The Magic of Words

This is for those whose lives rest upon fresh, crisp pages, who inhale the scent of ink, who caress the hard binder of a book between their fingers. This is for those who breathe a thousand words a minute, for whom words beat upon their soul, bring their world to life, lull their weary mind to sleep. This is for those who dream, read, and write words.

Words are magic, twisting and entangling, creating beautiful sonnets and horrifying thrillers. It’s what I love about them.

Because I love words, I read. All the time. And it shows. My office shelves hold books, which spill into another room, mixing with my husband’s own collection. I try to let them go, and sometimes do, handing them to family, dropping them at charity’s door. But mostly, I can’t.

Those books brought me lives I never could have lived, and I have lived them all, in faraway exotic places, and in cabins by the sea. I once danced at a ball, chased gangsters in the rain, ran through a forest, and even cooked for the queen. And if that weren’t enough, I sailed a ship, and sat upon a mountaintop. I have lived many lives, all because of words.

Those words became my friends, I lived inside their stories, they lived inside me. And I cannot, will not, give them away.

For those who face the trauma of a minimalist life, who live with guilt of keeping books, I tell you this – you are that character, that character is you. You are a dreamer, a teller of tales, created by pages you once lived inside.

Keep your dreams, live new lives. Because minimalism isn’t about letting go of your possessions. Minimalism is about having what you love. And if that love resides in a small library inside your home, than that is what you should own.

So read, dream, and live a new life. And never, ever, let go.

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The Industrious Bee

We are industrious little bees, in constant motion, moving about as if the world will end without our continuous flutter. Sometimes, it seems as if we flit and float about for no apparent reason. Sometimes it feels as if we are busy just for the sake of being busy.

Busy is a crown upon our heads, a medal of honor, a golden plaque given to us by society, a term for those deemed worthy.

But as Socrates says, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Because it is often when we are the busiest that we feel the emptiest.

I think we use ‘busy’ to keep us from life, from friends and family, and from ourselves. I think we use ‘busy’ to hide behind things we don’t want to face. I think that’s what I used to do. But I no longer want to.

Busy was in the stuff I owned, the extra clothes I needed to rearrange in order to fit my other clothes in my drawers, the knick-knacks I had to dust, the craft stuff I needed to sort through. Busy was in my life. But now, much of my stuff is gone, and I can no longer hide behind it, I can no longer be ‘busy,’ for the sake of being busy, for the ease of escaping life. And I no longer want to.

We all have a catalyst that drives us to busy, something that removes us from what really matters. Too often, we are busy being busy. But as Henry David Thoreau says, “What are we busy about?”

I ask you – What are you busy about?

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It’s a Hard Habit to Break

I am an addict. It may not seem serious, in fact, if asked, many people in our society might fess up to this addiction, to the tune of eleven pounds per person (or 2.8 billion pounds in just the USA alone).

Yup, we have a serious addiction to chocolate. We eat it for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and any other celebration we can think of. And if we can’t think of one, we eat it anyway, just for the sheer joy of it.

Chocolate has many health benefits. Here are a few:
– It is an antioxidant, which basically means it can prevent, or at least slow down, damage to the cells.
– It can improve blood pressure.
– It improves our mood (just looking at it makes me happy).
– Helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

I am seriously addicted to this treat, and knowing these benefits just encourages me to eat it every day. Lucky for me, I have a sugar allergy.

And there is the problem with most chocolate – sugar. When eaten in a candy bar form, cocoa is highly processed, mixed with sugar, often dry milk, and sometimes other little (unhealthy) ingredients thrown in for good measure.

So how do we satisfy our addiction to chocolate and still get the health benefits? I knew you’d ask. A while ago I was scanning “Nourishing Traditions,” a book written by Sally Fallon. It’s a cool book because it not only has a ton of recipes in it, it’s also filled with fun facts and information. It’s just as much fun to read as it is to make the recipes. As I searched through the pages I discovered her fudge recipe. It was so easy, I wanted to cry. Instead, I went out and bought the ingredients and made a big batch of fudge.

RECIPE:
In a large bowl, mix:

-1 cup melted real butter or coconut oil.
I know, I know, fat, right? But (healthy) fat is necessary for our brains to think, and our bodies to work. Butter has vitamins D, E, K, and A, and also protects against tooth decay. Coconut oil (which is what I use), prevents high blood pressure and heart disease, reduces inflammation, and improves energy.

-1 cup raw, organic cocoa.

-1 cup raw, organic honey.
(Since I don’t eat cane sugar, I am sensitive to anything sweet, so I do closer to ¾ cup – but that’s your call).

Mix well before pouring into a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer. (Note – This bar needs to be kept frozen, or all you’ll have is a pile of chocolate goo. Still tasty, but a lot messier.)

*You can also add things like shredded coconut, chopped walnuts or macadamias, or even cocoa nibs. A sprinkle of sea salt on the top is a yummy touch.

There you have it, fudgy goodness that is actually good for you.

Side notes: There are 48 teaspoons of sugar in one cup of honey. I cut the chocolate into 48 bars, so I know each piece has one teaspoon.

Depending on which site you listen to, we shouldn’t eat more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day (the lower being for women or those who consume less calories). That doesn’t mean you should eat 6-9 of these, it means take it into consideration when adding this treat to your daily diet.

Enjoy!

*I am an Amazon Affiliate, meaning I receive commission on any purchases made through my site.

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Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

Regrets. We all have them. Arguments that lead to failed relationships, bad financial decisions, a haircut gone terribly wrong. If only we could go back in time. If only we could do it all over again. But we can’t.

I remember when I was little, how I giggled at silly moments, and cried when I watched Bambi. I remember running through the park, playing Frisbee and soccer. I remember creating concoctions, painting, and drawing funny pictures. A childhood like everyone’s. Each day a memory waiting to be created.

But I began to grow up, and slowly lost pieces of me, until one day, I was a mere shell of the child within.

We all grow older. That’s not the part I regret. What I regret is this: I regret not having enough fun as a young mother. I regret not showing my children the joy of being an adult. I regret not telling my sons to hold on to childhood, to dream like there’s no tomorrow, to laugh like it’s your last, and to play. To always play.

And I regret this: That my children saw a mom in a pencil skirt who stressed over perfectly-made beds and well-scrubbed floors; That they saw someone too serious, who didn’t giggle enough, or play, or dance beneath the rain; That we never painted daisies on the dining room wall.

I was lucky. I was given another chance. And I took it. I turned my regrets to laughter, my remorse to dreams. No, I couldn’t change time, but I could change my ways. Though my children will probably always remember a too-solemn mother, I hope they now see a new and different me. I hope they see a mom with a little girl left inside of her.

My boys had fun when they were little – I heard it in their shrieks of laughter, saw it in their smiles of delight. And as teens, each day was a new day just waiting to be discovered.

But now they are young men, determined, hard-working, qualities of which I have no regrets. I watch them, tired and worn-out, and wonder, did I teach them how to play? Did I teach them to keep a piece of the child inside?

I want them to see the joy in being an adult, to know they can still dance and play, that they can still sing in the rain. I want them to know that growing older isn’t the same as growing up.

Regrets. We all have them. I know I do. But I learned, and found pieces of me I had forgotten. Though none of us can change time, we can change our ways.

Laugh a lot, dance a little, sing often. Find a piece of the child inside of you.

A note from Frank Sinatra:

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The World According to Kermit

I like Kermit for many reasons. He’s cute, his voice is annoyingly adorable, and he’s wise.

He says things like: “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be difficult.” (Profound, huh?)

And, (I love this one): “I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me.” - Kermit Click To Tweet

Mostly, I love Kermit because he is green.

Green is my favorite color. It is the color of spinach, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli (I love them all.) Green is the color of leaves on a spring tree, fresh grass, and newly cut kiwi. It is clover, a turtle, and many bugs I don’t like (but like the color of). Green is emeralds, and a forest of trees. It is a patch of basil and a field of mint. And green is Mike Wazowski. (Who doesn’t love that green, one-eyed monster?)

Green is also our planet. And green is how we care for it.

I try to be green, really I do. But as hippie as I am, and simple as I like to be, sometimes I am a lot more brown than green.

It happened the other day when I was at the grocery store admiring the fresh produce. I grabbed a few apples, a large pineapple, a bunch of vegetables, and then something caught my eye. Sitting in the middle of the store were fresh, sweet, perfectly red strawberries, encased in large plastic clam shells. It was a dilemma. I wanted the strawberries, but the plastic I could do without. I know what happens to plastic. It sits in a landfill for hundreds of years. (According to www.recycling.about.com, it takes a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose.)

I understand the need for that type of packaging when it comes to soft fruits like berries. After all, who wants to purchase a pile of fruit mush? Yet I hate the thought of tossing plastic in the trash. (Though some stores, like Whole Foods, will take them back.)

Needless to say, I bought the strawberries. Sure, I could wait until the farmers market, drive twenty minutes, sit in traffic, use gas to get there, but I’m not sure that’s very green, either. Or I could wait until berries fill the patches in the area, and go berry picking. But then, I have to drive even further than I do to go to the farmers market.

The plastic shells aren’t the only thing turning my hippie skin from green to brown. I’m still using paper towels. My consumption has greatly decreased, but they are still in our house. According to www.greenlivingtips.com, it takes a paper towel 2-4 weeks to break down. Not even close to plastic, yet, as a country, we consume a lot of paper towels. Www.peopletowels.com states that we waste over 3000 tons of paper towels per day.

There are many simple things I could do to be greener, and some I have already done. My plastic storage is almost gone, my shaving cream in a plastic container no longer exists, and I have a reusable glass bottle for my water. Yet I am still fairly brown. It’s hard in our society to be totally green. But I’m working on it.

Here are a few small things I do to make me a tad greener:
* Reusable water bottle.
* Buy produce with less packaging.
* Use less paper towels and more cloth napkins.
* Use the notepad on my phone for my grocery list (instead of a piece of paper).
* Buy loose leaf tea in place of tea bags.
* Use soap nuts for laundry. **

Just tiny steps towards a greener me. Like I said, it’s impossible to be totally green. Our lives require us to drive to jobs, our food often arrives in plastic, and piles of paper are delivered to our mailbox. Yet we can all do one small thing to make our world a little greener.

As Kermit says, “It’s not easy being green.” And he’s right. But I’m determined to keep trying.

**I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you purchase anything through my site, I receive a commission.

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