Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

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Counting My Blessings (May 2017)

I was doing busy work prepping some veggies for the dehydrator and was musing about my visit today to the new farm where some friends just moved. They are starting their new adventure and are excited about what they can achieve. They have a lot of work in front of them and they have the skills to tackle what needs to be done. I am so happy for them.

I also am humbled by my own lack of knowledge and ability to do what they plan to do. It made me realize that I am very fortunate that I have friends with diverse skill sets. Because I am enriched by those friendships.

I am so very glad I have many friends who are farmers or growers or fishers or hunters or gatherers. They know how to bring food home.

I am so glad I have many friends who are chefs and excellent cooks and others who love to build those skills. They know how to make us food to eat.

I am so glad I have many friends who are healers, either nurses or doctors or acupuncturists or chiropractors or therapists or physical therapists or massage therapists or reiki masters. They know how to help us be healthier.

I am so glad I have many friends who are teachers, either with children or adults, or group leaders, or others who share skills and abilities and are willing and able to share them to teach us to learn.

I am so glad I have many friends who have religious training either as ministers or rabbis or lay leaders or spirit sharers or truth seekers. They show there are many pathways to finding the message.

I am so glad I have many friends around the world of various nationalities. They share their pride of heritage and place and expand my world.

I am so glad I have many friends with sexual identities that differ from mine. They show me there are many ways to love.

I am so glad I have many friends.

My world is better than if everyone in my life was a cookie cutter, all from the place where I was born, all with the same education, the same religion, the same health, the same lifestyle. The diversity I see surrounding me reminds me we each are the star of our movie; we each are striving to make our life good. And the more we reach out to include people with differences, the better our own movie becomes.

Thank you for being part of making my life good….and then better.



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The Pathway We Are On

As I go about my day, happy that we finally have some “free” time that we can pay attention to some delayed house cleaning, I found myself thinking of my friends who are on hard and rocky slopes right now. I want to send healing energy to

  • a man I have never met but I know of his good works. He suffered a devastating blow yesterday..maybe an aneurysm, the info on Facebook is not complete….and his wife and family and close friends are trying to hold him up through his pathway, in the hopes he circles back to them. I wish I could be there to nurture them as they help him.
  • a man I have never met but we connected through a mutual friend on Facebook and have been celebrating our commonalities and exploring our differences with love is also fighting a potentially life ending illness. His attitude is as upbeat as can be expected being in pain. I wish I was close enough to hold his hand, but he is not alone on his pathway, held by a loving wife.
  • a woman not too far away who seems to live under a dark cloud. She has had a number of hard blows in her life and the hits, unfortunately, still keep coming. I wish I had the means to make her dream possible, but I can’t do much to boost her pathway other than what seems to be empty hugs and platitudes.
  • another woman nearby who struggled to make her marriage work and was devastated this week when her husband moved out with no discussion. She knows I will be here as much as possible for her.
  • one of my sisters who after learning her landlord wanted to sell her longterm rental sought housing and lost first one and then seemingly a second house to purchase to unethical behavior of sellers. She finally has made her move and is in the throes of unpacking and finding a place for everything and sounds exhausted.
  • my other sister who also is figuring on moving and has to make considerable arrangements just to handle the packing and storage issue as she works out of town.
  • my children who have their own personal issues of delayed dreams as well as dealing with the turmoil caused by a family member. You always have a haven here.

There are so many people in pain, so many people whose pathways have so many roots and rocks tripping them.

People, realize we have no idea what strangers may be going through. Be kind.

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Celebrate Without Going Broke

When I went into the doctor with a raging sinus infection seven Januarys ago we came to the conclusion that I was allergic to the mold that naturally forms on real Christmas trees once they are cut. The doctor was a bit surprised that I was just discovering this at my advanced age. He laughed heartily when I explained I had married Graham and was only now celebrating Christmas. We switched to an artificial tree and breathing remains undisturbed.

I wanted all the sights and smells I had heard about, read about, seen on tv and in movies. I wanted the plaid dresses with black velvet. I wanted the aroma of real pine, not some sprayed chemicals. I wanted candlelight and fire in the fireplace and all the bells and smells. I was ready to be a full fledged Christmas consumer.

By making decorations or bringing home natural items from a walk in the park to decorate the tree, you can save lots of money

By making decorations or bringing home natural items from a walk in the park to decorate the tree, you can save lots of money

When you add Christmas to 8 nights of Hanuka you end up with a lot of gift giving. Graham felt challenged. I quickly explained I had always done gift giving much as many families do-one large and several small. So this year, for example, he will buy me 8 pairs of socks and we bought a meal saver for safely freezing food.  As for me, most of the gifts I will give are items I have personally made, including the canned items I put up all growing season, baked yummies, and some useful sewn items. While all have costs associated with them, by preparing all year the cost is spread and does not hit the budget all at one time.2014-06-22 18.45.32

The whole concept of gift giving has really gotten extreme, as you yourself know. I am managing a Holiday Bazaar at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds December 13 and 14. By limiting the vendors to people who hand craft their items, we will have a vast array of jewelry, soft goods, food items, furntiture, toys and more with an array of prices from 50 cents to $500. By reminding consumers to get out of the mass produced buying frenzy at the local mall and keep their spending in the local economy, I am also suggesting they buy unique items for their loved ones.??????????wreath3??????????IMAG0309

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Even so, this may stress some budgets. I have been seeing more and more suggestions on how to make this season special with your family but not break the budget. I’d like to share some.wine and cheese traya

Can’t spend any money? Hand write (yeah, remember how to do that?) a letter to each member of your family. It doesn’t need to be long, maybe one page. Recount a memory or tell them something you look forward to doing with them. Share the love.The-Power-of-the-Handwritten-Note-in-Marketing

Check out these other suggestions by the MadHouseAdvent-activty-

Now, go and sin no more racking up credit card debt! ENJOY the season!



Family Ties

We all have them…someone in the family that just does not think the way you do. Nothing, no amount of patient attempt to find a middle ground works when the other person never budges.

Years ago I married a man I had already known for 11 years. His upbringing was considerably different from mine and I suppose we each felt the other a bit “exotic” for those differences. We respected them and enjoyed exploring the concepts each brought to the marriage.

But I have come to realize that I had the pick of the litter. No one else in that family seems to be able to move off their spot to recognize that there are things of value to consider from another viewpoint.

Recently there was a facebook posting from one family member commemorating the loss of her husband, my brother-in-law.  She chose to speak of the pain she still feels as she walks this life without him. People responded with “I’m sorry” and “I miss him too.”

I responded by telling her that this week of his passing, the anniversary of his death, his yahrzeit,  is a big week in my family. It starts with us thinking about him, and then, only a few days later, it is my youngest son’s birthday. The day after that is the yahrzeit of my son’s father (her brother-in-law), and then two days later is my mother’s yahrzeit.

It occurred to me when my husband died (his passing was the first one) that my son might always associate his birthday with sorrow, so I decided we would instead celebrate the life we shared with each of our dear ones who have passed on.  We have always taken some time to light the tradition yahrzeit candle and to speak quietly about the impact each has had in our lives.yahrzeit

My husband took me to meet his brother years before we were married. When we got to his home, we found him under his car, repairing some issue. He slid out, grabbed my arm, gave me a hug and then lead me inside. He washed his hands and then served me iced tea and only then, when we sat at the table talking, did I realize he was blind. His ability to live an active life despite his vision loss taught us that disability is an attitude. He became an even stronger role model later when my husband began to lose his abilities during his fight with brain cancer.

My mom, like many mothers, was a mix of good and not so good issues for me, but on her yahrzeit we focus on the things learned from her. She taught me to notice what needs to be done and not wait for instruction. While this has resulted in the lazy people around me often taking advantage of my effort, it has made me stand out to people who counted. My mom was active in helping others, not focusing on her own woes, in participating and learning and always making an effort to grow and improve.  She and my dad took us camping to travel the United States, and while this later came to bite her when I moved away, she understood that the opportunity for self improvement was something not to be ignored just because of location.

My son’s father was one of the most honest men I have ever met. His ability to be thoughtful and kind translated into lifelong friendships.  His work ethic meant giving the best service he could and he often, as an attorney, charged only a minimal amount over court costs and never earned more than $30,000 a year.  He valued much more than money but solid teaching of right and wrong and always finding the positive. When we married I had two small children and he relished that he could finally be a father, and his joy in the birth of his son was immense. When his cancer was diagnosed less than two years later he swore he would live long enough for his son to remember him and he outlived the 3-5 year prediction and finally passed in his sleep the day after Sam’s 11th birthday.

So when I shared with my sister-in-law that I too had my losses this week and chose to celebrate these loved ones’ impact on me, I was surprised that she ignored my comment., She responded to everyone else who commiserated with her pain, however.

I can see her pathway is much different than mine and so, recognizing it takes all kinds to make this world work, I offer her my love and whatever strength she needs to keep walking her walk.