Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Loving it all

We recently moved into a new home and I've been consolidating my magazines into neat, organized piles. They are often my sources of creative inspiration.

As I pass by the untouched stacks, I look at them longingly... But there is work to do - coursework for my master's program, practicum hours to fulfill, and my commitment to my employer.

The toughest part about it is that I love all of my commitments. Every single role that I occupy. So it's not that I'd rather be inspired by magazines and forgo other things, I just wish I had more time.

My life hasn't always been like this. I've been in situations that were miserable, where my talents were wasted and my strengths overlooked. I'm not sure how I ended up loving so much of what I do, except that I began to follow my interests and good opportunities started to come my way.

So, I hope you're loving what you do. If not, keep looking for the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. We all deserve to live with happiness. It's just up to you to find it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deck the Walls

In my new office, I have a large amount of wall space to cover. On a budget. So, I used a 4-pack of square frames for $10 from Michaels...

Cut down some free wallpaper samples...

And there you go. One wall is decorated!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Work for Food

A good friend of mine recently served as chair for a wine dinner honoring the top supporters of a non-profit agency. Somewhere along the way I unofficially hopped on board and helped her design and assemble the centerpieces. I had the opportunity to attend the dinner as well, and was able to bring along my guy. Can't beat that - I love event planning, I had a great time working on the centerpieces, and then I was able to attend a fabulous dinner!

Our centerpiece creation.

The vase complemented the wine theme quite nicely.

The chairperson and her unofficial assistant.

Me with my date.

I just love this picture of my dear husband.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Sewing Project

I took a sewing 101 class at JoAnn last week and am still amazed at how much I learned in 2.5 hours.

Sewing has always intimidated me because I remember my mom's old sewing machine that seemed impossible to master; the sewing machines now are so easy and user friendly.

I can't wait to make things like table runners, pillows, tablecloths, and hopefully some summer skirts and dresses.

My instructor has her pillow cover instructions posted here.

I'm impressed it came out as good as it did for my first try!

Back of the pillow cover. We did a 16 inch pillow cover.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

homemade crunchy granola

Other granola recipes I've tried have been too sweet.
This one is perfect!

The original NY Times recipe is here, but I made some minor modifications and included my preferences in the recipe below.

6 cups Bob's Red Mill extra thick rolled oats
3 cups mixed raw nuts (I use cashew pieces, pecan pieces, sliced almonds)
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash salt
1 cup wildflower honey (my preference; lighter honey also works)
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (I use apricots, cherries)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and honey. Place on sheet pan lightly brushed with oil and put in oven. Check every 10-15 minutes and stir. As it gets browner, check every 5 minutes and stir. It should brown evenly - the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be. Mine baked for 1 hour.

2. Remove pan from oven and add dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in awhile until granola reaches room temperature. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container.

After 1 hour of baking and before adding the fruit.

This oatmeal is thicker than Quaker Old Fashioned Oats,
which may be why my granola takes longer to bake
than the 40 minutes in the original recipe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Powerful Mind

This morning I noticed a bruise underneath my big toenail. I don’t remember hitting my foot on anything, but all of a sudden my toe really started to hurt. Yep, it began to hurt after I saw the bruise.

I used to receive weekly acupuncture treatments, and some sensitive spots on my hands would hurt from the time the needle was inserted to when it was taken out. Oh, how I dreaded having my hands poked. One week, I was lying on the table while my hand ached from the needle and I bravely picked up my hand to look at it. There was no needle there! I realized my practitioner skipped that spot – so why was my hand hurting? Duh. It was all in my mind! Just like today, when my toe didn’t hurt until I saw it was bruised.

These experiences remind me how powerful our minds really are. And that, my friend, is empowering.

What is your mind telling you?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Remembering Mother

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 79. If she was here, I'd make her one of my from-scratch cakes. Growing up, it was my mother who inspired me to bake. She would be so proud of my baking skills. I would love to show her what I've learned.

You know that question about which 5 or 10 people you would have at your dinner table if you could choose anyone? I always list my mother first. There's so many questions I didn't get to ask her. And I bet there are many stories about her life that I'd love to hear. Plus, I think she'd fit right in with Princess Diana, Jesus, and Mother Theresa. Yep, they'd be at my dinner table, too.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Direction

I admit it, the second half of 2009 was hard. Really hard. 2010 feels like a refreshing opportunity to move forward. I realize it's up to each of us to decide what perspective we're going to have, regardless of what life throws our way. In other words, happiness is always a choice. I knew this, but I wasn't practicing it. And it's okay. It's unrealistic to be happy all the time. I think contentment is a better aspiration. Contentment involves embracing life - the perceived good and bad - without judgment. And this is where faith comes in: Knowing that whatever is going on now is just a piece of the bigger picture.

With faith, I move into 2010 with an open heart. So far, I've become acquainted with both new and forgotten interests and have been inspired by others' creativity. As I surrender to the things seeking fuller expression through me, I trust that I'm on the path that will enlarge me and move me toward the person I'm meant to be. Our souls long for meaning and participation in our own greatness.

So, here's what has been on my mind...

The working poor. The underpaid people who clean your offices, sew your clothes, take care of your kids, and serve you at Wal-Mart. How much of their labor is essential to our society's growth and comfort?

How can so many people be hungry in a nation with so many resources at its disposal? I was once feeling sorry for myself over dinner at an upscale restaurant - until I looked out the window at a woman shuffling by with a shopping cart full of her belongings. How can I help empower people who want a different life?

Yes, of course, I like nice things. This is my dream kitchen. Ah, someday.

I adore party planning. How can that be when I'm such an introvert? I so love the details and creativity involved.