Saturday, August 29, 2009

The practice of house work

It's Saturday early afternoon, my house is clean! Did I always love to clean? Heavens no! As a young girl it was like a life sentence. Living on a farm my brothers would go do something fun like build fence or pick up hay. I had to stay inside and help my mom. I'm sure from my brothers perspective I was spoiled rotten and the lucky one. Well -the grass is always greener!

Still house work was not a natural fit for me. Funny how life works out, for the past 19 years it has been my profession. What do I think of house work now? My mood shifts week to week as I clean but in general it has become a friend. In yoga my instructor talks about grounding yourself and doing grounding exercises. There is nothing in the world more grounding than cleaning your toilet!

For me, cleaning has become a practice. A practice of gratitude, a practice of creativity, a practice of relaxing and letting go, a practice in quiet reflection, a practice in awareness, a practice in value, a practice in flow, a practice in remembering and a practice in consistency.

The list of benefits to a clean house is a topic for another day but today I'm thankful my house is clean, that my husband just stopped in to say hi, that I still have plenty of time to stop by the Federal Way farmers market.

Happy cleaning,

Monday, August 24, 2009

The lost art

Last Sunday I sat on my front deck and hand wrote letters to friends and family.

My step mom and I have had mulitple conversations about the lost art of hand written letters. In the age of texting, facebook, blogging, cell phones, and e-mails the art of hand written letters seems lost. It is a sad loss.

When I was 10 or 11 my great grand mother wrote me a letter. The stationary she used was bright yellow

These are a few of my experiences of letter writing:

When I was in AZ visiting my grandparents, who are not connected to cell phones and computers, I noticed how they wait for each day's mail. The mail is a connection to family and the ouside world. Most days thier mail was filled with donation requests, bills and junk mail.

A friend of ours relocated to help his parents. I forward some mail to him once a month. In his mail I always tuck a littlehand written note. The other day he mentioned how much he looks forward to my notes.

My sister just got married and has been busy for much visiting. I got a letter from her last week. In the letter was two letters- a typed letter to our family in general and a hand written letter just to me. It was surprising how different the hand written personal letter felt vs the typed letter.

Sunday, when I wrote those letters, one of those letters went to a family friend. Yesterday, I got a call from my sister in law. My friends husband had just passed away Tuesday. Before it had happened I had already sent her a note telling her how much she means to us and how her kindness had helped me in a tough time.

The art of hand written letters is an old, out of date way of communicating. Today, there are so many forms of fast and easy communication. The act of sitting down writing a letter is a slow and intentional way of thinking of someone with no distractions. The gift of a hand written letter is your heart.

Happy writing,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

True Sustainablilty

Two springs ago I was in Arizona visiting my grandma and grandpa, along with my mom and aunt Velma. Many of you know of my amazing family. Aunt Velma just turned 100, grandpa turned 96, a couple of days ago and just got his drivers license re-newed-until he is 101! Grandpa doesn't even wear reading glasses.

I guess you could call my family a sustainable family given our longevity and health. But that story is for another day, this this is about the sustainablity of usable materials.

My mom and I were cooking up some fried apples with honey, cardamon and grandpa's home grown pecans. I noticed the stainless steel pan looked brand new. Wondering if grandma got new pans I asked my mom- how old is this pan? "Oh I'd say its about 50 years old. She's had that pan forever".

And there it was, sustainability, it smacked me right in the face. This January Dallas and I will have been married for 20 years. During that time I had gone through 3 sets of Teflon type cook ware. Not only did the finish wear off - we probably ate it-uggh!

Since that discovery I have switched to quality stainless steel cook wear. Cooking in stainless took a bit to get used to but once I got it there is no turning back. It started with 1 10inch pan my dad gave me. Now I have a full set. My budget didn't fit with a full new set. I found great buys at TJ Max, Goodwill and estate sales. For the same cost as my previous 3 sets of disposable and unhealthy pans I have a full set of 50 year pans. Now that is true sustainability.

happy home travels,