Sunday Morning! Taking Time To Nurture Our Souls!

Sunday Morning!

Sunday morning always seems to have a special feeling…whether I’m attending church, going to work as a nurse in the NICU, or enjoying a leisure breakfast with my husband, I love the unique pace of a beautiful Sunday.  More than ever before, it has become a day to reflect and take the opportunity to truly be grateful for all the many blessings I enjoy.  My cute hubby, who is a news junkie of sorts, has also deemed it a good news day–a much-needed break from the grind of the regular work week and a day to nurture our souls so that we can be better fortified to live our best lives.  For some time now, we have recorded the CBS news show, “Sunday Morning” that used to be hosted by veteran TV journalist, Charles Osgood.  The unique stories shared on this wonderfully produced program, spotlight the innate goodness found in most people and their genuine desire to serve and uplift others.  After all–when it’s all said and done…isn’t that what life should really be about?

Sunday Morning! Nurturing Our Souls!

“Wishing you a happy Sunday!  Let’s do what makes our souls shine!”  Steve Hartman on “Sunday Morning”

Taking The Time To Nurture Our Souls!

In today’s society, we tend to have the need to constantly push ourselves to achieve and always show strength–and while these are admirable attributes in and of themselves, we run the risk of making life more about accomplishments and less about being loving and doing more of those things that bring us happiness.  If you’re feeling a bit stretched to your limits–you just might find that any given Sunday morning is the perfect time to be a little introspective and take a personal inventory of the things that nurture your soul and create more joy in your life.  My husband is a financial planner and makes the analogy on occasion, that if you don’t make regular deposits into your bank account of life, so to speak, there will come a time when you won’t have anything left to withdraw.  Wise insight!  How then, do we go about nurturing our souls so we can open our hearts and be more caring?

♥ Count Our Blessings

It’s sounds a bit cliché, but perhaps one of the best ways to find more contentment and joy in our lives is to really recognize what we have to be thankful for…whether you write these things down in a journal or just take time for a moment or two of thoughtful meditation, acknowledging our blessings seems like one of the best ways to nurture our souls!

Sunday morning! Taking Time To Nurture Our Souls!

Most anything from generic spiral notebooks to small pocket planners work well for jotting down some thankful thoughts, but if you’d like a special gratitude journal, Rifle Paper Co. has a good variety of unique ones!  

It goes without saying, that a personal thank-you is always the best way to express gratitude!

Showing gratitude.

My mom always used to say, “Gratitude unexpressed is not gratitude!”

♥  Unplug And Look Up!

I know this seems to be the “catch phrase” of this generation, but with the influx of information from all the technology readily available at our fingertips, it does seem that more often than not, our eyes are constantly looking down at our phones or are affixed on some other sort of screen.  As I’ve made a conscious effort to put my phone away during those times that I’m playing with my grandkids or out for the evening our with my husband, I can vouch for the fact that a big part of nurturing my soul has come from looking up and being truly present in the moment when spending time with family and friends.  In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to find excuses to plan special occasions with family and friends, where we get together and socialize the old-fashioned way with fun games, good food and lively conversation.

Nurturing our souls.

I think every family has a few favorite games that they love to play together, but if you want some great ideas for some hilarious and technology-free fun, then check out the “Unplug and Play” game book by Brad Berger!

♥  Create A Home Sweet Home!

I’m a firm believer that your home should be that comfortable safe haven from the outside world, where you go to surround yourself with the people and things you love the most!  While I don’t necessarily adhere to overly strict rules when it comes to keeping a nice house, one of the first things I learned in nursing school is that a neat environment lends itself to our overall well-being!  The rhythm of a good weekend where equal parts of work and play are enjoyed, always serves to help me nurture my soul, especially when a little quiet introspection, while relaxing at home on a lovely Sunday morning is included!

Home sweet home pillow.

“A Sunday well spent…brings a week of content!”  Old Proverb

♥  Strengthen Our Body And Minds! 

All too often, we prioritize everyone and everything else in our lives except for time to care for ourselves, leaving us feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed.  As a result, we find we’re living in a state of chronic stress without fully realizing it.  Living this way can take a huge toll on our physical health, as well as our mental state of mind.  Recognizing that our bodies and minds…and ultimately our spirits are all connected, gives us a powerful incentive to do better at including some regular physical exercise and mindful creativity to help us live a more balanced and vibrant life style.  Taking time to do these things helps us to have a sense of inner peace, which is key to nourishing our souls.  Creating simple routines to include a little self-care is obviously a very individualized process, but taking care of ourselves is integral to being more fully present for others.

Nourishing our souls quote.

“A happy life is manifested in a more balanced union of the body, mind and soul.”  Tribute Journal

♥  Love More Fully!

Ultimately, when it comes to nourishing our souls, I think you’ll agree, that loving with a generous heart is what seems to matter most.  In her article, “Rx For The Soul” psychologist, Dr. Judith Rich, states that “the soul is here to learn to love it all, even and perhaps especially, those things the ego thinks are unlovable.”  Maybe by loving the unlovable parts of ourselves and others, we’ll see the good and decent parts of one another more clearly and our souls will find peace and a greater acceptance of people from all walks of life!

Nuturing our souls.

“At the end of our life, our questions are simple:  Did I live well?  Did I love fully?”  Jack Kornfield

As I close this post, I want to share a good news story by TV journalist, Steve Hartman, on a recent “Sunday Morning” episode.

Happy Sunday…and best blessings to everyone!

Sunday blessings

“Do not face the day until you have faced God in prayer!”  Bible Quotes

Now it’s your turn…what do you do to nourish your soul?

–Much love, Mary

The Cookbook Challenge! Garden Pasta!

The Cookbook Challenge!  Garden Pasta!

If you’re like me, you might be feeling a little overrun with all the fresh veggies you’ve picked from your garden before the fall freeze gets to them.  This month’s Cookbook Challenge came partly out of desperation to find creative ways to use up some of our abundant tomato harvest.

The Cookbook Challenge!

“My green thumb has come only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.”  H. Fred Ale

At Home With Ina Garten!

One of the ways my hubby  likes to unwind after a long day at work, is to kick back and watch a good cooking show.  (I know…funny!)  If you were to ask me who his favorite Food Network chef is…hands down, it would be Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa.  I think it’s her homey meals served without a lot of fanfare to family and friends, including her congenial husband, Jeffrey, who has become a celebrity of sorts, in his own right.

While it’s true that we own several cookbooks, we have collected more of Ina Garten’s than any other chef…and her “Barefoot Contessa At Home” is a favorite, because like it states on the cover, it truly is great recipes you’ll use over and over again…so it just made sense that in searching for a fun, new recipe to use some of our tomatoes in, I reached for this cookbook.

Ina Garten cookbook.

“My extravagance is my garden, it’s the first thing I look at every morning, it gives me such pleasure.”   Ina Garten

We’ve made quite a few recipes from this cookbook, but this was the first time trying this one…it’s the perfect recipe trifecta; simple, healthy and delicious!

Garden Pasta

Ina Garten explains that she got this recipe from a good friend, Jean Halberstam, who had a cookware store in Nantucket where they both lived.  She also states that the recipe is the essence of summer lingering into fall–that sold me!

4-6 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 

Garden pasta recipe.

This year, we planted a fun variety of tomatoes in our garden…from heirloom, to assorted cherry tomatoes, as well as the popular red celebrity tomatoes.  I cut all the tomatoes I used to about the same size as the halved cherry tomatoes.  

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

2 tbsp. minced garlic 

Since we like garlic on the lighter side, I sprinkled garlic powder to taste.

1/2 small red onion, minced

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Freshly chopped basil leaves

1 pound angel hair pasta  

Garden pasta recipe.

I like a little more substantial pasta with this recipe, so I used the Al Dente brand fettucine noodles.  They have a great, fresh taste and cook up quickly too.  

1 1/2  cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving.

Combine the cut tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, basil leaves, salt and pepper into a large bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to let marinate.  You could also do this the night before too.  

Right before serving, bring a large pot of water with 2 tbsp. salt and a splash of olive oil to boil and add pasta.  Cook according to directions on the package.  It usually takes only 2-3 minutes if using angle hair pasta. 

Drain cooked pasta well, then stir it into tomato mixture.  Add parmesan cheese and toss well.  Garnish with more basil leaves if desired.  I added some toasted pine nuts too; they give the recipe a tasty crunch factor.

Serve in large bowls and enjoy!

The Cookbook Challenge! Garden Pasta!Recipe!

“It’s hard to have anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato”  Tribute Journal  

Now, more than ever before, we find ourselves yearning to gather with family and friends around a good meal, sharing laughter and expressions of love!

I’d love to know the fresh veggie recipes you enjoy this time of year.

–Mary

Admirable Women! The Adventurous Spirit Of Amelia Earhart!

Admirable Women!

Continuing with another journal entry in the admirable women series…I want to celebrate the adventurous spirit of Amelia Earhart.  In July of this year, History Channel’s documentary “Amelia Earhart–The Lost Evidence”  renewed interest in researching the mysterious disappearance in 1937 of Earhart and her flight navigator, Fred Noonan, when new evidence and pictures were found of the pair as she attempted to become the first pilot to fly around the world.  Regardless of how she died, Amelia Earhart will forever be a lasting symbol of the tenacity and perseverance of American women!

Admirable Women!

I imagine any young girl who has studied the adventurous life of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight, in history class, envisioned herself a little more daring…and a little more determined to follow her dreams, no matter what they were–I know I did!

The Adventurous Spirit Of Amelia Earhart!

Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897.  In reading about Amelia’s early life, you soon realize that she defied traditional gender roles at a fairly young age…she played basketball, took auto mechanics courses, excelled in chemistry, and served as a Red Cross nurse’s aid during World War I in Toronto, Canada, where she spent most of her spare time watching the pilots in the Royal Flying Corps train at the local airfields.

Amelia Earhart quote.

Airplane clip art.

 

 

Ten Fun Facts About Amelia Earhart!

 

1. When Amelia Earhart was eleven years old, in 1908, she saw one of the Wright Brothers first airplanes at the Iowa State Fair.  She didn’t think much of the plane at the time, and told her mother she had no interest in flying.

2. On December 28, 1920, Amelia and her father visited an air show in California and Amelia went on her first plane ride that day.  She later said that she knew she had to fly as soon as the plane got a few hundred feet off the ground.

3. Another pioneering female aviator, Anita “Neta” Snook, taught Earhart how to fly at Kinner Field near Long Beach, California.  Amelia worked hard at a variety of jobs from freelance photographer to being a truck driver so she could earn enough money to take flying lessons.  According to the official Amelia Earhart biography website, Earhart immersed herself in flying and spent as much time as she could at the airfield.  Not wanting to stand out from the other more experienced pilots, Amelia cropped her hair and even slept in her new leather jacket several nights to give it a more “worn” look.

The Adventurous Spirt of Amelia Earhart!

“Flying is not all clear sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”  Amelia Earhart

 4. Amy Earhart, Amelia’s mother, an adventurer herself, (the first woman to ever climb Pikes Peak in Colorado) encouraged her daughter’s passion for flying and even used some inheritance money to help Amelia buy a second-hand plane six month’s after her first flying lessons.  It was bright yellow, so she nicknamed it “The Canary” and set her sights on establishing herself as a respected aviator, always displaying remarkable talent and bravery.  In 1923, she became the first woman to get a pilot’s license from the National Aeronautic Association. (NAA) 

 5. Amelia Earhart wrote several articles that were published in Cosmopolitan magazine–ie. “Shall Your Daughter Fly” and “Why Are Women Afraid To Fly” recounting her adventures as a female pilot in an attempt to encourage other women to fly, even if they just did so commercially.  (While commercial flights didn’t really take off until after WWII, they do date back to as early as 1914.)  

Strong Women quote by Amelia Earhart.

 “The most effective way to do it…is to do it! ” Amelia Earhart

 6. In 1929, Amelia Earhart organized and then became the first president of the “Ninety Nines” a group of 99 women pilots that promoted advancement in aviation for women.  The organization still exists today and provides scholarships and education for women who share the passion of flying.

 7. The publicist, George Putnam, who had published several writings by the renowned pilot, Charles Lindbergh, proposed to Amelia Earhart six times before she agreed to marry him.  Amanda Hess, of the New York Times, recently found a letter penned by Earhart prior to her marriage, where she states that she would not quit flying, and that she and George should not “…interfere with the others’ work or play.”  In 1939, after Earhart’s death, Putnam authored Amelia’s biography, entitled “Soaring Wings” as a tribute to his beloved wife.

 8. After a series of record-making flights, Amelia Earhart created flying clothes for women that were mostly comprised of loose trousers and zipper tops with big pockets.  Later, she designed a fashion line that she described as being “…clothes for the woman who lives actively!”  The clothing debuted with much anticipation and fanfare in 1933 at RH Macy & Co. in New York City.    

Amelia Earhart's clothing line.

 “Nothing is achieved by people who give up!”   Amelia Earhart

 9. Although Amelia Earhart may be best known for being the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic, she was also the first person to ever fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, and from Los Angeles to Mexico City, and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey.

10. In June of 1937, Amelia Earhart embarked upon the first around-the-world flight.  On July 2, after completing nearly two-thirds of her historic flight–over 22,000 miles–Amelia and her navigator vanished without a trace, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

Amelia Earhart final flight.

“Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done!”  Amelia Earhart

There are many theories concerning the disappearance of Amelia Earhart on her last fateful flight; some speculate that she ran our of gas looking for her next fuel stop on the Howard Islands in the Pacific Ocean.  Others have thought she may have crashed landed on another small island and died as a cast-away.  Some have even theorized that she and her navigator were captured by the Japanese and accused by their leaders of espionage.

Whatever your beliefs, I hope that Amelia Earhart is remembered most for being a strong female figure who encouraged the empowerment of women, in the best sense of the term, who radiated kindness, strength and independence and eschewed conventional female roles and forged new ones for herself and other women who would follow in the future!  She truly was an admirable woman!

Quote-Amelia-Earhart

Here’s to each of us finding the courage to live out our dreams…no matter our age!

Do you have a favorite history book female role model?  How did they influence your life.  Please share!  

–Mary