Finding a photograph of beloved
friends, long gone. Hearing their voices,
bubble over the stones of the past
Los milagros: Milagros is a symbol of a miracle,
healing, or something else for which you are thankful! Many people of
Hispanic background make icons to represent special wishes they want fulfilled.
The fulfilled wish is considered a milagro, which means miracle. Traditionally,
these icons have been handcrafted from bone, tin, wood, silver, and gold.
MAKE A MILAGRO and hang them here at Soul Food. The "milagros"
project requires you to come up with wishes for yourself (one one side
of the art piece) and for someone else (on the other side).
It may have been created
for December 2003 but this Activity
Calendar will fill up many hours and teach you a lot about
Australian culture, flora and fauna. You would be silly not to go back
and have a very good look at what it offers.
This calendar is designed
with writers in mind but anyone looking to relax and unwind will find
inspiration within pages that braid the universal threads of joy, gratitude,
peace and goodwill to mankind. There is enough to keep artists and writers
alike, occupied for months, and, in absorbing the breadth of the calendar
everyone will learn a lot more about Australia.
People from all over the
world who have been associated with the site have lent a helping hand
with this calendar and as a result there are 25 primary pages, spanning
25 days, with inclusive projects, nostalgia and nonsense from both hemispheres.
If you have an artist, a dreamer, a dancer, a mythologist,
an imagineer, a writer amidst your clan, make sure to nourish their creative
spirit by sending them a box of Chocolates
from the Soul Food Cafe. But be cautioned! These hand filled chocolates
are totally addictive and may change lives.
Childhood is a state or phase of imaginative existence,
the phase in which the world of imagination is still a brave new world
and yet reassuring and intelligible.
The strictly non-fat chocolate from the Soul
Food Chocolate Box is full of projects and material to help us return
to that wondrous kingdom where imagination and creativity rule. The special
fillings focus on celebrating childhood joy, spontaneity and imagination.
Spotted Dick (or Dog) The name of this pudding always
raises a laugh in Britain but gets horrified gasps from our American friends,
who blush at something that to them is shockingly explicit. However, if
decorum is needed at the dinner table, the pudding can also be called
Spotted Dog. Serves 4
Self-raising flour - 75g (3 oz)
Fresh breadcrumbs - 110g (4 oz)
Shredded suet - 75g (3 oz)
Caster sugar - 50g (2 oz)
Currants - 175g (6 oz)
Lemon - 1, zest only Milk - 5 tbsp
METHOD 1. Mix everything together. Shape into a neat
roll about 15 cm (6 inches) long. 2. Make a 5 cm (2 inch) pleat across
a clean tea towel or pudding cloth. Or pleat together sheets of greased
greaseproof paper and strong foil. Wrap the roll loosely, to allow for
expansion, in the cloth or foil, pleating the open edges tightly together.
Tie the ends securely with string. Make a string handle across the top.
3. Lower the pudding into a large pan of boiling water, cover and boil
for 1½ hours. 4. Lift out using the string handle. Place on a wire rack
standing over a plate and allow excess moisture to drain off. Snip the
string and gently roll the pudding out of the cloth or foil on to a warmed
serving plate. 5. Serve sliced with custard.
I serve it with Bird's Custard which is available in
powder form at most supermarkets and all you need do is add sugar and
milk and bring to a boil. It makes a good sauce. It's good on Pies, too,
or fruit. It comes usually with five packs to a box. I believe you can
get in in bulk, too, in a tin, but I haven't seen it that way that lately.
If Soul Food has helped to lift your spirits,
return the favour by helping to lift the spirits of students from disadvantage
If you send a $5 Amazon
gift certificate to firstname.lastname@example.org this voucher will
be used to purchase books for Christmas parcels for students participating
in the Writing Passport Program.
100. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
and Senseless Acts of Beauty.
Acts of Kindness
More Random Acts of Kindness
Join the Australian Kindness Movement.
101 Waking up and feeling positive because
I am truly at peace with myself
102. Learning a new skill (I just learned the Heimlich maneuver)
103. Getting a true bargain! This summer was the summer of august silk
camisoles with fairylike dragonflies at the bust... for a song...
104. The smell of the desert after a rain.
105. Choose a character from
amongst these portraits that you identify with, colour it in and add
it to your visual journal.
106. Finding out your "Baby" is pregnant- Yup!! My daughter Kimberly,
and her husband Michael whom many of you know got married last year, is
pregnant. Dennis (my husband) and I are thrilled to say the least.
107. Celebrating the High Holy days (Yom Kippur), which is the Jewish
New Year, with Mom, Dad, Sister and her family. Going to temple,(Synagogue)
108. Holding a soft squirming puppy in your arms, who is licking your
face with abandon.
109. Shopping at and orchard store for fall decorations and buying a little
something for loved ones [and myself :)].
110. Caramel and candy apples for the children, straw wreath with scare
crow attached for the adults.
111. Reading a funny email and starting my day with a laugh and a smile.
112. Feeling good knowing there are so many people here for me, all of
you included, so I rarely if ever, feel alone.
113. Saying something nice to someone and having them say something nice
back you you.
Having a close friend paint a portrait for you
Courtesy of Edwina Peterson Cross
1. Reread passages of books and single poems that have
2. Spend even a few minutes beside a river or stream
3. Lie on the ground in dappled light
4. Sitting on the porch shelling peas
5. Knitting something
6. Peeling something
7. Walking or driving for an hour, any direction, then returning
8. Beating drums and dancing
9. Greeting the sunrise.
10. Sitting on a bridge with legs dangling over.
11. Sitting in a circle of trees
12. Drying your hair in the sun
13. Potting plants, being sure to get hands muddy
14. Beholding beauty, grace, the touching frailty of human beings
15. Feeling the grass between your toes.
16. Smelling the rain on the wind.
17. Petting a purring cat.
18. Rocking a baby to sleep.
19. Diving in the ocean and crying out loud "Heil Atlantis!"
20. Climbing a mountain from one side and then go down the other side
(it amazes you how different things look)
21. Eating freshly home baked bread with a lot of butter
22. Watching children make soap bubbles
23. Start the day with dew covered cobwebs in a meadow.
24. The smell of bacon cooking and coffee brewing over an open fire.
25. Waking up to a chorus of birds outside the window.
26. Having a cat jump into and curl up in your lap.
27. Seeing a doe in your back yard and having her watch you instead of
28. Having high tea with dinky sandwiches and fruit cake.
29. Seeing a friend who has been away for a long time.
30. Eating Spotted Dick pudding smothered in Bird's Custard.
31. Napping: (with someone you love spooned behind you; or with a two
year old tucked in front of you with freshly baby-shampooed hair under
your nose; or in a big recliner in front of the fire when you’ve just
finished a perfect novel; or under a big puffy comforter on a rainy day
when you really ought to be outside running errands.)
32. The first smell of fall. (Walking outside and finding that in the
night the air has changed and there is a subtle tiny chill and smell of
crispness that means fall is beginning. Now if you search the green, green
of the mountain you will find that, sure enough, there are tracings of
gold brushed through the emerald and olive and jade that you didn’t notice
33. Being the only one awake in the hush of a very early Christmas morning.
34. Waiting for the house lights to dim, the curtain to go up, the trumpet
to sound, the flag to fly. (The anticipatory feeling before a play, a
dance or music concert to begin. I’ve been on both sides of the curtain,
both are enchanted. It is the sharing that is magic.)
35. Riding a Roller coaster! :-) Especially the half second at the top
before you go down.
36. Finding the right words. (You write a sentence that is almost. It
kind of goes around a corner, but doesn’t quite make it. It is halting,
it is frozen, it is wobbly, faltering, broken, fragmented. Then you look
at it again, you think it, you taste it, you wiggle it, you smooth it,
you do who knows what to it, you change a few words, you move a comma,
a erase something, you add something, you move something and suddenly
it flows, it fits, it harmonizes, it tallies, it lines up, it WORKS. Eureka!
Banzai! Hallelujah! Magic.)
37. The laughter of Children. (The laughter of my circle of daughters
coming from the other room. For years it was a daily occurrence, now I
must wait for special occasions. They are women now, not little girls,
but they laugh just as hard.)
38. Hugging someone or something you love, then close your eyes and don't
talk just let the feelings seep right in.
39. Light a burner and put in some nice fragrant oil. Let it go for a
few hours and take in the fragrance. It will linger with you for quite
40. The sound of my son's laughter and the way his eyes light up with
joy after a good giggle. :)
41. Listening to my grandmother's voice on the phone and the memories
that flow when she describes the days gone by.
42. Pictures from the north reminding me of home.
43. My spirit is lifted when I find my friends here on my computer.
44. Painting each other's faces with face paint and dancing down the street
45. A visit to the Japanese Bath-house with a friend. Luxuriating within
the steaming hot water and gossiping. Drinking green tea with snack.
46. Clear memory of magical childhood places
47. Publicly hugging a tree. A group hugging does wonders for the soul.
48. Standing blowing bubbles in the garden with other adults.
49. Having a child theme luncheon with close friends.
50. Listening to the audio book version of Out of Africa. I always find
Karen Blixen's writing uplifting.
51. Receiving a home made journal.
52. Receiving an envelope with articles, carefully clipped out of the
paper, especially for you to read.
53. Making and sending a close friend a journal to retreat to during a
54. Make a Milagro
55. Tasting delicious words: Soothing, Lengthen, Liquid, Lyric, Mellow,
Moon, Cello, Whisper, Soft, Bliss
56 The feel of dew damp grass on bare feet in the moonlight
57. Singers whose voices are old trusted friends that smooth and sooth,
a sweet sail to the past, a balm with which to face the future. (I love
you Gordon Lightfoot!)
58. Waterfalls, fountains, rushing streams: air and water joined in joy
59. Traditions: the cultural traditions that we do because they have always
been done, the old traditions that go back several generations, the family
traditions we have done our entire lives, the blending traditions where
two newly weds knit two families together, the new traditions that we
just made up last year. The brand-new traditions that we made up just
60. The smell of a new doll, an old book, newly cut grass, fresh snow,
pink champagne, hot bread.
61. Dancing. As a very young child, before anyone tells you what dancing
is or isn’t, what is right or wrong, what you can or can’t do; when you
choreograph your own dance to the music that plays in your head and you
don’t care at all who was watching. At four years old, standing on your
Daddy’s shoes. In rooms full of flashing lights and pulsing music that
beat in your blood, where other moving bodies became extensions of an
experience. At a bar on a hardwood floor where the clean, classic notes
of Chopin stretch you to the peace of precision. With children on a summer
lawn while sprinklers rain and the music is laughter. In the moonlight,
in the dark, anywhere at all, in arms of someone you love. With other
women in celebration, mourning, exploration, fellowship. Barefoot in a
mountain meadow where the air is so thin you practically fly. On a stage,
sending the experience of your joy of movement into hearts through eyes
and ears. Alone in a room lit by a one candle, finding that, after all,
you can still hold all of the above in the center of your own single flame.
62. Indulge yourself. Take a hot bath with mounds of bubbles. Have your
nails done. Buy your self a new CD. Make your favorite dessert. Spend
a day in bed with your favorite book. Spend a day in bed with your favorite
person. Get out your favorite childhood toy and hug it. Call your best
friend from High School or College. Write in your journal with crayons.
Rent a movie just for yourself.
63. Indulge yourself the other way. Get a juicer and make yourself fresh
juice and healthful smoothies. Take a yoga class, a dance class, a kick-boxing
class, a karate class. Take a long walk and practice deep breathing. Make
a list of healthful foods you really enjoy and go on a buying spree. Go
out to an expensive Health Food Restaurant. Get a massage, facial, or
spa wrap. Go for a bike ride with a friend. Rent or buy roller blades
and remember what it was to fly. (Anybody besides me old enough to remember
skate keys?!) Go dancing. Practice progressive relaxation. Meditate.
64. Get a notebook and make a list of all the things you would like to
do before you die.
65. Plan pretend vacations for all the places you wish you could visit.
66. Have a henna party. Hire a body painter or Mehndi Artist to do everyone’s
hands or feet, or tummies or backs.
67. Go for an old fashioned swim in an old fashioned swimming hole with
a swing made of vines. Take an inner-tube and float around with a straw
hat over your face. Consider drinking lemonade.
68. Walk to the closest grocery store. Buy a popsicle. Walk home.
69. Have a Wine and Cheese Party with a difference. For the Wine and Cheese
Party, each guest brings a different kind of Wine and Cheese and everyone
samples all the different brands. Following the same procedure, the combinations
are endless. My children went wild with ideas, some of which were just
too wild, such as the infamous Moonshine and Coon party. Here are a few
other ideas: Beer and Pizza Soda and Chips Tea and Cakes Whiskey and Cigars
Champagne and Fruit/Chocolate/Chocolated-fruit Coffee and Doughnuts Milk
70. This is the Cross Family U.S. Government End of Fiscal Year Party.
It could also easily be adapted to be a Pay Day Party. Before midnight
the refreshments consist of saltine crackers, a can of pork and beans
and water. After midnight we serve a huge full course meal including filet
minion, champagne and caviar. Yes, it is not subtle. Yes, it is too true.
71. The simplest is often the best. Watch a sunset.
Smell the roses. Lay on your back and watch cloud formations.
Hold completely still and feel the wind on your face. Kiss your own palm
and say, “I love you.”
72. Write a research paper just like you had to do in High School, except
write this one on something that fascinates you, about which you want
to find out as much as possible.
73. Have a beauty pageant with paper dolls. You can cut out the swimming
suit competition and keep the talent section if you want! Your paper dolls
can also have a rodeo, be involved in a corporate spy ring, government
coup and insurrection, travel on a flying carpet to far off lands, perish
in a volcano, be preserved behind glass, be carried off by huge birds
of prey in a vast primeval jungle, keep their faces in jars by the door
like Eleanor Rigby, clone themselves in the scanner and wear Band-Aids
to the office. After you are through playing, put the paper dolls in a
book where, hopefully, you will forget about them until the next time
you read the book when you will have a fun surprise and want to play again.
74. Write your favorite quotations on the wall. Always include this one
of mine: “Go that way, real fast. If something gets in your way, turn.
(Savage Steve Holland) It is profound.
75. Try to remember the nasty rhymes and sayings that children said when
you were little, especially ones that made you feel bad. Turn them into
nice rhymes and sayings. “Pink, pink, you stink.” “Pink, pink, think,
think, you are as bright as indelible ink!”
76. Say to yourself in the mirror: “The Force will be with you, always.”
Call up someone who will understand and say it to them on the telephone
or go to their house and tell them to their face when they open the door.
78. Read A.A. Milne out loud, paying special attention to Pooh’s “hums.”
79. Keep a gratitude journal. Simply ‘count your blessings.’ This is a
great way to fall asleep at night.
80. Eat dinner by candle light. Have a candle-lit blanket-picnic outside
under the stars, or inside under the ceiling. Have a candlelight picnic
bubble-bath. Champagne and foods from the whipped cream category are appropriate
bubble-bath picnic fare. Do you know that they make EDIBLE blowing bubbles
that taste like candy? It’s true. Have a candle-lit pizza-picnic at midnight
sitting crossed-legged on the kitchen table. Have a full candle light
dinner with china, crystal, silver and linen - all set up on a card table
in the back of a pick up truck parked underneath the stars. Have a candle
light picnic in the snow: start by scooping out an round indentation of
snow and lining it with at least two space blankets. Put regular blankets
on top of these and it is plenty warm to sit on. Picnic’s on the snow,
under the stars are quite magic. Igloos are much harder to make than you
would ever imagine. Have a floating candle light picnic in a swimming
pool or lake using floating candles. Mellon is the perfect food for a
wet candle-lit picnic. Cut the top off of a cantaloupe, honeydew or small
round watermelon. (You’ll want to cut it a little more than half.) Scoop
out the melon with a melon-baller until the rind is empty. The empty half
rind will float. Put the melon balls back in, being careful not to overload.
If you don’t fill it too full it will still float. It is fun to mix the
three kinds of melon in each rind so the colors are pretty. You can buy
plastic glasses that float when you put them down in water without spilling
the liquid inside which are fun for wet picnics. Always remember: a romantic
candlelit dinner is always as close as the small scented candle, bic lighter
and package of M&M’s that you put in your pocket before you went out for
that walk. (Candle-lit dining ideas brought to you by ThePrincess&TheFowl)
81. Find life quotations that are important to you: “This above all else:
To thine own self be true.” (William Shakespeare) “Go Slowly, Breathe
and Smile” (Thich Nhat Hanh) “Follow your bliss” (Joseph Campbell)
82. Invite a friend over to drink champagne, wear hats and bake 83. Go
into the night with several friends and a camera. Take pictures of each
other all over town. Get them developed and Make identical place mats,
collages, or wall hangings for everyone.
84. Start a progressive or circle letter with friends and/or family through
snail-mail. With a progressive letter each person adds to a long letter
which keeps growing and getting bigger. With a circle letter, each person
writes a one page letter and when the envelope comes, they remove their
last letter and add a new one.
85. Eat a rainbow. Everyone knows that you are supposed to eat five fruits
and vegetables a day, but a fun way to approach the whole thing is to
think of “Eating a Rainbow.” Colorful fruits and vegetables provide the
wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that the body
uses to stay healthy, energetic, maintain a healthy weight, protect against
the effects of aging and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Besides, rainbows are luscious. Read the book “The Rainbow Goblins” by
Ul De Rico.
86. Do something seasonally backwards. Play tennis in the snow. Bake Christmas
cookies in July. Have an Easter Egg hunt in November. There are places
where you can ice skate outside in the summer now and even ski on synth-snow
during warm weather. Many former Olympic sites have summer activities
on site. OR, you could go visit a friend on the other side of the world
where they are doing the other season anyway!
87. Drop Pennies. Most people know about “See a penny, pick it up, and
all the day you’ll have good luck.” If you leave a penny on the ground
every once in a while, it will bring someone luck sooner or later, if
only from your thought.
88. Celebrate Trees and the Earth. Celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day with
the zeal that you do other holidays of the year. Have a huge dinner dedicated
to the trees of our world and to our mother earth. Exchange gifts with
earth and woodland themes or give gift certificates to charities that
support ecology and protection of resources. National Arbor Day is the
last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates
according to their best tree-planting times. International Earth Day will
be March 20, 2005. Plant trees. When you plant a tree in your yard, plant
another one for the world - in your neighborhood, on the side of a highway,
on a green way, in a reforestation project for example.
89. Run through the sprinklers. This can be a simple afternoon diversion
in a hot back yard paddling in your small rainbird sprinkler with a popsicle
or two or a wild midnight adventure with a group of daring friends to
charging across vast athletic fields or golf courses where huge sprays
send fast sweeping arches of water cascading into the moonlight. (I’m
not sure if you can actually get arrested for midnight sprinkler running,
we never have, but then we live in a strange town. If you are concerned,
you could check with your local authorities!)
90. Swing. Go to different elementary schools and playgrounds and swing
on all the swings. Decide which ones are the best. Watch Kenneth Branaugh’s
version of “Much Ado About Nothing.” It has a beautiful example of an
adult swing in it . . . as well as a really luscious picnic in the beginning
and an enchanting shower of rose petals being strewn from the castle windows
over the heads of the dancers at the end . . . it also has the added benefit
of being a total delight all the way in between. Delicious.
91. Did you know that the olfactory tissue with which you smell is identical
to the tissue in your brain where memory is stored? Make a list of smells
that bring memories and vice-versa. What memories are brought to you by
the smell of: Nutmeg? Pine? Baby powder? Newly moan hay? Old Leather?
Violets? Cookies Baking? The sea? Watermelon? Floor Wax? New Crayons?
Sawdust? Dogs? Cats? Farmyards? Glycerine and Rosewater? Garlic cooking
in olive oil? Fingernail polish? Cotton Candy? Fresh Paint? Lilacs? French
Fried Potatoes? Lemons? Dill? Peaches?
92. Make a Sidewalk Chalk Painting. Sidewalk chalk is therapeutic because
it is colorful, huge and temporary. You know that what you paint will
not last which is a great exercise in the here and how. You can also actually
feel the chalk transfer from the piece in your hand to the rough surface
of the sidewalk. It’s a very tangible kind of painting. I recommend viewing
“Mary Poppins” as an accompaniment to a good day of Sidewalk Chalk Painting.
93. Feeling ripe for my purpose to unfold.
94. Having a good laugh at something my mother says. She can make the
most ordinary moments into extremely FUNNY anecdotes!
95. Having a stimulating conversation with a stranger
96. Feeling even a hint of a breeze in the desert.
98. Getting a letter from my father (the only one who still writes via
99. Giving someone every ounce of my ATTENTION.
100. Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty. Donate
to a charity you would not usually support, put your shopping trolley
back in its appointed place in the parking lot, place a coin in an expired
parking meter, as you go about your day, pick up the litter you find on
the pavement, give another driver your parking spot, send a letter to
a teacher you once had letting her know about the difference she made
in your life, order a mail-order gift, anonymously, for a friend or someone
at work who needs to be cheered up, go to an AIDS hospice or hospital
ward and see what you can do for one person, slip a $10 note into the
pocketbook of a needy friend (or stranger), next time you go over a toll
bridge pay the toll for the car behind you and don't forget to thank the
toll taker, laugh out loud often and share your smile generously, if you
are the boss, bring your secretary a cup of coffee in the morning, if
you have a person with an infirmity living near you, offer to do the grocery
shopping for him or her
Acts of Kindness
More Random Acts of Kindness
Join the Australian Kindness Movement.