Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 30, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's overcast and muggy. We had rain last night and more is expected today. I'd like to think I might sneak a swim in between storms.

I am thinking . . . about this verse that was shared with me this weekend --
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
    you saw my pain,
    you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
    but gave me room to breathe.
Ps. 31:7-8 (The Message)

I am thankful . . . for the weekend retreat I attended. I was so blessed and it is staying with me and serving me well already.

In the kitchen . . . I made up a new recipe tonight so dh could have something different than a sandwich to take for lunch tomorrow (even though no one was here for dinner tonight!)

I am creating . . . well really completing a summer-weight shawl I started last summer. I stopped when I realized I didn't have enough yarn to complete it. I sat down to frog it a few weeks ago, and my dh told me to just pick another color to add to it. So for now I'm finishing up the yarn I have and then will find another color to finish with.

I am going . . . to keep rereading my notes from the retreat to help the information really sink into my soul.

I am wondering . . . about waiting on God. It seems that I do have faith and trust in God, it is just difficult to stay the course when others doubt.

I am reading . . . Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story by Rebecca Coffey. It's an interesting approach. Rather than being a strict biography, it is written as a fictional memoir. Very intriguing.

I am looking forward to . . . my next spiritual retreat! I've signed up for another one at the Scarritt Bennett Center in July. I love the name: “The Rule of Saint Whatever-Your-Name-Is"! Isn't that fabulous? 

I am hearing . . . silence!

Around the house . . . I'm continuing with my new routine. Tweaking it here and there. I'm also giving myself more grace, regardless of what anyone else says.

I am praying . . . For Wink's family and friends. Also prayers of gratitude for the organizers, presenters, and participants from the retreat.

One of my favorite things . . . is my new deck. We've strung lights on it and I've put out some potted plants. Just enough plants to putter with and no weeding!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a relatively quiet week until July 4th celebrations this weekend.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
part of The Scarritt Bennett Center

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, June 29, 2015


I am a huge fan of mandalas and began crocheting them after finding Wink's page, a creative being. I am so saddened to hear of this loss. Please pray for her family and do something in her memory if you feel called.


linking up with Made by You Monday

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Unexpected Blessings

I don't blog on Sundays. I haven't blogged for almost 2 weeks. But I'm so excited I have to write this down RIGHT now.

I just came home from a retreat called "Healing Life's Hurts" with Fr. Matt Linn and it was awe inspiring. Hosted at Scarritt Bennett Center in conjunction with Dovehouse Ministries and AmberNest Spiritual Direction, the retreat title spoke to me in my continuing path of healing from childhood sexual abuse. My expectations going in were that there would be reliving of pain and trauma. Crying and mourning, followed by a sense of healing and recovery. It was so much more! 

Father Linn (Matt) led us in understanding the need to embrace God's love with gratitude, and how gratitude can be found in all of our experiences. Through a process of feeling our emotions we came to understand our experiences, forgive ourselves, understand forgiving others, and learned to be God's conduit to share His love with others.

I was strengthened to see my healing path, how far I have come, and inspired to continue sharing my life experiences to help others feel God's love while realizing they are not alone in their suffering. I see ways to serve God by serving others that will help them heal right along with me.

What a blessing! 

To all of the organizers and participants I want to say a huge THANK YOU! I'm sure this will become recurring fodder for more posts in the future, but for now I wanted to you all to know about this wonderful weekend while it was fresh on my mind.

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 16, 2015

Outside my window . . . it is sunny with blue skies, but already muggy and 86 degrees. We are under a heat/air watch for the 2nd day and it's not even officially summer!

I am thinking . . . about my purpose in this 2nd part of my life (empty nest).

I am thankful . . . for lessons I am continuing to learn about God's love.

In the kitchen . . . we had the first of the Pampered Chef Freezer Meals I made on Friday. Chili Lime Chicken. We gave it a 6.5/10 and discussed a few tweaks for next time. All in all I was pleased with it though.

I am creating . . . still in a bit of a slump creatively. I've got too much else going on right now to focus well.

I am going . . . to therapy and to run a few errands. Then home to do a bit of housework and clean off my sewing table and desk.

I am wondering . . . what happened to one of my favorite cookbook, Saving Dinner. I've lost it and can't find it anywhere! I guess I'll order a new copy from Amazon.

I am reading . . . The House of Stairs by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). I've started reading Rendell's Barbara Vine novels in sequence since her death. 

I finished Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. I highly recommend it, although it was one of those novels that I wanted just a bit more from at the end.

I am looking forward to . . . more bike riding now that I have my new 21 speed bike! I rode it Sunday and love it.
I am hearing . . . Squeaker wandering around the house and a plane flying over my house. I always think of an old Larry Gatlin song when I hear planes.

Around the house . . . my routine is becoming more routine for me. As usual the problem is my schedule tends to shift more than I realize, which requires adjustments and tweaking.

I am praying . . . for continuing perseverance.

One of my favorite things . . . is learning. I'm working on realizing that time spent investigating things that interest me aren't a waste of time.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . Alan and I are headed to Apostle Island, WI this weekend for the inline skate marathon he is participating in. Please pray for safe travels and for good weather and safety on the day of the race.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

linking up with The Simple Woman

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 9, 2015

Outside my window . . . after heavy rains yesterday, it is 73 and clear this morning. 

I am thinking . . . about feeling better emotionally after tackling something potentially stressful yesterday.

I am thankful . . . for my bestie who always has my back.

In the kitchen . . . last night was sweet and spicy pork chops and mac & cheese. Tonight I'm not so sure as I've got to sit down and make my menu list later today.

I am creating . . . specific creativity has been on hold lately. Not sure what will jumpstart it.

I am going . . . to therapy and then to swap out my new bike for a happier color. 

I am wondering . . . about the future possibility of going back to work.

I am reading . . . Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. It is unexpectedly good. I thought it sounded intriguing, but I can barely put it down to get anything else done.

I am looking forward to . . . figuring out some things about the future.

I am hearing . . . Squeaker snoring at my feet. The clock ticking. A plane flying over my house.

Around the house . . . I'm working on another new routine. This one is the best I've found in a while. I don't think it's the routines or even me that are the problem. I think it's the constantly shifting stress that plays havoc with my routines.

I am praying . . . for more improvements around the home front. Things are getting better. I'm focusing on being less reactive to everyone else's stress and moods.

One of my favorite things . . . is reading fiction. For some reason, I tend to feel guilty about reading for pleasure lately. I'm really working on allowing myself time and space to enjoy the experience again.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . coffee with a friend tomorrow. Driving dh to an out town meeting on Thursday. An afternoon of cooking freezer meals on Friday, and then no big plans for the weekend.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
dressed up and heading out to the Art Crawl

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, June 8, 2015

Not Red Cabbage Salad

Last night I was supposed to take Red Cabbage Salad to our small group meeting last night. Of course I couldn't find red cabbage at the store, so I made up a salad from what I had on hand instead. And it was good.

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a blended mix I got at Costco and a few Comparis I had on hand), cut in half or quarters

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 green onion, sliced on the diagonal

3-4 baby Portabello mushrooms, sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons Paul Newman Tuscan Italian dressing

Mix all ingredients and chill well. Serves 4-6

This was so yummy and easy-peasy.

linking up with Made by You Monday

Friday, June 5, 2015


"Simple Gifts" -- the first thing that comes to mind.

Gifts are wonderful in all shapes and sizes. Simple gifts are the best. The small tokens of remembrance. The realization that each day -- each moment -- is a gift to be treasured. The air I breathe. The food I eat. The clothes I wear. The friends who know me and love me in spite of me.

A song well sung.

A sunset.

A cool breeze.

A glass of iced tea.

Kindness from a friend.

A moment of calm.

All are gifts to be appreciated. To be noted and remembered. Because when all is said and done those are the gifts with true meaning. The gifts that bring us closer to each other.

"Look Doris, someday you're going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work. And when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles. You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile." -- Fred Gailey, "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, June 4, 2015


We planned a day of shopping. Heading to a small town not far from home to look in some antique shops and then find a cozy place for lunch.

We chatted as our cruise director drove Frank, her truck. Talking as we always do about everything and nothing. There are four us and we've known each other for years and years. Old school friends which means we've known each other for over 35 years!

Linda is driving. She is the cruise director and owner of Frank. We tease and say if she goes first we'll never see each other again, any of us, because she coordinates everything. I've got shotgun because I get carsick, and my friends are understanding of that.

Miss Santra is behind me with her Route 44 Sonic drink. She never shows up without one. Usually with two. And rounding out the group is Caroline with her stack of catalogs, magazines, and newspapers to peruse while we drive. She is the fashionista of our bunch looking stylish today in straight jeans with white 3/4 length sleeved knit tunic and a fabulous hat I gave her from Mexico.

We arrive at out destination, park the car, and begin scoping out the town square. We wander into the first antique store (after noting the incredible number of vapor shops!). We each have our different preferences. Caroline loves old postcards. Miss Santra is all about furniture and toys. Linda likes dishes and salt & pepper shakers, and I am drawn to vintage linens and knick knacks.

We're having a good time. I run across an old enamel water dipper like I remember from my childhood. A dipper factors into a dissociative event, but on the whole it brings back positive memories. They all encourage me to buy it and hang in on my new deck. I'm happy that I've turned a potential trigger into a happy moment.

The third store is hot and stuffy. Jam-packed with all kinds of things, and 3 floors to traverse. We are all hot, tired, thirsty, and getting a bit hungry. Caroline has quizzed shop owners and found us a local diner for lunch. I've found a lovely vintage tablecloth to use on the deck, and Linda's found salt & pepper shakers.
We all trek up to the third floor where it is even hotter. It's dark and attic-like, but there is some great stuff up there. As I round the corner from the steps, someone says, "Ooh, look. Old farm equipment." 

At that moment I know I should get the hell out of Dodge, but I tell myself I'm fine. I just won't look at any of it. The truth is "I'm fine" is code for "get out now!", but I haven't quite learned to honor that feeling. 

I walk the perimeter of the room avoiding the area with the aforementioned objects. I'm doing pretty well (NOT) until I have to walk directly by the wall they are hanging on. Understand, I can't tell you a single item in the collection, but I know the look -- the heavy iron, rusted, and dirty. I know I need out of there. I know my friends won't judge me, but I can't make the move. Finally the fear of coming completely unhinged in this place forces me to announce, "I have to get out of here". 

Comments are made as I rush down the steps willing myself out of the store and into fresh air. Willing the panic to subside. Praying that I can deep-breathe this into submission.

I hit the air and breathe deeply, pressing my back against the store front. I see a bench and sit on it, trying to calm my breathing, but still internally berating myself. I'm making a scene. I just want attention. This is all an act. None of this is accurate, but it is what I hear in my head.

My friends appear. They ask questions -- Claustrophobic? Overheated? -- Linda looks at me and says "Bad memory". I nod my head and they kick into full friend mode. What do I need? A cold drink? Yes. Caroline and Miss Santra head off to get something. Linda asks if I want to be alone, and I practically scream, "NO!" She sits with me and I begin to apologize. She reminds me it's okay. I haven't done anything wrong and nobody is mad at me. I keep breathing and trying to quench the tears. I am so, so, so sorry for doing this to them.

The cold drinks arrive and we sit and sip and make plans. One more shop and then lunch. We head back to the car. Passing another shop I see a sign -- Never explain anything. Your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe it. -- It's a gift from God or the universe or whatever you want to call it. I comment on it to my friends, and they all agree.

Another trigger averted or at least dealt with. More lessons in coping, healing, and friendship remind me I will be okay when it happens again.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 2, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's cloudy and 60 degrees. Pretty much what it's been around here for the past week. Some temperature fluctuations and LOTS of rain.

I am thinking . . . about my unintentional blogging break. I kind of fell off the blogging wagon, but hopefully I'm back now.

I am thankful . . . for good friends who listen and validate me, but also hold me accountable.

In the kitchen . . . it's clean -- do I get credit for that? Cooking has been haphazard. I'm hoping this is just the current lifestyle pattern, and not a permanent condition.

I am creating . . . plans and plans and more plans. Routine as well to enable those plans to come to fruition.

I am going . . . to McKay Used Books today to drop off of some things, and hopefully do a bit of shopping. Then to pick up my new bike. I upgraded my 7-speed to a 21-speed!

I am wondering . . . why change is so difficult.

I am reading . . . Dissolution by C.J. Sansom. I've read it before, but I'm considering reading the series and thought I should start with number 1.

For morning contemplation I am continuing with A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor, Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, and The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

I am looking forward to . . . several things coming up this month. A weekend get-away to Apostle Island, WI. A spiritual retreat/workshop called Healing Life's Hurts, followed by a work related trip to Atlanta. Busy month!

I am hearing . . . Squeaker snoring and the clock ticking.

Around the house . . . I've started a new homemaking approach and this one seems to be working for me. Fingers crossed!

I am praying . . . for marriages and families. For my bestie's husband who is traveling in Ukraine. And a happy, safe, and productive summer.

One of my favorite things . . . is structure and order, but you all knew that since I'm always trying to create it!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, McKay, pick up my new bike, help my bestie with an upcoming yard sale, shopping with dd, and a walk with at the lake with dh.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
ready to run!

linking up with The Simple Woman