three links - compassion, enough and addiction

Continuing on with the subject of gratitude, here are 3 links from around the internet that I hope you enjoy.  They are all very different from each other but at the heart of each is gratitude.

This first link is a beautiful video from Thailand that speaks to giving and will capture your heart in a big way. Watch here and see if your heart is not softened in ways you never imagined.  Mine was.

The next piece is from  the Huffington Post.  It's an essay on having enough, keeping up and gratitude.  I know over the years you all have gotten to know me but I've gotten to know you too. She puts into perfect words what we have all been thinking.  Read the piece here and get some relief and inspiration.  All I can say is Bravo!

The third link is one very close to my heart.  It is the blog written by Charles Peabody.  He also wrote the book by the same name, The Privileged Addict, which you can buy here on Amazon.  As someone who has struggled greatly with being a parent of an addict.  I really cannot put into words the help and relief and education I've received from his writings.  Charlie, if you ever read this then know that your tireless writing and dedication to the subject of addiction has helped me immensely. This post in particular is a lifesaver.  He is brutally honest and shines a bright beaming light of truth and knowledge on a very confusing subject. If you know anyone who struggles with addiction or is in any way affected by it, please click over and or buy his book, his story is incredible.  

Have a beautiful relaxing weekend my friends, we are all in this together. x


on gratitude

They say that the quickest way out of any problem is through gratitude.  I am a big believer in this.  But lately the theory has failed me and so I began to take a deeper look at my problem and this is what I've come up with.

Normally before my feet hit the ground each morning I say a prayer of gratitude.  I go through the list of things I am so grateful for and then go about my day.  But like I said, lately I've been plagued with a general feeling of uneasiness and sadness.  I realize that I need to dig deeper into my gratitude list and see what's up with it.

At the top of every gratitude list I make is my faith.  I know I take it for granted because I don't rely on it as much as I need to.  I often skip it and go directly to worry, anger, stress.  If I were truly grateful for my Higher Power I would make contact with it throughout each day.  When I do it, it works beautifully.  So why don't I?  Well I get lazy and think I have all the answers, which I don't.  Which is why life isn't making sense at the moment.

I say I'm grateful for my home, for having a roof over my head.  But am I?  I really need to go further. My home is comfy and solid.  It's small and manageable.  It's affordable.  It has pretty gardens.  Yes I am grateful to live here.

I am grateful for my health.  Am I or do I take it for granted?  I try and take good care of myself with lots of yoga and fresh air and exercise.  I spoil myself with fresh and healthy foods each day.  But mental health-wise or emotionally I beat myself up and so my words don't align with my actions.

I say I am grateful for my family but am I?  This is much trickier because my actions do not always align with my words.  I tie a lot of my personal happiness and contentment upon others.  So if others are not acting as I think they should then I get resentful.  How can I be grateful and resentful at the same time?  I can't.  I am slowly, very slowly learning the art of acceptance.  Learning to accept the unacceptable is hard but absolutely necessary if I am to be truly grateful for my family.  There are no short cuts here, trust me I've tried. :)

Always on my gratitude list is my friends.  But am I a good friend?  If I'm being completely honest then the answer would be no.  Lately I have been taking them for granted and I am ashamed of that.  I have been very self-centered and immersed in my own problems when it comes to them.  I want to fix this pronto.

My hope is that by writing this out and being able to go back and read it I will be reminded of what I want to change. I truly do not want to take anything in my life for granted any longer.  I want to be a better person and accept everyone that I love just as they are.  I want to be a better friend, spouse, mother and sister.  I want to be happier and lead a more joyous life.  I really do believe the answer is through gratitude but for me talking about being grateful isn't enough, I need to live it.  Thank you for listening. x


the state of the garden

Hey you.  How's it going?

I took these photos about 10 minutes ago.  What's pretty amazing is that here it is September 1st and the garden looks this good.  That's pretty unusual for this garden.  Normally, everything has pretty much peaked and would be looking really bad.  I give credit to my friend, Mr. El Casco Gardener for this. Terry has given me some ideas on tweaking what I do around here and it really has paid off.

He suggested that I use a weak application of food for the flowers every week instead of just monthly. It has kept the blooms coming and coming.

All my geraniums were looking really bad.  Everywhere I go around Southern California, geraniums grow prolifically, except mine.  Turns out they had some sort of worm eating the blooms.  I bought a spray for that at Home Depot and within a week the leaves are dark and green and the blooms are big and gorgeous.

Even the rose garden is still going.  Lots of blooms still to come.

Someone wanted a full picture of this 150 year old pepper tree.  Here it is. :)

My friend K of Faux Fuchsia fame wrote today about what gardening has taught her.  I think the greatest thing I get from gardening is that I can lose myself while out there working.  Everything that I'm worried about drifts away and I'm able to focus on exactly what is in front of me, there is a season for everything. Before I know it life is manageable and good again.  I'm so grateful to be able to garden here.  What has your garden taught you?


mr. el casco gardener

Hi friends.  Today, It's my pleasure to introduce you to my dear friend Terry and his new blog, Mr. El Casco Gardener.  He has a degree in horticulture and is also a master gardener.  He is a veritable wealth of information regarding gardening and simple living.  A long time ago, way before reality television, he lived off the grid for 4 years in Minnesota.  He has great stories to tell about his life in the canyon and also lots of stories about what it was like living off the grid.  He raises the most adorable chickens too!  He has given me invaluable advice and lessons about my own garden. So I really, really hope you go over and just say hi and welcome him to the world of blogging, it would mean so much to me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


camping and the super moon

No matter where you were on this beautiful earth last night you got to see a super moon. We drove out to Joshua Tree for a little R&R.  Camping these days just isn't what it used to be.  We figured out on the drive in that we have been camping in Joshua Tree for 40 years now.  Over those years the campers themselves have changed.  Joshua used to attract a sort of hippie, laid-back kind of person but now its just regular people who's idea of camping is dragging the city in with them. Big box type recreational vehicles, radios playing, loud talking is the norm now, which is totally sad but in a way will force us into changing.  We will go back in the next couple of days, only this time we'll backpack out into the forest of yuccas so we can experience the quiet of the desert, the whole point of going there.  We will be by ourselves, well if you don't count the mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and snakes...oh, and the moon.



The kind people from eshakti clothing company approached me and asked if I would take a look at their clothing line and write a review for them.  I have been approached before by a few clothing companies and for one reason or another have turned them down.  But eshakti isn't like most clothing companies.  They are a semi-custom clothing company.  You can you can read about them and their policies regarding manufacturing right here.

thrift store jeans, vintage bag, ebay mules

How many times have you found what could be the perfect dress but it's too short?  Or it's too low cut? Now that I'm 55+ I'm running into this problem more often than not.  This is where eshakti comes to the rescue. I'm pretty excited about this!  You can pick any one of their pretty dresses or blouses and they will customize not only the length but also the sleeves and necklines for you.  You create just what you need, so it's like a custom fitting garment. The fee for alterations is nominal.  They sent me this linen sleeveless shell to see the quality of materials and workmanship.  It's excellent.  The fabric is lovely and it is nicely lined. It also has the extra nice detail of bra strap snaps on the shoulders too. It's currently on sale for $39, which is a fair price.  The entire site is on sale right now.  I know I will keep this little top forever. There are so many choices it's almost too hard to decide.  Pop over and take a peek and see what you think!


mashed potato tacos

When I was in Hawaii, M and I decided that we were going to make potato tacos for dinner one night.  I thought we would saute the potatoes with onions and peppers but she had the brilliant idea to mash them.

So we made mashed potatoes and added some taco seasoning, fresh grated garlic, salt and pepper.  We cooked the corn tortillas without oil in a skillet until they were crisp.  Topped them with salsa and fresh avocado.  The creaminess paired with that crisp corn shell is heaven.  Simples, as my Brittish friends say.

In other news we are waiting for the temps to cool before we start prepping the house for paint. Can't wait!


the slow path to a beautiful home

This past weekend M and I went to 2 wonderful estate sales.  One of the best things about going to estate sales is getting to see how people really lived their lives.  It used to make me sad, watching a bunch of strangers rifling through a deceased persons belongings. Now my focus is on the beauty that was woven into each of their lives.  You see the dishes they used each day, the art they looked at and the wear marks of a favorite chair.  It really is an absolutely fascinating glimpse into a life lived.

The first sale was a home in Sierra Madre, a pretty little town near Pasadena.  The gentleman that lived here was a collector extraordinaire. The company that organized the sale said it took them nine, 15 hour days to get it only partially sorted.  Imagine that. There is still a great deal that will have to be gone through and another sale will take place in the future. One of the rooms in the house was dedicated to his work and love of the Navajo. There were gorgeous rugs, baskets and a museum worthy photography collection. But there were also collections of butterflies, arrowheads, shells and axe-heads that he cataloged with painstaking detail.  Just check this out...

Above is just a small sampling of his shell/arrowhead collection.  Each and every one of these tiny shells and arrowheads has a notation on them as to the location it was found and the date. There are thousands of them!  Each arrowhead, each butterfly...everything was recorded in this manner. It's an incredible collection and the attention to detail is staggering.

The other sale we went to was in swank San Marino, an upscale town also near Pasadena.  It appears the lady of the house was at one time an antique dealer specializing in French antiques.  She was a lover of beautiful art, books and gardens.  It was pure joy walking through her home.  I picked up an old teak garden chair, a couple of old books to give as gifts and a lampshade that I thought might fit a lamp I had gotten at an estate sale about 2 years ago.  The shade is beautifully made but I wasn't sure it would fit.  For $3 I took a risk.

Here is what the lamp looks like...

The lamp was $5 and so pretty but I failed to realize how hard it was going to be to find a shade that fit it. But low and behold, 2 years later a perfect match was found.

Everything in this cabinet, including the cabinet itself was obtained 2nd hand.  I think that's why I love shopping this way.  It's a slow, steady and mindful path to beauty.

Those tiny pine cones were picked up last year while walking through Prince Charles' garden at Highgrove. I'm sure a definite no-no but I couldn't resist.  Inspired by the gentleman in Sierra Madre, I'm going to put a little notation on these pieces so maybe one day someone will see a story instead of just an object when they pick it up.  Decorating this way takes time but it is so rewarding.  Your house won't just be a reflection of your taste but will indeed tell the story of your life.