Birds Eye View

It’s school break and that means lots of house time. Funny what I notice about my house after sitting in the same chair for hours.

Seeing things with a new perspective can help me think that I have created something new, without spending much money.

Take this drink stand I recently purchased. It just sat in the corner of my dining room, til Colette mentioned what a cool bird’s nest it could be when I wasn’t using it. All of a sudden, the shredded paper in the study had a purpose and everywhere we went, I started to notice all kinds of creative birds! I bought a few and am thinking I may be on to a new collection. I’m gonna work on this. nestbirds

Real Simple magazine has published  their New Uses for Old Things: Holiday Edition. . Perhaps there is something in it to inspire you? After all, you never know what “bird brain” ideas will present themselves when you simply look at things with a new eye.

What have you MindFULLY re-used? Let us know!


Thinking Inside The Box

Ya know the old adage, “Hear it three times, pay attention?” Well, last week, three different encounters reminded me of an old ritual I learned years ago: If you have a worry to let go of, dream to manifest or intention to hold, simply write it on a piece of paper and place it in a container of your choosing.

My ritual was born one summer on Cape Cod, when I bought a bowl and took to using it to place all the little sheets of paper that held my worries, dreams and intentions.

prayer bowl

Then last week, I told my friend, Judith, about something that happened to my daughter. She suggested writing it down and keeping a “Mom Box” for all the little hurts I feel leveled at my child, as a way of acknowledging them, but letting them go. Great idea and reminder! Why not choose another box, I thought. So, I chose to use this box as my “Mom Box”,  given to me by my friend Susan, who happens to see the blessing in almost everything. (She also says that wearing a scarf every day pulls your outfit and spirit together – but I digress).


Then on Facebook or Pinterest (I apologize but I can’t remember who to credit), I saw another container idea. This one said, ” This January, why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on next New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year!”

Thankful Jar 1[5]

I love all of these ideas, for it takes what’s on your mind or in your heart and puts it out there. That’ s how we “Let Go and Let G-d” as Ellen likes to say.

So this season, no matter the container or theme you choose, may all your scraps of paper find their way to a MindFULL place.

What kind of MindFULL containers can you suggest? Let us know!

Light of the Season

How do you bring light into the holidays and then into the dark days of winter that follow?

That was a question I pondered after a discussion of something I had always taken for granted – lighting the Chanukah menorah. You see, for all my years, I have observed the lighting from left to right, starting with one candle on the left, plus the one in the center (the shamas candle) that is used to light all the others. As the 8 days mount, you add another. I thought that was the only way to do it and that the reason you do it that way is because that is how we read a Siddur (the Jewish prayer book). But in my Kabbalah class last week, several women spoke of lighting the menorah with all 8 candles to begin with and taking 1 a way each night of the holiday.

Who knew there was more than one way? And did anyone ever say that there wasn’t?

Such was also the thought that came to me when my neighbor, who has THE most decorated holiday home we have ever lived near, offered to string white lights (his version of non denominational) around our home. We appreciated the offer and passed. I grew up without holiday lights. “It just wasn’t something Jewish people did.”

danWhy not? Aren’t they just lights?

Which led to another conversation about my winter ritual of simply lighting a candle in the evening as it grows dark. Around 5pm, I put on Pandora, light a candle and sometimes, pour a drink. It is calming and cozy in my kitchen as I make dinner.

My other neighbor, who is Catholic, said she has never been into candles, as it was not part of her upbringing, outside of Church. Hmmm…do I light one at 5pm, cause it is part of mine? Jewish people tend to light candles on Friday night (to bring in the Sabbath), Saturday night ( to usher it out) and on the anniversary of the death of a loved one (Yortzeit candle). It never occurred to me that it was in my DNA.

All this talk about light has made me think that it’s not what kind of lights I light, but how I bring light to the holidays, dark days of winter and rituals in my home. I even started thinking about the fun of making candles in different ways. Check out the link from good old Martha Stewart. If anyone knows how to kindle the festive lights, it’s her!

Where do you MindFully find light in the dark of winter? Let us know!