Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Winter day

Kind of a blah day today. Overcast and so cold again. Got fooled for a bit yesterday when it felt like a beauteous Spring day.

I accomplished much today – that’s a good thing. Not much writing though. I continue to be in a quiet, mulling over place – intake mode.

Signed up for a Radical Self Love Workshop [online] tomorrow … $7
Check it out … love her ideas – guide to radical self love.
I think we can all benefit from some of that.

Another thing I’d like to share – I found during my day of input …
Love Goldie Hawn – she’s doing some cool work

"And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same"    
Nelson Mandela

Until tomorrow xo

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feels like a Spring day

What a lovely weekend Sam and I spent at my friend Donna’s home. Love hanging with her and her fam. River [Donna’s granddaughter] is five weeks old and I was so happy to meet her. It always amazes and delights me … what babies do for one’s spirit. How is it that we could just look at them all day long and never get bored? Beautiful time.

I am still mulling over the spiritual/life conversations that Donna and I had. I’m in an introspective place [which is good – as long as I don’t get stuck here – don’t think I will] right now. I have spaces in time when I am in, what I call, output mode … sharing, babbling, venting, ranting. And other times when it is all intake/input … that is where I am today.

I came home this afternoon and made the best mac and cheese ever …
I’ve played with this recipe a few times – I don’t like squishy macaroni – and I don’t like overwhelming cheese … so, I think I finally got it figured out.

The best Baked Mac & Cheese I have had …

4 tablespoons Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil 
10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1 & 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cream cheese [microwave for a few seconds to soften]
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 ½ cups macaroni

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil.

2. Mix breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl.

3. Heat 1-1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cream cheese, pepper and salt.

4. Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared pan. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.

5. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25-30 minutes.

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. 
Good example is followed. 
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, 
& the roots spring up & make new trees.
The greatest work that kindness does to others
 is that it makes them kind themselves.
Amelia Earhart

Until tomorrow xo

Friday, January 28, 2011

sunny and warm

Such a beautiful day … sunny and warm. I am loving it.
It is supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow. I’m anxious to clean up my messy yard.

‘the best of my days’ – today
       watching the happy birds all around the feeder.

It is time to hang my new piece, ‘Life – is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away’, that Taylor gave to me for Christmas – it will go alongside yesterday’s ‘Love – follow your heart and you’ll never get lost’.

I had such fun last night with Angie and Taylor. Wedding plans are coming together so beautifully.
I’m getting used to this laughing thing again … love it … thank you thank you thank you

And I think I am getting used to the ‘going out’ thing again. I was quite the hermit for most of 2010. Looking back, I know it was necessary for me to be lost in my own head for awhile. I believe that while being shaken to the core is difficult, it gives one the opportunity to be in whatever that moment is [of course, I didn't know that then], while reconnecting slowly as the light inside begins to flicker … grow … and then burn brightly.

The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel … closer and closer and lighting one’s spirit – again – whew.

It’s funny [not really ha ha funny] that we spend years of our lives growing, changing, trying to improve ourselves in all ways, developing bad habits, ridding ourselves of bad habits, and trying hard to learn to appreciate all that makes us beautiful humans; only to wake up and find [for me it was this way] that during a time when one foot just doesn’t go in front of the other without thought and concentration, the changes we wanted to make come quite easily – because we don’t have the energy to put up a fight.

For 30 years I have been in constant practice to leave my reactive mind behind and consciously be in each moment and in each situation without past thoughts, feelings, judgment, etc, interfering.
To act rather than react.

I wasn’t sucking at it before 2010 – but when you have to think of every single thing you say / do because spiritually you are not connected and all that is happening really is new – because the overwhelming factor is that you are always feeling in a way that you never have before – all is new and in many ways easier – in the midst of the difficulty. Does that make sense?

This rambling train of thought brought me to remembering that I have [almost] always believed that everything happens for a reason. I’ve said many times that often we just don’t ever really know the reason. Trust – Have Faith – Go With It.

As I sit now, reflecting on last year, I want to know the reasons, as the true essence of the lessons resonate. The more I talk [type] about it, the more shining moments I remember … moments that I didn’t even know to appreciate then, and are now blossoming from my new and improved toolbox.

I was going to share an essay from Touched by Many today, but I think I’ve rambled on long enough …

Another very cool gift from
Love this website …

a little blurry - sorry - neat concept, I think you can see that - the website has a perfect image.
Until tomorrow xo
The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care about the peace and happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of peace and well-being
Dalai Lama

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beautiful day in the woods

What a beautiful day it is in the woods. Bright blue sky, sun shining, and the temperature is not frigid. Life is good. I actually walked with Sam this morning. First time in a couple of weeks. He doesn’t like to be tied up; he’d rather walk with me … makes him feel less like a puppy and more like the ‘person’ he thinks he is.

I bought this piece during the bad year. I wasn’t shopping for anything … during those times, shopping only consisted of running out quickly and getting just what I had to have. I guess it found me.

I love poppies, and the words triggered something. I used to always say those words … and I had the memory of it in my head, but clearly no where else. I brought it home and hung it on my patio, where I could see it all of the time. Maybe it helped. A piece of the puzzle it was. Lost no more.

Slowly, but surely I am getting back to my love of glass work. I ordered a bunch of new glass yesterday – can’t wait until it arrives. I did do a little work last night – and these are 3 necklace pieces that I was happy with.

Moved from glass to creating a few pairs of earrings and these three bracelets –
Again, I am practicing with the photography – I am not capturing as I want – I will get there … photography [with a camera, rather than my blackberry] is on my list

Watched a documentary about Yellowstone National Park today … beautiful.

Tonight will be fun – 131 Main with Taylor and my dear friend, Angie, for wedding planning hugs and laughs.

Feeling extremely grateful …

Until tomorrow xo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It is one of those yucky days outside. Cold, rainy, yucky. It’s lovely inside.
I had a wonderful school day … I may, technically, be the teacher but they teach me so much. 
Watercolors are coming along beautifully.

A beautiful gift today from one of my favorite websites
You can go to the website print it out ...

Did anyone print out ‘the best of my days’ … it’s a fun, happy burst in each day. I like adding new stop in time moments to my day.

Working on my gratitude list today … I was talking with a friend last night, and in trying to encourage her that all is good, I had a few epiphanies myself. Isn’t that always the way it works … giving is truly the only way we receive. This bridge [transition] from ‘how it was’ to ‘how it is’ to ‘how it will be’ is exciting and a little scary at the same time. I’m different. I think it is a good different. But I’m trying to walk slowly, and not do anything rash.

Last week I decided to continue with my ‘let go of the material stuff’ and start selling or giving away so much of the stuff that surrounds me. For years I have said that by 2012 I want to be able to put all that is important [stuff wise] in my tapestry bag and grab my dog and just be wherever my heart felt like going. Sounds unrealistic I know. But I think it just may become realistic. I know I’ll need a home and furniture, etc., but just not as much as I used to think. And, earning a living from my laptop on the beach – the goal … the plan.

Grateful I am.
During my year from hell, I was really so blessed. Without my friends and fam I can’t imagine how I would have put one foot in front of the other each day. And, of course, my life passion – teaching – everyday I was a happy person for 6 hours working with ‘my kids’.
I know I must have said this before, but please bear with me, I do repeat myself. In the year from hell, there was so much abundance of love and light around me. So grateful for the beautiful people who took my hand, literally and figuratively, and walked me through the darkness.

I’m working on, yet another, book. Touched by Many. A collection of acknowledgement/thank you essays to people who, without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I began writing it years ago – and revisit it occasionally – now I want to complete the first 57 years.
The following is the first page – which I wrote in 1987 – I may change some of the wording – but it was fun to read it this morning and realize it was 24 years ago [yikes] and I’m still pretty much me. Sharing …

Is it an accident?
Do we choose the people who cross
our path during our life journey?
I do not believe in accidents … so I think we choose.
Do you ever wonder why we choose the people we do?
Or why they choose us?
Do we appreciate our encounters with others …
No matter how long or short in time each encounter is?
I always tell kids that we change each time we read a book.
That the experience will ignite something in us and change parts of our spirit.
Doesn’t that happen each time we meet a person?
Doesn’t that happen with each person that comes in to our lives?
Someone doesn’t have to be ‘famous’ or filled to the brim with ‘PhDs’ in order to impact the spirit which makes us who we are.
                          We are all teachers and students,
with lessons to teach and lessons to learn
spirit building is what I call it.
Maybe we should think more of those interactions.
The interactions which change our spirits …
change our lives.
Rather than finding blame in so many others,  
let’s all consciously acknowledge and
show appreciation for those interactions, and value each as the gift that it truly is …

I realized this morning that I have not fired up the kiln since Miranda died. She always loved to work with glass. I think I will do that today … I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until tomorrow xo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My plan for today was to talk [babble/rant] a bit about education, but when I woke up this morning, I realized it was January 25th and time for The State of the Union Address.

People say the two things one should not discuss are politics and religion. I’m sure it won’t surprise some of you that those two subjects are a couple of my favorites to approach. Today really isn’t about politics, or religion … it is a little ‘leftover’ from yesterday’s soapbox.

Opinions are great – we all have them, some of us share them. I love conversing about politics and religion when it is an intelligent, honest, respectful discussion. I love when people have a different opinion than me – that’s how we learn new info, have new thoughts, ideas, etc. What I don’t like is the ‘just because’ answers and the name-calling rhetoric.

Saw, read, heard much of ‘what I don’t like’ this morning. Yuck. Guess that is why I am back on my yesterday soap box.

Freedom of speech? All part of living in our wonderful country – we do have the freedom to say what we will. I love that, obviously. Going back to yesterday, I wonder what drives us to use that freedom to attack others and [essentially] insult our own ‘sense of self’ as we go?

It reminds me of what I have always told students. Maybe we call others names and have to put them down because we just don’t feel good about ourselves, and pushing another down makes us feel stronger, better, smarter. It’s always been lost on me though.

Calling our President horrible names [and wishing him harm] – what example does that set for our children? How does the name calling and spewing venom aid our happy spirits?

When a person earns [is voted in to] the position of President of the United States, don’t they deserve respect? If for nothing else – for getting there? When George Bush was our president, I didn’t like it … I became depressed when I realized we had re-elected him. And, I say ‘we’ because that is the truth. ‘We the people’ … so, I didn’t call him names or trash him. I didn’t agree with many of his plans/programs, etc. – especially war – but he deserved my respect, if for nothing else, ‘for getting there’.  Am I crazy? Or does that make a bit of sense?

I guess what comes to my mind sometimes – especially living in the south – is the whole idea of what makes a Christian. I hear the ‘I’m a Christian’ phrase more times than I’d ever want … my thought [and sometimes my voice] responds with – ‘if you are a Christian, you don’t have to tell me … I’ll know. And part of that knowing doesn’t involve calling the President [or anyone] horrible names – and wishing him horrible things. He is ‘our guy’ right now. Banding together and hoping the President’s team can turn it all around – with our support and encouragement we are more apt to get there than with negativity and wishing him to fail.
Am I right about that?
Or am I missing something?
Is there a positive side to negativity and name calling?
Has the definition of Christian changed since ‘I signed up’?

Here is a little purse I made – sparks some controversy.

I’ll be more upbeat tomorrow [maybe] … made a promise to myself [and others] that what is inside would come out in this forum …
Today my students and I watched the movie Speak
My opinion – excellent and should be watched by all teenagers …
A quote from the movie that seemed to fit today …

      You should know what you stand for – not just what you are against.

Until tomorrow  xo

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011

Monday has always been my favorite day of the week … Happy Monday!

It was just about a month ago when I felt my authentic self returning. I’m sure everyone can understand that I still awake each morning a little leery … and then so grateful when I feel happy and excited for the new day. Today I greeted another aspect of me that I’ve really missed.

I still haven’t honed in on exactly what I am doing here – but, my dear sister keeps telling me to say what I feel. So, I will attempt to do just that. I have been so touched and am so grateful for the beautiful responses I have received about my babbling. Thank you! Hope you will bear with me today, as I think the babbling is more like ranting … Important ranting.

For many years I was a ‘stand on the soap box and yell’ person.
I so loved that part of me. It is a part that I seem to have let be pretty still for the past year or so.
I can feel my voice coming back … which I am sure my family, friends [and others], will love [or, maybe not].

Yesterday, in Barnes and Noble, there was a table filled with much [necessary] information about bullying. I collected up one of each and last evening when I was reading them I felt my blood pressure rising. Is bullying a problem? Yes, a horrible problem – it’s always been a problem and it makes me crazy. In saying that, I do not believe that children are born bullies. I have been an educator for many years, and have done much research and writing in regard to nature versus nurture … and I do know that nature plays a part in all of us – but – kids learn to bully. And I really don’t believe they learn the majority of it from other kids. They learn it from the ‘guiders’ in their lives. Pisses me off that as a society we all aren’t setting the appropriate example.

I realize that we all have priorities … things we find more important than other things. But I’m still often confused when I hear/see the order of importance of some. Judgment, name calling, etc. often looked at as ‘just a joke’ – well, I say that it isn’t a joke unless EVERYONE is laughing.
When my kids were growing up – if they said ‘shit’, I said, “we don’t say that” – If they called someone an idiot, they knew real trouble was coming. As a teacher-person the same rule always applied. What is it that we stand for? I’ll stop now … but I think I might be on a roll.

Guess I just found [and dusted off] my soap box.

I made these ornament terrariums for Holiday gifts. A nice way to keep a bit of Spring hanging in your favorite window while the winter weather gets too much outside. Easy to make – clear glass ornament [Michael’s is where I get mine], a bit of wet soil in the bottom [use a funnel, or make one with a piece of paper to put soil in the small hole], a few seeds [grass seeds sprout really quickly – but all will do – I found some moss outside and started with it], hang in the window, a touch of water once a month and let the sunshine do the rest … seeing mine in my kitchen window always makes me smile.

Taylor gave me a necklace for Christmas –
engraved on the back is my favorite quote … love it.
Be what you want the world to be

Until tomorrow xo

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

Last night Taylor and I had so much fun putting together
the best part of my days’ booklets. Taylor found them on a very cool blog – what a great idea and such a gift … check it out:
I think it is a great, new tool to help us revel in the wondrous things that happen each day. Fun, easy to print and put together. They make great gifts too.

For years I have been planning to put my favorite recipes in a book. But … as often happens [in the past], life got in the way. Now that I am on my new path – not talking about it, but doing it – living in each moment … each moment will be filled with what I want to do now. Best time to start is today.

Here is a perfect cold-weather dish … It’s quick, easy, inexpensive and yummy.

1 cup chopped onion
a couple of stalks of chopped celery
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup sliced green bell pepper
3/4 cup sliced red bell pepper
½ bag of sliced carrots [about 4 carrots]
1 turnip diced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
10 oz. vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste or a cup of diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
Salt to taste
4 tbsp. lemon juice
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas [leave out to thaw]
In a large pan with a lid saute the onions and peppers in the heated oil about 6 minutes - Stir carrots and turnips into the onions, along with the cabbage, broth, tomato paste, garlic, seasonings and lemon juice. Cover and bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 25 minutes / until vegetables are tender. Stir in the peas and simmer 5-7 minutes longer. Serve hot.

I’m not crazy about onions – so often I don’t use them
You can use any veggies you like – I often add lima beans/mushrooms/black olives are great too – sometimes I add shredded cheese when I add peas
Leftovers make the perfect start for a great soup
The rest of cabbage and carrots make for perfect coleslaw

Following Taylor’s ‘rhyme or reason’ advice, I’ll share a recipe once a week and hopefully get the recipe book built. Hope everyone enjoys.

Until tomorrow xo

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011

A few days ago I mentioned that 2010 wasn't so great …
One of the reasons:
Just about a year ago, my Grace, Jack Russell Rat Terrier, died. For 12 years she was my best friend. She went everywhere with me. She was the security system at school, watching out for each student’s welfare and she trained the other dogs and cats. She was definitely ‘in charge’.

Living without her was so odd. In some ways it was the way I felt when my kids left home; except, of course, I was happy with/for their independence and I still saw them all of the time. But physically and spiritually I became different. The way one moves, thinks - all becomes different. So many things I did, naturally, weren’t natural anymore. The depth of my grief when Grace died was so foreign to me. It may sound silly, but it was like loosing an integral body part.

A few days ago, I got out this photo of her and it made me smile, rather than cry. Whew. I love this photo of Grace with Marley and Taylor. They used to always say I liked Grace better than them. Sometimes I probably did.


I spent a good part of last year not living what I speak [believe]. Reveling in the sad, experiencing the moments, knowing all happens for a reason … instead, I expended the small amount of energy I had trying to ‘figure it out’ and ‘fighting it’ … silly. And then, happily, I felt my light coming back.

It was my sister, Donna, who reminded me. We were talking on the telephone one night and she told me that I was responsible for her feeling much gratitude. She spoke of conversations we had. I was moved as she told me that I was responsible for her realizing all of the joy and reasons to be grateful in her life. Through that conversation, I felt my light again. I remembered the grateful, joyful, happy person I had been for 50+ years. All of a sudden, I was awake again.

I’m sure many of my babblings may [and will continue to] sound sad – but truth is I am becoming more and more grateful for the year I just left behind. For years I have written blurbs and thought about writing a book about my spiritual journey. In my mind’s heart I always thought it would be about some brilliance and awakening that I found during my summers at the beach, my alone time of happy contemplation; and I am beginning to see that the ‘year from hell’ was the spiritual journey I never expected.

Life is good.

Hope everyone has a glorious weekend. xo

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011

Beautiful Friday …

Hiking has always been something ‘other people did’; clearly not me. After watching a documentary today about The Appalachian Trail, I think I just might want to do it.

Taylor reminded me last night that my blog should have a plan – a rhyme and/or a reason. What is it that I am hoping to give/share by doing this? I hope everyone will hang in and read my babbling as I find that answer.

As a teacher/mentor [for many years] for students of all ages and learning styles, I do have some info to share about education … educating/appreciating/respecting the whole person. As a single parent of 3 beautiful, strong, willful [my hearts] children, I have some valuable info to share.  As an artist who uses ‘whatever there is around’ to create with … I probably have some insights/ideas to share. As a lazy cook, I have many quick, easy recipes that I must put into some semblance of order [I am not good at following directions, so I just make it up as I go] to share. As a ‘wannabe’ home decorator, I know I have many ideas, easy ways to create a beauteous home, to share. As a spiritual guide/healer, I have a strong desire to assist in life’s journey.
As a person who was blessed to be born with a green thumb, I probably have many things to share.
Writing is my true passion …
I trust, if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, all will come together into ways I can make a difference.

I’m thinking that my blog is a personal document and sharing of my travels [abstractly and concretely] as I begin this new phase in my life. Kind of like a journey; I think???
I have no idea [well I have a few notions] what comes next. So it will be interesting to document the spiritual and intellectual journey ahead … and in sharing, I hope in some small way, it helps others.

Happy Weekend xo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011

Creative, productive, joyful day

Great day with the kids.
Started a book club [at least I hope I did] – awaiting responses.
Found my dress for Taylor’s wedding.

When writing my ‘2011 Resolutions’, I also made a list of little things I wanted to do, work on, accomplish, change … each morning I choose one to work on that day. It’s been going well. Starting a blog was on the list – check … learn to make a delicious pot pie – check … write for two hours each morning – check … working on/creating something for the wedding each day – check … start a book club – check … not doing too badly so far. Today was take photos of my creations to put up on and on my website – almost check … many of them came out pretty well.  I’m still working on making some of the photos really give the feeling I am looking for – this is a beautiful headband … guess I need some assistance with the photography.

We watched a documentary about Big Foot today.  Clearly not the teacher’s choice … they tried to portray things as realistic and scientific … they lost me.
It was humorous. We are studying water color artists this week.
I wish I could take the kids to visit my beautiful friend Sandi in Tampa

More wedding planning tonight. We are having much fun with all of the plans. Creating things, recycling, reusing … love that. Things are coming together so beautifully for Taylor’s and Caleb’s wedding in May.
I am so excited and so happy with them.
photograph by Brianna Kratz Trice
Sharing my favorite engagement photograph – beautiful. xxoo

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011

Happy New Year! This year is going to be amazing … each and every moment of it. Recently, many people I know have been saying I should start a blog. The thought of it was a bit intimidating. Would others want to read what I have to say?
Well, this is going to be a year filled with new adventures, risks, changes; new-new-new … so, I guess I should start right here. Welcome to my babbling. I hope you enjoy the stories, spiritual paths and detours, educational insights, creative endeavors …

This morning I gave my students a writing assignment; the prompts were:

            2010 was ….


            2011 will be …

I always complete each assignment I give to them – and this one got me thinking, on many fronts, about the year behind me and my plans for the year ahead. I think it may be time for me to begin writing, sharing, speaking, once again.

2010 was the loudest, quiet year I have ever had. I remember many times thinking ‘what a horrible year’ – ‘will I really live through it’. I thought [no, I knew] that I was a strong woman with many skills and many tools with which to ‘grab’ what I needed to make it through such a grieving year. But, when the time came – I seemed to have misplaced my toolbox.

Looking back on that now, I giggle. No, I really laugh out loud. What 2010 held for me was the makings of a completely new and improved toolbox. How grateful I am.

When Mother Nature chooses to bestow such beauty on us to start the new year, it must be a sign of all the beauty to come. My back yard.