God Blessed This Beautiful Mess

Thanksgiving day is almost here and I am gearing up to entertain twenty one people. I’m posting some funnies to remind myself to keep my sense of humor in the busyness of planning the holiday dinner.

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Generally, I have concerns about how the big day will turn out so I can always use a chuckle to lighten things up. I even find myself more productive when I take time out for some laughs.

Thanksgiving Preparations

I am not an organized and creative ‘Martha Stewart’ type. It took me almost half a day just to select some folding chair covers. With all the information on the internet, you would think there would be some good info to guide you to the best chair cover for a common metal folding chair from Costco but no. ¹

Several different sites instructed me to measure my chairs but there weren’t any covers that seemed close to fitting the size of my chairs. The ones I thought might be best had no photos showing the back of the chair cover. That’s what I wanted to see. Isn’t that what the guests will see first? Back and forth, back a forth, at some point I had to choose. Although I was doubtful, I clicked the ‘checkout’ button. I’m not having bare folding chairs for my dinner guests. I want them to feel special because they are.

Costco-folding-chair scuba-folding-chair-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

folding chair cover with bow

 

The covers will add a lot to the ambiance of the table. I am going to experiment with some accent bows but I haven’t picked a color scheme yet.

Making Memories

The Thanksgiving holidays remind me once again of the value of making memories, laughter and the importance of family and friends. I am very grateful I have a big extended family to share it all with.

This past month, all of my siblings and I traveled from different parts of the country, to be together in Pennsylvania, to honor my mother for her 85th birthday. My sisters planned a week of special surprises and family outings for mom to share with her nine children. It was a fun and busy week.

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Lillian Alberici and her nine children at her 85th birthday party

 

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Three generations – me, my mother and my daughter Lindsay at mom’s birthday celebration

 

Family Blessings

It was so great to see everybody. Sharing a little piece of life, in the homes of several of my sisters and brothers, was a blessing. They all have different styles but an abundance of love is prevalent in each of their homes.

I got to meet my youngest nephew Dylan, for the first time. He is such an incredible joy, as are all my nieces and nephews.

 

 

Apple and pumpkin with Dylan

Apple and pumpkin picking in Pennsylvania with Dylan

 

The Gift of Laughter

It was a delight to spend quality time with my mother, She has a fabulous sense of humor. I suppose you have to develop that to survive raising nine children! Her humor is a great gift to our family. It’s no wonder that research has confirmed the importance of humor in strengthening families. ² I plan to indulge in as much laughter as I can this holiday. It’s fat free!

A Beautiful Mess

My mother was a fantastic singer. She even sang professionally. There was a lot of singing and dancing in our home growing up. With nine kids, our house was usually noisy and a little messy. When most of my brothers and sisters were still very young, there was a season when my mother had to help my father start his own business. Mom was doing the house work, taking care of the children and running the office. She was stretched to the limit. My older sister and I would help her clean but it would only stay that way for a couple of hours. I heard my mom say often, “I need more house cleaners and less singers and dancers”.

Mom worked so hard taking of us; she sacrificed every day. My mother never did get her wish of having a house that was sparkling clean; but she felt she got something better. At her birthday party, mom gave a short speech to the guests, saying so sweetly, “God must have known what he was doing when I married Al and had these wonderful children. Of course at the time I wasn’t so sure”?! (Big laughs) “But they’re wonderful and I’m so proud to be their mother and I couldn’t have had better children”. Her heart was overflowing with gratitude. We were all misty eyed.

We were not always “wonderful”. We had a fair amount of arguments growing up and still do now and again, but we never hold a grudge and we’re always quick to love and forgive. 

                           “Be a lover, not a fighter”. – Al Alberici, (our dad) 

                    

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Alberici family in the early 1980’s

 

Life is messy but we keep dancing!

 

“In the house of lovers, the music never stops, the walls are made of songs and the floor dances.” ~ Rumi

 

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I’m especially grateful for my incredibly loving husband Steven and my daughter Lindsay and the beautiful music they play in my heart. For this, for Christ and so much more, thank you God.

From our house to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Linda

 

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge”. – 1 Corinthians 1:4 – 5

 

Footnote:

1. My folding chairs were Meco brand (sudden comfort) and Samsonite. The material of the chair covers I selected is called ‘scuba’. The fabric has a nice weight to it. I received the covers quickly but they are a little too large, especially the seat part of the chair cover. They fit okay when I tuck that part toward the back of the chair seat. Then there is only a slight 1/2 inch over hang on the sides. Still great for the price of only $2.99 each. Thank you CV Linens!

2. http://www.clemson.edu/psapublishing/pages/FYD/FL526.PDF

© Copyright – All rights reserved.

 

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Earth Day Gratitude

Spring is here and my attention naturally turns to the outdoors. I like to enjoy the wonder and beauty of our earth, fresh air and pure food.

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Stopping for a yoga stretch on spectacular Zuma Beach.

I am very thankful to God for this world. In honor of our miraculous planet, and Earth Day, I would like to share some thoughts that are on my heart.

“I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship”. – Pope Benedict XVI

To show our gratitude, along these lines, my friends and I enjoy planting trees and raising vegetables. Some of us have recently installed solar panels on our property. The panels are producing well for us. In addition to saving the environment, my family is saving money on electric bills. I know, ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared to what needs to be done but it’s my ‘bucket’. “Scientific research demonstrates that the impact of human actions in any one place or region can have worldwide effects.” [1]

In Praise of Human Activities that Build Up and Sustain the Earth

Earth-GandhiVandana Shiva, is an insightful woman who had the vision over 25 years ago to save seeds. She had “an ethical urge to defend life’s evolution, life diversity and the freedom of life…”. She created seed banks when she realized big corporations were going to make seeds their intellectual property by “marrying seeds to chemicals”… and they have. [2] I do not agree with all her philosophies but in this, she did have some good foresight.

Henry Doubleday also saw the need to preserve heirloom seeds. He set up the Heritage Seed Library decades ago to preserve seeds of as many of the older cultivars as possible to prevent their catastrophic loss.

The Dangers of GMO

Preserving the purity of their product, growing crops free from contamination by genetically modified crops and the pesticides used on biotech versions is a concern and getting more difficult and more costly for U.S. farmers.

NON-GMO“Food & Water Watch is calling for USDA to start tracking and analyzing incidences of contamination and associated economic losses at all levels of the supply chain”. And the group also is also asking for USDA to “hold biotech seed companies financially accountable for losses associated with GMO contamination”. [3]

“If they control seed, they control food. They know it. It’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs, it’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world.” ~ Vandana Shiva

Genetically modified organisms have been banned in many countries around the world. [4] I look for the NON GMO and USDA Organic label when I shop.

marco-degli-esposti-campi-verdi-foods- (2)For the most part, my family and I live a plant-based lifestyle. My Nephew, Marco Degli Esposti, recently started a business cultivating fresh sprouts and wheat grass juice for natural food markets and home delivery. It’s a labor of love for him; he is enthusiastic about their proven health and healing benefits. A survivor of a near-death experience, Marco has an amazing and courageous comeback story. You can read about it on his Campi Verdi Foods website. It will inspire you!

A World Without Bees?

Since 2006, more than 10 million bee hives have been lost, losses far exceeding the historical rate. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating a good portion of our crops and their dwindling population will have adverse effects on our food supply. As a new report from the US Department of Agriculture details, “scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. “ “Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops,” the report states. It is a “threat to both beekeepers and to those agricultural crops that rely upon pollination as a production input”. [5]

Suspects causing bee death have included pesticides, fungicides, disease-bearing parasites, and poor nutrition. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on a reason why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. [6]

My respect for the important part honey bees play in circle of life on this planet makes me wonder if the collapse of their colonies will cause a ripple effect through all of nature.

Home is Where Your Heart is

I am blessed to live in an area with open space and many maintained hiking trails. Walking in nature, restores my spirit and provides me the opportunity to lift my heart to God in appreciation and prayer for His creation.

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Three Springs trail overlooking the Westlake reservoir

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My daughter, Lindsay and her friends don’t want to imagine a world devoid of the magnificent natural wonders I enjoy regularly. We are all responsible for sustaining the earth for the next generation and should be involved in doing that one way or another.

Blessings, Linda Eichberg

“The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good”. Genesis 1:12

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:11

Refrences:

1) The Environment by Pope Benedict XVI – http://www.amazon.com/The-Environment-Pope-Benedict-XVI/dp/1612786286/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1334934661&sr=8-4

2) http://youtu.be/dsK3V04LAvw

3) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/usa-gmo-contamination-report-idUSL1N0LX1OU20140303

4) http://www.realnatural.org/many-countries-ban-gmo-crops-require-ge-food-labels/

5) http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf?_ga=1.158011065.280595142.1398097528

6) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0070182?_ga=1.145360823.280595142.1398097528#authcontrib
http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/

Copyright, Linda Eichberg, all materials contained within this blog may not be used without expressed written permission.

Gratitude God Rewards

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey thanked God, his fellow nominees and cast members after receiving his Oscar for Best Actor for in his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” He said, “First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend and that friend is you.'” McConaughey then continued to show his gratitude for his wife, children, mother and late father.

I believe gratitude is an expression of God’s goodness and celebrating it will bring more of His goodness into your life. – L.E.

Many professionals agree. Deepak Chopra, MD, notes that the simple practice of gratitude is a transformational act that opens us to infinite abundance, boundless love and carries us to a place of deep peace. Dr. Chopra adds that when we invite the practice of gratitude into our daily lives, “we turn darkness into light and fear into love.”

“When we focus on the things we are grateful for, we are open and accepting of life as it is –  perfectly imperfect. Therefore, in gratitude, the ego steps out of the way, enabling us to connect more deeply with Spirit, the true self and the source of all those things that have manifested in our lives.” – Deepak Chopra

These are some of the reasons why I started writing this gratitude blog a little over a year ago. It’s one way I can worship God and express my gratitude for His generosity!

The Blessing of Family and Community

The highlight of this month was visiting, Lilly, one of my six sisters who lives in Florida with her husband and five children. It was great to get away. It had been a while since I’d seen them all so I was more appreciative of simple things like watching Lilly cook. She’s amazing, she keeps a beautiful home and still makes time to baked different types of whole grain muffins, from scratch, every morning! I cherished sharing meals together and seeing my younger niece and nephew in their after school activities. Onufrak-Eichberg-visit_ (2) While we were in Florida, my husband and I had opportunity to visit Sarasota’s beautiful white, powdery sand beaches and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. It was mind bending to see the amount of priceless art that was collected by one family. I highly recommend visiting the museum complex if you’re in the area.

Grateful Surprises

I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home and several people told me I was on the front page of the local paper. The photo captured a beautiful and uplifting day in my home town, Westlake Village, singing patriotic songs on the lake: The National Anthem, God Bless America and America the Beautiful.

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Photo Credit: Iris Smooth – Acorn Newspapers

What a blessing to sing outdoors gazing at the majesty of the Santa Monica mountains on a perfect spring day! The Marine Corps Color Guard added their support to the Yacht Club sailing season opening ceremony. Seoul 1988 OG, Medal ceremony - Sailing, 470 - Two Person Dinghy Women, Allison JOLLY (USA) 1st et Lynne JEWELL (USA) 1st.

Interestingly, two Westlake Yacht Club sailors won the Gold Medal for the U.S. A. at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Allyson Jolly and Lynn Jewel won the medal in the 470 class, competing against the best women sailors in the world. They were the first women to win a Gold Medal in sailing. Fantastic achievement ladies!

 

Michael-McDonald-photo-Linda-EichbergAnother wonderful surprise was getting a spontaneous invite from good friends to see Michael McDonald, of Doobie Brothers fame, in concert at the Canyon Club. I have great memories of my husband and I having our first date at a Doobie Brothers concert thirty five years ago. Yes, Michael sings as well now as he did then. It was a terrific show!

Choosing Joy

I appreciate all these things and I am abundantly grateful for my faith in God and the gift of His Son, Jesus. In him I have forgiveness and the power to be all God created me to be. With him, I am called a daughter of the Most High.

~ with a grateful heart, Linda

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

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 All content is copyrighted and may not be used without written permission.

Keeping the Holidays CHEER–FULL and STRESS–LESS

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”… or not. The holidays can be overwhelming or stressful for some people. Many people struggle with juggling all the extras that come along with the holidays. I also have to work at finding balance and staying focused on what’s most important. Here are some simple reminders that will help you have the most cheerful of holidays.

Dishing Up the Holiday CHEER

C – Come together! Community is important for the individual. Develop stronger relationships and start new ones. Get together with people who bring you joy and build you up in your purpose and faith. 

H – Help others! Express thankfulness for what you have by giving to others in your own unique way. Simple acts of kindness become bigger when you do them together with a group of like-minded people. Show gratitude to people who have been a blessing in your life; bless them back.

E – Enjoy! See through the eyes of a child and get in touch with your inner child. Enjoy the holidays by expressing your own brand of cheer! Be creative. Be positive. Have fun!

E – Examine! Do some soul searching. Don’t let ‘sin’ or ‘missing the mark’ get in the way of your peace and joy. Facing relatives or friends that you are holding a grudge against or you have wronged, can be a big cause of anxiety. If someone or something comes to mind that needs your attention or repentance, take care of it!

R – Reflect, Renew and Refresh! Reflect on God’s goodness. Renew family traditions. Refresh your mind and let go of worries. Refresh your body with exercise, healthy food and by getting enough rest. Don’t over do it with too many holiday preparations. Be realistic about your time, finances and energy.

What Does Holiday Cheer Look Like?

The sweetest, most wonderful act of love this holiday season came from the cheerful and generous heart of my grand niece, Riley. Here is the short version of the story, in the words of her mom, my niece Erin…

“One night before bed last August she said she wanted to grow her hair for kids who don’t have any. She woke up today and said she couldn’t wait any longer because the sooner she cuts it, the sooner another child will have it. So, this afternoon she had 10 inches cut to donate to Locks Of Love! She was very nervous, but also very excited. I could not be prouder of my baby girl who did something very grown up today. Such a mitzvah during this season of giving!”

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Riley’s special Hanukkah gift – donating her beautiful long hair to “Locks of Love”

♥ I am so proud of Riley and her unique example of cheerful giving! ♥

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Jesus in Luke 18:17 & Mark 10:15)

Counting My Blessings

This season brought many precious moments with family and friends. There were several birthday celebrations, including my own BIG birthday! My mother even flew in from back East for the occasion.

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“A Cheerful Heart Is A Continual Feast”!

Celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas is tradition in my family. So is going to see a Christmas show with friends. A few days ago we saw “Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013.” The show was fantastic! There was a nice mix of jazz, blues, classical and gospel music. The show featured both Hanukkah and Christmas songs. Along with Dave Koz, the other stars of the show were: Oleta Adams, Jonathan Butler and Keiko Matsui.

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At a high point in the show Jonathan Butler had us sing a phrase from one of his songs to the people on our right and on or left. It was fun to break the ice with strangers and see their faces begin to light up. It was a little awkward at first but after awhile you could see the stress melting away.

I am filled with these words we sang together with the entertainers and the audience that night.

“Forget all you problems, forget all your worries, God will make a way. Forget all you problems, forget all your worries, it’s a brand new day”!

God did make a way for all of us through His Son, Jesus. For me, Christmas time is a time of joyful and grateful reflection of my Savior’s birth and all the blessings he brings. Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year when Jesus is the reason for the season!

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas filled with love and  a very healthy and happy New Year. ~ Linda

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Bible Verses for Relieving Stress

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – Jesus (in John 14:27)

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest'”? – Luke 12:22-26 ESV

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“But the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives.” – Mark 4:19 NCV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:6-8

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” – Proverbs 12:25.

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  -Psalm 34:4

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me’”? – Hebrews 13:6

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword”? – Romans 8:31-35 ESV

“You, dear children have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3: 22-23

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” -1 John 4:18 ESV

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42:5

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:5-8

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” – Proverbs 12:25 ESV

“… Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” – Psalm 34:10

“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7

” Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory.” – Romans 5: 1-2

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105

“… God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:39

“By standing firm you will gain life.” – Luke 21:19

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” – Matthew 6:33 NCV

“…put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 131:1

“May the God of hope fill you waith all joy and peace.” – Romans 15:13

All materials contained within this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without expressed written permission.

A Grateful Heart Produces A Bountiful Harvest

 

Thanksgiving is almost here and I am extremely thankful to God for family and friends. Sharing food together is one way we share the joys of togetherness. Each Thanksgiving, I like to create new, healthy versions of my favorite recipes. I am bringing one of these delicious vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Roasted Rosemary Vegetables
Ingredients
fresh vegetables like zucchini and carrots
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh or dried Rosemary
fresh pressed or dried powered garlic (optional)
fine sea salt
ground black pepper

Cut the zucchinis and carrots in half and then into wedges lengthwise about 3½ – 4″ in length. Toss well in olive oil, rosemary & garlic or whatever herbs you like. Arrange your vegetables on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Pre heat the oven to 425 F. Bake at 425 for 20 – 25 min. Rotate the roasting pan from bottom to the top shelf of the oven about half way through. Don’t over season. Flavors become more concentrated after baking. After baking, add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish alternating the zucchini & carrots side by side in the dish. Enjoy!

Linda-Eichberg-roasted-zucchini-carrots

Roasted zucchini and carrots

This recipe also works great with seasonal fall favorites like: sweet potatoes, parsnips or Brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
If you’re using Brussels sprouts for this recipe, cut the sprouts in half lengthwise and follow the same directions above for “Roasted Rosemary Vegetables”. Brussels sprouts are smaller so they will cook faster. Take a few minutes off the cooking time depending on the size of your sprouts. Cook until golden brown. The leaves that are loose will be brown and crispy.

The-Gratitude-Life-Roasted-Brussels-sprouts-Linda-Eichberg-

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Add Ons – Try one of these three tasty recipe twists!

1) The last 5 minutes of roasting, add cranberries, walnut or pecan pieces to the Brussels sprouts.

2) Let the Brussels sprouts cool and add shredded Parmesan cheese, goat or feta cheese.

3) Served warm or chilled, roasted Brussels sprouts will make a fantastic topping for your favorite salad!

A Story of Thanksgiving 

Very recently my husband Steven and I were guests at a fund-raising dinner given by Lily of the Valley Endeavor to raise money and awareness for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. While we were there, we met at nice couple who told us that we were responsible for getting them and their neighbors involved in supporting this non-profit. I was very curious to hear how, since I didn’t know them.

Paying It Forward

It turned out that years ago Steven did some legal work, Pro bono, for their neighbor, a single mom who needed legal services. She was very grateful for what my husband did for her. Looking for a way to repay him in some way, she expressed her gratitude by getting a group of her neighbors to attend one of the fund raisers we were working on for Lily of the Valley Endeavor. The couple we met, were two of those neighbors. My husband Steven & I served for many years putting on events and raising money for this charity. And now these wonderful people continue to passionately support LoVE (Lily of the Valley Endeavor).

In doing good, we often do not see the results of our labor right away but in faith we keep forging ahead hoping that God will multiply our efforts beyond anything we can do.

Linda-Eichberg-Lily-of-the-Valley

Singing for Lily of the Valley Endeavor, LoVEFest fundraiser

Living Legacies

My husband and I put a good portion of time and heart into growing this charity and helping the children it served. During those years much was accomplished but now that we have stepped back; it was heart warming to see the legacy continue through the couple we met and their friends. I was inspired and grateful to hear their story and to know how Steven’s kindness, in taking care of a struggling single mom’s legal problem, grew into something lasting and good for the world.

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Steven and Linda Eichberg at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village, South Africa

Grateful for the blessing of serving these children through Christ. Giving thanks for good friends, good food, family and God, who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Eichberg-family-2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Steven, Linda and Lindsay

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.” ~ Mark 4:20 (MSG)

For more information on Lily of the Valley Children’s Village – http://www.lov.org.za

and Lily of the Valley AIDS Foundation – http://www.lilyvalleyusa.org

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The Uphill Climb – Health Care

We have all been hearing a lot of arguing about health care on the news. Who can come up with the perfect plan that is thorough enough to solve all our health care problems? I am not interested in getting into the political side of the debate but I agree, we are in a crisis and we have to do something.

“One out of three children is considered obese. Without committing to a healthier lifestyle, one in three children born since 2000 will develop diabetes.” [1]

This is shocking! One in three children!

My father was willing to sacrifice just about anything for his family to have a legacy of good health. His suffering in hospitals as a youth, from chronic digestive illness brought on by what was considered a typical Italian diet, changed his thinking and way of life. He became the model of a healthy lifestyle.

I am so proud of my husband, Steven. He recently lost 11 lbs. and was able to get rid of his blood pressure medication! We can begin taking on the health care crisis by making health a priority for ourselves and our family. “A better YOU will unlock your entire family’s potential.” [2]

My daughter, Lindsay and I, as well as other family members, enjoy hiking and even a little mountain climbing to stay fit. At our last outing, my sister Maria and I met some new friends while we were stretching on our way up the mountain.

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Fellow mountain climber follows Maria Lauren in a split – hamstring stretch.

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Those with a flexible back will not get bent out of shape. ~ Linda Eichberg

Father of Fitness

Today, is the “Father of Fitness,” Jack LaLanne’s birthday. He worked tirelessly to create a healthier world. Although he has left this world, his legacy lives on. He passed on his knowledge and enthusiasm for health and fitness to my dad who passed it on to his children. When I was growing up, Jack was spreading the news about the health benefits of drinking fresh raw vegetable juices while the majority of the world bought into the fast food – junk food mindset. I had the honor of meeting Jack and being on the Jack LaLanne TV show back in the mid 80’s. What an amazing man! We met again in 2009 for his 95th birthday celebration. The Fitness Instructors of Total Woman Gym saluted him with 95 jumping jacks. My sister, Maria, representing Kaiser Permanente’s Fitness Team was leading the group!

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The Biggest Mountain Of All

Besides the benefits of good health, I am grateful to my parents for giving me many wonderful life skills. My parents worked hard all their lives and finally achieved their dream of providing their children with a large home in the suburbs. One day a fire took it all. Our beautiful family home burned to the ground along with all the contents and cherished photos. Conquering the ‘mountain’ of loss is one of the hardest things to do. My parents and siblings were resilient; faith in God, love and thankfulness held them together.

Maria and I had just moved out of the house before the time of the fire. We were working in the television industry. I am grateful we had a few family photos with us. These photos are practically the only ones left from my youth of my family and I having fitness fun together!

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Family fitness fun!

Although we lost our home and possessions, I have learned to say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” [3]

Wishing you a healthy transformation and radiant health! Linda

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” – Psalm 19:7-8

Refrences:

1) http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity

2) http://www.lindaeichberg.com/

3) Job 1:21

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. This blog does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employers. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.

Earth Day – Blessing the Earth

Earth Day is April 22; I am reminded to think about how I can make a positive impact on the earth. Last year, to celebrate Earth Day, I bought reusable stainless steel water bottles to use in place of the plastic disposable one’s I had been using. My family also made a monthly commitment to Greenpeace USA. In years past, I have bought the ladies in my bible study fashionable reusable grocery bags and made a pledge to recycle Styrofoam packing peanuts at my local mailing center.

Our Beautiful Earth

Last week I returned from a family visit to Pennsylvania, during cherry blossom season. The trees were exquisite! Driving by the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was a spectacular site!

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My love for trees inspired me to support the Canopy Project this year. Sponsored by Earth Day, one tree will be planted for every dollar donated. Jaden Smith speaks passionately about this project. Learn more about The Canopy Project.

 

Remembering Earth Day With Gratitude to God

I enjoy taking ‘gratitude hikes’ to the beach. I like to take groups of friends, mothers and daughters. We have fun! It’s a great way to relieve stress and keep fit. Being together on the beach brings out our inner child and grows our appreciation for nature and each other. It draws us closer to God’s magnificence and supports our beautiful State Parks.

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Sitting on top of Point Dume, Zuma Beach with Marianna Riccio, Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner and Linda Eichberg

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Balancing side plank, a joyful expression of health!

I appreciate how the earth sustains and nourishes me and my family with the food it provides. When I eat, I will consider how the food is grown and the people who sacrificed to get it to my table. I am supporting organic and non-GMO food growers.

Since ancient times it has been recorded in The Holy Scriptures that God rules over the earth and we “are like grasshoppers” living on it. Our Father in the heaven, gave us the earth as our dwelling place. It is a perishable gift that we must handle with care. Grasshoppers can be destructive and ravenous. The earth is not ours to abuse. It is fragile like we are. I prayerfully ask God for wisdom for this generation and the next, to save and heal our world.

How does your family protect the earth or reduce their carbon footprint? It can be something simple like not running the water when brushing their teeth or washing the dishes. I’d like to hear your ideas.

Happy Earth Day with blessings, Linda

Reference: The Holy Bible

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.” – Isaiah 40: 21-24 (NIV)

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.

From the Academy to Humanity – Ben Affleck Lives ‘The GRATITUDE Life’

It warmed my heart to see Ben Affleck’s follow up to his Academy Award for Best Picture. Ben’s moving new video caught my eye this week. In it, he passionately tells the story of the catastrophic events in the eastern Congo region of Africa, where “generations have struggled under a cycle of violence and poverty.” There is also an outpouring of gratitude for his blessings in this video. Ben expresses his thankfulness by putting a good portion of his time and energy into the Eastern Congo Initiative. This group works for that region of Africa as well as with the people in those communities.

Ben Afleck’s recent Oscar win for ”Argo”, is his second Oscar. He also received the Academy Award for “Good Will Hunting” – Best Original Screenplay. Ben had this to say about his continued good fortune, “I’m a very fortunate person. I’ve been lucky and blessed enough to be very successful in ways I’ve always wanted as an actor, writer, director and so on, but I got to a point where I felt like, I’m living this kind of vacuous life. I’m just living for myself. I’m chasing some idea or some goal but I didn’t know what my values were. I didn’t know what I was contributing to the world.”

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Ben Affleck Finds ‘the Meaning of Life’

To answer his heart’s call, Ben founded Eastern Congo Initiative three years ago. It supports local organizations who are “creating lasting change in the lives of vulnerable children and survivors of sexual violence.” It is also creating economic opportunity for these people who have an “unrelenting desire to realize the extraordinary potential of their country.” Ben believes, “This is important work.”

“This is what I believe in, I think of as the meaning of life, getting involved with something, helping others, improving the fabric of the universe. I believe if we do that, even just a little bit, I think you’ll find your life gets better too.” – Ben Affleck 

Giving Back

I have to agree with Ben. Giving to others less fortunate has enriched my life. In many ways it has opened new worlds to me. My husband Steven, and I have been very involved in supporting the area of South Africa hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. We traveled to that region to grasp a vision of what could be attained by becoming more involved in this desperate plight that was affecting millions. There were many blessing and miracles involved in the work we did on behalf of the Zulu people and the Lily of the Valley Children’s Village, HIV/AIDS orphanage. A medical center, an amphitheater, a second Children’s Village and a vocational school were built and much more is still being accomplished.

Many people of different faiths were involved in our united effort and poured so much of themselves into KwaZulu Natal, South Africa; one example is our friends, the Heintz family. They went to the Lily of the Valley orphanage at their own expense. This lovely Christian family lived and ministered there for 15 months. Tim Heintz is a composer who has written musical scores for movies such as “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Enemy of the State,” Tim also provided the music for the LoveFest fund-raisers we held here in California for the Lily of the Valley Endeavor.

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Pictured – (right) Steven & Linda Eichberg at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village (top left) Sharon Heintz, Sharon Clack, Founder – Lily of the Valley Endeavor & Tim Heintz breaking ground for the now completed Medical Centre (bottom left) Lily kids 

 

My sister, June Kuz and her family of five are headed to Guatemala this summer to work together with their church and spread God’s love in the communities there. I can’t wait to hear about the amazing life changing results of that trip. The stories we share offer incredible possibilities for the good of the world but we can’t do it on our own.

Please view and share this video, about the vision and purpose of Eastern Congo Initiative and this massive humanitarian crisis, in the heartfelt words of Ben Affleck.

 

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Lily of the Valley Endeavor – http://www.LilyValleyUSA.org

Lily of the Valley Children’s Village – http://www.lov.org.za

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’” – Jesus, in Matthew 25:45 NLV

 
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.