Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today I am thankful for:

1. So many people praying for and caring for the Early family and baby Emmy.
2. Waffles for breakfast!
3. A 45 degree day!
4. Mike did the grocery shopping.
5. Naps in sunspot.
6. Waterproof shoes in melting snow.
7. Beautiful sunsets.
8. Chocolate chip cookies.
9. A clean house.
10. Looking forward to another nice day tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday - Jan. 30th

"What we lack is not so much leisure to do as time to reflect and time to feel. What we seldom "take" is time to experience the things that have happened, the things that are happening, the things that are still ahead of us."
-- Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux

Fridays are my day off from work, a day at home to do as I like, a day to relax and enjoy. I love them! When I read the quote of the day, above, I thought, "ahhh... so true." But I think that's part of why I started this blog. Since I've started it, I've found at least 10 minutes a day to sit down and reflect over my day. To think about the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the successes and the failures... And to somehow put them in a context of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

This week has been a sad week in many ways - death of a friend's mother, another friend dealing with very serious cancer, and now, little baby Early was rushed back to the hospital this morning with more complications. When I sit down to write this blog, it's often a moment to sit still and experience the emotions of the day. It's a release and a prayer - all in one.

If you're someone who lacks the time to reflect on your days, to revisit the ups and downs, and to count your blessings... This has become an amazing and important tool for me. I find life is sweeter with a few moments a day to myself...

Peace and reflection to you on this Friday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Quiet.
2. Learning to make an omelette.
3. Whispers of "I love you" when the hubby leaves in the morning.
4. Chicken and black bean enchiladas... YUM.

5. The 25 Things posts - I've learned a lot about many of my friends this week!
6. Fuzzy blankets.
7. Cooking dinner together.
8. A fun walk - in the daylight!
9. News of a free Missy Higgins concert next week... :)
10. Making Valentines Day plans...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do Your Part

A few quotes from my readings today:

"The truth is, most people aren't converted (to Christianity) by sermons or Sunday school lessons. Those things help. But most people come into the faith because somebody else simply looks them in the eye and shows them a changed life. That's the kind of credibility that makes a difference."
-- John Ed Mathison, Treasures of a Transformed Life

"[Intimate and trusting] fellowship reflects God's grace and mercy. He has compassion for us, and in true fellowship, we have compassion for others. We forgive. We don't judge. We don't gossip. We trust that others will treat us as they want to be treated. We should be a church family that quickly forgives each other, so when people on the outside are looking in, they know that they can come in and be forgiven, too, no matter who they are or what they've done. God's family should be the one that celebrates the uniqueness of each individual, but at the same time, is a picture of unity."
--John Ed Mathison, Treasures of a Transformed Life

...and one more...

"If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever..."
--1 Corinthians 13:1-3

My prayer today is that we all "do our part" and find our value through truly loving one another...

Blessings on your Thursday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Coffee with a church friend - and prayers for peace of mind for her.
2. All the people who have worked on this Sunday's worship service - such great talent!
3. The beautiful, low-hanging, orange sliver of moon! (I need to carry my camera more...)
4. Chatting with Diane - I enjoy her!
5. The dog prank-calling my mom - Ha ha ha!
6. Getting to celebrate a Catholic Confirmation with Nina, whom I used to nanny for.
7. Sharing the evening with Nina's family and hanging out with her, her sister, and her two cousins. So fun!
8. Seeing the inside of the St. Paul Cathedral. Beautiful!
9. The realization that I'm am still whole-heartedly Methodist. :)
10. Little Maria remembering "photosynthesis" and how to spell it a year and a half after we spent a whole day learning it for bonus points on her spelling test!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Sad Day

Do you ever have one of those days... where bad news just seems to be around every corner?

Today I found out that my boss, pastor, and friend - Penny's mom died. She's been sick for awhile and Penny was able to get to her mom on Monday... Then her mom passed away last night. Please send prayers of comfort and peace her way in this sad time.

I also found out today that another co-worker and friend, at my other church, is suffering from cancer of the spine and spinal fluid. She is loosing more and more feeling in her legs by the day, and is loosing mobility. She started radiation and chemo this week and gets more test results tomorrow that will determine if there will be further treatment. It sounds like this is a very fast progressing cancer... and the news will probably only get worse. She is someone who has had a very sad life, with not a lot of close loved ones... My heart goes out to her in this scary and sad time. Please send her prayers, also!

Ugh. Such sad times. Be sure to take a moment today and count your blessings!

Today I am thankful for:

1. Church members that surround those in pain with help, laughter, and love.
2. Bounce dryer sheets - static-be-Gone!
3. Cleansing tears.
4. Pets that comfort in times of sadness - Good job, Dixie!
5. A great tax refund - debt-be-Gone, too!
6. My back is completely healed - back to exercising!
7. Tomato, mozzerella, and argula paninis for dinner.
8. An evening home with the hubby.
9. Starting a new book - "Speaking of Faith"

10. A full tummy, and sleepy eyes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
--Desmond Tutu

I've been blessed by a wonderful family - supportive, encouraging, fun, and a little wacky. They make me laugh and smile. And I learn so much from them -all the time. I am so thankful for each one of them:

Mom - is always there when I need her (and often before I think I do!), she encourages me to be me, she taught me the importance of faith and family, and is an example of how to listen. I love chatting with her about anything and everything!

Dad - taught me to risk and "play it by ear," he helped me learn to enjoy spontaniety and every moment in between, he demonstrated what it is to care for family in a compassionate way, and he made it "ok" to struggle with - and question - my faith. My favorite moments with Dad, are when I feel like I'm still his little girl... :)

Emily - is strong in her beliefs and never hesitates to stand up for them (I'm still learning from her), she takes her own path in life, she is quick to serve and share her faith. It's exciting and wonderful to see her as a mom - she's a natural! She has "mellowed" into life over the last few years - and I count her as a true friend. I love to giggle with her! (In the picture, her husband - Karlin - is all the way to the right. A great guy! So fun, and so devoted to her and their baby girl, Finley. We're glad to have him as part of the family!)

Kayla - is confident, smart, and beautiful! She is also someone who will take her own path and do new things. I love spending time with her - talking music and movies, doing "girly" things like going to Aveda, and having the occasional heart-to-heart. She has a big heart - and I'm excited to see the person she is becoming!

I am truly fortunate to have the family I have. They inspire me to be a better person everyday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. The HUGE bald eagle that flew in front of me today!
2. The beautiful sliver of moon in the sky tonight.
3. Book group - open and honest discussion tonight.
4. The Early family is doing better.
5. A yummy sandwich for lunch.
6. Mike doing our taxes.
7. A good staff meeting.
8. Chocolate milk.
9. A healing back.
10. Open minds.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Handles

"Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith."
--Author Unknown, quoted from Treasures of the Transformed Life

So true! This month - and this coming year - have so many things up in the air... And yet, after a couple of days of anxiety and worry... I'm feeling hopeful and, dare I say it, a little joy at the possibilities! Whatever changes are coming, I know I have family, friends, and a faith to get me through.

What handle are you holding onto today? I hope, for you, that it's one of faith!

PS: Here are the answers to the questions I have received so far...

1) If I HAD to change my career, what would I change it to?
I don't know... There's so many! Maybe a teacher... Or an art therapist with little kids... Or a foster mom (I'd still like to do that someday)... Or... A bookstore/coffee shop owner... I'd love them all, I think!

2) If I HAD to choose to be deaf or blind, what would I choose?
That's a horrible thing to think about... And as much as I adore music and laughter, and the sound of doggy foot-steps... I think I would choose to be deaf. I can't imagine not being able to look in someone's eyes when I talk to them... Or seeing fall colors... Or starry skies... I can't imagine living my life in darkness... Or never being able to see the faces of those I love...

And... Things I am thankful for today:

1. That I haven't had to experience being blind or deaf, so far.
2. Orange juice.

3. A quiet day to get lots of work done.
4. Catching up on Grey's Anatomy. (Any of you who watch it - that last episode was SO SAD! I bawled like a baby!)
5. That I don't still live in Illinois... Rod Blagojevich is a nut case!
6. Mike making dinner - taking care of me and my pinched nerve... (Ouch!)
7. My new long undies! They're awesome! :)
8. Book group meets tomorrow - I miss the ladies!
9. Aveda shampoo.
10. Baby moose video - they're playing in a sprinkler! So cute! Check it out:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Things

Another game sweeping through the blog world (and facebook) is "25 Things." You're supposed to compile a list of 25 random things about yourself. I did one for Facebook, I'll see if I can come up with another 25 for this blog... The twist on my blogging friends' 25 things, is that the reader can then ask more questions. So here are my 25, then, feel free to ask questions!

1. I LOVE peanut butter and nutella sandwiches on toast.
2. One of my favorite books is "The Little Prince."
3. I'm pretty good at art - drawing, mostly - but I wish I was more creative in coming up with my own ideas for subjects.
4. I'm a neat freak - and addicted to Clorox kitchen counter wipes. (Seriously, I need a Clorox Wipes Anonymous group...)
5. I often wake my husband up in the middle of the night so he will help me find things I was dreaming about (things that don't exist...). LOL
6. I love the sound of doggy toenails on the wood floor. Clickety click click click.
7. Our wedding rehearsal was on Halloween - everyone was in costume except the pastor. Those are some of my favorite pictures from our wedding weekend!
8. I feel the need to "purge" my house about every six months - I get rid of anything we don't need, donate it or throw it, and then organize, organize, organize!
9. I bruise easily. Too easily. Most of the time I don't even know where they came from.
10. I always exercise to Jason Mraz's music. He makes me happy - and I don't get bored of it...
11. I really don't mind getting "laugh lines" around my eyes. I believe they really do come from laughing and smiling - and that's a sign of a good life, right?
12. I have really wide, chubby feet. It makes shopping for shoes very frustrating!
13. I found out this week, that if you're out of milk, and want to eat your rice krispies - put some fat free vanilla creamer on the krispies - they taste like a rice krispie bar! Mmmm...
14. I enjoy having my eyebrows and legs waxed. In a weird way, I think it feels good.
15. I hate going down hills on skis or skates. Hate it.
16. I love traveling alone and talking to the person sitting next to me on the plane. I've met some fascinating people that way!
17. I love pajamas! I would wear them all the time, if I could!
18. My favorite socks, EVER, are REI Merino socks.

19. Growing up, I wanted to be the next Diane Fossey - studying gorillas in the jungles of Africa.
20. My middle name is "Sue" - My old youth group kids still refer to me as "Meggy Sue."
21. I name my cars. My little green Plymouth was "Eddie." My little silver Mazda was "Nelly" - as in "Whoa, Nelly!" And my big Nissan is "Lola" - as in "A Whole Lotta Lola!"
22. I have a tattoo. And I like it.
23. I like to decorate my house with stuff I find at "junk markets."
24. At Christmas time, I bake 12 different kinds of cookies - several dozen each. It's become a tradition that I really enjoy!
25. I hope the next place I use my passport is to Italy! Art, wine, cheese, beautiful countryside - sounds perfect! :)

And... things I am thankful for today:

1. Little kids and children's sermons. Lots of giggles.
2. A nice long nap.
3. Egg salad.
4. Encouragement.
5. Cuddles from Bailey, the dog.
6. Nice notes.
7. The song "See the World" by Gomez.
8. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
9. Feisty and funny people at this evening's meeting.
10. The future.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Barely Made It!

It's 11:52pm - and here are the things I am thankful for today!

1. Sleeping in.
2. Going to the Aveda Institute with my sister, Kayla.
3. Time to sit and watch people - always a fun, and enlightening, passtime!
4. A visit with my parents.
5. My hubby - cleaning and grocery shopping while I'm out! What a sweety!
6. Mango brats from Trader Joe's.
7. A relaxing evening by the fire.
8. Bowling fun at Bryant Lake Bowl!

Ha ha ha - Someone in the group thought they were literally stuck with 2 left feet! (We got the un-named person a different shoe...LOL)

How can anyone not like bowling shoes? I love them!

First throw of the evening - can you SEE how straight that was?! So exciting!!!

Jeremy and Emily - 2 of our bestest friends! Love them!

Emily knows how simply FABulous she is! LOL

Have I mentioned how much I love her? Friends since 8th grade... a long time!

Another bestest friend. The hubby is decked out in his bowling duds - lookin cool. :)

Proof that we're really not good bowlers - just out for a little fun! (But notice, my scores average 100 for each game... That's a REALLY good night for me! LOL)

9. Bailey's "wooley" fur.
10. Starting a new book: "Speaking of Faith"

Friday, January 23, 2009


"What is acceptance? Acceptance is surrendering to what is: our circumstances, our feelings, our problems, our financial status, our work, our health, our relationships with other people, the delay of our dreams. Before we can change anything in our life we have to recognize that this is the way it is meant to be right now. For me, acceptance has become what I call the long sigh of the soul. It's the closed eyes in prayer, perhaps even the quiet tears. It's "all right," as in "All right, You lead, I'll follow." And it's "all right," as in, "Everything is going to turn out all right." This is simply part of the journey."
--A Simple Abundance

So many lives in turmoil right now (good and bad): a mother dying, a baby with "no more bags," job uncertainties, health concerns, new marriages, kids moving away, new faith journeys... So many transitions... So many things in our lives to accept before we can move on to new adventures.

Wishing you acceptance, today!

Things I am thankful for:

1. My mom.

2. Spirited kids.
3. Growing friendships.
4. Good health.
5. A lovely marriage to my best friend.

6. Choices.
7. God.
8. Contentment.
9. Bowling!
10. Organization. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


"The return of good times is not wholly a matter of money. There is a prosperity of living which is quite as important as prosperity of the pocketbook... It is not enough to be willing to make the most of things as they are. Resignation will get us nowhere. We must build what amounts to a new country. We must revive the ideals of the founders. We must learn the new values of money. It is a time for pioneering - to create a new security for the home and the family... Where we were specialists in spending, we are becoming specialist in living."
--an editorial from the October 1932 issues of Ladies Home Journal

Incredible, isn't it? That paragraph sounds like it could be part of our new president's speech... Or a call to living, even in the midst of our latest economic crisis... Something that was written in 1932 is still so pertinent, even in our world today!

My hubby and I have recently severely cut back on spending in our own house. My job, as of now, will go to half-time in July. He received a memo yesterday of severe budget cuts starting to filter down in his workplace, too. Life is uncertain right now.

On our nightly walk last night, our discussion focused on what decisions we have to begin making to protect ourselves over the next few months. Do we stop going out with friends? Do we cancel our trip to Ireland and lose some of the money? Do we put a hold on charitable giving? How far do you go to prepare for losing income? How much do you let the "possibilities" weigh on your mind, stifling how you live life?

My words to my hubby echoed the sentiment of the writing from 1932 - we're not giving up. We're keeping our eyes open and our heads up. We're going to be even more responsible with our spending - but we're still going to live. We will find ways to spend time with friends, to give to people worse off than us, and we will laugh and enjoy life as we go. We will live our lives, and not worry our precious gift of life away... Whatever comes our way, we will handle with humor, dignity, and hope. That's just who we are.

I'm kind of looking forward to becoming a "specialist at living!" :)

Many blessings - and prosperity - to you on this Thursday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Frosty, snow-covered trees this morning - BEAUTIFUL!
2. Supportive people at work. :)
3. Good hair day. LOL
4. Excited about preaching on Feb. 1st. (Good topic!)
5. Emmy Early is doing well!
6. A good meeting.
7. Matt Nathanson's song, "All We Are."
8. A "warm" day for a walk - no layers upon layers of clothes!
9. Feeling valued.
10. Thursday is my Friday!

PS: The quote for today was: "I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend... There are plenty of life's tiny delights for all of us." -- Jack Anthony

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."
--Malcolm Forbes, quoted in Treasures of a Transformed Life

How often do we put ourselves down for the things we are not? I'm not skinny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc... It's easy to compare ourselves to others and see all of our lackings, or our faults. It's easy to wish we were something else...

But I believe God created each one of us to be the person we are. I believe we were each given gifts and talents to make a mark on this world - a mark that would make at least one person's life a little easier... A mark that would show God's love to our world.

Today, I'm going to start valuing my gifts a little more. I've taken many "gift" seminars in the past few years - so I'm going to write down my gifts here. In print. A place I can check back once in awhile and remind myself... Remind myself of the gifts God has given me - and encourage myself to be using them in a way that brightens the world a little more each day.

In three different gift surveys, these were my top gifts:

1. FAITH - The enablement to act on God's promises with confidence and unwavering belief in God's ability to fulfill his promises.

2. HELPS - The enablement to accomplish practical and necessary tasks which free up, support, and meet the needs of others.

3. WISDOM - The enablement to effectively apply spiritual truth to meet a need in a specific situation.

4. ENCOURAGEMENT - The enablement to present truth so as to strengthen, comfort, or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith.

5. SHEPHERDING - The enablement to nurture, care for, and guide people toward ongoing spiritual maturity and becoming like Christ.

Some of my smaller gifts include: Adaptability, Connectedness, Developer, Empathy, and Harmony.

What are your gifts? And how will you use them to share some light?

Blessings on your Wednesday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sharing a friend's burden.
2. Prayers for the Early family!
3. A "warm" day (25 degrees!).
4. LOST season premiere!
5. Dishwashers.
6. Having a job where I can use many of my gifts!
7. 2 of my youth group kids doing a "Superbowl" children's sermon - this should be good!
8. Anticipating a fun Friday night with friends!
9. Haircuts!
10. Tears of joy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today is the Day!

2 million people are on the Mall in Washington DC... Millions more are watching from their living rooms... I am hoping to be one of them, today! (8am this morning)

Here are the Obamas, heading to their prayer service this morning - how exciting! Hope, change, and vibrancy in the White House! (This morning...)

"Within each of us lies a wellspring of abundance and the seeds of opportunity. For each of us there is a deeply personal dream waiting to be discovered and fulfilled. When we cherish our dream and then invest love, creative energy, perserverance, and passion in ourselves, we will achieve authentic success."
--A Simple Abundance

"...The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom..."
--President Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech

Interesting how my daily reading, and the new President's speech, somewhat reflect each other... There is greatness, success and dreams to be realized in all of us - whether it's to make our individual lives more authentic or to help move our community and nation forward - it's up to us to use our passion, our gifts, and our efforts to make it happen!

Here is to the dreamers, the risk-takers, and the doers who make our lives full of meaning! Here is to Barack Obama and the dreams that will become reality! Here is to a new day!

Many blessings on this momentous day!

Things I am thankful for today:
1. The hope that comes with President Barack Obama!
2. Getting to stay home most of the day and watch the inauguration on TV.
(Bailey got to spend most of the day with me, watching the news coverage, too. Something in Obama's speech must have made her teary-eyed too...)
(She got sick of TV - she batted those eyes in an attempt to guilt me into playing... It worked...)
3. Freedom!
4. Faith.
5. People's enthusiasm and excitement for this change.
6. Health.
7. Beautiful music - I loved the music played during the Inauguration! "Air and Simple Gifts"
8. Unity.
9. Finding old youth group kids on Facebook.
10. Ordering my long undies! LOL

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Light Heart

"Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy. But this requires a profound inner shift in our reality. Many of us unconsciously create dramas in our lives, expecting the worst from a situation only to have our expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Inadvertantly, we become authors of our own misfortune. And so we struggle from day to day, from crisis to crisis, bruised and battered by circumstances without realizing that we always have a choice.

"But what if you learned how to stop the dramas and started to trust the flow of life and the goodness of Spirit? What if you began to expect the best from any situation? Isn't it possible that you could write new chapters in your life with happy endings? For many of us this is such a radical departure from the way we have been behaving that it seems unbelievable. Yet it is possible. Suspend your disbelief. Take a leap of faith. After all, what have you got to lose but misery and lack?

"Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to learn through joy. It may just take you at your word. What's more, you'll discover, much to your amazement and delight, that such blessings have been waiting patiently for you to claim them all along."
--A Simple Abundance

Ha ha ha! This is so me! I used to be the overly optimistic type - annoying to all who knew me... Then I became predominantly realistic. Knowing things could go wrong, and ready to make the best of it. And now... I often find myself anticipating the worst - and being pleasantly surprised when things go well.

But there's a lot of stress in anticipating the worst... I'd like to get back to the me that couldn't wait for new possibilities and was content to find new adventures when things didn't go as planned! Maybe another New Year's resolution? I'm ready to go forth with joy - and see what happens!

Today I am thankful for:

1. My dog being home after a weekend at "Grandma and Grandpa's" house - she's always so exhausted after a visit!

2. Jerebek's Bohemian Cafe in St. Paul. Great local spot for coffee!
3. Salmon for dinner! Mmmm...
4. Martin Luther King, Jr.
5. My elliptical machine.
6. My own comfy bed - after a weekend away.
7. A quiet, lazy day with the hubby.
8. Kayla making quarter finals in a San Francisco speech tournament!
9. Bailey's Irish Cream.
10. Chapstick.

Wishing you a light heart on this Monday!

11. Dad survived a bad car accident today! The back end of his car was totaled. Thank God for BIG mercies!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Things I am thankful for today:

1. Weddings.
2. New friends.
New Dakota County friends, at Katie and Carmen Patta's wedding. Wisconsin Dells, WI.

3. Slow dances.
4. Road trips.
5. Darts - apparently I'm better than I thought! LOL
Basking in the glow of some good Darts-playing at Mulligan's, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

6. Scattergoris.
7. Starry night skies.
8. Turkeys!
9. Lasagna.
10. Sunday evening walks, and cuddling up for favorite TV shows....

Saturday, January 17, 2009


So, there's a game going around to post the 4th picture in the 4th photo album on your computer and write about it... So, I thought I'd see what I came up with. Sounds fun!

Ha ha ha! The hubby won't like this - but it's a funny story, actually!

One day, I thought I was being a good wife - volunteering to go canoeing with Mike. He hadn't really canoed much, I had; it was a gorgeous day and I thought we could go for a paddle in one of the parks he worked at. We were both excited and packed a picnic lunch - a fun day was to be had by all...

Then he packed his fishing gear... I was wondering how he would fish from the canoe... but didn't really ask questions... When we got to the park, Mike quickly learned how to portage the canoe. (Thank goodness!) We enjoyed some paddling - but it was a slightly windy day... So it took a while to get anywhere. I didn't care, though - the sun felt great!

We found a quiet spot on the lake... And Mike pulled out his rod and reel. I watched with interest as the wind blew - praying he wouldn't try to stand up in the canoe.... He only did a little. And we managed to stay upright. But the canoe kept moving (imagine that!). I would begin to paddle - to keep us out of the weeds... But then the paddle was disturbing the fish! The wind blew. We'd be in the weeds. It was hot. The fishing line was caught on stuff. Mike was getting CRABBY!

He gave up. We paddled back to shore - him in his own crabby world. Me, trying not to laugh. As we portaged to the next lake, he stepped in some mud - and it sucked the flip-flop right off his foot! Ha ha ha. The shoe was never seen again... And Mike's mood was getting fouler by the minute.

Somehow, we made it back to shore safe and sound. It was a quiet drive home. But then, there was much laughter over dinner that night! We haven't been canoeing since... That was 4 summers ago. Our next big canoeing adventure is supposed to be to the Boundary Waters...

I'm game - if there's no fishing from the canoe!

Things I'm thankful for today:

1. Pictures that remind us of funny days...
2. Laughing at ourselves.
3. Warm summer sun.
4. Big plans.
5. Picnics.
6. The smell of a lake...
7. Strong hubbies that are willing to do the heavy lifting!
8. Flip-flops.
9. Sunglasses.
10. Lessons learned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

99 Things

Things you’ve already done: Bold
Things you want to do: Italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - Leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. (December 2008)
2. Slept under the stars. (Many times! Just a couple of experiences: Once with my high school Conservation Biology Class up in northern MN in October - woke up with snow all around us! And once as part of a "Shantytown" with one of my youth groups - also in October, also woke up with frost on my face... I recommend sleeping under the stars in warmer weather!)
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. (Many cool memories with my dad, and also friends up in northern MN!)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. (We lived in southern CA for a year - season passes to Disneyland! We could see the nightly fireworks from our community pool - VERY cool!)
8. Climbed a mountain. (I'd love to... but I don't know if it would ever happen... LOL)
9. Held a praying mantis. (NO THANK YOU! GROSS.)
10. Sang a solo. (As a little kid in church musicals... Probably will never happen again...)
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (I'm assuming Lake Superior doesn't count? I have seen that - very cool!)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child. (Sort of - Compassion International...)
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. (LOL We were part of a community garden a couple of years ago - Mike did most of the work. I just enjoyed the fruits... errr... veggies... of his labor!)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. (Bus, yes. Train, no.)
21. Had a pillow fight. (Hasn't everyone?)
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (Mental health day?)
24. Built a snow fort. (The best one was at Mike's mom's house with him, his sister and nephew. Very cool!)
25. Held a lamb. (I'm addicted to petting zoos.)
26. Gone skinny dipping. :)
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. (I want to see Venice - but I hear the canals are pretty stinky...)
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. (A lot more sunsets - but I love both!)
31. Hit a home run. (LOL When would I ever play baseball?!)
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (I could see some in March when I go to Ireland!)
35. Seen an Amish community. (Plenty! Lots of family field trips as kids, and I lived near a community in WI.)
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. (Been there, done that. Not sure that I'll ever do it again...)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. (Not a pretty sight - or sound!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. (Doing a mission/service trip in Chicago - met an amazing homeless man and shared a meal. Life-changing experience.)
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (Mike surprised me with a walk on the beach, that ended in fireworks over the water when we were dating. So cool.)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted. (Drawn, not painted. I had several art major friends in college...)
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain. (Many times!)
53. Played in the mud. (Many a Boundary Waters trip comes to mind...)
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. (That's where I saw "Gremlins" as a little kid!)
55. Been in a movie. (I could have been in "Mall Rats!" LOL Half my high school was - it was filmed in Eden Prairie...)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class. (Tai Chi in college - loved it!)
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen. (Many - I love it!)
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. (And now I buy them.. Mmmm...)
62. Gone whale watching. (Beautiful.)
63. Gotten flowers for no reason. (I'm lucky. Great husband.)

64. Donated blood. (Well... I've tried. Twice. I pass out.)
65. Gone sky diving. (Twice. Awesome!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. (Unfortunately, yes. But it's been many years since that has happened.)68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (Many. I especially love "Oscar," my stuffed grumpy gorilla!)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. (On a family trip in elementary school. I'd love to go back to DC!)
71. Eaten Caviar. (I actually enjoyed it!)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. (First time there was with my sister, Emily. A VERY fun day!)
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. (Dad? Do you ever speed with me on it? LOL)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. (When I lived in small-town WI, it happened frequently!)
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox. (In 7th grade - HORRIBLE! I looked like Freddy Krueger's wife!)
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. (Shawn Mullins - singer, saw Oprah at a restaurant, one of the guys from MTV's Real World, "Blair" from "The Facts of Life")
92. Joined a book club. (Yeah, book ladies!!)
93. Lost a loved one. (Several.)
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. (A couple of times - and always in the ear! Ouch!)

Already done – 46
Want to do – 27 (Good thing I just got my passport! Looks like I have a lot of traveling to do!)
Haven’t done, no interest - 26

Today, I'm thankful for all the cool opportunities I've had in my life so far...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
--Anne Frank

I've had a lot of conversations this week about time and commitment. About priorities and how hard it is to figure them out in this day and age. How life is just so complicated.

I honestly don't get it. I've never been a person to want to do everything, to want to be friends with everyone, to feel the world would stop spinning if I said, "no." I don't get it. People who don't have time for family or close friends, for doing things for others, for finding ways to feed their spiritual life, for doing things for themselves once in awhile. I don't get it.

We make our own choices everyday about what is important to us - the world, media, and peer pressure should not be able to dictate that for us. I think it's time we all take more responsibility for our own happiness and peace in life.

Can you tell that both my "quiet time" books wrote about time commitment and priorities this morning? Both wrote that deciding what is important to you, and following that every day is how to acheive simplicity in your life. As I listen to other people talk about their schedules, their obligations, and their need to be part of everything - I realize how lucky I am that I have never felt that way. Time-wise, my life really is fairly simple. And I wouldn't change that for anything!

Life is so short - my prayer is that we can all spend each moment as a valuable gift!

Today I am thankful for:

1. My passport came! I am now a soon-to-be world traveler!

2. Andy and John.
3. "Light bulb" moments!
4. Thank you notes.
5. Funny pix messages of my niece, Finley! (If they wanted to make me smile, it worked! LOL)
6. Odwalla bars. Mmmm....
7. Mom and Dad so willing to dog-sit this weekend!
8. My new Patagonia pants - yippee!
9. Subway sandwiches.
10. Paying the Ireland bill. Done. Good thing!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
--Melody Beattie

Today I am thankful for:

1. Chocolate chips.
2. Eric Hutchinson's song "Rock and Roll."
3. Hugs.
4. Prayer.
5. Crab legs - finally! YUM!
6. Fun plans for the weekend.
7. "I love you"s.
8. Icicles.
9. The dog snoring and barking in her sleep.
10. The hope of wildflowers in Ireland in March!

Wishing you acceptance, order, clarity and peace - through gratitude!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life Lessons

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My Odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here goes:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But The second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is Special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. (Brown bag theory, book ladies?)
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come. (I happen to like this one...)
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

And... Things I am thankful for today:
1. A nice, warm, cozy home on a day when it is -18 outside!
2. Mike came home sick from work today - nice to spend some extra time together...
3. Getting lots of work done!
4. Finally getting to book group!
5. Fun and good discussions with friends.
6. New tires ON the car! Yippee!
7. Starting a good book. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle"
8. Blue jeans.
9. Car seat warmers.
10. Edy's Slow-churned Double Fudge Brownie ice cream.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, January 12, 2009


“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”--Elisabeth Foley

So true! This was the “quote of the day” in my daily quote calendar – and I couldn’t agree more! When I think of all my closest friends – including my hubby and my family – I am always surprised at all the things we are interested in, what fields we feel called to work in, where we choose to live, what stages of life we are in, what hobbies we have, our goals for life, etc! We are all SO different – yet, we so easily take the time to hear about each other’s lives, encourage and support each other in hard times, and celebrate the good times together! I am so thankful for all the friends in my life – and all the ways we continue to grow closer year by year. I love you all!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Friends!
2. Bailey's (my dog's) first romp in the new fallen snow this afternoon. Here's a pic from when she first came in:
3. New life and baby leaves on our little ivy plant!

4. A good night's sleep. Finally!
5. A canceled evening meeting = no driving tonight!
6. Playing with my camera.
7. Tangerine body scrub (from Trader Joe's).
8. Looking forward to book group tomorrow night!
9. Updating my anniversary book.
10. Health insurance.
Wishing you beautiful friendships, today and always!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


"Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message."
--Malcolm Muggeridge quoted in the book, Treasures of the Transformed Life

"God is love. Not cheap, sentimental love, but redeeming love which cannot be said, but must be seen in the way we live."
--Harry Denman quoted in the book, Treasures of the Transformed Life

Things I am thankful for on this Sunday:

1. Not getting hurt, or hitting anyone else, when my car spun out this morning.
2. Hugs and smiles from Ekemini, Rebecca, Travis, and Brittany.
3. A fun confirmation class with Samantha, Kayla, and Pat - lots of laughter! So good to be together again.
4. Getting to sing, "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" in church this morning. Love this hymn!
5. Giggles with Kelsey.
6. "First kiss" stories. Ha ha ha!
7. Re-connecting with friends from elementary school!
8. Grilling out in the middle of winter!
9. A nice, long nap!
10. My soft, blue, cheerful scarf! :)
Wishing you a love-filled week!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What a Crazy Day

"This is the season of Epiphany, when the renewal of light and revelation are celebrated in the liturgy of many Christian churches. On our new path we seek everyday epiphanies - occasions on which we can experience the Sacred in the ordinary - and come to the awakening, as Emily finally does (in the play, "Our Town"), that we cannot longer afford to throw away even one "unimportant" day by not noticing the wonder of it all. We have to be willing to discover and then appreciate the authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day."
--from the book, Simple Abundance

Today was supposed to be a lazy Saturday... Lounge around in the pjs, eat a late breakfast, do a whole lot of nothing! But, my hubby had some surprises up his sleeve... We went to REI to return an item (and then I got to order my new shoes!)... Then, out of the blue, he took me to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (a favorite place of mine - that he's never been to with me!). What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon... If I didn't suddenly feel TERRIBLE! We there an hour or so, and suddenly I was hot, and faint, and clausterphobic. Goodness. So we come home - me feeling horrible that I ruined his surprise. Then, he tells me he wants to make me dinner - crab legs! My favorite! But alas, it's a few hours later and my stomach has not returned to normal for the day... So we will see about dinner... Goodness. Another surprise ruined. I don't know what I did to deserve a day of spoiling - but apparently my body, and maybe a higher power doesn't agree that I deserve to be spoiled today... LOL Ah, what's a girl to do?!

But, in the midst of it all, there are always opportunities to look around and notice the wonders in life. So, today I am thankful for:

1. Saturday morning coffee.

2. Warm sun spots on the couch.
3. Placing the order for my new Keens! Yippee!
4. Mike setting off an alarm at the museum - Ha Ha Ha!!!
5. Mike's visible concern and care when I didn't feel good.
6. Cool air on my face.
7. Excitement for a good dinner tomorrow - assuming I feel good...
8. Good heart-to-heart conversations.
9. Looking forward to spending some time with youth group kids tomorrow.
10. A de-christmas-fied living room - so light and airy again! (Although, I will miss the tree...)

Wishing you a wonder-filled weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tangled Threads

I've started reading a chapter a day from a book, Treasures of the Transformed Life, by John Ed Mathison - suggested by one of my pastors. It's a study in "satisfying your soul's thirst for more." I liked what I read today and thought I would share just a bit:

"Delusions of Self-sufficiency:
I once read a story about a lady who went to work at a large mill, where her job was to sew. One her first day, the foreman said, 'The most important thing you need to know is this: If your threads get tangled, call me and I'll fix them.' He then pointed to a sign on the wall. There, right in front of her, was a reminder: 'If your threads get tangled, call the foreman.'

The lady sat down and began to sew. Eventually, her threads started to tangle. She thought, 'I won't bother the foreman; he's too busy. I'll do it myself.' She tried to untangle the threads, but they just became more and more tangled. Before long, she really had a mess on her hands.

The foreman came by and said, 'You didn't do what you were told, did you?' She replied, 'No. I wanted to do it myself.' Then she added, 'I want you to know that I did the best I could.'

The foreman responded, 'No, you didn't. If you had done the best that you could, you would have called me.'

Isn't that what's wrong with life most of the time? I know so many who are doing the best they can, but life is still getting all tangled up. And all they have to do - all any of us have to do - is call on the One who made our lives, who made the thread, the One who knows how to untangle it and put it all back together into something beautiful...

That's where the abundant life is found. When we're willing to believe that there really is more to this life - and that God is the only One who can provide the way - all sorts of things begin to happen. He opens his arms to us and welcomes us as friends. He helps us forget the things in our past that we'd rather not remember. He takes all those threads we've managed to tangle up and begins weaving them together into a tapestry that we couldn't previously imagine."

My tangled threads are often those things in life I have no control over. Those things I worry about, toss and turn over, and constantly try to bend to my will. It's good to be reminded every once in a while, that God is with me and God will make something beautiful out of whatever may happen. I know this to be true. It has happened many times throughout my life.

And as for the smaller things in life, that I do have control over, I know I can ask God for help. For support. For guidance. For wisdom. For strength. I've managed to make many small changes in my life over the last six months - changes that have made me a healthier and happier person. And I know that my faith in God is a large part of that!

Where are your tangled threads? Have you asked your "foreman" for help? :)

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Fridays!
2. Chocolate. (Especially the magic "Hot Cocoa Spoon"!)

3. New paw-prints in fresh-fallen snow.
4. Sore muscles after a nice, long walk.
5. Something to look forward to: a day at Aveda with Kayla!
6. Long underwear.
7. Another thing to look forward to: skyping with Emily and Finley in our pjs tomorrow!
8. Good books.
9. REI tomorrow! Ordering my new shoes!
10. 3-buck Chuck LOL

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Good Day

Life is good. I'm feeling better. The sun was shining today. There was a beautiful moon out tonight. Nothing profound to write today. Just happy.

1. Sunshine.
2. Mac and cheese.
3. Jeremy is home from the hospital!
4. Giggles over Baskin-Robbins hard candy.
5. Flooded and discombobulated office = working from home!
6. Homemade waffles in our new waffle-maker!
7. Holding hands on a cold winter's night walk.
8. Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice (guilty pleasures).
9. Knowing when to let something go. And the ability to do it.
10. Spontaniety.
11. Friends that are like family. :)
12. Laughing out loud (especially when alone).
13. The hubby.
14. The dog's obsession with eating snow.

15. Looking forward to a weekend with no plans!

Wishing you a good day, too!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intellingent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Success has so many different definitions: salary, size of house, brand of car, label on clothes, beauty, popularity, whose names you can drop... But I like Emerson's definition - laughter, love, appreciation, service, play... Helping at least one other life to breathe a little easier. I like it.

I received good news today. As one of my part-time jobs ends in June, it looks like there may be exciting possibilities in the works at my other job! My dream would be to stay on, and even go full-time, at this job. I'd love to be more involved with the wonderful group of people that make up this congregation! One step at a time... Today was another step - a step that brings me great hope and joy for the new year!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Calendars - so helpful in planning and organization! :)
2. Grandma's "bunk house" quilt - just the right warmth.

3. Rice Krispies - I still like the "snap, crackle, pop" sound they make!
4. Giggles with my boss.
5. New ideas for connecting with kids.
6. Playing "Scrabble" on Facebook.
7. Remembering we have another meal to make before needing to do the dreaded grocery shopping!
8. Good news = renewed energy!
9. Being back down to my "before the holidays" weight...
10. Refreshing, cold, water to drink.

Happy Wednesday to everyone!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just a Simple Day

"How many of us go through our days parched and empty, thirsting after happiness, when we're really standing knee-deep in the river of abundance?"
--from the book Simple Abundance.

Things I am thankful for today...

1. Flannel pj pants.
2. Baked squash with brown sugar and butter! Mmmm...
3. Antibiotics.
4. The little kid at the pharmacy that said, "that doctor was NOT NICE, mommy!" And the mommy that was trying not to crack up as she explained that doctors sometimes had to do "not nice" things to figure out what is wrong...
5. My friend, Emily's, strength as she takes care of her little girl, goes to work, and takes care of her hubby while he's in the hospital. Prayers for them are appreciated!
6. All our church members that jumped in to help when the church was flooded this morning. Prayers for the church are appreciated, right now, too!
7. Ordering new tires for my car!!!
8. Our Smokey the Bear painting in our family room - sometimes I look at it and just have to smile...

9. Friends who support the charities that are important to me.
10. Lotion - for dry winter skin!

Blessings on your day!

Monday, January 5, 2009

How nice...

I've only been writing on this blog for a couple of weeks - and I've already received a blog award! Ha ha ha - from my nice friends, Beth and Melissa (and Carol said we could bestow it upon ourselves if we thought it fit!). It's The Lemonade Award - and it says to pass it on to 10 other bloggers that show attitude and/or gratitude.

So... I say thank you to my blogging friends!

Today I am thankful for...

1. My dog letting me sleep in.
2. New pictures of my niece, Finley.
3. My hubby selling things on Craiglist.
4. A beautiful night for a walk.
5. Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on warm toast!
6. Nyquil.
7. Hot mint tea.
8. Our friend, Mark's, generosity.
9. The ability to work from home.
10. Funny emails.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm sick. I missed going to the Ordway last night to see "White Christmas" (with FREE tickets!), I missed church this morning, I almost missed saying good-bye to our friend as he left to go back to Illinois, and now my poor hubby is stuck taking care of me. I was so hoping for this to be the day that "life gets back to normal" - I guess not quite yet...

So, through my headache, sore throat, dizziness and sleepiness... these are the things I am thankful for today:

1. An understanding boss. Thanks, Penny!
2. Being missed. Thanks, Carol!
3. Hot showers.
4. Cinnamon sugar toast and orange juice.
5. Snuggles from the dog.
6. The hubby's helpfulness. :)
7. Blinds that can shut out piercing sunlight.
8. Football games that help me go back to sleep.
9. Trader Joe's gnocchi.
10. Our "magic couch."

I pray for good health for all!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2 Notes I Loved, Today...

Jan. 2nd, from A Simple Abundance:
"Time is the New Year's bountiful blessing: 365 bright mornings and starlit evenings; 52 promising weeks; 12 transformative months full of beautiful possibilties; and 4 splendid seasons. A simply abundant year to be savored."

Jan. 3rd, from A Simple Abundance:
"These are the 6 threads of abundant living which, when woven together, produce a tapestry of contentment that wraps us in inner peace, well-being, happiness, and a sense of security. First there is gratitude. When we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all that we have, we realize that we are very rich indeed. Gratitude gives way to simplicity - the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to truly live well. Simplicity brings with it order, both internally and externally. A sense of order in our life brings us harmony. Harmony provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each day, and beauty opens us to joy. But just as with any beautiful needlepoint tapestry, it is difficult to see where one stitch ends and another begins. So it is with Simple Abundance."

Ok, I wrote about my dreams for the New Year - maybe these could be my resolutions:

1. To say "thank you" every day - and write down 10 things I am thankful for.
2. To continue to simplify my life - get rid of "things" I don't need, say "no" when needed, prioritize the things that are important.
3. Be organized and plan ahead.
4. Relax. Know that it's ok if things don't go as planned - roll with the punches, and see the good in whatever happens!
5. Notice something beautiful everyday - and include it on my "thankful" list.
6. Allow joy to surface - even on the crabby days. :)

And now... 10 things I am thankful for today:

1. Seeing Em and Elly yesterday - giggles and a listening ear...
2. Our favorite restaurant and waitress - Aliza at San Pedro's in Hudson, WI.
3. My new winter hat!
4. Winning at a game of 90's Trivia!
5. Strawberry empanada's for breakfast. Mmmmm...
6. Last night's beautiful, crisp, St. Paul skyline.
7. My hubby making dinner!
8. Time to catch up on this blog!
9. A lazy day at home.
10. The wisdom and comfort of good friends!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Only Dreams Give Birth to Change...

An interesting thought... "Only dreams give birth to change..."

I was reading Jan. 1st in the book "Simple Abundance," and it challenges the reader, as the new year begins, to write down your dreams or aspirations instead of resolutions... It encourages us to "take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving source - a Sower of Dreams - just waiting to be asked to help make your dreams come true."

So, today I think about my dreams for this year and ask God for help, guidance, and wisdom in making these dreams come true:

1. I dream of good health - eating, sleeping, exercising, and taking time out for my soul to rest.
2. I dream of a home full of love, laughter, and joy.
3. I dream of a job that is fulfilling, meaningful, and uplifting.
4. I dream of taking more time for service work in the community - getting to meet the people I serve.
5. I dream of traveling - not only far away, but getting to know areas near home as well.
6. I dream of closer relationships with family and friends that live far away.
7. I dream of lazy summer days, reading fun books, by the pool. (Ok - It's COLD outside, and this is a wonderful dream!)
8. I dream of being able to hike up THE hill at Afton State Park without using my inhaler!
9. I dream of more dinner parties at our house - sharing evenings with our friends.
10. I dream of finding the time to put thoughts on this blog everyday. :)

What are some of your dreams?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day 2009

Things I am thankful for this New Year's Day:

1. Sleeping in after a late night!
2. Advil - makes the headaches go away!
3. Facebook - and catching up with long lost friends.
4. Caribou Coffee's Cinnamint hot tea - YUM!
5. Becca's smile and laughter.
6. A visit with the family.
7. "May I" card game with the family, our friend - Mark, and my sister's boyfriend - Anthony. Good times!

8. Early bed times.
9. New beginnings.
10. Hope.

Happy New Year, everyone!
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