Like many Americans, I start my day with a cup of coffee. Depending on how sleepy I am, I’ll either make my usual cup, or I’ll go to the local Starbucks and get something with a little (or a lot) more kick in it. But here’s something I’ve found about coffee or caffeine (green tea works wonders as well); once it takes effect, it is best to connect to something outside of just sitting in one place and working. Best thing to be able to explore after a cup of coffee is nature, the outdoors, even if that means just a quick walk on your street or a couple of stretches in your backyard. Just to breathe some fresh air, and if possible, refresh your vision with some greenery, even if it is just a potted plant outside your windowsill. It is instant mind, body, and spirit reset. Afterward, you can go about your day, and work as usual. I highly recommend making that connection with nature while you are experiencing the effects of caffeine as opposed to just coffee and straight to work, without heightening your senses and reconnecting to the roots of being human.
This morning I was able to meditate and drink some matcha green tea. Surrounded by simple beauty and the leftovers of my kids playing back here during the summer, I was compelled to take pictures. Glad I did! I followed this by doing some yoga out here, as the sun was getting hot. Very intense. It’s like I could feel the Vitamin D and energy entering my body. Nice way to start the day!
March Against Monsanto
I completely forgot my Friday post again but for good reason. We stayed up working on signs for the March Against Monsanto that happened worldwide on Saturday. So many people don’t know what corporations are doing to over 90% of the food we buy, and the worst types of GMO foods are being marketed and fed to our children! I’m not trying to guilt people for not eating organic 100% of the time, but I am trying to help educate people so that they can make an informed decision about what they eat and feed their families, instead of blind consumerism. Check out the pics from our march here in Ventura, CA!
I did it again! I forgot to post about food on Friday! Sorry guys! It was for a good cause though. Had a much deserved date night with the hubby and we decided to take advantage of the hot weather and high tail it to the beach. It was great! But now for the food. See that picture of me with a bowling ball? Well, it’s actually a GIANT organic cabbage I got from the local Farmer’s Market! I decided to make Galumpkis. Here’s the recipe I used: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/stuffed-cabbage-rolls-galumpkis-recipe.html
They came out pretty good, but I already know what I’m going to do to improve it to my tastes for next time. I didn’t take pictures of the finished product, I’m waiting to remake them. But everyone gobbled them down, so I guess they liked them!
Foodie Monday: Harvesting Potatoes
So I wasn’t able to post a foodie Friday post last Friday, but it was my birthday and I was vacationing with the family. Much needed! Anyway, I’m posting today with my first potato harvest! The picture above was what I pulled out of the orange laundry basket I used to plant potatoes. Didn’t take too long, about 6 weeks and I had lots of little potatoes. The orange basket negated any gophers getting at my papas. I had planted about 3 small organic potatoes, and these are the ones that grew-and very quickly! I also threw in 3 non organic potatoes. Those did NOT grow at all. They just took up real estate and rotted. They smelled awful! Like chemical rot and bad breath. From now on I am sticking to organic. I learned my lesson! I put some of the stalks back in the basket with more soil because there were a lot of little mini potatoes just starting to grow, so I’m looking forward to harvesting more potatoes in a few weeks. Not bad for my first potato experiment!
The Importance of Beauty
I’ve forgotten about how truly important beauty is and what it means for my life. Of course, there are more urgent matters throughout the day, everyday. As a mom, making sure my kids are fed, that they are taken care of, that they are safe-these things are more important than the kinds of beauty I’ve put on the back burner for a while.
Having found myself around vain and superficial people at times, I’ve completely turned my back on anything related to it. I thought by doing so, I was doing the right thing and teaching my kids to not be those things. While I’ve been successful at making sure they are not vain, shallow, and spoiled humans, I may have taken it a bit too far. I’ve completely counted out the importance of beauty. What is life if you forget to add as much beauty to it as you can? There are many different kinds of beauty, that are more than skin deep, even the seemingly skin deep kind.
Working hard to create a food garden, there’s a big difference when it looks unkept and when it looks cleaned up. It looks much more whimsical back there when it’s cleaned up-it looks like something Tinkerbell would be proud of! I don’t do it to impress anyone, that’s missing the point. I’m sitting in my backyard garden, under my avocado tree and feeling the zen of BEAUTY. I created it, I spent time and energy laboring over it, not to just be functional, but to be beautiful.
Working from home can truly make personal beauty take a turn for the worst. One an average day, I don’t see any of my clients. I often don’t leave the house. I’m working from my computer and from my phone. No need to get out of my pajamas because I don’t get out of the car to drop off my older son to school. I’m barefoot 95% of my day. And makeup? On an average day, I don’t wear any. This may sound great, and for the most part, it can be. But on the flip side, to truly start not caring about personal beauty, or style, or anything but getting work done…that’s not what I meant to do. Beauty and personal style are still a part of who I am, and I have been neglecting it.
Instead of natural and relaxed, I’ve become sloppy and unkept. Along with this comes low self image issues and depression. It’s a vicious cycle if not caught early on. After that, diet and exercise become secondary. It’s a dangerous and miserable place to be. All this because I forgot the importance of beauty.
My home environment is my work environment and vice versa. This can be maddening. While I admit, I’m a naturally messy person, I realize that as I get older, I NEED a certain level of order and cleanliness in my environment to focus and do my best. I had not seen the beauty of my home as important as it needs to be. Other things are always so urgent. But when the environment is negatively affecting my work, my mental state, my sense of well being, and my family, something needs to change.
I steam cleaned most of the carpets the other day and stayed up late to clean the kitchen. You know what? It felt so nice to wake up the next morning in a clean, beautiful environment. I felt renewed!
So, from now on, among all the urgent and important things to be mindful of, I must also remember, the true importance of BEAUTY.
Happiness – A Journey
Going through a very transitional period in my life. I can feel the pull to either make it or break it. Vernon Courtland Johnson once read me, in passing while reading the rest of my family in more depth. I was busy vending at an art show, so I only had time to say hello. He asked me, “What makes you happy?” I froze a little, because the question came out of nowhere, and I hadn’t really thought about that in a long time. I pointed to my family and said “They do.” He told me that I was on my last life ( speaking of past lives, and I’ve lived more than most) my challenge in this life is to just be happy. It struck a chord with me, I didn’t know this man, I didn’t tell him anything about myself or my life, and most people see me smiling all the time in public, and assume I’m a quiet and happy person. How did this person totally hit it on the head? Whether you believe in past lives or not, my reality is that I struggle to be happy. I have a good life and I love my family. I’m very fortunate, and I’m grateful for my kids and a wonderful husband who is nearly perfect in my eyes. But, I struggle to be happy. Most days I am sad or angry or feel guilty or like a failure. Even on days where I feel happy, there’s an underlying sadness. Lately it’s been worse. I keep thinking about what VCJ told me.
I took a little time after talking to Carlos about how I was feeling, cried it out a bit, then after getting some work done, took my little one outside. I finally opened up this bubble machine that Rocky got from his Aunt and Uncle for Christmas over a year ago. He loved it. I left it on for him, the wind was making those bubbles dance around, and I wrote about happiness. No real focus or structure, I just wrote. Here’s what came out:
Self realization, letting go of guilt, doubt and fear. Soul searching, finding out who I really am so I can love myself again.
Happiness is not the same as success. It’s not measured in accomplishments. Due dates, schedules and time limits do not help find happiness. Sometimes the brain completely blocks the pathway to happiness.
When one has learned to harden and guard the heart, it’s often frozen over, or it feels as though a layer of concrete is around it, like what was done to some adobe structures, only for the concrete to cause issues unseen, deep within. It’s necessary to be vulnerable in order to be truly happy. Too many disappointments in oneself or others cause true instincts to be seen as a weakness.
While at times, it is necessary for your heart and emotions to go into survival mode, this way of thinking, of practicality, of self preservation, this tactic can get in the way during times of life when you can put down your defenses. It can get in the way of being able to feel happy and to find true happiness. You’ll miss opportunities of joy, because you’ll be too logical to see them. While there is such a thing as wastefulness, you must learn the differences between that and the fun you allow yourself to have.
What makes a two year old truly happy? Not the most expensive toy, or travel, or fancy clothes. It’s so simple. A hug or a kiss from Mommy, bubbles floating in the air, sand between their fingers, their favorite worn down toy, a juicy piece of fruit, dancing wildly, hearing a lullaby being sung, splashing of water, the sound of rain, wind upon their face, running wild while screaming and laughing. Simple things make a child so happy. Somewhere between this age and just before puberty, we lose a chunk of this, especially in our modern society. How do we get some of it back? For someone who analyzes everything to death, it’s extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. Turning a new leaf and meeting my life’s challenge head on.
At the Farmer’s Market, we tried a shot of wheatgrass from one of the vendors. She kept telling us how great the stuff is for teeth and gums, which of course made us look right at her mouth. Her teeth and gums looked really healthy! Her skin also looked very clear. You could tell she wasn’t wearing much makeup at all if any. I’ve been reading about growing wheatgrass for a while now, so we ended up buying some seeds from her that were already sprouted. Only $4.50 for a giant bag! I planted quite a bit, but still have a lot left! I need to make more growing trays. Anyway, this is my first time growing this, and I created a makeshift tray out of some leftover tomato plastic containers from Fresh N Easy:
I cut them in half and then poked holes for drainage:
My second tray ended up better.
Filled it with rich soil and compost that i had mixed together earlier. I added water to make sure it was a nice moist mixture, kind of like brownie batter!
Originally I placed too many seeds…
The tray on top of the other half to allow for drainage…
Pretty wheatgrass trays all in a row…
Watered it, and the drainage system looks like it’s working well…
Covered them up for the night…
I’ll post progress pics of success or failure. 🙂
My mother in law brought me 3 of these little garden fence things from the 99 cents store. Instead of using it for my garden, which wasn’t working, I created a space for Rocky to have his own little garden to learn about how things grow. The dirt was packed solid so I made sure to turn it and add compost until it was ready to plant seeds. His big brother, CJ, helped me plant lettuce and garlic. I can’t wait until the little sprouts start growing! I know Rocky will love it!
Gardening, Great Ideas and Great Neighbors!
I thought I’d share this very simple yet cool idea:
And our neighbors brought us a bunch of produce from a friends local garden! All organic and the biggest chard I’ve ever seen! We had to wash it in the bathtub and use the baby tub to hold them all!
And lastly, a cute pic of some pickins from our own little garden that went into our dinner last night. This morning we took the recyclables again and got free organic produce from the Farmers Market. I’d love to hear from others who find ways to get free or inexpensive organic produce!