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by: Sharon Courmousis, Sacred Rocks Reserve

Increase your enjoyment of living

 “We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing.” -- Billy Graham



Cooler weather and wild storms have caused spring to come later this year. Signs of spring for me are seen in the plants and animals around Sacred Rocks. The Yucca plants, like huge asparagus, are popping up all over the mountains. I photographed peachy blossoms, pinkish with deep purple at the outside edges -- one I saw was a brilliant eggplant color. Astonishing beauty without human intervention, a gift.

Along with the beauty of the wild flowers, spring brings to mind the universal urge for Spring Cleaning! And THAT brings to mind an idea I’ve been mulling over called “stuffing.” Stuffing is pop culture lingo for holding in emotions [stuffing our anger, sadness, laughter, fear] and it is an unhealthy practice. We can also stuff our selves, exhibited often by overeating or addicting to alcohol or drugs.

We can stuff our homes. Notice the kitchen. How many serving platters, or mugs or plastic storage containers do we really use? Check out your cupboards and drawers. Outdated things, doubles? And the closet, do you really need 14 pairs of jeans, or 25 black shirts, or 80 pairs of shoes? What about our children? Are we stuffing them with activities, or pointing them to electronics and letting them stuff themselves? One family I know has three children. It takes the two parents and two grandparents to chauffeur the children to their daily activities, seven days a week. Yes, they are learning skills, but when do they ever have time to just BE exactly who they are without lessons?

There are lessons in nature about stuffing. Check out this tree. Woodpeckers spend the entire year hunting acorns and stuffing them into holes in preparation for...famine? Woodpeckers are stuffers. We had a repair bill from our Wifi service provider in January, hilarious, the description said ‘when we opened the repeater station in the back of the park, it was full of acorns!” They came from Texas to fix this problem, and found acorns. The other critters I see are not stuffers – they tend to consume their meal, take some back to the little ones, but then go out the next day and hunt again. Even the wild turkeys do not stuff.

This spring, target more than corner cobwebs for your cleaning. Let it be a good time to “unstuff.” If you feel like you simply cannot let your feelings OUT, find a person who truly listens, and talk it out, perhaps with a counselor or pastor, or best friend. Check out all your cupboards, drawers and closets. Pack up all the doubles, wrong-sized garments and shoes, anything that does not hold a deeply personal sentiment in your life, like heirlooms, and give it away. Yes, let it go to someone who needs it. I call this RECYCULATE [my word for recycle + circulate]. When you imagine someone else who really can benefit, then it feels great to let go of stuff.

I admit that each year I feel challenged to step up and let go of stuff. This year the biggest challenge is taking a ‘pretty’ thing and recyclulating it because I can see myself buying one similar sometime soon. And it’s hard for me to really let my feelings out. Many people do not know about my great sense of humor, but it is a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous and I love puns. This season I vow to laugh out loud instead of stuffing my humor. But I do need practice. So I have decided to practice laughing out loud - I’ll be laughing in my car with the windows rolled up, laughing at the silly email cartoon, laughing when others laugh (even though I missed the reason), laughing with my son, my friends, and even by myself. So if you pass a white car on the road this month and see a woman laughing all by herself, that will be me, unstuffing!


Recipe: Tunisian Eggs & Veggies for Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons olive oil; 1 onion, thinly sliced; 1 red bell pepper cut into strips; 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips; 1 fresh jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped; 6 tomatoes, peeled and quartered; salt and freshly ground pepper; 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint; 4 eggs; mint sprigs, to garnish


Directions: Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until soft. Add bell peppers and chile, cover and cook 8 minutes or until bell peppers are just tender. Add tomatoes to bell pepper mixture, cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are blended but still retain their shape and texture. Season with salt and pepper and stir in mint. Make an indentation in vegetables and carefully add an egg to each one. Cover and cook over medium low flame, check in 5 minutes or until eggs are set. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve . OPTION: slice lengthwise about 6 inches baguette and tip a serving inside for a tasty snack to start your hike.

The Purple Mountain Sage welcomes questions from readers! Write to us at:


The Purple Mountain Sage is Sharon Courmousis, co-owner of Sacred Rocks Reserve and RV Park, a 163-acre wilderness preserve and campground in Boulevard, CA, which is also home to the Sacred Rocks Artists’ Colony. Sharon can be reached by calling: 619-766-4480. Visit the Sacred Rocks Reserve website at:






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Great tips on unstuffing, and

Great tips on unstuffing, and just a thought, but I found that taking some stuff out an putting it into storage for a while helped me figure out what I really needed and what I could get rid of after spring cleaning, without having to make an immediate decision. Personally, I used Closetbox ( which was convenient for pick up when I was ready to store some stuff and dropping that stuff back off when I needed it again. I was also able to keep track online of what I had put into storage earlier!