Simply Soaring

One more time! This would be it. Jaw set. Fists clenched. Eyes tightly shut.

She knew if she only wished hard enough – if she only believed – she would soon be soaring! Just like Peter Pan.

One – two – three – JUMP!

 

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It was 1976. Hallmark Hall of Fame was presenting a televised version of Peter Pan, starring Mia Farrow and Danny Kaye.

My six-year-old self was mesmerized. Flying WAS possible. I never had any doubt.

It didn’t matter that I had jumped from the sofa 20 times already. I was determined. And…that’s when I FLEW!

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My flying outfit.  I just knew I would get some serious height with that brown plaid!

No.  Not really.

I landed with a THUD on the living room floor – pretty much the same way I had landed 19 times before – my head barely missing an end table several times, and adding at least five more bruises to two scrawny legs.

You would think I would have given up after just a few failed attempts, but I knew I could do it and I was determined to get back up and try, try again.  I BELIEVED.

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Told you they were scrawny.

Jesus talks about the importance of Christians possessing this kind of belief – the unwavering faith of a child – in Matthew 18:1-5.

I like how The Message Bible refers to it as “becoming simple again”:

At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself longing for the days of SIMPLE.

I so want to become simple again, like Jesus talked about – to believe him without questioning, to trust him without doubting, to JUMP where he leads me with absolutely no fear of falling and only excited anticipation of flying!

Thankfully, God reassures us in Isaiah 40:31 and Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 that all of that is not only possible, but promised to us if we only choose to TRUST in and earnestly SEEK him.

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I choose to trust Jesus.  I choose to earnestly seek him.  I pray you will, too.

 

Christmas Decor Hacks: Faux! Faux! Faux!

That was it! The perfect finishing touch. The basket filled with alluring, velvety red brought a coziness to the hearth that was lacking.

Unfortunately, those healthy hues of Christmas would be short-lived.

What was I doing wrong? Why were the leaves shriveling? How did this beautiful basket of joy so quickly become a depressing container of brown, lifeless matter?

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I actually WON this wooden Santa about 12 years ago.  It was a MAJOR award… 😉

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This one’s real!  I’ve managed to keep it alive for three whole weeks in our foyer, not in our den.  Progress!

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Because it’s always best to think positive.

The answer was so obvious, it’s embarrassing.

In order to thrive, poinsettias need bookoos* of natural light and consistent amounts of water.  Admittedly, last year’s poinsettias had gotten neither.

Okay – true confession time. I am a Master Gardener. Yes – for real. I earned my certification over seven years ago to start an Outdoor Classroom at my children’s school. I enjoy growing vegetables – things you can eat. Last time I checked, you can’t eat poinsettias.

Even so, I should know better. I should DO better. And, I’m working on that. I’m also working on not saying “should” all the time (some people call it “shoulding all over yourself”), but that’s a different story for a different day…

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Digging up sweet potatoes is a lot like hunting for Easter eggs – FUN!

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First Outdoor Classroom Garden in South Georgia And, I must add that no amount of classroom time can prepare you for real life 95-degree-100%-humidity-digging-in-the-dirt-gnats-in-your-eyes-sweat-dripping-body-aching-hands-on experience.  Shout out to my settler/farmer ancestors!

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Because, just precious, right?!  All kids should experience the joy and wonder of gardening, and learn how to grow their own food.

Anyway, I suspect my solution for this Christmas is one that will be celebrated by aspiring gardeners with brown thumbs everywhere!

One word – FAUX!**

That’s right – False.  Fake.  Artificial.  An Imitation.  Not Real.

A trip to the local craft store, several bouquets of silk poinsettias, one round piece of styrofoam.  BOOM!

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I’ve found faux arrangements always turn out like my hair after a trip to the salon – poofier than expected, but still totally manageable.

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Jesus is the reason for the season.

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Merry Christmas!

And, the best thing is, this new big beautiful basket of Christmas happy doesn’t care if there isn’t enough light or if I forget to add water.

Good tidings of comfort and joy!

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Ta-da!  Now, the question is, where am I going to store this monstrosity after Christmas is over?!  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…

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*Bookoos – phonetic spelling of the French word “beaucoup”, usually used in the Southern U.S.  Just a little Fun Fact for the day. You’re welcome.

**Another French word.

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To read more about the history of poinsettias and how to properly care for REAL ones, read this wonderful article written by Garden Therapy:  https://gardentherapy.ca/guide-to-poinsettias/

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

 

Sam’s Club, God, and an Angel from FSU

God is always at work, and he loves us deeply.  That hit home for me more than ever yesterday.  And, at Sam’s Club, of all places!

My husband, Rob, and I went there to get two tires replaced on our well-traveled (translation:  worn out!) van.  We’re in Pensacola right now.  Rob’s brother, Doug, had a surfing accident on Saturday.  He is in critical condition, and the outlook is not good.

Our reason for visiting Pensacola was definitely not one we would have chosen, and the last thing we wanted to be focusing on was vehicle maintenance.  Life happens, though – all those events and circumstances and situations we don’t always want or expect to happen – and, so our aimless tour of Sam’s began.  

One aisle.  Two aisles.  Slowly walking.  Not talking.  Just thinking and praying. Eventually, we found our way to the clothing section.  Neither of us needed any clothes but, somehow, holding up shirts, folding them, and then putting them back on the table seemed like a good way to pass the time.

“So, is that FSU or Alabama?”, a voice said.  The man was pointing at the red stadium seat Rob was holding.  “We’re going to say it’s Alabama!”, I answered.  The man winced.  His son was a student at FSU.  Our daughter is a student at Alabama.  I know.  I know.  It may be shocking, but we were all able to look past the rivalry (no heated exchange or fist fights next to the Nautica shirt table…), and the pleasantries continued.

FSU and Bama play in Atlanta next weekend.  That’s where we live.  “Are you going to the game?”.  Laughter.  Last time we checked, we hadn’t won the lottery!  Even if tickets were still available, do you know how much they’d cost?!  Um.  Just.  No.

“So, why are you in Pensacola?”  Long pause.  I could see Rob was searching for a hint of crazy town in this guy (I was, too!), but he seemed nice enough.  Rob took a deep breath, let out a huge sigh, and then told him about Doug.

The man listened intently.  He expressed his sadness and concern.  Like Doug, he too, was 59.  He, too, enjoyed surfing.  He, too, was battling his own unexpected and unwanted challenges with two separate cancer diagnoses and surgeries.  Yes.  Life happens – all those events and circumstances and situations we don’t always want or expect to happen.

“This reminds me of that verse in James…”

“Consider it pure joy!”, I interrupted him.

The man smiled.  Rob and I have been studying that verse with our Sunday morning Bible study class.  

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.        James 1:2-4 (NIV)

And, that’s when I knew.  This wasn’t just your everyday-in-the-clothing-section-of-Sam’s conversation. This was God letting us know – by way of a 59-year-old FSU fan dressed in a 30A hat, t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, no less! – that He is ALWAYS working.

God is ALWAYS with us.  In the good times.  In the bad times.  We may not understand the WHY behind what is happening, but he wants us to trust that no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay.  No matter what happens, Doug is going to be okay.

Life Lessons From a Fourth of July Binge

So, I have a confession.  When several of my friends started posting on Facebook last Fall about a new television show called, “This Is Us”, I dismissed it.  “How good could it really be?”, I thought.  And, “Who has TIME to watch a TV series?!”.

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Follow up posts about how each episode touched them even more than the next didn’t even make me want to tune in the next week.  I mean, come on – life is hard enough as it is. Who in their right mind would want to watch a televised version of their real life?! Television and movies are for escape, not for reliving what you’ve already experienced or are currently living.

Fast forward to Fourth of July 2017.  At our house, holidays and special occasions have pretty much become an inside joke.  If a holiday or major milestone is coming up, it’s a safe bet around here that Rob (my husband and Dad to our two teen kids) will be traveling for work. (It’s also a safe bet that something MAJOR will go wrong with the house, the car, or one of us will be hospitalized, but that’s a different story for a different day…).

Now, please don’t misunderstand.  That’s not a knock against Rob, at all.  The kids and I know he would be here if he could.  We are VERY thankful for him and his job but also understand it – our LIFE – is, well, simply…different from the life of pretty much everyone we know.

To sum it up, when you have a spouse who travels frequently, it’s hard to make lifelong friends, and meaningful plans, and have a set schedule, and live a “normal” life. The constant travel and the moving to a different city every few years – basically starting over again every 2 to 5 years, or so – can really take its toll.

I have to admit, for a control freak, planner like me, that’s been a MAJOR adjustment.  I wish I could report that, after 21 years of marriage, we’ve figured it all out and it’s always smooth sailing, now.  But, the fact of the matter is, we haven’t.  And, it isn’t.  And, even though it can be incredibly stressful at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So, I guess that’s why I’ve (surprisingly!) found myself binge watching “This Is Us” for the past two days.  To sum it up,  “This Is Us” is raw and real and it helps you put your life into perspective and remember what it is all really about, even in the midst of all the “crazy”.  It has also reminded me personally that, while touching base with friends and family on Facebook or via text is wonderful, it’s absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE for connecting with them in real life, even though we may live in different states.  I miss really connecting with the people who matter most to me.  It’s the experiences we share that we will always remember – the one-on-one, in person time spent together.  I want more of that! 

Now, in the spirit of “being real”, I have to confess that my friends and family can sometimes bug the crap out of me (I’m sure I have the same effect on them!)!  Still, I love them very much and I treasure the time I have with them.  Isn’t it ironic that those very real-life, not-so-perfect, frustrating-yet-stimulating interactions are what ultimately make life fun, and happy, and bearable, and memorable?  And, isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place – to learn how to love God and love each other?  Investing in people – time spent with people – that’s what we should be focusing on.

So, thank you to my friends who posted about “This Is Us” last Fall.  I’m sorry it took me so long to catch on…  And,  “well done!” to the writers of a wonderful series.  Thank you for waking me up and reminding me that trying to forget about and avoid pain, discomfort, and difficult memories by isolating myself and not truly connecting with others can only result in a mediocre life – one that’s not really being lived.  And, that it is through life’s MANY messes – those unplanned, unexpected moments – that we truly connect with one another and experience true joy and true living, and ultimately learn how to live life abundantly.

 

Bama Bound Basket

It’s official!  Our daughter is BAMA Bound!  She’ll be a third generation University of Alabama student, so I’m not sure who’s more excited – her, her Grandfather, or me!

Of course, it just wouldn’t do for her new crimson and white yard art to set all alone beside the mailbox.  If you haven’t already guessed, we Southern women tend to have somewhat of a compulsion to fill in empty spaces with all kinds of FLUFF like flowers and bows…

Yes – I admit.  I was tempted to put a houndstooth bow on the basket, but figured that’d be a bit too much.  Maybe even pretentious?  And, we all know what folks say about being pretentious…an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.

Roll Tide, y’all!

Essential Oil Spotlight: Wild Orange

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Wild Orange oil is one of dōTERRA’s most popular oils—and with good reason! Not only does Wild Orange oil have a variety of uses, but its invigorating, energizing aroma is hard to resist.

One of my favorite ways to use Wild Orange is in the diffuser. If you need a lift (or, maybe even a PUSH…), this Citrus Slush diffuser recipe will get you moving (Wild Orange is one of the main oils in doTERRA’s Citrus Bliss blend.)!

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Another energizing combo is Wild Orange and Peppermint.  Simply add a couple of drops of each oil to the palm of your hand, rub your palms together, cup your hands over your nose, and inhale.  Better than a cup of coffee (and I LOVE coffee, so that’s saying a lot!)!

Combining a few drops of Wild Orange oil with water in a glass spray bottle also makes a wonderful all-purpose spray, that both cleans AND smells good! As a citrus oil, Wild Orange has cleansing properties that make it useful for purifying surfaces like countertops and tables throughout your home.

Another fun way to use Wild Orange essential oil is in cooking!  I’ve heard rave reviews about this Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with Orange Gelee!

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It only takes 20 minutes to make, and serves 8.  I pinned it to my recipe board on Pinterest.  You know, along with the 50 bajillion other fabulous recipes I haven’t quite gotten around to making yet!  There is always hope, though.  And, progress, not perfection is my motto.  Simply the fact that I pinned it shows that I’m making progress, right?!

To learn more about dōTERRA orange oil, visit the Wild Orange product information page on dōterra.com.

GIVEAWAY:  I’d love to hear how you enjoy using Wild Orange essential oil!  Comment to be entered into a drawing for a free 5mL bottle of Wild Orange. Drawing will be held on Friday, April 21.

When You Need a Little “Happy”

So, it’s Monday.  And, it’s raining.  Of course that brings to mind a song!

Anyway, it’s no secret that I love plants and I love essential oils (which come from plants).  I started using essential oils a little over two years ago to help with anxious thoughts and sad feelings.

Like most folks, I’ve been dealing with lots of BIG stuff for about two decades (but, who’s counting, right?!):

  • infertility issues
  • miscarriage
  • difficult pregnancies (ever heard of PUPPP??!!  Let’s just say it’s NOT pleasant or pretty…)
  • false diagnosis of neuroblastoma for our 8 month old son (thankfully, it turned out to be a calcified adrenal gland!)
  • building three houses (okay, we didn’t actually frame them in or lay the bricks, but we did supervise and do some of the inside finishing ourselves)
  • moving five times to four different cities in two different states (Why do I hear my military friends laughing at this?  I’m sure they’re thinking “ONLY five times?!  Puh-lease!”)
  • Mother diagnosed with breast cancer (she’s doing great now, by the way!)
  • being a single parent much of the time, because my husband’s job requires a TON of travel
  • daughter diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 8
  • death of three Grandparents, three Uncles, one Aunt, and my only Brother
  • Father’s open heart surgery

I’m sure there’s more I’m blocking out not remembering, but you get the picture.

I’m sharing this not to compare hardships.  We ALL are going through, or will go through, difficult times in our lives.

In fact, I’m sure many of you are looking at my list and thinking “That’s it?!  You think that’s hard?!  Let me tell you what’s HARD!”.  I get that.

We all have a different capacity for dealing with tragedy, and I wish none of us had to go through any hard times or sadness.

Still, if you struggle with anxious thoughts and sad feelings like I do, you probably understand that it doesn’t take too many “difficult times” or “BIG stuff” happening in rapid succession for life to begin to seem as if everyday tragedy is the norm.

Embracing the joyful times becomes more and more difficult.  Being hopeful can almost be scary – even when you are a Christian, and you know, know, KNOW that God has SO “got all of this” and there is no need to worry!

Yes – medications can help.  Admittedly, I’ve tried several that were prescribed by physicians.

Still, as I learn more about health and wellness and study how our bodies work, I’m beginning to believe that simply medicating a person with a blanket prescription drug is not the answer.  We are all too different.  Our experiences – our bodies – are unique. God made us that way!  One size definitely does not fit all.

That being said, there’s no doubt a prescription medication might alleviate certain symptoms of a condition or disease.  Still, one has to wonder if that medication is actually fixing the problem or simply masking symptoms of the root cause?

Here’s a question:  What if the answer to healing those who regularly struggle with sad and anxious feelings (as well as numerous other conditions) might actually be found through a more holistic, natural approach – analyzing the overall health of an individual and determining the role circumstances unique to them (stress/environment), physical health (diet, exercise, sleep), and spiritual health (prayer/meditation) might play in their overall health and well-being?

I know.  BIG question.  And, way too much to go into here…  Still, it’s absolutely fascinating, don’t you think?  Definitely something that merits serious consideration and exploration.

Now, back to essential oils…I’ve personally found essential oils to be a wonderful tool for managing anxious thoughts and sad feelings.  When I started using oils, I only diffused them.  Now, I use them topically and internally, as well.

I love, love, love researching the benefits of different oils and creating new blends!

In fact, a blend that has been very helpful to me lately is one I call my “Happy, Happy, Happy!” blend:  6 drops Lime, 5 drops Elevation: Joyful Blend, and 4 drops Spearmint.

I have to say, it smells A-MAZ-ING!  I dare you not to feel happy when you diffuse it!

I hope it will help lift your spirits as much as it has lifted mine!

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