Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On the Run

Running is one of the best solutions to a clear mind and has never failed to give me great results and that's why I keep coming back for more. Sasha Azevedo

I woke up today feeling energized and ready for some fun. The kids are on spring break so we have no worries about crazy morning routines this week.

As they were all lallygagging around and watching cartoons, I decided to lace up my Asics and go for a run. The air was cool but the sky was clear blue with the sun starting to shine. As the warmer weather has approached, I have been thinking about running on a regular basis.

In a recent article in More Magazine it said running can be very enjoyable mentally, both relaxing and invigorating, and has well-known physical benefits: weight control, reduction of risk of major diseases, promotes better sleep, etc.

The article also explained that it's never too late to start. Running is simple, requires no equipment other than quality running shoes, and can be done almost anywhere, alone or with others. It's the most efficient workout going, and has numerous health benefits for all ages.

Other reasons I want to start running include:
1. I turn 40 in eight days.
2. I still want to be able to eat cake, pizza, and enjoy
a glass or three of wine every once in a while.
3. I need the energy to keep up with my kids.
4. It does not cost anything and would be great around my hilly farm.
5. It will give me some productive alone time.
6. It will be a good compliment to my yoga practice.
7. My clothes might fit better.
8. Maybe I have a chance of loosing those last "baby weight" pounds
(my baby is almost 3).
9. Maybe I will find a running buddy or group.
10.Did I mention brownies, cheesy potatoes, and a dark IPA?

As I approach 40 I want to keep feeling good. That's probably the best reason of all.
Shine your light,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hello Spring!

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies. Nadine Stair

Today is the first day of spring. To me, this is the beginning of the new year. The prayer I received this morning says it all.

Wisdom, strength and love are reborn in me today.
Every year I see the rebirth of spring as the grass turns green, flowers bud and leaves and blossoms burst forth on the trees. Each sign of spring occurs at the right and perfect time, when the earth is ready to generate new life.

My personal springtime occurs as I open my heart and mind to the Divine. To prepare my soul for rebirth, I pray and meditate. I invite wisdom, strength and love into my life knowing that these powers propel me on my way to growth and renewal. As in nature, my renewal comes precisely when my soul is receptive and ready.

This morning was sunny and warm so we went outside to celebrate spring's arrival. I noticed some daffodil sprouts popping up. Listening to the birds chirp and the woodpeckers peck was music to my ears. My son "Indy" climbed a tree and I gave him my camera to snap one of us on the swing.

Pick up that journal and start writing. Lace up those shoes and start walking. Grab a sketchbook or paints and start creating. Don't worry about the house or that sink full of dishes. Begin something new for you.
Happy Spring,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lift Your Spirits Lime Bars

For Christmas my friend Tammy gave me certificate for a "dessert of the month" baked and delivered by her each month. So far she has made a moist and delicious coconut pound cake, and for Valentine's Day she delivered dark chocolate cupcakes with raspberry mousse filling.

Last night I was up all night with my son who has a stomach bug. This morning as I drove my other two to school, I had to go in to deliver the sickie's Leprechaun trap project to his second grade classroom. It is quite cute with a little rainbow bridge, gold coins cut out of ribbon, and a secret trap door for the Leprechaun to fall through. We'll see tomorrow if he catches any on St. Patty's Day.

I learned that my friend Tammy was subbing for the school nurse so popped my head in to say hello and she said my monthly treat was out in her car. I grabbed the plate of goodies, went home and made some green tea and enjoyed a lime bar (or two) before becoming nurse and cleaner again. They really lifted my spirits - thanks, friend.

Macadamia Nut Lime Squares
recipe from a Paula Deen magazine

2 1/2 c. crushed sugar cookies
1/2 c. finely chopped Macadamia nuts
6 T. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 t. lime zest

Preheat to 350. Lightly grease 9x13 pan. In med. bowl, combine cookie crumbs, nuts, and melted butter. Press firmly into bottom of pan and bake 12 min., or until lightly browned.
In med. bowl combine sugar flour, 7 baking powder.
In small bowl, whisk together eggs, lime juice, & zest. Pour over hot baked crust and bake 20 minutes or until center is set.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yoga Mom at the Park

Yoga is an exercise in listening...it teaches you to tune in to your relationships. Trudie Styler, yogi and wife of Sting.

I took my new issue of Yoga Journal to the park today with the kids. It was a warm and sunny day and there were many kids of all ages playing basketball, swinging, sliding, and playing tag.

About an hour into our stay I realized I was the only parent left there with all these kids. As I read the article about Sting and Trudie's 27 year marriage and passion for yoga and each other, I would pause and glance around to see all kids were doing fine.

My passion for yoga began almost 20 years ago during my Junior year in college. After the first Hatha Yoga class with a lovely instructor who played Enya as she taughts us cat pose, downward dog, and sun salutation, I was hooked.
Four semesters later in the Yoga textbook she had written she signed mine:
To Kathy (our model), Yoga will always be there for you. Dee Ann Birkel
How true her words have been and I still treasure that signed book. Little did I know that almost 20 years later I would be the mother of four children and a part time yoga instructor.

After reading the articles and studying the poses in my Yoga Journal the kids were still happily playing. I knew the chicken in the oven at home would be quite brown, yet I decided to stay and enjoy the moment. I placed the magazine on the ground to use as a yoga mat and began gently stretching into butterfly pose and seated forward bend. I then created and practiced a sequence for tomorrow morning's class.

The funny thing was that none of the kids snickered or even payed me any attention as I did my yoga in the park. I am sure it looked a little funny or eccentric to them. It was truly peaceful and fun. I did have to tell one kid not to use bad language at the park but that's part of being a mom. A job I have earned and really love.
Shine your light,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's Your Medicine?

Today I popped into Barnes and Noble bookstore to kill thirty minutes until the sporting goods store next to it opened. My two sons decided to play baseball this spring instead of soccer, so I had shopping list of cleats, batter helmet, balls, etc.

As I opened a mixed media art magazine, a cool quote jumped out at me. I scribbled it onto the sports list.

We all bring our own medicine into this world. Kellie Rae Roberts, artist. Unleash your joy is her artwork posted.

This quote made me pause and smile. We do have a certain medicine that is uniquely our own. I can think of a handful of friends that each have healing medicine to offer others. I hope I do too. Maybe I will ask them.
What is your medicine?

I also discovered that author Kelly Corrigan's new book is out called Lift. Ironically, after returning home I was sent a short clip of her talking about the same type of subject of the quote I posted. Check it out. I dare you.
Shine your light,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Time to Putter

So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. Brenda Ueland

Putter - verb. To busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner: to putter in the garden.

It is a scrumptious sunny day today and I am fighting a cold. My throat is scratchy and raw and my muscles are sore. My energy level is low. After grocery shopping with my six and two year old, taking them to a little park, and dropping my daughter off at P.M. Kindergarten I was whipped. Since my little Scout has a cold too he agreeably went down for a nap.

Instead of darting around multitasking, I made a strong cup of tea and took it easy. After the tea and Advil kicked in and the house was peaceful and quiet, I spent an hour puttering. By puttering I mean leisurely going through piled up catalogs and magazines, and casually thinking about the house and ways to freshen it up for spring.

I ask myself, do I need to be sick with a cold to take time to putter? Taking time to putter and to just go with the flow is actually productive. It creates space for being rather than doing. It made me feel like my house was my home instead of a constant work space.

Looking on the bright side, having this cold gave me the gift of puttering today. I am grateful for that. Have you puttered lately?
Shine your light,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thoughts on Leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

We are all leaders in some areas of our lives. Being a mom of four, I feel this is the most challenging leadership position yet. I absolutely want to inspire my kids to dream, learn, and become their personal best. My most inspirational leaders have been my parents and friends.

What leadership position do you have? Is it parenting, in your career, or in your community? Most of us have a combination of leadership roles.

What leaders do you turn to in your life? Who inspires you to dream more, learn more and become more? In the link I posted below. Alex Lickerman M.D writes his thoughts on leadership on his blog Happiness in this World.

To summarize his blog post he writes his ten requirements to being a great leader.
1.Be confident
2.Be kind but firm
3.Be an expert
4.Be decisive
5.Be willing to have people disagree with you
6.Know when to spend time building a consensus and when to make an executive decision
7.Have a vision
8.Care about the people you lead
9.Mentor people
10.Fully visualize every repercussion of each of your decisions in advance.

The one that jumps out at me today is #7 Have a vision. Do you have a vision for your life or family or business or community? This is something I will contemplate and expand upon more in a future blog. Now I have to spray paint my corn hole game and set up for the school's Spring Fling fundraiser. PTO Mom - is that leadership?
Shine your light,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Marriage Quote

To keep the fire burning brightly there's one easy rule:
Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm
and far enough apart - about a finger's breadth -
for breathing room.
Good fire, good marriage, same rule.

Marnie Reed Crowel, natural history writer

This quote and Renoir painting are favorites of mine. I enclosed this quote in the card I gave at the wedding we attended last weekend.
Like the quote, I believe it is important for married couples to stay close for warmth and support. It is also essential to have space for room to grow as individuals.
As spring draws near and tends to be a time for renewal and rebirth, these things are good to contemplate. Do you have breathing room in your marriage to pursue individual interests and growth. Do you support your spouse's individual interests?
After fifteen years of marriage I have found that if my husband spends a day on his tractor working the back 40 he is revived and happy. I always benefit from his happiness.
Do you share activities and spend quality time together to keep the fire burning? Last month we got out for a "date night" and talked the whole time. It was fun for us to reconnect as a couple without all the kids wanting our attention. We decided to try and make date nights a more regular occurrence.
Time together and time apart - this combination can make life interesting and fulfilling.
Shine your light,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gateway to Spring - An Invitation

It is March 1st today. It will officially be spring in twenty days and I am glad to be through Janufeb. We were in Chicago this past weekend for a wonderful family wedding. After a fun lunch on Rush Street we shopped in a favorite store called Anthropologie. A small book called The Invitation caught my attention and I bought it. The author begins the book with her poem The Invitation and I posted it below. I found these words inspiring.
Happy Reading,
The Invitation
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer