Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nurturing Us to Our Bloomingest

I've never had much of a green thumb - it's more brownish black. But you wouldn't know it by looking at my yard.

That's because I've learned the fine art of harboring only plants that thrive on their own without any help from me. Survival of the fittest. Lord of the Venus Fly-traps.

One of those hearty independent souls in my yard is the hibiscus. Three years ago I planted two 8-inch high variegated-leaf hibiscus (okay you spelling fanatics, is the plural version hibisces, hibisci, or hibiscuses?) in a spot in my side flowerbed vacated by the last victim of neglect. The lovely little plants were covered with beautiful red-orange blossoms sticking out long orange tongues bejeweled with tiny yellow sparkles.

Yep. Three years ago I planted them, and three years ago was the last time I saw them bloom.

That's not to say they haven't grown - not at all. One look at the 7-feet-tall lush plants would make you believe they're actually thriving. I notice my neighbors fertilize theirs several times a year and the crazy things bloom constantly all the way through the summer. They also prune their hibiscus back to short bare stalks each winter, but I've never bothered with all that. And mine just keep getting bigger and bigger, so they must be doing okay, right?

But they never bloom.

I don't get it. Isn't that what flowers are supposed to do?

And then yesterday I walked outside after a rainstorm to find my jumbo hibiscus plants lying flat on the ground. Apparently they'd grown so tall, their long lanky stems couldn't withstand the additional weight of rain collecting on their leaves and they finally gave way beneath the strain.

Oh. Could that be why my neighbors cut theirs back?

As I stood there shaking my head at their pitiful plight, the thought occurred to me that people are a lot like those hibiscus. We may grow and look like we're doing fine, but if not given enough fertilizer, we may never bloom. And if we're not pruned and cared for properly, we'll collapse beneath the weight of storms we simply can't endure.

Thankfully, Papa God is a MUCH better gardener than I am and He knows how to nurture us to our bloomingest.

On a happy note, we were able to save the spunky little fellas. Spouse chopped them in half and within a day, they were standing erect again, looking mighty happy to be there. And I thought I heard the littlest hibiscus stalk whisper, "Please, sir, may I have some gruel?" I think he meant fertilizer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exciting Announcement PLUS New Contest!

Congrats again to the 10 sweet gals who won free copies of my Too Blessed to be Stressed 2014 Planner! (Scroll back to find the names of the winners.) And kudos to Pam from Florida, the grand prize champ, who also scored the entire 3-book Take On Life series.

Okay, now for more good news!

I'm still in shock and trying to process the incredible news I received earlier this week: The Too Blessed to be Stressed Planner has sold 6,000 copies in the 6 weeks it's been available in bookstores and online.

Can you BELIEVE it? What an enormous YAY GOD!

Many, many thanks to all of you sweeties who made that happen by picking up a Planner for yourself and a friend. If you haven't yet, it's not too late - you can help me reach my goal of 10k by Christmas! (Just Google Too Blessed to be Stressed 2014 Planner if you're ordering online.)

That's my good news; now for YOUR good news!

To celebrate hitting 6k in 6 weeks, I'm going to give away 6 more Planners! 

To enter this new drawing, just subscribe to my blog if you haven't already, and invite a friend to subscribe too during this upcoming week (Aug 20 -27). Then shoot me an e-mail at giving me the names of you and your friend as my new best blog buddies.

If you're one of the three names drawn out of the hat and announced on August 28, you AND your friend will receive a brand new autographed Too Blessed to be Stressed 2014 Planner absolutely free. Plus, in honor of my last book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, I'll send you both a sample of my new favorite chocolate - the absolutely smoothest, creamiest, richest chocolate you've ever wrapped your tongue around!

I hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waxing Eloquent

"What did you say?" I couldn't quite make out Spouse's words. My ears had been clogged since I'd taken a dozen or so laps underwater at the pool on our vacation a few days before.

"I think we should try candling your ears." Spouse exaggerated the words as if speaking to a deaf person.

"Candling my ears? What you smokin, mon?"

But he was serious. My well meaning, health-food-nut husband who loves to buck the traditional system was always open to trying alternative methods. If you want proof, just re-read the "Shoving the Envelope" chapter in my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed, when he Hiroshima'ed our home by juicing a bushel of garlic.

So for lack of any better ideas, I allowed him to pull out the 8-inch "candles" he had purchased years before, stick them in my ears, and light 'em up.

Before you think we've altogether lost our minds, let me inform you that candling is actually an ancient practice that is supposed to remove excessive ear wax. No kidding. Somebody a long, long time ago came up with the idea of creating "candles" of fabric impregnated with beeswax that when lit on the ends, supposedly create a vacuum that serves to soften and disintegrates errant ear wax clogging the ear canal.

Spouse even pulled up a couple of video clips of pleasant looking Asian people lighting fires on these things in each others ears, while smiling and saying things to the camera like, "Don't move head while candle lit or you burn hair off head."

Although my heart did skip a beat or two at this last admonition, I trust Spouse (most of the time) and was more than over not being able to hear the smoke alarm go off when dinner was ready. So a' candling we go.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. After 20 minutes of blowing warm crackling smoke into each ear, I could hear no better. In fact, it actually got worse. I think the candle heat must have melted the ear wax into into a solid cork.

So after a sleepless night, the next morning found me in line at the local Walk-In clinic. When the 15-year-old doctor finally made an appearance (I swear the kid had never shaved), he peered into my ears with his magnifying thingie and remarked. "Yep, it looks like ear wax all right. But there's a strange round black spot on the ear canal wall that I've never seen anything like before."

I figured Doogie Houser had probably never seen anything like it before because he just got out of med school last week. "It's most likely singed hair follicles from candle smoke," I replied cheerily.

His little freckled face looked confused.

"Candles," I explained. "You know, candling. You put candles in your ears to remove the ear wax. Only it didn't work."

"W-W-WHAT?" Doogie sputtered in disbelief. Something akin to horror played across his young innocent features. I could tell he was picturing me with lit birthday candles sticking out of both sides of my head. "You put candles in your EARS??"

So I tried to explain the legitimacy of the whole thing, but he couldn't stop shaking his head and muttering something that sounded like, "inconceivable." I wanted to tell him that that I saw that movie too and, "I don't think it means what you think it means" in a Spanish accent, but he seemed to be in a big hurry to exit the room.

Shortly afterwards I heard, through the closed door, a chorus of "What?" from the rest of the medical staff in the hall. Then a 12-year-old MA came in with an awesome little pressure washer gizmo and blasted those ear wax corks right out of there. I asked if I could borrow it to use on my driveway, but she didn't bite.

So goes another episode in the Coty stump-the-medical-profession game. You thought I couldn't top the doctor fainting dead away on the floor during my colonoscopy, didn't you?  (Scroll back for that post.)

Life is such an adventure. Can't wait to see what's next!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Offbeat Phobias

As a follow-up to my recent series of posts related to my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of
Chocolate,  I ran across these real fears that people have on the bizarre end of the spectrum.

At first glance, we may think they're too weird to be taken seriously, but seriously, folks, people all around us have all kinds of crazy fears looming over their heads. Fears as real and threatening to them as the little pooch in the picture. (Do I hear a collective AWWW here?)

So the next time you think anxiety is whipping your behunkus, think about those poor souls limping through life struggling with:

Pentheraphobia: Fear of your mother-in-law. Yikes! NOT a recipe for a long and happy marriage.

Arachibutyrophia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Symptoms include excessive sweating, itching, and even convulsions when peanut butter is nearby.

Cathisophobia: Fear of sitting. Not just for hemorrhoid sufferers, this disorder is sometimes rooted in excessive childhood punishment, or the unfortunate event of sitting on sharp or painful objects one too many times.

Novercaphobia: Fear of your stepmother. This one was likely founded by a little Cinder girl with an affinity for glass footwear.

Deipnophobia: Fear of dinner conversation. I would imagine this disorder runs rampant in people who firmly believe that you don't look stupid until you open your mouth and prove it.

Blogophobia: Fear of blogging. Okay. I made this one up, but I think I might be coining the phrase very soon.

What's your most obscure fear?

*Special shout out to Jamie Frater, founder of  for his input on offbeat phobias.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Contest Winners!!!

Yoo Hoo Girlfriends!

I just couldn't wait another minute to post the winners of a Too Blessed to be Stressed 2014 Planner, and the grand prize winner who not only wins one of these adorable planners, but also my 3-book "Take On Life" series, which includes:

Too Blessed to be Stressed
More Beauty, Less Beast
Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate!

If you find your name on this list (Spouse drew the names, so if you're not on here, blame him!), please e-mail me ( your mailing address so I can send your prize!

If I don't hear from you by Saturday, Aug 17, I'll have to choose someone else to take your prize, so don't delay!

Thank you - ALL of you - for entering! I wish I could send every single BFF (Blessed Friend Forever) who entered a prize. Hey, maybe I can! Stay tuned for more contests coming up this fall.

Okay, here goes ... and CONGRATS everyone!

Lori Drake
Phyllis McKinley
Cindy Morrow
Lisa Gingerich
Abi Buening
Bethany Lancaster
Ruth Babel
Michelle Stroup
Candy Gesemyer

And the grand prize winner: (DRUMROLL RRRRRRRRRR): Pam Edmonds