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.

Surrender 10: Bathing in Sunlight

Sundays are date days, time spent alone with my inner artist, my creative child. I am watching the Golden Globe Awards tonight, something I know my creative side enjoys.  That was also my intended surrender for today’s journey, as I lost myself in the fantasy world of movies and television. 

However, that’s not where the flow of life took me today. I was invited, instead, into a different surrender this afternoon. 

 

I was engaging in a favorite activity, puttering around the house. I’m in decluttering mode, and spent the early afternoon cleaning out closet space and drawers in my creative studio. And then my attention was drawn to the windows. 

During the winter months, as the sun sinks toward the western horizon, sunlight floods my home through the windows on the southern side of the house. I love this time of afternoon! I paused in my clearing to appreciate that beautiful sight. 

 

The sunlight spills across my favorite recliner in the living room, and suddenly, that chair looked so inviting. As I contemplated stretching out in the recliner for a few minutes, my heart began to beat faster. I was, truly, being invited to rest, in the golden warmth of the sun. I’ve noticed this year that when I am in the flow, and drawn a particular direction, that my heart rate increases slightly. How amazing is that? I have a built in surrender-meter, that guides me!

I did not hesitate. In moments I was snuggled beneath a comforter, bathed in sunlight. I closed my eyes and engaged in sun gazing, turning my face to the brilliance. Vivid colors appeared behind my lidded eyes…red, orange and yellow. I understood why my cats seek out sunny places to nap. I felt deliciously warm, and very drowsy.

As my body relaxed, I allowed myself to totally surrender to the moment. Rest. Relax. Sleep. I woke up an hour later, totally refreshed. 

I’ll still enjoy the Golden Globes this evening. Because what child, inner or otherwise, finds taking a nap fun? However, I am grateful for the pause in my day. And the invitation to surrender to the radiance that filled my home. 

  

Journey 123: Sunday Soliloquy

I had to look up the word soliloquy to make sure it fit my purpose. It is the act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play. That suits me well enough and I am playing a role in the biggest of plays, called Life. This day, soulful and peaceful, was a connected series of events that focused on family. This then, is my soliloquy, my speaking of thoughts, in written form.

I had the joy of being with several family members as I journeyed through the day: brunch with Greg and conversations about life, time spent with my sister Linda as we checked on our mom, who has a flu bug but was excited to show my sister the violin, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, four of my five grandchildren, friends via text and Facebook.  Most of these encounters were brief but they all brightened my day, as these bright souls walked beside me, for moments or hours, sharing in my joy. 

 

One of the highlights of this afternoon was attending the Carl Junction High School Spring Band Concert and Awards with daughter Elissa. The Jazz Band and Symphonic Band, conducted by Trey Wadell and the Wind Ensemble, with Scott Schneider as conductor, performed. All three bands have received high rankings in their spring competitions and performed their selections for an appreciative audience today.

I enjoyed listening to Chant and Jubilo and Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual again as the Wind Ensemble, of which Dayan is a part, finished out the afternoon concert. I know I smiled the whole time. This ensemble, which received outstanding rankings in their last competition, was recorded today as they performed. The recording will be sent to a prestigious state competition with the intent of competing there next January. It was exciting to hear them again today. I was proud of Dayan, who lettered in band and received recognition for his participation in District Honor Band.


After brief visits with Megan, Aubrey, Oliver and Joey, I was back home in time to stroll in my garden. The sun was sinking and the clematis blooms, the largest I have ever seen, drew my eyes and gained my appreciation. I had just enough time to water the container flowers before darkness overtook the garden. I entered the house refreshed.


Tonight I completed my day by stretching out on my bed, watching parts two and three of the BBC production of North and South. I’ve reviewed this story in another blog post. These two episodes showcased the growing rift between the mill workers and the mill owners. The workers unite in a strike, with disastrous results. The relationship between Mr. Thornton and Margaret parallels the difficulties between the owners and workers as they too struggle to communicate freely and understand each other.

There was much loss during the middle episodes, as hardship and illnesses claimed some dear lives, and mothers feared losing their sons, albeit in very different circumstances. There was suspense and secrecy, misunderstandings and angst, growing desire and fear of rejection. Stories about life, I’d say! I’m loving this series and look forward to the conclusion tomorrow. If I wasn’t already a Richard Armitage fan, I would certainly be one now. As it is, my appreciation for this fine actor continues to deepen.

What a beautiful day, unplanned but full. I am blessed and grateful.  I thus end today’s journey and this soliloquy, and bid all a good night.

Journey 109: Puttering Day

Puttering Day Word Swag

Sundays are rapidly becoming true days of rest for me, even on those occasions that I work part of the afternoon. I don’t always spend the day lounging, although I certainly enjoy a day curled up with a stack of books or an evening spent stretched out on the bed, watching a movie. A day with plenty of time for enjoyable hobbies, connecting with others or doing nothing at all is so restorative. As Winnie the Pooh says, “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing.”

And so I declared today Puttering Day, to celebrate one of my favorite pastimes around my house and yard. The day began with resting, with no particular time to arise. When my body let me know it was well rested, I got up, and leisurely entered into the beautiful morning.

I enjoyed time with my mother and sister this afternoon, doing a bit of shopping. We all like hunting for great deals. When the stormy weather moved in a bit quicker than anticipated, we paid for our purchases and hurried for the door, but not before the downpour started. My mom, ever resourceful, picked up a plastic shopping bag for a rain hat. And ever the mom, something Linda and I both understand, she asked us to wait in the store lobby while she unlocked her car, so we wouldn’t get so soaked. The sight of her hurrying to her car, with a white plastic bag over her head made us giggle like school girls.

In between rain showers, I puttered in the garden, planting one more metal bucket with orange and purple Calibrachoa plants. That completed container is now perched atop a vintage wooden chair in the garden. With the possibility of hail and strong storms this evening, that was all the planting I did today, however, I enjoyed a stroll through the garden, humming and talking to my plants. My grandson sent me a list of 23 smart gardening hacks today, that was full of resourceful ideas. I embraced #3 and started my Calendula seeds soaking in water, to speed up sprouting when I plant them in the black kettle tomorrow.

Although I had picked up a Best Picture nominated movie to watch this evening, I decided instead to curl up with that stack of books, reading about the further adventures of Alma in “The Signature of All Things”, and learning about Ireland’s culture and folklore in “The Celtic Twilight”. With a cup of hot tea at my side and rain drumming down outside, it was a cozy evening, made perfect by the inclusion of a little jazz music.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Thanks to Pandora online radio, I listened to several selections, including a familiar tune by Dave Brubeck. Called Take Five, this song is from the album Time Out, which was the first jazz album to ever sell more than a million copies. Take Five is the biggest selling jazz single of all time and is famous for its distinctive 5/4 time and catchy two chord piano vamp. I recognized it from the song’s use in television and movie soundtracks. It was also the theme music for NBC Today during the 60’s.

I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating my own Puttering Day, in my own puttering way. As often as I can, I will declare each Sunday Puttering Day. These days spent away from schedules and appointments and the clock, not only free up my time, they free my soul, allowing for expansiveness and exploration, and deep rest and relaxation. Like Pooh Bear, I see the amazing value in doing nothing in particular.