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In 1995, an author of books on Victorian living turned her personal gratitude journal into a “Daybook of Comfort and Joy” called Simple Abundance.  In doing so, Sarah Ban Breathnach profoundly affected my life.  She introduced me to the idea that everyday life is filled with lovely, enriching experiences in which I could revel; that the purpose of life is not to acquire the most stuff, but to find joy in authentically pleasurable living.

a bee on an organce zinnia

Sipping the nectar a radiantly orange blossom.

From her, I learned to appreciate a simple bouquet of zinnias, set on a small farm table, next to creamy winter squash glistening in the sun.

Butternut squash and zinnias on a table in the sun

Creamy texture contrasts with bright colors..

To find pleasure in watching a full moon reflect its light across the water, within the shadowy circles of the trees.

the full moons shines on the lake below

Moonlight on the water.

To relish eating sun ripened tomatoes from a local farm stand dressed with salt and freshly cracked pepper, or layered with freshly handmade mozzarella, topped by basil from the garden, and drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Red and yellow tomatoes with mozzarella and basil

Caprese Salad

This summer I made it my business to take advantage of the beautiful, fresh produce available at the local farm markets and neighborhood vegetable stands.

A charming country vegetable stand

The Dan Terhune Farm Stand, owned and operated by Bob Sokoly.

Such fresh goodness needs little embellishment.

black plums ona brown table

A dark flower of fruit.

I sautéed all the veggies I could find in olive oil seasoned with moist, fragrant garlic, just pulled out of the ground by my neighbor at the end of our street.

Sauteed summer vegetables

Sauteed yellow zucchini with yellow tomatoes and chopped scallions.

I have been reveling in the lovely colors and subtly different textures and tastes of fruits and vegetables.

Blueberries the old fashioned way

Blueberries sparkling with sugar and nestled in cream.

Below I combined Sarah Ban Breathnach’s own explanation of Simple Abundance with photos of the Dan Terhune Farm Stand, here in Wyckoff, NJ.  The owner, Chief Sokoly, kindly posed for a few pictures to help me show you just how abundant his farm is!

Giant squash

Bob Sokoly and his giant cucuzzi squash.

“At the heart of Simple Abundance is an authentic awakening, one that resonates within your soul: you already possess all you need to be genuinely happy

a castor plant in bloom

A castor bush’s flowers burst open as it reaches toward the sky.

…invite Spirit to open up the eyes of your awareness to the abundance that is already yours

tomatoes and squash fro sale at the farm stand

The gifts of summer.

…These are the six threads of abundant living which, when woven together, produce a tapestry of contentment that wraps us in inner peace, well-being, happiness, and a sense of security.

the sign and water pump at Dan Terhune Farm

Generations of growing good food.

First there is gratitude.  When we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all that we have, we realize that we are very rich indeed.

Giant cucuzzi squash on the vine

All these giant squash hang from a single, abundant vine.

Gratitude gives way to simplicity—the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well.

A array of tomatoes

Simplicity brings with it order, both internally and externally.

a giant yellow zinnia

Around and around we go…

A sense of order brings us harmony.

Cucuzzi vines hang over a clapboard shed amid a filed of pink zinnias

Nature repeats its lovely self producing an enchanting whole.

Harmony provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each day.

a farm vignette

A vignette of vines, blossoms, and a blowing whirligig.

And beauty opens us up to joy.

striated red and white zinnia

Fireworks in a flower bursting with life and joy!

But just as with any beautiful, needlepoint tapestry, it is difficult to see where one stitch ends and another begins.

a she amid the flowers

Beauty surrounds us.

So it is with Simple Abundance.”  —Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wishing you every blessing,