Categories
Introduction Mission

What’s the Dear Daughters Wisdom Project?

Here’s to strong women. May you know them. May you raise them. May you be them.

— unknown

The Dear Daughters Wisdom Project began both as a legacy for my amazing girls, and as a tribute to my mom–a kind, funny, beautifully wise woman. I’ve been imagining, compiling, and soul scribbling for Dear Daughters all my life…whether I realized it or not. READ the journal entry that started it all.

Dear Daughters,

Someday I’m gonna kick the bucket. Could be tomorrow, could be in 50 years. Regardless, once the bell tolls, I will no longer be physically accessible for life chats.

Sadly, it’s only after I’m dust in the wind, that you’ll FINALLY realize how truly wise I was. And while you’re in the throes of that mind blowing epiphany, you’ll wish with all your hearts that you’d recorded/memorized/imprinted every last bit of my sage advice.

Not to worry. I’m doing it for you now.  Here’s what’s coming down the pipeline.

What You’ll Be Receiving

Musings, favorite quotes, mantras, happiness tips, poems, books, songs, cautionary tales, secret dance moves, inappropriate coping mechanisms, stories, fables, activities,  resiliency tools, axioms, pumper-uppers, commentary, warnings, random but helpful rants, recipes, product recommendations, & more.

All of this impending wisdom will be real, heartfelt stuff delivered with sass, ‘cuz that’s how I roll. Some of it will be gleaned from my individual life experiences, while some of it will be knowledge passed down from my mother, grandmothers, aunts, and other female mentors and heroines.

My hopes for you and The Dear Daughter Wisdom Project

  • That you’ll read each entry at least once.
  • That you’ll treasure it as the gift that keeps on giving.
  • That it will provide comfort, laughter, and a kick-butt life survival kit.
  • That it will serve as a continuous reminder and reinforcement of how much I love you.
  • That it will help you understand yourself.
  • That it will provide an inter-generational connection to your female ancestors.
  • That it will inspire you to follow in my footsteps–to capture, record, and pass on your/our women’s wisdom to the next generation.
  • That it will encourage women all over the world to do the same.

All my Love!

The Mission of the Dear Daughters Wisdom Project

To promote the collecting, recording, & sharing of women’s wisdom with the next generation

Project Values

Connection.

Continuity.

Solidarity.

Empowerment.

Why It’s Important

One day we as mothers, mother-in-laws, stepmothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, mentors, and sage female friends will pass on. And our family knowledge, traditions, secrets, cautionary tales, mantras, best jokes, and–please god, don’t ever do this advice–will pass on with us.

All that wisdom lost.

Unless we take action to collect it, record it, and pass it along.

This is Judy, my mom!

What to Expect

  • Expect a new Dear Daughters Wisdom Project post on a regular basis
  • Expect a variety of topics, tones, prose, formats, & media
  • Expect information on how start your own Dear Daughters Wisdom Project
  • Expect this project to evolve yet stay true to its mission

Thank you for reading!

Stay in the know, sign up below!

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Categories
Dog Tribute

Valentine Special: 5 Tips for Maximizing the Love from Elvis, aka The Super Love Lab

Dear Daughters,

Here’s a tribute to our late, great Elvis! May we all follow in his big love lab pawprints!!

Sing it if you know it! Who’s afraid of the big, black dog… the big, black dog … the big black dog….?

Nobody, dudes. I’m a lover not a fighter.

I LOVE giving love and I LOVE receiving love.

And baby, I’m rolling in it!

Now that I’ve established my street cred, here are 5 surefire tips for maximizing the love in your life.

Results guaranteed.

1. Keep the talking to a minimum

Barking for no reason other than a fondness for the sound of my own voice, or because I can, or because I’m bored, doesn’t bring the love. So unless it’s important, I keep the barks down to one, maybe two rounds a day. Sure, I’ll produce a polite one if someone waves a biscuit under my nose, but hey, a biscuit is food. And food equals love. Am I Right?

2. Cultivate the single sad whine not the annoying persistent whine

Here’s what I do. Walk across a room occupied by people, stop, let out one soft whine, follow it with a long sigh, and then continue to the other side of the room. People WILL hurry after you and ask what’s wrong. People WILL pet you. People MIGHT give you another biscuit. If you whine continuously you’ll get LESS love not more. And forget about the treats.

3. Be the rug, don’t eat it

My fur is way silkier and softer than a rug. I have found that if I position myself directly under/adjacent to human feet, I will receive foot strokes/massages that last a long, long time. This easy tip really racks up the love hours whereas chewing the rug does not. Speaking of chewing, remember that little love nips produce positive results. Teeth marks do not.

4. Embrace your creative side

If my humans wanted to, they could dress me in a bonnet and nightgown, throw some granny specs on my nose, and pop me under the bed sheets. With my handsome head and toothy smile, I’m a shoe-in for the big bad wolf like the one featured in that engrossing story, Little Red Riding Hood. Good performance…bad performance… it doesn’t matter for I’ll receive a whole lotta love and fan adoration for my role.

5. Oh yeah, I’m a lap dog

I weigh in at 100 lbs. No matter. All I got to do is gaze longingly at my male owner’s lap, produce a sigh or two, and it’s a done deal. He’ll scoop (well, more like haul) me up then plunk me right down onto his chest/abs/lap. On super special days, he’ll set me up in a vertical pose so we are embracing. This my friends, is the ultimate love lab’s position. I get to lick his face…put my head on his shoulder…he scratches my belly…I play guitar….pure dog heaven. Sure, being held upright like that is a wee bit uncomfortable but it’s total worth it because the love benefits are crazy good!

That’s the list, dudes. Pretty awesome, right?!

Five simple yet brilliant nuggets of dog tested wisdom.

What can I say? Lovin’ is my super power.

And whether you’re a canine or a human, I solemnly swear that if you implement my techniques you WILL maximize the love in your life.

Peace Out!

Elvis, The Super Love Lab (Transcribed by Terri Weeding)

Elvis 2007-2018

Want to learn how to write your woman’s (or dog’s) wisdom? Check out my upcoming Zoom Writing Course!

Categories
Inspiration nature Relaxation

Why I’m Dusting Off This Secret Hobby for 2021

Dear Daughters,

I’m reviving a lovely little activity this year; one that promotes serenity, gratitude, and a more dynamic connection with nature.

Writing Haiku!

In case you are unfamiliar with this type of literature–

A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words.

Merriam-Webster

When you girls were younger, I fell madly in love with Haiku for its brevity, for its elegant expression of nature and for its compositional challenge–to evoke emotional impact through a limited number of delicately chosen words set in a specific syllabic pattern.

Two Examples of My Haiku

Silk bangs fall forward

saffron, fields of harvest corn

masking one bold eye.

***

Two blooms on one stem,

scarlet, she raises lips to

capture spring kisses.

I’ve always written (what I consider) my best Haiku pieces outdoors because sitting in a meadow while writing about a meadow? Yep, that’s an optimal creative setting.

On the other hand, some humans do possess vivid, detailed, active imaginations, therefore they have the ability to create/or recall a poignant nature moment in their minds then write a decent Haiku sitting inside a building or a moving car.

Either way, the best thing about creating Haiku is that it requires complete sensory engagement and that means disengaging from the mundane world and its worries. Crafting this form of nature poetry is a deeply meditational writing practice and a beautiful way to honor Mother Earth and her seasons.

If you’d like to give it a go here are some general guidelines.

Haiku guidelines

  • 3 lines of verse with a 5/7/5 syllable count for a total of 17
  • A nature theme
  • A seasonal reference word
  • A pause expressed as a word not with punctuation
  • Contains one or more sensory details: touch, taste, sound, sight, hearing
  • May include a surprising relationship
  • May contain an unexpected last line to provoke thought
  • Exquisite, evocative

For a detailed explanation on how to write a Haiku, read this excellent step-by-step tutorial: How to Write a Haiku Poem

Daughters,

There’s so much I love about the Japanese culture. Zen Mediation Gardens. Sushi. Soaking Tubs…and Haiku. In fact a perfect day would include sharing all these activities with you and finishing with a soak in an outdoor tub under the stars.

All my Love.


connect with nature and yourself on a deeper level– try a sacred walk!

Categories
Stories The Hard Stuff

I lived in Papua New Guinea for 2 years…Here’s what it was like

Dear Daughters,

This Coronavirus Pandemic is horrendous.

It’s scary, stressful, depressing, inconvenient, and certainly tragic for the many who’ve suffered, died, loss their loved ones, their jobs, their homes, and so on.

But here’s the thing. Despite the social restrictions, I don’t feel isolated at all. Not like I did when I spent 2 years in Papua New Guinea while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

In case you didn’t catch my drift so far, yes, this is one of those “when I was a kid I had to walk 10 miles in the snow barefoot” stories.

Well, it’s probably more of a nightmare tale for your technology-dependent selves.

Prepare to be horrified.

My Living Conditions in OKSAPMIN, PaPuA NEw Guinea (PNG) 1989-1991

First of all, a little geography. Oksapmin is a tiny blip surrounded by mountains in the Sandaun Providence of PNG. Small plane was the only way in and the only way out at the time. Over the two years I lived there, 50% of the bush pilots died because of the dangerous flying conditions.

Oksapmin, Papua New Guinea

There was no electricity on the station. No cell phones, no landline telephones, no computers, and of course, no internet.

Communication was limited to an unreliable two-way radio near the grass airstrip that was a mile walk from my tiny house.

No television…I repeat…No television.

Lighting consisted a set of florescent lights via a car battery + 2 kerosene lanterns. And a couple flashlights.

Water had to be pumped by hand every single day from a corrugated water tank. Sometimes it had to be boiled as well like during a three month drought when the water level dropped to six inches of sludge.

Hot showers or baths? Nope. And let me just add that at 5,000 feet in the mountains the water was freaking cold. If I grew desperate for a hot water bathing experience, I built a fire in the wood-burning stove, warmed up a big pot of water, then ladled the water over my head. (It took about 45 minutes for this process.)

Mail service was via those small airplanes. Average time to receive a letter from the United States? 1–3 months. This is how I “got” the mail. Hark! Is that the sound of a small plane engine cresting the mountain tops? Time to sprint like a track star for 1 mile over a rocky trail to reach the grass airstrip before the pilot unloaded his cargo and took off again. Sometimes I made it! Sometimes I didn’t and I had to wait another week or three for a letter from home or an outdated copy of Newsweek magazine.

Doctor? Hospital? Clinic? Nope. No medical services. The Peace Corps provided a copy of “Where There Is No Doctor” book and a medical kit. If an emergency occurred, the only quick way out was via med-evac helicopter. That is if the two-way radio was working so you could call out.

No refrigerator or freezer. Want to keep something cold? Float it in a plastic bag immersed in a metal pail of cold water. Seriously, I did that with blocks of cheddar cheese obtained through quarterly supply trips out to the nearest “town”.

No stores. Just an outdoor small market with lots of plantation bananas, pumpkin vines, and kaukau (yams).

No dining establishments. No takeout.

Wood burning stove/oven and a two burner propone stove for cooking.

No microwave.

No store bought alcohol.

No vehicles and not a paved road in sight.

No Amazon.

Oh, and there were only four Caucasians on the station and I was one of them. I include this VIP fact because when one is a minority in a geographically remote place located in a geographically remote province located in a geographically remote island located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, far, far away from home, one feels even more isolated and vulnerable.

You are probably freaking out right now. Good. Makes the read more exciting.

how did You survive 2 years in extreme isolation?

Glad you asked, daughters! Here’s a list. You know how I love them so.

First and foremost, I immersed myself in the people and in my project tasks which included health outreach, water catchment tank projects, and small business skills training. That’s why I was there after all. You’re probably thinking, “Duh!” Well, no it’s not a duh. A lot of volunteers cruised their entire service because you could. Supervision was very minimal. Sites visits too.

Some other things I did to entertain myself and pass the time. Speaking of time…time in PNG passed very slowly. In fact, the whole concept of time, work and schedules was the opposite of what we are familiar with in the U.S.

Now onto the rest of the list.

I read books that previous volunteers left behind and that family and friends sent.

I handwrote bad poetry, sometimes decent stories, and lots and lots of letters.

I explored and hiked and marveled at the insane National Geographic worthy wildlife, especially the birds. Papua New Guinea is renown for its Birds of Paradise.

I daydreamed about hot showers, pizza, movies, etc., etc.

I tried to grow things. Sometimes I was successful.

I learned to sew really ugly curtains with a manual sewing machine.

I spent a lot of time cooking and baking everything from scratch.

I occupied many hours performing manual labor such as scrubbing clothes in a washing tub.

I played Yahtzee and tried to learn how to tell fortunes with a pack of Tarot cards.

I listened to Voice of America news on a short-wave radio every single day. It was a lifeline.

I played basketball on a dirt court with the villagers who were amazing athletes (both the women and the men). Note: they were considerably shorter than me but still kicked my butt.

I enjoyed the best stargazing of my life. Holy Moly! The Southern Night Sky was AWESOME!

I learned Tok Pisin (a creole language) of Papua New Guinea. Fun fact: 839 living languages exist in PNG because of the rugged topography.

I exchanged cultural stories and laughter with villagers.

I memorized all the words to all the songs on the five cassette tapes I brought with me.

I figured out how to make banana wine. It sucked but I drank it anyway.

I made homemade beer. It wasn’t bad and I drank it anyway.

I feasted on local favorite foods like water buffalo, goat, marsupial, and some other mystery meats.

I danced to those five cassette tapes.

I took excellent naps and, once I felt safe and relaxed enough, I slept deeply every single night because of the mosquito netting around the bed. The netting was not just to keep out mosquitoes but also the oversized creatures including flying cockroaches and ginormous spiders the size of my hands!

During those two years in Papua New Guinea, I did not have to contend with the Coronavirus Pandemic but tropical diseases such as Dengue Fever and Malaria were always a possibility. Open wounds could and often did kill, and remember, there was no doctor, no clinic. Just a First Aid Kit and a basic medical book.

No, I didn’t have to wear a mask and stay away from other people but communication, entertainment, services, information, transportation, & modern conveniences were non-existent or severely limited. Plus, I lived in the mountains where bad weather meant no flying. Oh, did I mention that tribal warfare was always a looming threat as well?

So although it was a surreal and challenging 2 years, I survived and often thrived in geographic, cultural, and technological isolation because I embraced the whole experience…the good, the bad, the sad, the scary, the weird, the wild, the amazing, the boring, the dangerous, the make-your-own-fun, the poignant, the obstacles…all of it. I focused on what I could do and NOT on what I couldn’t do and just persevered.

Daughters,

I hope you enjoyed this account of my Peace Corps service in PNG. Go forth and seek your own wild and wonderful life/mind/heart changing adventures. You’ll never know what you’re truly capable of unless you do.

I also hope you can better understand why the current social restrictions don’t make me feel the slightest bit isolated. Not when I can call and Zoom family and friends. Not when I can get in my car, drive on a road, and shop at a huge grocery store. Not when I can order anything I need or want on Amazon.

All My Love!

Categories
Family Traditions Holidays

ELEVATE YOUR HOLIDAY ZOOM GATHERINGS WITH THIS CHEAT SHEET

Anyone else sick of awkward Zoom family meetings consisting of the same old discussion topics?

Or how about those free-for-all family chats when everyone talks at the same time?

Then there’s the painful meetings where that family member(who shall not be named) hogs the spotlight the whole freaking time.

We can do better. We just need a plan.

Here’s mine.

Terri’s, “Let’s Elevate this Zoom Call lest we die of boredom” Plan

Step 1: Who’s in Charge of this rodeo?

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

Pick someone to run the show. A moderator is key to keeping the conversation on track, keeping the rambunctious & overly verbose under control, and encouraging the quiet ones to participate. I recommend choosing yourself for this position. Also, remember, the mute button is a powerful tool, don’t forget to use it. It’s perfectly fine to order others to use theirs too because it’s SO annoying when everyone talks at once.

Screen share is available for slides and video clips. Don’t forget to test new technology prior to the meeting because technical difficulties are a buzz kill. Lastly, remember that Zoom Basic (the free plan) has a 40 minute time limit. If a family member has Zoom Pro then you can talk and stare at each other all day. 

STEP 2: pick a couple things from this list to infuse spirit, meaning, & jocularity into your zoom meeting

  • Kick the party off with a couple group songs! Provide lyrics to maximize participation. Add a tambourine, a harmonica, beat a kitchen pan with a wooden spoon,…make it crazy and wild!
  • Read (with inflection/passion/humor) excerpts from favorite holiday books. 
  • Takes turns sharing a photo or video of your decorated home or kids. Add snarky commentary.
  • Family Cook-off. Version 1: Participants make the same item, show it off, then eat it together. Version 2: Participants make a unique dish and eat it together.
  • Dress up in hilarious costumes and wigs. Pick a theme.
  • Play a visual game like Charades or Pictionary. (More ideas)
  • Share a sweet and a funny holiday 60 second memory. (Moderator, you’re the timekeeper. I like to use an obnoxious buzzer app).
  • Send each other a white elephant gift and open together. 
  • Demonstrate a funny skill you’ve developed during the Pandemic. (Me: epic sparkling water burps).
  • Share a new skill or project you are working on during the Pandemic.
  • Describe your favorite winter ritual. (fireplaces and hot cocoa; warming up your flannel sheets, chopping wood in your long underwear….)
  • Tell a joke or show a funny clip.
  • Share a moving memory of your grandparents. (script it to make it good!)
  • Dance Party! Play a fun song and direct everyone to stand-up and shake their booty.
  • Talent show! (And I don’t mean just the performing arts talents!)
  • Start planning a family get-together for 2021. Assign a leader. I recommend choosing yourself. Make a list, delegate the tasks, set deadlines.
  • Plan a family donation project. Yep, someone does need to be in charge. Why not you?
  • Karaoke competition! Air guitar?
  • End with a group prayer/meditation/cheer/laugh!

Step 3: study up! zoom tech help resources

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/349091

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

https://zoom.us/virtual-backgrounds

You got the information and the power to create energizing, memorable Zoom calls now.

Go forth and make it happen! You can download and print this cheat sheet. Yay!

Categories
Holidays Moms Thank you

The gifts you gave that made me cry happy tears


It’s not about how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

Mother Teresa

Dear Daughters,

This is the season for gratitude so I want to thank you for all the incredible gifts you’ve given me over the years.

Gifts that made me cry happy tears because they were love in action. Because they were the manifestation of a beautiful truth I tried really hard to instill in you.

That a thoughtful act OF GRATITUDE IS ONE OF THE MOST loving & POWERFUL GIFTS You can Give.

I’m gushing again, I know. But I can’t wait to share my list of these unforgettable gifts…right now.

the list

1. The Love Letters and Poems

Being a writer, this is one of my not-so-secret favorite things to receive. Of course I’ve kept every single letter, poem, & handwritten card containing the heart-felt words you selected to describe what I mean to you…why you appreciate me… and how I’ve inspired you. Your verses have nourished and rejuvenated my spirit time and again. I especially love the haikus.

Thank you.

2. The Homemade Stuff

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

You handcrafted a delightful array of perfectly imperfect items and I love all of them. The rock hard cookies (edible after I microwaved ’em), the crooked-seams pillow, the poem calendar, the lopsided pottery bowl, that hilarious tree ornament, the itty-bitty pot holder, the reindeer head made from a palm tree husk, and so on. True labors of love!

Thank you.

3. THOSE UNPROMPTED, CHEERFUL HOUSEKEEPING MOMENTS

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

Those whistle-while-you-work flash episodes where you just dived in and performed chores that needed to be done without me asking, nagging, begging, or threatening. Like the time you cleaned out your clothes closet and bagged up the donations items. And that magical day when you mopped all the floors after the dog ran through the house covered in mud. Pretty sure I popped open a bottle of celebratory wine that day.

Thank you.

4. the Pampering

Photo by John Tekeridis on Pexels.com

Motherhood is tough on a woman’s bod and brain and soul. So I loved, LOVED the neck rubs, back rubs, hand and foot rubs. The hair wash, blow dry, and style session. That makeover that took 10 years off my face and caused me to get carded by a far-sighted clerk…one time. Sure, the gift card for massages were lovely, however when you provided the manual labor the pampering felt even better.

Thank you.

5. that framed picture of the two of us

That one where we both looked fabulous and happy to be together even though you were a teenager and I was the perpetually exasperated mother of a teenager. I know you probably Photoshopped me a tiny bit. That’s okay. The fact that you printed the beauteous masterpiece, popped it in a pretty, sentimental frame and wrapped it? Amazing! So glad you didn’t just send me an attachment or a link to a portal. You put the work in to make me feel special and I did. Still do.

Thank you.

6. that Special outing

Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

You planned the whole darn thing. You drove and brought all the gear, plus refreshments. You even remembered the water, orange slices, band-aids, and sunscreen! You picked-up when the event was over, drove me home, unpacked the car, and put away all the gear. It was such a luxurious experience for me. Especially the last part because I didn’t have to clean-up.

Thank you.

7. Cuddle time

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I treasure all those cuddle times on the couch just hanging-out, chatting about random things, snort laughing, sipping Chai Tea, holding hands and hugging. I glad you shared your dreams and challenges. And you made me so happy when you asked about mine too.

Thank you.

8. Cellphone-free time

Those long stretches of time we spent together without cell phones so we were fully present with one another. Like our walks, cuddle time, and meals. At times, it was a little bit difficult to go that long without checking our phones but your undivided attention felt amazing. All that focus screamed, “You are important to me.” I hope you felt that way too.

Thank you.

9. The performances

Photo by Gabriel Barreto on Pexels.com

The music concerts. The soccer games. The plays, videos, & comedy sketches. The school and award presentations. All moms get a huge rush from watching their offspring perform PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING. After all, part of the reason we have kids is for entertainment and bragging rights. Call it a return on our investment!

Thank you.

10. queen for a day

Photo by Katarzyna Modrzejewska on Pexels.com

Okay. I might have imagined this since I was popping pain meds at the time, but I’m pretty sure that when I was recovering from surgery a couple years back, you waited on me hand and foot, like I was your queen. The only thing missing was a bell. So if you want to give me another fantastic gift in 2021, let’s do a repeat of Queen for the Day. Bring the bell and I promise not to ring it more than five times an hour. Oh, let’s add a crown to make the experience even more festive.

Thank you.

Well, That’s the list! A list that makes me feel like the luckiest, most loved mom in the world!

Feel free to repeat these gifts in the near future.

All My Love.


Looking for Gifts Recommendations? The above Presents will make your moM cry too. Or…take a peek at my ProductS I Love page.

Categories
Change Self Development Woman's Wisdom

10 HABITS To Creating a Sacred Walking Experience

Dear Daughters,

You all know how much I love, love, LOVE to walk.

I dare say I adore walking as much as Elizabeth Bennett.

Pride and Prejudice (2005) movie

But maybe what you don’t know is that as a young, angst-filled adult, walking was a form of self punishment.

Back then I did not walk with joy and wonder. I walked with rage and pain.

I walked to scold and shame myself.

I walked with toxic people even when I knew better.

I walked in ugly places while listening to abrasive sounds and inhaling noxious scents.

I walked completely disconnected from my self and my environment.

And although I walked to exercise, I never EVER felt rejuvenated.

Mostly, I just felt exhausted, beat-up, and discouraged.

Until one day, my therapist asked me why. Why was I polluting one of my favorite activities from childhood?

Why indeed?

After that epiphany and some obligatory self recrimination, I started making some habit-breaking changes to detoxify my walks. It was a hard and slow process.

Real change always is.

One of the biggies was finding a better outlet for my anger bouts. Like vigorous house cleaning sessions.

I also learned to put a stop to the BS abusive self-talk. Because…guess what? We are the boss of our own minds and we can banish those negative voices.

Once I stripped the bad stuff away, I was left with a blank slate walk. A neutral, pleasant walking experience that I knew could become something more. Something incredible.

So I set out to create what I deemed a “sacred” walking experience. An experience to honor my mind, my heart, my body, as well as the natural world.

Here’s how I did it.

10 habits TO creating A sacred walking experience

  1. Seek the scenic, natural, aromatic path. Go out of your way to find it. Spend extra time to get there. This is the most crucial step because the objective of a sacred walking experience is connection and rejuvenation. With yourself, with nature, with the divine.
  2. Bring a positive companion or go it alone. You could always do both. A couple times a week with a upbeat companion. The rest of the time with yourself. Of course a dog can be a delightful addition. Or not. Keep the objective in mind when making that determination.
  3. Strike a natural pace. Not too fast, not too slow. I’ve found that my body automatically adjusts to what it needs. This same philosophy applies to how far you walk. Your body will guide you if you listen to it.
  4. Open your emotions and senses to your setting. How does the sound of water flowing over rocks make you feel? The smell of pine needles? The feel of snowflakes on your face? You are part of the natural world. Take this time to remind yourself and strengthen that connection.
  5. Unclench your mind. Take slow deep breaths then mentally bench your anxiety and to-do lists. As you move, allow your mind to drift like a leaf floating on a slow moving stream. It should feel light and relaxed now.
  6. Speak your thank you notes and prayers. Speak it and make it so. Who and what are you thankful for? Who needs loving thoughts and energy? You can whisper or chant your thanks if you prefer but don’t forget to include your beautiful self.
  7. Feel your life force. Concentrate and feel your oxygen and energy coursing through each part of your body. Notice how your mind and body and spirit is humming, crackling, vibrating with the force. You are amazing.
  8. Savor a spot. Identify a beautiful place along your path and stop for a while. Sit or lay down and embrace it. The tree branches waving, the flickering sky, the talking birds, the ants marching next to your shoe. Breath deep. Smile. Laugh. Let out a big sigh. Close your eyes and doze. Savor.
  9. Gently stretch. You can do it as you walk or afterwards. This is a way to honor our bodies for their hard work. Start from the top and work your way down. I like to thank each part as I go then finish with a gigantic self-hug. Because I’m awesome!
  10. Namaste” everything, everyone. The impact of a smile, a greeting, eye-contact, a compliment, any positive acknowledgment can be life-changing. Especially now, during the pandemic. Honor yourself, other people, wildlife…. It really is that simple to create a connective, uplifting experience and pass it on.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”

~ John Burroughs

I’m addicted to my year-round walks. Unless there’s a blizzard or I’m ill, I love myself way too much these days to go without. Nor would I want to miss the changing landscape.

Daughters, I want you to love yourself as much as I love you.

I want you to do things to honor that love like taking sacred walks.

By the way…

Here’s A list of my TOP 5 FAVORITE THINGS TO DO in case you forgot!

  • Connecting with Family
  • Walking/Hiking/Exploring My Inner and Outer Universes
  • Reading/Sharing Book Recommendations
  • Writing/Helping Others Write
  • Laughing/Helping Others Laugh

Yes, OF COURSE you’re at the top of the list!!

Yes, A pop quiz to find out if you read this is a distinct possibility.

Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

All my love!

Categories
Self Development Woman's Wisdom

Are You Feeling Homesick For Yourself?

Dear Daughters,

On Sunday, I listened to an episode of the Brene Brown Unlocking Us podcast which featured author Sue Monk Kidd. Here’s a link to the interview if you want to listen after you’re done reading this post.

Brene Brown and Sue Monk Kidd are two of my favorite Divine Feminine Authors. These women and the books they’ve written have given me the courage and the inspiration to–

Manifest my woman’s wisdom & gifts so that I can live my most authentic, my most fulfilling life.

So, I’m a huge, huge fan of both.

Back to the interview. In the course of the conversation about her books and her self-journeys, Sue Monk Kidd referenced two questions that I haven’t been able to stop asking myself EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  1. “Are you feeling homesick for yourself?”
  2. “Are you taking your own breath away?”

Now just pause for a moment.

Repeat those questions, one at a time.

Breathe the words in and allow them to saturate your body, your heart, your spirit.

Then when you’re ready (could be minutes, hours, days, weeks) and only then, let the responses come to you.

Are you?

  1. “Are you feeling homesick for yourself?”
  2. “Are you taking your own breath away?”

I’m going to stop talking/writing now. Because you can take it from here.

But know this, as a mother who holds a cosmic-sized love for you I don’t want you to EVER feel alienated from your perfect, sacred self.

And my greatest wish for you is that you’ll always gasp in amazement at yourself.

Because that’s what I do.

Every single time I think about you.

All My Love.

I love listening to this blast-from-the-past song when I’m thinking about my Vision of Love for myself! It was Mariah’s first hit!

BTW, if you want to learn more about The Sacred Feminine, read this book.

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, By Sue Monk Kidd

Categories
Family Traditions Food Wisdom Recipes

Why a Family Signature Recipe Contains a LOT More Than Ingredients

Dear Daughters,

Today I’m sharing a cherished category of women’s wisdom with you.

The Family Signature Recipe.

Featuring our family’s most beloved course.

Dessert!

When you girls were youngsters, one of our favorite going-out-to-eat traditions was reverse dinner.

Also known as backwards dinner.

Also known as “save room for dinner” dinner.

So to honor our dessert fanaticism, I’ve included the Weeding signature dessert recipe down below.

Edna Bars!!

So keep on scrolling.

Now daughters, maybe you are wondering what exactly a family signature recipe is?

A family signature recipe is a beloved dish passed down from generation to generation.

Edna Bars is an awesome example of a family signature recipe because:

It’s like our family brand.

You say chocolate dessert, I say Edna Bars!

Edna Bars make an appearance at every major Weeding gathering.

Sometimes there are multiple versions of Edna Bars at the same event.

Because everyone claims their version is the most authentic and the tastiest.

Also because Edna Bar bakers know that the Weeding clan appetite for those lovely bars is ginormous and they worry there won’t be enough to go around.

As of this writing, four generations have baked, shared, devoured, and horded Edna Bars. (yep, I did find those bars you hid in your room, dear daughter whose name shall not be revealed)

Momma Mia! Just writing about Edna Bars makes me want them right now.

I’ll be right back….in about an hour.

I’m back!

So as I was saying,

Signature Family Recipes like Edna Bars represent much more than deliciousness for our taste buds.

They also represent:

Weeding family values like a love of merriment, food sharing is caring, raucous laughter, wild games, and of course, chocolate. (Uh huh! chocolate is too a value!)

Delectable family memories rife with aromas, colors, textures, tastes, sounds…. Grandma Weeding baking Edna Bars in her avocado green kitchen. Breathing in buttery-brown sugar-chocolate warmth as I sneak a test corner.

Special heirloom dishes or platters to display the signature family recipe.

Incredible family histories and tales (sometimes tall tales) such as:

Aunt Edna created the recipe because white sugar was hard to get during the war. (true? tale)

One year all the uncles competed to see how many bars they could devour in 5 minutes. Uncle V hurled shortly after but said it was totally worth it since he won. (tall tale)

Remember when Cousin T tried to make them using dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate? She was shunned for the rest of the party and told to take the untouched bars back home. (tall tale)

Now! Onto the most important words in this blog post, the recipe.

The Weeding Family Signature Dessert

Edna Bars

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

¼ tsp salt

1 large milk chocolate bar

Instructions

Mix brown sugar, butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Then add flour and salt. 

Bake in a 9 x12 pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Breakup chocolate bar into squares and distribute evenly on top of the hot crust.

Spread when melted. 

Optional: add finely chopped nuts.

BONUS BONUS

In honor of our family’s favorite food CHOCOLATE, I’ve included two of my favorite novels that describe it in mouth-watering detail. These books are excellent examples of the Magical Realism genre. And even better, both were made into charming movies!

Warning: you will want to have large quantities of Edna Bars or another kind of chocolate on hand when reading these delightful novels as the prose will provoke serious cravings.

All my Love!

“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”

― Jane Seabrook, Furry Logic Laugh at Life
Categories
Inspiration

Wisdom Practices For Creating a Joyful Life of Meaning (from my Grandma)

We are inspired by those who, despite unbelievable pain and hardship, have chosen to become victors.

Judge Glenda Hatchett

Dear Daughters,

Let me tell you about my mother’s mother.

Her given name was Anna, but her friends and family called her Ann or Annie.

She possessed a sweet, sassy, joyful spirit and a fierce determination.

She grew up during the depression as the youngest of 9 children on a farm run by her widowed mother.

They were so poor she never had a doll as a child.

She lost her father at a young age. He was allegedly pushed off a cliff over a land dispute.

Then, as a young adult and mother, she endured the fear and horror of WWII.

And yet, despite her early hardships, I knew her as a happy woman who lived life with gratitude and gusto.

A woman who knew what was important and practiced those beliefs every day.

A woman who created her own joy for herself and her family.

My hope is that after reading this list you will feel a dynamic, living connection to her.

She was amazing.

She is one of my greatest influences.

And she lives on in you.

Grandma’s Wisdom Practices

Get up with the sun because the early bird gets the worm and there’s a lot to do.

Rocking chairs are good for relaxing an agitated mind and soul.

Break into happy jigs throughout the day to celebrate moments.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Spend hours making food from scratch imbued with love and tradition.

Enjoy sweets in moderation but watch your figure.

Tidy home, tidy mind, tidy soul.

Cultivate your favorite flowers in mass quantity.

Photo by Asad Nazir on Pexels.com

Sing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs even if you’re off-key.

Live lean, save, then take fabulous trips guilt-free.

Tell loved ones how proud you are of them…often.

Choose a signature style and wear it with pride. (She loved suits, hats, fuchsia lipstick, and beautiful brooches.)

Photo by Rafael Barros on Pexels.com

Make time to count your blessings every single day.

Enjoy a good soap opera on TV but avoid them in real life.

Be specific about what kind of life you want then create it with intention and discipline.

Be generous with your family and friends and those who need a helping hand.

Write lively letters to stay in touch.

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Sit front row and center everywhere. It’s the best seat in the house.

Sleep on silky pillowcases to prevent bedhead and wrinkles.

If you can’t say something nice keep your mouth shut.

Wear a purple bikini when you are 70.

Photo by Dellon Thomas on Pexels.com

Daughters, she would be so proud of you.

All my love.

Speaking of wonderful daily practices, read my book review of The Daily Stoic, 365 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, And The Art of Living here.

Categories
Change Inspiration The Hard Stuff

The Hard Stuff: Overcoming Destructive Habits

Dear Daughters,

Read this poem about overcoming destructive habits, relationships, patterns, thoughts.

Autobiography in 5 Chapters

By Portia Nelson

I.

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

II.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

III.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

IV.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

V.

I walk down another street.

Now read this.

I’m a victim and have no power.

It’s not my fault.

I see now. I’m responsible for my predicament.

I walked around to avoid the trap.

I chose a completely different path.

And this.

Despair.

Denial.

Accountability.

Courage.

Empowerment.

You can do it.

I did.

Many times.

All my Love.

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