rise & shine, glory glory

Years ago, I remember hearing my sister-in-law talk about getting up at 3:15 am to make breakfast for my brother-in-law.  Yes, tough Army guys need a good breakfast to be ready  & raring to take charge of their troops.

When you hear that “the Army does more before 9:00 am than most folks do all day”….they aren’t kidding.  That also means some of their wives were up prior to that getting them going on the right path.

I asked Mr. Right, do you want me to get up and make you breakfast?  He said in the nicest, kindest way….sweetheart, no one wants to eat what you cook at 3:15 am.

That pretty much sums up my abilities in the early hours of the day.  I am not very creative or cheerful or thinking straight …I’ll just say what everyone is thinking, I am not a morning person.

20190517_165425Recently, on my latest youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjZZpUledU I asked folks to tell me how they started their day. I asked what kind of rituals they do to set themselves up on the right path.

It has been lovely to read everyone’s routines.  Many different, so many the same.  From scratching their dogs’ belly to listening to uplifting music, prayer, breakfast, and devotionals,  the glorious coffee/tea seemed to be a repeated necessity.

Since so many shared, I thought I had best jump on here and share how my day begins.

I have found that routine helps me navigate the early morning hours.

The moment, I wake, I say thank you.  I am grateful for another day.  I start the day with light ankle/leg stretches.  I put on my walking clothes and somehow manage to corral my beautiful, huge, “joyful” hair into/under a baseball cap. Brushing my teeth and putting on lip gloss is next as is drinking one glass of water.

Five days a week, (4 weeks a month, 12 months a year) I read my letter.  Yes, Mr. Right leaves me a note.  Stickers, stick figure drawings, always an excellent, kind comment about last nights’ dinner, bread or dessert.  Sometimes he writes a poem, a joke, leaves a pun, a count down to something fun we are planning.

Yes, every workday morning, I read and keep my love notes. 20190525_073806

I make my bed.  Yes.  Every single day.  When my sisters and I were little, our mother 20171018_141746-1_resizedwould say we were not allowed to go to school unless our beds were made.  Oh my, to think we couldn’t go to school!  Geesh. The habit has remained with me.

I take our Sweet Liberty outside.  Now, that she is elderly, she no longer joins me for my walk.  She relaxes at home and gets an extra wink or two of beauty sleep.

I make her breakfast, give her fresh water, brush her every morning. (Yes, a girl needs to have a daily comb out.)

If I don’t walk, I ride my indoor bike.Rise and Shine

During biking, I read The Upper Room and  The Christian Science Reading Daily Lift scripture and thoughts.  My morning devotionals last for 3 miles, about 22 minutes.

I use my Rebound-air for 9 minutes.  (Here is the goodness:  2 minutes on my Rebound-Air equals 6 minutes of running or 10 minutes of swimming or 22 minutes of walking.)

Boy Howdy, it’s fun, helps my lymphatic system & makes me happy.  I can listen to music or a video or let my brain swirl.  When jumping, so I don’t slip,  I use socks with little rubber nibs on the bottom.  They even have a powerful message for me each morning!

20180214_204856My morning juice is already made (the night before by Mr. Right) and chilling in the refrigerator, six days a week.  It is 4 carrots, 1 red pepper, 1 orange, and 1/2 lemon. (fyi, our jars are from the Love Bomb company in Oregon.  It’s a great company & we love our jars!)  https://www.thelovebombcompany.com/

Some mornings I sail through my routine, other days, with my eye on the prize, I stumble each step of the way.

The prize you ask?  Oh, I think you already know.

A beautiful cup of coffee.

Dark Italian Roast freshly ground beans.  I add some coconut sugar and a splash of 20180830_074754coconut/almond creamer.  Depending on my need, I choose a beautiful cup or a comfortable Polish pottery mug.  Once in a while, when the day calls for a big, bold choice, an overly large mug, with a big handle and the perfect curve of the lip, fits the bill.

Whether you jump start your day like a military person on a mission or you ease into the morning slightly slower….

I hope you set yourself on a path of gratitude.  Grace and glory will surely follow.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

 

 

What do you eat?

20190514_181701“What do you eat”?  Oh yes, I get that question a LOT.

We eat plant rich, nutrient-dense food.  Yes, that does mean, on occasion, we will eat fish.

I got the feeling that our friend didn’t want all the details.  She needed and wanted help fast.

Our friend was panicked.  Their granddaughter was coming to visit and their beautiful, intelligent teenager has bravely announced to the world that she has decided to be a vegetarian.

What do we feed her?

My answer:  food

Seriously, what do you eat?

So, I offered a few suggestions and good news, the granddaughter came to visit, brought some of her own food and everyone lived to tell the tale.

I decided for a week or two, I would share what we eat.  I would send my friend pictures, offer recipes if she asked.  I didn’t go into too much detail.  I wanted her to know that we eat pretty much what she eats minus the grilled steaks.

One time years ago we hosted a graduation party.  At the time, our youngest son was a vegan.  I made myself crazy by making vegan gravy and non-vegan gravy.  I made vegan dishes and non-vegan dishes.  I made vegan desserts and non-vegan…you get the idea.  I put pretty little signs in all the dishes to designate which was which. 

Stick a Fork in Me.

I was D-U-N.  Done!

Like NASA has a mission statement?  I needed a mission statement.    While cleaning up and doing twice as many dishes, I decided to make some changes.   My new mission statement:

  Make/bake excellent quality food with exceptional taste. 

I want my food to be so good that I don’t have to qualify what it is.  I don’t have to say: this is dairy free or gluten-free or sugar-free.  I don’t have to say, these crab cakes are made with Jack Fruit.  I don’t have to say this is vegan.  I decided to make and serve exceptional food.

When you come to my house and enjoy a Chocolate Chip Cookie, I won’t have to explain that they are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan…blah, blah, blah .   If you try my chicken nuggets, I won’t have to tell you there is no chicken involved.  Nor will I have to explain that my donuts are non-dairy, non-gluten, etc.

 

 

I will only have to answer you when you ask if there is more.

YES, THAT GOOD!

 

Homemade pasta and sauce so savory and filled with flavor (and blended veggies) that you will ask for seconds.

 

Stuffed shells worthy of a birthday dinner!  Oh, did I mention homemade ricotta “cheese” made from almonds?

 

We eat “Crab Cakes” with or without sauce.  These beauties are perfect small appetizers or larger for part of a meal.  Did I mention they are made with Jack Fruit?

 

Falafel & Hummus so good, so full of rich, bold flavors you will for sure be a clean plate club member.

What should you feed your granddaughter?  Excellent food.

In this together,

Chat soon

streaking in June, part 2

Where were we?

Oh, yes.

June.

#streakingwiththecoolkids  

walking

Okay, you all remember we were about to begin our June streak?  To refresh your memory, just click here:

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/june-streak/

Hello, Halfway point!  Nice to see you.

20180615_092225-1_resized_2

I’ve been doing the walking.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

I thought I would share some of the beautiful flowers I have found along my walks.

How is your streak going?  Did you make a HAPPY calendar?  Are you starting to look forward to your walk?  Have you come across any beautiful flowers?  Have you walked in the rain and the sunshine?

In this together friends….. here’s to our good health, Cheers!

Chat soon.

smarty pants cheese, please

Raise your hand if you have ever stood in a grocery store and cried.

I have.

When you have to give up meat (yes that means chicken, too), sugar, dairy and gluten it can and does seem slightly overwhelming.

20180207_173730-1_resizedToday’s topic is  PIZZA.  yum.  Ooey, gooey, stringy, flavorful pizza.  Caramelized onions, mushrooms galore, hot out of the oven, dripping with goodness.  A bit salty, a hint of sweet, that robust sauce….. overwhelmingly one of the top comfort foods around.

When that age-old question pops up, as it inevitably does, “What’s for dinner?”  you don’t have to do much to sell the suggestion of pizza.

To begin with, let’s talk a tiny bit about dairy first.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving up dairy products for the upcoming season of Lent, cannot tolerate lactose, are vegan or because you have educated yourself and know that dairy promotes cancer…….giving up the satisfying comfort of cheese is tricky.

(Side note here:  We all know any human over five years of age has no lactase in their body.  Lactase is the enzyme necessary to digest dairy products.)

Hang on one minute, yes, I promise to get to the good stuff……pizza.

First, please indulge me to give one quick homeschool lesson?    We all know Dr. Neal Barnard is one smart cookie.  I will be brief and with his help,  remind you why it is so DANG hard to give up dairy.

Skip reading the next paragraph if you are already a smarty pants and don’t need to be reminded of this stuff.

Cheese has casein as an unusual protein.  Casein fragments are called casomorphins – that is casein derived morphine-like compounds.  And they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.  In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right in.

Light bulb moment coming up…………………………………………………………………………..

SO THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING IN THE GROCERY STORE!  I was addicted to cheese/dairy products.

If you are a smart cookie and want to be even smarter, may I gently suggest to head over and do a little reading on what Dr. Barnard has to say about cheese?  https://www.forksoverknives.com/addictive-food-cheese-pizza/#gs.uOviSTQ

20180207_180019-1_resizedToday, I am writing this with one person in mind.  She doesn’t need to give up dairy for any reason other than she chooses to.  She is an intelligent, talented, athletic and beautiful, vegan teenager.  Her hard-working, creative, beautiful mother and I have been friends since we were teenagers.

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of money, time and effort trying and taste testing products, recipes etc.  I have thrown away more than I care to remember.  So, when a recipe or product turns out to be heaven-sent and amazing…………….instead of just sharing with people who laugh at me, roll their eyes, make fun of me, or stare at me with disbelief,  I decided to share with someone who would jump up and down and use jazz hands to share her happiness.  (sometimes, you just gotta play to the right audience)

Who knows?  Maybe this talented, budding rock star will one day write and sing about dairy-free pizza?20180207_180019-1_resized

I think we all agree teenagers are hard to impress.  I have made it my mission to secretly, share recipes, restaurants and ideas with my friend.  The mission is simple.  Help my friend win “Mom of the year” award.

Frankly, I shared my faux bacon recipe and she could quite honestly skate through the year with that one delicious recipe alone.  I know this pizza/cheese brilliant recipe secret will just add extra credit.

Tap, Tap, Tap…….can I have your attention, please?  Please join me in saluting this one brilliant, beautiful vegan teenager!  I raise my slice of pizza in your honor!  You, my dear, have figured out this healthy “thang” way before many adults.  Rock on future clean plate club member! 20180207_182008-1_resized

Okay, here is the secret.  Go buy Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull.  Just do it.  I am so fuss free vegangrateful that Santa was smart enough to give this to me.  This one book will make your life so much tastier, your teenagers will vote you Mom of the year and your guests will thank you a million times over.  She has an amazing recipe for “Life Changing Mozzarella”.  I stuck 5 gold stars on that one page alone!  Gather your ingredients:  tapioca starch, green olive juice, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt and water and let’s make a pizza.

If you don’t have a teenager to impress, I gotta say, Mr. Right gave it two thumbs up, with his mouth full and we were both clean plate club members.  So get out there and find someone to share a pizza with.

Pizza equals HAPPY!

May you make, serve, share and devour the best dairy-free pizza of your life!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

I forgot angels baked cookies

Yesterday, 4 years and 11 months, ago I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was told that I had one year to live if I didn’t do as they told me.   big sigh.

I did not forget the day, nor have I been able to go a day and not know what the tally is.

I have dabbled, sharing my story here and there over the almost five years.

20151206_182052_resizedFor some reason, yesterday, was a tough day. Then I put on a cute & sassy pair of big girl panties, extra jewelry, beautiful lipstick, kick-ass red cowgirl boots, asked Alexa to turn on some music and just like that, the day, as well as my outlook, changed dramatically.

Sometimes I can be a dunderhead and forget to put “it” out there for the universe to handle.

I can sum up the last few years with one sentence.

I chose the road less traveled.

I made the choice to respectfully and quietly decline the offer of chemotherapy and radiation.

(very important side note:  those souls who choose chemotherapy & radiation and live, are amazing.  When 97.3% of the time, it doesn’t work, those folks walking among us are astonishing.  Tip your hat to them for what they have endured.  They are living miracles.)

Having cancer is tricky, harsh, brutal, crappy, awful, LOUD, difficult, lonely and surprisingly, takes away your breath, some of your courage and brave people skills.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frostroad-less-travelled-lg

The thing about Robert Frost’s quote is that while being true words, he doesn’t mention how dark, scary, lonely, quiet, and not fancy that road is.

On one hand, frightening and unknown, pink ribbons, goodie bags of spirit-lifting lipstick, pink boas, friends rallying around, pins, hats, walk-a-thons, embroidered vests, support groups, a very clear, mapped out route awaits.

The other choice was an equally frightening unknown, however dimly lit path, with Mr. Right and I holding neon yellow high lighter pens for research & studying and gallons of green juice with a couple of folks in your corner.  Sort of a bizarre version of a sad, dull, blush colored lipstick, sad face “before” picture you see in fashion magazine layouts.

I get it.  It is scary.

In the beginning of the journey, I was heartbroken when “friends” jumped ship. Others politely & quietly moved to the other side, no big break-up, just quietly faded out of the picture.   I was crushed when some relatives thought my choices were ridiculous & uninformed and chatted behind my back.   I won’t even go into the mean & hateful things some of my doctors & medical staff said to us. Certainly not worth my breath to repeat.

While trying to re-build my broken immune system (yes, every single person with disease has a broken, damaged immune system) for quite some time I stayed away from groups of germs people.   Extremely limiting gatherings, extracurricular groups, church, outings, movie theaters, planes, etc.  Lonely during the days until Mr. Right came home from work.

Enter social media and technology.  Figuring out a way to make new friends through the world-wide webs.

Holy Toledo, because of this blog, I met a new friend and have what is shaping up to be a forever friendship. I’ve reconnected with friends from elementary school.  I even put on my brave lion mask and wrote to folks in an online counted cross stitch group.

A couple of months ago, while sounding rather juvenile, I excitedly told Mr. Right, I met a new friend.

For some unexplained reason, I jumped in with both feet. I felt brave and saucy.  I can’t explain the bravery.  Maybe an angel was nudging me in that direction?

I forgot.

I forgot how lovely it feels to have someone visit and talk and not feel sorry for you.  I forgot how wonderful it feels to relax and just write for fun.  I forgot how it feels to be curious about another person and ask questions and listen for answers.  I forgot how much fun it is to plot and figure out a surprise gift to give to someone else.  I forgot how satisfying it feels to make something for someone who understands handmade presents.

I also forgot how gobsmacked it feels to get an unexpected box of pure HAPPY in the 20171221_153135-1_resizedmail!  I forgot how flabbergasted I am when someone makes me something.  Believe it or not, it left me speechless (for a moment).  Cookies and treats and stitchy stuff (HUGE shock, no one has ever bought me stitchy stuff) and paper and ribbon and a hilarious card…. oh Lordy, get out the smelling salts.  

I had completely forgotten that when some folks jump ship, it just leaves room for new friends to jump aboard.

angel wingsI am here to tell you that angels walk among us. When you least expect it and need it most.

Fierce angels wearing bad-ass, fancy, insanely large, Victoria’s’ Secret kind of over the top wings.  They bravely wear juicy, saturated intense color lipstick, bake cookies20171222_114143-1_resized and wear glorious shoes we all drool for.

My fierce angel has glorious dark curly hair, wears amazing lipstick and has red pointy toe shoes with glorious big bows on them that I covet. However, in my mind, even to work, she wears fancy aqua colored wings.

In an effort to help me sleep through the night,  I began writing this blog 1,152 posts ago.

This installment will most assuredly help me sleep through tonight.   Lots of good, some bad all removed from my shoulders and put here for safe keeping.

Thanks oodles for listening to me, holding my hand, keeping me company, leaving kind & uplifting comments.  Such sweetness pushes my swing.

Today, I am mighty grateful that angels do indeed bake cookies. Delicious & beautiful cookies.

Here’s hoping that you are happily and surprisingly gobsmacked by a fierce and amazing angel in your corner. One that bakes cookies.   Once you catch your breath and stop feeling light-headed, it is a rather lovely feeling.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon

 

 

 

 

 

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

vinegar & nuts

Vinegar and Nuts.

What am I talking about?

Laundry of course.

In my ongoing quest to have sparkling clean laundry as well as NOT use chemicals…. I have a couple of new tips I want to share.  Of course, I would love to hear your all your ideas, please share your tips and suggestions.  I am always willing to try something new that aims towards good health.

Let’s jump in?

Yes, we all know that dryer sheets contain 9 Toxic chemicals and 3 of those known carcinogens (that means they cause cancer).   However, those little sheets of chemicals do a mighty good job at reducing static and that annoying cling.

Big sigh along with a sad face.

Alas, my friends, I have solutions galore (maybe not galore, but at least 3)!

Here is what I do instead;

One trick I figured out is that I use wool dryer balls.  They do an excellent job 3 seasons outdryer balls of the year.  That leaves us with those cold, static-filled winter months.

20171108_160244-1_resizedNext, I’ve added this little beauty.  Now, don’t get your fancy panties in a tangle, I used a bright-colored piece of fabric so I could find it easily when sorting dry clothes.  However, you can just as easily use safety pins on a single sock or an old washcloth.  The pins act as a lightning rod inside your dryer.  (Gentle note to readers: if by chance you don’t have any or you are saving your “fancy panties” for good and right this minute wearing old, dingy, faded, boring undies ………………for the love of everything wonderful in the world, throw your un-fancy undergarments to the curb (what I really mean is:  in the trash, no one wants to see a bunch of faded, broken elastic, sad-looking undergarments near the curb, no one. )

The next thing I did was order some makeup cloths from Amazon.  YouTube has several20171113_122106-1_resized (1) 20171113_114848-1_resized(thousand) I am sure, quick videos about how to make your own dryer sheets.  Here is what I do:  roll the makeup cloths (so they equally absorb the magic elixir), Add magic elixer….. better known as 1/2 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oils, put cloths in a jar with a lid, make fancy label if you wish.  Done.  Just as you would with the chemical-laden dryer sheets, toss one of these gems into the dryer along with your load of clothing.  (Gentle Note to the reader:  Doesn’t magic elixir sound better than white vinegar and good smelling oils?  Also, when I say to toss one of these “gems” into the dryer…. I am referring to the dryer sheets, not actual gems.  That would be ridiculous. )

Now to the nuts part of this post.

laundry balls 1Again, yes, we all know that laundry detergent has some mighty powerful chemicals (yes, some are carcinogenic, yes, we all know what that means).

No, I do not use detergent.  Sure, I make my own laundry soap, however, 95% of the time I use laundry balls (about 4 years now.)

Enter my ongoing quest to do better. Trying something new to me.

Soap Nuts. 20171114_084640-1_resized

Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.

When agitated with water they release soap. ( Yes, safe for septic systems, yes, completely nut allergy safe.  Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all.)

You add 3 or 4 soap nuts to the muslin bag and toss into the washer.  No chemicals, and yet somehow (magically) the laundry gets cleaned.  Yes, yes, I know the soap actually does the work, I just like using the word magical.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness, even in the laundry room. (insert happy face here!)

Chat soon.