Monday, April 12, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

GARDENING: NATURE'S CURE FOR THE BLUES

 

The time has arrived for us to plunge our hands in the dirt, not the least because it is good for us. Author, journalist, and ghostwriter Greta Burroughs explains the underlying physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of gardening on my blog today. It is an honor to include her among my roster of super guests. –Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

 

GARDENING: NATURE'S CURE FOR THE BLUES

From Greta Burroughs, Author/Journalist/Ghostwriter



It’s been one of those days. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. All you want is for the work day to end allowing you the luxury of escaping to the quiet, calming solitude of your garden. It’s what your mind and body have been craving all day – a chance to soothe away the stress, anger, and frustration that’s been threatening to boil over.

It’s hard to describe the all-encompassing sensation you experience as you inhale the earthy scent of the disturbed earth and feel the grainy texture of the cool soil as it runs through your fingers. It’s so relaxing – sifting through the dirt, being surrounded by lush vegetation, listening to the buzz from insects, all while becoming one with nature.  The garden serves as your refuge from the world, a safe place to get rid of all your nagging cares and worries. It’s your happy place.

GARDENING HELPS US WHEN WE’RE FEELING BLUE

The solution for getting rid of the blues lies right under our feet, thanks to Mother Nature.

There’s a microbe in the soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that has the similar effect on the brain as Prozac. The microbe stimulates serotonin production and makes us feel relaxed and happier without any negative side effects or the possibility of chemical dependency. And the natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can last for up to three weeks.

Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, and bipolar problems. The number of folks being diagnosed with one of these disorders continues to increase at an appalling rate. Many of them have to rely on daily medications to keep their symptoms at bay. Could gardening help some of them to reduce or stop using chemical antidepressants?

Natural remedies have been around since ancient times. Healers didn’t know how or why they worked. They just knew they did, and that was good enough for them. With the advent of modern medicine, many of the old practices languished, relegated to the ‘don’t need them anymore’ pile.

Not everyone forgot though. This recent scientific discovery of nature’s ability to ease stress and help a person relax is no surprise to farmers and gardeners who’ve always known the mood-soothing power of dirt.

And now there’s proof. When a gardener claims to feel better after spending a few hours playing in the dirt, science has proven she’s not just imagining it. Inhaling the M. vaccae bacteria, absorbing it by topical contact or getting it in the bloodstream through a cut produce an increase of chemicals called cytokines which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. In other words, working or playing in the dirt really does make you feel good.

It doesn’t matter if you have a large garden in the country or a small plot in the city, you get the same result. The best way to come in contact with the bacteria is by simply getting your hands dirty. But it can also be ingested through water sources or by eating lettuce, carrots or other veggies grown in your garden.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

There are other benefits to being outside working in the garden. When was the last time you went barefooted? Admit it, feeling the soil squish between your toes is just as much fun now as it was when you were a kid.

According to holistic wellness practitioners, earthing or grounding yourself helps with anxiety or stress. How do you do that? Walk barefooted outside. Bruce Lynch, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) explains that the Earth is constantly being renewed with negatively charged electrons.  When bare skin (hands or feet) comes in contact with the surface, electrons enter our bodies activating our para-sympathetic nervous system lowering cortisol levels which in turn reduce inflammation and stress.

So whether it’s through microbes or electrons, we benefit from gardening. Christopher Lowry, the neuroscientist responsible for the breakthrough studies on M. vaccae in mice notes that this is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium found in the soil, but there are millions of other strains in soils. "We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us."

Lowry also believes in the theory that we’ve been living too clean. People who don’t spend time working or playing outdoors aren’t exposed to the harmless microorganisms in the environment that train our immune systems to ignore benign molecules like pollen. This results in higher incidences of illnesses such as allergies and asthma.

He has published numerous studies demonstrating a link between exposure to healthy bacteria and mental health. One showed that children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and may be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers.

So, the moral of this story – gardening is good for you. Go ahead, get that trowel and go play in the dirt. I guarantee, you’ll feel a whole lot better when you’re done.

And if anybody tells you you’re crazy for referring to your garden as a happy place, just smile. You know better.

***



Greta Burroughs is a freelance journalist, author, and ghostwriter. As a journalist, she has written numerous articles for both print and online publications. Greta enjoys the challenge of hunting down new information, and transforming dry facts and quotes into interesting, informative stories that grab and hold the readers’ interest. She believes that's the best part of being a writer - acquiring new knowledge and sharing it in a way that encourages readers to want to learn more. https://gretaburroughs.weebly.com/

Another interest of hers is writing books. Greta’s nonfiction book, “Heartaches and Miracles,” combines personal experience and researched information together with a positive pep talk for anyone suffering with the autoimmune blood disorder called Chronic Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP).

Her fiction focuses on a younger audience. The four-book series, “Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat” targets younger children. The stories follow the antics of a silly dog and his best friend as they learn valuable lessons while out exploring the world around them.

Greta’s middle-grade “Wee People” fantasy series consists of two books following two teens who answer a plea for help and wind up stranded on another world. In book one, the boys devise a way for the wee people to out-maneuver a demented forest god, but not everything goes as planned. In the second adventure, the wee people need assistance when a mysterious visitor trapped within the depths of a mirror connects their two worlds uncovering secrets no one is happy to discover.  http://booksbygretaburroughs.weebly.com/

Her experience as a journalist and author paved the way for her latest venture - ghostwriting. Many people out there have a story to tell but lack the time, experience, or courage to attempt such a daunting task. She and Dannye Williamsen work closely with their clients to perfect the message the novice authors wish to tell in the voice they want it delivered in. For more information about ghostwriting services please visit Heart Song Ghostwriting at https://www.heartsongghostwriting.com/

Whether its books, articles or helping others tell their tale, Greta will continue following her passion for writing for the rest of her life.

 

  

 

 

 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

AUTHOR D.L.GARDNER LAUNCHES NEW FANTASY ROMANCE NOVEL

 

I am honored to welcome Fantasy Romance author D. L. Gardner, who is also an artist on par with the great nineteenth century artist John Singer Sargent in her mastery of the craft, in my estimation. She is similarly as skilled at storytelling. She shares with us today the motivation behind her stories, as well as a brief overview of her latest fantasy novel, SWORD OF CHO NISI. –Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

 

***

 

One reason I am a devoted fantasy reader is because so many well-versed authors of the genre understand that a fantasy story is a parable of the human condition told in a non-incriminating tale. Readers look at themselves through a kaleidoscope and see the shards of their broken lives turn into magnificent and infinitely evolving patterns. They find potential in themselves from heroes molded out of clay.

SWORD OF CHO NISI is one of those stories.

I’m convinced there are others who have made life choices that have hurt not just themselves, but others and who regret those choices that caused a void in their past, a dark memory that dares the mind to return.

When I wrote Erika of SWORD OF CHO NISI, RISE OF THE TOBIAN PRINCESS, my first instinct was to avoid perfectionism because the perfect person emerges only in our imagination. Erika needed to be placed in a fantastical reality. A young woman born in trying times—raised by a widowed father and a warrior brother—she means well and has heroic ambitions but is blind-sighted by her passion so that she trips, falters, and falls. Her struggle to rise out of the consequences she made for herself becomes a life-time pursuit.

Erika’s fall stuns us because we’ve been there, made blunders, and cling to the hope that if we go through the struggle, we might find our way out of the pit we dug.

SWORD OF CHO NISI is an adult high fantasy romance, between a young princess whose goal is to be a warrior until she makes a fatal mistake, costing her everything she’s ever hoped to have…

…and a young man who’s thrust upon a throne he never wanted, is pitted against an enemy he never asked for and falls in love with a woman he is forced to exile.

But there’s more than a love story in this trilogy. There are kings and emperors, castles and river towns, skura, falcons, mountain giants, a dragon, and a wizard who has gained enough power to rule the world but seeks one more treasure…

…to gain immortality at the expense of mankind!

 

https://gardnersart.wixsite.com/chonisi

“A masterful painter of words, D.L. Gardner’s brushstrokes of prose bring to life a compelling fantasy tale that demonstrates the power of forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of tragedy.”  Review from award-winning author Stephen Zimmer of the Fires In Eden Series and the Rayden Valkyrie and Ragnar Stormbringer Tales.

 

April 11 will be the launch of SWORD OF CHO NISI TRILOGY Kickstarter. Come and take a look at the offerings for this high fantasy romance series.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chonisi/sword-of-cho-nisi-trilogy



 

#FantasyRomance, #SwordofChoNisi, #SwordofChoNisiTrilogy, #DLGardner, #Author/Artist

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR PLANTING

 From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

Five years ago, my sister Sherri, my friend Sandra, and I got it into our heads that we would go into business together refinishing furniture. Small crafts and container gardens were also high on our product list. We worked our little fingers to the bone for three months or so, and then held our show one sweltering summer day. A big hit were our shoes/boots planters.

         


Sherri sacrificed one of her favorite pairs of gardening shoes to the cause and filled them with an assortment of greenery and flowering plants. It was an absolutely beguiling presentation and was the first to be bought. I talked my son Frank into giving me a pair of his old carpenter boots. An assortment of upright and dangling plants with red geraniums at the center gave a whole new life to those seen-better-days-boots. My $1.00 per pair, thrift store finds came in handy, as well—among them a pair of high-top, pink and white polka dot, rubber boots that I stuffed with pink impatiens for a dazzling display. 

Best of all, though, to my mind, were the golf shoes. Also one of my $1.00 thrift store purchases, they came painted in a red and black geometric pattern on their white background. I would love to know the eccentric golfer who had decorated his/her golf shoes in such a way. They were the perfect container for a flash of bright red geraniums. A young lady from a nearby town bought the pink boots- and golf shoes-containers. 


I ended up taking the carpenter-boots planter home with me. They graced the front stoop of my house for the rest of the summer. 


          While that was our only show, a project waylaid by unforeseen circumstances, it was a blast and left us with precious memories. It also taught us that people love container gardens. They were among our best sellers.

What types of odd containers have you put to use in your garden? I invite you to post photos of them below, please!©

 

***

Books by multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene are available for purchase at Amazon.com. Her new novel, ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots,’ is slated for release in a few weeks. Be sure to watch this space for the announcement of its publication.

                                                                       


#GardeningBoots, #CarpenterBoots, #RubberBoots, #GolfShoes, #Geraniums, #Impatiens, #ThriftStoreFinds, #ContainerGardens

Sunday, April 4, 2021

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY BROTHER!

 



 From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

April 5, 2021

 

“This is where and when my clearest memories begin: you and I posing for Mom’s little Brownie Camera in front of the big snowball bush in the yard of the farm the summer Mommaw and Poppaw took possession of it. You were your usual wriggly, balking self, impatient to get it over with so you could go exploring—digging for fossils; chasing down spiders and snakes; shouting at birds on the wing to come back and take you flying; studying the trees, the wind, the sky; in essence trying to solve the mysteries of the universe. And I—I shushed you, fixed you to my side with my arm on your shoulder, and ordered you to smile. This was the nature of our relationship, and continued to be until the day of your death. Maybe it is no different, even now.

          “Sometimes I wonder if you were in too much of a hurry to know what God knows. Is that why you left us so soon? Are there such wonders there where you are that it was worth the going? Is there anything there more wonderful than the roar of the rivers in Earth’s center, the silver tinge on the leaves of Earth’s birch trees in the moonlight, the gay burst of intrepid little flowers through Earth’s hard crust in spring, the shenanigans of Earth’s hectic squirrels scaling treetops and rooftops? Do you look down on Earth now, filled with longing?”

          “Oh, Lin, as usual, you are such a skeptic!” I hear you retort in my mind’s ear. “I am here and there and everywhere. I dig in stardust now. Like Saint Francis, little critters ride on my shoulders and tuck into my hands. Saint Joseph and I fly across the universe together almost daily. And I am there in the ripples of the water, in the scent of the plants, in the chirping of the creatures.”

“I will plant a tree this spring in your memory, and look for you on its leaves in the moonlight. If you manifest there, then I might understand. In the meantime—Happy Birthday, my brother!”©

 

Photograph: Linda Lee Greene and David Marlin Greene, Summer, 1948

 

#BrownieCamera, #photography, #FarmLife, #SaintFrancis, #SaintJoseph

Saturday, April 3, 2021

AT THE COFFEE POT

 


From Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

 

My mother is up before the sun and lights the fire beneath the 25-cup coffee pot, lowering the flame to a slow simmer. She draws in the aroma of the mountain-fed spring water that is being transformed into a nectar of the gods by way of the coffee grounds, and then walks out to the front porch of the farmhouse. In the distance, the Appalachian foothills, shrouded in dark haze, tilt back gently against a sleepy horizon. It is a heavy-eyed vista, dozy, as if reluctant to wake from a pleasurable dream. Bold, black silhouettes of a cluster of crows scratch the ground beneath a stand of tall and fragrant pines, disturbing the quiet. Like mythic creatures sensing watchful eyes, they ascend as one unit, a black monolith reaching into the sky’s newly-born half-light, and then the column fragments and fades on flapping, dark wings into nothingness.  

Descending the two steps to the yard, my mother rakes her bare toes through the dew-sogged grass, barefoot again for the first time since the weekend before, and the weekend before that, and as many weekends as she can remember—always the weekends on her parent’s farm and away from the madness of our home in the big city. Yet again as on all those weekends, the farmhouse is bursting at its seams with humanity: my Poppaw and Mommaw; my parents, my brother and my two little sisters; five of my mother’s siblings and their spouses, as well as a dozen or so of my cousins, all of whom like us have workday lives in busy, faraway places. In these warm spring days that will be yesteryears too soon, some of the men and boys bunk out in the hayloft of the barn and the women and girls pile in together in bedrooms of the farmhouse, the beds topped with cushy pads of feather ticking gleaned from the farm’s ever-flourishing flock of chickens, and overlaid with Mommaw’s handmade quilts. Others stretch out on the floor atop more of Mommaw’s quilts. It is a family reunion every weekend. My mother is unable to stop her mind’s eye from comparing the open faces of our loved-ones with the pinched faces she so often encounters on the teeming highways and byways of the metropolis that is our “official” home. The sweeping country landscape and clear air transport my mother’s attention back to these precious hours with our family. Mommaw’s ministrations in the kitchen, heard through the screen door, and the rooster’s loud crowing form a duet that announces the drowsy dawn.

Sluggish footfalls on the stairs and across the porch wend their way to the gurgling coffee pot on the kitchen stove. We somnolent spirits of the morning, all of separate names and distinct personalities, gather as a solid unit, cups in outstretched hands—and the pot is drained to its last drop. The coffee washes the sleep from our eyes, and some of us congregate on the porch while others repair to the barn. The cows need milking and the pigs slopped. And the coffee must be brewed again to get us through the coming hours of the day.©

 

***

 

Coffee Grounds Rub

RECIPE COURTESY OF THE KITCHEN

 

·         Level: Easy

·         Total: 20 min

·         Active: 20 min

·         Yield: 2 steaks

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coffee grounds (from brewed coffee)

1 tablespoon black peppercorns 

2 New York strip steaks 

Kosher salt 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

 

Directions

 

W

1.     Make sure the coffee grounds are dried out. If they are still damp, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree-F oven until just dry, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2.     Place the coffee grounds and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind until the pepper is coarse. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and sprinkle liberally with salt. Sprinkle generously with the rub, making sure to coat the steaks well. Press the rub into the steaks.

3.     Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot and add the oil. Add the steaks and cook until a nice crust forms and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

 

***

 


Multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s latest novel:

 

 A CHANCE AT THE MOON

Love ˖ Betrayal ˖ Murder

 

Dinner at our house at seven: steaks rare, and Sav red from Napa heaven—an upstairs/downstairs curious affair; an aroma of blood in the air.

 

Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

 

“5 Stars…I loved this book. I got lost in the realism and all that was going on, and it made me feel like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. If you want to be left breathless in a sea of a million emotions, buy this book. It will captivate your senses on every level. I highly recommend A CHANCE AT THE MOON.”

 

Purchase Link: https://tinyurl.com/3dc75u6p

 


Thursday, April 1, 2021

DANNYE WILLIAMSEN, MEMPHIS, TN . AUTHOR, EDITOR, GHOSTWRITER

 

Memphis, Tennessee author, editor, and ghostwriter Dannye Williamsen talks about the evolution of her writing career on my blog today. It is my great pleasure to welcome her. -Linda Lee Greene

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1949. I was the child in the middle and a tomboy, who hated dolls. My favorite Christmas gifts were a cowgirl outfit and a football.  I outgrew my sisters and was 5’7” in the sixth grade. They used my shadow in class to test the position of the sun during the seasons because it was longer than everyone else’s!

My first attempt at writing was in the eighth grade. My full given name is Dannye Sue (a Southern tradition, of course), but my teacher at my new school refused to call me anything but “Sue.” She said “Dannye” was a boy’s name. I refused to answer the roll until she called me by my first name. The incident prompted me to write a paper titled “My Name and I” for a contest put on by the high school newspaper. I won! In high school I was thrilled to be on the newspaper staff and then the Editor-in-Chief. Our newspaper won a first-place award at the national conference for high school newspapers that year.

My business life began in earnest when at 22, I went to work for a land investment and construction company. Eventually I was in charge of apartment construction and the construction draws. For a tomboy, this was very cool! In 1975, I was sent to Arkansas to oversee a strip mining operation. Boy, was that a trip! I crawled in and out of an 80’ pit so many times in that year that I wasn’t much wider head-on than I was sideways.

The government change in the regulations on sulfur content of coal found me back in Memphis where I opened a small nightclub and later an after-hours club. It provided a lot of life lessons. I met and communicated with diverse groups of people, learning firsthand that we should never make assumptions about other people unless we’ve walked in their shoes.  

After two years, I tired of the pace and late hours and pursued something more challenging and interviewed for a position with a brokerage firm that had no potential for advancement. Down the hall, a sign on a different door read, “Technical Research.” The Director of the place assured me I could become a technical analyst if I invested the energy, but he only had one position open: assistant to the grain analyst. He informed me that no one had ever lasted in the job for more than two weeks. I quickly responded, “I’ll make it work if it kills him!” He liked my chutzpah and hired me.

One year later I was offered the Financial Instruments markets. At the time, they were not big trading markets, but within two months, a shift made these the premier markets. I analyzed the prices and projected the movement of the markets. We broadcasted worldwide every morning. I was also asked to teach technical analysis to incoming account executives in Chicago. This was a treat because teaching had always been a secret passion.

In 1981 I was asked by the president of a cable construction company if I would go “undercover” to find out why the company was losing money. I moved to Austin, Texas, which was undergoing the first rebuild of a cable TV system in the United States. After discovering the project manager’s shady practices, I was asked to take over his position. It was challenging and fun. We went from being in the hole to producing a quarter million dollars per month. The hours were horrendous, but I loved it.

With the job complete in 1984, I returned to Memphis. Just before leaving Austin, I discovered a spiritual path that has directed my life since that time. Upon returning to Memphis, I met my husband, John Williamsen. He was minister of a Unity church there. We married two years later, and he also reopened his dental laboratory business. We operated the dental lab until 2005, and during that time, we also had a small church. In addition, the two of us returned to the University of Memphis from which I received a degree in psychology and he in metapsychology.

Going back to college was an emotional journey for me. When I was in college before, I had severe headaches that resulted in short-term amnesia and was told that I would have to take 75 mg of Elavil per day for the rest of my life. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I worked to get control of the headaches and within a year and a half, succeeded. Unfortunately, I had had to withdraw from the university for medical reasons. Going back was closure for me. It was a wonderful experience and I was pleased that at 46 years of age, I scored in the top 1% in the nation on the senior test. I was middle-aged but still able to compete!

In 1998, I tried my hand at writing a novel, a much bigger and less technical writing project than I had ever taken on Looking back, I realize how na├»ve I was about the industry. In 2001, my husband and I took on a nonfiction project. After I wrote the manuscript, we searched out a studio to record it. We spent $7,000 before I decided to buy the equipment/software and do it myself. The sound engineers had little experience with spoken word. It is different than music. After completing our project in 2004, our 5 CD audio book won a Bronze Award in ForeWord Magazine’s 2004 Book of the Year Awards. It was touted as having ”flawless CD production values” by Midwest Reviews, which made the $7,000 we lost more palatable!

After moving to Atlanta in 2005, I combined into book form the essays I had written for my ezine titled “Metaphysical Minute.” Both of these projects were done under our publishing company. Subsequently, I produced all our books and CDs through CreateSpace or Kindle because it was more cost effective. I had been rewriting my first novel as well as an “extension” of it. Eventually, it emerged as two books, and in 2010 I published them through CreateSpace and then Kindle.

Throughout the first decade of this century, in addition to those mentioned, I continued life coaching, edited a number of manuscripts, completed copywriting jobs for companies such as Georgia Pacific, edited marketing pieces and contractual agreements, as well as building Web sites for myself and others.

In 2011, I opened Breakthrough Bookstore to spotlight self-published authors and to cater to my love of books. Following a year of operation, I discontinued it and focused on my own work. Combining my spiritual philosophy with my management experiences, I wrote additional nonfiction books.

We moved to Memphis in November, 2012, to be close to family. My husband had suffered a stroke in 2008 and again in 2009. Each time I had to teach him to read again. He wrote a coming-of-age novel titled, “The Evolution of a Slingshot.” I am very proud of his determination, his strength, and his writing. He passed away in 2020.

In the last decade, I have published six more novels and six nonfiction works. Currently, I work as a ghostwriter at Heart Song Ghostwriting.

http://www.WilliamsenPublications.com

http://DannyeWilliamsen.com

http://www.HeartSongGhostwriting.com



#DannyeWilliamsen, #HeartSongGhostwriting, #MemphisTennessee, #UnityChurch