Absence Explained

My goodness, it feels like I've been away from the computer forever ~ I've got lots of catching up to do! First things first, today is the last day of my giveaway!! If you haven't already entered, you're running out of time, Simply Inspired Giveaway. I'll be pulling a name the old fashioned way tomorrow, I hope to videotape it and post it here with the winner, fun, right? ;)

New to my Inspiration Earth line - crocheted organic cotton dishcloths, a joy to create and a joy to use!
I've been away from the computer for almost a week now, only checking in for the absolute necessaries. Life intervened, apparently I needed redirecting! ;) I was sick. Although we never call it that in my home, here we call it healing. I get sick once every year or two, and when I do, I'm hit hard! Like not get out of bed for two days, just let me sleep, hard! I'm so grateful for this process though, it tells me my immune system is functioning beautifully, and that my body is being brought back into balance again (if you've no idea what I'm talking about, here's a post I wrote awhile back ~ An Alternative View of Illness) So while felled with an unrelenting headache severe enough to make me want to cry (seems to be my body's choice of detox methods nowadays!), severe fatigue and a head so light, dizzy and fuzzy it threatened to float away ~ I rested. My body, and my mind. I had a feeling it would produce more than a healed body, and it did. :)

I never realized until I started blogging how often I reasses and change my life. Actually, I think this is a much more recent developement, I wasn't always so in tune with myself. By Saturday I was feeling much better, moving slow, but better. Here is what the time of healing afforded me:

My home is my haven. I love being here, so much that I rarely leave. It has been neglected however, and for two days the girls and I did a late, but much needed spring cleaning. Walls, molding, windows, curtains. Everythings is so sparkly clean right now I could cry. My house is now back in order.

I make very little on these guys, but I find it so peaceful and relaxing to create them, I'm going to keep on hooking! :)
 The flower gardens around my house were in a very sad state. Very sad. They've pretty much been fending for themselves so far this year. Yesterday was spent lavishing attention on them, and while not done (I need a fresh layer of chips) they look loved and cared for once again. My gardens are now back in order.

I made a big decision, I will not have a huge vegetable garden this year, for the first time since I can remember. It feels like a chore this season, and I don't do anything that feels bad. To my delight, Jordan and Riley want to  have it as their own garden. So, without all of the energy that goes into it, I shall still be able to enjoy fresh produce this summer. And here I thought I had to choose, ahhh, I forgot the Universe has an answer for everything. :) A decision has been made, one that has been weighing on me.

Along with the heat, came the bugs!!
 I love my shops, and am still willing to invest most of my time and energy into their success. In fact, before the whole healing episode I was in the process of switching over all of my Inspiration Earth products to a new shop on Etsy. For quite awhile now I've wanted the clipboards and green products separate, but it seemed like such a daunting task, I had to wait until the time was right. { pure. simple. organic.} has been born. It was kind of scary, a leap of faith, after all I was just getting regular sales through Smitten, but it was time. I was featured in my first treasury this morning. :) A reaffirmation of direction was made.

I sold my very first bottle of these recently, I was especially thrilled because I was able to refund her some of the crazy expensive shipping!!!

I love blogging. It is my avenue to share what I've learned. I will continue to do that and to follow all of your amazing journeys also. This brings me joy. Now to catch up... might take me a couple of days! ;)
I'm not sure what to do about my Artfire shop, leave it for now I guess. It doesn't seem to be doing much of anything... any suggestions here would be nice. Laurie, any luck with  yours? I guess my answer is still pending on that one...

New kale recipe ~ see below!
  Cooking had become a chore, which made me sad. I (usually) love to cook and I adore eating. Trying new dishes is such great fun, an adventure to be had anyday! So, I've revamped my cooking routine, and for the past week has brought me nothing but joy once again. When it's time to prepare lunch, I give it all my energy and focus. I put in my cd pick of the day (I've been listening to mellow James Taylor and Jack Johnson, a bit of Eddie Vedder), sing along and enjoy the process. The table has been set carefully and beautifully. I clean as I go (an added benefit that becomes an act of kindness to whomever has clean up duty that day!) Cooking is now a mindful meditation again, instead of just something to get done. I even have a new recipe or two to share, another kale delight! :) Cooking is back in order.

I'm back to journaling, first thing in the morning after my meditation. It's been so helpful and makes things so crystal clear. It puts me in the same peaceful state as meditating usually does. A comtemplative start to the day helps to direct and guide me. An old love resurrected.

I've sold several of these lately, which makes me very happy! DIY Lemongrass cleaner, the green is spreading!
 Meditating has become focused and peaceful again. Now that the mind chatter has stopped about all the above mentioned issues, I can connect and rest. :)

I've got plans for my shops, new products I want to try, and ideas brewing. My creativity hasn't seemed to be one of the things suffering lately, but I still feel renewed.
So, while most people look at illness as a hinderance, a bother, a nuisance, not me. I embraced it, and am amazed at how much it had to show me. Things that are vital to my well being were being neglected. I needed a hit upside the head to see that though! The only way to catch up was to walk away from the computer for awhile, hence my absence. I think many of us realize that once we sit down to the computer, that's it for awhile! Hours can pass, and  there is always more to do. I'm still working on figuring out the best course of action for computer work. There is much to be done daily, and I enjoy it, but I can't sacrifice the rest of my life, so a compromise is in the making....

I'm so sorry that this seemed like a commercial for my Inspiration Earth products, I figure any attention to the new shop is helpful! ;) As a reward, I'll share a new kale recipe I tried today, it was delish, we all loved it!

1 leek (my first time using a leek)
1 bunch kale
1 tsp garlic powder

I cut the leaves and roots off of the leek and sliced the rest. In a tbsp of olive oil I sauteed them until soft but not mushy. Add in the garlic powder and the kale, cover and let cook until kale is soft, stirring often. It doesn't need long, and be careful not to burn. Serve hot with some sea salt... yum yum!! You can use any dark greens, but all I had was kale. Would probably be good with collard greens and I saw dandelion greens at the store and think next time I'll give them a go!

I'm glad to be back Blogger friends. Have a stupendous day! :) 


As Ed and I stepped into Bangor Airport this morning to prepare for our trip, we were met with quite a sight.  Service men and women in camouflage uniforms were everywhere  - in the gift shop, in the snack shop, some sleeping on the floor, some sleeping on chairs, and some sitting around engrossed in their laptops.

Bangor is known for its Troop Greeters, a large group of volunteers who at any hour of the day or night, show up at the airport when a military flight is scheduled to leave or arrive.  Some of these are veterans from other wars, like Vietnam, where the same young boys who were spat upon return to the USA after their deployment have grown up into old men, and want to volunteer their time to make sure all soldiers get treated with hearty handshakes, hugs, and respect they deserve.  So there were several Troop Greeters there today as well, but Ed and I still weren't sure if the troops were coming or going.

So finally when the announcement came for the troops to board, a tired young man who had been trying to sleep on the floor beside my seat, head on a knapsack, got up to prepare to leave, I asked him, "Are y'all coming or going?"  He said, "Going."  I asked where, and he said, "Afghanistan."  Even though I knew it was a possibility, even probability, my heart still sank when I heard it.  Then came the frustrating moment for me because I had no idea what to say!  My first impulse was to say, "I'm so sorry!" but that didn't sound very encouraging.  My second impulse was to say, "I hope you make it back."  That, too, was too sad.  I ended up blurting out, "Good luck!" and he said thanks, and that was that.  I didn't know his name, but from now on every time the news reports another soldier death in Afghanistan, I will think of this man, a stranger whom I was privileged to briefly encounter right before he went off to fight a dangerous war in a dangerous country.  If I had had an hour to formulate an appropriate response, it still would have not been adequate.  What do you say at a time like that?  I didn't know if the young man was for the war or against the war, I didn't know if this was his 1st or maybe his 3rd tour of duty, didn't know if he was worried about the future or concerned about leaving his family, or even anxious to put to use the skills he had been trained for.   I didn't know if he was just apprehensive or scared stiff.   I only know he had signed up to be of service, had been called, and was going as he had promised.  "Good luck" just didn't cover it, but it was all I could muster on the spur of the moment.

When I realized it was Memorial Day weekend, the whole event took on a more poignant note for me.  This brought the face of war right to my own face, and I could hardly speak in words that made sense.  How could I ever be satisfied with a terse "Good luck" when all I wanted to do was throw my arms around him and cry like a baby?

My Newest Treasures

Before I start, I just wanted to let you all know that Blogger hasn't let me comment on any of your wonderful blogs for 2 days now... Jordan is experiencing the same glitch. I'm surprised it's letting me post this... ;) I'll catch up as soon as I can!

My new Inspiration Board, right beside my desk. Full of inspirational quotes that speak to me, gorgeous photos, special notes (thanks Sara and Laurie), a drawing Jordan gave me that I love, and current orders.
 Approximately 3 years ago I decided to get serious about solar heating and I put my desire up on the vision board. There is sat, quietly, between drawings of a lizard (we have since adopted a lizard gecko Lucy), a bee farm (still waiting on that one), and a new garage (that story is definitely part of my abundance series!) Eventually the board came down, replaced by other things, but the thought had been put into motion. All that was required now was my patience and a certain degree of excitement, because as many times as it has happened, watching the Universe at work thrills me beyond belief. Oh, yeah, I forgot. I didn't just want solar. I wanted it to cost me nothing. Hey, nothing's too big for Spirit. :)

One of the areas that will soon be covered with the glorious shine of solar panels!
 Today Scott and I took a major step in manifesting my dream. This is taking me so long to type because in my excitement I am spelling just about every single word incorrectly. ;) By September we should have 36 panels on our roof, creating 100% of our energy... all for less than we pay for electricity now. I can hardly contain my joy, the girls are ready to tie me up and throw me in a closet! One more happy jig through the kitchen and I think I'm done for. :) I am going to leave the rest of the story for part of my Abundance series, but I thought if I didn't share that, I may explode, or implode, or something...

Today, I have a gratitude post. I've met so many amazing people through this blog that I'd like to show you some of my latest aquisitions. Their beautiful work now graces my home and I'd like to share it with you. ;)

Stunning, right? Click the photo if you'd like to take a look at the listing!

Recently my daughter, Taylor, did a feature on Laurie of Energy Art and Healing. I already knew Laurie, we seemed to have an instant connection through the magic of internet, so I looked forward to her interview. Taylor is a pretty entertaining writer, and I knew it would be good! Tay had photos posted throughout the feature and when I saw Dream Angel, I had to have her. With her arms spread to the heavens she appeared to be channeling joy, love and yes, abundance. I ordered her quickly and smiled, knowing how much fun it is to see you've made a sale. I hoped it would make Laurie's night (or morning as it was).  I waited very patiently for my Dream Angel to arrive, and it was worth the wait. Laurie had gone above and beyond simple kindness and had sent along a goodie for each of us girls. You would have thought it was Christmas, all of us clustered around the box, reading our notes and exclaiming over our gifts!

Not only was the gorgeous Dream Angel in the box, very carefully wrapped, but also an EXTRA print, the equally stunning Chakra Angel. How amazingly generous and thoughtful, I'm so lucky I 'happened' across this wonderful woman. :)

Here they are hanging above my 'shipping station'. I couldn't get a picture without reflections, but it'll give you an idea!

Another shot, this one includes my amazing painting from Sara! :)

See that bare wall right there? Someday Laurie's crown chakra painting will be hanging there. :)

I have exactly 3 magnets on my fridge. I can't stand the clutter of things hanging all over it, surprise, right? ;) This magnet, however, has a place of honor, and creates peace in me everytime I look at her.
The girls each received one of these mini wall hangings, and as you can imagine, they were overjoyed. They found a spot in their room where they can each gaze upon their angel. I now have angels hanging all around my home, it's a wonderful thing.
Once again Laurie, thank you for being so kind and giving. My act of kindness multiplied many times over!

I  follow another blog called Sesenarts, written by the wonderful Julie. Not long ago I had commented on some bookmarks she had created and featured. To my happy, happy surprise, she sent me one! Last Saturday, this little treasure arrived in my mail ~

You can find Julie on Etsy at Sesenarts, a great shop, full of treasures, that seems to be doing very, very well! :)

I'm trying to read Annexed, the book that Taylor reviewed. It made me so sad I had to put it aside for a day or two. It is excellent though, just a lot to process.
 This lovely bookmark traveled all the way from Australia. I love thinking about the fact that it left Julie's creative hands, traveled across the sea, to land joyfully in mine. Thank you Julie, it will be put to good use! :)

And yesterday I received yet another treasure ~ I seem to be in the flow of things. :) I won a giveaway on another blog I follow. Kanelstrand is a recent discovery, one I was very happy to make! Another kindred spirit, living the organic and green lifestyle. I enjoy her posts so much and couldn't wait to receive the bracelet. After a long journey from Norway, here she is~

A gorgeous handcrafted creation. I've never owned a felted bracelet before. :) Click on the photo to be taken to her Etsy shop ~ Kanelstrand

Me, modeling my new bracelet. Notice the shorts? The sun FINALLY came out today, for real. Heat and everything! :)
 Thank you Sonya, you did a gorgeous job, I adore the detailed stitching! :)

What amazing abundance flowing into my life, it makes me deeply grateful. I thank all of you talented creators for sharing your gifts with me. They are all deeply appreciated and cherished. I'll leave you now, and wish you a wonderful evening, brimming over with abundance. :)

Peace ~ Melinda

Busy week!


What a busy week it’s been!

And we have a dotty phrase in our family (lifted I think from Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound): “The night’s not over yet, Simon Gascoigne!!!” (the name to be said with great relish and dark, sinister meaning).  Which is to say that this day also is rather bustling with things queuing up to be done – but just time to wave and say hi, how ya doing?

The week was a full one, with two funerals to write and conduct, and the bereavement call associated with one of them to be wodged into the week as well, as the next-of-kin involved needed to cancel his Friday appointment of the previous week.   Those went well, and were I think a comfort to the people concerned. 

Through last week I was also reading through the manuscript of my novel The Hour Before Dawn, which follows on from The Hardest Thing To Do (out in July), and which will be published in the winter.  It had come back from the copy-editor, who knows how unbearably finicky I am about the exact detail of everything I write, and how prepared I am to argue about every comma.  So he had cunningly sent me the amended manuscript with the changes not tracked.  Actually to be fair to him, he probably has to format the text so if he tracked the changes the whole manuscript would be so peppered with tracking it would be barely legible.  I think.  Anyway, I had to be even cunninger and know what I’d written so that I could think: “What?  Where has that word gone?  Why does that phrase sound odd to me?  Shouldn’t there be a comma in here?” and go back and cross check with the manuscript I had sent him after the first editing process had been completed.  This took a long time.  He is a good-humoured and patient man, and I hope won’t mind the many changes and reinstatements in the manuscript that came winging back to him.

I just got it finished and off by Thursday evening, then a funeral to complete and conduct on Friday, from which I came home to find my dear and much-loved friend Julia Bolton Holloway sitting patiently on my doorstep (see her in the picture, top, talking to the Badger over breakfast about the Roma in Florence).

The last time I saw Julia in person was when I was in training for ordained ministry in the Methodist Church, which feels as remote as another life now!  The last few years she has been living in the English Cemetery in Florence, gradually restoring it to beauty as well as championing the cause of the Roma, who are persecuted in Italy as everywhere else.  We had a lot of catching up to do!

Then Saturday, after Julia had moved on to her next port of call, was dedicated to preparing for Sunday, that being the Wretched Wretch’s second birthday.  His entourage, who were with us from Sunday lunch through until well past his bedtime, included his godmother from Sweden, his Granny and her new (delightful) husband from Washington, his Great-Grandmother from Battle, his Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother from Hastings, his Grandad and Nanny (my first husband and his present wife), two of his best friends and their mother (who is his mother’s best friend), all his aunts (naturally) and of course his mother and father.  With me and the Badger added in, that makes 20, I think.

The Wretched Wretch’s mother and I went to church with him in the morning – she had dreamed of skipping chapel on this busy day, but thought better of it, which was just as well as they had a wonderful colourful Happy Birthday banner for him on the front of the weekly notices sheet, and sang a Happy Birthday song to him, at the end of which he won all hearts by shouting “Hooray!” and clapping enthusiastically, as his mother is wont to do at the slightest provocation (nobody can say the Wretched Wretch’s mother is not an encouraging and affirming parent!).  After that had been done, he and his mother and I repaired to a back room and played with toys while the service took place, returning to the fold to participate in the eucharist, where she and I insisted on sharing our bread and wine with our little one, because that’s our theology even if the church doesn’t see eye to eye with us in every respect.

He fell asleep on the way home, and was crashed out on the sofa for a long while.  When he woke, his daddy was sitting with him, and brought him into the living room where everyone was gathered.  Poor child.  He was overwhelmed to see such a huge gathering, but once he reached the safety of his mother’s lap he was happy to let her point from person to person, quietly reminding him of the name of each one, so that the realisation sank in that this appalling crowd was in reality constituted of actual friends that he knew.

It was a good party, with presents and lots of food and chat.  His American Granny and Barpar (this was the Wretched Wretch's choice of appellation for his new Stateside ancestor.  No-one knows why.) had brought him a wonderful birthday gift of an aeroplane full of little people – a great hit!  He loves it!

His Grandad and Nanny (I hope you are keeping up with the component parts of this rambling 21st century tribe with its many step-relatives!) gave him a fabulous green wheelbarrow just like a grown-up’s one, with a watering can and gardening gloves.  Michael loves the garden, and I think this gift will be a favourite in days to come.

We (me and the Badger and the Aunts) gave him a farm with an eclectic selection of Schleich animals.  
“Where are these animals from?” asked his Grandad.  
“eBay, I said, They’re all Schleich.”
“Oh, mum, they’re not that bad!” responded his Auntie Fiona. 
The Wretched Wretch loved his farm.

Eventually the time came to ferry precious goodies and a tired child back home.  His godmother and father went ahead to fix dinner, his Grandad loaded up the loot, and his mother and I piled the young Adonis himself into my Nissan Micra.  This is a lengthy procedure, as he has ambitions to be the driver.  We waited a long time while he changed gear and adjusted the heating mechanism and opened the sunroof etc, responding with a decided “No!” to his mother's suggestions that he might like to get into his car seat now.  The time arrived when she had to Become Firm, and with cries like rending metal and many wild convulsions, the Wretched Wretch was pinned down into his car seat and strapped in (yes, readers, this is the Gentle Parenting of our dreams…)

As his sobs subsided and the sun went down, we drove him home.  My last memory of the day is of his still slightly distraught voice quavering pathetically: “DonkeyChocolate cake… ”  as we drove along – the memories of a wonderful day.

And today brings a réprise of beloved American family on their all-too-brief visit to the old country, then time spent with my mother so she knows she is loved and not forgotten, then my début as Parish Church Council Secretary at the Standing Committee this evening.

But tomorrow – ah, tomorrow! I am off to spend a couple of days at one of my favourite and most hallowed places, for some solitary peace and a double-dose of Minster evensong.  Ciaou!! xxx

An Abundant Life ~ Chapter I

This hangs on my Inspiration Board to always remind me of abundance.
 {Just a reminder, if you haven't entered my giveaway, here's the link ~ Simply Inspired Giveaway. Don't miss out on the fun :) }

Abundance. If you were to turn on the news or pick up the paper, there would appear to be an alarming shortage of it. Lack of food. Lack of decent health care. Lack of cures. Lack of safety. Lack of housing. Lack of money. Lack of kindness. Lack of compassion. Lack of love. It is one of the reasons I neither turn on the news nor subscribe to the paper. Some would say I'm choosing ignorance. Others, I'm burying my head in the sand. I understand both perspectives, but in reality, I am doing neither. Instead I am choosing abundance. I've always said that once the papers and newsmen start to focus on the good, decent and kind in the world... then I'll be happy to watch.

A handmade card from my sister Chantal: Rwanda. I cherish this one.
 I don't need to see a news report on another suicide bomber to know people are dying. Or to view another info-mercial of starving children to know they exist. I definitely don't need another recap of a brutal home invasion/murder/rape to encourage fear. I lived in fear. I won't go back. (Words of Hope) I choose not to fight anything. No fight against cancer, hunger, drugs, violence. I've learned that what you resist, persists, (a personal mantra of mine) and I know this is true from having lived it so profoundly. I resisted fear, terror and panic for years which only resulted in multiplying it tenfold. Once I accepted it was there, only then could my life begin to change.

I accept that there are starving people all over the world. I acknowledge it. Anger, indignation, worry, alarm, complaining, ranting, raving, how do these emotions feed people? The reality is, they don't. What they do do is add more of that low and negative energy to the world, which already has more than enough. If I feel compelled to make a difference, and I do, what can I do to support the opposite, or the ideal? I choose a solution. Each week I add a couple of extra items to the shopping list and add it to a bin in a corner of my home. When the bin is overflowing with organic, healthy foods it gets dropped off at the local food bank. Why organic? After all, I could get 3 loaves of nutrition less white bread for the same price I pay for a jar of peanut butter. I decided I will give to others what I would give to myself, or my family. "They" are no less worthy of health and decent nutrition than my daughters. So instead of fighting hunger, I support  the nourishment of as many people as I can. I support abundance.

My sister Jeanine from Rwanda. In her letter she says to me "Me and my family are okay. We used to be the poorer but the support you gave me helped us much. "
 I know injustice and atrocities are committed against women everyday, everywhere. Fight it? Nope. Instead I support Women for Women International. Each month I donate $27.00 and a letter to a sister across the world. Rwanda, Uganda, Afghanistan. That little bit of money supports education, encouragement, job skills and confidence to women who lost family due to genocide and war. Less than a dollar a day and it changes lives. And then sometimes I get a treasure in return in the form of a photograph or a letter which most always brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.. Their gratitude is overwhelming and we are truly sisters.

Unemployment and poverty. I won't waste my energy complaining, that would only be resisting, which in turn would create more of the same.  Instead, I support Kiva. Loans that change lives. To date we have made 36 loans and there is enough money in our "account" right now to make 5 more. For at least a year or two we haven't spent a penny to do it. Our money gets repaid in small increments and we just turn it over into new business endeavors. The girls love to choose the recipient, only focusing on the things that we support (I'm sorry to say that the guinea pig farmer did not get receive our donation that month! ;)

Chantal (the one who made the lovely card) said to me in one letter ~" I am fine, problems have decreased since I got to know you. My cow is healthy, my children are safe, get good grades at school."
 I used to thrive on angry energy. You never wanted to do battle with me. I was quick thinking, rational, reasoning, cold and I could shatter your argument to bits and leave you reeling. Once upon a time, that felt like victory to me. I was fearsome in a verbal fight, the energy fed my ego like nothing else. Now, I choose peace, in abundance. How? By not engaging Jordan (the great resister! ;) when she's looking for a fight. By not engaging my husband when his energy is low and he's threatening to pull me under with him. By walking away when my dear brother is in a foul mood and looking for trouble (he was a worthy adversary in a verbal fight!) By not gossiping or bickering. By learning that I don't have to speak every thought in my head. By learning some things are better left unsaid, by learning I won't die if I keep my mouth quiet. :)

I use all these examples not to toot my own horn, as I know others do much more than me, and I can always do more. I use them to illustrate how I choose support, rather than resistance. Because that shift in perspective is the beginning of abundance. Your thoughts are energy, science has proven that thought alone changes the direction or outcome of experiments.  Those energetic thoughts are either low or high energy, and they directly affect not only those around you, but the entire world. I picture a thought, or an action, as a stone dropped into a lake. That one little pebble doesn't just drop and sink, it creates ripples. Ripples that spread and continue on, even after they become invisible to the eye. My thoughts and actions do the same, they ripple, causing change, as do yours.

Each letter is written in the native language of the woman, and then translated so that I may read it! Sometimes the translation is almost has hard to read as the actual letter! ;)
 One of my first steps in creating abundance in my life was changing the way I thought and interacted.I had to do a major perspective shift. Many (most?) of the people in my life at the time couldn't handle the changes they saw in me. Good or bad, I had become someone else, someone they didn't recognize. This goes for family and friends. I can't give them what they're looking for anymore, commiseration in their anger and all the injustices done against them, real or imagined. I won't share their fury or indignation.  In fact, I probably infuriate them in my attempt to always see the "other side" of a situation. Choosing to live in a higher energy changed  my life in many, many ways. and those closest to me didn't know what to make of the new me. I made/make them uncomfortable, sometimes guilty. Not because of what I say, or judgements I render, but because of what I won't say.

After gossiping/judging/criticizing how do you feel? Temporarily your ego may feel great, inflated with the "phew, at least I'm better/smarter than them". But underneath all of that? I never knew how bad I felt until I stepped out of that vicious cycle. Then I began to know true peace for the first time in my life. Often you have to live what you aren't in order to discover what you are. My life has been a series of that. :)

I open each letter reverently. I imagine a woman much the same as me, yet circumstances have created lives so very different. I imagine her holding a pen and writing words from her heart. I imagine the land and the sun. I imagine the distance this piece of paper traveled to reach me. I know I will probably never visit this land, but I now hold a piece of it in my hands.
 So while many have moved away from me, I've felt others shifting closer. For years I searched for others "like me", knowing they existed... but where? it wasn't until I stopped looking that they quietly made my their way into my life. It wasn't until I realized that I was enough without the validation of others who viewed life the same way that I did. It wasn't until I was truly joyful being alone.

I have found an outlet through blogging. No one here holds any expectations of me or compares me to the Melinda they once knew. I am who I am here and my throat chakra is blissfully, joyfully open and clear. Here I speak my truth. And what is that exactly? Abundance exists. Everywhere, and in all things. It it's real for me, than it can be real for you, should you choose it. Begin with your thoughts for today, for this week. Attempt to do no harm with them. The number one rule in my home? If it isn't kind, don't say it. Easier said than done, but definitely a worthy challenge.

Find a way to support something that yesterday you fought against. Notice the change in your outlook on life, the way your heart opens when your perspective shifts.The world is no longer an ugly/hateful/scary place. People become helpful and kind. Circumstances shift and life begins to flow.

Furaha writes: "I am writing to wish you God's blessings in your life for all that you are doing for me. You are sending me money with which I bought land.... without your help I couldn't afford my  children's fees at school. May God send you natural and spiritual blessings." (Pretty sure I cried when I read this one)
 Try beginning each day with an act of kindness, however small. This works wonders for my energy level. Write a letter, leave a sweet/funny/loving note for a family member to find in the course of their day (one of my favorites!). Do a chore for someone else. Give a compliment. You may find you start searching for ways to extend kindness just to see the smile on someones face, or the joy in their voice. You'll find you love the feeling of lightness that grows in your body.

And that is my first chapter in living in abundance. Not easy, but worth every bit of diligent effort. I'm sorry once again this is so very long. I sat by myself early this morning, as the sun was rising, birds were singing and I let my spirit voice speak. This is what I heard, so this is what I shared. :)

Peace ~ Melinda


Ed and I spend a lot of time reading aloud - actually, I do the reading aloud and he does the listening.  Ed has a mild form of dyslexia which required me to read aloud to him many of his textbooks in college and seminary, and we have found in the years since that it is a wonderful mutually enriching arrangement for all kinds of interesting books, mostly nonfiction.  We take our time, sometimes stopping after a paragraph or even a sentence to discuss what we have just learned.  After reading At Home by Bill Bryson, we enjoyed his writing style so much that we bought three other books by him, and we are now reading A Short History of  Nearly Everything, which is basically a history of science, from the atoms through the entire universe, chemistry, geology, biology, botany, astronomy, microbiology, and everything in between.  We have read about scientists and philosophers and inventors and physicists and all other types of scientific achievers (and bumblers) who have influenced our perspective of our world.  Some were pure geniuses, some were funny, some were off-the-wall personalities who discovered things by sheer accident, and others were mildly to severely eccentric.  While Bryson gives details about the people, he also writes about the fascinating details of science - the incredible vastness of the universe, energy, cells, what make up our bodies and what make up our Earth.  The whole thing is mind-boggling - the mystery, the curiosity, the awe.  And it’s science.
We were only a third of the way through with the book when I just had to laugh at the absurdity of it all - my being fascinated with science at 55 years old!  If you had told my adolescent self that I would be reading about science - of my own volition - later on in life, I would have choked in amusement.  Science?  No way!  I’m into music and the arts!  I’m into French and Abe Lincoln!  I used avoid science and its sister subject, math, like the plague.  The only math class I ever had any interest in was that of algebra, and that is because I had a very good teacher who made the subject intriguing.
Of course, in high school, science was a requirement.  I spent hours trying to figure out which would be the least offensive branch - chemistry? biology? physics?  I think those were my three choices, and they all basically sucked.  I was not just disinterested in the curricula - I was horrified by the thought of the time I would have to waste, along with having a dread that I would not be able to maintain the good grades to which I had become accustomed.  I absolutely HATED science.  
After hearing about dissecting frogs and the like, I discounted biology.  Physics was totally incomprehensible to me.  So it was chemistry by default.  
That is how I ended up in East High chemistry class in my senior year of high school.  I had successfully avoided science until I could not officially avoid it any longer.  After all, I had to graduate, didn’t I?  This was the hell I would have to endure.
Unfortunately, as I had feared, it was a wasted year.  My teacher, whose name my subconscious self has purposefully buried for all eternity, was new to our school.  On the first day of class, he admitted that he was not trained in chemistry; he was supposed to be a biology teacher, but he was stuck with us as we were stuck with him.  I admired him for his honesty, but he was indeed a horrible, ill-prepared teacher, partly because he didn’t really know the subject, and partly because he didn’t have any passion for the subject.  I only remember two things about the class:  Melting glass beakers into funny shapes over a Bunsen burner, and the final exam.  The week before the final exam, again the teacher apologized for not being able to teach chemistry properly, and he said as a sign of recompense, he was going to give us an actual copy of the final exam ahead of time, because, he admitted, it wasn’t our fault that he couldn’t teach chemistry.  The rest of the class, with a sigh of relief, memorized the answers and that was that.
For some odd reason, the whole situation was unacceptable to me.  I had never “cheated” for a final exam, and I wasn’t going to start now, even if it was teacher-approved.  So I threw the exam away and threw myself into studying.  
Studying, of course, was just memorization and not learning.  I never learned chemistry.  But I remember trying to look at some kind of element table or chart where I had to memorize the layout, and I thought to myself, “This looks like a train...this looks like a boat...this looks like a flower...” and tried to memorize the layout accordingly.   Total waste of time, of course, but I made an A on the exam without the cheat sheets.
Today in 2011, I’m reading about chemistry and loving it.  I’m devouring information on the planets and galaxies and theory of relativity and neutrons and protons and the rest and I’m in heaven.  On top of that, I’m a medical transcriptionist and work with information on anatomy, pharmaceuticals, and lab values all day every day.  It’s a mighty big leap from that hopeless chemistry class with Mr. What’s His Name.  Who would have dreamed?  Not even Einstein, I would suspect, could have come up with such an unlikely scenario!
I’ve spent the past month in introspection, trying to figure out why all this fascinating stuff we are reading now didn’t interest me back then, and my conclusion is this:  I never had a great science teacher.  To be a great teacher, you need three elements, in my opinion.  1) Knowledge of the subject, 2) A personal passion for the subject, and 3) The ability to pass that passion onto your students.  I never had a science teacher in my 12 years of schooling who had those three qualifications.  My interest was never nudged, my curiosity never piqued, and that passion was certainly never ignited.    My goodness!  What we could accomplish with our kids if all our teachers possessed this sort of energy and talent!  Young minds, already curious, are ready to soak up education like sponges, if only it is done with passion instead of boredom.  How would my life have been different had I been able to read this book in high school? Who wouldn’t want to hear about the scientist who was so paranoid about human interaction that he would flee if anyone tried to engage him in conversation?  About the brilliant astronomer who, even in the midst of genius thoughts, still believed the canals on Mars were made by Martians?  About the intellectual chemist whose unfortunately eccentricity was tasting every substance he discovered - including cyanide?  About how Albert Einstein applied for a high school teacher position and was rejected (wonder if anyone was eventually called on the carpet for that one? “You wouldn’t hire WHO?”)?  Would you rather read true stories about real human beings with their problems and personality traits or would you rather just memorize a date in history when uranium was discovered?  These are the kinds of things that make history of anything - and therefore the present - come alive.  Passion is what makes students want to take study to the next level, whether it’s to develop exceptional skills in gymnastics or to discover the next great theory of the universe or the next promising treatment for cancer.  That passion - unfortunately - is not something that one can assume will appear.  But if the time is right - and the student is ready - and the teacher is passionate - what miracles can occur!
This is why I'm so excited that our oldest granddaughter who just turned 8, Caroline, is fascinated with science in all its forms.  She's young enough to form lasting relationships with insatiable curiosity, ideas, awe, and discovery.  She has people in her life who are fueling this curiosity and stimulating this drive for knowledge.  She is lucky.
Now - do you have any idea, any idea, of how small a molecule is?  Did you know that a molecule is so small that the number of molecules found in 2.016 grams of hydrogen gas is 6.0221367 x 10 to the 23rd?  It’s a meaningless number to most of us, but think of it this way:  that number is “equivalent to the number of popcorn kernels needed to cover the United States to a depth of nine miles, or cupfuls of water in the Pacific Ocean, or soft drink cans that would, evenly stacked, cover the Earth to a depth of 200 miles.”  With amazing facts like that, who needs science “fiction”?  The truth is enough to engage even the most lazy of minds.   I have managed to turn science the enemy into science the friend.  And my life is richer for it.

More Than You Probably Wanted to Know ~ My ABC's

Yesterday I was tagged by my blogger buddy, Veronica, over at Knitful Designs. I love these kinds of things because I find it so much fun to learn more about all of you guys!! I loved reading Veronica's answers and when I saw she had tagged me, I knew I would find time to do it! So, here are my ABC's:

A. Age: 37 (I think...)
B Bed size: Full
C. Chore you hate: Washing windows (seems so futile, you know? First rainstorm and they're dirty again!)
D. Day: Sunday
E. Essential start to the day: Meditating
F. Favorite color: Blue or green, but truthfully, I love all colors!
G. Gold or Silver: Silver
H. Height: Almost hit 5 feet... another 1/4 of an inch and I would have made it! ;)
I. Instruments: I played the clarinet in 7th and 8th grade and taught myself the piano a couple of years ago
J.Job title: peace maker, chef, bosswoman, chief coordinator, taxi driver, head maid, gardener, small business owner, animal trainer, counselor...
K. Kids: 3 gorgeous girls
L. Live: Putnam Ct
M. Mum's name: Cheryl
N. Nicknames: Linder, Melin, , Melinduh (my brother's fave, but to be fair, I called him Adumb), Minky (only my dad has ever called me this!)
O. Overnight hospital stays: when I delivered the girls
P.Pet peeve: whining, complaining, gossiping, judging, negativity (Did you want just one? ;)
Q. Quote from a movie: I'm no good with this! The only one I can think of is a completely generic one, I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but... "You had me at hello" (sorry!)
R. Right or left handed: Lefty
S. Siblings: 2 sisters and 1 brother, I'm the oldest (and by far the wisest ;)
T. Time you wake up: 4:30 ~ yup, you read that right, and it's by choice! I love the quiet time and it's also a way I found to create more time in my day! Of course, I'm usually sound asleep by 8:30! ;)
U. Underwear: soft, comfortable cotton bikini
V. Vegetables you dislike: Hmmm, for most of my life I would say all except potatoes and corn! Once I decided to go vegan I retrained my taste buds (it's true, it usually takes 2 weeks to acclimate to a new taste) and now I love most all. I'm still working on cooked peas though... ;)
W. What makes you run late: waiting for others to be ready
X. X-rays you've had: none? Oh, unless you count teeth. But I don't do that anymore either ~ bad radiation! ;)
Y. Yummy food you make: Mediterranean pasta, Comfort soup, Tomato soup, Beans and rice, Quinoa pilaf... tomorrow I'm making a vegan version of cheesecake! :)
Z. Zoo: Sorry, but I no longer support the zoos. :( It's too sad to see animals confined to small cages with no space to run, or fly, or live. I would definitely go on  a safari though! :)

So, now you all now a little bit more about me than you did 2 minutes ago! Now I have to tag a couple people I would love to know more about. Anyone else want to join in, please do so! :) (Laurie, don't worry, as much as I'd love for you to answer these, I know this isn't your thing! ;)

Farm Cat Girl
Gilding Lilies
Heart Felt Yarn Wreaths
Mandy's Marvelous Musings
This Good Life

The last time I did something like this no one I tagged answered! Let's see if I can get one of you lovlies to do it! And I'm also going to share a recipe at Veronica's request. She shared that one of her least favorite veggies is brussels sprouts, and I almost cried! ;) I'm going to share our favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe. I'm sad to say that I can't include a photo because I have been unable to find organic brussels sprouts for months now. I've been craving them. I tried to grow them last year, no luck. But, I'm trying again this season, fingers crossed for an abundance of the little buggers!!

Such cute little veggies!
 Sesame Brussels Sprouts
20 Brussels Sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Slice off stems and peel away any nasty looking leaves. Slice thinly (this may be one of the secrets). In olive oil saute brussels sprouts until soft and browning. This may take some time (15 minutes or more) so I usually need to add small amounts of water as I'm cooking to prevent burning. The longer they cook, the better they taste, so don't rush it! Remove from heat and toss with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Season with sea salt and serve hot... delish! So wish I had some right now... :)

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Thursday. More rain and clouds here, but between raindrops Scott got the garden tilled and I bought some organic veggie plants. I guess maybe the garden will happen after all... :)

Peace ~ Melinda

Cause to Celebrate!

Happy Wednesday! I hope some of you are enjoying some lovely spring sunshine. Here in Ct the sun has decided to take a vacation. She was last seen on Friday, expected return... no idea! Have had tons of rain so when she finally does reappear, everything green will rejoice! I have had to break down and fire up the woodstove again, so at least I'm toasty warm while we make our way through this very springlike weather!

Just a gentle reminder ~ if you haven't already entered my giveaway, you can do so here: Simply Inspired Giveaway. Enter for a chance to win a whole stash of goodies! I'm thrilled to see that I hit 100 followers, how exciting! :)

All Natural Lemongrass Household Cleaner with Refill

Organic Lavender Mist Air Freshener
 I'm happy to say that all of the time and energy I've been investing in my Artfire shop, Inspiration-Earth is beginning to pay off! I've been featured in two collections, one of mine curated collections was featured on the front page and... I made my first sale!! Yay! I was beginning to have suspicions that I was invisible!

I shipped out a bottle of Lemongrass Cleaner with refill and two bottles of Lavender Mist Air Freshener this morning ~ super happy! I decided to make a collection a day to get my name circulating. The "per day" part didn't last, as I knew it probably wouldn't, but I intend to get through the colors of the rainbow! I'm going to list them below, just because they're pretty all together. Please don't worry about checking them out, I only thought they would brighten the post! :) The yellow one graced the front page.

I will get to the blue eventually.... ;)

Last week I had a poll going on which tasty recipe to share. Both the Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Potatoes tied for first. I'll share the potatoes first, we actually enjoyed them for lunch today, so yummy!!

Roasted Herbed Potatoes
6 medium potatoes (any variety will do)
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
dash of cayenne (adjust for your level of spiciness!)

Wash and dice the potatoes into cubes.

In melted coconut oil add spices and mix well. Pour over potatoes and stir to thoroughly coat taters. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Stir/shake well, (should be browning on bottoms) and cook for another 20-30 minutes until potatoes are soft and brown. Serve hot.

This recipe will feed our family of 5 with about a 1 cup serving of potatoes each. How do I know this measurement? Well, I believe that I have mentioned before that we go at our food with wild abandon, and in the interest of fairness I use a measuring cup to scoop out the servings. :) So much for healthy food not being tasty... ;)

I think that will do it for me today. I received a wonderful package in the mail on Monday, but I thought I'd wait and share that in a post all its own! :) Right now I'm off to catch up on some of your wonderful blogs! Enjoy your afternoon!

Peace ~ Melinda