Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living in the Moment: More Peaceful Living

It was the second day of summer, and I was loving it. I sat on a chair with my bare feet wading in the kiddie pool watching Duckling nod off on his bumble bee float. The sky was clear and blue, and the sun sparkled on all three inches of pool water. Off in the distance I could hear the hum of an air conditioner, and much closer, the song of birds. The air smelled fresh and clean. My brain was parked in neutral. I was having that elusive experience that is a complete moment of peace.

I had the presence of mind to ask myself, how did I obtain this moment? How can I have more?

One thing I noticed was that in my peaceful moment, I was engaging almost all of my senses. Everything I saw, heard, touched, and smelled was calm and pleasing. The other thing I noticed was that I was completely engaged in the moment. There were no thoughts of what needed to be done or what happened yesterday. It was full immersion in the present. What a blessing it is to focus on being and not doing, to celebrate and give praise to what life is at that very moment. Oh, it's so simple and yet so rare!

So here is another lesson I learned on obtaining a more peaceful life. Take time to live in the moment. Engage all of your senses in that moment. Most importantly, plan for peaceful moments, and if you can't plan, then be on the look out for random moments of being still that you can cultivate into quiet moments of joy.

Notice I said, engage all your senses. You didn't think I'd forget about taste, did you?

It's berry time, and I'm thrilled that despite my complete negligence of them this past year, we've been enjoying a black raspberry harvest. I love these berries. They are actually quite scarce in our area and expensive when found.

This is a recipe I adapted from Country Woman. You can use any kind of raspberry for it. In keeping with my simple yet practical style, it's fast, easy, and you can reconfigure the sugar content to suit your taste. My berries went from fresh picked to dessert dish in about 20 minutes.Could anything with the word dumpling in it ever taste bad?

Raspberry Dumplings

  • 1 pint fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cups sugar, plus an extra 2-3 teaspoons for dumpling mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 cups prepared baking mix*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Ground nutmeg for sprinkling

  • *Big yellow box, store brand, or your own.

    In a 3-qt. pan, combine raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, water and cornstarch; stir to blend. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low.
    Meanwhile, combine baking mix, milk and a couple teaspoons of sugar sugar in a bowl. Mix until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto berries. Cook over low heat, uncovered, 5 minutes. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes more, or until dumplings are cooked through. 

    Sprinkle dumplings with a dash of nutmeg and serve warm with ice cream. 
    Yield: 5 servings.


    1. Raspberry dumplings sounds heavenly. Your photos are causing major drooling as I take down the recipe. Thank you, and have a great week!

    2. Ditto to Magnolia Tea's comment - the dumplings sound heavenly! I know just the peaceful feeling you're talking about and it doesn't come as often as I'd like. When we go to the lake (Ozarks), there's a covered porch in the back with a porch swing. Although it's not right on the lake, you can see the lake as you look out, along with two hummingbird feeders with oodles of hummingbirds, finches, bluebirds, woodpeckers, you name it. My favorite thing is to sit out there in the morning with my coffee and just sit. That is peace at its finest for me, and you're right, all my senses are involved.

      I need to try and find more little niches of time at home to just take a wee break and find that peace. I'm forever thinking of the "next" thing and really, who cares? It'll still be there. Now I need to go check my eyes because I could've sworn this recipe called for "prepared baking mix" ~ are you sure YOU wrote this?? Thanks for remembering us non-purists. LOL!!

      1. Beth, I did say you could use your own baking mix which you can feel free to make from scratch. I won't judge you if you make your own mix. ;) For the sake of time and effort (hey, I like PRACTICAL simple living) I actually did use a generic boxed baking mix, because in my experience, nothing rises quite like the store kind and I like fluffy dumplings. :)

        Oh, that back porch in the Ozarks sounds like a slice of heaven! I want to be there right now.

    3. Its not too often that we get those quiet moments to ourselves Monica, and I'm glad you had found your moment. Richard

    4. That dessert looks very yummy... Thanks for sharing the recipe and you have a wonderful blog here..


    5. Monica, I fully believe fruit (and especially berries) are God's divine gift to those of us on earth. And black raspberries are my absolute favorite! Ditto on the drooling!

      I believe the reason you could be so fully in that peaceful, joyful moment is because of all you've been through these past few years. Hardships keep us humble and cause us to appreciate those moments so much more.... in other words, we don't take such a moment for granted. Your gratitude is what made that moment so divine. May you have many more such blessings.

      And I'm on my way to get a taste of those berries, okay?

      Take good care,


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