Monday, February 28, 2011

Mandala Monday - 2/28/11

Fresh, new mandala ... ready to download here.

As always, happy coloring!

Day 16,581 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For my Moop Bag that was delivered today. Love, love, love. I have been on a quest for the perfect messenger bag for travels near and far. This is it. The personal message on the perfect wrapped package was a sweet touch. I heart handmade!

Art supply porn courtesy of Teesha Moore. I suggest that you sit down.

The someone in our neighborhood who adopted a blood hound puppy to walk by my house everyday. Words cannot describe the off-the-charts cuteness. Makes me grin everytime it passes by. I'm hoping to get outside in time to hug it without making a scene.

A spring thunderstorm well before dawn. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. because of the wind and, realizing I wouldn't fall back asleep, got up at 4:00 a.m. It was 68 degrees. I opened a living room window, made a cup of tea and set about journaling. The wind-whipped breeze was intoxicating and, for a moment, I swear I could smell the sea. The lightning started around 5:00 a.m. and 30 minutes later we were in the middle of a severe storm. Thankfully, not so severe that there was any sort of damage ... more the thrilling kind meant to shake the trees awake. For March to come in like a lion, sometimes February has to go out like one, too.

Last, but certainly not least, getting my gratitude posts back on track. [sigh] I can't explain how powerful this practice has become for me. I figured it would be fun this year to have a way and place to keep track of what I appreciate each day ... and it has been. But something big shifts for the better when I move through each day looking for thankful-ish things to note here. When I don't do it, I feel out-of-sorts. I start to take things for granted again. Molehills go back to being mountains. Showing up here, in this way, has a way of putting things back into perspective. I'm fond of perspective. Thank YOU for sharing it with me!

Now ... tell me what you're grateful for today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Magic Beans Green Smoothie Recipe

Here is the basic recipe that I follow for my green smoothies. Plenty of room for variation here. This recipe makes 36-48 ounces, which I store in 3-4 twelve-ounce mason jars with plastic lids. Try to drink them the day that you make them ... otherwise the seeds thicken them overnight.

2 cups of spring water
1 apple (I prefer Granny Smith)
1 kiwi (peeled)
1 fresh banana (peeled)
1 frozen banana (peeled/optional)
1/2 to whole bunch of greens*
1/2 cup of frozen berries
1 tablespoon bee pollen
1 tablespoon seeds**
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon spirulina

*I like kale, collards or spinach - but rock the chard or any other green you prefer. If you are new to green smoothies, start with smaller amounts of greens and add that frozen banana with the fresh for extra sweetness. As your palate adjusts, you'll be able to increase the greens. I have been making this recipe for years and, believe it or not, I crave more greens!

**I use Chia, flax, or hemp seeds. Flax and chia tend to be tasteless (at least to me). Hemp seeds add a nuttiness.

Please use bee pollen with care if you've never tried it before -- can cause allergic reaction.

Sometimes I'll use fresh pineapple or a pear instead of an apple. Again, anything goes here.

Several years ago, I invested in a K-Tec blender (similar to a Vita-Mix). Worth every penny. It will liquify anything.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 16,577: Revisiting Raw

(From the Archives: January 2009)

The leaves of daffodils and other spring flowers are beginning their tender emergence. I discovered the first wee dandelion greens in my safe spot for future harvest. They will be added to my green smoothies in the weeks ahead to make my liver happy.

I am rubbing the winter sleep from my eyes. What I see in the mirror and on the scale is sobering. It's been a long dark season and I've really let my self-care go.

I have never felt stronger or more confident in who I am than in my 40s. But there are changes that have come with age ... my metabolism isn't as responsive as it used to be, stress takes a greater toll, and sedentarianism is no longer an option. When I simmer in a soup of stress, neglect to move my body regularly, and let myself eat whatever isn't nailed down, well, I'm not going to feel very well.

And that's the thing. I don't. I haven't for months. Not as well as I know I could.

The lifestyle to which I respond the best on all levels is high raw. I thrive when my daily raw food consumption is around 80% with generous helpings of practicality and flexibility. When I am consistent about eating this way, here is what never fails me:

*Extra padding melts away
*No more puffiness
*Brightening of the whites of the eyes
*Luminous, smooth skin
*Strong, healthy hair and nails
*Increased energy, vitality
*Nicer and more fun to be around
*No more fuzziness/buzziness
*Clear thinking
*Influx of ideas and inspiration
*Exponentially easier to be in the moment
*Comfortable menstrual cycle

Sounds great, doesn't it? It is. But I would be lying if I said it's easy to maintain. For some, maybe so ... but not so much for me. The benefits listed above are enjoyed only to the degree that meals and snacks focus predominantly on raw foods. Pre-made raw foods aren't readily available where I live, so it means a whole lot of shoppin' and choppin' for myself. Lack of ample fresh produce on hand and a plan for what to do with it are the ingredients for defeat.

Another challenge is that it isn't easy to eat differently than everyone else. My family is not only non-raw, but non-vegetable, making it that much more of a challenge for me to stay the course. Social meals that involve dining at restaurants or other people's homes can be immensely tricky, especially if alcohol is involved. Nothing can destroy the raw resolve faster than a cold beer and a cheesy appetizer within reach.

I didn't think that I was an emotional eater until I set the intention to make healthier choices. Favorite foods are a habit ... the aroma, texture, and taste bring pleasure and happy memories. Food connects us with others and can be a loving gesture when given and shared. And food can be as effective in altering our mood as any drug.

For all of these reasons and more, I have always been on the flexible side of living raw. I've never considered myself to be a card-carrying raw foodist because I'm not yet (and may never be) ready to give up everything I love to eat as an omnivore. So, as with my multi-faceted livelihood, I have tried to craft a uniquely nourishing lifestyle that supports me ... giving me all of the benefits of a raw lifestyle with the freedom to have whatever else that I may truly desire. All options open, all of the time. And you know what? It's tricky.

[Cue November through February.] It's hard to get lathered up for a frosty green smoothie when desperate for warmth. Even the prep feels like it requires too much effort. Add a few stressful situations and lack of exercise to meal choices focused on comfort in the short-term and you've got where I am right now. Thick. Puffy. Lumpy. Lazy. At 45 years old, I am having hot flashes every blessed night.

But it doesn't have to stay this way. I know better. Now I just need to do better. That has begun today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 16,576: Meet Addison

Addison used to be forced to pull heavy things and was beaten when he refused. Thankfully, he was confiscated and brought to live at the Gentle Barn where he was taught to trust and have fun. Rumor has it that his favorite thing is to have his head and ears rubbed. With that sweet smile, it would be impossible to refuse!

Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop is sponsoring Addison at the Gentle Barn. Who among us hasn't, at one time or another, needed some gentle coaxing when it comes to trust and fun? He is the perfect Magic Beans mascot.

When you purchase a creation from my Etsy shop or take an Animal Reiki class from me, you are helping to support Addison and the good people giving him love and care. A win-win for us all!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 16,575 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For pets to photograph on a February day like today when everything else seems a somber shade of gray.

For a meeting held at a local coffee shop. Sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference in the world.

For cinnamon muffins hot out of the oven.

For FINALLY committing to a Rosewood Small Messenger bag from

For catching up with a friend upon her return from an amazing weekend conference which set her on fire with ideas and inspiration. Enthusiasm and energy are contagious!

What has you feeling thankful today?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mandala Monday - 2/21/11

A rainy Presidents' Day here in Cincinnati. Perfect for hunkering down indoors and doing some coloring. A new mandala is ready for you to download here.

This is Only a Test ...

Just testing my ability to post from my Blackberry. Sadly, photo upload doesn't appear to be an option. Beggers can't be choosers. Every time I travel, I have the great debate called Bring-the-Dang-Laptop-or-Don't. Opting to bring it does not mesh well with my newfound lust for simplicity, home and away. What are the essentials? If I can completely obviate the need for a full-sized computer with this wee magical device, perfect! But the photo issue - that's a bummer, because I want you to see what I see. Tell me your adventures in mobile blogging? Good? Bad? Haven't tried? Success stories wanted!

Yay for Blackberry Flickr uploader. It won't (necessarily) help me get a photo published with a post, but at least I can get photos uploaded from the road.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 16,573 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For the afterglow from an evening of gourmet mac & cheese lovin' at Keystone in Covington. The Buffalo Springfield is a religious experience. A slice of chocolate cake may have followed. I was swooning so hard that I can't remember. Have mercy!

For an afternoon spent wire-wrapping new earrings beside the fire. We enjoyed a lovely stretch of early spring weather, but I don't mind this colder day and the sleety sprinkles that came with it. I say that only because I had the lazy luxury to stay home all day, jammified.

For the sweet knowing that tomorrow is a federal holiday. A three day weekend ... the last until Memorial Day.

For plans afoot to return to NYC with the Cincinnati friend I had to go there to meet. The idea started off as one of those wishful "wouldn't it be nice if" conversations. A whirlwind visit -- one day in, the next day out. Now the ball is rolling. Research is being done. Dates are being entertained. Fingers are being held and breath is being crossed. Never under-estimate the power in and momentum of a wish.

For the arrival of robins. Maybe they've been back for awhile, but today was the first day that I saw several of them in our backyard on a massive worm hunt. All of the birds are busy now and the cardinals, in particular, have been singing their hearts out. The seasonal tide has turned.

What are you feeling grateful for today?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 16,571 Gratitude

Wow, I fell off the Appreciation Train this week ... at least as far as this blog is concerned. But, trust me, I've still been feeling it and keeping track in my mind of the ingredients in this gratitude soup that I get to bask in each day.

I've been feeling grateful for the dozen roses that my daughter's boyfriend gave to her for Valentine's Day. Days later, rich red with darkening edges, they keep me company when I work at the dining room table. Am I sad that they didn't come from my husband? No way. Flowers are nice, but I would much rather have his undivided attention on a fun, romantical date than a material gift. When our daughter was an infant we pared down gift-giving to each other out of financial necessity. All of these years later, it's stayed that way, for the most part. Just can't put a price on quality time.

I've been feeling grateful for discovering The Gentle Barn. A representative spoke about their organization on our monthly SARA member call. Oh my goodness, they are doing wonderful things there and I just wish that California wasn't so far away. I'm adding them to my travel wish list and will be supporting them from afar in the meantime.

I've been gratefully vacillating between Medium Control and Moop in my quest for the perfect messengerish bag for Taos. Entertaining options is half the fun!

And I'm gratefully noticing that there are only 90 days until Taos. That's like *snap*

What has been ringing your gratitude bells this week?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just So You Know (and You Know Who You Are)

The slack that you're so fast
To cut for others
Go ahead and cut some
For yourself
And know this
No matter how it all plays out
Shakes loose or goes down
It'll be okay
You'll be okay
You have options
And there are angels
Right now
At work on your behalf

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Mandala Monday ... and Valentine's Day!

A heartful mandala is ready for you to download here. Happy coloring!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 16,566 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For another wonderful Level 1 Reiki/Reiki for Animals class! There are two more animal caregivers in the Greater Cincinnati area who have added Reiki to their toolbox. It's such an honor to facilitate and be there to support them on this journey. I hope that you'll consider training with me or a Reiki Teacher near you!

For the gift of homemade bread and cookie bars.

For the unmistakable evidence of spring.

For a stolen dinner date with my year-round Valentine.

And for being 100% positive that I will never, ever wear a dress made of meat. You can quote me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 16,564 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For this view. Yes, I suppose that I could've walked up to the guard rail before taking the photo, but good heaven's it was cold. Guard rail or not, this shot is proof that I arrive at the office at the crack of dawn. It used to be well before. And after so many months of pure darkness upon my arrival, this first blush of the sun's impending arrival thrills me. It's going to keep getting brighter from here on out. It's going to keep getting better too. I love all that this means.

For celebrating my 10-year anniversary with my day-job employer. I can hardly believe it. Ten years used to feel like an excruciatingly long time. But then I became a mama and time sped up exponentially. It's very bittersweet.

For my second Reiki class this weekend ... this time with two students. I'm deeply honored.

What does gratitude look like for you today?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 16,563 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

That my S.A.D.ness decided to wait until late winter to arrive. Typically, we start wrestling together around November, so the fact that I've gone this long without being bogged down by it is a reflection of how well-stocked I've kept my toolbelt. But it's humbling to know that even the best routine can't always prevent the blues. When I stopped running from it, I discovered that maybe its crapitude can serve as the fertilizer for something waiting to emerge.

For one lit votive to keep me bright company while I work. It makes what I'm doing feel more sacred. And speaking of sacred ...

For an ongoing conversation about sacred commerce -- what it looks and tastes like right now. This subject is near and dear to my heart. What does sacred commerce mean to you?

For the artist afterglow from yesterday's sketchbook field trip to Krohn Conservatory. We are so lucky to have this luscious slice of heaven in our backyard. And it's FREE!

For Taos being less than 100 days away. Not that I'm counting. Okay, yes, I'm counting.

Tell me your tale of gratitude today ...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 16,561 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For the aural loveliness that is the video above. Amy sent the link last week and it has haunted me ever since. I tracked it down on iTunes but somehow the studio version lacks the magic of live. But, then again, isn't that the case with most music?

Speaking of Amy, she jumped into the Etsy pool yesterday and launched her shop. Heartfelt encaustics ...

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 16,560: Mandala Monday

I say it year and after year. February is not for sissies. It may be the shortest month of the year, but it sure can feel like the longest. You know what helps? Coloring. Well, anything creative, but coloring is so simple. Get your favorite markers, colored pencils or crayons. Download this week's mandala. Turn on some music that you like. Just melt into the experience for awhile. Trust me, I'm going to take my own advice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 16,559 Gratitude

From the Archives: 2/6/2005

Today I am so grateful ...

For gooey cinnamon rolls.

For collard greens at the grocery store after a long absence.

For a batch of my ginger elixir -- a thumb-sized piece of ginger boiled in distilled water and cooled a bit before adding the juice of three lemons, about 1/8 cup of honey and a hearty dash of cayenne pepper. I drink it warmed up and cold. It's particularly soothing when I'm feeling under the weather.

For being spared more snow.

For the necessary wherewithall to take another windy, gray day in stride.

What are YOU grateful for today?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 16,558: Miracle!

I have GREAT news to report ...

Remember my post the other day about my friend and the refund of her roundtrip airfare to Egypt?

Well, we did it!

Okay, if we didn't actually do it, then, at the very least, we held the space for a miracle to come to pass on her behalf.

She contacted me this morning to let me know that the scheduled flight was delayed due to the curfew in Egypt. Because of the length of the delay, she is now entitled to full-refund of her airfare. I assume this is per the terms of the flight insurance that she purchased.

So, hooray! And thank you. I know that she would have much rather taken this trip, but getting her money back must be of some comfort.

Let's keep up the conjuring on each other's behalf, dear friends ...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 16,557 Gratitude

Today I am so grateful ...

For my friend, Jen Lee, and her brave story-telling. She has this sweet, soft and gentle voice, but her words will crack you open. In a good way.

For unexpected but welcome reminders, especially when my motivation and confidence are lagging, that what I do is worthwhile and that magic (mine + yours) is needed in the world.

For grace under pressure. And when grace is lagging, a wicked sense of humor can go a long way toward filling the gap.

For approved vacation time covering my trips to Taos and Florida this year.

For two students now confirmed for my next Reiki 1/Animal Reiki class, February 12-13. (Two more spots still available! If you're interested, please contact me as soon as possible.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 16,556: Hold That Thought

(From the Archives: 2/3/2009)

A dear friend had planned what would be the trip of a lifetime. Three weeks in Egypt. She was scheduled to depart this Saturday, February 5.

Of course the trip has been cancelled.

She had the foresight to purchase flight insurance when she booked her airline tickets. She didn't find out until after the fact that it wasn't the right kind. Bad enough not to get to go, but to be denied a refund has added insult to injury.

If I told you what she doled out for airfare, it would make you sick to your stomach to contemplate how it must feel to discover such an extraordinary financial investment has returned nothing other than dashed dreams.

But she's not one to wallow and won't sit still for pity. Under normal circumstances, she takes setbacks in stride. Yet these aren't exactly normal circumstances and this is a pretty tough pill to swallow. She's really hoping for a miracle here. I'm really hoping that we can help.

Here's the wish that I'm holding on her behalf and doing all that I can to swirl up some conjurey magic around it:

I give thanks that full refund of the roundtrip airfare
comes to her in a surprisingly easy
and delightfully pleasing way.

I invite you to join me in holding it. too. There's great power in us doing this together. Let's continue to hold Egypt and its citizens in our thoughts and prayers as well. I'll keep you posted if I hear any good news.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 16,555: Under the Weather

Under the weather today
In a blanket nest on the couch
Nourished by gentle words
And tender music
Drowsily watching clouds race by
Exposing holes of turquoise blue
Through wind-bowed branches
Under the weather today
How about you?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 16,554 Gratitude

From the Archives: February, 2007

Today I am so grateful ...

For hawk medicine. I have had two significant encounters with red-tailed hawks, two days in a row, with both involving the capture of prey. There was a third encounter today as one flew by me to perch upon a power line just as I was driving by. I am meditating on what the message(s) might be. The picture above was taken almost four years ago, when a hawk left a feather on our patio. No kidding. I looked out the window and there it was. Had to take the picture, because it was so hard believe. Turns out that 2007 was a very significant year for me. Hawk may be trying to tell me that 2011 is powering up to be the same.

For the U.S. Postal Service and their assistance in getting my Magic Beans out into this world. Mail service is one of those things that's so easy to take for granted, but I couldn't do what I do without them.

For open-mindededness.

For flexibility.

For chicken and dumplings eaten by the fire.

As this gigantic winter storm races its way across the country, what are you grateful for today?