Archive for September, 2008

The yoga class, that I started attending a while back, ends with 15 minutes of meditation –something I have to work at.


The whole idea is to learn to clear you mind and be thinking only about the present moment. All the bending, stretching, and balancing leading up to the actual 15 minutes of meditation is supposed to get you ready to actually be able to do that.


Being someone whose mind is constantly in over drive, I have a hard time with just being still. At first it did not bother me so much. I used the time wisely to take a mental inventory of what items I needed to buy on my way home. With enough concentration I could visualize inside the fridge door remembering how full the milk jug was or if we were almost out of yogurt. I could conduct a mental over view of the hall closet trying to remember when the last time I bought toilet paper was and if I ought to get some of that as well. Unfortunately, my mind slowed down just enough one day that I actually heard her say that was exactly what I was not supposed to be doing. Oops.


Determined to “get with the program” I went back to the class ready to try again. This time I took her advice and when I started mentally balancing my check book I just visualized myself putting the thought on a cloud and blowing it gently away. Great, success was mine and I was now open and ready to the new activity that took over my brain.


This time it was an on going dialogue with me about all the things that get on my nerves. I started rehearsing what I would say if I ever saw that woman in Target who had the nerve to tell me I ought to take my baby home when she cries like that – something that happened when Anna Mae was a new born six years ago. Mid-way through the mental back talk I got angry with myself for still being upset about it and started arguing with me about why I needed to just get over it. At the end of 15 minutes I was certain that I was off track again.


I kept going and eventually started reading and learning more about living mindfully and being present. I knew that the short time at the end of yoga was a great opportunity to actually put these ideas into practice. I went to class with determination to focus on my breath, stay in the moment, and relax into — well sleep — a 15 minute power nap if you must know. Again, I was pretty sure that was not the intention, however, I did feel rested and ready for the day when the instructor’s voice woke me up.


All this leads up to my recent breakthrough. Today as I quieted my body and tried to focus on my breath, I had the most amazing thought. I realized that thinking is just too much a part of who I am right now to not do it. I run a household full of kids, schedules, and stuff, I need to plan, make decisions, and communicate. The problem is not that I think but that I mind the fact that I am thinking and that makes me think even more.


So today I didn’t mind all the thinking and it was better. When I worried about the checkbook, I reminded myself that I had just balanced it yesterday – everything was fine. When I started fretting about two family members who are in need of prayer, I quickly asked God to bless them. Finally, when I thought about toilet paper – I just asked my mind to remind me about that later. It did not take long before I could just breath and be quiet and then just as fast it was over and I was thrown back into my day – still not a mindful, meditating, living in the present expert, but successful enough to want to give it another try and honestly that’s challenging enough for right now.

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The Smelly Bridge

When I was a kid there was a bridge that we would go under on our way into the city that was really smelly. I had forgotten about that until tonight when while making dinner. I decided that with the turn in the weather I would make chili and that beer bread would be great with it. As I poured the beer into the dry ingredients there it was… the same smell that surrounded the smelly bridge. When I told the kids that the kitchen smelled like the bridge near Milwaukee they had no idea what I was talking about and, it’s true, I don’t think the bridge smells anymore.

Honestly, the aroma of beer and yeast and whatever it was that created that smell is not all that lovely. However, if you are feeling like talking a walk down memory lane – here is the recipe…

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
14 ounces beer (or 12 ounces beer & 2 ounces water)

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan. Brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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