Monday, January 29, 2018

The Fonz is a Fly Fisherman!

Following on the heels of my previous blog post about rest, here is a recommendation of how one person gets away from stress to unwind -- with a fly rod in hand!

some of the cast members of the Happy Days TV show

That cute biker guy on Happy Days, you know the one with the leather jacket and perfect hair (due to a comb always in the back pocket of his jeans) -- did you know in real life he's a regular guy with a wife, kids, and he likes to fly fish?

Who knew!

Beloved and I were in an Orvis store (sporting goods) in Denver one day a couple of years ago. Beloved would be taking his time deciding on some flies for the next fishing trip, so I wandered around to see if there was anything of interest to homebody-me.

On a table of sale items, a book caught my eye, written by The Fonz, known in real life as Henry Winkler. .... only he looked older, seasoned, and like somebody my husband might encounter in a mountain stream wearing waders. No leather jacket, or T-shirt, but graying (handsomely rugged) hair and a ball cap.

this book can be purchased from Amazon

I read a few pages and was 'hooked' immediately with his pleasant writing style. When I met Beloved at the checkout register with my proposed purchase, he sort of smirked something about another actor airing their angst.  I'm glad I held firm and bought the book anyway.

Henry (may I refer to him by his first name?) had authored at least seventeen books by the time I found this one, most of them geared toward kids.  

And that's a good thing because Henry has some vivid childhood memories that a lot of kids can relate to, including what it's like to have an undiagnosed learning disability and facing the resulting tensions. His sense of humor is heartwarming with a writing style that draws the reader in.

Sometime after he reached adulthood, Henry discovered the tension-relieving benefits of fly fishing, which led to this book.

Without telling you too much, I'll give you the chapter titles:

Fish Out of Water
The River is a Washing Machine for My Brain
Point, Push, and Pray
Casting for Joy
Going with the Flow
Hooked, Soaked, and Happy as a Clam

After buying the book, we took a road trip. Beloved did all of the driving and I did all of the reading -- aloud-- of this book. It's a quick read with some good snapshots of both Henry and the fish he has caught.

I recommend this book, I've Never Met an Idiot on the River by Henry Winkler. It's a great read for a vacation, whether you're traveling miles away or just to the next room for some mental rest!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Permission and Help for Rest

Rest. We all need it but many don't get enough of it. And I'm not talking about just the amount of quality of sleep at night.

We need rest for our thoughts, rest for our muscles, rest for our ears, rest for the olfactory nerves, rest in relationships -- you name it, we need breaks from what we repeat over and over again.

Without intermissions in our lives, we weaken to the point of ineffectiveness in what we need and want to do. 

Keep in mind also that not everyone is strong. Some need more breaks than others to cope with life. But with that said, ALL need rest.

For Christmas I was given Whispers of Rest, 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize Your Soul, by Bonnie Gray. It has been a refreshing read, and although I am not finished with it yet, my spirit has been both rested and strengthened.

In the pages of this book, Bonnie Gray speaks about the necessity we all have to give ourselves permission to take a break. This is not laziness but opportunities to let the body/mind/spirit stop long enough to recharge what is spent. It is not selfish to 'get off the bus' so to speak and sit down on a bench to watch the world go by for a while. 

A woman I know very well teaches exercise classes. She told me how negative feelings build up toxins within the body that, if left unchecked, will deteriorate our tissues and organs, making us more vulnerable to illness, injury, and mental/emotional/spiritual weakness. 

If we are to continue with our desire to be valuable to our family and community, and even to God, we must take time out to replenish.

Some of us fall all too easily into guilt traps that we are not doing enough or not doing it well.  That is probably true because nobody can maintain perfection perfectly! But those of us who are victims of the guilt thoughts are the very ones who need to pull that cord above the bus windows to tell the driver this is our stop. We need to get off.

I highly recommend this book, Whispers of Rest because just reading it through will be a start of the rest you need.

Then there is one more thing I want to share with you. This may come off sounding like a paid advertisement, but believe me, I'm not getting a cent out of this. I am getting the satisfaction of helping others who might benefit from this recommendation.

It's not uncommon for many to have arthritis in the neck and bone spurs in the vertebrae as we age. I've been dealing with it for some 30 years. Although nothing this side of Heaven is a cure, chiropractic adjustments,  ice packs, a heating pad, occasional Advil, and respecting my physical limits have helped me to cope pretty well. 

Another help has been the pillow I sleep on:

My buckwheat-filled pillow has been essential to me for twenty years. I originally heard about it in the newspaper, where it was advertised at Bed Bath and Beyond.  

Unfortunately, BB and B no longer carries it, so you have to get it online. Here is a link for that: Bucky Original U-Shaped Pillow

The outer fabric comes in red, gray and black. I chose red because I want to find it easily when we travel, less chance of leaving it behind in a hotel room. 

This is the only pillow I use when I sleep at night because I need the firm, yet 'moldable' support the buckwheat kernels provide. This pillow enables me to have proper spine position and support as I sleep.

I can zip open the red outer covering and remove it to put in the washing machine. Inside the red outer case is a muslin fabric that encases the buckwheat kernels. There is absolutely no odor to it.

It's somewhat like a bean bag in that you can push and mold it the way you want it under your neck. But it is firmer than most bed pillows and much better than an inflatable pillow. 

Compared to a foam neck pillow, you can shape the Bucky with your hands as you are lying on it, which you can't do with foam. While you can buy neck pillows filled with tiny foam balls, or make your own filled with beans or rice,  they fall woefully short in effectiveness compared to the Bucky pillow. (take it from one who has tried many pillows)

The Bucky pillow is heavy but that is what is needed to give comfort to the neck.

Why buckwheat, you may be asking yourself. I don't know. It just holds up very well and meets the need. The buckwheat kernels are hard and seem to last forever. You can buy more kernels to replace them or add more to the pillow if you want. I have not had the need to do either. Just take care to not get the kernels wet, which would probably cause them to get moldy and then you would have to throw them away. (On the rare occasions when I needed to rest when my hair was wet, I lay a thick bath towel on top of Bucky before laying on top of it.)

The price of the pillow is under $25, and as you can see on the link I'm giving you, it's available on Amazon.

When I make our bed every morning, I tuck Bucky into a dresser drawer. He takes up some space in my suitcase when I travel, but he is well worth it for the comfort of my neck when I sleep at night. Years ago when I forgot to bring Bucky with me, I rolled up a towel to put under my neck. That was too hard and I would wake up with an achey neck that lasted all day.

I can't say enough good things about Bucky. He has been the solution for me for a good night's sleep with an arthritic neck.

So, with a good pillow and a book recommendation that gives you permission to rest, have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hodgepodge With a Positive Frame of Mind

As stated in my last blog post, the Snow People have seen their last for this season. The late afternoon sun streaming in through the back windows threatened to melt them all into puddles on the wood hall table, so they have been packed away.

Doodle Days Calendar

But in their place is yet another snowman -- an easy printed panel sewing project completed only yesterday. The plan is he will remain where he is until a quilted heart design is sewn and hung in his place (for February). I pre-washed the fabric for that this evening, and hope to spend some relaxing time with needle-in-hand very soon.

By the way, here is his predecessor, by the same designer:

Doodle Days Calendar

Now, here are this week's Hodgepodge questions. I'm linking up with bloggers to answer Joyce's weekly questions from her blog, From This Side of the Pond.

1. January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you've given or received.

Yes, I generally take compliments pretty well. It's the gracious thing to do. As for a compliment recently received, a family member, just this past weekend, said nice things about a quilt I made that's hanging in my dining room. 

Pattern is Block Party by Donna Poster.
Embellishments are small metal treasures such as a baby spoon, an earring that lost its partner,
buttons, and other miscellaneous metal fobs from old purses, costume jewelry, etc.
The embellishments were inspired by my quilting friend and author, Cindy Brick
As for giving compliments, I try to do that often, with sincerity. It is hurtful to me when people don't receive my best intentions to honor them with praise.

2. Ten little things you are loving right now.

Well, I could list my grandchildren, but there are eleven of them and the question asked for only ten ...

3. Would people describe you as a positive person? 

It probably depends on who you ask. 

Do you see yourself that way? 

I try, but some days it's a little hard.

I read here a list/description of 8 things positive people do differently --

positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they're kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? 

I know when to move on, I stay busy, and I take responsibility for my actions.

Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? 

I need to forgive myself and find something to look forward to every day.

If you're a positive person, what's something you do regularly that's not on the list?

4. Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili ... what's your pleasure on a cold winter's day?

I'm most likely to have on hand at all times the ingredients to make a pot of chili, so that's my answer.

5. The best part of my day is ...

Sinking my body into our gel-foam mattress at day's end with a buckwheat-filled neck pillow supporting my neck and head. I've had arthritis in my neck for many years, so by bedtime I'm ready to give it a rest.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Right now I'm reading this book, Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado. I'm doing the accompanying workbook in a ladies' Bible study group on Wednesday evenings at my church, but I like the hardback book the best. I've underlined, highlighted and made notes in the margins, and I'm only half way through the book! 

One very encouraging verse the author shared that has helped me greatly is from Isaiah 49:25, "I will contend with him who contends with you."

God is gracious. He is closer than the air in our lungs. This book encourages me to rest in Him.


Today I am linking up with fellow/sister bloggers at 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Is the Winter Past?

For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

our master bedroom late in the afternoon

It may be possible that the worst of winter is now behind us, here in northeast Florida. One of the local weathermen has said something to that effect. He was telling us we had two more nights of a hard frost and he suspected we would see no more of that from here on out. That was late this past week.

We hope so. When we chose to live in Jacksonville, we truly had no idea we would be needing to wear thick socks, undershirts, and coats with scarves. And I didn't plan on needing an extra blanket on the bed at night, either. 

Some of our outdoor plants look worse for the freezing nights, but since the flora and fauna of Florida are new to me, I'm thinking maybe they'll snap out of it as the temperatures warm up. We shall see.

lamp table beside my recliner

When 'the weather outside is frightful', as the song goes on Pandora (which is still playing Christmas music!!), I am more inclined to work on sewing projects. Last week I completed two mats for the lamp tables in our family room. 

lamp table beside Beloved's recliner

They are both just alike. That 'scrappy' look is a favorite with me, so I bought eleven different fat quarters all in browns, beiges, tans, and white, cut them into 2  1/2-inch squares with my rotary cutter and cutting mat, sewed them together, used a very thin Warm 'n Natural batting, muslin for the backing, and black-and-beige Homespun fabric for the binding. It was all done on the sewing machine. 

chair in family room
In our last house I had made a table mat like that using pretty much the same colors, but including more black, since we had black cabinets throughout the house.  I took that single mat and pinned it to a wood chair in our family room. The chair has a rough chip on the top that needed some remedy. My solution was to use the table mat as a soft backing for the area where the chip is, covering the rough spot and making the chair more comfy and 'country'.

How to Cook Like a Southerner by Johnnie Gabriel
And while I'm on the topic of homey things, I've now made quite a few of the recipes in the book Beloved gave to me at Christmas. Most of them have been pretty good, although this way of cooking is a departure from my habit of more raw and vegan meals. And of course, this book makes no mention of avoiding gluten, dairy, or eggs. 

I have gotten a little 'edgy' with my menu plans (straying away from my foodie restrictions), and most especially this past weekend when we had eleven house guests spend two nights with us. I cooked what I thought they would enjoy and because it was just easier, I ate what I cooked. 

Hmmm. I am paying for it now. I was able to get away with it for several days, but now I'll just say that the 'grace period' appears to be over. I'm back to eating what I should and avoiding what I should not. It's good to test the waters from time to time to see to what extent my tolerances are. 

the Snow People
As I close out this post, it's time to bid the Snow People a hasty farewell. With the news of our 'harsh' winter weather leaving us, the late afternoon sunshine on my good friends is a little more intense. They need to be hustled off to the freezer storage boxes till next January. 

I'm hopeful I might be able to resume wearing my glitzy flip flops one day this week!

Oh, and please forgive me, those of my readers who are knee-deep in snow! It is not my intention to be insensitive, but we all make our choices as to where we want to live.  Yours is to live in snow country, and mine is to be in sunshine and palm trees. 😎

Friday, January 19, 2018

Food for the Soul

photo from Google Images: search "Photography with Scripture"

Comments are closed for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hazelnut Coffee and the Hodgepodge

Tuesday afternoon: a hot mug of Hazelnut coffee on the back porch
Mid-week ushers in Hodgepodge Wednesday. Here are the questions provided by Joyce on her blog,  From This Side of the Pond

1. What keeps you blogging?

That's a really good question. I wonder this myself much of the time. I enjoy writing, playing with words, being creative, interacting with other bloggers, and getting the feeling that sometimes my words have been helpful to readers who are struggling, as we all do.

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter?  

I enjoy the beach in winter for watching the waves roll in, taking note of any boats in the distance, walking on the sand, collecting sea shells, and watching the birds. And the sea food. Gotta love that. But sunbathing and playing in the water in winter? No. I need summer for that.

According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are --

St. Simons Island (Georgia)
Hilton Head (South Carolina)
Bald Head Island (North Carolina)
Seaside (Florida)
Bay St. Louis (Mississippi)
Cape San Blas (Florida)
South Padre Island (Texas)
Folly Beach (South Carolina)
Chincoteague (Virginia)
Duck Key (Florida)
Nags Head (North  Carolina)
Fairhope (Alabama)

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? 

I have not been to any of the towns listed, but one time did stay at a wonderful resort on Mustang Island, Texas, which eventually turns into South Padre Island (sort of, doesn't it?).

Which one on the list appeals to you most this winter? 

With the unusual cold that's gripped so much of the south this winter, many of these locations are probably colder than we would like. However, of the places listed here, I am the most interested in Fairhope, Alabama. Here is the picture and description provided by Southern Living:

Fairhope, Alabama

Visit Fairhope, Alabama, in the off-season when there are even fewer people in the laidback town. If you love the Gulf Coast, you won’t find a more charming place, with antebellum homes, streets lined with live oaks, and a quaint, walkable downtown. Head to Panini Pete’s for melt-in-your-mouth beignets and a charming courtyard table, located right in downtown Fairhope. For the book-lovers, take a visit to Page & Palette. Here you'll find signed copies of books by local authors like Rick Bragg, Winston Groom, Howell Raines, and Fannie Flagg; and a knowledgeable staff that loves to make recommendations. We recommend staying in nearby Point Clear at the Grand Hotel Marriot Resort, a pre-Civil War resort that's dripping with Southern charm. It gets extra festive around Christmas time.

3. What's a song you're embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do you just think you should be? 

I can't think of a response to this question.

4. When you were a kid what's something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you're an adult you realize it's not all that fantastic? 

Sister and I spent a couple of years in upstate New York when we were very young and then our family moved to Southern California. For the rest of our growing up years, we both yearned to live in a place that had snow. Our dreams were realized as adults and although snow can be a bother at times, I think Sister still enjoys living in it. Six months ago Beloved and I moved out of snow country to the deep South where snow is a rarity. I like snow, but am glad we don't have to shovel or drive in it any more.

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

"It is awesome what happens when you are aware of God's presence in your life. There is no limitation to what you can do as long as it is within His will." (Dr. Charles F. Stanley)

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I snapped this picture last weekend. Note how the sparkles on the water look like star dust, or diamonds!

Julington Creek meets up with the St. Johns River
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I am linking up with other bloggers by clicking here:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Choice Voices

It's the start of a new week. We expect the weather to be cold here again in The Sunshine State. 

I don't think Florida deserves that motto on the license plates. Colorado gets a lot more of the bright stuff and on these cold, rainy days, I miss the sun! But with that said, there is still cheer in my heart because it's not cold and dreary all the time, and my collection of flip flops are waiting for me when the time is right.

On Tuesday mornings I am a part of a group that seeks to bring cheer to local nursing homes. We sing at four different places, a different one each week. There are about twenty-five of us, mostly seniors. (We never know when one of us on the singing side of the room might end up as a patient on the resident side of the room.)

We always start out singing Zippity Doo Dah, which is appropriate since we live in the land of Disney. That is followed with God Bless America, and then we sing a number of hymns, have a devotional thought by a retired preacher in our group, and end with Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace. There is a lot of energy and harmony in the singing, accompanied with the piano and a bass guitar to keep us on track. I love it.

Some of our audience sings with us, some just sit and smile, some have a blank stare the entire time, and some sleep through the whole thing. But no matter, I know the gospel music ministers to their spirit and that's the main reason we do this.

This month our repertoire includes "His Eye is On the Sparrow." I often sit with Elizabeth, who is  originally from South America. She spent the Christmas holidays taking care of her friend's two parakeets. She tells me she knows nothing about birds but I guess the task has not been too hard. 

I told her she should sing "His Eye is On the Sparrow" to her charges. She said she did, but their owner told her the birds only understand Spanish!

Our retired minister friend always includes at least one smile-inducer (if not an outright chuckle) in his devotions at the nursing homes. Last week he told us about two corpses in the graveyard. One rolled over to the other and said to him, "How did you get here?"

The second one replied, "Well, I caught a cold, that developed into pneumonia, and then I ended up here.  How about you? How did you die?"

The first one said, "I had 'seenus.'" To which the other one replied, "I think you mean 'sinus.'"

"No, it was 'seenus.'  I was out with another man's wife, and he seen us!"

this hangs in one of my bathrooms, purchased at Kirklands a couple of years ago

It's a little scary, going into these nursing homes. We could carry germs in, or bring some out! For that reason, we are diligent to use the antibacterial dispensers that are always stationed just inside the doors to the outside. 

Our visit at the nursing home goes for about 45 minutes; then we go to lunch together, a different restaurant every week. One of my favorite parts of the entire morning is after we are all seated and ready to eat, our director leads out singing The Doxology. We all close our eyes and sing it aloud in acapella harmony, as our thanks for the food. It brings a reminder to all of us and those at nearby tables the Source of all our blessings.

I hope  your week is off to a cheery start!

Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart, "Bless Ewe"

Friday, January 12, 2018


leaves in Walmart parking lot January 11

My fascination with how autumn arrives in northeast Florida continues. Or does it come at all?

We lived briefly in Central Florida some twenty-two years ago, but there weren't as many trees near to our house as we have now, so I don't remember anything about what autumn looked like back then. We were in that house less than a year before returning to Colorado. Ever since then, I have wondered, do the trees have any autumn color in Florida?

Yes, they do, but they don't even begin to change until at least Thanksgiving, and I suppose now that we are nearing mid-January, we're probably at the 'height of the season', so to speak. 

Some leaves have fallen but I suspect what will happen is the new spring leaves will literally push the old autumn leaves off the branches. All of this is so contrary to what I am used to in a place with four seasons clearly seen through twelve months of the year.

Our world, the climate, people -- all are changing rapidly, often in shocking ways. Sometimes we can't help but wonder just what 'season' it is that we are really in, and who is really in control?

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
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Comments are closed for the weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Addressing Weirdness

Today I'm linking up with the weekly Hodgepodge as we answer questions, some having to do with our oddities. Bloggers answer the questions from and then we link up with each other. My replies are in italics.

Palm trees in Florida
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never been formally addressed as a mentor (but what mother isn't?) and I've never been formally paired with a mentor. However, there have been several people in my life (female) I consider to have mentored me.

It is my opinion that we all need somebody trustworthy, loving, and knowledgeable to help us navigate life, and in particular, to help us process the hard stuff that comes our way. When we are not accountable to anyone, humans go off-track pretty easily.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

There are several things, but I want to keep this light, so I'll just say 
some NFL football players are sporting some clown-like hairstyles. I won't give any names, but come on, how am I supposed to take anyone seriously when they look like that?!

3. I saw a cartoon on Facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included: writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

I will go with the last one -- sipping coffee early in the morning. Beloved and I get up at the same time, so I'm not the only one awake. He's in the shower while I sip my brew and contemplate who I am, where I'm going, and how I should get there.

As for one 'weird' thing that I'd add to the list? After consulting my phone's weather app, I prefer to set aside my clothing for the next day on the night before, especially for dressier occasions such as church. If I don't do this, I tend to spend too much time on the decision in the morning.

4. What's the last good thing you ate? 

Gluten-free rotini topped with Traditional Meat Sauce at The Olive Garden for dinner on Monday night.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

A husband, three children and a dog all put me on a track to serve others and not just myself.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Beloved completed the construction and staining of my new table/desk on Monday and I am sitting there now as I type. I love how it's tucked into a quiet corner by a window where I can look out at the serene forest, read, deal with correspondence, and pray.  Everybody needs a private place to meet God, deal with themselves and determine how they will face the giants in life. 

If more people would make the time to be still before their Maker first thing in the morning, maybe there would be a little less 'weirdness' in our world.

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As previously stated, I'm linking up at From This Side of the Pond.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


January is here with its storms, cold, and for some, a gloom that settles in until spring's first tulips poke through the snow. One year when the first month led me to complain a little too much, Denise flatly stated, "The only good thing about January is that it comes to an end." Oddly enough, that statement gave me hope.

Today's post is not very original. I am sharing a collection of thoughts from others on the topic of "cheerfulness" that has helped to brighten my soul on the darkest of days.

"Let's be cheerful. We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Bless your family with a cheerful attitude. 

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People who are always cheerful know that being positive is a constant battle. They fight to overcome the darkness and the negativity, using smiles and laughter as weapons. From their joy and happiness,they carve a bright path ahead of them. Learning to be positive is an essential skill in life.

The quality of our experiences is often dictated by our way of perceiving things. When we decide to see the good side of life, we discover that we gain a more peaceful attitude towards life. It takes the same amount of energy to see the bad as it takes to see the good. Perception is thus the thing that transforms an experience into a good story.

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Cheerfulness, calmness, and relaxation are vital for a harmonious life, where body, mind, and soul can achieve balance and remove the heaviness of fear or negativity. A cheerful mind is the strongest ally against all the things that try to bring us down. It makes all moments count and all fears dissipate.

Seeing the mud around a lotus is pessimism, seeing a lotus in the mud is optimism. ~ Amit Kalantri

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It is surprising how two people can look at the same thing and see two different things. This is the most powerful clue that the way we perceive the world is dependent on our attitude and our state of mind. A cheerful, optimistic mind will always notice the beautiful and good things in life.

Most of the time, life is a complicated mess on which we can hardly have any control. However, there are a few simple rules that can make our lives better and that can ensure our well-being. Things such as exercise, good sleep, healthy eating, laughter, and cheerfulness can help us reach our best state.

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Unfortunately, it seems that life cannot sustain prolonged happiness or joy. Whenever life tries to bring us down, remaining a cheerful and happy person becomes a battle. Everyday, when we wake up, we can decide with what frame of mind we want to welcome the new day.

A cheerful and happy person always makes a good impression on people. Cheerfulness adds brightness and vitality to the way we present ourselves to the world, making us look younger and more beautiful. When we smile and laugh, our entire being appears as inviting and warm.

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It is difficult to cheer ourselves up in moments of distress, but very often, we can decide conscientiously to give up on sadness and focus on our happiness. Deciding to become awesome and cheerful instead of sad takes great courage, but once mastered, it turns into our greatest strength.

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People who always seem cheerful and optimistic don't actually hold some secret of life that the rest of us failed to learn. The truth is that they are actually the ones who appreciate every experience, no matter how simple it might seem at a first look. They take their joy from simple, but meaningful moments and experiences.

Some of the above quotes came from  Comments are closed for today.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Spotlight on The Snow People

It's been my custom for the last couple of years to not pull out The Snow People until Christmas is over. The Wise Men and Shepherds give a nod to The Snow People during the transition. To have them ALL on display during December made for crowded conditions and a possible dilution of the real reason for Christmas.

the whole gang

It was a good decision on my part because we disposed of some furniture when we moved from Colorado to Florida six months ago and that means we have fewer staging areas for my seasonal characters.

I had some worries that the frozen few would melt in this new climate, however [this year, anyway] that proved to be a groundless concern. The "bomb cyclone" that has spread its icy influence on so much of our nation included northeast Florida, much to the delight of The Snow People and dismay for this one who loves her flip flops!

We have become well-acquainted with the warming ability of our heat pump (give me a hard-blowing gas furnace, PLEASE), dug into the back of our closets to pull out winter clothes we were reserving for visits to family in the mid-west, and put an extra blanket on the bed. This is not what we expected when we moved here, but the natives assure us the current weather is very unusual.

We have one more expectation that I hope will be fulfilled: winters are short here. We shall see ...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Quiet Little Corner

We've been in this house for slightly over 6 months. It has been a delight in so many ways, but I've had trouble figuring out where to settle for my daily quiet time with the Lord. 

Beloved and I are sharing a study (what others might refer to as an office), a new experience for both of us. As it turns out,  even though we each have a large desk in that room, he spends much more time there than I do. It's upstairs, which is inconvenient for me when I need to keep an eye on a boiling pot in the kitchen, or respond to the beeping washing machine, or grab clothes out of the dryer (all on the main floor). 

I've been using a comfy Queen Anne-style chair in the main floor master bedroom, but it did not lend itself well to my need for colored pens, the occasional use of a ruler, and space for both my study books and the laptop computer for research.

Christmas included several gift books, two of which stress the importance and benefits of setting up a quiet place for time alone with God. They weren't telling me anything I didn't already know in that department, but as a result, I prayed specifically for just that perfect spot, hoping for better solutions than what I currently had.

my little corner

As the Christmas tree in the family room came down, the idea came to move the Queen Anne chair to the tree's former location, and to set up a card table in the master bedroom. It's tucked into a corner blocking a door we never use but where there is soft lighting and most sounds are pleasantly muffled. The first time I sat there to study and pray, I knew my prayer had been answered.

the grill on the back porch blocks the door to the bedroom

The card table was serving me well but I wanted something more attractive (and not pricey). Since I am a short person (5 foot 1 inch), I have to be particular about table and desk height. As I've told Denise for years, "What height I have is in my legs," which means when I sit, I'm really short.

We did some shopping, including on-line, for a desk or table that was 27 inches high (the height of the card table). Most are 29 inches and higher, which puts a strain on my muscles and posture. I know. I've fought this battle all of my adult life. None of the student or kids' furniture was right, either.

Beloved has been building sturdy tables for years for us and also for family. He built my favorite sewing table, which is ergonomically correct for my size.  So I asked him to build me a table/desk for my study corner. 

my new table/desk
I would show you the finished product, but the freezing rain and severely cold temperatures we've had prevented him from being able to set the table out on the driveway to sand it, let alone apply the stain.

This afternoon the sun is filtering through the curtain so beautifully that I wanted to bring in my mug of tea and spend a few minutes sharing this delight with you. 

my quiet time corner

I am thrilled to have this place of solitude tucked into a peaceful corner. My wonderful, private forest is right outside the window. The sun streams through the tall pines, and when the wind blows, I love to watch the tops of the trees as they gently sway back and forth.

a sturdy box holds my books and tissues very neatly

In the quiet of this place I can read, think, pray, journal ... and ponder.  I can even doodle with colored pencils in the margins of last week's sermon notes as I consider what the personal applications might mean for me. 

And meditate. I can turn off the lamp, close the computer, sit back in my chair, and take in slow, easy breaths of air, then letting them out as little prayers. 

Do you have a quiet place like this? Would you like to describe it for us in the comments below?