Walk like an Outlander, with Mindy McIntosh-Shetter – @outlanderbotanist

Hello, bloggers!

Welcome to another beautiful, fall day in Alabama. I am absolutely in LOVE with this weather. I sincerely hope it’s just as beautiful wherever you find yourself today.

As per usual routine, I have a fabulous guest for you today. I am so happy to introduce  you to Mindy McIntosh-Shetter


Walk like an Outlander

Ok, I know if you are old enough you are hearing that song from the Bangles. You know the one – Walk like an Egyptian, which was playing today while I was out for my run. Oh, how the world works and serendipity pokes its head through the curtain of life.

As a child of reason, which we all are of that era today, I have never really found much use in neither love stories nor simply hoping for something to happen. I was raised to believe that hard work was the solution to everything-including dreams but some dreams are harder to achieve as I would learn later on in life.

Serendipity’s head would poke out again one evening at my dad’s. After a long day working on the farm, we settled down in front of the brain cell sucking machine called a television to watch a new series produced by STARZ called Outlander. As my great Scot-Irish luck would have it, one of the most scandalous episodes would be on. Please keep in mind that this is not an Outlander spoiler free zone if you have never seen the show or read the books. Now that you know that let’s move on. Well, it was the prison, Jamie, and Black Jack Randall episode that was quite graphic. Well, in just, I was embarrassed to watch this with my dad. I mean, it covered topics that I really did not want to explore nor talk about with my father but here we were, sharing time together so go with it. In the mist of hiding behind pillows and a blanket, I heard lavender oil. Lavender oil I said. Really, I do not think they used it for this purpose I said to myself. I mean I had written about lavender and knew the scientific reason why it works. See this is what I do for a living, I teach people gardening skills, horticulture, botany, and science through blogs and videos. So making a mental note about the plant, I decided I would do my own research into the topic. I mean, I could be making a mountain out of a mole hill. The author of the Outlander book series could have simply just put that in without researching if the plant was used for this purpose.

The next day, I started doing my own research and yes lavender was used for this purpose among other things in the 1740s. This is where my journey began.

Diane Gabaldon’s journey with this story started off when she asked God to help her write something that affected peoples’ lives, which she has. The series of books continued to grow and are labeled historical fiction. The popularity of the books was a reason why STARZ adapted the books into a television series, which is one of the most successful to date. While I could go on and on with accolades for the book series and STARZ show, you may be wondering what this has to do with lavender.

Well, the more I did research on the plants mentioned in the books and television adaptation the more I became intrigued. There were plants I had heard of and others I had not. I researched their use in the story and in real-life. I gathered information on how to grow the ones I was not familiar with. All the while just for me, just to have that information but……..a nagging idea kept popping into my head. You know the one, the one idea that hovers around your brain never really leaving but you can push it away to get work done and then it reappears when your mind is quite. That idea, the one that you feel a calling to do either from God or Spirit guides leading you to where you need to be.

Before going on let me say this, one of the things on my bucket list was not to write a book. I have done a lot of writing as a blogger for over ten years but I never thought of writing a book. What gave me the courage to just looking into it was the female main character in the Outlander series Claire. She was a “thinking outside the box,” non-conforming woman like me. The type that society tends to define with an unlady like term used in dog breeding. Yes, my aggie background is coming through. I really wish society would define a woman like that as a female cat, which is a queen. Anyway, I could see myself in Claire and have been in many situations just like her, except the time traveling. When in college, I was frowned down upon by my male classmates solely based on the fact that I was the only woman in the class. I have also been in the classroom when race and sex became an issue. I have learned the lessons of conformity, which never end well and for Claire forced her to change who she truly was in both the 1940s and 1740s. While the conformity in the 1740s was for survival, the poker face she kept on in the 1940s was for her child. But even the best makeup cracks, this is what happened to Claire. Whether society or her husband of the 1940s was ready or not, Claire was going to live her life being true to herself regardless of the cost.

As so many times, nonfiction ends up mimicking life so was my journey with Claire. We seemed to be one in the same. Forget the love story, the Scottish history, and sexy men in tartan, I was interested in courage, which can be defined as having the belief in oneself to the point that you can leap over that comfort zone and never look back. For Claire that meant hiding who she really was in the 1740s to marrying a man she, at the time, did not love. It also meant leaving her cosmic lover for her child and going back to a man that she no longer knew for her child in the 1940s. Once there in the 1940s trying to conform to society’s standard of what women were supposed to do. As you can image and as the name applies, she was an Outlander defined as an outsider, which was not a compliment.

This was a mirror image of me-female aggie in a male dominated world who thought “outside the box.” In the past, this character trait, as with Claire, was not something I treasured but as I explored the idea of writing a book on herbs, it became clear to me I needed to follow this path regardless of where it lead. I did my homework as Claire did when she was planning her journey out. I placed all the facts on the table and then scattered them to the wind. I have never approached anything with caution and I was not going to start now. At that point, I frankly ran over that comfort zone. I kept going until it felt right. At that point I started writing The Unofficial Book of Herbs. Once again I was an Outlander-a nobody in the book and publishing world, but I really did not care. It was a path that I was meant to take. Just as Claire was destined to be a doctor, I was cosmically and/or spiritually moved into this direction as an author.

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Today, I straddle the past, present, and future very much like Claire. I dress in 1740s clothes to do videos on modern equipment for the future. My journey has lead me to create my own YouTube channel the Outlander Botanist by which I teach people dressed in 1740s clothing basic gardening skills along with how to grow the plants mentioned in the Outlander books and STARZ show. While the underlining message is not one from Outlander it is one of caution. If you do not learn about these plants today, they can be gone in the blink of an eye and to taking a saying that has been tossed around lately; yes “plant lives matter.”

Yes, my story is different and some may say unique. I have learned a lot of Outlander life lessons. Yes there are life lessons in historical nonfiction if you take the time to look. Just like me, Claire was and continues to be an outlander. Yes I said continues since the story is continuously being written with no end in sight, which is great. The most valuable part of Claire’s character is the fact that she can be a role model for all those girls out there dying to be true to themselves but really not knowing how. In response to Claire getting into medical school and graduating, several people posted pictures of women in their families who “walked like an Outlander” and became doctors. One favorite example was a photo of a woman in her graduating attire representing the first female doctor to graduate from this particular medical school. Yes, this is a prime example of what it means to be an Outlander-an outsider. But not every walk needs to be as drastic or defined as the first of whatever. “Walk like an Outlander” can simply mean stepping outside your comfort zone, taking a chance, and not worrying that it will work out as serendipity pokes his/her head through the dark clouds of self doubt. I have learned that I may not understand why at the time but later on the pieces of the puzzle come together to create that moment. That moment when everything is right in the universe and I have again figured out that this is where I am supposed to be regardless of what my family or society thinks.

So in just, take a chance in life. Hold your head up tall and take that first step toward “walking like an outlander.” Yes, it is scary but believe it or not it will be a journey of unforgettable experiences that will span a lifetime.

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Thank you so much for joining us today. Please help in supporting today’s guest with likes, shares, and comments!

Until next time……………………………… Stay Creative!!

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Introducing Matt Lawrence – @Gills_Mod

Hello, bloggers!

Happy Monday to you all!!

We have a very special guest today, with a very special story. And I am so happy to have the opportunity to share it with you. I am pleased to introduce you to Matt Lawrence


Thank you to the wonderful Marlena for allowing me to share my story with you.
My name is Matt from London and I am writing the blog http://matt-lawrence77.co.uk about living with, and conquering an autoimmune disease.

After battling an autoimmune disease (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) for just over 11yrs, I had a liver transplant in March of 2017 which, has finally given me my life back. There have been a few ups and downs after the transplant but, I will be forever grateful to the donor and his family which has allowed me to share my story in the hope that it highlights the importance of organ donation and the struggles someone with an illness can go through.

Don’t worry, you will find out that my blog is very lighthearted and not straight out of a text book.

Furthermore, I hope by sharing my story it will help, inspire and make others laugh. After all, if we cannot laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?

I upload a new blog post each weekend highlighting my journey that started with the illness, through to the transplant and, everything else in between and afterwards.

The journey we all go on in our lives is one that makes us stronger and shapes us into the person we are today.

Peace Love and Light x

How to follow me:

Read my story by visiting my blog @ http://matt-lawrence77.co.uk.

Keep up to date with my daily shenanigans, and blog post alerts on twitter using: https://twitter.com/Gills_Mod.

Follow my photographic journey on Instagram using: https://www.instagram.com/mod1960/.


Thank you so much for joining us! Please help support today’s incredible guest with likes, shares, and comments.

Until next time………………………………… Stay Creative!!!

Who Are You, Woman? by @alinabarac

Hello, bloggers!

I am so pleased to welcome today’s guest, Alina Barac! This lady is such a delight! And an inspiration! The moment I visited her site, I fell in love with it. She’s leaving us a sampling below, and I *know* you’ll be anxious to read more.   ;)


There are moments in life when you take a look at yourself and start questioning who you are. You stare at that reflection in the mirror and you see your whole life – good and bad, who you were and who you became. Sometimes you like it and other times you hate it completely. It’s just a moments thought and most probably will end with you proud or disappointed but never acting upon any decisions you might take regarding who will you become.

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It’s that thought that comes around Christmas time or your birthday, when you reflect and analyse, when you judge yourself and not the ones around you. Well, it’s not December so that means my 37th birthday is coming soon and I can’t stop but doing what we all do: ask myself “who am I?” The first thing that comes to mind is “a mother”. This is what defines me now. Before I would have said I am me and there is no other like me but now I cannot think about me as anything else but Ruby’s mom.

So strange how things change, how we change and our world as well…

The me I was last year is not the same with the me I am now. This time 365 days ago I was a new mom, trying to figure out what is going on with me, trying to cope with that tiny human who was so dependent on me, blessing the moments when I could have a literally two minutes shower (army style) or sip half cup of coffee without it getting cold. The me I was two years ago was in a happy relationship, moving in a new home and the me more than three years ago was a crazy want to be writer dreaming of undiscovered territory and creating a story that definitely had not ended the way I wrote it.

I judge and I am judged…

Life changes us so much, offers opportunities and takes dreams to only offer better ones, takes away one love so it can lead us to a stronger one, teaches us lessons upon lessons until we finally learn why are we living the life we are living. It is so strange when things happen more than once just so we learn the same things we were suppose to learn at the beginning. I watched my life unfolding so far, I suffered and I learned, I moved on and I taught others my life lessons as well as learned from others experiences. I judge and I am judged. I am but a simple person with dreams and hopes for better future but above all I am now a mother and this is the most important job I have. No matter what happens from now on with me does not matter. What matters is this life I created. She is my responsibility and I most definitely intend on raising her to be a better person than I am, to make better decisions and be smarter than I was at her age. I want to grow old and proud of her, I want to see her dreams fulfilled and her life full of pink clouds ad unicorns.

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Once she was born I learned how not to be selfish, how to love unconditionally and give it all for her. I learned how to let go and also function on two hour sleep but most of all I learned how to live for someone else, breath for someone else and fight for someone else. All for my cheeky monkey. She is my perfect rainbow baby and all I ever wanted.

I sit in front of the mirror and ask myself: Who are you? I think of my life decisions and even though some I would change if I could go back in time, I definitely do not regret. They are the ones that shaped me and made me who I am: Ruby’s mom, a late 30’s woman, a working mom, an immigrant paying taxes in a foreign country, a woman with a normal part time job and full time dreams.

This is who I am now. This time next year? Who knows. I will definitely sit in front of the same mirror asking the same question: Who are you woman?

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Thank you so much for visiting with us today. Please help me in supporting today’s guest with likes, shares, and comments.

Until next time…………………………… Stay Creative!!

Talking Swear Words… with @MikeScantlebury

Hello, bloggers!

We are half-way thru the week! Who’s excited?? Well, we have another fantastic guest for you today, Mike Scantlebury! And we are talking swear words!! And I love it!! You will, too……


WHY THIS AUTHOR WON’T USE SWEAR WORDS IN HIS NOVELS

I write books. Novels. I’ve written lots of them. If you look on Kindle for my e-books, or on Amazon for my paperbacks, you’ll find over twenty, both full novels and half novels. Some books are crime fiction, some are SF, but all those novels have one thing in common: there’s no swearing.

You know what I mean, I’m talking about the ‘F’ word, or, as we say up here in the North of England, ‘effing and jeffing’. There’s none. Not one.

I know what you’re thinking. “Stop right there, Mike. You’re telling us you write CRIME FICTION, and yet none of these criminals, low life’s, drug addicts, murderers or bank robbers, ever use the ‘F’ word? What kind of world is that?” Because, as I think you’re trying to tell me, most people seem to be under the impression that bad guys swear. A lot. But honestly, where did you get such a silly idea? Mainly, I’d suggest, from the crime fiction you read. It’s a convention, a habit. In crime books,  you can tell the nasty people, not only by the black hats they still wear, and not only because of all the knives and guns they’re carrying, but also because of all the ‘F’ bombs they drop! It’s ridiculous, but so common that we just all take it for granted. Unfortunately, it’s completely false.

How do I know that? How do I know how criminals talk? Because I live next door to them! A man on our street has just been given a twelve year sentence for robbing banks and post offices. A guy from the other side of the square is serving a five stretch for kidnapping and car theft, (with the victim in the boot – or ‘trunk’ as Americans might say – yes, really). A family on the top road have recently all been arrested for running illegal car parks and their neighbours are awaiting trial for organising a cleaning business that didn’t pay tax, ever. Their cousin actually shot a man, a young student. Killed him for no reason. It’s a tough area.

Now wait a minute, you say, these baddies all swear, surely? Well, yes, they might do, but it’s nothing like the way it’s portrayed in books. Firstly, if they use an ‘F’ word in a sentence, it’s just as likely to be an adjective for the pizza they’re eating as it is for the bank they’re planning to rob. Authors don’t get that. Most writers are pretty middle-class, and if ever they swear, it’s for emphasis. If they say ‘I’m annoyed’, they’re likely to put a swear word in between to make it clearer. In that case, the ‘F’ word is simply standing in for the word ‘very’. Real swearers don’t discriminate. They put an ‘F’ word in when they’re annoyed, angry or just plain placid. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s padding.

Secondly, authors put swear words in to make the sentence more of a declaration. Here’s news for you guys – real criminals don’t talk in sentences! They use phrases. They repeat themselves. They stop. They start. They start again. They swear a lot. It doesn’t help understanding. How do I know that? I’ve spent ten years interviewing families in this area about their history. We’ve collected their stories and put them on our local radio programme. Several people have said to me how fascinating these recollections are. ‘You should transcribe them’, they say, ‘and put them in a book’. We tried that, several times. It was unworkable, because, even though the extracts we broadcast were easy to understand, (with swear words removed), when we tried typing them out, they looked awful on the page. The stories were interesting to listen to, but impossible to read.

So what I’m saying to you is this: you’re being conned by crime writers. The authors are putting in swear words in an attempt to convince you, the reader, that somehow the characters they’ve created are ‘real’ and authentic. But ‘F’ bombs aren’t enough. If they construct sentences, make statements, explain their motives and their aims, they aren’t talking like real criminals. They just aren’t. And no amount of swear words is going to make those creations leap off the page and live out in the world. As ever, the world is more complicated than that, and the insertion of swearing is simply a lazy way of trying to create a semblance of ‘reality’. It just doesn’t make it real.

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Mike Scantlebury lives in the North of England and writes crime fiction about his local area. His latest novel is being feature on Kindle Scout. Check it out. If you vote for it and Kindle decides to publish it, you’ll get a free copy. Here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1CGRSA4H8NJ14.

You can also follow Mike online:

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Thanks so much for stopping by! Please help me in continuing the support of today’s guest author! Let’s see those likes, shares, and comments!!

Until next time…………………………………… Stay Creative!!

The Library: A Light at the End of the Tunnel, by @LytraWilson

Hello, Bloggers!

Happy Monday to you all!! I hope you are all safe and able to enjoy the start to your week.

Today, I am pleased to welcome a new guest to Life As I Know ItLytra Wilson! Enjoy!


The Library: A Light at the End of the Tunnel

In 1991, I re-entered the world of college, carting one child on my hip, and tugging the other by the hand. Both girls treasured their days of being hauled in and out of the library, while mommy studied or combed through the world of books, searching for a profound manual to influence a research paper. Then, mommy met Mr. Right and got engaged to a man who would provide us with a warranted life of happiness. Yay! Help was on the way. The S.O.S I sent out had been answered. Then, an untimely broadcast surfaced, drained the spunk from my demeanor, and forced me to change my mind. Two months later, we were found sitting in a library again. Somehow The Library became a place of solace for me and my daughters. Even now before hurricane Irma drove through Naples, Florida where I now reside, I found myself strolling through the nearest library in search of many things; where to register to vote, where to exchange my Michigan License for one that represents the sunshine state, and most of all a good book—one that keeps you company when the sun isn’t shining. I believe everyone should have a place where they can step into and feel at home no matter what their situation portrays. Life teaches us and we teach others. Regurgitating our experiences, bad or good, fun or sad, extreme or menial could be the light shining at the end of the tunnel for someone else.

Speaking of light at the end of the tunnel, a few days ago, I discovered my eldest da is also carrying and sometimes dragging my 3 year old grandson to the library. Now that she is back in college herself and raising a child with her fiance’ she recognizes the need for familiarity. Especially in a day and time when change comes quicker than a finger snapping or a New York minute flying by, she too has returned to her roots: pursuing a higher education and the Library – the light at the end of her tunnel.

With this being said, she and I shared our latest reads and found we even gravitate towards similar books. And today, I’d like to share them with you, and introduce a book club I recently discovered called Mama’s Got A New Read @ https://mamasgotanewread.wordpress.com. This Book Club derived from my blog https://www.momanddaughtertalk.wordpress.com, in which our goal is to not only inspire relationships, but to enhance them through fun and contagious reads.


Thanks so much for stopping by! Feel free to like, share and comment below.

Until next time…………………………………… Stay Creative!!

Inspired by the British Seaside: Guest Author Catherine Green – @SpookyMrsGreen

Hello, Bloggers!!

Happy Friday to you!

I am so pleased to welcome a lovely guest author today. Please help me in supporting Author Catherine Green!


Hello, and thank you, Marlena, for inviting me to join you on the blog! My name is Catherine Green, and I am a British paranormal romance and contemporary English Gothic author. I previously published the first four books in the Redcliffe novels series, which follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she falls in love with a vampire and becomes embroiled in his brother’s werewolf pack on the coast of Cornwall.

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Today I want to share my new novel, Vampire of Blackpool. Has anyone here visited Blackpool in the North of England? It is a beautiful Victorian seaside resort, but it fell into disrepair when I was a child in the 80s and 90s. It is now being redeveloped, but the town has a thriving social scene, is popular with the LGBTQ+ community, and is a favourite holiday spot for many young families, including mine. It is no wonder, then, that I was compelled to write the story of the Vampire of Blackpool

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The vampire, the witch, and the hunter battle it out in a contemporary Gothic adventure in Northern England.

Meredith Hanson lives in Blackpool, the former Victorian holiday hotspot of Northern England. She masquerades as a reclusive author, feeding on the blood of unsuspecting tourists without remorse. Her life takes on new meaning when she meets a young witch in a local pub one evening. Despite Meredith’s cold demeanour, she finds herself oddly fascinated with Samantha Morris, and falls into an accidental relationship with the girl. It is at this time that a vampire hunter arrives in Blackpool. He is tough, he is determined, and his next target is an ancient vampire that has been spotted in the tourist town. He intends to bring her down and destroy her to save the lives of innocent humans. Will he succeed? Or will the experienced vampire seductress be the cause of his undoing?

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You can buy Vampire of Blackpool in various eBook formats here, and from Amazon.

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About the Author

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Author of British paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels, Catherine Green was raised on books from a young age, and has happy memories of Saturday mornings spent in her small local library, devouring the contents of the shelves. Catherine has always been fascinated by the supernatural world, and it feels natural for her to write about vampires, werewolves, witches and other mystical creatures in her contemporary stories.

If you sign up to Catherine’s newsletter, she will send you a free copy of her Redcliffe short story, It’s Complicated, to introduce you to her fictional supernatural seaside town in Cornwall, England.

You can find Catherine in the following places:

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Thanks so much for visiting with us today! Please help me in continuing the support for our fabulous guest blogger! Let’s see those likes, shares, and comments!!

Until next time………………………………… Stay Creative!!