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Friday, April 27, 2012

Faith Friday

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There was no Bible study class this morning as one of the gals had a conflict. Therefore I could sleep as late as I wanted to this morning - no alarm going off at 5 am. So why was I wide awake at 6:30? The sun wasn't even shining in my eyes as it is overcast, having had some rain earlier, but currently dry with the promise of a lot more rain to come later.

What to write about today? Why is it that when I started to think about blogging I had so many topics and ideas, and now they have flown out the window along with the wind? I did find the following verse written in my notebook and 'blog' written above it. But for the life of me I don't know what was on my mind when I wrote that! Here is the verse --

2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

As I said, I don't remember what was on my mind at the time I wrote this down, but I did have the word 'power' underlined. Here is what comes to my mind right now. This is Paul speaking about the thorn in his flesh that he had prayed to God to be removed. And verse 9 is the answer Paul received. Ouch!

But thinking about the fact that God's grace is sufficient, how true that is. That grace is limitless, boundless, abundant, endless. There are many adjectives to describe it and all are wonderful. When God says His grace is sufficient, I find that very comforting. Sufficient. Needing nothing more. It is all I need. One teacher said grace is like standing in the middle of a huge room that is full of wrapped gifts - and they are all for me! All I have to do is take one and unwrap it and enjoy it. The definition of grace is 'unmerited favor.'

"for power is perfected in weakness"
It is God's power and my weakness. If I depend on my power I don't leave room for God to work. Don't we all want to do things ourselves? We don't want or need any help. Often little kids will tell you, "I can do it myself" when we try to help them tie a shoe, cut their meat, pour their milk, button their shirt, zip their coat, etc. They may not do a very good job, spill the milk all over the place and generally make a mess of it. And we still do that as adults, don't we? Just like when the lady from church called and said she wanted to mow my lawn for me. I had a hard time saying she could do it, as I should be able to do it myself. In the end I accepted her offer - stepping aside from my pride, and allowing God's grace touch me through this friend. I had set aside my power, what little I had, because my body really is weak, and let God work through her. And I am very grateful for it!

I think we have all heard the phrase "Let go, and let God." Isn't that so fitting with this verse? Let go of trying to control a situation, or a person, or a troubling past, and let God handle it. Let God heal the wounds of the past that haunt you, or that you cling to and refuse to give up. God also tells us that "vengeance is Mine." When someone hurts us, we don't have to take revenge, but step aside and allow God to deal with them. And remember that He does it on His timetable, not ours. We may never see it, but just need to know that He will take care of it without our help. That leaves us free to do good works for Him.

Paul has said we are not to boast in another place, and yet here he says he would rather boast about his weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in him. This makes me think of the times I have been asked to do something for God, and like Moses and many others, I say that I can't do it, or I am afraid to do it as I have never done anything like that before. I can come up with all kinds of excuses. Isn't that like using my power to control what I do? But when I give up that control and do the job, it is really God's power giving me the ability to carry it out. He gives me the thoughts and words to write or say. He gives me the answers to questions that others ask me, and I had no idea what the answers were until they came out of my mouth! It can make me sound smart and full of knowledge and wisdom, but I am really neither one. I am nothing but the channel God is using. I can only pray that I don't interfere in the process and muddle the truth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garden - Day 24

Just look how fast two of the last romaine butts have grown. They have almost caught up with the first one!

The tomato plants are reaching for the sky too! And some of the lettuce plants are as well. Maybe you can pick out the impatiens next to the tomatoes as they are growing, and more are coming up.  You might be able to see a little green where the moss roses are as well. There are more coming out there too. Things are looking good. I also looked at the strawberry plants yesterday and they are definitely getting a little growth on them.

Baking again

This is the loaf of basic white bread I made yesterday. And yes, I just HAD to have a slice while it was still warm out of the oven and it was delicious! Since I made the 1 1/2 lb recipe and that is too big for my bread pans, I decided to go the simplest route there is and just leave it in a ball. I did end up with a few small air bubbles but not bad at all. I have cut the loaf in half and then cut slices from that and it makes a nice size slice and fits in the toaster too. I think a toasted cheese sandwich is on order for lunch today.

Today I am about ready to make a pan of caramel rolls. Since the recipe makes a dozen that fit in a 9x13" pan, I hope to get some in the freezer before I eat them all. ;o) Can you tell I love caramel rolls?

I don't know why I didn't do this years ago as I have had the bread machine for a long time. But then I baked the bread in the machine, too, and I guess we only liked it the first day, plus did not like the thick crust. I guess I was just too lazy.

Since I am trying to stay out of the grocery store until after May 1, this bread baking has helped me to do that so far. I am getting low on several things, like milk and eggs, but if I am careful I think I can make it. With all this bread baking I will have to buy more bread flour as well. I think I better change one cup of the flour for the cinnamon rolls to whole wheat to save a little on the white bread flour. I have done that before as I want the extra fiber and they were still very good.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden - Day 22

I didn't realize so many days had passed since I last had an update on my little garden. I did have some busy days after the last one so the days flew by. This first pictue is a closeup of the 'butts'. LOL As you can see the romaine is growing fast. The new ones that I added on day 17 came up really fast. The celery is still looking good as well.

 You may notice in the picture below there is one lonely leaf in the far left corner and that is from one of the first butts I put in and thought it was not going to do anything. That one leaf sprouted up close to the outside edge and not at the core as the rest of them did.

Below is a closeup of the moss roses on the left and now look at my impatiens! They are finally popping and more are coming out. I guess the seeds did get buried a little deeper. You can still barely see the moss roses. Anyway I should be having flowers this summer!

In the picture below you  can see how tall the tomatoes and lettuce are getting. I can almost taste those little pear tomatoes already.

After all the abnormally warm weather we had earlier, it seems like it should be time to get the rest of the garden planted outside, but now we are getting the more normal, cooler temps for this time of year. The lows have been getting close to freezing yet - down to 33 last night, and daytime highs in the 50's. So I am going to hold off on the rest of the planting for at least a couple of weeks. When I check my strawberries I see a little bit more fuzzy silvery green on some of them. If they don't all start I should at least have a few plants that will have berries on later.

Now it is time to move on with my day. I have a load of laundry in the dryer at the moment, and I want to do some decluttering in the bedroom today, until it is time to start mowing lawn. I hope I can muster up enough energy to get it finished.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday - Spiritual Growth

Friday - Spiritual Growth 

(original post 4/20/12)

I am sure most of you have at least heard the words of John 3:16 - " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It is probably the first verse that all kids have to learn in Sunday School.

Recently I was watching Joyce Meyers' TV show and she read John 3:16 from the Amplified Bible, which she always uses. I like this version even better.

John 3:16

Amplified Bible (AMP)
16For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
I think that first version I quoted does not fully convey the thoughts and ideas that the Amplified Bible does. Isn't it comforting to read that God SO GREATLY loved and DEARLY  PRIZED the world that He would EVEN give up His only beloved and unique Son. And our response to that love should be not only to believe in that Son, but to trust in Him, to cling to Him, and to rely on Him. That is such an awesome picture! And when we do that, we will not perish. In my childlike mind I thought the word perish simply meant to die. But it is more than that. According to the definition of the word which is in the brackets, to perish means to come to destruction, be lost. So you don't just die, you are destroyed. That is not a pleasant thought, is it? I don't think I like those consequences for not believing. But, by believing we have eternal and everlasing life.
The verse that follows is often forgotten, but is so important to add to this statement of truth.
17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
If you know anything about Jesus' life while on the earth, I think you find that Jesus did not reject anyone who came to Him, did not condemn anyone or  pass sentence on anyone. He did tell people the truth about themselves and that often hurt. Truth can hurt, can't it? When someone tells us the truth about ourselves, we often don't want to hear it. It makes us very uncomfortable because we don't want to face our mistakes, or faults. We don't want to admit even to ourselves that we don't do things right, but Jesus makes us face them. Then we must also remember that everything Jesus does is done with love and compassion. So Jesus did not come to judge us, but to show us the way to salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. Safe and sound. How comforting is it to be wrapped in the arms of Jesus? Those arms that were once nailed to a cross because of me, and yet -- He still wants to wrap me up in His love.
(please excuse the format at the top. I wasn't able to change it for some reason.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't laugh!

Here is what I was busy with today. Don't laugh!

These are the hamburger buns I made today. No, it isn't the angle that I took the picture, nor an optical illusion. They really are different sizes! I have never been good at judging size when I cut things - bars are always various sizes in the same pan too. (Now be honest. Did you laugh?)

There is also one missing that I ate right out of the oven. I did something a little different this time, by adding 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the mix, which the original recipe calls for, but I have never put it in before. I can't say it made them any better but maybe I will notice it more when I make a sandwich later. I also make the flour half white bread flour and half whole wheat and find them very good. The very first time I made these I did a little better on getting the size more even, but today I just didn't take enough time as I had too many other things to get done. While these buns were rising I put the ingredients for French bread in the bread machine and let that work until the buns were baked. The dough cycle in my machine takes 1 1/2 hours. As you can see below, I didn't quite get these equal size either.

I also couldn't find any corn meal in the pantry to put on the baking sheet before baking, but that won't hurt anything. All I could find there was cornbread mix. Oh well, there is always next time.

I must tell you that it has been a very long time since I actually baked bread of any kind in the oven. I have always used the bread machine, but mine makes such a thick crust that I don't like. And as far as I can remember I had never made hamburger buns even when I made the dough myself years ago, before there were bread machines. So one is never too old to learn!

I wish I could fan a little of the lovely smell of fresh baked bread your way, and to share a warm slice or two with you along with a cup of coffee or tea.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Garden - Day 17

Mary, Mary, how contrary,
how does your garden grow?
I don't know how Mary's garden is growing but here is mine.

If you look closely in picture above, from R to L - lettuce, tomatoes, and abour 4 impatiens that are growing bigger. Next are the moss roses that still remain very tiny, and only the few, so I planted more seed. I don't have more impatiens seed as I used all there was in the package. Those seeds are so tiny, no bigger than a speck of black pepper, that I wonder if they were washed to the bottom of the pot since the starting mix is quite loose. I will  just have to make do with the few that sprouted, and buy some plants if I have any spare $$ later.

The above is a closeup of the tomato plants that are getting taller and have more leaves now than the original two, so they are doing really well. The lettuce is also getting taller but they just lay down. I don't know if that is normal for these or what. My only experience with lettuce has been the usual garden leaf lettuce.

This is a closeup of the 3 new romaine butts I added yesterday and are already getting little green shoots coming up the center. All three of these have green, younger centers so I expect them to do as well as the one older one that you see behind the new ones. The two lettuce butts that had older cores are not doing anything more, so I think those are a bust. (butt, bust --where did all this anatomy language come from? lol) The celery doesn't show up very well in these pictures but it is still green and pretty. Not growing so fast now, so don't know how long the stalks will get in the end. If not much more than what is there now it will at least be a nice addition to a green salad or tuna salad when chopped.

I have been checking the strawberry roots that I planted earlier and I think I see a little bit of furry green starting to come out of at least a couple of them. I so hope they grow as I am so ready for those fresh berries all summer.

I am also hoping I can start planting the other things in the pots outside soon. We have still had a couple of freezing nights, and I see in the 7-day forecast that there is at least one night where it will get to around 34, which means it could dip below freezer for a time. Plus forecasts change, as we all know. Anyway, I will wait at least one more week and then see what the forecast is, but at least hope to get the pots out and filled with soil so they are ready for the seeds.

The Good News/Bad News Game

The Good News about living alone - you get to make all the decisions yourself - no arguing with anyone. The Bad News about living alone - you get to make all the decisions yourself. You not only 'get' to make those decisions, but you 'have' to make all decisions yourself. And not all decisions are fun to make alone. Maybe those decisions are easier to make alone if you have never been married, and have always had to decide things for yourself. But that isn't me. I went from living with my parents right into being married for 25 years, before I actually lived alone and supported myself for 2 1/2 years, and then married again. I don't feel comfortable making those big decisions about investments, buying large things like TV's and other electronics that I don't know much about, a different car, and the list goes on.

Good News - no one telling me what to do. Bad news - no one telling me what to do. No one but myself to be accountable to get things done that need doing. And - no one to help do them. If something needs to be done, I am the only one available to get it done. I always had a husband to clean out the car, wash and vacuum it, not to mention the waxing and polishing. Now, since my body doesn't take kindly to the physical exercise of hand washing and waxing a car, I have to take it to the automatic car wash and drive through, paying the extra dollar to have some wax sprayed on after washing - no buffing. And since I am on such a tight budget, it doesn't even get washed very often. I guess it is a good thing that my van is white as it doesn't show the dirt and dust as bad as a darker one, but I don't like white cars. I love color!

There is only me to get any yard work, lawn mowing,view details and outside repairs and upkeep done that was always the man's domain with both my husbands. I like doing those things but my body doesn't. Frustration is the word. Same goes with painting - inside and outside, and washing windows. I usually washed the inside while my husband did the outside until he was physically unable to do it. view details I could go on and on with a list of things my husband considered his jobs. He always went grocery shopping with me, and always carried the bags into the house.view details I would love an extra pair of legs and arms to do that for me now. When you are younger you don't think about those things because you have the energy and ability to do them yourself. But as you get older it doesn't work so well anymore.

I am not saying these things to complain (well, maybe a little. LOL) but to remind others they should be thankful for all their husbands do for them. We all tend to complain about husbands sometimes. You know you do! And we don't always agree with them and their ideas, but that is just because men think differently than women. We need to show our appreciation for all they do for us. I know I didn't do that enough throughout the years. After a few years we just expect them to do those things, and complain when they don't, but don't thank them when they do it. Men need to know that what they do is appreciated, and that they are appreciated for just being there.
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Any Dr. Phil fans out there? I have watched his show quite faithfully since he started, and so often wish that he had been on tv when I was first married 50 years ago! I needed someone like him to show me what I was doing wrong and how to do it right. Now it is a bit late for me, but  I can pass on some of the wisdom now. And you never know, I may need it again. I am not looking for another man, but that doesn't mean I am not open to it if the right one comes along

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


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Budgeting - the bane of widowhood, or just plain living alone. Bah humbug. I don't like it. Does anyone? I am struggling with it and need to make some changes. And mostly the changes I need to make is to stop spending. Period. The economy as it is today and possibly getting worse, is not friendly to those of us on very limited income. "If only" - my husband had foreseen what I knew would happen he might have done things differently. Maybe, but no one knows for sure. He had it firmly planted in his mind that his only child - a daughter - would retire and move back into her childhood home - the house where he and I lived after our marriage. It was in his will that she inherit the house after he died, and I knew that from the very beginning so was fine with that. After all , it was his house for over 50 years and his right to do as he wanted with it. After he died his brothers and sisters all thought he should have given me life estate in the house, but he either never gave that a thought, or he was also certain I would remarry right after he was gone, (wrong!) I am also sure he never thought his daughter would sell that house, which she ended up doing as she knew she didn't want to move back here.

IF (big 'if') I had been allowed to stay living there and not have to pay rent, my finances would be in a little bit better shape. But that was not to be, so here I am, trying to figure out how to stretch my dollars with the ever increasing prices on everything from groceries to gasoline.

In my internet group of frugal friends there are some that use the envelope method of spending, and I have seen websites on that subject as well, so thought I should give it a try. I do keep track of my spending in the Quicken program I have installed on the computer and that has been a life-saver. It even has a place to make a budget and keeps track of your spending according to your budget. But that just was not working very well for me. Sure, it told me whether I overspent on budget items, but I need a visual to show me what I have left to spend on groceries and other household items as well as clothing, personal care, pet care, etc. So I get back to the envelope method. I don't carry much cash with me and use a credit card to purchase what I need so that I don't have to write out a bunch of checks - just one at the end of the month. That way I have a complete record, along with the register receipt of where my money went. I so easily lose track of where cash goes. Because of that I really didn't want to resort to carrying the cash via envelope method. Then I got the 'bright' idea of printing fake money to put in the envelopes so I could physically see how much I had to spend in each catagory.

I have one envelope that acts as the bank for exchanging larger bills for smaller ones in order to get the right amounts in the envelopes and for spending. I have another envelope just for the checking account and all income amounts go into that as they come in. From there, once a month, I divide what is in the checking account to put in the other spending catagory envelopes.

I am just getting started with this so I don't have the method down pat yet. Sometimes it is a hassle to transfer 'cash' from envelope to envelope after shopping or paying bills, and sometimes I forget to check what is left in the envelope to see how much I can spend on the shopping trip. I hope, as time goes on, that I get the hang of it and make it work. Right now I have an IOU in the "Credit card payments" envelope because I had forgotten to put the 'cash' in there from a prior shopping trip. After I had added up what was spent in the various catagories and 'paid' for those items by putting the 'cash' in the "Credit payment" envelope, I was short about $60 for the groceries I bought. Oops. So I will have to take what general spending 'cash' I have with the next income check and put it in the 'credit' envelope. Looks like I won't be buying any groceries or anything else for quite awhile.

Another option I have thought about since doing all of the above, is when I deposit my income checks at the bank, I take cash out in the amount I have left after reserving all that is needed for necessary bills like rent and utilities. If I spend it all on groceries, then I can't buy anything else. I won't have a set budget for groceries, clothing, personal care, pet care, gasoline, etc.but will still record them in those catagories in Quicken. That will show me where I need to cut back on spending. The biggest problem is that I am already very conservative on spending. I think I need rubber money that s..t...r...e........t......c.....h..s. It can be depressing but I can't let it get to me. Life goes on and it must be enjoyed as much as possible. So I do what I can, pray that there will be enough, and keep smiling.

What method works for you?

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garden Days 8 and 14

 Above -  Day 8, no sign of impatiens, and the moss roses are very teensy and not growing as fast as the vegetables. Lettuce is getting taller as are the tomatoes. I count 12 tomato plants now.

Close up of lettuce on left, tomatoes on right on Day 8.

Above - Day 14 -- plants are getting taller.

Day 14 - moss roses still really slow in getting any bigger, and I see 2 impatiens peeping through! Finally! Next are the tomatoes and the thin and leggy lettuce on the right. I don't see that much growth in the romaine or celery, though still looking good for the most part. The two romaine that started much later still are not doing very much, but greening up a bit and one has more visible leaves than the last one.

The past week was very busy for me and just wore me out. The past couple of days have been overcast and I didn't get around to taking pictures every day. Late this afternoon the sun has finally come out and shining so bright on the seedlings, and I am thinking the brightness and the warmth of the sun is what made the impatiens pop out as I am sure they weren't there this morning.

As you can tell, I am not the greatest photographer but at least you get an idea of how things are coming along.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Holy Week of Easter

Maundy Thursday church service was quite emotional for me. At least that is the way things hit me with Pastor Steve's sermon. He did a series of "The Last Seven Words of Jesus" and this one was "It is Finished." What did Jesus mean with these words? What is finished? Does it mean that now His life is finished? Ended? Not necessarily. The word 'finished' can mean consumated, done, completed. What Jesus is saying is that the work of salvation has been completed. There is nothing more to be done for salvation. There is nothing we can do for salvation. It has been done already.

After that we had communion and it just meant so much more to me and brought tears to my eyes. Jesus said when He broke the bread, "Take, eat. This is My body. Do this in rememberance of Me." Then He took the wine and said, "Drink, this is the blood of the covenant. Do this in rememberance of Me." Jesus is not just saying to remember who He is, but to remember what He has done for our salvation. He allowed His body to be broken, like He broke the bread, so as we eat that morsel of bread, we need to remember what that bread represents in regard to our salvation. And the wine is poured out, like Jesus's blood was poured out to take away our sin. If you study the book of Hebrews you see that Jesus's sacrifice for sin was done only once and done for all. For all believers, and for all time. His work is done and that is why He is seated in heaven. And if you study covenants, you discover that blood is a very important part of a covenant. This first Lord's Supper is the inauguration of the New Covenant, the covenant of Grace.

Friday Morning Bible Study

Sorry about the lack of blog entries this week. It has been very busy here since before Easter. I may get to that later, but for now I will blog about my Friday morning Bible study.

I have two young women that come to my home almost every Friday morning at 5:45 AM. Yes, AM! None of us are early morning people so it is a stretch for us all to meet that early. These gals are both public school teachers and lead busy lives so this is the only time that works for them. If one can't be here one week, then we do not meet, so we didn't meet last week because of the Easter weekend. This morning one of the gals brought about 6 different kinds of homemade biscotti and a couple of fancy teas for an early 'breakfast' and a treat. I provided the hot water for tea. We don't do this every week so that it is not a burden to anyone timewise. And it is not required that anyone bring anything unless they want to. But we love it when it happens!

We are doing a study on Covenant, and we use Kay Arthur's Precept Upon Precept studies which go deep into the Word, so we do learn so much. I think this is a very valuable study for all believers and should be required to take it, as I did not understand the depth of the covenants God has made with us. There are so many facets to a covenant that have great meaning.

Since I do the teaching I am required to spend a lot of study time preparing the lesson first, and then preparing to teach it. Here are a couple of pictures to show what my table looks like when I study and what our study books look like.

Actually this picture shows a rather mild version of the table as I usually have about 5 different Bible versions for comparison, especially if the Scripture we are looking at is a bit difficult to grasp the meaning. I do Greek and sometimes Hebrew word studies, so that is why the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Vine's Bible Dictionary are there. The gals are supposed to do this during their home study but they don't have the time, so I include it as an extra handout, or if it short I just tell them and they will make a note of it. I find the word studies very interesting as it helps to define the original meaning to that Scripture. You can do the word study online and don't have to spend the money to buy all the books, but my computer desk isn't big enough to spread out all my papers and such. Also, I already had these books before I had a computer. You see my yellow note pad and the pink squares are sticky notes so that I don't forget to bring up those things at the appropriate time. (I am forgetful you know!) We also use colored pens/pencils to mark key words. Can I say intense? But oh, so worthwhile. The gals say that I have 'ruined' them as they will never read the Bible in the same way again. ;-)

I had said earlier that none of us are early morning people so getting up so early on Fridays can be quite difficult. But we all have found that once we are up and moving just this one day a week, we do not mind it at all. Wouldn't you say that the Holy Spirit is at work there?

In today's lesson we discussed some things about the Old Covenant - the Covenant of Law made at Mt. Sinai through Moses and with the Israelites that had been led out of Egypt. The points being made were how the people heard the Law and all agreed to obey it. But that did't last long and they soon had broken the covenant. God has said that failure to keep the covenant requires the death of the one who breaks it. So the result is that all those that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness, and only the second generation - the ones that were born while in the wilderness, were allowed into the Promised land. That doesn't mean those who died weren't saved, but the physical death was required. Then we looked at more examples of each generation after that who were given the opportunity to renew the covenant and to decide if they will obey it or not, and that the results of either obedience or disobedience was always the same. Next week we will begin to look at the New Covenant in the same context.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Garden - Day 7

These pictures were taken Friday morning. I can see growth every day. From left - barely in the picture are the impatiens seeds - nothing showing yet. Next is moss roses and they don't show up in the picture but there are some really tiny sprouts! Next are the lettuce sprouts getting taller, and today there are a few tomato sprouts!! The celery tops are getting so big, and the romaine keeps growing, plus there are more little signs that there is life in the third one as well.

Close-up of the tomatos. I think I counted about 6 of them. More than plenty of plants for me even if there are no more that sprout.

I still need to take pictures today and will try to post them later. I was too busy with family on Saturday to get pictures taken.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Lost is Found

A few months ago I had gotten in my van and realized that one of the cane tips from my four-footed cane was missing. So I checked all over in the front seat area of the van, looked around in the garage where I had walked and nothing. After shopping and trying to find some replacement tips in Walmart, which did not have the right size, I came home and looked around in the house. I was sure it had to be here somewhere since I first noticed it before leaving home. But it was nowhere to be found. So I went to the local drugstore where I had gotten some before, bought a box of 4 tips, went home and was going to put one on and they were way too big! They looked the same on the outside but the hole was too big so it would not stay on. Back to the store and showed them to the clerk. She went to the back of the store to get the right ones and she had a hard time finding one that fit. Why don't they make them all a universal size?? Now I have 3 extras left for the next time I lose one, and it happens now and then when they catch on something or get caught in the holes of the store cart where I put it while shopping.

And now, I have found the original one that was lost! And in a place I would never have thought to look. I have a 3 bag divided laundry sorter that sits in my closet. It is simply a PVC pipe frame with a mesh base under the 3 mesh bags, and the cane tip was under one of those bags. I took one of them out that was full and carried it to the laundry room to wash that load. When I brought the empty bag back, there was the cane tip. I can't tell you how many times those bags have been taken out and put back and I never noticed the tip until now. How in the world did it get there? I know I did not put the cane on that mesh base. The only thing I can think of is that when it caught on something and came off it flipped up and happened to land there on a wash day. So now I have all four spares and am well prepared. . . if I can only remember where I put them when I need one!!

Day 5

Day 5 at 11 am - growing fast! The other two lettuce butts are starting to show a little bit of hope.

I was totally surprised to see the lettuce sprouts when I got up this morning! They were not there last night.

Day 4

Day 4 - can you see how much they have grown? Two of the lettuce butts don't show much promise yet.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Keeping up a home and being a widow

In reading a few other blogs, I have seen some mention their determination to keep a comforting and welcome home for their family. I guess I never consciously thought in those terms, but that was my goal, at least subconsciously. I didn't keep a perfect home by any means. All of us creative people know that we can be messy. After all, when we are being creative we don't have time to be neat too!

I did make sure that vacuuming, floor mopping, dusting, bathroom cleaning and all that goes with a clean house was done at least once a week. When the kids were small there were always toys all over, dishes waiting to be washed (before the days of dishwashers especially), meals cooking, baking, not to even mention my crafting, sewing and needlework projects in the process of being worked on. Add a cat and dog in the house to the mix and sometimes it was utter chaos. But it was clean under all the clutter.

My second husband hated clutter, especially if it wasn't his stuff. Know what I mean? And since it was just the two of us, and I did not work outside the home anymore, I made a special effort to keep my clutter picked up as much as possible. But he could be reading the newspaper and lay it wide open on the edge of the couch, and it could stay there for days and that did not bother him. (sigh) But that is another story for another time. After he passed away I was still doing okay with the housekeeping. I kept very busy separating my things from what was my husband's before we got married as his daughter was coming five months later to pack up her dad's things and have them moved to California where they live. I didn't expect any problems with that, but I did want to make sure it was all separated before they got here as I knew she had no idea of all the things that were mine. And she didn't, but again, another story for another time. At least she did not argue about those things and it all went very well.

I was handling things fairly well through all this time. But then, I got an email from her husband a year later saying they had decided to sell the house and I would have to move out. I knew when we got married that his daughter would inherit the house and I was fine with that as I was moving into his home. Everyone that knew him thought he should have given me life estate in the house so that I could stay living there. But I know deep in his heart that he thought his daughter would want to come back and live in that house as it was her childhood home. Unfortunately he was the only one that thought that. Now I was being kicked out and not enough money to buy a house, though my son suggested I try to buy the house from them, which I really didn't want to do for various reasons.

Then I find out they already had a buyer and an agreement with them. The buyer had even contacted the step son-in-law at the time of my husband's death! He had hinted to me in a strange way that someone was interested right after the funeral, but we all thought he was bluffing, plus he said they would never put me out of the house. That just put me in a tailspin as the last straw of all that I had been through in the last 2 years. I went into a depression and finally had to get medication, but it still rendered me helpless. I could not make myself clean or start packing to move, but just sit at the computer and play games.

I did have six months to find another place so started looking for a house to rent, and there are very few of them in town. But I did find this small one bedroom house with rent that I could afford. I
moved in with the help of the good people of my church and one of my daughters. They had me totally moved within 1 1/2 hours! And all I did was stand and direct people while my daughter was at the new house directing people as to where to put things. There were even some ladies from the church that came and helped pack a couple of days before the move. Another story for another time.

Condensing 6 large rooms plus bathroom and kitchen, and a full basement, into 4 rooms plus small bath and no basement is not easy! I feel like I am stuffed in here using a shoe horn. And that is after I got rid of as much stuff as I could. If I had money I would get rid of everything and buy furniture to fit the house, but I can't do that. I do keep trying to declutter all the time, and I do get rid of stuff quite often. But it is still cramped as far as I am concerned. There is a difference between being cozy and being cramped. :-)

Back to the housekeeping. Ever since I moved I still can't get into a pattern of cleaning here. I don't know why. Part of it is because my body doesn't move as fast or as well so it takes me so much longer to get anything done. My back gives out and I have to sit and rest every few minutes, plus I think I was born with low energy levels and now I run out of energy so much sooner. But those are excuses. If you have ever watched Dr. Phil you know that he is always saying, "No buts!" I really don't have any excuse for not keeping my house comfortable and welcoming.

I need to listen to what Stedman Graham said, "If you keep doing the same thing every day and getting nowhere -- then it is time to change what you do." So I am working at it. Things won't change overnight but I have made myself accountable by writing it all here. And I have made some progress already. I just need to continue what I am now doing and add more to it. I can use some prayers that I might have some success in this area.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I found a place

I finally found a place to set my seed pots so that they get some sun. My kitchen window above the sink faces west. I have the seed pots on a foil lined cookie sheet so that it is easier to move around, and it suddenly dawned on me that I can put that pan across the sink, open the window shutters and let the sun shine in on them. It works! I also have the base of a celery stalk and 3 bottoms of romaine lettuce in water on that sheet as well. The celery I did a couple days ago and the center is already coming up. The lettuce I just did today.  And now we wait.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Passport to Success

I watched Stedman Graham on an early morning news show today. You know, Oprah's Significant Other. He was talking about the passport to success and creating your identity. I found his words so true. He says,  'in order to be successful you must become a leader instead of a follower.' I have been a follower all my life. It is interesting that I had just been thinking some similar thoughts - and then Stedman comes on and makes it clear to me. My earlier thought was that I have always been re-active rather than pro-active. I wait for things to happen and then react to them rather than make things happen myself. And Stedman actually used the word proactive in the discussion. Some call this a co-incidence. I call it a God-incidence.

When I was a child I followed the other kids - whatever they decided we should do, I tagged along. I was always the very shy child who never said very much. I was the quiet one who always sat at her desk and did her work while others might be goofing off. I was always the observer, watching how kids acted because I didn't know how to act. That sounds funny, doesn't it. Maybe I should say I didn't know how to interact with other kids, being an only child and around adults most of the time. So in order to try to fit in I had to observe. Another reason I did not take on a leader role at a young age is because when I suggested something to do, the others either ignored it or didn't want to do it and chose to do what they wanted, and so I kept my mouth shut and followed. I had no confidence in myself from then on. I feel like the majority of my life has been as an observer, watching life from the outside and never really joining in. That has been changing though, I am happy to say.

Stedman says we are stuck in our daily routines. We get up in the morning and do the same things over and over again. Go to work, go home, eat supper, collapse in front of the tv and go to bed. In order to succeed we need to step out of that little box and do something different. Take a look at successful people. They step out, they color outside the lines, they dare to do something different. They don't let others dictate what they can or cannot do. They are not afraid to make mistakes, but learn from those mistakes.

Stedman also said that 'we are all equal in that we all have 24 hours in a day, but it is all in how you frame it around yourself. If you keep doing the same thing every day and getting nowhere, then it is time to change what you do.' I often think of the book entitled "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Step Out of the Boat". I am not sure I quoted that word for word, but you get the idea. I need to get my hands on a copy of that book and actually read it! Have you read it?

Over the many years I have lived since I was that child I have started to at least stick my toes in the water now and then. And I have slowly become a leader of sorts. I do lead Bible studies now, including a weekly study in my home very early on Friday mornings. That early hour is even a part of changing my routine as I do not like early mornings other than to be in bed and sleeping! I have always been a night owl so I need to sleep later. But I have found that changing my routine by getting up at 5 am every Friday, and putting a lot of time in working on the lesson and preparing to teach it, the class has been successful. And it has become my passion. We all need to find something we can be passionate about and then work in that area. Isn't that whas successful people do?

Too often we think of people being successful because they have money, a big house, big boat, 3 or more cars, a powerful position in their job - maybe the owner of a big company, or the CEO of a corporation. But there are other ways of being successful. I am successful in that I am no longer the quiet one. In fact, I think I am trying to make up for all the years I was quiet as I talk way too much now! Sometimes I have to bite my tongue in order to keep my thoughts to myself when it may not be appropriate to say when I am thinking. I need to remind myself to let others talk, and not interrupt them with my opinion. What makes me think I am the only one that is right? My first husband and his mother would always start talking while I was talking to them, which told me they were not interested in what I was saying and made me feel worthless, and I do not want to do that to other people. With that, I think it is time for me to stop talking here! It is time to get on with my day, and let you get on with yours - if you are still reading this. Have a great day!