A Little Christmas Magic Everyday

I have become an early riser. I like to credit my daughter with converting me as she was born an early riser. Converting her to a late riser was just never going to be and I conceded. After nearly seven years, I am grateful. The early morning has become one of my favorite times of day. I now often wake before her, gasp! It's my fresh start time, deep breath time, thinking and being time, dreaming and planning time. Most of all I'm grateful that it is my time without distraction. There seems to be greater access to peace in the early morning hours.  I don't know if it's the quiet and calm of the house, because I have a similar feeling about the evening just before bed. 

I do believe there's magic in the hours just before sunrise and after sunset, a special kind of stop and take a moment to breathe all that is life in, keep what serves your purpose and let go of the rest. I don't know if it's the magic of the little everyday transformation of light into dark, dark into light or, the routine of it all. 

Routine seems a strange place to find magic, (and by magic I mean a spark, a glint, a moment that moves you) however; it happens there with ease even. Words I never thought I would use to describe myself-early riser and lover of routine- I almost can't even type them, HA I'm still in shock myself. As I move through life I find that the spark of creativity comes just as often from something I do routinely as from something novel. Thus, I have grown to love routine...

During the holiday season, my everyday good life moment comes without fail at the end of the day just before I walk out the door. I have a routine every morning when I walk into BEM GENERAL, I turn the lights on in the kitchen and spa rooms, turn up the heat, turn the display shelf lights on, hang my bag and keys (this is a really dangerous step to skip, if you've ever helped me search for my keys, you know what I'm talking about), turn the store lights on, start the music, stir the coals and put a log on the fire, make coffee or tea, then get to work. With every switch I turn, I smile and am grateful. In the evening, it's the same routine in reverse. After Thanksgiving when the Christmas candles fill the windows with light, this is my favorite moment. Everything is quiet, the soft warm glow of (electric) candles illuminate the worn wood floors, the scent of soap, soaks and other essential oil concoctions and wood smoke linger in the air, I breathe it in and in that moment all is well, I feel only love.
My Christmas wish is that we all have these moments in our everyday, that we each have more of this magic and warmth and love than all else.


Everyday Good Life

Time and again it's the simplest things that fill my heart with gratitude.

As I was walking downstairs this morning in our warm house, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We had propane delivered yesterday and stacked another load of wood at the store. Last winter was such a difficult winter filled with bitter cold and loss. I'm grateful this morning for the warmth that was hard to find last year, and the peace a full tank of gas brings.

I'm grateful to be back in the full swing of making and selling our goods at the General store. Last night when my husband and I were unloading firewood onto the porch our daughter jumped onto the bed of the truck, still in her pink tutu from dance class, and started chucking wood from the middle to the sides where we could reach it. We could hardly keep up with her little almost-7-year-old hands. My heart was full, overflowing as we worked together.

These are the moments that inspire me to take photos, write, create. They are the simplest things and the grandest pleasures, they are the everyday.

This is an everyday good life.


Start Seeing

The day after the Journey for Justice marchers passed through our neighboring towns and I had heard some reports of what had taken place, I dropped my daughter off to catch the bus at my parents’ farm like we always do. I then sat in my truck with my mom and shared with her some of the documented scenes from the march through Gerald and Rosebud. I broke into tears as I described what I had seen, in some instances I had a hard time forming the words to describe what had been done. 

I wept.

I wept for the display of ugliness and hatred and bullying that erupted in my favorite little town. I wept for the cycle of fear and ignorance that was fueled that day. I wept for the fact that I love Rosebud and now every time I hear the town’s name, my stomach turns and I feel sick. I wept for the feeling that I don’t immediately know where we go from here, or where this event leaves us as a community. I know I don’t understand it. I don’t understand who those people even were.  I know that every time I sit down and try to put into words these feelings, I struggle. I look around and everything looks the same, but it doesn’t feel quite right.

I also know that we as a culture and society spend so much energy on classifying ourselves, we don’t see ourselves. Quit spending so much time looking for differences and similarities, and see the souls among us. See that we are all one humanity shaped by our stories and our experiences, but defined only by our existence. The greatest, the only true existence is love. We were created in love and that is the one true light that shines within us all. Start honoring it. Stop protecting it from others, stop keeping track of what others do with theirs, stop worrying, stop fearing, stop reacting. Start seeing.


Breakfast Kefir

One of my favorite ways to have kefir daily is for breakfast. Kefir can be a pretty complete meal on its own, and a tasty way to incorporate some probiotic whole food at breakfast time.
You can make this coffee kefir drink straight in a glass skipping the blender clean up. Adding gelatin completes this on-the-go meal with essential amino acids, protein, and gut healing collagen.
Amino acids, protein, and probiotics, it doesn't get any better. Wait, we're adding chocolate and coffee too!

You'll need:
pint size glass
1/2 c. brewed coffee (Three Story Coffee available from Bem General is top notch)
1 1/2 c. kefir
1 t. powdered gelatin (great lakes brand from grass-fed animals is best)
1 t. cocoa powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of himalayan or other mineral rich sea salt

Add 1/2 c. kefir to glass and sprinkle gelatin on top, let dissolve completely (couple minutes)
Add cocoa.
Add hot coffee, stir.
Add remainder of kefir, stir.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt.