20 Minutes

Sunday’s are my favorite day of the week.  I love their spaciousness and their tone especially in winter.  They provide a sacred space for me to unfold into in my own style and with my own practice and at my own pace.  For me they don’t require a more customary religious observance or specific affiliation for me to completely honor the power and joy a free Sunday provides my spirit.  Usually a football game easily substitutes for any missing fellowship though when friends can join this activity it’s a Victory kind of Day.

This Sunday I’m enjoying a fire in the fireplace, Yo-Yo Ma on the stereo and a baking ham and cheese quiche made with the last bits of New Year’s supper slowly filling the house with an aroma of divinity.  The Patriot’s have a bye week so this Sunday invites me to write instead and to work on art projects rather than succumb to loafing on the soft couch in the tv room.

A thoughtful 20 minute phone call to connect with a friend is the icing on the cake, initiating my heart to again burst it’s confines, fluttering wildly over a joy and excitement for living.  A walk to the beach and back gets my blood pumping flooding my brain with life force oxygen encouraging even more creativity and imagination.

It’s been just about a full week of the New Year and I’m again struck by the luxury and privilege of having the time and ability to really wrestle around with resolutions, intentions, and potential plans for the year ahead.  It’s been a retreat week of sorts, continuing a healing journey into navigating more and more time in my own company. I enjoy taking this time to roll with the pull of the earths intentions for me coupled with the structure of the calendar we live by.  Both forces offer loving guidance if I just lean into them and listen carefully for their offerings. My trusty pen and paper, handy laptop and voice recorder are at the ready to capture all whispers of wisdom that come my way.

I’ll set about more seriously tomorrow and dig into my work life once again kicking off the new year with new energy and lots of new vitality.

A knock on the door.

At the Slow Down Café, a wise woman recently shared with me this insight; be very mindful of the fact that you have no idea what is going on in any room (or café!!) before you enter it or with any person before you meet them.  You can make up a million assumptions, guess away, indulge your ideas and be very wrong. You may not mean any harm and be innocent. But you can have no idea what is really happening or going on there until you get curious and explore the space or the person or situation.   Until you calm yourself to the present moment and allow an unfolding of all that can be in that moment, you are only bringing your half and are in no way available to anything else that could be there.

If you bring all your state, your energy, your breathiness, your ideas, your surprise, your emotions, your disorder, then your impact will be the only thing that can be there, not allowing space for what already is or might be.  And how sad if you miss the gem that awaits you inside that room. The gem that the person or situation inside there on the other side of that door may have to share with you or be dying to share with you. You may miss your opportunity to grow in compassion, empathy, grace and love.  And aren’t these the very qualities you wished to bring into that room or to that person in the first place?

My strength is your strength

Go ahead bring me your all; my shoulders are broad, my back is strong – for you, and my course is steady.  Thrash about, fight the world, rail against the injustice of hurt and anguish and death and see me standing strong next to you not wavering, not leaving, still staying.  Even if you choose not to look at me, I am here for you and I now know how to stay as the storms and rages of life hurl their torments at you and at us as we lay in wait in often ill prepared condition.  And now I am ready.

My feet are planted strong on the earth, my human nobility engaged, my stake is in the ground to guide me; a slight turn of a rudder this way and that gently shifts and steers my strength to steadily meet you even as gales and squalls and the storms of this earthly life threaten.  I wasn’t always this way and I can’t promise a forever either, but I feel a steadiness now like never before.

In my own life, it took a lot to navigate a few convergent major life passages of parents and children, properties and things over the past handful of years.  All of them in too close succession of each other; pain and loss stacking up like dominos cascading in a non-stoppable inevitable catastrophic unhealthy pile up.  Life hit me in the gut, hard, teaching me again, some powerful lessons. I forgot for a time that we are more energy and less matter, and I lost sight of some great relevance for a moment.  But hey, this is the way life gets our attention sometimes. It gives us what we need to wake us up to what’s important, to what truly does matter and to what else is available for us as resource to go towards now and to show us the path to gratitude and love ever lasting.  

This inner strength is meant as a gift for you to use, my shoulders are for you to stand on and my back bone is for you to borrow as you navigate the storms of your life until you confidently know this power in yourself.

Hi. 2446

What’s in the smallest message?  You thought I meant what’s with it, right? In this case it’s what in it.  So, what is in it? Inside the littlest clue, the littlest messages might be the tiniest rays of hope.  Sometimes so small you could easily miss it. You could pass right over the most significant thing and go back to your annoyance with the way the world around you is going rather than see its magnificence, beauty, and treasures.  You could mis-interpret things by mistake. You could make an assumption about it all and just pass on by.

Or, and this is a big or… you could go off and try to find more meaning in there.  You could let your imagination go on a journey. You could see if there is something more you might need to learn in order to grow and keep developing your own magnificence.  

Maybe, just maybe you are creating a new language with someone very special to you.  What if you are inside a void of space, facing the great unknown, alone, and then there is a little message?   When once there was a richness and a dynamic beyond compare and now you don’t know which end is up somedays, you might search for a lot of meaning in such a tiny message.  

What if this tiny message is really a gigantic message?  What if inside it lies a piece of your future? Like what if it represents an action a friend might take?  What if it represents an attempt at shifting power between two people? Could you read that in it?

Perhaps dear reader, you need more context for this post.  You won’t get anything concrete here today. Today is just about the power of imagination and hope.     

The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever

You know the kind, right?  The kind you cooked perfectly where the cheese runs out of the bread and browns around the edges and the kind where you don’t burn it by mistake because you walked away and got distracted somewhere else in the kitchen or in your life?   The kind where maybe you were even able to add a little mustard to it inside before the cheese totally stuck the bread together? The kind where you get to make two because you have a friend over to share lunch with? Yeah, that kind.

When my heart hurts a little because something maybe isn’t going my way or when the weather changes too quickly and I’m caught in clouds or rain or the temperature has dropped, or maybe it’s just that summer is really going to be over finally and I find myself a little out of sorts, there is nothing like a grilled cheese sandwich to soothe out the rough patches and tide me over until I can regain myself and allow again the easy flow of life to encourage me along.

Best Grilled Cheese Ever

  • Two slices Ezekiel Sesame Bread buttered on the matching outsides
  • Thinly sliced great cheddar cheese
  • A little golden mustard (should you like)
  • 1 Best Friend (better double the recipe in this case)

Sauté in the pan until brown, bubbling on the edges and perfect in the middle, not burnt.

The County Fair

Where I am it is still both warm and cool so still a bit confusing as summer winds it’s beautiful way towards September.  I sleep under a down comforter at night and quickly slip into a fleecy cover up over my pj’s in the morning only to even more quickly start shedding layers over coffee as the temperature around me begins to rise.  Little tempests of heat rise inside me too throughout the day mirroring the struggle summer seems to be having while we both work out what we’re doing. Is it warm or is it cool? Is it drying out or is it humid and moist?  Will they come and mow the hay fields, or will thunder and lightning keep the fishing boats home today? Am I to wear my socks finally or squeeze out one more day of delicious bare feet on the grass while enjoying earth’s heartbeat under my toes?  

Lucky about the cooler nights though, as last night was the perfect night to take in the biggest county fair I’ve ever been at!  It had every thing I ever imagined a big ‘ol country fair would have in it. So much ice cream, fried dough, bbq, slushies, corn dogs, and candy apples to choose from we didn’t know where to start!  Doing our best to keep some order to the known dinner regimen we started with sandwiches and ended with sweets. Well, I suppose!!

As we toured through the 4H barns admiring all the local livestock ambassadors, antique tractors, winning gardens, and stepped in just the right amount of … well you know, we kept our watchful eyes on the sunset and the Ferris wheel as we planned our perfect trip to the midway.  Decades have passed since I’ve been on a Ferris wheel and rides like that and boy, has it been worth the wait! The view, the ride, the company, the pace of the wheel, the clouds, the colors of the sky, and the spectacle of lights and people below gave us all a series of most comforting thrills.  

Once at the bottom, we couldn’t wait to get to our treats of candy apples, fried dough and ice cream!  Licking plates of cinnamon sugar, dusting bits of red candy from our shirts and blouses and wiping our mouths with the most delicious flavors of the fair, we headed for the shooting gallery to try our hands at prizes.  Did we bring home the biggest stuffed teddy bears to enjoy on our beds and couches for the year ahead? You’ll have to wonder.

Sally’s instant rescue remedy first thing in the morning!

  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 8oz water

Mix quickly

Drink on an empty stomach at least twice a day!

May Cooler Heads Prevail

 

Wow, it has been one hot and glorious summer!  The days spread out in an endless sea of heat and more heat and lots and lots of sizzling and sometimes fierce and zippy adventures.  I often felt I was swimming in pure heat and no water at times this year.  In between the wonderful swims I did take, my times were filled with opportunities to reach out to distant friends and connect; making up some lost friendship time.  You know the kind where you begin where you left off like no time at all has passed since the last time you spoke?  While with some other more delicate situations, untangling the knots and hurts of old bruises took greater care, more time and commendable effort.  There is nothing like a good friend!  There were new friends to be met this summer too, which proved fun and lively; offering ample opportunities for great adventure.  Even a couple of unexpected summer soirees to introduce entire new communities of people and activities.  How cool amidst all that heat!

Now that summer is giving up her fight just a little, and the nights are cooling off a bit, and my own head is finding a renewed ability to think more clearly again, I am able to both refocus and reflect on the power of those sustaining friendships of these past summer months.  To have a friend, to be a friend, to forgive a friend and to be forgiven by my friends are indeed a kind of sustaining love and energy that fill my heart to overflowing. 

As the last few days of summer wane and fall beckons ahead, I’ll enjoy the bounty of some local gardens as they burst my kitchen counter with tomatoes and I set my stew pot to gently simmer while neat little pesto containers are tucked carefully to freeze, hidden in the back shelves of the ice box, to be savored much later in the tougher winter months ahead when I just can’t stand another moment without those elegant home-grown flavors of summer.    

Hope your summer was glorious too and that even if it was too hot for too many days, you look back and see it was the time of your life and the real friends we do have are to be savored with the kind of fierce courage they deserve!  In the meantime, while the sauce simmers away on the stove inside, throw down a big old plate of those delicious home-grown tomatoes slathered in bright green delicious pesto, enjoy a view from the lawn outside, a good conversation with your beloved friends and drink up the last few days of summer before September comes!   

Sally’s Summer Pesto

  • Roasted walnuts (1/3 c)
  • Roasted pine nuts (1/3c)
  • Plentiful garlic (9 cloves)
  • Salt and pepper (go figure!!)
  • Handfuls of home grown basil leaves (about 5-6 cups worth)
  • Best quality olive oil (1 1/2c or enough to create the consistency you recognize for the future pesto you wish to enjoy)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1c)

(and build up your amounts from here for your winter stores ahead!)

Lightly toast in the oven, the walnuts and pine nuts to bring out their best flavors.  Whir up to a pulp in the Cuisinart, the garlic, nuts, salt and pepper and then add the handfuls of precious basil being sure to enjoy the scrumptious fragrance concoctions you are creating along the way.  This is already a taste of pure heaven.  Now through the feed tube, drizzle in the olive oil and lastly add handfuls of the cheese.  Store in a container topped with more olive oil to prevent oxygen spoilage of this delectable greatness, that precious delight, the amazing bounty you, your garden, and our glorious earth have provided.