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LOVE: A FEELING. A VERB. A DECISION. A GIFT. AN INGREDIENT TO ADD

Missing close contact with my just-turned-ten twin grandchildren, I’m reminising, remembering, and reposting about the first time we made bread together. At the terribly terrific age of two, they were so eager to explore everything and help with everything. Some may call me crazy, but I love the so called “terrible twos.”  Here’s that day…

My husband, Frank, and I had assembled the ingredients and let the sister and brother add spoonfuls and scoopfuls. After the sugar, salt, yeast, water, milk, butter, and flour were somewhat properly mixed, we all took turns kneading. Suddenly, I exclaimed, “Oh, Alexis and Anthony. I almost forgot to add the love.”

Although lots of loving had been part of the process, I wanted to add love consciously. And I wanted to speak of love and show love to them in many different ways. So I took a deep breath, smiled broadly, and kneaded a minute longer, while reciting, “Love, love, love…”

“I don’t see the love, Nana,” said Anthony. “Where is it? I want to see it.” 

Alexis looked at her brother and then at me, expectantly. She seemed to agree. She could see the sugar, salt, yeast, water, milk, and flour. But where was the love?

Needless to say, two-year-olds are not fully ready to grasp abstract concepts like love. However, they are beginning to understand them. They know what it’s like to love and be loved. Nevertheless, these two wanted to see love with their eyes.

Don’t we all, at times, want to see and know love better?

Strength. Beauty. Courage. Compassion. Hope. Joy. Talent. Imagination. Reverence. Wisdom. Love. Faith. The Twelve Gifts. We can’t see them with our eyes. We can’t open them like birthday presents. But they are in us, and we can open our hearts to them. We can add them mindfully to everything that we make and everything that we do. It will make a difference too.

#dailyinspiration #inspirationalquotes #lifegifts #mindfulness #consciousparenting #conciousgrandparenting #loveisaverb #loveisadecision #breadmaking #terribletwos #thejoyofcooking #thetwelvegifts

 

 

 

 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: SOMETIMES IT’S JUST ONE THING

“What you manage to do today will be enough.” ~ Kate Allan

This quote reminds me of a lesson I learned from a woman with whom I once shared a car service ride from Sedona, AZ to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.

I like to strike up conversations with so-called strangers and see how long it takes for us to feel the friendship that seems to have always been there for us. Do you know what I mean?*

I learned a lot from that particular woman and think of her often. The main take-away was: Don’t overdo. Don’t put so many things on your To-Do List that you never complete them that day so some are carried over to the next day and the next and the next.

As a result of suffering serious consequences from intense over-doing, she learned to write just one thing in the big box for each day on her desk calendar. She liked seeing space around each To-Do. It made her feel spacious inside herself and outside in her life. She usually did more than that one thing, but the commitment to just one thing each day changed her life and how she lived it, making her healthier and happier.

Maybe you feel you don’t have enough to do now, in the midst of this pandemic.

But I hope we’ll each find our own healthy “enough” while taking good care during this time of uncertainties, changes, and challenges.

If, during this time, you have made an adjustment that’s helped your well-being, I encourage you to share your motivational words in a comment here. Thank you!

In the meantime, take care!

With love,
Charlene

* No matter who you are or where you are, I believe this long-term friendship sensation would happen for us too. It already exists for some of us. If you would like to join a virtual gathering to connect with me and others from this group, watch for posts inviting you to a virtual garden party. More information about gatherings in the garden will follow this.

THE FOURTH GIFT IS COMPASSION. May you be gentle with yourself and others… – from The Twelve Gifts of Birth

THE FOURTH GIFT IS COMPASSION: PLAY TUGS OF HUGS, NOT WAR


“I will not play at tug o’ war.

I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs…”   ~ Shel Silverstein

Me too. I’d rather hug. How about you?

I love hugs. Real hugs. For now, I’ll settle for the gestured-from-a-distance-hugs that I exchange with my grandchildren. Actually, it’s not just settling. I welcome them because love fills the safe, social distancing gap between us.

Heart Hugs. The phrase just popped into my mind.

Heart Hugs. What might they be?

While we wait for this time to pass, this time of difficulty achieving meetings of our minds, let’s aim for meetings of our hearts. Heart Hugs. 

Even if we hold very different perspectives on many issues, surely we can find places where our highest visions connect, where the same things make us laugh, and where the same pain makes us cry.

Tugs. Not of war. Tugs that thaw fears and melt hate and heal hurts and lead us to harmony and heart hugs.

Let’s play at those.

With love,
Charlene

THE FOURTH GIFT IS COMPASSION. May you be gentle with yourself and others…  –  from The Twelve Gifts of Birth                             

A WISDOM LESSON FROM TWO VERY DIFFERENT UNCLES: DON’T COMPARE

Way back when my daughters were in elementary school, more than 30 years ago, I noticed a difference in the way one of my husband’s uncles and one of my uncles treated the children in our families. My uncle, Ray, paid attention to what children said. He really listened. You could tell by the questions he asked. He also genuinely enjoyed playing board games and engaging in contests with them. He watched as they did magic tricks, twirled a baton, and performed other skills they were learning. My husband’s uncle, Spike, did not relate as well to children. In fact, sometimes he was dismissive and gruff toward them.  So I judged him in this regard as “not good enough.”

One summer day we had a serious plumbing problem in our home. The basement in our century-old Victorian farmhouse was filling with sewage back-up. As soon as he heard about it, Uncle Spike showed up in hip boots, prepared to help drain and clean the basement. He showed no reluctance or reservation about dealing with the mess and the stench. Again, I compared the uncles. What I saw led me closer to accepting and appreciating people as they are. While my Uncle Ray was great with kids, he could not fix a thing and he would not have been willing to enter that basement and try. The memory of Uncle Spike in his hip boots reminds me that we all have different personalities and skill sets. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We’re all doing our best. And we’re all still learning. 

I included this story in Touchstones: Stories for Living The Twelve Gifts, which was published in 2012. I’m posting it here and now, in part, because my Aunt Angie, my last relative from my parents’ generation, died last month. I almost didn’t go to the funeral because it required a lot of travel. But when I thought of all the love and lasting life lessons I received from her and from all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents in both my family and my husband’s–as well as from our parents–I knew I had to attend to honor them all and to be with all my cousins as we step up to be the elder generation. I hope that the way I live my life leaves some lasting life lessons on the children in the generations coming up behind us, especially the lesson to love and appreciate one another without comparisons and judgments. I also want them to know that the practice of this principle should not be limited to family, nor to just family and friends. It’s a wise and powerful lesson for all to be applied to all. 

For peace,
Charlene

HOW TO WALK, TALK, LIVE, AND LOVE: AN ODE TO NATURE

“Walk like a lion, talk like pigeons, live like elephants, and love like an infant child.”                                                                                                                  ~ Santosh Kalwar     

“Be fearless,” the quote begins.
Breath and bring out the best of you,

It’s easy to picture walking like a lion:
proudly, with confident grace.
I understand loving like an infant child
and laughing with joy like a toddler,
An elephant? She too loves in a way that’s good to follow,
quite like the child but
 more deeply than freely.
Remember well; forgive easily;
and stick together the women and children do.
I’m familiar with pidgin talk but not pigeon talk.
I’ve heard them coo and sort of warble.
I’ve heard they can carry and deliver messages.
That’s a valuable thing too.

There’s strength and beauty in all creation.

And it’s smart for us to look for it,
and wise for us to see it
in ourselves and all others.
When fear is present,
take deep breaths,
stretch tall,
be brave,
and be you.

Know that you have all that you need.

With faith,
Charlene  

DON’T GIVE UP: CONSIDER THOMAS EDISON

 

 

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” ~ Thomas Edison  

There are times we think we’ve tried everything. At such times we may want to give up, especially if we are overtired, overworked, and surrounded by naysayers. Has this happened to you? Is it happening now? If so, please reconsider. 

Whether it’s about overcoming a hardship or seizing an opportunity, think again.  Edison made at least 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before achieving success. His claim that there are more possible ways to reach our goals and realize our dreams is based on sound personal experience.

Let’s remain faithful to seeking and finding solutions to all of our life challenges and obstacles to our dreams, remembering that, when we think we’ve exhausted the possibilities, the truth is: We have not. There are more. The best is yet to be.

With love, joy, and wisdom,
Charlene

#dreams #seizing opportunities #perseverance #commitment #Edison 

 

WISDOM IS WHISPERING. ARE YOU HEARING?

 

 

 

“The tenth gift is wisdom. Wisdom will lead you through knowledge to understanding. May you hear its soft voice.” ~ from The Twelve Gifts of Birth

When I came across this image, I immediately thought of this wisdom quote in The Twelve Gifts of Birth. For me, the book morphing into nature represents knowledge transforming into deep understanding in a beautiful way. Also, whenever I am in mountains and forests, by the sea, or in any natural setting, many of The Twelve Gifts are stirred in me, among them: wisdom. Strength, beauty, compassion, hope, joy, imagination, love, reverence, and faith are usually stirred and nourished too. 

If you can, spend some time in nature today. Everyday. We all need regular doses of vitamin N. Regular reflection is good for us too. There are many ways to reflect. Here’s one way: 

Please clear your mind as best you can. Take several deep breaths. Place your dominant hand over your heart and your other hand over your belly. Intend to open your heart and engage with your gut feelings. Tune in.

Now look at the photo. What are you thinking? Feeling? Knowing?

Reread the quote. Consider each sentence. Notice what you are thinking, feeling, and knowing.

Now recall a time when you experienced wisdom resonating, or activating, or growing, or awakening in you. Was it like an ah-ha? Was it an intuitive knowing? What was it like? Have you ever heard or felt an inner “Yes” or “No” or other instruction?

We all have valuable wisdom stories. Perhaps just one or a few seem significant to you. Maybe many do. If you feel inclined to share one, please do. I’d love to hear from you.

With love and appreciation,
Charlene

FINDER’S KEEPERS OR LOST AND FOUND

 

 

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” ~  Bryant H. McGill

Several of my recent Touchstones have been about letting go of excess stuff – material things and emotional upsets. As often happens, I soon got to experience the topic I was writing about. I was put to the test. Well, as Terry Brooks and others say, “We are constantly being put to the test.” So what happened? And how did I do? you might ask.

After finding a few nice deals in a discount store, I carried my bag of purchases into the neighboring department store, which was extremely busy. In the crowd confusion, I somehow lost my bag from the previous store. Retracing my steps, searching the store, and checking with the staff were all unsuccessful. And at the end of the day nothing had been turned into lost and found.

Because the items were things I wanted to give to my grandchildren, I felt upset with the loss, upset with myself, and upset with whomever found that bag and kept it. For hours I could not shake my feelings of disappointment, frustration, and judgment. I certainly was not “traveling light” as yesterday’s touchstone prescribed. Finally, I remembered that I could think about it differently and bring myself closer to a state of inner peace. I decided to imagine the delight of a parent and child finding an abandoned bag, opening it, and seeing that it contained some things needed by the child for school. To them it might have seemed like something left by a heavenly or earthly angel. They might have felt extreme gratitude and joy. 

Did this happen? I don’t know. But I decided to reframe the incident and think of myself as being divinely used. I trusted that whomever found “my stuff” needed it more than I did. Shortly thereafter the emotional upset with myself was lifted.
I hope a little girl is happily wearing the oh-so-soft shirt I selected for Alexis.                             
Please know that letting go is not always easy for me.

I’ll be continuing to work on it.
Join me? Let’s see what happens,
especially when we’re tested. 

With love,
Charlene

P.S. – We can rise above circumstances,
be light, delight in life, see the good, and choose peace.

DO YOU KNOW HOW VALUABLE AND VALUED YOU ARE?

                             

“Promise me you’ll always remember:
you’re braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think,” 
said Christopher Robin
to his best friend, Pooh.

I now wish
to say the same thing to you. 
You’re also more beautiful
than you know
and more talented too.
You’re all this and more.
If only you knew,
you’d feel light, bright, and shiny
like a penny brand new.
May the love in your heart
help you know
this message is honest
and really true.

I believe, do you?
Charlene

BE FULLY YOU AND ALLOW OTHERS TO BE UNIQUE TOO

 

 

 

 

 

“I find that the very things that I get criticized for, which is usually being different and just doing my own thing and just being original, is the very thing that’s making me successful.”     – Shania Twain

It takes courage to be ourselves. Self-love and respect too.

Along with a likelihood of leading us to success, being authentic can lead us to better health and more happiness.

For these and other reasons, let’s summon courage, love and reverence today and allow our true selves to show up in all that we do. Let’s encourage authenticity in others too.

Surely there will be greater hope for peace in our world when we recognize the beauty of everyone’s uniqueness.

Holding hope and faith,
Charlene