Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blogging Challenge: A Product, Any Product That You Love

My favorite product du jour is undoubtedly...drum roll, please...


(That's me playing a roll on a snare drum. Could you tell?)

Sorry about the glare.

I know organic coconut oil is a hot product right now. It's all over Pinterest and on tons of blogs and on store shelves. I'm not really saying anything new here, but this stuff makes my skirt fly up. This stuff is wonderful. On any given day, I use my organic coconut oil...

...in my breakfast smoothie. It's supposed to aid in thyroid function. It also makes my smoothie creamier, and -- most importantly -- I like the taste.

...to cleanse and moisturize my face.

...as lip balm.

...as hand/foot/body cream.

...in place of olive oil in my homemade lemon sugar scrub. Talk about soft hands. Mmm.

...as a deep conditioner for my hair. Though I'll admit that didn't work out too well. Maybe I did it wrong?

...in a miniscule amount to tame my thin, frizzy, fly away hair.

...to make stove top popcorn. I also melt a spoonful and pour it over cooked popcorn in place of melted butter. Dee. Lish.

...in place of oil or butter when baking a cake or sautéing stir-fry.

Like I said above -- TADA!

I have even read that you can use it to polish your shoes, whiten your teeth, apply as a first aid ointment, and use it on squeaky door hinges instead of WD-40. Is there anything coconut oil can't do?

If you don't have any organic coconut oil to call your own, then go pro cur yourself a giant jar. You'll be glad you did. And hey -- if you plan to use it in or on your body, especially on your pretty face, get the good organic stuff.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blogging Challenge: Revive/Resurrection

I love that I live in an area where it gets bloody hot in the summer and frigidly cold in the winter. I truly enjoy each and every season. I don't look at the autumn shades of red, orange, and brown and wish they were the first green and yellow blossoms of spring. I like to take a walk in the icy snow of winter as much as I like to take a swim in the cool ocean during the heat of summer, and when I head out either into the first snow of the season or into the ocean I haven't visited since the summer before, I inwardly (and rather giddily, I might add) think to myself, "Geronimo!"

Right now my jonquils are in bloom, and bless their delicate petals, temperatures have been at or below freezing this week. But still, every day they stand steadfast and tall, reaching for the light. I feel like those jonquils. Last year I turned forty, and while I do NOT consider myself "old," I acknowledge that I've entered a different season of my life. I've been taking stock of all the Goods and Bads and Uglies I've experienced. For a long time -- years, even -- it was easier (so I thought) to hang on to all the bad things. I felt I had more control over that. It was like, yeah, I'm down and sad and depressed, but at least I know what I'm going to get and how I'm going to feel each day. I found a sick form of contentment in choosing to let my depression, self loathing, and lack of confidence lie underneath my civil, and at times cheerful, façade. For if I tried to seek the good in life, I might not reach it, thus opening myself to rejection and disappointment. That kind of outlook can go on only for so long. Either you stay that way and sink, or you change your attitude and climb out. So like those persevering jonquils that lie under the cold, damp earth, I came to a place in my heart, mind, and spirit where I had to brave the cold frost and choose to rise up and stand steadfast and tall, and reach for the light. Now I better appreciate all the good things from my past, and I welcome and even seek out all the good things that surely are to come. There will be bad occasionally mixed in with the good. And that's OK. Hopefully I will take the good things gracefully and the bad things in stride, and somehow give both the respect they need, for such is life. Geronimo...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blogging Challenge 2014, Day 2: Tell Us About Where You Live

I live in Arab, Alabama. It is a small town situated on a small mountain.

Arab is nice enough, I suppose. We have a small-but-rather-excellent school system. We have a quaint and thriving downtown area where the older buildings are located. We host the Poke Salat Festival every spring, along with a tornado or two. Our own City Park is pretty darned righteous -- it has a lovely walking trail (my favorite place to exercise), historic buildings, ball parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, pavilions, swimming pool -- and each winter it boasts one of the nicest Christmas lights exhibits I've ever seen. Some of the nicest people I know live here. My pharmacist knows me. My neighborhood is quiet. 

Good grief, have I just gone native? I'm not originally from Arab. I never wanted to live here more than a couple or three years. But here I am, twelve years later...and I think I like it.   

Friday, February 28, 2014

What Are Your Goals This Month? Blogging Challenge 3/1/14

I must confess -- I stink at setting goals. So one of my goals for this month (and the whole rest of the year) is to SET GOALS. Prioritize. Organize. Itemize. Analyze. Conceptualize. Scrutinize.

You get the idea.

So this month I plan to (in no particular order):

Write, write, write.
Research a little bit every day to work on an idea I have for a book.
Practice my ukulele every day.
Do a little good old fashioned spring cleaning. By "little" I mean "A LOT."
Lose weight.
Visit with friends.
Be the best wife and mom I possibly can be.
Paint the bathroom.
Create recipes rather than follow them.
Be and dress and think more girly/womanly/prettily.
Go to church.
Get out of bed a little earlier.
Observe Lent.
Stand by the ocean and feel small.
Savor the "little moments" with my family.

I look at this list and think it's a pretty tall order. Mercy. But these are not things I have to do. I want to do them. I am not stressed about meeting these goals. I have peace. I will do my very best. I know that I am enough.
And so it is. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Confess Where I am, and Where "It" Is, and How I'm Just Mad About Saffron

A year has passed since I wrote this post (you might want to go ahead and read that if you haven't yet), where I discussed my battle with depression and gave to it the name "It." Here is where I am and where "It" is now...

Depression, or "It," as I call it, is still here, still my worse half, still a thorn in my side. However, most -- most of the time -- I can experience my day and really and truly say, "I'm OK." On other days, when It is trying hard to get the best of me, I have to be adamant and say, "I'M OK, GOSH-DARNIT!" And then there are those occasional days when It has been relentless, when It has truly seeped into my core, when It won't stand down, and I have to concede, "No. I'm definitely not OK today."

All of those things are perfectly normal, whether one has It or not. It's just that the "definitely not OK" days are tougher for those of us who have to withstand It on a daily basis. Even on the good days, smiling is an effort that forces me to confront and manipulate every muscle in my face.

Still, I press on. As I mentioned in my post a year ago, I continue to choose not to take any prescription medicine for depression or anxiety. I had some success taking Sam-e and 5-htp at different times. However, I now choose to take a saffron supplement. Saffron -- who knew? It is marketed as an appetite suppressant, but in truth, I can't tell a difference in how much I eat (bummer). Though I've only been taking it for a few weeks, I can tell that my moods are much more amiable. I wake up a little less dependent on my cup of coffee to feel like a human being, although I still drink it every morning. (You didn't think I'd give up coffee, did you? As if.) I can carry through my day with much less anxiety and moodiness than before. My outlook is generally more pleasant, and I feel that I'm able to accomplish more of my goals, both long- and short-term.

In addition to taking saffron, I have tried various approaches for depression management over the last months...

* Journaling is particularly useful, and it couldn't be easier. I find it comforting at the end of the day to simply jot down a line or two about my day, focusing especially on the good parts. It hasn't taken long to amass a catalog of the good things going on in my life, and it is revitalizing to flip back through those pages, particularly when I've had a downer of a day.

* The cleaner I eat, the better I feel. I tried the "Eat To Live" diet for a time, and honestly, (I am having a revelation as I type this) I don't know why I quit! I felt FABULOUS -- better than I had in years. The weight loss was just a fringe benefit. My book must be around here somewhere...

* I take walks as often as I can. Walking is a great way to clear my head and shake out whatever stress is weighing on me. As with eating clean, the physical benefits are just gravy. Plus, I find that if my motivation for exercise is for mental clarity more than for physical perks, I'm more likely to make the time to do it.

Managing depression is doable if you make the choice -- every single day -- to be proactive about it, and that goes for people who take prescription drugs as well as for people like me who steer clear of them. Taking care of our whole selves -- mind, body, and spirit -- is the key. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Just throwing this into the proverbial void...

Because I'm so very awake; because I feel like sharing; because I need this...

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
~Attributed to St. Francis~

Keep watch. dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
~Book of Common Prayer~

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I'll turn forty tomorrow. FORTY. Holy liver spots, Bat Man! So naturally, while 40 is staring me in the face, I'm taking time today to look at 39.

Here is what I know, in no particular order...

I know that on the inside, I still feel like a 14 year old. I just don't have as much energy.

I know that friendships come and go. You fall out of touch with lifelong friends for various reasons; you make new friends; you rekindle an old friendship -- so on and so forth. I never thought I'd be quoting Will Smith, but I thought this was right on the money: "Don't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people...the ones who really belong in your life, will come to you. And stay."

I know that our time here on earth is damned short. It doesn't matter if you live to be 19 or 99. Life is short. So do what makes you happy and try to be a blessing to those around you. Start with the people that live with you and go from there.

I know that if it won't grow in your yard, you probably shouldn't eat it.

I know there is a God.

I know that marriage is hard and wonderful. I know who my soul mate is.
I know who I belong to and who belongs to me, no matter what. And the institution of marriage is most certainly not *just* a piece of paper.

I know that parenthood is both everything and nothing it's cracked up to be.
I know that it's huge (you've created a life that didn't exist before, and now you have to nurture it), yet it's all about the so-called "little things" that happen every day (bedtime stories, bandaids and boo-boos, bath time, kisses and hugs, bumped noggins, potty training...I could go on all day...). And that thing about living vicariously through your children...don't do that. That's awful. Expose them to as many things as you can, see where their natural talents lie, and, for Pete's sake, let them be who they are.

I know that I'm still learning, and there are times when I wonder if I really know anything for certain at all. But not knowing has its charms. Not knowing can be liberating. Not knowing means I'm still learning, still growing, still evolving. And I don't really want to know everything anyway. I like a good mystery.

I know that The Beatles, for me at least, still reign supreme. Don't misunderstand me. I love all kinds of music. But I ALWAYS go back to The Beatles (referred to in my house as "my boys").

I know that there cannot POSSIBLY be enough time in my life to read all the books I want to read or hear all the music I want to hear. There's just so much! And I want it all -- my lists of books and music is never-ending.

I know that aging is OK. It really is. I have to give credit to my friend Peter for introducing me to what the philosopher, Cicero, said about aging. In his essay, De Senectute, he said, "If you feel I am aging well, it is because I regard nature as the best guide in all things and obey her like God. If she has done such a good job with all the other stages in my life, the final act is unlikely to be an afterthought as though from the hand of an inept scribbler." In other words, we're going to get wrinkles and gray hair. We're going to get sick, gain weight, lose weight, lose hearing, lose sight, lose muscle, gain more weight, sleep less, sleep more. And all those things are natural and we can choose to fight them whitened tooth and manicured nail, or we can choose to experience those things from a place of grace. I'm trying to choose the graceful way.

...but I'm still going to color my hair a while longer...don't judge me.