Saturday, September 19, 2015

The gift of clutter clearing

    If I had to pick one word I hear most often associated with clutter it would be the word "overwhelm".  Too much stuff in your living space will feel like...overwhelm.  That's the bad news.  The good news is what you get when you start letting go of life's weight.  You get to discover, create and uncover your true authentic shining self.

    When you have lots of stuff and that feeling of overwhelm seeps into your life, you probably dream it would all magically disappear.  Poof- end of problem!!!  Yeah!!  Except one little missed the journey of discovery.

   It is in this journey of letting go and freeing yourself that you find yourself.

 Cleaning out or clutter clearing has two guiding themes....

    1.  Discovering what you love, what you actually use, what gives you energy, what lights you up, what makes your eyes sparkle

    2.  Discovering what depletes you, holds you back, diminishes you, what sits on your shoulders and weighs heavily on your heart.

    As you you clean out, these two themes get asked over and over... How do you really feel about this lamp your great aunt Matilda gave you?  Do you actually use the treadmill sitting unused covered with clothes?  Or does it haunt you and make you feel less than?  Would you rather go outside for a walk in the fresh air instead?  Will you ever read this book covered in dust or would you rather read a new book on a new subject?  Or maybe you would be happier painting or having tea with friends or hiking?   Hum....

     Questions, questions, questions you ask again and again.  As you ask and clean out you get a gift.  That little authentic voice within, you thought was buried, starts getting stronger.  Your instincts and intuition of what you truly love start getting clearer.  You start to breathe deeper and you feel lighter.  You start to feel again.  Your heart opens up.  You get to discover who you are today.  Being lost in the past or fearful of the future become less powerful than this present moment.

    Cleaning out is more than the removal of stuff, it is the discover of your authentic self.

It is a journey of discover that truly is magical.
   Wishing you great ease and joy on your journey,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cultivating an ancient practice to reset your energy system

Cultivating an ancient practice, even the words have a restorative ring.  When my computer or cell phone go nuts, I unplug wait 60 seconds and try again.  99 percent of the time this does the trick.  So simple and yet so effective.

Our grandmothers and grandfathers didn't have cell phones or computers but they did know how to reset.  Their daily work was unplugging the charge.  The ancient practice was doing their daily work.

Washing dishes, cleaning windows, cleaning out drawers, pulling weeds, chopping wood, these chores are where our ancestors found their center, de-stressed and rebooted.

Yesterday I cleaned out two rooms and I cleaned my home.  Today, as I look around I feel refreshed, centered and restored.  I can't imagine anything doing more than a free day of cleaning and cleaning out can do.

I cleaned out and organized and as I did I lightened the weight I carry around.  Later I chopped down some baby poplar trees, I accomplished and felt strong.  I cleaned toilets, vacuumed floors and washed windows.  Today, I can see clearly and breath deeply.  As I cleaned I unplugged.

When you need a reset, keep it simple.  Everything you need you already have.  What you are looking for is not out there but with you all along.  Think simply. What is in front of you?  What needs done?  What has been weighing heavily on you lately?  Start with 30 minutes- stay focused. Open windows get some fresh air and light into your life.  Move right to left to right and top to bottom. Move mindfully and breathe deeply.  Let go of what no longer serves you.  Stay present and get lost in the moment.  Move with strong posture and relaxed shoulders.  Enjoy your work, for this is not a chore but an ancient practice of unplugging.

Happy cleaning and cleaning out,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Finding summer in our reflection

  Back in 2003 I read book called:  If I knew then what I know now.  A reporter asks a 93 year old lady named Nadine Stair what she would do differently if she had her life to live over. Her words stuck a cord with me then and apparently still do.  I didn't keep the book but had kept her quote.

  This morning, her quote popped back into head.  Maybe it's the sunshine, the heat, my garden or just the new beginning of summer.  Whatever the reason, it really got me thinking about my own life and what I would like to do or not do this summer and beyond.   

  To clear clutter it's best to live with things and experiences that raise your energy and let go of things that deplete your energy.  I think Nadine's quote explains why very well.  So I'm going to write a list, "If I had my summers up until now to live over again"   Maybe you will want to make your own list and then go have a wonder-filled summer!! Happy travels!!!

Here is the original Quote from Nadine Stair on her 93rd birthday 

If I had my life to live over
I would dare to make more mistakes next time
I would relax
I would limber up
I would be sillier than I've been this time
I would take fewer things seriously, 
and I would take more chances
I'd take more trips
I'd climb more mountains and I'd swim more rivers.
I would eat more Ice cream and less beans
I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour and day after day
Oh, I've had my moments, but if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them
If fact, I'd try to have nothing else- just moments-
 one after another, instead of living so many years ahead.

I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a rain coat and a parachute.
If I have my life to live over... 
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and I would stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances, 
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises"

Wishing us all all a summer filled with life and few regrets!!

This is the book I found the Nadine's quote in originally:   If I Knew Then What I Know Now Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1997 by Richard Edler

Monday, June 8, 2015

Eat Pretty for beautiful skin

Last night I ordered myself a new book.  Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart.  It cost me $9.85.  When I think of all the lotions and potions I can put on my skin, $9.85 is a screaming deal.

   Over the years, I have found the principles of residue free cleaning can be completely transferable to skin care.  Less is more.  On slate floors when a coating has been applied, my first instinct is to cringe.  For a couple of reasons.  First of all the coating has completely covered up the essence of the slate. It no longer looks and feels like slate but is now a plasticky, shinny shadow of the original.  Secondly, I know at some point this coating will need to be stripped off.  The stripping off process will require unnecessary chemicals, serious agitation and inevitably a bit of extra wear and tear not only to the floor but to us too!  

   I pause here to give a heavy sigh....

  At this point you may be wondering what does a coated slate floor have to do with a new skin care book called Eat Pretty!  Everything!!!  When we coat our faces with layers of beauty products we are essentially coating our slate floors.  Our natural essence has been hidden and at some point - usually at night before bed, we will need to strip off the coating.  This practice can't be good for your tender face skin.

  Partly because I'm terribly lazy when it comes to make up and partly because I hate it's feel and partly because coatings make me cringe, I wear very little make up. I do love healthy skin so instead I make my own skin care oils and try to take care of my skin from the inside out.  And after one long drawn out conversation...this is why I ordered the book Eat Pretty by Jolene Heat for $9.85 last night.

Wishing you radiant skin and good eating,

Monday, June 1, 2015

The joy of dust bunnies

Forget the books on how to enjoy your life.  Joy is in the daily details.  

As you clean you glance into the bathroom mirror and see a sparkle in your eyes.
You catch yourself singing while scrambling the eggs.
A squeal of delight scares your kitty when you discover a new pea sprout has broke ground.

These are clues.  Your spirit doesn't care where you are, what you are doing, how old you are, how much rain we have had, or how many pennies you have in your bank account.  This kind of contentment in life, joy in living and gratitude for life itself is all found in the details.  The gentle rhythm of life absorbs you.  Maybe you even find curiosity in the travels of lost socks

You come to your daily chores not from fear: what will the neighbors think; of frustration: not enough time; of anger: not appreciated; of dread: this is beneath me but in rejoicing of the day- no matter what you are doing!  

Everything you do with a spirit of grace is a gift.  Finding delight and wonder as you watch the dust bunnies in your home scurry across the floor- especially when company is present- is a gift to your soul

Changing your relationship to your daily chores.  Because that is exactly what it is - it is a relationship!  

      If your ... chore...was a person how would it feel?  Appreciated, loved, nurtured?

hummm,  just wondering outloud,
    wishing you organized dust bunnies and matching socks!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Leg powered lawn mowing is gaining momentum

I have the worlds best sister.  She found an old reel lawn mower left out for free.  Only a true sister would know this old - dinosaur - out dated - rusty- uncool piece of discarded trash would make me very happy!

A few years ago, I looked into reel mowers for our home.  After much, probably too much, research I decided my lawn is too big.  Plus it has too many bumps, sticks and pine cones for a reel mower to handle.  On top of that, I wouldn't be able to grind up leaves, straw and grass for my lasagna garden beds.  So after much ado about mowers, we got a hearty craftsman.  (Which I really do love- it is a work horse for chopping up and mowing)

But now I have my reel mower. It needed a tiny bit of TLC- mainly blade adjusting which my husband and neighbor did for me- thank you!!!  Mowing is one of the little things in life, and this little act of kindness from my sister, hubby and neighbor is priceless. 

7 bonuses gained from leg powered lawn mowing

1.  No gas!  Gas cans, gas spilled on gloves and sometimes shoes, lifting heavy gas cans, discovering you need to go get gas before mowing, gas fumes, gas used and of course gas purchased.

2.  No mower noise!  As I mow I can actually hear birds singing.  My hubby calls out the door, I just stop walking and we can talk like normal people.  Now all I hear is mower scissors happily clipping away. I don't have to wear ear plugs, damage my ears or irritate the birds and bees.

3.  Our dog Sally is much happier!  She smiles as I mowed.  She used to hide up on our back hill as I mowed. Then when I moved to the front lawn, she got all droopy as I shut her in the back yard. Now I let her stay with me for the whole yard- this has made my flop eared smiler very happy!

4. I am getting my farmer muscles back.  While this mower is not hard to push at all, I have noticed it is a lot like exercise.  As my grandpa Alton would have called it - power by arm strong.  I don't know about you, but staying strong and having time to work out is a constant battle.  Mowing gets me outside.  I can feel myself getting stronger and I'm accomplishing something at the same time- sorry gyms!!

5.  It is environmentally kind.  Not only am I not using any gas there are no emissions.  A few years ago, I heard every time you start your lawn mower, it is the equivalent of driving from Seattle to Spokane!  With this mower I don't even use electricity- only foot power!

6.  Less prep.  When I use my gas mower, there is more prep time to get into my work jeans, my gardening gloves and shoes.  I have to pull the mower out of the shed and fill it up with gas.  (hopefully the gas can has gas or is not freshly filled and heavy)  Now I put on my five fingered shoes and go outside.  Last night I mowed my back yard while my veggies were roasting in the oven.

I'm sure I will still use my hearty craftsman when the grass gets too tall, after a wind storm, when it rains and of course in the fall and early spring as I build my lasagna garden beds and need mulch.    My gas powered mowing is not extinct but is greatly reduced!  

Reel mowers may not create world peace, but they make this mower Smile!  
    Happy smiling and mowing to you,

"Smile a while and as you smile and another will smile and soon there will be miles and miles of smiles because you smiled"  Author unknown

Paleo Pancakes makes for a happy brain

A happy brain makes for a happy life...

One of my all time favorite meals is pancakes and fruit.  Over the years I started noticing an irritating cause and effect relationship between pancakes and my energy level.  Basically,  I would eat pancakes and in an hour I turned into a zombie.  I lost energy, my brain got all muddy and I was less than fun to be around. (was is the key word here)

I don't want to become a zombie but I still love pancakes.  A couple years ago, I found a recipe for what I call Paleo Pancakes.  It is mostly squash and eggs.  The best part is it tastes delish,  keeps my energy happy and gives me a nice little serving of veggies.

 I have made the below recipes a zillion different ways.  Recently I added beets, which turns the batter pin, a color my little 14 month old niece would love.   On a job, I will pack up a container of pancakes and eat them for snacks.  In the morning, when they are fresh off the grill I put top with a bit of coconut oil and fresh fruit.  These mock pancakes are easy, yummy and have great staying power!

 Hope you enjoy,

Paleo or Gluten free Pancakes 

    1 1/2 cups cooked butternut squash
    1/2 roasted beet
    1/2 gluten free flour - Trader Joe's brand
          grain free substitute: coconut flour or almond flour
    1/4 cup coconut milk- water or any other milk will also work
    Lots of chopped up pecans
    1/2 tsp baking soda, the soda is optional but it does make your cakes a little fluffier-

               (who doesn't like fluffy pancakes)
          Cloves, cinnamon and ginger powder
     7 eggs
     Coconut oil for cooking and topping pancakes
    Fresh fruit- for topping

   In a blender mix:  
       Squash, beets, eggs, flours, spices, milk, baking soda
  On a hot griddle pan- put a bit of coconut oil
       Pour on your pancake mix and add lots of pecans to the batter

  The other day I made a peanut butter sandwich from two pancakes- quite yummy

Pumpkin Pancakes
  Here is the original recipe:  

           from the Book Paleo Comfort Foods Pg 112

    4 large eggs
    4 large egg whites
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup almond flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 coconut milk
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 cup crushed pecans
      1-2 T butter or coconut oil

1.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except pecans.
2.  Heat a griddle or large skillet to medium heat and coat griddle/pan with butter or other fat source when hot
3.  From here, traditional pancake rules apply with a slight modification.  These will not bubbly like your traditional pancakes.  The batter is a bit thicker.  On medium heat the first side takes about 2-3 minutes to brown then another 1-3 minutes on the other sides.  

Variations-  They are fans of "adding a few chopped nuts on top of a freshly poured pancake.  You can also top a stack of these beauties with a few berries, or mix into the batter some finely chopped apples for a little sweetness.
                                                              Paleo Comfort Foods page 112