Category: Random Thoughts

My Brother’s Birthday Card

Today, September 16th, is my brother’s birthday.

We have always exchanged cards on birthdays.  This year, just as it has been in previous years, I was so disappointed with the “Happy Birthday Brother” card selections.

They are all so “stuffy”, trees, streams of water, mountains, just nothing that has ever appealed to me for my brother.

I wanted something fun, with some “bling”, some color.

Finally I found a card I really liked, the front was bright, and full of cupcakes!

Denny's card

The only problem, the inside of the card was blank.

inside of card

So, I decided to make it “personal”.

Typed and printed out my own greeting that tied the cupcakes on the front to a really sweet memory of another birthday several years ago.

I added a photo, another personal touch, of my brother, sister, and myself as children.

Used photo corners to attach both to the card.

For a little more fun, I added a “party” hat to my brother’s head using “Pic Monkey“.  It really turned out so cute!

IComlete inside of card

Added a bit of glitter to the confetti on the card, and an extra comment to the photo.

Extra Comments on card

I really hope when I call my brother tonight, he is pleased.

This is just an idea for making cards, special, and as I said, “personal”.

When you put time into something like this, it makes the card itself a gift to the person you love.

Blessings to all, and especially to my dear sweet brother.

I love you Denny!

XO

 

Photo Fun Using Pic Monkey!

A couple of days ago I briefly mentioned my family going on a mini reunion trip to Brown County State Park.

When getting ready for the trip I wanted to do something special and fun!

Using family photos, some old, some recent, and pets too, I put together a “Concentration” card game.

To add a little silly to the photo cards I altered some with captions, hats, glasses, facial hair, and such.  They turned out really cute!

Family PhotosThere were about 14 sets of photos.  We placed them face down and just as the old game, turned over to make matches.

We all played the game, laughing at the sillies, and filling our eyes with tears from looking at others.

There really isn’t much these days offered with no cost attached, but I stumbled across an awesome site, www.picmonkey.com.

Using Pic Monkey is how I was able to add to my photos for the game.

Pic Monkey is a free photo editor with lots of offerings. You can crop, resize, sharpen, fix imperfections, put together collages, and so much more.  It is a treasure.

Ana, my 7 year old niece, also had us using the photo cards to play “Fish“, asking “do you have a Grandma in a hat”, or “do you have Squeeze Box the cat”.

Of course, the player with the most matches in the end is the winner in both games.

If you love photos, as I do, try Pic Monkey.  It’s free!

To end this post, I am going to share some photos from our mini reunion.

Love to all.

IMG_0101[1]Our two floor cabin, lots of room, with a full deck on the back.

IMG_0108[1]Pony rides and horse back trails were available.

IMG_0111[1]One of the shops in town.  Nashville, Indiana is a town right outside the state park with many different shops and restaurants.  We had lunch at a charming corner restaurant and bakery

IMG_0120[1]I loved this sweet shop, with a full flower garden on the side, and the old bike at the entrance.

IMG_0131[1]We visited an old cemetery playing something new to me, Geocaching!

“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”

Fun!

 

 

 

A “slowing down” time!

It has been over three weeks since I posted to my sweet blog.  I have missed it so much, it really does bring added joy to my life.  I hope some day I can build a following of folks who love the things I love in my life.

This time off has been a “slowing down” time for me.

First, a mini family reunion trip to a state park in Indiana.

We rented a family cabin in the woods, no Wi-Fi, and very little cell phone service.

It was really a beautiful place.

Family Cabin in the woods.

A time for me to reconnect with my sister and all of my nieces.

Over the years, we lost the closeness we once had due to all the different directions we chose in our lives.

We talked, laughed together, and of course shared good food.  It was really a wonderful time for me to be with all of them.  I thank God for that special time.

On returning, I immediately came down with a terrible summer cold.

Better now, just dealing with a lingering cough.

For nearly two weeks my best friends were lemon, honey tea, and a box of Kleenex!

Tea and Kleenex

When we are sick we are forced to “slow down”.  It is a hard thing to do when your everyday routine is moving and doing.

Sleep, rest, and reading from time to time, was all I had in me!

Books I am reading!

Most of the time I felt so guilty that I could not get up, clean, and cook for my family, but they did just fine. I realized that if the house work wasn’t done, it was OK.

We really do put pressures on ourselves that are not necessary.

Everything in life does not have to be perfect!

Again, I feel so much better, life is so good, and so beautiful.

See you tomorrow, begin your tomorrow with joyful expectation.

I will.

XO

 

“Let it Go”

Folks can be so hurtful, or are they just unaware of what they have done?  Regardless, today was my day to “let it go”.

Such a gorgeous morning, so I pulled out my little box of watercolors, and I headed to my quiet place, my back porch.

WatercolorsTrying to express my feelings I painted this sweet artwork.

I know it is not a Van Gogh, but it is special because it was painted by “me”.

"Let it Go"!

So that we can be happy and find peace and joy in our lives, we need to sometimes just let go of the things that cause us so much pain and unhappiness.  Many times these are things that are out of our control.

Forgive and “let it go”.

The sadness and hurt I have felt this past week from some I love is over.

We are all made in different ways, some more sensitive than others.

After prayers and quiet reflection I realize that my problem most of my life is my darn heart that I wear on my sleeve!

I placed my simple artwork on my desk as a reminder of what we all might need to do sometimes in our lives.

let it go desk

Just love those who hurt you, and “let it go”!

XO

Things I’ve Learned … Living Everyday with a Sick Loved One!

Yesterday was a really bad day for me, sadness and loneliness took hold of me and trying to get back my joy felt like an impossible task.

Tried to reach out to my sister but she was so busy with her daughters and grandchildren that I did not want to interrupt their fun time together with my problems. Just having someone to talk to helps tremendously.  I was able to reach my brother late last night and I thank him for his words, and love.  I felt so much better.

My husband suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.  He doesn’t like doctors, and he is convinced that since there is no cure for the disease, they cannot help him.  He reads everything he can online and tries to be his own doctor.

His illness was one of the major factors in my decision to stopping working.  I wanted to be with him, to help him, and possibly make his quality of life better.

Everyday is a struggle for him, and without sounding selfish, for me too!

Today I thought I would share some things I have learned about living with him and his disease.

Pray – If you can, have your first cup of coffee in silence, in a peaceful setting. Pray for strength and patience to get through the day ahead, with all that might be thrown at you, with joy and love.  Be thankful for everything that you have and especially the time we spend with those we love.

“Dear Lord, if you cannot cure him, please don’t let him get worse!”

Help Them Without Making Them Feel Helpless – I really try hard to help my husband in small ways without appearing to be watching his every move.  Getting him things that might be on another floor so he doesn’t have to try to climb a flight of steps, saying “I’m going upstairs, do you need something while I am up there?”.  He is stubborn and even through climbing a few steps can take him a long time, with the risk of falling, he doesn’t like to ask for help.  He is very independent.

Do Not Criticize – No one likes to be criticized, but when you are ill it can be devastating. Since his balance is off he spills things all the time.  I try to keep my home clean and many times I would react to things he would do in a negative way saying, “try not to spill that” or “can’t you pick up your shoes”.  Oh, how I have learned the things he does, or does not do are nothing to fret about in life.  I pick up his shoes, and I clean up the spills, and I love him!

Laugh Together – Laughter is great medicine and helps to eliminate some of the depression they feel everyday.  Jim is a funny person and when he is having a good day may repeat a joke I have heard so many times before, but I just laugh again.  I know there will be a day when I will miss his silly jokes, or he will miss having me to repeat them to!

Do Things Together – Do the things with your loved one that you can, going out to breakfast, taking lunch to the park, going to the movies, even if it means seeing the latest “Planet of the Apes” movie (which we did last week).

Ask For Their Help – When I have a small task that I know my husband can do, I ask for his help.  When the job is completed I can see a sense of accomplishment come over him, thankful that he could contribute.

Be a Good Listener – I have learned that when Jim wants to talk about his health issues or his thoughts on politics or whatever, listen. Don’t just listen with your ears, but with your eyes as well.  Engage them, let them know you are taking the time to hear their point of view.

Learn to Hold Your Tongue – As I have mentioned, there are some impossible days.  When someone is sick they are angry, “why me”, “what’s the use”, etc.  It’s as if they want to argue and be hurtful with words.  I understand this now, and when he wants to argue I leave the room.  I do not need to have the last word!

Observe Changes –  Especially since my husband will not see a doctor I try to watch for signs that he is declining further.  This is mostly for safety issues.  Right now taking away driving is at the top of the list.  He only drives a block or two to the grocery, to get a milkshake, which he loves, or to the barber.  I drive the rest of the time.  He assures me he is OK to drive and will know when he cannot.  Taking this away would be devastating to him.

And the last thing I have learned, is to Love Them.  They are so scared, they need us.

Being with my husband is part of “Loving My New Simple Life”.

I am so very proud of him, the way he is trying to cope with all that is thrown at him every single day.  He doesn’t give up and won’t.  He exercises, lifts weights, sit ups, hundreds of them, and tries to walk on the treadmill by holding on to the side handles.  Falls a bunch, in fact he had a bad one last night, but he gets up and tries to continue, bloody legs and all!

Hope some of this helps other folks dealing with a sick loved one like me!

Blessings to all.

 

 

 

Simple Pleasures – Thank You Grandma!

When I was a little girl I loved to spend time with my Grandma, especially in the summer when school was out.

So many special memories of those days, sitting on her front porch just spending time together, taking the bus for a short ride to a grocery store, pulling with us her little rolling cart.   Grandma would always let me pick out my favorite cookies to take back with us.

At breakfast she would give me my very own large cup of coffee, I am sure it was mostly milk, which didn’t matter, I loved it just the same.

I loved Grandma’s cups, and there was always a saucer.

Grandma's Coffee Cups

That was the beginning of my love of coffee, which continues today.

Thank you Grandma, for the simple pleasure of a great cup of coffee.

There are many things that I could give up, even cookies, but giving up coffee would be very, very difficult.

My son and husband also love coffee.  Some of our best just sitting down together times are with coffee.

We also love a little something sweet with our coffee, especially in the mornings.

Here is a simple recipe for “Banana Cream Cheese Bread with Cinnamon Crumb Topping”.

There are no nuts in this banana bread recipe as with most others.  I am not crazy about nuts!

The cinnamon crumb topping adds a special touch.

It is so good, especially warmed with a little butter.

The recipe makes two loaves.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

*****************************

Ingredients for the Bread:
• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, 3/4 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
• 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the Topping:
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until very light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and bananas.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
4. In a small bowl, mash together the topping ingredients until combined and crumbly.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with the topping.
6. Bake for around 50 minutes until the bread is nicely domed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pans for 5-10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack to cool completely.

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The bread is also great on the side with a salad for lunch.

Try it, I know you will like it.  Good for using up those very ripe bananas.

Hope to see my Grandma again someday, I am sure there is coffee in heaven, also cookies, and banana bread.

Take a few minutes today to think about your favorite special times with your Grandma.

Simple blessings to all of you today.

Love your life!  XOXO

 

Never too old! – Love This!

Ran across this on Pinterest, and I love it!

Love this, especially since I am 67, best years ahead!

Why do you think I love it?

Well, I am 67 years old.

 I feel some of my best years are now, and many more ahead.

I really love my life right now.

I have so many dreams.

So, so many ideas I want to work on and create.

So much life yet to live!

Hope you feel this way about your life, no matter how old you are.

There are 1440 minutes in each day, don’t waste any of them.

Live with joy, and appreciation for all that you have, especially the small,

simple things.

See you tomorrow!

Just a Photo!

A sweet, cute, dragon, for my someday grandchild.I ran across this photo when working on one of my “someday” projects, sorting and framing old photos.

This is a photo of a blow up dragon I purchased on one of our vacations to the beach in South Carolina, in 2001.

We (just me and my husband) were sitting in chairs close to the water, reading and enjoying a beautiful day at the beach.  There was a dark haired, beautiful little girl close to us playing in the sand and sitting on this colorful, cute dragon.  As I watched her, my thoughts went to thinking maybe, just maybe, I would have a grandchild just like her.

After dinner one evening, we stopped at one of those beach stores always found in beach resort areas, and there it was, the little dragon. I bought one!  It was going to be for my grandchild.

At the time my son was engaged, and I thought his life was set in order, and my grandchild would not be far off.

Unfortunately, life took a turn, and some years later, my son’s relationship with the young woman he was with for years, ended.

“Suddenly”, that is life isn’t it?

He is still trying to recover and find his way.

He will be OK, God must have something else in mind for him.

As for me, I believe that by purchasing the little dragon I was being bold, and being confident that God hopefully has a grandchild already planned!

I have the little dragon stored in a safe place.

In life we need to declare good things and believe in our God and then just sit back and watch the awesome things He will do for us.

Expect, believe today, that all things are possible.

See ya!

 

 

 

 

Nails in a Piece of Wood!

I was at my local grocery store today and I heard a mother say to her child, “you are so stupid”.  How horrible.

I used the title of my blog today, “Nails in a Piece of Wood”, to make a point about words.  Words do matter!

When you hammer nails into a piece of wood, or a fence post, you can remove the nails, but the holes remain.  The same is true with words.  Once spoken they can never be taken back.

"Words Matter" Cannot remove holes in wood from nails, also cannot remove damage to someone by hurtful words.I can tell you from personal experience, that you never forget cruel, critical words. They are with you for the rest of your life.

I once had a teacher in elementary school tell me, in front of the entire class, “Why aren’t you as smart as your older sister”.  Well, from that day forward I just felt I was stupid, and could never do anything.

Once an immediate family member told me, my sister, and my brother, “you look like bums”.  Why?  Why would you say that to children?

We were clean, but maybe our clothes were not the best.  We were wearing what we had, and what we were given to wear. Granted they were probably hand-me-downs, but was that our fault?

Those two statements have stayed with me and shaped my life in such negative ways. I never felt that I could accomplish anything but a simple office position and I never had any self confidence.

I never believed that I could be successful until much later in my life when I finally realized, I’m OK.

Promoted from my entry level job, up the ladder, to a Manager, I was given a highly visible position, representing my company, traveling, and training for the Quality Department.  Many times I was asked to travel on the company jet, and to give presentations to various groups.  Why me?  Because I was valuable, I knew my job and others did not!

I always spent too much money on clothes, and my appearance, never feeling I looked nice or that I was at all attractive.   Another result of cruel words.

In today’s world, hopefully teacher’s cannot say such things to children without being held accountable. Although I never told my parents what the teacher said to me, I guess I was too ashamed, later in my life I did share this with my sister and brother.

I hope that everyone reading this will remember that words do matter and never speak in such horrible ways to children, family members, employees, or anyone. You just may be responsible for the difference in someone’s life.

I am a child of God, and I know I am valuable, and have much to offer in this life that I now love so very much.

Love to all.

 

“Be a Miracle to Someone”

On Sundays I always try to catch the TV broadcast of Joel Osteen.

If you have never listened to him I suggest you do so at least once.

He is the Pastor at the very successful Lakewood Church, in Houston,Texas.

Joel’s message is always a positive message for living and believing in God and all He can do in our lives.  Encouraging us to let go of negativity and doubt that often bring us down.

The message last week was ” Be a Miracle to Someone”.

You can do this in small ways everyday, small things in the lives of people to encourage them or show them that you care can be huge, and life changing.

Pick up the phone and call someone who may be alone or feeling so lonely.

Hug someone in pain.

Smile at someone, say “good morning”.

Listen to someone with your heart.

Buy someone a cup of coffee.

As Joel stated, “don’t just be someone passing by”.

Friday I was at one of my favorite stores, Michael’s Arts and Crafts.  I was in the isle where you would find drawing paper and crayons for children.

A sweet lady came up behind me and said, in a giggling way, “I love crayons”.  When I turned around I realized that she was mentally challenged.  She appeared to be in her twenties.  I replied, “I love crayons too”.  She was with someone who may have been her mother and she was pointing out all the things she would like to buy.

When I was in the checkout lane they came up behind me. Again she kept asking for things and especially wanted an “Angry Birds” coloring book that just cost a dollar. The answer she was given was “no”.

As soon as I left the store I realized that I should have bought the coloring book for her.  I am sure it would have made her very happy.  Why didn’t I do that?

I was one of those “passing by” people.  Oh how I regret that I didn’t do that simple something to brighten her day.

I imagine now how she would have said in her giggling sweet voice and smiling face, “Oh, Thank You”.

If you have the chance, be someone’s miracle tomorrow.

I know I will never miss that opportunity again.

Love to all.