Posts from the ‘A Life Less Frightening’ Category

~^~Water Side Farmers’ Market~^~

The Shrimp Boat

Located at the back of this building was Salty Hawg, the grille where we enjoyed ice cold fresh oysters and delicious cat fish, dockside.

Now that the air is warming up, the sun is shining longer and the sweet smell of magnolias is in the air, Summer is in full swing here in the south.  Not only is this an excellent time to bring out the bold colors, and skin baring clothing, but also a time when out door events become their most popular. One of these being Panama City’s Water side Farmers’ market.  Each Saturday morning (8am-12pm) local farmers and artists set up their stalls and put on their biggest smiles. Local fishermen dock in the salty marina and begin preparing their haul to sell to those searching for the freshest fish in all of Bay County.  It is a great way to get the family out and connecting on Saturday afternoons as they have everything from your usual produce, crafts and home wares, to fun things for the kids: zucchini box car racing and crafts.

I have taken to going out early each Saturday with my Sister and her Hubby, and I am looking forward to my own fella joining me in the very near future. Today was not an exception. We slept in a tad later than usual, but made it just in time for a delicious dockside lunch of fresh, ice cold oysters and breaded catfish at a local bar/grille The Salty Hawg.  The puppy was in attendance also, munching rather noisily on a smuggled in Chicken nugget.  After we had finished stuffing our bellies with some of the most deliciously fresh sea food we could find, we ventured away from the farmers’ market to a road a little less traveled and boy were we rewarded for it.

Nestled along the banks of the bayou tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main street we found Little Village, a small cluster of buildings housing local artists crafts, and a yoga studio that also sells New Leaf Smoothies, complete with an amazing little sitting area with a view of the bayou. The puppy was rather intrigued by the scrap metal artwork, welded into the shapes of a Frog Mariachi band, or flying pigs.  That is, until he ran face first into the steely plume of a scrap metal rooster.

Three little shacks stood in bright colors on one side of the walk way, their little decks bedazzled with Sea shell chimes, and inside, their walls were decorated with hand sculpted wall art.  On the other side of the walk way a covered entrance shaded a nice Tea table with several wicker high backed chairs and the doorway into the yoga studio. The other side of the structure housed the small kitchen where Kaysea Lindsey produces New Leaf Smoothies. And just beyond the tea table a sturdy beautifully crafted deck stretched out over the water, the seating area for New Leaf smoothies.  The trees overhanging the deck were draped with glass baubles and fishing nets, hand made chimes and any other gloriously creative hand made wares that would hang from their branches.

We basked in the cool shade of Little Village, until the pup spotted another rascal approaching from across the walk way. We had to scurry away as to not frighten off the new pup toting patrons. Across the street stood an old structure that was, once upon a time, the first skating rink in Panama City, Florida. It’s tall doorway standing wide open, a view of it’s all wooden insides open for the whole world. out front antiques and pieces of salvaged iron work lined its drive way, begging to be picked through and taken to a loving home. Design Salvage, a sign up the street had advertised it. The couple that owns it makes a living salvaging antiques and interesting structure pieces from old southern homes. Among the treasures were many many old cabinets, kitchen islands, old chandeliers, and odds and ends of furniture pieces you can only find in old southern homes, and example being the Snake Cradle we found out front.  In the old south, when homes were still built with cross breezes and breeze ways in mind, dwellers were faced with more than a cooling problem. In the summer months when the doors and windows were left open to enjoy the steamy bayou air, often times predators – especially snakes in the bayous- would find their way into the home, and eventually the cradle or the crib.  To remedy this, cradles were soon made with shutter like structures on the top, lined with fine mesh and latched. While they look like some awful Pie safe for infants, they were quite a clever, life saving invention. I almost wanted to take this gem home simply for its rarity.

By the time we finished scouring the old building for treasures, it was late in the afternoon, and the heat was finally starting to set in to our already sun-kissed skin. The pup was more than happy to express how hot and tired he was by dragging us over to the largest shade tree he could find and flopping down, spread eagle in the cool sand.  We decided to call it a day, but we are looking forward to next Saturday.  Today was exactly what I needed after a very very busy couple of weeks, and I will be looking into taking up Yoga classes at Little village. Doing yoga with a group once a week might help change things up and add a challenge to my usual practice!

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*^~Inner Strife~^*

 

‘Ika aku, ‘ike mai, kokua aku kokua mai; pela iho ka nohana ‘ohana.
(Recognize others, be recognized, help others, be helped, such is a family relationship)

“This is the lesson I bring to you today, ducklings. It is a lesson that you will see touched upon quite often on my blog, and should be practiced often in life.  We live in a society that never sits still, never settles, and views happiness and joy as a luxury to be had only by children, and by adults on specific days of the year.  We, as a species, have adapted by bonding in complaints, and shared negativity. It’s such a commonality among us that it’s the quickest and easiest form of connecting with each other.  

It was a habit I noticed in myself while working at Margaritaville.  I would clock in, and within the first five minutes of walking through my office door, I was already pouring out my misery of the days events (no matter how early). Never mind the fellow who held the door open for me on the way in. Never mind the Executive Chef who had prepared a snack for me because it was obvious I was not having a good day. No, I was focused on that one person in traffic that felt compelled to cut me off, or that one employee who hit just the wrong nerve. And the rest of the day was downhill from there until I was home, and complaining as I walked in the door. It’s a miserable existence, and it wasn’t until the day I quit, and felt the weight lift off my shoulders that it occurred to me: I was feeding the wrong wolf.

Now, that sounds obscure, so please, allow me to clarify. In native American folk lore, a wise man tells his Grandson that within us all there are two wolves, a vicious, angry wolf; and a kind, noble wolf, forever fighting a battle. The young boy asks him “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”  and his answer is clear, simple, and wise “The one you feed”.   We are a nation of dark wolves.  But feeding your noble wolf isn’t as difficult as we make it.  I could write on and on and on forever about all the little details, but, for the sake of those of you who are busy like myself,  I will keep them short and concise. Try at least 3 of them each day, and you’ll find yourself in a better disposition each day. By improving others happiness around yourself, you improve your own happiness. As a wise man once said. In order for happiness to flow to you, it must flow from you.”

  • Try to accept people with an open mind, and refrain from making judgments, which are generally wrong anyway.
  • Let them know how much you appreciate them.
  • Any deed done for someone is a kind one when you don’t expect something in return.
  • Do little things, like holding open doors. Little things can often make the biggest difference in someone else’s day.
  • Accept them for who they are, and who they strive to be.
  • Let them know they’ve made you smile.
  • Be with them when they need you, and for the rest of the time let them be free.
  • Tell them the truth.
  • Tell them why they make a difference in your life that one one else possibly could.
  • Help them help themselves, and be independent.
  • Believe in them, and give them hope.
  • Give a simple, well meaning smile.
  • The kindest thing you can do for someone else, is to take good care of your own mind, body and soul.
  • Spend time listening with the intent of learning.
  • Be there for them when they fall, and not to say “I told you so”.
  • Give them space to be.
  • Lend your shoulder to cry on.
  • Thank them for being themselves.
  • Take time to send someone a note, thanking them, for something they have done for you in the past.
  • Respect each person’s individuality.
  • Offer encouragement after failure.
  • Forgive
  • Pay attention to them.
  • Listen to someone without trying to fix their problems.

“Years ago I developed a close friendship, and it has blossomed over time.  In life, we don’t always go about things properly, nor do we always think thing through to every detail, especially in matters of the heart.  He and I are firm believers in these rules, and practice them as often as we can. It has gotten us through many many trials and tribulations. Trials that most people would have crumbled under, but we have managed to dig our way out, and continue the good fight.  

This year I enrolled myself in school, found a job that is more like a second home, the people more like a second family, and when I walk in there, the idea of complaining is silly.  I am finally getting to be with the person whose hand I have held, as a friend and a lover through so much. And the future is bright.  A year ago, the idea of this ever happening seemed so far out of reach that I felt like I was drowning.  It is amazing the difference that changing your own actions, your own environment and the way you respond to things can have.  Don’t live in a state of hyper-reaction to every situation. If you can change it, you can change it by being positive and patient. If you cannot change it, then reacting to it, especially negatively, will only bloat your “dark wolf”. Focus on the little things through out the day, that pretty flower you found on the way to work, a scent on the wind that reminds you of childhood, a child who smiled at you when you passed them in the street.  The smallest things can have the largest impact.”

 

Blooming from early summer to late autumn, the Plumeria symbolizes Spring time and new beginnings.

~*Keeping Composure*~

7:30 A.M. the obnoxious blare of an ‘old-school’ alarm clock stirs me from what had just been one of the most restful sleeps I have had in a while. I scurry out of bed, clumsily don my clothes, skip the once over in the mirror (bad idea) and bolt for the campus in the heels I have been meaning to break in. It is the last day to pay for classes, and I have no idea if my Pell Grant has cleared.

Four and a half hours later, I leave the campus, having been informed that my grant had not covered all of my tuition, and I would have to wait until May to register for the Summer Semester. On top of the disheartening news, I looked like a reject Medusa, and the high heels I was wearing had transformed into objects of torture strapped to my delicate little tootsies. Needless to say, I was a mess.

And in all of this, it took the pattern of calamity at home to realize that I had allowed my panic to dictate my mood! Certainly not conducive to a stress free, calm environment needed to focus and plan out my next move. In times like these, it’s best to follow these six methods to chill out and refocus.

  1. Put your worries into context:
    It is so easy for us to feel like the world is ending if we don’t accomplish something we have set out to do. But, sure enough, the sun rises on another morning and we have another chance to get it done.
  2. Tune in, stretch and take a few slow breaths:
    Take a moment, stop what you’re doing, and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Tension is a physical manifestation of our stress (I.E. my poor little feet). Melt away tension by doing a few stretches, taking deep, thoughtful breaths and re-centering your focus.
  3. Take some time out:
    Sometimes what we really need are a few minutes to relax and think about something else entirely. Even when we have pressing matters and fast approaching deadlines, it is important to take a breather and give ourselves even a 10 minute rest. It is amazing what we can do, and in what time we can do it when we have had a few moments to just relax.
  4. Be Grateful:
    When we are in a panic, it can be hard to remember the blessings we have. During a time out, it might prove beneficial to think about these things. The roof over our heads, the food in our bellies, friends, family, anything for which we are grateful. A bit of positivity goes a long way.
  5. Acknowledge what you are avoiding:
    Panic can be caused by our subconscious too. My panic was caused by my underlying monetary issues. Delaying my semester meant delaying my career meant delaying monetary stability. Once I recognized this, I felt slightly more relieved. 
  6. Share your concerns:
    Friends, family and significant others are there to provide us with support as they always have been.  Share with them your fears and worries. Collaborate on a solution, or just use it as a time to reflect. Sometimes getting things of our chests is really all we needed. 

And at the end of it all, this leads back to making Solutions, not resolutions.  If you don’t enjoy the journey, you can’t appreciate the destination.

~* An Affirmation for 2012*~

“Today, I accept myself just the way I am.
Today, I accept my body just the way it is.
Today, I accept my mind just the way it is.
Today, I accept my heart just the way it is.
Today, the love that I have for myself is so strong that I embrace all that is me.
Self-love transforms my life from fear to joy, and guides my to healthy decisions.
Today, I share time with others, and easily forgive the injustice I feel in my mind.
Today, all of my relationships are based on respect, love and joy.
Today, I allow the divine wisdom in me to direct all of my thoughts, words, and deeds.
Today, I allow divine love to give me peace and joy.
Today, I remember I am one with all life, and give thanks for being me.”

~*Create Solutions, Not Resolutions*~

Hello, boys and girls!  Today, while relaxing, I came across a rather enlightening article on Tiny Buddah – an absolutely amazing site for those looking for articles on life improvement, life fulfilment or all around a great read on subjects we all face everyday. These articles take a more zen approach while not being too preachy. 

Being that it is officially 2012, I know we’re all making “resolutions”. But as this particular blogger (Laura Fenamore) would write: “The literal definition of the word resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Now, if you’re like me, not everything is so black and white. In fact, most of my decisions come in techni-color.  Instead, she suggests making “Solutions” not “resolutions” 

By creating a solution, you are, rather than making a firm yes or no, setting up habits that not only accomplish your goal, but allow you to maintain the results long term.  She shares a situation I am sure we are all familiar with, weight loss, and makes a very valid point!

So, boys and girls, how about this year we make New Year Solutions!  And also give this woman a read, it is well worth the two minutes it will take you.

~A New Year, A New Body~

 

In keeping in the spirit of the traditional New Year’s Resolution, I recently sat down and decided to do some brainstorming on what my future goals are, and how to accomplish them.  Thankfully, in this day and age, we have access to all sorts of tools to keep us on track. Seeing as I spend a good portion of my life around my computer, I decided to turn it into a lean, mean Resolution accomplishing machine. And with Google Chrome apps, like Skinnyo and Pocketsmith,  I am well on my way to getting things in order!

Skinnyo is a UK based site, started by a couple who were tired of trying to lose the weight on their own.  This site engages its viewers in weight loss “challenges”. The challenges  can either be set by yourself, or you are free to join others’ challenges.  The interface is easy and setting up your profile is quick. They even make it possible to post your challenges and accomplishments to twitter, Facebook and blogspot. They also have links to their own blogs, but sadly it seems the links are broken (a small oversight I am sure they will be quick to fix).

Pocketsmith helps keep your finances and monetary goals in check.  It is a bit long to set up if you don’t already have online bank statements.  The interface allows you to upload your online statements to the site and then the program sorts out your spending based on vendors; you can go in later and categorize the vendors based on what you purchase there (groceries, recreation, fuel etc). Pocketsmith allows for you to set specific goals, record the date you’d like to have said goals accomplished and then gives you a value to save out of each paycheck.  You can add bills and other payments you make on a regular basis, and your paycheck amount each month, and based on previous monetary activities, Pocketsmith creates a cash flow chart to keep you on the right track to monetary zen! I just started using this program and I already feel at ease each day when I open it up.

And the added bonus: These programs can be set in little widgets on your Google Chrome speed dialer!  It is streamlined, easy to use, and their designers were great at keeping both programs simple and pretty to look at while maintaining functionality! 

Night Time Sanctuary

“Hormones, weight gain/loss, focus, energy; our sleep patterns affect so much of our lives that it’s no wonder we feel so off when we don’t have a restful night’s sleep.  In a busy day to day life, however, it is not always easy to get your full eight (8) hours.  I know that often times, I don’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep I need.  The best way to handle this, is to make the most of the sleep you DO get (if it is impossible to switch around your habits to get more sleep). Turning your bedroom into a night time sanctuary is the best remedy I have found.”

~Clear any and all clutter from the room, especially around the bed. Fill it,instead, with things that delight and relax you.

~There is nothing like taking some time out of your day to relax and pamper your self before bed.  Turn a drawer in your bedside table into a mini-spa. Include nail clippers, cuticle nippers, rich balms for lips, hands and feet,  and don’t forget the silk eye mask to help soothe and cool tired eyes. A little TLC each night before bed not only relaxes you, but makes you softer and more refreshed when you wake! 

~Before bed, I, personally, like to have a cup of herbal tea. Speaking of filling your area with things that relax and delight you, my teapot, cup and saucer are a prime example! I keep herbal tea bags on a neat little tray inside my spa drawer. Boiling water and refilling my teapot is a cinch and in no time I am enjoying my herbal tea whilst pampering my tired little feet. Even if you’re not a tea drinker, keeping a decanter of water (or whatever you prefer to drink before bed) and a pretty glass can add convenience to your nightly routine.

~Sometimes, especially if the day has been particularly eventful, it helps to get it down onto paper. Studies have also shown that journaling can not only help clear your mind of worries, but also relieve stress!  However, some days are not as eventful as others, and it can leave the page looking a little empty.  One-Line-A-Day (5 year journal) was created with people like us in mind.  It is just enough room for you to jot down your most pressing thoughts, without the obligation of filling up an entire page. I found mine on Urban Outfitters, and I LOVE it.

~Along with your teacup and teapot, or decanter and glass, the top of your bedside table should be filled with sights, scents and sounds that relax and lull you.  Linen sprays are a must, candles, pictures of loved ones even a small music station with soothing music or sounds should be found here.

~When you climb into bed, nothing feels better than clean, cool sheets pillowy soft blankets and a pillow that is just begging for you to lay your head down.  Natural fibers for sheets and comforters, and a mattress pad will give your bed new life; and replacing your pillow every 1-2 years will help keep you sleeping on cloud 9.

~Keeping a clean organized room doesn’t always mean that everything has to be stashed away or hidden from site.  Choosing pieces that make you smile and look pretty means that you won’t be ashamed to display them, which also makes them more readily available. Some of these items :

~Robe – Stray from the typical bath-time terrycloth material and pick something soft and pretty that you can lounge in.
~Slippers – You spend all day on your feet, so once you get home slipping into little slippers that feel like clouds is a treat. Make sure they look as pretty as they make you feel.
~Pajamas – These should definitely make you smile when you see yourself in them.
~Linen Spray – Setting the mood for sleep is just as important as the act itself. Linen spray helps calm you by filling the room with a soft relaxing scent.
~ Blankets and throws – for those cold winter nights, or sick days, when you just want something plush to cuddle up in.