One of my favorite quotes is by J.R.R. Tolkien: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Here I'm giving glimpses of all I am deciding in the time that is given to me. Enjoy! All pictures and posts are mine, thank you! Please ask permission for photo use.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

waking up to snow

On Monday morning, I felt like a little kid again. I woke up to a winter wonderland (despite the fact that it was technically a spring day) and felt my heart leap at the thought of a snow day. Sadly, the American federal government deemed it a work day, and I had to go to work--but not before I captured a few pictures at dawn.

Monday, March 18, 2013

elderberry syrup

A lot of people at work have been sick and have been staying sick. I've avoided the plague by trying to get extra rest when my body tells me it needs it and by eating extra healthy when I can to ensure I'm getting a good mix of vitamins and minerals. I've been drinking a lot of lemon tea lately--and not the kind that's pre-bagged. I basically take a washed, organic lemon, cut it in half and squeeze all of the juice into a mug, then top off with boiling water. That's it! If I'm already sick or if my throat is sore, I'll add in some raw honey. This weekend I added cinnamon and ginger on a particularly cold day since those are spices with warming qualities. I've also been taking probiotics to give my immune system an extra edge (I don't typically do yogurt).

Recently I heard about the benefits of elderberry syrup, and so I bought myself a bottle. Some users say that they take it at the first sign of feeling crummy, and it's supposed to be some sort of wonder tonic. I have yet to test the magical qualities of elderberry syrup, but I sure am glad to have some on hand!

What are your favorite remedies or sickness prevention tactics?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

the journey and wild geese

Many thanks to my friend Wendi for sharing this poem, The Journey, with me. I don't know if it will have as much of an impact on your life as it's having on mine, but regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

While looking up the text for this poem, I found another that resonated deep within me.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things. 

an altar in the world

I'm still only in the introductory section, and I'm hooked!

"The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are."  ~Barbara Brown Taylor

Monday, March 11, 2013

beautiful transition

I am one to embrace change. No, really, I do! I've made huge life-changing decisions in the past, and many of which have taken some courage I usually don't realize I have.

That being said, some transitions are harder than others. I'm going through a lot of personal transition at the moment--discovering new passions, realizing old passions that were forgotten but are screaming to be rekindled, learning so much more about myself than I ever knew, and continuing to work towards simplification and prioritization with many things in my life.

This latest round of transition has been anything but easy, and to top it off, I had a full-blown migraine set in last week and it is just now wrapping up, taking its sweet time to say goodbye.

Time to stop being a hero, in the words of a wise teacher. I went to the doctor today and we have a two-part plan that we both think will be successful in preventing and knocking out my killer headaches in the future. So many people have told me that I need to take care of me. Why do people have to tell me that? Shouldn't there be a "duh" thrown in there somewhere? But that's my M.O. It takes a whole community of friends and family to tell me I need to take care of myself before I do. And then I do, and it's great!

The other headache I have is a metaphorical one. No medicine can cure it, and it's pure anxiety and stress-driven, although some of the anxiety is positive anxiety--the type of excitement generated just as you're about to leap into the wild unknown as you follow your heart or your dreams or whatever you're following at the moment. My own prescription has been seeking support. A close friend and a close family member have been my sounding boards and my guidance counselors, my listeners and advisers. There's nothing better than having loved ones tell you that they've been there, on the brink of disappointing others or on the verge of jumping into some scary unknown space--but they jumped anyway, because in the end it was what they needed for their own life and great change was what resulted from such bravery and gumption.

I love it when people share their wisdom with me or when they share someone else's wisdom with me, and I like to pay it forward when I can. On prioritizing and dealing with personal (and perceived outsider) expectations, I found this article to be truly inspiring. On feeling the universe support me, this video motivated me to change my perspective (thanks, Genevieve!).

Classical music does wonders to calm my mind (and, I know it sounds silly, but Maroon 5's latest album, Overexposed, was such a fun escape during the weekend whenever noise wasn't making it my head throb with searing pain). Even though I'm already a health nut, I'm trying to cut back from sugar and white flours (I'll never go all the way and be without them completely--life is too short!) because I know I've had headaches from consuming too much of them (recent case: I had a piece of birthday cake and 10 minutes later a headache was pounding my brain). I rarely drink coffee anymore, because not only do I get a headache after the caffeine wears out, but the crash also makes me nauseous.

Finally, I bought even more plants to put in my home; these plants are proven air purifiers, and plus they look pretty. I recently read an article titled "The Beauty Imperative" by Satish Kumar. The article talks about how "beauty is a necessity and not a luxury." Human beings require beauty in their lives and surroundings, and human and natural architecture should complement each other, not clash with each other. Nature provides us with an abundance of beauty (as long as we don't destroy it), and I'm trying to also surround myself with things that might not be in the dictionary's definition of "beautiful" but are still beautiful nonetheless, such as appreciation for simple things, friends who bring uncomplicated joy, family members who love each other no matter our differences, and the beauty of dreams realized. Transition might be hard, but when I remember and am reminded of how beautiful it can be on the other side of that transition, it makes it all the more easier to jump.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

snow day

What I did on my snow day today...

Discovered a new blog: The Girl Outdoors

Delighted in the fact that I read an article from my favorite magazine a few weeks ago and had wished it would come true for me...and it did!

Enjoyed yummy treats at my leisure--not in between meetings or at my desk in front of the computer.

Discovered Charlie the Unicorn and laughed quite a bit (thanks, Heather!). I still have the millipede song stuck in my head.

Watched Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I also liked his films The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom.

Embraced bed head and pajamas all day long.

And best of all, I watched it snow!

Monday, March 4, 2013

bamboo and baby wildflowers

I've discovered two new cool things and just had to share!

My first discovery are these unbelievably soft bamboo towels made by Yala. My boyfriend and I found them at Green Roost, the store I first mentioned in an earlier post about Culpeper. They are made from organic cotton and feel like heaven!

My second discovery also involves fun plant transformation. You know those wildflower cards that are already seeded, and they have instructions to plant them and sprouts will grow? I had a few of these lying around--one was from over the Christmas holiday, and others were all the way back from college. I re-potted all of my plants recently, and used some of my leftover soil to experiment and see if those seeded cards really would sprout. Ta da!! The answer is...well, see for yourself below.