Archive | October, 2013

Sunday: Strangers or Friends

21 Oct

If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows that he is a citizen of the world.
Francis Bacon
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I’m a huge proponent of talking to strangers. A simple kind word to someone you’ve never met could lead to an interesting conversation or even a possible friendship. I know, I know…it’s been drummed in your head, “NEVER talk to strangers!” Why is that? What does it hurt to say, “I love that necklace,” or “That blouse is beautiful. Where did you get that?”

This weekend, during my garage sale, I had the opportunity to talk to dozens of strangers. While strangers rummaged through my treasures, many different conversations arose. A woman who recently moved here from Kentucky told me about the craft projects she was working on. I even had a couple in depth conversations with some women that ended with exchanging hugs and well wishes. These were strangers, but we talked, shared stories, and exchanged kind words.

When I was checking my Facebook page earlier, one of my friends posted a video by photographer, Richard Rinaldi entitled, “Touching Strangers.” I LOVE this idea. Complete strangers were asked to pose and touch, hold, or embrace one another. That short connection brought them together, if only for a few moments, realizing that we are all part of the same large world. Wouldn’t it be great if all prejudice, barriers and fears could be erased by something as simple as accepting all people with a kind word or a simple touch. Watch the video. You’ll be impressed.

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Sentimental Saturday

20 Oct

Day two and final day of the big garage sale. It was pretty chilly in the morning. Thank goodness I had a bin load of knit caps and gloves at my disposal. Miss Sherry saved the day again by coming to help work and remaining till the end for pack-up and clean-up. She is the energizer bunny on steroids. We kept discovering bags and boxes that had been hidden in the chaos, only to find more treasures that couldn’t be parted with. There was a bag of stuffed animals, toys and memorabilia in the mix that found its way back to my car. My mom had sewn a hand-made cabbage patch doll for Joe when he was a baby. Then, there were the Simpsons, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Speedy Gonzales. Keepers!

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Another bag revealed the hand-stitched baby quilt that Mom made for my baby shower over thirty-two years ago. Back in the car. But, my baby cradle found a very good home with a new grandma, saving me a trip back to my vehicle at the end of the day.

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The point of the garage sale wasn’t just to make a little cash from the many treasures accumulated over thirty-eight years, but also to find a good home and a happy place. Our friend, Tom Michero, otherwise known as Bagger Vance (today only), was pleased to walk away with a complete set of woman’s golf clubs for his lovely wife, Silky, and a few extra clubs and bag for his own collection. Yes, a good, happy home!

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Now, put my feet up with a nice cup of hot tea after another long day. The end.

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Freelance Friday

19 Oct

Day one of the big garage sale. We didn’t do a lot of advertising, just Facebook, friends, word of mouth and a few signs. We had a pretty nice turnout. Ed and Melanie were amazing to offer to host it at their home. Miss Sherry worked her little butt off helping all day.( Yes, she is a little bitty thing and has a little butt.) Hundreds of items and treasures found their way to new homes, but many more treasures available for tomorrow. It was a lot of work, but good work. We hauled so many things from my house to Melanie’s, and many unopened boxes and bags from previous moves were transported. While Sherry helped me open boxes and display items, a few precious items found their way back into my car. I found Joe’s Cabbage patch doll from the 80’s and a beautiful cross stitch gift from Vivian. Some things must be saved. NOW, the funniest thing was, my good friend Michele came and found a huge pile of great bargains… unfortunately, one of the items was a lovely journal that she had given me as a gift for Christmas just a couple years ago. I felt terrible. I said, “Oh no, let me save that!” She said, “That’s OK, I’ll just buy it and re-gift it.” Now, that’s a new twist on re-gifting! Buy your gift back at a garage sale and give it to someone else!

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Embarrassing moment! Michele’s sad face.

It was a long day, but a fun day. It started to sprinkle around 2 pm, so we closed up early. I stopped at Dairy Queen and had nutritious lunch before going to my volunteer group with the seniors at Towne Creek.

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Yes, nutritious. Ice cream and whipped cream…dairy. Hot fudge…chocolate comes from the cocoa bean…beans are legumes. The cherry on top is a fruit. All very good for you. NOT!!!!

After Towne Creek, Karen and I had pizza at the new Mellow Mushroom Pizza Place in McKinney. It was very good. More nutritious food.

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When I got home, I called my sister, Jo, who said I was rambling and hyper and she recommended that a I have a drink, put my feet up and relax. Well, I am an obedient sister, so I fixed my famous Black Russian with chocolate ice cream. I did add some chocolate almond milk to the concoction of Kahlua and vodka. More healthy choices. Wow! I made some very excellent food and drink choices today, didn’t I? Tomorrow is another day, Scarlet!

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Theme Song Thursday: I Will Survive

18 Oct

Every day is a challenge and a privilege all rolled into one. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one from the other, but at the end of the day, I am grateful for my life and I am truly blessed.

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking, I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking, how you did me wrong
And I grew strong,and I learned how to get along

And so you’re back from outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh, no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive, I will survive, hey, hey

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent, oh, so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry but now I hold my head up high

And you see me, somebody new
I’m not that chained up little person still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in and just expect me to be free
But now I’m saving all my loving for someone who’s loving me

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one, who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh, no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive, I will survive, oh

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one, who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh, no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive, I will survive I will survive

Read more: Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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Wednesday: Words of Wisdom- Puddles of Light

17 Oct

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Just when I was feeling kinda blue, exhausted and wallowing in my own melancholy, I saw an email from my friend, Chaplain Jim. How can you feel sorry for yourself when so many people are in harms way, sacrificing their time and their lives for the rest of us? Chaplain Jim always seems to find a rainbow right smack dab in the middle of a storm. Deployed and far from his home and his family, his faith touches all who know him. Now, I have to look for my puddle of light. Thanks Chaplain Jim.
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UNCLASSIFIED//NONE

Puddle of Light

I’m preparing (again) for the Army Ten-Miler– cancelled once due to the heat (so suprising we’d have that problem in the afternoon in the desert!). I run early in the morning before the sun comes up, and I’ve noticed I tend to play the running mind game to tell myself “I’ll run to that PUDDLE of light before I take a sip/slow down/check my watch/(etc.).” Each PUDDLE of light becomes a beacon of hope– if I can make it to this one or that one, I’ll be okay.

Isn’t that often how we make it through a whole range of challenges in life, whether pushing ourselves through small challenges or large ones, often we look for another PUDDLE of some kind of light to hope toward to get us through? Have you ever noticed that often that PUDDLE of hope is not really so much a time or event, but a PUDDLE of light built around people and relationships? We might think “x more weeks until we go home!” from a deployment sounds like a date, but isn’t it really merely the time until we get to bask once again in the PUDDLE of light around a family, a spouse, a Special Someone, really more than the date itself? And if that PUDDLE of light and hope is usually a person, can’t we each try to become a smaller PUDDLE of light and hope for those around us, that can encourage each other along the route until they get to that bigger PUDDLE of hope?

Being away from family and kids, when we do get to go out into the community, the sights and sounds of kids can themselves be PUDDLEs of hope, signs of those kids we’re going home to. Have you realized that even your little kids can be PUDDLES of hope to those around them? THEY probably don’t realize that they can be glimpses of God’s grace, even as little ones. Something as simple as teaching your kids to give another person a smile, or to be willing to talk to other adults in their lives, can help them become those PUDDLEs of light.

I found out how true this was when we were serving a church where ours were the only kids there– and but for sporadic exceptions, that had been the case for some time. But my son, a toddler at the time, would talk anybody’s ear off (and still does!)– and that became quite a blessing to many of the older folk in that congregation.
Becoming a PUDDLE of light and hope for those around us is an important part of our calling. Helping our kids learn to also be PUDDLEs of light and hope for others in their lives is an important part of our calling as parents, teachers and mentors. Let’s make some PUDDLEs!

Rev. Jim

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
DSN: (318) 430-4106
NIPR: james.r.lewis1.mil@mail.mil
SIPR: james.r.lewis1@swa.army.smil.mil

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Tuesday: Tips, tricks and Tailspin

16 Oct

I’m sitting here in the dark with only the soft glow of the iPad for illumination. Sounds romantic? No! I just got too lazy to get up and turn the light on. I’ve spent the last three days, cleaning, packing, purging, boxing up and decluttering. It’s physically and mentally exhausting. When someone comments, “But doesn’t it feel great.” I say “Noooooooo!” I’d rather be sitting on the sofa, surrounded by my useless clutter with a cup of tea watching reruns of “Murder She Wrote.”

I’ll keep working on it “till I get ‘er done!” In the meantime, I’ll share some tips and tricks that I found on Pinterest for decluttering your home. I think the most useful tip is to stop being sentimental about your “things.” It’s the most useful tip, I didn’t say I agree with it. I have to force myself to part with every tiny little thing.

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Do an initial sweep
Grab a box and a large garbage bag and starting at one end, do a walk-through of your entire house. Scan each room, quickly grabbing anything you see that you know is either garbage or no longer needed. Place items in either the donation box or the garbage bag. Keep going until you’ve made your way through the entire house. See how easy and painless that was? Even if you don’t make it through the rest of the steps, you’ve already made a ton of progress!
Clear out one area at a time
After your initial surface purge it is time to dig a little deeper. At this point it is not a good idea to start randomly delving in to more than one area at a time; you will quickly become overwhelmed. Instead, start with one manageable area–a room, a corner, a closet, a cabinet, or a dresser–armed with a box for goodwill, a laundry basket for things that need to be returned to their proper place, and a garbage bag for the trash. Then get to work and don’t leave your area until the job is done!

Ruthlessly purge
Give yourself permission to only keep the things that are currently useful, despite who gave them to you or how much they cost. This can be really hard, especially at first. That’s where the ruthless part comes in. As you sort through your things, ask yourself these questions:
Do we use it, wear it, or play with it? If it is clothes, does it still fit?
Is it in good working condition?
Does it enrich our lives in some way?
Does it have sentimental value?
Could someone else use it more?
It is helpful to make 4 categories: 1.) Things to keep in this area, 2.) things to donate, 3.) things to throw away, and 4.) things to put elsewhere (keepsake box, seasonal items, or things that belong in a different room). Once you’ve cleared an area and put away all the items that belong elsewhere, move on to the next area. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Get it OUT of your house
Once you’ve determined something needs to go, get rid of it as quickly as possible. Don’t let those boxes of donation items sit in your garage or basement for months on end; inevitably someone in your family will start digging through it and the clutter will be right back where it started. As soon as you’ve filled a box, put it in your car so that you can drop it off at the nearest donation center as soon as you can.

I personally am not a huge fan of hosting garage sales–to me they are too much work for too little payout–but if you do want to throw one, do it right away. I do usually sell bigger items on Craigslist, and occasionally we will also just take a picture of multiple small (but) nice items, list all the items, and sell it all for one flat price. Those type of listings always go really quickly! (For more tips on selling your stuff, check out this post)

Read more at http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/08/clearing-clutter/#gkq85zjHVI9v9HGY.99

Now for the tailspin. This is just the tip of the iceberg. But, as the iceberg melts and the Titanic sinks into the sunset, it will get done.

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Can I help it that I think EVERYTHING is beautiful?

Montage Monday and More

15 Oct

I know we really could use all this rain but…”RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS ALWAYS GET ME DOWN.”

It’s Monday and it’s been raining all day. Can it get any gloomier? Well, here’s a week in a peek. It was a great week with great friends. A few bumps and drips, but still a great week.

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Not So Sunny Sunday

14 Oct

This morning was cloudy, overcast and drizzly. My neighbors next door offered to help trim some trees and bushes in my front and back yard this weekend, and Mr. Johnny came over yesterday and today with his handy power trimmer. The boys hauled away branches, and not to be out done, I got out the hand trimmer and pruned the rose bushes. It wouldn’t sound that tedious, but it was raining on me the entire time. Not a heavy rain, but a fine penetrating mist that actually felt refreshing. Did I mention that I have the best neighbors ever? Well, I do.

The mist stopped around noon, just in time for me to get cleaned up and off to the Square for lunch at Snug with my friend Karen. ( Karen T. From Zumba. I have a couple Karen friends.) It was her first Snug visit, and she loved the food and atmosphere. We strolled around after lunch and enjoyed the cooler temps that the clouds and north winds brought. Another great day. Not a sunny Sunday, but a lovely day, none the less.

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Second Saturday on the Square

13 Oct

It’s so funny, my sister just messages me on Facebook to say, “I can’t go to sleep until I read your blob for today.” My 86 year old mom calls it a blob or a glob, she always forgets what it’s called. We always tease her.

Today, I had a more than amazing day. I met with my wonderful writing group at Sweet Spot bakery at 10am, followed by a leisurely lunch at Snug on the Square with Mandy. I walked around a little before driving home around 4pm. . At 5:30, I turned around and headed back to downtown McKinney for the Second Saturday festivities. I also stopped at Art on the Veranda with some of my hand painted glassware and ornaments. The owners, Judy and Dana, had offered to display some of my pieces on consignment in their store.

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At 6, I met my friend Linda for dinner. We walked around, hoping to find an restaurant to enjoy the glorious evening. It was pretty packed everywhere and ended up at Spoons. Before we knew it, it was 9:30. Where did the time go. We scurried over to Orison’s Gallery to see Annie Royer’s artwork. She is an amazing artist, teacher and friend.

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Back to Sweet Spot bakery for a scoop of chocolate ice cream and entertainment and sing along. Did I mention that I won two silent auction paintings benefiting Community Lifeline Center? Today was SPLENDIFOROUS!!!!

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Friday: Better Late Than Never

12 Oct

Holy procrastination Batman! It’s after midnight. Where did the day go? It was busy, but I must have been exhausted. Today, we planned on celebrating Miss Bonnie’s and Mr.Angel’s birthday at Towne Creek. I went to the store for a few things, picked up a pizza, gathered the gifts and off I went. We had a nice celebration. Krys was there to celebrate and then guide us finishing our handmade paper bead angel project. So, here’s the procrastination part. After I got home, I decided just to crash in front of the television. Better yet, I’ll just lay down, put my feet up and watch my favorite shows. Fast forward…I must have really been tired… I fell asleep, woke up with a start, and it was after midnight. Holy cow! But, I can’t miss a post, so I grabbed my IPad to write this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK_DVuECIrg
Birthday celebration at Towne Creek-senior art group.

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Mr. Angel and Miss Bonnie and the gang- Happy Birthday.

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Krys Watson, jewelry designer, guided us in making a paper bead angel project. It was a good day! It’s really Saturday morning, but just pretend it’s Friday. Have a great weekend.