Many of us have read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert written in 2007. The notion of using three words to define a specific period of her life, some have started to seek out three words that relate to their own life. One blogging author finds three words to symbolize her year, both in how she writes and in how she lives.
Just for fun, I decided to try the same thing, but somehow the idea of having to keep three words in mind all year felt a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or my aging brain!
I chose to concentrate on one word each month, instead. I think what I’m needing out of these words is a shift in attitude more than doing more of what I do, or doing it better. We’ll see if this concept works out by the end of the year.
Somewhere over the past decade, I’ve given up dreaming of what my life could be, or what I want out of life. This year of 2012 is a time for me to examine my dreams and goals in life once more. So I have chosen “Dream” as my word for January, and I don’t intend for this to be just “daydreaming” (as in wishful thinking).
However I apply the word I choose each month, I believe it is important for our mind and soul to actually pursue something in our lives, whether that is change or expansion – or simply staying open to new possibilities.
During the current semester break, several events came together that caused me to stop and remember who I was am. Perhaps everyone would find it valuable to take time to remember who they were in a “past life,” i.e., in their younger years. Many surprises will arise out of that exercise.
One of those revealing events for me came in the form of an email from my brother. He had sent me a link to a beautiful site called “Trawlers and Tugs Blog.” http://trawlersntugs.com/blog/ All she does is cover art about working boats. I suggest you check it out because of the beautiful art work in her posts.
In response to his email, I said that as much as I enjoyed painting with watercolors, I have taken no time to indulge in anything artistic – and that I missed it. It was his answer that made me think. He said, “It bothers me that you don’t take time for yourself to make music, paint, sew, act, direct, etc. All my life I associated those kind of things with you.” I promised him I would start again.
Another revealing event is one that actually comes every other spring semester. I teach a course called “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” It’s my favorite class to teach, and yet I put my own artistic past aside and simply teach others how to draw on their creativity.
Sometimes I get a glimpse of that “old Lucy” when I’m teaching other courses, too, but I shove it aside in the interest of the students. This year in my preparation for the “expressive arts” class to begin on January 10, it came to me that I need to take an active part in the very class I teach on creativity.
When I find myself re-reading books like Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose, Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose by Lindsay C. Gibson, Psy.D, or other books about finding “the authentic you,” then I know there is something I’m needing to pay attention to. These books finished pulling everything together for me.
So I went out to my storage shed and started rummaging around for my art materials, deeply buried. When I opened up the first box of pastels, I said “Ohhh!” right out loud. The brilliant colors took my breath away, and tears came into my eyes. I cleaned up an old oak index card file box I have, put all my boxes of pastels in it, and placed it with a big art pad. These are going into my car to have handy.
Perhaps you are someone who has already re-discovered the “old you” – the authentic you – and are living the life you were meant to live. If so, I congratulate you! My suspicion is that most who will read this post need a reminder to take time this New Year and think about who they are.
As an instructor, I must be authentic if I want to continue to inspire my students to be authentic – and creative.
One of the blogs about blogging I read is ProBlogger. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? This week, there was a challenge to respond to seven categories. I decided to take part, mostly because it requires some thinking about my posts in the past and where I’d like to go in the future. Here are the seven categories:
1) My first post.
I started this blog as a record for myself only. I was trying to make soil from compost and other materials in order to get something to grow on this acre of rocky lava we call a`a.
2) The post I enjoyed writing the most.
The reason I enjoyed this post is that it is about a special family event I wasn’t able to attend. My first granddaughter got married in October on the mainland and I couldn’t get away from teaching to fly over. Also, I didn’t take the pictures, but it showed several of my children and grandchildren. Needless to say, I shed a few happy tears as I put it together in a post.
3) A post which had a great discussion
I’ve written about lilikoi (Passion fruit) several times and each post brings more discussion than anything else I write about. Mainland readers probably don’t have a clue what lilikoi is, so it’s mostly Hawaii residents who get into great discussions about this fruit with an unusual flavor.
4) A post on someone else’s blog I wish I’d written.
My brother writes a blog that is way more popular than mine, and he tells of great things to do in and around the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. Like me, he writes about his travels. He and I had just been to England, and we both loved London. I absolutely love this post he did all in black and white photography. It gave me an entirely new perspective to London.
5) My most helpful post.
This post was about a little book that has guided my life and the lives of others over and over. If you are looking for a way to set goals and objectives for the next year, this is the book that will help you.
6) A post with a title I am proud of.
I think the reason I’m most proud of this title is because it represents several decades of waiting to have my book of the same name published. It is about a book I used in my psychology practice and with students. It can also be a self-help book by exploring some hidden meanings in your life.
7) A post that I wish more people had read.
This was posted to honor AIDS Day, and invites us to look at our lives and how we respond to unexpected events in our lives. AIDS awareness is growing, but still not enough.
It took me a while to decide on each of these categories. There are so many posts that would fit into each category. After looking at these seven posts, I get a good sense of where my pleasures reside in writing this blog. My topics have evolved quite a bit over the past two years, and on an unconscious level, I think I have been going in the direction that most suits me best.
I hope you are finding these rambling posts helpful when you garden or cook or travel or reflect on life.
A hui hou!
Aloha! Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout. Mahalo! (Thank you!)
Every culture has its “lucky food” to be eaten on the first day of each new year. Most of the sites I checked talk about the symbolism of money. For instance, greens would represent folding dollar bills, and peas would symbolize coins. My theory is somewhat different. I believe the lucky food will be something that is common to the culture, inexpensive, traditional, healthy, and a “comfort food.”
Anyone who has ever lived in the Deep South, or if you know someone who has, then you know that a pot of black-eyed peas is a “must” on New Year’s Day for good luck. Occasionally, people eat “Hoppin’ John,” which is spiced up and served over rice. That’s a wonderful dish, too, but regular black-eyed peas is really all it takes to be lucky in the new year.
There is no recipe for this, other than to take black-eyed peas, either fresh (haven’t seen those in Hawaii), frozen (a little easier to find), or dried (which is what I did this year), and cook them up with whatever kind of pork you have on hand. Occasionally, I’ve cut up some kale or chard from my garden to add later.
The pork can be bacon, leftover ham, ham hock, or what in the South, we called “sow belly.” I had half a rasher of bacon and some sow belly. I soaked the peas overnight, drained them the next morning and added more water for simmering.
There are other ways to do this. For example, you can do it in a slow cooker, or bring to a boil then let sit for a couple hours. Everyone has their favorite way of doing it. For me, it all depends on my mood and how much time I want to take. The slower you cook them, the better they taste. I add chopped onion, and either salsa or hot sauce of some sort.
I tried to get a close-up of the peas in the pot, but the steam kept fogging up the camera lens, so this is the clearest I was able to get.
Along with corn bread and a hot pepper sauce that my brother sent me from Florida, I served them to a friend who came to supper. Enough peas were eaten by both of us to keep us going all year. (That’s not intended as a joke!)
We never know what each new year will bring
and maybe it’s better that way!
We can be like children
who delight in the element of surprise
we can act our age
and resent the changes that come our way.
I prefer to be the child!
To all my readers
past, present and future
I wish you all the very best 2010!
After a month of daily blogging,
my regular scheduling of Wednesday recipes
and Saturday miscellaneous will resume on January 6
until the next time I have unscheduled weeks!
Tonight at midnight, it will become 2010. I’ve never believed in making resolutions for the New Year. What I like to do instead is set goals, both long-term and short-term. These are usually in several categories.
My favorite book for this is Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler. It’s just a little paperback that asks ten questions “for making the next twelve months your most successful ever.” I’ve used it for the past ten years or longer, not only for myself but for my students.
This book can be used in any area of your life, from income to relationships to self-esteem. One reason I love this book is that it starts out with looking at what you accomplished over the past year. This acknowledges the positive aspects of your life rather than just those things that didn’t work out.
We may think we know what we want for our life, but until it is written down with a bit of structure and planning, it goes nowhere. We cannot leave our life up to chance.
At the end of just a few hours you end up with a one-page summary of your plan for the next year. They become your own words of wisdom for the year. This kind of exercise can help to change your life from merely “good” to “great!” That’s something we all deserve!
May you create joy and abundance in all things this next year!
Many of my recipes come with a funny story, but I think this one may be the strangest tale yet.
My folks used to make this punch often, and I didn’t think anything was unusual about it. I just knew it tasted good and was a cheery color for any holiday gathering.
Many years ago, as a Navy wife, I was putting on a “wetting down” party. I made this punch without a second thought.
Because we were active in our local church, as well as involved with the Navy officers and their families, there were two distinct groups that came to the party. One of these groups was made up of teetotalers (I’ll let you guess which one), and the other group was made up of people who had come to really “party.”
We had a long living area so we put a big bowl of this punch at each end of the room. As the military folks came in, their first question was “Which one has the booze?”
Well, neither one did, but we pointed out one of them and said, “That one.”
Needless to say, that particular bowl of punch had to be refilled over and over throughout the evening. Those who were drinking out of that one grew happier and happier, not realizing that it was “straight” punch.
This punch is so simple and quick to make that I’m almost embarrassed to put it here as a recipe, but here goes.
Recipe: Use equal parts of cranberry juice, 7-Up, and apple juice. Pour together in a big punch bowl, and add plenty of ice. That’s all there is to it!
Serve it up tomorrow night for your New Years’ Eve party. I won’t tell, if you won’t!
By the way, Sonia, another Big Island Foodie who writes “Soniatasteshawaii,” made the cranberry bread I posted last Wednesday and included it on her blog. Please check it out.