Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Worth the Work

It's easy to blame the world.

It's easy to feel sorry for myself.

It's easy to be selfish.

It's easy to let life happen.

My goal is for 2015 to be hard -- because I have owned my choices, practiced sincere gratitude, put others first in my thoughts and actions, and, most importantly, created my life with my own strong, dirty, blistered hands.

 Happy New Year, my friends.

My wish for all of you in 2015 is a year that's worth the work.

Seeds of Opportunity

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Reflection

The sun arrived in the middle of Christmas morning, streaming through the windows in beams that cut across the ripped and crumpled wrapping paper on the floor. It's been such a grey December, even fleeting rays among the remnants of a Christmas Eve rainstorm brought cheers. Winter is only a few days old, but we're already weary of its heavy pall.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bottling the Day at Rock Mill Brewery

As I drove the hilly curves outside Lancaster, I could feel her anticipation rising. I was visiting Jess for the weekend after a long work week. She'd come up with the perfect Saturday activity -- a visit to the Rock Mill Brewery tasting room where we could share good brew, beautiful scenery and a gorgeous autumn day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Lesson of the Walnuts

I chose my steps carefully around the furrowed trunk of the black walnut. Ripening husks littered the floor of the Illinois Arboretum nut grove, greasy black flesh waiting to stain a poorly placed shoe.

I closed my eyes and took in the earthy lemon scent that filled the air, a fermented sweetness that fell on the good side of decay.

I remembered the time I was hiking with scouts, and surprised them by finding a just-fallen fruit along the trail. Many of them had enjoyed walnuts in chocolate chip cookies, but wouldn't believe that the green orb in my hand was one and the same. In a moment of lost discretion, I plunged my finger into the flesh, digging towards the hull that would prove to them a walnut grew inside.

Three weeks later, my fingers lost the dark hue of the juglone that stained my hands.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waking to the Lunar Eclipse

My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, an abrupt reminder of last night's eagerness to write before the day began. My sluggish hand slowly cleared the sleep from my eyes as my body fought the urge to spend another hour under the covers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Learning to Garden Again, This Time in My Living Room

When I moved into my apartment a couple of months ago, I was determined to have a garden. My balcony was large enough to accommodate ten smaller containers from my old garden, but I knew that wouldn't be enough to satisfy my plant cravings.

My landscape had changed from a quarter-acre suburban yard to a few hundred square feet of carpet. Indoor gardening was not my wheelhouse; I'd killed more plants indoors than I'd grown. I took what I knew about outdoor garden design and combined it with sage inspiration from friends of mine, who also happened to be indoor gardening gurus and authors.

In Indoor Plant D├ęcor, Kylee Baumle and Jenny Peterson encouraged me to focus on one area at a time. They note, "Group your plant display by your window or your desktop, or hang a grouping of plants in your room."

Steve Asbell, in Plant By Numbers, reminded me that "when larger containers are grouped together, they become an even more realistic interpretation of the outdoors and can even be used to bridge together views from the world outside your window."

Sometimes when we encounter change, we recoil in defense. Change, however, is a wonderful opportunity for growth and learning. With a little push from my friends, I'm learning to garden again, this time in my living room.