Featured

A Squirrel Is Born.

Parenting this week has been… a challenge. I still have hair, so that’s a win, but every shred of patience and every nerve God provided my middle-aged body has been trounced. And when all my patience and nerves were nice and flat and lying on the floor like a cheap acrylic WalMart rug…. she took her expensive, new release Vans sneakers and stood on it and wiped her feet.

We have reached that pre-adolescent shift, the flip-flop of our orbit…. where things that used to be a priority don’t seem to be as important, and the things that were never thought of before are now front and center. I could take the time to explain that sentence in depth, but I trust that if you have children over the age of 12, you already get it. And if you have elementary aged children, good Lord…. get in the floor and play Barbies or race cars or whatever fun thing they want to do. Soak up that sweetness now… for the love of all that’s holy. The storm is coming. I have never loved as truly and as deeply and maddeningly frustrating as my love for a twelve year old daughter.

This week, in the midst of a tween’s epic forgetfulness – I had a doctor’s appointment. Everything is fine, and nothing of concern, but it was one of those unusual requests from the lady-parts doc. An appointment that requires an extra visit to the stirrups, and labs and questions. The experience of it brought the memories of fifteen-ish years ago flooding back:

My first husband and I tried to have a baby in Tucson, AZ. The infertility issue was mine, I mean yes, ours, but mine…. and so in my heart it felt like it was all my fault. The doctors, the medical bills, the shots, the hormones, the waiting. Hopeful procedures and the utter agony in crushed dreams when we’d find out it didn’t work. We’d gone before our church, and I was anointed with oil, an untold number of hands prayed over us that day. We tried a corrective surgery, and while I was still asleep in recovery, the doctor sat on the arm of a chair and told my then-husband and parents that I’d never carry a baby.

And then I fell apart. And life fell apart. And we fell apart. I was kind of a mess for awhile. And all of that is a story for another day, because fast forward a few years, to a warm June day in a Raley’s Supermarket in Lake Tahoe, Nevada…. with a pregnancy test in shaking hands…. no husband, no house, and no job…. we found out we were going to have a baby. Nomads. Living in a camper, traveling the country with one frying pan, a bean bag chair, and the cliched tank of dreams. Fast forward again, a Vegas detour to get married, and vomiting in every bathroom and truck stop across the entire United States. Nine months of barfing, and whirlwind, and chaos, and a precious, purple, screaming baby Ava was born into the world. My miracle. Her dad never knew the weight of infertility. I carried the denial of her, the life I thought I’d have without her – alone. And yet here she was, a gift we’d not expected, a life we were entrusted to care for, and the whole thing still boggles my mind.

Twelve years later, our bundle of adorable pink squish and giggles and all things ‘My Friends Tigger and Pooh’, has turned into a brooding and forgetful, half hilarious, half monster, black hoodie-cloaked body of emotions, that checks Instagram for boy-band announcements when she is supposed to be getting ready for school. From what I gather, this is the BEGINNING, Lord help us all. I love her with all that I am…. every cell in my body answers to the purpose of Mama. Our kids, yours too, they can’t yet understand the fire we’ll happily walk through to love them. Isn’t it funny how God works? I was literally pulling out my hair, and He stopped me in my tracks with a small event that would remind me, vividly, of life before Ava. That reminder was a breath of fresh, renewed determination. I am down for whatever drama is coming. The heartaches, slammed doors, World War Phone, the eye rolls, the white lies, every egg shell we walk on, and any nail polish carpet stains…. I am grateful to love her through it all.

Ava Grace I love you beyond measure. To the sun and back, because it is farther than the moon… and you can be twelve. I love you more than you being twelve. Or fourteen. Or seventeen. Or forty five. I am proud of you when you succeed, or when you fail. Love you when you laugh, or when you lie. I expect you to try to become the person God created you to be, but I will love you if you don’t. Because I was lucky enough to be chosen to be your mom, and that’s what moms do.

-Mama.

Advertisements

She.

Featured

She used to teach vacation bible school in her backyard. About Zacchaeus and the tree and she pumped us full of red Kool-Aid and homemade cookies.

She made biscuits that were small and flat and had her finger marks on top from where she’d plop them on the pan with a little pat. She always made a special tiny one for Jen.

She drove me to great-Grandma’s to visit and then we’d always drive a little further and walk on the beach. On the way home we’d stop for peaches and boiled peanuts and Pepsi and any other garbage I wanted to eat. Circus Peanuts. Sugar Babies.

She was beautiful, and feisty, and super competitive, and proper, and her house was always clean. Thursday was for cleaning bathrooms.  Mom and I still follow the Johnny-Pot-Thursday rule.

She took Brad and me to the hardware store and bought us baby ducks. She probably didn’t think that one through. She ended up raising two baby ducks until they were grown, and we released the one that lived (one wasn’t so lucky), over in Hornet’s Nest Park. I’m pretty sure its still alive. 32 years later.

She hated, hated, hated church potlucks. And flies. And sitting still.

She worked in a jewelry store in the nicest mall in the city. She took me with her there all the time, gave me coins for the fountain. And Freedent gum. She had navy blue velvet seats in her Cadillac and my hair would get static-y and stand on end.  She drove really fast.

Every year we went to Sears and got brass Christmas ornaments with our names engraved on them. I still have every single one.

She made incredible fried chicken.

She has been married 64 years to one special Henry. I think the longevity of the marriage is testament to the fried chicken.

She taught me to shell butter beans and snap green beans and shuck corn. Mom and I would sit with her on the back patio and grab handfuls from a bucket and snap and fill pastel colored Tupperware bowls. Then they would can it all… and I was afraid of that scary hissing pot. I still am.

She used to drag me to her Sunday school class. Most of the time she taught, sometimes some other old lady did. She made me talk to people. Chit chat about the weather, or my dress, or my small life. I hated it. But I sat there, proud to be with her.

She made my clothes.

She gave me a Cabbage Patch Doll when my parents had gotten divorced and life was terrible and that doll was all I wanted in the world. Besides to be normal, and to not have frizzy hair.

I ran away to her house one time. I was mad and I jumped on my yellow bike and rode eleven miles down the busiest streets in town, to her arms.  She made me a snack and let me cry and promptly loaded me up on her pontoon boat and took me right back home.

She had a middle drawer in the cherry dresser that was just for us. Every time we went to her house it was filled with some small treasure.  Little Golden Books.  Barbie clothes. M&M’s.  This dresser also had a drawer of silk scarves, and scarves, and scarves. I don’t think I remember her ever wearing one… but she had a thousand. They smelled like her.

We sat on her back porch steps and rubbed eucalyptus, spearmint, scrubby goop on our feet and Granddaddy squirted it all off with a garden hose. This is a favorite memory.

IMG_2894

Figuring It Out

We started to recognize that something wasn’t right with her about twelve years ago. She would repeat the same thing several times in a span of a few minutes. She was forgetful, leaving out ingredients or burning things when she tried to cook. And lordy, she’d probably be so mad for me to tell you… but she quit wearing a bra. For a woman that NEVER came out of her bedroom (even for coffee) before a shower, hair and make up done AND dressed for the day….so when she let the boobs go free it was pretty alarming.  Fast forward a few years and she’d get pretty snippy if she didn’t get her way, not because she was being hateful, but because she was just confused and frustrated.  Granddaddy had to quit letting her drive, she quit gardening, quit quilting, quit crocheting. She couldn’t remember how. They decided to move to a town-home in an adult community, and she started giving away valuables like her good china….. to Goodwill, before we even knew. The cherry bedroom furniture I’d slept on a thousand nights, gone. Family pictures, gone. Expensive jewelry, pieces we knew she loved, gone.  Mom started visiting nearly every day.  You couldn’t take her to a store very easily because she’d wander off.  Fast forward a few more years and she started refusing meals, the answer to every question was no, and she’d get in a huff over something and try to leave the house. My Granddaddy had cared for her for 64 years, but when she started wandering down the highway, it was time to intervene.  For a few months the family took turns on stake out… parked outside ready to redirect or intercept her if she came stomping out, carrying an armful of clothes and her purse. She was irrational, and she couldn’t remember any names, she’d never be able to tell someone where she lived if she wandered away.  She was starting to put on multiple pairs of pants at a time, and she’d quit bathing. Toileting became a major issue. Granddaddy had to put locks on the doors to keep her from running away, and that was when we knew it was time. She needed medicine that she refused to take from us. She needed professional care, and Granddaddy did such a good job for as long as he could.  In April she went to live in a dementia care ward at a nursing facility.  We celebrate brief flashes of recognition and days without tears.  She just turned 80 last week… and she is here with us in body, but we were robbed of her mind far too soon. Two hip fractures within two months, and she declined in free fall. She has plateaued a bit for now, but she is in hospice care, and I know one day soon I will not be able to go and hug her, or tell her I love her.  I wish I could turn back the clock 30 years, and teach her all the things I’ve read, all that I’ve learned about how dementia is stealing our grandparents.  Her life, short of a miracle, can not be saved… but I think I know her well enough to know that she’d want me to tell you how to save yours.

Keep Your Faculties On.IMG_6636.jpg

How Not To Die, by Dr. Michael Greger…. stop whatever you are doing and buy it right now.  You don’t even have to leave your house.  Then READ it.  I promise you, it is CAPTIVATING.  So again, I am not a doctor.  I can help nudge you along by imploring you to make healthier choices, but ultimately the journey to wellness is a path you gotta forge on your own.

You have probably heard that eating meats and cheese and fatty foods can clog your arteries to your heart. These foods contain plaques that build up within the walls of our arteries and restrict blood flow, wreaking all sorts of vascular havoc.  The heart can’t get enough blood, and blocked arteries lead to heart attacks. And super expensive surgeries. That’s my non-doctor nutshell version. Well…. fasten your seat belt, because this is about to spin your head clean off your body. What if we take the same information we know about heart disease, and apply it to brain diseases? They aren’t just genetic. You don’t HAVE to get Alzheimer’s just because your mom or grandma did. All you need is to be armed with the knowledge and then you can DO something about it!  So here’s what’s up: think of Alzheimer’s and dementia as a ‘brain attack’, the same way you think about heart disease causing a ‘heart attack’. Both diseases are caused by clogged veins, but Alzheimer’s and dementia are caused by plaque buildup in arteries in your brain. And how do we not get fatty deposits in our brains….? DON’T EAT THE STUFF THAT CAUSES IT in the first place.  Dementia can take decades to develop, and here’s the kicker – while you can reverse heart disease, you can’t reverse dementia.  HOWEVER,  a diet rich in plants (fruits and vegetables) (ahem, not deep fried, or dipped in ranch) and eating considerably less meat, dairy, and eggs, can seriously slow the progression.  You could eat only plants and avoid it all together… but I know, that’s just crazy talk.  Because bacon.  Insert eye roll here.

Thank you for reading my blog if you made it this far. This was a particularly blithery one, and it did not start out as a post about my Grammy or dementia… but I hope you find the information helpful and will do some research of your own. Get the book. Seriously, the info is life saving! The blog this week was supposed to be a funnier post about ‘Turning Off Mommy-Mode’ and how to connect/stay connected with your spouse.  I guess I’ll write about that next week. As promised, here is a wildly embarrassing picture of me from the 7th-ish grade. I tormented Steve earlier this week on Facebook, so this is my comeuppance.                                                                                          IMG_2895.jpg

Thank you again for all the support, likes, shares, and comments. It means so much to me!!  -B.

 

 

 

 

Diving In.

This post won’t be a long one, just an update for this little blog. As I’ve shared before, this blog was to share plant-based life, try to live as long as possible, and largely to ‘practice’ writing in the hopes of writing a book one day. I’m not an overly tech driven person. I have tried to navigate this blog world the best I can, but frankly…. the tech part of doing this just sucks. I could pay someone to help figure it out, but I’m too cheap and too stubborn, and I’ve found over almost a year of sharing that no one wants to read about eating plants, or tofu, or kombacha, or skin care. They want to read the dirty, juicy, real-life stuff. My experience just in my own writing was that personal blog readership soared over skin care or vegan related blogs.

So, in January of this year, I decided to write a book. At first I thought I’d keep my blog going AND write a book. And have kids, and a husband, and four animals. And all of them still wanted food, and the humans expected clean laundry. Something had to give and my dream of writing a book won over dealing with the techy part of keeping this blog alive.

I read everything I could read about “how to write a book”. Listened to a zillion podcasts, and sooooo slowly, developed an idea for a story. I spent 2 months on character development, 2 weeks on an outline, and then once I thought I had the WHOLE THING figured out…. this new character popped into my brain last month and turned the entire process upside down. I reworked the whole story entirely, and fell in love with these fictional people in my head. It has to be as bizarre to read that as it is for me to type it.

My job now is to bring the story to life, and give it depth and soul and keep it riveting. Sometimes that part feels scary as hell. So….. that’s what’s going on over here. Every day. At least 1000 words, and if I get lucky, maybe more. I started the first draft last week. Gulp. Romantic fiction, not to be confused with sap, or smut. Life has sort of turned inside out and backwards and absolutely it feels like I’m doing what I’m meant to do (besides being a mama)…. an all-consuming, rewarding, fulfilling, purpose driven feeling I’ve never known before. Although, in the process my hair is living in a bun on my head and I don’t sleep because the ideas won’t shut off, and I ‘ve turned our dining room into what Steve refers to as a ‘war room’. The finished product may suck, and that’s okay. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I will share here occasionally, and will be looking for a few beta-readers if you’re interested at all. Thank you so much for the encouragement and kind words offered here and on Facebook, texts, emails. It has meant more than you could know, truly.

Beverly Brinkman

5,478,312

That’s how many times I have muttered silent cuss words under my breath in the last month.  I sit here surrounded by complete and total chaos.  We moved into a “project house” a few years ago. You know, the type of house that is super dated, but totally livable… and the driving force of what it could be motivates you from one project to another? Our home is a cottage-ish, choppy floor plan, 3/2.5, circa 1986, slice of project heaven.  We love it here, love our neighbors, and intend to live in this home until we are old and grey and project’ed out.  As 2018 was drawing to a close, we decided to dive in and replace the floors.  Tile floor, glued down laminate, 30 year old speckled Berber, all over particle board. It had to go, and out it went. And the dust rained down as if hell itself delivered it… chalky, choking, and inescapably covering every. single. surface. I won’t bore you to tears with the first-world problems of ripping out old floors WHILE YOU STILL LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE… but let me just say: NEVER again. Never.

Ever.

Again.

As I type there is a toilet on my front porch that has been there for FIVE days.  We can see the light at the end of the floor-hell tunnel, and I feel vaguely reassured that one day in the near future there will not be a hoarders paradise of everything we own piled in the basement.  I shed a few tears of frustration, but somewhere in the misery I found my big girl panties. Pulled them on, shut up. I held my tongue through incessant smoke breaks, and quietly removed Mountain Dew cans from atop Steve’s mom’s antique dining furniture. I got down and dirty in the wood and sawdust and shredded OSB and nail guns and crow bars and sore muscles.  I am just praying to God it is over soon.

And then I can get back to writing. I miss it… the quiet reflection and research, the peace and calm.  I’ve been making lists of some interesting/fun topics, some of them (snort) are even actually relevant to plant-based-aspiring-centenarianism.  I’m not sure that’s a word. Whatever.  Anyway, I’m sure you read plenty of “How to Stay On Track This Holiday Season”, or “Top Ten ‘New Year-New You’ Resolutions”. 

Did you make resolutions this year? Care to share any? Thanks for checking in.  I’ll be back to regular posting in another week or so.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do, come on by with a dust cloth. Or a mason jar of distilled medicinal spirits. I could use both.

Until next time, -B.

The Middle Ages.

 

All along you paid close attention, to the answers when a voice asks the question – how’d you get here, where do you belong? Seventeen makes us brave and so full of nerve, thirty five makes us pause but we are undeterred. Never say die and so we push on. We used to dread lives rendered ordinary. We always said we’d own a grander story, the only kind worth telling somehow. Love and kindness are all that matter now.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Middle Ages

 

Recently we met a group of friends in Blowing Rock, NC for the weekend.  We love that town.  It has great walkability for dinner, shoppes, and coffee.  Our favorite spot is an old house/converted restaurant, with a wildflower garden and perfect wavy glass and a fantastic brunch menu. Eclectic, artsy, atmosphere, variety… a tiny town with a lot to offer.  We always stay at this cute little place with ferns and rocking chairs out front, and one woman makes the reservations (you can’t do it online), if she’s not there when you call, her husband will tell you she’ll call you back.  We meet there specifically to ride motorcycles through the scenic mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.  We are a motley crew of engineers, accountants, attorneys, product managers, sales guys, home makers, and one introverted blogger with a suppressed need for speed.  We’ll ride six or seven hours through the mountains, stopping at old filling stations with plank 14433040_10209447534160561_4856694898124207694_nfloors….shoot the breeze, have a Moonpie.  Lots of overlook photos, nonstop corny jokes, junk food, tons of laughing… usually some rain, occasionally we escape it.  At days end, we have dinner and reminisce the adventures we’ve had together.  We find somewhere to play pool or catch some live music, or sing karaoke.  This trip however…… karaoke didn’t start until 10:30, and none of us wanted to stay up THAT LATE.  So, we all shuffled our tired, middle aged souls back to our respective hotel rooms, and went to sleep before karaoke had even begun.

And that, my friends…. is just pitiful.

What I want to know is….. WHAT. HAPPENED?  Not just with our Scoot trip, that’s just one small example.  When did I stop being young? When did I become such a homebody? When did I decide the day is over at 7pm? When did I quit feeling truly ALIVE?  Are you going through this too?  Is it just me?  We have friends over very rarely, but when we do I am looking at my watch by 9 o’clock wondering when these people are going to go home?!  By 9:30 I am yawning and counting the seconds until I can take off ‘real’ clothes and put on pajamas.  By 10pm I am bargaining with Jesus.  What happened to enjoying late IMG_9827night walks under a starry sky?  What happened to the Pterodactyl and friends piling in one car, and deciding at 2am to drive to Wrightsville Beach just to watch the sun come up?  What happened to Waffle House hash browns after a night out? When did Saturday Night Live start coming on WAY too late for me?  What happened to Mythos, or the drag show at Scorpio, or walking around uptown with friends?  What happened to short dresses and high heels and DANCING….. when was the last time you danced???  I can tell you the last time I danced.  Years ago, Steve and I were supposed to meet friends at some random place in Charlotte neither of us had ever been.  The friends ended up bailing on us after we had already been there waiting for an hour playing Galaga & Ms. Pac-Man…. and at some point in the night a bartender pushed some sort of blue drinks towards us and said “The shots are on the house. Welcome back to club life.”   We were the OLD people in the bar.  We tore up the dance floor, and let me assure you, neither of us are good dancers.  I guess you could say we went out in style.  Old folks in the bar: check.  Shots: check. Dancing: check.  Never, ever, again: check.

How is it possible to blink and be middle aged?  When did my ears get so big? Does anyone else feel BLIND?  I can’t see a thing!  Heaven forbid I leave the house without my glasses… Ava has to read everything to me.  At least once a day I walk into a room and have to stop and think for a sec… why did I come in here again?  And WHY are spider veins part of the deal?  Things are drooping and sagging and there are spots on my hands. BOOB wrinkles. What the heck? What is fair about boob wrinkles? And jowels. And night sweats. And hot flashes.  Getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and it’s 11:30pm.  Seriously.  I am obsessed with safety.  And being prepared.  And retirement.  And carcinogens.  Is this just what happens in your mid forties?  You go to bed halfway normal one night, and you wake up ready for velcro shoes and knee highs?  I really need to know.  We may need a focus group.

Balance

How do you find it?  It’s one thing to find balance in the day-to-day with the girls and Steve and family… and my job, the girls homework, music practice, fitness, prepare  meals, clean the house, pay bills, etc.  It is another thing entirely to find balance in LIFE.  To expend the time and energy required to be an interesting person.  I don’t want to be old. I don’t want to go to bed at 9.  I don’t want to have spots on my hands and not dance anymore.  I want to feel inspired and fulfilled, to do the fun things I always used to do… and I’ll be honest, I’m struggling with this.  I want to go back to the White Water Center and ride mountain bikes at breakneck speeds.  Last time there I crashed into a tree and haven’t been back.  Fear, plain and simple.  Fear of crashing, fear of getting hurt.  Fear of the cost of a hospital visit.  I’ve hiked all over this country with very little consideration for bears or mountain lions or rattle snakes, or getting murdered.  There’s no WAY I’d be so free about it now.  I’d like to play Circle Rules football again, (even though I reeeaally sucked at it) because it was SO much fun, but one of us always ended up in Urgent Care.  I’d like to learn to kayak a rushing river.  Learn to sail.  Be brave enough to trail camp.  To shop produce markets where no one speaks English.  To climb treacherously high mountains that might require Sherpas… but not ice cleats or oxygen tanks, let’s not get carried away.  I want to stay up past midnight and DANCE.

How?

While we can’t turn back the clock and find our youth, I still crave to feel youthful, and ALIVE.  Isn’t that the best part of life?  Feeling alive?  All of your senses awake and firing together…?  I am not sure how to find those old feelings.  Maybe it just changes when you have children.  Maybe feelings of ‘alive’ morph into feelings of gratitude and overwhelming love.  I do feel alive when Em lays her head in my lap and I brush the hair from her face.  Or when she hugs me and I feel her tiny fingers on the back of my neck… hugging me back so fiercely with all her might.  I feel alive when Ava comes downstairs in the mornings, collapsing on me in sleepy snuggles, sloshing my coffee and muttered good mornings.  I feel alive when we are behind the boat… she is wobbling and terrified to learn to ski…. and my heart soars when she gets up, smile beaming, and she conquered that fear all on her own.  Maybe we just reach a new place of maturity in our mid forties and perhaps I have found my way to this place, unsure how to navigate the territory.  Feeling like Sense and Sensibilities, two halves of two characters: one young and wild and impetuous, one mature and safe and grounded.  I want to be both.  Inside I am both.  I haven’t figured it all out yet…. but you can bet I’ll share when I do.

In the meantime, I encourage you, dear friend…. to go out and feel ALIVE.  Get inspired and be fulfilled.  Go try something you’ve never done.  Don’t get caught up over-analyzing it to death, just dive in head first and figure it out on the swim up.  Obviously not talking life changing challenges here – but take a Saturday afternoon and DO SOMETHING that reminds you of why God placed you on this miracle of a planet we have.  Feel the wind.  Gaze at the stars.  Remind yourself that you are alive now with a functioning body and capabilities beyond what you think you can do.  God willing there will be time enough for Netflix, and boob wrinkles.  Get out there and have some life.

Until next time, -B.

Yo skin. That’s deep.

Back in 2014 I was in a dressing room in Target with my younger daughter, Emma, (who was 5 at the time) and she asked me “Mama, what is that black spot on your back?” I thought ‘What black spot?’ I turned and looked in the mirror to see what she was talking about, and sure enough, there was indeed a black spot on my right shoulder blade. Hmm. Should prob call the dermatologist about that.  I have fair, white skin, dotted with a million moles and freckles, and I’ve had my fair share of them removed over the last two decades. The dermatologist sends them to a lab, and sometimes the results come back as fine, sometimes dysplastic, which is a debatable term. Some doctors call dysplastic nevus ‘precancerous’, and some call them ‘atypical’.  Either way, it’s just a weird mole you gotta keep an eye on.  I’ve had maybe 40 or more of these removed in my life, so in You’ve Got Mail when Joe Fox says, “152 pockmarks from having 152 moles removed” … it hits a little close to home there, Tom.

Fast forward a couple nervous weeks later, I found out I had a melanoma.  At 40… Ummmm, say what?  But it was there, and very small, maybe half the size of a pencil eraser, or a green pea, shaped like a tiny black daisy.  It was surgically cut out, while I was awake, and I’m not going to lie, it hurt like hell.  The cut was deep, about 2″ long, through the muscle to the bone.  There were 3 layers of stitches – 26 in total, all for just this tiny dark spot.  A tiny dark spot that if left to grow… can kill you.

So let’s chat briefly about skin, and I’ll try to keep it interesting. I’m not a doctor obviously, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once, and I’ve read a LOT about this dense subject.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t review the different types of skin cancers out there, and what you should be looking for. I’ll also review some other tips I use to try to slow down the aging process without using a ton of chemicals.

The Skinny. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Basal cell is the most common of skin cancers, and the least dangerous. They first appear like a pearlish, hard, flesh colored mole. They can sometimes be dark, or even pink, and may be scaly.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the second most common form of skin cancer.  It is not generally life threatening, but it can be aggressive.  Squamous cell carcinoma starts out as a thick, red, scaly patch that may crust or bleed. These are usually found outside the body but can appear inside your mouth as well. Any rough patch that doesn’t clear in 2 months should be checked out.

Melanoma: The most serious form of skin cancer. Melanomas can look similar to moles, some develop inside of moles, causing the mole to change in appearance. Most are black and brown, two toned, and irregularly shaped. Melanoma is typically caused by UV exposure/sunburn, and more than 10,000 people a year die from the disease, just in the US alone.

Sidenote: because I love you, if you are using one of these I implore you to stop.  Yes, the light therapy is nice, and the nap is first rate… but grounding or earthing in the actual sun will do the same thing, and won’t kill you.  Look it up.  Promise.  **Indoor tanning beds are proven to cause cancer and have been classified into the highest cancer risk category by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research.

Dry Brushing Is LIFE      IMG_8306.jpg

Are you dry brushing? If not, get thee a brush and start TODAY… it is AMAZING!!  Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like: dry brushing your skin to stimulate lymphatic drainage, removing toxins from the body, boosts circulation, and…. (do you feel me on this one—->) can reduce cellulite!!  A good dry brush has hard, natural bristles- like a back scrubber for the bath only shorter, and you’ll use it dry.  Rub in a circular motion and toward your lymph nodes. I do this before every shower or bath, and at first I thought Uh… this brush is really hard! Now I look forward to it and it is literally one of my most favorite things in life.

After dry brushing, take a shower. Then… get out, and get your favorite lotion.  Throw it directly in the trash. Go to the kitchen. Get out the olive oil. Or almond oil. Rub it all over your bod. Yes, I’m serious. Olive oil has amazing antioxidant benefits and is super hydrating!  Humans have been using it well, since…. humans discovered olives. It works just like lotion, leaves you glowing and your skin hydrated, without a zillion chemicals.

And finally… water. You knew it was coming. Water is essential. Water is amazing. Yada yada- I’m sure you know all about water and 8 glasses a day. But…. also consider, it doesn’t happen overnight, your major organs get water before your skin.  Consistently drinking more water will hydrate your skin, and will also aid in hydrating your digestive system, gets things er, moving. Drinking more water will clear your face, help with circulation, and even helps to prevent wrinkles.

One last thing- eat plants. Still not telling you to give up meat and dairy and join me in the super amazing freedom I’ve found in eating only plants…. because I don’t want to freak you out. And I want you to keep reading my blogs. And I like our chats. One sided as they are. But… plants. I’m telling you, eating only plants will change your life. We’ll chat about that another time. For now, love on that beautiful skin of yours. See a dermatologist at least once a year.  I am happy to refer mine if you are in the Charlotte area.  Get some sun for vitamin D purposes.  Wear a mineral sunscreen.  Avoid parabens.  Avoid diet soda. Yeah I said it.

Emma spotted my skin cancer, and she likes to credit herself with saving her mama’s life. She did, in more ways than one… but that is another blog post entirely.

Love, B.

This is me.

I’m supposed to be writing a blog about myself. An introduction blog… I am not really sure where to start.  I like pina-coladas, and getting caught in the rain.  I’ve run a few marathons, climbed a few mountains, and been privileged enough to spend time in about a dozen countries.  I’ve learned to do some insane things I never thought I’d do.  I’ve loved big, and cried big. I’ve fallen and gotten back up too many times to count. I plan to use up my whole life, being truly alive, and aware, and in gratitude for the gift of it all. They say ladies don’t ever tell their age, but why??  You tell your age and someone says “Oh gosh I thought you were way older!”?  At least then you’d KNOW and could get your ass to a Rite Aid for some wrinkle cream and a box of hair color. Just kidding I don’t buy wrinkle cream at Rite Aid.  I buy it on Amazon like regular people, but I digress.  Not telling your age is for grandma’s. Which I am not.  I’m 45 and mostly loving it, except that I can’t see worth a damn anymore. 

I am a mom of two girls (my squirrels) who are my life and I will walk through any amount of fire necessary to ensure they grow up as smart and kind and well rounded as humans should be.  They are in to music and reading, and math is not their favorite thing in life. They love swimming, and dogs, and I make them eat vegetables and I speak to them as if they are small adults… and I pray everyday I don’t screw them up too much. Don’t all parents pray that? I set expectations for them and they generally follow what I ask. I am constantly in awe of them, and so excited to watch them grow, and just grateful for the opportunity to be their mama. I have been married 3 years to a very wonderful bald man whom I tease relentlessly about any number of topics, and he puts up with me. I suspect he shall grow tired of my antics at some point and I’ll find myself living in my parents basement wishing I hadn’t been such a smartass. Until then I’ll keep loving him fiercely.  I have made many mistakes in my life, choosing Steve was not one of them.  His competitiveness and corny jokes and snoring make me a better person. Plus, he needs me or he’d wear ugly shirts and white socks. 

People have been telling me my whole life I should write. My folks, friends, teachers, professors, husband(s)… and I’ve always laughed and said ‘someday’.  I suppose someday has finally arrived.  But here’s the thing: what if I suck at this?  It will be a closed chapter and it won’t be my fall back plan anymore.  So…. there’s that. Taking the leap of faith to make a living by WRITING??? That’s scarier to me than infertility, divorce, training for a marathon, melanoma, childbirth, dating as a single mom, starting a small company, dealing with droopy boobs, spider veins, and trying to find the marshmallows in a grocery store… COMBINED. Way scarier. It’s by far the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. Ever. Opening all your windows and closets and vulnerabilities to the world and offer to be judged? Have I lost my mind?  Yes, a little. 

For now… hi there. I’m Beverly.  Thanks for stopping by.