“Ask” by the Smiths is on constant replay in my head this morning as I sent my shy boy off to his last day of nature camp.  His best buddy could not be there yesterday, so L was quite a bit apprehensive to go today, worrying that his friend might not come.  I can relate all too well to that feeling, that deep anxiety of “who will I talk to?” and “who will I sit with?”.  As his mama I try to equip him with the tools he needs to work with these situations, and in doing so I often find myself building up my own toolbox.

I’ve learned to embrace my shyness as just another part of who I am. Even at 38 years old I still find my heart beating a bit too fast when it comes to “who will I talk to?” or “who will I sit with?” There is a lovely TED talk on the gift of introvertedness and plenty of amazing blogger folks out there who have recently written about their own shyness in support of one another.  It is really so reassuring to me to see people viewing shyness in a more positive light.

My shy boy is actually a total extrovert.  It just takes him awhile to get to that point of comfort with people.  He makes friends easily, but doing so often makes him so nervous and unsure of himself.  It is my job and my goal to help him to see that this is part of who he is, and that’s OK.  This can be part of his gift.  I have seen him channel his own shyness into empathy for other children who may feel the same, and making some really great little friends.

I came across this blog post this morning and felt compelled to share.  When I pick up L from camp I am excited to hear how it went today.  I am grateful to have a child who teaches me so much.

My parents have the magic touch when it comes to growing lavender. Each summer their yard is filled with the gorgeous fragrance and elegant flowers. It is probably because of that that I have such a fondness for this herb.

When I was in college a friend introduced me to aromatherapy, and I was hooked. It soon seemed, however, that I always came back to my favorite, which is lavender.

Therapeutically lavender is so beneficial and it’s uses are endless. Culinary-wise, it provides a distinguished yet subtle flavor. Yesterday I made a lovely pitcher of lavender mint lemonade, and I am sipping it now as I type.

I made a lavender simple syrup, which is just sugar and water (equal parts) in a pot until boiling, then remove from heat and add fresh lavender flowers. I just eyeballed the measurements with what I had on hand, so maybe 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water, and 1/3 cup lavender. Keep in mind I used fresh lavender, so the amount would be different if using dried. I let the lavender steep about 20 minutes in the syrup, then poured it into a pitcher. From there, I squeezed two lemons and added water to fill, and lots of ice. I then tore some mint leaves into small pieces and pressed them to the bottom of the pitcher with a wooden spoon, crushing them a bit to release their oils.

I thought this was the perfect summertime beverage. My kids on the other hand, not so much. They would have liked it sweeter. If I do make them a pitcher again, I will add honey. Honey makes everything better! Happy sipping!

Not that anyone ever enjoys having a sore throat…but I really, really hate it. As a kid I would get strep throat at least once a year, and had what seemed like one long continuous cold all through elementary school. Thankfully as an adult I am much healthier! Yet something about a sore throat brings back those miserable feelings of “when will this end?” and “what did I do wrong?”.

Having birthed four children I feel a bit ridiculous lamenting a sore throat! All in all, it really is not that horrible…just uncomfortable. Lack of comfort…moving beyond comfort…

What is the best way to handle moving beyond one’s own comfort zone (speaking in a larger sense here, not just about my throat)? What does that physical feeling of discomfort try to tell is in our bodies? In my case, I am guessing it is my body’s signal that I need more rest and more water. I am guilty of pontificating on the benefits of adequate hydration but then falling short myself. I suppose it is another one of those lessons…

When I re-frame minor discomfort I can see it for the gift, or lesson, that it is. Now major discomfort, whether it is physical or emotional, is a bit more difficult (at least for me) to re-frame. What is my body telling me, and why? I try to tune in, and listen.

A few years ago I discovered a lovely book, “Full Moon Feast” by Jessica Prentice. Part cookbook, part Moon lore, part locavore’s diary, this book captured my imagination and my appetite. I have always had a fascination with the moon, and longed to be more “in tune”.

I somehow lost track of the book, but just re-discovered it today, just in time for tomorrow’s Full Mead Moon ( aka Full Thunder Moon, and many other names depending on who you ask). A feast involving honey…goodness, anything involving honey…is just my thing! My first prep task was to cut back my mint, which I think I will combine with honey (my favorite, from Risk’s Apiary/Swarm Naturals) for a simple syrup. I’m going to have to look at Prentice’s recipes and see what else I can come up with.

I am taking an online course from Samantha Honey Pollock called “Intuitive Moon Wisdom”, and really enjoying it! It feels good to be “in tune”, once again!

Getting the kids to bed in the summer months gives me the opportunity to witness many sunsets. When I was a little girl I was fascinated with the way the sky would turn into a parfait of color. This still calms me, and brings to mind the word that’s been on my mind lately…grace. Everywhere I look, the word appears. Everywhere I look, grace appears. The sunset…one day ends and we rest before another begins…we get this chance every day. There it is, grace.

Sitting with a 5 year-old who really does not want to sleep at 9:58 PM is an exercise in…something. Patience, maybe, futility, most definitely. We have watched the sun set, we have discussed many a question such as “why does Santa wear red?” and “what animals have eyelids?” and other brilliant inquiries that seem to flood his little mind at bedtime. I remind him to take a deep breath, to let his body relax, be calm…but the energy of an almost-Kindergartener is bigger than any of my tactics. Eventually there is space between the questions and for the first time all day, actual silence. This is my meditation. My little Buddha is asleep.

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Location:Calm down, calm down

My friend Sherry at Exploits of a Vegan Wannabe posted a food blog search tool last week. I had not previously used this particular search tool so I was excited to give it a spin. I had some sweet potatoes on hand so I was looking for something creative to do with them…enter the genius that is Vegan Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, brought to us courtesy of Book Of Yum. I thought my head might explode with the delicious list of ingredients: sweet potatoes (obviously), coconut milk, almond butter, spinach….so many of my favorite things packed into one recipe! This was truly delicious served over brown basmati rice, with a side of fried tofu and blueberry peach salsa (an incongruent combo, I know, but pretty awesome!).

My cooking of late has been somewhat less than creative, so I was really excited to work with a combination I had not otherwise considered. Thank goodness for food bloggers! :)

I made these for the first time about a year ago, and loved them. My aunt gave me a delicious box of dates just yesterday, so I made some raw brownies this morning. The kids love them, especially G. You really can’t go wrong with dates and almonds. Julie Morris and Alexandra Jaye both use walnuts for their recipe, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted almonds, and added just a little water. Here is Julie’s blog entry with the recipe, but be sure to check out Alexandra’s video as well. Enjoy!

So, it’s only mid-August, but since I am hearing about so many people experiencing flu-like symptoms already, I’ve had our flu prevention protocol on my mind. With L and C both going to school this year, I’m going to have to be extra vigilant to keep those flu germs out of our house. This is our basic prevention plan:

–the obvious hand-washing
–daily Vitamin D3 drops
–elderberry syrup and/or tincture
–oscillococcinum on hand for when symptoms begin
–daily or almost daily green smoothies
–raw local honey