Monday, January 31, 2011

Breathing In Kindness

One kind word can warm three winter months~Japanese proverb

I took this picture at sunrise on the day of my birth in 2008. I reflect on the power of the sun's ability to shine even through the darkets of clouds. The heart is our "inner sun". It has the ability to open and allow us to feel love, even when the minds tells us to "close it down" and keep ourselves safe. But what do we miss if we play it safe? What experines pass us by if we are not willing to take chances? If we cling to what we know because we fear rejection, what amazing experiences are being pushed away?

I can't see the road ahead, I can only work with what is in front of me right now. I think one of the most important aspects of happiness is being willing to look at and work through some of the inner most fears we carry. Being afraid to get hurt often leads us to hurting more deeply than we need to. With enough worry,  fear and uncertainty floating around our personal worlds as well as the globe, I hope we all remember to share at least  few sincere and kinds words, with ourselves and one another. 

Letting our light shine isn't always easy. Picking ourselves up after a fall requires great strength. Having our hearts broken indicates we have loved deeply. That is something to celebrate.....after the pain lessens.  The greater the risk, the harder the fall.........or the higher the rise.....depending on how we choose to see it. And maybe, just maybe a more expansive viewpoint is what we are rewarded with when the dust clears? It doesn't have to scar us, but it can help shape our choices in the next moment and the moment after than and the moment after that...........

For all of you that read this, for all of you who are dealing with uncertainty, sadness, pain and fear, both known and unknown, keep that flame in your heart burning. It will serve you well. It may not make sense right now, but happiness is waiting for you, just under those clouds of doubt. Hold on to hope. Cling to possibility. Even if you can't see it yet, the light will find you.  

What kind word do you most need today? What kind word can you give away?

~A special thank you to my cowboy buddy, Ross, for today's inspirational quote~

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I haven't had a lot of time to knit, it will be a wonder if I ever learn to purl or add any other touches. Just the same, I adore the cre8tion of a simple scarf. I am absolutely LOVING this color!

It's been a busy week, more so than expected. I have many ideas to write about; thank you for all the WONDERFUL comments!

I will catch up soon, God-willing, right after...ummmm.....2026!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Puddles of Mud

What do you when life hands you
mud? You can splash in it, play with your child (or inner child) and forget about the world for a bit.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

So......what would you like to read about?

I had a curious thought pop into my head........and since I'm feeling adventerous I'd like to open this post up to you, my very dear blog readers. I've written about my farm ventures, what I enjoy doing, the antics of my family and even a bit about my career and what I do here in this big 'ol world. I offer classes, both group and private, on a variety of subjects. I'd like to know if there is anything in particular that you, my readers, would like to read about?!?! Any topics that catch your eye, any themes that you'd like me to share my experience about?

What would you like to hear from me? Or are you good with my randomness? I kind of shutter here, it's sort of like I am back in high school waiting to draw the extemporaneous speaking topic! So let me hear you, either in the comment section, FB notes or good old email,  if there is something that you'd like to hear more about. I'm always surprised to discover that a theme I may be working with is similar to one that others area dealing with. It confirms that we are all in this together. I don't claim to be an expert on anything; my intention is to inspire, delight and motivate others. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.

My inbox is waiting..............

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going To My Happy Place

I am typing at the kitchen table and the wind is howling outside. I’ve been working on ki readings and enjoying this Saturday at home. The cold, damp, blustery day makes me want to go to my happy place.

This is a location I am extremely fond of. I rarely, if ever, visit it in the winter time. I’m sure it still beautiful qualities though I don’t venture too far off the beaten path, save for fetching groceries or going to basketball games. In the summer time, this scenario changes drastically. When the weather warms, I start preparing for camping season. I think it’s in my blood. My mom has pictures of me as a wee little tike in the back of the pickup topper that we used to take to Merritt Damn. My brother and I learned to water ski before we could drive. Any spare day we had, we begged to go to the river or to the lake.

Of all the places in the world, one of my favorites is the Niobrara River. It's a place I return to as often as I can. I LIVE for camping. There’s just nothing I like better than to sit by the water, watch the clouds roll in and out, listen to the lapping waves and just BE. I sometimes take a book and music, but mostly I just sit. This is what I dream about all year; when the deck is covered with snow, when my hands are freezing from milking the goat, when I curse the wind for nearly killing my back door (it is REALLY on it’s last breath here), when I slip and slide and nearly fall on my can, I stop, take a deep breath and……………go to my happy place!

Maybe camping appeals to me more because it is not something I can do all year round. It is a limited season, which is why I don’t feel bad when I hit the road for the weekend and go hang out somewhere near water and do nothing. I could very well be at home doing something productive, but why? Why would I want to miss an opportunity that is not as easy to access in the dead of winter? I dreaming of going camping all year long and when those invitations arise, I take them, guilt free, no matter how much I think I need to get done at the 'ol homestead. We hook up "Let'er Buck" and point her north to the Niobrara. Life is GREAT.

So, let the wind blow, let the ice, snow and sleet have their way for now. I know it can’t hold up against the warmth of summer, fireflies and full moons that are alive and well in my heart. I’m dreaming of a cozy camper with a fire ring blazing nearby, a trio of guitars strumming along, good food, great friends, stories, laughter, flip flops, shorts and tank tops. C’mon Summer……..I know you’re out there. I love you. I miss you and I am ready for you to steal me away from Old Man Winter!


Apparently I didn't load the here it is
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Friday, January 21, 2011

My Fav Color

I've posted often about my love of knitting. It keeps me grounded and focused. I'm more aware of colors and textures since I've started working with yarn. My new favorite color is lemongrass......I can almost smell it. I can't wait to wear it around my neck!

Maybe, just maybe I will finish it this weekend. I'm hoping for a little downtime.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To Beat The Winter Blahs Part III

Today’s installment of How To Beat The Winter Blahs arises from something I’ve been doing consistently since fall. It’s likely not something that would feel like resemble “a big deal”, yet it has made an impact on my outlook and perceptions, especially in the heart of a very cold, snowy winter season.

I’m talking about the blessing of chores and animals that rely on our care. Many of the people that read my blog are persons who take care of others, both in human and animal form. Service to others is actually vital to our well being! Taking care of others, be it feeding hungry animals, scooping the walk of an appreciative neighbor, giving a friend a ride to work, or making a home-cooked meal are all ways that we can connect more deeply to those around us.

It is easy, at least for me, to become closed in and constricted. I don’t like to go out and I hate being cold. So what is the one thing I have to do EVERY DAY? Feed animals. It doesn’t matter if it is 100 or 10 degrees. They rely on my for breakfast and supper. I find that when I make the effort to go out of my “comfort zone” (not without my smartwool socks and beanie) I open into a more expansive point of view. I notice the unique snow formations around the tomato tank. I appreciate the warmth of the coop and praise God for the invention of heated bowls! I notice and appreciate far more than I would if I was in the house and didn’t have such tasks to tend to.

I think it is easy in our fast-paced society to forget about the importance of service to others. Looking directly into someone’s eyes, expressing a sincere thank you, letting other people know they genuinely matter, even if the weather sucks, can and does lift the spirit. I believe this and I practice it daily.

It may seem hard to believe, but I have an intense hermit streak that I occasionally have to give in to. I could easily stay right here at home, not leaving for a month to connect with the outside world. I’m at home BEING ME! While that is great and good, it can close me off to others and the outside world. I forget that my problems and challenges are the same as those shared by others. I forget that “I’m not the only one that has ever felt this way.” Connecting to others and being in service IS important. Winter does make it challenging to get out and stay connected and yet, making that effort to get out is what can also free us from those blah, yucky feelings. I’ve found it’s usually not what we want to do, it’s what we know we need to, do that can get us unstuck!

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching to anyone! Several friends and even clients have asked what I do to remain “bubbly and sunny”, (me bubbly?!?!) and these are my recommendations:

1.) Surround yourself with LIFE, green, living growing things and especially vibrant colors. When it’s cold and dull outside, it is important to refresh and enhance our inner environments. Consider changing your pictures and art to brighter shades and tones. Just because it’s crappy outside doesn’t mean it can be colorful and refreshing inside!

2.) Get out and move. Move your physical body as much as you move your mental body. If you are in an office, it is VITAL that you get some time outside, breathe in fresh air and take the opportunity to be in nature. Winter tends to slow things down, moving helps counterbalance stagnation.

3) Be in Service To Others: No matter what flock you are tending, do it with full out JOY. Taking care of others can help us appreciate our gifts, traits and talents. It can also broaden our perspective as well as boost our own and others’ moral. The challenges that we deal with are likely the same as what others are dealing with too. Isolation and depression can be lifted when we share directly with others, especially when we can help them in a meaningful way.

Of coarse there are MORE ideas (always are!) so please share your favorites in the comment section below!

Happy sledding, or skiing or sliding or snowball fighting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How To Beat The Winter Blahs Part II

Weather wise today has been really blah. It was, and still is, cold and crisp. That break in the weather yesterday was a rare treat. We all knew it too. Whispy white flakes of snow layered the grown as I looked out the north window, though it didn't amount to much. It was just a reminder that winter is still very much present.....and it's not going to go away for awhile.

To counterbalance the effects of this season, I'm making at effort, sometimes a HUGE one, to get out and walk. While I'd love to walk at the same time every day, this doesn't always happen. Every day is different from the next and following a schedule has never been a forte of mine. I do set the intention to get out in nature and go for a walk daily, whenever the opportunity arises. This morning I rushed inside to get to the many things on my list. As I knocked them off, one by one, I contemplated skipping my walk: it was cold, blustery and well.......COLD. I dislike freezing and sweating so I tend to not enjoy my winter walks as much as those in other seasons. I mean really, if you have to wear a coat to work out, what's the point?!?!
My point is this......get moving! Even if you are not trying to firm up, shed pounds or get in shape, taking a walk does refresh your entire system and shifts your focus. I'm the first to profess that I am not a fan of winter and cold and yet sometimes, it is the perfect antidote to flaring tempers, poopy attitudes and the feeling of constriction that comes from being inside. Cabin Fever, SAAD and other forms of lower energies is probably a direct correlation of being stuffed inside for several months.

Of coarse we know this is true, yet, what we know does not always direct our actions. I could tell I needed to do something different when the kids were home and I had a claustrophobic reaction to their fighthing. Mama HAD to get outside! I don't think I've walked that hard and fast for a long time. The good news is, no heads rolled, all bodies remained in tact and I was able to "cool off" significantly (while sweating profusely) before I re-entered my quasi-Utopia! It made such an impact that night that I've been taking a daily, fast walk since. I can't really tell if it is helping my figure, I'm still piling on the layers but I'll make that assessment come Spring.

While walking certainly hasn't erased all my frustrations, it has helped a great deal in giving me time to refocus. I do feel more relaxed, refreshed and rejuvinated. There is still a part of me that would love to spend my day on the couch, wrapped in quilts and covered in great books, I just keep putting her off until next Sunday.

If you haven't hit the road in a whille, I encourage you to do so. It may be just what you need to get the blood pumping, lift your attitude/outlook. Even if you have to wrap up in a few extra layers, there are still many "treats" that Mother Nature has to offer. It's not her fault we have to suffer through this miserable

Please note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely based on the author's long standing attitude towards the drab, miserable, seemingly never-ending cold weather harbored by Winter. Someday when she has the funds to do so, she will live in a place that has summer year 'round. She will spend most of her day in a hammock, gazing at the ocean and an abundance of living GREEN plants. If you live in an area that is lusciously green and warm this time of year, please send her a picture, she's completely forgotten what is is like to be in such a location!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seeing Red.....

A close-up of view of the dashing RED petals!

How To Beat The Winter Blahs.....Part 1

The difference in yesterday and today is like night and day. Yesterday we woke up to a frosty, foggy day that stayed bone-cold all day. It was pretty to look at but not to be IN. I came in to a hot, home-cooked breakfast and was thankful to see the perky, red blooms of my geraniums. I don't know how I got through previous winters whithout these delightful plants! Nothing denotes the look of home and garden more than geraniums. I love their light scent as much as I love their red petals. This is just the elixer I needed to get through a very blah day.

I purchased six potted plants last spring and two adorable geraniums that went in pots on either side of our entry way. Sadly these, with pretty pink petals, became fodder for the renegade goat (the same goat that ate my tomato plants not once, but three times). Being the frugal person I am, I was not going to let $60 worth of geraniums die with the first frost. No sir! At $10 per plant, I was not going to loose money by forgetting about them in the cold. I brought them in, trimmed them up, added soil to their wind/weather damaged appearance and made a nice home for them on the little red kitchen cart. The cart is the best storage device I have right now. If I put the squash in the pantry, I tend to forget they are there. I don't have a root cellar and our downstairs storage room is already full and a little on the warm side for root vegetables. The cart was an impromptu effort to keep the plants off of the floor. I'd taken two of the plants downstairs but with the wood stove and dry heat they weren't fairing well. Add the fact that they weren't being watered with half-full supper glasses and shrivel starts to happen.

I'd had the idea of hanging them in our south facing window, and again, space is limited so we added hooks to get them off the small cart. That brings the count to three on hooks, two on the cart and one in my bathroom, which also gets fair amount of sun during the day. I took this photo after the "hanging" and it brought a smile to my face. I now have a reminder of the past summer and the one to come; I'll take these back to their spots on the front of the house, garden shed, back door and chicken coop. I also have to say it was quite refeshing to take in the brilliant red petals on a very grey day. It was as if summer was just around the corner. And then......this morning........ an early spring appeared! Now I know that this is just a teaser, but I'm fine to be had in this way. It has been a most, sunny, glorious, WARM day and I've soaked it in. I remember now that I miss the chirp of birds and other sounds of spring time. It's challenging to describe, you just KNOW the energy of spring, that fresh, upward rising energy. Ahhhhhh!

So if you are finding the winter days a bit too harsh, I highly recommend bringing bright, living blooms into your space. We can't make winter go faster but we can find ways to infuse spring/summer within each day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Ususally Like Sundays

Sundays, in my mind are ideal days to lounge around and savor the day. Piles of books to be read, scarved to be knit, dogs to scratch, coffee to drink, dreaming, puttering, relaxing. This is not how Sunday went down in my world today.

Upon our return from Mass, I jaunted outside to take care of a much needed task, cleaning the coop. I do this on a monthly basis, staying on top of the stink, even in deep winter. While I cleaned, Chad cooked up a delicious country breakfast consisting of potatoes, onions and left over sausage. It was delicious.

After that, the day just flew by. We spent quality time together working on Robyn's accounts and receipts. Poor Chad has his work cut out for him! My forte does not lie within such tasks as tax preparation. I know it is necessary and now I know I need a new, more efficient system of organizing what I buy and when. I am a very right-brained girl. It appears that I need to incorporate more left-brained techniques into the rush of my day. I have some ideas in mind to make it easy for Chad at the end of the month. This includes having a bill file near the door and my purse, so that I am not just "chunking" receipts into a basket and lugging them downstairs to be seen at a time fare into the future. I guess I've just discovered my New Year's resolution........again. If I remember right I tried this several years back and was clearly not successful!

So here we are, on Sunday evening. I'm ready for bed and praying that I do not dream of lost transactions and unaccounted for receipts. Though this wasn't my ideal day, I feel fortnuate that I live with a left-brained person who is wiling to put this all into a computer and make it "come out right". He needs to be patted on the back, living with me is not always an easy thing to do, especially when it comes preparation!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The chore threads

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Chore Attire

This is what I wear to work every morning: warm sweatshirt, beanie, smart wool socks, various layers. Smile is optional.....
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Stress Relief

I design cards when the day' s events become too intense. I play with paper, scissors, glue and markers. There I said it.....Im a scrapbooking and craft addict.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Have the Power To.........

Dear Blog Readers,

I miss you! I haven’t forgotten about you. It seems that this new year has arrived equipped with rocket fuel and I am being projected forward is several exciting and unexpected ways. Don’t worry though, I’m learning (albeit slowly) to balance all these fabulous experiences and you’ll soon see more in-depth and hopefully entertaining posts.

I’ve not been able to “mobile blog” as much because my old phone fizzled out. I replaced it with a different version and while I love the larger screen (MUCH EASIER TO READ) it is not conducive to sending random thoughts on the go. Again, adjustment required (seems to be my personal theme these days!)

So where do you find yourself being whisked away to as our year gets under way? As a Nine Star Ki practitioner (what I do when I’m not doing anything children, animal, home/ranch related) I can look at energetic themes and trends within each year and month. My personal themes indicate deep personal change and transformation which is both exciting and frightening. And the truth is it is all how we look at the situation(s). Do we cling to what we know? Or do we throw our hair back, jump on and ride the wave?

Perception, how we CHOOSE to look at any event or situation is going to be KEY to our happiness in the year to come. I’d like to share a wonderful quote shared via my good  'ol cowboy buddy, Ross, “If you’re not blessed thankful or lucky………change” ~Karma

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Our happiness, our reality is entirely based on the perception we adopt. We can wake up to a gorgeous, snow crystal world, one that is unique and rare and could never exist in July or we can wake up grumbling and cursing old Man Winter. We can bundle up and build snowmen in a small town in Nebraska or we can ignore the opportunity to make other people laugh, sulking about this and that.

I really don’t know where we’re headed in the coming months but I have a pretty strong idea that how we choose to look at each day and every moment is going to determine our highest levels of success.

Face the sun, open your mind and heart and go forward to infect everyone around you with a positive, loving attitude. Together I DO believe we can all move mountains and……….huge piles of snow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I love that some cre8tive person(s) made snowmen on main street in Maywood!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Summer Thoughts.............

These are just two of my summer icons~pineapple and spinach. Unlikely combinations and ones that probably should not be combined in the same meal but nontheless, they bring a summer sensation to my tastebuds.

I only buy pina when there is a good deal. It's rare that I would be willing to pay over four bucks for one; when they get down to two, I'm in.

Spinach is just a versatile food that I can always find a dish for it to go into. I grew my own for the first time last spring and it was DELICIOUS and easy. Did I mention easy? I actually tossed the tiny seeds into the ground and didn't expect much. It grew as good as most of my weeds, which means it's perfect for my garden.

I was fortunate enough to get several cuttings from it and even sent a few lucky Rafter Lazy H visitors home with a bag or two. Today, I noticed that my pile is nearly gone. BS decided that she adores these leaves as well and that is what she chomped down for lunch (with an ample amount of raspberry vinegarette dressing).

We'll cut the pineapple up for a snack later today. The kitchen has been cleaned, laundry is about to be tackled and then there's a pile of mail and a movie to watch. The kids are home today because of the snow so classes, computer, writing and anything related to high-levelthinking is likely a lost cause~!

I think I must really be missing summer. I've caught myself more than once in a daydream of riding a flashy, red cruiser bike down the street. My hair is blowing in the wind, the sunshine is kissing my face. I have an assorment of veggies and fresh flowers in the basket in front and I am just gliding along on a warm, windless my shorts and tank top........with sunscreen and flip flops......ahhhhhhhhh  Don't wake me 'til Spring!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Today had presented a perfect opportunity to relax, snuggle down and get real cozy! I have much to catch up on and much to share and will do so........later. You know after a movie, after the scarf is knitted, when the snow melts.......Wow, I just sounded like my kids! Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tangy Spinach Salad

Do you ever have a recipe you can't get out of your head? That's where I was this morning. The boys went off to school and I set my mind to tidy up a bit. Pake will play at halftime of the ball game tonight and both boys play in a tournament tomorrow. And so it begins.............

Where was I? Oh yes....I didn't do a great job of picking up last night. I worked on my toe, post bone spur removal and quite frankly, I was in a great deal of pain. One of my intentions for the year is cleaning and clearing the kitchen counters every night, no matter how exhausted. Last night I hurt, badly. So I was standing as little as possible.

I started in today with an impossible to-do list. Nothing earth shattering, just a lot of little details to tend to so I feel ready to relax into a few games of basketball tonight. One of those included mucking out the mud room. Oh my. Coats, caps, gloves, mittens, boots, shoes, you name it. Cramming a family of five and all the winter gear into a teeny tiny room is a recipe for chaos! This requires constant upkeep just to keep the floor clear and have a place to walk.

So in the midst of these to-do's  I kept thinking of this great spinach salad I'd made a while back. I bough fresh salad yesterday, I had a huge craving for it and just couldn't pass it up. I LOVE spinach. I don't know where this started coming in. During my raw, vegan days I lived off the juice and found why it was so popular with does given an incredible, almost super hero surge of energy. I grew spinach in my garden last year and it was FABULOUS. I aim to have it back again and would also like to try a fall/winter garden. It is so versatile too. I include it in sandwhiches, omlettes, dips and salads.

In my rush I grazed through my recipe drawer and found a couple version but not the one nestled on my tastebuds. I remember it had eggs and chow mein noodles. I now have an abundance of eggs so this would be a good way to use them up. My scouting was in vain.

I cleaned and cleaned. Came back into the kitchen and did this incredible thing.........I S L O W E D  D O W N and took a deep breath. If it meant going through my tangled draw to find the recipe I would do it. I knew it was in a cooking magazine that my mom gets for me every year. I read them, I mark them and they go into the drawer. BINGO!  (really amazed at what clearing one's mind for a few minutes can do!)

I thought I'd share this as a way to boost your vitamin and energy levels as we approach a very deep winter:

3 Tbs. cider vinegar
3Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. ketchup
3 Tbs sugar *I used 2 Tbs. warmed honey
1 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp onion
1 pkg (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/3 cup cho mein noodles

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the first six ingredients and shake well.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, eggs, and chow mein noodles. Drizzle with dressing. Refrigerate leftovers

My Version:

Since I was the only one eating this I made a custom version for me. It was actually so tasty I had seconds.

I took a small plate (as pictured) put on a couple of handfulls of spinach, chopped an egg, sprinkled the chow mein noodle and drizzled on the dressing. If you use sugar, I would suggest using only a couple of tablespoons of sugar it's pretty sweet with the original recommendation of 3 Tbs. I also double the dressing ingredients so I don't have to make additonal batches. This lasts in the fridge for a week or better, but it's usually gone before then!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

New and Fresh

A new beginning is here. A new year, a new day, each morning a new dawn. I'm soaking in gratitude.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

An Excellent Reminder............

My work is done for the day, it's time to head outside and enjoy what is left of the day. There's still enough snow on the ground to have a little fun; it's time to hook the sleds to the Ranger and go for a spin. We'll see who the "survivor" is today!

Hope you are all taking a little time to play and relax this week.