Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers

Happy Monday Morning!!!

Raise your hand if you get today off.

Ah!  Happy Times!

We had a gorgeous weekend here!

These beautiful trees are breaking into blossom all over town.  They are so pretty and when the wind blows, the petals come down and for just a second you might think it was snow.

All this good California weather has us all ready to plant flowers!

That's what I'll be doing today.  I intend to have my hands in potting soil most of the day, planting some gorgeous flowers in pots for the patio and front porch.

Hope you have a wonderful day!  

All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.

                                                                                   --Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Hope you are surrounded by those who love you.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

--Lao Tzu

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting My Picture Ya-Yas Out

It's been some time since I've been out exercising my photography brain.

This weekend I had a chance to go out and about with a Certain Very Nice Man and take some pictures.

We went walking underneath some very impressive towers.

We went to a nursery and found lots of colorful cacti.

Pigeons!  Lots and lots of pigeons! 

And seagulls too!

Happy Tuesday to you all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Hi Everybody!

Enjoy your Monday Morning Flowers!

I had a full, fun weekend with a Certain Very Nice Man!

How about you?  How was your weekend?

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

--C.S. Lewis

Friday, February 8, 2013

Betty Luvs Quinoa

Gotta love the quinoa!  I get the tri-colored kind and cook up a big batch in my rice cooker.  Then I throw it in everything I make.  

This past week I was in the mood for a light kind of salad, so I mixed the quinoa with mini cucumbers and mixed it all together with seasoned rice vinegar.  It was great!

This simple salad will rock your socks!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Already Done List

I was behind schedule.  I felt overwhelmed.  I pushed myself to hurry.  I couldn’t believe I was lagging like this.  I had meant to get so much more done.  I looked at the clock for the tenth time that day.

It was 7:00 a.m.


At 9:30 I entered my office at work, sat down at my desk and took a deep breath.  I had a full day ahead of me and yet I sat there, feeling like I was already behind.

Now, I believe in the power of a to-do list.  I make one when I feel like I need to get organized, get a lot accomplished, and generally see in black and white what I need to get done.

That morning, I was just about to make a to-do list for myself but then I stopped.  There I was about to “begin” my day and I was feeling behind and tired already.  I took a minute and instead of a to-do list I decided to instead write an “Already Done” list for the morning. 

Here’s what it looked like:
Got up.
Ate breakfast.
Read the paper.
Read about twenty blogs and commented on most.
Wrote e-mails to my family.
Texted a friend.
Walked the dog for three miles.
Got dressed.
Fixed hair and make-up.
Made lunch and packed it up.
Straightened up house.
Ordered present from Amazon.
Checked bank account.
Had long talk with dog about not tearing up the house while I am at work.
Drove to school.

I sat there, looked at that list, and for once, I gave myself some credit for all I had done already that day instead of beating myself up for not getting enough done.  It felt great and maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I went on to have a very productive day at work as well.

I think about those years when I was a working mom, when I had to get two little ones off to their schools in the morning.  All those things I had to do and had to remember!  I got kids up and fed, packed lunches and backpacks, and got everyone dressed and ready for the day.  We had a cat who liked to steal socks and place them underneath the family van in the garage, so many mornings you could find me belly-crawling under the van to get one or two matching (sometimes matching) socks.  My head spins when I think about all I did before I went to “work.”  

One morning when Evan was about five years old, I had everything packed up and ready to go.  It had been a hectic morning.  I looked at the clock.  If I was lucky, I could deliver the kids to their schools and still get to work on time.  I hiked my bags on my shoulders and glanced down to see Evan, standing there with his shoes untied. 

As I bent down to tie them, the bags fell down, and off my shoulders. Ouch.  Grrr.  I felt myself getting frustrated. As I tied his shoes, I felt his little boy hands on either side of my head.  “There goes the hairdo” was my first thought.  Then he said, “You have a very busy brain this morning, Mommy.” 

He squeezed my head and I felt those sweet little hands curving perfectly around my skull.  I raised my head, my eyes level with his from my kneeling position and looked into his blue eyes. Suddenly, I was  no longer overwhelmed by time constraints but instead overwhelmed with gratitude at being able to be at that place, at that time, with this dear little person.

I think about all my nieces and friends who are young mothers.  They carry so much on their shoulders and need to be reminded of all they do even before the official workday begins.

That work matters.

So this is for you, Carrie M, Trisha, Amanda, Alyssa, Jillian, Carrie F, Rebecca and all the other young mothers out there.   Make that “Already Done” list this morning and feel proud of all you have accomplished.  Maybe you’ve made breakfasts.  Maybe you’ve made lunches.  Maybe you’ve made the bed.  Heck, maybe you’ve simply made a path to the bed.  That’s OK!  Celebrate it.  Above all, you’ve made life easier for someone else and that’s worth putting at the top of the list.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Morning Flowers!

Hello, My People!

How is the week ahead looking for you?

Are you ready?

Here are some flowers to get you started this morning.

Life is good!

Today is a Fresh Start!

Let's make the most of it.

Don’t look further for answers: be the solution. You were born with everything you need to know. Make a promise to stop getting in the way of the blessing that you are. Take a deep breath, remember to have fun, and begin. 

-Jonathan H. Ellerby

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Uncharted Journey

A friend of mine recently started chemotherapy to combat breast cancer.  Before she went in for her first treatment, she wrote to me that she intended to chart her experience to have some “data points” she could have for reference later on.  

I love this woman, and the grace and style with which she is approaching this challenge is inspirational.  Her personality is a rare combination of scientific, logical, artistic, and sentimental. Her use of the term “data points” could come from her profession but I think it also comes from a very human determination to have a sense of control over an unfamiliar, scary, and daunting situation.

I have to admit, I smiled a sad little smile when I read her words.  I knew exactly what she was searching for.  I think we all long for data points as we go through the dark tunnels that dot our human journeys. 

Whether it is a disease, the process of divorce, the grieving process, depression or any other new territory we enter into unexpectedly and unprepared, we long for a map.  We want to be able to know when we will reach normality again and if normality is too far away, at least when we will leave one landscape and go to another.

We look for those benchmarks so that the path does not seem so rocky, and while it is a comfort to hear from those who have gone before us I think we all know, deep down that there are no universal data points.  

The processes of healing, of acceptance, of grieving, while all universal, are all still maddeningly individualistic.

Still, still, we reach for the possible definitive.  We want to believe we can pin down those data points. They are like shining coins in rippling, sometimes muddy water.  We see them there, silvery and shining, promising certainty and confidence.  We grasp for them time and time again, sure we can seize them, but they slip through our fingers every time. 

In a poem by Karl Shapiro titled “Auto Wreck” he writes:

But this invites the occult mind,
Cancels our physics with a sneer
And spatters all we know of denouement
Across the expedient and wicked stones

Ah, the canceling of our physics—those laws of nature that we believe will never change and just like that—they do. Life as we know it changes overnight.  We can never be prepared for such things. 

In the early months of my divorce, I clung to the many books I had bought on healing after abandonment.  I searched and searched for answers.  Yes, it helped to know I was not alone, that other women had gone through the same thing and come out on the other side.  

Still, the words in those books and even from friends did not tell me what I wanted.  I wanted data points.  I wanted to know when I would stop hurting.  I wanted to know when I would stop crying.  I wanted certainty.  I wanted answers.  I wanted a time frame.  No, I wanted more than just a time frame. I wanted dates and times, damn it.  I was furious when there were no answers.  

“You’ll be fine,” people would tell me.  “Just give it time.”  It was maddening at the time but now I see they had no other words they could give me.  While they knew something of the landscape, they knew the path I needed to go down was exclusive to me.

I have to believe my friend will be fine in the end, but she must go through this gut-wrenching treatment. Though she has friends and family who support and love her, it is, ultimately, her voyage.  She will go through it and her experience will be unique to her.  Those data points she charts will help at first and then fade as she concentrates on her efforts on maintaining a course that she herself will create. 

I have finally come to the conclusion there is a beauty in the uncharted journey.  

A timetable, a schedule, an agenda, while perhaps reassuring, would also ultimately demean and devalue our experience as humans.  The range of pain and creativity, the expansiveness and contracting into oneself is essential and, in the end, stunning. 

It is a awesome experience to come out of a dark time and into the light, to feel healed and whole again and to know that you did it yourself, in your own time. Even more awesome is to know, to really know in the depths of your being, that through the painful process, you honored the core of who you were, your humanness, and your soul, now even more beautiful than before.