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A Love of Nature and Home

Thursday, June 10, 2010

With all my recent thoughts on mindfulness, I'm reminded of some of my favorite things in nature. I love its contrasts. I find so many things beautiful in the forest, by the ocean, or in the mountains or desert. But the best ones are the contrasts. A smooth, hard, gray boulder, with gentle green ferns growing next to it. A prickly cactus with a delicate pink flower blooming on it. The soft sounds of the tide with the raucus calls of a gull. The burbling brook flowing over a moss covered stone. A delicate moth sitting on the strong textures of a tree's bark.

These contrasts make me want to paint, to photograph, to quilt. I find them inspiring, and they sometimes are so stunning that they can take my breath away.

I'm very fortunate in my life. I've had the freedom to travel to exotic locations for scuba diving. And I've had the wherewithall to travel/live in my RV for five years, exploring this gorgeous country of ours. But on some days I find that I'm just as lucky, just as inspired, just as awestruck, to walk in the woods behind my new home. Full of tall trees, delicate ferns, ivy that's escaped from people's lawns, a little stream, and even the poison ivy. The green, lush beauty of home is as wonderful as any of the wonders that I've seen elsewhere.

It's good to be home.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRINGS58 6/11/2010 6:56AM

    The ability to marvel is an important one. It has a way of restoring the brain and the psyche. People who can't marvel the way you marvel at nature get very concrete, and very stuck. Isn't it nice to know that inspiration is ready and available???

There was a tv show that did brain scanning, and remembering music activated more of the brain than listening did. I wonder if the same is true for remembering visual images? Anyway, you've got a healthy brain!

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KALIGIRL 6/10/2010 1:11PM

    Wonderful blog.
Your words made the contrasts come alive for me.
Glad you are 'home'.

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LUMETH 6/10/2010 10:31AM

    You paint beautiful pictures with your words and the thoughts you share. Thank you.

I miss the ocean so much... and the mountains. At least there are still forests in this area that I can wander through.

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KRICKETTWO 6/10/2010 9:11AM

    I agree whole heartedly with you about nature. It IS so perfectly beautiful. We just have to remember to take the time to enjoy it and to slow down enough to see it in all of its glory.

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MCJULIEO 6/10/2010 8:12AM

    Thanks for the thought provoking blog...I need to be more aware of such observations...

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CJROARK 6/10/2010 7:48AM

    Thank you for talking about contrasts! My morning walk was so rich as I contemplated the polarity everywhere, and how it works together for the beauty of everything.

Have a beautiful Thursday!


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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I went to a "morning of mindfulness" retreat with my local meditation group this past weekend. We did a relaxation exercise, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and finally, a lunch in which we practiced mindful eating. It was a wonderful and relaxing time.

The thing that's stuck with me the most is the mindful eating. We ate most of our meal in "noble silence" and the meal seemed brighter somehow. The colors, textures and flavors of the meal were highlighted by my focus on it. I've only just gotten into meditation, but am feeling that the mindfulness, brought to everyday activities, might turn into my meditation form. I walked two of my dogs in a local park this week and I remembered to be mindful. Everytime my thoughts started whirling in my head I slowed down, looked around me, looked at my dogs, and tried to be fully present to every sensory input.

I've also brought mindfulness into my gardening. I'm a mixed bag about gardening. I don't crave time in the yard like my mom does. But sometimes I really enjoy it. There's a front patch that needed weeding and I decided to start on it the other night. It was pretty overwhelming, with TONS of crabgrass and clover. Remembering mindfulness, I brought out a blanket, sat down, and mindfully pulled weeds. I reminded myself there was no hurry. That it didn't matter if I got it all done that day. And I just stayed with the feeling of the earth, the sights of the worms crawling out of my way, the sound of the roots pulling out of the soil, and before I knew it I'd been out there an hour and that section was done!!!

I did it again tonight with the vegetable garden. I was out there almost two hours, and perhaps even more. I lost track of time and got a lot done.

Mindfulness. Being present in each moment. This is a practice that I hope to make a regular part of my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUMETH 6/9/2010 2:17PM

    Thank you for sharing this post with us. Mindfulness is definitely something I need to practice. My mind is off in a whirlwind so often, and sometimes so badly that I start losing track of many things in the chaos.

It's good to be reminded to slow down and live in the moment at times.

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--KREN 6/9/2010 6:26AM

    MINDFULNESS. Yes, it's so important, so simple, and so easy to forget! It's something so few of us practice, yet it is SO beneficial to us when we do. Being AWARE takes effort. What does that say about us? Live the moment! Karen

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Doctor Very Supportive

Friday, June 04, 2010

I saw my oncologist today for my three month followup. I've lost 12 pounds since he saw me last, and my blood pressure is so low I've gone off diltiazam and without the drug it's still lower than its been in years. I told him about it, and how healthy I feel. He's very supportive, and even had heard some of the research about meat-based diets and their impact on cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol, and so forth. He'll test my cholesterol next time I'm in, in hopes that that has lowered too.

I know that some folks don't get support from medical personnel on becoming vegetarian, so I'm really thrilled that my oncologist "gets it."

I feel fabulous!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

--KREN 6/5/2010 7:00AM

    How you feel is the real test and the real result! Good for you! Karen

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CJROARK 6/4/2010 6:19PM

    Yay! Congratulations! You've been working hard! I'm happy your doctor will help you with the path you've chosen.


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48MYYEAR2014 6/4/2010 5:57PM

    congrats on the great news emoticon

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JOY1972 6/4/2010 5:42PM

    How fortunate you are to have a doctor that understands. They do exist! Keep up the good work.

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SUEELLEN317 6/4/2010 5:27PM

    I also am so happy for your good health news. Keep up the good work. I also have a great doctor, and even though my insurance changed, and she is no longer "in network" for me, I am paying more to keep seeing her. I will visualize health and wholeness for you. Sue Ellen (Tarotwoman) emoticon

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BECKYANNE1 6/4/2010 4:24PM

    Congrats on the great results. It is nice to have a doctor who understands you. I used to have one, but she retired. My nurse practioner is pretty nice and understanding though.

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What a Difference!

Monday, May 31, 2010

I've looked back at the calendar, and reviewed my recent progress. Since April 19th, I've lightened my body by ten pounds!!! I can really see it in the mirror now. This morning I put on a t-shirt that had been too tight, and turned around to look at all angles. I am definately, visibly thinner. I have to immediately shut down the inner critic who tells me how far I still have to go, because that voice is still waiting in the wings to sabotage me. But I just tell it, "thanks, but no thanks. Look how far I've come and it'll only get better with time!"

I am feeling so good about myself. My legs have muscle. They are firming up quite nicely, and barely jiggle when I move around. I can walk and lift much more than I could. And to look at the calendar and realize how quickly this has happened is very encouraging.

I also feel really good about my food intake. I've switched to plant-based foods, and I feel much healthier already. I no longer have ANY cravings for candy, ice cream, potato chips, or any of the other foods that used to sabotage me so badly. My cravings now are for whole grains, apples, veggies ... it's awesome. I've never eaten so wholesomely, or healthfully, and it feels really good.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend "The China Study." It shows decades of research implicating meat and dairy consumption in the formation of diseases such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, colorectal cancers, immune system diseases, heart disease, and much more. I wish my doctors had told me this when I was diagnosed with osteopenia, breast cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUMETH 6/1/2010 9:37AM

    Congrats on the progress! Such a satisfying feeling...


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KRAUSEMOUSE 6/1/2010 8:50AM

    FANTASTIC! WAY TO GO! emoticon

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STRINGS58 5/31/2010 10:23PM

    emoticon emoticon
I've got The China Study, but haven't read it yet. I read Eat to Live which referenced it. Hmmm, I do likey the cheesy . . .

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MARLENE160 5/31/2010 10:23PM

    Great going! emoticon

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ANNISSAT 5/31/2010 3:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMSUE1 5/31/2010 3:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

My quilt guild is involved in a nationwide project to make pillowcases for children with cancer. The idea is that they'd each have something fun and colorful of their own while in the hospital. I've seen various patterns for them, but our guild is using a three-fabric pattern that's really fun to make. In order to make sure I understood the seemingly bizarre instructions, I made one for myself today. The pillowcases I make for children will not be subtle in color like this one, as this was made to please only myself. Demonstrating the comfort of this new pillowcase is my Italian greyhound Walker.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRINGS58 5/31/2010 9:23AM

    Hello Walker! Sounds like a nice project.

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PURRCATNIP 5/31/2010 2:05AM

    Very pretty.. both the dog and the pillowcase. Your quilt guild has a great idea, doing that for children is fantastic!

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MCJULIEO 5/28/2010 9:03AM

    Is that one fabric for the main part of the pillowcase, one part for the edge, and one fabric as a ribbon like trim??

Made up in brights, I'll bet that would be a real spirit lifter for children... what a lovely project!

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TERI99 5/27/2010 8:26PM

    Looks like a pattern I have used; I like your colors. What a great idea!

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--KREN 5/27/2010 7:40PM

    I'll buy the pillowcase if the dog comes too, lol. Besides, Walker and I are both Italian. Lovely, both of them! Karen

Comment edited on: 5/27/2010 7:42:12 PM

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