have fallen through their own fault into the power of the devil, by breaking that power. He became Man for this purpose; He lived and died and rose again that He might break the chains by which men were bound. It is not His death alone, but the entire Incarnation, of which His death was a necessary part, that freed men from their captivity to Satan."           ~ Fr. John Romanides

The Holy Bible shows us that it is, indeed, fitting to honor Mary and that she is the mother of our Lord.  The angel Gabriel honored Mary,"Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you, Blessed are you among women"Luke 1:28).  Gabriel told Mary that God had found favor with her (Luke 1:30). Mary herself, in offering one of the most magnificent prayer of praise to God, "My sould magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;  For behold, henceforth all generation shall call me blessed." Her favor was further established upon meeting with her cousin, Elizabeth, when the woman, upon seeing her, exclaimed,                " Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord shuld come to me?" (Luke 1:42-43)

The icons of Mary you will find in Orthodox Christian churches and homes never depict an image of Mary alone.  All icons of Mary are with her son, Jesus Christ.  Mary is honored because of her son and the icons reflect that. The icons of Mary display the mother leading us closer to Him. She led us to him in her acceptance of her part in the incarnation and she lead people to follow him in her life (John 2:5) and she continues to lead us to Him in our life by her example.  She is often seen pointing in his direction or gazing adoringly into his eyes while holding the child out to us to behold with our own.

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Mary held our Lord and Savior in her womb for 9 months.  God, who is uncontainable, was contained within her.  For this and all of the above reasons given and so much more, Mary was the greatest woman who ever lived.  Mary was his mother, giving birth to our Lord.  He honored her and so should we.

Sources Used and Further Sources That May Interst You:

Books:

Other:

"He who is devout to the Mother of God will certainly never be lost."   ~St. Ignatius of Anticoh

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Well, way back in April of 2012, I wrote about what to blog about and that has been on my mind again.  I read that post back from April of 2012 and it seems that I'm sticking to the same basic thoughts.  I'm not a person who can read just one book at a time so I can't imagine just focusing on one subject like so many of the blogs I love do.  So just as I posted back in 2012, I think I'll try to blog about various things:

 

Our Faith... my family is Orthodox Christian.  My husband is cradle Orthodox while my two older children and I converted about 10 years ago.  It was the most important decision of my life.  I love Orthodoxy.  I love all Christians...and all non-Christians... but I really feel Orthodoxy is the True Faith, the Church begun by Christ and his apostles upon his resurrection and Pentecost and I'm so thrilled to have found it to allow it to guide me in my relationship with Christ.

Our Food Lifestyle.... it's truly not a diet...it's a lifestyle.  For really good reasons and that's what I'll start writing about next week (at least that's the plan.... I actually wrote out some notes the other day when I had time about how we got started on this path).  Everyone has told me I should write a book on it...  I'm not so sure about that...  I prefer creative writing...  for kids...  but perhaps I can tell our story on here in a more brief format.

Homeschooling... We started homeschooling not long before our adventures into discovering the difference between real food and food products and it's been quite an adventure of it's own.  It's an important aspect of our life.

WRITING!!!  That's why I'm on here.... because I love to write!  And my dream is to become a children's author... though I'm not sure anymore what I want to write... what age group or genre.  I am thinking of writing an Orthodox Picture Book...but I want to write for the general public as well.

BOOKS!  What's a writer without books and what's a book without writers?  They go hand in hand and I read quite the varied selection.  I like to talk about them all.

Random Stuff.....  My thoughts are generally non-stop and full of randomness so why not include that here?  I like to share thoughts I have based on things I've read, heard, things that are going on in my life or in that of my children and others I know.  I like to read quotes by famous authors or other people and reflect on what it means and how it applies to me...  all of that and more fits under this category.

So that's what I've been contimplating over the last week and that's what I hope to make a habit of writing about very soon!  If you are following me, thank you.  If you like what you see, let me know.  I'm a bit of a shy introvert with not as much of a high self-esteem as people tell me I should have so I'm often wondering why people do view my posts and what they like about them.  If you have time to drop me a note and tell me, please do!

Those are the four things taking up space in my brain today: Thomas, History, English & Lent

Thomas is the train. I am going to attempt (with the help of a wonderful neighbor) to make a queen size quilt for my toddler's bed. "Queen size?" you ask. Yes, well I didn't want to go out and buy a brand new bed or lose the potential guest bed that we have. So yes, he looks quite small in that bed - which is a good thing as he is growing and this makes him stay smaller in my mind 😉

History & English go together. Or they might be seperate. I'm not sure yet.
It's time to start thinking curriculum for next year already. I start now because it takes me forever to make a decision. This year all I really need to decide on is high school classes for my oldest son, though I can't seem to resist looking at classic book lists and preschool fun things for my toddler.... I know there's no need for anything formal yet - but he is progressing so far already without making much effort that I can't resist at least wanting to buy some fun games and books!

For my older son, I already have math and science figured out. It's history and english that are the mindbenders. First, because he's not really interested in them so I want to not only challenge and teach him something but I'd like to make it interesting or at least not as 'boring' as he usually finds these subjects. There are combined curriculums that take historical fiction and wrap them into a literature and history course. Those ar tempting other than to pick that curriculum you need to go with the text and the books they select and not always do I think their book choices are the best. I've actually debated on forming my OWN curriculum for history by somehow selecting about 200-300 or so 'facts' about American history and making up a list of questions and sources he is to use throughout the course of the year to find the answers to these questions. In the meantime, he would have to check with me the accuracy of what he finds and study them throughout the year to take a test on about half of those (of which I randomly choose which ones to test him on). Obviously these wouldn't all be things like who was the first president? But things he would really have to read something to find the answer to or really commit some things to memory for the test. I'm thinking this would really make him learn the material vs. just reading a chapter at a time from a text, answering some questions in an essay or a test and then moving on and forgetting most of what he covered. The biggest problem with that is me coming up with the material and source list for him to use. I'm thinking of putting some polls out there to the public (here) and friends to see what facts or information they think should be included. What do you think? Good idea or bad?

For English I'm thinking maybe pick a 10th or 11th grade literature anthology that goes with a curriculum and just have him do half this year and half the next. That way he'll get in the literary vocabulary and get a good introduction to answering questions about literature in the manner a text would teach it but also have enough time to read further books of fiction, historical fiction involving American history that I select and some biographies too. Then I can throw in some SAT vocabulary, a little grammar and still have room for a good writing program of some sort (need to pick that one too!).

As for Lent, it is approaching. I know, my non-orthodox friends are scratching their heads and thinking "What...didn't it already start?" No. In Orthodoxy, we still follow the old calendar and the timing of Pascha (the traditional word vs. Easter which is a western christianity term) is still determined according to the cylce of the moon and the Jewish Passover. This is actually our fast - free week. Next week is a 'normal week (fasting only on Wed and Friday) and then we have one week of abstaining only from meat products and then, on March 18th (a Monday not Wednesday like the Catholic Church) Lent begins and we follow a strict fast. Every year is different for us according to our needs but a traditional fast means abstaining from all animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.) olive oil and wine thoughout all of Lent...with a few exceptions on oil and wine on a few select days. Naturally pregnent women or nursing mothers and small children are not expected to follow this. Which is why it's different for us every year. I'm not nursing anymore but we do have a 2 year old (who will be 3 soon!) to consider. So I'm not sure exactly how strict all of us will be. I do plan on eating salmon at least once a week and we are allowed spineless seafoods though I've never been one to think eating lobster or crab should be done during the fast...but remember, Orthodox Christianity was formed in 33 AD...and at that time those foods were not considered the delicacy they are today.

Oh well... I think that's enough for one day! Wow...that's quite a bit of unrelated topics all put together isn't it! Well, that's my brain for you! Have a delightful day! And if you have any suggestions on how to approach that history idea or any other suggestions, I'm all ears!