Monday, Why I love Mondays.

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MONDAY, MY FAVORITE DAY!!!

Monday is a day many dread.  It seems to some all falls onto their head on a Monday.  Being overwhelmed, the day can be unproductive, stressful, depressing, and it does not have to be this way.

About ten years ago I met a refreshing person whose name is Annemarie.  A perky blond whom looked like Meg Ryan.  I invited her to do something with me for the upcoming Monday and she said no, any day but Monday.  I asked her why not Monday.  She told me that was her day for herself.  She used Monday to get rest, to clean, do the laundry, to do gardening and lay in the sun.  I was so impressed that I have reserved Monday ever since.

A DAY OFF: If you have a choice in the matter.  If you can afford to work four days instead of five, why not take Monday off from your employment.  Many take Friday off by choice viewing it as a vacation day.  Yet, Monday may be an even better day to take off instead of Friday because it may be more fulfilling.  Everyone else in household is back to work and school.  Do not view your day as a day to Care Less or be carefree.  By carefully considering how you will spend your time on this special day, your life can take a change for the better.

Monday at home could mean an extra hour of needed sleep, getting in a relaxing walk, a trip to the library or museum by yourself, meeting a friend for lunch, doing your bills, or yard work.  For balance in my life, getting chores done in the form of a quick clean makes a difference for the whole week.  I do not mean a slave day, more like a day of time blocks adhered to.  Having attention deficit, time blocks help me to focus without the temptation to multitask.  If I multitask then my mind is unaccountable and takes flight.  The day is gone.  This can still happen to me when I feel weak due to health problems. Yet, I strive to do as much as I can on Monday because for me it is a sanity keeper.

A time block for extra rest like sleeping in an extra hour, and an hour break in the middle of the day.  A block for phone calls, A block for laundry which during that time while washing and drying are going on I can clean the bathrooms and or phone calls.  A Block for quick clean which is 12 minutes per room.  (my quick clean is ten minutes to do a quick pick up, gather what does not belong in the room including trash and set at doorway, wipe surfaces quickly, then timer goes off and I quickly sweep or vacuum. Then on to next room and set timer for ten minutes).  (The Slob Sisters have a great book about this and The Fly Lady, for years I read and reread. They helped me so much.  It seems so hard for me to read anymore books yet I will never forget that their programs are fantastic).  Then I run and put doorway items away as fast as possible.  Time for a break when all done.  A block for yard work or errands.  The blocks can be minutes long or a couple of hours long.  Use the timer.  If the timer goes off before your done then one must determine if another day of a few minutes will make a difference or if a few minutes now will make a big difference.  This is not the day to get caught up in trying to get each room done as a perfectionist would.  Each week of this activity will make a few weeks worth of efforts a visible accomplishment.

I like Monday because if I get my Monday work done, the whole week is much smoother.

What I like to do on Mondays.  First, I sleep in as long as I need to, with chronic health problems a lack of sleep contributes to my flare-ups.  Secondly, I start the laundry  and make my phone calls.  I do a deeper clean up in the kitchen.  Monday happens to be my deeper clean kitchen day.  While wash is going I clean my bathrooms.   A quick pick-up and sweep-up through the house remedies the mess the weekends create. I wash towels every Monday, and if possible I may get a jump ahead by doing them on Sunday night.

Setting up my schedule for the week on Sunday night helps me to know what phone calls are vital for me to make.  Doing my phone calls by 11:00a.m. really takes the pressure off the rest of the day.  Over the week, I pay attention to whose anniversary, graduation, or achievement has come about that I can on Sunday nights or Monday write out these cards and send them.  My husband seems to enjoy running errands, and I like being home on Monday.  Emotionally, I really like being home on Monday because life seems so busy on the weekends, the downtime to get things done is precious.  I rarely accept an invitation to leave my house on a Monday.  Hanging my clothes out to dry is another thing I have done for decades and I like to do if the weather permits.  Cooking a good meal and doing a little meal prep to make the next couple dinners for the week easier is important.  Eating a little lighter during the day helps me to maintain my focus and lessen the burden on my internals.  A walk or isometric exercises refreshes me.

At 1:30 pm. on Monday is a PBS station sewing show called Sew it All.   I like to stop and enjoy this show and put my legs up.  It is only a half hour and because I enjoy sewing it is a treat to watch.  On Wednesday, Sew Easy comes on, I will tape it to watch later.  If sewing or painting or something else is your interest, give yourself  a 90 minutes time block to work on a project, and then that evening your free to get back to it if you can.

Filling my Monday with practical efficient activities sets up my week  for greater productivity and less stress.  Whether it is every Monday or only a once a month Monday, having this day to catch up on domestics, relaxing activities, yard work, gardening, and phone calls makes for a better start to the week.  It also is important to avoid time wasters on this day.  Unless the errands are vital for the week to go smooth try to keep most of the day to yourself at home.  Beware of Time Wasters such as gabbing on the phone, texting, internet cruising, or television watching.  This day is a day for yourself to reset and restore.  With an extra hour of rest, getting a home in order, car cleaned, laundry done, gardening, essential phone calls and bill paying your investing in a more peaceful life.  The week and month will go smoother.  The evening of Monday is a good time to be refreshed by going to bed early for an extra hour of rest before resuming regular activities on Tuesday.  Monday’s never get me … .

 

 

 

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Mystery,what will he do?

 

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Mystery, what is Lester to do?

    Mystery: What will Lester do?When your space is invaded, and you feel bullied.  What can you do?  A Bassett Hound is a known bird dog.  Laying down like a beaten dog is not the answer, typically Lester just sits there and barks.  Occasionally he will go after the roosters and hens.  There are times he is in his house barking at a hen that is eating his food.  My belief is Lester is resigned to the situation for now.  But, in your life, you do not have to be resigned.  There may be actions you can take for a not so mysterious outcome.
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June is running by ….July approaches …

June is running by, and half the year is now behind us.  What do we still have to do?  Is there anything we wanted to accomplish this year?

It is a good time to refer back to our Goal List for the year.  Three areas I like to consider

  1.  Health and Fitness Goals.
  2. Relationships
  3. Domestic

1.  Health and Fitness Goals:  Let us expound on the most typical goal for the year, Health and Fitness.  Each year we get older and even young people are experiencing health problems.  We will not even discuss the newfound issues with healthcare and insurance costs.  The high monthly costs of mandatory insurance is causing many to avoid visits to the doctor because of high copays and deductibles.  If there was not a good enough basis for a healthy diet and regular exercise, there is more motivation now.

We have one body, and our health we must seek to protect it.   Wise choices, no extremes are necessary.  Fruits and vegetables never go out of fashion and are readily available in most markets.  It only takes moments to use a regular blender to make a nutritious cool drink.  Would you like to know my recipe for a quick tasty fruit smoothie?

One I have been using for literally decades is, I will call it:

Fruit Frapp by Gina @  fatfitanfab.com

one serving recipe:              6 oz orange juice, (not from concentrate), or 6 oz of water. a banana, a peeled apple, and one cup of frozen berries.  Put in the blender, put on for 40 seconds to a minute an a half.    If you do not want to use a bannana, you can substitute a cup of fresh-cut papaya.

The banana or papaya give the drink a smoothness like a shake.  The frozen fruits may have raspberries in which do have seeds.  They remain like seeds. I just swallow them.  If a person has digestive issues like diverticulitis the seeds may bother them so you may choose just a strawberry/blueberry mix.

Be careful if you have diabetes or blood sugar problems.  Only you know if you can have citrus, some medications are a problem.  As I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I am only sharing a recipe which helps me to get my vitamin C, other vitamins, and natural fiber.

I like to make vegetable smoothies in the late afternoon before I start making dinner, that I can sip which can get the edge off hunger and be quite satisfying.  My cardiologist did recommend simply having a V8 each day.  I do not have a great tasting vegtable smoothie that is quick to make.  I do like spinach, a clove of garlic, a handful of fresh parsley, two carrots, and a celery stalk with the leaves.  I do use a pinch of salt because I naturally have low blood pressure.  Then I blend in my regular blender.

Responsible self-care involves regular exercise.  With all the responsibilities people have in their life it can be a real challenge to cull out the time to take a walk, or take a bike ride, or use an exercize machine.  Yet, it is relaxing, destressing, and exhilarating.  Not only can it help us to maintain our weight, it can help prevent us from gaining more weight if that is our objective.  If our objective is to lose weight, than exercising daily with a plan can help us reach our goals.  I had ankle surgery on my right ankle in the beginning of February.  It all seems so slow to heal.  Both ankles have each had two surgeries.  As much as I want to take off and go for a run, or go for a walk it is just not reasonable at this point.  I purchased a bike and I have been striving to go for a ride a few times a week.  The heat is unbearable for daily rides and I am unfit.  Should I call myself unfit?  Maybe that is harsh to label myself as unfit since I do regularly do daily stretching and isometric exercises in my home.  OK, I will accept the congrats! for maintaining my regular stretching and isometric exercize program for decades.  The exercizes I do help me to deal with chronic pain associated with lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  I have a lot of muscle spasms and nerve pain.  The exercize helps me to feel that I am taking responsibility for what I can control.  The exercize benefits me also because I like to have a scoop of ice cream, and I have diabetes, therefore, exercize keeps the sugar manageable.

Each health situation is different, but so many suffer.  If we take some time to consider our own situation, and start right away to manage our health before more serious problems develop.  Not only can we keep our healthcare costs down, we may feel better.

2.  Relationships:  Relationships affect our peace of mind.  The relationship we have with our creator, with ourself, with our loved ones and if we are employed than we have our social relationships.  Can we improve all these relationships?

The relationship a person has with their creator can affect how they also feel about themselves and how they live their life and the consequences etc.  I have no more to say on that subject.  It is worth considering privately.

The relationship we have with ourself is very complicated indeed.  So much of how we feel about our-self is deeply rooted from our conception, our upbringing, the family situation, the make up of the family dynamics.  Some come from secure family situations, that is very rare these days.  Some of us are very wounded from broken homes, lack of security, an absent parent, and some experience abuse.  All these factors shape us.  Yet, we do not have to be defined permanently by any of these situations.

Earning a healthy esteem is a very valid concept that I have lived by for decades.  We may remain sensitive or fragile.  Yet, I think of a flower that appears to be fragile, sure, someone may be cruel and pull some petals off.  If the flower is left alone, it can even go thru a thunderstorm with high winds and still remain beautiful.  Someone may pull our petals off, but we must remain rooted in what we know and what we can do.  We can bloom again and if necessary, we can be the seed that blows in the wind, and be rooted elsewhere.  The sun, the rain, will come again.  A positive attitude and hope are fortifying.

When I went thru some health dilemmas this last year, the effect had a stifling effect on me.  I felt incapable and unable.  I quit writing, painting, making bread, and sewing became a rarity.  Cleaning the bathroom mirror I wondered if it was done right.  No one was doing this to me, and I cannot blame anyone.  The doctor whom helps me with my life management skills regarding my attention deficit, he helped me to realize that something was rooted in my youth.  He said, “OK, you do not want to blame anyone, you do not want to blame it on something in your youth, mistreatment you endured.  Yet, you do acknowledge you were not in ideal circumstances to grow a healthy esteem, you did not feel safe, and your accomplishments were met with disfavor by those whom should have been proud of you.  If you can accept this, you can move on.  You can find a new way to respond to your accomplishments.”  Of course, I did not have a tape recorder and it may not be a perfect word for word account.  That was the basic jist of it.

To get thru all of this, I kept the habit of making my Master List for the month and the week.  I referred to them often.  A book from the Library on Productivity that I referred to in one of my previous published articles suggested that when I make my TO DO List that I leave room between each to put a couple of actions that are logically needed to accomplish the task.  This really helped me to get more done.  Feel Good Feeling!  My friend Mattie has an infectious cheer about her and giggle.  She is all about giving yourself a cheer when you complete something.  I am trying it, and it feels good.  My husband John likes to stand back and look at what he has done, you can see his pride well up even with the smallest of accomplishments.  I use to look at him in wonder when I would walk up and find him doing so, in fact, because I did not understand it, I thought it was downright silly and it made me a bit uncomfortable.  Over the years, I have slowly come to understand this gift.

Did you know that at the end of each day of creation, our Great Creator would say “It is Good!”.  We are made in his image.  So if we know we worked hard, and we did our best, I believe it is healthy to feel “it is good”!   My relationship with myself is greatly improved, and I am sewing again.  If we can possibly have a healthy esteem, we can then be healthy to be in a relationship with.  Our relationship with our mate, family, children, and work mates can be healthier if we are more positive to be around.  By having a healthier diet and exercise program, a healthy attitude, we can have healthier expectations of others too.  Nurture those relationships respectfully.  Each person is subject to the law, and each person is protected by the law.  If that is remembered, then abuse would be uncommon.

Last night I saw true love.  A couple with their toddler entered the diner  where we were enjoying a meal.  The man was lovingly affectionate and obviously proud of his lady and the child.  He was quite handsome.  She was quite obese and unkempt.  It likely had been a hard day for her.  Yet, this man loved this woman, and she knew it.  I was greatly touched.

3.  Domestic, no I am not talking about domestic beer.  It is where we live, what we drive, and where we spend our time, and how we manage it all.  Half the year is gone, there is some warm weather maintenance we can do on our home, car, and property.  Have you made your punch list?  I want to get into the car and do some deep cleaning, and it is not just because I turned a to-go container of spaghetti upside down in the back seat of the car yesterday.  I was already planning on a thorough detail clean of the interior of the car, now it just seems more immediate to do.  Thankfully, my caring husband got the spaghetti spill cleaned up, but I do feel I need to do that thorough cleaning in the next day or so.  Light colored car, little spots could be anywhere.  This time of year is a great time to clean the garage, and have a garage sale or donate your goods.  Fix your bicycles and use them.  Plan a trip to the zoo, or keep cool in a museum, visit family, or go away for a long weekend.

John got some weatherstripping done on all the doors last week.  Our lovely old yellow cat, PUFF, has already scratched up the new weatherstrip on the front door.  I am going to do a smelly hairspray on the lower door frames after I rub a little essential oils on the weatherstrip.  We still need to get some exterior painting done.  There is a list.  I am eager to get the windows clean.  As I am zeroing in on a room at a time with the deep cleaning,  the last thing I do in the room, the final touch is cleaning all the glass, which includes the windows.  Doesn’t it make everything look good.?

Attention to these three areas can give pretty quick improvement in many areas of our life. We can already feel better about this year and all we hoped to achieve.  We live in a very demanding and often insecure world.  Gently, yet, effectivly gaining more control over our health, relationships, and domestic situation can give us a sense of accomplishment resulting in a healthier esteem.  June may be gone by,…we still have a half year to fulfill our goals.

 

 

 

 

 

March, a month to Get Going.

The winter hibernation is over an it is nice to jump in an get going.

Personally it sounds like a bit of hype coming from me.  None of you, my friends an fans that enjoy my writing an encouragement to accomplish DESPITE, have heard from me in a while.

A small seemingly insignificant step into a depression in the ground became alot of torture treatments, an operation, a week stay in hospital, home health care, woundcare, an daily visits to the doctor so he can keep surgical site open.  The four hours in morning on iv antiobotics, an the four hours in the evening have me hostage an in great despair.

I would love to tell you how brave, strong an optimistic I am.  Instead, I am a sap, bawling each day, fearful of each days procedures, aggrevated because with pick line in rt arm, rhummatoid ulcer bigger than your hand on my left calf, an the surgical area on rt ankle.  I am not aloud to shower or get in a tub.  Washing out of sink like Grandma did 80 years ago.  So, whom wants to knit with iv in?  Unable to walk depending on knee walker, I cannot go out an garden at this point, no safe way in an out.

Does this sound like I am depressed?  Could I ever admit to being depressed?  I can only admit that chronic Illness steals your career, your esteem, obliberates your dreams, steals your energy, looks, an misrepresents you, lastly stripping you of dignity.  This is what decades of the violence of chronic illness has done to me.  Can we beat this monster?

Back to March, it is time to gather ourselves up for the March of life, we must march on with determination holding our head high.  If something is interphereing with your joy in living, what other measures can we take to get results?  Productivity an results, will add joy back into my life.

As I strive to heal, keeping a routine is vital.  I will get back to all of you soon.  If you know someone with chronic Illness, do not avoid them, offer to help with something, ask them what have they been doing lately.  It will encourage healthy conversation.

 

 

Another Year Gone By. Happy Prospects Despite:

There is so much is happening in this world, some things are frightening and depressing.  Many are personally touched by tragedy.  Yet, we have a life to live.  As long as we are alive we have a responsibility to be happy.  Some get happiness mixed up with selfishness or me ism.  It is not the same.

If we have a roof over our head, a bed to sleep in, and our basic necessities met, we have a lot to appreciate.  I am not going to depress you with facts and figures about all those whom do not have their basic needs met.  More people than you think have experienced homelessness or other sad situations.  What I would like to suggest is that we can afford to feel a measure of contentment and appreciation.  Contentment and appreciation are Happiness manufactures.  If a person only wants more and they do not see the good in their life with great appreciation, they will never be happy.  When our sons were small and life was so difficult and there was no money to pay the power bill, I still told the boys we were richer than most.  We were.

Another Happiness factor is quit looking elsewhere for what you may already have.  Invest in your mate, children, home, job, and community.  Some are not happy with their mate, what happens then.  Children grow up emotionally detached if we do not regularly communicate with them.  They can become vulnerable because of feeling unloved and lonely.  Everyday, our mates and children need us to Stop!  Look! and Listen!

What would you like to accomplish in the next quarter, 1/2 year point, third quarter?  This first quarter we definitely can start early figuring out our taxes.  An exercise routine is good to get busy with.  This next quarter I want to get some household decorative issues taken care of, finish painting, get some wood work done.

Having a schedule, and quarterly goals keeps me inspired and optimistic.  You cannot be happy if you do not have hope.  There is so much in life we have no power to control.  It is critical that we have short terms goals and long term goals.  Every day consider what step you can take to work toward the accomplishment of your goal.  A short term/longterm goal I have is the practice of productivity in my sewing and painting areas.  I am eager to get more productivity and results regulary.

Productivity restores a sense of well being to the mind.  If a person is layed off, retired, or disabled, productivity is still a necessity.  Some suffer with depression, the loss of employment or an ongoing sad situation can get us down.  Keeping a domestic schedule with some social activities keeps one from isolating themselves.  Productivity causes one to feel accomplished.  Even something as simple as cleaning out one drawer in the kitchen and organizing it gives me pleasure.  Cleaning and organizing a shelf a night in the pantry or the refrigerator creates good feelings.

Assessing responsibilities, and fulfilling them, benefits all.

Considering the application of some of these behaviors, attitudes and habits can cause you, me, and our loved ones to feel happiness.  I desire that as you proceed into this new year that some of your hopes, and goals are fulfilled.                       Gina

 

 

 

Lonely, How can a person get thru the next few days?

Do you ever feel lonely?   Why are you lonely?  Are you alone, or are you in a family and lonely?  Lonely, when there is so much to consider.  Why am I lonely, is it because I am alone?  What can I do to enrich this moment so I no longer feel alone?  Some people are alone, they live alone, and they may not live in the same community as their family.  Families are estranged too often which also contributes to aloneness.  For whatever reason, being alone is not healthy if that is a continuous situation.

If your alone because your mate works a lot or is involved in a lot of activities than have you mentioned that you would like to spend more time with them.   Mention it briefly without weaponry.   The other day, I mentioned to my oldest son whom is married and lives only about 15 minutes away that I am sad we are not able to stop in when we are in the area.  They both work full time, and their lives are so busy that they really do not appreciate people dropping by without calling ahead of time.  They are right.  I think I offended him in the way I commented about it, and he felt I was laying a guilt trip.  That was not my intention and it only further served up sad feelings and frustration that it was received that way.  Therefore, I have no recommendations on how to communicate your feelings.   Just let a person know you would like to spend more time with them and leave it at that.  If your mate is very busy, what activities can you do to be more busy?  Are you fulfilling all your personal and domestic responsibilities?  Join a knitting group or painting group at your local senior citizen center, they would love to have you there even if you are not a senior.  Each week have a day to visit local sites such as museums, gardens or parks, the library or bookstore.  Invite your mate, they may surprise you and take a vacation day off to join you.  The more busy you are, the more accomplished you become, the more you have to talk about, the more interesting you become.  Plan out the month ahead for yourself, then do them.  Keep your calendar visible so your mate can see what your interested in.  This is not to promote independence, it is only living a healthy life.

If you do not have a lot of relationships because you are new to an area then you must understand it takes time to build a relationship.  You do not have to sacrifice your morality or defraud your budget to have a relationship.  Dutch is best, your only in control of you.  Dutch means there are no misconceptions or hidden expectations.  You are nice because you go, be your own transportation.  You never have to prove how nice you are or how interesting or knowledgeable you are.  Yes, whom says you will even like the other party after you get to know them for a while.  So, do not put your morality or money on the line.  Integrity lost in an thoughtless eve can take years to retrieve.

When I am alone, I love projects.  What projects do I have on my agenda right now?  If you are my friend and I assume you are, I would tell you…

My dresser top which is about five feet long had everything it shouldn’t have on it for far too long.  The mirror fell behind the dresser a couple years ago, and because I am overweight, I did not care to look anyway.  Last week,  I decided to remedy the mess and took a couple piles of clothes off and put away, then I consolidated the perfumes and lotions. (Far too many) I do not need to buy more perfumes or lotions according to “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” expert Marie Kondo.  She advocates tossing most of what you have.  I do not agree with that point since I like what I have and I have the room for it.  I did access what I have with no pressure and made a mental note to use what I have.  There were a few things I chose to toss, and that I had got all the use I wanted from them.  Her program is great, I have just finished the second of  four cd’s from her series I received a couple weeks ago.

As I continued to group and organize my belongings of what was on my dresser top my husband John came in and looked at me and mentioned that ‘wasn’t it time I think about making dinner’.  I agreed that it was a good time to make dinner and that since he could see I was productively busy, couldn’t he make dinner.  Really, I did have the rice an vegetables done in the Black an Decker RC436 type 1, that our son Brock gave us for our anniversary last year.  John, he looked at me when I suggested he let me continue working.  He saw the bed was loaded up with piles of clothes, papers, and junk jewelry.  He left and went to the kitchen likely shaking his head wondering if I would get to clearing the bed.  When I went and stirred the rice which is periodically needed so as not to stick to bottom of cooker, I was pleased to see him using a cookbook trying to decide how he was going to marinate the wild caught salmon he purchased.  As I put away, tossed, or organized  I found things I had been missing.  Now the dresser was lovely again, I could see the dresser scarf I made a few years ago with a precious piece of jacquard fabric that I surged a nice edge on.  So satisfying, and the meal was very satisfying too.  He was very pleased.  The mirror is up, I feel looking into it is not so offensive.  One project done.  Is there a project nagging you to get done, make time now.

Another project is that I am trying to make a nice pair of denim sage green pants.  A good quality fabric always makes it worth doing.  Purchased pants no longer come up to the waist, and that is what I like, a hi-rider.  Do you sew?  Many men and women sew of all ages.  It can be frustrating at times, bobbins pop up, needles break or the fit is not right.  Fix it and keep sewing.  Finally the pants look like nice pants, just need to hem them.  That is not all, the frustrating part is that I have to take the yoke I designed off the back, and decrease a few inches because thankfully, they are too large at where the lower back is.  A couple darts and a zipper are required then, incorporating the lovely yoke is a creative challenge I am mentally working out.

A lot of rest I have needed in the last couple weeks due to extremely low blood pressure, fevers, and exhaustion.  When your dizzy, you should lay down so you do not fall down.  With a cut on the bottom of my left foot, whom wants to walk a lot anyway.  The infection in left leg seems to finally be healing.  Almost.  Sounds so dreary really.  Projects keep my mind busy.  Do you have projects?  Proverbs 31 suggest them greatly.

Loneliness, do you send cards?  Snail mail is the best, support our Post Offices and they will not be a thing of the past.  I value the sweet cards I receive and letters, and I send a lot of cards and letters every week.  I send cards and sometimes gifts to complete strangers.  If I hear someone does well at something, or if someone is sick, or suffers a loss, then a card is what I can do to support mankind.  Expressing commendation where it is truly due, or compassion, empathy and support, that is something any of us can do.  My handwriting suffers due to rheumatoid, so I prayerfully choose my words, and then I write a brief note.  The Tuesday Morning stores have beautiful stationary at affordable prices.  TJ Maxx, or The Ross are other department stores that also sell cards and or stationary at decent prices.  Do not wait for a card or wait for kindness or thoughtfulness.  When you send a card or small letter, send with prayers, hopes, but no expectations.  Every week cards or letters go out, and usually a few come in.  So sweet, the treasure trove of thoughtfulness can be in quiet moments.  Being alone enjoying expressions of someone now gone is also a healing.  The mother whom raised me, (some day I will explain that) sent me a letter with ten dollars suggesting I go get a dessert for the boys and I that we would ordinarily not do because of cost.  She lived far away.  We did as she suggested and that was so very sweet.  She has been gone for possibly twelve years now.  I have that little letter which I kept in a little box that I recently discarded, now it is put in a little book of knitting socks, and periodically a couple times a year I pull the letter out , read and weep.  Yes, she has no idea how meaningful the gift was then and how it still affects me now.

When the boys were toddlers, there I was now a single mother with three.  With no family to turn to, no child support, loneliness was a common occurrence.  Being overwhelmed with financial responsibilities, working contract work in the field of architecture and construction, life was feast or famine.  From mid November until about February, there were little opportunities to work, so I became an expert at stretching the dough.  One time, I earned three dollars too much to qualify for any assistance.  Others seemed to be doing so well on assistance, and we were getting evicted with no where to go.  I always have had my faith and many times my brothers and sisters in our faith were the ones to come to the rescue.  For that I am so appreciative.  I found it so humiliating to be in need and strived to handle our problems on my own.  There were times I was so lonely it was almost crippling.  Having projects even then was so helpful.  I made the most adorable denim and suede coats for my sons.  Proud I wanted them to be, and I wanted them to feel equivalent to those around, and I would tell them although we did not have bucks in the wallet, we were still richer than most.  I would take them to the Home Depot classes for children to learn how to make things.  They loved it, and it built healthy esteems in them too.  As adult men, they design and build whatever they want.  Blake designed a wonderful bed, dresser, closet unit, and it even had secret drawers.  I was so impressed.  He knows he can design and make what he needs when he wants.  It saddened me when they disassembled it.  Brock designed a treehouse with an elevator that goes up.  He lives there.  When people stop in, they always want him to take them up in the elevator to see the treehouse.   Brent, he is now a plumber, and he buys, fixes, sells, and trades cars.  He designed an entertainment center the whole length of the wall in his bedroom 14′ long, that was interlocking with no screws or nails.  Now he has designed an L shaped dresser, entertainment center, that also has cubbies for ties, and a shoe organizer.  He is striving to finish that.  So proud I am that we struggled through the hard times optimistically enduring.  They are three adults, sons that have proved to be survivors.  Do you have a single parent that you work with or live near?  Can you give them a gift card for a tank of gas, or an oil change, or a Walmart gift card for new shoes an socks for all, or haircuts, or coats.  With no expectations, a gift lifts both the giver and receiver.  Commendation also goes a long way.

So crafts may not be your thing, you do not want a mess.  How many people have guest rooms set perfectly up with the hopes of company that never comes.  I am a great advocate of the futon because it folds up into a couch and is a comfortable bed when need be.  My friend Michelle let me stay at her home unexpectantly for two an a half weeks when my father died.  I had just had another surgery and felt incapable of being on my own with a rented car an a place to stay, a short term amnesia besides the sadness of the situation and unnecessary family  drama, I was happy to have her generous support and the futon was comfortable too.  This was her and her husband’s office which was occasionally used as a guest room when need be.  Turning the guest room into a multipurpose room means you can keep your sewing machine set up.  Make yourself a blouse, or a pillow for a friend etc.  Or set up a small area to make jewelry or some other thing you have been interested in.

These next few days can be rough on some, take advantage of the extra time and learn something new, take a walk, call an old friend, finish something, or clean out your cabinets.  Make a list and work it.  I am starting to read the Bible book of Acts, I heard it is inspiring.  For some of these activities, being alone is a Godsend.

 

 

 

December, the Month to Wrap it all up.

December, This is the month to think about what did we want to accomplish this last year of 2015, and what can we still do in 31 days.  Unfortunately, there are only four weekends, yet technically five weeks before the new year.

December is not always a joyful month as the sentimental pressure misguides many.  Many create debts on supposed deals, and the problems created are felt months into the new year.  Approaching this month thoughtfully and cautiously can be very freeing.

It is a good time to think about next years goals, monthly, quarterly, seasonable, 1/2 time such as June/July, and end of year accomplishments.  The master lists for the year and all these time periods can be a great guide to refer to so as to reach your goals.  I depend on them.  Is it the day planner or what system that promotes the Master list Theory?  I did not invent it and I may not even have the right words for describing it.  Years ago I learned it from one of those famous planners.  A business tool that can be used in our personal life for greater accomplishment.  Praying about them, looking at them, and working toward their accomplishment makes you feel a little more control in your life.  Living haphazardly has few rewards.

Are there debts you want to pay down?  Are there vacations you want to save for?  Are there physical exams that need to be scheduled?  Have you neglected family members that do not live near you, can you plan to see them or invite them?

If there are school age children at home, school vacations and winter days off, all can be involved in deep cleaning, changing rooms around, assessing clothes in closets and drawers.  Children keep growing and I know you do not need reminding.  If you have a grandchild, niece or nephew in school why not ask the parent if you can take the child shopping for shoes or clothes that will invest in the young persons new growth.  It will help the family with their tight budget to help with these practical needs.  Getting the kids hair cut, new socks and essentials, new school clothes and replenishing their school supplies can be a help to the family.  Being respectful of the parents standards of attire is important.  Then it is a real blessing.

This month is a great time to change things up for your kids.  Remember, the school load of homework, and chores at home can be enough responsibilities for the kids.  Extracurricular activities can burden the parent whom is running the children around, as well as burden the budget.  If the activities are decided on, keep them to a minimum, and remember, you are the adult.  Too many let their children decide on matters.  A lot of children are exhausted with all the homework, activities and long days.  They miss out on helping with chores, keeping good habits, just having good times playing in the yard.  We have been teaching a young girl age 12 how to knit, and her grandma is now teaching her to crochet.   If we can help others with their situation then that is a gift.

Getting the car serviced or deep cleaned is a great gift to self or a family member.  Check the tires, and getting a detailed cleaning on the car when you have a day off is refreshing.

This is the month for wrapping it up for me so I can start 2016 a little less burdened.  I have so many projects that are near done that have been weighing heavy on my mind instead of the satisfaction I should be feeling.  I am just going to pick up a “Near Done”, and finish it.  If you have read my previous articles, then you are aware this is an ongoing challenge for me.

My Aunt Ellie was so kind.  I had written her a letter and told her about how I get aggravated with the piles or clutter I create with all the projects.  She basically said there are people with no clutter and no projects, and their mindset is different than those of us with the creative mind.  We do things, we need the material etc. to do the projects and that is going to create some clutter.  That is very reasonable.

My husband married a writer, painter, photographer, knitter, cook, etc. so there seems to be all the matter around to support those activities.

Good News!  We have been getting some house maintenance issues attended to.  It feels great seeing things get done.  The addition needed painted and a friend new to the area needed a small job.  To the dismay of my mother-in-law, I chose the lightest of tan for the siding, and true red for the trim.  It looks wonderful, although it is only the first coat.

Brock, our 23 year old son has painted and stained the steps and railing.  When I chose terracotta red for the risers, pecan stain for the treads and a cool white with a hue that complements the reddish tones everyone was concerned about the outcome.  They all thought I should stick with the standard of stain it all or use the white on the risers.  It really looks so inviting and tasteful.  Being that the floors are all terracotta, our eyes follow the color right up the stairs.  A visual treat.  It would be nice to have the exterior finished and our minds unburdened.  That is one thing to finish up this month.

Unable to do these things myself, I kept putting them off hoping I would get well enough to do them.  It has become a help that I have accepted that I will not be capable of doing this work on the house and am hiring it out.  This is giving me much relief.

It would be unreal if I did not mention that in this world there are people whom are suffering due to circumstances out of their control.  If there is a family member, workmate, or neighbor that is dealing with illness, caregiver responsibilities, loneliness, hardship, tragedy or loss can we do more than just give them a passing thought?  Besides taking a few moments to say a meaningful prayer for them, is there some practical thing we can do to make their load a little lighter?  Send a card, make a meal, call the power company and pay their bill for the month, call them, give a hug, or offer to spend time with them.  In this age of selfies and instant communication it seems people have lost touch.  Touch someone’s life in a practical way.  If someone has been kind to you, send them a card and thank them.  A text is a bit tacky when someone takes the time to do something kind for you.  Making a card or buying one is a worthy way to express appreciation.  There are still post offices in most towns, and they sell stamps, let us support our post offices by sending a little love and kindness in the mail.  Snail mail is a misnomer.  Mail processes quick enough to delight the person that is surprised when they open the mail box.

Using our next few weeks wisely can enrich our lives as we step into the new year with optimism and joy.