Thankful for Habits of Health

As I prepared for a busy day, two days before Thanksgiving, I was especially thankful for habits of health. In a rush to get out the door, it would have been easier to skip my normal health boosting drinks and just grab a piece of fruit to go. It would not have been better, however. Habits kicked in. I’m grateful.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Celery Juice for Healthy Digestion

Celery juice is a health elixir. It’s the first change I made in my diet, more than two and a half years ago. The difference in my digestive health has been profound. Celery is an alkalizing food that counters acidity in the body, easing stomach disorders and calming the intestinal tract. I feel the difference, if I go without celery juice for several days. Read more about the benefits of celery juice HERE.

On a busy day, I need to take the time to care for myself in powerful ways. Standing in the kitchen, drinking 16 ounces of fresh celery juice was exactly how I needed to begin my day. To prepare, wash one bunch of celery, trim off leaves (juice can be bitter with the leaves) and run stalks through a juicer. One bunch of celery makes 12 – 16 ounces. Drink immediately.

I’m thankful for this green juice.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Detox Smoothie

While I sipped celery juice I prepared my second morning drink. I alternate each day between a fruit smoothie and a detox smoothie. It was a detox day. My 32 ounce drink contained 1 banana, 1 pear, 1 orange, 1 cup of wild blueberries, a handful of fresh cilantro, fresh aloe vera gel, and a spoonful each of hemp seeds, chaga mushroom powder, Atlantic sea dulse and Hawaiian spirulina. Typically I include barley grass juice powder too. I’m out and have more on the way.

I’m grateful for this powerful drink as well. It pulls heavy metals and toxins from my liver, thyroid, and brain. Drinking this yummy mix eliminated restless legs syndrome, something I suffered with since childhood. When I travel overseas, I drink a detox smoothie every day for the 30 days prior to flying. I travel well as a result, without restless legs or leg cramps.

I’m thankful that these strong habits overruled my perceived need to skip my morning routine and get out the door. My body benefitted as did my day.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This time of year people ask me what I eat during the holidays. They are curious. Do I stay plant based?

I do. I know I would not feel well if I spent even one day eating meat or indulging in foods rich in dairy products, refined sugar and eggs. For Thanksgiving, my family gets together. My adult kids prepare a traditional meal. I bring along plant based foods for me and Greg to eat and to share.

I tried out two new holiday worthy recipes, with great success! Find both recipes HERE.

I won’t be eating turkey and all the fixings. Instead I’ll dine on acorn squash stuffed with a delicious rice, pear, cranberry and veggie “dressing”. With something new, I do a trial run. I made enough to take to the family meal on Thursday. The savory blend of veggies with pears and cranberries was wonderful and the squash was tasty as well.

I’m thankful for plant based options that are “fancy” enough for holiday meals.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

In lieu of sugary desserts after the Thanksgiving meal, I’m offering a light, subtly spiced pumpkin bread. Dairy, gluten and egg free, the recipe uses coconut sugar and pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar.

This was my first time preparing a vegan pumpkin bread. It won’t be my last! The loaf has a rustic look, however it is moist and slices perfectly. I enjoyed a couple of slices of pumpkin bread with hot tea, after dinner. It was so incredibly good. I’ll prepare another loaf tomorrow night, to share Thursday.

I’m thankful for gluten free products and options such as maple syrup and coconut sugar.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Clear Skin Tea Blend

I ended this long day with a custom made tea blend. I’ve been reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William. It’s such an amazing book and I’m grateful for Anthony and all the healing information he provides. I’m excited to experience this next level of health that focusing on my liver will provide.

Reading about how healthy skin is connected to the health of my liver, I realized I had several of the herbs Anthony recommends as supplements. I combined them to create my own clear skin tea blend.

In 2 cups of very hot water, I combined 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm, 1 teaspoon dried licorice root, and 1 teaspoon dried nettle. After steeping for 15 minutes, I sipped my special blend. It was so refreshing, so good. Each of these herbs supports and enhances liver function and heals and soothes an overheated liver burdened with toxins. Cleansing the liver ensures healthy, radiant skin and slows the signs of aging.

I’m thankful for the healing power of foods. I’ll be drinking this tea several times a week.

My day is ending, as it began, with drinks that nourish me at a deep level. I’m thankful that I’ve created health habits that support me and keep me healthy.

Thankful for Habits of Health

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

Tonight the 5 Daily Gratitudes met the Sunday Shorts. The smash up of the two creates Five Inspirational Gratitude Quotes, allowing me the opportunity to share my favorite quotes about the practice of thankfulness. As we head into Thanksgiving Week, it seems the perfect way to be aware of all we have to be grateful for.

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

It’s Grateful People Who Are Happy

This quote, by person unknown, is one that intrigued me years ago. Thinking about the words shifted my perspective then, and continues to now.

The moment I look for happiness outside of myself, I am doomed. External situations can change…people leave, things get lost, doors close. When happiness is connected to others, to things, to outcomes, to anything, it fades away when those connections are broken.

If I’m not happy it’s up to me to create it. Gratitude, for what I have right now, shifts responsibility for happiness back to where it belongs…on me. Gratitude is a life changer.

How can you take back responsibility for your own happiness?

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

It’s a Wonderful Day

The gratitude quote below by Maya Angelou reminds me that each new day is just that…new. It can seem like a typical Monday or an ordinary Wednesday however the reality is, I’ve never experienced this particular day before. What can I do with the day I’ve been gifted?

If days seem too routine, too much the same, it’s time to shake things up. This is the journey I set out on five years ago, and I haven’t looked back. What new thing can I try? How can I do this differently? And my favorite…what game can I play today? Life truly does become an adventure when it’s viewed with fresh perspectives and a sense of playfulness and the willingness to move beyond comfort zones.

What new thing can you try, to shake up your day?

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

The Tide of Love Rushes In

If there is an area in my life that can disappoint me, it’s this one…People. People are amazing, helpful, loving, kind. And they can be the opposite of all those things. Sometimes the people that I expect the best from don’t offer their best…not even close. And then I feel disappointed by their behavior.

The important words here are “I expect”. Placing expectations on another sets us both up for a negative experience. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and yet what freedom comes, for me and for the people in my life, when I can let go of expectations and accept who people are and let situations be what they are. Let go. Move on. Don’t rehash things. These are all important steps. Focusing on gratitude allows me to shift from disappointment to openness and love.

What gratitude could you focus on…and what could you let go off, so love can rush in?

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

Learn to Be Grateful

This Jim Rohn gratitude quote beautifully expresses where I live my life. I dwell in the space between being extremely grateful for all that I already have, and intentionally pursuing all that I yet desire.

I love that these two states can coexist. Neither excludes the other. I am full of gratitude, which in truth, fuels my dreams and guides me ever onward and upward. My simple prayer, all day long, is “thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Make a list of what you are grateful for…and another list of all that you still desire. Express gratitude for both lists.

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

Bookending the Day

I saved the Louise Hay quote until last, for good reason. How powerful it is, to begin and end a day with gratitude, no matter what happens in between. Even before getting out of bed, I stretch, smile and say “thank you” and allow myself to feel anticipation for the new day ahead.

At the end of the day, after lights out and before sleep overtakes me, I mentally flip through the events of the day, and feel gratitude, express gratitude, for all things. What I don’t allow myself to do is dwell on a negative experience, or rehash an event. If I catch myself doing either, or find myself creating stories about possible outcomes, which is a form of worrying, I bring myself back into the present moment with my special word “adsum“. And then I immediately go back to expressing gratitude.

It’s behavior that can be learned, after unlearning old habits. I am much more aware of the flow of life and the blessings within it, when I focus on gratitude.

What morning and evening ritual can you create, to express gratitude at the beginning and end of the day?

As we move through the week ahead, and gather with friends and family to offer thanks, may we express gratitude, for all things.

Five Inspiring Gratitude Quotes

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

With warmer weather today, and cooler temps predicted tomorrow, it was the perfect afternoon to do garden maintenance. This time of year brings a bit of sorrow with it, for me, as plants die back and leaves fall and colors drain away. As I worked snipping spent blooms and pulling out dry annuals, the words faded glory came to mind often. There is much to appreciate about this time of year as well in the garden, even as it prepares to sleep.

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

Noticing the Energy

What I noticed as I began the task of removing annuals that were nipped by the cold last week, was how different the energy feels in the fall. I much prefer to tuck living, growing plants into pots and containers, over pulling up brown, dead plants. It is a necessary gardening task. I don’t have to like it!

I expressed gratitude, however, for each flower, each plant, as I removed them. How quickly the summer passed. Until the heavy frost last week, these flowers in Annie’s red box still bloomed. This plant on the baker’s rack still grew. There is a time and a place, indeed, for everything under the sun. A time to grow…a time to wilt away.

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

Garden Cat

Sensing my mood, perhaps, one of my cats appeared and stayed close. Rilynn is the smallest of the three cats, a brother and two sisters, that I rescued as kittens. They all have their own quirky personalities, and I am hard pressed to say which among them is the quirkiest. It might be Ri though. She is tiny, with a sweet face that looks like she dipped her nose in an inkpot. And she is ornery, independent, and sometimes downright odd.

She watched everything I did, following me from the front deck, to the raised veggie bed, to the backyard garden. Rilynn loves the garden, more than the other cats. This is her domain. She suns in the garden every afternoon. The tall ornamental grasses are her playground where she hides, or naps, or pretends to stalk prey. Any container, whether it is full of flowers or not, might be selected for her nesting spot.

As I emptied  flower pots and trimmed back dead stalks, Rilynn kept me company, pouncing on waving grasses, swatting playfully at my hands, running back and forth in gleeful abandon. I’m grateful for this little gardening companion. She made me laugh more than once.

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

Faded Glory

Everywhere in the garden, colors had faded, green leaves and sturdy stems had shriveled and turned brown. I know this happens every year, and yet it surprises me still, the suddenness of the change. Warm temps continued well into October and colorful leaves still fluttered on trees, until the sharp drop in temperatures and a cold north wind ushered in snow.

My clematis vines had rebloomed, because of the mild fall. As I worked in the meditation area, I paused to study the blossoms that hung there. These large flowers exhibited faded glory indeed. And yet, there was beauty still as well. They reminded me of aging…and how even as looks or hair color fades, and wrinkles and fine lines appear, there is beauty that shines forth from a soul that has embraced life and bloomed with abandon. I left those flowers where they were, grateful for the visual reminder.

I did gather a basketful of dried herbs. Lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, basil,  chamomile and sage, dried by the change in temperatures, are still aromatic. I had a plan for these herbs.

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

Goodnight Garden

Fittingly, the sun dipped below the horizon, as I completed my gardening tasks. I’ll use an electric trimmer, on the next warm day, to cut down the rest of the stalks still standing. Only the ornamental grasses will remain throughout the winter. They display faded glory as well. The cold leeched away their vibrant green color, however they are beautiful still, in shades of gold, brown, cream and beige. And their tassels wave merrily in the breeze.

I watched the sky change to reds, pinks and purples. Just as I raised my phone to snap a photo, my sister, 100 miles away, sent me a pic of the sunset in Oklahoma. How serendipitous! I felt a connection with my sister, knowing we were both appreciating the same gorgeous sunset. And I felt deep gratitude for all the goodness in my life. Turning toward the back door, I paused to whisper, “Goodnight lovely garden. Rest well.  I’ll wake you in the spring.”

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

Offering Up Gratitude

I completed a little ritual this evening, that has become a tradition as the garden falls asleep. Using the dried herbs that I gathered in the garden, I lit a small piece of charcoal and placed it in a ceramic holder. While the charcoal turned ashen, I lit candles throughout my bedroom, tiny lights flickering against the darkness that had already fallen.

When the charcoal was ready, I added bits and pieces of the herbs. The wispy smoke that coiled into the air was fragrant with lavender, lemon, basil, chamomile and sage. Inhaling deeply, the aroma seemed to settle gracefully around my heart. This ritual is a benediction for the garden. The smoke carries with it my prayers of gratitude for another season of growth and blessing. I am thankful for the backyard paradise that I have, thankful for the beauty and peace it offers, and deeply grateful for all the joy it brings to me. So be it. All is well.

Faded Glory: Goodnight Garden

 

No Unimportant Days

On this joyful day the tone was set by a quote that popped up as a memory on Facebook. The words reminded me that there are no unimportant days. There can be simple ones, uneventful ones, sad or happy ones….but each day carries significance and meaning. I loved the way the gratitudes flowed together today.

No Unimportant Days

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

I got to try the dragon fruit this morning, that I purchased yesterday. Amazingly, one of the grocery stores I visited, as I stocked up on groceries, had three of the exotic fruits in stock. I purchased one.

Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C, protein, fiber and other micronutrients, making it a superfood that offers many healing benefits. Check out today’s Food Friday post on Journey With Healthy Me to learn more about dragon fruit.

I used the fruit to create a yummy and colorful smoothie for breakfast. My smoothie contained 2 bananas, 1 dragon fruit, 1 cup of frozen wild blueberries, 1 teaspoon of hemp seeds, 1 teaspoon of Hawaiian spirulina, 1 teaspoon Atlantic sea dulse and a small amount of bottled water.

I’m grateful for health boosting fruits!

No Unimportant Days

Doing Laundry…at Home

For months my laundry room has been out of service. First the washer quit working and turned out to be beyond repair. Then, Greg decided to use that occurrence as an opportunity to do needed work on the room. My house was built in the late 1800s. Utility rooms didn’t exist then. A small back porch had been converted into a space for a washer and dryer. It has served well enough for the 35 years I’ve lived in the house…however, it was time for improvements.

I’m grateful for the work Greg did. The room looks less like a back porch…and more like a utility room, with bright walls and a new floor. And I have another washer. Best of all, after months of doing laundry at the homes of various family members, it is so nice to be able to wash and dry clothes at home again! It’s a simple pleasure, but a significant one to me, to be able to toss a load of clothes into the washer…and then go do something else that needs doing.

Thank you to my mom and daughters, who allowed me to use their laundry facilities. And thank you Greg, for all your work.

No Unimportant Days

Homemade Veggie Soup

Another simple joy today involved preparing a big pot of homemade vegetable soup. As I purchased fresh produce yesterday, I had this soup in mind. I used to say I could live on bread, soup and diet Pepsi. Well, it turns out the bread and diet Pepsi were not contributing to my best life. However soup, especially wholesome soup that I make myself, is wonderfully filling and nutritious.

Here’s what went into my soup today:

1 yellow onion, chopped * 3 garlic cloves, minced * 2 celery stalks, chopped * 3 carrots, chopped * 4 small potatoes, cubed * 1 can non GMO corn * 1 can non GMO green beans * 1 can non GMO northern beans * 1 can non GMO lima beans * 2 cans organic diced tomatoes * 4 cups organic vegetable stock * 8 cups water * 1 tablespoon sea salt * 1/2 teaspoon black pepper * 2 teaspoons cumin

In a large soup pot, saute onion, garlic, celery and carrots in small amount of olive oil. Add potatoes, vegetable stock, tomatoes, water, sea salt, pepper and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, or until veggies are cooked through. Add corn, green beans, lima beans and northern beans (or any variety of vegetables). Simmer a few more minutes.

I’m grateful for the healing goodness of veggies…and delicious, warming bowls of soup!

No Unimportant Days

Mastering Technology

Okay, mastering might be too strong a word. However, even in the midst of unimportant days there can be triumphs. I have been steadily working on the blogs, building traffic, and tweaking things on the technology side. As I’ve pointed out before, technology can be quite challenging for me.

I am not a quitter though. When I can’t figure something out, I keep trying, keep going and keep coming back around to it.

Today I accomplished something that I attempted to do months ago, and failed at. I connected the blogs to Google Analytics. This is a totally behind the scenes tool that helps me analyze important data. I could not make it work before. Today, I made it happen relatively easily. Why today? Because I keep learning too. I’m grateful for a blogging class that I am taking, that gave me the confidence to make another attempt. And I’m thankful that these things really do get easier, the more brave I get about plunging in.

No Unimportant Days

No Unimportant Days

I’m grateful, truly, for this day of routine tasks, household chores, simple cooking, and good food. I don’t mind at all that the highlight of my day involved a geeky computer activity. I’m smiling about it all.

In between all those moments were tucked texts to and from family, songs from Queen, brilliant sunshine streaming in the windows, cats curled up on my lap, and errands that had to be done. Everything was accomplished with joy and gratitude in my heart and the awareness that it all matters and that a life lived well is what is important.

I get to define what a life well lived looks like to me. And I am most grateful for that, as well.

No Unimportant Days

Robust Gratitudes

Today my thankfulness grouped in a cluster, around the topic of health. I called these my robust gratitudes. Health is, sadly, one of those things we take for granted until a crises occurs or a chronic problem develops.

I’ve learned much in the last 2 1/2 years about living as the healthiest version of myself. Without deliberate intention today, I was reminded how very crucial wellbeing is.

Robust Gratitudes

Natural Grocers

This grocery store emphasizes robust health with 100% organic produce, a wide assortment of supplements, and products made from superior ingredients. Here I can find gluten free flour and pasta. Loose, dried herbs, spices and teas are available. Canned goods are non-GMO.

Without fail, I walk into this bright, cheerful store and inhale deeply as I cross the threshold. It smells so good in Natural Grocers. I feel so good, shopping here. I’m grateful that I have this store as an option.

This morning I got to share with another shopper about the benefits of fresh aloe vera gel. And I assisted a woman when she asked me if I knew anything about vitamin C.

Robust Gratitudes

Plant Based Products

As I continue to improve my health, I’ve learned that what I put on my skin, or clothes, affects my wellbeing. Chemicals, additives, dyes and toxins all end up in the liver, creating health issues. I’ve been intentionally swapping out bath, laundry and cleaning products full of chemicals, for plant based chemical-free versions.

Natural Grocers carries a better version of everything I once used. My hand soap, shower soap, shampoo and conditioner are all plant based, infused with essential oils. I wash my clothes with laundry soap free from chemicals and dyes. They are dried with plant based softener sheets scented with lavender. My dishes and my hands benefit from the dish soap I use.

I am so grateful for these alternatives. My liver and skin are grateful too!

Robust Gratitudes

Dragon Fruit

I’m excited to try a new-to-me fruit, for the first time tomorrow. Dragon fruit looks exotic in its strangeness. I selected a fruit that has bold color and gives slightly when I press in with my thumb.

Dragon fruit, also called pitaya, is so good for the liver. It slows down and stops liver aging, which helps to prevent disease. I’m looking forward to adding this beauty to my fruit smoothie in the morning. Watch for more info about dragon fruit on Friday’s Journey With Healthy Me blog post.

Robust Gratitudes

Robust Apple Cider

When the weather turns cold it’s time for one of my favorite hot drinks. This apple cider is full of flavor and healing properties.

In a large pan combine 8 cups of organic unsweetened apple juice, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger (or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated), 1 orange cut into slices and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain cider and enjoy. Makes 8 servings.

Try the cider as a first line of defense, when dealing with cold or allergy symptoms, or enjoy as a warming drink on chilly evenings. I’m grateful for the healing power of food.

Robust Gratitudes

Healthy at Every Age

I visited a friend late this afternoon, at a local assisted care facility. What I am about to share is not meant as a complaint against such places. It is a heart cry for people to take better care of themselves now, so that health and vitality can be enjoyed throughout the twilight years.

I am disturbed by the quality of food served at the facility. The meals are nutrient poor, and feed viruses and inflammation rather than support health. What a difference more fresh fruits and veggies could make.

After leaving my friend’s room, I wandered down the hall, greeting people in wheelchairs, saddened by what I saw. So many men and women there, ravaged by disease and mysterious illnesses and mental confusion. It broke my heart.

I left the care facility with fresh determination to continue my healing journey..,and to walk alongside others so that they can heal too. It’s never too late to make changes that contribute to a healthier life. It’s never too soon either!

Robust Gratitudes

I’m grateful for the emphasis on health today. My intention is to live a vibrant life no matter my age. I’m ensuring my future by consuming life giving nutrient dense foods and eliminating those that create disease and inflammation in my body.

I want to be that old lady, living without regrets, that everyone wonders, “What is she up to now?”

I’m well on my way!

Robust Gratitudes

Meet the Campbells, Who Are #findingUSinMS

Arriving home late this evening, well after dark, I was thrilled to discover that a package had arrived for me. I wondered if I had ordered something and forgotten about it, until I spied the Canadian address.

I knew exactly what was within the envelope…a t-shirt from people I’ve never met who have nonetheless become dear to me.

Meet the Campbells, who are #findingusinms

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

What is MS?

MS, multiple sclerosis, is a chronic neurological condition that affects the central nervous system (CNS), which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. In the CNS, nerve fibers are protected by a fatty layer called myelin. Myelin allows nerve signals to travel properly.

In MS, inflammation damages the myelin. This results in a loss of myelin, and wherever the myelin is destroyed, a damaged area of white matter known as a lesion occurs. Over time, hardened scar tissue develops at the lesion site. This hardened scar tissue, or sclerosis, may develop at multiple sites throughout the CNS, hence the name multiple sclerosis. This scarring disrupts the transmission of nerve signals that communicate a desired action from the brain, through the spinal cord, to various parts of the body.

MS is considered an autoimmune disease. There is evidence that suggests the Epstein Barr Virus may trigger the inflammatory response in the body. Currently there is no cure.

Multiple sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, although it can develop in young children, teens and older adults. It’s more common in women than men.

In the United States, about 200,000 people a year are diagnosed. Canada, where the Campbells live, has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with 1 in 385 people living with the disease.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinmsDan Campbell

The Campbells

I “met” Dan and Casey Campbell through Instagram. On that social media site the couple candidly shares their journey…the good days and occasionally the not so good ones. Dan was diagnosed two years ago, with progressive multiple sclerosis.

This lovely couple chooses to focus on nutrition, primarily fruits and veggies, as a way through this diagnosis. They believe in the healing benefits of plants, the support of friends and family, faith, and the transformative power of love.

Every step, or misstep, every triumph or setback, brings with it a lesson to learn. Dan and Casey embrace them all, make adjustments, and keep learning and growing and sharing with others.

I deeply appreciate their commitment to living the truth, Let food be thy medicine, and their love and support for each other. They are beacons of hope for others living with MS.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

#findingusinms

Recently Dan and Casey launched a website, offering menu ideas, info and help to people living with MS. How clever is their hashtag, #findingusinms? It so accurately shows how their perspectives have shifted, viewing Dan’s diagnosis as more than a disease. They see their situation as opportunities to grow in faith, to learn, to heal, to truly discover themselves…the “us” part…in MS.

I love that about them. I want you to know and love and encourage them too, which is why I am sharing their story.

The Campbells very graciously sent me a t-shirt that I will gladly wear to increase awareness of multiple sclerosis. They included a sweet note, thanking me for journeying with them.

That’s what it’s all about, all of us walking together, walking each other home, arms linked literally and figuratively. No one is left behind. If one falters or stumbles, the others gather around to lift and encourage and support.

Walk with me. Walk with the Campbells. Check out their new website The Campbell Farm and look them up on Instagram at findingusinms. We can make a difference in this world, together.

Meet the Campbells Who are #findingusinms

Snow Day Gratitudes

What a surprise, to wake up this morning and discover it was a snow day! We don’t typically get much snow here in the Joplin area, and it’s a rare occurrence before January. As the day progressed we received about 3 1/2 – 4 inches, keeping school aged kids at home and providing me the opportunity for snow day gratitudes.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Autumn Collides with Winter

I’m way past the point where I enjoy playing in the snow. I feel the cold more deeply than I did as a child. However, I appreciate the beauty found in snow covered landscapes.

When I had to get out for a short time, I combined errands and accomplished everything in one trip. Greg drove for me, and although the roads weren’t yet icy, I appreciated the chauffeuring. His generosity freed me to take in the wintry transformation.

The photo below represents the day well…a brightly colored fall leaf lying in fresh snow. It’s beautiful and I’m grateful for the sight.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Thai Food to Warm the Body

My friend Mike surprised me a few days ago, with a gift certificate to my favorite Thai food restaurant in town. While we were out today, Greg and I stopped by Kinnaree to pick up a to-go order.

The little restaurant was packed! When I remarked on how busy they were the waitress paused to say when it’s cold, people warm up with Thai food.

I’m grateful for Kinnaree Thai Restaurant for their veggie meal options and exceptional service. And I’m thankful to Mike for the gift certificate. He made me smile, when I asked Why the gift? His answer: “Because you are being Cindy.”

I love that!

Snow Day Gratitudes

No Two Snowflakes Alike

I learned as a child that no two snowflakes are alike. Each one is wonderfully unique. As the snow gently fell around me, tiny snowflakes landed on my arm and I studied them, fascinated.

It doesn’t matter how old I get. I’m still in awe of nature and the beauty it offers when I have the eyes to see it. The minuscule flakes were perfectly formed, and they were each different from the other. What a marvelous life lesson snowflakes present, reminding me to just be myself, my unique, glorious, quirky self…and allow others the same freedom. I’m grateful for their magic.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Snow Day FaceTime

Another happy surprise came today in the form of a phone call. A snow day meant the grandkids got an extra day off added to the weekend. Aubrey called me, using a feature on our phones known as FaceTime. We could chat, we could see each other as we talked.

It was fun to carry our phones around and show each other what our respective yards looked like, under their blankets of snow.

With a touch of a button, Aubrey’s sweet face transformed into a “drawing”, a living, moving, talking animation. I love that my grandkids are all so techie. She laughed as I tried to duplicate what she did, without success. I’ll have to be shown the next time we are together. I’m grateful for the fun talk and for learning something new about my phone.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Winter Wonderland

As I snapped photos of this early snowfall, I was most drawn to the backyard garden. I’ve learned to appreciate this personal paradise year around. Each season brings its own charm and beauty.

I seldom see the garden cloaked in a layer of snow, even during the winter. It’s so breathtaking. Magical is a better word. Familiar plants and tables and containers change with the snow and I am enthralled with the unfamiliarity of this space that I know so well.

Every time I see snow falling and piling up in the garden, I wish for a working lamppost next to the path, similar to the one in the Narnia stories. Even without that beacon of light, the garden is welcoming and draws me in.

I’m so grateful for every gift this snow day brought to me today. If it’s the only one we receive this winter, it is enough.

Snow Day Gratitudes

Sunday Lullaby

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Typically I don’t work on this day, other than an occasional open house for a client or a bit of online work. Sunday is devoted to self care, soul care. This overcast, wintry day allowed me to stay indoors and focus inward, finding my gratitudes in a sleepy, unhurried way as the day progressed.

Lull is a verb that means to quiet or soothe. A lullaby is a melody, sung with the intention of quieting the mind and the body. Today has been my Sunday Lullaby, crafted to nurture and refresh.

Sunday Lullaby

Dad Moore’s Socks

One of the things I delight in, on soulful Sundays, is that I remain in comfy clothes throughout the day. A pair of tights, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a well worn hoodie create my ensemble for the day. I don’t bother with makeup, and although I do run a brush over my hair, it stays a bit wild.

It’s too chilly to walk around the house with bare feet. However, I have the perfect solution for keeping my feet warm. While packing up the house in Arkansas, after Greg’s dad passed away, I found several packages of heavy socks. Bob Moore never opened these gifts from well meaning friends. I’m sure he was “saving” them for later.

Initially in the “donate” pile, I rescued those seven pairs of thick socks and brought them home. I think Dad Moore must laugh when he sees me wearing his socks, and feel pleased that he contributes in some way to my cozy comfort. I’m grateful for these sturdy socks that surround my feet with warmth.

Sunday Lullaby

A Father’s Sunday Lullaby

Dad Moore contributes to keeping my feet snug. My father, who has also crossed over in Spirit, has a role in keeping me comfortable as well.

When my dad left to undergo experimental treatment for pancreatic cancer in Texas, I sent a special blanket with him. My father loved motorcycles all his life, favoring Harley Davidsons. To keep him warm while he endured treatments that chilled him, I gifted him with a large Harley Davidson woven throw. It gave me a small measure of peace to imagine him snuggled beneath that black and gold blanket.

After his death, my stepmom allowed me to bring the throw home as a keepsake. I think of my sweet dad every time I cover up with this blanket that once covered him. It comforts me in ways that go beyond keeping me toasty. I’m grateful for this simple throw, and for the memories connected to it. Wrapped in the blanket is the closest thing to having my father’s arms around me. It was Dad’s Sunday lullaby to me today, cocooning me in his love.

Sunday Lullaby

Vegan Under Pressure

A pressure pot is one of those kitchen appliances that I didn’t know I needed. I’m so thankful that my daughter Adriel and son-in-law Nate gave me one for Christmas a couple of years ago!

I can create healthy, flavorful, plant based meals quickly. It perfectly steams veggies too, in minutes. Evolved way beyond the old style pressure cookers from my childhood, these pots are safe and extremely easy to use.

Sunday Lullaby

Chunky Red Lentil Stew

The kids gifted me with a couple of vegan pressure pot cookbooks as well. I created a warm and soothing midday meal using a favorite recipe from one of the books.

First I prepared brown rice in the pressure pot. In half the time it would take using a rice cooker, I have perfectly cooked brown rice. After moving the rice to a bowl and covering it to keep warm, I prepare the stew, hearty with carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes and red lentils, and fragrant with curry and garam masala spices.

A few minutes of prep time and six minutes cooking in the pressure pot, and the stew is ready. I’m grateful for wholesome meals such as this one that nourish my body and soothe me on a gray day. Check out the recipe HERE.

Sunday Lullaby

A Time to Read

After everything else was completed today, in a leisurely fashion, I practiced the ultimate self care activity. I curled up with a cup of hot tea and a book…a stack of books actually.

Browsing through The Karma Chow Cookbook inspired future culinary creations. I’m learning how crucial my liver is to my health, in Liver Rescue. And I began a second read through The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.

This Thomas Moore book is destined to lead the way for me, into 2019. I thought of the book, when it was confirmed to me that enchantment is my word and theme for next year. A quote from the book came into my awareness earlier in the week, serving as an invitation to pick up Re-Enchantment again.

Enchantment

I’ve already used a pen to mark up the introduction. I’m never quite sure where my adventures are going to take me…however, deep things, soulful things, are stirring. This book will be my initial guide into the unknown, and I am grateful for it.

Tonight it inspired the title for this post, as it created anticipation for what’s to come.

“Deep in enchantment is the experience of being lured into reverie, dreamland, by the musical charms of the enchanter. The world is a lullaby, giving us a lull in our daily activity so that the soul can come out and find its refreshment.” Thomas Moore

That’s what this day of rest is, a Sunday lullaby that creates a lull in my normal daily activities…so my soul can come out and find refreshment. I am quieted by the day’s lullaby, and wonderfully restored.

Sunday Lullaby

The Art of Snuggling

This cold day, with hints of winter’s impending arrival, encouraged me greatly to stay indoors. Not only did I spend the majority of my time in my creative studio, I practiced the art of coziness, the fine art of snuggling. What I love about practicing gratitude is that I can be aware of what I am thankful for, no matter where I am and what I am doing.

The Art of Snuggling

Snuggling Myself

Although snuggling would seem to imply it is not a solitary experience, I see it as a form of self care. The word can mean “cuddle up”, however, its primary definition is “to settle or move into a warm, comfortable position, protected from the cold.” Originally, the word was a nautical term used for preparing for bad weather. Even though I spent the entire day in my studio, except for a brief excursion into the garden, I did indeed practice snuggling and protecting myself from the cold.

Star Trek Short – Calypso

While I alternated back and forth today, between real estate work and blogging tasks, I paused and snuggled in to watch a Star Trek related short on my computer. I am a life time Trekkie, and I appreciate all things connected to this franchise. The new Star Trek Discovery series, streaming on CBS All Access, is marvelously good. Since the new season doesn’t begin until January 2019, the writers and creators are keeping us in anticipation by offering a monthly Short Trek. With a run time of about 20 minutes, they are easy to watch and oh…so…good.

The second short released last night. Titled Calypso, the story is set 1000 years into the future. An injured man, who calls himself Craft, is picked up in his damaged ship and transported aboard the Discovery. He wakes up in sickbay, alone on the ship. The crew left a millennia ago and never returned. Eager to find his way home, after fighting in a war for a decade, Craft nonetheless gets to know the ship’s AI, Zora.

Stay With Me

She is nothing like other artificial intelligences, that evolve and become a menace. Left alone for so many years, she has become self aware, humorous, kind and eager to please. She has also discovered what it means to be lonely. Zora is delighted to have a companion on board Discovery. She charms her guest with foods such as waffles, and a Taco Tuesday meal, even though Craft doesn’t know what a taco or a Tuesday is.

Zora shares her favorite thing in all the universe with her new friend…a 1957 film Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Craft and Zora discover they can share a dance together…and perhaps even share feelings.

In Greek mythology, Calypso lived on the island of Ogygia, and kept Odysseus there for seven years, to ease her loneliness. There are definitely Calypso elements in this short. Overall, it surprised with its depth of emotion, from lighthearted and funny to sweet and poignant. Calypso represents why I am so grateful for this boundary breaking sci-fi show.  I can’t wait for the next two shorts…and the return of Discovery.

The Art of Snuggling

Heading Off a Cold

There is more than one way to ward of the cold. I awoke this morning feeling a bit sniffly, a bit congested in the chest. When I don’t feel my best, I’ve learned exactly what to do. I shift into the deepest of self care modes.

My first line of defense, against a sniffle or an out and out cold, is to up my supplements. I added an extra dose of elderberry sugar free syrup, took a big spoonful of raw organic honey and added more ester C, a powerful form of the vitamin. Read about how these supplements support the immune system HERE. I’m grateful that I am aware of how my body works, and how to best support it when I need a little extra care.

Art of Snuggling

A Pot of Tea

My next line of defense against a cold is to brew not a cup of tea, but a pot of herbal goodness. I added two teaspoons of fennel seed, two teaspoons of lemon balm and two teaspoons of nettle to a large mesh tea ball, and steeped the tea for 15 minutes.

My tea cup was never empty, as it sat within reach on my writing table. That combination of herbs is particularly potent in dealing with allergies or the onset of a cold. Nettle is my go to remedy for the sniffles or a scratchy throat and it works every time. After a day of sipping on hot tea, I feel so much better. The sniffles are gone and so is the congestion in my chest. I’m thankful for nature’s bounty and its healing properties. I feel snuggled and cared for.

Art of Snuggling

Bringing the Outdoors In

With temperatures dipping into the teens tonight, I am not the only one in need of snuggling. I stopped working long enough, during the warmest part of the day, to bring in several plants that would not survive the night’s frosty bite.

Most of my annuals will show the effects of the cold tomorrow, signaling the end of the growing season. However, I moved a leggy houseplant in from the front porch, relocating it to the living room. My cat Rilynn sat and studied it for a long time, working out I suppose why I brought this plant inside. Also moving in from the front deck is a jasmine plant in a large ceramic container.

In the backyard garden, I deconstructed my Fairy Garden, with a bit of sadness, moving the resin pieces indoors and transplanting the miniature spruce tree into a container. The little tree, the jasmine plant and a copper pitcher housing an oregano plant all now occupy my creative studio. I’ve turned to look at the little arrangement several times, lured by the faint scent of oregano and spruce. I have to admit, I’ve smiled every time I look at those plants. My fairy garden pieces are grouped in a new way with these growing living reminders of summer. That corner of my studio feels very cozy and inviting. I will be extremely thankful for these lovely additions in the deep of winter.

Art of Snuggling

Snuggling Buddy

To remind me of the advantages of snuggling together, two of my three cats joined me in the studio, taking turns curling up on my lap. Cats are famous for seeking out the warmest place in a home, and making it their napping spot.

The cold today has kept the felines indoors as well. They snuggled on beds and draped themselves over heater vents and found brief patches of sunshine streaming in this afternoon. Although they make it more difficult to type…insisting on having their ears scratched while I work…their unconditional love and snuggles are welcomed.

I am finally about to leave my studio, after hours and hours creating and working and learning within it. There is a Netflix movie tonight, about Scotland’s Robert the Bruce calling my name. It’s time to take snuggling up a notch and cuddle up in bed with a cat or two…and immerse myself in Scotland’s colorful history.

Art of Snuggling

An Enchanted World

I currently dwell in that overlapping space created by the remaining weeks of 2018…and the alluring possibilities of 2019. It’s an enchanted world, which serendipitously, aligns perfectly with my new word for next year. Most of my gratitudes today flowed from this sense of enchantment.

An Enchanted World

An Enchanted World

I’m grateful for memories that pop up on Facebook. A quote from Thomas Moore appeared, one that I saved several years ago. Moore’s book, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, is the source of the words and a must read as I enter the new year. I was charmed by the book when I first read it, long before I knew that “enchanted” would be my word for 2019.

The queen chess piece, next’s year symbol, has appeared daily since I received that image. However, the words “enchanted” or “enchantment” have appeared less frequently, albeit often enough to capture my attention and warm my heart with anticipation. Seeing Thomas Moore’s beautiful words set the tone for the day, and promised so much for the months ahead.

An Enchanted World

Creating a Mood Board

One of my assignments in a 30 day blog challenge is to create a mood board on Pinterest. The purpose is to select images and colors that draw me and inspire me, and connect to my desires for the blog. I have two blogs, so I started with this one, pinning photos to a private board that I named Mood Board for Cindy Goes Beyond.

As I thought about what Going Beyond means to me, and what I want to offer to others, I realized I was drawn to the colors turquoise, green and blue. Suddenly vintage Volkswagen vans began popping up in my searches. I love the idea of creating a new logo featuring a vintage…think hippie…VW van. That imagery works for me on so many levels!

An Enchanted World

Living Life Beyond the Edges

I’m grateful for the exercise and I’ll be developing this idea further. For now, I played around with the colors and concept, using Canva to try out various fonts with VW vans.

The van represents adventure to me, going beyond my boundaries, exploring the world, and freedom. I’m excited to see where this simple exercise ultimately leads me.

An Enchanted World

Cranberry Vanilla Tea

I carried a mug of hot tea into the creative studio, to sip on as I completed computer work. I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but a display at Natural Grocers appealed to me on this cold, overcast day. I couldn’t resist purchasing a holiday blend tea.

Creating my own enchanted world means I bring in the magical elements that are crucial for me. Hot herbal tea is my drink of choice, and one I indulge in every afternoon. The cranberry vanilla tea was delicious, fragrant and the perfect antidote to a gray day.

An Enchanted World

Do You Like What You See?

As I “woke up” my laptop, Microsoft randomly selected a background photo for the screen’s wallpaper. I was immediately transported back to Italy, as an image of Venice appeared.

How perfect. I’m thinking today about creating, living in and engaging with an enchanted world…and Venice appears, with its gorgeous canals and bridges. This city has to be one of the most enchanted places in the world.

Across the top of my computer screen, the words appeared: Like what you see?

Tears filled my eyes and I got goosebumps. The Divine might as well have posed the question, and may indeed have done so.

Yes…yes I like what I see, and not just the lovely photo on my screen. I like what I see in this enchanted world, and I love this big, bold, enchanted life.

“Starting from the premise that we can no longer afford to live in a disenchanted world, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life shows that a profound, enchanted engagement with life is not a childish thing to be put away with adulthood, but a necessity for one’s personal and collective survival.”

It’s necessary for my survival. Bring on the enchantment.

An Enchanted World

Order Thomas Moore’s book below. And enjoy it with a cup of hot Cranberry Vanilla tea!

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