Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Manifesting What You Want

"What you resist persists."
~Carl Jung

You know how synchronicity happens in life sometimes?

Where two seemingly unrelated areas of your life suddenly reflect the same message?

In my case: this past weekend, while camping, a friend and I were talking to a 13 year old about nicknames, and how some of them are unflattering.

My friend told the 13 year old "What you resist persists! So just laugh and shrug off the nickname and it will lose its power."


Then, yesterday, in a completely separate area of life, this sentiment was quoted to me again!

When the universe speaks I try to listen.

What is it that I am resisting in life?

How am I framing my thoughts regarding what I resist?

How does this resistance to change (for me it is weight loss) actually create the difficulty in changing my behaviors?

How does focusing on what I don't want (to be overweight) instead of what I DO want (to be a healthy weight, fit and active) actually prevent me from achieving what I want?

The authors of the book The Secret, along with Jung and others, like Mother Theresa, understand that what we think about is what we manifest.

The thoughts that receive our attention the most are the thoughts that become actions that become persistent in our lives.

If I am concentrating my thoughts on NOT wanting to be overweight I am actually creating that in my life.
Manifesting it.

How about changing what I think about?

How about changing from being down on myself and negative, how about if I create postive thoughts regarding my body, fitness, ability, health and wellness?

What if I focus my thoughts on all the good things about myself, body and abilities?

That is part of what this blog process is about.

And it is working!

I am attempting to focus on living my life, daily.

That is where I am putting my attention and my thoughts.

I think about how I can live.

I think about what choices will make me feel alive and strong.

I think about what I can do; what I am doing.

I think about my choices and ask myself if they are leading me down the path I want: the living life path.

More and more I can say YES! Yes my thoughts are taking me down the path of living life.

More and more I am thinking positive and uplifting thoughts about myself and my choices.

More and more I am manifesting what I want and not thinking about what I don't want.

What are you resisting? What is persisting in your life? How can you change your thoughts?

"Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny."
~Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lake Merwin August 2011

When Chris and I lived in Portland, Lake Merwin was our favorite place to take our boat. Lake Merwin is about an hour and 40 minutes North-East of our old house in Tigard. It is actually a big reservoir at the base of Mount St. Helens.

We liked to go to Merwin because it was much larger than any of our other local options. There isn't much in the way of lakes in the Portland area, a fact my friend Kimberly, from Michigan, was quite astounded by! Mostly there are rivers, and lots of them!

The problem for us with rivers is that they are typically somewhat narrow. We have a jet boat and it doesn't handle all the wake and waves that great, so when we are in a narrow river filled with super-wake producing wake board boats...well, we just aren't having that great of a time.

So, we liked Merwin for the fact that it was big and open and we could usually find a place to get away from all the wake boats.

A few years ago we introduced some of our Portland boating friends to Merwin and it was a hit with them as well. Just before Chris and I moved to S. Ore we had a last hurrah of summer, and went up to Merwin with our friends. It was a great trip and our last time at Merwin. Last year, the same group of friends decided to make it a little longer trip and we all headed over to Lake Billy Chinook in Eastern Oregon for a weekend of camping and boating. It was spectacular.

This year we decided to do our camping and boating weekend back at Merwin! Fun! Nostalgia! But a long ass drive for us...over 7 hours towing. Sheesh! It ended up that I towed the boat the first leg of our trip, just over 100 miles, due to Chris' work schedule getting all messed up. That was a first for me...I was totally alone, hauling the boat for the first time on the freeway! EEk! Scary, but I did it! So empowering!

After some stops and starts with getting going and getting the work truck stashed so we didn't have to make the ENTIRE trip in separate vehicles, we ended up getting to Portland Thursday night around 9. We stayed with some friends overnight and we all headed up to the lake Friday morning.

We had an excellent weekend. Four couples, some kids, some dogs and some siblings (mine included) managed to make it up for all or part of the weekend. The weather, suprisingly, was absolutely gorgeous and warm! The lake was beautiful, as usual, and the water was even warm enough to swim!

We had a great campsite at Cresap Bay Campground. It was very quiet; there was a lot of greenery and foliage between the sites, which really helped buffer the noise between campsites. They even had hot showers!! Ah...bliss!

The food all turned out great! Our stuffed peppers were SO good. Oh my gosh...I cannot wait to make those again! My salsa was well loved, as were the turkey burgers. YUM! Some of my food did get soggy. So gross. I am totally going to try my friend Shorey's idea of dry ice next time I go camping. Overall, it was good.

Here are just a few pictures, I didn't take that many this year. We did have a great time. It was great to see our friends, get to visit and laugh, and get to hit up our old stomping grounds again.

My brother...cold chillin'

I think Chris did win the fishing derby...

Silly Self Portrait

Lake Merwin, looking beautiful

Lake Merwin looking West Saturday evening.

The lake was kind of choppy Saturday evening and the wind was kind of made the rooster tail look so awesome!!
Sunday morning we got on the road about 11 and drove for about 7 hours. My view looked like this:

Only 15 more miles to go!
We had a really great time! Lots of laughs, fun, food, sun, boating, fishing and most importantly: friends!

We are already planning and looking forward to next year!

Walking the Talk

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”


I mentioned last Thursday in a Facebook post that I was being "forced" (by my own choice) outside of my comfort zone. Way outside.

I didn't have time to get into details or post a full blog about it then, but basically I said I was taking my own advice and choosing to LIVE, fully, despite the fears.

Let me tell you what happend. My overworked husband and I had planned a long weekend trip to go camping and boating with some friends. Our destination: about 7 hours north of where we live, near where we used to live.

A 7 hour tow with our Suburban (over 200k miles on it) and our 21' jet boat, over the steep hills and curves of I5 in Southern Oregon, north through Eugene and then traffic heavy Portland, and then up into the foothills of Mt. Saint Helens to Lake Merwin, is a long tow.

Our plan was for hubby to work in town that day (he covers a HUGE area of Southern Oregon) and hopefully get on the road a bit early from home. That was the plan.

And then the pager went of. Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep!

My hubby is on call 24/7. When the Beep Beep goes off hubby has go to go. He had worked the 5 previous weekends straight. This was to be his one off call weekend over a span of 9 weeks. Yah, he is overworked.

Hubby had to go north, to Roseburg, Oregon...about 2 hours north of here.

That left me at home and hubby 2 hours away.

So where does the fear facing, walking the talk, LIVING life part come in??

With this:

About 40 ' of Suburban and Boat

I hauled our boat up I5 for over 100 miles, through the twisty hills, by myself.


I have towed the boat around a bit here and there, at the boat docks when we pull out of the water, mostly. I have also hauled a car trailer around a bit, here and there.

But I have never hauled our boat trailer up the freeway for over 100 miles totally alone.

It was SCARY to contemplate BUT it was amazingly empowering to accomplish!

Luckily I had no problems.

I saved my poor hubby from having to drive 2 hours north, work all day, drive 2 hours back home just to get in the 'burb and drive those same 2 hours all over again, plus 5 more!

It was exhilirating. Empowering. Amazing.

Talk about a confidence booster!

THEN, while we were camping, not only did I pull the boat out of the water, but I also BACKED it up into our campsite!


I also drove the boat some this weekend on the lake, which is normal, but I keep practicing pulling up to the dock, and this time, up along side of our friends boat so we could raft up.

Other things that I realized this weekend about how DOING conquers fears:

I used to be massively nervous about driving I5 in S. Oregon due to the series of very steep hills and tight corners. I now have done it so often that even though I was hauling the boat, I had no fears about the road itself.

Also, I used to get very nervous if I had to drive my husbands truck because it has a canopy on the back that you cannot see out of at all. Again, I have done it enough now that it didn't even create a second thought in my mind.

It is incredible to me how many of our fears can be overcome just by the doing, the living, the being, the actively participating in our lives.

There are fears I have never overcome, even though I have been exposed to them time and time and time again, so I don't believe that exposure to a fear ALWAYS breeds comfort, but it is empowering to know that it is *possible*.

It is possible that what you fear today will become completely insignificant tomorrow, if you focus on living your life and facing your fears.

My weekend was an amazing, and ongoing, lesson on how living my life really does impact my outlook on life.

There were many lessons; many examples of times when I could have chosen to live or to wilt like a wall-flower.

I choose to live.



Well it is that time of year for gardeners! The time where we get overwhelmed with the amount of harvest!

In a good way.

We went away for the weekend, were gone for four days, and we came back to garden gone wild!

I guess a few tomatoes ripened while we were gone:

Some peppers, too:

And carrots:

A little miscellaneous:

We dug up some potatoes, too:

OH and my sunflowers are finally starting to flower!

This one is tall:

I picked some more basil, too, although I still have four more plants to do!

It is also time to start pulling the things that are done, so I yanked out the monster zucchini plant yesterday and the pickles that hardly pickled.

I am also getting ready to stick some garlic, rutabega, parsnip, lettuce and maybe some onion in the dirt to see if we can get a bit of fall garden, too.

Last year our fall garden didn't do so well, but I think I have a better soil mixture this year and that should help.

We still have a ton of potatoes, peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes and basil out there, so we aren't quite done yet!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Greatest Man I Ever Knew

Thomas Edward Murawski

December 30, 1935 - August 29, 1998

Grandpa Tom and Grandma Marge at Disneyland when I was in the second grade.

Grandma Marge, me, Grandpa Tom in Sedona Arizona when I was in the sixth grade.

Grandpa Tom mid 1990's

Grandpa Tom giving me away at my wedding September 27, 1997

I love this picture....Sept. 27, 1997

Grandpa Tom, me and Grandma Marge at my wedding Sept. 27, 1997. Bittersweet smiles.

Official Obituary below courtesy of The Columbian. What this obituary does not say is what an amazing man my grandpa was.

He was intelligent; a thinker! He was amazingly giving and caring. He was strong. He was an engineer and an incredible wood craftsman. He built all kinds of furniture by hand including a vanity I was given as a child that I still have.

In addition to woodworking, golf and classical music, he loved fishing and living on Puget Sound. A few brief words are not enough to describe the man, nor his impact on the lives of those he touched.

If I ever were to have a hero, he would be it. He taught me many things about life, love, respect, money and hard work. His words and beliefs echo in my head daily in many ways. It could be doing work in my garden, or building a fence, or just enjoying a lovely meal with family, he is there in my head.

My grandpa passed away 13 years ago today, at the very young age of 62, of melanoma skin cancer. He is missed every single day.

The Columbian (Vancouver, WA)

Thomas E. Murawski


A former Vancouver resident, Thomas Edward Murawski, 62, died of cancer at home Saturday, Aug. 29, 1998.

He had lived in Olympia for the past 22 years.

Mr. Murawski, who was born Dec. 30, 1935, in Vancouver, graduated from Evergreen High School and Clark College.

Mr. Murawski was a civil engineer who worked for the state Department of Transportation from 1956 to 1982. After retiring from the state job, he last worked at Harding Lawson Association in Bellevue.

He was a member of the Washington National Guard for 15 years.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret, at home; his mother, Helen T. Murawski of Vancouver; two daughters, Marjorie Dausener of Olympia and Kara Sutton of Redmond, Wash.; one brother, Jerry of Vancouver; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He enjoyed classical music, golf and woodworking.

He was very interested in collecting glassware.

A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Lacey.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, 1124 Columbia St., Seattle, WA 98104.

If anyone is interested in making a tax deductible donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, where my grandfather was treated with love and kindness, you can click the link. Donate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Camping Food Prep

We are getting ready for a weekend of camping and boating with some great friends! We are really looking forward to getting away, hanging out with some fun people and getting back to one of our favorite lakes from "back home".

I must tell you that I am not what one would call a "roughing it" kind of camper. In fact, I was chatting with my mom earlier today, and I was telling her that I am good for a couple of nights or a long weekend, but I would not be having fun if we were camping for say a week or longer.

There are several reasons why.

First of all, we car camp. We don't have a camper or a trailer or anything like that. We sleep in the back of our suburban (very comfortable actually), but not having a kitchen somewhat limits what I can do with food. And of course, the food is a priority for me!

Also, no kitchen and no refrigerator means that I have to pack all my cold food into coolers with ice...which eventually becomes soggy cold water. I don't care how carefully I pack, at some point my food gets soggy and gross. And then there is the issue of cross contamination in all of that water with meat, vegetables, dairy and more. Gah! The mix of germs could be enough to fell a healthy horse!

Second, still relating to food, I am kind of OCD when it comes to my hands. I have to wash my hands a zillion times when I am cooking or doing something messy. Well, washing your hands is difficult when you are out in the woods in the dirt and no running water of nature.

Plus, how annoying is it to try and prep good yummy food at a picnic table with bugs and pine needles everywhere?

Another reason I am not much of a long-time camper? No showers. Oh, sometimes a campground will have a shower, but it just isn't the same. I am only good for a couple days without a shower. After that I start to feel super nasty, my hair gets super greasy ( I do NOT know's gross!), and I just feel like shlub. I do brush my teeth every day....I can't stand to have nasty teeth.

So, maybe I'm a little bit of a diva or princess when it comes to camping. I know. I can't help it. I try to be a good sport. We just compromise. We just go for short periods of time that I can handle. :-)

Anyway, we are getting ready to go and over the years I have discovered some tips and tricks to help me deal with some of my food related issues for camping.

First thing is I do 99% of the prep work at home before I leave.

For example, for this weekend I made my Shamelessly Stolen Pasta Salad, which is great for camping because it makes a lot and travels well. I made the whole thing today and tossed it into a big gallon zip lock bag. DONE. Now when we go to eat it all we have to do is shake up the bag and add a little extra dressing if it needs it. We can serve it right out of the bag; the bag stays pretty well sealed; and if we do happen to eat it all, the bag can go in the trash instead of having dirty dishes to deal with or take back home.

Tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden!

Also, I made my famous Mediterranean Turkey Burgers. Again, I did all the prep work here at home, in my fully functional and clean kitchen. I mixed the ingredients all together, made the patties and then put wax paper between each patty and put them in a big gallon zip lock bag. The bag went into the freezer. The meat patties will now be frozen when they go into the cooler and will take that much longer to defrost, reducing time in the "danger zone" for bacterial growth, and they also will help keep the cooler colder longer. WIN! They will be defrosted, or mostly so, by the time I want to use them.

We are having steak and veggie (separate) kabobs one night as well. The steak got cut up and skewered and seasoned here at home. They are in a large sealed tupperware (because the skewers will poke holes in a zip lock bag), also in the freezer. Again, it helps keep the meat out of the danger zone and keeps the cooler colder longer. They will be defrosted by the time I want to use them. The veggies are also already skewered and seasoned and in a separate tupperware container (no cross-contamination). They are not frozen.

We are going to make some stuffed poblano peppers while we are camping, too. Again, I did almost all the work here. Halved and seeded the peppers, washed and dried them and placed in a zip lock bag. Made the seasoned cream cheese filling and placed it into a tupperware. Took a cooked rotissiere chicken, shredded the breast meat, to go on the peppers later, put that in a zip lock bag and stuck that in the freezer, too. It is important to me to keep the meat cold as long as possible. All we will have to do at the campsite is assemble the peppers and then grill them They will be SO yummy.

Stuffed poblano peppers (from the garden) that we made a week or so ago. DELISH!

I also made a big ole batch of salsa. I used a bunch of stuff from our garden and it is all chopped and mixed and in a big tupperware ready to go. 

Banana peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes and garlic from the garden for salsa!

Tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, banana peppers, cilantro, lime, salt, pepper! SO YUM!

I get tons of compliments on my salsa...even from avowed salsa haters!

I also made some tzatziki sauce for my turkey burgers and that is all prepped and mixed and in a tupperware ready to go.

Doing all of this prep work at home makes the actual camping experience so much better for me. I worry less about my food going bad; I worry less about getting my hands messy; it is so much nicer to just be able to cook when I'm ready to cook instead of having to prep and cook!

We are having: zucchini muffins for breakfast! Haha...yup...they are frozen from my batch making session earlier this summer and I will just throw them in the cooler and they also will be defrosted and ready to eat by the time I want to munch on them. Chris is not much of a breakfast person and I find trying to make breakfast while camping EXTRA annoying.

What kind of things do you do to get ready to camp? Do you have any special tricks or tips to make the food prep easier? Do you cook gourmet food or just do burgers and dogs? What is your go to breakfast for camping?? Let us know in the comments!!

Final Vision


“Hell begins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do.”

~Gian Carlo Menotti

I came across this quote a few weeks ago. I saved it. I needed to ponder upon its meaning
My interpretation:
We are incredibly amazing beings, with a vast and nearly incomprehensible ability to achieve and do.
And yet we do not.
We do not achieve all that we are capable of achieving.
We do not utilize the amazing gifts we have been given to their fullest.
We do not do all that we can do.
We allow so many things to hold us back; to get in our way.
We create excuses.
We allow fear to control us.
We allow others' ideas and beliefs to dictate what we believe of ourselves.
One day we will have clarity of vision to see all that we could have been.
One day we will have clarity of vision to see all the gifts we had at our disposal.
One day we will have clarity of vision to see all of what we could have done.
On that day we have two choices of what that vision will show us.
What you decide to DO to live your life today, pursue your dreams today, and work toward achieving your goals today, is what will determine what you see in that final vision.
Will you look back at your life with clarity of vision and see that you did everything you could do?
Will you look back and see that you achieved everything you could possibly achieve?
Will you look back and see that you used your gifts to their fullest power?
I want to look back at my life and see that I did not waste it. I want to see that I utilized my gifts and lived a life full of achievement.
Personal achievement. Not achievements set in place by others.
I want to see that people enjoyed my writing. I want to see that it helped someone.
I want to see that I LIVED life, explored the world, learned new things, investigated and kept my mind open to new possibilities.
I want to see that I pursued things that were important to me and let go of things that were not.
I want to see that I shared my life with people and things that I love and that hold meaning and value to me, and let go of the things that did not.
I want to see that I lived my life by MY values, rules and beliefs and not those forced on me by others, society or media.
I want to look back at my life with clarity of vision and see that I lived, fully.
What do you hope your final vision of your life will be?
What do you want your life filled with?
Share with me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stop Reading This!

Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.

 ~Author Unknown

Okay, I don't really want you to stop reading my blog. In fact, I love it that so many people are checking it out. Also, just as a reminder, feedback, comments and thoughts are always welcome! Oh, one more thing: feel free to share this!

So, I don't want you to stop reading the blog. What I want is for you to start DOING. I want you to start BEING. Right now.

I don't want you to sit on your computer reading about living your life and revealing your true self, nodding your head and thinking "WOW...wouldn't that be great if *I* could do that?"

That is the point! YOU CAN DO THAT!

You can reveal yourself. You can achieve your dreams. YOU. MMhmmmm. YOU!

I am no different than you. I am no more special. I am no more enlightened.

I am a regular person, on an imperfect path, attempting to live my life right now. I am a work in progress. I write as much for myself as for you. I write to inspire myself; to encourage myself; to embolden myself, and you.

I want you to read these words and stop, look inward, listen to your heart and follow the path. I want you to take a moment for yourself. I want you to realize that I am not talking about someone else achieving their dreams...I am talking about each and every single one of us, and that includes you!

I write to encourage you to stop making excuses. I write to encourage you to face your fears. I write to encourage you to start living!

Life is an amazing adventure! We let it get all bogged down with boring details, should do's and following the path that others lay out for us, rather than the path we lay out for ourselves.

That, my lovely friends, is not living! It is not being!

You don't get multiple chances to live an astoundingly wonderful life! This is it! This is your chance. If you don't actively start LIVING and BEING and DREAMING right now, today, your life will slip by you like a whisper...

Don't play it safe. Don't refuse to roll down the window because your hair might get mussed. Don't refuse to play in the sprinkler because your shirt might get wet. Don't say "no thank you" to Grandma Rose's special peach cobbler...Grandma Rose isn't going to be around forever and her peach cobbler will never be the same after she is gone.

Stop letting the little details of day to day life prevent you from enjoying the moments and pursuing greatness! We all have the same amount of time every day. It is what you choose to do with that time that makes the difference.

The chores will still be there. Trust me.

So, I would really love it if you would pick one thing to do today. Pick one thing that is in pursuit of LIVING, DREAMING and BEING. Pick something that YOU want to do, that you don't normally make time for. Don't pick something because you think is is what I want you to do, or because you think other people will think it is the coolest thing to do. It doesn't have to be anything grand or massive. Just pick something. Something that enlivens your spirit and makes you feel alive. Pick something that you are afraid of. Pick something that someone else won't understand. Pick anything....!!

What do you WANT? How are you going to LIVE today? How are you going to honor your inner self today?

Let me know in the comments what you did today to BE.


Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome. 
 ~Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759

Jackie O

You know, I always thought that I liked Jackie Kennedy. She was America's Royalty, camelot and all that. She was glamorous, yet she came from a modest background.

We couldn't help but feel some affection and sorrow for her...watching her husband get shot right in front of her; witnessing Lyndon B. Johnson get sworn in on air force one, still wearing her pink Chanel suit spattered with her husband's blood.

Later we watched her at President Kennedy's gravesite, holding the hands of her two small children, the former First Lady, now suddenly alone.

In later years, as she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and raised Caroline and John Jr, she was seen as a glamorous woman with style and grace. Her second husband passed away in 1975, only 12 short years after the death of her first.

She never remarried. Instead she went on to become a book editor and was known for her love and support of architecture and the arts. She lived in Manhattan and kept a relatively low profile. She passed away from cancer in 1994 at the age of 64.

I, like so many others, feel drawn to the Kennedy's in some way. I always felt a strange caring for Jackie Kennedy, losing her husband in such a traumatic way, being in the spotlight for an immensely emotional time, trying to raise her children and live a private life after the public spotlight. I had a tender spot for her.

When John Jr passed away, with his bride Carolyn and her sister Lauren, in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard I was glued to the news and internet. I was shocked and saddened when the rescue and recovery efforts began to find luggage pieces and airplane parts on the beach.

Recently, however, I was looking up some quotes to use for my inspirational blog. I wanted to see what kind of thoughts and quotes had been attributed to Ms. Jackie-O, image icon and glamorous former First Lady.

I must say, I was somewhat shocked and disappointed. The quotes I found strike me as somewhat bitter and, I don't know, snobby, or prude? Here are a few examples:

He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. it had to be some silly little Communist.

I don't think there are any men who are faithful to their wives.

I think the best thing I can do is to be a distraction. A husband lives and breathes his work all day long. If he comes home to more table thumping, how can the poor man ever relax?

I want minimum information given with maximum politeness.

Sex is a bad thing because it rumples the clothes.

The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse.

I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I guess this wasn't it. She has other quotes that I did like, such as:

There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.

I want to live my life, not record it.

Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it - but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.

This one I did like:

If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.

What do you think? I am reading it all wrong? Do you know of another quote by Jackie-O that is meaningful and inspirational?

I would like to think that there was more to her than what these quotes represent, but perhaps, like her life, she kept many of her best thoughts private.

Finally Harvesting!

Our garden got off to a slow start this year.

Our spring weather was much colder and wetter than normal, so many of our early spring plants just didn't do anything. It was frustrating and pathetic.

We waited to plant much of garden until much later than last year because 1) we planted too early last year and 2) our spring weather was so yucky this year. As a result, it has been a bit of a slow progression to get to the harvest stage.

Finally, though, nearing the end of August, we are starting to really get some good stuff happening. This picture shows a variety of stuff out of the garden over the last couple of days.

We are about to be inundated with tomatoes, which is nice considering last year our poor tomatoes never recovered from the late frost.

We are also about to be inundated with peppers! Anaheims, New Mexico's, Poblano's, Banana peppers, and Jalapeno's. We are going to get a couple of Cayenne, but nothing like last year. Chris' Tomatillo plant has tons of "lanterns" on it, but I have no idea if it is going to actually produce fruit.

The zucchini is finally slowing down.

We chopped down the wasn't salvageable after the bugs got to them early on.

We have had some huge disappointments, too. Last year we planted pickling cucumbers. We canned lots of dill pickles. They tasted nasty. We don't know what we did wrong. This year we planted lots more pickling cucumbers...but they haven't grown! So frustrating. We did get enough to do one jar of refrigerator dills, but those tasted nasty, too!

We also attempted to pickle a bunch of jalapenos and banana peppers a few weeks ago. We tasted those, and they are gross. We have no idea what we are doing wrong. We have followed recipes, but we have had to cut them down because we don't have 4-8 pounds of whatever. In doing some research I am starting to wonder if that is part of the problem. I really don't know.

It is VERY disappointing to be throwing away our harvest because of nasty flavor. It is also very disappointing that we didn't get a harvest of pickling cucumbers to make Bread and Butter pickles with, because those turned out amazing last year!

We have a whole bunch of banana peppers that are ready to be picked, but we are gun shy about trying to can or pickle them at this point. I'm not sure what we are going to do with them. I think maybe we will just have to freeze them.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions about pickling, we are open to them!

Even with all the trial and error, it really is wonderful to be able to go out to my garden in the evening and pick a little of this and pluck a little of that and create a dinner from my own back yard. I love that aspect of my garden. So even if some things don't do well, and we have failures in kitchen processing, I am still going to keep gardening!

Zucchini, 4 varities of tomatoes, blackberries, home made black berry mead (from last year) bell peppers, pickling cukes, a lemon cuke, a slicking cuke, a poblano pepper, spaghetti squash, patty pan squash, acorn squash and some potatoes.

Do you garden? Are you having trials and tribulations this year? Or are things going awesome? Let us know in the comments!

Revealing You

“At the center of your being you have the answer;
you know who you are and you know what you want.”

~Lao Tzu

Who are you? And what *do* you want?

Do those questions strike fear in your heart? Or do they fill you with excitement and energy?

I do not know how or why, but it seems that our idea of who we are and what we really want in life often gets buried, hidden, and minimized as we grow up.

When we are children, without the weight and realities of the world filling our heads, we believe we can do anything and be anything. When asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" children reply with anything their heart desires: princess, firefighter, cowboy, spaceman. To a child anything is possible.

As we move through life, our dreams and beliefs of childhood evaporate with the wind. It is a rare person who still believes at 16 the same dreams they did at 6, and by the time they are 26 the dreams of their childhood are long buried and forgotten.

By the time 36 rolls around, we start looking around in wonder...what happened to my youth? What happened to my dreams? How did I get to this place in my life? Where am I?  WHO am I? What am I doing here?

It is at this point that people often feel the need to "find" themselves. I am here to tell you that you are not lost. You do not need to be found. You are there. Maybe you are buried under a pile of never ending laundry, bills, to-do lists and adult responsibilities, but you are there.

You need only find a quiet place to sit and think. Open your heart and mind to the dreams you had as a child, or the dreams you had as you grew up. What did you really want? What did you want to be?

Look inward at the person you have been hiding from yourself and the world, buried under mom duties and grocery lists.

Look inward and see the dream of childhood poking her head around the doorway of your inner self, trying to catch your attention, trying to remind you she is there.

At your center, in the quiet place in your soul, your true self, the one with the dreams and aspirations, is there. She is waiting for you to remember her, to recognize her, and to welcome her into your outer self.

She knows who you are. She knows what you want. She is you, the true you, the open and amazing you that you can be.

Find a quiet place. Light a candle. Play some soft music. Open your outer self to your inner self and invite her to come out. Allow her to show you the way, to illuminate the path for your dreams to become realities.

She is there, within you, waiting for you to set her free.

Don't wait. Don't wait for the perfect time. Start today. Allow your inner being to open you to the possibilities your life is filled with right now.

Abundance is everywhere; there is enough for everyone. You are worthy of an abundant life. Your inner self will guide you to an abundant life, filled with the things you dream of, but you must allow her to come out.

You must open yourself to her, to the whimsy and fantasy, to the fun and to the play, which will take you to your fully lived life.

You know who you truly are. You know what you truly want.

It is time to allow that person to BE. It is time to fulfill your true dreams.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kitty Pictures!

I am not a crazy cat lady. I have pretty much always had a cat, but never more than one or two at a time.

That is plenty for me. I simply do not have what it takes to have multiple pets. Cats are good for me because they are pretty independent creatures. Yes, I need to feed them and clean the potty box, but really, they can survive without me just fine.

Dogs, on the other hand, need their people every day. Dogs need much more attention, training and time than cats.

Babies, even more so!

I will just stick with my cat.

I just thought today I would share a few pictures of my current cat Ashley, and my Phantom kitty, who is no longer with us.

Ashley is probably about 17 years old, and Phantom was closer to 20 when we said goodbye.

Ever since we moved to Medford Ashley has become a different cat. She used to be completely freaked out by people. She wouldn’t go outside. She wouldn’t eat people food. She would only allow Chris to pet her on her towel in one spot. She would never enter our office room.

Now, she is a big pest! She jumps up on the desk, gets in the way of the monitor, meows to go outside, begs at the table every day, AND she hung out in the kitchen with us when we had guests!

I don’t know what happened. She got old or something.

Here are a few pictures of my kitties, just for fun.

Phantom kitty

They NEVER sat by each other. This was RARE.

Ashley (or as my friend Jennifer calls her: Smokey!)

Aww...sleepy kitty


She always had her tongue out....cute!

Her favorite spot...on top of whomever was sitting down.

Always looks grouchy.

In the office! Brave girl.

How about you? Dog person? Cat person? Or do you have an exotic pet of some kind?

Planting the Seeds

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."

~Robert Louis Stevenson

I need a lot of reminding.

One of the things I have been working on in my life, for many years, and it will likely be a lifelong process, is changing the message on the tapes that play in my brain.

Do you know what I mean? The tapes in your brain that tell you what you think of yourself, how you feel about yourself, what you believe about yourself, if you are smart or pretty or fat or ugly or dumb. These are the messages we tell ourselves every day. I call them tapes. Some people call changing the tapes affirmations.

I just refer to it as changing the message on the tapes.

My old messages were not nice. I believed many negative things about myself. I, in fact, convinced myself daily, with my messages, that I was weak, lazy, dumb, incapable and more. I said many, many not nice things.

Oh, you would never have known all the negativity going on in my head if you knew me in 3D. On the exterior I am happy, smiling (even having been called "the smiley one"), laughing and appear to be confident and secure in myself...from the outside.

On the inside, in my brain, where I tell myself what I believe about myself, I was not nice. These messages defeated me in living my life before I ever took one step toward living it. I would awaken with negative thoughts about my body, I would go through the day with negative thoughts about my abilities, I would go to bed with negative thoughts about all of the things I wasn't and could never be.

It is an exhausting way to live.

Somewhere along the way my brain was penetrated by the idea that these were MY tapes and *I* held the power to change the recording. The messages I told myself were within MY power to change.

This blog and the ideas and words in it are a physical manifestation of me changing my messages. Over time I have changed many of my thoughts. I try to reframe old thoughts into new ways. Instead of being a drill sargeant and yelling at myself to get something done or to stop doing an unhealthy behavior, I try to look inward and see why I am doing it. I try to record a new message. I plant the seeds of positive messages. I tell myself I can. I tell myself I will. I tell myself that I am amazing and wonderful and unique...because I am all of those things. And so are you.

The messages that play in my brain now are more frequently those of positivity, of support and encouragement. I tell myself I can do things. I tell myself to listen to my own needs. I tell myself to wait. I tell myself to rest. I tell myself to work. I tell myself I have great talents. I plant the seeds of positivity and strength and power and light in my brain daily. I read positive things. I talk to positive people. I seek support and guidance.

Sometimes, though, I need reminding.

Last weekend I went through a very difficult emotional process. In the aftermath, in my hindsight, I see that part of what happened was that in an emotionally charged situation all of my old tapes come flooding back to me. It was as if they had never left. I was telling myself an amazingly horrible amount of stuff that was NOT TRUE. It may have been true at one time, in another part of my life, but it was NOT true in my current life. I succumbed to those old tapes in the blink of an eye.

One day I was posting here about the universe is whispering in my ear and I listen and LIVE and a scant 48 hours later I am in a fog of negativity, doubt and downright lies.

Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with seed plantings and harvests?

I am telling you this because it is important to continue to plant the seeds of positivity even after earlier sprouts have started to grow. It is important to continue to plant the seeds of power even in the midst of the growing season. It is important to continue to plant the seeds of light in the middle of a storm.

The seeds...seeds of positivity, power, and light...they are what will get you through that storm! They are what will pull you up from the depths. You never know which seed you plant will be the one to poke up through the dirt of your mind, just when you need it.

We can't worry about harvesting of the seeds. We can't worry about the day we are done planting. We can't be consumed with how great the harvest will be. We have to believe. We must have faith. We must KNOW that if we keep planting the seeds, daily, we will someday be able to harvest them. The harvest may be one individual plant at a time, and not an entire field. But someday, that little seed, the new message on your tape, the positive things you tell yourself, it will bloom and grow and play back on repeat for you and you will believe it.

But you might need to be reminded that you believe it. So you have to keep planting new seeds, and recording new messages, especially while you are standing in the midst of a field full of harvest.