How Much is Enough?

Recently I told my husband Danny I had decided to go back to school.  I have this wonderful job that I love to the point that I had decided I needed more.  More education.  More growth in business.  More status.  More.  I was determined, and no one was going to change my mind.

Then something amazing happened.  It was July 12th, the eve of little Katie’s passing, and I found myself reading a post that I wrote on Katie’s birthday in 2014.  That person who was writing from her enlightened state during that moment three and a half years ago taught her future self a valuable lesson:  what is important in life?  I suddenly realized that for as often as I preach it, it was time to start walking the talk.

There was an internal shift that was immediate.  Everything changed in an instant.  I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this fast train I had put myself on was heading in the wrong direction.  I haven’t changed my mind about my job, where I have the opportunity to use my business brain to contribute in a collaborative environment and continue to grow both intellectually and emotionally.  I love it and I am sure I will continue to for a long time to come.  But it is enough to do all I can in that environment without having to commit every waking moment to more more more, to the detriment of my personal relationships and my creative self.

Even better, Danny is experiencing a similar shift that puts us both on the same train, heading in the same direction.  We have talked for a long time about downsizing.  How much do two people need?  Do we really need a 3300 square foot, five bedroom three bath house for two adults and a morky?  What price are we paying for thinking that we do?  The need to work more, do more, make more, at the expense of time with our grandchildren and nieces, children and siblings and parents?  The loss of time to focus on the creative energy that God has blessed us with?  I know from experience that is not a price worth paying.

When Katie was sick I was unable to work for a year due to her need for around the clock care.  The wolf rang our phone a lot during that year and the year that followed as we worked our way out of debt.  It was an added burden to all the pain we were already suffering, but in the end, I would not have had it any other way.  I thank God every time I think back to that time, that I made the choice to put her care above everything else.  I have long since forgotten the ugly phone calls from bill collectors and the need to buy groceries on credit.  In time our finances were back to being healthy again.  What I will never forget is that I was able to spend every moment of her last year with her, and that is something I will always be grateful for.

 

They All Wore Pink

It seems like yesterday.  And yet, somehow, 24 years have passed since we buried Katie.  A lifetime ago, and only yesterday.  Life moves on, we learn to experience joy again, but when these final days before July 13th arrive, it is always the same.  I am back in that rocking chair in 1993, holding little Katie for four days while her beautiful spirit slowly left the body that failed her.  I can feel her leaning against my chest, smell her sweet smell.  I was selfish those last days as our family surrounded us.  I didn’t share her much.  I wanted to hold her for every last minute that I could.

We all maintained a stiff upper lip at the funeral.  It was too painful, too much to bear, to lose her after just 18 months.  We couldn’t go there, so we didn’t.  If I had allowed the enormity of the grief to break the glass I was erecting around my heart, I would have fallen.  Literally.  To the ground.  And I knew if I let that happen I would never get up again.  So we stood strong in our grief.  Our friends and family did the same.  To my surprise and pleasure, during this time when most people would arrive in funeral black, they all arrived adorned in pink.  It was her color, and without my saying a word to anyone, they knew.  These beautiful Christian women who loved me and had loved her knew exactly how to love and honor her.  They all wore pink.

And now here we are, 24 years later.  Our bodies’ inner psyches are the most amazing timekeepers.  You can be going along, thinking life is grand, and suddenly you hit a brick wall and don’t even know why.  Last night as I lay in bed it hit me.  Oh.  It’s that week.  These are the days.  These are the days I held my Katie during her final breathing moments.  Ah.  So that is why I am so tired and want to crawl into bed and avoid the world for a few days.  Now I understand.

I am trying to make it different this year, to let this be a growth opportunity.  I think now about the young woman Katie would be, and the lessons I would want to be teaching her if she were here.  And I think about the lessons she is undoubtedly trying to teach me from where she is, if only I would listen.  And I think about the life I have been given, the opportunities and talents I have been blessed with.  And I wonder.  Am I taking full advantage of all God has offered to me?  What example would I want to be setting for Katie if she were here?  What example do I want to set for my nieces?  Am I striving for the things that are most important in this life?

On Katie’s birthday in 2014 I shared some thoughts about what’s important.  As I read that post now, I wonder.  Am I living my life and following my dreams the way I encouraged then, or am I still just going along with the status quo?  When am I going to make that leap, if not now?

“When we cherish our dream and then invest love, creative energy, perseverance and passion in ourselves, we will achieve authentic success.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

I don’t have all the answers, but I will never stop asking the questions and listening for God’s whisper.  Life is short, and I do not intend to die with my song unsung.  Katie deserves to see better than that from her momma.  And tomorrow, I will wear pink.

Put a Splash of Valentine’s Love in Your Home

You don’t have to spend a fortune on new pillows to add a little Valentine’s spirit to your living room.  With a Silhouette Cameo and an inexpensive pillow cover, you can create your own design inexpensively – then simply cover an existing throw pillow with the pillow cover until the holiday is over.  Having just the cover with a holiday design makes for easy storage after the holiday too!  Although I may decide to keep this particular one out all year long, since love is what we are about in our house!

If you would like a copy of my design, email me – I would be glad to share it!   Shalom!

Brighten Your Home With These Christmas Crafts

christmas-balls-2

Today’s battery operated LED lights allow you to make all kinds of decorations for the holidays without the need for cords running to electrical outlets, and without the worry of having hot bulbs up against something flammable.  The photo above shows a truffle dish that I fill with gold balls every year for our table centerpiece.  The difference this year:  I interspersed a string of battery operated LED lights with the balls so that it glows beautifully on our table every evening.

 

christmas-lights-1There are several types to choose from.  They all have a switch to turn them on and off; some use a small watch battery (included); others, like the ones shown here, use AA batteries.  These have a timer on them.  They stay lit for 6 hours from the time you turn them on, then turn off for 18 hours before automatically coming back on again.  This allowed me to bury the unattractive little box with the batteries in it in the bottom of the balls without the need to reach the on/off switch every evening.

The possibilities with these lights are limited only by your imagination.  There are more examples below:  I have interspersed some into a green centerpiece that I put out on my counter every year.  They are also great for putting into glass “construction blocks” that you can purchase at Hobby Lobby – again, because they are battery operated, they can be placed anywhere.

Enjoy creating.  Shalom!

centerpiece-1

 

The blocks below are made with vinyl I created using a Silhouette Cameo.  To learn how you can create these for yourself, or to place a custom order, shoot me an email!

 

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Mushroom Burgers

These burgers are sooo good!!

mushroom-burgerIngredients:

8 oz mushrooms, chopped fine

1/4 onion, diced fine

2 teaspoons Wildtree Garlic Galore Blend

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup frozen organic broccoli florets, chopped small

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup organic oatmeal flakes

3 tablespoons Wildtree Worcestershire Sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub, divided

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat 1 tablespoon Natural Grapeseed Oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and Garlic Galore Seasoning Blend and sauté for 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool slightly. Once cooled, combine the mushroom mixture with broccoli, egg, oatmeal, goat cheese, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon Rancher Steak Rub. Shape into 4 patties and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. (It may be soupy – if so, you can shape on your baking sheet with a spoon.  Hint:  I line baking sheet with foil before greasing – makes cleanup a breeze!)

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through: 165°F. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise, remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon Rancher Steak Rub; set aside.

Serve mushroom burgers on a gluten free bun and top with the mayonnaise sauce.

Wayne Dyer’s 10 Secrets for Success & Inner Peace: Secret 1

94857135873008921_cZoVDmYi_cHow do you define success?  In Wayne Dyer’s book, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, he talks about “The peace of God that truly defines success.”  Oh, but doesn’t that sound blissful?

Secret 1

Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.

There are so many ways that we learn to attach the idea of success to different expectations.  Expectations of our parents, our teachers, our religion, society and our culture.  How is it that some people have the ability at a young age to ignore those expectations and go forth in the world with the freedom to be who they were created to be, while the rest of us struggle with the need to please in such a way that it exceeds our ability to be true to ourselves?

Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to me to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.

Individual and world peace.  Isn’t that what we all dream of?  Can it really be as simple as Wayne Dyer makes it sound?  So where do we begin?  Wayne instructs us to first release our attachments by changing how we view ourselves.  To be attached to nothing means no longer identifying yourself through your body’s appearance and your possessions.  Being attached to these things allows the ego to be the dominating force in your life.  By letting go of these attachments and taming the ego, your spirit can become the guiding force in your life instead.

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  However, like any lifelong habit, this can be a hard one to break.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and some days are better than others.  Meditation and prayer can help get us there and keep us on the right path.  The ego will always try to regain control, so a daily ritual of being still and letting God’s guiding light into your day is an important practice in making and maintaining this transition.

The Scriptures say, “With God all things are possible.”

A mind that’s open to everything means being peaceful, radiating love, practicing forgiveness, being generous, respecting all life, and most important, visualizing yourself as capable of doing anything that you can conceive of in your mind and heart.

If all things are truly possible, then we have nothing to worry about, right?  And yet worry we do.  We worry about everything.  If we can learn to let go of that worry and be patient in knowing that everything will happen at exactly the right time, would that not make it so much easier to be open to everything and attached to nothing?  In the knowing that whatever God has planned for us will happen in exactly His perfect timing, we have no reason to worry about potential lack or loss.  This knowing will truly result in inner peace.

A Course in Miracles states, “Infinite patience produces immediate results.”  It implies that in your patience you know with certainty that what you would like to manifest will show up in perfect order, right on time.

Wayne’s first secret has two parts: (1) a mind that is open to everything, and (2) a mind that is attached to nothing.  Again, he says that our attachments are the source of all of our problems.  “The need to be right, to possess someone or something, to win at all costs, to be viewed by others as superior – these are all attachments.”  Imagine what the world would be like if we could all learn to let go of these attachments!

In all of your relationships, if you can love someone enough to allow them to be exactly what they choose to be – without any expectations or attachments from you – you’ll know true peace in your lifetime.

Now that’s a life I want to be a part of!  Shalom!