Orange You Glad

A simple blog post tonight, reflecting a simple pleasure today and a simple kindness that inspired me. My friend Garen took me to lunch to celebrate my birthday, which was Monday. This is a yearly tradition that I enjoy, as Garen and I catch up on each others’ journeys and lives.

Orange You Glad, Simple Kindness of Others

We went to the M&M Bistro, a Mediterranean cafe in downtown Joplin. The bistro is a beautiful little place, with a friendly staff and a great selection on their menu, including vegetarian fare. Garen and I chatted as we dined. I savored the Vegetable Platter, with grilled squash, mushrooms and eggplant, over a bed of greens, tomatoes and olives. Hummus was included, and so was pita bread, which I did not eat. It was a lovely meal and a lovely lunch. I so appreciate my friend. We have known each other for almost a decade, and we have walked together through many joys and life challenges. I always appreciate Garen’s ability to listen well and respond with valuable insights. His kindness, his way of making life more tender for others, inspires me and encourages me.

MandM Bistro Making Life a Little More Tender

As we concluded our meal, Garen mentioned to our waiter, who is also the gracious owner of M&M Bistro, that we were celebrating my birthday. Our host offered a dessert, and made several delicious suggestions. I thanked him, and explained that I don’t eat sweets, just fruits and vegetables. He asked me what fruits I enjoy.

A few minutes later, he placed a small plate before us, containing a perfect blood orange. With delight, I scored it, peeled it, and Garen and I shared it, going halfsies. It was a wonderful finish to a fun meal.

I thought about that kind gesture the rest of the afternoon. The owner, who so attentively waited on us, keeping our water glasses filled, asking often if we needed anything, didn’t need to go beyond the offer of a sweet dessert. When I declined, he could have said, “Very good.” and brought the tab. Instead, he brought an orange, something he knew I would enjoy. Garen and I suspected the orange might have come from his own lunch or dinner, which made the gesture even more beautiful.

I looked up oranges in my Life Changing Foods book, by Anthony William, when I got home this evening. It is full of benefits, healing the body from a host of viruses and alleviating symptoms such as aches and pains, acid reflux, mood swings and allergies. What caught my attention was that oranges are considered a ray of sunshine, helping to chase away sadness and weariness. They shine a light into our lives, warming us and reminding us of what is important in life…things like kindness, tenderness and friendship.

As I was thinking about the day, and oranges, preparing to write my blog post, I remembered a knock knock joke from my childhood. “Knock knock.” ” Who’s there?” “Banana.” “Banana who?” This is repeated several times, until at last… “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Orange.” “Orange who?” “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” It still makes me smile! Orange you glad?

Yes, yes I am glad. I am glad and grateful for a friend who takes the time for a leisurely lunch and fun conversations. I am glad and grateful for the M&M Bistro and a truly kind and gracious host, who embodied making life a little more tender today. I am glad and grateful for the simple and delicious orange, a very satisfying and healthy dessert.

I am glad. Orange you glad?

Orange You Glad, Life a Little More Tender

Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On

I was still considering my Inspiration for today, as I moved into my studio this evening to work. Mulling over several possibilities, I turned on my Edison bulb in my creative corner, and sat beneath its golden glow. I had barely settled into my chair, when new inspiration struck. Seriously. I glanced in amazement at the light above me….and then quickly assembled what I needed for a fun little project.

Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On, Art a Little More Robust-Repurposing

I have my writing desk set up in a way that inspires me. My Taylor Kubicek art print is hung on the wall above the desk, and on the table top, Absolem the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland perches on his mushroom. I imagine him saying to me, as he peers through his monocle, “Who are you?” I have wanted to create a framed piece using his quote, to remind me daily that this is an important question. It is good for me to know who I am, and live from that certainty.

This evening, I received a very clear mental picture of what that artistic piece could look like. And for fun, I was to assemble it collage style, from cut out words. I love when an idea blooms in my fertile mind. It quickly grows, taking on a life of its own.

Who Are You - An Important Question from the Caterpillar

The hunt began, for the words Who, Are and You….and for a question mark. In a few moments, I had found Are and You, and a leaf cut out, all tucked within a drawer in my studio. I uncovered the perfect little frame in my studio too, just waiting for something creative to happen.

The challenge was finding the word Who and the question mark. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time searching. I was ready to create! I thumbed through several magazines and sorted through a stack of publications. Nothing. My mind returned again and again to a Doctor Who comic I had safely stashed in a drawer. Did I dare cut the word Who from it, and ruin the comic? As I slowly walked back to my studio, to do the deed, I spied an advertisement lying on the table, left over from Christmas time. Who’s Your Santa? was printed in several places on the publication. The Doctor Who comic was saved!

Who Are You, An Important Question from the Caterpillar

I remembered the set of vintage encyclopedias. A page about The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland was carefully removed and part of it became the background for the cut out words and the leaf. It was as I was adhering the cutouts on the page from the encyclopedia, that the magic happened. I had glued on the word ARE, when I noticed the quote within the article. From Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it says, We are such stuff as dreams are made on. 

I had not noticed the quote before then.

I was amazed. I sat quietly looking at the words, Who ARE YOU?, and there the answer was, between my cutouts, for I couldn’t cover the quote with the last word and the question mark.

Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On

“Who are you?” asks Absolem the caterpillar. “Who am I?” I answer,  “I am such stuff as dreams are made on. I turn dreams into reality, and birth ideas from my imagination. That’s who I am. Thank you for asking.” 

I think Absolem smiled. I know I did.

Who Are You, An Important Question from the Caterpillar


Happy Birthday Dear Me

Today is my birthday! And what a joy filled day it has been. I’ve received hundreds of birthday wishes and blessings, from all over the world. Some of the messages made me laugh. Some let me know that the sender understands who I am and they get my journey. And some made me cry…happy tears. What a beautiful world we live in. I am undone by the outpouring of love and joy and encouragement. 

Happy Birthday Dear Me...Celebrating Who I Am
Last year I wrote a birthday post for every member of my large, extended family. In April I began to include information about each person’s name and personal characteristics. I missed doing that for those with birthdays in January, February and March, including myself. 

I looked up my name, my formal name:

“Cynthia, you are cheerful and friendly, and could live a very emotional life. A high energy person, you like to have several lines of effort going at once. You are a good speaker and promoter and can express yourself joyfully and constructively.  You have the ability to think up big ideas and bring them to completion. You might be psychic. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you can be hard to convince. You also dislike advice and at times, you can be impatient, and impulsive. However, you love beauty and philosophy and spirituality . You have a strong need for freedom – physical, mental and spiritual.

You have the power and the unique ability to choose your own destiny and achieve anything you want in life. You can expand in any direction according to your will and your set of values. You have a passion for life and for fairness, which means you belong in a position of authority. You are inherently courageous and possess the endurance to accomplish “The Impossible Dream”. With that power comes responsibility, something you are willing to accept. You hold keys to the material world, but with this gift comes a high spiritual responsibility to be fair and true to others. You are philosophical and mature, determined and intense,  with a desire to endure and go far.” 

Happy Birthday Dear Me, Celebrating Who I Am

I read through the words above slowly and thoughtfully, feeling into them for truth. It’s a bit different posting them, when they are for me rather than a family member. I can see my loved ones’ strengths and passions clearly. 

I see truth there, sense it really, more than see it. I am encouraged by what I read, receiving affirmation that it is okay for me to be a dreamer, a big idea generator, psychic, intuitive and inventive. Creativity pulses through my blood. As do stubbornness, impatience (especially when I am forced to wait because of the inaction of another), and impulsiveness. And I do desire freedom of all kinds, freedom to be, to journey, to grow, to walk in an uninhibited way with the Divine. 

Happy Birthday Dear Me, Celebrating Who I AmMy J Peterman sweater arrived in time for my birthday! I love it. 

I love reading that I have the power and ability to choose my own destiny and achieve anything that I want in life. What a powerful blessing. It’s the equivalent to being handed a map and a magical key and being told “No door is closed to you, no land off limits.” The adventurer in me quickens with such   spacious thoughts. What an amazing invitation to explore, both my inner and my outer worlds. 

I am intrigued by the very first sentence, in the description, that ends with the words….could live a very emotional life. Could is the key word. I have not lived an emotional life at all, because I chose at a young age not to, suppressing emotions such as anger and sorrow. I wonder how I would be now, if I had chosen otherwise, if I had lived as the emotion filled being I was intended to be? 

There is no going back, no undoing that long ago choice. I have done much inner work in the last ten years, to free all of my emotions, to stare down fear and embrace who I am, all of me, gifts, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. It is an ongoing journey. Perhaps I will yet know what it is to experience a full range of emotions freely. 

The last year has been amazing for me. I have learned vital lessons and experienced growth. I walk with greater trust, in myself, in the Divine, in my ability to have an ongoing conversation with the Divine. I walk without a cane!  And I am well underway on a remarkable healing journey that is restoring my health and vitality. My family thrives and all are well, all is well. Tonight I dined with eight of my loved ones, a casual, fun celebratory meal. 

I am indeed so inspired this year, to see what I can do, what I can achieve, who I can walk alongside with, who I can help. Within me does burn the desire to endure and go far, beyond my boundaries, beyond my borders, journeying with the flow, surrendered to Life and where it takes me. 

Impossible dream?  I don’t think so! Happy birthday, dear Me. Onward and upward. I love you! 

Happy Birthday Dear Me, Celebrating Who I Am

What Does Robust Mean, Anyway?

Today’s inspiration invited me to ponder the deeper meaning of the word robust. I am using Alan Rickman’s delightful quote as the foundation of my adventure this year: “If only life could be a little more tender, and art a little more robust.” As I completed reorganizing my bedroom closet, and sorted through piles of stuff, my mind was free to consider the word Alan so purposefully used. The journey I was guided on was amazing and soulful. 

What does robust mean, anyway?
I looked up robust before the end of last year. The word means “strong, healthy, vigorous”. I am always fascinated by the origin of words. Robust comes from the Latin word robur, literally meaning oak strength. 

This morning I asked, as I do every morning, “What adventure should we have today?”, which is a fancy way of asking, “How shall we play today?” This is what a response, an invitation from the Divine, looks like in my life. It starts with a nudge, an energetic tap on the shoulder, that gets my attention. 

It began with memories from Facebook. Three years ago on this date, during my Year of Firsts, I took a winter walk in Wildcat Park. I encountered Oak Tree for the first time, a big old tree near one of the walking trails. Touching the oak that afternoon, I felt the vibration of energy humming beneath my hands. I look for Oak Tree every time I walk at Wildcat Park, and I always stop to rest a hand on the rough bark. 

As I worked in my bedroom this afternoon, I had a DVD playing, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There is an ancient tree featured in a couple of scenes. It is a whomping willow tree, not an oak, but seeing that tree, after reading my post earlier about Oak Tree, drew my attention to the word robust, and its root word meaning oak strength. Now I was curious. And curiosity inspired me to follow its lead to discover something deeper. 

Oak Tree in Wildcat Park in the spring. 

I looked up the symbolism around the mighty oak tree, as I thought about art being more robust, more oak strong. This hardwood, which can live for hundreds of years, is considered the King of Trees. Attributes associated with the oak include honor, wisdom, endurance, stability and strength. Those are good characteristics to connect with art…and with my life. The Celtic word druid is derived from their word for oak, duir, which interestingly literally means door. To the Celtic people, passing through an oak door is to spiritually access soul thoughts. 

This is where I said, Wait a minute… and began to access my own soul thoughts. 

In 2014, my Year of Firsts, I encountered Oak Tree and we became friends. The next year, my Year of Journeys, my symbol was an open door, and my secondary symbol became the acorn, the oak tree’s seed. I associated the acorn with remembrance, and potential, and I purchased a silver acorn pendant and a silver and copper acorn ring. 

Last year my journey continued with a Year of Surrender. My symbol was the river, representing the flow of life. I learned to trust at a deep level, recognizing that I am not in control of anything, except how I choose to respond to where the flow takes me and the opportunities that appear. I realized that the Divine calls to me as the Dream Giver, just around the river bend. I can choose to follow that guidance, or resist the invitations to grow and expand my heart and soul.  

2017 is my Year of Inspiration. Inspiration…literally meaning Divine guidance. As I considered the acorn, and how that seed contains all the potential for a mighty, strong tree, my heartbeat quickened. Ahhhhh. This. This is where inspiration was leading me. I suddenly saw the connections between my own journey the last three years, and where I am now. The linking of the symbols of the oak tree, the door, the acorn, surrender – which is a type of dying to self, exactly what a seed does so new growth emerges, inspiration and the word robust…from Alan’s quote…gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. 

How could I ever doubt that my journey is being divinely guided? My trust deepened even further today, with such inspired revelation…going deep like the roots of an oak tree.

I briefly questioned whether my symbol for this year should be the oak tree. That would make sense. But the answer that came was no. No, this was a lesson today for me about my journey…a lesson that began three years ago when I desired to move beyond my comfort zone. 

And the journey continues. 

This year, I am learning about making life a little more tender, and art a little more robust. I am becoming more robust as well. I am oak strong. 

Fight a Cold…and Win

Well, it happened. I avoided fall allergies. However, lately I’ve been around a bunch of people with a variety of winter illnesses, and this morning I woke up with the sniffles. I could feel the cold symptoms coming on, before I even crawled out of bed…headache, chills, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and that tired feeling around the eyes.

This wouldn’t do! I’ve built up my immune system over the past few months, by eating healthy, nutrient rich foods. Waving the white flag and giving in to an illness didn’t appeal to me. I attacked the cold head on, with the following powerful strategies.

Fight a cold and win
1. Listen to the body – My body wanted a hot water with lemon in it. It turns out this was an excellent choice. Lemons contain highly absorbable vitamin C. And the antioxidant flavonoids in this citrus fruit fight illnesses, including colds. Plus lemons are an effective mucus expeller. I sipped on a cup of hot water with the juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon.

2. Oranges, oranges & more oranges – Like lemons, this fruit is high in vitamin C, flavonoids and coenzyme glutathione, which together fight off viruses. After the lemon water and a glass of fresh celery juice, I created a new breakfast smoothie. I combined two bananas, two red oranges, a cup of pineapple and a tablespoon each of hemp and chia seeds. I’ve never added oranges to a smoothie before, thinking of them as more of a juicing fruit. This won’t be the last time I include oranges! The smoothie was light and refreshing and just what I needed.

3. Nettle tea -I’ve kept a pot of this herbal tea brewing today. Nettle strengthens the body with healing alkaloids and its anti inflammatory properties help relieve cold symptoms naturally. I brew three tablespoons of dried nettle leaf in six cups of boiling water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Or for a single cup, use 1 teaspoon of dried nettle. I drink it plain but it can be sweetened with organic honey, if desired.

4. Eat lightly, with a focus on fresh fruits – There may be some merit in starving a cold! Listening to my body again, I’ve eaten fresh fruits primarily today, accompanied by lots of liquids. Fruits are easily digested without taxing the digestive system and packed with powerful nutrients. I did have left over veggie pizza for lunch. Otherwise, it’s been a fruit day. Dinner was a bowl of fresh sliced pears, great for cleansing the body and purging toxins, and more red oranges.

5. Powerful supplements – These three supplements helped me to make it through fall without seasonal allergies. I’ve come to realize that supplements alone, while helpful, cannot overcome a poor diet. But eliminating inflammation causing foods, increasing fruits and vegetables, and adding supplements creates a powerful health routine that wards off illnesses and allergies. I feel like I might have let my defenses down because after I successfully made it through allergy season, I eased off my daily supplements. I have been diligent this week in taking them, and I won’t get lazy about this routine again. Especially helpful for fighting allergies and colds are Ester-C, a vitamin C complex, elderberry, for boosting the immune system, and raw honey. Locally produced raw honey is so important for supporting the immune system and fighting ear, nose and throat infections. I typically take a big spoonful once a day. Today, I’ve taken two.

6. Hot Apple Cider – I’m finishing up my day with a cup of freshly made hot apple cider. You can read about the health benefits of this incredibly delicious drink in a previous blog post HERE. Inhaling the spicy aroma makes me feel better, even before I take a sip. The cider contains spices that aid healing. I’m grateful for its healing properties. And for the way it warms and comforts me as I savor it.

Normally, when I have a cold coming on, I feel worse as the day progresses. Not today. By mid afternoon, my head had cleared, and the headache had disappeared. The sniffles were gone, as was pressure in my sinuses and ears. That tired feeling around my eyes lingers slightly, but overall, I fought that sneaky cold, and I’ve won the day’s battle. Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, has been so helpful.

I didn’t think that my first act of making life a little more tender, in 2017, would be directed toward myself. My hope is that sharing my day of extreme self care, and yes…tenderness…will help someone else successfully, and naturally,  fight a cold, and win. In that way, may this act of tenderness go far.


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The Ta Da List

I have long been a list maker. I am one of those people who used to add things to my list, as the day progressed, just for the pleasure of crossing them off. My habits told me was that what I really enjoyed was the sense of accomplishment that I got from a day of doing. 

Although I still make lists occasionally, I’ve shifted in the last five or six years, away from “to do” lists, focusing more on being. However, I was delighted today to read about a new-to-me type of list making that appeals to my creative side. 

I came across the “Ta Da” list in Walking in This World. Author Julia Cameron suggests creating a Ta Da list, rather than working from a To Do list. The list of Ta Das, as in Look what I did…Ta Da, highlights creative actions and steps during the day, rather than focusing on what didn’t get crossed off the To Do list. Ta Da is accomplishment oriented, rather than task oriented. 

I like that distinction! I like celebrating what I have accomplished, rather than fretting over a long list of things to do. Julia says, “The Ta Da list shows I did work on my art today. Creative lives are made up of minutes…and minute amounts of work do add up.” 

Here is my Ta Da List for today:

* I finished watching a new Netflix series this morning, The OA, Season One. This mind bending series, the first I’ve ever binge watched over a weekend, goes on my creative list because it was so original, clever and imaginative. I’ll be thinking about this show for days. I’d recommend for ages 16 and up, as a couple of scenes are for mature audiences only. 

* Read a chapter in Walking in This World, The Practical Art of Creativity, where I embraced the Ta Da List. 

* Free writing on ideas for the Year of Inspiration blog this year. I wrote these categories for “making life a little more tender (gentleness, concern, sympathy, from the Latin word meaning ‘delicate’)”: compassion toward others, being Light, Love, and Inspiration, offering peace, joy, hope, understanding and forgiveness to others, giving time, resources and money to assist others, being present and witnessing another’s life, listening, being empathetic and sympathetic, walking alongside. I am open to other tender ideas. 

I wrote these categories for “making art a little more robust (strong, healthy, vigorous, from the Latin word meaning ‘oak-strength’)”: writing – storytelling, blogging, essays, free writing, poetry, drawing, painting, coloring, gardening, clothing design (a new interest), cooking, decorating, vignettes, repurposing, photography, mixed media, collage, building, music, movement – dance, zumba, tai chi, yoga. I am open to other robust art ideas. 

* Read about blogging, and about communicating with the Divine. 

* Wrote a blog post

Ta Da! There is my list, and the creative steps I took today, that are in alignment with this journey I am on. The OA inspired compassion in me as well, and a greater awareness of the importance of reaching out to help people, youth in particular, and accepting others where they are.

Ta Da is an accomplishment accompanied by fanfare and a bow of acknowledgement. I’m thinking of it as a daily, joyful pat on my back, and a playful high five with the Divine. 

A New Year, A New Adventure

As this fresh new year gets underway, I am celebrating with a new adventure! Today’s post officially launches my new blog, with its own domain name, The appearance is similar, because the software is a product. I have a new host, siteground. 

All this newness has certainly challenged me, mentally, and I am in the process of learning more and launching a second blog that focuses entirely on my healing journey. I am excited about the possibilities and the potential! My archives from the previous site are in the process of being transferred. Perhaps. As a daily blogger, my former blog site is huge, which presents some challenges in transferring three years of posts. 

Whether those previous posts are able to be moved to this new site, or not, all is well. My first site will remain up and will feature a redirect to 

This year’s theme and journey began to develop early in 2016, with the passing of actor Alan Rickman. Long a fan of this amazing man, I was deeply saddened by his  unexpected death. Alan once said that to know him, study his work. Missing his presence on this earth, I did that very thing, watching his movies and interviews, reading about his projects and life. Which is how I came across this remarkable quote of his:

I was captivated by Alan’s words, and tucked them away in my heart. 

Last summer, expanding on an exercise in the Walking in This World book, I enjoyed a month of drawing creative activities out of a glass pitcher, one each day. Not only did I enjoy the fun and artistic activities, but I learned to trust at a much deeper level. The activities I randomly drew each morning perfectly matched my day, time and availability wise. 

On the only two rainy days during the month of June, I drew the rainy day activities. Those kinds of “coincidences”, called synchronicities, get my attention. They are taps on my shoulder, making me aware that something greater and more mysterious is unfolding. I began to see and hear the word inspiration, repeatedly. Repetition is another way that the Divine alerts me to something important. 

And then the invitation came. 

As my days aligned with the activites that I seemingly selected at random, I sensed the playfulness involved, the humor, and the joy present. I asked a bold question of the Divine. “Will you play with me?” My answer came the morning I drew a rainy day activity, as rain fell outside. The answer was “YES!” 

What I heard next astounded me. The quiet words that filled my mind posed a question. “Will you play with Me?” How could I not accept such a request. “Yes…yes!” was my answer. 

That incredible month revealed my word for 2017, Inspiration. The word literally means “Divine guidance”. It can also mean to do something creative or artistic. Another definition of inspiration is to breathe in, or inhale, life. All of those meanings align with me, with my current journey…and connect back to the Alan Rickman quote that I was drawn to early in the year. 

The lightbulb, long associated with creativity and bright ideas, clicked into place as my symbol for the year. As soon as I acknowledged this symbol, the lightbulb began to show up everywhere in my life. I have a large Edison bulb hanging in my studio. 

My Year of Inspiration will focus, then, on two things: making life a little more tender and art a little more robust. Through my second blog I’ll also be sharing my healing journey and the importance of good health, at every age. 

It promises to be an amazing year. After all, I have been invited to play. I feel inspired already. 

Homemade Veggie Pizza

Inspiration led me into the kitchen this evening, where I made my first veggie pizza. The recipe came from Anthony Willam, the Medical Medium. When I saw his post on Facebook, I knew I wanted to try this healthy version of a favorite comfort food. 

My mom, and stepdad Max, owned and operated a pizza restaurant for years. I know pizza. Mom created a wonderful dough recipe and perfected a variety of mouth watering pizzas that they sold in their successful restaurant. I have made pizza at home many times, using the family recipe. 

Traditional pizza is off the menu now, and my old recipes are tucked away, so I was excited to create a veggie pizza that is in alignment with my diet. This version is dairy free, and the crust is gluten and dairy free. 

I couldn’t locate a gluten free, ready made crust. However, I found a great mix at my local   market that is gluten and dairy free. I prepared the dough, according to the package directions, and had enough dough to make two  10 inch pizzas. 

I baked the pizza crusts for about 8 minutes while the sliced and chopped veggies sautéed. After the crusts were lightly browned, I used my own homemade marinara sauce as the base. The cooked veggies were divided between the two crusts, sliced black olives added, and the pizzas were returned to the oven for 10 more minutes. 

Ready to go back into the oven for a few minutes. 

Ready to eat!

In a short time, I had a fresh from the oven pizza, ready to sample. It was delicious! I felt like I had a special treat, without any accompanying guilt. And I didn’t miss the cheese. 

In fact, my body thanked me for this yummy pizza, loaded with fresh vegetables. In the last decade, a slice of pizza, while tasting great, instantly brought on a bout of indigestion. Reacting to the gluten and cheese, my body tried to let me know pizza wasn’t comfort food at all. It caused great discomfort. I ate it anyway, which shows the extent of my unhealthy relationship with food. 

Tonight, I savored each delectable bite, knowing there was nothing there to harm me or feed viruses and inflammation in my body. This was food that was good for me, on many levels. 

I love these cooking adventures and trying new recipes. Preparing healthy meals in creative ways is a deep level of self care. I am nurturing myself while listening to and honoring my body. 

And in addition to all the benefits of creating healthy, plant based meals that contribute to my healing and well being, cooking creatively is fun, and feeds my soul as well as my body. This takes bon appétit to a whole new level. 

Make Your Own Deodorant

The first question one might ask is why would anyone want to make their own deodorant? In the US, after all , 95% of the adult population use deodorants and antiperspirants. Why bother to make something that can be so easily purchased?

My answer, my reason for trying this Do It Yourself project tonight, is simple. While I am in the process of increasing my health and well being by changing my diet, fighting viruses with plant based foods, eliminating chemicals and additives, and detoxing from heavy metals, it seems counterproductive to keep using a product that contains unhealthy chemicals and additives. 

My research shows that most deodorants and antiperspirants contain these ingredients that are not good for us:

* aluminum-a primary ingredient, this metal has been linked to breast cancer and increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Aluminum clogs the pores to prevent sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. 

* parabens-a synthetic preservative that can disrupt hormonal balance. This chemical has been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity. 

* propylene glycol-a petroleum based material that can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver. 

* phthalates-another chemical that has been linked to health issues, including birth defects. 

* triclsoan-a substance classified as a pesticide that is a known carcinogen. 

As I am seeking improved health, I have made the decision to stop using products that can compromise my well being. Today, I ran out of the antiperspirant I have used for years. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to switch to a healthier version. I felt inspired to make my own!

I used this simple recipe, from Thank Your Body:

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Combine cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl. (I was out of cornstarch, and substituted baking powder. Ill be making a second batch!) Add coconut oil (I softened the oil for 20 seconds in the microwave) and blend, using a spoon. Add essential oil, if desired. I added 10 drops of orange oil and 5 drops of rosemary, creating a light, clean scent. Combine, pressing mixture with back of spoon, until well mixed and smooth. Use by smoothing small amount on underarms with fingertips. 

Making my own deodorant only took a few minutes. I tried a dab on my inner wrist and tested it under my right arm. I will be using my DIY deodorant this week, and I will give an update with the honest results. 

I feel good about this unique creative endeavor, and good about further eliminating my body’s contact with chemicals and toxins. Healthy living, for me, involves more than diet and exercise, although those are crucial. What I don’t allow to interact with my body is important too, even if it puts me in a category considered outside the norm. 

The second question one might ask, and I get this one frequently, is…are you a hippie? That’s a simple answer as well. 

Yes…yes I am!

Setting Up a Creative Space

I focused on my creative studio this afternoon, as the Christmas dècor gets packed away. This space, a former bedroom, currently serves as my studio. Here I work and write and draw and read and color. It is crucial that I feel inspired when I am in the room. 

Artist and author Gerald Brommer says, “The environment becomes inspiration. My response to it becomes idea. And idea becomes purpose and action through interpretation and painting.” 

With that quote in mind, I turned my attention toward making sure that my environment supports me and inspires me. 

A repurposing idea captured my imagination first. I have two trips coming up this year. My grandson Dayan has wanted to go to Italy for years. His mother and I will accompany him on this exciting first for all of us, as Dayan’s graduation gift. And in the fall, I will return to Scotland, and see Ireland and England for the first time also. This is a girls’ trip with my mom, sisters, and niece. 

I wanted a visual representation of these two trips in my studio, something to remind me of one of my big Whys…travel. Inspiration nudged me to a set of old encyclopedias that belonged to Greg and his brother when they were children. Published in 1951, the information within the volumes is out of date. However, the books are old enough now to be considered vintage. Neither Greg nor I wanted to throw the set away, thinking a creative idea for repurposing them might arise. Today, one did!

I located maps of Italy and Great Britain, the muted colors exactly what I was hoping for. 

With Greg’s permission, and help, the map pages were carefully cut from the volumes, and trimmed to fit within two document frames that I had on hand. 

I love how these turned out! The old maps hang in my studio where I can see them easily while seated at my writing desk. I will be reminded, daily, of the upcoming trips. And I like that I found a use for those old encyclopedias. There are more projects waiting for me within those dusty books, I am sure! 

After the maps were hung, I had the joy of hanging another piece of art in my studio. Greg surprised me for Christmas with a print from talented local artist, Taylor Kubicek. Taylor’s painting, featuring an old fashioned typewriter beneath an Edison bulb, could not be more perfect for me and the year ahead. I am so honored to have this work of art hanging in my studio.

I warmed up my writing table with a fabric throw. My caterpillar Absolem, made by my niece Ashley, is perched there on his mushroom, reminding me of the question “Who are you?”, that I intend to answer every day. And he reminds me as well of Alan Rickman, whose quote has so inspired my journey this year. Taylor’s print is right there, above my desk, where I can gaze at it often. 

My projects completed for the day, I savored a late afternoon tea in this inviting space. While I sipped Scottish tea, and nibbled on pears, pink oranges and medjool dates, I opened to the incredible flow of creative energy in the room. Behind me my large Edison bulb cast a soft light, illuminating the space and me. I can create here. I can write and dream and birth ideas and then carry them to maturity here.  

I am so inspired.