Your Happy Place

A handy little guide to being (and staying) happy. So many good tips in here – we read it twice…and then bookmarked!

A Happiness Guide (NYT).

Spend time in nature.

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Our garden has given us big, beautiful tomatoes this summer. And we are thankful. 🙂 We’re now sharing lots of them with friends and looking up ways to cook/store/freeze these ‘pommes d’amour’ to make them last just a little longer.

More tomato goodness:

10 Fun Facts about Tomatoes from The Chef’s Garden

Our favorite Tomato Pie can be found at Wildflower Café in Mentone. Moon, the owner, is one of a kind!

 

Here's a recipe we created inspired by Wildflower's...

SUMMERTIME TOMATO PIE

You’ll Need:
4-5 Fresh Garden Tomatoes (Red & Yellow), Sliced Thick
1 1/2 cups Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 Baked Pie Shell
1/2 cup light Mayonnaise & 1/4 cup light Sour Cream
3/4 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Basil

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Marinate sliced tomatoes in vinaigrette for 30 minutes and drain
3. Layer tomatoes in baked pie shell and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Combine mayo, sour cream, cheese and basil in separate bowl and spread on top of tomatoes.
5. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool for a bit. Cut into slices and serve warm with a fresh green salad on the side.

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Busy-ness…

A Philosophy of Nothingness.

We get it. Everybody’s busy. And making that claim sometimes just helps us feel justified that we’re contributing and doing important things.

But today, Olga Mecking, writer for The New York Times’ “Smarter Living” column, encourages us all to do more of, well, less. And to help make her case, she draws lessons from Niksen. a practice started in the Netherlands to help manage stress. It literally means to do nothing. Or as some might like to think, to do something but with no purpose at all.

“…daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness — ‘literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.’ For that to happen, though, total idleness is required. – Sandi Mann, Psychologist

So stop whatever you’re doing, put down your phone, get up, stretch, smile, take a walk. Stare at the sky. Mindlessly cuddle your dog or cat. Whatever “nothing” you choose to do…permission granted! 🙂

Photo by Andrew Neel

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Healing Places

This spring we’ve had two friends visit from big cities…each very much in need of a respite from the pressures of their careers. Upon arrival, what they seemed to crave the most was just quiet time, down time, free of the need to “do” anything or “go” anywhere — which made me slow down, too. And it was nice. As one friend drove out the gravel driveway to head home, I couldn’t help but think this little farm has become for some a healing place. Not only for us, but for others who visit, who need to recalibrate or  forget about painful things for awhile. When our mom passed away several years ago, I remember throwing myself into work even more to avoid too much reflection, and too much grief. But when I finally came here to slow down for a few days, well, my stay ended up lasting two months. It was just the antidote that was needed and time in the country helped me plan a more joyful path forward. Dr. Oliver Sachs touches on the power of nature in his essay, “The Healing Power of Gardens.” And while Dr. Sachs drew from experiences visiting some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens, his message is quite clear: Mother Earth can be a great healer.

“The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighborhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools…. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological.” – Dr. Oliver Sachs

Dr. Sachs’ final book of essays — Everything In Its Place — will be published April 23, 2019.

 

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A love note to Alabama

“I wish I could tell you how much I love Alabama, but I think I already have. I’ve been writing about this state for a long time. I wrote a novel about it, sang about it, told stories about it…. I am not from Alabama, I married into it. But I’m glad I did. There are a lot of reasons why I love it.” -Sean Dietrich

 

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