The Torture Chamber 

There are very few things in life that I truly despise. I attempt to find the positive in any situation, but there is one event that I avoid like the plague. It is far worse than cooked green beans or my annual OB/GYN visit. In fact, I would choose to give birth to my 13 pound twins, all over again, before partaking in this event. You’re probably thinking, what can be worse than that!? One thing…the dentist!

I dislike, no, despise the dentist.  Going to the dentist is a fancy cover-up for a modern-day torture chamber. Contemplate this… When I entered the bright and cheery waiting room, complete with Nemo, swimming in a large saltwater tank, I was already suspicious. There were perky ladies, behind the counter, with flawless pearly whites.  (Those teeth would give Michigan’s freshly fallen snow serious competition!) Overly perky, middle aged women, with perfect teeth???  This was also a serious concern.

No one is that happy, every moment of every day. It is impossible! I can say this from experience. I am an upbeat and perky person, 95% of the time. Yet, I do have a dark-side. I can get the grumbles and have my panties in a wad in 2 seconds flat. Once again, no one is continuously filled with perfect smiles and fairy dust…it is purely impossible.

My daughter was the victim today… I sat and waited in agony, knowing what the dentist was doing to my sweet, baby girl.  A humongous auger was drilling in her mouth, mining for gems and treasures. The sounds that came from the back room filled my body with chills, from head to toe. My teeth were instantly clenched, trying to relax and focus on Nemo, who whispered to me, “Just keep swimming”,  from the tank.  At least today was a bit more manageable, for I was not the victim in the chair… today, it was my daughter. I would do anything for my children, but go to the dentist! (See, I do have a dark-side!)

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, while I focused on my happy Zen place….chocolate. Whenever I have to go to the torture chamber, I purchase my favorite chocolate bar and have it waiting in the car, in case I survive the ordeal. Like I said, I will always make a point to find positivity in any situation. Even the torture chamber can have a happy ending.  At that moment, I was feeling a slight sense of peace.  Then, everything changed…

A smile-filled face peered from around the counter and stared right at me. As panic set in, I tried to sink into my chair, while I hid behind my book. But, it was too late. Direct eye contact had been made. My worst fear had come true.

“Roda, we just had a cancellation and noticed you are due for a cleaning…”

My heart began to beat out of my chest. I quickly scanned the room for an easy escape route, but the door had been blocked by an array of colorful DUPLO blocks and three toddlers already  screeching at the top of their lungs, for they sensed their fate.

I slowly glanced above my book and nervously replied, “I believe I already have an appointment in the books. Would you mind checking for me?”

I knew this would buy me some time, knowing the complexity of the computer screen, filled with colored scheduling blocks. At that moment, I was distracted by a deep voice that came from behind the counter.  I noticed a dark plant-like shadow that filled the office wall. The words “F-E-E-D  M-E, Seymour ” rang through my ears. Trembling, I felt a presence directly in front of me. I slowly peeked up, assured that I was next.  There was my daughter, shaking her head back and forth, filled with giggles .

She compassionately replied, “It’s over Mom. Let’s go get you that chocolate bar…”

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…





Saving Bumbles and Taking Risks!

I have always loved bumbles!  In fact, I am passionate about anything that lands, crawls or lives on flowers.  Like I have said before, I become easily distracted by nature!  Over the past week, I have been given a bit of a personal challenge, from a friend, who is a very talented photographer.  The challenge…to turn off the auto mode on my camera.  Yikes! What?  (Ark, if you are reading this, I am sure you are cringing at the thought of using the auto mode feature!)  My immediate thoughts…  This means I might miss something!  You mean I have to trust myself and my eyes!?  But, I am always up for a challenge and love to learn.  Photography has always been a passion.  I am a hands-on learner, so reading the manual does not work for me.  I tend to be the type of person that asks a lot of questions and experiments on my own!


Yesterday, I spent some time, in the gardens, with my bumble friends.  I took a risk and turned the camera off auto mode.  Being half-way to 90, my eyes are not the greatest.  I was prepared to have dozens of blurry bumbles waiting for me!   I reminded myself that there will be more bees to photograph and approached this as a learning experience.   From that point on, I was on the hunt for chubby bumbles!  They were everywhere, buzzing from flower to flower, and I was buzzing along right beside them!

Bumble and Lavender
After about 30 minutes, I knew I had to head back inside.   I had mounds of zucchini to process, chimichurri sauce to continue making and freshly picked blackberries and boysenberries to freeze.    Once the images were downloaded to the computer, I was presently surprised at the results of my little experiment.   I did have to immediately stop myself from being hyper-critical and celebrate the fact that there were a few nice images.

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Butterfly Bush and Bumble
I can’t guarantee that I won’t shoot with auto mode ever again, but I will continue to learn about my equipment and practice trusting myself in manual mode. A great big thank you to my friend for giving me a little nudge…ok, shove… out of my comfort zone!   Practice makes perfect!

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Lavender and Bumble
When planting flowers and shrubs around your home, please always keep the bees in mind!  These tiny creature are so very important!  Think about it…bumbles humbly and diligently work each and every day, and for what?  Us!  All of their labors are for others.  With that thought in mind, next time you are purchasing plants at your local nursery, keep your BEE friends in mind!

Save the Bees by Planting These…

  • lavender
  • thyme
  • fennel
  • mint
  • rosemary
  • borage
  • hollyhock
  • crocus,
  • snowdrop
  • geranium
  • poppy
  • zinnia
  • sunflowers
  • clover
  • dandelion
  • echinacea
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Bumbles and Lavender

“Life depends on little things we take for granted…”

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



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Bumble on a Birdhouse

The Heat Is On…

My goal is to always have a positive outlook on life. Even on the coldest days, when the wind and snow hurt my face, I am thankful to be doing what I love, ALMOST every single day.  But, once in a while, something happens… There is one weather event that changes all of this. That one event, that makes perky, upbeat me become the evil and cranky creature of doom… HUMIDITY.

Warning…a bit of a sassy, dark side is about to come out in Roda!

I truly believe that humidity is sent directly from Lucifer’s den. There is no way Mother Nature could ever be in charge of this type of hellish occurrence. There is nothing beautiful about it. Trust me, I’ve tried to find the beauty in it and I have come to the realization that HUMIDITY is void of all things beautiful!

I popped out of bed, ready to embrace life. My list of gardening adventures for the day were some of my most favorites: pruning and tipping back blackberries and boysen berries, harvesting basil leaves for pesto and creating supports for the tomato plants. These mindless tasks allow my mind to wander and my soul to rest. But, before I could begin “My Adventure List” for a day in the garden, I needed to tend to the animals.

In the summer, we do the majority of our animal chores at dusk, when the animals are going to bed and the temperatures are more pleasant. This also allows for not only freshwater and full feed pans when the sun rises, but makes morning chores quick and easy! Within 30 minutes, ducks and chickens are released to free range, eggs are collected, hay is fed to goats/horses and love is given to all!

I was ready for my day. Chores would be completed quickly and I would have a whole day to garden. Then, I made the mistake of opening the door. There it was… A thick wall of moisture that instantly encompassed every inch of me. The air was like a hot tub and I did not want to be any part of the bath! (Grumble…grumble)

It was 90 degrees outside and over 100 degrees in the hoop house!

In my opinion, there is a time and a place for sweat. I understand that if I’m exercising or doing physical labor, I’m going to “glisten“. I am prepared for this and choose to participate in these activities. I do not appreciate becoming instantly drenched walking outside. Collecting duck and chicken eggs should not cause someone to melt. It’s disgusting, it makes me sassy and bordering grumpy.  Wifey finds my humidity induced sassiness amusing, which is not helpful.

To Linda, The amazing Dragon Tamer from I know if you’re reading this, you will automatically side with Wifey. Because of this, my fairies will be delivering a Gordon Lightfoot song right into your head, within minutes. Love and Hugs! 💚

Now, everyone will need to sit down for the next statement. It is serious. Today, I have vowed to not – go – outside.   There, I said it…  I will tend to my plants inside. There are lemon blueberry poundcake muffins in the oven, as I type. The air conditioning is low and I mean low. I created a force field around it, so if Wifey even tries to turn it up, she will fail.


Today, I will enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty from inside.

Sunday is always my day to “Be Still”. Since it is too hot to move, I think I will start the practice of being still a bit early…

Love yourself… Embrace yourself… Just be you


I Feel Like a Walking Hormone

I feel like a walking hormone and not in a good way!   I’m very experienced at what a walking hormone looks like –  I have three teenagers. I am an expert when it comes to hormones. I live first hand the days of tears one minute to piercing glances the next. Like I said, I have three adorable teenagers, therefore I am an expert when it comes to hormones. I really don’t even need to give you examples. That in itself says it all…

Ironically, the teenagers are not the current problem. I AM. I am the problem. I am the 45-year-old walking hormone. Now you might be thinking, “Good for her!”, “You go girl!” or “What’s your secret?!”  Don’t get your hopes up… Like I said, it’s not in a good way. Let me shed just a little light on my situation…

This morning, I needed to partake in my weekly adventure to our local Family, Farm and Home. Granted, in the days before the farm, Wifey and I would have enjoyed a weekly trip to Target. Our small farm, Indigo Acres, has grown quickly and is a home for over 130 adorable animals.   The weekly Target trip, with a cart full of snacks, a new graphic T and a serious amount of toilet paper has become a weekly journey to the farm store for animal feed, fly spray and meal worms. Needless to say, I’m living my dream.  After 22 years of teaching elementary education, I was ready to close that door and build my dream farm. Honestly, kids and farm animals have a lot in common, but that is a whole other blog post!

Now that I’ve given you a little background, allow me continue on with my struggle of being a 45-year-old hormonal female farmer… While at the farm store this morning, I was lifting 40 pound bags of feed. Normally, this would not be an issue. I am in great shape and exercise daily. I consider lifting feed a super arm workout and embrace the extra calorie burn! What I don’t embrace is the instant feeling of being dropped into the mouth of a volcano, filled with hot lava, while being covered in sweat, as if I was just out in a torrential down pour. I’m surprise someone didn’t stop me and ask if I just finished my first marathon! I was lifting chicken feed! Come on!  Thank goodness I was wearing my athletic gear. I’m hoping people assumed I just came from the gym. Maybe I inspired someone, with my HOT mess of self, to go and work out! Yes… Let’s go with that!

After checking out, I maneuvered my way, in the hot sun, to my candy apple red mini Cooper S, with black and white checkered mirror caps and a white stripe down the middle. Her name is Vern and she always makes me smile!   At this point, you’re probably thinking, “This woman is nuts! Hormones have made her completely and undeniably insane… She names her car! “.  To top it off, you are probably also thinking that it’s odd that I have a farm and don’t have a traditional farm truck. Nope… Can’t blame this one on hormones. I truly am just quirky.  Do what you love…love what you do!

Once Vern was loaded to the brim, I turn the AC on full blast.   My toes soon turned baby blue and goosebumps lined my arms, like little solders, trying to calm down the violent fury of heat, churning inside my body.  Maybe some tunes would calm my nerves.  I am passionate about music, so before I left the parking lot, I had to decide on a playlist.   I carefully selected one of my favorites called, “Love and Stuff”, thinking it would relax me. This playlist is filled with songs that remind me of my beautiful wife, aka “Wifey”.  The music began to fill the space around me, my body was relaxing and I was finally on my way home.

Within minutes, the tears started streaming down my face, as “You Matter To Me” by Sara Bareilles started playing. Considering the temperature in the car, I’m surprised icicles did not form on my cheeks! Granted, they would’ve probably melted instantly,  do to the raging fire that burned beneath my flesh. My sunglasses were steaming up and I could hardly see to drive. I quickly push the next button, hoping for something more upbeat.

Next up was ‘“Power of Two” by the Indigo Girls. I thought that would be safe. I love the Indigo Girls. I won’t admit to how many concerts I’ve attended, but they’ve told my story since “Closer to Fine” came out in 1989. Sadly, I was in wrong. Between the amazing acoustic guitar and Emily’s voice, I was done. Once again, sobbing uncontrollably while driving Vern.  This was serious and serious times require serious measures…dark chocolate!  I keep an emergency stash of treats in my bag.  Cookies, dark chocolate, etc. Don’t tell the teenagers. Well, it might help them with their own hormonal mood swings…  On second thought, don’t tell them.  I don’t share well, especially in my current state of emotion!

I quickly unwrapped that rich, almost frozen, chocolatey goodness.  I could feel every part of my body melting, in a good way!  There is something truly magical about chocolate… I thought I had gained enough composure to turn the volume back up.  I quickly pushed the next button, with hopes of something upbeat!  Then, it was all over… “I Belong to You” by Brandi Carlile echoed through Vern’s speakers.  What the hell was I thinking!?  Considering I was already a sweaty mess, my workout mix would have been the perfect choice!

At that point, I gave up and just turned my tunes off. I drove home in silence, trying to regain composure once again. I tried to look straight ahead, for fear that a single glance of a bird on a tree limb or cow in a pasture might push me completely over the edge.
I pulled in the driveway and was greeted by my youngest son, who reminded me that three of his hormonal friends would be coming over to swim in about 30 minutes. It will be loud, the fridge door will most likely be left open and the pantry will be emptied, completely.  But, I will take teenage hormones over my ticking time bomb of volcanic emotions any day!

As always…especially right now…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You




What to Do When You Hate Your Body

What a beautiful and powerful post, Shelly!
Thank you for allowing me to share.
As always…
Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Love is Stronger

Over 85% of girls and women in America hate or strongly dislike their bodies.[1] This is a statistic I heard years ago, and it greatly trouble me. Why do so many women hate their bodies? I wondered Why can’t we love ourselves? Why does body loathing afflict women so disproportionately? (This post is geared primarily towards women, but much of the advice also applies to men and also my friends who identify as non-binary and transgender.)

Why Women Hate Their Bodies

It is no wonder that we struggle so deeply with this issue. We live in a media-saturated society in which we are constantly barraged with images of perfect, air-brushed people, and advertisers make a great deal of money by makings us feel like we are flawed and gross and that their products will solve all of our problems.

In addition, historically women have be socialized to be docile…

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