A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Sunday’s are self care days, special times set apart for focusing inward and on things that bring me joy. Occasionally I work on a Sunday afternoon or at the least do a bit of real estate online. And I always write on this day, no matter what else I do to care for my body, emotions, and spirit.

Today was no different, except that I was very mindful of blessings throughout the day. Because a definite food theme came together, I thought of the day’s gratitudes as a smorgasbord of blessings, with so many delightful choices. And then suddenly, an invitation threw in a bit of rhapsody.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Aloe Vera

The first gratitude arrived as I stepped through the doors of Joplin’s Natural Grocers. I love this health conscious store. The aroma of fresh herbs and produce greets me and makes me so thankful that I have this shopping option in my city.

I selected an aloe vera leaf and dropped it into my cart. Check out the health benefits and then you too can appreciate why it is a blessing that Natural Grocers carries these huge leaves. I can’t find them anywhere else in town. A two inch section of fresh aloe vera gel goes into my fruit smoothies each morning.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Milk Thistle Display

The next gratitude in my smorgasbord of blessings occurred before I got out of the store. I’m reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William. Greg noticed an end cap display featuring the supplement Milk Thistle. This herb benefits the liver by expelling old red blood cells and detoxifying toxins and debris from the hepatic veins.

It makes me smile and feel gratitude to see this healthy grocery store in sync with what I am learning. Plus they have Milk Thistle, in capsules and tinctures, on sale.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Comfort Food, Healthy Style

Continuing an emphasis on a plant based lifestyle today, and self care, Sunday lunch featured one of my favorite meals, Broccoli & Peas Macaroni Bake. This easy to prepare one pan meal pairs the satisfaction of a comforting meal with the health boosting nutrition of veggies and gluten free pasta in a yummy cashew based sauce. Find the recipe HERE.

I am truly thankful for healthy pasta options. I buy the Natural Grocers house brand of brown rice macaroni. It cooks up just like regular pasta and tastes the same. And I don’t suffer ill effects from gluten.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

A New Dark Chocolate Bar

No smorgasbord, blessings or buffet, is complete without a bit of dessert. I don’t indulge in traditional desserts, preferring healthy versions without the refined sugar, eggs and dairy products. I do, however, occasionally enjoy a small amount of dark chocolate.

As we headed to the check out, I spied a new-to-me line of dark chocolate bars, with a twist of unusual flavor combinations. I chose a dark chocolate with blackberry and sage to sample. The Endangered Species Chocolate Company has this mission statement on their website:

“10% of our net profits are donated annually to current 10% GiveBack Partners;  each is guaranteed a minimum annual donation of $10,000 and is free to use the funds on projects they deem most important. With over $1.3 million generated in the past three years alone, each chocolate purchase adds up to big support that helps wildlife thrive.”

I am thankful that my purchase of a treat supports endangered species and other organizations that help wildlife and the planet. For afternoon tea I ate a few small squares of the dark chocolate and sipped on an herbal tea from Yogi. The treat was pure bliss.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Bohemian Rhapsody

Lest I get into a rut today, an invitation came this afternoon from my grandson Dayan, who is home from the university this weekend. The film Bohemian Rhapsody released in theaters Friday and Dayan invited me to join his mom and him for an evening viewing.

I am a big Queen fan, having appreciated their incredible music since my late teens. I’ve been excited about this upcoming movie that tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the formation of the band that would shatter stereotypes and expand musical boundaries. I’ll post a review of the film tomorrow.

Tonight I am grateful for Freddie’s willingness to unwaveringly be who he was, and to offer to the world the gifts he was uniquely created to give. He inspires me and I am still experiencing a range of emotions from the movie.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

What a delightful day, this smorgasbord of blessings. Gratitude flowed for a place to purchase healthy food and supplements, great comfort food and a surprising flavor combo in a treat, and the power of a musical film experienced with my grandson and daughter.

Blessings abound, but they don’t pile up. They flow…to me…through me…and beyond.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Journey 220: Thistle Seeds

Early in the spring, as I planted in containers and filled in spots in the garden, I visited a variety of garden centers in Missouri and Arkansas. I found lots of amazing plants. However, although I searched every botany shop that I stopped at, I never found thistle plants. Because of my Scottish heritage, and as memorials of my visit to Scotland last year and my cousin Mindy, who traveled with me to our homeland and then journeyed on into eternity in January, I wanted thistle plants.

seeds Debbie

I gave up the search for this year. And then, my beautiful younger sister, Debbie, surprised me with seeds. She found them online and ordered them for me. She attended Bob Moore’s funeral this past week and she arrived bearing gifts for me, precious seeds. Not only did she purchase Scottish Thistle for me…she also gave me Milk Thistle, Safflower, and English Lavender seeds.

seeds handful of thistle

It is late in the year to be sowing seeds, but I couldn’t resist. On this warm but very beautiful evening, I was out in the backyard garden, scattering seeds. I planted half of them and saved the rest to sow next spring. There is time for these seeds to sprout and thrive. I can pot them in containers and bring them indoors for the winter, if I so choose. I’ve had a large metal box, with handles, that I have saved. I didn’t know what I was saving it for, but it has remained empty all summer….until tonight. Filling it with potting soil, I divided the surface into four zones and scattered seeds in each area.

seeds metal box

English Lavender went into the first section. Lavender is a herbaceous plant that has fragrant stems, leaves and flowers, in pinks, purples or whites. It is a great addition to any garden, whether in the herbal section or a cottage or border garden. Uses are many and include dried flowers, teas, sachets, potpourri, beauty products and herbal remedies.

seeds english lavender

Milk Thistle is another type of thistle, as its name implies, with red to purple flowers. As a herbal remedy, milk thistle is excellent for liver health and to promote bile flow. It is considered effective in cleansing the body of toxins and even in combating cancer. I have never had this plant before either, so I am excited to add it to my apothecary garden. Thistles are considered invasive, so I will be growing them in containers as I study their habits.

seeds milk thistle

Safflowers are considered one of humanity’s oldest cultivated plants. It too is a thistle like plant with red, orange or yellow flowers. Commercially, the safflower plant is grown for the oil that is extracted from the seeds. The oil can be used for cooking and also has medicinal properties for heart health, and can be used to treat fevers, coughs and breathing problems. This plant is new to me as well.

seeds safflower

Scottish Thistle, the national flower of Scotland, has grayish green stems and leaves and flowers that range from pink to purple. It is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character and has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III, 1249-1286. According to legend, an invading Norse army, attempting to sneak up at night on a Scottish encampment, inadvertently stepped on thistle plants, which caused them to cry out in pain. Those cries alerted the Scots, who routed the Norse army. The lowly thistle, which grows everywhere in Scotland, was elevated to their national symbol as a result. I am so thrilled to have seeds to grow my own thistle, symbol of Scotland and my roots, beauty and travel. I will think of Mindy as well, any time I look at Scottish Thistle in my garden.

seeds scottish thistle

I wanted a fun way to identify which sections contained which seeds, in my metal box. I wrote the flower names on wooden clothes pins and attached them to sticks I found in the yard. This was a simple and effective choice for markers, and it has a rustic charm. I like it. I’ll mist the soil every day, maybe twice a day, in this heat, and watch for the little sprouts to appear. Thank you, Debbie, for not only buying me the seeds, but for knowing my heart so well. I’m smiling ear to ear, old gardening clothes on, hair pulled back in a ponytail, the cloying scent of bug spray clinging to me, and feeling wonderfully content. I love your surprise….and you!

seeds completed box