For All That We Love

We love them from the moment they come into the world.

We love them until they take their last breath.

We love them through struggle and conflict.

We love them when it hurts.

We give them all our love and ask for nothing in return.

The love that we have for ourselves is often overlooked, but is the love that needs to be nourished the most.

For all that we love, loving ourselves is sometimes the hardest, yet the most important, it is the fuel that will fill the love for the rest.

Groundhog’s Day… or is it Groundhog’s Year?

*Photo credit: Andrew Gorohoff – Marmot/Groundhog on Mt. Rainier

Letting go is something I am working on. Letting go of control. Letting go of worry, fear and obsession. Letting go of all the thoughts that bog me down and instead, just Trust and Accept (my word for 2021). Accept that things will work out.

Letting go and accepting doesn’t mean giving up and not putting the work in, it means doing what needs to get done and then letting things land where they may.

Even if the groundhog saw his shadow and our winter will last another six weeks, even if feels we are in an endless loop, spring WILL eventually arrive. Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on regrets of the past, each day, each moment is an opportunity to focus on what we have right now.

*Did you know Groundhogs (Marmota monax) are a type of rodent known as a marmot, and marmots are closely related to squirrels. More on that here. 

Warm Winter Breakfast

I don’t know about you but I love a warm breakfast in the winter, when its cold outside I want something warm in my belly. 

Since September, I have been enrolled in an Ayurvedic Seasonal Wellness program with one of my favorite yoga instructors, Melina Meza, we spent the fall talking about the Vata season and establishing routines around the busy, hectic autumn months and since mid December we have moved into the Kapha season, talking about the foods and self care techniques to get us through the dark days of the winter. 

One thing that we have been focusing on during both seasons is getting a variety of tastes in each meal and through out the day to help our bodies feel full and satisfied. For today’s post, I thought I would share a recipe for the oatmeal I often make for breakfast, with all the spices and topping it has a variety of tastes, textures and flavors that kept me satisfied and nourished for my morning run. 

It’s easy and comforting to take a few minutes to stir spices into your stovetop oatmeal and this recipe will make enough for two breakfasts, so the next day your meal is easy and ready to go! 

Simple Spicy Oatmeal 

  • 1 cup Old Fashion Oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk (you could use any type milk or even water, I like just coconut best) 

I generally just wing it and don’t measure the rest out, a dash or so of each is usually fine and you can add more for your own taste… 

  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spices 
  • Ground Ginger 
  • Vanilla 
  • Maple Syrup 
  • Chyavanprash (an herbal jam-like medicine used in Ayurveda. It is traditionally used as a health supplement to fight everyday illnesses and to support the immune system

Stir all these together on a low heat until the Chavanprash is mixed through and your oatmeal starts to bubble about 5 minutes or so, taste to make sure the oatmeal is cooked through. 

When its done add the toppings, this is what I had today… again no measuring, about a tablespoon of each… 

  • Walnuts 
  • Coconut flakes 
  • Cooked apples or apple sauce (we always have too many apples so I cook them down with spices – a lot of the same from above and eat it through the week) 
  • Ginger Mango Chutney (you could also add jam, almond butter or skip it, but I like this one because its adds a lot of extra flavors) 

Let me know if you try it out or if you have any other fun recipes that would warm up a cold winter morning. 

Hopeful

I cried, I clapped, I took photos of my TV. I sang along with Lady Gaga, JLo and Garth Brooks. I am hopeful.

I am a mom, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, I am a woman. And for the first time in history there is a woman, a woman of color holding the position of Vice President of the United States. It was a memorable day. 

There is no question our country still has a lot of work to do. But I am hopeful our future will be more colorful, more diverse and more inclusive. Focused on science, empathy and compassion. 

I am hopeful for my daughters, this new chapter shows them they can reach as high as they can dream and with enough work and determination they can get there. 

I am hopeful. 

How it all began…

In honor of my husband’s 50th birthday, I decided to post a little excerpt from my memoir (it will likely change before publishing) of how we met and where it all began. Enjoy!

The note, from the Paris stranger, read: “Fellow Cougar, seeks other Cougars to hang out in the city of lights. – Andrew, class of ‘96, room 115”

This was exciting, a boy I had never met sent me a note, it was sweet and innocent, I was curious. I am sure my mother would not have approved of me wandering into a stranger’s room in the late hours of the evening, but life is short and these were experiences of a lifetime, plus he went to WSU, I assumed he was harmless. I was nervous, but I knocked anyway, he wasn’t in his room, my excitement dwindled.

I went back to my room, kicked off my Doc Martins and crawled into the top bunk of my bed, still in my overalls, which I had been living in on this trip. Chatting with my friends before turning in, we heard a knock on the door.

I lost my breath, he was tall, his dark shoulder length hair framed his strong chin, he looked like he could have been in a Seattle grunge band. He was sweet, you would have thought he might feel awkward walking into this room full of people he didn’t know, but he sparked a conversation with the whole group.

We all talked for a few moments, laughed and exchanged stories about our trips. It was obvious my friends were starting to fade, it was late and the conversation was mainly between Andrew and I, they could see something was brewing here and we got the cues. We took our conversation to the hallway.

I don’t know why we sat on the floor of the hallway, it was filthy and dark. Why didn’t we go into the common room or outside? Anywhere other than the nasty, hostel floor. But that’s where we sat, and we sat close, my legs were bent, my knees and body were facing his, we were looking at each other and hanging on every word. We talked into the night, about our travels and our love for our school and the small town of Pullman.

I could feel my cheeks getting flushed when he complimented me, we talked about Seattle and all the things we could do together when we got back. I am not sure what we were talking about, or if we were talking at all, when I felt his hand on my knee and he leaned in closer, I closed my eyes and his lips were on mine, I was melting.

…and keep going

Sometimes I am just not in the mood for writing, but yet I have a lot of feelings. Poetry is one way of getting your feelings out without all the words. This is what came up today…

Exhaustion and despair, while hopeful and patient.

Everyday the same, with changing stories constantly.

My mind slips in and out, focused and forgetful.

Goals and purpose, replaced with survival and endurance.

There is a dawn each day, hope arrives and retreats.

Surrounded by love, remembering what matters.

Suffering is part of being human, our response is our choice, the one thing we control.

Seek the good, find the bright spots, honor the sorrow and keep going.

Parallels of Life on the Road & Life in Quarantine


Photo: Homeschooling in the Camper, December 2015

Does anyone else feel like they are constantly running out of toilet paper and the dishwasher is always full? Is that just me? Maybe that’s why we were all hoarding the TP at the beginning of quarantine, everyone was home. Everyday. All. Day. Long.

And yet, there is a simplicity to the days at home, no rush to get out in the morning. No waiting for Dad to return home from work to have dinner. These things I do enjoy. These are the moments that remind me of our year on the road. It was just us, all day, everyday. Our days were simple.

I have noticed a lot of parallels between our nine month camper trip and our quarantine life. While the girls were five years younger and our space was much smaller; homeschooling, spending all the days together and missing our friends are the same.

Homeschooling on the road looked a bit different, we didn’t have online classes or any support from teachers. Our classroom was the national park we would be visiting that day and math was from a workbook at our tiny dinette table in the camper. Andrew and I balanced the teaching responsibilities, while he focused mostly on math and science, I took over writing and art. The struggle to get the kids motivated to work remains the same. Luckily now we have the support from their schools, giving us a break from being the authoritarian the whole time.

The constant togetherness is another theme that runs true from our time in the camper. Eating, sleeping, dressing and even bathroom time. All together. In the camper, our quarters were tiny. Showering meant the girls and I would grab our toiletries and shuffle off to a campground bathroom, we would each find a stall and get ourselves clean, the girls arguing about having to share shampoo and soap. Me, wondering when the next time I might be able to shower in peace would be.

Today, we are in a big house, with multiple bathrooms and plenty of extra space. While we are all together everyday, we are generally apart, separated in our rooms, passing by in the kitchen for lunch. The highlights might be the pass by kiss before Andrew heads to work in the basement and a sip of his freshly brewed coffee before he disappears for hours of calls. Maybe a quick snuggle from my youngest between classes or company on errands from my oldest after school and walks after dinner with the dog.

Socializing is much different, yoga classes in the guest room, zoom happy hours by the fire and maybe a socially distant visit every few months. We miss family gatherings and easily seeing our friends without the impending doom that we are going to infect someone or get sick ourselves. On the road we didn’t see our friends or family much either, but when we did see them, the first thing we did was give a big, strong hug. Oh, how I miss hugging.

There is a lot I miss these days, but also so much I am grateful for and I realize I can have both these feelings at the exact same time.

Tell me, what do you miss most in these quarantine days and at the same time, what are you so grateful for?

Challenging Days

I had different post ready for today, but in light of the news this week, it didn’t seem appropriate to ignore what is going on in our country right now. 

I wanted to share how I am feeling. I am struggling, as I imagine so many others are too. How is this the country we live in? How is this the world I am raising my daughters in? I am feeling challenged today because at the beginning of the year instead of a New Years resolution, I decided to choose a word that will carry me through the year, last year it was Mindfulness. When things got difficult or I got frustrated about my situation I tried to be mindful, focus on my breath and drop into the moment. It helped. And I still use this as a calming practice, especially when I get heated about something. 

This year my word is Acceptance. It comes from a place inside me, of where I want to be, accepting of myself, my body, my abilities and all that I have in the current moment and not grasping for more. It is also a goal for me to be accepting of others. To try and see what they bring to the world, and when I feel challenged try and understand what their struggles might be and how they got to the situation they are in. 

Today, I am having a hard time resonating with this word. Trying to comprehend how domestic terrorists could attack our capital, I can’t for the life of me understand why people would act in such harmful ways. I can’t get my head around how people can be so dedicated to a leader who is so dangerous, evil and manipulative. I am at a loss of what to do. 

Instead of feeding my worry with food or drowning myself in wine, I am choosing self care. That doesn’t mean I didn’t scroll through social media and feel my blood start to boil, oh I did that, but then I decided how I wanted to react. I took a walk, I did yoga, I took a shower, during lunch we turned the radio on to music (not NPR) and I checked in with my kids. I sat down at my desk and I wrote down how I felt. I will deliver food for the food bank this afternoon and it will feel good to help people in need. And for now, thats the best I can do. I might still have a drink tonight, but it will be a choice, not a reaction. I am sure there is more I can do, but today, as I am grappling with my word for the year, I am accepting my feelings for what they are and I am focusing on self care. 

*These are my feelings as of Thursday afternoon (to be posted Friday morning), I am adding this in because I am not coming back to edit and in these crazy days, a lot can happen over an evening.

Let’s Start with Accountability

Welcome to my new blog! Thank you for being here.

You might be wondering, why I am starting a new blog? Good question. Honestly and selfishly, it’s for me. I need Accountability. This year I want to make a regular habit of writing AND posting it. The goal is to share my writing, have my voice be heard, listen to what others think and start a dialogue. In the end it is for me to write each day and post it with confidence. 

I spend so much of my time reading the news and scrolling on social media, but what I am looking for is inspiration, motivation and upbeat stories of real life to fill my time with light and positivity. Instead of searching for it, I thought maybe I could be the source! My goal is to post something, not too long, on the blog twice a week. This will give me accountability and hopefully won’t be too overwhelming for those reading. I will be posting anything that comes to mind, it might just be morning ramblings, it might be recipes or something new I tried in the kitchen. Possibly, a kitchen fail, like these Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from New York Times Cooking, I tried to make this week and failed miserably – if anyone tries and succeeds with this recipe, please let me know. I may offer something inspirational that has come up in my yoga practice, or possibly a story from our trip that might resonate with what we are all dealing with in our daily lives right now. 

Also, I have seen a lot of  parallels of this quarantine life we have all been managing for the last nine months and my family’s life on the road living in a camper for nine months. For starters, homeschooling, being with family 24/7 and not seeing family or friends very often. I may share some stories and possibly offer inspiration or hope for these long days we are all moving through. 

Help me stay accountable and leave a comment, let me know what you would like to hear about and lets have some fun reading and sharing something other than the news this year! 

Thank you for reading, I hope you stay tuned, feel free to like this post, share with others and subscribe and I can pop right in to your inbox.

-Kathy