Food, Inspiration

Chance Meetings and Dilly Beans


“Those look good,” I said.

“Oh, yes I am getting beans, all the same length to make Dilly Beans,” said Debbie, the farmers market customer whom I just met. We proceeded to have conversation about canning, etc. I continued to shop for produce but kept wondering about the Dilly Beans.

I caught up with her again at the check-out stand. “How do you make the Dilly Beans?”


“Let me have your phone number and I will text you the recipe,” said Debbie.

I felt a connection, even if only for a brief moment. She texted me the recipe to preserve the beans but I have yet to put them up.

I often think about how easy it is to meet some people and others not. I feel like I just want to make the Dilly Beans so that I can respond to Debbie to let her know that I was successful making them. I may need to wait until next year as the season for green beans is almost past.

Meeting new people is just a matter of talking to them and I feel that even though our encounter was brief we were friends for those brief moments. I do have her phone number so I will need to reach out to her since we have this dilly green bean connection.

Health, Inspiration

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine…

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune

I love the sweet scent of jasmine on a hot summer evening as I sit on the porch and drink an ice-cold glass of water and listen to the breeze gently blowing and rustling the tree leaves. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. The jasmine sits in a comfortable spot in a container on my porch and runs up a small trellis. Every time I think of jasmine, I think of the Seals and Crofts song with some of the lyrics evident in the blog title and photo caption.

Not only is the sweet scent pleasant on a summer evening but scientists have discovered that the fragrance of jasmine could potentially help replace medication for sleep, anxiety, stress, and a host of other modern day illnesses.

It has been determined that jasmine can

-Reduce anxiety and nervous tension

-Boost mood and improve cognitive performance and alertness

-Improve sleep quality

-Balance hormones

-Treat hot flashes and mood swings

-Increase libido

Scientists who conducted tests on laboratory mice discovered that the fragrance of jasmine augments the effects of a chemical named GABA on nerve cells.  This chemical reaction is what helps relieve anxiety and stirs up the desire to be still and at rest.

Being in nature naturally reduces anxiety and stress and it has been found that there is a correlation between stress and oxygen levels.  Adding the soothing aroma of jasmine can positively impact mental health and improve your mood in general.

Now if only my bedroom window was closer to the jasmine.

Inspiration, Mind, Soul, Body

It’s Easter

Alleluia, He is Risen!

Yes, it is still Easter. The Easter season lasts 50 days until Pentecost. Alleluia! What a great way to have the time to enjoy the church season of Easter and think about the meaning of the resurrection in our lives. After all, it is not the empty tomb that requires our attention but encountering Jesus after the resurrection just like the disciples did on the road to Emmaus.

On a recent trip to the coast, my husband and I encountered a tunnel which we hesitantly navigated through. The tunnel lead to an area of beach that was less populated and foreign to us. Climbing through the tunnel reminded me of the resurrected Jesus walking out of the tomb into the light.

Participating in the Lenten practice of fasting or sacrifice before Easter, I gave up watching TV for 40 days and it was a little like walking through the tunnel which was dark and rock-strewn, but I just kept my focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I focused on what I might gain from having extra time–extra time to think, to read, to cook, talk to family and friends, etc. I would say that I even gained an appreciation for being able to have the option for televised entertainment and news gathering.

Sometimes when life is dark, especially with so many atrocities we are faced with in the world, it is important to continue to focus on the light.

Inspiration, Mind, Soul, Body

The Uphill Climb

Well, it’s the 5th week of Lent and I have given up TV for almost 40 days. Now, I did watch one basketball game and one movie on TV and I watched a movie in the theater but other than that and some online Facebook videos, the TV has been off for me.

Tonight, I really wanted to watch some TV. It was just one of those nights where all you want to do is veg in front of the TV. My husband was out of town and I really felt like watching TV because the house was quiet and empty–just like a desert–like the desert that Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in. Jesus was tempted and I was really tempted tonight to just plug in. Sometimes it is hard to contend with ourselves when there is no activity planned. When our lives are so busy with so many activities we often feel guilty when we do absolutely nothing.

What have I learned these past days? Am I not just going to go back to what I was doing after Easter arrives? Isn’t it supposed to be about a conversion of heart–to cut away the slack-stripping the excess away? To draw closer to Jesus?

By giving up TV and having extra time available, I found that I experienced a pulling-away from my regular routine to discover something new. In the pulling-away, I found that I was more receptive to an unplanned life of sorts, allowing me to leave room for the quiet, still voice of the Holy Spirit.

Instead of coming home after work and turning on the news without a second thought, I would come home and cook something nutritious, read a book, call my kids and my mom, or just sit in a chair with a cup of tea and do nothing. I found that I picked up actual hard-covered books to read which I haven’t done in a while. I completed two of them and am on my third. I tended not to look at the denial of something pleasurable or routine as a “giving up” but a “honing-in.”

I also refrained from looking up the news on-line except for a few tweets or even clickbait that caught my eye so I probably didn’t miss much. Another thing I learned, is that it is hard to do something completely if the other person, my husband, is not doing the same thing-namely, giving up TV. I had to put my blinders on.

Yes, I can’t wait to watch TV again! I can’t wait to tune into the programs to watch my newscaster “friends,” (my husband gets a chuckle out of this) watch a few select TV programs, watch some of the Oscar movies or just relax and watch TV with my husband. I am going to enjoy watching TV, albeit a bit more judiciously.

I don’t mean to make denial of trivial things (yes, TV viewing is trivial) important. There are hardships in life that are more important and difficult to endure and I think that denying ourselves from trivial things from time-to-time, allows us to unite with those that are truly suffering and reminds us of how and why Christ suffered for us.

Food, Inspiration

Gummy Bear Heaven

Gummy Color Therapy
Photo by Surasak Klinmontha/

I am a creature of habit and sometimes I go on a gummy bear kick. I think I like to eat them because they are fat-free and tasty to boot. The only problem is they are pretty much all sugar and have no vitamins or minerals even though you may think they do since many vitamins are now of the gummy variety. One small bag of gummy bears run in the 300 calorie range and that is nothing to sneeze at. I like the German variety best.

I think one of the reasons I like them is because they are colorful. In fact, I think I like to look at the colorful gummy bears more than I like to eat them although I think the color entices me to eat them. Color makes me happy or at least happier.

Color is a welcome boost especially living in the Northwest where it is gray and dismal much of the year albeit very green. Color selection is big business, in advertising, apparel, décor, etc. I think it is fascinating. The colors you choose to wear and surround yourself with emote different psychological feelings.

I have a lot of black in my closet because black is easy and goes with just about everything. I also have a lot of the color pink, especially in the warmer months. Typically, I look out for the new color trends and try to buy the color en vogue just because sameness gets boring. It’s easy to buy a solid colored t-shirt or two and layer with a jacket. Voila! Updated wardrobe.

I’ve often thought about what heaven would look like and in my mind it typically looks like earth with maybe some more clouds. What if it was really colorful! …on earth as it is in heaven!