Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello Out There!

I know I haven't been active here in quite some time. In fact, its been many, many, perhaps too many, moons. Not knowing if I want to stay, go, turn left or right, I have been going through some sort of gestation period. What is yet to be hatched has not quite revealed itself to me, although I do feel as though I am getting closer to "it."

I do miss the routine expression onto the page, as well as my cyberfriends. Excuse me while I rediscover where I am, and where I want to head in this blogosphere....a food page, a personal venting space, what's cooking in my business, all or none of the above.

It's seems that GoMama is going... in a number of different directions at the moment.

For now I'll leave you with a hearty, "HELLOOOO!"

And thank you for your patience with me.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Portal of Choice

This came in today from Gillian MacBeth-Louthan. I had to share it:

We are connected to everything in the Universe; everything flows through us and to us. Our energies, our thoughts, and our words flow through all of life, on Earth and elsewhere. There is not an end to us, or a beginning, but a continual flow of life, changing form over and over again. We are continually perfecting our form in each and every incarnation, whether that is as an element, plant animal, human, star, or galaxy. We deliberately challenge ourselves to become all we can become. There is no failure in this type of existence only evolution.

You are in a time of birthing yourself into higher light at a different octave of truth. As you sit in the womb of No-time, No-space, you try to stretch, but the walls of illusion, keep you confined in an invisible prison. You push and push but you are not able to stretch into the vastness you innately know yourself to be. When a child is in the mothers womb, the child’s spirit has the ability to reach out past the limitations of the physical womb, skirting about in the parent’s lives, reaching into the past, and future, overcoming space and time.

Your life is similar to that of the unborn child. You feel limitations, as if the very walls of your life grow steeper and steeper each time you try to scale them. You grunt, you groan, you complain as the limitations become more and more animated. You have the same innate abilities as the unborn child. You are living in this dimension of matter and yet you are also living in spirit, in the light on a multitude of levels. Your body seems limited and vulnerable, yet the spirit and light-force that inhabits that vehicle has magnificent and never-ending capabilities.

You enter a promised time where the limited perception of your humanness merges with the vast and all-knowing Spirit of Light. Coming together Merging and then EMERGING into something much more.

Right now you all feel like a caterpillar, in early cocoon stage. You know that you are destined to become more, YET EVERYTHING IN YOUR WORLD POINTS TO LESS THAN !! You feel deep within your being that if you tried, you could fly. Then you take another look at yourself and see only the reflection of density, and human limitation. Yet in your heart you know you can fly past all these earthly limitations.

The Chrysalis shifts and the Cocoon around you thickens and hardens like the crust of earth. There seems no way out! Keeping you confined in a prison of your own thinking. One day out of the blue a small light appears on the horizon coming from a minute hole within the cocoon. Your heart races with possibilities as the illusion of limitation begins to crumble right in front of your eyes.

You all are just now seeing that small point of light, Showing you the way out, the way up and the way home. The caterpillar looks at itself and says “how am I going to get through that small opening’? The caterpillar must walk into a time of surrendering! Surrendering his limitations to the divine spark within him. Surrendering is accepting in the divine process that knows your every whim and need before even you desire it. it is trusting! It is knowing what is truth, when everything else reflects illusion. The hole is small only in the mind of the caterpillar, not in the mind of God. In the mind of God it is large enough to accommodate all the future butterflies of earth.

It is a time of surrendering and trusting your process. The butterfly that you are inside this human caterpillar, is far greater than any illusion. Let go and know that the divine plan will work no matter what. The caterpillar is destined to become a butterfly it can be no other way!

The cocoon would never ever allow the caterpillar to be released, because that is what a cocoon does. it protects, it keeps bound. Earth keeps you as a cocoon until you are ready to set yourself free. The caterpillar knows that it must try, and try again, or it will die. That is the point of reference that each and everyone of you sit at. You feel you must try, or perish in the process.

Your Soul pushes you through that tiny hole into a Higher Light, just like the caterpillar is pushed by instinct. You push back, saying ‘ No, I can’t fit, No I can’t jump, No, I can’t fly, NO I CAN’T !’

Spirit says, “ You can, you must, or you will perish.”

Earth is at a portal of choice, there will be a decision made by the mass consciousness. All of God’s creations sit upon this fence of decision. All of life is “in decision”.

As we reach an apex in this level of evolution, we begin to realize just what the effects of our words; thoughts and fears have on this turning point of humanity. We speak haphazardly, we create on a whim, and we prophesize out of fear. We speak like our words don’t mean a darn thing. Seeing them just as words and not realizing that worlds were created by a word, a thought a decree. Seeing not the power we have available to us, to destroy everything or create a utopia, a paradise, a heaven on earth. Sabotaging our own lives, our finances, our health, our marriages, and our futures.

Every thought you have is alive. Every word you speak is birthed into existence. You free it from its internal domain. Just like letting a Genie out of a bottle, your words, your thoughts wait for your command to come into the world of matter and do what they do best, create! All creation is by you, for you, and through you!

The time between thought, and manifestation grows shorter and shorter, forcing everyone’s attention into the mirrored hallway of responsibility. It is there that the reflections shout, “look at what you have created, look at what you have birthed!” We give ourselves wondrous magical gifts every minute of every day just by the very words we speak. No one is out to get us nothing is out to destroy us, every situation is of our own making, a divine creation, a tool to escort us into a higher place of knowing.

We not only do this as individuals, but as countries, families, continents, and also as a world. So many opportunities to learn and evolve and love. It is as children playing with nuclear weapons, not knowing the power of the instrument at hand. We do our best to fulfill ancient and biblical prophecy. Believing on some level that those of the past knew more than we do. Giving our power and our world away to the dried bones of the past. If those same people prophesied today, we would laugh at them as eccentrics, or cult members. Not honoring there words, or there fears.

The external world but mirrors our internal thoughts and dialogue. Life is not something that happens to us it is something that we create, continuously. Knowing that we can and do collectively create everything and anything, lets get busy and create a world of love, of peace, of joy. Where every child goes to bed with a full tummy, and every homeless person cashes in their cardboard home, for a real home. Lets look at our world glass as always full instead of half-empty and halfhearted. All livingness responds to your thoughts and your desires, especially a casual thought, or decree.

Knowing how powerful ours words are 24 hours a day for all eternity, puts a bit of a damper on our joking around. What we may say even in play will ripple out through all space and time. What we decree for another we gift to our self. Our angers, our fears, our jealousies are becoming animated alive and kicking us back to get our attention.

As you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. You cannot escape the result of your thoughts; but you can endure and learn, accept and be glad.

You will realize the vision of your heart, not the idle wish. You will gravitate toward that which you secretly most love. In to your hands will be placed the exact result you earn no more, no less. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts…your vision… your ideal.

-Gillian MacBeth-Louthan -

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Gonna keep walking forward, no matter what the path brings.
Standing tall, even taller, shoulders back, heart open.
My self radiates outward; infinity.
I am more than I ever thought I would be.

Although uncertain, I am filled with certainty,
As if there is no other way, but forward, through, onward, go.

Where I used to cave, I now stand tall.
Where I used to mute, I now speak out.
Where I used to cower, and wait for another,
I now step forward, and act.

I will hide no more, forever.
I will wait no more, forever.
I will stand in my power, the full glory of my becoming
And be the one I am meant to be.

And so it is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am unwritten
Can’t read my mind
I’m undefined
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Better Butter

Never mind that I spent my post-Thanksgiving downtime catching up on a few accumulated Netflix, two of which just so happened to be about the business of food, Food Inc and King Corn, and nevermind that I am finding myself more and more tempted to get a backyard chicken coop for humanely-raised fresh eggs, especially after my sister sent me a link to this cute little number, the Eglu...

(Insert image of husband rolling eyes to the heavens. Chickens. In the backyard. Peckin' in the dirt with the cats. But hey, you really owe it to yourselves to try a non-commercially raised egg sometime in your life. There's just no comparison in yolk color, texture, and taste.)

...AND nevermind how shocking it was to find out about the way chickens, pork, beef and dairy cows are mass-raised, what they're fed and how they're treated, that I have the sudden urge to rethink some things around here. Not necessarily to go vegan, but at the very least to get more conscious about what we're buying, and eating.

It's no secret and I readily admit, I'm a sucker for good food, good cocktails. A good slather of butter on a thick slice of crusty paisano bread with coffee in the morning, (or with wine later in the day), is just about heaven to me. But after learning more about commercial dairy, I want to look for other options there too. It's not the fat that scares me. At this point it's the silent accumulation of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that are fed to mass lots of cattle, and that somehow get more concentrated in high-fat products such as commercial butter, ice cream, half and half, cheese...

Hmmm...but what's a dairy-lover to do?

I've already been buying hormone-free milk products for a quite a while now. Rolling up my sleeves and bringing to life that inner "pioneer-homesteader woman" my husband labels me with so often, I get it in my brain that I'm going to try to make my own butter using a more sustainable cream. (Wow. Now that my book's done, I must have waaay too much time on my hands.)

And, what I found out is... couldn't be easier...

...and most importantly, it is most, but most, delicious.

Way delicious.

So check this out:

I started with 2 pints of organic hormone, antibiotic, pesticide-free heavy whipping cream, $1.69 ea (Love Trader Joes! I buy all my hormone-free milk products there.)

Whip it in your stand mixer just like you would for whip cream. Plain. No additives.

Whip it a little further and it starts to thicken.

Whip it further still and you start to see a graininess.

Keep going. It's getting thicker.

Notice the color deepens and you almost start to see little "curds" now. (This is just a few minutes past whipped cream.)

Thicker. More curds.

Curds begin to solidify and they're definitely separating from the whey now.

We got butter, baby.

Strain the butter, save the whey (aka "buttermilk") which can be used for baking, pancakes, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, what-have-you.

Look at all that buttery goodness.

Press down solids to remove all the liquid.

Now we "wash the butter" by returning butter to the mixer, adding clean filtered water and letting it slosh around.

Drain, scrape down, and repeat for several "washings" until the water pours off clear.

Butter baby! Clean, unadulterated butter.

I turned some with a bit of moist and crunchy Celtic Sea Salt. OMG. Take that on a slice of good bread! You won't be sorry.

A near pound of fresh chemical-free sweet organic butter, wrapped up in wax paper, for a mere $3.38 and a few laps around a stand mixer. This should last me a month. Should.

So. Worth. It!

Oh but the time, you say, I just don't have the time.

The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes start to finish and that was with stopping every few minutes to turn off the beater, clean my hands, and snap pix. (Next time, it won't take nearly as long, maybe 10 minutes. And I plan to experiment with other local organic creams.)

Then you need one of these: a beurrier. The Butter Bell. To keep it soft and spreadable. Stays fresh without refrigeration.

Isn't it funny to go so far forward, only to come back to basics. Progress.

So good. A butter you can feel good about. Better Butter.

* * *

For more on the "business" of food:

Watch Food, Inc instantly here.

Watch King Corn instantly here.

Time Mag: Getting Real About the High Cost Of Cheap Food,8599,1917458,00.html

Sustainable Dairy

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast - a photo essay

For the 2nd Grade Feast last Weds...sliced up and devoured in the blink of an eye. Don't tell me a pack of hungry kids can't discern the hot-out-of-the-oven real thing from the store-bought re-heated over-processed kind or microwaved ham...this thing was gone in about 15 minutes.

The 18 1/2 lber Thanksgiving bird with sage leaves, garlic and butter tucked under the skin, and filled with wild rice apple stuffing

The "use what you have" fruit, nut, pine cone, rosemary clippings harvest centerpiece

Personalized place settings, each anchored with a wisteria leaf, are both simple and welcoming

Our bounteous spread...the brandied-sage-pan-dripping gravy is already in pitchers on the table

Pear Gingerbread and French Apple Tart with vanilla bean ice cream complete the feast

Not shown?

The half-dozen or more empty wine bottles that followed a couple of rounds of infusion cocktails.... and I'm not going to say how many adults we were....


So much to be thankful for.

Good friends, good food, and good drink just being some of them...


Keep it's a 3-for-1 post....

Pear Infusion!

The past month flew by in a blur. I am finally catching up, clearing the decks and, as it turns out, dumping my camera. Here are some goodies I had been harboring....the results of a countertop experiment.

Pear Infusion!

In jar #1 I used 3 Bosc pears, a bit of sugar to jump-start the infusion, and a bottle of Monopolowa Vodka.

In jar #2 I used 3 D'Anjou pears, a split and scraped Bourbon vanilla bean, a bit of sugar, and a bottle of Volganaya Vodka.

Prior to my experiment, I racked up icey shots of Monopolowa (Austria), Volganaya (Estonia), and Moskovskaya (Russia) vodka and did a vodka tasting. (Note: this is not your typical wine-tasting type sip and taste. I mean, vodka, solo, um, it's harsh!)

Hey! No raised eyebrows, 'kay? This was back before I got cranking on that Guidebook deadline...back when I was still in denial that I would have plenty of time to get it done...tick, tick...

The winner? If you're talking straight shots, for me it was hands-down the Moskovskaya, followed by the Volganaya in the smoothness category. The Monopolowa was down-right harsh. But I'm not a vodka-shooter type of girl, so making infusions with them seemed like the natural thing to do. And well, me being me, you just know I'm going to create a couple of cocktails with the final results...being the closet mixologist-er-spirit-enthusiast that I am.

Let the pictures attest that I began the infusion "experiment" on October 21st, left them abandoned under a dark towel on the counter, (alternately they could have been left in a dark cupboard under the sink), and I finally revisited them on Nov 14th.

(They might have been strained earlier if I was paying better attention, more, say, than the occasional sniff and swirl of the jar, but I had to clear out the clutter in preparation for that busstop family happy hour I was hosting, oh, you know, right in the final sprint of my writing blitz, as I was mere days to the delivery. OK, everybody needs a break now and then. It can't all be nose to the grindstone!)

At this time, 4 weeks later, I strained out and discarded the sliced fruit, then poured the liquid goodness through a strainer lined with a damp paper towel, then again through a coffee filter. Triple filtered to get out all the sediment! Then I funneled the results back into their original bottles, dating and labeling them.

Voila! My Pear Infusions worked.

I definitely think the Boscs produce a deeper pear flavor (and a darker color) and the D'Anjou is more subtle, although it does make a lovely combination with the vanilla bean. If I were to do this again, which I very well might, I will infuse the Volganaya with the Bosc, as the Monopolowa is just frankly a bit edgey, although less-so after the infusion.

For those keeping score, in fact, I did do another infusion post-deadline, but this time I infused the Volganaya with 3 or 4 sliced up Satsuma Mandarins from my full-to-bursting dwarf tree out back. For this creation I only needed to steep the fruit in the vodka for about a week...

...for it to transform itself into the most delicious amber-colored tangerine vodka I've ever tasted. OMG. That's a keeper! Right in time for Thanksgiving. And shaken with a splash of cranberry and a squeeze of lime, it's about the best Tango-Cosmo I've ever had! My fave new Tday cocktail.

But again, I digress. Pears. Vodka. Infusion. Alchemy. What to do with all that pear goodness...

Why, a Pear-Ginger.

1 part house-infused pear vodka
1 part gingerale
generous squeeze of lime

Shake, rattle and roll. Garnish with a long sliver of fresh pear.

oo. oo. and ooo! Pass the pears, please....

The Apple Jack

Fall Harvest is here!

In honor of the new crop of Gravenstein apple juice at our local Trader Joes (TJs), I offer up my latest creation, this delightful autumn sipper!

The Apple Jack

In a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice, mix together:

2 oz Gravenstein apple juice (or fresh crop apple cider)
1 oz french brandy (I used TJs Pierre Duchene Napolean VSOP brandy)
1/2 oz Bacardi Spice rum
splash of triple sec
large squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp raw cane sugar (optional)

Shake well and strain into glass.
Garnish with a thinly sliced round of Granny Smith Apple.

Not your average kiddie juice cup.

Cheers, y'all! To an abundant harvest for each of us...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Middle School Guidebook is finished, back from the printer, and the first 20 copies have already sold. You can find an excerpt here.

I led 10 seminars, a couple of house chats, and a private one-on-one in the past month while also staying up all hours cranking to complete my book by the deadline. I made it. As crazy as that timetable was, I guess a part of me knew I could do it. And I did.

After a few days off (to sleep in) and a weekend spent with my sister who flew in from out of town, I am feeling rested and caught up...except for the next wave of business upgrades I realize I now need. (Cover redesigns, web upgrades, better photos, and manifesting the next big idea of mine...)

In the meantime, I've got a turkey in the oven for today's 2nd grade school feast, and another one brining for tomorrow's friends & family Thanksgiving feast. Got a house full of wine, several house-made vodka infusions, and a fridge that went from bare to stuffed with good food.

Life is good.

Life is abundant.

There is plenty to be thankful for.

Wishing you all a-plenty too....she says as she raises her glass, nods, and kicks back a long, long draught...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yee Haw! My Guidebook is written.

I stayed up all night post-seminar to complete the text. Now all I need is a cover design, the headers and footers, a quick final proof, and a run to the printers.

Not to mention a good night's sleep.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nearing the home stretch, the end is, finally, in sight!

In the next 4 days I have 3 seminars, a private one-on-one, and just 2 days to get that final draft to the printer. Oh, and design a quick cover for it too....and finish those final 3 chapters...and do the layout, font sizes, spacing...and the TOC with its corresponding page numbers.

On Thursday, after I sleep indefinitely, I am heading to the spa where I will commence to steam, soak, bubble, slough, and shower away all evidence of the toll the previous efforts have taken on me. I'm bookin' that baby!

Then, I don't need to tell you, it will be "cocktail:30!" (clink.)

The only question I'll have to answer at that point is, what kind?

Hmmmm, such choices....such possibilities...

Good thing they don't do lotteries for your cocktail choices!

(Hey, now that I think about it, that is a genius marketing concept for one of my public school seminars.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just grinding away on that deadline. This won't be a "cut and paste" of the last one either. I'm taking it further, as well I should. As well I expect of myself. In such limited time.

One more week to go....



I suppose if it weren't for a (self-imposed) deadline, nothing would ever get done!

Sending you all happy wishes....

Now, back to the salt mines....

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Make It Work!

Yes, I'm still the middle of a deadline but no, for this 7-yr-old dynamo, Halloween can't wait. Nor can the school celebration, which came a day early this year.

Desiring to help bring to life a well-loved children's literary character, I searched high and low for either a grey or black pleated skirt, to no avail. The best I could come up with was navy blue. Her size. On sale. $7.99. I grabbed it.

But her robe is black and her sweater is charcoal grey. Navy just wont do.

We're at the corner drugstore the night before Friday's costume parade and I place a last minute call to my left-LA-for-Portland-so-she-could-raise-her-daughters-in-a-decent-different-town costume designer/stylist friend. My go-to resource for all things fashion.

"Hey, I'm staring at this bottle of black RIT dye and I'm wondering if there's any chance in hell it will work on a navy blue skirt that's 100% polyester. I know it says "not recommended for polyester," but I just need to get it to grey or charcoal. Black will work too. I just need to get the blue out. Will this work?"

"Polyester? Um, well, no. You can try it, but it won't take."

"Even if I use the whole bottle and boil it? What about using vinegar? Salt?"

"You can try it, but polyester has so many chemicals in it, it's a different thing altogether. It probably wont grab the dye."

"OK, but what would you do if you couldn't find the right color skirt for a shoot? I'm sure that's happened to you plenty of times before."

"We'd have to make one."

"Clearly that's not an option. I don't even have a sewing machine, or fabric, plus I still have to hem that darn robe."

"There's always fabric paint. And if you're really in a bind you can staple the hem. Just don't forget to use a black Sharpie to touch up the staples afterward."

How Project Runway of her. I never would have thought!

In the inimitable words of Tim Gunn, it's "make it work" time.

After braiding my daughter's hair in 6 tight rows and getting her off to bed, I simmer a soup pot of water, dump in the whole bottle of black dye plus a cup of salt, and stir the inky cocktail. Meanwhile I'm in the kitchen sink washing the stiff skirt with dish soap to try to break down the fibers a bit. At first, water doesn't even penetrate the fabric. It just beads off. Shit. This isn't going to work, is it. I add more soap, agitate it, and keep scrunching it and dunking it in warm water until it softens and eventually soaks through the fabric. I toss the sopping mess into the pot of dye.

Stirring, I turn the heat to low and watch as this navy blue skirt miraculously, all 100% polyester of it, turns to black in about 18 minutes.

Yes! It worked!

Now, about that hem.

The hell with a stapler. Thank God for Stitch Witchery and an iron. But for some reason, after repeated ironings, it didn't take, so here I am hemming the entire circumference of her robe. By hand.

Then I make book titles on the secret compartment faux book "boxes" she'll collect her candy in, a fantastic discovery I found at the local discount store. With some fancy lettering in glittery gold and black permanent marker, the often-referenced volumes, Hogwarts: A History and A History Of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot, come to life on the covers and spines.

Next day, arriving at her school just before the parade, I help her into her outfit and remove the braids. A little back-teasing and hairspray and brown eye pencil create the infamous "bushy" hair and thick eyebrows.

Grey knee socks and a red striped tie complete her English schoolgirl look. I fasten her robes with the fancy clasp. She grabs her books.

It's more than a costume. It's an authentic character transformation...

Straight from the pages of the Harry Potter septogy (that's trilogy times seven), Miss Hermione Granger Lives!

Happy girl.

Tired Mommy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy, Busy

Been in a bit of a blur these days. Been building over here. Not much time for posting.

Been working on the website(s)
Been designing my business cards
Received them from the printer today. (They turned out better than expected. Yay!)
Been booking additional seminars.
Been leading the already booked seminars.
Been advancing the upcoming seminars.
Been building on the building I've already done.

One sure way to get me to write that next guidebook is to announce it's release date and book a seminar around it.

After months of procrastination, I have about 2 1/2 weeks to write, edit, proof, and receive back from the printer my next product. Jeez I love a challenge! But if you knew that my first guidebook was raced to the finish line in order to have copies raffled off during a local Mom's Night Out, you'd know this is how I roll. Deadline=Delivery.

Now that I know my way around a Pages layout, you can bet I'll be designing those glossy postcards for it too. (Sharpdots, my new best friend for affordable, delicious promotional cards, bookmarks, postcards by the thousands.)

And I just found out I can have a mobile credit card app on my new iphone. Who says I can't become a mobile merchant and an independent bookseller too?

Did I mention that I have to dye and hem a Halloween costume by tomorrow afternoon's costume parade? Without a sewing machine?

Love to my peeps out there. Have a rockin' Halloween!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Message In The Aftermath

winding path
Photo: Winding Path

A little over a month into the new school year, I find myself standing back and perusing the vista. I've trekked a good long way, but only in looking backward do I find clarity in the path revealed.

A couple of comments my new virtual friend Deb posted recently have been knocking around my brain, reverberating. Regarding A Few Small Repairs and things in my life breaking down in clusters:

"There's always a message somewhere..." and "What will you do when you run out of things to fix?"

...hahaha. Indeed.

You see, in the midst of the hailstorm, head down, body tucked for warmth and protection against the onslaught of elements, one is merely managing to get from point A to point B. Forget C, D and E or the long-held vision of WXYZ. No. A...A.5...A.75 and eeking out a B will suffice. If you get to B you've done a good thing. Kick the ball, get 10 more balls, begin again!

Let me try to explain.

I spent the better part of the last 2-3 years giving out... to the little school, to the surrounding community, the blustery district political policy machine, while many stressed-out parents, school issues, and larger district-wide problems felt like a million little hands of need...need, constant need...pulling at me for attention.

I am, by nature, a giving person.

I am, by nature, a capable problem-solver.

I am, by nature, one who doesn't sit idly by. I have to try. Something.

But I am now, at this moment, removed from being entrenched in many of the immediate issues. I am no longer there.

I am, at this moment, for the first time in many moons, turning the focus back inward. Not out there to the wider community, but back here. To my self. My work. My family. My environment. Our homestead.

It feels good.

It feels much-needed and necessary. As if all things, eventually, return home. OM.

I reflect back to this former post, Cleaning House, and sense the mounting disarray and neglect around our home even then. Years worth of repairs and maintenance got displaced during the onslaught. Freed from the many burdens, I am just now getting caught up around here.

We are no longer in a fixer-upper school. Although admirable, although deeply committed to the cause, although I adore the community of like-minded in-the-trench-warriors, I am absolutely and completely relieved, RELIEVED, to be free from the constancy of effort needed at that little place.

I still have great love and respect for the community and the work being done there. I still lend a helping hand and offer support when I can. I still bump into staff and friends there. We're still there every day at the bus stop. I recently helped lead a grassroots letter-writing campaign that actually saved a no-seniority teacher from being fired last month due to increased class size ratios. (Through the grace of God, the powers that be, and the cumulative power of mobilized, outspoken parents, we were able to get her a waiver.) And even though we're not there anymore, I still do CARE.

But I don't have to feel like I'm holding up the walls anymore.

I can LET GO.

I can revert the focus back here. Back to center. Back to me, my daughter, us.

I've been volunteering in her new classroom every other week or so. This is a luxury she sadly had to sacrifice in the past. At the other school I was too busy with the big picture issues like school-wide infrastructure, policy, communications, professional development, community outreach, tours. I didn't have time to work in just one classroom; I worked on behalf of the whole school. At her new school, I work in her classroom, for her teacher, with her group of kids. I can be present in her experience, once a week or every other week, and it's very rewarding for us both. And the class will survive without me if I don't make it in. There's already a TA in every class. What I bring is bonus support.

At the new school, they assign a value system for everything you donate, a point per half hour of volunteer time, a point per every $5 spent on either a fundraiser or supplies, tabulated monthly. There are built-in incentives like class parties for the class/grade with the most points accumulated.

I can't even begin to describe what assigning a value unit to donated time and services has done for me in terms of re-thinking the value of my efforts, and how much I have accumulated over a period of time. It makes me conscious of what I choose to give and how much, because now I am logging it in. I can't even fathom how many points our family would have collected over the past years with everything we used to do for that other school, me with my full-time load, my husband as booster club president.

So as the focus shifts back homeward, trusting that this new school has its systems not just under control but organized and thriving, I am beginning to relax. Catch up. Repair and replace my own fix-it list. Update. And also, gestate new ideas.

We found ourselves sitting around the living room at 9:30 the other night not with a stack of school-related issues to delve into or a 2-3 hour debate about it, but instead deciding which movie to watch. (We ended up playing games on our iphones. Dreaded Word Warp! Seriously, if you love playing with words, stay away!) I actually hosted a dinner party for friends last week and instead of a burden, it felt lovely, fantastic. It reminded me that even though I used to love to host gatherings, I had no capacity to host much of anything over the past few years, so I just didn't. But now I am craving a more relaxed, social, you-know, joy-filled life.

I find myself making homemade pasta, fresh rolled empanadas, and developing new seasonal cocktails. I feel an abundance all around. I am taking time to breathe in the sun streaking through the glass, casting its brilliant particles of vibrancy and possibility all through and around me. At night the moon cuts through the sky in a swath of brilliance, lifting my heart, beckoning me to wake up, embrace the purity of its loving illumination. Lit from within, I become that same beacon of light radiating outward in my life.

I am happy. Possibilities abound.

I spoke to a group of parents at a preschool the other night and walked away on such a high. I get to share my wisdom, my passion with others, and the exchange is palpable. I love what I do. It is meaningful work. I feel I am making an impact. I could go on and on.

I suddenly feel that as I clear through the backlog and get current around here, the path that I had been on becomes even more clear. The work I am doing, and the book I want to write about it all seems just that much more tangible and within reach. I couldn't write it while my head was so deep in the trenches. I had no perspective there. I was just getting by, surviving moment to moment between rounds of mortar.

It is only now that I am removed from it all that I can see the vista, that I can even begin to write about what just took place and my path through it. And there is a lot to tell.

The message is: it takes a lot of courage to chuck out all that work and start somewhere fresh. Sometimes that is the best thing one can do.

In honor of another friend, Ms Link, and her courage to start over as well, may we be filled with the wonder of what is unfolding in this NOW moment... as we gain perspective on where we've just bushwhacked through.

Many thanks...

The stone steps wind through the woods for a long ways.