Back to the Future: This One Time At Denny’s…

Last night my husband and I went to our favorite greasy-spoon to celebrate his birthday. Yes, I realize I talked about going out to dinner earlier this week, but in our house, we celebrate a person’s birthday all month with different surprises and gatherings. So last night we stopped in at Denny’s.

Midway through our meal, I saw her. An older woman in her 80’s with expertly styled white hair and a smiling twinkle in her eye. She reminded me of Trixie from The Honeymooners. I had seen her before. Twice. She is always with a handsome man, who reminds me of my late uncle Paul.

Let me rewind and tell you the story from the beginning. About 6 years ago, I was visiting my now husband when we stopped in at Denny’s (Hey, it’s cheap and has decent food depending on your order, don’t judge 😉 ). We were seated at a booth facing the restaurant when we saw them. An older couple consisting of a handsome gentleman that looked like my uncle Paul, and a woman that could have been a dead ringer for an older Audrey Meadows from Honeymooners fame. What struck us about them is that they were behaving like they were on their first date; cuddling in the booth, giggling and absolutely glowing! I whispered to Chad, “look honey, it’s us in 50 years!” We waved them over and remarked that we hoped we were that happy after 50 years of marriage. Then they said, “Oh, we aren’t married. We are on our first date!” Instantly, their charm factor shot through the roof. In that moment, Chad and I decided this couple was who we wanted to emulate. To still act like newlyweds after being together for many years.

So fast forward to last night. As we were about to leave, I turned around and there she was. Same hair, same twinkle. And he wasn’t far behind. I had Chad turn around and look. He called them both over to our table. We talked for several minutes about what we had been up to since the last time we saw them. I talked to the woman and honestly I couldn’t stop staring at her. I couldn’t help but notice a few things; 1. She had neon pink glittery clips in her hair. I love anything bright and glittery. 2. Her nails were pink and green like a watermelon. When I go to parties where watermelon is served, there’s little to no chance that others will be able to eat it–because as soon as it’s set in front of me, it’s gone. Yes, I’m obsessed with watermelon. 3. The last thing I noticed was her sweatshirt. It was a plain grey sweatshirt, emblazoned with a white kitten with blue eyes. I swear it was like I had fallen down the same rabbit hole as Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was looking at myself from the future!! Not only from her appearance, but she even shared with me that she struggles with anxiety. It was a surreal experience.

All too soon it was over. As we climbed out of the rabbit hole and made our way home, we talked about how similar the couple was from us. It was like God was showing us the future and it sparkled.

I still didn’t figure out if the Cubs will make it to a World Series by the time I’m 80, but hey, a girl can dream 😉



Lulabelle Reviews: Pure Sodaworks Strawberry Jalapeno Soda

Last night to celebrate my husband’s birthday, my mother in law took us out to dinner at one of the newer restaurants in town; FiFi’s Lunchbox. It’s one of those places where they put bacon in literally everything, even the desserts. Unfortunately, food is not served with an angioplasty on the side. Seriously, I asked. Despite the calorie content, you have to give an establishment props for having tiny deep-fried balls of tater tot casserole as an appetizer.

In addition to amazing food, FiFi’s Lunchbox offers an array of natural sodas. One of these selections piqued my interest; Pure Sodaworks Strawberry Jalapeno Natural Soda. For $2.50 and 150 calories, I deemed it worthy of consumption. After purchasing it, we took a side trip to the store to pick up a bottle opener. I can’t say enough about the goodness of glass bottled soda. There’s really nothing like it. This simple soda contains only sparkling water, pure cane sugar, strawberries and jalapenos.

Appearance: Like ginger-ale with a hint of pinkness. After opening its effervescence reminds me of a lava lamp. There are white flakes that sink to the bottom and according to the bottle this is natural sediment that settles during shipping.

First impression smell: Like homemade strawberry fruit roll up and vinegar which seems out-of-place (come to think of it, I guess true strawberries have a vinegary quality that I suppose I’m not used to since the sodas I normally drink contain artificial flavor. Thanks Monsanto 😛 ).

First impression taste: A bit of strawberry sweetness, then you are hit with a spicy jalapeno blast that lingers in the back of your throat. It also travels up to your nasal passages. So if you have even the tiniest bit of congestion, this will fix you right up. 😀

So if you are looking for a perky soda that packs a spicy punch, with all-natural ingredients, this is the one for you!

Happy Eating!


FTC Disclaimer: Pure Sodaworks product was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

To the Person with Mental Illness Sitting in the Church Pew

Living with a mental illness and being a follower of Jesus can seem to be contradictory for those outside the church. After all, if you are a Christian, you aren’t supposed to struggle with depression and anxiety, right? Oh how I wish!

But the reality is we live in a broken world. A world where trials and pain don’t discriminate. Most times, we don‘t understand the why of struggle. But there is good news. There are ways to cope on this side of Heaven. Granted, these aren’t cure-alls, but ways to get you through.

As I noted in an earlier post, I live with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the late fall and winter months. Last year my husband installed LED lights to our living-room and I was amazed how well they worked to lift my moods. Of course like anything medical, things need to be adjusted from time to time. Serotonin levels can get used to the medicine used to raise them, and another one needs to come in to supplement.

Dear Christian, taking medication for your mental illness does not make you less of a believer in Jesus. It does not make you weak. Anyone that tells you your depression and anxiety remains because you haven’t prayed enough is someone not to be listened to. I know how much you’ve pled with God to take this away, to no avail.

My most used coping mechanism, along with the above, is humor. Learning to laugh at myself and find the humor in things has proven quite useful over the years. Last night I had a conversation with my cousins about this very topic. At one point my cousin used the line (borrowed from her favorite blogger, Glennon Doyle Melton); “Jesus loves me, this I know. For He gave me Lexapro.” My other cousin and I laughed pretty hard, but it got us all thinking. Even in our mental illness, God is there. He gives us ways to cope with our situation, even if we don’t understand the why’s. I even wrote a song that came out of that conversation:

Sung to the tune of Jesus Loves Me…..

Jesus Loves me, this I know.
For He gave me Lexapro.
He gives me nutritious food,
LED’s to boost my mood.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
My Xanax tells me so!

Hang in there, friends! You are not alone!


**Information about Glennon Doyle Melton can be found here

Sometimes Being an Adult is Like Baby Food…..

Adulting. This is something that I occasionally have anxiety over. The weird thing is, 9 times out of 10, it wasn’t as hard or scary as I had thought going in. Things like calling such and such place to take care of such and such bill if there is any discrepancy. I do eventually call on time and get things taken care of, but the anxiety I experience leading up to calling is very real and pretty annoying. Yes, I wish I were the type of person you’d not think anything of making a simple phone call, but unfortunately more often than not I’ll pitch a little mental fit before eventually doing the right thing and making the call. Again, 9 times out of 10 when I’m done with this task, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had it built up in my head.

It’s kinda like baby food.

This weekend I helped throw a baby shower for one of my closest friends. Maybe this is just a new American trend, but here when we do baby showers, traditionally there is some sort of game centered around baby food. Our baby food game consisted of 12 jars of baby food that had a similar color but were all different flavors. I had carefully taken the labels off each jar and numbered them with a black Sharpie. Then I wrote down their number and flavor on a separate sheet and put that in an envelope along with all the labels. Each person at the shower was given paper and pen and they had to write down what they thought each flavor was. The person with the most correct answers would win a prize.

There was one of three ways we could have played. 1. Each person simply looks at the jars and writes down an educated guess as to its contents. This way the mom to be can keep the baby food to feed her child later OR 2. The jars are opened and sniffed to determine what they contain OR 3. Guesses are determined by TASTE! This method is the most fun but could go disastrously wrong if you have a weak stomach. Or just anxiety over suspicious looking baby food in an all neutral color palate.

We went with method #2. Then, in a sudden twist, our mother-to-be decided she was curious enough to taste them. And we did. Even if some of us had serious reservations. I mean, would you willingly taste liquified turkey and gravy?? But you know what? It wasn’t bad at all. After I tasted what I thought was the scariest one, I went for one I’d wanted to try ever since picking them up last week–banana. Here is the face I made:


Now, I promise you that this truly is my “Wow! That wasn’t bad at all. I like it.” face. Even after tasting them all, there really wasn’t a jar that I disliked. All the fear was just in my head.

I guess I can cross eating 12 varieties of baby food off my bucket list!

If you have trouble adulting some days, you are not alone. I’ll even share my stewed bananas with you 😉


Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday (LAFF): Think Before You Nair…..

Well kids, I am back after a two-week mental health break. I’ve been in a right horrible funk ever since daylight savings time kicked in. During the fall and winter our part of the midwest is gloomy and grey, and when the sun goes to bed an hour earlier, my mood goes with it. I tried to blog a couple of times, but I just couldn’t get my thoughts unjumbled from the cozy recesses of my brain. My breakthrough came yesterday after word came that I was published on The Mighty website. It’s a great place to hear stories of others with all sorts of disabilities and health conditions. Giving hope to thousands of readers a day. You should go check them out…..but not before I tell you this story. 😉 I figured I’d break my blog-fast with some humor. So without further ado:

Let’s talk about hair. Specifically the hair on parts of your body that you want to remain smooth as a baby’s bum. It’s not that I necessarily feel pressure by society to keep my legs and other parts hair free, I just feel more confident the less hair there is. Which is why I’ve deployed a few different methods over the years to rid my body of unwanted hair. Shaving with a razor is normally my go-to as it’s cheap and relatively painless, but depilatory creams and waxing have shown to be most effective for a smoother-for-longer look. The latter is a pretty simple approach, you put a cream concoction on the area you want free of hair and you wait a minute or two before rinsing it off. The cream does some weird voodoo science thing where the hair magically disappears after rinsing. You are then left with skin that smells across between nail polish remover and aloe-vera.

Nair is the most popular form of this hair removal cream. I remember as a kid watching their commercials on TV. Where women in tiny skirts would kick up their freshly Nair’ed legs in a dance reminiscent of the Rockettes. I envied them. Mostly for their cute skirts that I’d not be allowed to wear, but you get the idea. It wasn’t until years later that I finally got my hands on a bottle of Nair and dreamed of becoming one of the girls on the commercial.

As I explained above, the hair removal process is quite simple with Nair. Just smooth it on with your hands and wipe the hair away after a minute. What they don’t tell you on the bottle, or maybe I just don’t remember reading it, is that it’s inadvisable to use Nair on sensitive areas. Or if you have sensitive skin. No matter if I just didn’t read that part of the label or I just had a “devil-may-care” attitude, I Naired onward. After my legs were smoother than a baby’s bum, I turned to my underarms. As any woman will tell you, shaving the underarms takes precision and time to get every single hair. Not having the patience or the time, I excitedly smoothed this cream over my left underarm and waited with gleeful anticipation. I knew I wouldn’t have to shave under there for at least two weeks, without new hair growth being all that noticeable.

As I waited for the cream to work its magic, I began to feel a bit of a tingling sensation where I had applied the Nair. When it had done its thing, I went to wipe it off and HOLY MOTHER it BURNED!! At the time I thought it’d go away after a few minutes. I was wrong. Very, painfully wrong. Even after washing it off with soap and water, the pain remained. Now, I’ve never been in labor, but I remember thinking as I lay awake that night, several hours later, in agony, that this is what labor must feel like. If the baby comes out of one’s underarm. Right then I vowed never again to use Nair. And to ALWAYS read the entire warning label of any product I put on my body. Lord have mercy!