Category Archives: pinterest

A Week of Wonderful

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I’ll be finishing up the Our Lady of Lourdes novena tomorrow. It’s one I say every year. The darkness of winter around here needs as many reminders of miracles as possible, and there’s certainly no shortage of people for whom to pray.

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I just got home from playing with a couple of the sweetest little boys ever – I look forward to Friday nights all week! Tonight we watched come cute songs with animation on YouTube. The very first was “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”, which took me straight back to Aaron’s daycare and pre-school years. I can see his sweet face with his little-boy haircut like it was yesterday, even though he’s a grown-up web designer with a baby girl due in 10 weeks or so. He liked the verse about smashing the bumblebee best, of course. Both my boys got my dark sense of humor!

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Aaron’s expertise was a huge blessing earlier this week when my blog was hacked. I was beside myself because the hacker had replaced my post (a book review) with his vulgar political one and changed my password so I couldn’t log in. Aaron had set himself up a login for my blog as well as a way to access my entire computer remotely while he was in college, so it was evidently a quick fix for him. I would almost surely have had a stroke without both him and my original blog designer talking me out of my tree!

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My younger son, John, performed with his high school’s Jazz Band this week. I wasn’t there, but my husband got great video of John’s performance, and I was incredibly impressed and proud when I watched! It’s a good thing we have a studio in the basement – I think it’s going to see more and more action. They had a guest performer – a member of the Air Force’s Band of the Golden West on baritone sax. If you’ve never seen an Air Force Band perform let me assure you: they really are the best of the best. And this guy loved John. He even high-fived him over the drum set after the song where the baritone sax was featured. That is a #proudmom moment!

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While John was performing I was at a surprise party – for me! Three of my closest friends and I met for dinner (as we do periodically), but this time we celebrated me turning fifty (I showed off my celebratory navel ring), being an expectant grandmother, and working with these wonderful ladies for twenty-five years! The company I was working for when I was unable to return to work after my fourth spinal surgery because of constant, severe pain still considers me to be on Medical Leave of Absence, and will do so until I can finally get in front of a judge and be officially declared disabled. This means I can purchase insurance for myself and my family for the same price as if I were still working full-time. It’s hard to believe a company in this day and age could be that compassionate, but they have been. They even gave me a twenty-five year award, which I never would have expected. It was an emotional evening for me.

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John got his official admission letter from the University of Louisville, so our next step is applying for housing. We get a discount on that deposit, thank God, but we still need to put together some money to get it done ASAP. I’m wading through possible scholarships and forwarding the best matches to John for application, and we have our fingers crossed we’ll get news soon about a really big one! John’s school counselor has been a huge help – there have been many times I’d have been completely lost without her input and suggestions. Keep us in your prayers, please!

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I’ve gotten a little addicted to Hometalk, a daily email with several Pinterest-focused DIY/crafty projects. I’m going to have to stop cold-turkey, though. I was already really over anything that involved empty cans, empty TP rolls, or plastic cups or bottles. Then I saw an “upcycle” where someone had turned a bookshelf into a bar cart. Ponder that for a moment. If someone needs a bar cart more than a bookshelf they need to take a long, hard look at their life and their priorities. I need to take some time and better organize my Pinterest boards anyway. I discovered Pinterest early and never realized how huge it would get, so I have categories with names like “Good Ideas” and “Maybe”. Yikes.

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2017 Resolutions and Prayers


2016 wasn’t a great year for me. There were some fantastic moments (like finding out I was going to be a grandmother!) but there were a lot more days full of frustration, anger, pain, and depression. I ran across my list of 2016 resolutions the other day and realized I hadn’t achieved any of them. With some I’d even moved further from my goals. So my 2017 plan will be completely different.

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I will care my myself as I would a daughter, sister, or beloved friend. Remember the Golden Rule from Sunday School? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s great for little ones, but when we are adults we need to stop the negative self-talk. I won’t call myself fat, lazy, or selfish. I’ll think about what I would say to someone I loved if they felt that way. And I’ll pray for help seeing myself in a different light and making changes where I can.

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I will accept my limitations. I can’t stand for more than fifteen minutes. I can’t sit for more than thirty. That’s on a good day. Taking a shower feels like what running a 5K used to feel like. I’ve got a new medication patch I’m cautiously optimistic about, but even with insurance it costs as much as a week of groceries. So I’m using it sparingly. My disease process is never going to get better, only worse. Hence the first word: Degenerative. I can only hope to slow it, because at the rate it’s going I won’t be able to bend my spine at all by the time I’m sixty. So I’m going to paraphrase St. Teresa and try to do small things with great love!

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I will stay authentic. When I was having a bad day earlier this month I posted on FaceBook. Yes, I’m one of those people who shares both happy and sad moments on social media. I’ve been accused of “airing dirty laundry” on FB, but nearly all the comments I got on this post mentioned something about how “genuine” or “authentic” I was. There is no higher praise as far as I’m concerned. I refuse to be caught up in other people’s lies. Perhaps I have just worn out my filter after all these years working with doctors, but I enjoy being honest in all my interactions. Perhaps that will keep me from earning a Lexus selling Nerium with my husband, but I don’t think so. It may take me longer, but I know I’ll have earned it honestly and made no promises I can’t keep.

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I will count my blessings. I keep a prayer journal, but in the warm months my entries are sporadic. If I feel up to it when the dogs want a potty break at 8 a.m. (my first pain med and muscle relaxer are at 6 a.m.) then I’ll stay up to check email, and perhaps have breakfast. But on a stormy or cold day I may need some time to make my way out from under the covers after seeing to the fur-babies’ needs. In the winter I always need my Happy Light, and that’s a great time to write in my prayer journal. Blessings I’m thankful for first, then prayers. I want to make this a habit every day, not just the hardest days.

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I will continue writing. Again, it’s difficult with my physical limitations to write a blog post, let alone a novel. But I enjoy it, and it’s an outlet for my creativity. Hopefully once I’m ready to publish my books people will enjoy them. Being able to entertain others would make me incredibly happy!

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I will become more organized. This one is going to take lots of prayers for patience on my part. Having my life, my home, and my thoughts disorganized is incredibly frustrating to me, and only worsens my depression. But spending hours sorting and dumping things, re-copying from one calendar to another, etc inevitably leads to me overextending myself and ending up writhing in pain in my bed for a day or two. Even after all these years I still need to use my timer every single day or I pay the price.

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I will simplify my life. All the “stuff” that surrounds me is distracting and anxiety-provoking. Living simply will be easier, healthier, and much more rewarding in the long run. Yes, I’m going to finally buy the “tidying up” book that I’ve had in my Amazon inbox for forever. Or perhaps I’ll see how long the wait is at the library. That would force me to read it promptly to avoid late charges 😉

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When Christmas Sneaks Up On You

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Buy gift cards, but package them cleverly. I am severely clumsy, but even I can make an origami box from last year’s Christmas cards!
card-boxes
There are also puzzles you have to solve to get the gift card out (cruel, but fun for the right person!) and my personal favorite for the person who tries to figure out what it is before unwrapping it (me, since birth) a brick or glass-block square. Yeah, the people at Lowe’s will look at you weird, but trust me – they’ve seen stranger. Tape it securely to the brick or put it inside the glass-block and tape it shut with plastic. Maybe throw in a dog treat for funzies. My dad is an expert at this after fifty years of dealing with me!

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Do a DIY that impresses everyone, but is super-easy. Last year we had just enough money to buy gifts for the kids and do DIY stuff for everyone else. (That’s better than this year.) The easiest DIY was also the cheapest (free) and the most fun!
old-vinyl-smPreheat oven to 350. Select an old, warped album (or one you’ve picked up at Goodwill) and put it in the oven over the top of a bowl. Glass mixing bowl, stoneware bean bowl, whatever’s handy. Watch it closely. At about the five-minute mark it will start to melt. Pull it out immediately. It will be warm to the touch, but not hot. Quickly push down the middle and form the outside curves as you like. Fabulous for popcorn, chips, or as a fruit bowl!

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Make a lot of one thing. If you’re doing treats for co-workers, neighbors, and your own celebration do it all the same. Seriously. It’s as easy to make five pumpkin rolls as it is to make one. Make a huge batch of Neiman-Marcus cookies. Or a ton of your award-winning fudge. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Or hunker down and make something special if you’re feeling inspired!
wood-block-nativity

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Don’t do the things you don’t enjoy! I sat my boys down one year long ago when I knew I was going to be working more than expected that holiday season (yes, someone quit the day after Thanksgiving). I had a list of all the things I usually tried to pack into one month and had them prioritize them. I kept Christmas cards, because I always enjoyed sitting near the tree with a glass of wine, Christmas carols playing softly in the background, and writing out personal messages. We haven’t been able to afford that in several years, which is just as well since my tremor makes even my printing nearly illegible. But the boys didn’t really care about decorating cookies together, or going to see The Nutcracker. I think I cut my holiday stress about 50% that year because of things that I mentioned that rated blank stares.

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Turn off the electronics and interact. Watching a movie together is not interacting. But neither is expecting kids to carry on a conversation with people they only see once or twice a year. Play a board game or a card game. A couple of years ago we played a three-generation Cards Against Humanity and my mom won. And I thought we’d have to explain some of the cards to her – LOL!!

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Set priorities and make plans for next year. Hit the after-Christmas sales, especially the craft stores. Buy ribbons, ornaments, fabric – anything that catches your eye. Even a chia pet looks great wrapped in an eco-friendly cloth bag , tied with a satin ribbon and adorned with a fabulous ornament!
gifts

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