Friday, July 31, 2015


: to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something
: to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful
: to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it

I try every day.

I try harder. I try new ideas. I try different approaches.

That's how I live this life every single day. I try. I may not accomplish much. I may not succeed. I may not like it. But I try.

And that's the point isn't? We can't guarantee results, outcomes, success, but we can try. And if that doesn't work, well we can try again or differently. 

The key is not to beat me up when the trying doesn't bring the wanted result. The key is to give me credit for the trying. For getting up one more time and attempting to keep moving forward. Some days it's a cake walk. Easy-peasy. Other days . . . not so much. 

So I try. Not to please others, but for God and me.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Am: a poem

I Am
I am kind and compassionate
I wonder about tolerance and offense
I hear a fairy whisper in my ear
I see a tiny fairy village, filled with fairies, gnomes, hedgehogs, and mushrooms
I want a vacation all by myself in a wonderfully indulgent hotel by the ocean
I am kind and compassionate

I pretend that I have a storybook existence
I feel the fairy folk are caring
I touch a fairy ring
I worry the about the lack of kindness in the world
I cry over the world's pain --
"There is so much pain. And I-I-I don't know how to not notice it" 
I am kind and compassionate

I understand that everyone sees from their own perspective
I say kindness matters
I dream of old houses filled with forgotten possessions
I try to be productive and disciplined
I hope for kindness to come back into fashion
I am kind and compassionate

(you can create your own poem here)

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . July 27, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's 79 degrees. I've been noticing that leaves are beginning to fall from my cherry trees. It seems early for that!

I am thinking . . . about this quote from yesterday's lesson: Cynicism is a lazy form of grief -- Ian Cron.

I am thankful . . . for a relaxing evening and a good night's rest.

In the kitchen . . . last night was just me, so I had fried eggs, chicken sausage, an English muffin, and fresh strawberries. Yummy!

I am creating . . . I have completed the summer shawl!
before blocking

rinsing in Eucalan


I am going . . . to work on some things around the house today with my bestie. She is a cleaner extraordinaire, so I'm taking advantage of her skills today.

I am wondering . . . what the future may hold.

I am reading . . . The Minotaur by Barbara Vine

I am looking forward to . . . designing and creating more prayer shawls.

I am hearing . . . silence. It's just Squeaker and me in the house this morning.

Around the house . . . things are looking better, and with LB's help today, it should improve even more.

I am praying . . . for dh and ds as they travel today. Ds drove dh for his business trip and they're planning on getting a bit of climbing in as well.

One of my favorite things . . . yarn, and I got a new collection in the mail last week.

Although I'm not doing the Scheepjes CAL, I wanted to try this yarn. You can read more about it a creative being (this was one of Wink's last posts, so it might have been a sentimental purchase as well.)

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . this is my first week of fully putting into practice the work I did on my retreat 2 weeks ago. I am praying for good things and kindness to myself as I approach my prayer life in a new way.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
my new desk lamp!

linking up with The Simple Woman

Friday, July 24, 2015


:: we are human beings, not human doings

:: you are the universe in ecstatic motion -- Rumi

:: take time for the quiet moments, as God whispers when the world is loud

:: let us cherish our one precious life

:: gratitude is the sign of noble souls -- Aesop

:: i think i fall in love a little bit with anyone who shows me their soul

:: integrity is choosing thoughts and actions based values rather than personal gain

:: instructions for living a life . . . pay attention . . . be astonished . . . tell about it --  Mary Oliver

:: this is your day. make it stand out from the rest

:: grant me holy confidence

linking up with Five Minute Fridays

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TBT -- Longhand

I have to write this letter. I feel as if I have tried to say these things over and over again, so what is the point in trying once more? I usually write on the computer, not trusting my hand to handle the stress of writing these kinds of words. But I’m sitting in the cafĂ© and my computer is at home on my desk.

I pull out a spiral notebook and my new pen. Writing in longhand is so personal. It puts me in touch physically with the words in a way that the computer keyboard does not. My hand must form each letter, each word. I have to slow down my thoughts to so my hand can keep up. I am forced to think through each word in a more elemental way. This is good and bad.

I start out calmly enough. I am numbering my points as I try to explain (again) the rift and what the exact cause is. I am respectful and thoughtful as I write these words, trying to spare their feelings while still getting the point across. But as my hand moves along the page, it becomes harder and harder to keep the letters well-formed and evenly spaced.

I stop and breathe. I do not want the writing to look like the ravings of a lunatic, but I cannot hide the emotion. It comes pouring out through the tip of the pen.

I arrive at the fourth point, and I cannot control the pen well at all. The letters are jagged and jerky. I am neither weak nor fragile. I am strong. What you perceive as fragility is self-preservation, healing, and honoring myself and my needs. If only my handwriting showed how deeply I believe this.

The words become more and more definitive and deliberate. I will not be in a relationship with people who continue to hurt me whether intentionally or not. I am offended that you consider me so shallow and saddened that you view me in this way. I am appalled that you have treated my husband so thoughtlessly. 

I can’t go on any longer. If I were typing this, I might go on and on for pages. But the decline of my handwriting forces me to see the depth of my pain and anger. I cannot continue. My whole body is enveloped in the emotion. The simple act of writing these words has opened a fissure in my calm veneer. I am in a public place and if I continue allowing my hand to express these feelings, I may not be able to keep up the calm visual persona I desire.

I cap the pen. I close the notebook. I breathe.

(originally posted July 27, 2012)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . July 20, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's 81 degrees and hazy. The humidity is already 83%! It's going to be a long, hot day.

I am thinking . . . that this is not the way today was supposed to go!

I am thankful . . . for safe travels that included getting halfway to Knoxville and turning back for home when dh realized he'd left his briefcase behind!

In the kitchen . . . FRUIT! I've been trying to get more fruits and veggies into our diet since reading this article. So, FRUIT!

I am creating . . . continuing with the summer shawl. I'm adding the final color (pink) now and then it will be on to edging. I'm excited to see how this one turns out.

I am going . . . to rest and relax as much as possible today, as the sinus infection symptoms have returned. Hoping to knock it out completely in the next day or two.

I am wondering . . . how dh is doing? He's having to drive himself on his business trip today since I woke up sick.

I am reading . . . The Girl In Between by Laekan Zea Kemp. It's a free Kindle book about a teenager suffering from Kleine-Levin Syndrome. I just started it last night and it's quite good.

I am looking forward to . . . digging deeper into books by Robert Benson. These 2 came in the mail on Saturday.

I am hearing . . . silence. Dh is driving out of town (bless him!) and ds is on jury duty today.

Around the house . . . I must vacuum! We have one dog. She's nearly 16 years old and is half beagle half dachshund and you simply would not believe how much she sheds! Vacuuming is one of the hardest jobs for me to do when my asthma is flaring, so I have "Squeaker dust bunnies" everywhere!

I am praying . . . for dh as he travels today. He has a difficult time driving for long distances and I hope that his pain will be manageable.

One of my favorite things . . . is a stack of new books! I've got quite a few right now ranging from the daily prayer books to Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . it looks like a quiet week which is a VERY good thing! I'm ready for some days spent at home doing homemaking and crafting.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
a new coloring book I got for myself 
(dd got the same one for herself!)

linking up with The Simple Woman

Friday, July 17, 2015


"i was a free man in Paris . . . i felt unfettered and alive"

the first words that came to me.

i'm working on freeing myself from shoulds, oughts, and musts. it's hard work. but what i keep seeing is that's the lesson YHWH provides. i am free in Him. 

"what does the Lord require of you? to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God"

that's freedom. i am unfettered and alive in Christ. because of His gift, i am free.

and i keep categorizing because it helps me adjust my view -- one click at a time. is this an act of prayer? of community? of renewal? of work? or some combination of them? does it matter?

i am free in Christ as i live in truth (John 8:32)

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Coffee and Community

I am not a coffee drinker. 

This is a shocking revelation for many of you, but it's true. I'll drink a coffee drink on occasion (e.g. if there is no tea or soda option available). Coffee smells wonderful, but I can only drink it if it's loaded with real sugar and at least equal parts of milk.

But I do have a coffee story. A recent one. 

Earlier this week I attended a retreat of sorts. Led by Robert Benson it was titled "The Rule of Saint Whatever Your Name Is". It was inspirational. It was informative. It was thought provoking. It was exhausting.

Around 7 o'clock on Tuesday night as we were preparing for our final exercise for the day (and Robert was bemoaning the absence of espresso) we all began to express our overload of thoughts and feelings and desires. We were exhilarated but tired. Oh so tired. 

We scattered to our workstations to finish this last step in deconstructing our daily lives. The final day of the retreat was set aside for reconstructing, or sewing our lives back together. While we struggled and wrote, erased and wrote differently, Robert walked to the local Starbucks to pick up a double espresso. 

As we were questioning choices about life work, Robert was walking to Starbucks questioning his motives. Was he headed for espresso just for himself, or was this an act of prayer or community or renewal? Was it just work? 

He returned as we were completing the assignment ladened with 6 double espressos, 6 bottles of Pellegrino, and 4 bottles of San Pellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages. His desire (and need) for a restorative espresso led to an act of community by providing for us all! 

At that moment, coffee took on a whole new meaning. 

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . July 13, 2015

(I'm shaking things up a bit and shifting my daybook to Mondays. Don't panic! You did not lose a day this week.)

Outside my window . . . it's 86 degrees and sunny. We are expecting more thunderstorms today and very high weed pollen. It feels more like August than July!

I am thinking . . . that I need to learn my own symptoms of impending sinus infections. Apparently I've had this one for quite awhile and just hadn't figured it out!

I am thankful . . . for meds and rest and help from the boys around the house. I'm also grateful that I've been kinder to myself about being sick this time around. It's been a long time since I was sick (BLESSING!) and I've done well being nice to myself.

In the kitchen . . . last night was another freezer meal from Pampered Chef. Garlic Parmesan Chicken. The general consensus was 3/5. I like this concept of having a bag in the freezer to just dump in the crock pot, but I need to do some tweaking for my own preferences.

I am creating . . . continuing with the summer shawl. Adding some colors to it now and thinking about the edging I'm going to use. I'm thinking about starting to do more prayer shawls and rosaries for giving away and selling.

I am going . . . to spend some time with my bestie today. We haven't seen each other in 2 weeks which feels like a long time as we usually see each other once a week. 

I am wondering . . . how long the symptoms of this sinus infection will linger.

I am reading . . . The Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). This is another stand alone by Rendell writing as Vine. 

And I'm listening to Gallowglass also by Vine. I'm trying audio books again while I'm crocheting to cut back on Netflix binging!

I am looking forward to . . . the retreat that starts this evening! The Rule of Saint Whatever-Your-Name-Is: Finding Rhythm and Balance in the Spiritual Life at the Scarritt-Bennett Center.

I am hearing . . . my ds chatting about his plans. Squeaker wandering about, and the sound of apples crunching as I eat my yogurt with blueberries, apples, and granola.

Around the house . . . everyone seems to have projects going, so there are boxes and supplies in every room. It's nice that people are doing the things they enjoy!

I am praying . . .  for my experience at the retreat this week. For my dd and me to get over this sinus infection. For dh as he continues his training and working his regular job. And for ds to enjoy the remainder of his last summer vacation in college.

One of my favorite things . . . my standard summer breakfast: a cup of whatever fruit I have one hand (blueberries are my favorite!), 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (today's is Greek God's Honey Vanilla), and 1/3 cup of organic granola. Yummy!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . fun with my bestie today. The retreat tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday. Possibly a trip to The Bluebird Cafe on Wednesday night. Counseling on Thursday, and then Friday and Saturday are clear right now. Sunday night we have small group where I will be sharing about the last retreat I attended.

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

linking up with The Simple Woman

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . July 7, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's 78 degrees with clouds and haze.

I am thinking . . . about learning to accept and embrace what is, instead of focusing on what I thought would be.

I am thankful . . . for feeling better. I had an asthma attack on Saturday that knocked me for a loop. Thankfully I was able to get some steroids even though it was July 4th and I was breathing easier by bedtime. Stayed on the sofa all day Sunday, and only did about half my day on Monday.

In the kitchen . . . tonight is grilled sausages, macaroni and cheese, and steamed broccoli.

I am creating . . . still finishing up the summer shawl from last summer!

I am going . . . to therapy and then to run errands. Hoping the breathing cooperates with all that activity. It's going to be my first full day since the asthma attack on Saturday.

I am wondering . . . how best to incorporate my interest in crafting into my daily living. I seem to be fairly haphazard about and wonder if I would be more productive if I had more of a schedule or routine.

I am reading . . . The Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). This is another stand alone by Rendell writing as Vine. 

I am looking forward to . . . next week's retreat --  “The Rule of Saint Whatever-Your-Name-Is".

I am hearing . . . my ds talking about his computer supplies being shipped. He's building a new desktop and super excited!

Around the house . . . I've got a lot of cleaning to do! My schedule has been a little nutty and then with the asthma attack I lost a bit more ground. Hoping to make some up this week.

I am praying . . . for continued growth for myself and my family. 

One of my favorite things . . . is my morning cup of tea. I start each day with tea flavored with demerara sugar and milk. Sometimes I switched up flavors, but lately I'm been sticking strictly Irish Breakfast Tea.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy today. Ds's birthday is Thursday! So there will be dinner and gifts and celebrating. The weekend looks fairly calm which is a blessing.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
beautiful flowers from our trip to Wisconsin

linking up with The Simple Woman

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Find Joy in . . .

Connecting with people on a deeper level.

I know, right? Sounds a bit odd for an introverted survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but it's true. The introverted part of me has to take it in small steps. A few people at time, for a relatively short period of time.

This past weekend I did a retreat and it was fabulous, but by the time I got home Sunday night I was way over my people interaction, talk, and share quota, so I had to settle down in quiet with my eye bag and some rest to fend off a migraine. But it was so worth it!

I got to talk, share, and listen to like minded women about life's hurts, how we deal with them, and what we do with the lessons we learn. To be surrounded by 15 other women who've had their own hurts and are willing to embrace them, talk about them, and learn from them is so fulfilling and validating. And to have the opportunity to give back to others who understand pain and brokenness not as the end of something, but rather as the beginning of everything brought so much joy to my spirit.

I don't do chitchat well. I can't stay superficial for very long -- it's one of the good news/bad news aspects of my life experiences. These women didn't dwell in chitchat either! I've done spiritual retreats before, but most of them were more inwardly focused, and that's been a very good, very healing experience for me. But this one was more about others and how I can use my pain and hurt to connect with and love others. It's something I try to do here in this space, and something I want to get better at. 

I trusted in the safety of that space and those people. In God's love and protection. That he guided me to this event because he knew it was the right time and space for me. I told the participants and leaders at the the end of it all my biggest take away was that I NEVER got scared, panicked, or felt the need to run away and hide. I received words of validation, support, and praise without pushing them away. And hugs. Oh the hugs and loving touch. No desire to run. Open receptive arms from all of them and toward all of them. 

The blessing of realizing that it doesn't diminish or minimize my history to be able to talk about it and survive the sharing of it was remarkable. I am filled with hope and love from the weekend. And joy. Lots of joy.

(KarenBeth over at Finding the Grace Within offers a weekly link called Tuesday at Ten, so today I'm linking up with her.)