Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Heard it on the Podcast - March 29, 2023


Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we do most Wednesdays to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

S3E13: Girl, Wash Your Face

The book we are discussing this week is:

“Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be”

Monday, March 27, 2023

I'll Do it Tomorrow

I have a confession to make. I’m a liar. I lie to myself a lot. The biggest lie that I tell myself is that I will do it tomorrow. I’m going to do a lot of things tomorrow, you see, that’s how I ended up writing this blog at the last minute because I thrive on procrastination. I can plan and plan and plan to do things, but it always comes down to the last minute – especially when it comes to my personal life.

The lie, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. There are many things that I plan on doing tomorrow that I’ve been telling myself for twenty or more years in favor of doing things that are more pleasant such as relaxing, watching television, or playing on my phone.

This week on the podcast we are discussing the book “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be” by Rachel Hollis. In the book, Hollis discusses the different lies that we tell ourselves. In the end, Hollis says, there is one truth and that is “you, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” This is probably my favorite statement in the whole book and it’s right on the first page. As someone that chased “happiness” for years, not realizing that I was chasing the wrong thing, I would often put the blame on external factors and not on myself. “I would be happy if…” or, “I can’t get this done until I accomplish this” and so on and so forth.

So, the takeaway is: take responsibility for…everything! I’m still working on this. The “if” and “can’t” factor is a huge hurdle that I am constantly jumping over, but personal growth doesn’t happen overnight. The message is that we are always a work in progress and we will always make mistakes, but we just have to get up, wash our faces, and live our lives to the fullest.

Here are some of the major lies that I’ve told myself over the years:

  • The lie: I’ll publish tomorrow. In high school, I completed my first novel. I wrote it for a school assignment and then decided to expand it. In college, I decided to look into getting it published, and the publisher told me I needed more pages to make it truly a full-length novel. So, I began the editing and expanding process and I have been doing it for twenty years now. I keep telling myself that I will look into self-publishing my novel when I have time to sit down and write. Every year, I try to push myself to complete the process, but I continue to hold myself back. I could give a bunch of excuses why I haven’t published one of my novels or stories such as “time” or “work,” but it’s a lie. I have been holding myself back from publishing my work.
  • The lie: I’ll diet tomorrow. This is a big one. I struggle a lot with my weight to the point that I have to be vigilant about what I put in my mouth. My biggest struggle lately is that due to depression and other external factors, I have been off the rails with my diet for the last year. It seems that I will take one step forward to lowering my cholesterol and eating healthier, and one huge step back if I give in to temptation and eat something fried or sweet. I tell myself that yes, I messed up today, but I will start dieting tomorrow. So far, I am only kidding myself.
  • The lie: I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow. This lie piggybacks onto the dieting lie. I recently went to the doctor after months of putting it off. I don’t like visiting doctors much, and it always seems like as soon as I find a doctor I like, they move or they quit practicing. Back in August, my insurance company sent word that I would have to find another primary care doctor and, of course, I put it off in favor of doing something else. This was something that my parents struggled with as well – going to the doctor and getting checked out. I can make a list of all the things I hate about visiting the doctor, but I won’t because those are just excuses, action is the only thing that will benefit me in the long run.
  • The lie: I’ll deal with my grief tomorrow. My father died in 2017, and my mother died fifteen months later. Since then, I have been running from dealing with my grief and the storage units containing my parents’ belongings. In the back of my mind, I thought that if I put off dealing with their things and my grief that it would go away, but here I am, almost six years later, trying to get up enough courage to open my storage lockers and begin the process of cataloging everything. Many times I have been told that I should be “over it” by now – the death of my parents. This has mostly been told to me by people that still have living parents. I don’t think you ever get over a loss that heavy, but I do know that I can deal with it better than I have been, such as seeking help or talking to someone. I just have to stop telling myself that I will set up an appointment “tomorrow.”
  • The lie: I’ll clean the house tomorrow. I have a junk table in my house. It’s a table sitting by the door that I set stuff on as I walk in the front door with the intention of coming back and taking it to its proper place. Most of the time I set stuff on that table and forget about it. Months will go by, and it will still be sitting on that table by the door. Dust will start to collect on that object until, suddenly, it has been there for a year and I pick it up and wonder why it even exists. Most recently, I picked up an unopened envelope from that very table and realized that it was sent to me in mid-November and it is now March. I have lived in my apartment for almost two years, and I guarantee you that I have only cleaned the floors twice in my kitchen. So, I make these grand plans to clean one little thing when I come home from work and then tell myself that I will do it tomorrow because I am too tired today. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.

One of my favorite Shakespeare speeches from the play “Macbeth” began with the repetition of the word “tomorrow” and talks about how men put things off until tomorrow until they have no more tomorrows left, only the memory of broken promises. As I write this blog I am reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed, so we need to start today, and that is the point of getting past the lies we’ve been told (or tell ourselves), so we can become who we are meant to be.

I want to hear from our readers. What lies do you tell yourself? Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below! 

Monday, March 20, 2023

What Your Mother Never Told You

Have you been listening to our podcasts? This week is a little bit different, and I’m hoping it will be both enlightening and helpful. Although we often refer to “Goals, Girl” and other female-centric topics, I’m pretty sure this is the first one dedicated to a purely female topic. It’s also very personal for all three of us, as we share some health histories and other information about periods, menopause, and women’s health. And while we aren’t especially graphic, there are a few delicate topics that might not be suitable for all ages, so have a listen before sharing with your younger daughters. As for the guys out there listening, we hope this will help you understand some things a little better, and if not, then we’d love to hear from you! Now, on to some helpful menopause tips….

We’ve all heard about hot flashes during menopause, but did you know that they can start as early as your mid-30s? And while some sources say they last anywhere from six months to two years, some women experience them for a great deal longer. When I first started having hot flashes, I thought I was going through some kind of spontaneous combustion, and I was sure that I was about to burst into a ball of flames. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the aromatase inhibitor my doctors put me on to block my estrogen production made the hot flashes even worse. I lived with those hot flashes for almost 10 years, five of them on the cancer medication, and they’ve only now begun to lessen. Luckily, I did learn a few things about hot flashes that I wanted to share with you.

  1. Some foods and drugs make hot flashes worse. Some of the worst culprits are coffee, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods, and hot foods right off the stove. Check with your pharmacist to see if any of your medications cause or add to hot flashes. There may be a better alternative that doesn’t.

  2. Some women have cold flashes, too. Since estrogen helps us regulate our body temperature, the fluctuating (waning) availability in our system can cause us to be either cold or hot, sometimes one right after the other. The best solution is to dress in layers that can be easily put on or taken off. A cardigan sweater can be your best friend.

    Menopause shouldn't be a secret; discuss the experience with your
     friends, family, and doctor.

  3. There are many natural treatments that alleviate symptoms. But check with your doctor first. Some plant-based phytoestrogens can mimic or even increase estrogen levels, which could be harmful to someone being treated for estrogen-positive breast cancer. That said, some phytoestrogens actually help decrease estrogen levels and could be beneficial to cancer patients. One over-the-counter treatment recommended by my oncologist was Relizen, a Swedish flower pollen extract sold by Bonafide.

  4. Exercise and lose weight. Studies have shown that even a minimal amount of exercise can be beneficial in curbing those hot flashes and that a moderate amount of exercise combined with weight loss can sometimes help eliminate them altogether.

  5. Drink plenty of water. I’ve found that having a cold glass of water on hand at the start of a hot flash can make it go away faster. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to drink more water, right?

  6. Use a fan. I have desk fans, ceiling fans, and even little hand fans that I carry in my purse to whip out at dinner or on the train. A little bit of air movement helps your skin feel cooler. But be careful and don’t fan too aggressively…some suggest that all that arm movement using a hand fan might actually heat you up!

To fan or not to fan, that is the question....

Is there a cure for hot flashes? Not yet. But if you lessen the things that exacerbate them and you find some ways to stay cool in spite of them, you might just survive menopause.

Do you have hot flashes? What has worked for you? We’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments below or join the conversation in our Facebook Group MMC Chat. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

A Woman's Role (According to the Bible)


Women have always worked. We were the first gatherers. While the men were running after big game, hunting whatever animals they could track, the women of early humanity walked far afield to gather fruits, berries, and other vegetation. It’s highly likely that women were the first to sew fields, first to plant small gardens of roots and herbs, and later to grow grains and other vegetables. Women tanned and sewed hides into clothing, wove reeds into baskets, and even created nets for fishing. They certainly tended to the community, raised children, healed the sick, and may have even trapped small animals that the males of the tribe deemed too small to be worth the effort. Working women have existed since the dawn of time. Not just in the home, but in the community, in the tribe, in the town, and in the city. So, where do some people get the notion that women should not work outside the home? 

I think it boils down to religion. Or rather, to those who control religion – the powerful hierarchy that has long been comprised of men. For centuries, religious institutions have insisted that a pure and good woman should not work outside the home. That her only duty is that of pleasing her husband and raising his children. Some religions even go so far as to insinuate that a woman should not be outside the home without her male family members and that to do so would be tawdry or downright promiscuous. But it hasn’t always been so.

Whenever I hear someone speak about gender roles and women who work, I am always reminded of Proverbs 31, which describes an ideal wife. Among her many virtues, she is a land owner, a farmer, and a seamstress who sells the garments and other items she makes, which is to say that she uses her skills to provide income for her family. In fact, if you were to rephrase this proverb in modern terms, you might say she has a lot of side hustles. She works hard, and her family is proud of and supports her. You can’t get any more “Girl Boss” than that.

I’d love it if we could remake the world where gender roles don’t matter. A world where we share the work equally according to our skills, rather than our sex. And just because some religion says a woman’s place is in the kitchen doesn’t mean that’s the way it’s always been. Even the Bible has proof of that.

 Here is Proverbs 31 from the English Standard Version (ESV):

10 An excellent wife who can find?

    She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.

13 She seeks wool and flax,

    and works with willing hands.

14 She is like the ships of the merchant;

    she brings her food from afar.

15 She rises while it is yet night

    and provides food for her household

    and portions for her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;

    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

17 She dresses herself with strength

    and makes her arms strong.

18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

    Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She puts her hands to the distaff,

    and her hands hold the spindle.

20 She opens her hand to the poor

    and reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,

    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes bed coverings for herself;

    her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates

    when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them;

    she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,

    and she laughs at the time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household

    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women have done excellently,

    but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,

    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Life with the Hesslers

This week on the podcast we are talking about role reversals and how times have changed within the “nuclear family”; husbands, wives, and our significant others are not expected to hold the more traditional roles of caregiver, money maker, bill payer, etc. 

Most days are the same routine with a few exceptions. For the most part, Travis and I work opposite shifts; he is up and out the door by 4 AM, and I am the one going to bed at midnight every night. We are really lucky that Reyna has never needed to go to after school childcare – it is just so expensive nowadays. Travis is always off work and able to take on the parenting duties after school and on through the night, while most nights I am still working hard at my desk (thankfully working from home) by the time Reyna needs to get into bed. Our family really depends on Travis to independently take on those formerly “female” roles in our family in order for our household to run efficiently.  

I tend to be the planner in the relationship, by ensuring that meals are planned, groceries are ordered, calendars get updated etc. Everything within our household is orchestrated from my home office. I know that I can place detailed instructions on our shared calendar, and I can trust that Travis will see those actionable items and take care of them. I cannot imagine this way of living without the access to the technology that we have today. Having a shared, cloud calendar allows me to still be as efficient as a housewife, but still be able to have my career. 

Here are some of the amazing things that my husband does that would not have been traditional household roles 60 years ago. 
  • Picks Reyna up from school, brings her home
  • Ensures that Reyna does her chores and gets started on homework.
  • Cooks the evening meal almost every night of the week, from scratch.
  • Takes Reyna to her gym for cheer practice. 
  • Stays and observes and takes photos and videos of her progress.
  • Washes the dishes after dinner.
  • Gets Reyna into a nightly routine of shower and hygiene before bed.
  • Reads to Reyna before bed. 
  • Administers Reyna's daily medications
  • Takes Reyna to her medical and dental appointments.
  • Attends school meetings
  • Picks up the groceries and puts them away.
  • Looks for deals in our local flyers.
  • Folds and puts away the family’s laundry.

Here are some of the things that I do that would not have been traditional for a woman 60 years ago
  • Bring in the majority of our household income.
  • Maintain the household financials, including the budget, savings and checking accounts, retirement funds, as well as manage our debts and pay the bills.
  • Handle phone calls for family business matters
  • File annual taxes
  • Maintain car care, registration and insurance. 
  • Maintain lawn service
  • Schedule seasonal heating and air-conditioner service
  • Organize, store, and update files and paperwork. 
  • Drive whenever the family is in one car together
  • Plan and execute family vacations and make reservations
  • Store and maintain the household tools, hardware, and electronics.
  • Main point of contact for utilities and matters with the landlord.

As you can see Travis has really embraced the Mr. Mom role in the house. I know that if my career had taken a different path, and I was “home” during those core family hours, I would also be supporting him in those duties, however I feel that due to my work hours, this has really given Travis the ability to learn to take care of Reyna and me without depending on others. It is comforting to know that if something were to happen to me, Travis and Reyna would be able to take care of themselves. Although I do take on the burden of carrying out most of the administrative tasks for the household, and Travis has taken on the burden of the laborious tasks, we both have several of those that we tackle equally. Although it seems that he does all the cooking and cleaning, I am still there helping him out with the other cleaning tasks like sorting and washing the laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, bathroom sanitation etc. I am also working hard to ensure that our financial information is easily accessible for him to jump in and handle it should I need help paying a bill or calling for a technician.

What are some of the ways that your household is non-traditional? Are there other areas of the relationship that I might have missed when it comes to role reversal? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Be sure to check out our podcast this week as we each bring in our own perspective.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Rules for Being a Boss Bitch

Wednesday, on the podcast, Amber introduced us to her favorite oracle deck and the book that inspired it, “Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers.”  This topic was a great tie-in to International Women’s Day, which just so happened to be celebrated on Wednesday. March is also “Women’s History Month”, and you may have noticed that we’ve been sharing several female-centric blogs and podcasts, including February’s “Women in STEM” episode and, coming up next week, the as-yet-untitled podcast about role reversals. It’s going to be a good one, so don’t forget to tune in; I’ll have links below! Rather than rehash our discussion about our favorite Literary Witches and Boss Bitches, which I also listed on our Heard it on the Podcast post this week, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what makes someone a Boss Bitch.

Some people (okay, many) have a problem with the word bitch because it’s been used for so long to deprecate women. I have, admittedly, used the word that way myself when describing someone who is harsh, bossy, catty, mean, or temperamental. I’ve even used it to describe women who put their careers first at the expense of their families and loved ones. That is not what we are talking about. “Boss Bitch” is not the same as a bossy bitch, and I’ve come to embrace the word as a sort of feminist badge when used in the more traditional context, especially in regards to strong, alpha females, who rule their pack (think wolves) as strong and independent leaders. In fact, the urban dictionary defines a Boss Bitch as:

“A confident, successful, and independent woman who speaks her mind and stands up for what she believes in.”

I like that. I like that a lot. In fact, I think that’s something we should all aspire to, whether male or female. So, what do all these boss bitches have in common? What does it take to be a Boss Bitch? Here are my Top 10 qualities for being a Boss Bitch:

  • Passionate: Boss bitches have found their calling or at least something they are truly passionate about. Whether it’s caring for their family, feeding the homeless, or making a place for themselves in this male-driven world, boss bitches know what is important, and they aren’t going to let a little something like “the norm” or “tradition” keep them from achieving it.

  • Vocal: Boss bitches are not afraid to share their voices. They speak up when they see injustice, whether it’s in the form of #metoo or #freebritney. 

  • Authentic: Boss bitches are real. They are true to themselves and they don’t dim their beautiful and brilliant light just to fit in with what society has said they should be.

  • Confident: A boss bitch knows what she is capable of and she believes in herself. She is courageous and willing to take on daunting tasks. She does the right thing, even when it’s scary because she knows that fear is often a sign that she’s on the right path.

  • Independent: A boss bitch knows that some things have to be done alone, without the support of others. She’s willing to do all the work herself if she has to because she knows she can. If others step up to help, then all the better.

  • Hard Worker: Boss bitches have a great work ethic. They won’t quit until the job is done and they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty or mess up their pretty manicure. She’s a good employee, and an even better boss because she’s not afraid to get in there and do the job as a part of the team.

  • Gracious: Boss bitches are not bitchy. They are courteous, kind, and well-mannered. Classy and tasteful. Graceful under pressure. Likewise, boss bitches would never put someone down, belittle, or disparage others. They respect authority and work within the current system to make things right or get what they or others deserve.

  • Supportive: Boss bitches empower others to be their best selves, too. They don’t feel threatened by someone else’s success. They share their knowledge and experience with others, so they can be boss bitches, too.

  • Loyal:  Ride or die, a boss bitch is there until the end, no matter what it takes. But you better deserve it.

  • Grateful:  Above all, a boss bitch lives a life of gratitude. She knows she pulled herself up by her bootstraps, but she also recognizes and appreciates the fact that sometimes she’s had help along the way. She is thankful for all the boss bitches who came before her, as well as her friends, family, fellow bitches, community, and faith.

I think these are good qualities for anyone to have, and whether or not you agree with using the phrase “Boss Bitch,” maybe it is something we should all strive to be. 

Do you know a real boss bitch? Give her a shout-out here or on our Facebook group, MMC Chat. Don’t like the phrase “Boss Bitch?” What are some other titles we could use to acknowledge these fabulously strong and powerful ladies?

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Heard it on the Podcast - March 8, 2023


Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we do most Wednesdays to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

S3E10: Literary Witches and Literal Bitches (Boss Bitches, That Is)

  • Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia
  • Good House Keeping, 120 Women Who Changed Our World
  • Gris Grimly, Frankenstein graphic novel
  • Britney Spears, Work Bitch
  • Movie about Julia Child: Julie & Julia
  • Rombauer, Becker, et. al., The Joy of Cooking
  • Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
  • Literary witches we named:
    • Shirley Jackson
    • Sylvia Plath
    • Toni Morrison
    • Flannery O'Connor
    • Emily Dickenson
    • Virginia Wolfe
    • Sandra Cisneros
    • Jane Austen
    • Charlotte Bronte
    • Emily Bronte
    • Gertrude Stein
    • Agatha Christie
    • Mary Shelly
    • Margaret Atwood
    • Ayn Rand
    • Maya Angelou
    • Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • J. K. Rowling
    • Lois Lowery
    • Suzanne Collins
    • Veronica Roth
  • Literal (Boss) Bitches 
    • Barbara Walters
    • Ellen Degeneris
    • Dr. Ruth Westheimer
    • Georgia O'Keefe
    • Helen Girly Brown
    • Sandra Day O'Connor
    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    • Margaret Thatcher
    • Malala Yousafzai
    • Helen Keller
    • Anne Sullivan
    • Temple Grandon
    • Rosa Parks
    • Mother Theresa
    • Michelle Obama
    • Nancy Reagan
    • Eleanor Roosevelt
    • Queen Elizabeth II
    • Princess Diana
    • Queen Elizabeth I
    • Meryl Streep
    • Erin Brockovich
    • Margaret Sanger
    • Tarana Burke
    • Ann Landers
    • Abigail Vanburen
    • Julia Child
    • Oprah Winfrey
    • Gloria Steinam
    • Marie Curie
    • Martha Stuart
    • Susan B. Anthony
    • Harriett Tubman
    • Juliette Gordon Lowe
    • Danika Patrick
    • Janet Guthrie
    • Amelia Earhart
    • Bessie Coleman
    • Dorthea Lange
    • Jane Goodall
    • Coco Channell
    • Mary Kay Ash

    5 Ways to Manifest Your Best Life

    Hi there, and welcome back! Since we have been heavily focusing on goals and planning, I thought we should discuss manifesting. I love this ...