Grace and Wellness


With the help of a good friend I am beginning a journey towards better self care. It’s not that I wasn’t good at it before but you know how it goes. Get busy, neglect sleep, eat poorly, and forget the exercise. The typical stuff of a mid life woman who tries to do too much.

I procrastinated about this wellness focus for months, waiting until my schedule finally cleared enough to give mental space (and energy) to the idea. My friend said to do this alittle at a time (thank God) and she sent me encouraging emails with her own health and wellness tips.

First up, a plant in my room. Sounds so simple but a plant provides oxygen and that can only be good. Second, I ordered a good book- Food Rules by Michael Pollan. I couldn’t resist skimming the first few chapters and wasn’t surprised. Eat more plants and don’t eat things that have more than five ingredients on the package. Right!

Of course it was a few days before Thanksgiving when I read this. I gave thought to what I was going to be eating on the holiday. Turkey, well, only one ingredient there. Baked yams and pineapple, pretty good.  Hawaiian rolls, probably not so good but delicious. Mashed potatoes made with Yukon golds, butter, and a little cream. I thought this really wasn’t so bad.

The pumpkin pie was made from a can that needed condensed milk and eggs. Mom made homemade crust with flour and crisco, a big no no I’m sure but heck, it’s the holiday right? Plus I am not going to tell mom not to make pie. 🙂

All in all, I would say I did not overeat on Thanksgiving. I felt fine afterwards. I cleaned up the kitchen and sealed up leftovers for the next day. No need to cook dinner tonight!

I think the hardest thing about health and wellness for me is putting myself first. Life is ongoing around my house. There are always things to do and some kind of agenda. Even though I no longer work full time, I have a million mundane things to do (laundry, housekeeping, dog, babysit Penny, help my mother). Prioritizing is key. The one gift of menopause has been the recognition that I can’t do it all. I don’t feel guilty saying no anymore. I’ve done the committees, the grunge work, the volunteering. It’s ok by me to say no.

Making an effort at better self care is good. Not feeling guilty about what I don’t accomplish is a challenge. Setting realistic expectations is the order of the day. The grace is in turning it over to the universe.

I hope you have a wonderful week! If you have any tips for self care, I’d love to hear them.


Join me on my graceful journey.

My Idea of Heaven

On my way home there is a spot on the highway where, if the sun is setting and it’s in exactly the right spot, the brilliance of the rays captures my attention and inspires me to think of heaven.

One day it was lightly raining when I was approaching this spot and I wished I had a camera in my car to capture the image. It was sunny, rainy and hazy all at once (like potential rainbow kind of weather). When my car began to go further into the yellowy haze, I felt momentarily engulfed. For a brief second, I was scared. Then I was not. Then, I was in awe. I wondered is this what the entrance to heaven may be like? The experience lasted less than one minute. But I can bring it up in my mind anytime and I often do.

I grew up hearing about heaven and hell in church. My take on religion when I was a child and later into adulthood was that you either behaved or you were done for. God was the big police officer in the sky.

Thankfully, I no longer believe in a punishing God. I believe in a loving, forgiving God and a God with an occasional great sense of humor. My current views of heaven therefore, can involve some silly stuff. I’ll save some of my thoughts for another blog post, but today I want to share with you my absolute favorite idea of what heaven could be.

various potato dishes: potato chips, hashbrown...
Yay! Endless Potatoes!

My favorite idea of heaven is that of endless potatoes. Yes, you read correctly- potatoes. Potatoes in every way shape or form. Crispy french fries with melted cheese and crumbled bacon on them. Mashed yukon gold potatoes with lots of butter and maybe some roasted garlic cloves smashed into them. Baked potatoes with lots of butter and sour cream. Even sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar.

Get the idea? And, of course none of these would contain any calories whatsoever. I would just eat and eat to my heart’s potato content and none of my potato feasts would show up anywhere on my stomach or thighs!

When I am with potatoes, nothing else really matters but the potatoes. Meat be gone! Salad….for bunnies! I love potatoes! Hopefully, when I walk through those pearly gates, God will be standing there with a big plate of yes, cheesy potatoes!

Join me on my graceful journey.

The Graceful Light

christmas candles on the morning table
The Graceful Light

The holidays are over and the January darkness has really settled in. Thank God there have been some sunny days or I would really be going crazy. And, as if a great gift was bestowed upon us all, the moon last night was so gorgeous, so full and bright, its long stream of light running down as if to the ground. It was mesmerizing.

Winter darkness pushes me to think about the light and how it has the power to transform me into a person of less worry. When I think of Grace, I think of the light. If I am worried about a problem or situation, bringing it out into the light can help it lose some serious steam.

When I am scared or have a situation in which I don’t know what to do, calling on Grace works. My innermost fears can eat me from the inside out and they can be dangerous stuff. Believing in the light enables me to pull out my fears, one by one, look at them and realize their root. When I take my time and slowly work through them, these fears turn into fearless blips on the radar of my life.

The light can fill me with hope, comfort and warmth. Thank goodness it’s free for the taking.  When I wrap myself in the glow, I feel protected and calm. Life seems less hurried and less intense.

I hope you have a gracefully bright day!

Join me on my graceful journey.

Coloring Outside the Lines

World-famous Crayola crayons are manufactured ...
What's your favorite color?

Coloring was one of my favorite things to do as a child. Back then of course there were no video games and limited tv channels. Life was simplier. I loved to color for hours.

That said, I remember outlining the edge of whatever I was coloring with a bold or dark color and then filling in the design, character (whatever) by lightly laying my crayon on its side and moving back and forth. I was a very neat colorer.

Recently, I came to view my husband as one who probably likes to color outside the lines. A funny incident occurred in which he was not really coloring but the thought process was quite the same. Here’s how it went. He was making an easy recipe of Stove Top stuffing, chicken, sour cream and cream of mushroom soup. And, he was making it for the entire family, including my son’s practically new girlfriend that I am hoping is (up to this point) thinking that we are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

(FYI, I want to mention that Stove Top chicken bake is not my idea of a gourmet or even a special meal, but occasionally we really love chicken and stuffing. And besides, it is a really easy meal so what’s not to love?)

But instead of making the recipe in the traditional way, my significant other did it his way. He laid the entire bag of dry stuffing on the bottom of the pan. He put the chicken on top of the dry stuffing then he mixed the soup with water and poured it over top of everything. He completely forgot (or shall I say….eliminated the sour cream). When I asked him why he didn’t follow the recipe, his answer was “it’s the same concept”.

I was tempted to either read him the riot act or pretend I had a last minute engagement I had to attend. I decided instead to let it go. When everyone was getting ready to sit down for dinner, my son’s girlfriend asked how he made the chicken bake. My husband generously offered the recipe to which I couldn’t help but add “that’s not really the recipe. he just likes to color outside the lines….”

This got a chuckle from everyone, including my husband. And how was dinner? Well, it was fine though the stuffing did not all puff up and so some of it stuck to the bottom of the pan. With a little cranberry sauce, it was just fine. Everyone declared it delicious and hey, I didn’t have to make dinner!

So though I like to color inside the lines, there are clearly others who love to go beyond and color wildly. I need to respect that. That is what makes life alittle more colorful.

Join me on my graceful journey.

Magical Moments

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July
Happy New Year!

How was your New Year’s? I spent mine differently this year. Usually I stay home with my significant other, have something special to eat then either go to bed early or watch the ball drop, then go to bed.

I belong to a church that had a New Year’s dance this year so I knew I had to go and support it. My mom wanted to come as did two other couples we know via the sobriety community.

We had a wonderful time. It is amazing how truly possible it is to have a good time without alcoholic beverages. The food was good, the music was great and it felt magical to be out celebrating a holiday with so many other people.

Two other moments happened on New Year’s Eve day. First, I sent a text to my husband about a friend of ours and in less than a minute, the friend just happened to call me. In another moment, I walked to my mailbox (it is down abit on our road) and while there, I saw my nephew about to leave for a three week journey to another country. I ran to give him a hug and kiss and wish him safe travels.

These small moments mean something very big to me. The timing of them suggests a spiritual connectedness. It makes me wonder: if I was less distracted by minor concerns, would I notice more opportunities that I may be currently missing? Could I be led along a more meaningful path if only I paid a bit more attention?

I am always searching for a deeper relationship with God and to my fellow human beings. Experimenting with different acts of loving kindness, surrounding myself with people who are also striving for meaningful relationships, and trying to live a less ME- centered life may make this happen.

In 2012, my goal is to slow down and listen for direction instead of forcing it. Who knows where I may end up? Happy New Year to you!

Join me on my graceful journey.