Here we are in mid-December with the winter holiday season fast approaching. But while most plants and animals bed down for a long winter’s nap, we humans are ramping up. In fact many of us continue on at an unrelenting pace rather than slowing down, turning inward and using this season to rest and restore ourselves (I’m guilty, too!). Surely this behavior contributes yet another layer of strife to a season that is typically full of stressors. So, whether we enjoy and welcome this time of year or not, most of us will eventually deal with some tensions, anxiety and/or depression.
There are many constructive ways to manage and reduce stress. One of my favorites is yoga. Simply defined, yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation as a means to spiritual attainment and physical and emotional good health. It may not be the right option for everyone, but many people, me included, appreciate the positive benefits of yoga, particularly for managing life’s difficulties and promoting a sense of ease and well-being. Continue reading “De-Stress With Yoga”
November 17, 2017: the hundredth anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death.
You don’t have to cross the state, country or sea to study and admire and treasure Rodin’s seductive sculptures. The Saint Louis Art Museum and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art have castings of his originals on display, and the library, of course, has many books describing and depicting his sensuous works. Continue reading “Rodin: One Hundred”
We are in the middle of NaNoWriMo, which means if you’re participating in this intense creative exercise you should have half of a new modern classic written. It probably has a rich sense of place, complex characters that the readers will love despite their flaws, romance, suspense, melancholy, hopefully a little karate and reading it will be a transformative experience. Or maybe the weight of these expectations has left you paralyzed.
If you’re stuck, I can relate. I’ve struggled with this blog post for a long time. At first I thought it would be funny to start a blog post about inspiration and writer’s block with jokes about how I couldn’t write it because of my writer’s block. Ha. After pages of hilarious riffing on that theme I realized it was trite and deleted everything. Back to the drawing board. Back to the blank screen. The screen stayed blank. For what seemed like hours I stared and the screen stared back. Then I thought I heard a voice coming from the screen. That was it! Someone discovers they have a talking computer screen and a beautiful friendship develops. No, a spicy romance. No, a professional rivalry. But what is the screen’s name? It has to have a name … Continue reading “NaNoWriMO: Halfway Point Malaise?”
Way back in 2008, my teenage niece introduced me to memory boards. I was in need of suggestions for things teens might be interested in making. She had recently made a circular ribbon board out of cardboard, quilt batting, fabric, ribbons, buttons and glue. I got the supplies and she demonstrated. I loved it. I made them with teens at the library, and they seemed to enjoy them as well! Continue reading “Create a Memory Board”
Whether you have your own garden’s harvest or produce hauled home from a farmers market to preserve, the satisfaction of putting food by for later consumption is identical. A colorful cache of stored summer and fall bounty to choose from in the bleak gray of winter is a reassuring and splendid thing indeed. Continue reading “Put Your Harvest on a Shelf”
Did you know that Missouri has more than 450 species of bees, including several kinds of bumble bee? Many of those natives have evolved to pollinate very specific plants such as blueberries, squash, tomatoes or peppers. Did you also know that the honeybee is NOT a native of the US? Bees, both our native bees and the honeybee, are responsible for pollinating around 75% of the produce that we eat, and they maintain the habitats on which many other animals rely. That’s a big responsibility. Continue reading “The Future of Bees!”
50,000 can be a daunting number, but I’m here to bear witness that it can also be an achievable number. Last year, for the first time, I successfully crossed the National Novel Writing Month finish line, pounding out 50,000 words worth of original writing during the month of November. I followed that up with securing a lucrative publishing contract and a nationwide speaking tour. Okay, the previous sentence was fiction. What I did gain was a sense of accomplishment, greater confidence in my writing abilities and the sense that doing a big thing is possible if you devote yourself to it regularly. Continue reading “Writers, Start Your Engines: National Novel Writing Month”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, sadly, I have a friend who has recently started chemo for breast cancer. It’s not surprising, I suppose, when you think about the numbers, but it would preferably be a disease in our distant memory. As it stands, according to the CDC: in 2014 236,968 women and 2,141 men in the United State were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 41,211 women and 465 men in the United States died from breast cancer.
Thinking back, I have known several people who have had this disease. Thankfully, the treatments and the survival rates have improved greatly over the years. As for my friend, she has a great support system and a positive attitude. I believe those are key components in conquering any struggle. Continue reading “October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month”
The autumnal equinox marks the debut of the autumn (or fall, if you prefer) season. This astronomical event occurs quietly and without much fanfare in the sky (unlike the total solar eclipse back in August!). But at this moment, the “solar terminator” (the ring circling the earth, where day meets night), is perpendicular to the planet as it crosses the equator, thus illuminating the northern and southern hemispheres in equal amounts. In other words, on the equinox, the day and night periods are of roughly equal duration (12 hours). After the equinox, daylight hours in the northern hemisphere continue to decrease until the winter solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year, after which the days begin to lengthen once again.
This year the equinox is on Friday, September 22 at 3:02 PM, Central Time. But even in the ebbing summer heat of early September, portends of autumn’s pending entrance are evident. We see the sun set noticeably earlier and find spent garden plants to uproot and pitch in the compost heap. Black walnuts fall with a thud, littering the ground and perfuming the air with their acrid, peppery aroma. And if you feed hummingbirds, you see them fattening up (like little Vienna sausages!) with frequent trips to the nectar dispenser, in preparation for their arduous, their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, to winter quarters. Continue reading “Autumn’s Equinox”