Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Magic of Ordinary Days

I saw the trailer for a movie with this title on Hallmark Channel. It struck me.I have been thinking about it most the night.

Most of us take our daily life for granted. The daily ritual of feeding our animals, getting the mail out of the mailbox, throwing in a load of laundry, kissing your spouse goodbye as they head to work.

But aren't these life's little treasures? If someone told you that you would soon die, would you not cherish these little moments and see them through different eyes?

The movie was about a love story of a pregnant woman in the 1800's who was from a wealthy family and she was sent to marry a man she didn't even know . The story actually ends up to be a beautiful one, with a happy ending. Of course, I like it, because I love happy endings.

As I contemplated this through a night where sleep was not coming to me, I thought of a man I recently met on a dating site. Our first date was for coffee. I am not thrilled about coffee dates, I find them really awkward. However, this one turned out to be a surprise . He was one of the most unique people I have met in quite some time. We ended up taking a walk on Main Street through a town called Williamsville and enjoyed the warm, summer evening together. The conversation was interesting and enjoyable - a far cry from a lot of first dates that I have had.  I went to bed smiling, finally a man who peaked my interest both intellectually and physically.

Our next date turned out to be a walk in the park with his dog, Annabelle , a sweet German Shephard, watching fireworks from afar so the dog wouldn't be frightened and getting ice cream afterwards.

I couldn't think of a more perfect summertime date. He was a perfect gentleman and no, it wasn't some elaborate restaurant , it wasn't a drink at a bar - it was a simple walk to enjoy the night sky , with a dog a man and some ice cream. But, I was so happy. Ordinary and simple.

Sadly, it turns out that he isn't ready to enter into a relationship, but the gift of this simple date is something I will cherish.

As I think about dating and "finding your soulmate" - isn't it the magic of ordinary things, enjoying the simplicity of life together that really matters?

Isn't it the small things in life that really create our magic? I think of another man I dated during college who surprised me by dropping off a card and a candy bar in my car overnight to say that he was thinking about me, loved me and would be there for me through my parents divorce. That has always stuck in my mind.

It is these things , these everyday, simple things that we need to cherish. Yes, the trips we take on our bucket list, graduations and weddings are wonderful celebrations to be remembered.

But I ask you, if you were to have another few months, wouldn't you cherish, seeing the moon in your kitchen window , see the flowers bloom in your garden and the smiles of those you love?

A special thank you to the man who I strolled in the park with, along with his dog and enjoyed the ice cream on this Fourth of July. You gave me back the gift of magic in ordinary days.

Love and Light,

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Perfectionism is Fear in High Heeled Shoes and a Mink Coat

I just have to laugh at this title for today's blog. I wish I had come up with it, but I didn't. Elizabeth Gilbert did. And as many of you know, she is one of m all time favorite writers and teachers of all things creative.

So, she has a Creativity Class on Udemy whereby you can pay a very affordable price to hear her speak on the creative process. I guess she is kind of like Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist's Way.

I paid for the class and have been listening to her lectures for a few days now. And some I listen to multiple times. This particular lecture spoke to me greatly because I suffer from this personality trait. I have for a very long time and I realize now that this very thing has stopped me from publishing my work.

You, see I wrote a novel , several years ago now and I have been desperately trying to get through the editing process which I find to be grueling and tedious and not so much fun. I do find creating the characters and the book, much more tantalizing. I have allowed this editing process to stop me from publishing this book that I once held so dear to my heart. I still do ..but it's time now to let "my butterfly" go.

It's time to let it go out in the world and let people read it , even if I am afraid that it isn't "good enough" or that I am going to get criticized for being the worst writer ever or that my grammar is bad or something is horribly awful in this book that I slaved over six years to write through a lot of "life stuff" .

But, I have to remind myself - "it's my butterfly." It was created in my mind only and no one else's. It was created totally by me. And although, it might not be as perfect as the monarch butterfly looks as God has so perfectly created each of his creatures -it's still my creation that I loved and cared for and nurtured and gave all my energy to for all those years.

This is the very essence of what Elizabeth Gilbert teaches in this lecture - that perfectionism is just a classy word for fear and we must recognize that and not allow it to stop birthing our creative works.

For what if, what if, someone was truly moved by what you wrote, or what you photographed or sculpted or whittled out of wood? What if you somehow changed their life by your work? And what if, you never showed the world that "butterfly" and that person was never to see it and have their life forever changed?

You don't have to start off thinking - I am going to write the next Harry Potter or paint on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel - you just have to create your own "butterfly" , whatever that is and give yourself permission to let it go out into the world and let people think whatever they want. It doesn't matter - it's yours and only yours and you need to go on and create more of what is yours and share those gifts with the world.

So, be grateful for the fear, say thank you, I know you are there, but we will be moving on now. I wouldn't take off the high heels - because those are super fun to wear and come in so many colors and textures! But maybe just maybe! You could wear them AND paint and write with them on!

Love and Light,

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul...when that person you love so much and who loves you just as much dies..

 it's as if this blanket or shadow overcomes your being and your inner world shuts down and you want so desperately to shut everyone out. The pain is more excruciating than you ever imagined it could be. You don't know how you will ever feel good again. Will my life always feel this way from this point forward? Will I feel happy at some point in the near future? Will I survive this? Will I feel what joy feels like ever again?

The short answer? The darkness lasts as long as you need to grieve.. but I pray you , please don't let that darkness overshadow you to the extent that you too feel like you need to take your own life because the pain is too much to bear.

As we look at the natural world, the night does turn into day, the moon gives way to the sun. And eventually the many Dark Nights of our Soul will turn into seconds and minutes of Lightness of our Hearts.

The death of my Mother has changed my world as I knew it. Only a few short months ago.  It just stopped me in my tracks and has felt like my whole life has been put on hold.

I felt stuck and still do to a certain degree. It's as if someone cemented my feet to the ground and took away my motivation and zest for life that I once had.

But as I write this I feel like maybe just maybe this wasn't a bad thing. Perhaps this was all part of a Universal plan to get me refocused on a pathway that is better than the one I was mapping out for myself.

I am not sure what that pathway looks like right now so I am taking one day at a time. It's all I can handle. And I stay close to my family. For it is in them, I feel her. And my soul doesn't feel so dark when I am near them.

My Mom would be proud that we have stuck together through this time - very little to no drama.. just tears and memories.. and holding hands, trying to deal with the grief.

It is in these times of the darkness that we see the light - the light of my great nephew Dylan's smile and his desire to keep trying to walk, the light of the laughter we share driving in a van on the way home from my Mom's, the light of the birds that sang on her property as we scattered her ashes under her favorite tree where her dog is buried, the light of the sun coming up, the light of long time friends sending you a smile.

To all those out there feeling the sadness and grief of the death of someone you dearly love - know that the Darkness does become light.. one step at a time, one day at a time and the time frame becomes different for all of us.

I remind myself everyday to look at the Light and to acknowledge the Darkness but I try not to let it linger too much as it draws me back into the abyss.. at first when my Mom died.that was the majority of my days.. the darkness of the abyss.. but now.. it shows itself in some portion of my day and doesn't last all day - thank God..

My love to all of you out there experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul - here is to the Light that shines within! Look for it - it's there!

Love and Light,

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I Hear the Birds Singing Today

I Hear the Birds Singing Today...

The birds that have decided to surround my house with companionship and love..

I Hear the Birds Singing Today...

The birds that my Mother loved so much...

I Hear the Birds Singing Today..

They are filled with joy..

I Hear the Birds Singing Today..

They warm my heart..

I Hear the Birds Singing Today..

My Mother's spirit in Flight..

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

And Now.. I Share the Dawn of Each Morning with My Mother

And Now.. I Share the Dawn of Each Morning with My Mother..

How you ask? For she has left this physical world behind, not a few short months ago.

I awake to the sound of the birds around 5am

And I know that she is there..

I feed the cat, grab my coffee and make my way to my writing room

And I know that she is here...

I open the file on my computer labeled, "Gifts from Serenity Pond" and continue work on her book

And I know that she is here..

I peruse through the many small pieces of paper that hold her thoughts from years past

And I know that she is here..

I read and I cry.

Because I know that she is here.

I read and it's as if I know my Mother for the first time

And I know that she is here.

I am not unlike my Mother and I realize this , the more I read

And I know that she is here.

I cry for the woman who wrote these words, her joy and her sorrows captured in words

And I know that she is here.

I cling to the little pieces of paper, wishing her back for just one more day

Yet I know that she is not here, not in this physical space we call Earth

But now I get to share the Dawn of Each Morning with her and the little slips of paper she once wrote upon

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day at Serenity Pond - A Celebration of Love

It was days before Mother's Day this year and I knew my brothers and sister, my nieces and nephews were all thinking about my Mother. How could we not? The commercials on TV run every 5 minutes, stores advertising gifts. The gift we all wanted was just one more day with our Mother, our Grandmother.

The days were silent between us until I called my brother and asked him what he would like to do to celebrate our Mother's life. I suggested we take a ride out to the place in the woods where she lived with her husband and my brother thought we ought to buy some flowers.

I connected with my niece and asked if she would like to join us.

I went to Lowes and asked God and my Mother to direct me to just the right plant/flowers. I walked around in silence, the people walking around me, the lines at the register long and I looked and waited. My brother who lives in Virginia called at the same time and we talked about this very special day, we didn't dwell on the sadness - we just took the time to connect, knowing we needed each other's support.

And then the flowers called to me. The red roses that said - Forever and Always, hardy that last through rough weather. I shared our plans for the day and my find with my brother on the phone and we talked about when he would come to visit.

My niece came to the house and we waited for my brother to pick us up. We drove the familiar road it took to get to my Mother's house and talked of my nieces recent trip to Virginia where she visited my other brother and did some hiking. It was conversation that all of us could handle, light and easy- but inside our hearts were aching watching the scenery go by, the landmarks we had grown to know.

And suddenly we looked to the left to see the most beautiful rainbow. The whole rainbow was visible and I knew it was a sign. A sign of love from above.

We pulled into my Mother's property and parked the car, getting the shovel and flowers. It was raining just a bit and cold. My brother took some time to look out over the pond and I went in the house. And our hearts ached for the woman we called our Mother and Grandmother. Silence was our friend along with the birds and the strong whisper of the wind at the top of the trees.

We started our planting - my brother did the digging along with my niece and I gently put the rose plants in place. One on each side of the front walkway leading to her home. Her husband said they would get the most sunlight in that spot.

My sister in law watered the plants with care. No one said too much we all just focused on what we were there to do. I walked back in the house to return the kitchen gloves I had borrowed. I stood at the sink she stood at so many times and I sobbed for the woman I desperately missed in my life. The woman we all missed so very much.

My sister in law came in to say that my Mom's husband had arrived back home. I was glad - it was something we needed to share with him .

I walked outside and suggested we say a prayer over the rose plants. And we prayed for their abundant growth through whatever came their way - just like my Mother's love was, forever strong , no matter what. We planted two plants - one from her children and one from her grandchildren.

And just as our prayer ended and we contemplated the silence around us at Serenity Pond, we received yet another gift - a colorful rooster and his hen! I smiled, for this is the reason why my Mother loved living here- surrounded by the beauty of nature and the wildlife.

We watched the rooster and hen walk all around us - it didn't seem to bother them that we were there. And we delighted in the moment.

Our stay lasted not too much longer as I took pictures to share with the family members who could not be with us , we said our goodbyes to my Mom's husband and to our visit to Serenity Pond.

As we got  in the car and started back home, tears were shed by all of us and the car was filled with silence. I could hear my brother's tears, so hard and so much in pain. My niece looked out the window at the landscape once again and commented on all the wildlife that seemed to be out that day. My sister in law rubbed her husbands back , with her own tears welling up in her eyes.

We drove most of the way home not saying too much but our hearts clung to each others and I wondered how many more times we would visit here. I didn't know the answer to that, all I know is that it was hard to be there yet, being there we felt her presence.

The pictures here are of our plantings for my family to see and to bring a bit of lightness to our hearts with the rooster and hen!

We all love you so much Mom! Grandma! And yes, what we wouldn't do for one more day with you!

With love from all of us, your children and your grandchildren - may these roses bloom every so brightly with love and courage - just as you loved us and we love you. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Love Letter from Heaven, A Mother's Message to Her Daughter on Mother's Day

And so, as the world goes to brunch, sits around a barbecue, goes to church with their Mom's, I cry.

And I turn on Hallmark to make me feel better, only to tune into a channel where a daughter has lost her Mother at 13.

Yes, I made myself watch the whole movie as the sun was shining brightly outside, knowing I should be out there enjoying. Yet, I sit..as I did this past winter when my Mother died. I went to work and I came home and watched Hallmark movies. Everyday, I did the same thing for months. Shutting myself off from the world in hopes that the pain would somehow go away and I would wake up and my Mom would still be there.

As the days moved on, just as the winter thaw began and the snowdrops came, I woke up just a little bit. And suddenly I realized I had a good day. The daffodils began to bloom and the air became a litter warmer.

And I woke up just a little more. And I had a few more good days.

So now, the tulips take their turn , in all their glory - reds, yellows- rows and rows of them can be found in the gardens and streets as we drive by.

And the days get a little warmer and I have a few more good weeks.

The calendar suddenly turns itself to a special day in May. A day we honor the giver's of our lives - our Mothers.

And the tears once again begin to fall and the need to shut the world out begins again. I watch the entire Hallmark movie where the Nanny had also lost her Mom when she was 16 and the love of God sends the Nanny to this family to heal the 13 year old girl.

And I cried and I cried some more.

The show ended and I turned off the TV, knowing I must move on with the day. I grab a tissue and walked up to my office where I now sit typing this. And as I looked over to the pile of my Mom's writings that I promised to publish for her. I found this:

 My body moves and breathes,
   From inside I watch it and wonder
how and why it does. 
For my spirit lies curled and huddled
   grieving and still.
The "me" of truth lies within
   In pain, in sorrow, in Stillness
Encompassed by darkness
   and a void
nurturing itself
   Healing ever so slowly
One moment at a time.

D.E.A.  Oct. 12, 1996

Thank you Mom.. I know you hear me, I know you are watching me. I know you know what I'm feeling.

I love you to the Moon and back and I miss you everyday.

Happy Mother's Day Mom,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Grandmother's Love Letter to Her Granddaughter

Dearest Shelby,

      One day when Grandma was a young girl, God said, "I think I will give here a gift."

      And so he did.

     It was a wonderful present.

     The gift was your Daddy.

     Time passed, and God said again, "I think I'll add something to make the gift even better."

     So He added a beautiful ribbon and tied  it with a soft, pretty bow around the first present.

     That pretty Bow was Your Mommy.

     Now, the angels were watching God wrap this Present to me and said,

    "God, we think it's missing something!"

     So, God thought for a moment, then ever so carefully,

   He tied on the prettiest, brightest Star He could find and gave me You!

Love, Punky
January 27th, 1993

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Lamp in the Window

I took a walk in the evening last night to feel the cool, moist springtime air. It was just about 7:30 on a Sunday when everyone is starting to think about the week ahead and winding down their weekends.

As I walked through my quiet neighborhood , I noticed all the lamps in the windows of people's homes. For some reason, I have always felt such a warm and inviting feeling when I see these lights go on just as the darkness is about to come upon us.

Each house that I looked upon had a different light - some tall, some short, old style Tiffany lamps, some chandeliers in the dining room. Some had their curtains drawn , so that it created a dim lighting effect behind it.  And I have funny memories of the "leg lamp" in the window from the Christmas movie - A Christmas Story. My brothers and nephew love that movie - I am not a big fan but they love it and my brother's kids actually bought one for him for Christmas!

I wonder, are the people that live there crawling up under a blanket with a good book near that light? or is the light a beacon for those that are away for awhile and the light is calling them home? Is someone reading the daily newspaper? or perhaps reading a book to their child who is sitting on their lap? Or does this light provide some sort of warmth for them as they go about tidying up the house after a busy weekend?

My mind wanders and creates some story of each house and what the Lamp in the Windows means for them. The imagination soars and all sorts of children and grandparents run through my head. Smells of roast beef dinner and homemade cookies waft through the air, giggles and smiles and hearts that are happy and content.

As darkness comes and my evening walk comes to a close , I cross the street to see the Lamp in my Window calling me home.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Man's Dream , A Mother's Inspirational Message to Her Children

                                              A  Man's Dream

                                    Each man has a dream  of his own
                                            Who he can be

                                   What he wants to achieve in his lifetime

                                  The dream is made of a series of smaller dreams or goals

                                      that are a step toward the bigger picture

                                 It has occurred to me that while man needs blood flowing

                               through his veins to sustain life, so too he needs his dream
                                For without it surely life would have very little meaning.

                               No goal to reach out for, No purpose to live for
                                   Surely this would be a living death

                              For worse to me than a death by normal causes!

                                So , dream on my children, Reach out- Reach ever Upward
                                   And most of all

                                                 Dare to Dream

Author : Dawn E. Paluch - Our Mother  March 1993




Friday, April 29, 2016

Gift's from Serenity Pond

I love the title of this blog. It was an inspiration from one of my Mother's writings. You see that is what she called the pond outside of her log cabin home that she shared with her husband for many years. It was her place for inspiration. A place she loved to be , where she could watch the deer walk in front of their large sunroom windows. And on occasion, there was a bear in the woods that kept company with the woodchucks, beavers, squirrels and various other wildlife.

I remember when she first moved out to the country. I was coming home from a business trip and she picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to her new home. We drove and kept driving. The roads were dark , no streetlights to be had. And I said "Mom, where are we going?, are you serious about this? Really?"

And then we pull off the main road into some woods, down a dirt and gravel road and she pulls up in front of this very small log cabin home. And it was dark! I got out of the car , awe struck at what I saw. I thought she was messing with me. But she wasn't!

We proceeded to walk into this one bedroom , ranch type , very small log cabin. And my "room" was a pull out couch. We settled in for the night and I slept pretty soundly, perhaps it was the fresh air that did it, who knows. For whatever reason, perhaps it was all the animals talking outside as they were greeting the dawn of the new day, I awoke pretty early.

My Mother and her husband were sleeping, so I thought I would take a shower and make some coffee. I went to turn on the shower - no water? What? Mmm.. ok.. so I proceeded to go make some coffee thinking that perhaps there was trick to the shower and my Mother would share that with me when she awoke.

I turned the kitchen faucet and no water - Mmmm..what is going on? Well, this will never do. I needed my shower and my coffee!

My Mother awoke shortly afterwards, hearing me gather my things to go home. I needed to go back to civilization and get a hot shower and steaming hot cup of really good coffee!

What are you doing she asked as she saw that I was preparing my bag. I am going home, this rustic living or whatever this is, is definitely not for me! There is no running water for my shower and no water for coffee!

"Oh , we must of had a storm or power outage or something" " Jim, can get the stored bottles of water we gathered in the plastic pop containers and heat a kettle on the grill. I looked at her in disbelief! "Really?"

"Yeah, it's no big deal" she said very calmly. And my reply was "Mom , why do you want to live out here?, there is no mall within miles, no restaurants, no anything except animals talking night and day out there!"

My Mother laughed and shook her head. Inside her mind, she knew that her family would come to enjoy this gift of nature , that she and her second husband purchased.

Little did I know or the rest of my family know, what memories would be created at Serenity Pond.

From that  moment forward, Serenity Pond would be the place her grandchildren learned to fish, where bonfires happened after a day in the woods gathering berries , little children off on their own with their brothers and sisters, with no fears of safety , where wildflowers grew and lilypads drifted in the water.

This would be a place where my Mother wrote some of her finest work, inspired by nature and a place where she taught her family the gifts of Mother Earth, togetherness, peacefulness and where she created Christmas in the Woods.

Serenity Pond.

Thank you Mom, for the Gift's from Serenity Pond.

Kim (and all of your children and grandchildren)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Mother's Message of Love even in Death

Image result for a mothers message from heaven

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I was drawn to that file of my Mother's writings that is sitting near my coach. And as I read the little pieces of paper wondering what to do with all of them to honor her, she came to me. And here is what she said:

                           Within the heart lies the wonderous mystery of life,

                                  Be Still, look deep, Listen,

                             For the voice of one who has loved you always,

                              Close your eyes, let my face drawn there, appear.

                            Forever in your memory, hear my voice, wanting my beloved child,
                                 To give you consolation , share your joy  and sorrow
                             And grant you peace.

                             Look into your Heart Darling,

                                     For there I will always Be, Even when I am no more.

                              Love , Mom

I am forever convinced that the Spirit of the ones we have loved that have moved on..really do hear us!

You see last night , I walked back up to my office after feeding my cats and the overhead light was on. I thought to myself -that's odd, I didn't turn that on?

I needed to get some tea and I as walked back down the stairs, I talked with my Mother and asked her to speak to me. That I needed her and so did her husband.

And as I was drawn to her writings this morning, this little slip of paper was there. Written in 1995 with my name on it - to discover it the day I needed it in 2016, after my Mom had died.

No one will ever convince me that my Mother isn't with me and watching over me. Am I crying as I write this - oh yeah! Does she know that I am about to publish her work - yes she does.

Thank you Mom.. thank you.. this means so much to me , when I need you so much right now. I love you to the moon and back!

All my Love,


Monday, April 25, 2016

A Gift from My Mother

Image result for a gift

Yesterday, My Mom's husband, my niece and I had dinner together. I love Sunday, Family dinners - they give me such a warm feeling of tradition and togetherness. A time to catch up , a time to just "be" with each other.

We had a lot of laughs! In fact, another patron in the restaurant actually came over to us and told us that we ruined her dinner because we were laughing so loud! How random right? And I felt sorry for her, if she couldn't share in the joy of laughter!

And we cried too.. for the person who wasn't seated there with us. But her spirit was for sure! Every so often in the conversation we would talk about her and I could tell her husband was having a tough day. You see, my Mother asked me to publish her writings not two months before she died. I asked her husband to gather as much of her work as he could find so I could start to get my head together on how to do that.

My Mother , like me, had a file folder of individual pieces of paper where she jotted her thoughts down and she wrote things on her computer. Her husband went through many of those writings yesterday morning and cried in his green house.

As we said our goodbyes and he handed me my Mother's laptop and the folder that contained her writings, I watched him walkaway. He walked alone - without my Mom. Without the wheelchair, without the oxygen tank, without helping her into the truck. And my heart felt so sad.

You see, I am used to living alone without a partner - I have been doing it a long time. Do I like it? Most days I am ok with it, but I would love to have someone to share my life with. Am I used to it? Yes.. But my Mom's husband is not used to being alone and my heart went out to him.

On the drive home, my niece and I talked of various daily life things. I didn't want to focus on my Mom too much as I feel in some ways, we all need to start moving on as best we can.

I settled in for the night to watch my favorite show on the Hallmark Channel and I reached down to the file folder that contained my Mothers writings. And just as I had praised her work as a young girl when I first read them at the age of 12, I admired them now as a mature woman.

Did I cry? Yes.. Was my heart filled with warmth? Yes! There were writings addressed to my brother Scott, to myself, thoughts of her marriages and her sad heart when they ended, thoughts of Mother Earth - which I will definitely share with the world! And the beginnings of her children's book about a WoodChuck!

And as I read through them, I was reminded of something my Mother had said to me when I first started this blog. She said " the torch has been passed - you are officially a writer and a better one that I"

Well, if you were to read the beautiful musings of my Mother - I don't know that one could say I am the better writer.

 For the longest time, I never felt that I inherited any of my Mother's craftiness. She was such an artist in every way - she taught herself to sew, to knit, she made greeting cards , she was a great cook, she was a wonderful entertainer, she even taught herself how to use new technology. However, what I do know for sure - is that she gave me her Gift.

Her writings sit in the folder with her laptop, near the couch. I am not quite ready to dig in to create the publishing project of her work and mine - but I am getting close to it.

Thank you Mom for this Gift. I miss you every day - it's hard and I cry a lot but I am also trying to move on.

With Love and so much Gratitude in my heart,


Saturday, April 16, 2016

D-Mannose , A little Help for all My Women Friends Who Suffer from UTI's

Image result for urinary tract infection

Image result for cranberries

I just discovered this little gem as I was desperately searching for answers to prevent UTI's without taking a low dose antibiotic. And I came across D-Mannose .

D-Mannose is naturally found in pineapples and cranberries. As most of us know cranberries really help heal and prevent urinary tract infections. However, when taking organic cranberry juice to prevent a UTI - you have to drink an awful lot of it. Have you tasted cranberry juice without sugar - wow! Tart! really Tart!

D-Mannose comes in powder and capsule form and gives you the amount you need without drinking 8 glasses of cranberry juice a day.

I had been drinking cranberry juice after a fun night with my partner along with lots of water and ensuring that you go to bathroom soon after having sex.

But apparently that isn't enough as I had recently experienced some really unusual symptoms that came with a UTI and I was really sick for a whole day and it wiped me out for the next few days.

As I course through the journey of menopause and my body decides to change by the month, I find that my body needs additional help on an everyday basis.

Some articles I have read talk about using estrogen cream topically versus orally to help this. Yep, I am already on bioidentical estrogen and I love it!  So, I wasn't quite sure this was the answer for me.

And so , I did what I always do when I need answers - I start researching. And I came across this
supplement. The articles I have read caution those of you who are diabetic to consult with your doctor first before taking this because it appears that it is some type of sugar.

I ordered the supplement and am waiting for it to come , so I can see if this will be helpful.

Vitamin C  and a good probiotic is also something that women need who suffer from UTI's. Supporting ourselves with good bacteria is not only good for your intestines, but also good for your kidneys and bladder.  Garlic, turmeric, sage, marshmallow root, dandelion tea , ginger and baking soda are also excellent remedies for UTI's when you actually get one. In fact, putting 2 tsp of baking soda in water and drinking it as soon as you feel one come on, is an excellent way to stem the pain. Just sayin' from experience. The turmeric helps with the inflammation as does the ginger. For people with some other health conditions, dandelion and marshmallow root might interfere with some medications from what I understand - so do your research, talk to your doctor and find what works for you.

Reduction in your sugar intake is another prevention key.  Mmmm..well, as a baker , I need to double my preventative measures and try to cut down where I can.

It's all about finding our balance and what works for each of us. Some folks are ok with taking a low does antibiotic, whereas I am allergic to most and I don't believe that taking antibiotics on a daily basis is the best thing for me on a long term basis.  We are finding that as a society, our dependence on antibiotics is causing the human body to become resistant to many of them And oddly enough, we are turning back to Mother Earth for answers.

Here is hoping that this little supplement and some additional tweeks will help stem the recurrence of these UTI's . I will certainly let everyone know how it goes. I'm not a doctor, I am simply sharing my experience with you and what I have found works for me in my research and trial an error.

To Our Best Selves,



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Springtime Cleaning

Remember when your Grandmother and Mother used to talk about "spring cleaning?" And you thought to yourself, what are they talking about? Mom cleans all the time? What is so special about the spring time?

I remember my Mom would take down the winter time "drapes" (who uses that word anymore?) , clean them and put them away to make way for the "sheers" for the spring and summer. As a kid , I didn't pay too  much attention back then but now as I am older and am a homeowner myself , I understand why these things were done at this time of year.

Each year at this time, I get the urge to cleanse things in my house and pretty much in my life, but let's talk about the house right now - a bit easier! Hahaha

So, this year, this cleansing feeling was calling me much deeper than it had in the past. You see , the grieving process is quite a journey when you love someone so much that it hurts so bad every time you allow your thoughts to wander to them. I have experienced heart break over boyfriends before and some of them were tougher than others, especially my divorce. But this time my heartbreak was over the woman who has seen me through scrapes and falls, school projects, pies gone bad, my first corporate job, my first completed novel. This heartbreak has been life changing and stopped me in my tracks.

I knew I needed to do something, anything to get my life moving . One of the things my Mom and I shared was a love of home renovation and organization. So, I pulled myself up and started a home project.

The closet purge had begun!  

Well, it has taken me awhile and it's not done yet. It's a bit of challenge to fit my project around work and working out , but I'm divin" in - hahaha..

So, I thought I would give you a sneak peek at what it's looking like and how things are progressing. Understand that it is a work in progress, but I am getting there. I don't really like to air my "laundry" on the Internet however, I feel this could be of some help to my fellow women of the world who love their closets and want them to be neat and organized. I love Carrie's statement on Sex in the City - "I know where my money goes - right in my closet! " Hahaha.. so true! I have loved clothes since I can remember! And yes, I love bra's in every color! To my girlfriend Diane - I finally got one in green! Hahaha..

Has this little project helped me in my grieving process? Yes, it has. It makes me feel close to my Mom, it makes me feel lighter and like I have a little bit more control over my life ( which is kinda funny when cleaning your underwear drawer makes you feel like you have control! ). Here is to spring cleaning Mom and Grandma! It might be a different time, but the concepts still hold true!   Kimberley

These are cute canvas boxes I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond
Store Bras Open like this so you don't get "potatoe bra" 
Get Rid of those Wire Hangers! They don't make your clothes Happy!

Keep a Garbage Bag right near you when Purging - A bag for trash and a bag for Donation

Monday, February 29, 2016

Signs of Spring to Come

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I see it as a time for things to "begin again", a fresh, new start . I love everything about it - but mostly the abundance of beautiful spring flowers. And one of those flowers is the tiny little snowdrop. This flower is so brave and strong. It peaks through the last vestiges of the cold, winter snow to let us know that "yes, there is hope." There is hope that the air will become warmer, the harshness of struggling through the ice and snow will cease, the days will be longer with more sunshine. They don't die with the last winter snowfalls, in fact, they are bound and determined to bloom for us to share in their beauty.

I love to see them come up in my front yard. They give me hope. Especially this year, when my heart is broken with the passing of my Mother and I struggle each day to find beauty and hope to move on.

These little flowers greet me and tell me that there is beauty and strength even in the small things that are all around us.

I guess the moral of the story here is , look for hope even in the quiet, small corners of your world. No matter what is happening in your life - there is always something that makes you smile and gives you hope.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Writing Fiction when you Are In Deep Emotional Pain

It's been awhile since I have written a blog post. Too long. Too long away from pen and paper. It has called me in the whispers of my soul, each day, crying for me to come back. Yet, the grief of my Mother and the desire to focus on anything else that takes me away from emotion has led me astray from my creative life.

The sunshine has started to peak its way through the darkness of my soul, yet, there are days when I am exposed to other people and the interactions with them gets too intense. The intensity sends me back into the abyss of grief and I spend the day yet again in my bathrobe, on the couch watching Hallmark movies or in my study listening to one of my spiritual teachers, in hopes of feeling just a tiny bit better.

I don't like those days, they feel yukky and they feel hard to climb back from. But, it is those times that I have learned to reach out to those I love and who love me. I didn't use to do that. I hope I have learned something as I have evolved through my years on this earth.

So yesterday, after not having slept for almost two days and suffering from a lot of tears and a nagging headache, I stayed in my pajamas and let myself pull from anything I could to start feeling better. I thought about all the things my Mom and I used to enjoy together. I called my friend to help move some furniture and I started moving things around my study and bedroom. I needed my comfy chairs back in my study. I started looking at home renovation ideas and I called another friend to come over and help me prepare for my Airbnb guests.

And this morning... I opened Elizabeth Gilbert's book called Big Magic and I read and I read. I opened up her website and listened to her voice about this very book. The one passage I read was this:

    I've found that it's nearly impossible for me to write when I am unhappy, and it is definitely impossible  for me to write fiction when I am unhappy. ( In other words: I can live a drama or I can invent a drama- but I do not have the capacity to do both at the same time.)

    Emotional Pain makes me the opposite of a deep person: it renders my life narrow and thin and
       isolated. My suffering takes this whole thrilling and gigantic universe and shrinks it down to the 
       size of my unhappy head.  When my personal devils take over, I can feel my creative angels
       retreating. They watch my struggle from a safe distance, but they worry. Also they grow 
       inpatient. "It's almost as if they are saying , "lady , please -hold it together" We have so much            more work to do!"

My desire to work-my desire to engage with my creativity as intimately and as freely as possible-is my
   strongest personal incentive to fight back against pain , by any means necessary, and to fashion a    life for myself  that is as sane and healthy and stable as it can possibly be. 

But that's only because of what I have chosen to trust, which is quite simply: love
         Love over suffering, always.

I could totally relate to this passage in the book. I have a hard time writing when my heart is in extreme pain. Although my writing is oftentimes cathartic, the heartache is so difficult to bear that the words don't come.

And so, like Elizabeth Gilbert, today, I focus on love. Love for myself, Love for the books and the blogs and the words I was brought here to write, Love for my Mother who was such an artist, cook, baker, interior decorator, writer and Love for the people that I hope I inspire with the sharing of my words and life experiences.


Monday, January 11, 2016

And So The Snow Finally Fell That Year

And so the snow finally fell that year. It hadn't come until January 11th. A late winter snowfall.

I remember looking out my living room window and watching the flakes as they passed by the streetlight. It was quiet outside. The earth was finally blanketed for a winter's rest and somehow my heart felt at peace. I looked across the street to the little blue house that my Mother wanted to buy so many years before that and wondered , would she still be alive if she had lived there. I would never know and my heart thought, at least this winter, she won't struggle through the cold as she had so many winters before.

I found myself talking to her and letting her know the first snow had fallen because you see, we always had shared that first snowfall together. Each year, we would call each other, look out the window and share in  the beauty and the quiet the snow had brought.

That year, I celebrated with her in my head and in my heart, calling her with my spirit as the tears fell down my face. "Mom, it's the first snowfall, look out your window, it's beautiful."

You see when my Mom looked out her window, she saw deer and a pond frozen over. When I looked out the window I saw houses and streetlights. Both of us still admiring the quiet view and the warmth of each other with the silence on the phone.

That year, would be the first of many snowfalls I would call my Mother through my spirit and my heart. As each year passed, my heart healed a little bit more, but my love for my Mother would never end.

Our family has grown over those snowfalls, more children added to the mix, challenges we have faced together because she was no longer here, Holiday Celebrations still remain a priority and birthdays are never forgotten. Her legacy has been carried on through her children and her grandchildren and I hope through generations and more snowfalls to come.

Thank you dear Mom for the Snowfall that Finally Came That Year. With All My Love, Kim

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Turning Grief into a Dream Not Left Behind

no dream left behind

And so as my family and I walk through the weeks following the death of our Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Great Grandmother, we all are processing this differently - yet we are keeping in contact with one another , supporting one another and loving each other through our grief.

Yesterday afternoon was rough for me, I did what I knew to overcome the dark sadness that lurked in my solar plexus in the morning. I went to the gym and pushed my body to the limit, so I could feel something, anything other than the pain of the grief. The gym has always been a way for me to process challenges in my life. I drove myself for two hours and was successful for a time until my girlfriends called me afterwards and I cried with them through the sadness . They reminded me that these times will come and go and that they will be there to help me move through them.

I told them I wanted to put the sadness behind me and find that inner motivation,drive that has always been inside me to accomplish things in my life. My girlfriend reminded me that it's there, maybe hidden, but it was something my Mom always supported in me. She was my number one cheerleader and always, always had faith in me that I could move the next mountain I decided to climb in my life. And yes, maybe she isn't here physically , but she is with me in the spirit realm of life, watching and guiding me.

And so, as I prepare for the days and weeks ahead in 2016, I know three things: I will publish my Mother's works as she asked me to , not two months ago , I will publish my own book and I will continue to write on my blog. My Mother loved reading my blog posts and in fact, I can recall one day , she called me and said " I just read one of your blog posts, congratulations, the batton has been passed to you my daughter, you are a beautiful writer." Oh my god, the tears strolled down my face, knowing what an amazing writer my Mother has been since I was a child! This was one of the biggest compliments she ever gave me.

Today, is a new day, I have only shed a few tears today and my inner motivation is coming back. I will turn my grief into making some of my Mother's and my dreams come true in 2016.

For all of you out there who has had parents, grandparents, spouses pass on, find the good that they gave to you! Honor them, keep their legacy alive by celebrating them!  Let the grief be a catalyst to something new, beautiful and amazing!

Love and Light,