Thursday, December 14, 2017

Commitment


Just a reminder that a week ago we had snow.  I am hoping for more soon. 

Classes today on the 3rd Niyama, Tapas...commitment...literally fire...in the belly.
We did lots of core work, but talked about commitment.  To have a relationship, a career, to live a sober life there has to be commitment.

The crud is still keeping me in its clutches.  Peppermint tea tonight and hopes that I feel better tomorrow.

Make a commitment to kindness tomorrow, see where it takes you.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Light in the Darkness

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart.  Our state is beautiful with mountains, lakes, rivers and even the Gulf of Mexico.  It is like most states with wealthy and poor, educated and uneducated but then the stats start to pour in and we are at the bottom or almost of the barrel in such things as infant mortality, obesity, lack of exercise, opiates addiction, education.

We live in the middle of the Bible belt and for the most part (contrary to that rumor about the war on Christianity) the religious right runs the show.  Somehow all that religion has not helped us in the things that are written in red in the Bible, you know like helping the poor, the needy, those who are hungry  or who are different or old.

The whole world knows our political story that has filled front pages for the past week.  So many of us knew in our hearts we had to do something to try and save our state from digressing even more than it has already.  It was such a long shot.  Alabama is as red as it gets in politics, which was not the case when I was growing up.  Doug Jones is quiet, smart and has done wonderful work in battling hate groups here.  He does not broadcast his faith with every word that comes out of his mouth, but instead his actions have shown him true and fair.

I tossed and turned most of the night and finally about 2:00 am I fell asleep.  I dreamed of my dad, an honest, loving, kind man who did his best every day to let his faith show in his actions.  I dreamed he handed me a notebook filled with all the words he use to tell me:  love one another, we are all equal,
treat people the way you want to be treated, don't straddle the fence, stand up for what you believe,
have faith, and always love.  He told me in the dream to read the book, to never forget the words.
I woke up with peace in my heart.

I was in the bathroom getting dressed when I heard Rick shouting, he grabbed me and hugged me and told me we had a miracle, Doug Jones had won.  We both wept tears of joy.  I left for work and when I turned the key in my car, Silver Bells came on the radio, my mom's favorite song and the first time I had heard it this season.  Both my parents believed that The Golden Rule was the way to live your life, it is what they taught me.  I felt as though they both gave me a big hug this morning.

I believe that my state finally did right by its people who live here and our people did right by our state.  For all the negativity that fills the news daily about Alabama, there are good souls here.
People who want their neighbors to be taken care, to lend a hand to those who need it, to not judge others who are different.  People, like me who could not stand the thoughts of a possible child molester representing us in Washington.  We stood together last night and our light shone through the darkness.  I hope that light lasts a long time and I hope it spreads across this country.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Contentment

Classes today were based on the second Niyama, Santosha, contentment.  How do you find contentment, be here, now and practice gratitude.    Most of the students had spent eight hours today in therapy for trauma.  It is important after a day like that, they understand how much they need to express gratitude.

During breath work, the asanas and savasana I encouraged them to think of one thing to be grateful for and to be here now.

Teaching with this sinus stuff is tough, maybe by morning it will loosen its grip on me.

Tomorrow practice kindness and gratitude, there will be joy and contentment.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Manic Monday

There is some sort of sinus crud making the rounds and it has found me.  My head feels like a squash.
Almost every student at work has the sinus or bronchial stuff, at least it's not the flu.  This has been the longest Monday I have had in a very long time.

Card painting is done, first batch was mailed today.  I do have a few ornaments to paint, but now I concentrate on decorating the house and getting the tree in this weekend.  This weekend we will go see our nephew James and his whole family in The Nutcracker.  This is something like their 4th year to be in our local production.

I love Christmas music, at Christmas time, and I have a great collection of cds.  For some reason our cd player has died and I am really missing my music.  It's just not the same without the music.
Radio plays the same 10 songs over and over.  We have a very varied and unique collection of Christmas music so I am sorta of having withdrawals.  Maybe Santa will bring me a new cd player.

Tomorrow is a special election here in Alabama.  I am holding my breath and hoping that our state will  restore its dignity and take a giant step forward and not decades back.

Remember to spread some kindness along with the Christmas cheer.







Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Drain

This is another weekend that has zipped by.  Last year we had no invites or events other than family for the months of November/December now we are jammed.  First batch of Christmas cards go out tomorrow.  By the weekend the tree and the inside of house should be decorated.  Jordan and Rick handled the outside this afternoon. 

It is so wonderful to have winter weather.  The cooler temps ( daytime highs in 40's/50's) have been so invigorating and the blue skies, wow.  I actually have worn a coat for the first time in a couple of years.  Can you feel the excitement in my words?

I am kinda tired tonight.  We did a run to Costco today, as well as the usual Sunday stuff like washing yoga blankets.  Here's to a Monday that is full of kindness and joy. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Until Next Time

We drove to Tuscaloosa today to watch Jordan and our great-niece Breeze swim. The roads were clear but the woods that lined the Interstate were still snow covered.  We had a great day, other than an incident with my car but it worked out fine thanks to the kindness of a stranger.

Yesterday it seemed the world would be covered in snow forever.  This evening, it is pretty much gone.
I know that those of you north and east and west of us have snow that does last forever and must think I am crazy as I go on and on about the white stuff.  I love it.  I love winter clothing.  I love boots and sweaters and scarfs and mittens.  I love hot soothing soups and bare trees. 
I love the cold dark winter nights and the blazing sunsets.  And the snow, is just the frosting on the cake.  We get it so rarely that I cherish every flake that falls.

Tonight I share one final show picture, until next time. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Snow Magic

Back in October, Jordan and Rick and I did a weather experiment with persimmon seeds.  Jordan's prediction using folk lore about the seeds...we would have a cold winter, with three snows.
Last night when we went to bed the local weather guys were warning everyone to the south and east of us to watch for snow.  They said we might get a light dusting.  We got three inches.  Two more snows to go and Jordan will be a professional.

I love snow.  I love the cold.  There is something about snowfall that changes the world, from darkness and anger to light and peace.  Snow is magic.  Samantha kept Jordan home from school today and I am so glad.  We have had an incredible day.  I wish our other nieces and nephews had brought their kids over to enjoy it with us.  We started the day with waffles and hot coco.

Before I went to bed last night, I set my intentions for today.  Again tonight, I will do a daily review and set my intentions for tomorrow.  Will keep you posted.

Spread kindness and joy tomorrow, don't be stingy with it.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review/Intention

I watched a podcast today that just blew me away.  It was one that Oprah did with Mariel Hemingway on ApplePodcasts.com/Oprah.    It inspired the handout that I gave to my students today.
Here is the handout that I composed, I hope you watch the podcast.


Daily Review: ( each evening)
Was I kind?  Did I accomplish what I wanted to do?
Did I do something healthy?  Was I grateful?
Did I spend time outdoors?  Did I laugh?  Did I tell someone I loved them?
Did I remember to be here, now?
Did I pause before speaking?
Did I breathe?
Was I honest with myself and others?

Now before you go to sleep tonight, set your intention for the next day.  See your day going smoothly, things being accomplished, people being kind.  What ever you need for the next day, breathe, visualize it and then give yourself permission to get a good night’s sleep. (this was inspired by Mariel Hemingway’s interview with Oprah)


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

100 Years

100 years ago today, my mother was born.  She grew up in the midst of the depression, living on a red clay farm in the hills of Alabama.  She married young, way too young, hoping to escape the poverty of her family.  She was a child having children.  Before she was 20, she had buried her first born and was a single mom with three sons and a daughter.

By the time World War II had started she had married my dad and started a new life.  My mom had grit.  She did what it took to survive and made sure that her kids had grit too.  We all knew how to garden, clean and cook.  When I was 15 she signed a work permit so that I could work weekends and after school.  I have been working ever since.  Mother's favorite saying, " you can rest when you die."

She passed away 12 years ago.  I miss her every day.  She taught me to cook, to sew, to draw.  She had amazing style on a tight budget.
She was beautiful, olive skin, dark coco eyes and dark hair.
One of my friends told me that she was always amazed at the love she felt in my mom's kitchen.
This is one of my favorite picture of her.  She is holding my oldest brother ( her second born) Herbert.  She loved to tell the story of how so many people would brag about what a pretty baby Herbert was that she became scared someone would try to kidnap him.  Each time they went out, she pinned him to her coat.  Herbert died suddenly just a couple of months after momma did.
I like to think they are pinned together for eternity.

Mother loved Christmas.  We shopped together.  I helped her decorate her tree, wrap her packages and send out her Christmas cards.  We had so much fun hitting the malls, the dollar stores, we shopped everywhere.

So tonight, Happy Birthday momma, I know you are somewhere laughing.  I hope they are playing your favorite Christmas song, Silver Bells and you are wearing your high heels.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Difficult Roads

Coming home tonight the fog and the rain seemed to paint the road in mystery.  It is a narrow curvy country road that I travel to and from work.  There are long stretches of nothingness and then tiny groups of homes and an occasional small country church.  A small grass airstrip and small meat and three are on that road as well.  Tonight many who live in those modest homes had their Christmas decorations shinning in the darkness.  I love Christmas lights out in the country.  They are hung and flung with joy and happiness.  No method seems apparent, yet there is beauty in their lack of design.

Several of my students are leaving this week and next.  Going home to start their lives over.  Usually they are apprehensive and fearful, they should be.  The path they travel is difficult and some lose their way.  I send them out with hugs and love, always reminding them it is a tough road, but many have traveled it with success.

This time of year our population is low.  No one wants to be in rehab at Christmas, but come January the numbers go up.  Promises and vows are made and everyone wants to start the New Year clean and sober. 

Tomorrow I finish painting my cards.  Friday we start to decorate the house, and hopefully Sunday the tree comes in.  We shall see.  There is still some shopping to do and then the  wrapping begins.

Make someone's day tomorrow.  Be kind, be joyful, be loving.  We all travel difficult roads.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rumi Poem

I love this poem.  I shared it with my students today.  I hope you enjoy as much as I do.


THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. 
– Jelaluddin Rumi,

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Thoughts

Super moon.  So glad the clouds were gossamer and your glow so bright you could not be missed.
Every dog for miles around tonight is barking.  Our dogs are not happy because we closed the doggie door and they have to stay in. No, they cannot participate in the full moon howl fest.

The moon is worthy of all the hype it has been given on Face Book this week.  The moon rise was something to behold, black bare tree branches like skinny humans outlined in the silver, at times yellowish light.  The clouds covered the face of the moon like silken gauze as it rose above the tree line.  Super moon, a good description.

Another busy weekend, good but busy.  We had our siblings lunch at my sister's house today. Our oldest sister Nell came, the twins Lynn and Glen and their spouses, Shelia and Gwyn, my brother Ricky, Rick and I all gathered at Pat's house for lunch.  Pat's daughter Jayna helped with the cooking and our great-nephew  ( Pat's grandson) Jonathan's wife Kelsey came.  Kelsey had never met our siblings, I think really enjoyed herself.  I mean what could be better than a group of seniors sitting around laughing and talking?

The years are going by so fast and this Christmas lunch is the only time that we all get together since our mom died.  We all had so much fun today.

A new week begins tomorrow.  Please remember to treat each other with kindness.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Favorite

When we walked the dogs this morning my heart skipped a beat.  There is a tree on our property that is dazzling in the fall.  Through the years it has become my favorite fall tree, I wait each year to see it in all its glory.  My tree did not fail me this morning.  I don't even know what kind of tree it is.  Rick thinks it is some sort of crab apple, but it does not bloom in the spring.  It doesn't matter, it is breath-taking in the fall.  Seeing that tree this morning, seeing dear friends this afternoon, my day has been a good one.  I hope yours has as well.

Full super moon tomorrow night,  spread kindness  tomorrow and then bask in the glow of magic when the full moon shows his face.

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1

December 1...today is Rick's mom's birthday, she would have been 94

December 1...on the 6th of this month my mom would have been 100

December 1...more birthdays this month, Rick's sister, my niece, my nephew, and a great-niece and a great great niece and a niece by marriage.  How much cake can we eat????

December 1...painting Christmas cards

December 1...the tree sits patiently in its pot waiting to be brought into the house mid-month

December 1...cold weather and maybe snow is coming our way  :)

December 1...I miss my mom and dad so much these days

December 1...almost done with shopping, but when will I ever wrap?

December 1....fall colors are still strong and beautiful

December 1...I love Christmas lights in the cold and dark

December 1...supper moon on December 3, will be it's brightest and closest to the earth

December 1..our calendar is almost full, how did that happen?

December 1...the last month of 2017, let's make it kind

December 1...fall decorations put away, slowly the Christmas ones come out

December 1... families gather, friends gather, it is the happiest time of the year and for some the saddest time of the year

December 1...Jordan started his Advent Calendar today, it's filled with chocolates

December 1...Peace on Earth, always my hope, my wish, my prayer

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Non-stealing

Still painting Christmas cards.  It is a process.  Layers of paint,  base coat, then details one at a time.
They look so simple, but I promise they are not.

Classes today were based on the third yama, Asteya ( non-stealing).  All religions speak of the morals of not stealing but often we steal without even knowing.  Are you always late, people are always waiting for you?  Then you are stealing their time.  We all know takers, those who take and never give.  Well that is stealing too.  And what about those who drain your energy, you know the ones I am talking about.  Once you leave their presence, you are completely drained.  They stole your energy.

There are many ways to steal, to rob.  We rob ourselves of joy, by constantly striving for perfection.
We rob those we love by not returning their kindness. 

Today is the last day of November.  Tomorrow start December with kindness, spread joy to those around you and remember to be grateful.  One last month in 2017, make it as kind as you can. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tomorrow

Hump day...early morning class, hair cut, painting Christmas cards.  It has been a busy day.  When darkness settled in tonight, the moon was magical.  Thankfully the clouds are moving in and rain is on the way. I know, I know, I do love the moon so very much but we have hit a bit of a dry spell and with all the fallen leaves around, we need rain.

November is saying his farewells, December will rush in and she too will  be gone in the blink of an eye.
This 2017 has been an interesting year, at times unending and then whoosh, almost gone.

Tomorrow on the last day of November 2017, do something remarkable.  Be kind to strangers, spread joy to all those you meet, shine your light of love so brightly that the darkness that threatens hides in the corner in shame. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Yamas

We began classes on the yamas  ( morals) yesterday.  The first one, ahimsa, do no harm.   The second one today, satya, truthfulness.  I teach these classes as a way to help the recovery process.  For the first one, we focused on not harming one's self.  The obvious ways are with drugs and alcohol, but then we venture into more complicated ways of doing harm, especially to one's self.   We can harm ourselves with negative thoughts, anger, self-criticism, hate, jealousy.

With satya or truthfulness we  recognize how we create veils of self-deception or lying to ourselves.  With drugs and alcohol there is the thought in the user's mind that what they are doing is not harming anyone but themselves.  There's that veil of self-deception.    Often we lie to ourselves because of ego- issues.
We think we are not strong or that there is no way anyone can help us.

The students seem to really enjoy the classes, especially when they can understand the connection with yoga and how it can help them live a sober life.

My commute for the past couple of days has been difficult.  I travel on narrow winding country roads.
Last night there was a horrible accident just a few miles before home.  Three ambulances and rescue teams worked in the darkness.  Today on my way in to work, another horrible accident.  This time a truck flipped, more ambulances and rescue teams.  So unsettling, I hope all who were involved are ok, but things did not look good in either instance.

Ready for my cup of hot tea.  Tomorrow is my early class.  I love to see the sunrise.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Monday, November 27, 2017

One Thing Remains

I used this quote on my board today.  I can't say anything tonight that's better.  Remember be kind.


"Now that we have learned to fly in the air like birds, and dive in the sea like fish, only one thing remains...
to learn to live on earth like humans."   - George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Busy Time

We drove over to a nearby Christmas tree farm today and got our living tree.  Usually we don't get our tree until mid-December but it seems our calendar is filling up fast.  So the tree we got today will sit in the front yard  for at least a couple of weeks.  Next weekend Saturday and Sunday are already on the calendar.  On Saturday we spend the afternoon with friends in Birmingham and on Saturday my siblings celebrate Christmas.  The next weekend Jordan has a swim meet in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama.  Wow, things are already spinning.

It has been a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Thanksgiving Day was all that we could ask for, family, friends and food.  Friday and Saturday and today have been productive yet rather restful days.

I brought home yoga blankets and mats from work.  They have all been washed and cleaned, ready for classes tomorrow. 

My cup of hot tea is waiting, tonight I am having red zinger.  No matter how busy and hectic your Monday is, don't forget to be kind.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Early Traditions

Before I decorate our house, before we put up a tree, I do arrangements for our parents graves.
My folks did not decorate extensively, but they loved Christmas...the tree was their biggie, that and sending out Christmas cards.  They were old school.  The tree never went up until a couple of weeks before Christmas, it went down on New Year's Day.  Rick's mom loved the decorations, on Thanksgiving afternoon her kids and grandkids would meet up at her house and by dark, her yard was a Christmas fantasy and her tree was decorated.

Since our parents are gone, I figure the least I can do is put a little Christmas cheer on their graves.  I guess for some it might seem silly, but in some weird way I feel that they know and love that I do it.
Today, I place silk holly and poinsettias and plaid ribbon arrangements on their graves.  I always cry.  Holidays are tough without them, no matter how many years they have been gone.

While Rick watched the Alabama/Auburn game ( our team lost) I began painting Christmas cards.
It is a slow go, painting each and everyone by hand, I have to start early. It's a tradition that I will do as long as I possibly can. 

Enjoy your Sunday.  May we all know peace, kindness and joy.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Daily Transformation

This morning we slept in...until 6:30.   I made a big Irish breakfast, we walked the dogs and as Rick loves to say, we laid low.  Our nephew Haven and his wife and son came by and Rick shot their family Christmas pictures and then we took a short nap.

This afternoon we made a run to the craft store and I bought paints.  While Rick watches the Auburn/Alabama game tomorrow I will paint Christmas cards. Can you believe November is almost gone?

Today was a transformation day.  A day of rest, of looking at our day planners for the next few weeks and reflecting on this past year.  All over coffee this morning.  The past few weeks our schedules had been on overload.  My body was screaming slow down.  There were moments we stopped for a few hours, but not many.  After this weekend, the madness will start again, but hopefully the bodies will be rested and spirits restored.

We all need transformation days.  The days when nothing big is taking place, calendars can be cleared, and silence can be experienced.  The most unexpected event today, hundreds of crows flying across our property this afternoon.  The sound was eerie, and the sight was straight out of the movie, The Birds.  Maybe this was their day of transformation as well.

Driving around this afternoon, many had already taken their fall decorations down and yards were transformed into Christmas fantasies.  I struggle with this whole Christmas before December thing.
If you are on the road this weekend, safe travels.  But, no matter where you go or what you do, remember to be kind.  Kindness is our daily transformation.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

It has been a Happy no-stress Thanksgiving.  I have learned to make lists and time-tables.
Cooking for a crowd is hard work, but no where near the stress it use to be.  But then again, holidays are not nearly as stressful as they once were.  For that I am thankful.  As one of my co-workers left yesterday, she looked very stressed, I thought oh no hard day.  But she was stressed about today...3 different family events to attend...today.  Why do we make it so hard?

I always tell anyone who is invited to our house for a holiday meal if it is too stressful, if there are too many places/people to see, check us off the list.  I remember how miserable those times were.  Trying to please and  make everyone happy, and you end up miserable and resentful.    Holiday should be celebrations, not stressful situations.

I am sure there are many who are shopping this evening, or making plans for the AM tomorrow.
I may do a little tomorrow afternoon, but if not I know there will be plenty to choose from before December 25.  When did things change?  As a teenager I always asked for a little cash so I could go to the after Christmas sales and load up.  Christmas shopping was done the week or so before Christmas.  But of course, it was not the business it is now and we were not showered with gifts.

I am stuffed and tired and filled with gratitude tonight. I think about my parents and grandparents today, I miss them.  But I am grateful for all that they taught me and the love they so freely gave.
I know I am a lucky woman but I am always grateful.  Life is good.  Be kind tomorrow, smile and spread some joy.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

I taught three classes today.  One this morning at 7:00 and then went back this afternoon at 2:30 and taught until 5:30.  In between I got the house ready for the crew coming for lunch tomorrow.  Tonight I did some food prep, but the clock will awake me at 5:30 in the morning and it will be all systems go.  I have lists and have checked them twice.

Some of my students are going home for Thanksgiving, others are not.  The ones who stay are at peace with it, some are happy about it.  Each cottage will cook a turkey dinner tomorrow and the students who did not go home will have our staff for support and fellowship.  As a soldier once told me, there are worse places to be for the holidays than an addiction center.  The same soldier told me it was his first Christmas in seven years that he had not slept on the ground somewhere.  It's all perspective isn't it?

My brother and his family will all come for lunch tomorrow, so will our friend Fred.  This will be the first Thanksgiving without our friend Louis.  I miss him so much.  Last year he brought his famous slaw and crawfish dressing.  Yummy!  There are still days that go by and I wonder why he hasn't called me.  I miss his voice and his laughter.

My bed calls my name, so does my cup of hot tea.  But, I am grateful tonight, for friends and family, for a roof over my head and plenty to eat.  I am also very grateful for my job, for the opportunity to teach the incredible students who walk into my room and who change my life daily. And I am also grateful to those who read my blog, you humble me.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We All Need Love

An emotional day in class.  A holiday week, students leaving and coming.  Grief, trauma and every emotion you could ever possibly feel.  I am grateful for my warm and cozy bed tonight.  I need the rest.  And yes, I am sharing more fall color with you all tonight.

This holiday week, share the joy, spread some kindness and remember to practice gratitude.  Love your family and friends even when they may be difficult to love.   We all need love.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fall Obsessed

Last year we had no fall.  We were in the middle of a heat wave and drought.  The leaves just turned brown and fell to the ground.  I wore a jacket just a few times during the fall and winter.  This year, we have fall!  We have cooler temps, frost last night and color.  Fall is my favorite season, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I am obsessed with fall colors.  Mother Nature has made me so happy the past week or so. 

Walking the dogs this morning made me want to skip.  Even though we had storms over the weekend, there is still plenty of color.  I am sharing the colors around me with all of you tonight.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gratitude and Jokes

My sister Pat had Thanksgiving lunch for her family today.   She is always kind and invites Rick and me.  It was fun and loud and lots of great food.  Pat has great-grandchildren and they love to tell jokes.  They are ages 6-9 and they informed me today that they had books filled with jokes that they loved to read.  Their favorite joke today,  " Do you know how the tree gets on the internet?  He logs on."  They told that joke to us several times and each time they howled with laughter.

Of course Rick told them his infamous Easter pig joke.  " Do you know what goes hippity hop through the mud?  The Easter pig!"  They loved it.

So tonight I am grateful for a loving sister who includes us in her gatherings, for children who love to laugh, and for a table full of food.

This week is Thanksgiving.  There are many who do a gratitude ritual each November.  They find something each day of November to be thankful.  I am glad for that ritual, but honestly, we should find something everyday of the year to be grateful for.  I encourage gratitude in my classes.  Without gratitude, there is no joy.  Some days are hard and  maybe there seems to be little to be grateful for.  On those days, be grateful you can breathe and as you start to think about it, you will be surprised at all the little things you remember to be thankful for.

Tomorrow, be kind and be grateful.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Secret

We picked up Speckles new house today.  It's a sweet little chicken cottage with room for a couple of more hens.  Tomorrow we set it up and move her in.  It was a team effort to get it off Rick's truck.  Jordan, Sam, Rick and I  shared the load.

Next on the agenda was grocery shopping for Thanksgiving .  Fresh turkey, lots of produce and plenty of apple cider and pecans and sweet potatoes will fill our table this Thanksgiving Day.
Food is stored and ready for the prepping which starts Wednesday when I get home from work.

Rick completed his project of converting our screened porch into a temporary green house for all our plants this winter.  He watched bits and pieces of the Alabama game and occasionally I heard him yell Roll Tide.

Once again it has been a busy day, but the holiday season does that doesn't it?  The secret, know when to stop.  Once upon a time, I did not know when to stop and even now sometimes I forget.
But most times I remember, take a break, drink a cup of hot tea, pet the dogs, take a nap.

Life is short.  The holiday season is upon us.  Remember the secret, know when to stop.  Nothing has to be perfect.  People want smiles, kindness and joy...not perfection.

May your Sunday bring your peace.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Tired

I usually don't work on Fridays, but since we had our gig at the museum last night, I took yesterday off.  Late night, early morning, packed classes = tired.

Rick has worked on winterizing our screen porch today.  We are going to use it for out potted plants.
I think it is going to work out great.  He has done a good job and I know that he  is tired tonight.

Tomorrow we get a new chicken coop/pen.  We are now down to one hen, Speckles.  Wild life of some sort has done away with the rest of chickens.  This new home for Speckles should be much more secure and safe.

My cup of hot tea awaits and then a warm cozy bed.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Painted Sky

We had an awesome gig tonight.  We truly love playing at The Comer Museum in Sylacauga, Al.
It is one of our favorite places to play.  After all, what goes better together than art and music?
Driving through Birmingham the sunset painted the sky in such vibrant colors we gasped.
It has been a very good evening.  We are both tired and sleepy. 
Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Work News

An article about the facility where I work was published this week in the Washington Post.  I am so proud to be such a small part of this incredible program.
Click here.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Good Day

The last three chakras in our class today.  Throat Chakra, all about communication.  Speaking your thoughts, expressing your feelings, and listening.  Then we moved to the Third Eye.  Wisdom and intuition.  How many times have your trusted your heart, your gut?  or maybe you didn't and regretted it.  And then we came to the Crown Chakra.  Our connection to spirit, finding our higher power. Understanding that meditation gives the brain rest, much like sleep rests the body.  And realizing that prayer and meditation are not the same.  Prayer, we are talking, usually asking.  Meditation we sit in silence and breathe, ready to receive...answers, wisdom,  guidance, clarity and peace.

So that was my day today.  I am still dealing with the fatigue, I am beginning to think it might be some sort of bug or virus.  Tomorrow is hump day, a very early class for me.  Thursday evening is our gig at the art museum.  May we all know peace tomorrow, may we all know kindness. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Brick Wall

It's one of those evenings when the brain has been drained, not even a photograph to share tonight.
My body has hit a brick wall. 

It has been a good Monday, but my fatigue levels for the past few days has been bad.  Not sure why.
Continue to spread kindness this week, it seems to be in such short supply.  A little joy would be nice too.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yellow Jacket

Getting stung on the leg by a yellow jacket was not on my calendar for today.  What did I know?
We were walking with Jordan and our other great-nephew Anthony when Hook found another nest.
Rick and I are trying to get the boys to safety, I am yelling run, and the next thing I know one of those little beasts has stung me.  Better me, than the kids, but my leg throbbed for over an hour.

I thought it had gotten cold enough to put those babies to sleep, but temps climbed to 60 degrees today and they came out of the hole.  And Hook probably dug around their nest too. We have never had a digger.  Hook loves to dig.  I figure at some point a tree will crash into our house because he has dug it up.

We practiced our show today, I am drained.  But, I was drained when I got up this morning.  Don't you hate it when you get up tired?

I hope your Monday is uneventful and the most stress you will experience is smiling too much.
Spread some kindness, there is a shortage.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sharky

I always think of my dad on Veteran's Day.  Just a young farm boy from Hull, Alabama sent to battlefields in Germany and France as an Air Force Medic.  He never talked about the war, never mentioned it.  We never knew he was a decorated hero until after his death.  I went to the VA to see about getting help for my mom and the ladies at our local VA office told me about his medals.
His name was Jim but everyone called him Sharky.  He was loving and kind and honest and hardworking.  He died in 1991 and I miss him daily.  Thanks to all you Veterans tonight, for your service and sacrifice.

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Transformation Today

I love performing, I love playing guitar, writing songs and singing.  Sometimes I have meltdowns during practice.  I am my toughest critic, I know that.  But, here's the deal about our music...I never want anyone to say we are not good enough.  It's ok if someone doesn't like the type of music we do, if my voice grates on them like nails on a black board,  but it is important to me that we do our best.

Today was a long practice, and somewhat meltdown moment.  I had to remind myself to practice what I told my students yesterday, Ahimsa.   It means do no harm.  We harm ourselves in so many ways, with drugs, alcohol, too much food, too much stress, too little sleep, not enough water, too much caffeine, too much sugar,  too little rest, negative thoughts, hate and jealousy.

As we practiced our set today, and I was struggling with new guitar parts I started to mentally beat myself up. I grew angry with my lack of ability to play what I wanted to play.  I realized that I was doing harm to myself and Rick, because he thought I was angry with him.  The anger was towards me.  Here's what I had to remember, creativity comes from love, all good things come from love.
Once I settled down, and became kinder toward myself, the piece I was struggling with got better.

My transformation today; remembering to be kind to me, to treat myself the way I try to treat others.
This teacher is never too old to learn and I am grateful for that.  So tomorrow, be kind to others and be kind to yourself.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Open Heart

This was a week of transition for many of my students.  Several left for home and other continuations of treatment and then of course there were several new students.  These weeks of hello and goodbye are extremely draining. But that is the nature of what I do.  These past twelve years I have taught thousands.  I know some have died, others have relapsed, but then there are the ones who  are living their lives, the lives they were meant to live.  Change is painful and breaking old patterns is difficult but it can be done, is done and that is what gives me the energy and courage to continue to work.

Our classes were on the heart chakra today.  Compassion, kindness and love were the topics as we opened our hearts with movement and breath.

Tomorrow is Friday, lots of rehearsal time tomorrow for our gig next week.  Plans are to go hiking on Sunday with Sam and Jordan.  I hope your Friday is the start of the weekend you need.
Hug, spread kindness and share joy.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Golden Fall

Fall returned today.  Yesterday it was near 80 degrees, today the temps have stayed in the 50's.  It felt great when we walked the dogs and the colors seemed to have intensified over the past 24 hours.

A hair cut today and life is good.  For me, a haircut is a game changer.  I can be sick, down in the dumps, whatever but if I get a good haircut, just bring it on.

Classes tomorrow will be on the heart chakra.  The day will be all about compassion.  May your Thursday be filled with compassion, continue to spread kindness, it is what the world needs now.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

3rd Chakra

Classes for the past few days have been on the chakras. Starting with the root, moving to the sacral and then today working on the third Chakra, the solar plexus.  We have moved from the element of earth to water to fire.  Third Chakra is my favorite to teach at work because it is the energy of transformation, dealing with ego and confidence.

We talked about breaking old habits or patterns, creating new behaviors.  I reminded the students that they had already begun a major transformation in their lives by coming to an addiction center.
I pointed out that in so many ways being there was an incredible opportunity that very few receive.
They have the ultimate luxury of focusing on themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, their wants and needs.  So many of them have such poor self-esteem, liberation from old fixed patterns can be frightening.

The most awesome thing about today's class was watching faces light up as we talked about transformation.  They are ready, their wills are strong and their confidence is growing. The next few classes will be most interesting.

Finally our heating/air conditioning is fixed.  The brand new unit was installed today and it is working great.  When I left for work this afternoon, it was 80 degrees in the house and with our high humidity today there was no comfort.  Coming home tonight and walking in our front door was a different story, cool comfortable air and as tomorrow's cold front comes through, we will have heat as well.   I am so grateful.

Stay hopeful, be kind and spread joy tomorrow, be the neighbor and friend you would like to have.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hook

Taz is the only dog who gets to routinely sleep on her blanket on the sofa.  Calliou and Hook occasionally sneak a spot on the love seat.   This morning when we got up, Hook had claimed the love seat and was snoring when we walked in the great room.  He's deaf, so he never even knew we were there.  I have to admit, he looked so sweet and comfy I had to take his picture.  He knows no stress.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hope and Beauty

The saga continues.  Because our old heating/cooling system is ancient and is enclosed in a closet in our house things got complicated.  Also,  the closet housed our hot water heater.  So the new system will not fit in the closet with the water heater, the water heated had to be relocated.  Here's the deal, our house is small, 1200 square feet, every inch of space is allocated.  After a stressful night and morning we decided we could move the water heater into the pantry.  My brother and his son, who are plumbers extraordinaire spent their Sunday afternoon  helping us.

The heating/cooling guy will be here Tuesday or Wednesday to install the new system... I will keep you updated.  There have been tears and laughter at the Watson house the past 24 hours.

On a happy note, fall's beauty continues here.  Every day the colors just become more intense.
And there is hope of cooler temps this week, after storms come through the next couple of days.
Tomorrow may our week start with hope, peace and kindness.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fun Times

This picture of us popped up on FB this morning.  I had forgotten about it, but it is one of my favorite photos of Rick and me.  Taken a couple of years ago at an art in the park festival in Jasper, I think it captures who we are as singer/songwriters.    It was a fun day, but then it is always fun when we get to play music.  We have a gig coming up on November 16 at an art museum.  We love hanging with those arty types!

The past couple of days have been a bit stressful.  Our heating/cooling system died and a new one is being purchased.  Needless to say a chunk of cash is leaving the Watson house this week.

Enjoy your Sunday.  May you find peace and share joy and be kind to others.

Friday, November 3, 2017

November Warmth

The full moon shines through the lace curtain on my window behind the computer screen.  It is a night that is way too warm for November.  Today has been warm and humid.  This is the beginning of our second tornado season.  Some years it skips us, but this warmth is scary.  You can almost hear Mother Nature whisper, " you will pay for this warmth."

Walking the dogs this morning fall color seems to have decided heat be damned.  The color is deceptive, you look at the trees and think oh I need a sweater and then you walk outside and think I will never buy another sweater again.

I hope this first weekend in November is a good one for all of us.  May we each feel another's kindness and don't forget to spread some joy.  About the picture tonight, I love the shades of red in the fall, they make me happy.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Look Down

A few days ago I wrote about looking up.  This morning as I walked the dogs, I looked down and there was another gift.  This one, a tiny wild violet.  We have them by the hundreds in early spring but never have I seen one bloom in November.  Look up, look down, be mindful and aware.  There are gifts everywhere, including the full moon tonight.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1

November 1...leaves are turning

November 1...the month of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday

November 1... full moon tomorrow night

November 1...where has 2017 gone?

November 1...anniversary of my mother's death is this month

November 1... hopes for a real fall and winter this year

November 1...time to paint those Christmas cards

November 1...Jordan's first fall swim meet, no longer 50 meters, now 100

November 1...one of our favorite gigs coming up this month

November 1...falling backwards with time this month ( I am not a fan of DaylightSavings)

November 1...I love Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 1...no Christmas decorations at our house until December, thank you

November 1...November is bittersweet, it holds great sadness but also wonderful joy

November 1...always grateful, no matter the month

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Look Up

Halloween, an almost full moon, chill in the air...perfect fall night.  Today was just as perfect.  Skies so blue they were endless, a crisp breeze and warm sun.  I walked the dogs and at one point on our walk, I looked up.  So glad I did.  I share with you tonight what I saw when I looked up.

Happy Halloween!  Hope you got all treats and no tricks.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Musings

I surprised my class tonight with chair yoga.  Students are always amazed at how deep and intense the stretch can be while seated in a chair.  Classes at work today were centered around different types of breath work.  I have had great students and classes today and yes I am a little tired.

It has been a good Monday.  The moon is waxing and will be full by Thursday.  It was a beauty coming home tonight.  Tomorrow night is Halloween and there goes October.  November will be rushing in and before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here.

I hope your Monday has been a good one.  I hope you all get treats tomorrow night and no tricks.
Spread a little kindness with the candy.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Thoughts

Another kid pic from last night.  I have not recovered, but the kids are already asking when are we gonna do this again.

This weekend the weather has been amazing, truly fall like for the first time in a couple of years.
Last night lows in the 30's, same again tonight.  It has been heavenly.  Wonderful how a change in the weather can make you feel so good.

Last couple of days of October coming up.  We bought Halloween candy today, though Jordan and Anthony are usually the only two kids that show up.  I'll take some candy to class tomorrow night and some to work with me on Tuesday.

Be sure and spread some kindness tomorrow, everyone needs and deserves some.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kids

Kids everywhere tonight.  Ages 3months to 15 years.  Hot dogs, chicken chili, red chili, cake and cookies, hot cider, fire in the fire pit.  I am exhausted.  But boy howdy did we have fun.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Kid Parade

Today was the local high school Home Coming parade.  For the past couple of years, Jordan and our great nephew Anthony have gone to my sister Pat's house to watch.  She lives on Main St and the parade begins just a block or so from her house.  Her great grandkids come and watch as well.
The kids love it.  They get bags of candy that the people on floats and fire trucks throw to the folks on the sidewalk and the police and fire sirens thrill them.  My sister orders pizza and it is like a half day kid party, complete with a sugar buzz from the sacks of candy.

Tomorrow the same crew of kids, plus more are coming to our house for hot dogs, chili, hot chocolate and cider and cookies.  I hope I survive the weekend.  :)

Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Confused

Mother Nature seems so fickle now.  Friends in St. Louis had near 80 degree temps today, we had 70 degrees, tomorrow St. Louis will struggle with temps in the 40's, then it comes our way tomorrow night.  Wow!  She just can't make up her mind.

When I walked the dogs this morning this little fellow seemed confused as well.  He was moving really slow.  Though the flowers are still blooming, frosts and freeze are on their way.  Hopefully Nature will get on the fall path soon and then move on to winter at the appropriate time.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hump Day

It felt great outside today.  My first fall day to wear boots, jeans and a sweater.  Life is good.
I have been nesting, getting the house ready for chilly days and nights.   Organizing closets and pantries, and hopefully in a couple of weeks I will be painting the great room and our bedroom.
I did the kitchen and guest room a couple of years ago.  Our office will get a fresh coat after the New Year.

My early morning class was small.  Much like my Monday night class, there has been quite a bit of allergy/sickness with the changing of the season.  Hopefully our bodies will adjust and everyone will be healthy soon.

I put the flannel sheets on the bed this evening.  If Rick could tolerate them, I would sleep on flannel 12 months out of the year.  They are so soft and cozy.  I can't wait to go to bed tonight.

It has been a good hump day.  October is zooming by.  Here's to a Thursday that is all we need.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Gift

It's that time again, time to say goodbye to students and hello to students.   This can be a tough part of my job.  Watching those who leave, spread their wings and move on to a better life and seeing those who walk in for the first time, scared, embarrassed, angry and hurt.

The drive home was wonderful this evening.  Autumn sunsets take your breath here in North Alabama.  This evening there were purple clouds with silver linings and streaks of rose, crimson, tangerine and fuchsia.  I envy those whose houses have a western view, I hope they realize how lucky they are on days like today.

One of the dogs brought me a gift today.  I had just gotten my lunch ready when I heard Red the Hen clucking.  I stepped out the back door and there at the door  lay a big dead rat.  The last time we used the grill Sam had squealed because she swore a big rat jumped out from under the grill out back and ran between her feet.  Rick and I laughed at her.  I figure the gift  must have been her critter and Hook and Lady and Calliou made sure he would not scare her again.

Early class in the morning, and rumors of our first frost.  But then it will be 70 degrees by Friday and then more frost Saturday and Sunday. So goes Alabama weather.
Enjoy your hump day.  Share some joy, spread some kindness.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pink

The rains last night brought cooler temps, and more on the way.  The zinnias are on their last hurrah.
I will miss them so much.  The ones that are still blooming are more beautiful than ever.  But frost will be here by the weekend and they will be gone.  I think these pink ones are breath taking.  Their color has become more vibrant as the season comes to an end.   October seems to have become the pink month.  For all of those who have been touched by breast cancer this bouquet is for you.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Scooby Pumpkin

Jordan had to do a book report/project today.  His book was Scooby Doo and The Haunted Pumpkins.
The project, decorate a pumpkin that works with the book.  He and his mom Sam came over and we had a great time with paint, glue gun, felt and googly eyes.  While we were working on the project I asked Sam if she remembered me helping her with projects when she was little.  She laughed and talked about how much fun she always had.

Of course I had to share a photo of Jordan, Sam and Scooby Pumpkin.  Yes, we did have some fun.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Uneventful

Clouds moved in last night so no watching any showers, no shooting stars, nothing.  Maybe later in the week after the rains move through the next few days.

We did our Costco run and a few chores around the house.  Another day of semi-rest, rebuilding energy and getting ready for next week.  Tomorrow I help Jordan and his mom decorate a pumpkin for a school project.  It has been a very un-eventful Saturday.

Hot tea awaits and  my favorite Britt-coms.  May your Sunday be a peaceful.
Goodnight, Sweet dreams

Friday, October 20, 2017

Orionids Showers

A much needed day of rest.  I stayed in my sweats most of the day.  With packed classes all week, my batteries needed to recharge.  We are meeting friends for dinner this evening at a local Italian place.
For me, Italian food is comfort food.  I can't wait.

We are gearing up for the meteor showers tonight.  Tomorrow night, clouds will be rolling in and rain comes Sunday and Monday so tonight is our best bet.  The viewing guides that I have Googled say the best time to catch the most meteors is around 3:00am.  We will be setting our clocks and see what happens.  These are not the big long ones, what I have read is that they are small and if you blink, you will miss them.  Still, I think they are always worth a view.

The night sky is so mysterious, so vast and so much unknown.  I think it would be really nice to have a planetarium out back.

Enjoy your Saturday.  We will make a Costco run and then Rick will watch football games.  I will read and putter around the house.  Don't forget to be kind.





Thursday, October 19, 2017

Self Study

We studied the 4th Niyama today, Savadhayaya, self study.  Self study, very few spend the time to study our inner and outer selves.  Meditation is a way to study self.  So for class today we did walking meditations.   It was the perfect day for it, clear skies, 72 degrees, a hint of color in the trees.
None of the students had done a walking meditation.  Sometimes a walking meditation can be more difficult than sitting and breathing.

As we gathered outside near the edge of the woods where I work, I sat the parameters of where we would walk.  There is a large field between the parking lot and the woods, it was the perfect place.
I explained that we would do two different meditations.  For the first, we walk slowly, hands clasped, in a line,  ten steps forward and then turn around and retrace our steps to the starting point.  We would practice mindfulness by keeping our focus on our breath and steps.  No talking and no interaction with each other, the timer was set for five minutes.

For the next meditation,  we would practice awareness.  Once again no talking or interaction, but we could walk the field, gazing up, down around.  We would walk slowly, maybe stopping to observe a leaf or the sky.  We would be aware of the sky, any sounds, smells, the sensation of walking on grass and soil, any wildlife.  We would be aware of everything around us and by doing that, the stress of the day would leave, and our minds would no longer race.  This time the timer was set for ten minutes.  The students were awestruck by the time we went back to the room.  They all mentioned seeing and being aware of things they had never noticed on the grounds.  They were calm and peaceful.  They realized how important taking a walk can be.

Clasping the hands is important, it keeps you from swinging your arms, it helps you to walk slowly.
Remembering to breathe is just as important. If you have never done a walking meditation try it sometime.  It will take walking to a whole new level for you.