Sunday, February 28, 2010

Everything in here is Homegrown!


Today was cold drab and dreary and such conditions call for something warm simmering from the crockpot. Though it wasn't ready as fast as it could have been (she who shall remain nameless) neglected to turn the pot on hi (oops). We were able to skim our way around the potaotes and dive in.

There was enough that we were able to dine on this meal a second time (no one complained, they were all starving after basketball practice tonight) it dawned on me that everything, yes EVERYTHING in this pot came from our place. The round steak is homegrown Nebraska beef, raised at the Johnston ranch, the potatoes, onions beans, corn, carrots tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes were harvested from last year's garden as was the super secret ingredient which really gave this one pot meal its "kick".............rosemary! I have to toot my own horn here a little (a feat I generally try to avoid)! Only in the past 5 years have I become more of an experimental cook, venturing into the realm of herbs, spices and other natural sources of taste and flavor. My "weeds", as my famly refers to them are delightful to grow and harvest. There is nothing better for me than plucking and smelling fresh rosemary, mint and basil...........yum. Last fall I harvested and dried several. Even now, months later, in the dead of winter, the smell of summer and all her memories come are here to greet me. Rosemary is summer and all of its abundance to me.

One of the projects that I am working toward is becoming more self-sustaining. I don't alway hit the mark, in fact I have a long way to go. I fall prey to convenience and speed, which often translates to unnecessary waste. For example, the plastic liner on the crock pot, while saving clean up time, is not a healthy or an environmentally friendly choice. Crossing that one off the grocery list for next time.

I have to say that while it is cold outside, my heart is greatly warmed tonight. There's something really satisfying about being able to grow, harvest and create delicious meals at home. I have my sights set on additions to this long term plan. I am hoping that little peeps will arrive soon so we'll have farm fresh eggs and by May, we will be enjoying fresh goat milk (and cheese). I can't tell you how pumped I am for that. Small steps. I am celebrating smalls steps this night. I'll grab my knitting, sip a cup of hot tea and snuggle down with my little furball. Life is good, life is really good when you take the time to savor every bit!

Robyn's Rosemary Veggie Beef Strew:
random cuts of meat, around two pounds cut into bite sized pieces
onions roughly chopped
green beans 2 cups
sweet corn 2 cups
shredded carrots
quart of tomato juice
handful of rosemary
dash of cilantro

Funny, I used to not think I could cook anything if I didn't have exact measurements. Chad and I once visited a friends house and he gave me a bad time about measuring the water for mac n cheese out of a box (true story). I see that I am becoming one of those "old timey cooks" that I used to look up to............or I've gotten more bold and brave in my late 30's!
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

You've Come A Long Way.........Hair!

That's me in the middle, in short hair! This was taken at my brother and sister-in-law's wedding in May of 2006. People that I have met in the recent past don't realize that I once had really short hair. My family is amazed and astonished that I had the patience to grow it out and I tell them that I haven't done this alone! One of my best friends, Barb Barraclough, has gently guided and supported this process.

There are several reasons that I've choosen to grow my hair out, some silly, some serious, some reasons may only make sense to the brain this hair now covers! What strikes me and thus the reason for this post is how much we ALL change. I just wrote about change in the NAJPA newsletter this week. We have two choices in the midst of change; align with it and accept it or resist it. The later is what also invites pain, frustration and stress and frankly, who wants that?!

I am continually amazed at how others around me change, specifically my children. I am go grateful with the technology we have today as the camera, phone and computer so easily assist us in documenting the daily changes that are easy to miss. One peek at pictures and scrapbook reveal the changes that scan slip away, easily undetected right before our eyes. I wake up one morning to find our precious little "spice pumkin" is 4 years old, our big hazel eyed, dimple wearing boy is 8 and our little red-haired cowboy wears shoes the same size as his mama. (tears rolling now!)

With most of my focus on family, home and possible career paths, the last place I tend to focus is on me! Most mom's I know are in the same boat. I know that I change too. Mostly the changes I look at our inner ones though I must admit, I do cast a passing glance in the mirror............just checkin!

Then one day, I realize that I too have.............changed, on the insight and out. Nearly two years ago when I went through the Journey training,, I targeted some specific inner changes and transformations that I was ready for. Looking back I see that I am in a very different place now, physically, mentaly, emotionally, spiritually. Its been a long road and that old saying (eventhough it was for cigarettes?) You've Come A Long Way Baby, comes to mind.

I still don't like to wake up early, I despise cold weather and squash is still not one of my favorite veggies. I am a lot more bold than I used to be. I am willing to stand up for myself though I tend to avoid confrontations when I can. I recognize my triggers though I don't always cock the hammer!

Every now and then, when I am walking by a mirrior and I now see long, dark hair falling across my shoulders and it makes smile. This is the change the I've been waiting for. I think I am about to hit my stride...............

Inspiration From an 8 year old


Parker Ray
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I've been working on reacclimating to my home space this week. The process has been slow as there are so many mini-projects that are begging, shouting and fighthing for my attention. I don't believe my office has ever been in this much disarray, nor my laundry/mudroom, nor the bathrooms, nor the..........I'll spare you the details you get the idea. It is at the end of the month so the Ki Consultations that I prepare for clients go out on Monday. Is it me, or has February flown by?

I am guided to share how my son impacted my life the other day. This is the seaon of lent and we observe this time at our house by refraining from some, if not most of the pleasures that food offers us, primarily sweets and deserts. I tend to avoid giving up those things for the 40 days of lent and focus on self improvement endeavors. We each announced our choice of what we would "give up." Ok, I have to be honest here, I am not into giving up ANYTHING! I loathe self-deprivation. Feeling total peer pressure from my clan I shared that I would avoid desserts, sweets, chocolate (all my beloved food groups!) I remembered a time when I was much more disciplied eating mostly whole, raw, natural unprocessed foods. The results were fabulous, I was much more slim, trim and energetic. How I got away from that is another post!

So feeling resentful and not at all wanting to participate, I appeared to join in, but secretly had no intention of doing so! The next day, inticing gummy peach rings were being snuck from the cupboard and then I got BUSTED! Parker caught me and reminded me that just the day before I had given these up. Dang.

The next day, we went to two different locations, each offering sweets to the kids. Parker respectfully declined both times. When pressured he accpeted the sucker, said thank you and when we were in the car, he gave it to his sister and told her to enjoy it. Wow.

He was feeling a little sorry for himself on the way home, though he didn't say anything. When we got home I took him aside and shared what I had observed. I told him how I was not really into "the lent thing" and that I really wasn't wanting to give anything up at all but when I saw his courage, his will power, I was inspired! He beamed. Big alligator tears formed in those gorgeous brown eyes and slowly trickled down his freckled cheeks. Thanks Mom, he said. I'm proud of you too! And then I returned the motion, and tears flooded me as well.

I shared that we can all learn a lot by looking at our habits and sometimes letting go of things we really think we need or like. I remember when I was about his age, I gave up bubble gum. I loved gum, way more than any kid should have! I wasn't required to do so, I did this to support my best friend who gave up gum, pop and candy. Interestingly, I completely lost the attachment to gum after that! I have chewed gum but its not something that I even think about.
I've done this with other habits too; I am now rethinking the ones that are up for change and transformation. Time management, picking up and putting away used items and keeping my space clear could make big difference in my efficiency and allow me to get to those projects that I feel are coming down the pipe! I have big plans for my future but I can see I am doing to need a bit more discipline to entertain those experiences.

After a year of being under the radar so to speak, I feel like I am now coming to life! I often work with people who have given up so much that they cannot remember what it is to indulge and really enjoy themselves and all life has to offer. Many are distracted by all the fear, worries and what ifs. I am finding that it isn't about giving anything up, it is about making choices that create more supportive, richer experiences AND being open and able to find the meaning in every day life situations. I'm glad I was paying attention and even more so, I am glad that I spoke to Parker and acknowledged his choices! I have to wonder what our world would be like if we spoke those words of encouragement and recognition a little more often? We don't have to go looking for miracles, they are around us all the time, it is simply a matter of stoping long enough to see who and what is appearing before us and then having the courage to tell them they are on the right track.

Thanks for reading and indulging me in this moment of intense recognition, gratitude and awareness! I'd love to how you've supported someone along the way or how someone has supported and inspired you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What I'm Into

She makes playing a clarinet cool. I played clarinet for 6+years. I never sounded this good or looked that cool.......ever! Had I known there was a future in it, I may have stuck with it. I've been studying the violin and am deeply enticed by the banjo but I suppose my first love will always be the clarinet. So far, Home to You is my favorite.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So Close........Yet Still Far Away!





It is days like this that I love, ones laced with brilliant sunshine and enough warmth that I don’t curse the minute I step outside the door. Such days remind me spring IS around the corner, and I don't need a definite calendar date anymore to give me hope (Nebraska weather is like a reaching into a bag of jellybelly jelly just don't know what you'll end up with!) I realize I am probably being beleaguered here but that’s ok, I’m game!

Winter hasn’t been nearly as hard on me this year. I am finding the comforts of hearth and home deeply nourishing. Knitting and good books have filled in the gaps where gardening and golfing once resided. It’s close enough now I can start to dream again of laying in my hammock, relaxing by a campfire, gazing at the stars and moon, puttering in my garden and playing golf on Tuesday nights with the girls. Good times ahead!

Soon these drab, dreary, dry, brown hills near Wells Canyon will be sprouting green shoots and I simply can’t wait! I don’t love spring. Spring means mud; I do appreciate the season of spring though because this is how we get to summer, and summer, well, I melt just thinking about it.
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