Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Mantra: On Becoming

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. - Anais Nin
Veronika Weroni Vajdova

I remember wanting to be a singer.

A pirate.

A teacher.

A tiger trainer and a tornado chaser.

I remember wanting to be a Powerball winner so fiercely that it became a career in and of itself in my mind, when growing up and moving away all seemed too hard and too scary.

I remember wanting to become versions upon versions of myself.

How becoming a yoga teacher turned into becoming a wellness practitioner and how that led to a desire to be a doctor.

How that never happened.

How I had to realize the harsh reality of time. So much, so little, so precious. How I had to determine where to put my energy, and why.

I've considered the energy I've already spent on so many other things that intrigued me:

Sign language.

The dream of becoming an architect.

The year in high school where I worked out a deal so I could take two classes at the same time; the one I was required to take and the drafting class I desired so that I could become the next Frank Lloyd Wright. The 20 minutes every morning that I was allowed in drafting class to learn and practice. My friend, Brian, helping me understand all the other pieces to it that I didn't get because I was never really there. The AutoCAD LT program we installed on my home computer so I could practice.

The moment I gave up on that dream.

The many, many, many years spent studying psychology. The master's degree I now need to complete if I want to fully turn that goal into an accomplishment.

The other dreams. The bigger, the bolder, the further out of reach only because they mean that much more. The ones that not only require hard work and natural talent, but luck. Pure and simple luck. The things I still want to be, the things I'm 'being' right now on my own, by myself, in my own way.

A photographer.
A traveler.
A writer.

The dream I've had the longest, the fiercest, the most desired but the most terrifying and seemingly out of reach:

A poet.

And now, right now, the designer. The one who decorates houses and plans events and believes that there is an unparalleled beauty in finding the exact right way a vase should be placed on a table with a frame. The colors, the spaces between spaces- the belief that all of it matters.

Under all of these dreams and hopes and plans, there is the me that exists. The business me, who for the last 16 years has spent her time building a career she never actually planned, but that found her nonetheless. The me that is a dog mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend.

Somewhere, out in the not so far away future, there lies a new me.

A business owner, a mom- to dogs and people. An older, wiser, and still desiring of everything me that wants all of my past dreams- and so much more.

This is a list of who I am, who I've been, who I am yet to become. A tally of adventures, journeys, and discoveries.

I'm embracing all of this, more than this, myself. I'm learning what it means to become yourself year by year, path by path.

Becoming who you are meant to be is difficult, beautiful, confusing, time consuming...worth it. It is all encompassing and all empowering. It is realizing you are blue one day, then yellow the next. That you are red, green, and purple. That you are all the colors of the rainbow because you never were and never will be just one thing.

That you are capable.

That life is both infinite and finite.

That you will have accomplishments and failures, triumphs and defeats. That all of these things are okay, acceptable, normal.

That we are all trying: to succeed, to figure it out, to become.

The path to the best version of yourself may not always be clear, straight, and well lit. You may need to start over, change course, turn around. You may even need to bring matches to burn the bridges you've crossed; let them turn to ash.

Your journey to becoming is all this and more.

Your path is a path worth taking.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: I am the Light

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
I am the Light

I am the distance, I am the sea.
No boat that you charter will ever reach me.

I'm unknown and unchained- a cage will not hold
The breaker of boundaries, the healer of souls.

I'm forbidden in trickery and you are aware;
I will not be caught by a lie or a snare.

I'm a song that's unsung, a language unwritten-
You'll understand only when you've truly committed.

You will keep crossing fine lines 'til you see-
My arrival comes only when you're ready for me.

My name is Love and I dwell in your soul.
I long for the moment you'll let me unfold.

As long as you let me, as long as I might,
I'll vanquish your fears; I'll restore your life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Mantra: Life Rules to Remember

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: #12. You are enough
Jenna Kutcher
1. Setbacks will happen. That's OK- and sometimes good for you.

2. Running away from your feelings burns zero calories and wins you no medals.

3. It will be hard at times. It will be worth it.

4. Love yourself first. Every other love worth having will follow.

5. Don't forget to be thankful for absolutely everything you have been given. You never know when something might be taken away.

6. Water and sleep are two of the most powerful health weapons within your control. Use them.

7. Your life will be significantly easier if you embrace change.

8. Your happiness or sadness increases or decreases depending on which you focus on the most.

9. THIS is temporary.

10. Ignore everything that feels wrong, sounds stupid, or makes you uncomfortable. What's meant for you will feel good right from the start.

11. Nothing is set in stone. 

12. You are enough. 

13. Your body is temporary. Your mind will forget. But the kindness you show to others will last forever.

14. When you are the most terrified, that is when you must leap.

15. Do not forget those who have come before you; the brave, the determined, the fighters of freedom and justice and truth. The ones who sacrificed so much for so many. Your time will come, and when it does, be ready for battle. The fight is never over. There is always, always, always something worth fighting for.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: I am the Dark

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
I am the Dark

I am the dark, the revenge, the unknown.
The bump in the night, the chill in your bones.

I'm made of nothing, but I make you whole.
I fill up the cracks that have formed in your soul.

I'm stealthy and secret- just out of your grasp,
You'll know that I'm here only once I've attacked.

I live in the mind and I live in the heart.
I'll wander your body; I will leave a mark.

I thrive in suspense and I thrive in the night.
I want you to wonder when I might arrive.

My name is Fear and I love what you hate.
I live for the moments I keep you awake.

As long as you let me, as long as I might,
I'll conquer your spirit; I'll ruin your life.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Mantra: The Real You

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: (Or question for this week) - Who is it that you really want to be?
What was the last comment you made on any online forum or social media profile? Was it kind, loving, supportive? Was it rude, mean, terrible?

Would you have said what you wrote to the person's face?

I pose these questions because I recently learned about new research that very clearly shows people are their true selves online more than they are in "real life." Which is to say, because we have a screen to hide behind we no longer fear saying or doing the things we really want to say or do.

In person, we behave the way we think people expect of us. We know there are consequences that the internet does not have. We are far more cautious with what we say in response to someone else's opinion or idea, not to mention the things we choose to engage in.

This is what the internet lacks. The pause we mentally take before we act or speak.

With a keyboard, you can type out all of your hate and anger and bitterness in one swift move. In real life, you give yourself a moment to think about your actions or your words first. This is a saving grace many people take for granted online. Acting without thought, without concern, without empathy. The biggest and most fatal flaw of the World Wide Web is the humanity that has been stripped from it. The humanity we strip from ourselves when we engage with others in ways we know are wrong or cruel.

This really shouldn't be surprising. It's something we all knew, even if we refused to admit it to ourselves.

So, the question remains: who do you want to be?

Do you want to be the type of person others trust, believe in, look for in times of comfort? Do you want to be remembered as a kind soul who stood up for others, who was thoughtful in conversations, who respected the many differing opinions while able to eloquently and kindly express your own?

Or do you want to be a jerk? (Not that any of you lovely people are jerks, but we all know someone who could use some better online etiquette.)

It's that simple.

There is only one real you. You are 100% responsible for the things you do online as much as in person. A screen to hide behind is no excuse.

Who do you want to be...and how do you want to be remembered?

"Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."    - Michael Moore

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: No Such Doubts

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
No Such Doubts
(Written to the tune of Depeche Mode's "Wrong")

I was barking up the wrong tree,
On the wrong day,
Looking for the wrong attitude.
I was looking for the right path,
And the right way
To be understood.
I was walking on a tight rope,
On a tight lie,
Falling to the bed I made below.
I was fighting for the right things,
And the right hope
Of a me so long ago.

I was watching as I broke down
When I broke up
With the self that I once knew.
I was watching as it died down,
As I died out,
As I died through and through.
I was waiting for the right time,
For the right knight,
For the one to set me free.
I was waiting for the moment,
For a second,
For a dark eternity.

I was growing more impatient,
More unnerving,
Tossing in my sleep.
I was looking for an ending,
For a breakdown,
For a place to let me be.
I was giving into darkness,
Into sadness,
Into never ending shame.
I was living in a nightmare,
In a shadow,
In a place I couldn't contain.

I was hoping for a difference,
For the distance,
For the chance to make it new.
I was banking on a daydream,
On a day scheme,
On things I thought I knew.
I was living through the lying,
Through the dying,
Through the pain of changing time.
I was dying in the moments,
In the minutes,
When I knew that you weren't mine.

I was walking out the front door,
From the first floor,
Where my heart lay smothered out.
I was headed toward a new life,
Toward a new fight,
Toward a place of no such doubts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Gluten Free Breakfast Goodies

I've been on a recent kick to find new recipes and I wanted to share two of the cookbooks I'm enjoying right now.

Gluten is My Bitch by April Peveteaux is up first!

This is a great book for anyone new to Celiac or gluten allergies/intolerances. As the title demonstrates, profanity is used, which weirdly surprised some readers based on some of the reviews I read. Things that make you go "WTF, people."

It's a pretty quick read, it's funny, and it has a lot of relatable, helpful info...if you're new to this whole GF business. There are recipes spread throughout the chapters, but alas, there are no pictures.

The first recipe I tried out of the book was the fried chicken and waffles. I've never eaten chicken and waffles thanks to my doggone allergy, so I've felt really left out of this breakfast phenomenon. I was pretty stoked to try this, you guys. Like, totally dude.

The chicken turned out amazing, but I did add some extra seasoning. I didn't think what the recipe called for would be enough and I have to say, I'm really glad I added more. The waffles turned out great in form, but they tasted like bread. Bread in the shape of a waffle. So my suggestion is to buy actual GF flour that is designed for pancakes and/or waffles and use that instead of what I did, which was use the Cup4Cup brand. (Side Note: Cup4Cup typically works great for everything and is my go-to most of the time.) The recipe says you can use all purpose GF flour, but I disagree. Waffles should have a certain flavor and that was really missing once this was all said and done. My modified recipe is below, enjoy!

Fried Chicken and Waffles

For the Chicken:
- 3 chicken breasts cut into pieces
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1 TBSP pepper
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 2 TBSP of any preferred chicken seasoning that you use on a regular basis. I love Chef Paul Poultry Magic
- 2 or 3 cups buttermilk (enough to cover)
- 3 cups all purpose GF flour (I used Cup4Cup here and it worked out great for this)
- Olive oil for light pan frying

For the Waffles:
 - As mentioned above, find a waffle specific GF flour mix and follow the directions on the bag
- Maple syrup, for later!

1. Season the chicken with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper, then soak it in the buttermilk for at least two hours.

2. Combine the GF flour, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, and chicken seasoning in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Place the chicken inside, seal, and shake that mofo until the chicken is fully coated.

3. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan on medium-high heat. Then, place the chicken in the pan (about 1/3 of the bag at a time) and turn the heat down to low. Let the chicken get good and golden brown, then flip to the other side and do the same.

4. For the waffles, you will need a waffle iron. Coat it with a light vegetable oil (spray cans are the bomb) and heat the iron.

5. Using whatever GF waffle mix you chose, mix everything up as outlined in the instructions. Then, pour the batter into the waffle iron gently and carefully. Not too much, not too little, so take it slow. Some waffle irons are different than others, so follow the instructions for your specific waffle iron to get the waffles just right.

6. Place the waffle on a plate, top it off with chicken, and then drizzle the maple syrup over everything. Mmm!

Next up, the Superfood Smoothie Bowls recipe book by Daniella Chace.

I need to be honest here, gang. It's going to take me a while to get through this book because there are so many awesome looking combinations of deliciousness. Most recipes only require a handful of items that are either typically on hand at my house anyway or super easy to grab. Meaning, this isn't complicated in the slightest.

The first one I tried was the cherry pecan cream dream, and oh boy, was it ever a dream. I omitted the probiotic powder because I take my probiotics in other forms. I also added more pecans because I like texture in my food. Less mush, more crunch for me. And since I'm not a big fan of coconut flakes, I skipped those as well. All in all, I have to say I don't think I missed out on anything with the changes I made. It was deeeeelicious. Here's the full recipe. Give it a whirl!

Cherry Pecan Cream

Smoothie Base
 - 1 banana
 - 1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries
 - 1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt
 - 1/4 cup chia seeds
 - 1 TSP probiotic powder

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

 - 1/2 cup peeled, slices banana
 - 2 TBSP unsweetened flaked coconut
 - 2 TBSP chopped pecans (I did 4 TBSP. Crunch, crunch, crunch)

Pour the smoothie into two small bowls and sprinkle each with half of the toppings. Enjoy!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Reflection of Shadows: Imagination

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

I imagine another place,
Where a warm, tender hand is caressing my face,
Where he's holding me close and our fingers are laced-
I imagine myself in this comforting place.

I imagine another time,
Where my love for my lover is worth more than my life,
Where my cold tortured heart is set free of its vice-
I imagine myself in a much different life.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Mantra: Fear

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: I will leap
Shaylin W.
I'm scared, you guys. I'm scared to leap, to believe, to try. To step out of what I know because I've been stuck in the knowing for so long. The safety net of familiar. I'm scared to move in a new direction, into the thing I believe I can do, the thing others believe I can do. The "how" is still forming. The "how" is presenting itself, beautiful piece by beautiful piece.

This is a good fear. It's a healthy fear. It's the kind of fear that shows up when everything - and I do mean everything - in the universe is pointing this direction saying, "Now. Go now. Leap. Leap now."

It is the belief from others, the surety they have in me, that gives me wings.

I've never been more terrified in my life.

That's how I know it's right.