Making Improvements

Belfast veggies 8Making Improvements, by Tasha Halpert

When I look at a situation it is often with an eye as to what can be done to improve it. I think I developed this habit at an early age because my dear mother was seldom satisfied with anything. She always seemed to have a suggestion for an improvement. Most likely I inherited my attitude from her. However, this is not a bad way to be, and I’m not complaining. Yet it’s not necessary to see a flaw or a need. Perhaps another way to think about that is to see what I might do in general to be of help or to make an improvement..

My late son Robin greatly enjoyed gardening. He loved the earth and felt very close to nature. Wherever he was living he would plant vegetables and carefully tend them. He was proud to feed himself from his efforts. In addition as do the Native Americans, he believed in leaving a gift at the site of any herb or vegetable that he harvested. He always gave back as much as he could. The size of the gift was not as important as the effort.

I was reminded of this as I thought about what someone recently said to me: “I believe in leaving the world a better place than I found it.” The speaker went on to tell me how he had learned this when he was around ten years old and had made an effort to practice it always. This conversation stayed with me for a time, and I considered ways I might make the world I lived in a better place–not because it was lacking but because I might add something.

Paying it forward is one way to make a positive difference. There are drivers who pay the toll of the person behind them, or those who pick up the tab for a stranger in a restaurant. Some businesses do a holiday practice where small gifts are given in secret. I have always enjoyed sharing little presents or passing on what I enjoy or find useful. One friend of mine liked to say a prayer when he left any seat where he sat: “May whoever sits here after me be blessed.”

It may be that sometimes we think that small gestures are not significant. I find it is surprising how a little effort can make a big effect. Smiling at people, for instance, or saying hello to people you might not know personally. Of course there are those who might look at you suspiciously, still, it is not possible to please everyone and if a person feels uncomfortable with a smile, perhaps they need more of them in their lives.

If I can’t use a grocery coupon I leave it where it may be found. I often pay a stranger a compliment. I look around for ways to bring unexpected joy when and where I can. If I see someone who needs help I offer mine. Small efforts like these are my way of adding something positive. Mother Teresa said it so nicely: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Springing Open

Brilliant forsythia fingers

fling their exuberance

into the bright blue air.

Red budding twigs

holler “here I am, shine on me.”

Forsythia sunshine

fills my eyes, Maple flowers

jingle, “Welcome pollinating friends.”

Spring buds open everywhere

blossoming their way into summer.

By Tasha Halpert


Heartwings Love Notes: Wouldn’t It Make Ya Tired!


Heartwings says, “When you begin a task you never know where it will lead.”


My mother had a favorite saying. “Wouldn’t it make ya tired?” she would remark with a laugh and a shrug. This was usually followed by a tale of woe or at least of an unexpected difficulty. My mother was a great one for telling stories of triumph and loss. Many of her stories did not have happy endings, but they did detail some triumph of overcoming on her part.


I thought about this saying of hers as I realized that my search for the ingredients and recipe for Dr. Chen’s Healing soup was going to result in considerably more effort than I had planned. It seems there is a leak somewhere under my sink. I am not sure where it is, and I have not yet figured it out,  however I ended up removing the entire collection of bottles, jars, sponges and cleaning implements that resided there.


Because the cardboard box I had used to hold these things was soaked and starting to disintegrate, I went in search of a more durable container and found one. I then began replacing items. In the process I found the soup ingredients and the directions and set them aside.Finally, the work done, I began reading the list of ingredients and adding them to the large pot of water where I had already placed the chicken.


As I added them, I smiled to think that regardless how unexpectedly it had happened, I was happy to have reorganized the cupboard under my sink.

Sometimes it takes a small disaster to accomplish what normally gets neglected until something happens to prompt it. The water began to boil,  and as I smelled the fragrance of the soup with its multitude of herbs, I gave thanks for this very special opportunity.


May you find many opportunities within unexpected happenings.


Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert


Dr. Chen’s Special Soup


These ingredients may be found in Oriental food stores or on the Internet. They make a lovely soup.


1/2 of a chicken

8 cups water

8 red dates

6 pieces astralagus root

4 slices ginger root

1/4 cup American ginseng root

2 sticks cinnamon

2 Tablespoons red berries (barberries) dried)


Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or so. After soup has cooled, Remove skin, bones and undesirable stuff. Remove astralagus and ginger root, add meat and leave in berries, dates and ginseng. Store soup in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.