Oak Tree Love Note

Late in the fall of 2018 I collected many acorns from a dainty oak tree near my work without any real idea what I was going to use them for. I looked up the mythology of acorns and learned that northern European folklore believed an acorn placed in the window sill would protect the home and its occupants from storms. About that time I noticed my little kodama (forest spirit) mascot wearing the acorn hat I had glued to its head a while back and this was my “aha!” moment. I would create a tribe of kodamas with acorns, some wearing acorn hats and some sitting or standing near acorns. Each one would be designed thematically with the recipients who would receive them as holiday gifts and, hopefully, the recipients would place them near windows to protect their homes from winter’s nasty weather.

My kodama tribe!

Fast forward to this morning. In the never ending battle for a parking spot I managed to find one near the little oak tree that offered so many acorn gifts a few months before. I thanked the tree and said I needed to park my car nearby in an awkward spot, one where I wasn’t quite sure if it was a legal place to park. In my mind I asked the tree to please keep a safe eye on my car and protect it from harm and the naughty parking ticket guy. When I returned in the afternoon to move my car I found a curled up, oak tree “love” note leaf resting gently on my windshield. What a tender gesture I told the tree. Carefully I plucked the leaf from the window and brought it in the car.

Oak tree Love note leaf.

I moved my car to a new parking spot, near a building that typically has a lot of heavy energy around it. Most days I spot federal security vehicles parked outside, looking big, and overbearing with their dark, tinted windows. There are always a number of homeless people wandering around it as well. I brought the oak leaf to one of the trees near this sad feeling building and placed it lovingly at the foot of the tree. It seemed like the right thing to do: keep the love notes flowing where needed. Just the day before, near this same spot, I shared half of my mandarin orange with a homeless gentleman and gave him a gift card for a warm drink at the local cafe.

Sad, heavy energy building.

Lately folks are very tired of the snow, of being sick, and all the heavy, convoluted energy that’s run amok in the collective consciousness. My hope in sharing these Love notes is to remind us we always have the choice and opportunity to share kindness. It’s the little acts of love that add up to big relief in a weary world.  

Generous oak tree who donated the acorns.


Yummy Mung Bean Soup

I have loved mung (moong) bean soup ever since our dear Filipino friends first introduced it to our family. The ingredients are simple, it’s easy to make, and super good for the body. Mung (also spelled moong) beans have been utilized in Traditional Asian medicine diets for cleansing the blood and stomach, cooling the internal system, and strengthening liver functions. I also add sliced burdock root for extra cleansing of ’heat’ toxins in the blood that can manifest as skin diseases/rashes, sore throat, and general infections. It’s a great soup to have when convalescing from illness or after eating a nutritionally-challenged diet for a long time. Give it a try! I’d love to hear feedback and if you did any modifications to suit your taste buds. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mung beans (rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 brown or red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 inch root of burdock, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Cayenne pepper to desired heat
  • 2 tomatoes, diced or half a can of diced tomatoes
  • 3-3.5 cups water (boiled)
  • 1 bunch kale, chard or spinach roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Handful cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • LOVE 🙂

Instructions

  1. Put the beans and burdock slices in a large pot, add water just enough to cover the beans. Place on medium heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, continue adding hot water as needed to maintain water just above the level of the beans.
  2. While the beans are cooking place the oil, onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan on low heat and cook until the onion is translucent. 
  3. When onion is fully cooked add turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, diced tomatoes, sauté about five minutes.
  4. When mung beans are soft remove the burdock root (or leave it in for extra texture and flavor), combine with the onion mixture, and add chopped leafy greens. Stir well.
  5. Salt & pepper to taste. Top with fresh cilantro if desired. Give thanks and enjoy!

“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.”

Julia Child

Hugelkultur and Kodama

Kodama standing on the side of a nearby tree enjoying the scenery.

Hello! Today I uploaded a little video for your enjoyment at: https://youtu.be/Elxr6953Ajk where I give a brief description of the “hugelkultur” mounds of recycled forest limbs, leaves, soil, etc. I’ll also introduce you to some of my tree friends, and “forest spirit” companion, Kodama. Apologies in advance for the softer audio while I was outdoors. I am still learning the video making process. 🙂

Did I actually say in the video that I asked the trees to help us find our new house? Oh yes I did, and science will back me on this strange but true fact: trees talk to each other!
https://upliftconnect.com/ecologist-says-trees-talk-to-each-other-in-a-language-we-can-learn/

From the Permaculture UK group an article describing the benefits of hugelkultur mounds with nice imagery: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur

A ‘must-have’ book on all things permaculture from Toby Hemenway whose very in-depth Permaculture Design Course provided me ample gardening inspiration:

One of my fave permaculture books from mentor, Toby Hemenway


Kodama posing at a nearby rock cavern

Thank you following my blog. I hope you find it amusing, whimsical, and maybe even a little educational.

Love Notes of Snow

Bless the twirling dancers

Dainty beings of icy lace

Sailing hither to and fro 

While falling in a state of grace 

Circling, spiraling, gliding

They suspend in time and place 

Playful, gentle spirit of wind

Flies them into my face

Exquisite geometric molecules

Confetti from sylphs on high

Love notes to the terrans below

Heartfelt kisses from the bright, gray skies.

Food and Gratitude. Today’s Recipe: Aloo Gobi

I told my young, adult kids I would compile a book of easy-to-make, healthy recipes for them which would include vegan and vegetarian options. Well, that project hasn’t quite manifested, so I’m posting recipes one at a time on this site for them and all you lovely readers who follow this blog and who might find the dishes appealing.

Firstly, to create a truly healthy meal the mood has to be set, not only for the cook but also for the health of the food. I am a firm believer of feeling inspired when cooking. In some cultures if the cook is in a bad mood no food is prepared. They honor the possibility that cook’s bad mood could affect the family’s health. In our fast-paced modern culture it seems respecting the food and its sources has fallen to the wayside. Speed has become a priority over quality in the food industry which certainly plays a role in the demise of our population’s health. In this blog I’m hoping to inspire the restoration of calm and gratitude in process of creating nourishment.

Before pulling out the ingredients, take a deep breath, make a little drink for yourself – whatever your preference (mine is usually green tea). Next, put on some nice music. The owner of one of our fave restaurants said, before they open and while they’re cleaning and preparing the food, they play prayer music from their culture through the stereo system. The speakers bathe the entire restaurant in music. He feels it keeps the customers satisfied and the food healthy. While cooking tonight’s dish I listened to “Tibetan Incantations”, a musical compilation of the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. It’s a  form of blessing, and I like to imagine the music riding the airwaves, making the molecules of myself, the food, the atmosphere very peaceful and happy. Perhaps your preference is light jazz, classical or something all together different. The choice of music should ideally assist the cook and those enjoying the meal to slow down, breathe deep and digest well. In my heart and mind, while washing, cutting and prepping the food, I thank the planet, the resources, the elements – earth, fire, water, air – the animals, plants, and all the folks who made the food possible from the farm to the table. Just feeling a sense of love and appreciation will cover all those bases. 🙂

For the table a cozy placemat and a little candle help ignite the digestive fires of whomever is enjoying the meal, (even if it’s just me). At the end of the meal I save a little and offer it as blessing to the spirits of our land. A little spoonful is placed in a tiny, ceramic bowl near an “offering tree”. Just a tender way of showing Nature we’re in a state of abundance and sharing, and connecting with the Earth. If you’re in an apartment and can’t get to a tree that’s ok. It’s the thought that counts, and you can offer gratitude in your own special way.

***

The following recipe is one of our favorites. It was kindly shared with us by a sweet family who owned a local restaurant before they moved away. This has been modified to our tastes, but you can certainly find many variations of Aloo Gobi online to suit your palate.

Easy Aloo Gobi (vegan)

1/2 c. vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil)

1 hefty pinch of cumin seeds

4 medium potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes

1 whole cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 pinch of red pepper flakes (opt)

1 cup water

diced tomato (topping)

Directions:

In large cup add salt, turmeric, pepper flakes, water, stir and set aside.

Combine oil, cumin, and potato into a large pan – sauté about 5 mins.

Add the chopped cauliflower, add cup of ingredients (previously set aside) all at once, and stir the potatoes, cauliflower, water and seasonings well. Cover and reduce heat to low-medium, allow to cook 10-15 mins, or until potato and cauliflower are soft when poked with a fork. Add diced tomato as topping.

Rice on the side

2 c. basmati rice

2.5 c. water

1 tsp sea salt (opt)

drizzle of sunflower oil (opt)

Bring the water and rice to a fast boil then immediately place on med-low heat with a tight lid and cook 15-20 mins, or follow instructions on the rice bag. When it’s done, fluff with a fork. Bon appetite!


“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” 
Virginia Woolf

Ancient Rhymes. Audio to help you relax.

Sometimes it’s hard to sleep, or even rest the brain for a little catnap. I always enjoyed being read to as a kid so I thought why not read to each other as adults? Our minds are so caught up in the whirlwind of the day’s thoughts, maybe this would help folks kick back with a cozy blanket, a little cocoa and, before long, a sound sleep with pleasant dreams.

Please enjoy my reading of Ancient Rhymes, A Dolphin Lullaby, a beautiful book by John Denver, adapted and illustrated by Christopher Canyon.

Link:  https://vimeo.com/319277855

A sincere and most gracious “thanks” to the friendly dolphin who allowed me a photo of his lovely face during a trip to Mexico.

Background ocean ambience: 8 hz dolphin sounds, “Guided Meditation and Relaxation (Dolphin), Artist: Diane Di Donato; Ocean Waves Crashing, Acerting Art


Terran Love Note Oracle

Today’s keywords:
• clear focused intention/goals
• rest & relaxation
• kindness
• grounded
• letting go

We are being called into action – be the cheetah! Swift, efficient and graceful. Run effortlessly through the tangle of mundane, grassy thoughts that impinge on having plentiful energy and focus. Fearlessly leap into life with a list of dreams and goals tucked close at hand. After having arrived and conquered, create time to rest and relax, thoroughly, unapologetically under the protective embrace of the Banyan tree. Being children of the Earth and stars we need to remember our roots. Banyan has her roots deeply in the ground while her limbs stretch far and wide to nurture our tired bodies and minds under her shady canopy. Banyan tree tells us the stories of others like us who need our nurturing, our warm embrace, our kindness, and how easy it is to offer this support without fostering co-dependence. 

Crow, the winged messenger, has found a luscious, red jasper stone and placed it near the edge of the great Banyan tree’s trunk. A reminder to create healthy boundaries, pay attention to our root, the base of our spine, the energy center related to stability, release of fear, meeting our own emotional needs, and letting go of people and situations that no longer serve our health, growth and happiness. When we feel overly fatigued and drained of joy it’s an opportune moment to imagine our very own root dropping from the base of the spine deep into the Earth. On each inhale we draw forth all the energy, support and peace our hearts, bodies and minds are needing in that moment. Such a simple, yet powerful act of reconnecting to our genuine state of being.

“Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique, natural beauty. Keep growing!” — anonymous

Small Acts of Gratitude in Buying & Selling Homes

While doing an online, 3D walk-thru of a home for sale I noticed a weird haze in the camera’s view. I took a screenshot and blew it up on my laptop and to everyone’s astonishment there was, what appeared to be, a very well defined ghostly apparition! It was too weird not to share with others for their input and mostly what I heard was “O.M.G.!! What the heck?!…”, but no one had a plausible explanation, except one photographer who claimed someone walked through the room at the time the 3D photo was taken. Well, if that’s the case, the person would’ve been like seven feet tall and donning a very large “sock puppet” head! LOL! I have included the image here for your consideration.

I was compelled to have a consultation with an intuitive Celtic Shaman and see what the photo revealed. She, too, was astounded and said “That’s not one entity, that’s more like five!” She also sensed that three of them were wanting desperately to cross over fully into the Light but had somehow lost their way. We had an in-depth conversation about “space clearing” and what exactly that means. With her additional background in psychology, marriage and family therapy, she explained it’s best not bust into a scene where entities are residing and demand they leave a space, or immediately resort to excising the spirit. This would come off as offensive, judgmental and careless. Instead, one should engage in a dialogue with the entities to get a sense of why they’re there, how they got there, and how to proceed from there. Some years prior she shared a home with a spirit and said to me, “It’s not so different from having a housemate. You have to come to agreements about what you will and won’t accept, and have clear boundaries.” She admitted she had never encountered a truly evil spirit, mostly those that have become lost, or who are quite happy in their space and have no intention of leaving.

I did a follow-up with her a few days later and she explained that after performing a drumming ceremony for those three lost souls they were able to move on. The remaining energy was quite powerful but did not obstruct their exiting. She was also able to see that the powerful energy was actually a portal in that house, not just a group of entities, but an actual inter-dimensional passageway. She wisely suggested that, based on my sensitivities to such things (as well as other family members), should we choose to do a walk-thru of that particular house, we must introduce ourselves to the home and explain why we’re there, that we come in peace, and then we should wait to see what the energies feel like before proceeding.  

Having been told from a prior intuitive that we have a portal in the land of our current home this wasn’t really shocking news, but kind of ironic. It seems that since I was a kid I keep coming across strange anomalies, and sometimes having the good fortune of photographing them (more on this in a later post).

Before we move out I want to properly clear our current home of any residual energies so it’s all sparkly and new feeling for the family coming in. For our new (future) abode I’m still researching what “cleansing/blessing” methods that resonate with me, which led me to this interesting link:

https://www.anjiecho.com/holistic-spaces-blog/2017/4/space-clearing-across-cultures

As with anything in life, it is the intention from a loving and sincere heart that does the magic, not the act itself.

Tomorrow, we will begin our first trek out to explore other peoples’ homes for sale and see what resonates. Personally speaking, it feels kind of invasive to have an open house where complete strangers walk through every room of your home. In the past, when the realtors were done with their showings, I would crack open the windows throughout the house and burn sage or incense and do a walk-thru to clear any weird energies the visitors left behind. But I got thinking, what can we offer the home-owners who are kindly letting us do a walk-thru in their sacred spaces?

Today I found these adorable little terra cotta “Angel Seeds” and i will leave a little “Angel” with each home as an act of extra love and protection for their space and occupants. A little “Thank You” card will accompany each angel. Selling and buying homes can leave one feeling very disconnected from the personal touch of interacting directly with the people who are taking your place or whose place you’re taking. This personal touch will, hopefully, create a more personal connection.

I like hearing other peoples’ stories and experiences about how they bless and clear spaces in alignment with their cultural beliefs, spiritual practices and so forth. If you have thoughts on this subject I’d love to hear from you as well.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  — Antoine deSaint-Exupery

Suburbian Love Notes

Even out here, in the wild, wild west, in the upscale development of suburbia, on the outskirts of Portlandia’s eclectic, bustling city scene, where there are far too many SUVs and tightly manicured lawns, I’ll occasionally find what I call suburbian love notes. Those would be unexpected little creations from the cultural creatives who show their artistic flare now and then, from stacked odds and ends made of bricks, sticks and random rocks, to poetry hidden behind rain-drop covered display boxes. The latest creation was the little painted pole, which I imagined sometimes dreams of being a giant totem pole. That latter love note was decorated with images of happy flowers, birds, hearts and the tender message, “Do small things with great love.”

This terran (inhabitant of planet Earth) was duly impressed with today’s findings, as was my delightful walking companion, Bodhi. Doesn’t she look happy too?

What creative, little love notes have you left in your neighborhood lately?

GOOD NEWS: Plastics Get A New Life Purpose

So many bright, innovative people in the world now working to fix the pollution problem we’ve collectively created. Today I discovered such folks, from the U.S. to Kenya, repurposing plastic bags into woven sleeping mats for the homeless, to making durable, construction materials. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video links below and see for yourself. So inspiring!

How refreshing to see not all is dire and foreboding, as long as we keep our minds open and view problems as opportunities in which we all can benefit.

Plastic bags transformed into sleeping mats for the homeless:

All kinds of plastic waste morphed into construction materials:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu