Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Highs and Lows of 2009

This year had a lot of ups and downs.  In January, Obama was elected as President.  I watched the historic inauguration with goosebumps while I wrote a letter to my future biracial child.  She will never know a world where a black person wasn't President.  We had been trying to conceive for 4 months by then and I believed 2009 would be the year she arrived.

In April, Nourish. Create. Bloom. came to life.  It has been such a joy to write blog posts and read the comments from my readers.  Thank you loyal followers!  Your comments mean so much to me.

Later in April, I felt the most incredible joy when I got pregnant for the first time ever!  I'd been waiting for this moment for years and it was finally here!  It was especially wonderful because my sister, Marilee, got pregnant two weeks before me.   I was so excited to share this life experience with her just like we had planned when we were little girls. We were certain she was having a boy and I was having a girl. That day, I went out and bought What to Expect When You're Expecting and a gift book for my sister and her husband.  I also bought our child her first book ever; You Are My Wish Come True.   

In May, my joy ended.  After continued bleeding and uncertainty, my husband and I learned the baby was stuck in my fallopian tube.  The pregnancy couldn't progress without killing me in the process.  In the ER I received a shot that ended my first pregnancy.  Sadness enveloped me.  This blog became a way for me to voice my grief, find support, and contemplate hope.  

The rest of 2009 was an off-and-on-again struggle.  Tears came when I passed the baby section in Target.  A few weeks ago, when in Borders, I had move to another section when a baby's cry prompted me to cry myself.  

On December 16th, my sister had a beautiful and healthy baby boy.  During my sister's pregnancy I struggled with separating her joy from my loss.  The timing of our conceptions at first seemed perfect but turned out to be painful.  I was afraid that when I first met her son, I would burst into tears.  But when I held him, all I could think of was the miracle that he is.  In that moment, holding that little chirping bundle of joy, my own sadness left me.

My due date was to be December 31st.  But as it turns out, 2009 wasn't my year to become a mama.  And despite some devastating news from the doctor today, I still have a little hope that 2010 is the year my wish will come true.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kathianne's AJC Quote on Holiday Stress

Note: Unfortunately, the article printed on December 24th.  I was out of town for the holidays, so I had someone buy the paper on the 22nd (the day the article was supposed to be printed).  Since I couldn't track down an actual newspaper, I bought the archive copy, and cut and pasted my quotes here.  I know it doesn't look incredibly professional this way, but I'm just not going to stress about it.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)
December 24, 2009
Section: Living
Edition: Main; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Page: D1

Avoid holiday stress overload
Keeping perspective is key, experts say.
Take time for yourself during the season's crush of commitments.

Nedra Rhone, Staff

The holidays are generally a happy time of year, but they can also be a time of great stress. Social engagements, family visits, travel and high expectations can all bring on feelings of increased pressure. Some stress is, of course, good for you.

"It is important for us to have stress in our lives ... but when it is extended stress, it starts to wear on the body," said Kathianne Sellers Williams, wellness coach at Cafe Physique. "The average person does not manage stress at all, so the holidays can really emphasize how out of balance people are."

Add to that the climate of economic uncertainty and the scene is set for a meltdown. We asked some of Atlanta's top health and wellness experts to give a few tips for managing stress this season.

Williams, wellness coach, Cafe Physique

"What I've been seeing with my clients is they have increased stress because there is more to do. There are more demands on their time. A lot of people have a hard time saying no," Williams said. It is important for people to think about fitting nourishing activities or stress relievers into their daily life, she said. "In general, there are things you can do to manage your baseline stress. You can plan to do a yoga class or do some creative activities such as writing in a journal. It could be a ritual of sitting down and having a cup of tea while reading the paper," Williams said.

You also want to have a plan for breakthrough stress, Williams said, those unplanned moments that occur at work or while waiting in line at the post office. Practicing deep breathing or removing yourself from the situation to go get a cup of tea can make things better, she said.

Another important aspect of managing stress is getting adequate sleep. "Not getting enough sleep just compounds how anxious or stressed or depressed people feel," Williams said. Also make time to evaluate your values in life. "Look at a typical day and write down what you do all day and just look at it. Some people are shocked. They can't believe how much time they spend watching TV. The awareness phase is crucial. Then from there ask yourself the tough questions," she said.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Here are some holiday photos to get you in the spirit!

I took them At The Collective, the artists' cooperative 
where I sell my artwork.

Greg from Forrester's Greenhouse, did an amazing job with these decorations.

I love this glitter reindeer and vintage Santa!

Just one of the ornaments I made this year.
Each year I make a few (and break a few.)

...and Happy Hanuakkah.  
I hope your holiday season is filled with love and laughter!

Friday, December 11, 2009

7 Tips for Less Stress This Holiday Season

Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  She's writing an article on holiday stress and how to manage it.  I'll be sure to post the article when it comes out, but wanted to pass along my tips now since the print date isn't until 12/22/09.

I ask each of my wellness coaching clients how they manage stress.  Most give me a blank stare. But here's the reality:  if you don't have positive stress coping skills, you will always find some way to cope, and it might just be negative (for example: eating too much or too little, drinking alcohol, smoking, over-exercising, excessive shopping, or watching too much t.v.)

When the holidays hit- and there are holiday cards to send, extra food to make, presents to buy, too many social engagements, and more time spent with family- already stressed people are even more overwhelmed.  I encourage all my clients to incorporate nourishing rituals (stress relievers that fill your spirit and calm your mind) into their daily lives.  Nourishing rituals will lower your everyday stress levels and help you to feel balanced and centered.

Here are a 6 additional tips:

  • Use time waiting in line (at the post office, at the mall) to practice deep breathing.  Count slowly to four with each inhale and exhale.  And feel like a stress management star because you are feeling calm while all the other people in line are feeling agitated!
  • Break holiday traditions that seem out-dated.  Don't continue with traditions you dread.  Create new traditions that honor your current financial situation and current values.
  • Simplify your holiday meals and decorations.  Do what feels right for you.
  • Simplify your gift giving: Consider writing a love letter, a poem, a list of reasons why you love the person, or a list of your favorite memories together.  Make a handmade ornament or frame a favorite photo of the two of you together.  (My best friend and her husband only exchange ornaments each year for Christmas.  It's a low stress tradition but it's super meaningful each year when they decorate their tree.)
  • Say no.  It's okay to turn down invitations to social events.  Just say you have another obligation (which happens to be an obligation to your self-care.)
  • Write down your blessings.  I am always amazed at the healing (and calming) power of listing all the people, things, and events I'm thankful to have in my life.  Nothing can shift your energy like a gratitude list.
Best wishes for a happy and stress-less holiday season!

Addendum:  Click here for the article.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to Perky

I haven't been feeling like my usual perky self lately,
 so I've decided to post photos of things that make me happy.

Marching Bands

School Spirit!

Bright Batches of Color

Colored Pencils (and Adult Coloring Books!)

Art in Unexpected Places

& Time Spent in Big Cities

What makes you happy?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saved by a Pea

Last week I ran into a new friend who just started a business.  This former lawyer recently made a dramatic career change.  She's selling peas!  Not just any peas, but Peas for Prosperity.

I found the bit of history she shared fascinating and think you might too.  So here's a bit of nourishment for your mind:  

According to Southern tradition, eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.  The tradition began during the Civil War, when General William T. Sherman and his troops marched from Atlanta to Savannah, destroying everything in their wake.  Everything EXCEPT the black-eyed peas.  

The troops believed that cattle, not people, were the only ones who ate black-eyed peas.  After the war, black-eyed peas were the main source of food in the South.  The peas saved thousands from starvation and gave the South a second chance.  Since New Year's Day of 1866, the peas still represent regrowth.

This month, Christy started Peas for Prosperity.  A dollar from each bag of black-eyed peas sold will be donated to charities dedicated to helping people who need a second chance in life.  Visit her website to read her candid and inspiring personal story.

Here I am, purchasing my bags of Peas for Prosperity.  I think they'll make unique and meaningful hostess gifts.  And, I hold the distinct honor of being Christy's first customer!

On a final note: black-eyed peas are nutrition all-stars!  They're high in fiber and protein, and also good sources of folic acid, iron, and phytonutrients.  The Peas for Prosperity website has recipes on how to incorporate black-eyed peas into your diet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Road Side Market

A few weeks ago, while driving to North Carolina's Outer Banks, my husband and I stumbled upon this road side market.  I love all farmer's markets, but this one was special.
  Look at the amazing way they display their produce!
Who doesn't want to buy a sand pail filled with apples or tomatoes?

Everything looked so pretty, I ran back to the car to get my camera.
It's easy to "eat a rainbow" when shopping at a farmer's market.

You can tell a lot about an area by what they choose to preserve.

Yes, that does say Tequila Jelly and Georgia Moonshine Jelly.

I've never heard of Purple Sweet Potato Butter before, but it sure sounds interesting.

You know you're in The South when Watermelon Rind Pickles are on the shelf.

Too bad this market isn't closer to our home.  I would be there weekly for sure!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Confessions from a Glitter Addict

On Saturday a friend texted me this quote from Drew Barrymore: "You know you're putting a good thing out into the universe when you put on glitter." My philosophy exactly Drew!  If only I could convince my husband.  He can't seem to leave the house without some stray glitter (from my crafty projects) sticking to him.  Personally, I think if you have to leave the house with something stuck to you, glitter isn't a bad way to go.  Cat hair would be much worse.  

Speaking of my glitter addiction, my sister has been enabling me.  She recently purchased me the complete Martha Stewart glitter set.  Now I have two drawers full of glitter.  Can you really ever have too much glitter?  I think not.

You should have seen my eyes light up when I opened this gift! I put the glitter to use right away on her baby shower invitations.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My First Art Show

This past Friday was a first for me.  My first ever art show!  I recently joined an artist's cooperative, At The Collective, where the event was held.  As you can see from the photos,  I heart collage.  

I was overwhelmed with gratitude at all the friends who came out to support me.  So many people came and they made the night incredibly special for me.  One I won't soon forget.

Below is my artist's bio:

Kathianne Sellers Williams is a self-taught artist who specializes in mixed media collage.  Her work is influenced by things that bring her joy and inspiration: flowers and birds, words and quotes, fruits and vegetables, vintage finds, handmade gifts, hand-written letters, bright colors, and all things that sparkle.

Kathianne’s pieces include recycled materials of all kinds.  This includes wrapping paper, stationery, magazine images, travel brochures, or pages from old books as well as new fine papers from all over the world. Vintage stationery, dating from the 1930’s to 1970’s and inherited from her grandmother, is often incorporated into the collages.  You may find buttons, rhinestones, shells, and more. “I use whatever I come across that inspires me and can be glued down,” says the artist.

The collages are time and labor intensive.  Because of the extreme level of detail, you may notice something different with each observation.

“Creating collages nourishes my spirit” says Kathianne.  “I feel at peace when I am cutting out images, gluing them together, and adding the finishing details.  The process of creating allows me to express myself but simultaneously connects me to something bigger than myself.” 

Kathianne currently resides in Atlanta and also works as dietitian and wellness coach.  You can learn more about her and her work at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ahead of His Time

When I was younger, I didn't appreciate that my father had two large gardens in which he grew most of the vegetables that nourished my family.  I was too busy complaining about having to weed the onion patch to be thankful.  We also had an apricot tree and two apple trees.  Ugh, how I hated picking up those rotten apples that fell from the tree.  I remember that my sister, father, and I would take the apples to an Amish farm where they ran the apples through a press to make homemade apple cider.  At harvest time, everything would be apples: apple butter, applesauce, apple cider, dried apples, and apple fritters.  Now I'd do just about anything to get my hands on fresh apple cider and homegrown tomatoes.

Another one of my chores was to empty the compost bin.  We had a plastic bin next to the sink (nothing fancy like today's models, it was just a large margarine container) and used it to collect banana peels, apple skins, and other food wastes.   Anytime that bin was filled, day or night, it was my job to run it out to the edge of the yard, next to the garden, and dump it into the compost pile.  And while I complained about having to do that in the winter, or in the dark, I did make sure to get my picture taken next to it before my parents moved from my childhood home to the retirement community.

I used to tell Dad he was embarrassing because he was so old-fashioned.  But maybe, I'm starting to think, he was ahead of his time.  He was composting, collecting rain water, growing his own food, and eating locally before it was even popular.  I don't think he wasn't doing it because it was hip to be green, or because it was good for the environment.  Rather, it was a way to feed his family and save money while doing it.  Gardening was also his exercise and his therapy (which I'm sure he needed after having 6 kids.)

I'm writing this post to thank my father.  There were a lot of great lessons that he taught me, and some of them I am just fully appreciating now.  Of course, I'll have to print this and mail it to him.  While he was ahead of his time on the above issues, he never did master computers and has never been on the internet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love Your Body Day

Today is the 12th annual Love Your Body Day sponsored by the National Organization for Women Foundation. According to the NOW Foundation's website, "this campaign is a giant shout out to the fashion, beauty, diet and advertising industries: No more fake images! Show us real women, diverse women, strong women, bold women. And to the women and girls who are targeted by messages telling them that the key to success and happiness is manufactured beauty, we say: It's okay to "Be You" -- the true you is beautiful."

So in honor of Love Your Body Day, I challenge you to take a moment to celebrate your body and appreciate all it does for you each day. It may not be the "ideal" weight or free of blemishes, but it carries your spirit through each day of your life all the same. It allows you to hug and be held, kiss and dance, smile and shout, hear laughter, and see tomorrow's sunrise.

So, I thank you Body. I love you. I celebrate all you do for me. And for today, I'll even love your pimples and butt dimples. But to be completely honest Body, it's not going to be easy loving those parts of you for the next 364 days until Love Your Body Day 2010. But I promise to keep at it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yummy Recipe, Funny Quote

I had an impromptu lunch with my friend Shellie yesterday. The salad she served was so yummy (and nutritious!), I just had to share it with you. I don't have the exact recipe, just a list of the ingredients. It seems so easy to whip together. I suggest you add more of what you like and less of what you don't. Be creative- it will taste great!

Brown Rice Salad (can be served cold or warm)
Directions: Mix together the following ingredients:
Cooked brown rice (main ingredient, use more of this)
Black beans
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Feta Cheese
Green onions
Lowfat italian dressing (go easy here, you can always add more later if needed)
Cilantro (just a bit)

As we were eating lunch, I asked Shellie if she saw the Oprah interview with Mike Tyson.

"No," she said, "I didn't like what Oprah was wearing, so I changed the channel to Ellen. And I did like her outfit."

What an interesting way to decide whether to watch a show! It NEVER crossed my mind before.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No Fat Talk

Are you aware of your self-talk and how you converse with others about weight and appearance? Are your comments empowering and uplifting or discouraging and demeaning?

If you frequently participate in "fat talk" about yourself or others, consider making a change. Remember that you are not only affecting your self-esteem, but influencing the little girls and teens who hear you.

In honor of Fat Talk Free Week (October 19th-23rd) I am posting a link to this AMAZING, powerful, must-see 3 minute video: CLICK HERE

I'm so proud of my sorority, Delta Delta Delta, by making a difference with this video and other empowering body image education.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here's to Gold Friends

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. -Girl Scout song, from my scounting days in the 80's.

Yikes! It has been a while since my last post. Here's my excuse: I've been traveling. In the last few weeks I've been to Minneapolis and Chicago. At each stop I've been fortunate to visit with gold friends.

Gold friends are friends you've had for years. You don't get to see them everyday and may only communicate a few times a year. But when you do get together, it's as if no time has passed. They celebrate your life with you, even though it's from afar.

Thanks to all my gold friends. You know who you are. You nourish my soul. And you mean the world to me.

*These photos are of just some of the gold friends I reconnected with recently. My gratitude to all of you who went out of your way to see me on my journeys.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Nourishing Gift

I told guests at my birthday tea party that their presence was my present, but several friends brought me goodies anyway. (Which, I must admit, was an unexpected treat!)

My new friend Patti gave me a nourishing gift. I was so touched, I wanted to share it with you, my readers.

On September 24th, she brought over a homemade 3-course vegan dinner for my husband and me. It was wonderful! What made this gift so meaningful was that she shared of herself- her time, her talents, and her love of cooking.

The gift giving season is right around the corner. I challenge you this year to reflect on how you can give of yourself to those that you love.

You can read more about the dinner details on Patti's blog, Anatomy of a Dinner Party. (If you read her post, I have to add a sentence in my defense. After she offered the gift, I told her my husband was vegan, and told her I would give her an out since she didn't know that originally. Often, his being vegan scares people away from inviting us over for dinner. But, Patti took on the challenge and did an incredible job!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Color Yourself Healthy

In order to be healthy, you need to eat a rainbow! No, I'm talking about Skittles. I'm talking about fruits and vegetables! In my last post, I appealed to your vanity. Now I'm going to appeal to your desire to be your healthiest self.

You may not know that with fruits and vegetables, each color is associated with certain nutrients that have specific functions in the body.

Blue/Purple: important for urinary tract health, memory function, healthy aging, and a lower risk of some cancers
Green: aid in vision health and strong bones and teeth
White: assist in heart health and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
Yellow/Orange: needed for heart health, vision health, and a healthy immune system
Red: important for heart health, memory function and urinary tract health

An added bonus is that eating plants rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

So, if you are not nourishing yourself with all of the colors, how can your body function optimally? This week notice how many fruits and vegetables you are eating (goal is 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of veggies) and the colors you consume.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

One of the best things you can do to nourish your body is eat more fruits and vegetables!

As a dietitian, I see a lot of food logs. One of the most common suggestions I make to my clients is to eat more fruits and vegetables. (In fact, in the last year, I can think of only 2 people whose food logs I reviewed that were eating sufficient amounts of them.)

Since I don't want to sound like your mother, I am going to appeal to your vanity. Fruits and veggies keep you beautiful! They are chocked full of antioxidants that act as anti-aging agents. They have nutrients that nourish your skin, hair, and nails. And, their low calorie and high fiber content are important for maintaining a healthy weight (or losing weight, if needed.)

I encourage my clients to eat at least 2 cups of fruit a day and at least 3 cups of veggies.

So eat your fruits and veggies ladies! Fresh or frozen, it doesn't matter. Just eat them!

(Stay posted, since this topic is so important to your well-being, I'll be writing more.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Let's Get Crafty: Magazine Stationery

This month was my turn to host Crafty Chick Night. I heart stationery. I also love using recycled materials when crafting, so I choose to make magazine envelopes and coordinating notecards as our project.

Twelve chicks showed up for a night of wine, food, laughs, and creativity.

How can you not be inspired to make your own after seeing
these amazing magazine envelopes made by my fellow crafty chicks?

Materials needed:
1. Magazine(s) (or you can use any kind of paper: wrapping, decorative, etc.)
2. Card stock (buy recycled!)
3. Scissors
4. Glue Stick
5. Envelope template (Steam open an envelope to use as your template. I recommend starting with a small one and go bigger as you get more comfortable).
6. Label paper (to add to the front of the envelope so you can write- and see- a name or address).

1. Put your envelope template (the now steam-opened envelope) onto a magazine page. Trace around the edges.
2. Cut it out.
3. Fold the shape back into an envelope. (Sides go in first, then the bottom flap over them.)
4. Glue the bottom flap to the sides with the glue stick. (Be sure not to glue your envelope shut. I recommend putting your hand into envelope to puff it open and then let it dry like that- hand removed, of course.
5. Cut card stock to desired size to fit into envelope and decorate!

Here's Emily, Crafty Chick Night founder and coordinator, showing off her creations.