August 17 2017

Trash to Treasure #1

Do you ever wonder how so many companies get your address so they can send you all those free labels you didn’t ask for and will never be able to use? I have, but I don’t let it take up too much brain time. Most of the time, with a name like mine, there is at least one word that isn’t quite spelled right. Even if everything is perfect, I could never use all the labels I get. Since we pay most of our bills online, I probably use less than a dozen address labels a year other than those I put on the annual holiday/winter newsletter. To be honest, I keep the nicest labels for those newsletters and the others I plan to throw away.

Before I toss them, I cut the free stickers off of them. What free stickers you ask? Those cute little designs to the left of the address. Sometimes they are puppies and kittens, sometimes birds, often times they are hearts as the ones you will see pictured here. So I cut carefully to disconnect the address from the cute design and sometimes I even save some of the address portions to use to label books before loaning them out, or keep a few in my purse to fill out the contest entry form in a hurry or share my contact info with a friend with minimal effort.

Recently I got the set pictured here in the mail. As you can see, it came with a few sheets of note/list paper, 2 large and at least 8 small stickers in each of four different heart designs. As a bonus, it also had a two-sided sheet to tell me the symptoms/signs of both a heart attack and a stroke. Hey! You never know when you will need those! None of us is getting any younger you know.

If you have been reading my blog for long and specifically the posts about bullet journaling, you might have already guessed how I use some of these stickers. Below are several examples of how I have used these free stickers to set the theme for my weekly bullet journal spreads.

I have also used them on my calendar in the past to track things like workouts. Kind of like gold stars we used to get on our papers in grade school, but much less expensive.

So, what have you been throwing away that could be repurposed into something usable? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

August 11 2017

Place (Five Minute Friday)

Do you know what or where your place in the world is? Do any of us really know our place? My place used to be at home, raising my kids. But the kids grew up, and it no longer seemed so important that they have a stay-at-home mom. So, where did that leave me? Well, hubby was tired of carrying the load alone so he wanted me to give up most of the unpaid volunteer activities that were filling my time and find something to do that would bring in an income. He wanted me to get a “real” job.

I worked on getting free of my many volunteer obligations and mentioned to the lady who owned the print shop where I took the quarterly journal I had been doing for the past 5 years to be printed, that I was giving it up. The owner of the print shop asked if I was good at computers. I shrugged and said something about how I had been doing the quarterly journal for the last five years, so I guessed I was decent enough. She mentioned that she might need some help doing data entry. She said would keep my number on file and let me know if she needed my help.

Four months later, just moments after getting my then 14-year-old back in school after getting hit by a car and breaking his leg to the point of it requiring a metal plate be surgically implanted, I got the call. She asked when I could start, and knowing I needed the rest of the day to catch my breath, I told her tomorrow, which, as it happened, was a Friday. I hadn’t gone looking for a job, but one found me. I had found a new place in the world, the working world. Nothing has been the same since. I have always felt that the job was God’s will for my life and that I should stay until he presented the next thing he wanted me to do. I’m sure he has put me here for a reason, and I still have yet to figure out what that reason is. I am starting to wonder if I had it all wrong somehow and maybe should have found a different job long ago. How do I know when my place has changed?

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Place
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.

August 10 2017

How Do You Know Which Way to Go?

Sometimes in life, you know things are not going well, but you have no idea what to do to make them better. Sometimes what seems like the easiest answer also seems like the worst choice. The best answer is often the most difficult choice.

Sometimes, the signs are unclear or downright confusing. Then what should you do? How do you choose the right path? Well, when I’m not clear on what I should do, I have been told to turn to God and Pray Until Something Happens. (PUSH) Until the path seems so clear that the choice is obvious. The problem is, sometimes, I have no idea what His answer is. Am I missing something obvious? Was I just not listening hard enough? Maybe God didn’t hear me. I mean there are most likely millions of Christians praying at any given time, maybe my prayer got lost in the chaos somewhere. I should pray again and again. Eventually, he will hear my pleas and answer them. Sometimes the answer is simply, No. Not what any child wants to hear when they ask something of their Father, but sometimes the answer is “No”, or “Not Now”.

If no clear answer is presented, I often put off acting in order to avoid making the wrong choice. I’m still waiting to hear that still small voice I’ve heard so much about. Have you actually heard it? Does God answer you in the spoken word? Perhaps you are lucky that way. I am not. I seem to have to go more on instinct and the idea that if it doesn’t open, it is not my door. Maybe it is not my door right now, perhaps if I try again later, it will open. I often ask God to give me a sign and make his answer very clear to this clueless child of his. Sometimes it seems he tells me to wait or be still. That is a hard one because I want to be doing something, anything to move my life along the path he has chosen for me.

Sometimes it isn’t easy turning everything over to God. Sometimes, I just don’t want to give up control, but then, did I really ever have control in the first place? I know I am supposed to “let go and let God” handle it, but that is not an easy thing to really do. I can say the words, but am I really letting go or just going through the motions?

I find it difficult to know if I am making decisions based on God’s will or my own selfish wants and needs. I’m no expert. I’m open to suggestions on how to better do this in my life. How do YOU know if you are following God’s plan for your life? How does He let YOU know which way you should go? Does He give YOU signs to follow?

August 5 2017

Try – Five Minute Friday

When I was growing up, we were expected to try to do our best in everything we did. This may sound like unbelievably high expectations to set for kids, but it was actually great. If we didn’t do very well at something, Mom would ask, “Did you try? Did you do the very best you could?” If we could honestly say we did the best we could at the given task, she would say, “You did your best, that is fine.”

There are so many sayings with the word TRY. If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. As parents, we told the kids, “You have to try it before you can say you do like it.” As they got older, we got more creative and told them they had to try as many bites as they were years old. The four-year-old needed to try four bites of any new food before they could say they didn’t like it. “OK, you tried it. That’s good. Maybe you just aren’t old enough to like it yet. We will give it a try next time, maybe you’ll be old enough by then to like it.” See how that changes the outlook on trying new foods?

Now, there are certain foods, like liver and butter beans, that I am quite sure I will never be old enough to acquire a taste for, and I am fine with that. I can honestly say that there are some foods that I have learned to like and so I can appreciate the idea of trying things you think you don’t like multiple times over the course of your life. I have learned to like yogurt, broccoli, and even Brussels sprouts.

My older sister always says, “I’ll try anything once, except for food.” She is not an adventurous eater at all, but she really does go out on a limb and try new experiences. I have always admired that in her.
So don’t ever be afraid to try new things. You just might discover some new favorite things to eat or do.

Sorry, this was late, but the internet is down at home so I had to wait until I got to a place with WiFi to post.

I just had to include this video for the word try:
Colbie Caillat – Try

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Try
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.

August 3 2017

Back To School $ Savers

When the month of July comes to an end, it can only mean one thing. It is time to take advantage of all those great back to school sales. Now, some of you may be saying to yourself that you don’t have school age children. That’s fine. There are some really great deals to be had if you watch the ads. We used to buy the limit when we found ten cent spiral notebooks or fifty cent filler paper and composition notebooks.

Glue is another one of those things they like to put on ridiculously low sales. I thought we would never use those four bottles of Elmer’s Glue All that I had gotten super cheap, but then a project would come up where paper mache was called for and then it was the glue to the rescue. You’ll be happy to shop from your personal stash of supplies that you got for pennies on the dollar instead of full price at the grocery or drug store in the middle of the night when your child comes to you in a panic because the project is due tomorrow and they forgot all about it until they were almost asleep.

So my friend, even if you really don’t see yourself using these supplies, consider getting the super cheap ones and donate them to the local elementary school. There will always be students who don’t have the proper supplies and these often end up being purchased by the underpaid teacher. Often times an organization will put together themed baskets for a fundraiser silent auction. There is almost always a basket of school supplies. You can also make a coloring basket with twenty-five cent sale boxes of crayons and dollar store coloring books. The same idea can work with colored pencils and adult coloring books. Perhaps some erasable ink pens and crossword puzzle books would make another nice basket. A nursing home might have some residents who would love to have coloring books and crayons in the activities room for the residents to use. A homeless shelter would most likely be happy to take those unused school supplies off your hands. You may have to think outside the crayon box, but I’m quite sure you will be able to either put the supplies to use in your home or office and if not, then there are countless numbers of places that would be happy to have your few dollars worth of supplies.

Once school is in full swing, maybe September or October, keep your eyes open for clearance sales. We have gotten some wire shelves meant for inside school lockers, notebooks, binders, label makers and all sorts of great stuff that rarely goes on those super low sales at unheard of prices. Many of the things you might use to decorate a dorm room or send your college student off with will be on sale then too. Think about things like twin sized sheet sets, blankets, organizing bins, cork and dry erase boards and that sort of thing. Not typical school supplies, but very useful in many places that are not college dorm rooms or student apartments.

So, have I gotten you motivated to at least look at the sales flyers with a more careful eye to savings even if you don’t have students at your house?

Feel free to tell us about the best deals you have found on “school supplies” in the comments below.