F Simple and Serene Living: June 2014 09 10
Monday, June 30, 2014

women speak: did you have a mentor?

Was there someone in your life who had a big influence on the direction your life took? I always wonder what makes people choose their path. I know there are some gifts we are born with. We may have natural talents such as art or music that lead us to choose a career path, but if these talents aren't nurtured would we still take that path?

When I was a child I had Aunt Rose. Oh look, there I am in the picture with her.

Aunt Rose was my grandfather's older sister and she was what was called, back in the day, an old maid. My grandfather used to say that she spent too much time picking the bark off the tree when her suitors came calling. 

I don't know why she never married, but I do know that for a short time in my life, before her death, she loved me dearly. You could say she doted on me and for that I am grateful, because there was not a lot of doting going on otherwise. Aunt Rose was the one who stirred my interest in needle work (she made beautiful crochet and embroidery pieces) and in antiques. Her room was filled with them and I loved every piece. I inherited some of those pieces. 

These days I sell vintage and antiques and I love finding antique embroidery and crochet pieces. I keep a large basket filled with my finds next to my bed. I passed on most of Aunt Rose's work to my daughters.

Yes, there have certainly been other people who have influenced the paths I have chosen in life, some good and some bad, but I remember Aunt Rose as being the earliest. 

So do you have a person or persons who you believe acted as a mentor or influencer in your life.

Pull up a chair, grab a nice glass of lemon water, and let's talk.

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wind it up again

A Snippet of Inspiration
Week Four

How often do we look back wishing that we could change things that happened in our lives or wish that we had tried something new. I wonder what makes us think it is too late.

It is never to late to start something new. So if you have been wanting to learn to play the piano, take up yoga, start a new career or anything else your heart dreams of, it is never too late to wind it up again.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

all in the name of progress

I know life moves on and that things change, but I'm often left wondering if change is always for the best. If it destroys a piece of natural habitat is it a good thing?

Some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile may remember the secret garden I had when I was living in a townhouse.

It was a wonderful place where feral cats, wildlife, birds and humans could relax peacefully within the shade and privacy of the trees.

You can read the original post here.

When we moved out at the end of last summer we left the stepping stones and the garden around the patio for the next tenants to enjoy. We knew we could not move the plants with us.

The first thing that happened was the owners pulled out all of the beautiful hostas and perennials, filled the area around the patio with gravel, and then charged us for it. 

Now, when I was walking over there I saw this. 

This is where the secret garden used to be. You can see the edge of the patio on the left side of the photo.

I felt truly bereft. What happened to the sweet raccoon family that lived next to the secret garden. The mom always brought her babies up to visit us. They would put their sweet little paws on the back glass door to greet us. I know the feral cats are being taken care of, but the trees where they used to hide are gone. 

So I wonder, is progress always good. Is it done for the betterment of us all, or is it just greed driven so that a few more expensive town homes can be built?

In my opinion and apparently someone else's, they can just stick a fork in it.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

a simple healthy choice

Summertime, summertime, sum...sum...summertime...

One of the things I think about when I think of summer is fresh squeezed lemonade, and while I do love my lemonade I don't always want the sugar.

Lemons are so great for your health and I always use them in my morning green juice. You can read my recipe here and an updated version here

I drink a lot of water. I don't consume caffeine and I don't drink sodas or alcohol, so that leaves me with good old water. Let's be honest, water can get pretty boring and I figure if I am going to drink it I want some added health benefits. 

Lemon water is such an easy way to get so many great health benefits. I found a great article at Conscious Life News. You can read the entire article here, but here are the 12 benefits they list for drinking lemon water.

  • 1. Immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C help ensure your body can fight off illness.
  • 2. Despite lemons being acidic, they can help keep your pH balance in check.
  • 3. Pectin fiber is great for your colon and digestive health.
  • 4. Encourages the production of bile.
  • 5. Dissolving uric acid, lemon water can help reduce pain and inflammation of the joints.
  • 6. Good for your skin.
  • 7. Helps to maintain eye health and protects against eye disease and damage.
  • 8. Helps replenish the body after a tough workout.
  • 10. Helps detoxify the liver and kidneys.
  • 12. Can reduce the occurrence and aid in the treatment of urinary tract infections.
I think those are 12 good reasons to drink lemon water and as someone who doesn't like ice in my water it was great to find out that it is even better for you warm.

A pretty glass can trick you into thinking you are drinking something fancier.

Bottoms up!!

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P.S. I always ordered lemon in my water at restaurants, but now that I found out most restaurants don't wash their lemons and they have a lot of bacteria I save my lemon water (with organic lemons) for at home drinking.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

transformations: a never ending love

Is there any greater love than that of a mother for her children?

daughter Cary (on right) age 4 with her BFF Ashley
It is a love that is never ending and a love that changes us forever in ways that we never could have imagined.

daughter Katy approx. age 6 with our beloved dog Cowboy
So today I have written something to my own daughters with the thought that it is for every daughter from every mother. 

Is there any greater transformation?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

crushing on cottages

I am in love with cottages and bungalows. They always feel so serene.

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I literally spend hours looking at photos of cottages. I love porches where you can sit and rock, where neighbors stop by to chat, where you can work on all those little projects you've been wanting to finish. (most of my projects are still in the imagination stage)

It would definitely be okay not to have a porch if you could step right out your front door onto an old brick paved street,

or how about walking out your front door to this. It is so unbelievably amazing that it doesn't even seem real. Does someone actually get to live here? Of course my first thought was how do you water those flowers in the boat. Maybe it rains a lot there.

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Okay, that was a real flight of fancy. 

I think cottages with picket fences and cutting beds are the best.

This is my absolute favorite. Not only does it have the porch, the picket fence, and the flower beds, it has a rose covered trellis. Absolute perfection.

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Yep, I am definitely crushing on cottages.

Oh, and I actually decided to create something last night. It does happen occasionally. I'm not finished with it yet, but as soon as I get it done and if it turns out not to be some wonky thing I will definitely share it. 

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Monday, June 23, 2014

women speak: am I flashing or what?

Okay, truth is I am 63. EEEEK!!! How did that happen? I went through the dreaded menopause a long time ago and at that point I expected my hot flashes to be over. I was so over the whole thing and was looking forward to a life of cool days and nights. 

So why, at times, is this my best friend? 

Because even though it may not be beautiful, it is over my bed and there are just some times when I need it. When my face and sometimes whole body feel like I am running a fever. When I know I must be beet red.


I am fortunate that I do not find myself drenched in sweat. Although, there was a time when I was. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing when it happened in public, so I learned to avoid as much as possible the things that triggered it. I don't consume alcohol, caffeine, or spicy foods. 

My hot flashes are definitely not as frequent as they once were so I am hoping that they will eventually go away completely. However, my mom who is almost 90 still has them. That seems a bit unfair. She and my sister both carry around little portable fans in their purses that they can whip out when needed. 

I have never been a believer in taking estrogen, although many women choose to. There are a lot of other things you can do instead of taking estrogen. I meditate, which is helpful. It calms down my mind and body and that seems to be a big help. Some other things to try are deep breathing, yoga, staying hydrated with lots of water, herbal supplements, and aerobic exercise. 

So where do you weigh in on the whole hot flash issue? Are you dreading it, in the middle of it, or past the entire thing. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who never had a problem with it. 

Lets talk.

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thank everyone

A Snippet of Inspiration
Week Three

We are always thankful for those people who are supportive of us, who give us inspiration, who hug us in times of need. What about those other people. You know the ones I am talking about.

So today I will thank that person who cuts me off in traffic then gives me a dirty look and I will smile and thank the grocery clerk who is rude to me, because I know they are making me stronger.

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P.S. If you love inspirational quotes I have lots of them here and you can find more Monday snippets of inspiration here.
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

well I could...or then maybe again...Ho Hum!!!

This is just one of those days where I have no idea what to write about. Does that ever happen to you? I woke up early. I drug my sorry self out of bed. I made it up really fast so I wouldn't be tempted to climb back in.

I went to a few yard sales. Ho Hum!!!!

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Ho Hum!!!

There must be something mind boggling I can tell you. Hmmmm!!

I talked to my daughter for three hours on the phone last night. We usually do that once a month or so. We spent a long time talking about social media and finding your niche. We specifically talked about Instagram and its importance in promotion. I joined Instagram and I have posted a few photos, but I haven't explored it at all. I don't really know all of the ins and outs, but apparently it is great for business. Do you use Instagram? I guess I need to really look at it more closely and see if it is something that will attract more readers to my blog and more buyers to my Etsy shop. This is what I do for a living and I need to work harder on my brand. I think it is sort of about teaching an old dog new tricks. 

I have pretty much given up on Facebook. I am not going to pay them to allow my followers to see my posts. Too many other options. I do have a lot of followers on twitter, but I am not really into chatting with people on there. Just has never seemed to be my thing. 

We also talked about Pinterest. I have been working more on Pinterest, but I haven't quite figured out how to really brand myself there either. SIGH!!!

I guess what I really need to do is get to work, and I definitely have to set more boundaries with my family when I am working. (My mom thinks I am deceased if I don't answer the phone) They don't seem to understand that I can't always just drop everything to do something with them in the middle of the day.

Yes, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. That means it is a good day for me to take some photos for my blog and shop. Maybe I will put some of them on Instagram. I would love to have you follow me here. If you are on Instagram, let me know. I would love to follow you back. 

Well see, I did find something to talk about. No more Ho Humming for me today.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

I got a brand new pair of roller skates

I got a brand new pair of roller skates you got a brand new key.....

Do you have great memories of roller skating as a child? I do.

I can remember having a pair of roller skates like these. I hung the key on a string around my neck after fitting the skates to my Keds sneakers. Then I would whip up and down the sidewalks on my street. I loved it. The sidewalks were a bit bumpy so it would kind of rattle your teeth, and invariably one of the skates would come off resulting in lots of skinned knees and elbows. Back in those days no one had heard of  protective pads. It was a booming business for Bandaids. 

I had dreams of being a teenager and wearing a really spiffy skirt and white roller boots. I imagined myself twirling around the roller rink on a sultry summer night. Of course the boys would be lined up waiting to take their turn by my side. SIGH!!!

Well, I never got the cute roller skating outfit or the spiffy roller skates, but after my family moved to Canada I took up ice skating and got some really cool skates and a sweet little wool skirt.

Summer wouldn't have been the same without roller skating and an orange popsicle.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

transformations: going it alone

We are all human and for most of us that means that we need and want other people in our lives. Other people help to guide us, at times. Each encounter is a learning experience, whether good or bad, but it is also important for each of us to have alone times. 

Being alone allows us to discover who we really are. It gives us the opportunity to discover our innermost being, and through that discovery we are able to grow. 

I found this quote here. It comes from The Invitation by Oriah.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

I believe that those empty moments create a spiritual growth that can only be found when the chatter of the world eases away. So if, right now, in this moment, you are alone on this journey through life, know that it is okay. Know that it is a wonderful opportunity for personal growth.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I may or may not be backwards

It's summer and everyone is busy planting their gardens. Pretty annuals and perennials are being chosen and arranged. Bushes and hedges are being trimmed. Lawns are being mowed. 

So what am I doing? Well, it seems I may or may not be backwards. I am starting an indoor garden. I know, it's summer and the living is easy, but I like to plan ahead. Okay, maybe I procrastinated and I am actually a few months behind, but I really want some nice indoor plants. That way when it actually is winter I can pretend it is summer. Talk about convoluted thinking. I am already thinking of winter when summer hasn't even officially begun yet. I don't like thinking about winter even when it actually is winter.

It all started a couple of months ago. I saw where snake plants were good plants to have in your bedroom. They help to purify the air and they are easy to take care of. So I got it into my head that I had to have one. Sure enough the next weekend when I was out on a yard sale hunt I came across this one. 

It was a really nice size, healthy, in a pretty pot, and at $5.00 it was definitely coming home with me. 

This showed up next at my door for Mother's Day.

How adorable is that? It's a bonsai ficus tree. I know because I asked my cousin who owns the family florist now and he enlightened me. I love it.

A few weeks later I was in Goodwill. (When am I not in Goodwill) and found two pretty pottery pots. They were only $1.50 each. Have I ever told you how much I love a bargain? They are the perfect size for my wide windowsill. 

Now they just needed some plants, so when I was in Trader Joe's this past week I thought I would look and see what they had. I was really tempted by a succulent, but I knew that I wanted some fresh basil and they had a large display of basil plants. I also loved a tropical plant they had. So I got one of each. I'm having a definite senior moment on the name of the tropical plant. It will probably come to me as soon as I hit post. Don't you hate that?

I moved my little lemon tree that I got for my birthday outside for the summer. I repotted it in a larger pot and it has definitely grown. It's got lots of blooms and eventually when the tree gets larger I should get some fresh lemons. Can't wait for that.

So I may or may not be backwards, but I am really loving how my little indoor garden is growing.

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