Thursday, June 27, 2013

rise up

Let’s face it, sometimes life gets too hard. You’re up against something tough that seems just impossible to overcome and it feels like you’re spiraling downward. Maybe it already feels like you’ve hit rock bottom.  Are you living your life on someone else’s terms?  Has fear or worry taken over?  Maybe illness or financial stresses are sucking the joy right out of your day. So now what?

Well, sometimes it’s about not fighting any longer but focusing on the future, on the journey ahead. Start by changing your mind.  What you focus on will tend to be what grows stronger in your life.  If you continue to think about the way you’ve been wronged, your tough financial situation, a bad relationship or whatever it is that has hold of your thoughts then that is what you’ll continue to get. If however you push yourself to focus on what your gifts are, have gratitude for even the smallest of things in your day, if you act “as if” you’ve already broken through the problem that’s been beating you down, then you’ll walk your way right into the results, the life that you want.

Kick the haters, doubters and bullies out of your mind. Kick the people who have done you wrong right out of your head along with all the negative ideas that they tried to saddle you with – kick them right out of there.  Banish the worries that have been taking over, causing you to lose sleep and impacting your day. Decide that you’re going to look ahead rather than staying mired where you are.
Rise up from where you are.  Change your mind and rise up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

summer solstice

A joyous summer solstice to you! We’ve just enjoyed the passing from Spring into Summer, marked by the longest day of the year on June 21st. The added sunshine during this time of year is a boon to most of us and we thrive when gifted these extra daylight hours. We spent the day outdoors, strolling the winding paths of two public gardens that we visited, enjoying a variety of wildlife and seasonal flowers.  

Summer to-do list: dip toes in the lake, try a new flavor of ice cream, visit the farmer’s market often, put in some basil plants, throw open the windows as often as our southern heat allows, enjoy a seasonal menu of summer salads and chilled soups....and of course, put on the summertime songs!

Friday, June 21, 2013

you are a flower, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise

"If you believe lies about yourself, you eventually make them your truth. Arm yourself with power and stay clear from those who bring you down. Don't let the cold in other people's heart freeze you. Don't let the negative you hear destroy your positive. Don't let the evil around pull the angel you are down. Within your soul lies your truth and it is beautiful." ~ Chizoma Cluff

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

corner view: sights/special places of interest (that aren't mentioned in tourist guides)

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane and curated by Francesca, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme comes from TanĂ¯a.

Wherever we go, I like to find the places where the locals like to hang out, visit, dine. Often, the best places aren't in the guide books. Here at home, one such hidden treasure is Mapleview Farm.
Miles off the main road, Mapleview Farm is 400 acres of peaceful beauty. Mapleview Farm originated in Maine in the 1800's in an early settlement. The Nutter family imported their first two Holstein cows from the Netherlands and the farm was born. In 1963, the family decided that the climate in North Carolina was suitable for double-cropping so moved their calves, farm families and equipment 1000 miles to settle here where they could grow corn in the Spring and barley in the Fall.
Now owned and operated by a 5th generation of Nutter's and with the offspring of those original two Holsteins, the herd feeds on grass and a custom grain mix that is produced on the farm. "Green" systems are in place so that water and waste are handled in an environmentally responsible way as conservation is a top priority. The grain is ground on the farm and the milking parlor and bottling facility are also on site.
Because the family holds this farm and their land so dear, they've given a conservation easement to a local conservancy, guaranteeing that this land will always retain it's rural views, natural areas, excellent soil and be preserved as an agricultural area forever.
Beyond the beauty of the area though, a very special draw for the locals is the country store that the Nutter family opened up on the farm in 2001. Inside, you can purchase all varieties of milk and cream from their cows, along with butter, cheese, local honey and their fantastic ice cream. The herd is hormone and antibiotic free so the products produced here are a healthy choice.

On weekends you'll see dozens of cyclists wheeling their way down the country roads to get to the country store, and you'll see people on horseback riding up, tying up their horses and stopping in for a treat.

What makes this ice cream so special? Well Muffin Nutter convinced her father that this was something wonderful to offer to the area so the two of them went off to Penn State to learn all about producing the sweet treat. Today, all the ice cream is hand-crafted in small batches using high-quality ingredients, fresh cream from the farm and as many local ingredients as possible. There are 12 permanent flavors and usually another dozen or so flavors that change depending on the growing season including pecans, local honey, berries, pumpkin, etc. 

And on a lovely evening, you can take your place at any one of the comfortable rocking chairs along the front porch, relax and watch the sunset. Stay as long as you want, enjoy the company of friends and family...and of course, the ice cream!

Monday, June 17, 2013

mosaic festival-pt 2

Here's the final installment of my day at the Mosaic Festival. It was SO hard to choose which photos to share because the event was so incredible, but I think you'll enjoy these beautiful people sharing their art, music, dance, food and info about their culture and homeland. After seeing my first Mosaic Festival post, my Corner View friend Francesca sent me this message from her home in Italy. I thought her words were perfect. She said: 
"The richness of your country lies in its amazing diversity. Interesting name for the festival. Is 'mosaic' replacing 'melting pot'?  Mosaic is a much nicer term, and it doesn't imply assimilation, but keeping small differences in order to make an harmonious bigger picture." 
I couldn't agree more. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

how a little space can change everything

We all have times in our lives when problems become overwhelming. In my mind, I know that when this happens the best thing to do is to go for a change of scenery. Whether it’s to get out of the house and go for a long walk, or head out to a lake to sit by the water, a change of scenery will give us a temporary break from whatever it is that’s causing distress. That temporary break will give us the breather we need to settle ourselves and perhaps rethink the nature of the problem. It may even give us the space to think creatively and come up with a solution. But at the very least it will give us a reminder that there are things going on in the world other than the problems that are looming over us. 

I try hard, when my problem is with another person, to stop, breathe and avoid a quick reaction or response. I’ll admit, I don’t always succeed, but I do try. In this day of text messaging, e-mailing and Facebook posting, the quick reaction is much too easy. It’s one of the perils of our time. A quick response can result in an adrenaline-driven comment that will leave scars or could even be misplaced.
But what if the problem is with another person and their “truth” is just as valid as your “truth? Is it possible that there can be no real solution? Once we realize that there can be no reconciliation because there are two valid truths, then there’s a shift, a change in our perspective, and the problem changes. Maybe we relax a bit. We have to avoid the pitfall, though, of trying to convince the other person of our truth, which will only extend and exacerbate the problem. It is indeed possible that there can be no good solution, just a reordering of how you view the situation. Perhaps you just have to resolve to let it go for the sake of the relationship, if that relationship is valuable to you. It doesn’t change your truth, but it resolves the conflict. That’s what the space can give us when we don’t immediately take the bait and react. It gives us the room to change our mind about the problem. The space can change everything.     

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

corner view: europe

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane and curated by Francesca,
where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is "Europe", and comes from 

Living so very far away from Europe, this was a challenging topic for me. I'd visited England many years ago, but I didn't want to just rehash those old photos from that visit for this corner view post.  In thinking about my connection to Europe it occurred to me that, though I live in the US, I actually have strong ties to the continent. Generations of all sides of my family tree branch back to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Spain. They immigrated to the US, some settling and establishing whole new communities in New England (even bearing the family name). The most recent European branch in my family tree comes from Barcelona, Spain. My grandmother and her parents crossed the sea on a ship named The S.S. Buenos Aires and arrived at Ellis Island in NYC. There are plaques on the island bearing their names, to commemorate the landing in their new home. My grandmother was just 8 years old when she arrived and she completely immersed herself in her new homeland. She Americanized her name, taking bits of her beautiful long Spanish name and reducing her identity to just a first, middle and last name (though this may have been something she was forced to do since the US only recognized a  more limited name). She attended Catholic school and looked to the nuns to teach her the English language. She bought herself an American cookbook and taught herself to cook in the style of her new country, though my favorite dishes we'd have at her home were Spanish Picadillo and flan. Yum! Then she met my grandfather, and the rest is family history. I still have a couple of plates, a pitcher and a shawl that she brought with her from Barcelona, and a necklace that she had made from her old rosary and of course, all sorts of stories from that branch of my family tree. She did return to Barcelona in her 20's for an extended visit with family and friends and then became an officially "naturalized" US citizen at the age of 28. My grandmother was Maria de Las Candelas Consuelo Concepcion de Royo y Gonzalez y Gray.


Monday, June 10, 2013

mosaic festival-pt 1

We attended the Mosaic Festival this weekend, which is a huge fundraiser put on by CWS Greensboro Immigration & Refugee Program. The event celebrates the diversity and culture of the newcomers to the city with the sharing of ethnic food, music and art. This non-profit's mission is to foster understanding and appreciation for the tremendous diversity in the city and to provide support and services to newcomers to help them build new lives here. They provide basic needs assistance, cultural orientation including English language classes, integration and referral services, job prep and placement, citizenship classes and legal services. In providing these services, they want to make Greensboro a more welcoming community for all and by the looks of it, they are succeeding. While browsing the 30 or so food tents, each offering food from different cultures, and walking through the different display and craft areas, everywhere I saw people smiling. It was a gathering of several thousand people, all there to share and learn, enjoy and support. Countries/communities represented included Burma, Nepal, Korea, India, Jamaica, Bhutan, Mexico, Iraq, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Montagnard, Congo, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Italy, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Spain, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Colombia...and I'm sure I've missed some, but what a collection all in one celebration! The event was joyous, the music exhilarating and the people were just beautiful. I captured nearly 300 images and what a difficult job it was to cull them down to just a few to share, but here are some photos from the day: