Friday, November 30, 2012


Wonder -- to think or speculate curiously; to doubt; to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe.

I've seen them all. 

I've wondered about memories and events and horrors.

I've wondered if there were truth in any of the pictures that flash through my head -- sometimes still shots; sometimes in streaming video.

I've thought, speculated, and doubted.

But today, today I choose WONDER -- admiration, amazement, awe.

For the people and opportunities God puts in my path daily. For having survived the horrors. For being giving the strength to keep trying. For the intellect to investigate and determine truth. 

To WONDER at the gifts God graciously bestows on me -- the gifts he showers on me. 

And I want to hold that WONDER for the rest of the season; the rest of the year; the rest of my life.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Taming the Holiday Angst

I'm trying something new this holiday season. I'm taking care of myself, asking for help, and accepting when help is offered.

The holidays are rough for a lot of people, and that includes me. I don't have a Norman Rockwell family situation. I have struggle, obligation, guilt, and dysfunction. As a friend with similar issues said recently, "I'd be happy to stay on the couch from October through December just to avoid the drama". I feel her pain.

So this year I'm taking a new approach. I bought Mandy Steward's Advent calendar for self-care. It's full of daily reminders to be intentional in our care for ourselves as we are caring for others.

I've also collected a variety of Groupons over the past few months to use for myself -- massage, mani/pedi, a restaurant to try, and a trip to a pottery studio.

I'm buying fewer gifts with more intention. My goal is to purchase only  for those I want to purchase for, and to make those gifts meaningful to those people. That's something that's gotten lost for me over the past few years. I want to reclaim it.

More importantly, I'm going to honor what I feel about Christmas. I am going to make it about what is important to me, my husband, and kids. That's it. No Martha Stewart angst. No comparison to what everyone else is doing (or says they are doing). No setting myself up to get hurt. I will honor this holiday as the holy day I choose to see it as.

Will you join me in this? Are you already doing this? Share some of your ideas.


linking up at imperfect prose on thursdays

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

happy things

:: flannel gnome sheets
:: freshly ironed vintage handkerchiefs
:: a good book
:: clean, folded laundry
:: tea table with guests
:: take out for dinner
:: freshly lit Christmas tree
:: ebook download
:: Sonic diet cherry limeade
:: a fresh reminder shared from new friends

How's your week going? Anything particularly happy? Sometimes it's just the little things. 

linking up with inner pickle

Wordless Wednesday -- Oh Christmas Tree

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 27, 2012

Outside my window . . . it's gray and cloudy. The temperature is 41 degrees and it's not supposed to go up much today. 

I am thinking . . . about this verse from last night's meeting:
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Ps. 147:3
That is a hands-on physician, father, and God.

I am thankful . . . for the group of survivors I met with last night. It was uplifting to sit with a group of women who understand my struggles in a uniquely personal way. 

In the kitchen . . . last night was scrounging. Soup and sandwiches or a bowl of cereal. I'm not sure about tonight. I haven't made my menu list for this week and that always makes dinner time more interesting.

I am wearing . . . a big t-shirt and my flannel robe.

I am creating . . . still working on that hat! I didn't get as much done last week as I had hoped, but I still like it and it's shaping up well.

I am going . . . to work around the house again today. I'm hoping to get started on the decorating by this afternoon.

I am wondering . . . how holidays became so obligatory instead of joyful.

I am reading . . . Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray. I was just a kid when this occurred but it's always fascinated me.

I am looking forward to . . . heading off for a week in Florida with dh!

I am hearing . . . Christmas carols: Amy Grant, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole.

Around the house . . . the chaos that precedes decorating, and the chaos (and blessing) of a dh who can replace the vent fan in my bathroom.

I am pondering . . . how to get everything done this week to my satisfaction. I have lots of regular things to do + holiday decorating + some things I want to do. It's going to be a balancing act.

One of my favorite things . . . is having a productive day. Yesterday was a one of those. I'm hoping for 2 in a row : )

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . appointment tomorrow, company Thursday night, meeting on Friday, and heading to Florida on Saturday.

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

 I don't look this elegant running holiday errands!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Grumbling

It is officially the Christmas season. Thanksgiving is behind us -- it barely gets a day anymore. 

I love what the Christmas season use to mean. Decorations and parties that didn't appear until December. Caroling for neighbors followed by hot chocolate and donuts. Watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "The Little Drummer Boy" because it was the only time you could see them.

Here in Nashville a trip downtown to see the window displays at Harvey's and Cain Sloan. And of course a trip to see Santa and share my wish list (which had been made using the Sears & Roebuck Christmas catalog).

Gifts that were picked out with love and a personal interest in what each individual might need or really, really want. There were no gift cards and we never returned gifts because that would be ungrateful.

I don't know maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic and maybe I have convenient memories of the way things used to be. After all I do remember our inflatable Rudolph melting on the spinning wheel of color that spot lighted our aluminum Christmas tree.

But I still miss paper chains, and popcorn and cranberries strung to hang on the tree. And oranges covered in cloves and strung from ribbons. 

What I really want this Christmas is peace and quiet; love and understanding; kindness and compassion; and peace on earth.

That's not asking too much is it?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

{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, November 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Gratitude

Gratitude. It's one of my favorite words, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Because it's not about presents or egg hunts or costumes or candy. It's about stopping and thinking about what's good in my life. It's about recognizing what acknowledging thankfulness does for my life.

It's also about family. Over the past few years, family's been a tough thing for me. But last year and this year we traveled to my husband's cousin's home and I have found a happy place to be grateful. The food is delicious of course, but what's really important to me is how we all work together happily to make it happen. How we are relaxed and at ease with one another. There doesn't seem to be a subtext that I can't follow. 

We are who we are in our jeans and t-shirts and flannel shirts. We are loud and boisterous. We are a family who loves one another warts and all. And we laugh.

Bountiful gratitude.

linking up at Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Change in Plans

And so it's Thanksgiving.

Not the way I had it planned. Last Sunday was the dog's birthday. Thirteen years old, and she suddenly couldn't use her back legs. A trip to the vet to find that she has inflamed disks in her back. So now she's on a series of medications and crate rest for 2 weeks.

Baking and planning. Cooking off and on all week long.

Tuesday night as we're heading off to bed, dh finds that the bathtub faucet won't shut off completely. Tired frustration. Dh turns off the hot water for the night, and plans to check it out in the morning.

Wednesday morning dh goes to turn off the water to the house and finds the meter hole filled with water. He calls the water department. They say 3 to 5 days for them to come and check it out.

He leaves to get parts to fix the bathtub faucet. About 20 minutes later, a water department guy shows up at the front of the house. I chat with the repairman. He is friendly and willing to wait until dh returns.

Suddenly pieces are falling into place. Dh fixes the tub faucet. The water guy fixes the meter. We are back on track.

Dd gets up. Deep sinus infection. Ds comes home from college. Strange rash on his torso. So a trip to the minute clinic, that lasts 2 hours. Dd feels terrible. We meant to leave 2 hours ago for our 4 hour drive to see family. What should we do? What's the best plan? We hem and haw. Looking at options.

Plans change. But gratitude remains. Whether we are physically with family or not, it is still Thanksgiving. We are grateful for all the gifts of the year. We are grateful for family and friends. We are grateful for everything -- even changes in plans.

linking up at Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 20, 2012

Outside my window . . . 55 degrees with a beautiful blue sky. White fluffy clouds are easing off to the east. It looks a like a glorious day.

I am thinking . . . about my struggle with weight loss and exercise. On the whole, my eating has improved the older I've gotten. I do better about exercising, but I wasn't reared in an exercise friendly home. I've tried to incorporate it. I have periods where I do well, and others where all the plans fly out the window. How do you keep a regular exercise program going?

I am thankful . . . for having a veterinarian in the family. Sunday night Squeaker, our half dachshund half beagle, lost control of her back legs. Dh called his brother who met him at the vet clinic. She has inflamed disks in her back and is on medications and crate rest for the next 2 weeks. Sunday was her 13th birthday. I'm just so glad it is something treatable and dbil was able/willing to help us out especially on a Sunday night.

In the kitchen . . . last night we had chicken-apple sausages, baked cheese grits, and steamed broccoli. Quite tasty if I do say so. Tonight I'm thinking we may have the pork tenderloin I bought over the weekend.

I am wearing . . . jeans and my "Life is great . . . fitness makes it better" t-shirt.

I am creating . . . finishing up that hat I mentioned last week, and then it's back to afghans.

I am going . . . to lunch with bestie, LBB, and then for a walk at the lake with dh. I'm hoping dd might run to the grocery for me one last time : )

I am wondering . . . how much of my weight struggle is physical and how much is psychological. My doctor isn't that concerned and says the level of stress in my life does aggravate it. But I weigh considerably more than I did 27 years ago when dh and I married. I don't expect to weigh what I did then (although dh weighs what he did), but I know I'd be happier if I could drop a few pounds.

I am reading . . . Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray. I was just a kid when this occurred but it's always fascinated me.

I am looking forward to . . . seeing family and resting and relaxing some over the holiday weekend.

I am hearing . . . birds chirping as I have the porch door open a crack to let in the nice morning air.

Around the house . . . finishing up a few things and then baking, preparing, and packing for Thanksgiving.

I am pondering . . . why setting and keeping a schedule is so difficult for me. 

One of my favorite things . . . is having peace and positive moods for all the people in my family. It makes me think of the quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . busy, busy, busy!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
Yaya -- all tuckered out after a trip to the groomer

Monday, November 19, 2012

Made by You Monday -- Repurposed

Several years ago I was given an old card catalog. You know those things we used in libraries to locate books. As a librarian I knew I had to take it in, but I had no idea what to do with it. 

The drawers are designed to hold 3 X 5 cards with a hole in the bottom to keep them in place. I couldn't really think of anything that needed to be cataloged to that degree, and recipes would be hard to access because of the metal rod.

One day as I was putting away cloth napkins, it occurred to me that the card catalog could work well for storing napkins and/or napkin rings. I began sorting my napkins and making labels for the drawers, and in no time at all I had a cute and functional storage area that is a reminder of my profession.

linking up at Skip to My Lou

Saturday, November 17, 2012

{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, November 16, 2012


Don't leave me alone.

When I took those vows years and years ago, I knew they were serious, and I knew I meant them. But I was worried I might not be able to stay the course if something terrible happened to him. Some immobilizing accident or illness.

It never occurred to me that I might be the one with illness. That he might have to be the one to stay through the really hard things.

And when I first told him about the horrors, he said, "That explains so much. This is good. We can work with this."And he vowed again that he would stay.

And every time I asked him why he didn't leave, he looked at me and said, "Where would I go?" The therapist said, "He wouldn't leave if you had cancer." But this is different. He didn't sign on for this.

So he has stayed. Not perfectly. Not always with the right words. But never begrudgingly. Always because he loves me and vowed -- "For better or worse".

He didn't leave me alone.

linking up at Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Made Me Smile

linking up at Mama Kat's

Grieving and Forgiving

One day is fine for grieving and remembering, but the next day life must go on.
I read this line this morning and I thought "Yes!". Because that's exactly the way I feel about sitting and crying in my therapist office over things (horrible things) that happened so long ago. 

And I watched as talk of an abuser turned to talk of mothering and comfort, and then to teaching and prayer, and finally to Jesus. And I am reminded again of the importance of not placing my faith in people. That I have to keep my eyes on Jesus, because people, even good Christian people will fail and let me down.

And I will fail and let other people down.

I told my husband that I realize how completely unprepared I was to be a mother. I knew the mechanics of it, but not the heart and soul. I missed out on opportunities to share with and teach my children, because of my own insecurities. And I'd really like a do-over on so many things. I read about wonderful ways that mothers (and fathers) are building their children up and sharing about Jesus with them every day. And I feel awe and guilt.

I was raised by a preacher, but God and Jesus only showed up at meals and bedtime, and Wednesday night and twice on Sunday. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. And I rail at myself for not seeing it sooner. For not grasping the importance of my job. For not putting my babies first because I was so damned worried about what everyone else might think. 

And then I stop and breathe. I remember that I am God's "baby" and He did put me first. And my babies were His long before I came into the picture. I remember sitting alone with each of them in the hospital after each birth, and giving them back to God because there was no way I could be responsible enough to care for these precious souls.

And I know that He holds their hands in His just like He's held mine. He forgives me, and it's long past time I forgive myself. 

Just because they are 19 and 22 doesn't mean I have to be done mothering them. I can still talk and share. 

But mostly I can forgive and trust.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 13, 2012

Outside my window . . . the ground is covered in our first frost of the season. It is 30 degrees, but sunny with a clear blue sky.

I am thinking . . . about my plans for the day. Tuesday seems to be my day at home and it's quickly becoming my favorite day of the week.

I am thankful . . . for a good day yesterday. The depression I've been feeling seems to be lifting more, and I was able to accomplish several things yesterday, as well as getting a lovely walk in the sunshine.

In the kitchen . . . last night was Cowboy Bean Soup and tonight is looking like breakfast for dinner.

I am wearing . . . my jammies and robe, while sipping my Irish breakfast tea and munching on toast made with Milton's bread.

I am creating . . . a hat for myself. I don't have good luck with hats as a rule, but I saw this one on Attic 24's site and decided to give it whirl.

I am going . . . to uncover my sewing table so I can work on some projects that have been flitting around in my head.

I am wondering . . . why I still get so caught up in needing other people to validate me. I know that I am "the crown of all [God's] creatures" (James 1:18), but I still crave others' approval.

I am reading . . . Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray. I was just a kid when this occurred but it's always fascinated me.

I am looking forward to . . . doing some holiday baking. We visit relatives in Georgia for Thanksgiving, so I've got to get started soon on goodies to take with us.

I am hearing . . . just lovely peace and quiet -- and the furnace running.

Around the house . . . there is ironing to do and straightening the kitchen, but otherwise things are in pretty good shape.

I am pondering . . . the possibilities of getting a part time job. I had one several years ago, and I think I'd like to have another go at it. I'm just not sure how to go about looking for a job in this present economy.

One of my favorite things . . . is watching old movies. Last night dh and I watched Pygmalion with Leslie Howard. I did a little reading about it and found out that the producers changed the ending without letting G. B. Shaw know about it. Interesting story about why the ending was changed and why was Shaw didn't appreciate it.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . it looks like a quiet night for dh and me tonight. The rest of the week looks pretty normal. Praying for peace and a continued improvement in my mood.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
a fun surprise from dh!

Monday, November 12, 2012

May by You Monday -- Easy White Chicken Chili

I've been in one of those "I don't want to grocery shop" moods lately. This leads to creative pantry/freezer cooking. I've also been in one of those "I don't want to cook moods" as well, so that means find something I can throw together at the last minute for dinner. Happily sometimes that can turn out really well. For example:
White Chicken Chili

32 oz. organic chicken broth
2 (15-oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannellini)
1 (12.5 oz) can chicken breasts, drained
1 small can green chilis (I used mild, but whatever)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn (you could use canned)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
olive oil
1 t. dried oregano
coarse ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven and saute onion and garlic until transparent. Add remaining ingredients, breaking up chunks of chicken and stirring well. Simmer at least 15-20 minutes.
Serves 4-6

Happy Eating!

linking up at Skip to My Lou

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday at Home

I have an upper respiratory virus (I think) and having been feeling pretty crummy for the past few days. So I'm taking it easy this morning with a cup of tea, ibuprofen, and Mucinex.

I am reminded of this verse which hangs above my computer desk:
There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. James 1:18 The Message

This verse gives me comfort.
I can trust God because there is no deceit in Him. What you see is what you get with Him.

And . . . 
We are the crown of all His creatures. That means I am the pinnacle of all He has made. He wants me to recognize my value as His creation -- His crown of creation.

What wonderful thoughts for a Sunday.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

{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, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday -- Quiet

The house is quiet. The tea kettle is done with its whistling. The dogs are finished with breakfast. I've talked with my husband, and dear daughter is still asleep.
The workers in the neighborhood have left for the day, so my street is still and empty of commuters.
The only sounds in the house are the tapping of the dogs nails on the floor and hum of the computer. 
This is my time. The quiet of the house after the rush of the morning. The "have-to's" are done and I can sit and quietly let my mind wander where it will.
Quiet is a good thing at times like this. But at other times quiet has been terrifying. It's amazing how much fear can be invoked by silence, or worse yet, whispers. 
But for now I put those thoughts and memories aside.
I sip my Irish Breakfast tea with demerara sugar and milk. I look out my window at the bright orange sugar maple in my neighbor's yard. I scan the blue sky. I see the squirrels chase each other, and all is quiet . . . and as it should be.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winter Bucket List

bucket list -- a list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".

. . . or in this case before the end of winter (which in Nashville could be as early as the first of March or the end of May).

So what do I want to accomplish this winter? I'm an inveterate list maker, so there is innate danger in this endeavor, but here goes:

1. complete my First Quilt Ever which I started in April of 2010. Nashville flooded the first weekend in May of that year, and somehow I've just never gotten around to finishing it.

2. the boxers I promised my son that same spring. One of the fabrics in my quilt has mushrooms all over it (I love mushrooms!). My son, then 17, thought it would be hilarious to have boxers made from the fabric. He's 19 now. It should still work, right?

3. the 2 afghans I agreed to make for my friend's twin girls. Remind me never to agree to make (even for money) anything bigger than a baby blanket!

4. do all the mending. Yeah, likes that's gonna happen.

5. really start writing that memoir my husband's been after me to write for 12 years.

6. have more people over for dinner. Okay, this one I'd really like to do if I can just get over my "what will they think" phobia about every aspect of my home. It's not a "McMansion" and it wasn't decorated by anybody or in any specific style. It's eclectic and a little cluttered, and it could use some paint here and there, but it's my home and it's who we are, and why do care what anybody thinks about it anyway? Sorry. I digressed into my own angst there for a minute.

Maybe it's time to stop as I feel a Martha Stewart-esque rant coming on. 

So for right now that's my winter bucket list. What about you?

linking up with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . November 6, 2012

Outside my window . . . it's mildly overcast (peeks of blue here and there) and 48 degrees. The trees are still with orange and red, but some are completely bare.

I am thinking . . . that I have a day at home to reclaim my home from the incessant activity of the past few days.

I am thankful . . . that I have already voted (last week in early voting), but grateful to live in a nation that allows me to vote without fear of retaliation.

In the kitchen . . . things are a bit messy, but I did run the dishwasher before bed last night. All my counters need to be straighten and wiped down today.

I am wearing . . . still in my jammies and robe, but not feeling any guilt about it.

I am creating . . . afghans, of course, but I went to Michaels yesterday and picked up a couple of quick and easy fun crafts to do.

I am going . . . to stay in all day if possible. I like days where I have nowhere to go and can putter around the house at my own pace.

I am wondering . . . if there is a better way to get through the upcoming holiday season. Depression is intense this time of year. I try very hard to focus on others, but I frequently am paralyzed by what I view as my failures.

I am reading . . . Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I am looking forward to . . . reclaiming my exercise schedule. My routine kind of tanked when I got costochondritis and I've been having trouble get back to any kind of routine. Here's hoping today is the start of something good.

I am hearing . . . little miss Yaya snoring on the ottoman beside my chair. The family teases me and says I got her because she breathes just like I do!

Around the house . . . clutter. But isn't that the way if you really live in your house!?! It frustrates me for things to not be perfect, but then I think maybe there is a lesson there. I'm not perfect either.

I am pondering . . . coming out of this latest abuse related fog. It's been slow, and I'm not done but I've got to believe there has been a radical shift. (For more go here.)

One of my favorite things . . . is feeling able to do the things I need to do without feeling guilt for making time for the things I want to do.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . dd's friends are coming for chili and cornbread Thursday night, and she has requested Molasses Cookies, so it looks as if there is baking my immediate future. The usual suspects after that.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
my elephant ears are not pleased with the changing weather

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween, a Pig, and Blessings

I wrote about it here, but there's a lot I didn't share.

That therapy session was last Wednesday -- Halloween.
My husband offered all kinds of things to help me through the exhaustion, sadness, and depression afterwards.
I didn't know what I needed. So mostly I sat on the sofa in a fog, and cried a little more as I tried to tell him about it.
Then I sat in the living room and waited for trick-or-treaters. And I'll tell you it's pretty hard not to smile when you have little Avengers and princesses and animal-people coming to your door with such anticipation and excitement on their faces.
And when the little boy who lives across the street, and is the cutest child in the world, comes a second time, and I offer just one more piece of candy, and he lays a package of 2 cookies on my candy tray, and his father explains (in his Welsh accent) that Radley wanted to give us a treat -- well what can you do but laugh and smile and feel a belly full of joy.
Then the next evening my husband tells me to close my eyes as he rips open a box from Amazon and places the softest thing in the world in my hands, and tells me to open my eyes, and I see this
I pull her close (because I know right away she's a girl) and snuggle her, and tears come into my eyes as I look up at my husband shyly and still amazed after 27 years of marriage, that he knows, that he gets, what I need in these moments of immense pain. And then he tells me that's just a little thing, the big thing is coming next week.

And suddenly it's still not okay that the horribles happened, but it's wonderful that I don't have to carry it alone anymore. And it's amazing that I have this man in my life, and these children of mine, and precious little people in costumes offering me cookies.

And I think about what I do and don't deserve. And it just doesn't matter so much.