May 10, 2023 – Wellness Wednesday! Mental Health Awareness Month

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As many of you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness month. I have always been a believer that people need to take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. In fact, poor mental health can affect your physical health. Depression and stress can cause stomach pain, back pain, headaches, and other unexplained aches and pains.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Mental health conditions are common and can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender. About 1 in 25 U.S. adults lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

Making mental health a priority every day is possible in several ways. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Take Breaks – It is essential to give yourself time and space to heal mentally. Try taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness and relaxation. This will help you to regulate your emotions and reduce stress.

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Some favorite mindfulness practices that I use every day are:

  • Breathing exercises – There are many different mindfulness breathing exercises. I like to practice 4 – 4 – 4 breathing. Breathe in to the count of four. Hold it for a count of four and then exhale to the count of four. Do this for two to five minutes and check in with yourself to see if you are less stressed after you are done. There are other breathing exercises you can check out. Just Google mindful breathing exercises.
  • Grounding – Breathe gently. Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Using this technique when you are anxious will help calm you are reduce your feelings of anxiety. Here is an example – right now I see five things – my pen, my coffee cup, my keyboard, the sun in the window, and a tape dispenser. Four things I can touch – my soft sweater, my feet on the ground, the chair under me, and the air conditioning blowing on my neck. Three things I can hear – people talking in the conference room, a truck horn outside, and the phone ringing. Two things I can smell – my coffee, my perfume. One thing I can taste – the French vanilla creamer in my coffee.

Set Goals – Setting goals and working towards them is a great way to help manage mental health. Goals provide a sense of purpose and give you something to focus on when life feels overwhelming. Journaling is one method you can use to set your goals.

Exercise Regularly – Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy mental state. It releases endorphins, which help to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Connect with Others – Social interaction is key for mental health. Talk to friends and family, join a support group, or find an online community. Talking and connecting with others can help to establish healthy relationships and reduce feelings of loneliness. This is one area of mental health care that a lot of people struggled with during the pandemic shut down. With all of the restrictions, it was hard to gather together and share that connection.

Prioritize Self Care– Make time to do things that make you feel good. This could be listening to music, going for a walk, reading a book, or engaging in a creative activity. Being mindful of your mental health and actively taking steps to nourish it is one of the most important things you can do.

Get enough sleep – Sleep is essential for your body to repair and replenish itself. Try to ensure you get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night. This will help to reduce stress and fatigue and make you feel more energized and motivated.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek professional help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to reach out for help. There are many mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists specialized in certain areas, such as addiction, depression, anxiety, or trauma.

When it comes to mental health, professional help can prove beneficial in a number of ways. Mental health professionals can give you insight into your own behaviors and thoughts and make connections that you may not be able to see. They can also provide you with tools and strategies to help you manage your mental health in the long run.

Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of courage. It takes tremendous strength to own up to one’s mental health struggles and to find the help needed to handle them. Reaching out for help is a sign of self-love, as it shows that you are willing to do whatever needs to be done in order to take care of your own mental health.

I am not a mental health professional. All of this is based on my own experiences. For more information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health America and or reach out to your health provider.

I hope you are well and thanks for reading.


May 3, 2023 – Remembering my Mom.

Today is my Mom’s birthday. She passed away two years ago on April 29, 2021.

Me and my Mom a long time ago

Last year was her death day and birthday were hard for me. Lots of sadness and crying. This year I decided to celebrate my Mom and remember all of the good things.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, two years after her death, I wanted to honor her creativity by trying to teach finger crocheting at our local library. Mom loved to knit. I still have the yellow and brown blanket she knit for me when I was a baby. Over the years, I have darned holes in the blanket but it is still in great condition. I will keep it forever.

Mom also created beautiful counted cross stitch pictures. She once cross stitched a hummingbird on what looks like nylon mesh to me. Isn’t it beautiful?

Mom’s cross stitch hummingbird

For Mom’s birthday, I had planned on having one of the meals I remember having a lot when we were kids. TUNA RABBITS. What is a tuna rabbit? You take tuna salad and put in on a plate. That is the rabbits head. Place a good scoop of macaroni and cheese and put it on the plate next to the tuna salad. That is the rabbit’s body. Dill pickle spears make the ears and olives make the eyes. I loved having tuna rabbits. I will make some this weekend.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I am going to read The Pokey Little Puppy. This is the story Mom used to read to me and my three brothers all the time. I have my well loved copy of this Little Golden Book and I think it is going to be a new tradition.

My Mom was kind, gentle, and could bake a chocolate chip cookie that you will remember forever. I miss her but, this year I mostly want to remember all the good times we had as a family.

Me and Mom at Ameriflora Festival in Columbus, OH – 1992

Thanks for all the good memories, Mom.

Thanks to my Dad too.

Thanks to my brothers.

Thanks to my extended family as well.

Thanks for reading.

April 22, 2023 – Becoming frugal

If you are like me, money isn’t going as far as it used to. Between the pandemic, supply chain problems, grocery prices, trying to deal with the aftermath of a Cat. 5 hurricane – our wallets are getting hit hard.

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A few weeks ago I started researching how we could eat healthy for less. I’m now challenging myself to find ways to cut food costs yet still eat nutritious food. I’m going to add the tips, tricks, and recipes to This Life so you can use them too.

First thing I had to do was stop being a food snob. Yes, I love Publix. Their bakery bread is the best grocery store bread where I live. However, their prices can get a little steep. So, we have started shopping at Walmart and, my new favorite, Aldi.

My next change was to stop ordering DoorDash and Seamless. Since the hurricane, our kitchen sink has been messed up. Doing dishes has become more of a chore due to having to keep two buckets under the sink and dump them after we do dishes. It just seemed easier and less messy to order delivery and not need to wash dishes. Now, doing that once in a while isn’t bad, but 3-5 times a week for six months is. I priced the cost of food delivery and what it cost to buy and pick up. A breakfast taco from Dunkin is $2.99 at the restaurant. If you order through DoorDash, it is $4.48. That is $1.49 more! That doesn’t count the delivery cost and the driver tip. Needless to say, no more DoorDash.

Grocery delivery became so helpful during the pandemic. Unfortunately, it became more of a lazy thing for me. Who wants to go to the store and be around people??? YUCK. Thanks to pandemic isolation, I’ve become more antisocial. However the cost of the convenience is too high. That, too, has been cancelled.

So, we are doing a lot or research now on frugal recipes and which stores have better pricing. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, and tricks on how to be frugal. If you have any tips, tricks, and/or recipes, please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

April 10, 2023 – Back to nature

This past Saturday, Mike and I visited The Celery Fields in Sarasota, FL. It is a very interesting nature park that used to be used to grow celery and other vegetables back in the early 1900s. It is currently used for flood water mitigation. Of course, all that water and swampy land make a great wildlife habitat.

The Nature Center itself is at the bottom of a big hill. The day we were visiting, there were a bunch of people running the hill, both straight up and up the curved path. Mike went up while I spent time in the nature gazebo.

The hill
The view of the area around the hill
View of the gazebo by the bird feeders from the top of the hill

Sitting in the gazebo watching the birds on the feeders was so fun. We, unfortunately, had missed the Painted Buntings and Indigo Buntings by 5 minutes! However we did get to see Nanday Parakeets up close.

Nanday Parakeets

There were grackles, common ground doves, catbirds, and red-winged blackbirds. Bluebirds were seen but I did not get a good picture of one.

Across the street from the nature center as well as down their road from the nature center, are boardwalks. You can walk out and see the different species of water fowl, egrets, sandpipers and such.

We had a lovely visit to the Celery Fields and we can’t wait to go back. If you are ever in the area, you should check them out.

Do you have a favorite local place where you like to go and be a tourist for the day? Where is it? Share in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

March 24, 2023 – Craft therapy: Positive Potato

I saw a positive potato that someone crocheted and had to find instructions. I finally found them.

He still needs arms and his uplifting sign but here he is – Positive Potato.

What have you made lately? Was it fun? Did it lift your spirits like my potato friend did for me?

Thanks for reading.

March 16, 2023 – Movies and TV shows I have watched multiple times.

What movies or TV series have you watched more than 5 times?

TV Shows

  • Friends
  • The Simpsons
  • Golden Girls


  • Elf
  • Day After Tomorrow
  • Star Wars – all of them
  • Star Trek – all of them
  • Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

I know there are more but that’s all I can think of now. How about you?

Thanks for reading.

March 14, 2023 – My spirit animal

Which animal would you compare yourself to and why?

In all honesty, I would have a hard time picking just one animal.

The first animal that comes to mind is the sloth. Not because I’m lazy, at least not all the time, but because I am slow. I’m not quite as slow as this sloth, but there are days that I feel it is an accurate portrayal of me.

Animal number two is the T-Rex. It’s the tiny little arms that I identify with. I can’t reach ANYTHING!

Another animal I can relate to is the Mockingbird. No, I don’t always mock people but I do tend to make up songs about my day…all day long. It is an endearing and annoying quality of mine.

Next up, the slime mold. Not because I’m disgusting or slimy (at least not today). It’s because the slime mold works smarter not harder. A slime mold can figure out the fastest way through a maze. Did you know that? Sure enough, a single cell organism without a “brain” is considered intelligent. Here’s is an article about it.

I find ways to get the job done faster and easier by slinking through the maze like a slime mold.

My final animal is the bear. I admire their ability to nap through the bad weather. I too am a fan of napping and I don’t like to be cold. Therefore, an animal that sleeps through Winter is definitely a friend of mine

So, that’s my story. How about YOU?

And, if you know me, comment below and let me know what animal you would compare me to.

Thanks for reading.

January 19, 2023 – Craft therapy

Rough week? Find something that will feed your happiness. After a few rough days, I picked up a project I had started working on before Hurricane Ian. Crocheting is relaxing to me and keeps me from smacking people. Today I finished two of these sea turtles.

Find your bliss.

Thanks for reading!