A Good Start To The Day

I walked on the beach this morning. It was mostly cloudy, which was a nice change from the hot sun. At my half-way point, I turned and headed back north. The sun also started appearing from behind some clouds, and I noticed this:

A rainbow! (Sorry, it doesn’t show up very well in the photo. You really did need to be there.) What an amazing start to the day. This is why I love to be outside – you never know what is going to appear.

The rainbow has a long history of symbolism between earth and the heavens. When I see a rainbow, I feel hopeful, as if I am given a message that I am on the right track. Keep moving forward because things are going to work out!

This week has been somewhat frustrating. I’m trying to develop a planning system that works for me and all the various things I am trying to do. Such is the life of a multipotentialite! And this week was a challenge. But I kept questioning WHAT wasn’t working and HOW I could change it to work better.

And then I saw this! Yes, it has been a good day.

Hope it was the same for you!


There are days I wish I could shed just like the cicada that left behind this skin. Well, perhaps not actually step out of my skin, but rather shed things which hold me back: my own limiting thoughts on who I am (or “should” be), how I am “supposed to” be successful at life, how “stupid” I was when I made a “bad” decision (even when “bad” led me somewhere wonderful), and whether I will ever be good enough. Thoughts that make me feel “less than” everyone else: less intelligent, less attractive, less desirable, less able.

I just want to step out of them and walk forward, leaving them behind. I cannot change the past, so I want to shed it. Move beyond them once and for all, and stop getting drawn back into old thought patterns that do me no good.

But life isn’t like that. I think the trick is to keep looking forward, to keep aiming in that direction, even when the voices in our heads are a constant babble of all the reasons why we shouldn’t. I am discovering that when I question those voices, it helps to quiet them a bit. The more often I do it, the quicker I am at catching them when they start again, and asking myself “is that really true?”

While we may not be able to shed our skin, we can do some things to symbolically shed some of our past. I encourage you to take a moment and focus on an event from your past that keeps coming up in your mind, or a message you keep telling yourself even when you know it isn’t true. Write it down or speak it out loud. If you write it, then draw a big X through it and write over it ‘NOT ANY MORE!!!!’ (or whatever symbols and words feel right). Then tear up the paper and throw it away, or burn it (in a safe manner.) If you speak it out loud, state it and then loudly add “NOT ANY MORE!!!” You can do this by yourself or in front of someone you trust. Pick what feels right for you and (to borrow a phrase from Nike) JUST DO IT!

Be warned: one time will probably not totally remove the thoughts or memory, but you will have planted some new seeds in your mind. Seeds that will sprout and grow into new thoughts. Thoughts that reflect who you are now. It is all part of the journey of life that we may need to return to the same, or similar, themes again and again. It is all just a part of shedding.

Fun and Random Facts About Me

I am always looking at a personal website for information about the person: who they are and how they got to that point. So here’s some random facts from my life that help tell my story.

– I was born and raised in a small town in south Arkansas.

– I am shy, introverted, and a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). That means I am often quiet, and need more time alone that others. I am not, nor ever will be, the life of the party, but I am the one who will listen to you when you need to talk.

– Until I left home to go to college, I had never moved other than into my own bedroom at age 8. As an adult, I’ve moved 16 times. Sometimes it was to a different place in the same town; other times to a new town/state. I also spent a year abroad. (see further down)

– I have a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (1985) and a Master’s Degree in Art History from Southern Methodist University (1995).

– In my mid-20s, I lived in England for a year, which allowed me to research my MA Thesis, and to know what it feels like to be a foreigner.

– I have one child, who is transgendered.

– I re-designed clothes and jewelry and sold them on Etsy. Very much a part-time hobby, and I didn’t sell enough to take it further.

– I helped with costuming for a local theater in Memphis and on an independent film.

– I started my own business in 2009 providing virtual assistance to small business owners. I still have a couple of clients I work with.

– I dug myself out of $13,000 of credit card debt. It took just over 5 years. Some days I thought it would never end, but it did.

– I am a PADI Open Water certified SCUBA diver.

– For my 50th birthday, I moved to Florida in my Honda Accord. That was possible because I gave away anything that I didn’t think I would need and that didn’t fit in my car.

– A few months later, I bought a sailboat and lived aboard for 6 months. Then I met my boyfriend (he was a boat detailer in my marina) and soon after, became a dirt dweller again.

– I have developed a love of gardening, both flowers and things I can eat. Both of my grandmother’s loved growing things, and I seem to have finally found this out about myself later in life. Weeding and puttering around in the garden and yard are a great way for me to stop thinking so much and just let ideas flow.

– After being nearsighted my entire life, I had cataract surgery in 2016. For my replacement lenses, I chose to correct for distance, so now I am farsighted. Still trying to get used to it!

Bicycle Rides

Bicycle at the gate

Ready for a morning bicycle ride!

I bought a bicycle a couple of years ago, but after a handful of rides on the beach, it was put away. Last fall, desperate to lose weight and get off my blood pressure medicine, I began cycling through the neighborhood once or twice each week.

Over time I worked out a route going up and back down the generally flat streets, weaving a pattern through the neighborhood that kept me off the busy roads and gave me a good 30 minute ride.

I also discovered that if I rode on Monday mornings, I would have a chance to check out potential treasures left on the curb. Monday is one of our trash pick-up days, and after having a weekend to clean, declutter, and repair things, many people had things out. So with a rack and milk crate added to the back of my bicycle, I was on the hunt for things we could use or resell.

You learn some interesting things checking out the trash. And I’m not even talking about opening the bins to see what is inside; these are things sticking out or just set on the ground. One Monday I saw 4 old toilets out on the curb. They were all on different streets, but it seemed several people found they needed to replace their toilet that weekend.

I can also tell who had a party over the weekend by the beer cans/wine/liquor bottles in the recycling. I can tell who has moved out – or who is about to.

And the amount of furniture put out is amazing. You could easily furninsh a house in a couple of months as long as you didn’t mind beat up, damaged pieces, or had the time and talent to revitalize them. Much of it is made of particle board and through use, abuse and sitting outside it is unusable.

I read a statement in a book recently that is making me take a different look at my morning rides. The idea is that people have the ability to become invisible because most people don’t see what is right around them because they don’t really look. They don’t try to notice what is nearby. Although the book is fiction, I think there is a lot of truth in the statement.

So how much do I notice on my rides? Aside from what trash is being put out, here’s been some observations:

  • A couple of houses that have window air conditioners running. Based on the sputtering, clanking sounds that I heard, I’m not sure how much longer either is going to be functioning.
  • Cats. There are cats in yards, cats crossing the street, cats laying on sidewalks and even in the street. Most hardly notice me. Generally the dogs I see are being walked on a leash, but this week I saw one sitting on the front porch. Well, I noticed it when it barked at me, but it didn’t even stand up. When I rode back down the other side of the street, it didn’t even bark.
  • And then there was the morning a couple of weeks ago when I rounded the corner to see one cat in the street, hunched down and staring at another cat. As I approached, the 2nd cat turned to move under a car parked at the curb, and I realized it wasn’t a cat at all. It was a possum. He sat still under the car as I rode by, which distracted the other cat and sent it back to the other side of the street.

Mostly my attention has been on two things: the cars moving through the streets, especially those backing out of driveways, and trying to eyeball interesting things in the trash. The first is for my safety; the second to provide some additional income.

But I want to become more aware of what is actually around me. Are there people sitting on porches watching me? Is there a different car in front of a house? Why do some streets seem to always have a lot of trash worth looking through while others never do? All questions to be considered on future rides.


On this 4th of July, I am thinking a lot about independence and what it means for my life.

Independence, to me, is being able to design a life that works for me, to set my own schedule, to decide how to best take care of myself.

When I moved to Florida nearly 4 years ago, I promised myself that I would not get a job. I did not want to have to work for someone else ever again. I had started my own business, and I was willing to cut back and do without to protect that freedom.

And I continue to expand my independence. I am learning to grow my own food. I’m expanding the streams of income. I’m putting a focus on health and wellness that go beyond traditional western allopathic medicine.

You may have noticed all of this given the variety of posts that appear on this blog. I struggled for years trying to figure out which path was the true “me”. I moved from one interest to another, then back again. I am finally learning that they are all ME. They are the parts that make up the complete me, and I need to celebrate the fact that there are many parts to me.

The challenge now is finding a way to balance all the parts while maintaining my independence. It is an on-going journey, and one I look forward to.

I’m not sure if how I define independence in my life is something the Founding Fathers would recognize. Perhaps their greatest gift was creating a country where we can each pursue our own independence.

There is no right or wrong way to find your freedom. You have to decide what you are after and the best way to achieve it. The only thing I can do is encourage you to go after your independence.

How To: Crochet A Wire Hanger

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission.

I am all about reusing things rather than throwing them out. Reusing means you aren’t buying something new, saving resources AND money – a win-win situation! With this in mind, I created this tutorial for crocheting yarn around wire hangers to make them non-slip.

I’ve had great luck with these for wide-neck tops as well as spaghetti straps and tank tops. It also greatly reduces the wire hanger pushing through knits that are hung. However, if you really need a padded hanger, these probably won’t work. 

These are the basic instructions – feel free to play around with the yarn, the size crochet hook, and the stitch you use. Change things around and see which results you like the best.

For this project you will need:

Wire hangers like you get from the dry cleaner. (We could have an entire discussion on the hazards of dry cleaning, but we’ll save that for another time.) If you don’t dry clean or have no wire hangers, ask around. Most people simply throw them away. You can also order some from Amazon

Leftover yarn. I use about 15 yards per hanger, but what you need will vary depending on the yarn, the size hook, and the stitch you use. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough – simply switch to a different yarn part way through. Don’t have leftover yarn – ask anyone who knits or crochets for some leftover bits (and offer to make a hanger or two for them in return). Check out thrift stores. Any type of yarn will work; thicker yarn will give you more padding. For this project, I used leftover acrylic yarn.

Crochet hook. Pick a size you are comfortable with and see how it goes. Switch around to get the look you like best. I used a size G/6 (4,5 mm) crochet hook because of the type of yarn, and I also wanted a fairly tight stitch. If you need crochet hooks, Amazon has a wide selection to choose from.




Attach yarn to hook with a slipknot.



Place hook, with yarn attached, in center of hanger with yarn going over the TOP of the wire. Reach UNDER the wire with the crochet hook and pull up. Two loops on crochet hook.


Next, reach hook over TOP of hanger wire and pick up yarn with hook and pull through FIRST loop on the hook ; two loops will then be on the crochet hook:



Again, reach hook behind top wire of hanger and pull up yarn and pull it through both loops on the crochet hook:


One stitch made.


You continue making stitches by reaching to the FRONT of the wire to pull up first loop; then reach to the BACK to pull up yarn and go through first loop; reach to BACK again, pull up yarn and go through both oops on hanger. If you crochet, this is a single crochet stitch, but instead of pulling the yarn through the stitch on the previous row, you are doing it around the wire hanger.

Repeat around hanger to where two ends of wire are twisted together to begin the hanging hook.

You can end here by cutting the yarn and tying off. If you wish, you can continue in the same stitch around the hook (carefully work over area where wires are twisted). Work around hook almost to end. Cut yarn, leaving long tail, and pull through loop on hook. Take remaining yarn tail, wrap around end of wire hook and glue in place. I prefer to work around the hanging hook because I believe it gives a more finished look – although when I’m short on yarn and this is just for me, I won’t!


There you have it – a crocheted wire hanger!



Click here to download a printable copy of this tutorial!

I hope this is helpful. Please leave a comment with any questions.

Homemade Ginger Ale

I have always liked the taste and tingle of ginger ale, and have also found it helpful to settle my stomach.

Fresh ginger can help with bloating, gas and that general uncomfortable feeling of being too full. What better way to get real ginger into you than by making your own ginger ale! When you make it yourself, you know and control the ingredients going into it; the ingredients are easy to find and, best of all, it is easy to make.

For the recipe I use one by Kami McBride of LivingAwareness.com. She has two different ways to make your own ginger ale. The first requires a juicer, and if you have one, it is a great way to quickly whip up a batch whenever you want or need it. win_20161201_11_08_53_proThe second method only requires a grater and a pan. This is the recipe I use and I love it.

Watch the video to see both methods. Here are some of my notes:

win_20161201_11_17_13_proAfter you bring the grated ginger to near boil, you let
it soak for 1-2 hours. The longer it soaks, the stronger the flavor will be. For a milder taste, either soak it for about an hour, or use a different ratio of syrup and water when mixing.

Any unflavored fizzy water will work: club soda, seltzer, even fizzy mineral water (although these DO have a taste to them). For more information on the differences, read this article.

I made this in a half batch; keep the proportions the same and it works fine. Likewise, you win_20161201_14_03_07_proshould be able to double it if you need more for a get-together.

I found that a 1/2 batch gives me about 3 servings at the strength I like. So when I make a batch, I freeze about 1/3 of the syrup in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in the freezer. That way I always have some on hand to quickly thaw out and drink. To thaw I place them in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally. I find that when they have melted, they are still a bit cool and ready to drink. KEEP ON EYE ON THEM TO BE SURE THEY DON’T GET TOO HOT AND “COOK” MORE.

Again, you can make a large batch if you want and freeze it. You’ll learn how much syrup (or how many frozen cubes) you’ll need to get the taste you like.

Next step is to grow my own gingerroot to use for this and other recipes. I have a piece planted in a pot; time will tell how it turns out.

I hope you try making your own ginger ale. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

I Can Hear You Now! Removing Ear Wax Build Up

This article may contain affiliate/distributor links. If you follow the link and purchase something, I will receive compensation for it. I only recommend products that I use and like. 

earI had known for several weeks that wax was building up in my left ear, and that eventually it was going to need to be removed or my hearing would be blocked. (I know this because it happened to me before; in fact about 15 years ago, my hearing was completely blocked. After trying to live with it for several months, I finally went to the doctor and had it cleaned out.)

However, “things” kept getting in the way. (Hurricane Matthew, I’m talking about you!) So when it got pretty stopped up and began ringing, I knew I had to do something.

First, I wanted to stop the ringing until I could get it cleared out. I have read that Helichrysum essential oil is good for reducing tinnitus, but I didn’t have any on hand. I did, however, have Panaway essential oil blend, and one of the ingredients is Helichrysum. I mixed a couple of drops Panaway with a couple of drops of castor oil, and gently rubbed on the inside and outside of my left ear, and on the mastoid bone behind the ear.

Let me be clear: I rubbed it on the inside of my outer ear; I did NOT put it into my ear canal.

Within 5 minutes, the ringing was reduced, and within 30 minutes, it was gone. What a relief!

Then I was able to go about cleaning out my ear. I tipped my head to the right, pulled back on my left ear to open up the canal, and put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into my left ear. I stood like that for a minute to let the peroxide begin to dissolve the wax. I then put a cotton ball in my outer ear to keep it in while I prepared the next step.

I heated water in the microwave for about 10 seconds. You want the water to be body temperature, so depending on your microwave, you may need more or less time. I took a syringe (NOT a needle, just the syringe part), I filled it with water, leaned forward over the sink, pulled my left ear back, and squirted the water into my ear. What drained out went into the sink. I repeated this process about 4 times, until the wax was flushed out into the sink. (I wiped the sink out with a paper towel to keep the wax from going down the drain; it could stick to the walls of the pipes and help clog them up!)

Ahhh, that’s much better. I can hear you now!

I tipped my head to the left to drain out any remaining water, then to finish, I put a few drops of DIY Swimmer’s Ear in to help dry it out.

The lesson I learned? I need to do this 1-2 times a year just to clean my ear out BEFORE it gets to be a problem. If I notice my ear blocking up a bit, and I have no symptoms of any kind of nasal infection, I need to be proactive and do this clean out.



Rest and Breath

rest-and-breatheThis year has been one where I have dealt with a number of health challenges. The biggest lesson I have learned out of this is I need a different way of caring for myself, to help prevent what I can, and to help me heal from what I cannot prevent.

Last spring I had cataract surgery on both eyes and a tooth extracted within a month. The tooth extraction followed two infections and a failed re-do root canal…and THREE rounds of antibiotics. And in the midst of all that, I was diagnosed with hypertension.

I finally realized the best thing I could do was lay down and rest each afternoon. I started by lying down and closing my eyes. Sometimes I’d listen to a podcast; sometimes I’d rest for about 30 minutes then read. Sometimes I’d read first, then take a short nap.

And one day while reading, I came across this quote:

“To rest is to heal.”
Lilias Folan
Lilias! Yoga: Your Guide to Enhancing Body, Mind, and Spirit in Midlife and Beyond

And that confirmed what I already suspected: I needed to rest to allow my body a chanced to heal. And not just from the surgeries, but from the antibiotics, from hypertension, from trying to find a medication that would work for me, and from the stresses of life.

So I’ve continued the practice of lying down in the afternoons and resting. I’d like to do it ever day, but reality steps in and my goal is for more days than not. I thought that meditating might be a good thing for me, but wasn’t sure how to do it. With time, I’m begun a practice of lying down, closing my eyes, and simply focusing on my breathing.

I’ll inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of 5 (which, as I relax, often becomes 6 or 7). I may do a few a first where I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth, but switch to doing all through my nose.

After a few minutes, when I can feel my body relaxing, I will go back to breathing naturally, and just count my inhales and exhales. Inhale – one; exhale – two; inhale – three; exhale – four, etc. until I get to 10. Then I begin again.

If I lose count, I simply start over. No judgement if my mind wanders, I just go back to counting. I’m not trying to think about anything or solve a problem; in fact I’m trying to do the opposite: get my brain to shut down, so I can truly relax and rest. And heal.

Most interesting thing I’ve found is that after about 20-25 minutes, I “wake up”. While I sometimes do drift off for a few minutes, I am usually not asleep, although I am not fully awake either. Once I can feel I am “waking up”, my brain kicks back in, and it is time for me to get up.

This works quite well for me. A few weeks ago I was at my desk trying to get work completed so I could be finished for the day, but kept running into problems and distractions. I finally realized the best thing I could do was to lay down and breathe. Thirty minutes later, I’m back at my desk, refreshed, and able to focus and get things completed.

A great reminder of the importance to rest and breathe.

Proper breathing technique is important to, and easy to add into your day. You can read more at Every Breath You Take.

You may also want to try Balancing Breath to help you both calm down and re-energize.

Solar Oven Cooking


Since I live in Florida, a.k.a. The Sunshine State, I want to try using a sun-on-surfsolar oven to cook with. I love to bake bread, but the thought using the oven on hot (even warm) days makes me cringe. Add to that the cost of the natural gas to use the oven, and the extra electricity to run the air conditioner to cool the house…it only makes sense to use what is free and in abundance outside.

Research on the internet has provided solar ovens to buy and instructions to DIY. So I want to reach out to anyone who has a solar oven, either purchased or made, to give me your feedback. What do you like/dislike about the oven you use and solar cooking in general? What would you do differently? Did you start with a homemade version then upgrade to purchase one? Recommendations on brands? Anything else you want to add, including telling me I am crazy??

I’ll probably combine all the advice and tips in a future post, along with what I learn, to help others who want to do the same.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!