Fried Dandelion Flowers (Crunchy Sunshine Nuggets)

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Yes, I said fried flowers. ūüėČ Did you know there are many healing properties associated with dandelion flowers, and even more associated with the dandelion greens?

The yellow flowers have many health benefits as they are a source of antioxidants. They are believed to relieve pain from headaches,  backaches and menstrual cramps.  They relieve stomach cramps and ease depression. WOW! The flowers also contain Vitamin A and Vitamin B12!

I think it’s time to fry some flowers. ūüėČ

YOU’LL NEED:
  • approx. 20 dandelion flower heads, stalks and extraneous green parts removed
  • olive oil/butter for frying (I use equal parts to cover the pan)
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1/2 c flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c milk
  • herbs, optional (I like a sprinkle of rosemary)

Remove as much green from the dandelion flower head as possible, while keeping the flower head intact, which are mild and faintly sweet.

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THE STEPS:
  • Rinse your dandelion flowers and gently pat dry using a paper towel.
  • Place 2 T olive oil, 2 T butter in a frying pan over a medium heat
  • Mix the flour/cornmeal with the salt and favorite herb
  • Dip the flowers first in the beaten egg/milk mixture and then in the seasoned flour/cornmeal.
  • Fry stalk side up. flip when golden, about 2 minutes.
  •  Remove and drain on kitchen paper

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Enjoy eating “crunchy sunshine nuggets” ūüėČ

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Grace Collectors

 

As I roamed the cemetery reading the names and dates, sayings and commentaries… I stumbled across this inscription. “She was too good, too gentle and Fair To dwell in this cold world.” Someone lost someone dear. Their tears probably fell into the very earth I stood upon as I read the lines.

I have a theory that pain experiences create vacant wells within us. Pain vacancies are cavernous, hollow tombs, longing to be filled. Grace seems to find it way to the tomb’s door, asking for entrance. Grace is a chameleon, appearing to us based on our need. – water for our parched mouths, light in our darkness, comfort when we’re lonely, courage in our weariness. Maybe our need in itself is a grace to us, so that we will look and listen, receive and rest. When we welcome grace inside, the cold, black-and-white spaces, once horrid reminders of loss, become masterpieces in contradictions; grand paradoxes. Grace is miraculous like that.

And so, I roam the little graveyards imagining each spot as grace collectors. Tears and sorrow made way for the sacred and hopeful.  I feel respect for those who felt the pain of loss in this very spot. I don’t have to know them to honor them, They are contrasts to fast-paced, mindless living.

Cemeteries are grace collectors.

You know how I should feel

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The evening sun was sinking and a breeze drifting by. She moved a little faster on the warm path that meandered through the dense GA trees toward the creek. She desperately wanted to see the sun’s shimmer on the water at dusk, even if for a moment. The physical effort mirrored her busy mind, wandering this way and that, contemplating the day’s happenings as she scurried. Ideas tossed about, churning like a river running free. But questions nagged. “What if” thoughts followed one by one like soldiers on a mission she couldn’t stop.

Everything on the path was wild and green, with spring blossoms bursting. She rushed around the last bend with arms outstretched running her fingers along the edge of the leaves. She knew how many steps until she would hear the familiar babble of the water. (Deep breath.)  Yes, there it is. She closed her eyes and smiled.

Her sitting spot was worn and waiting as always- inviting, open, and always generous. As she went to sit, a flutter caught her attention. A bluebird perched¬†on the branch along the creek, watching the water with her. She noted the¬†tiny movement. A twitch. A chirp. What was the bird saying? As if on cue the bird’s eyes moved until it found hers. She was sure of it. She thought, ‘Am I chatting with a bluebird’? Today she thought the answer was “yes”. An omen, maybe? She wondered as she watched the bird move toward her on the branch, just slightly nodding before flying up in to the sky toward the faint moon and stars that were emerging. ¬†Such elaborate elegance was worthy of notice. That thought was¬†the one drifting in with ease now. And thoughts that she should “chat with birds” more often.

A little bird made¬†her forget what needed forgetting and remember what needed remembering. One little bird defeated the “what if” soldiers, reminding her that moments are for soaking in wonder, not worry. ¬†Moments have always been about wonder. Little birds know this secret—-little bluebirds flying high. They know how we should feel. Feeling good.

The Secret Garden

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We explore and adventure to find less and less untouched places. Undiscovered land, ocean and sky appears almost extinct. In one moment everything seems in reverse when a “spot of earth” seems to “find” us. The wonder of it catches our breath. We find ourselves surprised that we are surprised by the secret garden.

There is Always More to the Story

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When I was young(er), I used to think that there would be this “point” where I’d feel “together”, “concluded”, “more sure”. I definitely did not foresee the opposite happening, but it has. My list of things I know dwindles and dwindles. Most of growing old(er) seems a series of “aha moments” that have convinced me that I¬†require a lot more God, grace, humility, forgiveness, personal development, faith, trust, intuition…(frankly, more of everything). Basically I need more because of what I don’t know. (anyone relate?) But, the flip side is knowing some things deeper than before. Time gives the ground space to¬†get water to the roots, deep, deep down in places known, but unseen. There’s always more to the tree’s story.

It’s as if when we were young we were looking through binoculars. (Who gave them to us? I don’t know), We were looking at a specific point on the mountain top. Because of the binoculars we could see clearly and surely every little detail. ¬†But as we age the scope widens until the binoculars are gone and we find we’re looking with bare eyes at the vastness. There’s a stripping away of all this is not “us” until the whole panoramic view is seen and takes our breath away.¬†Indescribable. Unbelievable, surprising even ourselves. Yes, there’s always more to the story.

So, aging brings us face to face with a gift: not what we know, but the gift of knowing what we don’t know. Without grace for that epiphany, we can feel so frustrated that we only saw the binocular view. But, it was a view. However it was handed to us, it happened. It had beauty and meaning. Yes, it had a shelf life, but it was part and parcel to who we have become.

The binocular view is close-up, detail-oriented, vivid, personal, spirited, riveting. There was something sure about it. In our aging, we must have grace for that zeal; grace for the time we thought we knew something so specific, and then grace for when we don’t. I have a feeling the panoramic view is just a beginning place as well. There are other dimensions and perspectives ahead. There’s always more to the story.

Wisdom says we need all of them, ¬†the close-up, the panoramic perspectives and all that is between and after. It’s all part of traversing in this place; a journey deeper and deeper into unknown; a journey deeper and deeper into peace. Whatever¬†view, we gain and lose. Whatever view,¬†we see differently. than another. Whatever view, observations and experiences reveal. In each and every view,¬†wisdom speaks. Wisdom carries grace indiscriminately because no matter the view, there is always more to the story.

 

 

What to do when we feel like “Cousin Itt”

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Remember Cousin “Itt”? The crazy ‘hair-in-the-face” cousin on the “Addams Family”? Oh, wow, who in the world thought of this one? I’ll tell ya. Probably someone going through menopause or some type of hormonal storm. I’ve seen Cousin “Itt” in the mirror in the last few years. Shocking, I know. But I have a strategy in play now

What to do when we feel more like “Cousin Itt” than ourselves?

  1. Talk to yourself nicely. Yep. Do it. You’re not crazy, I promise. We must talk to ourselves with kindness and praise, using our empowering “I am” statements. They speak louder and truer than our demeaning criticisms.
  2. Believe. Believe with confidence that “This too shall pass”. I know, easier said than done. But it will. Nothing ever stays the same. (good or bad, change will come).
  3. Don’t. When in doubt, we don’t do it. If we don’t have clarity about a next step, we don’t pretend we do. Waiting is NOT our enemy in this odd space, waiting is our friend.
  4. Be honest. Acknowledge feeling “off” is part of life. Everyone experiences this. We’re normal. It’s really ok to let someone know we don’t feel as ‘dazzling and smashing’ as we appear. ūüėČ Lock “guilt” and “shame” in the closet. They don’t belong here. Say “I love you” more, not less.
  5. Be quiet. Yes, really. Trust me on this one. Zip that lip. If we don’t feel like “us”, then we need to wait until we at least agree with ourselves before waxing “eloquently” in conversation. ūüėČ ¬†Why does the crazy-brained one want to talk so much? I don’t know.
  6. Say “no”. The world will not collapse if we “bow out”. I can hear your “buts”. They’re flimsy. Give it up, sweetie-pie. Say “NO” It’ll be ok.
  7. Nourish your body and soul.¬†We must listen to our inner small voice. Pray, read, listen, meditate.¬†To the best of our ability, we need to choose the good stuff. Sleep longer, eat the veggies, laugh heartily…we KNOW what we need. Maybe 20 minutes of “I Love Lucy” is just the right entertainment for the night. Take a walk, look for beauty, drive the scenic route…
  8. Ask. Ask for what we need. There are no mind-readers in our house. (I was surprised to learn this). We have to really be intentional to communicate¬†what we know we need. There are plenty of times we won’t have any idea, but when we do, we MUST grow up and ask. We all take turns needing. Next time, we can be the giver, but right now we are the ask-er. Own it.
  9. Apologize. If we did not make it through #5, chances are we might have some apologies to make. It’s ok. Grace is available. We don’t need to make excuses. Just apologize and mend quickly. Love deeply. Share freely to get back to every part of us possible.
  10. Breathe. (10 minutes to peace) I’m talking about the deep in your soul kind of breathing. No shallow huffs and puffs. Set the timer for 5 minutes of the deepest and longest breaths you can manage. Now set it for 5 more minutes. Let’s close our eyes¬†(continue to breathe deeply) while imagining the most beautiful and restful place. (I choose a beach for my destination). Stay there 5 minutes.¬†Don’t leave. I know we’re tempted. Stay. It’ll be worth it.

Before we know it, ¬†we’ll be feeling like ourselves again. I won’t lie, I know this season can last from minutes to years, but in the process (no matter how long) we will always be glad we were proactive. No loss in trying, right? And in the end, we might find that we have grown so that the “old” us isn’t the best version anymore.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves, those raging hormones and volatile emotions (Itt) will come knocking again. ¬†I think it helps to have a plan when the doorbell rings. And we might just have the courage and foresight to dead-bolt the door.