Resources For Buying Seasonal Produce

Summer produces some of the best fruits and veggies! The variety is abundant and when you buy seasonal, it’s less expensive.

Now is the perfect time to stock up for canning, preserving, dehydrating and freezing so you can enjoy the bounty of summer all year long. Check out this seasonal produce guide for the perfect time to purchase your favorites!

Summer is also a great time to check out your local farmers market, co-op or local farm. Make it a family fun day at a local farm that allows you to pick your own produce. They often times have attractions or games to make the day more eventful!

Another way to obtain fresh produce locally is by joining a CSA. Local Harvest is a great resource to locate a CSA, farm or farmers market in your area. Now, you may not have any of these in your area locally or that would be within reasonable driving distance, but some farms actually do ship items. Definitely worth checking it out!

I hope you find these resources valuable and that you are enjoying the summer!

~Blessings!~

what is an advance directive and why is it important

An advance directive is a crucial document to have in place for peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Discussing and documenting your final wishes prior to experiencing an illness, accident or even aging is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family.

I’d like to share my own personal experience that prompted me to “get my affairs in order” with respect to my own planning and preparation.

A few years ago, my husband suffered a near fatal infection. He was in a coma, required brain surgery and rehabilitation. After a long hard road, thankfully, he recovered. But, he suffered brain damage and a host of long term health problems due to the toll the infection took on his body. As a result, he was disabled and no longer employable.  So, I became our sole source of income and his caregiver.

While he did not have an official advance directive in place, I knew what his wishes would have been in a medical crisis. If it came down to it, I would have had to voice that for him if asked by his care team. I was dreading it, but I was prepared to make it known because I loved him. I knew he would not have wanted to be kept alive by artificial means or spend his final days suffering just to “hang on”. We’d had the tough discussions on more than one occasion, usually after a friend or loved one passed away.

Due to the brain damage, my husband is not always able to understand what he is reading or necessarily comprehend what is being explained about a situation. When he becomes agitated, nervous or excited, his confusion and anxiety are compounded 100 fold. So, while he knows me and he knows what I would want, if it came down to it, I feel it quite honestly be more than he could bear. And he shouldn’t have to make that decision while there is such a simple was for me to relieve that burden.

In order to take care of him in the event something happened to me, I created a will, purchased life insurance on myself and completed my advance directive. I wanted everything signed, sealed, witnessed and filed. Yes, my husband, my kids, my friends, my family all know what I have expressed as my final wishes, but if the time came, why should they have to answer the tough questions?

Would they not be distraught enough?

Could they possibly second guess themselves and carry the guilt and worry that they made the wrong decision?

Why should they have to look a doctor in the eye and utter those words when it is completely within my power to help them even in what might be my final moments.

I feel there is absolutely no excuse for not having an advance directive. I understand that for some people it is frightening or morbid or unnerving. I think some may think that they will “conjure up” death if they plan for it!

I’ll be honest though –  it did take me a few weeks to complete mine before signing it. Once I had the blank paperwork in front of me and read the questions, I had to consider that what I wanted was REALLY what I wanted.

Each state has its own set of provisions and requirements regarding advance directives.  CaringInfo is a great resource to obtain the forms specific to each state. Simply choose your state from their home page for free access to the necessary forms for your state. You can complete them online and print for final signatures, or print them out and complete by hand.

Advance directive forms are pretty self explanatory and relatively easy to complete. While specifics may vary from state to state, it is basically comprised of the following

  • Assigning a health care agent

You will need to choose a person to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do by accident, impairment, illness, etc.

  • Your treatment preferences

In this part, you outline your “final wishes”.  For my state, I had the options of do everything to extend my life, let my natural death occur, or the option of choosing the particular measures I would prefer. You may also want to provide preferences regarding surgery or amputation, etc.

  • Assigning a guardian

 If, for whatever reason, you are not able to make significant responsible decisions regarding your finances, welfare or safety, you will need a guardian to oversee your affairs. This was an optional section for my state, but having had the experience with my husband, I went ahead and chose a guardian for myself. When my husband was classified as disabled, I had to be certified by the court and social security administration certifying that I would be responsible for his well being and care.  If he hadn’t had me, then the court would have appointed a guardian for him.

And that’s it!

The forms do not have to notarized, but they do have to be witnessed by parties other than your health care agent or guardian.

It is imperative that you discuss your preferences with your loved ones and get everyone on the same page. Answer the tough questions and ask the tough questions. Get everything out on the table and clear up the gray areas. Make sure your health care agent and/or guardian is comfortable with carrying out the duties you are asking of them. By having your directive in place, you are providing a bit of peace for your loved ones and yourself should a medical crisis ever arise. Through your directive, you would be an active participant in your care decisions, even though you may be incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so. And remember – an advance directive is a LIVING document and it can be adjusted or changed at any time you choose.

For me, an advance directive is vital for planning and preparing for the future. I encourage you to execute a directive documenting your wishes and providing your loved ones with the confidence they are making the decisions you would want them to make.

~ Blessings ~

How to Can Pineapple for Pantry Food Storage

Canning pineapple for your food storage is quite easy. It can be labor intensive and a bit messy, but it is so worth it!

When I started canning a few years ago, it had not occurred to me to can fruit for food storage. Vegetables, pickles and jams and jellies are obvious, but it wasn’t until this past year that I realized I could actually can fresh fruits. I’m so glad I did! Having canned fresh pineapple on hand is so handy for baking, pineapple sandwiches or for a pizza topping.

Pineapple is canned using the water bath method, so you don’t even need a canner if you don’t have one. It can be hot or raw packed.

Pineapples are just coming into season, and I was fortunate to find them on sale this past weekend. I went ahead and picked up 3 and will purchase more throughout the season.

There are a couple of options when it comes to what type of syrup to use, so you will need to decide this before you begin the process.

Simple Syrup

(Recipe is for about 6 pineapples. Just adjust according for the number of pineapples you have.)

In a large stainless steel pot, combine 1 cup sugar to 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until dissolved. Add your cut pineapple and stir to evenly combine and heat approximately 30 seconds, just long enough to heat through.

“Natural Juices”

Place skins and cores of pineapples (NOT the leaves) into a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover by 2″. Boil for 15 minutes. Strain through coffee filters or cheesecloth before adding to pineapple in jars.

Just Water

Heat a pot of water just to boiling. Place pineapple in jars and ladle enough water to proper headspace.

Next, gather the canning supplies – rings, lids, funnel, ladle, pot to heat water, de-bubbling tool, canning pot and of course, jars. I typically use pint jars, since that’s closest to the amount I would usually use per recipe.

To avoid dirt or debris getting into your jars, go ahead and wash your pineapples in a sink full of water, giving them a good scrub with a dishcloth. As an extra precaution, I wash everything that will be used in the canning process each and every time I begin a canning project. Even though it was washed before it was put away after the previous session, I do not want to take any chance with anything contaminating my end product.

Before you begin cutting and preparing the pineapple, get the water started heating in you canner pot. Place your washed jars into the water so they can heat gradually and sterilize as the water comes to a up to temp in the canner pot. Remember, hot food into hot jars to avoid thermal shock.

I like to place my cutting board in a old cookie sheet to catch the excess juice and to cut down on the mess. Peel and cut your pineapple into slices or chunks, or a combination of both.

No matter which syrup option you choose, the rest of the process is the same:

  1. Remove the hot jar from the canner water.
  2. Fill with pineapple and syrup to within 1/2″ headspace. De-bubble, wipe the rim of the jar, place ring and lid, tightening to fingertip tight.
  3. Place back in canner and proceed to filling the next jar.

Once your canner is full , cover it with the lid and turn your heat to medium high. Make sure your jars are covered by at least 1″ in water. Once the water begins to boil, set your timer for the correct processing time. 15 minutes for pints, 20 minutes for quarts.

When the processing time is done, turn off the heat and leave the canner covered for 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and move jars to a towel or mat in a draft free area to cool.

And that’s it! Aren’t they gorgeous?!

If you’d like to add pineapple to your food storage, now is the perfect time. The peak season is March – July, so it’s at it’s tastiest, and will be cheaper to purchase than when it’s not in season.

I hope this is helpful and I hope you’ll give it a try!

~Blessings~

5 Reasons Why You Should Join the Black Rifle Coffee Club

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I do not receive any monetary compensation for the opinions expressed.

We love coffee.

We drink a lot of coffee.

I am not ashamed to say that we are coffee snobs. We may be frugal, but coffee is one of those things that will not be skimped on. And we like having a variety of our favorite quality coffees to choose from. When one of our favorite brands in on sale, I will go ahead and buy it and add it to the stockpile. We will not run out of coffee in this house.

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About a year ago, a friend suggested that we join the coffee subscription club that he used. When we were researching his club, we came across Black Rifle Coffee Company and decided it was a better choice for us.

We admire their mission and proudly support the company and the many organizations they support by purchasing from them. Here are few of the reasons that make them “near and dear” to our hearts.

They are veteran owned and operated

Founder, Evan Hafer, spent his military career in the special forces and as a military contractor. While in service, he would roast his own coffee beans and pack them with him. In the “About” video on their website, he explains the importance of the bonding over a great cup of coffee to get the day started off right.

Hafer’s goal is to hire 10,000 veterans as they grow. He sees it as his responsibility as a veteran to remind the American people that our veterans don’t need a handout, they need opportunity to transition back into civilian life and receive whatever support they may need – physically, mentally, emotionally.

Exceptional value and a quality product

With roasting facilities in Utah and Tennessee, BRCC can deliver the freshest coffee no matter where you live in America.

We chose the ‘Best of BRCC’ subscription. Each month, we receive a different roast, but we never know which one we’ll receive. It’s always a surprise! But so far, I have to say they’ve all been amazing. (Beyond Black, Coffee or Die and Silencer Smooth have been our favorites)

You are able to create a profile so they have an idea of what type coffee drinker you are and what roasts you might like. So while it’s their choice, you won’t receive light roast if you only like dark ,or decaf if that’s not something you would care for.

With every purchase, they give back

BRCC is committed and passionate about supporting our veterans, first responders and the “American way of life”.

Through BRCC, we have learned of veteran and first responder support organizations and causes we’d never heard of, and we now contribute to them and promote. Boot Campaign and Warriors Heart are two of our favorites. Click this link to read more about these organizations and for a better look at just how much BRCC is giving back and the ‘why’ behind it.

They’re easy to deal with!

There are several different subscription offers, so it’s easy to find one that fits with your preference and budget. Club members receive FREE shipping on all coffee club orders. Shipping frequency is easily adjustable, or you can cancel at anytime with no cancellation fee. They offer excellent customer service including online chat.

There’s a coupon!

If you’re interested in joining the club, click here to receive 20% off!

As I stated above, I do not receive monetary compensation, but I do receive BRCC points to purchase merchandise from their website. And I’m promoting an amazing company with a very important mission. And after you join, you can get referral points too!

And be sure to check them out on youtube. Not only do they make fantastic coffee, but they also make some pretty entertaining videos!

I hope you give these guys a chance and are just as pleased as we are with them. Again, the quality and the value are exceptional and what a meaningful company to support!

~Blessings!~

An Alternative to the Current Astronomical Lumber Prices for Your Building Project

Courtesy of Facebook

Now might be the perfect time to look into purchasing a pre-cut kit to assemble for that garden shed, wood shed or even tiny home!

I first started following Jamaica Cottage Shop back around 2009. Their prices have remained reasonable for amazing quality products all these years. They have several options available for purchase, from plans to fully assembled structures (limited delivery area on fully assembled). You can even access the materials lists to see every component to do your own cost comparison. Once the wood, screws, nails, hinges, shingles, doors, windows, etc. are factored in, I think you’ll see what I mean about the value!

Along with creating a quality product, Jamaica Cottage Shop has the most incredible customer service team. I personally have contacted them over the years by email or phone and they have gladly always taken the time to answer my questions and discuss options with me. They take great pride in their products and the level of service offered.

They’re truly a “rags to riches” story. I have a soft spot for small, family owned businesses and I’ll always help promote the ones I truly believe in.

I have recently joined their Affiliate program, so if you do happen to make a purchase using my link below I will receive a small commission.

Jamaica Cottage Shop is just plain awesome and I wouldn’t promote them if they weren’t.

https://jamaicacottageshop.com/aff/YawategAcres/

Be sure to check them out on youtube for even more information!

~Blessings~

The Game Changer for my Long Term Food Storage

I am so incredibly excited! I ordered a food dehydrator today!

Much like canning, I’ve been contemplating getting a dehydrator for more than 10 years. Why have I put it off for so long? Heck if I know!

Dehydrating is an economical, space saving way to store a LOT of food for long term. And it looks so pretty on the shelf!

Modern Survival Blog

I love to stock up on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables when they are in season or on sale to freeze and have throughout the year. I also like to do bulk cooking to have “dump and go” meals ready to throw in the crockpot or put together quickly for busy night dinner. I currently have a small top freezer unit, so space is at a premium. I have to keep in mind what will actually fit rather than how much I necessarily want to have in storage.

But now I’ll be able to have a fuller freezer and pantry!

During the winter, we eat a lot of soups and stews. Mixed vegetables, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes – these are all the base for so many dishes that I make. It’s going to be so great to have a half gallon mason jar full of my bases instead of having to unpack my freezer every time I need to find something for a recipe.

Another application I’m excited about is making meal packets for camping. What an amazing idea! This makes so much sense and I’m so mad I hadn’t thought of it before. A true “well, duh!” moment. While traveling down the youtube rabbit hole looking for reviews of dehydrators, I ran across so many videos of backpackers, hikers and campers showing how to do this. If we plan right, we could quite possibly eliminate the need for a cooler or ice! And the space it will save!

Scout Magazine

After much research, I decided to purchase the Nesco FD-75A. I bought mine online from Home Depot for around $66.00. This seems to be the common price across the internet, even Amazon.

Nesco FD-75A

Nesco is a “tried and true” brand that has been in business since 1931. Their products are made in USA of global and domestic components in Wisconsin. The trays and sheets are made of BPA free food grade plastic. Many of the youtubers I follow who use this exact same dehydrator have had them for 15-20 years. It’s a quality product that’s made to last. It comes with 5 trays, but can be expanded up to 12 trays. You just have to purchase additional trays separately.

This particular model has a top mounted fan, as opposed to a bottom or rear fan placement. Basically, the fan and heating element are located on the top of the dehydrator. As with virtually any appliance, there are pros and cons to their particular features.

With a top mounted fan, there is no chance of food spilling on the fan or the heating element, it’s easy to clean and maintain, it results in even drying of the food and they are easy to operate. Some of the “cons” are the trays have to rotated and the air is pushed to spread on the trays so some of the foods may be “less dry”. So, when I rotate the trays, I may need to move the foods around for the best drying. I don’t think it will be a big deal.

If you are interested in this particular model, let me save you a bit of research time. When I would search for the FD-75A, the search engines would sometimes take me to an FD-75PR. After a bit of confusion and side research, I found that these are the exact same machine. The only difference is the packaging.

Again, I’m so excited to add this appliance to my kitchen. I feel that it will pay for itself rather quickly and will be an invaluable tool for my food storage needs.

~Blessings~

How I Created A Simple, Efficient Home Filing System And How It Changed My Life

OK. I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room.

You know the one.

It’s disguised as a big pile of papers in the corner of your bedroom or on your dining table. Maybe you’ve managed to tuck it away in a closet or a drawer.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s in plain sight or hidden away – it’s BIG. And it takes up a LOT of valuable space – physically and mentally – of your life.

And it’s not necessarily a friendly elephant either! It’s causing you stress and anxiety – probably a lot more than you even realize. The thought of dealing with it and ordering it out of your life is so overwhelming that you can’t even begin. And maybe the times that you have attempted to tackle it, it wasn’t long before you realized just how heavy an elephant can be.

I’ve been there.

I speak from experience when I tell you I understand. I know what it is like to be reduced to tears, completely defeated, drowning in a disorganized, chaotic mess of paperwork.

“I know that receipt is here SOMEWHERE!”

Three years ago, my husband and I downsized from our home, where we had raised our children to adulthood, to a one bedroom apartment. About a year before we moved, we got serious about de-cluttering our whole house taking a good, hard look at exactly what we needed and what we could do without. We also devised systems to effectively store and organize what we do need for the management of our home. There’s nothing like packing up a house that you’ve lived in for more than 10 years to make you realize just how cleverly you can tuck away clutter and things you’d rather not deal with! (Big ‘ol elephants can hide anywhere!) Absolutely shameful!

When it came to our paperwork, I knew two things:

1) I did NOT want to move all my paper clutter with me, and 2) the “filing system” I had was just not working,

My previous system involved a Pendaflex file box that I bought our first year of marriage (!), a cardboard box, a nightstand drawer, a 2 drawer vertical filing cabinet, an end table drawer and a stand up file.

You know where I’m going with this. As long as I had my paperwork “put” somewhere, I was organized, right? Yep!

Up until the point I needed something anyway.

Like the title for the car I was selling. Or the vaccination record my son needed to get into college. Or the receipt and warranty information for the washing machine that had quit working.

I cannot tell you how many times I said, “I know I have it, I’ve just got to locate it.”

The next step is not easy. It’s just not. There’s no way around it. There are ways to make it manageable, but it can still be daunting and overwhelming. All that mess has to be sorted, gone through and somewhat organized before we ever get to the point of purchasing pretty file folders and a nifty label maker. But, you know what they say –

“there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time”

I tackled each storage (ahem!) area individually. Sometimes I would set a time for 15 – 30 minutes, sometimes I would just work on it until I was completely disgusted and in tears. Either way I did it, I was still making progress. And the more I chipped away at it, the more motivated I became to conquer it and make sure it never consumed me like that again!

I armed myself with sticky notes, a pen and notepad and got to work.

I dumped the nightstand drawer onto the floor of my bedroom and did a quick “pre-sort”, just quickly glancing at everything and assigning it to a pile. Once everything was kinda sorta sorted, I was able to get an idea of what I actually needed to keep and began formulating my organization system. I labeled each pile with a sticky note according to category and if I found a receipt for something, I made a note to match it with the manual (wherever it may be!) and vice versa. With each stack labeled with a sticky note, I was able to create a stopping point for myself enabling me to walk away and save my sanity. If I needed to do something else, if my timer went off, or if I just simply needed to take a break, I could stack the labeled piles and pick back up when ready. Having an “In Progress” pile let me know that’s where I had left off.

I then moved on to the box, to the pendaflex, to the other drawer, etc. sorting in the same fashion until all my “put” places had been emptied and sorted. Next, I took each category (pile) and did a further sort. I was amazed at how much paperwork I was able to actually get rid of!

One of my curses is I love sub-categories. I also love to take a simple project and make it very complicated. My brain does not think in a straight line. With that being said, I’ll spare you the next several paragraphs it would take to explain how many times I created a system and dismantled the system to finally arrive at what works best for me. 🙂 Since we were downsizing, I had to take into consideration the amount of actual space I could designate as well as keeping it efficient and something that I would actually stick with.

I keep our bills in a folder until they are paid. Once they are paid, they are moved to the Tend To tray. This is a designated tray (just ONE!) that I keep on top of the Pendaflex file for incoming paperwork. I started the habit of clearing that tray each and every Wednesday. Receipts for purchases, paid bills, paystubs, recipes I print, etc., all go into that tray. By dealing with it on a weekly basis, I’m able to stay on top of it and easily keep everything organized.

I broke the actual filing system down into 3 key areas that satisfy my sub-category addiction while managing to keep it simple!

  • Current Quarter/Easily Accessible In the Event I Need to Grab It: Contained in the Pendaflex file, I have 3 hanging file folders for each month of the current quarter. Paystubs, paid bills, and bank statements are examples of what go into the monthly files. Also contained in this file box are our medical insurance benefits booklet, our auto loan paperwork and insurance dec page, apartment lease and storage unit agreement, a folder for each of our cats, a folder for financial or medical bill disputes, and a folder for each tool and piece of equipment we’ve recently purchased containing the receipt, manual and warranty registration card. These are the items I felt were important to keep within “arms reach” for referencing if needed.
  • The Archives: I purchased a file tub to store papers that were important enough to keep, but also didn’t need to be “front and center”. Since space is a premium right now, I wanted something that could go onto a closet shelf and not be too heavy or bulky to deal with. It holds letter size hanging file folders so I didn’t have to purchase any special supplies. At the end of each quarter, everything is moved from the monthly folders in the Pendflex box into one hanging file folder labeled for the whole quarter in the Archives box. This is also where I keep copies of the past 5 years tax returns.
  • The Vault: This is where our important legal and identification documents are stored. Car titles, birth certificates, social security cards and statements, medical records, advanced directives, life insurance policies, and our will are all stored in this locking fireproof/waterproof safe. My Person has a copy of all the pertinent documents contained in the safe as well as a spare key.

The beauty of this is all three of these storage areas fit in my bedroom closet. They are out of sight, but still on my mind. When I open them, they are neat and organized rather than a looming pile of “I’m not sure what’s in there”.

Yes, this was a tough area to tackle and deal with. This is one of those organizing projects that can be not only physically exhausting, but mentally as well. I don’t know why, but for some reason I had a certain amount of guilt, and even shame for just how out of control this area of our life was! I felt like I had been lazy and inattentive. And i would get downright ANGRY when I couldn’t find paperwork that I knew I had!

Was all the pain worth it?

Absolutely!

I cannot tell you how much better I feel since taking that last bite of elephant and creating a system that works with me and for me. It literally takes me about 5-10 minutes TOPS each Wednesday to deal with the paperwork from the week before. I have mental peace, knowing that should I need a document or receipt, I know exactly where to go to get it. Stress is one of those “death by a thousand paper cuts” things. And often times, it’s the stress that we don’t even know we feel that does the most damage. I truly felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders once I started using my system and seeing how well it worked.

So , really the only advice I can give is just start. Work on things a little at a time. Get help from a friend or family member if you’re comfortable in doing so. Any little bit of progress is still progress. Remember, this is YOUR system and it has to work with YOUR personality and YOUR family. No one else!

~Blessings!~

Love, Acceptance and Sage Wisdon

I am not a clothes horse. Never have been, and never will be.

Spending hours at a store trying on clothes is frustrating and not enjoyable at all to me. Spending the time looking through rack after rack, trying to find what I think is my size, taking two different sizes into the dressing room “just in case”, only to find that the style or cut of the piece was not made for my body. Always going back to “square one.” Ugh! Drives me bananas!

I’ve not had too much luck shopping online either. Garments just don’t fit like I thought they would. Or buying a shirt – same size, same brand – can fit or feel completely different.

It’s taken me a few years to be comfortable in my own skin and love my body. To accept that I don’t look like the women in the magazines, clothes won’t possibly fit me like they fit the store mannequin, and just because I like the way something looks, it doesn’t mean it’s suited to me to wear. But, that doesn’t mean there’s anything – at all! – wrong with ME. It just means, I’m not choosing styles that are right for my body type or that I would feel comfortable in. But once I found my “style”, it was very liberating!

Through a lot of trial and error, I now know exactly what I’m looking for when shopping. I noticed that I gravitate toward a certain cut and style of blouses. Levis are my best bet for jeans. Pants and skirts need to fit just a bit above the waist to be most flattering. I like patterned, printed or textured tops paired with neutral bottoms. Polyesters, cottons, linens or blends of these fabrics are essential. My wardrobe, while not extensive, is versatile and comfortable.

I buy a majority of my clothes from thrift stores. I love the hunt for good bargain and since there are so many different styles to choose from, I find it easier to find pieces that I’ll actually wear and that can be mixed and matched for maximum potential.

In my area, as I’m sure most areas, fitting rooms are closed due to the pandemic. But I really don’t mind that they’re closed. Not only for safety concerns, but because this fits perfectly with my clothes shopping style. I’d much rather run through fast as I can and take things home to take my time trying them on. I’ve needed just a few pieces since we’re in between seasons, so this is especially helpful since I’m in the process of creating sort of a capsule wardrobe for myself. I have the pieces here so I can look and see just how many outfits I can create rather than second guessing if they will go with something I already have when I’m at the store. That factors into the decision of keep or return – does it fit and how many outfits can I put together. I’m making purposeful, practical decisions about how to get the most out of my wardrobe for minimal money using minimal pieces. The Goodwills in my area are actually accepting returns and issuing refunds in the form of a store gift card. Which again, suits me perfectly because I shop for a lot of things at Goodwill and other thrift stores. And the pieces that don’t work for me, I can always donate to my local shelter or clothes closet.

By looking at any basic necessary material possession with gratitude, I have a deeper respect for the blessing of owning it. By taking stock of what I actually NEED instead of having more for the sake of having more, I’m again, more purposeful and practical in my decision making. I’ve found how to do so much more with so much less.

You know that old saying “a smile is the best accessory a girl can wear”? While it’s a nice sentiment, I also feel a smile can hide a whole lotta pain and insecurity. Until you truly love and accept yourself, in all your fearfully and wonderfully made self, complete with stretch marks, pimples, dimples, sags, bags, scars, crookedness, cracks and spots, clothes are nothing more than a curtain you’re hiding behind.

Stop hiding! Wear what you LOVE. Wear what makes you feel like YOU. And then you can accessorize with that beautiful smile.

~ Blessings ~