8 things I'm loving right now

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Here's a list of some things I'm loving right now, in no particular order.

One. The pillows on my couch have seen better days. They were flat and sad-looking. I decided to join the faux fur bandwagon, and pick up some soft and cozy faux-ness. Love these. Also got a faux throw; a couple more pillows are due to arrive soon on my doorstep, just in time for the whole family to enjoy napping with one after a big Thanksgiving meal.



Two. The old pillows were a sage green and plaid to match this valence. I wanted the valence down to let in more light, and to move to a more neutral palette in my family room. It was easy to do as most of the colors in the room came from the valence and the pillows. It's so calming now. And I love seeing the tree tops through these upper windows.

Was just starting to remove these valences when I remembered to stop and get a pic!

Three. Okay, I posted this pic on Instagram, and a few were puzzled by this trend of shelving books backwards. I was too at first. I mean, how ridiculous. How can you even know what book you're looking for?


But it was time to dust. I hadn't actually pulled the books off the shelves and dusted them for well over a year. I decided to turn a few around just to see what they looked like that way. Pretty soon I was turning most of them around. After all, I have them all sorted by category and alphabetized, so I can pretty much tell you where any book is anyway. 


And it's very soothing to look at in my new neutral room.

Next time I have a big dusting I might organize them according to color, just for fun.

Four. This is the first time I've seen this shortbread in the sheep shape. Adorable!


Five. Not only have my pillows needed an upgrade, but my bras as well. I'm embarrassed to say how old they are. It was time. I kept seeing the Third Love brand advertised on my Facebook feed. I was a little leery of ordering bras online. But they do take you through a questionnaire to determine your correct size, so I took a chance.

They fit perfectly, and they're so comfortable.

Six. Binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix. 

Okay, yes, horror, supernatural, some really gruesome scenes. Not my typical series for watching. Hallmark Christmas movies are usually more my style. But we did get drawn into this series. I really liked the kids in it, but I kept thinking, where are their parents?!

Seven. On a slightly more elevated cultural level, the DSO.

A friend and I got tickets for a series of seven concerts this year at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. We just went to a performance of Romeo and Juliet. And heard an amazing pianist. Just lovely.

Eight. Subscription boxes.

I tried Blue Apron, the meal delivery service. Loved it. But really too expensive, and I felt guilty about all the packaging waste so I discontinued it. But I now have lots of great recipes from them that I can make on my own.

So now I'm trying some other subscription boxes, FabFitFun and ipsy. FabFitFun is a quarterly box of fitness gear and beauty products for $39.99 a quarter. In my first box I got a beautiful scarf, a belt, a gym bag, a jewelry organizer, some makeup and more. A couple items great for Christmas stocking stuffers.


ipsy is a makeup subscription service for $9.99/month. I got five items in my first shipment, all items I will use, and definitely worth more than $9.99. A little makeup bag I'll keep in my purse, some foundation, eyeshadow, eye pencil (love this), and something else I'm forgetting.


I will try both of these subscription services for a little while. Both allow you some choice as to what you receive and both can be cancelled any time.

And an extra bonus one. The thing I'm most loving right now, though, the thing I'm most thankful for, is that both of our sons and our daughter-in-law are coming for Thanksgiving. My mom is flying in from Colorado. With our daughter and her husband here, we will have everyone together. Since the boys can't be here for Christmas, we're putting up the tree before Thanksgiving so we can celebrate a two-in-one holiday together. Yay!

What about you? What are you loving right now?

{I never do sponsored posts; none of the brands mentioned here was sent to me for my review.}

The Enchanting Rose teacup and mug exchange reveal!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Welcome to the party! More than 200 coffee drinkin' and tea sippin' ladies swapped teacups and mugs and a whole lotta love for The Enchanting Rose's 11th exchange party.

Our daughter was bringing in the mail for us while we were out of town in October. She told me I had a package from Ontario waiting for me. I had a sneaking suspicion it was from our self-proclaimed "teaholic" friend Margie from Tea in the Valley. And I was right! Wow. She so spoiled me.

Look at all these fabulous goodies!


An elegant and lovely teacup. Trés chic.



She included a Jane Austen coloring book. Love Mr. Knightly. He's my favorite.


Preach it, Emma . . .


Real maple syrup from Canada.


Thank you Margie. You sure know how to make a girl feel like royalty.

This was the first time I did a mug exchange. This is from Chas of Chas' Crazy Creations. She also does DIY videos on Hometalk. I am in greater admiration of her after having done a few practice YouTube videos! It takes confidence and some courage for sure.

She shows you how to make easy and low-cost crafts. Right up my alley!


I love this mug with the raised autumn design.


Chas made this delightful little pumpkin and included a battery-operated light to go inside.


I sent a fall mug and package to Annie in Indiana.                            .



I sent a teacup to Tanya at Timeless Romantic Designs. I was excited when I learned she likes pink.



So many thanks to our lovely hostess Stephanie. None of us probably realize how many hours she puts into these exchanges to make them so enjoyable for everyone. Thank you, dear Stephanie.

Linking with The Enchanting Rose.

Do you tweet? Upload YouTube videos?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Thank you all for your feedback on the title for my book. I'm still debating, but it looks like From Darkness to Light: Hope and Encouragement for those with Depression is in the lead.

I finished it last night and sent it off to three friends and family members to read. Which is a little iffy because what are they going to say to me if it really stinks? I'm hoping they will not worry about hurting my feelings (too much!) and will give me honest feedback. 

In the meantime, I've been looking into how to publish my book and market it.

Seems like a lot of people advise you to get big into social media, which I'm not. I haven't posted anything on Instagram for months. I never post on Facebook, only go on to like other people's posts. I do love Pinterest.

But tweeting? About what?


And have a YouTube channel? You've got to be kidding.
Then again, everybody tweets. Everybody uploads YouTube videos. Right?

Do you? Would you?

I kind of practiced a little making some videos using my iPhone. Oh my gosh. Now I think I need a facelift. My teeth whitened at the very least.

And I saw some advice that, you know how the camera adds 15 pounds? A video also halves your enthusiasm. You really have to exude sparkle and excitement.

I tried. Hah. I wish I was brave enough to upload my attempts.

But I had some good laughs.

Help me pick a book title

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I've pulled out my book I was working on last year. The one on depression that I ended up being too depressed to finish.

I'm planning on self-publishing it through Amazon, both in a print and an ebook format.

It will be a small book, 25,000 to 30,000 words. For reference, a novel is about 80,000 words long.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things I need to learn about formatting and publishing, including coming up with a good title and making a good cover. And then figuring out how to market it.

I remember when I first started blogging, it seemed like a real learning curve. But I just kept looking up my questions and figured it out. I hope the same will be true here. But it almost seems like it will be more time-consuming than writing the book itself.

I'm not sure why, but the title is giving me a hard time.


I was originally thinking of something like From Darkness into Light. Until I looked that up on Amazon and saw a bunch of titles with the same name.

But it will be impossible not to find a book title that hasn't been used somewhere by somebody. With 75,000 books being printed each year (!!!), there's just not enough words out there.

I want to have the word depression somewhere in the title, just so people can find it with their search engine.

So maybe you can help me pick a title.

A short description of the book first so you'll know what it's about . . .

Imagine sitting across the table from a wise and compassionate friend, one who has walked the same path as you for years, one who understands what it is like to live with a depressive illness. Listen as she shares her heart and gently listens to yours, encouraging you and offering practical steps to come out into the light of freedom and joy. Covering the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those suffering from depression, discussing when and if mental health counseling and medication is appropriate, and offering the unique perspective of how beauty heals, here is a life-giving guide to help you through your own dark night.

So here are some possible titles.

1. Healing for Your Dark Night
Help and Encouragement for those Struggling with Depression

2. Help for Depression
Compassionate Advice from Someone Who's Been There

3. From Darkness into Light
(and the first subtitle above)

4. Recovering from Depression
(and the second subtitle above)

5. Hope in Your Dark Night
(and the first subtitle above)

Sigh. None of these seem very catchy. But I guess it's hard to find anything too exciting for a non-fiction book on depression.

Which title speaks to you? Which would you want to read? Let me know what you think.

Thanks, friends.

Hanging tough through the ordinary

Friday, October 13, 2017

The test of a man's religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting 
on. The worth of a man is revealed in his attitude to ordinary things when he is not in the footlights. --Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest


I do think it's the ordinary, everyday, humdrum existence that can really show our character.

When the baby's diaper needs changing again. When the cat has thrown up on the carpet again. When you have to cook dinner again. When the dishes need to be done, the laundry folded, the bed made, the thank you letter written. The groceries bought and put away.

The temptation avoided.

These are the boring necessities of life. That need to be done every day, or life can quickly fall apart. The things that no one recognizes unless they're not done. No one notices a clean toilet, but everyone will notice a dirty one.

If we're honest, we all want to be part of, or be, the Big Deal. Get the attention. The spotlight. The thank you's for a fabulous achievement.

It's the daily grind that can flatten us. The daily saying no to laziness and temptations. This is where we need to stay faithful.

*****


And just look at this . . . 


Can you believe the difference?! I can't get over how much I'm loving this.


I feel like we've moved to the country.

So the next step is some more topsoil, grading, and extending the lawn back a bit. We'll leave the further back area au naturelle. I want to add some color by way of (shade-loving) perennials. Maybe the gardeners out there can give me some ideas.

Arguing with myself

Friday, September 29, 2017

So I went into Home Goods a couple weeks ago and saw a little hourglass with pink glittery sand that just called to me. 


And then the argument started.

I always have these arguments with myself whenever I see anything pink and glittery and adorable.

"What -- are you 12 years old?"

"But it's so stinkin' cute!"

"What are you going to do with it?"

"Well, I could use it to time brushing my teeth." (I tried appealing to reason, as the idea of "fun" didn't seem to be getting me anywhere.)

"It's just one more thing to clutter up the counter. You don't need it."

"But it's 40% off." I was whining by now.

"Just because it's on sale doesn't mean you need it."

The practical adult got her way. We left the store with a few sensible purchases. But the fun-loving child in me didn't forget the hourglass. I reminded Ms. Killjoy of the time she sent back the pink tulle skirt, and even she regretted it. It had been fun to twirl around in. And just maybe there would have been an occasion to wear it. I could have toughened it up a bit with boots and my gray suede bomber jacket. Right?

So the next time I was in Home Goods, we got the hourglass. I tipped it over as I stood in the checkout line with my daughter. It was a long line. I soon realized much longer than the 2 minutes recommended for teeth brushing.

"I'm not brushing my teeth this long!" I told my daughter after about 10 minutes.

Later, I timed it, to see how long it actually took for the pink sand to run out.

16 1/2 minutes. This obviously isn't some kind of regulation timepiece.

Okay, I can work with this.

What can I do in 16 1/2 minutes? I was going to prove that this was a practical, needful purchase.

*** Work out with arm weights.

*** Check Facebook (it usually takes way longer, but I'm trying to cut down on SM. This will be so helpful!).

*** Do my makeup and hair.

*** Clean the bathroom (okay, it takes longer than this, but sometimes I just put the job off. I can clean for 16 1/2 minutes; something is better than nothing).

*** Clean out a drawer.

*** Write a letter.


Hey, I'm starting to think that this was a very sensible purchase. 

*******

The practical adult in me doesn't give up, though. 

A similar argument broke out at DSW last week. Over this.


"Oh. My. Gosh. Look at this!! Isn't it adorable?!"

"Oh, for heaven's sake. What are you -- 12 years old?" (This seems to be her standard response.)

"But . . . 

"Where would you ever wear this?? What would people think?"

"Oh, come on. Really? You're going to worry about what other people think? At your age?" (I can play that game, too.)

I then went on to remind her of our regret over the tulle skirt. I remind her of that often. And how fun and sensible the hourglass purchase ended up being.

"But this fake, furry pink purse is really ridiculous. You really can't justify it at all."

"But we have a coupon."

"How many times do I have to remind you? A bargain isn't a bargain if you don't need it."

But I suspect that Ms. Killjoy is really a softie at heart. After wandering around the store a bit, we circled back and got the purse.

Every time I see it in my closet now I smile. It's worth it just for that.

And I actually think I'll use it. Maybe. 

Would you? (haha, don't answer that)

And what would you do for 16 1/2 minutes?

And do you ever argue with yourself?

{Linking with Pink Saturday.}

Healthy eating . . . and not

Saturday, September 23, 2017


A couple friends and I have been meeting and trying to support each other in eating healthy and losing weight.

I made a paleo pizza and a friend made a salad for our last get together.


My friends are following this eating plan. Me, a somewhat modified version.


I've made a couple batches of bone broth, both beef and chicken. Full of healthy collagen and gelatin.


This is the paleo pizza crust I made. Just look up Fat Head pizza online. It's delicious, even if you're not paleo or gluten-free (which I'm not). The crust is mozzarella cheese, almond flour, an egg, and some herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme).


When I made it for my husband I put bacon and pineapple on it.


I made chai the other night for a group of friends. I made four gallons. It was a lot of friends, but not that many. I had lots to send home with them in canning jars.


The recipe calls for star anise, which I just think is the coolest-looking thing.


Chai calls for lots of sugar, but I made a separate sugar-free batch for those who wanted less or no sugar.


Caramel never has to think about carbs or sugars. The same thing goes in her bowl day after day. It is what it is . . . sigh. 


Sometimes I just forget about carbs and sugars. And go for it.

This chocolate-filled croissant was wonderful.



Don't tell my friends.

I made it through my sleep study

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I had about two months to wait before I could get in to have my sleep study done, and every time I thought about it I felt anxious.

I was so worried that I wouldn't sleep at all, and that the whole thing would be a waste. It's an expensive study, and we haven't met any of our health insurance deductible this year so it would be all out of pocket. What if I didn't sleep at all and they couldn't collect any data?

So I almost cancelled a couple times.

Especially since I feel pretty sure my sleep problems are related to depression and anxiety, and not to sleep apnea or something else. But my doctor wanted to double check.

I'm very thankful to report that I did sleep. Very fitfully.  

I had 16 electrodes stuck to my head and the side of my face, two more on my legs, and a blood oxygen monitor on my left index finger. I had a strap around my chest and another around my waist. There was a sensor under my nose that would indicate whether I was breathing through my mouth or nose. They were measuring eye movement, leg movement, whether or not I stopped breathing, and not sure what all else.

I was hooked up to these.
I tend to toss and turn from side to side so it was a trick with all those wires.

There was a camera aimed at my bed, and someone was watching me all night. That had to be boring for them but it was a little unsettling to me.

It makes me anxious just remembering this. Who could sleep?


I fell asleep about a half hour after lights out, and then jerked awake seconds later. And of course, I'm wondering, sleep apnea? Restless leg syndrome? Or just anxiety over the whole thing?

I would normally never fall asleep that soon, especially under such conditions. But I went and had a Chinese foot massage that evening just before going to the sleep clinic. I've had them a few times, and every time I've slept well. Hmm . . . .wouldn't it be great if I could get insurance coverage for that?!

I spent most of the night drifting in and out of sleep. Even though I didn't drink anything after 8 p.m. I had to call the nurse in to unhook me so I could go to the bathroom. All I had to do was speak in a normal voice from my bed, and she could hear me. All the lights went on when she came in, so after all that I was awake for quite a while.

I was told not to put my hands over the belts on my chest or waist and not to sleep on them. As I generally tuck my arms in front of me or sleep half on my stomach, I was worried I would cover them up, so I kept waking and adjusting myself into a sleep position so this wouldn't happen.

And in the morning.

Talk about a rough wakeup. The nurse opened the door, flipped on the overhead lights and began to unplug me from everything. Before I had a chance to even blink she had me over on a chair where she swabbed ice cold alcohol on the sticky glue holding all the electrodes on. Then she ripped the gauze off the sides of my face, literally peeling off the top layer of skin.

Good morning to you, too.

I took a picture of myself before I left, but I can't post it. My hair was a gelatinous mess from all the sticky goo they used. I couldn't even get a brush through it. I had lines and little circles all over the side of my face! Proof I guess that I'd been asleep.

Fortunately I was able to sneak out of the building under cover of some early morning fog.

 A hot cup of coffee and a shower at home and I was feeling a little better.


 Grateful it's over. I'll know the results in a couple days.

Some happy fall-ish things

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pumpkin from http://www.celestinamariedesign.com.
I say this every year, but it's true. Fall is my absolute favorite. The days are sunny and mild with low humidity. The nights are cool, perfect for sleeping with the windows open, a luxury only enjoyed here for a few months out of the year.

It's a time of new beginnings. Back to school. I always buy myself a notebook or two and sharpen some fresh new pencils in honor of those exciting first days of the school year. A fresh clean notebook just sparkles with possibilities.

I'm back to doing some writing, and cleaning up my diet and fluffing up the home nest in preparation for the cooler weather and cozy, fire-lit evenings.

Needed to use up some leftover coconut milk. What nicer than chocolate pudding?
The "harvest" is in. No garden here, only a few herbs in pots on the deck. Fresh thyme and rosemary and basil.


This was what things looked like from our deck a month or so ago. A veritable jungle.


We hired a company to clear out some of the brush, and then my husband and I have been clearing out even more. I've got the poison ivy to prove it. The more we do, the more we see there is to do. Isn't that always the case? We have another crew coming out later this week to mow down even more. 


Look at the difference already. We are moving things back another 15 feet or so. After this week, we will feel like we have a brand new backyard. Then we'll have to decide how much to seed, and what to leave au naturel. I have visions of clumps of daffodils and daisies scattered about.

We're keeping the nice trees, but there has been so much dead stuff and vines and buckthorn bushes that the poor trees have barely been able to breathe. What a metaphor for our lives really. So many choking vines and invasive growth that needs to be cut away and removed so that we can have room and space to grow.

The vines especially appear almost evil to me and I saw more clearly how they twist and cling and hang onto the beautiful maples and tulip trees and pines, trying to literally choke the life out of them.

We really regret not doing this sooner. Some of these lovely trees are going to lose a number of their lower limbs because they haven't had the space or light to grow. Even the poison ivy is conspiring against us, and I've had to deal with some "battle wounds" from fighting the enemy back there.

It makes me wonder what in my life is choking off growth. What do I need to prune back? Or get rid of? 

So much easier if we had dealt with it in the beginning. Nipped it in the bud, as it were.


The new deck is almost finished.




Fall is also the time for going to the cider mills, the corn mazes, and fall festivals. Our little downtown celebrated its annual fall festival last weekend. The Rotary Club does barbecue chicken, the Kiwanis do a pancake breakfast. The roads are closed and the carnival rides are set up and booths are open for browsing crafts and clothing, food and home decor. I found this adorable little purse.


Trying to lower the amount of carbs I'm consuming. This is mashed cauliflower.


I heard about this Mad Hippie cream on some YouTube video, so when I saw it 30% off at our local health food store, I picked some up. Will let you know. The packaging is pretty, and that's always a selling point.


A friend gave me a bird bath for my birthday, and while the deck is being built, I have it on the hearth displaying some chrysanthemums.


While we here in the Midwest have been enjoying a lovely fall, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been pounding the South, and our western neighbors have been dealing with devastating fires. It's hard to believe the destruction so many people are experiencing. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering.
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs