What is saving you today?

Life at times can be tricky.  It can feel tough and brutal.  Life feels hard sometimes. Life can be very loud.

It seems as though for the big huge troubles, we pause, pull up our bootstraps and face it head-on.  Not pleasant, however, we all have the ability to rise up and fight something big.

It’s the small things that add up & sneak up on you. You don’t realize how full your heart & soul & plate are until the tipping point and things start to topple over.

buffetBefore walking up to the buffet table, you actually are not physically starving.  Coffee sounds good, then you spy the potatoes & take a few.  Next, you notice the fruit.  Oh my,  look at that spinach quiche it is calling my name.  Wait!  I spy with my little eye, a freshly baked croissant.  Oh, cappuccino.  And just like that, my plate is piled high, I have both hands filled and I have to ask for help carrying my coffee back to my place.

That moment when you ask for help.  You instinctively know the moment has come to politely ask for assistance. We can’t do this alone.

That’s how I feel lately.

A friend’s son is sick.

Two friends are very, very sick.

I miss playing board games with my kids. I miss hanging out and talking.

I miss our grandkids.

I’ve baked a couple of times to take to friends.  My stash of sympathy cards is dwindling at an alarming rate. A couple of friends are in the hospital.  (I can’t be around germs, so I send cards.)  I need to replenish my “thinking of you cards”.

Working from home has its advantages for sure, however, sometimes just talking with the dog does not fill my need to chit-chat.  I miss dressing up, driving to work, checking in with co-workers, hearing about their day, eating lunch, teasing, banter etc.

I picked up my phone yesterday, I was going to send a text message to my friend ( I have two happy things to squeal and share about), then I remembered she doesn’t have a phone in heaven.

This time of year, the weather is dreary and it’s not easy to go out and work off some frustration through yard work.  It is pouring down rain as I type.  If we get a slight break in the liquid sunshine, my boots are ready….. I am headed out to rake leaves and breathe in some fresh air.

Yesterday, while listening to a podcast interview, Jen Hatmaker asked her guest the final question.

“What is saving you today”? 

 

I listened then I proceeded to answer it as well.

“What is saving me today”?

Mr. Right (fancy date night over the weekend, talking on the phone like high school kids,Date night_resized doing a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle in 3 hours, reading the same book or studying and then discussing together, stitching and talking while he makes juice every day…………my list goes on and on)

Floss Tube ( a group of worldwide cross stitchers who make videos and share their passion)

coffee cupCoffee

Counted cross stitch

I don’t really need finger shaking and rules right now.  Reading Psalms uplifts and psalm rockencourages me to move forward.  Even when the world seems all wackadoodle & topsy-turvy.

My Sweet Dog

my guilty pleasure, looking at “Hello” Magazine pictures online

Crocheting

Funny videos during medicine time

Reading the latest FBI thriller

Baking

holding handsHolding hands while wearing mittens/gloves on evening walks

 

So on this wet Tuesday,  my question to you friend is,

“What is saving you today”?

Maybe we can share answers & grace with each other?

Maybe by sharing we can smooth out the rough edges of this thing we call life?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful my side hurts.  mustachesThat is from belly laughing so much. 20150709_121749

FullSizeRenderI am thankful I am plum tuckered out.  That is from having way too much fun.

I am thankful our favorite pasta restaurant was closed on Monday. Had a lovely meal near the water instead.

I am thankful to do so much laundry.  That is from ignoring it for days. 20150713_174844-1

I am thankful to dead head and fuss over my deck flowers.  Again, that is from ignoring them for days.

20150712_152355-1Perfect days spent with a friend.

We met 24 some years ago, still tickling each others funny bone.  Picking each others brains.  Still chatting about children and quilting.  Trying to figure out this thing called life.

We help each other.

She came to visit. She filled my pitcher to overflowing with pure goodness, creativity, belly laughs and adventure.

I am Thankful & Grateful.

Friends are the people who help balance your spirit.

I wish all of you have a friend that lifts your spirit and brings you back into beautiful balance.

My smile is better.  My heart is full.  My soul is in balance. 20150712_193046 (1)

Groovy Granola Bars

Can you teach me how to make granola bars?
Sure thing.  Easy Peasy.
Buckle up………..oodles of ingredients………….(secret, you can use pretty much whatever you want, just keep the amounts similar)  I think everyone has their “own” recipe.  This just happens to be the framework for mine.
So easy, you will slap your forehead and wonder………..WHY on earth have I not made these before now?
Here we go:
2 cups gluten-free oats (or 1 cup oats & 1 cup toasted quinoa, so good)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup raw, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds (great calcium)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins or blueberries … I like cherries (no sulfates, please)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Himalayan Sea Salt (be generous)
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 cup raw honey
3 Tablespoons flax-seed oil
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
preheat oven 350*
20150320_102334In a 9 x 13 inch pan……….I like to toast my main ingredients prior to mixing up a batch…..
Mix oats, seeds, coconut, wheat germ, nuts,  and toast 10 minutes……..stir….toast 6 more minutes.
In a medium saucepan combine…. salt, almond butter, honey & oils.  Bring to a boil.
Pour over oats.  Stir.  Stir in cherries (or raisins etc)… stir some more………let cool a bit more…. Stir in mini dairy free chocolate chips.
Press mixture down into pan.  20150320_105726
Bake 20 minutes.
20150320_111201 (1)Cool 2 hours (hardest part).
Cut, generous bars.  Wrap in wax paper then plastic wrap.  Store in a big container.
Take on a road trip.
Amazingly delicious.
Love to hear what you add or subtract.  What’s your secret ingredient?

when life gives you lemons…

If you are old enough, after you read this post, you will be singing along with The Beatles, all day long.   If you are not old enough, you may want to check it out on You Tube.  Catchy little tune.

 

Here comes the sun, 

Here comes the sun. 

And I say, it’s all right. 

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter. 

Little darling,m it feels like years since it’s been here. 

 

Yesterday, the mailman left a 17 pound box of a surprise on our door step.

20150319_100442What the heck could someone mail me that weighs 17 pounds?

Sunshine and healing that’s what!!!!!

The sunshine and healing came in the form of ……17 GLORIOUS pounds of fresh picked Meyer Lemons!

Our home smells like a beautiful lemon tree that is bursting forth in all her glory.  Oh my stars!  You can almost feel the healing and goodness just looking at my pictures. 20150319_112114

When life (read that as friends from sunny California) gives you lemons you make: 20150319_170608

Apple Cider Lemonade

Lemon herb rice

20150319_173324Lemon tarts

save 14 lemons out to use for this week’s juicing adventure (yes, we use 14 lemons a week)

juice 2 for humus and guacamole to make today

Give 4 away………..Hey, there is NO WAY, I am chancing being a greedy Gus and nixing my good fortune and karma! (yes, folks, you have to GIVE away a portion of your good fortune………….or it will circle around and bite you.  fact.  Do not mess with karma.)

My brain is still twirling and swirling as to what else I can make.

Marinate some fish with lemons, onions and fresh parsley…….Coho Salmon on the grill is a favorite.

A splash of fresh lemon with some raspberries ………….hello beautiful sorbet. 20150319_100458

My 8-year-old friend painted an amazing sunshine, just for me.  She wanted to share her California Sunshine with Miss Daleen.  I can “feel” that sunshine warming my bones.  Glorious sunshine.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t get super frigid winters with mile high mounds of snow.  What we do get is gloomy, gray, dark days. We get drizzle and pouring rain.  We get chilly, cloudy, dull, no color days………….

20150319_124216From the mouths of babes…………….

Sun, Sun, Sun, here it comes!

ps.  have I mentioned lately what a lucky/grateful girl I am?

 

 

celebrate in sickness and in health?

Hello friendly readers,   I have been trying to write this post for several days now.  I have started and stopped.  Started, deleted.  Sigh.

Just too blasted hard to write.  Maybe I didn’t want to write it at all?  Or, maybe I felt compelled to write and I was stymied?

For some reason, I felt like I should write.  I just couldn’t make the words slip into place.

A couple of days ago, Mr. Right said, I wrote your blog post for you.   I said how did you know I was having trouble?  He just shrugged.

How is that for in sickness and in health?  Even when I am having a hard time writing, he came to my rescue.

I am grateful, mighty grateful I have someone who, while he doesn’t ride a white horse (he drives a black car), he is my knight in shining armor.

Without further adieu,  here is my blog post today, written by my Mr. Right.

 

 

 

When do you choose to celebrate?

Everyone has moments in their lives that are indelibly tattooed on their brains.  If you belong to my generation, you remember precisely where you were when you heard President Kennedy had been assassinated.  You watched the first walk on the moon and the fall of the Berlin Wall and you can probably remember seeing all the missiles going into Baghdad during “the first” Gulf War.  We then have days that are unique to us that we remember: the day we met our spouse, first dates, weddings, child births, graduations, weddings of children, and the list goes on.  Then there are the days we recall not because we want to, but because they were so personally devastating and caused such upheaval in our lives that we cannot forget.  In this case for us, it was Jan 22, 2013 when we received the dreaded diagnosis.  cancer.  (spell check be damned – I choose not to capitalize the word) Daleen remembers very little of that particular meeting, and rightfully so.  Her world was immediately and irrevocably turned into a maelstrom of doctors, procedures, appointments, drugs and choices, choices, choices.  There I sat, with my game face on trying to be the strong one and listen to what was being said when I wanted to hold Daleen very tightly, scream and make the problem go away.  So many thoughts were jockeying for position and the transitions occurred so rapidly that only a few survived, and they are all ugly.

We somehow stumbled through the next few days.  We cried a little, hugged a lot more and found the wherewithal to put one foot in front of the other.  There were tests and procedures.  There were appointments and schedules.  There were kind people and there were monsters disguised as healers in white coats.  People who went out of their way to do what they could to placate us and remove the fears we faced and sadly those who did their utmost to exacerbate an already bad situation.  Why is it so easy for some to be so negative, so mean-spirited and downright ugly?  I trust they will one day change, though I know the odds of that are overwhelming.

We have a “moment” coming up that has us perplexed.  Thursday, the 22nd marks two years since the dreaded diagnosis was heard.  Thus, it’s an anniversary of a sort.  We feel the need to mark the occasion, but what exactly are we celebrating?

It’s easy to say that we’re celebrating two years since the awful day, two years of living.  But is it a good idea to celebrate the idea of cancer?  Isn’t it better to not celebrate something so hideous?  I don’t want to spend a minute thinking about cancer, but much of my past two years has been spent with a focus on the disease.  How we eat, how we think, how we wash our clothes, how we clean our house and even how we clean ourselves.  The water we drink and the air we breathe – even the water the dog drinks.  All these things and so very much more have changed because of cancer.  Remember the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?”  cancer is a seriously squeaky wheel and the sound cannot be denied or ignored.  If we look at it objectively, what we are really celebrating is two years of staying alive, and perhaps that’s how we should think of it.  By that standard we should celebrate each and every day.  In our own way we do, but this particular date seems to demand more recognition, a more focused cause for celebration.

To not do anything to commemorate the day seems somehow wrong.  After all, two years is a victory.  Then again, two years and one day is a victory, as two years and two days will be a victory – you get the idea.  For two years we’ve been swimming upstream.  We’ve been charting our own course through the madness, taking in advice from everywhere and determining what is right for Daleen and for us.  I used to be fond of saying that if you wanted to get a conversation started, tell people you home schooled.  Years later, I’d say to tell people you are a home schooling vegetarian.  I was correct with both statements, but little did I know I was an amateur.  Now I’m a professional.  I know how to get a conversation started immediately, one sprinkled with condemnation, disgust, bewilderment and judgment. Simply let on that you are fighting cancer without radiation and chemotherapy and instead are fighting it with excellent nutrition and clean living.  If you do, cinch the saddle tight folks and hang on, it’s going to get very bumpy, very quickly!

So, a nice dinner will be a time out, a break from the routine.  We’ll go somewhere nice where the food is safe for us and we’ll dress for the event.  I think we’ll celebrate courage.  Somewhere the lady I married found the courage to do what she knew to be right.  Not right for everyone, but right for her.  For those of you unfamiliar with cancer, if you are so afflicted one of the first things you should do is avoid sugar; sugar feeds cancer cells.  Under the right conditions, you can actually see cancer cells “get excited” and grow when given sugar.   One of Daleen’s oncologists invited her to a barbecue – complete with barbecue sauce (sugar) soda (sugar) cake (sugar) and cookies (sugar).  That particular oncologist was visibly upset when it became apparent to her Daleen chose to “go natural” and made it quite clear she thought Daleen was nuts.  Please don’t get me wrong, we don’t expect people to be familiar with cancer except in distant terms.  We were woefully ignorant as well.  When you receive no support – at all – from those that should offer it, the tasks become more difficult, the path strewn with even more obstacles.  In two years, Daleen has learned how to climb over the rocks, give (mostly) deaf ears to the voices of condemnation and righteous indignation, all the while turning her life upside down and challenging everything she thought to be true.  John Wayne perhaps said it best when he said “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”

This Thursday, I’ll invite Daleen to saddle up, well at least to hop into the car, and we’ll celebrate not what was, nor what is, but rather what she has become.  That dear friends, is truly a cause for celebrating…

Have I mentioned lately how blessed we are?

20140802_142253I welcome your thoughts and you sharing the days you choose to celebrate, we’re all in this together.

Dime Store Popcorn

For a couple of years, I had a Saturday morning/afternoon job.  I was a babysitter.  I took it seriously.  I think I was 13 or 14.   My mom would drive me to their house and remind me to be responsible, be safe and to use common sense.

I would bring over a craft to work on with my “client”.  Usually involved pipe cleaners or feathers or some coloring of some sort.  She was in K or 1st grade.

She was super, duper sad to see her mom walk out that door and head to her place of work.  (Across the street at a carpet store.)  Yes, you could actually see the place of business from the living room window.   My “client” usually cried when her mom left.  I tried all sorts of silly antics to get her to smile.

The mom (happened to be a friend of my mom) did the paperwork at the carpet store.  It seemed rather dull to me.  However, I loved the daffodils on the sign.  Little did I know that being a widowed mom, a Saturday morning away from a little person would have been interesting and enjoyable.  Just guessing here, the mom probably loved visiting with other adults, even if it was to discuss carpet.

When it was nice, we played hop scotch outdoors or blew bubbles while sitting on the back porch steps.   Some days when it was raining and chilly, my little “client” loved watching cartoons.   While she watched television, I would pet their cat.  We didn’t have one and I thought it was so nice.

The BEST part of my job was when it was sunny and I had asked permission, my “client” and I were allow to walk four blocks to downtown! I can’t remember if she gave us a dollar or my mother did.  We were allowed to go downtown.  Now, don’t get all fussy.  We lived in a very small town.  There were no stop lights we had to maneuver.  It was all rather innocent.

To begin with, I had to convince my “client” it would be fun!  Then I had to bribe her.  Actually, I wanted it so bad, I think I used all my talents to explain how great it would be.

The Dime store.  Pullman’s Variety.

SWOON.

I LOVED that store.  I LOVED everything about it.  Oh sure, I adored walking there as the person in charge.  I insisted we hold hands when crossing the street.

We held hands in the store, I did not want anyone steeling my “client”.  I LOVED looking at all they had to offer:  embroidered handkerchiefs, troll dolls, plastic rain bonnets, mouse traps, paper dolls, valentines, Toni perms, stamped embroidery fabric, hair nets, doilies, color books, bags of sequins, bags of feathers, little mini sewing kits………every single time I went, I saw something new and different.   Unless, I was on a shopping trip with my mother, I didn’t usually buy much.

Oh, I did buy one thing.  ONE GLORIOUS THING.

As you walked around the Dime Store, you could smell it.  The aroma was intoxicating.  It was savory, buttery, salty, warm smelling goodness.

popcorn machineThe Dime store (it wasn’t until I was an adult did I know it had an actual name, we always called it the Dime Store) had on the check out counter, a POPCORN machine!  Ever since the first time I went there, I can remember the popcorn machine.  Heck, even when I was 16 and had my own driver’s license, I remember driving to the Dime Store for one thing or another and always, always buying a bag of popcorn.

The ladies that worked in that store, we business like and friendly.  They treated kids just as they treated any adult customer.

I always, always felt grown up.

My “client” and I would go to the counter, she usually got some little toy or trinket.  I would always politely ask for the LARGE size of popcorn. popcorn_0

We would walk home together.  Holding hands while crossing the street.  We would share the popcorn.  Now that I think about it, she wasn’t that interested in the popcorn.  Maybe it was me that was all happy and excited?

I can still remember the red and white striped popcorn bag.  I can feel that soft top edge after touching it and rolling it down a few times.

What a GLORIOUS treat.

My all time favorite food as a child and as an adult.  Popcorn.   Hands down.  POPCORN.

Oh sure, I “doctor” it up now and then.  However, there is nothing in the world quite as tasty as fresh made, on the stove top popcorn.  Real butter and real salt.  You need to use a paper napkin, it is that good.

So from my heart to yours, Happy National Popcorn Day!!!!

popcorn1May your celebration be GLORIOUS.

You can guess what I will be having for a snack today!

ps.  Please join me in sending good Karma to my “client”.  She is having her second hip replacement on the 26th.

 

 

counting our happy

When our boys were little, we had a long and involved bed time ritual.

You know the drill; bath time, choose action hero jammies (once older, torn ripped, Twizzler t-shirt and faded shorts) brush teeth, jump around like monkeys to get the wiggle bugs out.

Next, choose three books each, okay four, alright, this one time five.

Try to settle down.  Quiet time, soft lighting, night lights on, one last drink of water out of those tiny Dixie paper cups.

The question:  What was your favorite part of the day?

Sometimes the answers was long and drawn out and came with many sentences that started with “and then”.  Some days, it was tough to think of just one little thing that was good or happy or fun.  We waited patiently until they figured it out.

Prayer time and then a million good nights.  one last knock, knock joke.

every night.  honestly.

Our favorite part of the day was usually hearing what they liked best about the day.  What made them happy or laugh.

Last year in December I challenged myself and all of you kind readers to make a Happiness Jar.  Set aside a jar, fill with things/moments that made you happy.  Didn’t have to be fancy.  Just do it.

20141222_151834Did you do it?  I filled mine pretty full.  Actually, I was feeling all puffed up and excited about how full of HAPPY my jar is.  I can’t wait until tonight when we dump it out and read and relive all the happy events that happened over the past year.  Makes me giddy just looking at the jar.  It isn’t fancy, I didn’t decorate it like I thought I would.  I grabbed any paper on any given day and jotted down the HAPPY for that day.

A trip to Florida.  A NEW GRAND.  A brother-in-law SUCCESSFUL eye surgery.  Walking in high heels on date night.  Sewing a bib for a new baby to be.  Collecting egg number 460.  A trip to California.  Some small, some monumental.

happiness jarThen I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s blog this morning.  She showed a picture of her jar.  Her BIG ASS jar.  Seriously.  She could hardly lift it.  She puts something happy or good inside the jar every single day!  I adore this idea. 

One of her readers shared that they have the jar in the middle of the dining room table.  Her and her kids put something happy into the jar daily.  One person, decorated their Christmas tree with all the Happy slips of paper.  happiness tree

Oh my stars.  I need to think bigger!  Choose a HUGE jar that is empty.  That way the universe will see the need to fill up that size jar with happy.

Elizabeth also said, on the days when there didn’t seem to be anything happy………..she would plunge her hand into the jar of all those slips and grab a handful and read those.  Then she would figure out the least unhappy thing of the day and write that down.

Oh sure, I make resolutions.  I am 95% great at keeping them.  Resolving to do better is a good thing.  However, resolving to notice and seek out the happy in each and every single day, is the whole point. Isn’t it?

Just think how many ridiculously happy things and moments are waiting for us in 2015?

We are in this together, here’s to our health, wellness and of course Happy!happy new year