Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?




































Autumn to winter, winter to spring,
Spring into summer, summer into fall~
So rolls the changing year, and so we change;
Motion so swift, we know not that we move.
                                            Dinah Mullock Craik

Inspiration. Where does it come from? A spark, an idea, a glimmering...that unnamed something that niggles at you until it is a full blown, all out, can't get it done fast enough flash of creativity.

It would be so nice if we could just let go and give in to it. But it usually happens at the most unexpected time. I have the most creative thoughts when I am drying my hair. Why is that? Is it because my mind is floating free? A friend of mine said she has her most creative thoughts when she is putting on her mascara in the morning. Perhaps it is because we are so focused on something else that these brilliant flashes can dart into our subconscious.

I read alot of inspirational books, but one of my favorites, and one I read every year, is "Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  My favorite chapter is the chapter for September. Many of you may know that her book is about practicing gratitude, and finding your authentic self. There have been times when I have let that authentic self slip away, but her book inspires me to refocus, to have faith, to stay the course.

I'm sure Sarah would not mind if I include an essay from her book for September 15 titled "Authentic Success." Because today, as the weather is finally cooling, and we are hopefully entering a real autumn here in southwest Oklahoma, I feel the need to reconnect and reaffirm my goals and aspirations, hopes and dreams, plans and preparations...my journey.

  "Authentic success is having time enough to pursue personal pursuits that bring you pleasure, time enough to make the loving gestures for your family you long to do, time enough to care for your home, tend your garden, nurture your soul. Authentic success is never having to tell yourself or those you love, "maybe next year." Authentic success is knowing that if today were your last day on earth, you could leave without regret. Authentic success is feeling focused and serene when you work, not fragmented. It's knowing that you've done the best that you possibly can, no matter what circumstances you faced; it's knowing in your soul that the best you can do is all you can do, and that the best you can do is always enough.

Authentic success is accepting your limitations, making peace with your past, and reveling in your passions so that your future may unfold according to a Divine Plan. It's discovering and calling forth your gifts and offering them to the world to help heal its ravaged heart. It's making a difference in other lives and believing that if you can do that for just one person each day, through a smile, a shared laugh, a caress, a kind word, or a helping hand, blessed are you among women.

Authentic success is not just money in the bank but a contented heart and peace of mind. It's earning what you feel you deserve for the work you do and knowing that you're worth it. Authentic success is paying your bills with ease, taking care of all your needs and the needs of those you love, indulging some wants, and having enough left over to save and share. Authentic success is not about accumulating but letting go, because all you have is all you truly need. Authentic success is feeling good about who you are, appreciating where you've been, celebrating your achievements, and honoring the distance you've already come. Authentic success is reaching the point where being is as important as doing. It's the steady pursuit of a dream. It's realizing that no matter how much time it takes for a dream to come true in the physical world, no day is ever wasted. It's valuing inner, as well as outer, labor--both your own and others'. It's elevating labor to a craft and craft to an art by bestowing Love on every task you undertake.

Authentic success is knowing how simply abundant your life is exactly as it is today.  Authentic success is being so grateful for the many blessings bestowed on you and yours that you can share your portion with others.

Authentic success is living each day with a heart overflowing."

I hope you have an inspired day. I feel inspired to make pumpkin soap.

Cathy

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Soap Inspired by Food and Fall, and My Favorite Gingersnap Recipe

A little known useless fact: Autumn is my favorite season. I know, useless. But pertinent to todays post. It's late September, but it doesn't feel much like fall here in Oklahoma. It's still hot and humid. We had some much needed rain yesterday, and it's been a little cloudy today. But, darn it, the calender says it's September! And by golly, I'm ready for some fall flavors. And some fall smells. Stuff with cinnamon, and ginger.






















So can you guess what inspired a few new soaps for tomorrows market? My Aunt Freda's Gingersnap recipe. I've been making these for as long as I can remember and it is one of our absolute favorites all year, but especially in the fall and winter. There's just something about that flavor combination that screams fall to me. So for tomorrow at the Lawton Farmer's market...Lavender Gingersnap soap with lavender, cinnamon, clove, and ginger essential oils, and real molasses! Smells just like the cookie, is all natural, and even has a sprinkling of raw sugar on top. (You could buy the soap, skip the cookie, and save the calories!)

So here's the recipe for Aunt Freda's Gingersnaps. The cookie, not the soap!

Aunt Freda's Gingersnaps
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and molasses and beat well. Stir the dry ingredients together, and mix in thoroughly. Chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. We like ours chewy so I bake for 8 minutes. If you like them crispy go for 10 minutes.
Note: I love to add 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped candied ginger to this recipe to fancy it up a little. Love those chewy little morsels in the cookie! Another idea...spread pumpkin ice cream in the middle and sandwich two together, freeze for a fall flavored ice cream sandwich.
















Most of the time I roll them in plain old granulated white sugar, but sometimes I use the coarser raw sugar. Sometimes I make them smaller than 1 inch balls and sometimes a little larger. Depends on the mood. But I'd rather eat several small ones than 1 large one. Psychological thing I guess.

These are really cute packaged up for a little fall gift giving for hostesses, friends, neighbors, relatives...or you could just eat them all yourself. Trust me, you'll want to!

















Also at the market tomorrow...

















...Lavender Cinnamon Bun soap. Inspired by cinnamon buns. Food and soap...yes I am an addict. Help me!

Have a wonderful day and we'll see you tomorrow!

Cathy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Little Mid-Week Getaway: Kayaking on the Illinois River! Wouldn't This be Lovely in the Fall? And the Inspiration for My Soap Rocks!


















I hinted in my last post that the hubby and I were able to get away for a few days, but I didn't elaborate. Well, we went kayaking on the Illinois River by Tahlequah, Oklahoma. It was so incredibly beautiful, and peaceful, and relaxing. Sigh. Wish I were there right now...
The weather was beautiful, the water was clear. This river can really be a traffic jam on the weekends, but during the middle of the week, right after school started, was wonderfully peaceful. I think we passed a few rafts floating the river, a fisherman or two, and several people enjoying the river from a few of the public access areas.
That's hubby over there. We rented nice, one man sit-upon kayaks so we wouldn't kill each other. They had great back support, and were $28 each. We chose the 12 mile trip and took our time. We rested on several of the many gravel banks along the way, had a snack, and played in the water. 

The water was pretty shallow and clear for the most part. We saw alot of gar and carp and trout. Will was kicking himself for not bringing a fishing rod. (Yes, that's me paddling away. No comments about my lack of skill, please!)
 
We even got up close and personal with the geese.

This is a shot of the front of Arrowhead Resort, where we stayed. Arrowhead was once featured in Southern Living magazine, and I got to meet the owner, Jack Spears. Jack enjoyed a long career in education, beginning right here at Lawton High in the late 50's as a football coach, and ending at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.  He was a pleasure to visit with and a fountain of information, and he pointed out that Arrowhead is open year round, unlike the other camps up and down the river. All of the staff at Arrowhead were helpful, even directing us to the downtown area where we enjoyed dinner at a darling restaurant called Sam & Ella's Chicken Palace where they went overboard on the chicken theme in a very cute way! And had great food to boot!
This is where we chose to stay. Called the "Hideaway" Jack told me it is actually a converted chicken coop, part of a larger family camp he bought out. It's a cute little cabin up the hill from Arrowhead camp. I liked the privacy, and the bedroom window looks out into the woods, kind of giving you a tree house feel.

If you decide to go to the camps along the Illinois, and there are many, most of them are just that...camps. No towels, no cookware, no dishes, no soap, no toilet paper, no TV... nothing. We had a microwave, a coffee maker, and a mini fridge in our little cabin, but you need to come prepared. We took breakfast stuff, and stuff to make lunch, but we ate in town for dinner. (Hey! I was on vacation! I absolutely was not going to cook, okay?!) You could, however, stay in Tahlequah and rent a kayak or raft from Arrowhead, you just have to be there and ready to go upriver to be dropped off by 10:00 a.m. if you're doing the 12 mile trip.

So that leads me to the Soap Rocks! I get asked alot about the Soap Rocks! Most of the soaps I make are inspired by something else. This is true for the Soap Rocks! You know that first picture at the top of this post? There you go...that was my inspiration! Scented with all natural essential oils, and colored with dirt loving clays, Soap Rocks! are good for your skin, and hopefully will get the little ones (or big ones!) washing their hands and polishing those rocks. Such fun! $4 a bag for a dozen rocks, and I will have them at the Farmer's Market. 

















We had Hughes Net installed today, so hopefully my access to the internet will become a permanent thing. And I can catch up on my blog posts. There's so much to share!

Until next time,
Cathy

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