Life Lessons

Going Home by Lois Hewitt

I find myself saying “I just want to go home” a lot. Sometimes I am even home when I say it, which is really odd.

I have always believed that where my husband and I are is home. It’s been our car, motel rooms, a house and apartments. As long as we are together, that place is home.

This is different. I find myself longing for a place that I don’t believe I have ever seen. A place that calls my name but that I cannot find. Even when I had a house, I somehow felt slightly homeless. Like I wasn’t in the right place.

I do not believe this feeling stems from a physical location as much as it is a mindful place. An ethereal place. Not tangible.

I read an article, written by someone who probably has no specific credentials, that we all long for a place that harbored us in past lives. I do not, personally, believe that theory but it made me think.

What if this allusive place is Heaven. That I do believe. You may not but I strongly do. I think that as we get older, life gets harder and we long for carefreeness. I think back on some of those carefree days of old. My anxiety didn’t allow for many of those, but there were some.

Youth allows for a laziness (in a good way) that is harder to grasp as the years pass. And that mysterious homesick feeling gets stronger with age. I have this feeling inside that I cannot reconcile. I simply do not know what it is. I know I just want to go home.

This world ain’t great at offering lasting security. We all know that things can change in an instant. That fact has always weighed heavy on me. I lived in fear of that unknown, unforeseen possibility always. I didn’t feel secure. So maybe that’s what I long for.

My husband used to travel a lot for work. He traveled internationally and was gone for weeks at a time. I remember being so happy when he got home and almost immediately filled with sadness that he would be leaving again soon. I didn’t even know when he next trip would happen, yet I feared it anyway.

I’m working at being healthier inside and out. I’m now exercising and eating right. I try to keep the anxiety at bay but I still have a veil over me.

I guess there isn’t always an answer to be had. I guess there are deeply fundamental ideals that are not grounded in things we can see or touch. I may never know truly what this yearning is. Not in this life anyway.

So in the meantime, I will try to be present where I am at, no matter where it is. I do think someday the curtain will draw back and all will be revealed. Until then, this is home and I will relish it.

Creativity by Lois Hewitt

The times I’m most depressed are the times I cannot listen to music. Those are my saddest days.

My taste in music ranges from Buble to Zep to STP to Zac Brown and beyond. I grew up in the all too short times when I lived with my Mom, listening and dancing to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Then I found Bad Co and AC/DC. I tended toward heavier, darker music. I did not care for Michael Jackson but his sister rocked the house. Rhythm Nation…perfection. INXS and others filled the 80s. I followed a little grunge and hit a dry spell for a decade or so. I can’t forget my two trips into country music. I like most of it but it’s mostly how it makes me feel.

The music of the seventies keep me from being lonely. The eighties was a time of figuring out who I was. The nineties were down and dirty as its said. After that it trails off a bit.

During the Covid lockdown I found a lot of new (to me) music and I went down many a rabbit hole. The most profound one was Layne Staley. What a voice, what a tragedy. I have cried for Michael, Prince, Stevie, but none as much as Layne.

Artists can touch our souls with their passions, whether it be through a painting, a dance, a fabric, a written word, a song or anything created. I have grieved most of my life for my lack of any particular talent. I can do things but not on that level. It’s easy to see how that kind of passion soars too close to the sun.

I wrote a post, way back in the beginning, about if I had been given the ability to sing, like Whitney, I would have been all consumed in my own talent. In other words, I would have been a giant ass****!

I generally do not simply listen to music, I obsess. Same with movies and books and many other forms of expression. I need to know it, to live it and to feel it. Some day I will write a post about Dean Winchester, that admittedly went way beyond obsession. Lol.

The days I cannot tolerate the sounds of music or the flickers of images from a movie are the days I should be afraid. The arts, on many levels, got me through. They taught me how to and how not to live. I went through many life phases based on the current obsession. I’m not a passive enjoyer of talents. I need it to live.

So in my almost 60 years (I can’t be that old 😆) I have never found that thing I am good at until now. Also over the lockdown I found a different kind of rabbit hole. I found Jamie Oliver.

I was deemed non-essential with an uncertain future ahead. My life plans ended up in the dumpster and I was devestated for a time. Weren’t we all? But I started cooking and watching every Jamie Oliver video. I used to just throw things together without any care or forethought. I cooked just to eat. Now I cook with intent and love. I cook with beautiful vegetables for vitality and health. Jamie taught me these things and it’s changed my life.

Would I rather have a powerful voice like Layne? Or dance like Misha? Or paint like Van Gogh? Or write like Hemingway? In a heartbeat. But being able to make food, grown from the land that nourishes the body is a pretty cool talent to have. I may not be remembered long but that’s okay too.

If you are are feeling underwhelmed with yourself, try opening your horizons. I never thought of cooking as a talent except for professional chefs and that talent I ain’t got. But taking the things in life that you love and being passionate about it feeds the soul. Find your joy today!

invisible by Lois Hewitt

Tonight I am sitting alone with a cup of tea and only the glow of a single strand of Christmas lights for illumination and I feel invisible. I just walked out onto the deck and looked out at a world that is ever moving, ever changing and I felt totally and utterly disconnected from it. Is it age that makes me feel like I am losing relevance? Is age what makes me feel less important somehow? Is it age that makes me harder and harder to see?

I am not complaining, for my life is good but as the days roll on I feel as if my voice is getting quieter and my body is somehow shrinking, maybe from the weight of all the things we carry through life, things like pain, guilt and regret to name a few. In my youth, I had times (usually alcohol induced) when I was the loudest person in the room, along with no filter. Whatever came into my head, flew out of my mouth. In my manic times, I talked and talked and talked nonstop. Now to utter a word feels foreign to me, like something I do not know how to do any longer. I fooled myself into thinking that I had something important to say at all times, when in fact, I knew nothing because I had done nothing.

Now I have done something and I cannot find words to speak. It does not help that we have become a society bent on having our voices heard which leaves no room for listening. You cannot talk all the time and still listen. Did you ever talk to someone who constantly looked around as if they were waiting for a better opportunity elsewhere? Like you were just a momentary pit stop before going off to talk to (not with) someone else. Having your words not heard, being invisible. I feel that way a lot more, maybe it is just my conscious level is higher. It may have always been that way, I just never noticed because I was the one talking.

The world does revolve around the young as it did when I was young. Someone 60 years old, was basically close to death in my youthful ignorance. Now almost 60 myself, that perspective has totally changed. I feel like I am still relevant. I do not feel like I thought I would feel at 60 when I was 20. Yet things change, my ideals have changed, the important things have changed and I have changed oh so much. My life long quest to be alone has worked almost too well. I struggle with loneliness at times, something I never admitted to in my younger days. I miss long conversations, filled with laughter and a few tears. I miss those times of connection with another person.

Everyone is so busy, heck I am still busy. Working, taking care of responsibilities and the daily grind of life take its toll on those deep relationships. I am too tired most times to not just want to be alone. Alone, as it has always been, is so much easier. I don’t have to try when I am alone. I can just be without any pretense. No words are needed, no actions are necessary. It is easy but it is in those times I feel the most invisible. Although I can feel invisible in the midst of many people, busy bustling around and I stand still and watch the never ending motion all around me. I guess it is I who have made myself unseen. Laziness, perhaps, or maybe tiredness are the root causes.

I recently read of a musician who died of an overdose and no one bothered to check on him for two weeks. He went from famous to invisible. I find the story is haunting me as I deal with my own invisibility. I feel so very sad for this person I have never met. How lonely must those last weeks, days and hours have been. Please do not get me wrong, I am not ready to leave just yet, I just wonder how much more dramatically life is going to change as the calendar continues its move forward.

I do not even know what I am going after in this piece. I would like to say that I had some great breakthrough but it is not happening. I am guessing in the scheme of things, being invisible is not the worst thing that could happen. I still have a circle of friends and family, albeit a bit removed by location. Maybe the point is that with age comes the realization that the extra “noise” is not necessary. The constant motion is not a constant anymore. Maybe part of “growing old gracefully” is learning where you want to matter, and not just mattering for the sake of it. Being invisible to some but not all is a fate that can be worked with. I no longer have the absolute need to be liked or needed by everyone I ever met. So maybe the loneliness I feel is, like most things, self-induced.

Ok, I actually do feel better. The people I care about the most can still see me, and, in the end, nothing else matters. If you are feeling invisible today, look for those people who see you and love you. They are out there. Embrace yourself. Don’t shut yourself off too much. I am thinking being relevant, especially in today’s fickle world, is overrated anyway. I would rather matter to a few, then just be tolerated by a lot. Okay, I am rambling now. I will put my voice away for now.

Find your joy today! Feel your soul!! It is important!!

Fake Masks by Lois Hewitt

Masks are everywhere these days but then again they always have been. I do not mean the Covid masks but the fake facades or masks we wear everyday to give an illusion of ourselves that may not be necessarily true. The ones Billy Joel sang about.

I like to think of myself as being authentic but when I look back, and cringe, over my youth I see clearly my mask. I wanted, so painfully bad, to be loved by all that I never developed the true me until much later in life. I wanted acceptance more than anything. What I was too ignorant to notice was the harder I tried to fit in, the more alienated I became.

I conformed to the people in the room. I bent and swayed with the social breezes. I never cultivated myself as my own person. I tried to emulate my father, my friends, movie stars…it mattered not who it was. Anyone was better than I was. In a previous post, I mentioned that I finally learned that I am enough. Back then, I felt very little, if any, self worth. I was damaged goods trying to act like I was a whole person.

No wonder my mental stability was questionable at times. I was on a merry-go-round that never stopped. I fooled no one but myself. How pathetic I must have been.

Fast forward to a certain age no longer dominated by the foolishness of youth. I woke up one day and did not care if I was accepted or not. I had to just be me. If someone doesn’t like it, no worries because it no longer matters.

What freedom! I finally allowed myself to just be me. I long for all the misspent youth but also have realized I was not ready then. Given the experiences of my youth and my perceptions of myself, those types of realizations would never have happened. Only with age, for me anyway, and an overwhelming exhaustion from being someone I was not could I be free. Only then could I give up the mask.

I still have moments of insecurity but now they are real or shall I say authentic. Today you see me, not some wanna be. I relish the fact that I don’t always fit in. For no one truly authentic can fit in every situation. It’s not possible. Today I feel empowered to work on me and those things that touch my soul.

When I look back at my youth, I feel sorry for that petson, a person I barely know now. Someone who tried to hard to please people who ultimately did not even matter in the scheme of things. The more cruel they were, the harder I tried to please. Always on an emotional treadmill, moving but going nowhere. My heart breaks for the sad person.

I know that those experiences made me who I am today. They filled me with empathy and wisdom. They made me stronger than I ever thought I would be. They taught me the value of true love and friendship. I am grateful for the ugly mask I wore but am so happy to have discarded it into the garbage where it belongs.

Mental by Lois Hewitt

Everyone is talking about mental health issues and relating personal stories about the subject. I hate to be a follower but this is an important topic.

As a person who has long carried mental illness in my purse I feel compelled to weigh in on the subject. Back in my day, mental illness was the lone guy downtown swearing to himself and urinating in his pants. That wasn’t me. I could not possibly be like that.

But I suffered other things. I would have excruciating manic periods where I was compelled to get a second job and/or volunteer and/or go back to school and/or any number of things. I felt invincible. I talked nonstop and could not sleep. Then one day the depression kicked mania out of the house and I could barely move. I let people down because I could no longer honor all those commitments. I felt a loser which made the grief and depression even deeper. Then one day I got up like Superman and the cycle continued. It never stopped. I had two speeds: full on or non-existent. In retrospect, the manic times were more devastating than the depressed times.

Now throw some heavy duty OCD into the mix and I had days I didn’t know how to go on. I worked hard to hide my “quirks”. More than once I heard it said that’s just how she is. As I piled empty soda bottled in front of every door every night and checked and rechecked in closets and under beds looking for the sum of my fears. Going out literally meant up to three hours of checking the house for those fears in human form.

I have only told one person this but it feels important now. When I drove somewhere I would wonder if I had run someone over and I would have to drive the route several times to check if I had or not. Then I would agonize for hours about something I may have missed. My mind was like a prison. I, obviously, couldn’t say anything to anyone. Because, in my mind, I was crazy. Unfortunately that is just the tip of my personal descent into mental illness

Late in my 20s, my doctor, very casually, put a name to what was happening. I was manic depressive with OCD. I was amazed at her calmness. I thought I was the only person living through this. Turns out I wasn’t very unique at all. More and more people deal with these and other illnesses every day.

So what happened? I took anti-deptessants until I barely felt alive. I didn’t hurt as much but had all but lost my joy. One day I just stopped taking them. My advice…DONT EVER DO THAT. The spiral was insane. It look a long six months to even out. In place of the numbness I was treated with anxiety.

Over the years I have learned techniques to help. I feel pretty stable. I feel the mania and I can tone it down. The depression still kicks my ass.

This week I had two separate incidents where I thought I was having a heart attack. Ready to head to the ER. I think it was anxiety. We live in a new world that wraps every news report and every event in a blanket of anxiety. Why are you anxious, you might think. Why aren’t I? Plus it is just a normal state of being for some of us.

You don’t have to be a rock star or part of the Royal family to have this. And there are many varying degrees of it. I have learned a lot from my time silently suffering. Find someone you trust and talk about it. You don’t have to live with this alone. Do not let it be brushed off as if it was just a quirk. This is serious shit.

While I am on the subject, self-mediicating isn’t the answer. Buying things to fill holes in your soul does not work. Alcohol and drugs make the situation worse and can be deadly. The other devices we use to feel better don’t work any better. That’s why you need someone you trust in your corner. Please don’t suffer alone. Please!

It might be a place to start. Be safe everyone.

Today I’m living with it all. Good days and bad just like everyone. Here is to better days for all!

Enough by Lois Hewitt

Welcome back! It has been a while. A lot has happened for all of us during these uncertain times. I am glad you are here. I have no idea how anyone is going to read this because I quit Facebook, but however you got here…Thank you!!

Have you ever cut your own hair? Anyone who knows me, knows that I have cut my own hair for years, badly I might add. You would think by now that I would be good at it, but I am really not. Today, I looked in the mirror and saw an old haggard woman. I know I am pushing 60 and mostly feel like it, but I do not want to look like it. I thought about all the things I could change and felt the easiest thing to do was cut my hair short. Really short. Much shorter than I had expected. You make that one wrong cut and next thing you know, it all has to go. That was me this morning. My husband is going to hate it. Hey, its only hair. It will grow back.

As I was cutting away this morning, I thought of all the unwanted things that I had “cut” away from my life since the pandemic lockdown. I literally sat in my apartment for three months straight without leaving. My husband brought me food and I cooked and I cooked. I found a new passion!! That will be another post! I took some unexpected journeys down rabbit holes on the internet. I learned new things and got really depressed.

Before the lockdown, I had a job I knew was going to be my last job. I loved it and wanted to do it until I dropped. COVID changed all that. I was starting to get some confidence and bravery. COVID changed all that. Basically, everything I knew was not any longer. I know a lot of you out there went through the same thing.

For a time, I wallowed in the fear of the things happening in the world and the fear of a virus that, with my preconditions, could kill me. I struggled to get up in the morning. Then like cutting my unwanted hair, I started to shed all those things that were keeping me down. I started to forgive myself for all the wrong things I had done up until now in my life. I gave myself permission to accept myself as I am. Not as some perfect being, something I am so far from, but as I am. I learned that I was enough. That is not to say that one needs to stop growing, I hope that never happens to me. But being enough means, in my mind, I have accepted who I am, what I have done and allows me to make permanent changes not because I am deficient but because now I can focus on the things in my life that work and work on the things that do not.

I cannot believe the changes I have made. I feel like a totally new person. Gone is the overwhelming, debilitating guilt, the woeful remorse and now I see a cleaner slate, one that can be erased and added to as needed. I feel the ability to work on myself to be a better person without always thinking that I do not deserve anything good to happen to me. I hated when things went well, it just meant that it would all collapse and I would be full of sorrow again. That mentality never allowed me to enjoy the good times as I waited for the other shoe to drop. I learned life is that way, intermittent pleasure followed by a prerequisite amount of discomfort. The pleasure is there though and it needs to be grasped tightly. It is true, it doesn’t stay but it will come back, just like the hair I cut this morning. It will come back, you just have to wait out the storm.

My life is very different than it was a year ago. I bet yours is too. The world changed during that time and I am not completely sure all was for the better, but it is what we have. I have learned that I am not in control of many things, but I can control my attitude. I have days I look back at the cool job and wish for it back. But I have a new life and a new job and it is okay. It is enough and when it is not any longer, I have permission to make up the difference and keep it enough. At this point in my life, over-wanting is not something I want to have in my life. As I pared down my belongings, I pared down the internal baggage I have been carrying all my life. The new lightness inside of me is very pleasant. I calmly look forward to new things, not in a manic way as I did before. No, this is a calmness that is worth working to keep. I appreciate more. I am grateful. I am, dare I say it…happy. It is different than I imagined it would be, but that is okay because it is enough. That is a good thing!!!

Election Day 2020 by Lois Hewitt

Today is election day 2020. I cast my vote and have no idea what the outcome will be. I am worried what is going to happen after this day, but I know that God is in charge and that I have to have faith. As I began making bread today, I thought of a few things that I wanted share on this life-changing day.

Even though I cannot afford a home of my own, I am thankful for a clean and safe place to life.

Even though I am having trouble finding the right work, I am thankful for hope that something will come along.

Even though I have no health insurance, I am thankful for the health I have and am thankful every day.

Even though I could never have children of my own, I am thankful to be able to enjoy other’s children through pictures online.

Even though my parents and sister are no longer with me, I am thankful that I have the memories of them to carry me through.

Even though I have a troubled past, I am thankful for new starts, and the ability to change. The road is rough but one can make it through if you try.

Even though I am fearful for what the future holds, I am thankful that I believe in a God who is stronger than evil and that I am His child.

I am eternally grateful for my husband, sister, brother-in-law and friends near and far. I am much a recluse, but your relationships with me have changed and blessed me. Thank you!

On this election day 2020, I am, on purpose, going to dwell on the MANY blessings in my life. I do not want to sound like gloom and doom, I have lost faith in a lot of my fellow men. But life is still good, nonetheless. There is still love and friendship. There is still laughter and joy. There is still happiness. And most of all there is hope. Hope for a better future, a hope of unity, a hope for justice for all and hope that we can all learn to live together again, disagreements and all.

As the bread dough rises, I have time to reflect on such things. I do not have much, but as I look around I see that I am overflowing in riches. I am looking at a painting of a sloth that was painted just for me. It makes my heart sing! I am looking at the gifts given to me at random times and mostly for no reason other than to be given. They make my heart sing! I am looking at the few photographs I have kept after my exodus. They make my heart sing. I am reliving the fun and love-filled times with friends and family. They make my heart sing!

Life is so not about things. Gold and silver will eventually degrade. Money comes and goes (mostly goes in my case). It is those small touches in life, an unexpected gift, an unexpected hug, a big smile, a kind word, a tissue for a tear and a hand to help you up. Those are the riches of this world. I am rich in those things and I thank God every single day for my bounty.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow, but I do think our lives might be changed permanently, but I have my riches and my blessings close to my heart today and I hope for all days. My dream is that mankind will step up and do the right thing, no matter what happens. I pray for peace which will open doors to make positive changes in our world. I pray we can work together to make the world a better place.

Life might be tough for you right now, or it has been tough in the past. It is sometimes hard to see blessings, but they are there. So for today with sticky dough on my fingers, my heart will sing for blessings many and I will pray, even if you do not want me to, that your hearts are full of love and blessings too. Some days that is all we have.

I hope you find your happiness today.

That Damn Voice by Lois Hewitt

As of today, I’m done. I’m not living with this any longer. That damn voice in my head is being evicted.

I don’t know if you have this problem. If you do, you may want to join me in having an eviction party for that annoying voice that resides in your head.

I have had enough sleepless nights, where I wake up for no particular reason except to feel bad about something I did or said or didn’t do in my past. There is always a knot in my stomach and an overall feeling of dread.

I am so tired of reliving those mistakes. If you have read any of my past posts, you will see that I have made many mistakes in my life. I floundered for years trying to overcome a reckless youth and then just being clueless for most of my 20s and 30s.

I did not know some of the basics of life. My parents did the best they could, but I came along a little bit later in their lives and things were changing for them. Maybe they assumed I just knew how to behave, but I didn’t. And I did very little to overcome that until later in life.

I’m not making excuses, I own up to all the bad decisions and the pitiful paths I walked. I have searched for redemption and received it. I have tried to make some things better and other things I just left alone.

There are days and nights I am just torchured. But I have to call it quits. I have learned from my missteps and am continuing to become a better person, I just do not have the energy any more to fight and struggle with things that I cannot change at this point. Too many sleepless nights, too many tearful days. Too many stomach aches and too many anxiety attacks.

The voice needs to go. I want to keep the voice that puts me on the high road and is always correcting and teaching me. That voice is productive. The other one full of angst and self-loathing has to go. There is no longer anything productive that can come from that behavior. Choices were made then and choices to overcome those choices are my new choice.

Voice, your bags are packed. I do not care where you go, you just can’t stay here. I believe in the redemptive blood and it is time I get over myself and finally move forward in a positive way.

I doubt I am the only one who struggles with this. If you do, please do not torchure yourself any longer. Take the lessons you have learned and move on.

As you age the days pass quicker and things you once thought important lose some of their luster. You realize what is important and that is the path we all must follow. The path to better human beinghood, and world citizenship. Sitting around beating yourself up, is a dead end path.

The door is open, don’t let it hit you on the way out. You stupid voice, be gone and never darken my door again.

Good luck, start giving yourself a break here and there. Don’t forget to find your happiness.

Comes With Age by Lois Hewitt

As the 1980s rolled in, I was in my early 20s. A time when I probably should have had some direction in my life, but I did not. A time for ambition and drive, neither did I have. Women were being recognized as forces to be reckoned with, I was not that woman.

I just came off my turbulent teen years with no real education that could further me anywhere and no plan. I was as aimless as I was as a teenager. I did know, however, that it was the time to get my act together and start being responsible. A lesson learned, by the way, over the next few decades. You do not just wake up one day and are responsible.

I never really had any grand ideas of working as a lawyer or anything like that. I deep down knew it would be retail or food service in my future. I did get my GED, but I was still just a dumb kid with a very small world view.

I met a very nice young man who actually treated me well and we had fun together. We decided to get married. I actually enjoyed the experience of being married and felt a baby was the next step. Many of my friends were having children and I thought if I did I could stay home and nest full time.

There was no pregnancy and I thought it would happen soon so I quit my job at Kmart to stay home and have babies. All was well at first, but still no babies. The longer I stayed home the more pressure I put on myself. I thought if I was staying home without children I needed to do everything Martha Stewart perfect.

This pressure then took the fun out of everything and made me paranoid. I thought everyone was judging me for not working. Most people probably didn’t even care but I had all day to think and obsess about it. Eventually, the marriage just faded into oblivion. Then I had to work as I was late 20s and single.

I continued working but took one year off to get pregnant by my new husband. Again nothing. My dream of a June Cleaver life was dead and buried. I worked, sometimes two jobs, but never really felt it was me. But it was what society and my mountain of bills dictated.

Fast forward to my time before leaving Ohio. I was done with the grind and wanted out. I had been planning my exodus for decades. Finally in my 50s, the time came. We were financially ruined anyway, might as well go all the way. We packed the car with a few items and hit the road with no solid plan.

We built a new and much different life. Things were good. I had a nice job that I loved and it was fine. March 2020, when everything changed. Now I’m suddenly not working full time and really wondering what I was supposed to do. I have talked about the depression and insecurity. Then I found a cooking show that ignited something in me.

Now I’m working a cool part time job but more importantly, I doing what I thought I always wanted to do. I’m cooking, cleaning and taking care of my family (Mike and I). Those old feelings started to creep in, am I just lazy? What is wrong with you, why can’t you just go to work? But I threw those out of my mind.

Could I have been this happy when I was younger? Probably not, I had to live and experience some things. I had to walk through the fire before I could be grateful for this time. The pressure I felt, real or imagined, reflected who I was at that time. With the drama gone now, I can fully enjoy my calling. I’m not saying this is all it will be, but it is more in line with who I believe I am.

My wish for you today is that you are filling your life with your purpose and things you love. They say life is too short to not enjoy it and I think they are right. Find your happiness and enjoy the day. We all need more of that.

A Convert by Lois Hewitt

It seems official, I am a veg convert thanks to the cooking style of Jamie Oliver. He has inspired me to cook as many things as I can from scratch and add veg to every dish. I can feel myself getting stronger. After being so anemic this summer that I walked with a cane for a while, it is wonderful now to feel so much better.

Since I am cooking every day, I have tried to come up with some easy ways to make the veg prep go faster.

I put red onions in almost everything. I love them but hate cutting them. What I do now is put on a mask ( a great use for them) along with my glasses and I cut upwards to six at a time. The mask and glasses protect me from burning eyes and such. I can cut them all up in less than 20 minutes and pop them in the freezer. Ready to be cooked at a moment’s notice.

I also keep bread ends and stale bread in the freezer. When I get enough I make buttery garlic croutons out of the thick pieces. I save the thinner pieces in a separate freezer bag for bread crumbs. When I need bread crumbs I will throw the thin pieces in the food processor and grind them into crumbs.

I also slice multi-colored carrots along with celery and mix them up and freeze them. They work great in soups, casseroles, and other cooked dishes. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought celery for one recipe, then ended up throwing the rest away after it went bad. No more waste, which means my food dollars are going further.

Today I cleaned and cut leeks to put in the freezer. Another great veg to add to so many dishes, cut and ready to go with little to no waste.

Tomorrow I’m planning on making a batch of fresh basil pesto to freeze. After it’s been in the freezer for an hour, I take it out and slice it. Then when I need pesto for a recipe, take a couple of chunks and start cooking.

My freezer used to be cram packed with unusable leftovers I was too embarrassed to throw out, unhealthy processed tv dinners and useless scraps of bread that only ended up in the garbage. Now it is full of useable, healthy food that makes cooking a joy. Now I can concentrate on creating and not spend so much time chopping.

The funny thing is that when I ran away from home, my intent was to not cook again. I hated it, it was a chore. Now I realize that just throwing things in a pan doesn’t constitute cooking. What I made was okay but not necessarily tasty. My meals today, for the most part, taste so much better and are making me healthier. I am so thrilled that I found someone to inspire me.

My hope is to get my energy back, lower my blood pressure naturally, lose some weight and just feel better. The difference is like night and day…and I just started.

I hope that today you are inspired in whatever you want to do. I was so unhappy without inspiration in my life. What a wonderful surprise this has been. Find your joy today!!