Spring Equinox

The spring equinox, also known as the vernal equinox, marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs around March 20th or 21st each year when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is neither inclined away from nor towards the Sun, resulting in roughly equal lengths of day and night. This astronomical event signals the transition from shorter winter days to longer daylight hours as the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north.

During the spring equinox, both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience roughly equal amounts of daylight and darkness, with the Sun rising due east and setting due west. Culturally, the spring equinox has been celebrated in various ways across different societies, often symbolizing renewal, rebirth, and the start of agricultural activities.

I love to create some fun rituals of my own, or at least make a few changes to the everyday during this time of the year. A few of my favorite ways to celebrate the spring equinox include the following.

Spring Equinox Ideas:

  • Plant a garden. If space is limited you could easily use a few pots to still create the idea of growth and sustainability in small ways. Tomatoes and herbs are great small space harvests and are fairly easy to grow. If you have a larger garden space you can try growing some new vegetables to broaden your repertoire and bring new ideas into your culinary routine. I planted a variety of radishes this year to try pickling them!
  • Change up your Yoga practice. Move into standing poses such as Warrior I, Warrior II, and Triangle Pose. These poses help to build strength, stability, and connection to the earth while also opening up the body. Heart Openers like Camel Pose, Bridge Pose, or Wheel Pose invite openness and expansion into your practice. As you open your heart, visualize yourself welcoming new opportunities and possibilities. Balancing Poses such as Tree Pose, Eagle Pose, or Dancer Pose to cultivate stability and equilibrium. Focus on finding balance both physically and mentally, reflecting the balance of day and night during the equinox.
  • Use essential oils. For the spring equinox, you might want to consider using essential oils that evoke feelings of renewal, freshness, and balance. Here are some essential oils that can be great for celebrating the spring equinox: Lavender is calming and soothing, making it perfect for promoting relaxation and balance during the equinox transition. Lemon essential oil is refreshing and uplifting. Its citrus scent can help to energize and invigorate your space, symbolizing the fresh start of spring. Peppermint is known for its invigorating and cooling properties. It can help to awaken the senses and promote clarity of mind as you embrace the new season. Geranium essential oil is often associated with balance and harmony. Its floral aroma can help to create a sense of stability and equilibrium during the equinox.
  • Create a spiritual ritual. Engaging in spiritual practices or rituals during this time can deepen one’s spiritual connection or provide a sense of inner peace and harmony. For some individuals, the spring equinox holds spiritual significance as a time of balance between light and darkness, and as a symbol of spiritual awakening or enlightenment. Write down any negative thoughts, habits, or emotions that you wish to release with the passing of winter. Visualize these things leaving your life as you write them down.After writing, safely burn the paper (using a fireproof container) as a symbol of releasing these burdens. Or, light a candle or some incense to signify the beginning of your ritual. Then, say a prayer or invocation to invite in the energies of spring and any deities or spirits you wish to work with.

The spring equinox marks the beginning of spring, a season associated with new life, growth, and rejuvenation. Celebrating this event can serve as a symbolic reminder of the cyclical nature of life and the opportunity for personal renewal and growth. Observing the spring equinox can foster a deeper connection to the natural world. As daylight hours increase and temperatures rise, many people feel a renewed sense of vitality and appreciation for the beauty of the environment. The changing of seasons often prompts introspection and reflection. Celebrating the spring equinox can be an opportunity to reflect on personal goals, aspirations, and intentions for the coming months, much like the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. And finally, as spring brings new life and abundance, celebrating the equinox can be an expression of gratitude for the gifts of the natural world and a celebration of life’s abundance and beauty.

Sourdough Bread

I am a tad late to the sourdough bread frenzy but now that I am all in, it’s been so fun. I have seen so many people explain why to eat sourdough bread and I just didn’t get it. Until I did.

I have never been a big sandwich or bread eater so it’s more of a hobby than a homestead mission. My loaves may not be the perfection instagram worthy photo yet, but they taste delicious and work for my family.

Why bake/eat sourdough bread?

There are so many benefits to sourdough. Plus, it is so fun to make and the extra goodies that you can bake make it so versatile.

Here are my top 20 reasons:

  1. Prebiotics: Sourdough fermentation increases the availability of prebiotic fibers, which promote healthy gut bacteria and aid digestion.
  2. Reduced Gluten Content: Fermentation breaks down some gluten proteins, making them easier to digest for individuals with mild gluten sensitivities.
  3. Enzyme Activity: The fermentation process activates enzymes in the sourdough, which help break down complex carbohydrates and proteins, aiding digestion.
  4. Phytic Acid Reduction: Sourdough fermentation reduces phytic acid, a compound that can impair mineral absorption and cause digestive discomfort.
  5. Improved Nutrient Absorption: Sourdough fermentation enhances the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium.
  6. Lower Glycemic Index: Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index than regular bread, resulting in more stable blood sugar levels and sustained energy.
  7. Acetic Acid: The acetic acid produced during sourdough fermentation can improve digestion by supporting the production of digestive enzymes.
  8. Lactic Acid Production: Lactic acid produced in sourdough fermentation supports healthy gut bacteria and aids digestion.
  9. Alleviation of Digestive Disorders: Some individuals with digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), report improved symptoms when consuming sourdough bread.
  10. Increased Mineral Bioavailability: Sourdough fermentation increases the bioavailability of minerals present in the bread, making them easier for the body to absorb and utilize.
  11. Reduced FODMAPs: The fermentation process of sourdough helps break down fermentable carbohydrates, reducing their presence in the final bread product and making it more tolerable for individuals with FODMAP sensitivities.
  12. Reduced Antinutrients: Sourdough fermentation reduces antinutrients like phytates and lectins, which can interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption.
  13. Balanced Acid-Base Ratio: Sourdough bread has a more balanced acid-base ratio, reducing the risk of acid reflux and indigestion.
  14. Improved B-vitamin Production: Sourdough fermentation increases the production of B-vitamins, which play a crucial role in digestion and overall health.
  15. Enhanced Flavor: The complex flavors developed during sourdough fermentation can stimulate the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, aiding digestion.
  16. Extended Fermentation: Longer fermentation times commonly used in sourdough baking allow more thorough breakdown of proteins and starches, making the bread easier to digest. 48 hours is optimal for cold retarding in the fridge.
  17. Natural Preservatives: Sourdough contains naturally occurring preservatives like acetic and lactic acids, which help prevent spoilage and promote digestive stability.
  18. Reduced Additives: Sourdough bread often uses fewer additives and preservatives compared to commercially produced bread, making it easier on the digestive system.
  19. Milder Wheat Allergy Symptoms: Some individuals with wheat allergies report milder symptoms when consuming sourdough bread due to the fermentation process altering the proteins.
  20. Personal Digestive Tolerance: While these reasons generally suggest that sourdough bread is easier to digest, individual tolerance can still vary based on specific digestive issues and personal sensitivity

Credit to Dr Dawn M. O’Brien Taylor

I have tried many sourdough recipes but have found this simple one to be my fave:

  • 100g of “starter” *tons of how to make out there. It takes patience or a friend who has a healthy starter.
  • 300g of all purpose flour
  • 500g water
  • 10g salt

I feed my little starter and wait for it to double (usually 3-4 hours). When it has I add it to the mixing bowl, add the water flour and salt, and mix with a danish wisk until shaggy or 30 minutes. Then every 30 minutes I stretch and fold the dough (this is where the magic happens). I do four sets of folds. Then I plop it back into the oven on the proofing setting for about 2-3 hours. If your oven doesn’t have that setting, place bowl on the counter covered up and it will take more like 5-6 hours of bulk proofing.

Once it is doubled in size, then remove it from the bowl to a floured surface. Fold the dough like an envelope and then roll the entire envelope into a log shape, then to make it a circle begin dragging it along counter to seal the seams and create a perfect round. Toss into a banneton basket and close seam by pinching. Place into your refrigerator covered for up to 3 days! This method I have found in my busy life works the best because I can let it cold ferment in fridge until I am ready then bake. I usually mix on Friday and bake on Sunday.

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August Inspiration

Summer afternoon to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

—Henry James

Have any of you noticed how much nature reminds us of the 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 are starting to really take shape and I moved the pumpkin patch to a new location this and they are all very happy! I am planning to make my second batch of chokecherry jelly and pickles again this year and share with my neighbors! You can find my recipes at the bottom under the DIY section.

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 life….things like lemonade, lazy afternoons in the hammock, delicious ice cream, sunflowers, sweet watermelon, a basket of veggies and much more.

I have lots of fun classes this month and chances to connect with yourself and with others. To me, that is just another great form of abundance. Be sure to check out my 30 Days of Yoga starting August 1st and delivered right to your inbox!

Love and gratitude,

Stacie

30 Days of Yoga!

Did you hear I am embarking on 30 days of Yoga this month?? Yep! Each and every day you will get a fresh video to practice in your own time! There is still time to sign up!

Watch this short video to learn more!

Full Moon Yoga in the Park

Join me in person for a celebration of the summer full moon! August 30th at 7pm! We will enjoy a gentle lunar practice that includes essential oils to celebrate the release associated with the full moon.

Your registration includes a custom full moon blend of oils with crystals. You MUST register or pre-pay for this event. (venmo, Zelle, PayPal are options…message me if you’d like to save a spot and pay this way).

cost: $25

Essential Yoga–ONLINE

This gorgeous practice can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home! Message me if you’d like samples of the essential oils used in this session.

Essential Yoga–BALANCE

Online Yoga and Pilates

Wanting to have access to yoga and pilates that fits in your schedule? You can access my entire library of videos on my website. I haven’t created any new content but my website is full of chair yoga, sensation and intuition based guided gentle yoga, pilates and meditation all on a donation basis.

Wellness Coaching

I am currently accepting two new wellness coaching clients. This program can be done virtually or in-person and includes a personalized plan, mindset coaching, nutrition, mindfulness, accountability, weekly coaching and more. Reach out to me if you are ready to focus on YOU.

Yoga Teacher Mentoring

Are you a current yoga teacher? I am offering a yoga teacher mentoring program to help yoga teachers learn how to modify and teach to those with different abilities. This program includes shadowing me in my assisted living settings and seeing hands-on the magic that happens! Ask me more!

Wellness Education

This month I am also offering my wellness education through the platform of beautiful freeebooks that you can keep for reference. Be sure to bookmark these as they are packed with information.

Essential Oil Basics

Essential Oils for Every Age

Toxic Free Living

Understanding the Chakras

Essential Oils & Wellness

Many of you know that I use and rely on essential oils to maintain the health of my mind, body, and spirit. I use them throughout my home from cleaning, to pain management, energy, sleep, mood and much more. One of my favorite things is helping others get started using natural remedies and plant medicine. Right now you can get a free wholesale membership when you customize your own bundle or choose from a perfectly pre-chosen bundle. Either way you get 25% off retail prices for one year and there is never a commitment, just the same savings as me!

You will also get an awesome welcome package from me, access to my VIP community group, education and mentoring and much more. It is easy to get started! I am also happy to chat personally with you to find the perfect options for your needs.

Get Started

i offer FREE wellness consultations to talk about your goals and desire for a healthier, mind, body and spirit virtually or over coffee. Together we will create a personalized plan. Schedule yours today!

Free Wellness Consult

Do you know someone who could benefit from my services? I offer an amazing referral program and would love to help your loved ones find health.

Referral Program

Promotions

This beautifully crafted blend of essential oils, gemstones and flowers is earthy, spicy and full of magic. Just one whiff and you will be transported to a place of abundance and appreciation for the fullness of life. Order here.

Recipes & DIY

Did you know you can use essential oils to make some awesome summer treats? Not just will the flavor be amazing but you’ll also get the benefit of the essential oils!

Recipes

Essential Oil Ice Cubes

Honey Ginger Lemonade

Garden Beet Caprese

Kiwi Strawberry Splash Smoothie

Easy Chokecherry Jelly

Easy Pickles

Summer DIY Ideas

Soothing After Sun Spray

Bug Bite Relief

DIY Bubbles

The Benefits of Being Outdoors

Fresh air, sun, trees. Nature is a magical thing, and according to some studies, can have strong healing powers — such as improving mood, boosting the immune system and increasing anti-cancer proteins.

Being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind. Whether at the beach, forest or in a neighborhood park, nature offers a calming effect. And when we combine nature with physical activity, it can help fight depression and anxiety.

Being outdoors can improve your health and well-being in the following five ways:

  • Lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress — Spending time walking among or simply looking at trees lowers blood pressure and reduces the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Improves mood — Researchers have found that nature simply makes us happy. Anxiety, depression and anger are notably decreased after spending time outdoors.
  • Improves focus — Studies show that both adults and children who have difficulties focusing or controlling impulses are better able to concentrate after being in nature. The natural world allows our brains to take a break from all that mentally drains us, and even reduces symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Helps us heal quicker — Illness and surgery can be painful and frightening, which can increase stress and slow healing. However, researchers discovered that patients who spent time outdoors during their recovery required fewer painkillers, had fewer complications and experienced shorter hospital stays.
  • Supports graceful aging — According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health, adults over 70 who spent time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties, complained less about aches and pains, and enjoyed improved mobility and ability to perform daily activities.

Have a beautiful month of abundance in all forms! xo, Stacie

About Stacie

Stacie believes that it is her life purpose to share the gift of Yoga with anyone who is willing to say yes. In addition to raising a family and being an advocate for those with disabilities, Stacie is founder of Embracing Spirit Yoga which specializes in bringing adaptive Yoga into community centers and rehabilitation clinics. Bringing her depth of compassion to the mat–or the chair–she offers students the opportunity to grow as an individual in all aspects of their life.

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is a E-500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.

Stacie brings her personal life experience of raising a daughter with a disability and over 12 years working in special education to her everyday Yoga classes. Stacie offers adaptive yoga in a variety of assisted living settings in Colorado Springs and Denver Colorado.

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Don’t want to wait days or weeks to enjoy homemade pickles? Easy Refrigerator Pickles are a quick version ready to eat in just a matter of hours! Made with a mixture of vinegar, garlic, turmeric, and other traditional pickling spices, Easy Refrigerator Pickles are packed with fabulous flavor. — And whipping up a batch takes hardly any effort at all.

If you’re like me you will soon have a bunch of garden-fresh cucumbers coming in that you’re looking for tasty ways to enjoy? Then give this super easy Refrigerator Pickles recipe a try!

A batch of tasty Refrigerator Pickles is super easy to make — truly requiring hardly any effort at all. Simply thinly slice a bunch of cucumbers, and layer the slices in a large glass bowl with thinly sliced onions. Then heat a simple vinegar-based brine and pour the hot brine over the cucumbers and onions. That’s it!

Let the brined pickles cool to room temperature, then chill them in the refrigerator for 4 hours. — After this brief brining time, you’re ready to dig in and enjoy their deliciousness.

This Refrigerator Pickles recipe has two components: 1. the pickles themselves, and 2. the vinegar-based brine. To whip up a batch you’ll need:

For the pickles:

  • Pickling cucumbers – Picklingcucumbers are the ones that are shorter and stouter than regular cucumbers. They have thinner skins, a crunchy texture, and smaller seeds, all of which are characteristics that make them perfect for pickles. — Think Kirby, Boston Pickling, and most homegrown cucumbers, just to name a few. If you don’t have your own homegrown, pickling cucumbers can be found in most grocery stores.
  • Onions – Bring flavor, and get pickled right along with the cucs! Any type of onion can be used, however we usually use sweet Vidalia or mild white onions.

For the brine:

  • White vinegar – Forms the base of the pickling brine. We recommend sticking with white vinegar rather than using other vinegar varieties, as white vinegar provides a more straightforward “cleaner” flavor base for the other pickling ingredients in the brine.
  • Fresh garlic – A key ingredient in creating a true pickle flavor. Thinly slice fresh garlic cloves (rather than leaving them whole) to fully release their flavor in this quick-pickle method.
  • Sugar – A bit of granulated sugar tones down and “smooths out” the vinegar flavor in the brine.
  • Salt – Enhances the flavor of the finished pickles. In a true canning process, salt also serves as a preservative for the pickles. Since Refrigerator Pickles are stored in the refrigerator for only up to 4 weeks, instead of in jars for a significantly longer period of time, salt serves soley a flavor role in this recipe.
  • Mustard seeds – A traditional pickling spice, mustard seeds bring that signature sharp, zingy flavor to the pickle brine.
  • Dill – You can use fresh dill (my preference) or dried dill. The more the better in my opinion!
  • Celery seeds – A spice made from the seeds of wild celery plants, celery seeds are also a traditional pickling spice. They add a strong, distinct flavor to pickles that is difficult to replicate with any other ingredient.
  • Turmeric – Brings a distinctive earthy flavor and the yellow color to these Refrigerator Pickles. Ground turmeric is a spice made from the roots of the turmeric plant, and is generally bright yellow in color but you can also use turmeric essential oil! What a punch of flavor!
  • Black pepper – Enhances the pickles’ flavor, bringing its signature peppery flavor to the mix.
  • Crushed red pepper – Crushed red pepper flakes bring the heat to the brine and finished pickles. The full 1/4 teaspoon called for in this refrigerator pickles recipe makes finished pickles that are quite spicy. If you don’t want spicy pickles, use just a pinch. If you don’t want any “heat” at all in your refrigerator pickles, omit the crushed red pepper altogether.

How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles:

It takes hardly any effort at all to whip up a big bowl of Easy Refrigerator Pickles. And what’s even better than that, is you’ll be enjoying their deliciousness in just a few hours after they’re made.

To get a batch going, start by thinly slicing about 6 cups of cucumbers and about 2 cups of onions. Layer the cucumber and onion slices together in wide mouth mason jars.

Next, heat up the pickling brine. — Combine some white vinegar, sliced garlic cloves, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, celery seeds, ground turmeric, black pepper, and crushed red pepper (if you like some heat in your pickles!) in a small saucepan, stirring them together until they’re well mixed. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook everything together for 1 minute.

Immediately pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumber/onion mixture in the bowl — do not stir the cucumber and onion layers, just leave them be. If the hot vinegar mixture doesn’t completely cover and submerge all of the cucumbers and onions when you pour it over them, don’t worry. — As the cucumbers and onions sit and soften in the vinegar mixture, they will all eventually be submerged.

Let all of this cool to room temperature. Then place lids on jars and chill the pickles for at least 4 hours before serving.

When ready to enjoy, give the pickles a little stir to mix the cucumber and onion layers together. At this point, the Refrigerator Pickles can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.

May Inspiration

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.

– Fennel Hudson

It is hard to believe just how fast this year has already flew by and here we are embarking on a new season. Spring is in full season and yet Mother Nature has been quite active this spring giving us many days of wind and learning to lean into patience. The seeds are planted in my garden and now I watch and wait. There is something so exciting knowing that there are little seeds in the soil coming to life and will soon produce some amazing things to eat.

In Colorado the weather can change often this time of year. I recently read a passage in a book about how we interpret, and perhaps even how we have been trained or conditioned to view something that really is neutral. She uses the example of rain (or in Colorado’s case, snow) and how we might habitually complain about the gloom and doom of rain, when instead we could feel happiness that the flowers are being watered and rejoice in the sound and fresh fragrance. Rain is neutral, it is how we choose to view it. Another example is how we have been accustomed to dreading Mondays, when really it is a neutral and naturally occurring event. Rather than say, “ugh, its Monday”, try shifting your thinking to seeing a Monday as a whole new experience that you get to create a week of productivity, learning, joy, and love.

I love when I am called back to the simplicity of choice. I encourage you to look at your thoughts and when a neutral event occurs (rain, Mondays, traffic), shift your immediate thought that is usually negative into an opportunity to create a beautiful new experience. Ultimately we get to choose how we react, or respond to the events and experiences around us.

This month I will be offering yoga classes that focus on the energy in the body, specifically the divine feminine energy. I also have some fun offerings in-person and online to deeper your understanding of yourself and how to live the healthiest life you can (mind, body, sprit). I am passionate about how we can learn to go back to nature for our health, how we choose to clean our spaces and a general sense of natural living. I would love to share with you! You can learn more about these things here.

And finally, remember to honor the Mom’s and other lucky ones who have nurtured you. It is so important to acknowledge those who give so much love to others, and have one of the hardest (and most rewarding) job in the world. And don’t forget about the grandmothers out there–we are extra special people!

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

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The Honeysuckle

This little lady gave me quite a smile this morning when I sat out on my back porch for coffee. The color! This beautiful honeysuckle was a last minute purchase about a month ago since the gardening season is just about over here in Colorado. When I walk between classes near one of the group homes I teach at there is a house with a few growing along the fence and I decided I needed one. ?

I didn’t realize that honeysuckles can be so pink in color—I have only seen yellow or orange ones, and I didn’t know they would keep blooming past springtime.

I did some digging and this is what I found out about them—

The honeysuckle is a symbol of pure happiness. In addition, it conveys messages of sweetness and affection, thanks to the sweet smelling aroma it gives off. At its heaviest interpretation, the honeysuckle represents the flames of love, and the tenderness for love that has been lost. The honeysuckle will literally cling to whatever it is growing next to, resembling a lover’s embrace, and therefore giving the appropriate symbolism.

Honeysuckle can be used for abundance, learning, concentration, affection, protection, devoted love, wishes, wealth, intuition, clarity, clairvoyance, fidelity, attraction, divination, physical ability, prosperity, secrets, calm, change, confidence, creativity, the mind, peace, generosity, destiny, breaking hexes, honesty, inspiration, and balance.

I’ll take it! What a sweet surprise!

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Lessons from a Sunflower

If I were a flower… I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun. Turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.

Sunflowers are by far my favorite flower. I anxiously await this time of year when they open into all their glory. I find their patience to grow tall and magnificent to be a great lesson for me. Nature amazes me over and over.

Lessons from a sunflower-

1) DREAMS START SMALL. I held a sunflower seed in my hand and felt the beauty inside wanting to come out. I want to believe this is true of most people — that there is a beauty inside that wants to come out.

2) FACE THE SUN. I know that the best way to grow is with light and love. I reminded myself that facing the sun, or the light, is a good way to ensure I’m taking actions that are aligned with my higher purpose.

3) GROW BIG. The way a sunflower grows is this: She grows from the stalk — her neck. The only way a sunflower gets big is by literally sticking her neck out again and again and again.

4) LET MYSELF BE BEAUTIFUL. I’ve never heard a sunflower complain about a bent stem, petals too long, or a center too fat. I asked myself to let myself shine, shine, shine!

5) CENTER MYSELF EVERY DAY. A sunflower grows on one side of her stalk and then on the other side of her stalk. Often at the end of a day, one side of her stem is longer than the other. This is why a sunflower can be bent to one side. For me, I take this to mean making time to breathe, sleep, eat good food and be still.

My favorite for sure.

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Growing Your Food

Do you garden? When I first started growing veggies I didn’t have any confidence in my abilities so I started super small. I mostly grew things in pots and it was easy and fun. Each year since then I have expanded into more and more and now have a full size garden that grows many, many things.

There is truly something magical about growing your own food! Today I am going to freeze some beans, make pesto, pickle cucumbers and make salsa! How fun is that?

It is also in gardening that I feel so so connected and relaxed. After a long day of work there is just something so good about getting my hands in my plants, even if it’s just to check the progress. I also have found that still have a tendency to think in terms of scarcity and “not enough” mentality, so I over plant and thinking things won’t grow and end up with a crowded overly abundant garden. In some ways the garden reminds me that that I can continue to work on my thinking and personal development. Also, this year the raccoons have been enjoying digging things up which has been a little frustrating but the bounty is still coming in.

If you have not ever gardened, I say give it a try! A simple google search for you area or a handy book from your local library can get you started!

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

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? Here are eight surprising health benefits of gardening. Check this out:

1. 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?

2. 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.”

3. 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.” 

4. 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. 

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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?

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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.

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Grilled Garden Veggies

I honestly can’t wait until this time of year despite my often endless complaints about the heat. I balance out my intolerance for long summer days of high temperatures with plenty of time to play in my garden and marvel at the bounty of goodness that comes with a little time and patience.

Usually by this time of year I am also getting a little bored with variations of salads so it is always a thrill to find the first few summer squashes or yellow crook neck zucchini’s because one of my favorite summer foods is grilled vegetables. I also love to grill peaches, drizzle with honey and top with fresh ice cream!

I usually pair grilled vegetables with a juicy steak or a grilled chicken breast but these are also delicious just on their own. Simple, fresh and super tasty.

Here is how easy it is:

Preheat an outdoor grill to high heat. (I have also been known to use my indoor grill if I am in a hurry or it is the middle of winter and I am craving some summer flavors). Cut three zucchini or crook neck into thin lengthwise planks. Brush with one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I also love to use garlic salt instead of plain salt. Arrange on the grate with plenty of space between. Grill until tender, lightly charred or about 3-4 minutes per side (unless you’re using an indoor grill that closes it would be just 3-4 minutes total). Transfer to a plate. In a bowl mix together cherry tomatoes and one tablespoon olive oil, apple cider or balsamic vinegar and I love to add some fresh chopped mint or rosemary. Stir up the tomatoes, smash a few for a splash of juice and pour over the grilled veggies.

Delicious!

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