Fresh Living

BlogShots 018-1.jpgThis is the post in which we say goodbye. 

We’re both leaving our respective jobs at Beliefnet, and so it’s time to step away from the blog.

So, this is the post in which we say goodbye…by saying thank you.  Thank you to you, the readers, for clicking and visiting and sharing the myriad ways in which you’re making your lives happier, healthier, and more whole.  Thank you to Beliefnet for giving us a platform on which to think through how we could do the same.

And finally, thanks to each other, because collaborating on this blog has included much learning and laughing, and it’s turned a collegial relationship into a bona fide friendship.

Each of us has compiled a list of our 5 favorite posts that were written by the other during Fresh Living’s nearly 2-year run.  Consider it a grateful version of “Fresh Living 101.”  And again….thank you!

The 5 Posts by Valerie I’m Most Grateful for
By Holly

On Staying Positive in ‘Tough Times’

I love the casual quotes around ‘tough times’ in this post, which contains 3 easy, do-it-now ways to keep your attitude high when everyone around you is lamenting the tough this, the difficult that.  It’s like a quick rescue from Glumsville.

21 Favorite Songs About Rain

This post turned out to be one of Fresh Living’s most popular, and I think that’s because it’s just plain fun.  What could be more smile-inducing on a rainy day than to contemplate what The Beatles and Milli Vanilli have in common?

How I Kick a Common Cold

I always learn something from Valerie.  I consider her to be my window to the holistic world, a world she fully inhabits and explores while I peek shyly around from just inside the border.  In this post, she shared some really cool (no pun intended) cold remedies.  And I learned a new word (acidophilus)! 

Awakening 9/11 Anniversary Fatigue

“There are other kinds of remembering,” Valerie wrote in this powerhouse essay about finding memorial beauty outside of the over-wrought 9/11 anniversary news reporting.  It’s a beautiful bookmark I plan to re-read every 9/11, and even on some other, more personal anniversaries as well.

Fresh Morning: Love After Love

In the spirit of sharing, Valerie and I took turns offering a thought, idea, or inspiration to help you (and us) start your (our) day.  This is one of my favorites from her, a Derek Walcott poem that urges us to “love again the stranger that was yourself.” Not a bad way to sum up Fresh Living, actually.  Thanks, Valerie.

The 5 Posts by Holly I’m Most Grateful for
By Valerie

Ditto all Holly said about this being such a nourishing, fun,
laughter-filled experiment in co-blogging. Finding my Holly faves was
tough because Miss H. has written so much good stuff–about sifting
through the sworly emotional life, her gorgeous garden, healing from a
truly holistic perspective, honoring the people she loves, and, of
course, food, glorious food. So many days I could almost taste the
muffins she was baking, in her full Taurean honoring of all life’s good
stuff–health, abundance, and butter. Yum.

A Guide to Spring Lettuces

I love Holly’s mini food guides. This one made me especially happy, just thinking about all my new leafy friends. And I mean, this? Pure food wisdom: “I know what you’re thinking: ‘The lettuce isn’t my caloric problem, it’s the gloppy, creamy dressing I smother my salads with that’s my downfall.’  My response to that is, get better lettuce!” Amen!

The Biggest Loser: Why is ‘Yay Me!’ So Hard?

This was a follow-up to a post about her fellow aquacizer’s proclamation: “I’m so proud of myself!”–a phrase we rarely hear from anyone, ever. So poignant. And then Holly flipped it into a question that related to “Biggest Loser” (which I now love vicariously), that I’ve never gotten out of my head: “What would you say “Yay me!” about?”

Thanksgiving Crafts: Fabric Leaf Place Cards!

Since her life is so much more adult-looking (from the pictures, at least) than mine, I love when we get to see Holly’s home. And this post felt so personal and sweet and helpful. I love these leafy place settings. Go crafts! This year I’m totally making these in hot pink.

The Anniversary of a Loss

I well up each time I read this post about the passing of Holly’s uncle Craig. It’s the star that gets me. Someone willing to put a silver star sticker on his forehead for a laugh? And a niece who appreciates that? I look at the photo in this and I miss a warm, funny man I’ve never met. Thanks, Holly.

In Memory of My Fascinating Grandmother

Gaga. Not Lady, but Holly’s grandma. A smarty knock-out with a sense of humor as big as her boldness. I love how Holly remembers her red lipstick, the books she wrote, the bits they played together, and this: “How many kids can truthfully say this sentence: ‘I learned the story of Jesus from my Jewish grandmother’?”

Thanks, thanks, thanks all around!  And if you’d like to follow us on our personal blog journeys, you can find Valerie here: and Holly here:

mosswoodAre you a frustrated dreamer? I know I am. I often wake up with fragments of scenes echoing in my mind that seem really meaningful–but then I leap out of bed, start my morning routine, and in seconds they’re gone. I want to linger in that realm and tap into the guidance and insight rising from a wiser source than my conscious mind.

Beliefnet’s new blogger Robert Moss addresses exactly that longing in his blog Dream Gates: “What’s that? You’re going through a dream drought? And you don’t notice much magic in the round of your days? Don’t worry: you have a world-class dreamer inside you who is ready to help you reopen your dream gates.”

A wonderful writer and brilliant teacher, Robert was raised in Australia where Aboriginal Dreamtime is a sacred path into “the world behind the world.” Robert has a unique approach to exploring dreams, called Active Dreaming–one that is playful, imaginative, and fun! “Dreaming is essentially about waking up to the bigger story and the deeper logic of our lives,” says Robert. 

Enjoy the profound and inspiring world of Dream Gates.

13 Indigenous GrandmothersBecause I lack an engineering degree and don’t understand why we can’t just stop this thing NOW with a 10-ton wad of gum or giant boulder or massive Q-tip, I’ll share more spiritual wisdom from elders. This is from the beautiful, amazing International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers–they each represent a continent and a native tradition. I saw them not long ago in NYC and was dazzled and warmed by their fiercely grandmotherly presence. Here is something they have written about the oil spill–they advise us to “stay awake” and then to reach into our hearts and help cast a “Net of Light.” Please read and pass it along. My sense is they want as many eyes and hearts on it as possible.

“We ask you to cast, anchor, and hold the Net of Light steady for the Gulf of Mexico,” the Grandmothers said. “This crisis is affecting the entire world, and humanity is asleep. Wake up!” they cried. “Animals are dying, plants are dying, and your Mother is writhing in agony. If you hold the Net of Light steady at this time you will help stave off further catastrophe.

“You have been lulled into a false sleep,” they said, “told that others (B.P.) would take care of this problem. This is not so,” they said. “And this is not the time for you to fall into oblivion. Determine now to stay awake, and once you have made that commitment, think of, cast, and hold the Net of Light. Hold it deep and hold it wide. Amplify its reach to penetrate the waters of the Gulf and dive deep beneath the crust of Mother Earth. Anchor it at the earth’s core and as you hold it there, ask it to unify with the mineral kingdom of this planet. It will do this and will harmonize with all the solid and liquid mineral states on earth-including oil and gas. The Net of Light will call these minerals back into harmony.

“Whatever human beings have damaged, human beings must correct,” the Grandmothers said. “This is the law. We repeat: This is the law. You cannot sit back and ask God to fix the mess humanity has created. Each of you must throw your shoulders to the wheel and work. We are asking for your help. Several years ago we gave you the Net of Light so you would be able to help the earth at times like this. Step forward now. This is the Net of Light that will hold the earth during the times of change that are upon you,” they said.

“First move into your heart and call on us. We will meet you there. The Net of Light is lit by the jewel of your heart,” they said, “so move into this lighted place within you and open to the Net of which you are a part. Bask in its calming presence. It holds you at the same time that you hold it.

“Now think of magnifying your union with us. We, the Great Council of the Grandmothers, are with you now, and all those who work with the Net of Light are also with you. There are thousands, even millions now connected in light,” they said. “Along with this union, call forth the power of the sacred places on earth. These will amplify the potency of our joint effort. Then call on the sacred beings that have come to prevent the catastrophe that threatens to overwhelm your planet. We will work together,” they said, nodding slowly.

“Think of, cast and magnify the presence of the Net of Light in the Gulf of Mexico. See, imagine or think of it holding the waters, holding the land, the plants, the sea life, and the people. Holding them all!” they said. “The Net of Light is holding them steady; it is returning them to balance. Let the love within your lighted heart keep pouring into the Net of Light and hold, hold, hold. Calmly and reverently watch as the light from your heart flows along the strands of the Net. It will follow your command and continuously move forth. As soon as you think of it, it will happen. We ask you to practice this for only a few minutes at a time, but to repeat it throughout the day and night.

“We promise that this work with the Net of Light will do untold good,” the Grandmothers said. “We are calling you to service now. You are needed. Do not miss this opportunity. We thank you and bless you.”

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sun1.jpg“Worry is a prayer for something you don’t want.” – Sharon Gannon

I love that. The other day someone expressed concern about my excessive worrying habit, and I’ve been contemplating on it ever since. Doing my best to actually contemplate, rather than worry. I’ve been on a renewed Gilmore Girls binge lately and last night as Lorelai, the main character, was fretting, she had an exchange with her man-friend Luke than went something like this:

LUKE: Stop worrying.

LORELAI: How do I do that?

LUKE: Stop thinking about it.

Call me simple, but it was a small revelation. We worriers worry about how we can stop worrying. But there it is. Just stop thinking about it. Duh. But: Ah-ha! Worry does not actually do anything, and if I could manage a thought-redirect every time I notice myself negatively ruminating, it might just be a more wonderful life.  

And for back-up, the other day, Holly posted this amazing quote on worry: //

And here’s  great piece: How to Stop Worrying.”

Do you have any stop-worrying tricks to share?

Need more morning inspiration?  Read our entire Fresh Morning collection!

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