What is Beautiful?

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{First: I have heard several reviews from yesterday’s intense post.  One was “love it!” and some were something like, “oh dear!”  If you have a response to share, please do!  Drop me a note and I will be interested to hear what you have to say.

For clarification, the opinions I expressed were toward large social issues,(not any one individual) some that are so worrisome, and so destructive, that I think they deserve a forthright and firm response in the other direction. But, I realize that for as many people as there are on the planet, there are differing situations, all that require adaptations and compromise with family roles and structure.  I, in no way, intend to offend you who are working so hard to do the absolute best you can. Which is all any of us are doing!

That said, I wonder if we, as a society, have become so sensitive to being politically correct, or at least appropriately alarmed when someone is not, that we become uncomfortable even when the opinion being expressed may align with our own?

Whatever the reason, I have felt uneasy today and I wish you to know that I will do my best to be straightforward and speak what I see as the truth, in love; and if I missed my mark with you yesterday… I hope you can forgive me and let me know your ideas, and I will continue to practice the art of merging kind, gentle, respectful and firm! Thanks!}

On to today…

It has seemed that as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that there are so many kinds of beautiful!  My family was very into “perfect.”  Perfect features and the perfect weight and the notion that if you weren’t a certain kind of beautiful, it would be hard to succeed in life.

It was amazing to me when I heard a friend of mine say how much she loves her freckles, and that doesn’t ever want to wear too much make-up because she didn’t want to cover them up.  That floored me (even though I thought of her as beautiful) because I always saw freckles on myself as blemishes that needed to be concealed!

But just today, I heard myself say to that face in the mirror that those freckles are pretty!  (Isn’t it amazing how much we can evolve and change in our simple life time?)

What is beautiful to you?  And do you feel that you are designing your kind of beautiful, or do you feel that you must fit into the one that you accepted growing up?

Beautiful, for the most part, is the glowing person that comes out of your eyes when you are feeling loved and valued and at peace with your own behavior, and I might say, when you are having loving thoughts toward others.

Love does make us beautiful, doesn’t it?

I hope you’re bathing in self-acceptance and self-care!  So that, that centered, lovely, intelligent soul that is you will be shining out to your family and everyone you meet!

Be well.

Love,

Jacque

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
Audrey Hepburn

Make The Connection

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Time for another rant.  You’ve been warned!  xo

How many times a day do you hear that the world has gone crazy?  That our prisons are full and the government is corrupt and X number of countries are bankrupt and that men are untrustworthy and that the air is unsafe to breathe and….you know the list.

And do you wonder why many of our media sources highlight and dramatize these problems further? And why millions of dollars spent are on creating horror “entertainment”? And why games are created to entice children into virtual spaces where they become objectified and preyed upon by addicted, criminal adults?

Why????

I think the resounding answer, the sun bursting through the clouds and angels singing, (in this case maybe they are singing, “Duh to the world!”) is that:

We have given away our human connections. 

We’ve collectively traded real, living neighbors for virtual pseudo relationships. We’ve gone from home in search of something “out there.” Some greater accomplishment.  Some other life that isn’t as raw and difficult and human.

Some of us need to earn a living, and many who do, do a beautiful job keeping family first amidst daunting challenges of balance.  And some of us, with a little sacrifice can have the luxury of being home and devoting our time and talents and ambition to home and family.

But I’m talking about the epidemic of children being on their own, of a society that has little use for supporting parents in making their children their top poiority.  The idea that children are there to fulfill our dreams and that they can fit neatly into our insane, self-made schedules.  Seems that on a whole, society has bought into the idea that women are of far greater value and their contribution to society is more profound, when they leave home and family and enter the “real” world, where they can be all they want to be.  Fulfilled and equal and respected.

We have foolishly bought into the idea that more and more and more of things equals more and more and more contentment and happiness and peace.  Are we kidding?

What are we thinking?

Well, to be fair, we’re really not thinking, we’re just watching the construed, contrived models that show us, pictures headed straight into our subconscious brains, that when we have x, y or z, we will be vogue and “in” and of course, so much happier and socially acceptable. (Behavioral psychology holds that you don’t have to control a group, you only need to control the model they are watching.)

So what that often this expectation requires women, hurrying and stressed, to drag their children half asleep to the sitter every morning?  So that they can run all day and work under deadlines and get to the gym and then feel oppressed by all that needs to be done at home when they have no energy left to give? I fail to see the wisdom, if you are at liberty to choose a simpler lifestyle, in making  the sacrifice of giving up the role of greatest human impact for lesser things.  And especially if it is simply for the oh-so-fleeting praise and honor of a soul-sick society.

Let me say this: if you find yourself on a regular day like today surrounded by people you love no matter how demanding they can be, who love you and need you and find solace in your being; if you have a roof over your head and food to eat and books to read and music to play and the sun in the sky and birds flying overhead…if you have a place to hear silence and maybe even a piece of earth that you can plant…then you are living in the pinnacle of life.  You have, right now, all the true luxury and sticky kisses and soul-strengthening life that can be found. This is the coveted prize. 

So, go ahead and work your guts out teaching your children to get along.  You keep on keeping order and model again and again that cleanliness reigns.  Continue to watch your tongue and apologize when it runs away without you.  You keep fighting for your marriage and for the real, sweet intimacy you crave, and don’t you quit!  Keep using those relationship strengthening words and phrases that hopefully your mother taught you, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you.” And by all means, keep striving for the balance, wether you are in the home full time or part, that keeps family relationships at the top of your priority list.

Because, society can’t afford the outcome of children being unattached.  Because, at home you are in the real world.  That other photo-shopped, have-it-all, everything’s tidy, what’s-wrong-with-you, gloss-it-over, don’t get your hands dirty, I-just-need-to-be-me world is a fraud.

Home.  That is where real living is happening! And if you think that there is something that you are missing in the way of glam and lights and fame and glory, you’re just understandably mistaken.

So dig in!  Love your life!  Look at your children!  Give them the comfort of your comfort. The peace of your peace.  Let them see your wide-eyed curiosity about the wide, wonderful world of nature, and you see theirs!  Bask in them, love them, connect, connect, connect!  And that connected-ness will go a long way in immunizing their souls against addiction, helplessness and despair. And they will carry your bond wherever they are and literally raise society to a more functional and happy state. And if you must be away from your loved ones, simplify your commitments and spend all of the time you possibly can teaching and loving them.

Do what you need to do, but don’t bases your decisions on a myth. You aren’t missing a thing out there. Unless.  Unless the illusion of what you might be missing is clouding your vision to the point that you are half asleep and unaware of the riches that are yours in this moment. Those little ones and the relationship you have with them and your spouse and extended family and friends, that is the coveted prize.

So a question:

What is one tiny thing you could do right now that would make you more able to connect with yourself, your spouse and your children?  Your parents, your siblings and your neighbors? Are there tasks that are taking dividing your precious family time that could be delegated or let go altogether?

Got something in mind?

Ok, just do that. Just rethink it and use your creative genius to benefit your family.

AND LOVE YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW.

I love you.

And I wish you strength and vision and more joy than you can hold.

Jacque

“… the act of deserting home in order to shape society is like thoughtlessly removing crucial fingers from an imperiled dike in order to teach people to swim.” Maxwell

 

On Hold

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Do you ever find that you are avoiding the same little task, over and over? One that isn’t particularly difficult or demanding, just happens to be something you don’t like to do?  And for some reason that one little pause in the process of getting something larger done, ends up keeping you stalled and stuck?  And you chastise yourself, because it’s a silly, simple thing that you just need to face and get over?

I used to have an issue with putting an address and a stamp on an envelope.

I would think of people fondly, and take the time to write an encouraging note or get a birthday card to send, and then…..it would sit.  And sit.  And I’d think, I really need to find their address and get that mailed.  But often, the birthday or illness or whatever was happening would pass, and there would sit my good intentions on the kitchen counter.  Arg.  Then “lighting struck me brain!”  What if, when I was feeling thoughtful and ambitious, I wrote the address on the envelope and found a stamp first, before I wrote the letter?  I wonder if that would help me get from just wanting to be supportive to actually making a connection, even if it was small?

I don’t remember how long it took until I didn’t have to remind myself to do things in that order but it wasn’t long.  And the results were incredible!  I am still amazed at how simple and small the address and stamp job is!  It’s nothing!  And it gave me a sense of accomplishment to have changed my weird, stalling habit into a pretty efficient way of doing something that is important to me.

I wonder if there is anything sitting around at your house that is draining your energy because it is calling you over and over again for attention?  Chances are, it’s not a large job that is keeping something from being finished.  What could it be?

I hope you will take heart and move on from the holding pattern habit!  What liberation!

Ah hem, now I’m going to print out the return label for something I ordered that doesn’t fit…that’s been sitting on my nightstand for a week…which called to me again today….and prompted this post.  {Big grin!}

Love you!!

Jacque

 

 

Curried Lentil Soup

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I love this soup with a passion!  (And it mashes up nicely for baby food! But it does contain honey, so omit that if you want to feed this to a child under a year. Our 16 month old grand daughter downed it for lunch today!)

3 potatoes, diced

3 carrots, sliced (I substituted a sweet potato for carrots yesterday)

2 slices bell pepper

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves (or more if you appreciate garlic!)

3/4 cup red lentils

4 cups water

1 chicken bouillon cube (I like Edward & Sons Not Chicken cubes)

2 tsp Real salt

I barely saute the vegetables in butter, then add the water and spices and cook slowly on the stove top or in a slow cooker. When the vegetables are tender, add:

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbs curry powder

3 shakes red pepper flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer Adam’s)

2 Tbs raw honey

(If you use the slow cooker, I’d add these last ingredients to the veggies after about two hours.  Then keep cooking. So plan for about four hours in the slow cooker altogether.)

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture for you today, I’ll work on it!  But, this is definitely one of my favorite go-to’s!

What else nourishes like warm, thick, soup?  Especially when the weather is so indecisive!

Happy spring!

Jacque

Under the Influence

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Have you heard the phrase, “they were at an impressionable age”?

While I realize that children, in their innocence and inexperience and state of phenomenal growth are very impressionable, I don’t think we ever outgrow that completely.  In fact, I believe that we were created to be influenced, and likewise to be influential.

And I think this is the first decisive part of being an agent!

It’s not a matter of will we or won’t we be influenced by someone, or whether or not we will influence others, but a matter of by what and whom do we choose to be influenced?  And knowing that we are influencing people and circumstances minute by minute, what kind of influence do we choose to be to others?

What influences do you choose?

I think the answer is found in these questions:

How do you spend your time?

To what do you give your greatest attention?

What music do you choose?

What do you read? What do you watch?  What thoughts do you entertain? What kinds of conversations do you have?

If we want to be an influence for good on our children and spouse and friends and community, we’d better get extremely good at choosing the things that will influence us for good.  We are impressionable, and there’s no getting around it!

And on a personal note, I sincerely hope that this blog will be an uplifting and empowering influence to those who read it, so thank you for spending some of your precious time with me.

Love ya!

Jacque

“If you want the consequence, make the choice!”