Keeping My Spoon in My Own Bowl

Bowl Stack

Hence, in this life we shall attain nothing like perfect humility and love. So we shall have to settle, respecting most of our problems, for a very gradual progress, punctuated sometimes by heavy setbacks. Our oldtime attitude of all or nothing will have to be abandoned. Grapevine 1962

So as usual, God has an interesting way of teaching me a good lesson in humility.

Something I did recently, with no harm intended, triggered a domino effect of major proportions. This has served as a reminder to me that a desire for control will sometimes present itself in the most creative ways. And sadly, an issue that could have been solved in a quiet and kind way, ended up bruising my ego and yes I admit, my heart.

I am surviving this by remembering what an old friend taught me years ago. I need to keep my spoon in my own bowl. It is a hard thing to do but truly I think, therein lies the secret to serenity.

When I have my spoon in my own bowl, I cannot pay attention to what is going on in other people’s bowls. Minding my own business becomes easier. It helps me set boundaries and parameters that keep my head in line with my heart. I remind myself, “What other folks do, or think of me is really none of my business.” My own mental health becomes a number one priority.

Bowl SingleYears ago, I had a terrible falling out with a close friend. She was under a lot of stress and one day, called to read me the riot act for a good 5-10 minutes over something I did. During the course of the conversation, she continued to berate me even though I apologized several times. I almost hung up on her but out of respect for our long friendship, I held on until the end.

It took a week or two but I sent her a card. I thanked her for her honesty. I tried to think of that note as act of humility, not a humiliating act.

Our friendship suffered greatly because of this incident. Eventually, I let go of the pain. I didn’t spread any gossip nor did I try and get other friends to take sides. That would have been the easy road. I could have avoided our whole group of friends so I wouldn’t see her. But I was not about to give up my other friends because of what had happened. I continued to show up at get togethers. I just kept my distance from my old friend.

Years later, it was she who reached out to repair our relationship. I welcomed her with open arms. We are dear friends again and I would do just about anything for her.

While driving home today a thought crossed my mind. Could my own humility be a God lesson to someone else? Is it possible that in my own self centeredness, I fail to stop and consider what someone else might learn in a challenging situation? Who knows? I try not to really think about it because after all, my spoon is in my own bowl.

Bowl Multiples with Red Vase

(all photos by me and my lovely Android cell phone!)

How do you practice humility?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Good Golly, Miss Molly!

Miss Molly, Photo by my daughter, Michelen
Meet Miss Molly! All photos by my daughter, Michelene

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Who’s big, shiny black and carries a big stick? Why it’s my daughter’s new puppy, Miss Molly!

She’s a Great Dane, just a little under one year old and even in couple of months, has grown larger almost right before our eyes. You can tell by the pictures, I’m sure, that she is quite the happy girl.

I knew a Great Dane years ago, when I dated a young Italian who had one. That was long ago and though the memory is faded, I knew Danes to be loving and gentle dogs. That didn’t stop me from being a tad bit scared the first time I met Molly. But that quickly faded as I saw how sweet and sincere she is.

My daughter is Molly’s third owner in her small life. When Michelene told me that I said, “Well, you have to keep her now.” And Michelene agreed. It’s a done deal. Molly is a member of the family.

Molly loves to play fetch in the basement with balls. Intially, she would not go downstairs because her second owner kept her in a basement all the time. 🙁 Michelene was very patient and encouraging with Molly to help her overcome this. She placed dog treats on each step leading down to the basement, and gradually Molly overcame her own fears.

With my daughter’s large yard and property, Molly has plenty of room to run and play. My own pup, Miss Jordan, was initially petrified of Molly but that didn’t last long. They are bosom buddies, often romping in the back yard of Michelene’s house together.

Molly eats two pounds of dog food a day and drinks a LOT of water. She has a special dog/water food combo dish that is elevated off the ground due to her height.

She loves to look out the window at everyone and everything!

How much is that puppy in the window?
How much is that puppy in the window?

I think we know deep down that Molly is an example of how you can be moved around, not sure where you are going, but end up exactly where you are supposed to be. There will always be someone who will love us exactly the way we are. We love Molly for who she is and the potential for what she can become. She is a beautiful dog, inside and out.

Cathching a few Zzzzz!
Catching a few Zzzzz!

Here’s to many good years ahead! We are blessed and lucky to have Molly as a part of our family!

Who is a blessing in your life?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Egg-actly Wonderful!

Photo Courtesy of Sunday Child
All Photos Courtesy of Sunday’s Child

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
― Julia Child

I have a confession to make. When my husband wanted to raise chickens a few years ago, I was not in favor of it.

Yes, it’s true. I pictured my grandfather’s chicken coop, messy and scary with cackling chickens all around my feet, just scaring the beeswax out of me.

Well, here I am all these years later, admitting the truth. I love fresh eggs. Jim and our daughter Michelene have kept their word and they’ve taken good care of the chickens, all without any responsibility on my part. That was the other thing I was wary of. That the care of the chickens would become my responsibility.

Nothing of the sort has happened. And in the meantime the delicious yellow yolks, bright as sunshine, coupled with the delicate white have graced our table many times. In any way shape or form, the eggs are delicious. Scrambled or sunny side up with a side of toast, or cracked into the latest cake, those eggs have become a part of our lives.

Now some of you know I have been blessed to have a blogger friend on the west coast, Sunday’s Child. She began her own love affair with chickens last year! She has an awesome coop and has just embraced the whole chicken raising thing, chick and caboodle.

Daffodils and the EggRecently, Ms. Child began to place her light brown or green eggs amongst her pitcher collection or in other very creative places and snap beautiful artistic pictures. The juxtapositioning of the eggs! The beauty of the pitchers! The sunny yellow of the daffodils! My oh my, my heart was singing!

I casually mentioned to Ms. Child that she ought to consider a coffee table book with those spectacular pictures, alongside say some great egg stories and perhaps some yummy egg recipes. At first she said, “Haha, funny, yes, you and I would be the only ones buying the book!”

But then her friends started to tell her the same thing. I sent her an email and she said someone had mentioned the coffee table book idea to her right before I did. (I think there are no coincidences!)

So we are exploring this idea of an artistic, yet country style EGG BOOK. What do you think? Are you an egg lover yourself? Do you have an inspiring egg story to share? Better yet, do you have an original or favorite egg recipe that you’ve made for years? Believe me the simplier the better. I love easy recipes.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us. If you want to email me privately at katherinesdaughter@gmail.com, that’s fine. If not, leave a comment below and I’ll know egg-actly how you feel!

Elephant and the Egg

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Crimson Awareness

Morning Sun on my Trees
Crimon Kissed Trees

“The earth has music for those who listen.”
― George Santayana

I walked Miss Jordan outside the other morning just as the sun was starting to come up over the horizon. As the snow crunched beneath my feet, we made our way to her favorite spot.

Without thinking I turned around. And as I did, I caught a glimpse of barren trees at the other end of my yard, lit up like an orange flame. I clipped Jordan to her run and slowly looked up.

It was as if God lifted his paint brush and stroked those bare branches in the most beautiful shade of crimson. How long has this been going on, I wondered? How could I have never noticed this before? Was this the first time this ever happened in my presence? It is doubtful.

I ran back inside to get my camera and thankfully, the crimson light stayed long enough for me to capture a picture. It fascinated me, this snapshot of magestic color against the starkness of winter brown.

How many truly beautiful things do I miss because I am distracted or just not paying attention? I have to wonder. If I slowed down just a little more each day, became alittle less self centered, what would I notice?

There are of course, things I do notice. Slight things. My husband’s smile or the way his hair is slightly ruffled up in the morning. My grandson’s change in his voice lately, the deepening of it and the realization that he is no longer a kid but a young man.

DSC_0195The simplicity of the vibrant cardinals in my backyard, eating lunch at my birdfeeder. My mom’s healthy look as of late, compared to how sick she was last year.

What I am trying to be most aware of is the beauty that still abounds even in this frigid weather we are having. Like the crimson trees.

If I take the time to slow down and smell the winter, what else would I see? I think it’s time to find out.

What will you notice today?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

My Word of the Year

IMG_0055

It was an exciting moment. We were all gathered together. The occasion? The yearly gifting of our word of the year.

After the coffee was poured and Amy’s pizzelles were delightfully sampled, Nicole passed around her pretty basket filled with handmade bookmarks. On each of those treasures was a quotation reflective of the word.

Here was my quote: “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda

Well, what can I say? The quote was perfect for me. The holidays always spark excitement as well as exhaustion for me, as I try and cover all those responsibility bases. I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed and at that moment, I gave myself permission. I breathed in deeply and said, just enjoy it.

I turned the bookmark over and lucky me, there were actually two words. Self- care and Happiness. Wow, I couldn’t have said it any better.

My friends and I are always of the feeling that we get the word we are supposed to for a reason. Now I have had some unexplainable words given to me over the years but it has been uncanny how they easily become my theme for the year.

So here’s to self care and happiness in 2014. Not surprisingly, I received an email shortly after given this word and received my first client of the new year! A wedding to be held in June of 2014!

So here’s your challenge. Pick a word for yourself that can be your word of the year. Keep that word in the back of your mind and read about it. Study it just a bit. Make it part of your mantra. You will be surprised how it will keep you motivated!

My friend over at Sunday’s Child wrote a great post about her word of the year! For more inspiration click HERE.

I wish you a happy and healthy new year in 2014! Blessings!

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Adventures in Sled Riding

My grandson Gavin and nephew Colin
My grandson Gavin and nephew Colin

When I was a young girl, I lived in a neighborhood that had lots of kids to play with. I had two younger sisters and we were always outside. In the winter my friends, sisters and I loved to sled ride. We had those beautiful old wooden sleds with the steering mechanisms in front that you moved with your feet. We would bundle up in many layers and continued to sled even when our feet and fingers were stone cold. 

Once we were at Suzi’s house and she had a steep drop off at the edge of her lawn. I was always careful but Suzi was a bit of a daredevil. One day she was flying down her hill and launched right off that edge and disappeared. It was a tense moment. I don’t remember fire engines or anything like that; I think everything was ok but whew, that was a scary moment.

Jim and I have a great hill next to our house that is a beauty for sled riding. When my kids were little they loved to grab their saucer shaped plastic riding gear and start at the top. Once, I went outside to check on them and see how it was going. They were flying down the hill as my husband and brother in law watched close by. I think my jaw dropped when I saw the sheer speed with which they flew by. I began to object and here is what Jim said: Honey, go back in the house.

Gavin in the big snow a few years ago!
Gavin in the big snow a few years ago!

So now my grandson, his cousins and my niece are the next generation of sled riders. The equipment is alittle faster and quite fabulous. Great big plastic sleds with handles on the sides, snow boards, and still those brightly colored saucers. It’s all great fun for them.

At my age, I’m into the hot chocolate. When I can tell the kids are getting tired, I will whip them up a batch of hot milk and Hershey’s syrup with mini marshmallows. I have it simmering on the stove when they walk in. There is just something special about a mug of cocoa after a cold bout of sled riding.

Any snowy sled riding memories you want to share?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Make A Joyful Noise

DSC_0195

Beside them the birds of heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. Psalm 104:12

The holiday season is upon us and though it seems the nature world is quiet, it is really not. Birds are still singing and deer are crunching along on the snow covered spots in my backyard.

I’m not a big fan of winter but this year it doesn’t seem to be bothering me. After the past few years of hot flashes, the coldness is a welcome relief and my sleep has been deep and comforting. This is something to be thankful for.

I bought a big bag of birdseed and when it snowed last week, I fed the birds from my backyard feeder. They put on a show for me and I am comforted by their presence. I think their colors are a beautiful backdrop to white snow.

DSC_0666Something interesting happened on Monday. I am reading a book that I will be reviewing, and it mentioned sending an “intention” out (more on this when I write the actual review!). So I did. I don’t even remember what the intention was, but it had something to do with my wedding planning business.

That night, I had a dream about a bride and a wedding. I did not recognize the bride but she was lovely. In the dream I was a part of her wedding. The next day (I kid you not) I received an email from a young woman, asking me to assist her with her wedding.

I have no idea if it was the intention or the timing or maybe a little bit of both. Perhaps it is just faith. I am approaching this business, my event planning business, from an entirely new position. Years ago, I was fairly aggressive when I was self employed. Things were good; I was successful and happy. This time, I am determined not to be a bothersome pest. I believe that if someone needs me, God will put me in their path.

JOYLast Christmas, you may remember that I received a word at a gathering of friends. That word was JOY. I have to tell you, it has been a joyous year despite many challenges, including my mother’s illness and my departure from full time employment. I kept JOY in mind all the year through and I am grateful for the many blessings I have received.

I hope you are living joyfully! How have you been?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

What I Am Grateful For

Pine Trees Winter 2013
Pine Trees Winter 2013

Here it is- the first big snow of the season. Today is Thanksgiving in the USA and the Northeast is in the grips of some pretty cold weather. Thankfully, I am not traveling. I am the chef du jour, making most of the gratitude dinner with a little help from my friends.

My mom has been with me for a few days. I gave her a lecture a month or so ago about snow. If we are expecting any big accumulations I said, you have to come over. She didn’t argue with me when I told her Monday morning I was coming to pick her up.

So she and I have been spending some quality time together. I decided to put up my Christmas tree on Tuesday because I had a whole free day (and it snowed all day!) and those little lights just bring a lift to my heart. The nativity set went underneath right away. I have to keep in mind the reason for the season.

Region 1 DVD cover
Region 1 DVD cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We indulged in a whole recliner session of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It occurred to me how Rudolph was bullied- no playing with the others in reindeer games, all because of that red nose. I seriously shed a tear when the program was over and Santa said “Merry Christmas!” from his sky high sleigh.

So as I think about Thanksgiving, there are many things I have to be grateful for. I wanted to share my list with you and I’d love if you’d leave a comment and tell me what you’re most grateful for.

1. Family- Where would I be without them? My husband Jim, my kids Michelene and John, my grandson Gavin, Gavin’s dad Jonathan, my mom Katherine, sisters Mary and Cally and their beautiful partners Starr and Raymond. Jim’s family and both our extended families. My beautiful yellow lab Jordan. They are my greatest treasures.

2. Friends- Oh they have seen me through some troubling times. As has my family but my closest friends are privy to my thoughts, words and deeds of high and low. I owe my salvation to my recovery friends and their infinite wisdom on life and teachings on practicing these principles in all my affairs.

3. Faith- Deep as the ocean, infinite as the sky, my love for God only grows and grows each day. I realize how walking a spiritual path has changed everything. It makes me understand that I am not in control and God is.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you are alone, give me or a close friend of yours a call. We should all be together on Thanksgiving.

I wish you a happy Thanksgiving of great blessings! Tell me, what are you grateful for?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

I Love What You Are Doing

Beautiful Things Grow from Fertile Ground
Beautiful Things Grow from Fertile Ground

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

I made a couple of small speeches over the weekend. Nothing big. I had prepared for them, written them myself and got through both events with a little help from above.

Apparently my words touched a few people because I got some really good, squeezy hugs from my friends. And one of my dearest friends actually crossed a room to get to me. He made my day when he told me how much what I said meant to him.

I can sometimes tell exactly where people are in their mental and emotional state just by how many compliments they give. People who are not in a good place will likely not give compliments. How do I know this? I was one of those people.

When I was jealous, I did not give compliments. When I was stressed and overworked, I did not want to see someone else full of spirituality and grace. This actually would tick me off. How dare they be in such a good place when my life was such a challenge?

What I realized is the path into the light includes compliments. You just can’t get around it. When I look at others through my spiritual lenses, they are a child of God. I see their attributes, not necessarily their faults. If I see their faults, they are masked by the person’s own hidden potential.

And so I compliment. Nothing phony. The real thing. You look lovely today. I love what you are doing- you are an instrument of God’s great love. When I say it I mean it.

And, I try and be a good compliment taker. In other words, when you compliment me I will hopefully say thank you. I will smile at you. You will probably make my day.

What kind of person do I want to be? I want to be the kind of person who is happy for others. For what they have accomplished and what they feel good about. I want to take those good points and bring them out into the light. There they will gather speed and bring more good light into the world.

“You are the Light of the World” Matthew 4: 14-16

(Pay a compliment to someone today!)

How do you feel about compliments? How do you feel when someone compliments you?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

A Day of Whimsy

Whimsy DoorIt was a beautiful fall day. The leaves on the trees were yellow gold with an occasional crimson, perfect for a ride in the country. The air was brisk, chilly and just a bit windy.

My son John and I had decided to spend the day together. He had a job to do in Harmony, Pennsylvania and I thought it was a good opportunity for some exploration. I’m hunting for a new kitchen table, since I gave my daughter ours for her new place. So my thinking was to look for a used furniture store. I ended up finding so much more.

Whimsy Road SignOn the way to the job site, I noticed a sign for antiques. Thinking of the potential for hidden treasures, I doubled back after dropping my son off. I got lost for about five minutes then turned around, unwilling to give up. Soon I was pulling into the parking lot of a quaint looking shop.

As I walked up the steps, the red entry door blew open. Now it was a windy day but the timing on that was a bit mysterious! As I entered the shop, I felt as if I stepped back in time. Beautiful furniture, jewelry and knickknacks from the past were lovingly displayed within two large rooms. For a moment I was back in my grandmother’s house among her hostess trays, serving pieces and water glasses.

Silver Set Whimsy AntiquesWhat an interesting place “Whimsy Antiques” is. Sue the owner, is a retired art teacher of thirty five years who has a special eye for unique treasures. She does shows all across the country but I was lucky enough to visit the shop while she was in town.

We chatted for a bit and then I left Sue to wander around. Soon my eye fell upon a quilt. Not just any quilt. An OLD quilt.

Quilt from WhimsyI examined the fabric. Some of the material reminded me of my grandfather’s old suits, warm and woolen. There were also beautiful dark blue corduroy and camel colored strips. The backing fabric was a soft blue, weathered with time. My thought was, back then nothing was wasted. When clothes became too tattered to wear, the best parts were saved and sewn into quilts. There were even little tufts of yarn (or wool) in a sunny color, randomly spaced. The price tag said the quilt was from the early 1900’s.

Of course I was instantly smitten and thought I am really in trouble now, because I looked at the price tag and didn’t think I could justify it. But then, November is my birthday month and it was November first. 🙂

So slowly, I began to wonder if I could acquire this wonderful quilt. Sue noticed my interest and we negotiated. Let’s just say she was very fair. In exchange for her kindness, I offered to share this story with you.

Yes, she has old KEYS too!
Yes, she has old KEYS too!

So now, when I visit Harmony, PA. I have a new friend to stop and see. I hope that if you are in the Butler County area, you will take the road less traveled to this lovely graceful place.

Oh and I showed the quilt to Jim. He absolutely LOVED it.

Did you ever find something you just had to have? Tell me about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015