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St. Valentine, the multi-tasker!

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St. Valentine, the multi-tasker!

With tomorrow being St. Valentine’s Day, I decided to make some comments about St. Valentine. I had little bits and pieces about him tucked away in a file in my brain. However, nothing came into clear focus, so off to Google I went to find out more about the man.

Lo and behold, he was a multi-tasker! St. Valentine was the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers. "Huh? That’s an odd combination", I thought. But then I suppose we all do jobs, have hobbies, interests, and abilities that seem to be unrelated or out of character.

Sometimes we do a job because it needs to be done. For instance, cleaning the bathroom. I do not enjoy cleaning the bathroom, but I do it because I love the people who will be using that bathroom (including myself). I also tat; I enjoy doing that, and I sometimes make tatted items for people I love. As I write this, my husband is doing some laundry — not his favorite job, but he does it because he loves me and it needs to be done.

The more I think about it, it seems that the combination of people for whom St. Valentine was the patron saint might not be so odd after all. They are all people and they all need someone to care about them and love them. So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day — why not do something for someone you love? Clean a bathroom, sweep a walkway, make a meal … do it just because everyone needs a little love.

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 Dancing with the Stars LIVE

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Dancing with the Stars LIVE

A week before Christmas our youngest daughter, Carmen, called and asked what my husband, Steven, and I would be doing for New Year Eve. I asked her what was up and she said she was trying to get her plans together for the night. It set me back that she was interested in spending that evening with us. When we had our family Christmas together, Carmen handed Steven and I an envelope and inside were tickets to go see Dancing With the Stars Live on New Year’s Eve. It was such a lovely surprise.

As Steven and I watched the dancers coming on and off the stage with different costumes, different music, and set images I took note of the stories that were being told. Some were dramatic, some a little silly, others romantic. The ease and flow between transitions were striking to me and before we knew it 2 hours had gone by and the dancers were taking their final bow.

To me, the night was lovely and so joyful. I got a little dressed up and was able to sit back and enjoy the date hand in hand with Steven. To appreciate the love and generous hearts of our children, and to be thankful for the artists of the world. I took a few pictures, they might not be perfect, but they hold a memory for me.

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Wishes – Goals – Action Plan

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Wishes – Goals – Action Plan

Here we are, December 26, the day after Christmas. It seems to me that the next 5 days are when we hear a lot about New Year resolutions; you may be making some of your own. Many times we are not making resolutions as much as we are making wishes. We state things like, “I want to lose 20 lbs this year”, or “I want to be more organized or make better use of my time.” I think a wish is a good place to start, but an action plan is needed to achieve our wishes, breaking things down into smaller bits so we can get there. This turns a wish into a goal. I’ve got a composition book and at the top of a page I write down what I want; the next step is to create a plan of action to get there. It looks a little like this:


GOAL: Make better use of my time this year.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Use a timer and set limits so I am aware of how I am spending my time. This will also help me keep focused on the task at hand.

  • Get my clothes ready the night before, so I am ready for the next day.

  • Go to bed 5 minutes earlier each week until I reach 10:00 pm. (I have been going to bed way too late this year.)


I can adjust these at any time, but right now this is my action plan.

I have found that the weight loss plan doesn’t work for me. So instead I have decided my real wish is to be healthy. To make it a goal, I examined what healthy meant to me. I’ve heard the proclamations of, “I will not eat sugar for the 2019 year!” Nope, that will not work for me because healthy (to me) also means happy mind, body, and spirit. I like cake, cookies—and I adore chocolate— so now what? It would make me sad not being able to enjoy a cookie with my great nieces and nephew; however, I can eat fewer. I can slow down and savor what I am eating. I can also move more. I started this plan about 18 months ago and have become more aware of what I am eating. I also bought a Fitbit to help stay on track with how much I am moving. I’ve shed about 20 pounds in those 18 months. It is very slow, but I continue to progress. Slow progress is still progress!!

I have stories that I want to write this year, too. I got out a second composition book for stories. Once I set up my action plan steps, then I will chart it on my calendar with sticky notes. This way if I run into a life situation I can easily reschedule the plan.

I expect that this plan will work and I can tweak it at any time. The only cost to get started is two composition books and the time to write down my wishes, goals, and action plan.

What wishes are you turning into goals this year? Make sure you set up an action plan to get there.

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A Christmas Un-Tree

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A Christmas Un-Tree

This year my husband and I decided not to have a Christmas tree. It's not that we don't like Christmas trees, on the contrary, we love them. However, this year we decided to be much more simplistic in our decor. I had surgery on November 19 on my right hand for carpal tunnel syndrome; it was quite severe in that hand. Next week I will have the left hand done too. At this moment my right hand is sore but healing very well. It will be lovely to be able to go through life without my hands falling asleep when I write, sew, sleep, or any other activity. I am thankful. Steven and I have about 10 boxes of decorations, this year we took 2 out of the attic and used only about 1 box worth of decorations.

I most certainly wanted to do something decorative in the house to acknowledge the season, so I went into my craft room and gathered up some white branches I had that were leftover from our daughter's, Genette, wedding. From my garden, I brought in a tower I use for my morning glories to climb and cleaned the dirt from it. From the boxes brought down from the attic, I used some of the artificial poinsettias and tree ornaments. I came up with my Christmas Un-tree. I also took out some fabric and ribbon and wrapped the pillows on my sofa to look like packages. I like it. It will be easy to take down after the season as I continue to heal from my hand surgeries.

Genette and her husband Abe will be coming in the weekend before Christmas. Our youngest, Carmen, will be here too and we will skype in our son, Bryon, and his fiance, Amber. We will open gifts from one another then. On Christmas day our youngest will host Steven and I at her house. Genette and Abe will be with his parents. A couple of weeks later I will take down our Christmas Un-tree and put everything away. Then I will store the memory and will tell the story of, One year we had a Christmas Un-tree.

May you have the most joyous of celebrations with your family and friends throughout the season.

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We Remember

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We Remember

At the beginning of November this year I was performing in Tucson Arizona. While I was there Margy, my host, took me to the Day of the Dead celebration. It was an amazing experience for me. People were dressed in costumes and decorated their faces with white, black, and red makeup to look like skeletons. Others brought pictures or mementos of loved ones who have passed on. It is a celebration of remembrance for those who are no longer living on this earth. November is nearly over but when I woke up this morning this celebration was on my mind. It is my understanding that the whole idea is that so long as you speak the name of those who have passed they are never really gone.

Here at the end of the year, we celebrate the holidays. I realized this morning that this is my time of remembrance and it very likely is a time of remembrance for you too. My family celebrated our family holiday together in the middle of November; it lasts for about 3 days. As we all prepared our traditional meal, my sister and I taught our children how to make some of the regular dishes enjoyed on the table. Throughout the weekend we often said, “Do you remember how Daddy…” or “Mom used to …”. We always look at the tiny ones and take note of how much they look like someone who came before them. We remember.

I look around my home and smile as I admire furniture that once belonged to my Grandmother. There are quilts my mother made from clothing once worn by family members. My father’s hat hangs on a hook in my living room, a lamp once owned by my aunt illuminates the pages of my book, I make homemade rolls from a recipe that was created by my husband’s grandmother, we call them Grandma’s Rolls. I often hold a pen or pencil in the unique way my father did to write. My sister’s house is much the same, and she makes homemade noodles from a recipe that belonged to her mother-in-law. We remember.

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There are remembrances and a story of those who have passed everywhere. My husband and I were traveling, and at a rest station, there was a memorial with individual names of police from the area who died in the line of duty. Consider all of the war memorials that carry the individual names of those who have passed, monuments stand strong and tall to remember, auditoriums and parks are often named for those who have gone on…I could continue, but I think you get the idea. We remember.

I tell stories on stage, and at nearly every performance someone comes up to me and tells me about a chord of remembrance that was plucked. We remember.

What fond memory do you have? What story do you tell as you remember loved ones who have passed? Leave me a note, tell me about it. We remember.

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