12.27.2016

:: The Best Policy ::




Pull out your journal and be brutally, painfully, overwhelmingly, and cathartically honest with yourself. You will 
find that in being completely honest with yourself, it comes much more naturally to be honest and kind to others.

12.25.2016

12.21.2016

:: Hold on to things lightly ::



Hold things lightly instead of clutching them tightly in your hands. A clenched fist grows very stiff and begins to hurt very quickly, then grows quite tired from holding on, but, an open hand is able to give freely and also to receive freely as well. Allow that ebb and flow to happen naturally.

12.16.2016

:: Happy Weekend ::




12.03.2016

:: I want what I have ::



It's completely natural to desire more... more clothes, more friends, more money, it's only human. But, obsessing over the things you're lacking can make you feel very dissatisfied. That is bad. This month, take a moment to acknowledge what you do have... anything from your healthy body which can carry you through a 5k walk or run to your best friend {who's really more like a sister}. Just remember that, while life can always get better, it's more fulfilling to always appreciate exactly where you are right now.

12.02.2016

:: Some things that I love ::



....Having my first hot drink of the morning, sitting in front of a twinkly Christmas tree when the rest of the house are still dreaming their dreams.

....The scent of cinnamon and cloves and oranges that fill the air when I walk in the house.

....A delicious smelling hand cream

....Hot water bottles. {just discovered these wonderful things!}

....Santa mugs {you would think I collect them} - {hey, maybe I do!}

....My new snuggly duvet that makes me not want to get out of bed for days.

....Twinkling lights, that make everything look rather beautiful and magical.

....The feel of hot flannel sheets, right out of the dryer and onto the bed.

....Freshly baked cookies. {preferably chocolate chip}

....A new yarn ball to play with. {need some wrist warmers}

....New copic markers.

....Snuggling with the Bentley, watching a movie

....A clean kitchen

....A really hot latte

....Layers..to wear, and on my bed of course

....Plump cushions {to sit back and read, or write}

....Writing lists {always writing lists}

....Jumping over puddles {unless I'm wearing my boots}

....Listening to the wind and the rain

....Feeling excited by a new crafty project

....Discovering a pretty new Christmas tree decoration.

....Coffee and a good book in bed

....Red and white gingham and other newly discovered fabrics I need to use.

....Homemade blankets {new at this, but it's fun!}

....Wrist warmers

....An appointment free day

....Blueberry scones and tea

....Journaling

....Snow Globes

....Walking in Fog {can't decide, if it's warm or cold}

....My iTunes Playlist {and creating new lists}

....Cozy Slippers

....Finishing the last end of a blanket

....Reading heartwarming news

....Daydreaming

....Waking up natural sounds on my alarm clock. That always puts me in a good mood.

....Sparkly nail polish

....finding something I like in the perfect color.

....Baking bread. I'm a sucker for it.

These are some of my favorite things. What are some of your favorite things right now?




11.12.2016

:: The best you can do ::





Pull out your journal and be brutally, painfully, overwhelmingly, and totally honest with yourself.
You will find that in being honest with yourself, it comes much more naturally to be honest and kind to others.

11.07.2016

:: Craving solitude ::




My craving for a little solitude has been strong these past few days. Not the quiet kind of solitude, more like a restlessness, like the flicker of a waking fire just waiting to burst from smoldering ash. I am keenly aware that when my mind wanders to places other than where I am I now... it's time to fan those flames with a slow exhale. Sometimes I forget that I can't breathe deeply, to restore myself, without first exhaling...


11.04.2016

:: When Yummy just isn't enough! ::





 



Follow these step by step instructions to make your own honey butter. If you'd prefer regular butter just skip the last couple steps. Spread on fresh bread for an amazing afternoon treat!
Ingredients: heavy whipping cream, honey, vanilla and a empty mason jar
Supplies:  1 small container of whipping cream,  vanilla,  salt,  honey,  clean jar,  stand mixer,  wax paper
Pour the cream into your electric mixer. Add about 1 t of salt as well. If you've been shaking it for at least 10 minutes, it should have started to look whipped. Add about ½ t of vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon in at this point. Now you'll continue whipping that cream on high into submission.
Keep whipping past the point of whipped cream.  Keep going until little pockets of liquid start to form (that's buttermilk!).
You'll need to get your hands dirty now and squeeze chunks of the butter out of the bowl and place it on a piece of waxed paper. Squeeze out at much of the buttermilk liquid as you can. This will keep the butter fresh.
Roll it up in the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Place the butter back into the mixer and add about 3-4T of honey. Mix until it comes together. Enjoy on fresh bread!


11.01.2016

:: Never tired ::



I never get tired of watching the sand hill cranes walk through the yards here in groups of 9-10, or how they just blankly stare at me while I walk by them. I never get tired of searching the skies for some really fabulous big, billowy clouds and finding an object they closely resemble, Also, we have lots of predatory birds like Hawks and Eagles and others as well. 


No, I never get tired of autumn or Halloween for that matter, It's a different kind of excitement here in the south for sure but I really do relish in the cozy smells of fall that I am able to find here as well like, the smell of burning wood, pumpkin spices, and baking apple everything with cinnamon spices added, 


I'll never tire of watching the seasons slowly change around here. Hope you'll continue to join me.


10.30.2016

:: The close of summer ::



The summer has come to a close, and believe me, it was a hot one! Record high temps swept across the entire nation, but especially here in Florida where I now reside. I got through it though. Amazing. And, I learned some very valuable lessons as well like, 1. never leave your lip balm in the car all day, start every day with sunscreen, always use a sun visor in your windshield., learn to set a comfortable pace as you go about your errands, re-apply your sunscreen, keep water on you at all times and keep drinking it throughout the day to stay hydrated, movie theaters are your friend (because they're cold),


And, the ocean is the perfect spot to be as you can sit under your umbrella and cool off often in the ocean, and lastly, don't try to take long walks or bike far... it's just too hot. Save that for the fall and winter months which just so happen to be now!


10.29.2016

:: more things to love ::





I just love so many things, and it's a good thing once in a while to talk about all the little things that we appreciate most, or admire, or even leave us awestruck.

So, this week, I am grateful for:
(1) dream catchers {I do believe mine is working great}
(2) The colors of Florida sunsets, shades of purples and pinks like I've never seen.
(3) Reese's peanut butter cups {I ate 2 of them today}
(4) Berry tea with out local wild honey prevents sinus trouble}
(5) Words, that just pop into my head like ginormous, clarity, illumination and infinite.
(6) Books, and everything about books, the way that they smell, the way that they feel in my hands, the way a page sounds when it turns, and the way I can lose myself for whole day without ever leaving my home, {It's just not the same with my Kindle}
(7) Witnessing random acts of kindness, the way people hold the door open for you, or a total stranger who offers up a giant, kind smile, or someone who offers you their seat.
(8) All of my Sharpies, Copic Markers and distressed markers, pencils, etc {love to draw}
(9) Journaling. There is nothing quite like it at all. You can pour everything out onto blank pages and before you know it...a masterpiece unfolds!
(10) Yarn. It's about that time to think about crocheting a new afghan for the winter months ahead {lol}
(11) I love the seasonal coffees at Starbucks right now. Perfect for slightly cooler weather
(12) The smell of saltwater, lemongrass, pine and cypress
(13) My paper planner that I am already filling up with plans and appointments for next year.
(14) Boots and soft sweaters, hoodies and yoga pants!!!!
(15) I love the promise of all that we have yet to discover. The unknowing makes anything a possibility. It allows for us to passionately keep seeking, keep learning, and keep dreaming.










10.06.2016

:: What's a hurricane? ::






Yup, that's right. I'm right in the middle of it. The hurricane that it. Luckily, I am right in the middle of the great state of Florida. It takes me less than 1 hour to drive to either coast, but, I'll tell you what folks, hurricanes are a scary thing. They can wreak great havoc. Already, the grocery store shelves are empty, there is no gas for our cars, and bottled water has been gone for days. Happily, in our home, we have lots of food and water {because we are always prepared} and gas. Lots of gas because we also have a generator to run all the important things for a couple of weeks if needed. Yes, we really are the exception to the rule. I find that many people don't prepare. Even when they know that they should. 






The highways and Interstates and roads are all heavily congested with the  traffic of thousands of people escaping the Eastern coast of Florida. And, I do mean thousands upon thousands.
But, that's a good thing. Because no matter the loss of stuff, its just stuff. You can't replace a life. You can always replace stuff with newer better stuff! Let that be today's lesson. And, it's a good lesson don't you think? Well, time to go look at all the old photo albums and have a good laugh or two, nothing like looking at old family pics to get everybody really laughing! OK then, gotta go, I have a hurricane to watch!

9.30.2016

:: Back again by popular demand Pot roast mushroom soup! ::




It's very much worth posting again I think! This is the most delicious meal EVER! You know a recipe is damned perfect when everyone wants the leftover recipe over the meal any day of the week...wow!

Pot Roast Mushroom Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Servings4
Got some leftover potroast? Try this delicious pot roast soup with mushrooms!
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour (or rice flour for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups pot roast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Directions:
  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their moisture and it has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Mix in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  5. Add the broth and beef, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Mix in the parsley and remove from heat.


9.24.2016

:: Indian Summer ::



I am making the very most of my Indian Summer. Yes I am. And I will continue to for as long as it lasts. And, I am also back to really enjoying my Sundays again, even as busy as they can get at times. I really am enjoying the still very warm days that thankfully will continue to cool down a little more until they are about perfect. Cool nights and warm days. Does it really get any better than that? I for one, can't wait!

Soon the crowds will be here. {The snow birds}They will begin flowing in from October through December. It fills up everywhere here during the winter months. Every beach, restaurant,  movie house, park, etc; filled with the joy and laughter of many new and as well as many old familiar faces. It is definitely the time of year that everyone becomes active outside more than ever, and I can't wait to try the hiking and biking trails here! And don't even think about putting your swimsuit away... the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for swimming in all year round! Also, there will be lots of festivals of all kinds and tons of concerts to enjoy! So, as you can see, it is beginning to turn really busy here! And I just couldn't be happier! Bring it on!!!

9.22.2016

:: Yours Truly ::


{It's about 200 degrees here with no hope of any air}

Captured at the Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Heart Concert in Tampa Florida Thursday night. I know. I'm getting a l little bit too old to be out so late on a work night, but hey, Friday came and went without too much of a problem so, I'm still able to hang pretty good despite getting older by the minute. I know. I have a Physical coming up this week so things like this are always on my mind. You know, my list of ailments to hand over to the doctor to see if by some miracle he can stop the advancement of time and it's effects on me. Sure hope I picked a good doctor right? I don't expect too much!!! On the plus side, about a half hour after arriving at the concert and realizing how hot things were going to actually be,  a storm starting brewing over the ocean, then, there was a beautiful lightning show, and, yes,  you guessed it... breezes. Cool, ocean breezes. I could not believe it. Just when I need it the most. God is good... always.



9.14.2016

:: Home ::





Home is where I can be alone. Be myself. Safe and sound.

Home is where I feel comfortable, warm, happy and secure.

Home is always calming. Home is always very peaceful.

Home is about solitude and familiarity.


Home is not about all the stuff that fills it, and it's sure not about the bricks and mortar. It's the essence of home that I crave, that feeling of home, the comfort of my home. I think I could live in just about any house and in no time at all turn it into a comfortable home for myself. With only a few magical touches, no more, and no less. I am good with solitude. Very good. It is as necessary to my life as fresh air. Don't get me wrong. I love and need my friends, and I always will, but equally as important, is the quality time that I spend with myself. It's that important.

My advice to you: Make sure that you are taking the time to get to know YOU. The things you like to do, like to eat, like to watch, etc; it's really important. Enjoy your life, your freedoms... because time, it's moving faster and faster every day. Make sure your enjoying each one to the fullest.  


9.09.2016

:: Pumpkin Spice Donuts ::






Your going to hate me for this one. Believe me. I know. But, something this good, well it has to be shared and that's all there is to it. The only problem really... is how good these are. How tasty. How you can't possibly stop eating them. Just make sure when you make these that there is a crowd there ready to devour them so you are not stuck eating them up - one after another, after another. Trust me.


Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Makes 24 mini donuts
For  Doughnuts:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

For Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 F.  Butter a mini doughnut pan and set aside.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.

Using a pastry bag or a steady hand and a spoon, fill each doughnut cup with the batter.  The  doughnut cups should be pretty full, but not overflowing. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when gently pressed (if you're using a larger pan, allow them to bake for 12-15 minutes).  Turn doughnut out onto a wire rack and allow them to cool for a few minutes.

While the doughnuts are cooling on the rack, melt butter in one bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another.  While the doughnuts are still hot (but not too hot ), quickly dip each doughnut in melted butter, then dip it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture coating it completely.  Serve immediately.

*Note: If you're not going to serve the doughnuts immediately, you can bake them up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container.  Do not coat them in the butter/cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before serving or they may get soggy.



9.05.2016

:: Happy Labor Day! ::




9.03.2016

:: Today I am enjoying the small things ::



Being the first to wake up, take a book outside with my coffee and wait for the day to start. Listening to the gentle rain, my freshly painted nails, having the time to wander around with my camera in hand, freshly cut flowers, starting a brand new planner, cool breezes from the ocean, falling asleep outdoors, being barefoot in the kitchen, wearing flip flops outside, a great hair day, donuts, straight from the bakery, a brisk, long walk at the end of the day followed by a cool bed. I couldn't have planned it any better!

9.02.2016

:: Labor Day Weekend! ::

 

9.01.2016

:: The Rainy Day ::



Because I live in Florida, we do not experience Fall/Autumn very quickly. Here, the temperatures will remain in the high 80's all through October and most likely November as well, or so I have been told.

Climate Lakeland - Florida

°C | °F
JanFebMarAprMayJun
Average high in °F:747682869194
Average low in °F:515256606772
Av. precipitation in inch:2.442.723.392.053.827.01








JulAugSepOctNovDec
Average high in °F:959492878075
Average low in °F:737473665953
Av. precipitation in inch:7.527.326.342.282.132.13







This is the weather chart for my city on a yearly basis. Pretty simple. Right now, we are in what is referred to as  "Hurricane Season". It has been dark and rainy for the past three days now, and I couldn't love it more! Why? Because it brings a bit of slowing down to my life, which is sorely needed right now. Not our normal rain for twenty minutes in the afternoon, stop and be extra bright and sunny again, but this rain brings a slight cooling of temperatures, and dark skies with light rainfall all day long. Perfect. For what you ask? Simple. On Wednesday, I had the whole wonderful day off! I woke up to this kind of a day. I just smiled. A whole day to myself. To do anything and everything, or absolutely nothing at all. What to do? Here's what I decided to do: 


Wash my bedding, including my comforter and clothes (2 loads}
Refill my weekly vitamin container
Fill a shadowbox full of shells and my painted shells for a present.
Read through the church bulletin on all the upcoming classes to pick from
Color for a little bit in my beautiful coloring book
Pick up a new bible case for my bible.
Give myself a mani/pedi
Stop at Starbucks for a tea
Buy a Birthday card for my son and my best friend
Stop for lunch At Panera Bread for French onion soup and BBQ Salad
Take a long, hot bubble bath
Take a nap
Read my book
Spend a little time with the family before going to bed

And, as amazing and simple as this list is, I did everything on it. Everything. It was great! If you haven't had a day like this in a while, my advice to you is this: take one. You need it. Desperately. Just do it.


8.29.2016

:: Happy Monday! ::




At least, I am assuming it is a happy day for everyone right? Whew! I try! I've given myself something fun to do after work {a craft project} and so I am hoping that by having something really nice and quiet and engaging will keep my mind happy today until work time is over. It is never very easy to stay happy, alert, and kind all day long surrounded by so many different phone calls and each request from everyone you come into contact with will be different, and each one will take a little something from you. But, I would like to think that from each encounter, I too take something away with me as well. After all, you fell into my path today for some reason. You and I were supposed to come into contact.  Why? I don't know. I just know that for whatever reason we are. And when we do meet up, I don't want to be down and out and grumpy and whiny. No, I want to be happy, cheerful, engaged and positive, and to that end I have to pray hard every morning believe it. Just to have the strength to get through my day in a happy way. I just simply smile. That's what I do. I smile. It's really hard to have a bad day or speak badly when you are grinning from ear to ear just happy to be alive and a part of the world. I am grateful. Thank you. I awoke this morning... so many did not, I have another chance to be a part of this big world...some did not, and I have another chance to make a difference in someone's life...some will not... ever again. But I do. Thank you God. You make all the difference in the world.

8.17.2016

:: Well being checklist::




While exploring the internet I found and individual who keeps a "well being checklist". A list of the ten most important things which she needs during her day. This inspired me to keep my own checklist. The idea is to accomplish at least seven out of the ten and to have a weekly average of 70%.

However what would be my ten most important things which I want - - need, from my day. What do I need? I have given it a lot of thought and have come up with eight. Here they are with two more to come:

"My well being checklist"

1. Sleep
At least eight good solid hours of sleep, waking up no later than 4:30am

2. Exercise
A video or phone app, going to the gym to workout or participate in a class, take a hike, go for a bicycle ride, or power walk. 

3. Eating well
Consuming healthier things other than chocolate and cereal. Actually taking the time to cook. Preparing my food for work everyday, watching carefully what I choose to eat.

4. Laughing
Enjoying a good laugh through reading something, hearing something, talking with someone, or through a media device.

5. Personal connections with others
Not just going through life blindly but truly connecting with others. Sharing in something fun together, being then through thick and thin.

6. Creative Time
Time spent doing creative things. Playing the keyboard, creating something, taking photos.

7. Reading
Time spent enjoying reading. 

8. Learning
Time spent learning something new. Anything new. Take a class, visit a museum. Do something.

9. Spiritual
Time well spent learning and reading the Bible. Attending group classes. Enjoying fellowship.

10. Photography
Taking pictures everyday to document the beauty of everyday.

I'm wanting to not only begin this checklist but also keep up with it. I want to be dedicated to myself. My spirit, my growth, and my potential. This new journey is only begining. I know it will be a long journey with many bumps in the road. But I am willing to try. I turned another year older last week, and as scary as it is for me to say the words in my 50's it is still so exciting. And the adventure is just beginning. Believe it. How about yourself? What would your top 10 things in your day be? I'd love to know!


8.14.2016

:: Four-wheelin ::






Yes, I really did go four-wheeling. It really is a lot of fun! LOL!!!



8.07.2016

:: Lots of thoughts ::




Almost everyday, at any moment I am asking myself: what is inspiring me right at this moment? It could be anything. It could be that I need to tune in to the beauty around me and perhaps even take a few pictures, or it could be noticing a picture hanging on the wall that turns my head, or, it could even be the perfect shade of lipstick that I'm noticing on someone else's lips. Weird huh? But yet it does happen all day every day. I am always walking around with hundreds of different thoughts swirling through my mind at any given moment. That's why I adore lists. I sometimes stop in my tracks and record my thought on an app I have on my phone to look at later. Sometimes, I talk into my phone to save a thought, address, idea, name etc;, and sometimes, I write my thoughts down in a small journal that I keep in my purse for such moments, but sometimes, if it's something that I see that I would like to remember or want to try to make... I'll just take a picture of it to look at later. Do you live your days like this as well? I have often wondered if everyone else also has hundreds of thoughts at the same time like I do, or if that is something that separates me from most people? Hard to know. Hey now! That's something to ponder!

8.06.2016

:: Just be ::





This day is the most amazing day to just be...