Some God in my Gardening

The older I get, the more settled & *cough…ahem…cough* domestic I seem to become. My nightly Google searches have switched from, “what bars are closest to this bar I’m currently at” to, “easy sewing patterns…how to make a pallet dog bed…how to decorate outdoor patio using concrete, rubber bands, & beer tabs.” Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ve taken up gardening…

By “taken up gardening” I really mean, “I’ve developed an obsession for gardening…”

Thanks to Pinterest, a father who has always had a vegetable garden & a plethora of Twitter-communities where gardening is cool again, my obsession has been even more fueled. This is the first year that I’ve had a real decently thriving garden in my yard. I moved to my house about 3yrs ago; a big metropolis village of 300 people. Not that I lived in a real big city before, but a city of 100,000 compared to a village of 300 is a big difference. Trust me, I’m not complaining. AT ALL! I’m a country girl with country roots & cities are not my thing. Now I live smack-dab in the middle of the woods, with a long driveway & land for my dog to run around un-fenced. That also means I have land to plant an outdoor herb & vegetable garden.

While I’ve always had a love for gardening, it was pretty limited when I lived downtown in the city. I had no yard & my “garden” consisted of tomato plants growing in flower pots on my deck. One year my tomato’s seemed to come up missing, while I thought it was a stray raccoon or cat stealing them (cats eat tomato’s???) I later caught my neighbor plucking them off my plants…it did not end well. Another year I bought a “Topsy Turvy” plant from a

my $400 upside down tomato plant

my $400 upside down tomato plant

commercial on TV. This product was made for tight-space living; was hung upside down from a hook & tomato’s grew downward. I thought “perfect” & couldn’t wait to expand my deck garden. Well, the commercial didn’t lie! This plant took off! It grew so well & contained so many tomato’s (definitely factory-produced seeds that grew low-quality, abundant tomato’s) that one day I came home from work to find that my upside down tomato plant had grown into the gutters & the weight had ripped them down & half of my neighbors gutters. A $19.95 product ended up costing over $400 to fix. Nice!

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Green onions & romaine lettuce started from seeds.

So fast-forward a few years & my 3rd season of planting at my house & the soil finally seems dense enough to support a healthy, full garden.
I started my plants from seeds back in March. March, 7th to be exact. As told by the dates I had sharpied on the egg-carton starters. My sunroom had turned into rows of seeds that rooted & bloomed into tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, dill, chives, parsley & lots more! I had containers on my fireplace mantel, Hearst & brickwork, on my fish tank, on the floor, behind the couch…you name it & it had a vegetable or herb. Ohio also had a late spring, so I didn’t get outside to plant until the beginning of June. By that time I had lost some of my vegetables & they had to be replaced with plants purchased from greenhouses. Quite the ordeal of tilling the garden, pulling weeds, planting, mulching, weeding again, watering, weeding again….and again…and again…but they’re a’growin!!!

This may seem like a huge, detailed backstory to someone who has little to no interest in gardening. But those that enjoy it will understand when I say what therapy my little garden has been. The last few years have been very hard & stressful in my personal life. While I have found ways to relieve that stress (I’m a big outdoorsy-girl), there’s a different kind of therapy that comes from working the land & watching something grow. There’s something different about getting your hands dirty, sweating, tending, & then reaping the benefits of something you’ve put your time into.

I listen to music a lot, I rarely watch TV but I always have music on. When I’m out hiking-headphones on, when I’m cleaning the house-music playing in background, when I’m running (okay, let’s be real. When I’m out one-step-up-from-walking)-headphones on. However, when I’m working in the garden…no music. I’m on my hands & knees, digging in the dirt, my dog at my feet, & I’m thinking…figuring stuff out, praying, having conversations in my head. I’m going through an especially hard time right now, making some big decisions & stressing out over what is the right path; in addition to stresses that life already has me boggled down with. Yesterday while in the middle of planting squash, the story of the Israelites popped into my head. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery from the hands of Egypt, however, he didn’t take them to the Promised Land right away. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40yrs; they couldn’t see past their own stubbornness, unforgiveness, frustrations, situations & attitudes. They never even realized how close they were to their promised land until they gave up even more control. This is me, I’m currently in the wilderness. Even though I’m delivered from the bondage I was in, I’m still “wandering” around in the desert until my promised land. Have I done anything wrong?? No. In fact, I’ve done everything right (mostly). I’ve obeyed. I’ve listened. But the reward hasn’t come yet. Is it frustrating? You bet’cha! Especially for someone like me who lives by day planners & loves schedules. Do I feel forgotten? Ignored? Un-worthy? Yes, Yes, Yes. But just like my garden, the harvest will come. The reward will come because I’ve been working the land, planting seeds, watering, & weeding. Is there an area of my life that God is trying to get me to focus on before the harvest can come??? I believe there is. I can only pray that He will reveal that to me so I can move on.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9-

Being in the wilderness stinks, big time. But it will make the harvest that much sweeter. And all these thoughts came because I decided to plant some tomatoes.

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can't wait!

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can’t wait!

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God & Country

On this Memorial Day weekend I decided to re-blog one of the first blogs I ever wrote.
I can’t think of a better tribute to those who have bravely served then re-telling the story about my friend, John; a man who carries Memorial Day in his heart everyday.

Thank you, dear Veterans, for rising above & standing up for those who couldn’t. Know that God places your sacrifices as the ultimate form of love,”Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”-John 15:13-

Chapstick Chatter

On July 4th, 2011 the Elyria Chronicle newspaper ran an article about a man named John Hall. A pretty common name all in itself, but to the people who know him a very uncommon gentleman.

Every morning-after he’s done feeding his dog, taking care of his birds, laying out food for all the wildlife that inhabit his back yard, John dresses in his Marine Corps dress blues, walks out to the flagpole in his front yard & raises the American flag. After he raises the flag, he salutes, turns sharply towards his house & marches back inside. Every evening he does the same routine to take the flag down, where he then folds it in exact military technique, stores it with precision, only to repeat the process all over again the next morning. He does this every day.

Today, July 23rd, 2011 the Elyria Amvets post honored John with an “honorary…

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Right Now: my reflections, obsessions & thankful’s in this moment…

Whew!!! What a whirlwind the last few months have been! From family health problems (prayers needed) to a change in work position & my MTI graduation I’ve barely had time to breath let alone blog.

It’s always nice to have a few blog ready-made-ideas when you only have a few moments to spout out a few words, so my fail-safe this week is a “Right Now” installment. My blog
idea topics are pretty tapped out at the moment, so if you’ve got any suggestions I’m open!

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1.)I’m currently reading, watching & listening to… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-this was my selection for May’s Book Club read so I feel obligated to finish it, but truth be told it is PAINFUL to get through!!! Recently went & saw Heaven is for Real in the theatre. Loved it! Followed the book beautifully (some parts were uber-cheesy), but the message was gracefully delivered. And latest music obsessed song, Give me back my Hometown by Eric Church. I’m not even really sure how much I like this song because the lyrics kinda don’t make sense (and the music video was even more confusing) but it’s been in my head for days & the chorus is super catchy–http://youtu.be/l5DnNxDTjbQ

2.) I’m worried about… my Dad’s cancer. It’s spreading & outlook’s not the most positive despite best efforts. But God is good (and forgiving) & I do have faith that His will is always right & this is just a bump towards a greater purpose.

3.) I’m improving myself by… Book Club!!! Me & a few book nerd friends have started a monthly book club. Although we’ve been off to a rough start with some of our selections sucking big time (*cough Tale of Two Cities…*cough Wuthering Heights*) we’ve all hung in there! We’re all so geeked up over reading that others have shown interest to join. Like I said, we’re making reading cool again 😉

4.) I’m excited about… Nerd-alert flash again…but summer gardening. Mother Nature just needs to cooperate & provide some solid warm days with no thunderstorms or cold nights so I can get all my seed starters (which are taking off like crazy!) moved out of my sunroom into the dirt outside!

5.) I’m grateful to God for & asking for forgiveness because… I’ve gained back 15#’s over the winter from my last year. Since my 5k last September I haven’t been out running at all & never kept up with my yoga classes. Recently I’ve got back on track with a running schedule, joined yoga again & have dove in deeper & becoming even more strict with eating habits. So grateful that my daily prayer of strength & endurance is being answered (even though I accidentally fell asleep on the couch after work tonight & missed yoga). I ask forgiveness everyday, today it was because I lost my patience & acted snotty towards someone that probably couldn’t help their behavior. I’m forever a work in progress…

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Yay! I’ve got a Cyber-Blog-Bully-Stalker!!!

Congratulations to me! After almost 3 years of blogging I’ve got my very own Cyber-Blog-Bully-Stalker! I’ve finally achieved “real” blogger status after hearing other bloggers talk about theirs.

After I posted various comments left from my “friend” (as the blog comments are signed) to various personal social media outlets, I’ve received some advice on how to handle the situation. While some advice was a little harsh, in the end I did decide on following the suggestions to write a blog to my cyber-blog-bully-stalker. As of now I have not received any messages from said “friend” in a few days, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down & blog. I’m hoping this puts a finality to the drama that has visited Chapstick Chatter lately.

Dear “friend”…

First off I’d like to thank you for visiting my little page & taking the time to read my thoughts. Since some of your comments left on my blogs referred to how bitter I seem, how I’ll probably die alone with my wine & cats(?…even though I only have one cat) & how God hates me; that at least shows me you read the blogs since your comments flowed nicely with the subject of what I had written. I do appreciate it.

At this point in our anonymous relationship I do almost consider us “friends” even though I know nothing about you other than you like to be a smart-ass from behind a computer screen. And that’s to be expected from someone in junior high (as I can only assume based on this experience). I’m not angry, I was never angry, but in fact I feel bad for you; I’m more curious as to what makes YOU so angry that you feel the need to say,”ugly bitch” & “this is why some people can’t get men” on a blog site???

I’m guessing you’re young & inexperienced with life. I have no doubt your Instagram page is full of Hello Kitty pictures & sparkly fingernails that only young teenagers (kids) post pictures of. Perhaps you’re old enough to have a boyfriend (I’m guessing “yes” since many of your comments were fixated on me not) it’s super cute that you guys have professed your love with a promise ring (because a promise ring always means you’ll stay together forever), but it’s hard for me to take you serious when you tell me that I’ll probably die alone with my wine…especially considering you’re years away from discovering the awesomeness that wine is.

Some of your comments referred to my faith. That God “hates me” & was “disappointed in my rudeness” (huh?). Fortunately, I’m secure enough in my relationship with Him to know that this isn’t true. My guess is that you’re not. And this isn’t your fault. Maybe you’ve never been introduced. So allow me to introduce you to a gentleman who doesn’t hate anything & would never turn his back on His children (even if we were being “rude”). He’s also the one that understands why you seem so angry & is willing to work that anger away.

You’re young. So by default shallow, selfish & silly. Your priorities revolve around “me me me”, but please volunteer your time to causes that change your way of thinking. Someone who puts others first doesn’t leave comments like you did on a strangers blog page. You made reference to my age; calling me a “middle age hag” (another example of your age–I’m in my early 30’s. That’s only middle age if you’re 15) so with your mind set you must not have been taught to respect your elders, I urge you to start. Soon you’ll be on your own & possibly working for a “middle age hag” I promise you an employer doesn’t deal well with punk-kid attitudes.

Be better than this. Be the person the parents of the kid’s you babysit for, believe that you are. We all do stupid things when we’re teenagers (I’m from the generation of prank calls) but it’s not becoming of a girl to be a bully. It’s tasteless & unclassy to use heavy language. You’re obviously very smart & comical, use that in a positive way instead of negative. This has been a good lesson to me on what I post is truly “out there” for all to read & respond.

Just for future reference when you have a blog all comments have to be “approved” first, therefore, I was the only one that saw your comments. They did not post directly to the site. Even though “friend” you did not sign your name to the comments, you did list your email address. As an added courtesy I have added your email to my blog email sign-up. Now Chapstick Chatter will come directly to your email!

I wish you luck & I’m saying in faith that this is the last of our troubles!

-Carey-

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❤️ Top 10 “Rom Com” Picks❤️

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Yes, I know “Rom Com” sounds like a nickname for a superhero at a Comic-Con convention, but it’s actually a much cooler nickname for those “Chick Flicks” that girls geek over & guys pretend to hate (despite what they say the male species loves “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days” just as much as we do, ladies).

Since spring has sprung in NE Ohio (fingers crossed) all members of the animal kingdom are being led by their carnal desire to procreate. For the most part, it would be unacceptable for humans to start sniffing each other’s behinds & making loud squawking noises to woo over a potential mate, we might be left with a bottle of wine & an opportunity to throw out some favorite pick-up lines (“I think you dropped your name tag”…*hands girl a sugar packet*). Since I adore making “lists” & love is in the air, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite go-to-girlie-chick-flicks.

While I only did my Top 10, this was narrowed down from a few dozen (yes, this is what I was thinking about when my mind should’ve been on work). Criteria is based on:

1.) Cute Factor; cute storyline. Are the actors uber-adorable together?
2.) Hilarity; did I actually Laugh Out Loud….#lololololololololo
3.) Awwwwwww Factor; when movie is over am I left with a retarded smile on my face from all the uber-smushy-wushy-ness.

While others made the list: The Proposal, Serendipity, Never Been Kissed; sadly, they were cut from the team to make room for these gooey goodies.

10.)The Prince & Me Yes, I know this is the stereotypical, quintessential “chick flick” but it’s about a girl who dates a PRINCE! And he’s hot! Hello!

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9.)Runaway Bride While I’m not a big Pretty Woman fan (blasphemous, I know!) this movie does it for me. Julia & Richard are so funny together & those of us chicks with a “slight” fear of commitment phobia, can totally relate.

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8.) Crazy, Stupid, Love Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone…funny, funny! Slightly raunchy, which is cool too. I’m a fan!

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7.)GroundHog Day Its Bill Murray over…and over…and over…again (Bill F****g Murray) and it NEVER gets old.

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6.)Return to Me this movie makes me cry…but it is totally cute & funny. A chick finds out that her transplanted heart came from her boyfriends dead wife. What??? Netflix it! I’m telling ya, girls! It’s good.

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5.)Win a Date with Tad HamiltonDo NOT hate me for loving this movie. Okay, I won’t lie I was an obsessed 26yr old (I think) girlie-geek over this movie when it first came out. My nerd self saw it 2x’s in the theatre, maybe Josh Duhmel being shirtless had something to do with it??? Hmmmm….

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4.)Made of Honor a male best friend turned love interest…#classic. Patrick Dempsey is McDreamy in everything!

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3.)Letters to Juliet Italy…oh’ Italy. You can stage a ravenous murder slayer movie in Italy & it’ll somehow still look romantic. Good thing LTJ is your typical Italy based love-story-within-a-love-story that spans generations…cute!

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2.)You’ve Got Mail everyone knows this one! Tom & Meg…Shop Around The Corner…F.O.X. Makes me smile!

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1.)50 First Dates so many of my favorites in this one. Aside that it’s my favorite Adam S. movie, Drew’s my favorite actress & this happens to be my favorite movie of all-time…it’s just darn cute, hilarious & it has uber-adorable animals. Winner!

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So there ya have it, folks! Make a weekend out of snuggling with your better half; mine happens to be wine & a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, and catch up on some love movies (not the porn related kind).

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10 Things that (MAJORLY) Suck…

I love blogging, hands down its one of my favorite ways to unwind. Truth be told though, I just haven’t felt like doing it lately. Not for lack of blog ideas, but I’ve just been grouchy for several weeks…months. There’s been so many stresses that have seemed to be piled on lately that my peace was, not lost, but definitely hiding. Add to the outside stresses & the fact that Ohio seems to be in the never-ending-no-sunshine-sub-zero winter & I’ve fully embraced my grouchiness.

I’m FORCING myself to get out of this slump. It doesn’t suit me. This is my last “hoorah” of grumpy complaints that we can all relate too.

Introducing my list of the top 10 things that ooze with suckage

1. Burning your toasted cheese sandwich & not having any more cheese slices left. (Sub sequentially this is the incident that started me making up this list. And as my friend, Evie, pointed out: it would suck more running out of bread instead…#truth)

2.You’re super engrossed in watching a DVD from Netflix(Redbox…stolen from the library) & it freezes on ya. Forcing you to skip ahead to the next frame, thus losing crucial minutes that off-set the rest of the movie for you.

3.Be in a high-traffic public restroom with a line waiting to use. Quiet in a stall…doing your thing only to discover the toilet dispenser is empty. Panic…do you ask the person in the stall next to ya? Or zip up & go? This is equally as much of a panic-filled moment if you were to flush & the toilet starts clogging.

4.For Book Nerds!!!!! Setting your book down on the arm of the recliner while you leave to re-fill your wine. It falls off the recliner…place is lost. Grumble, grumble.

5.Paying to put gas in your car with change. And not the cool change like quarters, but the throwaway kind like nickels & pennies. This is followed by fervent prayers that your small amount of gas will make it until next payday, four days away.

6.finding out that someone is a gazillionaire after they “invented” the same product that you & your buddies thought up first years ago. Yes, I’m still harbouring bitterness over the fact that in 7th grade I wrote a whole report, complete with research, charts, diagrams & a travel brochure about vacationing to the moon. To which my teacher wrote,”nice fantasy!”.

7.arguing with someone about a subject only to realize halfway through the argument that they’re right. I don’t know about you, but my pride forces me to continue on with my stance…ending with,”alright, fine…whatever. I’m not arguing anymore”….saving face.

8.Convincing yourself that the voicemail left from a phone number you don’t recognize is your ex from years ago calling; who not only has your digits still saved, but is calling you at 3:15p on a Tuesday afternoon to tell you how miserable he’s been without you. 10 seconds later you find out it’s Verizon saying you missed your payment. 😕

9.that awful eye-watering zit you to pop in the crease of your nose. Don’t be grossed out, we’ve all had them.

10.the alarm clock buzzing you awake on Monday morning…
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A letter to my Off-the-Market Friends…From your *single* Friend

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Dear Off-the-Market Friends…

This includes: married, engaged, those in long & short term relationships, dating, “talking” to someone, and/or if you’ve made eye contact with the cute guy at the gas station (which in your mind means this is a clue that you need to start shopping for Bridal magazines)…

Let me start off by saying how much I love ya & truly value our friendship. I adore the fact that you’ve found,”the greatest guy on the planet” (as per your gazillion Facebook, Twitter & Instagram posts proclaiming him as such). I think your kids are uber-adorable & I cheese over how sweet your white-picket fence life is. But please allow me one bitter-induced minute to explain why all of it makes me want to vomit.

I really don’t MIND being single, especially when I hear about nasty divorces, cheating spouses, & the fact that I can watch whatever I want on tv BUTwhen I see a 21yr old girl showing off her diamond engagement ring please don’t judge me if I express my desire to punch her in the nose. This is 100% my jealousy, so don’t take offense. I’m equally as jealous of the lady in the grocery store with a ring; the lady that reminds me of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom & I catch myself thinking,”How can she find a man & I still can’t???”

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Regardless of the reality I automatically resort to low self-esteem, Jr. High “Why didn’t anyone ask me to the Winter Dance?” school days. Every girl is someone cuter, thinner, smarter, richer, younger…I’m a chick, that’s how we rationalize things. Please forgive my whiny, self loathing right now (Yes, I’m currently annoyed with myself at the moment).

Friend, don’t get angry if I’m gravitating towards other single friends right now. This has nothing to do with you. When I’m with my single friends we get to bitch & moan about being single while pretending we don’t really care over bottles of cheap wine & chocolate cake. This is also our opportunity to crack on past boyfriends & then look up THEIR wedding pictures on Facebook. Single friends understand that while we would never return to said ex, it drives us crazy that said ex got married before we did (open another bottle, please!). This is a club reserved for those that haven’t found,”the greatest guy on the planet” & it’s a club that, while we like hanging out together, we’re kind of sick of being in. Just like you hang out with other married couples, it would be awkward to bring along a lone single (3rd wheel is never fun).

While I know your intentions are pure, please PLEASE don’t suggest that I join a dating site or suggest that I meet your co-worker Steve,”who is a great guy BUThas a ‘slight’ addiction to crack…”

20140217-174331.jpgI appreciate the fact that you’re trying to set me up with someone but the “BUT” wounds my pride. In essence you’re saying,”the best that I think you can do is a guy who collects belly-button lint & has a passion for toenail art”. Do I expect to end up with a Channing Tatum look-a-like??? No! Because I recognize that I’m no Megan Fox…but is it really too much to ask that he be employed & NOT living with his parents at 35??? And although I have nothing against dating sites, in fact I’ve tried them & have heard that people have had positive results. They’re not for me. I’m choosing to believe that God is writing a different love story for me than a connection on a dating site.

Also, please don’t try to set me up with a guy who dates a different chick every weekend. Early 20’s I would’ve been on-board with that, but early 30’s–not a fan. There’s nothing more revolting than a man who tells a different girl,”I love you” every Saturday night at the bar & then Sunday morning forgets her name. And when I’m crying over that outcome, please don’t follow up with,”God has someone planned for you” or “the right one will come along”. This is why I need my single-friends, they’ll understand how the loss feels more than you do in your wedded bliss.

Know, dear friend, that when you complain to me about how mad you are that your husband didn’t take out the trash or that he forgot Valentine’s Day I’m secretly rolling my eyes at you. When I’m the only one taking out the trash, cleaning the house, paying the bills, fixing the car, figuring out who I’m gonna vacation with, & the only Valentines gift I get is from my dog & that’s cleaning up his bathroom duties out of the yard. Well, my sympathy card is a little thin.

Above all, if one day I find myself in your position nagging & trying to set up another single friend. I ask that you throw this letter in my face & tell me to back off. That seems fair…

Sincerely,
-Your Single Friend-

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