Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . December 30, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is SUNNY! Finally after weeks of gray, drab days we have a nearly cloudless sky. Yes it's cold, but it is December after all.

I am thinking . . . that I am ready for everyone to get back into their normal routines. Why is it so difficult for me to go about my routines when their routines are off kilter?

I am thankful . . . that everyone in the house seems to be feeling better.

In the kitchen . . . Ham and Bean Soup. Yesterday I simmered the Honey Baked hambone to make broth and get all the yummy bits of ham off of it. Today I will make the soup and we will have a wonderful dinner tonight and for a few days to come. Oh and an apple pie on the spur of the moment at DH's request. (We were given an apple pie that wasn't very good at all, so he wanted one of mine!)

I am wearing . . . my t-shirt from The Well and my flannel robe and faux Crocs.

I am creating . . . my beautiful afghan (this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft). I've got 93 rows completed which is (hopefully) 18,600 stitches. Whew!

I am going . . . to make breakfast RITI today. I'm making a Treasure Toffee Coffee Cake and Cheese Muffins. Breakfast has to be something they can take and eat, and I always try to include protein along with something sweet.

I am wondering . . . about some rearranging in the house. Not sure how to accommodate some hobbies.

I am reading . . . The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I read this when it first came out (2004), but I was caught up in healing then, so I'd like to reread it now. I'm really enjoying it, but find that I need a pen and paper to jot down notes. That way I can go to the computer later and look up references I am not familiar with. I read a fascinating passage last night about Old Testament translation issues that I want to read more about.

I am looking forward to . . . the return of routine! Are you sensing a theme here?

I am hearing . . . quiet right now, but DH is home and chatting at me even though he knows I'm trying to write.

Around the house . . . it's time to take down all the decorations and return the house to its usual state.

I am praying . . . an adoptive family that is struggling right now. Parenting is difficult at times, but more so when there is past trauma to deal with, and people are quick to offer advice and solutions that aren't appropriate in those situations. I am praying for more healing and less judgment by outsiders.

One of my favorite things . . . is a really good movie. DH and I watched The Station Agent again last night. I had forgotten about this little gem of a movie. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . errands, RITI, therapy, chiropractor, and a weekend get away with the extended family to Pickett State Park.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
a shot of the lake from my walk with DH last week






linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stuff

Did you all survive? Did you have fun? Eat too much? Are you happy to see calm again?

I like the holidays, but I like normal, everyday life more. Maybe it's an age thing. Or maybe it's just my personality.

I was grumpy on Christmas Day. Little things annoyed me, but I kept it under wraps until the family had gone. Then I let myself sit on the sofa in a funk, until I realized I was grumpy because I hadn't slept well Christmas Eve -- not anticipation -- I just got too hot because DH left the space heater on all night!

I shook it off and got a good night's sleep. Friday morning my alarm went off at 5:10 so I could take the boys (DH & DS) to the airport for a week of climbing at Red Rock and Joshua Tree. When I walked into the hallway, I knew something was amiss. DH met me and told the trip was off -- DS had been sick all night! 


There is so much crud floating around here! Is that true where you live too?

Anyway the good news is they were able to reschedule everything for a trip in March instead, and we didn't lose any money! The rest of Friday was filled with helping DS feel better physically and not feel guilty about being sick.

DH and I took a walk at Radnor Lake, and talked about how odd it felt to both be reconfiguring our plans for the week.
photo credit Alan Pennington (DH)

DS is feeling better, but I've got another cold. We need some sunshine around here! And snow would at least be prettier than all this rain. But enough complaining.

I've been working on my thought processes lately. Reminding myself that I can't read minds, and that people don't think about me as much as I worry they do. 

I got a new devotional book for Christmas -- Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community. I'm just learning the layout, but I like it very much and am happy to have something new to focus on in the coming year.

I've run across a few quotes in the past few days that I want to share with you.

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one...the being a Force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." 
-- George Bernard Shaw

"History, despite its wrenching pain,
cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage,
need not be lived again."
--Maya Angelou

“One's days were too brief to take the burden of another's errors on one's shoulders. Each man lived his own life and paid his own price for living it.” 
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

If you want to live life free
take your time, go slowly.
Do few things, but do them well.
Simple joys are holy.
-- Celtic Daily Prayer

And a couple of articles as well.

The Disease of Being Busy

Anne Patricia Lamott Anti-Diet

So that's what's going on in my world this Monday morning (gray and drizzly still!). I hope you are getting back into your groove and looking forward to 2015 and the gift of future plans.

Blessings.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . December 23, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is gray and cloudy and 54 degrees. As I look back over the recent post for Simple Woman I see that it's been gray and cloudy for weeks! This could explain some of the blah moods going around. 

I am thinking . . . feeling better. Yesterday was my first "normal" day since getting sick last week. It was lovely to have energy and brain capability to function.

I am thankful . . . good friends who help me acknowledge my healing.

In the kitchen . . . last night was soup and cheese toast. I'm going to the grocery today, so anything is possible tonight. Christmas baking ratchets up today as well.

I am wearing . . . today it's my Lorax t-shirt and flannel robe. Gotcha there, didn't I? 

I am creating . . . continuing to work on my afghan using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft. I think I'm up to 82 rows. Almost done with my 3rd rotation of colors. I'm not sure how many it will take, as the instructions say to keep repeating until the afghan is the length I want.

I am going . . . to the chiropractor and grocery store today, and then home to start baking and making Milk Salad(s) for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I am wondering . . . about how much to schedule for an upcoming week to myself.

I am reading . . . not The Cuckoo's Calling. I just couldn't get into it, possibly because I was sick. I've switched gears and picked up The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I read this when it first came out (2004), but I was caught up in healing then, so I'd like to reread it now.

I am looking forward to . . . Christmas Day at my house for the first time ever!

I am hearing . . . peace and quiet.

Around the house . . . it's looking much better. The decorating is finished. The boys have been putting away their stuff. I still have wrapping to do, but that's a part of the final days before Christmas to enjoy.

I am praying . . . for peace throughout the holiday season. For those who are ill or grieving at this time of year. For my boys who leave on a climbing trip the day after Christmas.

One of my favorite things . . . (well several of my favorite things) are massages and mani/pedis. I had scheduled all of those for last week and had to cancel because of the "crud", so I'm rescheduling for next week.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . CHRISTMAS!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

my new winter bird wreath


linking up with The Simple Woman

Sunday, December 21, 2014

4th Sunday of Advent

painting by William Congdon

Luke 1:26-38


26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Little Rebellions

"My abuse taught me that my thoughts, beliefs, feelings and experiences were invalid. Just feeling something wasn’t acceptable; I had to justify how I felt." -- Christina Enevoldson

I totally agree with this. For years I needed someone else, preferably someone in authority, to validate my beliefs, feelings, and experiences. My father, my husband, a minister, someone I deemed more intellectual than I. It's taken years and years to learn to consistently validate my own feelings, and I still have days when I need a cheerleader.

Something else resonated with me in that quote, though. The other day I had a conversation with an acquaintance. He asked if "my offenders" were still alive. I felt my body clinch when I read that line. It wasn't the "offenders" that bothered me, it was the "my". I don't apply possessive pronouns to anything related to the abuse. They are not MY offenders. It is not MY abuse. For years my parents were referred to as THE parents. I told the writer I don't use possessive pronouns in this scenario, that it's my little rebellion. 

I made a joke of it at the time, but I've been thinking about it, mulling it over in the back of my mind. It's not just a little rebellion. It's an important distinction to me. By applying a possessive pronoun as an identifier or descriptor to the offenders or the abuse, I take ownership of them. I take responsibility for the actions and the people, and I've been fighting against that my whole life.

It was not, is not, and never will be my fault that I was abused. So they are not MY abusers and it is not MY abuse. I didn't have a choice or ownership in any of it. Words are important to me. I'm a reader, a librarian, a writer. Words have meanings, and those meanings carry a lot of weight.

Maybe it's not such a little rebellion after all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Worst Christmas Gift Ever?


My father-in-law was an interesting man. Highly intelligent, but a bit quirky.

Early in my marriage to his son, I learned this lesson. Normally my mother-in-law did the shopping, but one year, for reasons unknown to me, he took it upon himself to go out and buy additional gifts for everyone. Of course he decided to do this late on Christmas Eve once all the "real" stores had closed. There was a discount store near their house called Zayre. They sold cheap stuff, not Wal-Mart cheap, think cheaper. 

So he did his Christmas shopping and came home and wrapped all his goodies. Using is regular technique this meant no bows and our names written in black Sharpie on all the packages. 

On Christmas morning, we arrived at the house and amid much flinging of paper, I was handed a large, squishy package clearly from my father-in-law, although marked as "From Santa". When I opened it, there sat before me a 12-pack of Zayre brand toilet paper. I kid you not. 

My husband and I had been married 1 or 2 years at this point, and I was still unsure of my place in his family. And to be perfectly honest, his father scared me a bit. Not in the "he's going to haul off and hit me" way, but in the "he's so smart, clearly I'm missing something here" way. 

I stood with my package of toilet tissue, trying to determine if there was a hidden message here, finally stuttering out a thank you. His response was, "I figure you can never have too much tp".

As I watched others open their gifts from him, I felt a bit better. My brother-in-law had received windshield wipers that didn't fit his car. 

I never knew what happened that year and I don't remember another gift from that Christmas. What I do know is that by the next year, my mother-in-law was dead, killed in a car accident. And all the women in the family and extended friends, got diamond and sapphire tennis bracelets. 

Yep, that was my father-in-law in a nutshell.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . December 16, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is gray and cloudy. We are sitting around 45 degrees. That's the kind of December it's been so far. Everyone is a little sleepy, preferring to hunker down in our homes.

I am thinking . . . about how plans can shift so drastically. I had planned for lots of peace and quiet and order, with a new Advent devotion. Things haven't played out that way at all. The good news is I've been able to roll with it, and not beat up on myself.

I am thankful . . . that my husband is finally beginning to feel better. I can't remember the last time he was this sick.

In the kitchen . . . it's been quiet in the kitchen since we were out of town last week/weekend. I made spaghetti Sunday night, but I have no idea about tonight. Maybe soup and grilled cheese?

I am wearing . . . my usual attire -- cotton gown and flannel robe with my blue faux Crocs. 

I am creating . . . continuing to work on my afghan using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft. This past week hasn't been conducive to crocheting with all the driving and caring for a sick husband. Only up to 72 rows.

I am going . . . therapy and to run some errands. I realized I haven't done stocking gifts yet, so I need to get going on those.

I am wondering . . . how to be a cheerleader for my husband when he needs one. He is usually so upbeat and full of energy, but this sinus infection has been hard on him.

I am reading . . . i finished Ghost Story by Peter Straub. My expectations may have been a bit high, but it was very good. Now I'm reading The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling). I'm just getting started, but it's quite interesting. The BBC has picked it up to do a TV show based on the main character.

I am looking forward to . . . a mani/pedi, haircut, and massage this week!

I am hearing . . . my son getting ready for his day.

Around the house . . . things are a mixture of Christmas decor, wrapping paper, and laundry to be folded. I guess it's pretty normal!

I am praying . . . for a friend who got bad news yesterday. She's was diagnosed with brain cancer 2 years ago and has been doing well on medicine therapy. Yesterday she had a "regular" check-up and they discovered one of the tumors had grown by 4 times in the past 4 months. They are reeling from the news while having to make immediate decisions concerning more aggressive treatment. Please pray with me.

One of my favorite things . . . hedgehogs. I acquired several news one over the past couple of weeks.
Hazel and Herbert
and the twins, Honey and Sonny

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . fairly usual -- therapy, chiropractor, housework, errands, yoga, shopping, and all those lovely self-care treats!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

hot chocolate in the Santa mug


linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, December 15, 2014

The One about the Fairy . . .

Last week I posted a picture of my Christmas Sugarplum Fairy. All of you seemed interested in her story, so here's what I can tell you.

Last year my sister-in-law gave me this decorative sugarplum fairy, but I didn't get to use it until this year. 

That's the story. Not very exciting, I'll grant you, but that's about it.

Now why would my sister-in-law give me a fairy for Christmas? That's probably a better story.

Many years ago I developed a liking for fairies, especially those drawn by Cicely Mary Barker.  I couldn't really explain it, I just knew that their images made me happy and filled me with peace. My family accepted this and periodically bought me little fairy-themed items.

Over time I've come to understand that the fairies represented safety and protection to my child-mind. I had "memories" of fairies coming to me and helping me during some of the episodes of abuse. In particular, there is an episode involving the barn where I envisioned fairies watching over and protecting me until the abuse was over.

I used to be embarrassed by this affinity for fairies. I assume what I saw at that time was dragonflies flying over the hay, perhaps even in and out of the barn as the abuse took place, but in my child-mind they became fairies. Fairies sent there to care for me. To offer comfort, peace, and joy, and perhaps, distraction.

I have a lot of fairies in my house. In my bedroom, the bathroom, randomly placed around other rooms. And I have lots of dragonflies now as well. It's a way of honoring my status as a survivor, and a way to banish that unnecessary embarrassment that hounded me for years. We all find ways to survive the bad things.

There are worse ways than fairies.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Prepare

I prepare for a long weekend getaway. I prepare by making plans, packing my clothes and toiletries. I pack a couple of books and my computer. I take my crocheting, because I take it everywhere.

I prepare for spending a whole weekend with my husband. He is a good man, but sometimes we struggle. I remind myself that my value is not dependent on his perceptions, anymore than his is dependent on mine.

We listen to Christmas music in the car as we drive. He is recuperating from a respiratory infection. I remind myself that his silence is not an indictment of me or anything I've done or not done. He his sick. I like quiet, too, when I am sick.

No one prepared me for the lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse. No one explained that it would sneak up on me in the most delicate of ways. How it would invade even my most precious relationships.

So now I prepare in a different way. I prepare as best as I can for the unexpected. I prepare based on the assumption that there may be difficulties ahead, but those difficulties don't have to stop me from being my authentic self, and from living a life that prepares me for my eternal home.


linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Giving a Piece of Myself

Best or worst gift you ever gave.

Several years ago I broke off contact with my parents. It was my choice to take a break from interacting with them, as I try to continue healing from CSA and 2 rapes as an adult.
I finally ran out of strength and energy to try and get them to understand my pain, and the things I needed from them. I didn't stop loving them or wanting their approval. 
I needed time to learn that I can love them in all their imperfection, and that their not understanding didn't equal not loving me.

We see each other periodically now, exchanging information via email. I still haven't gotten to the point that I'm comfortable with random phone calls. I just can't take the possibility of being caught off guard with them, but I think we are making progress. Our relationship will never be the one I wanted and needed, but I tried to give them the gift of knowing me when I gave them this gift at Christmas 3 years ago. 




Dear Mother and Daddy,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all rolled into one!

This year I have decided to do a joint gift for you. It is a basket filled with things I love and want to share with you. This note is an explanation of each item.

Mother, this shawl is for you. It is made of 100% recycled cotton yarn. When I first returned to crocheting a few years ago, I was determined to learn to read patterns, and this is the first shawl I made using a pattern. I have kept it because I loved it so much, and now I want you to have it. The colors make me think of you. You may wear it or use it as a table linen. I hope you enjoy it. (It can be machine washed on a cold delicate cycle, and then laid flat to dry.)

Daddy, the prayer beads are for you. I have always been intrigued by prayer beads, and as I have worked on healing I have found them to be very helpful in keeping me centered in moments of panic or stress. I have included instructions on how to use them, along with a prayer from Julian of Norwich. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones to work with, and I hope you will enjoy using them or just looking at them and thinking of me. (If you are interested in more information on using them, I have some books you could look at. Feel free to email me about them.)

The remaining items are for you to share:

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals is a devotional book that I have been using for a couple of years now. It is based on The Book of Common Prayer, but has been modernized and simplified. Each day provides a message, readings from the Old and New Testaments and Psalms, as well as a hymn (all in the back of the volume) and then providing an opportunity to pray for others. I frequently look the hymns up on YouTube and listen to them as I read. This particular volume has opened my eyes to a greater understanding of God’s love for all people, and helped me widen my world view.

"The Ghost on the Canvas" is Glen Campbell’s final cd. He has retired since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Campbell has always been one of my favorites. I feel as if I grew up listening to him, along with the Lettermen, and Jimmie Driftwood, among others. Anyway, I have found this cd to be very moving both musically and lyrically. I hope you both enjoy it as well.

First Watch (gift certificate) is a new restaurant in town. I know how much you enjoy going out to eat, and I always enjoy sharing new places with you. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch until 2:30, no dinner. The food is lovely! Wonderful eggs, waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, and soups. I hope you get a chance to try it, and let me know what you think.

Finally, the basket is from SERRV.org. They are a fair trade organization, and I like the hands on quality of their items, as well as knowing the gift serves a dual purpose. Of course, my theory is you can never have too many baskets!

I want you both to know that I appreciate this time you are giving to me to work on healing, and I look forward to continuing to improve and deepen our relationship. I love you both very much.

Blessings


I know this gift was given with an open, searching heart, and I think they received it that way. A single gift can't repair our damaged relationship, but I still feel positively about my motivations and the desire I had in giving the gift to them. Even now as I write this, I feel the anxiety rising in my body. Tension and discomfort. I wanted so much from them that they were unable to give. I believe I have forgiven them, but I keep them at arm's length for my own wellbeing. 

I will give them gifts again this Christmas, but none will ever be as meaningful as that gift and what I tried to invite and say in the giving of it.

linking up with Writer's Workshop and Just Write




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . December 9, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is gray and cloudy. We are sitting around 45 degrees, but the temperature is supposed to fall as the clouds clear.

I am thinking . . . that having a sick husband is no fun for anyone! Bless his soul, he rarely gets sick which is good since he becomes a bit of a bear when he does.

I am thankful . . . for my #1 bestie who helped me with decorating yesterday. All I lack is the tree.

In the kitchen . . . over the weekend I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot with a can of whole cranberry sauce and Heinz chili sauce mixed together. So yummy! Last night we had more of the pork served over baked polenta. 

I am wearing . . . my usual attire -- cotton gown and flannel robe with my blue faux Crocs. I tell you I'm a fashionista!

I am creating . . . continuing to work on my afghan using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft. I'm up to 64 rows (12,800 stitches). People keeping telling me I'll have it done by Christmas, but I don't buy it.

I am going . . . to plan as little as possible for the second half of the month. These first couple of weeks have been chocked full!

I am wondering . . . about a new project I'm contemplating for after Christmas. More details to come.

I am reading . . . Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I picked up a hardback copy at Goodwill last time I was there for $2.99. It's quite intriguing. I think I've read excerpts from it, but never the entire novel.

I am looking forward to . . . getting all the Christmas boxes stored away! I love having the house decorated for Christmas, but sometimes the intermediate chaos gets to me.

I am hearing . . . my husband coughing as he is working from home today. I'm hoping he feels better soon for everyone's sake!

Around the house . . . Christmas has begun making its annual appearance.







I am praying . . . that my husband feels better soon and the rest of us don't catch it. My son is in the middle of exams, so I'm also praying for peace and easy recall of all the material he has been studying this semester.

One of my favorite things . . . is finding new ways to decorate with my Christmas goodies.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . counseling and the chiropractor today. Tomorrow I have to take Claire to have an endoscopy done, and then come home and pack for Alan and me to go out of town for a long weekend.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

a different arrangement for the Advent wreath


linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8th, How Did That Happen!?!

It's the 2nd Monday of December and I have no idea what happened to the first week of December!

Seriously, I had big plans for organization and calm during this month. Clearly that was not meant to be, at least last week.

Rewind to the day after Thanksgiving. Claire and I were to drive home from visiting relatives in Georgia, while Alan and Sam drove over to Chattanooga to do some climbing. Unfortunately Claire awoke early with all manner of stomach issues. We drove for about an hour, but had to stop 3 times for her to throw up, so I went in search of an ER. We were blessed to wind up at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, GA. Fabulous facility and people! After 6 hours of testing and meds, we were finally able to head home (with instructions to visit Claire's doctor ASAP). What should have been a 4 hour trip turned into an 11 hour struggle. 

So that was Friday. On Saturday I did as little as possible trying to recoup from Friday, but by that evening Alan was sick. Not as bad as Claire had been, but still not good. Saturday night and Sunday were spent helping him out and praying fervently that I would not come down with the same thing!

On Monday morning, Alan and I drove to Dyersburg, TN for a business meeting. When we left Nashville it was 57 degrees. By the time we got to Dyersburg it was 37 degrees and sleeting! I huddled in the public library for a bit and then got lunch at a local coffee shop, Java Cafe, where I tried their Dirty Snowman (white chocolate and caramel latte). Yummy!

By 2:00 we were back on the road home, but Alan still wasn't feeling 100%. Thankfully we made it back home with no major incidents, and snuggled in our warm home for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday was therapy and the chiropractor, and then I ran a few errands. Claire called and needed help at her apartment so I went over and helped her. Then I did the week's grocery shopping and headed home to cook dinner and move everything out of the bonus room for the cleaners who were coming Wednesday morning to steam clean the tile.

Wednesday morning I ran around like a crazy person trying to get the rest of the things from the bonus room and vacuum the floor before they got here to clean. My floors look great! Then I took Claire to a doctor's appointment and to pick up a few groceries. Home again to cook dinner.

Thursday was back to the chiropractor and then a trip with Claire to see the gastroenterologist. She gets to have more testing done this week, and I will continue my new career as a chauffeur. After her appointment we did a bit of shopping at Target. When I got home Alan and I helped one of his graduate student friends by pretending to be a couple in counseling so she could videotape all of us and critique herself for a class. Whew!

Friday was finally the day at home to put things back together. A quick trip to the chiropractor and then a day puttering at home. Hallelujah! Until Alan came home sick with a respiratory infection (hopefully not the flu!). We settled for a quiet night at home instead of date night.

Saturday was Fun Girls' Christmas Brunch and Shopping, which was fabulous! But I got home late in the day to find Alan running a fever of 101.9! More caregiving. And we rolled back again to another Sunday spent at home caring for him. 

Alan's at work currently picking up a few things and then coming home to rest and work here. Sam got all the Christmas boxes out for me last night in between studying for exams. We had pizza and I made cookies for them last night. 

In a bit my #1 bestie is coming over to help me get some decorating done, because Alan and I have another business trip on Thursday, which means leaving again on Wednesday, and we are scheduled for a little R&R in Gatlinburg, TN over the weekend. Hope he's all better by then!

So maybe that's why I got next to nothing written last week! Here's to a calmer week filled with health, love, and focus on Advent.

Blessings to all!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, December 5, 2014

dear ones

I've missed you all.

It's been over a week since I've had the time and inclination to visit this space. To write and share and visit and rest.

I didn't mean for it to happen. Circumstances got in the way and priorities became misaligned (or perhaps not). 

At first it felt like a personal failure. Then perhaps it was choice. I wondered if I'd made too much of this space. No one would miss me if I were gone. I didn't really need to be spending time and energy here when there was housework to be done and decorations to be placed. 

And then this morning I woke up and found Kate's prompt -- dear.

And all I could think was, "dear ones". That's all of you! My friends on the screen. My friends even though we've never met. My support staff in so many ways.

So I've missed you, dear ones. And clearly you missed me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


linking up with Five Minute Friday


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . December 2, 2014

Outside my window . . . gray skies and wet everything else. A rainy Tuesday morning leading into rain for most of the week.

I am thinking . . . about so many people I know who've had medical problems over the past few days. Loss, accidents, unexpected illnesses, scares with children. It's been almost overwhelming!

I am thankful . . . for relative health in our own home. Dd had a scare on Friday that had the 2 of us in an emergency room out of state. Thankfully they were very caring and it looks as if dd may be having her gallbladder removed soon. Dh had a round of food poisoning (we think), but is feeling better now. Ds and I have, so far, survived unscathed.

In the kitchen . . . last night was take out as I was chauffeur for dh yesterday. Grocery shopping is on the list for today because our "cupboard" is becoming bare.

I am wearing . . . a cotton gown and flannel robe.

I am creating . . . continuing to work on my afghan using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft. I'm up to 49 rows (9,800 stitches). I figured out that it takes about 20 minutes per row, and I'm thinking it will be around 120 rows when completed, so I'll have about 40 hours in it! I don't usually think about projects this way, but people keep asking how long it takes, so there you go!

I am going . . . to therapy, the chiropractor, and the grocery store today. Whew! That should keep me busy.

I am wondering . . . about the sudden flurry of illnesses and death around me. It's amazing how helpful social media is in getting this type of information out, but it can be overwhelming too. Knowing so much about so many people can be stressful for sensitive types like me.

I am reading . . . Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I picked up a hardback copy at Goodwill last time I was there for $2.99. It's quite intriguing. I think I've read excerpts from it, but never the entire novel.

I am looking forward to . . . getting the house decorated for Christmas, most especially pulling out my Advent wreath from last year. Our schedule is a pretty hectic this year, so decorating may come in bits and pieces.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity and cars driving on the main road. A school bus just drove by the front of the house.

Around the house . . . I have professionals coming tomorrow to steam clean the tile floor in the bonus room. This is great because the floor is really dirty (thanks to 2 dogs who will remain nameless), but it's created additional work of clearing the room as much as possible to make it easier for the workers to clean the floor. (Hence the delay in getting started on decorating.)

I am praying . . . for a peaceful, focused holiday season in our household. I don't like the frenetic pace that is embraced by the media. I want the holidays to be a time to slow down and enjoy friends and family, while focusing on the gift of Christ.

One of my favorite things . . . is finding new fun things to try. While it's not new, I've really gotten interested in Perler melting beads again. I thought I was the only adult who loved these little beads, but it turns out they have a huge following. Type in Perler (or Hama, another brand) beads on Pinterest and you will be amazed at the intricacy of many patterns. You can check out my board of patterns and ideas here.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . errands today, floor cleaners tomorrow, Thursday and Friday are open for housework and decorating. Saturday is the Fun Girls' annual Bacon and Cheese Extravaganza (actually it's brunch, but we cram in all the bacon and cheese we can), and then Sunday is worship.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
new Perler beads, patterns, and pegboards




linking up with The Simple Woman