It’s been a busy week afterall!

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On Monday I instituted a brand new time management schedule and then life outside came to a standstill. Southern Louisiana saw snow and sleet! Hubby was even forced to sit this one out at home. And, when that happens, any schedule I have seems to fly out the window. After a short recess, I got back on schedule and I have to say, my week was a lot less stressful when I followed my schedule.

I am an organizer and when I say my favorite saying is everything should have a place and everything in its place, you can be sure I mean it – even time. Yes, time! That’s where my schedule came in. Everything had a place and everything in its place. Exercise and tidying up the house had a place. Sitting down and writing had a place. See where I’m going with this? I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but if you tend to have a zero attention span the way I do, it works.

I didn’t even feel stressful today when I deviated from my schedule and used my work and writing time to grocery shop. I even found a little time to play. I have become obsessed with every card or sticky note in my planner being something other than what it is – and that is straight lined! I came up with the idea of using one of my many Martha Stewart punches and making eyelet tracks down the sides of my sticky tablets. As you can see in the photo, I haven’t quite mastered matching the sides. I’ve tried upside down and right side up and turning it over while punching the second side, but for some reason it isn’t working. It’s not that important, but sooner or later, I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, aren’t they cute? Also, you can see by my planner, the week ended up being quite busy despite the adverse weather conditions.

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Other than working on three book reviews that I’ll have up before the weekend ends, that was my week. Hope you’ve had a great week as well.

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Time Management Follow-up

Is that a catchy title that makes you want to read this post? No. I guess not. But, in my defense, my brain is a little fried from doing the number thing all day. My business computer crashed a couple of weeks ago and spent some time visiting the Geek Squad. While it was having a vacation, I was having to pay bills and conjure up make-shift invoices.

Now, the computer is back, safe and sound, and with its data fully restored which means I’ve been hard at work inputting numbers and more numbers, and did I say NUMBERS?!! I am a confessed numberfobic (I think I just invented that word.) I do not even count change, I break a dollar – yes, I am one of those. Please do not ask me to do math without a calculator and someone to help. Seriously!

Did I mention I had my computer back with all its data? I think I did. That’s all it had. I’m not complaining, well, maybe a little. It has been an adventure to say the least to get my computer up and running – even with all its data. I had data, but no Quickbooks to pull the data into any order. I had data, but no Microsoft Word, in which to read the data. I was on a mad hunt for several days trying to locate a Microsoft Office 2007, which is the only thing that would work on my computer. Someone finally located one for me on eBay and it is now ensconced on my computer and I’ve been updating lease agreements and excel spreadsheets for the past two long days.

Considering the amount of time that I spent googling trying to find something compatible (I can beat a dead horse like nobody’s mama), please do me a favor and do not tell me of an easier way that I could have installed or located Microsoft Office. I truly do NOT want to know. It would NOT make my day.

I digress. Getting back to the topic at hand – time management – it sort of worked today, or would have worked today – had it not been for Hubby needing to stop at the bank on his way to the job site, and him not deciding that until this morning. So, instead of getting up at my set time and doing my morning routine before sitting down at the computer, I was immediately thrust into a work environment and have been there ever since.

Since I spent most of the day doing business work and not writing, I am taking a break and writing. It is so nice to be finished with numbers for a couple of days – it’s Southern Louisiana and if you haven’t heard, we are in the midst of a winter storm. This is unusual for this part of the country, so the area is virtually shut-down – at least says the sheriff and parish president.

There is a curfew and I think the only reason people are adhering to the curfew is because it is actually frigid outside. People are out in hurricanes around here so you can safely say it must be the cold keeping them in. Even my two German Shepherds are nesting down in the garage. They wouldn’t even go out to potty!

Texting and Facebook and Tweeting haven’t taken a break though! I’ve had friends and family texting videos and pictures of snow to me all day long. lt’s a virtual winter wonderland elsewhere while here it is a sleeting frozen mess. That’s how I  know I’m finished with numbers (did I mention how much I hate numbers?) for a couple of days. No one is going anywhere, unless it’s an emergency.

UPS dropped a pillow off yesterday. Keep up now. I change subjects fast – whether writing or talking (ask anyone who knows me. It doesn’t mean I’m not waiting for your answer, because I am, but while I wait I have a hundred other things I need to say.) I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I had ordered that could come in such a big box. Turns out it was a pillow, a heavy pillow. I had forgotten that a company had contacted me to review their pillow. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to review products on my blog, but after they contacted me for the fourth time, I figured why not. It’s a free pillow and the emails will stop. I have to admit, I will be reviewing this pillow. I had the best night’s sleep last night – ever.  (So companies? Keep those request coming in.)

The Emily + Meritt Icon Needlepoint Pillow
The Emily + Meritt Icon Needlepoint Pillow (Photo credits: PB Teen)

I normally sleep on a feather pillow. I love to punch and push and fluff my pillow and then sink into it to sleep. I am hard on pillows. This is a pillow that is made of rubber pieces and made to feel like a feather pillow – only much MUCH heavier. I smashed and punched and fluffed and then sank into it for a great night’s sleep. I like this pillow. So…I’ll be promoting this pillow quite soon!

My electric blanket quit working this fall, or more accurately, my control (dual controls) stopped working. I have always been very careful with the controls, making sure they didn’t knock against the bed posts (four poster bed), etc. Then, one day it happened. The control literally barely knocked the bed post. Evidently, it was looking for a reason to take a nice long rest because it quit working.

The blanket is old enough now that replacement controls are non-existent – so says the abrupt woman who answered the phone at the company I called. She then informed me I could purchase the same product directly from them for a cheaper price that I could purchase the same blanket (which they sold) from Lands’ End. She was a little pushy and asked me why would I want to purchase from LE when she would give me the website and a 20% coupon off of a new blanket. Because of her attitude, I was really leaning toward hanging up the phone not ordering the product, but I took down the information and headed over to the website to check out the products.

I’m kind of glad I did. Instead of purchasing another blanket, I purchased an electric heated mattress pad. Oh My Goodness! This is so much better than a blanket. Because the heat is between you and the mattress, once you turn it off, you stay warm ALL night. Seriously! The blanket always cooled off quickly and I am thinking it is because it is exposed to the cool air. I look forward to going to bed at night when it’s cold. The heated pad also acts like a heating pad and that feels great on my back.

That’s about it for me today. Tomorrow, I am back on the wagon as far as the Time management Schedule. I really enjoyed my schedule on Monday. I had my day mapped out and it wasn’t stressful. I was able to accomplish everything I wanted to, even with the chaos caused by the business I had to take care of.

Hubby has just finished peeling and chopping apples. I think I’m being summoned to the kitchen to cook something good, so that’s it for tonight.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? I just love when readers leave a comment, so feel free to say hello!

In the event you are interested in purchasing an electric blanket or mattress pad, this is the information I used. I am not affiliated with the company, nor do I receive a commission. I just like the product – so far.

Pillows, Pads, and More

8501 Tower Point Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28227
United States
Phone866-522-7219
Web site:http://www.pillowspadsandmore.com

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Time Management – Formulating a schedule

With the new year underway, many people are still trying to conquer that elusive schedule. Well, I’m no different. I’ve been perusing blog posts about setting up schedules and there were a number of them that I found quite helpful.

I’ve always followed a makeshift schedule of sorts, but felt it was time to really lock in a more productive time management system that worked for me. Flying by the seat of my pants just isn’t working anymore. As organized a person as I am, my lack of attention span is forever getting in the way. I am a person who needs structure, and I found myself really needing to lock down a timeframe that allowed for my attention to be corralled for periods of time in order to get what needed to be done, done, yet something that would allow some flexibility as well.

One of the blogs I was looking at was Organized Jen. She has developed a great chart. It actually looks like a chore chart I came up with a few years ago. Using her model, I developed my own schedule. Keep in mind that it is not a schedule that is set in stone and it doesn’t mean I won’t deviate from it on occasion – I plan on working friend time into each week in place of work – it simply gives me a picture of my week. Also, there are days when I have meetings or unexpected things come up, so it definitely is not a do or die schedule. It will also no doubt go through some primping before it’s done, but for now, I think it will work for me.

Keep in mind, when planning your schedule, my schedule will not be perfect for you, but it might be a perfect prototype from which to tweak. We are all different people with different needs and various things going on in our lives. You may not even need a schedule. With my lack of attention span getting in the way of productivity, I desperately needed to try something different.

I am generally a person who looks at minute details (as in list everything), so coming up with broad weekly goals was a bit different. After much deliberation, these are the goals I came up with.

Weekly Goals

Work Goals

 Maintain a regular posting schedule (I’ve become lax here)

Stop work by 4pm (let something other than my blog have a front seat)

Less/no work on weekends (other than reading) (I’m a book reviewer too)

Work on home improvement projects weekly (Hubby and I have loads of these)

Personal Goals

Daily chores (I have a break-down schedule already)

Exercise 45 minutes five days a week (really trying to be good about this)

Family Time (Hubby and pets)

Keep up with household duties (no procrastinating – lots of !!!)

After coming up with the big picture, I was able to develop my weekly time management schedule to work with my day. To further harness my inattentiveness, I gave myself blocks of time in which to complete my tasks, and then set up a schedule to accomplish these tasks. I then studied the schedule to see if it was doable – for me.

After completing my new time management schedule, I sat down and transferred some of the information to my planner so that on Monday (today) morning, I had a plan I could work with. So far, it’s working really well – but then it’s only been one day. I know – you are laughing – but probably not as hard as I am.  You have to start somewhere and today was mine.

I’ll be reporting back each week with little tweaks as needed to let you know how my schedule is working for me. And, as I said, it has been working today. I didn’t sleep well last night so I was a little late getting out of bed, but everything has gone smoothly. I used to sit down first thing at the computer, but this morning, I followed my new routine and it has been truly delightful. I am not feeling stressed at all. I am doing exactly what my schedule says I should be doing. The photos below are not the best, but they will give the general idea of what my schedule looks like. I couldn’t figure out how to bring a word doc in. The actual information is not important to anyone but me, but the form might be helpful.

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Time Management – Weekly Schedule
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Work Schedule and Weekly Goals

Here’s a look at how it translates itself to my planner.

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The right hand page shows the blocks of time to coordinate with my chart. 
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On the left is my weekly schedule which already includes appointments to be worked into the schedule.

Hopefully, I’ve inspired some of you to develop your own Time Management Schedule if you don’t already have one. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know what is working for you.

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Is that my Fossil bag you’re peeking in?

Yes, I have reached a new low or plateau – whichever way you want to look at it. I’m blogging about the contents of my purse – and this is making me laugh. There is just something about the contents of a purse that intrigues women.

I have been on a mission to locate the perfect bag (for me) for so long I can’t remember a time when I haven’t. I think I may have stumbled on to it at last – the perfect bag I mean; the Fossil Sydney Shopper. This is the most amazing purse as far as I am concerned. It has loads of room on the inside and holds all of what I refer to as my necessities. There are also multiple inside pockets for organizing, and the straps are a great length.

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I carry a number of things that I couldn’t possibly do without when I leave the house. I must have my personal planner – of course. I also use it as a wallet. There are a number of sections in my planner, but the most important are the section with my money and cards, and then my calendar, which I use for making appointments while away.

Next, I have a pencil bag, and a little monogrammed pouch for all of those little items you don’t want rolling about in your bag. This pouch also makes changing bags so much easier. I have my pepper spray – of course – who leaves home without that? I also have my flosser (in the toothbrush case) and my keys, along with my cute little Hello Kitty glass case. It’s winter so I carry a neutral color pair of gloves (my matching ones are in various coat pockets.)

The two smaller pouches (blue and little birdies) hold my ear pods for my iPhone and my iPhone charger. That’s about it, unless I toss in my Kindle last-minute.photo 1 copy 5

All of my gear fits quite nicely with room for a water bottle if I want to bring one along. If I adjust everything really well, I can also squeeze my 13″ laptop into my bag. I don’t carry it around often, but should I want to, there is room for it in the bag.

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Hope you enjoyed the tour! As the little green lizard (?) says “What’s in your wallet (bag)?”

 

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A Peek at how my week is shaping up and a DIY!

I have a dark corner in my kitchen and it drives me absolutely crazy! Hubby has a difficult time understanding this because I don’t seem to need light anywhere else. I am perfectly content to only use lamps in the house, rather than the overhead lights. Maybe it’s the ambiance. Who knows?

But, the kitchen, especially this corner (the only corner) is another story. I need light. I want light. And I had light – until the bulb burnt out – AGAIN! Hubby has been busy trying to finish a rent house that I am close to renaming “Murphy’s Law”. Seems the guy has  moved in and grown roots. Anything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. I’m sure you know the drill.

But, getting back to the light – this is not the first time it’s burnt out. Hubby installed these two pot lights (as I refer to them) under the counter only months ago and already they have both burnt out. They aren’t cheap so I’ve decided to just return them and ask for new ones. I am really tired of buying new lights every few months. Hubby’s back was bothering him and I can be very impatient at times. Who, me? Yes, me. I see a problem. I see a solution. I want it done. Case in point. Light burnt out. I have a new one. It needs to be installed.

I decided that it couldn’t be all that difficult to do. Before I met Hubby, I was quite an efficient woman. I decided with the long hours he has been working, it might be a good idea to become a little more independent again. Being old-fashioned works for us. He’s the man. I’m the woman. He does the man things. I do the woman things.

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After a little contemplation, I finally figured out that since the housing was already installed, there must be a way to only change out the guts.

I was correct. I even cut and connected the cord to the new plug. It is amazing how simple the quick connects are. I can’t wait to use this new-found knowledge on other things. I’m an accident waiting to happen so that might not be so good. But, getting back to the light, I managed to do everything right, only I was having trouble snapping the little light into the casing. I was matching up the holes with the piece on the light and therein lay my error. I should have just shoved it up and it would have snapped into place. I was being a little too correct and technical.

The light works and needless to say, I am one proud person! And, let there be light once again!

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It is also the corner where I keep my jar of cup cake liners. For the past several years I’ve just shoved them into the jar haphazardly as I’ve purchased them. I was sort of partial to the riot of color going every which way, which is unusual for my personality. The other day I had about five minutes to spare and decided to empty it out and reposition the papers. I think I like the stacks now. It provides color in the corner of the cabinet. There are some plain papers to the back of the jar that I actually use.

And, now a sneak peek at how my week is shaping up. I have been into using pink and aqua and blue lately when decorating my planner. This week, after visiting with a friend who absolutely loves bright colors, I chose an orange – quite a difference from my usual pastels. I think I am kind of liking it for a change.

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I also found some really cute free printables at Lime Tree Fruits http://limetreefruits.com/freebies/. Who wouldn’t want to write out a grocery list on this cute design or keep track of expenses?

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So that’s my week on this Monday. I’m sure the calendar will be filling up as the week continues. How’s your week shaping up and what type of planner are you using these days?

Stay tuned because on Wednesday I’ll be giving you a sneak peek at my Fossil bag and what’s inside!

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Feel Good Factor in 30 Days by Andrea Morrison (Spotlight & Excerpt)

Sometimes life can be a continual treadmill that if you’re not careful can drag you down. The Feel Good Factor in 30 days puts the brakes on the negative spiral with light-hearted lessons that inject positivity and happiness into your everyday life.
Drawing on her own personal experience and journey from high flying barrister to burnout and then complete recovery, these lessons, with a wealth of practical examples, reflect the practices that Andrea Morrison uses in her own every day life and is written in an engaging style.

Eden House Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Andrea Morrison’s timely new book ‘Feel Good Factor in 30 Days’ on 20th January 2014.  The release date has been chosen to coincide with ‘Blue Monday’, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year*.

With honesty and warmth, holistic health expert Andrea Morrison shares her own ups and downs on her journey to changing her mindset and feeling good about life.  For a few years Andrea had been working long hours travelling the length and breadth of the country as a Barrister (think Wigs and Gowns) when she ended up with Pneumonia and then Chronic Fatigue.  Andrea describes this now ‘as the best thing to have happened to me, as I finally had to stop and this gave me the chance to become the person that I wanted to be.’

She exposed herself to everything and anything, neurolinguistic programming, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates and many more which have all come together into this practical new book.  The book contains 30 practical lessons which are easy to follow and implement.  Andrea Morison says that ‘through this book that by taking lots of small actions that you can make a big change to your happiness.’

Book Reviews 

A Truth Universally Acknowledged Book Review ~ ‘With the New Year, a lot of people decide to make a fresh start. For some, it’s time to get serious about losing weight, for others it’s time to change their take on life, to create a new mindset. For these people, the Feel Good Factor in 30 Days might be just the book they need.’
‘Rich of her experience, Feel Good Factor in 30 Days gives the reader the tools to achieve a positive outlook on life.’

A Goddess of Literature Book Review ~ ‘Maybe your life isn’t miserable, but you find yourself plodding along from day-to-day not very happy with your situation in the world. If so, this book can definitely give you some food for thought.’

  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 92 pages

So a little bit from Andrea Morrison ….

‘My journey started many, many years ago. I left school with mediocre qualifications and obtained a training contract with the local government, but I had a dream – a big dream. I had always wanted to be a Barrister since I was in junior school – but had been told by various teachers that ‘people like me do not do jobs like that’ and the schools I had attended were failing schools.
Then I met a kindred spirit! My husband wanted to travel, to do something different with our lives – so we combined it! After traveling around Europe and America, we back packed around South America and I went back to University to pursue my dream. I had already become successful in Local Authority and Durham University was quick to snap me up!

Fast forward several years and I really had it all. I was a Barrister in a fantastic local Chambers, I was Treasury Counsel appointed by the Attorney General, I had been led by a top employment QC, I was even in the Legal 500 – I was living my dream with a brilliant career ahead of me or so you might think. But something had dramatically changed in my life, I’d started a family, a family that I had desperately wanted and had battled through infertility to get – suddenly working ridiculous hours and travelling the length and breadth of the country was soul-destroying, handing over my children to (an amazing) child minder quite frankly broke my heart. Also during this time, my Father had died of cancer, he was a big influence in my life and then he was gone, it made me think about the fragility and shortness of life. I knew in ten years time, my children would be grown up and my relationship with them fragile if not nonexistent.

During 2008, after my third child, even though I was at my lowest ebb I gave it my all in my belief that if I did it I could finally balance it all. Be the mum I wanted to be and the Barrister I knew that I was – and create the home my family deserved (yes we embarked on a two story extension to our home!). But of course life isn’t like that, and I wasn’t superwoman and in November 2008 I ended up with pneumonia. I simply had burnt myself out.

It may be difficult to believe, but it was not a personal drive to be a ‘career women’ but a belief that I should be a career woman, to do anything else was a failure, a waste, that I was letting my family down both financially and emotionally. I had to carry on, to simply put my children first and be predominantly at home was simply not an option.

I stumbled through the following year, our marriage was facing a major crisis, a holiday finally highlighted to us that we were trying to do the impossible though neither of us wanted to accept that. The following months involved emotional circular discussions starting with my need to stop and finishing with the obvious fact I couldn’t because of our financial position. However, my health was deteriorating and I was literally coming to a standstill.

Eventually I stopped. In August 2009 I hit a crisis point, I could no longer carry on and I started a long-term sabbatical from the Bar. Over the following months whilst I held down a tutoring post at the University (which I loved) the rest of the time I felt like all my energy had been sapped from me and I experienced the most dreadful pain. It was like living with the worst possible type of ‘flu. In March 2010 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. It was quite possibly the best thing to have happened, although I could barely walk 100m and taking the children to school had become exhausting. Finally, I had the chance to stop, to become the person I wanted to be.

I can only describe this part of my journey to be like peeling layers of an onion off one by one – there were lots of them, they were difficult to peel and many of them may make you cry! I realised that I had become completely depersonalised over the previous ten years –I would have to start to live – to feed my soul – to change my life. I decided to wind up my legal practice completely – a decision that would define my recovery – I could finally become better as there was now no expectation of a return to the person that I had been before.

My heart was telling me to pursue something completely different, reflexology, which sounded complete madness! I’m sure that those around me thought I had had some kind of breakdown, I hadn’t at all, but I had to agree it was the antipathy of Law! I started with a holistic massage course at a local college and even shocked myself when I found it really made my heart start to sing! This was closely followed by me undertaking a Reflexology Diploma at Jubilee College and in July 2012 Eden House Holistic opened for business.
Whilst physically my day-to-day was changing, so was I on the inside. I exposed myself to everything and anything – neurolinguistic programming, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates, reiki and many more, both with practitioners and many, many books. The biggest change was that I no longer allowed others to influence my decisions – I realized that I had attracted many strong characters in my life who were quick to judge and quick to criticize my judgement. I decided, if I was happy with my decision, then I needed no further approval. Over the last four years, my judgement has proved to be sound and that now is good enough for me!

Today I can honestly say, that for the first time in many, many years I am happy and content. When people who haven’t seen me for some time meet me, the first thing they comment on is that I look so well and happy! I don’t know what the future holds but I no longer worry about it; I see challenges as opportunities a chance to grow even more! I now have a successful therapy business, I run our local Professional Reflexology Group which is thriving and in the New Year I am launching an online Holistic Therapy resource which is extremely exciting! But above all we have a happy family! What’s not to look forward to!!

One thing that my life has taught me, is that life is a journey, there are lessons to be learnt, but it is there to be enjoyed, no decision is truly final and where there is an end there is undoubtedly always a beginning.’

Connect with Andrea on Twitter: @EdenHsePublish

Here’s a little taste of ‘The Feel Good Factor in 30 days’… (and a personal favourite of Andrea’s)

Lesson Nineteen – D.I.S.C.O

‘She is D, delirious
She is I, incredible
She is S, superficial
She is C, complicated
She is O, oh, oh, oh’

Ottawan

You are probably thinking, she’s halfway through the book and she’s running out of ideas!  I haven’t though, honestly!  But music plays a big part in my life and I find it really affects how you can feel.

So, if you have a task ahead of you that is dragging you down or you are putting it off or if you are feeling stressed about something playing music can really help!

Obviously you need to choose the music to fit the situation – no rock and roll if you are trying to write a tricky report (but if it works for you, who am I to dictate?)

You will often find me in the kitchen, either cooking or cleaning (or decorating) with music that I can dance to blaring out.  This is to the embarrassment of my kids when I ask them to dance with me.  As they get older they have become less obliging, but when they do, we find ourselves rolling around giggling.  However, I find that afterwards, whatever it was that I had to do is done quicker and with far more grace!  It really lifts the mood, everyone is happier and we’ve had some fun (and isn’t that what life is all about?).

Equally, if I have a difficult piece of work to do, then putting some chilling music can help too, it quietens my stress responses so that I can concentrate on what I have to do.

So now’s the time to go through your music collection and dig out those tunes – nothing like having a bit of a bop to something you loved when you were younger!!

Purchase the Kindle version on Amazon by clicking the icon here: 

Purchase the book version on Amazon by clicking the icon here:

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From the Heart – Best Friends

Best – better than all others

Friend – somebody who trust and is fond of another

How do you define best friend?

Do you have one?

Do you want one?

The Girl Friend

          I was having a conversation with my best friend this morning – a texting conversation – and, after completing our conversation, realized just how lucky I was to have such a good friend. I can tell Girlfriend anything and she will not get mad at me, well maybe a little upset at times. My words may not be what she wants to hear, (or I, her) but we respect the other’s thoughts and opinions.

          Girlfriend and I have been besties for a few years now, and because we share many of the same personality traits, we know each other quite well, sometimes too well. And, that can lead to trouble at times. But, on the other hand, we also know how (or when) to push or not push the other’s buttons. 

          We know what will send one of us over the edge causing the other to make a hasty retreat, hoping for a white flag. We tell each other how we see it, even when we know it will be hard to hear. Everyone needs a person like that in their life. We all want to look at life through finger smudged rose-colored glasses and we need someone to take them off every now and then. and clean them. As I told her just recently (before she laughingly accused me of being poetic), I am here to plants seeds of thought, to help clear the cobwebs. That, is what friends do.

         When I have a dilemma, she plays Devil’s Advocate. When Girlfriend is having a problem, I take my turn; and even though I am secure in our friendship, you will sometimes find me hiding out behind the pecan tree because I may have pushed too far and feel her wrath buzzing around my head like a bee. I go in for the sting and then offer sweet iced tea.

         Let me add that texting is an easy way for two people who do not like confrontation, to have a sensitive conversation. Sometimes I come in like a gentle summer breeze, while other times I am like a Southern thunderstorm, like a bull in a china shop. I have no mid-way; I’m either not engaged or full out – nostrils flaring and pawing huffs. There is no doubt you have to be a special person to handle me.

         I have a few other close girlfriends who wander in and out of my life depending on how busy our lives are, but Girlfriend is a constant. Since we met, she has been my girl rock, my girl port in a storm; someone to celebrate achievements with, someone to pick me up when I’m down, cry when I cry, and laugh when I laugh, or make me laugh. We’ve seen each other through some rough patches when we didn’t think the storm would break long enough for the sun to shine through. Those are the times we reached for the other and choose to dance in the rain.

        Let’s just say, here in the South, we take our friendships seriously.

         How about you? Is there someone in your life that you trust with your deepest, darkest thoughts? Do you have a best friend, someone who inspires you? (I’m talkin’ about someone other than Hubby.)

 (Reprinted from My Life. on blogspot 2012)

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Beyond the Precipice by Eva A. Blaskovic

A YOUNG MAN WITH A DARK SECRET MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN HIS FAMILY AND THE GIRL HE LOVES.

For six years Bret Killeen is trapped by the wishes of his dead father, blackmailed by his brother, and rejected by his uncle. Meanwhile, he watches his mother descend into the depths of poverty.

As Bret wrestles with guilt over the death of his father, he is helped by Nicole, a young cello player with big dreams. She stirs the embers of his longing both for music and for her — and ignites a fire he can’t extinguish.

But can he brave his past in order to seize his future?

The award-worthy debut novel by Eva A. Blaskovic is a riveting blend of suspense, dark humor, and compelling inter-personal drama. Once you engage this roller coaster read you won’t be able to stop.

  • File Size: 638 KB
  • Print Length: 406 pages

ACCLAIM FOR BEYOND THE PRECIPICE 

“Outstanding! It would make a hell of a movie.”

~ Tom Hyman| Former magazine and book editor, is the author of Jupiter’s Daughter and five other novels, and has written screenplays for Paramount.

“Storytelling mastery … Compelling tale … A must read!”

~Patty Wiseman| Author, The Velvet Shoe Collection.

“Exquisite!”

~Louise Harnby| Proofreader, 666 Park Avenue, The Stepford Wives, and A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Eva Blaskovic was born in the Czech Republic, grew up in Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where she raised four children. Eva has worked in science labs and has taught literacy, writing, math, and science. She is both an accomplished writer and editor of non-fiction articles on business, education, how-to, parenting, and travel. She is also an author of short fiction. Beyond the Precipice is Eva Blaskovic’s first full length novel, but it has already received rave reviews from literary professionals and aficionados the world over. When Eva hasn’t buried herself in writing or editing, she may be found taking her teenagers to Taekwondo, exploring the Farmers’ Market, listening to Celtic music, or sipping a latte.

Connect with Eva A. Blaskovic:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eva.blaskovic.author?ref=stream

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlaskovicWriter

Website: http://www.siriusword.com/ebblog/beyond-the-precipice

**Tour sponsored by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Excerpt from Beyond the Precipice
by Eva A. Blaskovic
Chapter Eighteen
The Noose Tightens

 “Great,” Bret said, his body sagging as he let out his breath. “What about the theory part? Did you have to know all the fancy music lingo?”

“You already know all that stuff. Learning the terminology is the easy part.”

He closed the web browser.

“Wait!” Nicole’s hand shot out, but the page had already closed. Her lips pinched into a tight line.

“Longer program, two degrees?” he said. “How long do you think I can keep it up?”

“Well, if it’s what you really want to do, there will be a way. Just stop throwing everything away before you’ve even looked at the options!”

“Options? People like you have options!”

“What do you mean—people like me?”

“According to my dad, I had two choices. Science or Business.”

She stared at him for a long time and finally took a deep breath. When she spoke, her voice was calmer. “Okay, what am I missing here? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but he’s been dead for six years, right?”

He nodded, resting his chin on his hand.

“Look, I’m not saying disregard his wishes. I mean—I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent, God forbid. But why can’t you decide for yourself—especially now?”

“Because everything in my life is strung together. Like a web. Each thing is connected to something, which is connected to something else. The course of my life has been set and now I have to see it through.”

She kept staring at him. “Why? What is all connected together? Why can’t you tell me?”

To explain, he’d have to start at the beginning. The very beginning, whenever that was. Maybe it went back to the time of the Oliver play. Maybe when Drake stopped thinking of him as his best friend. And then he’d have to tell her about the accident. Even his mom didn’t know that yet. He’d have to explain about Drake and Galan—and that would surely do it. How could she consider going on with this relationship knowing he was tied to a ball and chain? How could she feel the same about him after she knew what he’d done?

Purchase the book on Amazon:

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Utilizing the Key Ring App on Technology Thursday

It is a foregone conclusion that way too many people out there are running out to purchase iPhones and then not utilizing them! It seems that everywhere I go, I end up teaching someone about an app.

 

If you follow my blog, you have already been witness to some of my screwups – like tripling my contacts, etc. You can take it from me – on good authority – that there is simply no reason not to play around with apps and your phone. If you mess something up, you simply head on over to iTunes and begin searching, because I promise you – there is an app to fix it because someone else has already beat you to the screwup.

 

We all have those pesky store discount cards dangling from our already full key rings – well, not me. But, they were corralled in my wallet, taking up valuable real estate. 

 

I was doing one of my favorite pass time hobbies – surfing iTunes. Does anyone else do this? I came across an app that was named quite appropriately –  Key Ring App

 

No longer do you have to shove an actual key ring full of store discount cards in your purse, or heaven forbid, your pocket.

 

You simply scan all of your cards (library, store, hotel, etc.) into the app using your phone camera. When you check out at a store that you have a card for, simple open up your app and the cashier will scan the bar code from your phone. The app can also be shared with another person.

 

You can have all of the individual store apps on your phone, but I have had others tell me that they sometimes have trouble while attempting to scan at the stores. This app has never given me any problems, AND the bonus is that they are all located in one app, not scattered around my phone.

 

This app also sports additional features are just plain wonderful! Using your GPS, it will find store promotions in your area. 


The ‘Offers’ icon finds and shows me the coupons available through the stored cards I entered. 


Under the ‘Sales‘ icon, I can view the sale papers of the stores where I have loyalty cards. No more searching high and low for the sale papers when I’m ready to shop!

 

Did I mention that it is also FREE! How great is that!

 

I would love to hear from you. Do you use Key Ring or another similar app?

 

Be sure to follow my blog and tune in next Thursday for another episode of ‘Technology Thursday’.    

 

 

 

keyring app

 

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It’s in The Little Things by Gayle Suzane (Excerpt & Guest Post)

It's in the Little Things by Gayle Suzanne on Closed the Cover

Do you believe a happy life is meant for others but not for you? Are you ready to shift energy and improve your life?

Our lives can be inundated with trials and pain. Somewhere in between our struggles we might lose hope for living a fulfilling, enjoyable life.  You may have suffered from bullying, addiction, rejection or other forms of hurt that has left you feeling badly about yourself.  We might believe that a happy life is meant for others but not for us.

It’s in the Little Things is a book about loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.  Through personal experiences, stories are shared that can transform your life.  Some stories are lighthearted and others are more emotional and deep.  Most have messages of how to appreciate seemingly insignificant events in life and how to take small steps to improve your circumstances.  These little things can have a profound impact on your life.  This book is designed to inspire, uplift and guide you toward a life you love.

  • File Size: 801 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages

Gayle Suzanne is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (CPC, ELI-MP), workshop facilitator and speaker. She has a deep desire to help those with self-esteem issues and those who have dealt with rejection, bullying or emotional abuse. Gayle has a passion to empower and inspire people to see their gifts and talents and the beauty within. She has been described as compassionate, humorous, insightful and intuitive. She is a mother, wife and step-mother and lives in Charlton, Mass. She is a member of International Coaching Federation, New England Chapter.

Guest Post by Gayle Suzanne

I am entering my 50th year. My body is starting to show signs of aging.  I’ve had my share of aches and pains – jolting me into the reality that I’m not 20 years old anymore.  I now enjoy Sunday afternoon naps.  I prefer staying in on a Saturday night snug in my jammies by 7pm.   Appears that the tiny little lines near my eyes have settled in for the long haul, even though I’ve desperately tried to remove them with expensive cream.  The fact that I’ll have to go to my hairdresser every 6 weeks for the rest of my life to cover up the one inch gray halo that outlines the edge my face… and now I realize that my eyebrows need a color boost too (I tried plucking out all the gray but realize that if I continue I’d soon be eyebrowless…)  Things that were once perky are now droopy.  My once taut neck resembles something served at Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ve had to accept that I just don’t remember much anymore.  Sometimes I look at a piece of celery and can’t remember what it is.  The memory loss comes and goes.  This is my daughter’s pet peeve with me – she will tell me something 5 times and it just doesn’t register.  It’s not that I am intentionally forgetting, it’s like my brain is too full.   Then I’ll repeat the same thing 5 times in a row.  We’ll find the cell phone in the fridge or the car keys in the silverware drawer.   My vision is not great – one eye near sighted, the other far sighted.  I can’t hear much now either.  I mis-hear lots of stuff too. Lyrics to songs – forget it.  For years I sang the song In My Midnight Confession as Immaculate Conception!   I now appreciate Easy Spirit and Clark footwear.   My most recent sign of aging – if I laugh too hard sometimes I lose control and a piddle a little.  Ugh.

Yet in my heart I still feel as young and crazy as I did in college.  For over thirty years my college roommates and I have gone to Cape Cod for girls weekend. We are silly, zany and nuts – we crack up and love life.  We basically revert back to giddy teenagers (well, I do anyway).  We jump in bed with each other on Sunday morning, making goofs and tease and taunt.  It’s harmless fun – we go out to dinner and playfully fight for the front seat (well, I do anyway) come home, have a drinky poo, crank up the stereo and dance in the living room.  Last time the song Maniac from Flashdance blasted on the radio and we pulled out a portable potty and did the Chair Dance on it (well, I did anyway).  Last year I took a trip to Florida with my roommate.  Her condo happens to be right up the street from a former teen heartthrob – so what would a mature almost 50 year old woman do?   You got it –  we belted out “I Think I Love You” outside his house at 2 am.  Wonder why he didn’t come out and take a picture with us?  So, the next day we went back to his gated home and my friend (who I might add is 1 year and 2 months older than me) proceeded to dig through his garbage to find a souvenier for us to take home.  She came up empty handed as her search was cut short when a police car rounded the corner.  She literally had 3 seconds to run back to the car and shift into gear.  I didn’t witness the whole scene because I was scrunched down beneath the dashboard.  I do have my pride you know.

So even though my neck might wiggle a bit, I know at heart I’m young and fun and vibrant and free and certainly not feeling that I’ve been around for as long as I have.

Age really is just a number.

Galye Suzanne will be on tour along with a giveaway. The full tour schedule and rafflecopter can be found through this link: http://www.closedthecover.com/its-in-the-little-things-virtual-tour.html

Excerpt from It’s in The Little Things

The “Cool Crowd”
It is interesting to think about the whole concept of the “cool kids.” The ones I grew

up with picked on and humiliated some of the nicest kids I knew. Marie was picked on all through Junior High also. She was sweet, smart, kind, silly, and interesting. Her parents were strict and she was sheltered and shy. She minded her own business every day on the bus and during school, yet she was tortured every day. Some days watching her being tortured by other kids took the focus away from me and I felt relief because at least one person was picked on more than me. I always felt guilty about that, but she was my wall of safety. I remember one day we were on the bus on the way home from school and her stop was the street before mine. She was in front of me waiting to get off and the bus stopped short. She lost her footing and fell down the steps and her butt was stuck in between the door and the first step. Everyone behind me on the bus roared with laughter. That happened forty years ago and I still remember her face– the embarrassment, the shame, the humiliation. I still remember the vicious laughter surrounding her.

I’ve thought about that incident many times over the years. That fall could have happened to anyone standing in that spot. The cheerleader, the football quarterback, the pot head, the pageant queen. It was so unfortunate that it happened to Marie. I think of people that have been picked on and their lives may have been molded by the abuse they suffered. The image I had of myself was molded by others. I felt worthless, damaged and no good.

In more recent times, I recall an occasion when I was at a school sporting event. I was sitting alone on the field. Down the field there was a group of five women who usually sat together and always seemed like they were having a good time. I usually sat by myself or with another friend, yet I would say hi to the group of women as I walked by. This particular day my friend was not at the game so I sat near the other women and initiated a conversation. I tried to make small talk for a few minutes but did not get a warm response. I honestly felt like I was back in Junior High School. Their coolness implied that I was not good enough to be in their company. I was forty-one-years-old. I thought it was ridiculous. I felt slightly rejected and a small pang of hurt rushed through my body. I stayed where I was and did not continue in conversation. I sat quietly and watched the game. Then one of the mothers started saying negative comments about one of the kids on the field. As she rolled her eyes, she said in a rude and disgusted manner that the young girl was not running fast enough and should not be playing that position at all.

It’s in The Little Things has 23 5 star reviews. Check it out and purchase  It’s In The Little Thingshere:

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Are YOU making this Etiquette Mistake?


Sunday’s From the Heart Series – It’s all about the etiquette
 

title page of Etiquette an Rococo-Arabeske

 

 

OR, maybe you don’t give a hoot about proper etiquette?

 

         I do! Even acquaintances of mine will tell you it doesn’t take long to see I am all about manners and proper etiquette!

 

          I was reading an article the other day about the proper way to handle different etiquette situations, and the topic of being invited to a shower or a party (etc.) hosted (and I use this term loosely) at a restaurant, but with the intention of you paying for your own meal. I thought it was funny because this is a pet peeve of mine, a HUGE one! I have addressed etiquette on my blog before and I thought – it’s a favorite subject of mine, so why not do it again? I love hearing what other people are thinking, so I really hope you will comment. It can’t be just me who is missing those long ago days of manners, along with “Please” and “Thank you.”

 

          (Back to the subject) This has happened to me on several occasions, and I must admit I chose not to attend the functions. We all view situations in a different light, and this is only my opinion. “Hey, we are having a baby (wedding, etc.) shower at (insert restaurant) in (insert town 2 hours away) on (date, time) for (insert name). We would love (exaggerating) for you to attend, but you will have to buy your own meal.

 

         This is what I hear when someone issues this type of invitation: “Hey. We want to you to drive two hours, bring a nice gift, and buy your own meal. Want to come?”

 

         My answer: “No thank you”.

 

         Now, my circumstances may be a little different in that this is the only time I hear from these types of people, and maybe my response reflects this. Hubby and I do not invite people to join us for anything unless we can pick up the tab. I feel that it is inappropriate to invite someone with the expectation that they travel this distance (and incur fuel expenses as well as four hours driving time alone), purchase a gift, and their meal.

 

         It really makes me wonder if they had the party at their house, would they have a donation box at the door to defray the cost. Personally, under the conditions where the host cannot actually afford to “host” the event, a smaller gathering at their home would be more suitable.

 

         I know if I were to attend such an event, the cost of the gift would be significantly altered by the additional expenses I would incur; than if I were attending the same event at someone’s home where I was not expected to also pay for my meal.

 

         Now, that being said, there have been occasions where my Hubby’s large family has met at a restaurant for a birthday and each family picked up the tab for their family. This is not the same thing. There are always occasions when friends will meet up at a restaurant and everyone will pay for their own tab. These are not the occasions of which I speak.

 

         To sum up this post (I guess I did that already) I feel that if you cannot afford to host the event at a nice restaurant, you should choose a less expensive venue, or have the party at your home. You should not ask others to pay for your party. I would much rather attend a simple affair at your home than pick up the tab for your party.

 

         Now that I have vented and expressed my personal opinion, I would love to hear your take on this particular situation. Do you think it is proper to host an event and expect people to pay their own way?

 

 

 

 

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No String Attached Giveaway Hop – January 15th – 21st

My Life. One Story at a Time. is participating in a reader appreciation hop. You can leave a comment with your email on each blog listed in the hop (the link is below). You will be entered to win an Amazon gift card by leaving a comment on my blog along with your email (for contact purposes only).

Thank you for visiting my blog and for being a loyal follower! I appreciate you! 

There are no strings attached, no tweets/likes/clicks; just leave a comment. 
January 15th to 21st. Just leave your email address is the comment section below in case you’re randomly-selected to win this brand new, never been opened $10 Amazon card :)
 For more chances to win, head to the next hop!
 

Find links to more giveaways here:

http://www.iamareader.com/2013/12/no-string-attached-giveaway-hop-sign-ups-january-15th-21st.html

You have 84 changes to win!

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Tuna Breath: A 275-Pound Teenager’s Coming of Age Story by Doug Pedersen

Title: Tuna Breath

Genre: Memoir

Author: Doug Pedersen

Publisher: Balboa Press

Pages: 162

Language: English

ISBN978-1452575797

Written from the unique experiences of Doug Pedersen, this self-improvement book-disguised as a memoir-is at once funny, poignant, and generous, while offering genuine advice. Providing intimate insights into being a “super fat kid,” and insecure teenager, and an over-aggressive, angry, and ironically arrogant Marine who was full of self-pity, Doug shares the negative emotional drivers and responses that drove him through a “binge eating life” before finding physical health, emotional balance, and spiritual wholeness. Tuna Breath invites us to intimately observe a troubling life journey in which the lessons to be learned are truly visceral and inspirational.

Purchase your copy:

Tuna Breath: A 275-Pound Teenager’s Coming of Age Story

Doug Pedersen is the founder of PLAYGROUND: GLOBAL (PGG), a research and education company. His own history with childhood obesity and study of human nature fuels his writing, speech topics, and teachings. Doug teaches “The Art of the Personal Turnaround” and frequently uses innovative techniques taken from the practice of Strategic Intervention and Human Needs Psychology to help people improve, heal and live their lives with outstanding quality. Currently, Doug is helping people see that the health of their emotional state is the real invisible battleground in their lives through his latest book “TUNA BREATH: A 275-Pound Teenager’s Coming Of Age Story.” Doug resides with his wife and two year-old son in the Washington, DC area.

See more at http://www.dougapedersen.com.

 

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From the Heart – What we all long for

         I was reading an email that I received today and it immediately brought to mind my first marriage. The topic was about longing for a person to turn to, someone to defend you, and keep you safe.

Marriage Day
Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

The reason I thought of my ex-husband was I did not receive this acceptance and love from him. He never defended me, in fact, he often belittled me and told lies about me. I learned the difficult lesson that without mutual love and respect, the relationship does not prosper and grow; it falters.

Maybe I am a little old fashion, but my core beliefs are a husband/wife should love his wife/husband unconditionally. He should be willing to do battle for her – not against her, and above all, he should respect her. This was not what I found in my first marriage. I have heard my ex-husband’s family described as mean. Sadly, I would have to agree. I have bore witness to it on too many occasions; and since the divorce -16+ years ago-, some of the meanness has developed into hatred towards me; and the relationships with my daughters directly affected by the detestation.

When I met my husband -Hubby-, I knew that I would not settle for less than I deserved. Love and respect had to be part of the package, or there would be no relationship. Having gone through a similar marriage and divorce, he felt the same. It was hard for me to trust in the beginning, but with him as a light in my life, I learned how to trust again.

My marriage today is abundant in love, trust, respect, forgiveness, and a faith in God to guide us. Our marriage has been like the bed of roses in my garden. There are beautiful blooms, but there have also been pricks from thorns along the way. With God’s help, we continue to prune the thorns. It is the definition of a marriage blessed by God, and one that nurtures both my husband and myself.

I hope this post leaves you pondering, and I invite you to comment. What is your definition of marriage? Is there something you long for?

Thank you for visiting with me today.

Donna

 

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Double Happiness by Tony Brasunas (Book Blitz)

Double Happiness Blitz Banner

Double Happiness Book Cover

At twenty-two, Tony Brasunas had never left the United States, nor taught a class on anything. The journey that changed him forever, that broke open his heart and awakened his mind, began in a high school classroom in hot, coastal Guangzhou, China, and culminated on the plateaus of Tibet.
A journey into the heart of a changing China and through the soul of a young American, Double Happiness is a groundbreaking story of spiritual awakening in the era of globalization.

This is a tale for armchair travelers, English teachers, China buffs, adventure backpackers, young people in their twenties and thirties seeking a place in this shrinking world, and readers of all ages curious about a young man’s coming of age in a foreign land.

Book Details

Author: Tony Brasunas
Edition: First Edition
Format: eBook, Paperback and Hard Cover
Publication Date: December 12, 2013
Publisher: Torchpost
ISBN13: 9780991166244

Add to GoodReads

Purchase on Amazon: Double Happiness: One Man’s Tale of Love, Loss, and Wonder on the Long Roads of China


TonyBrasunas AuthorTony Brasunas grew up on a commune in West Virginia. Before leaving for China, as a teenager at Amherst College, he studied Chinese, music, writing, and Computer Science, and meandered into a thoughtful and lonely social and political conservatism.

Directionless after college, perhaps expecting something more from the planet, Tony applied just after the deadline to Princeton in Asia, and he was swiftly bundled off to Guangzhou, China, to teach English. The ensuing journey broke him open. His body tasted death in hospitals and Tibetan monsoons, his heart opened up and slammed shut and opened again, and some unknown inner sage awoke and suggested he trust his intuition.

Double Happiness: One Man’s Tale of Love, Loss, and Wonder on the Long Roads of China (Forthcoming, December 12, 2013, fromTorchpost) masterfully retells that awakening against a backdrop of a modern, changing China.

Excerpts from the manuscript have appeared in the book China, an anthology of travel writing on China published by Travelers’ Tales Press, and in Travelmag, a British online travel magazine.

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Lessons I’ve Learned

        There was time in my life when I allowed another’s lies to define who I was.

       That was a lifetime ago; and that time has ended.

       I don’t know why God put this on my heart today. Maybe with all the violence and ugliness going on in the world, we all need to be reminded to love one another. Maybe someone needed the message I had to impart.

       We learn, as Christians, to see Jesus when we look at people; but how many of us actually have that thought running rampant through our mind every second of our busy days?

       My former mother-in-law never missed an opportunity to voice to my mother that she told her son he should not have married me – and this was while we were married. Do you think she was seeing Jesus when she spoke those words to another mother? Truth be told, it would actually hurt me to voice that sentiment to another mother. I identify with other’s feelings on too deep a level to ever consider voicing such a hurtful comment. 

        I remember a time when my former husband and one of his co-workers went fishing for the day. At the end of the day, after cleaning the catch, we shared a meal with the other family. As women will do, we talked as we stood in the kitchen preparing the meal. I was surprised – or perhaps not – when she very candidly told me that her husband had told her of a conversation he had with my then husband. In that conversation, he said that I was a bitch. There is no other way to phrase that particular word – my apologies. She went on to tell me that her husband said that he was told I did nothing but scream and yell and fuss all of the time.

       Anyone who knows me will tell you I do not handle matters in that particular way. I am a person who holds their anger inside. I rarely ever show my anger or hurt. I detach and become very quite. That doesn’t mean I am not human. I am, and I have been known to slam a few doors – loud and hard – did I mention loud and hard – but screaming is not something I do. I do not like confrontation, and I avoid it whenever possible.

Ephesians 4:29 – “Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.” 

        I asked this woman, if after getting the chance to know me, if she still thought that I was this kind of person. I did not let on, but I was extremely hurt when she replied that she did in fact still believe all that she had heard, because she did not feel that my former husband would lie – which said to me that she thought I was lying when I denied the allegations. What I wanted to do at that time was grab my daughters and leave. I did not want to stay in a place that was detrimental to my emotional well-being. I could feel myself shutting down, and pasting on that fake smile.

       What I did was hide my hurt and anger inside of me, and stayed for dinner. I never told anyone how devastating that conversation was to me. Little did I know that it would become one of many such conversations in the years to come.

Colossians 4:6 – “Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person.”

        Ever since that night, when the thoughts come back to haunt me, I get angry with myself. I am angry because I did not stand up for myself. I am angry because I did not confront my ex-husband. I am angry because another person believed his lies. I am angry because I let what this person believed bother me. I am angry because I wish the memory would vanish. And, that, is not very Christian like either.

       And, then I think, maybe the memory comes back to remind me that I am worthy. I am worthy of Jesus’ love. I do not need people like this woman in my life because they make me feel like less than. And, to feel less than, is an insult to God. It is also a lesson that we need to know and remember. Lies hurt; lies maim; lies destroy; and lies kill. Lies destroy a person’s spirit; what lies within.

Proverbs 14:1 – “A wise woman builds her house, while a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.”

       For a while, the WWJD – What would Jesus do – bracelets were extremely popular. It seemed as though everyone was wearing some form or another of the symbol. I wonder if our actions would be significantly different if we had WWJD branded on our foreheads. While it sounds like a farfetched idea, I urge you to think about it for a moment. When we opened our mouths to lie, or to gossip, would we continue or would we close our mouths?

A "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) bracelet

        This story brings me to a lesson we need to remember. Everyone is of God. And, to insult or lie or belittle another person, is to belittle God, our creator. For that reason, when we see or speak to others, we need to remember one of the greatest lessons of all – look for Jesus in each face we see and not be led astray.

       As always, I encourage you to share your opinions and experience, and/or questions. Remember to show courtesy to others in your comments.

 

Donna

 

 


 

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What do you do with old underwear?

I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away? 

 

No matter how many holes there are?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913

 

 

       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.

 

       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash! 

 

       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence. 

 

Be sure to follow my blog. 

 

You never know what subject will come up next! 

 

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Moved My Freakin’ Cheese?

Originally posted on Parental Alienation Awareness:

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Who Moved My Freakin’ Cheese?

If have you have read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” you understand what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t read the book go out and get a copy NOW and read it…please.  (You can purchase it for a little as $.01 (plus shipping) from Amazon.)  As alienated parents we are all like these little mice that are running through this maze of the family court system, lawyers, psychologists, reunification therapists, mediators, etc. etc., etc., and still we are without our cheese (our children OR our peace).  A few of us have broken out of the cycle and found our cheese (our children OR our peace), but most of us continue to wait, and wait, and wait for our cheese to magically reappear.  Well, how is that working for you?

Look, I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know the answers.  Show me one person…

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Yesterday

Yesterday, (February 11, 2009)

Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay….….the priest caught my attention for a few moments in church this morning when these words, made popular by The Beatles in the 1960’s, came blaring through the speakers. I sat up straight and listened for a few minutes before drifting off into my own little world once again.

And with my train of mindless wandering broken, new thoughts began to emerge. I have lived these lyrics for many years without a second thought, and today I came to realize that my life has moved past these words. I no longer think of the yesterdays with such an all-consuming passion and even the tomorrows have ceased to exist. I have begun to live in today, and I find myself thanking God each evening for the little things that make up my life; the love of a good man, a dear friend, and the precious smiles of two small children whom I am so fortunate to love and to receive love from.

To think of yesterday would be dredging up pain and attaching it to long ago sweet memories of my own two children. To think of tomorrow would be hoping for reconciliations that today seem impossible. Either of these scenarios would bring gloom into a sunny day. I think I finally understand, or I am beginning to understand, just what is meant by the popular phrase, “Live for Today.”

To live in the present, to live for today, is at the same time both easy and difficult. Living in today takes both extreme concentration and focus for me to accomplish. It resembles a well choreographed dance. My first sleep-filled thoughts in the morning are of my husband when he gently kisses me good-bye as not to wake me before leaving for work. As I drift back into slumber, I thank God for bringing such a wonderful person and partner into my life. As the sun rises and beckons me out of bed, I offer up another prayer of thanks for my dog. Having her insures that I do not loll around in bed thinking of reasons not to get up. After all, she can not feed herself. After breakfast it is my walk time, and I am thankful for the ability to walk, as each step and each breath give me the daily strength that I require. I offer another prayer of thanks for the blessing of a wonderful home and peaceful sanctuary where I am fortunate to reside. And with many, deep, cleansing breaths, my day continues.

To think of the yesterdays would be to think of the unhappiness and discontentment of an ill-fated marriage, and the anger and disillusionment of parental alienation. To think of today brings thoughts of happiness and contentment, peacefulness and tranquility.

….and all my troubles seem so far away. Some days they do, and when that happens, the day is good. I am not sure if that is what the priest meant for me to come away with, but it has worked for me.

“The answer God has for you might be right in front of you – have you been overlooking it?”

 

Is your planner working for you or against you? (Video)

I’m trying my hand at another video. The consensus (mine) is that I’m not very good at it so far. I can see what I’m doing wrong so maybe that is improvement after all.

I am using a Day-Timer distressed leather planner cover. I have to confess that I love leather products! When BFF and I go shopping, she knows her main job is to keep me away from the leather! However, she does allow me to walk through the purse section of the store and just breathe. Hopefully, there are no animal activists reading this. (Whispering) I love the way leather smells.

Okay – getting back to my planner. The distressed leather is exactly like my Malibu planner that you have seen in other posts; same size and exact setup.

I’ve been asked over and again to show my set up so today is the day – hence the bad video. My planner, while being set up to work quite efficiently for me, is also a testing ground of sorts. As I come across freebies, I sometimes feel inclined to try them out and those pages come and go. You will see in the video that I am trying out an inventory sheet for both freezer and pantry. I will probably not stick with it because I do not have the patience to go through my pantry or freezer and list all of the items. I know my baking/cooking habits and therefore can probably tell you everything I already have in the cabinet. As far as the freezer goes, we have two and I keep a dry erase board on each one with a list of the contents. I still thought it would be fun to try the list out so I could recommend (or not) it to others.

The same goes with financials. There are some really cute pages available (and most for free) that would be very helpful in budgeting. At some point this year, I am going to sit down and actually give them a go. In the meantime, I use Quickbooks on the computer and that is how I keep my budget and finances in order. So, the paper system on the financials is probably not something I’ll continue.

I will insert Video #1 here. I had to do two shorter videos as opposed to one long one for upload purposes. As you will see, I don’t quite have the video down pact. It’s sideways and cuts off half my picture. It sure is more difficult than it looks. I apologize. I just could not figure out how to rotate it.

I’ve been using my book review system for a few weeks now and I must say that it is working every bit as well as I thought it would. I love having all of my items in one planner rather than scattered between two or three. I know that I can grab that one planner and head out of the door if need be and feel confident that I have everything I need at my fingertips. Ummm. Maybe I will do those financial sheets after all as I do not regularly tote my computer.

My daily sheet that I insert is something I will never give up. I find that I really need a time schedule to keep myself focussed. I also plan on using the Week at a Peek for a long time. It helps that I don’t have to flip back and forth between my book review calendar and the current week. I move my sticky notes to this page and I have the information sitting there for my use. I also enjoying having the extra space on the page to jot down notes about future posts. The monthly view does not have room for me to put these notes and I wouldn’t want to clog up the review list with notes.

Getting back to the freezer and pantry inventory sheets, I am thinking it might not be a bad idea after all. A long time ago, I used to enjoy planning out the week’s menus and I am considering doing it again. It would be fun to plan the menu and then sit down with Hubby and get his input – or maybe not. He is a man who is happy with a can of soup (not that I would EVER serve him that!) He isn’t hard to please although there has been the occasional experiment he’d rather not see on his plate again.

The only party I normally host is my annual Cookie Swap each December. Someone who entertains a lot could label this section “Parties” or “Entertaining.” I have a spread sheet with all of the contact information for each invitee, their RSVP, and the cookie they are bringing. I also have my invitation information handy. After each party, I take this sheet and file it in my Cookie Swap scrap-book. It is nice to have the list handy in the event I need to contact someone and it also makes it easy to keep track of the responses.


Then we all need notepaper, especially me. This section is handy when I attend meetings. I know that I can grab my planner, head out the door, and know that I will have paper and pen to take notes.

Image-1I have one other page which I haven’t put in yet and it is from Motivatedmoms.com. It is a week at a glance and includes daily chores, weekly chores, and a weekly Bible reading chart. The system also has an app where you can check off the chores as you do them, or add more depending on your lifestyle. I will let you know how I like the page as time goes on.

That about wraps up my desk planner. I also use a personal size planner/wallet to stay organized as I do not carry my desk around on a normal basis. I’ll be doing a video on it at a later date – maybe after I improve my video skills.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. I love planner and organizing questions!

Melvedy Designs on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=melvedy%20designs&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US&ref=auto1

I heart organizing on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/IHeartOrganizing?ref=shop_sugg

A Bowl full of Lemons: http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/10/the-rainbow-planner.html

Day-Timer Malibu: http://www.daytimer.com/daytimerstore/mwv/cat/Malibu/Malibu_80?pageName=catPage&rootCatId=Collections_80&catId=Malibu_80&isEqual=true&parentId=Malibu_80&_requestid=88732

A Girl and her Blog: http://justagirlandherblog.com/plan-to-achieve-your-goals-this-year/

Hello Cuteness: http://hellocuteness.com/2013/12/free-printable-new-years-resolutions-lists/

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Untamed Heart by Catherine Sharp (Review, Fiction)

Shane Cordell, raised by the Cheyenne, is savagely handsome. Women are drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and he’s every bit as dangerous. His heart never gets involved

…until now. Ashley Clayton is beautiful and independent, She was raised without a mother’s touch, having only her father and ranch hands to ease her into womanhood. She is naïve in the ways of etiquette but not in the ways of the flesh, horseflesh mostly. Upon her first encounter with Shane, she feels a strong attraction immediately, but there is a lie…a lie she is sworn to keep. A lie that seems so innocent now bodes heartache for their future. Shane must face his past in a courtroom where he is charged with rape and murder. Just as he’s found not guilty, Ashley’s innocent lie sends him running again, this time into a prostitute’s arms.

  • File Size: 383 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages

The Author:

Catherine Sharp is a flight attendant with the private airline Flexjet. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. Determined to contribute a novel of high quality to one of her favorite genres of historical romantic fiction, Untamed Heart is her first book.

Untamed Heart book trailer can be found here http://goo.gl/AyO6ZL. For further information, please visit http://www.catherinesharp.webs.com 

My Review:

“Ashley Clayton is a strong female heroine who has no need to be rescued by any man, a pleasant change from many other romance novels where the woman is often seen as a damsel in distress.”

I thought the cover of Untamed Heart did an excellent job of setting up the story of Shane and Ashley. I cut my teeth on western romances of this era and having Cherokee blood in my heritage, I really enjoyed the story. I found that the author stayed true to the era and the characters were nicely developed.

While I thought the story was well written, information and relationship wise, there were parts of story where the author seemed to get bogged down in the details and it tended to simplify the writing. While this tended to be a distraction for me, the average reader may not notice, and for that reason I am giving the book 4 stars.

Purchase Now!  Untamed Heart (BookStrand Publishing Romance)

I received a copy of Untamed Heart in exchange for an honest review.

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New Year’s Resolutions – Why the hype?

It’s that time of year again and it seems that everyone is either writing or talking about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt the need to make a resolution. Isn’t it something we do in the recesses of our mind anyway, even if we don’t proclaim it? Why do we have the need to clarify thoughts of things we hope to accomplish when two weeks into the New Year, most have been forgotten?

The New Year for me is the same as any other day of the year. January 1st simply means the close of one disappointing holiday season and another year approaching. I no longer make Christmas wishes that I know will not come true. I know this because my wish has been the same for many years, and it’s gone unfulfilled.

Each year I tell myself that maybe this will be the year my daughters will choose to be a part of my life, and each year it doesn’t happen. There is no communication, no phone calls, no returned texts, no letters, nothing. So this year I made a difficult decision, a decision to move forward. No more wishes. No more disappointment. No more expectations. I made the decision to quietly put the past to sleep, as the past cannot be rewritten. It cannot be changed, and I cannot predict the future. The present is all I have and I need to try to make the present count. For self-preservation, that means no more wishes.

It really isn’t a New Year’s resolution that I’ve made, so much as a life resolution. My only aspiration in life was to be a mother. I am grateful for the sixteen years that I had as mother to my daughters, but that life is over, taken from me in a divorce. I’ve learned that one can mourn for a lifetime for pieces of their life, but it won’t bring them back. So, for this January first, I pulled off the black veil of mourning, and made the decision to move forward. I will shake the proverbial puzzle box and dump the contents out on the table and put a different puzzle together this year; a very different one, one without wishes.

 

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