July 21 2017

Collect (Five Minute Friday)

What do you collect? As a child, I collected stamps. Used postage stamps from the United States. I remember combing through all the places Mom had stored old mail, looking for interesting postage stamps. Mom wouldn’t mind if I gently tore the stamp and the paper around it off the old envelopes. If she did, she never said anything. I tried to tidy the area I was digging through and make sure I left the papers and mail neater than they had been when I found them. Maybe this is the reason she never complained.

After collecting a decent number of stamps, all still on their little snips of paper, I would get a foil pan and put a layer of stamps in it and fill with tap water to soak the stamps off the paper. Eventually, some of the stamps would slide right off the paper. Others would need a little longer to soak. It was an enjoyable step in the process.

I had little glassine gummed hinges to attach the treasure trove of soaked off and dried stamps into the proper places in my album. My album was perfect bound and thus not expandable. It was nothing fancy, kind of like a workbook. It showed all the stamps in gray and black ink. My job as a collector was to cover each gray picture of the stamps with the real stamp to add color to the album.

I loved seeing how detailed some of those older stamps were. Any most cases, they had only a single color of ink, but the details were amazing! A magnifying glass showed all the tiny lines the artist had made to give the inch-square piece of art its details.

I still have my stamp collection though I probably stopped adding to it in the late seventies. Thinking back, the fact that the newer stamps weren’t included in my album may have had a bit to do with why I stopped adding to it. I still save the interesting and not overly heavily postmarked stamps from my incoming mail. I’ve noticed more and more things come with meter marks instead of postage stamps or if they do have postage stamps, they are bulk mail stamps. The designs are more colorful now and there are tons more stamps to collect, but the old ones with the single ink color are still my favorites, because of the details.

Life is in the details, it is up to you to notice them. What do YOU collect?

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Collect
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

July 20 2017

Why did the Peacock Cross the Road?

Last weekend, while driving around southern Indiana back roads, my hubby spotted a peacock crossing the road. I didn’t believe him. I mean really, a peacock? He assured me he was serious, so he turned around to prove it to me and I took the photos you see here because nobody would have believed me either.

So, my immediate reaction to seeing a peacock crossing the road was to ask hubby, “Why did the peacock cross the road?”. He laughs and I tell him, “To get to the other side of course!” That is so cliche, but apparently, even peacocks need to cross the road sometimes.

The peacock looked much less majestic than I had expected. He was dragging his tail behind him. Maybe he was having a bad day. I’m just glad we didn’t scare him or run over him.

The lesson in all of this is to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings at all times. You never know what The Lord will put in your path. Also be sure to keep your phone charged and always at hand so you never miss a chance to take a photo of one of God’s beautiful creations when it crosses the road in front of you.

During this same day of roaming around the back country roads in areas south of Indianapolis, we also experienced the sounds of someone burning brush bonfire style. I heard it and smelled it while we were stopped for a time. During that stop, I took the time to look up and out the car window and saw how pretty the sun was shining through the trees.

At yet another stop, we clearly heard what was obviously someone doing target practice on the other side of a stand of trees. We wisely decided not to wander around while we were stopped there.

We saw cool bridges, small country churches, and so many trees. The weather was not too hot and not too cold. Perfect for using the air conditioning during the highway driving and yet nice enough to be pleasant sitting on the side of the road with the windows down.

In case you are asking yourself why we were driving around and sitting along the side of the road for extended periods of time, we were working checkpoints for a national SCCA Road Rally, but that is a post for another time assuming I can get hubby to explain the attraction of this sport he enjoys so much. Maybe sometime I will understand it well enough to explain it to others so you can understand. Until that time, just know that it is a thing and it might be of interest to you if you enjoy exploring the world off the beaten path.

If you find yourself with a free day and want to wander around Indiana, I can highly recommend the roads between Greenwood and Brown County State Park. Drive at a leisurely pace so you don’t miss seeing any of the surprises God puts in your path.

July 14 2017

Comfort (Five Minute Friday)

Thinking about things that bring me comfort. A warm blanket on a cold night. Air conditioning in the heat of summertime. Dried beef gravy, and spaghetti noodles all wavy. Chocolate in most any form, pumpkin pie all nice and warm. A hug when you are feeling down, a friend who can turn the frown upside down. Blue skies, and oceans too. Rainbows after the cleansing rain, when the sun begins to shine again. The safety of a partner to help me with the struggles in life, make me want to be a better wife. The knowing that someone will soon be home and the freedom to get in a car and roam. Chasing lighthouses in our car, wish more were near but they are not too far.

Comfort comes in many forms, but most of all, from God alone.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Comfort
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

July 13 2017

2nd Quarter Goal Check-in

Way back in January, I shared my 2017 SMART Goals. Half the year is gone and it is time to see how I am doing on those goals. In the past, I have made goals, written them down, shared them with a group, and then forgotten all about them until the end of the year when it was time to make new goals for the coming year.

That system wasn’t working for me at all. Then only goals I got done were the ones that were accidental, never because I planned to get them done. Usually, when I found the list again, I was pleasantly surprised if I managed to get any of my goals accomplished. This year, I am trying something different and if you are reading this, I could really use your help. I need you to ask me about my goals and check in with me from time to time to see if I am getting them done. This is the piece that was missing in the past.

Here are the goals I set at the beginning of the year:

1) Do a cabin weekend DONE!
2) April trip DONE!
3) Annual Hockey Trip for the kids’ birthdays (not scheduled yet)

FITNESS GOALS: (meh, but ongoing)
1) Get 6 hours of sleep a night (85/181 = 47%)
2) Drink 6 cups of water a day (142/181 = 78%)
3) Continue using MyFitnessPal app (180 day streak!)

1) Clean out my home office (Real progress on the parts that show)
2) Declutter the landing DONE!
3) Declutter my clothes (1st pass done)

1) Do some genealogy (Does tidying up the paper files count?)
2) Take three writing classes DONE! (6 so far)
3) Read for thirty minutes a day (Consistent)  (47 books so far)

1) Pray daily (Consistent & Constant)
2) Read 15 inspirational fiction books (9/15)
3) Crochet 26 hats to donate to charity DONE as of 7/8! Do you want to see photos?

WRITING GOALS: (ongoing)
1) Finish one of my previous NaNoWriMo novels (working on edits and revisions again during July)
2) Publish something (see writing goal #1 above)
3) Participate in NaNoWriMo (and hopefully win again)

OK, I know I am making progress. I have finished 5 out of the 18 goals I set! Two of those not done are not able to be done until a future date. Five goals are ongoing and cannot really be considered done as long as there are still days left in the year.

Editing and revisions to my 2016 NaNo Novel continue to be more difficult than I expected. The writing goals have proven to be much more difficult for me to feel like I am making progress on. I should have made a writing goal to write at least one blog post a week or 52 posts in the year would have been better. Becoming a year-round writer was one of my goals for 2014, 2015 and 2016. It took a long time and a concerted effort, but I am finally considering myself a year-round writer thanks to this blog. It gives me a reason to write and a place to post and the feeling of accountability and accomplishment.

I think the crochet goals was easily accomplished because it was reasonable. I think I made 30 hats last year and knew my carpel tunnel is getting worse, so I thought I would back off what I knew I had done last year. I chose 26 because making a hat every other week seemed completely doable. The reason for the early success is because we took driving trips over new years weekend and the trip in April, both of these gave me hours of riding in a car with hubby driving. I have discovered that keeping myself occupied while hubby drives keeps me from gasping in fear while he drives so I get a lot of crocheting done and even some reading. The reading goal is helped along because I take my nook with me to work each day and read for the 30-minute lunch break. It also comes along when we go to restaurants and on all trips. The best part about reading on my nook is that every book can be read with a large font if my eyes are tired and I can even read in the dark.

How are you doing on your goals for 2017? What have you learned about goal setting? I learned that I need to set more measurable goals and goals that are not ongoing. Those ongoing goals are nice enough, but unless you do them every day for the whole year you feel like you failed at least a little.

July 8 2017

Play (Five Minute Friday)


When was the last time you, as an adult, took the time to play? I have found that taking the time to do things just for me, like participate in groups related to my hobbies, helps recharge me.
I participate in 3 different monthly meetings with crochet groups. I attend weekly writing group meetings and really look forward to seeing the revolving group of writers each week. Not everyone makes it to every meeting, but there are always a few of us there to write together. For me, these meetings are play time. I look forward to them and really miss not going when my schedule keeps me from attending.
You need to decide what it is that you consider play and find ways to work those activities into your life. “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” and it makes me grumpy. This is why I make it a point to fit these meetings into my schedule before other things that I might enjoy less and not look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when something else is more important than attending one of my meetings and sometimes it is impossible to plan vacations so I don’t have to miss any of them, but it can be easier than you might think if you prioritize play. Take time to play and you will be glad you did!

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Play
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.