Little Green Tomatoes

Tiny Seeds of Goodness


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Little Bits of Goodness – December 2

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

– Robert Brault –

 Hmmmm……I can think of a bunch of little things to enjoy about small batch hand-made soaps.  To name a few – the colors, the shapes, the creamy lather, the lovely aromas, and, if you read the labels, many are vegan, they are not tested on animals, they are made with natural oils & milks, contain no sulfates, and are scented with essential oils – not chemical fragrances. And who couldn’t benefit from a little grin and a giggle when that sudsy little bar escapes and surfs across the counter top or swirls around the sink?  Remember, enjoy the little things……

Even though I’ve often thought it would be cool to make my own soap, I’ll probably never get around to it, so I’m content to buy from people who know what they’re doing.  I buy most of mine from the local berry farm – I know, who would think, right? There are also a couple of goat’s milk soap makers at nearby farmer’s markets, and their soap is lovely as well. I’ve never ordered on-line. I need to smell before I buy!

A friend who was visiting a few years ago purchased the cute soap dish in the photo from a local artisan shop. She left it on my bathroom counter, along with a nice bar of soap, for me to find after she had gone.  What a nice surprise!

There are video tutorials on-line, and loads of ideas on the web for making your own soap dishes from air-dry or oven-dry craft clay.  Crafty kids might like to make a simple soap dish for their teachers, or for auntie, or for family / friends who may be house guests during the holiday season.

Happy Holidays, and, perhaps, Happy Lathering!


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Little Bits of Goodness – December 1

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons!

– Ruth Ann Schabacker –

 

Holiday Greetings to You!

Is there Someone in Your Life who could use a good excuse to slow down & snuggle up with a good book on a Winter’s afternoon?

Could that Someone even be You?

Do you have a favorite book by a local author?  Perhaps you have a treasured book on your shelf that you would like to share with a loved one?

 Inscribe a dated personal message inside.  Include a hand-made bookmark, or a length of beautiful ribbon.  Pair with a soft throw or a small quilt and wrap both in a lovely bow. Include a message in your best handwriting – “Untie the ribbon and enjoy the Gift in The Day!”

If you are interested in finding / reading “local”, independent bookstores usually have a section devoted to writers from the area.  Art & craft galleries often sell self-published books by regional writers.  And gift shops / visitor’s centers at state & national parks in the U.S. sell books written by regional folks as well.  Many of these locations have special holiday events with author signings, food, wine, or music.  Shopping with small businesses and shopping local not only supports your local economy, but the experience of it is also a gift to yourself!

So, if shopping in an Indie bookstore with a really catchy name appeals to you (as it does to me!), here are a few of my favorites.  Although nothing can really compare to browsing through the stacks & taking in the ambience of the space, I believe most sell books on-line as well. (Just to be clear, NO kickbacks, commissions, or credits for me here! These are simply independent booksellers that I personally enjoy shopping with.)

Battenkill Books – Cambridge, NY

Flyleaf Books – Chapel Hill, NC

McIntyre’s Books @ Fearrington Village – Pittsboro, NC

Persnickety Books – Burlington, NC

Purple Crow Books – Hillsborough, NC

Scuppernong Books – Greensboro, NC

 

 


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Little Bits of Goodness – Advent 2018

Happy Holidays!

I’ll be posting a little Gift of Inspiration for each day of Advent 2018.

Simple ways to put a bit of Goodness into The World

Quotes that embody the Spirit of the Season

Ideas that spring from my personal principle of “Triple G” – Good for Gaia, Good for the Giver, Good for the Getter

I hope you will find some inspiration here.

** Perhaps an idea for a Little Gift of Goodness for someone in Your Life **

** Perhaps a treat for Yourself **

** Perhaps a little Time together with A Loved One **

** Perhaps a way to show support for a local Business or Artist or Farmer who works hard to make The World a better place **

** Perhaps you will find Peace, Joy, or Timeless Wisdom in one of the daily quotes **

Whatever it may be – please accept my wishes for Happy Holidays and Abundant Simple Goodness!

Oh Holly Tree,

How bountiful laden with fruit are thee!

~ Nib Loblolly ~


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Aaahhh – Autumn!

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Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.

~ Terri Guillemets 

This morning was a lovely, quintessential autumn morn – cloudless bright blue sky, crisp clear air, warm sunshine, a light breeze rustling the leaves. The only thing missing – autumn leaves – colored leaves.  Most of the trees and shrubs are still clothed in green. At first glance it still looks like summer!

But the birds know.  Gone are the Hummingbirds and the Wood Thrush – they have moved to their winter homes.  The bright yellow Gold Finches have donned their winter plumage.  The Blue Jays, Robins, and Eastern Bluebirds are flocking together.  This morning I counted six Blue Jays in and under the Willow Oaks, feasting on the tiny acorns.  There was a bustle of activity on the lawn, the edge of road, and the neighbor’s front lawn, as a good-sized flock of Robins and Bluebirds landed and fanned out – visiting the water saucers, looking for tasty morsels on the ground, and picking the tiny seeds out of the chickweed that I haven’t pulled out of the flower beds.

I’ve been an admirer of the feathered ones for as long as I can remember.  I am continuously amazed by them.  There is always something new to learn from observing them, listening to them, and just being aware of them.

This year, even though we have a small stream running through our property and a large pond down the road a ways, I decided to put out some water saucers for the birds and the critters.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number and diversity of visitors!  Cardinals, Robins, Gold Finches, Purple Martins, Sparrows, Bluebirds…. butterflies…..beautiful Blue Mud Daubers….even a Rabbit standing on her tiptoes!

Who would have thought that such a simple offering would draw such a crowd?

 


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As I See It

Monsoon Sunrise, photo by SharonIMG95201808309506103795HDR

When you arise in the morning,

give thanks for the morning light,

for your life and strength.

Give thanks for your food

and the joy of living.

If you see no reason for giving thanks,

the fault lies in yourself.

 ~ Tecumseh

Earth Prayers from Around the World

 

Stymied, waylaid, paralyzed, sad, disappointed, angry, hopeless, helpless.  Dismayed.

I have found myself feeling all of the above at many times over the last several months –

 for Us, Now

for Earth and All of Her Inhabitants, Now

for the Future

for the Young, the Old, the Middle Aged

for Those who have worked tirelessly for close to a century to try and repair the damage that was and is being done

for those of Us who have the choice to make better decisions, but who choose not to

for Those who don’t have choices

for Those who don’t have the opportunity to learn

for the Innocents whose wisdom and voices are ignored

I was quite taken by the beauty of the Monsoon Sunrise that my friend Sharon was lucky to witness and photograph.  She graciously shared it with me.  I kept going back to her text message – looking at the photo again and again.  It was speaking to me.

Initially, I intended to focus this blog on Goodness – as I see It. I had no intention of giving space to the opposite.

I do hold the belief, however, that Light is defined, to some extent, by Darkness.  Likewise, with Right & Wrong, Love & Hate, Kindness & Aggression, Peace & War, and…………Good & Evil. Reasoning then, that acknowledging the Dark allows the Light to shine even brighter; that witnessing Wrong may move Us to take action for Right.

So, going forward, I’ll be giving some space in this blog to the opposite of Goodness – as I see It and feel It – as background and contrast to Goodness.  It is my hope and my belief that this will allow the seeds of Goodness to germinate profusely, create great and strong networks of root structures, grown en masse, and thus create an inhospitable environment for Evil, or whatever you wish to call the opposite of Good.

And, so it is that my dear friend’s photo of this unusual and beautiful sunrise has been softly speaking to me.  I hope it speaks to you too.

There are always two voices sounding in our ears – the voice of fear and the voice of confidence.  One is the clamor of the senses, the other is the whispering of the higher self. 

~ Charles B. Newcomb


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Solo

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At night make me one with the darkness

In the morning make me one with the light

 ~ Wendell Berry

 We have been blessed with a respite from heat and humidity.  For this girl with Celtic & Germanic blood coursing through her veins, that means I can drink in the joys of summer without wilting!

Windows have been opened! Soft summer breezes and birdsong have drifted into the house! Sun porch has become inhabitable again! And the night time chorus has been a welcome replacement for the drone of the air conditioner.

One of my guilty pleasures (which, thankfully, I rarely feel guilty about anymore) is an afternoon nap.  And today was a perfect day for one.  As I drifted back in to the space between sleep and wakefulness, too comfortable and relaxed to get up – warm summer breeze floating in through the windows – cicada chorus lazily moving like “the wave” from tree to tree – my mind began to tinker with the meetings I have had in the last 18 hours.  These were impromptu meetings – not scheduled – I reckon.  More correctly, they might be considered to be encounters or observances, not meetings in the true sense of the word.  Each brief, and in each case, I did not offer up any meaningful contribution.

And yet, tinkering with the collective experience, laying there sprawled out on the sofa in the sun porch, they seemed more like meetings.  In each case, I felt connected to the other party, to the encounter itself.  I did not feel like a casual observer only looking on from the outside.

Those thoughts seemed to drift on the breeze and to swirl around other thoughts I’ve been tossing around this week.  In particular, a conversation I was blessed to have a few days ago.  During which, the other person, an accomplished author, offered that the true reason she writes is not for reasons some would expect, but for a purely selfish reason.  She feels the most connected when she is writing.  Even though a solitary exercise, she feels the most connected to everything when she puts pen to paper.

I get it.  I totally get it.  And for me, I have been increasingly aware that I seem to feel the most connected during encounters with the natural world – those unscheduled meetings where I don’t have to speak or form a meaningful analysis – all I need to do is just be.

And, be, is exactly what I did at about 9:00 last night, when out with one of the dogs, patiently waiting for that perfect blade of grass to be located before the necessary business could be done.  The moon was up, and she was lovely.  I believe the bright golden/orange planet near to the moon is now Mars (?), and I was admiring both of them.  A little movement or glimmer in the periphery, down closer to where I was standing, caught my eye.  But when I moved my gaze to that location I didn’t see anything.  And then, about 8 inches from my right hand, a brief, faint glow.  As I squinted to see if it was a firefly – unusual for this late in summer in North Carolina – he moved in closer, about 6 inches from my nose, so I could get a better look! Hovering, I was presented with another faint bit of glow.  A little “ah!” and a smile, and he disappeared into the darkness.  I looked all about and didn’t see any other blinking beacons.

A little firefly – flying solo in the dark of a late August night.  I wonder, was he holding out for that “perfect gal”, or was he just enjoying his solitude and the beautiful evening and sharing what little faint “glow” he still had to share?

And so it was with the other meetings.

~ Sitting in the dark, enjoying a sip of water before bedtime, listening to a solo Katydid amongst a choir of crickets.  Waiting for a response from another delicate green soul? Needing to find a mate before languishing in the cooler nights to come? Or just thinking that the choir of crickets could use a bit of diversity?

~ Lying awake, hearing a barred owl on the gutter in the wee hours of the morning.  Calling for his mate?  Or just preferring a little soft music with his gutter water?

~ Standing in the yard, again patiently waiting for dog business to be conducted, watching a red shouldered hawk wheeling and calling in the clear blue morning sky.  Staking out territory?  Or just enjoying the view and the wind rushing through her feathers?

~ Reaching for a clean coffee mug, watching a lone hummingbird sampling the nectar from the dewy lantana – red, orange, pink, yellow.  Hmmmm……which one is best?  Checking out the impatiens in the flower box and not finding much that interested her.  Pausing, hovering, eyeballing me as I watched from the other side of the kitchen window.  Sizing me up for battle?  Or thinking to herself, “wow, I’m glad I look better than that first thing in the morning!”?