Recipe to Ease Overwhelm

Recipe to Ease Overwhelm 20150805


Sometimes, in spite of all of the self care practice you can muster, your day just goes off the rails.

Maybe it’s because a bunny chewed through the fuel line on your car.

Maybe it’s because you didn’t get enough sleep.

Maybe it’s because you took a few days off for vacation or because you’ve been ill.

Maybe it’s because you mixed up the dates on a deadline.

Maybe it’s because someone else mixed up their dates and suddenly hands you a deadline.

Maybe it’s because life can just get life-y and throw a whole lot at you all at once.

You look up and you’re in overwhelm. It’s a horrible feeling — having a whirling dervish of panic flying around in your head — and just makes a difficult day even harder.

My hubby was in overwhelm recently and told me so. I couldn’t remove anything from his proverbial plate, but I could help him walk through the process of collecting his thoughts and sorting through them so that some of the anxiety could be set aside. Having a clear head and remembering to breathe makes those pressing tasks much easier to accomplish.

When we’re worked up, we just don’t think clearly. We feel like we don’t have time to stop and make a plan. The reality is that we must pause and assess before we can get anything of value done.

So, when I encounter someone in overwhelm — or am feeling it creeping into my day — here’s what I do.

(1) I tell them to breathe.

It’s essential. You’re going to do it anyway. Give it your attention for a moment.

(2) Then I walk them through a dervish dump and sort.

Basically, you get it all down — everything that’s flying through your head — and then sort those items into what really must be done today and what can wait.

(3) Then come more reminders to breathe.

It’s amazing how our bodies respond to intentional, slow breathing.

At that point they are usually calm enough to take it from there. If not, we rinse and repeat.

Overwhelm happens to the best of us. It’s not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s a sign that you need a moment to pause and plan. So, next time you hit overwhelm, remember to stop, breathe, list, breathe, sort, and breathe.

The image is a colorful, painted background with the Recipe to Ease Overwhelm written on it.

Happy Traveler and Doctor Blue

Blue Variant Scarf Started
I finished up Gillian’s Season 12 Doctor Who scarf over the weekend, but not before Berns asked for one of his own. He didn’t want a Season 12 like his sister’s. He wants a Blue Variant for the 6th Doctor.

Of course!

What’s that?

I’ll save you some research.

The 6th Doctor — evidently — had a pretty wild costume. When they revived the character for an audio show in about 2002, someone decided it would be tons easier to tone his costume down from a bunch of bright colors to several shades of blue for the adverts.

(Silly me, but, after they’d already invented the multi-colored version and sewn it in real life as a costume for an actual person to wear, this seems a little lazy. I’m sure this thinking puts me into some kind of Whovian Interwebs Battle. Let me go on record to say that I don’t want a vote if someone’s keeping score.)

Okay. But what kind of scarf did he wear?

Best I can tell, he didn’t.

Of course!

Thank goodness for Tara Wheeler and the fact that she thinks of everything. Yes, there is actually an official unofficial, non-canon blue variant scarf pattern.

But Berns didn’t want that one. He wanted a Season 12 in Blue.

Of course!

Are you following?

So, I gathered 7 shades of blue wool — well, 4 shades of blue, 2 shades of turquoise, and a medium gray — and went back to the Season 12 scarf and decided which color of blue would substitute for each of the canon colors and got started. I’m making the stripes 2/3rds the size of the original Season 12 scarf. My goal is to make it 7-8 feet long. We’re calling it “Dr Blue“.

Of course!

Why in the world would I spend weeks of my life making garter stitch scarves based on a TV show from the 1980s that I didn’t watch at the time and have only seen partial episodes accidentally since?

This is why:

2013-09-08 16.30.57


Yes, she’s wearing it without the fringe and with the unwoven ends dangling in the back. She couldn’t wait.

Of course!

Happy Quote: Leader by Example


QuoteAccept that as you create your right life, you’ll become a leader automatically; not because you’ll want others to follow your rules, but because they’ll want to follow your example.

–Martha Beck

Boo’s Blogging

Boo and Champ


As y’all may know, I’m homeschooling our boy child. In an attempt to connect writing with his interests, he’s starting to blog about the things he does and reads. Since his favorite activities involve gaming and reading and the dog, I suspect there will be a pretty heavy emphasis on these things.

Anywho, if you’re interested in what Boo has to say about Rocket Boys, he reviews the book here. He also did a first-day on Terraria post that sounds fascinating even though I haven’t a clue what he’s actually talking about.

Ahhhh… finally a “cool” way to get some words out of this kiddo. I love homeschooling. This is why.

Gina’s Stuff: Tennessee Tarts — Almost Good Enough to Eat

Tart Warming Scene

Last year around the holidays, Ned Andrew and I came across these adorable little cast iron skillets in Franklin, TN. We bought about a half dozen of them to give as gifts, but made sure to keep one for our own selves. The clever shop had them displayed with little tea light stands so that you could warm potpourri tarts in them. A local crafter just happened to have said tarts for sale nearby.

We’ve loved this little set up. It does a wonderful job of adding fragrance to our home, and the little tea lights are way more economical than scented candles. The tarts can be warmed over and over again, so they last for a long while. The dozen or so we purchased last December are just at the end of their run.

So, when I learned that single-mom, pal, and all-around super hero, Jennifer Batts, from Knoxville has a business making these little waxy smell-goods, I had to give them a try. I ordered a couple of’ 10-Tart Samplers (free shipping!) at the end of last week. Even with the postal holiday, they were here today. (Amazing. I was sort of looking around to see if she’d driven them to Nashville.) I’m kind of impressed that they weren’t eaten in transit. The box smelled like a bakery.


Box o' Tarts

When I finally got inside and got the package opened, I was thrilled with the assortment of goodies. The typical tarts come in shapes that reflect their scent, but the samplers all look like baby Bundt cakes. Since I know that the shape doesn’t matter once you melt them, I was cool with the simple shape. I ordered 2 each of 10 “flavors” and had a really hard time deciding which one to try first. After warning everyone that they couldn’t actually eat the tarts — they’re that delicious — we put it to a sniff vote. Pumpkin Spice won the first round.

So far, we’re thrilled. It melted beautifully in our warmer. The scent is lovely and fragrant enough to notice without knocking you backwards upon entering the house. In short, I’m delighted!

The great news is that I probably have a years’ supply of them now. The bad news is that I can’t justify ordering Jennifer’s 30 other fragrances yet. Unless… I order a boatload of them for holiday gifts.


Hey, Jennifer! I’m gonna need more tarts!

Happy Snap: Floating Pretty Ceiling Stuff

Taco Mamacita Decor -- Happy Snap by Gina Lynette

Just as she was about to attempt to catch a falling star — and perhaps swing from a chandelier while she was at it — Edna remembered herself.


Taking a deep breath and regaining her composure, she yelled, “Waaaahoooooooo!” at the precise moment of take off.


Edna is a trained professional. Please do not try this when you visit Taco Mamacita — regardless of how much you love their sky decorations. Have some risky sweet potato fries and a dangerous mango taco instead.

Okay, fine. Yell, “Waaahooooooooo!” but please don’t hurt yourself.

Happy Snap: Champ’s Tree

Champ and Tree


Champ is happy to nap just about anywhere, but his favorite spot is under our apple tree. Sometimes he even puts his head up and barks at stuff, but only if it’s really important stuff.

Gina’s Stuff: Nest Necklace by Anita Schmadtke

In an act of appreciation for the hands that make them, I’d like to highlight some of the things — actual physical objects — that bring me joy. I’m not sure how this will work, exactly, but I was sitting here thinking about how much I love this little necklace and I wanted to write about it. So, here goes…

Sterling Nest by Anita Schmadtke

With the exception of books, I am not an impulse buyer by any stretch of the imagination. I tend to be a researcher — studying models and features for weeks before making a decision. Add that to my trending toward the thrifty side, means that even if I really want something, I’m going to watch for a sale.

Case in point: my son was practically walking by the time I made a decision on which stroller to purchase and could push it himself when I finally broke down and bought one.

So, it was a pretty unusual day when I walked into Nest, spied this necklace and purchased it on the spot. It had to be mine. Correction: it already was mine. I just needed to pay for it.

I’m all about handmade items and I love pieces that are meaningful. There’s all sorts of symbolism woven into this little nest. I see birth and renewal and promises and family and love. I suppose the fact that I was in mourning when I encountered it made it all the more poignant to me.

Once I got it home, I started the research (Yes, I do all of the steps, even if they aren’t in order) on the artist and found Anita Schmadtke on Facebook. Turns out we are practically neighbors, so we met for coffee and immediately hit it off.

Anita spends hours coaxing 14 feet of sterling silver into these little nests, and her sweet energy somehow sticks to the piece in the process. When I needed a meaningful 60th birthday gift for my sister-in-law, I called Anita and asked her to make one especially for the occasion. She graciously agreed and, if possible, the custom one was even nicer than the one I’d purchased for myself.

I love this little nest and wear mine just about everywhere — it’s become a signature piece — and get kind compliments on it daily. In a world of throwaway, mass-produced everything, it’s delightful to acquire lovely items that were designed and created to be treasured. What a sweet bonus treat it is to grow to know and love the creators of those treasures.



The Hardest Part of Abundance

Bedside Books

I have a confession. My name is Gina and I’m addicted to printed matter.

Yes, I have an eReader and a cell phone with a reading app and spend an inordinate amount of time reading online, but I still love to encounter words attached to actual paper. I love books — no doubt — and have amassed quite the collection over the years. I’m also very fond of well-written magazines like Bitch and O and the ones that come with my Sunday New York Times.

Yes, I’ll confess to that, too. I take the paper. The paper paper. I read the daily Times electronically, but I can’t give up my Sunday ritual of coffee and the paper. I won’t. I savor them, flipping the crisp pages and map-folding them to the size and shape that allows me to read with one hand free for that cuppa.



The trouble with books is that they are so much easier to buy than to read.


I wish I could remember where I read this quote. Well, I remember where I read it. I was in my studio. But I can’t narrow it down any further than that. And looking to see what’s on top of the pile doesn’t help because there are more piles of books and magazines than would make that practical.

Anyway, the point.

I finished reading Truth & Beauty: A Friendship last night. It was heartbreaking and wonderful and I’ll review it soon. But finishing it left me with a conundrum.  What to pick up next? It isn’t like I don’t have any choices. I have too many choices.

I have at least 20 books in process. I do that — start a book and then see something shiny and then start that, too. I often pick a book back up and finish it months after dropping it for something else. So, is there something in that pile I want to revisit?

There are stacks of books that are the “and this too” group. When I get going with a favorite author or subject, I’ll be at the bookstore and see something interesting in the same vein and will grab it to read … next? … later? … ?

Then there are the new, new, new books from my most recent trip to The Bookloft, where I inevitably purchase a dozen titles. There must be something about being away from home and out of my regular routine that deceives me into believing that I have endless time to read.

There are the guilt books, too. I have a knack for being friends with folks who write and always, always, always buy a copy when they publish something. Oftentimes, I love them and read them pretty quickly, but there are a handful that I feel obligated to read that keep staring back at me from the shelf.

The final stack is from our library. I currently have 5 — five — not-small books from our glorious local library. If pressed, I’ll admit that there’s absolutely no way I’ll read all of them before they are due. Truth be told, I’ll likely only start one, get super-involved in it just as it’s time to turn it in, and then order my own copy. By the time it comes, I’ll have moved on to something else and it will end up in the “in process” pile.

So, fie on you, abundance! Choosing reading material is easy, but choosing what to read now is a mix of excitement, dread, anticipation, and overwhelm. Sigh.

Books, books everywhere and not a word to read.

I suppose I’ll head to the bookstore.

The Boy is Back!

Mics from Jon

After nearly two decades of being told to put his guitar away — “What is that? Your calling card??” — which led him to get rid of all of his equipment, mics, and stands…

And with the only remaining evidence of his amazing talent being his 40-year-old Martin and a few warped cassette tapes…

And with the help of people who have known and loved his music for years…

And with some incredible gifts of mics and cables and a preamp from friends old and new…

We are on the verge of Ned Andrew actually recording again.

It won’t be on Music Row this time — at least not for now.

But it will be his guitar, his voice, and his songs that are captured for the folks who love, love this man and his amazing music.

Stay tuned. You’re in for a treat.


Because, yes, that guitar is his calling card.

And if this groupie has anything to say about it, he’ll play it everywhere he goes.

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