A to Z Blogging Challenge

E is for Essential Oils #AtoZChallenge

I’m not an expert on essential oils. Actually I’m hardly a novice. I had actually gifted some family members with diffusers thinking it might help them de-stress. Until a few months ago, I never even looked any deeper into the uses and/or benefits of using essential oils.

Then I stumbled onto a lavender and chamomile body washed that I fell in love with. Beginning each day with the scent of lavender in my shower relaxed me in a way that no other scent has. So I began using lavender lotion. I had always liked the scent of lavender but being a little slow to connect the dots, by the time it occurred to me that I could use lavender essential oil to help lessen anxiety in my every day life, well, I should be embarrassed.

I have not delved deep into essential oils and their supposed powers. I can see it turning into a rabbit hole and goodness knows that I fall into enough of those by accident without knowingly entering this one. My use of the oils suits my purpose perfectly.

Most days I wear a piece of jewelry that diffuses my lavender scent. I have noticed a definite difference in my anxiety level. I alternate between a necklace and a variety of bracelets. Some use lava stones or felt pads, others are made of suede and I put drops of lavender oil right on the bracelet.

I have a diffuser in my room, which I use every night. I have a few different recipes I use that are supposed to help me sleep better, or lessen congestion or not snore. I’m not sure how effective these different blends actually are but I do like the lingering scents when I wake up in the morning.

Will I ever become an essential oil aficionado? Nope. Do they work? My lovely lavender most definitely lightens my mood and relaxes me. Just another step toward taking care of myself.

#AtoZChallenge – E

Happy Spring!


A to Z Blogging Challenge

C is for Create #AtoZChallenge

Nothing soothes my soul and calms my nerves and jumpstarts my creativity like a trip to the craft store! The possibilities are endless. And it’s such a peaceful yet inspirational place to hang out. Although not all of my attempts at creativity yield successful results, the process is incredibly relaxing and re-energizing.

I’ve always loved creating. Drawing was one of my favorite hobbies as a child. I took art classes in high school and my mom taught me how to crochet. My favorite project to crochet was a bookworm book mark. Crocheting carries the added benefit of bringing back memories of my mom. After I had my kids, Mom’s Craft Club was one night that I really looked forward to each month. It introduced me to a wide variety of crafts that I would have never tried otherwise. I enjoy flexing my imagination and creating wreaths for every holiday and/or season. I’ve made jewelry, sewed costumes for my kids and a blanket for my grandson. For awhile I used clay pots in every way imaginable.

Creating something new regardless of its outcome is one thing I can always rely on to help me chill out when I need it.

“You can’t use up creativity.
The more you use, the more you have.”

-Maya Angelou

#AtoZChallenge- C

Desperately trying to remain calm and not fall farther behind on this challenge–


A to Z Blogging Challenge

D is for Dogs #AtoZChallenge

What can I say about dogs and the absolute joy they bring to our lives that hasn’t been said before? Twelve years ago I made the decision to bring a dog into our family and I have not regretted it for a single minute.

“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.” -Louis Sabin

“Having a dog will bless you with many of the happiest days of your life, and one of the worst.” -Unknown

“It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”- John Grogan

My parents and I have been blessed with amazing dogs in our lives. They have brought us endless joy, countless laughter and never-ending devotion and love (that, at times, I feel we barely deserved). We have a new member to our pack who has not been formally introduced on the blog, although she has appeared in a few photos. Her time is coming.

Writing this post was more difficult than I thought it would be. I found myself babbling on and darting off in all directions. There are times when I couldn’t make my hands move because the lump in my throat was so large it had apparently rendered me incapable of movement.

Let me just say that I cannot imagine a world where Ari is not here.

#AtoZChallenge- D

Peace, love, dogs


A to Z Blogging Challenge

B is for Boundaries #atozchallenge

“Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine.”

-Johnny, Dirty Dancing

Today’s post is all about the dance space- both physically and figuratively. I’ve always been a firm believer that children need boundaries. Boundaries help them to learn where they fit into the world, how things work, what the limits are, as well as so much more. It was evident early on in my Nonna-ing years that as much as I would have loved to pulled the grandma card and played loosey goosey with boundaries, my role needed to be more parent-like to ensure that my grandsons were getting the consistency and stability that came from their dad. And their dad learned the whole boundary thing from being my kid.

My buddy, Beej, now eight years old, has always pushed the boundaries and none more often than meal time. His chair has to be butted up against mine with his entire place setting encroaching on my space. He still tries to sneak into my lap during meals where we are the only ones at the table and I’m trying to gently scootch him back onto his own chair. I understand that he has a need to be physically touching someone at times and it can be a tricky balancing act to determine when that boundary needs to be firmly in place and when I need to bend a little. He has an uncle who had similar needs so I’m accustomed to the physical contact thing.

Rules, routines, expectations. All of these are constants in our daily life with Beej. In his case, without them he is seriously unhinged.

While I seem to have a good handle on Beej’s personal boundary needs, I’ve noticed that I don’t do that well with my own when it comes to mental or emotional boundaries. I put others’ needs (and wants, to be honest) before my own almost constantly. This leaves me feeling drained and a little resentful. There are people in my life who are well aware that I will run myself ragged when I shouldn’t feel that I need to and will take advantage of it. I blame myself for not setting up clear boundaries and speaking up.

I developed a sort of prickly back off vibe early on which safely keeps most people out of my physical personal space. This is not something I consciously do but people who know me well will follow my lead when it comes to proximity. I’m okay with most people being close by but when it comes to men in particular, I will take steps back from them unless they are family or close friend. (I loved the distance part of Covid.)

I’ve been working on building a few walls or at least partitions when it comes to my headspace. For years my phone wallpaper was “Promise yourself to remain so calm that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” There are many times when that quote will pop into my head before I’m really aware of it and I realize that I’m not kicking out the intrusive thoughts.

I’m actually quite proud of the progress I’ve made in this area. My biggest accomplishment of late is that when I’m in a conversation or situation that causes my anxiety to stretch its arms and start looking to take over is to excuse myself and physically leave the room. Until recently although I struggled to keep my calm in control and remain in the situation, I wasn’t able to simply remove myself. For some reason I forced myself to stay. Now I have gotten better at walking away, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

While this simple undertaking might seem like a small step, for me it is huge. It is liberating and it feels great!

#AtoZChallenge- B



A to Z Blogging Challenge

A is for Alone #atozchallenge

Here it is- April 6th and I’ve finally found my first chance to sit down and begin the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Ironically my theme is a mash up of the ways I practice self care, mindfulness and mental wellness.

The prevailing reason for choosing these themes is not because they are an ongoing “in” thing right now or to proclaim that I have any wisdom to offer. I suck at all of them. Putting myself last has been a theme in my life. I’m a wife, mother, oldest sibling. I can’t think of a time when putting myself first was an option.

No, my reason for landing on this theme after weeks and weeks of jumping from topic to topic and realizing that focusing on me was what I NEEDED to …well…focus on came when I had a major freakout on March 31st. It wasn’t because April 1st was the next day and I still had not decided on my theme. It was because I had a big event on April 1st and I was not prepared. As I frantically raced around the house gathering things and checking lists and continuing to panic, I was ranting about how I had spent the past week putting everyone’s needs first and now I was running out of time. The words kept rattling around in my head and I just could not get rid of them. So the decision came to me when I realized that unless I forced myself to focus on myself, it was not going to happen. And what better way than being reminded to practice some self care and mindfulness on a daily basis than writing about it.

So here I go.

A is for Alone. I’m an INTROVERT through and through. I was at a meeting with eight people yesterday and while this is not a huge amount of people and the room was rather large, I was still overwhelmed at the information being thrown my way and talking to everyone before and after the meeting wiped me out.

I need alone time. I always have, even when I didn’t recognize the need or what caused it. It helps me recharge, quiets my mind and helps me regroup. I don’t NEED to have silence but there are times when I realize I’ve been in a room with no sounds other than the ambient sounds around me. Most of the time just not being in the presence of other humans (or demanding dogs) is enough for a decent recharge.

Just the act of sitting here writing and re-writing this first post alone and in silence has given me a sense of peace that was missing a few hours ago.

“What a lovely surprise to discover how unlonely being alone can be.”

-Ellen Burstyn

#AtoZChallenge- A

Off to a late but hopefully promising start!