“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens

Photo by Simon Berger on

Yesterday, while driving to work in the morning, I had quite the moving experience. I don’t know if it was the conversation I had earlier in the week with the Dish network customer service rep, or just the stressors of the past few weeks all coming together, or the fact that I was driving, listening to my ‘liked songs’ playlist on Spotify in complete silence . . . no phone calls while I drove, just me and the music.

As I drove, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. Not just thankfulness for the blessings in my life. I mean, an all-enveloping, warm hug sensation of peace and gratitude that just filled me up and bubbled over in tears as I drove. I don’t mean a silent tear slipping down my face, I mean an all-out steady stream of tears rolling down my cheeks (which miraculously did not smear my non-waterproof mascara).

Earlier in the week, I called to pause my Dish network service and the customer service rep, Debra, and I had the longest conversation about gratitude and what was going on in our respective lives. I do not know Debra, I’ve never met her . . . never spoken with her before. For whatever reason, when she asked how I was doing, and I said “okay . . we have a warm house, utilities, food on the table, clothes, jobs . . . ” she went on to say that she and her husband were having some difficulties and he had suggested listing all the things she was grateful for — a gratitude list. She had done that for the first time THAT morning, and was surprised how much it helped offset the negative things that were happening in their lives. By the end of the phone call, not only was my service paused but we were each thankful for an opportunity to encourage and lift each other up.

We all have stress in our lives. It can be easy to focus on all the problems and forget the little things we no longer notice or have taken for granted. Making a gratitude list has many benefits:

  • Shields you from negativity
  • Has been shown to make you feel 25% happier
  • Rewires your brain to see gratitude before negativity
  • Eliminates stress
  • Heals
  • Improves sleep
  • Boosts self-esteem and performance
  • Improves relationships, and
  • Enhances the law of attraction

Let’s look at that last one. How can having a a sense of gratitude enhance the law of attraction? Think about it. Would you rather spend time with a person who is smiling and upbeat, or a person who is down and negative? Tigger or Eeyore? In the workplace . . . who is more likely to get promoted — the person who is confident that things can be done, or the naysayer who insists that things cannot change? Who do you feel better about talking to — the person who makes eye contact and asks questions about your day and sincerely waits for your answer, or the person who is busy with their phone while loudly complaining to anyone who can hear about all their personal problems?

I have a sweet friend who delivers food for Doordash. She commented this week that she had actually made small talk with her customers while delivering their food and found that they tipped better. Then she used the Doordash app to send not just a message stating she was “on the way” but a funny meme with the message which also improved her tips AND made her customers laugh and had a few mention that it “made their day.” That encouragement then increased her gratitude and it just grows from there. So YES . . . a spirit of gratitude can enhance the law of atttraction.

Does it mean there won’t still be people trying to rain on your parade? Of course there will be. The world is not a perfect place.

Feel free to comment . . .what is on your gratitude list today?

Welcome 2021

“The book is called opportunity and it’s first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

Talking about resolutions with a friend, I stated that I tend not to make New Year’s resolutions. When I decide to do something, I just set the goal and do it . . . no need to wait for an auspicious, timely milestone marker. Another friend posted a photo that consisted of a quote which I will insert here:

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Source Unknown

After hearing excuses for so long, you just KNOW that some people have no intention of changing. They lack motivation, or drive, or intention, or cajones, or . . . whatever. If you listen, they will have every excuse in the book — usually ones that can be negated with logic or a short reality check. Those are the kind of folks that drive me to the brink of irritation to where I’m biting my tongue and slowly backing away from spending time with them. It’s one thing to be content with who and where you are, and say so. It’s another to feel as if you have to profess change to compete or compare when the obvious lack of follow-thru is more suspicious than mysterious ballots appearing in the presidential election.

For years I’ve felt that I owed explanations for what I do. Guess what? I don’t.

My only competition is myself. Whether it’s running, exercise, cooking, learning, reading, working or sleeping; I no longer compare myself to others. Oh . . . I’ll listen and learn from their experiences, but if I’m not interested . . . I’m not interested.

If I’m mad . . . I’ll be mad without an apology. I can make my feelings known tactfully and with discretion but make no mistake . . . I will no longer hide it. After reading the article on Unapolgetic Women here . . . I have come to a decision:

I will no longer apologize for being who I am, for thinking my thoughts, for having my strengths and my weaknesses. The year of 2021 will be the year of the terrifying, unapologetic me.

I don’t think my experience is a unique one. Women—mothers, especially—are told all the time, subtly and overtly, that we must change, adapt and bend who we are to make other people more comfortable. That somehow a watered-down version of ourselves is the one we should present to the world.” ~ Diana Spalding

This was never truer for me than when I was offered my dream job which required me to move to another state. A job for which I had trained and worked and studied and suffered . . . but yet, the exact day the written job offer came, I was asked to keep quiet about it because it (the prospect of my required move) was upsetting people. The message clearly was that everyone else’s feelings mattered more than mine — their discomfort was of more concern than my need to be happy and excited and celebrate my accomplishment.

Guess what ladies? If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will either.

It’s been so ingrained in me, so distilled and pressed into my subconscience to be quiet and unassuming, it is difficult for me to promote myself. That will be my biggest goal this coming year.

Stay tuned for the adventures that are sure to come. . . .

Be Still . . .and Know

“He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10, ESV

Photo by Mat Reding on

Ever have one of those days where anything that could go wrong, does? What if it extends into a week? Longer?

You fight to remain calm and upbeat, confident that God will provide for the need at hand. However, situations continue to build and mount and pile until you reach your limit and your frustrations spill over in tears and anger.

It’s been one of those weeks for me. Last night it all came to a head, I was overwhelmed with circumstances beyond my control. I was wracking my brain as to how I could afford the needs. Now . . .the anger is resolved because I chose to jot down those things for which I’m thankful. I can at least express my thoughts. Earlier, it would have been impossible.

First, I had taken the car to the shop – it was “wubbling” badly when it got up to high speeds — shuddering, shaking and making the distinct “wubble” noise. Worried that it might be a CV joint after hitting a racoon or a bent wheel, I was told that it needed all new tires. Breathe . . .

Second, we headed to Missouri to see the new grandbaby — leaving in a van that had over 200,000 miles and a newly repaired transmission. The first attempt to do so did not go well a few weeks back. We got 36 miles from home and had to nurse it along back roads and return it to the shop, under warranty for an auxiliary cooling unit to be added. This time, with a gut feeling of wary nerves, we made it 93 miles from home before it started shifting in fits and starts. We googled the nearest dealership and made it another 17 miles where we traded it in on a newer minivan with less miles – safer and more reliable. Or so we thought.

Throw in two phone calls from the mortgage company on two different days. One assured me that the process is being reviewed and the title came back clear so there was no need for additional documentation. (yay!) Two days later, a call from the same mortgage company stated that they needed additional documentation including quit claim deeds, etc to determine that the title was clear. (yada!) I figure, I’ll call back on Monday (because the third time’s a charm) and get a completely different answer on what they require.

Arriving in Missouri, there was the requisite dealing with the ex- whose inability to be reasonable as to sharing driving distance and time goes beyond the absurd. His insistence that I drive an additional 1.5 hours one way to spend time with a child that I was able to spend less than 24 hours with just sticks in my craw. But we chose to put on a happy face, enjoy the time we had together and hope it goes better next time. (Karma . . .baby. Karma)

It was on the way home from the drop-off that I reached my limit of exasperation and patience. The new van, with less than 70,000 miles, started revving and shifting down, revving and speeding up. We ended up pulling over several times, shutting the engine off and then re-starting it to roll a few hundred feet farther down a 2-lane highway until we could get to a populated parking lot. From there we called the warranty issuer and finagled with them to get a wrecker to come tow it to the nearest dealership. Of course, having only owned the car for four days, they didn’t have a record of my purchase and argued that they didn’t have to cover the expense. It then took an additional hour for the tow truck to arrive, and my older daughter graciously came to pick us up and drive us to the Oak Grove home (along with her newborn daughter).

By the time we arrived at the Oak Grove home at nearly 1 am, I was nauseous from motion sickness (sitting in the back seat), had a horrendous headache, was worried about how I am going to get back to the Alabama home, needing to contact my supervisor, trying to reserve a rental car online, and on and on and on. I ended up going for a long walk along the side of the road to cool off before I said some things I might regret later. It all felt so unfair.

This morning we got up to get a rental car and before leaving the house, the rental agency called to let us know they had no cars available. *sigh*

I messaged my supervisor to explain the situation and was told to just relax and do what I needed to do.

I contacted the dealership from which I purchased the car via email so they will be aware of the situation in the morning when they open.

So now I am left with nothing to do but sit, rest and enjoy my present company (which is a complete pleasure). In all things, God’s hand is present. While I do not know the reasoning, or the plan, I simply must trust that there is a greater plan at work.

Have you ever been in a situation or situations where you could not act but could only be still and rely on God to provide?


“Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.” ~ Sharon Saltzberg

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I’ve spoken in previous posts about stretching to relax. I combine these periods of stretching with the practice of mindfulness. At times, I use my own choice of soft music, other times I will use either a Fitbit app with a soothing speaker or a YouTube video. Some of my favorite YouTube channels are Daily Calm, The Mindful Movement or The Honest Guys.

Depending on the time I have available this may take as little as 2-3 minutes or up to 30 minutes. It seems to help with my ability to take on the day in addition to pain relief. Especially after I’ve worked a 12-hour nursing shift or driven for long periods of time – my body needs this time to relax and get the creaky old joints back into a natural (or should I say, neutral) position.

While I would prefer to get a massage each day, that is financially impossible and/or never going to happen. But when it does happen . . .what bliss!! When lying on the massage table, my therapist uses a heated mattress pad on low to help the body relax. Generally the lighting is low, there is soft music playing and depending on my mood we either talk or we don’t. I can sink into the sensation of her hands moving my body, kneading the muscles, feeling them at first tense and then relax under the repeated pressure. There are moments, generally when she gets to my IT bands that I don’t sink, it takes everything I have not to scream because they are so tight, but eventually they too, loosen up and I can again relax. The first moment that grabs me is right at the beginning when she places her hands under my shoulders and then runs her fingers and thumbs up my neck, flexing my head up and off the table and holding it.

Much like that massage, my combination of mindfulness and stretching works in the same manner. Usually done with low lighting, on a yoga mat on the floor with my choice of background sound, choice oils in the diffuser — it can be done in three easy steps:

  1. The “I” step – how am I feeling, how is my body feeling in connection to lying flat. What hurts? What feels tight? How do I need to move to relax it? Because of my scoliosis, I almost always start with my knees bent, feet flat on the floor and bring my arms up over my head, pressing my spine into the mat.
  2. The “Here” step – I begin this by taking three deep breaths, letting my abdomen rise with each one. As I continue my deep breathing, I notice that each breath gets slightly deeper as my body starts to relax even more. While I don’t consciously choose specific yoga poses, I do stretch and hold for a few seconds up to several minutes – breathing and holding the stretch until I feel my body relax and the stretch becomes less and less painful. It never fails, when I take my first few breaths with my arms up over my head, I slowly roll back and forth sideways on the mat until my back relaxes and my spine can make contact without tension – about three rocks both ways. I slowly move my arms down and out, flexing and releasing the scapula. At times, I may bend a knee and place the foot on the opposite knee for a greater stretch in the lower back. I may bend both knees and bring them to the same side while leaving my arms outstretched. Between stretches, I just breathe and notice how my body feels to determine which way to stretch next, never planning it but going with the way my body feels. No two days are ever the same.
  3. The “Now” step – what am I feeling right now. Not thinking about my plans for the day, or the discussion I had the night before, or even what I need at the grocery store. Part of mindfulness is being present in the here and now — right now. Distractions are blocked. In addition to the feel of my body, I also use my senses to feel the softness of the mat, the firmness of the hardwood floor, the smell of oils in the diffuser with it’s slight hum, the soft lighting in the room as the sunlight filters thru the room darkening shades, the background sounds in my chosen video or app, the soothing sound of the speaker’s voice.

Mindfulness doesn’t simply apply to meditation. It applies to the rest of my day as well. When in discussion with someone, I am able to determine how I am feeling during the discussion such as emotional reactions. The “here” helps me focus on the person(s) I am with and the situation at hand. The “now” helps me survey my surroundings and stay focused rather than being distracted by other thoughts such as “what will I fix for dinner” or “don’t forget to start the laundry” or “did I write the check for the utility bill.”

When choosing oils for the diffuser, I have several blends I prefer –

Rosemary, Lavender, Orange and Peppermint

Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint

or Copaiba, Lavender and Lime.

If you would like to purchase Young Living oils, feel free to use the link HERE.

How do you practice mindfulness? Has it changed your life? If so, how? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Quiet Times

“Touch the earth and let it touch you.” ~ Barefoot Mama

Photo by Akshaya Premjith on

I’ve been quiet because I haven’t felt well lately. And when I don’t feel well, I tend to turn inwards. I put my energy into healing and feeling better.

Somebody mentioned that I must be very in tune with my body.

Well . . . yes. I spend at least a few minutes, every day, stretching and breathing and relaxing my body bit by bit. I get massages when I can. I started lifting weights when I was in my late teens/early twenties so I learned to isolate muscle groups to be able to flex and release them at will.

I remember clearly with my first pregnancy: we were at our childbirth class and the instructor was having us lie on our sides and flex and release different muscle groups to be able to help labor progress more smoothly. We were to practice these exercises in the ensuing weeks. The instructor encouraged us to flex our calf muscle. One of the other expectant mama’s asked, “How do you flex your calf muscle.” I remember thinking to myself, “how do you not know HOW to do that?!?!?!?”

In December of 2018, I wrote a post The Sensual Life. In it I talked about using all the senses to fully adapt to the surroundings. It isn’t difficult – it does take practice. Society has become so dependent on electronic devices that we are losing the ability to connect on a natural level with our surroundings.

This evening as we walked the dog, I noticed several things:

  • The scent of rain on the air
  • The puddles on the road and sidewalk reflecting the street lights
  • the difference in textures between the sidewalk, the gravel and the mud
  • the sound of the dog’s nails as she walked
  • the lights coming from home windows we walked past
  • the sounds of the leaves skipping across the trail as the wind blew
  • the coolness of the wind against my skin with a hint of moisture
  • her excitement at getting closer to home and subtle pulling at the lead

I have to be in tune with my body. Systemic Lupus flares can come on suddenly, but they can also come on gradually and noticing the changes and catching them before they blossom from flares into fires can be tricky. Because I still have to do the things (after I drink the coffee), prioritizing my activities is absolute. Social media, blogging, renovation activities – anything that expends unnecessary energy is curtailed. The replacement activities are frequent naps, periods of rest and meditation. more stretching than usual, muscle rubs with liniment, warm baths and audible books (becomes sometimes just holding the book is tiring or looking at the screen makes my eyes hurt). I try to get out and walk each day, but then I lay down for a wee bit when we get home.

I do know being barefoot in the grass or having my hands in the dirt or on the plants, does have the effect of making me feel more connected. There’s something calming about being in contact with the earth — a soothing quality of well-being. And here . . . The Benefits of Earthing . . . is an article discussing the benefits of coming into contact with the earth either barefoot or with the use of our hands (such as in gardening).

So, perhaps I’m not crazy that I feel more rested when I spend some of my Quiet Times outside, barefoot, talking to the tomatoes.



Feeling the Rhythm

“Life has its rhythm and we have ours. They’re designed to coexist in harmony, so that when we do what is ours to do and otherwise let life be, we garner acceptance and serenity.” ~ Victoria Moran

Photo by Pixabay on

Much like the stones pictured above, on good days, life exists in a balance. On bad days, the stones are toppled over, at odds in positions and in relation to each other. On meh days, some of the stones are balanced and some have fallen – – needing to be repositioned.

Today was a meh day –

Some things were balanced. Breakfast, the beginnings of schoolwork, paying the bills, the preparations for tonight’s dinner . . .

Others were out of whack. A headache resulting from a pinching sensation along my spine and shoulder. Unexpected rain.

The goal was to achieve balance. When the work was done, we progressed to enjoyable past times. Work must be balanced with pleasure; pain with relief. Packing bottles of water, we set about the business of balance.

First a stop at our favorite thrift store with some clothing finds – for a total balance of $25 we walked away with 2 pairs of name brand jeans, and 4 shirts for $14 less than one pair of the jeans would have cost from Old Navy.

Next a stop at Lowe’s (because it was raining) and a chance to just stroll through the aisles and window-shop or shelf-shop. Looking at cabinetry and tubs, and sinks and the clearance aisle and faucets. I got the giggles when I stopped to examine a stacking washer/dryer combo and Jo matter-of-factly states, “Mom . . .we HAVE a washer and dryer!” Yes, but look at the price . . . I saved $1000 buying them off Craigslist.

Then a hop over to Hobby Lobby – again, nothing in mind, just walking around, looking for inspiration. So many ideas, so little money.

Next stop: Target. And there I bought a small candle in one of my favorite scents, Sugared Birch from Magnolia Home. This was one of the first candles I bought after I purchased my home. It was my first night in a strange house, on a cold February night, all alone and three of these candles lined the steps to lend warmth and a feeling of hominess in an otherwise empty house. A treat from Starbucks on the way out of the store topped the afternoon off.

I initially thought I would lie down to take a nap, but decided instead to lay on the floor and stretch. Arms out to the side, and knees bent, I focused on the rhythmic inhale and exhale as I felt my muscles relax, dozing off at times. At one point, Jo came into the room and I asked her to hand me the large exercise ball. Propping my feet up, I was able to get an even deeper stretch as I bent my knees first to one side and then the other. Finally, I ended by kneeling, face down over the ball, stretching my lower back and breathing to release the tight tension that coiled there.

Comfort food for dinner, chicken enchiladas, rounded out the evening and the restoration of balance was complete. A phone call from one daughter earlier in the day, and then another daughter in the evening, as well as listening to Jo with her boyfriend having a nerf gun fight in the living room restored a sense of peace and well being that all is right with the kids as well. A snappy walk before dinner got the blood pumping and finished out the relaxation achieved by stretching.

Find your rhythm and work to keep the balance. You’ll be glad you did.

Sacred Smoke

“Smoke of air and fire and earth, cleanse and bless this home and hearth. Drive away all harm and fear, only good may enter here.” ~ Home Blessing

There are some days when you just want a fresh start, a reset if you may . . . an opportunity to clear the air, refresh your surroundings, and remove any lingering negativity.

White sage has long been used by Native Americans for it’s healing and cleansing properties. It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial effects when used in small amounts. Slightly different from garden sage used in cooking, white sage is generally found in herbal stores or can be purchased online.

Especially when the house has been cooped up in the summer or winter and fresh air is at a minimum, an evening of cooler weather is the opportune time to open the doors and windows and light a bundle. Usually wrapped in a bundle and tied with twine or string, an abalone shell is used to rest the smoldering sage and let the smoke provide the sweet aroma.

As you’ll note from the Home Blessing above, it begins with the words “Smoke of air, fire and earth . . . ” There is a strong belief in all four aspects of nature working together in harmony. The sage is of the earth, the smoke is the air, the fire is . . fire, and the shell represents water.

Tonight was a perfect night for it. The temperatures had cooled and having the doors and windows open let a slight breeze in. The sage smells wonderful and uplifting – – and the house feels wonderfully peaceful.

How Do You Reward Yourself

“Self-care has become a new priority – the revelation that it’s perfectly permissible to listen to your body and do what it needs.” ~ Frances Ryan

Young Living Premium Starter Kit

Yesterday, I mentioned my love of my Young Living Oils and promised I would explain the concept of Essential Rewards.

If you are curious about essential oils, don’t know that much about them, worry that they may be too “new age” or hedonistic . . . by all means, read on. If you have no interest in essential oils, this post is not for you.

Essential oils are those that are pressed and extracted from certain plants and aromatics. There are different uses for different oils and have been for centuries. They are used for their aromatic properties, their natural cleaning properties, and some are safe for consumption internally and are used in cooking.

Young Living offers essential oils for sale at retail rates, which is available if you infrequently buy essential oils. The oils are the same regardless of the option you choose to take: retail or membership. If you frequently purchase oils or toxin-free cleaning products, a membership may be the optimal route. I can hear the eye-rolling starting . . . hear me out.

I believe we’re all familiar with subscription boxes:

  • Stitchfix
  • Misfits Market
  • FabFitFun
  • Ipsy
  • BirchBox
  • and others.

Each of those subscription boxes listed above offers goods that cater to specific interests. The contents are not chosen by you, you may not like them, you may not want them, they may not be the appropriate size, color or taste for you. With some, you can return items; with others, you cannot.

Young Living Essential Rewards is like a subscription box that you hand select yourself: from delivery date, to content, to price point. However, essential rewards is only available to those who have become a member which you can do here. Pictured at the top of this post is one of the Premium Starter Kits – perfect for the person new to essential oil use. You select the diffuser of your choice (not pictured), and the rest is shown in the photo: 12 of the most popular essential oils, two roller tops for easy topical applications, two samples of the Ninxgia red vitamin supplement drink, Thieves hand sanitizer, a guide to using your essential oils, a product catalog and a copy of the magazine with articles and recipes.

Maybe you just want the Starter Kit with the diffuser. Get a few oils, get your feet wet, see if you like them —great! It’s still a great deal. No one is going to call you or pester you to buy more. Your money and your decision on what to buy is up to you! BUT. . . if you enjoy the oils or want to try other products, why not get them at the reduced rate? We use the laundry soap, toothpaste, vitamins, car diffuser. . . because they’re eco-friendly and we like them.

When you sign up for Essential Rewards, you not only get to choose your monthly reward at a reduced cost but you earn points to apply towards future purchases or promotions. You can skip a month if you choose or change the date your order ships to accommodate your finances.

Not everyone is into diffusing oils, and that is fine! I purchased several of these Thieve Home Cleaning Kits to give as gifts to my daughters and friends. Everyone loves having a clean, fresh smelling home. The Thieves Laundry Soap has been in use at our home for many years, simply because it is gentle enough that it doesn’t exacerbate my youngest son’s eczema.

Feel free to check out the Young Living home page and ask if you have any questions! Again, if you want to check it out and get your very own Premium Starter Kit, click here.

Gratitude & Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

“The moment one is capable of feeling grateful for both pain and pleasure, without any distinction, without any choice, simply feeling grateful for whatever is given . . . .because if it is given by God, it must have reason in it. We may like it, we may not like it, but it must be needed for our growth. Winter and summer are both needed for growth. Once this idea settles in the heart, then each moment of life is gratitude.” ~ Osho

lower Bains Gap Falls

I’m still spinning a bit but I’m slowly starting to settle down. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing before we left to go to Missouri but my Essential Rewards order came in the mail from Young Living. (** for those unfamiliar with Essential Rewards or Young Living, I’ll share more details tomorrow). I had ordered a bottle of Sara as I had never tried it. Described as a “soothing scent to be used during difficult or emotional times”, little did I know it would be coming in handy sooner than I thought.

People reach to different things for comfort when they are stressed. For some it is alcohol, or food, or drugs or companionship or solitude. My comfort items are: solitude, food (to a degree), my oils, and self care. Physical activity (walking, running, hiking, weightlifting) and warm baths are all manner of self care in my mind because those things focus on my well-being and my health.

Food, on the other hand, has the possibility of being another stressor if there’s too much available or if lackadaisical boredom sets in. Perhaps I should clarify that it isn’t so much eating the food that is calming as it is cooking the food. It isn’t uncommon, when I am stressed, to find myself scrolling thru new recipes looking for something new to try.

Mt. Cheaha

Sunday was a wonderful day on the Richter scale of self-care. It started with church (spirit), followed by a hike up Mt. Cheaha (mind/body), included a wonderful dinner of Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta (body), an episode of Yellowstone (mind) and a warm bath with a few drops of Sara oil (body/spirit).

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1# shrimp, shelled and deveined – your choice of size
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 1/2 # pasta, your choice – angel hair, linguine, spaghetti, bowtie, etc.
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes


Combine the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate while the pasta and shrimp are cooking. (If you prefer it less spicy, omit the crushed red pepper flakes. Even without, the Thai sweet chili sauce gives it just enough of a kick to get your attention.) While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Place the shrimp in the pan along with the minced garlic and sprinkle with salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Stir well to coat. Cook on low/medium heat on each side until pink. Remove to plate. When pasta is cooked, drain and turn into large bowl. Add shrimp and sauce, stirring to coat pasta with sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Water is my people. . . my tribe. . . it males me feel whole. Must be my sign of Cancer.

Today was a shorter hike to the waterfalls near here. Muddy from the frequent short bursts of rain, but still beautiful, still refreshing and invigorating to be out in the fresh air – so fully alive and grateful for this live I love.

Orange Chicken

“Chinese food tries to engage the mind, not just the palate. To provoke the intellect.” ~ Nicole Mones

Oh my gosh! Would you look at THAT!! I remembered to take a picture before we ate it all – (insert proud sigh of satisfaction *here*)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, and you’ve read my previous blog posts . . .I LOVE to cook. I like trying new recipes, making old favorites, sharing food with friends and playing in the kitchen. Heck! The kitchen floor and steps is where we re-pot our plants. My oils are stored in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home.

But I digress.

With Sam being at his dad’s for a few weeks, Jojo and I have more lee-way with meals and happenings because we aren’t hung up on tastes and textures. I like Chinese food, Jo really LIKES Chinese food. She frequently has a hankering for Orange Chicken, so I made some.

It was easy, tasty and I had everything on hand except the noodles – a quick trip to Walmart solved that problem. I made an exception and did the preparation a little differently to see how it all worked out but I will note those changes after the recipe.

Orange Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


2 boneless chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite size chunks

1/3 c. flour

1/3 c. cornstarch

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. orange juice

1 T. white vinegar, rice vinegar would be better but white will work

1 T. soy sauce

1/4 c. sugar

1/8 t. Ginger

1/8 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. red pepper flakes

1 1/2 t. cornstarch

zest from one orange

sesame seeds (garnish)

green onions (garnish)

coconut oil for frying

1 package rice noodles


Put the coconut oil in a 10-12 inch skillet and heat. While the oil is heating, place the chicken chunks in the beaten eggs and let sit. Combine the 1/3 cups of cornstarch and flour and blend. Dredge the chicken thru the flour mixture and place into the hot oil in the pan. Cook on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. While chicken is cooking, in a small saucepan, combine orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Stir on low-medium heat until sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl, combine remaining cornstarch with 1 T. water and stir until it makes a paste. When sugar in the orange glaze is dissolved, stir in cornstarch paste. Turn temperature to low to allow it to thicken. Meanwhile, remove cooked chicken to plate lined with paper towels to drain oil. Place rice noodles in hot pan used to cook chicken and cook on low breaking up noodles with spatula, you may need to add a bit more oil. When noodles have cooked (about 2 minutes) add drained chicken, and orange sauce to pan, stirring on low to blend flavors. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, orange zest and green onion.

Doesn’t sound too difficult . . . right? And it wasn’t. The changes I made are outlined below:

  1. I used coconut flour rather than white all-purpose flour because I had it and I wanted to use it. I actually debated between coconut flour and almond flour, but I went with the coconut flour for absolutely no special reason.
  2. Rather than dredging the chicken through the flour/cornstarch mixture, I combined the dry ingredients in a ziploc bag (a ‘la the old ‘Shake-n-Bake’ method). I zipped the bag and shook it to combine the ingredients, then opened it, plopped the chicken from the egg mixture into the bag, zipped it and shook it like no one was watching. (Because, in reality . . . . no one was watching! I was completely alone in the kitchen,)
  3. I used coconut oil to fry the chicken and the noodles, but you could use vegetable oil or olive oil.
  4. Ginger — I was completely out of ground ginger. (I think I took it to Missouri and forgot it there.) I used ginger oil 2-3 drops instead, and now typing this I just realized I have fresh ginger root in the fridge. *sigh*
  5. I noted in the recipe that I used white vinegar. Rice vinegar would give this a more authentic flavor, but the white vinegar worked fine.
  6. I was too hungry and too tired to garnish anything, hence the lack of sesame seeds or green onions in the photo above.

**A note on using oils in place of spices —

Because oils are concentrate of the product, you would never use the same amount of oil to replace a dried version of a spice. I regularly use oils in my cooking: Ginger, Clove, Lemon, Lime, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Peppermint.

Young Living has oils designated as safe for dietary consumption marked by the white “Vitality” label. If you would like more information about ordering oils or becoming a Young Living subscriber, you can click here to get to my personal website.