This Is Not Goodbye

When I started this blog eighteen months ago I also began following a blogger who quickly became one of my favorites.  He wrote insightful, eloquent pieces that conveyed messages that have stayed with me.  He opened my mind to new viewpoints and invited me to question how I interact with people.

I was more than a little surprised when he decided to step away from his blog six months later.  As a new blogger I could not understand why a popular blogger with thousands of followers would (gasp!) stop blogging.  He was confident, though, that the time had come.  He felt as if he was on the verge of something, even if he could not yet articulate what it was.

I wished him well, told him I was thankful that our paths had crossed, and applauded him for knowing when to move on.  He told me that he felt I would know, too, when it would be my turn to move on.  I believe he foresaw this moment long before I could even imagine it.

I understand now his inkling of being “on the verge”.  I have been feeling for the past several weeks that this life, already a good, good life, is about to become amazing.  I have no idea what is coming, or where it is coming from, but I am ready to receive it with arms wide open.

I have renewed my dedication to making my body and my soul as healthy as possible through exercise, healthy eating, and positive interactions.  This feels like an essential piece of whatever this new journey may be.  I am also forcing my introverted self out the door and into face-to-face connections. I find myself overwhelmed with the need to be out in the world, to be of it, searching for signs of what is to come next.  All of which is leading to less time spent online.

While this is not a goodbye, I do feel the need to share with you the reasons for my periods of absence and the infrequency of my postings.  I owe you all that for the simple fact that you have taken time in your life to be a part of mine.  Believe me when I tell you that your presence here has made a lasting impact on my life.  It is due in no small part to your support and encouragement that I have the courage to take these next steps.

I have no idea how long my blogging hiatus will last.  I may feel compelled to write a post tomorrow, next week, or next month.  I do know that I will continue to write, be it here or elsewhere.  This blogging experience has reminded me that I need to write much as I need to breathe (a feeling I am sure many of you share).  I intend to take the plunge and start submitting pieces for possible publication.  Again, I would not have contemplated such a step without the feedback I have received here.

I follow over 400 blogs here on WordPress and other sites.  I will continue to be here, reading and commenting on your posts.  You are all an essential part of my journey.  I thank you for simply being a part of my life and for choosing to spend even one minute of your time here.  I have been blessed to make the most amazing connections and friendships through this blog.  I hope that you will stick around!

Wherever you go, whatever path you choose to walk, please remember to walk it with love and kindness in your heart.  Be amazed, look for the magic, wonder at the miracles, and opt for happiness.  Above all, be grateful, always and in all ways.  Cheers! Karen

Sunday Smiles – Connections

There are days when the internet makes me twitchy.  I log on to Facebook to be met head on with a barrage of negativity.  This candidate is a hate monger.  That candidate is a criminal.  I see “friends” tearing one another apart with snide comments, all because they sit on different sides of the political fence.  I read post after post disparaging this group or that, this thing or that.  Cops suck, the weather sucks, the traffic sucks, this restaurant sucks, work sucks…everything just sucks.

I “unfollow” a few political pages (I could have sworn I had removed them all).  I hit the “hide post” option multiple times as I scroll through my newsfeed.  I am almost thankful to come across a few cute cat memes.  I “like” a picture of an idyllic beach in Aruba.

I scroll a bit further, sigh a discouraged sigh, and prepare to log off.  But wait, what’s this?  Could it be?  An uplifting post?  Yes!  I click happily on a story about a former classmate’s 11-year-old son reporting on the NCAA Tournament for Sports Illustrated Kids.  I read with delight about one of the coaches taking the time to applaud this young man for his thoughtful question.  (You can view more about this here.)

Feeling hopeful, I read some other posts.  Oh look, a friend received good news on a medical issue.  Another friend just finished her first half marathon.  Yet another is celebrating buying a new home.  Yay! Here it is!  The good stuff!

Now it comes back to me, and I remember why I still log on to Facebook every day.  I do it not to learn the political leanings of friends and family.  I do it so that I can hear the news of their lives.  I continue to scroll and read in order to tie the past in with the present.  I put up with the negative aspects to reap the benefits of the positive ones.

I return again and again because of the connections.  We can cross the miles, cross the years, and cross the distance to come together as if we had never been apart.  We can share in each others’ victories and console one another during trying times.  We can use words to convey emotions from afar, as sure as the touch of a comforting hand on a shoulder.

Yes, it is the connections that I crave and that I seek.   It is the connections that lead me back to this blog after a writing sabbatical.  It is the connections that sustain our souls the way that food sustains our bodies.  It is the connections that bond us together as humans, in friendship and in love.

Thank you for being one of my connections.  Cheers! Karen

Stay connected with me and “like” Fill Your Own Glass on Facebook here!

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Defiance is Your Destiny

Defy the odds.  Defy expectations.  Defy predictions.  Defy suppositions.

Defy limits, boundaries, and borders.

Defy the critics and the detractors.  Defy the cynics and the skeptics.  Defy the naysayers and the nonbelievers.

Defy prejudices, presumptions, and preconceived notions.

Defy ordinary.  Defy normal.  Defy unrealistic.  Defy impractical.

Defy the word can’t.  Defy the word shouldn’t.  Defy the word impossible.  Defy the word no.

Defy the negative self-talk.  Defy the self-doubt.  Defy your own attempts to destroy your self-confidence.

Defy the lines not to be colored outside of.  Defy the box not to be thought outside of.

Defy, that you may find deliverance.  Defy, that you may define yourself.  Defy, that you may find your destiny.

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Goddess of the Non-Domestic Variety

I admit that when it comes to domesticity I am as far from goddess-like as one can get.  I did skirt through Home Economics class back in junior high school thanks to the skills of the unfortunate souls who were paired with me.  Whatever homemaking knowledge I managed to pick up, though, was left behind as soon as I made my way to high school.  I wish I had retained a tidbit or two as now that I have a home of my own I manage to fail the basics of the Family and Consumer Sciences on a daily basis.

My cooking “talent” runs to things that can be tossed in a crockpot, thrown on the George Foreman grill, or purchased at the local grocery’s deli.  (My oven actually coughed at me indignantly the last time I opened its door and stirred up the dust.)  I would not have a clue how to steam vegetables, and I only learned how to make decent scrambled eggs when I hit my 40s.  As I scroll through Facebook and scan the recipes shared by friends I find myself intrigued by the possibilities.  However, if a recipe calls for sautéing, sweating, or separating anything I move on in search of the “four ingredients or less” meal.

We have hosted exactly zero holiday meals in our married lifetime.  We do not own a tablecloth, candlesticks, or anything that could pass for a centerpiece.  We eloped in part to avoid having to register for anything that included the words fine china or silver.  If you do come for dinner it will be served buffet-style, and you will be offered a seat on the couch in front of a TV tray.  We do have a dining room table, but it currently serves as the drop spot for unfolded laundry, my kickboxing gloves, and my husband’s workout sheets.

The one thing I can promise is that I have yet to send anyone to the hospital with food poisoning.  It turns out it is next to impossible to mess up a crockpot meal.  I have had a few shining culinary moments, though.  Thanks to my mom I can make an incredible homemade mac ’n cheese dish, and come holiday time my almond raspberry thumbprint cookies are in high demand.

I do not pin decorating or crafting ideas.  I love reading the lifestyle bloggers and the DIYers.  I actually get excited thinking that, yes, I can make that double grapevine wreath and felt snowman!  Then I remember that I have trouble operating Scotch tape.  The thought of a hot glue gun in my hands evokes images of emergency hospital visits, snapping me back to reality where I buy craftily crafted things from crafty people.

No, you will not find any homemade window dressings in our house.  There are no stenciled walls or hand-painted flowerpots artfully decorating our space.  Accent pieces?  Please, I get excited if I accidentally match the towels with the shower curtain.  Suffice it to say you do not have to leave your shoes at the door as you enter, and there are no off-limits just-for-show rooms in our home.

Around here we know we’ve hit the trifecta on the days when we have clean dishes, clean laundry, and clean litter.  We have learned to invite people over at strategic intervals throughout the year as it forces us to do a deep clean to avoid total embarrassment.  When I do cook a special meal on a random Saturday in October it leaves my husband wondering what he did right.  If I am struck by some strange, random desire to clean in between scheduled visits I find I can easily cure myself with a nap.

I will not be winning any baking contests anytime soon.  My home will not be featured in a fancy magazine spread.  My friends will never ooh and aah over the supercute Halloween-themed treats I painstakingly formed out of fondant.  (I know what fondant is only because I have a strange fascination with watching the Food Network while cooking nothing.)  I must be doing something right, though, as we are preparing to celebrate eighteen years of marriage in a few months..   may not be much of a homemaker, but I must make for one fine wife!  And hey, it’s people like me who make you domestic goddesses out there look amazing!

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Sunday Smiles- The Comforts of Home

Here on the coast of South Carolina we are having a major weather event this weekend with historic rainfall amounts and substantial flooding.  There have been flood warnings in effect since late Friday, and we are looking at several more inches of rain coming today and tomorrow.  We are dealing with closed roads, overflowing  lakes and ponds, sinkholes, and beach erosion.  To the south of us parts of the cities of Georgetown and Charleston are closed down due to flooding.  Many of the roads around us are impassable and dangerous.    Continue reading

Trust Me


A few years back we had a plumber come to our home to give us an estimate for work that needed to be done.  He spent a good twenty minutes or so inspecting the area and answering our questions before giving us a price.  After he left my husband asked me what I thought, and I responded that we would not be using him because I did not trust him.  When he asked why I felt that way I told him it was because the man had started at least a dozen sentences with, “To be honest with you…” or some variation thereof.

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Fill Your Own Glass Just Turned One!


It’s official!  Fill Your Own Glass is celebrating its first birthday today!

It has been a wonderful year full of growth, discovery, and revelations.  I look forward to continuing on this journey of change and self-improvement, and I am so happy to have you along for the ride.  Your encouragement and support drive me onward down the path that has been chosen for me.

I want to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all of you who have taken the time to visit this blog.  We are all given the same twenty-four hours each day, and the fact that you would choose to spend even a few moments of yours reading my words fills me with joy and a gratitude that I cannot adequately express.  Your friendship lifts me up, and your words teach me new lessons daily.

I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!



An Anti-Ode to Summer

Dear John Summer,

I must admit there were good times.  We enjoyed fantastic beach days basking in the sun and jumping ocean waves.  We indulged in barbecues, citrusy summer ales, and frozen desserts.  We spent lazy hours lounging beside the pool, laughing, and making memories with friends and family.

Yes, we did have some fun.  Truth be told, though, I have grown weary of your oppressive heat and humidity.  I long for the reduction in traffic and crowds that signals the end of yet another summer season spent living in a tourist town.  I am ready to trade those citrusy ales for richer Octoberfests, the barbecues for tailgating, and the frozen desserts for hot ciders.  Dearest summer, I realize you have a month to go before your scheduled departure, but I would be forever grateful if you could see fit to leave a bit early.

You see, I suffer from the reverse version of seasonal affective disorder, and I feel you are to blame.  Unlike many, I thrive in the fall and winter months and wilt in the summertime.  (I admit to a certain ambivalence where spring is concerned).  The colder air and shorter days make me come alive.  The long sticky days of summer drain me physically and emotionally.  My sleep is disrupted, and my anxiety crawls out of hibernation.  I find myself fighting depression brought on by days spent inside hiding from temperatures in the upper 90s with heat indexes making it feel well into the 100s.

My creativity is stifled and suffocated by the humidity that wraps itself around me like a hot, wet blanket.  I find myself writing less and less often, drained of energy and enthusiasm.  There are too many days when I never touch my laptop, too many days when my pages stay blank.  You have turned me into a lifeless, limbless pile of couch-surfing discontent.

And so, darling summer, I must tell you the same thing I told spring earlier this year.  You will never be more than a fling for me, a passing attraction.  My heart belongs to another…well, two others if I’m being honest.  My love affair with fall and winter will endure and stand the test of time, and there is nothing you can do to change that.

I ask you to bow out gracefully, to fade to black, and to ride off into one of your magnificent sunsets.  Please try not to take it too hard and know that there are many out there who will be glad to have you.  We just weren’t meant to be…

With fond regards,

Note:  I hope this tongue-in-cheek letter will help explain why my posts have been less frequent over the past few months.  Tell me, do you flourish in the spring and summer months?  Or do the fall and winter months make you come alive?  What time of year is best for your creativity?  As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback!

Sunday Smiles- It Isn’t the Things

It’s the feel of the soft, purring vibration of a cat napping on your lap.

It’s the sound of your nephew’s laughter as he plays in the surf on a beach day.

It’s the ring of laughter as friends come together to celebrate a milestone birthday.

It’s the inhalation of crisp, clean air on a mountain hike.

It’s dancing around the living room with abandon to a favorite 80s tune.

It’s the sweaty satisfaction of giving your all during a tough workout.

It’s the joy of an unexpected phone call from a childhood friend.

It’s sending messages to your significant other across a crowded room with only a smile.

It’s getting caught in a warm summer rain shower and not running for cover.

It’s relaxing by the pool, forgetting about the workweek grind and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the kids show off their cannonballs and dives.

It’s in making the time for your passions and pursuing them without reserve.

It’s the instant comfort issued by a hand placed on your back in silent support.

It’s in surveying the scene around you and exhaling slowly, knowing you are exactly where you want to be.

No, it isn’t the things that fill our lives and make us rich.  It’s the people who surround us and share our days.  It’s the sights and sounds that fill our ears and our eyes.  It’s the feeling of the “feels” that gives us a wealth that money never could.  It isn’t the things.  It’s everything but the things.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a full, happy week ahead!  Cheers! Karen

Impromptu Blog Party- Tropical Storm Style

Hello friends!  Here on the South Carolina coast we are under a Tropical Storm Warning.  Mother Nature, in an effort to remind us mere humans that she does not conform to our timetables, has decided to ignore the edict stating that storm season does not officially kick off until June 1st.  Perhaps she is showing off for the Weekly Photo Challenge, Forces of Nature.  Or maybe she is flaunting her skills in honor of Mother’s Day.

For seasoned coastal inhabitants a tropical storm is mostly an annoyance, an overgrown rainstorm with gusty winds that settles in like bad company that refuses to go home.  We are currently in the calm before the storm with the sun still peeking out and the wind calm.  By this evening and throughout tomorrow we will have periods of heavy rainfall and sustained winds around 25-35 mph with gusts from 40-60 mph.  The storm is expected to make landfall somewhere near the South Carolina and North Carolina borders at about 8:00 am on Sunday.

Hardy coastal Southerners have been know to throw hurricane parties, using an impending storm as a reason to drink too much and run outside at the height of the storm, clinging to lampposts while ducking flying branches and screaming, “Holy crap it’s windy out here!  Woohoo!  Did you see that picnic table fly by?  Woohoo!  You don’t scare me, Mother Nature!  Woo…”  Thunk!   Oops, not quite quick enough dodging that limb, were ya?

Being of slightly more logical mind, I have decided to host a blog party instead.  The next two days will afford me plenty of time to check out new blogs and revisit others (provided the power doesn’t go out).  The husband will be busy chasing would-be swimmers and surfers out of the ocean (Rip currents, people, rip currents!), and my cat will hide under the bed for the duration.  It’s just you and me, friends, so let’s party!

Here’s how it works:  Drop a link to a favorite post you’ve written, or one you are most proud of, in the comments section.  Then grab your raincoat (umbrellas are futile unless you are determined to do a Mary Poppins), make sure there are fresh batteries in the flashlight, invite your friends, and settle in to ride out the storm!  Please include a caveat if your blog happens to be of adult/ mature theme.  If you drop a link I ask that you take the time to visit some of the other blogs, too.  That is the key to a successful blog party!

I’ll get the party started – you can find my favorite post here.

Cheers! Karen