Start with Women

Packed train from the 2017 Women’s March

Go green. Sustainability. Stable state system. Equitable. Environmentally friendly. So many buzz words, what does it all mean? It means our world is aching, we have sores all over the place, and we are crying for healing. I believe for that healing to work, we must start with women.

Why

First, why do we care? Why do we care about “going green” and sustainability and all of this? I care because I care about being a good steward. As a mother, I wouldn’t leave my house littered with broken glass, toxic smelling things, and donuts all over the house. If I did this, my family would have cut feet, be unable to breathe, and die of heart related diseases. I wouldn’t be responsible for my son or be healthfully supporting my husband. And, I certainly wouldn’t be helping myself.

I define sustainability around the “triple bottom line”. That is, we balance three things in equilibrium. We balance people, planet, and profits. Another way to word this is economy (profits), environment (planet or place), and equity (people) are balanced together. They are all a part of a three-legged stool, and if one leg is shorter than another, the whole thing falls over. If one of these factors is out of balance, our balance sheet doesn’t balance.

I’ve written about this before. And, I will write about this again. Until we have achieved sustainability in a majority of countries, we will still need to hear this message.

Every time I write about sustainability, I peel back more layers. When my aunt gave me the book 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet I was introduced to the environmental layer of measuring the health of our world. When carbon offsets were introduced, it was a market based approach to merge both the environmental and economic layers of sustainability for business. This allowed companies to take another stab at showing up as responsible to our world. And, when we mention things like equal pay we are introducing the layer of equity, or people, in one attempt to balance the people portion of the balance sheet.

Women are the Canary

I will argue that we need to look at women as the canary in the coal mine. This should be our current litmus test on whether or not we are on the road to sustainability. And, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to be on the road to sustainability.

It’s 2018, and though the wage gap is closing (by how much depends on the resource you use), in many cases, the gap is still about 20%. That is, women still make about 80% of what men make, and yes, in the same industry. So, women are not equal when it comes to monetary possessions, or economy.

So, with less money, women age, and then outlive their partners. With less money, they are more at risk to be in poverty. Aging, is already rife with challenges. Add the burden of fewer resources, and I have to question, are we setting women up for success as they age? We can and should do better as a wealthy society, ensuring those who have “paid” into systems are taken care of regardless if they outlive partners.

When we are connected, when our social capital is high, we have less disease, less depression, and longer lives. Robert Putnam, in his 1995 (reprint 2000) book Bowling Alone described our decline in social capital, in detail. And he noted how it’s related to many of our noted ills in society. A follow-up book, Better Together, breaks down how we are better together. While all relationships and social networks can benefit from higher social capital, I believe women being more connected have a cornerstone importance to change our society to a more sustainable world.

Connect Women First

We need to connect women first. Reconnect women to each other, and then I believe we will have a ripple effect of connectedness across gender, age, and social class.

Relearn Basics

To start this, we need to reconnect with the basics. We need to relearn how to truly listen. We need to get back in touch with that which brings us joy. And, we need to lead with love.

Listen

Steven Covey said that people often listen with the intent to respond. That is, in conversation, we aren’t truly listening. We aren’t practicing empathy – truly joining someone in their emotional journey, the kind of support we really need. We might be sympathetic, noting their emotion, but then we follow it up with advice. Brené Brown talks about this is a short empathy video, where she reminds us that sympathy usually starts with “at least…”

Truly listening means sitting with someone withholding judgement, truly trying to hear their story, to understand, and join them on their emotional journey.

Live in Joy

Another key point I believe women need to focus on is living in intention, and specifically in joy. I will speak from a women approaching 40, 10+ years a mother, and 10+ years a wife. This is my lens.

It was so easy to get into the role of get up, make the bed, get the food, clean the things, and do it all over again once my son was born. Caring for an infant, and then a toddler, and then a school aged child, routines became set. That routine lead itself to forgetting, where self-forgetting became easy. Forgetting my self-care for others’ care became easy. There was (is) always something else to do. Then, one day, in a mini-retreat, I made a joy list. I compared that joy list to the things I was doing every day. The two were wildly different. I made the commitment to myself to live more in intentions that brought me joy. Doing so, I was more easily able to show up with joy for myself, and then for those I care for. Namely, my husband, and my son.

Live in Love

Now that we are living in joy and truly know how to listen, our next ask is to show up with love. We are listening to our sisters, we understand their stories better, and now we can show up with deeper empathy and compassion to truly walk with them in their path. All these steps will build our social capital. Build our connections to each other. Bring us closer together.

Share with others

By bringing us closer together, sharing this vision with others, because we want to. I do believe we need to, but let’s do this because we want to. When we come together from a place of healing, we will create a stronger fabric of social capital among each other. When we have that strong fabric, knit together, we will better be able to solve the problems the world has thrown at us.

Call to Action

I am calling for a rise of the feminine. Let us come together, do this together. Be together. Truly, we are better together, and together we can do so much.

Resources

Better Together, by Robert D. Putnam & Lewis M. Feldstein, 2003

Bowling Alone, by Robert D. Putnam, 2000

Empathy Animation, voice by Brené Brown, 2013, https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw

Gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy no longer closing, data suggests, Sep 27, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/27/gap-mens-womens-life-expectancy-no-longer-closing-data-suggests/

Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality, 2007, http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2007/genderdispa9e5b7bddc5c

Gender wage gap just shrank for the first time in a decade, the, Sep 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/15/the-gender-wage-gap-just-shrank-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade/?utm_term=.a9e5b7bddc5c

In which countries do women outlive men by more than a decade?, May 20, 2016, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/countries-where-women-outlive-meowed-spouses

Life Expectancy at Birth (in years), by Gender, 2009, https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/life-expectancy-by-gender/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

Narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay, the, April 3, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/

Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the, 2016, https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

Social Security for Widowed Spouses in Retirement, https://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/widowed-spouses

Why is life expectancy longer for women than it is for men?, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-life-ex-of-marriage/

Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage, Jan 19, 2010, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/01/19/women-men-and-the-new-economics-of-marriage/

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Tips on Being Green: Start with Waste Reduction

We need new system design.

Sustainability has been important to me as long as I can remember. I started the journey when I was young, with a book my Aunt sent my family: 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet. Until then, I had no idea the planet needed saving. Since, I’ve paired down that focusing on educating people about the environment is one of the reasons I’m here, on this planet.

Why

Why do we need to educate ourselves on the environment? Because in our hurried society, we are so busy taking care of basic needs that we either forgot, we’re not taught, or a combination, of all the things that we need. The rampant fires, the rising waters, the continued pollution are all reasons why we need more environmental education.

Handily, a friend, in the food buying club world, asked for recent resources on how to do green. Thinking about this, I realized that I don’t turn to too many outside sources anymore.

While it’s good to stay up to date on recent bloggers, I have found that following a few basic principles are more key to living a green life.

And, funny enough, I got on this topic with my husband the other day. Husband never really understood why I preach a green, organic life. In a fit, I expressed, exasperatedly, it comes down to keeping our basic life resources clean so that our kids and their kids can drink from the tap without fear of contamination. So our kids and their kids can walk outside without a gas mask because the air is so polluted. So our kids and their kids can use the earth without fear it’s so contaminated with pollutants they cannot grow healthy food.

Whole Life

The bottom line it’s about a whole life thinking. Thinking in terms of what we need every day and shaping our health around that.

Systems Thinking

It is a simple systems concept, from start to finish. If we reduce the amount of things we take in, we will reduce our output.

Reduce Input

So, what does that mean in the day-to-day? Let’s take a look at the kitchen. In the kitchen we prepare food, we cook food, we consume food, we clean containers that helped with the whole thing, and we store all the unfinished bits. When we reduce our input, we are using reusable containers, for one. When we wash our dishes, we are using chemical-free agents to do our cleaning, so we reduce our input of more chemicals in the ground and through the water filtration process. When we reduce our input into systems, we are reducing our waste. So, we are recycling and composting as much as we can, based on where we live.

Reduce output

A natural consequence of reducing our input will be reducing our output. When we use durable plates and silverware, we simply don’t have to throw away as much. When we use reusable containers for our food waste, we aren’t throwing away plastic bags that held a sandwich. When we buy in bulk, we also have less packaging to throw away or recycle. Coming from this aspect, once you start picking away, one at a time, places where you used to throw something away and you’ve replaced it with a durable good, you’ve already started reducing your waste footprint on the world, and you’ve started being more sustainable.

Whole Foods

A huge place this waste is found is in food. Have you noticed how much packaging it takes to get our food? I’ve seen Kiwis in plastic clam shell containers, not to mention everything on the inside aisles of a grocery store.

An easy way to reduce the amount of output you have is to eat whole foods. Buy apples instead of applesauce. Buy fresh corn instead of canned. Buy heads of lettuce instead of lettuce in tubs. Learn to make your own food with whole ingredients instead of buying cans of soup, sauce, and everything in between. Even if you just pick one thing, you will have begun the waste reduction towards a more sustainable world.

I’m not typically a fan of fad diets, but we have found where they have shifted us into better health after letting go of foods that aggravate sensitivities. A few years ago, we began eating in the “Whole 30” way. Basically, we eat a chunk of meat surrounded by vegetables. Whole 30 advocates argue that the added chemicals to our food is making us sick, so eliminate those, and you’ll feel better. Whether you’re eating paleo, keto, or a vegetarian diet – generally speaking, you’ll be eating more whole foods. Whole fruits, whole vegetables, not preprocessed in some plant. The more you get into these diets, you may find yourself making your own broth, roasting whole chickens, and tending after your own hens to get your own eggs out of your own backyard. All of these steps will simply reduce waste in your home. The bonus being, you’ll eat better too!

New System Design

Another important aspect to sustainability is design. Running on carbon stealing, over built, waste inducing design will not solve our world’s problems.

You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

~ Buckminster Fuller

We need a new way of thinking about things. Paying attention to new technologies (new ways of designing buildings), participating in politics to update codes (seriously, why is greywater illegal?), and buying the new technologies as you can afford it (can’t wait to get my Tesla!). All these things will help move us towards a greener world.

What Will You Do?

So, the next question is – what will you do? First, assess where you are.

My favorite assessment is “My Footprint”. It’s gotten a facelift since the last time I took it, and it’s still quite informative. Full disclosure – here’s the link to my results: http://myfootprint.org/en/your_results/?id=3357605. On my family’s lifestyle, it would take 3.08 earths to sustain us. While this is much lower than the country’s average, seriously 3.08 earths? I only know of one we can access, today.

Try both of these quizzes. My Footprint is great for adults and covers a range of systems that keep us going (http://myfootprint.org), and this Scholastic quiz (for kids) breaks down kid-friendly ways to reduce your impact (http://www.scholastic.com/downtoearth/quiz/howgreenareyou/).

Now that you’ve assessed how green you are, what is an easy first step you can take? Where will you reduce your impact? What change do you want to see? Please share your quiz results in the comments below!

One Year Bullet Journaling, a Reflection

Here’s an example of typical planning: bullet journal, essential oils, computer.

One year and 12 days ago, I decided to drop my current planning, return my not-yet received Moleskine annual planner, and dive into the Bullet Journaling system. And, now I won’t look back. The Bullet Journal system is the most inclusive, most flexible, most straightforward way of organizing my life that I have ever used. And, it’s just an idea of how to organize in lists. Thank you Ryder Carroll.

From left: an Escher inspired planner, We’Moon 2005, We’Moon 2006, and for 2006-2007 a $3 academic planner. The latter got me through my wedding and pregnancy!

I have planned things in planners since high school, my first planners being At-a-Glance day planners from the local grocery store, knock offs of Franklin Covey’s system. I later used prettier things with thicker pages, or things that integrated art and moon signs. Eventually, I just dropped into Franklin Covey’s entire system. I used that system for almost ten years, spending around $100 every year updating calendar pages, purchasing new covers (the clearance synthetics I purchased never last longer than a year), rulers, plastic carrying cases, and more. And, then, life shifted.

The largest collection of Franklin Covey planners and various binders used through the years.
Franklin Covey, 2012-2016

I was fired because I questioned my boss on her choices, regularly. And, my wavering self-confidence faltered even more. Every time I looked at the Franklin Covey planners, it reminded me of plans I didn’t have, work I didn’t have, confidence I didn’t have. So, I needed to make a change.

First, I used the Passion Planner. And, then, after six months, I abandoned it. There were many things I liked about the system (size, story, goal focus), but I didn’t stick with it. I had heard good things about Moleskine, so rashly, I purchased their annual diary for $24 and had it shipped to my door. My husband’s review regularity piqued at the back of my mind, so I did a quick search: compare Moleskine’s Calendar to Passion Planner.

What I got was Kara Benz’s review of the Leuchtturm dot grid journal compared to the Moleskine. Immediately, I was struck by her efficient review that hit all the things important to me: how does the paper feel, how does it open up, what’s included in the packaging, and (most importantly) how does the pen react to the paper. She described ghosting, not bleeding, she explained, briefly, her favorite pens used. And, she gave a nod to the bullet journal system. “The bullet what?” I thought. And, I was off on a Google search web that I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

Ryder’s video didn’t quite cut it for me, but Buzz Feed peeled back more layers, and I was sold.

From left: former sketchbook, current sketchbook, sketchbook journals, and then bullet journals, ending with “regular” journals on the right.

Before I tried to find this Leuchtturm journal, I decided to use what I have. I had some inexpensive sketch journals, purchased several years before, that were blank and awaiting their next use. I finished one journal in two days, and started fresh. This 8.5×5.5 sized journal only lasted two months. This wasn’t going to do, perusing the newly opened art store in my neighborhood, I was shocked to find the Leuchtturm journals, on display, in the front window! I didn’t have to wait for shipping! The beautiful dot grid system, the slight organization (index and page numbers), and the free-flowing pages awaiting whatever I wanted to put on them… I was sold, again. That journal only lasted three months. How could I use a 249 page journal in three months? The next one lasted almost five months, but I didn’t keep up with it like I desired during our summer vacation. And, at that point, I knew I was tired of transferring collections. Luckily, Queen Bee Creations had just created a Traveler’s Notebook that fit my Leuchtturm, and my system is now complete. For the time being.

This is how I Bullet Journal:

  • Monthly Log – gridded that separates into important notes, all day events, morning, afternoon, and evening.
  • Weekly Log – I need a week at a glance to see how the pieces fit together.
  • Daily Logs – repeating and/or amending what was written on the weekly log. This piece is perhaps the most important to me. I do not write ahead very far because I have phone calls, classes, and meetings in which I take notes. And, I can take a lot of notes. One weekend seminar can yield 40 pages written in notes, with barely a thought.
  • Monthly Trackers – monthly goal setting, planning for events, and other general notes.

In a separate journal, I am holding my collections, I was quickly tired of rewriting them, these in depth things that needed to be added to, not rewritten. Some collections I have include:

  • Top 10 oil uses
  • Garden planning
  • NaNoWriMo tracking – from daily word counts to character sheets

I expect my “collection” journal to last a year or more, and in between I will use between 3-5 journals for daily planning.

What is your favorite way to manage your day?

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NaNoWriMo Reflections

This is the first printed copy of my “manuscript”, hand delivered to my friend for the first set of feedback.

It took me about 3 weeks, total, to write over 50,000 words. I think this story has been brewing for more than twenty years. I will work on owning the identifier “writer” to the list of labels I hold dear. I joined a few groups, and I enjoyed matching my progress to a new set of peers. I was not the first one to finish, but I was one of the first. This story, this story that has been brewing, it was relatively easy to tell.

I very much enjoyed this writing process that wasn’t an essay, struggling to combine words into a poem, researching a subject I care about or not, or writing an opinion on things I really don’t care about. I wrote this for me. I wrote this with the hope that this story can inspire others to make a change. I wrote this story because my inner-self needed to tell it.

It is deeply personal, and it is fictionalized. I wrote about what I know, I tried to use dialogue to explain things, and I just closed my eyes and wrote what I saw. I was surprised when my characters said or did things I never imagined. I was surprised how I ended the story, as this was a 180-degree change from what I imagined 5 months ago when I received the idea. I was overjoyed to simply carve space to write. This was perhaps my most favorite thing. I blocked my days. I created an auto-responder for my email. I only allowed a few appointments in my month. My job, every day, was to write. I even completed the only tracker I have ever completed in my bullet journal – a  two-page spread tracking my progress in writing. This was the best job I have ever had: writing about something I wanted to write about, nearly every day.

I did not write every day. I didn’t even write my morning pages every day, though I wrote my morning pages more than my novel. I added a yoga practice and another consult to coaching what I should be doing with my life. In this consult, it was read that I should be writing before I told her I was writing.

I did write on days not previously scheduled to write. When I created my trackers, I thought about the ebbs and flows of my days and normal interruptions. I blocked out days typically for family time, giving myself no obligation to write on those days. I adjusted my daily goals for all the other days, leaving a rough daily goal of 2,500 words. This was to accomplish the set goal of 50,000 words by November 30.

On the first day of writing, and I did wait until November 1, I wrote 2,698 words. I waited to write more, because five months previous when I received the idea, I wrote a quick scene that was 494 words. The total for November 1, then, was 3,190 words. I was on my way, immediately, to reach my goal.

I used and fell in love with Scrivener to write and organize my novel. I am eagerly awaiting a special code that will gift me a substantial discount when I purchase my license, upgrading from the trial version I so enjoyed. I watched the official website and Scrivener estimate how much I needed to write per day to reach my goal and what my supposed end date would be. I finished on Saturday, November 25, 5 days ahead of schedule, though not the earliest predicted date.

I have been working on building aspects of my small business for over two years now with mixed success. That is, I have had some incredible fortune and incredible wins. And, I have had things that set me back and goals I did not reach. I have set so many goals over the last two years, some easy, some far-reaching, and missing so many of those goals. It was a blessing to set a goal where the ONLY factor was ME in reaching the goal. I wasn’t dependent on someone saying “yes” or “no”. I was only dependent on ME showing up, typing up what I saw in my head, and plugging away. That was perhaps the best feeling of this last month. Setting a goal I had no idea if I’d reach or not, and then realizing how easy it was and reaching it 5 days before the deadline.

I’m sure there are lessons to take back to my self-employment. I will save those for another day.

I hope I can find ways to write, and get paid. I hope that my novel makes sense. I hope the message isn’t too fluffy. I hope I ventured just enough into the dark side of thinking that it helps normalize all our emotions. I hope the emotional content I tried to share is relatable, believable, and compassion inspiring.

Terrified, I handed over the first copy today, for feedback. I eagerly await the response. Two more copies are scheduled to be delivered this week. I am thankful for this safety net of support where I can share this story and garner gentle feedback before I decide, “What’s next?”

NaNoWriMo WINNER!

I more or less finished. I “won” by reaching the 50,000-word goal. I finished on Saturday, while we enjoyed the Oregon Coast and the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean.

I hope there aren’t too many gaping holes. I hope my version of a fictional story is believable. I hope it brings hope. I hope the emotions are relatable. I hope my venture into dark things is believable. I hope it’s enjoyed, at least by a few.

Toweling off her hair, she called to the children as she padded into her closet, “Are you dressed?” She was getting so sick of maternity clothes. Nothing was comfortable, except maybe pajamas. She hated feeling so uncomfortable in her own skin. She missed the days, so many years ago now, where she had finally felt comfortable with her body. She missed the days where she enjoyed the curves and flat parts and how it felt to move, freely.

The Gadget Age

My preferred gadgets include my computer, my phone, my iPad, my journal, all the writing instruments, coffee, essential oils, and diffusers aplenty.

The year was 1995 or 1996, and I was taking a communications class in high school. We had the opportunity to use video editing equipment, we produced a morning news show, and we even had software that allowed us to make our own 3D graphics. We upgraded our gadgets from pencil and ink to computers.

Toy Story had come out just 6 or 7 years before. In 1994, Disney made waves with the ballroom, in the cartoon Beauty in the Beast, that was completely rendered with a computer. The “realistic” detail these 1s and 0s were able to employ were magical to watch. Some conversations questioned whether or not cartoonists would have jobs after this revolution came to its fruition. Schoolmates were wowing us by making a 3D ball rotate, getting the shadows rendered appropriately, and to uplevel their skills? They made a goblet, and they poured water out in a sharp-edged realm with no walls or floors. It felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing, and growing up with technology, our home computers, video games, computers controlling cars, it was all going to be amazing.

Today, I have the opportunity to coach people, primarily women, on their technology. I go into their homes, and I teach them how to use their computers, their phones, their tablets, and all the applications within, and show them how these things work together. Every single one of these women are smart, educated, and creative. They’ve led teams, taught students, they use technology to schedule and manage clients, and above all there is confusion. There is confusion, I believe, because none of these things really truly work together. We are making oodles of new gadgets every single day. Let’s stop calling them computer programs, web apps, or apps for our phones. Let’s stop calling these watches, computers, and phones even that – and let’s call them what they truly are: gadgets.

We have gadgeted the gadget, and we wonder why we are so confused with our technology. We have gadgets to check our spelling, to execute spelling, to put words to a form, to reshape those words, to take pictures, to edit the pictures, send the pictures, bookletize the pictures, we share all that, and in the sharing mediums there are similar gadgets to do all those things all over again. We hook them up wirelessly or with cords and we share things via airwaves or by email or messenger, and we never know which gadget is the right one at the time because we never have enough time to spend to get to know the now gadget when the next gadget comes out.

Technocrats idealize our technology, praising all these gadgets for making our lives easier. I am here to tell you, just like with the vacuum cleaner, our houses are no cleaner, our lives or no easier. In fact, I argue that we are even more confused. I have told people that in 1999 when I was working one of my first jobs, I listed 5 or so computer applications (ahem, I mean gadgets) on my resume. Now, I list well over 30.

Every job wants you to know their preferred database (ahem, I mean gadget) for use when there are hundreds to choose from. Every car goes through various upgrades of gadgets. Sometimes you even have to relearn how to start the car! Every computer software program goes through gadget upgrades that change where close buttons and print icons are. The older we get, the less well we handle that kind of small change, and the change only increases every year. Every year, we get more software engineers to design more software related gadgets, and the confusion only continues.

What do you think? Does this resonate with you? Are we at a stage where we’ve out-gadgeted ourselves? How do you cope with the alarming number of gadgets in your life? (I didn’t even mention kitchen gadgets or garage gadgets, which you could fairly add to this mix.)

Other Thinking on the Matter

http://switchandshift.com/stop-confusing-innovation-with-technology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age
http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Information-Age

Post Op Conversation

The nurse called yesterday. We had to go through the normal post-op routine, ensuring things are healing in a timely fashion. I was surprised when we talked, extensively, about essential oils.

I shared how I used the pain blend and other oils on Levi. She expressed surprise and awe that they let me use the oils. Frankly, I was surprised too, and both of us for the same reason – the anti-fragrance policy. I read about it, but I ignored it for a few reasons. 1) I use the oils to manage my own care, and I slather them on daily to support my hormones, my body’s response to allergies, and so much more. They have become my scent. To opt into a “no fragrance” policy means I opt-in to poor health for the day. 2) Pure essential oils are not the same as “fragrances.” I took cannot stand most fragrances, and I often suffer from allergy-induced asthma. Yes, you walk by me dripping with your synthetic perfume, it will make my lungs very unhappy, and I’ll turn to my essential oils to breathe.

This actually happened the other day, in a different part of the facility. Levi and I walked in, sat down, and quickly it got hard for me to breathe. The combination of synthetics to take care of the building, hair products, and body products, and I was quite uncomfortable. So, I pulled out my solutions, quietly using it just for myself. One-half drop of each lavender, lemon, and peppermint, on my finger to the roof of my mouth. A moment later, as I was putting my oils away, someone asked if I was using peppermint. Then, she claimed she was allergic after I offered her some. I said I had already used it for my allergies.

May I offer a point of clarification? Semantics matter. Essential oils are a fatty drop, a part of the plant. Allergies are a reaction to proteins not fat. Yes, one can have a sensitivity to an oil and can be quite uncomfortable, but you cannot be allergic.

Back to the post-op conversation. After sharing all the things I did, our nurse shared a fantastic story. First, you recall, an important piece of healing from a surgery is having a bowel movement. We discussed how that might be difficult, and then she shared how she used peppermint oil when working in a maternity ward! She would either have her patient smell the oil or she would rub it on a toilet seat. She told me it worked every time. Smelling the oil provided comfort for that first bowel movement post surgery.

What way do you use an oil that isn’t often thought of?

An Excerpt a Day – Day 10

I reached the 25,000-word count today, ending the day with 25,712. I only wrote 2,695 words.

Brandywine was both a refuge and an escape. Something she created, controlled, on her own. No fate intervening, like an accidental meeting at a party, like how she and Steve met.

I’m halfway there!

This was not a scheduled writing day, again. And, I just broke 25,000 words! Today is November 10th. The challenge ends in 20 days. 1/3 of the way there in time, halfway there in words. Celebrate!

An Excerpt a Day – Day 9

I wasn’t going to write today. I specifically marked today off as a “no writing” day so I could focus, and give myself permission to focus, on just being there for my son in his surgery and recovery. Well, I cranked about a few hundred words in the waiting room, and now that everyone is in bed, and with the little snooze I had on the couch when we got home, I guess I’m energized. Suddenly, my muse told me I needed to flesh out another character. I needed to revisit some gaps in the timeline and fill them in. And, now… I’ve written 3,838 words today, for a total of 23,019.

“It was six months since Baby Girl had been buried, and he needed some time with her. He was still so surprised at how much he missed this little girl who didn’t have the chance to live life.”