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Open Your Heart

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What are you holding onto?

What can you let go of?

Make some room for something wonderful today.

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A Simple Way to Find Peace

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Yoga Retreat Peace Tattoo

Peace

I’ve had one of those years… a year of transition and change, which I know is for the best, but the process can be painful and challenging and decidedly lacking in peace. People that were close to me acted in ways that were unexpected and hurtful. I have struggled with heartbreak and personal challenges. But once I allowed myself to get over the hurt , I began to let go, move on, and find PEACE.

When we hold on to hurt – going over and over the circumstances in our heads, maybe even feeling responsible – our lives are anything but peaceful. If we allow that churning in our head and hurting in our heart to continue, it often turns into resentment that we can’t (or won’t) stop thinking about… it’s exhausting. Ultimately we choose to forfeit peace – or embrace it.

Peace begins with forgiveness. By embracing compassion we are able to find harmony. We can let go of what was said and done, move on, and remind ourselves that the things happening “to us” aren’t even about us at all – rather, the unkind actions or damaging words from another are likely from an internal conflict that they are experiencing (this is the principle of psychological projection). It’s not you! What a relief!

As I reflect on the upcoming International Peace Day (September 21), I realized that to find peace in our world we must first seek it within ourselves. Seemingly simple and obvious, but it must be a conscious decision.

Here are some tips that have allowed me to resolve resentment and find forgiveness.

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Grilled Peaches with Blueberries and Balsamic

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Grilled Peach with Blueberry Balsamic CompoteWe’re sad that Ham Orchards is officially closed for the season, but - like all things in life - peach season comes to an end. With a few peaches left on grocery store shelves, we wanted to share one last recipe for enjoying the juicy, golden gems that we never seem to get enough of. This recipe is enough for 2-4 people.

As always, feel free to play with it, spice it up, and make it your own. And be sure to tell us about it in the comments!

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Blueberry Compote

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Celebrating Peach Season with Ginger Peach Fizz

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I gave up sodas a few years ago, and have never really been a big iced tea person, so normally I drink coffee and water. As much as I love the two, it gets boring.Ginger Peach Fizz | RetreatinthePines.com/blog

A couple weeks ago I was getting my daily dose of MindBodyGreen in, and this DIY: All Natural Ginger Ale recipe caught my eye. I had a bulb of ginger that was slowly dying in the fridge – I’d purchased it to continue my Ginger-Green-Juice (I’ll blog about that soon) habit, but I was in one of those weeks where I just didn’t feel like drinking it. (Is anyone else like that?)

Wanting to take advantage of peach season, I decided to combine it with a lovely Peach Simple Syrup I’d stumbled across one day while searching Pinterest.

It’s quite experimental, but I really enjoyed how it came out! You may prefer more sweetener, but I really like chocolate (especially the coconut oil chocolate I love to make) so I try to save my sugar for the really good stuff.

It’s a healthy alternative to ginger ale, and something different than ginger peach tea. Plus, ginger is great for your digestive system. Win win! (Side note, I’m not a big ice person, so I serve mine with frozen berries and peaches to help keep it chilled.)

Cheers!

Ginger Peach Fizz

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Engage Your 5 Senses and Find Adventure Close to Home

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“One way to get the most out of life is to look at it as an adventure.” William Feather

Discover the adventures that are right before you…an adventure can be as simple as your mindset and as close as your backyard. The more time you spend yearning for that “perfect adventure” that takes you away from your life as you know it, the more opportunities you miss to experience what’s right in front of you. Invite yourself to experience adventure – a new place, a new activity, a new thought – just by changing your perspective.

The dog days of summer are here and even if you do have the money and time for a tropical getaway, why not take the opportunity to enjoy every day adventures? It’s easy to have fun and keep more of your paycheck in your pocket with a few tips to change your perspective and help you have an adventure close to home.

Get creative, open yourself up to new possibilities, engage your five senses, and ask yourself, “What will I discover today?”

Sight

Close to Home – Take a road trip; visit a local art gallery; or visit a science, history or art museum.

At Home – Wake up early and watch the sunrise from your porch or a local coffee shop. Stay up late and stargaze. Look at photos of beautiful places in the world. Take a new route to a routine place.

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3 Areas to Find Freedom

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Women at a Yoga Retreat

Women at a Yoga Retreat

As I celebrated Independence Day this weekend, I was reminded that in recent years women in the United States have come so far, yet unfortunately in many areas of the world, women are still struggling.

Realizing how I take what I have for granted, I made an intention to be more mindful of the simple freedoms I experience every day.

I am so grateful that I’ve found the freedom to be me, because it allows me to be myself unapologetically, speak my mind (even when others may not agree), and choose the activities and relationships that keep me moving forward.

Are you free to enjoy the life that you deserve? Take a moment to reflect on a few questions that may help you find the freedom you are seeking.

Freedom from expectations

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chocolate-banana “ice cream”

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retreat in the pines featured favorite recipe-chocolate-peanut-butter-banana ice cream

chocolate-banana ice cream topped with warm peanut butter and cinnamon, served with iced coffee.

I LOVE ice cream so much so that i can’t buy it for myself unless i have someone to share it with. I love ice cream.

Then, i discovered this amazing banana “ice cream” and it’s the perfect sweet treat, with no added sugar. I love it!

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

you’ll need:

  • 6-7 overripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 4+ tablespoons cocoa
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • for topping: almond/peanut butter, toasted pecans, fresh sliced bananas
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Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

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This delicious dip is the perfect appetizer on a hot summer day. I love it as a late afternoon pick me up with gluten free crackers. Or enjoy it as a nice addition to a light dinner of healthy salads or a side dish with something from the grill.

 

Delicious & Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

Delicious & Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

  • 1 lb tomatoes chopped
  • 3 medium avocados cubed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 8 oz. package of crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Toss together first four ingredients. Combine olive oil and vinegar and pour over ingredients. Gently stir. Serve immediately with sweet potato chips, tortilla chips or crackers.

    Avocados are delicious and so good for you! Here are some of the healthy benefits you’ll enjoy when you enjoy an avocado.

    Enjoy!

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5 Easy Ways to Be Mindful this Summer

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Hammock in Spring

Spend a Lazy Day in the Hammock

The lazy days of summer are the perfect time to practice mindfulness. There’s no school projects to stress over, the hustle and bustle of the holidays is still in the distant future, and the days are longer…everything about summer seems to encourage mindfulness.

This is the time to enjoy the warmer temperatures and spend time in nature. The long days allow for more time to enjoy morning walks, evening bike rides, afternoons swimming at the pool, and sunsets on the patio. With an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies from the Farmer’s Market (our local favorite is the Coppell Farmers Market) – which really do taste so much better than the produce from the grocery store – summer is the perfect time to mindfully tune into all the sensations that surround you. Summer vacation plans allow you to really slow down and spend time with the people you love, enjoying the activities that you enjoy.

Mindfulness is as simple as breathing. But we tend to get caught up in the past or the future – usually without noticing – and the present disappears before we even realize it. Are you are despairing over your own (or someone else’s) words or actions? Are you spending your time fretting the “what ifs”, or losing yourself in the busyness of planning this day or that event? In doing that, the past or future is consuming your thoughts while the present passes you by, unnoticed.

How to Stop Being Mindless and Be Present

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Mothers’ Love: “Why My Mom Deserves a Retreat” Giveaway

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Sue and Daughters Melissa and Pat at a Recent Retreat.

Sue and Daughters Melissa and Pat at a Recent Retreat.

Mothers are truly incredible women. There are no words that can adequately describe the role that they play in our lives. Some of us have the gift of friendship with our mother (something that I am personally incredibly grateful for and blessed by), others have lost their mothers, and some have never met their mothers. We all have a different story to tell about our own, but the role played by a mother is an invaluable thing – whether it’s a birth mother or a grandmother or someone else that might have stepped in when we needed mothering, we each experience a very bond with our mother. A relationship that deserves to be celebrated more than once a year. Here are quotes celebrating 100 years of honoring mothers on Mother’s Day.

In some of our recent newsletters, we asked readers to share with us why their mother deserved a getaway at Retreat in the Pines. And while I didn’t submit my story, it wouldn’t have been picked anyways – I’m guessing that it probably wouldn’t be very relaxing if my mom won a retreat and had to host it at the same time. Katie, however, submitted her entry for the “Why My Mom Deserves a Retreat” giveaway and the story she shared with us about her mother was one that we couldn’t pass up.

Keep reading for Katie’s story, and then my own.

Katie’s Mom

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