As a writer and poet I am daily looking for inspiration. Sometimes, inspiration comes in those unexpected moments of seeing a perfectly rounded drop of dew making a prism on a flower petal. You may only catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye as you are rushing out the door to a high pressure meeting. It is the Creator’s way of saying slow down, savor the moment, I am here, I am with you. You are loved beyond measure. You walk in my favor.
At other times, inspiration comes tethered to a tiny fragment of conversation overheard in the corner of your favorite coffee shop as you are hovering over a frothy pumpkin latte. At such a time, you frantically search your pockets for any scrap of paper to scribble down and capture the perfection of the phasing before it escapes you and disappears as quickly as the steam suspended over your latte.
Finally, inspiration arrives like a freight train, that knocks you down and takes your breath away merely by the percussion of it. Like the drenched hiker who took the inspiring photo I posted, while he was plodding up a trail. He rounded a corner at the pristine moment in time when a rainbow was once again proclaiming its covenant, relentlessly brilliant against the backdrop of granite crags.
Now that the celebratory moments of the holidays have past. February brings quiet evenings by a crackling fire. Mesmerizing flames remind us it is a time to reflect and calibrate new endeavors.
Research shows that successful people read books more than watching TV. In his book How to Boost Your Brain by Michael Powell, he states that “watching TV deprives us of more brain nourishing activities…The left brain, responsible for critical thinking, switches off when we watch TV.” We are lulled into a near alpha state that is passive. Reading a book is far more stimulating, reaching into multiple parts of the brain. It’s all about imagination and inspiration!
Influenced by the blog “Unshelved” I am attempting to inventory my personal library and enter information about reach tome. Often it has been like encountering an old friend or the excitement sparked by the possibilities of a new encounter from a book that got shelved and is as yet unread.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get more physically fit, you may have hit a snag about now. The excitement has worn off. In some areas the weather is too blustery to inspire a lot of outdoor activity. If you are like me your body is screaming for chocolate to lighten the mood.
The following recipe is a favorite of a personal trainer and her co-workers. This recipe is flexible, different sweeteners and oils can be substituted depending on what you have available. Another bonus is that it can easily be whipped up in the blender. These brownies have a surprising, secret ingredient that adds nutrition and fiber. Trust me on this one! The brownies are even more moist and tasty the 2nd day as the flavors permeate.
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
1 15 oz. Can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons, flavorless oil (I use avocado oil, grape-seed oil or unflavored coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅔ cup sugar ( monk fruit sugar, maple syrup or honey can be substituted)
½ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon instant coffee
½ cup chocolate chips
Sprinkle of powdered sugar, optional
1. Preheat over to 350° degrees F (176° C) Grease an 8×8” pan and set aside.
2. Put beans, oil, and sugar into your blender or food processor. Blend until combined.
3. Add cocoa powder, salt. baking powder, coffee and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
4. Add eggs and blend until just combined.
5. Mix in chocolate chips by hand until combined.
6. Pour into greased 8×8-inch pan.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is set and brownies are just barely pulling away from the sides of the pan.
8. Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, cut and enjoy!
9. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to restore fresh from the oven gooeyness.
This week I wanted to acknowledge the passing of a stellar athlete, Kobe Bryant. He was not only a great athlete, but he strove to do his best in multiple areas of his life. He was fluent in eight languages. He recognized he had a gift and took steps to develop it. One coach who knew him in the early years of his career stated that Bryant determined to shoot 1.000 free throws a day. He took nothing for granted!
Ironically, in recent years, when a reporter asked Kobe what he wanted to be remembered for he said: “I was blessed with talent, but I worked as if I had none.”
Kobe Bryant, was killed in a helicopter crash January 26, 2020.
In too late Autumn
a lone sparrow
cracks a hidden seed pod in
its hungry beak
a skyward farewell
his geese brothers.
If the unassuming cucumber were assigned human qualities it could accurately be described as a quiet introvert that almost never takes center stage, best supporting actor nominee that never wins the Oscar, a melodious background note that never reaches crescendo.
In years past, buttered cucumber sandwich were a desired after school snack for children in France. The crust-less cucumber sandwich is still a welcome addition to afternoon tea in the British Isles.
The following are some health facts that may prompt you to look for additional ways to add cucumbers to your diet:
Cucumbers hydrate. They are 90% water
They dissolve bladder kidney stones
Heal stomach ulcers
Regulate blood pressure
Promote healthy skin
As we begin to look with hope toward the new year and formulate resolutions as to how we might grow in a positive way, research shows that a good habit can be established in 21 days. A bad habit can be eradicated in the same amount of time. In other words, you are only 21 days away from an inspired future.
Interestingly, experts say the best way to spot counterfeit currency is not to study the markings of a worthless imitation, but to imprint the image of the authentic bill in your brain. With this example in mind, I started to wonder how the habits of successful people compared to the habits of unsuccessful ones. The following list is what I found. Perhaps you can incorporate these successful habits into your lifestyle in the coming year. Remember that “Best friends are there for every new beginning”.
One of my favorite Christmas gifts that I’ve received thus-far is a glass tea pot. When you drop a hand-made lotus tea ball in its center and carefully pour boiling water in, something magical happens. The crude looking shaggy, brown sphere slowly opens and is transformed into a lovely lotus blossom. Not only is this a fascinating process to watch, but when the blossom finishes steeping, the tea that results has a delicious, delicate flavor that is unsurpassed.
Metaphorically speaking, it is the same with us. We may have had a rough start in life. Others may see us only as ordinary, without possibilities. We may even find ourselves in some hot water as a consequence of our own bad choices or through the actions of others that were beyond our control. But, if we endure and refuse to let the opinions of others define who we are, but instead seek the opinion of our Creator and what He says about us, we will have a different outcome. He says we are deeply loved. He says that we are His workmanship [His poem]. He has a grand design that is unique for each life. The result is “beyond what we can ask or think” something unexpected and trans-formative.