Finding Serenity

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Life can be pretty nuts.  Not only do we have to worry about what’s going on in our own lives, but there is also the human suffering that we all see every day – and a lot of that is not just somewhere “out there” in the world, but here at home.

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So, what to do?  How can we deal with all of this?  The stress of just daily life can be overwhelming. How can we find some form of serenity?  There is only so much that we can do as individuals.  Yes, there are letters to write and petitions to sign, but how do we find a way to cope with the stresses that need to be dealt with?

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Personally, at the end of the day I realize that there is only so much I can do to influence what’s going on “out there”.  I try to influence people who I come across each day.  If I think that someone who I don’t know looks really nice, I’ll tell them.  Just the look of surprise and happiness that I see on their faces lets me know that even though I may have hesitated to give them a compliment, it was the right decision.  And, although talking to a total stranger is hard for me, it was worthwhile.  So, let me know what you do to throw a little happiness out there in the world.  I’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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Happy Things This Week

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I love the Minions!

Even though I’ve been in somewhat of a depression lately, there were some happy, joyful and glorious things that have happened over the past week or so.  The first of these was that after almost a year of not being able to use my oven, I got a new stove.  Yes, I was able to use the top of the stove, but I haven’t made any baked goods in a long time.  So, this week I bought apples and am looking forward to baking a pie over the weekend.  Yum!

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My daughter and I went to see Beauty and the Beast this week.  This movie was just wonderful.  Belle was portrayed exactly the way I always felt that she was.  A strong, intelligent woman who found her small town to be more than a little too small.  Belle has to be the one Disney “princess” with whom I feel an actual affinity.  Books, books, books!

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This was a big week, since my daughter and I also went to see The Sleeping Beauty by the Russian National Ballet this week.  This was actually my birthday gift from my birthday way back in September.  You have to wait for the good things.  I love, love, love going to the ballet, and this one was wonderful!  What a great time.

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Tonight, we’re going to see a middle-school production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I know that a lot of people dislike going to these events, but I love them.  The kids put their hearts and souls into the play, they work really hard, and often-times they are the biggest surprise regarding the talent some of the performers have.  One of the girls my daughter babysits will be in the play, and I really look forward it seeing her.  She’s very talented, and I enjoyed the play she was in last year.  Lots of fun!

Those are my good, happy and fun things lately.  Please share your good things!

An Empty Nest

My contemporaries often talk about their grown children moving back home after college due to the job market and low pay.  However, I’ve never had an “empty nest”.  My son chose to work instead of going to college, and now he has a great career where he actually earns quite a bit of money.  He however, has told us that he plans to never move out.  But, at the ripe old age of twenty-six, it’s more than time for him to leave.  Make no mistake, I love him dearly, however, he really needs to get out and live life on his own.

Ah, what a rant!  Our daughter is another story.  She’s stayed at home to go to college on-line, and will be graduating in August.  She helps with the housework, cooks dinner sometimes, and is usually quite sweet.  We have no drama, etc. with her.  She works by babysitting, dog-walking and creates content for a web-site related to her area of studies. Her plan is to stay at home for a year after graduation, and then hopefully go to graduate school in the U.K.   She would love to move out, but needs to save as much money as she can.

With all this, I must admit that I’m dreaming of a house of my own.  A little french country cottage or a hobbit house would be just wonderful.  Think of all the peace and quiet!  Family, you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them!

 

Parenting manual.

Winter Wonderland

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For most of the winter we haven’t gotten much snow, as a matter of fact the winter has unsurprisingly been fairly warm.  However, just a few days ago, it was 60°, (and we were battling mud), then the next day we got 17 inches of snow.  One of the old quotes about New England is “If you don’t like the weather, just stick around for a few hours, it’ll change.”  This winter is stretching that truism quite far.  However, with all the snow, it’s turned into a winter wonderland, and I just wanted to share some of my pictures with you.  Enjoy!

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This is where you put the Frisbee to avoid it getting caught in the snow blower.

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Good Things This Week

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In a conscientious effort, I’m trying to keep myself looking at the positive while working against the negative, so here are a few good things about this week.  I finished my Entrepreneur Seminar, got some really good information (and free gifts), and am feeling energized to continue along this path!  Then of course, I’ve been trying some new recipes, and making up some of my own.  Here is one that actually came out really good.

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Steamed veggies

Steamed Veggies:

Green cabbage, sliced thin – I used about 1/8 of a cabbage  (Just a note, green cabbage is incredibly cheap)

¼ onion, sliced

About six baby carrots, sliced thin – use as many as you like

Some mushrooms, depending on how much you like.

I then put all these in a bowl  and mixed some herbs and spices in.  Use whatever you feel like.  I put in some sage, rosemary, garlic, marjoram, thyme and sage.

Steam for about five or so minutes.  My steamer is pretty small, so I made a few batches.  This made enough for my lunch.  I added a little soy sauce for the extra flavor.  I also had a baked red potato to round out the meal.  I also saved the leftover water, since it was infused with the taste and smell of the veggies, spices and herbs.  I used it in the soup I made last night.  Very good!

Vegan cooking is so easy.  I’m not saying that all my improvised meals are good, however, I’ve had more hits then misses lately.

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I’ve been working out every morning, and walking before lunch.  I’m starting to feel pretty good.  I’ve also added Sun Salutations to my daily workout, and find that the proper breathing is helping with my stress.  Another “good thing”.

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The full moon peeking out from behind the trees at dusk.

I hope that you’ve had a good and productive week and that you’ve found some things to be grateful for.  I’m glad that I’ve been making the effort to spend some time looking for the positive.  Here are some pictures I took this week.  The first is sunrise the day after the snow, and the other is one of my hemlock trees draped in snow.

 

Looking for Happiness

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This week was rather difficult.  I got a large unexpected credit card bill, actually, this brought the grand total of my recent credit card bills up to over two thousand dollars, over the course of the last three months.  That was what was on top of the past due amount of over three thousand dollars.  This is the last card that I have to pay off, however at this rate I’ll never do it.  I feel like Sisyphus, and my free-spending husband is the rock.  This is what happens when you get married to someone whose money-management skills caused the rent to be over-due by three months, and the electric to be shut off due to non-payment in the fourth month after you married.  Needless to say, I pay the bills now.

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But, I digress.  The recent past included the wonderful experience of my first Thanksgiving with Tofurky.  I couldn’t believe how good it tasted, and the smell of the spices cooking filled my house with deliciousness.  It has taken all these years for Tofurky to make an appearance at my local grocery store.  It was one of those mystical beasts that we’d always heard of, but never seen.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was peaceful and filled with love.  I hope that yours was also.

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Another happy occurrence was that we finally got some rain.  Not a lot, but some.  And, since we’re in an extreme drought, that was a good thing!  In my town, some people have lost their wells, and they’ve had to have the well-driller come and drill deeper.  Luckily, we’ve got a deep well, but this is still a little bit of worry for me.  Yes, I am a real world-class worrier.

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The leaves are finally picked up.  We had some really high winds, and it cleaned most of them out.  What’s left will probably not come down until spring.  So, another fall related chore is done!   What are some of your wonderful happy things that have taken place recently?  Share them in the comments below.