Burnout and Stress, Health, Personal Wisdom, Self Image

Lost and Sorting through Who I Have Been

Lost and Sorting through Who I Have Been

I feel quite lost. These periods of un-business feel very unbalancing. Which is fine. I know when we are lost, especially in the midst of change, it is a golden opportunity to change our Selves.  I feel like I am working on that. It doesn’t make the discomfort easier, however.

What am I struggling so hard with?  Basically, how I stay busy, and what busyness is keeping me from.  I had a long set of childless days off for Thanksgiving weekend. I should have been incredibly productive – getting through my To Do list, so that I could finally be ready to have some free time.  Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing. I organized the storage shed’s contents.  I organized my Amazon wish list. I organized the wine by age and type.  It seems ridiculous, but I know there is something in there. Something….and a lot of Busyness.

In the process of going through the contents of the shed, I went through boxes that have been packed since before I moved to this state >6 years ago.  I have now gone through all these.  I have old photo albums of me dating back to the 4thgrade.

In my youth, I would’ve gone through my family’s photo albums, looked at our progenitors, asked questions, gleaned family history, made up stories of what kind of people they must’ve been, etc.  Youth don’t do that these days. Between my husband, myself and our families, at least half of the containers are labeled “Memorabilia.”   So…who am I saving them for?

I could ask that question for half of the contents of the shed? There are un-used gifts, still in boxes.  Then another quarter shed of the boxes with decorations and ‘things.’ Things we haven’t used in eons, things from different parts of our lives. I have a lovely collection of animals skulls, Mexican flutes, pottery, African, Chinese and Mongolian Art.  I also have a Slip’nSlide, stomp-rockets, and an Elefun.  None of these are going to find a place in this house again.

While these things may have some value – what really is the point in keeping them?  At the end of my life, I will have a great deal to show the world who I was before I died.  I suspect only a few people will really care, and no one is going to want to sort through tubs of memorabilia! I have a zillion amazing stories, however, it is unlikely that some book or movie is going to be made about me.

I been so many people. I am very far from my meager roots.  At the end of the day, I can use my experiences to tell great stories, I can teach my daughter, I can make her super competent and comfortable in the wild outdoors. I can match my husband in introspection, and I can empathize with almost any experience.

However, it still remains, someone will have to go through all this stuff when I die and it will likely be a burden, as they already knows me and my stories.

I already know who I am, and who I’ve been. If I forget in my old age, I will still not remember by looking at a photo or piece of paper.   So, I ask myself; what ISthe point of holding onto all this stuff?

I don’t have an answer, but I feel like the sorting and reminiscing is working one me. Some strange magic.  One day soon, I will run out of patience, or out of things to sort. I will be interested in what happens then!

Tama Cathers

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/mountains-nature-arrow-guide-66100/


Disclaimer & Explanation

Explanation & Disclaimer

A series of articles from my experiences September through the New Year are posted here, roughly in chronological order.  The series starts with My Challenge for this Quarter: Addressing Busyness.  You may need to keep reading, not settle.  My perceptions shift and move, hopefully they shift and grow!

This written about my experience and thoughts, however wrong headed they seem to you. These too shift and change. I hope you can stick it out until then end…whenever that maybe.



Photo Credit:https://pixabay.com/en/clay-brick-wall-red-sign-advisory-14228/

Bright Line Eating, diet, Food, Health, Recipes

Stroganoff for BLE

Stroganoff for BLE



1.5 lbs onion

2 cloves garlic

8 Oz (1/2 lb) mushrooms

½ lb meat (ground turkey, beef, stew meat or steak)

2 Tablespoon olive oil or ghee, divided

2 teaspoons hot water

1 Tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth

1 1/2 cups beef broth

2 teaspoons tapioca or 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ to ½  teaspoon paprika

1/3rdcup dry sherry

1/3 cup sour cream

1 – 2 Tablespoons crème fresh, cream, or ½ and half



  1. Brown the turkey, ground beef or steak in 1 T of oil of your choice.
  2. Combine water, dry mustard, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms; set aside.
  3. Mix tapioca and beef broth together in a small bowl.
  4. Add 1 T of oil of your choice. Sauté mushrooms, garlic and onion until they begin to brown, scraping up browned bits on bottom of the pan.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato paste, 1/3 cup wine, mustard paste, broth and tapioca mixture to skillet. Continue cooking until sauce begins to thicken slightly.
  6. Add meat back to pan and continue cooking until meat is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Remove from heat allow to cool just a couple of minutes. Stir in sour cream.
  8. Serve over gluten free noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

For 1 lb of meat double the recipe – this will give approximately you the needed 4 protein to 16 veg ratio you need. One serving is 20 oz of finished meal.


Tama Cathers




My Challenge for this Quarter: Addressing Busyness

My Challenge for this Quarter: Addressing Busyness

My challenge for this quarter is to not add anything to my schedule. My hope is to address the issue of my Busyness head on.  I made a committeemen to not add anything to my schedule for 3-4 months; Sept to the new year.  I simplify things, and wanted to focus on being a mother to my daughter, to being a wife to my husband, and to finding myself.  I am rolling my eyes at saying this, but it is true. When it comes down to it, these are the things that are important to me.

I would not: add any new classes, take any seminars, start any women’s groups, singing groups, develop new self defense workshops, take new courses, teach extra seminars, sell our services, go to networking events,  or join any new groups.  I would resist the opportunity to enrolling new classes, courses, or schools.  I also vowed to not take on any additional paid work, over what I currently have. All these are things I really want to do.

A second part of this challenge was only doing what was necessary of the things already on my list. I would continue my blog (Whew! and Yay!). I would continue to teach martial arts, deferring the effort to my husband when it conflicts with my daughter’s or family’s needs, (like school activities).  I would continue with my small Sunday yoga class, and continue with my Circle singing group. These are important things to me.

Wow! Just writing it, that sounds like a challenge.

Despite that fact that I cannot clearly define my super Busyness when asked, my schedule had reached, and surpassed, the catastrophic state.  My husband was in a similar state. We are super busy. We even have to schedule our time to be together! It’s ridiculous how tightly packed our schedules are.

It wasn’t always this way: I can look back and think of times when I had time.  Heck, I somehow managed to read!  I managed to date. Except for Audible’s contribution in my ability to multitask, I have no idea how I would find the time to do either of those now! (I am glad to not have to date!)

A year ago, I ‘quit’ my job as a career. I was going to de-stress, and “catch up” with myself and my life. I worked less and spent the year having my stress hormones come down, having me come down. I no longer have to come home and lay on the bed for an hour in the darkness. I no longer take naps. I no longer have to take supplements to help me sleep.  My body is better, healthier I am better – inside.  I still earn an income in my ‘old’  profession, and my work is still important – to this household, to me, and to those I see. I admit I have gone through a bit of anguish about ‘who I am’ without such a strong attachment to my career, and ‘who I am’ bringing in less income, etc.  It’s been good to work through these issues of who am I, if I don’t (fill in the blank).

After about six months, I worked on finding new income streams.  This entailed starting a new business, and teaching yoga. These endeavors have not gone as expected. Like most things, they take longer than expected.  I suspect neither is going to be my sole income stream, at this time. Yoga can be a hard ways of making a whole living, even a meager living.  A New Business requires extraordinary amounts of effort and time. Both have resulted in even more Busyness.

Around the same time, I started trying to catch-up, getting the back log of things done.  It’s been long enough now that I am starting to get these things done. I can even see light, the top of my inbox, though I suspect I will never get the in-box empty. Despite this, I was still profoundly busy. Every waking moment I seem to be working. So, getting through the inbox is not the path.

A few months ago, I started to realize I was no longer sure what I was accomplishing with most of my running around/busyness. Sure, I was clearing my inbox, and I wasn’t engendering tons of new stress, but I was still busy all the time and still feeling quite stressed by the busyness.  I asked my self,  ‘What the hell am I doing?’

After months of contemplation the issue, and a vacation where we actually relaxed, I realized that I spend 80% of my day doing inconsequential stuff.  I enjoy “getting stuff done.” I enjoy the productivity of it.  But much of it is not important stuff.  Much of it is repetitive.  These things may make life better, but are not essential, at least not for a while: I organize things. I create order. I return things, I acquire things, I comparison shop. I wash seemingly endless loads of dishes. It’s not like they bring in any money, either. They are Busy-Work. At the end of my life, no one is going to say how much I accomplished by doing just these little things! Even many things that bring in money or are exciting things are, at their core, not essential, like extra paid work. Nobody’s impressed….and they don’t fill me.

I find 20% of what I do fulfilling. I drive my child to/from school, talking with her each day. I teach her.  I take her on adventures (yes, everyone likes that)!  I write. I cook. I have conversations with my dear husband. We take long bath.  We do shadow work.  We do our martial arts training.  These are simple things.  Most bring in no significant money.

I do them because I value them.  No one outside my close friends and family is likely to care or value them. I have been called a hobbyist in my profession, because some of this 20%  are more important to me than my work life.  I am know I am fortunate to be able to value them my own way.  An I do value them. My family does. Perhaps my close friends and student do. It is most likely, at the end of my life, only this small circle of people will appreciate these things.  They are Small Treasures of Value. Can that be enough for me?  Can I accept that as my contribution, as “Enough?”

The concept seems foreign. In this day and age, it feels as if everyone is expected to become famous, notable, amazing.  Living an ‘ordinary life’ is no longer enough.  What would it be like, I asked, if I only did the things I loved and the things that really mattered?  The idea gestated, growing, until I realized that Not Doing was exactly what I Needed to Do. That is how this Challenge arose.

Welcome to my version of Challenge: adding no new things, taking on no new work, only doing things that are valuable to me and mine.  Let’s see how it goes!


by Tama Cathers




Photocredit: time-1739629_1920geralt / 18786 images via Pixabay, link: https://pixabay.com/en/time-clock-head-woman-face-view-1739629/

Copyright © by Tama Cathers 2018-19. All Rights Reserved.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tama Cathers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




Personal Wisdom, Poetry

When Fear is Gone

I used to read books about love.

Now, my life has become

a book of love.


I used to hate God.

Now, I behold God

inside you,

inside myself.


I used to fear dissolution.

Now, I long for it;

dissolving into Us.


When fear is gone,

Nothing else can be taken away.



Rumi inspired poetry, by Tama Cathers


diet, Food Medicine, Health, Herbal Medicine, Personal Wisdom, Travel

Consistency, Spiderman, Herbs and Hiking

Consistency, Spiderman, Herbs and Hiking

Since my dear husband has been working out 3 to 5 times a week, his body (which he told me “could never be well-muscled”) has turned into a super-hero body.  I know because he has a bright blue compression shirt, and he now looks like Spiderman when he wears it! Since this has happened, I have been thinking about consistency, the body and herbs.

The body likes consistency and it is amazingly adaptable.  I knew this.  Human beings are pretty good at forgetting, however.

As a long distance hiker, I asked my body to do ridiculous things. Day after day. My first day hiking, I hiked 8 miles and thought I was going to die.  The first week, I saw seasoned hikers walk up mountains at an amazing 4 mph pace; while Walking, and Chatting. Smiling!Going 2- 4 times faster than I.  While smiling!  If you ever have been struggling up a hill and have someone blow past you without pause, you know the shock I experienced.

By the second week I could miserably hike 10-11 miles. The third week, 12 was happy, 14 was a stretch. At the end of 6 weeks – I was that hiker, able to walk up many mountains, hike at 4 miles an hour consistently, and go 16-18+ miles a day. While chatting. And Smiling! Day after day.

The next year I went back and was able to start out at 10-12 miles, and it took just a  weeks to come up to the comfortable 14-18 mile/day mark.

The next year, I started out able to hike 12-15 miles a day.  In a few days I could hike 16+ easily. What was up with that?


My theory is that the body holds onto the RNA pattern for all the enzyme systems you need, and it holds on for a long long time.  Each year, the body was able to recognize the pattern of demand, and up regulate these systems quickly.  Hold onto those blueprints, buddy – we may need them next year!

After a 10-15 year break, I was able to start a long hike with…..nothing. Nada. Zip.  Eight miles liked to have killed me!

Within three days, my suffering was less. I can’t say I was hiking faster, but it didn’t hurt as much.  As far my husband, by the forth day, he was able to actually speed up. (Testosterone to the rescue!) Men almost always condition faster than women. It was pretty amazing to watch, however!

By the end of our 7 days, he was able to keep up with conditioned hikers for 15-30 minutes, with the choice to push through for more.   I, on the other hand, was able to breath, instead of pant, as we made our way through the mountains in the heat of summer.  But, boy, was I happy with that improvement!


Hang on while I change subjects, then tie things together.  For years I have known about the beneficial effects of red raspberry leaf tea.  If drunk consistently, for me that is 2-3 times a week, it inhibits all cramping with my period. ALL.  ALL! It takes weeks of consuming it before it works, however. I now have a cycling young woman in the house, but since she never has cramps, I was not offering her this herbal tonic.  That was a mistake. This month was different. This month was crampy.

Upon realizing this, I looked at some of my previous herbal use.   I have taken nothing herbal that actually helps, when taken acutely. Except perhaps for Rescue Remedy, which I reviewed before.  Elderberry syrup never made me feel better when I have a cough.  Even my friend, mullein, has not had a notable acute effect, though it tastes good.  To be honest, no vitamin or supplement routine that has helped me either.  Do I feel a difference, or even not get ill as much, when taking Vit C? No. Do I feel better taking B12? No.  How about Omega 3 fatty acids, which are scientifically proven to alleviate many conditions and elevate mood? Nope.  (I have discovered a single agent lately – but we will save that for another blog review.)


In the face of living with Spiderman and Crampy Women, I suddenly understand why; the body lovesconsistency. It needs consistency.

We have gotten so used to Western medicine, where we take a pill to fix things – and fix them NOW! That is not how nature, or our bodies work.  These two entities like consistency.  They can respond in a fashion I can see as quickly, like the ability to hike further faster in days of consistent uses.  However, responding immediately is not natural. Spring does not happen in a single day. Health does not return quickly either. Herbal tonics – they need time to effect their change in us.

When I look at my own use of herbs, I can see I have rarely stuck with therapies long enough. I will now correct that course. Again.

I encourage you, be consistent, whether it is a work-out routine, herbs, a new habit, supplement therapy, or any other Endeavour or Challenge.



diet, Food, Health

Green Tomato, Summer Squash, and Ham Casserole – BLE friendly meal 

Green Tomato, Summer Squash, and Ham Casserole – BLE friendly meal


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large onion, cut in 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 leeks, sliced into ¼ inch (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (divided)
  • 1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves (divided)
  • Pinch red pepper or chipotle powder, (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest or 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 pound green tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound zucchini (about 2 each medium), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1  pound yellow summer squash (about 2 each medium), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 lb parsnips or carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 lb ham cubed into bite-sized pieces (can substitute other meats)
  • ½ lb  block cheese (Cheddar, Colby jack, Jalepeno Jack, etc.) cheese, sliced
  • ½ cup parmesan or Parmesan/Romano Cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 1-2 quart casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion, ½ the leeks, salt and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, then turn the heat to medium-low, continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden brown and caramelize, about 20 minutes.

Add 3 teaspoons minced garlic to the onions and cook about 1 minute.

Add the vermouth. Turn the heat to medium high and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of oregano, red pepper flakes, lemon (zest or juice) and the remaining minced garlic.

In the casserole dish, add the sliced tomatoes, zucchini, parsnips, yellow squash, salt and black pepper. Add the olive oil/oregano spice mixture. Mix to coat. Add the meat – stir.

Evenly distribute the onion mixture over the vegetables.

Bake until tender about 40 to 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Remove from the oven.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.


Even layer the top with sliced cheese, then sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the gratin.

Broil until the top is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.


As with most of my BLE meals, this meal is a little high on the vegetable side. However a ratio of 2 veg to 1 meat is a lot easier to calculate than 3 veg to 1 meat. It is easy to calculate a different ratio, (unless you imbibed too much sherry left over from the onions…. You will have to do your own ratios tonight).  In a 16 oz serving, this meal should provide approximately 1 serving of meat (4 oz), 6 oz veg, and 8 oz of salad replacement, plus 1 fat. It should make a suitable meal for dinner. Kid friendly.