MindFULL Noticing

Have you ever been thinking of someone and they call? Or you open a book and read a passage that takes your breath away and teaches you in that moment, something that shifts your energy? Or you think someone has it so much better, and they reveal a detail that reminds you that everyone has a battle to fight?

I call those moments, “G-dwinks.

I’ve written about G-dwinks before. I thought it was a phrase my wise and thoughtful cousin, Evan, made up (Even tho he never said he did, it was simply my assumption in his short, but profound description of the concept). So, imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago, I saw a story on my favorite TV Show, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood about SQuire (yes Q) Rushnell and his book, When God Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You Through the Power of Coincidence.

Wow. Seeing the show, on that day, and learning about the book series…well, I think it was a G-dwink! According to Rushnell, a veteran ABC Network Television executive who has seen a lot and created even more, “The stories in this book reaffirm that g-dwinks happen to everyone. We just need to learn how to see them.” It goes on, and honestly, gets a little religious for me. But, in the spirit of “take the best and leave the rest”, I love the concept.

Check it out at www.godwinks.com. If nothing else, perhaps it will simply offer another way for you to view the happenings and people in your life; and through that lens, you might come to realize that no matter your circumstance, there is something for you to learn.

But, maybe you already knew that – and reading this post today is just a G-dwink 😉

How have you MindFULLY made sense of coincidences in your life?

Let us know!

 

Souper Sunday

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Normally I post on Mondays, (MindFULL Mondays), but as we set the clocks back one hour, I had to find a way to make the dark, cold nights upon us, warmer. So this morning, as I woke up to the bright sun at 6:30am and thought about my day ahead and what to make for Sunday dinner (it’s in my DNA) Souper Sunday came to me.

With a strong need to warm my insides and out, I am planning to have a grand time finding one soup recipe to make every Sunday afternoon (that I can) and one quote to hold as my intention for the week.

To kick off this new Winter tradition, I have chosen my friend Jane’s recipe for Butternut Squash and Leek Soup. Easy to make and delicious!

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks with and tender green parts only, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove smashed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 large butternut squash peeled and cut into 1Ž2 inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1Ž4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • Cream or milk is optional  (almost never use)
  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the leeks, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened.
  2. Add the stock, squash, tomato paste an bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over moderately low heat until all the vegetables are tender about 25 minutes. Discard bay lea. You can leave in or remove the parsley.
  3. Puree the soup.  Taste for seasoning.

I am also starting with a quote my mom has on her kitchen counter:

“Ask: What is the most generous thing to do in this case?”

I love her. She is a wonderfully wise, loving and cool mom. The rooms in her beautiful home have quotes on post-it notes tacked to the fridge, walls and bookcases. I always leave her having learned something I am the better for knowing – and feeling warm, inside and out.

 How do you MindFULLY deal with the cold, dark afternoons of Winter?

Let us know!

There With Care

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Whether you have children or you don’t, it’s a day to celebrate. Everyone has a Mother.

And you never know what your Mother has really been through.

As I reflected on Mother’s Day yesterday and where I started 16 years ago, and where I am today, with a beautiful, bright, capable and odds beating, life-shining daughter, I could feel the tears of gratitude well up. My daughter was born 9 weeks early. While we knew I was High Risk for a few reasons, never did we think that we would come to know what NICU stood for – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I won’t bore you with our drama, but suffice to say, an ambulance ride to two different hospitals and the words of several Drs standing over my bed telling me all the things that “might be awaiting having a baby born this early”, left us shocked and scared.

Thankfully, our daughter was born with strong lungs and after a month in her little incubator, with a tape recorder playing Mozart and a huge stuffed giraffe (our metaphor for love — the giraffe has the largest heart of any land animal) watching over her, she was sent home healthy and thriving. Early again…and we were off and running. I didn’t want baby clothes, books, toys or stuffed animals. All I wanted, as I tried to navigate the crazy days was food in my freezer and fridge. Not worrying about getting to the store or making a meal was a huge relief. We needed sustenance, not stuff.

Today, in honor of being “one of those Moms” and with gratitude for the outcome, every other week I deliver bags of necessities to the local NICU or Ronald McDonald House. Through my friend Jill, I found a special organization called There With Care. TWC “provides fundamental support services to families and children facing critical illness during medical crisis.” Please, take a moment and visit the website. http://therewithcare.org – The story of how they started, and where they are today, is inspirational.

Maybe in honor of someone you know, like a mom who navigated a difficult time, a child born with challenges, or even your own mom who made your lunch every day and crafted a hot meal every night, you might be willing to make a donation? The site tells you what is needed most.

What it doesn’t tell you is the feeling you’ll get when you know it’s time for you to make dinner, and you can, grateful that you are doing it yourself, but knowing if you couldn’t, someone would be There With Care.

How do you MindFULLY honor your Mom? Let us know!

Love, Loss, Bold Living and 365 Days at a Time

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I don’t know if it’s my age, but a lot of loss is starting to show up and it begs the question, “How do WE show up?” Before we can be of comfort, it seems to me that we must first seek to understand what someone is going through. And when it comes to be our turn, which sadly, it will, perhaps we will find solace in the stories of those that have come before us.

This Wednesday night, my friend, Nancy Sharp, is going to be launching her new book, BOTH SIDES NOW: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living. Because I can’t write half as well as she can, I am re-printing a piece of the story that has been written and shared. She is pure inspiration. With grace and dignity and a laugh that makes you smile, Nancy shows us all how to live BOLDLY. Check out her website for more info on her book and this week’s celebration for those who live in Denver (Tattered Cover, Wed 7:30pm) http://www.nancysharp.net.

The past is simply part of our story; just not the whole story…On the very day that Nancy Sharp delivered premature twins, she learned that her husband’s brain cancer returned after eighteen months in remission. Less than three years later, at the age of 37, she became a widow. Seeking a fresh start in the solace of the Rocky Mountains, Nancy packed up her five year-old twins and left Manhattan for Denver, never imagining that she would find love in the pages of a magazine. But after reading an article on eligible bachelors, Nancy sent an email to Steve Saunders, a popular Denver television anchor turned political candidate as well as a widower who’d lost his wife to cancer, and was raising two sons a decade older than Nancy’s twins. Together they started a new chapter of their own. In BOTH SIDES NOW Nancy shares her unforgettable journey – one that offers enlightened understanding for living life to the fullest. Her story is a gift to those looking to lift themselves from the embers of loss and adversity through bold living.

Also on our shelves, we are blessed to have another friend’s book, Living with Loss, One Day at a Time. While it, too, was born out of the passing of her husband, Rachel Blythe Kodanaz takes her bountiful compassion and understanding and shines a daily light for those who may be taking it, “one day at a time”.

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Living with Loss, One Day at a Time, offers daily encouragement to individuals and families who have lost a loved one or are suffering from any form of loss. As was written about Rachel’s book:

The 365 daily lessons and thought-provoking ideas provide hope, optimism, introspection, and self-discovery.  There is no beginning or end to the book – the reader can skip around or dive in sequentially.  The book is a great tool to spark communication with your family on a daily basis as each day provides a discussion item for all ages and creates a meaningful dinnertime conversation.  The pages provide space for journaling and capturing the reader’s perspective on the topic of the day.  The upbeat and matter-of-fact format allows for clarity on subjects that are often overlooked or not discussed amongst friends and family.  Whether you recently experienced a loss or find a need for a boost of encouragement, the book will be your companion through your journey.

For more on navigating loss of any kind, check out Rachel’s website: http://www.rachelkodanaz.com

Living life includes living loss. How do you MindFULLY live both ?

Let us know!

Picture This Year

The sun is shining and my daughter is outside, taking headshots of a friend. She has recently discovered photography and its fun to watch her document people, places and ideas.

Last year I came across this posting and I couldn’t wait for this January to share it  – 10 Cant Miss Photos to Take Each Month  http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/content_downloads/PHO-LIST-A.pdf

There are some creative ideas on this list, laid out month by month. With renewed creative intention, and something as simple as the camera on your phone, you can set out to build a year worth reflecting upon, in a new way.

Check it out. I’m sorry I cant attribute a thank you to the right person. I don’t remember where I found it. I hope the knowing they added creative ideas to our every month, will be thanks enough.

What will you MindFULLY capture when you turn your lens on the world?

Let us know!

Color My World

Orange is the new Black. Not only is it a terrific TV show, it also happens to be one of my favorite colors.

I am currently in a phase where I love neutrals (taupe, grey, creme) mixed with a pop of color. It’s showing up in my home, where I am working on choosing new living room furniture and in my clothes, where I am finding new ways of adding pops of color to my everyday khakis, jeans and black pants. This morning, I walked by H&M and they were literally giving away t-shirts. For $35, I got 6 t-shirts. I was so excited! It’s the little things that make the every day mundane that much brighter.

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For some reason, I am seeing color everywhere and am having fun creating new combinations to bring it into my world during the cold, dark days of winter. I watch a lot of HGTV and pay close attention to commercials for decorating ideas (I’m probably the only one watching them anymore). I often flip through magazines while standing in a check out line and am consciously trying to take in my surroundings with a new lens on color combinations.  Walking the park today, I noticed the (gray) gravel and (light brown) dirt mixed in with some old orange leaves. After my shower, I think I’ll put on a grey sweater with a burnt orange t-shirt and khakis.

Recently I read an article on how color affects our mood. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/27/how-color-affects-our-moo_n_1114790.html

During this season of many emotions, I wonder if there is a color that is calm and connecting? Perhaps if all it takes is a colored t-shirt, then maybe we can find some comfort in identifying our own color of the season. For me, it’s orange. And I might throw some teal in there. After all, aren’t we often told nothing is black or white? Color gives us perspective. And perspective shows us a good life.

How are you MindFULL of color? What color brings calm to your world?

Let us know!

SMART ART

 

 Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

With the rain in Colorado beating down on the skylights yesterday, we spent a lot of time in front of a screen. Football games, movies, TEDx. While the light of the screen lit rooms, soup was made, clearings of counters and desk tops moved quickly and old friends from learning days showed up to teach present lessons.

One of my friends reminded me of the delight found in the lazy days of magazine flipping.  Ah, yes. Stacked on my credenza were articles collected over the last few months. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to go back through them all, but when I do, it is like finding a diamond in the rough. Love when that happens! And as such, a sparkly write up caught my eye.

Did you know that you can visit more than 250 museums (including MOMA and Musee’ d’Orsay) without ever getting out of your sweats? With Google Cultural Institutes’ Art Project, you can take in works of art that you might wish you had made it to see last time you were in NY or Paris.

www.googleartproject.com

With winter approaching (OK, I know, Fall hasn’t even started, but with this crazy weather, who knows what the days will bring), park this site somewhere easy to access. Then, take a cold day and check it out. You could even make a nice lunch and pretend you are eating in the museum café’ – without the price tag or tray to bus. Now, that’s worth the price of admission.

What MindFULL articles are waiting for you to read? Let us know!  

Teaching This Old Dog New Tricks

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B.O.R.I.N.G. That’s how I was feeling as summer drew to a close. It had been  awhile since I felt like I really learned something that excited me. While I would never wish to be in High School again, as I watched my daughter load up her Back to School supplies I felt a twinge of excitement at the possibility of learning something new.

As the Universe works, my friend and intellectual muse, Rena, sent me an email about something she thought I’d find interesting. It’s called Coursera. “Hmm”…I thought, and then headed out to get my hair cut. While at the salon, I picked up a copy of a magazine and there was a blurb on …Coursera! “Hear something twice, pay attention” as the Sufi saying goes.

When I got home, I clicked through to the Coursera website. Coursera offers 300-plus on line courses all taught by professors at over 60 of the top colleges and universities. Its course catalog reads like a dream list of classes you had wish you could have taken in school. I was so excited by all the descriptions; I didn’t know what to choose first. Upon Rena’s suggestion, I peeked at Creativity, Innovation and Change which is offered with 3 professors from Penn State. I signed up on the spot.

I am currently in week 2. At my own pace, I watch on-line videos and read articles. I also have the opportunity to do projects, contribute to an online chat and even get a grade — which I am passing on. That would be way to close to High School for me.

www.Coursera.org

I know there are lots of other free on-line classes out there. However, I was in the right frame of mind when this one crossed my screen. I am ready for a new trick. Armed with my new school shoes and a view of the changing leaves outside my study window, I am prepared to re-enter that seasonal ritual of learning.

Who knows what trick this old dog will learn!?!

Where do you MindFULLY go to learn new tricks? Let us know!

MindFULL Gazpacho

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Summer is finally here! Something about life seems easier, including the ever present question, “What’s for dinner?” As the grill wafts its enticing aroma, I love to put my vodka/soda/ lime in my cute handblown glass, pop on some Maroon5, sit on the back step by my hydrangea and pretend I am on Cape Cod. For me, that is summer bliss.

Summer is also the time when I allow myself a thoughtful, indulgent lunch. Last weekend in Austin, I took myself out and reveled in the most flavorful tomato Gazpacho loaded with lumps of crabmeat.  Accompanied by a simple piece of toasted bread and pungent cheese, a thick rich crab cake with grilled leeks and balsamic glaze and a glass of Cava, I giggled with delight and gratitude.  It turned my tried, worn out spirit around and inspired me.

It also got me thinking about how much I like all kinds of  Gazpacho and have decided The Mindfull Creative would take the next few weeks, and in the spirit of sharing finds I love, offer a different Gazpacho recipe on MindFULL Mondays.

Below is the first, simple vegetable version. It’s from The Barefoot Contessa (www.barefootcontessa.com).  Love her and it!

Ingredients

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

What is your MindFully favorite Gazpacho recipe? Let us know! 

Tiny Superheroes

“The Seattle mom was making superhero capes for her 1-year-old son when she came across a blog about a baby girl named Brenna. Brenna was born with a rare and severe skin disease. She needed eye surgery at just 3 weeks and beat an aggressive blood infection. In Robyn’s mind, Brenna was a fighter: She was Super Brenna.

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“I realized that while my son looked cute in a cape, Brenna needed a cape,” Rosenberger said. So she reached out to Brenna’s mom, Courtney Westlake, who lives in Springfield, Ill., through Facebook, and asked if she could send a cape her way.”

So began, Tiny Superheroes. The company, started by Robin Rosenberger, makes capes for kids who battling cancer and other serious illnesses.  Check out her wonderful story: http://www.today.com/health/tiny-superheroes-fight-big-illnesses-little-capes-1C9390606?franchiseSlug=todayhealthmain

We all have the power to be super heroes to someone or fight for a cause. How are you a superhero? Or after reading Robyn’s story, how are you MindFULLY moved to make a difference? Let us know!