Saturday, November 17, 2012

Post Natal Fitness for Mother and Baby




Exercise tips to shed post-pregnancy pounds. 

Having a baby and raising your family changes your life and certainly your body. But does that mean forever? Most women gain around 30 pounds during pregnancy and shed about 20 pounds within the first month after delivery. The last infamous and dreaded 10 pounds can be difficult to get off. While exercise can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight, as well as help you manage the stress and strain of having a new baby in your life, you may wonder how you are going get back into shape and fit exercise into your new life with a baby.
  • First, be patient and gentle with yourself.  Start slowly.
  • Second, get creative.  If you start thinking of exercise as an active lifestyle for you and your baby, you'll be able to do more than you think. 
  • Third, get involved and get support.  Look for mother and baby exercise groups in your area

Some Common Sense Tips for the first 6 weeks:
  • Breathe slowly and deeply when you exercise, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth - this will help you to relax
  • Tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles to help protect your lower back
  • Listen to your body and stop if you have increased vaginal bleeding, feel pain or get shortness of breath
  • Exercise in 10-minute intervals throughout the day
  • Exercise with your baby and enjoy!


Our baby will be four months old this week, so I found this post right on target and worth sharing with you. Please click here to read the entire post written by Deb Paige for blog.gaiam.com.





Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bring Autumn Inside

Master Bedroom

Here are a few easy ways to welcome the fall season in your home:
  • Exchange crisp cotton bedding for cozy flannels with lots of warm layers.
  • Replace summer fruit with pumpkins and gourds as natural decoration.
  • Introduce darker, earthy tones in towels, pillows, and even rugs.
  • Give everything a good cleaning, and re-evaluate your possessions.  Just as nature releases her bounty, it feels good to let go of outdated items (and behaviors).


To read the entire post, written by Cheryl Terrace for blog.gaiam.com, click here.

Image Source: wili_hybrid via flickr.com

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yoga for Bedtime

Please enjoy this relaxing yoga sequence to help you prepare for a wonderful nights sleep.


Monday, November 5, 2012

The Meditation Challenge

I'm taking place in the 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra, which begins today.  I meditate frequently and use a variety of meditation methods and I'm participating in the challenge to increase and enhance my current practice.

Here is an example of a meditation session with Deepak Chopra:



If you are interested in joining the meditation challenge, click here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Try something new for breakfast. This recipe is quick, easy and includes some power packed nutrients.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm Back

It's hard to believe that it's been six months since I took a break from This Holistic Life.  I miss being here.  I took some much needed time off to begin a few new projects, map out the future of This Holistic Life, and spend time with my family.  We have a new precious baby boy and life is grand.

I thank you for your patience and welcome you to stay tuned to the upcoming events.  It's great to be back!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Cleaning!


Hey there Everyone!  We will be taking the month of April off from blogging on This Holistic Life.  It's time to do some spring cleaning and life organizing.  It's all a part of remaining balanced and refreshed.  Thanks for your loyalty over this past year.  It's been amazing growing, learning, and sharing with you.  We challenge you to do some spring cleaning in your own life.  Look around at your environment as well as inside of yourself, then decide what needs a makeover and take action.  We'll see you soon!

-This Holistic Life


Wednesday, March 28, 2012



Hey Everyone!  Please hang in there with us while we make some changes to our site.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tap Into Your Inner Artist



A process of discovery — this is what the creative journey is all about for me. It’s not about processing a vast array of fancy techniques, having an amazing idea, being born with special talents or knowing exactly what you are going to do before you start. Nope. For me, creativity starts with a desire to release something that is usually kept inside — a yearning to express yourself without words and the acknowledgement that it is important to let this thing out. From there, all you truly need is an open and curious mind, trust in yourself and the materials, time and space to create. I know the last two (time and space) often serve as great excuses to not start, but as with anything in life, it’s all about prioritizing. You can make time and space if you choose to prioritize your creative health.

I know it’s easy to believe that only a select group of special people can actually be artists. I used to believe that too. However, I am now thoroughly convinced that all human beings are artists; we were all born with immeasurable amounts of creative potential just waiting to be released. Children tap into their creative powers easily. However, society has a slick way of convincing us that we do not have the skills, talent or ideas needed to follow a creative path. I believe it’s about time we start reclaiming what is naturally ours and activating our creative forces!

If you don’t already have art supplies tucked away somewhere, start by taking a trip to your local art supply store. Enter with an open mind and allow your intuition to guide you to the supplies you are supposed to work with — charcoal, oil pastels, colored pens, paint, clay? What is calling to you? Don’t think too hard. Just gather some supplies and get out of there. The next step is to set aside some creative time (start with an hour) and a space to create (this could simply be your kitchen table).

When you are ready to start, put on some music you love, light a candle and write an intention. Perhaps it’s something like, “I create with ease and joy” or “Creating is nurturing my soul.” Remember this is a process of discovery, so approach it as that. Learn about your new tools by trying them out in different ways. PLAY. Remember, you don’t have to know what you’re doing and it doesn’t have to look “good.” Think of yourself as an explorer in uncharted territory. You are not supposed to know what lies ahead. Can you find joy in simply exploring and playing with color, line and shapes? Again, listen to your intuition as you reach for different tools. How does the pen want to move across the paper? What colors are calling your name? Listen closely and surrender fully. There are no mistakes. There are only new discoveries to be made and a wide-open path leading you back to yourself.



This post was written by Flora Bowley, Painter, Teacher, Author, and Inspirationalist for HealingLifestyles.com.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blueberry Crisp


Ingredients

8 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 can frozen white grape juice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups of oats
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey

Directions

Add lemon peel to water. Mix cornstarch into grape juice. Add blueberries to mixture. Place in bottom of pan. In a separate bowl, combine remaining four ingredients. Crumple on top of fruit mixture. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until lightly brown.


This recipe was provided by Deerfield Spa for HealingLifestyles.com.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lavender Spritz


Makes a great air freshener as well and is a wonderful alternative to the toxic-laden commercial air fresheners that permeate the market and our lives. I use the lavender spritz on carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, the car’s interior, my closet, and even the litter box, to instantly perk up and revive tired and stuffy feeling spaces. The uses of the spritz, like lavender oil itself, really are endless.

Add water to a spray bottle and add lavender (ratio of about 10 drops to a cup).

Depending on your mood and the season, you can make also make a spritz with rosemary, lemon, bergamot, sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, myrrh, or just about any essential oil you find pleasing. If someone in the house is coming down with a cold, try adding eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, or tea tree oil to help ease congestion and open up the nasal passages.

Now simply sit (or lay) back and get ready to breathe in the goodness!



This post was written by Holly K. for HealingLifestyles.com.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Herbal Therapy


Herbal therapy, or Chinese herbs, include Chinese Patent Formulas, Chinese herbal decoctions, Herbal powders, and syrups.  Chinese Patent Formulas are pre-made herbal formulas in tablet or pill form. Chinese herbal decoctions result in "teas" that are known for the strong taste and aroma and involve a lengthy preparation.  Herbal powders can also make tea when mixed with hot water and are easier to prepare.  Syrups are soothing preparations used for sore throats and coughs. Included in herbal therapy are compresses, liniments, plasters, and salves which are preparations used for external application.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Botanical Medicine


Botanical Medicine are plants and substances that come from plants and are used to treat or prevent disease.  Botanical Medicine includes plant parts such as bark, roots, seeds and stems.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chiropractic


Chiropractic, or chiropractic medicine, focuses on the restoration, preservation, and optimization of health by non-invasive, hands on, natural care.  Chiropractic is a complete system of healthcare that primarily manipulates the spine and the framework of the body.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Naturopathy

Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, promotes wellness by identifying unique aspects of each patient, then employing natural therapies that are non-toxic to restore structural, physiological, and psychological balance.   


The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) defines naturopathic medicine as:
"A distinct system of primary health care-an art, science, philosophy, and practice of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles upon which its practice is based. These principles are continually re-examined in the light of scientific advances. The techniques of naturopathic medicine include modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods" (AANP, 1998).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ayurvedic Medicine


Ayurvedic Medicine strives to create harmony between the mind, body, and spirit, making it entirely holistic.  This harmony is believed to prevent illness, treat acute conditions, and contributes to a long, healthy life.  Considered the world's oldest healthcare system, Ayurvedic Medicine is named for the Sanskrit word Ayurveda which means "science of life."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homeopathy


Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, strives to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself by giving highly diluted substances in very small doses.  Used for wellness, prevention, and to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, homeopathy derives its remedies from natural substances that come from minerals, plants, or animals.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Osteopathy




Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, considers the whole body and focuses on preventive care.  A variety of manual approaches and techniques are used in osteopathy to ensure that the normal free flow and actions of the body are being performed.





Monday, March 5, 2012

Traditional Chinese Medicine


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on the cultivation of harmony within our lives as the way to achieve health and well-being.  TCM believes that disharmony leads to collapse, illness, and disease, while harmony leads to sustainability, health, and well-being.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

24-hr Silent Retreat




Step 1: Choose your day

Plan ahead and choose a day that you don’t have to be at the office, or available ‘on call.’ A weekend or regular day off works best.


Step 2: Let others know

Post it on your Facebook page, record a special voicemail message, and setup a vacation email response letting friends, family and colleagues know that you’re unavailable to talk during this time. Make arrangements with your household, particularly your partner and children, so that everyone understands and respects your choice.

Step 3: Set up guidelines for the day

We suggest forgoing media - email, television, texting, etc. for the entire period of your silent retreat. Will you write notes? How will you deal with emergencies? Are gestures or sign language okay? Make a list of your own guidelines for the day and share it with your family so everyone is on board.

Step 4: Consider how you’ll spend the time

Mindful activities like yoga, meditation and journaling are natural choices during a day of silence. Spending time outdoors, or doing a beloved creative activity are also excellent ideas. Will you venture out in public? Or try to stay in solitude? Thinking and planning ahead will make the experience go more smoothly.

Step 5: Reflect

What did you learn about yourself while in silence? What was challenging? What surprised you? Spend the last hour of your day contemplating the experience.



This post was taken from HealingLifestyles.com.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

5 Steps to Happiness


Be grateful


Insofar as our actions and state of mind help shape our own reality, make the choice to identify and celebrate the love and blessings in your life, whether that’s your health, your home, or your neighbor’s child who smiles at you every time you meet.


Consider your surroundings

Sometimes, our lives seem so hectic and out of control that choosing to be happy is an overwhelming prospect. It’s liberating to know and accept that your response to any life challenge is yours, completely, to choose. This includes distancing, or removing yourself completely, from negative people. And while we’re mentioning movement, remember all those studies that have shown the positive effects of exercise on improving mood. Instead of sitting at home worrying or feeling sorry for yourself, take yourself outside for a long walk.

Keep it simple

Happiness isn’t really such a complicated thing. When savored, simple moments—a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter day, listening to music that lifts your spirits on the way to work, a perfect cup of tea before bed—can help shape your outlook. Wealth can purchase a lot of stuff, but happiness really isn’t one of them. 

Put things in perspective

Find a spot where you can look up at the sky. Picture the beautiful blue Earth, suspended in the universe, spinning slowly around the Sun, surrounded by billions of stars and other planets. Suddenly, the argument you had with your sister, or the mean clerk at the market, lose momentum and importance, and are scaled back to what they really are: small blips in the day that have no lasting importance, isolated moments in a world so vast and astounding, that they’re easy to let go of. Which brings us, once again, to consciously making the choice to be happy. It’s up to you. 

Step outside your own drama

Doing something for someone else can be an instant mood-improver. Help a neighbor shovel snow from their driveway, or offer to shop for someone who has a hard time getting around. There are countless opportunities to help others in every community, and the effort doesn’t have to be monumental in its proportions. Simple acts of kindness are often the most rewarding.



This post was written by Debra Bokur.  To read the entire post, click here: HealingLifestyles.com.

Friday, March 2, 2012

6 Easy Ways to Work Healthier

Reduce stress, tension and toxins at work

Most of us spend a third of our lives at work! Make it a place that’s good for you. From improving your ergonomics to reducing eye strain and releasing stress fast, these six tips and solutions can make your corner of the office a healthier place to be.


1. Sit up straight
... on the Balance Ball®, designed by a chiropractor to coax your spine into perfect alignment. Also encourages “active sitting,” meaning you’ll tone core muscles and burn more calories just sitting there! Talk about multi-tasking!



2. See the light 
... and reduce eye strain with proper lighting.  Try an energy saving bulb and a light that swivels to put light right where you need it.



3. Clear the air
... and outsmart allergies, asthma, colds and flu.  Try an air purifier to remove the pollution particles that are most harmful to your health such as bacteria, dust, dander, pollen, smoke, mold and fungus spores.



4. Hydrate often
Adorn your desk with a gleaming, planet-smart style statement and you’ll never go back to plastic. A Stainless Steel Water Bottle lasts nearly forever and won’t absorb tastes or odors. 



5. Unkink your neck and back
... in a flash with stretches and breathing exercises you can do right at your desk.



6. Remain calm
... even when things get crazy.  Try some breathing and focusing exercises to help you reboot quickly.



The original post was written by Arielle Ford.  To read the complete post, click here: blog.gaiam.com.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lentil


Lentils sustain blood sugar balance because of the low glycemic index and complex carbohydrate complex.  
Coming in several varieties, including red split, green and brown, lentils are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which help to lower high cholesterol and insoluble fiber which helps keep the bowel regular.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Brewed Tea Straight from Your Herb Garden


Is your garden over flowing with herbs? Try making tea — whether iced, sun-brewed, or made the old-fashioned way, homemade tea is a wonderful way to add more antioxidants to your day.

Good herbs to try:
  • Basil (lemon basil)
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Orange or Lemon Mint
  • Peppermint
  • Rose Hibs
  • Rosemary
  • Pineapple Sage
  • Lavender
Start with 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves per cup of water. Pick your herbs in the morning. Don’t be afraid to mix and combine herbs. If the scents smell good together they are likely to taste good together too. Mix your herbs with boiling water and steep for 5 minutes, strain. Alternatively, put your herbs into a pitcher with cold water and set outside. Let brew for several hours.

You can add a splash of juice or sparkling water to make it an herbal cocktail. Serve over ice!


This post was written by Melissa Williams for HealingLifestyles.com.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Play Your Mind a Melody: Why Sound & Music Therapy Works


In a nervous-system phenomenon called "brainwave entrainment" music has been shown to successfully lure your brain into wave patterns to reduce stress, enhance concentration and create restful sleep.

Pop in a CD, and you may notice your foot thumping to the beat. But did you know your brain could also be tapping along?

Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, director of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research and a chiropractor who has been experimenting with sound since 1980, says listening to specific sound frequencies can train the brain to follow. By shifting your brain into a different frequency, he says, you can shift your state of consciousness to be more aware, relaxed or creative. Although it sounds extremely scientific, the concept is actually based on a basic law of nature.

"Everything in nature times itself to everything else in nature," he explains. "It's the reason why heart cells beat together, why a wine glass vibrates when an opera singer hits a certain note, and why women who share a dorm room have the same menstrual cycle."

It also explains why our brains mimic sound waves played through headphones. "It's an energy-saving phenomenon," Dr. Thompson explains. "It saves energy to time myself to a beat that already exists. The whole universe is versing together to save energy."

The Brain Naturally Tunes Itself to Its Surroundings

Dr. Thompson isn't the first person to discover that the brain tunes itself to external sound frequencies. In October 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster of Mount Sinai Medical Center published a paper in Scientific American showing that sound pulses could be used to cause the entire brain to resonate to that frequency.

"The brain is the most responsive organ in a biological system," Dr. Thompson explains. "So brainwaves are the most sensitive to changing their clock to an external pulse. The body has no allegiance to a particular drummer — it will change to the most dominant pulse in the environment."

Listening to certain recordings with headphones, he asserts, can gently guide your brain into modes for stress relief, better focus, more creativity and heightened productivity.

Music Can Treat Common Ailments

People without specific medical problems can benefit from brainwave entrainment — specifically in the delta frequency, where the deepest state of sleep takes place. "Healing is basically what sleep is all about," he says. "When you go to sleep, the brain runs a series of programs to tune up for the next day."



This post was written by Ginny Figlar for blog.gaiam.com.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Date


As an excellent source of potassium, dates help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance within the body.  Dates also help regulate bowel function because they are high in fiber. This naturally sweet fruit is available dried or fresh and is a healthy snack great for satisfying a sweet tooth. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Creative Framing

I've been trying some new art projects and this is my latest creation.





I love the colors of this frame & love how it turned out (it was my first try).  I'm opening an Etsy store for my art and crafts too. The Art of Holistic Living.  Hope you like it. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roasted Veggies

I bought some purple potatoes from our local market.  It was the first time that I've ever cooked or eaten them.  I wasn't sure about their taste so I thought I'd try a familiar recipe.  I sliced the purple potatoes, yellow potatoes, green bell peppers, onions, carrots, and mushrooms.  I seasoned them with seasoned salt, Italian seasonings, black pepper, and parsley.  Added a couple tablespoons of olive oil, then roasted them in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  The dish was colorful and delicious.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself


Every day, as you see the same people (your boss, for example, and your spouse and kids), do the same things (drive to work, perform your daily tasks, and do the same workout), go to the same places (your favorite coffee shop, the grocery store you usually frequent, and your place of employment), and look at the same objects (your car, your house, your toothbrush ... even your own body), your familiar memories related to your known world “re-mind” you to reproduce the same experiences.

We could say that the environment is actually controlling your mind. Since the neuroscientific definition of mind is the brain in action, you repeatedly reproduce the same level of mind by “re-minding” yourself who you think you are in reference to the outer world. Your identity becomes defined by everything outside of you, because you identify with all of the elements that make up your external world. Thus, you’re observing your reality with a mind that is equal to it, so you collapse the infinite waves of probabilities of the quantum field into events that reflect the mind you use to experience your life. You create more of the same.

You may not think that your environment and your thoughts are that rigidly similar and your reality so easily reproduced. But when you consider that your brain is a complete record of your past, and your mind is the product of your consciousness, in one sense you might always be thinking in the past. By responding with the same brain hardware that matches what you remember, you’re creating a level of mind that is identical to the past, because your brain is automatically firing existing circuits to reflect everything you already know, have experienced, and thus can predict. According to quantum law (which, by the way, is still working for you), your past is now becoming your future.

Reason this: When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the “knowns” in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. And since your brain is equal to your environment, then each morning, your senses plug you into the same reality and initiate the same stream of consciousness.

All of the sensory input that your brain processes from the external world (that is, seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and tasting) turns your brain on to think equal to everything familiar in your reality. You open your eyes and you know the person lying next to you is your spouse because of your past experiences together. You hear barking outside your door, and you know it’s your dog wanting to go out. There’s a pain in your back, and you remember it’s the same pain you felt yesterday. You associate your outer, familiar world with who you think you are, by remembering yourself in this dimension, this particular time and space.

To read the entire article and to learn how to Break the Habit of Being Yourself, go to blog.gaiam.com.


This post was written by Dr. Joe Dispenza for blog.gaiam.com.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Veggie Stuffed Green Peppers

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day.  We did. 
Dinner and a movie, with stuffed green peppers as our main entree.



It's a really simple recipe.  Clean and slice off the tops of your green peppers.  Cook one bag of vegetarian meat crumbles.  Add to the cooked meat crumbles diced tomatoes, onions, the tops of green peppers, and brown rice.  Stir all together in pan.  Season with Italian seasonings, black pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Put the mixture inside the green peppers.  Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  Top with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Eat & Enjoy!  
*You can use any color peppers that you'd like.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.  It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else fails.
-1 Corinthians 13:7 Phillips



Enjoy love and the hope and limitlessness that it offers.  
Today and always, love yourself, others, and the life that you have.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Peppermint



-Stimulates the mind
-Aids in concentration
-Settles the stomach
-Relieves nausea
-Relieves headaches
-Contains antiseptic properties


(Contraindicated for babies and young children.)


*Consult with your physician before using this, or any other, essential oil.*

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cleaning as Meditation: How to Transform Your Chores

Rules for Mindful Housekeeping

Elisha Goldstein, coauthor of "A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook," tells us how to make peace with cleaning.

1. Imagine you're doing this chore for the first time. In your mind, it's just a sinkful of dirty dishes. Look for the bubbles instead.

2. 
Use your five senses, focusing on one at a time. Appreciate the warmth of the water, the scent of the lemon cleanser.

3. Consider it a neural workout. Incorporating mindfulness-based techniques into everyday life can make you calmer and your brain more adaptive.

4. 
Don't think of housework as punishment. Goldstein says, "You're cultivating kindness toward yourself."





These are additional excerpts to ponder from this article.  Click here to read the entire article: WholeLiving.com


What if I Could Slow Down?

I'm thinking of that Zen proverb: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." The idea is that we should find meaning in ordinary tasks, because true clarity is fleeting enough -- and when it's over, somebody still has to clean the crisper.

Cleaning Out Your Soul

"When your physical surroundings are cluttered, your emotional and spiritual self is cluttered. If your space is clean, then your mind is open and you can let God in."

Work as Prayer

For the Benedictines, work and prayer are one and the same. "I think one of the reasons the order is still here after 1,500 years is that no one is excused from kitchen duty," Norris says. "They try to honor work as part of just being human." She tells me about one young novice she met who made a meditative practice out of running the commercial cleaner, again and again, in circles over the hallway's hardwood floors.

On a More Earthly Plane...

Floor cleaning is the therapy of choice for Alexis Stewart, Martha's daughter and cohost of "Whatever" on Martha Stewart Living Radio. "You don't have to do it," she says. "But the result is fun. I never liked cleaning out the chicken coop when I was a kid, but I sure liked the result." (I bet her crisper is spotless.)

This is the kind of old-fashioned pragmatism that women adopted in the days when we were better at wringing meaning out of chores. Take"The American Woman's Home,"written in 1869 by Harriet Beecher Stowe and her sister Catharine E. Beecher. It's a complete compendium of how a woman should manage her household's physical and spiritual ecosystem, from prayers to healthy beverages, dusting to moral foundations. There are three chapters on how to ventilate the house: Homemaking is not about managing the moisture emitted by your furnace; it's about putting the very air in your family's lungs.


The Magic Soap

"When we expect things to be more than they are, or when we value them as less than they are, that keeps us at arm's length from our own life," Miller says. "We think we're supposed to follow our bliss, but when we're really present in every moment, even when we're vacuuming, we can begin to chip away at the feeling of inadequacy. And little by little, our lives are transformed." 

Miller thinks the way we work can tell us something about who we are -- the way we tenderly fold our children's clean pajamas or rage over our husband's towels in dank trails on the floor -- and so it is a spiritual practice of sorts. Plus, "the rituals of daily work just enfold your day in dignity. They make life tasty." Uh-huh........

"Well, here's the magic soap," she says. "Your own attention is what spiritualizes things. Attention to the meal you cook, the clothes you wash. Attention is love. And that's transformative."

My Life as a Bathroom Sink

Kathleen Norris was right about life as repetition. Am I the only person who keeps having the same disagreements, the same gripes, the same bad habits? I was in that slough of despond where it wasn't the bathroom sink but my life that was covered in toothpaste sludge and someone else's beard hair. I set out to clean the thing with attention and enfold my day in dignity.

At first all I noticed was the usual simmering irritation. Then I saw the thin layer of funk on my drain (not much dignity there). But as I worked the cloth around the spigots -- focusing on the doing, not the getting done -- it started to feel pleasantly personal, like giving someone a bath. Not the newborn Buddha, but some cranky elderly relative. Because the sink had been entrusted to me, and because it deserved to be clean, and because I was the one to do it. I scrubbed at that film of filth on the drain, which I'd never noticed all the times I'd spit into it, and there actually was a shiny circle underneath.

Making Things New

The cleaning seemed different when I wasn't doing it for the guy with the clipboard anymore. That guy had been me anyway. In some way, I was starting over again. What was that quote from the Bible that my mother kept on our spotless refrigerator? Behold, I make all things new.

I'll never love it, but I can say this: Cleaning changes things. So much in life is uncertain -- you take vitamins and get sick, love people who disappoint you, pour your heart into a job and lose it at the end of the fiscal year. But if you take a rag to a piece of soap scum, it will go away. From that point of view -- the pure continuum of cause and effect -- cleaning stops seeming futile. It starts to look like the only thing worth doing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love is in the Air

In preparation for Valentine's Day, I've created these gift tags.  They can be used as tags, favors, or whatever you'd like.  



I'm thankful for the love in my life and I celebrate it everyday.  I hope you do the same!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Fruit Salad

  • Serve dishes with both adult and kid appeal, like this simple and refreshing fruit salad of Asian pears, grapefruit, and pomegranate seeds.
  • Ingredients

  • 3 pink grapefruits, peel and pith removed, cut into segments
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2 Asian pears, quartered, cored, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, pears, and honey.
  2. Top with mint and salt.

    Yield: Serves 4 to 6

    This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Upward Salute


Benefits: Upward Salute stretches the shoulders and abdomen, while improving digestion.  

Practice:  Begin this pose by standing with your hands by your sides and your feet together. Turn your hands outward so that your palms face away from your body.  As you inhale, sweep your arms out and up toward the ceiling.  

Press your hands together, beginning with the palms of your hands, then your fingers.  Extend your arms completely reaching through your fingertips, while slightly tipping your head back and gazing at your thumbs.

Inhale, then exhale, sweeping your arms out, returning them to your sides.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Relax.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adobo Marinated Chicken Quesadillas

  • Chicken breasts gain a smoky richness and a little heat from marinating in adobo, a tangy Mexican chile sauce.

    Ingredients


  • 1 can (7 ounces) chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 chicken cutlets (4 ounces each)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
  • 5 ounces low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/3 cups)


Directions

  1. Puree chiles in adobo sauce and water in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place onion in a small bowl. Combine jalapenos, vinegar, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook until jalapenos are soft and sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Pour over onion, and let stand until mixture is cool. Strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill chicken, about 2 minutes per side. Slice into strips. Wipe pan clean.
  4. Place 1 tortilla onto a work surface. Arrange strips of 1 cutlet to cover tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese and some onion-jalapeno mixture. Top with another tortilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken, cheese, and onion mixture.
  5. Carefully place quesadilla onto hot grill pan, and cook over medium heat until tortillas are crisp and cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla in half, and divide among 8 plates. Cut into wedges.

    Yield: Serves 8

    This post was taken from WholeLiving.com.
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