Ecological Garden Hacks

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Warm days full of sunshine and occasional showers are teasing my garden into life. I’ve completed early spring gardening tasks. Soon I’ll tuck new plants into the warming ground and celebrate each perennial as it pushes through the rich dirt.

I’m a mindful gardener, with an awareness of the importance of taking care of my little portion of the earth. I don’t use commercial weed killers or pesticides. To do so endangers the beneficial insects, toads and spiders that call my backyard home. It’s also important to me to reuse and repurpose items as much as possible, rather than buying new.

It’s a journey and a process that I expand upon every year. Each spring, as the garden awakens, I read back through a little book I purchased several years ago. I’ve learned great ecological garden hacks from Trowel & Errorby Sharon Lovejoy, and I’ve come up with a few of my own.

Ecological Garden Hacks

Ecological Garden Hacks

These hacks are friendly to the environment and beneficial for the garden. Many of the supplies needed are already in your kitchen pantry or they are easily obtained.

DIY Insect Repellents

Rather than using commercial products that damage the environment and destroy beneficial insects as well as troublesome ones, try one of these DIY repellents.

  • Add a handful of basil leaves to 1/2 gallon of water, crushing the leaves slightly. Brew in the sun for a couple of days. Strain and pour into spray bottles, adding 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap. I like Seventh Generation chemical free dish soap. This solution repels aphids, cabbage loopers, mites and cucumber beetles.
  • Add 2 tablespoons ground red pepper and 6 drops of liquid soap to 1 gallon of water. Let sit overnight. Stir and pour into spray bottles. Use to spray all plants in the cabbage family…cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower…once a week.
  • When trimming or cutting back herbs, drop clippings into a gallon bucket. Fill with water and let sit for a week. Strain and add 2  tablespoons of liquid soap. Spray directly on pests.
  • One of the easiest ways to control pests, including Japanese beetles, is to keep a bucket of soapy water nearby as you weed or work in the garden. Pluck off pests as you find them and drop into the bucket. I’ve not tried this next step, however I’ve read that you can strain the liquid after a week and use the dead bug concoction as a repellent. I must try this garden hack out this summer.

Create Houses for Garden Allies

While keeping a watchful eye out for pests and invaders, create habitats for insects and animals that feed on harmful insects.

  • Turn clay flower pots, with drainage holes in the bottom, upside in sheltered areas of the garden. Spiders will take up residence inside, feeding on insects and larvae.
  • Place shallow pans, bowls or discs on the ground near tall grasses or woody plants. Dragonflies are drawn to the water and like to rest on grass stems or twigs nearby. A dragonfly eats up to 300 insects a day.
  • Dig a shallow hole in the ground and create a toad house with two small rocks or bricks and a large flat rock laid across the top. Leave the front and back open.
  • Fill a half barrel with water to encourage frogs to gather. Watch the water however. Without frogs, mosquitos will lay eggs in the water that will hatch.

Other helpful allies include praying mantis, ladybugs, birds, snakes, large garden spiders and bats. You want these helpers in the garden. Create a supportive environment for them.

Ecological Garden Hacks
One of two toad houses in my garden.

Create Willow Water

The leaves and tender branches of the willow tree contain powerful compounds that stimulate growth and development in plants. Collect small twigs and spring leaves and cut them into one inch pieces. Drop a couple of handfuls into a bucket of water and steep the mixture for a week. Strain and pour liquid into canning jars. Store in the refrigerator.

Use willow water to propagate plants. Dip the end of the cutting in the water, letting it soak for a few minutes, then tuck the new plant into the ground. Water with the willow mixture. Use willow water to water around freshly transplanted plants and seedlings.

Garden Hacks from the Kitchen

Use those left over kitchen scraps to benefit the soil and plants in the garden.

  • Coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels can go directly into the ground without composting. Sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the ground. Rinse egg shells and allow them to dry for a few days. Crush and sprinkle around tomato plants. Chop banana peels and work into the soil with a spade or turning fork. As they break down banana peels add calcium, magnesium, sulphur, potassium and sodium to the soil, enriching it.
  • Create a compost pile. Add kitchen scraps to it daily. Do not include meat or dairy products. Water every few days and turn the pile once a week or so. In a couple of months you’ll have rich dirt for the garden.
  • Use left over tea to water plants and sprinkle dried tea leaves on the ground. Save tea bags after use, cutting them open and emptying contents onto the ground.
  • Empty lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit rinds make excellent seed starter pots. Transplant the whole thing into the garden when the seedlings are big enough.
  • Water the garden with cooled vegetable water, left over from cooking. And although this isn’t exactly a kitchen item, stinky water from the fish tank is great for watering plants as well.
Ecological Garden Hacks
Adding chopped banana peels to the garden.

Uses for Epsom Salt

This product has so many uses in the garden. It contains magnesium, which is important to plants. Epsom salt speeds up plant growth, deters pests, increases the flavor of veggies and fruits and improves overall plant health.

  • In the garden, sprinkle 1 cup of Epsom salt per 100 square foot, mixing it well into the soil before planting.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to the bottom of the hole when planting. Cover salt with a thin layer of dirt before adding plant.
  • Water around the base of plants with mixture of 2 tablespoons Epsom salt and 1 gallon of water.
  • Improve yield and flavor of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers by watering every two weeks with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water.
  • When planting roses, soak root ball in water containing 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt into the hole before planting rose. Once a month during the growing season, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt, per foot of plant, around the base of the rose and then water.
  • Use Epsom salt as a weed killer by mixing 2 cups with 1 gallon of water. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap and pour into spray bottle to use. Spray weeds while avoiding flowers and vegetable plants.

Repurpose Containers and Objects in the Garden

Rather than purchasing new containers every year, add interest to the garden by repurposing a multitude of items. My garden contains an eclectic mix of clay pots, metal pieces and other repurposed items.

I use metal buckets, washtubs, watering cans and tool boxes to hold flowers and herbs. This is one of the magical elements in my garden…it’s filled with unusual yet practical containers. Wire baskets, attached to the privacy fence, serve as shelves for an assortment of flower pots. Colanders cradle plants. A vintage minnow bucket holds tea light candles.

A rusty wheelbarrow became a fairy garden. And an old wooden chair holds an enamel bucket full of annuals. Greg repurposed old wooden pallets into a potting bench.

When the big old maple tree had to come down, after being damaged in a storm, I used portions of the trunk and large branches to create natural flower pots and plant stands. Eventually these planters will deteriorate and return to the earth. I consider them gifts from Maple Tree and I’m honored to have them in the garden.

Before I toss any item that no longer fulfills its original purpose, I consider what new life it might find in the house or garden. I love discovering new ways to use things.

Ecological Garden Hacks
Gifts from Maple Tree fill my garden.

Moving Toward Zero Waste

I am learning about and desiring to practice zero waste. In my home, in my kitchen and in my garden, living with less waste saves me money and allows me to do my part to ease the burden on the earth. Watch for upcoming posts about ways to live greener, limit one time use plastics, reuse and repurpose items and practice zero waste.

I hope these ecological garden hacks help you to enjoy your garden and feel good about what you are doing as you care for it. I’d love to hear about your garden hacks and tricks, in the comments. Happy gardening!

Ecological Garden Hacks
Can you spot all the repurposed items in this section of the garden?

Backyard Garden Series

Check out the other posts in this gardening series:

Spring Garden Tips

Growing Clematis Babies

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

Order Trowel & Error by clicking photo below:

 

 

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Series Review: The Twilight Zone

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Tonight CBS All Access rolled out their newest series, which is a reboot actually. The original Twilight Zone premiered in 1959. Hosted by Rod Serling, the series built its seasons and its popularity on a very basic and powerful human emotion…fear.

Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone explored our fears of nuclear annihilation, space travel and what might lurk out there, inanimate objects that moved and talked, war and technology that ran amok.

At its core, however, Twilight Zone exposed human nature, with all its frailties and sometimes its strengths. The series delved into collective fears and also pulled back the curtain on our single greatest fear: that we are each of us alone in the situation we find ourselves in, and our words and thoughts are not believed.

Series Review: The Twilight Zone

You Are Now Entering the Twilight Zone

Twilight Zone scared me as a young child. I missed the deeper messages initially. The talking doll and the evil ventriloquist dummy birthed more nightmares into my already fear soaked little life. Years later, watching reruns, I realized Serling’s stories sought to reveal rather than terrorize. And if the unexpected twists and turns created goosebumps, that was an added perk.

I came to appreciate the bold and creative story-telling of Rod Serling. I’ll never forget the classic episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” featuring a young William Shatner. His character, with an intense fear of flying, is not just terrified by a monster on the wing of the plane. He is terrified because no one else can see it. He alone bears the crushing burden of knowing the plane is doomed by a menace only he can see.

Tonight CBS All Access released episodes one and two of The Twilight Zone, created for a new generation and narrated perfectly by Jordan Peele, who is also the executive producer.

Series Review The Twilight Zone

Episode One: The Comedian

The premier episode stars Tracy Morgan, Kumail Nanjiani, Diarra Kilpatrick and Amara Karran. Owen Harris directs The Comedian, which has a run time of 1 hour. The fantasy/drama carries a TV-14 rating, for very strong language. This episode, at least, is not suitable for young children.

Samir Wassan (Nanjiani) struggles to get the laughs as a stand up comic in a nightclub. His colleague and competitor, DiDi (Kilpatrick), brings the house down with her routine. However Samir, who wants to reveal truths while making people laugh, bombs night after night. His long suffering girlfriend Rena (Karran), a successful lawyer, provides for both of them financially.

After a particularly dull performance one night, Samir meets legendary comedian JC Wheeler (Morgan). He tells Samir that no one wants to hear him make political points. Wheeler challenges him instead to tap into his only true resource, his own personal life.

When Wheeler asks what Samir most wants, the younger comedian realizes that beyond making a difference in the world, he wants the fame, the fortune…and the laughs. Wheeler warns Samir that once he offers from his own life, and the audience connects with it, the material will be gone forever.

In this “be careful what you wish for” story, Samir discovers the high cost of fame.

Series Review: The Twilight Zone

My Thoughts on The Twilight Zone

I appreciated this first episode. Having only seen a brief trailer for the series in general, I kept expectations in check and didn’t read up on the premise before watching The Comedian. Interestingly, in reality I dislike watching stand up comedy. It troubles me and creates low level anxiety if the comedian doesn’t get the laughs.

So how bizarre that this first episode features a comic who isn’t funny. And yet he longs to be, more than he longs for anything else in the world. The whole situation created tension for me, adding an unsettling element while watching the story unfold.

I loved Jordan Peele’s opening and closing narrations, so reminiscent of Serling’s. And while the plot proved a bit predictable…perhaps because I’ve seen so many episodes of the old Twilight Zone…the characteristic twists at the end brought a smile. And I confess, I experienced a bit of a creepy chill in the closing moments . I so enjoy when that “oh wow” surprise sneaks up on me.

A Promising Twilight Zone

I look forward to watching episode two later this week. Called “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet”, this episode offers nods to the famous William Shatner tale. I’m willing to enter into this new Twilight Zone experience…and see what truths I can discover there.

The Twilight Zone airs on Thursday evenings, when it returns April 11, exclusively on CBS All Access. You can sign up for a free 7 day trial by clicking the link below. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can add this streaming service for an additional monthly fee. Start a free Amazon Prime Video Channels Subscription trial HERE.

All Access airs CBS programing and original shows, including my favorite, Star Trek Discovery.

Series Review The Twilight Zone

 

CBS All Access: Full seasons of classic CBS shows, ad-free. Try it now.

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Fix Her Crown

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I am letting you in on a secret of mine. I’ve not spent much time in the company of women, aside from my family. Oh, I’ve had a few select female friends during my life, although I naturally gravitated toward male friendships. Sometimes the girls in school were just too dramatic for me. I made the unusual choice, in high school, to not date classmates, preferring instead to build friendships. I don’t regret that choice. It took pressure off of all of us.

However, in recent years I realize what I have missed, shunning the company of women. Although I am by nature a solitary person, who is never bored in my own company, I’m learning to deeply appreciate the sisterhood that exists among women of all ages, all colors, all nationalities, all backgrounds.

Yesterday a Facebook friend tagged me in a challenge, that I accepted. It arrived at a time when I am considering what it means to support and encourage the women in my life, from family and friends to dear souls I’ve never met in person but have a friendship with, nonetheless.

Her post began with the words… Fix her crown.

Fix Her Crown

Facebook Challenge Fix Her Crown

My Facebook friend Gizelle tagged me, and many other women, in a post with the following instructions:

FIX HER CROWN

I choose not to cry, and dwell in a state of pity, stagnation or despair. I’ve felt the pain of being knocked down but I survived. I am still standing. As a result I choose to be part of the uplifting, development and construction of my life sisters.

If I have not tagged you please take no offense. I tried to choose people I thought would make this challenge a priority and keep it going for the Sisterhood.

Too often, women find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity and pettiness out there, let’s choose positivity!

Upload 5 pictures of yourself… just you!!!! Then tag beautiful women to do the same. (FB allows tagging of up to 50 people at one time). Thank you for the tag (fill in name of person who tagged you).

Gizelle, a bright, beautiful and spirited woman, had no idea that I’ve been pondering the importance of sisterhood, which is defined as a community of women linked by a common interest. Nor did she know that those words, Fix Her Crown, had significance for me as well.

I accepted the challenge and I’ll post my five photos on Facebook and Instagram tonight. With the deeper stirrings that I felt, a blog post seemed appropriate too. I’m including in this post the five photos I’ll be sharing on social media, with brief captions explaining why I chose each photo.

Fix Her Crown
This Harley Davidson shirt belonged to my dad, who passed away nine years ago tomorrow, March 30. I love that I can wear his shirt and feel close to him. There’s a bigger story behind this photo. Read it HERE.
Fix Her Crown
One of my favorite photos, taken in front of Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands, Scotland. It captures my love of traveling and of Scotland especially. The shirt says, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” Rumi

Fix Her Crown Meme

Lately I’ve seen a meme that snags my attention every time it pops up. Perhaps because my symbol this year is the Queen chess piece, or perhaps because I am becoming the Queen of my own kingdom, the imagery behind the following words enchants me:

“Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world that it was crooked.” Unknown

I love that. The words call to something being born within me. This kind of woman accepts, encourages and supports her sisters. When she sees something she can help with, she does so quietly, without making a big deal about it or broadcasting to the world that her sister needed help.

In a time when division is rampant in the world, expressing kindness by “fixing her crown” feels so important. It’s not about fixing the woman. I’m not so bold to think I can fix people. This is about helping in a situation or offering an encouraging word or coming alongside for a time. It’s about raising awareness so I notice when a sister’s crown has slipped and then quietly offering without expecting anything in return.

Fix Her Crown
I recently received this shirt from Simply Chaffon. It reminds me that I am building a business and a kingdom. Of course there’s a story about it!
Fix Her Crown
Another favorite photo, taken in Venice Italy. This trip represents dreams manifesting, as my grandson Dayan and I set the intention for the Italy trip five years before it became reality.

How Do We Fix Each Other’s Crowns?

So how do we fix her crown, without telling the world it was crooked? How do we focus on offering rather than correcting or worse, condemning?

I came up with these ideas:

  • Watch for the sister whose crown seems too heavy. She might be the mom struggling to load groceries and kids into the car. Or the one who runs out of quarters at the vending machine. Lend a helping hand and offer a cheerful word.
  • Notice the sister who dares to be her own gloriously unique self, no matter what anyone thinks or says. Applaud her. Leave her an appreciative note or give her a thumbs up.
  • Raise strong young women. Preteen and teenage girls, on the way to their queendom, need encouragement and positive role models. They also need to hear how important it is to take responsibility for their own lives and happiness. Come alongside. Tell your stories.
  • Smile at the sister who seems to be journeying alone. Invite conversation and then listen. Be a friend.
  • Stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head over and over again. Offer her acceptance and dignity and grace and a safe space in which to share and grow.
  • Be your own beautiful, shining self. I think one of the best ways we can help each other is to live our lives as the best versions of ourselves. Me happily being me allows you to happily be you. No comparisons or judgements. No tearing down. We build each other up. We link arms and journey together.

Fix Her Crown Extended Challenge

As an extension of the challenge presented to me, I offer it to you. If you are a sister, please consider this your invitation to share five photos of yourself. Just you in the photos. As women we often find it hard to take photos of ourselves or be the subject of a photograph. Take this opportunity to shine.

Post your photos on social media or if you are a blogger, create your own Fix Her Crown post. I’d love to see your photos and read your thoughts about encouraging and supporting the sisterhood.

And my Sisters, know I am here, a woman with a listening ear and an open and nonjudgmental heart. Queens fix each others crowns. And we are all Queens.

Fix Her Crown
I forgot about this photo, until I came across it a couple of days ago. Happy and full of anticipation, I was trying on various outfits for an upcoming trip. I was simply enjoying the moment.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

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When I planted my garden in 2014, I included a space for herbs. I called this section of my backyard paradise the Apothecary Garden. In Medieval times, the person who sold herbs for medicinal purposes were called apothecaries.

At that time, I had no idea the role herbs would play in my future life. I just knew I loved the way herbs smelled. My desire for an herbal garden stemmed from my intention to cook with fresh herbs and to dry them, creating my own potpourri, teas and skin products. (Read about the birth of my Apothecary Garden.)

Six growing seasons later, the Apothecary Garden thrives. It provides fresh herbs and brings me much joy. This year I am expanding the herb garden, adding more plants and new varieties of existing herbs.

Most herbs are very easy to grow, tucking them into the ground or in containers. Apartment dwellers can grow herbs as easily as homeowners with big yards. They simply require 4 – 6 hours of direct sun, good soil, and proper drainage.

To get you started, here are 13 easy to grow herbs.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

 

Basil

Considered an annual, basil that is allowed to flower and go to seed produces volunteer plants the following summer. There are many varieties to choose from including one with dark purple leaves. Fragrant basil grows best in a sunny location.

Dill

Pungent and flavorful, use the leaves, yellow flowers and seeds in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Leave some plants with seeds, as they too will produce volunteer plants the next year. Grow dill in a sunny spot or tuck into a container that receives adequate sunlight.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Mint

One of the easiest herbs to grow, peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint flourish and return each year. The plants made great ground cover in the garden. Mint does spread  rapidly, so place it in an area where its growth can be controlled. Or plant in large containers. Mint grows well in partial shade to full sun.

Thyme

Another low growing herb, thyme is a perennial, returning year after year. It too makes a wonderful ground cover and can tolerate being walked on. In a container, thyme trails over the edge, partnering well with other herbs in a display. Grow thyme in full sun.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Chives

With their pretty pink blossoms, chives are attractive enough to add to a border garden. Harvest the flowers or the tubular stems to add a subtle onion flavor to dishes. Grow chives in a sunny location in well drained soil, or plant in containers. This plant is perennial.

Lavender

Among the many varieties, English lavender is the most popular form of this wonderfully fragrant herb. It is a perennial that prefers full sun and well drained soil. Include lavender in the herb garden, flower border or in containers.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Chamomile

This well known herb thrives in full sun to partial shade. Sow chamomile seeds, which can be ordered here, in late spring directly on the ground or in a container. Use the flowers fresh or dried to create a soothing tea.

Lemon Balm

This extremely easy to grow herb offers a strong lemony scent and flavor with a hint of mint. A perennial, lemon balm is another plant that can take over the garden, if not controlled. Grow in a full sun to partial shade or tuck into a container.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Bee Balm

A perennial, bee balm, like mint and lemon balm, is simple to grow. And it too likes to spread. Bee balm’s gorgeous pink, white or purple flowers do indeed attract bees and butterflies. Use the flowers or the leaves to brew a fragrant cup of tea. Bee balm prefers full sun but moist soil, so surround the plants with a layer of mulch.

Lemongrass

Resembling ornamental grasses, the tall flavorful leaves and tender bulbs of lemongrass are used in soups or teas. An annual in most regions of the US, lemongrass must be replanted each spring. Place in full sun and keep the soil well watered.

Sage

Sage’s grayish green or variegated leaves add rich flavor to foods and teas. The flowers are edible as well. Grow in full sun in well drained soil or in container combos. Low growing sage makes a great border plant also.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Fennel

Fennel’s leaves resemble dill leaves. Very easy to grow, fennel provides a subtle licorice flavor to dishes. The dried seeds make a fragrant tea. Grow in a sunny location.

Rosemary

This shrubby herb can grow tall enough to resemble a small tree or train it to climb a wall or trellis. Rosemary requires a hot, dry, sunny location or it thrives in a container placed in direct sunlight. Bring rosemary indoors in the winter and replant in the spring.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Beneficial Herbs

Herbal plants add flavor to foods. I love walking into my garden and pinching off sprigs of fresh herbs to cook with. Actually, I enjoy walking through my herbal garden each evening, as the plants release their amazing scents as I brush the leaves.

Fresh or dried herbs are perfect for brewing health boosting cups of tea. And, as I intended, I create my own potpourri each fall, from the dried leaves and flowers.

When I planted my Apothecary Garden I did not know that in two years my life would shift drastically as I adopted a plant based lifestyle. Herbs play a huge role in keeping me healthy. As I realized the importance of these medicinal plants, I looked in amazement at my hardy and mature Apothecary Garden. What I needed for my health was already here, waiting for me to recognize the significance of my earlier actions.

How magical and enchanted life is. And how beautiful these life giving plants are.

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Backyard Garden Series

Check out the other posts in this gardening series:

Spring Garden Tips

Ecological Garden Hacks

Growing Clematis Babies

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

 

Grow an enchanting herbal tea garden, with this package of seeds. Click photo for link to Amazon.

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Bring More Whimsy Into Your Life

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details

I love the word whimsy. Defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior”, whimsy sparks spontaneity and gleeful joy. It pairs well with my word for this year, enchantment.

As I considered what to write about today, whimsy came to mind.

I was a very whimsical child, full of imagination and curiosity. However, childhood fears plagued me as well and lingered, eventually dimming my sparkle as an adult. I’m grateful for children and grandchildren, who kept my whimsy alive until I gathered the courage to defeat fear.

On the other side of fear I rediscovered my creativity and welcomed whimsy back into my life. You can bring more whimsy into your life too, with these simple suggestions.

Bring More Whimsy Into Your Life

Play

As adults we often strive too much for productivity. Break up blocks of work during the day with a few minutes of play. Not sure how to do that? Spend time with children and observe how they move from imaginative play to imitating life. Kids learn by playing and we can learn much from watching them.

Try these playful ideas:

  • Color in an adult coloring book.
  • Ride a bike, jump rope, skip, twirl or jump instead of walking.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Play in the sprinkler.
  • Dance in the rain or pull on a pair of boots and stomp in puddles.
  • Indulge in make believe.
  • Make up a game. This is actually one of my favorite ways to get my whimsy on. Check out this game that I made up in 2016 that I called 30 Arrows of Desire. Inspired by an exercise in Walking in This World, I expanded on an idea and created a trust building game to play over the next 30 days. That whimsical activity became a game changer in my life!

Create

Creativity engages the imagination and opens wide the door to possibilities and whimsy. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist or musician or writer to express creativity. Go with what you enjoy and have fun.

Here are examples:

  • Create a fairy garden, in the house or in an existing outdoor garden.
  • Gather supplies and make a Do It Yourself craft. or a fanciful piece of jewelry.
  • Play with clay.
  • Paint with watercolors, acrylics or oil paints. Let your imagination guide you or find a scene to recreate.
  • Play an instrument. Better yet, make an instrument and play it!
  • Write a story, a poem, haiku or a limerick.
  • Make up your own song and sing it loudly.
  • Create your own recipe.
  • Dance with great feeling.

Bring More Whimsy Into Your LifeI created this fairy garden last summer, in a rusty old wheelbarrow. I loved looking at it every day.

Follow Curiosity

Children are naturally curious. Bring more whimsy into your life by fostering curiosity and following it, to see where it leads. Do you wonder about something? Are you drawn to a country, a color or a song? That’s curiosity snagging your attention. Allow it to guide you.

  • Pay attention to the things that grab your interest.
  • Use a smart phone or the internet to look up information.
  • Keep following the trail, to see where it goes.
  • Write down questions that come to you during the day.
  • Use resources at the library to learn more about topics that interest you.
  • Be observant, which raises awareness.
  • Watch for synchronicities! These are “coincidences” that have lessons to teach us.

I realized one day that although orange is my least favorite color, my bedroom décor as a child always focused on that color. Curiosity led me to study the color orange, unlocking some intriguing information that filled me with gratitude. You can read about that experience here, in Color Me Orange.

Surround Yourself with the Whimsical

Literally bring whimsy into your environment, with items that give you joy and make you smile.

  • Add a fun or quirky statue to the garden or yard.
  • Hang interesting art that sparks joy.
  • Create vignettes, grouping favorite playful pieces together.
  • Play music that gets you dancing and moving.
  • Purchase or make a whimsical mascot, something that has meaning to you and inspires. I keep a caterpillar on my writing table that looks like Absolem from Alice in Wonderland. When I look at him, I hear him say, in Alan Rickman’s distinctive voice, “Who are you?” Absolem reminds me that it’s important to know who I am and what I want. (And if you are curious why Rickman…he voiced the character in the most recent Alice in Wonderland films.)

Bring More Whimsy Into Your Life

Get Lost in Fantasy

Discover new worlds that inspire whimsy and expand the soul.

  • Read children’s storybooks and check out the genres of fantasy and sci-fi for adults. Examples include Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe and The Mists of Avalon.
  • Watch musicals and plays. I’ve enjoyed many great productions at local high schools. A few favorites: Wicked, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and The Addams Family.
  • Enjoy a fantasy, sci-fi or musical film. Check out Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Avatar, Mary Poppins and Peter Pan.

Try New Experiences

Trying new things and doing routine activities in fresh ways generate opportunities to experience whimsy.

  • Be spontaneous for a day.
  • Have a “yes” day.
  • Use your non-dominant hand.
  • Try a new food or a new recipe.
  • Drive to work using a different route.
  • Do the unexpected!
  • Talk like a pirate.
  • Visit a new restaurant, boutique, museum or park.
  • Take a day trip to a different town.

Look for Whimsy

The best suggestion for bringing more whimsy into your life, is to look for it, be open to it and allow it to show up. Once awareness is raised, you’ll notice more and more whimsy flowing into your day to day experiences.

Whimsy is a way of seeing the world, a shift in perspective that brings with it smiles and great joy, renewed creativity and playfulness. Are you ready to get your whimsy on?

Bring More Whimsy Into Your LifeWhimsical vignettes in my creative studio.

 

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The Story Behind the Blog

Recently I’ve been asked by new readers about the origins of the blog and how it came about. More than five years along on this incredible, life changing journey, now seems like the perfect time to share the story behind the blog.

I decided to use some of the questions I’m asked as launching points for the answers. Feeling a bit cheeky, I chose to use an interview…with myself…format.

Whether you are a faithful reader, journeying with me these past five plus years (thank you!), or a new companion coming alongside, I appreciate you.

The Story Behind the Blog

Why Start a Blog?

I’ve loved writing since childhood, and throughout my life I’ve found myself returning to that love over and over. In 2013 I attended a conference during which this question was asked.

“What’s ONE thing you could do every day, that would change your life?”

In my notebook I scribbled write every day. Full of fresh determination,  I set the intention to write something….every single day. My new resolve lasted four days.

In reality, I found that without a purpose it was very difficult to write every day. I needed a reason to write and therefore I asked for one, as part of my ongoing conversation with the Divine.

The answer came a few days later when I read about Lu Ann Cahn and her book, I Dare Me. Lu Ann challenged herself to do something new every day for a year, to revitalize her life. I was drawn to Lu Ann’s story and I loved her idea. My word for the upcoming year of 2014 was Beyond. My desire to move beyond my comfort zone and limiting beliefs seemed the perfect reason for practicing a Year of Firsts.

Beginning January 1, 2014 I tried something new every single day…and wrote about the experiences in my brand new blog. Initially my intentions for blogging included creating the daily habit of writing and accountability. Little did I know then how blogging would impact my life.

The blogging journey continued the next year…and the next…and the next. By the end of 2018 I had written at least one blog post a day for 1,826 days, beating my previous record of four days!

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from the Year of Firsts…the bird outside the birdcage…representing freedom and moving beyond limitations.

Where Did the Name ‘Cindy Goes Beyond’ Come From?

For three years the blog was actually called Going Beyond, based on my word for 2014. I was inspired by a chapter in Michael A Singer’s book, The Untethered SoulHe writes:

“Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond, no matter what it takes. It’s an infinite journey based upon going beyond yourself every minute of every day for the rest of your life. If you’re truly going beyond, you are always at your limits. You’re never back in the comfort zone. A spiritual being feels as though they are always against that edge, and they are constantly being pushed through it.”

That’s what I wanted. It is still what I want, to keep going beyond my comfort zone and my old beliefs, and to explore fresh perspectives and new experiences that help me to grow and expand.

When I moved the blog from WordPress.com, a free site, to WordPress.org, a self hosted site, I changed the name to Cindy Goes Beyond to reflect my continuing desire to live Michael’s words. The name still works for me, on multiple levels.

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from Year of Journeys, the Open Door, symbolizing opportunities and my desire to leave the familiar behind and go on adventures.

The Story Behind the BlogMy symbol from the Year of Surrender, the river, representing the flow of life.

How Has Blogging Impacted Your Life?

The impact of blogging every day is huge and ongoing. My life shifted as I opened to opportunities and possibilities and expanded my perspectives.

Each year a new word is Divinely given to me, as a guide for the next twelve months, and a new symbol arrives to represent my desires. Looking back I see the progression of the blog, which matches my life journey. My blog grows and changes as I do…and the very act of blogging creates those shifts by increasing my awareness.

The Years

The years of blogging look like this:

Year of Firsts – 2014 – word Beyond – symbol bird outside the birdcage. This year opened my life in tremendous ways as I challenged myself to literally “go beyond” my comfort zone.

Year of Journeys – 2015 – word Journey – symbol the open door. This year focused on living an adventurous life and exploring my inner world as well as my outer world.

Year of Surrender – 2016 – word Surrender – symbol the river. What a big year this was, as I learned to live in the Flow of Life, going where that flow led and letting go of resistance.

Year of Inspiration – 2017 – word Inspiration – symbol the lightbulb. The wonderful actor Alan Rickman inspired this amazing year with these words:

“If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.”

I embraced those words and took them to heart, creating art through a variety of mediums. At the same time, I sought to make life a little more tender for others.

Year of Stories – 2018 – word Story – symbol the feather quill. Last year I focused on storytelling, which is perfect for a blogger! Every person, every item, every event has a story to tell and my joy became sharing those stories.

Year of Enchantment – 2019 – word Enchantment – symbol queen chess piece. This year my desire is to be aware of the magic in life and share it with others. Enchantment literally means to sing or speak something into existence. For many reasons, it is the perfect word for the year and for me.

The Story Behind the BlogFrom Year of Inspiration, the lightbulb symbolized the light of creative ideas.

The Story Behind the BlogFrom Year of Stories, the feather quill perfectly represented writing.

 

Where to Next?

This is indeed an ongoing journey. In 2017 I began a second blog, focused on health. Journey With Healthy Me provides a platform from which to write about a very specific niche.

This year I stopped writing a post for Beyond every day. I placed a tremendous challenge upon myself last year, writing 10 blog posts a week…seven for Beyond and three for Journey. I completed the year as I intended, and realized I needed to shift.

Currently I write five days a week, three posts for Beyond and two for Journey, with occasional posts over the weekend if needed. My desire for both blogs is to go deeper, go bigger, go further.

Last year I awoke with a Divine question“Do you want to be the Queen of your own kingdom, or a pawn in someone else’s?”

It wasn’t difficult to answer that question. I know what I want, and this year is about living in an enchanted way, and creating the reality that I desire.

There are huge opportunities ahead, for both blogs. I’m excited…and a little scared…and totally in for what comes next.

I’m a Queen, after all, playing a part in a much bigger story. This is my kingdom, and it is expanding.

The Story Behind the BlogThis year’s symbol, the queen chess piece, represents building my own enchanted kingdom.

 

 

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Spring Garden Tips

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Happy first day of spring! I’m excited. Spring ushers in a time of renewal and birth and heralds the coming of warmer weather and longer days. For once, the fickle Missouri weather matched the approaching season. Sunshine and warm temps filled the days, encouraging me to get outside.

And my favorite outdoor activity this time of year? Tending to the garden.

I love seeing the first stirrings of life in my backyard paradise. It signals the return of colorful flowers, fragrant herbs and tall, waving ornamental grasses.

But first, tidying up is a must in March, after the garden’s long winter nap.

Check out these spring garden tips, to prep for the glory ahead.

Spring Garden Tips

 

Clear Away Debris

After months of cold, wind, rain and a bit of snow, the garden looks a bit bedraggled. The ornamental grasses droop along the fence row. Last summer’s flower stalks, which look beautiful contrasted against snow on the ground, can at last come down. And somehow, in spite of a six foot privacy fence encircling the yard, trash blows in.

As Greg and I survey the garden area, we pick up trash, cut down dry stalks and mentally take note of stray ornamental grass starts that need to be dug up.

Action step: Clear away garden debris including last year’s dead plants, dry stalks, leaves and any trash carried in by the wind.

Spring Garden TipsThe garden is a mess this time of year.

Trim Back Ornamental Grasses

Even during the winter months, ornamental grasses add interest to the garden. The stalks and tassels turn golden, providing color on gray, dreary days.

As the weather warms, the stalks need to be trimmed back, to six to eight inches above the ground. This allows fresh growth to appear. And trust me, the new stalks will quickly grow and fill back in.

We use an electric hedge trimmer to accomplish this spring garden task quickly and easily. The trimmed stalks go into a large metal barrel, for burning.

Action step: Trim back ornamental grasses. Burn the stalks or dispose of them via a trash dumpster. Don’t use them for mulch, as the seeds from the tassels will germinate.

Spring Garden TipsTrimmed ornamental grass clump. Cut back to 6 – 8  inches above ground.

Spring Garden TipsMetal burning barrel. The cover from the firepit keeps flaming debris from leaving the barrel. We keep a garden hose nearby, just in case.

Get a Head Start on Weeds

Everyone’s least favorite garden task is pulling weeds. It is an absolute necessity however. Not only are weeds unsightly, they crowd flowers, veggies and herbs, stealing their nourishment.

It’s early yet for most weeds. But not for eliminating ornamental grass starts that pop up all over the garden. It’s not difficult to remove these plants while they are tiny. It becomes a much bigger task if they’ve been left to grow.

I had quite a collection of starts, ranging in size from miniscule to large clumps. We noted the larger grasses last fall, and left them until spring clean up. Greg graciously removed the bigger grasses and clumps, while I dug up the smaller ones. After recent heavy rains, the small grass starts came up easily.

At the same time, I removed a couple of small tree starts and tackled clumps of dead crab grass. Greg used the weed eater to knock down dead grasses in the corners of the yard and along the edges of flower borders and beds.

Action step: Walk the garden area and inspect beds and borders for dry weeds and early starts. Spend a few minutes each day, walking the garden and pulling up weeds as they appear.

Spring Garden TipsRemoving a tiny ornamental grass start.

Check Soil

Before the garden begins to fill in, enrich the soil. Organic material like compost or manure adds moisture and much needed nutrients. My garden is six years old. Reworking the soil and adding compost nourishes the plants that are returning and gives new plants a great start.

We have a couple of places in the garden that hold too much water, creating boggy areas. Organic matter and peat moss worked into the soil will help to balance out those areas, creating better drainage.

Action step: Add organic matter to the garden if it is more than a couple of years old, to revitalize it. Balance out dry or boggy areas.

Spring Garden Tips

Spring Garden Tips for Mid Season

As the season progresses, these tasks will complete garden prep:

  • Plan out new beds and borders
  • Plant hardy annuals in containers and beds
  • Plant bulbs
  • Transplant seeds if they were started indoors
  • Plant cool weather veggies such as lettuce, cabbage and peas
  • Prune early flowering bushes, after they flower

Action step: This is the fun part, after days of cleaning up the garden and prepping for new plants. Take time to think about what you want to add to the garden this year. Visit nurseries. Tour other gardens. Check out Pinterest or browse online for ideas.

Spring Garden TipsLemon balm showing up in the garden. I’m excited to have my first cup of  freshly brewed lemon balm tea.

Spring Garden Tips for Late Season

Beyond the threat of frost, typically mid April to early May in most of the US, complete these tasks:

  • Cut back stems after bulbs bloom
  • Check garden for empty spots
  • Fill in with annuals and perennials
  • Plant herbs
  • Plant vegetables. Try out a raised bed garden.
  • Mulch with 2 – 3 inches of organic material such as cedar. Mulch helps to hold in moisture and prevents weeds and disease.

Action step: This is the time to bring winter dreams into reality. What do you want to add to your garden? Now is the time to do so. My garden changes every year, as I add to it. This year my intention is to rework the Apothecary Garden and add more herbs.

Spring Fever

I love this season and being outdoors. The garden is slowing awakening. New growth is appearing. Right now, it looks rather bleak. But I know. I know that just beneath the surface, life is stirring and soon my garden will fill with colors and scents.

In a couple of months, the garden transforms from this…

Spring Garden Tips

…to this! What a remarkable change.

Spring Garden Tips

Every task, every weed pulled, every plant tucked into the ground, is worth the effort. This backyard garden is, indeed, my paradise.

Backyard Garden Series

Check the other posts in this gardening series:

Ecological Garden Hacks

Growing Clematis Babies

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

 

Try out these essential gardening supplies and tools! Just click on the picture to view product.

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

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Captain Marvel released as the 21st film offered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superhero movies are all based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics. This body of work, which began in 2007 and has 10 more films in production, is the highest grossing film franchise of all time.

I’ve seen every film, with the exception of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is on my watch list. I love superhero movies, having immersed myself in Marvel and DC comics as a young girl. Watching these larger than life characters on the big screen delights the child in me.

My sister Linda and I caught Captain Marvel yesterday, during a matinee showing.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel Cast

This action adventure film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg and Akira Akbar. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck share directing credit. Captain Marvel carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language and intense action scenes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

From Kree to Earth

In 1995, on the Kree Empire planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers (Larson) awakes from a nightmare. The recurring dream involves watching an older woman shot.

Troubled, Vers works through her unsettled state by sparring with her mentor and commander, Yon-Rogg (Law). He warns her that she must learn to control her emotions, as they trigger her extraordinary abilities. Vers later meets with an artificial intelligence called the Supreme Intelligence (Bening), who also urges her to keep her emotions in check. The Supreme Intelligence sends Vers on her first mission, to rescue an undercover spy.

The rescue attempt goes awry and Vers is abducted by the Skrull, a race of shapeshifters who are at war with the Kree. Talos (Mendelsohn), a Skrull leader, interrogates Vers, sorting through her memories. He focuses in on the nightmares and the woman who is fatally shot.

Angered, Vers surges energy through her bound hands, breaking free. She easily overpowers every Skrull on the ship and escapes on a pod, falling toward Planet Earth. Vers’ pod disintegrates as it enters the atmosphere, and she plummets, falling through the roof of a Blockbuster Video Store.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Gregg) investigate. They quickly learn there’s more to the case than a woman breaking into a store. The Skrull, who can appear as anyone they see, arrive on Earth as well.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Who is Vers?

Pursued by Talos, Vers teams up with Fury to discover why Earth is targeted by the Skrull. Vers learns she lived another life on Earth, that of a test pilot, Carol Danvers. She supposedly died six years earlier, while flying an experimental aircraft with a light speed engine. The person who designed the engine, Wendy Lawson (also Bening) is the woman from Vers’ nightmares.

Carol meets with her former best friend, Maria (Lynch), another test pilot. Maria and her spirited young daughter Monica (Akbar) help Carol piece together the fragments of her past. Talos tracks Fury and Carol to Maria’s house. Rather than attacking her, he tells Carol the rest of her story….and she remembers. The experimental aircraft, carrying her and Wendy, was shot down. Her commander, Yon-Rogg, killed Wendy.

Rather than allow the Kree to take the light speed engine, Carol destroyed the aircraft. The exploding energy core that powered the engine transformed Carol and wiped her memory. Her new name, Vers, came from her broken dog tag. Yon-Rogg took her back to Kree, telling Carol it was her home world.

Carol’s whole universe is upended. She remembers who she is…or was, rather, since she is a new being, with incredible power. The people who appeared as enemies are allies instead. And the one who trained her, mentored her, lied to her and used her. Both groups seek Wendy’s lab and a remarkable source of power hidden there. Carol must discover who she is now, where she belongs, and how to use the abilities she’s been given.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

My Thoughts About Captain Marvel

This film is an excellent installment in the BIG unfolding story in the Marvel Universe. I loved it. Captain Marvel, who never actually goes by that name, plays a key role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame film that releases next month.

Carol’s story is a powerful one, and not just because she single handedly ended a long war between alien races. She is powerful because every time she gets knocked down, every time someone questions her abilities, she gets up. She gets up and proves her strength and capabilities to herself first, and then to others. Captain Marvel, with its strong and likable female lead, is a great movie to take young daughters and granddaughters to.

Jackson and Gregg are digitally de-aged in this film, to play their characters at the proper age…and it works. I enjoyed learning more about Nick Fury especially, including how he comes to wear an eye patch. And as with all Marvel films, there is ample humor scattered strategically throughout the storyline. Goose, a cat that Fury and Carol pick up, steals every scene she is in…and plays a small but significant role in the film.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Ready for Avengers: Endgame

With Captain Marvel watched, and Ant-Man and the Wasp in the queue, I’m ready for the biggest film yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The last Avenger film, Infinity War, shocked audiences and left us all hanging. Theories and speculations abound about the upcoming film, however, I’m avoiding all that. Instead, I’ll be there in the theater when Endgame premieres, watching the conclusion to this 12 year long epic tale.

Stan Lee, the primary creative leader of the Marvel Universe, recently passed away. In each Marvel film, he plays a small part, a cameo role. He filmed his cameo in Captain Marvel before his death.

At the beginning of Marvel films, the opening sequence features various Avenger characters. For Captain Marvel, scenes of Stan’s past cameos replace the superheroes. The words THANK YOU STAN appear across the screen.

Thank you indeed, Stan Lee, for creating such an expansive universe, full of intriguing and inspiring characters. What a legacy you created.

Movie Review Captain Marvel

Check out my list of MCU films, in chronological order, story wise.

Catch Avengers: Infinity War HERE before Endgame releases in April.

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I Am an EntrHERpreneur

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By definition, an entrepreneur organizes and manages an enterprise, especially a business, with considerable initiative and risk.

Until recently, I didn’t see  myself as an entrepreneur even though as a realtor I’m considered an independent contractor. I certainly know realtors who exhibit all the characteristics of entrepreneurship, showing initiative and taking risks. I don’t place myself in that category.

Six months ago, my “side hustle” writing blogs shifted in importance to me. I love writing, and blogging in particular. The potential and opportunities with this form of communicating are huge. I made the commitment in January this year to devote time and energy, in all its many forms, to growing my passion into a thriving business.

Two and a half months later, I find I’ve never worked harder, or longer hours, in my life! I’m learning, and growing my reach, and connecting with others…and loving it all.

Occasionally, after a short night’s sleep and a long day working online, I’ll check in with the Divine, to make sure I’m still on track with birthing my dreams. I scare myself sometimes, with the intensity of my desires. So I’m not beyond asking for a Divine sign that I’m heading in the right direction…a marker that shows I haven’t strayed off the path.

This story is the most recent thumbs up to my journey. It showed me I am an entrHERpreneur.

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Encouragement, Please

On this particular day, tired from lack of sleep, busy on the computer, I half heartedly asked the Divine for some encouragement. Do you do this? Daily I have ongoing conversations with the Divine. I don’t mind asking for what I need.

Part of my daily business building strategy is extending my reach on social media. I happened to be on Instagram, connecting with people, liking posts and commenting, when I came across a page called Simply Chaffon.

I follow the page. She follows me. Engaging by liking several of the page’s posts, I lingered over a photo of a women’s t shirt with ENTRHERPRENEUR written across the front. That shirt caught my interest, as a “her” entering into the world of entrepreneurialism. That shirt shifted something around my heart.

Looking beneath the photo at the accompanying text, I saw the word GIVEAWAY. I brightened. Why not try? I simply had to comment with my business page on Instagram. Even if I didn’t win, the shirt served its purpose. I felt inspired…and yes, encouraged.

A few days later I received a message from Chaffon. I won!

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Simply Chaffon

Tucked into the package containing my t shirt, I found a lovely note from Chaffon. Reading it, I felt more inspired.

Simply Chaffon offers inspirational and motivational shirts through their Etsy Store, Simply Chaffon Designs.

Their desire is to change the narratives for millions of foster children who too often grow up without celebrating their birthdays. Proceeds from the sales of their affirmation and empowerment tees are donated to provide birthday celebrations for children in foster care.

Simply Chaffon believes in FOSTERING WISHES, because all children, regardless of their circumstances and situations, deserve to be celebrated.

How beautiful is that?

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

Among entrepreneurs worldwide, one third of those are women. These women are changing their corners of the world…and beyond…by taking initiative and accepting risks.

True entrepreneurialism is more than that even. Entrepreneurs offer a solution to a problem. Through inventions, songs, companies, t shirts, books and blogs women are saying, “let me help you with that, let me come alongside”. They offer from creative minds and wide open hearts. They offer encouragement to their sisters as well.

I’m excited to own an entrHERpreneur shirt. I’ll wear it proudly and remember that this is me. I am an entrHERpreneur. My desire is to offer solutions to those with chronic pain or health problems, through Journey With Healthy Me. And through this blog, my intentions are to inspire and encourage, and to offer fresh perspectives to those who are ready for change, who want to see the world with enchanted eyes and embrace new experiences with wide open arms.

Thank you Simply Chaffon, for offering encouragement on a day when I asked for it. And thank you, most sincerely, for the difference you are making in the lives of children.

I Am an EntrHERpreneur

 

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A Small Place of Enchantment

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In January, I came across a quote about enchantment that I love.

“I do not know how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”   Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I’ve looked at those words multiple times, since discovering them, waiting for the right moment to share them, to connect their truth to my story this year.

A couple of days ago, the opportunity presented itself.

A Small Place of Enchantment

Heimat: A Place of Belonging

Reading in a colleague’s blog a couple of days ago, I came across a word I did not know…heimat. German in origin, the word doesn’t have an exact English equivalent. However heimat conveys the idea of a “place towards which one has a sense of belonging and a deep rooted fondness”. It’s a place where one feels at home, for whatever reason. (Read Gabby’s post HERE.)

I felt charmed…enchanted actually…by this new found word. And suddenly, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings quote popped into my mind. Ahhh. I connected this German word to her words and also understood the wistfulness I experience when reading her quote and researching the word heimat.

My soul is drawn to the idea of dwelling in a place that resonates with me, manifesting a deep sense of belonging and fondness. Like Marjorie, a small place of enchantment to turn to is vital for me.

A Small Place of EnchantmentI will never be too old for a bohemian tent in the garden. 

Childhood Places of Enchantment

I’ve always searched for a small place of enchantment to turn to. As a child, those places existed outdoors primarily. The branches of a leafy tree, the landing atop a fire escape at the neighborhood church, the neighbor’s tiny fenced in area covered with honeysuckle vines, the big rounded bush in my backyard all offered spaces where I tucked myself away, for hours at a time.

Thinking about it now, I realize I roamed rather freely throughout my neighborhood as a child! Some might even call my actions trespassing. Yet no one ever ran me off. The neighbor’s fenced area became my Secret Garden. The church’s fire escape offered a grand view of the neighborhood while providing me solitude and a place to daydream.

When weather kept me indoors, I created blanket tents to crawl into, or simply sat with a book and a flashlight in my closet.

For me, enchantment equaled intimacy and solitude and nature.

As an adult, it still does.

A Small Place of EnchantmentCreating a small place of enchantment as an adult…my backyard garden.

Small Places of Enchantment as an Adult

I didn’t outgrow my desire to secret myself away.

As an adult my small places of enchantment are still found primarily outside. A rocky outcropping in the woods, a grassy bank near a gurgling brook and beautiful gardens all create in me that sense of heimat, of belonging.

I transformed my backyard into a personal paradise, with intimate spots to sit and reflect. In fact, inspired by the Secret Garden of my childhood, a corner of my garden is sectioned off, with clematis vines clinging to the repurposed metal panels. It’s a quiet space to meditate or read or enjoy a cup of tea while surrounded by peace and beauty.

Indoors my creative studio serves as a small place of enchantment. The walls and surfaces hold reminders of who I am and what I love. The six windows allow light to flood the space and also offer views of the backyard garden.

And Edinburgh, Scotland, an ancient sprawling city, inspires heimat in me as well, and ranks as one of my favorite places in all the world. The enchantment factor is high in Edinburgh, which helps to explain why the city draws me so, why I feel at home there.

A Small Place of EnchantmentLooking up toward Edinburgh Castle, past a picturesque church, in Edinburgh Scotland.

Clues to Creating a Small Place of Enchantment

Perhaps you’d like to create your own small place of enchantment, if you don’t have one already. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, captured the magic of her childhood by creating an enchanted farm in central Florida.

And therein lies the first clue to creating a small place of enchantment…childhood.

Where were you drawn to, as a child? Outdoors? Indoors? What locations became your favorite hangouts?

Did you prefer solitude, the company of a few friends, or partying with a crowd?

When outdoors, were you drawn to trees, water, mountains or desert? Did wide open spaces or secret places, hidden away, resonate with you?

Using the answers to these questions, think about where you live now. Are there spaces that you wander into, when you need time to think, or relax? What places inspire heimat and that deep sense of belonging?

Armed with this knowledge, consider how you can create an environment, within these enchanted spaces, that support you and inspire you. This is your special place. Let it be a reflection of who you are.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy favorite indoor space…my creative studio.

A Small Place of Enchantment

I realize my long held desire to create a garden sprang from a deeper longing to return to the magic of my childhood. Fondness and a sense of belonging and creativity, intimacy and beauty all combine in this space.

It’s why I have a tiny Secret Garden and why honeysuckle grows on a trellis near my front porch. My DIY bohemian tent on the brick patio provides a place to hide away for an evening, while offering the grown up pleasures of candles and tea time.

This small place of enchantment is a balm to my soul, easing weariness and quieting busyness, sparking creativity and inspiring courage. I need to fall under such a spell frequently. It’s here that I joyfully reconnect with who I am and what’s important in my life. It is here that I simply am.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy Secret Garden spot, with clematis instead of honeysuckle.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.