F Simple and Serene Living: 2017 09 10
Monday, May 29, 2017

ALWAYS REMEMBER

Today is a day we honor all of the men and women who have served our country.


It is a day that I remember my father who fought and was a POW in WW11.

He fought bravely to protect this country from fascism. 


Today I will relax and enjoy my day because of him and the millions of others who have served. 

I plan to have lunch with my mom and then we will play some cards, because that is what she wants to do. Later I will spend some time with friends. 

I hope everyone else has a happy and relaxing day.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRATITUDE.

Everyday I have to remind myself to be grateful.


This morning as I was sitting here resting my knee (Yes I did a bit too much. So easy to do.) I reminded myself how grateful I am for my little apartment.

I waited so long for a place of my own again, and sometimes in the craziness of life I have to stop and remind myself how fortunate I am to have this apartment and be surrounded by the things that I love and hold dear. 


The things I have give me comfort and a sense of home. 

I do miss my family and know that I want to be closer to them, but I am filled with gratitude for a safe place and so many new friends.

Practicing gratitude, feeling thankful, is good for our health.  


If we look around us there are so many small things we can feel grateful for.


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”


― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Gratitude means different things to people, but for me it signifies a sense of thankfulness. 

In these crazy times we can often feel hopeless, and it can seem difficult to find things we can be grateful for, but if we lose the ability to feel grateful we will be lost. 


So I am making a vow today. I will renew my efforts to feel a sense of gratitude. I will find at least one new thing each day to be thankful for. 

Today I am thankful for my home. 

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Monday, May 22, 2017

MEDITATION FOR WORRY

Last Monday I began a series on worry. In my first post I talked about how taking action can help with worry. If you missed that post you can catch up here

We all worry from time to time, and although not all worry is 100% bad if it leads us to figure out a solution, but it can become a real problem when we let it take over our lives.


One of the things in my worry toolbox is meditation.

Many people have the misconception that meditation is shutting down the mind. Meditation is a calming of the mind while remaining alert, and it is through this calming that we find peace of mind.  


Meditation works very well for worry because it allows you to focus on the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. 

There are different techniques for meditating, and I think finding the one that works best for you is what is most important. 


Sometimes I find that I like a guided meditation, while other times I just like to sit quietly with nothing to distract me. 

I use certain mantras when I meditate. The basic Om mantra is an easy and effective mantra. I used it a lot when I first began to meditate because to be honest I would forget a more complicated mantra and then I would worry that I wasn't doing it right. See how easy it is to worry. 


The point is, is meditation is supposed to take worry away. So in my opinion, if it is calming you, then how can you be doing it wrong. 

If you have never tried meditation there are plenty of ways to get started. You Tube has plenty of guided meditations and music for meditation. There are also books and Google has a lot of information.


Do you meditate? I would love to hear about your meditation practice.

P.S. Thanks for all of your kind comments about my knee. The doctor called this morning and I don't have an infection. Thank goodness. I don't have a definitive diagnosis so I am going with my theory of a sprain and will continue to rest it as much as possible while meditating. 

P.P.S. There is more Inspiration On A Monday here.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

KNEE UPDATE

Wednesday I went to see the orthopedic surgeon about my knee swelling and pain. 

I felt like I was doing pretty good that morning. My knee was swollen, but the pain was minimal and I walked from the parking lot and into the office with no problem.

purple iris flower

Since it has been five years since my first knee replacement and over four years since the second he ordered x-rays for both. 

The x-rays showed no change since the time they were done. That was a relief. The problem was that my knee definitely had fluid on it and he wasn't sure why. He ordered a blood test to check my sed rate, which will show if I have inflammation and possibly infection. Hopefully not.

spring flowers

He told me I could go on my walks if I felt like it and so Thursday. I took a thirty minute morning walk. 

BIG MISTAKE!!

By Thursday night my knee was so swollen and in so much pain I could barely put enough weight on it to get to the bathroom. 

patio container garden impatiens

I gave myself a lecture on slowing down. Yesterday I stayed in the bed and iced my knee and rested. Today it is doing better and I am up moving around the apartment with minimal pain. 

I still think it is a sprain, but I know even sprains take time to heal. It is hard for me to slow down. There is so much I want and need to do, but I am going to continue resting it. 

gardening impatiens container

Next week I will tell you about my first experience with Instacart. We got it here a few weeks ago and the timing was perfect since I couldn't get out to go to the grocery. 

Have a great weekend.






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Monday, May 15, 2017

ACTION NOT WORRY

Is there anyone out there who hasn't worried?

We all worry from time to time. Some of us more than others.

There always seems to be something to worry about, but how do we stop it. How do we keep it from taking over our lives, because not only does worry not add a day to our lives, it can actually shorten out lives by negatively affecting our health.

stop worry

I am a worrier so I know that it can be hard to let it go. Those of you who have been with me for several years know that I had two knee replacements. The first one was five years ago and the second one was eight months later. 

After many years of living with terrible pain I was finally pain free and able to live again. Last week however my left knee started to hurt and became swollen. Of course I started to worry, but I decided to be proactive and this Wednesday I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. 

worry peanuts

Taking action has been one tool that I have learned to use to combat worry.It helps me to feel in control of whatever is causing me to worry. 

Realistically I know that I can't always control a situation, but taking steps to help alleviate whatever is worrying me is a good first step. I know that I have no way of knowing what is wrong with my knee. I am not a medical professional and it could be anything from a sprain to a failure of my implant. 

worry worrying troubles

However, calling and making the appointment was a good first step, and I know whatever the diagnosis I am strong and I will live with it. 

The more we worry about the future the less we are able to enjoy the present. I know that I would rather enjoy the moment and take action to ensure a better future. 

In the weeks ahead I plan to address worry and other ways to cope with and counteract it. 

You can find more of  Inspiration on a Monday here

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Friday, May 12, 2017

LITTLE PATIO GARDEN

I really miss having some kind of outdoor garden. Getting my hands in the dirt is important. I feel like it is great therapy. 

The problem is I live in a small retirement apartment with no personal outdoor space. 


My friend Pat, who also lives here, and I decided that we needed somewhere to plant some kind of garden, so we begged management to let us have a little space.


We aren't allowed to plant anything in the ground so we had to improvise with a container garden. As we both live on small incomes, we also had to do it as economically as possible. 

The side entrance to our building has a small patio area with a table and chairs. 


It is a nice place to sit for two people, but we do need more seating. 

I donated a stone bench which extends the seating a little, but I am hoping for more.


I also added my plant stand. It needs to be painted again, and I hope to get to that soon.


So now we have a few flowers, some herbs,


and even some tomato and bell pepper plants. 


It isn't the largest garden I have ever had, but it is a start and I hope they will let us build on it. 

There are a few community spots on the other side of the building, but the sunlight is not really good there and there are not enough to serve everyone who wants a plot.

I think community gardens are really important, and I would love if they would let us turn some of the grassy area into more plots next year. 

Today is a rainy day, but tomorrow I am going to get out there and watch the flowers grow. 

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Monday, May 8, 2017

FINDING HOPE

"The power of hope upon human exertion and happiness
is wonderful."
                                   Abraham Lincoln

spring blossoms Kentucky

Hope can be a difficult thing to find in trying times. We are living in a complicated world. It is a world where we are faced with personal as well as global uncertainties. 

There are many days when I have to dig very deep to find hope, but I know that hope is my source of strength.

day lilly

Hope sustains me when I feel that things around me are falling apart. 

Meditation and prayer give me the strength to wrap myself in a cloak of hope, to awake to the power of hope that is within me always. 

purple flower daylilly

"Hope is being able to see that there is light
despite all of the darkness."
                                                 Desmond Tutu

Even those who are suffering the most unimaginable pain and suffering can find hope. It seems to arise from the depths of the darkness and bring them back up into the light. 

Even on the days that I struggle the most I remind myself of the struggles of others. 

wild flowers woods

The future may look frightening, but hope is like the beautiful wildflowers that grow along the edge of a dark woods. 

The beauty will sustain us through the darkness. The beauty will still be there when we emerge on the other side.

I have been thinking about the path I want my blog to take as I return to more consistent postings, and I know that I want to return to some of my earlier goals. Each Monday I am planning to go back to my Inspiration on a Monday postings. You can find more of them here

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

IT IS MINT JULEP DAY IN KENTUCKY

It's that time of year again. fast horses, beautiful hats, the singing of my old Kentucky home, and lots of celebrations. Yes, today is the run for the roses, also known as the Kentucky Derby and no derby party is complete without the official drink, the mint julep. Those of us who are native Kentuckians, were practically weaned on mint juleps, but for those of you who have never had the privilege, I am including a recipe. let me say, with all due respect, that if you have never had one of these jewels, I would recommend that you sip slowly on one for several hours. 

Kentucky mint julep

mint julep recipe

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

If you do not want the alcohol, I can recommend these delicious cupcakes. Don't worry. The alcohol will cook off.

kentucky mint julep cup


MINT JULEP CUPCAKES
{adapted from Cooking and Booking}

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon (or whiskey)
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe

Icing
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
milk*****

Directions:

Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F, and grease or line 30 cupcake cups.
Combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour (1 cup). Mix as little as possible, just until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Icing
Combine the powdered sugar, salt, extracts and melted butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add milk until the texture is right for piping. When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the icing on top. Garnish with cake sparkles or sprinkles, a straw (trimmed to size), and mint leaves.
*****

I'm thinking this is not the low calorie version, but hey, after you run around the track a few times you're bound to burn them off.

Well, i'm off to find my hat and read the racing form so you all have a nice day.


photo two

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SITTING BY THE WINDOW

It is what I consider a perfect day today. Temperatures are in the 60s and the sun is shining in a beautiful blue sky. 


I know that the next three days are going to be cool and rainy so I am trying to get out and run errands today. Then I will be able to spend those days snug in my apartment sorting through things and getting organized. 


Thank you for your comments on my post on Monday. If you missed it you can catch up here. It made me realize how much I have been missing the friendships and support I receive from my blog. I have not been able to build these kind of relationships on any other platform.


This is the time of year when I feel most optimistic, and so it has bothered me that life has been wearing me down. I am not ready to feel old, to give up on life, or to sit back and let life continue to pass me by.


I don't know about you, but I am ready to get out and smell the roses more. I have been wanting to take a trip to Canada and visit where I grew up for quite some time, so next week I am going to apply for a passport. No more putting it off. I am not sure why I haven't made this a priority for myself. 


As I sit by my open window today and listens to the sounds of people and nature I feel inspired to move forward. 

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Monday, May 1, 2017

OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW

It took me four weeks, but I have finally finished clearing out my sister's life. Last week the junk man came, the cleaners did a spit and polish, and the piano mover picked up the piano to move to my daughter's house. 


Actually it wasn't just 40+ years worth of my sister's life, it was also dismantling over 60 years of my family. 

I found so many things from my childhood, and in a box in the garage there were all of the family photos that my mom hadn't told me were missing. 


Those four weeks were not only physically exhausting, they were also emotionally draining. It was a time for releasing the old. 

Of course I saved the photos and other things that I considered important, and my daughters left after their weekend here with a van full of furniture and some important memories. 


My mom and I will go through the photos. She will take what she wants and I will remove the rest from their frames. My sister has said she doesn't want any of her old photos, but there may come a time when she will want to see them and I will have them in a folder for her.

Dismantling my family caused me to think about what I want in the future. As many of you know I have been very conflicted, and I still am. I do know that I want a fresh new future. I may not be able to just pack a suitcase and walk away from my past like my sister did, but I want changes. 


I plan to look at how I allowed other people and circumstances to control my life, and I am going to take a real look at my options. 

Soul searching is going to be in my immediate future, and I will share it with you because I know that many of you are going through some of the same things. 

Maybe 66 isn't as old as I thought. Maybe it is the prime of my life.
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