Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Midweek reminder: Kids are still being called names

Seth shared this with me and I can't help but re-share.

Check out Shane Koyczan's site. He's got a pretty powerful message, and I like his delivery too.

Today, say a prayer of thankfulness that you are grown, not in high school or even worse, middle school. And then, say a prayer for every kid you know who IS still in those environments, and a prayer for every grown person who carries the scars of earlier times.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

This weekend I read the following passage, which I know I've read before. But the layers of it hit me just right this go-around and I was encouraged:

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
-Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

A post that has long been in my in-box finally rose to the surface, and I resonated with much of what Pamela (the blog author) wrote, about another author she admires, and the life that both women are trying to pursue. The book author admired by the blogger is Katrina Kenison, and a few of her words, as quoted by Pamela, that stood out to me:
Now I see that the journey was never meant to lead to some new and improved version of me; that it has always been about coming home to who I already am.

I will be reading Magical Journey soon. I was given The Gift of an Ordinary Day last year by a friend, and it is probably due for another turn at the nightstand, as well.

Watching the Oscars last night, I wasn't especially hopeful that I would find much in the way of inspiration (and, that's not really why one watches, is it?). I mean, there are inspirational movies, sure, and of course I got choked up at the first line of One Day More, as the cast from Les Mis came out (even Russell Crowe didn't ruin it. He came close, but not quite...). But the real inspiration, for me, was watching and being surprised by people who don't fit the "Hollywood mold" perform or present and be comfortable in their skin. I mean, when someone like Renee Zellweger, all tiny and petite and cute, so obviously amends her looks for some inexplicable must-look-better, must-be-skinnier reason, what hope does a normal-sized and normal-looking woman have? Well, my hero last night was Adele (with an honorable mention to the always beautiful Queen Latifah). Adele performed Skyfall, beautifully, and accepted her award quite graciously, all the while her very own self. I adore her.

I had to dig up one of my favorite songs to share. And this video is a little bit extra special since she talks a little about the song and the album before she sings, and the things she speaks of--finding a lasting love--is now a reality for her with her husband and baby boy. So that's sweet too.

Wishing you a week of being very comfortable in the gloriousness and wretchedness of your skin. (If that sentence doesn't make sense to you, re-read from the top.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday night grateful list

Friday nights always bring a particular sigh of relief; tonight is no exception. Seth is home, it's rainy and a bit windy outside (hints of snow overnight?!), and very, very peaceful. We enjoyed a lovely family dinner of mixed vege and mac-n-cheese, and before the drowsies hit me hard and take me down, I must share my gratitude for the week.
Spring does seem to be on its way, even though the snow line has crept back down and I was chilled through and through last night. But the daffodils are very close to bursting, and seeing buds and shoots all over the yard is really good for the soul. I have work to do to tidy up the yard for spring, proper-like (you know, the stuff I was supposed to do in the fall), and I'm looking forward to it (on a warmer day than today). I am always grateful for the seasons (especially spring and fall), and this new season is no exception.

I am grateful for people who have a sense of humor. Especially individuals who have an ability to laugh at themselves--not take themselves so seriously. It's always a good reminder to me, as I strive but sometimes don't always quite achieve that lightness of spirit.

I'm grateful for productive days, and for the energy to approach a few of them in a row, even. 

My guys are so good to me; I didn't mention Valentine's Day last Friday night, but should have--they were so sweet to me with their cards and thoughtful ways. I feel loved every day, and even though I know--just like everyone else knows--that Valentines is hooey and malarky and made up, it certainly doesn't hurt to know you're *really* loved on that one day, too. I'm grateful for love.

I'm grateful to my Creator, for this life, these opportunities that are placed in front of me, every day, to try and make a difference, wherever I am. I read a great post this week about the people of Tonga and their attitude of gratitude. I love the way their language reflects their gratitude. Makes me want to be more intentional and grateful in my daily word choices, as well.

I am ever grateful for the seemingly mundane things, little bits that make the wheels of daily living go round and round. The ability to do laundry quickly and easily; the ability to cook and eat mostly what I want, when I want; fluffy towels that dry me off in the mornings; extra covers when I'm cold at night. It is all so easy to take critical things for granted too--good health, the ability to move my limbs freely and easily, good vision and hearing... grateful. For. It. All.

I will leave you with this lovely little lady, and wish you a very pleasant weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Midweek reminder:
While you hold it you can't get lost

I loved William Stafford from the first reading of his poetry, way back in college. To me, he had a voice filled with the Pacific Northwest; his natural life themes were refreshing as I came out of my Margaret Atwood phase. (Don't judge. Most people who find poetry compelling have a similar "poetry as cause" period; you know you did.)

Hearing Mr. Stafford read his work live was a real treat when one of my professors was able to entice him to the college I attended, in 1990 or '91... it's a long-ago blur, now. But my memory of his voice has not faded; he had a cadence to his speaking and reading that was very reassuring, solid. I recently found a clipping of a poem with his obituary from 1993 in the front of a book of poetry, and his voice came back to me in a flash.

One of the facilitators at the nonprofit conference I was at in January decided to start the morning session with the following Stafford poem. From the first line, I knew I was in the right room.

The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
-William Stafford

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

Following a weekend with rest and family time--my parents breezed through on their way to warmer times and climes--and a bit of work and reorg for the week ahead, I find myself in need of inspiration. Always. There's nothing special about this new week in particular. In general, I always like to look for something to propel me into the coming week. Of course, I have only to turn to my many and varied friends who post interesting things around Facebook and Twitter to be revived in spirit. Or Pinterest. Or my Google Reader. Or Zite. So, yes, many places to be inspired...

This post, which has apparently been read by 1.2 millionreaders, is one I read with interest. I think we've all felt at times that we're not at our optimal weight, so please turn that camera away from me! But the author, who is also a professional photographer, makes a good argument for being who we are, at this moment in time, and owning it, and not letting the opportunity to record precious moments pass by.

I found this piece by Shane Claiborne quite thought provoking. Shane tends to be a controversial figure; when people look and act and speak differently than we think they should, controversy tends come along with the territory. I also think that God uses envelope-pushers to help us all really drill down to what is real, what to believe, and what to let go. I think my favorite sentence was: "So if God should choose to use us, then we should be grateful but not think too highly of ourselves. And if upon meeting someone we think God could never use, we should think again."

Spring really does feel like it's coming soon. The temperatures have been almost balmy in the day--though there was a definite chill in the sunny air yesterday and the nights are of course still downright cold. I have been enjoying the garden-ish inspiration on Pinterest lately. Here is the sweetest idea for a spring/Easter centerpeice...

The next couple of weeks are getting ready for the annual fundraising luncheon that I help with each year--though this year I am helping less than usual.... A friend posted this quote on Facebook and I remembered hearing it a couple of years back and wanting to remember it--but promptly forgetting. Now, I won't forget it, I've got it tucked away:

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” -Kahlil Gibran

May your week have a bit of service and joy in it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

The view for much of our roadtrip this past weekend.

I have been reflecting on my lack of dietary freshness of late. Some winters I do a better job with keeping up on the salads and such, other winters... not so much. This is one of those not so much winters. So, knowing I should be doing better, I have been looking for some inspiration beyond the box of greens languishing in the fridge, and of course, there are plenty of options.

Kale and squash salad or Brussels sprout salad or Winter radicchio slaw or Endive salad with blue cheese, red grapes and pecans. There is surely no excuse for my lack of salad intake... I'm determined to turn this trend around!

I was cleaning out my inbox over the weekend--it tends to creep up in number if I don't keep an eye out, know what I mean?--and saw a leftover devotional email from the very end of 2012, talking about a Psalm for the new year, Psalm 90. I saw this paraphrase below, and love how it aligns with so much of what I want to remember every day, as well as what I've chosen for my OLW 2013: Light. I love it when my procrastination results in an a-ha moment when that same email might have gotten a quick delete a month or two ago.

Spring doesn't seem so far away these days. The sun has come out here and there, enough to tease toward whole days of cloudless skies. And the temperatures have been almost balmy as well. Seeing color forecasts from Pantone never hurts, either. I actually saw the fall one first and thought, "Oh brother, surely we aren't fast-forwarding straight to fall?" and went looking for spring.

Which are your favorites? For spring, mine has to be Tender Shoots or Lemon Zest or Nectarine (I know, hard to choose!). For fall, I'm Acai and Koi, with a little Mykonos Blue... Regardless, I do love both palettes!

pantone fall fashion

Panorama of the lake of my childhood, Okanagan Lake.

Wishing you the kind of week that brings blue skies, fresh air and glassy lakes (even if they're all just figurative!).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday night grateful moment

How lovely it is to be in Canada on a Friday evening. I have a great love for coming back to this place of my upbringing, as I've talked about it here and here.

Seeing my Grandma Kandt, who will be 94 in April, is always precious. We slid into town last night, had a quick visit and then went back today after lunch for a more leisurely chat. She, Seth and I looked through a number of books and photo albums together, and Grandma shared stories from her childhood, first jobs in teaching, as well as meeting, dating (courting would be her word) and marrying my Grandpa. It is always interesting, learning more about this woman who has seen so much change in the course of her life.

The book above started the conversation off, with lots of notes about Grandma's father's side of the family. One wild tidbit: Grandma's Grandpa Jacob's wife (Caroline) and his brother (Valentine) died in the same general timespan, and so he proceeded to marry his sister-in-law and together they had 18 children (yours, mine and ours). When she died (#2), he married again, to a woman who had three children already, taking the total to 21. When my Grandma's mom (Ida Yanke) married her dad (Reinholdt Bechtoldt), rather than move out on their own, Ida just moved in. She had, after all, been the housekeeper and cook for the family after wife #3 passed away... not so great with long-living wives back then, apparently. So Ida was used to spending her days cooking and cleaning for those 21 kids. Oy. Thankfully by the time Grandma was born, Reinholdt and Ida were in their own home.

Grandma has always done a great job of recording the family tree.

Here's Jacob and wife #2.

I was reminded today that my mom's side of the family (Kandt, Bechtold, Yanke, etc.) and my dad's side of the family (Goerlitz, Simmonds) are actually connected via marriage: My dad's aunt Connie married my Grandma's uncle Adolph. Small world, Alberta. And the certificate above, signed by Elizabeth Goerlitz (my Grandpa Goerlitz's sister) moved Grandma forward from the sixth grade... another small world moment.

I could not resist taking a picture of this gem; that's my Grandma and Grandpa in the navy suits, surrounded by their four girls and families. Circa 1977, maybe? If anyone has a hard date for me, I'd love to hear it. I remember being quite scandalized by my dear auntie MJ's shoulders. Aren't they beautiful? Hot, I believe we'd call them, now.

Seth enjoying reading through some of Grandma's notes this afternoon. I am so thankful for a boy who enjoys these trips with me, who is kind and thoughtful to his great-Grandma, and who will even indulge us in a game or two of Scrabble and Mexican train dominoes.

The boy and I of yesteryear. Takes me back...

Just to give you a sense of the warmth of Grandma's apartment... when I took her those tulips at 2 p.m., they were tightly closed. By 4 p.m. when Seth exclaimed, "Hey, look at the tulips!" they were bloomin' open. Warm is an understatement. Best to wear layers.

There is so much to be grateful for this week, as every week. The love and support of family; safety and good health that is so easy to take for granted; a couple of days off work; sleeping in; the ability to Skype with dear ones; breakfast with friends tomorrow; a son who will drive me home... well, a couple of hours, anyway; Tim Horton's for Timbits, Purdy's for hedgehogs, White Spot, just because...  (Those last few items make it seem like the diabetes tour of British Columbia...) Nostalgia... that's the stuff of life.

I hope your weekend brings you "the stuff" of life, too. Peace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Midweek reminder: Plow deep and straight and not cut corners

You probably saw this ad on Sunday. Or at least, you've seen it in the days since the Super Bowl, as it is widely considered one of the best ads of the day (though from what else I hear, it was not a tough crowd to stand out in).

But did you remember the words? The quick cadence of Paul Harvey's voice is one of the things that makes the spot memorable, though it doesn't lend to recall. When I happened upon the text of the ad and then watched it, listened to it--again, and again--I got a big old lump in my throat, thinking about my Grandpa Goerlitz and his farmer ways. And his hands. Those hands around the 40-second mark--my Grandpa had hands like those.

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse with hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, put in another 72 hours." So God made the farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the leg of a meadowlark."

It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and brake, and disk, and plow, and plant, and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does. 

So God made a farmer.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

A weekend with some sunshine; that makes ALL the difference. It was simply glorious to get a few household things done while light streamed through the windows. Still chilly, but clear.

If you view this blog via feed or email, please pop over to the site itself and check out my rearranging of the furniture. And, let me know what you think. I was really feeling the need for a fresh feel, and when my friend Heidi mentioned some blogger templates available on Etsy, I did some looking around until I saw one that said "SweetTea&Sunshine!"

I also did some rejiggering of my "pages," which used to be off to the left. Look just below the header and you'll see them, more prominent now. The recipes one is mostly up to date, but I have fallen off adding new quotes, as well as books, and the kitchen and OLW tabs are new. So I have work to do! I will let you know how it goes as I populate those areas.

Last note on the blog re-do: I changed the tagline from "a little food. a little gratitude." to "inspiration, shared." That's an intentional shift for me, a reflection of where I've organically strayed with my content. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

As for inspiration, a post passed my way that had some good thoughts toward creating an inspired life. For me, the part about dreams was a good reminder. I can get caught up in the NOW a little too deeply some days, and forget to look up and out to the future, and dream.

most intriguing post I recently read came from a site called Brain Pickings, with some highlights from a recent book by Daniel Pink. I have shared it far and wide--email, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and now here. (I know I may seem like a massive sharer, but sharing on that scale is actually rare for me.) The concept of the middle ground of the "ambivert" is one I think makes a great deal of sense, as well as the "ABCs of moving others."

A couple of artists that I appreciate have songs recently released, both of them not having produced any new music in years. Looking forward to the full album (are they still called that?! Ha.), but between now and then I'll have to make do with these:

I hope you have a fabulous Monday, a kickstart to a great week!

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew.
-Saint Francis de Sales

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