APRIL’S PROMISE

Are you a good promise keeper? Having people in your life that keep their word is a true gift. When you find them, don’t let them go!

The storms and showers of April bring the promise of flowers in May. Just like the seasons, trust that the storms in your life will end and better things are coming!

LAVENDER HONEY – MY NEW LOVE

A few weeks ago I found my new love – lavender honey! It happened on a beautiful Friday morning when I met a friend for coffee at the Bean Bar. Since I love “sweet” coffee, I ordered a latte with almond milk and lavender honey. My daughter had recommended that I try this in my next coffee and so I did. Let’s just say it is my new love!

First Impressions

When the 12oz. cup was placed on the table, it looked like any other latte. However, that first sip was almost magical. The coffee was hot, creamy, sweet and laced with the loveliest hint of lavender. Actually, it is more accurate to say that it had light floral taste, but my senses knew it was lavender. I was “hooked”!

When given the choice for soap, air fresheners or anything with a scent, I always choose lavender. I suppose you could say that its beautiful scent makes my heart happy. Perhaps its calming quality draws in my inner chaos and silences my storms. I had no idea that you could do more than just “smell” it!!

A Little History

So exactly what is lavender honey. Apparently, there are two main types. One is made by bees that collect nectar from lavender plants and make the honey. The other is man made – honey that is infused with lavender. Either way, it is guaranteed to be sweet in both taste and aroma.

Provence, France has been producing a high quality of lavender honey for more than 30 years. Wild lavender bushes growing near bee hives creates the naturally made version. What more could a girl want than fancy honey from France?

Benefits

The best news is that lavender honey is also good for you. Not only is it sweet to the taste, but it also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Apparently, you can even use it as a first aid treatment for minor cuts and burns. It has an antimicrobial quality that prevents bacteria growth which could lead to infection. Another benefit is that it may help reduce swelling. If it could only reduce my “fat” as well!!!! LOL

In comparison to sugar, lavender honey has more calories but it does not raise your blood sugar levels as quickly as sugar . Since it is sweeter, you likely need to use less in your coffee. Portion control is the key to controlling the calories and reducing your use of sugar.

Next Steps

I’m really not a “fan girl”, but this new love must become a part of my morning coffee routine. Amazon made it happen. Within 2 days, a beautiful jar of lavender honey sat on my counter. The next morning my soul rejoiced once again as sweet aromatic coffee warmed my soul and delighted my taste buds. And yes, I have cut out the sugar altogether! I would call that a WIN!

Final Thoughts

Who knew a cup of coffee with some lavender honey could make such an impact. I’m feeling very fancy now, so I don’t think I could go back to just plain sugar and creamer in my coffee. That would just be so….unfancy! But seriously, if you haven’t tried this delectable treat, then I highly recommend that you do. And, if you don’t drink coffee, don’t worry. You can use it just like you would any other kind of honey.

I would love to hear what your favorite coffee is and if you have ever tried lavender honey. Drop me a line in the comments!

A LITTLE PORCH THERAPY

With the April sun shining brightly and a cool breeze in the air, I realized that I was overdue for a little porch therapy. So, with lunch in my hand and “Silent Charlie” following close, we sat down and took a break on my screened-in porch.

This is the place where time seems to stand still and life becomes a little more simple! On the porch, you can think about everything or nothing at all. Creativity flows easily here and my soul finds stillness.

A Little History

Sitting on the porch takes me back to my childhood. My father absolutely loved sitting on the porch enjoying a tall glass of lemonade. He was a hard working man and the porch was his sanctuary. I loved it as well. The absolute best was watching a storm come in and seeing how long we could stay on the porch before getting wet.

Sometimes we talked, but more often, we simply enjoyed being outside. I did a lot of thinking on my parents’ porch. It was a place for questions about the future, dreaming and wondering what my life would be like.

Then and Now

Many years later, I still love porch sitting. Now, my porch therapy occurs on my screened-in back porch. It’s definitely an upgrade from my parents’ front porch and a little drier when storm watching!

In years past, porch sitting was a status symbol and allowed neighbors to connect with each other. Now all we need to connect is a cell phone. But are we really connecting? Personally, I prefer the quiet and seclusion of my back porch, but if a neighbors drops in, that’s okay too.

Benefits

The current pace of my life has been a little too fast. I needed to slow down and make space for some things that I enjoy. Porch therapy is on the top of that list. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Sitting on the porch brings you together with nature. The beauty of the outdoors and sounds of living things calm the soul.
  • It’s really an outdoor living room. A living space with a better view.
  • Fresh air and a change of perspective relieves stress.
  • There’s no laundry, dishes, chores or work to be done on the porch. Relaxation is all that is required.
  • Studies show that being outside and even just looking at trees can lower your blood pressure.
  • It’s a great place for reading with few distractions.
  • And finally, porch sitting goes perfectly with a glass of wine!

Final Thoughts

Living in such a fast paced, I want everything now culture, can take a toll on your mental well-being. I love the benefits of technology but sometimes you just need to slow down, change your perspective, and breathe in some fresh air. So for now, a little porch therapy is all I need to rest and reset!

I would love to hear your thoughts and memories about “porch sitting”. Leave me a comment about why you love porch therapy too!

RUNNING ON EMPTY – How An Introvert Refuels

It’s Wednesday and I am definitely running on empty. Tired, blah and just plain unmotivated. I don’t have these days often, so it usually catches me off guard. Rather than give in to a “pity party”, I’m going to refuel!

How’d I Get Here?

How I got here is no surprise! My calendar has been full this month, with little room for recovery, and I only have myself to blame. As a social introvert, I enjoy gatherings and being involved with my family and community; however, I also know that if I don’t make space for having time alone, then “empty” is where I’ll be.

By over filling my calendar I set myself up for an inevitable crash into the “blahs”. I know my limits for socializing and activities, but ignored them. My efforts to meet the needs of others left me drained. All of these things were good, just too much at one time!

How To Refuel

Since I’ve been “around this mountain” before, I know how to refuel. A little sleep, food and time to myself should do the trick. Even when the prophet Elijah ran off into the wilderness to hide after a great battle, God sent him food and told him to take a nap! For social introverts, this is excellent advice.

apartment bed carpet chair
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So rather than beat myself up, I decided to do just that. It’s amazing how a nap and a good lunch can turn things around. I also planned to watch one of my favorite tv shows and just chill. I suppose you could call this a little “me time”.

Tips For Social Introverts

  • Don’t overfill your calendar. Always leave space for some time alone after socializing.
  • Know your limits. Every introvert has different needs for recovery. Know yours and stick to it.
  • Prepare for socializing by making sure you get enough sleep and food beforehand.
  • Say “no” when you need to have some time alone.
  • Incorporate routine “me time” into your schedule. Things like reading, listening to music, going for walks or watching a movie will help you stay relaxed and calm.
  • Create a quiet space where you can unwind.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has days that are just “blah”. The goal is not to “park” there. When you find yourself running on empty, then it’s time to take a break and give yourself time to refuel. A little preventative self care goes a long way toward maintaining your physical and mental well being.

BEING FLEXIBLE WITH CHANGE

The past two weeks seem like a blur. Being flexible with change has been the key to maintaining my sanity. I typically leave a fair amount of “cushion” in my schedule, but sometimes things change and you find yourself full of activity.

Planning

If you’ve followed me for a while, then you know that I love to plan. My favorite quote is: “If you don’t have a plan then you’ve planned to do nothing.” It is a rare occasion that I don’t have plan, but even the best laid plans don’t always work out. This is when flexibility comes into play.

The Oxford dictionary defines flexibility as the quality of bending easily without breaking; the ability to be easily modified; and willingness to change or compromise. I can’t honestly say that I am always willing to compromise; however, I have found that if I don’t, breaking will happen!

Shifting Dates

It all started with a dentist appointment that I forgot to put on my calendar. Then the contractors for our shower renovation received all our materials and had an opening for installation that same week. Suddenly my “cushion” was disappearing. My well planned week was now getting complicated as we were also leaving on Friday for a trip to our “cabin in the woods”.

I quickly began shifting my “to-do’s” and making room for all of these things to happen. Being flexible allowed me to get my teeth clean and sparkling, prepare for the all day shower install and still be ready for our trip. By the way the shower is amazing!!!!!!

Pic of new shower installation
New Shower!

Mountain Time

Even our time at the cabin was filled with change. We were there for four days and each day had a different temperature. It started out dry and pleasant, then snowed overnight with bitter cold wind, next was sunny but still cold, and finally sunny and warm. Let’s just say our plans had to be fluid. We had a terrific time and I was able to get some things done while staying warm inside. Once more I got to practice being flexible!

The Next Week

The cabin visit cut the next week short so I found myself a little pressed to accomplish my “to-do” list. I prepped and delivered our taxes to accountant, managed a “meal train” for a friend, facilitated discussions at Sisterhood Bible Study, managed plans for weekend small group meeting, had dinner with daughter and grands and finally attended a formal charity event.

Let’s just say there was NO cushion in the calendar. With the exception of dealing with our taxes, everything else was delightful! I may not have had time to spare, but each of these events were spent with people I love and care about. Being flexible allowed me to connect in meaningful ways with others.

Connecting with family and our community is a priority for Robby and me. It is something we pursue with intention. It’s not always easy, but the value of community and “finding your people” far outweighs any inconvenience.

Final Thoughts

I’m pretty sure God is teaching me a lesson in being flexible. My preference is routine and following a plan, specifically, MY PLAN. Life, however, doesn’t always follow my plan. LOL!! It may not be my strength right now, but being flexible and learning to compromise and easily modify is teaching me to make room for the most valuable things and people. And, do it with a good attitude!

I would love to hear your comments on how you deal with change and if you are flexible?

THE YELLOW MONSTER CALLED POLLEN

South Carolina has begun to bloom and that means that the yellow monster called pollen has awakened! Just like that, no notice, no warning, just fine yellow particles covering everything. You go to bed with no pollen and wake up the next day to a colorful surprise!

The Evidence

During the last week, there were several lovely, warm, spring days. The kind that call you to take a break, sit outside and enjoy the warm dry air. That’s exactly what I did, enjoy the outdoors. What I didn’t realize was the monster lurking in the air!

On one of those days, just before preparing dinner, my head was hurting (not common for me) and I also couldn’t breathe through my nose. Realizing that my sinuses were acting up, I went straight for the allergy meds with pseudoephedrine (you know, the “hard stuff”). Within an hour I felt so much better. I couldn’t go to sleep, but the headache was gone and my nose was clear.

That’s when I knew ….. pollen season has begun. The yellow monster snuck in and caught me off guard. As I looked more closely at the screened-in porch, although barely visible, a fine dusting of pollen had appeared. A few days later and the pool and cars were now coated in an odd shade of yellow/green powder.

Timing

Apparently I missed the U.S. News Headline warning that allergy season is near – be prepared. It is a fact that the pollen season runs from March through October and some years can be worse than others depending on the weather patterns.

I guess all the focus on COVID left me unprepared for the yellow monster. Having lived in 3 states, South Carolina has caused me the most problems with allergies. Just when I thought it was safe to stop wearing a mask, perhaps I need to put one back on “outside”! LOL

The Battle Begins

Daily OTC allergy meds help most of the time, however when the headaches come, only pseudoephedrine will do! Thanks to the meth makers, it’s harder to get so I literally ration out the pills for only the most severe days.

Our weather has been quite dry recently, so some much needed rain does wonders to drive the monster into the ground (literally). My screened porch will be at the mercy of the monster so sweeping and blowing (with a mask) will be plan of defense there.

The pool will be on its own! I feel bad for our “pool guy” because his hard work at balancing the water is lost under the ring of yellow surrounding the edges. By May, it won’t be noticeable and we will swim without worry.

Final Thoughts

The warm weather and beautiful spring flowers come at a cost. Without the pollen there would be no flowering trees, shrubs and plants. It’s a collaboration between the wind, bees, flowers and pollen to create the beautiful landscape we call spring.

So for now, I will work hard to keep the yellow monster out of my house and always remember the following :