Tuesday, November 12, 2013

With a Grateful Heart...

Thanksgiving is coming!! I adore this holiday, but bittersweet is the best way to describe it.

I get crazy homesick at this time of the year.  Fall is beautiful in Mississippi, but there is NOTHING like New England autumn.  I love this weather, the fall leaves, the bonfires, the family get - togethers. But I miss my home, and I  miss Jane and I miss Jeremy. We lost Jeremy 7 years ago, about a month after Abby was born and about a week before Joy's wedding. My niece and my oldest son also celebrate their birthday in the Fall. Jeremy's death is sandwiched in there between birthdays and joyful wedding memories. He struggled. He wasn't easy, but I miss his goofy self singing the strawberry shortcake song with Lizzie and yelling LOUDLY at the TV watching football. Honestly, that young man drove me crazy but I miss him. Jane was easy to love.  She was pleasant, and faithful and steady.  I looked forward to Thanksgiving every year because I knew that amidst the craziness of our family would come a voice of reason from Alabama.  We lost her in the Spring of few years back, and I always miss her more when Thanksgiving rolls around.

For me, this time of the year is a perfect blend of beauty and ashes.  It hurts, but it's lovely.  My memories are sweet, and the longing is bitter.  Sometimes, you can't separate the hurt from the joy. Sometimes, it comes in one bundle, and you hold it in your shaking hand, and think "I don't want this." but you have it. And all you can do is clench your fist, let the sorrow and pain drip through fingers, and caress the remaining broken and beautiful memories. 

I'm thankful I have sweet memories of both of these loved ones.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


A long hot bath for sore muscles.
The first breath of ocean air when you reach the beach.
The aroma of coffee at a coffee shop.
Warm, fuzzy slippers on cold feet.
Hearing from a friend you have missed.
Your favorite movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Swimming in a cool lake or pool on a hot day.
Hot tea on a sore throat.

And everything else that makes you say, "ahhh!" as you relax and put your feet up...THAT is what night time is too me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Natural Disinfectants (because I think my lungs are bleeding from hosing the kids' bathroom down with bleach)

Bleach is awesome.  I love it.  It cleans the heck out of stuff, kills stuff, prevents stuff from spreading.  It's great stuff.  However, like most things that I love, bleach requires moderation.  So, if you should find yourself with a nasty infection, like...oh, i don't know...Staph, maybe?...And you have bleached your bathroom to the point that you have to leave the house to breathe...you may want to try a bleach alternative. So here are a few things that I have found to work REALLY well and smell a whole lot better than bleach.  And you're lungs won't bleed. What's not to love?

1. Vinegar:  OK, this one doesn't smell awesome.  But the smell goes away once the vinegar dries.  Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid. The acid is what kills germs and bacteria.  Combine it with a little dish washing liquid and hot water, and it is a great multi-surface cleaner. I usually add several drops of essential oils as well.

2. Hydrogen peroxide:  Not so much by itself, but added to a solution of vinegar, water and dish soap... kicks it up a notch. Also great for disinfecting clothes.  Use it in place of bleach in when you do your laundry.

3. Borax...but don't get crazy!!  Again, not by itself.  Add a little ( like a teaspoon) to some (like a cup) of hot water.  Give it a little stir and let it dissolve.  Then add some (about a half a cup) of vinegar.  Boom.  You're done.  Unless of course, you are like me, and that recipe is too easy for you.  You need to add something that smells good, which brings me to...

4. Essential Oils:

Tea tree oil is one of my favorites because it does everything!!  It has anti-fungal properties,so you can use it to treat nail fungus or other unpleasant skin irritations like athletes foot and ringworm.  It also is a germ killing BOSS, meaning it can kill staphylococcus, e-coli, and salmonella. Tea tree oil is pretty easy to find. I get mine at Kroger in the organic, healthy schmealthy section, or Rainbow Co-Op in Jackson, or online at NOW Foods.  Most pharmacies carry it as well.

Other great essential oils with antibacterial properties are, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange oil, and rosemary... and maybe oregano, but I'm not sure about that one. 

Here are some links to recipes that I have used in the past:





 Be sure to wear gloves just as you would with store bought cleaners.  Borax can be rough on the skin and some essential oils can burn. Most need to be mixed with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, in order to be applied to the skin.

AND, if you do use bleach....less is more.  Don't be idiot and burn a hole in your lungs. Anywhere from a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water should be fine.  Wipe down the surface you are disinfecting and let it dry by itself.  And wear old clothes. :-)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Loss for Words

According to Wikipedia, the English language is spoken in about 88 countries and territories worldwide. You would think we (English speakers) would have all our necessary words covered with popularity like that… but no. There are many situations that lack a word to describe them.
 For instance, we need a word for the phenomena of how a mild injury or illness that appears on Thursday evening or Friday morning…something like a cough, an upset stomach, or I don’t know, a bug bite… goes from “annoying” to “still tolerable” on Saturday, when you still have the option of After Hours Care at the local clinic ... until Sunday afternoon. It may have even improved on Saturday, but guess what? It’s Sunday now, so BOOM!!!! It’s worse and boy are you stupid for not doing anything on Friday!!!The mild cough is now most definitely the flu. The upset stomach, that was only bothering you occasionally, now has you spending a vast amount of your waking hours sitting on or clutching the toilet and praying for God to take you home NOW. Or maybe, what appeared to be a small, red, bug bite on your leg is now a reddish purple lump, swollen to 3 times its size, and tender and warm to the touch. Your only option is the dreaded trip to the ER. And you don’t have insurance. And I even if you did, what are going to do? Go to the hospital because your cold got worse? Or you have diarrhea? Or you have an ugly bug bite. We all know there are extreme situations that call for a trip to the emergency room, but surely not this situation.
 Oh, and WAIT! It’s not you, it’s your kid. Because it’s super fun and easy to figure out just how much pain or discomfort they are in. Yeah, we need a word for that, too. “Guessing” or “assessing” doesn’t cut it because those are practical words that ignore the emotions (Your baby is HURTING!!!) involved in the situation, not to mention the irrational fear that the cold with develop into triple pneumonia even though she only has 2 lungs. Those little bug bites? They are so swollen and infected, you know those legs are gonna have to come off.

  “Sorry, lady…we could have saved his legs if you had brought him in the hospital sooner… for a bug bite. Sheesh!! What kind of mother are you, slacker?”

I need a word for each of those situations because I find myself in them ALL. THE. TIME. It would make talking about these things so much easier. You might normally have conversation like this :
 “ How are you, Rhonda?”
 “ Oh, well. I guess I’m ok. But I’m worried about Ben’s legs. Well, not worried, really. That’s probably too strong of a word…I’m more concerned than worried. They are really bad. But not hospital bad, just doctor bad. I think. I’m not sure. I mean, I KNOW his legs aren’t gonna like, FALL OFF, but they are…you know…bad. Worse than bad actually, but he can still walk.”
 “ Oh my goodness, Is he ok?”
 “ What? Oh yeah, he’s fine. Or he will be… Wow, I guess that did sound terrible, of course he can walk. I mean they don’t hurt THAT bad. I don’t think so, anyway. I mean, he’s not CRYING. So you know…can’t be that bad. Although, those bites are pretty swollen. And purple. And warm. Looks painful….but I don’t know. I would take him to the doctor, but you know…it’s Sunday, so nothing is open. Except the Emergency Room which is not an option because we don’t have insurance. Not like that would stop us it WAS an emergency….”
 “Oh good! So it’s not bad?”
 “Oh, it’s bad. Gross, actually. But not BAD, bad, you know? It’s like…

” UGH!!!! Exhausting!!! Now, if we had a WORD for that situation… like say, “ Floofenhyme” the whole conversation would be different:

 “How are you, Rhonda?”
 “Well, I’m not too good, I have floofenhyme…. over Ben’s bug bites.”
 “Oh girl, I HATE that.”

See? Easy peasy. But Floofenhyme won’t work because it’s too silly for what may (or may not) be a serious situation. But not THAT serious. So, yeah…gotta work on that word.