300th Sweetgum Life Blog Post Giveaway!

Welcome to my 300th Sweetgum Life Blog Post Giveaway! It’s hard to believe that I’ve posted 300 times!


I hope you’ll celebrate with me by entering my giveaway. All you have to do is tell me your favorite post in the Comment section, below. Of course, I also want to know why you like the post so much.

I started my blog in 2013 after reading Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. I related to it so much because of my life growing up in rural south Alabama. We did have “help” while Mom worked in my parents’ store, Jachin Grocery. Things were a little different for us than Stockett’s fictionalized account of growing up in Mississippi during the upheaval of the 1960’s–I grew up in the post-Civil Rights era of the 70s-80s.

I do have the fondest memories of our help, Vianna, my beloved childcare provider. I’m sure she had a positive influence on my perception of African-Americans. One of my childhood playmates was not nice to her maid. But I loved Mary Anne to death and loved to cuddle up with her when I visited my playmate. Not saying that I was a perfect little child, but I look forward to seeing Vianna and Mary Anne in Heaven one day, because I’m sure they’ll be there.

What is Sweetgum Life about?

Www.sweetgumlife.com focuses on the beauty of a simple life with faith, warmth, nostalgia, and humor by sharing life and southern culture from a wife and mom’s perspective.

Sunflowers at Sweetgum House.

Sweetgumlife — A Southern Lifestyle Blog

No one can deny the cultural differences that are part of the United States. Television, film, and literature perpetuate these stereotypes–and I do too, at times. I also tend to romanticize life in the South. But just like the castles in Europe, no life is without problems common to the human race. I’m a very positive person, and I tend to focus on the good. We get enough nastiness from the news…that is, if we even bother to watch it anymore. I usually don’t and tend to get by just fine.

Faith

It’s true that southerners live in the Bible Belt, and for that I’m extremely thankful. It’s a great place to raise children. Faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has brought me through some terribly dark days and nights. I hope my writing always reflects the Light in my life. 1 John 1:7

Stories

I wouldn’t be much of a southerner (or a writer!) if I didn’t fill my blog with stories! I like to include the occasional short story or flash fiction in a post.

Amazing People

I post a lot about amazing and inspiring people. Sometimes they are entrepreneurs of small mom & pop stores like I grew up around. (My Papa started Jachin Grocery in rural south Alabama, and eventually sold it to Mom and Dad.) Sometimes I write about other writers like my college friend and published author, Melanie Dickerson. Look around and you’ll find amazing people in every one you see.

Family

Families are at the heart of life in the south. Each one is unique.

Pin It!

My Pin It section covers beautiful southern homes, antiques, crafts, DIY, and all of the stuff you’d find on HGTV.

White house in Five Points

The Giveaway

All you have to do is to pick your favorite www.sweetgumlife.com post and list it in the Comments. You must be a resident of the U.S. and be 18 years old or older. I will draw names on Friday of all who enter. You get double points for mentioning why the particular post is your favorite. Win a $25 gift card to Amazon!

Black Angus cow.

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The Reboot — How to get Up and Going after an Illness

rainbow_of_hope

My rainbow reboot!

I contracted my first poison ivy rash near the beginning of June. Miserable, I went to the doctor and got a shot that eventually cleared it up but somehow caught a tummy bug the next week. By the time I was feeling better, I found another horrific rash on my legs that itched and hurt like poison ivy but it was much, much worse. I experienced extreme swelling and fever at the site. My doc again told me that it was some type of contact dermatitis. After the pain and itching went away, my tonsils started swelling and my throat became inflamed with tonsilitis. By that time, I felt like a truck had hit me. When I was a little better, I went outside just to pick a couple of tomatoes from my garden. And, you got it…I got that same horrible rash on my hands this time and had to have a shot and antibiotics.

 

Virginia_creeper

The culprit: Virginia Creeper!

 

As you can guess, I was beginning to feel “learned helplessness” like Seligman’s dogs in his classical conditioning experiment.

random_lab_in_ice

Point is, I had become very discouraged. The house needed cleaning, my family had been eating out a lot during my infirmary, and I was deplete of positive energy.

I needed a complete reboot!

Just shut the whole system down, and start over.

ziniasJuly2017

Here are some things I learned about rebooting after a major setback:

1. Be patient. Regaining energy takes time. Be sure to give your mind and body time to rest so that it can heal. You definitely don’t want a relapse!

2. Be patient. It takes time to get back into the swing of things–the housework, grocery shopping, prepping meals. Patience helps to keep you from being overwhelmed by it all.

3. Be patient. Ease back into an exercise routine. I found that tai chi was a good way to do this because I can do it inside, and the stretches and movements are slow and easy.

4. Be thankful. In my case, I’ve been thankful that I don’t have a long-term illness and am usually very healthy.

5. Go! I began to feel alive again after getting out, being around people again, and being creative.

The reboot isn’t fast, but I’m thankful that it’s happening.

I’ve just got to avoid the Virginia Creeper.

“Jesus said, ‘Rise, take up your bed, and walk John 5:8.’”

field_of_flowers

This beautiful field of flowers makes me happy.

 

#illness
#discouragement
#reboot
#recovery

Remembering to be Kind

bennett_roses2It’s nasty up in Washington, D.C. There are peeps in high places who are trying to destroy each other. They’re more concerned with selfish ambition than the greater good of the people of the United States of America and the world.

I won’t name names. I get so frustrated some times!

But here’s the thing…

I’m a simple north Alabama wife and mom, a small voice in what seems to be an infinite space, asking everyone to remember to be nice.

You wouldn’t know it by listening or watching any of the news sources. Really, you wouldn’t, but there are some really good people out there doing some really nice, kind, and unselfish things.

Like the lady in the car ahead of me at the fast-food place a couple of weeks ago. She paid for our order. Naturally, I paid for the lady behind me. And I hope it went on and on, reminding people that there are nice people in the world who are trying to make a small difference.

Even the smallest act of kindness helps to spread hope in today’s world.

A few kindness Bible verses:

“It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:21).”

“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves (Proverbs 11:17).”

“‘I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24).”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).”

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).”

“…He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked (Luke 6:35).”

Source: www.Biblegateway.com

#RememberingtobeKind
#hope
#Godofkindness

Musings of a Neo-Hippie Mom (Part I)

My papier-mâché hippie puppet from college art class.

My papier-mâché hippie puppet from college art class.

When I was in college, I decided that I was a neo-flower child. After all, I had been born around the time that people were putting flowers in their hair and VietNam was going on.
When I mentioned it to one of my relatives, he nearly exploded. Apparently, he had been a real hippie, and he did not want that kind of lifestyle for me.

But he missed the point that I was trying to make.

See, growing up in a small town, there was a dearth of free-spirits, so I was an anomaly. It wasn’t until I got to college that my peers didn’t disparaged because of my deep faith in God.

The different between me and the hippies of the 1960s-70s is that faith.

I have something that I’m willing to give my life for. I am plugged into the Source of love, beauty, and peace. One of my favorite Bible verses is Galatians 5:22-23.
And isn’t that what the hippies were striving for? They were just misguided, right?

Galatians 5:22-23

Galatians 5:22-23

So, even though I’m a suburban housewife—and uncool by default—I still contend that I’m a neo-flower child. I go by the words of my Best Friend…a radical for His time. Seems like I go against the grain of popular thought for my day, too.

I may not be “a progressive thinker.” I may be accused of hating certain groups of people. (I don’t hate anyone…I simply abhor what they stand for).

I may be accused (Mt. 5:10-12) of being backwards and ignorant. I may be considered to be a prude, and I’m sure that I’ll always be in a minority, but I’m okay with that.

How about you?

Peace out, y’all.
flowers