I never would've believed it, but I've become a morning person. Not the hard-core morning person that wakes up in the dark to greet the sunrise, but the peaceful, quiet, 8 AM-ish type of morning person who pads downstairs to enjoy a cup of green tea with honey before the kids wake up. It's the only time of day I have all to myself and I'm finding that instead of just a luxury, it's now a necessity, to give me a chance to think my thoughts and have time to reflect.
Hearing the cries of humanity as she was about to enter Nirvana, Kwan Yin decided to return to Earth to help ease our suffering and lead us to enlightenment. A Buddhist bodhisattva, she's the loving embodiment of compassion and mercy. I find her motherly image comforting and inspiring. If you'd like to learn more about her, click here.
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year-old Texas rancher, whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to former Texas Governor George W. Bush and his elevation to the White House.
The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Little Georgie Bush is just a 'post turtle.'"
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a "post turtle"
The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come
across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."
The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to
explain, "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there,
he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just want to help
the dumb s--- get down."
I've been trying to include more laughter in my daily routine. Not that funny things don't happen around here all the time, but it's nice to hear humor meant for adults sometimes, instead of a round of kid-generated knock-knock jokes that leave you scratching your head trying to figure them out. If you have little ones, you know what I mean. "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "Chicken" "Chicken who?" "Chicken, I wanna swim on your head!!" It's sweet and heart-warming and absolutely earns a genuine giggle from me, especially to see my youngest get so tickled at himself, but as for a real belly laugh? Just not quite there.
Everyone knows that laughing feels great, but did you know there are real physical benefits
to laughter? Laughter reduces stress and tension, strengthens the
immune system, increases endorphins and reduces blood pressure. And
guess what? Your body doesn't know the difference between polite
laughter and the real thing, you gain either way. Some people are even
participating in laughter therapy. Listen to this interview from NPR.
Let me share a few videos that get me going and see if they do the same for you...
First, Jon Stewart's "America to the Rescue"...
If you're like me, funny animal videos are always a sure hit.
I love my Hot Sock! Our whole family has been using them for several years now and we've come to depend on their long-lasting moist heat for many uses, such as...
soothing sore muscles and backs
warming the sheets before you get in bed
gently easing stomach aches
and, warming cold toes
They last for a couple of months depending on often they're used. Eventually, the rice will start to break apart and little bits may come through the sock - that's when you know it needs to be replaced. They're so easy to make, though, you can have a new one in a jiffy. So, get some socks and rice and get ready to get cozy!
How to make a Hot Sock...
you'll need a large (mens) cotton sock and 5-7 cups of white rice, ribbon optional
pour the rice into the sock, you can use a home-made paper funnel or cut the bottom out of a paper or plastic cup to make it easier
leave enough room at the top of the sock to tie a knot, add a ribbon if desired
heat in microwave for approx. 3 - 3 1/2 minutes depending on your microwave
Note of caution: Use all cotton socks. Socks of polyester or nylon will give off a stinky smell after being in the microwave. Also, be careful how long you heat your Hot Sock. For example, if you asked one of your kids to heat it up for you for 2 minutes and they accidentally put it in for, oh, say 20 minutes, your Hot Sock might explode into a flowing stench of black lava requiring the purchase of a new microwave. Not that I'm speaking from experience, I'm just sayin'... ;)
Most every morning, I have homemade granola, vanilla yogurt and fruit for breakfast. I created this granola recipe based on some I used to purchase from our local coffee house. It's very simple (believe me... any recipe from me will ALWAYS be very simple)
3 cups oatmeal, 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup sesame seeds, 1/3 cup flax, 1/4 cup millet, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup brown sugar (all organic if possible)
preheat oven to 400º
mix first seven items together in large jelly roll pan, add honey and brown sugar, combine well
put granola in oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350º
bake for 15 minutes, then stir well
bake another 10-20 minutes (may depend on your oven, granola should be toasty brown)
remove from oven and stir
cool to room temperature, stirring very often to prevent sticking to pan, granola will crisp up as it cools
calla lilies, the smell of horses, the word dumpling, campfires, peaches, hydrangeas, bare feet, wagging tails, peonies, road trips, picnics, porch swings, first snow, quiet lakes, vanilla, the sound of boats on water and fried okra
There don't seem to be any "E"s in my life. Sure, I could probably scrape together something about crossing the equator, earthquakes orespresso vs. expresso but nothing really seemed to jump out at me. So, I'm going to scoot on past it and get on with the rest of the alphabet. This isn't supposed to be any pressure, right? ;p
Who doesn't love the smell of dirt warmed by the summer sun? All that potential cupped in humbled hands. Visits to my grandmothers meant walking the yard to take account of all that was growing. Azaleas, hydrangeas, fragrant gardenias and roses. But, behind it all, the modest scent of warm dirt. Unassuming, yet noble, for all its promise. It holds our history, supports our future and nourishes us in between.
I "walk the yard" with my mother and sister, now, praising new blossoms and sympathizing over grasshopper-eaten sunflowers. Our yard gets evaluated daily, picking off dead blooms, inspecting new buds and investigating unwanted bugs. My youngest is especially excited to tell me the status of the raspberries and tomatoes. He can't wait to get his hands in the dirt, planting new seeds, feeling for rocks and twigs or just plain digging a hole. I have to say, I agree with Margaret Atwood when she said, "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."