Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Untethering, But Not Going to a Tropical Island. Unfortunately.

Recently tweeted by a great preacher friend of ours (a great friend, and a great preacher!):

"Christ promised LIVING WATER; Endless strength & faith. Life's demanding. Stay connected, never outflow more that you intake, You'll Crash."

With that in mind, I will be spending some time intaking, reconnecting, regrouping, refocusing, and enjoying my church, my family, and the Christmas season. I may or may not post for a bit. I'm feeling the need to untether a few areas of my life and slow down for a while. It's all good, just a season to spend more time offline than online!

I won't be going to the place in the above picture, however. At least not right now, although it seems like a great idea! Last year I was ready to skip Christmas because all the hype and commercialism was doing my head in, but common sense prevailed.

Catch you later!

Image credit

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shoe Leather, Mystery Pie, and Thankfulness

Freedom From Want by
Norman Rockwell





























A month of Thanksgiving, and I didn't even post on Thanksgiving Day! I didn't turn my computer on all day long. Instead I cooked and ate and spent time with family and friends..the perfect way to spend the day.

A friend sent me the following letter, written by her son who is currently working overseas. I asked his permission to post it here and he said, "Go for it!" He mentions the food they ate this year. I can SO relate! Our family spent fifteen years pastoring churches overseas and sometimes we just had to make do with what we could get. And you know what? Now, back home in America, those "make do" times have become some of our dearest memories and unite us as a family in a very personal and deep way.

The letter is a bit lengthy, but I think it's a great perspective on Thanksgiving. I have highlighted in bold what I hope you get out of this.

"Hey all,
 
"I may begin to wax poetic here, which feels a little odd for me since I've never really taken Thanksgiving all that seriously. One year when I was active duty and stationed (overseas) I had completely forgotten it was Thanksgiving. I just showed up to work like any other Thursday and thought it was weird the base was so quiet. It wasn't until leadership brought in a whole mess of food that I remembered which Thursday it was. With that kind of cavalier attitude toward turkey day, the introspection I'm feeling now is surprising.

 
"Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. Not Christian, mind you, because there are lots of Christians elsewhere in the world (for instance, those native to European countries) that don't really celebrate it despite a passing familiarity with the idea from our entertainment output to the globe. I read somewhere that the Pilgrims dug a lot more graves than they built huts, so there's certainly a predominantly Christian flavor to Thanksgiving- but never forget it's also ours as Americans. (This is also evidence to me that football is the REAL American sport, because we don't sit down to watch that perverted version of cricket that sissies call America's past time after we gorge ourselves. But that's a topic for another day.)
 
"So, from my deployed location, we paid roughly $40 for our buy-in to a catered Thanksgiving meal, and this is where you know certain dishes just don't cross cultures. Some guys here were pretty disappointed, to be perfectly honest. I say it was worth the money just for the story! Yeah, some of the food was terrible, but you know what? I'm really and truly grateful. My spirits are high, my coffee cup is full (as is my belly), and nobody's shooting at us. Just thought I'd throw that last bit in there for some perspective. So we had beef as tough as shoe leather (and for once, I'm not exaggerating) instead of turkey. Big deal! It had lots of rosemary, tasted ok, and wasn't yet another peanut butter sandwich! You just had to chew it more. A lot more. And the green bean casserole was more quartered mushrooms than anything, with green beans diced up like green onions- but it was tasty. And the pies...? Well nobody's really sure what's in the pies. We think those dark things are raisins, but even after eating it we question what the filling is. They don't taste like any apples or pumpkins we've ever had... And I'm laughing the entire time.
 
"I'll let the other guys gripe. I don't care. Because while I'll whine from time to time about suffering through poor internet service, the fact of the matter is we've got it pretty good. See, we get to LEAVE here eventually. And come on, after growing up eating so many Thanksgiving dinners at a fire station (his dad was a fireman before he retired), how cool is it to be chowing down in an aircraft hangar with some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world as a backdrop? So they don't know how to cook traditional American meals here. So what? I didn't know what the heck their space alien-looking fruit was until a day or two ago.

 
"I don't really know how to communicate what I'm feeling right now- I've eaten better meals in the states and been less satisfied. Was the food worth the money? Heck no! But I laughed and had a good time, and think it's more than worth it for the story. And when I look at the huge spread of not-very-good food, the fact is we still have a LOT. And that changes just outside the fence line.
 
"So enjoy your turkey day. Take real inventory of what you have (or in some cases, what you don't) and realize there's so much to be thankful for. As Americans we are really and truly blessed- and only the most selfish see it otherwise. Considering how "crappy" this Thanksgiving is here, I don't know that I could've enjoyed it more and I truly hope everyone who reads this gets a chance to truly embrace what Thanksgiving is all about, rather than just roll through an annual routine. God bless you, and have a happy Thanksgiving."


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Which I Am Thankful for My Family, and Point Out That Safeway Probably Won't Run Out of Food

It's the day before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I love that Thanksgiving is right before Christmas. I think we would do well to set aside time purely for giving thanks and cultivating a grateful attitude before the greed season Christmas.

As a side note, and not really the point of this post, but I'm throwing it in:

I'm not a Grinch. Really, I'm not. I love Christmas and all that it means. I decorate, I do a Christmas tree, I cook and bake and I love the gift thing, family traditions, spending extra time with family and friends. I love it all, but underscoring everything during Thanksgiving is the need to remember that we are celebrating God's greatest gift to mankind: Himself. Jesus. This should set the tone for all we do in the upcoming weeks. Also...I stay out of malls this time of year and shop as little as possible. I hate traffic. I hate fighting for parking. I hate that the general population acts like all the groceries in the world are going to run out tomorrow, and that Target, Walmart, Costco, and Best Buy are all going to close their doors forever this afternoon. I hate spending money I have no business spending on cr*p that no one really wants anyway. (I do love it when I find the perfect gift for someone, but it doesn't have to be Christmas for that to happen!)

I really think we need to step back and have a look at what's really important in our all-too-busy lives. Jesus, family, friends, all the God has done, is doing, and will do. This, for me, is what's important in life. A food processor or a bottle of perfume under the tree a month from now won't go amiss, to be sure, but those things are just extras. We need Thanksgiving, the holiday and also in our hearts all year long! We need to remember Who gave us life and everything in it!

Today I am thankful that all three of my kids are here with us (two live here and one flew in yesterday) and that we will all be together as a family with some of our church family joining us for dinner tomorrow. After all the turkey is gone and the pies are reduced to crumbs I want to remember this year as a blessed year, one that we were able to spend together as a family, reach into the lives of others, let them reach into ours, and welcome a new family member, a son-in-law.

My kids doing what they usually do when they are
together: messing with each other. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Graduated!

Thankful today for this! 


Our son had to start high school again as a freshman when he was sixteen because when we moved from Europe there were problems getting his credits to transfer over.  We decided to home school so he could work at his own pace and finish up as soon as possible. We used Christian Liberty Academy, the home school program with which we were familiar, having used it when all the kids were younger. He finally completed all the requirements and I received his diploma in the mail today! Woohoo!!!!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday November 21

Thankful that as of today my daughter (the one who just got married) officially lives in the same city as I do! Well....one town over but you know how these California towns are. One runs right into the next and you don't really ever know where you are. Now to get daughter number two to move out here.... (insert winking face and then quickly an innocent expression when she looks over)! 

(I'm posting this picture without their permission but it's already all over facebook...)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Just In!

I have 89 published posts. 90 as of this posting! (Actually I have 100 posts, but that includes drafts, which I'm not counting. Seeing that round 100 number is a landmark of sorts. It's not a lot when you compare to the "big blogs," but I'm totally happy with that. When I reach 100 posts, probably within a couple of weeks, I'm going to do a fun giveaway. I mentioned some time ago that I'm also doing a giveaway when I reach 25 followers. Not sure yet how I want to run these, and I'm not sure what the prizes will be, but I have some ideas! You're gonna love it, for sure! I want to say that I appreciate every single one of you who reads and comments! I know you're out there...I can see you on my stats! LOL

I'm thankful for you, my readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let the Gluttony Begin. Or Not.

Our lives have been super busy lately between the wedding, traveling back and forth to Arizona, visiting with old friends, making new ones (hi Syria!!), returning home and preparing for company and holidays. I love every minute of it, don't get me wrong, but somewhere deep inside me is a desire for a simple uncomplicated life.

A life that does not require caffeine to be enjoyed.

I jest.

Sort of.

The American culture and society is consumed, and I need a stronger word here...maybe obsessed???...need something still stronger, with stuff. Gotta have more, do more, be more, get more, and do it now, immediately, yesterday. I think that somehow we as a culture measure our success and derive our identity from our stuff.

I did that for years. It wasn't something I thought about, but that drive to obtain stuff became a motivating factor for much of what I did and decisions I made.

Recently I have swung in the opposite direction. This is partly based in the fact that I'm tired of shlepping unopened boxes of cr*p around the world every time we move. For example, for how many years is my grandmother's china going to sit unopened, unused, and unloved in my succession of garages? I have memories of her and photographs that I cherish. Her china is not something I particularly like or would use, but I've kept it out of guilt. My change in thinking is mostly based in a desire to focus on what's truly important and not be distracted. I believe that the days until Jesus' return for His church are short and we simply don't have time to faff around with pursuits that take us nowhere as far as eternity is concerned. The important things boil down, as I see it, to two issues:

1. Our personal relationship with Jesus. Is He our Lord and Savior? Are we on our way to Heaven? Is He pleased with our lives? (I am lumping in with this everything that flows out of relationship with Him: maintaining a good marriage, quality parenting, committed friendships, etc...it all starts with Jesus!)

2. Our effectiveness in leading others to Jesus. Are we more concerned with the needs of others than with making sure our own needs are met? Are we telling others about Jesus and showing them how to be saved? Truly, salvation is the greatest need in any of our lives.

The two go hand in hand. Our relationship with Jesus is enhanced as we look outside ourselves to the needs, physical and spiritual, of others, and as we are evangelistic our personal relationship with Jesus grows.

With this in mind, I have been cutting out the unnecessary from my life. This is not a minimalist blog, and the unnecessary looks different for everyone, but my journey begins with getting rid of physical things that are of no use or value to me, including my grandmother's china and also about 50 pounds of excess body weight! --our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and we are responsible for our stewardship over our bodies...more on that in another post.

With all of that as a backdrop, I turn my attention today to food. Halloween always seems to be the beginning of the "food season." As my dad would say, "Let the gluttony begin!" Food is obviously necessary for our life and health, and of course it's a nice and often needed addition to any get together, but do we really need to junk out? I think not. Today I had coffee (with sugar), oatmeal (with sugar), more coffee (with sugar), lunch followed by a couple of brownies (with sugar) and you know what? I feel terrible. I'm not used to eating so much sugar and I seriously feel like I've been poisoned. At this moment I have acorn squash ready to bake and well seasoned chicken breasts in the oven. I'll steam some broccoli and we'll have a very tasty and healthy dinner. In the morning I'll probably have an egg on whole grain toast and more chicken breast with probably quinoa and black beans and veg for lunch. I know for a fact that this time tomorrow I will feel fantastic. (I also hope to get in a jog, but let's not get TOO ambitious! LOL)

Over the next several months to a year I hope to pare down my life in such a way that I am healthy, my home is a place of refuge and relaxation without clutter everywhere making anyone uptight (about breaking something, spilling something, or feeling overwhelmed by too much stuff), and my outlook and disposition are peaceful.

So! On that note, I am thankful today for healthy food that nourishes my body, not just feeds my sweet tooth.

Image credit

Written on 11/18/11, edited on 11/19/11 to add: I'm also thankful for being able to sleep in today. It's not often that I get to sleep until I wake up, no alarm clock. Yay! Of course the cat decided it was time for me to get up, but whatever. By the way, why do they just sit and stare at you while you are sleeping? Cats are weird.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday, Nov 18

I published a post for today but I took it down because I want to polish it up a bit. For now I will simply say that I am thankful for healthy food, simply prepared at home. I ate way too much sugar today and I feel it! Bleah. The Pioneer Woman has recently posted about going completely sugar free for a while. Methinks it's not a bad idea.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful today for home made caramel latte. The perfect cozy pick-me-up on a chilly grey afternoon.

I'm nesting around here today. We emptied an old bookcase that was an eyesore and consolidated all my husband's books into one area, then carried the bookcase out to the garage to await advertising on Craigslist. I fixed a wall hanging that had been broken but jerry-rigged together on the wall since we moved, and I'm working on getting my guest room/craft room/office/whatever in shape to receive company over the holidays. I'm painting the furniture in that room so it all matches (we all know how important it is for the furniture to match...sheesh!), hitting up Freecycle, Craigslist, and Goodwill for a black floor lamp and/or something black that can be used for a sewing table/desk. I'm thinking about using filing cabinets with a hollow core door across them, all painted black, if I can't find anything else, but I'd like to avoid the amount of work that will take if possible. I'm kind of done with black paint for now. It makes such a huge mess! I've repainted a lot of furniture in my time, and it all turns out well, but I make a huge hot mess in the process every time. This time I discovered that the paint soaked through my drop cloth into the carpet in a couple of places...yikes! Luckily I caught it when the paint was still wet and was able to scrub it out with a washcloth. I paint barefooted because I step in it all the time, but I have to remember to wipe my feet before I walk on the carpet. Don't ask. I tell myself that projects like this always look worse before they look better, right?

I took a nice picture of my latte on the mantel with twinkly orange lights and dried leaves (very seasonal, eh?) and emailed it to myself so I could post it here. It's not showing up in my inbox. So...I uploaded it to my Picasa account. Not there. Either Verizon has a problem or it's a user error. That would be ummm....me. Haha! My Verizon service isn't that great these days, but the problem right now is probably the latter. My latte actually looks pretty much like the picture anyway, except for the twinkly lights.


image credit 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back Home Again

"Hey, it's good to be back home again...." What's that old John Denver song? Ok, so I'm dating myself. I'm not ashamed to admit I loved John Denver as a teenager!

Anyway, we're back in the saddle here. Well, sort of! After faffing around with coffee, lost keys, and loading the last of the stuff we were finally on the road at 7.45 am to drive our daughter's car home. She and her husband are on their honeymoon and will fly straight here in a few days. We arrived home about 8.30 pm. (I promptly slept for eleven hours.) Allowing for the time change between Arizona and California we made good time. We don't mess around when we do that drive. It's too far to waste time. We do it in one long straight shot, bringing sandwiches and snacks and energy drinks (Hello purple Monsters! Gotta have those!!) or just grab something fast and eat in the car. Yesterday it was almonds and coffee on the way out of town, Quiznos and purple Monsters in Blythe, and cheddar flavored chex mix in nowhere-ville California.

Yum.

Not.

Actually the Quiznos was pretty good.

Anyway, we grab some food, gas up, and hit the road. I usually drive the first half and then my hubby finishes up. We tried it the other way around once and it was not a good scene. Let's just say that waking up in the opposite lane facing oncoming cars is NOT a good idea! Granted, on that particular trip we had traveled overnight instead of starting out early in the morning, but sleeping while driving is probably not a good idea. Hubby is good for either shift, but I can only do the first one if we want to arrive alive.

Click this link if you wonder what we've been doing for the last week! This will also explain why my Month of Thanksgiving posts have been sketchy. I tried to post daily. I really did. There was just too much going on and posting from my phone was too much hassle. I was going to go back and clean up the ones I did but...nah. 

My thankful post for today is associated with the link. I am so thankful for longevity, history, and heritage in the Kingdom of God.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

update from the phone:

posting from my phone...painful. no caps, limited punctuation. i cant express myself that way. maybe its atually a good exercise for me, haha. anyway, today i am thankful that my daughter is a hair stylist...a good one. purely for selfish reasons i am thankful for that but i gotta be real. insert exclamation marks and smiley faces where appropriate. more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aaaaaccckkk! I missed a day!


I didn't do my post yesterday....but in my defense, I was traveling, and then attending my daughter's bridal shower. At the shower I caught up with some old friends. One friend in particular is someone I roomed with right up until the day I was married. (Hi Maggie!) As soon as I saw her I remembered so clearly the night before my wedding. I was freaking out in true bride style..."What am I doing???? I can't get married!!! What if he's the wrong one?" She and my other roomies talked me off the ledge, I got married the next day and seriously, have never regretted that decision for a second. Anyway, when I saw her at my daughter's shower it dawned on me that these old relationships are extremely precious, and I dare say not very common. Our lives are still closely intertwined after all these years as we see our own children through the same life decisions and journeys we undertook ourselves. I'm thankful for old friends.

I'm also thankful for new friends. I've met the lady who is doing the photography for my daughter's wedding. She is so sweet and so nice, and I'm thankful for her and her willingness to use my daughter as a guinea pig for her portfolio for her budding photography business! This lady has kids who are close friends with my kids so I'll be seeing more of her. :-D

Seems like the theme of thankfulness and friends and relationships is foremost in my mind these days!  

So I've done a two-fer today...let's hope I can get online again tomorrow! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Celebrate!

One week from today my daughter will no longer be Miss, but Mrs. (!!!) In light of this upcoming celebration, I want to share the celebration you see below. L.O.V.E. I.T.!!! I have posted this before, but in light of this Month of Thanksgiving, I want to repost it, and say that I am thankful for such an incredibly fun and joyful outlook on life! This video always makes me smile! 



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Today I Am Thankful For...


...freshly brewed coffee. Lots of it. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thanksgiving Month: November 4, 2011

Home is where the heart is.
We have a fantastic relationship with our soon-to-be son-in-law. He stopped by just now with his brother and they are hanging out for a bit. Love that! Love that people feel at home in my home, and I'm thankful that my home is a happy place for anyone who wants to come over, and thankful that our family is expanding in such a wonderful way!
Image credit

It's Raining, and I Love It!

I mean, what's not to love when you can wear boots like these?!!!Aren't they too cute for words? Love them! They are a "happy thing!" I wish I knew where to find them because I would buy them! They are totally me!

Rain. When we lived in England we had so much rain and grey skies that I thought I'd never be happy to see the rain again. I'm a desert rat at heart. I grew up in southern Arizona where the rain blows through in huge beautiful monsoon storms in the summertime and some gentle rain in late winter. That's it. Mostly we had dry hot weather and I grew to love it, though when the rains came though we got as excited as kids at Christmas. The weather in England was a novelty at first, but the constant grey and drizzle quickly grew old and downright depressing. Move forward eighteen years, and here I am in Northern California with beautiful, beautiful weather. Lots of sunshine, hot summers, beautiful fall color, mild winters. Perfect for me. This would, however, exclude San Francisco, where we lived for about a year when we first moved out here. For geological and meteorological  reasons I don't understand, San Francisco gets a lot of cloudy grey chilly weather. Someone said that the coldest winter they ever spent was summer in San Francisco. So true! I'm sure I could find the quote if I looked, but if you really want to know where it came from I'm sure you know how to Google it. (I wonder how long it will be until "google" is officially a verb in the English language...) SF is too much like England! Some love it and the fog is beautiful, as is the city itself and I think it's an amazing place that I love, but I had enough grey to last a lifetime!

Anyway, back to my point.

Rain. It rained last night and it's still drizzly this morning and you know what? I like it again. Never in a million years did I think I would say that, but I do! I like the rain! 

It's so much more satisfying to be content than to always be fighting against whatever life throws at you. Not that we don't contend for what's right, what's good, what's pure and lovely, but there is great gain in contentment

So, bring on the rain in the Bay! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fig Trees and Early Mornings

November 3rd. Day three of a month of Thanksgiving.

Today I was reading in the book of Mark (also found in Matthew) about the fig tree that Jesus cursed when it bore no fruit and the tree died. I was a bit confused about what this all means. Figs were not in season, yet Jesus expected the tree to bear fruit at that time.

Isn't that unfair? Isn't that unreasonable?

No. There is a lesson there for us. By the way, all scripture is given to us by God for our instruction and guidance and the answer to every single situation in life can be found within the pages of the Bible. Just thought I'd throw that in as an extra! :-) Anyway, there is a lesson in that scripture that my husband pointed out to me. God expects us to be fruitful for His kingdom, and there is no excuse for unfruitfulness. Even when, in our own minds or by our limited human understanding, we think that we have a good reason to sit back on our laurels and let someone else do the work, we are wrong.

But it's impossible for a tree to bear fruit when it's not in season!

Not true, because with God all things are possible, even bearing fruit out of season. Dare I say, especially bearing fruit out of season! God demonstrates His miracle power when things happen that are beyond our understanding.

I am thankful for God's Word that brings direction and help to our lives, and also gives us little nuggets of His character and who He is. I've been getting up daily at 5.30 to pray and read my bible and I have to be honest...it's tough. Some days are harder than others and I often just want to crawl back into bed (like today...it was raining and my pillows looked so cozy!) but I'm always, always glad when I'm up and at it. (I set up my coffee at night so it's ready for me in the morning...a little luxury to help me start the day at o'dark thirty.)

"...those that seek me early shall find me." Proverbs 8:17
"Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalms 119:11

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Is Never Dull

Today has been super busy and hectic but I want to get in my thankfulness thought for the day before I hit the sack. I am thankful for so many things, but I'll mention that I'm actually very thankful for being so busy today! I'm thankful that I have enough going on in my life to keep me from ever being bored! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all that is on my plate, but in the words of one of my old friends who doesn't blog (so I can't refer you!) "Well...life is never dull!" She says this in her charming Tennessee drawl in reference to being married to her hilarious and very adventurous husband.  This is her philosophy on life too...that life is never dull, and she is someone who just loves life and everyone she comes into contact with. She is one of my favorite people to be with and I should add here that I'm thankful for her too, and will be with her this time next week! Happiness!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Just Wanted to be Sure of You

Happy November! Happy Thanksgiving month! This month I will be joining together with my friend Anne and posting daily about something I am thankful for. It may be a big thing with pictures and the whole nine yards, or it may a small one liner with no picture at all (thinking of the trip I'm about to take to my daughter's wedding...limited internet access other than my phone...yada yada), but one way or another, I think Thanksgiving is a very important holiday important to remember and our culture is rapidly forgetting.

Our society is way too caught up with stuff and materialism, especially where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area! I would like to take this month and not focus on the bling of Christmas, but focus on thankfulness, not only for where we came from as a country but in general. We must maintain a thankful attitude if we are to appreciate Christmas as truly an honoring of the birth of our Lord and Savior, not just jingle bells and presents.

Yes, I will be working on some Christmas ideas and gifts during this month. Three weeks in December is not enough time to pull together some of the gifts I would like to give this year (hint: they are coming out of my craft studio!) but my thinking is to focus on living thankfully.

So! With that as an intro, today, November 1st, I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for friends especially who are willing to overlook our mistakes, faults and shortcomings, and just love us, no matter what. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pouches! Cosmetic Bags! Cuteness!

I'm seeing some of these in my future:
Found 'em here.


Thinking I'll use some of these designs (I L.O.V.E this book)!!
First I need to clear the decks in my sewing room and finish some projects that have due dates. These pouches just might show up under someones Christmas tree, this year, so if you are someone to whom I give Christmas gifts, no peeking!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some More Random Notes for Your Reading Pleasure

A few more notes before the "big one." I am working on a long post to detail some stuff that's been going on, but it's not ready for posting. So...in the meantime...some more notes. I know you are thrilled, and thank for bearing with me and my sporadic/non-existent posting schedule.
 
*I won the book I wanted! It was sort of the grand prize of the drawing (see my last post) and I won it! Yay!!!  Here is the image from The Jolly Jabber, the site that held the drawing.

I was after either the book or the pattern for the quilt shown on the right. So...I scored! Yay! And thank you to the Fat Quarter Shop!

*I have sunk (sunken? sunked? whatever) into a habit of sleeping all morning. I get up daily at 5.30 but I usually hit the sack again at 7.30 or so for about three hours. I need to be up at 5.30, so getting up later isn't an option, but seriously? Do I really need to waste the whole morning? What the heck??? I can't seem to get out of the cycle. I'm not over-caffeinated at night, but I'm not sleeping well. I'm one of those people who need eight hours, but I think I've got my circadian rhythm out of synch. Or something.  Maybe one of those alarm clocks that slowly brighten the room to simulate daylight is in order. I didn't seem to have this much trouble in the summer when the sun was blasting in the bedroom windows early in the morning. Maybe it's just that I don't want to drag my butt out of bed when it's still pitch black outside. I mean, who does? But seriously. Gotta get my act together.

*I've been doing some long power walks lately for the cardio. Four and five miles. Want to work it into a jog. Feel great about that! Getting my act together on that front!

 *Counting down now until my daughter's wedding. The whole thing still has an unreal, twilight zone (who else besides me is old enough--ok, so it was reruns when I was watching-to remember that?) quality to it. I can't really believe it's happening! Maybe I feel that way because she lives out of state and the wedding is taking place there. The preparation and anticipation levels are mostly amongst her friends there so it's not so intense for me here. Anyway, I'm making my dress, the wedding is in less than three weeks, and I haven't started it yet so methinks I'd better get cracking.

But for now...bedtime. 5.30 comes early.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Few Things of Note

 *Blogger has this new thing called Dynamic Views. I want to check it out and see if I like it.

*It's hot here. Still. Bleah. We had a few days of rain and that was nice for a change, but now we're back to hot. I shouldn't complain because when I lived in England I loooooonged for this kind of weather. Daily. Every single day of the year. I'm a desert rat at heart. But still. It's hot and I'm tired of sweating all. the. time.

*I'm thinking about starting a house cleaning business. Nothing crazy, just getting a few houses to clean. We'll see. I'm doing my neighbor's oven as a one time thing, as we speak. I sprayed it this morning and I'll go back in a few hours and wipe it down. It has a self cleaning function, but she says she doesn't like it. (See above. It's hot. And self cleaning means a hot kitchen. Maybe that's why...) She's a real estate agent and always has empty houses that need cleaning. She said she'd hook me up with jobs if I want. Thinking about it...

*My son is almost finished with his research paper. Can you say "Finally!" Can you say, "I'm SO done with this school thing!" H'e'll be 20 years old in the spring, he's my last kid, and this research paper is his senior project from high school. Granted he had to re-start as a freshman at age 16 because we couldn't transfer credits from Europe, but....wow. Home schooling an-almost-twenty-year-old-boy-who-already-has-a-great-job-and-his-own-apartment-and-thinks-he-knows-everything-already-anyway is not my idea of a good time. Just sayin'. But he only has the bibliography and some formatting of the paper itself to finish up and then we hit "send." Nice.

*He just called me. He's decorating his bathroom in his apartment and called me on his lunch hour to ask about prices on shower curtains and stuff. What's too much, what's reasonable, where to shop. I guess he still needs his mommy for some things...

*I have a million and one projects lined up for this fall, crafty and otherwise, which explains my absence here.

*I won something! I have never won anything in a random drawing. My husband did one time...a trip to Hawaii! Seriously. We had a great time. But I've never won anything until now. I entered a drawing for a book and a pattern that I was going to order anyway, and I won! I'm not sure what I won yet though. Apparently it's a surprise. There are five prizes, two being the book and pattern. So we shall see what comes in the mail. I'll let you know what it turns out to be! 

So...on that note, I'm off to check the mailbox!

Image credit

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

She Wears Purple

I've created a new blog to run alongside this one, She Wears Purple. You can find a link on my sidebar. My recent posting schedule not withstanding, I plan to post to both of them. Maybe I'll combine them eventually, but for now I like the idea of having one blog dedicated to just daily musings about this and that, sometimes silly nonsense and other times more serious thoughts, and the other dedicated only to my Christianity.

Not that I separate the two in real life, by the way. My salvation defines everything I think and do and am, but I like to have my thoughts organized.

Ok...so I like every single area of my life organized. Ok, Ok! I'm over the top about my lists and organization, but God is helping me! ;-)

Hope to see you there!

Image credit

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great News!

I could just repost my last short post where I begged off because things are busy.

I'll add to it though...my daughter extended her stay here by another few weeks! Yay! Still want to squeeze in lots of stuff but we have a bit more time to do it.

One of the things I want to do with her is hike to the top of Sweeney Ridge. The picture is the view from the top out toward the Pacific. I did not take this picture, by the way...image credit below. You can see both the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west from the top. Good cardio on the way up, too! Always a benefit...

Also, my other daughter has a blog. She just started it yesterday, so please head over and say hello. You can click to it here.

Ok...that's it for now...I do want to get back here soon though.

Image credit

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Places to Go, Things to Do, People to See...

Not a lot of posting this week. It's my daughter's last week here for her last long visit prior to her wedding and I want to spend as much time with her as possible and also I'm pushing hard to get some work done for Into-Africa. So...see ya on the flip side!

Image credit

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shadow of the Almighty

I've been fascinated by the life of Jim Elliot for years. Recently I've been reading  Shadow of the Almighty. I'm only about a third of the way though so far but I can't put it down. Can I just say...

Wow.

I cannot even express how convicting and inspiring his writings are.

Makes me search my heart to see what my motives are for everything I do and drives me to want to be all I can be for Jesus, who was and is and will be all He can be for me.

This in itself is amazing. That God would do such a thing for me.

And you.

And every single person who ever lived and ever will live.

Makes me realize that so much of my life is just fluff.

Pinterest? Fluff. 100%. Unequivocally and without a doubt, fluff.

Blogging? Fluff. For the most part. Some aspects of blogging can a great blessing and very helpful, (note: you might want to right click and open this link in a new tab or window because for some reason that site won't let you click your back button to come back here) and for that I am grateful but mostly it's fluff.

Exercise and eating right? Not fluff, so much, but profitable for only a little in light of eternity, as the scripture tells us in 1 Timothy 4:8. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. I love Elliot's take on fitness: that he wanted to keep himself healthy in order to perform his physical best on the mission field. He wanted to be prepared to do hard physical work in third world situations and be in strong health to facilitate the preaching of the gospel.

Jim Elliot focused everything in his life...and I do mean everything...around knowing God as intimately as possible this side of Heaven and writes continuously of his experiences as he reads and studies the Word of God. 

Wow.

Read it.

Thank you Shanna, for giving me the book.

This all brings me back to the idea of focus, as I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts and will be exploring further. What should be the priorities of our lives? What is truly significant?

More later....

Image credit

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Without Complexity: Part One

Read my first post about focus here. 
When I wrote that post I didn't intend to make it into a series, but I feel inspired to do so with the following post and some others along the same lines that I have brewing. You can find links to all of the posts in this "Without Complexity" series at the side bar to the right. 

My thoughts lately have been about living an uncomplicated life; about learning how to be an uncomplicated person. Our lifestyles as Americans have become way too complex and stressful. If the trends in many of the blogs that I read are correct, I'm not alone in thinking along these lines. We so easily lose sight of our purpose in the busyness of life. 

I've been inspired lately to simplify the way I live. This includes everything from decluttering my physical surroundings to the way I think and process life. At the moment I am contemplating the issue of focus. This is the beginning. Are we able to focus on the important, or the task at hand and finish it without being bogged down and caught up in tangents?

My son unknowingly taught me a lesson recently. He was helping me edit and process some of my photos. We were uploading some of my images to his computer and I mentioned that I had other pictures on my flash card that he hadn't yet seen but would be interested in. They didn't pertain to our project, but I knew he'd want to see them nonetheless. He went straight to the images he was after for our current project and didn't even have a quick glance through the others. I silently noted his single-mindedness. We finished our project quickly and efficiently and moved on from there to other things. We didn't get bogged down, sidetracked or distracted because he was focused on the project at hand.

I find that I can waste much time being distracted. The things that capture my attention aren't wrong but they are usually things that keep me from finishing a project in a timely manner, or sometimes even from finishing at all. I've been susceptible to distraction for most of my life. I tend to flit around from here to there and back again and spend a whole day accomplishing nothing of any value. Value, of course, is subjective, but I can fritter away a lot of time with nothing I value to show for it. And more importantly, I can fritter time away with nothing of eternal value (value in God's estimation) to show for it. I want the testimony of my life in general to be that I pleased God and was productive in the things that matter.

In the past, and especially as a child and teenager, I often didn't complete projects that I started. My tendency has been to find the easy way and discontinue pursuits that required me to learn something new or perfect a skill in order to excel. Not that I haven't excelled at certain pursuits...it's just that I tend to stick with what comes easily for me and avoid challenges. This is another subject altogether: challenges and the growth that comes from rising to meet them. I won't go there for now, instead I will focus (!) on the subject at hand!

Focus.

I lacked focus. And apparently I still do. (See above paragraph!)

I believe that a short attention span in adults is usually a result of lack of discipline of the mind. The causes for this are myriad and the purpose of this post is not an expose on those causes. I'll save that for another time. Maybe. (Again! Focus!)

So. My focus for the present is just that: focus. Single mindedness. How to obtain discipline of mind.

The Bible tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). It also tells us in another portion of scripture that the people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:33b) (emphasis mine). This means that the first key to doing exploits, or productivity, as I perceive it, is to know God. When I am double minded and vacillate between this and that my productivity is minimal. Productivity isn't the be all and end all of life, but I believe it's a critical element in maintaining one's dignity as a human being. So the key here is knowing God. The bottom line in all of life, really, is knowing God.



Photo credit: http://www.c4rlh.com/iphone/free-wallpapers/

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To the Rude Shopper at Michael's: Seriously? Are You Really That Important?

So I'm in Michael's yesterday. The place is pretty dead; a few employees stocking the shelves, only a handful of shoppers and one register open. No need for more than one. There is a couple slightly down the aisle from the open register, and one lady finishing up paying for her stuff. I'm standing in line...such as it is...with my purchase.

There isn't really a marked place to stand in line. People just kind of hang around and wait for a free register. (Methinks by Halloween time they should do something about that because of my experience yesterday, of which I am about to tell you. People can be pushy and demanding, especially around the holidays when they are in too much of a hurry to do all their stuff that's more important than anyone else's stuff, or more important anything else in life for that matter. Insert sarcasm font. Most people need to be told what to do and where to go. I'm sorry if I am insulting someone's intelligence, but I've worked in retail. At a craft store. During Halloween. I know whereof I speak write.)

Anyway, I'm standing there, minding my own business, not in any hurry to do anything or go anywhere, but finished in the store and needing to pay.

I can hear the couple in the aisle approach as they walk up and stop directly behind me, ready to pay for their stuff. They are talking about how the guy who owns Michael's got into a car crash and died (???? I have no idea about this) and generally chatting together. Ho hum. The lady in front is counting out her change. Bees are buzzing lazily.

No, not really about the bees, but you need to understand that the atmosphere is very quiet and relaxed and no one is in a huge hurry but just going about their business with no rush or stress.

Suddenly the woman who is part of the couple behind me jumps into my line of sight and says to me, rudely, loudly, and in an annoyed voice, "Excuse me but were were in line in front of you," to which I reply, "Oh, sorry. I didn't think you were in line, go ahead." My first cue that she was an angry person (or schizophrenic!) should have been her sudden shift in demeanor from chatting with her friend to indignation that I was in front of her. Her attitude toward me would have been more appropriate if I had turned around and slapped her across the face for no apparent reason. Seriously. Granted, I wasn't paying very close attention to her personally, and I certainly wasn't slapping her across her face, but it is entirely possible that she WAS in line and had stepped aside for a moment and I didn't realize it. No biggie. I apologize and step aside so she can pass in front of me but she continues to be argumentative and says that the lady in front of both of us could "contest" that she was before me.

I don't have the heart to tell her that if the lady "contested" her assertion that she was before me, then she would have been disagreeing or confirming that I was indeed first.

According to this source, the definition of "contest" in verb form is this:

To call into question and take an active stand against; dispute or challenge


Semantics. It's my thing. 

But whatever.

I didn't tell her my whole mind, but I did tell her that I really couldn't care less if she went before me and to be my guest. My actual words were, "I really don't care. Go ahead." Then she turned on her heel and marched out of the store, (hello, schizophrenia!) leaving her bewildered counterpart to pay for their purchase while trying to hide from embarrassment.

I suppose I was a bit rude to her in return, but at least I didn't tell her what I was thinking....that I felt sorry for her if she felt she was such an important person that she had to barge into line in front of one person who had one item to pay for in a store that was anything BUT busy.

OK. That's really all I have to say. That's it. No point to this post, really. Nothing more to see here. Go back to your lives, citizens. (Name that movie.)

PS Follow me! Tell your friends! A fun giveaway when I reach 25 followers! (Small potatoes I know, compared to some fabulous blogs that have like millions of people reading them daily, but I'm not one to despise small beginnings!)


Image credit


Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm Back!


(The image to the left is the home page of Into-Africa, a charity I support and love. Please feel free to click through and find out what Into-Africa is all about. Make a donation if you feel inspired to do so. Those of you who know me know that I almost never promote charities or ask for donations to anything in particular, but this is an exception! Into-Africa is run by a friend of ours and I totally and completely endorse what this charity is doing in the nation of Sierra Leone and other nations in West Africa. Truly exciting stuff, with eternally lasting effect!)

I'm back.

I've been doing a few things this past week:

  • Traveling to England and back for a funeral. 
  • Planning and purchasing all the materials needed to make my daughter's wedding veil, requiring multiple trips to fabric stores and phone calls to locate trim that has been discontinued. Meh.
  • Changing my mind about how I want to make the veil and locating receipts for returns, including the discontinued trim. 
  • Thoroughly cleaning my house and patio including digging out at least a zillion calla lily bulbs that have multiplied and divided on their own all over the beds in my patio. A previous tenant planted them and I can't get rid of them. They are evil.
  • Starting to plan all my fall sewing for gifts and holiday decor including Christmas stockings. This year I want to do new ones for all my fam and I'll be doing one more for my (soon-to-be) son-in-law! Love that!
  • Looking at a pile of sewing I need to do for fund raising for Into-Africa. (My sewing machine will be smokin' hot next week! I've got to get it finished and mailed. It's been so long since I made the commitment to do it that my integrity is on the line!)
  • Working out daily. 
  • Eating carefully to fuel my workouts and provide energy but not over eating or indulging in things that don't accommodate my fitness goals. This actually takes more planning that one would think. 
This is all a joy to me. Even the funeral. It was a family reunion of sorts, as the man who passed away was someone we've known for many many years, a member of a church we pastored in England. Sad for his family and those of us who loved him to lose him, but he is with Jesus and we will all be reunited forever one day!

I have been busy, it's all good.
  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deluded. Maybe.

I won't be posting for a bit...I'll be away from my computer until next week, but then I'll be back and I'll tell you about how things are going post two weeks notice!

I am deluding myself that my life is some exciting reality show that the whole world is interested in.

...

...

...

If I know I'm deluding myself is is still a delusion?

At any rate, I'll see ya'all next week!

By the way, why is reality TV so popular? Do we really have such lame lives that we have to find excitement in the trials and joys of other people's lives? Does this apply to certain types of blogs? Hmm.......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Please, Sir, I want some more.

Name that classic. A prize to the winner. Umm. Just kidding. No prize yet. But I am thinking about  a giveaway drawing when I reach 25 followers! Stay tuned!

As promised, here is another out of this world quinoa recipe.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

Ingredients:
For the salad:
   1 T olive oil
   1 C dry quinoa
   1 3/4 C chicken stock
   1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
   1 whole avocado, sliced
   1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
   1/2 red onion, diced
   Several cloves minced garlic
   1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
   Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing:
   1 whole lime, juiced
   1/2 T olive oil
   1/2 t cumin
    salt to taste

Preparation:
1. Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic and oil until garlic is golden. Add quinoa and stock, bring to a boil, turn down and simmer with lid on for 20 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare all the other ingredients. Prepare the dressing by combining ingredients and whisking briskly. Adjust salt as necessary.
3. When quinoa has finished cooking, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add all the other ingredients except avocado and dressing and toss. Serve warm or cold, garnished with avocado slices.

Sometimes I'll top this with chicken strips, alternating with the avocado slices so it looks pretty.

Next time I make this I will try to remember to take a picture and edit this post to add it. For now, the above image will have to do. Its very similar.

I found the original recipe on PW's Tasty Kitchen site. Can't seem to find it now, though. Good thing I printed it! 

Image credit

PS I'm working on figuring out how to post recipes in printable form. If anyone knows how to do that, I'm all ears!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Quinoa: a girl's best friend. Way better than diamonds.

Is that even said anymore? That diamonds are a girl's best friend? I hope not ...it's SO not true!  I suppose quinoa isn't really a girl's best friend either...but it makes for a good title.

Anyway.

Have you ever eaten quinoa? It's a grain, grown mostly in South America. It has a very high protein content, for a grain. Here's some information from an oh, so reliable source. (This would be a good place to use that sarcasm font.) I could seriously live on the stuff. That is not written in a sarcasm font!

My soon-to-be son-in-law taught me how to cook it. Basically it's cooked like rice, but mine always turned out mushy until he showed me what to do. In the interest of paying it forward and community spirit, I now give you his method of cooking quinoa:

By the way, we don't measure the ingredients other than the quinoa and liquid, so you'll need to eyeball it all and adjust for your personal taste.

Basic Quinoa Recipe

Ingredients:
Lots of garlic cloves, I use about 8, but then I LOVE garlic, minced
Several T olive oil
1/4 C Braggs Liquid Amino Acids (available in most good grocery stores and health food stores)
1 T, more or less, of dried basil or oregano, or whatever herb you like
1/1/2 C quinoa
2 1/2 C water

What to do:
Saut√© a bunch of minced garlic cloves (maybe 8?--enough for a couple of Tablespoons of minced garlic) in several Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until golden. Toss the Braggs  and the herbs in there too. Don't let it burn. There are few things in life worse than burned garlic.  (Slivered red onion is good here too. Or maybe some chopped red pepper; any raw veggie would be good added now.)

When the garlic is golden add the dry quinoa and immediately the water.

Boil this mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add any leftover cooked veggies you like. I'm thinking broccoli or chopped spinach, but whatever you like works, and turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, checking once in a while to make sure all the liquid isn't boiled away too soon. You don't want to lift the lid too often though, because you want the steam to stay inside. Add more water if necessary in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments. The quinoa is done when the outer ring around the grain separates from the grain itself and you can see  the little circular rims clearly, like little tiny white...well...I want to say worms, but the visual for that isn't very appetizing. So try not to visualize that, but you need the outer rings to come away from the grain. You can refer to the image at the top of this post. It shows a bit of what I'm talking about.


That's it! Yummy by itself or with any meat. You can also poach an egg right in the quinoa before all the water boils away and it makes a delicious and super nutritious breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or snack.


I'll post another quinoa recipe tomorrow that is O.U.T. O.F. T.H.I.S. W.O.R.L.D.

Stay tuned!


Image credit (click on this and it will give you another recipe too!)


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fashionably Late

I am late to the party....but I finally joined in. Lots of beautiful images and a fun place to keep track of things that are inspiring. Click on the icon to find me on Pinterest. I'm just getting started but it's a great way to waste time get inspired and save images of things you want to remember. (Icon also in my sidebar to the right.)

Follow Me on Pinterest

But be careful...it's addicting! 

Thaaaaaat's all folks! I have websites to visit, images to pin and time to waste, important things to do!

Image from pinterest.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Haiku

I think one of the reasons I love the poem Fog by Carl Sandburg is that it creates such a beautiful image with so few words. I love Haiku for the same reason. I think I'm a minimalist at heart. Really. I'll be posting about this soon.

I came across this recently and the post spoke to me on many levels. Please click over and enjoy.

Image credit: I found this image by doing a Google search for "fog"....not sure where it came from originally, but I imagine there are zillions of public domain pictures of the Golden Gate bridge covered in fog because I'm pretty sure the fog factory for the whole world is located in San Francisco.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Focus, and Focus Well

Sometime after all the dust of Christmas begins to settle and the New Year is on the horizon most of us look back at the previous year, take stock, evaluate, regroup and make some goals for the upcoming year. It's a good idea to keep these things in mind, maybe even in written form somewhere, so we don't forget them, and revisit them from time to time. Life starts to happen and even spiral out of control sometimes and we forget our goals if we haven't noted them somewhere.

With that in mind, this being a bit past mid-year, it's time for me to take another look.

This year, instead of making lofty goals that I may or may not achieve (probably wouldn't achieve if the truth be told, and then I would feel bad and flog myself and feel like a loser) I chose a word that would be my theme, the hinge pin of sorts, for 2011. My idea was that this word would color all the decisions I would make throughout the year. It needed to be something that would encourage me to continue to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (not physically, thank you very much! I've grown way too much in that regard and need to shrink! LOL). It needed to be something simple that would encompass the areas of my life that I wanted to address over the months of this year.

The word I chose was focus.

Where is my focus? Do I have clear goals and purpose? What is that purpose? Does it line up with God's purpose for me? Are the things in life that I'm pursuing furthering that purpose? What do I want to be doing in December of 2011? How have I been productive? What exactly has my life produced over the year?

I made a decision to simplify my life in any way I could, and dedicate myself wholeheartedly to whatever I was doing. The scripture tells us in Colossians 3:23, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men..." .  I wanted every single decision I made, whether that be concerning my attitude, thoughts, or actions, to be purposeful and intentional.

This is a huge challenge here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's an area dedicated to materialism and commercialism. Culture and lifestyle here is a one hundred and eighty degree shift from living in southern Spain, the most recent place we lived prior to here. People in Spain enjoy their lives. They aren't caught up with 'stuff,' or making more and more and more money. They are generally content with what they have, they work to pay the bills and provide for needs, but they aren't running here and there and everywhere consumed with the rat race of life. It's a very relaxed, happy, family oriented culture. It's a much slower and enjoyable ritmo de vida. I can't speak for other areas of Spain, but where we lived, on the southern coast, right on the shore of the Mediterranean, people had a passion and love of life that I rarely see here. In the summer time the beaches were filled every day by mid afternoon. Folks took care of the necessary affairs of life as quickly as they could, and then spent the rest of the day enjoying being alive. They didn't have a lot of 'stuff,' and didn't feel a need for it. They weren't so consumed with making their way in life that they forgot to enjoy life!

What a sad legacy it would be to have lived all my life striving to do and have more and more and more, so much so that I forget what's really important. Am I enjoying my relationship with Jesus, or has what I do for Him become an obligation? Am I enjoying my family, or have I allowed so much selfishness into my heart that they irritate me? Am I noticing the small joys of daily life or am I too busy being busy that I forget those things? Are my friends more important than my stuff? What am I focusing on? To what am I applying myself?

Did I notice the way the edges of the clouds turn silvery pink right before the sun comes up? Did I notice the way my cat runs to greet me when she hears my car drive up (I know...she's a weird cat. She sometimes thinks shes a dog. She even plays fetch)? Did I enjoy the process of creating a healthy tasty meal or just throw something on the table so we could hurry up and eat and move on to the next thing? Did I help that young mother on the sidewalk trying to get her stroller over the curb and in the process meet someone new? What am I focusing on? I am guilty of letting all these and more totally pass me by, but this year I have been applying myself to focusing on the task and hand, completing it well, and living more in the present moment that wishing for something else.

I don't want to be so caught up in busyness that I forget to be content. That's really the issue right there. Is what I'm focusing on bringing contentment or is it making me wish for more and more and yet more? And do I focus completely on the current task and complete it well or am I so scattered that do a half job at everything? And perhaps the most important question of all: Is God pleased with the focus of my life?

'Cuz really, that's what life is all about anyway.


I'm not sure where the original image for the picture for this post came from, but I found it here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a follower?

Update 8/12: looks like the problem is solved. For now anyway! 
Update again later: Ok. Maybe it's not solved. Meh.

Apparently Blogger is having some trouble with the followers gadget. If you are following me (and if not I'd love it if you would!) please be patient. Your picture will appear again under Followers eventually.

I hope!

Seems to me that Blogger is having several issues lately. Let's hope they straighten them  all out soon!

Wading Through the Murky Waters of Gift Giving Etiquette...and Possibly Drowning

Updated to add a disclaimer: I wrote this post some time ago, before my daughter was engaged. She is getting married soon and she and her finance will be registering at a few places. It's a very practical thing to do, especially in this day and age when a young couple staring out has some genuine needs and often large financial roadblocks in the early days. It also relieves the person who genuinely wants to give a gift but doesn't know what to give. I get that, I don't have any problem with people who use registries, and I do use them on occasion for gift giving. Also, I'm sure there is a valid and legitimate counter point to everything you are about to read. My opinion doesn't change though. 

I have a little pet peeve.

I don't like gift registries.

You know...when someone is getting married or having a baby and the shower invitation comes with a note that the the bride or baby's mother is registered at XYZ stores...and then you go to the websites and there are a million and one things the person has chosen that they want. It makes me feel that gift giving is an obligation. Sort of like if I don't give a gift from the list then my gift won't be appreciated or something. I'm sure that's not the case with most people, and most folks consider it a convenience to pre-choose what they want, but I just don't like the message it sends.

Side note: I'm not so sure that all this "convenience" we live by is such a good thing anyway, but that's something for another post.

I'd much rather put some thought and consideration into the gift and choose something I think the recipient would like. I'm all for gift receipts...though I suppose that does cause the recipient the possible inconvenience of having to make an exchange. I can't help but think that's better though. Most places offer a 90 day return window. 90 days! That's three whole months! Certainly one could find time within 90 days to make an exchange or at least ask a friend to go the store to get a gift card for later use. If I were receiving the gift I'd rather that my guests have the luxury of giving me what they want to, if they want to! It's so much more personal. The whole registry thing is almost like saying, "You and I both know you are obligated to give me a gift at this momentous occasion in my life. Here's a list of what I want because I'm not willing to run the risk that you might pick something I don't like. Make your choice." What's that all about? Since when is gift giving an obligation anyway?

I had a look a the registry for the baby shower I will be attending and noticed that the new mother picked out some cute stuff...much of it with a monkey/ jungle theme. I made a baby quilt with monkey themed fabrics in lieu of purchasing a gift from the registry. I did wonder, as I was making it, if she'll like it, but I can tell you, if it were me, I'd MUCH rather receive a quilt that someone took time and hand made rather than some store bought cr@p. I'd appreciate the love and effort and time spent because I'd know they were thinking of me, and that's worth so much more than any gift anyway.

That, however, is a little quirk of mine. I'm totally not into "stuff." I don't even buy souvenirs when I travel. I take pictures instead. "Stuff" isn't my thing, but the thought is very important to me.

The quilt is pretty cute, though, if I do say so myself. ;-) ...and practically speaking, one does need a certain amount of "stuff" when one is having a baby. Though not as much as one might think...but again, another post.

The family to whom this gift if going are dear friends, and I don't mean any offense by complaining about the registry thing. I realize it's convenient for many, and it's the way things are generally done, but seriously? I was blessed beyond measure with some of the cutest and most imaginative gifts I've ever seen when my kids were born. That wouldn't have happened had I registered somewhere.

Ok. Enough whining. I guess I'm just old school when it comes to this.

Image credit