Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In Praise of Farmers

In Praise of Farmers

Up at dawn, 
to bed at dusk,
Tending every seed
and husk,
In sun, and rain,
and wind, and snow,
It matters not,
for they must go,

Through bugs and beasts
and floods and drought,
They cannot stop,
they must not doubt.
For the rich, the poor
on them depend,
The war on hunger
they must defend.
And to our tables 
comes their bounty,
To every town and 
state and county,

But those of us who
share their gifts,
Think little of their
daily risks,
The toil and hardship
they must face,
To bring the feast that
earns our Grace.

So, with each bite you next should savor,
Do not forget the farmer’s labor,
That brought these gifts from farms to stands,
And praise the farmer’s loving hands.

(originally posted: 8/2011)

 This week let's all acknowledge the great abundance that surrounds us...visit your local Farmers' Market, pick-your-own berries, buy or pick a bunch of flowers and bring them to your neighbor and do what you can to otherwise support your local farmers, to share the harvest and to savor the banquet of life.

(the photos above were snapped at the Boise, ID Farmers' Market - one of the nation's best!  Thank you for the opportunity Chris and Kristi)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Joys of Spring Cleaning

“In three words I can sum up everything
I’ve learned about life:
it goes on.”
~ Robert Frost

When I was a young girl, spring cleaning was a ritual not taken lightly in my mother’s home. Soon after the arrival of the first robins and crocus sprouts, I and my sisters, along with our mother, grandmothers, aunts and (female) cousins would don our work clothes and get about the business of sweeping out the heavy trappings of winter.  The dark, weighty slip covers where replaced with lighter, floral cottons (a decorating fashion of the times), drapes were removed, windows washed and flung open and jugs of pussy willows and lilacs filled the spaces previously occupied by now tired, and leggy, poinsettias.  In the meantime, Dad would be busy in the garage stowing away snow shovels and bags of rock salt to make room for rakes, hoes, grass seed and fertilizer. 

It was a full weekend’s undertaking. Yet, as we curled up on the sofa Sunday night, thoroughly spent and bone weary, eager to see where the brave and beautiful Lassie would take us this time, we were filled with a great sense of peace in our newly refreshed and airy home.

Spring is teasing us here in the mountains and I find myself reaching back to those old memories and the feelings of gratification they brought. I am not the homemaker my mother was.  Though I don’t own full sets of seasonal accouterments and am quite content with a cursory “shoveling out,” I still employ this “out with the old” ritual, but in a more internal way. 

Unlike in autumn, when I pull in, slow down and use the darker, fireside coziness to contemplate the workings of my life; in the springtime I want to shed the heavy skins of what’s no longer working and make room for a lighter and brighter existence. So this week, I’m going to fling open the windows of my heart and mind and toss out the old hurts – given and received – and plant seeds of forgiveness.  I’m going to clear the shelves of worn out stories and replace them with bouquets of happy endings.  I’m going sweep out the cobwebs of regret and make room for the tools of action. I’m going to paint the old, dark walls of fear with the bright promise of trust and courage. I’m going to tie my dreams to robin’s wings and let them nest in hope.

And when I’m done, I’m going to sit out on my deck and listen to the birds and watch the bees and smell the rich, damp earth and send up a little prayer of thanks that life does, indeed, go on….as renewed, refreshed and meaningful as I chose to make it.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Don't Stop Believing

Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling.
Journey (The Rock Band)

Many times in my life I’ve succumbed to a dearth of pleasure and joy and let fear have the upper hand in determining my moods and my days.  The illness and death of a parent, sibling, or close friend; miscarriage, the break down and destruction of a marriage, or worry over finances are very stressful and painful, and overwhelm the joy of life.  At one time or another, all of these have had negative and depressing effects in my life. I have always tried to learn from difficulty and pain and then move forward.  But, moving forward doesn’t seem to happen quickly, and I have often thought that regaining my equilibrium might never occur.

 However, believing opportunity is all around and that something positive will come from pain has always been a powerful reason for me to look for the bright side.  It’s a start to escaping the negative cycle of loss and an opportunity to move in the opposite direction ... the abundance of hope, belief, joy, love, and opportunity. 

The catharsis happens for me by writing rather than verbalizing my pains and fears.  And it gives me opportunity to look at what I’ve written from different view points since I can review my musings another day, or even months later, with a different set of emotions and circumstances coloring my views. Often I’m startled by what I’ve written and find that I’ve changed my perspective completely. That makes me feel I’ve gained insight from the experience, therefore, something good has come from sorrow.

Determination and a deep belief that change is a good thing have helped carry me through my life to this point. I can usually find the silver lining in a problem; it may be tarnished, but still it’s a spark of something brighter.  Once I find that small speck of possibility, it becomes a carrot dangling in front of me that I can choose to reach for (or not) and find solutions to shine light on the darkness.  It’s not always easy to move to the positive side, but I have found time and again that something magic will happen in my life if I keep believing.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Children are a wonderful gift. 
They have an extraordinary capacity 
to see into the heart of things 
and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.
-       Bishop Desmond Tutu

Years ago, renown author and lecturer, Leo Buscalia was asked to judge a contest, the purpose of which was to find the most caring child.  

The winner was a 4-year-old child whose next-door neighbor, an elderly man, had recently lost his wife of many years.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went to him, climbed up on his lap and sat there quietly.  When his mother asked him what he had said to the man, the boy said, “Nothing, I just wanted to help him cry.” A love so pure and unencumbered by societal influence or ego!

After stumbling upon this story again this week, I set out to see what other children had to say about love.  I share what I found with you, with hopes that it will bring a smile and a bit of sweet perspective:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”  Rebecca- age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” Emily – age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”  Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6  (We need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”  Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”  Cindy – age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.”  Clare – age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”  Elaine-age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”
Mary Ann – age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.”  Lauren – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.”
Mark – age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”  Jessica – age 8

I’ve been so moved by these sweet words of wisdom, I just can’t stop thinking about them. I hope they’ve touched you, too!  Let’s all try heeding the simple lessons of these beautiful children.  This week let’s all share our French fries, make friends with someone we hate, shoot little stars, stop (opening presents, watching TV, sending texts, rushing) and listen, and if we mean it - say it a lot!



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just Do It!

"If not now, when?"
Rabbi Hillel

So often our hopes and dreams get blocked by our "when," "if," and "can't" thinking. I've known too many people who've put off for tomorrow what they wanted to do today, only to leave this earth - too soon -  and without satisfying their deepest passions.

Time, money and circumstances can only derail our progress if we let them.  The choice is ours. 

There is always SOMETHING we can do to keep our finger in the dream pot until we can hold it surely in our hands. So, if time is the obstacle keeping you from writing that novel, narrow your scope of possibilities. This may not be the year you can focus months of your life entirely on your writing, but you could join a writing group, or spend a few hours a week researching the themes of the story you WILL write.  If money is keeping you from living in France at this time; while stowing away those pennies, rent every French language film you can find, read every book printed on the region you WILL be living in, you'll be so much more prepared WHEN you get there! If circumstances don't allow for you to leave your current job to attend Nursing School full-time; explore some online courses, volunteer at a hospital or care center, put yourself in the environment you wish to be part of until circumstances allow you to dive fully in!

Nourishing your dreams, your heart's desires in someway, everyday, will bring you closer to your "I did it" moment.  You just have to begin, take that first step..........Choose action, the time is now.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Child's Prayer for all of Us


From here on earth, 
From my small place 
I ask of You 
Way out in space: 
Please tell all men 
In every land 
What You and I 
Both understand...
Please tell all men 
That Peace is Good 
That's all 
That need be understood 
In every world 
In Your great sky. 
(We understand
Both You and I.) 
  -Dr. Seuss

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Grown Up Christmas Wish

As Christmas nears, many of us find ourselves caught up in the not enough time, too much to do, high dollar experience of the holiday season.  We hope this beautiful video will provide you a few minutes to pause, reflect and remember that the greatest gifts are not those grandly wrapped and placed beneath the tree, but are the intentions of the heart to make the world a better place for all humankind.

We thank  Kelly Clarkson for her beautiful rendition of David Foster's touching composition and Rob Pattinson for putting it all together in this wonderful video and add our hopes for the safe return of those fighting in Afghanistan as well.

We wish you and your loved ones much comfort and joy.

Dorothy and Susan