Monday, April 18, 2011

The End, or Just the Beginning: Day 40!!!! of 40 Days

The time has come to conclude this lil' daily project of mine. I sure hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. And despite my ramblings of looking forward to the 40 days being over, I have enjoyed the project greatly as well.

Thank you thank you thank you for reading all that I have been writing! Really, thank you. It has been a pleasure to share more of my life with you, more of my inner thoughts and experiences. It means a lot to me to have the support of family and friends in this sharing. So, again, I thank you for visiting my "home," for warming me up inside.

My intentions with the days and months to come regarding this blog are simple. I am going to keep writing. Most likely I will be writing on more of a weekly basis than a daily basis. But I will keep writing. I will keep my door open, keep my self open to you.

And for tonight....I am blogging earlier than normal while Lucas cooks a delicious smelling African vegetable nut soup, sipping on a Pipeline Porter (out of Kona Brewing - yum!), enjoying the lingering evening light outside and the scent of spring on the air, celebrating my first payday today and the gratification of doing well at my new job, and preparing to spend the rest of my evening with my love! Life is damn good!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Balance: Day 39 of 40 Days

It feels like balance is finally returning to my life, somewhat anyway. A newer version of balance. It feels good to be busy again, living a full life, and to be finding all the little spaces to fill with good things. Balance is the key, balance is always the key.

I approach my job, which is not the type of job I would typically try to get, with a sense of curiosity and interest. What I am learning to do is quite complicated, with a steep learning curve. But I am learning it, and my brain feels good under the new stimulation. I can even say that, surprisingly, I am enjoying the work thus far, because of the challenge and because it is using my brain in a way it hasn't been used in a long time. Thus, it feels like a healthy activity.

When I leave work, I let it go. Literally. When I walk out the front door at the end of the day, I make a conscious effort to exhale deeply and and with my breath I leave the events of the day at work. I intentionally try to not bring home any stress or lingering tasks. Home is for other things, for other parts of my self.

With limited free time, I have to fit in my other interests and necessary responsibilities here and there, where ever they may possibly be sneaked in. This is where the balance comes in. I cannot expect myself to clean the whole house in one day. I do a little one day, a little another. If I try to do ceramics every single day, other parts of my self get neglected. I have to moderate myself. Just like I need to moderate how many cookies I eat or how often I drink wine, I need to moderate how much time I spend watching movies, reading novels, doing artwork, cooking and cleaning. To make time for it all, I need to live my life in bits and pieces.

Lucky I am to have a partner in crime, a partner in living. We help each other out. We have started to take turns cooking dinner. This has been awesome. Every other night, while Lucas cooks, I stretch or go for a walk or take care of things that need to be taken care of, and then am fed a warm delicious meal. The alternate nights, I enjoy cooking a healthy meal for us both to delight in, while Lucas does what he needs or wants to do. We support each other in maintaining balance, help and encourage each other to have time to do all the things we love. This is good good stuff.

As I said a few days ago, one of the things I have learned during these past 39 days is that blogging every day is not in balance for me. Blogging this often is not moderation for me. I have done it every day as I committed to, and I am glad that I have. I have learned from the process. I have learned that it is too much, and if I hadn't done it, I wouldn't have learned that. AND, as always, I have no regrets about it either. It was a worthwhile experience, it helped me learn and grow, and I am happy for that. It is part of the continual process of learning how to establish balance.

And now it is about time to readjust and realign and reestablish a new sense of balance.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kraut Time: Day 38 of 40 Days

Tonight I started a new batch of Sauerkraut and thought that maybe you would like to join me in the adventure of fermenting vegetables. Not only are fermented vegetables super tasty and easy to make, they are also packed full of enough amazing health benefits to be considered one of the Superfoods.

The process of making sauerkraut was developed as a means to help preserve vegetables during the winter months in both China and Germany. Immigrants and military found it a helpful way to carry vegetables along during their endless journies, and discovered that they stayed healthier because of it. Rich in vitamin C, Calcium, other vitamins and minerals, and fiber, Sauerkraut is a cancer fighter useful in treating and preventing many forms of cancer. It boosts the immune system, decreasing rates of colds and flus, skin problems, and weight gain. Because it is packed full of benefical bacteria such as lactobacilli, sauerkraut is a powerful digestive aid, and can even help cure an upset tummy, candida, and other chronic digestive issues.

In our home, we like to have a couple of bites before we start dinner, when we feel like we've eaten too much, or when we feel like we are coming down with a cold. Sauerkraut is a great addition to sandwiches, tacos, salads, and more.

The process is quite easy. While cabbage is the traditional veggie to make sauerkraut with, any vegetable can be used, as well as spices, herbs, and seaweeds. The ingredients may be chopped finely or coarsely. The finer they are chopped, the faster the fermentation process will be complete enough to eat the kraut. It is also traditional to use salt to aid in the process. Salt will draw water out of the veggies, providing an appropriate bath for them to ferment in. Salt will also help prevent bad bacteria from entering the process, acting as a preservative. Some people choose to not use salt, and some use quite a bit. The more salt you use, the longer will be your fermentation process. If you need to watch your salt intake, you may choose to not use salt, or very little, in your kraut mixture. Be assured that there are other ways to prevent the rare bad bacteria, ie mold.

This is what I made my kraut with tonight:

1 green cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, shredded
3 Tbls shredded red beet
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbls + 1 tsp salt (you really don't need more than this, though you might play with using less. A general rule of thumb is to use 3 Tbls per 5 pounds of veggies.)

* Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use your fist to punch the mixture. This helps break down the fibers enough so that the vegetables will start to release it's water and the salt and bacteria can start it's action.

* Put a couple of handfulls of the mixture into a glass container. I use a tall crystal vase. Use a wooden spoon to beat/tamp down the mixture into the bottom of the container, compacting it. Add a couple more handfuls. Tamp down. Repeat till all of the mixture is in the vase.

* Next, you will need to put something heavy on top of your mixture to keep it weighed down. My grandmother apparently put her kraut in a crockpot and weighed it down with a brick. In my vase, I nest another smaller glass vase filled with water on top of my kraut.

* Cover with a towel or cheesecloth.

* In the morning, check out what is happening in your container. You should see that a lot of water has been drawn out of the vegetables, depending on what veggies you used. If your veggies are not submerged in water, add enough water so that the veggies are submerged an inch below the surface of the water. No veggies should be sticking out of the water, in order to prevent mold growth. Recover with your cloth, which will help keep fruit flies out.

* Now the magic starts to happen. Somehow, bacteria from the air seeps into the water and then into the veggies and starts the fermentation process. In three days, give the kraut a taste. If you see a film on the surface of the water, skim it off before dipping in to scoop out some kraut. If the kraut still tastes quite salty, it isn't done.

* Check the kraut every 2-3 days to see what it's progress is. You will know it is done when it isn't super salty, when it tastes good, and when it has that familiar fermented flavor. I usually find that my kraut is to my liking about a week to 10 days after I started it. It is fine to let it go longer than this, it will just develop a stronger flavor, and odor. With a little experimentation, you will find what length of fermentation is to your liking.

* When it tastes done, place the kraut in a glass jar, and store in the fridge.

* Enjoy!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Small Town: Day 37 of 40 Days

Riding the bus is always an interesting experience, different depending on where you are, but always interesting. Today, Lucas took the car down to Redding to run some errands, and I took the bus up to Mt. Shasta to spend the day in the studio.

We are lucky that there is a bus in these parts. It runs from our little town of Dunsmuir all the way up to Yreka, the county seat, connecting all of the little towns along the way. The bus runs from around 7 in the morning until 6 at night, roughly every hour, from Monday through Friday. My experiences riding this bus are more similar to those of the country buses in Mexico around Tepoztlan than any bus I have ridden in the States, yet far different too.

The closest bus stop to our house is a 15 minute walk away. There is only 1 scheduled pick-up at this stop: 7 in the morning. If you want to be picked up at a later time, you can call the county transportation office and request a pick-up an hour in advance. When I pick the bus up again to return home from Mt. Shasta, I can stand anywhere along the route and flag down the bus to get aboard, much like in Mexico.

The bus is notoriously late, though sometimes early. Because the bus only runs through town every hour, it become necessary to get out to the bus stop early, even though it will most likely be late. The driving time door to door from my house to the studio in Mt. Shasta is about 15 minutes. This morning, by bus, it took me an hour to get to the studio and 50 minutes to get home.

While I am standing there for 20 minutes waiting for the bus to arrive, I question how much my scarce free-time is worth in money. Is it really worth it to spend this amount of time during my free day to take the bus to Mt. Shasta?? There ARE pluses and minuses to it, of course. Like today, with Lucas taking the car south to Redding, if I am going to make it to Mt. Shasta this is my only choice. It is better for the environment to take the bus. It is much more interesting to take the bus. And, with gas prices what they are, it is actually cheaper to take the bus than to drive!

Gas prices in these parts are shooting up steadily. Right now, we pay $4.37 at the pump. I heard a program on NPR today regarding national gas prices. The lowest in the country right now are apparently $3.50 or so. They quoted the highest current rates as being $4.27 in Santa Barbara and the Bay area. Well, it looks like Mt. Shasta has the rest of the nation beat! Not something to be excited about. But, definitly motivation to take the bus more often.

I can't say that I feel completely comfortable on the bus here. I feel similar to how I did when riding in Mexico. Conspicuous. I feel like I stand out. And so, I know it is a healthy kind of uncomfortable, the kind that pushes me beyond my comfort zone, that challenges me to widen my scope of compassion, and that helps me to be more accepting of others.

I shared the bus this afternoon with a man who was talking to himself behind me, a couple of teens across the aisle who were talking about huffing, and the town drunk at the back of the bus who forgot his bag when he stumbled off, among other riders. The driver was friendly with everyone, talking to and joking with them all on a first name basis. There was a general sense of ease. Everyone knew each other, chatting amongst themselves, sharing town gossip. It wasn't the quiet and solitary bus ride of the city, nor the bumpy ride filled with loud Mexican music, that I have been previously used to.

This is small town living. You tell the bus driver when you get on the bus where you need to be let out, you say "hey" to your neighbor and introduce yourself, you understand that despite our differences we all share similar struggles, and you learn the value of public transportation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clay Groove: Day 36 of 40 Days

Another blogging request I have had this week is to write about art. So, it seems right and fitting to give a little update on my progress in the ceramics studio and future plans that I have.

It has actually been several days since I was last in the studio. What with the parents visiting and the new job, spare time has been limited. Therefore, I am soooo excited to have two days off in a row, tomorrow and Saturday, during which I can totally devote my days to the studio. I miss it dearly!

I have felt an incredible sense of fulfillment generated from working with clay again after such a long hiatus. I love what I am making. I love the momentum I have already established, the creative doors that are opening up in my mind as I make more and more, and the very real possibilities of selling my art that are beginning to become available.

Lucas and I have decided to try to sell our artwork this summer at a couple of festivals. I would be selling my ceramics, and he his didjeridoos. We named our co-buisness "Stalks and Stones," already have a facebook page started, and are hoping to soon launch an Etsy site as well. So far, we have only applied to vend at one festival this summer, and recently found out that we got accepted!

Harmony Festival, in Santa Rosa, CA, looks like it is going to be fun and fabulous to vend at. The festival apparently draws in around 35,000 people throughout the 3 day event, and our booth will be on one of the main pathways towards the main stage area. Check out the line-up! I am super excited!

Being that this festival is less than 2 months away AND that I don't yet have a large inventory, I need to get crankin' in the studio! My hope is that I will be able to spend my days off in the studio, apart from little jaunts into the sunshine and forest, as well as mornings before my 11a.m. punch-in time at work.

Time to learn to manage my time. Time to start getting out of bed earlier. Time to get my clay groove back on!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celebrate Love: Day 35 of 40 Days

It was suggested that I write a little bit about my upcoming wedding in August at Stewart Mineral Springs. Without giving away too many of the planned details, here we go.....

SMS is located outside of Weed, California, and is about 30 minutes north of where we live. The property covers 40 acres, with a river running through it in addition to the hot mineral springs. This area has been considered sacred by Native Americans for generations, and many continue to visit to soak in the healing mineral waters. It is a beautiful spot, and a perfect place for us to have our ceremony.

Because there are several cabins and other indoor accomodations, in addition to unlimited camping, we are planning to have as many of our wedding guests as possible stay at the springs for the whole wedding weekend with us. We realize that everyone invited is going to have to travel to attend our wedding, and so we want to be able to spend as much time with all of them as possible. Not just for a few hours during and after the ceremony, but all weekend. The whole weekend should be filled with opportunities for us to connect with our guests. It will be a weekend of reunions and of sweet quality time in addition to a wedding!

The planning is going well so far. We have a lot of the big tasks already taken care of. Guest list. Venue. Dress (currently being made :). Celebrant. Photographer. Save the Date cards. Invitations (just starting to be made :). And we are working on making the next big decisions: Music and food. There are sooooo many things to think about! And so many opportunities have already presented themselves for me to practice letting go and relaxing. As much as I want the weekend to be perfect and fun for all, I also want to set myself up to be happy no matter what happens and to be relaxed in the moment. It has been awesome to have so many people helping already, and to have so many others offering their help.

I am so looking forward to sharing this weekend with my dear friends and family. I am excited to declare my commitment to love in front of these witnesses, to feel their collective support, and to celebrate love all weekend!

It is an amazingly powerful thing, really: To be preparing to stand in front of a large amount of people and declare my love for Lucas, to be preparing a party to honor the people who have loved and supported us throughout our lives, and to hope that our celebration and ceremony will inspire all attending to celebrate the love in their own lives as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Letting Go: Day 34 of 40 Days

Thank you to those of you who have written to me with ideas of things to write about in the coming days. It is helpful to have the prompts as inspirations and lovely to have your support and interest. Please keep the ideas flowing, folks! They are really appreciated. And I will try to get to them all! Thank you!

The first question I received today by email may be the hardest to answer. But it is a good question and one worth really thinking about. A friend asked me how I go about letting go of the things that no longer serve me, how I let go of the things that don't shake free very easily, things that I may not WANT to let go of but know are in my best interest to.

I try to be in constant awareness of my habits and behaviors, my thought processes, my moods, and my attitudes, as well as how they affect me and the others that I am interacting with. Being in a committed relationship, in which I am with the same person every day, helps me see these things more clearly. This becomes possible when I am able to be fully present in the moment. I see the aspects of my self that make living more difficult and those that help make living more enjoyable and easy, for everyone. Every day, I try to choose the enjoyable and easy over the difficult and negative. It is really a daily process, a continual process of assessing, of catching myself earlier and earlier in my habitual patterns of behavior. Of willing myself to stop that pattern even if it is in mid-stream.

But, foremost, we have to WANT to change in order to be able to change. We have to see the benefits of doing so. We have to be willing to no longer live with habits that do not serve our highest good and the highest good of those who are in our lives. Without that personal motivation, it is hard to grow.

For myself, this continual daily process of letting go is greatly helped by the daily meditation that I do. (Though I will admit right here and now that it has been several days since I have done this meditation!! And I can tell the difference in my well-being as a result!) In the Burning Inner Anger meditation, I fully inhale for a count of 2 seconds and fully exhale for a count of 2 seconds, continuing for 11 minutes. At this pace, it feels like a fast pumping of the diaphragm.

As I am breathing in this manner, I scan through my day and pick out the moments where I felt flashes of anger, fear, resentment, selfishness, impatience, stress, overwhelm, saddness, etc. The moments may be on a personal level or on a more global level. With the force of each exhale, I try to send the negative feelings and their sources out of my being with the breath. Because I believe that our bodies hold our emotional and psychological tensions and anxieties, I imagine as I am exhaling that I am wringing the accumulated negativity from every cell in my body. I release these things individually with each breath, over and over, sometimes day after day, until I start to think of them less and less and they eventually go away.

As the days go on, I find that I am able to do this process more and more in the moment, not just during my meditaion. I find myself in a situation where I feel stress or anger, and I notice it. I make the choice in that moment to let that feeling go, taking a deep breath and exhaling it completely from my system. Then I am more likely to be able to start from a fresh calm place.

I don't think there is a sure way to let go of the things that no longer serve us. It is a process. The process is continual. The process is individualized. Negative habits are hard to break. They need to be replaced with positive habits. When I inhale in my meditation, I imagine that emptied space I created with my exhale as being filled with good things...patience, understanding, love, light, compassion, generosity, trust. The more we focus on feeling these positive things and less on the negative, the stronger are the positive neural pathways that we build and the more likely we are to automatically have those thoughts without effort (rather than the negative or undesireable.)

Being continually aware of these habits is a powerful way to let go of them. When we are aware, we start to notice that we are engaging in this habit earlier and earlier. And then we can start to stop the habit earlier and earlier in it's sequence. It is a process. We need to be patient with ourselves and forgiving as we stumble over ourselves in our learning.

I know that I have a lot of growing left to do, a lot of learning as to how to serve my highest self in the most positive way. So, here is to our processes of letting go and letting in the light and the love that surrounds us to help us in our growing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nudge Me: Day 33 of 40 Days

It is late again as I sit down to write. I am tired. I don't know what to write about. And honestly, I am not really wanting to sit in front of the computer any longer today. It has been a long day of facing one screen or another.

And anyway, in this newly busy life of mine, it has become harder to find inspiration of what to write about. My mind wants to rest. Including today, I have 8 days left of blogging. How will I fill these 8 days with words?

So many of you have mentioned to me that you have found my posts to be inspiring. It feels ironic now at the end of the 40 days to feel un-inspired myself.

I have to ask you, will you give me some inspirations, please? Please send me either a private message or leave me a comment with some ideas of things to write about in the next several days. I would love the inspiration I have given you to be reflected back at me!

Life is good, and I am happy. I am just needing little nudges from my people right now with this blogging practice!

Thank you thank you thank you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snow Falls: Day 32 of 40 Days

Since it has been awhile since images have accompanied my words, today I will share a few pictures from some of the adventures we have had during our parent's visits.

These first pictures are from Hedgecreek Falls. These falls are located in Dunsmuir, just a few miles from our house, and just a couple minute's walk from Interstate 5. They are beautiful and impressive in their fast tumbling over a rocky cliff as the water makes it's way to join with the Sacramento River far below.

The coolest part about these falls is being able to walk behind them, being able to feel the cool spray on your face and the thundering force vibrate through your whole body. Here is Lucas' mom, Vicky, as she makes her way around the backside of the falls:

Today, we took my parents up Mt. Shasta where we did a little snowshoeing and walking around. The parking area at Bunny Flat (elevation 6900 feet) is lined with snowbanks that tower over the cars. We estimated that the snow level here is somewhere between 10-15 feet above the road level. This picture shows the bathroom at Bunny Flat nearly buried by snow:

Because the snow has melted and condensed a bit since the last storm, we sank little into the snow as we followed a wide arching trail through the trees. The view was amazing of the surrounding Cascades. The sun peeked through the clouds just enough for us to feel it's warmth on our faces. The quiet stillness of the mountain calmed us and gave us a wonderful afternoon together.

These have been good times, indeed. It feels good to have our families know where we are living, to experience it first-hand, and to see that we fit in well with this place. It feels good to spend such nice time with them, to share this beautiful place, and to plan our next visits with each other.

Again, I am feeling lucky and grateful for the wonderful people and experiences that fill my life!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Life's Fabric: Day 31 of 40 Days

So far today I have sat in front of the computer for at least 7 hours, mostly due to work!! If this is a pattern, I can see blogging taking a lesser role in life after these 40 days are over. And they almost are.

We are in the home-stretch now, nearing completion of this big commitment. And so, I am starting to think about what I have gotten out of it, and where I will go with it next. I know I will continue to blog, and more frequently than I was before these 40 days. But, I am anticipating that because my free time is becoming more scarce and thus more valuable, finding balance with what I do with that time will also become key.

Balance. I am always seeking balance in order to maintain my happiness, health, and sanity! It seems neccessary to constantly re-evaluate my activities and how much time I devote to all of them as everything else in life constantly shifts. The more external obligations I have, the less time there is for myself. And so, I will need to give a little devotion to this, a little devotion to that, here and there, in order to keep the balance, to nurture all parts of my self. The physical, the emotional, the spiritual, the mental, the creative, the social.

I know there will be a large part of me that will miss writing here as much as I have been. I HAVE gotten a lot out of it. I enjoy it, even on these late tired nights. But, ultimately I know that it will need to shift to allow more of the things that I enjoy to be maintained in the fabric of my life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Forward Looking: Day 30 of 40 Days

Tonight, I give you the answer to another question posed to us bloggers on the NaBloPoMo website:

What is one thing you are looking forward to this weekend?

It is hard to narrow that down to one answer, honestly. There are many many things I am looking forward to this weekend.

First I am looking forward to a full day off of work. I have had to work every day since my parents have been visiting, and so it will be simply lovely to be able to spend a full day with them before they leave.

Along with that answer comes the next. On my day off, my family and I are planning to spend at least part of the day on the mountain. I am not sure what we will do, really. But, just being on the mountain in whatever capacity is worth it. It feels like I haven't been up there in so long, I am starting to go through withdrawal from it's supreme goodness!

I am also looking forward to the warm sunshine that this weekend reportably may bring. Can you believe that it snowed AGAIN in Mt. Shasta last night and today? It didn't stick to the ground, but the wind was whirling and the snow was indeed falling. I am soooo ready for spring.

My last thought again brings me back to another thing to look forward to with my upcoming day off. Because I am finding myself exhausted as I write my blog post at 11:30pm again, after so many days in a row of doing so, I am looking forward to having a day off so that I can write earlier. And also, to have time in the day to think about what I am going to write about!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wonder Full: Day 29 of 40 Days

Today was my first full day of work at my new job. My little office nook is almost totally set up and organized. It is hard to believe that I have my very own desk and computer and cabinets at a job! While I will be doing a little bit of the sales floor work at the crystal store, most of my responsibilities involve processing the purchase orders for the crystal singing bowls, i.e. computer and filing work.

One highlight of the work day was getting paid to sit in on a crystal singing bowl demo that my boss gave to my family for an hour. Yep, apparently part of my job includes being able to hear and feel those beautiful tones from the crystal bowls mingling with each other! They are relaxing, centering, energizing, inspiring, and empowering.

The second perk of the day was having Thai food during my lunch break, also with my family, around the corner from my job. De-lish. And then, while I sat upstairs in my office getting trained, I could hear my family down in the store, literally for hours, as they examined all of the beautiful stones on display. The job ahead of me is going to be complicated to learn, and confusing to figure out. But, I am excited for the challenge.

The day passed quickly. And the week with Lucas' mom, Vicky, passed amazingly fast. Tonight was her last night with us in Dunsmuir. It was wonderful to have her visit for so long, to have her and my parents finally meet, and to share the beauty of this place with her. It was a fun time, and funny to hear the Texan twang creep back into my voice under the influence and presence of her accent!

Really, it has been a fun last few days despite the busy new schedule. I feel so lucky to have spent a life with a wonderful family, to have a wonderful life ahead of me with Lucas, and in turn to be inheriting wonderful inlaws! Life is wonder-filled and wonder-full!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Babies n Sushi: Day 28 of 40 Days

Exhaustion is setting in. I woke up too early today, 2.5 hours before my alarm. The early part of the day was sprinkled with random inconveniences like this. Yet the day ended well, with random delights also sprinkled in.

This morning I lost a contact lens while in the Chamber of Commerce and found them to be closed when I realized my mishap. Later, after driving home to get a fresh contact, I went back to the C of C. I quickly and easily found my contact, squashed in half and dried up on the entrance carpet. Thank goodness! Now, it is rehydrated and waiting to be used again.

During the day, I crammed in moments of studying for the infant massage class that I taught this evening. I was a bit stressed and overwhelmed throughout the day, anticipating the class. But, the anticipation turned out to be the worst part of it. In reality, teaching the class was wonderful and smooth. 4 families turned up, and an additional 2 are exected to join us for the remaining 4 weeks. The babies are so sweet and precious. Their smiles, coos, and enjoyment of the massage totally brightened my day. I loved the process of sharing this wonderful information with the families, seeing the babies respond so positively, and see the hope spread on the faces of parents who have been feeling stressed about their baby's fussiness. It was wonderful.

Afterwards, the long day was rewarded by dinner with the family at the local organic sushi place, Vivify. Wow. It was truly amazing. Delicious and fresh and original. And so wonderful to share a lovely meal with loved ones, all enjoying the food together.

Now, my bed awaits me. And tomorrow we begin again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Loving Life: Day 27 of 40 Days

This past year has been relatively relaxed for me. Not being employed and having few obligations will do that for ya. It has been quite a nice treat for me to have this long of a break!

This week, things start to shift. I start my job today, hopefully. My Infant Massage Course starts tomorrow. Lucas' mom has ben visiting for the past 5 days. And my parents arrive tonight for a week long visit. All of a sudden, everything is happening.

Although I will miss this phase of early retirement, all of these new things are wonderful and exactly what I want in my life. It will all provide me with a good practice to maintain balance and health from being busy again. I will have to relearn how to fit in moments of yoga, art making, meditation, healthy cooking, relaxation, exercise, time in nature, and time with special people, all amidst my busy work schedule. I am happy and glad for this.

This might mean that in the coming days, especially while my parents are in town, that my blog posts will be shorter. This is good practice for me too. I know that when I write I tend to be wordy. My posts always seem to be longer than I intend them to be. They become a lengthy read for you all.

So, while I will continue to blog daily, my goal will be to make the entries short and sweet, more to the point.


Right now, I am outside enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin as I write. The breeze is blowing. Lucas is outside with me, working on one of his didj's. His mom is on a bike ride. I am waiting for a call from my new boss as to when to come in today to get started. Today at work, I will be setting up my office space, with the help of Lucas. Yes, he is even getting some temporary work out of this new job of mine! And then my parents arrive around dinner-time tonight.

Life is good. All of this waiting-time during the past year, during the past several years really, for all of my life's pieces to start to fall into place, is over. Now it is all happening. The life I have been waiting for, NOW I am living it.

I am grateful that there are still more pieces to come, still more things to look forward to in the coming years. It is just a wonderful feeling to have this momentum, this movement forward, this experience of living the life I love.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Curried Soup: Day 26 of 40 Days

Today, I will share with you another of my recipes. It has been a hit with many folks. Relatively easy to make and full-fledged vegan, it is full of different flavors, hearty, and filling.

Eat it with bread or rice, a salad on the side, and you will be happily rubbing your tummy at the end of the meal.

My Curried Sweet Potato Soup:
3 small sweet potatoes, chopped
2 cups water
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbls coconut or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 large shitake mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbls+ curry powder
1/8 tsp+ cayenne pepper
2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp thyme

* Place sweet potatoes in a soup pot with water. Bring water to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook until sweet potato is very soft.

* Meanwhile,in a small frying pan, heat the oil. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are transparent and soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, until soft.

* When sweet potatoes are soft, add the coconut milk and blend, either in a blender or with an immersion blender.

* Add mushrooms and onions to blended sweet potatoes. Stir in seasonings. Add water to desired consistency.

* Reheat. Serve with rice or bread and salad.

* Enjoy!!

Thank you for reading again. And thank you for trying my recipes! Trust me, this is a good one. You won't be disapointed!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fresh Start: Day 25 of 40 Days

I haven't yet signed up with the online blogging community NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), but maybe I will. The website offers monthly themes and daily prompts for postings, as well as a little extra traffic and certain challenges that result in cool prizes. I am at a loss for what to write about today, so I will use NaBloPoMo's prompt of the day:

How do you usually feel at the beginning of a journey?

I am a last minute packer. But, I also really like to try to leave for my journeys at the time I originally planned to. I was bred to be punctual. Being a last minute packer and being punctual do not always work so well together. And so, as I am preparing for a journey, I am usually quite stressed and overwhelmed and frantic.

The hour or so before I leave is spent packing, tidying house so it is in a good state when I return, tying up loose ends, double checking that I have what I need, and being loaded into the car at just the right minute to be able to leave on time. Then, and only then, can I relax and enjoy. It is once the journey has begun, after all of my ducks are lined up in a row, that I am fully excited about the journey. I can then focus my attention and energy on what I am about to be doing. I can daydream and plan my adventure. I can anticipate what I am about to experience. The prepatory doing is over, and I can be fully present with the journey itself.

The stress is gone. The sense of being overwhelmed is gone. The frantic preparations are gone. As the journey begins, I leave all of those anxieties at my own front door. Starting fresh. Starting clear. Starting new. The beginning of a journey is like the beginning of a new chapter in life.

I am open to what the journey holds for me. I am excited to have something to stir up the mundane predictability of life. I have the sense that my time on the journey is both expansive and limited, and so I commit to being fully present in every moment, to fully live it and appreciate it.

I love to go on journeys. I love to share the adventure with another, to share the joys and beautiful landscapes, to be prompted to experience things I normally wouldn't. And I also love the solo journey, where I can move at my own speed and be fully led by my own nature. Both have their own flavor, both have their own purpose, and both have their own stresses and benefits. Either way, a journey outside of my daily life, outside of my known routine...this is such a wonderful way to let go of stresses and let in new inspirations.

The beginning of the journey is the source of all of the benefits that come from the entire journey. The benefits begin as I take those steps out of my front door, leaving behind the attitudes and perspectives that I don't need to take with me. It is my fresh start.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thanking You: Day 24 of 40 Days

Thank you for envisioning a positive interview for me today! It worked! But not in the way that I had envisioned it would!

Life works in mysterious and perfect ways! When we open to being alive in the mystery, life can sometimes surprise us with it's perfection and serendipity.

My interview today was at a clothing store in Mt. Shasta. It is a nice place, with really nice people working there, but not my ideal job. At this point though, with how the job search has been going, I would be totally happy to work there. It would have been 10-15 hours a week, working with an older clientel, using my creativity to design displays, and using my detail orientation in working with numbers in the Books. The interview, or "informal conversation," went quite well. It felt like the owner and I clicked well enough, and that I could pretend to enjoy the work enough to do it. I left the interview with both of us expressing our interest. But as the owner had already scheduled a couple more interviews in the next week, she said she would get back to me about the job.

I called Lucas when the interview was complete. He was at another local shop where I had also put in a resume a few days ago. I went to meet him there. He met me outside, to tell me that the owner had been trying to get ahold of me regarding their open position.

To make a longer story shorter....this owner was really impressed with my resume and had indeed called me to set up an interview. I never got the message. My phone must have not recorded it properly. And so when she never heard back from me, she prayed to the universe that I would come into the shop.

And today, I arrived at the door of her store, unknowingly answering her call. Upfront, with no interview questions, she offered me a full-time job at a higher wage than I would ever expect in the area. The shop, The Crystal Room, sells amazing and beautiful crystals and crystal singing bowls. In addition to working on the sales floor, I will be assisting the owner with the crystal bowl ordering, learning a lot about this wonderful sound-healing tool in the process. I will not only feel good about the products that I am selling, but I will also be in a situation that will challenge me to learn and grow and move forward on my path.

So, I have a job! I start on Monday! And I think that I am really going to love working there! I won't have to just pretend to enjoy it, I feel like I will love it. It feels as though the owner and I were both praying for each other, and serendipitously both of our prayers were answered. When I was sitting with her, I also had this strong intuitive feeling that I have a lot to learn from her personally. That one of the main reasons I was drawn to live in this area is to learn some important life lessons from this woman. Unsuspected perfection.

For the rest of the day, I have felt a tremendous sense of relief coming over me. A huge weight is being lifted off of my shoulders. The pieces ARE really falling into place. It finally seems that we were right when we decided to move here.

In reference to yesterday's post, I do really believe that what we put our thoughts and intentions into is what we are more likely to receive from life. If we worry about things not working out, they are more likely to not work out. If we envision things working out for us, they are more likely to do so.

And so, I thank you for working with me to envision employment working out for me today.

It did. WOO-HOO!!

We are completely capable of creating what we dream of for ourselves, if only we would believe in it!

What do you want for yourself? What is the most positive thing that you can envision for yourself in the near future? Can you let go of the doubts and worries that get in your way towards realizing these dreams?

I see now that worrying in not productive. Worrying does us no good in helping ourselves create our dreams. Believing and trusting that we are capable of what we hope for is a powerful means towards making these hopes possible.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Envision Joy: Day 23 of 40 Days

"Worrying is like praying for what you do not want." ~ Evton B of Indubious

Indubious is a reggae band from Southern Oregon, starring 2 brothers who both have Cystic Fibrosis. Their lyrics are rampant with positive outlooks on life, happy and uplifting. Both brothers have surpassed the life expectancies that their doctors gave them, by years and years. However, Evton has recently had to take a break from the band to focus on healing related health complications, as he waits for a potential lung transplant.

I read a posting of his today on the band's website. His writing reflects his inspiring perspective on life. It is refreshing and beautiful. He reminds us that as long as there are other people in the world who are suffering more than we are, who are dealing with more hardships than we are, we need to be counting our blessings. Even in his current state, he sees that his life is filled with blessings and potentials that other's may not have.

I read of so many people who survive cancer, near death experiences, or other traumas whose lives are changed by their trials. They are able to find pure happiness by just being able to live one more day. All of them seem to want to communicate to the rest of us how important it is to not wait for trauma to find us in order to really start living and loving our lives. They seem to *know* from experience how fleeting and fragile this life is. Once our time comes to pass on, there is no turning back to live our life differently, there is no opportunity to change the choices we made in the past.

So, knowing this, knowing that life is so fragile and precious....can we find the pure joy and beauty in every little breath that we take, in every day that we are alive? Can we feel gratitude for the blessings that fill our every moment? Can our actions towards others reflect this? Can we shift our attitude? Can we let go of regrets, live fully, take chances, forgive others, and really truly allow ourselves to be happy with what we have in this life?

Lucas and I have been feeling a bit of stress lately, with the employment situation being so dismal after being here for 2 months. But after reading this, we are reminded that there are plenty of people world-wide that have struggles and worries way more intense and precious than ours. And anyway, worrying does little to improve our situations. I would rather believe that HOPING and TRUSTING helps us to create what we want for ourselves. Really we have so much. We have each other. Shelter. Family. Safety. Health. Potential.

And tomorrow I have an interview! Please envision it going well for me, leading to a much needed job!! 1pm PST. Thank you!