Moments of Joy: September 2015

A big surprise party was the topic for last month’s happy moment.  This month I’d love to share a comical moment to elicit a laugh and brighten your day.

photo collage of people laughing

A sweet young friend of mine often has the same “problem” that I did as a child:  frequent bouts of the hiccups.  I don’t remember my hiccups sounding as varied and unusual as hers though.  When she starts, everyone in the room often ends up laughing at the sounds she makes.  I used to chide her for making strange sounds on purpose, but over time I’ve come to realize these are genuine hiccups for her.

One sunny day at my house, she gets a loud string of hiccups going while I am working on my laptop in the same room.  I stealthily use the recorder on my computer to capture the hilarious sounds, knowing that some day it will come in useful, even if only to give myself a good laugh.

After experiencing another giggle-fest with her recently, I’ve decided it’s time to share these funny sounds with the world!  There are even more bizarre sounds than the ones on this video that have come out of this girl in my presence.  I wish I could have captured her craziest hiccups!  Sometimes it sounds like she’s speaking in another language.  It’s just too funny to me!

Have you ever heard anyone who hiccups like this?


Quick tip:  My daughter has a hiccup cure that has worked effectively for her since she was tiny.  She puts a drink of water in her mouth, lies on her back on the bed or couch with her head hanging upside-down over the edge, swallows the water, and rests there for a second or two.  When she sits up, her hiccups are gone nearly every time!

Her daddy helped her devise this trick by using her sippy cup when she was a toddler.  I’ve tried that cure myself, but all I ever do is choke on the water! Lol  Thankfully, I rarely ever get hiccups anymore.

Do you have a trick that works to cure your hiccups?


Links to Joy: Health

What a tremendous blessing it is to have good health, to have the energy and ability to go about daily tasks and enjoy simple pleasures!

Without good health, a person’s quality of life can quickly go down the tubes.  Since this is so true, why do so many so often take their health for granted by refusing to nurture and care for their bodies or by ignoring health problems until they grow out of control?

 I am so happy and thankful to have the level of health that I have, aren’t you?  Even if your health is quite poor, things could always be worse.  If you don’t agree because you think your health problems are overwhelming, please set aside some time to watch the following documentary which made a huge impression on me and my family.  It put things in a new perspective for us.  Even if your health problems are as cumbersome as the poor man in the video, at least you’ll know you’re not alone:

~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~

And now, I’d like to take you on a health journey with me.  I will be adding to this post from time to time with updates on my progress.  I hope that sharing this will be an encouragement to others and a catalyst for them to begin, or continue on, their own journeys toward improved health.

~~~ Early September 2015 ~~~

[hypothyroidism, food obsession, self-control]

Do you ever feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?  It sounds trite, but for me it has been true for far too long.  

And I’m doing it to myself!

That sounds dumb, doesn’t it?  But it’s a cold-hard fact.


Here’s my story:

I’ve had thyroid-related health problems since my late teens which are directly affected by my weight and fitness level (which is how it goes with a great assortment of health problems).  When I eat healthy, keep my weight in a certain range, and especially when I exercise regularly, I feel pretty great.

A year-and-a-half ago I was on the top of my game, fit and (somewhat) energetic and just a couple of pounds from my weight goal.  A family crisis or three later, my routine flew out the window.

Bring me a tissue!  Boo hoo!  What am I going to do?

Bye-bye vitamins!  So long exercise program!  Healthy routines no longer exist — I’m just trying to survive here!  Half a pizza and a quart of ice cream?  Bring it on!

Yeah, I didn’t handle things so well.  At first that worked OK, as far as my weight was concerned, because when I’m upset I generally lose my appetite.  However, after communication began to flow, help was acquired, problems were worked out, and permanent lifestyle and relationship adjustments were made, my appetite returned with a vengeance.

I was back to “normal” (if there is such a thing) with the monster appetite I’ve been famous for my entire life.  My family loves to share their list of food-related stories about me:

  • childhood stories of my voluminous eating sprees (Doesn’t every young teenager enjoy a small pizza, half a bag of Doritos, and a 30 ounce milkshake for lunch?  And then wish for extra dessert to top it off?)
  • young-adulthood stories like warning my fiancee that he’d better get a good job to be able to pay his impending grocery bills and seeing the shock on my in-laws’ faces the first few times I ate at their house and out-ate everyone at the table
  • stories after the birth of our daughter, who also seemed to inherit my love of food, involving predictions that we would one day fight over food when she got older (I have to admit, there have been a few times she scooped her arm protectively around her plate and either glared or growled at me!  ha ha)

My main health-related problem as we returned to “normal” life and my appetite returned was that I was no longer reigning in that appetite.  I was not maintaining healthy routines because, in the light of all that had happened, they just didn’t seem to be important enough to exert myself over it.

Well, at this moment I’m five pounds away from the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m probably the most out-of-shape I’ve ever been, also.

This weight I’ve reached would be completely fine with me…if I felt good…which I DON’T.  Exercises that two years ago would not even get my heart rate up now leave me panting for air.  I can hardly remember things for more than a few minutes, I pause in the middle of sentences before I can finish them, I go to bed feeling like a stepped-on slug and wake up feeling the same way.  The typical thyroid standards are my constant companions these days:  being cold and foggy-headed.


Jumping back to where I started on this blog post, let me restate that I’m putting all these problems onto myself.  What an idiot I am for giving my own body and mind so little respect!

No one forces a third serving of macaroni and cheese down my throat at dinner except me!  (Cheese is such a temptation for me!  I love it so!  Oh, my family could probably tell many tales involving me and cheese.  For example, my grandmother would buy big blocks of cheddar cheese when she knew we were coming to visit.  She called me her “mouse.”)

No one ties me to the couch and orders “don’t move or else”!  I’m the only one who has caused myself to feel like that squished slug!

I need to stop taking the health I have for granted and start fostering its improvement, instead.

~~~ Mid September 2015 ~~~

[exercise methods, small goals, motivation]

Rather than having a set time for a long workout, I’ve been randomly exercising throughout the day.  Whenever I have a moment, I do 10 push-ups, a couple of (attempted) pull-ups, leg lifts, or whatever I think of at the time.  It was going great until I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. (I knew those slight popping and grinding noises couldn’t be a good thing.)

During a show I was watching recently, I heard a man say this sentence:

Every little thing you do will make a difference.

That kept ringing in my head as I realized its application to so many things in life.  Though we often want to see immediate results when we try to improve our health and fitness levels, the man’s statement certainly applies in those areas, too.  Rather than focusing on the end goal, more progress can be made by simply taking things one step at a time.

I read a great article on this topic last fall.  If you have the time, you might want to check it out.  It’s pretty short, and it makes a good point about changing your diet or any other habits you wish to adjust.

I have the power to improve my state of physical, mental, and emotional health.  It IS worth the effort, and the effort will start NOW.

I plan to quit being so lazy, drink water almost exclusively, and eat foods that are closer to the way God made them rather than the way man processed/perverted them.

~~~ September 17, 2015 ~~~

[healthy-eating plan, motivation]

I didn’t start my healthier lifestyle as planned because I was whisked away on a spur-of-the-moment vacation (during which I became sick).  So, I moved my plans back about a week and gave it a fresh start.

Now, just a few days after making a commitment to improving my health, I’m on an upward path already!  I can’t help but feel better, though, since I still had the cold when I started and didn’t feel much like eating (or doing anything else, for that matter).

A thought came into my mind as I was lying on the couch cuddling a box of tissues and trying not to cough on my family.  I wrote it on the fridge for extra motivation and even made an image of it to share with all of you!

Quote on refrigerator:

There is a larger copy of this image on the “Happy Thoughts” board of my Pinterest account.

I haven’t started exercising yet due to the facts that I’ve been out of town and sick and my shoulder is still not 100%.  It seems that all the coughing may be toning my stomach muscles, though! Lol

I have dramatically adjusted my eating since returning from the vacation where I ate like a pig with no willpower whatsoever.  The measures I’ve taken are more extreme than I would normally attempt, but I’m trying to lose the several vacation pounds I gained last week before my best friend’s wedding in October.  I’ve got to be able to wear the maid-of-honor dress that was just tailored to fit a slightly smaller me!

I wouldn’t recommend this as a long term plan, but I’m currently following a pretty restrictive diet (for me, anyway):

  • breakfast = fruit with a handful of pecans or almonds
  • lunch = a reasonable meal that includes at least one fruit or vegetable
  • dinner = two or three small, healthy snacks spread across the afternoon and early evening
  • drinks = water, water, and more water
  • extra rules = very limited cheese and sugar; don’t go crazy with the salt shaker

So far this week, I’ve kicked several pounds and a bunch of viruses out of my body.  The energy and motivation is returning!

~~~ September 24, 2015 ~~~

[weight loss, self-control, sugar, exercise & injuries]

This is day 11 of the rest of my healthier life…I’m down five pounds and finally starting to recover from this lengthy cold.  Five pounds is pretty great results to me, considering I haven’t been able to exercise yet!

This just shows me that I eat more calories than I realize on a regular basis because

  —   I   —   L-O-V-E   —   FOOD   —

but my appetite must no longer control me.  I need to grow up and control myself and make better choices, realizing the consequences to my health if I don’t.

The strange thing is, it’s easier for me to completely cut myself off from a food than to eat sensibly.  For example, in 2014 I went a year with no processed sugar: no cookies, no ice cream, no soda pop, not even ketchup (since it’s 1/4 to 1/3 sugar).  When others were eating sugary things around me, it wasn’t a big deal because I knew I it was off limits for me.

watermelon on a black paper plate with birthday candles in it

Here’s the birthday “cake” my family gave me that year — a big slice of watermelon!

When this year rolled around, and I decided to allow myself a few sweet treats now and then, it was a different story.  After having a few bites of a dessert, I’d go crazy wanting more and crave sugar madly for two or three days afterward.  I’ve given in and pigged out many times in 2015.

Hopefully today I can exercise to pick up my metabolism.  Push-ups were helping me tone up quite well, but I’m afraid to try them again after hurting my shoulder.  Maybe I should start will wall push-ups?

~~~ September 25, 2015 ~~~

[funny “Studio C” video]

For all you “health nuts” out there, I saw this video today that was just too funny not to share.  Enjoy!

~~~ October 26, 2015 ~~~

[fruit & veggie fast, Oxycise exercise program]

My will power weakened for a while, but I have found it again (along with those five pounds I had lost).

Ice cream, pizza, and doughnuts…SIGH…I will miss you!  I have decided for the sake of my health to do a fruit and vegetable “fast” for a while to get my energy levels back up and help me feel better.  I have a pot of veggie soup simmering on the stove right now with basil, dill, coriander, and lots of other goodies in it.  Mmm…it smells so delicious!

I have been keeping up with my exercises, which has toned me up physically.  It has helped me emotionally as well because of the routine I have chosen: “Oxycise.”

Have you ever heard of “Oxycise”?  It is a no-impact aerobic workout of deep-breathing and muscle flexing that is adaptable to people of any fitness levels.  I was introduced to the program years ago when a friend of mine found a VCR tape at a yard sale.  The original version I have is entertaining with all the 80s hair and funny faces. (yes, even your face will get toned!) But the theory behind it is sound, and the results are great!

I suggest you check it out at  If nothing else, grab a friend and practice learning the “basic breath” on the intro video–you’ll get an ab workout just from the belly laughs you get while watching each other!

Best wishes for you on your journey toward better health!  Now, for a steaming bowl of soup…

~~~ January 9, 2016 ~~~

[rebounding from failure and injury, frankincense shrinks tumors]

As far as diet and exercise go, I have not had the healthy start to 2016 that I had intended.  The diet fail is due to giving into stress and cravings.  The exercise fail is due to laziness and my bum shoulder.  (When I returned to doing push-ups a couple of months ago, I tore a muscle in my shoulder.  WARNING to all you 20-somethings out there: Get yourself in shape now and maintain it.  Injuries happen more easily when you get older, and you can’t sleep it off and wake up fine the next day.  Stupid little injuries can hang around for months.)

 Today, I have important information regarding a positive health change I’ve experienced due to frankincense essential oil.

bag of frankincense

photo by Liz Lawley

This will get a little too personal for my taste, but here goes…Most of my adult life, I’ve had small (pea-sized) lumps under my skin in my arms and legs.  I’ve shown them to doctors several times, the most recent being several years ago when I discovered a larger lump just below my collar bone.

I noticed the larger lump after I was elbowed very hard in that spot.  During a wellness visit, the doctor checked it and dismissed it as nothing dangerous.  He said it was probably a “common, harmless fatty tumor” like all the other little ones I have or some swelling due to my injury.

This lump slowly grew larger; and the last few months it has begun to bother me, especially when a seat belt touches it.  It began to concern me, also, since it did not “move around under the skin” when I touch it, which the doctor said is one sign of a harmless fatty tumor.  Instead, it seemed to be fastened to my ribs.  Thus, I decided to see what I could learn about tumors.

After stumbling across some videos and information about frankincense oil, I decided to try it.  I have used other essential oils with success.  (For example, thyme oil removed certain spots on my skin, while doing no harm to the healthy skin around them.  I’ve also personally seen thyme essential oil cure toenail fungus and greatly reduce snoring when a few drops were rubbed on a friend’s feet each night.)  I could find no information about negative side effects of frankincense oil, so I thought “What could it hurt?”

I’m thrilled to say that after putting a drop on my tongue about five times per day over the last six weeks, I’ve had great results.  The lump on my ribs has noticeably shrunk and now moves freely under the skin when touched.  A dime-sized lump that has been on the front of my thigh for many years also seems to be shrinking.  (All the pea-sized lumps are unchanged.)  [** See below for an update!]

Sorry, I should have written this in a shorter format to not weary you kind readers.  Here’s my point:

Using frankincense essential oil orally has shrunk a lump (possible cancerous tumor?) from the size of a half-dollar to the size of a nickel in less than two months.  If that piques your interest, I highly recommend you research the connection between frankincense and cancer.  

I’ve read that frankincense is an immune booster, as well as a potential cancer treatment.  After hearing about my progress, a friend of mine started taking one or two drops each morning.  She was suffering symptoms of a developing bladder infection and an infected tooth.  Now the symptoms are gone.

I don’t know if frankincense oil is a miracle cure for anything; I just know the great results my friends and I have experienced.  One thing I DO know…the claims about frankincense oil being able to reduce fluid retention are absolutely true.  If you decide to start taking it, hang near a bathroom for the first few days!  Lol

~~~ February 16, 2016 ~~~

[frankincense essential oil shrinks tumors and scars]

I am amazed at the effects of the frankincense essential oil.  I’m still taking a drop on my tongue every couple of hours, like I have been since mid-December.  There have still been no perceivable negative side-effects, and lately I am noticing that scars on my body are fading.  I’m talking about scars I consider to be just a part of me — ones that haven’t changed in thirty years.

For example, I first noticed this scar-fading effect on my face.  There has been a small hole on my cheek since I was seven years old.  It’s a scar from when I had a bad case of chicken pox.  (Don’t scratch those bumps, kids!  It only makes things worse!)

While looking in the mirror one morning, I saw that the very familiar hole was smaller.  I told my daughter, who laughed and said it still looked the same to her.  I, however, have stared at that scar in the mirror thousands of times, and I knew it was different.  I grabbed the camera to make a “before” shot to share with you later after the scar disappeared, as I was confident that it would.  We shall see. I also snapped photos of a few other scars for my future reference, just so I could compare the difference over time.  Hmmm…that was three weeks ago.  I think I’ll go take some update photos.  I’ll share the images later if they actually heal.


** Update on the original reason I began using frankincense essential oil:  It’s been about eight weeks, and ALL the tumors are shrinking, even the tiny ones in my arms.  The large one below my collar bone is flatter and smaller than a dime.  The larger one in my thigh is getting hard to feel.  Now, if I can consistently behave myself on my eating and give my body healthier fuel to use, the lumps might go ahead and disappear. (I’m working on that.)

~~~ February 22, 2016 ~~~

[frankincense speeds healing]

I forgot to mention last time, I have discovered one negative side-effect to taking frankincense essential oil orally several times per day:  my pierced earring holes are trying to close!  I’m having to wear earrings more often and use rubbing alcohol to keep them from getting aggravated.  It reminds me of my teenage days when I first got them pierced.

That’s not really a negative thing, though, is it?  It means my body is healing.  I can tell several old scars are definitely fading.  If they go away completely, I’ll share the before and after photos of a couple on my wrist.

~~~ April 19, 2016 ~~~

[essential oils which lower blood pressure, video of youthful vegan]

Wow, the things frankincense has done for me!  But, I’ve talked enough about that already.  One note of caution with it: frankincense essential oil taken orally several times per day lowers blood pressure.  My mother has decided to stop taking it this week due to this fact.  She was taking other essential oils for a toothache (basically what is called the “Thieves” blend = clove , lemon , cinnamon , eucalyptus , and rosemary), some of which also lower blood pressure.  Her pressure got much too low (around 105/45), and her chronic dizziness increased dramatically.

Today I watched a video with a quote that really struck a chord with me.  You may have heard a version of it before…

Hospitals are filled with people who are digging their graves with their forks, so we must put in our bodies what our bodies require.

~Annette Larkins

This healthy, happy, youthful-looking lady said for over 30 years she has eaten “fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds…in their natural raw state,” including many types of sprouts.  She also said she has drunk distilled water for 45 years, which I’ve heard is not a good thing to drink long-term (it seems to have done no harm to her).  The only other drinks she consumes are juices like fruit, wheatgrass, and noni.

Besides eating and drinking healthy foods, this lady also gets “eight miles of activity per day,” which is where I am definitely lacking these days!  She also recommends getting plenty of sleep, sunshine, and gardening, and sharing love and kindness to people around us.  Sounds like a great plan to me!

Here’s the video I watched, in case you’re curious about it:

~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~

This health journal is continued in another post.  Click here to continue reading in Part 2.  Please share any questions or comments you may have.  I’m always interested in learning about health.

A Lesson to Teach

In years past I had read this story, but I cannot remember where.  It is thought-provoking and worth the time invested to read and apply it.  Although it is a fictional story, it definitely carries a proven kernel of truth.

photo from

photo found on

For details as to the origin of the story, pop over and see what has to say about it.

Thanks, moraldiplomat, for spreading this sweet parable.



This is a long and intriguing post. Maybe you can relate somehow as I did. You’re going to like the ending! Share this with someone who you think would like it. Repost it. Whatever…just share it. It’s worth the read! “…ofthestory.”

A Lesson to Teach

Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie.

Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row,slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs.Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath.And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to…

View original post 861 more words


Pictures with Person-ality

Inspired by fellow photography enthusiasts, such as Willis J. Kier and vafann, I spent time working on taking photographs with people in them, and also playing around with photographic style, image titles and such.  I typically only capture friends and family in my photographs, if I point the camera toward humans at all.  I felt brave, daring…and sort of invasive!  Lol  I hope you enjoy the results.

person reaching for a bright orange tomato

I started small with just a side view of part of a person. These “Woodle Orange” tomatoes are pretty and delicious, if you like tomatoes, that is. (Bleh!)

a man sleeping on a park bench

This photo was quickly and nervously taken during a vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas. At first I felt like I was invading someone’s privacy; but it WAS on a PUBLIC bench, right?

man on a street corner stretching up to take a photo with his phone

I liked the effort this man was putting into capturing his perfect photo. I had one quick chance to take this image as we sped by in heavy traffic. With a little editing, it turned out to be a decent shot, I think.

families watching the sun set from the St. Louis Gateway Arch

Have you ever taken in the view from these windows? These families are watching the sun set through the windows of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. This year is the 50th anniversary of its completion.

young boy climbing on log suspended over racing river

My heart was in my throat while I watched this young boy climb down the log above the edge of a ten-foot waterfall, dangle for a while as he attempted to climb down, and finally clamber back onto the top of the log and crawl back to shore.

tour boat traveling through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

We happened to arrive at the locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in time to watch this tour boat squeeze past a barge in the lock before they were both lowered down and released to continue on their journeys.


Here’s What Was Hiding in My Parents’ Yard

If you haven’t seen my most recent photography post, click back to it before you read this one because these photos give the answers to the latest guessing game I presented with mystery macro photographs.

Macro Mysteries Solved photography logo by Merry Hearts Medicine

Did you correctly figure out the subjects of the last set of photos?  Check this list to see:

Continue reading

Homeschool Helps

As you may already know, I homeschool my daughter.  She’s in high school now–yikes!  (How is that even possible?  And, does that mean I’m getting O-L-D?  Ugh!)

What started out as a one-year venture due to unusual circumstances has become a way of life now.  I wouldn’t trade this special time with her for anything!  I have a front-row seat to watch her grow and mature into a beautiful young lady.

I’ve been reading several helpful homeschooling posts by Cristina on her lovely blog called “A Homeschool Mom.”  Her post on grammar inspired me to share some of my charts and posters that we have used over the last few years of homeschooling.  Simple charts and songs make things much easier to remember.

To see all that I’ve shared, you can take a peek at my “Homeschool” Pinterest board by clicking on the photo below:

picture saying

Not a Pinterest user?  I’ll put a few of the charts below for you to see (just click on the gallery to see the images one at a time):

Putting lessons to song is a very productive way to do homeschool lessons.  My daughter can still sing songs from her classes that we did several years ago.  Here is the first YouTube video I ever created, featuring a song I wrote for the 53 most common prepositions: (It’s to the tune of “Auld-Langsyne.”)

Homeschooling is a special experience.  It has its ups and downs, as does any worthwhile endeavor.  There are so many amazing (and FREE) resources available on the internet these days that a quality homeschool program is becoming easier and easier to create.  There are so many options now that you can find just what you need to set up classes tailored to your family’s goals and ideals.

I hope these charts, songs, and references are useful to you.  Happy homeschooling, and have a great day!


Backyard Minutiae

Macro Mysteries logo small

Are your eagle eyes feeling sharp today?  Are you up for the challenge of another photo guessing game?

In previous posts, I displayed macro shots of items in a room and subjects that were alive.  When I asked if anyone could identify the subjects of the photos, some of you were pretty good at figuring out the answers.

Since a few people seemed to enjoy the guessing game (and since any excuse to break out the camera brightens my day), I present another set of mystery macro photos for you today.  These were all taken in my parents’ yard.

So, would anyone like to identify these items?  I believe the last one could possibly stump you all!

(Sorry, the quality of some of these photos is not what I would like it to be.  My old camera is limited on the aperture settings and the number of pixels it can take.)


macro photo of the abdomen of an orb weaver spider


macro photo of the wing of a tiny white butterfly


macro photo of part of a honeysuckle bloom


macro photo of a tangled-looking spider web


macro photo of pink and purple blooms on bermuda grass


macro photo of brown weeds with a gray grasshopper


macro photo of white coral, full of holes


Have I stumped you with any of these photos?

Please share your guesses in the comments.  The answers will be revealed in a few days.  Thanks for playing along!

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

{The answers have been posted!  Click here to see how many photos you correctly identified.}