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Sep 20, 2010

IMG (GUY) Revealed: Week #4 of the IMG Cleanse

I'm a little delayed this "week" in getting my update for the IMG Cleanse up, but... you know what?  It's okay.  It's enough, which goes right along with this week's focus.  Whoo hoo!  Before I get started with that, though, I'm going to go back and reflect upon the progress I made last week.

So, we gave ourselves permission to live obligation free...  One thing I noticed was the fact that I don't tend to "should" all over myself.  Nor did could I get my mind around "getting to" do something.  I did catch a few "have to's" in there, though.  But what I did notice is that I tended to change those to "need to's".  As if that is any better!

"I need to do this" and "I need to do that"...  It was never as dire as that, but it still denotes obligation AND "need"...  Well, to me that instills visions of one's life depending on it.

HOWEVER, I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  That is, after all, what my IMG wants, right?  No, we'll just mark this one up to progress made in awareness and go from here all the wiser and more vigilant.

One thing I did mention previously is that my IMG isn't as much of an Inner Mean Girl, as it is an Inner Mean GUY.  It was something that I woke up thinking about one morning recently, and it was then that I realized...  He's my dad!

I recall an argument that he and I got into when I was in my mid-teens.  The last line I recall getting out was "well, I must be a really bad person because nothing I do is good enough for you!"  Wow!  And it is not as though I had ever forgotten about that, BUT it has been just since I have been doing this cleanse that I've realized how much I truly took that to heart.  "Nothing I do is good enough..."  What a WEIGHT that puts on a person's shoulders because one's always striving TO do "good enough" and always falls short, mentally.

Now, I am most certainly NOT blaming my dad for my tendency as an adult to mentally beat up on myself.  I'm a believer that there is a lesson to learn from everything, and I'm way beyond trying to place blame on my past.  After all, I'M the one that is responsible for where I go from "here".  It does explain, though, why I see my Inner Mean Person as a guy.

So, on to this week's focus... Unrealistic Expectations...  OH!  This is a good one, especially in light of this past week's realization.  Don't you agree?

The two antidotes that we're focusing on are:

1) Under promise.  Over deliver.  This is going to be a rather difficult one.  There are times - though, not as often as previously - where I will promise the moon and deliver one of those little model solar systems.  Well, not really, but you know what I mean, right?  It goes back to being a recovering people pleaser, I think...

2)  Go for the C.  Give 80% instead of 100%.  I have never been much of an achievement junkie.  My grades from high school will attest to that fact.   I will definitely keep it in mind, but focus more on under promising and over delivering... *wink*

Until next time... Have a fabulous week everyone!



I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador.
To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of
 the Inner Mean Girl Reform School

Sep 11, 2010

Fabric Softener - More Experiments

Wow!  So, I was looking for a formula for homemade fabric softener...  I've been using some sheets leftover from a friend that recently moved, and I'm finding that I like the extra scent.  It just says "clean" to me.  Also helps with static cling.

As I was searching, I came across some GREAT ideas that I hadn't consider to do it on the cheap.

1) Take a misting bottle and pour fabric softener into it.  Then, when you're ready to put your wet clothes in, spray the mister 3-6 times into the dryer.  Apparently, even for a large family, this will make the fabric softener last for 3 or 4 MONTHS.

2) Cut dryer sheets into sections (2-4 depending on results).  And if you can get some at your local dollar store that works well for you, think of the savings!

3) For static clean, apparently, throwing a wet sock in helps?  Might have to experiment with that for curiosity's sake.

4) Homemade dryer "sheets" can be made by pouring a 1/4 cup of fabric softener into a jar, then fill the rest of the jar with water.  Place rags into the jar, using one for each load.  Repeat when rags have been used.

5) One suggestion for liquid fabric softener was taken from http://www.ehow.com/.
  • 3 Cups White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Hair Conditioner
  • 6 Cups Water
And a ball of aluminum foil for static cling

6) Another suggested diluting your softener.  She would take two liters of softener and split it by pouring it into two 2 Liter bottles, then filling up the rest of the bottle with water.


How well any of these suggestions will work is beyond me, but I'm going to experiment with a few of them, if only for curiosity's sake, and if they happen to work and save me money, all the better!

If you'd like to check out the spot I found these great suggestions, I found them at: http://www.thriftyfun.com/.

Sep 10, 2010

The IMG Cleanse - Weekly Roundup #3

Things have been rather chaotic this week.  Such is generally the case, though, with the first week of school.  Especially given that my littlest (Little D) started Pre-K this year.  We're having to get in a bit of a flow where our schedules are concerned.  Toss a doctor's appointment or two into the mix, it makes for interesting times, indeed.

I'm still here, though, and I'm still workin' the Inner Mean Girl (IMG) Cleanse...

Last week was interesting for me.  I realized that I did tend to compare myself to others, but I didn't realize to what extent or even what form that comparison took.  For me... COMPETITION.

By nature, I'm a competitive person.  This is something that I've long been aware of, but until this week, I didn't realize that it can be a form of comparison.  Nor did I realize how vocal my IMG can be or what approaches she utilizes to spur me along.  "Oooh!  Watch out!  She's doing better than you.  You better step it up, or you're going to be left behind."

Awareness.  That's the first big step, right?  Only by being aware can I work with it...

This week, we're giving ourselves "Permission To Live Obligation Free".  This is a BIG one for me, and something that I've already begun to monitor.

I am one that will run through my mental to-do list, and quite often, I will say to myself that I "have to do this" and I "have to do that".  The more I think about it, it DOES weigh me down.  And as I'm learning from all the other Work, it's how we approach/view something that determines whether it's something positive or negative in our lives.

In addition to this, I'm a recovering people pleaser.  So, "naturally", there has always been quite a bit that I have added to my to-do list that is for no other reason than I'm trying to make someone happy so that I, in turn, can be happy myself.  Wow!  Does that add the feeling of obligation to something really quickly!

So, I'm turning my way of thinking around.  I don't "have to" do anything!  I do it because in many ways, it's my way of expressing love beyond merely mouthing words.  I make my kids' lunches every school night, not because it saves us money and is healthier for them, BUT because I LOVE THEM and want them to eat more healthy foods AND it leaves more money in the bank account for us to do more fun things as a family.  It's just a matter of changing my way of thinking as I'm doing these things...

In addition to this... I'm taking the attitude, if I don't LOVE it, in some way, shape or form, then it has no business being in my life.  Plain and simple.

Everything that exists within our realm of influence engages in an exchange of energy with us.  It is our decision how much energy we give and whether what we receive in return is worth it or not.

For instance... even a chair can engage in an exchange of energy with us.  We have to clean it.  That is a form of giving it our energy, but if we don't LIKE that chair, and we curse it for one reason or another... it is taking more of our energy.  If it is not bringing us pleasure in exchange...  Well, to my way of thinking, it's time to send it on its way and to someone else that may get the pleasure that we fail to get out of it.

This is a little diversion from the focus of the IMG Cleanse, but does support the idea behind simplifying (ie de-cluttering).  If you don't love it, send it on its way!

So, until next week's update/round-up, hang in there.  Reprogramming is never easy.  Believe me!  The IMG's had many years to become devious and deceptive.  Changes do not happen overnight.  Be gentle with yourself, and they will come.

If you haven't joined us for the IMG Cleanse, yet.  There's still time!  (You're never behind.)  Everything is right on the website.  The information, the videos, the interviews.  It's all there for a "go at your own pace" approach.  I'm certain you'll be glad you did.  I know I am!


I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador.
To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of
 the Inner Mean Girl Reform School

Sep 5, 2010

Returning To Simplicity AND Frugality

After a handful of hot days, yesterday the temperature dropped more than 20 degrees, and we had rain on and off all day.  It was another wonderfully inspiring autumn day, which I put to very good use.  I used the time to prepare myself and the house for the upcoming first week of school.  It was also a time in which I got back into my frugal frame of mind...

I was a Domestic Goddess in the kitchen yesterday.  Among my culinary manifestations was a large pot of Split Pea and Ham Soup, a pan of cornbread, a whole chicken, some cupcakes, and a cake.

The chicken was put to very good use.  I shredded the meat.  Some was used for chicken and rice soup, while the remaining was set aside and frozen for Chicken Enchiladas later in the week.  The carcass and fat was used for making 16 cups of chicken stock, which will put to very good use in the future.

While the cupcakes and part of the cake...  Those are earmarked for small treats in the kids lunches for the week.

It was a busy day of cooking, yes.  But my freezer is filled with the fruits of my labor.  I have 4 meals stashed away, in addition to the two meals of ham and beans that I had made a couple of days previously.  So, while I have a meal plan that will get me through the next ten days, I have some back-up meals tucked away in the event that I'm just not in the mood to cook.

Looking to stretch your food budget?  This is something that I've been learning to do, myself...

The Menu Plan - The first thing I do is plan out a meal for every night until payday, and while I will assign a particular meal to a specific day, I don't always stick with it.  What we have any given night will really depend on what sounds good and what I'm prepared to make that night.  The only night that anyone will really count on is Friday night.  That's Pizza Night in our house...

The trick to this, though, is to plan for meals that share the main ingredient.  For instance, a whole chicken... rather than have it AS chicken, which would only really yield one meal in my house, I make several meals out of it (as illustrated above).  In addition to this, the carcass and bits that would otherwise get tossed, get made into chicken stock, which will be used for other meals.

I will also get a turkey ham.  I will generally used this for several meals as well:  Blue Plate Special (a mac and cheese casserole that includes ham), ham and beans, split pea and ham soup, as well as ham on our pizza.

These are just a few of the ways that my family has come to stretch the food bill, itself.

The Grocery List -  I do this for a number of reasons.  1) I don't forget anything necessary to make any given meal.  2) I buy only what is on the list - more times than not - which prevents me from impulse buying, something that I HAVE been known to do.

Crockpot Cooking - Like most households, things have been known to get really busy around here after school has begun for the year.  I LOVE using my crockpot on days when I know things are going to be especially busy.  When I use it, I know two things to be true.  1) My family is STILL going to get a healthy meal and 2) we won't be finding ourselves going through drive-thru because dinner will be ready by the time we're ready for it.

Freezer - Admittedly, our family is horrible about using up left-overs.  Given that DH is currently deployed, we generally have quite a bit more than we would few of them.  I suppose I could half my recipes, but why not make the full amount, freeze the left-overs and have a quick and easy meal later down the road and on a night I just don't feel like cooking?


We are by no means perfect where our grocery bill is concerned.  During the summer, we ate out a lot more than I would like to admit.  Between DH being gone and it being too hot TO cook, it just seemed easier more days than not.  Our bank account, however, is reflective of that fact.  We've not saved a dime since the beginning of this deployment.  That's a fact that I hope remedy this fall and winter, and this is reflective of my first steps in the right direction.  I know how to accomplish it... I just have to DO it.

Sep 2, 2010

The IMG Cleanse - Weekly Roundup #2

Welcome back to the continuing of saga of Girl vs the IMG.  When last we left Dawna, she was becoming aware of all the instances that she tends to collude with others in gossip and spew forth toxic words...

So, how'd I do?  Well, I think I would have liked to have done better.  I became aware of all the times that toxicity, like sludge, bubbled from my mouth.  The good news is that I put a stop to it.  The "bad" news - though I hesitate to label it thusly - is that, more times than not, I froze or, in some instances, ran away... literally.  I didn't know what else to say instead.

At least I became aware...  It was a victory, in and of itself.

On to this week...  Becoming aware of and battling the Comparison Queen.  OH!  She is one of my arch-nemesis.  Both with her Mask of Inferiority, as well as Superiority.  Though, more often than not, she likes to take the approach of making me feel inferior because, in all honesty, it is where she finds the path of least resistance, I think.

Which areas does she prefer to strike?

My weight/body.  "Everyone is getting skinny, but you.  Aren't they looking good?  And you?  You're still fat.  No matter what you do, you'll remain that way."  Which, if our thoughts do indeed create our reality, I suspect is why I can exercise and eat right and lose nothing to show for it.

My writing.  "Did you read his/her words?  Weren't they great?  Too bad you can't write something of the sort.  And (where blogs are concerned) look at how many followers she/he has, and all those commenters.  What do you have to show for your efforts?  Oh... Look at that.  Nothing."


My house, my clothes, my abilities (you name it), etc.   Everything and anything that can be used to compare me to anyone else.

It was a discussion that I was having with my kids the other day.  My IMG?  I might have mentioned that I've run into "it" before.  Only, at the time, I pictured it to be a HIM.  An old, pompous man of high social standing, who looks down his nose at EVERYONE, especially me.

I may just have to hunt through my documents and find the conversation he and I had (as one-sided as it may have been) not to long ago.  He was really rather cruel in his tirade concerning my writing and creativity, but it is something that I've been working to get past, and whether my Inner Critic be male or female or a whole slew of personas matters not.  Through this 40-day Inner Cleanse, we'll be working together by the end of it.

Here Amy and Christine speak about comparison and ways that we can transform it into something positive.



Interested in joining us? It's still time! Hope you'll join us in this wonderful exercise in awareness as we move toward greater self love...


I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador.
To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of
 the Inner Mean Girl Reform School


Sep 1, 2010

De-cluttering and Gaining Peace Of Mind

As I mentioned upon my "return" to the blogosphere, I received a book entitled Life's Too Short To Fold Fitted Sheets: Your Ultimate Guide To Domestic Liberation by Lisa Quinn prior to my sudden hiatus.  Most recently, I have had a better opportunity to start going through it.  I say "start" because as I get into it, I realize that I'm going on what I would describe as "domestic tangents", which will last for days, if not weeks.  So, while it's not really that thick of a book, it's taking some time for me to get through it.

I am beginning to make big changes around here.  Some things have been mulling about in my head for awhile now, but the words and information to be found in the book, have been assisting me in implementing much of them.

Now, if you could see my copy of the book...  Well, it's littered with post it notes, which act as marks for quick/future reference.  There are also quite a few spots in it that I've highlighted.  There's really quite a few ideas and bits of information that I want to keep track of.  One thing about this book, though, is that it's not all about one's home and taking care of it.  No, it does guide the reader to look within and address those things that pushes one toward going over the top where one's domesticity is concerned.

As I've mentioned before - quite possibly back over at Hiccups In Time - I am something of a recovering perfectionist.  Well... who am I kidding?  I AM a recovering perfectionist.  In the past, everything has had to match what I have pictured in my head, and if it's not...  I have tended to cycle between overwhelm, shut-down, and then depression.  It is something that I have worked on and CONTINUE to work on because with three kids - one being a preschooler - things just don't seem to stay clean around here for long.

So, while I've been meaning to put some of Lisa's tips to use in my own home...  I've been having to get things in order around here FIRST.  That way, I can have a sound starting point.  That, in and of itself, has been something of a chore.  Especially given that, admittedly, I've been coming out of the shut-down portion that followed the overwhelm after DH left for Afghanistan the second time (after R&R).

Let me tell you... that has been a chore, but I've not allowed my inner perfectionist to get the better of me.  I've been doing a little at a time.  Things didn't get in disarray overnight, and I keep reminding myself that things aren't going to be "perfect" overnight either.

"Less Is More"


This is the spot that I've been focusing on most of late.  ESPECIALLY before the weather turns to a "winter wonderland".  After all, it makes it exceedingly difficult to haul the clutter out and disperse of it when everything is covered in a perpetual blanket of snow.

I think what spurred me to action most was Lisa's list...

You're Out of Control If:
- You have more than three "junk drawers".  When I was honest with myself, I realized I had a lot more than that, even if I didn't call it "junk".
- You have to navigate piles to get through your home.
- Your closet contains clothes from three years ago - that don't fit.  I'd already gone through that quite some time ago.  So, I WAS ahead of the game, if only by a little bit.
- All the horizontal surfaces in your home (desktops, countertops, ledges, tables, and mantels) are completely covered.   They're not all covered, but there are a few spots that I have difficulties remembering what they looked like when we moved in.
- Things fall out of your car when you open the door.  Yes, I'm guilty of this.  My little Prius does tend to get filled to overflowing with stuff, especially given that we are a family of 5, usually.
- You can't park in your garage.  Is that what a garage is for???  I had no idea... *said tongue in cheek*
- You find yourself shuffling piles around all day because they have no real home.  I'm not that bad.  I just shove them in the desk drawer, which I don't think is really a solution, is it?
- You have papers from high school.
- You spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to find things in your home.  In my defense, things don't generally tend to remain where I put them, anyway.  The kids tend to use them and move them on me, as kids tend to do.  I recall my own mom saying "why can't I ever find anything?" a time or two and I having been the reason behind it.
- You have trouble relaxing or being productive in your home because of the clutter.  Oh, Heavens, yes!
- You have unopened mail from months ago.  Guilty as charged.
- You have lids but no containers (or vice versa). Ditto.
- Your filing system is basically one file, full as a tick, with everything crammed into it.  Um... no.  Refer back to the desk drawers...
- You don't invite people over because you are embarrassed.
- You always hate the way your home looks.  It's beginning to turn around, at least.

So... I'm taking one room/area at a time.  The garage was worked on a week or so ago.  We did have a yard sale, but everything that didn't sell didn't stay after that.  There's still more to do, but I'm well on my way, at least.

And while it's taking me a bit of time to go through the book, I'm certainly glad that it has come my way.  It really goes along with much of what I'm doing around here with regard to simplifying.  It's not as much of a destination, though, as it is a journey, and I'll definitely share more in the future as I continue to make changes with it as one of my inspirations.



Disclosure:  I was gifted with a copy of Ms Quinn's book to review.  However, my enthusiasm for it is spurred by nothing more than the results I'm seeing in my perspectives, as well as my home.

Aug 30, 2010

A Battle of the Seasons

According to the weather reports, Summer and Autumn are set to battle today.  Our mild temps are set to give way to another bout of warmer ones.  Summer has not fully released its hold on the North Country yet.  Autumn, however, will be making another appearance next weekend, I guess.

It is all right.  After all, I know that - as is the case with any season - it cannot last forever.  A fact, which I suddenly realized is true about the situations in our lives, as well.  But that is a musing for another time... *wink*

Things are going well on this end with regard to the transition of seasons, though.  I've already sewn the seeds for the red cabbage in the square foot garden...  Another experiment, as I've never grown it previously.  So, we shall see how that goes...

My tomatoes and sweet peppers had a less than stellar turn out this year.  They did yield some "fruit", but not much.  Will have to do more in the way of fertilizer next year, I'm thinking.  (My IMG says "duh!", but I remind her that it is all a learning experience, and it is better to do this now, than when my family is most dependent upon it, right?)

Another experiment that I took up this week was that of the homemade dishwasher detergent...

We already make our own laundry detergent.  (I'll share the recipe at another time for those who don't already know it *wink*)  So, I figured that it wouldn't be too difficult and very cost effective, given that we already have the makings for it on hand.

Now, admittedly, DH has tried it in the past, but I wasn't too impressed.  We have REALLY hard water here, so filmy residue was a problem.  So, we stopped using it.  I started using the Cascade gel packs recently, which worked REALLY well, but are SO costly.  There just HAD to be a homemade solution...

Using my powers of Google-Fu, I came across a recipe or two that I've been playing with and tweeking this week, and I think I have come up with the secret combination...

In the pre-wash cup, I place the following:

   - 1/2 TBSP Borax
   - 1/2 TBSP Washing Soda
   - 3 Vit C tablets - ground up  (Quite a few recipes call for citric acid or Lemon Kool-Aid packets, but after talking with DH, this was an adequate solution for us and something we already had on hand.)

I fill the main cup and the rinse agent reservoir with vinegar.  (I usually use white vinegar, but ran out of that the other day, and don't plan to resupply until payday.  So, I did use apple cider vinegar because I still had a couple of bottles on hand.  It did seem to work just as well, though.)

Maybe it'll work for you!  Just remember, though, that it might require a bit of tweaking on your part to get it to work for your particular machine and type of water.  Good luck to you!

Aug 29, 2010

A Respite Along the Path

As I have mentioned before, part of my journey toward simplicity is more on a mental/emotional/spiritual level.  It is requiring me to change the manner in which I think and approach life itself.  Some of this work is being done with the IMG Cleanse, BUT much of it was being done on my own prior to even hearing of the cleanse.  Some of the work I'm doing is being done by incorporating many of the concepts in the book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, PhD and Your Sacred Self: Making the Decision To Be Free by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Admittedly, I'm beginning to feel as though I've opened something akin to Pandora's Box in regard to all the inner work I am doing...  I'm almost reticent to mention it, but I have been finding myself doing quite a bit of running away the past few days.  Literally, running away.

This is not easy, this work that we do.  But, it does stand to reason, really.  Like a sedimentary rock, each year lived unawares, is like another layer of dirt and grim piled on.  So, it is no wonder, when we finally say, "enough is enough" and "I'm tired of feeling like this"...  Well, it is not easy to dig down through the accumulated muck and mud in search of that singular seed that, when it emerges as a seedling, is the True Self.  And just from the brief glimpses I catch of my own...  It is a reward in and of itself of a tough job done well.

In addition to this, I'm finding that once located and found, it's difficult to keep what could pass as a consistent handle upon it.  The day-to-day world is good at causing a type of temporary amnesia.  I am able to recall my Authentic Self, that I even have one, but throughout the course of a day with all the stress and outward influences I, more times than not, temporarily misplace her.

This is a place where the Universe (aka synchronicity) steps in and attempts to guide me along, I believe.  Because this is an idea that I've been pondering all day long.  How do I successfully connect with my Authentic Self on a higher level and remain in conscious contact while living a normal every day life as a mother, military spouse of a deployed soldier... HOW does one pull it off under "normal" circumstances??

So, it is quite interesting for me to note that an email arrived in my inbox with regard to an upcoming FREE teleseminar series called Beyond Awakening.  Nearly 30 speakers, all talking about (as I understand it) how to still grow spiritually while living the lives that many of us do today.  I'm still not certain when it starts, but, if you're interested, you might check it out...  Beyond Awakening: the Future of Spiritual Practice.

Like Dory (from Finding Nemo) said... just keep swimming, just keep swimming.  I'm just moving ever forward and flowing with the changes and the synchronicity coming my way.



Disclosure:  I have no associations with anyone affiliated with the Beyond Awakening teleseries.  However, I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador. To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of the Inner Mean Girl Reform School.

Aug 27, 2010

Week One - The IMG Cleanse Begins

A good deal is going on around here.  The change in the weather has brought with it a certain degree of busy-ness.  With all of the cleaning and weeding out, one might think that it was spring rather than early autumn.  Yet, the house is now being filled with all the yummy smells that herald autumn, though.  Yesterday, it was homemade soft pretzels and chocolate chip pies.

Yes, that was purposely pluralized.  BUT, in my defense, I did pass one of those pies on to our next door neighbors.  I'm a firm believer in sharing the "evil" that are baked goods. *wink*

As mentioned previously, though, autumn and winter are times when I tend to go within quite a bit.  This year will certainly be no exception.  Especially now that I've realized how big a part the inner work plays in my (and my family's) return to simplicity.

This week heralded the beginning of the 40 Day Inner Mean Girl (IMG) Cleanse, and as I mentioned before, my primary IMG is really something of a bully.  Verbal abuse is definitely her forte.

Not too long ago, I participated in an online creative workshop.  It was our goal to get in touch with our inner creative children.  I did do that, but in the process, I became more aware of the voice of my IMG.  I even gave her the opportunity to speak, and, let me tell you, it was none too pretty.

Since then, my inner creative child has gotten rather quiet.  She's there, of course, but not nearly as loud and vivacious as she had been during the workshop.  I suspect that it has something to do with my IMG, and that is partly why I'm taking part in the 40 Day Cleanse.

Admittedly, I wasn't able to take part in the Live Call or the Twitter Party for too long.  I became just a little overwhelmed.  But, I did listen to the recording last night and read the email yesterday.  Good stuff, I must say!  Gossip and toxic words...  Being impeccable with our word.









Now, admittedly, I've never really been one to start gossip, but I have - admittedly - been one to easily go along with it.  A colluder.  I have been guilty of that, yes.  But, as SARK said in her talk...  Awareness is important.  One of the BIGGEST first steps, I think.

So, it's for that reason that I've put this week's affirmation up on sticky notes around my house (my bathroom mirror, the downstairs bathroom mirror, and, even, on my laptop).
"Today I speak only from my heart.  I leave gossip and toxic words behind.  I truly speak from my heart."
In addition to gossip... what sticks out at me is "toxic words".

So, often - especially when I'm on autopilot, in a place of reaction - words, which can tear one down/apart slip out of my mouth.  My IMG likes to beat others up... not just me.  That is an area that I, personally, am working on as well.  Responding from the heart, rather than reacting with toxic words.

7 days to become aware of that which slips from my lips.  Love, not toxicity.

If you've found any of this to be of interest, and you haven't already joined us, there's still time!  Drop by and sign up today!  And I hope you'll tune in here next week for Week Two of the IMG, as well as an update on the progress I've made with this between now and then.


I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador.
To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of
 the Inner Mean Girl Reform School


Aug 23, 2010

The Seasons Begin To Turn

The seasons are beginning to change, here, in the North Country.  In the blink of an eye, we have gone from hot, humid days and nights to temperate (sometimes rainy) days and cooler nights.  Autumn has made an appearance, and I, for one, hope that it remains with us.

I love autumn.  It is my favorite time of the year.  It is when I see myself turning more toward the hearth fire.  It is when I begin cooking and baking more; when I find myself taking more pleasure in such acts.  In addition to this, I am consciously aware that it is "my time of the year".  Not only do I turn more to the light of the hearth, but within to the light of the heart, as well.  I begin to feel a more profound strength burn within me that I don't generally feel the rest of the year.  And while I don't know what it and the winter hold for me, I do have the feeling that whatever it is will aid me in becoming the strongest ME, yet.

May the hearth fires burn brightly without, as well as within, for you and yours!

Aug 22, 2010

The Inner Mean Girl Cleanse and My Journey

You know, I can't believe that I forgot to mention the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse in my last post!  It is, after all, part and parcel to this inner journey that I'm preparing to embark on and share here.


Beginning August 25th, I'm taking part in a 6 week (40 day) transformation of my Inner Mean Girl (known to some as the inner critic), and let me tell you... there is A LOT of work to be done with her because she REALLY isn't the nicest of girls at the moment.

If you're interested in joining me OR you would, also, like to become a Self Love Ambassador, there's still time!  I hope you'll join us because I really believe that the Self Love revolution that is being kick-started IS the first step toward world peace.  If we're all happy with ourselves... what's the point in going to war? ;-)  Dh and his comrades will be out of a job, of course, but hey!  It's a risk that I'm willing to take. lol

So... why DID I decide to join in the Inner Mean Girl Cleanse?  Well, as I mentioned before, I'm beginning a journey within...

Admittedly, I have recently found myself becoming really rather depressed.  So much so that I did go in to speak to my doc about getting on some meds.  We both agreed that it is a situational depression, given that it does tend to occur when Dh is deployed.  BUT, as I've begun to explore within, I've realized that it is so much more!

My Inner Mean Girl likes to whisper in my ear.  She likes to convince me that things aren't good enough around here and that I lack any real help; that my elder kids don't do anything, and that I have to do it ALL on my own.  How can ANYONE be happy when they have such a negative voice nattering in their ear??

And she doesn't stop there...  She likes to tell me that all the exercise that I'd been doing didn't do me a bit of good.  I'm still "FAT".

And my writing...  She likes to convince me that I have nothing to say that any one would be remotely interested in reading.  It didn't help at one point recently when the visits and comments to my blog seemingly dropped off and articles that I had written didn't seem to get placed.  It only seemed to reinforce what my Inner Mean Girl was saying, which added to the depression and my lack of desire to write anything.  She had helped me to lose sight of why I really do this, any of it!  For ME!  Because I ENJOY it!  And anyone getting anything out of it really is secondary to that...  I had forgotten that.

So, this journey that I have embarked on is not only an attempt to change her voice to a more positive one...  It is SO MUCH MORE than that for me.  My journey is to consciously get in touch with that part of me that spans the ages; that part is Divine and something of a superheroine.  The Inner Mean Girl Cleanse is part and parcel to that goal.

I hope you will continue to join me because it's sure to be an interesting journey!


I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40-day Cleanse as a Self-Love Ambassador.
To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self-love gift from the founders of
 the Inner Mean Girl Reform School

Aug 19, 2010

Back On Track

At some point most recently, I found myself derailed.  Unlike the Little Train That Could, I lost track of the fact that I "could", and with a decrease in momentum, I found myself losing footing and backing down the tracks.  Seemingly, I returned to where I had begun.

I allowed myself to become overwhelmed, I suppose.  It is not as though I've had a lot on my plate, after all. *said tongue in cheek*  Three kids and contending with a deployment.  That, with life's little ups and down, can bet quite a bit for one to deal with at times.

I'm back on the tracks, though, and, fueled by renewed awareness of my inner self, I'm ready to start making my way up this hill once more.

There is quite a bit on the horizon here.  "New" tools to assist me on this journey, which I plan to share with all of you...

Prior to my "meltdown", I was gifted with a wonderful book by Lisa Quinn.  Life's Too Short To Fold Fitted Sheets: Your Ultimate Guide to Domestic Liberation.  I started reading it, and found myself really quite entertained by the lighthearted manner in which she shares her own journey as a "recovering Martha Stewart junkie".  More than that, I found hope restored within me that - while not a perfectionist where my house is concerned (after all, as any parent of a preschooler knows, it's nearly next to impossible to be so) - I am not a horrible spouse and parent because I am not.  And while having been sidetracked by life and not yet to the meat of the text, I am hoping and looking forward to receiving pearls of wisdom on how to make it look as though I am a Martha Stewart clone, yet without expending the actual energy to do so.  I'll let you know, along the way, how it goes... *wink*

In addition to this...  I have, for quite a number of years, taken a distinct interest where spirituality is concerned.  Now, please do not equate this to "being religious".  I just feel that there is so much more to know and be beyond this world, as we consciously know it.  I know that I AM so much more than the labels that I, and others, attempt to affix to me.

As part of my search... my journey... I came across a book by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer yesterday entitled Your Sacred Self: Making the Decision To Be Free.  To my way of thinking, learning to be free of the stuff/garbage/debris that I have mentally accumulated throughout my life up to this point is part and parcel to this journey toward simplicity.

Now, I've only made it to chapter 2 since purchasing it yesterday, but I have high hopes for it as well, and it will be something that I will be sharing along the way, too.


While at the bookstore, I also came across a book with regard to simplicity.  It was something of a notebook with tabs and illustrated, step by step, ways to simplify your environment, as well as your life.  Unfortunately, I didn't get it and cannot remember the title, but I do hope to pick it up next payday.  Once I do, I'll share my experiences with it, as well.

It's all a journey, and a personal one at that.  None of us take the same path as any other, but it is in the sharing, I believe, that we receive insight in to the ways that are possible in arriving at the end and desire destination.  It is in that vein that these things will be shared...

Aug 17, 2010

Gaining Direction

I've been MIA from the blogosphere for quite a bit of time most recently.  It's been something of a spur of the moment hiatus, I suppose you could say.  I cannot say with any degree of certainty what brought it about.  Life?  Introspection?  I truly know not.

One thing I have been pondering the past month or so, though, is what Simplicity is to me...

Indeed, it is a return to many of the ways practiced by our ancestors.  Yet, what lies behind a desire to do so?

I suppose the reasons could be as varied as those who make the decision to embark upon such a journey.  For some, it may be out of necessity.  For others, it is borne out of a longing to shed the complexities of contemporary, modern day living.  After all, we as a species do tend to make that which ought to be really quite simple as complex and difficult as is humanly possible.  But, I digress...

I would have to say that I, personally, fall into the latter category.  Yet, it is even more than that for me...

A return to simplicity not only incorporates my desire to live more simply, but BE more simple.  Not only in deed, but in be-ing... in thought.

For me, this journey is not only about learning the old ways of doing things, but learning to think more simply.

Let's face it.  Over the centuries, we have piled an awful lot of mental garbage upon our plates.  Life is meant to be so much more simple than we have made it - in many ways.  So, when I say that I have embarked upon a journey to return to simplicity... I mean to do so in mind, body, and spirit.  At least to the very best of my abilities.

I hope you will continue to join me...






Jul 23, 2010

The Container Experiment and (Possible) FAIL!

It's a rainy (and a bit of a lazy) day here in the North Country. At least I won't need to water today...

I was out there looking at things yesterday, and it doesn't seem as though my container experiment is going too terribly well.  I keep getting blossoms on my squash and zucchini plants, but they only ever fall off.  I don't seem to be getting any "fruit" on them.

Then there's my tomato and pepper plants...  I have "fruit" on those, but they don't seem to be getting too terribly large with the passing of time.

I have a small square-foot garden in back.  I have heads of butter leaf lettuce in all 6 spots this year.  They're ones that just popped up on their own.  Likely from those that went to seed last year.  So, I saved them, and they seem to be doing pretty well.  Not as large as the ones that we had in Maryland, but still enough for me to make salads from and lettuce for sandwiches.  Still... I think everything would do so much better, if I were able to put them into the ground.   Though, that's something that's really allowed where we're living at the moment.  So, we'll see...

The season's not quite over.  I'm still holding out hope for me wee little plants...

Now, on to the blog hopping...  This week, I'm hopping with:





New Friend Fridays



Welcome to everyone stopping by!  I'm happy to have you here and hope you'll choose to stick around.  This is a space in a flux of growth.  In time, I hope it will start to become something much more.  Until then...  Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

Jul 13, 2010

Open Fire Cooking

This past weekend, I decided to prepare for my most recent and grand experiment.  Open fire cooking.  Now, I suppose that I could have simply done this on the BBQ grill with charcoal, and it would have, likely, been easier.  There's just something about an actual fire...  Indeed, I was amusing myself, as well as my son, who probably likes fire a little too much. lol

I first needed to begin acquiring what "tools" I didn't already have.  Among them, the single most important... the fire pit.  (I just didn't think Housing would appreciate me digging a hole in our front yard and creating one there.  So, I decided to compromise...)

Now, my neighbors have a fire pit that we often congregate around together...  I didn't want to have to borrow theirs, though, and I could have purchased one like theirs for a good deal less than I spent on the one I ended up with.  But, as I told Dh when we were discussing it, I wanted to spend a little more and buy one that would serve us well in the years to come, even after we're on the land in Missouri.

As I was shopping, I took many things into consideration because, let's face it, there are a lot of options on the market at the moment.  I could have bought a metal one, one with a table around it...  The things I was thinking about as I bought it was something that would last; something that was sturdy because we have a lot of kids between our family and our neighbors', and something that would be good in which to place a Dutch Oven.  I also didn't want to break the bank!  The result was a clay fire pit, which I picked up from Lowes...


I figured it wouldn't be too much different from cooking on a hearth, and, as Dh mentioned, it will probably be more weather resistant than a metal one would have been.

So started our grand cooking experiment...

Now, we have a cast iron Dutch Oven... somewhere...  It's likely among the camping stuff that has been "buried" in the garage behind Dh's workbench.  (Did I mention that cleaning out the garage is on my list of "things to do" while Dh is deployed?  Something else I'll share once that occurs...)  Given that I just wasn't up to digging in the garage yet, I decided to cook with aluminum foil.

For the experiment, I cooked chicken and garlic, which I drizzled with a little olive oil and white wine, shrimp with garlic, a mix of yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, and red potatoes, which I cubed.  For dessert... because I had a sweet tooth later that evening, we had a revised version of "campfire sundaes", which comprised of cut up bananas, peanut butter, and a couple of marshmallows.  Everything was cooked on coals in aluminum foil pouches...



How did it go?  Not too bad for a first time.  I do have to work on my sense of timing a bit.  The chicken actually cooked more quickly than I had expected, so I sat it off to the side to "keep it warm" while I cooked everything else.  Unfortunately, it ended up getting a bit over-cooked and dry.

The shrimp... (Mental note:  Use uncooked shrimp)  I had forgotten that it was already cooked and should have only been heated up...  So, that came out a bit rubbery.

The veggies and potatoes came out really well, though, and the sundaes were delicious.

So, it wasn't a complete failure...  Definitely a learning experience and something that I will be doing again over the course of the summer.

On another note... My son is very happy that we now have a fire pit of our own and is talking about using it, even during the winter.  Might have to try out a recipe or two that I have for hot drinks.  We'll see...  After all, it gets really quite cold up here during the winter.

Jul 10, 2010

This and That - Saturday Share It

Welcome to Saturday Share It.  This is a feature that I've done n my other blog, Hiccups In Time.  It started with me simply sharing links that I came across throughout the week.  Then I shared links, explaining why I found each engaging.  Now... I'm just adding the links into my explanation...  I hope you enjoy this week's installment here at A Return To Simplicity.

*~*~*

Our journey toward simplicity and homesteading finds us in the suburbs. Not apartment living. More like a townhouse, but we don't have a lot of space in which to garden. My understanding is that we can expand, if we'd like to, and without permission. It's a little late in the year to do too much. So, that might be a project for next year.

This year, though. I'm doing more in the way of vegetable growing. Only we're doing it in containers at the moment... We have lettuce, tomatoes, and this year I inherited some other plants from a family that was preparing for a last minute PCS (Permanent Change of Station). Among the plants I procured were sweet peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash. I LOVE zucchini and squash. My kids, however, are not big fans.



As I was poking around little bits of the blogosphere this morning, I came across a recipe from Homesteading On The Internet for This Can't Be Squash Casserole.  I loved that she cooked it on an open fire!  Something that I would LOVE to do, myself.  With the exception of the fire, we have the means...  Our neighbors have a fire pit, though.  I'm not sure how well it would go with that, but I'm thinking that I might have to give it a go at some point or another.  Never know unless you try, right?  And it's just been SO hot lately.  Cooking is just not something that I've been wanting to consider lately...  Yes, I might have to try a bit of outdoor cooking.  Something beyond grilling.

I'll let you know how things go...

As I was catching up on my feeds last evening, I came across a video at Green Mountains Homesteading that really just says it all for me these days.  I just had to share...


In truth, I've never been terribly political in my views, but the more I've begun to become cognizant of the abuses that are being made... I'm starting to pay more attention and be more vocal regarding my views. As I see it, it's the only thing that will make things better in the end... After all, it's seems to have been our readiness to trust, as well as our complacency as a people that has gotten us in the spot that we currently find ourselves.

Not too long ago, I found Nancy's blog, the "How To" Homemaker.  I LOVE it!  The other day she posted information about the book So Easy To Preserve from the Georgia Cooperative Extension Office.  I'm definitely adding it to my list of books to get in the near future.

With Dh deployed, I'm looking for ways to keep myself AND my mind occupied.  I've figured what better way to do so than learn some of the skills that are of interest to me for when we homestead.  Among those things is preserving.

Dh has the Canning Guide from the US Department of Agriculture, but I'm definitely open to any bits and tricks I come across along the way...  I especially want to try my hand at jams and jellies.  One step at a time, I suppose, and... I'm not deluded enough to think that my little container garden will give me any major yields this year, but it's all a learning process I figure.  Right?  One baby step at a time, and better to take those steps now than to take them when we're more in need of the foods and what-not.

So explains the journey I have ahead of me...  From Southern California City Girl to an (Aspiring) Southern Missouri Homesteading Country Girl, and this blog will be relating the steps in between...

Welcome to my path, and thank you for joining me!

Jul 9, 2010

A Happy Friday To All!

Working to get this blog off the ground after having recently been "re-purposed"... This is the FIRST Friday that I'm taking it "on the road". I'm going blog hopping!

For starters, we'll be hopping with Java and the over 40 set at Never Growing Old.




There's more blog hopping to come... But will get this up and add as I go. ;-)

[EDIT:]


I also came across this fun sounding blog hop...

New Friend Fridays


WELCOME to ALL who are dropping by for the first time!

Please excuse the construction dust... I'm doing a few renovations over here. You may know me from my other blog, Hiccups In Time. Why another blog? Why this one? Well... our family is working its way toward a more simple lifestyle. A journey that will eventually include our own homestead. I wanted to record our journey along the way. Doesn't really fit in with the niche (military spouse and mommy) I've developed over at Hiccups. So... I figured I would re-purpose the blog that I have here to include this newest niche. Perhaps... someday... the two will come together, but it may not either. Either way, I hope you will join me for the journey. It's sure to be... interesting.

Have a GREAT weekend, everyone!

Jul 6, 2010

Going Full Circle

This past weekend, my kids and I were able to share in the joyful celebration that was their great-grandfather's 90th birthday party.  90 YEARS!  The thought simply amazes me and reminds me that life, at 40, isn't even half over...

Throughout the celebration there was a video playing that was comprised of pictures from Grandpa's life...

Now, I must say that I did enjoy viewing the pictures of my own family (Dh and the kids), including the ones of Dh when he was kid.  They helped me to see how far we have come over the years... how much we've changed and grown up.  The photographs that I must admit to having enjoyed the most, though, were the ones of Grandpa when he was a child, himself.

I can't say that I know a lot about Dh's Grandpa.  The things I do know Dh has told me or those things I've picked up through conversation.  Such as the fact that he lived on a farm for most of his life, and, given the dates that were attached to the photographs in the video... he grew up during the Depression.

You know, though...  While looking at them, I noticed one thing.  Even during tough times... they were still smiling.  My thought is that it was due to the fact that they knew the secret to happiness...

As I was growing up, I didn't have much extended family around me, and when I did, it seemed there was nothing but bickering that occurred between them and my parents.  Needless to say, for the most part, we weren't a very tight knit family on either side.  It's only been in the most recent of years that I've truly realized how important family is.  It is a lesson that I don't think I would have ever really learned without Dh's help.  I now know, though - from this weekend past - where he learned it.

Near the end of the party, there were "speeches" made.  No one had anything but glowing remarks to say about Grandpa.  How he has been a wonderful role model and how he never hesitated to make sacrifices for his family...  He grew up in a different time.  A time when the focus of life was more upon the intangible things that money can't buy.  Back when the way of being was more... simple.

And here we - his grandchildren - are... after all the "progress" that has been made by our nation... our world... trying to get back to that simple way of being.  Who would have ever known that it would be, at times, so difficult?

I am happy to say, though, we do have one piece of the puzzle in place...  the importance of family.  Because... without family and the love of others, the whole long trek really isn't worth a hill of beans.


Jul 1, 2010

A Quick Note

Hello, everyone!

I just wanted to let you know... I'm going to be rather silent here the next few days.  Despite my best efforts, I don't see me keeping to my schedule as I would wish to due the holiday weekend.  The 4th of July weekend has, over the years, become something of a family reunion weekend for Dh's family.  So, we're going to be really quite busy.  On the positive side... I may very well have wonderful tales to relate in the near future. :-)

To those of you in the US... I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday weekend.  For everyone else... may you and your family share wonderful moments this weekend!  Things should be back to normal come Tuesday, at the latest.


Jun 29, 2010

Re-Paving This Road

Most recently, I wrote a post over at Hiccups In Time entitled "Life Is A Highway That Sometimes Needs Repaving".  And down each highway, there are many roads that can be taken...  Such is the case with our lives.  Not to mention the blogosphere.

Wow!  There are SO MANY blogs out there.  Some don't always make it, and others...  Well, they get published in for YEARS.  It stands to reason, though, given that most blogs are based around a certain niche or focal interest, and interests... aspects of life change periodically.  And, if your niche is too narrow, and you lose your interest - either in that particular subject matter OR in blogging in general...  Your creativity for it is likely going to run out of steam.

I first started this blog, which is currently entitled "My Fractal Reality", before I ever knew what I was doing within the blogosphere.  I started it because I thought it would be fun, and it would encompass all of the interests I am passionate about within my life.  I thought it would reduce my need for so many online journals/blogs.

Since then, though, I've learned SO MUCH with regard to blogging in the blogosphere (but I'm certain there is STILL so much MORE to be learned).  Among those things that I've learned is 1) if your blog niche is too narrow, it may very well putter out in time and 2) if your blog niche is too wide, you're going to lose the interest of your readers.  Quite often, they come to you for a particular reason.  Usually, because they are interested in your defined niche.  If it gets too broad, you may begin posting things that they're really not terribly interested in, AND if you post about things they're not interested in on a consistent basis, you're going to lose their interest and readership.

SO... it is with that in mind that I have decided to start another blog.  This will be my 3rd blog, which I intend to keep active.  For those keeping score...  I currently have Hiccups In Time, which is primarily about the stories that exist within life as a mother and military spouse, and A Lost Girl Unleashed, which is about the whimsical world of my inner child.  It is about the stories of fantasy and "childish" art.  This one has yet to be re-named, BUT it will encompass my ramblings as my family and I make our way to a more simplistic life.  Things I learn.  Our experiments (ie our successes, as well as "failures").

Our society as a whole has progressed so far from the American Dream our ancestors held to be "self evident".  It's become complicated, entangled in those things that are superficial and disingenuous.  Such is, at least, the way that I see it from my personal perspective.

Slowly, ever so slowly, our family is making our way back to a more simple way of being, which in some ways is a rather difficult thing to do while still living in the heart of the hustle and bustle.  This journal is being re-purposed or "re-paved", to be something of a "side road" that I'm taking on my greater journey through life.  So, please watch for and be careful of the clouds of construction dust I'll be creating in the days to come.  I hope you will continue to join me, though, because it is and will be one heck of a ride.

Mar 31, 2010

Pins Dropping

So, things have been rather quiet around this space as of late, but it has not been, by any definition of the word, quiet around HERE lately.

Dh has deployed. I'm finally feeling better, even though I'm feeling a little run down this morning, and I've been REALLY busy being creative in the workshop I mentioned earlier in the month.  I canNOT say enough good things about it or its facilitator, Natasha of Thursday Sweet Treat!

I have become so inspired and gained so much confidence in my muses that I can't seemingly keep up with all of the inspiration that they're pouring into me.

Through the work that I've been doing, as well as conversations with Natasha, I was inspired to start a new blog.  Yes, I can hear a couple of groans there in the audience.  "Another blog????"  I know.  I know.  But, this one is different.  This one actually has a definitive purpose in my mind, and I'm working really pretty hard toward that end.

Hiccups In Time is my new blog.  It is currently a Military Spouse/Mommy blog, but, as I realized yesterday, it won't always be.

Our lives are comprised of hiccups in time.  Some more long lasting than others.

Today, I'm a military spouse and a mother.  I wasn't always those things, though, and while I'll be a mother ever more, I won't always be a military spouse, given that hubby only has three more years to go until retirement.  So, my life will change.  I'll go onto another "hiccup".

So, I would like to invite those who happen to read this blog to view and read Hiccups In Time, as well. It may be a fairly new space, but one with GREAT potential and aspirations.

Mar 22, 2010

The Cockles of My Heart and Pressure of My Blood

I have been reminded that I am not what one would consider to be a "good" patient. I do not like going to the doctor and often will avoid it until I absolutely have to go. Once I do, it does not take long before I begin to lose my patience with resting. It is a fact that is met with much irony.

When healthy and faced with the day-in-day-out activity that denotes business as usual in our household, I dream of lying in bed all day with periods alternating between sleep and reading. However, when those periods do on occasion arrive, the first thing that I want to do is get up out of bed and DO something.

After a great and busy day on Tuesday, I was laid flat Wednesday. Extremely lethargic, occasional vomiting... It was not how I had wanted to spend my day. Especially given that my eldest daughter's chorus recital was scheduled for that night. Something, which I'm sad to say that I ended up having to miss due to illness.

Thursday, I did start feeling better, but haven't quite felt 100% as of yet, and in addition to all of this, I have experienced occasional heart flutters.

While I was at Wal-Mart yesterday, I decided to give my blood pressure a check, only to discover that it was up quite a bit. Now, even as stubborn as I can be, I know that's nothing to mess around with, especially given that there is a history of stroke and heart attack in the maternal line of my family. So, I gave in an asked hubby to take me to Urgent Care yesterday...

Long story short... I was put on blood pressure meds and have made a follow up appointment with my PCM this week.

I suppose, though, there was a part of me that thought once I took my meds I would miraculously feel better. Needless to say, that little part has been sorely disappointed. I'm still feeling run down and lightheaded, and I'm quickly losing patience with it. I had so much planned for this weekend that I've just not been able to do!

This is a wake up call, though, and only proves that the plan I'm going to put into action within the next week or so is a sound one. I was already planning to start taking this weight off... Just didn't know it was going to be as imperative as it seemingly is now.

Mar 11, 2010

Oh the Stories You'll Tell - Daily Prompt #2

Today's prompt was based on beauty, and my response resulted in Beauty to Me.

"There is much beauty in this world. One only needs to slow down long enough from our harried and restless lives in order to see it.
Admittedly, I first thought this would be a difficult assignment for me today, as I’ve been under the weather and thought that I had not gazed at too terribly much more than the backs of my eyelids today. But, truly, it goes back to the old saying that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and this does not even begin to touch on the fact that beauty is not always in the appearance of some thing. Rather, beauty can be experienced by every one of our senses, in addition to sight.
Music is beauty in its aural form. "  Read more...

Mar 10, 2010

Oh the Stories You'll Tell - Today's Daily Prompt

In response to today's prompt for Oh the Stories You'll Tell, I offer:

Spring Comes to the Queendom  (In its, as yet, raw form)

Oh the Stories You'll Tell

Several entries ago, I know that I mentioned that I was planning to participate in a month long workshop.  At the time, I was very excited.  In truth, I didn't think I could become anymore excited.  That was until we started today!

Now, I must admit that my inner critic started to rear its ugly head last night as I began reading through the wonderful introductions made by the other participants.  Wow!  Words are simply inadequate (at this point, at least lol) to express what a wonderful group of women - artists - that I have the honor of playing with in this creative sandbox of sorts this month.  I was floored, to be honest, and just a little intimidated.

All the while, in the background of my mind, the IC was whispering to me, "what have you gotten yourself into?  These women are artists.  REAL artists.  Most of them do it for a living.  You're just playing at creativity.  What do you hope to offer?"  Yes, like most, my IC can be quite scathing in its comments.  This afternoon, however...  Once I finally had some time to really sit down and begin reading the offerings coming from the rest of the participants.  I realize that many of us are in the same boat.  Even the most creative of beings have moments when they, too, question their talents.

As I said, though, I was really quite excited going into this workshop.  When I thought I couldn't become more excited, I was surprised to find that I could!  I am filled to the brim with joy.  So much so that it has, indeed, brought tears to my eyes.  This, I am realizing, is something so much more than I first imagined it would be.  It is not only an exercise in getting in touch with my creative side, but in getting in touch with me, my inner artist/child.  After all, our inner child is our inner/innate fountain of inspiration and how quickly we tend to discount her/him.

More to come as this beautifully vivid experience unfolds...

Mar 9, 2010

Keep Moving Forward

This morning, I was conversing with a dear friend of mine and a notion was brought about that really gave me cause to stop and think.

Who is it that we’re trying to impress?  Who is it that we give such power over us that our desire to please and impress him/her overrides all that we may choose to do?  And really?  It goes right along with the theme of my previous entry.  It is, after all, fear that we will step out of the realms of “normal” or “acceptable” that often prevents us from venturing into new areas.  With this said, something else occurs to me...

Where is it said that each of us must be an expert in some manner of “talent” prior to making it public?  Where does it say that we are not “allowed” to learn through our errors?  Through what may be considered by some as our failures?

Recently, my kids (including my teenager) became fans of the movie Meet the Robinsons.  The message of the movie is “Keep Moving Forward”.  It was the motto of Cornelius Robinson -the individual that the main character, Lewis, ends up becoming in the future.  As an inventor, he realized that every “failure” he had, he was given an opportunity to improve.

In one scene, Lewis attempts to fix an invention for the Robinson family.  When it goes awry, like many of his other experiences in the movie, he's surprised by the reaction he gains from the family.

"You failed!"

"And it was awesome!"

"Exceptional!"

"Outstanding!"

It is then explained to him, "from failing, you learn.  From success, not so much."  And you know?  As I think about it, that's the way that it should be!  After all, one who is in their right mind does not yell at a child who is just learning to walk simply because he/she takes a tumble, right?  Yet, in many other instances, we do.

Disapproving glances or words simply because while one takes her/his first shaky steps in some new venture, he/she does not live up to the unreasonable expectations of another.  All too often, too, the voice that is loudest is the one we hear with our inner ears.  The gaze that is most stern or filled with condemnation is the one that we see staring back at us in the mirror.  Why?  Because we knew we could have "done better".

So, why, instead of using the situation as one from which we can grow, we use it to tear ourselves down just a little bit more?  After all, do we not have enough influences outside ourselves doing that?  Why do we feel the need to join in on the lynching mob?

In addition to this, is our way of being.  Often times, it seems as though we hide a part of ourselves away because there are those around us that may not "approve" or may not "like" us.   In doing so, we are not being true to ourselves.  And honestly? Why should it matter?  What is the purpose of it?  Generally speaking, humans tend to not like those things about others that are considered "different".  So, with that in mind, what is to become of us?  Do we become carbon copies of one another simply so that another will approve?  Honestly, I do not think so.  After all, what a boring place this world would be, if it were bereft of variety?

I wish I could say that I am any different in this respect than anyone else.  Anyone who knows me or has read any of my past entries will know that I am not.  I am faced by my fears just like anyone else.  I would not, likely, be working on this entry, if such were not the case.  Much like Lewis in Meet the Robinsons, though, I'm becoming aware and beginning - hopefully - to learn from my "failures".

Mar 8, 2010

The Joys of Synchronicity

One thing that I've learned to recognize synchronicity when it occurs.  Another thing I've realized is that synchronicity occurs for many varying reasons.  Often, for me, at least, it occurs for the purpose of relaying a message.  This evening, I've had just such a moment.

It started that I was drawn to reading the blog of a dear friend.  One which I haven't, admittedly, read for some time.  The link that she posted to Facebook, however, was enough to grab my attention.  Transition Times.
Many of us take to writing or reading poetry when nothing else will suffice.  Regular prose somehow doesn’t do it when we’re in a new place, or exploring a different place calling for some other kind of expression.  Perhaps we have the words but want a new rhythm or a new pattern.
 It wasn't even that, really, that grabbed me.  Perhaps I just felt as though I needed to read it?  I'm not certain really, but found that I could really relate to what she was speaking about throughout her sharing/offering.   And I realized as a result, I'm blocking myself.  I don't venture along new avenues of writing/creativity out of fear.  "What if it isn't any good?"  "What if others don't like it?"  What I need to realize is that I don't create for others.  I create for me; because it is a strong, sometimes overpowering, innate need to do so.  I create for me and no one else.  Yet, it still was not even this realization that marked itself as "synchronicity".  No, this came moments later...

As I continued to peruse the blog, I came across another pertinent entry Ten Ways to Get Yourself Out of the Way.  Here it was!  I plain terms.  I'm in my way in so many more ways than one.  Not only where my creativity is concerned, but where my very way of being as well.  I'm getting in my own way. I'm allowing my mind to create many images.  In other words, my imagination is creating all manner of scenarios to keep me frozen with fear, and here... my dear friend has mapped out wonderful ways with which I can by-pass them, and it's all been accomplished through the wonderful means of synchronicity!!

Mar 7, 2010

Some Things Don't Ever Change...

A private post has been posted to The Private Side of Me - Some Things Don't Ever Change

Can't see it and can't understand why? The whys and what-fors can be found HERE.

WWII POWs

I have been doing some research with regard to WWII as of late.  One work that I'm preparing for is to be based in that time period.  One of my main characters will be following the path that the 157th regiment of the 45th Infantry Division took from induction until the end of the war.

Through my research, I discovered that the 45th spent some time at Fort Drum.  As a result, I've had to do more research with regard to that post, only to discover that it had been a POW camp during the war.  During that time, there were 6 German and 2 Italian POWs that died.  As I understand it, all but one died of natural causes.  One of the Italian soldiers drowned in the pond on post.

Spurred by curiosity, I did some digging to discover that all of the soldiers, except one, who was shipped home, are buried locally.  With a little bit of digging, I found out exactly where and hubby and I drove there to pay our respects this morning.

As a military spouse, I can only imagine what the families of the soldiers must have experienced.  What would I have felt like, had my husband been taken as a POW, only to die on foreign soil?

Here are pictures I found of the grave sites, and the article where I found my best bits of information.

While we humans may divide ourselves from one another by states, regions, countries, etc, we are all the same.  We, quite often, go through the same experiences throughout our lifetimes.  So, when I see the ravages of past wars, my heart goes out to the soldiers and their families, no matter what nationality they may be.

Mar 5, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

And you know that I love you
Here and now not forever
I can give you the present
I don't know about the future
That's all stuff and nonsense

~Belinda Carlisle, Stuff and Nonsense

I don't know what made me think of that song this morning.  Maybe because I know that this update is going to be a mishmash of stuff this morning.

I'm excited!  In my search to find things to keep me occupied, I came across a workshop that I'm REALLY looking forward to participating in.  It's called "Oh the Stories You'll Tell".   I read the description, and I knew that I just had to participate.  Then, after registering, I've begun to converse with Natasha via email, and... I can't tell you how much more excited I've become.  Her energy... I can feel it through her words.  Now, that shouldn't come as any surprise, really, given the fact that I'm an empath, but... Wow!  Her energy is infectious!  I can tell that she loves what she does.  We're starting on the 10th, and I can't wait!

Again, in my search to find things to occupy my time, I'm in the process of registering for school.  Yes, I'm going back.  This time, I'm going to work toward my Associate's in Psychology through Ashworth College, and the Army is going to pay for it!  Whoo hoo!  I'm really excited about this... Currently, though, we're waiting for the program, through which I'm going to get the funding, needs to replenish it's flow of funds.  The Military Liaison said that it should only be a few weeks.  That was about a week or so ago?  So... *crosses fingers*  Hopefully, something will come about with that soon.

Another bit I wanted to share...

I came across a great article last night from the Tenth Amendment Center.   What Happened to the Land of the Free?  I found it to be really informational in showing what has occurred within our government since its inception.  Little by little, over the years, we have lost many of our freedoms.  All that is left of the once unique dream  that belonged to the Founders of our nation and upon which it was first founded are the vestiges of memory.  Much like a wonderful dream that one awakes from in the morning, as the day progresses it fades from memory, almost as if it was never dreamt at all.

And as hubby prepares for work, it is time for me to get on with my day. Have a great one, everyone!

Quote of the Moment

This from the littlest one, who was eating yoghurt at the time.

"Mommy, maybe when I'm done getting yoghurt all over my shirt, you'll wash it?" 
A hilarious start to the morning... LOL

Mar 4, 2010

Videos

I posted some videos of the littlest within our clan in a protected post, which can be found HERE.

Can't see it and can't understand why? The whys and what-fors can be found HERE.

Mar 3, 2010

Reality Goes Where Our Focus Is

In truth, my mind has been swirling with all manner of thoughts as of late. All of which, I'd like to write about, and as I go to write one, another occurs to me.

The past few days, I've been really rather caught up in doing research for a book that I'm planning on writing. Those who know me are probably sitting back thinking, "another one?". Yes, another one... This one, though, I'm really quite excited about.

In the past, I've started stories of fantasy or science fiction, ones that require me to create an entirely new and different world. It's the "holes" in my built up world that cause me to lose momentum, I think. This one, however, is historically based. World War II era. Indeed, I'm having to do quite a bit of research as a result, but at least I'm not having to create everything from scratch, and I'm learning a great deal as a result.

The story, while it does have a romantic aspect to it, the romance is not the entire focus, which brings me to the thought that this entry was intended for this entry.

Romance.

There are those, who will turn their noses up at the notion, and in the past, I have allowed the views of others to prevent me from writing what inspires me. I like writing about love. After all, in my opinion? While there is plenty of it in the world, if we simply look for it, it is not often enough where focus is directed. Rather, focus tends to be placed on the horrors and atrocities of our world, and for those that are not aware of it, the area that one's focus is placed, brings more of the same...

So, while romance may seem cliche or nothing more than the ramblings of one whose depth is limited to that of a puddle formed during an early spring rain... It is my belief that were we - as a people - to focus more on the love that is present in our lives, rather than the hate, the world might, indeed, be a better place in which to live.

Mar 1, 2010

The American Dream Has Changed

A dear friend of mine sent me a link to an article - 'Empathic Civilization': Is It Time To Replace The American Dream? by Jeremy Rifkin. In it he speaks of the 'American Dream', where it originated, as well as its need to change. And while, I agree that the American Dream has soured and that it is in need of change, I do not agree that bigger government is the way to go to accomplish it.

To my way of thinking, government has overstepped its bounds in oh-so-many ways over the centuries. It has entangled itself within our lives to the point where many are being suffocated by it. It is time that it stepped back.

"The more corrupt the state, the more laws" ~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus


"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be." ~ Lao Tsu


Indeed, I agree that the "American Dream" needs a facelift, but I also do not believe that the "American Dream" that we know today is the same "American Dream" that our ancestors knew; those forefathers that came to this country to find a better life. No, at some point, big business grabbed a hold of the American public and, after distorting the dream, force-fed us with their vision of it. It has become plastic, superficial.

The forefathers of our country came here in pursuit of a better life... When they didn't get it because of the continued entanglements and corruption of the Crown, they sought to break off from it. In the end, they founded a new country, holding "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Nothing was said about the pursuit of putting one's self so far in debt that one can no longer feed one's own children. No, that is a carry over from the homeland. Big banks. Landlords. It's big business that we allow to tell us what we should want out of life. It is big business that we've allowed to guide us in building our personal facades, and all the while, in doing so, we line the pockets of big business. Making them richer while we go further in debt, in an attempt to be okay with ourselves.

The Founders did not want such a thing for We the People. Our ancestors didn't want such things for us. After all, that was what many of them came to America to get away from.

Take for instance, the Irish immigrants during the time of the Potato Famine. Indeed, there was a shortage of food because all many of them could afford to eat at the time was potatoes. Why? Because the landlords had jacked their rents up so high that they could not afford to eat much more than that. Again, why? They wanted them off the land! Land that had been rightfully theirs before the English came in...

This, I'm certain, was only one example of the time and was long after America had been established, I admit, but one of the best examples that I, myself, am familiar with.

Part of the dream was coming to America to be free of such things. But, where are we? The same position that many of our ancestors were when they came to this country. Only the facade is much different in appearance these days. Having been led to the distorted view of the dream, many of us are then swindled out of it, all by big business.

Indeed, the disparity between classes has grown immensely over the years, but BIGGER government is not going to solve it. Why? Because whether many of us want to see it or not, We the People are no longer in control of the government. It no longer answers to We the People. Rather, it answers only to Big Business. Bigger government means only more power for Big Business.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~ Old Chinese Proverb


If we ask government for anything, it should NOT be a fish. Rather, we should ask them to teach us to fish for ourselves.
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