I get really uncomfortable when people tell me I have a good soul or a good heart.
I care very deeply about the people I love and I try very hard to be there for them. I care very deeply for children, regardless of whether or not they are related to me and I will stand up and defend them if needed. I care very deeply about Mama Earth and animals and plants, but does this mean I have a good heart or soul? To me, it’s just common sense humanity.
Let me be very clear when I say that while I may have a good heart, I can be a total asshole. I have a low tolerance for bullshit – I’m talking the tank is on E and the light is on – kind of low tolerance, and my face will let everyone know what I’m thinking before I even consider opening my mouth.
I’m also very forthcoming, because even though an exorbitant number of people irritate me, I respect them, even if I think their ideas are ridiculous. Don’t pretend you’ve not heard ridiculous ideas that you have ripped apart over a cup of tea with your spouse. You know you have and I have as well.
I’ve also been the creator of really ridiculous ideas that were ripped apart by others. It’s okay. We’re not perfect. We’re all just a bunch of humans trying to navigate this thing called life. no one has all the answers.
What I’m trying to get at is this: I’m sick of trying to be anything…I’m even sick of trying to be a good person. What does that even mean?
What is good?
It seems like today, good is whatever the masses are thinking or saying, or doing.
I’m not a good person, but I am the best version of myself most of the time and that’s all I can be. That’s all I should even be striving to be. I’m not one to follow the masses and never have been. when I see a lot of people going in a direction, I’m far more likely to run in the opposite direction. I just don’t trust The Masses, because my experience shows that their choices are generally wrong for me.
Parenting is one of those things most of us try to do well and I think the fact that we reflect on what we’re doing as parents shows that we care and that we’re trying, but let me tell you, I’m the type of mother who will tell may seven-year old daughter she’s acting like a brat when it’s the truth. Take the time I took her to a pumpkin patch for a free pumpkin and she complained that they weren’t bigger and then she proceeds to kick a few around. I mean, seriously? How terrible is that? She was acting like a brat and really, my kid is one of the most generous people I know. She’s not a brat, but hell yes, she can most certainly act like one and when she does, I do not hesitate to let her know.
I hope when I act like a brat someone loves me enough to say, “Resa, seriously, stop acting like a brat.”
Another thing that really irks me these days is the fake altruism. No one really seems to care, but Facebook is rampant with posts from people taking pictures of themselves helping the homeless, donating to causes, wearing safety pins for solidarity, hash tagging “me too,” and while I get it, none of this accomplishes a thing except to feed egos.
I’m sick of feeding egos.
If you want to feed the homeless, that’s so awesome, but once you blast it all over social media, it’s all about you, not the service you’re doing.
If you want to help others who have been the victims of sexual assault, go hold their hands and talk with them. Once you blast it all over social media, it becomes a completely different animal. It does nothing. It helps no one.
I think we’ve traded the kitchen table for social media and as the important and helpful conversations with family and close friends have died away, and shallow displays of words have erupted before our eyes on screens around the world.
Even this post. What good will it do? I’m only writing it because I must right. I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about it. I’m just sick of bullshit. I’m sick of people who are stuffing their real, authentic selves away behind a facade of good.
We don’t need anymore good. We need real.
We need arguments that end, not with a block and a log out, but with a hug.
We need discussions in person, where we can hear the intention behind the words that are shared. We need real laughs rather than “lols” that are typed out without a smile. We need each other and I don’t mean a thousand friends, but a handful of really amazing friends and family who know us and love us…the good, the bad, and the otherwise, because that’s who we really are.
Maybe we need less likes and more love.
Maybe we need less finger pointing at wrong-doing and more thumbs up for goodness.
Maybe we need less posts and more peace.
Maybe we need less opinion and more openness.
Maybe we need less criticism and more creativity.
Maybe we need less consumerism and more consciousness.
Maybe we need less attention and more awareness.
Maybe we need less examination of others and more examples from ourselves.
Maybe we need less outward-focus and more internal-focus.
Maybe we need less time on social media and more time being social.
Maybe we need less networking and more connection.
Maybe we need fewer labels and more laughter.
It’s something I’m curious to explore.
I never imagined I’d be someone who owned and actually used cheesecloth, but here I am.
I remember when I was about twenty-eight or twenty-nine years old and my friend, Valeria, who happened to be a Russian immigrant, told me that I should not waste money buying cheese and that I should make it myself instead. She told me this in between our helping customers at the department store where we worked.
“You realize I can’t cook, right?” I asked, chuckling.
“You can do it. It’s so easy. You just need cheesecloth.” She told me, in her beautiful heavy accent. I learned a lot from the short time I worked with her and because of her, I was introduced to the beautiful works of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. She also insisted I give Lolita another chance, but this advice, I’ve yet to follow. Maybe I will one day, but I’m not there yet.
At that time, I had never even heard of cheesecloth, nor did I have any idea whatsoever as to how this magical cloth could turn bland cow’s milk into delicious cheese. Have I made it clear how clueless I was back then? While department store floors were easy for me to navigate back then, the kitchen was not. In all honesty, I found it rather unremarkable to discuss anything regarding a kitchen. I was a strong, empowered working woman. What did I need with a kitchen or this magical cheese cloth?
That was my self-righteous attitude back then.
Boy, did I have a lot to learn.
So anyway, My Dearest Valeria, I now own cheesecloth and have made my first batch of soft cheese. I salute you, you gorgeous, strong, empowered woman, and even though we’ve not seen or heard from each other in a very long time, I love and adore you to this day.
Set aside: In sink, line mesh colander with cheese cloth.
In large, heavy pan, heat milk and cream over medium heat, stirring to avoid scalding. Watch for foam and steaming. When it is just shy of 185 degrees, remove from heat.
Add vinegar and salt and stir. It will begin curdling immediately. Cover with clean dish towel for about 30 minutes.
Gently pour mixture into cheesecloth-lined colander and allow it to drain for 30-40 minutes.
Pull up each corner of cheese cloth and squeeze out excess moisture. When the liquid turns white and the cheese begins to push through cloth, you’re finished. Enjoy immediately, or spoon into air tight container and store in refrigerator for up to one week.
I do hope you enjoy this recipe. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!
While most families are finally settling back into a school-dictated schedule, our family took a much-needed vacation.
We were planning to go to Myrtle Beach with my mom to see family there, but Hurricane Dorian changed our plans. The funny thing is, the hotel canceled our reservations when they called for mandatory evacuations, but the weather there ended up being really nice.
With the cancellation, we decided to visit Clearwater Beach, Florida instead. We had a wonderful time, even though I felt a bit unwell for the first several days due to my foolish gluten binge – hello, I LOVE donuts! I couldn’t resist! Surely I’m not the only one who can’t help but indulge in a glazed donut when they’re out in front of me.
But they basically ruin my life for about a week following and I’m typing and wondering if maybe I need to re-evaluate my need for glazed goodness.
Maybe one day they’ll come up with glazed donut flavored herbal tea and then all will be well. Anyway…
The trip was wonderful.
We enjoyed the beach, visited friends, and had an all-around relaxing time. Normally when we go on vacation, we’re here there and everywhere, but this time, we kept our exploration to right in the Clearwater area. We didn’t venture into Tampa this time. I think we just needed to slow down, unwind, and just be together and I’m so glad we did.
Its a great place to vacation. If you go in September as we did, do expect to be hot and sweaty. With the humidity, the temperature was at a “feels like” 103 most days. This is definitely something to consider if you have family members who are sensitive to heat. However, if you have no such constraints, it’s also a more inexpensive time to visit and the beaches aren’t as packed.
We took a boat tour on the biggest speedboat in America, called The Sea Screamer. Kat loves it and so did her dad and me. We learned that the Gulf of Mexico is home to fifty species of sharks and there are many dolphins that regularly swim the waters just off the coast of Clearwater. We were lucky enough to see them jump in the wake of the boat! It was spectacular and we’ve all decided we’ll be repeat customers.
Each evening, you’ll find ample free opportunities for family fun. I say free, however these hard-working street performers rely on tips, so keep that in mind.
In our minds, one of the perks to homeschooling is being able to travel whenever we can without having to schedule our lives around a school schedule. We prefer to have a flexible, child-centered approach to learning so that even if we are at home, learning isn’t seen as a boring chore to do so she can get back to life. I was schooled. I remember that feeling very well. Her brothers were schooled as well and I remember the arguments we had almost daily about homework.
Even within the homeschool community, many children sit down begrudgingly to “do school.” Because of this, many homeschooling families look forward to a break, sometimes just during vacation, sometimes for entire summers, like their schooled peers. We see vacations as opportunities to have fun and just add to the documentation binder, just like we do any other day!
Traveling gives our daughter a chance to learn from real life. We can slow down and really enjoy watching our daughter discover things that interest her. Sometimes, I’m surprised by what grabs her attention – like sea sponges, for example.
Sea sponges? Yep.
We visited Tarpon Springs, which is about thirty minutes north of Clearwater, where Kat learned about natural sea sponges at the docks.
Did you know they’re antibacterial and they can last two years? We had no idea.
She had fun testing each of them and then making her choice for her own personal bath sponge, which she swears is softer than the wool one I chose.
We spend quite a lot of time in this store, which surprised me. Who knew sea sponges could be so intriguing?
One thing I noticed was that every sponge shop also carried natural soaps and so each one was quite thick with the various scents of essential oils. I love natural soaps and being a dōTERRA wellness advocate, I LOVE essential oils, but I gotta tell you, spending too much time in the shops, especially the small ones gave me a bit of a headache.
That said, I understand the need to the soap smells. We left the sponges in our car overnight and when I opened the door the next morning – shew! The sponge smell was strong. Thankfully all you have to do to get rid of the smell is give them an initial wash with soap and warm water. Easy enough.
Want to catch an amazing sunset?
You can simply lay a towel on the beach in Clearwater, and take in a gorgeous sunset every night, so long as the weather cooperates. Florida is known for it’s evening thunderstorms, but they are generally short-lived, so don’t worry.
For some reason, I had the idea to chase sunsets, so while we enjoyed most of them in Clearwater, we timed a few outings to see the sunset in other towns too. One day, we took a short drive to the quaint town of Pass-A-Grille. It’s been described as a small Key West, and I could see why, with its cute historic homes painted in various colors.
Another great spot for sunsets (and things to do) is John’s Pass. Definitely check out the old stone pier if you visit.
We really had a wonderful time in the area and look forward to going back again soon. The thing is, you don’t have to travel far to explore with your kids. You can explore your own backyard, or take in the sights in your hometown. The world is full of opportunities to play and learn.
All we have to do is see the world through our children’s eyes and explore side-by-side with them.
That’s what it’s all about.
Since about April, I’ve been praying? Communicating? Manifesting? What-have-you, this one thing:
Let my work be good.
And I’ve worked.
I’ve worked really hard. I’ve worked so hard, in fact, that I’m looking forward to the quiet days of Autumn and Winter, when my body can rest and my mind can bloom with new ideas and plans for Spring, while I hand sew quilt blocks and devote more time to writing.
I have, lately had the thought that maybe, just maybe I don’t have to wait for the garden to be “just right,” before opening up a few services and products to the public, so this week I worked to make smudge sticks and a few bars of soap.
I’ve also offered fresh herb bouquets.
It feels good.
My thought was that maybe, just maybe some of my close friends and close social media connections might want to join me at the beginning of all of this. Maybe they’d like to watch it grow too. And maybe I need their encouragement as much as I need the soil in my hands and my family around me, and the birds singing outside my window each morning.
Maybe I don’t want to always do this on my own. Maybe tea with a friend on the patio beats tea, alone, with a book.
And so I’m opening up my space…here at home and in my heart.
I’m not afraid anymore of being criticized or even hated. I’ve experienced that & I’m still here, sipping coffee the same as I have for over twenty years. I’m rather unscathed through it all.
And I’m still here (although in a different location), gardening, reading, writing, and quilting twenty years later…so it must all be part of the plan for my life.
And for once, I’m perfectly okay with it. I see that there is goodness in it. I enjoy every second of it and I’m eager to share with those who want to learn along side me and I’m eager to learn from those who have learned before me.
There’s so much magic in teaching and learning from one another, if only we put aside our egos, let go, and listen.
Gardening taught me this…
Thorns on the Roses and the Barberries say: Slow down. Don’t rush. Be present and pay attention.
Butterflies remind me that change is a process and it sometimes makes no sense and can’t be explained, but it is always good.
The flowers remind me to hold my head up and take care of myself. Eat! Drink! And don’t forget to dance in the breeze!
Last year, I begged for a teacher. I begged for a guru…someone to help me to see what matters in this life and I’ve come to believe that what matters in life is different for each of us and that’s a good thing. I’ve also learned that our teachers don’t have to be human…they can have four legs, or a trunk covered in bark. They may never even utter a word or embrace us when we cry. But they teach us nonetheless.
And the biggest lesson I learned is this: Our gurus look out our own eyes. They truly do. We cannot learn that which we do not experience on our own, in our own lives. And sometimes we relive similar experiences until we learn the lesson we need to learn to do our work, to live comfortably in our purpose.
And I don’t know…maybe that’s worth sharing. Here. And in work. And in simply being with others.
I’ve been told by a few people lately that I have a calming effect on them. I don’t know how this happened, but I’m glad to know it and instead of dismissing it as I often do compliments, I’m embracing it.
It helps me feel better about opening up the space here, and sharing, and being close to others.
And I think it all started when I decided to live what I love, rather than looking down my nose and everything I do and everything I am.
We have a huge old Phillips gas light in our yard that the previous owners (and now our super rad neighbors) installed to light up the side yard of the house.
While it’s a cool old light, it just doesn’t fit with what we are doing here at the old farmhouse.
Earlier this year, I told my husband I’d love to have it removed and install a solar garden light. We wondered how on earth we’d take it down and what on earth we’d do with it after we took it down. I said, “Someone will come by and want it. Someone with a garage or something.”
A couple of weeks ago we visited the 127 Yard Sale and happened upon a couple who were selling various things including an old decorative wrought iron garden piece that I’d LOVE to have, by the way, but the $300 price tag made us reconsider.
Anyway, my husband asked the guy if he might be interested in the light. He was. He stopped by today to see what tools he’d need. Turns out he has a garage in his backyard and several old gas station items and wants it to go along with that.
I’m excited it’s going to a good home and I’m excited to one day get a solar light that I want for the garden and the path to the pool & fire pit.
Things are coming along. It’s all coming together. We just keep working and moving forward. With every spadeful of earth, I see it all coming to fruition and I couldn’t be happier.
This year, we’ve been able to give away three fresh herb bouquets and I have enough to sell three more. Bouquets like this one below are $5.
We’ve given some produce to friends & family as well. Soon, we’ll have more tomatoes we can sell. Cherries, Brandywine, and Plums & all are doing very well.
The corn did not fair well and we only had one decent cob, but that’s okay. Maybe next year will be better.
We’ve enjoyed seeing Swallowtail caterpillars in the Parsley. We currently have three of them munching away and growing bigger and bigger each day. Kat has really enjoyed them.
We also had a Clearwing moth visit! I admit, the picture isn’t the best, but it was the best I could do with my IPhone. Their wings move quickly like hummingbird wings! Seriously cool.
I weeded the vegetable garden and found another large watermelon hidden in the grasses and tomatoes. Ha! I had no idea it was there. It’s actually the largest of the three and made me wonder if perhaps a hands-off approach is better? Hmmmm.
What do you think?
There’s the update on the garden for August. I’ll be heading back out to dig out more of the sidewalk I found once I’m feeling better. Pretty sure I’ve got Strep Throat. Ugh. Makes it a little difficult to do any hard work like digging, but it’ll pass and I’ll be happy to get back out there.
Because it’s been hard to swallow, I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies. Here’s a super yummy one that I’ve had the last couple of days:
1 big handful greens
2 TBSP vanilla Greek yogurt
1 sprig fresh rosemary (not stem)
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (not stems)
1/2 cup Coconut water with pineapple
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TVSP raw local honey
1/4 cup raw almonds
Blend until smooth.
Tonight is the Sturgeon Moon. We’re celebrating with hotdogs and s’mores at the fire pit. What do you hope to bring into your life this month?
Goethe was one of the first to publicly say that the Earth is a living, breathing being and I have always believed this. All my life, any time I felt stressed out, or needed time alone, I escaped to Nature, whether it was to pet bees in my yard (an activity I have handed down to my daughter), or running to the creek as a teenager to hit trees with sticks (I’ve not handed down this activity to any of my children, nor have I continued it), or sitting against the biggest Oak Tree I can find, nature always restores my Spirit.
It’s easy to forget what a resource Mother Nature is for our health, vitality, and wellbeing. Mother Nature’s presence is like the air we breathe that we don’t think much about until we can’t take a breath. Mother Nature can heal us, ease mental unrest, and deliver us from our personal demons, if only we take the time to be with Her. Christians may balk at that and that’s okay, but Jesus, Himself, went to the mountain to pray. He went to Nature to be closer to God the Father. Why wouldn’t we?
All of the great spiritual leaders have gone to Nature to be closer to the Great Spirit.
I don’t have a mountain. I don’t have a Banyan tree. I don’t have the sea. I don’t have magical rock formations in the desert.
But I do have grass and the wind and flowers and vegetables and herbs. I have birds and butterflies, earthworms, beetles, ants, slugs, deer, and even foxes and all of these teach me.
Slow down. They say.
Breathe. They whisper.
They remind me that although the artificial human world I live in pulls me in a million directions, what really matters comes directly from Earth. God or Goddess or the Great Spirit, or whatever you believe – provides all we need to live a happy and healthy life.
We think we need so much. A big house, new cars, the latest fashion, makeup that covers every blemish (real or imagined), digital gadgets, big screen televisions, cars with phones and televisions, cell phones on our person at all times….but literally none of these are needed at all.
We’ve just been brainwashed to believe they are necessities. That’s capitalism for you. It turns luxuries into necessities. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I am saying that I’m learning that complicating life with all of that stuff steals my joy in life.
I find greater joy in a swallowtail visiting my garden than I do a new cell phone or car or shoes. Give me dirty nails over a manicure, grass stained feet over pointy-toed pumps.
Mother Nature envelopes us in her arms each day, breathing life into our lungs, spreading healing light upon the Earth. She’s here, all around us, ready to embrace us if only we slow down, breathe, and bring ourselves back to the present. The flowers raise their heads to her, if you watch a Sunflower, you can literally watch it follow the sun across the sky. Birds sing at dawn and again at dusk, serenading all of the world with good mornings and good nights. They open their hearts and raise their voices in a great chorus of what can only be described as love.
If only people could take note from Mother Nature. If only I could be so receptive to love and kindness, instead of fearful of being hurt. What a different life this might be. Yet fear permeates the very air we breathe these days. It’s the buzzword and it’s wreaking havoc, because so many are falling prey to its snare.
I’m going to be more receptive to love and kindness from this moment forward. It seems a win-win situation.