Monday, January 27, 2020

levels of cozy

Is winter over yet? That's how I'm already feeling. We've settled into the long string of dreary, dark, gray days and "oh great, another snowstorm" weather alerts. I'm not liking it, but it is what it is, so I'm trying to look at the cozy side of things. At least just for this post.

Fluffy friends indeed. Aren't pets the best?

Cozy, dim lighting...

Something good simmering on the stove (in this case, black bean chili)...

or a baked treat fresh out of the oven...

Afternoons spent art journaling with a loved one (on a rare day of sunshine)...

And good books to read. Always a must.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Sarah Ban Breathnach's, Simple Abundance. I've been reading this book every year for many years. She just came out with her 25th anniversary edition this past November! It's much the same, just with updated information. I love reading the daily entries. Sometimes I miss a few days and then I have to read a few days worth, but somehow that makes it even better.  Other times I skip ahead and read writings from another month. But I always go back to that day's entry.

What does cozy mean to you in these long, cold, dark winter months? 

Friday, January 17, 2020

words are beautiful

While reading today's email edition of Mindful News, I followed a link to Joanna Goddard's blog, A Cup of Jo. She wrote an article called, What's the Most Beautiful Thing You've Ever Read? 

I was immediately intrigued. I have a fascination with words. Obviously, one of my passions is writing. I'm a voracious reader and keep a running list of beautiful passages I find in books. I do the same with quotes. I enjoy poetry readings. The library and bookstores are two of my favorite places.

As of right now, Joanna's blog has 1157 comments in response to her question! I've only had time to go through a handful of the comments and I've found some real goodies. Of course, those have been copied and pasted into a Word document so I can refer back to them when I so desire.

I thought it'd be fun to ask you ~ my readers ~ what is the most beautiful thing you've ever read? Please share with all of us. It can be lines from a book, a particular quote, a poem, song lyrics, a Bible verse...whatever words have moved you.

{My current reads}

I'll start out by sharing a few of my favorite, beautiful words with you. I had a hard time picking out what to share. There's so much!


Why do people keep asking to see God's identity papers when darkness opening into morning is more than enough?
 (Mary Oliver)

We would be together and have out books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright.
 (Ernest Hemmingway)


The blueberries were ready now, soft, inky, desperate to stain. And there was the snow, outside my window, smothering the earth. I imagined that all things in life had their singular drives - to stain, to smother, to support, to survive, to nurture. The sink said, Splash me, and the oven said, Stuff me, and the refrigerator, the caretaker, hummed, I am here, I am here. I stood in the middle of my kitchen like the clever oiler of their machinery, but a piece of me wished to be elsewhere. A piece of me wanted to walk into the snow, to disappear slowly from view, to draw around myself in a watertight line. 
(Nora Seton, The Kitchen Congregation)


Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

OK, your turn!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

winter wellness

Now that winter is in full swing, I know many people who are sick: Colds, flu, a lingering virus that produces a chronic cough. My husband and I haven't been sick in years. I attribute a lot of that to our healthy lifestyle and wellness tips, so I thought I'd share some of them with you:

Wash your hands every single time you walk in your house from being out in public. Washing your hands with warm water and soap (skip the antibacterial stuff) is the most important thing you can do to keep germs from spreading. Store cart handles, public bathroom faucets and handrails, keyboards and desks are the worst for germ-laden surfaces. 

Keep your hands away from your face. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth ~ or else use a disposable tissue.

I can't stress this enough: eat a healthy diet. By that, I mean real food. Stay away from fast food, prepared foods, sugar, and frozen grocery store dinners.  As Robert Lustig, MD, an endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco says, "If I could suggest one change to someone's eating habits for health, it would be to eat real food."

(Organic chicken cooked in the Crockpot with tomatoes, coconut milk, onion, garlic & ginger - topped with cilantro; basmati rice with sauteed barberries, onion and saffron; broccoli sauteed in coconut oil)

 Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits (click here for which produce you should be buying organic), some whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and limited dairy. If you choose to eat meat, try to buy grass-fed, local meat or choose organic at the grocery store. If you eat fish, make sure it's wild-caught, not farmed.

Certain supplements can help boost your immune system, especially in the winter. Most of us in the more northern climates are lacking in vitamin D, due to the lack of sunshine. Elderberry is powerful in preventing colds and flu or lessening symptoms. You can find it in syrup or capsule form. Make sure you're getting enough vitamin C by eating citrus fruits (and they're at their peak in winter!) and if not, take a supplement. You can also look into zinc, echinacea and other immune boosters such as organic mushroom blends. Make sure when you're buying vitamins and supplements, that you get a good brand. Google the company and see where their products are sourced from and manufactured. You want to buy from a reliable company and one that doesn't use unecessary fillers and binders in their products.

Get moving. Bundle up and go outside for a walk ~ it feels good! You not only get the physical benefits from walking outside, but the mental perk, as well. Park far away from stores when you're running errands. If it's simply too cold to walk outside, go to a huge store and walk up and down every aisle and circle the perimeter of the store a few times. If you live near a mall, go indoor mall walking. Use stairs, not the elevator. Practice yoga to improve flexibility, balance, strength and respiration. When you're in your house, maybe even doing some housework, turn on some music that makes you move. 

Practice meditation. It lowers your blood pressure, improves heart rate and breathing, relieves tension and tightness from muscles, reduces stress, improves sleep, and boosts the immune system.

Diffuse essential oils. For winter wellness, try a couple of drops each of cinnamon, clove, orange, eucalyptus and rosemary. For respiratory illness, try a mixture of peppermint, tea tree, lemon and eucalyptus. If you have pets in the house, please check with your veterinarian first about diffusing oils. Some vets say it can be dangerous for them to inhale.

Keep hydrated. Drink a lot of filtered water (I keep sliced lemons in mine for a little bit of flavor) and herbal and green teas (unsweetened, of course). Stay away from sodas, even diet ones which are filled with artificial sweeteners and are linked to numerous health conditions.

To your health! đŸ’“

*Disclaimer: the information in this post and on this blog is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition or treatment.