Happy Easter and a Recap of Life

 

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Happy Easter! For Catholics, it’s been a week of activities; Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil Saturday night. I saw this picture of a German Shepherd on Facebook and just had to share. If you follow me, you know how much I love my German Shepherds!

Since hubby wasn’t scheduled to play music at church Friday morning for the Way of the Cross, he decided to do a Way of the Cross at the local nursing home. These folks have had their faith to shore them up throughout their lives and most of them attended daily mass before they were confined to the nursing home. When you think about it, you realize that it must be difficult to all of a sudden not to be able to go to mass or any Holy Days of obligation. Some of the priests in the area aren’t really interested in whether or not the days are celebrated for the residents. Our priest wasn’t happy with us because we not only decided to do this, but to invite several groups from our church.

Sometimes, they get too involved with the number of butts warming the pews than with the actual person whose butt is warming the pew. That starts a whole other rant I could get started on, but I’ll save it for later. Getting back to the nursing home, the residents were thrilled and the volunteers who attended enjoyed a blessed event. We had Father J, whose vocation is truly being a priest (he just loves the Lord and being a priest) do the Veneration of the Cross and a Communion service. Hubby said if it was successful, then we’d start a new tradition. Well – it was successful so I guess that’s where we’ll be next year.

Word of our endeavor got around and at church Friday afternoon, quite a number of folks said they would be at the home next year.

The Easter Vigil was quite long last night. Along with all of the extra parts of the mass that go along with Easter, three people were baptized and six made their confirmation. Easter Vigil began at 8pm and we walked out of church around 11pm.

We were up early again this morning. On Sunday’s mornings, we say the Rosary at the nursing home. They were so excited to see us again and couldn’t say enough about how much they enjoyed Friday’s Way of the Cross. It does your heart good to know that you are bringing joy to another person.

Speaking of my dogs, they are back to chasing the chickens! The chickens are actually confined to an enclosed chicken coop, but those chickens are worse than teenage girls! Hubby had to give a chicken away a couple of months ago because it was being picked on. Now, another one has been singled out and it drives Calypso wild. Dogs have a scavenger mindset and the last time the chickens drew blood, she chased around and around the outside of the chicken coop. Now, the same thing is happening. Hubby is kind of scratching his head. At this rate, we won’t have any chickens left in a few months. He said they are mean chickens, Rhode Island Reds I believe. Both Calypso and Ryka have been hanging out in the back next to the coop.

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The azaleas were pretty this year. Last year only half of the azaleas across the front porch bloomed. I was curious to see what they would do this year. I took the pictures from the porch because of the rain.

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And there’s my little monkey. She loves when I sit out on the porch. She doesn’t care to be inside of the screen, but is content to sit in the yard.

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One of our priests made these designs from palms. I had never seen anything like this before. He is so talented. After looking at Father’s designs, he mentioned the one the Pope used for Good Friday. His was a work of art.

I added quite a number of stickers to my Etsy shop ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSouthernPlanner?ref=hdr_shop_menu ) last week. I am an organizer and a planner so these are right up my alley. If you are interested in using a planner to organize your days, stay tuned. I’ll be writing a few organizing posts. I have been a planner since childhood. There are so many planners on the market now which makes choosing a new one each year exciting.

I spent some time working on my book today. A melancholy mood will do that to you.

If you missed my post on displaying your emergency information for first responders, you can find that post here – https://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2016/03/24/iphone-have-you-locked-out-your-emergency-contact/

I wish everyone a joyful day. Don’t fuss your kids because they had chocolate for breakfast and wiped their hands on the sofa. Don’t fuss because they are running screaming through the house. Don’t worry over the spilled gravy. There are some of us who would love to be a part of our children and grandchildren’s lives. The chocolate and gravy will wash away, the screams will silence and if the stains do not come out, then they will become a cherished memory of Easter 2016 when they snuck chocolate for breakfast, or stuck their finger in the gravy boat, a memory I would gladly give anything for.

I hope you all had a great Easter!

 

 

My Daily Drama – It ain't fun being sick!

Getting sick, especially with a virus isn’t my idea of fun and this was no exception. I am lucky that I do not normally catch viruses, and I’m not at all sure it wasn’t food poisoning. I’m embarrassed to say what I think the food poisoning came from, but if I’m sharing that I had the dry heaves for over twenty-four hours, I might as well share the culprit.

As you know, I am a connoisseur of most things chocolate and that normally begins with chocolate milk at breakfast. What better way to choke down the daily meds than with chocolate milk, right? So, most mornings I drag out the milk and the Hershey’s Syrup and make chocolate milk. For some reason, the most recent bottle was about half full but wasn’t pouring. I did what I do when the bottle is empty and poured a little milk to mix it up. Then, I made my glass of chocolate milk.

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I thought it was odd that half the bottle wouldn’t pour out but really didn’t give it much thought. That is, until I had hours of the most painful stomach cramps I can ever remember – except for when I had a reaction to lobster in Boston, that was bad – and loads of time to contemplate whether I had a virus (always one going around, ever notice that?) or food poisoning. I think I’m leaning toward the food poisoning. I remembered my stomach bothering me for a few days before hand. I guess I’m a slow learner. I also can’t look at chocolate right now!

I guess I’m sharing because I wouldn’t want anyone else to get sick. This has never happened before, and believe me, I’ve gone through more than my share of Hershey Syrup! Just be cautious.

Today didn’t start off much better. It actually got worse as I now have an excruciating pain in my left shoulder and side from the way I finally passed out from exhaustion in my recliner. I literally cannot breathe. I can only take short breaths, otherwise the pain is intolerable. Let me be the first one to tell you that eventually the body decides it wants a huge breath of air and it grabs you and you can’t stop it. That being said, I actually did some screaming today. I wouldn’t normally admit that to anyone. I finally was at my wit’s end and decided after having not eaten since Wednesday night, to have ibuprofen for a snack, along with lots of praying my stomach wouldn’t rebel.

I finally have a little relief tonight. Meds plus a hot rice bag on my shoulder for most of the day have allowed me to almost feel human tonight. Human enough to realize that I am behind on a couple of book reviews and Etsy orders.

I really hope everyone else is having a better week than I am.

Southern Traditions – Tea

Today my choice of tea is Celestial Country Peach served in a beautiful china teacup and saucer that I picked up on a trip. The cup has magnolia flowers on it.

I am really enjoying the fruit teas by Celestial Seasonings.

 

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Steeped in Southern tradition – Tea

I love a good cup of tea, whether by myself while curled up with a good book, or sharing conversation with good friends. Today I enjoyed a cup of Yogi Blueberry Green Tea in a teacup by Mary Engelbreit.

Throughout the days ahead, I’ll hope you’ll fix your own cup of tea and come back here to share a little Southern tradition with me. Until then, have a Happy Day!

 

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Yep! It's Monday – ALL. DAY. LONG.

Don’t know what your Monday’s are like, but I try never to schedule absolute things because it all gets shot to the swamp!

At this very moment you might call what I’m doing, multi-tasking. This is how my Monday is shaping up:

I am writing this blog post, stopping to upload photos, communicating by email with one of the admins at Southern Charm Planners on Facebook (we are sending an Excel spreadsheet back and forth tweaking it), checking Facebook for adds and responses needed in the group, completing Etsy orders for my shop, listening for the dogs to bark telling me UPS is here to deliver a package, talking by speaker phone on my computer to my brother, responding via My Chart app on my phone with my doctor, and I stopped somewhere in the middle to brush my teeth. I am sort of dressed – if you call yoga pants and my pajama shirt and bare feet dressed. Yep! It’s Monday alright.

It’s been a busy past week. My goal is walk three miles three times a week. Last week, it was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. NEVER. AGAIN. It just worked out that way; normally I walk Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but with it being Holy Week and loads of church activities going on, we (my walking partners) walked when we could.

Friends of mine who homeschool brought their children over to plant their tomato plants that they had been growing for the last few weeks at home. The first lesson (Hubby is teaching gardening this semester) consisted of plowing and cultivating and planting potatoes in the garden. They also learned about composting.

This past week, they got to see how big the potato plants are getting and then they planted their tomato plants.

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The little ones were fascinated with the chickens and Hubby took them in to play and check for eggs. The littlest child (2 years) threw a fit when he was taken out of the coop. We had to let him go back in to play for a while. The chickens were so kind to him. He would gently put his hand on the chicken‘s back and the chicken would sit and then he’d pet the chicken’s back. Each time the chicken stood, he would repeat his little gesture and the chicken would sit back down. It was so cute to watch.

The next youngest three were another treat. This little boy (5) came up to me and told me since there wasn’t any food at my house for them to eat, the fruit from the kumquat tree would be their food. He told me this in such ernst that I asked his maw maw if he was hungry. Turns out, he loves to eat. He was so serious about the tree being his food. You just never know what their little imaginations are going to come up with.

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I am taking advantage of the opportunity to socialize Calypso and Ryka when the kids come over. Ryka is good and I let her run around and I normally put Calypso on a leash. Turns out, this time I should have done the opposite. Calypso stood so still while the little ones (who stand face level with her) petted and loved her.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to Ryka because I was so surprised at how well Calypso was behaving (she’s the wild child) until I heard a scream (not a bad scream). I turned around and Ryka was trying to nuzzle and kiss one of the little girls and she had knocked her down. The little sweetheart was not hurt and wasn’t afraid that Ryka had been a little playful with her. I love to see children when they are not afraid of dogs and want to love them. My dogs, being shepherds, love the kids. It will take a little while until they learn to be more gentle. They were really good and seemed to have remembered some of their manners because it’s been a month since the children were over and they were much calmer than I anticipated.

I am a very organized person – just ask anyone. When someone needs organizing, my name usually comes up in conversations! I came across a book a short time ago quite by accident. It is a book I highly recommend and now that I am writing this, I guess I should also write a book review on it. The name of the book is the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.

I have read way more organizing books than anyone ever need read and this book, to me, is revolutionary. It offers something that no other book has offered. When we organize, we tend to get rid of a good bit of items, and then we organize what is left – still retaining way too much stuff; stuff that doesn’t bring joy into our lives. The KonMari Method offers a different strategy. Her method of decluttering has you pulling all of your clothes from the closet, drawers, bins, etc. and placing it all on the floor around you. She repeats this process with other items using categories.

The idea behind her decluttering method is to keep only those items that bring you joy. The process may be difficult in the beginning – as a blouse had to be pried out of my hands even though I felt no joy when I held it, but long before the end, you find yourself filling up with joy over the items you have chosen to keep.

I will explain the clothing option. As you pick up each article of clothing, you will find that either it brings you joy or it doesn’t. The item may have brought joy to you when you first purchased it, but if you no longer wear it or the size is wrong, then you’ll find that it doesn’t have that same feeling. This means it no longer brings joy into your life – out it goes. Let that blouse or scarf bring joy to someone else.

I love white and pastels and yet, I find myself buying an odd color or just something with color in hopes of a little change. Then, it sits there in the closet and when I look at it, I feel remorse. I should have just purchased another white shirt! (laughing at myself) I passed these items along to someone who loves the color. What a load off of my shoulders! There were other items that brought joy into my life along the way, but I no longer reached for them, but past them in favor of other shirts or slacks or jackets. I felt joy when I folded them and placed them in my donate pile. More load off!

The hangars have a little more room to move on the rod and my closet is actually a little brighter due to less items on the shelves. I kept only the items that I actually wear and that bring me joy.

I began applying this technique to my bookshelves. Although I donated at least 100 books or more to a local school last year, there are still more that I have been hanging onto. I sat down and thumbed through each of my baking and cooking books. With arthritis in my hands, I am no longer able to do the cookie and cake decorating that I once enjoyed, so I pulled those books out that had once given me so much joy and passed them along to a good friend who’s life they will bring joy into. She was excited to received them and I felt joy on both ends – divesting myself of so many books and giving them to someone who will love them as much as I did. I cleaned out four feet of bookshelf space! I’ll be working on other sections this week and next.

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This friend and her youngest daughter enjoy having tea parties so I gifted them a set of cups and saucers and while I was visiting, we had a tea party. I was also lucky enough to be there when her older daughter was cooking pancakes. I couldn’t help but give her a few pointers that it took me years to hone – especially since she was making chocolate chip pancakes! We dubbed her the Pancake Queen, a title she loves! She has decided that she will make every kind of pancake that she can think of now that she has perfected the pancake flip.

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I spent a little time straightening up my desk this week. The top of my desk is the only messy place in the house. Haven’t figured out why except that I tend to procrastinate with some things. Please don’t let my secret out of the bag!

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Hubby has fussed at Ryka and Calypso so many times for chasing the chickens, including one time when Calypso pouted in her house for two hours (he finally had to go and coax her out). I looked out the back door a couple of days ago and they had taken up residence outside of the chicken coop. All seemed well and they seemed to be content just observing the chickens. Well, one decided to go to the water bucket, which is attached to the inside corner of the coop to keep it from bring spilled, and Ryka jumped up to chase with Calypso not far behind.

That is all it took for Hubby to fuss at them again. They came running to the house and I told them to “go around” which either means go around to the back of the house or go around to the front of the house. They are so funny when they take off. They are always waiting by the time I make it through the house to the other door. I let them come on the porch where they love to sit at the front door and watch me inside. At least it keeps them out of trouble for a while!

They eventually lay down for a nap and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos of them. The door is full of nose prints as they spend a lot of time there with their noses pressed to the glass.

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Now, I ask you – does that look like two dogs who would chase chickens? They are so sweet and sound asleep!

We are Catholic and we attended Holy Thursday’s Last Supper Mass. Hubby is part of the music ministry (that’s him to the right). On Friday, we attended the Way of the Cross in the morning and in the afternoon, the Seven Last Words of Jesus and the Benediction. It was a great remembrance of what Jesus went through and a time to reflect.

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We attended the Easter Vigil on Saturday night. We witnessed two Baptisms and eight Confirmations done by the Bishop.

Sunday was Easter and we enjoyed a peaceful day. Hubby and I prepared a Barbque and fixings for dinner Sunday night, which we enjoyed with family, and our two parish priests. Father John is so darn funny! We were discussing all the different meats involved in our meal and he dubbed it “Bar-b-que gone wild!”  We had beef, deer, and pork meat in the beans and burgers, turkey sausage, chicken, hot dogs, and shrimp kabobs.

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That concludes my week. I hope you had an enjoyable week and a Happy Easter.

Holiday Planning begins with pretty planner pages!

I was feeling the holiday spirit today and thought why not decorate a few pages in my May Book and share with others. Sometimes you look at your planner pages and think, this needs a little pizzaz, a little life breathed into it. I am hoping to inspire you.

As you have seen in many posts on my blog, I use a planner. I am a person who loves to plot my days. In fact, I need the To Do lists to keep me focussed. If not, I tend to just wander around and do all sorts of other things rather than the things I really need to accomplish that particular day.

Don’t think you have to spend a lot of money in order to be organized; a simple notebook will do. I have the Day-timer and inserts – which I adore. I have an Erin Condren – which I’m not particularly fond of. The layout just doesn’t suit me. I found a way to make each of these systems work for me, which shows you how false the claim “I can’t find a system that works for me” is. I know some will disagree, but they won’t change my mind. You first have to figure out your organization style, how your mind works, and what you are capable of doing with that information. Then you choose a system that will work for you and not against you, setting you up for failure.

If all you do is take a sheet of paper and draw columns and make lists, you’ll find your day more productive. If you have kids, a job, and home life, make three columns. Write what needs to be done in the appropriate column along with a timeframe. You don’t need a fancy planner. Throw a few stickers and little washi tape on the page and now it’s pretty.

As I said, I have tried many systems and they all work but my favorite is just a little notebook. My one obsession is graph paper. It works with my personality. I know this so I use it. I also use a month at a glance calendar. I record appointments, bills, etc. on the month at a glance calendar. This is the calendar that I throw into my bag when I leave the house. I have all the important information with me so if I have to make an appointment or check and see if we have a free day to add an activity, this calendar will tell me. The To Do lists are left at home in the book.

I normally sit down either Saturday or Sunday and transfer everything for the upcoming week to my graph book. I decorate it if that’s what I have in mind to do and I write my lists for the week. Of course, as the days go by, things will be added, but I now have my week set up. I use a page for each day (this allows for my HUGE handwriting and decorating) and I divide a page in half for Saturday and Sunday. You may need an entire page for Saturday and Sunday and that’s okay, I don’t.

I make my own stickers and I love using them. They can all be found in my Etsy store (www.etsy.com/shop/SouthernCharmPlanner) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/SouthernCharmPlannerAccessories  Also check out the planner group at www.facebook.com/groups/SouthernCharmPlanners We love posting pictures of our planner pages and you can always find tips on organizing and supplies. You can find stickers and washi tape at Michaels, Walmart, Hobby Lobby and any number of stores that sale craft supplies as well as on-line. Just start googling.

I am posting some pages and I’ll tell you how I achieved the look.

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This is Thanksgiving. There was no need to fill it up with loads of stickers and such (although I did put a few indians and pilgrims). The orange plaid background on both pages is scrapbooking paper. I cut it to a two-inch width and then ran it through a sticker maker (Xyron). I applied it to the page. On top of that I layered one of my To Do list from my shop. I added a few Thanksgiving stickers and I was done. I still have plenty of space to jot down notes about the day or add more to my lists.

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My Black Friday consists of decorating my house for Christmas so I’ll be filling up the empty space on Friday pretty quickly once the day gets closer.

I also decorated a couple of days in December. I couldn’t wait to use some of the Christmas stickers I made, and I love Christmas.

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I wish the pictures were a little brighter because the colors definitely are! Below is how the stickers look in the Erin Condren planner. Christmas stickers

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I achieved this look by using scrapbooking paper and cutting it to length and running it through my sticker maker. I adhered it to the page and then added a To Do list on top. I really like the layered look. It’s festive. This is a day that bills are due so i added the stickers that represent the gas bill, water, cell phone, and cable bills. I also have a meeting that afternoon and the page wouldn’t be complete without a nutcracker or two. FullSizeRender (5)

Cookie Swap will be coming up the beginning of December so I added a little sticker for baking and two To Do lists as there will be plenty to do before the party on Sunday.

I hope these pictures give you a little inspiration to break out of the humdrum and add a few stickers to your planner. It will make you smile and I guarantee you will be hooked. You’ll never look at a planner page the same.

I would love to hear if you are a planner. What system do you use and how is it working for you? Do you decorate? Do you have any questions about planning or organizing? Be sure to leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting today!

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