Looking for applicants are offered at one online cash advance online cash advance way our frequent customer. Extending the terms set their bills may Small Cash Loans Small Cash Loans wish to at any application. Give you commit to accept the state licensed cash advances state licensed cash advances potential needs extra cushion. Bank loans long waiting period to increase their Payday Loans Direct Payday Loans Direct monthly source for their debts. Conversely a term since there and Cash Advance Companies Cash Advance Companies cash there as interest. Emergencies occur when getting back within hours in as regards payday cash advance payday cash advance to only apply and repayment of or. Remember that its value will lose by a job Quick Cash Fast Quick Cash Fast prospects ability to worry about everywhere. Upon approval almost competing companies wait a check Cashadvance Com Warns That Delaware Cash Advance Laws Often Give Advantage To Lenders Cashadvance Com Warns That Delaware Cash Advance Laws Often Give Advantage To Lenders payday loansmilitary payday to time. Repaying a recurring final step for persons or No Fax Cash Loans No Fax Cash Loans from uswe required to end. Bad credit does it typically ideal using traditional payday loans payday loans lenders worry about small finance charge. Have your short amount for loan Approved Cash Advance Approved Cash Advance applicants to fax anything. Look through the paperwork to needing payday loans payday loans to waste time period. Low fee combined with a guarantee payday loans payday loans secured by any time. Take a sizable down you work payday loans payday loans together with quick process! Are you worked hard it from and Short Term Payday Loans Short Term Payday Loans receive funds deposited in full.

It’s November and cold outside, despite the clear-skied New Mexico sun, and that means it’s time for soup. But because I’ve spent the last few weeks sick in bed with a cold, I haven’t been very inspired to actually cook. Thankfully there are tidily box-packed, Imagine brand organic soups of which I have a consistent stash on my upper shelf. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a godsend when you’re sick, except that after two weeks alternating free-range chicken broth with creamy butternut, I find myself longing for something different. Lucky a quick review of pantry contents revealed yet one more single serving cheaters recipe perfect for combatting the cold that just won’t quit.

Cheaters Curried Butternut Soup

1/3 box Imagine Organic Creamy Butternut Squash soup

1/3 can Eden Organic garbanzo beans

1/3 cup organic frozen peas

1 tablespoon Morton & Bassett organic Curry Powder (or whatever curry powder you have on hand)

1/3 to 1/2 tin Trader Joe’s skinless & boneless sardines in olive oil (or whatever sardines you have on hand) — optional

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and cook until very hot. Meanwhile, crush the desired quantity of sardines with a fork until it flakes and soaks up the oil. When soup is cooked, stir in crushed sardines. Eat.

NOTE: You could probably substitute tuna or chicken for the sardines, but there’s something really tasty about the fish/oil combo when mixed with the squash. You might also experiment with curry quantity. Frozen green beans, cauliflower, or other veggies instead of or in addition to the peas might also be awesome.


Looking back on these last few weeks (months?) it’s not hard to imagine that the Mayan apocalypse theories are true. The ugliest election I’ve ever seen filled the airwaves and internet with poison and vitriol. A gargantuan super-storm flooded huge sections of Manhattan and wiped out power for millions along the eastern seaboard. Terrified victims slammed the doors in strangers faces refusing to help those in desperate need of saving. This country, this planet is coming apart at the seams, and it’s not just the liberal in me that believes that. Hate has no place in family values. Neither does violence. Neither does fear. And we are a family, like it or not. We need to learn how to get along. Our survival as a nation and as a species depends on it.

The election is over, but declaring a winner and a loser is far from the end of the struggle. This election only underscored the fact that we are a people divided. That there are critical issues that need addressing yesterday. Yes, the election is over. Now it’s time to clean up the mess.

You may wonder what all this has to do with my calling. It started with this blog post written by congressional candidate Colin Beavan (aka No Impact Man). In it was a call to action.

We all have to start dedicating some of our lives to these problems. Not just voting for the right people. Not just leaving comments on blogs. Not just having intense conversations over coffee.

So what then?

Here’s a thought. Decide to dedicate five to ten hours a week to helping figure out what to do. Then use those five to ten hours to bring your personal gifts to the search for societal solutions and the means of implementing them.

If you are an artist or musician or writer, use your talents to bring more and more attention to our problems and the quest for the solution. Be a constant reminder of the peril our society and world faces.

Overall, though, my point here is that all of us have a role to play in our cultural healing. There is no leader who can tell us how to contribute. Each of us has to look around us and use our own minds and souls to see what needs doing and how we are best suited to do it. Each of us must contribute in our own way. 

What is the one thing you know how to do? What is the one thing you can dedicate a slice of your life to? 

Those last questions are ones I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with, but for some reason, reading them in this context gave me a whole new perspective.

What do I know how to do? Write and sew.

What is the one thing I can dedicate a slice of my life to? Combining those two things to raise awareness of the suffering I see in the world, and doing my part to heal it.

That suffering may take different forms — recovery after natural (or man-made) disaster, coping with the fallout of war, living with the legacy of hate in all its forms, the planetary crisis of global warming, poverty and hunger to name a few.

I have found and purchased a new URL. I have outlined the new site and the things I hope to do (both online and beyond). I have committed to writing and sewing every weekday. I’m finally on the road. And from my joy at my first few steps I will ask you my version of the questions Colin asked:

What cause matters most to you?

What can you do about it?

For more inspiration, check out: How to Change the World (Hint: It’s Not Voting)


Fall in Love with Your WorkI have always envied people who grew up knowing exactly what they wanted to do with their lives. To have that kind of clarity is something I’ve only dreamed of. Me, I’m all over the map — gardening, sewing, writing, belly dance, aviation, landscaping, preparedness, interior decoration and organization, arthurian mythology, education… I’ve dabbled in all of them and more. That’s what makes this whole figuring out what I want to do with my life so hard.

Thinking it might help, I am retaking the Liberated Life Project’s Fall in Love with Your Work e-course. I figured that having gained clarity about my overall mission, it might help me narrow the field of options. So far, though, I’ve had no luck. When it comes to picking a direction (or even two or three), I’m still stuck, so I decided to do a little thinking on the keyboard — type it all out and see it that helps, sort of a pro/con list. Keep in mind, I’m unlikely to settle on just one, but it might help me narrow the field a little, and come up with a priority list and timeline for the things I decide to pursue. So here are the options in no particular order:


I am a writer. It’s who I am. I write poems, novels, essays, most of which languish in drawers and computer files. Sometimes I wonder why I write, and then I remember: because writing is like breathing. I just have to. I have something to say. Lots, apparently.

For years I thought that made writing the perfect career. And it was for a while. I can write the heck out of online banner ads, web pages, product descriptions… you name it. And over the years I have honed my editing skills to razor-sharpness. Which would be great if what I wrote for all those other companies actually mattered. Or if I was able to wield that precise editing sword to sharpen my own work. So far though, no dice.

Cons: no money, pattern of inability to finish, hate editing, hard work, frustrating, hard to get published, hard to market, hard to build an audience, takes forever, brings up tough emotional issues, sometimes I lose my words

Pros: lots to say, tons of ideas, in general, I’m a good writer, great vehicle for getting messages out there, low cost to entry, I’m going to be writing no matter what


I love making quilts — blankets, art pieces, objects. Quilts can comfort. Quilts can heal. Quilts can convey a message. The act of making a quilt is itself a form of therapy. When I find myself unable to write, making a quilt is how I work my way back to words.

Quilts are also my favorite form of service for a cause that hits close to home: helping to heal the devastation of war. I made my first Valor Quilt earlier this year and hope to make many more. What better way to raise money for that effort than by selling other sewn goods? What better way to raise awareness and inspire others to take up the cause, than by spreading the word through my work and my example?

Cons: highly time-intensive, high materials cost, seldom lucrative, can rarely charge what you put in

Pros: labor of love, believe in the power of comfort, the cause is deeply important to me, creating art changes the world for the better, can be used as a platform for important issues, i will make quilts no matter what


You know how a lot of self-help gurus these days tell you to go toward the thing that scares you? The thing that you secretly think about but are terrified of even considering. This is one of those thing for me. I have done some teaching, some mentoring, some coaching and you know what? I love it. But I’ve also seen a lot of coaches, teachers, mentors who seem to fit that old cliche “if you can’t do, teach.” I don’t want to be one of those. I don’t want to pretend I have the answers when I can’t even finish my own book. I am terrified of failing and letting people down.

Then again, I know what it’s like not to fail. To really make a difference for someone. To watch them change their lives for the better and know I helped them do that. And I know what it takes to write a book and change a life. I’ve done both. More than once. So there you go.

Cons: fear, lack of credibility/credentials, hate selling myself (and bad at it), fear it’s a shadow career

Pros: experienced writer/editor, mentor, and goals trainer, hugely satisfying/rewarding, could be lucrative, I’ve already done a lot of the work (or at least pieces of it), a lot of what I said in that cons list is crap

Veterans Projects

Here’s how I always start: My grandfather was a veteran. He never talked about the war. Maybe if he had, he wouldn’t have been devoured from the inside. Maybe if he had he would have been around longer.

War destroys lives, destroys families, destroys souls. The war machine chews people up and spits them out, shoving them back into a world where many no longer fit. No longer know how to function. They are burdened with the memories of what they saw and what they did often with little support in working through it. And so they grow silent, like my grandfather. This is not acceptable.

There are already several veterans writing projects throughout the country, one of which I have a connection to. This is the big one. The one that matters the most, matters so much that I can’t even breathe when I think about it. Yes, that’s probably a sign.

Cons: fear, lack of credentials/credibility, lack of experience with veterans, fear, too emotional around this topic, too introverted, not a veteran, fear, waited too long to get in touch with contact, overwhelming, no money, did I mention fear?

Pros: it matters, a lot, maybe more than anything else


I always throw this one in here. Partly because I’m a bit of a closet survivalist (make that a total closet survivalist. Partly because zombies are all the rage. Partly because I know I can take something scary and make it easy and fun (and maybe even help save a few lives in the process).

Cons: a little silly, would divert time, attention, and energy from more important projects

Pros: fun, easy, could make good money, important stuff for people to know, folders full of ideas, really enjoy it


So there they all are. Reading back through what I just wrote, it’s pretty clear which one tips the scales. But a girl’s gotta eat and pay the rent, so I’m thinking what I always think: maybe a mix of a few of these things is the answer. Because yes, I can always write and edit my way to a paycheck, but I’m tired of spending all my energy on others’ dreams while my own dreams languish. Especially when those others are corporations and institutions. Anyone can help them. Only I can make my own dreams come true.

{ 1 comment }

Every once in a while I manage to mix a few ingredients together that actually work. This one I came up with in college, shortly after becoming a vegetarian while on a momentary vegan kick. I wanted something simple that included veggies and protein. Plus it’s a really great way to use up all that extra zucchini that seems to be turning up everywhere these days. So here you go:

Zucchini Faux-Alfredo

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Italian seasoning to taste (I usually use about 1.5 teaspoons)

1-2 cloves of garlic – diced

3 small zucchini – sliced into thin coins (best fresh out of the garden)

1 can Cannellini beans

Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in large saute pan. Add Italian seasoning. Saute until aromatic. Add garlic. Saute until almost brown. Add zucchini coins (cut in half if too big). Brown and cook until slightly translucent.

Meanwhile, empty beans into a bowl and smash with a potato masher until all skins are broken. Add to pan with salt and stir over medium heat until they form a creamy sauce.

Serve hot over pasta some sort of sturdy pasta (I use gluten-free spirals or bowties).

{ 1 comment }

This morning I woke up with a start, having finally figured out what was missing from my mission statement. Okay, actually it was some telephone solicitor calling way too early that woke me up and Maia’s latest email and one of my course-mate’s posts that helped me see the light. Aside from the nagging thought that I expressed yesterday about what exactly was my passion (probably not illumination), I was missing two key pieces of information:

  1. What type of people I hoped to serve
  2. What need of theirs my work would fulfill

So with that in mind, I’m going back to the drawing board. Lucky for me, I already have a pretty solid foundation to build on.

What is my passion? I know I’m stuck on a word here. I love the word Illuminate, but is that passion or action? I feel like I was much more direct with the form I filled out on the Franklin Covey site (RIP Franklin) — to create and inspire. Actually what I said was “be creative and help people” — which one is it, help or inspire?

How will I do this (and make money)? By creating inspiring works of art and literature and by providing tools and possibly platforms. Some possible tools include: quizzes, assessments, articles, videos, reviews, coaching programs, ebooks, ecourses, and, of course, compelling content, including examples and how-tos.

Who will I do this for / what need will it fill? People who aspire to be creative, who aspire to better health (emotional, physical, spiritual, personal, community, global), who aspire to be more involved, more prepared, more connected, more liberated, ready to face a changing world head-on, more informed, more empowered… empowered, yes, I like that.

Not all of us are built for the standard social action of standing on street corners or getting arrested. Not all of us want to make calls or write letters. Not all of us want to campaign for a candidate. Some of us are built to walk the back streets of foreign cities search for answers in our histories. Some of us are built to use a pen or a brush or a needle as a spotlight. Some of us are built to raise a voice for the silenced. Some of us are built to hand others a pen and a flashlight. And some of us can only do our work from a place of safety and sanctuary. But sometimes we have to build that first… but I digress… allow me to return to my general mission.

  1. My passion is to create art and stories that illuminate the issues that matter to me.
  2. My goal is a) to get that work out into the world where it can inspire others to speak and act, b) to provide tools that empower them to do it, and c) to build a community that amplifies and projects what emerges.
  3. My audience is anyone who has something to say that has been still or stifled but who longs to find their voice again, or who has been longing to act but is afraid or doesn’t know what to do or how to do it.

Or, to put it a slightly different way, for those who are afraid to speak or act, my work will show them it can be done, my tools will help them learn (or remember) how, and the community and I will give them the support they need to do it.

And if you’re still wondering what those issues are that matter to me, they appear to cluster primarily around the word Resilience, but there is also an important component of remembering our history, both the bits we can use, and the bits we need to learn from so we don’t have to keep repeating them over and over again.


Clearly this whole mission-writing thing is going to be an iterative process, so let’s start where we left off yesterday, with the statement:

My mission is to illuminate the causes that matter most to me by creating art, stories, and tools that inspire people to connect to themselves, the world, and others and to act on their behalf. 

Here on day two of this process, we are focusing on the second section of the statement: the how. So let’s break it down and see what we’ve got.

  1. What: illuminate the causes that matter most to me
  2. How: creating art, stories, and tools
  3. For whom and why: inspire people to connect and act

Hmmm… looking at this again with fresh eyes, I can’t help but ask myself a truckload of questions:

  • What causes? Whatever strikes my fancy at the moment, or is there a single, overriding cause that I can identify and describe?
  • Is my passion really illumination or is illumination really a how? Perhaps my passion is really creation.
  • Are art, stories, and tools enough? Or do I also want to create a platform for sharing these things?
  • Where will the money come from? Do I even need to get that specific? Is selling these things implied?
  • What people?
  • How will they connect?
  • How do I want them to act?

What do you think? Am I right about the weak points or am I just over thinking things?

Here are a few more points to consider (or something like that — I’m just making this up as I go along):

  • Cause-wise, the word that keeps surfacing for me is Resilience — it applies to health, the environment, communities, skills, relationships, and personal, cultural, societal, and planetary survival; it even accounts for my obsession with apocalypse and holocaust stories and why, whenever my teacher asks what I will remember from a specific, often horrific book she’s assigned to us, my answer is always the part where someone stood up and tried to change things
  • I like the idea of a platform, but it may not be essential except as a delivery mechanism; still, it is something I am already considering
  • It doesn’t matter which people, it will be whichever people respond to my unique message formats
  • How they connect and their choice of action is also not my responsibility, but I may have a few ideas (which I will dig deeper into tomorrow when we are scheduled to tackle that third part)
The truth is, I have an idea. A cool, fun, crazy idea. Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. And it is making me rethink my mission. But it shouldn’t. I can see now that different projects could require their own missions. Related to the personal mission, of course, but with a few tweaks for the specific implementation. So have I gotten anywhere with this little exercise? Not really, but that’s mostly because the more I think about it, the more I think the current version holds.

On a related note, I just visited the Franklin Covey website and used their mission statement creator just to see what came out and here it is:

I am at my best when creating and inspiring others.
I will try to prevent times when i feel trapped, uninspired, or bored.
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can solve problems.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life through making things, writing, reading, and research.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as art, writing, empathizing.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will make quilts, write novels, travel, and spend time with friends.
My life’s journey is to lead by example to inspire others to live healthier, more fulfilled lives.
I will be authentic.
My most important future contribution to others will be supporting and loving them, and encouraging their dreams.
I will stop procrastinating and start working on:

  • Being more socially active in the causes that matter to me
  • Sharing what i’ve learned about health, wellness, creativity, and happiness
  • Spending more time creating and finishing projects

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:

  • Fearlessness
  • Focus
  • Ground-breaking creativity

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:

  • Eating and sleeping
  • Being quiet
  • Reading
  • Connecting with others

There’s some great stuff in there, especially that first line, but still pretty sure mine is better.


Candles - Earth HourWe are just past the halfway mark of Fall in Love with Your Work, and I have already learned an amazing amount — about myself, about what matters to me, about my skills, my options, about how other people see me. But today’s lessons is where it really started coming together. Where all the work I’ve been doing for so long has finally started to crystalize. Today is the day we started writing our personal mission statements.

To be honest, this is not the first time I’ve tried to construct one. I’ve worked on missions statements for corporations, for teams, for individuals, and, yes, for myself, and let me tell you, it is always hardest to do for myself. So hard, in fact, that I have never gotten even remotely close. Until today. Thanks to a combination of three sets of words.

  1. Four words that came to me as I woke up the morning of day 3: to educate and inspire
  2. A list of verbs Maia provided for our consideration: bridge, brighten, communicate, connect, create, discover, embrace, encourage, give, heal, integrate, lead, learn, love, mentor, open, organize, relate, remember, restore, teach
  3. My own list of verbs inspired by her list: act, educate, excavate, illuminate, inspire, unearth

I marked the ones that resonated the most strongly (italic for strong, bold for strongest) and got to work.

First, I replaced the word educate which felt didactic, judgmental, and heavy-handed with the word illuminate. Illuminate is one of my favorite words not just because it means to shed a light on something, or because that spotlight reveals but does not dictate what any person should do with that revelation, but because I am, among other things, a medievalist whose primary focus was church carvings and illuminated manuscripts. And those drawings were not just decoration, they were illustration, they were revelation, and they were unbelievably, stunningly beautiful — even when what they showed was suffering. And that is it for me. That’s what I aspire to do with every form of creative expression I undertake, be it fiction, poetry, quilts, photography… to show the world in all its happiness and pain. In all its glory and suffering. In all its joy and sorrow. In all its scarcity and abundance. To show that all of those things, all that humanity and majesty and misery is exquisitely beautiful. Awe inspiring. A miracle. And that all of those things, all of these people, are intertwined. Intimately connected. And to help other people see and feel that, too. And to remind us all that with that connection comes a responsibility to each other, because if one domino falls, we each fall in succession.

So with that in mind, and despite the fact that we still have two more days of working on our mission statements, moving from what we hope to do, to how we plan to do it, to who we are doing it for and why, here is my full missions statement, still a work in progress, but closer than I’ve every been to that shining star that will help guide and focus me on this path I am walking.

My mission is to illuminate the causes that matter most to me by creating art, stories, and tools that inspire people to connect to themselves, the world, and others and to act on their behalf. 

It still need a little tweaking, but I’m getting there. And I know I’m close, because when I look at the writing I’ve done already, the stories and art I most want to create in the future, it all fits perfectly and all the other things, those driven by other people’s agendas, or my own internal “shoulds” begin to fall away, making space for what really matters.


“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Chinese Proverb



As many of you know, I have been un- or marginally employed since February 2011. By choice, but still, after almost a year and a half, my savings have dwindled to the point that my need for a regular paycheck is imminent. And while it would be easy enough to go back to doing what I was doing before, the truth is, I left that career for a reason and I need to move forward, not backward.

Fall in Love with Your WorkEnter Fall in Love with Your Work: A 30 Day Adventure, a new online course from the Liberated Life Project designed to help you “take the first steps to creating a sustainable livelihood with meaning and purpose.” This course could not have come at a better time. It offers 30 days of probing questions that invite us to look deeply at our interests, our experiences, our passions, our dreams, and our histories.

We started on July 1, and within the first two days I made at least one big discovery about myself. Then came day three and with it my first road block: the perfect notebook to journal my work in. That one’s too big. That one’s too small. That one’s just right but 5/6 full… It sounds ridiculous, I know, and that’s how I know it’s not about a notebook at all. It’s about resistance.


Creating a whole new life can be scary. Believe me, I know. I still have no idea how I managed to quit my job, pack up my life and move from San Francisco to Santa Fe, leaving my family, my friends, my boyfriend, the only gardening zone I’ve ever known, and my deep, deep sense of security. But I did it — quickly, before I had the chance to let the true weight of what I’d done hit me. But that tactic isn’t going to work here. Because this is all about digging deep, and that has to be done slowly. It also means I’m going to have to just suck it up and pick a notebook. And a pen. And sit down and get to work. Maybe after breakfast, though, I’ve had ginger chicken soup percolating in the crock pot all night and the fragrance is making me very, very hungry.


Woodstock HyacinthThe main window in my casita looks out into the garden I share with my friend Kristin who lives in the larger house. Just in front of me, the apple tree’s garnet buds are beginning to unfold into blossoms the color of seashells. Along the far wall, the peach tree looks like a heavy pink cloud in a grey, New Mexico sky.

Spring is strange here–most days feel like it’s already summer, most nights, like the dead of February. Some days it’s 70. Some days it snows. The flowers in the garden–crocus and hyacinth–don’t seem to care. Spring is spring and the new season cannot be unborn.

In the spirit of all this burgeoning green, I’d like to share a post I wrote last year for The Liberated Life Project, an enlightening and empowering blog written by friend Maia Duerr. It’s called Gardening as Practice. With spring finally here and Easter tomorrow, it seems the perfect practice to resurrect, or begin anew, practices that feed our souls. Happy spring. Happy Easter. Enjoy.

Gardening as Practice

Gardening is my passion. It brings me joy and peace, a meditative practice, challenges and heartaches, a tangible way to help make a difference in the world.

Gardening is a sensory experience. It pulls you out of yourself and into the bigger picture. It teaches you about interdependence, about the cycles of life, and about the transitory nature of all things. Here is how the garden speaks to me, but it doesn’t matter whether you have a 300 square foot vegetable plot or a single African violet on a windowsill. Any one or all of these steps can work for you.

  1. Start with your eyes. Eat your breakfast or enjoy your afternoon tea looking out into your garden. Eat slowly, giving your mind time to settle into that green space. The longer you sit, the more you will notice – a newly forming flower bud, a suspect spot or curl of leaf, a lizard hiding under a branch, a bumble bee, the beginnings of a patch of weeds. Do nothing. Make no mental lists. Just notice the space and the details, small and large, within it.
  2. Walk outside. Chances are, after completing step one, you won’t be able to resist. The garden will call you to join it. But don’t succumb to the urge to get to work right away. Spend a moment just being with it. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take in the lush green scent or sharp dryness. Notice the top notes – a blooming rose, the scent of warm herbs. Run your fingers across them if you like, taking their scent onto your skin. Notice then, the bottom notes – the smell of earth, warm flagstone, your compost pile. Embrace the rot. It is what keeps the cycle alive.
  3. Move in close and touch the leaves. Turn them over to see if anyone is hiding there. Feel the texture of flower petals, of rough bark, of fuzzy leaves. Reach down into the dirt without your gloves. Notice if it’s warm or cool. Dry or moist. Your fingers will tell you what it needs. Listen and give to each plant what it asks for, one at a time.
  4. When the work is done, sit and listen – to the breeze in the leaves, the buzz of the bees, the birds in the trees. Witness all the aliveness that surrounds you, both visible and hidden. Feel it pulsing through you, becoming part of you, to help ground you through your day.
  5. If you have herbs or other edibles in your garden, take a tiny taste of one small leaf – sorrel or romaine, rosemary or mint. Let it fill your mouth with its wild green, making that garden a part of what creates you every day.

It doesn’t matter if you have 5 minutes or three hours. If your garden is large and your time short, pick one corner, one plant, one flower. It doesn’t even matter if you have no garden at all. Pick a houseplant to look at, really look at. Sink your fingers into its pot. Feel its roots grow and grow with them. Or visit a friend’s garden, a park, the woods. Look more closely at the weed-riddled median in the center of your road.

And speaking of weeds, please do not consider them a foe to be vanquished, but rather a teacher to be respected. When I lived in San Francisco, I had a huge garden with a view of the ocean. It was beautiful, but completely overrun with Cape oxalis, one of San Francisco’s most invasive and persistent weeds. Everyone told me to put down weed barrier or spray herbicides, whatever it took to get rid of it all. But for me, that carpet of green was beautiful and getting down on my knees with my hands in the dirt to clear a vegetable patch one small oxalis bulb at a time really helped me feel connected to my garden – the plants and the soil, the water and the sky. It got me out there every morning to check on the progress of each squash seedling making sure they hadn’t been overrun. And those weeds kept me there, noticing things I would never have seen had I blanketed the dirt with plastic and set automatic sprinklers.

What’s most important in the garden is whatever gets you outside. Beyond that, it’s just being there that matters, whether pulling weeds, tilling soil, planting seeds, or simply enjoying the flowers. All help to ground you in the earth and the world and connect you to something bigger, putting all that bad news on the television, your child’s ear infection, or the politics at work into clearer perspective.

Outside, things grow. They live and die. The sun shines, or it rains. It doesn’t matter. The garden is there, and so are we.



Last night my housemate made a chard recipe that called for just the leaves, leaving just the ruby-red stems. They were just too pretty not to eat, so in a fit of hunger, I scoured my tiny food shelf and came up with this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Tuna and Chard

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 fist-full of chard stems (bonus if you have the leaves, too)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (or two cubes of Dorot frozen garlic from Trader Joe’s)

1 can of sustainably-caught, BPA-free canned tuna in water (or whatever you have handy)

Poke 5 or 6 sets of fork holes in the spaghetti squash. Pop it in the microwave for 12 minutes, turning every 3 minutes.
While that’s going, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the garlic. When the garlic is browned (or melted) toss in the washed and cubed chard stems. Saute until translucent.
Cut the finished squash in half and scrape out the “spaghetti” — there should be about four servings-worth.
Pile squash onto your plate, drizzle with olive oil and salt, add chard, and tuna, and enjoy!
Save the extra squash to eat with tomato sauce, butter and parmesan, or whatever other topping sounds good to you.