Blessed to Be a Blessing

God Blessed me Super-Abundantly yesterday – and I just HAD to share the story with you!

 

In short, a sweet older lady who lived in the area moved to Heaven a little over a month ago. Her 5 adult children came down (from 5 other states) to clean up and list her house for sale. They were dumbfounded by the quantity and variety of things she had amassed over her lifetime. They had only 4 days to do everything that needed to be done before they returned to their Job’s and families.

Her posessions were divided amongst them, and what no one wanted was to be listed for sale – all except for 1 rooms contents. They didn’t have any use for it, and didn’t have ant idea what to do with it all. So, they boxed it all up – and asked me if I wanted it.

My reply – “Praise God – YES!!”.

They’d found out I used such things to make donations to our local Senior Centers at Christmas time, and thought maybe I could put the items to good use for our charity – which would have pleased their mother greatly!

I still have to go thru most of it – but here’s a peek at some of what they sent home with me:

 These boxes actually measure about 25 inches tall, 20 inches wide and 4 foot long!!!!

 

 Yes – that is a LARGE spool of YARN you see!!

                                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Side Note:  None of the many bags/boxes of Embroidery projects, Cross-Stitch projects, Ceramics, Painting projects, Wood Crafts or Canvas projects/supplies are pictures here because I have already delivered them to their “Crafty Recipients”.    ;)    It made their day!!!!)

 

Praise God!!!

That’s all I can say is Praise God!!!!

 

Some of the items (Tatted Crochet, Candlewicking, Double Hook Crochet) I’ve never attempted before, but am looking forward to learning in order to compleat the many, many projects she had started over the years! At least there are enough works-in-progress to show me the way (and many out of print instruction books too)!

Most of all – Praise God they didn’t just toss it all into the trash to be lost forever!! Thank God they asked me to put it to use instead. And so I shall – and some Seniors at our local centers will be very Blessed this Christmas because of their generosity!!

Mrs. S’s handiwork (with a few finishing touches from me) will not be wasted, lost or forgotten – but will instead be loved/used as it was intended!

And THAT makes me smile!    :)    

Have a great day!

:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to me :)

It’s been rather busy around here lately – so I haven’t had time to drop in and say “Hello”……

However, we will “resume our regularly scheduled programing” shortly!

In the mean time – I’m taking the day off!!

Why?

Because I can…… AND

It’s my Birthday.    ;)

Can’t turn down the opportunity to be Queen….. for a day.    ;)

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Finding Hope pt. 3 “Balance”

 

Now for the fun part! Yes, I said “FUN”.

When we become “survival minded” and are only focusing on “existing” thru the day, we lose our Balance. We only focus on situations, problems, worry, work and the here-and-now. We mentally, and physically, exhaust ourselves – and as we all know, mental exhaustion is MUCH worse than physical exhaustion.

So, now that we are learning how to Hope and Dream again, it is time to take the next step. We need to give our life, and minds, some Balance.

Before our lives/situations took the turns that they did over the past few years, we used to take time out to “Play”. We used to take mental breaks from reality and do things that we really enjoyed. Then, due to the economy, situations in our lives, stress – we stopped. Either due to the lack of finances, ability or interest. Thus, helping plunge ourselves into the mental states that we’ve recently found ourselves in.

 

Now, we need to start doing something about that!

First step:  Give yourself permission!!

Taking a “time-out” from your life/circumstances/situations DOES NOT make you irresponsible (because you are not spending every waking second of your life worrying/trying to DO something about everything). It makes you healthier, and much more stable mentally and emotionally.

Think about a Pressure Cooker pot. Eventually, it’s going to “blow” if no one ever turns the heat down, or takes the pot off of the burner. It’s the same with you! The only difference is that only YOU are in charge of “removing the pot from the burner” for a period of time, when it comes to your life.

So, “It’s OK” to take a momentary time-out from life – if only for an afternoon, or for a day.  But, YOU have to do it!  Your own mental/emotional well-being depends on it. By taking a break from your “reality”, you’ll be able to think more clearly, and more calmly. You will feel a lot less frazzled, and less confused/stuck.

 

Second step:  Follow through!

Now that you’ve given yourself permission to take some time for yourself – DO IT!!

Schedule a morning/afternoon/day where you can do whatever it is that you need to do to re-charge your mental batteries. It may be just staying home by yourself (Turn that phone OFF!), and curling up on the sofa to read a good book; a long walk thru the woods to enjoy the scenery; a day sitting on the shore/boat fishing; a leisurely afternoon window shopping; a lengthy visit to your local coffee-house; a short driving trip to go “antiqueing”, or sight-seeing; or just WHATEVER!!! Just DO something that you enjoy in order to unwind.  Your brain will thank you later – and so will those people who have to live with you!   ;)   

Another great option is to join a local club or group, who shares your interest in something – and that meets for an hour or two on a regular basis. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or newspaper, to find listings for groups/meetings in your area – or at least close to you.

Don’t have a group in your area? Start one!!

It’s really not as hard as you would imagine. Just mention your interest in starting such a group to your co-workers, friends, church congregation, etc.,  and ask them if they would be interested in attending. If 4 or more people say “Yes”, then ask them what time of day/day of the week would work the best for them. Now, average out the answers that you get to decide on a meeting schedule. Now you just need a place to meet.

There are several options here. Your group could meet at a local eatery that has private “rooms”, a local church’s fellowship hall or basement,  you could host the meeting at a different members home/garage on a rotating basis, or even in a covered shelter at your local pool/park. These are just some ideas. The local park/pool is also a GREAT option for those who would have to bring young children with them in order to attend.   :)  

You could meet once a month, once every 2 weeks, once a week – or however often you decide. I know of groups of ladies who meet like this JUST to play cards, and get out of their house!

 

The whole point is to bring some BALANCE back to your life, and take some time for yourself (like a child – just to PLAY!!!).

Far too many of us have forgotten how to do just that – and we desperately need to re-learn how to do that again!

1) Kids Play

2)  Kids Imagine

3)  Kids Dream

4)  Kids Hope

5) Kids Laugh

When we become “Adults” we forget how to do all of those things – not by choice. But it IS by choice that we can learn how to do them again – if only for a few hours every week. We NEED to! We MUST!!

We’ve now covered the first 4 things on that list  – number 5 will take care of itself once we start doing the first 4!   ;) 

So, get to it….and

Be Blessed!!

 

 

 

Finding Hope pt. 2

 

Okay, now that you’ve got your list made from part 1 (previous post), we’re going to start working on the next step. It’s easy – but it requires another list.   ;)  

How many of you saw the movie “America’s Sweethearts”? Do you remember John Cusacks’ character siting in the backseat of the limo, stressed out, and chanting “I’m grateful for the cool, cool breeze….” to calm himself down?

If so, that gives you an idea of what we are about to do next.   :)  

And by the way – if you haven’t yet seen the movie, I highly recommend it!!! It deals with someone (Cusack) whose life/heart had been destroyed by someone else (Catherine Zeta-Jones), causing him to have a nervous breakdown, and he has to learn how to think clearly/live again while “working” with that person (and with Billy Crystal and Julia Roberts too – FUNNY stuff!!).

But, I digress….. back to the subject at hand.   :)   

 

I want you to once again grab a sheet of paper, and find a quiet place to focus. Now, title this list: “Things I Am gratefully For”. 

Next, I want you to list as many things as you can think of that you are the most grateful for. I’ll give you a short example list:

1) I’m grateful for my home, and a roof over my head.

2) I’m grateful for the fact I have a  job – and for the income from it.

3)  I’m grateful for the food I have to eat.

4) I’m grateful for the clothes I have to wear today…..etc., etc…

 

I want you to list as many things as you can think of right now – it can be 5 things, 10 things, 20 things or more. If you are GRATEFUL it is a part of your life right now – list it!!

Now, tape that list up on your bathroom mirror where you will have to look at it first thing every morning! Read it out loud BEFORE  you start your day – EVERYDAY.  Sure, you can read it throughout the day too, but starting out everyday by reading this list out loud is the MOST important thing!

It sets your mindset for the day, and it sets the tone for the start of your day. When you start out by looking at something GOOD, it’s then easier to deal with the rest of your day because you are focusing your mind on the things you appreciate – NOT on all of the junky bad things that are trying to get your minds attention the second that you open your eyes! It puts your mood, and focus, in a different place.

If your list is small today – don’t worry about it, use it! You can add things to the list as you think of them. The only “Rule” for the list is that you don’t turn it into a prideful “Brag” list.  It’s not a “Look what I did” list – it’s a list of things you are grateful for that are in your life. It must be worded so that everything on the list was a GIFT. No “I’m grateful I did/accomplished/made someone …” lists, ONLY an  “I’m grateful for (this opportunity, blessing, gift)…” list. This IS important!!

Now, go make your lists.    ;)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Hope

 

 

Que the opening (and closing) line from the well-known movie “Pretty Woman” :

What’s your Dream? Everybody’s got a Dream… What’s your Dream?”

 

I have heard that line going thru my mind more times than I care to count over the last few months.

Why?

Because “Hopeless” equals “Dreamless”, and there sure hasn’t been a lot of Hope in people’s lives for far too long.

Too many people have been shattered mentally, emotionally, physically and financially over the past few years due to the economy, natural disasters, other people and assorted loses.

If you stop and look around, you’ll see it on far too many people’s faces. Or worse still – in the mirror on your own face. If you ask other people what their “Dream” is today – most will answer that it is “just to survive”. Their “Dreams” have died, and been replaced with “just surviving” day-to-day. They have no more “Dreams”, and very little (if any) Hope.

They feel as if they are trapped in a nightmare that they “can’t” wake-up from. Although they desperately want to – they just can’t see how to.

Because of this bleak state of affairs, it’s time to try to help do something about it. It’s time to “teach” ourselves how to “Hope” and “Dream” again.

There’s only one way to do that – we’ve got to “re-train” our thinking. Sounds complicated, I know, and it’s not easy – but, it’s vitally necessary.

We’ve got to do a little “Mental Exercise”. How? Like so: 

 

1) Grab a sheet of paper, find a quiet place where you can focus, and write down 3 things (Little Things) that you would like to see come to pass in your life in the near future. (i.e.: Re-paint a room, Find a new job, complete a project, pay a certain bill, change your hair color, fix your car, join a club/group, go on a “Day Trip”, visit a far away friend or relative – you get the idea) The trick is to keep the 3 things simple and manageable. Don’t start off with BIG things that you can’t really see happening in your lifetime – yet. The key is that it needs to be something that you actually WANT to do/accomplish.

 

2) Label that page “Immediate Hopes/Dreams” , date it, and keep it with you (or at least where you can see it everyday) and READ IT OUT LOUD to yourself at least once a day. (This IS important)

 

3) As those things come to pass, check them off and write down the Date when they occurred.

 

4) After item #2 on your list manifests, make another list  with 3 more items that are a little bigger than the last 3. Things that you would like to see happen in the next few months. Keep it with you as well, and read it OUT LOUD also.

 

By the time you reach this point, you will be starting to be able to wrap your mind around “Dreams” and “Possibilities” again.

They don’t have to be BIG yet – give yourself some time. You didn’t lose your “Hope” and forget how to “Dream” overnight – that took several incidents and some time. But, slowly, you will begin to be able to start seeing past tomorrow – and you’ll start to feel the “hopelessness”  that has been weighing you down disappear….. One completed Dream/Goal at a time, as you start looking forward to “something” again.

You’ve got to get your Focus OFF of today. You’ve got to start seeing/focusing on something better. Even if it is only a “small” thing. You’ve got to start somewhere – especially if you don’t want anymore of what you have/see now!

You have to “imagine” your Dream BEFORE you will ever see it. You don’t have to figure out all of the details of HOW it could possibly come to pass in your life, you just have to have a goal/dream to be aiming for. A DESIRED end result – NOT a dreaded one!!

By READING it daily, and SPEAKING it out loud (off of your list), you will start to believe/see it on the inside. What comes out of YOUR mouth often enough, you will hear yourself saying  –  and THEN you will start to believe it’s possible. THEN you will start to see it coming to pass in your life, because you are now focusing on that “Good” thing – instead of the “Bad” things around you that you don’t want anymore of.

 

Now, I know there are those of you who are so locked into a doubt/survival mode that they can’t imagine this working – BUT, why don’t you try it anyways???

Exactly WHAT do you have to lose by giving it a shot? What could it possibly hurt to try?

I’ve seen this work. I know it works – from experience. BUT, it only works IF you “work it”. No one else can do it for you.

Start rebuilding your “Hope” and your “Dreams” today. You have to start somewhere….. You CAN do it! Start small – remember, you have to take baby steps before you can run (dream big) again. But, you can do it. YOU just have to WANT to. No one else can do it for you.    ;)  

 

 

 

 

My Life Summed Up.

I recently stumbled across a couple of quotes that caused an immediate “Oh my gosh!” moment.

The reason being, that they applied more to my life over the last few years than I would care to admit. I won’t elaborate on that, but I will share them with you. May they inspire you……. to carry on.   ;)    

 

 

 

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s TRUE strength.”
– Star Hall

 

 

 

 And last but not least – this one is literally framed and now sits on my desk:

 

“It’s not the Critic who counts….It’s not the man who points out how the Strong Man stumbled…. Credit belongs to the man who REALLY WAS in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come up short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.

It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause. Who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And who, at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know NEITHER victory nor defeat.” ………  THEODORE ROOSEVELT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Strawberry Bread Ever!

 

 

Warm strawberry goodness sounds pretty good right about now! A friend suggested I share this recipe with y’all again – just in case you’d missed it the first time (2 years ago)! I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this one, it makes Winter a little more “bearable” by giving you a taste of Spring – something we could all use right about now!    ;)  

This is some of the moistest, most amazing Strawberry Bread you will ever eat. Smothered with a Cream Cheese spread, it is a little slice of Heaven – and you don’t even have to use fresh strawberries to make it! Good eats at any time of day – breakfast, snack, dessert – doesn’t matter! Just be sure to stash it where it’s not in open view when you are not around – otherwise it will be all gone when you come back for seconds!!  ;) 

Very easy to make with only a few ingredients required, and about an hour of your time, makes this a quick and scrumptous treat!

Shady’s Southern Strawberry Bread

*Makes 2 Loaves

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees

2 sticks butter

1  1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs – lightly beaten

1 cup strawberry jam or preserves

1 cup sour cream

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. lemon extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

Line 2 loaf pans with wax paper and set aside. You can trim the paper down to fit the pans better – just make sure that you leave enough “overhang” to be able to grasp and  lift the loafs out of the pans when they are done!

In a large mixing bowl, cream your butter, sugar and eggs together.

In second mixing bowl, fold sour cream into jam.

In third mixing bowl sift flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together.

Now, add the flour mixture  ( 1/3rd at a time)  to the butter mixture while alternating with the jam mixture while mixing on LOW speed.

Now fold in the lemon extract and the vanilla with a spoon.

Pour into wax paper lined loaf pans – dividing batter evenly between pans, and place in preheated oven at 325 degrees on middle rack of oven. Bake for 1 hour. (Don’t worry – the wax paper WON”T burn, and it IS necessary for the success of this bread)  

While bread is baking make Cream Cheese Spread – if desired:

Cream Cheese Spread

1 pkg (8 oz.) softened cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

 1/2 cup powdered sugar (can up this to 3/4 cup if sweeter, thicker spread desired)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all together on Med-High speed until well blended. Place in fridge until ready to use. (Please forgive my stained bowl – it’s around 17 years old and has been well-used)  :) 

Now – when baking time is done, insert a toothpick into the centers of the loaves and check for doneness – it will come out clean when they are done. Remove loaves from oven, set pans on trivets or wire racks to cool for 5 minutes, then lift loaves out of pan by wax paper.

Peel off wax paper, slice loaves into hunks about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, spread with Cream Cheese spread (if desired – if not butter or plain is yummy too)!!

However – BEWARE – a hand will “magically” appear and snatch the first plate of strawberry goodness away before you even get done plating it all up!!

Guard the rest of the loaf wisely young grasshopper, guard it wisely!!!!

Enjoy!!  :) 

Shady

 

 

 

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