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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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February 18, 2021

One of the Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

We are on week #33, counting down with my expectant friend. As some of you know from experience, she is getting pretty uncomfortable. My prayer for he

February 11, 2021

Fun with Jicama

At week #32, baby is a jicama in size. That’s right, a jicama. Starts with a J and sounds like an H. Jicama is a globe-shaped root vegetable with pa

February 4, 2021

Sumo, Coconut, and the Birth Month

If you’re an orange lover, I have some REALLY GOOD NEWS! The Sumo are here. Sumo oranges, that is. I wrote about them last year. If you missed that

January 28, 2021

5 Reasons Why Your Snack Bar May Not Be Your Friend

In a recent conversation, the topic of cereal/granola/protein bars came up. They appear to be a healthy snack, especially for a very busy person who i

January 21, 2021

Getting Back on Track

Baby size at 29 weeks is a butternut squash. And, like last week’s eggplant, butternut squash is technically a fruit. Since I wouldn’t care to eat

January 14, 2021

The Surprising Truth about Eggplant, and a Recipe

A large eggplant. That is the vegetable size of a baby at week #28. Oh, but wait just a minute. An eggplant is actually a FRUIT because it grows from

January 7, 2021

My Least Favorite Vegetable and a Challenge

At week #27 baby is the size of… …a head of cauliflower. Most of you know that I do not care for this vegetable. I’ve tried. Truth is that cauli

December 31, 2020

Cheers to Scallions and a New Year

At week #26, baby is the size of a scallion. The first question that popped into my head is: What’s the difference between a scallion and a green on

December 24, 2020

The Hope and Excitement of a Baby

A bit of background for my new readers: I’m taking the produce journey along with my good friend who is expecting. As we track the progression, we l

Less Really is More

It is gardening time in Indiana.  I love it!  My tulips have just completed a beautiful round of glorifying my yard and even my husband commented on their brilliance.  Never mind that it was a temperate day last December when I planted the bulbs.  Yes, the rest of the neighborhood was hanging their Christmas lights that day, but I was not intimidated.  Perseverance pays. 

As I prepared to plant my annuals and vegetables, I decided that some extra nutrients were in order to have a successful growing season.  I loaded up on lots of organic matter and some fertilizer that said “twelve-twelve-twelve” on the front.  A Master Gardener (which I am not) friend of mine suggested some “ten-ten-ten” to help my vegetables thrive, but the “twelve-twelve-twelve” was what I found, so I figured it must be better.  My non-gardening husband agreed with that thinking. 

Fast forward to today.  It has been about three weeks since I planted some of my annuals.  With each plant, I added the fertilizer and the organic matter to the dirt.  Some of the plants look happy, and a few are now dead.  Gone.  What went wrong?  In some cases, the plants are neighbors!  How could this be?  Turns out, according to the expert gardeners (again, not me) I overdid it with the nutrients.  The soil was simply too rich for those little flowers.  I now know that I should choose one or the other, not both.  Some lessons are tough.  In this case, less is more.  I do believe that this thinking is best in many situations.  Seems to me I say those same words every December when we hang our Christmas lights.  Happy planting…

“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”  Wendell Berry    

Feeling Stormy? Experience Growth!

 

One of the really cool parts about our humanity is our ability to feel…so much.  Like, the warmth of the sun on a summer day in July, and a cool breeze off the Lake.  Or, the soft rain on our skin when we get caught in an April shower, just before the flowers bloom.  We love the feel of happiness, when a day just seems to roll along in the right direction.  Those moments when everything seems at peace in the world, or our world, at least.

One of the toughest parts about our humanity is our ability to feel…too much.  When our child gets hurt in the game and is out for the season or someone makes a remark that cuts through our heart.  Nothing goes our way no matter how hard we try.  Illness zaps our energy and causes every bone in our body to make itself known.  The thunderstorms of life have the potential to drown us. 

So, what do we do?  Such a blessing and a curse, to feel, really feel, life.  Wouldn’t it be sweet to just savor the good parts and let the rest go?  It would, for a while.  But how would a great day in our eyes make itself be known if we didn’t have a less than great day to compare it to?  We would never appreciate what it is to be well, if we are never ill.  And I am absolutely positive that after a few months of winter, I appreciate my crocuses much more than a person who can gaze upon the beauty of fresh blooms all year.

We experience duality for good purpose.  It is the only way we can grow as individuals and become who we are truly meant to be.  Adversity builds character and creates a foundation that has the potential to become unshakeable, if we allow it.  We don’t have to like it, merely embrace it for our good.  Oh, and equally as important, for the good of the next friend we are able to help through the storm. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 NIV

Sometimes All We Can Do is “Be”

 

I recently spent most of my days sitting and “being.”  Reading anything of substance was merely an exercise of moving my eyes across the page.  Nothing would sink into my brain.  I could work puzzles…easy Sudoku and a few crossword.  Even my Bible lessons seemed impossible to figure out.  Hmmm. Perhaps because not every answer is clear cut. 

What I was able to do, besides pray, was be.  And nod off to sleep.  For days and days, I sat at the bedside of my mother as she transitioned to eternity.  She had been an Alzheimer’s patient for over a decade.  Her mind and body would be free at last, while all I could do was be.  Mindless.  Still.    

I recalled the early days of her illness, when it was best to sit together in silence.  Conversation went in circles.  We would simply be.  Together.  And in the final moments of her life, the circle became complete.  When I came into this world, it was the two of us, together.  As she left this world, it was once again, the two of us, together.  All we could do was be.  Still.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 NIV

Good Times at the Farmhouse

 A couple weeks ago I paid a visit to my Aunt Susie.  She is ninety-four years young, the only remaining child of ten.  We did what ladies like to do, and went out for lunch.  The chicken and noodles we had were not nearly as good as she and her sisters once made, but the comfort food brought back some good memories.  A nice surprise, her son Bruce stopped by while we were enjoying our time together.  He gave me a gift of a drawing he had done of the farmhouse that our parents grew up in. 

Since there had been no pictures to draw the house from, he drew it the way Aunt Susie described.  The farmhouse was a two-story frame with a porch that nearly wrapped around the entire house.  A porch swing was hanging in front of the kitchen window.  A warm light shone from the family room, as that was the center of activity and warmest in winter. 

I listened intently as Aunt Susie described the interior, which room was which, and all the happy stories that came to mind along the way.  She also told me of the difficulties that came about when her father was killed.  She helped raise the youngest siblings as her mother and the older ones went off to work.   

What really amazed me was that in spite of the hardships they endured, she enjoyed growing up when she did with her family and all of its imperfections.  Her memories were happy and I delighted in listening to them come alive through her stories.  Now, if only I could recreate the chicken and noodles that were once made in the farmhouse kitchen…

“The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems, but the people who have learned to live with those things that are less than perfect.”  James Dobson