helen keller and kiwano melon

i’ve been busy this past week finishing the final editing on my book so i haven’t made time for my blog. it’s surprising how much i’m enjoying writing this blog, it really does bring me back to the present moment and gives me an avenue for channeling all the thoughts that are constantly swirling around in my mind. you know that feeling? when you have so many thoughts and ideas moving through your brain at any given moment that you feel as if your head might explode? i think i learned early on that writing was a good way for me express my ideas, feeling, thoughts and whatever else came to my mind. i’ve always been a “thinker”and used to over-analyze everything…i still do sometimes but not near as much as i did when i was younger. recently i’ve had people ask me how i go about writing. here’s the thing. there’s no right way or wrong way to write. you just sit down with a pencil, pen, paper, computer, whatever it is that works for you and let your thoughts flow from your mind to your fingertips. writing is like a form of meditation for me. when i allow my thoughts to flow onto paper or the computer screen it’s like my truest self, my uninhibited, non-analytical, care free self steps outside of it’s cage and dances onto the screen in letter form. words are art to me. a word, a sentence, a phrase can evoke an emotion, make someone laugh, make someone cry, bring an image or memory to ones mind, ignite feelings of love. words can be beautiful, ugly, sad, delicious, sour, crunchy, soft, sweet, kind, vicious, loving. we have the power to create feeling simply through the words we write or speak.

when i was a girl i had an obsession with helen keller. i read many books about her and used to imagine what it was like to be her. i would close my eyes and wander through the aspen trees, hands reaching out in front of me searching for the next tree to grasp or branch to hold. i remember the feeling of the soft cool trunk on my hands and the silky leaves in my fingers. i remember the rustling of the aspen trees, the breeze of wind on my face. i would wonder if this was how helen keller experienced her life, taking each moment to feel the world around her.

i was so enamored with helen keller that i chose her as my subject for writing. the assignment was to write about someone who inspired me. i learned everything i could learn about hellen keller and became fascinated with her language. i found books in braille at the library and imagined i was reading them as i moved my fingers across the bumps on the pages. i would close my eyes and make up words in my mind. i learned the braille alphabet and taught myself how to put together simple words and sentences. i wrote my entire paper about helen keller in braille. i poked every letter carefully with a pencil lead so i could feel the braille bumps on the other side. i’m not sure my braille was even readable but in my mind i had created a braille masterpiece, one that helen keller would be proud of.

i had forgotten about this until a few days ago when i was reminiscing with friends and it came to mind. it brought me back to the beauty of feeling. words are nothing without feelings. we find joy in the things around us because of how they make us feel. my intention in my life recently has been to feel more, to touch more, to smell more, to taste more, to look more. to see more. and by seeing i don’t mean superficial sight but seeing through my heart. we get so busy in life, focusing on superficial and meaningless things that we forget to feel the world around us. this feeling comes from connecting, savoring, truly experiencing the moment rather than rushing through it in order to get to the next moment, only to miss out on that moment by planning the next moment…and so the cycle continues until we look back and we wonder how things might have been different had we stopped, took the time, felt the moment. i’ve also made an intention to be more careful with my words. when i speak i want my words to make others feel good, valued, appreciated, respected, cared for, loved. after all, they are one of the most powerful tools we have that can project either love or hate. it’s always our choice which one we choose to convey.

speaking of feeling…when i saw this incredible fruit at my local grocery store i felt excited to find out what it was all about. the vibrant orange color and prickly horns just drew me to it and i had to take it home and try it out. this wacky fruit is a kiwano melon but goes by many other aliases including horned melon, jelly melon, african horned cucumber, hedged gourd, melano, and blowfish fruit.


this alien fruit reminds me of vegetation from the future.i imagine myself on mars, wandering out to the garden, picking one of these as i gaze at earth, chuckling about the fact that I get 687 days in the year instead of 365. Imagine that, if our time in one year almost doubled. what would you do with all of this extra time? would you linger longer, go slower, allow for more stillness? spend it differently? we all want more time but we forget about what we do with the time we have right now. always wanting more instead of appreciating what we already have.

fun fact – this fruit actually had a debut as Golano Melon on a star trek deep space nine episode “Times Orphan”. it really is an alien fruit come down from the planet mars to spy on the earthlings and study our peculiar behaviors. i digress…

back to taking more time to feel

“the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched

– they must be felt with the heart”

~hellen keller

i loved feeling the prickly texture of the outside of this alien melon and when i sliced it open i was in awe of it’s vibrant, almost fluorescent green color. the flavor of this fearless fruit is a combination of cucumber, kiwi and banana when it’s fully ripened.

i’m over the moon excited about horned melon, here’s why you should be over the moon excited too.

  •  they’re and excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and iron
  • other minerals include magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, calcium and sodium
  • the seeds of horned melon contain fatty acids including linoleic acid  and oleic acid. linoleic acid is one of the omega 6 fatty acids which are essential for human health. oleic acid is thought to reduce blood pressure.
  • the horned melon seeds are high in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E. vitamin E has numerous health benefits including healthy skin, heart, muscles, nerves, and red blood cells. vitamin E also helps neutralize damaging free radicals, that can cause chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. there is also some evidence to suggest that vitamin E could help reduce risk of alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease.
  • the yellowish-green colored pigment found in the seeds and pulp of horned melon contain beta carotene also known as vitamin A. vitamin A helps strengthen the body’s immune system, maintain eye and skin health and helps cancer prevention by inhibiting the grow of free radicals.

i brought this horned melon home and studied it, thought of just the right words to describe it, wrote the words down on paper, got to know it. when i felt like i understood it enough this is what came to mind.

kiwano and coconut smoothie

here’s how the recipe goes


organic light coconut milk

organic greek yogurt (i buy this one at my local farmers market)

organic unsweetened coconut flakes (i like this brand -you can find it at your local sprouts).

organic, raw unfiltered honey

  1. freeze 2 cups of organic greek yogurt in advance
  2. cut melon in half length way
  3. pour 2-3 cups organic coconut milk in blender
  4. add frozen yogurt
  5. scoop 1/2 of the melon – seeds and all into the blender
  6. add 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  7. add 1-2 tablespoons honey (depending on desired sweetness)
  8. blend well (when i say blend well i mean blend well…

there will be a bit of texture to this smoothie, a little something to mull around in your mouth at the bottom of each taste. take it in. take time to experience the beginning and end of each sip.


“the heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of”

~ hellen keller


pour the smoothies in your favorite glasses. add some colorful straws. be daring and adventurous. try an alien fruit.

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”

~ hellen keller

i absolutely adore these feather and arrow glasses. a friend bought them at pigment, my favorite local home goods store. i’m pretty sure they’re no longer carrying them but you can find them here.


write more. analyze less. see with your eyes closed and your heart open. feel. be adventurous. take a risk. be thoughtful with your words, you never know the power your words might have in someone else’s life. appreciate the time you have right now. start living.

“once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future…

but a little word from the fingers of another

fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness,

and my heart leaped to the rapture of living”

~hellen keller

much love, Shawnee

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