Always Thankful for Thursday!

Cat Conspiracy
Cat Conspiracy (Photo credit: Tjflex2)

Some have asked why I am not blogging more often.  I have to say, one of the beautiful side effects of practicing daily meditation (at least for me) is that I have much less desire to “talk” and much more desire to listen and do.  Always thinking my purpose in life is to learn and to teach, I am feeling like I have moved into a definite learning stage, and much of that learning is simply getting to know myself a little better, which I hope results in making me a better teacher–and a better human being.  On a side note, it’s really incredible to see my cat, Roxburry, come running into my office when I say “I am going to meditate…do you want to come?”  It just reinforces how important it is to have quiet time–and a routine.  Just like kids, animals respond so well to a routine.  And I am sure I hear her chanting her own mantra which goes “purr, purr, purr.”

To those that have asked for a Dillon update, I have just looked at his Facebook page (Team Dillon) and see that the doctors are pleased with the way the surgery went and treatment will begin next week.  His parents appear to be holding up and no doubt all the support and positivity going there way, can only be a good thing.

It is Vegan (Feast) Thursday and I hope you will consider swapping out some animal protein  at a meal or two today.  You don’t have to replace your animal protein with a non-animal protein as most people eating way more protein than they need.  Now that I am running 7 or so miles a week, I have introduced a once-a-week “noodle night,” for dinner.  I buy the Publix brand broad noodles as they are egg free and eat them with some Earth Balance and nutritional yeast.   Mitch has his with some butter and grated cheese.  Hey, it’s not something I recommend daily, but once a week it’s easy, comforting and a great way to have an almost free meal.   If you watch your portion control, the calories won’t even kill you.  Conversely, too much animal protein, actually can….

Like my little friend Natey, make good choices!  Know that your choices don’t only effect you.  We are just tiny insignificant specs in a great big world…and we are all connected.  Much love.

Keeping All Good Thoughts …..

Keeping all good thoughts for Dillon as he undergoes his groundbreaking, brain surgery in Boston, today.  Knowing that he is in the best place he can possibly be, with the best surgeons he can possibly have, must give his family some support, but any of us with children can only imagine how hard this day must be for his parents and loved ones.  Miracles happen every day, and I am staying focused on this year’s big miracle being especially for Dillon, his family and his Team.

If you are unfamiliar with Dillon’s story, I am reposting below.   Real life stories should never have to be this sad.

September Morning….

English: Meditation Vehicle
English: Meditation Vehicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is not only the first day of fall, but also World Gratitude Day–and the International Day of Peace.  World Gratitude Day began in 1977 and anyone, anywhere can join the celebration by simply offering up some gratitude by saying thank you to someone who has made a difference, sending a note or card, lighting a candle, or sitting in silence and giving attention to all you are thankful for.  Making a habit of practicing gratitude daily, is one of the best gifts you can possibly give yourself, and consequently others, as well.  By focusing on what we do have, materially, emotionally, etc., and moving away from attention on what we don’t have, we realize we really do have more than enough….

While I am super sad to say goodbye to summer, I am so grateful for having had a great one and move into fall with a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction and an eye on what this new season will bring.  I look forward to the new green market which opens today in Coral Springs at 9400 West Sample Road, and will be held each Saturday throughout the year.  In fall, we have an abundance of vegetables that happen to be the very colors of the changing leaves, so think carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and anything that mirrors those gorgeous fall colors.

May you have an overflowing gratitude list this first day of fall, and every day.  Peace.



Like Sands in an Hourglass….

Hourglass icon
Hourglass icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Maybe you can afford to wait.  Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow.  Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers.  So much time you can waste it.  But for some of us there’s only today.  And the truth is, you never really know. 

 –Lauren Oliver

While your waiting for your weekend to begin, make the most of THIS day.  And every day.

What’s YOUR Finish Line?

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown.
Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a little encouragement today for those working their fitness goals.  I started back to running (really jogging) in June, with a 1/2 mile jog,  increasing my mileage by a couple of tenths a mile each week.  Through June, July and August, though I got myself up to completing my own 5ks and doing about 7-8 miles a week, it never seemed to get easier.  Just a couple of 10ths of a mile into my “runs,” I would find myself struggling with my breathing.  Then, while in Tampa last month, Mitch read me an article written by a guy who ran from northern Florida to California, logging something like 20 miles a day.  His advice was to stop looking at the time and the pace and to just enjoy the journey.  Though this seems so trite, it somehow resonated with me and I think of this simple advice each time I hit the streets.

Between changing up my mindset and, a few months of training, I am happy to say that while I don’t know if I will ever achieve a runner’s high (I am open minded!) I am no longer struggling with my breathing, my pace has picked up and my “runs,” have become much more enjoyable.  I am optimistic that when the temps dip below 90, and the humidity drops a bit, it will be easier and still more enjoyable.   But honestly…the best part of running, at least for me, is when I see my “finish line.”

Running is just a metaphor for most challenges in life.  You gotta just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your finish line.  Wishing you a beautiful day and many achieved goals!

PLEASE READ. A Heartfelt Message from our Dear Friend, Ken.

  Message from our dear friend, Ken Aronoff, who’s heart is enormous.  But you will see for yourself as you read this.  If you can purchase a bracelet and/or pass this on, it will be of great help to Dillon and his family.  Thanks.

So…For those- of your who have known me for a while…I will be writing about two things I find quite foreign. First I will attempt to be serious (I’ve never been good at that)…and second I will ask for help (I will never be good at that!). Now don’t run off…please read this cause I’m about to bare it all… You see…Im in love with my ex wife (read on!). Marriages end, but the love doesn’t have to.We have an astounding give/ take relationship. At the beginning of each month she takes a lot… and I give a lot. Somehow…it all balances out. I still consider her my best friend. I also love her husband, Drew…who understands this dynamic. Perhaps because he looks like an underwear model and can kick my butt just by glancing in my general direction. Also…we share the bond of co parenting…and the true love of friendship. The love of family. Hey…it works for us. On March 24, 2005 Dillon Joseph Brooks entered MY life. Yes, he completed the Brooks family, a brother to my kids, a son to Drew and Caroline. Odd as it may sound…he is like a grandson to me. For 8 years he has swelled my heart with joy. He maintains the wildness of a boy and the heart tug of a never ending smile…and like any pseudo grandpa…I can go home when I please. Its like renting a kid for a few hours!
On August 26, 2013, without any prior warnings or symptoms, Dillon was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. Six hours of emergency surgery at Miami Children’s Hospital was successfully performed. The pathology report was dire. Dillon has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform….a highly aggressive malignant brain tumor. Dillon has just been accepted to an experimental trial at the Dana-Farber Children’s Hospital in Boston. On September 23, under the care of Dr. Mark Kieran, he will again undergo brain surgery. A gene transfer “vaccine” will be placed in the region of the tumor, to be followed by chemo and radiation.
The Brooks family has received incredible support from friends, family, co workers, neighbors, and the community. The Pembroke Pines Police (to this day still make me nervous) the Miami Dolphins and the Irelands are now family. Community takes care of its own!
Here is the uncomfortable part: Please..we need help…and hope! Although insurance will cover the brunt, Dillon’s treatment will be experimental, and ongoing expenses are still an unknown. The funds collected are crucial for the ongoing trials so that Dillon and other kids might survive. Science is performing miracles every day…now its our turn for a miracle.
Please support our sweet Dillon as he and his family take on a fight against Glioblastoma which is a malignant tumor in the brain.  This sweet boy was diagnosed just one week ago and will be traveling to Boston for treatment.  Please help us show your support to this family by joining “Team Dillon”.  These bracelets were designed by friends and of the family and we hope that you can help us by making a minimum $10.00 donation (any and all donations are much appreciated).  Donations are tax deductible and 100% will go to the family.  The bracelets were purchased by an anonymous donor and will be mailed to you.
Checks should be made payable to The PBA Hope Fund.  On the memo of the check, please write, “Team Dillon”.  The HOPE FUND is registered with the State of Florida and the IRS as a tax exempt charitable organization in compliance with the code of 501C (3).  (FEID# 65-0400777).
Please mail the order form below to:  Ysela Helm

18701 NW 5 ST

 Pembroke Pines, FL  33209
Thank you for your support and please continue to pray and support our sweet Dillon!
Address _____________________________________________
Phone #________________________________
Amount Donated: _____________________
Please allow 5-7 days for delivery or if you are local, you can pick them up.  Call me at 954 249-2614

What to Wear…

Kiwi Peace Sign.
Kiwi Peace Sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Peace is the number one beautiful ornament you can wear, I really believe that. They say you should always wear a smile, but I don’t believe that you should “always” wear a smile, seriously, you’re going to look stupid! But peace, you should always carry peace within you, its the most beautifying thing you could ever have or do. Peace makes your heart beautiful and it makes you look beautiful, too. You want to have perfect physical posture when you stand, sit, and walk, and peace is the perfect posture of the soul, really. Try perfect posture outside as well as inside. Peace creates grace and grace gives peace.”     ―

  C. JoyBell C.

Wishing you peace in your hearts and homes for the New Year and always…all ways.  Namaste.

Vegan (Feast) Thursday is also Pink Thursday


While we often associate pink with breast cancer awareness, here in “our town,” pink Thursday is all about bringing (and keeping) attention on the plight of Bob Levinson who has been held hostage since March of 2007.  In just a few months he will be the longest held international hostage.  If you are on FaceBook, visit Help Bob Levinson for more information.  His family has asked people to wear pink to help keep attention on his story.  While Bob’s family lives in my town, everyone, from everywhere should know about  his story!


On the vegan side of things, I have a couple of simple recipes to share, that just happen to be void of animal products.  While I was obsessed with making oat bars last year, Rita has found a recipe similar but not the same.   My oat bars were more like cereal bars, Rita’s are more like someone’s grandmas baking.  She has been kind enough (well she ALWAYS IS TOO KIND) to share hers with me as my morning have been too hectic for a good sit down breakfast these past couple of weeks and they are really delicious.  She was also kind enough to print out the recipe for me to share with you.  Thanks, Rita…for everything!

Rita’s Vegan Banana Oat Treats–NO SUGAR, NO EGGS, NO DAIRY

3 mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup applesauce

2 cups quick oats

1/4 almond milk

1/2 cup raisins or Craisins

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

handful of walnuts

 Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, till firm.  Rita suggests gently touching them to see when they reach firmness.

The second recipe I found on FaceBook last week and it looked too easy not to try.  Also vegan and free of dairy, they have only 4 ingredients and take no time to whip up a batch.  I am happy to say Mitch loved them, even though I had a little issue with the oven and would imagine they can be even better.

Super Simple (and healthy!) Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 ripe mashed bananas

1 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup vegan (I use Ghiradelli DARK) chocolate chips

 a big spoonful (whopping tablespoon) of peanut butter

Mix the ingredients and drop a spoonful at a time onto a baking tray.  ( would try parchment paper next time.)  Bake also for 15-20 minutes or until desired firmness.  They are very rich, sweet and satisfying.  They make a great treat when you need something sweet and won’t sabotage your waist line!

I’ll Drink to That…

Wine glasses
Wine glasses (Photo credit: kate.paulson)

Now here’s an idea…Yoga-and-Wine Retreats!

According to this month’s Yoga Magazine, events pairing wine and oms are all the “buzz.”  All over the country (not just in the typical wine tasting areas, but there, too) yoga sessions are being paired with happy endings that go beyond savasana.  “Practicing yoga before wine tasting opens us up to our senses and creates a deep connection to the beauty of ‘place,'” says Nichole Taylor, owner of New Beginnings Yoga and Wellness in Monmouth, Oregon.  Here are a just a few places across the country where you can experience this delight to all the senses:

  • In Sonoma County, CA enjoy yoga, biking and wine tasting getaways in the spring and fall.  Visit

  • In New York you can retreat from the city to the Hudson River Valley for hiking, yoga and wine tasting.  You can visit some of my very favorite mountains during this retreat as you hike the Shawangunks and then taste vino at the Hudson Valley Winery.  Visit

  • Full or half-day yoga retreats are available in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  Visit

  • Outdoor yoga and wine tasting are paired in Loudon County, Virginia.  Visit

While I haven’t been drinking wine in the past few years, this is definitely something I would consider when I am next visiting those beautiful “gunks,” with my “garden club” friends.  If you know of a place near you that hosts these events, let us know!  I might just think of hosting my own version…

Careful, it’s Contagious

We all know how easy it is to catch the common cold, but did you know that stress can be just as contagious?  Recent research at the University of Hawaii shows that we can actually catch negative attitudes, which is all the more reason to “just say NO” to negativity. Bad attitudes, and even the negative body language of your friends, co-workers and family are easily “caught,” just by spending time with these people.  So listen to that voice inside you and when you feel those bad vibes in your space, do whatever you can to distance yourself, or at least to limit how much you left them affect you.  Conversely, positive energy is just as contagious, so make sure to seek out and spend time with those people who radiate beams of positivity.

Want to be a person who radiates beams of positivity?  SMILE more.  In a different study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that the act of smiling (using all the muscles in the face, not just the mouth) can actually lower your heart rate after a stressful event.  Apparently, even if you aren’t actually feeling happy, the activation of the muscles is enough to cause this positive effect.  And the beauty of smiling—it’s contagious.

Let’s all get out there and spread some positive energy.  What’s good for us, is good for those around us, too!