Create Your Own Happiness

 “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ― T.S. Eliot

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out Of The Darkness Overnight Walk

Over the course of the past year I have changed jobs, gained a nephew, built a new garden, lost a loved one, walked all night to raise awareness and learned more about myself than I could have planned.

With the new year comes a new list of goals. One thing that I have noticed since I started working two jobs is a huge lack of motivation for the things I used to like to do. As a mental health clinician, the importance of self care is always discussed, but easier said than accomplished. So, in the interest of taking care of myself, this year I have put the following plans in motion:

1. Quit my part time job- DONE! My last day is February 12th. This is going to take a lot of time management stress off my plate, but add some financial stress. This was a huge decision, but ultimately, the positives of resigning outweighed the negatives.

 2. Rediscover my passion for cooking- My husband got me this fantastic book for  Christmas called “Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?” By Lisa Caponigri. It has weekly menus for elaborate Italian dinners and I can’t wait to try them out on my friends and family. 


3. Don’t fall into the negativity trap- Unfortunately, there are a lot of people where I work who are less than satisfied with their jobs. This has been rubbing off on me and when asked how I am doing, my responses have turned into “It’s going” or “I’m here.” Going forward, I am going to do my best to respond with “It’s good to be alive” as a way of appreciating my circumstances. 

4. More books, less technology- I deleted FaceBook. Enough said.

5. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner- This sounds simple, but with the nature of my job, I often find myself forgetting to stop long enough to eat meals. This week, there was a day that I went to both jobs and didn’t stop to eat until 6:00pm. Not good. Hopefully with the 2nd job ending, days like that will be few and far between.

I look forward to adding to my list as the year goes on. What is on your list?

❤ S


A Worthy Cause

So, those of you who have read the few posts I have written know that my passion is mental health and the effect a healthy lifestyle can have on this.

In honor of this, I have signed up for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness walk. Every year suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. According to AFSP close to one million people will make a suicide attempt and more than 40,000 will die by suicide in the U.S. this year. These statistics are troubling, but it is important to know that suicide can be prevented.

If you or anyone you know would like to donate to this cause, please do so by clicking the link below. My goal is $1,000 and every little bit helps.

Happy New Year!

Wow! It has been forever since I have written anything. Life has been continuing at a rapid pace and writing was shoved to the side for other endeavors.

I have been pushing forward with ways to improve my connection to the earth as well as my understanding of how this connection affects people’s attitudes and outlooks. Here is what has been happening:

In July, the hubby and I bought a beautiful, very old, “new house.” It was built in 1775 and is on an acre of land nestled in a small neighborhood between two local farms. The access to fresh, local food here is unlike anywhere else I have lived. We are so blessed to be here.

In August, I started a new job as a mental health clinician for a local agency. This job is a stepping stone to licensure as a clinician and finding my way back into the schools as a school counselor. I am learning more than I could have imagined in this job and look forward to finding out what is next.

During the fall months, we focused mostly on cleaning, organizing, and fixing small things in our house. We researched and found a plan for a beautiful dining room table to fit all of our family and friends for the holidays. We started this table in November and finished it just in time for our friends and family to celebrate the holidays with us. It successfully sat 16 people for Christmas dinner!

Here it is. We made two benches to go with it so we can squish in as many people as possible. Hooray!


Now that the holidays are over, I have started to plan my garden for the spring. My big Christmas present is a shiny new pressure cooker. I am so excited to grow and preserve fresh food for next winter. I just put in my seed order from This site is working hard to preserve heirloom plant varieties and I believe in buying plants that produce seeds you can actually use. Many of the new plant varieties are engineered to produce for only one season so consumers have to continue buying seeds or plants each year. Rubbish.

I have a plan for my garden and intend to research greenhouse plans as well as beehives for next year. I am excited to share my adventures with you!

What are your intentions for the new year?

Can Being Outdoors Affect Child Development?

Go Play Outside: Can being outdoors enhance brain development/ www.growingwellness.wordpress.comI’ve been doing a lot of research lately on how being outdoors can affect a person’s mood. Along the way, I came across an article from Richard Louv at It discusses the benefits of teaching your child about nature and getting out of the house more often. Louv states: “A growing body of primarily correlative evidence suggests that, even in the densest urban neighborhoods, negative stress, obesity and other health problems are reduced and psychological and physical health improved when children and adults experience more nature in their everyday lives.”

As the number of hours of sitting in front of a tv, computer, or iDevice increase, it seems that mental health across the country is deteriorating. The correlation between being “stuck” indoors and poor mental health is undeniable. It’s time that we as a community begin to get back to our roots and reunite with nature.

I believe that humans have a strong physiological connection to the planet in more ways than we have discovered. As I keep researching, I’ll continue to pass along all of the great info I find.

As my mom used to say: “Alright, enough sitting around in front of this screen,
go play outside!”

Click here to read the full article:
Do Early Outdoor Experiences Help Build Healthier Brains?

5 Minute Meditation

Take five slow, deep breaths. Do you notice any changes in your mood and stress level?

Five-minute-meditationAs a counselor, I work with many people who talk about high stress and anxiety. One of my favorite methods of relaxation can be done in five minutes wherever you are. I like to call it “taking five.”
You’ll see why!

There are five steps:

  1. Breathe in while counting to five.
  2. Hold your breath for four to five counts.
  3. Breathe out while counting to five.
  4. Count to four or five before breathing back in.
  5. Repeat!

Do this five times or more.

That’s it! You’ll feel tension melt away and the ability to focus on the task at hand will return. In an earlier post, I wrote about some of the benefits of meditation. (find it here) This is a simple way to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reset your psyche for the day. It can be done anywhere and it is easy to remember.

Keep growing!

What the heck is a GMO?


This acronym has been flying around the media lately. GMO stands for the term Genetically Modified Organism. Essentially, they are organisms that have been genetically tampered with by scientists in a lab. Some GMOs are as simple as modifying the genes of an apple so that it doesn’t turn brown when it is sliced. Others are a bit more harsh like crossing corn with a pesticide so that the vegetable itself repels insects.

You, like many others, may be thinking “hmm, I wonder how that corn affects my body?” Excellent question! One of the big controversies about these new “organisms” is that there isn’t enough research on the long-term effects of consuming GMOs. How are they affecting our bodies and at a very basic level? Are they affecting our genes too? There are many people who support GMOs as they claim to increase the world’s food supply by creating super plants that withstand pests and droughts. I suppose the big questions is, at what cost?  How do these new “super organisms” affect your wellness and the wellness of our population as a whole?

If bug repellent laced corn isn’t for you, check out the new Non-GMO Sourcebook. This book is bursting with non-GMO food and agriculture products. You can find it here. If it REALLY is something you want to get involved in, contact your state representatives and let them know you would like them to support GMO labeling bills. These bills would require food companies to label GMO ingredients in their products so consumers can make educated decisions about what they are eating and feeding their loved ones.

You may have noticed many question marks in today’s post. That is how I am feeling about this topic. There are so many unanswered questions in my head when it comes to messing with food at a genetic level. At what point have we gone too far?

Check out for more information on the subject.
I learned a ton from this site and started following them on Facebook too!