Kingdom Builder

I have recently had a revelation… I am a kingdom builder.
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Each day I mold a new stone, shiny and smooth, made of the same materials as bone.

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Each day I work to mix the wet with the dry. Each day I savor the hard work I sigh.

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I trust I’m building up and I trust it’s all for good. I trust that the masonry l’m learning is what I should.

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I’ve left foundation after another behind me so broken. Stone pieces so scattered; just temporary tokens.

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My new kingdom is a smaller but different work of art. I’ll never start over again, the bricks will never come apart. Wherever I travel I won’t start over new. The brick and the mortar of my saved soul is held with new glue.

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I’m building a kingdom, this time on a stone.

It’s different this time because I’m not building alone.

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I used to think it was easy to carry it all myself.

I’d keep the bricks in my closet and the cement on my shelf.

I kept the trowel in the bottom drawer and the level in my pocket.

I stored extra sets of wheels whose teeth were worn on every sprocket.

I was afraid to let go of the old and begin to trust the new.

I stored up materials for centuries, until I ran into You.

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“Give it all to me, dear one, and put your hand on the plow. Your kingdom work has just begun, and this time has eternal value.”

In me a sense of wisdom grew, that came from an outside source.

I trust I am working for good, without feeling regret or remorse.
Each day my fruit doesn’t always bear an obvious new rendition.

But focusing on my one true goal gifted me with ambition.

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My work is adding up, I didn’t leave any ashes behind me.

The future landscape is endless. And I have all of eternity. What I don’t finish today, I can always do tomorrow. Each moment is a gift, I give thanks and have no room for sorrow.

And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Daniel 7:27

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Are your daily decisions contributing to building an everlasting kingdom? Or do their results go up in smoke at the end of each day?

Love xo V ❤

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Sense and Sensibility/Adventure

If you’re into elegant love stories, Sense and Sensibility (S&S) by Jane Austen is a must-read. It tells the tale of two sisters looking for love in the midst of losing their father, fortune and familiarity/comfort of their home. Kind of rings true to my own life actually, except that I don’t have a Colonel Brandon or Edward Ferrars pining after me (read on to know the devilishly handsome blokes I’m referring to!”.

 

Ferrars, Brandon  😉

The story is about love, loss and the importance of waiting on the right timing for magic to happen.

My current roommate is an Austen lover and knows the story (and several other of Austen’s works) practically by heart. When I moved to Virginia in February, it didn’t take long before S&S was in my left hand and a cup of black tea with cream was in my right (also compliments of my tea-drinking-Austen-loving roommate… ps. she’s single!). My roommate, let’s call her “C” kept me accountable for reading by oh-so-innocently inquiring as to where I was in the story and what had happened last. Following each *ahem* interrogation, my feelings went from annoyance, at first, to gratitude and joy in knowing how dearly C held this story in her heart.

Not only did her joy over the story bring me joy, but it gave me a deeper sense of understanding the characters, plot-line and overarching themes in the novel. After weeks of reading the book, we were ready for the film. Of which there were two versions btw. First we watched the Emma Thompson/Hugh Grant/Alan Rickman/ Kate Winslet version (AKA the good one), and then the old sappy one (of which I don’t recall who was in it because it simply wasn’t memorable), and then the good version again. The soundtrack makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.

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Now, six months later, C & I are ready to hit the theater. We are attending the play! in Washington D.C. this weekend. 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ The seating availability online looked pretty sparse and we weren’t sure if we’d get seats. I joked that maybe when we want to order, someone will have just returned the two best seats in the house.

Twenty minutes later, I called the theater to inquire about seats and the woman working at the box office said “lucky you called when you did… I have two seats available only because someone just called in and returned them……… and they’re the best seats in the house! Orchestra, row G. Would you like them?”

 

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So that was insane.

Though i couldn’t say “YES” right away because C was on the phone with a friend that was interested in coming with us. I tried to explain the seating situation to C and get her to put her friend on hold, but the lady wouldn’t stawp tawking. I had to tell the box office worker I’d call back, after asking her a dozen or more stalling questions and asking her to please keep the seats warm for us.

5 minutes later, once it was evident that C’s friend couldn’t come whether she wanted to or not, we were calling in for the seats. When the lady answered the phone I vibrantly exclaimed “It’s meeeee!!!” to which she replied, “um, I just took over a shift and wasn’t the one you were talking to”

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“… but I got the scoop and figure you’re calling about the two seats in G??”

phew, lol

So there you have it. We’re off to D.C. to see the play. We have the best seats in the house. Which, by the way, we paid the “Under 30” price and saved $70 between the two of us!!! (I have never heard of such a discount before, but hey, I’ll take it!)

It’s truly the little miracles that brighten life so so much. From the story, a seed, to the movie, a plant, and now to the theater, a flower… I hope you get as much ever-growing joy out of this story as we did!! ❤

 

xov

 

family

It was 7:00 am and the sun hadn’t risen from behind the trees yet. The air felt damp and as if  a cloud had recently departed. My feet took one step after the other as my legs, arms, shoulders, back and lungs started to wake up. I breathed in deeply and said hello to the man walking his dog on the opposite side of the road. I’d see him again one block and three hundred ideas later and we might gather a little more about who we each are from a distance. Only if we were in the same vicinity day after day would we really see the depths of who we each are, what makes us tick, and what our eating habits are.

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That’s what families do. You wake up every day and see the same faces and bodies dance around in similar patterns. In and out of the kitchen boiling water and frying eggs and swiffering the floor. You see a sister through a window out in the yard picking the dead off of pants, gathering tomatoes and searchingly looking up at the sky as a book lay gently open on her lap. You see a brother on the opposite side of the counter-top, eating an impromptu luncheon at 2:00 in the afternoon with his fingers, and licking the crumbs off of his thumbs. A mother drops a glass jar on the kitchen floor and smiles matter-of-factly as she hunts for the broom.

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We do things out of love for each other. We give each other time to think through what we’re saying and don’t rush each other. We talk openly about plans, meetings, dates, gatherings, aspirations and try to do what we can to please and help each other. When trouble faces us we are not quick to blame each other, but we graciously inquire as to what happened, how it happened and how better we can do things next time.

We teach each other and learn from each other at all ages. Some of the smallest children can be some of the best teachers. Lord knows we need faith like a child. And that kids say the darnedest things! Combine these two qualities and you’ve got a young, wise comedian in your midst. A five year old thinker who innocently challenges what you think you know; who sucks in any and all information around him/her like a starving sponge and plays it back like a recorder at any later time or date. So don’t go getting angry at your child for repeating things you’ve blasphemed in their presence! They heard it from you, after all.

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And my, oh my, this applies to all family members; not just cute children. We are all mirrors of each other. Mirrors and teachers. And like a mirror, all qualities are revealed in the looking glass. We must always be careful to emit our most fruitful qualities so we aren’t unpleasantly surprised by our own bad karmas; which we all have!

Humans are not perfect: we will all wrong each other at times. And when we do, uncomfortable conversations will follow. Or feelings of avoidance. Or actual avoidance. And when this is the case, all operations must cease until the bad feelings are ironed out. That’s what families do. They stay on the same page. They communicate. They collaborate. And when a family binds together, their force is so strong that nothing could break them.

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Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and the like are such gifts to us. Such intimate relationships we are born with are often taken for granted but we must NOT take them for granted. Knowing the ins and outs of our family members’ lives is such a unique and peculiar insight to another human being. We keep each other accountable. We empathize and sympathize with each other. We know how to help each other. We know how to gift each other. We can reach out to one another when we need help. We can spend time with each other and enjoy it. We understand each other and don’t have a choice. We know each other.

Family is such a complex concept. People we love without condition; no matter if they hurt us, wrong us, frustrate us, shock us, offend us, walk on us. These are people we protect and stand up for and tell the hard truths to. People whose actions we keep accountable. People we know and love and feel a pang in our hearts for when they hurt. People we think about, love and miss from afar and can pick up right where we leave off.

Family says:

I love you as you are, and nothing you can do will keep me from that ❤

I miss you, and my doors are open for you whenever you return ❤

Family is:

Not confined to blood relatives ❤

Always somewhat broken ❤

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Call your family and tell them how much you love them. Even if it’s hard. Even if there’s hurt. Even when it seems easier to distance yourself. Your family will always be yours… always

xoV

enjoy Today

The clock striking 12:34 is a reminder of the inevitable interconnectedness of the Universe.

The Unity.

What I mean is, you and I, we’re the same. And I need you, wherever you are.

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Dear Reader,

Today could be the last day to

drink your morning cup of coffee and snuggle into your favorite spot on the couch.

stroke your dog’s back and greet him with a scratch behind his ears.

step out onto the back porch and inhale the freshness of the morning breeze

crack two eggs  into a cast-iron skillet and hear the sizzling butter working its’ magic.

hear the quirky sounds of your best friend over the phone.

get lost in the pages of a good book.

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Every moment of every day is a gift. We are gifted with our eyes to see and ears to hear. We are gifted with our noses to smell and hands to hold and legs to carry. We are gifted with places to stay and food to eat and people to serve and enjoy. But we don’t always think of our days as gifts. In fact, it’s easy to take our days for granted, and we do. We curse our days and call them “bad”. We curse our gifts and compare them to others’ gifts. We crave more than what we have and aren’t satisfied when things don’t go our way.

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What if every day was really a gift? What if every day was a chance to be joyful about everything?

Even our missed alarms

broken-down cars

humid summers

technical difficulties

lost possessions

hurting bodies

broken relationships

uncomfortable feelings

tolling addictions

and unfair instances?

What if all parts of our lives were gifts to be thankful for — Good and Bad.

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summit of Mt. Monadnock at sunset, 7/16/16

I think they are.

I think we grow, like flowers in a rain storm.

I think we build up — like skyscrapers in a city.

I think we reflect nostalgically, like mirages in the water.

I think it’s all important; the successes and the failures. The losses and the gains. The peaks and the valleys. The ups and the downs. The broken and the healed. The strong and the weak.

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me & my two older brothers, 1994

I think we are all in this together — and the more we bring each other up, the more places we will go. The harder work  we endure to live in comfort, the greater the harvest we can enjoy.

But if we don’t enjoy Today, we don’t enjoy tomorrow. I believe that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.

So if we spend our days grumbling, we cause others to grumble;
And if we spend our days mumbling, conversations aren’t clear.
And if we spend our days stumbling, we cause others to stumble;

But if we spend our days humbling, we’ll know that God is near.

So go now and enjoy your day. All the ups and all the downs.

Formulate a contagious smile from the remnants of your selfish frown.

 

Love you all ❤

V

 

 

seasons for change

Bees are buzzing

Life’s awoken

Trees are budding

Spring has spoken

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seedlings  🙂

Leaves have grown

and birds have flown

and lives have sown

a tapestry.

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Here we live and breathe each season

Peaks are rising without reason

Bringing us to joyous heights

We enjoy laughter and other delights ❤

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thankful for health, and bike rides with anonymous friends! (and shy herons, hence the one drawn here  😛 )

But storms bring rain and lightning bolts

We run for cover and pray, and hope

God make me into a stronger man

to endure more pain as I grow old

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And the rain soon stops and the clouds part ways

And we return to the mountain where the birds and beasts play.

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summer sun means natural highlights! 🙂

 

But we remember the storm

and all that we learned

and are thankful for this dance

as our lives leap and turn~

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Hey reader,

Thanks for celebrating the beginning of June with me!  ❤

Hope you find some time to get outside and enjoy nature this summer.

With Love,

V

Why I’m Glad I Got Sick

The Chest Cold Chronicles Pt. 1

Today marks day eight of cold strain 134. I’ve been quarantined to my room for eight days and couldn’t eat dairy (besides a little butter in my coffee) #missyoukefir #missyouparmesan.

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Close-up of my bulletproof coffee (AKA coffee blended with butter & coconut oil= ❤ ❤ <3) in my favorite mug!

I’ve gone through eight boxes of tissues (no thanks to no dairy! 😛 ), eight buckets of chicken soup with eighty pounds of kimchi and garlic in it, and wayyy too much sauerkraut mixed with horseradish (this was a mistake).

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A sample breakfast delivered to me! The bowl of what looks like brown rice is actually kraut & horseradish. >_<

Although I was wiped out from walking downstairs and back up one time, I did enjoy having my roommates bring me my meals in bed! Another  examples of my lovely meals:

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Aren’t they the best?

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Part II: More bulletproof coffee & some of the sweetest fresh-picked strawberries 🙂

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By day four they were trying to make me laugh just to expedite the phlegm-hacking process.Gotta clear out the ol’ sinuses amirite — hence the horseradish *shudder*.

Besides all of the lovely food stuffs brought to me three times a day (not counting mugs of ginger tea with lemon & honey, cups of green juice, and gallons of filtered water), I was also getting treated with steam baths 2x a day and oil diffusions.

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Teach me how to Steam bath:

Boil one pot of water and place it on a tray with a towel separating the pot from the tray.

Add a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint or other essential oils to the pot.

Cover yo head with a towel and lean down to the pot of oily steam. Inhale for 10 minutes.

Besides steam baths, I also covered my chest, neck and glands leading to my ears in coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint  oil to open things up and get the mucus moving.

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When I wasn’t inhaling or topically applying peppermint oil, it was being diffused in my room. Buy oils and a diffuser from my favorite company here!

Sometimes I put lavender oil around my ears and temples to relax and soothe.

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Aside from good foods and oils, I was taking extra supplements in addition to my regulars (magnesium & vitex… I will do a post on vitex soon). What I took was:

1,000 mg Vitamin C with two meals a day

250 mg glutathione twice a day

1330 mg curcumin once a day

200 mg Niacin three times a day

Curcumin is supposed to help fight bronchial inflammation.

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Niacin is good for a whole range of things but is mainly marketed for raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. The truth is, there are endless benefits to taking Niacin. The reason I take it is because it helps relieve anxiety and depression, and also aids in sleep.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, has only one side effect: it produces a “niacin flush” that looks and feels similar to a sunburn and lasts between 15 minutes and an hour depending on the amount you took, what you ate/drank prior to taking it, and how many histamines are in your body. Here’s a picture of what I looked like with a flush a few days ago:

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My arms were very splotchy and my chest, neck and face were on fire!

I’m sure I’ll do another post on niacin in the future, but if you’re curious about taking this vitamin, check out Dr. Abram Hoffer’s site.

Just be careful to discern what is true and what’s a lie from big pharma. 🙂

To top the post off: Here’s why I’m glad I got sick (maybe the real reason you are here 😛 )

*to practice accepting help and service from others ❤

*to learn more about health! 🙂

*to have time to pray for others ❤

*to practice resting and being patient! 🙂

*to practice expressing love and appreciation to those who do so much for me! ❤

*to reflect on the direction my life has gone in the last few months 🙂

*to learn to trust God and surrender doing what I love so I can regain strength and grow even stronger ❤

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Backyard chillen after 5 days quarantine. #lookingood #eligible #singlenessisreal

See guys? Next time you’re sick, remember this:

Being sick isn’t too bad. We can learn a lot when we’re sick, whether we want/intend to or not!

Love you all ❤

V

To Love and BeLoved

Dear Reader,

I commence with this advice: this post is fully-packed, and is not cut out for everyone. Some concepts will soar over people’s heads. Some comments will hasten people to click the back or close-browser button and wish there was a “dislike” or even “loathe” option. Some truths will lure you in and leave you thirsty for more truth. The truth in some phrases will cause you to utterly and completely deny having any idea what I am talking about. You may close this browser half-way and decide that I am crazy and alone in what I’m saying. Others will read it over twice or three times to really try to grasp the ideas behind it. After all, these words may be perfectly clear to some people, where others may need more time to decipher.

That being said, I wish you the best read and hope you will find out a little more about love, why we should strive to be more loving, and where we can learn how to love perfectly. There is joy and peace in these words for those who are seeking these things~

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After all, deep down, everybody wants the same thing. Everybody wants to love and be loved.

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