Everyday Good Life

Time and again it's the simplest things that fill my heart with gratitude.

As I was walking downstairs this morning in our warm house, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We had propane delivered yesterday and stacked another load of wood at the store. Last winter was such a difficult winter filled with bitter cold and loss. I'm grateful this morning for the warmth that was hard to find last year, and the peace a full tank of gas brings.

I'm grateful to be back in the full swing of making and selling our goods at the General store. Last night when my husband and I were unloading firewood onto the porch our daughter jumped onto the bed of the truck, still in her pink tutu from dance class, and started chucking wood from the middle to the sides where we could reach it. We could hardly keep up with her little almost-7-year-old hands. My heart was full, overflowing as we worked together.

These are the moments that inspire me to take photos, write, create. They are the simplest things and the grandest pleasures, they are the everyday.

This is an everyday good life.


Start Seeing

The day after the Journey for Justice marchers passed through our neighboring towns and I had heard some reports of what had taken place, I dropped my daughter off to catch the bus at my parents’ farm like we always do. I then sat in my truck with my mom and shared with her some of the documented scenes from the march through Gerald and Rosebud. I broke into tears as I described what I had seen, in some instances I had a hard time forming the words to describe what had been done. 

I wept.

I wept for the display of ugliness and hatred and bullying that erupted in my favorite little town. I wept for the cycle of fear and ignorance that was fueled that day. I wept for the fact that I love Rosebud and now every time I hear the town’s name, my stomach turns and I feel sick. I wept for the feeling that I don’t immediately know where we go from here, or where this event leaves us as a community. I know I don’t understand it. I don’t understand who those people even were.  I know that every time I sit down and try to put into words these feelings, I struggle. I look around and everything looks the same, but it doesn’t feel quite right.

I also know that we as a culture and society spend so much energy on classifying ourselves, we don’t see ourselves. Quit spending so much time looking for differences and similarities, and see the souls among us. See that we are all one humanity shaped by our stories and our experiences, but defined only by our existence. The greatest, the only true existence is love. We were created in love and that is the one true light that shines within us all. Start honoring it. Stop protecting it from others, stop keeping track of what others do with theirs, stop worrying, stop fearing, stop reacting. Start seeing.


Breakfast Kefir

One of my favorite ways to have kefir daily is for breakfast. Kefir can be a pretty complete meal on its own, and a tasty way to incorporate some probiotic whole food at breakfast time.
You can make this coffee kefir drink straight in a glass skipping the blender clean up. Adding gelatin completes this on-the-go meal with essential amino acids, protein, and gut healing collagen.
Amino acids, protein, and probiotics, it doesn't get any better. Wait, we're adding chocolate and coffee too!

You'll need:
pint size glass
1/2 c. brewed coffee (Three Story Coffee available from Bem General is top notch)
1 1/2 c. kefir
1 t. powdered gelatin (great lakes brand from grass-fed animals is best)
1 t. cocoa powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of himalayan or other mineral rich sea salt

Add 1/2 c. kefir to glass and sprinkle gelatin on top, let dissolve completely (couple minutes)
Add cocoa.
Add hot coffee, stir.
Add remainder of kefir, stir.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt.


Gratefulness and Grace

I have gratefulness and grace on my mind this morning.

It is Thanksgiving week, the time we set aside to honor our lives and all that we have to be grateful for. Grace is also very present in my thoughts this week due to the testimonies given by our church confirmands this past Sunday. (and what an awesome job they did!) Nearly every testimony given by our soon-to-be newest members of the church mentioned grace and how they have come to know the definition of grace in their young lives. They've got me thinking about my experience with grace.

Grace is one of those things that is always present, accessible for us. It's one of those tools in our life toolbox that should really show the wear, like our favorite hammer that by now is worn to the shape of our own hand and maybe has a piece of duct tape or two keeping it all together.

At any moment we can choose to extend or receive grace. Often, like many good things in life, those moments come when we least expect it or feel we least deserve it. If you read my newsletter last week, I wrote a little about the cycles we experience or get caught in emotionally. I believe cycles are the natural rhythm of movement in all of life, and what we feed or put into our cycle is what we will get out of it the most. Of course most of us think of others first and what we put into helping and serving and forgiving or extending grace to them. But, what about what we feed ourselves? I am reminded through my own life experiences of feeling exhausted or overextended or overwhelmed to extend and receive more grace.

Extend more grace to myself.
Receive grace.
Stop expecting so much from me.

Again, like when I allow myself more time (even just a smidge), suddenly I find reserves of energy I never even knew I had. The same goes for grace and love, extend them to yourself just as you would your babies (human or the fur kind ;) ). When I choose to do this for myself, I am able to do it for others freely, subconsciously even, habitually.

Grace is truly one of the greatest gifts of life. And like all the good stuff...the more you give, the more you are able to receive, especially from yourself.


Bem General Weekly Newsletter: There's Still Time

BEM GENERAL has a weekly newsletter! I typically share my blogposts through the newsletter along with upcoming events and tidbits I don't talk about "other" places, read Facebook/twitter/Instagram. This week I am sharing the newsletter HERE :)
If you'd like to join the email list, go to bemgeneral.com and click the "YES, send it to me!" arrow.
Be sure to click the link and find out what's up at BEM GENERAL today, something fun I promise.


Live in Love

When my husband and I traveled to New Mexico this spring, we stopped at church rummage sale. (Isn’t this what everyone does on vacation!?) Out in front of the church was a spiral contemplation garden. We had never experienced one before, so we gave it a try. I sat on a nearby bench and watched as he journeyed to the center and back out again. 
Then it was my turn. 
The guidance on the sign said to hold a question or concern with which we needed clarity in our minds as we walked the spiral path inward and back out again. My mind usually races with a thousand things from which I can't choose because I want to be certain I choose the exact right thing. So, I decided to focus on nothing and try to let whatever was going to come to me, come.
I put one foot in front of the other letting the sounds of traffic and passers by fade away, focusing on the shapes of the rocks in my path, the crunching sound of them under my feet, the warmth of the Taos sun on my shoulders. Before I knew it, everything I had entered the garden with fell away and I was at the center. Still not quite sure of the message I was seeking, I looked up. 
What I saw was my husband sitting patiently on the bench where I sat moments before, waiting. He was reading something, probably one of the shop brochures we had picked up along the way. He was allowing me the time and space I needed to find whatever it was I was looking for in that moment. 
That was when it hit me. 
Be in love. 
My heart warmed and my eyes welled up.
Be in love. 
Don't just love or be in love with something or someone. Be in love, live in it. See what is right before you and always with you. It is a choice, as I wrote about here on another day. 
We had gone to New Mexico seeking space and clarity and reconnection after facing the painful loss of a pregnancy. I was angry and struggling and trying to not harbor bitterness and resentment in my heart. I needed space, time away to find some sense of peace again. Somehow I knew in the mountains and the wide open spaces of New Mexico I could find what I was looking for, and though I didn’t know exactly what that was, I knew I would recognize it when I found it. 
I had been missing out on what I had right before me. The ability to see beauty and love in my life was clouded by the loss of what should have been, but is not. 
I was no longer going to miss present joy and love, for the past or the future.
I began to feel peace again and the vastness of the landscape expanded my soul, giving it space to both settle and soar.