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Harvesting Summer: Gratitude and Appreciation are Part of the Recipe

This time of year the berries are plentiful. These are from my backyard. I love this time of year! One of my favorite memories of my childhood in late summer is how my grandmother always made blackberry or fruit cobbler. She won state fair prizes for her baking, and we were greatly appreciative of her skills!  I remember that the house would smell of berries and such sweetness. It was the love in her cooking that made all the difference. Today. my mother and I continue this tradition by making cobbler every summer. Although we make a simple recipe version of what she made, it’s always remembered with such love, gratitude, and appreciation. It fills the need. On the Chinese Five Element and Meridian System Wheel, late summer is related to Earth Element. It is associated with sweetness and the bounty of the Earth itself. Physically, it is related to your stomach and spleen associated with digestion, support, and nurture. Emotionally, Earth Element speaks of taking inventory of what you feel in appreciation and gratitude.  By doing so you energize your system to work harmoniously, and this also strengthens your relationships with nurture in your life.

Finding ways to build your emotional reserves through appreciation and gratitude helps you when times are challenging and feel difficult. Calling upon the memory of joyful and nourishing times with your family, friends and relationships is a way of preserving the good in your heart and mind to harvest when you are worried, stressed, depressed or confused.

How many times do you say things to yourself or another that is critical? In what ways do you blame yourself or others?  John Gottman’s work speaks to the need for at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to challenging communication for there to be a strong emotional bank account within and between you and your relationships.

  To begin this process, get in touch with what you appreciate about yourself and others around you: your strengths, your positive qualities, what you or another have accomplished, your gifts, and the other’s gifts. When you do this, you realize how much you are truly supported and loved.  Saying, ” I appreciate when….” or ” I appreciate how….” goes a long way to building a good relationships, health, and positive communication. It builds inner strength, understanding, and also communicates your needs.

  Gratitude helps you feel connected to nurture and support.  Even working with a simple reference image or word helps your body-mind system move into more harmony, calm, and ease by creating positive neurotransmitters of endorphin and dopamine. Appreciation energizes the giver and the receiver. Simply saying the words, “Love, Thank You, Trust, Courage, Faith, and Gratitude” boosts your immune system by strengthening the thymus.

Earth Element is about feeling at home in your own body wherever you are on the planet or universe. When you are under stress, take a moment to come into the center by getting in touch with your breath and visualizing a beautiful image or place that brings you peace and joy, and inspiration. Step into it with your mind, your thoughts and feelings.  This will help you in transitions and stressful situations. Sharing your image with someone else is also energizing for them!

So it’s my turn to share something that inspires gratitude and joy from my life stemming from my memories. Here’s a simple version of what my grandmother made in her kitchen. Adapt this recipe for your needs. It can be made with any fruit like peaches, blackberries, raspberries, or blackberries with raspberries.

Crazy Crust Fruit Cobbler (in this case, crazy means easy)

Preheat oven to 375 degree

¼ c. Butter or margarine

4 c. Frozen or fresh fruit ( peaches, berries, plums, apples)

1 ½ -1 ¾ c. Sugar (adjust according to tartness or sweetness of fruit)

1 c. Self-rising flour

1 c. Milk

In a 9x 13” glass baking dish melt butter in a preheated oven. While butter is melting,

In a medium pan over moderate heat, stir to combine fruit and ¾-1 cup sugar. Bring to boil.

While fruit is heating, combine ¾ cup sugar, flour, and milk in a small bowl. Pour over melted butter in the baking dish. Do NOT stir. When the fruit has come to a boil,

Pour evenly over batter mixture. Do NOT stir.

Bake until crust is a deep golden brown, 30 minutes.


With Love and Gratitude,


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