July 26, 2016

On The Dark Days

On the dark days
I want to buzz cut my hair and
look nothing like myself.
I want
to unzip this suit of
skin and face and hair
and rid myself of the weight of it.
It has become so heavy
like a wet, wool coat
beneath one of those lead vests
they drape you in for dental x-rays.

I want to feel light
like waves on the ocean,
skimming frothy on wet sand,
like birds on the air,
clouds on the sky.
But the iron-cast belly
of babies and middle age
drags me down.

I just want to wipe away the heat,
to lay on the cool tile floor,
feel the staccatoed breeze
of an oscillating fan,
hear nothing but it's gentle, caressing whir,
stare blankly into the space just
inches from the tip of my nose.

An hour later I'll notice
the comforting weight of my tiny
dog's body
against my leg
and it will be enough to release
the tears.

Silent drops.
Because, well, silence.

My reflection, forever
emblazoned on the back of my eyelids,
will heave my chest in breaths
I don't want to take
for fear that I'll only grow bigger
with each one. Only more
of what I don't want to be.

And the failure of this thought
will pile
shovel-full after
shovel-full of the dirt
of shame
and guilt on top of me.
Now I am buried
on the cool tile floor.

A new weight.

It will relax me.

Beneath the soil the tiny seed of
hope will sprout.
Its delicate, pale green tendrils will
swirl toward the surface
seeking air and sun and
warm, summer rains and
days that aren't quite so very

by amy lorbach

July 22, 2016

Ten Little Pieces of Inspiration

One of my little places of inspiration, Grand Traverse Bay

Lately, I find myself seeking out little pieces of inspiration.

I don't know if it's the state of my mental and emotional well-being at the moment, or if it's the state of our world today. But I'm seeking. In the books I'm reading, in the Pinterest memes I come across, in thoughts shared on Instagram, in the words of friends...I'm hungry for bits of wisdom that might correct the course of my day, or week...or, life.

I find these little motivational nibbles remind me to do better and be better. And I am always striving. (Sometimes maybe a little too much.) I am trying not to strive so much in the way of the perfectionist, but more in the way of the Frankie. (see Netflix: Frankie & Grace; reference also Phoebe Buffet, Friends) Not seeking perfection, but goodness...or maybe grace.

So I thought I'd share ten of these little pieces of inspiration with you today. Maybe one of them will change the course of your week or day, or even just the tiniest moment...for even if the sun shines only for a moment, the flower still grows toward it. And that can only be good. To lean toward the sun.

Even better, to be the sun.

With all the negativity and hate and fear thrumming through our world today, I think we can all stand little more warmth, a little more light...and maybe to be the light.

Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder. -Rumi  This makes me dream of doing great things. Until I suddenly feel totally incapable of doing great things. But then I remember that this can be a small gesture. A phone call to a friend at just the right moment. A kind word. A chat or a snuggle with your kid. A smile at a stranger. It is a great thing to be a lifeboat. But can be equally great to be a simple bedside lamp.

She designed a life she loved.  This reminds me that my life is what I make it. When you get caught up in the daily stuff of life, it can be really easy to feel like you're caught in the current on a fast-moving river. It's important to remember that that river is shallower than it looks, and if you just put your feet down you can stand up and wade to shore. You can take a break there or decide to walk in the woods instead or go find a different river to ride. Even when it doesn't feel like it, you can design a life you love.

She took a deep breath and let it go.  The thing I need to do every day, multiple times a day. Just take a deep breath and let it go. Sometimes we carry the weight of things with us, these heavy, heavy burdens of shame or anger or guilt. We need to remember to let them go. Shrug them off like a heavy wool coat. The walking on is easier that way.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Pablo Picasso  Whether your enjoying it or creating it, art is a balm for the soul. It truly is. Make it a part of your everyday. Read. Write. Draw. Color. Paint. Stare at beautiful art. Listen to music. Sing. Dance. Compose. Create. It will always do you good. It always does me good.

Expectation is the root of all heartache.  When I used to work in market research (a lifetime ago)  everyone always thought that the most important measure of a new product was what we called purchase intent (how likely consumers said they were to buy it). I always thought that the other most important measure was "performance vs. expectations" (how well did the product perform against how you expected it to). And I think this is true of most things in life. If you expect everything in life to be perfect, and it's not, then you will be heartbroken. But I think it's less about lower your expectations than it is about not having expectations and just letting things happen as they will.

Do for one what you wish you could do for all. -Andy Stanley  Here's an example: When I look at all of the dogs and cats out there in need of "forever homes", all those who have been mistreated and abandoned, it breaks my heart. And it feels so overwhelming. How can we ever fix this? I get a surge of emotion and desire to adopt them all, which, of course, I can't do. But I can adopt one dog and give him a great, loving home. And I can change the world just a little by raising two amazing kids who will one day go out into that world and be little rays of light. I can be kind to the person right in front of me, and, like the beating wings of the butterfly, hope that the current of that kindness goes out into the world in waves of goodness that grace it all.

This is the beginning of anything you want. -Boy  Anything. Truly. You can start anything right now. Right. Now. Anything you want. Just do it.

Be a warrior not a worrier.  Some days this can be so hard. But the truth is that worry never accomplished anything. It never saved anyone. It never got anything done. It never helped. Ever. Instead of worrying about things, power through and make things happen like the warrior you are.

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself. -Virginia Woolf  Oh my, how often am I trying to hurry and sparkle?  Just be you, without the fancy wrapping paper and big, bright bow. Just you. You're enough. 

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again. Only this time more wisely. -Henry Ford (variation)  I almost never am able to remember this in the moment of failure. It's only later, when I've calmed down and gained a little perspective that I can see this. I'm hoping to get better at seeing it in the moment. Someday.

And a bonus tidbit, from one of the great philosophers of our time...

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. -Ferris Bueller Remember that. It really is true. It. Goes. Fast.

Until next time, friends, be inspired...better yet, be an inspiration.

July 12, 2016

Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, it's summer. (In case you hadn't noticed.) And summer means spoils from the garden and time to bake. So I've recently re-shared my favorite recipes for zucchini bread and zucchini brownies (which you can find here: MamaManagement Zucchini Recipes...along with a few others). Now I'm sharing my newest zucchini baked good: Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies.

If a chocolate chip cookie and a slice of zucchini bread had a baby, it would be these cookies. A marriage made in the gardens of heaven! They really are delicious...give them a try!

Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c shredded zucchini (excess water squeezed out and packed into measuring cup)
1 to 1 1/2 c old fashioned oats (start with 1 c and then see if you need more; I used closer to 1 1/2 c)
1 1/2 c chocolate chips
3/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside.

Either in the bowl of an electric mixer or in a mixing bowl with a hand held mixer, whip together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mixing on low, add zucchini, mixing until combined. Then slowly add flour mixture. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts (if adding). At this point, take a look at your dough and make sure you're happy with the consistency. It should be slightly wetter looking than your typical chocolate chip cookie dough. I started off using just 1 cup of oats, but ended up adding close to another half cup of oats to stiffen the dough a little more.

Scoop by tbsp onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 11-14 minutes or until the edges are just a touch golden and the tops are set. Cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Until next time, happy baking.