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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Kris Allen Wins *American Idol*

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OMG -- two blog entries in the same day when I often go weeks between posting them? To what do we owe this phenomenon. Well, it's in the pop culture genre.

Now, mind you, I have NO television reception and have never seen the American Idol program. BUT everyone in Conway, AR, where I live, except me has, I'm sure, because "the 23-year-old university student from Conway, AR was so stunned by the surprise outcome, he was almost speechless. But he did manage to thank his fans." People all over town have been wearing KRIS ALLEN tees and (almost) everyone is talking about it. He made some appearances a couple weekends ago -- some special arrangement for the three finalists -- at universities in Little Rock and Conway and parades in both cities!

I finally checked out both Kris and Adam last night on and I have to say that I think Adam is head-and-shoulders above Kris in over-all talent and performance. But with the voting based on call-ins, it can go any direction, of course.

I heard this morning from a local friend that a nationwide Christian Coalition networked all across the country to round up votes for Kris because of their displeasure at Adam's sexual preference -- he's gay. (sigh) I have been told that Kris has on occasion actually indicated that he thought Adam should win; and he and Adam seem to have developed a friendship of sorts. I don't think that Kris had anything to do with the CCoalition.

From Wikipedia(!) -- "Allen is a devout Christian. He was a worship leader at New Life Church in Conway, Arkansas, as well as at the Chi Alpha campus ministry of the University of Central Arkansas. He has done missionary work around the world, including in Burma, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Spain and Thailand."

Anyway, that's the BIG NEWS from central Arkansas. (yawn)

P.S. More pop culture trivia -- I have a bumper sticker that says "Kill your TV."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOULCOLLAGESUE 5/28/2009 10:44AM

    I like your blog (didn't know about the CCoalition - too bad for Adam). I like your bumper sticker even more! I would if I could... (family with other preferences, yet they are thoughtful and wear headphones).

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SUSANLUSAN 5/21/2009 6:18PM

    lol It sounds remarkably similar to the news from Lake Wobegon too, Maha. TV makes people fat so we watch how much we watch.

Comment edited on: 5/21/2009 6:22:36 PM

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DRAGONFLY7149 5/21/2009 3:43PM

    Funny (not) how a little organized religion has a way of tainting objectivity...though since I don't subscribe to organized religion and have never, ever watched American Idol (nor Canadian Idol for that matter), and only seem to watch TV once or twice a month, I suppose I know not of what I speak...

...can't help but think that, at least in this regard, that's probably a good thing!

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Today I Can

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Variation On A Theme By Rilke
(The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1)

A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me -- a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic -- or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.

-- Denise Levertov
(Breathing the Water)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/22/2009 8:21AM

    Saying and singing, I can. What exultation!!You always come through with beautiful words.

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KUZINKEITH 5/21/2009 12:18PM

    GREAT AFFIRMATION wrapped up in beautiful imagery.


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GBOOMER 5/21/2009 10:18AM

    A powerful direction!

I like.

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SUSANLUSAN 5/21/2009 9:43AM

    I can too and did (at least the workout part)

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The No-GMO Carnaval!

Monday, May 18, 2009

We need to pay attention to not just the quantity of food we eat, but the QUALITY of that food as well. One of the ways that I can be assured that, for instance, I'm not buying GMO corn or soy is to BUY ORGANIC! But...back to the subject at hand --

Thanks to PeacefulOne, I got *turned on* to this challenge. And I want all my SparkFriends to know about it, because it's SO DAMNED IMPORTANT to our own health and future as humans, as well as the health and future of the planet!

Join me in the No-GMO Challenge -- Together We Can!

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEACEFULONE 5/19/2009 3:08AM

    Dear Maha,

Thanks for posting this challenge. I'm in. If consumers know the truth about GMOs they will refuse to risk eating these Franken foods.

Peace and love, Elaine

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WHATAGRL42 5/19/2009 2:00AM

    I'm with you Maha! santosh and I recenty transitioned to all organic. We found a certified organic CSA just miles down the road from us, and now have delicious organic fruits and veggies delivered to our door, every wednesday! It's been fun, actually making that change. We both feel better. NO GMOs!

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INCEPERSON 5/18/2009 10:14PM

    Sounds great! Where can I find more information about GMO???

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LOLAGEEK 5/18/2009 2:49PM

    Right on. I have been a NO GMO person for years. Bt is only one of the things that scares the crap out of me.

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SUSANLUSAN 5/18/2009 11:11AM

    What a good idea!

And if I may add a caboose to your excellent train, Maha ...

... whenever I do stuff like this, I'm often inclined to top it off with a cherry by zapping off a quickie email to my elected officials letting them know what their constituent (me aka as an American consumer and voter) is doing so my actions don't occur in a vacuum.

I take care to include a request for the changes I wish to see made -- such as in this case labeling for GMO's on all food in the US. I encourage others to do likewise. It is a five minute effort that can make a huge difference.

Here is an easy way to connect to who you need to write or call:

Comment edited on: 5/18/2009 11:16:03 AM

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The Battle with Easy Street

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I was successful in my food and exercise efforts this week, little by little chipping away at the poor eating habits that have been established over years of living on Easy Street.

Strength of will and perseverance are definitely my weapons in the Battle with Easy Street. On Easy Street I eat what I want in abundant quantities whenever I have a notion to and the senses of course win over the higher faculty of discriminating will.

Plutarch's wisdom below really resonated with me today. And Easwaran's commentary is, as always, useful. As a body/mind/spirit being, I always find that acknowledging the spiritual dimension in this process makes it more *real* for me.

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Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
-- Plutarch emoticon

With every thought, we are working on our destiny. When a sculptor creates an elephant, each touch of the chisel shapes the stone. While carving an eye he barely strokes the stone, but those light strokes are as vital as the rough shaping blows. There is no such thing as an unimportant blow.

Similarly, every thought shapes our lives. There is no such thing as a little thought, no such thing as an unimportant thought. It may be heavy, it may be light, but it always should be well-directed, with discrimination and precision.
-- Eknath Easwarn emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/18/2009 9:49AM

    A great post!! It's hard to remember that the baby steps do add up and that each stitch is part of the whole fabric. You've had a good week and deserve some high fives. I am still not putting enough effort into proper eating, but I know that each day if I eat one less cookie, I am making the healthful decision.

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SUSANLUSAN 5/17/2009 8:33PM

    This is a bullseye! You're so right, it is easy to discount those tiny decisions and their actions until one thinks about the sculptor. I am thinking, learning, chiseling my actions into eating and moving in ways that are life enhancing rather than life diminishing, bit by bit.

What could possibly be worth some future suffering, especially knowing, once there, I did it to myself with how I chose to eat and move? That is exactly how I got here, now.

I take your Easwaran's call for thoughts to be well directed to heart. At the risk of sounding like a bad Yoda imitation, lol, it behooves to notice there can only be a change in direction when there is a change in direction.

Comment edited on: 5/17/2009 8:34:48 PM

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MAZZYR 5/17/2009 7:33PM


It's nice to have company. I was also successful with my food and exercise efforts this week. Grrrr, it was not easy.

Keep chipping away, you are not alone my SparkFriend!


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Each day is a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

-- John O'Donohue
(To Bless the Space Between Us)


Each day, I do some things well, I mess up royally on others. Each day is nonetheless full of abundance, full of so much goodness. It's there for me to "celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention."

Ya' know it all comes down to PRESENCE. It's the only way to truly experience the sacred gift. I was driving home from the fitness center feeling very tired and wondering if I could do it again tomorrow. Then I remembered I had thought the same thing yesterday, but today I "received encouragement when new frontiers beckoned"...and I DID IT. So it's about -- just this much...only this moment...only this day. Instead of expectations, I wish to have PRESENCE. Instead of disappointment, I intend PRESENCE. Instead of distraction, PRESENCE. Instead of anxiety, PRESENCE. Instead of procrastination, PRESENCE. I want the way I live my outer life to exhibit an "inner dignity of soul."

Yesterday I *put out.* Besides a strenuous vinyasa yoga class, I completed 20-minutes of cardio and some knee strengthening exercises. I then went on a two-hour bike ride, which almost did me in. It got up to 86 degrees yesterday...and I got so hot I thought I would never cool down! So the body is slowly acclimating to *movement* again. But it's not what I love to's a constant challenge, conversation with myself, looking to my higher self for direction. And each day it begins anew.

This daily accountability blog is taxing, and I'm not sure I'll continue, but it has helped me thus far. And the scale announced this morning that I have released 1.4 pounds over the last five days. I'm still working the kinks out of the Trackers. I'm moderately comfortable with the Nutrition Tracker, thanks to Stephanie's able phone training session. I'm less comfortable with the Fitness Tracker, because Stephanie hasn't yet trained me in it (hint, hint)!


I'm blogging late (we had no electricity for 12 just returned this afternoon), so I have already ~~

~ completed a Pilates class
~ completed 20 minutes of upper-body strength-training
~ completed 5 minutes of sit-ups
~ completed 20 minutes of cardio
~ completed knee-strengthening exercises

Now I intend to finish the day with PRESENCE, "consoled in the secret symmetry of (my) soul."

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You never cease to amaze me....

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KUZINKEITH 5/14/2009 10:02PM

    AS OUR FRIEND JOHN LENNON SAID in the great song "I'm So Tired"
"I'll give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind.

It is in the "now" that I find that peace.


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SUSANLUSAN 5/14/2009 9:23PM

    Now... it is my most favorite place to be. Thank you for reminding me why.

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DRAGONFLY7149 5/14/2009 5:47PM

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

So glad you're persevering and, as always, making some very astute observations.

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