Monthly Archives: November 2013

Perspective

I’ve been avoiding writing lately.  Oh, I’ve got plenty of “material” roaming around in this ol’ noggin of mine, there’s never a lack of reflective or contemplative thoughts to share, it’s just that I haven’t felt especially inspired or able to really formulate any of it into words for using my “outside voice.”  And I still don’t, but I wanted to share a little story with you about perspective.  The perspective of gratitude.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a bit cliche’ to talk about gratitude while we’re having our Thanksgiving holiday here in the states, but so what?  So what if it’s a particular holiday that springs up a certain way of thinking?  And regardless of ones views or opinions about what Thanksgiving is really all about (where it originated or to whom it is that we are to express our thanks to etc.), isn’t the idea of giving thanks still of value?  And isn’t it better to have a season or a holiday where our awareness of gratitude is a bit heightened, than to not have one at all?  Obviously it goes without saying that we should live our entire lives (all year round) in a continual attitude of gratitude.  But sometimes things are going on in our lives that get us caught up, and we lose that perspective of gratitude.  Because after all… life can be really, really difficult at times can’t it?

Here I am in my own world, living each day, doing my thing, going about my business, dealing with my own set of various struggles and difficulties, and doing my best to live in such a way that brings love and light into the lives of others.  But sometimes I get “caught up” in all the things I have to do, and sometimes I become resentful of all the things I have to do.  I never used to get like this.  Honestly, I lived in a little joy bubble, lalalalalala.  But now I have pain.  Pain has invaded my little joy bubble, and now, anything that I have to do that requires any considerable amount of walking or standing, brings excruciating pain to my knees.  I have to do a lot of planning ahead and prioritizing, and I have to pace myself as to not to overdo it or I’ll be paying for it dearly for days afterward.  But sometimes there’s simply a lot of shtuff that needs doing all at once, and because I have other people depending on me to do all that shtuff, I have no choice but to take care of it.  This is always a very busy time of the year for me, we have family birthdays going on, not to mention the holidays and everything that comes along with them, in addition to the regular every day things pressing in as well.

This story begins at the grocery store…

First let me mention that I HATE the grocery store.  Not all grocery stores, I don’t mind going to the smaller markets and the local co-op, but the big warehouse type of grocery stores… = hate.  I always have, even before I had any knee pain.  It may sound sort of strange, but sometimes I actually used to have to do a little bit of mental preparation before going in.  I’d breathe deeply and determine within myself not to let the other shoppers’ vibes affect my mood.  I’ve always been sensitive to peoples vibes, but shopper peoples’ vibes are the worst.  Seriously, they can be so rude.  Sometimes I’d play a little game and purposely go out of my way to be extra kind, especially to the really crabby people (a little kindness can go a long way), but then someone would ram into my heel or nearly run down my daughter with their cart, and then it was game over!

Well, I needed to go to the warehouse type of grocery store the other day to go shopping for our food for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mom and my daughter came along and surprisingly, we had an enjoyable time of selecting our turkey and other fixings for our meal.  It was early in the day so there weren’t many people there, no one ramming our heels or running us down with their carts.   😉  We came across an elderly gentleman and I made a bit of small talk with him and teased around with him about us being in each others way in front of the lettuce.  My mom and I were both in tears after leaving him because he made us think of my dad.  The holidays are especially difficult when missing a loved one.  😦   We also “played” around a bit with an elderly woman who was riding in one of those scooters for the disabled.  Those scooters are such a wonderful idea.  Kudos to whoever thought up the idea of providing them for customers at those larger stores.  In fact, this whole story may could have been avoided if I had used one of those scooters myself.  I have used them a couple of times in the past when I’ve had a lot of shopping to do, but the stores normally only have a few of them available, and I always want to leave them for the people who are more in need than myself.

The problem with our little shopping trip arose when we went to pay for our groceries.  The lines weren’t too long, because as I mentioned, there weren’t many shoppers, but lo and behold the line we got into was a nightmare.  A nightmare for people who have pain when standing for long periods, anyway.  There was only one woman in line ahead of us, and she didn’t have many items, so we thought it would be semi quick.  We weren’t in a hurry, but like I said, it’s painful for me to stand in one place for very long, so in that respect we were in a “hurry.”  Well, I don’t know what was going on, but this woman was taking for-fricking-ever.  Seemed like it anyway.  I had to leave my mom and daughter and squeeze out of line to go and find a place to sit down nearby because the pain became so unbearable.  I don’t know how long I had been standing there prior to my going to sit down, but I sat on that bench for at least another 10 or 15 minutes before my mom and daughter came up.  How one woman, with barely any items, can take over 20 minutes to check out her groceries was beyond me.

I was feeling pretty annoyed, but of course once I was sitting down I felt better because I was no longer in pain.  And as I sat there I began contemplating about whether or not I am a patient person.  I strive to be, and I think I generally am, but am I patient while I’m in pain?  Nope, definitely not.  Am I kind?  Yes, definitely.  But am I kind while I’m in pain?  Well… I’m still able to be polite.

As I sat there contemplating whether or not I’m a patient and kind person, I was also thinking about how much it sucks to be in pain and how embarrassing it is to have to go and sit down because I can’t even stand in a line for 5 minutes.  That train of thought led to thinking about all of the other woes in my life, and as I became aware of that, I stopped myself.  I began a different inner dialog that went something like this… “Gosh, ya know, I’m thankful I even have the money to buy this Thanksgiving dinner”  many people don’t.  And then “I’m thankful I have my little family to share it with” many people don’t.  And on it went, more thoughts poured in about how incredibly fortunate I am, and all the things I have to be grateful for.  It completely shifted my perspective.  Even to the point of feeling genuine compassion in place of annoyance toward that unbearably slow woman in line.  God only knows what her situation is in life.  Here I had my mom and daughter shopping with me, while this woman was alone.  Maybe she is even all alone in this world.  😦

As I sit writing this, smelling the delicious aroma of the food we bought that day wafting up to my room, I’m saying a quiet prayer for that woman, hoping that she isn’t all alone, that she has someone to share this day, and all of her days with.  And I’m thinking about all of the other people in the world who may be alone, or hungry, or cold, with compassion and with profound gratitude that I am not.

Peace & Love…

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Sunrise Through a Forest Made of Frost

It was such a beautiful, crisp sunrise this morning.  ♥  I loved how the frost on my bedroom window looked like trees springing up in a wintry forest…

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Stay cozy!

Peace & Love…

Leaf Shadows

 

Leafy shadows dance upon my wall

flickering shades of gray enthrall

inducing thoughts and none at all.

 © Julie Rehnelt 2013

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Gratitude

I found this to be so inspiring and powerful, just had to share it…

“Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

This piece includes his short film on Gratitude and Happiness. Brother David Steindl-Rast’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions and Louie’s cinematography make this a stunningly beautiful piece, reminding us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.”

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Peace & love…

Herbal Adventures

For many years I have believed in the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of herbs, and I rather like/prefer the idea of using natural remedies as a way to promote health and wellness.

One herb in particular that I know I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions how much I love is lavender.  Although it is said to have oodles of healing benefits, I just love it for the scent and the color of it, and for the way it makes me feel.  ♥   Yeah, no scientific studies or research by “experts” needs to be done on lavender to prove to me that it helps calm and soothe the senses.  Mmm…

But aside from lavender there are many other herbs that provide equally beneficial healing properties for a wide range of ailments, not to mention culinary pleasures as well.  I know I’m a bit of a nature freak, but seriously how cool is it that everything we could possibly need for health and wellness in life can be found somewhere on this beautiful earth of ours?

Unfortunately, a lot of the age-old knowledge for natural remedies has gotten a bit lost in this era of “modern” medicine.  But herbal medicine is making a comeback, albeit as an “alternative” type of therapy.  The thing with herbalism is that it  works best when practiced holistically, meaning with the intent to bring healing to the entire body to get at the source of physical and emotional imbalance, rather than just treating the symptoms.  So it often requires one to examine other areas such as diet, lifestyle, and mental attitude, taking into consideration the role that these factors also play in keeping you healthy or contributing to disease.  Plus, it’s a process, in many cases the healing actions of herbs take place over a period of time, so one doesn’t get immediate results like those that can be found in taking a pill.  But the long-term results of herbal medicine is often a much deeper healing, and for many people it’s well worth the wait.

Anyway, the reason I bring all of this up is because I’ve been playing “mad-scientist” here concocting some herbal remedies, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.  There is some degree of caution to take when working with herbs and one cannot go about things completely blind.  There is a science within herbalism just as with anything else, so I’ve been reading up on it quite a bit.  It all started with bringing my herbs inside to try and winter them over, and morphed from there because of my recent health concerns.

I was at the second-hand store last week with my family, and as per usual I ended up in the used books section.  I have a tendency to get lost and completely absorbed amidst the books, so I try to resist wandering over to that part of the store.  😉

I hadn’t been specifically looking for any, but I found a few herb books…

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When I got home I went in search of other herb books that I knew I had packed away somewhere.  Some of which included a huge Atlas of Herbal Medicine, dozens of Herbal Companion Magazines that I had a subscription to years ago, as well as a couple of aromatherapy books.

I’ve been scouring over them all ever since and needless to say, my interest in herbalism has been renewed.  I’m thinking that I might have to force encourage my sister to get back to working on the Master of Herbalism Program that she began a few years ago at the Midwest School of Herbal Studies, so that I can pick her brain, she can be my Obi-Wan Kenobi of all things herbal.   😉

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Peace & love…

The Babies Are Back

The baby squirrels that I shared about this past June in “Amidst My Branches” have come home for the winter!  ♥  Of course, I’m not absolutely certain they’re the same exact squirrels I watched grow up in my tree this past spring, but I’d like to think that they are.

I’ve been having so much fun watching them scamper around on the branches of my tree over the past couple of weeks.  They’re so darn cute gathering up leaves in their tiny little paws, stuffing them into their mouths, and then carrying them off to their hole.  In addition to the hole, they have also fashioned two other nests amidst my tree’s highest branches, it’s a regular treetop apartment complex going on out there.   😉

They’ve been pretty hard to catch though as far as taking any photos of them goes, squirrels preparing for winter is a hasty business, but I have managed to capture a few…

This one is my favorite!

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I took the screen off and hung out of my window to get this one.  Hence the somewhat odd angle…

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This was so cute to watch ~ he would go inside through the front that was carved out and grab a pawful of pumpkin, and then hop up on top and quickly nibble away at it.  Freaking adorable!  ♥

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But seriously, they’re barely sitting still long enough for me to catch a picture.  I can’t even tell you how many shots I took that look like this one…

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There really was a squirrel paused here on this branch just moments before, I swear.  I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.   😉

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Peace & love…

Frosty Autumn Morning

 

One frosty autumn morning, leaves spent and scattered upon the ground

all the earth is quiet, lightly powdered with a wintry white dust.

I walk barefoot upon the icy blades of grass, feeling it crunch beneath my feet

frigid air fills my lungs, invigorating me; exhaling I see my breath.

As nature descends into its winter sleep, my senses ascend, and I awake.

 © Julie Rehnelt 2013

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Then I shiver and go inside to get myself a hot cuppa.  😀

Peace & love…

All Good Things Must Come to an End…

One of those “things” being my garden.

I’ve never really liked that saying, and I don’t even believe it to be true.  Although, I suppose I must concede that there is a beginning as well as an end to all things.  Did I basically just contradict myself there?  Haha!  Oh well, I can say whatever I want.  Okay, let me rephrase… I don’t want to believe that all good things must come to an end.  😉

The entire growing season has been so weird this year, and it’s been hard to plan anything.  It’s November 4th and I’ve still got things growing out there, but with the temps continually dropping and the threat of snow in the forecast for this week, I figured I better get out there and put all of my garden stuff to bed for the winter.

But it’s hard when there’s still life happening out there.  Mainly, it’s my herbs that are still thriving.  They’re so lovely and aromatic, I hate the thought of yanking them out before their time.  I’ve got most of them growing in pots and so I got to thinking maybe I would bring them inside and try to keep them alive over the winter.  I’ve never done that before so it will be an experiment.  I like experiments.  Mwahahaha!  Besides what is there to lose, they would have died out in the cold anyway, at least this way I’m giving them a fighting chance.

There aren’t a lot of suitable spaces inside the house for bringing in a bunch of plants, but I cleared off a ledge along the basement stairway that may work out.  There’s a south facing window that brings in a lot of light, though not direct sunlight, but I don’t think they need direct sunlight when wintering them over.  I actually have no clue about that really, because I must confess that I haven’t read up on it.  At all.  Guess I should do that.  😉

Anyway, yesterday I brought in several of my pots and set them along that ledge.  I may also put up some sort of temporary makeshift shelving too, if I’m feeling particularly industrious later on.  But doing this has got me thinking that if I am able to winter them over and they do happen to survive, I may want to set up something more permanent for this type of thing in the future.

It has also got me thinking that I may need to invest in some more houseplants to enjoy during the winter.  I have a few, but not enough of them to satisfy my need for being around the lush green and growing things.  Oddly, although I have a green thumb in gardening, when it comes to houseplants… not so much, I often inadvertently kill them.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe I won’t be able to keep my herbs alive after all…

But here’s hoping!  😀

I was outside for hours yesterday tending to things in and around my garden.  It was supposed to be nice out, but it got super windy as the day went on, and that wind was blustery and cold.  {{{brrrr}}}

I gave all the plants I was bringing inside a good shaving.  I really hope I didn’t over-do it, they all look so sad now.  😦

My lemon thyme…

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It’s such a sad looking little spud, but I’m going to use its fresh clippings to try out a recipe I found online for lemon thyme bars.  I love lemon!

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And here’s my sad looking chocolate mint…

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I’m going to dry the clippings from this and use them for tea.  I’m also going to dry the clippings I snipped from my peppermint and spearmint plants to use for tea as well.  I do love me some mint tea!  ♥

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Speaking of what I love… I also snipped two of my lavender plants to bring inside, the wonderful aroma was pure bliss!  I really hope they survive.  Gosh I wish lavender would grow as a perennial here…

If this project works out, I maybe consider growing all of my herbs in pots so that I can bring them inside over the winter.  Just look at how lovely the oregano that I planted inside my vegetable garden area still is…

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I considered digging this up yesterday and putting it into a pot so that I could bring it inside too, but I thought that would stress the poor thing out so much that it would be a lost cause anyway.  Besides that ledge in the basement will only fit so many pots as it is at the moment without any shelves.

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I also don’t have enough room to bring in this berries and cream mint that I planted in with my peas…

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But I may go out there and snip some of it so I can dry it out for yet more tea.  😉

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That is, if I can get out there before it snows.  I’m really not ready for snow…

And neither are the trees.  As of the other day when I snapped this photo, you can see that there’s still lots of colorful leaves on the trees…

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Although they may have blown off now with that wind we had yesterday.

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I guess all good things really must come to an end, whether I want to believe it or not.  But you know what?  Life is a endless circle, and so with every ending comes a new beginning.  And with that new beginning, there will most certainly be more “good things” to enjoy.   And I really do believe that.  😀

Peace & love…

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~Gardening is my therapy~

Ablaze


Ignited with brilliant color at autumn’s fiery touch

 impassioned, unrestrained and free

is Sumac set ablaze in the radiant sunlight

 © Julie Rehnelt 2013

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Yes, I love me some adjectives, and some dazzling autumn colors!  😉

Peace & love…