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Happy 2019

This lamp has been broken for almost nine years! I still kept it. Why?! It leaned way over, so I set it next to a wall in the living room and left it there. It was broken on one of our many moves. It still worked, but the base was cracked on the bottom and it couldn’t hold the lamp up any more.

This morning I decided to take a closer look at it to see if I could glue it together somehow. (I just discovered the magic of Gorilla Glue.) Instead, I decided to break a bigger hole into the base so I could get my fat, little Hobbit fingers into the hole to see if I could tighten the nut further.

I ended up breaking a hole big enough for my wrench to fit into, so I could firmly tighten the nut–all the while wondering why in the world I waited nine years to even look at it! It worked!

I’m so thankful I didn’t just throw it out. Look how pretty it is!

  • With this new year, I have found renewed health, well being, and energy to complete these little projects. I am thankful for continued healing and the energy and motivation to get stuff done! I’m hoping people join me on my journey, and can be encouraged and inspired. Enjoy your day, and go make something pretty!
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    I often find myself angry and resentful while doing outdoor gardening chores. In the summer heat, I find myself angry at my husband. I think, “What has he done for me lately? (Cue Janet.) When is he ever going to help?” He’s inside on his computer or watching TV while I pull weeds, edge beds, or combat that aggressive vine I planted five or six years ago. He mows the lawn, and that is the extent of his outdoor activity. I have neglected my health and become depressed in the last few years. This summer every time I go outside to do some work, I hurt myself. I’ve had the kind of injuries that take a couple of weeks of lying flat on my back to heal. Needless to say, it’s frustrated me to no end.

    To motivate (or placate) myself, I remind myself that I am living the dream. Since I was seventeen, I dreamed of owning a home on some land with room for a vegetable garden. A home where I could grow my own cut flowers. My mother subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine for me. I consumed that magazine; often reading the gardening articles over and over.

    We lived in a condominium on the third floor. My mother gardened on the balcony. She loved caring for her plants, her children, and any critters her children brought home. She sometimes longed for a garden plot.

    Fast forward almost 20 years and here I am. A city dweller on a bit of land I can call my own. My head is filled with gardening theories. I never stopped reading about growing things. I thought the transition would be easy. I would finally have the garden of my dreams. Of course, when we rented that three level townhouse in Virginia–with a teeny tiny back yard–anything I decided to plunk in the ground would grow like mad! Here in South Carolina the pesky rye grass and centipede grass grow faster than anything, although the weeds give them good competition.

    My resentment has taken the form of neglecting our home, and saddling my teenage daughter with all the responsibility of making meals. Anyone with any housewife experience will know that the mess just gets worse, and the joke is really on you because you’re the one who will have to set things to right again. And, yes, everything outside JUST KEEPS GROWING.

    Another form of my resentment is complaining…about my husband. My sweet girlfriends listen to me and give well meaning advice such as:  you have to ask your husband to help you. One friend went so far as to tell me that our husbands are our helpmates:  it’s their job to help us. 😛 (Wrong, but well meaning.) The thing is:  he bought this house for me. He knew I wanted to garden. He knew I wanted the extra room for a craft room. I knew that he hates being outdoors except for his daily run.

    On a day when I had a million chores awaiting my attention, I decided to make my husband’s lunch like I used to do. I took care preparing his customary salad, washed some raspberries for his dessert, and added a little bar of sea salted dark chocolate. I set it all on a tray, so it would be ready when he took his break for lunch. And you know what? It made ME feel better. I went outside that day with peace in my heart. I remembered the joy that working outside gives me. I recalled the pride I feel when my garden and home is well kept BY ME. I made a startling discovery:  even though I don’t FEEL like blessing my husband, something happens in my heart when I do it anyway. 🙂

    Sure, one day I will truly need help, but that day is far in the future. Today I thank God for my health and my wealth and the energy to set things right in and around my home. I also thank God for the reminder that it truly is better to give than to receive.

    A New Journey

    I recently had Shrimp & Grits for the first time in my life. I wandered into our small town’s bakery/cafe and ordered it right off the menu. I haven’t been able to stop thinking of that wonderful creaminess, with the savoriness of the sausage and shrimp, and the silken texture of the gravy (which I mistakenly called “sauce” and was quickly corrected by the server). I am officially a southern girl. When I said this to my hubby, he said, “Dear, you’re more southern than any girl around here.” You know, ’cause I’m from Hawaii. 😆 He’s sweet on me.

    I also recently started a new way of eating–a low glycemic way. Wouldn’t you guess that I’m not combining fats and carbs in the same meal? No gluten or grains either. Well, steel cut oats are allowed, corn is not. Therefore, no more shrimp and grits fo me.

    This morning my daughter fried up some bacon for breakfast only to realize we had no eggs. She made some some steel cut oats with some stevia, cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla. I added some salt. It wasn’t sweet enough and as I reached for more Pyure my eyes landed on the bacon. I thought, savory oats? YES.

    This dish has all the creaminess and savory flavor of shrimp and grits. I will add the shrimp next time. It satisfied my soul.

    This Mother’s Heart

    A very close friend of mine has just lost her 18 year old son to a tragic car accident. I received a text saying “Luke car accident airlifted to hospital pray”. Upon receiving that text, my mind kicked into gear as my body froze. I wanted to text back and get details:  what happened, where did it happen, who was with him, exactly how bad is it.

    We live in a small town in a very closely knit homeschool community. I know this boy. I know most of his seven siblings. I directed his graduation ceremony just last spring. His mother is one of my daughter’s teachers. His sister one of my daughter’s dear friends. Facebook was abuzz with pleas for prayer. I wanted to be at the hospital with my friend. I wanted to be able to comfort her and bring her anything she and her family needed. This was impossible.

    A dear friend from out of town had just arrived to visit for the weekend. This friend came amidst a very serious situation in her marriage. I don’t think I’d be offending her if I said she was a mess. She admitted it a time or two herself during her stay. My guest had some very demanding needs of her own.

    I was in shock–and still am in shock–during her whole visit. Because our friends are dearly loved here, I was sure they were being well looked after; so I settled in for a weekend catching up with my out of town friend.

    She and I feared that she was nearing a nervous breakdown. She certainly acted like it. I was very stretched to be as loving toward her as I would my grieving friend. She was fruitlessly doing everything in her power to control her situation. She was acting like a crazy person. My husband stated that he thought she sounded like she had lost her mind.

    I’m not going to lie. I wanted to shake her many times during her stay, and shout, “My friend just lost her CHILD!” Many times. So many times it makes me ashamed. On the last day of her stay, she spoke with her husband and decided to return h0me. She came downstairs and told me with a smile on her face that she was going to go on a trip with her husband, so she needed to leave a day early because their flight was on Monday. Just like that she was gone.

    Now that she’s gone, I can’t help but worry about her. Did she really reconcile with her husband or did she sense the impending shaking?

    As the dust has settled, I’ve come to realize that when faced with trauma, adversity, or whatever you’d like to call it, we (not just women, but maybe mostly women) feel tremendous pressure to DO. Do something.

    In addition to doing something for my grieving friend, what I wanted to do was to speak to my own son who is in Japan at the moment. I wanted to hear his voice. He’s too cheap to buy a phone with an international calling plan, so we’re relegated to communication over Facebook. I wanted to gather my loved ones near and not let them out of my sight for awhile–or ever. I wanted to run around like my other friend and do, do, do stuff even if it didn’t make any sense or make anything better. Instead, I did as I advised my friend to do:

    Be still, and know that I am God…Psalm 46:10

    I am so thankful today that I know Him, and that I know He cares for me.

    TMI or A Cautionary Tail

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    TMI or A Cautionary Tail

    So…for the last three months I have been suffering from various ailments resulting from an under-active thyroid; too much gluten, sugar, and dairy consumption; and rapidly shrinking clothes. Actually, this has been going on for over three months. For exactly the last three months, I have had “weeping” earlobes. That’s what the doctor called it.

    I assume the stuff they’re weeping is pus. I’d like to imagine my earlobes are improving–they might be. The drops that land on the nape of my neck and slowly trickle down my chest don’t fall as frequently as they used. Every one of my tops is stained with the stuff. I’ve used countless boxes off Kleenex and two rolls of toilet paper to sop up the stuff–And that’s just in the month of March. When I get tired of mopping my ears, I just wad up some tissue and tuck it behind the ears. I look like some crazy Teletubby with tissue ears.

    When I must leave the house, I cleverly disguise my condition by taping non-stick pads to my ears. They look like perfect elf ears. I joke with people that ask that I’ve had a “little work done and I’m gonna rock my new Hobbit ears.” No one ever gets it. I have to work on the delivery or something. Taping my ears is required to avoid the clumping and drying of the pus–not only on the lobes–in my hair. Yes. It is THAT gross.

    But it gets grosser. Remember when we used to paint our hands with Elmer’s glue in grade school, let them dry, and then peel the glue off? It was kind of repulsive, and a little hypnotic…maybe strangely relaxing. My ears are like that. They start to itch. I reach up to scratch them and touch hardened pus. I tell myself not to touch it, but I end up peeling my ears like a fourth grader peels that glue off their hand. It’s cathartic. But it doesn’t help the healing. AGH!

    Yes, the doctor has switched my thyroid medications, so I feel an amazing return of energy. And look, I was able to string more than three words together. WORDS! I’m using words again instead of pointing and grunting. All progress for me and I’m thankful. I’m still a big pus monster that doesn’t want to leave the house, but at least I can use words again.

    I brought this all on myself in the pursuit of being forever young or youngish. Turns out I have developed a severe allergy to the peroxide in the hair dye. This is the price of vanity, people. It’s severe now, but I did have lots of warning signs. Every time I had my hair colored in the salon, my ears would redden and swell up for a few days. I told my colorist and she said not to worry because she was using the hypo-allergenic stuff. It kept happening. The number of days my ears stayed swollen and itchy increased every time. I decided the colorist was not listening and she must’ve been just using the regular stuff; so I was gonna start coloring at home. Previously, I only needed to color my hair 2 -3 times a year. That changed to every 6 weeks when I started doing it myself resulting in the skin sloughing my ears and did I mention the sores on my scalp? Yes, sores. Pus oozing sores on my scalp. Don’t worry! Those are all healed. There must be more veins, or whatever it is that helps skin heal, on the scalp.

    I could barely function. No appearances on Facebook, definitely no selfies, and no private phone calls (hurts my ears and speakerphone is a must). BUT now I have new meds and am relieved to find that the physical condition of my ears is not responsible for the weight gain, lack of brain function, and constant fatigue. YAY, me!

    I did find powdered hair color at Walmart. We’ll see how that goes, but the ears still need to heal first. Be careful out there! It’s a crazy world!


    It’s that time again; when the year is shiny new, the possibilities endless, and the dreams yours to dream. I wish you good health, and the best attitude to make this a prosperous new year–and just enough time to reflect on just how awesome life can be.

    Happy 2016!

    Craft  Room Take Two

    Craft  Room Take Two

    A couple years ago, my hubby gave up his man cave so I could have a bigger space for crafting. Yes, it was very gracious of him, and he’s a wonderful guy; but I wouldn’t award him sainthood just yet (that’s another story). I needed the largest room because of all the different tasks I’m responsible for in the home.

    I started with a fun paint job. Chevrons went up in one day with leftover paints from past projects (cost me nothing). Then we went to IKEA and bought shelves to add to my collection (cost the Mr. a pretty penny). I chose open shelving because I won’t use products I can’t see, and I hate spending precious minutes looking for an item.

    I’ve rearranged the furniture a number of times because it’s what I do. Since setting up this room, I’ve added sewing and embroidery to my crafting repertoire bringing the number of activities enjoyed in this room up to six (seven if you count puppy cuddling). This year I am teaching a Biology Lab, a second year Japanese language class,  a sewing class, and I started a Lego Club. I’m not tooting my own horn; I’m just saying all this activity comes with staging and storage difficulties.

    I actually worked a day and a half re-organizing and cleaning this room before taking “before” pictures. Yes, please sympathize with me. One of the biggest problems has turned out to be the open storage. Dusting this room takes too much time with all the different containers and products. The glass containers have the gall to require an occasional washing. Oh, the nerve! And everything is on display to tempt my teenage daughter and her friends into hours of creative bliss which leads to a wonderful mess.

    Sorry the pictures are terrible. There is only one window and the pictures were taken on my iPad. That’s my sewing table with the accompanying fabric storage alongside it. The shelf in the back stores most of my paper crafting supplies.

    More paper crafting supplies are housed in the shelves along the wall right inside the doorway. Alright, to be perfectly honest, there are probably a hundred magazines taking up a few of those cubbies and unfinished projects.

    Yes, we are shamelessly addicted to video games. Currently we have two Wii systems and a new Wii U. The XBoxes are in the attic because only my son plays those games. And, yes, this is also our school room. (All you homeschool mamas cringe now.) There’s no way I could’ve had this set up when they were younger.

    And here is our school desk. I love this desk because it allows us to sit across from each other, and keeps our school books and supplies right at hand.

    I want to say something cool like, “Here is my command center. It keeps me organized and my home and school running smoothly.” BUT, I’d be lying. I’m currently watching House, M.D., which is what I do here; along with general internet activities. My homeschool job will be over in three and a half years. I won’t lie and say I’m working on my organizational skills. Maybe I’ll change my mind when New Year’s resolution making time comes around. 😜

    Okay, since honesty has been a theme this morning, I will tell you that I plan to re-work this room to better fit our needs–okay, my needs–which are:  1) it has to be pretty and 2) it still has to serve all the original functions (school, sewing, crafting, gaming, socializing, yoga). AND, honestly, I’m giving myself three weeks, so it may not get finished until next summer when my “vacation time” will be longer. So, don’t wait with bated breath, but do check back in three weeks for the reveal (or at least an update).

    Have a creative day!


    It still looks like this! I haven’t been feeling well for the last 5 or 6 months, but I was feeling better today until I decided to come work on this room.

    My major problems:

    1. I don’t want to partake in gross consumerism–ha! I actually have no money for consumerism…of any kind.
    2. I bought all of these IKEA bookshelves that are more modern than my taste, so I need to figure out how to soften the room.
    3. I love all the beautiful studios that have everything on display, but I’ve been there and done that. It takes FOREVER to keep everything clean. HOWEVER, I cannot totally conceal all my supplies because I would never use them–been there, done that also.

    Is it terrible that I just want to throw everything out and start over?