Monday, October 31, 2011

In a Space of Gratitude

Great is your mercy towards me
Your loving kindness for me
Your tender mercy I see
Day after day!

Forever faithful towards me
Always providing for me
Great is your mercy towards me
Great is your Grace!

I heard this song for the first time yesterday morning while doing my daily bible study at  This song, sung by Donnie McClurkin & choir from the album "Live in London and More", simply yet beautifully expresses the humbling gratitude I feel each and every day.  Here's the video. 


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Motherhood – The Sequel

Being a grandmother is the best!  She screams and runs through the house and its music to my ears.  She spills juice on my new rug and it adorable.  Why is it that all the things that kept me in a perpetual frenzy when raising my own children I now find funny, adorable and even exciting when my granddaughter, Lyric spends the weekend with me?

Lyric is 2 years-old and a continual ball of energy.  She is constantly running from one end of the house to the other.  She yanks on the patio blinds, plays with the buttons on the water cooler draining my bottled water all over the kitchen floor and it’s entertaining to me.  In her little eyes everything is new and exciting to be explored; and that she does, often with reckless abandon! 

One thing about my little Lyric is obvious; she was given the right name because she sings and dances and plays her little keyboard all day long. 

Getting Lyric to take a nap is near impossible and when she does doze off, her naps only last twenty to thirty minutes.  This is barely enough time for me to restore the living room that she’s completely disassembled, back to order.  Yet, having her spend weekends with me gives me such joy. 

There is something so special about being a grandparent.  You have the benefits of loving up these wonderful little beings without the 24 hour a day, 365 days a year RESPONSIBILITY.  There are no parental stresses or expectations, just a lot of hugs and kisses, cookies and ice cream and unconditional love. 

While I am truly enjoying this sequel to motherhood, three days is about as much as I can endure before I’m completely worn out and the cuteness of all her antics begin to wear out.  At that time, I pack my little angel and her toys up in the car and take her home!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing: Renewal

I am an avid list maker.  I make lists for practically everything I do.  I started this behavior years ago when I felt overwhelmed by so many responsibilities.  With working full time, going to school and taking care of two small children I would constantly forget things and felt as though I weren’t accomplishing much.  By taking ten minutes each evening to make a list of all the things I needed to do for the next day, I found list making to be my saving grace.  I also realized that by having a list and being able to cross things off as I completed them proved that I really was getting a lot done!  Even if I didn’t complete everything, having items marked off on the list gave me a sense of accomplishment.

Today I chose to make a different list.  Instead of charting an abundance of tasks like picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping or paying bills, I list the things that I want to do for myself; for relaxation and renewal.   I encourage you to take time out for yourself.  Replenish your heart and soul and renew you mind.  Namaste~
Dar’s Renew Day List:
ü  Sip tea while enjoying nature:  Watch the breeze blow through the trees; listen to the birds, breath fresh air.

ü  Meditate:  Quit moments of listening to the sounds of my breath. Clear my mind of all thoughts.  Be still.

ü  Find a nice little bistro with outdoor seating to have lunch.  Try something different on the menu.

ü  Write a hand written note or letter to someone.  Send a get-well or encouragement card to someone in need. Reconnect with a friend or loved ones far away.

ü  Explore a thrift store.  Look for hidden treasures.

ü  Find a new nail polish (a color I wouldn’t normally choose) paint my nails.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doing Something Different

I love cookbooks.  I collect them from a few of my favorite chefs as well as a few cooking magazines.  When Martha Stewart launched her Everyday Food magazine, I was determined to update my routine menu with new and exciting cuisine.  It never happened.  While I would pull out my cookbooks during the holidays for new inspiration, I neglected to totally transform my ‘everyday meals’ as I’d plan when I began investing in this magazine.

This morning I felt inspired. I had this insatiable desire to do, see, or eat something different.  So, I set out with the task at hand to put my collection of forty-plus Everyday Food magazines to use.  The first magazine I’d picked up had a sticky note posted on one of the pages.  Flipping to the marked page, I found what I was looking for, “Sweet Potato Biscuits”. 
Baking has never been my forte as it requires too much precision; precise measurements are essential in baking for accurate results.  I’m more of a ‘free-style’ cook.  I flow with the rhythm of what feels right and arouses my taste buds.  However, this recipe didn’t require a lot of ingredients –all of which I had on hand and there weren’t a lot of steps to take to get to the finished product.
As I completed the preparation and slipped the pan of biscuits in the oven with a sense of accomplishment, I turned to notice that my kitchen was in complete shambles.  Flower was everywhere and the sink was overflowing with dirty dishes.  I set the timer for 24 minutes and commenced to cleaning up.  By the time I’d finished cleaning and had made a pot of coffee the aroma of butter and sweet potato wafted throughout the house and my biscuits were done!

Ok, so they aren’t the prettiest biscuits I’ve ever seen, but they were truly delish!

In the photo in the magazine you can see how these biscuits should look—light and fluffy as they should rise.  Mine did not rise as much (I may have added too much of the sweet potato puree), but they were still quite tasty.
So, I’ll practice this recipe until I’ve mastered it and hopefully I’ll be serving sweet potato biscuits on Christmas day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

“This year I will plant many things that will grow. I shall reap extensively form my harvest.”

When I wrote this statement in my journal back in December 2005, it was my intention to plant a garden in my backyard in the spring.  I never got to plant that garden, but as I look back through my journal and reflect upon that past six years of my life, I can see the yield of so many mental, spiritual and emotional seeds that were planted have harvested.

As a mother, I did my best to instill life sustaining morals and values into my children.  At times I thought that they would never see the light, but continue to rebel against anything that I tried to teach them through my words or actions.  Now that they are living on their own, I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor revealed through their choices.
I have also been able to see great growth within myself.  By journaling for so many years I am afforded the benefit of holding a mirror to myself.  Oftentimes, what was reflected back to me was not easy to look at or acknowledge.  But I have learned to be honest—if with no one else—to myself.  This is the first step in changing the behaviors that are not productive in your life.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”  This is a quote I once read in a Wayne Dyer book.  Basically, this means that if you don’t like what is happening in your life (job, relationship, environment) you should do something different. Change your game plan.  Make another choice.
All in all, I am grateful for the wisdom to see myself and to be open to change.  And as I look back over the past several years up to the present day, I am grateful for the mental, spiritual and emotional growth because this harvest has been more beneficial than I could have ever imagined possible.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Life for Dar

Quiet…  For me this is such a beautiful word. For the first time in my adult life I am living alone and I-LOVE-IT! 
Throughout high school I had a plan to graduate, join the Air Force, travel the world, and maybe, someday…get married.  However, by the time I graduated I was already a single mother and soon after there’d be other titles that would come into play: wife, once again a new mother--this time with twins, divorce’, single parent and all while trying to excel at work, have a social life and still hold on to some of my dreams and desires. 
Needless to say, my initial goals fell through the cracks and were buried under mounds of laundry, PTA meetings, little league sports, and the cruelty of petulant kids, an un-involved ex-husband and rebellious teenagers! (Long exasperating sigh)
But I digress… (Slightly)
Deep, deep down inside I was and am still that girl with a strong longing for independence and adventure.  Now, there is light at the end of the tunnel and no, it is not an oncoming train!  My boys have all left the nest to live out their own dreams and goals.
Now, I am living in my own space and while it has been a long desired dream of mine, it is also—much to my surprise—taking some getting used to.  On most days I can sit in my living room, now devoid of sweaty athletic shoes, musical instruments, and sports magazines—and sit in silence while sipping a cup of Zen tea and thumbing through a magazine! 
But there are times when I do miss my boys and I get a bit lonesome for the sound of their laughter, or the energy buzzing through the house when they would have friends over to play video games.  I miss our family vacations taken each year on the twins’ birthday.  Or the impromptu family road trip where we would stumble upon some random destination and immerse ourselves in the local food and culture. 
And while I do admit that it has taken a minute for me to get my footing, I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to rediscovering myself and setting new goals while I am on this exciting new journey!
Namaste’ (The Spirit in me honors the Spirit in you)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Detox Update: Taking the responsibility of my health into my own hands

The detoxification that I started along with this blog lasted 5 days. This was an eye opening experience for me. My detox consisted of daily juicing of fruits and vegetables and one full meal per day of salad with veggies and a protein of either nuts, chicken breast or a boiled egg.

My quest to detox was inspired by a documentary I watched through ‘Netflix instant view’ entitled: “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” By Joe Cross.

The film follows Joe, who is from Australia as he travels across America exploring why obesity in the United States has become an epidemic. The main message that I got from the film was how Joe Cross was able to heal his body from disease and be weaned off his medicines by changing his diet to mainly fruits, vegetables, and beans, along with exercise.

As I began my detox I found that the first day was surprisingly easy. However, as the week progressed, I began to experiencing positive and negative side effects. On one hand my thinking was clearer and I felt calmer and lighter as my stomach began to flatten as the waste left my body. But there was also a few days where I had headaches, blemishes on my face and a feelings of lethargy where I could do no more than go from the bed to the sofa to lie down.

All in all, after a week of detoxing, my energy level is up, my appetite is down and the nagging ache that I had in my left knee has vanished. I am planning on doing a reboot detoxification next month as a part of my new regiment.

NOTE: it is stressed through this documentary that you seek the advice of your physician before starting any detoxification, fasting or weight loss program.