Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Do You Know What I Know? December 12, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:07 am


It’s no secret I’m very traditional and love a good tradition. In a recent blog on St. Nicholas, I explained why we hang stockings on our fireplaces, which is just one of many traditions of the Christmas season, so today I thought I’d write about three additional ones and a little bonus trivia. Enjoy!



Tis the season for seeing “Merry Christmas” and all things Christmas everywhere.  Sadly, you also often see the word “Christmas” shortened and referred to as “Xmas,” which has always irked me. In my thinking, doing so literally removes the real meaning of Christmas: Christ. But, I’m happy to report that there’s a somewhat acceptable explanation for it.


Apparently the X in Xmas doesn’t replace “Christ” from the word with the English letter X, but rather with the Greek letter “chi,” which looks like the English letter X. Chi is the first letter in the Greek word that we translate as “Christmas” and ancient Christians would abbreviate it by using only the first letter of it. They meant no offense and coincidentally, the letter also resembles a cross. In addition, the word “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “messiah” and both mean “anointed.”


I still much prefer “Christmas” over “Xmas,” but am happy to learn the origins of the latter meant no disrespect to why we celebrate Christmas. Amen!



You don’t need to look very far this time of year to see those beloved red-and-white-striped treasures, candy canes. You see real ones hanging on trees, created and grouped onto wreaths, decorating packages, and all sorts of red-and-white themed Christmas decorations. They’re fun and they’re festive and they have an interesting story behind them.


On that very first Christmas morn, who were the first people to visit and meet Baby Jesus? That would be the shepherds and as they paid homage to the newborn Savior, they carried with them their crooks, which they used in the fields to round up sheep. It’s no coincidence that candy canes resemble those curved rods and that if you turn one upside down, you get the letter J for Jesus. The traditional colors of a candy, red and white, are also significant as they represent our Lord’s sacrifice and purity. Lastly, candy canes are just that: candy. They are sweet and meant for sharing so do so!


Candy canes can also be somewhat healing too, depending on how much actual peppermint they have in them. Peppermint, as many know, is great for taming tummy troubles like nausea to menstrual cramps and recent evidence shows it may also be a powerful response to irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint is also known to curb cravings, with one study reporting that by just smelling peppermint oil every two hours, participants were less hungry and less liable to overeat.


In addition to merriment and giving, the holidays are also known for bringing on headaches caused by tension, anxiety, and alcohol, but did you know that rubbing peppermint oil on your forehead and temples can be just as effective as acetaminophen at relieving the pain? Plus it smells so good!


Speaking of smell, tis the season for many a stuffy nose and congestion and yes, peppermint can help here too as it is chalk-full of menthol, the compound found in over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.


Peppermint oil is one of my favorites, and I use it in many ways, including:


  • Inflammation/arthritis/tendonitis: massage on inflamed area or joints
  • Headaches – rub on temples, forehead, sinuses, and neck
  • Respiratory – rub on sinuses
  • Appetite – inhale to curb
  • Diffuse for mental clarity
  • Itching – rub on area


I also use it in combination with other essential oils to relieve joints and muscle aches, sciatica, arthritis, inflammation, and tendinitis.


There are many versions of peppermint oil out there, so just make sure you get a pure and natural variety. I personally swear by Young Living and highly recommend its Peppermint Oil, along with all of its other essential oils and products.


Finally, the scent of peppermint can also improve concentration and has been linked to improved alertness, motivation, and even performance.


There are so many benefits and so many uses of sweet peppermint and who doesn’t love a festive candy cane?



We’ve all heard the song, have sang it many times, and probably know all the words by heart but what in the world are we talking about with “calling birds,” “maids a milking,” and “lords a leaping?” They’re all part of the famous “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol but they don’t signify the 12 days before Christmas as many believe and they have a Christian origin.


The celebration behind the tune started back in the Middle Ages as a way to mark the days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. From 1558 to 1829, Catholics in England were forbidden from openly practicing their faith so a song of 12 days was written as a catechetical tune that included hidden meanings of the faith. Secretly and on the down low, the verses reminded believers of some of the tenets of their faith without being overtly religious. This way, they could be sung without fear of punishment.


On that “note,” here are what the “Twelve Days of Christmas” symbols symbolize:


First Day: A partridge in a pear true. Jesus. Mother partridges are known to pretend they are injured as a way of keeping predators from their helpless nestlings, much like our Lord protects us.


Second Day: 2 turtledoves. Mary and Joseph and the Old and New Testaments.


Third Day: 3 French hens. The 3 Wise Men; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and the 3 Theological Virtues; faith, hope, and love.


Fourth Day: 4 calling birds. The four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – and their four gospels.


Fifth Day: 5 golden rings. The first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Also called the Pentateuch, from the Greek words for “five” and “books,” they are meant to answer the basic questions of life and its origins.


Sixth Day: 6 geese-a-laying. The six days of Creation as written in the Book of Genesis.


Seventh Day: 7 swans-a-swimming. The seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord as well as the seven Sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony.


Eight Day: 8 maids-a-milking. The eight Beatitudes given to us through Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Guidelines for true happiness, they have the power to turn the values of a secular world upside down.


Ninth Day: 9 ladies dancing. The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.


Tenth Day: 10 lords-a-leaping. The 10 Commandments.


Eleventh Day: 11 pipers piping. The 11 faithful apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, and Jude.


Twelfth Day: 12 drummers drumming. The 12 points of the apostles’ beliefs and their creed.



And finally, just for grins, how about some fun reindeer trivia and facts?


All of Santa’s reindeer were female because only female reindeer keep their antlers in December.


Reindeer are one of the only mammals that can see UV light, allowing them to see predatory polar bears against the snow and lichen, that fungi, moss-like plant they eat.


Caribou is simply the North American name for reindeer.


As the name suggests, reindeer are a species of deer and the only deer species in which both males and females can grow antlers. Yes dear…um deer!


The Sámi people, those famous reindeer herders of northern Norway, really do use reindeer to pull sleighs through the snow.


And now that you know all the 12 Days of Christmas meaning, do you know the names of all nine Santa’s reindeer?


And just to be safe, here’s a fun “Reindeer Food” idea to do with your kids: combine oats, “snow” glitter, and silver glitter in a bowl and have your children sprinkle it on the lawn or your porch on Christmas Eve. Tell them it will attract Santa’s sleigh with food and sparkle!


So there you have it and now you know. I love this kind of stuff and I hope you do too!


Merry Christmas everyone!



I’m Making A List December 6, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:03 pm


He’s making a list and he’s checking it twice.


We all know who “he” is without even naming names and we all know just what list he’s making. Are you on his naughty or nice list? Finger’s crossed!



St. Nicholas, who we celebrate the feast day of today, probably also had a list. You could say St. Nick was the OG: original giver. Nicholas was a very rich man who liked to share his riches. He heard about a family that didn’t have enough money to buy food so he snuck onto their roof and threw some gold coins down their chimney that landed in their stocking socks hanging over the fireplace to dry. Kids all over the world heard this story and began the tradition of hanging socks and shoes in front of their fireplaces hoping to get treats from St. Nicholas. Yep, that’s why we hang Christmas stockings on our mantels and why St. Nick if often regarding as the real or first Santa Claus. He even wore a red coat!



I also love the color red and share two other traits with Santa: I love to give gifts and I love to make lists. I have lists everywhere. To do lists. Grocery lists. Gifts for Christmas list. “Ship order” lists. “Books I want to read” list. “Shows I want to watch” list. You name it. I’ve listed it.



This is an especially busy time of the year when lists are made and goals are set. But, it’s also the perfect time of year to set aside those lists for just a moment or two and list what really matters and what you could be doing. Some of the above may be challenging or even forbidden this year in some parts, but you can still send and make peace, donate food, and be the light.



Many a famous and successful person were or are list makers, including Thomas Jefferson, Martha Stewart, Johnny Cash, and Benjamin Franklin. Numbering things and counting lists is also biblical, as Moses learned in Numbers 4:49 and when he received the 10 Commandments, written by the finger of God on two tables of stone.  The word “list” itself also has a somewhat famous history as according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word can be traced back to William Shakespeare who penned in Hamlet, “a list of landlesse resolutes.” Bravo!



So what is it about lists that I…and my fellow list maker teammates…love about the habit of writing it down and listing it up? For me, it’s quite simple: it keeps me from worrying or forgetting about things. I don’t need to remember everything at the grocery store cuz I have my handy-dandy grocery list. I won’t forget to plan or prepare something for an upcoming trip cuz I have my trip list. Knowing it’s all written down somewhere allows my mind to ease up and it also prevents stress and anxiety…two things that are rampant this time of year and quite frankly, this entire crazy year.



Lists bring order to chaos and confusion.  Uncertainty…which has been anything but masked this year…is reduced and a sense of structure and control is brought to the multiple tasks at hand. If you have lots to get done or lots of information coming at you, write it all down and not only will you organize it, you will have something on which to visually and purposefully focus.



Writing stuff down is indeed an effective productivity tool and studies show that list-makers often perform better than their non-list-making counterparts. Being able to clearly see “what’s next” offers predictability and allows us to develop what psychologists call “schemata,” the mental maps we accumulate from experience and that give us a sense of what to expect. In short, lists help us organize what is otherwise often overwhelming.



Sometimes we… okay ME…focus too much on to do lists though. I do love a sweeping check noting a completed task but I also need to remind myself that life is not entirely about a check or to do list. I need to remind myself of things not to do and put on a list. I work every day on living between list entries and aim to tame my compulsive habit of taking notes and writing everything down. Once a wordsmith always a wordsmith I suppose, but sometimes I go overboard with my bardish attempts.



List making can prove especially beneficial for procrastinators. I am the farthest thing from a procrastinator but I’m married to one. And surprise, surprise: he’s not a list maker!  The key here of course is starting the work and not simply just writing it all down. Procrastinators…and others in general…can also focus too much on the big picture and a large project, which can feel daunting and intimidating, which often results in nothing getting done until the last minute. Lists, can help here.  The right lists.


Think about it, if you need to pack and move but write down “pack house for move” alongside “dentist appointment” and “anniversary party” on a list, it can feel paralyzing just getting started, right? Instead, make a list of smaller tasks to tackle one at a time, such as “pack closet,” “pack kitchen,” “send change of address cards,” etc. Way more doable!



If you’re one of those who think making a list will stymie your creativity or flexibility, worry no more! Allow on that list…or don’t even list…opportunities to do something fun and don’t think of the list as an end all. It’s a road map not a prison sentence.



If you’re wondering if you’re an obsessive list maker or just a fan of the habit, here are some signs to look for:

You own lots of notebooks and journals

You have favorite pens

You love post-a-notes

You add things you’ve already done to an existing list just to cross them off

You make to do list for others

You simply cannot understand why others don’t make lists!


I can say I’m all of those and I proudly own them all. Yes, the habit can be a bit obsessive but it also makes us who we are as list lovers, which ultimately makes us valuable parents, friends, and staff members.



Be More With Less

So now, I’ll cross “write blog on lists” off my to do list, focus back on my Christmas to do list, glance over my Hallmark movies to watch list, flip one on, enjoy the day, and hope I can write it all down and let it all go. How about you? Are you a list maker?  I’m list-ening!






Truly Gifted December 2, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:34 pm

David Arms


All fall décor has been packed neatly away and it’s officially beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our home. I have simplified things a bit this year and truth be told, Christmas looks nothing like it has in the past. We all know this. We’re all trying to make the best of it. Expectations vs. reality is for real this year.



As the brilliant and gifted Susie Davis reminds us, expectations can cause us to hold on too tightly to what we envision things should look like and in the long run can steal joy and lead to disappointment when reality doesn’t meet those expectations. Maybe this year, of all years, we need to adjust our expectations and face reality.



If you’re like me, you are grappling with what to buy friends and family for Christmas in this oddest of odd years. When our daughter was young, every Christmas she asked for an American Girl doll. So glad she won’t be getting “Homeschool Heather” this year.  Back then and to this day as a young adult, she only receives three gifts at Christmas. My thinking was that if three gifts were good enough for Jesus, they’re good enough for the rest of us. Granted, she’s never asked for Frankincense or Myrrh, but a touch of gold here and there has made its way under the tree.



Naturally we long to give each other all the toys and gifts we possibly can. The holidays can certainly test our gift of self-control when it comes to showering loved ones with gifts and even overspending on extravagant and unnecessary ones. But maybe this year we can switch things up. How about giving gifts we can’t wrap or order online? Courtney Carver advises acceptance should be at the top of our lists in that we should…


  • Accept that the holidays are going to be different this year
  • Accept that December is always a hectic month
  • Accept that you won’t get it all done and that’s okay
  • Accept that you don’t need to create the “perfect” holiday
  • Accept that emotions will run high this time of year



The Gift of Time

How many ticks on a clock have you lived so far? It’s estimated that one year equals 31,536,000 seconds. How many of those seconds have you wasted? Shared with others? Relaxed? Learned? Listened? Played? Prayed?


Given the current “we’re in the middle of a pandemic” situation, giving the gift of time will be more challenging. In the past, our presence could be such a welcomed present, but this year being present with even our closest family members and friends is practically forbidden. But, time has been a key element in 2020. We’ve either had too much of it on our hands hunkering down at home or we haven’t had enough hours in a day to successfully work from home, teach our kids from home, and keep the home going. Time has somewhat stood still this year, leaving us all longing for quality time. Maybe that’s something you can give and share.



One of my favorite gifts of all time was the above: homemade Frankincense body scrub, Myrrh bath salts, and gold chocolate coins. It was years ago that I received them but I remember them to this day and am so grateful to the sweet friend who took the time to think of them, make them, package them so perfectly, and give them.


Time is a gift from God but it can also be a gift from you to someone else.  It may be as simple as taking the time to listen to them; really listen. Take a time out and actually call someone…don’t text, message, or email…call them.  Take the time to create and make gifts for your neighbors and delivery people. You could also offer to be someone’s personal assistant for a day…or a week. Offer to pick up their dry cleaning, take their dog to the vet, wash their car, file items, make appointments, or even pack away Christmas décor. If you have the time to endlessly scroll through social media and binge watch the hottest shows, you have the time to give the gift of time.



Things Money Can’t Buy

Maybe it’s time to put away the credit cards and stop “adding to cart” and instead give gifts that money can’t buy such as…


  • Give forgiveness to your enemy or someone who’s hurt you
  • Give tolerance to those you disagree with
  • Give loyalty to your friends
  • Give a friendly smile and patience to customer service reps and store clerks
  • Give good examples to your children
  • Give comfort to anyone hurting or struggling


These are all priceless gifts that we can all afford to share.




Evelyn Henson

Gifts That Stimulate the Five Senses

All of the above are great ideas that we can somewhat easily implement this season, but let’s be honest, we also love giving actual gift-wrapped gifts. So, why not create a gift theme (I love a great theme!) and give friends and family presents that appeal to their hearing, taste, touch, smell, or sight? Make it fun and make it “stimulating!” Here are just a few suggestions:


  • Wind chimes
  • Candles
  • Snuggly throw blankets
  • Music
  • Art
  • Coffee and a festive mug
  • A music box
  • Peppermint oil and a diffuser
  • A massage or facial gift card
  • Bath salts or oils



Simple Yet Thoughtful Gifts They Haven’t Thought Of

Everyone has a list but that list often consists of the standard fare. What if we dig deep inside our creative gift-giving minds and wrap up something someone doesn’t even realize they want or something they love? This could be:


  • One of their favorite foods either homemade or delivered.
  • A book on someone they love, a coffee table book, or even their favorite childhood book
  • A cooking gift box filled with a cookbook, recipe, cooking utensils, etc.
  • A nature gift box filled with seeds, garden gloves and tools, and bird feeder.
  • A craft gift box. People are staying home more and more and many a new hobby has been discovered. Honor that hobby with a box filled with items to continue it or even take it to a new level.
  • I speak from what I know here, as something I’ve asked for this year is a gift certificate for my beloved yoga classes. What do I really “need” anyway I asked myself. I need yoga!
  • A gift card to their hair stylist. Not only will you help them out with what can be an expensive appointment, you’re helping a local small business along the way.
  • Donate to their favorite philanthropy in their name. Times are tough for many charities this year while at the same time needs are greater.



In the end, the giving of gifts is not all about what you give, but how you give it and why you give it. Do you spend more time and effort on the buying of gifts and the outward wrappings of them than you do on what’s inside? Today ask yourself, “If I were gift wrapped as a package would others be happy to receive me?” Yes, you have to believe to receive but you should also graciously and thoughtfully give. After all, takers may procure better, but givers sleep better.


This year, perhaps more than ever, we should also remember to look at the true gifts around us: our family, friends, homes, jobs, health, and faith. Some of these are missing or gone for so many this year and it might be a tough road ahead and not one paved with endless and meaningless gifts. Let’s not forget them and their needs as we shop and when we pray.


Thanksgiving is History November 26, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:49 pm


As we gather round our tables and TVs today in celebration of the uniquely American holiday that is Thanksgiving, let’s take a minute to learn why we’re doing so and take another minute to actually be thankful, even in this most unusual and tumultuous year.



Appropriately, the very first Thanksgiving was preceded by a series of tumultuous events, starting in September of 1620 when a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England carrying 102 passengers. The group consisted of an assortment of religious separatists who were seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and were joined by others lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in a New World. You could say the Mayflower was filled with the original faithful and capitalists.



After a very treacherous 66 day trip, the Mayflower dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod and one month later crossed Massachusetts Bay where who we now call Pilgrims established a village at Plymouth.  It still was rough going though, as during that first brutal winter most of them remained on board and many got sick. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring.



The following March in 1621, surviving settlers moved ashore and were later visited by various Native Americans who taught them how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish, and avoid poisonous plants. In November, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited their Native American allies for what is now considered America’s first “Thanksgiving.”


In 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation when he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to our war of independence and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It wasn’t until 1846, however, that Thanksgiving became a national holiday when Abraham Lincoln made it official during the height of the Civil War. His proclamation entreated all Americans to ask God to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of this nation.” Lincoln deemed the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day, but in 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression.



As I write the previous paragraph I can’t help but think what our former leaders would think if they could see us today. Washington would probably cringe that our Constitution is being disparaged by many and in many ways and Lincoln would think his words sadly ring as clear today as they did back then. Racial and civil strife. Heal the nation. Chills, right? And as for Roosevelt’s move, it was probably a wise one for the times, but how ironic that the holiday meant to stimulate gratitude is followed by a day when we’re cajoled to spur retail sales all our own. We’re so thankful and yet want so much.



Yes, this year is different but there is always, always something to be thankful for. So today, let’s try to count really our blessings. Count our joys instead of our woes, count our friends instead of our foes, count our courage instead of our fear, count our health instead of our wealth, and count our smiles instead of our tears.


Thanksgiving Fun Facts

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be named the national bird instead of the bald eagle.

The tradition of the president pardoning a turkey every year started with Harry Truman.

More than 250 million turkeys are raised in the U.S. with more than 40 million gobbled up on Thanksgiving.

Male turkey gobble; females cluck.

The original Pilgrims and Native Americans probably shared rabbit, chicken, fish, goose, pigeon, squash, cabbage, beans, nuts, onions, eggs, and cheese at the first Thanksgiving, with not a green bean casserole in sight.




The Pies Have It November 25, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:20 pm

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, which means your turkey should be thawing and your pies should be baking. Both turkey and pie, particularly pumpkin, are Thanksgiving traditions and I love them both. But did you know that pie at Thanksgiving really has nothing to do with the Pilgrims or Native Americans? In fact, common belief is that the tradition was probably started by a magazine sometime in the mid-nineteenth century. Who knew?!


We all have a pie preference and according to surveys and research (and no voter fraud or mail in ballots were detected or allowed in the taking of them), the top three pies are apple, pumpkin, and pecan…in that order. I beg to differ as I’m a pumpkin pie girl through and through. Maybe you prefer pecan or apple pie after your turkey, or a host of other pies. And guess what, just like pies, which come in all flavors and styles, the one you like the best says something about your unique traits and styles. Just what do your pie choices say about you? According to the American Pie Council, Hellow Giggles, and Little Things, everything!



Pumpkin Pie

A Thanksgiving tradition and my absolute favorite year round, pumpkin pie is considered America’s second favorite after apple. Made of one of the earliest import foods that Europeans introduced the New World to, the orange squash quickly became beloved by Colonists and remains so today.


The pie is a fall tradition so those who like it best often consider fall their favorite season. Raising my hand! Those who love pumpkin pie also love sitting at home cuddled up with a cozy blanket, a fire, and maybe a good book or good friends. Yep, that’s me too. Pumpkin pie is considered simple and a classic, and so are pumpkin pie lovers. They are nostalgic and traditionalists; like to keep things chic but not fussy; are effortlessly elegant; and are most likely emotionally stable, consistent, and reliable. Pumpkin pie lovers also can’t stand drama or chaos and having a calm environment is very important to them.



Apple Pie

According to the American Pie Council, this is America’s favorite pie.  If it’s your favorite, you’re probably “As American as Apple Pie,” love tradition and security but can tend to be a tad predictable. You tend to loyally lean on the same products again and again, whether it is your dish soap or your favorite jeans, and you are a grounded, realistic person and friend. You are also compassionate, love the outdoors, and enjoy being active.



Pecan Pie

America’s third favorite, pecan pie is very sweet and so are you! Lovers of this pie tend to like the simple things in life and are seekers of love. Especially popular in the south, there are many versions of pecan pie, but all are sweet and all are beloved. If it’s your favorite pie, you’re likely thoughtful and analytical and have tons of friends. Those friends love your rationality and loyalty and often come to you for advice. Sounds like you are just like pecan pie itself: infectious!



Peach Pie

Probably my second favorite pie, peach pie has been around forever and is so versatile. You can serve one hot or cold and make it with fresh, frozen, or canned peaches. If you love peach pie, you probably also love a challenge and love for your mind to be stimulated.  You are definitely a thinker but sometimes over analyze and you are someone who learns from mistakes and trials. You also hate to fail.


Blueberry Pie

Blueberries can stain a table cloth or shirt like nobody’s business but guess what; if this is your favorite pie you couldn’t care less! A blueberry pie lover is that fun-loving, laid back, life of the party person. In fact, you’re kinda like the pie itself, which is considered by many the easiest to make, in that you are easy going and open minded and you love when others succeed. You are also smart, have excellent taste, don’t embarrass easily, and are quick to laugh at yourself. Relax and be happy: you’re a blueberry pie lover!


Cherry Pie

When I think of a cherry pie I think tart and so are you to a certain extent if this is your fave! It’s all in a good way though, in that you have attitude and confidence and you don’t let people push you around. You, like the bright red of the cherries themselves, also don’t mind standing out in a crowd and you live for a little excitement. That yearning for adventure means you’re a risk taker, are game for trying new things and taking on new hobbies, and are rarely bored with life.


Sweet Potato Pie

Often confused with its more popular cousin the pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie has also been around since Colonial times. It’s nostalgic and very southern, and so are you if it’s your top pie pick. It’s ingredients were adapted from African cuisine and it’s still a staple soul food item. It’s also usually a surprising but welcome sight at holiday gatherings and so are you!


Lemon Meringue Pie

Like the tangy center of this pie, you are bubbly and full of optimism. You are anything but “basic” and love bright colors and making the best of every situation and life in general. You could say your motto is “When life gives you lemons, make a lemon meringue pie!”


Chocolate Silk Pie

To me, this is basically a chocolate pudding pie but to those who favor it, it’s much, much more. Baked properly, a chocolate silk pie is just that: smooth. So are you. You prefer the best things in life and have great taste. Richness emotes from the pie and from you.


So there you have it. What does your favorite pie say about you? Just for fun, print this out, and ask family and friends which pie is their favorite and what it says about them. Considering it’s 2020, you might have to do this on a Zoom or phone call, but have fun with it anyway!



All of this got me thinking.  What does the rest of the food at the Thanksgiving table say about us?  Let’s find out!


If the turkey is your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal, you are probably strong, honest, and reliable.  You are also probably a traditionalist and a true friend.


Those who dive right into the stuffing (or dressing as some call it) love to laugh and are fun and lively.  They are most likely the life of a Thanksgiving Day party.


Mashed potato lovers tend to be a bit sophisticated and reserved, but if the mood strikes them, they loosen up and tend to enjoy life to the fullest.


Crazy over cranberries?  Then you are more than likely nostalgic and are the one adult who doesn’t mind sitting at the kids table.


If the green beans get you, you are hands down the health nut of the bunch…unless it’s that famous recipe with cream soup and fried onions!


So what are you?   Do your choices match the personality described?


Whatever is your liking, as we all do our shopping and plan our Thanksgiving meals, and as we cook and bake ‘til we’re turkeyed-out, let’s all focus on being thankful and what ingredients are really important in the recipe for life.


“Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work, hope, fidelity, kindness, rest, prayer,

and one well-selected solution.  Add one teaspoon of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly,

a sprinkle of play, and a heaping cup of good humor.” 

Author Unknown






A Berry Interesting Thanksgiving Tradition November 24, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:02 pm

Thanksgiving 2020 will look much different for many of us, but some things will still hold true, especially the food we eat. We may not be hosting friends and family, but we will probably still be feasting on turkey, stuffing, pies, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and cranberries. I was never a big fan of cranberries back in the “open a can and pour out the log” days, but I’ve grown to love them. What exactly are those little red berries though and why do we generally only eat them once a year?


The small, red, and tart fruit is actually very healthy and we can thank Native Americans for the tradition, as they mixed cranberries with deer meat waaaay back in the day. They may have even shared some with the pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving Day.


History also notes that sailors used cranberries as a source of Vitamin C to prevent scurvy and more recent studies suggest cranberries promote gastrointestinal and oral health, raise the good HDL cholesterol, and may even help prevent cancer.



The very first official harvesting of cranberries was by Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall, who planted the first commercial beds in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Many of today’s cranberry bogs are in fact more than 100 years old!


Cranberries grow on low-running vines in sandy marshes and are one of only three commercially grown fruits native to North America. The other two being blueberries and Concord grapes. During harvesting, the berry marshes are flooded, special equipment is used to knock the berries off the vines, and then they float to the surface. Most of the world’s cranberries are grown on some 50,000 acres in the U.S. and Canada and are harvested in September and October. Perfect timing for fresh cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving!


Each year, Americans eat about 400 million pounds of cranberries, 20 percent of which will be consumed over Thanksgiving. The fruit can be eaten both fresh and dried, and is popular in muffins, trail mixes, cereals, salads, and of course juices.


So what do you prefer? Fresh or canned? Whole berry canned or jellied? I prefer the whole berry but if you like that blob of gelled stuff, here’s a fun way to make it festive using cookie cutters:



And just in case you don’t have enough food planned (LOL!), here are some yummy recipes that use cranberries. Use them this week or all year long!



Cranberry Brie Cups (Great for Thanksgiving morning!)

1 8 oz. tube crescent rolls dough

1 8 oz. wheel of brie (can substitute cream cheese)

½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Optional: chopped pecans on top


Preheat oven to 375 and grease mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough and pinch together seams.

Cut into 24 squares and place into muffin tin slots.

Cut cheese into small pieces and place inside crescent dough.

Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Bake until crescent pastry is golden, about 15 minutes.



Festive Pineapple Cranberry Salad (My favorite!)

1 can mandarin oranges

2 pkg. raspberry flavored gelatin

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 apple, chopped

Optional: chopped pecans

Drain oranges and pour juice into sauce pan with 3 cups cold water. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Add dry gelatin and stir 2 minutes. Stir in cranberry sauce. Pour into large bowl and add oranges and apple. Refrigerate 1 ½ hours or until slightly thickened.



Three Ingredient Cranberry Relish

(Anthony Bourdain calls this, “Delicious and truly one of the easiest recipes in the world.”)

Wash 1 large orange under warm water. Dry and coarsely chop skin, flesh, and pith. Remove seeds. Combine orange and 12 oz. fresh cranberries in food processor. Pulse until mixture appears grainy. Transfer to bowl and fold in 1 cup sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.



Tangy Cranberry Meatballs (great use for any leftover cranberry sauce!)

Leftover cranberry sauce

¼ rice vinegar

2 T ketchup

2 T soy sauce

2 t Worcestershire sauce

1 t brown sugar

¼ cup water

2 lb. pkg. precooked cocktail-size meatballs


In a large saucepan combine all ingredients except meatballs, cook on medium low, and stir until smooth.

Add meatballs and cook until heated, about 10-15 minutes.



Cranberry Nut Bread (my mom’s)

2 cups fresh, whole cranberries

2 T butter

2 cups sifted flour

1 cup and 2 T sugar

1 ¾ t baking powder

1 t salt

1 egg, well beaten

1/3 cup orange juice

1 t grated orange rind

¼ cup water

Cut cranberries in half. Melt and set aside butter. Sift together dry ingredients. Combine egg, orange juice, and water. Make well in dry ingredients and add liquids. Stir in butter. Add orange rind and cranberries. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.



Cranberry Salsa Dip

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries, rinsed

½ cup sugar

Green onions, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 lime, juiced

Pinch of salt

2 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, softened

Put all ingredients except cream cheese in food processor. Pulse until ingredients are chopped coarsely. Put in airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. After, spread softened cream cheese on serving plate and spread salsa over cream cheese. Serve at room temperature with crackers.



Cranberry Hot Tea

1 48 oz. can cranberry juice cocktail

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup orange juice

1 cup lemonade

1 cup pineapple juice

Cinnamon sticks

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Serve warm with cinnamon stick garnish.



Cranberry Punch

2 bottles cranberry juice

1 ½ bottles water (using juice bottle to measure)

2 cans frozen orange juice, thawed

Juice of 3 lemons or 9 T lemon juice

1 pkg. red hot candies

Whole cloves and sugar to taste

Put all ingredients in pot and heat on low until red hots melt. Transfer to crock pot to serve and keep warm.



Cape Cod

Mix 1 part vodka with cranberry juice to taste in highball glass and fill with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.


Sea Breeze: add grapefruit juice

Bay Breeze: add pineapple juice

Cosmopolitan: add triple sec and serve in martini glass



Cranberry Kiss Cocktail

1.5 oz. cranberry vodka

2 oz. cranberry juice

1.5 oz. simple sugar

Lime wedges and mint leaves

Muddle 3 lime wedges and 8 mint leaves in a shaker. Add other ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with floating mint leaves.





Humble Pie November 23, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:15 pm


Humility. It is defined as freedom from pride or arrogance and the quality or state of being humble. It should be a quality we all strive to achieve and even master, but trying to do so can be well, rather humbling. I’ve seen it firsthand personally quite a bit recently.


I saw it over the weekend as my college football team beat up on their cross-state rival in a powerful fashion and in a way they have done so historically year after year. I was so happy and felt so proud. We are better than them. It felt good to say that (even though “we” is really just the team) but in the back of my prideful head I heard myself forever telling my daughter that if there’s anything mom hates, it’s “phony, sneaky, and braggy.” I was indeed braggy that day. Stay proud and happy, but stay somewhat humble and respectful. Okay, maybe the next day but on that day, humility was not my thought process.


I’ve also witnessed a president who worked tirelessly albeit haughtily to help this country, which he loves so much, get better and be better. Ultimately however, his perceived lack of humility may have been his ultimate downfall despite many successes on behalf of all Americans. It’s also undoubtedly left him humble. We shall see how it all unfolds, but whatever the case, one can’t help but be humbled when facing what he is.


I saw my friend post the above meme and thought to myself, “now that’s humbling.” Yes, we’ve all been challenged and frustrated, but maybe we’ve also grown and learned. Let’s not take any of it for granted.



Humility is not something today’s society pushes. We are an extremely self-absorbed and self-centered people that expect the world and feel entitled to everything and anything. Just yesterday I was talking to my daughter about how amazed (and to be honest, dismayed) I am at how many “Happy Birthday” posts I see friends giving to friends online but the photos chosen for those posts are mostly ones of themselves…certainly their best shots and poses regardless of how the actual birthday boy or girl looks. Why? Are we that impressed with ourselves? Are we narcissistic? Are we so very starved for validation and compliments?


Every two minutes we take more pictures today than all of humanity did before the year 1900. Scroll through any social media and you’ll see post after post of those you follow full of shot after shot of themselves. No message; no purpose; just “look how pretty and awesome I am.” Many of those pictures are often actually even looking into a mirror.



In doing my prayer and meditation yesterday and “attending” mass online, I learned that God does indeed want us to look in the mirror but not to flatter ourselves but to see Him. You see, God will recognize us as we strive to recognize Him. But what does He look like? Look in the mirror as God is in all of us. From there we’re instructed to look around and at others, recognize Him in them, and treat everyone accordingly. I know! Tough call sometimes right?!  As we look at others, are we judging and criticizing them? Do we consider ourselves better and smarter than them? Do we instead recognize the one thing they do good rather than all the things they do that we don’t like and will He ultimately look at us in our final hours and say “I don’t recognize you” or “Hey there. Good job!”



In another reading I learned that St. Paul specifically warns Timothy about signs that, for lack of better words, are not good. They are biblical and can be divided into four groups: the exaltation of self, the rejection of authority, the rejection of moral standards, and a vicious and unloving citizenship. I don’t think I need to go any further for you to realize that all four accurately and alarmingly describe the times we’re living in today.


Pride? Check.

Rebellion? Check.

Immorality and decadence? Check check.

Intolerance and unwillingness to reconcile? Check check.


It’s unarguable that a general self-centeredness and increasing level of narcissism has invaded our culture and there is zero doubt there is a prevailing rejection and lack of respect for authority permeating and increasing in society, whether it be for law enforcement, teachers, parents, and the basic rule of law. And let’s not forget for one minute that the devil is often called “the lawless one.”


Then there’s the rejection of moral standards. Again, I can quickly move on from this one without many arguing that our country’s values and ethics are declining.  The last one rings true today as well, as we have indeed become a society of anonymous insults and thoughtless acts and violence is now considered free speech, “peaceful” and a “right” or privilege.


This ain’t good people. Could humility really be the answer?



Maybe so. But I’m not talking the humility so often considered as being quiet and shy, non-competitive, or lacking self-confidence. I’m talking the humility that rejoices in one’s success but not at the expense of others and believes in oneself but ultimately believes in a higher power. Work hard and compete, yes, but keep your accomplishments in check and don’t confuse confidence with arrogance. Be strong but also strong enough to lift up others.


If you think you are always right and always want to get your way; you’re not humble.

If you rarely apologize and always try to “school” and “educate” others; you’re not humble.

If you don’t listen and long for esteem and praise, you’re not humble.

If you’re always making excuses for yourself and justifying your behavior, you’re not humble.

If you hide your true self and hang on to envy, you’re not humble.

If you refuse to carry out menial tasks and are extremely materialistic, you’re not humble.


Surprising some of those, right? So where do we start?


For all of this we need look no further than Jesus. In addition to all of the above, He chose to ride a donkey into Jerusalem; the lowest of the low in the animal world at the time and used by ordinary people to do their very ordinary work. He also chose to be born in a stable among animals; not in a castle among kings and royalty. He worked as a carpenter alongside His humble and obedient dad, hung out the prostitutes and tax collectors in hopes of redeeming them, and died on a cross. You don’t get much more humble than that sports fans.


And speaking of sports fans, this one’s looking in the mirror today and being grateful her team won but also looking around and knowing that even though my team was better than theirs that one day, I’m no better than them. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and eat pecan and pumpkin pie later this week, let’s be sure to also have some humble pie because when we’re humble, we all win.





Just Say No November 18, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:57 pm


Today I’m taking a break; a break from everything that has been taking up my time. Although it probably seems like we’ve all been “taking a break” since around March, in many ways our lives have been engulfed. We hear we need to mask up but that masks really don’t work. We are told to social distance but are learning just how much damage isolation and loneliness are causing in society. We’re told that American elections and free and fair, but this year’s was anything but. What to do, what to do?


Stop. Just stop.



Thank you Courtney Carver. The “Be More with Less” guru is spot on and I’m taking her word for it today. I changed my mind on an outdoor activity, I’m tuning out, and I’m letting go. I’m stopping.


Stop pushing

Stop complaining

Stop controlling

Stop overextending yourself

Stop compromising

Stop saying yes when you want to say no

Stop proving yourself

Stop making excuses

Stop doubting yourself

Stop overthinking

Stop wishing

Stop worrying


All wise words from Carver, to which I’m adding:

Stop apologizing

Stop defending

Stop doubting

Stop criticizing

Stop snacking

Stop expecting

Stop longing


It’s hard though, right? It’s officially the holiday season and pressure is building. Pressure to create the perfect holidays in the midst of a pandemic and in the absence of many family members, and pressure to accept and adapt. It ain’t happening people. Not much will be the same this year and things are sure to only get worse before they get better.



My yoga instructor posted that pic recently and I loved it. Her caption was “Become aware of the stories you are telling yourself. Would you speak that way to a dear friend?” Brilliant.


It’s time to tend to your own personal garden and plant seeds of hope not doubt; flowers not weeds…in your minds and in your hearts. It’s time to think about what’s important to you, not what others think should be important. Carver is big on boundaries and reminds us that we still get to decide where our attention goes despite the world yelling at us to “watch this,” “think this,” scroll through all of this,” and “feel this.” Stop. Stop caving and start caring less about what other people think of you. Take care of self.


Today, in the middle of the week and on a day I’d normally have scheduled, I’m taking care of self. It’s what I need as an introvert. In fact, just this past week I learned that introverts are actually energized by solitude and are recharged from the inside out, from ideas, and from feelings. Author Adam McHugh takes it a bit further by saying introverts, much like geysers, find power from underneath and often hidden places. Today my friends, I’m Old Faithful!



Maybe the universe is screaming at you too to slow down, stop, and say no. Remind yourself that “enough” is a decision, not an amount. Have you had enough? Then instead of striving to more done, strive to have less to do. Take the time and ask yourself why you’re so focused on staying busy. What are you trying to prove and who are you trying to prove it to? As Carver writes, when proving becomes the point of doing, it’s often not worth doing at all. So, instead of proving you’re amazing, just be amazing. Instead of proving you’re right, live right. Instead of proving your life, just live.


Another thing I’m trying to let go of is anger. I’ve been feeling a lot of that lately and come to find out that as we grow older, anger often shows up. Truth be told, today’s headlines are enough to make even the most optimistic a bit angry, but even in the tamest of times, it’s common as we age. Psychology tells us that we get our wounds early in life but when we’re young, our energy and dreams are still growing and within reach. Anger and bitterness emerge later when the full brunt of wounds, hurts, and life’s perceived unfairness hit us hard. We may be more mature, but we may also be more full of disappointment and resentment at “what could have and should have been.” Say no and let it go. Become more mellow and gracious in spirit. We are coming upon what we call THANKSgiving after all. What are you thankful for?



During the current election, Joe Biden warned us that we were about to go into a “dark winter,” but before winter approaches, I’m saying “no” to his darkness and reveling in fall; my favorite season. And just like trees shed their leaves, I too am shedding. I may not be shedding leaves and branches, but rather despair and control, busyness and compromising. As the trees let go of their leaves, I will try to let go of the past and hope for relief, renewal, and rejuvenation to grow and blossom. And maybe a miracle or two.



What I’ve Learned November 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:52 pm

They say life’s biggest challenges offer some of its biggest lessons. The past week has been challenging but lessons have been learned. Here is what I’ve learned during it all and some personal observations:


(Blogger’s note: Yes, I’m aware there are still lawsuits being filed, but I’m going here with how I feel today and what is current. I guess you never know, but here’s what I do know.)



Losing sucks.


Feeling God let you and millions of believers down sucks even more but since secularism and a world free of values and morals is the devil’s goal, I’ll continue to believe and trust. I’m unabashedly dismayed right now but again, division, dysfunction, mistrust, and confusion are the devil’s trademarks and he is alive and celebrating in America right now.


Everything we were warned about regarding mail in ballots came to fruition and they worked like a charm for supporters of them. They were created and implemented hastily and their process and infrastructure were faulty and overwhelmed. If this is something American voters want to see in every election, it needs to be seriously revisited.


We’ve all learned why Biden didn’t worry much about campaigning.


Life goes on.


Despite your best efforts and love for country and freedom, you can be your own worst enemy. Trump was his own worst enemy and it lead to his ultimate failure.


Humility is hard but necessary.


Hate is a powerful thing…more powerful then I knew or wanted to admit. It pretty much single-handedly influenced and affected the election and with it the future and direction of our country…a country thriving pre-COVID.


The proud “silent majority” was somewhat silenced…by a majority of sources including the voters…but it appears they are by no means dismantled and steadfastly loyal as ever.


The make-up of the two parties has dramatically shifted and reversed. Democrats are now the party of the rich and powerful and Republicans are the party of the middle class and non-elites.


Riots will stop. They already have. 


Polling is dead.


Three time’s a charm.


What I haven’t learned or figured out, and quite frankly find ironic, is that the people and party that spewed hate for four years are now calling for healing, unity, and decency. Do we do so only when things go our way or should we have all been practicing these qualities for the past four years as well?


I’ve learned and find it counterproductive that, with the exception of a few, the election’s happy campers are posting the most vile and anything but unifying posts.  Practice what you preach.


Funny how so many posts from the “winners” were more about who lost then who won and I really haven’t seen that many “my candidate won” proclamations save for a select few. Makes me wonder how many actually like the candidate they voted for. Props to those bold and proud enough to own their votes.


Not sure if I’m more sad Trump lost or the fact that Joe Biden will actually be president and a socialist is one heartbeat away from succeeding him.


COVID is still here and now Biden can fix it like he promised. I look forward to it almost magically and quickly getting under control if not disappearing, as a weak and ruined economy is no longer the agenda and credit for a vaccine that’s already in the works will be considered crowning achievements.


Life was good for most of us pre-COVID.  The economy was booming, jobs were created, taxes were lowered, unemployment was down, for the first time since Eisenhower we were not engaged in a foreign war, gas prices were way down, home ownership was up, our borders were safe, deregulation and reciprocal trade were in full force, small businesses flourished, interest rates were low, crime in most places was down, and school shootings all but disappeared. I’m saddened to learn that none of it mattered for millions of Americans.


On that note, I’ve learned there is essentially nothing President Trump could do or implement to please his haters because they would rather see him fail then give him credit for anything and also because he needlessly name called, over tweeted, and was “nasty.” 


More than half of America prefers “polished” career politicians over business style leaders and free-thinkers who offer a breath of fresh air, albeit a brash one. Careful what you ask for.


Eloquence with lies and smooth talk is preferred over brutal honesty, which is considered too hurtful and uncouth.


What goes around comes around. Republicans are today feeling exactly how Democrats felt four years ago.


We need to get back to teaching kids how to think, not what to think.


I’ve learned that we don’t have to…and probably never will…agree on everything and that’s normal and okay. If everyone thinks the same, that’s conformity not diversity.


Hiding and not revealing all or even too much was more powerful and convincing then vocally and physically throwing yourself out there.


You learn nothing if you are right all the time. What’s popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular. Let’s all keep learning.


Mental frailty or any signs of it is no longer deemed an impediment to higher office.


Our daughter is strong and much more politically savvy then I knew. She read books, did her research, followed the issues, and strayed away from her generation’s “free” stuff and if it feels good do it mantras. I could not be more proud of her.


Churches, pastors, priests, and other religious leaders now have their hands full trying to convince their flocks that good triumphs over evil and that prayers are answered. I’m listening…


At the same time, I will remind myself that despair and doubt are not of God and soundly reject, renounce, and rebuke it.


Everything happens for a reason.


Privileges shouldn’t be of more value then principles and shouldn’t be considered rights. I’ve learned there’s a difference. 


The American political system is forever changed and broken. Money talks and hate wins, as it did in 2016 and again this year. Four years ago people didn’t vote or voted against someone they didn’t care for and many more did the same this year.


Our voting system is completely corrupt and so easily changed on a whim and for an agenda. This should worry all of us.


Election and voting integrity should be non-partisan.


If you have the media on your side they will look the other way and hide anything. Even the most false and destructive ideas will be justified by the MSM and the most obvious and glaring will be ignored.


There are way too many political and party pundits posing as journalists. Clarity needs to be established between opinion hosts and shows and news programs.


Breaking news is broken and the media and journalism are forever tainted and have much work to do to gain back trust and credibility.


Thankfully there won’t be any more 24-7 90 percent negative news screaming at us. It will all be utopia and we will now be living in that perfect world free of riots, systematic racism, cages, Russian collusion, climate change, meanness, national independence, etc. Nothing negative will be reported. Their blatant bias has been validated and they are now invigorated. They’ll spin everything as unified, but my hunch is it will be anything but.


If you not only have the MSM behind you but also big tech, you can convince people of anything and keep them from hearing anything you don’t want them to. 


Law and order and our proud military are not priorities for more than half of America.


Hate trumps logic and the economy. Stupid.


I’ve learned that I don’t know what disturbs and baffles me more, the fact that a majority and “winning” number of “woke” American voters voted for the most liberal senator to be next in line for president or the fact that she was chosen and now celebrated for her sex and color by those who say neither should matter.


People actually feel that Kamala Harris is a more qualified VP candidate then Mike Pence. That’s all you need to know to sense what’s wrong with this country.


I might have a case of Biden Derangement Syndrome. For sure a case of KDS.  But, I won’t riot and I won’t moan for four years. I’ll try not to name call and I’ll let go of my bitterness. 


You can spend $100 million of your own money in key swing states you don’t live in and still lose them.


Feelings matter more than facts and freedom.


Transparency is an option not a given.


Anger, bitterness, resentment, hate, jealousy, and greed at all costs won out but let’s all hope for them to be replaced by peace, compassion, patience, understanding, and true tolerance from both sides.


Free speech and free markets are not the free stuff more than half of America wants.


I think we’ve all learned that who you’re not allowed to criticize or question is who controls you.


I was shocked to learn that Oregon became the first state to decriminalize heroin and cocaine.


I’ve learned that many of the people I know and considered “smart” I now look at a bit differently. I don’t necessarily not like them but I have so many questions for them and would love to hear their rationale…a rationale that doesn’t start with “But Trump is so nasty.”  


Many voted how they did based solely on hate, which we all agree is petty and small, but we also know you reap what you sow.


Many others voted on a woman’s right to kill her own baby so I look forward to baby showers now being called fetus or cell showers, the death of a pregnant mother not being considered a double homicide, the end of harvesting organs from aborted human lives since they’re not considered humans with human rights, a single cell or organism found on Mars or elsewhere not considered “life” since they’re not considered so here, and ultimately deciding which is greater: the right to choose or the right to live and be born.


I’ve learned that despite trying so hard not to believe that socialism is alive and well in the U.S., it is and it scares the living hell out of my dear friends from Venezuela and Nicaragua.


Name calling is never good. (And save the “but Trump did it more than anyone” justification…I agree.) Both sides did it and I learned that even “friends” of mine stooped to call me and others hateful, hurtful, and false names and labels. Attack those I support all you want, but when you attack me and my character; you’re out. 


I’ve learned that just over 50 million U.S. citizens see no purpose for religion in their lives and many who do, didn’t vote their religion.


All lives don’t matter equally.


Hopefully America’s four branches of government will remain equally divided, which was how our forefathers wanted it. We should all want checks and balances.


You can’t argue with good, loyal, and successful kids; they validate our efforts and our legacies.


We have successfully raised a generation of if you don’t get what you want, you whine long and loud enough until you get your way, and if need be, destroy and destruct.


I’ve learned that what’s best for me is to unfollow and unfriend.  Not because I’m a sore loser but because I’m eliminating from my feeds and my life anything that doesn’t feed my soul. If you’re a name caller or non-stop campaigner on either side, buh-bye.  Move on and give it a rest.


What is morally wrong is politically correct and patriotism is frowned upon and called arrogant and naïve.


Good doesn’t always win and prayers aren’t always answered.


Knowing you voted your beliefs, morals, conscience, and values is enough to get you through each day.


The Blue Wave never happened and Trump’s base is strong.


I’ve learned what it feels like to be ashamed of and embarrassed for America and not proud to be an American. It’s not a good feeling.


You can sleep your way to the top.


Jill Biden’s selfish goal of being FLOTUS has been realized and how long until the country’s first lady is back on every magazine cover?


It’s time to hug oil and gas workers, farmers, and factory workers as they now worry about their jobs.


I remain blessed and grateful.


You’ve got it now Dems. Let’s see what you got.


This should be fun.


Living Your Dream? October 28, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:05 pm

You could say it all started with our family’s little white poodle Pepita…affectionately called Peppy. I used to hug on her constantly and would take her with me to hide behind a large potted plant of my mom’s whenever I was in trouble. Or sad. Or mad. Or just moody. Peppy was my pet but she was also my ride or die. Then came Fula and Sabrina, Boots and Sundance. All my life I have always had a dog so, in answer to the above question, my natural instinct was to want to be a veterinarian.



That all came to a literal screeching halt when my beloved black poodle Sabrina Renee (don’t all dogs have middle names?!) was hit by a car in front of our house and the vet couldn’t save her. I realized right then and there that I could never be that person who couldn’t save someone’s four-legged family member.



In a more “pie in the sky” sense, I also dreamed of being either Laurie Partridge or Chris Evert. I loved to sing and I loved tennis but in reality, those dreams were most definitely more dream-like than life-like. Then there was Nancy Drew; oh how I loved her and her books and had visions of catching sleuths and discovering hidden gems. Ironically and in a very round-about way, my eventual career allowed me to do just that!



It wasn’t until many years later that I discovered that career and my true calling. I was a college freshman and met with an advisor because I hadn’t declared a major and was somewhat floundering academically. She asked what my interests were and I said Political Science, History, and English but that I wasn’t interested in teaching. She thought it over like a good advisor does and then suggested I consider Journalism because it kinda combines all three. Bingo! I had my answer and I had my career.



After agreeing on a major we then had to decide on a school. She researched universities with good Journalism schools and through nothing but what I like to call a “God wink,” I decided on the University of Oklahoma. I didn’t know a soul in Oklahoma and had never been there but I loved football and in what felt like overnight, my parents were driving me to Norman. From day one it was the perfect place for me and I will be forever grateful to OU for not only shaping my career but changing my life. Looking back, I wish so bad I could remember that advisor’s name to thank her for helping me climb those stairs to success in a way I would have never dreamed of. Even in my childhood dreams.



But what if I that little child in me would have gone on to become a vet? Or stuck with tennis or singing? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been the next Laurie Partridge or Chris Evert, but maybe I would have saved many a family pet’s life. It’s probably best that becoming a vet was squelched cuz turns out I am not a math and science kind of girl. I’m a word girl and would have probably been lost in a small animal vet curriculum.



As fate would have it, I did end up teaching, albeit preschool at our former church, and it was something I loved. I also worked in both the sports and music industries as a reporter and publicist, with the former being the most fun and energizing job I ever had. As for Nancy Drew, well, I didn’t uncover any great mysteries but maybe reading all those books of hers inspired me to write.



When it all comes down to it, you have to believe in yourself and yet be able to pivot when necessary. Don’t get caught up in other people’s demands or approval of where you want to go and who you want to be. Instead, take Ayn Rand’s advice and tell yourself, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”



You just never know how life will unfold, right? Work hard and hustle. Follow your heart but also have a Plan B. And maybe even a Plan C. Go with your gut but go with your strengths too. And it goes without saying that you’ll probably also have to take risks but always make wise decisions. As Stephen Covey said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I’m a product of my decisions.”  Build those dreams people, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.



What about you? What was your childhood dream job? Did you achieve it? Did you end up doing something completely different? Why? Have you made sure to gain both knowledge and wisdom? Are you making a living…and making a life? Please share!