May 17, 2008

Kat's Giveaway

KAT, of Katerpillars no more, is hosting a 100th Post Giveaway and someone is going to be the blessed recipient of this beautifully hand painted, Folk Art pillow. I recently discovered Kat's blog through Bittersweet Punkin and what a frolicsome site! There is nothing cookie-cutter about her imagination. [Update: The Giveaway is over.]

May 14, 2008

What Does Country Living Mean To You?

Photo by Andre Baranowski - Country Living Magazine

In preparation for Country Living magazine's 30th Anniversary issue—scheduled for October 2008—the editors are asking for our feedback. Simply click HERE to leave your comments.

Note: My comments were more directed to the aspect of country, rather than the specific magazine. I also discovered that copying and pasting from Word into their comment box created some funky symbols, so you might want to do all of your composing at that site.

May 13, 2008

Attention to Detail

In my formative years, I welcomed counting during meals and snacks only as a means of pacifying sibling rivalry. Unwilling to forfeit one molecule of substance, my brothers and I scrutinized the divvying and distribution. Small items were a cinch to count unless there was variation in size. On larger food items, my Dad took matters in hand by having one person divide and another choose. We were meticulous!

My reasons for counting changed with womanhood; it no longer had to do with equality but with personal consumption. I resented it. I have owned many calorie, carbohydrate, and glycemic index counters—all of which have met fates with yard sales and dumpsters. Whether it concerns chewing my food 20 times before swallowing or keeping stats,
I have never found the act of simultaneously counting and eating to be a happy marriage.

Mireille Guiliano authored the book,
French Women Don’t Get Fat. I purchased both the softcover and the audio version over a year ago, favoring Mireille's narrative because anything sounds better in French! I confess that I was caught off guard by the fascinating comparisons of our two cultures.

Mireille's writes about her intense depression over a 20-pound weight gain after adapting to an American diet, even to the point of feeling ashamed to face her family in France. My reaction was, "Twenty pounds? She was that low-spirited over twenty pounds?" Well, I didn't need an epiphany to understand why she wrote the book. By virtue of our culture, Americans are much more adjusted to fluctuation in weight.

Mireille Guiliano encourages women to "eat for pleasure" through an approach she refers to as "recasting." Mireille states that French women " with their heads and they do not leave the table feeling stuffed or guilty."

For a better understanding, I looked up the word "
recast" in the Encarta® World English Dictionary.
  • to repeat the casting process for an object formed in a mold
  • to change the form of something
  • to assign roles in something such as a play or film to different actors
  • To embrace recasting, you have to be ready to embrace pleasure and individual happiness as your goals.
  • At least half our bad eating and drinking habits are careless; they grow out of inattention to our true needs and delights. We don’t notice what we are consuming, we are not alert to flavors–– we are not really enjoying our indulgence, and therefore we think nothing of them and overdo it.
  • But you must understand there is nothing noble in failing to discover and cultivate your pleasures. (It will make you not only fat, but grouchy.)
  • And since everyone’s taste and metabolism are unique, you must pay attention to yourself—to what delights you—so you can tailor your system and preferences. It’s a lifelong commitment, but it promises a lifetime of good health and contentment.
  • Do you ask the waiter for more bread before he has even brought your order? You might find once slice savored slowly with dinner just as satisfying, or you might just as easily wait for your appetizer. Do you finish every French fry on your plate?
  • Little things do add up.Consider all the things you consume regularly. Which of them is giving you real pleasure and which are you having to pointless excess.
  • One thing French women know is that the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites; we rarely have seconds. The things we enjoy we don’t enjoy as a matter of routine.
Picture from

May 11, 2008

My Beautiful Mother

During my adolescence, I remember monitoring the responses of my peers whenever my mother, Kathy, was present. I was proud of her. She was stylish, classy, and, in my opinion, not like the other mothers.

I have admired her beauty from my earliest observance, recognizing her graceful and glamorous qualities from classic motion pictures. I would often watch her get made up, taking great interest in her sense of style. Although I did not perceive myself as unattractive, I confess that I would periodically study my own reflection, searching for some resemblance.

My favorite photo of my mother, Kathy, as a young woman.

With maturity, I did what most children do: I took better notes. I became more conscientious of her inward beauty: a poetic soul, genuine concern for people, and an enthusiasm for life and exploration.

My mother possesses a lavish spirit of generosity. She loves to give and does so with great aplomb. Though she is frequently spontaneous, Mom has always made it a point to know what people enjoy and appreciate, even down to the tailored presentation.

Mom would host colorful and imaginative Birthday parties for my brothers and me. She invested her imagination into every detail, and the menu was never an afterthought. Through Mom’s example, I learned the art of hospitality, for she has always placed great emphasis on welcoming guests into her home.

The Bible states that our steps are ordered of the Lord and certainly, my mother was given to me by Divine design. Mom is intelligent, practical, insightful, and I have volumes of her carefully selected greeting cards dispensing handwritten wisdom. On a daily basis, I discern more of the beauty that has been passed to me: beauty that reflects who she is in my life.



Happy Mother's Day!

In Joyful Gratitude for Mothers!