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Big News!

Big news to share! I am getting bigger…well at least in one area! I’m excited to share that I am having a baby! I’m due in April. If you haven’t seen me on the blog lately it has been due to morning sickness (actually constant, all day sickness in my case) and a general busyness and exhaustion. I hope to be posting much more frequently now that the notorious first trimester is behind me.

I am also starting a new online (and in-person) writing service through my new project Creative Writing Connections. Having taught and tutored English, creative writing, and writing instruction for several years, I felt it was time to expand to a larger audience. I am offering guidance for budding creative writers, as well as direct writing instruction for students of all ages and college admissions essay writing help. Although I live in Connecticut, I am happy to work with people all over the world. I have experience working with people who are learning English as a second language, as well as students with learning disabilities. Writing instruction is quite conducive to phone/Skype and email sessions.  Check out my new website www.creativewritingconnections.weebly.com for more information if you happen to be interested!

What’s a better way to give back to the environment than to spend time each day appreciating its beauty?

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View at East Mountain

 

Frozen Planet

 

Sunset in Hawaii

 

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I’m beginning a 6 week blog series on living a more eco-friendly life. Simple changes can make a big difference. The first step in this series is becoming aware and mindful of how we interact with our environment, and where we can begin to make changes.

Take a few minutes to consider things like your shopping habits, the amount of time you spend outside, and your cleaning products. Over the next 6 weeks I will go more deeply into these topics. For today, look around your house. Are you surrounded by plants, try to use recycled paper products, and are mindful of packaging? Or are you using toxic products, buying GMO food items, and wasting paper?

Being “eco-friendly” has become a buzz-word in our culture. But what does it really mean? Is it just buying recycled paper towels and recycling most of the time? In this series I’d like to reflect not only on the products we use, but the way we think about and interact with nature. Do you spend time each day feeling appreciative of the trees and grass that surround you? Do you send positive thoughts and appreciation to the flowers that provide beauty each day?

In addition to looking around your house, take some time to feel grateful for the nature that surrounds you. Earth is such a beautiful place. Let’s spend the next 6 weeks becoming more mindful of our habits, and reflecting on the intense beauty of summer.

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Back at the beginning of April I began a three month cleanse which meant no dairy, sugar (of any kind including honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.), gluten, and many high glycemic fruits such as pineapple and mangoes. I did this with the intention of realigning my system, clearing out stagnation from my body, and getting rid of the overgrowth of candida.

I am so glad that I committed to this cleanse! I now have a much better awareness of how my body processes different foods. I do not feel as addicted to sugar as I once was, and I can exercise more control when confronting cake or cookies. Yes, I let myself eat what I want at special occasions. I was not going to say no to birthday cake last week! However, I am more mindful now of what goes into my body.

Here are two recipes that I’ve developed that are gluten-free and healthy!

 

1. Chickpea Cacciatore

For such a simple meal, this is surprisingly delicious and filling. My husband, who did not participate in this cleanse, and loves to eat, really enjoys this dish. If you like, a little crushed red pepper can be added on top for extra flavor.

Ingredients

1 can organic chickpeas

1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes

1 cup of brown rice (cooked, yields 2 cups)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

Cook the brown rice according to the directions. In a saute pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Saute for a few minutes. Add fire roasted tomatoes and chickpeas. Allow the mixture to bubble, then turn it down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Some of the juices from the tomatoes will begin to absorb, and the mixture should thicken slightly. Serve over brown rice.

 

2. Chocolate “Frozen Yogurt”

1/3 cup full fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest)

3-4 frozen strawberries

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender.Puree for about 30 seconds, or until the strawberries have been mixed completely. The mixture should be the texture of frozen yogurt. This is perfect on these hot days we’ve been having in the Northeast! You will notice that no sugar is needed because the strawberries are sweet, and the coconut adds lots of creamy flavor.

Enjoy!

 

Containers

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time considering how the structures in our lives are really empty containers waiting to be filled. What do I mean by a container?

A house.

A relationship.

A career.

A body.

We choose what is poured into our containers. Love? Hope? Positivity? Fear? Anger? All of these things?

Today, take a look at your containers and consider how you’ve filled them over the past years, perhaps decades. Can you now change what your containers are being filled with?

 

 

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

By John O’Donohue

 

Gratitude

May is a gorgeous time of year. Everywhere you look, new life is forming. Where there was barren land, flowers bloom. Bare, grey trees are springing to life in dresses of bright green. There are a lot of changes happening in my life, as well. From buying a house for the first time, to contemplating a major career change that would tie up all of my loose ends, I feel like an earthquake is happening to my life. I am being shaken up, tossed about, and ultimately reformed in a new shape, familiar and yet completely new at the same time.

In the midst of these changes I have become ungrounded. My head has been swimming with details and visions for the future. I have become caught up in the how, rather than releasing it and watching the events unfold. This afternoon I ran out to Starbucks on my lunch break to get some tea and almonds. As I sipped the iced green tea, I immediately paused, grateful for the lemony, cold flavor on my tongue. I realized in that moment that gratitude is gratitude. Whether it concerns buying a beautiful home, or just enjoying a sip of iced tea on a warm May day, the feeling is the same. I don’t need the big, eruptive changes to feel happy. Simple pleasures abound, and can bring just as much joy as the larger ones.

Footprints on the Sand

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