Friday, January 17, 2014

A New Year, A New Me

Welcome 2014!

It's a new year, and time for a new me.
2013 was not exactly a banner year for me.  There were many changes that occurred, both good and bad, some rather drastic and traumatizing.  No sense in reliving it, nor any sense in staying stuck in it.  Needless to say, I'm glad to see 2014.

This year, I will turn the big 5-0.  So I have set goals to accomplish this year, some by the time I turn 50, some ongoing. 

My biggest goal is to be healthier.  Not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially.  I firmly believe they all impact one another and are interconnected in many ways.  My journey to better health actually began in the last two months of 2013 and I'm happy to say is progressing well.  I found a functional/integrative medicine doctor and underwent a lot of testing to identify the foods to which I'm allergic/sensitive.  It was a long list, but a good one to know.  It helped me to understand why my health had tanked over the last 7 years.  I quit eating those foods and am doing much better.  As a part of that, I chose to try the Clean (by Dr. Junger) cleanse for 21 days.  I'm now on Day 18 of that and doing very well.  After this cleanse program, I plan to continue along the same lines to complete a candida cleanse program for a month, based upon testing results as well.  As my food sensitivities include a lot of the foods I couldn't eat on the cleanse programs anyhow, it is a good direction for me.  The goal is to heal my body from the inside (literally, intestinal tract) out.  It also includes slowly but surely increasing exercise and physical activity as well -- and I joined the YMCA locally here to do that.  They have aqua zumba classes, saunas, restorative yoga, saunas, great exercise equipment, saunas... oh, and did I mention saunas?

So far I've lost 16 lbs on this healthier me journey, several inches total, and my blood pressure is down by 30-40 points and is now in the normal range for me.  Awesome, if I do say so myself!  

I've also started the 52-Week Challenge as a part of the financial health goal.  It is where you save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, and so on.  At the end of the year, you have $1378 saved.  Some friends of mine do this as their Christmas shopping fund, some are doing it as a Vacation funds savings, some simply to save extra.  I've challenged myself to save more than the amount on there, adding a zero whenever possible, i.e. $10 the first week, $20 the second week, etc.  Now I realize that as we get into the higher week numbers, it may not be possible to keep up at that 'extra-zero' pace, but I intend to keep making that dent as far as I can to see what I'm capable of saving this year.  Fortunately, this year I am also paying off the car loan as well so it will help to achieve that and keep me from just spending it. 

Spiritually, God has led me in many decisions and changes this past year and provided great inspiration through many individuals.  I am so very blessed.  I've found a new home church near my new house and plan to continue worshipping there as well as studying on my own.  I think He has provided this time for me to heal on all these levels right now... and am sure He will continue to "direct my paths" in accordance with His Will and in His Timing.  I want to be ready for when He points me in those new directions. 

Mentally and Emotionally, healing has already begun.  Getting out of the negative situation and into a calmer, more peaceful one has helped me to see more clearly.  The dietary changes have helped greatly to eliminate the 'brain fog.'  I'm much more able to focus and make decisions, etc. 

Another one of my goals is to see the rest of the United States.  There are only 10 left I haven't been to yet:  Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and North Dakota.  It will take a few trips, but I'm looking forward to them and planning already!

And of course, there are Good Deeds.  Ironically, however, I encouraged everyone else to do Random Acts of Kindness and Stamp Good Deeds, but I wasn't very good at being kind to myself, as a friend explained to me.  I'm learning.  I still do and encourage others to do RAKs, but now that also includes being kind to themselves as well.  We ALL need a little kindness (if not a LOT).

So Welcome 2014!  I think we're off to the start of a Great Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Handmade with Love

There is something wonderful about crocheting a handmade gift this time of year.  The yarn is warm, soft and fuzzy, and the fun of creating something special for someone special, keeping it a secret, knowing it is a one-of-a-kind-custom-made gift, surprising someone with that thoughtful present... all sums up to joy.  This year I made several scarves and shawls as gifts, and even this little fun clown-rag doll.  I made a similar one 26 years ago for my son, but hadn't even thought about it again until just recently when I had some wonderfully soft bamboo yarn and wanted to make a gift for a friend's precious little daughter.  She is just a joy to know and you can't help smile when you see her so I wanted to return some of that joy to her with a little gift.  And when she opened it, her mom sent me a photo of her with it, and once again, that joy just overflowed!


One of the things that never ceases to take my breath away is a beautiful sunset.  On my daily commute to and from work, I tend to just get into the 'commute zone' where I almost mindlessly follow the same path/routine drive, unaware of anything other than watching the road and driving.  There are days, however, that I use that quiet drive time to just have a conversation with God, and praise Him, whether through song, words, prayer or simply appreciation of all that He has created.

God has an amazing palette with which to work.  Endless choices of colors and creates such breath-taking, mind-blowing artwork for us to appreciate.  And I don't mean just across the sky.

Take the time to look around you.  Not only at the world He created, but even in the mirror and at those who surround you.  Humans are the most complex yet simple yet amazing creations ever, beyond explanation science even though they try constantly to explain and demystify the human body, mind, and even soul.  Stop to appreciate, and praise God for all that He has created.

And enjoy the sunsets along the way too.

Be blessed!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Spring!!!

Isn't is amazing to watch the world around us wake up in Spring?   I am always so excited to go out each day and find new things sprouting, blooming, exploding full of color.  There is a newness, a joy even, just to watching it!
As you can see, the azaleas have come alive in our front yard once again... I've watched the buds with anticipation now for almost a month, but the rain and sunshine of the last couple of days finally coaxed them into becoming these big beautiful snowballs and bursts of color.  Stunning!
My vegetable garden has all sorts of tiny seedlings popping up as well, and inside the house I have seeds started as well.  Now is the perfect time to share new little plants with others and share this joy with them, whether it be flower plants, houseplant starters, extra vegetable seedlings or starters.  Start a few and share a few!  Just think how much joy it could bring to others... all from a little seed!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Send a Card, Share a Smile

I made this 'accordion card' for a swap I'm in on Splitcoaststampers.  It was the first time I'd made one, but I had a lot of fun with it, selecting verses to include, playing with color and shapes, etc.  I like the way it turned out... a bit of Spring fun and encouragement to the recipient!

You don't have to make cards however to send a bit of sunshine and smiles to someone.  Emails nowadays can be just as fun, as well as store-bought cards, or even just a personal note on a piece of scratch paper.

Take a moment to share a smile and caring thought today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


SERENDIPITY is my favorite word.  Has been for a long time.  It means an unexpected, but pleasant and welcome surprise.

It generally comes when and where you least expect it.  Hence the unexpected surprise. :)

This morning, I was very tired.  On the way to work, I had to stop to get gas because I forgot to last night when I was supposed to of course.  So I was a bit grumpy as well.  But while standing there pumping gas into the car, I looked up and saw the face of a happy little boy on the video screen above the pump.  His name is Kyle, and the video showing explained he has a form of anemia and that he is desperately in need of a marrow donor match in order to live.  The ad then showed his parents asking for donors, and the website for more information ( 
All the way into work I thought about this.  In the past I thought about becoming a donor but for some reason I hadn't done it.  I went to the website to read more and link to more information.  I have heard that donating marrow is a very painful process, however, the website also dispells that myth and explains the entire process.  I took the time to register as a marrow donor today.  It took me about 10 minutes to do this, and they will even mail you a free kit to provide the sample needed to test and put you into the donor system. I kept picturing the face of that little boy and it just tears my heart to think how simple it is to become a donor and that it could save a life.   

Today, I found serendipity above a gas station pump.  A good deed, and it brought a great feeling to know I have registered and may be able to help save a life even.  And I implore each of you to please become a donor and to also share this information and encourage others to become donors too.  I have added Kyle to my prayer list and hope you will too.  Let's save some lives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Time to Plant

The Byrds once did a song, "Turn, Turn, Turn (For Everything There Is A Season)."  Do you remember it?  Catchy tune. 

What some don't realize is that the lyrics are scripture, from Ecclesiates 3:
"To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."

Its that time of year again.  The sun is shining and when I look out the kitchen window to my garden, I notice how beautiful it looks outside but how bare my little garden is.  I'm so very tempted to begin planting.  I love to watch things grow... see those little seedlings sprout and watch as they grow into beautiful plants that then provide an incredible harvest!  I'm practically drooling at that thought already!

My mind starts to reel with gardening thoughts and plans about this time of year.  I have to get out my gardening journal and start laying out designs and making lists of what seeds I need to order, what supplies to buy, etc.  And this is the time to start seeds indoors. 

Have you ever been the recipient of free fruits and vegetables from someone's garden?  Most of the time we say, "Thank You," and proceed to enjoy them... but how often do we stop to think of the care that went into that fruit or vegetable and how much it is a healthy, nourishing gift selected just for us?  What an incredibly thoughtful gift.  And in this economy, its a very precious one as well.

If you are a gardener yourself, now is the time to start your indoor seeds, and its about time to plant early cold weather vegetables outdoors too (like peas, spinach, etc...).  When you are planting, think about adding a few extra plants to your crop as the "Gifts" to share this year.  Perhaps start some extra seeds indoors and share the plants as they grow strong enough for outdoor planting, or even in a container where they can be kept all summer.  Start some extra flower plants to give for birthdays, mother's day, or "just because" days.  

"A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."