Connecting with Friends

Cards 1

When my boys were younger I found I had less time for friends.  My friends who I did see also said that they found friendship getting pushed aside to keep up with everything else in their lives…jobs, marriage, children, church, etc.  I realized that was what would have to be in order to not lose my sanity.  My boys would say I have lost it anyway, but that is beside the point.

Last year I realized that with a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old who could take care of themselves I needed to start making more time for friends.  My husband, kids, faith life, extended family, homeschooling, and online business had to still come first, but I could start making time for friends.

I did not do as much as I had hoped last year, but I did more than I had in the past.  I reconnected with a college roommate.  I made arrangements to meet for coffee when I was in her city. We hadn’t seen each other in probably 15 years. We spent about 2.5 wonderful hours reconnecting.  It filled my heart with joy.

I made an effort to have lunch with a few new friends in my home town that I wanted to get to know a little more.  What a joy to spend one-on-one time with these amazing women.

I made an effort to communicate with some friends through Facebook as well.  How wonderful to hear from long-lost friends and relatives.

I also made an effort to send a note or a small item to let a friend far away know I was thinking of them.  Again I felt contentment and peace doing this.

I have made my boys send handwritten thank you notes for gifts received or a kind deed done for them.  Just recently my oldest son sent a thank you note to his piano teacher who went out of his way to write a letter of recommendation at the last-minute.  My son said, “Mom, you were right, it is important to write thank you notes.  Mr. P said that it made his day to receive the note.”  I really don’t believe kindness and handwritten notes are dead.  Yes, little notes through email and Facebook are nice, but there is nothing like a note written in someone’s hand.

This year I made another resolution to continue to reconnect with friends. There are a few whom I have on my list…a faraway friend who was so dear to me during the boys’ younger years. She recently was divorced and had a best friend pass away from college. Yet, have I called or talked to her? I always think I don’t have enough time to talk long enough, so I don’t call.  I need to do something. She is the top of my list.  Or another friend that is faraway. She went back to work and we just don’t connect like I wish we did. There are several more.  They all are in my prayers, but they don’t know that.  I AM going to find ways to connect with them this year.

Recently I saw that a high school classmate of mine whom I have not seen since graduation lost her Mom.  I found her address and sent her a quick sympathy card to let her know I was praying for her, and I wrote about a memory from when we were little.  She wrote a note back saying that she was glad she heard from me and that the note brought back some wonderful memories during a difficult time in her life.  This made me more determined to take time to reach out to people.  I almost didn’t send that message. I thought she might think it weird to here from me after all these years, but I am so glad that I did. It took less than 5 minutes to find her address, write it out and mail it. That act brightened my day and hopefully hers as well.

Cards 2Today I want to encourage you to reach out to someone whom you haven’t talked to or seen in a while.  Call or send a handwritten note. The note can be store-bought or handmade, but find a way to let her know you are thinking of her.

For additional encouragement to reconnect read Becky Higgins‘s blog post, Sunday Notes, on how she is committed this year to send a note once a week.  Love the idea.  I don’t want to put a schedule on myself, but I will be sending more notes in the mail.

Are you willing to send some notes and reconnect…make a difference in someone’s day?

View into My Backyard

IMG_3515The view from my bedroom window at 8:40 a.m.  The sun is barely up, and it is cold outside. It is -17 F.  Yes, that is 17 degrees below zero.  There is only a 5 mph wind, so it feels the same temperature as it is.

Notice the windswept snow. We really have had a difficult winter. That is saying a lot since North Dakota is known for its harsh weather.  It started with freezing rain on Dec 1. That made everything icy for the whole month of December.  During that month we had bone-chilling cold. Many days below zero for highs and wind chill temperatures in the minus 30 to 40 degrees.  It was cold.

Then January came. It warmed up some, but we have been in a pattern of a little warmer weather…somewhere in the 20s or 30s for highs for a day or two and then around zero for a day or two.  The worst part is January isn’t normally too windy.  However the wind has been relentless.  We have had many days where the sustained winds are in the 30 mph range.  There have even been a few with sustained winds in the 50s. That means we have felt into the high 60 mph winds on some days. Let me tell you, when it is already cold, it just can be miserable. There has also been damage from the winds. The even stranger part is that it has been windy at night.  Normally it is calm during the night.

52e030761760c.preview-620

However, we have had some beautiful moments and sights as well.  Yesterday we had the most gorgeous sun dogs I think I have ever seen.  Check out this photo above from the Bismarck Tribune.  If you want to see more click on the photo.  There literally seemed like we had 3 suns in the sky.  It made me speechless.

I am definitely ready for some nicer weather.  It doesn’t look like it will be happening any time soon.  So in the meantime I will bundle up, drink my hot tea, and enjoy God’s beauty whenever I can.

 

Down Right Freezing Here

Temperature

 

At this wind chill temperature one can get frost bite in 5 minutes. Yes, it is that cold here.  At 11:30 a.m. it is -22F below zero as the regular temperature. If you look below that number it says feels like -46F. Now that is cold.  Yes, it is almost noon, and yes, the sun it out.  The wind is blowing hard…it is only about 15 mph now.  It was almost 30 mph last night.

It is so cold that public schools cancelled school today. They were mostly worried about children getting to school.  It is still so icy in neighborhoods after the freezing rain we had on Friday.  (As a matter of fact one bus slid into the ditch in a neighborhood south of us.)  If the buses were to slide in the ditch or stop running today, kids would be in danger. It is safer to keep them home.

So today we are doing school at home and doing catch up on things we have been easing up on during the holidays and busy sports schedules. My oldest is also working on scholarship applications.  I plan to get some new items listed in my Etsy Shop this afternoon.

I guess with a nice warm house and not having to go anywhere, this cold is a good thing.  Not that I want it to stick around.  The good news is we should have about 30 degree weather by this coming weekend. That is almost a 90 degree swing from our coldest wind chill reading. Life in North Dakota…

For those of you who are wondering why the tablet lists Baldwin rather than Bismarck, it is because we actually live much closer to Baldwin’s reporting station than Bismarck’s, so it is more accurate for where I live.  STAY WARM.

Happy New Year 2014

 

free-happy-new-year-2014-clipartHappy New Year to one and all.  2013 was a great year. It was busy, but I definitely found time for my family.  That is the most important thing for me right now.

For the past two years I have listed my goals specifically regarding my business, my blog and my health.  However, this year I have decided not to create any goals or resolutions.  I see this year as a year of change.  My oldest son will be graduating in May and heading off to college this fall.  I will still be homeschooling, but only my youngest son.  Life as I have known it for 13 years will be changing.  That is a great thing, even as it brings some sadness.

I have decided that the only goals I have are to spend more time in prayer, seeking God’s will in all matters.  I also plan to put my family first whenever I can.  Finally I plan to focus on the moments.  To just enjoy the good and the not-so-great moments.  I want to remember these last few months of life with all four of us under one roof.  Then I want to embrace the changes and really enjoy watching Z go off to college to start his life as a young adult, as well as really enjoy having just JV at home.

I will continue blogging.  It is so much a part of my life, I can’t imagine not having a blog.  It will be sparse for the next couple of months as my boys are heavily involved in swimming and basketball, but I am still here. Working my business when I can. Looking forward to warmer weather that will bring auction sales and garage sales.

May 2014 bring love and peace to your homes.

 

Good Books Read – Dec 2013

It has been 9 months since I blogged about what I was reading.  The last time, I kept losing my posts, and gave up.  However, it is the end of the year, so I thought I would tell you about some of the good reads from 2013.  I will have read around 95 books by the end of the year.  I still check them out from the library. I have read a few books on my tablet, but I prefer the feel and smell of a book in my hands.

15797397

I will start with my current read, Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moos. This book is all about how the food manufacturers hook us on their foods using large amounts of salt, sugar and fat.  It may not be my favorite read of the year, but I am glad I am reading it.  The changes in our food, especially processed foods since the 1970s is scary.  I would recommend reading it.

16130311

My most recent 5 star read is another Karen Kingsbury.  She rarely disappoints.  I don’t watch a lot of tv, but I do enjoy The Voice or The Sing-Off.  This book, Fifteen Minutes is one of her newest books and is set around the reality singing shows that are so popular right now.  Ms. Kingsbury kept me captivated as our star swore his possible fame wouldn’t change him, but the slippery slope happened.  I really enjoyed the ending.

1015317

My friend, Julie, recommended I try Christian mystery author, Dee Henderson.  Thank you, Julie.The prequel to her O’Malley Series was a 5 star. Danger in the Shadows.

8299469

I gave the first book in the series, The Negotiator, 4 stars but probably should have given it 5 stars.  I really like Ms. Hendersen’s writing style.  She keeps me wanting to read. Her characters are loveable with their flows.  I would recommend checking out one of Ms. Hendersen’s books. I plan to continue reading this series in 2014.

15863526

Another Christian author I plan to continue reading in 2014 is Irene Hannon.  I recently read her first book in the Private Justice series, Vanished. Wow, this one started exciting and kept me interested. I think this was another author that Julie recommended to me.

13597723

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a terrific young adult read.  There were unexpected twists in this book that had me giving it 5 stars.

9415957

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan is another young adult novel that I would highly recommend.  It is an emotional book about loyalty and finding who they really are.

11281852

I have to add Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.  A true story about a teen who went to Uganda and lost her heart there.  She has created an amazing place that has helped the Ugandians better their lives.

15801967

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger was a fascinating read. It made me much more aware of marketing  and advertising have an effect on people. If you have any interest in psychology you will enjoy this book.

There are more, but this list is getting a little long.  I think I will set my reading goal at 72 books for 2014. That is only 6 books a month, but as I look at the new year, I don’t know that I will have as much time. As always you can follow me on Goodreads

What is your favorite new read or author?  Please leave a comment: I love finding out about new, good reads.

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to one and all.  We have gone to Mass, had our tradition dinner and opened stocking stuffers.  We also played cards, and now we are watching The Christmas Carol on tv…Michael’s favorite Christmas movie.  It is a perfect Christmas Eve.

I pray that you all are enjoying Christmas with your family and friends.  May you be filled with God’s love and peace.

Blessed Advent

Nativity a

I hope your Advent is a time of slowing down, and that the preparations for Christmas aren’t making you too stressed. The Advent season is relatively short this year.  As always, we put up our decorations on Thanksgiving weekend, so we can enjoy them longer.  We usually leave them up well into January.  We try to leave them up until Epiphany, but it can depend on what else is going on in this house.

Nativity b

We have had our Nativity Set for over 15 years now.  We bought it at Costco.  It is beautiful.  It came with a gorgeous dark wood stable, but I have never used it.

Nativity stable

Instead I use this one.  A simple, homemade stable that my Dad made.  It made not be stunning, but I love this stable for two reasons:  first, my Dad made it for me.  He has been gone for over 15; yet when I look at this stable, I can feel his presence; and second, it reminds me the Jesus didn’t come in glory and splendor, but as a humble little baby, born in a stable or possible a cave with a manger and straw for his bed.  For me it is the little things that make the Advent season so special waiting for the arrival of our Savior.

Nativity c

Because we are waiting, baby Jesus is not in the nativity set.  He arrives after Mass on Christmas Eve.

Do you have a nativity set?  Is Jesus there or do you wait for Him to come on Christmas?

Love My Ninja

Cranberries

A couple of months ago my son accidental dropped my blender, and it shattered. It was a normal, decent blender.  It did an ok job, but I wasn’t willing to just get ride of it to get a new one.  But when it shattered, I had the opportunity to get a high-powered blender.

I decided on a Ninja that also has individual cups to make one smoothie at a time.  JV loves smoothies and he has been using it a lot.

I have started making Green Smoothies, and it has worked well.  I know a Vitamix might do a better job at making a smoothie out of spinach or kale but it works, and cost less.

Well, today I decided to make my Homemade Cranberries for Thanksgiving.  I decided to try the Ninja.  My old blender never would have been able to grind these fruits.  I just threw in one pound of cranberries, three oranges and three apples.

I turned it on, and it started working.

Cranberries b

It started grinding the fruit from the bottom.  I left it on for probably 1.5 minutes, then added sugar to taste.  Blended a little longer, and I got this…

Cranberries c

A nice, smooth cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving table.  I am now thankful that JV dropped my old blender.  I am thankful for my Ninja.

Do you have a high-powered, commercial blender?  Which one?   What do you use it for?

John F. Kennedy – 50 Years

Kennedy Books a

JFK was assassinated 50 years ago today.  It was a few years before I was born, but I still have a sadness for the fact that someone killed this beloved President.  I remember when President Ronald Reagan was shot.  I remember the yucky feelings, and he survived.  I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be a witness to this man’s death.

Are we any closer to a peace-filled world?  I don’t think so, but I do know that today, I recommit to being kind and bring peace to my little space on the earth.

Dallas – The TV Series Returns

dallasisback

If you are read my blog for the past couple of years, you know that I watched the tv series Dallas when I was young. I was excited when it returned in 2012 on TNT.  So even though my blog is mostly about thrifting, scrapping and photographs, I had to tell you about it here.

I just found out the 3rd season will start in February.  I admit, the series pulled me back into it.  It was different; faster-paced than I remember, but Bobby Ewing pulled me right back into the family.  I was sad when Larry Hagman died in 2012.  It will be interesting to see how they can build a character that we all love to hate.  I will be watching, will you?