20 Pounds Lost Me

I four short weeks 20 pounds lost me.  I am so excited!

I went to see my favorite doctor.  He’s a chiropractor and nutritionist who does CRA or Contact Reflex Analysis.  This is a fascinating process of asking the body what it has and what it needs in terms of nutrition – vitamins, minerals, etc.  The body cannot lie.  It is incapable of only speaking the truth during this process. I found that I was severely protein deficient, my immune system was low, my heart and lungs were tired and I had leaky gut, which is a sickness in the small intestines where it allows all of the bad stuff to enter the bloodstream.  Nothing gets filtered out.   Also, the vertebrae in my back and neck where beyond subluxation. I was an exhausted, physical mess.

The solution was to start taking supplements that gave my body the nutrients it needed to heal itself.  AND – a change in diet.  I could not eat bread or wheat for that matter.  The daily Coke-a-holic in me had to disappear immediately and I had to focus on eating three meals a day with protein and vegetables and fruit had to replace cake, cookies and donuts. At the job, we keep a steady supply of cookies.  People bring donuts in to share regularly and during winter storms they buy us lunch always with some kind of dessert.  The refrigerator stays stocked with soda – Coke being one of them.

Initially, I walked around looking and thinking about food and saying to myself.  “I can’t eat that.”  “I can’t eat this.”  But, then I decided to have a mindset change and started looking and thinking about things that I could eat and saying “I can eat this!  I can eat that!” I have never been a fruit eater.  It was nice to discover how tasty fruit really is.  I think pears and cantaloupe are my favorite thus far.

After I made the mindset change, it was easy to look at donuts and cookies and not want them.  The mind battle and struggle with temptation was gone.  I also eat “mindfully” now.  Looking back, I realized that I would just shove cookies in my mouth not thinking about it – moving on an impulse that I just wanted to eat something.  The days when we had donuts and/or bagels at the office, I would eat them all day long – for as long as they were there. I was a sweets demon! At lunch, sometimes I would go out and buy tuna grinders (and by the way, I can’t eat tuna fish because I saladhad too many heavy metals in my body that were not being flushed from my system and tuna is heavy in metals) or Chinese food (which is actually a healthy choice).  But if I did not go out to get lunch, I rarely brought my own and would just eat junk and junk food throughout the day.  I didn’t think about it;  I just ate. Now, I only eat free range chicken and fresh vegetables.  I have always enjoyed salads, so now I had the pleasure of creating super salads which included bits of advocado, radish, mushrooms, etc.

I cook my food twice a week to ensure I can bring a really tasty lunch of my own creation to work every day.  I purchase organic salad dressings that are exciting to me.  The doctor says to stick with olive oil and vinegar, but I allow myself nice salad dressings.  My meals have become exciting to me again.  I truly prefer not to eat meat but have to do more research on protein substitutes.

The result of all of this is that my body is healing.  I am feeling better and I am living a little bit more consciously by thinking about what I am eating and why I am eating it.  I eat three meals a day and keep dinner a little lighter than the early day meals.  I don’t feel like I am missing anything by not eating the cookies.  I do have “dessert day” every Saturday where I allow myself a slice of cake or a few cookies.

My greatest challenge in all of this was and is not to drink Coke.  It was my morning coffee and at times it was an entire meal. I think about it all day, every day, but I am able to to just think about it and to let the thought go.

This has all been very fun for me at this point and along with all of the health benefits, 20 pounds lost me in four weeks.  I am so excited about that.    I can put my belt on the third hole again, where previously it was on the last hole.  My goal in this diet change was not to lose weight but to help my body to heal.  The weight loss was a natural result of good, healthy, mindful eating.

At this point, I am down to 145 pounds.  Ten more pounds and I am back to my standard weight of 135 lbs and comfortably in my size tens. I am anxiously waiting for the doctor to tell me that my back is well enough to start doing aerobics again.  Right now, all I can do is walk, period.  No other exercise than that.  I know that once I’m back to the jumping jacks and leg lifts, etc., that the balance of the weight that I would like to lose is simply going to melt away and I can start firming back up. Hopefully, you are inspired to take a look at your own eating habits and can start approaching your food mindfully.  And, hopefully, you can find a doctor that does CRA in your area and begin your own journey to full health and wellness. Any other success stories out there?  I would love to hear them.   – Tomaca

How Do You Celebrate Christmas?

 

We wish all of our readers a wonderful (and stress free!) holiday season.  A lot of women are out shopping for the family, not just seeking gifts to purchase, but also getting prepared for the family feasts.

But remember to take it easy and to relax a bit. It can be challenging because we are hit with Christmas and the idea of shopping from all avenues.  We get daily emails from stores announcing their sales, specials and free shipping.  Our apps may even have commercials running through them on our smart phones.  Then don’t even mention television.  Television commercials are the most aggressive of all.  If we listen to them then life itself can take on a different meaning.  “Every kiss begins with Kay” and if he doesn’t “go to Jared,” we can make the man in our life feel like he’s nothing.  So relax and take it easy.  Gift giving and receiving is not the beginning or the end of the world.

I had a really interesting conversation with my daughter today.  She and her husband have decided not to purchase gifts for each other because they are dealing with expensive car repair issues with both of their vehicles.  I for one am glad that they are going through this.  It gives them a chance to sit back and reevaluate their usual spending behavior for the holiday.  This year there is no massive mailing of Christmas cards; there’s no running around the stores shopping for each other and all of their friends.  There is just the quiet feeling of a new perspective of everything is okay even if we’re not out doing all of these things and spending all of this money.

You don’t have to participate in the Christmas holiday in the way the media dictates that you do.  Their goal is to make profits and to feed their bottom line.  The only way they can do that is to convince us that it is our duty to shop.

Even year I find myself explaining to people why I don’t celebrate Christmas in the manner in which most people do.  I don’t get into the hype.  I don’t shop; I don’t buy gifts.  This year for the first time in many years I made some Seasons Greetings cards and sent them out simply because I would like to reciprocate for the many cards that I receive every year.

My big celebration of this holiday is to coordinate an annual toy drive at the company that I work for.  It is an opportunity to help other parents give their children and teenagers something for Christmas who would otherwise get nothing.  This is special because these children probably don’t get things year round.  Their clothes are used or hand me downs and if they have toys to play with, they are probably fairly limited with what they have and may not usually get something brand new of their own.  To stand there every year when the truck comes to pick up all of the donations we’ve collected gives me a thrill.

What I wish I could give these children most of all is the ability to tap into their inner selves to develop their gifts of music, art, dance, theater, etc.  It is so important to me that we give children (and adults) these things.  To help someone develop themselves from the inside out is imperative.  We all need to be given or to take the opportunity  to do this.  Life is music.  Life is a dance. Life is art.  If I had my way, I would buy a truck load of cheap fender jaguar bass at Musicians Friend, along with pianos, drums, harps and anything else that can be played and makes sound and give them away to children everywhere.  I would much rather see a child learning how to play guitar than to play video games that teach them to kill things.  Ah well, enough of my ranting…

Please tell us what is important to you at Christmas time?  How do you celebrate?

 

Playing Your Music Ladies?

 

From the Editor, Tomaca

Guitar lessons anyone? Piano? I am still on this issue because after my last post, I had some women hit me back and say things like, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the cello” — or the sax or piano, etc.  I friend of mine who is 45 and is learning how to play the drums thanked me for writing about it because though she feels good about what she’s doing, other people think she’s a little off her rocker for pursuing such a thing.  But, she’s not.  And, she has the support of her children, who think it’s really cool.  She gets to sit in from time to time with the church band and play.  She’s not that good just yet, but if she keeps at it, she will be.  If I, at my age, can pursue understanding how to play a piano, you can pursue your passion for playing music.   I may never be a concert pianist, but that’s okay.  I am excited about every little new thing that I learn to do.  I like the tones, the sound and it helps me as a vocalist with my ear training and phrasing.

If you want to get your groove on with guitar, there are a great places where you can get your gear.  And, once you get rolling with that guitar, you can get fancy with it by using bigsby tremolo at musicians friend.

So if you dream of being a music creator or participating in music beyond playing air guitar or singing along with the words, take action.

Schools are starting soon.  Make sure that music and art are a part of your child’s education.  Art and music are essential ingredients in life, not just for them, but also for us – the parents.  They say that art imitates life, but often life will imitate art and it is the creativity and the art in all of us that make the world a better place.

Some people may say, “I’m not an artist.”  I don’t believe that.  Art does not mean just painting, drawing or playing an instrument.  It is a way of life.  There is an art to everything that is done, from fixing automobiles to cooking, to managing people.  Everyone is gifted at something or some things.  Maybe you’re a great cook; people are always complimenting your food.  Maybe that little kid down the street is so inspired by the way you always stop to say hello and ask about their day.  Maybe you pets are extremely well-behaved because you’ve done a great job of training them — and people come to you for pointers.  There is an art to everything that is done.  Find your strengths, add strength to your weaknesses and enjoy your life.  The better you are at being you, the happier and healthier you and the people you impact become.  Okay!  Lecture finished.  Party on.  Play your music your way!

The Handy Woman

 

 From the Editor

 

As women, we have to learn how to do things for our selves more.  We need to know how to do carpentry, upholstery, repair our computers, fix a broken toilet and even how to get the lawn mower to turn over when it won’t.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being “handy” and having a wide variety of skills.  It all boils down to one skill though – being able to get it done on your own.

I know a woman who fixes her own car.  The only time she goes for help is if the car has to go up on a lift and that’s only because she doesn’t have one.  She also repairs her own plumbing, hangs her own sheet rock and cooks great food.  That’s me too – only without the car fixing part… and…er.. the cooking – I’m okay with it – not great.

I was fortunate to have a dad who fixed everything and he taught all of his children that we could do the same thing.   My dad fixed cars and you would think I would have picked up on something, but I guess I chose not to.  But, I can do carpentry work, some plumbing work, know how to change the oil in my car, can hang my own sheet rock and OWN and can use professional tools like a sawzall and other types of saws, drills, and welding equipment.    Okay, with the welding stuff, I don’t do anything heavy duty.  I have a small welder and use it for jewelry and have done some pipe welding with the supervision of my brothers.  (I’ll mention that if I need welding supplies, I get them on-line.  I find the prices a little more reasonable.)

Fortunately, I have not had to deal with any men with ego problems because I’m a woman who can do what they can’t (YET).   I am happy to teach them and a lot of men are willing students.   But, it’s good to know a variety of repair things because if you ever do need to call an expert for help, you have some knowledge of what they need to do, how long it should take them and a general idea of what a fair price would be.

But, most importantly, it’s about empowering yourself, educating yourself and preparing yourself to take care of you and your household.  How do you learn?  Youtube has lessons about everything you’d ever want to know.  Some of the larger hardware stores hold in-house classes and we all have friends who know how to do a variety of things.  It’s simply a matter of asking to be taught.  Maybe even volunteer to work with a handyman (or woman) for a few days in exchange for being able to learn – ?

Remember, that whatever you do, your children are apt to follow.  They certainly watch us.  So, even if we think they are not paying attention, they are and remember that you are their greatest source of inspiration.  If you set a good example, you are also teaching them at the same time.  So, ladies, if you’re not handy, there’s nothing wrong with gettin’ handy!

 

 

 

 

The Essence of the Kitchen

 

 

By Tomaca

What room in your home is the most important or the key pivotal room for the family?  Some people would say it’s the living room or family room.  In my home, it’s the kitchen.

The living room used to be called the “parlor” in old English times.  The name changed over time to the “living room.”  Maybe you call it the family room.  But, it’s the place generally where families hang out and watch television or entertain company.  However, the kitchen is the focal point of some homes.  Hopefully our busy lifestyles have not interrupted family meals in the kitchen too much and your family still does that.

When I grew up my parents made everyone sit down together at meal times.  After eating, everyone was assigned a task ranging from scraping the dishes, to putting away food, to washing, drying and putting away the dishes.  The lucky person got the easiest assignment of feeding the dogs.  I remember that as being something really easy and it was nice to make the dogs happy.  Just like people, they were excited about meal time!

The whole process of my siblings and I being in the kitchen all working together was really fun.  You get a feeling from being around your family that is hard to describe except to say that there’s no place like home  and there’s no feeling like that feeling inside you.

With ten kids and a full-time jobs, both my parents were really busy.  But, there were many times that my mom would be preparing meals and that was the time I could just sit in the kitchen to be with her and to chat while she worked.  It was such a cherished time for me.   When my children were young, especially my daughter, who is the oldest, we were always in the kitchen where she would read to me as I cooked.  We spent many weekends in the kitchen baking and designing sugar cookies and other goodies.  The kitchen was the homework spot.  Everyone would sit there and do their homework so they could all help each other.  Of course, that changed when they got older.  They migrated to their own bedrooms.

I don’t drink coffee, but to this day I love the smell.  It reminds me of my father.  Every morning the house was filled with the aroma of his coffee which of course is made, where else?  In the kitchen.

So for me, the kitchen is not just about food, but it’s about connecting with family and individuals by gaining more understanding about who they are, how they feel, what their day was like, etc.  through conversation, not so much through food.  Though my children are grown, the kitchen is still the room where I would entertain.   Not necessarily to eat food, but to sit in a comforting place to have great conversations without the distraction and noise of the television.

I like a nice open kitchen for that reason.  There’s room for everyone.  Someone can sit at the countertop/island or at the table and of course the pets are never far behind because they hope food is going to appear and they’ll be given treats in addition to being petted.

The “homey” feeling in the kitchen is important to me as is the decor.  Windows, a sliding glass door leading to a deck, nice cabinets with decorative cabinet knobs, my organic herbs growing in the pots and always fresh fruit on the table.    And some open space.  I like the kitchen to be a little on the large side so you can walk around freely even with the table, chairs and fridge, etc.  Plus, all the animals turn the kitchen into their lounge whenever people are in there.  There’s always the hope of food hitting the floor!  Yes, they are spoiled, they get lots of treats and hugs and most of all are welcome in the kitchen just like people!

 

What’s your favorite room in the home?

School Starts Soon!

 

Submitted by Tomaca

Is it too soon to think school about at the end of July?  Don’t you want to enjoy the rest of the summer without the thoughts of the back to school scenario?  The stores have already started pushing the purchase of school supplies.  Kind of like how they push Christmas shopping on us in October – before Halloween.

But maybe it’s not too early for those who want to be fully prepared.  If you have a tight budget, you need to spread out the purchase of clothes over a period of time.  If your children attend schools that require them to wear uniforms, you are better off than most because the need (or perceived need by your child) for the style and variety is not there.  A sturdy pair of shoes and sneakers are always needed.  But of course, nowadays kids are conditioned to desire diversity.  The endless commercials by the stores condition and program those young minds (and our older minds) to need, to desire, to want.  We live beyond our means to project that are not real.  They are crafted and fashioned by an industry who is programming us to spend, spend, spend.

What about cell phones?  How many children do you have, how many of them have cell phones and how much does it all cost? Hasn’t all of this spending gotten out of hand?  If it’s a problem for you, how do you deal with it?

I guess I am painting a negative picture.  But, education in itself is a wonderful thing.  Learning, reading, studying, growing – this is beautiful.  The gaining of knowledge is the beginning of the development of wisdom.  Learned people excel in a lot of areas of their life.  Younger children learn facts in school.  As they get older and they begin to learn and develop thinking, processing and reasoning skills.  One of the benefits of college is that it helps you to develop these skills.

A friend of mine recently acquired her master’s degree and said that no one will tell her just anything ever again.  Knowledge is power.  Education is power.  Children who are not looking forward to school need to understand these things.  Education is essential.

For our college students, I wonder how many of them struggle to keep up with the daily homework.  Professors will say to you things like “read the chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10, and we’ll continue the discussion tomorrow.”  Or, “write 20 pages on the subject and have it done by tomorrow’s class. ”  I wonder if some of our kids would run to an on-line company for essay writing service, or download papers that are already written about the subject they have to report on.

There are programs available that check for plagiarism and they’re very accurate.  So, it’s hard to get by with not writing your own work or turning in original content.   For those of us who work full-time – in the home and outside of the home – and are taking courses, hiring a writing service might not be a bad idea.  The important thing is to understand what is being written about and to know the material of study.  I think then it’s acceptable to hire a service.

But, for now let’s enjoy August, the sun and the warmth of summer.  It’s still great beach weather and relaxation and vacations are still calling!

 

Caring for Pets Who Care for Us

 

submitted by Tomaca

My dogs, my cats, my turtles are my babies.  They are loved and they are treasured.  And – spoiled.  I can’t forget – very spoiled.  But, how else would you treat someone who loves you unconditionally no matter what?  You could come home in the most foul mood; you could be hurt and in tears, but who is there always ready to just give you love?  They are.

sarge

There’s a joke about a guy locking his wife and his dog in the garage for several hours and coming back, opening the door and the only one who is really happy to see him is his dog.  It’s funny, but, yes, it’s true, very true.

 

And, animals don’t hold grudges.  Whatever is gone is gone.  I won’t say that they forget, but when you make a mistake, they forgive you and move quickly back into the “love you” mode.

We hope that if you decide to get a pet, you will get one from a shelter.  A lot (not all) of these blessed creatures have been abused, were homeless, were hungry and scared.  Yes, even big, seemingly-scary dogs can be scared.  I remember my dad went to the pound and got two dogs.  One was a beautiful German shepherd and the other was a little “barky” mutt (my mom picked the little one).  They were wonderful animals.  Our German shepherd was named “Sarge.”  The day he came home, he urinated on the floor.  My dad went and got the mop, came back and was getting ready to mop of the mess and poor Sarge saw the mop and cringed and cried and peed some more.  It took work to get him to understand that he was safe and that no one was going to beat him anymore.  I was a little girl and seeing that just broke my heart.  To think that someone would beat and hit this wonderful dog was not understandable to me.  Sarge soon turned around and became the confident, relaxed and protective being that he was created to be.  He was also one of my best friends when I was a little girl.  He developed the most amazing calm and confidence.  We put up a big “beware of dog” sign even though Sarge was very friendly.  If he was put in a situation where he had to protect anyone in the family, I have no doubt that he would do so without hesitation.  Thankfully, none of those situations ever occurred.  So he got to relax and enjoy his life as a big, happy, lovable dog.

petbed

I’ve always been an advocate for adopting pets from shelters.  Once you do that, often you will find that animal was there waiting specifically for you!  They bond with you so quickly and will do anything – even give their lives to protect you and they love you unconditionally.

Women become their “people moms.”  They see us as one of the pack leaders and because it’s usually mom who takes care of the pets in terms of the feeding and brushing, they see us as the food givers too.

Our pets deserve the best. You want to make sure they are comfortable, they have plenty of food, water and why not take it step further and get them their very own pet bed.  If you do, they just might stay off of yours!  Not necessarily though, because there’s nothing like sleeping with a member of the pack!

We have had up to four dogs at a time.  At bedtime everyone would pile into my son’s bed.  He had to find a way to lay in the midst of the pile.  It was quite funny when you’d peak into his room and five heads would all lift up and look at you.

The cats were quite different.  They were both rescues too.  They saw the dogs as being beneath them.  The younger dogs would always want to play, but the cats would have nothing to do with it.  They’d hiss and scratch and eventually the dogs learned to leave them alone.  The cats were there first so they felt completely entitled to rule everything. The dogs would get out of their way.  The cats ( my boys) also had their own unique beds and the dogs were not allowed to get on them.  We never had to intervene, the boys handled their own business of clearing defining their territory.  The dogs came to understand very quickly where they should not tread or lay their heads.

There’s a whole dynamic when you have pets in your home.  I am so very grateful to have grown up with cats, dogs, rabbits, ducks, birds, hamsters and a host of siblings.  At this point in my life I would love to expand and have horses, chickens, cows and goats.   When my parents grew up, their parents raised their own livestock.  My mom’s stories still filter through my mind.  However, because I am a vegetarian, I would not use the animals for food.  I appreciate how animals have enhanced my life and broadened my vision and understanding of life and the psychology of how we all interact (yes, I’ve learned a lot from animals).   So moms, ladies, dads, get a shelter pet.  You might be thinking that you are saving their life, but in truth, they are saving yours.

 

The Disappearing World…

 

Submitted by  Tomaca

 

I remember my mother saying “Don’t read in the dark, you’ll ruin your eyes” she would say as I lay in bed reading – yes, in the dark!  But, I could see perfectly fine.  The letters and words were very clear to me. I would tell her, “Mom, I’ve got eagle eyes – no problems here.”  She would shake her head and walk away leaving me to continue what I was doing.fostergrant2

When I hit my forties, I noticed that words and letters were becoming just a tad bit difficult to make out.  Finally (and to my foolish little mind’s amazement — how could this happen?), it got to the point where I had to make that trip to the eye doctor and yes, it was confirmed – “You need to start wearing glasses to read.”

It was actually kind of exciting at first because I picked out a pair that I really liked and of course – I got an attractive eye glass case to keep them in.  I felt kind of “official,” if that makes sense, when I put them on to read.  Of course, I no longer read in the dark, but now I could make a lady-like pause and pull out my glasses to read with (like it added some sophistication to who I was).

As a child, some of us come to believe that people who wear glasses are smarter than people who don’t.  I don’t know how that ever got started, but when you went person-by-person, there wasn’t always truth to it.  But our mindset as children was that people who wore glasses were smarter.  So, with that engrained in my subconscious, it seemingly elevated my perception of myself.  (But, yeah – wishful thinking.  Turns out not to be true in my case!)

Anyway, of course, as time wears on, the eyesight continues to wear out.   The world is disappearing more and more these days from my eyes and the eye glass prescription numbers get higher as the glasses themselves get thicker.    I am grateful however, that it is still just for reading.  I can still see distances really well and hope that stays with me.

Both my parents were wearing glasses full time as they got older.  They needed them to read with and to see in general.  I am holding my breath with hopes that I won’t end up there!  But, I keep in perspective that I am very grateful to have sight.

Meanwhile, it’s regular annual eye exams and reading prescriptions that inch up slowly as time goes by.  I’ll just keep donning my foster grant reading glasses as necessary.   Remember the commercial with the slogan “Who’s behind those Foster Grants?”  That will be me!

 

 

Need Business Cards or Banners? – Vistaprint.com

 

 

vistaprintVistaprint is skyrocketing in popularity.  They’ve got post cards, tee shirts, signs, banners, business cards, other cards — name it and they seem to have it.  If you are a start-up business or solo entrepreneur and need affordable printed services, this is probably one of the least expensive places to go.  Their services are really easy to use.  The most beginner computer user can go to their site, easily follow the instructions to create their product and send it to be printed and shipped.  It’s that easy and that fast!

There are great gift ideas there too.  Why not have flashy cards printed that announce that your child has graduated?  Just a thought.  Those kinds of events give us bragging rights and we can flash a card to all of our friends — especially those of our friends that we are going to ask to interview our children for jobs!  hahaha!  Just a thought – but hey, why not?

 

T-shirts galore.  Have a family reunion coming up?  Want to show your support to a cause?  This could be your children’s baseball or gymnastic’s team.  Could be for social reasons, political reasons, or just to proudly wear a the image of your new grandchild.  You can have lots of fun with all of your ideas.

 

But for the start-up business and entrepreneur that doesn’t have a lot of money for printing services, Vistaprint might be a good place to start.  I’ve even been to events where vendors would have really slick looking posters for their booths and they were done at Vistaprint.  Good stuff.  Take advantage!

Explore the Creation of Music —

 

 

I’ve been running into women who have pianos at home, but don’t play them.  The reasons are varied, but in drumsessence it boils down to choosing not to make the time to play for whatever reason.  We all know that music soothes the soul.  Music is what we are as physical beings.  Our bodies create their own rhythmic sounds – our hearts beat, we breathe and there are even other sounds within us not often heard by the ear (without an instrument) such as the sounds of our bodies digesting food, and the blood rushing through our veins.  If you have the talent to play an instrument and have gotten away from it in recent years, go back to it.  If you’ve never learned to play music, then why not try an instrument  – any instrument?  Flute, drums, piano, bass, guitar, cello, clarinet …. string or wind?  Even wood blocks, cow bell, conga, African drums, ddrum drums at Guitar Center… Be creative and be exciting.

 

Some people may get a little worried about what their friends would say.

Don’t.

Just do you,

be you,

improve you,

love you.

 

Tomaca

Tomaca’s Bagging It!

Written by Tomaca Govan

This nice bag was made with Walmart bags.
This nice, chic-looking bag was made with Walmart bags.  (Not sure how many – maybe 30?)

I’m the person at the office who is always advocating recycling  plastic bags.  I set up a deposit location in the office and personally take responsibility for bringing the bags to the grocery store for recycling.  It’s one of my pet peeves because it’s so very wasteful to use plastic bags for shopping.   Of course, I don’t.

One day I was doing some research on the recycling process and came across website after website that showed what people were making from plastic bags by crocheting and weaving.  I was so happy to see that people were using their own, basic ingenuity (and artistic talents) to turn plastic bags into things that are reusable and long lasting.

The bug bit me and I started making my own crafts.  The first thing I made was this really nice bag from Walmart bags.  They were easy to come by because I went into Walmart and asked for their recycled plastic bags.  I walked out of their with dozens of bags!

After I made my first bag, I went and showed it to the ladies at Walmart at the customer service desk and they were so impressed, they gave me more bags.  Now, all I have to do is show up and they start digging out the bags.  One woman even offered to set them aside for me everyday.

plastic-hat-bagThis was the first time I ever made a hat of any kind.  I started it, watched it form and tried to make sure I was putting in enough stitches and reducing the right amount of stitches to make it shape properly.  I had to pull the stitches out and restart at least three times before I got it right – but, I got it right and the hat is really chic looking.  I added a white ribbon and it’s good to go now.   Together, they look very classy, and the finished products are very, very sturdy.  You would NEVER know these used to be plastic Walmart bags!

This would be a nice business for someone who wanted to make these and sell them on the internet or at craft fairs.  There are a variety of colors available with plastic bags, so the color combinations can be quite diverse.

Okay ladies – get out your crochet hooks and start gathering plastic bags, making your “plarn” and get busy.  Make sure you teach your children, your friends and others how to do this.  Then share your creations with us.  We would love to inspire others.

–  Tomaca

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Here’s a how-to for making what’s called “plarn” (plastic yarn):

plastic-bags-instructions

Here are some other very creative ideas that involve crocheting and plastic:

plastic-flowersplastic-hatplastic-basketsplastic-bear

plastic-turtle

The more reusing we do, the less this happens:

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plastic-float

plastic-in-oceanplastic-stuck  plastic-in-bird

Plastic is causing a growing dilemma on our planet.  If you do a google search, you can see the kind of harm it is causing in our oceans and on our lands.  There is an actual “plastic island” floating around the world:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch.

Animals don’t know the difference between plastic and the food they think they are eating.  They are dying by the hundreds.  Fish that ingest plastic end up on our dinner tables when they are captured by fishing companies.

Please do some research and share it with your children, your neighbors, your facebook friends and anyone else you can think of.  Then discuss AND implement things that we can do differently to prevent further harm and to reduce the damage that has been done.

For starters, DO NOT use plastic bags any more.  They should be banned at this point given what we know about the harm they cause.  Reusable bags make sense on every level.

Human beings are very creative creatures.  We can come up with ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.  What are some of your suggestions?

 

Healing Positively

 

 

submitted by Tomaca Govan

 

Are you healing from surgery or another ailment?  Working hard to stay clean and sober?  The way you think about your recovery is everything.  It is important to maintain a positive outlook on not just your healing process, but on your environment.

 

To help my mom recover from a serious heart condition, I created “Positive Healing Cards” for her.  Each one has a beautiful picture and a positive message.  I asked that she look at them throughout the day to help her to stay upbeat and positive about her recovery.

 

The cards that I created for her were very customized to her specific condition and mindset.  They also included of her children, her grandchildren and her pets as well as the nature .

I have created Positive Healing Cards to share with the readers on Women Move the Soul.   The link below is a PDF file with four cards on each page.  You can print them and cut them out. You can also create your own tailored to a person’s ailment.  For instance, stating that the fibroids will shrink, or that the heart is functioning at 100%, or that the medicine is powerful and is working, or that I am clean, sober and strong!, etc.  You get the idea!

 

…I am certain that once these go out, some big corporation is going to start creating them and selling them for profit.  Remember, that you found them here first!  …and for FREE.

 

Positive Healing Cards

 

Be well sisters, be well.

 

Tomaca Govan

 

I AM SUPERWOMAN!

Artwork by http://mase0ne.deviantart.com/

Don’t we all think we’re Superwoman?

 

We keep at it until the job is done.  We work, clean, cook, do laundry, dishes, comb hair, iron clothes, drop this one here and that one there, go to work, take care of our man (emotionally and physically)…need I say more?

 

My Mom is the greatest superwoman that I know.  She had ten kids and was married to an air force officer. Because of that, she traveled all over the world and the U.S. with all those kids to keep the family together while my father was in the service.  When he retired, she started her own nursing career, which she had put on hold while he was enlisted.  She worked until she was 75 and retired from two different places.  Plus she always made sure all of us kids had what we needed.  Amazing.

 

She’s 90 now and recently was rushed to the hospital for difficulty breathing.  She has congestive heart failure and caught pneumonia which caused her lungs to fill up with fluid.  After two days in the ICU and under sedation, she woke up and pulled the respirator out – told the doctors and nurses that she didn’t need it and to get her out of ICU.  Who’s going to argue with my mom?  I mean, really.  You just don’t do that.

 

So, she spent another four days in a regular room, recuperating and healing and was sent home with oxygen.  Of course, all of her children are present and available for her every need, every whim.  We’re probably smothering her.  But, my mom being who she is, will tell us to go home whenever she’s ready.

 

90 years is a long time.  During her childhood they were still using horse and buggy carriages.  They grew their own food, put oil in the lamps so they would have light in the house, chopped wood and burned it in the wood stove to heat the house. She has come from there to here where lights come on at a flick of a switch; heat is on at the turn of a dial; internet, cell phones, apps, gadgets – food is purchased at a grocery store… She’s seen so much and adapted to every change.

 

She’s a real superwoman.  As tough as I may think I am, I know I don’t have her inner strength.  They broke the mold when that little girl came into the world. All I can do is try to follow her example.  She’s shown me the way to superwomanhood.

 

Who in your life is your superwoman example?

 

 

Please note:  art by MaseOne at http://mase0ne.deviantart.com/

 

 

 

I Made Homemade Syrup

I finally tried this recipe and I am banging myself upside the head for never even thinking about doing this years and years ago.  It was fantastic!  I will never, ever buy syrup again in my life!

 

SYRUP

1 c. White Sugar

1 c. Brown Sugar

1 c. Water

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. of Maple Extract (optional)

 

Mix all ingredients in a small pot, stir consistently and slowly bring to a boil.

Once it starts to boil, remove the pot from heat immediately otherwise it will boil over.

That’s it!  It’s done!  It even passed my son’s taste test.  It’s great!  You can let it cool and put on your waffles, your pancakes or whatever.  I stored what was left in the fridge and thus far we’ve been using it for the last two weeks.   Also, I did not have the maple extract and made mine without it.

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I have been wanting to be a little more “organic” for many years.  I am finally beginning to make a slow transition to healthier foods that I make myself.  I want to get away from all the chemically-programmed foods that are sold to us in the grocery stores.   Now that I finally made syrup, the sky’s the limit!  I want to make my own ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings….and grow my own food!  2012 is my marker for further adventure in self-sustenance.

Every time I look at the ingredients on a label – any label – I am depressed about all the chemicals and high fructose corn syrup that is in everything.  You cannot escape it, unless you are buying strictly organic food, which is very expensive.  I think about all the toxins I ingest on a daily basis and that I have fed to my family… not a pleasant thought.

In my kitchen, I grow basil and parsley.  I planted tomatoes and onions, but they died off before bearing any fruit.  I also did not give them a lot of attention.  I’d walk over with my watering can once a week and let them be.  I will try again and give it a lot more effort – learn what kind of ph balance their soil needs, what’s the best light and just how much water is enough.

It’s winter where I am, but that won’t stop me from expanding my “kitchen crops.”   I feel great whenever I walk past basil and parsley in the grocery store.  “Ha ha!  I grow my own and don’t need to buy it from you,” I think to myself every time.  I’d like to be able to say that about Tomatoes, Broccoli, String Beans and Corn!  Yes!  Corn!  I’ll get there.  I promise to bring myself there to those places.  Ketchup is next on my list.

I will keep you posted and I will post recipes as I try them — and I will share what I learn about how to grow specific vegetables.   It will take me some time, but I am on my way.  Feel free to join me and feel free to share what you learn, what you do and how you do it.  Feed us!

 

 

Talking to Tomaca – WMTS Founder

Tomaca with her "babies" - 3 of her dogs

How did Women Move the Soul get started?

A conversation with an artist who said that “women move the soul; they are the life givers and creators,” among other things.  This was the inspiration and fueled the concept.  I asked him if it was okay to use his words and upon his approval, I bought the domain name.  I did that several years ago and did a little with the site, but not much because I was doing so many other things.  This year, 2011, I got focused on it and brought it to full life.

An important aspect of WMTS is that we are ALL stars.  I want people to get away from the concept and idea that the lives of celebrities are important and deserve the focus they get.  We, the regular, everyday woman deserve focus and celebration for everything that we do.  As I put in one of my editorials – at WMTS, we are not about glitz and glamour because that world is not a real one; it’s a false projection.   What we do in our lives is real.

 

How do you find the people that you interview?

In my heart and my soul I believe that we are all equal and the same.  When I meet someone, whether it’s virtually or in person, I want to know about that person and I want to find a way to connect with them on a deep level.  I am not superficial and genuinely care about other people.   If you do that and you have the opportunity to hear someone else’s story, there is always inspiration.  There is always a “wow” in there somewhere – — you accomplished that?  you overcame what?   WOW!

So that goes on and on and on.  The more you talk to people, the more you find.  And, also, there are those people who need a little encouragement or acknowledgement about what they’re doing or what they are thinking that they would like to do.  A kind word of support and sometimes a continued connection with continued encouragement is everything and means the world to people.  And, in these situations it’s not always a one-way thing.  Every time you give something, you get something back.  Also, you may think you are giving something and helping someone, but in reality, they are helping you.

So – I meet people on the internet and in person.  We also have other writers and contributors who write on other topics and about other people.  I can’t speak for how they find the people they write about that’s not so important; the important thing is that we share women’s stories and share inspiration.  We are women inspiring women!

 

What’s coming up for WMTS?  What do the readers have to look forward to in the coming new year?

Well, first of all, we invite everyone to take part in WMTS, whether it be writing for us by interviewing their own friends and/or posting their own stories – even leaving their comments on other people’s postings.  We look forward to as much participation as possible from everyone, everywhere.

We’ve added a social network component to the site and invite everyone to come on and build their profiles and start sharing with one another.  We have a forum that I would like to see being actively used also to generate conversation and inspiration!

One big thing that I would like to kick off is WMTS radio which would have original women’s music and podcasts of conversations on a variety of topics – all women for women by women.  We have so many issues that we deal with in our daily lives – children, husbands or partners, careers, financials, our bodies – an endless array of topics and issues.  We are different, but we are all the same when it comes down to those basic fundamentals.

The impact on a family is different when Mom is depressed, versus when Dad is depressed.  Women are the sun and the joy of the family.  We are the center.  So, we need to talk about all of those things that we are and that we experience.  By sharing, you help me and I help you.

We are always working on improving the look and the feel of the site.   Also improving our mobile app, expanding our stories and interviews, acquiring more writers and contributors and perspectives.

We would like to see international gatherings, meetings and summits sponsored by WMTS.  I personally would like to see us do fundraisers for certain things.  For instance, Denise’s Unstoppable story really touched me.  Here’s a woman who works part-time because she has children, who are smart and wonderful, but have medical issues and would like to go to a whale watch.  I think to go on a whale watch it’s just $40 some odd dollars for a ticket.  She would need a ticket for her and her children.  It wouldn’t take that much for all of us to send her on a whale watch if a lot of people contributed – say .50 cents or a dollar.  We’ll video tape her experience and share it with everyone as a way to say thank you.

I do a toy drive every year.  We collect new and used toys.  For the used toys, I personally make sure that everything is washed, clean, has batteries if it needs it and is working.  When they pick up the toys from us, they need a van because we collect so much.  We always turn around and say thank you to all the donors and we say thank you for bringing a smile to a child’s face who otherwise would not have one for the holiday season.  Sending Denise on a whale watch would do the same thing.

There is also a woman in Africa who wants to start a business and needs start-up capital.  She’s done her homework and has a viable idea – first of all – and a solid plan.  We could do a fundraiser and help her get started in her business and then she can turn around and help others.  This is how life should work with everyone helping everyone else.

So all that to say – gatherings, fundraisers and supporting our sisters is a part of our goals.  In five years or less, I would like to see those kinds of things happening on a regular basis.

Want Glamour & Dazzle?

Do you want a women’s site with glamour and dazzle?  Well, don’t look here.  Women Move the Soul is about Women Inspiring Women on the real level.  We’re not into razzle and dazzle.  We don’t do glamour.

 

The women that you see in magazines and in commercials are not the everyday woman.  Their weight is not realistic or even ideal.  And even after they spend hours getting their make-up done and their hair done, their photos are still air-brushed and fake.

 

We deal with real women and real women’s issues.  We refuse to pattern ourselves after other women’s magazines who project the so-called “perfect image” which is in reality more like a stick figure woman.

 

So, as the new year rolls in, we are going to stay who we are – real women inspiring real women — really!

 

– Tomaca

 

 

Make Christmas Special

We have been conditioned and trained to shop and to continuously buy new things.  If you celebrate Christmas, why not make it a different kind of Christmas by changing your gift-giving habits.  We don’t always need those new sparkly things that we have to spend money on.  All we need is a little imagination and creativity.  Here are a few suggestions.  After you read through the list, give it some thought and tap into your own creative mind and find a way to do make Christmas free or supportive of our local artisans and shops and find a way to make it fun!

 

Something old to you is always something new to someone else.

Look into your closet and pull out those clothes that you never wear.  Clean them, bag them up and give them to someone who will wear them.

Jewelry – same thing.  Go through your boxes and collections and select some nice pieces that someone else might enjoy.

Learn how to knit or crochet and make someone a nice scarf for the winter.

Sewing talent?  Aprons are always wonderful gifts for cooks and non-cooks alike.  How about the “grill master” who spends time barbecuing during the summer?  He or she would probably love something like that.

Sit down with your kids and help them make some really attractive bookmarks as stocking stuffers.

 

Give someone a coupon to do some work for them:

– This coupon entitles you to grass cutting for the entire month of July.

– This coupon means I give Mom and break and do the dishes every Friday.

You get the idea.  Don’t just give “stuff,” give of yourself, your time and your talents!

 

Get a gift certificate for a haircut at the local barbershop or hair salon.

Gift certificate for a dog bath or toe nail trim.  Or make a coupon to do these things yourself…

 

Get into fun with the arts and crafts –

– Draw or sew a nice design on a tshirt

– Make a necklace or earrings

– Remember popsicles?  Make a nice popsicle box for someone to store their favorite little things in.

– Cardboard boxes can be turned into great doll houses.  The crafting of the furniture, the windows, the flooring can take you on an amazing creative adventure.

– Cigar boxes are great to decorate to hold little treasures.  Stop into your local smoke shop and ask for an empty cigar box.  Sometimes they may sell them for a dollar or so, or they might be free.

 

Get the idea?  Christmas doesn’t have to cost a small fortune.  It is not wise to take on a year or two worth of debt just to go out and buy and bunch of stuff and clutter.    Get together with your girlfriends, your children, your family and talk about it.  If you can see beyond the projected commercial illusion of the Christmas holiday, you’ll be alright.  It might be difficult at first to be different, but being different is cool and gives you a sense of power when you can step outside of what’s considered “normal” and stand for your opinion.

This can be especially challenging for children because the Christmas pressure from other kids at school can be great.  But, continual conversations will help them get through it.  And, they’ll watch you and take cues from you.  It’s about breaking conditioning and it can be done.

And, if you are religious and Christmas is about the birth of Christ, then nothing else matters – does it?

At my house, I don’t do Christmas trees and lights.  I don’t have boxes of decorations that sit in storage for all but one month out of the year.  I do, however try to rescue as many poinsettias as I can.  Sounds silly, but people buy them expressly for the holiday and then throw them away.  Especially at my office.  So I will collect them, and then turn around and give them away to people at shelters or if I am sensing a little sadness in someone (even a complete stranger), I will give them a plant.  Poinsettia bushes are beautiful.  (I’m an animal and plant person anyway.)

So back to going into debt to feed the illusion of the Christmas holiday — Break the mold.  Break the chain.  Live life differently.  And if you do celebrate, Merry Christmas.

 

– Tomaca

Education is Key

I am “uneducated” in that I did not go to college and obtain a degree.  I never thought this was a big deal when I was younger.  I was busy working, providing for and taking care of my family.  As I got older and my children started leaving to live their own lives, I looked back and thought about all of the things that I did and how I could have done things better.   Not that I can change the past, but I can make things different going forward.

When I graduated high school, I was accepted into seven colleges and all the letters came with the same message.  Send us X thousands of dollars and you can come here.  Of course my parents didn’t have that kind of money and I didn’t know how to ask anyone for help.  How do I do this?  How can I make this happen?  How can I get into this college?  I ended up not going to college.  I soon was married and starting a family.

As I meet more women and learn about their backgrounds, I am so delighted to find out many have an education.  They are learned women, thus they are empowered with knowledge. This is something no one can ever take from you.  You can live your life with more consistency, awareness and a higher earning power.

So, to all of my women, my sisters – embrace those that follow you.  Connect with them beyond a superficial level.  Open your heart so you can open their minds and follow through.  Establish a bond of love and trust.  Do unto them what you would have done unto you.  Embrace them and get them to educate themselves.  Use time to your advantage.  Education is key.

 

Denise and Being Unstoppable

I was very moved by Denise’s story.  Here’s a woman who has been a caretaker for her entire life.  She’s not unlike most of us; we care for our husbands and our children often to the point of the exclusion of ourselves.  As I said in an earlier post, when all else fails, everyone turns to Mom.  We have the power, the resolve and the stamina to get things done for our families.  I read somewhere that the most powerful prayers are the prayers of Mothers.   When we ask for things or pray, there is nothing that compares to our light.  It’s shines above and beyond all others.

Then there is the old saying that “Hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned.”  Even men fear us because they know we are the world; we are power and if you get our ire up, there’s no stopping us.

I was almost 5 months pregnant with my son when my water broke.  When I got to the hospital and the doctors checked me, they suggested abortion.  They said the baby was too small to make it.  But, I had resolve.  I told them to do what they had to do because this baby was fine and everything was going to be okay.

I lay in that hospital bed for a few days waiting for the inevitable – the birth of my son.  It was just a matter of time.  When I felt him sliding out of me, I called for the doctors  and they did an emergency C-section.  They pulled him out and whisked him away.  Though I laid in a drugged stupor, I was still aware of what was going on.   His eyes were open as they removed him from me.

The following morning, the head of the pediatric ICU came to me and said “You made an excellent decision, this baby is very strong.”  All I could say is “I know.”

My prayer during that pregnancy was probably the strongest it has ever been in my entire life.  I wished this child life.  Today he is 25 and I am a proud Mom of not just him, but of my other two children.  It goes to show, don’t mess with a woman and her child.  Denise, thank you for what you do.  Thank you for being an example to the rest of us of how to be “unstoppable.”

 

 

 

Occupy This

I am proud of all of the “occupation” going on across the US.  I am grateful to be living in a time where people are starting to wake up and take control of our own lives.  I saw one sign that someone was holding that said “Money is imaginary.  People are real.”

 

Yes, we are real and it is well beyond the time for us to take our lives back from that 1% who owns and controls everything.  That 1% who the rest of us support and pay financial alms to in one form or another.

 

For years politicians have battled over the idea of whether or not the wealthy should pay taxes.  How ridiculous is that?  EVERYONE should pay taxes, not the the majority of us who are under a certain income!

 

So, occupy.  Support however you can whether it’s taking your money out of certain banks, shopping at local farms and merchants or cutting up credit cards and refusing to ever use them again.  Thank you for standing up and for being real!