Well Well Well tips & tools – 09/04/17

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I haven’t brought you a Well Well Well in a while, so I guess it’s about time I do something about that.

Well Well Well is a way for me to share three tips, tricks, tools or other resources that I think you’ll find useful, informational or inspiring. And today I got a little carried away, so our “three” will be three themes, with sub-items. 🙂 Here we go:

SPIRITUAL

Some may call it serendipity; I call it a kick-in-the-pants by the Almighty. Read Meeting with God in the Airport, then come back and tell me if you’ve ever had an experience like this and how you responded.

ART/GOOD READS

As usual, I’m reading too many books at once, but I’m enjoying all of them. Here are two of the books I’m still reading (you might even say savoring), plus one about which I owe my friend a review.

I’ve been taking in a lot of content about creativity, writing and art lately. These are two of the books on my Kindle app:

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. I follow Jeff and, in fact, helped him promote Real Artists Don’t Starve when he published it early this year. The more of Jeff’s content I consume – books, courses, challenges (including one I’m participating in right now – my500words) – the more I like him. If you’re any type of artist (writer, musician, painter, whatever) who wants to make money with your craft – or you need someone to help you understand why it’s OK to make money as an artist – read this book.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. Before the session on writing that I taught at last month’s Megaphone Summit, I asked my fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers for suggestions on books to give away. This was my third time to lead a class at Megaphone, and I always like to give away books. A Million Little Ways was one of the suggestions. I had never heard of it, but I’m truly enjoying looking at ways I can use my particular skills to serve my audience and help each person realize her/his God-given potential.

… And then there’s my friend Cecelia Wilson’s book, the true story of a German family displaced by World War II. Cecelia and I grew up in the same church, and our families have been friends for longer than we care to admit (but that doesn’t mean we’re old! 🙂 ). When Cecelia spoke at a local event this summer, I sat in the audience, bought the book, met the 81-year-old woman whose story Cecelia told (I met Edith’s daughter, too), and fell in love with Back to Bremen. You don’t have to be a World War II buff to enjoy this book; it’s the story of a mother’s love for her family. Check it out.

And I promise, Cecelia, I’m going to get that book review written soon!

CULTURE

Racism in our country weighs heavily on my mind, and the recent events in Charlottesville, Va., stirred me up again. Here are two posts about racism from a Christian perspective (actually, three, because I’m linking to a post I wrote a couple of years ago). In the second one, I urge you to make the time to watch the 22-minute video:

Responding Biblically to Racism by Bob Lepine of Family Life Today.

On Taking Sides Like Jesus Read it, watch the video, and decide to do something to help make the situation better.

We Are Every Tribe, Tongue and Nation, one of the guest posts I wrote in 2015 on Seth Godin’s Your Turn Challenge blog.

In the words of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was martyred at the Charlottesville rally:

Heather Heyer quote: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.Check out these links, then come back and let me know what action you’re going to take.

And, if you’ve found any value in this post, please share.

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 12/21/15

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Another apology about the long absence in this space. My head has been in a million places, and I’ll talk about that soon. Meanwhile, here are a few things I want to share with you.

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

COMMUNITY • FAITH • SPIRITUAL

I’m not sure how to introduce this, because I have a ton of opinions on how we treat people who are not like us. So I guess I’ll just keep it simple: Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ should see each person as a creation of God – each and every one of us created in His image. That includes Muslims (even terrorists). If you have time to click just one of these links today, please let it be this one.

Check it out: My Muslim Problem

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FAITH • SPIRITUAL

My friend Lois regularly inspires and encourages me with her insights on life and faith. In this post, she brings out a part of the Christmas story that doesn’t get a lot of air time: the role Mary’s cousin Elizabeth played in the drama. (Also, my pastor pointed out something this morning that had never occurred to me: John the Baptist was the first person to celebrate Advent! [The whole leaping-in-the-womb thing.]) Lois points out that our waiting may not be about us at all – perhaps it’s for someone else’s benefit.

Check it out: What the Christmas Story Reveals About Waiting

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FAITH • SPIRITUAL

Like Lois (and me), my friend Alison wrestles with things. And in the midst of it, these two beautiful ladies usually write words that challenge my tiny faith and encourage me to think higher thoughts. Alison and her family have been living in Aberdeen, Scotland, for a couple of years while her husband works on a PhD in theology. Today, she talks about trusting God with her family’s future.

Check it out: Before You and With You

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

Merry Christmas!
Suzy O
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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 11/02/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

HOLIDAY • ORGANIZING

Fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers member Mary knows what it’s like to be stressed out (don’t we all?), and one way she deals with that is by being organized and helping others do the same.

As we all know, the calendar has rolled over to November and our schedules are about to kick into hyperdrive (as if they weren’t already overloaded). That’s why I was happy to discover Mary’s cute, festive and oh-so-helpful (and did I mention cute?) holiday planning guide, including a checklist for meal planning, travel prep, gift buying and more.

Holiday-Guide-Image-2015Check it out: Holiday Guide: Calendar & Checklists

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HUMOR

DoOverCoverSometimes laughter is the best medicine (especially when “someone” has already eaten your square of emergency chocolate). I’ve been following Do Over author and speaker Jon Acuff for a few months, since participating in a Michael Hyattpromoted webinar in the spring. I can totally relate to Jon: He has an unnatural 🙂 obsession with trying to make people laugh (and he doesn’t fall flat on his face nearly as much as I do!); he’s a writer; and he wants to make a difference in the world.

Maybe you won’t get this one if you’ve never thought of writing a book, never worried what others think, never tried to change the world with your brilliance and generosity 🙂 … but I think he nailed it.

Check it out: Writers are crazy. Here’s proof I am.

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HEALTH • DIET

Elizabeth'sSpaghettiAndTableI didn’t battle a weight problem until I was about 30. By my birthday that year, my hips had grown wider than I was accustomed to, and it only got worse from there. Part of my reason for blogging about my struggles is to help others (while helping myself work through it and to stay accountable).

With all the crazy talk about diet and health, including mega-money spent on marketing and advertising cheap, fake, unhealthful foods, Dietitian Cassie’s blog was a breath of fresh air. I’ve written about her before because I love her sensible, open-minded approach to healthy living. In this post, she gives her thoughts on “cheat days,” which I used to take advantage of until I realized that if I were eating real food in a balanced way, I wouldn’t feel deprived.

Check it out: What About Cheat Days? (5 Considerations)

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 10/19/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful, inspirational or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

SPIRITUAL

When someone follows me on Twitter, I don’t follow back automatically. There are just too many people out there cluttering up my feed in an effort to get attention, and I sometimes scratch my head and say, “Why in the world would that person want to follow me?”

But if the person looks semi-legit, I usually check out his or her website, if there is one (bonus if it’s a personal blog with something human to say), then I decide whether to follow back.

When Stefne Miller followed me a couple of days ago, I knew almost immediately that I would keep going back to her website. In this link, she writes about the “F” word: forgiveness. I really like her writing style, and I hope her post will speak to you as it did me.

Check it out: The “F” Word

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ProjectSTIRlogoFAMILY • FOOD/RECIPES

On my other blog, Suzy & Spice, I wrote recently about Project STIR, my friend Sarah’s documentary film project in which she highlights family recipes around the globe.

This has been tremendous fun, and I’ve “met” lots of people all over the world who are as sentimental as I am about preserving family recipes. Many of us are “Project STIR Ambassadors,” which just means we love this project and want to help Sarah spread the word so we promote the project online. (Sarah spotlighted me on her blog here, and I wrote about my Nanny’s Pickles here; my cousins and I had a grand time with our family memories.)

Sarah launched her Kickstarter (fundraising) project with a video of “Mamaw’s Chicken Dumplins,” where she films a dear family friend, “Mamaw” (who in some ways took over for Sarah’s deceased grandparents), showing granddaughter Rachel how she makes chicken and dumplings. The video is just over 3 minutes – well worth your time.

Sarah has less than two weeks to raise the rest of her funds on Kickstarter, so please consider making a donation – nothing is too small to help her reach the goal, which will help her film the families and their recipes. This project is so wonderful, I know you’ll want to be a part of it.

Also, another blogger friend, new mom Paige, who recently started a podcast, features Sarah and Project STIR on this episode of Hear Motherhood (who is not a mom yet, but the project is about family, so it counts!). Sarah tells how she came to know Mamaw, how Project STIR came about, and where it’s going. Take a listen.

Sarah also created a Project STIR page on Facebook. And if you’re interested in being an ambassador (share a food memory on your own website), click here for details.

Another great thing about this project is that Sarah has partnered with The Pack Shack! Keep reading …

Check it out: Project STIR

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thepackshack-logoGIVING BACK

I wrote about my first experience with The Pack Shack on the Arkansas Women Bloggers website in September, when I was Blogger of the Month.

I say “my first experience,” because I’m not finished yet. I came home from Arkansas Women Bloggers University determined to spread the word. I had heard about The Pack Shack, a new-ish organization based in northwest Arkansas that helps feed the needy, but until you experience a Feed the Funnel party firsthand, you really have no idea.

After everyone else had left the party that August weekend at AWBU, I talked to Pack Shack co-founder Bret Raymond, and I was struck by his humble spirit and his desire not to shine a light on himself or even the organization but to bring glory to God.

I took the Feed the Funnel idea to my running club and my small group at church, and I also plan to present it to my new employer (I start next week). Stay tuned; I’m sure to be talking about it again in the coming months.

Click below to see what a great time we Arkansas Women Bloggers had serving such a worthy cause. It includes a fun video that I shot on Periscope.

Check it out: Giving Back with The Pack Shack

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That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 08/10/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

RECREATION/LEISURE

The first Craftsy class I took was a sewing course a couple of years ago. The online instructor guided me every step of the way in making a particular garment (printable pattern included in the price). I’ve taken a couple of other Craftsy classes online that helped me with particular sewing techniques, but I recently discovered that Craftsy features other kinds of “crafts” — you don’t have to be a girly girl or a homemaker to enjoy them. There’s a category that includes drawing, painting and photography, and another that features woodworking.

As a premium through another blog, I earned a free Craftsy class called “Basics of Digital Photography” and was so happy to finally start learning (with a knowledgeable teacher, not just my camera’s user manual) what all the buttons and menus mean on my digital SLR.

Craftsy’s prices range from “$14.99 and under” (some are FREE) to $39.99. You go at your own pace (pause, rewind, replay), and once you purchase a course, you have lifetime access.

If you’d like to learn a new skill, consider starting with a Craftsy course.

Check it out: Craftsy


SethGodinQuoteLazinessEMOTIONAL WELLBEING

I get a daily email from Seth Godin. He’s known as a marketing genius, but he’s so much more than that. He’s a critical thinker and is not afraid to challenge the status quo. In this post, he talks about the various kinds of laziness that hold us back and cause damage.

Check it out: The other kinds of laziness


BEING HUMAN

I’ve added a new category this week: Being Human. I almost called it Race Relations, but that term is too narrow, just as is the idea that our race or skin color should define who we are in the world or set boundaries on what we can and should do. God doesn’t see skin color when He looks at us; He sees individuals created in His image who are flawed and in need of grace every day.

Here are two examples where color is invisible — a video (less than 3 minutes) from a major corporation …

Check it out: See without labels

… and a conversation from some local friends’ children:

TheOldOneAndTheYoungOne_cropped
Do you get it?

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …
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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 08/03/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

RELATIONSHIPS

Early in our marriage, every time I expressed disagreement with Bruce, he interpreted our conversation as an argument and would back off, when I viewed it as merely a difference of opinion and wanted to continue the “conversation.” Funny how two people can interpret the same situation so differently.

My friend Lois has written a beautifully insightful – and instructive – piece, using her role as a mom for examples, on how to overcome differences in communication styles and preferences. (It’s almost redundant to say “Lois” and “beautifully insightful” in the same breath, because Lois always speaks wisdom and insight to me through her writing.)

I hope her post will speak to you as beautifully as it has spoken to me.

Check it out: When ‘Screaming’ Isn’t Really Screaming


 

MichaelHyattQuotePRIORITIES

As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of Michael Hyatt’s. In the few months I’ve been following him, he has taught me much about productivity, creating good content and just being a better person. This week he wrote a message to business owners and leaders about taking care of their employees, going as far as to prioritize them over customers. I’ll let him explain.

Check it out: Why You Need to Take Care of the People Who Take Care of You


LIVING IN COMMUNITY

I read this in my daily devotional on the Bible App, and it was taken from the Couples’ Devotional Bible, but the story is quoted widely on the Internet, too:

“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed.

“Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.

“A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”

Think about your role in community or family life. Have you given or received such care – in big or even small ways? I’ve been on the receiving end of this blessing many times over. I hope others can say the same of me.

Check it out: Day 212 of ‘The NIV 365-Day Devotional Reading Plan’

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 07/27/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

FEEL-GOOD STORIES

I’m a member of several blogger/writer groups on Facebook, and through one of them I was introduced recently to Rita Herrmann, whom I’m so happy to have discovered. I just like the things she writes about! (And the way she expresses her thoughts.)

Her blog is She Wears Red Shoes, and I hope you’ll visit when you have a few minutes and a good cup of tea or coffee at hand.

Meanwhile, be sure to make time for this one, which reminds us that not every convenience store clerk is a grumpy lump, despite the low pay and weird hours. If this story doesn’t give you a positive vibe, you need a tuneup.

Check it out: It’s Showtime!


FOOD/RECIPES

Dort'sVegetableBeefSoupI recently asked my mom to make some of her yummy vegetable soup, and she did not disappoint. (Food is one of the many ways she shows love to her family.)

In fact, I do believe this is the best pot of vegetable soup she’s ever served me. We discussed the reasons, as this pot was a bit different from her usual “recipe” (it’s not really a recipe; nothing is written down and the amounts are approximate).

The great thing about this soup (besides that it’s my mom’s recipe!) is that it’s nutritious and versatile. You can adapt it to suit your family’s veggie preferences and whatever’s in season. It serves a crowd, but it’s also freezable for those days you just don’t have time to cook.

Check it out: Dort’s Vegetable Beef Soup


EMOTIONAL HEALTH

I try to be emotionally strong and have worked extremely hard at that over the years. As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I ran across an article tweeted by Michael Hyatt. He’s good at finding tips that are insightful and practical.

In this article, the author took a to-do list and turned it on its head, making it a don’t-do list. I hope you’ll find the information as valuable as I did.

Check it out: 16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 07/20/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

HEALTH

My dad started smoking before he became a teenager — maybe age 11 or 12. After at least two heart attacks, bypass surgery and years of attempts to stop smoking, he died of heart disease. He was only 59. (Actually, on that horrible day, the doc said it wasn’t actually a heart problem that killed him, even though his heart hadn’t been working well up to that point; something happened in his brain. Mom thinks it was the drug he was taking to help him quit smoking.) Dad’s older brother, also a smoker, died of lung cancer. Decades earlier, their father died of emphysema and cancer. They watched their dad take his last breath, yet they still smoked.

I sit next to a smoker at my job and, even though a cubicle wall separates us, I inhale secondhand smoke every morning and first thing after lunch (she sits in her car and smokes). When she enters our workspace, she reeks of it.

I had asthma as a kid and still have lots of breathing issues; it would be an extreme understatement to say secondhand smoke is unpleasant.

My co-worker is 31 and has three little girls; I don’t want to see her die of a tobacco-related illness. I know what it’s like to lose a beloved parent to this. (My dad, who in my eyes hung the moon, died 11 days before my wedding.)

I used to nag Dad about his smoking. That was before I realized that overcoming a “bad habit” — especially one that involves addictive chemicals invading your body’s systems — is more complicated than just deciding to quit. (And the tobacco companies do their best to keep your cravings strong.)

The solution, in my opinion, is to keep people from picking up that first cigarette. That, in itself, is a challenge because, for some reason, kids think it’s cool.

I HATE CIGARETTES.

Here’s a powerful SlideShare presentation with some grim facts about smoking; maybe it will help at least one person decide not to start.

Check it out: (Just click the right arrow to see the next slide. And don’t worry; the slides aren’t overly wordy, so it won’t take you long to get through them.)

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[slideshare id=5602255&doc=smoke-theconvenienttruth-ep-101028211434-phpapp01]


FOOD/RECIPES

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Photo courtesy of Taste Arkansas

Fellow Arkansas Women Blogger Heather DiSarro makes some wonderful dishes. In fact, her blog is called Heather’s Dish. (She’s an awesome photographer, too.) Head on over to Taste Arkansas (the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s blog) and get Heather’s recipe for Zucchini Noodle Bowls. It’s a low-carb way to have your “spaghetti” and eat it, too. 🙂

I can’t wait to try this dish. (Gotta get me some zucchini first.)

Oh, I almost forgot: If you post a comment below the recipe, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a Spiralizer. I’ve wanted one of those for a long time. (On second thought: Don’t post a comment; I want to win it! 🙂 )

Check it out: Zucchini Noodle Bowls


#10THINGS

10 ThingsLogoMercy, I almost forgot that I’m supposed to be telling you stuff you don’t know about me. (See this post and this one for the scoop.) OK, here goes Part 3 … ugh.

I cleaned out my closet yesterday. Took out every stitch of clothing, every shoe, every sheet, every tote bag and purse, and every stuffed animal or doll (yes, I still have my babies) and flung them onto the bed.

It wasn’t pretty.

(Also, I didn’t fling; I placed. 🙂 )

Last week I mentioned a book I had read with the promise that I’d write about it in more detail this week. I’m going to post an actual book review, but what I need to tell you today is that …

I have clothes in my closet in size 8 and in sizes 14 and 16.

That’s not the hard part. This is the hard part: All the difficult work I put into losing 50 pounds in the past couple of years was very valuable, and now the weight is back on. I’ve managed to start going back in a positive direction, especially after my last cardio checkup in late May. After a hello hug, my cardiologist said there seemed to be more to me to love this time around. We talked at length about why this weight is back, all the challenges I’ve had since my heart surgery, and how stinking hard it is to lose weight. (It’s a lot harder than it used to be. I used to be able to set my mind to it and just do it.)

Bottom line: I’m working on it, and I’ve lost 8 pounds since I saw him. That’s a start, but after the initial 6-7 pounds, I’ve been losing and regaining the same 1 or 2 each week.

This is the first time I’ve written about it. It’s embarrassing, especially when I call myself a wellness coach. (Hypocrite?)

It took me a couple of years to lose the weight, and that’s as it should be — it’s safer that way, and a quick fix teaches you ZERO. And it took me about 18 months to gain it all back.

I keep saying — to myself and others — that I’m sticking by my original statement: If it takes (X amount of time) to lose it but I help someone else in her/his struggle along the way, it’s worth it.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. God either causes it or allows it, because He sees the entire picture — all we see is our little slice. My weight struggles are part of that picture — my own journey to wellness and wholeness — and my goal is to learn from this. I can only think that I haven’t learned all the lessons I’m supposed to learn on this journey, so I’m having to repeat some of them, and learn new ones.

I’m very grateful that you’re here today, and if you need someone to come alongside as you battle a challenging situation, please get in touch by leaving a comment or emailing me at suzy@suzyoakley.com.

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 07/13/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

SOCIAL

This item could fall under several categories. When I wrote about it last week on Suzy & Spice, I headlined it “A step outside my comfort zone.” So it could be mental, emotional, spiritual or … who knows?

What is “it”? I was given a survey to complete online, and it included the opportunity to record audio (or video) comments about the topic (buying flowers). At first I cringed, but I quickly realized it was right in line with my philosophy of personal-growth-by-discomfort.

I opted for audio only, because I wasn’t wearing makeup and my hair was dirty and flat (I’m not that brave!). I recorded several takes, but I finally got a workable file out of it. Once I finished the survey, I posted the audio file online and asked for critiques. As I told another of the Arkansas Women Bloggers who had completed the survey but wasn’t happy about the audio requirement, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

I can’t say whether I would be so blasé if this were a bigger production (larger venue, more serious topic, etc.). If and when I ever have to (er, I mean, have the opportunity to) go onstage in front of a crowd, I will be all butterflies and jelly-legs. But these smaller steps outside the “zone” are what help me work toward the bigger one(s).

Baby steps.

Now you try it. Do something brave this week, then come back here and tell us what it was. It doesn’t have to be huge. Just … something. And tell us what you learned from it. Here’s mine:

Check it out: A step outside my comfort zone

APPS

YogiBerraQuoteI come from a long line of baseball lovers, and it has always been my favorite sport. It never fails to bring up happy family memories: of my Grandpa Ben listening to one game on the transistor radio, earbud firmly in place, while he watched another on TV; of me, my best friend and my parents sitting in the stands eating sunflower seeds while we watched my brother’s Little League team in central California; of the 1978 World Series between the Dodgers and their archrivals the Yankees (I had a big Steve Garvey poster on my wall). My husband and I don’t have TV at home, so we have to go to Mom’s to watch baseball, and it’s always when the Cards play. The only time I get to see the Dodgers is when they play St. Louis. But never fear; MLB.com At Bat is here.

The free version of the app has live updates, schedules, rosters, the latest news, standings, player bios, stats and, with the premium version ($2.99 monthly or $19.99 yearly), live audio and game of the day on MLB.TV. I opt for the free version until the playoffs, then I pay for a month or two; since I’ve been using the app, the Dodgers and/or the Cards have been in the playoffs (and the Series!); otherwise I probably wouldn’t buy premium (I’m cheap). MLB.com At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball. If you’re a fan of the greatest show on dirt and you don’t have ESPN or another way to get your fix …

Check it out: MLB.com At Bat

PRODUCTIVITY

A wise and wonderful woman I follow has launched a Facebook group called Create Content Every Day in 2015. She’s aiming to get us off our duffs and producing something daily throughout the second half of the year.

This wise woman, whom I’ll call Jacqueline Wolven – because that’s her name – set me on the path I’m on today with my blogs. I attended both of her sessions on branding at Arkansas Women Bloggers University last September, and her talks rocked my world. I had never thought much about “branding” as it relates to a personal blog or freelancing or other individual pursuits, but I’ve learned a lot since then. “Branding” is not just for major retailers; it’s about how you want to present yourself to the world – that is, if you have something important you’d like to say or do. You don’t have to be a rock star; you just have to want something badly enough to go for it.

The new Facebook group is about creating whatever “content” you want to create (blog posts, Instagram photos, arts or crafts, podcasts, a video clip, audio files, a chapter in your novel, whatever). Here’s the description:

“Each day just post the link or what content you created if you aren’t able to link it. Consistency is the key to growing an audience. Let’s cheer each other on!”

The group will be public through July and then go private. (That means you should join now!)

Here’s your chance. It’s a safe place. So go ahead: Get off’n your duff’n (that’s German for Just do it).

Check it out: Create Content Every Day in 2015 #DoGoodWork

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

NUTRITION

My friend Betsy has shared some great recipes with me. The first time I had her vegan brownies, we were in the car on the way home from an out-of-town race. I thought they were awesome and told her I wanted to try making them, so a week or two later, for my birthday, here came Betsy with the recipe and all the ingredients to make the brownies, all packaged in a cute little polka-dot gift box.

Betsy’s the kind of friend who doesn’t just give you a recipe when you ask her for it; she goes the extra mile and provides everything you need! (Especially when what you need isn’t readily available in your pantry or even at the regular grocery store, although these ingredients are findable nowadays.)

If you’re picky about texture or labels, don’t think of these as brownies, because they’re not what you’ll find from a mix from the grocery store. You don’t bake ’em, and you’ll need to store them in the fridge. Just think of them as a delicious chocolate dessert that’s hard to keep your paws off of.

Call them what you want. I call them irresistible.

Betsy’s Vegan Brownies

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 8 large OR 12 medium-size pitted dates (about 1 cup)
  • 5 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 packet pure stevia extract (powder)
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons cacao nibs (for sprinkling on top)

In food processor, grind walnuts into a flour (until it’s fine but grainy). Add dates and grind until mixture is relatively smooth (it will still be grainy).

Add remaining ingredients and mix in processor until well blended.

Spread in ungreased 8×8” pan. Press cacao nibs on top.

Store in refrigerator.


DemetriosMatsakisQuoteSCIENCE

I’d never thought much about the leap second until last week, but I’m just enough of a science geek (or maybe just an information junkie) that this headline intrigued me: “The origin of leap seconds, and why they should be abolished.”

Also, I like the guy who Tweeted it, because he always has something interesting (and usually amusing) to share.

The article is a bit longish, but it will answer most – if not all – of the questions you’ve ever had about the leap second, including how and why it was born and why it should die.

And just for kicks, be sure to watch the 6-minute video with Demetrios Matsakis (“The Timekeeper”). He’s a hoot, in a dry, scientist sort of way. The other video (less than 2 minutes) is fun, too.

For something to stimulate your inner scientist …

Check it out: The origin of leap seconds, and why they should be abolished


FINANCES

People love their cars, and this is the season for big treks across the good ol’ US of A. In this tip, my favorite frugal guru, Mary Hunt, helps us keep a bit of our hard-earned cash when we visit the gas pump, even if the trip we’re taking is just across town.

Check it out: 10 Easy Ways to Save Fuel

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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