Thursday, 31 December 2015

Homemade Windshield De-Icer

It's that time of year again!


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Monday, 28 December 2015

Wings of the Wind

by Micha-el Cleveland

      I saw unbridled joy today
      A pleasant surprise
      I saw untethered elation
      Upon a child's face
      As he set his heart free
      By letting go, letting go, his shiny balloon
      When he first set his toy free
      I anticipated a sigh as his eye
      Searched within the sky
      I expected him to cry
      But he laughed as his friend danced
      On the wings of the clouds
      His laughter guided the eyes
      Of the schoolyard as they gazed in the skies
      And then the most astonishing thing occurred
      As they released their friends
      To dance among the clouds on the wings of the wind
      The din that rose,
      was the most beautiful laughter put upon the wind
      The One above had to smile to see their lovely joy
      His children made for him upon the winds with their toy
      They donated to him with unabated joy
      Upon the wings of the wind.

      D.M. Cleveland 13 Dec 2011

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Coping Skills - Highly Underrated

You might think that when someone says, “I’m coping,” that it’s not such a big deal.

You would be wrong.

The skill of coping is highly underrated, and our inability to cope with difficult feelings can lead to major problems, including health problems, financial ruin, work procrastination, even death.

Not such an insignificant skill!

How can the lack of coping skills lead to death and other major problems? Well, let’s say that you’re bored and lonely, but don’t know how to cope with those feelings in a healthy way. You might try to avoid these problems with distraction, food, TV, smoking, drinking. I know, because I’ve done those things myself, many times. These aren’t such a big deal once in a while, but frequent use of these coping mechanisms will lead to eating way too much, smoking or drinking too much, inactivity (from watching too much TV or being online too much) … and these all can lead to long-term related health problems, like diabetes or heart disease.

What would be another way to cope?

If you’re bored, you might cope by learning something new, or tackling a new challenge. If you’re lonely, you might try to exercise, write, teach yourself a new skill, or meet new people. These are just a few examples, but you can see that these are much healthier ways of coping.

So how you cope can be the difference between a good life, and a sick one. We all have unhealthy coping mechanisms, and finding better ways of coping will help us procrastinate less, eat healthier, exercise, and be happier.

Self-Compassion As a Way of Coping

When you find yourself facing difficult feelings, your first reaction might be to avoid thinking about the feelings.

Let’s say someone close to you has gotten sick or died — you might not want to face the pain, so you cope with it by avoiding the pain, finding ways to numb the pain or distract yourself. This is running from the problem.

If you notice yourself doing this, it’s a good time to pause. Just say to yourself, “I’m avoiding.”

Now instead of avoiding, you have the choice to gently turn toward the pain, and say, “I’m hurting.” Or “I’m angry.” This is an acknowledgement of whatever you’re going through. And it’s OK to feel these things.

Next, you can deal kindly with the pain, with the boredom or guilt or grief or anger or loneliness. These are all very difficult, and it’s OK to feel them, and it’s OK to comfort yourself with kindness, compassion, love. Wish for an end to your pain, and wish for your own happiness.

Curiosity and Openness

You’ve given yourself some compassion, but what to do about these difficult feelings?

Stay with the feeling(s) you’re having, and be curious about what it’s like. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with a project, instead of avoiding the project and seeking distraction (procrastinating) … try staying with this feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s not a fun feeling, and you’ll want to run. But be curious — what’s it like to just feel overwhelmed without running?

Face the feeling with an attitude of openness. Be open to uncomfortable feelings, and as always, you’ll find that it’s not comfortable but you’ll be OK. You develop a trust that everything will turn out fine. It’s not pleasant, but it’s fine.

Curiosity means that we don’t instantly decide we know this is a horrible experience and try to run away … it means we decide we don’t really know what this will be like, and we’d like to find out more. It’s a learning stance, instead of one that assumes we know what things will be like.

It’s an approach of exploring new territory, and finding out what this new experience has in store for us.

The Benefits of Coping

This isn’t an easy practice, I’ll admit. But it’s worthwhile, because with this kind of healthy coping, you can find better ways of dealing with all kinds of things, including:

•Procrastination — instead of running from scary and overwhelming tasks, we can see what it’s like to feel afraid and overwhelmed, and still take action on these tasks. Writing a book, for example, is scary and overwhelming, but we can still write even with these feelings flowing through us.

•Anger and frustration — instead of wanting to lash out at people (or avoid them) when we’re frustrated with them, we can stay with these difficult feelings and just be curious what it’s like to feel them. And then, when we’ve stayed with these feelings (and given ourselves some compassion), we can see what it’s like to deal compassionately with someone who we’re frustrated with. To try to understand them instead of judging them.

•Unhealthy cravings for food, drink, smoking — we turn to these things for comfort when we’re feeling stressed, bored, lonely, sad … but we can stay with these feelings and be curious about them, and learn to do other, healthier actions instead, like taking a walk, doing yoga, meditating, talking with people, creating, learning, practicing a skill, and so on. These are healthier ways of coping, but we often avoid them because we don’t like to feel these feelings and want to stuff the hole in our hearts with comfort food, drugs, etc.

•Death and illness — when someone we love becomes sick or dies, the grief and sense of loss can be overwhelming and devastating. We want to comfort ourselves, and so we often turn to unhealthy ways of comforting. But instead, we can give ourselves compassion, stay with the powerfully difficult feelings, and be curious what it’s like to stay with these feelings. Really get to know these feelings, become intimate with them, and trust that we’ll be OK even if we give in to feeling them. We can deal, we can feel, we can get through this, because while it’s far from comfortable or pleasant, it’s doable. And temporary.

That’s just the start — as you learn to cope with self-compassion, staying, and curiosity, you will find that you can deal with anything life throws your way. And come out smiling.

Source: Zen Habits


Sunday, 20 December 2015


by Katie Robertson

        I will never again think I can place my hand in a position
         to catch all the beauty in a rainbow's alive bright colors.
        I will not refuse them, they belong to me.
        Thinking as though I do not have to drink of the dark clouds
         drenched wet with their sour sorrows,
         there is no holding them back.
        I will not refuse them, they belong to me.
        Plainly seen it is a intermingling.
        Black is not pristine that stands alone,
         it is all colors that have been born.
        Adding white or black to any color brings new renditions.
        I will not refuse them, they belong to me.

Copyright Katie Robertson December 16, 2015
Art copyright Katie Robertson December 16, 2015

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Friday, 18 December 2015

Right Now


Right now, there are people all over
the world Who are just like you.
They're lonely. They're missing
Somebody. They're in love with
Someone they probably shouldn't be
In love with. They have secrets you
Wouldn't believe. They wish and they
Dream and they hope, and they look
Out the window whenever they're in
The car or on a bus or a train and they
Watch people on the streets and
Wonder what they've been through.
They wonder if there are people out
There like them. They're like you, and
You could tell them everything and they
Would understand. And right now,
They're sitting here reading these words,
And I'm writing this for you so you
Don't feel alone anymore.


Thursday, 17 December 2015


EGO - The part of you that defines itself as a personality,
separates itself from the outside world, and considers
itself (you) a separate entity from the rest of nature
and the cosmos. Perhaps necessary for survival in
some evolutionary bygone, in modern time it
leads only to (albeit often disguised) misanthropic
beliefs and delusion.
In short ... "I"
Ego is responsible for hate, fear and delusion.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Friday, 11 December 2015


This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence ...1 John 3:19

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest ... Mark 6:31

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes. ~Etty Hillesum

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
~Sir John Lubbock

I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently. ~Ernest Hemingway


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

All The World's a Stage

"For what else is the life of man but a kind of play
in which men in various costumes perform
until the director motions them off the stage.

"All the world's a stage" is the phrase that begins a monologue from William Shakespeare's As You Like It. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play, catalogueing the seven stages of a man's life, sometimes referred to as the seven ages of man: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, Pantalone and old age — facing imminent death. It is one of Shakespeare's most frequently quoted passages.

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

The Seven Ages

The Infancy

In this stage the man is born as a helpless baby and knows little but waiting as a man in embryo to spring out.

The Schoolboy

Here, he begins his schooling; the charms of helpless innocence cease. It is in that stage of life that he begins to go to school. He is unwilling to leave the protected environment of his home as he is still not confident enough to exercise his own discretion.

The Lover

The lover is depicted as a young man composing his love poems, shown beneath two pictures of Cupid, the god of love and on the left, Romeo-Juliet balcony scene. In this stage he is always maudlin, expressing his love in a fatuous manner. He makes himself ridiculous in trying to express his feelings.

The Soldier

Here, he is hot-blooded with a high degree of self-respect. He looks forward to gaining a reputation, even if it costs him his life. He is inflamed with the love of war and, like a leopard, he charges. He is very easily aroused and is hot headed. He is always working towards making a reputation for himself, however short-lived it may be, even at the cost of foolish risks.

The Justice

In this stage he thinks he has acquired wisdom through the many experiences he has had in life, and is likely to impart it. He has reached a stage where he has gained prosperity and social status. He becomes vain and begins to enjoy the finer things of life and he attains a socially accepted state and expounds the wisdom he has gained in his life.

The Pantaloon

He is a shell of his former self — physically and mentally. He begins to become the butt of others' jokes. He loses his firmness and assertiveness, and shrinks in stature and personality and tries to shrink himself into a shell of his worries and is indifferent to his physical appearance and apparel, just as he was in his youth.

The Old Age

In this stage he is dependent on others for care and unable to interact with the world, he experiences "second innocence, and mere oblivion. this stage is also known as second stage."

~ The Monologue ~

At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel and shining morning face,
creeping like snail unwillingly to school.

And then the lover, sighing like furnace, 
with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Then, a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth.

And then, the justice, in fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
with eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws,
and modern instances, and so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose, well saved,
a world too wide for his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
turning again toward childish treble, pipes and whistles in his sound.

Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history,
is second childishness and mere oblivion,
sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
 -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, 7 December 2015

I Shall Not Live in Vain

        Forever is composed of nows.

        Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.

        If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.

        Beauty is not caused. It is.

        Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.

        Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me;

        The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.

        The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.

        Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed.

        Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.

        Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul -

        and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.

                          -Emily Dickinson

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Vegetables and Other Protein Rich Foods

Animal protein is a storehouse of unhealthy saturated fat, high calories, and high cholesterol. A healthier alternative are vegetables rich in protein, which contain all essential vitamins and minerals required. By following a well-balanced diet, meeting the daily protein requirement should not be a challenge.

Vegetables Rich in Protein:

Artichokes are known as a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamins and dietary fiber. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. These vegetables also score high when it comes to protein. One medium artichoke (100 g) contributes 2.89 grams of protein.

This tall, slender, green perennial is quite nutritionally dense. Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium and protein, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. One half cup (100 g) of cooked asparagus contains 2.2 grams of protein.

Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowerhead is eaten as a vegetable. The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage".

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Raw broccoli also contains moderate amounts of several B vitamins and the dietary mineral, manganese and protein. 100 grams of raw broccoli provides 34 calories and 2.82 g of protein.

Brussels Sprouts
These leafy green vegetables typically look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels and Belgium, and most likely originated and gained its name there.

Raw Brussels sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6; essential minerals and dietary fibre exist in lesser amounts. Each ½ cup (100 g) serving of cooked Brussels sprouts offers 3.38 grams of protein.

Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss.

The pea is the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Pea pods are botanically fruit, since they contain seeds and developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. Peas are starchy, but high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, lutein and protein. A 100 gram serving of peas provides 9 grams of protein.

Spinach, along with other green, leafy vegetables, is rich in iron. A 180 gram serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron, whereas a 170 gram hamburger patty contains at most 4.42 mg. In a 100 gram serving, providing only 23 calories, spinach has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh, frozen, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and folate, and a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin and vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber. One cup of cooked spinach packs 5.8 grams of protein.

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Establish a Morning & Evening Routine

A morning and evening routine can create some sense of sanity and calm in your life.

These are two habits that you can start today that will make a big improvement.

Now, because of different things that have come up in my life, I’ve fallen a bit out of my routines. I’ve also been changing them over the last few months as my needs have changed.

So, this month, my challenge will be to focus on re-establishing my daily routines, refined and simplified.

I’ve simplified my morning routine, to give myself more of a sense of calm.

Here’s my new morning routine:

Morning routine
• Meditate
• Shower
• Coffee/Read/Breakfast
• Write
• Clear out email

In the evenings, I want to get ready for the next day and do a one-sentence journal reflecting on my day before winding down for bed.

Evening routine
• Clean up
• Prepare clothes
• Journal
• Read

Establishing routines:

It might sound easy to establish routines like the ones listed above, but it’s just as easy to fall out of them. You want to make them a habit that will stick.

The key steps to establishing routines are to:

1. Focus on them. Keep your routine as your foremost goal for one month, focusing on nothing else. Having too many habits at once spreads your focus too thin, and makes success less likely.

2. Make them rewarding. In the morning, I meditate, shower, have my coffee and breakfast, read and write as part of my calming routine. In the evening, I quietly prepare for the next day, review my day and read. They are both very satisfying routines.

3. Log your progress. Reporting your progress every day in a journal or some other type of log, or put up stars on a calendar. The key is to keep track of it and see how well you have done over the course of a month.

Source: Zen Habits

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-0

Creativity is intelligence having fun. ~Albert Einstein

You don't stop having fun because you get old, You get old because you stop having fun. ~Unknown

Live and work, but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it. ~Eileen Caddy