Life Experience


DancingAtTheShamePromYou know she’s there, lurking behind every happy moment and every big decision…Shame. There she is, wagging a finger and reminding us of what we did—saying we don’t deserve anything more in this life. Did you think you were her only victim? The truth is that each of us hosts Shame—and it’s time to kick her out!

Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter are on a mission to help us give Shame the boot! These talented ladies, together with twenty-five other writers, share their most shameful experiences in this new anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom. Their premise is simple; what you release no longer holds you.

In each of these twenty-seven chapters one writer shares her story, followed by her final thoughts on the matter and what she hopes readers glean from her tale. Like a loving sisterhood they tell us that everyone has at least one traumatic anchor—that isn’t shame, that’s life. Do the best you can along the way and then let it go. I’m willing to bet that no matter how bad your experience or choice was, you will find something more difficult in this collection—and if this writer worked through her shame so can you!

P.S. Bring a box of tissues.

Ready to dance? Dancing at the Shame Prom is on a virtual tour through January 10, 2013. Follow their tour, interact with the authors and enter to win copies—the information is all here at Women On Writing . You can also visit the authors at http://www.theshameprom.com. Please enjoy this book trailer featuring Hollye at the (shame) prom.

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Dancing at the Shame Prom

Edited by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter

Seal Press (September 11, 2012)

Destiny Allison was living an all-too-common existence as a wife and mother who had lost her sense of self, and yet, she felt a stirring underneath. One frustrating evening she took up a handful of hobby clay and molded a figure. In this figure she recognized the chasm between the lives we bear and the lives we desire.

What lies beneath the personae we don each day? How do we uncover our masked face? Where can we find a reflection of our true self and the courage to exchange living for existence? Destiny Allison found her answers at the intersection of art and life.

Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life isn’t just a book on transformation; it includes studies in form, structure, and vision. It isn’t just a book about art; in it the author candidly shares personal philosophies and life changes. This is a book with a holistic view of the mergence of art and life.

Destiny begins each chapter with an art lesson followed by her autobiographical narrative bringing us along as she discovers her passion for art, uncovers her abilities, and sculpts a new life. I found the author’s writing to be intelligent and candid; she drew me in immediately and kept my attention throughout the book.

If you are a creative or artistic person, if you enjoy memoirs, or if you are at a crossroads and need a bit of encouragement I highly recommend Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life by Destiny Allison. This book made my Top 5 list!

Charlie- A Love StoryThose of us lucky enough to have had childhood pets sometimes take the human-animal connection for granted. But Barbara, who could not have a puppy as a child, never has. Once able to fulfill her childhood longing, Barbara opened her home to both dogs and cats. Then, one very special someone came into her life—a Golden named Charlie.

Charlie: A Love Story is Barbara’s ode to her very best friend. Taken directly from her personal journal, the entries invite us into her innermost thoughts as she experiences the aging and eventual passing of her beloved Charlie.

Any who have lost a special friend will relate to how the colors of life merge from vivid to gray when a pet is ill—this is apparent in Barbara’s entries. When Charlie is healthy and happy the author delights us with detailed descriptions of her California garden; the new plantings, the blooms and scents. .. When Charlie is ill her focus is all on him.

Having lived in California I found the garden entries particularly soothing against the backdrop of Charlie’s illness. Familiar with the weather patterns, the various plants in Barbara’s garden, and all the cities mentioned I felt as if I was right there with her. Also familiar with the intense grief of loosing a special friend, the loss of Charlie stirred my own not-yet-healed emotions. Thankfully, this book ends not with the loss of Charlie but with Barbara’s coming to terms with it…her healing, which allowed me a bit more healing as well.

Charlie: A Love Story will touch your heart. If you love gardening, pets, and memoirs I recommend this love story. To read more about Barbara and Charlie go to charliealovestory.com. Barbara is having a virtual book tour this month and several stops are hosting giveaways.

What are your favorite memories from childhood?

Closing my eyes, I ponder this question. The soft whoosing of water spraying under the creosote bush takes me back to summer days spent running through the sprinklers. Mom would have made frozen orange juice bars and Dad would be preparing the grill for a dinner on the patio.

Breathe, what else comes to mind?

  • The excitement and awe of kittens being born.
  • Pulling green onions from the garden for munching. (Actually, the bulbs never came out so I ate the green tops…much to Dad’s frustration.)
  • The soft hummm, click-click-click of the sewing machine.
  • The day Dad taught me how to use a torch to burnish edges of a decoupage–I think I was I was 9yrs old. (I wonder if Mom knew what we were up to…)

There are plenty of fond memories from bedtime tuck-ins to my parents spontaneously breaking into song…usually in the kitchen. Looking back, I’d say my fondest memories are those that whisper, “Home.”

I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes (www.steenaholmes.com).

Steena is a woman who believes that ‘in the end, all things succumb…to the passions of your heart’. Steena’s life revolves around her family, friends and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix and she’s living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.

Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children’s Society of Canada – an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit www.mcsc.ca for more information.

If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day,  you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!

To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” day please visit The Muffin.

What is it that makes your life poetic? How do you find beauty in every day? What is the art to loving your life?

To celebrate the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli, and to celebrate life, WOW! is hosting an “Art of Loving Your Life” tour. Bloggers everywhere will be posting their thoughts on finding beauty and balance.

The plane has already lifted but you can view the list of stops over at The Muffin. Last stop will be A Ponderance of Things on June 22! At each stop, leave your comment. At the end of the tour one winner will be chosen to receive a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli.

See you here on the 22nd!

Need a reason to smile? Here’s a look at a one-of-a-kind-can’t-say-no marriage proposal! (Softies, you might need a hanky)

I received this via a newsletter from Patti Digh at 37 Days.

Here’s wishing Isaac and “Sweat Pea” many, many happy years! ♥

I can’t believe I’m showing you this but here it is…my kitchen table.

If I were to take you on a tour through my house you would see tidy piles in every room. There’s a pile for candle making and craft supplies, a pile for items destined for donation, the pile for clothes I can’t fit in the dresser or closet, the pile(s) of books I can’t fit on my shelves, etc… There used to be piles on the dining table as well but I’m proud to say that area is now cleared off—just don’t look behind the table.

I try to think back to when the clutter began. Did it start when I was injured? Did it get worse as I embraced my creative side? Am I making a statement or building boundaries? The pondering collides in painful chaos–time to escape with a book, this time a funny, poignant, and revealing tale of one woman’s journey into the depths of her clutter and the team of friends who helped pull her out.

A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys by Pesi Dinnerstein is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. Pesi brings us along on her journey as she comes to terms with her clutter—how it defines her, how it traps her, and how it inspires her. Between these pages I found a kindred spirit. I gained insight into my relationship with clutter. I learned how to laugh at myself and my piles. If you live with clutter, or if you just want a good laugh, I encourage you to read this book.

Pesi is currently touring with WOW! Women On Writing. Come on by for my interview with the author, more information about the book, and a list of tour stops. There are plenty of chances to win a free copy too!

Synopsis:

Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A Cluttered Life:  Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear.  When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her.  Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.

Paperback: 312 pages (and Kindle)
Publisher: Seal Press
ISBN-10:1580053106
ISBN-13: 978-1580053105
For more information visit: www.aclutteredlife.com or www.sealpress.com

About the Author:

Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories.

Dinnerstein recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years. She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.

Share your clutter comments! Commiserations, remedies, and rants all welcomed:)

The last months of the calendar year offer us many joys; snow days, winter sports, and crackling fires to name a few. The cooler, cleaner air is refreshing, but it is also hard on the skin.

Dry, winter skin needs extra attention—a new regimen. One of the best ways I know to keep my skin from becoming dry is to apply a bath and body oil before stepping out of the shower. Many over the counter brands contain ingredients that are not helpful for the skin—they just fill the bottle. So I decided to share with you a recipe for making you own body oil. By the way, men can use this too—and it makes a great gift!

What you will need:

A dark-colored bottle, either blue or amber, usually purchased at a natural products store. The dark glass keeps out the light. You may re-use a small bottle already on hand; simply wash well and sterilize.

Sweet Almond Oil–contains vitamins, minerals, protein and sooths the itchy sensation.
Carrot Seed Oil (optional)—reaches the deeper skin layers (also safe to use on face)

Look for organic, first press or virgin oils.

Essential Oils:

Lavender—healing and antibacterial properties
German Chamomile—soothing and has anti-inflammatory properties
Rose—soothing and has antiseptic properties

Ginger (optional)—good for circulation because it draws blood to area
Benzoin (optional)—good for circulation, heals wounds, and sooths eczema

If you choose to add the optional oils I suggest using either one or the other but not both. Not only is it unnecessary to use both but you may not like the way they smell together.

Lavender and Chamomile are safe for children over 12 and elderly. Their use on small children requires a very dilute mixture. If your small child has dry skin I suggest the baby product line from Burt’s Bees. (If pregnant or nursing, consult with your health care professional before using essential oils.)

Look for good quality essential oils such as Aura Cacia.

Here is the basic recipe; you may adjust the ingredients according to the size of your bottle. Most bottles have the size stamped on the bottom. For conversion, there are 5ml to 1 teaspoon and 15ml to one tablespoon.

Your Base:
Carrier Oil= 90% Sweet Almond to 10% Carrot Seed

Essential Oils:
Up to 1 drop per ml of carrier oil
In other words, for 1 tablespoon of oil you may have up to 15 drops of essential oil. More is not necessarily better, though, when it comes to essential oils so use a light hand.

For each tablespoon of oil I suggest starting with:
3-4 drops Lavender
3-4 drops German Chamomile
2 drops Rose
1 drop either Ginger or Benzoin (optional)

  • Begin with dropping the essential oils into your bottle. Replace the cap and roll the bottle between the palms of your hands to mix.
  • Turn the bottle upside down once, then back upright.
  • Add your carrier oils to this bottle.Replace the cap and blend again in the same way.

I suggest beginning with one small test batch; you may decide to increase or reduce the ingredients to suit your own skin (and nose).

To use:
After shower, massage into wet skin to seal in moisture. May also be added to bath water for soaking.

Store all oils in a cool, dark place such as a cabinet
Use your body oil mixture within 30 days (before the carrier oil turns rancid)

Have you ever just had a string of bad luck?

It all started a few months ago when the washer and dryer broke. The dryer had been limping along for a while but when the washer gave up I decided it was time for a new set; little did I know that this was just the beginning…

The fountain in the garden stopped pumping and then the pump in the hot tub did too.

Before we could get to those problems the refrigerator died. We spent two nights trying to repair it before accepting that we needed to replace it.

Meanwhile, the handle broke off the screen door.

Lowe’s delivered a new refrigerator—they removed the front door just to get it in. I had purchased an unused-yet-rebuilt model, silly me. The fridge was in place and the front door reattached and…no worky-worky. Off came the front door and out went the new fridge.

I threw out some food and bought ice for the Igloo.

Two days later the new fridge came. Off we went to buy some food and the handle broke off the only working door on the truck—stuck in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s.

Things were just beginning to get back to normal when the computer got hacked; some creepy person took out the hard drive, we couldn’t even fully erase it.

By this time funds were getting pretty low so we decided to fix the hot tub and put it up for sale. It’s fixed, it’s clean, and it’s working! We list it. That night a horrendous wind storm comes through and completely rips apart one corner of the cover.

Spa corner

What’s a girl to do?

Happy Doodle rlc

Doodle.

           Talk to your favorite plant. Sweet Potato rlc

Light a candle and have some tea.
 

Above all, keep your sense of humor; it’s the balm of life.

I just spent $2.75 on a glass of iced tea at an oh-so-popular coffee bar. An outrageous price considering that I usually purchase a box of eighty Irish Tea bags for less than that–plus a bag of ice for one dollar—and am set for several weeks. So, why would I spend three quarters of my tea budget on one glass? One word…defrost.

Yes, my refrigerator took the plunge two days ago; ever wondered how much water a melted 10lb bag of ice can make? Lots! Needles to say, I lost most of my food. Now, most of you are probably saying, “Hey, it’s October, just put your food outside.” Yeah…it’s 100 degrees outside today. I live in the land of perpetual summer…

 So, what do I think of this three-dollar glass of tea? Well, it isn’t very strong. It tastes a wee bit slimy…like the tea from those “Mist” machines. But, it’s cold and it’s wet and right now that is good enough.

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