Monday, January 28, 2013

I would love to have a friend like my younger self

I wrote this letter to my 32 year old self about six months ago.  It gave me perspective on what a truly quality person I was then and that I am now, and YES, I would certainly be friends with my younger self.  Granted, my younger self is 32 years old and not 16 years old.  After all, I'm a 55-year old woman and I can barely remember what my 16-year old self was even like back then.  I'd have to have more time to go that deep into the memory banks to retrieve those gems.  I linked to my letter, but I copied it below, as well.  It was fun to read this again and remember how I was back then.  I didn't sweat the small stuff and I was always willing to try anything new and adventurous.  I loved being a navy wife and the times when my husband and I lived in the same state were magic.  We made the MOST of those times.  And we still do.  :)

Hi Sweetie,

Welcome to Monterey, CA.  You are going to have a blast here.  Thank you, Navy, for putting us up in this rockin' duplex at the top of the hill in La Mesa.  (fyi, boy this website makes it look so much different than it did when I lived there.  if you look at the map, my house was on revere rd.)  This is such a cute little (read, tiny) house.  I think it's great that you fit all our furniture in this house and I really don't care that you're using our kitchen table as an end table in the front room.  I think it looks just great like this.  We will eat in the kitchen on a tiny plastic table with our son, sitting in his high chair.  This is going to work out just great.  The kitchen is so little, you'll be able to wash the floor in five minutes with a cup of water.  You will LOVE it.

It's great to be here at Post Graduate school.  I'm happy the husband decided to get a masters degree and not go to war with all his friends.  I know this is the kiss of death for his naval career, but you'll be glad to have him here with you and our 2 year old son.  It's cool to see old friends from Italy here, too.  It's too bad we will only be here a year and a half, but this is better than never have gotten to live here at all.

I know it was a bummer to get Bell's Palsy right after you got here.  I know it was a shame you had to miss your brother's wedding in Chicago.  Being sick and in pain isn't fun.  Good thing the pain only lasted for a month.  The five more months of paralysis sucked, but you'll get better and you'll hardly remember how crummy it was.  Good for you to get out and still make an effort to meet new people and start an Avon business with your face half frozen.  Wasn't it amazing to see how much of that stuff you sold.  You really put forth a lot of effort.  Good for you for not being so self-conscious and vain that you thought all that people cared about was how your face looked or how short your hair was.  Good for you for acting like an adult.  After all, you are 32 years old and the mom of a two year old.  It's good that you are able to get out and meet people and make friends.  You are doing the right thing by not waiting for your husband to get home and entertain you or take your child off your hands.  He's busy and he has homework.  Getting a master's degree in a year and a half is hard work.  This hard work is something he will be able to take with him when he leaves the navy.  You will be able to look back at this time of your life and remember how good it feels to be a strong woman.

You are going to love that you were supportive of your husband and his schoolwork.  It's great that he bought an Apple 2E computer.  It was worth all the money.  I know you had to eat popcorn and hot dogs for a month to make the payments for that computer and the Volvo.  (I'll bet you didn't know you were going to drive that Volvo for 17 years.)  But it was worth it to make sacrifices for your future.  It's good that you were able to put off your immediate gratification to save for your son's future and the future of your family.  (and, you learned to appreciate Apple and it's founder Steve Jobs.  that is really going to pay off in the future.)  You know, your husband is going to appreciate you typing all his papers for class.  Isn't it amazing that back then we wrote our papers in longhand and had to have someone read that chicken scratch and type it up!  I'm glad you put forth the effort to do this for your husband.  He's going to remember things like this when you need to take time for yourself.

Finally, I know that the earthquake you experienced was a terrible thing.  I know you were scared out of your mind because husband and son were away from the house.  I know those 15 seconds were the longest 15 seconds of your life, but you endured.  I know that seeing your husband come home on his bike and wondering what all the fuss was about was the happiest moment of your life.  And, I know that giving away any extra blankets or food or kitchen equipment or money or whatever you could give to help those who had more damage than your family never caused you to bat an eye or feel a pang of resentment.  I want you to know, that when that phone rang, and it was your mother, and you got the opportunity to tell her you were all ok and then the phone died and didn't start working again for a week, yeah, that was God.  (amazing how we managed before cell phones and email and the internet)  You are never going to forget that moment.  You know what you're going to remember the most?  You're going to remember getting all the families on the street together to bar-b-que, because none of us had electric or gas for a week.  You're going to remember, because you gave up most of your summer to do the HUGE vacation bible school music and program, so many of the families in the neighborhood knew you and were happy to help your family just the way you were happy to help their families.  You're going to remember how much this time in your life felt like community and the best way navy families support each other.

You will remember your time in Monterey, CA so fondly.  You are always going to wish you could go back.  But you know, you can never go home.  If you do get a chance to go back, just know, things have changed.  You will have changed, too.  Have fun at Cannery Row.  Enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium and watch the otters play.  Go down to Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur.  Check out the Dennis the Menace park and remember how much fun your little one had there.  Go down to Fisherman's Wharf and feed the sea lions.  Yeah, do all those things and remember that you didn't miss a beat while you were there.  You had the time of your young life.  I'm proud of you for being the strong, adult, navy wife you were back then.  You did yourself and your family proud.

Your 55 year old self

115.  Limping on a sprained ankle, but oh so grateful it isn't broken
116.  Two hour delay start for work after a 4-day weekend
117.  Broccoli juice (I know, but it's better than it sounds)
118.  I remembered to bring leftover Italian Wedding soup for lunch today
119.  A prompt for a blog post that allows me to reminisce about my younger days
120.  Smiling, while remembering my time in Monterey, CA
121.  Smiling, while remembering when my son was small
122.  Smiling, yeah, just smiling  (it's good for the soul)

young woman or old woman
Linking to Emily for a one-time link-up

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chinese Dim Sum, yum yum

I've been gone for a few days.  I thought I'd share a little bit of what I've been doing.  One thing I did while I was away was to try something I've always wanted to try.  (I almost said, "checked an item off my bucket list," but I don't really like that expression)  I went to a dim sum restaurant while I was in Philadelphia.  It was called the Dim Sum Garden and it was delicious.

First things, first.  The most important item in a dim sum restaurant are the soup dumplings.
Soup dumplings, aka Shanghai steamed pork juicy buns
There were eight of these dumplings, to start, but we were so excited to get them we dove right into them before I could snap the pic.  You eat these dumplings by peeling them off the parchment paper into your spoon and then lifting the spoon to your mouth.  Take a tiny bite of the thin won ton and slurp the broth out of the dumpling.  Watch out!  They are very hot.  Then, drizzle a little ginger sauce on it and proceed to finish the dumpling.  There is a little pork meatball inside.  Delicious.

We went to the Dim Sum Garden for the juicy buns, but my favorite thing was the Cold Cucumbers.
Cold cucumbers
These cucumbers were so good.  They were marinating in cilantro and vinegar.  I guess I'm in love with anything with cilantro in it.  So good.  I've got to learn how to make these.

We each had a bowl of soup and shared an order of scallion pancakes.  I had the Chilli Cabbage Shredded Pork soup and my friend, Carol, had the Seaweed and Egg soup.  We finished off the meal by sharing a plate of Pork with Sauce Noodles.
Chili cabbage shredded pork soup
Scallion pancake
I didn't get a pic of the pork with sauce noodles.  Sorry.  This meal was delicious and we were both stuffed.

The decor of the Dim Sum Garden is nothing to write home about, but the food it delicious.  Our waitress was so helpful. She made wonderful suggestions to us for choosing our food, as neither of us had been to a dim sum restaurant before.  She also explained that the Dim Sum Garden was a Chinese dim sum restaurant.  This type of dim sum is much different than a Cantonese dim sum restaurant.  In a Cantonese restaurant the popular way to dine is to arrive at 11 o'clock a.m. and have a brunch-like meal.  The waiters roll carts around the restaurant and the diners take plates of dim sum off the carts until they can eat no more.  They usually stay until around 3 o'clock p.m.  They make an event of the whole meal.

Btw, this was very economical meal, as well.  That may explain why the place was fill with college students.

110.  A couple days with an old friend
111.  Spending time in an urban environment, it feeds my soul
112.  Husband safely home from a skiing trip in Maine
113.  The first snowfall of the year
114.  Sunday morning in bed, with coffee

Monday, January 21, 2013

A fledgling

Fledge is the stage in a young bird's life when the feathers and muscles are sufficiently developed for flight. It also describes the act of a chick's parents raising it to a fully grown state. A young bird that has recently fledged but is still dependent upon parental care and feeding is called a fledgling.  (definition from wikipedia)

Occasionally you may find a baby bird on the ground, under a tree or bush with a nest.  If the bird has all its feathers and appears to be healthy, this is most likely a fledgling.  Many people will pick the bird up and attempt to put it back in the nest only to go by the same tree or bush and find the baby bird back on the ground.  When you put the bird back in the nest, you aren't helping the bird.  In fact, you're just making the maturation process more difficult.  This time period is needed to prepare the bird for life on its own.  Remember, the parents are still caring for the bird.  They are just doing so from a distance.

I have a fledgling.  It's not a bird, but the definition fits.  I'm trying so hard to kick it out of the nest that his butt may end up with my footprint on it.

He is incredibly reluctant to move out.  I don't know if it means he's not ready or if the idea of change is just too overwhelming to him and he's paralyzed with fear?  Today I'm forcing him to submit ads in the local on-line paper and on craigslist for roommates.  He's already purchased the house and is already making mortgage payments, but he hasn't moved out of our house.  I don't understand the thinking behind this.

I have never been able to find the carrot that motivates my son.  I've been looking for it ever since he was a toddler.  I've tried the reward system.  I've tried bribery.  I've tried punishment.  Nothing has ever worked.  Now I find myself pushing my son out of our home.  He has a place to go.  He has a home.  He will only be seven miles away from us.  If he wanted, he could come to our home and have dinner every night.  My husband and I have made this opportunity for transition as gentle for him as possible.  But, for the last two weeks my son has come up with every excuse in the book to keep from moving out.  First he had a bad cold.  Ok, I get that it's tough to do stuff when you don't feel good.  Then, it was raining.  Ok, I get that moving in the rain isn't that much fun.  Then, he couldn't get ahold of his buddy that said he would help him move.  Too many excuses.  It's time to go.

I know once he gets moved into his new place, he will be fine.  I know once he gets his first roommate, he will be fine.  If any issues or questions arise, he can come to us for advice.  We won't be watching his every move.  I won't be telling him to wash his clothes.  I won't be making his meal choices for him.  I won't be telling him to brush his teeth at night.  (yeah, I know, but that's what moms do sometimes)  He will be just fine.  He will succeed.  He can do it.  He just has to take that first step and move out.

Being the mom of the reluctant adult isn't easy.  I know when I moved out of my parent's home, I couldn't move out fast enough.  So what does this say about me?  Does my son what to stay because he has such a great life at my house?  Did I want to leave my parent's home because I couldn't stand living there?  Is my son suffering from the "extended adolescence syndrome" I have blogged about in the past?  Sure, moving out and living on your own is scary.  Sure it is.  But it is worth it.  I know he will learn to love his independence and he will slowly grow into his responsibilities.  He can do this.

I guess I'm looking for any encouraging words.  Am I pushing too hard?  Am I being a good mom?  I mean, what is the definition of a good mom?  In the bird world the mom pushes the baby bird out of the nest and allows him to fall to the ground.  Does she know the fall won't kill him?  I think she does.  She knows his wing muscles are strong enough to slow his descent.  The mama bird has to be extra vigilant over the fledgling.  There are cats and other predators out there.  Not only does she have to help the fledgling by feeding him, she now has to protect him, and she has to do it from a distance.  I really don't see a whole lot of difference in, what may end up being, my new parenting style.

Btw, I'm scared, too.

from wikipedia

100.  My son did post ads for getting a roommate on craigslist and the local on-line classified.  And, he's started to get calls
101.  Hearing the excitement in his voice when he called me
102.  Dreaming of having all his stuff out of my house
103.  Getting pics texted to me from my husband while he is having a ski vacation.  He's having so much fun
104.  Plowing through a gigantic workload
105.  Feeling a little successful at being an encourager (not my strong suite)
106.  My health (although I do take it for granted sometimes)
107.  People who tell the truth
108.  Soup, any kind
109.  A good dentist

Friday, January 18, 2013

I need a clever comeback

“I’m rubber, you’re glue

Everything you say sticks right back to you”

“I know you are, but what am I?”

Let’s leave the clever retorts to the master, Serverus Snape.

“Oh, very good....Yes, it is easy to see that nearly six years of magical education have not been wasted on you, Potter. 'Ghosts are transparent.'”

Doncha wish you had J.K.Rowling to write your sarcasm for you.  I'm often more of a PeeWee Herman, myself.  :)

I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55

90.  Working with a goal in mind
91.  Sunny day and blue sky
92.  The blizzard that never materialized
93.  Husband returning from AC tonight (no, I didn't get to go with him)
94.  Venison burgers for dinner tonight
95.  Laughter, laughter and more laughter (some people are so funny)
96.  Biblical scenes depicted in stained glass
97.  People who love instead of hate
98.  Having a conversation with someone who is really listening to you
99.  Sewing again  (I hadn't realized how much I missed it)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tamoxifen, two years done and three to go

I'm still taking Tamoxifen every day.  I've haven't talked about it for quite a while, but that doesn't mean taking it every day and living with the side effects has gotten any easier.  They just started having the HAZARDOUS label attached to the pill bottle.  And, what the heck is that red four circle Biohazard symbol on there for?  Every morning I open the bottle and take a pill that is labeled Biohazard and ingest it.  If that doesn't wake you up in the morning, I don't know what else could.

As far as the side effects go...  They are not abating.  I still have a HUGE hot flash every morning between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.  Right after I finish showering, blow-drying and flat-ironing my hair, getting dressed and hurrying out the door, WOOSH, the hot flash hits.  Fortunately it's winter, so I can crank down the window of my car and get a bit of relief.  Another regular hot flash hits about 12 hours later or right after dinner.  I find myself soaked to the skin and I'm not sure I could feel more uncomfortable.  The other super fun side effect is the night sweats.  I still wake in the middle of the night freezing cold because the sheets, my jammies and my hair are soaking wet with sweat.  I haven't had a good night's sleep in two years.  I'm very, very tired.

Next week I go to the Breast Clinic and have my yearly exam and mammography.  I'm hoping for good news.  My fingers are crossed.  I have been faithfully taking the meds and stoically abiding the side effects.  I hope, the least thing Tamoxifen can do for me is prevent me from getting breast cancer.  I guess I'll know, for sure, in about a month.

Now, on the positive side, I haven't had any of the dangerous side effects.  I don't seem to be depressed and I have no bleeding (a sign of uterine cancer that can be a side effect of Tamoxifen).  I thank God for this.

76.  Medications that keep me healthy
77.  Doctors who know their stuff
78.  Cold air when the going gets tough
79.  My flat iron (my son gave it to me for Christmas.  I think it was my favorite gift)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whining is not a good way to begin an email

“I really hate asking anyone for help on anything around here, especially now that Luke's gone.  He was one person I could always ask for help, who didn't mind stopping to help.  Asking for help just seems to result in more grief, or so it seems to me.  But...

But this came to me.


This is the first paragraph in an email from the same co-worker I wrote about in Maybe I'm a Disney Princess.  Which Disney Princess had a whiny stepbrother?  Boo Hoo.
I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55  

75.  Friday (that's all I've got, it's been a busy day)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I was created to be in community

And you were, too.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

And Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

I think most people think these verses mean we should go to church, because that's where all the christians are on Sunday morning.  I think these verses mean much more than "go to church."

Yesterday I wrote a bit about feeling a little lonely because my husband and I have been spending so much time apart.  This feeling came on me during my winter break from work.  I had been off work for a week and a half.  I learned that I need to be around people a bit more often than two or three times a month.  I need to be in community.  Now I'm back at work and the phone is ringing and the co-workers are asking for stuff and my boss is talking to me.  My conversation tank got filled up in a day and a half.  I'm ready for the quiet again.

I don't know how things are world-wide, but I know here in America we have a tendency to isolate.  We are a nation born in a system of rugged individualism.  After WWII we, as a nation, believed in pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  This attitude of personal independence can lead to isolation.  We can isolate ourselves into a feeling of loneliness.  Even people with busy lives and even with computers and all the social networking we've got going on, loneliness, by not having a true connection with other people, can result.  Some people fill this loneliness with "STUFF."  People with overspend and over collect and maybe even become hoarders while attempting to feel better about themselves.

God created us to live in community.  Remember back in Genesis when there was Adam and all the animals.  Well, Adam wasn't alone, was he?  No, he had all the animals around him.  Yet, he wasn't in community with another human being.  We were created to be in community.

It is great if one can find themselves plopped down smack in the midst of a loving group of people.  Most of us call that group we find ourselves born into, a family.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen for everyone.  And, lately, more than half of the families in America find themselves broken and pieced together in some form or another, or maybe not at all.  The government wants schools to take over the roll of community that the broken American family has seemed to have dropped the ball in doing.  But, we all know the government isn't really good at managing money or people.  In fact, government is a proponent of the two-income household.  That way they can tax both mom and dad.  Another circumstance that makes keeping the community of the family from being a viable option is the job market.  Many of us find ourselves having to moving far away from extended family to find work.  This can cause many to become isolated as they move to places with no friends or family waiting for them.

This is why, for many of us, community has to be intentional.  We have to seek it out.  Even if we are introverts and can go for days without having a conversation.  We have to look for friends.  We have to take risks.  This is why churches were such a great way to find these relationships.  But, even church is becoming a tougher place to make this happen.  Churches want to get BIG!  So they have two or three or four or more services on Sunday or Wednesday or Saturday.  They have multiple ministers and ministries.  It's hard to develop a relationship with someone you may or may not see again, because of all the worship options.

I know we can find community in a card playing club or a sports team or a hobby club.  These are great ways to meet people.  And if you are a real risk taker, you may find a way to delve beneath the the surface of the people you meet in these clubs and make a real friendship.  Whether it's in a church or a club or school, we are meant to put ourselves inside a community of other humans.  We need relationships.

We need friends.  I'll even go so far and say we need a best friend.  Things in life are never as scary when you've got a best friend.  Alone, ideas and fears and worries can grow large and looming.  When you are with a friend and you speak these fears aloud, they lose their grandeur.  We can look at them for what they are.  A friend can then ask the question, if this is true, then what?

We need to nurture the friendships and family relationships we have.  They are vital to our well-being.  We were created to be in them.  I encourage you and me to go out and take a risk.  Go to church.  Smile and look inviting (not in a creepy way) and risk getting into a conversation with a person.  Who knows?  You may make a friend.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.  Our cue was Create.

70.  Emily's blog and the opportunity to find new blog friends
71.  A free sandwich for lunch
72.  Balmy days in January
73.  Ski club meeting tonight (maybe I can make a friend?  I'll try)
74.  Having a best friend

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I've discovered I'm not all that happy on my own

There has been a lot of work going on at the house that used to be our rental property and has now been purchased by our son.  I still haven't got all the pics ready to show, so this post won't be about the work.  This post is about me.  (seriously, isn't blogging the most self-indulgent thing EVER!)

I've been lonely.  My husband has been working for a solid seven weeks.  He works six days a week and he works 12 hour days.  On Sunday he stays home, but he lays on the couch and watches football through his eyelids.  He's exhausted.  I let him lay there and I try not to talk to him too much.

I completely understand his dedication to getting this work done.  Heck, the reward is having our 25 year old son move out of our house.  I mean, if that isn't incentive, what is?  AND..., there was also that thing about electing Obama for a second term and allowing him to raise taxes, as needed.  We wanted to pay our capital gains tax with a known number and not whatever our president decides he needs from us.

So, I've been quiet.  I haven't mentioned to my husband that I've missed spending time with him, but I have.  I was home by myself during my entire break.  I got some serious alone time in.  I'm an introvert, and I get recharged by alone time, but after a week and a half there was still no one to spend my renewed energy on.  I didn't really get any serious work done while I was off.  In the past I've cleaned closets and stuff like that, but this year... nothing.  I would have liked to spend a day going into the city with him and seeing a show or going to a nice restaurant, but I kept quiet.  I had dinner ready, most of the time, when he got home from working at the house.  He usually wasn't very hungry because he had a late lunch.  He would take his helpers out to lunch every day.  You see, he hired a woman to clean the house and promised her an hourly rate.  As a bonus, he got the woman's husband (who is retired, like my husband and very handy in the home repair department, like my husband is) as a toss in.  Bonus!  They've become very good friends through this whole project.  I'm glad.

The drawback to all this is just one thing.  While my husband spent a LARGE part of his day away from me and working, he was also using up all the words he usually speaks in a day.  When he got home, he was pretty much done for the day.  So it was quiet at my house.  Don't get me wrong, I don't need to talk a lot, but I do need to talk more than I was getting to talk.  There is just something about a conversation, even if it is about nothing very important, that feels good.  Talking with my husband connects me to him.  I was missing that connection.  Now that the project is drawing to an end, he's getting read to go on a skiing vacation.  I think I'm really going to miss him while he's gone.  But, it's only for a week.

I need to develop more relationships in my life.  I have friends, but all my friends still work.  When they get home at the end of the day, they are tired.  Just like I'm tired.

I think we are going to need a weekend together to reconnect.  We need to spend some time not talking about our son or the house or my job.  We need to spend some time dreaming about our future together and just enjoying each other's company.  Yeah, we need to do something like that.  

In a way, this has been quite a good learning experience for me.  I learned that I'm not all that happy when left on my own.  Even an introvert needs to spend some time with people.

60.  Leftovers (I don't have to cook after a tough day at the office)
61.  Leftover cookies from a stolen from a VP's meeting
62.  Cold coffee
63.  My bed (I hear it calling my name right now)
64.  The friends I have
65.  My brothers (I even like talking to them)
66.  Free car washes with a fill-up
67.  Post-its (I don't think I could function at work without them)
68.  5:00 p.m. 
69.  Only two stop lights on my entire drive home from work

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I told you I was going to let you know how the goat chops turned out. Here's a pic of them before they went on the grill. These are shoulder chops, so they have an extra bone in them and aren't quite as easy to eat as the loin chops will be. Let's get down to what is really important. They were delicious. As you can see, they are simply seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper. I always think the simpler, the better. I was warned that goat can be a bit tougher than lamb, so instead of grilling to rare, we grilled the meat to medium. This was the right choice. My husband gave me the chop that was cooked to medium rare and I noticed the chops cooked to medium seemed easier to cut.  None-the-less, the chop was delicious.  I can tell you that goat fat tastes much like beef fat.  We are big lamb eaters, at our home, but I do not like the flavor of lamb fat at all.  I trim my lamb very closely.  This is completely unnecessary with goat.  This was the first time I have eaten goat without having the flavor of the meat masked by a curry sauce.  All I can say is, I'm really looking forward to having the loin chops.

I'm sorry there is no picture of the chops after they were grilled.  The family was hungry and they were quickly snatched away.

50.  A good time management in service (Time Power)
51.  The return of Downton Abbey (third season)
52.  Eucalyptus essential oil
53.  Co-workers willing to lend books that they love
54.  Returning to my small group bible study
55.  Rain instead of snow
56.  Not catching the crummy respiratory thing that seems to be going around the office (knock on wood)
57.  Being busy enough to make the day go by quickly
58.  Relieved of my migrain
59.  Being asked for a kiss by my husband

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fruits of the Spirit given to me

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control

There they are.  All nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  There are a couple things I have learned about these nine attributes that I didn't understand and I'd like to share them with you.  I'm sure many of you already know most of what I don't know, (because there are libraries filled with stuff I don't know) but I beg your indulgence.

The first thing I have learned about these fruits is that they come directly from the Holy Spirit, himself.  These are not attributes we develop on our own.  Also, this Love and Joy and Peace and Kindness and Patience and Goodness and Faithfulness and Gentleness and Self-Control are God's divine attributes.  Not the same as those named by mere men.  We may use the same names for them, but the manifestation of these attributes from God are not the same as those exhibited by men.  In order for us to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit we must stay connected to Jesus.  Just as Jesus told us in John 15:5, he is the vine and we are the branch.  Apart from him, we can do nothing.  Connected to him, we bear fruit.

Love:  We are to love God, first, then love ourselves and others, and ultimately, to love our enemies.  This is not the love we see in men, but the love that God has for us.  After all, we were his enemy before we accepted the Holy Spirit into our hearts and became his child.

Joy:  The happiness we have because we serve God.  This is also the source of our strength in God.  Without Joy in the Lord, we can become weak and dry.

Peace:  The sense of tranquility and poise from having the Holy Spirit (God) living in our hearts.  The sense of well-being and confidence from fully relying on God and his promises.

Patience:  Understanding and trusting God's timing.  Understanding that as the creator of time, God exists outside of time.  Trusting God's timing and having confidence in his promises.  This is steadfastness and endurance, even when times get tough. 

Kindness:  This is a quality of love that will flow through us when we stay connected to Jesus Christ.  It is a love for mankind, a readiness to help, hospitality, and a sweetness in disposition.

Goodness:  The quality of God's goodness manifested in his people has the effect of drawing people to God.  This goodness is kindness in action.  It is the core of what a believer is.  God is good, all the time.  We, his children, have been given the attribute of God's goodness.

Faithfulness:  Staying true and loyal to God is something that God wants from us.  He has told us he is a jealous God and will not tolerate unfaithfulness.  Our commitment to God should be reflected in our commitment to family and friends that have been brought into our lives.

Gentleness:  This attribute can be described as power and strength under control.  Gentleness should not be confused with weakness.  It is said that, at times, a soft answer will turn away wrath.

Self-Control:  Having victory over one's flesh.  Having victory over vices.  This attribute is huge.  Our hearts may be filled with the Spirit, but it is housed in a body of flesh.  This flesh needs to be disciplined and kept in check.

Thanks for allowing me to work through this verse of scripture and re-teach myself the truth of the gifts that God has given to me.

40.  Quiet
41.  Prayer
42.  Meditation
43.  Contemplation
44.  Rest
45.  Peace
46.  Trust
47.  A shoulder massage
48.  Yoga stretches at my desk
49.  Tylenol

(I've got a crummy migraine today that has held over from yesterday, but I still came to work)

Friday, January 4, 2013

A lesson from Shakespeare

Lord Polonius from Wikipedia
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”
 So says Lord Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
He knew the consequences of expectations
“For loan oft loses both itself and friend,”
True this. A loaned item lost will cause strain on a friendship.
“And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”
Resulting in poor management of one’s own resources.

This may be something our Congress, President and those 47% of Americans not paying income tax can study.
I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55

30.  Only a 3-day work week, but I'm glad it's Friday
31.  First cost of living raise in 6 years.  2%, but better than a stick in the eye
32.  An extra 1.7% deducted from my paycheck for Social Security withholding.  I guess I must be rich, 'cause my President said he was only raising the taxes of the rich
33.  Taking down my Christmas decorations this weekend
34.  Having lunch with a girlfriend
35.  Getting the hang of google apps
36.  Goat chops for dinner tonight (I'll tell you how they were next week)
37.  Cold days with bright sunshine
38.  Boiled turnips
39.  Friday (I'll say it again!)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why saying "no" isn't a bad thing

NO is a word that is fast becoming obsolete in this nation.

Parents don't want to say "no" to their children.  They want to be the parents that say "yes" to every request.  They don't want to deny their children anything.

Workers won't say "no" to their bosses.  They want to say "yes" to the extra projects and late nights at the office.  They want to do whatever they think will keep them in the job.  Denying their personal life for what they think is job security.

Doctors won't say "no" to patients who want to use the most advertised medications on tv.  They won't turn down a nose-job or a boob-job, even if they patient is a minor.

Girls won't say "no" to boys when asked for sex or "sexting" or whatever they desire from them at the time.  They want to be loved and accepted and they believe that saying "yes" to the boy will get them what they want.

The list of those that won't say "no" goes on and on.  (I'm talking to you, John Boehner)

What can saying "no" do for you?

Saying "no" can save you money. 
There is nothing wrong about saying you don't want to spend the money.  Parents need to know that saying "no" to many kid requests will save them money and teach the kids to postpone pleasure.  Teaching austerity isn't a bad thing.  What kind of adult will they be if they've never learned to accept the word "no?"  I'm going to guess they will be an adult with a large credit card balance.  (yeah, we've got a lot of them right now)

Saying "no" can lead to better opportunities.
Just think if that employee says "no" to his boss's request to absorb the work of a vacated position.  Just think if that employee puts the time spent with his family above the needs of the boss.  Just think if that employee looked for another job and could possibly give him the respect for a personal life that his current job isn't providing.  Hanging on to something good could be denying you something better.

Hearing the word "no" could be good for you.
A child that hears the word "no" can learn to put off immediate gratification for delayed gratification.  Delayed gratification teaches will power, self-control, patience. and impulse control.  These are all attributes of character that are highly desirable in adults.  A boy that hears the word "no" from a girl when asked to perform for him, sexually now has the opportunity to learn to respect women.  These boys can grow up to have higher regard for the needs of their wives and daughters.  They can become men with self-control and integrity.

Saying "no" can give you the time, money, self-respect, and so much more.  I think saying "no" needs to be regarded with the empowerment and positivity it can give.

20.  Peppermint scented body lotion and hand soap
21.  Home made turkey and gnocchi soup
22.  Losing some of the holiday weight (because I'm saying "no" to sweets)
23.  Kind comments from blog readers
24.  Brach's butterscotch hard candies (make me remember my grandpa)
25.  Noticing the days getting longer
26.  Hand sanitizer (everyone around this place is coughing or sneezing)
27.  An IT department that is super helpful during this Google transition
28.  Going to the farm to get fresh vegetables, even in the winter
29.  Having a new flat iron (a Christmas gift from my son)  It is the best thing ever

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013..., business as usual

I'm back at work and getting back in the swing of things.  I've got to tell you, I'm struggling.  There is always a bit of a learning curve when returning to work after having a week and a half off, but this time there is an extra added bonus to help flatten that curve.

During the break the IT department at the school I work at migrated our Microsoft Office Outlook to Google gmail.  I know, I know, gmail is GREAT!  (I think I have to say that since I'm using Blogger for my blog.)  None the less, change is never easy and change for my boss, who doesn't want to have to think about things like, sorting emails and scheduling meetings, is even more difficult.  But, you gotta do what you gotta do when the Powers That Be make up their minds to make a change.  It's all going to be just fine and pretty soon we will barely remember how Outlook worked.

All that being said, if any of you savvy techie types out there have any tips or tricks for me when it comes to using gmail apps, I'm open to any and all suggestions.  I know a lot of you have your favorites.

I had a wonderful break.  I know you didn't hear a peep out of me during the break.  I took a vacation from the computer.  Granted it wasn't a complete vacation, but computer time was cut back quite hard.  It was wonderful.  I read books.  I watched movies.  I rested.  In fact, even I feel a bit guilty about the lack of work produced by me.  My husband and my son were working so hard on the house we evicted the renters from.  They were fixing windows and tiling the kitchen and bathrooms and fixing toilets and repairing plumbing and installing a new dishwasher, stove and refrigerator.  They supervised carpet and vinyl installation.  I still haven't been allowed to see the interior of the house.  All the interior doors need to be stained, trimmed and hung.  I think my son is waiting for those last few items to be finished before he allows me to view the Big Reveal.

It is impressive to see how much work my son and my husband have accomplished in that house.  I'm excited to do a post about it and share pics.  In less than two months they have transformed a dwelling that, literally, had everything in the inside and on the outside broken, stolen, or in complete filth and turned it into a home.  I've watched some folks drag a project out for years.  I think there is a lot to be said for momentum and stick-to-it-iveness.  I can't wait to see it.

It makes me so proud to hear my husband talk about the way my son is working and learning home repair and maintenance.  I can see it's hard for my son to work this hard.  He's gotten used to having a part-time job and living in our home.  He has very few chores and spends a lot of time gaming and watching Netflix.  Hard work has never been his best friend.  Yet, during this process he has learned what hard work is and how to do it.  His goal is to be living in the house by February 1st.  I'm excited for him AND for me. 

Our family is saying "Hello" to 2013 with the promise that all this hard work will pay-off and we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors sooner than later. 

Just a little note to the Congress and Senate and President of the United States; for most of us it's easier to cut back on our spending than it is to generate more cash.  Just because you get your money from us, the working, tax-paying people of the USA, give us a break.  Cut back on the spending.  Try a little austerity.  We should all tighten our belts.  There really isn't all that much people should be entitled to have.  Be brave.  Make the tough cuts.

10.  A hardworking husband
11.  A job
12.  A thrifty nature
13.  A lesson learned that hard work usually solves more difficulties than throwing money at a problem does
14.  A willingness to learn new things
15.  A willingness to say "I don't know" when I don't know
16.  Another opportunity to share 1000 gratitudes with you guys (I only made it to 782 last year)
17.  Watching my son take giant steps into adulthood
18.  Being willing to see my son falter in this new-found adulthood, and not freak out
19.  Having so many blessings to count