Friday, March 28, 2014

Down and Out...

I've been quiet lately. Not from choice, as much as from sheer exhaustion. I caught pneumonia last week, and that has had me knocked out...I crawl into work and crawl home to sleep, without much sensibility left for lovely things like blogging, or cooking, or...thinking...

So please forgive the absence...I'll be back soon! And I have a lot of plans scribbled in my notebook...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring: Under the Surface

These geese look so peaceful, skimming along the top of the water...we don't see their we feet furiously paddling below the surface.

I always try to keep that in mind before I start envying another person's amazingly beautiful house or intricately designed and executed garden or even a seemingly effortless and comfortable life...I see only the glossy surface...I don't see her hard work underneath...I don't see her difficult choices, her struggles, her heartbreaks, her victories...only the exterior show...

The member of the blogging community that I tend to admire are the women who do share a bit of the "wee paddling feet" ... the women who do understand that media can place unrealistic expectations upon us, and that we can and should be more realistic about what is possible in Real Life.

So I type here, in my not very stylish or beautiful but very comfortable and serviceable kitchen...and I focus on the real choices I have, on the very real blessings in my life, and on the very real beauty in my life. The beauty of golden early morning sun glancing across a rack of clean plates...the beauty of thriving green plants in brightly colored pots...the beauty of a row of mason jars filled with dried beans and baking supplies...the beauty of Real Life!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Second Sunday of Lent

Today is the Second Sunday in Lent. This Sunday, we are reminded to be strong, to persevere, to carry our own crosses in the knowledge that we are strengthened by Christ Himself...we are reminded that the Light and Joy of Easter is coming to all...

We are reminded in Genesis that God made a promise to Abraham, and that promise is fulfilled in Jesus. We are reminded in Matthew of the relationships between Moses, Elijah, and Jesus - and more promises fulfilled in Jesus.

In our home this week, we have been listening to the soundtrack of my old favorite, Godspell...and we have had many conversations about what is means to be a Christian, about what part "works" play in our lives, about what it truly might mean to not be Saved. We remind ourselves that there are many who do "works" and yet will not be save...and yet we are also mindful that our Faith will be know by our works... so it becomes, then, a question of always determining why am I doing this or that I engaging in a project because I feel called by the Spirit to act? or because I will get positive attention for doing so? am I letting my right hand know what my left is doing? am I, like the hypocrite of the parable, shouting my prayers on the street corners for my own aggrandizement? I am hopeful that most of the time, I act out of true compassion and love - perhaps a pale reflection of my Father's Love, but a true one all the same!

Do you have questions and doubts sometimes? I never doubt that God is my Saviour, but I admit I do sometimes petty, sinful me? worthy of all that?

Genesis 12:1-4
"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."

Matthew 17:1-9
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."

Have a blessed week!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekend Reading: Mar 14 '14

It is Friday...and it is Lent...last week, I cheated and bought pre-breaded flounder fillets at the fishmonger. Today, we are having pasta for dinner and had tuna for lunch. We eat a lot of fish during Lent, so for this Weekend Reading post I was inspired to create a Fish on Friday weekend reading list. Enjoy!

The Kitchn has a whole slew of Lenten seafood recipes here.

Rachael Ray has a page that shares the meaning of Lent and shares seafood and meatless recipes here.

 Jamie Oliver's Salmon Cakes are healthy, delicious and can be a very frugal choice!

And Martha Stewart's Lemon-Parsley Fish Cakes are another healthy, delicious, and suprisingly frugal dish! I like to make the fishcakes in large batched, and then freeze for evenings when I will be too busy to cook something nice!

What are your favorite "go to" fish recipes!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

UN-PROCRASTINATE: Accountability

I like setting goals. Big goals, little goals...goals of all sizes and durations. I have short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. So what's the problem, right?

Well...GETTING STARTED for one!

I can find it very overwhelming to look at a big project...even if I have already broken it into smaller steps...I think of the time I am investing, or what a BIG project this suddenly seems like, or is that the ice cream man? (smile)

The next thing I know, instead of working away on a lovely goal, I am paralyzed into inactivity...sometimes you might even find me mindlessly clicking post after post of better ideas than the one I was just supposed to start. You know what that's like, right? Clicking on amazing Pinterest images of pin-boards...rather than just taking that cute vintage frame and the fabric you already decided is adorable and the supplies that are sitting right there....

(cough cough) My name is Kathy, and I spent an HOUR looking at many, many images of pin-boards that were actually completed, rather than actually completing my own. 

So what is a girl to do? Well...forgive yourself, and then get up on that darned horse! And then tune in tomorrow for pics of my own super-cute shabby-chic pin-board. 

Yep, telling the world you are making a project, and then promising photos - that's called accountability! (smile) Accountability can be a wonderful tool is used constructively. If you feel you need a bit of a leg-up on a goal, asking a friend or loved one to hold you accountable can be very useful. 

I have a friend who asks me to check in with her on a weekly basis to see how her weight-loss and fitness goals are progressing...not to judge or be harsh, but rather to be supportive and a cheerleader. As a writer, I know I do much, much more work when I have a deadline - whether from a client or self-imposed. I find I tend to flounder around a bit if I leave everything too loose. So I make myself accountable, whether to the client or to the calendar.

UPDATED ON FRIDAY (AS PROMISED) TO ADD: At long last....the pin board!

How do you hold yourself accountable for meetings goals?

Click on the image below to see all my UNprocrastinate posts!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Sunday of Lent

Today has been the First Sunday of Lent. I was staying with friends this weekend, after celebrating my best friend's 50th birthday last night, and this Sunday turned into a was a Sunday of sharing joys and sorrows, of praying for the easing of burdens and for the healing of loved ones, of coming together as true sisters in Christ.

It was a Sunday in which I was blessed to serve a friend, and was blessed in being served by her. It was a Sunday where temptations of various sorts were discussed...our own, and those of loved ones...
Today's Scripture Readings relate to sin, to the very real presence of evil, from the very beginning of man to the temptation of Christ.

The Genesis story tells us of the Fall of Man...our human tendency to be willful and disobedient. The Matthew Gospel tells us of the Temptation of Christ...and His perfect obedience to God's Will. I know I often wont to believe I am more like Jesus and less like Eve...but really? I am a broken vessel, an imperfect and often downright surly and disobedient servant. How wonderful to know that my Master is so supremely patient and forgiving!

Genesis 2:7-9
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

Genesis 3:1-7:
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."

Matthew 4:1-11
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent 2014: Ash Wednesday - We are Dust

Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent, a season of reflection, abstinence and penitence. It is a recognition that each of us is a humble sinner, who requires the love and sacrifice of God to be redeemed. It is a season that prepares us for the celebration of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection on Easter morn.

We are dust...and to dust we shall return.

In 2002, when I received my ashes at St. Paul's Church in Lower Manhattan...the very air was filled with dust...dust of the dead...dust of renewal. It was particularly poignant to walk down dusty Broadway, to hear the non-stop roar of the operations at Ground Zero...and then to step into the hush of the Sanctuary. The minister intoned, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return," as he brushed the sign of the cross on my carried new layers of meaning as I stood there in my dust covered shoes, missing my younger brother, who had indeed returned to dust on that terrible day.

But "to dust we shall return" is not a! It is a promise...because this body and this earth? They are not my true home...they are not where I am meant to spend eternity.

We are dust...and to dust we shall return.

This is the beginning of Lent...a solemn time, yes...but with the JOY of Easter just ahead of us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Simply Beautiful, Mar 4 '14

Lately, I find myself craving Springtime beauty...bright green sprouting life, shy snowdrops peeping thru the ground, returning songbirds...

But I have not forgotten to appreciate the beauty in this midwinter season...crisp diamond bright nighttime skies, ice sparkling in cold sunlight, snow softly drifting...

This lovely skyscape had me stopping in my tracks with its subtle beauty. And it made me think...what might I be passing by?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fab50: They Say You have to Break a few Eggs

 This year, I will turn 50 - so I've decided to seize the moment, cross a few items off my "bucket list," and challenge myself in all sorts of areas. They say you have to break a few eggs...and I am breaking eggs with abandon this year!

January was tricky - I was newly laid-off from a long-term freelance position, so my challenge in January was to meditate and do at least 10 minutes of yoga each and every day. This kept me balanced and from freaking out about my finances - and its a habit I've been meaning to reinstate into my life for far too long! (Do you have those some-day habits? The ones you keep promising yourself, "yes! I *will* do this because I know its so good for me and so easy to do" and yet you don't?)

February was all about the writing. I was given the opportunity to write not one but TWO bookazines - and, for a different company, I was given the opportunity to write an article about an industry I am not very involved in...the bookazines are still in the design process, but I did complete research, photo research, and writing within the deadline - so only tweaks will be required going forward. The article is in the research phase (this industry doesn't have the speediest turnaround times for press requests) but going well.

March...well, March and April are all about fitness challenges. For March, I plan to walk a minimum of 3 miles 5 days a week (in addition to the January yoga). I'll be writing about that, and sharing some tips for building a good walking program, easing into fitness, and dealing with squeaky "morning after" muscles.

Do you feel (like I do) that you have fallen into a rut? What would your challenges look like?

Fab50 will be an on and off series thru-out 2014. Click the picture below to link to the main post, which will contain links to all my Fab50 posts!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Series: Fab 50!

I turn 50 this year - and I am challenging myself to do something Fab each month of 2014 in honor of this milestone.  I meant to start posting in January...but January got away from me (smile). I posted at the end of February all about my January and February challenges - and I will continue to post at least once each month thru December! Some of the challenges will be physical (like a charity walk with my niece and my daughter-in-law) and others will be mental (new projects) or spiritual.

Feb 28: They Say You have to Break a few Eggs