Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries. – Traditional proverb


     Summer is cherry season, another reason to love summer. The sweet redness of fresh cherries is unmatched by any other fruit. Even the eating experience is an exercise in awareness – notice how your tongue finds the pit and pushes it to your lips, and then juice stains your fingers as you reach to your lips to retrieve it – the ultimate fun food! You cannot absentmindedly munch these scarlet treasures, you may choke and croak.

     A serving size of fresh cherries (1 cup) provides 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and 22 grams of carbohydrates (energy fuel). Cherries have been implicated for their positive health benefits relating to the brain, heart, and sound sleep. (If you are like me, you are asking how). Cherries are a source of melatonin which helps regulate our sleep cycle and protect brain cells from age-related damage. The red pigments in cherries have been found to decrease inflammation and inhibit plaque formation, both attributes that keep our hearts healthier.   

     Why is life a bowl of cherries? Life is seasonal. Life is colorful and leaves its stains on us as we journey through. Life is sweet but has pits and stems in the mix. Life should be lived with intention, not inattentively walking without minding the details. Then there’s the bowl – community – we do better together. 

Get yourself a bowl, fill it with organic cherries, invite a friend and take a walk under the open skies and relish the fact that you are alive.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

All paths end

When another walker leaves this earthly path it is as if the sun withdraws its guiding light. When our path darkens our pace naturally slows and our head bows forward painstakingly choosing our steps into uncharted darkness. We stumble on with swollen eyes and cheeks dampened with tears – feeling lost -even though the path itself has not changed. 
As our eyes adjust to the darkness, our heads rise to gaze into the night sky, that providing more secure footing. The constellation Capricornus illuminates such darkened paths with promise – according to Greek and Roman legends, it is the gateway to the Gods, through which souls pass to life eternal.  Although our individual path may be unchanged – we are changed forever by those who walked with us.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dandelions


It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun” – H.B. Stowe


Dandelions are vibrant, hardy, soft, and whimsical – a perennial, herbaceous plant that shares its brilliant yellow color, nutritious green leaves, and healing roots with us. 

Dandelions grow all over the world, like a tangible uniting sunshine. 


Although it has many attributes, my favorite stage of the dandelion life cycle when the flower changes into its white globular seed head – 
who of us has not made a wish and blown the tiny parachute seeds into the future?
 – this is childhood innocence at its best. 

Enjoy each dandelion that lines your path, allowing memories of carefree times carry you, as a seed in the breeze, toward your dreams.

Red Bud and Wisteria

All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.
George Santayana


The Red Bud tree is the designated state tree in Oklahoma. Having lived in the Tulsa area for twenty-six years, each Spring the reddish-pink blossoms of the small deciduous tree prompts a cascade of memories from my time as a stay-at-home mom to my four children. It was a time in my life when I focused on providing a foundation for healthy living for my little family and little else mattered to me.

Now, in another stage of life and another geographical state - I remember the Red Bud as I embrace the Longleaf Pine. Yet it was the wisteria that welcomed me to my changed role. As I was walking along Jones Ferry Road, to a class at Carrboro Yoga, I was greeted by wonderfully fragrant air – looking to my right I spied the source of such an aromatic gift - cascading purple flowers, which I discovered to be wisteria. The encounter  instantly brought a smile to my face while simultaneously easing the tightness that had settled in my body from my admittedly frequent worries characteristic of a move away from the familiar to the unfamiliar. 

One of my treasure books, Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Hidden Language of Flowers   by Peter Loewer confirmed my own feelings about Wisteria; the flowers send a message of welcome and stability.  The purple-lavender color is one of grace and beauty, respect, and admiration; it is no wonder just walking by and stopping to inhale the aroma of the wisteria propelled me on my path as a happier traveler … forever going toward a healthier body, mind, and soul.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Romantic Love


True love is made of four elements: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Love is a living, breathing thing. There is no need to force it to grow in a particular direction, if we start by being easy and gentle with ourselves, we will find they are inside of us, solid and healing.
- more of T H Hanh

I find it difficult to improve upon Hanh's words. Experience has shaped my thoughts about what constitutes love. The objects of my love (romantic, family, friendships) differ widely and yet the basic tenets are the same. I am learning ......




cashew snack

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live in.  -unknown

I made a snack for my granddaughter Violet's baby shower. I wanted to nourish her mother and indirectly her growing body.  

I mixed equal amounts olive oil and tupelo honey (1/4 cup each), together with light gray celtic sea salt (1 T plus 1 t), and powdered cayenne pepper (2 t). I relished the sight of the colorful syrup as I poured it over 4 cups of organic cashews. I smiled with satisfaction as I coated each cashew with the sticky goodness - my hands glistening -  as the half moon fruits lay on the parchment paper that covered the green baking sheet. Delightful aroma filled my home as the cashews roasted for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Why this mix? 
The cashews are a good source of monounsaturated fats (heart health), copper (to aid iron absorption for the developing brain), and magnesium (bone development).
The olive oil is again a source of  good fats (brain, skin, heart health). The tupelo honey has a light sweetness that offers an immediate and sustained energy boost for Zarah, Violet's mother. The cayenne is known for it's stimulating effect on digestion.
The grey celtic salt, beyond its crystal like subtle beauty, contains sodium (a major component for muscle and nerve development and iron).



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dancing






Dancing is poetry with arms and legs. - Charles Baudelaire

I have discovered contra dancing, and what a treasure!  Contra dancing came into popularity in England in the 17th century. John Playford is credited with publishing a series of books describing the dances and music, the final printing had 900 dances. Through the years the dance has incorporated Scottish and Irish influences with various levels of complexity with crossovers, interweaving, and partner changes but maintaining the long lines and plenty of partner swinging and twirling. Contra dancing is popular still - with live music and callers, it is an aerobic play land that provides non stop smiling.

I recommend you find a dance in your area and give it a twirl for the sheer enjoyment as well as exercise.