August is Abundance

According to the Cambridge dictionary, abundance is defined as an amount that is more than enough.

Have any of you noticed how much nature reminds us of that same bounty that is available? The constantly changing and growing plants tell me that the same extraordinary potential exists within me. I see how the animals gather and forage what they need and this reminds me that everything I need is right here. I am grateful for the rain and the amazing colors that surround me. My garden is a perfect example to me of “more than enough”– the green beans and cucumbers this year may just feed the neighborhood! Oh, and I made my first ever batch of chokecherry jelly and it is amazing.

For years I have focused on creating a more abundant life and the ways in which that has all happened marvels me on a daily basis. Some may think of abundance as simply financial bounty, but I have come to see it as so much more.

For me abundance shows up in the random acts of kindness I receive, the support I consistently have for my classes, my friendships, the magnitude of joy in my life, colors everywhere, laughter that fills a room, a belly full of food, and enough money for me to live happily and generously.

As we come into the long, and usually hot month of August, I encourage you to look for the bounty in your own life that exist all around you….Simple things like lemonade, lazy afternoons in the hammock, delicious ice cream, sunflowers, sweet watermelon, a basket of veggies, the feel of a breeze against our cheek, the laughter of children chasing the ice cream truck and much more.

When we recognize all that truly IS, we can shed the notion that there is not enough.

Follow me for more goodness!

Easy and Fun Chokecherry Jelly

Ever since I started gardening a few years ago I have gotten a huge thrill out of watching something grow from a tiny seeds into something that sustains me. Nothing beats fresh produce right out of your own garden. I love the constant growth and it is such a good reminder to me of having patience, providing loving presence and attention to something and enjoying the abundance that always comes.

Trying new things has always been one of my strengths. I rarely shy away from learning new skills and when it comes to trying FUN new things, I am all in. I have two really large chokecherry bushes along my back fence and for the last three or four years I have muttered to myself that I should try making chokecherry jelly. Somehow each year that thought remained just a thought.

Until this year. Last night I grabbed a bowl and off I went to pick. A great memory I have is my sweet grandmother talking about making chokecherry jelly. While I was picking I felt her spirit as my hands got sticky and red. I had no idea how many cherries I needed to pick to get enough for jelly, but I kept picking. I ended up picking three pint size mason jars and told myself that if it was easy and fun to make jelly, I can always pick more.

Making the jelly was easy and fun. So much so that as soon as my batch was cooling, I took off with a bigger bowl to pick more!

The first thing you do is make the juice. After rinsing and discarding leaves and big stems (don’t worry about the little ones attached to the cherries) cover your cherries with water and boil for 30-35 minutes. You can use this right away for the jelly, or you can freeze it for later. To make the jelly, just follow this simple recipe!

Chokecherry Jelly


  • 3.5 cups chokecherry juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
  • 1 pkg dry pectin 1.75 oz
  • 4 1/2 cups of sugar
  • Optional—I added two drops of wild orange essential oil! Bam!


  1. Pour juices in kettle.
  2. Add pectin, stir.
  3. Bring to a boil, add sugar.
  4. Boil and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, skim.
  6. Ladle into jars leaving 1/2 inch space. Add the top and the ring, twist just finger tight (not super tight).
  7. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. A hot water bath is when you add filled jars to pot of simmering water that covers the jars.
  8. Remove from bath and cool undisturbed for 24 hours.

Besides being fun and easy it is also gorgeous to look at! I cannot wait for a little toast and jelly with my coffee while sitting on the patio tomorrow morning. There is something SO satisfying about making your own food…and even more fun actually picking the ingredients to feed your people. Plus, how amazing will these little jars be for neighbor gifts come holiday time?

** update to original post. After making this two years in a row, I have some measurements that may help. You’ll need approximately 10 cups of berries to yield 4 cups juice. This recipe that calls for 3.5 cups juice yields 7 jars of jelly.

You can find some of my favorite DIY supplies and follow me for more inspiration below!

Garden Beet Caprese

You either love beets or you do not. Either way, the non-beet lovers just may convert over this one. Nothing tastes more earthy than a fresh from the garden beet.

These powerful little roots are packed with tons of nutrition. Beets are rich in folate (vitamin B9) which helps cells grow and function. Folate plays a key role in controlling damage to blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Beets are naturally high in nitrates, which are turned into nitric oxide in the body. Plus, they may help reduce inflammation in the body. Because these amazing roots are “cool”, in the Ayurveda world they are an excellent choice for reducing the overly hot Pitta that often accumulates in many this time of year. You can check out this post to learn more about Pitta balancing.

Beets come in the traditional deep reddishish purple, but they also come in orange and yellow. Beets contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, and are low in calories making it a perfect choice for an elegant appetizer.

Beet Caprese

  • Oven roast the beets until they become soft, about an hour depending on size. Cool the beets and then peel and slice the beets into hefty size coins.
  • Layer softened goat cheese with beet coins making stacks.
  • Simmer one cup balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan until it reduces into a sticky goodness.
  • Drizzle beet stacks with balsamic glaze, top with baby arugula and enjoy!

Benefits of Gardening

I love to garden.

Planting flowers and vegetables can reap bountiful bouquets and delicious harvests for your dining table. But did you know gardening also can do wonders for your well-being?

Beginning my day with an easy stroll through my gardens helps me start my day from a place of quiet groundedness. You might even hear me whisper good wishes to the plants that they have a beautiful day of growth. The first place I go when I am done with work is back to the garden. Being there helps with me unwind after a long day and provides me with a different kind of being productive, but also much needed quiet time.

I have found that not only does spending time with my plants help my stress it also has an array of other benefits.

Check this out:

Gardening can build self-esteem. 

Maybe you don’t think you were born with a green thumb, but after tilling, planting, nurturing and harvesting plants, you might see a slightly different person in the mirror: a person who can grow things and is a little more in tune with the earth. 

It always feels good to accomplish new tasks, and if you can grow a garden, what can’t you do

Gardening is good for your heart. 

    All that digging, planting and weeding burns calories and strengthens your heart. 

    “There are physical benefits from doing the manual labor of gardening,” says UNC Health internal medicine physician Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH. “It’s hard work to garden, and it provides some cardiovascular benefit.”

    Gardening reduces stress.

    Gardening can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

    “Gardening gives you a chance to focus on something and put your mind to work with a goal and a task in mind,” Dr. Hutchins says, “which is helpful especially now with so much illness and death and talk of death, just to see things growing and things thriving.” 

    Gardening can make you happy. 

    Getting dirt under your nails while digging in the ground can make you pretty happy. In fact, inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacteria that lives in soil, can increase levels of serotonin and reduce anxiety. 

    Gardening can improve your hand strength.  

    All that digging, planting and pulling does more than produce plants. Gardening also will increase your hand strength. What a great way to keep your hands and fingers as strong as possible for as long as possible.

    Gardening is good for the whole family.

    Gardening can be a solo activity or an opportunity for bonding with your family and friends. The happiness and stress relief that gardening provides is a great thing to share with loved ones. Also, gardening has special benefits for kids. Early exposure to dirt has been linked to numerous health benefits, from reducing allergies to autoimmune diseases. Plus, when they pull a carrot from the ground for the first time you will see pure happiness and awe.

    Gardening can give you a boost of vitamin D. 

    A healthy dose of vitamin D increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system. Exposure to sunlight helped older adults achieve adequate amounts of vitamin D. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.

    Growing your own food can help you eat healthier. 

    If you have a vegetable or herb or fruit garden, you’re getting fresh produce that you know hasn’t been treated with pesticides.

    “It’s essentially as farm-to-table as it gets,” Dr. Hutchins says, “if you’re eating what you’re growing.”

    Are you ready to start planning next seasons garden?

    Follow me for more goodness!

    Gardener’s Hand Balm

    This gardeners hand balm is a traditional balm; it is firm in the jar and will melt into the skin as you rub it in (salves are usually softer in consistency).  If you prefer the consistency of a salve vs a balm, you could lower the amount of beeswax in the recipe.

    Gardeners hand balm soothes dryness, heals cracks and generally helps tired hands.

    If you garden or work outside you know how hard the dirt, sun, sweat, etc can be on your hands. This is a great balm to put on after you get inside. But you’ll find it hard to keep everyone out of the jar because it just feels so good on the skin.

    The gardeners hand balm isn’t just for HANDS – elbows, knees, heels; anything that needs a little extra hydration and healing.  It can also be good for those with eczema.

    These little jars are great for gifts too – just wrap some raffia or a pretty ribbon around it.

    Easy Peasy!


    • 2.5 oz of Beeswax
      ~Firms the balm and adds a layer of protection to the skin when applied.
    • 2.5 oz of Shea Butter
      ~Healing, protecting, fights aging and deeply moisturizing to the skin
    • 5.5 oz of Coconut Oil
      ~Naturally moisturizing with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
    • 2.5 oz of Sweet Almond Oil
      ~Filled with Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc
    • 30 – 40 drops of high quality Lavender Essential Oil
      ~Known to clean and soothe cuts. burns and other skin irritations. The scent is also calming to the mind and body.


    1. Prepare your double boiler
    2. Add your Beeswax to the double boiler and melt completely
    3. Add Shea Butter to the Beeswax and allow it to melt completely
    4. Add in Coconut oil, I stir with a fork that I only use for making balms, lotions, etc
    5. Add in Sweet Almond Oil, stir
    6. Once everything look completely meshed together remove from the heat and allow it to cool for 2 – 3 minutes
    7. Add in your essential oil, optional
    8. Pour into your containers—I love these.
    9. Allow it to harden for a few hours – or put it in the refrigerator, like I do, to speed up the process

    Your Gardeners Hand Balm is now ready to use.  Keep some for yourself and share as gifts. FYI, I often keep a jar in the fridge because I find it extra soothing in the summer heat.

    Enjoy! To learn more about the many uses of essential oils, check out this free gorgeous ebook.

    Follow me for more goodness!