Sunday, January 3, 2016


As Epiphany rolls into our homes and we see the changing of them we have a chance to reflect on what may have been "in the way".  With a new year comes new surprises, new delights, new friends, and a whole world of beauty that we need to offer.  This blessed Twelfth Night has many traditions - the annual blessing of our homes and families and the expulsion of that which is not desirable to make room for the Christ Child and the salvation that comes only through Him.

Today the tree and lights came down.  The train board is put away and stored for the next year.  The stocking holders go into storage and the leftover candy becomes designated to become repurposed for Super Bowl treats.  Now that I've shared the "perfect world" we all like to show, let's be real.

The tree had been up for 3 years.  Yup - 3 years.  For reasons I am not willing to admit on the internet the tree and trainboard which take up 1/5 of our living room and 75% of the natural light have been there.  The stocking holders?  Yeah - I don't even remember the last time they weren't up there - so I'm guessing 5+ years.  Possibly longer.  I know they came down the first year or two we lived here but after that it's kind of a blur.

As the tree came down and I had the chance to bask in the natural sunlight a few things occurred to me:

  1. Trees come down for a reason - the dust that came off that thing is nothing short of a biohazard. 
  2. Those windows let in a LOT of light....blaring bright light....light that requires new blackout curtains. 
And then the wheels begin to turn in my brain and the light dawns and I must stop the cleaning frenzy to have a chat with all of you.  I swear this isn't metaphorical - it's the clutter came out, and the dust faded away, the light shone through.

Think about that for a minute.  What is your "stuff" blocking from you?  What "light" are you keeping out?  Friendship?  Family?  Fellowship?  Love?  Joy?  Peace?  Tranquility?

How do we get rid of the pile of "stuff" that is physically blocking us from the light of Christ?  How do we let the physical go and embrace all that He has to offer us?  Are you willing to take the risk?  Have you kept the light out for so long that you have difficulty adjusting to it? 

See, the light was there all along - the tree sitting in the bay window was the only thing blocking it from entering into the room.  The light is blinding because we are not used to it - we have grown accustomed to the darker, more secretive cave-like feeling instead of the joy that can come from letting it in.

And so we come to a close - and my first challenge of 2016 to you:  Let the light in.  Shed the "stuff" between you and God and open your door wide open to all the blessings he has in store for you in 2016 and beyond. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Beginnings

Tonight is a night for closing chapters that need to be closed and opening the door to all the beauty that God has in store for your future.  It's a time when we naturally reflect on the past and attempt to become hopeful about what is to come.  We set goals, establish new habits, shed the old, and search for the new.

Today we embrace what is to come.  We seek our future with open eyes, open minds, and open hearts.

But I challenge you today.

I challenge you to take this new beginning and invite God into it with you.  To open your heart to what He is trying to say and to allow Him to guide the path you will be on.  Don't just consider the options, prayerfully consider them. 

Take time on your knees today and give thanks for all the blessings you have had this past year and if you think you have had none, the simple fact that you are able to read this says you have had far more than your mind can even begin to imagine.  Praise Him, even if you are in a storm, for all that He has done, and is doing. 

Reach out as you embrace your future and know that as you travel on it, I will be here, lifting you up in prayer and His light as we move forward.  Never doubt that you are loved.  Never doubt that you are valued.  Never doubt that you are worth far more than you could ever imagine...and know in your heart that no matter how far your journey make take you, it will never take you further than just one step from being back in His arms again.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Moving Forward

Yesterday I opened up to you about what the past few years have looked like in my life and a long but brief synopsis of how I got to where I am now - sane and mentally healthy for the first time in a very, very long time.  I mentioned toward the end that a particular event the day before had led me to want to write again and promised you a follow up article today.  Thus, welcome to a new page in my journey.

I will freely admit that there are two modes to my housework: psychotic overkill or non-existent.  As the child of two people with serious overkill cleaning I kind of rebelled as I got older.  So either it's perfect, or why bother.  I also am the type of woman who believes that my primary job is to care for my children and husband.  I need to focus on my children when he's not home and focus on all of them when he is. 

The problem is that when I focused on all of them 100% of the time, I never took care of anything else.  Anyone with a brain can see where this went.  I don't have "before" photos - and if I did I'd be too ashamed to post them.

In order to overcome the clutter, I had to come to a new mindset that involved 5 key issues:

  1. Throwing things out is a good thing. 
  2. My children are capable of far more in this matter than I give them credit for. 
  3. My children will also try ANYTHING to get out of proving me right on #2. 
  4. If I ever want it done and want it kept that way it's up to me. 
  5. I need to learn to get over spending 24/7 with people I love and just GET IT DONE.
#5 was the big wake up call.  Time to ditch the antiquated notion of perfection and get over myself.

Yesterday was my first day trying this new concept.  My husband and son sat down to play a video game together (just gifted for Christmas), and I went into the kitchen and proceeded to organize my pantry.  No guilt because they were both happy and content, engaged and excited.  That was revolutionary.

XBox may just save my house cleaning!

Yup - you heard me correctly.  Thanks to them gaming, I could just GO.  And I didn't feel guilty, or left out, or like I was being punished.  I went and organized a piece and then would check in on them from time to time, have a laugh, and get back to the grindstone.

Tonight they watched a movie together while I organized the kitchen utensils and "specialty" cooking items.  Then after they went to bed I organized my soaping supplies and then spent some time doing the end shuffling that was necessary from all the clean up.

Our new cleaning schedule is as follows:

  • Between 3 and 4 PM I hop up from hanging out with the kids and grab the vacuum.  This is their cue to start cleaning up their daily crazy because I'm coming in there soon.  I quickly run over the main traffic areas in the kitchen, dining room, hallway, and bathroom and then spend a few extra moments on one particular room in the pile.  When I'm done with the details it's into their playspace and I handle the living room quickly and then head on out.  Once that's finished I quickly wipe down the counters in the bathroom and do a quick clean of the toilet and the cat's litter box.  Then into the kitchen for another fast wipe down of the counters and sink.  I put away dishes as needed (or load them into the dishwasher), pull out dinner, and start getting that ready to run on time.  It takes 30 minutes tops, including meal prep and the house is nice and fresh when hubby gets home from work.
  • After dinner I take care of the dishes and put everything away again.  I'm trying to learn to clean as I cook and so far that's going fairly well but will definitely take some time before it becomes a true habit.  I load the dishwasher, start it if needed, wipe down the counters again, and hen I'm back to hang out with the family.  Worst case scenario this takes 15 minutes tops.
  • Last, but not least, I tackle a few areas that need help every day.  The house is by NO means perfect yet - but by knocking out some of those every day the progress continues to move forward.  I try to do 4, some days I manage more, some days less - but for now 4 is doable most of the time.  Some days the projects are large (reorganizing the pantry), others are quick (clearing an area with a clear game plan in advance or relocating a handful of boxes that were presorted but didn't make it to their new home yet).  

That's it - that's ALL I'm doing.  I will freely admit I had a metric TON of help by my family who came to visit over Christmas and worked endlessly to get us to this point.  I will also freely admit I still have a LOT of work to get done.  But for now, I can cook in a clean kitchen, I can play with my kids on the floor.  I can take photos of my kids being themselves without having to panic and prestage the shot so the background won't reflect something I don't want seen.  HUGE steps. And now I get to take fun photos like this one of tonight's dinner! (BONUS!)

And every time I don't want to do it, those are the things I think about dealing with - and I remember those anxiety attacks.  I remember worrying constantly and feeling overwhelmed.  I remember what it felt like to constantly have the state of my house looming over my head.

And then I smile because as I clean, I sing.  I haven't just randomly sung whatever popped into my head out loud for years.  I'm a musician - and I had lost my song.  Today I sang "Getting to Know You" from The King and I as I danced around with the vacuum.

It feels good to have it back. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Getting Back on Track

First things first, I owe you all a minor apology.  I kind of fell off the earth for awhile there but please bear with me while I explain a bit about where I was, how I got to where I am now, and how I am continuing to move forward.

I know for a fact that many other moms out there suffer from depression and anxiety so I'm going to come clean.  After having my second child I had severe post-partum depression.  Thinking I could just "power through" I went off my meds and ended up in a deep, deep, deep hole.  This past more than 2 years that hole got deeper and deeper as our family struggled through my husband's job loss due to his disabilities, my father's stroke, the passing of my beloved grandfather, and many other smaller trials.  It has been a journey that was immensely personally painful to go through.

Last summer I choose to attend Wood Badge.  I started trying to rebuild my life and though the daily struggle was still there, I started to feel support and some wind under my sails again.  I wasn't doing great - but I was starting to try again. 

In September, I was stung by a wasp and surprise - I'm allergic!  For the first time since giving birth I HAD to go see a doctor so I could get an Epi-Pen prescription.  This was the first visit I would have had in years.  Self care had been at the VERY bottom of my list in a perpetual state for 10+ years.  On top of it, this was also my personal low.  Every time I saw a bee or wasp I had a panic attack.  This is incredibly unproductive...especially for a mom with a family who loves to be outside.

I went into the local clinic and was promptly given several surveys completely unrelated to the bee sting.  The alcohol screening and "at risk" behaviors were a piece of cake.  I'd had a drink on 2 days in the past year.  A mental health assessment was the last piece of paper I wanted to see and there it was staring me in the face.  To lie or not to lie....that is the question.  If I tell the truth, I'm back on meds and in a fog.  If I lie, I'm not going to move forward from this horrid place either.

I told the truth.  So along with my Epi-Pen prescription I left with one for anti-depressants and a follow-up appointment in a month.  For the first week everything was starting to get better and then we discovered that halfway through the day, I CRASHED - hard - like sitting on the floor of my friend's kitchen rocking back and forth and hyperventilating hard.  I called the office and they started having me take a 1/2 dose in the AM and my regular dose at night.  That worked - no more falling to pieces at 1 PM. 

Then something new started to surface.  Now that my body had figured out how to have a panic attack, when provoked I couldn't stop it.  It would take me over an hour to recover from stressors.  I was a mess!  The rocking became more and more frequent and by the time I got back into the clinic (6 weeks after my initial appointment), I had another choice to face.  Tell her, or not.  Total no brainer this time.

So now I went home with a new prescription for what she called a "rescue med".  A fast acting medication that I take when my anxiety is getting the best of me.  Fortunately I only need a VERY tiny amount (1/8 of the pill) to make it stop most of the time.

Which brings me to the next part of my journey.  No longer in sheer panic or depression I was able to start cleaning up my house and my parents came for Christmas and were a HUGE help on this leg of the journey.  Last night I made dinner in a completely clean kitchen for the first time in we won't say how long.

After making that dinner I was clearing out and organizing my pantry while my husband and son played a new video game and I couldn't help but think "I need to blog about this".  I came here to write that article and this one came out instead.  I promise that one will be here tomorrow and many, many more will be coming.

Watch for a new blog to be coming in the next few months.  Watch for LOTS of new changes in my world.  Enjoy laughing along with me as I continue to make mistakes and fail miserably.  Cheer along when I finally get it right.  Welcome Back.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

35 Years of Life Lessons

I've had 35 free trips around the sun and upon the completion of the most recent cycle I felt a need to share something with you this morning.  Perhaps I'm a bit nostalgic, perhaps I'm a bit outside my comfort zone, but I felt a need to share with you some of what I have learned along the journey.

  1. Life is too short to be a grown up all the time. 
  2. Use your powers for good instead of evil. 
  3. "Eew!!  This is disgusting!!  Here - try it!" is not a good pick up line.
  4. When God opens a door, walk through it. 
  5. You're worth enough as you are - don't try to be 2, 3, 4 or 5 different people. 
  6. Pajamas are the most soul-healing clothing you'll ever own. 
  7. The past exists for learning experience, not a dwelling place. 
  8. Sometimes being "voluntold" can be the best thing that ever happens to you. 
  9. If you're ashamed of your faith, it's time to re-evaluate your commitment to it. 
  10. Some things are part of a universal language: hugs, bubbles, balloons, smiles - use them often. 
  11. There is always more to learn.
  12. The most important thing you can do with your time is serve God.
  13. People's perceptions of you are rarely what you believe them to be. 
  14. Sometimes being "the weird one" has it's advantages.
  15. If you're doing it right, leadership rarely means you get your way. 
  16. Coercion will almost always come back to bite you in the rear. 
  17. Spend as much time outdoors as you possibly can.
  18. Imaginary friends never really die...they make stellar comebacks in the oddest places. 
  19. Sometimes embracing the unknown is the best gift you can give yourself.
  20. Finding people who embrace you for who you are is a rare gift - enjoy them. 
  21. Your greatest strengths are often unearthed by the most unlikely people. 
  22. No matter how hard you try to hide your light, someone will find it.
  23. There is no better sound on earth than the joyous laughter of children. 
  24. It's okay to say no - especially when you don't want to do something.
  25. Be honest about your weaknesses - only then will you learn who you can truly trust.
  26. Your greatest adventures are only a "yes" away.
  27. Be the person who brings out the best in others. 
  28. The only thing stopping you is yourself. 
  29. When the big things are in place, the rest will usually follow. 
  30. Deodorant is priceless when worn by others....especially if you are under 5'2". 
  31. Children are the best investment you will ever make.
  32. Laugh at yourself...everyone else is already doing it. 
  33. Find the humor now....there's no point being miserable while you're waiting for later.
  34. Don't marry someone who knows if you ate the paste in Kindergarten.
  35. Be yourself - everyone else is already taken.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Patriotic Holidays and their Place in our Lives

Memorial Day weekend is now upon us and I'm at the end of my rope.  Thankfully my parents and loved ones taught me the meaning behind holidays and due to a family over-researching habit it drives me batty to see them misused - but it drives my friends who are veterans and/or active duty even more over the edge.

This post may anger or upset some of you - don't shoot the messenger.  This is about the TRUTH - even when it's painful and/or difficult to hear.  We're going to cover the 5 major American Patriotic holidays today and when to celebrate and/or honor what.  Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentleman, some of you might end up a bit surprised by some of these.


On November 11, 1919 President Wilson declared the first Armistice Day, set aside at the time to honor the current surviving veterans of World War I and their efforts in preserving world peace. 

In 1954 following World War II where nearly every family in the USA sent at least 1 loved one into harm's way the holiday was expanded to include all American veterans of all wars.  The first "update" came on June 1 expanding the holiday to all veterans of all wars America had participated in and changing the wording from "Armistice Day" to "Veteran's Day".  The second came on October 8th when President Eisenhower gave the first Veteran's Day Proclamation calling to "insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose."

THIS is the holiday when we honor veterans who are living from all American Wars.  We are also invited to honor veterans who have passed on who did not die in combat or as a result of combat related injuries.


In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush made an official proclamation on September 14, 2001 that September 11 would be a "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001".  Congress swiftly took action and on a law was in place by December 8th of that year.  On September 2, 2002 the official proclamation by President Bush declared September 11 to be Patriot Day.

THIS is the holiday when we honor those who passed on September 11, 2001 in the terrorism attacks including the first responders who were killed.  We are also invited to remember and pray for those who survived and for their health and well being.


On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was born but it's history and timing is far more complex than this one date in history.  Starting on April 5, 1764 with the Sugar Act (The American Revenue Act of 1764) taxation on the 13 colonies began to rise.

By July 4, 1776 the American Revolution was already running with the banner flying high.  Following the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts had already wrecked massive economical devastation and the First and Second Continental Congresses had already met.  General George Washington had already taken control of the Continental Army and Paul Revere's famous ride was a memory.  The Battle of Bunker Hill was also already completed and Benedict Arnold was already proving one of the most useless men to lead in military history.

From July 1-4, 1776 Congress debated and revised the Declaration of Independence.  On July 2 as a British fleet and army dock in New York, independence is officially declared by the Congress without the release of the final document.  On the morning of July 4 the Congress officially adopts the document and permits the printing of 24 copies (the Dunlap Broadsides), only 2 are currently known to exist. On July 5 the President of the Congress, John Hancock, officially releases the document and begins dispatching it to New Jersey and Delaware.

The first public reading took place on July 8 and the stakes were upped on July 19 when Congress ordered the document engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by it's members.   Starting on August 2, 56 men committed high treason by signing their names to the Declaration of Independence.  The signers varied immensely in every way possible including age (26-70) and background.  Contrary to popular current belief, these were not "simple men of a simple time" - they were revolutionaries who had already undergone massive oppression by their homeland.

THIS is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain.  It is also when we honor  those who died to bring us our freedom in the Revolutionary War. 


Up until September 17, 1787 America was a concept at best.  She had no governing laws, no true and holding sense of who she was.  States were consistently at war with each other passing laws that caused more problems than solutions.

The first attempt at a unifying document was back on November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation, was not ratified until March 1, 1781.  America was officially declared but still well in strife as the American Revolution began to wind to a close.  Following the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783 Great Britain withdrew her troops but what was left was a tattered and torn and very loosely formed union.  We'd found freedom - we just really didn't know what to do with it yet.

Eventually something had to come or our union was going to end up dissolved.  On May 14, 1787 the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.  Only 2 states were present at the time so all action was suspended until May 25 when delegates from 7 states (a quorum of over 50% of the states) had arrived.  They toiled until September 17 when they reached a consensus and the Constitution of the United States was born.  Later that day, the Bill of Rights would also be brought to the table.

The Constitution would not be ratified (adopted by all states) until June 21, 1788 and George Washington took office almost a year later on April 30, 1789.

THIS is the holiday when we celebrate the true founding of a cohesive country and the amazing and wonderful minds who brought us the American Constitution, a living document that has upheld the Republic for over 200 years.  This is the day America came together and united and American Exceptionalism began to take root and thrive.


Of all the days, this is going to be the most controversial because it has become the most distorted of the bunch.  By three years after the Civil War, local observances were being held to honor the dead on May 30 called "Decoration Day".  The graves of those who fought and died during the war were decorated with flower.  Many cities claim to have held the first ceremonies but Congress and President Johnson declared in 1966 that it was Waterloo, NY to have the official honor for their ceremony on May 5, 1866.

By the end of the century observances were held on May 30 across the country, honoring the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price for the unity of our country.  It was not until after World War I that the remembrance was expanded to include those who perished in all American wars. 

Memorial Day wasn't declared an official national holiday until 1971, over 100 years after the tradition began.  This declaration also shifted it to the last Monday in May instead of the traditional May 30 date.  The first official celebration was held at Arlington National Cemetery and the tradition of placing small American flags on the gravesites of those who died in combat was born.

Recent "adaptations" of remembering all loved ones who passed are actually against the founding and basis of this holiday.  Remember them on their days of passing or for those of us who remember All Souls Day and All Saints Day this is the appropriate time for that honoring of life.  Memorial Day is to honor American veterans who have paid the ultimate price for us to have our freedom during combat.  It is not to remember "all veterans who have died" or "all people who have died".

In an effort to stem this tide of shifting focus on Memorial Day on December 28, 2000 President Clinton signed into law the National Moment of Remembrance, calling all Americans to pause at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day as a moment to remember those who gave all for our country.  Many radio stations and television stations honor the moment by airing a recording of Taps and bowing heads in silence.

This Memorial Day, let us remember their sacrifice with honor and dignity, particularly at the time of 3 PM locally.

May God continue to bless America and all who have served her in every capacity.  May we be blessed to know we have been honored with the opportunity to live in the greatest freedom ever given to mankind and may He gift us with the wisdom to keep our beautiful flag waving brightly over our country.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Essential Oils, Choices, and Fighting for the Little Guy

I recently made an informed decision based on research, thought, and theory.  I'm rather excited about it, but more importantly, I want to share the why behind my choice with you.  Many of you will know that previously I have *not* supported this company so it may seem a bit like I've "gone out of my gourd" but bear with me for a few moments.

This is a conversation I've been having in my head for over 2 years.  Many of you know I use essential oils in my home.  In fact, last May I rescued our family tent using them and those who know me personally have often seen me pull a small blue or green bottle out of my purse for various reasons.

I'm generally not a huge fan of MLM companies.  I'm *really* not fond of being associated with what can be (at best) high pressure sales tactics and (at worst) outright lies and fabrications.  Unfortunately MLM essential oil companies have sadly fallen into a category of people who make me cringe.  I've literally been badgered, verbally beaten up, and physically CHASED by representatives from both doTERRA and Young Living.  Who wants to be associated with that kind of behavior???

With that background I offer you my tale.

Essential Oils University is an organization I have chosen to follow very closely.  In January they began doing FREE ($150 value) testing on Blue Tansy due to the adulteration and outright lies in the market.  They are single-handedly ferreting out the charlatans and rubes among the industry one test at a time.  For that, I applaud Dr. Pappas and his team.  I'm always a fan of consumer protections and those who fight for the little guy.

I watched over the past month as friends cheered on Dr. Pappas as one test after another was released (in another group) for those who were submitting samples and exposing fraudulent companies.  Go Get 'Em!  A rally the size of the Super Bowl was going on across the internet among oil enthusiasts.  Companies are threatening to sue Dr.'s been a zoo.

As I sat and watched all this unfold I came to two very important conclusions:
  1. I wanted to find a way to support Dr. Pappas and *know* that the oils he's tested are the ones in my collection because I *trust* his ethics and I want to support him being able to provide testing like this to expose charlatans.  After all, if we're all cheering him on from the sidelines, shouldn't we be backing that up with our choices for purchasing?
  2. There is only 1 company I knew of that has 100% of their oils tested by Dr. Pappas.
This put me in a dilemma.  Do I switch my oils to a company that frankly I've previously outright bashed???  Am I really going to *gasp* make the conversion to this company?  It was a thought that made me cringe.

One of their "Wellness Advocates" had been in constant contact with me recently.  It doesn't hurt that she's also a dear friend who's son is my son's best friend.  Our circles constantly cross each other and at times are barely distinguishable.  She'd made the choice recently to make her oil business her full time job and has been doing a wonderful job.  She's well educated on oils and chooses to know what she's doing instead of putting her head in the sand and blindly recommending the latest photo on Pintrest without discerning the accuracy of the information.

So, I had a stable upline to join - now....what about the ridiculous statements sadly made by those "Wellness Advocates" without ethics and education?  Moms actually burning and harming their children with oils due to inappropriate usage (primarily lack of proper dilution rates).  The list could go on. I took some time to watch some footage from what is being put out by the organization to the "top off the food chain".  

Guess what?

They're pushing proper (ALERT - there are *many* different standards) dilution rates.  They're advocating the "Wellness Advocates" to understand their responsibility to their clients and recruits.  I'm seeing seminars and webinars about how to properly promote the products to avoid FDA lawsuits AND I'm seeing websites, promotional materials, and literature connected with the company and "Wellness Advocates" changing to comply with current federal law!

WOW!  Looks like someone is at least attempting to clean up their act!  Now it comes down to the individual "Wellness Advocate".  Is he/she going to take the reins, learn the new material, and put him or herself in a protected place where the business can still thrive?  Some are, some aren't.

There are horrid reps in every company.  We've all met them.  They're the same people from this company who literally chased me through a parking lot.  They're the cosmetics rep who doesn't understand "I have an allergy to red/blue mica, please stop trying to sell me purple eyeshadow!".  They're the kitchen gadget pusher who brings her entire kit to *every* pot luck and proceeds to lecture you on how you made your own offering vs. how you *should* have done it.  They're the home decor rep who you no longer allow in your home due to her sighs and shaking of her head.  These idiots cannot be avoided no matter what company you choose to work with.  They're everywhere - and they definitely overpopulate the MLM industry.

Do I let the bad eggs separate me from the potential?  Do I go with what I *know* is a safe oil (based on everyone loving this scientist...) and simply adjust the usage to my own personal dilution standards I have adopted for my family?  Do I put myself out there as a "Wellness Advocate" who is willing to give you the TRUTH and help you learn to educate yourself?

Yes.  I did.  Introducing my new dōTERRA site after ALL this crazy (aptly named for my miliary family "Semper Gumby").  Stay tuned as we talk more in the next few weeks about a wide variety of things but the ONE thing that matters to me most - my family.  I hereby promise this site will *never* be "all dōTERRA, all the time" but you will hear when something works....and when it doesn't.  And you will also hear the amusing anecdotes you have come to rely on, gardening information, and a wide variety of other happiness from the middle of nowhere which I am blessed to call home.