Posted in Personal, recipes

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

Photo credit: bayasaa on Visualhunt

Happy Fourth of July Weekend everyone. For today’s post I’ve got a recipe for fruit salad that’s perfect for a backyard barbecue or any occasion. This is one of my favorite fruit salad recipes. I believe it’s because of the sauce. This salad gets better the longer you let it soak in its juices. I prefer 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator before I serve it. Enjoy!

Photo credit: lisaclarke on VisualHunt.com

Ingredients:

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon grated orange zest

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cubed pineapple

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

3 bananas sliced

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

1 cup seedless grapes

2 cups blueberries

Directions:

Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Posted in Personal, Political

Roe Vs. Wade

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I’ve started a new story while my second one sits on the back burner and percolates. We’ll see where this new one goes. This has been an eventful week to say the least. Roe vs. Wade has been overturned. It’s now up to the state you live in whether a woman can have an abortion or not.

I don’t usually write political posts. I try to stay away from them because there’s enough of that on the internet as it is. But this one is a little different. Understandably, women are upset. They’re upset because they feel a choice has been taken away from them.

But this is more than a choice and we need to look at the bigger picture. Now, I don’t believe abortion should be used as a birth control method, but there are many gray areas surrounding this issue, and this isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. I can’t know what’s best for someone else, and an unexpected pregnancy can be a scary thing.

So, if we’re going to take away the right for a woman to choose whether or not she wants to have a child, then in my opinion, we need to give her other options. That’s right. We can’t just stop there. One option that comes to mind is improving the morning after pill’s effectiveness. Right now it’s 75-89% effective. If we raise the effectiveness of this pill maybe abortions would be unnecessary.

But we can’t stop there. There’s more to do. We need to take better care of these babies once they’re born. We need to dramatically improve our programs for single mothers and find ways to provide them with healthcare. We need to make sure deadbeat dads are paying their way. We need to make sure the foster care system benefits the child. That their emotional and physical needs are met. If we’re going to take the right to have an abortion away, we need to provide better support for that single mother and her child.

That also includes providing her with a job so she can take care of that child and that includes parenting classes and providing both mother and child with emotional support.

You see there’s so much more to this issue than a choice. If we’re taking that choice away, we need to make sure we’re willing to do the hard work to raise these children, so they can have happy and healthy lives. That’s what Pro-life means to me, otherwise, it’s just pro-birth.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, Personal

Earthing: It’s good for you

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It has been a busy week of working, writing, and running. I’m starting to feel like my old self again. Running always clears my mind of cobwebs.

Summer is finally here. I plan on hiking as much as I can this season. I find it healing. Whether I’m hiking on the beach or through the woods, it calms my inner angst and I work out plot issues when I do this. Something about being out in nature clears the static in my head.

Connecting with nature is something we humans have forgotten we need. Did you know walking barefoot on the earth is good for you? It’s called Earthing. Walking barefoot allows you to connect with the earth and allows us to absorb electrons that provide a variety of benefits.

One of those benefits is that it reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in many of our life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease. Wouldn’t it be something if all we needed to do is walk barefoot for an hour as a prevention to these diseases?

There are many natural ways to heal our body. Ways we’ve forgotten as humans because we believe taking a pill is the best way to solve our problems. It’s quick and easy. Whereas earthing is a little time consuming. I mean it’s important to do it as long as you can, at least an hour. Sometimes we don’t have an hour to devote to this. I know. I’ve been there. We’re trying to parent, work, and for me I write as often as I can. Time is of the essence.

But there’s a meme going around that hit me like a punch in the gut. It states: If you don’t make time for your wellness. You’ll be making time for your illness. I’ve never read a truer statement.

My point is you need to make your health a priority. Spending an hour walking barefoot through the woods (watch out for poison ivy) or even your yard is a great way to reduce inflammation and stress. Two key ingredients to life threatening diseases.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of Earthing:

          Reduces inflammation: The extra neutrons from the earth help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. This reduces inflammation which is a common factor in diseases like cancer and heart disease.

          Reduces cortisol levels: Cortisol is the stress hormone created by our bodies when we’re under stress, and who’s life isn’t stressful right now? Increased levels of cortisol are responsible for accumulation of belly fat which is a factor in diabetes.

          Improves Sleep: We need to sleep. It’s our body’s way of repairing itself. Because of stress in our lives sometimes and our dependence on technology our sleep cycles get interrupted. Grounding or Earthing can help in keeping us on track with our sleep cycles by syncing our electrical system for us.

          Increased Energy: With better sleep you’ll have more energy. With all the things we want to accomplish more energy is a plus.

Now I’m not a doctor, but those benefits certainly sound good to me. I think it’s worth an hour of my time to do some Earthing especially if it helps me prevent those life-threatening diseases.

To learn more about Earthing, check out this article here. https://1md.org/article/earthing-grounding

How about you? How do you feel about Earthing? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Do you have Grit?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an exciting week of work and the wedding of my nephew. It was a beautiful wedding, and it was so good to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in a while. My boys were able to hang out with their cousins which is important for that family connection, and I got some awesome pictures of all the cousins together.

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about Grit. That’s right. That little extra something that everyone needs in life to succeed.

Definition via Google:

Grit: Courage and Resolve. Strength of Character.

To be great at anything you need grit. To be a professional basketball player you need it. To be a CEO you need it, and to be a great writer you need grit. If you have that strength of character, you will be able to keep going when the going gets tough. Grit means you go for the gold even though there’s no guarantee.

That’s the hardest part. To keep going when there’s no guarantee that your dreams will come true. But that’s the only way to get there isn’t it? So, like the professional basketball player you practice, and practice, and practice some more.

It’s the same with writing. You keep writing even though your story may never see the light of day. You keep writing because the story and the characters have become a part of you just like the basketball player plays because he doesn’t know anything else.

That’s where we have to be as a writer. We need to take risks and write stories that make people take notice. Maybe even write stories that make them uncomfortable. That’s where your gold is. That’s why you write. So, keep writing and build that grit muscle. You have that story in you and the only way to get it out is by putting pen to paper or fingers to your keyboard.

There are ways to develop grit. One way that I strongly recommend is to work with a mentor or writing group. People who are invested in your success.  These people will help you hone your skills.

Another way to develop grit is to take classes, go to writer’s conferences, and read books. Read craft books, like Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Or “Story Engineering,” by Larry Brooks.  All of these things will help you hone your craft and develop grit.

How about you?

Do you have that strength of character? The resolve to get it done at all costs? How do you develop your grit muscle? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, reviews

Forced Family Fun and Top Gun

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy editing my second story and working. It was a productive week, and I was so ready for the weekend. We had a fun Saturday night. A night where I put my foot down, and we had an evening of “forced family fun.”

For those who don’t know what “forced family fun” is, it’s just what the name implies. I force my kids to do something with us. They reluctantly participate in whatever I’ve planned. I try not to inundate them with too many events like this because I know they need their space as teens. But I figure once in awhile isn’t too much to ask, and they’re getting older. Sniff. The family moments are becoming less frequent, and I must say, I’m having a hard time letting go. But I digress.

We went as a family to a drive-in and watched the new “Top Gun” movie. Now, my boys have never been to a drive-in, and I wanted to give them the experience. So, we packed up the car and drove the forty-five minutes to the outdoor theater.

Unbeknownst to me, things have changed since my teen years of drive-in movies. There are no speakers you hang on your window so you can hear the movie. Now, you tune in to a radio station. It works wonderfully, except I had to deal with the fear that my battery would die, and I’d be stranded at the drive-in after the movie was over. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Phew. I would’ve never lived that one down.

Everyone liked the movie. It was action-packed. A lot of flying scenes. I loved the camaraderie the movie illustrated among the team of select pilots. When the going got tough they stuck together, working with each other as they confronted their obstacles and moved forward. I’m glad my boys saw that part. For an evening of “forced family fun,” it was a success. I’m planning more evenings like this. My boys don’t know that yet, but they’ll find out soon enough. 😉

My oldest really liked the movie, I could tell it inspired him. It will probably inspire you, too. It had a great storyline. I loved how they weaved scenes and photos from the first movie in with this one. I’m going to go see it again. It was that good. But this time it’ll be in a theater. How about you? Have you seen the new “Top Gun” movie? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in mass shootings, mental-health, Personal

Another School Shooting…when will they stop?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and editing. I’m editing my second manuscript and I’m excited about this one too. But enough about that. We had a sad event happen this week. There was another school shooting in Texas.

This breaks my heart. I think about those innocent children cowering in corners and how scared they must’ve been. My heart goes out to them. Then I think of the shooter and wonder how wounded he must’ve been to go to that extreme. He must’ve felt he had nothing left to live for.

I think of my own kids and wonder how I can protect them. I wonder if online school isn’t the solution, but also an exasperation of the problem at the same time. I mean keeping large groups from getting together will make them less likely to be victims, but and this is a big but, isolation and disconnection are huge factors that drive these kids to do the unthinkable.

I was chatting with my husband, and he asked the mind-boggling question, where did this eighteen-year-old get the money to buy an assault weapon? These guns are not cheap. I read a little bit of background about the shooter. He was a loner who had quit his job a week prior to the shooting.

This supports my theory that disconnection is a major factor in these events. Disconnection from family, their community, and society. We all need to be vigilant. As parents we can do our part and make sure our kids feel connected to their family. Family traditions are a big part of that.

allthefreestock.com

According to another newspaper article, the shooter made threats to girls online when they rebuffed his sexual advances and claimed he’d come to their school and shoot it up. These are signs that we need to take seriously. No one believed he would carry out his threats. They all thought he was kidding.

Now we know better. Now we must do better.

We need to take better care of our kids. Pure and simple. The teen years are the hardest years of our lives, and they’re harder now than when we were teens decades ago. When they withdraw, make sure they’re not dealing with anxiety or depression. I know this is hard. They won’t like your intrusion, but they’ll appreciate it when they’re older. And the fact that they made it to “older” will be a blessing in itself.

We need stronger gun laws for young kids. I am a believer in the second amendment, but I’m also a believer in keeping our kids alive. Both can be true. Young kids don’t need assault rifles. Period.

We need to train our police officers how to manage situations like this. It’s my understanding that they stood around the school for an hour, not knowing what to do. It was a border patrol officer who got into the school and shot the shooter.

We need to do more for through our mental health programs. Mental health issues start in the teen years. If your teen or a friend of your teen’s is showing mental health issues, try and get them help in any way you can.

Is there a way to prevent mass shootings? I believe we can. Maybe not prevent every one, but we can bring these numbers down. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Social Media Replacing Physical Touch?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with working and writing. I’m back to running outside. It’s finally warm enough. I’m being careful because of my back, but so far so good. I sleep better when I exercise and my mood during the day is better. I can tell a difference.

But enough about that. I’m back today to talk about our emotional needs. As I scroll through my feed on Facebook, I find many people posting about their emotional needs on social media. Need an ego boost? Post a selfie. Need prayer warriors? Make a post on social media. Don’t get me wrong I’m okay with asking for support on social media, but I’m concerned.

I’m concerned because what happens when social media becomes the only form of emotional support for people? I mean what if it replaces the hug and the touch on the arm? We as a species need physical touch. I strongly believe that. Did you know hugs and cuddling can ward off depression?

Maybe that’s why so many of our young people are depressed. Maybe they’re turning to social media and not getting the hugs they really need. It doesn’t have to be a hug. It could be a touch or just hearing the affection in the tone of your voice. You can’t get that from social media either. I’m not a therapist or a scientist, but I love to research for my stories and other things that intrigue me. So, I’m drawing a conclusion based on my research and I may be on to something here.

We need face to face interaction. There’s no way around it. We need to hear the inflection in the voices of our loved ones when we walk in the door. We need the physical touch of a stroke on our arm or a hug. Social media can’t replace that, and I feel these things are vital to our health.

We need social gatherings more than ever now and family traditions. Any type of face-to-face contact. Our kids need it so they learn social skills, and we can maintain our mental health. We need to use all five of our senses to keep our brain working properly not just our eyesight. What do you think? Am I on to something here? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts, Personal

Save the Bee Day!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today is May 20th and it is “Save the Bee Day.” A very important day indeed.

Did you know that without Bees and other pollinators we wouldn’t have flowers or food? What a hefty responsibility for such a tiny insect. The UN says 90% of all flowering plants depend on pollinators to survive and they also affect 35% of global agricultural land. So, saving the bees also fights world hunger.

This type of symbiotic relationship shows how we’re all connected and that one living thing is not more important than another. So, plant some flowers and leave a bowl of water out for the bees. They need sustenance as they go about saving the world.