Wrapped in Love

This has been such a joyful and restorative day. Every action I have taken has had one purpose…to practice deep self care. I have, quite literally, wrapped myself in love.

Here are pictorial highlights of my day.

I brought in all my own food. Everything is organic, healthy, and easily prepared. Being able to cook for myself is at the core of my self care, and the reason I wanted a full kitchen on site for this personal retreat. Breakfast was simple…sliced bananas and cara cara oranges, and a cup of hot Scottish breakfast tea with a splash of unsweetened almond coconut milk.

The gorgeous kitchen I have been preparing meals in today.

And below, the equally gorgeous view out the dining room windows and sliding door.

I spent the morning reading, writing and thinking, sitting wherever I felt drawn to sit. This oversized chair made a comfy writing spot.

Lunch was a light and refreshing orange, green olive and avocado salad, a recipe I picked up from Anthony William. It was so delicious! The flavors complemented each other marvelously.

I kept being pulled to the windows, overlooking the lake. I stepped outside a couple of times, but with a high in the 20s today, it seemed too cold to linger. Nevertheless, on one of my wanderings outside, I brushed ice out of a rocker. Perhaps tomorrow, I thought.

As I was reading this afternoon, the clouds cleared away and the sun shone brightly. It didn’t raise the temps, but I could no longer resist. I pulled on my warm boots and grabbed my soft, wooly blanket and headed out onto the deck. The rocking chair was ice free and sitting full in the sun.

The sunlight danced on the water and filtered through the tree branches to bathe my face. I closed my eyes and sun gazed, and colors then danced on my eyelids.

This is me. Unplugged. No make up. Wrapped in love. The air was so cold that it made my nose tingle to inhale. However, the fresh frostiness was invigorating. And the blanket kept me warm.

After a time of meditating and writing in front of a crackling fire, which felt especially good after sitting outside, I prepared another recipe of Anthony’s for dinner. Aloo Matar, an Indian dish, is such a fragrant and comforting meal. It contains homey potatoes, onions and peas in a mild tomato based curry.

I have been excited all day about preparing this recipe for the first time. I was not disappointed. It was excellent! I am even more excited that I have enough left over for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Day two of my weekend getaway is winding down. I’ll sip on a cup of hot turmeric milk soon, while I relax in the soaking tub. And then perhaps I will color for a while. However I choose to end the day, it will be absolutely perfect.

Healing Ginger Water

I’ve caught a cold…a full on, sneezing, fever, aching, coughing, lots of congestion cold. It’s the first one I’ve had since going plant based. Although I was disappointed when I realized I was getting sick, it is not the end of the world. Rather than whining about it, I’ve switched into self care mode…again. My knee has healed nicely under my own ministrations. My clogged head and chest will heal too.

I’m taking cold meds as I need to. However, I love the quote by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine…” I’ve spent time in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William, looking up which foods help with those three C’s…cold, cough and congestion.

Here’s my list of helpful, healing foods:

Common Cold

Ginger, garlic, grapes. NO dairy products.


Cherries, dates, grapes, lemons & limes, radishes, oregano & thyme, garlic, ginger, turmeric, rose hips NO wheat


Apricots, grapes, lemon & limes, cruciferous veggies, radishes, oregano & thyme, cilantro, garlic, ginger, turmeric, dandelion NO dairy, corn or wheat

These foods will be the mainstay of my diet the next few days. I already avoid the NO foods. They all tend to increase mucus production and I don’t need that, ever.

Today I’ve been preparing pots of thyme tea, and tomorrow I’ll try rose hip tea and then oregano. Cilantro goes into my morning smoothie and I drink a dairy free turmeric milk before bed.

The foods that are on all three lists are garlic, grapes and ginger. I have organic grapes that have been very good for snacking on or tossing into a smoothie. I cook with garlic. I’ll have to think creatively to include more garlic in my meals. Ginger. I just saw a simple recipe for Ginger Water, in Anthony’s new book, Thyroid Healing. This afternoon, I made up a pitcher of this healing drink, to sip on throughout the evening.

Ginger Water Makes 2 servings

• 1 to 2 inches fresh ginger

• 2 cups of water

• 1/2 lemon

• 2 teaspoons raw honey

Grate ginger into 2 cups of water and add juice of 1/2 lemon. Allow to steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain water and add honey and more lemon, if desired. Ginger can also be chopped and squeezed in a garlic press, rather than grated.

I doubled this recipe, mixing the water, ginger and lemon in a small glass pitcher. I added a teaspoon of raw honey to my glass of ginger water before drinking.

This is such a refreshing drink. I’ve come to appreciate the zingy taste of ginger and frequently add it to my juices. The ginger water reminds me a bit of a cold ginger ale, without the carbonation and sugar. I love it and found it difficult to slowly sip. I wanted to chug the drink down. My head immediately cleared up and I could breathe easier.

Ginger is the ultimate antispasmodic, relaxing tension in the body and calming an upset stomach. Ginger helps with muscle spasms and cramps throughout the body, digestive disorders, and…congestion, cough, and sinus pain. It also combats the Epstein Barr virus and a host of other conditions.

I am already on my second glass of ginger water. This is good stuff. And best of all, it is good for me. I am going to kick this cold to the curb.

27 Day Walking Challenge

It’s time to do an update on the 30 Day Walking Challenge that I initiated on September 29th. Inspired by the amount of walking I did while on recent trips, the intention was to walk daily for a month, in a new location every day.

This was a great activity for me, interesting and fun because of the challenge of picking a different trail or area each day. I saw tremendous benefits, health wise. And then the unexpected happened. A problem with my left knee developed, and on Day 26, the Walking Challenge became a challenge to walk. I toughed it out that day and managed a short walk. However, recognizing I needed to focus on healing my knee, the 30 Day Walking Challenge ended on Day 27, after an extremely short, and painful, stroll.

I have to admit initial disappointment at this surprise ending to the challenge. However, I am not sorry that I created this game for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the daily walks, and especially delighted in walking in a different place each day.

Most of my walks were outdoors. There is nothing more restorative to my soul and more centering to my body than walking through woods and along rivers. These meanderings through nature were meditative to me.

Destinations included the Joplin area, Springfield, and northwest Arkansas.

I also walked in each of Joplin’s city parks, discovering all have paved paths that loop around the perimeters. Each park offered different views, and most had some form of water on the property.

I met other walkers, joggers and cyclists at these parks, and appreciated the camaraderie that exists between people who desire to be healthier. Most simply smiled or said hello as we passed each other. One enterprising young man at Leonard Park impressed me with his energy, and the game he had created to challenge himself physically. He tossed a frisbee, and then ran to retrieve it. Over and over he threw the disc and then ran to pick it up and toss it again. We chatted about health and the necessity of challenging ourselves in playful ways.

I met my intention of walking with each of my adult children, exploring a neighborhood, a new trail and a family fun farm complete with a corn maze. I traveled to Columbia to walk across Mizzou’s beautiful campus with my grandson Dayan. Together we ventured downtown for a shared meal together.

My sister accompanied me on a walk that was impossible for me until recently. We climbed to the top of a bluff along Shoal Creek and gazed across the valley below. Greg was my walking companion on many of my treks. I appreciated each person who took the time to walk alongside, chatting quietly, and experiencing the beauty around us.

A couple of times, I resorted to cleverness, to fit the walk into a busy day. During an afternoon or running errands, I parked the car as far as possible from each stop, and once inside the store, did a lap around the perimeter. Doing this at five different stores gave me plenty of walking that day.

I only walked at the mall once, on a chilly overcast day. I combined that walk with visits to a couple of new vintage stores that had opened in the mall. Another day, when a sharp cold wind seemed to cut through me, I ended up at the new Joplin Library and walked around the perimeter several times before heading into the stacks. Funny story from there. The next day I ran into a woman who said she saw me, walking around the library, and she asked if that was one of my walking challenges.

Overall, I am very pleased with the results of the challenge. I felt energized by the daily walks. I enjoyed visiting different locations. My body responded by toning up, especially in my calves, thighs, butt and abs. I felt really good during those days of walking, and experienced an increase in stamina and flexibility.

Did the walking contribute to inflammation in the tendon and muscles around my left knee? The honest answer is, I don’t know. Intuitively, I feel this is a form of old energy working its way out. It is something for me to heal, and release. The flare up with my knee was very discouraging at first. I was walking SO well and with such ease. I felt frustrated with my leg, for bringing the walks to a halt, just days before the end of the 30 Day Walking Challenge.

This is part of my journey though. It is, after all, a healing journey, and apparently, I have more healing to do. My intention is to return to the daily walks, as soon as I am able to. After a week of focused care, that has included resting my knee, eating foods that fight inflammation, drinking daily cups of chaga tea and turmeric milk, topical application of Young Living Essential Oils, low impact stretching and brief walks, I am recovering. My knee is healing. I’ve battled impatience. I’ve run the “why’s” through my head and shrugged those off.

What matters is that I allow my knee to heal, by caring for myself in the highest possible ways. And when I can walk without pain, without a limp, with a knee that bends and flexes smoothly, I’ll be back on the trails and looping again around the parks.

30 days on the walking challenge…or 27…it’s all good. I have learned during this month of walking and not walking, and challenge ended up being the key word. I accept the not knowing and not being able to script things out. It is the journey and not the destination. It is during this time of walking in this world that I am growing and discovering new things about myself. Onward and upward.

In Love with Me…But Not Today

We all have a certain friend, or even a family member, that we love dearly, and yet if anyone in our little group is going to act up, we know it will be him or her. We sigh over misbehavior and misdeeds. We wonder if change will ever take place. We roll our eyes. And yet, when things are good they are very good. We forgive all.

I have a body part that is just like that. When she is good, she is very good. And when she acts up, she grieves my entire body.

If you have been following my healing journey for a while, you will recall that my left leg, whom I call Darling in both tenderness and vexation, is my wayward “friend”. The sciatica that I suffered with for 22 years most greatly affected my left leg. When I began walking with a cane, it was because Darling couldn’t bear weight any longer.

In 2014 I made peace with my seemingly contrary leg by shifting the way I perceived her. I exchanged frustration for gratitude. In spite of the pain and stiffness, my leg was doing her best to get me around. The last 15 months it has been beautiful and amazing to experience healing throughout my body, and especially in my left leg.

This morning, having just arisen, with a full day ahead, my second step resulted in a mishap. My left knee shifted with a loud pop, while my leg tried to continue in an altogether different direction. The result was immediate pain…and an inability to walk.

My first response was strong. No! No, no, no…no! I had too much to do today. My upcoming Friday and Saturday were full as well. I didn’t have time for this.

And sadly, my second response was frustration and disappointment. The internal chatter with my left leg went something like this: It’s always you, isn’t it?! Always the trouble maker, aren’t you? We don’t act up anymore! Remember? We don’t do PAIN.


My day changed. All of my attention now was focused on easing my discomfort and being able to walk. Everything else would wait. I opened to Divine guidance with a plea…Now what? It wasn’t a return of the sciatica, thankfully. This was somehow a slip of my knee joint. Ice came to mind. Ice to prevent swelling and numb pain, alternated with heat to keep my muscles, which tend to become too tight around my knee joints, from locking up.

Gradually my frustration dissipated. This was not the day I had planned. However, it was the day I was given. I accepted it. I chose to follow the guidance I was being given and stay open to what I could learn from the experience. I chose to practice deep self love with my Darling left leg.

Along with ice and heat, I used Young Living Essential Oils on my knee, a blend of Panaway and Frankincense. Because the pain was making me feel nauseous, I inhaled Peppermint oil and added a drop directly onto my stomach.

I used my Life Changing Foods book to look up foods that are good for easing knee pain. They are: figs, kiwis, berries, cruciferous veggies (especially red cabbage), leafy greens, onions and turmeric. As it “happened”, I had most of those on hand. In fact, I had sautéed onion and red cabbage in the fridge. I simply needed to prepare a sweet potato for a tasty and beneficial lunch.

My recliner became my office, my creative studio, my contemplation spot and my reading chair. And it became the place where I forgave my wild child left leg and just loved her and loved on her.

Reading in Thomas Moore’s newly released book, Ageless Soul, I was struck by the appropriateness of his words:

“Fighting anything makes it into an enemy and then it looks worse than it is.”

Ah, yes. Tears filled my eyes. Darling and I have certainly had our differences over the years. And she totally hijacked my day. But an enemy? No. She needed extra attention today. She got it, in the only way that would slow me down and give me pause.

And gradually, throughout the day, my left leg has responded to the care and love. I can walk. I have a limp, at the moment. However, I know this is temporary. I even managed a very short walk late this afternoon, so as not to disrupt my 30 Day Walking Challenge.

I’m not sure why my knee shifted so painfully today, however I am staying open to discovering more about the cause. This is not a set back on my healing journey. It is an opportunity to go deeper into health and wellness, acceptance and patience. It is a time to show great love to the most wayward, stubborn and plucky part of my body.

We’ve got this Darling. We are in this journey together. I love you.

Sunday Saunter

I love the slower pace of Sundays. Typically, this day is devoted to self care, and catching up on rest and laundry, while getting ahead on food prep for the week. On this bright day, made cooler by storms that rolled through overnight, the theme for the weekend continued. It was a family afternoon.

Grandson Joey finished the football season with his final game. This year’s super bowls were held in the little community of Carl Junction, northwest of Joplin. Family gathered in the stadium to cheer Joey and the Tigers to victory.

Conveniently, my daughter Elissa lives in this town. We made plans to walk together after the game. During this 30 Day Walking Challenge, one of my intentions was to walk with each of my grown children and with my grandson Dayan, who is away at college.

I’ve realized that intention. I walked with daughter Adriel and her husband through their neighborhood at dusk. I drove to Dayan’s college city and walked the campus with him. Friday night I walked with my son and his family in Exeter, around a fun farm which included a corn maze that we got hopelessly lost in. That adventure surely increased my steps for the day!

This afternoon my daughter Elissa, and her two chihuahuas, Beatrice and Agnes, walked with Greg and me through her neighborhood.

Talking with my daughter earlier in the week, she mentioned that there was a trail near her house. Our destination was that trail. Elissa said she had no idea where the trail led. My response was that we could discover that, together.

The dark clouds moved eastward, freeing the sun to deliver delicious and appreciated warmth. It turned into ideal walking conditions. The dogs were excited to join us, and being a small breed with short legs, we let them set the pace.

We easily found the well cared for trail, just a couple of blocks from the house. The gravel path heads west toward the Kansas state line, bypassing the high school football stadium where games continued. I looked this trail up later and realized it is the last section of the Ruby Jack Trail. The Ruby Jack begins in Carthage, and continues west 16 miles along an old train track bed, culminating at the Kansas line.

We enjoyed our walk, which with the pups busy checking out interesting scents, became more of a stroll. This pace was perfect for appreciating the beauty around us. I love how even common grasses put out tasseled stalks in the fall. These slender stalks rippled along the edges of the path, the shorter days turning the grasses shades of rust and coral and brown.

As we walked I thought about the parallels between what Elissa said about not knowing where the path led, and life’s journey. As I walk in life, I may know the general direction I am headed. However, I don’t know where the path is going, ultimately, or what is around the bend in the road.

I am okay with not knowing. What is important is that I trust the journey itself, and trust that all on this path is for my highest good. I am thankful for those who quite literally walk with me. And I deepen my growth during those times when I walk alone.

During this walking challenge, which concludes in six days, it has been my privilege to have companions. As it happens, they are my life companions too. I am grateful to share the journey with them.

Peace is the Path

As the beautiful and warm fall days continue, so do my outdoor walking jaunts. When my work finished early today, and Greg’s plans shifted, we made a spontaneous decision to drive to Springfield, Missouri.

We enjoyed a delightful light lunch and tea at the tea house located inside Relics Antique Mall. And although we did a quick walk through the huge flea market, that was not my chosen destination for today’s walk. Springfield has a botanical center, that happened to be near the antique mall. Within the center is a 7.5 acre Japanese garden. It’s been several years since I’ve walked through that garden. It was the perfect day for another visit.

Established in 1985, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden includes koi ponds, meditation gardens, a sand garden, a tea house, a Moon bridge, waterfalls, and numerous plants, trees, stone pagodas and lanterns, all easily accessed by winding paved paths.

The garden was created in honor of the relationship between Springfield and her sister city, Isesaki, Japan. Gardeners from Isesaki provided many hours of support and shared their knowledge and creative ideas for this authentic stroll garden.

The garden’s namesake, Yuriko Mizumoto Scott, was instrumental in bringing the garden into existence. She served as a translator and host for the Japanese architects, gardeners and carpenters who visited Springfield during the garden’s creation. The garden was named in her honor in 2004.

Strolling through the garden, it is obvious that great care went into the creation of this enchanted place. And it is just as obvious that great attention is given to its upkeep and maintenance. The garden is simple in its design and yet endlessly intriguing. Grass covered mounds of earth create interest while defining spaces, and natural elements, such as rocks, water and trees provide beauty and also healing benefits.

This walled Japanese garden is one of the most peaceful places I have ever encountered. Today there were only a few other people walking the paths and we saw them but briefly. It felt like we had the garden to ourselves. There was time to reflect as we walked, and sit on one of the many benches placed strategically along the path, and talk quietly.

As I walked, soaking up the sunshine and the beauty, listening to the twitter of birds and the gurgling of water, I was reminded of this quote by Dan Millman:

There is no path to Happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to Love. Love is the path. There is no path to Peace. Peace is the path.

These are my paths…Happiness, Love, Peace…along with Health. Ever my companions, they guide my journey.

I left the Japanese Stroll Garden inspired to add some creative elements to my own backyard garden. And I left determined to return to this gorgeous paradise more often. Next time I will bring a backpack full of healthy snacks, a journal, a sketchpad…and stay a while.

Something of the Marvelous

After hosting an open house this afternoon, I picked up my sister Linda, who had agreed to be my walking companion today. We walked at Mercy Park with our mom a few days ago. That walk didn’t count for my 30 Day Walking Challenge, since I walked there on Day 1. I walked in a new location that evening. However, I enjoyed the time with Mom and Sister, chatting and laughing as we looped around the park.

Linda expressed a desire to walk with me this afternoon, and mentioned Wildcat Park…a place she hasn’t yet visited. I’ve already walked at Wildcat too. But driving home to change clothes after open house, an idea presented itself. I knew where to walk.

I picked Linda up and told her the plan. We were indeed going to Wildcat Park. However, we were going to walk on the trail south of Shoal Creek.

Here was the first real challenge, in my Walking Challenge. I had not walked on that trail for seven years. It’s not because it’s lacking in anyway. The trail parallels the river for a short distance, after crossing a low water bridge. Then it climbs through woods to the top of a rocky bluff, overlooking the valley below that cradles Shoal Creek. The views are amazing.

No, I had not walked that trail in recent years because I couldn’t. I used to do the 75 minute trail once or twice a week, back in 2010. Even then, the climb to the top of the bluff was not easy for me, due to pain and weakness in my legs. By 2011, as the sciatica in my left leg continued to worsen, I could no longer walk that far.

Late this afternoon, my sister and I set off confidently, crossing over the river and starting on the path toward the top. I didn’t know if I could do it. I warned Linda that I might have to turn back. But I was going to give it my best effort. No matter the outcome, it was a beautiful day for a walk.

As the paved path wound upward, the river fell away below us. It had been so long since I had trekked on the southern side, that I veered off the main path too soon. Backtracking, we climbed higher still…and there it was. I recognized the worn path over rocks made smooth by countless sneakered feet. This was it. The ground leveled out as we reached the top.

A magnificent view was our reward for the climb. Far below the river flowed, already in shadows as the sun sank toward the horizon. We continued over rocky, uneven ground, watching our steps, until we reached the stone table nestled in the woods.

There was a group of young men seated around the table. We didn’t intrude. Instead, Linda humored me as we took a selfie, capturing the valley below in the background. It was time to make the descent.

We chatted as we walked down the sloping trail. The river grew closer and at last the ground leveled out and we were once again on a paved path. My sister and I are both drawn to water. After rains last night, the river was up slightly, its waters tumbling and splashing as it sang to us of its journey.

I felt such peace…and such incredible joy. I did it. I not only made the climb up the path, I did it easily. In fact, my walking today was markedly improved over my last hike here, seven years ago. I didn’t experience pain, nor did I limp or become winded. I was ecstatic. I don’t feel like I have my old legs back. I feel like I have new legs.

Linda and I enjoyed our walk so much, that we intend to return soon and do the whole 75 minute loop, from riverside to the top of the bluff and back down on the other side. We will bring along a backpack, toting bottles of water, fruit and nuts, and find a space high atop the hill to claim for a bit as we enjoy the views and the sighing winds.

I am ready.

Tanyard Creek

My adventures led me south today, just across the state line into Bella Vista, Arkansas. I have driven through this community many, many times unaware of a nearby nature walking trail, located just a mile from the center of town.

I explored the beautiful Tanyard Creek area, walking the 2.2 mile trail through woods, up and down hills, and along the meandering streams.

The day started off cool and overcast, and I dressed appropriately. By the end of the hike, which took approximately two hours, the sun had broken through the clouds and temps had climbed into the 50s. I was happy to shed my Mizzou hoodie and head band when we arrived back at the car.

Arkansas is known as the Natural State. With an abundance of conservation areas, rivers and lakes, the state is well deserving of the nickname.

This is Tanyard Creek.

The wide asphalt trail quickly turned into dirt, which I loved. At times the path narrowed so that we had to walk single file. And, I have to confess, more than once we lost the trail, with the heavy coverage of fallen leaves, and had to backtrack. And a couple of times, the trail became well placed rocks across a stream.

There were multiple bridges due to the many streams and creeks that crisscrossed the area. Near the end of the trail was a suspension bridge across the water. That one was fun to cross!

Tanyard Creek Trail has dozens of small signs, placed near the paths, identifying trees and plants and flowers. I really appreciated the info. Often, on a walk, I pause to wonder what kind of tree this is or what shrub that is. Today, I was informed. Some of the signs told bits of the area’s history, or identified ruins as an old farmhouse foundation or an ancient country road.

I love walking through the woods. Add water, in the form of lakes, ponds or rivers, and I experience deep bliss. The gurgling sound of brooks and streams or the splash of water pouring over ledges of rock are music to my ears and my soul.

Most of my photos from today’s walk have water in them.

I am grateful that my daughter Adriel and son-in-law Nate told me about these trails. The walking difficulty is moderate, and I did great, which is such an encouragement to me. This is the longest hike I’ve done during my challenge, and I marvel at what I can do now, that I could not accomplish in 2016. This daily walking is good for me, on so many levels.

Less than an hour from Joplin, Tanyard Creek is close enough to visit frequently and explore at different times of the year. I’ll be back!

There’s a Chill in the Air

What a difference a day can make! Yesterday temperatures were in the 80s. Today, we hovered in the high 40s. I made the determination, at the beginning of my 30 Day Walking Challenge, that I would walk outside, rain or sunshine, warm or cool temps. Today, I got to honor my own commitment.

I am holding the Northpark Mall in reserve, as a walking destination. In the last 12 days, I’ve only had one rainy day. I walked outside that afternoon, and the rain slacked off as I walked. I’ve primarily had warm weather to contend with, which is unusual for October.

I’m saving a walk at the mall for a really inclement day. Joplin only has one shopping mall. If I use that destination too soon, I’ll have to get very creative, should more bad weather occur within my 30 days.

Today was not the day to walk at the mall. Instead, I chose an area on the north edge of Joplin, Landreth Park.

Landreth is basically a very large, sloping hillside, with the usual playgrounds, pavilions and tennis courts. There is a stage for summer concerts. For years, this spacious park hosted the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration. Thousands and thousands of people would bring their lawn chairs and blankets and cover the hillside, in anticipation for the fireworks that would bloom in the sky at dusk. That event was moved to another location several years ago. I have not been to Landreth Park since.

On this blustery, gray day, the park was deserted, except for a woman cleaning out her car on a lot, and a man tossing a ball for his two dogs.

Greg joined me. We discovered broad walking paths, looping around the park over the grassy slopes. The wind had just enough of a cold bite to it that we pulled hoods up over our heads and protected hands in jacket pockets.

It was exhilarating, though, walking along at a brisk pace through the chilly air, feeling the energy surging through my body, knowing that day by day, I am becoming healthier and more fit.

The most beautifully shaped oak tree I have ever seen. The trail led directly beneath it and I marveled at its canopy.

Twelve days into the walking challenge that I adopted, and this is what I am noticing:

• greater flexibility and range of motion

• more limber hip and knee joints

• toned muscles in my legs, butt, back and abs

• looser fitting clothes

• higher energy

• heightened mood

• deep inner peace

• greater stamina and endurance

• appreciation and gratitude for the beauty found in nature, suburban neighborhoods and city parks

I am loving this challenge. I am finding incredible joy in the art and discipline of walking daily.

Twelve days completed, eighteen days to go. And…I already know I won’t be stopping there. A daily walk is becoming part of my health routine. I am embracing this practice, as I have a plant based lifestyle.

I intend to be the very best version of myself. I am making it so.

Body & Soul Day

This beautiful fall Sunday was perfect for nourishing myself, body and soul. The weather lured me outdoors. My desire to cook was present in full force. I had another new plant based recipe to try. And this afternoon I enjoyed relaxing and catching up on a new series. This was a day of deep self care.

My soulful Sunday began with caring for my body. This was Day 10 of my 30 Day Walking Challenge. Not only have I walked every day, I have also met my fun intention of walking in a different location each time.

With a relaxed schedule today, I headed south of Joplin, to the trails meandering through Walter Woods Conservation Area. I appreciate Greg accompanying me. In this remote location, it is good to walk with a companion.

I am loving the daily walks. My body is responding, feeling stronger and more flexible. The walks in neighborhoods and city parks deepen my sense of connection with my community. I’ve met some wonderful people as I walk. And the walks in nature nurture my soul as well as my body. The beauty found in streams and falling leaves, mossy tree trunks being gently embraced again by the earth and flittering butterflies on their migration paths, awakens my senses and fills my heart with quiet joy.

The last time I explored the trails at Walter Woods was before switching to a plant based lifestyle. My pain wracked left leg necessitated frequent rest stops. I was surprised today by how quickly we made the loop through the woods. I was immensely grateful for pain free legs that moved freely without a limp. And I was saddened to recall what I used to consider normal, in my health or lack of health.

We walked further, to the pond on the other side of the property, and sat on a bench, enjoying the darting dragonflies and the gorgeous weather.

Back at home it was more body care, mixed with creativity, which enlarges my soul. I’ve been in the mood to cook. This afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to cook up a couple of hearty and healthy plant based meals. After popping the Macaroni & Broccoli Bake into the oven, I made a large pot of vegetable soup, with lots and lots of veggies.

The Macaroni & Broccoli Bake is an amazing and very comforting dish. I use brown rice pasta and fresh broccoli. The “cheese” sauce is made from cashews, lemon juice, garlic and a chopped date, with sea salt and chili powder. With colder weather coming, this satisfying meal will become a weekly favorite. See the recipe for Macaroni & Broccoli Bake HERE.

I also tried another healthy cookie recipe. Similar to the traditional No Bake Cookie recipe, this version has just four ingredients.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Coconut No Bake Cookies by Beaming Baker

• 1 cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

• 1 cup gluten free rolled oats

• 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in medium sized glass bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and continue, microwaving for 20 seconds and stirring, 4-7 times, until mixture is warm and fragrant and just beginning to dry out a bit. Add oatmeal and coconut flakes, stirring until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press down on cookie mounds with a fork, to desired thickness. Pop into the freezer for 20 minutes and then enjoy. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24 cookies.

This recipe was another success! The cookies are delicious and so quick to make. I enjoyed a couple for afternoon tea. I appreciate how wholesome they are.

As I had afternoon tea, and later a bowl of Macaroni & Broccoli, I settled onto my bed and caught up on the newest Star Trek series, Discovery. While some might not see watching Star Trek as a soulful experience, for me it is.

Watching episodes 2 and 3 today, my eyes filled with tears several times. I was deeply moved by the stories, which while offering hope in standard Trek ways, were much grittier and darker. I was captivated by the action and special effects, and quite on edge during episode 3!

My cat Shy Boy slept through Star Trek, only because I had ear buds in, to spare him the noise of space battles.

I am loving being back in the star Trek universe. Subscribing to CBS All Access is worth it to me, to follow these adventures featuring wonderful new characters amid familiar Trek favorites such as tribbles and the wise Vulcan, Sarek. It is hard for me to explain the teary eyes. So much of who I am is connected to Star Trek, in ways that most would not understand. No one has to get it, except me.

And even I can be surprised by the depth of my emotions for this long running series. When tears gathered after a starship was destroyed, full of characters I never saw, I muttered to my cat…“I didn’t even know those people…why the tears?” I can only surmise that my soul knows why. Under the tender care it is receiving, my spirit, my essence, is very expansive and responsive.

What a beautiful day. How perfectly suited it was for the care of my body and my soul. I feel rested. I feel nurtured. I feel nourished. I feel ready for more walks, and more creativity expressed in the kitchen…and another Star Trek episode.