I made this: Beet Orange Salad with Mint

I love beets. I love oranges. I really love Feta. This salad seemed to be an obvious choice! In my version, I roasted the beets with rosemary, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. I also added a tiny bit of Shallots to the dressing, and used Pino Grigio vinegar.

Recipe: Beet Orange and Feta salad with mint from Dinner, A Love story. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest.

Beet, Orange, Feta salad with mint from Dinner a Love Story.

Beet, Orange, Feta salad with mint from Dinner a Love Story.

Garden Dreams

This year, winter seems to be hanging on with a very tight grip. I have been dreaming about my garden for months now, using Pinterest to collect ideas. In preparation for Spring’s embrace, I have started some seeds indoors, using my newly erected grow station. I am not very good at this – so hopefully at least some of my seeds will sprout. Things I am growing include:

Penstemon

Penstemon

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s ladder

 

Hyacinth Bean Vine

Hyacinth Bean Vine

 

Lavender Hyssop

Lavender Hyssop

Brazilian Verbena

Brazilian Verbena

I am also growing a series of herbs and tomatoes – those deserve a separate post.

 

Focus 2014: Getting rid of email mayhem using Unroll.me

In the spirit of focus and simplification, I want to reduce the distractions, clutter and “noise” in my life. First stop? Email. I have several email addresses. When I created each one, I vowed to keep each clean and uncluttered and have failed horribly! I am spending some time over the weekend cleaning them out, closing a few down, and using Unroll.me to help manage all of my subscriptions, marketing email, etc.

Unroll.me

How it works

Unroll.me scans through your inbox and identifies all of your subscriptions, then neatly lists them for you. You can manage all of them from one place, by unsubscribing, allowing them into your inbox, or adding them to your unroll.me daily digest where they get neatly packaged into one area. This is a lifesaver.

My Three Words for 2014

Trees

Trees on New Years morning

In a recent post by Chris Brogan, he encourages us to choose three words to guide our direction for the coming year, rather than develop lengthy resolutions or checklists. These three words need to summarize and represent a core desired feeling, and are an inner guide for decisions on how to invest time, money, and energy. This simplistic approach is very powerful, and seems like it could potentially yield better results as opposed to operating on a tactical level with lists as we usually do this time of year. Danielle Laporte also teaches us a similar approach through her desire-mapping exercise in her breakthrough book The Firestarter Sessions – but that is so fabulous it deserves an entire post of its own.

2013 was a difficult year, a year of peeling back the layers and doing some very hard work around becoming fully concious and getting better connected to myself, my family, my community, and the earth around me. Needless to say, I am still at the beginning of this journey, and am still trying to hide and resist alot of the time. After all, it’s much safter that way. But much less wonderful and amazing.

And I want wonderful and amazing.

So here goes . . . the three words for me in 2014 that will get me closer to wonderful and amazing:

Focus. Gratitude. Movement.

Here is why:

Focus.

In his book Focus, Leo Babuata emphasizes the importance of focusing on one thing at a time, with all of your energy and heart – and tells many stories of the amazing results achieved with this method. Focus for me means many things: Being in the moment, getting rid of time-wasting distractions, doing one thing really well with all of my heart. This means being absolutely connected to my current moment and environment. This means finding myself in “the zone” with each task that I choose to accomplish. Wether I am eating, spending time with my kids, raking leaves, walking in the woods, cooking dinner, or at work, I plan to do this. I will turn off social media alerts, my phone, and set myself up for minimal distraction so that I can be in the moment.

Gratitude.

Reminding myself to be thankful and developing a disciplined gratitude practice each day is critical to achieve amazing. My top priority is to forgive, love, appreciate and thank myself – this will take some work. I have spent decades beating myself up for many things – and it’s time to let that go. Taking time to focus on the little things, and finding the lessons and awesomeness in simple situations and places is what makes life special, and amazing. Crafting daily activities including meditation, bowing, and expressing gratitude towards others to help cultivate this will be key. A major area of my gratitude practice needs to focus on me.

Movement.

Movement and growth in all aspects of my life. This includes my journey as I continue to peel away the layers, my spiritual growth, progress towards the amazing life and experiences ahead. Movement includes moving my body more regularly in ways that invogorate me and help me to grow stonger. Movement includes exercising my brain and increasing my energy to be the bright, vibrant person that I want to be. Movement also means progress and growth for my children, hopefully because my energy and journey inspires them to light their fires within.

 

 

2013 Reflection and Gratitude

Jasper

My Dog Jasper. The most amazing companion ever. 2002-2013, Rest in Peace.

With only a few hours left in 2013, I figure it’s a good idea to take some time to reflect on my journey and to make some decisions around where to apply  my focus in 2014. In this age of distraction it’s really for me to lose my way and not make progress in areas that will really make a difference for me.

In many ways, I face the same old struggles with my weight and finances, and my inability to figure out what my true passions are. I do know that these things are merely symptomatic of a larger issue.  With that said, I have made much progress this year, mainly as an outcome of my membership in Dahn Yoga. More than simply yoga classes, I look at this as going to “mind, body, spirit” school and although I am still very  much on my journey, it has helped me to navigate my emotions, stress, and life in much more meaningful ways.

Monticello Gardens

Monticello Gardens – my number one favorite place in the world

This holiday season has been particularly challenging for me emotionally, and I am thankful to Dahn for giving me the tools (and the community) to help. The loss of my wonderful dog Jasper earlier in December really stirred up the pot on so many emotions, and dealing wth that grief has surfaced many emotions related to my moms suicide and my father’s death while I was young. The suicide of my daughters classmate one week before Christmas was also a sobering reminder of all the hurt and pain that exists. With all of that said, these are reminders of the need for gratitude, kindness, and love – for ourselves and for others. I dedicate 2014 to being kind and loving myself more, so that I can be a role model for others.

A small list of things I am so grateful for:

  • A new job that I love, where I am appreciated and can really make a difference.
  • The ability to provide for my family
  • Two compassionate, kind, thoughtful and insightful children
  • My friends, who don’t judge me and love me no matter what
  • My community at Dahn Yoga, for gently nudging me so that I continue my journey and healing
  • People I grew closer to this year, who are unlikely friends/colleagues and I appreciate dearly (PP)
  • The Firestarter workshop that a friend and I organized and led
  • Wonderful escapes with friends
  • The honor to watch my daughter with all of her strength, beauty, and grace while she participated in gymnastics
  • The many insightful and thoughtful conversations I had with my son David
  • My neighborhood – with the big trees, hills, creeks, eagles, hawks, and so much more – including great neighbors and friends
  • My health and strength
  • My home, with all of its imperfections (like I have to use books to hold the windows up)
  • My old car that keeps on running
  • The gift of each day, seeing the sunrise, and all of the moments in between
View from a friends driveway in Crozet, Va

View from a friends driveway in Crozet, Va

 

As we move through this day and into tomorrow, I celebrate my community, family and friends, and yes, myself.

Inspiration: Mary Granville Delany

Mary Granville Delany

Winter Cherry

Mary Granville Delany (1700-1788) bloomed in her 70s, when she found her life’s passion, creating almost 1000 life-size, three-dimensional, scientifically-correct botanical prints now held by the British Museum.

She is considered the first mixed media collage artist because she used paint, paper, and parts of flowers.

I am inspired.