Friday, March 28, 2014

♥ The Daffodil Principle - A True Story ♥


The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over."  I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day--and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. 
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain. 
As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail's pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly," We drive in this all the time, Mother."
"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears--and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they've finished repairing the engine," she answered.
"How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously.

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said cheerfully.

So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I'll drive," Carolyn offered. "I'm used to this." We got into the car, and she began driving.
In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. "Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather."

"It's all right, Mother," She replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I'm doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge -- and she was kidnapping me! I couldn't believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils -- driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb.

I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The Fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds. 
We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign "Daffodil Garden."

We each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt.

Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils.  A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificence enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note -- above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.
It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain-top. 
Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me -- even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "And how, and why, and when?" 

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions.  On the patio we saw a poster. " Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun -- one bulb at a time -- to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain-top.

One bulb at a time.

There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No  shortcuts -- simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.

This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.
The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time -- often just one baby-step at a time -- learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, "it's as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that's the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth!

All, all, just one bulb at a time."

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. "It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years.

Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?"

by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards





Gloria Estefan~ Conga FULL HQ

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thank Heaven For Little Girls - Meet Rose!

 If you've read my book, 
Living La Vida (Lymphoma), then you know about Rose. She has been such a blessing to me and she keeps me laughing every day. I've learned a lesson or two from this sweet girl and I'm so thankful that we found each other! We are two bitches, living and loving life!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Excerpt From Living La Vida (Lymphoma)

Friday, March 25
Pay No Attention To That Woman Behind The Curtain…
“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”
~Mother Teresa

     Today is a dreary, overcast day. I had to go to get blood work drawn. I always try to keep a cheerful “countenance” about me no matter what and I look forward to seeing my regular Vampiresses. They are so sweet and caring.
     This morning when I was called back to the lab, I took my seat and the nurse pulled the curtain closed around us and asked me to state my name and birthdate. We chatted a bit and then another patient entered the room and was seated not far away from me. His nurse asked him to provide her with his name and birthdate as well. Imagine my surprise when he announced my birthday! So, I jokingly said from behind the curtain, “Wow! Isn’t that cool? This is kinda like the Dating Game!” Both nurses laughed and there was no response from the gentleman. His lab work was completed before mine and after he left the room, I said, “Geez! I guess my Mystery Date wasn’t too thrilled with my candor!” which made the nurses break out into a fit of laughter.
     “He didn’t hear a word you said, Honey- he is eighty five years old and hard of hearing!”
     “Yep! Just my rotten luck!” I replied. At least we shared a good laugh. Take time to find the joy in your day and see how many people you can connect with and share some laughter – it IS good for the soul!

Affirmation: Every day I seek the love and joy that surrounds me and I pass it on.

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Yummy Monday!

Ramen Grows Up: Easy, Healthy Chicken Ramen Soup at Home
Easy Miso-Chicken Ramen Soup

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided 
1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger 
4 cups water 
3 tablespoons white miso (see Tip) 
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces 
8 cups chopped bok choy 
4 ounces dried Chinese noodles, broken in half 
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (2 cups sliced)

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add water, miso, soy sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken, bok choy, noodles and mushrooms. Cover and return to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.

It's a New Week!

Happy Monday! 
Go forth and share your sparkle and creativity 
with everyone you meet today!
♥ ENJOY!

  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Can You Feel it?




Take some time today to embrace the REAL you! 

Do something that makes your ♥ sing!

You deserve it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Minestrone!

I SOUP! 
Each week, I make a pot of soup and freeze it into individual servings. I have a variety stored up from Chili to Gumbo to Split Pea or Bean, to good old fashioned Chicken Vegetable soup! 
Such an easy yet healthy and soothing comfort food to eat for a quick lunch or dinner. 
This one is going to become a part of my repertoire! 

ENJOY!
Minestrone is sort of a catch-all Italian term for soup, but it’s always a welcome meal, 
especially when it’s fortified, as it is here, with plenty of vegetables and protein-packed chickpeas. 
If you want a little more bite, consider substituting mildly bitter escarole for the chard.

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, quartered, washed and sliced
  • 2 small stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat short pasta, such as elbows, bow ties or shells
  • 8 cups chopped green chard leaves
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil

Preparation:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add leeks, celery, onion and 1┌2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add zucchini, potato and garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute more. Add water and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add pasta and chard; cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and peas and simmer until the pasta is just tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Top with Parmesan and parsley (or basil). Serve immediately.
* From EatingWell.com

Erin Go Bragh!

Top O' The Mornin' to ya, Laddies & Lassies! 
St. Patrick's Day was a BIG celebration in my house growing up. Here's a picture of me serving up some corned beef & cabbage!

Have a Happy St. Patty's Day, Everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shine on, Beloveds!

There will be times when you may feel like a patient. A number. A nobody. This is when it's important to take a moment to breathe and relax and focus on the REAL you! You are a beautiful, loving person...let your inner light shine! 
You are NOT alone!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rainbow Chicken Salad!

Rainbow Chicken Salad with Almond Honey Mustard Dressing - freshly addicting. | pinchofyum.com
RAINBOW CHICKEN SALAD WITH ALMOND HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
 INGREDIENTS
For the Salad
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (mine were cut into smaller, thinner pieces which made the sauteing a bit easier)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups grapes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups curly lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup almonds, chopped or crushed
For the Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
  • ½ tablespoon raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, pepper, and chili powder. Saute in the oil for a few minutes, flipping the chicken now and then to cook through and get a nice golden color on both sides. When the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cut and prep all the vegetables and fruits. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite sized pieces. Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl – you can either arrange the bowl by ingredient, like pictured, or toss everything together. Refrigerate to chill.
  3. For the dressing, puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Let Go...

I needed this reminder! I have been going through some scary health issues of late and although I am usually positive and up-beat, it's been a struggle.

My particular kind of cancer is SPTCL (or Subcutaneous Paniculitis-Like T-Cell Lymphoma). It accounts for less than 1 % of all T-Cell lymphomas. Not one of my doctors, from 2009 to present, have ever treated anyone with it which makes it even more frustrating to me. I was told that I have a better chance at winning the lottery, so I am still trying! (Mama wants a trip to Tuscany!)

The last few months, although challenging, have forced me to relinquish control and go with the flow, Baby! That's all we can do, right?!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Keep it Simple!

One thing I learned after my diagnosis, was to be grateful for everything. When you live this way, the big things will no longer be important to you. You begin to notice what you may have taken for granted in the past. It is an awesome gift to allow ourselves to experience and enjoy all that lies before us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WHOO-HOO! OVER 40,000 HITS!

Sending out a GYMORMOUS thank you and Hug to my 
world-wide followers! 
Keep stopping by for a daily dose of inspiration, Lovies!
MUUUAAAH!
XOXOXO
♥ Jodi ♥

Check Out This Beauty Blog!

My friend, Kelley White sent me a link to a wonderful article about a woman in the UK named Emily Parker who started blogging after her Leukemia diagnosis. It is a FABULOUS beauty blog! 

Here is the article and here is Emily's blog! ENJOY!
♥ BRAVO, EMILY!


ALWAYS....





Give a smile to everyone you meet...it may be the only bright spot in their day, and it may propel them forward!

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Shout out to my Fellow Lymphomaniacs!

There are going to be days when you may feel like giving up...

D-O-N-T!!!!!

You are NOT alone!
XOXOX

A Yummy, Quick Veggie Recipe!

 Crustless Veggie Mini Quiches  


These would be perfect for a quick breakfast, or served for lunch or dinner with a salad....MMMMMM!

INGREDIENTS

  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 6 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1 carton (16 oz each) Egg Beaters® Original

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 12 regular muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Mix together cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese in small bowl; set aside. Place broccoli in medium microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon water; cover. Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes; drain well. Chop into smaller pieces. Spoon broccoli evenly into muffin cups; top evenly with corn, crumb mixture and Cheddar cheese. Pour Egg Beaters evenly over filled cups.
  3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until puffed and knife inserted in centers comes out clean. Let stand 2 minutes; run table knife around edges to loosen.

COOK'S TIPS

Use your favorite vegetables in these mini quiches. Firm vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or asparagus will need to be cooked in the microwave a few minutes and then chopped finely so they will be tender at the end of the baking time.




Saturday, March 1, 2014