12.31.2015

:: Simple thoughts for the new year ::





  
  
  

Dear World,


It is really not hard to understand, nor is it complicated or even difficult.
Together, we must learn to do all things with kindness, and not hatred.

Some people have trouble with the concept of God or the Universe or a Divine Intelligence, ok then,  just think of this then in terms of science. Love, kindness and positive thoughts are simply energy which materialize into real things. When you allow love and kindness to swirl around this planet instead of hate and violence, you will come to live in peace. If not, we will probably eventually destroy ourselves. Which would you prefer to surround yourself with? Positive energy? or, negative energy? That's what I thought.  I wish for a happy and positive world for you and for me and for all those who come after us. Happy New Year everyone! Be safe!



12.30.2015

:: Interesting people everywhere ::



I enjoy intelligent conversation.
Hearing about current events.
Listening to others talk.

However my heart years for more.
I would like to understand the "why."
I want to know why people do the things they do.

I also really want to know what interests someone.
Not the basic things like television shows or music, 
but what really makes their heart run wild.

I want to know their goals, dreams, and desires.
Who they really are as a person.
What they really want to accomplish.

Not only with others, but with myself. 
I want to understand why I do the things I do.
Why I care about the things that I do.
Why I am here
and what I really want to accomplish. 

It will be a journey, a good journey
difficult at times I'm sure
but in the end I know it will be worth the pain.


12.29.2015

:: Saving for a rainy day ::



I’m not a hoarder. I’m a saver. I think we've actually maybe discussed all this before. Hoarders take in every cat they find, hold onto every magazine and newspaper they receive, but savers really just keep the things with sentimental value. Hoarders stack things in piles which only gets in the way of life—how do you walk around stacks of things? Or, only have a trail through your house? How is it even possible to safely live like that? High towers of precariously perched magazines, too-tall bundles of mail, each folded and returned to its envelope, all of it claiming surface and volume. And sometimes even boxes upon boxes of "stuff" that they are no longer actually really sure what's even in them piled high on furniture leaving no place to even sit anymore. But, we savers, we put our keepsakes in plastic boxes in the attic. Totes. Makes all the difference in the world. While Hoarders keep things out of fear - savers, we keep them out of love.

Still, I’ve saved too much. I have enough ornaments for three Christmas trees; ok, actually more - but I did get rid of 2 trees this year and the decorations for them. Halloween costumes that, while I made them myself, fit no one now; original boxes from cameras and computers I no longer have filled with mementos, school work, pics; a large bag full of mittens, gloves, scarves and hats. too many to count. But,  you can be sure I have something in there that will match any outfit anytime; a sewing machine I don’t know how to use;a collection of Martha Stewart Magazines; 72 VHS tapes we’ll never watch; box after box of point-and-shoot photos, and so it goes. I am letting go of all of it. For real. It leaves space to just get what I need. And, black goes with everything, so a few gloves and scarves will be fine. The pictures I will digitize, other things I will take pictures of, and magazines only wither away and rot - paper does not last forever. I feel much better now since I let this go today. Now, I must tackle the closet of clothes I am saving for when I lose 20 lbs. I'm thinking on that one. Do you have a closet like that too?


12.28.2015

:: She loves hearts ::



I call bullshit where I see it, and I’m not going to stop, because for years I did just that. Let it go on and on and on. Surprised? I have a good friend who, every time I turn around is telling me how she was so upset because her friend, or he family member put her down in some form or another. Bullshit. Yesterday, was my last straw. She had a girlfriend who made plans with her for a while now to go after Christmas shopping. While shopping, she actually said to someone waiting on them that my friend is a little mean. She doesn't have a mean or selfish bone in her body. She went on to say that because she told the butcher or whoever that she wanted her packages wrapped separately that she was being a pain. What? And on top of all of this, she had four or five other stories along the same line that happened with this woman during the day with her. She won't do anything about it.  She will probably just ignore her for months. That's just how she handles things. By hiding. But, folks, this woman has done nothing but hide for years. It's like people spot a good person to abuse and then heap it on her, and then she doesn't know how to deal with it, except to push it down, swallow her pride and just move on. But she doesn't move on. She hides. She works, she comes home and she hides. She hides behind illness, headaches, exhaustion, etc, etc, but the truth of it is this; life has pushed her there and she has accepted it. But, you know me. I'm not going to let that continue on. No, I'm not. This woman, who used to be full of fun and full of life can be again. She is fun. She is talented. She is smart. And the world needs people like her because otherwise we would be run over by total assholes. Despite the fact that you should let go and let karma care for things {and it does} bottom line is this; Bullshit needs its callers. She has 2 {supposed friends} in her life right now whom she needs to confront. The nice lady who put her down all day yesterday, and an older friend who has used her all of her life to take care of her aged mother because she wants nothing to do with that. Her life is more important. And my friend, has watched over her mother lovingly for years and years now. She thinks of her as her own mother. Why wouldn't she? The grew up together. But, I have suggested that now is the time to let her children take care of her. She must back off. They do not care about her, and in fact, are going to pull the rug right out from under her again. It is a mess folks. But bullshit needs to be called. Right now. My friend, she's going to be ok. Life goes on. Her life is going to get better. Because I'm not going to let her feel like life is beating her down anymore. No, from here on out. Life is good again. Creating is everything, and the world Mary, it is your Oyster. And just please remember this:


12.27.2015

:: Amy A-Z ::




Art—Jounaling, Mixed media art pages, Paintings, Photography, Music, Poetry: I can't live without them.Not any of them. Being creative is deep within me. That will never cease to be. I will always be creating.

Beaches---I love beaches. I love walking along the shoreline on them, I love lying on the soft, warm sand and burying my feet in it, sitting on it as the waves come crashing in all around me, pitching a tent on it and building a fire and camping on it.  

Comfort---A bed full of soft warm blankets and soft feather pillows, An over sized comfy chair just begging to be sat in all afternoon to read a good book in, Macaroni and Cheese, Shepard's pie and oh so many meals that have to be put on the comfort list.

Dogs—A house without a dog is probably a quieter house, but it's one I don't want any part of. My dog is my very special loving companion, my friend, my confidant. He is a part of my family in every way. And, by the way, you never hear about the crazy dog lady right?

Eggs---Can't live without them. I eat eggs every day in some way shape or form. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day no matter what time I may enjoy it, and eggs are the most major part of it.

Family and Friends---You need both in your life always. These are the most special relationships you will ever have, and you will fondly remember them always.

Guitar---Yup, you heard me right. I am lucky enough to live in a house and a neighborhood full of guitar players who on a whim and at a moments notice will create a makeshift band and hold a makeshift mini concert in my backyard for all to hear and enjoy.

Home---A house is only a home with all the special ingredients that get mixed into it. Love, nurturing relationships, friends, neighbors, furniture and items chosen with love, or made by hand from a loved one, it's a place you are surrounded by all that you love, and hold most dear to you.

I---yes, that's right. Me. I'm thankful to be me. Thankful for my beautiful life. Thankful for everything that makes me, well, me.

Job---Not just for my present job, but for all of my past jobs as well. They too, are a part of me. Things I learned in one job prepared me better for the next and the next and so on and so forth. All the good people I have met at work, and all the wonderful training that I have received have made me a better person today. 

Kitchen---The most special room in the whole house it is.It is where I create lots of goodness. It is where the family and the people I love gather in my home to enjoy the fruits of my cooking, to play games, to eat dinner and share good conversation, to play cards, decorate cookies, it is the main hub of my whole existence this room. This one room.  

Love. Laughter. Light. Life. We could never live without these things in our lives, not ever.

Music—Even bad music is better than no music at all. Can you even imagine a world without it? I create new playlists all the time to fit my changing moods and the changing seasons, and on and on. Music is a good companion when you want to be alone.

Nikon—I don’t ever see things fully without it. I have taken thousands of pictures with it, and this new year I plan on using it to make a 365 project come true.

Observant---This is something I have finally grown in to. Instead of reacting first, I have taken a step back and become one who observes, ponders a while, and then makes a decision. It is my way of being mindful.

Positive---This is my new attitude. The only one a person should have, because with it, you will go far, without it, you will go nowhere. The thing is, life will happen no matter what your attitude, so why not make it a good one?

Quiet---This is something all of us need in our everyday struggles. Quiet. Some quiet time. Time to meditate. Time to relax and rest and think over the day. Give yourself some quiet as a gift to yourself every day.

Reading---Like, is there any doubt? I love to read, it takes me far away, I get lost in all the books that I read in one way or another. Reading is something everyone should do. At least one book a month will set you straight!

Sleep—You take it for granted until you can’t do it anymore. I went through so many years of just laying my head down and being asleep within minutes, and now, every night that I sleep is a day I’m grateful for. But, I do believe that a set schedule everyday can go far in helping me relax and go to sleep each night at a decent time.

Unique---that is each of us. I am unique in my own way, and you in yours. That is what make me-me and, you-you. I have unique qualities that I love and wouldn't trade for the whole world. And so do you.

Values---We all have them. We all live by them. If you don't know what you believe in, I suggest you figure it out quick, and then stick to them. These create the core center of what we each believe to be true in our lives. There is nothing in this world quite as important as that. It develops you into who you will be. What you are.

Water---I don't believe there is any one thing in life more important than water. You need it. You can't live without it, And it's something you probably don't get enough of. Drink lots of it every day. It will make everything better.

XOXOXO---Hugs and kisses for everybody. Be loving in you words, in your deeds and in everything that you do. Welcome and greet people with open arms and a big warm smile always. Be that person people can love.

Yearn---Do you yearn for something more? Good! You should, you always should. Dream, wish, yearn, whatever you want to call it, never give it up, never. It will lead you down the right path.

Zing-I always add a little zing to my step, a little Zest to my food... do that, and you'll do just fine!

   

 



12.26.2015

:: Cake, pie, oh my ::



What in the world have I been up to? Lots of stuff, that's for sure. I said I wanted to do a million things and slowly but surely,
 I am! There have been a lot of high's and low's this week. A lot. Some of the high points of course were Christmas, seeing friends and family and the normal Christmas stuff, which there is always a ton of. But, I wanted to talk about all the little things that made the holiday feel really special. Like, getting a bottle of wine as a gift from work {but no corkscrew!} and my boss making her famous Tres Leche Cake. OMG I've never eaten a moister cake before, well, I guess it's tied with my better than sex cake for sure. It was divine people. 

Tres Leche Cake

Next, I downloaded tons of books into my Kindle. And when I say tons... I am not kidding. Among my newest added are: All the light we cannot see, The Charm School, Dr. Sleep, Go set a Watchman,  Modern Romance, and What Alice forgot. Among others. Lots of others. Too many to possibly list. Then looked around for a new desktop calendar. Didn't have to go far, I simply love the ones on this site. I always checking it out every month from  This Blog Here. Aren't they simply gorgeous? I know. It was a wonderful find. I'm always finding stuff on other sites that I want to do or create, or bake! Like this: I'm thinking that I'm going to have to have a try at making this pie I found Here. It looks fabulous! As someone who loves the crust on a pie more than what is in the pie, this one is definitely for me! Why so many new things going on? Well, I read the most interesting article that simply stated that time slows down when you're learning and doing new things. Read the whole article about it HERE. It's an interesting read. Especially when most of us feel like it's rushing by at the pace of the white river rapids. {They are quite fast} Perhaps I should have said as fast as a New York minute huh? Anyway, point is, learning to manipulate time as much as possible to you advantage. Or rather, make you feel like you are. I have plans within plans and on Saturday have maybe planned a little much, but part of the day {maybe 6 hours} will be devoted to thrifting. I love going thrifting and I have my goodie bag ready to get me through the day! I'll let you know what I scored! What are you doing with your days following Christmas? I'd love to know.




12.25.2015

:: Christmas::






May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope, 
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~author unknown










12.22.2015

:: Winter Solstice Darkness ::



The darkest day of the year is now upon us. Today, it is raining, and it is warm. It is December in the Midwest and 60 degrees outside. It is indeed strange as I watch flowers pop up from the earth as though it were Springtime. they are confused. And, it is dark, as it should be. We do need the darkness however, As much as we need the light. There must always be both. Darkness can be good as well. It can be: 

  • nurturing darkness
  • comforting darkness
  • sheltering darkness
  • restful darkness
  • restorative darkness
  • protective darkness
  • supporting darkness
  • love-making darkness
  • tender darkness
  • soft, gentle darkness
  • clarifying darkness
  • emancipating darkness
  • transforming darkness

I put on my black sweater and it makes me feel warmer against the wet chill of the rain. And I do feel the comfort, that such darkness creates. Today, on this dark day of winter, I wish you all those dark blessings and many more.

12.21.2015

:: It's Monday again ::



And it all starts up again, except that this week will be a very short week at work. Only 3 days and then... a 4 day weekend!!! Christmas weekend at that! What could be better? I have so many things that I plan on stuffing into those short 4 days believe it. And the best part: Next week is a 3 day workweek as well! Whoo-hoo!!! That is going to give me lots of time for fun. I have ideas. Lots of ideas. I'll keep you posted!


12.20.2015

:: Keep the good times close ::




Why is it that things can never be easy?

Anger
Hate
Rage

We allow these emotions to cloud our minds.
We allow these emotions to rule our judgments.
We allow these emotions to tear apart our family.
We allow these emotions to turn our backs to our family.


We allow ourselves to forget about the times when we were happy.

We allow ourselves to forget just how much we need our family.
We allow ourselves to forget that these are the very people
who love us and support us the most.

Smiles
Laughing
Love

What happened? Once, we as a family shared so much happiness.  
Then, it all ended. And, all of the good memories we ever had
together begin to easily fade into the past. And time, as it always
does begins to erase in our minds any goodness we ever had.



:: Need some energy? Try these! ::




All Natural Energy Bites
Makes 16 walnut-sized bites

Ingredients:
1/2 C. nut butter { almond butter, peanut butter or any kind of nut butter}
1/3 C. honey
1 C. old fashioned rolled oats
1 C. shredded unsweetened coconut {you can substitute with any nuts and/or seeds}
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp. spices (optional- but you could add cinnamon or pumpkin spice)
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 C. of other add-ins such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips etc.

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix the nut butter, honey, vanilla and salt if desired.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.
3.  Place in the fridge for 15 or so minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge and begin to roll the dough into walnut (or smaller) size bites.
5.  Place in an airtight container in the fridge or in the freezer {I prefer the freezer!) for a quick and delicious snack!

* Here's the thing to remember:  if you get the base goodness correct (the nut butter, honey, vanilla, sea salt), you really can't go wrong.  Just don't get too carried away with dry ingredients or they wont stick together.

12.19.2015

:: Christmas Questionaire :




Ok Folks, I agreed to answer some simple holiday questions from you, and in no particular order here are my answers. {It really wasn't that hard to do... no}


25 Questions: Holiday Style



1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? 
Depends. If the eggnog is spiked, then the answer is eggnog, 
if not,  then the answer is hot chocolate!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? 
Presents are wrapped of course. Really?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I personally struggled with this one. For years it was white only, but in the past few years I changed to colored. Now I have 2 trees. One is white and formal, the other is colored and playful. Problem solved.


4. Do you hang mistletoe? Of course, I make a hanging mistletoe ball every year. They are gorgeous! 

5. When do you put your decorations up?  This year I started decorating on November 1st. It seems earlier every year. So much to do. So many decorations that I find it much easier to start that early.  

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Probably my famous Sweet Potato Casserole, or the green bean casserole, there are so many goodies it's too difficult to choose just one.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Getting a rocking horse. Oh my god, I LOVED that horse! Played on it for YEARS.    

8. What is on your Christmas wish list? I wish for continued happiness and good health for my friends and my family always. I never change.  

  

9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve? We each get to open just one present on Christmas Eve. And we all get the same gift. New Pajamas! Makes for a good photo opp! Then we settle in with snacks and Christmas movies! This is of course after midnight Church service! We stay up all night and party into the next day all day as we have an open house for all to come!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? One tree is quite formal and looks perfectly out of a magazine. Breathtaking. The other? All play and fun. They both look great!

11. Snow? Love it or dread it? Love it as long as it is off the streets!



12. Real tree or fake tree? One fake tree, one real tree. How's that for not sure?


13. Do you remember your favorite tradition? Well, I always found the pickle, I always decorated the cookies, I always went caroling. hard to pick just one when we as a family celebrate so many of them.  

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? To remember what the season is all about. It's not about the presents, it's about the birth of Christ, being around family and friends and showing them just how loved and important each one of them are in our lives.  



15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Aunt Myrtles Rice Pudding. 

16. What is your favorite Christmas Book? Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

17. What tops your tree? A Star of course.

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

20. Candy canes, yuck or yum? Yum! Especially dropped into a cup of coffee!

21. Favorite Christmas movie? Polar Express, Scrooged, Christmas with the Kranks, Elf, It's a wonderful life, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Unaccompanied Minors, The Santa Clause, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, Die Hard, Jingle all the way, A Christmas Story, Babes in Toyland. I know, but I love them all.

22. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies and milk



23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? We open present early, like 5:00 am, it takes hours, then we enjoy a large family brunch together before the open house begins at noon.

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall? Both. And I'll continue to do both.


25. Christmas letter or Christmas card? Christmas Card. If you have to send me a letter, then we are not close. If I know you, I already know everything you've been doing. Send me a cute photo card!


12.18.2015

:: Happy Weekend ::




Finally. It sure felt like it took a long time to get to Friday this week. Some weeks are like that though. I am so looking forward to this weekend. I have make plans. Plans for a little shopping, exercising, picture taking, journaling, getting some 365 projects ready, meditating for my word for next year, trying several new teas, watching 2 new movies, cooking at least 3 meals ahead for next week, taking the dog for a couple of very long walks, meeting my friend for coffee at Starbucks, and some spa time. I'm also hoping to catch up on some much needed rest as well {snort} can't you tell I've left lots of room for that in my schedule? Anyway, I'm hoping all this happens and more. We'll see. What are your weekend plans?






12.17.2015

:: And then some ::



Today felt really long. Probably because I had big plans after work. Not only was tonight book club night, but my good friend and I exchanged our Christmas gifts with each other over some delicious Mexican food. Nope, it really does not get any better than that on a Thursday night folks. I really miss working with her, but only because I really liked seeing her every day. I feel like in the last year I haven't seen her nearly as much as I'd like to. But this new year is looking good for get together's. Schedules have changed enough for me to enjoy lots of free time after work, and I'm filling it with workouts & get together's with my good friends and cooking and creating... what could be better than that? Anyway, back to the the evening - I made out like a bandit - but so did she! We collect things all through the year for each other and then present our gifts to each other every Christmas. It's fun. Especially getting a gift that is from a shopping trip from last April when I exclaimed how much I'd liked it... and she remembered that. Every time. But then, that's a real friend now, isn't it?



12.16.2015

:: Am I in the right month? ::





This is December right? I'll bet your wondering why I'm asking aren't you? Well, even though the halls have been decked, for just weeks now, inside of {the house} the world is a downright beautiful Christmas Wonderland. The problem is the moment you step outside the house. Why? Well, while it may not be a hot summers day, its pretty close. Last weekend was in the 60's. Simply unheard of in the month of December in these parts. And then today while we were on our first walk of the day, you will never believe what we came upon. My elderly neighbor who always plants tons of wild flowers in her yard every season had a whole bed of flowers blooming everywhere. Dozens of little yellow and orange flowers as bright as they could be, bursting out everywhere - same as they do all summer long. It was unbelievable, and it was almost all I could do not to pick them and put them in a vase and stick them in my kitchen window. The only reason I didn't; because I felt that the bright orange and yellow would clash too terribly with the beautiful Christmas decor. I know. Sigh. But, truthfully, that is how I roll. Besides, it's got to look like Christmas somewhere right?



12.14.2015

:: a cup of heaven ::




Sometimes, it's the simple moments within the afternoon break of a busy day that keep me grounded. Just taking the time to sip a perfectly poured cup of tea, musing over ideas which have percolated since the sun began to rise, and slowing the frenzied pace of a full-speed-ahead kind of day, I really look forward to these tiny slivers of time when even words are not required and my thoughts, they are free to wander.