Living Green House

The natural environment has always been a place of healing for me.  Starting in childhood, I spent my days roaming and exploring open fields, small forests and the world around me.  Nature has always been healing for me and a natural place of stress management as I have grown older.

I spend hours in nature each day, taking walks and cycling through the nature reserve. I also take many trips a year to distant lands that are dramatically geographically different than the place I live in.  I love the energy that mountains bring, the serenity and peace that the ocean gives me, and can never get enough of the solitude of the desert.

I currently live in a cold climate and due to the restriction on travel at this time or possibly in the near future, I am seeking a local natural retreat that I can go to when the weather outside is dead and frozen.   I have never been a fan of snow and struggle in the fall when everything starts to die and begins the long transformation to dormancy.  I miss my beautiful flowers, bees and dragonflies and come alive when I travel to a new and warmer environments.

So this summer’s search has resulted in an unexpected find.  At my local university, I discovered a new building with an atrium.  As I was biking past, I stopped to look in the window and saw a waterfall, a royal palm tree, beautiful tropical flowers and plants.  I was so excited to find my winter retreat at a nearby local spot!  Although I still plan on traveling nationally, things are not yet what they used to be and my travel will be limited this year, but at least now I have a tropical sanctuary to help me feel alive when everything around me this winter appears to be dead and lifeless.

If you also struggle with winter blues or miss the great outdoors but can’t get out because of extreme weather or piles of snow, check your local community for a green house, a planetarium, an atrium , art gallery or museum.  So many ways to feel alive when dark winter days set in!

COVID Kindness

We all struggle differently during times of stress.  The pandemic has pushed many of us past our coping abilities.  It is during this time that we are faced with making decisions as to how to deal with everyday environmental stressors that are out of our control.

In my city and across the country, people are doing random acts of kindness.  When the pandemic first began, a neighbor who lived at the end of the block, yelled at me to say that he made clocks, and had made one especially for me.  I was surprised since we had never talked although I walked past his house daily.  I was touched by his kindness.  He was outside playing horseshoes in his yard and told me the clock was near the front door. He continued to play his game as I found the clock and was surprised to find that it was really cool in a modern industrial deisgn.  I thanked him and again he said, I thought you would like it.  I was touched by this random stranger’s act of kindness.  It inspired me to want to do random acts of kindness myself.

In our small city people are painting inspiration messages on rocks and hiding them around town.  I have found several, some make me laugh, some make me smile and some touch my heart.  Yesterday I found a small plastic bag with a sticky note on it, saying, “From me to you!  Exactly what you need right now”. Inside the bag was a beautiful crystal rock that promotes the feeling of calm.

I don’t know any of the people that are leaving random gifts across town, but it makes me happy to know that there are people out there doing random acts of kindness at a time when it is most needed.

Thank you!

Grilled Watermelon Burgers? Hell Yeah!

Wait before you stop reading, yes watermelon can not only be grilled, but it turns into a delicious tasty burger.

Recently we saw some hype about the watermelon burger in a trendy New York restaurant and thought we would try it, so yesterday we bought a sugar baby watermelon, fired up the grill and prepared a tasty sauce of grilled orange juice, fennel and crushed garlic.

We expected the watermelon burger to be soggy and gross, but it was grilled and delicious.  It’s amazing how the texture changes when the watermelon is grilled. Watermelon can be made into steaks, mock tuna and baked ham.

If you enjoy adventures in cuisine, give this one a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Grilled Watermelon Burger with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

4 watermelon steaks, approx. 1 inch thick
4 ciabatta buns (or your favorite)

1 fennel, fronds diced
1 medium orange
2 large cloves garlic, diced

2 tbsp white vinegar
¼ tsp salt

olive oil
goat cheese
cracked pepper to taste

Preparation

Cut watermelon steaks to roughly the size of the bun, sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.

In a bowl, combine finely diced fennel, zest from orange, garlic, vinegar and salt.

Cut orange in half, and rub orange flesh with a paper towel and olive oil. Grill face down for about 2 minutes, until grilled. Squeeze juice into bowl with fennel and other ingredients.

Wipe grill down with olive oil and grill watermelon steaks, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Watermelon should have grill marks, dry out and caramelize.

Top with goat cheese, and grill for another minute to melt cheese.

 

Rub buns with olive oil and grill oil side down for a minute.

Serve with fennel mix on top and cracked pepper, to taste.

 

https://thevegantrough.food.blog/

Adventure Rocks

COVID 19 has changed a lot of lives in many ways over the past year.  It has also cancelled, delayed and changed many travel adventures and trips that I had planned, one being a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon.

With little to do, other than to explore the great outdoors locally, I find myself getting bored with the same routine and the same scenery.  I dream about safe travel again and exploring new places.

In my community, Point Rocks has made painting and hiding rocks a community adventure that is fun for kids, families and adults.  Now going out can be a fun scavenger hunt searching for treasures that are hidden at the university, nature reserve, and on city streets.  Rocks are painted with inspirational messages, humor, and beautiful designs.  You never know what you are going to find.  Half the fun is finding the rocks and then re-hiding them so others can play too.

Wherever you are, you can either join in the fun or start your own rocking community.  People post the rocks on their local Facebook page to show which rocks they find and then send them out into the community again.  Great fun for all!

We are never too old to play!

 

Tadasana

Yoga isn’t for everyone but for those who have tried it, find it a wonderful way to relax and quiet the mind and body.  It is a gentle form of exercise that strengthens, tones and renews the body, mind and spirit.

Tadasana, or mountain pose is something that most people can do.  It may seem deceptive because this is pose is so simple, yet it has a lot of health benefits and also makes you feel grounded, balanced and strong.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved Body Posture: Our body is affected by the way we sit or stand.  Misalignment can affect our mind and ability to think clearly.
  • Helps with Depression: People with rounded back and drooping shoulders are more prone to depression. Their energy flow is misaligned and leaves them feeling sluggish and low.

Tadasana is a simple and easy yoga practice to begin. I would start with 5 minutes a day.  Find a place that makes you feel good such as facing a window or being outside.

Mountain Pose

  • Stand straight, arms alongside your body
  • Spread your toes
  • Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis
  • Soften your eyes and focus on being strong like a mountain
  • Focus on slow gentle breaths as you tune into your body and reflect on mountain strength

This short intro to yoga can be a mini session into creating a healthier more balanced you!  Give it try for at least a week and see if it changes your posture or the way you feel.

Time to Change Your Life!

During difficult times, and unexpected transitions, job losses, social distancing and isolation, now is a good time to make some positive changes.

Sometimes life takes us in a different direction than we intended to go and we need help or guidance to make it through the transition.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor and Life Coach, I have helped many through difficult transitions including career loss or change, relationship conflict, health and wellness, spiritual guidance and past trauma.  Through my own experience and background, I am able to help people from a place of understanding and empathy and I also recognize that the path to healing can at times be painful or difficult, but my work as a guide is to help support you on your personal journey.

I currently have a few openings for consultations and would be very happy to answer any questions about coaching sessions that you have.

You are not alone on your journey.

http://consultingclouds.com/services/

Sweet Depression

I grew up on sugar.  The best part of our family meals were desserts.  Everyone looked forward to cakes, cookies, and pies.  Then as children we would go to the dentist and get our cavities filled and be rewarded with candy.  Life has changed since then.  It now has become known that sugar is toxic and highly addictive.

Research indicates that sugar is linked to diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer.  What appears to be safe and a treat, is actually dangerous to our health if consumed in large quantities.

Office parties, kids birthday’s and holidays are often filled with sugar.  Our lives seems to revolve around the tempting sweet stuff.  Like caffeine our bodies crave the fix, but the fix is temporary and often times makes us feel worse.  In my private practice as a counselor, I have heard personal stories of sugar causing depression, low energy and poor sleep which results in a higher sugar intake to feel energized.  Then the cycle is repeated and can last years or even a lifetime.

Low sugar intake is recommended for any diet and there are lots of natural sugars to use as a replacement including honey, molasses, coconut sugar, maple syrup and stevia.

The next time you reach for a candy bar or piece of cake, pay attention to how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally both before and after you it it.  If your body is intolerant of sugar you will notice low energy, depression and brain fog among other symptoms. If you are struggling with any of these symptoms take steps to reduce or eliminate sugar from your daily intake.  This may be difficult at first, but your body and mind will thank you.  Also ask yourself why you are eating sugar.

Life is meant to be sweet, but not too sweet…

 

 

Heavenly Horchata

Being a cinnamon lover and valuing the nutritional and medicinal properties of the spice, I was delighted recently when I found Horchata in my local grocery store.  I had never had the drink before but love rice milk, cinnamon and vanilla, so knew I had to try it.

The drink tastes great on its own but I added in herbal coffee for a twist.  You can make your own Horchata from scratch, but I cheated and used the box mix (below):

Recipe:

Add 8-16 ounces of Rice Dream Brand Horchata

I cup crushed or chopped ice

Lightly mix or blend in a blender

Pour 1-3 shots of coffee or Herbal coffee over the top

Drink up!

 

 

 

A New Country Every Night!

The pandemic has stopped all of my travel plans, so I have been forced to armchair travel.  It may sound boring, but it gives me a taste of which countries I want to travel to in the future.

So far I have visited the Congo, Afghanistan, Zanskar, Tajikistan, India, Iran, Benin and Bhutan. Through YouTube documentaries I have cooked in remote villages in India with colorful spices and have driven through dangerous steep mountain roads in the the Hindu Kush.

Armchair travel has been fun, and I’m learning a lot about new places as I add them to my bucket list of places to travel.

The pandemic has lasted much longer than expected, and appears to not be going away, so for me, its about how can I continue to do the things that I love in a safe way that inspire and motivates me to get through the hard times.

Wherever you are, even if it is sitting on your own couch, you can still travel if your passion is to experience other cultures, other countries, or worlds other than your own.  Travel is a way of enriching your life, your knowledge, and your understanding of what life is like elsewhere.

Below is a link to one of my books about my own travel experiences.  Travel has always renewed my spirit and provided me with a sense of adventure. In Nomadic Tales of a Traveling Counselor, I explore my own fears through solo and group experience to some of the most beautiful remote places on earth.

https://www.tomorrowriverpublishing.com/product/nomadic-tales-of-a-traveling-counselor/

https://www.amazon.com/Nomadic-Traveling-Counselor-Karolee-Krause/dp/1691838829/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=nomadic+tales+of+a+traveling+counselor&qid=1594306536&sr=8-1