Phases of the moon

2:1Q 10:F 17:3Q 24:N


Reading recommendation 

The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

Saying of the month

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December." 
-   J. M. Barrie

 Scripture of the month

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:37-38


       Bible verses


Saying of the month


Reading recommendation


So, then there were two


Benefit from new Moon fasting


Your choice of drinks can save our trees


Recipe of the month - Tofu burgers


Some time ago, I commented on the joys of owning a dog. Enrique, my husband, and I love our mixed breed - German Sheppard, collie and husky – dog, Sofi. Our dog is a lot of fun, but as it turned out, she was lonely. Her home was outside and she spent a lot of time at the door, crying for us to come out and play. She is a good-size dog now and weighs, by our guess, 50 pounds, and she is still growing. To us, she seems hyperactive, always playing rowdily with her toys -- with us or by herself. We play with her at least twice a day, and my husband and I take her for walks two or three times a week.

We knew she needed more company and more opportunities to play. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any more time to dedicate to her. It seemed apparent that she needed a companion dog. But we weren’t ready to get another dog. Our yard is small and we don’t have much money to pay more vet bills, which are substantial in the first year of a dog’s life. So, while we talked about having another dog, we didn’t really make any effort to get one.

One day, we took Sofi on a morning walk - for her much needed exercise and ours, as well -- to a small park at the bottom of our hill. It is a quiet park and we have taken Sofi there once or twice a week since she was a puppy. We walk her around the park two or three times and then my husband lets her loose in a semi-enclosed area that is a children’s play ground with swings, see-saws and a slide. She makes her usual rounds leisurely in this area, sniffing just about everything.

Everything was going well with our walk, and I crossed the street to buy a few things at the small grocery store on the corner. Enrique stayed watching Sofi. According to his account, Sofi suddenly barked, wandered over to a secluded spot in the play area and began pawing at a black bag that was on the ground. To Enrique’s surprise, something in the black bag started moving around. When he investigated, he found an abandoned puppy. The stray dog was in terrible shape. It clearly hadn’t eaten in some time, had all kinds of ticks and lice, and showed signs of having been mistreated. Nevertheless, the little dog gathered up what strength it had left to greet Sofi and Enrique and began to follow them around.

At about that time, I returned with the food that I had purchased at the corner store. Enrique yelled to me to come over and see what he had found. I saw a tiny stray dog. Enrique looked at me and asked: “What can we do with it?” At that point, we didn’t know whether it was a male or female. I looked at the tiny face and knew right away that I wanted to take the dog home and care for it. The dog was in really bad shape, but it was still wagging its tail and jumping around. On closer inspection, it was clear that the dog was some kind of terrier. It showed a lot of vitality, which amazed us under the circumstances we found it in. I knew at once that the puppy was a survivor.

We walked Sofi back up the hill, and Enrique carried the small dog to the house. We fed the puppy, as much as it wanted. It ate like it was starved, which we knew was the case. Enrique

made the tiny dog a cinder-block “cave” so that it could stay away from Sofi who was, by that time, not so happy to have found a cousin in the street. Sofi continued to snap at her new companion, but the tiny dog didn’t seem to be very frightened. In fact, it showed clear signs of wanting to make friends.

We weren’t sure that the older dog would accept her new companion, but Enrique said we should feed the puppy as much as she wanted and call the vet the next day to examine her. We wondered if the stray dog would survive the night, what with having such poor health and Sofi's hostility. The dog did last the night, of course, and by the next day the two dogs were acting fairly friendly. The new dog ate everything that was offered and tried to eat Sofi’s food also. Sofi wasn’t happy with that idea and growled and nudged the little dog, but didn’t seem to want to hurt it. So, then there were two dogs dignifying our small yard.

By midday, the two students who work in our vet's office had come by to give Sofi her regularly scheduled vaccine and to examine our new dog. They also brought us a special soap to wash both dogs, to be applied each day for two days. This soap kills all kinds of infestations including fleas, ticks, and lice. The vet students said that the little dog was a female and that she appeared to be a schnauzer, but easily could also be some kind of mix with schnauzer. They said she was at least two and a half months old, but terribly underweight from malnutrition. They told us to bring the little dog into the vet's office as soon as possible for a check-up and vaccines and to rid her of parasites.

We talked about calling the new dog Elena because Santa Elena is the name of the neighborhood that we live in. But then, the name Elena seemed too formal for such an active, small dog. So, we decided to call her Helen, the English translation for Elena.

Well, soon the two dogs made friends. Sofi seemed like a giant dog beside the tiny terrier, but in spite of the differences in their size, they seem to get along. They played together a lot and sometimes they play rough and Helen eventually gets hurt. She yelps several times, and Sofi backs off, not really wanting to hurt her tiny companion. Helen gained weight and did her best to keep up with the bigger dog.

Our second dog is really a dear and follows Enrique and me around all the time while we are outdoors. She doesn’t ask for much, but eats heartily and generally shows her appreciation for having been rescued and given a chance for a good life in a new home. We also feel lucky to have a dog like Helen.


 There is a lot to be learned in the Farmers’ Almanacs. One of the main points in these publications is detailed weather prediction that is printed for at least a year in advance. The sun and planetary movements, as well as phases of the moon guide these predictions. The almanacs also tell people the dates when to plant crops and when to harvest, as well as the best timing for starting up many other human activities. (See note below.)

The new moon offers opportunities
The lunar month is one of the most important aspects of our planet because it represents a regular cycle of greater and lesser gravitational attraction between the earth and the moon. The lunar cycle is 29.3 days long, and the lunar calendar has thirteen "moonths", plus one extra day to harmonize with the 365-day solar calendar.  Besides having a daily rythym of high and low tides, the lunar cycles also affect the tides. We have highest tides on new moon and full moon days and lowest tides when the moon is in the 1st quarter and last quarter.

According to the farmers’ almanacs, the new moon offers opportunities for making changes and initiating new projects. The new moon is a time for promoting all forms of growth, including planting crops, business opportunities, relationships, as well as creative and spiritual endeavors.

We become more attuned with our own aims and possibilities, when we are aware of the geo-magnetic and psychic energy available to us in different moments according to the lunar cycle. For the same reason, many spiritual traditions, including that of Native Americans, yogis and others, have special practices during the new moon. Their traditions point to these days as very favorable times to carry out certain spiritual rituals and other intentions.

 Fasting and the new moon
Short periods of not eating offer a way of cleansing the body and preparing the mind for greater focus. When you fast, your body takes a rest and healing occurs. A lot of people who regularly fast say that their days of fasting help them see things more clearly and with a new perspective.

The Christian tradition also calls for fasting, and is rooted in the words of Jesus: “All things will be possible for you. That kind of spirit comes out only if you use prayer and fasting.” (Matthew:17:20-21)

Fasting gives you an opportunity to live your day in a different way – with greater reflection -- a time for peace of body and spirit, and a closer connection to your Creator. Your fast will be even more pleasant if you spend at least part of your day outdoors, walking in nature, creating art, writing in your personal journal, listening to inspiring music, or doing devotional reading.

When you fast during the new moon, you receive important benefits. Fasting on that day greatly increases your energy and boosts your health. Yogis don’t do their regular yoga practice during the new moon, but instead maintain a fast and use the day for quiet walks, meditation, and prayer. This is a wonderful way they have of connecting with the Divine.

So, my recommendation to you is to try new moon fasting and feel its benefits for yourself. This fast is usually for 24 hours. Start your fast in the morning and end it with a light breakfast on the following morning. If you’re new to fasting, try to plan as calm a day as possible. Be sure to allow yourself some quiet time or a leisurely nap in the afternoon -- if you can manage it.

You may fast in different ways. The usual ways are by drinking water with lemon juice or drinking vegetable and fruit juices, diluted with about 50% water. You may drink as much as you like. The important thing is to not chew anything during the day and don’t drink any coffee or black tea. If -- and only if -- there is a lot of hunger in the late afternoon or evening, you can drink a fruit smoothie with a little yogurt.


 The trees play numerous roles in the planet's ecology. We only have a tiny fraction of the forests that were here just a couple of hundred years ago, and what we still have are endangered. Helping to sustain the Earth comes down to saving our trees.(And, yes, it’s OK, and even advisable, to be a “tree-hugger.” Grandma is an unabashed "tree-hugger".)

That brings us to today's green idea, and that is changing our consumer habits. When consumer products we use involve a lot of acreage or a lot of water, we are, in fact, killing our forests. Other than cutting down on the use of paper products, which you should be doing, there is one important thing that everyone can do and that’s switching out some of the products that we consume to others are as harmful. The harm that products do has to do with how they are produced, transported, packaged, and consumed. I’m limiting this discussion to the subject of coffee and tea drinking. (For both health and ecological reasons, I assume that you’re already not buying soft drinks on a regular basis.)

Coffee is the world’s most commonly traded commodity after crude oil, and tea is the world’s most consumed beverage after water. So tea and coffee are super important economic items, and that means there’s a lot of work to be done around reducing the use of these substances. The best thing you can do is to stop using coffee and tea and, instead, drink plenty of plain water and fruit juice. But a lot of people feel they need stimulants in order to function better - especially in the morning. So if you must drink coffee or tea, limit yourself to one or two cups per day. (Grandma is trying to do this on a regular basis.)

Coffee involves a much greater carbon footprint than tea - perhaps 10 times bigger. The water footprint of coffee is also more with tea using about 9 gallons of water per serving—compared to 33 gallons for soda, and 37 gallons for coffee. Obviously, just plain water is the best alternative, and it's a lot less expensive and eco-wise to filter your drinking water at home.

 If you're a dyed-in-the-wool coffee or tea lover, then prepare and consume most of your drinks at home. Coffee shop drinks are not only a lot more costly, but involve a larger carbon footprint. When you are away from home and looking for a hot drink, be sure to carry your own mug. You’ll spend only a few dollars on a mug that you really like and, at the same time, feel better knowing that you’re being more eco-friendly. And, please, don’t even think of using disposable cups at your house – except maybe paper cups (never foam ones) for large group get-togethers where cleanup would be especially tiresome. One study showed that the average mug is used almost 3,000 times and the making of that cup and the water used to wash it create 30times less solid waste and represent 60 times less water than the same usage of paper cups.


 Recipe for December

Baked tofu burgers


1/2 pound tofu
1 medium onion minced
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. olive oil
bit of cilantro leaves, chopped.
chili powder and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into patties. Brush patties with olive oil and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Makes 4-6  patties.

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