Frost on our storm door looked like large beautiful jungle plants light by morning sunshine from a clearing in the woods.

Frost on our storm door looked like large beautiful jungle plants lit by morning sunshine from a clearing in the woods.

 

“Mom, do you think the frost on our door is so beautiful because I’m always so happy?” asked my son.

He had previously looked at the awesome book, Hidden Messages in Water, where scientist Masaru Emoto showed how positive and negative words spoken at–or even just thought toward–containers of water had real effects on the pattern of crystals when the water was frozen.

When looking at that book, my son remembered that a Ferengi in Star Trek The Next Generation had referred to humans as “ugly bags of mostly water.” And in fact, according to Dr. Jeffrey Utz (Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University, as cited by U.S. Geological Survey), humans are 55-65 percent water (except infants which are born at about 78 percent). Or humans are “about 70 percent water” according to NASA, which might be outdated truth since Dr. Utz goes on to say that basically the fatter a person is the lower their percentage of body water–and obviously the populace is getting fatter all the time, so we probably do average closer to 55 percent than 70 these days. But I digress.

The point is that if we’re made up of a high percentage of water, and a thought or word can affect water, it can have a physical effect on our bodies! And on all sorts of other things around us.

The idea that “words can’t hurt” has been outdated for decades, but while you can’t always control what words are spoken to you, you absolutely can learn to always control the ideas and emotions which you allow to linger inside your own head and which then resonate throughout not only your whole body, but also throughout everybody around you, manipulating energy and matter throughout your entire corner of the universe.

If you want more evidence of the power of thought, read “Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani.

You carry an invisible tool that does not require the lifting of a finger to operate. You have the power to affect creation, your health, and everyone around you. Will you choose to wield it wisely, kindly and positively?

Trying to be vigilant in controlling your thoughts and emotions is as tiring and impossible as pushing a train everywhere you want to go. However, if you get that train onto the right track, it will roll smoothly and take you where you want to go on very little fuel. As you learn to have the right outlook and manner of thinking, maintaining a positive outlook and joyful mood will become who you are automatically, rather than an act you have to maintain.

Beauty and goodness is everywhere to be appreciated and enjoyed, to uplift and enrich— especially if you put it there! Think it. See it. Be it.

Love, understanding, and true joy to you 🙂

Bright and beautiful frost in the pattern of leaves, woodland plants, or seaweed.

Bright and beautiful frost in the pattern of leaves, woodland plants, or seaweed.

Our frosty storm door, with a different lighting angle and camera exposure, looked like a shady woodland scene opening into a sunny field.

Our frosty storm door, with a different lighting angle and camera exposure, looked like a shady woodland scene opening into a sunny field.

 

 

Noname Porter-McShirley  © 2015 Noname Porter-Mcshirley

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The Value of Handwriting in the Digital Age: http://bit.ly/1B7B4pE

The Value of Handwriting in the Digital Age: http://bit.ly/1B7B4pE

Handwriting is far more useful than probably most people realize in this age of smart phones, Tablets, iPads, and school-issued computing equipment. I want to inspire you to think about what useful skill your kids or grandkids might be missing out on, unless you help them. And helping them can be easy!

Umm, handwriting. What’s that?

Before digital equipment was everywhere all the time, ordinary people had to write out homework, write out shopping lists, leave personal notes to each other, jot down phone messages, fill out job applications, write personal letters of correspondence, and many other things—all by hand. Once drafted by hand, finished business documents and letters where usually typed on a typewriter for a neat appearance, but even professionals kept daily records and accounting by hand. The smoother and faster a person could write by hand, the better their life ran and the better the impression they made on other people.

Now, almost every form of communication to oneself or anyone else is done by typing on a digital device of some kind, and everyone is constantly connected with texting, Tweeting, Pinning, Flikr-ing, emailing, occasionally cell-phoning, and there are a host of other “online” applications popping up to make sorting, storing, sharing, and using endless information supposedly easier. When does anyone write more than three words by hand? . . . And when people do write with a pen or pencil, many people don’t use cursive because they never learned the awesome advantage of cursive—SPEED.

Writing by hand is technically handwriting, but when each letter is formed individually it’s called printing (the words look like a sloppy version of machine printing). The best handwriting is called cursive—that’s the kind that flows with every letter of a word connected to the next letter.

What people are missing out on is the speed of cursive handwriting: http://bit.ly/1xQjllD

What people are missing out on is the speed of cursive handwriting.

Evidence that the usefulness of handwriting in the digital age is not widely understood.

In recent years some schools stopped teaching cursive handwriting. Whether your school has continued, stopped, or started it up again, you may want to take note of the issue and personally show your kids or grandkids the value of handwriting so that they can enjoy the benefits throughout their lives.

I’ve seen professional adults who have trouble writing by hand, but occasionally have to do it.

If you’re one who is so familiar with cursive that you use it without thinking, you may not realize that it is not guaranteed for the next generation. Imagine if the subject of math was canceled because calculators are everywhere? Ridiculous. Imagine the inconvenience of shopping or cooking if you couldn’t do simple math in your head. It’s up to us to make sure our kids are learning the skills we take for granted.

If handwriting in cursive is presented as just another thing that must be memorized, it will be unappreciated and tossed aside by the child as soon as possible. Someone must show kids not only how to write in cursive, but how fast it can be done, and also point out how much time the method can save for the child in the months and years ahead.

Why is cursive so fast?

Because it is designed so that your writing instrument seldom leaves the page—every word is made with ONE flowing line. When printing by hand, every letter is made of at least one separate mark, many require two marks, and an “E” is often done with THREE separate marks. The word “separate” takes SEVENTEEN marks to print in all caps, or TEN marks to print in individual lowercase letters, but only TWO to make in cursive!

Cursive is like rolling down a hill on a skateboard, and hand printing is like taking all the steps to walk down the hill. If you just want to get to the bottom so you can play, you’ll take the skateboard—provided someone has shown you how to use it!

BONUS: Cursive is so flowing that it does not feel tedious like printing can. Try writing an entire page by hand with lowercase print, and all those little movements will likely make you feel like throwing down your pen and shaking your hand. Once you’re practiced in cursive however, you can soar through handwriting an entire page easily and comfortably.

Cursive is the fastest handwriting BECAUSE it requires far fewer separate marks: http://bit.ly/1B7B4pE

Cursive is the fastest handwriting BECAUSE it requires far fewer separate marks: http://bit.ly/1B7B4pE

So why care which is the fastest way to hand write when we type everything?

Two points: we type more than we would if we knew how to write super fast; and we need to be able to cope better when batteries fail, programs crash, or devices are too expensive.

I’ve had people tell me they lost everyone’s phone numbers and addresses because their phone messed up, but that wouldn’t have happened if they kept a written address book as backup. How much time do you spend entering info into an electronic device when you could jot it on a piece of paper and stuff it into a pocket? I’ve heard things on the radio I wanted to look into, and reached for a pencil and paper to take notes faster than I ever could have opened an appropriate program on a computer or smart phone. Maybe students think they can type notes while listening to a lecture just as fast as someone could hand write notes, but what about when they show up only to find out that their laptop battery died, their word processing program froze without saving, or the operating system crashed? What about when their computer is so old that it becomes too slow, but they can’t afford a new one? Everyone should have the ability to handwrite as a backup.

If people knew how to write well and fast, they wouldn’t be so concerned with somebody paying to ensure electronic devices are everywhere!

And once we have the ability to write smoothly, quickly, and easily, we will not only find it’s nice to give and receive notes and letters that are personally written rather than digitally delivered, we’ll also find ourselves writing all sorts of little notes, signs, lists, etc.

You have to be able to do something before you discover advantageous opportunities for doing it. When someone can’t cook, they eat prepared meals and think it’s fine; but once they learn how to cook something fresh and wonderful, they realize they like it better. People who can’t read manage somehow to get through life, but those of us who know how to read also know the advantages. There are advantages to knowing cursive!

Making sure your kids or grandkids learn cursive can be fairly simple.

If you are not very fast with cursive yourself, practice a little before talking to your child about it. Once you’ve got it down, pick a few words–anything–and have the child write them. If you have a clock that shows seconds, time the child’s writing; but if not just have the child mentally notice how long it take him or her to write, compared with how fast you can write the same words. After the child writes the words, you write them first in print (individual letters) and then even faster in cursive. When you do the cursive, do it as fast as you can, legibly but without trying to be pretty—act like someone is talking and you have to write as fast as they talk. Your child should be amazed at how much faster you can write then he or she can, and that will be the key to getting cooperation. Remind them that they will spend less time writing and more time playing, if they learn such a fast writing method!

Point out to your child every time you write something. When you write a check, add to the grocery list, post a sticky note, whatever—so the child sees that there is writing to be done in real adult life.

Hopefully your child will be excited to learn, but if the child protests learning cursive handwriting, simply tell them they absolutely have to do it. Mater of fact. No arguing. You know it’s worth their time, and they will know it too once they learn it. Don’t make it a drudgery by insisting on too much practice—copying one sentence which uses all twenty six letters is enough for each session. You’re trying to convey that cursive writing is faster than the alternative, so practicing it should also be a brief chore.

Then start looking for times to have your child write one or two words in script, like having them add an item to the grocery list for you. As the child uses cursive several times per week, they will get used to it and begin to like it.

When my son was little, he endlessly whined and fussed about it being a waste of time to learn cursive when he already know how to write. But I made him practice just a sentence or so at a time, maybe a few times a week. I can’t remember how many weeks it took, but once he had the cursive form of every letter of the alphabet well memorized (including how to connect them to each other), there was no going back—he CHOSE to write EVERYTHING in cursive, because it was SO much faster for him. I even had to show him that on certain types of projects, for visual clarity, he should hand print the words rather than use cursive (like for document titles, or for when he had to write extremely small). Cursive has become my standard example when he doesn’t think he will ever need or want whatever it is that I’m telling him to learn. He even feels sorry for his young friends who, because they haven’t mastered cursive, can’t read what he’s written and also struggle with their own homework or other projects.

Give your child or grandchild the gift of knowing cursive handwriting.

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© 2015 Noname Porter-Mcshirley

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Moods are symptoms. Don’t just react. Look under the surface and connect with the other person to solve or even prevent an outburst, tantrum, or other negative behavior.

I talked about this in a previous post, “Pain Is the Root Of Anger, and Why You Should Care” but today I’d like to amplify that by sharing the following post by Rebecca Thompson, M.S., MFT.

Her blog is about parenting, and this post of hers in particular reminded me of when my son was a toddler and he would routinely become annoying, fussy, and troublesome when he was tired. It was an irritating distraction for work-at-home parents. Of course the instantaneous reactionary impulse was to be short with him, tell him to stop being that way, even yell at him. But I wanted to love and help him, not hurt him. I found that all I had to do when he started acting badly, was realize that he had been awake for hours, and then pick him up and rock him on my shoulder. He felt the loving connection and quickly fell asleep. When he awoke, he was always able to behave much better.

For older kids too big to hold or too old for naps, a hug can be just as refreshing–like rebooting a computer which has clogged up and can’t function right.

For even older people or those you aren’t so personal with, look for a way to give a verbal hug. A kind word, compliment, or some acknowledgement that you are sympathetic.

Meeting and treating on a personal root level works with a person of any age—infant, toddler, teen, adult, and elderly. It can even work with animals.

Read Rebecca’s post: An Alternative View of Tantrums and Emotional Upsets

Or visit her website by clicking this image:

 

© NPM

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(Note: This will also work with hams and other cuts of meat as well, but I’m just going to talk about turkeys.)

Using my method, a complete holiday turkey dinner can be cooked in under 3 hours–or less if you have a small bird.

You can use a thermometer to tell when it’s perfectly done, or cook it until it’s falling-off-the-bones done. Either way, it will be tender and juicy!

Since store-bought birds all come with added ingredients, meaning they have been soaked or injected with water/salt/sugar/etc., there’s NO need to brine it prior to roasting. Even freshly butchered birds will steam nicely inside a covered roasting pan and not dry out.

As the cook in your household, I’m sure you’re as ready for a holiday as your family and guests are, but do you get one?

In years past you may have stressed about preparation in the days leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas, and then drug yourself out of bed before everyone else so that you could get that big turkey stuffed and slow roasting for another four or five hours, dutifully basting it every hour or so to keep it from drying out. Well you don’t have to do it that way any more! 

I want to tell you how you can sleep late this holiday morning AND host a traditional dinner—without sacrificing the wonderfulness of fresh home-cooked foods.

Getting plenty of sleep and waking up fully rested is an important key to being able to enjoy the day with your family and guests. And of course you’d like to have time in the living room with those people, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

Here are three keys to making that happen for you:

  1. Make sure you have the one necessary piece of equipment, in addition to a working oven: a LARGE COVERED ROASTING PAN (or a very large oven-proof pot with oven-proof lid) BIG ENOUGH TO ENCLOSE YOUR TURKEY (or other meat).
  2. Unless you are buying a fresh turkey, make sure your turkey will be thawed in time. Put it to thaw in the fridge a few days ahead (3 days for a 12 pound bird, 5 days for a 20 pounder).
    • Here’s a calculator for determining how large of a turkey to buy for the number of people you are serving, and how long it will take to thaw; just ignore their cooking times, since we are going to use a faster method.
    • There’s no problem if it thaws out two or three days early, but no more than that so you won’t have to worry about spoilage.
    • If your fridge is especially cold, or you can’t start thawing soon enough, you may find it still frosty on baking day; in that case run hot tap water in and out of both ends of the bird. But trying to work with a completely frozen bird will NOT turn out right.
  3. Get your house presentable before going to bed the night before. You may even want to set the table ahead of time, if you don’t have pets which will walk all over the place settings.

If you don’t own a large COVERED roasting pan, they are fairly inexpensive at department stores or even some larger grocery stores; or you might be able to borrow one from an elderly relative who no longer uses theirs. Ideally, you want something like this:

Large Covered Roasting Pan (enameled metal)

Large Cover Roasting Pan (enameled metal)

 

After a lazy morning and a hot cup of tea, you’re ready to start cooking. Here’s what to do:

  1. Peel and chunk a heap of vegetables. Whatever kinds you want, but I recommend a mix of white or russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, and garlic.
    • Large pieces are best, like cutting your potatoes into thirds or quarters, carrots into halves.
    • Rinse your chunks of both varieties of potatoes in a bowl of water as you cut them, because coating the surfaces in water will prevent them from turning black before they start cooking.
    • Use your own judgment as to quantity, depending on number of people being served. Leftover veggies are great in soups or turkey pot pies.
  2. Start your oven heating to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Yup, 500 degrees!
  3. Brush the inside of the bottom half of your roasting pan with oil, so the veggies don’t stick before the turkey juices start flowing. DO NOT put a rack in the pan; you want the veggies down in the turkey juices for best flavor.
  4. Place the potatoes in the roasting pan first, followed by other vegetables (because slender or small items like carrots will disintegrate if on the bottom). Onions and garlic go on top of the other veggies, so their flavors will seep down and make the potatoes yummy.
  5. Now for the turkey. Unwrap it in a clean sink, remove all extras (organs and neck), rinse inside and out, remove the plastic or wire gadget which holds the legs together, and place the bird BREAST SIDE DOWN on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. The turkey’s juices will run down through the breast, so the driest meat will not be dry at all.
  6. Place the cover on your roasting pan, making sure that it closes all around. If it won’t close, you may need to wiggle the bird a bit, or reach under it and push the vegetables to the corners so the bird will settle lower. The lid MUST close all around, or else steam will escape and your meat will really dry out in the extra hot oven!
  7. Place the closed pan in the oven. It does not matter whether the oven has gotten fully hot yet.
  8. Be sure to thoroughly wash your sink, faucet, and any counter contaminated by raw turkey.
  9. While the bird and veggies start to roast, start the “stuffing.” (This will be made on the stove top so the empty bird can cook faster, but will taste like it came from inside the bird because we’ll use turkey juices.)
    • Chop or crumble some bread.
    • Saute onions and garlic (optionally, add soy sauce), and add them to the bread with your favorite herbs.
  10. Prepare a pie that can go in the oven when everything else comes out. This can bake while you eat, and be eaten hot and fresh or later in the evening when stomachs have more room for it.
  11. Pull the roasting pan out and set it on your stove for a moment. Ladle out as much of the juices as you can, and return the covered roasting pan to the oven for the turkey to finish cooking.
  12. Divide those hot turkey juices. Mix some into your “stuffing” and put the rest into a pan for thickening into gravy.
  13. Lightly fry your stuffing in a skillet, stirring frequently to blend and thoroughly warm the bread. Also finish making your gravy.
  14. When the turkey is fully cooked, put the pie into the oven and serve everything else with a side of cranberry sauce. (You might want to set a timer to remind you to check your pie, so it doesn’t burn while you are engrossed in dinner conversations.)

The key to speed here is the covered roasting pan. It allows for a super hot oven and keeps all that super hot steam inside which causes quick roasting, without allowing the meat to dry out!

So now you know how to cook a complete holiday dinner (turkey, veggies, stuffing, gravy,  cranberry sauce, and pie) with most of your day left over for having fun. Enjoy!

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© 2014 Noname Porter-McShirley

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Anger Comes from Pain

Why is it really important to understand anger? Because:

  • Understanding anger is the first step in dealing with your own, so that you can behave decently, and so that you are not controlled by automatic responses to other people.
  • Understanding anger gives you helpful insight when dealing with angry friends or family members.
  • Understanding anger is important in the bigger picture of society—for preventing the formation of, or responding to, masses of angry people.

Think about what anger is: Anger is an emotion, a very intense feeling which summons your attention and energy; it is your subconscious talking to your consciousness while it rallies your body for what it expects your response will be. But if you have this detached perspective, then you are not bound to act as your feelings seem to tell you to act.

Emotions exist to serve us. They say, “Hey Master, here’s something you should pay attention to. Don’t you want to do something about this?” That’s true for happiness, sadness, love, anger, or any emotion. “Hey Master, there’s a good-looking person, don’t you want to make contact?” “Hey Master, there’s a fun game. Don’t you want to play it?” “Hey Master, this food tastes great. Don’t you want to grab another helping?” “Hey Master, notice how great if feels when you receive a compliment. Don’t you want to do that again?” “Hey Master, you’ve tried this already. Don’t you want to give up?” “Hey Master, that person stepped on your toe, causing you a lot of pain, and she didn’t even notice. Don’t you need to kick her so she doesn’t hurt you again?”

But we are to be the masters of our bodies, not leave emotions in control. The first part, “Hey Master, notice this,” is rather automatic. The second part, the “Don’t you want to___,” is trainable. Untrained, we tend to be selfish and superficial. We grab what’s fun and strike back when hurt. But we can train ourselves to look beyond the surface before responding, and to be kind when hurt.

What does it mean to be “kind when hurt”? Apologizing for existing because someone bumped into you, is not being kind. Being kind is taking note of your anger and telling it, “Okay, I got your message, now go back to work. I’ll handle this.” Then you look for more information about who hurt you and why, consider their point of view as best as you can see it, and offer some response which might actually help the other person to feel better—even if such a response has nothing at all to do with what they did to you.

Here’s the natural, untrained, emotionally reactive cycle of anger:

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Person A has a problem which generates an angry feeling, and so lets those feelings explode on whomever is handy. Person B, feeling the pain of being unjustly blamed (exaggerated by feared future consequences), yells back about the injustice they feel. Person A, being far from calm enough to admit an error, gets even angrier from the pain of being accused of unjustly yelling. Person B, feeling the pain of being in a hopelessly negative situation, yells about how absurd person A is acting. Person A not only continues to defend his or her self, but also feels additionally pained/angry because Person B has not seemed to care about the original problem.

————————-

But when a wise person gets unjustly yelled at, the thought patterns goes something like this:

“That person is angry and it’s not my fault, which means they are dealing with something more painfully difficult than their level of strength or wisdom at this moment. They are not an absurd person normally; they are only acting on emotions right now, so there is no point in responding directly to their absurdness. I’m going to look for ways to reduce their stress, and try to figure out the real source of their pain so that I can find a solution for their problem. Then their mood will return to normal.”

When you realize that an angry person is actually a person who is in some sort of pain, you can shut off your retaliation instinct and proceed with empathy, love, patience, and possibly assistance.

Acknowledge to yourself your own anger, but shut it down by working to alleviate or eliminate the underlying pain. And if that underlying pain is someone’s unjust anger vented on you, work to alleviate or eliminate THEIR underlying pain, and everyone’s anger will vanish.

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Further reading: Here is an article on the value of seeing people’s offensive actions as stemming from ignorance and poor assumptions rather than maliciousness, thus allowing yourself to avoid reacting angrily: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2009/10/falkenblog-epictetus-the-life-coach/

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© 2014 Noname Porter-McShirley

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Calling all central Indiana readers:

Please help select the next group of great ideas to be shared in the TEDxIndianapolis 2014 conference.

It’s free to come see all the submissions and place your vote. Which ideas do YOU believe should be shared this year?

The organizers say there are more than one hundred applicants for only about 18 openings, and they want the public to come vote on which speakers and ideas will make the line-up for this year’s event.

Three reasons to come:

  1. To influence which ideas will be shared on stage and on the web this coming October,
  2. To meet a lot of intelligent and interesting people from this area who come together both to support their own submissions and to vote for others people’s,
  3. AND to see all the submissions which won’t make it onto the stage. I’m sure there will be too many great ideas to fit in the available time slots, and this may be your only chance to see them—you could make some great connections!

…And if that’s not enough, stick around Fountain Square afterward to enjoy IDADA’s First Friday Art Tour and one of the many outstanding places to eat and drink in the area.

Place & Time:

Friday, June 6
5:30pm to 7:30pm

Well Done Marketing, 
1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Public event, FREE

 

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If you’re out this Spring to trim back new growth around the edges of your property before wildness takes over, you might just run into Poison Ivy and not even know it until too late.

In the Spring Poison Ivy has no tell-tale leaves yet, but (as I once found out the hard way), both the bare vines and new shoots can irritate your skin in the Spring just as badly as the leaves can during Summer.

One easy and free way to protect yourself from this “invisible” danger, is to cover your skin with long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and even goggles if plant material might strike your face. If you need to cover a gap between sleeves and gloves, cut the toes out of an old pair of socks and wear them on your wrists. Be sure when you’re done working around the yard to put all your clothing in the washer and then wash your hands.

BUT sometimes no matter how careful one is, that’s not enough. Maybe a branch got up your pant-cuff, or poison ivy cropped up where you never thought it would be and you weren’t protected. We don’t want to live in fear of the outdoors! So…

Thankfully there is one natural thing which really helps me whenever I get my skin poisoned by Poison Ivy:  Jewelweed.

While you can buy Jewelweed products online, I have no personal experience to be able to recommend which version is best (although while searching for photos I found this interesting product testimonial http://beautyinfozone.com/skin-care/secret-weapon-alert-creation-pharm-jewelweed-topical-mist/ ).

What I can tell you is that if you can find it growing wild, it’s easy to make your own treatment. Jewelweed “tea” won’t instantly cure Poison Ivy, but it will (at least for many people) remove the painful itching for hours at a time, and it’s safe to reapply as often as one wishes!

How To Make Jewelweed “Tea”. . . NOT for drinking, but for wearing!

You will have to locate and harvest Jewelweed during its short Summer growing season, and freeze the “tea” for use throughout the rest of Summer and into Spring. So use the links below to see what the plant looks like, and then go Jewelweed hunting. You may want to print a few pics to take with you on your search, so you can avoid simular-looking plants which will be of no help. It grows in semi-open shady, dampish places, like in a very young wood—the type you might find in urban areas, behind city parks or apartment buildings, and on undeveloped treed lots. In one person’s YouTube video, Jewelweed was found along a roadside (I’m guessing at the edge of some trees for partial shade).

Once you find the right plant, and you feel sure it’s the right plant, gather a big handful. When I did this, there were plenty so I plucked entire plants. However if you don’t find very many plants, I’m guessing there’s enough Jewelweed juice in the leaves alone, so you could try letting the plants continue growing by very gently picking just a couple of leaves from each plant until you have a big handful of leaves.

If you’ve picked entire plants, be sure to cut off and discard the roots, so as to not get dirt in your “tea.” Then, boil some water (just about enough to cover your leaves), turn off the heat and stir the leaves or plants down into the water. Let them soak until cool, remove the plants/leaves, and freeze the amber-colored water in ice cube trays. These are your “Jewelweed tea cubes.” Once frozen, seal the cubes in plastic to prevent evaporation inside the freezer. Whenever you have an itch you suspect is Poison Ivy, rub a Jewelweed tea cube on the effected skin, and return the cube to the freezer for later when the itch starts to bother you again.

IDENTIFYING JEWELWEED:

SUMMARY:

  1. Identify Jewelweed plants.
  2. Gather a handful.
  3. Trim off dirty roots.
  4. Boil water (in non-aluminum pot*).
  5. Steep (soak) plants/leaves in the hot water till cool.
  6. Freeze & seal for later use.
  7. Rub on irritated skin for itch relief.

*Side note: boiling water in aluminum releases aluminum into the water which is not a good habit, as too much aluminum entering your body can cause severe health problems.

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© NPM

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Whether you are one who cleans all the time, one who never thinks about it until visitors are coming, or someone who hates dirt but dreads selecting cleaning chemicals and investing time in scrubbing, here’s a delightful solution. No chemicals, no scrubbing, no block of time needed.

The ideal time for easy, chemical-free bathroom cleaning is right after someone’s hot bath (or long hot shower). The advantage of this timing is that the steam will have loosened the dirt, dust, and scum. Wiping down steamy walls, door knobs and moulding, tub, sink, mirror, toilet tank, or anything else in the room, will easily remove at least one layer of dirt. If you haven’t cleaned in a long time, you might have to repeat the steam-cleaning process (wiping things after the next hot bath) before all of the dirt comes off, but it’s a quick and easy task.

You might not even realize how dirty the walls and door are until you start wiping them down while they are steamy. Even if you’re used to frequent cleaning, this method will save you time and money.

TIP (for cool seasons): If company is on the way, and you don’t have time for a long hot bath, you can fill the tub and let the room steam all by itself while you are straightening another room. After you’ve wiped down the steamy bathroom, leave the door open to release the heat into the rest of the house. This may only save a tiny bit on your heating bill, but the water was already hot, sitting in the water heater doing nothing; it may as well be working for you!

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©NPM

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(Please share the illustration from below the text.)

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Is living or working in a cramped or cluttered space driving you crazy?

You wish you had storage room to put stuff away, and more organization, and more money and time to make things the way you want them; or maybe you wish you could make some other person clear up their mess which is perpetually in your way. Maybe you’ll get that, but not today.

So put all that aside for a minute.  Freeze. Take a breath. Today is the day you have in front of you, the day you feel the oppression building, and the day you want to feel great, be productive and radiate happiness. Right now, here’s an instant help—a mood and brain pick-me-up…

Stop always standing or sitting in the middle of your space.
At least for one minute.

I know you have to be close to your work to work on it, but being in the middle means your face is close to stuff no matter which way you turn. The cubic free space is also divided into smaller, unnoticed chunks, which visually mix with chunks of stuff.

Stand with your back in a corner or, against a wall or door.

Standing (or sitting) with your back against a corner or wall will allow all the space which is usually around and behind you to meet unobstructed, blending into a relatively large open area; it will also put all that space between you and the stuff that you’re tired of looking at.

Do it every chance you get!

Move back against a corner or wall any time you have a minute or more that you’re not hands-on with your work, like when you are answering the phone, drinking water or tea, eating a cookie, stretching, deciding your next chore, hugging your child, etc..  Move back and look into the opened-up space.

Don’t eat your cereal at the breakfast bar in the middle of the kitchen; eat sitting in a chair off in a corner, facing into the open space you’ve just walked out of. This will allow you a moment of physical AND emotional relaxation.

Don’t eat at the computer. See how much better you feel sitting on the floor with your lunch, on the opposite side of the room. Or try swiveling your chair with your back to your computer, and looking into a different part of the room while you munch.

Surprising additional benefits.

There is a benefit to this idea beyond giving yourself a time-out from feeling claustrophobically overwhelmed with both endless work and ever-growing chaos. You may find that stepping back occasionally to enjoy the space you never knew you had, also calms and resets your thinking enough to let happy new ideas and creative new solutions come to the front of your consciousness. You may see a way to quicken or lessen your workload. Or you may see a less stressful, and more grateful, way to think about things.

Take a literal step back, and a deep breath, and smile—as often as you can.

You may not have enough space for what you want, but now you know how to make your invisible space visible—and that can be a wonderful treat!

Being at the CORNER of Your Area Consolidates Free Space & Moves You Farther from the Mess. A Refreshing Breath of Space = a Mood-Lift.

©NPM

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