A recap of life – changing hosts for my blog, Lent

I must apologize. I have sadly been neglecting my blog and all my Facebook groups as of late. I decided to change my blog from .com to .org and if you have ever done this, well, you know the drama! And, I’m only as tech savvy as the dog outside so I’ve been learning as I go and then being not sure of exactly what I did, but hey, it worked. Lots of those moments even though I did have help. Everything is coming along except now I have a message that says to change my settings in Google Analytics en Webmaster tools. I have no clue how to do this even though it does give you more info. I assume that sooner or later I’ll figure it out – or not.

We are now a couple of weeks into Lent. During Lent, we try to attend evening mass (not offered other than in Lent) at our church. Since there are only a handful of people who attend, we have mass in the little chapel. We are quite lucky to have such a beautiful little chapel and it’s nice to have mass there as well as adoration.

I have been the only lector in attendance on most days so I have been reading every day. I have begun to ask for volunteers and had one yesterday. I mention that because it is always nice to have other people who want to participate in the mass. And, I certainly do not want anyone thinking it’s “my” mass because I read every day. The mass belongs to God and we are simply stewards of his mass (or as a friend says, we are barely the janitors.) Yes folks, we really need to be better Christians if we hope to ever be more than the “janitors” of God’s mass.

Hubby has been learning to be an altar boy? man? server? There are assigned altar servers for the Sunday masses, but for the weekday masses, it is whoever wants to step forward. He did pretty well yesterday. It was his second day and he even showed another friend how to do the serving. The first day Hubby put the cloth on his right arm and couldn’t pour the water to wash Father’s hands. I dare to say that most everyone noticed! It’s funny how such a small thing captures everyone’s attention. Father just rolls with the flow. That man could make chocolate from coffee beans without breaking stride!

Speaking of which, Father is such a hoot! We love having him over for dinner. Ever encounter is a lesson. He is one of those people who is a natural lesson giver if that makes sense. We learn so much just having a conversation with him. He’s retiring in a couple of months and we were so blessed to have him at our church this past year. His sermons have a lot of “something like that” and “wing” and, oh goodness, I was going to put a French phrase that he uses, but I haven’t a clue how to spell it. Father uses “wing” with a swinging hand movement that sort of means “zing”. And, although he is from the Philippines, he has been in Southern Louisiana so long that he has a Cajun accent and his “something like that” is actually “sump’em like dat”.

Father is a joyful man. He is always smiling and singing and reminding me that I need to be more diplomatic (I tend to be very straightforward without a buffer.) I tend to not sugarcoat what I am saying. That particular gene by-passed me during distribution. We were standing outside of the chapel last night and we could hear singing. It was Father. He never fails to bring a smile to your face. His Amens are so concrete. It makes you smile. Once he retires, I am hoping he stays in the area because I am just not ready to say goodbye.

We haven’t been on the houseboat in a while unless you count cleaning and engine repair. The last time we took off one of the engines wasn’t sounding just right so the trip only lasted about ten minutes. It was so disappointing! We had packed a lunch and drinks and we were ready for an adventure! Another part was supposed to arrive yesterday so the work should start back up this afternoon.

We need to get the engines up and running so Hubby can put the boat on dry-dock to add some vents to the bottom of the boat. It will be an addition to the pieces on the bottom that suck the cool water in to cool the engines (not sure of all the technical names). They have fabricated extensions with additional holes so the water will flow easier and trash will not be sucked in to clog the pieces and cause the engines to overheat. If you own a boat, it will make sense. There are lots of waterlilies in the bayous here in South Louisiana and trash gets caught in the roots underwater and can very easily be sucked into the mesh on the vents thus blocking water flow to the engines. Not a nice thing. This is the reason for the modification to the system. Hubby has a friend who has made the adjustments so that is where the boat situation stands. We are hoping for many boat adventures this summer.

I need to be heading out. I made a pact with myself to walk at least four times a week and if I don’t get going soon, another day will have passed and my goal will not be met.

I’ll be adding posts on organizing – using planners and organizing your house, and traveling, as well as keeping up with my chocolate and Southern recipes.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to follow my blog so you don’t miss anything!

Parental Alienation

From – www.eventbrite.com

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of a parent psychologically brain washing their child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect and even hostility towards the other parent. In some cases, the alienating parent will deepen the brain washing by witholding the child from the other parents’ parenting time, manipulating the police with false allegations, taking advantage of the courts – who don’t have effective mechanisms to handle these cases. These children victims often suffer social adjust challenges face difficulty re-engaging with the needed love of the targeted parent.

Parental alienation is very prevalent, with 13% of all parents reported alienation and 48% of those to be deemed extreme(Harman, Leder-Elder, Biringen 2016). Of note and contrary to popular belief, there is no significant gender variation – it’s about 50/50. This is growing health crisis and hidden epidemic, out of sight because the children have no physical signs of abuse and they don’t even know they are being abused. A parent who inflicts parental alienation child abuse typically has either a narcissistic personality disorder (6% of the population) or a borderline personality disorder (6% of the population) or fit both diagnoses (10% of the population) (Grant et al. 2008). If one of these diagnosis is present, divorce trauma anxiety often triggers that parent to initiate alienation behavior in order to mediate their loss experience associated with the divorce. (Interpretation from C.A. Childress, Psy.D. 2015)

The long-term effects of parental alienation revealed seven major areas of impact on the victims: (1) low self-esteem, (2) depression, (3) drug/alcohol abuse, (4) lack of trust, (5) alienation from own children, (6) divorce.


From – www.eventbrite.com

It was the week from hell…the kind where Lucy says, "I have some splaining to do."

Was last week only seven days? It seems like so much longer. I managed to cram those seven days – was it only seven – full of drama! With the click of a finger, I managed to delete all the emails from five, YES FIVE, Gmail accounts. I also managed (over two weeks) to revamp a lot of my blog and now if you click on Non-fiction reviews you get nothing.
Ever want to beat your head against the wall? It’s been one of those weeks – was it only seven days? I worked with Apple for several hours. Believe it or not, there actually is a human at the other end of the line – if you have the patience required to work with the virtual lady. The woman I spoke with was patient and kind and tried her best to help me figure out a solution. We finally reached the conclusion that I needed to work with Google. She even helped me figure out how to reach them.
Google took another couple of hours – it actually became my full-time job that day – but I was finally given a link to a form to fill out requesting Google restore all my emails. Then, I received an email stating the emails were irretrievable. I may or may not have screamed at that point. When I checked my emails, I did find several thousand emails in two of them. Turns out, most of them were trash. Seems trash is retrievable, but the good stuff is not. So, I spent the better part of two days deleting trash emails.
It’s odd how God works in mysterious ways. I have been working on simplifying my life and one of the ways I am accomplishing my goal is by cutting back on my book reviewing. I am in my third/fourth year of Dominican studies and the material is piling up. There is not a lot of time for frivolous reading these days. I will still review a couple of times a month; maybe a few more times, we’ll see how things work out. We also plan on doing a bit of traveling – on our houseboat and by car. Other plans include purchasing a camper as we want to visit the national and state parks.
Getting back to the simplifying part, you know how those emails begin to add up – the ones that you hope to explore more thoroughly when you have time, but time never comes. Those emails added up in my files quickly. Point being, I don’t think if I lived to be 100 could I possibly go through them all. My emails were jammed. One push of a button took care of that! I was freaked out for a while, but now I’ve come to see it as a good thing. The emails are gone. No more worrying and wanting to go through them.
It hasn’t been without its drama, though. I lost a lot of emails from authors and publicists that I still am obligated to review books. Some of the emails I was able to retrieve, but I’m not sure how many were affected. I can only wait until the author or publicist contacts me because they haven’t heard from me. Those emails were in my blog email account. The only other account and most important were my public emails. I had all the emails from several commissions that I am on as well as a ton of Dominican emails. Those I am still disappointed in not having. Luckily for me, I am in the habit of saving important documents to Evernote. Yes, thousands of emails gone, with a swipe of a button. Now, THAT was a Lucy moment. Simplifying life.
Then, there was the aggravation of the internet service at our house. I have not had any problems up until now with the service, but the last two weeks have been non-stop interrupted service. My phone and my MacBook have spent more time filtering than what they are supposed to be doing. I finally figured out that when they begin filtering, it coincides with the lights on the modem going out. Then, when they come back on, all is well in Whooville. This went on for several days before I phoned the cable company. The person I was speaking to frustrated me so much, I wanted to go and slap him. He kept checking the modem remotely and remarking how “beautiful it was”. And, just because the lights were on at the time, didn’t mean they were flashing off and on and mostly off at other times.
I unplugged and re-plugged and rebooted and since the modem “was beautiful” he said there was no problem. I finally told him (none too nicely) that the next time the lights went off, I’d call him back. It’s happened once since the phone call and I didn’t call. I’m too tired of dealing with “stupid” this week – are you sure it was only seven days?
Oh and I’m not finished! On top of that, I am seriously considering handing over my position of coordinator of music ministries at church to some other unsuspecting person. Why is it people who play music are so temperamental and egotistical? About half of our music ministers are playing music in church for the wrong reasons. I don’t think they get it. They seriously think they “own” their mass. Wrong! The mass doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to God. We are stewards of the mass, but the mass belongs to Him.
We had a meeting five months ago to lay down a few ground rules. The diocese is working on strategic planning and the church is trying to adhere to Vatican II a little more than it is currently doing. You know the old phrase, give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile. This has been true in the Catholic Church. Long, long, story short, once the priest begins the procession down the aisle, all music should be liturgically correct. It should also be music from the hymnals so the congregation can take part in the liturgy. Some churches may practice this, but some of our music ministers do not.
This is the reason I say that not all ministers are there for the right reasons. They give concerts. A parishioner commented to one that she gave a nice concert. I don’t think she got it. Without music, the liturgy is not the liturgy; it goes hand in hand. The music should complement the readings, the gospel, and what is happening on the altar. By doing this, it allows everyone in the church to take part in the entire liturgy. When you hear the readings, the gospel, the homily, and the music all reiterating the same message, chances are you will remember something when you leave.
On top of that, one music minister missed mass for four months to go hunting. When I contacted him to find out if he was returning to the music ministry, he replied yes, if he could have his same mass back. He informed me of the date of his return. Five months ago, I checked with each minister and asked if they were open to having an alternate. All said yes. So, when I told this minister there was an alternate for this particular mass, and he would be playing two weekends a month and the alternate would be playing two weekends a month, his reply was to let the alternate play all the masses and if he missed, he would substitute. It was an all or nothing; this coming from someone who missed masses on a regular basis without letting anyone know to take his place. See what I mean? Playing for the wrong reasons and giving a concert, because Sunshine on my shoulders is not in the hymnal.
What I have been trying to get across is that they should all be a team ready to have each other’s backs. If one can’t make it to a mass (we have 4), then someone else should be ready to help out. It doesn’t threaten their spot at a different mass. They all want ownership of their mass. They don’t get it. Anyone in the congregation who would like to play music at mass should be able to, but they won’t come forward as long as the attitude is “my mass”. And, I am very close to telling them all how selfish they are when they play music that they like, that the congregation doesn’t have access to, and doesn’t not know the words. It is not a concert. Needless to say, I am frustrated, and our priest is out of the country until sometime in February, so this problem is not getting fixed for a while.
If you’ve made it this far down the blog, stay tuned because there will be another excerpt from Kat Martin’s book this week and also one from Kristen Higgins and giveaways!
Hopefully, the next time we chat, WordPress will have ironed out my problem with Non-Fiction and we’ll be great!
Enjoy your week!

We are cleaning out closets and offering emotional support to help you toss out!

Good morning! Today on Simplifying and Planning 101 (Facebook) we start purging our closets! The KonMari method begins with closets. I am going to pick on Monica in the group because she’s a friend and she posted her closet!

When I quit working outside of the home, I had to make some hard line decisions about all of the clothes I owned. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much clothing I owned! But I will. It may help someone reading this to make some decisions. If you owned stock in LLBean, Lands’ End, or J.Crew, I was personally responsible for the rise in stock prices! I helped make you rich!  Some of the pairing down came before I quit work, the next step was after.

I loved skirts and owned three types of skirts in about six colors – short trouser style skirts, longer trouser style skirts, and a pleated style. I had shoes to match all of them – flats, low heel, and high heel respectively. Remember belt strips? I had matching belts and coordinating belts, etc along with a variety of buckles. Those belt strips were so fun to wear! I had boots – notice the ‘s’? I had jackets to match. I had jewelry. I had outer coats. I had vests. I had sleeveless, short sleeve, and long sleeve blouses and that was only the work clothes!

I was a MEGGA clothes horse. I loved getting dressed in the morning and laying out my outfit. I could literally go forever without wearing the same exact outfit; until one day I stood back and had a firecracker moment and realized that I didn’t need all of the clothes. I was still working at the time, but had gone through some life changes and was working at a different job and all of a sudden it just seemed ridiculous, which it was! When I realized this, it was easy to begin pairing down and I did. I chose the skirt style which fit my lifestyle, and sadly and sometimes tearfully put the others aside. It’s been years and I still miss some of the skirts! lol The more I paired things down to my REAL favorites, the better I felt about myself. I’m not kidding when I say it took several months. It was a hard process at the time. We become consumed with our love of clothes and it is a harsh process. Now I can walk into my closet and grab a couple of things with no problem and bless someone else with them. Just recently I parted with a very loved red parka but how many do you actually need? I still have two (another red and a blue.) I am sharing my story because I am hoping it helps someone. Hey Monica! lol

The more I paired things down to my REAL favorites and pieces that fit my lifestyle, the better I felt about myself. I’m not kidding when I say it took several months. It was a hard process at the time. We become consumed with our love of clothes and it is a harsh process. Now I can walk into my closet and grab a couple of things with no problem and bless someone else with them. Just recently I parted with a very loved red parka but how many do you actually need? I still have two (another red and a blue.) I am sharing my story because I am hoping it helps someone else make these sometimes difficult choices.

KonMari is done by taking ALL of your clothes out of your closet and from all around the house. You’ll make a mess and if this works for you, go for it. My personality doesn’t like chaos or a mess and I had paired down my clothes to the extent I could take a section at a time. I am an extremely organized person and with my system, could make one section at a time work. When I completed the closet, I was able to stand back and know if there was more I should purge. Not everyone can do this. I’ll explain the KonMari way first and then my adaptation of the method.

The authentic KonMari way is to take everything out of your closet. Gather all of your clothes from around the house – the sofa, the laundry, etc. You might want to put on some soothing music if you are a clothes horse! Sit down and take a deep breath, then begin. Take each piece of clothing and if you feel joy when you pick it up, then keep it. If you do not feel joy or it weighs you down, put it aside to give away. Believe it or not, this works. I love wearing white shirts and jeans. It’s my go-to outfit and I have loads of white shirts to prove it. I decided I’d try color. Big mistake for me. So, when I picked up one colored shirt after another and even though they were new, I felt no joy, I set them aside. As you go through the process it really gets easier and actually fun. Once you have completed this task, we’ll move on to the putting away stage. Marie has a way of folding and putting away that helps you see what you have. I’m a huge fan.

If, on the other hand, you are like me, take a section at a time and pull it out – maybe begin with sleeveless shirts. Once you’ve completed them, set them aside and pull out short-sleeve and so on working your way through each section of your closet. When you have completed the process, we’ll move on to the putting back stage.

I can’t wait to hear from those who are cleaning closets this week. Work on your closet first. We’ll work on kids and husbands later. If you have any questions, please comment.

If you would like to join up for emotional support or just to have fun, please join up on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/groups/SimplifyandPlan/  We’ll be working our way around the house and also doing some Planner planning on the side.

The most wonderful time of the year to purge!

The most wonderful time of the year to purge (to me) is after a holiday season. That is when you have spent time with all the decorations (stuff) and you can easily identify what you are tired of and wish you didn’t have to pack away. Let me backtrack, I think the best time is when you are digging through the containers and putting items back in that you do not feel like finding a place for in the first place. Those items need to go. Don’t put them back in the container to go back in the attic until you pull the containers back out after Christmas and they are staring right back at you when you lift the lid. Yes! I speak from experience. I do it every year just like everyone else – except this year or last year as the season of decorating began. If I put my hands on it and it distressed me, out it went. If it was in good condition, but just didn’t bring me joy (as in Marie Kondo), I donated it so it can bring joy to someone else.

I have a group on Facebook that I am regrouping to focus on simplifying, planning, and organizing our lives. I plan to focus on simplifying by purging our lives of the extras that weigh us down – stuff, busy schedules, people, etc. Nothing will be off limits as the year progresses. The name of the group is Simplifying and Organizing 101 and if you are interested in joining, the group can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/SimplifyandPlan

This is today’s post –

Hi Ladies! Wow! The weather is atrocious! I hope you are all nice and warm. Kestral and the end of the Christmas season gave me an idea. Instead of beginning with cleaning out the closets (I promise we’ll get to them) let’s begin our purge with Christmas decorations and all the extra platters and dishes we used during the holiday season. I have actually done this every year, but like everyone else, I get to the point where I just toss those few last items back into the boxes to deal with “I may use it next year.”

This is the year I DO NOT do that!!! I really simplified my decorating this year (just ask friends). I didn’t put all the greenery around my house (that probably only me noticed) and the door garland stayed in the wagon in the barn, exactly where we rolled it in when it began raining on us while we were decorating the fence. That garland is staying! I think one reason it was never put up was because we screened in the front porch this summer and Hubby wanted to put the garland around the porch door and I wanted it around the house door. Until we screened in, I would decorate the porch rails with lights and garland. When he painted, he took down all of my rusted hooks (bad, bad me) and never replaced them. So, things were a little off balance and I need a new routine. Enough about me! Let’s get started with the Christmas purge. The Epiphany is not celebrated until Sunday, but we can work around it.

First, get yourself a box or a huge bag. The first things to donate or throw away (if they are in sad condition) are the things you put back in the containers and didn’t use. Those items you picked up and nah to; old bulbs, garland, ornaments, figurines, etc. Those are the items that when you held them, just didn’t bring you “joy”.

Second, as you look around your house at the items that made the cut this year, but you were just going through the motions by putting them out will require a little attention. Ask yourself if you really really love these items. Pick it up and hold it (as Marie says). Does it make you feel good? If not, thank it for bringing you joy in the past and being a part of your home, and put it in the box to pass along so it will have the chance to give joy to someone else. Thinking that the item will bring joy to someone else (one man’s junk is another man’s treasure) really helped me to pass along things. Again, just ask my friends! Lol Holidays provide wonderful opportunities to downsize and simplify. As you put away, it easy to purge.

After you’ve purged your decorations (of if you are waiting for Sunday), work on all those serving dishes that seem to accumulate. I put a power cord to something in a “better place” and have yet to locate it. The box was in the same place, but I was too lazy to put the cord back and now it’s somewhere. I was determined to locate it and this led to cleaning out my buffet. I found plates I had forgotten I had. I used to be in a club and each month would be hosted at someone’s house. There were twenty in the group and I found twenty dessert plates and twenty dinner plates in the back of a cabinet. I’m talking in the abyss – at the bottom in the back. No power cord but a load of plates that will be making it’s way to St. Vincent de Paul to bless someone else. I also pulled out a load of other miscellaneous items to donate and give away. I love purging and organizing so much that it was fun and it just spurs me on to do more. So…maybe I’m not the normal person, but purging can be fun and not tedious. Have fun with the memories and pass things along so others can make memories.

This has been long winded. I apologize! Comment and let the group know what you are tackling this week. With all of this cold weather upon us, it’s the perfect time to purge. We want to see your pictures!!

READY! SET! GO PURGE! If you have questions, comment and we’ll help you! These pictures are the bottom drawer of my cupboard that I cleaned out last night.




Incoherant ramblings…of the Holiday Blues


It’s the Christmas season again. You know the time of year when you are jolly and laugh a lot and wish everyone you come in contact with “Happy Holidays!” For me, it’s the season where I want to crawl under a blanket along with my heated mattress pad and sleep until January or February, maybe even March. Holidays are difficult for me; partly because of decisions I made for self-preservation, but mostly because of lies and manipulation by others.

When my depression hit a really low low, the point where I didn’t even want to put up a tree, I decided to have a Cookie Swap party. For my husband’s sake (bless him, he’s the angel who keeps me going) I made the effort to do this one thing, one normal everyday thing in my un-normal world, to feel some sort of normalcy. This one party began a yearly tradition for about ten years. My dad passed away two years ago the week before my party at which time I stopped the tradition. I wasn’t up to having the party last year and really didn’t have plans to host the cookie party again. As much as my friends looked forward to gathering for fun every year, I just wasn’t feeling up to hosting. I found it easier to hibernate.

Then, to my surprise, I began planning my party without even realizing it. Somewhere between here and there, I decided to take a stab at living again, at being “normal.”  So, my cookie swap tradition carries on this weekend. I actually sat down to plan my tasks for today, tomorrow, and Sunday, not to write a blog post but yet here I am. I haven’t been writing many personal stories as of late. I hesitate at times because there are two people I try not to make angry although at times I feel that my very existence makes them angry. They do not wish to hear about my life or my stories or what I am feeling; they are my daughters.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will have read stories about alienation. Perhaps it is something you understand or have experienced, perhaps not. The trouble with alienation is that those who are victims almost never realize it and anytime someone talks about it, it will make them even angrier and then they don’t want anything to do with you and you walk on eggshells, censoring every word you speak or write but nothing changes and the cycle just keeps going on and on, and sadly never-ending. That is my “normal.”  I wrote a story about an incident that happened about five years ago (not the incident, the story) and (pardon the language) it pissed them off and that has resulted in five years of silence and walking on eggshells. In fact, I am pretty sure that when they get wind of this post, it will give them the excuse they are looking for to spend another five years in silence.

That isn’t why I’m writing. I’m writing because I have a right to express what I am feeling and thinking. I have that right, it’s mine as a living, breathing person. It’s the season, the holidays, and sometimes it brings out the best in us, sometimes the truth, sometimes depression, sometimes hate and anger. Right now, this minute, when I should be busy getting ready for my party, I am feeling anger. I am angry that my daughters do not want to be in my life. I am angry at the person(s) who have caused this. I am angry that I didn’t have the knowledge back then that I do now, maybe things would be different. I am angry that my two children whom I love more than life itself, can’t see past the lies and manipulation and remember the love. I am writing this because it’s the only communication I have with them.

It’s times like this when I’m angry that I want to tell the ugly story no one knows. All of the fighting to be able to give my daughters what they enjoyed growing up, the sleepovers, the music lessons, the parties, the gifts, Catholic schooling. I protected them from all the ugliness. I’m not sorry I did, but perhaps if they had witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly (as a counselor once put it) they would be more understanding. But, I guess that’s neither here nor there, it is what it is. I’m all out of clichés’. Life goes on and normal takes on a new meaning each day.

I’m not looking for sympathy. Sometimes you just have to get real and that’s what I’m doing. This is my life and I plan on writing about it. I truly believe that some of us have experienced the things we have because we are supposed to help others with what we’ve learned. So, with that, I guess it’s time to take a look at my plan of action and begin the preparations for my party…and look for that new normal, at least for today.