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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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September 23, 2021

Have Fun While Staying the Course

Yes, it truly is possible to do both. Many believe it’s an EITHER, OR situation. This past week I received the following text: “Down 1 pound 🙂

September 16, 2021

Celebrate September with Food

Now that we’ve gotten past the almost official end of summer, Labor Day weekend, thoughts of pumpkins and turkeys begin to dance in our heads. Not.

September 9, 2021

Pinky, the Ice Cream Truck

Last Sunday I was outside and heard the familiar sound of an ice cream truck in the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen one of these in…well, quite a long

September 2, 2021

Delicious Memories and a Recipe

I recently received a head of green cabbage as a gift. Now, I’m not one to buy cabbage, although I like it on occasion. Roasting it seemed like a go

August 26, 2021

Love Chocolate

The good news is that chocolate is actually healthy for us. The bad news is that we must be selective in the quality of chocolate we choose in order f

August 23, 2021

Chocolate Nut Clusters

1 cup bittersweet (at least 70% cacao) chocolate, chopped or wafers 1 cup raw almonds                                           

August 19, 2021

Rice Substitutes and Recipes

While rice is a staple food item around the world, there may be those occasions when a substitute is in order. Whether you’re looking to have more v

August 12, 2021

Brown vs. White vs. Wild Rice

Rice is a staple carbohydrate in our house. The big question when I serve rice as an accompaniment to a meal: which variety? White rice actually start

August 5, 2021

Best Brownies and Bad Berries

First topic: Bad Berries We have some trees in our yard that currently produce small, purple, inedible berries. They’re a nuisance. The birds eat th

August 5, 2021

The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies

The Best Dark Fudgy Brownies (That happen to be gluten and dairy-free)                  INGREDIENTS 2/3 cup cacao powder or Dutch-process coc

Much Ado About Tulips

I am in a quandary.  Recently I learned that the proper way to care for tulips is to dig up the bulbs once they have finished blooming and the tops are beginning to dry.  (Which is right NOW!)  Yes, dig them up.  Every last one of them.  Then the bulbs are to be stored in a cool, dry place so that air can circulate around them over the summer.  To be very proper, one should put the various colors together and label accordingly.  When fall arrives, take said bulbs and plant them again.  I was told from an authentic Dutchman that this is what authentic Dutch folks do.  This technique would explain why the Dutch are known for their amazing tulips.  They really work hard at it! 

Ok, so back to my quandary.  I carry around a very authentic Dutch name.  Translated, Slager means “butcher,” which is probably why my family will have no part of ever becoming vegetarian.  I get that.  But, this tulip thing is an overwhelming task to say the least.  Do I go along with proper gardening practices because of my last name?  My dear husband reminds me how much we all enjoyed the gigantic tulips that I freshly planted last December.  Breathtaking they were!  I tell him that in my family (Irish, German, Slovakian mix) we keep adding new bulbs every year and it works out just fine.  Then I get “the look.”  

So, while I discern the tulip dilemma, I will plant some annuals that have been waiting so patiently for the rains to pause.  I believe that somewhere between the dirt, weeds and worms, I will find my answer.    

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

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