Believe

Before I left on sabbatical, a few clients had asked if I worked with couples. They felt my unique spiritual perspective could really benefit their marriages. I told them I hadn’t considered this, but I certainly would.

Throughout my leave, I kept thinking about this and realized my intuitive gifts, combined with straight-forward talk, could really help those who were wanting – or needing – something different. I kept the idea warm, returning to it every now and then, trusting that if it was meant to be it would be.

About three weeks ago a friend who is dealing with some marital issues reached out. I had this “thought” that I could help her and her husband and I should ask if she’d be open for me to do so, but I pushed it down because one of her besties is a powerful spiritual warrior and I didn’t want to step on her toes.

I appeased myself with the thought that I’d let it be and see what happened. You’d think I’d know better by now, wouldn’t ‘cha?  Within minutes, her husband’s voice filled my head.

Let Sarah do it, he said snidely and with bitterness. Then, in the manner of Jan Brady: Sarah, Sarah, SARAH!

Having a zero “poor me” tolerance, I softly said, “Oooooh Dave, noooo…You do it. You are an adult and you need to learn from your mistakes, just as we all do. Nobody can do it for you and life doesn’t come with a manual. Get used to it, dude.”

I’m not good enough, came his dejected reply.

“Sorry you think that, but how is that working for you? Good? No? Then change it!”

I’m scared.

“We all are, bucko. We all are.”

Will you help me?

“Welllll, I’m kinda in my own hell right now but I’ll never say no to a soul in need. Let’s start right away.”  My thought was I could spiritually work with him while I slept.

DEAL!  he said with enthusiasm and I was shown an image of him clapping his hands and jumping up and down.

“Dave,” I asked, “is it okay for me to share our talks with Sarah?”

NO!  Wait! Tell her a little. I want her to be proud of me.

That night I began working with him.  In what appeared to be a school room, he arrived looking like a seven-year-old version of his adult self. He was dressed in his best first-day-of-school clothes: a button-up short-sleeve shirt and blue dress pants. Completing his look was a fresh haircut. His blond hair had been gelled to create spikes. He carried a sharpened number two pencil and an unused, ruled notebook.

As he anxiously squirmed in his desk chair, he licked the tip of the pencil indicating he was ready to get down to business. He asked what our first lesson would be and without really knowing the answer, I said, “I want you to write ‘I believe in me.’”

His face fell and his shoulders slumped. That’s it?  he asked with incredulity. That’s what you want me to write?! 

Inwardly I smiled at his crestfallen look. “No,” I said. “I want you to believe it.”

With an open mouth, he stared at me as if I had just asked him to do something abhorrent.

And I had.

The next day, I told Sarah what had occurred and that I thought the Guys were urging me forward with Empowerment Counseling (a nice way of saying “couples therapy”) and that she was free to say no but would she and Dave consider coming to see me for a spiritual “counseling” session? Her response came within minutes; they were both on board.

Well, whaddya know?

A joint session was scheduled and that night, during another of Dave’s astral lessons, I asked him to use “I believe in me” in a sentence. Once again, his mouth fell open and he stared at me like I had sprouted horns and a spiked tail.

“This is where we must start, Dave,” I said. “The fact that you are genuinely struggling should be all the validation you need that this is important.”

His eyes rolled upward and then slammed shut. He pursed his lips and clenched his fist.  Like a petulant child, he moaned, Awwww maaaaan!   

“Dave, you’re ready or you wouldn’t have found me.”

The day of their session, I was filled with excitement. This felt right and even though I didn’t exactly know what this was going to look like, or how it would flow, I trusted it would be fine.  

Dave was understandably nervous, and I couldn’t blame him. After all, Sarah was very familiar with Reiki, intuitive work and even the Guys, but he wasn’t.  After a brief synopsis of what Reiki was, how my intuition worked and stating that I had asked for information which would serve both of them, I asked Dave to volunteer.

Being a good sport, he did. Once settled on the Reiki table, my validating intuitive gifts started to bubble forth. It felt so good to be back in the saddle again. After rambling off a series of knowing’s, Dave asked me how I was doing this.

“Have you talked to Sarah about this stuff?” he asked.

“Uh no.”

“Then how do you know this stuff?”

“’Cause I’m a Rockstar.”

As his time on the table was ending, Sarah left the room and I told Dave he had to believe in himself. I had earlier wondered if that information would bleed over into this session and it had. I also shared that he and I were working on spiritual lessons during the evening hours.

When Sarah returned, I was showing Dave the jade Reiki stone carrying a portion of the symbol that resembled what I had seen on his own spiritual heart. When I said the image’s name, the room grew quit.

“What did you say?” Sarah asked.  I repeated the name.

To Sarah, Dave said, “Isn’t that what Thomas (their son) says about the angel he sees? Showcoo? Isn’t that the name he uses?”

I glanced at Sarah and saw her eyes were wide. She nodded and I broke out in goosebumps.

Next, it was Sarah’s turn. With her, I used different terminology and was even more direct in what I saw and knew.  At one point, I heard Dave mumble that he was trying not to cry.

“You’re sensitive, Dave.” I said. “That’s a really good thing. This is a safe place to cry. Crying is the start of healing. Don’t hold back.”  But he did, at least externally.

Then, in a voice that was full of honesty and emotion, he said, “I love you, Sarah.”

“Dave!” I said. “Bless your heart! I love that you freely tell your wife that in front of someone you’ve just met. Most men wouldn’t do that; they would be too intimidated or embarrassed.” Then I started crying, partly because of something that was going on in my life but mainly because the energy surrounding his admission was breathtakingly beautiful.

As Sarah’s portion finished, she took her seat next to Dave and he reached for – and then held – her hand. He told her again he loved her, and that this session was the best and coolest thing he had ever done. Then he said something that caused my breath to catch, “Sarah used to be the securest person I knew and now she’s insecure because of me.”  

I was confused and alarmed by his statement. Having made it very clear during the session’s preamble that my “job” here wasn’t to place blame or point fingers, I quickly reviewed what I remembered from Sarah’s reading and couldn’t find anything that did so. I indicated, among other things, that her neck was pushed to one side, her spiritual heart was somewhat closed, her hips were out of alignment, and that the balls of her feet were swollen from being reactive.  Truly, nothing out of the normal.

Seeking to clear this up, I asked, “What did I say that caused you to feel like this, Dave?”

“She’s reactive from dealing with me.”

Knowing a response was not needed, I lowered my eyes.

He repeated, “I love you, Sarah.”

As they were leaving, I noticed a difference in Dave’s energy. My earlier telepathic communication with him was accurate; he was ready. Once in the parking lot, I saw him pull Sarah into his arms.  This caused tears to prick my eyes again but this time, instead of pain, I felt happiness knowing my Work was part of the reason for their embrace.

Jazzed and knowing this was all divinely inspired, I thought, Okay, I get it! I’m totally gonna offer this Empowerment Counseling thingy. This shit is my jam

(Even though permission was granted, aliases were used.)

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Radon

Radon is radioactive gas that naturally occurs from decaying uranium in our soil. It’s a killer. It causes more deaths per year (21,000) than drunk driving. North Dakota and Western Minnesota are in the ‘red zone’1 which means we have a high concentration of this cancer causing stuff.

We (well, most of us) take precautions against the radioactive energy the sun emits. We use sunscreen, hats and wear sunglasses to avoid injuring (tanning or burning) our bodies and eyes. We are aware of the harmful effects the sun’s radiation has on us. But most of us have never heard of radon and yet it is the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the top cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.2

Radon is insidious and it’s not just a house problem. It is in schools, dorms, work places, churches, apartments, day cares, etc. It can take years and years for the destructive effects of it to show up. And it’s not just from the ground, ooooh noooooo! This stuff can be in your water supply, although it’s much more common if you use well water or your city uses ground water (water held under ground). You will be exposed to it, although minimally, every time you bathe, drink or use water.

Before I continue, I want to share two things. The first is a story about a client of mine whom I had intuitively asked, “Are you a closet smoker?”  She said, “No! Never!” and I said, “well, there’s something with your lungs.”  She put it together and came up with the fact she needed to get her (Minnesota farm) house tested for radon.  She told me, after having a radon mitigation system installed, her breathing became easier and she had more energy within two weeks. To quote Polly, “It was as if I had a new life.”

The second is my daughter who has had a swollen lymph node on her neck since she was six months. The doctors aren’t at all concerned because there hasn’t been a change in the size of it. I, on the other hand, am concerned. I know this lymph node issue could be related to the radon in our house. After all, she didn’t have it at birth and her bedroom is directly above the room that contained the highest concentration of radiation.

What orginally brought radon to my attention was an article in the Fargo Forum a few years ago.  I got a bit excited (hyper!) about it at first but that’s where I left it.  Then Polly’s story…and Ceta’s lump.

We had contacted the radon mitigation company Polly used but they were leery about the results given the location of our sump pump.  I let it go until my mother-in-law put an offer on a home in West Fargo. She, a survivor of lung cancer, had the radon levels checked. They were, of course, very high.  As part of the sale, she stipulated the house must have a professionally installed, working radon mitigation system.

I should also mention that just because your house, or your neighbor’s house, has high radon levels, it doesn’t mean yours (or theirs!) will. It’s kind of a crappy luck of the (decaying uranium) draw.

This blog now becomes another story of when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I called the dude who installed her mitigation system, explained about our sump pump placement and he said he could almost always find a solution.  And he didn’t let us down.

We hired Valley Radon Mitigation and after Chris installed our mitigation system, our radon levels dropped from 13.0 to .08 in two days.  Did I mention the radon levels dropped from 13.0 to .08 in TWO days?!  All he did, and this is generalizing, was cut a hole in our furnace room floor, run a pvc pipe to the outside and installed a fan to move the radon away from the house.

What can you do? Have your home tested. We purchased our radon kits at a local hardware store and sent them in to be analyzed, but you can also hire a qualified radon tester (I actually typed, ‘texter’!!).  To find a qualified radon tester, you can check with your State Radon Office (yes, evidently, there IS such a thing!), your neighbors or even search google.

Next, know what levels are acceptable for your area.  The EPA states anything 4.0 and above must be fixed and anything less can still pose a risk and, in many cases, should be reduced. As I stated above, all of North Dakota and a large chunk of Minnesota (all except the Iron Range) is in ‘red’ meaning the soil contains a high concentration of this cancer-causing radiation.

Then find a reputable, professional radon mitigator(s).  Have them come and take a look, get quotes. But be careful! Some companies are quoting $6,500 because they carry a ‘certified’ label. Generally, the price averages around $1200. According to the EPA, the expense should be the same as “other common home repairs.”

Then, take action. Hire that someone. Get. It. Done. It only takes about 6 hours for a professional to install a radon soil mitigation system. The results are almost instantaneous and, dare I say, life changing (saving?). Yes, I dare.   Rebel.

For more information:

1: http://www.epa.gov/radon/whereyoulive.html

2: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/radon-danger-your-home

Relish

I was recently struck with the enormity of how much my daughter has grown. How did three years pass so quickly? How is it possible? More importantly, HOW did I get through parts of it?!

Far warning to my gentle readers, I am going to say the word, “nipple” about 15 times and be rather explicit about some of the pit falls of nursing. Continue if you have a strong stomach or if you totally dig my sense of humor.

I remember when I was pregnant. Women, with a nostalgic look upon their faces, would say, “Relish every moment! They grow up so quickly.”  Ok first of all, people seriously; this phrase needs to go to the same resting place as “Gag me with a Ginsu.”  I did not relish any part of the birthing process nor did I relish the post-birthing process.

I did not relish having nipples that were cracked, bleeding and often times so painfully raw I could tell when there was a low pressure system moving in. What? Never nursed? Well, let me give you some idea as to what this SORT OF felt like, for me anyway; Take any rough grade sand paper and rub your nipples.  Hard. Harder. Get ON it! Do this until they are roughed up and possibly bleeding. Then put salt or lemon on them. Orrrrrr, what the hay, go for broke and do both. Why not?!

I did not relish having plugged milk ducts that often resulted from said crying human baby blob who was, apparently, a shallow latcher.  I also did not relish relinquishing my precious sleep because nobody told me this could happen and let me tell you, four naproxen weren’t even taking the edge off. What madness is this!?

I did not relish surfing the internet baby bible (for me it was babycenter.com) for a possible cause/solution to my unbelievably engorged, burning, and throbbing breasts. Funny, the hospital’s Lactation Specialists don’t breathe a word of this when they’re helping your little nipple sucker latch on. OOOOH NOOOOO. And then whammo! Your breast is the size of a hot air balloon, it’s throbbing like the worst hangover headache possible and there are milk colored pustules all over your nipples.

I really did not relish abandoning Babycenter.com and going rogue either, but I found a potential solution that was not recommended or approved by them. And let me tell you, it worked. And it worked FAST. What did I do? Well, in the name of all the injustices I had and was suffering; why not add insult to injury? Why not tell a bazillion readers another private and personal tidbit about myself? I stuck a sterilized safety pin into the blister-like pustules. Yes. I did.  While I didn’t relish that part, I DID relish watching as my pent-up breast milk sprayed all over like an unmanned fire hose.  Whooooeeeeee! Yep. That, my friends, spells (pain) relief.

You know what? Side note, here. I wonder if Real Simple magazine would enjoy my use for a sterilized safety pin for their “Tell Us About Your New Uses For Old Things” segment.  Just sayin’.

I did not relish having to physically milk (think SQUEEZE the all-mighty hell out of) my own breast.  Can I just type that again? Yes, overshare here; I. Milked. My. Own. Breasts. Because of this wonderful now PTSD experience, it is yet another reason why I refuse to drink cow’s milk.  I mean, I lived it brothahh, you know? You hear what I’m saying? I lived being a human lactating udder.  Yep. Good times.

I did not relish waking up solely so I could drag my exhausted lily white bum out of a warm bed in order to use a cold breast pump. I did not relish not showering for days.  Well, ok. I give; I did sort of like not showering.  But it wasn’t the showering part that bugged me.  I LIKED showering. It was the “arduous” chore of drying off, combing my hair, blow drying my (short) hair, brushing my teeth, putting on deodorant and maybe applying lotion. THAT’S what took the time, my friends. That little regime was not relished.

I didn’t relish the fact that once my ‘girls’ were done being mangled, I never EVER looked at or felt the same about them again. They were off limits to my husband for at least 2 years. He never was a breast man, but still, TWO YEARS of a ‘no touch zone?’ After what you’ve read, could you blame me?

Trivia question: Did you know a nursing mom can still produce milk for up to 18 months after she stops nursing? Well, either did I! SURPRISE (insert jazz hands here)! Another thing ‘they’ don’t tell you. So imagine my shock (understatement) when my husband and I were having um, a stimulating adult conversation and my breasts started leaking TEN MONTHS AFTER I STOPPED NURSING!  Talk about the proverbial and literal wet blanket. Sheesh!  And NO I did not relish that.  That occurrence was yet another in a long line of what I now, red-faced, refer to as, “Melissa’s Mortification Moments.”

I suppose I could talk about how I didn’t relish the fact that newborns are like Octopi; they seem to have 8 hands when you remove a poopy diaper. I could talk about how said hand would find the soiled diaper and grab a big old handful of ‘soo-prise’ and then robustly and energetically thrust it into the air, waiving it all around, eluding mommy’s lunging grasp and thereby reducing  mommy to conniptions.

I could talk about how I didn’t relish the stupid, sleepless/stressed induced tiffs my husband and I would have. Suffice it to say that we gave each other the old stink eye from time to time while muttering (or barking) something like, “GEEZ! I can HEAR you CHEWING!” or “God! Do you HAVE to BREATHE so LOUDLY!?!!”

But I won’t.  I think I’ve traumatized you enough already and I’m certain I’ve re-traumatized myself. I know those women meant well. They wanted me to relish the coo’s and the sweet little (non-feces filled hand) that rested gently on my (non-flamingly engorged, one-step-away-from-mastitis) breast.  They wanted me to remember the studying, angelic blue-eyed gazes she would bestow upon me right before crap oozed out of her diaper.

Yeah, I get it. I really do.  So for me, writing a blog about this is healing. It’s another step towards seeing these events for what they really are; a tiny bit of insanity that didn’t and couldn’t last forever. And that thought? That bit of realism? Ooohhhh, yes, that I’ll relish.

Vermin

Many, MANY years ago in a what seems like a different lifetime, I lived in a home that was located within a budding new development (read: open lots/fields). I was trying to be domestic by planting flowers (ewwww…shutter!) and I was truly the ultimate Attila the Mom with my new plantings.

That’s where God’s little creatures and I butted heads for the first time. Let’s just say I had to do a tango with some chipmunks who were nesting under our front porch. They were eating my ’ittle baby budding flowers, for pity sake! You can mess with me, but when you eat my precious flowers (again, I HATE planting flowers!) then you’re gonna get the horns, my friend.

I seem to vividly remember chasing these little chipmunks from their hidey hole with my teeth bared and a broom (or was it a shovel?) over my head while producing a feral scream in the back of my throat. And yes, I performed this little dog and pony show in broad daylight. 

I cornered a couple of them in downspouts and thought I was so smart. Then, when I’d try to raise the downspout and capture them inside, they’d move, scratch their little claws on the metal and I’d let out a little girl scream and drop the downspout.  Some warrior, huh?

And let’s not leave out the time I tried to ‘drown’ them when they were nesting under our front step. That was before I realized it was all sand underneath the steps and the tons of water I was pumping into it was just being soaked up and spit out by our sump pump.

I was consumed by these little machines of mass (flower) destruction. I don’t remember quite how I did it, but I got them all into a 5 gallon bucket and they were either too cute to kill or I didn’t have the chops, so I took them to an empty field about ¾ of a mile away and released them.  They didn’t come back and we didn’t have any more ‘renters’ under our front porch step, either.

I wish I could tell you my flowers survived, but they didn’t. Alas, to add insult to injury, my well-meaning (ex)husband thought my flowers were weeds and he pulled them. ALL of them. I kid you not.

Fast forward 17 years. New husband, new house and critters again, this time voles.  The first year I was all like, “Oooh, they’re so cute! We can’t kill them!”  Wait, that was like the first week or maybe the first day.  Then, the little shits started eating our house, literally, and our window screens AND to top it off, our new landscaping!! 

Well, that’s the proverbial kiss of death right there.  Landscaping is expensive and now you’re eating our HOUSE?! Something changed inside of me and I hardened, if you will. It’s primal. It’s like, “Me or you, buddy and it ain’t gonna be me. This is MY turf and you are not welcome here.”  Picture me beating on my chest with closed fists, because that’s the energy I was exuding.

Trinity was on it. In fact, he was waiting for me to give him the approval. He was much more effective and efficient in dispatching the ravenous rodents in our window wells. Granted, he didn’t try to use a two iron or a basketball as my starter husband tried to do, but he got the job done in a humane way.  

By the way, interesting fact about voles (who look like mice but are smaller), they can have 100 babies a year.  Yes, ONE vole can have 100 babies. They have a three week gestation period and can start breeding at one month. 

In 2013, Trinity started, evidently, evolving into the bird whisperer and built two bird houses. One was for a wren and one was for a robin. We got our wren who is really a fabulously polite renter and instead of the robin, we got a black bird that is so damn high strung she flies out of her nest when I sneeze INSIDE the house with the windows CLOSED.  Oy! We call her Nelly, as in Nervous Nelly.

So now I’ve noticed barn swallows around our home. I don’t recall seeing them around here before and today one of them flew into our garage. I investigate and the bird flies out. Ok, that’s weird, but whatever. 

Then, THEN! I walk to the end of the garage and about 6 of the little aerialists dive at me. Oh hell no. HELL NO! I see what is going on here and I won’t have it. I look for nests inside the garage and I don’t see any. I shut the garage door (I really wanted to type ‘down’ after that but refrained myself!) and immediately hear a racket of excited chirping. Then I see the posse land by our front door and on the eaves above it.  Nope. Not going to have it.

I grab a broom. I have visions of my Grandma Jessie doing this at the lake and have an instant flashback to the chipmunks. I pray nobody is outside when I open the door.  There is (of course!). I start shouting (as if the birds can understand the lunatic woman), “Get out! Get the hell out of here!” and wave a broom around.  My neighbor looks up and I justifyingly and righteously stammer, “They’re trying to build a nest in MY garage!”  He smiles and says, “Oh.” And I’m thinking, with one eyebrow raised, your garage door is open too, buddy, I’d be on my guard if I were you.

After repeated failed attempts  (doi!) to use the broom as a baseball bat and the birds as the baseball, I slunk back inside with my head low. Then, my friends, sadly I quietly shut the garage door. For now.

You may have won the battle, barn swallows, but I WILL win the war. 

Lost

When I was a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, I became very lost. I had gone to a neighborhood not far from my own but one that was foreign to me. I went walking with a friend and we got into an argument and she stormed off. I was to mad to follow her. Puhhh. I didn’t need her. I could find my own way home. So I ended up wandered around hilly streets until I became tired, hungry and frightened. 

I had walked by a house, at least once, that had a beautiful weeping willow in the front yard. I remembered that house, in particular, because we had a weeping willow in our backyard. On my second (or third) pass, I decided I couldn’t keep wandering around so I sat beneath the branches of the beautiful tree in hopes someone would find ME.  Why I ultimately chose that house or that tree wasn’t consciously known to me. But as you all know, I preach there are no coincidences.

As I sat with my chin resting on my knees and my arms wrapped tightly around my legs, I cried and wished for my mom. The house’s garage door opened and a car pulled in. A tall, middle aged woman got out and slowly walked toward me. She had kind eyes and instead of standing to her full height, she bent down as she approached.  When she reached me, she knelt next to my little, tightly curled up body and said, “Honey. Are you lost?” She was so caring and so maternal and I felt so relieved that someone had found me that I started bawling even harder. All I could do was nod my head. 

She asked if I wanted to call my mom or dad. Did I know my mommy or daddy’s number?  Yes. I did. She brought me inside and made me hot cocoa while she (or I?) called my mom.  She had an easy, flowing way of helping me become calm. She chatted with me (not to me, there is a difference) as if I was an old friend who had stopped in for a visit.  

I don’t remember much more of the experience except getting into the back seat of my dad’s car and wondering if he was going to yell at me for getting lost, for going into a stranger’s home or for interrupting his work day.  He did not yell and he did not berate. What he did was asked if I was OK. For my rather unemotional dad, this meant the world to me and it helped me feel safe.

As we topped a hill, I caught my bearings and knew where we were. I felt silly because I was so close to home and yet didn’t know it. But that experience began a lifelong fear of becoming lost.

As a young adult and well into my adulthood, I would suffer from anxiety when I needed to be somewhere I’d never been before.  This was well before the days of GPS or even MapQuest.  This was when you actually had to go to a brick and mortar library if you wanted information on a particular subject. The internet hadn’t been created and cell phones were still a glint in someone’s eye.

Keep in mind I traveled for a living when I worked in banking. I traveled all over the vast, great state of North Dakota and each time I faced a new address, I would get my mini-freak out on.  I would arrive at my destinations ridiculously early so I didn’t arrive late. My thoughts were this: if I became lost I would have time to figure it out before I was late. Being late was (and is!) incredibly distasteful to me.

When I was in counseling, we worked on this powerful memory. Some 13 years later, I’m still working on it. With the invention of GPS, etc., I feel more in control but I am still glued to the little computer voice that tells me when to turn and that my address will be on the right.  I still plan my route before I leave the house and I make sure I have some wiggle room in the time area.  I often joke that I am ‘directionally challenged’ and more often than not, I hear others say, “Me too!” 

I’d like to put the finishing touch on the story I began earlier. Not long after my lost  incident happened, my Brownie den leader quit and I was reassigned to another troop.  As fate would have it, the woman who found me, the woman who owned the house with the beautiful weeping willow, was my new den leader. Yep. Seriously. 

Putting this story on paper has helped me recognize that there has never been a time when becoming lost (physically, emotionally or spiritually) didn’t turn into finding my way. The countless fearful scenarios I’ve created in my mind over the years have never come to life, not once.

With or without consciously knowing it, we all come equipped with a roadside (uhhh, heaven side?) assistance plan. It doesn’t matter if we feel we are on the wrong spiritual, physical or emotional path. There is always guidance available to you, whether it is a physical person, an Ascended Being or an intuitive feeling.

Remember: If you feel lost, maybe you’re just one hill from being home, too.

Avocado Soup – A Vegetarian Recipe

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Avocado Soup

Adapted from: Unknown

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This recipe is like taking guacamole and adding hot veggie stock. It’s easy, filling and really, really good!

Soup:

4 medium ripe avocados
2 limes, juiced
¾ c sour cream
3 or 4 T onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped (I like romas)
1 small garlic, minced
¼ t cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 c hot (not boiling) vegetable stock

Topping:

Corn tortilla chips (we like Garden of Eatin’ – Spouted Blues)
1 c grated cheddar cheese

 

Scoop out the avocado flesh and mash it with lime juice (a potato masher is good for the job). Stir in the sour cream, onion, tomato, garlic and cayenne, season with salt and pepper. Mix well.  Add the hot stock and blend. Place into individual serving bowl and add chips and cheese. Serve immediately.

 

Note: You can go through all the trouble of turning on the broiler and warming up the bowl(s), but that’s too much effort for me.  The recipe does state to put the soup under the broiler to melt the cheese but again, too much effort.  Just don’t boil this soup – the sour cream will not like it.

Rudeness

 

Disrespect, rudeness and being impolite are MAJOR hot buttons of mine. Lately those buttons have been pushed to their limits. When something bothers a person intensely, it’s likely because that person may hold themselves to a higher standard. You would never think to treat a person in the manner in which you are being treated so when it happens to you, it irritates the (bleep) out of you.

My mom and dad instilled in us manners and respect. Rudeness was not tolerated. They taught us to say please and thank you. They taught us to hold open doors for others.  They even taught us (gasp!) to call if we couldn’t make an appointment.

Somewhere between them, me and the next generation(s), manners and respect have taken a backseat to rudeness. It feels like some people are just SOOOOO self-important they deem it acceptable to talk loudly on their cell phones, continue their phone conversations while they are getting their hair cut, in the check-out line or receiving a pedicure. They text their spouse when they want a divorce and yet can’t be bothered to use the cell phone to cancel a scheduled appointment.

I don’t understand why others feel they can treat human beings so impolitely, rudely and disrespectfully.  Is it because they are just too busy for social etiquette? Is it because they are narcissistic? Is it because ‘everyone’ does it? Or is it because they haven’t learned (or are un-learning) how to show respect or what manners are?

My husband left for Minot at 5 am to meet with two clients. One client decided not to show for his requested and confirmed meeting. He didn’t call my husband and he didn’t answer my husband’s phone call. Keep in mind, this guy REQUESTED my husband drive to Minot (4 ½ hours’ drive time – one way) because he didn’t want a teleconference. Normally, in situations like this, I’d hope everything was OK and give the person the benefit of a doubt but apparently this guy was well enough to let his work know at 8am he was ‘taking the day off.’

Some time ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “Hello” where I spoke about people not returning my greeting.  I am applying this same dynamic to school age children (6 through 16) as I walk my 22 month old to daycare. I say “hi,” “hello” or even “good morning” to each child I pass. About 50% of them ignore me.  One little prima donna was sooooo into her phone she refused to look up or move so we could pass.  I said “Excuse us” twice before she gave me the stink eye and disdainfully moved two inches. I ended up using the grass to get around her. Whaaa???? Evidently she slept through the ‘Respect Your Elders’ portion of her politeness class, too.

My husband will spend hours putting together a professional bid and have it to the requester before the deadline. He’ll not receive a response, even though he’s requested a read receipt. This leaves him wondering if his email went into a spam filter. He’ll type another response, resend and not hear a word.

He’s not the only one with the issue; I am no stranger to having requested information go unacknowledged and I bet all of you reading this blog are nodding your heads in agreement. Evidently some people can’t be bothered with this small bit of social etiquette.

Do you know how long it takes to type ‘thank you’ and press send on your computer?  It literally takes two to three seconds. Yes, anal-retentive me timed myself. Well duh!

In today’s technology world, a world that is supposed to make our lives easier, how is it we are too busy to send a 6 second text or a 30 second email?

Have we, with our smart-phones, our 60 hour work weeks and our self-perceived importance forgotten that it takes one second to greet someone or about 8 seconds to hold open a door? Have we forgotten that ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ shouldn’t be optional? Have we deemed others so beneath us that they don’t warrant a response or a fragment of our time?

To me, it feels like this digital age revolution is becoming too high-tech for old fashioned manners.

Aiden

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This is an email from one of my students. I found it to be so powerful and moving that I asked for (and received) permission to publish it. I left it how Lyn wrote it as I didn’t want to diminish her energy, essence and message.

Oh yeah. Grab the kleenix.  And Lyn, thanks for allowing me to share this story with my blog readers.

“You better sit down for this one….

Two weeks ago on Monday, my sister Mary, (who I’ve asked you to send Reiki before) and her husband Jeff had the worst experience a parent could have.  Their sweet 10 year old son, Aiden, died mysteriously in his sleep.  He was a special needs little boy with Fragile X which I may have told you about…so he was 10 but had the mental capacity of about a 5 year old.  He went to school – main streamed – and did so well.  He was a sweet, sweet boy and always asked people if they were happy.

Mary went to wake him up on Monday morning for school and she found him dead on the floor.  To say that this has been a nightmare for both Mary and Jeff is slight.  John and I drove as fast as we could to MN to be with them.  I stayed with them until last Thursday.

There is so much that happened but I wanted to tell you about a few things.  Mary, my aunt, and you are the few I can share some of my experiences because YOU KNOW.

The morning that Aiden died, I woke from a crazy dream about 6am (7 central) where I was frantically trying to call 911 and it was all jumbled up.   Mary was calling 911 at that time.

When I got to her house, she said she was afraid to go back into Aiden’s room because he had died laying on his stomach so he was all purple when she found him – and not the way she wanted to remember Aiden. She asked if I could clear the room. I really didn’t know what the hell I was going to do but thought I’d give it a try.

When I went in the room, there was an extreme heaviness – dark pressure but I knew it wasn’t Aiden. So I opened all the windows used Reiki to fill the room with love and peace – swooshing the dark energy out the windows, putting my hands on the floor where Aiden had laid and tried to calm the area asking for whatever was holding itself in the room to leave. After that, I sat on the bed and was quiet, asking for further guidance. I heard we should change the bedding and put on white sheets and a fresh blanket and Aiden’s favorite blanket, when Mary was ready to do this. I asked Aiden to help his mom release the image of him on the floor and let her know it was not him…it was just the body. And then I left.

Hours later Mary and I both went in the room and it felt light. The next day we changed the bedding and the room remained quiet.

One evening before I went to bed, I went into Aiden’s room (which was right across from the room I was staying in) and knelt on the floor and laid my head down on his soft blanket. Gracie the cat was sitting on the edge of the bed next to me. I was overwhelmed with sadness and I prayed and cried hard. When I stopped and looked up, Gracie was sitting right in front of me with her face an inch away. She looked at me with big brown eyes and reached out her paw and tapped me a couple times on the chest – in a strange, reaching, comforting way.

I left the room. Gracie followed me into my room and hopped up on the bed by me. I looked at her and SHE HAS GREEN EYES. I swear Melissa, when she looked at me she had brown eyes – Aiden has big brown eyes. I didn’t tell Mary for a couple days because I thought I had taken a short ride on the looney train but I know it was real. I believe it was Aiden comforting me.  Mary believed me.

I also gave her Reiki on the day of Aiden’s funeral.  It helped her to clear her mind for a bit and stop thinking.

I continue to send Mary Reiki almost daily and she uses it when she needs calm.  Without Reiki, this incredibly sad situation would have been even sadder.  I (we – as in all the wise ones) were able to share bits of peace and a lot of love through it all.   I am ever so grateful that you and I made our connection and that I better understand how truly POWERFUL it is.  Over the past couple months I have had experiences and your encouragement that have me the confidence to share Reiki without hesitation in a situation where nothing else would help.

Of course Aiden’s death has changed us all but I have a new light in me that I don’t quite have words for…and I’m not trying too hard to label it….because it’s all good!

Your ever grateful student……………..Lyn”

Fabric Softeners

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I’m going off on a rant again and this time it’s about fabric softeners; most specifically the overpowering and overwhelming smell of some of them. Sheesh! I HATE the smell!! I am repulsed by these and other strong scents (perfumes, hairsprays, air fresheners, candles, etc.). Turns out, it might be my bodies way of warning me of the physical dangers these products contain.

I grew up with (unscented) fabric softeners and until I did research for this blog, I was still using them (although I’d switched to an eco-friendly, organic brand). I’d never once questioned why I should or shouldn’t use a softener or even WHY I was using them. If you wanted your laundry soft, you used a fabric softener. Right?

According to Natural News.com, fabric softeners are made up of a laundry list (pun intended!!!) of horrible toxins. Those toxins have been proven to cause cancer, Parkinson’s, yeast infections, fertility problems, asthma, headaches, and skin conditions (think rash or itching, etc.). These chemicals include (but are not limited to): Formaldehyde, Chloroform, A-Terpineo and Camphor.

Fetuses, babies and young children are incredibly sensitive to these highly toxic ingredients. These ingredients can cause brain damage, SIDs, ADD and depression.

Fabric softeners are designed to soften synthetic fabrics and to reduce static cling. Synthetic fabrics hold on to their odors so a softener was designed to cover up said odors. When synthetic fabrics are heated (think your workout tops), they become even more smelly.  But oddly, the laundry directions for most moisture wicking synthetic workout clothes specifically state to omit fabric softeners.

Fabric softeners are designed to last and to release slowly over a period of time. These toxic chemicals are coating your (and your children’s!) towels, sheets and clothing. We physically absorb these toxins through our skin and we also inhale them. Even if you don’t use a fabric softener, you can still be exposed to these chemicals by working with someone who does. That’s lovely, huh?

Something I didn’t know is cotton (think towels and sheets) is designed to naturally soften the more washings/dryings it receives. Well, leDUH (head slap)! Yes! That makes perfect sense. Think of the sheets you’ve had for years; soft as a baby’s bum, aren’t they? Or your favorite old blue jeans?  Yep. Good old cotton. It’s designed to be soft and yet we add fabric softener (made for synthetics!) to our rinse water. Egads!  What a genius marketing ploy!!

There are safer, non-fabric softener options which include:

·         Dry natural fabrics separately from synthetics. Natural fibers don’t develop static.  (Huh. I didn’t know this). Also, don’t allow clothes to dry completely in the dryer. Remove them while they are still slightly damp and hang them up to finish drying. The longer they remain in the dryer, the more static.

·         Green America suggests pre-soaking clothes in 1/2 cup of baking soda for 10 minutes if you have hard water. Baking soda acts as a natural fabric softener. (What?! Really??!)

·         Use natural laundry soaps with soy-based fabric softeners. (Soy fabric softeners?! Now I’ve heard everything!)

·         Chose products that are scent free (PLEASE! Ugh! The smell…THE SMELL!!) and don’t contain dyes.

·         You can make your own dryer sheets by soaking a small cloth in 1 tsp. of hair conditioner and letting it dry. Then, toss it in the dryer to remove static.

·         You can also add 1/2 cup of the old workhorse white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

·         Lastly, use chemical-free dryer balls to fluff fibers and remove static cling.

You want ways to be proactive with your health? Eliminating unnecessary toxins in the form of fabric softeners is a good way to start.

North Star (part 2)

My most recent blog, North Star (Part 1) may have left you feeling like Debbie Downer. I promised you we’d create your “I’m SO on my right path” scenario in the next blog.

Same song, different verse. Ready? 

1.  Nuclear Energy – List three things that can always get you moving (i.e. golf game, supper with the girls, a Reiki session with Melissa).  Circle the response that makes you feel the most enthusiastic.

A.

B.

C. 

2.  To Your Health – Try to remember a time in your life when your health seemed better than usual.  What was going on in your life at the time?  Circle the situation that has the most positive associations for you.

A.

B.

C. 

3.  Memories, Light the corners of my mind……  Where’s your super memory? If you can’t remember, ask friends or loved ones what they’ve noticed about your ability to pick up certain categories of information (i.e.  math, acting, learning, singing, nutrition, helping others – stuff that ‘seems’ to come naturally or easily for you). Circle the type of information that interests you the most.

A.

B.

C. 

4.  Time Warp – List three types of activities that make you forget what time it is (i.e. you’re enjoying them so much, you literally forget what time it is – – – crafting, reading, shopping, etc.).  Circle the activity you find most absorbing.

A.

B.

C.

5.  Emotional Intelligence – Name three people who make you feel socially adept and confident.  These are people who seem to understand you and enjoy spending time with you.  Circle the name of the person who makes you feel the most comfortable and relaxed.

A.

B.

C. 

6.  Magnetic Attraction – List three times when you’ve felt strangely drawn to a person, place or thing.  You may have temporarily become unable to concentrate on anything/anyone else.  Circle the one thing that brings up the most positive feelings.

A.

B.

C.  

7.  A Natural High – List three times you experienced a wonderful mood, particularly if your good mood came at a strange time or from an action other people may have criticized.  Circle the situation that makes you feel the happiest.

A.

B.

C. 

Now to the good stuff!! Let’s create your POSITIVE or Best-Case Scenario.  Review your answers above and in the words of Jackie Gleason, “and away we go!”

It’s an incredibly beautiful day.  The air is clear, the scenery is dazzling and you’re setting out to do (#1 – High energy activity) ___________________ with (#5 – your favorite person) ______________________________________.  You’ve no other responsibilities, no immediate deadlines and no major problems weighing you down.  You feel great, even better than you did back when you were (#2 – your best health situation) _______________________________.  In fact, you’re in the best physical shape of your life: strong, lean, robust and full of energy. 

You’re having a great conversation about (3 – the information you remember most easily) _______________________ when a message arrives for you.  It’s a letter from the President saying you’ve been chosen to receive a lifetime of financial support for doing (#4 – the activity that makes you forget time) ________________________.  This will require you to spend a lot of time with (#6 – the person or situation that creates the ‘urge to merge.’) ______________________.  You feel just the way you did when (#7 – your best mood setting) __________________________ happened only more so. 

Sit with this. Take in the feelings associated with this scenario and enjoy knowing this is how you’re going to spend the rest of your life. Uh uh uh! Don’t rush though this… keep enjoying it.

OK, now you can give me a chaaaCHING!!!  Who’s with me??!  ‘Hum on! ChaaaCHING!

Now, notice how you FEEL (yes, there’s that word again!). THIS is what it’s like when you’re ‘in the flow’ or ‘following your bliss’ or as the book’s title would indicate ‘following your North Star (soul)’.  In truth, the instant I made my leap without a net (quitting a job without another in place), I was hit by this type of euphoria.

As my future became my past, it was evident why it felt so liberating to do what I did even though it scared the BLEEP out of me.  Finding my own internal North Star has made a hugely positive difference in my life. What will it do for yours?   

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