Right Before Dawn

Right before dawn from my back window. Mars, PA March, 2019

Right Before Dawn.

The trees stretch their branches
and wiggle their trunks
and spread their roots
right before dawn
as if to say,
“Wake up!
It’s a wonderful new day!”

I sip my coffee
and stretch my arms
and wiggle my toes
and gaze outside
wondering how I earned
this undeserved privilege
to be right here right now.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

There is Always Something to Smile About

There is Always Something to Smile About.

It was REALLY hard getting up for work on Monday!

In our part of the world, we started Daylight Savings Time and lost an hour of sleep Sunday morning when we had to turn the clocks forward.

Since I didn’t have to wake up at any certain time on Sunday, it was not a problem.

But when the alarm went off at 5 am on Monday, I said, “What the whaaaat?!?!

I skipped my morning treadmill routine and went back to sleep until 6 am.

Still didn’t want to get up…. but I did.

The upside to this crazy ritual is that it now stays light later, and Charlie and I were able to walk outside after work.

When Charlie and I go for a walk, we almost always take the same route, so I make it a point to always try to see something new.

It was on our way back that I spied a smiley face painted on this old tree stump that has obviously been there a while.

This was the first time I saw it.

And I smiled.

There is always something to smile about!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

This Past Week

This past week…

I gasped at the beauty of the early morning sunrise.

I cried about a brother who would never celebrate another birthday.

I shared overwhelming joy with a friend who became a grandma for the first time.

I shared deep grief with a friend whose mom is dying.

I celebrated life with the birthday of my longest, dearest friend.

I worried with a friend whose mother-in-law was in the hospital.

I laughed with a friend I chat with every morning on our way to work.

I discussed deep, important topics about relationships and next stages of life with people I love.

I played on the floor with two little girls who know me as Grandma and cheered first potty successes.

I was devastated to learn that friends got news they are going to lose their second child.

My heart was warmed by gratitude and comforted with love for my forever Valentine of 40 years.

This past week.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Beautiful Ending

Foggy, Beautiful Ending to the Day – February, 2019 – Mars, PA

A Beautiful Ending.

We may not be able to control or change
ugly things that happened to us –
especially in our childhood.

We can’t choose our beginning.

But we can decide to not be
defined or deflated or diminished by them,
and create our own beautiful life.

We can determine the ending.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Cherish the Moments

Cherish the Moments.

When the day is done,
take some time to reflect on the things
that made it special.

Remember the moments
that brought you joy
or made you smile or laugh.

Close your eyes
and savor those thoughts,
knowing tomorrow will surely bring challenges,

but also realizing there will be
new moments to cherish –
even if you have to search really hard.

And tomorrow will bring another sunset
and more opportunity to reflect,
and the hope of getting to do it all again.

Cherish the moments…
for the moments
are what make up a life.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Lessons from a Squirrel

Early Morning Squirrel on the Back Deck Feeder, Mars, PA – January, 2019

Lessons from a Squirrel.

It pays to be nimble.

You can get what you want if you just stretch
your body and mind a little more than you think you can.

The early bird may get the worm,
but the early squirrel gets the birdseed.

Cheers & Warm Winter Hugs,
Jodi

 

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing

Front Porch Swing – January, 2019

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing.

It’s not about what you look like on the outside…
even if you are rusty, weathered, and worn.

It is about what you are made of…
and what you do with it.

It is about how you connect.
It is about the purpose you serve.

It is about the joy you create.
It is the comfort you provide.

It is about the support you give.
It is the sacred secrets you protect.

It is about feeling the breeze.
It is embracing the squeaks.

It is about the experiences you create.
It is in the memories you cherish.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi