Year Two – First Post – Gratefulness


“If the only prayer you said in your whole life 
was, “Thank you,” that would suffice.” 
Meister Eckhart

Pause and take time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for.

Write a Gratitude list.

With every layer of what we are content to notice with appreciation, we strengthen our core.  We become happier people, fulfilled, rewarded, and in awe, resplendent with joy.  This radiates outward.

“Happy people are grateful people and those who aren’t, aren’t.” – Dr. Paul.  Have you ever observed that?

A person who finds themselves in a never-ending series of drama, spiraling into victim hood again and again or replete with self-pity, could use a dollop of gratitude.  It’s a great time for a Gratitude list.

An attitude of gratitude right-sizes and balances us.  When we appreciate whatever it is, our perception is engulfed in love.

I could write just about gratitude, on and on.  I have learned to become, with time, even thankful for any ‘negative’ in my life.  Yes.  It is a state of grace.

Nietzsche proclaimed, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  In the concentration camps, the inmates with hope, tended to live longer, or come out alive.  They were grateful each and every day, for one more day. Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist camp survivor wrote, “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”  I take this to mean that it is our responsibility to extract meaning out of everything, to think symbolically, connect the dots.  It is our responsibility to give our lives meaning, enhancing and furthering evolution, honoring and respecting our human existence.  It is our responsibility to choose the direction of our destiny, our happiness and our health, no matter what the obstacles.  It is our responsibility to hold hope, to set goals, to carry on.  It is our responsibility to aid, teach and listen to other humans, expanding our mutual awareness.  It is our responsibility to give life meaning, not the other way around.

We are inclined to view regrettable circumstances with disappointment, infusing ourselves with bitterness, anger or self-afflicted abuse.  What if we used a heightened thought process?

When we detach ourselves from the outcome, we release expectations. When we allow whatever is, to be, we acquire acceptance.  We do not stand idly, it is mandatory instead that we act according to our principles.

When we step outside the emotional bind, we see the situation or person with a new pair of glasses.  These lenses concentrate on what is really going on, beyond the superficial exterior.  These optical tools zoom into the center issue.  They clarify the intent behind the thought, word or deed.  The sharper focus narrows it down to ‘the story’ beneath the motive, revealing the true force driving the thought, word or action/behavior.

From this higher level of understanding or perspective, we have the opportunity to exasperate the situation, engage in it with possible detrimental consequences or dissolve or dilute it.  We may even be able to break a cycle of pain or fear.

Simple example:  Someone close says something nasty to you.  Pause. It may have nothing to do with you.  Ask yourself, what’s really going on?  Is this person right and their delivery is poor or are they in fear about something else? Are they in any pain, physical or mental?  Where did that come from?  Is it true and do I need to look at that about me or are they just lashing out?

When we de-personalize, we relieve the ego of its need to bear arms and defend itself at all costs.  When we come from a place of our true selves, we step into a knowing; replying and responding with great care.

We address the comment by either agreeing (because after some thought we have come to the conclusion it is true), thanking the person for their concern and honesty or by looking beyond the sharpness of tone, asking perhaps a question that reflects and mirrors back empathy to them.  Many people bite because they just got bitten, burned or bruised.  We sometimes just get in their way.  We, ourselves, have done the same.

Most everything can be diffused, resolved or handled by going deeper than the surface.  What is the Cause of the Effect?  What’s the impulse beneath the retort?  What is the intention and where did it derive from?  Why?

Our primitive mind needs to attack.  Our evolved, loving mindset, connected to the heart, remembers peace, serenity, joy and interdependent cooperation.  And how does one achieve peace?  We find that choosing to be happy rather than right, brings us serenity. And, what do happy people practice?  Gratitude.  Happy people practice giving thanks.  Smiling faces, as a rule, imbue their lives with a habit of appreciating everything, everyone and every instance.

Here is a challenge:  Practice gratitude all day long, every minute, every hour, every week – not only on Thanksgiving Day…and notice how the world changes.

“Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct.” – Viktor Frankl wrote.

May we BE in a state of always giving praise, saying grace, being IN gratitude.

If we always feel blessed, then we are.

Today, let us bless something we have been in pain about, maybe some injustice we feel was done to us.  No matter what our trouble, eventually we must come from a place of gratitude in order to glean meaning and make sense of it.  No matter the heartache, at some point in time, we appreciate the usefulness of its teaching.

Forgive me for harping on gratitude.  It has been a lifesaver and an eye opener for me.  With it, I have gained clear vision of the Big Picture.  With every detour and twist on my life’s journey, Thanksgiving has become how I perform the why.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

day 365 – One Year

After one year of consistently, constantly and consciously posting every day, I have learned three things about myself:

1)  I can do it, whatever IT is.  2)  I AM disciplined, after all.  3)  I CAN write.

Writers always speak of two activities:  a) Reading always, and b) Scheduling time to write.

I busied myself with reading, an entertainment, never a chore and I scheduled, even if it was 15 minutes everyday, to sit in front of my laptop and tick, tick, tock it.

Sometimes, I had no idea what to write about and it was the only allotted time in the day I had and I would sort of panic and pray something would download into my brain.  Those were a few of the better writing pieces.

Other days, I wanted to write about a certain restaurant or idea and something else would occur, that I couldn’t NOT write about.

I will keep you posted on recipes, thoughts, gardening, good reads, endeavors and life in general – Stay tuned for year two!

Thank you to my son for this website (he is my donor and benefactor) and thank you to my select readers ( I love when you post back).  Check out comments section.

Day 365 is not an ending, it’s just the beginning.


day 364 – Gratitude

November is the month of Gratitude.  But every month, week, day and hour should be appreciated.  If we get into gratitude, that feeling of peace that is evoked, we don’t have to get into destructive behavior or attitudes.  When we turn everything and everyone into something to be grateful for, we bless the situation or person.  When we have gratitude, we choose not to have a negative response, we choose instead to align ourselves with the highest good.  When we have gratitude, pity evolves into compassion, anger dissolves into understanding and sorrow transforms into acceptance. When we are grateful, we immerse ourselves in the comfort of unconditional love.  When we are grateful, we learn from the past and see all the gifts on our journey.  When we are grateful, it brings us sanity, peace and power over our situation by letting us release our hold on our expectations and instead reach for hope, being thankful for what is, in a state of Grace.

day 363 – Worry

There’s no solution in worry.

There’s no power or strength or value in anxiety.

It is all unnecessary spent energy.

Instead – choose to be in the now.  Choose to follow the road to wellness.  Choose to listen to a higher form of thought.

I Heard today, loud and clear: ‘The Ark is entered two by two.  You cannot heal yourself alone.’

I agree with that.  But first, We have to make the decision to be willing to heal. Or at least be willing to be willing to be willing.  Usually, it takes a lot of humbling or ego-deflation.

Here is an ego driven distraction – “I would be happy if….this condition or that person would….”

 Affirmation for the day – I am in need of nothing but the truth.

day 362 – Vegan Eggplant Bake

Here’s what everyone’s been waiting for.  An easy, peasy, Italian eggplant bake.  Go organic!! 5 ingredients, 3 steps and one dish. Serves 4 at 150 calories/serving.

I like to have a salad with lots of raw veggies and olives, maybe throw in a few artichoke hearts, first, keeping it Italianish and then serve one cup of whole wheat pasta on the side with the eggplant entree.  A sorbet of frozen fruit with mint, ginger or coconut would make a great ending.  Just blend 1 cup of frozen fruit in a blender with or without some non-dairy milk.  A frozen banana with 1 tsp. of cacao, a few drops of liquid stevia and 1/3 cup of almond milk is a favorite.  Top with one tablespoon of pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds.

Cecilia’s Vegan Eggplant Bake

2 cups of Italian Marinara

10 oz. firm tofu

2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast

1 huge Eggplant

1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Seasoning

a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 450.  Slice the eggplant @ 1/4 inch thick in rounds.  In an 8 X 8 glass pan, pour 1 cup of sauce on bottom to cover.  Add half the eggplant slices, overlapping if necessary and arrange atop the sauce.  Crumble the tofu on top of the eggplant with your fingers and evenly distribute.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of Yeast  and herbs and salt.  Layer the rest of the eggplant slices.  Cover with one cup of sauce and spread around to cover eggplant.  Sprinkle a little more herb seasoning if desired and sprinkle rest of nutritional yeast on top of it all.  Bake covered with foil for @ 30 -40 minutes until you can easily prick a fork through, then uncover and crisp and bake for another 10 minutes or so.  After allowing the eggplant bake to cool for @ 10 minutes on a protected surface, cut into 4 equal parts.Number one: Prep
Number two: LayerNumber three: Bake

Buen Apetito!


day 361 – Happy Sunday

One of the last Autumn Sundays to grace our November.  Soon it will be Thanksgiving and the kids come home!  The following orchids are named Autumn Glow and are grown in Thailand.  The bouquet colors my home with Sunrise/Sunset hues and adds a bit of the exotic to the Fall season.Great time to make mushroom dishes.  Toss different types in a pan with carrot juice, whole peeled garlic cloves, thickly sliced onions, a little salt, water and cover with sage, rosemary and foil.  Bake till cooked then uncover and bake a few more minutes till crisp.  Serve with cauliflower mash, sweet potato or puree in a blender with hot water and make a creamy mushroom soup.  Happy Sunday Autumn Season Eats!!

day 360 – Pizza/Garden

Well, after posting yesterday, I just had to have a vegan pizza from Z’s Pizza.  I went ahead and ordered a whole wheat crust with organic tomato sauce, caramelized onions, Greek olives, roasted eggplant and pine nuts just like I said I would. They added fresh basil and oregano upon my request. Delicious.Then, my daughter snooped around on the Internet and found a place called Vegan Pizza in Garden Grove, by Disneyland, and they just opened this year!!  We shall be sure to check this venue out soon and report back.

BTW – my hubby had a Tuscan pizza pie.  It consisted of roasted garlic sauce (which a vegan could choose next time), mozzarella, cremini, shitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, truffle oil and thyme.  Except for the cheeses, this would have made a substantial vegan meal as well.


Here are new organic additions to our winter garden, newly replenished with organic soil.  Lolla Rosa and Merveille Quartre Heirloom lettuces.  Locally grown sage and Bright Lights Swiss Chard.


day 359 – Pizza

My favorite thing in the world to eat is Pizza, then Peanut Butter.  To consider them Trigger/ Downfall foods is to be polite.  How do you eat pizza when you are a vegan?  Easy, take a whole wheat or gluten free crust and top it with whatever veggies occur to you and with or without vegan cheez.  I support Darya brand which is dairy, gluten and also soy free.  Do you realize when you are vegan not one milligram of cholesterol enters your body?  Just latched on to that thought.  Hmmm.

You can also order a specialty pizza.  I ordered a vegan pizza up in Berkeley’s Build (see post – search under build) and recently at Z Pizza here in So. Cal.  I could have put together any number of combinations but I ordered the Berkeley Vegan right off the menu just to support UC Cal.  I ordered the small on wheat.  It came with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions and bell peppers.  Next time,  I intend on ordering the organic tomato sauce with caramelized onions, Greek olives, roasted eggplant and pine nuts.  Yummmm.

day 358 – Chickpea Curry

Adapted from a recipe found on

1 12 ounce yam

1/2 chopped large onion

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder

1 can garbanzos

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsps. veggie base

1 cup water

3 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

2 tsps. fresh lemon or lime juice

Cut up the potato and steam for @ 10 minutes.  “Sauté” onions in 1/4 cup water over medium heat.  When onions are translucent (@ 3-5 minutes), add milk and curry, stir well to incorporate.  Then add the rest of the water, veggie base, garbanzos and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add spinach, tender sweet potatoes, cilantro and choice of citrus juice and stir, simmer for 2-3 more minutes till spinach wilts and all flavors are combined.

Serve over brown rice and/or more veggies.  Serves 4 (1 1/2 cups each).  260 calories.  Yummy Fall Fare.My BFF in NY coincidentally made almost the same version unbeknownst to me.  Here’s some of her tips: You could add minced garlic after the onions are cooked and before the coconut milk.  Add cayenne pepper for spice.  Add 1 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.  Instead of sweet potato, use a can of pumpkin puree.  Omit the tomatoes.  Very versatile, filling and bi-coastal dish!!


day 357 – Place Setting

My daughter V, reminded me of creating a sacred space and time for eating.  I was telling her about this outrageous vegan bread (David’s Killer Bread) via Skype.  I told her how delish it is and how I used it.  I smeared one slice with hummus, dolloped a roasted red pepper on it, strategized and placed halved kalamata olives on top, topped it with another slice and what a tasty, easy, quick snack it became.

She asked, “Were you sitting down?” and “Did you eat it on the run?” or something to that tune.  Yikes!  I had to admit, reflect and confess I was standing exactly where I prepared it when I ate it.  I was distributing Target goods into pantry, cupboards and shelves… and late for an appointment.

I asked myself, “Didn’t I just hear this message this morning on my walk while listening to Marianne Williamson’s   A Course in Weight loss?”  

So, I dug out pretty, forgotten, ‘never use them for some reason’ items this morning.  I am sitting here at breakfast, eating at my Sacred Space for nourishment.  I am taking the time to breathe in between bites, replacing my spoon every once in a while and resting, relishing and smacking my lips.

Message from the Universe, received and Ritual in Place.  Thank you for jogging my memory, V, and calling me on it.  I have a fabulous forgetter but I get reminded of the things I need to be reminded of by the people who love me.  That is Grace.