What a Long, Strange Year It Has Been

Who else is ready for the new year? I know I am! Everything about this year has been so bizarre.

The kids started Spring Break. That Spring Break ended up lasting the entire summer.

Masks became the norm and, in some cases, a new way to accessorize.

People lost their jobs at an alarming rate.

Small businesses saw their doors shut indefinitely.

Eating in restaurants was a no-no, but congregating in the aisles of Walmart was perfectly acceptable.

So many loved ones were lost.

Children everywhere switched from classrooms that provided the social development that they desperately need to virtual classes that made them feel more isolated than ever.

Louisiana, Alabama, and, well, pretty much the entire Gulf Coast experienced several major hurricanes.

The general election was a fiasco, to say the least.

The current president has yet to concede.

It has been one hell of a year to say the very least.

While I read through all of those things, however, I cannot help but think that there have been several positive things this year that are also worth mentioning.

My youngest daughter just celebrated her first birthday and her first real Christmas. She is non-stop, very bubbly, and as loving as a one-year-old can possibly be. On Christmas Day, she fell asleep after only two presents. Perhaps she was still just that tired.

My oldest daughter also celebrated a milestone birthday this year. She is OFFICIALLY a teenager and I am beside myself. I have been a mom for thirteen years. Somehow, I am old enough to have a teen. I really lucked out with her. She is smart, beautiful, goofy, an amazing big sister, and the best daughter that anyone could ever hope to raise. I am so proud to be her mother.

My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We moved into a new home. The pandemic afforded me the opportunity to leave my job and spend every moment of Presley’s first year with her. Oklahoma has already seen an unusual amount of snow this winter. Cadence and Jack are both doing very well in school. I have so much to be thankful for this year. So many good things have happened and I could not be more genuinely appreciative.

If you, however, find yourself part of the overwhelming number of people who have experienced hardship, loss, heartbreak, or anything remotely awful during the course of the past year, I can only say that my heart goes out to you. I truly, truly hope that the next year is better for you.

With hopes of joy, peace, and the best of wishes,

Happy New Year to you all!



Week in Review

It’s Sunday morning and the house is quiet. My older children are at church, the baby is sleeping, and my sweet husband is at work. I’m sitting in my living room enjoying the sunshine coming in through the large window and French doors, sipping Earl Gray, and thinking about the things I need to get done today. I’m procrastinating.

It’s not that I do not want to get all of those things done. I do, but I also want to relax and enjoy the silence. The whole house smells of the roast that’s cooking. It’s delightful. I plan to serve it tonight with rolls, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. The kids will go to bed easier with full stomachs and that’ll make them easier to get up for school tomorrow.

Speaking of school, my children returned to traditional classrooms this past Monday. It was time. After months at home, they were noticeably tired of each other’s company. Every minor transgression was a grand injustice and it showed. In addition to that, they no longer had the will to do their online school work or make an effort to pass their open-note tests and quizzes. My patience was hanging by a thread.

The house was blissfully quiet over the course of the week. Presley actually took naps. I was able to get things done. It was wonderful.

So, what have I been up to this week?

Plants

On my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me a few plants. One of those plants was a bicolor Caladium. It was beautiful. The poor plant didn’t last a day. My cats destroyed it that evening while we were out for dinner. I just knew it was a goner, but I decided to keep it anyway. Over the weeks, I continued watering it, even though it showed no signs of life. What was left of the stems had turned black and I was so disappointed. That’s why I was elated when I went to water it this week and noticed a gorgeously vibrant leaf had grown. My Caladium wasn’t dead after all!

I somehow managed to bring it back from absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, this beautiful plant will soon go dormant until Spring when it will come back to life. I’ll be keeping my cats far away from it!

Crafts

I decided to make my own fall decor this year because I can rarely find what I’m looking for and, when I do, it’s always rather expensive. After a bit of shopping around at Dollar Tree, Walmart, and a few other local stores, I’ve managed to get everything I need. While I’m still working on my pumpkins, the wreath is finished and the very large pumpkin that my husband made is painted and on display in our yard.

In addition to the pumpkin and wreath, I put together a floral arrangement, which i absolutely love, for my bathroom counter.

Art

My son was finally able to bring home all of his art from the previous school year this week and it occurred to my how genuinely incredible he is in the creative department. There wasn’t a single piece that I didn’t love. Honestly, I cannot wait to frame it and get it hung around the house.

For 11 years old, I think he’s very talented. After seeing this, I went out and purchased a sketch book and good pencils for him. I can only hope to help nurture that talent and watch it grow.

Closing

My week wasn’t incredibly exciting, but it was a definite change of pace after months of what felt like the same day occurring on a loop. I’ve had some much needed time to myself and that’s everything. I was able to finally get grow bags started, albeit a bit late in the season, and the house started clean for longer than an hour at a time. Yay for small victories!

I hope all of you had a lovely week! Comment below and let me know!

10 Ways to Embrace the Beauty of a Fresh Start….

Life...Take 2!

I honestly believe the old saying is true, “sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”. If you have been around long enough, I am sure you can think of at least one time in your life when something that at one point seemed right and good, suddenly or maybe not so suddenly came to an end only for something even better to begin. I myself can think of several times this has happened to me throughout my own life and while sometimes endings can be difficult and even sad, they almost always come with the promise of a fresh start and that all-important feeling of hope that something even better is right around the corner.

What is so great about life is that each and every morning that we are lucky enough to open our eyes we are given the chance to start over. Every single…

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David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Last night, I sat down to watch “A Life on Our Planet”. I never miss an opportunity to watch Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries. He is, without doubt, one of my favorite people on this stunning blue marble that we call home.

David Attenborough is 93 years old. In those nine decades, he has seen every corner of the world. He’s snuggled with gorillas, witnessed a blue whale surfacing beside his boat, said “boo” to a sloth, and met hunter-gatherer tribes in Papua New Guinea.

In those nine decades, he has also witnessed, first hand, the destructive toll that human life has taken on our planet. Typically, the tone of his documentaries are more upbeat, his honey-laden educating us on the billions of lives, both human and non-human, living on our planet. That is not at all the case in “A Life on Our Planet”. While still maintaining his educational, persuasive, intellectual tone, the honey is gone. This documentary is served up as a dire warning. If we do not change our ways, a sixth mass extinction is certain. Within the next 80 years, our planet will become nearly uninhabitable. Warmer oceans, nonexistent ice caps, unpredictable weather, and a dire shortage of food are all part of that future.

The images in the film, depicting the future that our planet is facing, play our like a real life horror movie. Rainforests burning, fields drying up, soil so tired from overuse that it is no longer viable for producing food, reefs completely dead as a direct result of acidity in the oceans caused by warming waters. Heartbreaking scenes from “Our Planet” play at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, showing walruses, forced onto an overcrowded bit of land, falling from seaside cliffs to their gruesome deaths. As with “Our Planet”, I was in tears.

The destruction of our planet, a very finite resource, is happening right before our eyes as a direct result of our notably negative impact on our planet. Earth is, as David put it, controlled by humans for humans. Our species is a self-serving one. Our comforts seemingly trump the stability of the planet. Biodiversity is disappearing due to overfishing our seas, mass deforestation, overconsumption of animals, and overuse of the land. Since the 1970s, humans have wiped out a considerable amount of the world’s wilderness.

Towards the end of the film, David offers up a bit of advice. He lays out exactly how we can turn things around. Using renewable energy, eating a plant-based diet, no fishing zones for about a quarter of the world’s coastlines, using less of the land for farming activity. Walking through a long-since deserted Chernobyl, he shows us that the earth will reclaim the land if we stop using it. The trees have grown back, taking over the city almost entirely and wildlife is flourishing.

Sir David Attenborough gives us a solution, a way to prevent the dire future that we all face. This is our home. The only home that we’ll ever see in our lifetimes. Will people listen or will they continue to ignore the nearly insurmountable damage that we are causing?

Random Facts About Me

1. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Actually, calling it a holiday doesn’t accurately describe how I feel about it. It’s a lifestyle.

2. I love horror movies. As Above So Below and the Conjuring series (including Annabelle) are my favorites.

3. I am beyond terrified of spiders, but I’m actively trying to overcome the fear.

4. I’m that kind of awkward where I’m really quiet at first but I’ll tell you my whole life story if you get me talking. Like, within the first few minutes of meeting you.

5. I’ve never been into parties or clubs. Actually, I can’t think of anything I dislike more than being in a crowded room full of drunk people.

6. I’ve never lied about my age. I do not understand the fascination with lying about your age.

7. I prefer a quiet night at home over a night out with friends.

8. I’m good at committing to things, like doctor appointments and family gatherings, and then looking for any reason to get out of actually following through with them. Hanging out with my cats is a perfectly acceptable reason.

9. I am a survivor of sexual assault. The events took place when I was in 2nd grade.

10. My favorite food is sushi.

11. I prefer the mountains over the beach.

12. My dream home is a Hobbit hole.

13. I am a practicing witch. I began truly practicing two years ago.

14. I love hot tea. My favorite is this delightful little blend called La Luna Tea. It can be found here and pairs really well with the Raspberry Rose sugar from the same shop.

15. Pretty Little Liars, Supernatural, New Girl, and Gossip Girl are some of my favorite television shows.

16. Bleach, Death Note, and Little Witch Academia are my favorite anime.

17. I prefer Autumn and Winter over Summer and Spring.

18. I met my husband at work.

19. I love to read and own way too many books, yet somehow no where near enough.

20. I love growing things. I have my own herb garden in my backyard and I’m working on a vegetable garden. It’s lovely not having to buy herbs.

21. I love to draw, but I haven’t done so in years.

22. I dabble in photography.

23. Earthbound is my all-time favorite game.

24. I enjoy meditating beneath a moonlit sky and so so frequently.

25. I want to be an astrophysicist, but I fear it’s far too late in my life to try.

26. Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson are two of my favorite people.

27. I am a shameless Taylor Swift fan.

28. My favorite color is shamrock green.

29. I’m obsessed with clothes, shoes, and handbags.

30. I enjoy doing SFX makeup, but I am only a novice.

Love Who You Are

By the time I finished high school, I knew who I was. At least where it mattered. I was the slightly geeky, overly expressive, heart-on-my-sleeve girl who spent lunch hour in the library, curled up on a couch, reading a book.

Outside of school, my life was much of the same. Books and video games, video games and books. I’d read through the latest installment of Harry Potter within a day after standing in line for a couple of hours at the midnight release. Or, during the interim when I was waiting for the next book, I’d play video games with my brother. Earthbound and the Legend of Zelda series were my favorites.

I remember spending a couple of hours in deep discussion with a friend about all of the notable differences between the first Harry Potter book and the movie. People like that friend from so long ago have always been my people. The misfits, the outcasts, the ones who did not belong to any particular group. We always sat together on a wall in the courtyard at school discussing books, anime, sparring, and the routine for our next JROTC drill meet.

Back then, I knew who I was, but I didn’t love who I was. I didn’t love not fitting in. I didn’t love being teased by the popular kids because I didn’t fit nearly into their perfectly organized box.

After leaving high school, I imagined things would be much different. Adults wouldn’t behave that way because sitcoms showed us that. Right? Wrong. Adults behave much the same as they did in high school. They still bully, tease, and spread gossip like the average teenager. That’s something that doesn’t go away. And they still make you feel like an outsider if you don’t fit into their little box. That doesn’t go away either.

So, here I sit. I’m 34 years young. My pets are named after World of Warcraft characters. I have frequent Lord of the Rings, StarWars, or Harry Potter marathons with my children. My husband and I spend time playing Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft together or binge-watching Bleach. He’s probably the only person that i genuinely click with, but I’m okay with that because he’s my best friend. He’s the one person I can completely geek out in front of without feeling embarrassed.

I’m 34 years of age and I am finally learning to embrace every little thing about myself instead of hiding from it. Not everyone will like me, but I’m okay with that. They don’t have to like me, but i have to like me.

And, after a couple of decades of discovering myself, I do. I really do.

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