Category Archives: Mind•Body•Soul

Love, Soulmates & Chemistry

Why you are the only one who can write your formula for success.

Written by SUSAN SPARKS 

I wrote something this morning for a media interview and I immediately thought to myself, “Wow, I have to write about this and I have to talk about this, like RIGHT NOW.” So many of us, like me, are serious romantics in life. We think about things like love, soulmates, and chemistry. When I fell in love with my husband at age 21, I was sure that he was my soulmate. In fact I had no doubt. 

So this morning I’m writing up some notes for a media interview and I am being asked to give advice to young adults about avoiding domestic abuse and I write this: This person is not your soulmate if they are making you unhappy. This person is blocking you from meeting your soulmate if they are making you unhappy. 

And I literally stopped writing and thought: Oh my gosh, this is so true! Why did I never see it like this before? 

As young adults, as older adults, at any age, I think we get so caught up in meeting our soulmates that we assume that it is a one-time chance. But I think the point that we may be missing is this: how can they be our soulmates if they are making us miserable? If they are abusing us? If they are changing us into someone else? That really wouldn’t be a soulmate right? In fact, that would be a person taking time up out of your life while you could actually be happy, be living a life free of abuse, and being the person that you were actually meant to be, right? 

So, who is this person that felt like your soulmate? I’ve said many times that abusers seem to have a trait in common, and that is extraordinary charisma. So, there’s no doubt in my mind now that what I felt for my then-husband was a whole lot of chemistry. He was attractive, exciting, and seemed like a great guy! And I felt that chemistry for a long time. Over time, that electric energy went from something that thrilled me in the early years to something that felt like a shock collar in the end. But, the energy never left the situation. I was trapped like a lab rat in an experiment gone wrong. Oh yes, the chemistry. 

And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you are reading this and nodding your head in agreement, right? He was so great, so exciting, so everything. Now he is scary, and larger than life, and you’re probably thinking: this energy is bigger than I am, now what the hell do I do? And you’re right. It most oftentimes is bigger than you are. But that does not mean that you are trapped, it just means that you need help getting out. That’s why the experts are here. That’s why I write what I write. Because you need to know that help is right here in front of you. 

Are you in love with your abuser? Of course, you probably are. I was. We fall in love with people who seem amazing, seem like our soulmates, and we can feel the chemistry from across the room. But then, over time, things change right in front of our eyes and we are in a new situation that we never saw coming. So how could it possibly be our faults? It’s not. Not yours, not mine, it’s just not. But it does help to understand that we are not in love with our soulmates. We are in love with someone who is taking time out of our lives and who is getting in the way of us meeting someone who, one day, we will learn is our actual soulmate and will make us happier than we have ever been before. Ever. 

I know you might not see that today. If someone had told me all this when I was still inside my destructive relationship, I would have felt like slamming a door in their face. In fact, when I left I swore I would never date again. Now, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Because every time I meet a new man I get to decide if he is going to bring me joy, or chemistry, or be someone that I do not want to share my time with. Then I react accordingly, and I stay or I walk away. All my decisions are mine to make now. In every aspect of my life. And you have the right to make those decisions for yourself, too. 

For more information on surviving domestic abuse visit www.TheSoda-Pop.com

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence PLEASE call THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at: 1-800-799-7233 or visit for more information, help, and to make a plan for your safety. 

Susan Sparks is a twenty year victim and six year survivor of domestic abuse (SODA™). Her reporting has been seen on national network news and her writing has been featured on national media. She is an expert on YourTang.com and has been featured on The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org). She has written a book about her experiences with domestic abuse, Sparks in Love, which she hopes will serve as both an educational and cautionary tale to everyone who reads it. Susan is currently working on three other books to further the cause and hopes to bring Sparks in Love to television this year. www.thesoda-pop.com

Treat Varicose Veins This Winter to Ensure Vacation Bliss Next Summer

Article courtesy of Jefferson Surgical Clinic

Frigid winter temperatures promote office daydreams featuring temperate vacation getaways and cocktails at sunset. Although you’re more consumed this time of year with clearing snow-covered sidewalks than strolling white sandy beaches, those bungalow dreams will be a reality before you know it and if you are one of many suffering with spider and varicose veins, now is the optimal time to prepare for swimsuit season. 

Wintertime may just be the right time to consider summertime. Before you are ready to show off your legs on the beach, consider getting those aging veins treated and made more beautiful for the oncoming summer. Allow yourself plenty of time for treatment of your spider veins. 

Varicose veins are enlarged, visible, and sometimes uncomfortable veins typically found in the legs and feet. Varicose veins show noticeable enlargement due to the pressure caused by increased blood flow and prolonged standing and sitting postures. And while you are probably thinking about parkas and not swimsuits this time of year, winter is the ideal season to consider relief from varicose veins. 

Thomas D. Conlee, M.D.

Thomas D. Conlee, M.D., of Jefferson Surgical Clinic is one of the region’s recognized vascular and general surgeons, as well as a local leader on the identification and treatment of varicose veins. “For many of the patients I’ve treated, varicose veins are cosmetic concerns that keep them from showing their legs in public,” said Dr. Conlee. 

Although it is common for patients to address varicose veins later in life, damaged veins can also be controlled and treated at a younger age before they are permitted to develop into a more aggravated situation. Additionally, circumstances that encourage the development of varicose veins include transitional life moments common with younger women, including pregnancy. 

“I find that younger patients put off treating the issue. But with today’s advanced technology, the solution is simple, fast, and effective. There is really no reason to live with spider and varicose veins,” remarked Dr. Conlee. “The relief that our minimally invasive endovenous laser ablation procedure delivers is quick. Patients appreciate the simplicity of the procedure and their speedy recovery.” 

Jefferson Surgical Clinic physicians use the Dornier Laser. The technology is safe and highly effective. Utilizing short, high-energy pulses, the laser quickly seals the vein with minimal discomfort. It’s very gentle to skin and safe for all skin types, including darker skin. 

“I know people hear ‘laser’ and become anxious; however, the technology allows us to perform these complex procedures with only local anesthesia, like Novocaine, and virtually no post-operative recovery time. Endovenous laser ablation greatly reduces swelling, heaviness, and alleviates pain or discomfort you may be experiencing from varicose veins,” said Dr. Conlee. 

The benefits of treating varicose veins, no matter your age, range from physical relief from pain to improved self-esteem. Don’t wait. Treatment is simple, minimally invasive, and best completed in the winter months to allow the proper amount of healing before you swap the winter closet with your spring-summer wardrobe. 

Since opening in 1956, Jefferson Surgical Clinic continues to grow and implement leading-edge technology in every area of practice. We strive to serve the Roanoke Valley by providing accomplished physicians who provide personalized medicine and innovative treatment options by staff that is committed to providing exceptional service. www.jeffersonsurgical.com 

Make 2019 Your Best Year!

Plan, create and grow your shining life in 2019!

Discover the original and best goals workbook on the market—used by over 300,000 women worldwide with incredible results! 

Are you ready for 2019 to be your most incredible year yet? What started 10 years ago as a small goals workbook, My Shining Year Life Workbook has become a wildly popular and powerful cult hit— and simply the best planning tool available to help you achieve your personal goals. Revamped and revitalized, the workbook will laser-focus you on exactly what you need to make your dreams come true. 

With proven and actionable guidance, author Leonie Dawson will inspire you to create meaningful, positive relationships and friendships; a healthy, thriving body; creative pursuits to illuminate your soul; financial goals to support you abundantly; and self-care to help you thrive! 

Join the revolution and the tribe of hundreds of thousands of women who use this creative and inspiring workbook to take themselves to their next level of shining success in 2019. For details visit www.leoniedawson.com

The Magic of Tiny Business

You don’t have to ‘go big’ to make a great living. 

Too many of us feel trapped by work that keeps us from living our purpose. We fantasize about stating our own business, yet we’re warned against falling into debt, working eighty hours a week, and coping with the pressure to grow. Eco-Bags Products (maker of our favorite reusable cotton net bags) founder Sharon Rowe says there’s another way: go tiny! 

Like a tiny house, a tiny business is built on maintaining focus on what is essential by living an intentional life. As an entrepreneur and mother, Rowe is most concerned with putting family first, maintaining financial security, and doing something that makes an impact in the world. Using the success story of Eco-Bags Products, Rowe distills the step-by-step process of building a profitable, right-scaled, sustainable venture that doesn’t compromise your values with her new book, The Magic of Tiny Business. She shows you how to test your concept, manage your money and priorities, and more, while staying true to the ‘tiny’ ethos. You don’t have to go big to make a great living. 

Find The Magic of Tiny Business through your favorite bookseller or visit www.sharonrowe.com (and find Eco-Bags at www.ecobags.com).

Profile: Peacock Soap Company

Beyond the Gift

The unique origins of locally-owned Peacock Soap Company

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

To celebrate her 10-year anniversary, Kristie Paxton and her husband spent a week driving along the west coast. One night, they found themselves at a cute, very hospitable, Bed and Breakfast in Oregon. The owners had one room left to offer the Southwest Virginia couple, and it had a bathtub, but no shower.

“They felt so guilty about it that they stocked the room with soaps and lotions,” Kristie recalls. “They didn’t really sell them, but they allowed me to purchase some. I brought them home, used them up, and requested more.”

Soon after, Kristie decided to start making her own soaps for personal use. With a little help from the Bed and Breakfast owners and a few books, she quickly found that her new hobby yielded enough product to sell to the community as well. She opened Peacock Soap Company, lovingly named for her grandmother’s affinity for raising peacocks. For the past eight years, she has made and sold soaps, lotions, and other toiletries at local stores and the Grandin Farmers Market. Recently, she expanded her line to include beeswax and soap nuts.

“[Soap nuts] are literally a nut grown on a tree,” Kristie explains. “The nuts are grown in India. I buy them and package them. They are a really interesting alternative to laundry detergent.” Kristie has started using soap nuts in her home as well. “They are completely reusable,” she adds. “You can throw them in the washing machine five or six times and then compost them.”

Peacock Soap Company stands out from the competition with unique scent offerings. Their beer and wine soaps actually contain beer and wine, and the sugar content makes each soap extra sudsy. (This would be a great stocking stuffer for the wine or beer lover in your life!) Additional scents for the winter season will include Crackling Firewood, Ginger Snap, Evergreen, and the signa-ture Peacock Bar.

Kristie also makes hand and body lotions, lightweight face lotions, lip balm, and liquid soaps. You can find her, on occasion, as a fill-in vendor at the Grandin Farmers Market. Her products are
also sold at Downshift and the Treehouse Collaborative. Additionally, Kristie will participate in the KrisKindle Market at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts this month! Stay updated on Peacock Soap Company and purchase directly from a link to their Etsy page by following them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peacocksoapco. Finally, if you see Kristie at the Grandin Farmers Market, be on the lookout for a special touch on her table!

Another nod to her grandmother, Kristie displays her packaged soaps on her grandmother’s china. “It’s kind of sweet because I get that question a lot about where my name came from,”she says. “It’s nice to be able to tote her along.”

Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com.

Get Creative

Creativity Take Courage

A practical hands-on guide to strengthening creative intuition.

Dare to break the mold with Creativity Takes Courage. This inspirational and thoughtful guide is a practical, hands-on guide to strengthening creative intuition and an interactive workbook focusing on the pleasure of the process, this is a creativity book like no other. Organized around a series of 13 dares, it challenges the reader to bravely silence the critical inner voice, look around at the world through the eyes of a child, disconnect from technology, learn from failure, and even take time to be bored. Paper ‘goodies’ are sprinkled throughout, from postcards to daily project notebooks and a quietness diary, to fold-out posters and pull-out Polaroid-style frames. These surprises bookend chapters and serve as a guide to putting each dare’s lessons into immediate practice.
www.flowmagazine.com

Bella Eats – Fermentation Revolution

Transform the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

Fermentation is one of the hottest kitchen trends of the past several years, and for good reason —it allows us to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary (delicious pickles, olives, ginger beer). But, more than that, fer-mented foods enhance nutritional value, aid in digestion and help regulate our immune systems. Contrary to what you may think, fermenting doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult or over-whelming. You don’t have to disinfect your entire kitchen or worry about weird things growing in your pantry. Home fermentation is an inexpensive way to prolong the life of your food, multiply its nutritional properties tenfold, awaken your taste buds and liven up every meal. Canadians Sebastien Bureau (a food scientist) and David Cote (an organic restaurant chain founder) have written the perfect book providing 70 easy and cost-effective recipes for everything from fermented vegetables, fruits and sugars to milk, grain and legumes. Fermentation Revolution covers the science behind fermentation, as well as types of fermenta-tion processes and useful equipment. Fermentation Revolution is an excellent book to get you started on the road to in-home fermentation. With 70 easy, healthy recipes for sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and more, this is THE book to help you get started, even if you’re just mildly curious.

www.revolutionfermentation.ca

Get Creative

A Unique Guide to Drawing

International magazine, Flow, presents an unparalleled guide to drawing.

From the creative directors of the groundbreaking international magazine Flow comes an unparalleled guide to drawing: 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper.

Inside these pages, you’ll find a drawing guide filled with beautiful illustrations and plenty of “paper goodies,” from bound-in tracing paper and colored paper to a daily drawing pad, a paper doll fashion sketchbook, and DIY postcards. While encouraging readers to draw inspiration from personal items that carry meaning (things on your desk, furniture in your home), 50 Ways includes fun, approachable step-by-step drawing lessons from professional illustrators across the globe; each exercise allows readers to put techniques into immediate practice as they develop their unique artistic style.

50 Ways celebrates the mindfulness inherent in artistic work, creative energy and enjoying the simple pleasures in everyday life. www.flowmagazine.com