My Row of Ducks

So it has been with audio editing. I have been learning a new software, and it is a bit slow going for reasons beyond my control. Ahhh..beyond my control. Life lessons. Again.

As such, I’ve been doing the best I can and this week with MindFULL conversations, I am posting my last round of MindFULL Musings. Today’s episode is on favorite podcasts that hold thoughtful knowings for this week of gatherings. Tomorrow’s episode is on music and playlists to bring a new score to the background of the week. Wednesday is about a movie I saw a few Thanksgivings ago, called Joy, that still holds some allure. Thursday has Gentle Reminders for navigating life and Friday ends with a few thoughts on Courageous Conversations.

So, as you gather your ducks and put them in a row for the Holiday season, I hope you’ll find a MindFULL Musing that helps lighten your load.

Happy Holidays everyone.

You can find MindFULL conversations here. Please give a listen, and if you like what you hear, rate, review and share with a friend. Let’s mindfully fill each others’ minds!

JOY

Last weekend we saw the movie,  JOY. I went in wanting to love it. As someone who barely showers without having an idea, I thought it would motivate me.

It did.

But not in the way I thought it would.

And therein lies one of my favorite life learnings — “You always get what you want, it’s just not always in the package you think it’s going to come in.”

I thought the movie was good, but I didn’t love Jennifer Lawrence. She seemed too young and pretty to be the real Joy, whom I had seen interviewed. And while I could spend the day looking at Bradley Cooper, again I didn’t see him in the role. It all felt too predictable.

The part that felt motivating was yes, in a small way, to continue my journey toward making my own dreams a reality, but also … to organize my closet, yet again! As I was walking through Bed Bath and Beyond, I saw the JOY display. They are really milking the marketing. And I bought right in. Those skinny, purple velvet hangers called my name. As one with a small closet and not a lot of room, I am constantly cleaning out and trying to keep my few things in order. The hangers promised to double my space. Not so sure they did that, but everything is now hanging at a level eye and nothing is slipping off onto the floor. Opening my closet and seeing everything nicely hung, brings me joy. And I love that the hangers are purple and say JOY. What a wonderful thing to see when I take something out. Looking at the hanger reminds me of how lucky I am to have something I en-joy wearing.

 

After re-doing my closet and reflecting on the story,  what I also came away loving was the connection I felt to the movie itself and as such, to my friend Sharon, whom I miss madly. Her brother, Alan, edited the film and the very last credit read: In Loving Memory of Sharon Baumgarten Maifeld (and two others). Sharon always made me laugh, lighten up and reframe my feelings. My joy at having had such a loving friend in my life for so long is twinged with sadness, but joy seeps in when I wear some of the things she left me and I am able to channel her wisdom and love.

So, the next time you go to a movie and hold an expectation, see if you can expand your perspective a little. It may hold something different for you. Then again, you might simply en-joy it.

 What MindFULLY brings you joy? 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!

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.

tshirts

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!

Get Your *&^% Together

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Last week, as I was walking my laps around the park, I was talking on the phone with my wonderful stepsister, Lisa. The reception was sketchy, so you can imagine my surprise when all I heard was “Get your &^%$ together!”

“What?” I cringed back. “It’s the name of a web-site geared toward Life and Death Planning, created by a woman who’s husband died unexpectedly,” she shouted. http://getyourshittogether.org/

Sigh. This conversation came to be as I shared the sadness I was struggling to shake around the surprising death of a really good man, Rob Mintz. Over the past year, I have had the delight of getting to know Rob’s wife, Lisa, as our lives intersect via school, community and shared visions. I had known Rob for a while. I appreciated Rob – you see, he was one of those people who had the gift of making me feel like I matter. Every time I saw him, his face would light up and he would say, “Hi, Robbie!”. The only folks who use that nickname for me are friends from my youth and some family members. It was endearing and warming.

Rob’s sudden death rocked our community. He was a well-respected attorney, father, husband, Philanthropist and friend to many.

Over 1.000 people attended the funeral service. As I sat in the sanctuary I  MindFULLY thought of so many things. I felt for his wife and children. I felt for his family. I felt for their friends. I sat in awe of all who stood to say good-bye and I wondered who would stand for me? Relationships have been on my mind. This is the time of Elul in Judaism., a month where we reflect on things we’d like to make better within ourselves and heal/forgive in our lives/relationships and world. I had some things that needed my attention. I wrote them down and am setting out to check them off. I’ll let you know how I do. For now, I am 1 for 3 in the forgiveness department. 2 haven’t responded and 1 reached back and said, “How about a sandwich?” I have picked two character traits to work on, as well. I hope to be 2 for 2 with some real work.

It also got me thinking that g-d forbid if something happened, is everything (will, etc) in its’ “place” and who knows what/where that place is? Truth be told, I freaked out. I talked to my husband about “where everything is” and called our dear friend who handles it all. In spite of it not being all that comfortable, I talked to my daughter about knowing she is safe and that Daddy and I have done everything we can to make sure that we had her back. I put “important numbers to know” in her cell phone, showed her where some things are and hugged the heck out of her. To me, letting your kid know you are on her side and she is safe (you have done what you should do as a parent on her behalf) and loved, is the greatest gift in the world. My own life has shown me that it is the foundation for esteem and enables one to settle into the business of growing themselves vs worrying if they are loved or have enough.

Then another friend told me how  Rob’s passing has made her think about all this, as well. She heard a great piece on NPR – http://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace-money/marketplace-money-friday-august-16-2013 Did you know that having a safety deposit box isn’t such a good idea, after all? Give a listen.

There is a ton out there to help us “get our *&^% together” and it is a gift you can give those you love, and yourself. MindFULL Peace of Mind is what I like to call it. And I hope I don’t have to think about it again, for a long time to come.

 Who knows where your MindFULL documents are? You don’t have to let us know, but make sure someone does!And if there is a MindFULL relationship you’d like to  heal, give it a try. That’s all you can do.

30 MindFULL Days

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According to the Jewish calendar (a Jewish calendar is lunar vs a solar calendar like the one the US and other countries use) tonight begins Elul  — the  30 day journey to Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year). This is a very auspicious time for reflection and redirection.

Whether or not you are Jewish, I thought you might find the support of trying something new for 30 days, helpful. I know I do. Below is a link to a blog and video that was sent along by a wise and loving teacher.

www.aish.com/h/hh/e/inspiration/Try-Something-New-for-30-Days.html

Pondering what I was going to work on for 30 days, another wise and loving friend posted this thought provoking commencement speech given at Syracuse University, by George Saunders. It talks about Kindness.

Kindness has been a big topic with a girlfriend recently. Whether kind to others, or to our selves, it seems to be a characteristic that escapes us rather easily. We are all human and make mistakes. But what we do after we make them (apologize, accept apologies, “know better, do better, have empathy, beat ourselves up) is where the work begins…and ends.

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates/?smid=fb-share&_r=1&

I hope you will think about joining me. Of course you can pick whatever you need to work on. All I ask, is that you be kind to yourself and others, while you try.

What is the MindFULL trait you choose? Let us know?

MindFULL Gazpacho

food

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!