Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden Mapping

Yes, that is right, we have a garden map-- and it makes me happy. Not only am I happy knowing where things are, but I love thinking about what else can be put in the garden. A certain joy comes about when I venture to think about it.

I have had a desire for a garden map for some time now. I actually bought the house for the opportunity to experience the garden (no kidding) and I have waited with anticipation for the chance to get my hands in the dirt. Anticipation grew with each compost load we dumped over the winter, imagining nutrients going right into the soil; now as I crumble the deep, dark soil between my fingertips I just know it is teeming with goodness.

Last year, our first year here, was an experimental garden- a lovely garden to be sure - a garden dug on the fly (we moved in to the house in June and started digging late in the season). Much of the food we produced held some mystery for us. Is this a parsnip, or a turnip? Are these greens for eating or greens that support a root plant? Not sure, well let's eat it all. We also experimented with seeds from an heirloom seed company that came in a variety pack. The seeds overall were great- there were just a few that did not quite meet our discriminating tastes.

This year, however, we had the advantage of starting early, knowing what to expect from the seeds and had rich composted soil to work with. We started by planting a cool weather garden and have had lettuce now for about 4 weeks. And, the lettuce we planted, tastes great. Frank planted a second round of lettuce in another section of the garden, so we will probably benefit from lettuce all summer long. Actually, thanks to his passion for gardening and his initiative we should have many things early in the fall season to eat.

We have done a little better with labeling and no need to mention: WE HAVE A GARDEN MAP! So, we actually know that this particular plant is arugula and this one is kohlrabi, and that one is carrots planted with spinach. All good. Now all we have to do is to figure out how to cook/eat kohlrabi and other interesting varieties.

Soon, I can turn my attention to the other areas of the yard and start dreaming (and planning for) harvest. There will be canning and freezing and saucing and blending and ............... EATING!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Future Fading

Letting go of your hopes and dreams may be the only way to experience what is here and real and sometimes you may be surprised by what welcomes you in your openness to it.

Thing is, almost nothing happens the way you expect it to or unfolds the way you plan it. And, almost always, it turns out better than you thought it would- if you choose to see it that way.

Getting stuck on "what is supposed to be" is a sure recipe for disappointment. Regret, doubt, and what ifs can make a miserable today.

Many people I have known have been stuck in their past- remembering the glory days. My particular affliction is living in the future. So, I seek to find the balance between looking forward to things in the future while fully experiencing the present. Reaching for goals, dreaming dreams and cultivating hopes in concert with living now, feeling now and breathing now.

I remind myself to let go to receive.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Intolerance of Intolerance

As I get older I have begun to realize that those who judge are either inexperienced people expressing an idealistic viewpoint where everything fits neatly in boxes, circumstances go as planned and rules guide them in "the one right way". Other folks who judge, knowing better than to believe in this idyllic vantage, try to keep a lid on things -seeking a sense of control in a chaotic, mysterious world.

What is interesting that those who are judged are often normal, reputable and seemingly sane people who are experiencing upsets that are messy, unexplainable and sometimes unthinkable.

Some would argue that if these people were about right living and in relationship with the Lord, they would have been set straight. That maybe true. We all tend to stray away from things- spirituality, goals, and our true purpose. We meander and find that we lose our way and seek out the path again.

When we are on our true path of purpose and in connection with our source, I think we tend to do better, feel better and reap greater rewards. But, while we are off the path, I think we learn valuable lessons and learn how to have compassion for others. I believe the pains of our past help us to get in touch with our soul, and help us to see the soul of others.

I think for judgers, it is hard to look at the soul - it is a vulnerable place, it is a brutally honest place, it can be a scary place, and it is a place where we face our own fallibility. Standing naked. Kind of like experiencing a death of a close loved one. It is then that you realize that it could have been you that died, or it may even be you tomorrow. You find yourself facing your own mortality. That is a sweet place and ultimately a gift- but it is scary as shit.

So how do we experience the fallibility of others? When do we realize that we are fallible too? (I know that we all acknowledge we are fallible in theory- but when we judge others we are saying, "you got it all wrong, and I know what is best...., I am better off than you".

Even those who have somehow managed to avoid big mishaps like divorce, infidelity, children out of wedlock, speeding tickets and lying straight to some one's face may find that they are standing in judgement against others (to some, an even bigger sin).

I find that people who judge live in fear- living in fear that things will not go as intended, fear that God will reject them, fear that others will see through their carefully built glass house and notice the dirt there. We are all dirty folks!

So, what do we do with the fallen ones? Do we invite them to our table, welcome them in our lives, love them as we are called to do by Jesus? Jesus was quite explicit about love and acceptance. Can we follow him- or do we continue to throw stones?

So, how do we express our tolerance of people but not lower our standards; love folks yet express our opinion about right and wrong?

How can I love someone when I feel judged and unappreciated by them as I swim in my own fallibility? And most importantly, how can I judge the judgers and not face my own hypocrisy?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Organization, Laziness or Both?

Of late I have been thinking of ways to stream line the every day circumstances in life. In my work, a theme with clients is bubbling up. Person after person is dragging and feeling the energy drain and I realize that doing everyday chores can take a bunch of that energy and if you are not organized, it can seem daunting. At times I have felt this overwhelmedness and quite frankly Scarlet- I don't like it! So, my brain, the way it is wired, will ponder and process ways to make things easier, more efficient, or more cost effective until a solution comes.
Underneath this all though is the true desire in me to be lazy.

Agatha Christie writes:
I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention – invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.

I want to save myself and others trouble. So I have collected here a few ideas that I have learned over the years to make life easier. If you have any tips, add them too--we can all benefit from your knowledge.

1. Create a weekly meal plan. My sister DeeDee has done this so well. She includes a shopping list and recipes for a nights worth of meals. She has three weeks planned out and rotates them throughout the year. The methodology is great and her meals are tasty. Worth a try. Click here for a sample of her weekly menu.

2. Cook ahead. If you are like me, you get home and are hungry for food right away and look blankly at the refrigerator. And, inevitably, I will sigh and say we have nothing to eat- when really we do, but I am feeling lazy. So, I spend some time cooking when I am not rushed and I can enjoy the experience and store the food for future use. Then when I get home, I microwave or reheat items over the stove and Presto! a nutritious meal.

3. Eat left overs. Have left over day, clean out the fridge, get creative. It feels good because you are not wasting food and it helps you take stock of what you need or still have for future meals.

1. Set out clothes at night. We have spent many a morning where the kids are wondering what to wear, switching clothes out, putting them in the dirty bin (when they are not dirty) and overall mayhem when you should be in the car on your way to work. Too much hassle for a morning! If you really want to feel organized, purchase a sweater organizer and have your kids pick out clothes for the week. This can work very well. Have them include underwear and socks too, so all they have to do is go to the organizer, pick a set of clothes and get on with your day.

2. Purchase thrift store clothing, have kids pick sets of clothes that can be considered outfits. Kids grow so quickly and pop out of their clothes before you know it. Why not save a bunch of money and have the kids go crazy shopping in the store? You can get a lot of outfits at the thrift store within a reasonable budget.

3. Donate clothes that do not fit to Volunteers of America or another good place. Clothes that do not fit just take up space and complicate things when trying to set out clothes for the morning.

These are just a few ideas and I may post more at a later time. I know you folks out there have found other ways to economize and simplify life. Please share your thoughts. Inquiring minds want to know!

Christmas 2007- Organization at it's finest!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Good Thoughts

Here is something I found on the web. I thought it relates to many things I have been pondering lately.

1. Faith is the ability to not panic.

2. If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you prayed, don’t worry.

3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.

4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

5. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.

6. Do the math. Count your blessings.

7. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

8. Dear God: I have a problem. It’s me.

9. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.

10. Laugh every day - it’s like inner jogging.

11. The most important things in your home are the people.

12. Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.

13. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.

14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

16. We do not remember days but moments. Life moves too fast so enjoy your precious moments.

17. Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it’s just hearsay.

18. It’s all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.

19. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you’re seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.

20. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. No matter the storm, when you are with God , there’s always a rainbow waiting.