Sunday, March 27, 2011

Be the Reason for the Smile

My cousin sent this our way. Thought it a good story and a wonderful attitude to mark down in my blog, to remember. Hope it inspires you.
"A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign that said: 'I am blind, please help.' There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, 'Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?'

The man said, 'I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way. I wrote: Today is a beautiful day; but I cannot see it.'

Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign reminded people how fortunate they were to have their sight.

Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

The Moral of the Story:

Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear. It's a beautiful thing to see a person smiling. But even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason for the smile! Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bright, Bright, Sunshiny Day

With the warm and sun comes energy! It's marvelous.

Tom and I juiced the last of our stored autumn apples which we'd picked at the farm last October. Oh my! Equal in taste to the juice squeezed right there on the farm all those months ago. Amazing flavor.

Bright idea? Pour a little of that sweet nectar around the roasting sage/garlic/lemon zested pork chops. Yes!

Add to the pork a little pile of homemade egg noodles dressed with homegrown, homemade pesto from last fall. Mercy me!

And it was so quick and easy.

Spring Break plus sunshine and the creativity flows.

I even washed from the car the grime of a thousand winter trips.

Welcome, Spring. You are most appreciated!

Monday, March 21, 2011

With My Own Two Hands

With no school to teach, no driving to and fro, my time is my own during this Spring Break Monday.

To the kitchen I go! A hankering to bake French Bread from an old family recipe - recently found - has been realized. The loaves are rising to the warmth of the wood stove.

The hankering was not completely assuaged with the forming of bread. No, noodles beckoned. Homemade Egg Noodles, to be exact, made Old Style with a countertop, my hands, a rolling pin, and a sharp knife. The slender pasta rests and dries on wire racks. Tomorrow they will be added to Cassie's fresh made elk stock and other ingredients to create Beef Stroganoff.

This is my love. Creating. Expressing myself. Bringing smiles to the faces of family and friends and contentment to their bodies through the sharing and eating of good food made with love.

The house smells heavenly and I am satisfied.

So is my hankering.

For now.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Cares of routine evaporate quickly!

Fun bubbles with enthusiastic giggles.

Places to visit. People to play with.

Supermoons that mesmerize, foods that brighten, hugs of love, kisses of warmth.

Frisky pup.

Colorspots of flowers shoot forth. Delightful!

Quiet phone.

Happy children in park stop and chat, excited for Freedom.

Long-time neighbor friend, relaxes, smiles, shares a gentle greeting.

Carefree evenings, leisurely mornings.

Uncluttered mind. Time to choose or not.

Meditation without stopwatch.

Living unfettered.

Ten Days. Spring Break!

How I love thee.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

May your day be merry, full of the Luck o' the Irish. May laughter bubble up out of your belly, and may your belly be full of good Irish food.

And most of all, may you be ever gratefull for the good things that surround you. There is always something for which to be thankful!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stir the Soup

A zen monk once said: When you stir the soup, stir the soup. When you wash your hands, wash your hands. When you listen to your friend, listen to your friend.

So often our minds wander among a variety of thoughts, most of which are about things not directly in front of us. We are stirring the soup with our hands but our minds are a million miles away, pondering the past, the future, the To-Do List.

Today I absent-mindedly kissed Tom good-bye before I headed out the door and he turned back to eating his lunch. There was some place I had to be, so I left. Then I remembered, when you stir the soup, stir the soup. I turned around on the walkway to the car and headed back to the house. I found Tom. I told him about stirring the soup.

"I kissed you, but I didn't really kiss you. I was thinking about all that I was about to do and all that I have to do later."

We kissed.

And it felt very very good. Each of our faces genuinely smiled with contentment. A moment realized.

From now on I hope to remember to stir the soup when I'm stirring the soup, to wash my hands when I'm washing my hands, to listen to my friend when I'm listening to my friend, and to kiss my husband when I'm kissing my husband.

It can only make life more peaceful, more meaningful, and much more pleasant.

Stir the soup!

Sincere Realness

Yesterday I heard a monk speaking about an experience he had when he was the chef in a monastery. He'd begun to feel his age, wondered at his usefulness. He was all of 45 at the time. While working at meal-making in the orderly, peaceful kitchen he noticed the shelf of large, metal tea kettles. They'd been in service a long time. "They were ample, round, merry, and a bit banged-up but still they supplied their purpose faithfully. Dents and all. I realized one could apply thick amounts of wax into the dents and scratches, polish the kettles up, and make them look new. But then they couldn't be used, the wax would melt and what a mess. I realized at that moment that those kettles, with their dents and scratches, were sincere. They were real. And I with my wrinkles and imperfections - really though, imperfect compared to what? - am still fulfilling my purpose, growing, learning, and offering a service to my fellow human beings. Dents and wrinkles are real, sincere, they testify that something has been around awhile. I thought, 'If those merry kettles can keep at it, well, so can I.'"

I like that. For a couple of reasons. First, I like the idea that my wrinkles, gray hair, and scars are testimonies that I've been here awhile and have done things. I've smiled, and slept, and burned my hands while cooking. I fell off my bike, and broke a glass door with my elbow. My hair is graying, my hands have arthritis. But I am still useful, can still ride my bike, can offer my take on 54 years of walking this planet.

The second thing I'm drawn to in the monk's observation is the idea of sincerity, realness. When I think of tea kettles masked in wax and polish, unusable, I think of the things we do to ourselves that mask our sincerity, and often times render our experience, wisdom, and talent hidden and useless out of fear that we won't measure up should the real be revealed. Things we do to our bodies, our homes, the formation of attitudes that are not our own but absorbed from others, the aping of behavior in order to 'fit in', the things we insecurely keep to ourselves which, if offered to the world, could make a good difference.

It seems to me that we as a society are doing an incredible disservice to ourselves in our inability to embrace what is sincere.

Today, I have a fresh perspective on my dented, scratched pots and pans. Old friends, they are, and I shall never be ashamed to pull them out of the cupboard in front of guests while I prepare a special meal. And I shall never be ashamed of my laugh lines, my sleep crevices, my crooked fingers, and my gray hair. I am still merry and useful.

And so are you!