This Is My Wish

I heard a Rascal Flatts’ song the other day, one that I’ve heard many times before.  But this time, I realized how perfectly it summed up our hopes for a daughter who is suddenly “all growed up”.  Like it or not, country music has a way of doing that.  Corny, I know.

Daughter turns 18 in a couple of weeks and Mr. Man and I have been discussing our dreams for her.  It’s taken me way too long to realize that the specifics don’t matter: where she goes to college, what profession she aspires to, what marriage and family goals she sees in her future. Those are things she needs to work out on her own and will.

OUR dreams for her are wrapped up in her ability to find satisfaction in the life that she was given, taking every opportunity to love and live fully in the service of others. God makes that so abundantly clear.  When we live in opposition to this idea, striving only to satisfy ourselves, we are left empty.  Been there, done that.

Did we do our part to deliver that message throughout her life?  I sure hope so.

Now let me be clear, we (Mr. Man and I) do not have this parenting thing all figured out. Our methods often result in tears, gnashing of teeth, eye rolling and door slamming. Did I mention eye rolling?

But just the other day daughter and I had this conversation.

Daughter: I think I am going to take a break from (a specific) social media.  It just doesn’t add value to my life.

Me Outwardly: Um OK, if you really think you should. Me Inwardly:  OMG! Hallelujah!

A couple days later Mr. Man and I had this one.

Mr. Man:  Daughter just hit a pothole driving home from school and blew out two tires.

Me:  OMG!  Oh no! Where is she?  Are you with her? Is she OK?

Mr. Man:  She’s fine. She pulled into a parking lot and proceeded to change one tire before realizing the second one was flat.  She called AAA and is waiting for the tow truck. She’s got this.

Me:  Um, OK.

Then, son, who is almost 10, made this beautiful plate of cookies for me while I was away for a day.  He found the recipe and baked them all by himself.  I’ve tried for years to bake cookies that look like these!

So let’s assess the situation:  Our kids can make cookies, change a tire and know the perils of social media.   I’d say our work here is done.

Ah, if it were only that easy.

I dare not say that we’ve done the best we could, because sometimes we didn’t. But, we are here at this crossroads, and she is going to move to the next stage of her life, no matter how well we did or did not equip her.

Our wish is still the same.  So in case you’re not a country fan:



Book Love

So, what books are you all loving this Valentine’s Day?

My mom celebrates her 86 birthday today and since she inspired my love of reading, let’s celebrate her with some great books.

I just hosted a book fair in my elementary library and the selection of new fiction was outstanding. The picture above highlights some of the titles. I heart reading youth fiction.   I will keep you posted.  I can say that Switch is an accompaniment to one of my favorite books SaavySee you in the Cosmos got incredible reviews, and we are reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street aloud as a family. So far it is delightful.  I linked all the book covers so if you want more details, just click.



Our priest is a reader and continually provides new thought-provoking books related to The Catholic
faith at very little cost.  This Lent we are reading The Case For Jesus by Brant Pitre. So, rather than giving up chocolate, we’ll be reading.  Son even got a new book of Bible stories that he’s going to read each night during this season.


My book club is reading An American Marriage.  The New York Times Book Review calls it haunting and beautifully written.  Loooving it!  Do you sense a theme?




I am rereading probably the most pivotal book on the subject of reading I’ve ever come across. Better Than Life by Daniel Pennac “Delving into his experiences as a parent, a writer and a teacher, he (author Daniel Pennac) asks, how does the love of reading begin? How is it lost? And how can it be regained?” Essential questions that must be continually addressed if we are to raise readers!



I forgot to mention last time that I love magazines.  I don’t subscribe, but I pick up a couple faithfully. Sometimes you just need the eye candy that magazines provide.  Four of my favorites linked below are Where Women Cook (gorgeous kitchen photos), Bake From Scratch, Flea Market Style and Cottage Style.  I get my People fix at the hair salon.

By the way, The Amazing Ursula Underwood was an interesting book.  I enjoyed it and jumped right into another Susannah B. Lewis Title, Ten Years Taken.  My mom loves mysteries so I will have to share it with her when I am finished.  Wait, I’m reading it free with Kindle Unlimited.  Happy Birthday anyway mom!


Hope your day is filled with love, laughter and books!






Beauty Part Deux

What is your beauty story?  We all have one.  Were you raised by a mother who didn’t wear makeup or one that had a favorite department store line, and never left home without freshly applied lipstick?  Perhaps she was somewhere in between. Was the natural look popular in your youth or are you a blue eyeshadow baby? Our female role models (family, friend or fiction) have a definite impact on the physical image we choose to project.  

Story is important to me. Maybe it is because I am a librarian or maybe because connecting with a story ties us all together in one big, messy, wonderful humanity. Either way, that is why, when I choose products for myself and my family, I like to consider the stories behind them.  Several of the people or companies behind the cosmetics I share today have great stories.  Sure, we have to be careful of green washing, but I think we usually know the difference behind a heartfelt mission and a marketing ploy.

With your story and your goals in mind, let’s take a look at our everyday cosmetics to make sure we are focused on simplifying and detoxifying. 

When it comes to cosmetics, I truly believe less is more, but I love a polished look.  It can be achieved in a short amount of time with the right products. Just let the real you shine through!

I’ve used EWG’s Skin Deep Database for a while now, but Phyllis’ comment prompted me to download the app. What a great tool to use while shopping. I love the convenience.  When you search an item in the database the app gives you a score and even certifies products based on EWG’s safety criteria. I found the quickest way to use it, is to type in the kind of product you want. For instance, type in mascara rather than a brand, and then see what is listed as certified or top rated.


Now Let’s talk routines and products:

  1. I start each morning with a moisturizer.  It is usually my whipped shea/coconut butter. But if I want something lighter, I like the Paraben and fragrance free Nourish Moisturizer from Trader Joe’s (Thanks Meghan).  Trader Joe’s story started way back in the 1950’s.  Check it out here.

  2. Next, I apply the Boom Stick Glow from the Boom Stick Trio to my lips and around my eyes. Then I sweep the Boom Stick Color on my forehead, cheeks and lips.

    A couple of years ago, I stumbled on Boom Sticks.  The founder, Cindy Joseph, is a “mature” model and makeup artist. You can read her story here. I’ve been using the trio for a while now and love it!  The products are natural, Phthalate and Paraben free.  And, they are specially designed for folks who want to skip foundation. Skipping foundation was a huge leap for me.  Joseph makes the point that as we age many products, such as foundation, draw attention to or highlight texture.  Made sense to me so I took the plunge.  haven’t looked back since!

  3. Next is concealer.  This is a product I currently need to switch out.  I think I will go with Beauty Counter’s Touch Up Skin Concealer Pen.  This company provides high quality makeup products that perfectly align with my natural-is-better philosophy. The mission statement is simply “to get safer products into the hands of everyone”. Read their story here. If I am going out on the town and want a little more coverage, I use their Dew Skin tinted moisturizer.  I’ve got my eye on the Flawless in Five set too!  Origins is another company that I have used and trusted for years.  I like the Planscriptions while my daughter uses the Quick, Hide!

  4. Mascara- I’m Currently using Tarte’s Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes.  It scores a 4 in the yellow zone of SD Database for safety.  It is Paraben and Phthalate free but I could do better. I think I smell a hint of green washing here. My friend Lisa is my go-to when it comes to natural cosmetics and she suggested Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mascara.  This set includes an eye pencil which I definitely need (for eyebrow filler) and is brown, my favorite mascara color. I just hit buy on Amazon!  So excited to make this purchase.  You can read Pacifica’s story here.

  5. In my purse, I carry the watermelon shade of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer . My friend C-W turned me on to it years ago with the declaration that it looks good with any skin tone.  I was skeptical, but she was right! I am never without it.  I’ve linked a four-pack here because you will want to have one at home, in your purse, in your car, in your other purse….You get the picture.  Burt’s Bees’ philosophy is “What you put on your body should be from the best that nature has to offer.” That works for me!

I received a comment on an earlier post requesting a natural whitening toothpaste.  I made one recently and am pleased with the results.  I mixed up a batch and then divided it among  small lip balm containers.  Each family member gets their own to keep it more hygienic.  I’m happy to share the recipe and directions.  Just e-mail me here and I’ll get it the download right out to you!  Don’t be alarmed. Natural whitening toothpaste is actually black!

And lastly today, let’s talk about something nobody wants to discuss:  body odor!  Antiperspirant and deodorant have long been concerns for those who want to use natural products.  It really makes sense to consider ingredients when you think about the lymph nodes that are located under our arms.  Actually, our skin is an organ, so anything we put on it is absorbed into our systems.

Finding the right product was a struggle. Some natural deodorants were ineffective while others caused irritation (arrowroot can be the root of this ; ).

Finally, this summer while at the farmers’ market, I came across The Farm Life, a self-described “local movement”.  A Beauty Counter representative that was at the market recommended their products.  That’s synergy.  I tried the Mineral Deodorant and was very happy with the results.  It is “Formulated by a functional medicine practitioner as a vegan natural deodorant made with magnesium oil. This chemical-free solution re-mineralize your body while neutralizing underarm body odor. The essential oils promote daily detox and skin pH balancing. Safe for sensitive skin.”  The arrowroot in this product did not bother me,and it is effective, so it’s a keeper!  Of course there is a great story here too!


To the simplifying end, here is my vanity drawer before I started the detox reboot.  Oh my!

And here it is after I discarded what I don’t (or shouldn’t) use. So much better.

Consider, that as you declutter all the physical spaces in your life, you are also clearing your mind and heart.  St. Anthony the Great said, “The more man uses moderation in his life, the more he is at peace, for he is not full of cares for many things.

Amen and Pax,