"To see a world in a grain of sand
Several times through out the year I'll grad a sheet of paper, fold it in half vertically, title it "Same" and "Different under the day's date, and begin to list everything that was the same in my life at this time last year, and everything that is different.
This is fraction of the list but it can give you an idea. It's helpful to see the progress over the year. I often complete tasks and projects and don't really take the time to celebrate the achievements. You may also be accomplishing more than you realize.
As I review my lists, I'm able to see areas that have improved and others that could use more attention. The first time I did this it was the result of journaling about sameness. Everything was the same as it had been for years. Same house, same job, same road to work, same activities, same foods, same . . . . oh, it makes me glaze over to think of it. But it was up to me to change it! That's when I began Collecting Firsts and adding more spice to my life!
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Easy and delicious!
Mycala has been raving about Baby Artichokes (they aren't actually baby - just a different variety of the globe artichokes, which I also adore). The larger variety are a lot more work because they have a hairy choke that you need to scoop out before serving. The "baby" has no "choke" so it is very easy to prepare!
I actually purchased them because of the gorgeous colors. They were simply begging me to take them home and get out the watercolors, so I decided I may as well do "another paint first, eat later" meal.
The outer leaves peel off easily, then cut off the stem, trim the top about a third of the way down, and halve or quarter. Drizzle with lemon juice, top with shredded parmesan cheese, home made bread crumbs, smoked paprika and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. And if you have fresh parsley growing in your garden or window box top with a few fresh leaves before serving. A few sliced tomatoes and dinner is served!
This one is from the archives but worth repeating! It's been a long bitter winter in Maryland, and the birds are finally beginning to share their songs again. This morning I saw a robin and her baby scratching for earth worms when Zippy and I took our morning walk. A cardinal perched in a gingko tree looked as beautiful as he sounded against the fan shaped leaves. I'm still looking for my first Baltimore Oriole now that I'm living in Baltimore. (I'm a dedicated baseball fan so I see the non-feathered specimens almost daily!)
Birds add vibrant color to our world. But do you know that at one time their feathers lacked the beautiful variations we see today?
An African American legend explains that at the beginning of time a torrential rain fell on the earth. When it ended, the world was gifted with a glorious rainbow. No one had ever seen such brilliant colors!
The birds were the first to see it and the flew swiftly to get closer, joyfully flying in and out of the brilliant, iridescent arch! As they passed through the colors, their feathers were painted the gorgeous colors of the rainbow!
The cardinal fell in love with the red and spent most of his time flying in and out of the crimson stripe! The goldfinches were charmed with the yellow, staying predominantly in that area! Blue birds favored the blue, weaving in and out of the glorious blues.
Other birds, such as the kestral, flew through several different colors. This caused stripes and spots of colors to form on his beautiful feathers! The swift and exuberant hummingbird flew merrily in and out of every color, causing him to have his own iridescent rainbow, delightfully visible when the sun catches his feathers.
Imagine! Two of our most delightful treasures, color and birds, working in harmony to create beauty that we see every day if we just stop to notice!
When we think of 'feeding' ourselves, our first thought is "when do we eat!", but there is so much more to feed us than food. This afternoon was a delicious reminder of all things sensuous.
Mycala, my oldest daughter, treated me to a 1 1/2 hour massage for Mother's Day. The experience was self indulgent and not something I would do for myself. Maybe I need to rethink that!
Even before the masseuse began the session, my senses were stimulated. A very delicate fragrance of lavender permeated the air. An instrumental background selection was the perfect choice. I melted into the softness of the sheets on the massage table, cocooned under the weightless blanket.
All of this, followed by ninety minutes of skilled attention to knead and relax muscle tissue transported me to a meditative state. I stopped thinking about what was next. I became reminded that I can shift to be in the moment in an instant, simply make the choice to pause and be aware of the gifts of this moment, right now.
There is a Zen saying, "Don't hurry. Ever." In today's world we can feel rushed, pushed and pulled, and don't often allow ourselves that gift. When we slow down and experience the present moment, we can become aware of so many pleasures that will soothe our souls. We can enhance our experiences through fragrances, music, textures, thoughts and soothing sights. How can you make your home or office more spa-like? Flowers, scented candles, a favorite hand lotion, soothing music, inspirational quotes, a favorite painting, and soft throws can bring our focus to beauty.
My Mother's Day gift will live with me beyond the delightful experience. It will remind me to proactively integrate more delightful experiences into my life. Thank you Mycala!
I recently posted the evaluations from my Enhancing Your Life with Herbs Course and they warmed my heart. What a great group of participants! We had a wonderful time learning about the world of herbs.
We discovered herbs to enhance all aspects of life, including holidays, romance, protection from haunting and more.
My friend Nancy is a skilled story teller.She brings people from days gone by to life through her extensive research, and has a gift for sharing their stories with passion and empathy. She is teaching a course on the biographies of remarkable people this semester. In last week's class, she gave a session on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. She shared the story of the notorious Hashish Brownies.
Alice was asked to submit recipes for a cookbook, but as the deadline for submission approached, the publishers were demanding more. She reached out to her friends and asked for help and many complied. Some believe that when she reviewed the recipes, she might not have been aware of the impact of the feature ingredient in the brownies. Hmm.
When her collection of recipes was reviewed in the United States, the brownie recipe didn't make the cut, but in England it was published along with the others. There are reports that it has been used a time or two over the years.
In last week's class, Nancy continued with more information on Gertrude, Alice and their eclectic group of now world renowned artists and writers, including Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce,. As she wove her tales of this fascinating era, she passed around napkins from one of her trips to Paris. Without pause or comment, she opened a container filled with brownies. We smiled graciously and simply said thank you. No one asked.
Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!