My Name is Maery and I am Grateful

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

November is the month to remember all that we are grateful and thankful for. I was just saying to Steve today that I’m kind of worrying a bit lately about when the next bout of trouble is coming. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long without something terrible happening. Isn’t it crazy that I spend time worrying about life going too well?

But I don’t know if life is going so much better than it went in the past. Okay, so maybe it is better but still, I think it’s more that my perspective has changed, and that many things that would have thrown me under the bus I now look at as simply part of being a living, breathing human being. Things happen and you deal with them and go on, always keeping your eye on all the things that are wonderful and gorgeous about living.

I’m amazed at how different life looks from the viewpoint I’ve gained through pain and struggle. Simple things are no longer simple but are part of all that I cherish.

Speaking of simple and because I hate being too serious, I haven’t given you a worm update lately. See these lovely tomatoes? These are tomatoes, brought into the house in a vivid green state the night of the big freeze many weeks ago and placed in a brown paper bag. I decided I better check on them and waaalaaa! They had turned a beautiful red and taste  as though they were ripened on the vine. I love the paper bag miracle! And I am certain it is some sort of metaphor and at one point I was one of those green tomatoes… So what does this have to do with worms?

There were a few tomatoes in the bag that were still green and were turning raisin like, probably because they’d been damaged in earlier frosts. Those went into the worm bin, along with coffee grounds, banana peels, apple cores, and other food wastes.

(Sorry the photos are a bit blurry. I’m still working on my camera setting skills in low light.)

I rotate where I dig holes into the worm bin dirt to bury the garbage. Everything composts really well except for egg shells. The worms need the calcium and grit to digest food but the shells are slow to  break down so I’m starting to pulverize them and will see if that helps the process.

Such happy, healthy worms! And such hard workers!

So that’s the garbage side of food. Below is the production side of food — dough to make bread tomorrow.

And while the dough was rising, I was making tomato sauce for lasagna. After simmering, I put the mix into my food processor to make it more sauseyish.

I’ve never made lasagna before and wouldn’t you know, I picked a doozy of a complicated veggie lasagna recipe. But it was fun chopping, simmering, sauteing, and layering. I also love recipes where I can use my own fresh herbs. The finished lasagna tasted better than perhaps the photo portrays (too much white light).

Cooking for me, like so many things, is about experimentation and improving. From this recipe, which by the way came out of my yoga book, which also has health and nutrition information, I think I learned not to place the veggies in such a neat, engineer-style pattern. Next time I would toss veggies randomly about. I would also cook the sauce until it was thicker. But the taste of the lasagna was great, especially the addition of sunflower seeds, so I would definitely make it again.

Life’s simple pleasures and having a hand in making them happen, that’s what I’m grateful for.

Written by Maery Rose