Thursday, October 30, 2014

no more fear

“Waiting to develop courage is just another form of procrastination. The most successful people take action while they’re afraid!”  ~ Unknown‎


I've been taking action lately and it does dispel fear... eventually.  Facing our fears is the way to set ourselves free.

This week I had a colonoscopy scheduled.  They aren't pleasant for anyone, I know that, but for me it seemed even more personal.  Edd might still be with me now if he had gotten his when he turned 50.  As I lay on my hospital bed seemingly forever waiting for the doctor to arrive for his first patient of the day (me) the tears slipped from of my eyes... over and over again.  Try as I might to prevent them from coming, my efforts were in vain.   My whole body was racked with emotion as I thought about what he went though, what we went through together and how it all began....

Sensitive aren't I?  Yeah, I am.  I beat myself up.  I worry over things I can't control.  

But I'm also so so tired of suffering because of it.  Fear that is.   Fear of the future.  Fear of the consequences of others' decisions.  I think I've suffered enough.  I think I'll take back my power.  I think I'll face my fears and not let them handicap me and MY life.

I'm onto something.

Getting that test done was a start.  And today I continued with an X-ray of my wrist that has been painful for almost two months.  

Fear.  It can be a powerful and debilitating thing.  Especially for those with a predisposition for giving it too much ground in your life.  Maybe for those who have experienced too much of the harsher aspects of life.  But isn't that ALL of us at one time or another?   I believe it is.

Maybe I need to see myself as not so unique and grow some thicker skin.  But that would be rational.  And fear is often...  irrational.  

Yes, for sure.

So, I want to move on and LIVE.  Live and love well.  In spite of the torpedoes life  sometimes flings our way.  My way.  Your way.  Let's grab hold of life and run with it!

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” 

~Judy Blume



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

just do something


About a week ago before I got sidelined from about 50 chigger bites (but that's another story for another day) I cut down two trees that were growing very weirdly (is weirdly a word?) in my yard.  They were skinny and tall with all kinds of shoots springing up from the ground.   My dad said they grow that way because they are being crowded, dwarfed by larger trees.  They are reaching upward for the light and can't develop properly.  I cut them down using a tool that sliced into the many branches easily.  It took a while to do and I was left with a large pile of debris to get rid of.




As I sorted through the branches today cutting them into smaller pieces to bag them, I thought about the way we get things done.  Little by little.  Sometimes one tiny bit at a time.  Just moving forward one step, sometimes one inch at a time.

I've always seen parallels of my spiritual journey in the physical world.  And I'm most apt to recognize those parallels when I'm doing something physical by myself.  A big chore can seem like too much to handle until we break it down into parts.   What's important is that we begin.... and continue moving in the right direction.

So I began... and didn't intend to finish today, but I did.  My goal was to begin but once I did I just kept at it.






So my new motto is that everyday we can do something...  just a little bit to move forward.   Sometimes we finish a job.  Sometimes we just keep moving in the right direction because there is  no actual end to it even though much good can be accomplished along the way.  It can be anything done thoughtfully.

exercise a little more
eat a little healthier
pray a little more
be a little more compassionate
come closer to forgiving
rake a small pile of leaves, trim one bush
make the world a little more beautiful
call one person who is lonely
smile more often
laugh at someone's dumb joke
read something positive
walk a little quicker
encourage someone
listen a little longer
be a little more patient

This list could go on and on......

We all walk different paths and are on different journeys.  I've discovered we may really want to blaze a trail and yet things don't always go our way.  Someone can even walk down a certain path and have smooth sailing while another can travel the same path and have tons of adversity while doing it.  Why?  It's a mystery and life isn't always fair... and things happen.

So let it go and let God sort all that out.

Just do something every day.... to move in the right direction.

We'll get there... and do a lot of good along the way.










Friday, October 3, 2014

Today

Friday evening. It really couldn't be more delightful as I sit outside now sipping a glass of cabernet.    The wind picks up now and then.... not enough to be harsh, but just enough to blow away any mosquitoes that might be thinking about landing on my exposed arms and legs.   The humidity left as well, and now the air includes that hint of fall that I seem to wait all year for.



I'm reflecting about my day and reminded that life is to be lived or else you're dying... My dad just quoted something like that to me when I spoke to him on the phone earlier.  I'm not sure what he was getting at exactly, but he was in a chipper mood telling me all about various things.  He says my name, "Kath", numerous times as we talk and I like to hear it.  He found some fried chicken he liked at Safeway... and better pomegranates at Fred Myers ... we discussed current events, yard work and drinking wine and Hungarian food.  I told him a package I mailed should arrive for him today and he can expect some home-baked goodies for his dessert tonight.

I'm thankful for life as it is today .... it's not perfect, but it's good.

I sit here watching Norman enjoying the green grass in his yard.  Early this morning I did trimming and bagging and tying up dead branches and debris after purchasing a new tool that makes yard work do-able... and almost fun!   I'm enjoying looking out at the work of my own hands now .... Even earlier than that I changed three bulbs on the truck.  I figured out how to replace the left brake and blinker lights and did it by myself after running out to Auto Zone.  I spoke to a man there who had lost his wife five years earlier.  Sadly he said it's gotten somewhat more difficult again for him because he just lost his dog.... another connection to his wife....  Like I told my dad today... the missing and hurt won't ever stop... but we can experience the joys life brings each and every day…. and savor….



I had some unexpected tears today as I met with my doctor for my first colonoscopy.  I looked at the anatomy pictures on the wall as I waited for the doctor to come into the room and I lost my breath, got choked up and tears instantly filled my eyes.   I had to look away.  Edd got his at 54 and here I am the same age scheduling mine for the first time.  If he had gotten it at 50 as they suggest he may have lived.    He may not have been so far along with his cancer.  That really bothered him but I always tried to lessen the blow and regret he felt… with my words and my actions…. That's what we do for those we love fiercely.

The days come and go and they bring many gifts.   Friendship.   Love.  Insight.  Wisdom.  Joy.  Tears.  Laughter.  Strength to work.  Courage to be open to possibility.  Changing seasons and new perspectives.  Cool refreshing breezes.  Interaction with loved ones and strangers.

Today was full...




Sunday, September 28, 2014

words beautifully expressed





“Sometimes I touch the things you used to touch, looking for echoes of your fingers.” ― Iain Thomas




“If nothing else, one day you can look someone straight in the eyes and say “But I lived through it. And it made me who I am today.”  - Iain Thomas

Some things we feel we won't live though.  But miraculously we do.  

~~~~~~~

I never used to take my turn.  I always gave my turn away.  I helped others have a great turn.  After they had all gotten a turn, then maybe I could go, if there was time and it didn't bother anyone.  Now I take my turn, as a radical act.  -Anne Lamott

I love this one…. and I've felt this way.  Felt I gave and gave and when I finally took my turn some people I thought cared rejected me and thought I had no right to take my turn.  That stung for a while.  But shame on those who don't let you take your turn.

~~~~~~~

...you really do not get over the biggest losses, you don't pass through grief in any organized way, and it takes years and infinitely more tears than people want to allot you. Yet the gift of grief is incalculable, in giving you back to yourself.    -Anne Lamott

This is something I could never imagine or anticipate.  In all my trying and working through, this timetable is not my own.  

~~~~~~~

“Someone you haven’t even met yet is wondering what it’d be like to know someone like you.”  - Iain Thomas

I remember being a little girl and thinking there was someone out there, somewhere, for me.  Before I even knew him or saw his face.  It was a mystery not yet revealed.  If we are alive there is still much mystery and sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone want to stay.

~~~~~~~

…. and yet the world keeps on spinning, and in our grief, rage, and fear a few people keep on loving us and showing up. It's all motion and stasis, change and stagnation.  Awful stuff happens and beautiful stuff happens, and it's all part of the big picture.  -Anne Lamott

And so it does… and so it is.





Monday, August 25, 2014

tending

I woke this morning with such gratitude.   

Life isn't perfect is it?  We can focus so intently sometimes on the worrisome parts of it that we don't embrace what is glorious and miraculous.  

Oh, it's true that the refrigerator isn't working right now.  Yeah, the one that is only a year old, but someone will repair it this week and I have another little one to keep food cold or frozen.  

I have little aches and pains and my body doesn't look like it did when I was younger, but I went to see the doctor last week and she calmed all my fears regarding my health (yes, I tend to worry) and even said my weight was fine and to keep doing what I'm doing with healthy eating and exercise.  I feel strong and healthy.

There are so many things that can bring us down and some people are going through very tough times… God knows I have been there…. but today I will glory in what is good and take time to just be grateful.    

The outdoors beckoned me this morning.  It will heat up to 100 degrees this afternoon… summer is still going strong... but the morning was so perfect to get out and get my hands dirty digging and replanting and trimming and watering.

Tending.

    What is it about a garden and seeing things living that is so soul satisfying?  

Might just be the nurturer in me….

So today, I'm tending.  Tending to my garden… and tending to gratitude.

















Wednesday, August 20, 2014

evening thoughts

Life and all that swirls around us can seem so complicated sometimes.  Relationships, politics, world events, tragedies, who said what and why, intentions, motives, misunderstandings, assumptions, etc, etc.... When I find myself fretting that's when I need to put all these things in a big ol' pile and label it... "Things to give to God"  … I find such peace in being able to give Him all my pondering and the questions with unknown answers … and leave the mysteries of life in His hands.

This seeker doesn't have to know everything.  Not now.  I just have to do my part.  As much as I'm able I have to make one good choice after another.  Every time there is one to make.  Every day.

I was given a gift today.  A good friend told me what he valued most in a person.  Sweetness  ... and said that I exuded it.

Now I don't feel like I exude sweetness, but you know what?  If someone can see a quality of goodness in me I am happy with that.  I know it's only because of what I've been through and things I have learned.  You see... trials can make you hard or they can make you more present to life and what is most important.  They can make you put aside pride and ego and just let yourself be compassionate toward others.  Others who may not even deserve it.  I feel I've been through the fire and I am content that God knows and cares about my heart and the me that has traveled down my own unique road.  He knows all my thoughts and intentions.  I know I belong.

When Edd died ... and when my mom died... I lost the mirror I looked into to see the best parts of myself… the parts others who loved me best chose to see… a place I'd go for validation and worth.  Though in many real ways I still feel their love, I'm thankful for people who are still in my life who share what they see and have the kindness to tell me the good stuff.  We all need to know. 


“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” —IAIN THOMAS


Monday, August 4, 2014

a proper burial

We all keep things that are important to us.  I have date books and calendars that I've saved from several years back.  I have emails from over ten years ago.   It was interesting when going through my mom's things after she passed away that she had quite a few past years' calendars too.  Part of it for me is not trusting my memory and wanting to ensure some events, thoughts and dates aren't lost forever.

But today I threw away a whole lot …. papers and notebooks that were filled, and I mean filled, with pages and pages of memories and instructions, thoughts and medical considerations…. so much mental activity written down during a time that was difficult in the extreme.  I was taking care of my love and he was going to lose his hold on life…. and so much of mine was going with him….

And today I threw most of it away.  Because it is done and over.  It is time to move forward from all that pain.  Though I haven't looked at those pages in a long time, I don't need to remember doctors' names, medications given, how much and when and what time.  I don't have to have a record of test results and their implications.   It happened.  I was present then, but I don't have to go back there anymore.  It all needs a proper burial.

Some things are sufficiently in my mind and if I forget some of it oh well.   Some I need to forget.  At least I've finally come to that point.  I don't want notebooks full of data or information that brings me back and I don't need to ensure it can be reached again if I forget.

But in reality what all of it shows me is just how much I loved.  How much I wanted to do everything as RIGHT as I could.   And when he was gone, I poured over documents and wrote more notes and tried to figure out and solve more problems.   And I did the best I could.  And that is enough.  I've given enough.   I am enough.  I'm content.

Life is an exercise in learning what to hold onto and what to let go.

I buried some things today.  I chose to let go…



Saturday, August 2, 2014

friendship

I'd like to write more even at the risk of not having much to say. Because the more a person writes the better they get at it and the more you remember your ideas and thoughts each day.

Today my best friend, my longest friend, called me.  It's nice when your longest friend is still your best friend.  Maybe the two go together.  Maybe not.  At least the friendship has the luxury of knowing whether it will stand the test of time.  This one certainly has.

We've been friends through many ups and downs.  Some super-high ups and some horribly-low downs.  Real life.   Down in the dirt, get kicked around, wonder-if-it's-worth-getting-back-up-and-yet-you-brush-yourself-off kind of life.  

I was a bridesmaid in her wedding over 30 years ago and she was one in mine… my first marriage that is.  Once we were pregnant at the same time.  The nice thing about cultivating a friendship is that you never know what you will encounter down the road.  You think your friendship and life is just humming along, maybe not changing then BOOM, a major life event occurs and you can prove you're a friend by how you react … how you stick by each other.  How you offer support, show you care, help take the sting away… or you happily rejoice with them during highlights and successes.  Thankfully there are those too.

She had a rough day at work and spent most of our talk telling me about it.  When we were ready to hang up she apologized for talking so much about herself.  But I told her and it was the absolute truth that I was happy to listen and be an outlet for her… It helps to tell someone sometimes.  Almost like letting some of the air out of an over-inflated balloon; we need to decompress.  God knows I've needed her ear many times myself and she's never acted too busy to hear me out.

It's been her commitment and loyalty quite frankly that has made this friendship last and grow.  She is one of those people who takes the time to reach out, call, keep in touch.  I'm not so good even though she knows my heart toward her.   By this time she knows I care and I'm a forever friend.   We have to be!  We just know too much about each other!!

She recently sent this photo to me and I think it's just right.




Friday, July 18, 2014

productive day

There is something very satisfying about chopping up lots of fresh ingredients and throwing it all together with savory spices to create a wonderfully healthy meal.  I rarely eat store-bought meals already prepared anymore.   Even though I mostly cook for just myself I can still make a great recipe and either freeze some …. or have it for a few meals.  Leftovers are great.   Often I'll only make half of a recipe and then wish I had made the whole thing so I could either have more for later or share it.  

You can't beat a good curry and this one was just soooo good!  Recipe is below.













It was a productive day.

I finally was able to turn the electric off in my bedroom so I could add a light fixture to the ceiling fan.   I spent two days looking for the breaker to my room.  The fusebox in the garage had electrical cutoffs for everything in the house except the bedroom receptacles and lights.  Who knew there was a separate box outside?  

Proud of me.  It was an easy project after that.  Mostly.

Except now I can see all the dust more clearly!




Butternut Squash & Chickpea Coconut Curry (my own variation)
serves 8  (slow cooker recipe)
2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
1 can organic chick peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can 13.5 ounce organic coconut milk (I used light)
1 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped (you could also use kale here)
1 1/2 cups peas
1-2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 tablespoons yellow curry powder (you can use your own blend of spices here, I just happen to have a premixed curry powder from a local indian grocery store that I love)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (save some for serving)
Cut the skin off the squash, remove seeds and cut into 1 inch square cubes. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker besides the peas and spinach. Cook on high for 6 hours. About 20-30 minutes before serving add in the peas and spinach, and give it a stir. If your sauce seems to be a bit too thin or watery when it is done cooking, you could make a quick mix of cornstarch and hot water and pour a tablespoon or two of the mixture into the crock pot, allow it to simmer a bit longer. This will thicken it right up.

Serve over brown basmati or jasmine rice topped with fresh cilantro, mint or basil and maybe even some shredded coconut.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

life whispers



It's hard when you realize you just can't change a difficult situation belonging to someone you love. When you finally realize that it's beyond your control.  When you've tried and tried and given and given and have come near to losing your own health with worry  …. But it's true… you have to let go of it.

I guess you have to let those you love live life on their own terms.  As long as they know (and you know) the consequences are theirs too.

I have found that…. life whispers… and if you don't listen … it gets louder.    Some people aren't good at listening to whispers … Maybe they don't like to be that cautious.  They need adventure and risk.  But listening often keeps us from making bad choices.  Not always… ahhh… we learn from our mistakes too, but the times I've ignored the whispers, things did not go well.

And life is about choice.

We can't take on the heaviness that someone else has created by their wrong choices… We cannot take on the heaviness of their consequences.   Especially when we have given our all in trying to help and mentor and coach and … sometimes even rescue.  Our hearts will literally be torn up.  We can't sacrifice our life for someone who seems to want to waste theirs… as sad as that is…

Ah, but we can pray.   We can love and we can hope.  Situations can change, but usually it's not because of us.  It's because of something outside of our own influence and control.

God doesn't want us to lose our joy.  The joy that life is … and all that life contains!

So let's learn to let go.  Let's learn to say no.  And enough.  … And learn to listen to the whispers before they get too loud.




Friday, July 4, 2014

the treasures we carry with us

Someone who knew my mom well and worked with her for many years saw my picture recently on a social media site.  She reached out to me …. and said I had my "mother's eyes and sweet smile".

Things like that can just make my day.

It's nice to know I still carry so much of her with me.

I feel it sometimes.  Often really.  The expressions on my face.  The intensity in my eyes.  Little mannerisms.  Reactions.  Responses.  My voice.  How I say things.  Even some strengths and weaknesses.

But she had blue eyes.  I have brown.  She tended to be the eternal optimist.  I can be such the worry wort.  She was artistic and creative most of the time.  I only have spurts!  

And yet I feel her.  I feel she is a part of me.  

I'm thankful for people who remind us of such simple, yet such enormous, truth.  

We are all a part of something so much bigger than just ourselves.   And what once WAS still IS in many ways.  Maybe not the exact way we'd like, but love and life goes on….


Mom



Me


Monday, April 14, 2014

life means change

Thankfully, I don't feel like everyone has to agree with me as I may have in my youth.  Seemed more important then when I was young and insecure and needed to believe in a definite "this way or that way" as being the "only" way.  I was forming my opinions, determining what I believed was truth, and defining my convictions.

There are those very close to me who I just listen to.  I don't give my opinion unless asked.  I try to support, encourage, embrace... but I don't have to badger them into believing the same way or the same things as me.

I've seen people badger others though... and it can be ugly.

How we alienate people who we should be loving when we do that.  I have seen people go for years without speaking because they don't know how to put differences aside and just allow themselves to agree to disagree.

Grudges.  What a waste of time.  Sometimes the waste of a life.

What does it matter anyway in the long run?  Not much usually.

Sometimes we need to be painfully honest though if relationships become uncomfortable and we are not true to who we are.  I believe in kindness winning out over telling the whole truth often, but then again sometimes it's more kind in the long run to be completely truthful.  Those are decisions we make every day.

It doesn't make much difference to me to be "right" anymore though.   What I mean by that is that I don't have to make everyone believe the same way I do.  I just have to have peace about my own decisions and beliefs and live them out as honestly as I know how.   I don't get any enjoyment out of arguing a point or thinking I've changed someone's mind.  It's just not that important to me.

I choose peace.

But I do think it's important that the people we love know we love them.... and my greatest joy is knowing they are leading lives that bring them fulfillment, peace and happy moments.

"Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more… to give way to the happiness of the person you love."  -Winnie the Pooh


On another note…. 


What a day today has been!

I woke up to a calm and still morning and within minutes a cold wind blew in and springtime began to receive a severe beating.

video


Now it's cold and blustery.

Sometimes change comes subtly and sometimes it's abrupt.  Days can be like that.  Lives can be like that.  Sometimes change is welcomed… sometimes it's not.

But be sure of one thing…. change does come…..

Makes things interesting!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

recipe of the week #4

Now this is my idea of a salad.

The greens were picked this morning at a local farm.  Baby arugula, romaine, and other baby greens.  I'm not fond of dressing; I'd rather have cottage cheese on the side sprinkled with a few sunflower seeds.

Add some pan-seered salmon, tomatoes, black olives, red onion and you've got yourself a healthy meal for lunch or dinner.  Who needs to eat out when you can make a meal like this at home?

Always makes me feel good!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

old photos



Don't you just love old pictures?  Not only are they fun to look at, but they bring back memories that sometimes would otherwise be lost.  Seeing details in a photo help us remember events and even how we were feeling at a given time.  

Realizing I love fireplaces and woodwork inside houses is no big surprise.  I grew up in a home with the warmth of both.  I remember this stone fireplace and the wood burning in it much of the time in the winter.  My bedroom was right around the corner from the living room, so I could even hear the crackling of the fire.   A vivid memory I have is one Christmas Eve.  I was nearing the age of unbelief in Santa Clause and I heard my mom rattle the screen in front of the fireplace that year while I was lying in bed.  I heard her say something to Santa as he left by way of the chimney and I just knew he had to be real that year!

In this picture I can see a manger and a musical Christmas tree on the mantle.  I am assuming we were just beginning to decorate because there were always many decorations especially around the fireplace. Mom was very artistic and creative.



The table on the left is a drop leaf that mom and dad refinished.   Mom wanted a round table at some point and dad cut off the four edges of the square to make it round!   The eagle mirror over the fireplace is now in my dad's house in Oregon.  It was one of my mom's favorite things.  The love seat also had an eagle pattern on it.

I remember the radio in the corner by the fireplace.  It would announce school closings in the winter when we got a bad storm and the buses wouldn't run.  Those were the best days of all for a kid!  I also remember hearing other news coming from that radio.  One memory I have is of hearing how many soldiers died on a given day in the war in Vietnam.  Seems every day the numbers were announced.

My memories of this house are ones of it being strong and sturdy.  The stone fireplace, and hardwood mantle are etched in my memory.  Heat emitted from the four metal grates in the stone and more than once I woke on Christmas morning with soft or melting chocolate in my stocking!!


Mom and Cocoa 1972


Moments in time.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

very simple veggie recipe of the week #3

I'm ever conscious of wanting and needing to eat more vegetables so this simple recipe will help me do just that.  Especially since I've planted zucchini squash and hope to have some growing strong in my garden soon.


Spray a sheet with olive oil spray.  I like to put down foil first since it makes cleanup almost nonexistent.  Slice the zucchini and spread on top of the foil.  Spray the slices lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and parmesan cheese.


Bake in 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes…

That's it!

Quick.  Easy.


Yum.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

this week, this day

It was a lovely day.  It's been a lovely week.

How can that be?  The last two years have only brought heartache and pain to this final week in March.

How could I lose the best person I've ever known and loved to cancer one year and then my beloved mother the next year?

It seemed too much to bear… and horrible timing.

My gratitude is what drives me on and sustains me… gives me strength and courage to move forward…

I grin at the thought of "getting over it"…. Ahhh…. that just doesn't happen. 

But back to gratitude.  When you have lost a lot you realize some never have that much to lose.  I have been so blessed.  And I am still… so blessed.

I'm still a seeker, still one who is looking for the wisdom that the universe contains.  Still trusting in what I cannot see.

Oh, there is so much that we cannot see….

So I want my life to be used still… to be a fragrant offering somehow…

I've been given examples of strength and love and courage... loyalty and belonging.   Those gifts remain.








Tuesday, March 11, 2014

recipe of the week #2

The new recipe I made this week is one I'll make again and again.  My goal is to use less meat but buy better quality cuts in my dishes.  I feel good using fresh ingredients.

I can't believe I've gone so many years of my life without cooking regularly with sesame oil and ginger.  The flavors are wonderful.

100% Sesame Oil…. get the good stuff.

sliced ginger

broccoli blanched for a few seconds 


all heated through with sauce

Ready to eat!


Beef and broccoli.  Easy and simple.  Of course you can add white or brown rice to compliment.

I loved it!


Recipe is here.





Monday, March 10, 2014

same girl but different


I look at the picture…. this little girl with her beautiful brown eyes looking back at me …..  and I feel compassion and love.  I see the future in those eyes… and I know much of the story she will live.

She was born into a family with parents who were good people… she knew she was loved.   I can see from this picture that she had a mom who cared about little things like bows in little girls' hair and necklaces on school picture day.  Her hair didn't have a natural flip on the end, so her mom somehow gave it a curl before she got onto the school bus at noon time.

I remember hearing how we are more than our present age…. mine being 53.  We are an accumulation of all the ages we have ever been at the present moment in time.  I can still remember being five and I can still remember being 18.  The nice thing about being older is being able to hold that experience of living within you as well… and seeing the world differently than you did at an earlier age...

That little girl has some incredible joys ahead of her and some sorrows that will break her heart into tiny little pieces.  But right now she is growing strong and learning about the world as a five year old should.

The longer I live the more I think I wouldn't have changed a thing because each and every event brought me to the next step, the next life lesson and a new experience.  I'm still curious.  I'm still a seeker at heart and feel such gratitude for all I've been blessed with.

Today I was in a place where I listened to the stories of others … and in contrast to what they were going through in their lives I was keenly aware of the enormity of belonging and love I've experienced in mine.  Sure I've been a recipient of great loss, but we can't have enormous loss if we don't have a lot to lose can we?

Many people never have that much to lose.

I'm learning about courage and how it relates to vulnerability.  Not being afraid to truly be who we are and letting go of who we think we're supposed to be.

I've often been told that I come across as "authentic" and I consider that a great compliment.  Our society often tells us we're not good enough or acceptable enough just as we are.

So I guess if I could tell this little girl anything I'd say to enjoy today, because it's all we have.  Love fully those whose opinions matter to you.  Don't let the world squeeze your uniqueness into a mold that wasn't meant for you.  Don't be afraid to be who you really are and let others see it.   Don't be afraid to be authentically you. Vulnerability is risky but it's full of courage.   It hurts to have our hearts broken, but it shows we were willing to live life wholeheartedly and with full engagement.  I've heard it said that the dark doesn't destroy the light; it defines it.  It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.   Don't fear… we were meant to experience joy.



“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”   Brene Brown




Friday, March 7, 2014

gardening…



Gardening is in my genes if that means anything.  My paternal grandmother had the greenest of thumbs when it came to flowers and through her example she made me want to plant and grow beautiful things.  I can remember her digging up Lilies of the Valley from her yard and bringing them to our home when I was a kid.  We replanted them together and they produced a bumper crop of the sweet-smelling little white bells.  They came back every year and are possibly my favorite flower next to hyacinths.  At least for their fragrance.  My dad grew all kinds of vegetables when I was growing up.  I remember zucchinis and cucumbers and other squashes, tomatoes, peppers and beans… asparagus and eggplant.  New Jersey was wonderful for gardens.


I tried to grow tomatoes when we first moved to our home here, but that didn't work out very well.  I didn't commit to giving them the best soil in which to thrive and they didn't produce healthy fruit.  I've since been pretty successful with herbs and flowers so this year I decided I'd try to plant my own vegetable and herb garden.   I bought a small 4' x 4' raised garden kit and some soil to put into it.  It took a while to figure out where to put it, but once I did I just willed my body to pick up those heavy bags of soil to add to the space where hopefully my baby plants will grow strong.  It's still early in the season and hopefully the freezing weather is over.   Though the extended forecast looks fairly good, I took a chance putting them in the ground today.








Tomato plants, peppers, zucchini, cucumber, parsley, cilantro and basil....


Spring comes a little earlier to Texas than it does elsewhere in the country.  I know my Northern friends are chomping at the bit wanting the warmth of a new season to begin.  The winter has been a hard one this year for so many.





I figure I'll watch what does well and maybe take out what doesn't... replanting along the way.  This year will be a learning experience for me because as usual I'm flying by the seat of my pants and just giving it a try....


.... learning by doing.