Dinnae Fash, It’s World Outlander Day!

Little did I know many years ago, when my aunt told me about a book she had read and liked, that it would turn into such a fantastic journey! The book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. My aunt, who is more of a reader than even I am, had purchased and read the trade paperback size, and now offered it to me to read. Those first few lines captured me and drew me in immediately!

” People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and-butter to journalists. Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars. Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations. Usually. ” ~ Outlander Prologue

Gorgeous Outlander artwork by Geno Acedo

Those first few words captivated millions of readers, the world over. For those who haven’t read it, it’s set in beautiful Scotland, my own homeland. It’s about time travel and adventure, but most of all, it’s an incredible love story. Chapter after chapter the story developed, and we readers found ourselves wanting to disappear thought the standing stones to arrive in the past to find our own Jamie Fraser!

Many more books followed, as well as companion books and shorter novels and novellas based on other characters from the main story. And Diana did not disappoint. I haven’t even gotten through all the books yet. But I think the pièce de résistance was when they (finally) turned Outlander into a hit TV series. I remember being glued to the television every Sunday night during the first airing of Season One. And the show is as good as the books! I remember seeing Diana at a book signing event at our local book store. She was answering questions from the crowd. Someone asked her what the attraction was to a man in a kilt, and she replied, and I quote, “I think it’s the idea of having that man up against a wall.” The audience went absolutely wild! And why not? I mean, it sounds lie a good idea to me! I apologize if these past remarks offend anyone who are not “into” men in kilts, but for those who are (I don’t care what sexual orientation you may be..), I bet you just had an image emblazoned in your head!

Sam Heughan as James Fraser

The one thing that may take a little getting used to in the books and TV series, is the language. Sure, it’s in English and for the most part, that is the language spoken. But it is interspersed with some “broad Scots”, which uses words many are not accustomed to (unless you grew up in Scotland, or had Scottish family). Also mixed in is some Scottish Gaelic. Did you know you can learn Scottish Gaelic online, for free?

Anyways, just for fun I thought I’d finish up with a few Scottish phrases. Starting with the one in the title. Dinnae fash means don’t be troubled. Here are a few more for you to try out:

  • Dreich. Dree…and that phlegmy “gh” sound at the end. That’s the best way I can describe it! Means wet, as in rainy & gloomy.
  • Ah dinnae ken = I don’t know. (ken = know).
  • Sassenach. It’s a derogatory term, referring to the English people. However, in the book, it becomes a term of endearment that Jamie calls Claire.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. If you haven’t read Outlander or seen the show, maybe it’s time for a binge! Now, Gabh mo leisgeul (excuse me, in Scottish Gaelic) while I go and fantasize about men in kilts!

Tioraidh! ~ Pronounced “Chee-ree (Goodbye!)

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Choices For Change

I apologize for the late submission today. I was working on finishing my last writing piece for this project. I am excited, honoured and humbled to be a part of this wonderful book! Below is our official promotion piece:

Book Cover

Choices for Change: Courageous Decisions That Changed Lives is an inspired collection of thirteen authors vulnerably sharing stories about one moment, or one decision that changed the course of their lives.*Have you made a big decision that set your life on a different course or empowered you to live in more authenticity and courage?*Have you started over after challenges or setbacks and rebuilt your life to feel true to yourself?*Has an event or situation happened in your life that made you realize you need to step up and embrace change or be destined to keep repeating the painful lessons?We have all lived through change, big and small, our choice or not, it’s how we choose to get through it that makes all the difference.Choices for Change contains heartfelt, bold, courageous pieces, and lighthearted impactful ones. There are stories of animals and the difference they’ve made in our lives, as well as how our lives change when we start loving ourselves. There are self-reflective and insightful pieces that will help you make your choice to change. We are grateful to take this journey with you, and hope you can find yourself in these pages and know you are not alone.

Remember: “You are only one decision away from a totally different life” – Mark Batterson

If any of my followers would like to pre-order either the E-book format or paperback, please get in touch before June 2nd if possible. I will give you pricing and payment options. Thanks for your support!

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Five Of My Favourite Essential Oils

Did you know that there are around 130 essential oils and extracts? Until recently, I had no idea there were that many either. In this article I’m going to introduce you to some of the most popular EO’s, their therapeutic qualities, and some methods of using them to their (and your) best advantage.

Number one on my list is the extremely popular and versatile Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia). Its fresh, clean floral scent is best known for its sedative qualities, and is used as a sleep aid. It can also be used to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as for cuts, bruises, scars, and to ease sunburn. When inhaled or applied to the temples, it can ease headaches.

The first runner up on my list is lemon essential oil (Citron limon). It is taken from the rind of the lemons and cold pressed to produce the essential oil. Lemon EO has a tangy citrus scent, and is fantastic for easing anxiety and depression, easing pain, healing minor wounds, and leaves a fantastic fresh scent when used in home-made cleaning supplies. If you are suffering from a cold, try putting some lemon EO in a diffuser in a room where you are resting. It can also help you feel more alert and may enable you to concentrate better!

Second runner up favourite EO is Peppermint (Menta piperita). Peppermint is known for its cooling and soothing properties. It can be applied topically (on skin) via a carrier oil after a workout, sun exposure, or if you have a strained muscle or joints. When diffused, it provides a calm, focused environment. If you’re having a fever or hot flash, it can be applied to the back of the necks or bottoms of feet for a nice cooling effect.

Next on my list is Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata). As most peole know, eucalyptus is fantastic for colds, flu, coughs and congestion. So many products out there have eucalyptus in them nowadays. But like its friends, this trusty essential oil has many other benefits. It can help ease earaches when diluted and applied to the outer ear, and on the bone behind the ear. It is a natural insecticide. It has antiviral, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which make it a perfect addition to home-made household cleaners and hand sanitizers. It can also help ease mental sluggishness.

Last but certainly not least on today’s list is the precious, mighty Frankincense (Boswellia frereana). Oh my, do I LOVE this essential oil! Every single blend I make for myself has some Frank in it! frankincense has been referred to as the “King” of essential oils, and for good reason! It has been revered for its healing qualities since ancient times. It has even been used in sacred religious ceremonies. Its aroma promotes feelings of calm and relaxation,and inhaling it can reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. Frankincense has powerful antioxidant and immune boosting capabilities. It is also an amazing disinfectant and antimicrobial. It can kill germs on surfaces and can be used in homemade household cleaning products. With its versatility, healing benefits and wonderfully warm aroma, there’s no wonder why Frankincense is so well-loved the world over!

I use essential oils every day. I make custom oil blends and skin care products which are available for sale. To inquire about my aromatherapy products, you can message me here, and I also invite you to check out my Facebook page, On Dragonfly Wings.

Here is a video I made when I received some of my new essential oils and items to make home-made skin care & bath products. Enjoy! Unboxing video

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A Little “Cat-titude”

Domestic cats have been a part of our lives since ancient times, around 7500BC. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first people to domesticate them. The Egyptians venerated and worshiped the cat above all other animals. They say that cats have not forgotten this, and from the behavior of any cat I’ve ever known, I believe them! For today’s blog, I have compiled some funny cat quotes for you. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of Cheezburger.com

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” – Bill Dana

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” – Robert A. Heinlein

Image courtesy of Cheezburger.com

“One cat just leads to another.” – Ernest Hemingway

“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer.” – Paula Poundstone

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud

“Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.” Pam Brown

Image courstesy of Cheezburger.com

With their crazy antics, sleeping where they’re not supposed to, demanding attitudes, and irresistible cuteness, cats make wonderful companions! There’s never a dull moment when you have a cat in your life. Here’s an interesting fact: Cats are literally good for your heart! In a 10 year study of 4000 Americans, researchers found out that owning a cat could reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to 30%. So, if you don’t already have one of these cute little fur-babies in your life, perhaps it’s time to go adopt one? (As long as you’re not allergic). I really hope you enjoyed today’s blog.

Quotes compiled from Curatedquotes.com, and shutterfly.com

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Music Is Magical!

Music. It soothes the soul, lifts us up, and reminds us of days gone by, old friends and good memories. It motivates us to get moving. Or it helps us relax. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like. Music is the universal language, and we all have different tastes. My music collection can best be described as “eclectic”. From 80’s hits, celtic music, music with a distinctly “Eastern” feel to it, to great anthems I like to belt out when I’m home alone. The point is, whatever music you enjoy listening to, crank it up and enjoy it.

There are certain songs that I call the “Soundtrack Of My Life”. Songs that I will never grow tired of. I think we all have at least one. Listening to music actually does affect different areas of our brains. We can have emotional reactions (either perceived or actually felt) to the music we listen to, even in short pieces. Perceived emotion means we can understand the emotion behind a piece of music. Some studies even suggest that your favourite genre of music can predict your personality. I wonder what it would say about me, as I don’t have one favourite genre… And learning to read music or play an instrument improves learning, motor skills and auditory processing, among other things.

Image courtesy of liveforlivemusic.com

Music is an integral part of our everyday lives. It keeps us company while we ride the bus, jog or do the housework. It brings people together, and helps us cope with life’s many challenges. It even has therapeutic effects on our minds and bodies, promoting healing and boosting our immune systems.

Research suggests that we should listen to music every day to gain its many benefits. I think that is especially true while we are sitting around waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic, and going a little stir crazy. Play some music while gardening or reading a book. Or crank the tunes and get up and dance around your living room! However you like to enjoy it, I bet you’ll feel a bit better with some music therapy today!

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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Aromatherapy. It Makes Perfect Scents

The definition of Aromatherapy  is, a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It is the use of essential oils to improve the health of the mind and body and spirit. It has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians as well as other ancient cultures such as India and Persia were known to use aromatherapy. Essential oils (EO’s) were used for medical as well as religious purposes. Even Christians record two of the gifts brought to the Baby Jesus, as precious Myrrh and Frankincense.

Essential oils are extracted by one of two methods; steam distillation and cold pressing, which is used for oils derived from citrus rinds. They are classified into different groupings, based on the type of plants they are extracted from. These include citrus EO’s, florals, spices, resins, woods, and more.

File photo

The source and quality of your essential oils is extremely important. Each EO needs to be tested for purity, potency and authenticity before they can be certified. Be sure to do your homework before choosing and essential oil supplier.

Essential oils are used in a variety of ways; Aromatically, either poured into cupped hands and inhaled, or through use of a diffuser. You can apply them topically, blended with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Added to bath water, EO’s function as both a topical and aromatic usage. The best way to do this is to add them to something such as a bath gel, epsom salts or milk, to help disperse them throughout the bath water. It also dilutes them so as to prevent skin irritation. Another popular use is in reflexology, where EO’s are massage into the soles of the feet. Some essential oils can also be taken internally, but please consult a certified aromatherapist before doing so, and only use pure oils in the recommended doses. Massage parlours use essential oils to soothing and relaxation. Some physicians even recommend essential oils as a complimentary therapies for certain health concerns.

Some of the most popular essential oils include lavender, peppermint, lemon, melaleuca (tea tree), Frankincense and eucalyptus. Each has it’s own unique therapeutic qualities. As an aromatherapist, I combine various essential oils to make healing aromatic blends to aid in a variety of health and wellness complaints. Some uses include relaxation and sleep aiding blends, energizing blends, blends to aid with memory and concentration, and blends to reduce stress, irritability or insecurity.

Photo courtesy of Natural Healers

Essential oils are extremely popular and versatile, and when used properly, can complement your healthy lifestyle. If you would like to experience the wonderful world of essential oils, and would like to purchase a custom blend made just for you, please feel free to contact me!

Here is a video I made when some of my essential oils and skin care making products arrived. I hope you enjoy it. Unboxing video

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Green Thumbs And Dirty Knees: Gardening Tips From Jen

Gardening is an enjoyable and relaxing hobby. I love the feeling of being one with Nature, with fuzzy, buzzing bees and butterflies flitting around. But it can be a lot of work too. With the weather warming up, I thought it would be a good time to offer a few basic gardening tips.

Tiger Swallowtail on lilac.
Image by ThruJensLens Photography

My number one tip is, put your garden where you can see it. I love watching all the activity, and how my flowers grow and change over the course of the season. If you want to get the most out of your garden, you need to see it. It also helps me stay on top of the weeding. We want our gardens to look nice, right?

Tip #2: Look to the skies! When planning a spot for your garden, you’ll want to know how the sun affects it over the course of the day. Does it get full sun for six or more hours, or is it perhaps on the East or North side of your home, and only gets early morning, or late day sun? This has a huge impact on what you can plant. Many perennials and flowering shrubs require full sun, whereas some plants such as fern and hostas, much prefer to be in a cooler, shady spot.

Tip #3: Dirty business. Your soil, that is. We need to take a closer look at the quality of the soil.I like to think of topsoil as a living organism. I mean, it is made up of organic materials, after all. Soil texture is important. For example, clay soils have small soil particles and sticky feel. Sandy soil is made up of large particles, and feels gritty. Both sandy soils and clay soils present challenges for gardeners. Loam soil is the name given to soil with a mixture of different sized particles. For clay soil, added aggregates like peat moss helps to improve aeration and drainage. Sandy soils dry out too quickly, so adding amendments like compost, manure or peat will help it retain moisture better.

Tip #4: Weed be gone! In the spring when your garden is just waking up, or before building a new flower bed, is the best time to get rid of weeds. Before they grow, develop roots that reach to the pit of despair, and pollinate to create a whole family of annoying little weedlets. Do it before you amend your soil, before you add your garden plants. Weeds compete with your precious plants for nutrients in the soil, and many can be quite invasive, choking them out. Exterminate them!

Tip #5: Mulch. Such a weird sounding word. but very useful in your garden. Mulch can be all natural, or come in decorative colours. It not only makes your flower beds look pretty, but helps retain valuable moisture and reduces the growth of those pesky weeds. To be really effective, you’ll want a good 2 – 3 inch layer of mulch. Mulch tip, level expert: build it up around your plants, but not touching the stems/stalks, as the moisture can cause softer plants to rot.

For anyone who cares to know, I not only love gardening as a hobby, but worked for nine seasons at the largest local garden centre in Southwestern Ontario, then another two years at a smaller one. I learned a lot from experts who have been in the industry for several generations. Most recently, I have been employed at the Home Depot Canada, and completed their garden centre training. I love sharing my knowledge with people, and helping them have a garden they can get a lot of enjoyment out of!

There are lots of great gardening books, magazines and web sites out there, if you’re looking for more information. Hope this little bit was somewhat of a help.

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Amazing Facts Of History. Today’s Episode: Queen Victoria

I have always had a thirst for knowledge. Even more so as an adult. I must admit, some of the things they taught us in school were just plain boring. but there are lots of ways to learn. I love books, and I love finding out things on the internet these days. But only from reliable sources!

I recently found out some interesting facts about Queen Victoria while browsing the ‘net. I already knew that the years, 63 in total, that she ruled are referred to as the “Victorian Era”. This period marked many changes in the United Kingdom and also a great expansion of the British Empire. I also knew the queen had many children (9 in total). Here are some more interesting facts you may not know about Queen Victoria:

  • Her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was actually her cousin.
  • At the time of her birth, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent was actually fifth in line for the throne.
  • As a child, she was mostly kept secluded from the public, had a rigorous study schedule with private tutors, and played with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dash, when she had free time.
  • She was the first queen to rule from Buckingham Palace. In 1851, she was the first royal to appear on the now-famous palace balcony, where today’s royal family still greet the public from.
  • Did you know she survived eight, yes eight, assassination attempts? I didn’t.
  • White wedding (dress). Queen Victoria wore a white, lace-covered satin wedding gown, and afterwards, wearing a white gown was considered a status symbol.
  • Even though she had nine children, she didn’t seem fond of motherhood, or babies as a rule. She even wrote some rather nasty personal letters about her children and their looks.
  • She was ruling during “Jack The Ripper”‘s terrifying reign in 1888, and had a fascination with him. Her grandson, Prince Albert Victor, was actually accused of being Jack The Ripper. But the Queen provided an alibi for him, which got him off the hook. To this day, no-one knows for sure who the Ripper really was.
  • The Queen mourned the death of her husband for 40 years. She wore only black, became reclusive, and earned the title “the Widow Of Windsor”.

Queen Victoria was the longest reining monarch in British history, until our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her in 2015. For more about Queen Victoria please visit the links below.



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A Heartfelt Tribute

I was first introduced to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in 2016. My boyfriend was a bit of a warplane nut, and I enjoyed my visit so much, that I decided to purchase us memberships for the following year. We visited on several occasions in 2017, and even had the opportunity to witness the Canada 150 CF-18 Demo jet when it flew in for a summer visit. It was also at CWHM that we learned about the Community Charity Air Show that takes place at Brantford Municipal Airport near the end of August.

So, on a lovely Wednesday morning in August 2017, we arose early and packed our camera gear and lawn chairs in the truck, and set off for Brantford. We liked to arrive early to events, to get good parking and better photo ops, without bazillions of people in them.

So we pulled into the parking field just shy of 2 hours before the gates were to officially open. There were perhaps only 1/2 dozen other vehicles. Right next to us, a mom and dad were unloading their vehicle and putting their days’ supplies, camp chairs, etc into a child’s wagon. The child was watching the skies. Soon, an airplane was spotted flying towards us. The young boy identified it immediately. Impressive! I told him how impressed I was, and another plane flew over. He knew this one too! As I was talking to him and his mom, I found out he was a huge plane buff. Then he excitedly announced that we had just missed the Avro Lancaster flying over. Wow!

As we were walking as a group bonded by aviation towards the airport show grounds, Melinda (the mom) told me that they came every year. I asked where a good spot to sit was, and she informed me that they always sit in front of the Snowbirds. Great spot, I thought! We were invited to sit with them and spent the whole day enjoying the air show together. Melinda even trusted me, a complete stranger, enough to allow me to take her seven year-old son around the static displays. I learned a lot from McKenzie! I also found out that his absolute favourite air show highlight was the CF Snowbirds, and that he wanted to become a Snowbird pilot one day himself.

A wonderful moment happened in the afternoon when the Snowbird pilots were walking through the grounds talking to guests. One of them came over to us, as he had seen McKenzie’s Snowbird T shirt and hat. I was able to get an amazing photo as he sat my new young friend on his lap to talk to him.

Melinda and I became fast friends and kept in touch via Facebook. When the 2018 Community Charity Air Show came around, we made plans to meet again in the parking field and spend the day together.

This was also the first year that Capt. Jenn Casey commentated for the CF-18 Demo Team aerial show. I would hear her voice again later that summer at London’s International Air Show. I had fallen in love with the Canada 150 jet the year before, so now was following this team as well as the Snowbirds.

It’s funny how we develop connections to different things. We find out (almost to our own surprise sometimes) that we enjoy certain activities or events. Like air shows. They thrill and excite us. We feel connected to the performers. And we meet people we normally wouldn’t otherwise.

A week ago today, one of our beloved Snowbird personalities lost her life in the tragic accident in Kamloops. I know that Melinda, McKenzie and I all felt the loss on a deep level. We followed the news and social media stories together. We shared our thoughts and tears with each other. We are grieving along with the rest of Canada.

A few days ago, I saw a beautiful video by an air show videographer from Brantford. It was a tribute to Captain Jenn Casey. I was absolutely thrilled to see McKenzie in this video, and immediately shared it with Melinda. Now I’m going to share it here for everyone to see. It is my tribute, not only to Capt. Casey, but to my wonderful friends whom I would never have had the honour to meet and know, had it not been for that early morning air show adventure, and a young boy’s joyous enthusiasm for aviation, fuelled in part by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. I respectfully ask my Canadian friends to wear your CF Snowbird swag today. Or, if you don’t have any, wear red and white, the colours of Canada’s favourite high-flying ‘Birds and Heaven’s new angel. RIP Captain Jennifer Casey.

Jenn Casey Tribute Video by videographer Roger Duck on YouTube

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Bawston Was Wicked Pissah!

Image courtesy of CBS Boston

Did I make your eye twitch? Was that even the English language?? Yes it was!

Many moons ago, I was lucky enough to be invited for a job interview in Boston Massachusetts. I have always been a lover of the ocean, tropical fish and cetaceans (whale & dolphin family). I had been dreaming of my dream job, and perusing the internet to see what I could find.

I had gone to the New England Aquarium’s web page and they had an opening I thought I would be great at – taking reservations and booking tours. My master plan (in my head) was that if accepted, I’d sign up for a marine biology course at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and work my way up the ranks at the aquarium. So off I went to Boston. But being a young-ish single female, I wan’t sure how safe it would be for me to travel alone, so I invited my friend Jason to join me. I knew he liked the city too, so we could spend some time exploring it together.

Before our trip, and on the journey there, we amused ourselves by speaking with a fake Boston accent. In truth, all we really knew was the dropping of the R’s, as in pahk the cah. But we tried, and picked up some more after being in the city for only a few days. In fact, on the way home, a complete stranger actually asked me if I was from Boston, because I had the accent.

But there’s a history and stories all over the internet about how to speak propah Bostonian. Even lessons and tutorials. So if you’ve evah wondahd about the Boston accent, I’ll share a couple here with you now.


Curious about the Bawston accent?

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