Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stay Safe Tonight!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

That Time of Year

I know...we do it every year and blow it by February.  What is it about resolutions that make them so difficult?  

This year, I am going to try to take a different path.  I have one resolution and one resolution only.  If you read yesterday's blog post, you read that I struggle with the woman in the mirror.  My best friends, along with my man, have tried to pound it into my thick skull that the woman I see in the mirror is not the same one they see.  I struggle with this on a daily basis.

That brings me to this year's resolution.  This year, I resolve to love that woman in the mirror.  I will cut her the same slack I do others and forgive her the same way.  I do not expect perfection from those I love and it is past time that the woman in the mirror is granted that same grace.

While this year's resolution may be internal, it in no way excuses me from getting my big butt on the treadmill!!  I actually broke down and bought one and it is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.  Just in time!!

Resolve to be kind to yourself this year...you deserve it!

Love,
Jerri

Monday, December 29, 2014

Feeling Feminine

This past weekend, my sweetheart spoiled me by taking me shopping.  After I got home, it dawned on me that unlike my standard wardrobe of a sweatshirt and jeans, he makes a point to buy me dresses and skirts.  Not just dresses, but those that flatter my figure and look fabulous!

I like that feeling.  I feel feminine, cared for, and safe.  It takes a strong, true man to be able to bring those feelings out in a woman without demeaning or subjugating her to a lesser position.  He has no compunction whatsoever about publicly showing his affection and walking in his arm feels wonderful!

It has been a long time since someone cared for me in such a way.  I have realized, also, that the woman I see in the mirror still is not the one others see.  I am working on it...and as I travel that path, I will be the one in the fabulous dress and heels!!

Look in your mirror today.  That woman looking back?  She is kind, loving, and incredible!  Always remember that!

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, December 20, 2014

'Twas the Weekend before Christmas

No recipe this Saturday...just a few words of advice!

Most of us have to work all week, including at least part of a day on Christmas Eve.  Take a little time this weekend to prep what you can for Christmas dinner.  You don't want to spend the day chopping and prepping when you have family that want you with them.  Whatever few minutes you can save on Christmas Day are precious moments with those you love.

There is no shame in delivery!!  If you're overwhelmed with wrapping, baking, and cooking...pick up that phone!  Whether pizza, Chinese, or sandwiches...let someone else carry some of the load.  When it arrives, stop what you are doing and actually sit down and enjoy your meal.  You've earned it!

Wishing you a calm and peaceful pre-holiday!

Love,
Jerri

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wahoo!!

One of the easiest ways to save money while shopping online just got easier!

Do you use Ebates?  If you enter through their portal for hundreds of websites, they pay cash back on what you spend.  My problem always has been that I never remembered to go in through Ebates when I start shopping!

Thankfully, Ebates has taken care of that problem for me!  For Google Chrome users, Ebates has created a Chrome extension with an Ebates button.  Add this extension to your browser, and Ebates now automatically lets you know if there is a cash back offer available on the site on which you are shopping.  No more forgetting!

Ebates will send you a check when you meet a certain dollar amount.  You set the dollar amount, you can receive your checks frequently...or save up for something big!  I have seen stores that give up to 12% back though the norm is more 3-4%.  But every little bit adds up...quickly!

If you haven't signed up for Ebates yet, here is my referral link:

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=OarlEl1m3jzjG%2BQeRzfY2Q%3D%3D&eeid=26471

Get shopping...and saving!!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, December 18, 2014

#IWillListen

As we enter the holiday season, we also enter the season for increased depression, anxiety, and suicide.  Sometimes, a friendly ear, a hug, or a shoulder to cry on can make the difference...even between life and death.

This Christmas, let friends and family know you are there by using the hashtag #IWillListen on your social media.  It lets people know you are available, perhaps in a situation where they wouldn't have reached out otherwise.  It opens the door.

For veterans, there is a hotline designed just for them.  Please share 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  The line is staffed by specially trained personnel.  In its first year alone, the hotline received over 62,000 crisis calls.

I make this pledge.  #IWillListen

Love,
Jerri



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Words to Live By

Whine less, Breathe more

Talk less, Say more

Hate less, Love more

And all good things will be yours.

Sound like simple words, don't they?  Look just at the first line.  Breathing is a technique I am slowly learning at my advanced age.  Luckily, I have someone in my life who reminds me to do so and has an amazing ability to calm me.  I have a long way to go but I am getting there.

Move on to the second line.  It seems to contradict itself on the surface.  Look deeper.  As you talk less, the words you do say carry greater weight and meaning.  Makes sense now, doesn't it?

Line three would be a pretty easy one...or at least you would think so.  Have you seen the news lately?  The racial divide seems to be growing, and the distance between the classes is increasing day by day.  There is no doubt more love is needed in our world.

The final line is truly just a reminder of the Golden Rule.  Treating others as we wish to be treated, what goes around comes around, karma...however it is worded...what you reap is what you sow.  Breathe more, say more, and love more.  The same will return to you.

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Night for Me

Saturday night, I was home alone.  My son was working and the gentleman I've been seeing was out of town for work.  I decided to indulge myself.

As my son hates seafood, I rarely eat it at home.  So out came the pots and pans!  I made Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo.  It was delicious!!

While I ate, I also indulged my love of reading.  I went back a few years and pulled out a classic.  "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier.  "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."  One of my favorite books of all time and the perfect selection for my evening.

As we get caught up in all the holiday craziness, it is important to take some down time.  As women, we frequently forget that we cannot care for others if we do not care for ourselves.  

Take some time this week to recharge.  It will make the holidays just that more joyous.

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holiday Breakfast

This is a favorite quick, easy breakfast when you're on the go this holiday season!

Orange-Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

1 package blueberry muffin mix (the kind with the blueberries separate)
2 egg whites
1/2 cup orange juice (pulp-free)
Orange marmalade

Directions:

Blend muffin mix, egg whites and orange juice well.  Mixture should not be lumpy.  Gently fold in rinsed blueberries and pour into muffin tin.  Fill muffin cups about halfway.  Bake at 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes.  You can use the toothpick test!  As soon as you remove the muffins from the oven, spoon orange marmalade over the top of each muffin.

Enjoy!!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Almost Made It!

So far, we've discussed handmade gifts, giving food as gifts, and limiting presents as ways to have a frugal holiday.  Today, let's talk about frugal presentation!

For wrapping needs, please consider your local dollar store.  In addition to the traditional wrapping paper and gift tags, dollar stores are a great place for gift bags and boxes.  At a dollar, they run quite a bit cheaper than even your big box store.  

Every present needs that finishing touch.  Dollar stores also have ornaments and florals that make the perfect topper for that perfect gift.

While you are there, check out the assortment of serving dishes, etc. for those holday parties. Cleanup becomes a breeze when you don't have to worry about breakage.  If you are sending someone home with food, you also don't have to worry about getting that dollar dish back!

Head to your local dollar store and see how much of that list you can knock out in one place!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Christmas Card Saga

I promised on Monday that there would be more on the Christmas cards later in the week.  Here goes!

I had every intention of getting my Christmas cards done this weekend.  I truly did.  As usual, I have great intentions right up to that point where real life decides to intervene.  What really happened?  I did not even begin to work on them until 9 p.m. Sunday night!

I'm working on them as I have time.  I am also trying to take my own advice and cut myself some slack.  Is it working?  Eh...I'm a work in progress!

I promise, as soon as I finish these and get them in the mail...I'll start designing one for the blog.  I can't let the season go by without expressing my love and appreciation for you, my readers!!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What If Wednesday - Holidays

Time for another What If Wednesday.  We have already covered fear and appreciation of the little things in life. Let's take a shot at the holidays.

What if:

1.  The meal doesn't turn out perfect.  It will be just fine...no one will starve,

2,  Someone cancels at the last minute.  Great...more wine for you!

3.  Someone doesn't appreciate their gift.  This would be the perfect opportunity to trim that gift list.

4.  You didn't get what you were really hoping for.  That's what day after sales are for!

5.  The tree isn't perfect, dinner isn't perfect, the gifts aren't perfect. I will guarantee you that no one noticed.  They are spending the holidays with YOU, not the tree, dinner, or gifts.

The biggest gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to relax, enjoy, and savor every moment!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Necessary Repeat

Three years ago, I wrote a post about fear mongering.  At the time, I referenced an email I had received.  Now the same practice has transferred to social media.  How often do you see a post warning women about some fictitious gang initiation, stranger in the back seat, hundred dollar bill on the ground, or the myriad of other urban legends created for no other purpose than to incite fear?  

And how often do you see otherwise intelligent people repost these myths without checking the information?  You wouldn't believe such rumors if you heard them...does seeing them on the Internet make them more plausible?  With that in mind, here is that post from April 19, 2011.

Spreading Fear

Today I received yet another email warning women about another threat.  This one was a crying child asking to be taking home and the woman attacked upon reaching the address.  In less than one minute, I had checked Snopes and found it to be false...another urban legend.  Hitting"Reply All" (a thing I rarely do), I informed the ladies on the email that it was not true and attached the link containing the denouement.

Why do otherwise intelligent women buy into these rumors?  Women today admittedly face threats to their safety...but why forward something you haven't even checked to be factual?  Is it a misguided attempt to keep a friend safe?  Or is it a gullibility that only exists online?  These same women wouldn't believe half of these stories if they were told them face to face.  Is it because the account purports to be verified by CNN or Fox?  If so, wouldn't a reasonable person check those sources?

What frightens me is that these friends allow this additional fear into their lives.  That they live with yet more reasons to look over their shoulders.  That this fear pushes out capacity for joy.

Please, if you receive ANY email that contains FW in the subject line...check it out!!  Don't forward something that could impact someone's daily life and/or routine without verifying at the very minimum that it is true!!

If you truly want to help a girlfriend...give them a call!  Ask how they're doing...ask if there is anything you can do for them!  This simple action will do so much more than a scary, false email.

And those are my random thoughts for today...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Cards

One of my goals this past weekend was to get out my Christmas cards. (More on that later in the week!)  Friday, I was chatting with my best friend and mentioned what I had planned.

She then made a statement that surprised me a bit.  She said she was glad that I was coming out of my shell and rejoining the world.  Why did it surprise me?  I honestly hadn't realized just how deep of a hole in which I had hidden.  

A great deal of it was due to fear, and partly still remains so.  I am coming to realize, however, that you cannot live in a constant state of apprehension and fear no matter how justifiable.  If sending out Christmas cards, as trivial as it may seem, is a step back into normalcy, I welcome it.

May this holiday season truly be one of peace.


Love,
Jerri

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Candy

Here's an easy recipe for a Christmas candy.  Makes a perfect gift!

Ingredients:

1 package almond bark (I prefer the white--it's more Christmassy!)
1 package chocolate chips (again...I prefer the white, but you can use the milk chocolate)
5 cups salted peanuts

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt the almond bark and chocolate chips.  Stir well and slowly add peanuts. Drop by teaspoonful on to waxed paper.  Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge and store in an airtight container.  If you use the white, these look wonderful nestled in red tissue paper for gift giving!

Enjoy!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Handmade and Delicious!

I have already espoused the benefits of a frugal Christmas.  Did you know that one of the most frugal, and most appreciated, gifts at Christmas is food?

Whether it is candy, cookies, or cake; people love handmade food for Christmas.  If you watch the sales at your local grocery store, you will be able to keep the costs down.

To add to your own Christmas yummies, consider hosting a cookie exchange.  Each person brings their favorite cookie recipe.  Bring one dozen to share at the party and one dozen for each person attending.  Depending on the size of the party...you may be set through New Year's!

Dig out those recipes from Mom and Grandma and get busy!

Love,
Jerri

p.s.  Don't forget to sample as you go!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Travel

We have all heard and seen the holiday travel horror stories.  They are true, they exist.

I want to encourage each of you to travel to your loved ones this season if you can.  Personally, it is not in my budget for the year but I can guarantee you that I would be on the first plane if I could.  I have learned this year just how precious friends and family are and how, as Aerosmith says, "I don't want to miss a thing."

If you can, fly, drive, ride a train.  Put yourself in hugging range of someone near and dear to your heart but far from your front door.  While Facebook and other such social media gives the illusion of closeness; you don't truly know what it going on behind someone's front door until you walk through it.  Give that someone the gift of your love, attention, and time.

Time to map that route, book that ticket, and make those reservations!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter's Misery

Living on the Gulf Coast, I am spared the brunt of winter's wrath.  I was raised in Wisconsin, however, and am more than familiar with Old Man Winter's fury.  Now you know why I live in the South!

I do enjoy seeing the photos my friends and family post of the beautiful snow.  I am glad I no longer have to wear 12 layers just to stay warm.  It gets cold down here on occasion but I now look at those cold temperatures as an opportunity to wear cute sweaters and boots!

This past weekend saw the official end of hurricane season.  We made it through without a single storm.  This allows us to breathe a sigh of relief, not only for the end of hurricane season but that we still don't have to deal with multiple feet of snow!

Confession:  I do enjoy teasing my friends and family up north.  I may even be known to post a beach shot now and then just to rub it in a tad.  Sigh...I can only imagine the words and names that come flying out when they see them!

For my readers in the North...enjoy the snow!  For me...I'll be at the beach!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Decorating

Have you decorated yet?  I've begun.  The Advent Calendar was out on time and filled.  Bulbs are making it on to the tree bit by bit.

We are still deciding if we are going to do the outside lights.  It is feeling like a whole lot of work at the moment.  The Christmas music boxes are out, the dogs are wondering what is going on, and my son has already been beaned in the head by the hanging mistletoe.  (For the record, he's 6'5" and we live in a 1940's bungalow...the doorways are short!)

I am still mapping out my baking and candy making schedule and menu.  I know I'll be making the peppermint plates to use in gift-giving.  Look on Pinterest...they're everywhere!  I will say, that is one thing on Pinterest that actually looks like the picture when you do it yourself!  Keep an eye on the blog Saturday morning...I will be sharing one of my favorite make and give recipes!

Are you done with your decorating?  I have friends that have posted pictures of fully decorated homes complete with wrapped presents.  I am so not that person!

Love,
Jerri

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Hangover

Do you have a holiday hangover?  I am not talking the actual hangover, I mean the one you get from four days off work, a house with company, shopping to be done, tree to go up, etc., etc., etc.

Exhausting, isn't it?  Seriously, it's Monday morning and the exhaustion from the holiday is still there only to be added to by the work week.  Like most women, I have a problem with saying no.  I frequently try to do it all.  At 52, you would think one would know better.  However, my generation was brought up to be caretakers.  Delegation is a relatively new concept, particularly when it comes to hearth and home.

I wish I knew the magic formula for getting everything done without some portion suffering from a lack of attention.  If such a formula exists, please let me know!

Hang in there, my friends!  This week won't last forever!

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Make Leftovers Golden

Just one of a myriad of uses for that leftover turkey!

Ingredients:

3 cups cubed (or cut small) turkey
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can sliced water chestnuts

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with 1/2 cup of water.  Mix well.  Butter a 2 quart casserole.  Transfer mixture to casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve over rice.

Enjoy!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

There is not much of a point on doing a frugal tips post on the biggest shopping day of the year.  Just a few tips for this day instead.

1.  Be safe.  Keep your money in your pocket and not in your purse.

2.  Remember, you don't have to buy everything.  Buy what speaks to your heart.

3.  Don't shop alone.  More ground can be covered with a partner.

4.  Don't shop alone.  There is safety in numbers when you leave a store.

5.  Don't carry more than the credit/debit card you will be using.  If robbed, it will limit the damage.

6.  Stay hydrated.

7.  Remember, there is no material thing worth a stampede.

With that said...have fun!!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Closed Today

Jerri's Empty Nest is closed today due to holiday preparations!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Time for Gratitude

This is the time of year everyone begins talking about those things for which they are grateful.  I want to take a bit of a different tack today.

What is Gratitude?

The soldier receiving the care package from home.

The abused woman now living in a safe home.

The mother holding her child now free from addiction.

The homeless man with a hot meal and a warm coat.

The military wife with access to Skype.

The rescue dog heading to a loving home.

The lonely woman encircled by friends.

This is Gratitude.

Love,
Jerri

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boycott

There has been a groundswell of support for the boycott of those stores open on Thanksgiving.  I have myself taken the pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Retail has already reached the point where Christmas decorations are on display well before Halloween.  Everyone deserves to spend Thanksgiving with their families, and the only ones who should be working on that day are those vital to public safety.  Namely, our military, fire, and police give up their valuable family time during the holidays.  Their sacrifice for the public good should not be cheapened by a greedy retailer forcing a minimum wage employee to work a twelve hour shift that day in order to keep their job.

Please join me.  Spend Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  Time with loved ones cannot be replaced.  The stores will still be there on Friday.

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Head Start!

Here's a different variety of pie...get that head start on Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Pie

Ingredients:

1 package strawberry gelatin mix
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup cranberry-strawberry juice
1 carton whipped topping
1 9-inch graham cracker crust

Directions:

Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  Add cranberry sauce and juice.  Chill just until the gelatin begins to thicken.  Fold in the entire carton of whipped topping and chill again until the mixture mounds.  Pour into the graham cracker crust and chill several hours before serving.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Frugal??

On Fridays I usually give my frugal tips.  Not today.  I was taught a lesson this week by my son and I would like to share it.

This past weekend, my son and I ran some errands.  At one of the stores, I picked something up and quickly replaced it when I saw the price.  When he asked why I put it back, I responded that I didn't need it.  He quickly answered, "Mom...when is the last time you actually bought a want?"

That set me back on my heels a bit.  I will pick up things I want here and there, but they are usually small and inexpensive.  His statement reminded me that it is perfectly okay to spoil myself now and then and that everything does not have to be a "need."

My frugal tip this Friday?  Don't be frugal ALL of the time.  Splurge every now and then and spoil yourself.  You deserve it!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Growth

As I wrote yesterday, you can be satisfied with your life while still striving for growth.  That growth can be personal, financial, educational, or a multitude of other endeavors.

Do you know anyone who has the perfect life?  Even with the facade of perfection, we never truly know what is going on behind the scenes.  That trophy wife may regret not finishing her education.  That high-powered executive may wish for more family time.  We do not know what any other person has going on inside or behind closed doors.

To be satisfied with your life does not mean you turn into a couch potato.  That is stagnation, and in a lot of cases, just plain laziness.  My latest mantra has become "So what are you going to do about it?"  I use this mantra not only on myself but I can pretty much guarantee at least my youngest son is sick to death of hearing it.  Why on myself?  Because sometimes the end goal can be overwhelming, and I need a reminder to break it down into doable steps.  

Goals are the first component of growth.  What areas of your life would you like to see grow?  Have a list?  So what are you going to do about it?

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Contentment

Contentment is defined as:  "the state of being happy and satisfied".  Notice that happy is a component of contentment.  You can be happy, but that does not necessarily mean that you are also content.

The second component of contentment is listed as satisfied.  Are you satisfied with where you are right now?  Let me clarify a bit.  Remember, this is just my two cents worth!  Just because you are satisfied does not mean that you don't strive for better.  I believe it means that in this moment in time, you are satisfied in life.  To work for better or to improve does not indicate dissatisfaction.  Actually, I believe the lack of such progress equates to stagnation while giving the appearance of satisfaction.

I am satisfied with my life.  That does not, however, mean I sit on my butt in front of the television and do nothing to improve my life.  I am constantly growing and learning.  That in itself adds to my sense of satisfaction.

I am happy.  I am satisfied.  I am content.  Join me!!

Love,
Jerri






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zen

Have you found yours?  I haven't!  I try...but life gets in the way.  I am one of those people who have trouble turning off my brain just to sleep.

I see the memes on Facebook about letting go, slowing down, and being happy.  I wonder sometimes if it is truly as easy as just believing it and it comes true.  I have also seen people who use that same principle of "letting go" as their own personal out for not taking resonsibility for or being accountable for any of their actions.  I do firmly believe that if you do not deal with your past, it will repeat itself.  There is a big difference between forgiveness (letting go) and forgetting.  Forgetting makes you vulnerable to the same abuse and mistreatment that occurred before. 

I am working diligently on the slowing down portion.  I am usually running through my life at full speed until I have completely exhausted myself.  I am well aware that this is one area where I need the most work.  I do not have to do everything, be everything to everyone, and I am not responsible for it all.

Being happy?  I believe that is an emotion that ebbs and flows as any other emotion.  I believe the true state is one of contentment.  I can say I am content.  It's a pretty fabulous thing to be.  Part of that contentment is an incredible sense of gratitude.  I am deeply cognizant of the blessings in my life.  That is a large, if not the largest component of my contentment.

I know...a lot to think about and it is only Tuesday!!  Just something to ponder...

Love,
Jerri 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Blessed Benefit

Last week I wrote about the benefit of social media for introverts.  That message was brought home again on Saturday when I was blessed to reconnect with a dear friend from over thirty years ago.  Let me rephrase, from a different lifetime!

This country of ours is huge.  Without the benefit of technology and social media, the task of finding one person out of millions becomes near impossible.  With a tool such as Facebook, reconnecting with those we love becomes so much easier.

Later in the same day, I also spent a half hour chatting with another friend from that same lifetime.  He always raises my spirits, and we never end a conversation without telling each other "I love you!"
It was through social media that we reconnected and we use it religiously to stay close.

For all the downfalls, the bullying, the drama, and yes...even the hate that is spewed on social media on a daily basis...social media can and does play a vital role in maintaining relationships.  I, for one, would not give up the benefits no matter the downside.

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!

A quick and easy stew to throw together on a freezing day!!

Ingredients:

2 lbs stew meat
2 cans new potatoes, drained (15 oz)
1 can mixed vegetables, drained (15 oz)
1 can French onion soup (10 oz)

Directions:

In large pot, cook stew meat with 2 cups water for one hour.  Add canned goods and stir thoroughly.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Black Every Day!

I know...it's not Black Friday yet!  But well in advance of the actual day, both WalMart and Amazon are already running daily Black Friday deals.

Be warned!  You will have to check WalMart's page bright and early.  From what I've been seeing, they are selling out of the best deals fast!  You may wish to sign up for the emails notifying you of special sales.

On Amazon, make sure to check the page at regular intervals throughout the day.  Some deals run all day or all weekend, but others only run for a couple of hours.  New ones start on a regular basis.

Black Friday deals already abound...you just need to look!

Happy Shopping!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Days

Some days, there just isn't enough:

          chocolate

          wine

          sleep

          hugs

          love

          time

in the world.  I hope you have plenty of all of the above in yours!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Perfect Medium

In real life, I am an introvert.  I am perfectly happy at home alone with my dog and a good book.  I rarely feel the need to be out in social situations and tend to avoid large crowds as much as possible.  I probably border on agoraphobic but for the fact I still have to get out and go to work every day.

That is why social media such as Facebook is the perfect medium for introverts.  It allows us to socialize, keep in touch with friends and family, and be a part of the larger world.

It also allows us the luxury of doing so in our sweats or yoga pants, make-up free, with a death grip on our coffee mug.  When the outside world gets too overwhelming, all we have to do is close the laptop, silence the phone, and the outside world disappears.

I have seen numerous articles, ezines, and talking heads emphatically stating that social media causes disconnect.  I respectfully disagree.  For an introvert, it is the perfect medium.  Introverts can interact to their comfort level and withdraw when that level is exceeded.  It is not that easy to physically withdraw from social gatherings in the real world!!

And yes...I'm in my yoga pants!

Love,
Jerri

Monday, November 10, 2014

To Ponder

Something to think about as we approach Veterans' Day tomorrow:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cozy Casserole

Perfect for a cold evening!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground breakfast sausage
2 packages saffron yellow rice (5oz)
1 envelope onion soup mix.

Directions:

Brown sausage and drain.  In a 2 quart casserole, combine rice, onion soup, and 3 cups water.  Stir until completely blended.  Add sausage but do not stir.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Enjoy!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Frugal Hobbies

Back in the olden days...and I mean before MY olden days, women had a variety of crafts to occupy long winter nights.  At the time, it was because of the inability to be out and about during the winter months.

Today, we have the capacity to head out the door, get in our cars and go wherever we wish.  But there is something to be said for those old traditions.

Making crafts at home not only is a frugal activity, you actually have something beautiful to show for your efforts.  Whether given as gifts or used around your own home, there is a tangible result.

Some crafts do require more of an initial outlay of cash while others can be started with little or no money.  One great place to start for ideas if you're new to the crafting game is Pinterest.  It abounds with ideas, particularly for re purposed and recycled items.

This winter, find a craft that fulfills you.  Staying home will save gas, wear and tear on the car, and will keep you out of that mall!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Needed Reminder

This week I received a reminder from the universe of just how lucky I am.

I am blessed with a wonderful home near the beach, a job I absolutely adore, incredible co-workers, a son who watches out for me every day.  I am blessed with the greatest group of girlfriends and an incredible support system.  I have a man in my life who treats me like a queen.  I have my rescue dog and the unconditional love that comes with her.

Sometimes it takes time and distance to realize just how bad something was and enables you to realize just how blessed you are now.  I had that reminder this week and I am thankful.

For those in their darkness, I promise you there is light.  It may seem like you will never see it but the old adage is true...it is darkest right before the dawn.  The light is coming.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Did, Did You?

Did you vote yesterday?  I hope so...our country is built on that foundation!!  It is not only our right to vote, but our priviledge and our duty.



Also, I'm a big believer in "don't vote...don't bitch" for if you willingly abdicate that role, you have also abdicated the right to complain about the outcome!

I hope all of you voted!!  And the best part?  All those ads will finally go away!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Matter The Age

Yesterday morning as I left work, my son was actually awake.  Mondays are his day off and he is usually sound asleep when I leave.

As I was preparing to leave, he said, "No, Mom...stay with me today!"  That is when I realized that it does not matter if your child is a grown man or a toddler...when they ask you to stay with them, it is a gut punch.  

If I could have, I would have stayed home.  My son wanted me with him, and even though he is 24, he needed me and I wanted to stay.  

You never stop being a mother.  He could be seventy years old, say the same thing, and I would have the same reaction.  What greater blessing is there?

Love,
Jerri

Monday, November 3, 2014

Too Little Weekend

Even though we "gained" an hour this weekend, I still came up short!  My to-do list is always longer than my "time available" list!

Not sure how to fix this particular situation.  I could drop one of the part-time jobs I do for extra money...but I need the extra money.  I could let the chores go...but no, I can't go to work naked!  What to do?  I keep thinking I will get to the point where I am caught up and I will have a weekend to myself.  I have been telling myself that for quite a while!

My next attempt to rein in my life is going to come in scheduling.  I am hoping if I set a limited amount of time for each task (and stick to it), I may be able to reclaim some time.

How about you?  What tools do you use to get a handle on that to-do list?

Help!!!

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Crockpot Barbeque

I know it's gotten too cold in some parts of the country to head outside to the grill...so let's bring it inside!

Ingredients:

3lb boneless beef roast
1 cup strawberry jam
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bellpepper, chopped
2 Tbs mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce

Directions:

Spray crockpot with non-stick spray.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.  Place roast in the crockpot and cover with mixture.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove roast and slice thinly.  If your roast falls apart, pull the rest apart and make into shredded beef!  Place meat back into the crockpot for 20 minutes to absorb the sauce.  Serve on buns!

Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Littlest Things

Yesterday morning, my day started with a quick message from an old friend.  Nothing real involved, just more of a quick, how ya' doin' kind of message.

That message, however brief, put a smile on my face.  It made my morning just a little bit brighter.  Now I can guarantee you, that thought probably never entered his mind; that he might bring a little bit of joy to someone's day.

Sometimes it is truly the littlest things.  It was nothing earth-shaking, just a quick hello that made someone smile.  Too often we forget what an impact something small can have on someone else.  We also forget to be grateful for those same small things.

So here is a virtual hug from me!  Just something small to start your day!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What If Wednesday

It's my second What If Wednesday!  I'm going to take a bit of a different track today...hope you enjoy it!

What if:

1.  You said "I love you" to your best friend.

2.  You hugged a co-worker having a bad day.

3.  You played with your pet when you got home from work.

4.  You responded to that email from family you've been avoiding.

5.  You finished that one chore you've been avoiding.

6.  You took ten minutes and watched the sun set.

7.  You called your mom.

8.  You took a bubble bath.

9.  You read a classic book.

10. You thanked your spouse.

All of these are unexpected blessings...either for yourself or someone else.  Spread the love!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Unexpected Blessings

When you least expect it, something wonderful will happen.

I have touched briefly on the fact that I recently left an intolerable situation.  With that came unexpected expenses for beds, groceries, etc.  Day to day living has been stressful, wondering if there will be days left at the end of the paycheck.

For those who follow this blog, I post every Friday about frugal tips, how to enter contests, and other ways of bringing a little extra money in to the household.  This week, my work paid off!  I won the grand prize in a Facebook contest...$2,500!!!

This money is definitely an unexpected blessing!  One...I enter so many, I forget which ones!  Two...this money will definitely make a dent in the damage that was caused earlier this year.  Three...I know for at least this month, there will be money left at the end of the month rather than month left at the end of the money!

This truly is a blessing and I am extraordinarily grateful.  Even claiming it on my taxes doesn't bother me!!

Look around your world.  While it may not be monetary, have you had an unexpected blessing?

Love,
Jerri

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reality Check

Friday, I came home from work in a thoroughly pissy mood.  It had not been the best afternoon and I was looking forward to indulging in a major pity party.

I got home and logged onto Facebook.  Seeing a post from a friend battling cancer, I had a serious reality check.  My crappy afternoon immediately seemed incredibly petty and small.  Rather than spread my grumpiness, I simply posted a picture of my glass of wine and kept my pity party private. I still indulged in that pity party, I just refrained from dragging anyone else down with me.

While social media encourages us to share, not everything falls into the "share" category.  Moods like anger, grumpiness, and self-pity are better contained than spread.  Happiness, joy, and laughter need to be spread as much as possible.  I don't mean to infer that any "bad" news has to be supressed.  Actually, social media has become an incredibly useful tool when news needs to be shared at a rapid pace to a large amount of people.  General bitching and whining, however, do not need to be put out in the universe.  There is more than enough of that out there already.

For the next couple of days, watch your newsfeed.  I think you will each have that one person who constantly lives in and shares that negative place.  Examine how you feel when you see that person posting.  Is it viewed with a sense of dread?  Is that what you want to share with your world?  Definitely a stop and think moment, isn't it?

Spreading tons of love,
Jerri



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just Three!


Here is a recipe for peanut butter cookies to enjoy this weekend...and yes...just three ingredients!!

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Directions:

Warm peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl for 1-2 minutes until melted.  Stir about the halfway point to make sure it is thoroughly melted.  Beat egg and stir into peanut butter along with the sugar.
Roll into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Enjoy!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Quickie

Just a quick reminder on this Frugal Friday...

We're approaching the holiday season.  As you begin to do your online shopping, don't forget to search for coupon codes before you complete those transactions.

Two of the best sites for coupon codes are retailmenot.com and couponcabin.com .  Both offer codes for hundreds of sites.

Frequently you can find codes for 20-30% off, free shipping, or free shipping upgrades.  On an average purchase, you may save as much as $10 - $15.  In this economy...every penny counts!

Remember to check for those coupon codes every time you shop online.  You'll be happy with how much you save!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stepping Forward

Last night, I had one of those nights.  I had to stop at the store to get something I forgot on the regular trip.  I got home, fed the dogs, and heated up a french bread pizza for myself.

Sitting down at my desk, I picked up my pizza.  And promptly dropped it in my lap...sauce down...on my work clothes.  Yep, one of those nights.

Next, my bra tried to kill me.  Ladies, you're familiar with this crime.  It's the one where that damned wire comes right on out and stabs you.  Sigh...

I decided I had just about enough fun for one night so I was going to take it easy and just watch some television.  Did you know that watching "Stalker" is probably not the wisest choice when you are home alone...in the dark?

The weird thing is, my day went just fine.  It wasn't until I was out of the office that it started to go downhill.  You would think it would be just the opposite...or maybe I am the one who is opposite!

Today is Thursday, tomorrow Friday.  It is almost the weekend...I can do this!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Two Words

Monday, I had my entire day turn around due to a simple text with only two words.  That got me thinking...how powerful can just two words be?

How about:

Love you!

Miss you!

Call me!

Come over!

Been there...

Done that!

Heading out!

Finally home!

My love

My son

My daughter

My grandkids

Look at all the power and emotion that can be expressed in just two words.  Reach out today...use just two words...and brighten someone's day.

Oh...and the two word text that turned my Monday around?  It was "Shoe size?"!!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Old School

This past weekend, I went old school.

Sunday, I took a little time away from "have to" and "need to" and headed for the bookstore.  I wanted to re-read some classics and I felt a compulsion to read them in print form.  Now I do have all of these books on my e-reader, but I just had the desire to hold them in my hands.

I also went extremely girly old school.  What did I come home with?  Emma, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Rebecca.  Those were my first introduction to "romance" books as a child (well, except for Lady Chatterley!!) and I just wanted to revisit them.

These books are classics for a reason.  The writing is superb, the storytelling incredible.  I look forward to re-exploring them.

How do you go old school?

Love,
Jerri

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pink

Last week I did a post about a real man was in relation to domestic violence.  Saturday, I observed shining examples of what a real man is...in pink.

Saturday, I participated in the Making Strides against Breast Cancer.  Although women outnumbered the men about 7 to 1...the men were definitely there!

The men were wearing pink shirts, pink boas, pink wigs, pink tutus, and pink hats.  They were wearing pink with pride in support of the women they love.  It takes a real man to get up early on a Saturday morning and don his pink tutu.

There is no doubt in my mind.  Real men wear the strongest color.  Real men wear pink.

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gag Gift

Every holiday season, there always seems to be that one party or office get together where you need a gag gift.  This one comes right out of your kitchen!

Materials:

Pint size canning jar
Dry beans (whatever kind you have or that are on sale)
Ribbon
Card stock for tag

Directions:

Fill the jar with beans.  Cut an appropriate length of ribbon to go around the jar and tie on the tag.  On your tag, you will need to handwrite or print the following:

Instant Bubble Bath
1.  Ingest contents of jar.
2.  Wait at least one hour.
3.  Take bath.

Enjoy the laughs!

Love,
Jerri

Friday, October 17, 2014

Frugal Household Hack

Today's Frugal Friday is an easy household hack.

We all have the standard floor sweeper.  You know the one...that uses the disposable cloths.


If you're anything like me...it seems like those cloths are the one thing that never makes it on the list for the grocery store!  Here's an easy and CHEAP solution to never having to buy those things again!



Yep...fuzzy socks.  You can get a pair for only a dollar.  And I mean a dollar...as in I bought a pair at Dollar Tree.

Slip one of the socks over your sweeper.  If you wish, you can dampen the cloth slightly to pick up dust even better.  Use your sweeper as normal and just throw the sock in the laundry when you're done.  With a pair of socks, you'll always have the other to use!

No more buying (or in my case, forgetting) those disposable cloths.  For just a dollar, you have an effective tool that also keeps those cloths out of the landfill!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Memoriam

This Saturday, I will participate in the American Cancer Society's Strides Against Breast Cancer.  I do so in honor of my late best friend, Judy.

Breast cancer touches one in every eight women.  I was one of the lucky ones who was caught extremely early.  My Judy was not.  

I will get up early Saturday morning, put on my pink and my sneakers and I will walk.  I will walk for those we have lost, those who survive, and for our daughters, that they may never have to fear this killer.

For that one in eight, for my granddaughters, for me, and above all, for my Judy.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Real Woman

Yesterday, I gave a list of what I believed does and does not make up a "real man."  Today, I would like to share the story of a "real woman."  I am proud to say I know this woman.

Last week, my co-worker left for lunch.  As she waited in her truck for her lunch companion, she witnessed a boyfriend yelling at his girlfriend as they both pushed small children in strollers.  To her shock, she then witnessed him slap her.

I personally don't recommend her next action though to be honest, I would do the very same thing.  She jumped out of her truck and confronted the abuser.  She told him she had seen what he had done and was calling the police.  The girlfriend begged her not to trying to convince her it was no big deal.  My friend did the right thing and called the police.

When they arrived, she gave her statement.  The police then went to find the couple who had proceeded down the street.  Luckily, we live in a state where the cooperation of the victim is not needed to file domestic violence charges.  Hopefully, this will be the wake-up call that this girlfriend needs.

I am so incredibly proud of my friend.  She is a true example of a "real woman."

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Real Men

One thing that was brought up over and over again in the discussions regarding domestic violence was the subject of "real men."  I happen to have a few thoughts on the matter!

1.  Real men do not curse at women.

2.  Real men do not call women vulgar names.

3.  Real men do not raise their hand to women even if only to threaten.

4.  Real men do not lay their hands on women in anger...EVER.

5.  Real men do not denigrate another man's woman.

6.  Real men do not disrespect their mothers, ex-wives, or complete strangers.

7.  Real men treat women with respect.

8.  Real men protect the women they love.

9.  Real men defend those women they see being abused.

10.Real men do not support men who abuse.

I am sure there are more that other women can add to this list but I think it pretty much covers the basics.  As women, and especially as mothers, we have a responsibility to settle for no less than a real man and to raise our sons to be the same.

Love,
Jerri

Monday, October 13, 2014

Open Floodgates

A couple of weeks ago, I dedicated the entire week of blog posts to domestic violence.  I was among a large number of bloggers with the same focus as it was also leading the national news.

Little did I know how it would open the floodgates.  I have heard from so many women who are living with physical, emotional, and verbal abuse as well as those living with infidelity.  

It broke my heart to know so many women are living in such situations.  I have felt so helpless, feeling that the small bits of advice I could give were completely inadequate.  At best, I simply provide an example of someone who has survived and is beginning to thrive.

Then the light bulb went off.  These women weren't asking me for a quick fix.  More than anything, they just wanted to talk to someone who had been there and knew what they were feeling.  They needed to share with someone that didn't need an explanation of the fear.  I don't need that explanation...I know it intimately.

For any other women out there who haven't talked...find someone like me.  We are out there by the thousands.  We care, we love you, and we listen.

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Edible Gift!

Keeping the focus on preparing for Christmas, here's an edible gift sure to be a hit!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chili powder
6 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 Tbsp garlic powder
5 tsp salt
4 tsp dried oregano
4 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground coriander

Directions:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Yield is two cups.  Package in a canning jar and decorate.  Mix will store for up to a year and consists of eight (8) servings.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frugal Christmas?

In this age of electronic everything, is it possible to have a frugal Christmas?  What if you made the commitment to go electronic free for the holiday?

One way to go about it is the Four Gifts.  It is a simple concept, and it makes gift buying a breeze!

The Four Gifts

1.  Something you want

2.  Something you need

3.  Something to wear

4.  Something to read

Take a moment and think how you can apply the Four Gifts to the people you do major buying for at Christmas.  I will bet it probably won't take that long for you to complete the list for each person!

This is just one way to make it a frugal Christmas.  Any ideas?

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Treading Water

Have you ever noticed Thursday is the longest day ever?  Think about it.  You are already exhausted from working all week.  It still isn't Friday.  Really...can this day be longer?

I have tried and tried to think of ways to make Thursdays better.  I use a fancier mug to drink my coffee in the hopes of starting my morning on a brighter note.  I try to pack an extra treat in my lunch.
I have even gone so far as to start weekend chores on Thursday in the effort to trick myself into believing it will give me extra time on the weekends.  I'll let you in on a little secret...it doesn't work.  Somehow the chores multiply and my time doesn't.

What are your tricks for getting through the long days?  Please, share!!  I'm desperate!!

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Losing Balance

My latest endeavor has been an attempt to find more balance in my life between what needs to be done and including joy.  As this post is obviously about 18 hours late...you can tell it is not going that well this week!

Usually I have all my blog posts for the week done by Sunday afternoon.  Because of events beyond my control, I was unable to accomplish that goal this weekend.  From there, it just snowballed!

It seems my shortcomings are multiplying this week.  At least that is my perception!  It appears that I am falling further and further behind.  I think I will just blame it on the full moon!

It's late, the post is overdue, and I still have miles to go!  Sleep well, my darlings!

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Urge to Nest

As the weather cools, my urge to nest goes into overdrive.

The fall brings out my urge to bake, get out my craft supplies, and basically become a hermit.  I don't know if it is a leftover vestige from my childhood in Wisconsin or just a basic human instinct, but there is something about the cooler temperatures that makes me into even more of a homebody than I normally am.

I have already begun my jewelry making for gifts and there is a batch of brownies planned for this week also.

A true sign of fall in my home is the whistling of the teakettle.  Yes, I'm old school...I still heat my water for tea in a vintage Paul Revere teakettle.  There is something about the ritual of making my tea that is comforting and homey.

What makes it feel like fall for you?  Do you also have a tendency to nest?  Please share!

Love,
Jerri

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Fall Day

It finally got cooler down here in the South!  It was a beautiful day yesterday with wonderful breeze, clear skies, and gorgeous water.

I took full advantage of the fall weather.  I stayed away from my usual soda yesterday and honored the fall weather with a huge mug of peppermint tea with honey.  Instead of my usual 90 mph day, I slowed down and enjoyed cuddling up with a good book.

I capped off the day with a pot of chili.  I hadn't had any in months...I have to say, it was delicious!!  And of course, that bowl of chili was accompanied by watching the latest Transformers movie with my son.

All in all...a perfect fall day!  How are you celebrating the cooler weather?

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's That Time!


When I posted earlier in the week that I was going to start my handmade gifts this month...I meant it!
Here is an easy, quick gift that women love!

Lemon Lip Scrub

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (I prefer that from Crete)
4 Tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Scoop into a small mason jar and decorate the lid for the appropriate holiday.  Attach a gift card around the neck of the jar.

Enjoy!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

All About the Box


One of the newest beauty trends is "the box".  Birchbox, Julep, and a multitude of other companies are offering subscription services where you receive a box every month containing samples of various beauty products.  Most of these services, to be quite honest, are out of my price range.  However, Walmart has also started a beauty box service that is more in my budget.

The Walmart Beauty Box comes four times a year.  You don't actually pay for the box, but there is a flat rate shipping fee of $5.00 per box.  That's a whopping $20 for the whole year!!  I've already received my first box.  Check it out...you'll see I received well in excess of what I paid for shipping!






Okay...first, let's just ignore the fact that I haven't set the date on my camera.  Moving on...

The box did contain a couple of samples...you'll see there was a sample of Juicy perfume and a sample of Clear shampoo/conditioner.  Those, however, were the only sample sizes in the box.  The Secret deodorant, Olay moisturizer, CoverGirl lipstick and L'oreal Revitalift were all full size products.  Just the Secret deodorant alone more than makes up for the $5.00 shipping fee!  

This is the box as pictured on the Walmart Beauty Box website:
Obviously...I did not receive exactly what was pictured in the box.  However, I am more than happy with what I did receive and have absolutely no complaints!

If you want to try an inexpensive beauty box that offers great value, head over to the Walmart Beauty Box at https://beautybox.walmart.com/  

Love, 
Jerri


Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Beautiful Women

I am extremely blessed with those who love me.  Recently, Tiny Prints offered a free personalized coffee mug for just the price of shipping.  I took advantage of the offer and I now have a way to keep the beautiful women in my life with me all day.





 Here in my hands, first thing every morning, are some of the most beautiful, talented, loving, caring, and compassionate women in the world.  My life is incredibly richer because they are in it.  My youngest son is also on the mug as he has been by my side through some wonderful and some terrible times and I rely so much on his support and love.

Keep an eye out on sites such as Tiny Prints, Shutterfly, and others for deals such as this.  It is a beautiful way to start your day with a cup of joy.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October?!?!?!?

It's the first of October!  How did this happen?  Where did the rest of the year go?

October means it is time to prepare for the holidays.  First is Halloween.  Depending on your scale of celebration, this may just mean picking up some candy or it might entail a full week of decorating the yard and entry to delight the trick-or-treaters.

November...the month of planning.  First, you plan for Thanksgiving.  What will you prepare, how many are coming, what decorating will you do?  Don't forget the two to three days of chopping, prepping, baking, and cooking.  Then there is the cleanup of the aftermath.  Of course, we can't forget the official start of Christmas madness!

December...I'm already stressed!  The shopping, the wrapping, the hiding, the crafts, the food, the BUDGET!!  How do we women survive this madness year after year?  Better question...why do we do this to ourselves???

It's the first of October.  I hereby vow to begin making my handmade gifts right now!  Halloween will be a minimum of decoration with tons of candy.  Thanksgiving will be delicious...but we won't be eating it for two weeks!  The rest of the year...well, I'll probably fly by the seat of my pants as always!

What are you looking forward to as we finish out 2014?  How do you stay sane?

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Too Many Critics

The other day on Facebook, my attention was caught by a meme.  All of our news feeds are cluttered with them, but this one jumped off the screen.

"Be an encourager.  The world has plenty of critics already".

Go back and read that again.  Think about the last few days.  Did you encourage someone?  Or did you complain or criticize?

We are all guilty of excess criticism.  With women, it has become a national sport.  We pick apart anyone who lives in a different way from us.  It doesn't even have to be a large difference.  I have witnessed women denigrating another based solely on the year of the make of her car.  Really???

How many times have you seen slideshows of "Walmart People" on social media?  Why would anyone think it was acceptable to not only take someone's photo while they are shopping, but to hold them up to ridicule on an international stage?

Then we have the foodies.  Whether through ignorance of those who live in food deserts or just plain meanness, I have frequently seen criticism of individuals based solely on their dinner choice.  Who are we to judge anyone by such a standard?

The world needs more encouragers.  Smile at the woman you pass in Walmart.  Compliment the janitor on a job well done.  As you pass the security guard, wish him a pleasant evening.

These are not impossible tasks.  All they require is a split second of thought before the mouth is opened or the enter key is pressed.  Give it a try -- be an encourager.

Love,
Jerri

Monday, September 29, 2014

Why I Walked

This past weekend I participated in the American Heart Association 5k.  I was asked why and here is my reply.

I live in this community.  I work here.  I play here.  One of the responsibilities of being part of a community is that you also participate in that community.  My chosen method of participation is charity walks.

Why charity walks?  I have a few reasons.  One, it raises money for that specific cause.  The most popular are heart, diabetes, leukemia, and breast cancer.  Two, my ancient fat butt needs the exercise!  Living in the South, however, the walks are limited to the colder months of the year.  Third, the walks enable me to spend time with my friends.  We chat as we walk and get to spend a quality hour together.

This type of opportunity and thousands more are available in your community also.  Volunteer at a local school or library.  Walk the dogs at the shelter.  Deliver meals to the elderly.  There are too many to list.

Our communities only become better when the residents participate.  What can you do to better your home?

Love,
Jerri

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Offline

Jerri's Empty Nest is offline today.  I will be spending my Saturday morning walking the American Heart Association 5k.

It is my hope that the money our team has raised will bring joy to those suffering from heart disease.  This is how I choose to find my joy this day.

Love,
Jerri

Friday, September 26, 2014

Free Friday

To go along with your weekend assignment, this Friday I challenge you to find your joyful moments this weekend without spending a dime.

Yep...not one single penny!

Look around.  You already have books you haven't read.  Sitting outside is free.  You probably already have your favorite coffee/tea bought...you just haven't taken the time to sit and enjoy the brewing process and drinking it at leisure.

Taking a walk doesn't cost a thing.  Listening to the birds sing is free too!  There are millions of ways to find joy in this world without spending any money at all.

Let me know next week how you did!  I can't wait to hear what joy you experienced...for free!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Weekend Assignment

I have an assignment for you this weekend.  I want all of you to take time this weekend to find the simple joys in your life.  Put off the grocery store for an hour.  Take your favorite book, a cup of tea, and head outside to your special spot.

Take just a few minutes and be still.  Not too long, the purpose isn't to take a nap!!  Just a few minutes to breathe and gather in the beauty that surrounds you...it will do you wonders.

Cuddle up with your dog.  Spend a few minutes throwing the ball and enjoying their joy.

Snuggle up with your cat.  Feel those purrs deep down.  Reward them with a bit of catnip.

Take just a few minutes this weekend to experience joy.  I wish you a peaceful, joyful weekend.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Simple Joys

This past weekend, the weather was beautiful and I spent a good bit of time outside in my backyard.  While I was enjoying the somewhat cooler temperatures, I stilled myself and observed my surroundings.

My backyard is lush and green.  Because of that, we have an abundance of wildlife that visits.  Saturday, I noticed that my yard was full of butterflies and honeybees.  What a beautiful sight!  Watching the honeybees visit the jasmine and the butterflies coming in and out of the yard filled my soul and brought me simple joy.

On Sunday, the backyard visits were filled more with chores, but when I stopped to rest, I noticed a multitude of brightly colored dragonflies all over the yard.  Their jewel tones flashed in the sunlight, and I reveled in the beauty.

Each morning as I drive to work, my route takes me right along the beach.  Whether sunny or gray, it is a beautiful vista and the perfect way to begin my day.

Look around you.  There is beauty everywhere.  Still yourself for just a few minutes and actually see it.  Let it fill your soul with joy.  That joy brings peace and contentment.  Those are incredible benefits from such tiny things as bees and butterflies.

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mabon

Wishing all of my Wiccan, Druid, and Pagan friends and readers a Blessed Mabon.



Love,
Jerri

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dirty Little Secrets

Not the kind you're thinking of!!  It's Monday...way too early in the week for that!  These are the little quirks each of us has that other people don't know.

We all have funny little habits that we never actually publicize.  Most of them are no big deal, we just never think to share them.  I'll go first and share some of mine...but y'all had better follow my lead!!

1.  I love Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries...straight out of the box, dry, no milk whatsoever.

2.  I'm using a vape to quit smoking.  Truth...I actually use it in addition to smoking!

3.  My language in traffic would make a sailor blush.

4.  I'm addicted to barware.  I have enough (along with the alcohol) to throw a major party every weekend.  Truth...I only have one or two drinks...a month.

5.  My alarm clock numbers have to be lit in red.  If there is a blue light on in my bedroom, it will wake me up.

6.  I despise ceiling fans.  If I didn't live in the deep South...I would rip every single one out and replace them with chandeliers!

Okay...I've gotten the list started.  Time to 'fess up!  What are some of YOUR dirty little secrets?

Love,
Jerri

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today

Today is International Day of Peace.  Please take a moment and pray to your higher power for peace in this world.



Love,
Jerri

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Recipe to Heal a Broken Spirit

Ingredients:

Family
Friends
Faith

Directions:

Mix all ingredients well with large dollops of love, hugs, and emotional support.  Add time spent together and a healthy dose of self-love.  Blend in belief in a better life, peace, and joy.  Continue repeating above steps until happiness is achieved.

All my love,

Jerri

Friday, September 19, 2014

Donating

Over the past couple of years, I have taught you various means and methods for obtaining free shampoo, deodorant, etc.  As we have been talking this week about domestic violence, now is the time to put those skills to good use.

Gather up your samples.  If you are like me, you have piles of them.  Sort out any hygienic supplies, anything for children, vitamins, and even makeup samples.

Find the donation point for your local women's shelter.  It more than likely won't be located at the shelter as those locations remain hidden for safety.  Bag or box up your samples and donate them to the women's shelter in your area.

A majority of these women and children flee with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.  They are in need of the most basic of supplies.  Any donation is appreciated and will be used.  If possible, also sort through your children's old toys and books.  Give a child in a shelter something they can call their very own.

You don't have to be rich to help.  Even the least among us have aid to offer a women in need.

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not Always on the Outside

Domestic abuse is not always visible.  Verbal and emotional abuse does not leave bruises and scars that can be seen.  Those bruises and scars are still there.

There is a far greater incidence of verbal and emotional abuse opposed to physical abuse.  The punches make a better news story.  Unless witnessed by others, verbal and/or emotional abuse is often ignored by society.  The opinion seems to be that if a woman was emotionally or mentally stronger, this wouldn't happen to her.

Any woman who has survived this type of abuse will attest that strength of any sort has nothing to do with it.  Even the strongest among us will break under constant derision, name-calling, and hate.  Even the strongest spirit will bend under unceasing winds of anger.

Only removing yourself from such a situation allows you to rebuild your strength.  The love of family and friends rebuilds the spirit and you eventually rediscover you.  That is an incredible feeling of peace and joy.  Getting there does require forgiveness...not for the benefit of the offender, but for your own peace.  However, forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness.  It is still up to you to guard your heart and your spirit to prevent any recurrence.  Again, with love and support, you can do just that.

Remember, not all abuse is on the outside.  If you see a woman being degraded, yelled at, or called names...step up and say something.  She may not be ready to hear it; but when she is, she will remember your love and support.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#WhyIStayed

The latest trending hashtag, #WhyIStayed, is an effort by formerly abused women to end the victim blaming that often follows a highly publicized incident of domestic violence.  There are as many different reasons for staying as there are domestic violence survivors.

#WhyIStayed

1.  I thought I could love him through it.  I thought my love was strong enough to fix it.

2.  I stayed because of the kids.  I didn't want them to be without their father.

3.  I couldn't afford to leave.  He controlled all the money.

4.  I had nowhere to go.  He had alienated all of my friends and family.

5.  I believed if he just quit drinking/gambling/drugs; it would be better.

6.  He promised it would never happen again.

7.  What if it really is my fault?

8.  If I leave, I'll lose my insurance for me and/or the kids.

9.  The house and cars are all in his name...I'll have nothing.

10. What if no one wants/loves me ever again?

When you are in a domestic violence situation, any of the above reasons and a million more are as valid as the perception.  They cause paralyzing fear.  It is nearly impossible to see the light, peace, and joy that may be waiting.  That is why women stay.  Some are never able to leave.  Some die before they can.  If you need to leave, reach out.  There are people and resources to help you.

Love,
Jerri

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Red Flags

There is a wonderful organization known as the Battered Womens Foundation.  You can find them on Facebook here .  They are currently posting "Red Flags" which every woman needs to read and think about.  If only one seems it might fit, you may be okay.  If you are finding multiple flags that depict your life, it is time to take action.  Here are just a few:

RED FLAGS:
Makes vulgar comments about or others.

Does he make inappropriate racial remarks?  Does he engage in gay-bashing or woman-bashing?  These are danger signs of a deep-seated hate and anger.

RED FLAGS:
Lies to you, doesn't show up for dates,or even disappears for days.


Are the lies constant?  Does he justify them by saying he didn't want to have to listen to you complain?  It is not your fault he did not tell the truth.  Ever.

RED FLAGS:
Won't listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings; things always have to be done their way.


Does he belittle your amount of education, your intelligence, or that your gender invalidates your opinion?
Regardless of any of those factors, your opinion, thoughts, and feelings have value.

RED FLAGS:
Is always angry at someone or something.


It can be politics, his mother, his family, his ex, you, the weather, or just life in general.  The anger is always there, seething just beneath the surface...but it is never his fault, his actions, or his responsibility.  He will never be remorseful or accountable...it is always your problem, you are too sensitve, or he is just misunderstood.  Wrong.  It is what it is...and it is NOT your fault.

These are just a few of the Red Flags listed on the page.  Do more than a few look familiar?  Ask for help...NOW.  Your friends, family, and helplines are ready and waiting with open arms to get you safe.


Love,

Jerri

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