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.


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?


Saturday, September 27, 2014


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.


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!


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.


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.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


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


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?


Sunday, September 21, 2014


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


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Recipe to Heal a Broken Spirit




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,


Friday, September 19, 2014


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.


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.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


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.


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.


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:

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.

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.

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.

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.



Monday, September 15, 2014

A Needed Repeat

With the recent dominance of the news by domestic violence, I thought it an appropriate time to repeat a post I wrote back on January 16th of this year.  When I wrote the post, the friend it was written for was not ready to listen.  She's ready now.  At the same time, I have to confess that I was also in an abusive situation and I was in total denial.  I'm not in denial anymore.  Here is the post:

How to even begin this post.  This subject cuts so deep and so personally that I'm almost at a loss for the words to express how I feel.

What do you do when a friend has made the conscious and willing decision to stay with her abuser?  Do you remain silent?  Doesn't that actually enable the abuser?  I choose not to remain silent.

I will not listen to the justifications and the excuses.  I will throw the bullshit flag every time I hear one.  There is no justification for verbal, physical, or emotional abuse.  There is no excuse.

"But he's changing...it's getting better".  No...he's not and it's not.  It's called a honeymoon phase and that is exactly what it is...a phase.  Phases end and eventually he will get angry again.  Everything will come crashing down and he will make it all your fault.

"He's helping me correct my behavior so I'm a better person."  No...he's not.  He is controlling you.  He is not your priest or pastor.  He is not your teacher or principal.  He is not your supervisor or employer.  He is not your daddy or your father.  It is not his place to "correct" your behavior.  You are a beautiful, smart, talented woman.  If YOU see something in your life that YOU want to change, that is completely up to YOU.

Where do I get off saying all this?  What gives me the right?

1.  I'm your friend.  We've been friends for a long time.  Being your friend means all of it.  Not just when we're out having a drink, going shopping, or chatting on the phone.  It means all the time and all the messes.

2.  I love you.  Unconditionally.  That doesn't mean you get an automatic pass.  It means I will tell you how I feel because I love you.  I know what an incredible woman you are.

3.  Been there, done that.  I have a two inch scar on my face that reminds me daily about the incredibly hard lesson I learned.  I would do anything to save you from facing that same lesson in the mirror.  The scar, that any time I hear a couple arguing, I find my hand unconsciously moving to trace.

This past year, I lost a friend to a domestic violence murder.  I am not willing to lose another when there is something I can do; even if it is just saying how I feel.

I will not be silent.  I will not lose you too.

With all my love,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mini Monsters

We can't finish out "Scary as Hell" week without a monster of a recipe!!

Mini Monster Spiders


1 package instant chocolate pudding with required milk
6 mini graham cracker tart crusts
1/2 cup crushed Oreos
Shoestring licorice (cut into 4 inch pieces) (red or black)
Red M&M's for eyes


Mix the pudding according to the box directions.  Divide evenly into the six crusts and sprinkle the Oreo crumbs over the top.  Insert eight pieces of the licorice into each and space to form the legs.  You will want to curve the pieces so they look right!  Place two M&M's on each tart for eyes.  Place in the refrigerator until set.

Enjoy your monster spiders!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Some Don'ts for Frugal Friday

I have to admit...it was pretty tough to come up with a Frugal Friday post and stay with this week's "Scary as Hell" theme.  After pondering it for quite a while...this is what I've got:

There is a huge trend on Facebook right now for local garage sale and for sale pages.  While this allows people to sell their excess stuff, raise bill money, or dispose of those bridesmaid dresses, there are some things to avoid to make sure your experience doesn't become scary as hell.

1.  Don't accept anything except cash for your goods.  I don't care what kind of sob story someone comes up with...no payment plans, no checks, and no credit cards!!

2.  Don't meet anywhere other than a public place!  A mall parking lot (they have security and cameras) or a fast food restaurant will work just fine.

3.  Don't be alone at home if the item is so big it must be picked up.  If you are a woman, grab your husband, boyfriend, or guy friend to hang out with you so you are not alone.  It sounds sexist but it is truly just common sense.

4.  Don't represent your items as something they are not.  The people on these pages are ruthless when it comes to outing someone for selling inferior or broken goods.

5.  Don't make a promise to pick something up and not show.  Again, you will be called out publicly and it may result in your banishment from the page.

Follow these few helpful tips and it should deter your experience from becoming "scary as hell"!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What If?

This week, keeping with "scary as hell", I have decided that today is "What If" Wednesday.  I'll pose the questions.  Answer them privately (or publicly if you're brave) and add your own "What If" to the list.

1.  What if I am alone?

2.  What if he/she doesn't love me as much as I love him/her?

3.  What if my child gets in trouble?

4.  What if my car finally gives out?

5.  What if I lose my job?

6.  What if I lose my home?

7.  What if my friends aren't there for me?

8.  What if I can't make the bills?

9.  What if the darkness I feel is overwhelming?

10. What if the pain is still there?

These aren't easy "what ifs."  As a matter of fact, they are scary as hell.  But every single one of them has a worst case scenario that can be overcome, lived through, and emerged from into a new life.

Look at your answers.  Did you imagine the worst case scenario for each?  Review them, and think about what you need, would, should, or could do to get out of that scenario.  Those are your true answers to the questions.

Scary as hell?  You bet!!  Life-altering?  Often.  Will you make it through?  I have no doubt.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Today's Challenge

Following along with yesterday's "scary as hell" theme; today I face a new challenge.

I graduated with my associate's degree in May.  Today I return to my classroom to speak!  Yep...right back to scary as hell!

It's not that I don't know my topic...I do.  It's not that I don't know what to say...I do.  It goes right back to that fear of the unknown.

What if I'm asked something I can't answer?  Well, duh...say so and get the answer to them later.  What if I stutter, stumble over my words, or hell, just plain trip?  I'll get up, brush myself off, and keep right on going!

I know down deep that I can do this.  Even though it is scary as hell...forward I go!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Scary as Hell

Starting over is scary...scary as hell.

I received a phone call from a dear friend.  She is in a situation that she knows she needs to leave; but fear has her frozen.  I've been there.  I stayed in an unhealthy realtionship way past when I should have ran for the hills.  Fear is not only a powerful motivator; it's also a formidable wall.

When I spoke with her, I reminded her that it could be done, that I was in the process of doing just that, and yes...it is scary as hell.  The unknown is a place of unknown dangers but it is also a place of yet to be discovered joys.

Taking that leap is scary as hell.  What is courage?  Being afraid and doing it anyways.  You can always imagine a million reasons why the status quo is the safest route.  Those same million reasons are also the same as to why you should go.  And yes...it's scary as hell.

I tempered my advice with the disclaimer that it was coming from a bonehead (me) who had made some hideously horrible choices.  I survived intact and the peace I now enjoy is greater than any fear.  I won't lie, the fear still pops up its ugly head now and again but moving forward is the cure.  It is scary as hell.

Take the leap.  I promise you will grow wings on the way down.  And yes...it is scary as hell.  It can be done.


Sunday, September 7, 2014


To all my fellow grandparents...have a wonderful day!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

From The Gulf Coast

Since I have been living on the Gulf Coast, I have become a huge fan of seafood for breakfast!  Here is an easy and delicious meal:

Crabmeat Quiche


3 eggs, beaten
1 8 oz. carton of sour cream
8 oz. crabmeat (Use fresh...but if you don't live in Paradise...canned will do!)
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust


Combine beaten eggs and sour cream in a medium sized bowl.  Blend in crabmeat and cheese.  Add garlic salt and pepper if desired. (I do!)  Pour into the pie crust.  Bake at 350 degreese for 35 minutes.  Garnish with salsa or chives as desired.


Friday, September 5, 2014


The Moneymakers page on the blog has been updated!  One that proved more hassle than profit has been deleted.

Another that has again become active has been updated with a new referral link!  See the Superpoints entry.

Remember,  these moneymakers do not replace your 9-5 income!!  They are simply an easy, stress-free way to make a little extra pocket money.

Christmas is coming!!  A few Amazon gift cards will definitely come in handy!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Tidbits

Just a few notes for today!

There has been a new page added to the blog outlining the review policy for books and products.  If you are an author or other...please take a few minutes to check it out!

The Comments policy has also been updated with a few needed additions.

I'm a bit new at adding these extra pages so if you have suggestions for me...please let me know!!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Full Heart Wahoo Wednesday

Last week I did my Wahoo Wednesday about the women in my life.  This week I want to honor a very special man.

I say man, but I have to admit that a lot of the time I still think of him as my little boy.  My son has grown into an incredible man.

When I graduated a few months ago, my son flew in for the graduation ceremony.  Not liking what he saw about my living situation, he returned to Texas, packed up his belongings, and moved here to take care of me.  I didn't know that at the time...I thought he just moved here to be closer to me.  It wasn't until months later that he told me that he knew he needed to protect me.

And protect me he has.  He watches over me like a hawk, making sure that my safety and happiness are paramount.  There is no woman in the world who has a better, more loving son.  He is a gentleman and a gentle soul.

From checking each day to make sure I've eaten (I have a tendency to forget) to making sure that I am safe and secure, he exemplifies the very definition of a good son.

I am incredibly blessed.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Full Speed Ahead!

My life has done a complete 180 lately.  I am busy, happy, and on the go all the time!

Every morning, I drive along the beach to get to work.  Even on rainy days, there is a pure beauty to the beach and water.  It comforts my soul and I am in fabulous mood when I get to work!

I have a job I love.  I am constantly learning new things and as a paralegal, the field of law absolutely fascinates me.  I can't think of a better way to spend my days then doing something that engages my brain and which I adore.

When I get home, I'm greeted at the door by two excited dogs, spinning in circles with joy.  They eat, and we head out into the yard for them to play, wrestle, and chase tennis balls.  Such a huge change from just a few months ago when my Aussie would hide under my desk the entire day.  She is such a happy dog now!

Once I get them exhausted enough to settle down, it's my time for chores, writing, and doing my online moneymakers.  And before I even blink, it's time to head to bed!!

Somewhere in all this, I fit in time for classes, workshops, association meetings, dating, and the too rare phone calls to friends (which I'm trying to do better at!).  I am incredibly blessed to have the life I do and I am well aware of how it could have been so different.

Take a look around your life.  Are there things you would change if you could?  Do you believe you can't?  I'm a living testament to the fact that it is never too late.  Don't stay in a situation where you are in danger or unhappy because you think there is no alternative.  I'm not promising an easy go of it...it's not.  But it is absolutely worth the peace.  You can do this.



Jerri's Empty Nest