Do you know what is in your Girl Scout Cookies?

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Happy 4th Blog Birthday to ME . . . why are we here?

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Today, my blog turns 4 years old. And, like some children this age, today it is in the mood to muse a bit about the question of why we are here. No, not here on this earth – here on the Internet.

Why do we login and communicate or seek? When do we cross lines and blur conscience?

Should the Internet be a dumping ground for when we need to vent or should we be seeking something more meaningful and positive?

As you may have read on a recent posting I have taken up cross stitch again after many years absence. And one of the things I did was join a Facebook group for people who cross stitch.

But, talking about designs and thread and stitching is not all the members do in the group. There are also a lot of rambling posts about personal issues. And I mean REALLY personal issues. Things I would certainly think about before confiding to even my closest friends. And it would definitely only be in private.

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Are GMOs breeding a monoculture food system?

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I find myself wondering if one day the history books will talk about what was once known as biodiversity in our food system. And its chronology would include the role that GMOs played in putting an end to nature’s ally and bringing about monoculture crops.

A monoculture is an area with a single type of crop or planting.

People spend a lot of time debating and debunking theories about health hazards of food that has been genetically engineered. There is a lot of information out there – much of it a bit, shall we say, fuzzy in its perspective.

But, one thing that I question is why there is so little talk about the way widespread use of a single type of seed for a type of crop (say, one type of tomato or corn) will create a monoculture for that crop. And what that means.

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Cross stitch is the Candy Crush Saga of crafts

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It’s really not that big of a stretch, ya know. Both cross stitch and Candy Crush Saga have bright colors and a grid. There’s the frustration if you mess up and have to start a level over again. And, there is the joy of seeing tangible progress.

For years and years, I was really into counted cross stitch. As some of you might know, in counted cross stitch you have a pattern with lots of squares (a grid) that have symbols corresponding to thread colors. And you use that pattern to stitch a design.

Watching the design come to life in cross stitch is truly a delight. Back when I was doing writing projects that were typically quite large and took a year or more to complete, I would enjoy being able to do a project with cross stitch. I could see progress creating something.

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Oops, I forgot to invite Norman Rockwell to my Thanksgiving

Swans need to eat, too.

Swans need to eat, too.

As I approach this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, I find myself wondering about the hype vs. reality. How many people are planning their holiday with thought to how the pictures will look posted on Facebook? How many people are dreading the crowds if they’re traveling? And how many people think just one day to bask in the glow of our loved ones is inadequate?

I love my loved ones all year round, as you do I am sure. So, why is it that so many of us buy into a turkey with all the trimmings and chasing a Norman Rockwell/Martha Stewart hybrid image as meaningful?

Traditions connect us as communities and through the generations. But, if you really want to garner a new appreciation for your loved ones just wait until one gets sick or hurt. And if you want to see if you have what it takes to really stand firm with the people in your life, just wait until you are called upon to be there for them.

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7 healthy habits for laid back, frugal people

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You don’t have to be training for a marathon or have it in your budget to take a fancy spa vacation to be doing something good for your health and over all well-being.

Here are seven things that will reduce stress and give you a boost. And none of them need special equipment and they won’t break your bank….

1. Hug

2. Smile

3. Go for a walk

4. Meditate/pray

5. Take a nap

6. Talk to a friend

7. Revel in nature’s beauty

Dear self-help writers: Let me figure it out for myself

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Is it just me or does it seem like every day there are people posting links on Facebook and in mass emails for articles aimed at telling us how to be happy, wealthy, in better relationships? I’m not sure other people can really direct our happiness, wealth or relationships though.

What do you think? I mean, these are really personal topics, no? Sure, we can learn from the experience of others and some are really qualified to give us advice. But, by now, who among us doesn’t know that we should let go of the past, work smarter, love like we’ve never been hurt?

And don’t the answers to all of our questions lie within us?

A couple of decades ago, I was into reading women’s magazines like Cosmo. At one point, though, I remember thinking, the best magazine would tell us – You are perfect just the way you are, now go out and live your life. But then, that would be a very short magazine. And there would be few advertising dollars for all the products shoved in our faces to make us better.

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To juice or not to juice… or maybe just make earthy displays?

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Okay, so anything that requires more washing work for me is considered seriously before taking the plunge. Particularly machines that have hard to get to places that require special sponges or fingers that bend in unusual ways.

But, this juicing fad has me curious.

Is it actually a fad, in which case it will disappear while most bandwagon-jumpers haven’t even put 100 miles on their machines?

Is it a revolution? Doubtful. Juicing has been around for ages.

Is it evolution? I’m not at all for progress when it comes to food. I’ll eat dirty carrots that came from real soil as long as the big chunks of soil have been brushed off.

Juicing as a practice is fine with me. In fact, I have a lot of visceral memories attached to liquid veggies.

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Maybe ignorance really is bliss

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The calm after the stress

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If you had told younger me that stress is very bad, unhealthy, destructive and to be avoided I would have scoffed.

Ha! I would have retorted. What’s a little stress? That’s life, stress is to be expected.

Now, let’s fast forward a bit to present day me.

When I woke up this morning, I got to thinking about the positive things I have been doing recently to improve my life. And, without fail, they all involve being true to myself – AND – they have all resulted in less stress.

And this is making me happy.

Less stress has resulted in me being able to focus on the tasks and paths I want to take. On being able to hear the voice inside me saying which way to go at all the sundry turns and crossroads.

It means my nerves are not shot. It means I smile more. It means I have less aches and pains. It renews my hope and energy and ambitions.

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