I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What matters most?

How often do we sit down and take stock of where we are in life and what really matters to us? Not superficial items like our new car or getting my hair done. I am talking about what really matters most to us in our lives. Maybe the car is it yet I think for most of us there is so much more to spend our time and effort on in an attempt to find happiness in life.

Every once in while I can't sleep and I stumble out of bed into the kitchen for a glass of water then into the living room where I flinch turning on the light while collapsing heavily onto the couch. Wide awake at 3 am, my head is swimming with the stresses of the day or week. Unable to get back to sleep I will pull out my journal and start listing exactly why I am unable to rest easily. Then if that fails to relax me I will start listing everything that I am grateful to have in my life. I always start with Rob. My amazing husband. From there my pen just flows across the paper and before I know it I have a list several pages long of what I am grateful to have surrounding me. Amazingly, after my gratitude list I can usually sleep a rich, deep, slumber. I wake up rested and ready to go.

If gratitude can do that why then does it take a bout of insomnia to make me grateful for the joys in my life?
As we move through our day to day interactions it is easy to become disconnected with what we believe in or appreciate in our lives. At times I get so tangled up in the job I do or in helping my coworkers that not only do I forget to stop and eat. I also forget that they are not the most important focus of my life. I work to help provide for my family and for the service it provides to the community at large. Since I work for the state we know that I am not working for large amounts of money.

We are so distracted in our lives. We have t.v., XM radio, computers and cell phones. We have advertising campaigns telling us what we want and need. We have people all around us buying bigger and better everything. State of the art is not an option it is a requirement.
Now with all of this swimming around in our heads we have the addition of a government that just can't get it together. Either party.  Wars in two countries. A recession. High unemployment. On top of everything else  we have the 9-11 anniversary tomorrow. Another level of sadness to pull us away from our center. How can you have a calm quiet place inside with all of this chaos surrounding you? How can you even know what to be grateful for?

Simply- stop. My 3 am list is able to be written because at 3 am the world is silent. I am alone and there is nobody to distract me and little to do that won't wake up my slumbering husband. At 3 am I can find that quiet, gentle, forgiving side of myself  that can't exist between work, trips to the store and cooking dinner. At 3 am I can find that soft place to land that is even hard to get to in yoga and meditation sometimes because in the middle of the night my world has come to a standstill. In yoga class I can still get caught up in thinking about what to make for dinner or the laundry that needs done.

I found this place on vacation this year sitting on our rented cabin porch and looking at a shimmering spider web. It was sunny and the air was abuzz with the sound of insects and I was at peace. I found it again hiking with my husband on the trails near our cabin. No outside noises, no cell phones- nothing to interrupt our time together under the canopy of green as we moved along the narrow trails. We could talk and laugh easily without the pressures of our day to day lives.

We can access the calm place and really think about what is important. For me it is not about the home I live in or the car I drive. It is about the love of the people around me and the support and security they provide. It is also about what I can do for them as well.  I have a deep sense of gratitude for all the richness of my life.
So here is a little from my last list.

I am grateful for:
My amazing husband
My Family- sons, daughters in law grandbabies, parents and brothers and my entire extended clan.
My health
The security of our home and food on the table
The time I had with my grandparents and aunts who are no longer with us
The ability to learn
The beauty that surrounds me
And so on....

My list calms me and helps me to focus on what really needs to happen and what can fall by the wayside.My gratitude list highlights my priorities.  If something in my life interferes with my priorities then I need to really look at that interference and evaluate it's necessity in my life.

So here is to hoping you have your gratitude list and are able to find that elusive calm quiet place in your world.



  1. What a good post this was! I felt like I was sitting across from you at the table, our coffee (or tea) cups in our hands -- friends from across the miles.

    Yes, there is so much to gripe about and to worry about but really can we do much about those things? We can only live our lives the best we can, so that we can look at ourselves in the mirror and not be ashamed of who we are. If only everyone would live that way what a wonderful world this would be.

    I am at my computer with the window behind it open. A gentle breeze is blowing in. It's a cool breeze. It does not smell of rain. But it does not smell of smoke, either. There are cicadas and tree frogs singing in the trees across the road. The white Hyacinth bean is in bloom and it is so pretty. The Goldfinches that were lured into my yard by the sunflowers have taken up residence in the old cedar tree and I hear their call, it sounds like "Sweeeeeet?.... Sweeeeeet?" The cat just came in from outside. She's been watching the woodpile closely. She jumps into my lap and settles in, a big, well-padded and well-upholstered brown ball with black paws. She rubs her face against me, purring softly, her blue eyes looking into mine. Ah... unconditional love. Even when the big things are all screwed up, there are those little things....

    You go, girl! Hugs, Ilene

  2. Ilene-
    I wanted to reply last week while I was away. Thank you so very much! I can picture you there from the photo's and posts from your blog! What a feeling of contentment just from the little things in our lives!
    Hugs back at you!!!!


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