Saturday, May 30, 2015

29 Gifts.... an Evaluation

29 days....

I don't know the magic of 29...

But I did love the project.

Waking each morning with a sense of wonder.....

What can I give today?

Occasionally tough - 'How can I possibly give today when I feel so depleted?'
I learned
I can always give something.
I had forgotten that.

Often exciting - 'What is the perfect gift for this person on this occasion?'
I learned
that while it is fine to give the same thing to multiple people in the name of simplicity.... it is sometimes a lot of fun finding something specific. 
I had forgotten that.

Sometimes redundant - 'Didn't I already give this?'
I learned
It's okay.  Sometimes redundancy means that I feel comfortable giving in a certain way.  I'm still giving.
I had forgotten that.

Gifts do not have to cost money. 'I can't give today.  I can't afford it'
I learned
Giving a gift does not always mean I have to buy something.
I had forgotten that.

Many times a gift is not a thing - a lunch out, a greeting card, being quiet.
I learned
What people need as my gift is often something I can DO.
I had forgotten that.

Giving opens my heart.
I learned
That by paying attention to what I am able to provide others, I am much more aware of not only what I already receive but also of what is available to me.  Opportunities abound.
I had forgotten that.

The greatest thing I learned is that I want to live my life giving.  I am a better person, living in the moment in a way I want to live.  Mindfulness.....

I won't continue the project specifically to record what I do.....  but I will keep up the practice on some level.  Join me!  You'll be glad you did!

29 Gifts by Cami Walker.... read it and GO!

Friday, May 29, 2015

29 Gifts.... Day 29... Staying out of the Way :-)

....  We are working on a house refinance and turned in all the paperwork right before we went on vacation.

My husband came back from vacation early because he had an agenda as long as his arm of things to do to the house before it was appraised...

And he did some of them.
But was looking for another week or so to finish.

The call came this morning

'Can I come today?'

Well... of course.... but we just got back from vacation so things are up in the air.

'No problem'

[not for the appraiser, that's for sure!  But it's a little disconcerting around here!]

I am leaving within the hour for one of my lunch dates referenced earlier in this series...

And my husband is running around like a maniac.

The best gift I can give him right now


Staying out of the way.

He needs to do whatever will make him okay with this process
which will happen while I am gone.

I could stay but that really wouldn't make things better

Strange that this is a gift... but my assuring him I will do whatever he likes
and standing back

is what he really needs right now.

I will bring wine when I come home tonight and we can swap stories.  Hmmm.. another gift, I think....

I choose ADVENTURE instead of Old Age

When I was in my 40s... and even after I turned 50... I was complacent.

I had aches and pains... I lost physical strength.. I battled depression

And I accepted it

as normal aging.... and I

gave in to it because of its inevitability.

But I found that as I used my body less

and fed it whatever was around

I grew fluffier and heavier ... and was able to DO less and less
and felt worse and worse.

I realized that every day, I was choosing Old Age... whatever that means .. and I don't want to choose that sooner than I have to.  And I won't lie to myself and be a victim of my own behavior.

I choose to move anyway.  In spite of the pain.

I mean....
if I'm going to hurt anyway...
 won't I be happier if I can continue to do what I want to do?

And today

10 years later

I look around at my peers

So many of whom can no longer walk unaided
who have contracted obesity-related illnesses [that we call inevitable]
who are on tons of medications

who are losing their health quickly.

And who cannot even conceive of a 3 mile hike.... or travel to another country... or a trip to anywhere a vehicle can't go...

What most people don't realize is that it's a daily choice.

A choice to walk even when your back hurts
A choice to forego cake and eat lettuce
A choice to walk instead of watch tv
A choice to stand instead of sit

Perhaps overweight immobility is inevitable in my future too

But not today
and not with my help.

If I can stave it off another 20 years or so..... until I'm in my 80s or later..... by eating vegetables and taking walks

I'm in!

I WANT the power to choose.  I WANT to control my own destiny.  Through mundane daily choices.

I choose to fight my fears and my pain... and keep moving.

I have a lot of ADVENTURES ahead.....

Thursday, May 28, 2015

29 Gifts Day 28... More Fabric

So.... while I travel, I go to quilt stores

I can't help it
 It's part of my fun

But I NEVER go without some agenda

Because I end up buying everything
 or nothing
Anyway - a friend who makes doll clothes

once asked me to look for something specific

So I keep it in my little list

And this time I found it

And I was telling the store owner....
who got all excited and pulled something else that she said she envisioned as part of a doll ensemble....

Yeah, I bought too much

But when I walked away

I knew two people
would be gifted with one purchase.

And that is cool.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 27.. a Referral

Nothing major....

Just one friend looking for someone to fix a fence

that I hooked up with

another friend who is one of the hardest working

and skilled carpenters I know

who also does lots of odd jobs....

Both seem pleased with the idea

and I have helped them both.

Helping is a gift.... and it is SO VERY hard sometimes to know what is helping and what is not. 

I will help my best and

ignore my doubter

and keep my joy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

29 Gifts..... Day 26.... Butting In

If you haven't figured out by now.....
I have grown into a person who pretty much backs off.

While I certainly have opinions...
strong ones...
you won't know what they are unless you ask.

And if you need help
you will probably have to ask.

Especially if you are a child of mine
and I have to dance between
being a helpful friend or an interfering or enabling parent.

At any rate, I have a situation where a child is in charge of something
and NOT asking for help

Probably because they are dancing between
asking a friend for help or running to mommy.

and my gift today

is butting in

and asking....
on helping.

It's a dance,
relationships are messy
and we are often out of sync

But sometimes the reaching out

feels RIGHT..

[and, of course, might be ALL WRONG... but therein lies the challenge and the absolute necessity of acting out of a GIVING space and not taking reactions personally]

Monday, May 25, 2015

29 Gifts.... Day 25... a life

Oh my goodness....

here at the beach this weekend

I am reminded why I really like to come off season!

Drivers in such a hurry to get wherever they are going

that traffic is heavy....  not yet at the standstill it will reach later.

A woman in a van makes a right hand turn into my lane

never even seeing me

I am grateful for both of us that I see her and back off.

I probably could have pushed my way forward and made myself visible to her - asserting my rights.... but I don't.

And she never even sees me.

Her life might have been spared because I paid attention and gave way.


It makes me wonder how many times my life and times have been spared simply because someone else noticed me and stayed out of the way.

I am grateful for those times I don't know about where I was spared.

One Sentence Journal May 18-24, 2015

Mon May 18
  Happy anniversary to me!  A quiet very lazy day still shaking off some things that were said to me and the truly sad things I feel about my relationship with that person.  My beloved came back to the beach around lunchtime and we just quietly enjoyed each other's company throughout the day.

Tue May 19
    hard to believe we are beginning our 25th year together... both seems like yesterday - and like forever... in all good and bad ways!  Marriage is truly an adventure! It was a quiet day just being together.. the adventure park for me and some great photos taken by my hubs..... celebrating with a Dairy Queen blizzard because I over extended a bit and was pretty shaky when I finished :-)  

Wed May 20
      We spent the morning being lazy - and then a run over to the quilt shop to get some more fabric for the projects for the new grand on the way.  The weather this week is absolutely fantastic.... another afternoon reading on the deck!  I am thinking I need to make sure I get at least one afternoon weekly reading on the deck at home!
  A happy accident!  I was in the office with a broken coffee carafe when I overheard the manager booking a small condo for a couple of days.  When she got off the phone I asked if there was some availability for the upcoming holiday weekend.  And, lo and behold... YES!!  For some serendipitous reason, a small one bedroom unit was open and I took it.... just to extend the beachtime for me and whoever stayed...

Thu May 21
     We spent the morning working....  our daughter & grandgirl are coming down this evening and we wanted to pack up whatever we could and get our own possessions out of the line of fire.  Poor things drove down in thunderstorms this evening.

Fri May 22..
     Breakfast out and my husband drove back home to begin to gather up the pieces of our life before I come home.  I stayed to visit with the girls.. and have beachtime and shoptime.

Sat May 23
    This morning we changed units and then spent the day shopping.  It was sunny but windy and the wind was COLD.... not a good day to spend baking in the sun - but a perfect day for shopping and girl talk.

Sun May 24
    And today was the best beach-y day yet..... but I came back home.  I almost stayed but knew I would spend the day wondering if I should have come home so.. that would have been a waste!  And, in the final analysis - I am glad I did come back... to settle in and start my week.  I begin my 6 week push to drop a few pounds TOMORROW... so it was good to get myself back together TODAY.

Weekly Goals Week 30 May 18-24

Week 8

New Goals!
      Do a dvd ONE time
      ****Plan times for dvd sessions for when I get back home [morning and/or evening]
      Do a mini-strength routine TWO times
      ****Record baseline rep numbers for exercises [ I have done this for 2 exercises]
      Watch meal/snack composition: protein, fruit/veggie, optional carb
       ***this week begin food logging**** [3 days]

     Water!  4 bottles daily [plus whatever is used in smoothies, cooking, whatever]
       did pretty well with this one!

Still not a habit:
      Record pedometer readings: Meet 6000 step average {I missed recording a couple of days - avg was 5492]
      Observe regular mealtimes: 3 mealtimes, 3 optional snacktimes.  (when this gets too complicated, I plan to wait 1.5-2 hours between eating times) [marginal]

To continue to work on:
        Whole food prep
         Morning mile [all off schedule due to vacay]

Personal:  connect with friends & family - cards? [not this week]

Business: catch up on bills, post more liturgy plans to newer website  DONE

Since I was at the beach this week.. I will repeat these next week... they are all things I am working on.. and life will be back to normal (?) when I get home....

Next week starts "Project Hawaii".  I plan to be in Hawaii in a couple of months and am going to get cracking on a 10-20 pound loss.  I will be adding at least one dvd session to each day (yikes!) and continue with the step count.  I will also be logging food and am ALMOST ready to work on calorie counting again... maybe.  I've done so much work on the food though - it's time for all over exercise and I think I have the energy to do it!

pedo readings: 4003 / 7096 / 9203 / 3040 / ? / 4121   avg 5492
   I forgot to record a few of the days.... I will be back in sync when I get home

Adventure Park musings

Tue morning: A little discouraged this morning... my upper body muscles are sore today from the adventure park the other day.  My strength feels like it is going.   But wait!  When I bought the pass in March.. I did it once and my lower body.. hips, thighs and knees hurt for days.  Today my left (weak) knee is a little creaky - but other than that, my lower body doesn't hurt at all.... so I guess the TRUTH is that the walking from the last few weeks has strengthened me.  I do have more energy (to whine about it?)... so I must be on the right path.
   Okay - not discouraged any more :-)  Talked myself right out of that one!

Sat morning... still havent' been back to the adventure park - I kind of think I need to but my knee is still acting up.  

So for myriad reasons I did not go back at all.  Still pretty scared of the highest level I achieved but am mentally preparing for next time I'm down there - probably October.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 24... A pink pail.. and mermaid stickers.

Oh my goodness...

What a day!

Absolutely gorgeous here on the beach...
though the waves were a little rough.

My 5 year old granddaughter was absolutely enthralled by the surf.

Screaming with joy as she leapt and danced in the brilliant sun

I remembered my own visceral experiences of the sea as I danced with her.

I tired and returned to my blanket.. and she,
of course,
did not.

She began work on a sand castle
with her new shining pink pail.

Dashing back and forth filling it from the incoming tide.

I kept a watchful eye because the surf truly was
treacherous today.

And, there it was,

The wave that knocked her down.

Up like a flash, grandmother and mother streaked to her and lifted her up
All the while she was screaming hysterically.

It took a minute to recognize her howling
was not for her own fall
but for the beloved pink pail
Being tossed
Just out of reach.

One held the child.... and one chased the pail.
 Child safe...... pail gone to be a plaything of something or someone else another day.

This chapter closed...... we headed back to the condo to calm ourselves and find another activity for the afternoon.

We ran an errand
We drove a bit
And we shopped

And found

A pink pail to purchase.

And glittery mermaid stickers just because.

This giving thing..... while it sometimes takes money..... it's not about money per se.  It's about filling a need.... an exchange to and from hearts

A $2 pink pail

from my heart

to hers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

29 Gifts.... Day 23.. Money

Planning a party is not my gift

at all

I used to love to throw parties

but have been surrounded for too long by people who either

a) hate parties


b) have such high expectations that I lose confidence

I mean - to me

a party is simply a chance to get together

coffee.... lunch..... friendship

That's it - so I don't appreciate the stress of providing the perfect appetizer or party favor.  My standards are very low.  More people = more food..  that's it.

Anyway - a friend is throwing a shower for another friend.  And it is a big stressor for her.  I offered to help

BUT I'm not stressing over a cupcake.

It isn't happening.  I'm not going to get caught up in it.

So I already know that whatever I cook or make or whatever... will not stand up to Pinterest expectations... so I'm not going there.

I decided that the best thing for me to give is TIME (I will be the worker bee on the day of the shower)

and MONEY.

X dollars (over what I already said I'd buy).

I told her I hadn't reached my budget number yet... so I sent her the difference.

In a check.

So she can do what she needs to do to feel that she did it right.
And I will be there early the day of... to do whatever she needs to have done.

(I'm helping my friends even though I do not (choose not to) understand the issue)

Friday, May 22, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 22... a beach weekend

so... you know I'm at the beach, right?

well.. my daughter and granddaughter are coming down to join my husband and me for a little vacation.

Not really hard since the condo has another bedroom.

We will have fun together!

But my daughter has a 4 day weekend... and had forgotten that our week is over Saturday morning... so pretty much she will get here Thursday night and have to leave Saturday.

Well.... here is what happened today:

The air-conditioning went out in our unit and I went to the office to tell them and get a repair person out.

As I walked in, I heard her on the phone with someone talking about a vacancy.... and I heard enough to understand that there is a small unit on premises that they lease out by the night.


when she got off the phone, I asked the question.... is there any chance that you have a vacancy this upcoming weekend?

 [of COURSE I already KNEW there couldn't be because it is Memorial Day weekend at the beach in an oceanfront complex!]

But... guess!

Yes.... in fact this particular small one bedroom unit is available Saturday and Sunday night for a price LESS than one night in an inexpensive hotel.

So I booked it.

I may or may not stay with them.... my husband certainly will head back home.

But it makes me smile that I could share a 4 day beach weekend with them :-)

I must say that my focus on the giving project is making me much more attuned to my environment...... and more willing to speak up and ask.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

29 Gifts...... Day 21.... Keeping my mouth shut

I never realized how hard it would be

to wake up every day knowing you are going to give and putting a name to that gift.

So much giving comes naturally to me, I thought.

But some days I do not feel inspired

Some days I am drained




and hiding inside myself.

Last night I received some criticism about my parenting style.

From one of my kids.

I don't mind the criticism exactly but the hypocrisy bugs me a lot.

And I don't care for dealing with judgmental people...

even if they are my own :-)

I am glad that life is so black and white for them.  It will not always be so - especially as they deal with their children :-)

But at any rate

I am not feeling like giving.

It is hard to think of something to give when you are healing your own wounds.

So my gift is my silence.   I will not engage.

 I will not defend my actions.  Because I have thought them through and made my own choices.  Because I can.

Time will be my ally

I will heal.

My critic will continue to age and learn.

And life will go on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

29 Gifts Day 20.... Adding to the groceries

Not a big one today....

I am running out of ideas...

But I did have to buy groceries....

and there was a guy

at a table

collecting for the local food bank.

I pass up lots of people, but rarely the food bank...

My heart sank because I feel such a

lack of inspiration today.

But as I walked by

He handed me a slip of paper

that listed their current needs.

Thank you, universe, for handing me the exact gift I needed today.

The means by which I can be a gift to someone else.

Just enough inspiration to locate the tab top protein product that most people won't buy [because macaroni and cheese is cheaper and easier and still needed]

Groceries that I take for granted

That is my gift today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

29 Gifts.. Day 19.. a Car wash and a Choice

Well.... I had a 3 hour trip to make

so I couldn't take the time to get my car washed...

But I told the three girls with the sign

that I would give them a donation when

I left the store.

I'm sure everyone told them that

and they ambushed me again

as I left.

But I was ready for them

I put a cash donation in their box

and asked them to tell me why they were standing in the hot sun raising money.

They were exuberant and joyful and told me

all the good things the car wash money would do.

I thanked them for their hard work

and gave them each a personal dollar

to buy a drink

or make a donation

or share with the others

or whatever.

a Choice.

Sometimes I think we forget that it is simply because we HAVE

that we can make the choice to GIVE.

Today I gave money to the fundraiser

and a choice to the girls.

Monday, May 18, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 18... A Kiss

I am leaving for the beach

and my husband is leaving for a car show.....[beach most likely tomorrow for him]

He is leaving at 6am.....  and I am leaving around 10

I always get up when he leaves just to see him off......

I always make coffee and fix him a cup for the road

I always wish him well and safe travels...

I usually give a hug

But I don't always stop him and give him a parting kiss.

Hugs, yes..... but he deserves more.

We've been married a long time and have fallen into

Being used to one another

And that's okay

That's even good.

But we deserve more.

We deserve to live every day like a honeymoon.


I gave an extra

a kiss..

and think that's a habit I need to bring back into our lives...

One Sentence Journal May 11-17, 2015

Mon May 11  Long day as Mondays generally are!  Headed out for a dental appointment... worked at the Busy Bea... picked up and visited with my grandgirl.... made that lunch appointment for later this month... picked up my CSA box.... and popped into the library.   Low step count.. but lots of miles covered!  And an evening together as we watched Dancing with the Stars....

Tue May 12.... home and chores!

Wed May 13... lunch with a great friend who was my pastor for several years.  He's moved to another church... but still my pastor in my heart.

Thu May 14... I got caught up with stuff at home and didn't get to my craft group today.... my phone stopped working and I totally lost track.  Kind of crazy day.. nothing quite went wrong... nothing quite went right... beautiful weather and a lackadaisical me

Fri May 15.. what a day!  Leaving for the beach tomorrow and yet a full day of traveling.  Lunch with my son on his campus - which was planned - and dinner with hub's relatives which wasn't.... and a ton of driving in between.  we were gone from 9am til 7pm....  the bonus was that we were together!  We do road trips well so that part was great!  Tomorrow will be rough though....

Sat May 16... I called it!  The hubs left for a car show a 6am and I putzed around trying to get myself packed and out the door.  I did.. but kind of wound my way around... heading from stop to stop because I couldn't quite wrap my head around doing the whole trip.  Silly, I know... weather was great and there was no reason why I wasn't absolutely on top of things.... BUT I wasn't and that is that.   Finished up the day with finishing a novel out on the deck... and then a Dr Who marathon working on a gift afghan...  and a surprise :-)  Evidently the car show wasn't all that great so my beloved left early and headed on down to the beach....

Sun May 17
  Life is so weird.... my poor husband is headed back home to rescue my son's girlfriend stranded with a broken down vehicle... had he left the truck at home, my son could have rescued her but he wanted to do a little work on it this week while we hung out.

We went to the First Flight Adventure Park this morning and I managed to do the same 2 levels I did in March.  Man, it's scary... but it does feel good to stare down your fear and rely on your intellect.  The park is open every day now so I will go again tomorrow and see if I can match that and do one more level...  SO GLAD I bought an off season pass in March!

My young adults at home had a car issue and were stranded and my husband went to their rescue.  So I am on my own tonight until tomorrow afternoon.  hmm.....

Weekly Goals Week 31 start May 11 - 17, 2015

Week 7

New Goals!
      Do a dvd ONE time...done.... ONE
      Do a mini-strength routine TWO times  Mon, Wed, Thu
      Meal composition: protein, fruit/veggie, optional carb
      Water!  4 bottles daily [plus whatever is used in smoothies, cooking, whatever]

Still not a habit:
      Record pedometer readings: Meet 6000 step average  [6129!  Done]
      Regular mealtimes: 3 mealtimes, 3 optional snacktimes.  No grazing

To continue to work on:
        Whole food prep
         Morning mile

Personal:  greeting cards [haven't done any cards - but AM getting in touch in person and scheduling lunches - so the end game is being met]
Business: clean desk area, catch up on bills, post more liturgy plans to newer website
     [some.. will get more done next week for end of month work]

Pedometer readings....  Last week's goal was to hit an average of 5620 and I blew it out of the park!  This week, I'll up the goal to 6000 (significantly lower than I reached last week, but higher than the week before... let's see what happens!)

pedo  5240 / 8379 / 5380 / 5240 / 6433 /8473 / 3760   avg = 6129

Meal comp - I want to keep an eye on this - It may be where the carb-loading happens

Can't say I've done well this week.  Walking was good - meals were random... water was better.  BUT... determination is creeping in.. I am just about ready to jump on board with Project Hawaii.  The projected trip is mid-July.... so I am stating here that I am starting a notebook to log my food [on paper, not here]... perhaps count calories... up the daily exercise by using dvds along with the pedometer - and really go for it.  I did lose a lot of weight several years ago and I remember feeling a lot better.

My energy is beginning to increase - I think because of the focus on whole foods ..  But I have definitely noticed things changing as the weight has come on.

I had lost down to 143... which is great but unnecessary.

Problems started coming back around 170...  general discomfort.  Asthmatic symptoms showed up around 175.... and lately.. more back pain and joint discomfort upon waking up in the morning.  So... the time has come.

20 pounds.

I'm almost there in my head....

Sunday, May 17, 2015

29 Gifts..... Day 17... Grace

Yesterday didn't go as planned

And I was off-kilter...

I woke in the same state...

I am leaving for our annual anniversary beach week tomorrow

Today I had a lunch planned with my son an hour and a half away at his college...
   and last night, my husband's dad called and said he was visiting his other son and could he come down Saturday to see us.  Of course, we are leaving tomorrow so that doesn't work...   He suggested he come to our house - but that is hard too with a variable time frame.  So we headed to meet at a restaurant up that way... (this is THREE hours from where we met our son).

Long story short.... we all had dinner out.  My father-in-law, my husband, myself, his brother and wife.    I can't remember when that happened last.  Not a warm fuzzy family at all.

But it's okay.

Family is messy.  And there isn't an easy way to put that.

Being somewhat estranged is more the norm than an exception, I find.

It's hard enough to figure out your own expectations
then the expectations of those you live with

Never mind those you DON'T live with.

So there it is.


We spent the whole day driving

We worried about how all of it would go

We dealt with a lot of traffic for some reason

and we survived it together.

That's enough.

I give Grace.

Grace for me, for my husband, for my son, for my husband's people.

I wish family was easy.

But it isn't.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 16... Lunch again.. who is the Gift For?

Remember last week's attempt at lunch?

And serendipitous connecting with someone I see all the time (but we don't take the time just for each other?)  I just looked back and it was Day 9.

Today is the "official" lunch connecting with someone important who I haven't seen in probably a YEAR.

A good friend who had to move

And I missed terribly.

But I have been  in a fog for a few years....  fighting depression and so many things

And I let him go

Like I let others go as I wallowed around trying to find my way out of the morass

But today

As I spend my days trying to give gifts.....

I realized that this lunch,
this conversation,
this reaching out,
this time

is a gift to both of us.

Maybe even more to me.

So does it count as a gift for the 29 day gift project?
If I get a benefit, does it count?

I think so.... but I doubled the tip for the server just in case...

Friday, May 15, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 15.... Receiving

Oh my goodness.....

It's weird....

I didn't start this in order to receive....

And actually, I already was a giving person... I mean people even called me that.

But to intentionally wake up each morning with the thought..
  "What can I give today?"

Makes me much more aware of the gifts that are coming INTO my life...

I'm not at all sure that I am receiving more.....

But maybe I am more aware..

But I must say I was shocked out of my mind to find that a used book
an out-of-print title
that I have searched for...


and it has either been unavailable....

or cost hundreds of dollars

I just found on amazon

for $17.

[which led me into a discussion with my husband.... who confessed he'd been hunting for one he could not find either....... and when I looked.... there it was... again for a price I can afford..... and I am ready and excited for Fathers Day!!] [Lucky for me, he doesn't read my blog...hee.hee.....]

Thursday, May 14, 2015

29 Gifts..... Day 14 Intentional Giving

Mothers Day was this past weekend....

And it is usually a difficult day for me..

Not this year :-)

BUT that is not the purpose for this entry....

Today I wanted to share about intentional giving in a specific sense...  I have several people I gift regularly... (like my kids!)

But on gift days, I tend to give multiples.....

for example,

I usually give my girls Mothers Day gifts...  but I give all three of them the same thing...  I have given gift cards, lunch bags, flowers.... and I try to add notes to tell them how proud I am of them.

But this year....

I went separate.

To my eldest, very pregnant stay-at-home mom daughter who will be in a wedding this weekend.... a gift certificate for a pedicure at the spa she directed me to.

To my middle single mom daughter.... a new exercise dvd that she wanted and some money for her 5 year old daughter to treat her with :-)

And to my youngest just-moved mom daughter.... her favorite flowering shrub specially grown for her neighborhood.. ready to plant and bloom later this summer.

A little more work.....

A lot more fun in the giving....

And totally a great project!

Now - don't get me wrong.... I am still in favor of multiple gifts when it simplifies my life.  I'm just grateful for the focus on giving right now because it really helps me take the time to SLOW DOWN

and ENRICH my life :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015......Just one more Day

Today I am exactly 7 months away from my 60th birthday.

The day my father's life ended.

It makes me STOP and ask:

Where am I and how do I want the rest of my life to go?

If I live until tomorrow, all the time left to me is 'extra'.

What can I do with one more day?

And maybe another

and another

I have the possibility of answering that question.  It is a gift that my father did not receive.

I resolve to spend my life.

to live it

to put one foot in front of the other every day

as long as I am humanly able..

to keep myself as physically


emotionally fit

as possible....

to share but not deplete myself

to honor the gift I have been given

What can I do with just one more day?


29 Gifts... Day 13 Simply a Seat

I do love free breakfast.....

And when we travel, we usually stay at a hotel that offers it.

It was crowded that morning... there was to be a wedding and this was where most participants were staying...

We eat early so we had no trouble....

BUT we were chatting.. lingering over coffee....

and first... one person asked for a chair from our table

And then I noticed another group needing a chair so I motioned to them to take our extra...

My husband was talking to me

and I was listening, really :-)

But I saw a woman set her tray down at a table and hunt for a second chair for her partner....

One table of people said no

At the next, a woman had her purse on the extra chair and she was oblivious (as we all too often are)

So the woman went back to her seat and grabbed the two plates and started moving further away looking for another spot to sit....

As she came near us (passing), I put my hand on my husband's arm and said -  we are finished....  take our table.

The look on her face was priceless.  And grateful.

And we moved on......

In the elevator, my husband of very few words turned to me and said

Thank you.  I am glad you noticed she needed help.

His noticing.

A gift for me :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

29 Gifts.... Day 12 Information and encouragement

While traveling I popped into a quilt store...

Just to look..... [yeah right :-)]

I AM proud of the fact that I have a running list of projects I want to work on - AND I want to complete.... so that I have a running list of types of fabric needed.   It helps me when I walk into wonderland (quilt shop!) to have a focus.   It helps me NOT buys what strikes my fancy - though I usually buy at least ONE item just because... and it works its way into a project after that...

Anyway...... as I was checking out, I chatted with the owner and she was a font of info that I could take back to the shop where I work.  I am always on the lookout for ideas to help boost business.. because of life events, my shop is having some struggles. 

So I listened.

And asked questions.

And took flyers

And ideas.

And brought them back to my quilt shop owner.

And, because I know that I totally overwhelm her with enthusiasm (because I am me :-)....  I spent a good bit of time with her assistant.  She is much better able to encourage and help and pick and choose what will and won't work.

But at least

I gave information and new ideas.

It's not up to me where they go from here :-)

Weekly Goals Week 32 May 4-11, 2015

Week 6.....

New Goals!
      Do a dvd ONE time... [nope!  This remains a THINKING goal apparently though I am closer all the time to setting up a "program" for a while to lose some weight]
      Do a mini-strength routine TWO times - Mon, Wed, Thu

Still not a habit:
      Record pedometer readings:  Increase daily average by 100 steps to 5620
      Regular mealtimes: 3 mealtimes, 3 optional snacktimes.  No grazing  [most days went fairly well.... but I see that being lax on this will be a problem]

To continue to work on:
        Whole food prep
         Morning mile

Personal:  greeting cards[didn't get them done - but DID set a lunch date with one of the people]
Business: clean desk area, catch up on bills, post more liturgy plans to newer website 


Pedo readings:  Mon
     Last week's daily average was 5515....   7383 /12500 /6670 / 6357 / 7240 / 7198 / 5240

this week's average?  7513 Boom!

Mini-strength routine... My goal of doing a dvd is primarily to add to my movement and get stronger.  A stepping stone to this is a mini-strength routine.  I know a fit person who has a specific set of exercises she does every day before she showers.  I have tried this several times and am starting AGAIN.  I just have to remember - and do 10 each of a couple of exerciese.

   Daily one Sentence journal
   Business: EOM bills  DONE

   Personal:  write 3 cards to friends [supplies gathered, friends identified]

One Sentence Journal May 4- 10, 2015

Mon May 4.. A normal day... but a beautiful one.... one of those... 'all is right with the world' days.. nothing special to write about but oh so good to recognize and be grateful for!

Tue May 5.. a copperhead snake .... and an out-of-print book I have been looking for - for years!  A trip to get the car worked on.. and dropped in to the garden store and found some lettuces, chard & tomatoes that grabbed my eye...
walked to town in the lovely sunshine and worked in the garden beds too - I will be sore tomorrow!

Wed May 6...
      oh yeah - I am sore :-)  But pleased....  Did a bit in the yard today - I will need to do a little bit each day now for a while...  a little bit of sewing and popped over to a friends for a surprise lunch visit.  Got new lettuces & chard in the ground this evening..

Thu May 7   My craft group meets today and I can't wait to go.  I've missed the last few weeks.  These ladies always lift me up.  It's a gift to me when I get myself over there!  And a surprise!  Last time I was there I mentioned to one of the quilters that I'd like to learn what she was doing.....  AND she had written up a whole explanation for me.  I am so excited about it!  Can't wait to put it into action :-)

Fri May 8... Getting kidnapped today for Mothers Day weekend....  We headed out for the mountains.... nothing I love better than a road trip!

Sat May 9....  visited the Scrappy Apple quilt store in Winchester, VA.... discovered a car show.. and enjoyed a tour of Belle Grove plantation and a beer / ale tasting.  The weather was exquisite... and we had a blast!

Sun May 10..... headed over to Luray caverns... what an amazing site!  How did I not manage to get the boys there when we were homeschooling?

Monday, May 11, 2015

29 Gifts.... Day 11.. Thanks and praise

I received a gift

of an experience.

I was surprised.

I did not anticipate it or plan it.

While thrilled at the opportunity, I have my own opinions as to how things might go.

But this was a gift

from the heart.

So I did not offer any opinions....

Except thanks.

And praise for a job well executed.

I really had a wonderful time... and while I wrestled with my bleeding tongue [from all the things I did NOT say]

I have to admit that I totally LOVEd

the intense joy this person experienced

simply because all I offered was thanks

and praise.

The experience bonded us both in a wonderful way :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lesson from Mom .... for those hurting today...!

Mothers Day

A day we appreciate and show love to our mothers.

A day we receive love and appreciation from others.

But some of us can't.

There's just pain.....

Because we lost our mothers.....

Or our mothers were not the mothers we wanted...

Because we aren't or can't be mothers....

Because we aren't celebrated the way we wish we could be...

Because we are alone now...

Truth is..

we are NOT ALONE..

While sometimes in life it's a joyous day -

Quite often it is a painful reminder...


[yeah, I know - not that simple]

BUT anyway....

Don't sit there feeling sad - DO something!

Take a walk.

Make a list of people you can write a card to.

Take pictures of flowers.

Treat yourself to something that makes you smile.

Get out of your house.

Stay IN your house.

Get in touch with your deepest heart and DO something that makes you smile.

And be satisfied.... and grateful....

and make this day count.

This is my advice.....

Because I love you.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

29 Gifts... Day 9 Fabric.. and a surprise!

I'm a new quilter

And I love fabric

If you know sewists... you know we like to see it.... touch it.... play with it..... hoard it :-)

Last week at my craft group meeting, I overheard one of the other ladies talking about a quilt she was making... with very small pieces... and she wanted each of the pieces to be a different fabric.

In case you are wondering - that is like having several hundred different colors and prints of fabric.

Anyway... since I have been sorting through my stash and making scrappy sorts of things this year....  I have lots of little pieces already cut and sorted by color.

Today I took my little bags of small pieces as a surprise so she go through them and take anything she can use.

As predicted, she was thrilled! 

But what surprised me.... I had also mentioned to her in passing that I would like to learn the technique she was using.  It is portable and done by hand but looked like something I could take with me and do with a minimum of fuss and clutter when I travel.

She had taken the time to write out detailed instructions and attached samples so I could figure it out on my own.  Seriously - detailed like a lesson plan [or online video tutorial]

Now I am the one THRILLED!  What a gift back - totally unplanned for by either of us!

Friday, May 8, 2015

29 Gifts..... Day 8... Accepting a Ride

I walk for exercise.

I live in the country and am known as eccentric because I do not own a golf cart to get myself from Point A to Point B [typically anything from a quarter mile to 2 miles].

A trip into town to stop at the library and the post office is about 4 miles round trip - and I consider it a good use of an hour and a half to walk in to take care of those errands.

Anyway... I was on my way back home with about a half mile to go when I passed a neighbor's house.

She was getting in her cart to head to my next door neighbor's home.

I waved and kept walking as usual.

She backed out and came up behind me as I continued on.

She stopped and said, "I know you walk for exercise, but I would be glad to give you a ride."

My initial reaction was to say.. "Thank you anyway, I like to walk"

But I didn't.

For some reason.... for the first time ever...  I said, "Sure.... it's not far but I've walked a lot already today."

And I got in.

Oh my goodness....  she started talking and it was non-stop until she dropped me at my door.

I thanked her so much for her kindness.....

but got the feeling indeed

that allowing her to give me a ride

was a gift to HER.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

29 Gifts Day 7... Flowers :-)

It was a gorgeous day today!

Perfect for a little yard work.

I haven't been able to get out much this year.. the pollen is messing with my asthma something fierce....

And there are a lot of flower beds to clean out.

I love iris.  And purple ones.

Which is funny because I do not like purple

Except in iris, violets, lilacs and wisteria (and I am sure there are more purple flowers that I would love)

I digress.

Back to my gift.

I have a beautiful large frilly deep purple and white one that has been proudly showing off this whole week.  It's the first to bloom and it seems to know it!

I remembered that a friend mentioned several years ago that she would love some purple iris.  And she is, in fact a much better gardener than I.  I lean toward plants that God takes care of.. you know- the ones that you can ignore and they come back and surprise you year after year?  Those plants.  Like iris :-)

Anyway....  I saw that proud iris.... and plucked it up from the ground..... from the roots... bagged the roots (leaving a bit of one for me for another year) and took it to my friend.

Her smile was a gift to ME.

[Day 6 Lunch update..... my invitee was not available for the specific day I had in mind... so we scheduled for next week AND I called my next.. and we had an impromptu lunch visit today!  So this is a two for one :-)  I do have a quite a few people I'd like to connect with so I think I will set aside one day a week [ISH] to connect.... stay tuned!]

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What if you Don't Have a Mother?

I find Mother's Day to be hard.

I mean.....

my mom died.

in 1996.

And it still hurts my heart.

I am married to a man who loves me dearly but doesn't much understand celebration.

It was even hard for a long time to let my kids do for ME....  because this day used to make me so unhappy.

So Mothers Day was a day I tried to just get through.


the day I discovered the JOY

of celebrating other mothers.

I have some women in my mom's generation that have mothered me as well....  I began to send them cards.

My daughters have become mothers... so I have an opportunity to share with them how proud I am of the nurturing women they have become.

I have friends who have nurtured me in different ways that I can show appreciation to.

So.... okay.. I DO have a mother

the BEST mother out of this world

and the best I can do for HER...

is to share that love I can't show her

with others I care about.

[Of course I have to add that since I wrote this.... Mr. Wonderful has asked me to go away for the weekend....  so those extra cards just might be late.  I am a lucky woman indeed] 

29 Gifts Day 6.... an invitation to lunch

Today was hard.

I mean it was an ordinary day.   I knew I was supposed to give something away..

And I looked for that opportunity.


I picked up my son on my way to work as usual... and we had an hour to chat together. 

At work I spent my time on today's project - planting the flowers outside the quilt shop.... and I made a TON of trips back and forth to the bathroom with a large cup to water them all.

And then I took my son to lunch before I dropped him off at his class.

And went to have my nails done... and begin my Mother's Day purchases (a gift certificate for a pedicure)

But this was nothing out of the ordinary.

I stopped at the library on my way home and left a bag of hand-knit slippers [not by me] with a friend to deliver to the VA... I've been hunting for this friend for a few weeks now as I run errands..  and received a library volunteer gift.

And came home to my husband doing yardwork...  so I unloaded the car and began to work on washing dishes, etc.  We scored a free dinner out of refrigerator leftovers!  Whoop!

And then we watched Dancing with the Stars....  tonight I didn't do handwork...  I shared a glass of wine with my husband at his invitation.

A basic day...

then I realized that I have planned a free day this week.... and have issued an invitation to lunch.   I will have to wait for the answer.... but have a list of other people I have promised to 'catch lunch sometime' with.... and will work on a lunch date with somebody!  

[As I read this back I see about a zillion things I gave... from a ride to town and lunch for my son... to help with planting flowers at the shop... to an extra tip at the salon.. and the gift certificate...etc...  They all count..... but I want to do something I wouldn't ordinarily do!
  My new awareness however.. made me AWARE that my friend was st the library... that my husband wanted to share some downtime...   AND that awareness is part of a process I am excited about!  I will keep you updated about the LUNCH!]

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Who Do I Want to Be?

At my stage of life... I feel like I am on the cusp of so many things....

But yesterday a health situation knocked me in the head...

I will preface this by saying that I am in good health.

Cholesterol and blood pressure slightly elevated but the good numbers in there are also elevated.. so time to work on diet a little.

But I see my peers... and there are two distinct camps at my age.....

those that are still physically able

and those that are not.

Barring specific illness or injury [my own situation]....  I feel strongly I am on the cusp of a decision....

Just as heart disease and diabetes and more are clearly most often diseases of lifestyle... I am feeling that much of 'old age' is the same.

I can succumb to the daily aches and pains and stop moving [and stay that way]
Or I can keep moving at my pace - and a little harder - and be strong for years.

Who do I want to be?

The little old lady jumping from a plane at 70 to skydive?
The little old lady humped over who can barely move her body from one place to another ?

Ummm.....  yes.....  I will make the DAILY choice to grow up to be the skydiver.


What I keep remembering is when I used to hear that I shouldn't cross my eyes because they might freeze that way... did you hear that?

Of course that doesn't happen.

But I am more and more convicted that if I don't move my limbs... in all directions and often...

they will in fact freeze that way....

and, while that may indeed happen to me,

I refuse to allow it to happen BECAUSE I made the choice NOT to MOVE.

29 Gifts... Day 5.... Encouragement...

I was leaving Walmart with a cart of stuff

and after I loaded my car

I went to put the cart back.

The open rack was full.

So I was going to put mine in the wrong side just to get it there and move on.

But the gentleman who arrived just after me...


looked at the carts and saw there was a jam

and started to straighten them out

My gift today is awareness and encouragement.

I didn't return to my car oblivious.

I helped him and thanked him for encouraging ME.

Is it a gift to the man?

Don't know.. I mean he did what he chose to do... so maybe.

But it was a gift to the cosmos.... and probably to the person who had to round up the carts later...

A small thing.... but we got them straight so the next person had a place for their cart..

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekly Goals Week 33 April 27 - May 3

week 5
    Detox breakfasts (Pam Peeke) [Done & prepped for next week: 5 yogurt/fruit bowls & hard-boiled eggs for quick wraps]

    Ttapp basic or Walk Away Pounds dvd X ONE  [still didn't get here!  BUT I DID put exercise clothing in the exercise room - but moving the # of times in my goal to ONE and removing yet another obstacle [excuse], I am coming closer to the work!]

    Morning mile X 5 [DONE]

    Make 1-2 recipes out of the 100 Days Real Food cookbook -  Whole Wheat pancakes, Perfect Omelet,

    Eat at regular mealtimes -  Missed one day, this is working

    Schedule the CSA produce box  DONE - starts May 9

  Find pedometer, get it operational and record steps [ pedo readings: 4629 / 5380 / 5547 / 3983 / 5560 / 7992

   Daily one Sentence journal
       & "if I were to die tomorrow" exercise

   Business: EOM bills  DONE

   Personal:  write 3 cards to friends [supplies gathered, friends identified]

Taking a break from the logging processed food.  The goal was to be mindful of the food I am eating in a state processed by someone else!

This week I am going to try and focus on eating at regular intervals - aka NOT GRAZING.   I will eat a breakfast, (optional mid-morning snack 10ish), lunch, (mid-afternoon snack - tea?), dinner and (optional evening snack).   Snacks if I feel hungry... but defined snacks, not pantry-grab grazing, know what I mean?  Sit down to a balanced food offering.
Pedometer in place by Monday night - go me!  And here's the story.. I found it and it needed a battery.. well, they come in twos - so I had one in the fridge.  The pedo has a tiny screw and my hubby offered to handle it.  I thanked him and left the pedo and battery on the kitchen counter Sunday night.  Of course, more important things came up and it was still there Monday morning.  I ran errands on Monday and decided that I would purchase the screwdriver I needed (starting a small collection of tools I can locate - aka MY toolbox :-) and handle it myself.  And I did.  A $2 outlay toward my own independence.  And the best part?  I didn't say even one thing about it - no nagging, no 'guilt'ing, just take care of myself.  Done.

  He handles all the maintenance - mostly because he knows where the tools are - not because I am unwilling.  That can be fixed.  Inexpensively.  And I can feel more independent. And he can feel less like he is responsible for everything.  It's good.

Trying to add the green smoothie as one of my food/snack options along with the breakfast protein..

The cards - it is a desire of mine to keep up with friends - especially those not on Facebook that I never get around to seeing or keeping in touch with.  I have a TON of family pics I got to send in the Christmas cards that didn't happen... so I want to send them with HELLO notes to my important people... BUT.. like the dvds, I can't seem to get there from here!   So this week my FIRST goal is simply to get the cards, address book, pictures and stamps together - and maybe address the 3 cards!   Step by step.... I need this 'keeping in touch' to become a habit!

Also - started the 29 gifts project.... giving away 29 gifts in 29 days....  looking forward to seeing a transformation in attitude :-)

One Sentence Journal Apr 27 - May 3

Mon Apr 27 -glad to be able to check back in at the quilt shop today - and spend time with my son.  Our weekly hour-long rides are good for chatting!  And... wonder of wonders... I found out of stock yarn at walmart that I was looking for AND a cherokee purple tomato... THE best for eating in my humble opinion :-)  Picked up basil and dill too so I should be good to go except for some random pepper plants and a pear cherry if I find it :-)  If I get ambitious, a couple more roma tomato plants would be good....  but I do have friends ready for me to pick their stuff this year so I should be overloaded as the summer progresses anyway.

Tue Apr 28 - HOME..... asthma kicking up with the sunshine and wind.... so I didn't push very hard today.  Yardwork needed to happen but not the best option for me!  I did work a little in the beds and got the plants I bought yesterday in the ground.  A little extra housework to keep chipping away at the clutter.... some cooking to work with using and preparing REAL food and some quilting.  A good day!

Wed Apr 29 - worked my last shift (for this period) at the library. And then home.  I am working hard - at least mentally :-) - on making sure I declutter one or two things daily.  I have a stash in my home and need to find an outlet for excess goods!  At least I have a place where the outgoing stuff lives..... and it cannot come back!   We burned a pile of brush tonight.. finally!  Between work, weather and wind, we have not been able to burn for a month or more... and we really need to do more clearing.

Thu Apr 30 - Home for the morning - bills and paperwork and a bit of quilting.  I really do need to share some of my projects here!  And then off to see my crafty friends.  I love those ladies so much - it's a bright light in my week when I can manage it.

Fri May 1 - a new month! And the launch of my 29 Gift program outlined in other posts...  Another rainy day - time to get some indoor chores out of the way so I can take a long walk tomorrow!

Sat May 2...  A sunny day.. perfect to tackle some of the garden work on my agenda.  But I didn't do near as much as I'd hoped... I kept getting tired.. dizzy when I stood up.. a little winded.  I think the pollen was getting to me!  But since I did get some weeding & planting done.. I am moving forward!  And a surprise date night made it all better :-) [and... a total surprise out of the blue.... him: are we doing anything next weekend?  me: I don't think so, why?  him: because if I have my dates right, it's mothers day and I thought we might go away for the weekend....  ]   wow.....

Sun May 3 ... My last day preparing children's church packets for my old church.  And now.. a new adventure while I begin hunting for a spiritual community.  I am so mixed about what I need - or have to give - a community.... this will take time but I am surprisingly okay with it.
    Spoke with my coach today and received encouragement enough to keep going for a bit!  One of the best things I ever did for myself is find someone to help me muddle my way through :-)

  AND... saw an eagle swoop down to the river for an afternoon snack.... oh my goodness.... how beautiful was that!

29 Gifts.. Day 4... Plants?

So..... it was a day where I woke up knowing I was to give something away....  and I did.

Two plants almost 7 feet tall found a new home with a friend who runs a Bed and Breakfast nearby.

But I keep finding myself negating my gifts.

Does it count?
    I promised them to my friend a week or so ago but couldn't deliver them because I needed my husband's truck and trailer AND
         the rain and wind and my being at work made it too difficult to get them to her

  Until today.

  Somehow I want my giving to be larger
      to be significant
            to be more than
    Something I finally got around to

  What does it mean that I have so many things on my giving list that I need to make time for?

I will keep thinking about it - right now I think it means that I have a giving spirit (hence the ideas that keep germinating) but have fallen away from the execution of it.
Action is what is needed.

Intention followed through with action.

Yes.... I think that qualifies as a gift.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

29 Gifts.. Day 3... Pancakes

Okay..... Pancakes?  you say....

except you need to know

I don't cook much..... especially breakfast

We are always on the way out the door
or going about our own things

But today

I pulled out a recipe I've been wanting to try and just made them

They were fantastic and I have some in the freezer for another day

And my husband was taken by surprise.

Yeah, that was nice.

A gift doesn't have to be fancy or expensive

Just special.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

29 Gifts - Day 2.. Information

Day Two - sharing information.

       A friend was looking for people for a vendor craft fair for an organization she is involved with.  Ordinarily I would respond for myself and stop there.

I can't do it myself this time due to prior commitments - but did spend a little time looking for other friends who might be interested in participating.

I lined up one vendor and personally sent the info to a few others....  I made it a focus for the day.

  (which led to a conversation with the first friend that I don't see enough of, and personal contact/ conversations with some others)

This doesn't sound like much, I know... but I don't want to undervalue the time spent stepping out of your normal path to expend a little extra effort on behalf of a friend.

That in itself is in fact an official GIFT.

hmmmm....... what's next?

Friday, May 1, 2015

29 Days .....An early start

OKay - so for my 29 gifts in 29 days project

I am supposed to start tomorrow

But ever mindful of who I am

The gift presented itself last night and I am moving ahead...

I have a friend who broke her camera.

I have an extra - not a great one.. but one that was replaced by a gift.

And I couldn't find the charger so I haven't mailed it to her.

The charger magically appeared on my desk last night!
  [okay.. truth... my husband found it behind HIS desk and put it on mine]

But the universe has signaled... START!!!

Camera, manual AND CHARGER.... quickly packed in a padded envelope with a little note.. and I will mail it today!

Day ONE (April 30) ....  something I don't use sent to someone who will.

I am happy!