Saturday, January 25, 2014

Celebrate!

I love traditions . . . I think they are one of the things that make "families" families.

Chili soup made by me, vegetable soup and chicken noodle soup made by mom - Christmas tradition for our meal.  And Deb's four-layer dessert.  Yum.

As a child my dad's family had a family potluck meal every month to celebrate all of the birthdays for that month - - - a cake with everyones name was always included.  What a great tradition!

Packing up my two kids and sometimes a friend or girl friend and going to Tami's house for spring break.  Wonderful fun!!!

Rockin' New Years Eve on TV every year - me saying I will be there in Times Square some time and my hubs saying no you won't.

Everyone gets a Christmas stocking in my immediate family - which has gone from two kids to now let's see I believe the count was 14 this year!    It will be filled with goodies - but Grandma gets the stocking back of course for the next year.

At the office, we gather at someone's home for a gift exchange and snacks.  Really nice to spend time together outside the work place.


         "It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul." -- Caroline Kennedy


“A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, 

indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril” -- Winston Churchill.



Yes, I love traditions.  And even now, at age nearly 55, kids grown and out of the house, and separated by some miles . . . I declare I am starting a new one . . .

I first heard about this years ago from my sister, Tami.  Her family was given a special celebration plate.   Great way to honor a member of the family - be it a birthday, good report card, great ballgame, good behavior, job change, etc.  The special person got to eat off of the "Celebrate" plate.

I did this tradition really without calling it a tradition - but when the kids needed or deserved a little extra attention or special reward - I would announce that I would have "A special dinner".   Don't know that I served anything special or new - maybe it would be the honoree's favorite food - but it was special cuz I said it was!  And we sat together as a family and talked about the special person for that moment!  I would wonder if either of my children even realized we did that?  Have never asked them.

So here it is . . . the "Celebrate" plate.



I purchased this from Pampered Chef and my friend Rebecca.  And the tradition starts today, January 25, 2014 as I have my dad, mom and in-laws over for my dad's birthday!  Yes even at age 79 you can be part of new traditions!  I plan to use the plate tonight for dad to eat his birthday supper off of, and in the future whenever we have something special to celebrate.  Birthdays and the usuals - but even when you "come home" for a visit - have a new baby - the grandkids achievements - new jobs - success at work - disappointments in life - or for anything I deem "Celebrate plate" worthy!!

How do you feel about traditions?  Please share your family traditions!

Blessings in celebrating all the special moments in a lifetime.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Work

A huge thanks to BFF sister and fellow blogger, Tami Erwin from Just One More Thing for my updated blog face!!  It's wonderful!!

Recently I shared that I plan to have some fun at work this year!  I say that because all of us at my job would agree the last two years of going through a computer conversion - also known as our trip to hell and back . . . was not fun.

Early last Fall I ran across a promotion by the Arthritis Foundation.  It struck me as something fun we could promote at the first of the new year.   I signed us up.  Stipulations are:  Walk 30 minutes a day for at least 3 days each week.  We all received a very nice book with facts about arthritis, walking, nutrition, etc.  It included a walking journal and a free pedometer and back pack!

I rolled this idea out to the ladies of my department last week with the incentive that I would bring treats of some kind each week for the six week journey. Everyone quickly hooked on their pedometer to see if they could arrive at 10,000 steps per day! 

First week I focused on our bodies need for H20 - the blue stuff - water!!  Our incentive and reward for week #1 was a bottle of happy water and some granola bars! 

This week I am going to reward with some nutrition facts and a fruit tray to share on Friday.  I only know of one co-worker who reads my blog - so Phyllis - spoiler alert - - -

The next week will focus on our need for "greens" in our diet - and Vegies and dip will be served!

I will turn to the exercise promotion for the next two weeks - one week I think everyone will receive a new pair of walking socks!  Gotta have those right??  The next feet - since I know several Avon reps - INCLUDING me - we will be rewarded with Avon's cooling foot cream!!  Just what we need after the miles and miles we will have tread! 

Then dear readers - - - I'm undecided on my final incentive/reward!  Can you help me with some ideas?

Blessings in health and fitness for 2014!  AND - as one of my 7 focuses for the year - - - having stress free days at work! 




                       WEEK #1 REWARD

For more information about arthritis and healthy living - check out www.arthritis.org









Thursday, January 16, 2014

Old Things - What's the pull?

Earlier this week I had to travel out of town for training for work.  When I finished up that afternoon I decided I wanted to check out a corner antique store downtown.

The minute I walk in to an antique store - I feel "something".    My sister has recently been finding some really neat treasures at her local antique stops - a pedal-tread sewing machine, vintage materials, and a unique card table.  She has great uses for them and they look great in her home!  Maybe that is what lead me back to this store that I had visited a year ago when I was looking for an old magazine rack for a Pinterest project - remember here.

Yesterday I spent two hours winding through room after room after room of anything you can think of - they had it there.  Three levels of dishes, cook ware, baskets, toys, jewelry, clothes, purses, quilts, tablecloths, books, NO I can't even do it justice by trying to list things here.

I found some really fun things - I purchased a couple of items that I won't reveal here as they are gifts for someone special!  Here are just a couple of the items I loved the most:



Who didn't have one of these in their homes if they grew up in the 60-70's??  Pyrex set of mixing bowls.  My mom had the set.  And if I had 95.00 to spend - I would have had this set!  What good memories though - - - they started to flow - - - the percolator coffee pot that we had, the casserole dishes, the melimac plates, cups, and saucers.  I had to just pick them up and hold the coffee cup in my hand.  I started drinking coffee in those!  


And my favorite find!  Fisher Price Play Farm.  This set belonged to my little sister but I played with it many many hours.  How nice that she shared!  I had the dollhouse - or maybe it actually belonged to my middle sister - but somehow I felt that they were both mine.  LOVE these toys.  I would have purchased this set for 25.00 but no animals and no tractor with wagon and no fences included.  So I passed.  But I plan to search one out for "grandma's toy box".  It's a must have!!!



So now that I have shown you some of my finds - please tell me what the feeling is that I experience when I visit these shops?  I tried all afternoon to put my finger on how I was feeling?  Is this nostalgia I asked??  Am I melancholy??  Am I fighting the aging process?  Am I sad because these days are long gone?  It hit me that my kids and my grandkids would probably feel nothing when looking at these things.  BUT that would be natural correct?  They would feel nostalgic about all different kinds of things.  

There is something sad, sweet, fun, and heart-warming about revisiting these pieces of my history.  I have had the most fun with a Pinterest board - found here - where my sister Tami and I have continued to collect things that were part of our childhood.  

Can you explain the feelings to me?  Did I have such a great childhood that I remember all of the things I used to have?  We didn't have everything we ever wanted as a child I'm sure - but we had things and they meant a lot to me.  Maybe I'm just overwhelmed with thankfulness and gratitude for the childhood I did experience!!   Let me know how you feel when "antiquing"?  Does anyone share the strange emotions?  

Happy Memory Seeking!!







Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Work

I have a good job.  I like the work that I do and I like working in health care.  I don't normally talk about work on my blog because I don't think it is professional to do that.    Especially not if I were to talk about my stresses at work.

So....I am making an exception this year because "stress free work" is one of my seven focus areas for 2014.  

I work in an office with several other women.  I would rate us rather high on the scale of how we get along.  Recently we have done the unthinkable, the one thing I hope to never do again, and that is a  computer conversion.  Changing our entire life at work.  And nearly two years later, I feel we are now able to take a deep breath and go back to breathing normally.  

We have recently had some staffing changes due to retirement, and have said farewell to some very deserving co-workers.    The new staff seems to be moving forward with ease and it is exciting!

As the supervisor, it's time again for me to have some FUN!  For all of us to have some FUN!  We nearly forgot how during the dark period of the computer conversion . . . 

So for fun in 2014 at work we are going to focus on making each day "amazingly awesome".  I took the idea from my new calendar "Wacky Up Your Life" Ridiculously Simple Ways to Change Your Life.    For instance - who knew that January 8th was National Bubble Bath Day??  We are soooo celebrating that!!  Even though just a few days late - we will all be getting just a little sample of bubble bath for a relaxing soak!  

Each new month will bring to light a little known holiday that we have been missing!  But not in 2014!

Part II of my plan for adding some fun touches to work this year will be announced here on my blog at a later time . . .

Do you like your job?  What would make it better?  When was the last time someone thanked you for the work you do?  Do you feel like a valued part of your team?  I would love to hear from some of you out there in the work force!

But excuse me . . . gotta go . . . I'm taking a bubble bath . . .









Monday, January 13, 2014

Reading



Just coming off of a weekend readathon high . . . If you have ever joined one you know what I mean. Kinda disappointing when it's over.  My sister/reader Tami is trying a Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge this year and it looked interesting so I did some research and found one I would like to join myself, only on a smaller scale.

Reading being one of my focuses for 2014 I set a goal for myself of 25 books in the year.  Not an astounding goal by a true reader's measure but for me - it is doable and still a challenge.

To add a twist I will be signing up for the What's In a Name reading challenge sponsored by The Worm Hole - check it out here.

The details include:

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):
  • A reference to time (Eleven Minutes, Before Ever After)
  • A position of royalty (The People’s Queen, The Last Empress, The Curse Of The Pharaoh)
  • A number written in letters (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, A Tale Of Two Cities)
  • A forename or names (Rebecca, Eleanor & Park, The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D.)
  • A type or element of weather (Gone With The Wind, Red Earth Pouring Rain)
Sounds like fun to me!!

Here's to a good year of reading!!





Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sister Readathon Final Chapter

Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend.

That's exactly how I felt when I wrapped up my first book for 2014.  Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg was a tender story about two best friends and their journey through breast cancer.  I'm used to watching Hallmark movies where many times the main character survives and beats the odds.  Not to be in this story.  You always wonder how you would deal with a life threatening disease and I tend to avoid thinking about it.  I think that is what intrigued me about the book.  Every day common folk dealing with death - when you are facing it you can't just ignore it - and the two friends and their circle of friends lived it.  I found on paper all of the questions a person like me would wonder about but dare not ask.  Ruth asked many times, "how will I know when it's time?", will it be painful, will I be aware?"  Sometimes just getting it out there and talking about it takes away the fear. That is what I believe anyway.    Five stars for the book.  Well written.  The author went back and forth with past and present times - letting you see how the best friends met and became "bests".  

It's Sunday and Tami and I have decided to end the readathon, declaring it a successful run!

Meanwhile I went through the books in my "library."   Book #2 will be the third in a series of Detective Dido Kent stories.  I normally don't want to read books out of order :) but since this was a free book that I won as a prize in an earlier readathon - I will force my OCD tendencies out of the way and read what I have.  A Woman of Consequence looks like a little stretch for me - it's a mystery - and hopefully I can see it through to the end.  Anna Dean is the author and the other books in the series are A Gentleman of Fortune and Bellfield Hall - The Dido Kent Series.

Hope you enjoyed following along with us this weekend.  Maybe you even picked up a book and read with us!  Let me know what you are reading and why?  Where is your favorite corner to go and read? What are your reading goals for 2014?

Blessed with a weekend to spend with books!

Side note:  Reading more as you know is one of my focuses for the New Year!  Feels great to have accomplished one step in that plan already!





Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Read - Readathon Day #3 - A Quotable Quote

I love quotes!  I can spend hours reading books of quotes!

So naturally it came to me to offer a challenge on what is your favorite quote about books and reading?

Tami has some great ones - check them out right here!

Here are my top five quotes on reading and books!


When you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity, in a way that no other reading in your life does. - - - Meg Ryan's line in You've Got Mail.  One of my favorite movies because the main character owns her own little book store!!  My dream job!!











Weekend Read - Readathon Day #3

It's early afternoon on Day #3 of the Sisters Readathon and it has been a great success!  All signed up to read agree!   All two of us!    A little laundry done and a little kitchen floor mopped . . . on to enjoying a great book or two.

I'm posting a fun challenge for the next two hours - You have until 3 p.m. to find your favorite quote about reading and make it a post!!  To get your mind rolling . . . 


Quotes are Great
Books are Greater  
Quotes about Books are the GREATEST! 

by Teri Henningsen  LOL

Weekend Read - Readathon Day #3

Up early with coffee and a Bible reading.  Day 3 of the Sisters Readathon.  By now I can say that I am loving the book choice I made . . .

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg.

I voiced a challenge for this a.m. and if you are reading along with us today for the Sister's Readathon feel free to leave your comment after this blog!   Challenge was to read the next 10 pages in your book and share something from it!

Oddly, my book doesn't have chapters numbered??  But about page 119 is where I started from today and read on about Ruth and Ann.  Best friends.  Ruth has advanced breast cancer and eventually it has spread to her bones, lungs, and brain.  Although it tugs at my heart to read it there are many times that I have chuckled at how strong and witty the two friends are.

In the ten pages I read for the challenge - the friends are all discussing the fact that they feel possibly Ruth is not dying afterall.  In fact they feel she has been healed - or could be healed - and that they should not give up hope.   It reminded me back over twenty years ago well 25 to be exact that one of my first cousins was diagnosed with an advanced and rare form of cancer in the sinuses and nasal area including lymph nodes.  2% chance of survival for five years.   He was tried on the newest trial regimen and although he had to have tube feedings for awhile and suffer through chemotherapy . . . He has survived and beaten the odds!  I sent him books about visual imagery and that technique is used in this story I'm reading - picturing the cancer cells being beaten and destroyed, starved to death, ordered to leave!!   I believe that works!!   So secretly I'm hoping that is how the book Talk Before Sleep ends - with her defeating the awful C word . . . but I'm thinking not.

Very good book choice - it gets 5 stars from me so far!

How is your weekend readathon going and what are you learning?



Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekend here I come ...Readathon Day #2

Friday night . . . after a long week  . . . one of my favorite things.   Chilling in front of the TV for Blue Bloods.  It's also day number 2 of the Sister Readathon so I will spend all the rest of the evening with a good book.  Talk Before Sleep . . . is turning out to be a great story.   Later in the weekend I will give a review of the book and share some of my favorite passages but for tonight it's just freedom to read.

Except that I do have to take Tami up on her challenge for the night!  Check it out here at her blog, Just One More Thing.  She asks why I read and what I gain from it?

Reading has always meant one thing to me and I don't know if its common with all readers - I would assume it is the very biggest reason most people read - and that is to be transported to another place and time.  The minute I start a book I picture the house in the story or the front porch or the lake or the city that is described.  So I think that we gain imagination from reading - because there is nothing else that I do that forces my brain to work the way it does during reading.  I love movies more than books I have to admit - but movies are strictly sit down and get involved in - it's all right there in front of you in big screen, high definition, colored TV.    When I read my mind goes to work!!

And that's a good thing.

Good challenge question sis, and so I answer back with a challenge for tomorrow a.m.   In the wee hours of the morning when the coffee is brewed - read 10 pages and find something to share!!  Come back here and post it or write your own post!

Hope some of the rest of you join us!




Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sister Readathon Update

I asked the question so I am required to answer it . . .

My sister Tami and I have started an impromptu readathon tonight and plan to continue it through Friday and the weekend!  Great fun!  With the use of text messages, face book, and our blogs it's almost like being in the same room reading and discussing over a cup of hot tea.

Two cups that is for me tonight.    Two phone calls - one with mom and one with dad.  And now I'm back to my original reason for posting - to answer my challenge question.

Describe a main event in your life and the book that you were reading at the time.    Tami had a very good reply to this and I can also relate a couple of times back to my childhood days of reading.

     #1 - I remember the day in first grade that I realized I was in the top reading group - I believe they were called Reading Group A, Reading Group B, and Reading Group C.  Of course everyone knew the kids in Group C were slower readers.  Oh but hey we all grew up and survived it!!!  But I won't get started on how parents are these days with wanting no competition in the classroom or athletic field!

     #2 - I remember how when I started reading The Nancy Drew Mysteries and read like 27 of them or some such number - - - that it struck me how cool it was that people could write these stories with twists and turns and mysteries in them!  

The time period in my life that I will always remember was when I got hooked on the Janette
Oke pioneer women series in the late 1990's - 2000.   I remember settling in with a great story as I waited up for a teenager to come in.    The books mesmerize me as I put myself back in those days and try to imagine housekeeping and homemaking with the very little they had.    I read several different series - with my all-time favorite being the Canadian West series and a book called The Calling of Emily Evans.    I guess the stories were simple, hopeful, easy to read and comforting.  Just what the mother of teens requires to make it through?  Do you agree?

Happy Reading!






Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them ... Readathon Day #1

So says Lemony Snickett! I'm excited to kick off the weekend - yes - on Thursday even - with plans to rest and read. That's it. A simple plan and I pity the man who gets in the way of my plan! Jokes aside - Tami challenged me to a Sisters Readathon because we let the deadline squeak by on another very informal readathon going on on a friends blog. Over 750 had signed up to read! So we quickly decided that we would have our own. Tami invited me to drive up to Green Acres for a girls night - which I am considering still - but with getting over the influenza I know it would be smarter to stay home - stay quiet - read and rest. So here we go on one of our favorite things - - Any good readathoner knows that you try to "get things ready". How much preparing does it take to sit and read you might ask? It's different for all types - some like to have the house clean so they feel guiltless pleasure in reading hours on hours. Others plan the readathon for when the family is away for the day. I'm sure some just plop in their comfy book reading nook and off they go on the merry road to anywhere - in a book.

For me, I'm the first gal who needs to ease the guilt of reading all day by being prepared! I will plan to have a meal planned for Thursday night - something easy and done ahead. A bubble bath possibly and then the reading will begin. I will make sure the laundry is done. I will have healthy snacks, diet coke, and my favorite teas and coffees to keep me going! Join in the fun! I have chosen "Talk Before Sleep" by Elizabeth Berg. I plan to start the evening with my devotional reading for the day and then crack into the book. Like any good readathon - there is always a challenge, puzzle, or thought provoking question right?

So to kick off the Sisters Readathon - consider this question and leave a comment here! Feel free to join us for the readathon - just grab your book and prepare for the weekend! Two short evenings of reading pleasure topped off with a leisurely day at home on Saturday! Here's my random question:

You know how people can tell you exactly what they were doing at the moment they learned of JFK's assassination, or the Challenger disaster, or 911, etc.? I have always found that interesting. So - here's a twist on that phenomenon: Tell about the most exciting thing that has ever happened to YOU and what book you were reading at the time!! Wait - I know that sounds stupid - but hear me out - - - Is there a time that something happened in your life and you can still remember exactly what book you were involved in at the time? Think on that . . . Blessings in sisters and books!  

Be sure to stop over at Tami's blog to learn what she is reading this weekend and for her challenges for us!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's Reflection #1

Normally I am dishing out my resolutions for the next 12 months but I have changed my mind about that a little through the last few years.  I did it for years and never succeeded so I have come up with ways to challenge myself each new year - without feeling like I failed at the previous year.  In other words - don't get down if I didn't meet every goal.

Did I lose down to my goal weight last year?  No.  I lost zero pounds.  I gained 15.   I'm still down 15 from my beginning.  That's good.

Did I read through the Bible last year?  No.  Embarrassingly, I read very little from my Bible.  I don't have to pay "late fees" on my Bibles laying around - so I can dig in now.  That's good.

Did I speak only kind words after much thought?  No.  The opposite.  Spent a lot of time frustrated and hashing problems out - Out Loud.    I made ammends and haven't repeated.  That's good.

So what will I focus on in 2014?  I have a short list as I listed in my previous post.  To start off with I am challenging myself to Read More Books.  I love books.  I love to look at books in the store.  I long to go to the library and browse the shelves.   I just don't get them read.  So - the first thing I did this week after recovering from the flu was to take the library books back and the church books I borrowed back.  I came home instead with my first selection for the year and it is also the first pick for my book club that I am in along with my sister Tami.  And I will read one book at a time until it is finished!     This month's selection for me is Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg.  Tami recommended it as one of her all time favorites last year and so I decided to give it a try.  She had told me that it is a tear jerker on one level and it is about two dear friends.   Since re-evaluating friendships is on my list of things to focus on - I thought - hey what a great book to start with!


     What do two women talk about when they don't have forever to talk.  They talk about what they
     have always talked about - they just go deeper and more involved.  They are more honest.  They
     look for humor.    The gift and power of female friendships.  


My challenge to Tami was to choose a book of her liking but have a reason for picking it.  Then blog about it.

Friendships are on my list of things to take stock of because as I get older I have looked back at the friends I have had through different stages of life.  I think it is interesting and I have always said that God brings us a friend for a season.    Sometimes God brings us a friend for all seasons.  Sometimes we have to part with a friend because it isn't working.   Delicate, precious, and very time consuming are friends.

So I challenge you to join me with a good book.  I'd love to hear what you are reading and why?  Or share your thoughts and insights on friendships.  And finally, feel free to tell me what you are looking forward to in 2014.

I will return after the last page is read to tell you what I discover . . .

Blessings in Books!

Read about Elizabeth Berg's Talk Before Sleep.
















 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I do declare . . .

Welcome back to my blog!  Again!  2014 has arrived to find me down and out with my first "official" case of "influenza"  H1N1 - a darn nasty cold and wasted week of a perfectly great life.  Soooooo I haven't had a chance to celebrate my favorite evening of the year - New Year's Eve - nor set up my "plan" for a brand new year!  I am about ready to do that though.  As you my faithful readers know - I love the New Year and the freshness it brings with new starts!  Last year I posted the challenge to learn five new things in 2013.  I did have a great time learning how to identify and shoot several different firearms - check it out here.  I also beefed up my CPR training.  And then it was downhill.   I did not learn Algebra I, the electric slide, nor how to knit.  No worries!  I will do it this year!!

I apologize to my daughter Casey the math teacher, that I did not get the four week Algebra I class done that I intended.  She loaned me a text book and was all ready to tutor me through it last summer . . . a feat I'm sure isn't at the TOP of her TO DO list! :)

Learning the Electric Slide is my celebration dance!!  I fully intend to get to my ideal weight and with that to learn to do some dance moves!  I have always felt awkward on the dance floor - but the electric slide just looks like so much fun!!!!!

Check back this week as I roll out my plans for 2014 and my 55th year of blessed living!  I will share the things I am focusing on this year - - - all with an ultimate goal of keeping things simple, low key, and comfortable!!

Here are some hints of what I'm looking towards . . .

       Reading More!

           Exercise!

               Enjoying Work!

                       Stress-free Travel!

                               Re-evaluating Friendships!

                                           Homemaking!

                                                  Worship!


Thanks for following me - I hope I haven't lost my few loyal readers as I have been bouncing about for several months without a focus!    Hope you all had a great holiday and Happy New Year!!

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.” – Mark Victor