Friday, December 30, 2011

Lists. Make Them-and watch it get done.

I believe in lists. Not the rigid kind of list that lacks flexibility, but the goal kind. Write a list and you can be sure that you have direction. Want to start an exercise program? Don't wish, make a list. What routine are you going to do? What time of day? Then write it down. Put on your sneakers, exercise, and then cross it off your list. Such a fulfilling experience to cross it off! Proof that you accomplished your goal.

Some don't make lists. They don't believe in filling their lives with something, because something better, more creative or meaningful may come along. It might!!!! If it does, re-arrange your list, move some items to the TOP of tomorrow's list. Still make a list and move towards accomplishing the items on it.

Want to organize your home? Make a list. Go room to room and write down, in detail what needs done. Living room: Vaccuum, organize closet, clean out old dvds in the TV cabinet, take down Christmas items, dust. You get the idea. Then do the list. No need to think, just follow. Get the vaccuum and run it, cross it off the list :)

It  is good to think about your goals and the steps needed to reach them. Reflection is important, but if you reflect all day and JUST keep making lists without doing the items nothing will get done. (Unless you are passing out the lists by delegating ;) Be reasonable, make a doable list. 5 items. Tomorrow is another day.

I'll leave you with a barometer for list making as stated by the late Steve Jobs:

“Follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you want to become.” Steve Jobs

Happy New Year 2012!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It was a lovely Christmas! Christmas Eve was magical as we hosted nearly 50 of our closest friends and family.  We bought presents, we made presents, we cooked, baked and decorated. The traditions of the Victorian Christmas traditions are ours today. Some bring a sense of wonder and joy that is not surpassed at any other time of the year. We have dolls in our library. We add ribbon candy, candy canes, and old fashioned shaped candy from yesteryear. The vintage hat collection tops off the victorian flair of the room. 

Every room has a different feel to it, as we walk in the circular layout each entry way brings a different scent, sight and sound. The Kitchen is old fashioned. Old Santas, large primary colored strands of lights, Christmas Cards hung around the door, an elf on the shelf, and a charlie brown Christmas tree. The Living room is decorated in traditional ornaments, sentimental pieces passed down and collected over a lifetime. Here is where the presents are located under the tree decorated with love.  The library is decorated Victorian. Tall lean tree, large pink bows, gingerbread, candy canes, and dolls. It is the favorite room of many with it's 10 ft ceilings and glowing lights, antiques and books. The Dining room is furnished with a piano, candle pillars and glitzy tinsel covered tree. These rooms have been filled with laughter every Christmas for over 18 years. This year will be the last for us here in the home that we raised our children. It is bittersweet.

The new year is upon us. Lists and resolutions. A time to look forward and not back. Looking forward doesn't lessen the memories that we have experienced in the rooms of our large old house. Moving to downsize doesn't change our family and traditions. We are our home. The house is just a house. The memories remain, and we take them along to the next destination. To all of you who have gone through the experience of downsizing a family home, your comments are welcomed and appreciated. It is both difficult and exciting all at once. Here is to the new year ahead! One of Opportunities and Miracles. Happy New Year~

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011-Kasey Jack

                                            Kasey Jack Kemmerer 1990-2009

Christmas is a time of cheer. It is for most- some not so much. This year we took part in a first annual coat drive. "Kasey's Coats: Sharing Warmth this Christmas Season. "  Through social media we spread the word that we were collecting coats that would be distributed to those in need. In all we collected 216 new and used coats in just over 10 days! The large refridgerator box was overflowing as we took the collection to the local food pantry to separate and size the love that others gave. Mittens, hats, scarves, snowpants and blankets were additions to the warm coats. The morning of the distribution several were waiting at the door. Young and old came to claim a new to them coat for the extreme cold of the winter season. One man in particular stood over a Pittsburgh Steelers coat that had been donated. His eyes filled with appreciation and disbelief at his he picked up the garment and tried it on. Eyes filled as he realized it FIT! Our eyes filled as well as we realized just how much we take for granted!

The idea for the coat drive came from a conversation with a beloved friend who I've known since birth. My dear friend lost her son, Kasey, in a tragic four wheeler accident 2 years ago. For my friend, even though she has two other children, Christmas is not a time of cheer. It instead is a time of endurance. She endures the holiday season. So this year she honored her son, Kasey, by giving to others in his name. A gift of warmth. The community who donated, the food pantry who hosted, and the recipients who received, all brought Kasey to life. His generous spirit, the kindness of his heart and the warm appreciative smiles of those less fortunate, created an atmosphere of what Christmas is all about. The Christ child came to this world in swaddling clothes. In a manger he was born, to humble parents in a barn. He rose to great influence. Not by a forceful power, but by gentle love and grace.

The Prayer of St Francis:

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

Merry Christmas to All~

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Arrives

It's nearly Christmas, today, the first day of winter reminds me of its opposite: summer.  Every coin has a flip side, heads or tails, the value of the coin doesn't change no matter what side faces up.

Waves of the ocean roll in and out like the seasons of nature and life. With it an undertow brings the new to the surface, and the old gets carried away.  It is the ending of another year.  The future holds infinate promise and possibilities. Our choices, every one of them, will pave our path.

Choose wisely in the new year ahead-whether it be Fitness, Frugality, Food or Fun. Live Abundantly!  We are blessed.

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny." --Author Unknown


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cards at the Laundromat~

We take a lot for granted. For instance, I have a brand new front load whirlpool washer. It works fantastic! Well most of the didn't hold up to its end of the bargain when we arrived home from vacation a few weeks ago. I washed as normal, and expected the washer to run its cycle and give me clean clothes. Not so. It turns out the entire liner of the washer was turned inside out! Ruined! Thank God for extended warranty! But....that doesn't change the fact that I have to go to the laundromat. I don't go to the laundromat, ever. #1 it Costs a Fortune! $20 just to wash! We drag everything home to dry it.

We have a laundromat that gives free coffee, free popcorn, and offers tanning lol. So, I go and watch television , eat popcorn, and drink $5 worth of coffee. One thing that always needs to be done this time of year is the Christmas Cards. I like to hand write something to each of the recipients. So the cards go with me to the laundromat. It is the silver lining. One more thing checked off of the holiday to do list.

Another plus from doing the laundry at the laundromat is that everything is washed at once! Folded and put away. We are good to go for 2 weeks! Being grateful, even when we are "put out" by inconviences, is immeasurable! It is just a blessing!~

We still have no washer and the Christmas season is upon us! My in-laws will be arriving, and their bed clothes need washed in the guest room. It looks like I will be stripping beds an hauling them to the local laundromat......but at least there is FREE Popcorn and Coffee ;)

Merry Christmas!  Keep smilin' :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wreath, Christmas Spirit, on Better Homes and Gardens------Would love your Vote.

Christmas Spirit- Featured on Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Wreath Site

                                      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

A few weeks ago a friend sent me a link to the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Wreath Contest. I was intrigued, and thought that I may enter it if I found the time to make the perfect one. The other day i was in the mood to decorate so decided to take the wreath, even though not perfect, outside to photograph by the barn. This is the picture of my wreath above. We have it hanging above the mantle now.

If you like it would you consider voting for it on the Better Homes and Gardens link:

Click Link.
Click FB "Like" that is the vote. You can vote once a day. Through Friday. (Short contest :)
Please leave a comment too! Would love to hear from you on the link ;)

Super excited, as this is the first time that I've entered an online contest like this.....prize for the winner is $250. Possible wreath photo in BHG Magazine. Hope you like my wreath, if you have a chance to vote that would be GREAT! I know we are all knee deep in Christmas preparations, so I completely understand if you are too busy ;)  

P.S. I hiked the mountains yesterday, 13 miles. 3 miles were straight up the mountain....having a hard time getting around today! So sore.  Planning a New Year's Eve 5 K run with my daughter. Thought maybe I should start pushing the exercise a little more. Anyone else working out in the colder temperatures outside?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the Little Things that Matter Most.

It’s the Little things...
I have been traveling quite a bit lately. Things are changing fast for our family. So fast that it is necessary to say: “Whoa, Bessie!” It is exciting and sad at the same time. The home that we raised our children in will soon be put on the market. This will most likely be our last Christmas celebration here in our home. My husband will hear soon if he was given a promotion to Director,  and I am interviewing for full time work. My daughter was appointed an assistant director at a university, and my son will soon be in college. My husband and I are looking towards his retirement in 8 short years.

Life is changing...

We have been, for the most part, a one full-time income for our entire marriage. Therefore, creativity and ingenuity were the jewels in our crown. They sustained us through all of our leaner years, helped us to always have enough, and even an abundance to share. I considered those last few decades to be the skim milk years. Watered down versions that could still be considered a healthy choice, even if lacking in conventional “richness.”
As my husband moved up through the ranks in his career, the skim milk years became more and more a whole milk experience. A  conventional “richness” began to give us the ability to do more, still not having “enough” to truly do it all: fixing things, traveling, and saving- or at least to do it well consistently.  

These, whole milk years are soon to be replaced by the ½ and ½ years. My full time employment, outside of the home, will not only give me the opportunity to utilize my education, but give our family an experience of conventional richness that it has not had the opportunity to before. It makes me a bit uneasy, if I am honest, to pour the ½ and ½ when I have only ever had milk. I like ½ and ½ in my coffee, but I wouldn’t drink it out of the container from a glass. Will I still be me? Complete with ingenuity and creativity? Will I make my own wreaths at Christmas, or will I just buy them? Will I make my coffee at home, or buy Starbucks? (becoming “THAT” Styrofoam patron) Will time and restraints limit my freedom to travel, laugh, learn, and love…
I hope not.  These years have taught me, formed me, that living in the present moment with a smile no matter the occupation, is truly living.

Life, like cream, rises in stages. It all comes from the same source-skim, whole, and cream….Give thanks to God for the provisions in every stage!

A short story that actually happened this morning:

.... I poured milk into my coffee, and when opening the fridge to put it back, I saw that my dear husband had bought me 1/2 and 1/2 when he went to the store last night. I said, out loud, no one in the room, with a smile: "I love you."

Growing where planted, because It’s the little things that truly matter….