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Me – 1, Winter – 0

February 9, 2017

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If I were looking out my window at this beautiful white landscape, this time last year, you would not have found a smile on my face. Instead, my lower lip would have been jutting out, and I might have been throwing a toddler type tantrum. I would not have been a happy camper, and I would have made all other campers around me quite unhappy also. I had become disgruntled with winter, and I was threatening to move south, if my family came with me or not.

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My attitude about winter had become so sour, that almost nothing could cheer me up, nothing that is, short of a trip to a tropical destination. So, I began planning on migrating south. It didn’t matter that my husband owns a local business and can’t leave town. It didn’t matter that I still have two daughters in high school, who actually love winter. (go figure) I’ll be honest though, it did matter that my sweet grandbaby lives here in the frigid north and I couldn’t leave her.

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In my defense, I’m not just a whiney baby. Arthritis is trespassing in my body and the cold temperatures and the arthritis do not get along. At times, the pain is severe and my motion is limited, and I begin to feel as if I am a pain ridden blob waiting for summer to arrive.

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When reality set in, I knew that flying south for the winter was not in my near future. So what was I going to do, continue to feel miserable physically and emotionally, and take all those I love down with me? It was time for an attitude overhaul, a different perspective, a hope in the midst of the deep winter.

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For the past month, I have been sharing ideas of things to do to enjoy life in the midst of winter’s gloom and cold.  I wasn’t sharing because I had nothing better to do, I was sharing because for those of us who lose days of our lives grumbling about that which we cannot change, need to reclaim every single moment. We are not bears hibernating, asleep until spring calls. We need to love every day. We need our lives to be full of joy and fulfilling things no matter if the sun is shining, the blizzard is blowing or the trials of life are surrounding you.

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This past summer, whenever I drove around anywhere in Indiana, I took all sorts of photos. My theme was, “Falling in love again.” When I moved to Indiana 19 years ago, I fell in love. My pre-Indiana life had been lived in the deserts of southwest America, and in the humid and busy land of Houston Texas. Indiana was like the Emerald City. It was gloriously green. For the first time in my life, there were four seasons to every year. I adored each season, and all that this new Midwestern life had to offer me. This summer, I knew that it was vital that I recapture that love once again. If I was in love at one time, couldn’t I fall in love again?

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You may be perfectly content, and this post doesn’t apply to you at all. I am so very glad it doesn’t, but some of us need to fall in love again, and not miss out on another day of life because of our discontentment. So, this little snow storm, or what ever type of storm is in your life right now, is not something to merely to get through, holding our breath until better or warmer days arrive, I want to thrive in the midst. Every day matters.

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The white lovely snow covering every surface outside your window is something more than to a thing to trudge through on your way to work. It may possibly represent the things in life that we are less than happy about. It could be that unwelcome trial or struggle, or the thing we desperately hate in our lives. No matter what it is, do not let it steal your happiness. Do not let it take away your inner joy. Find a way to be happy in spite of it. Find something good about the thing you dislike. Change your perspective from that of a disgruntled complainer to a Pollyanna who can find something to be glad about.

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My joints are in a lot of pain, but I’m going outside for a stroll in the snow. My hips are so stiff, I sometimes cry out in pain, but yesterday I pulled my 15 month old granddaughter all around the yard on her little red sled. I hate the biting cold on my face, but I’m heading out to watch my daughters sled and I just might join them.

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Life is for living. What can you look at differently today? I’ll start with the snow.

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POST SCRIPT: Sledding didn’t work out too well. Note to self, do not step into a plastic sled with snow covered snow boots! I never made it down the hill, but I went down alright. Flat on my back, but at least my upper arm broke my fall as it slammed into the edge of the sled. So now I’m enjoying my evening with an ice pack. I’m still not going to curse the winter. I am determined to sled again, and if I get a humdinger of a bruise, like I suspect I will, I might just share a photo. I’m not thrilled to be in pain, but I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Hope you enjoyed the photos, they are all from my yard.

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It’s all perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

A Snowy Stroll

January 29, 2017

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“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’ And when they wake up in the summer Kitty, they dress themselves all in green and dance about –  whenever the wind blows.” – Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ad Through the Looking Glass

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The snowflakes are falling this evening. As the sun was setting somewhere behind the thick layer of clouds, the dim light revealed the gently falling gems. The view from my front window reveals a tall stand of pine, and the white flurries were magnified against their darkness. Yes, winter did decide to visit Indiana in these last days of January.

Snow can definitely be a four letter word, especially when it arrives in November and sticks around until March, long outstaying its welcome, but this winter has been different. Warm temperatures have made me somewhat nostalgic for that usual white blanket. GASP! Did I actually suggest that I might miss that white stuff!

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I don’t miss the cold. I don’t miss the wet puddles sitting inside my doors. I don’t miss needing a steadying arm of youth to get me to my car, but I do miss the winter walks in the woods. I miss the complete silence that surrounds you as you stand in a snowy field. I miss the sight of a cardinal sitting on a pine bough weighted down with new fallen snow. I even miss the piles of snow bibs and boots littering my hallway, and bundled up children playing outside for hours until their cheeks resemble bright red apples.

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We may only get a small amount tonight, but in my attempt to love each and every day, I plan of heading outside tomorrow. I will stroll through the snow even if it is only an inch deep. Won’t you join me and choose to take a winter walk. It may freeze your toes, but it will warm your heart.

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We have a WINNER! Bobbi J. Thank you for supporting me and this blog. You will receive your book this week! Friends, this is only the beginning. I have many more surprises coming soon. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

In Search of Coziness

January 26, 2017

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The sun burst forth and dispersed the grogginess. My home town of Kokomo Indiana has been basking in glorious sunshine and incredible, unseasonably warm temperatures, BUT I’ve been in Minnesota. I have continued to be knee deep in grog. We spent the entire nine hour drive from Kokomo to Minneapolis in one big fog bank. I’m now enroute back to Indiana, just ahead of a winter storm bearing down on Minnesota, and I am hoping to get a glimpse of that big yellow orb before true winter returns again to Indiana.

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Just in case winter still exists in your neck of the woods, I still have more ideas so you can thrive in the midst of my least favorite season, and I’m not talking about a day spent binge watching HGTV.

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First I’d like to ask you if you’ve taken some time to partake in my last two suggestions. My girls and I enjoyed a groggy day picnic, right in the middle of our family room. Anna asked if she could set things up, so our picnic had a moose theme. That girl is a nut for anything moose. With grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup, we curled up by our fireplace, ate, and began our winter read aloud, “The Willows in Winter.” After four chapters, Anna was sound asleep in a warm cozy ball and Emily was not far behind. I’m so glad we didn’t stick to our to-do list but took time to make memories and turn a groggy day into a moose filled, delightful one.

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Did you get a chance to write and encourage someone? If not, it is never too late. I was trying to get everything done before heading out of town, but I still made time to write four notes, and I plan on adding quite a few more once I return home. Our friends need us, so don’t forget them.

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The last couple of nights I was able to thoroughly enjoy myself with good friends, good food and beautiful surroundings. The home of my friends Denise and Nicole is completely lovely, and both nights we ate a scrumptious meal and enjoyed delightful conversation right beside a beautiful fire flickering away in a fireplace that could be seen from both the dining room and living area. Sparkling twinkle lights mingled with crystals and surrounding beautiful seashells draped the mantle. Twinkle lights and a fireplace, two items that are defiantly grog dispersers. Who doesn’t just love crackling fires?

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My friends’ fireplace was a very convenient gas fireplace, turned on with the flip of a switch. I could get spoiled. We have a wood burning fireplace, which I love even though every aspect can be a little labor intensive. A wood burning fireplace tends to be on your mind more often than the gas version. A wind storm comes blowing through, we think about the wood that will need to be gathered in our yard for future fires. There is a yearly ritual of gathering, chopping, splitting, hauling and stacking. Then with each fire, there is a can of ashes to be removed and arm loads of wood that need to be brought in from the cold to restore our stash, but even with all that work, I love a roaring fire and during the winter months, we have one almost daily.

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If your home is void of a fireplace, you can always create your own. In the summer, I still love the idea of a fire but it is far too hot to light one, so I group candles and create my makeshift “roaring fire.” You can also use battery operated candles and avoid flames, wax or any mess. Then while your fire, gas flames or candles are burning, hunker down in the fluffiest blanket you can find, have a cup of something warm and of course a good book.

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It’s funny how in the summer we dream of snuggling by fires, but when winter closes in around us, instead of enjoying the snuggle time we impatiently pout for summer. My advice is this, summer will get here when summer gets here. As much as I grumble and even sulk, I cannot coax the sun out from behind the clouds or quicken the pace of the calendar toward those glorious months of May and June. Each day is going to take 24 hours to complete its cycle. Thank God! I’m 56. I’ve reached a point where instead of hurrying toward the next season, I’m pulling in the reins a little bit. I’m not in a hurry to grow old.

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Just in case you don’t already have a stack of books sitting next to your chair that you’re longing to read, here are a few suggestions. The types of books I read vary. For years I read very little for entertainment and was always trying to better myself or grow in the knowledge of God. Here are some titles that definitely will make your life richer.

th3q73hl31 I highly recommend this book.

th189kjc7wThis book changed my life.

th2m5m92aj An excellent book.

I have begun reading so much more in the past few years. A clue to that mystery is that my kids are grown or teenagers. My preference tends to be non-fiction. I love books about anyone enjoying their life in France. Here are the books I’ve recently enjoyed.

thn1yha5j2 I just finished this and really enjoyed it.

thz0h23ukm Loved this book!

theo6ra1ls Loved it!

One of the greatest pleasures at this point in my life is the time I spend reading aloud with my twin 16 year old daughters. It is our favorite pastime. In the summer, we spend some time almost every day sitting in our three person swing down by our creek, relaxing, enjoying each other and reading out loud. In the winter, we snuggle by the fire, drink tea and choose books that make the cold outside a distant memory. These are some of our favorites.

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th2f1wh7rgThis book was delightful and began our quest to find the following tales.

thz56k89x6 This book was so much fun.

th6lewbes6 This is our current winter read aloud.

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So light a fire, get super cozy and open that literary treasure. In case you’d like my super secret tomato soup recipe, I’ll let you, my dear friend in on my secret.

Tomato Soup:                                                                                                                                           Puree one can of Italian diced tomatoes and heat. YUM!

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Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, comment and share for a chance to win. I will be randomly choosing a winner this week.

Ahhhh, crackle, crackle, crackle!!

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It’s “Give Away” Friday

January 20, 2017

Fridays mean fun, and what can be more fun than a chance to win something special!

I hope you have had an opportunity to read yesterday’s post. It was all about how much you matter, and how much we need to hear it from each other. I sent four cards yesterday, how about you?

I found the perfect little book too, and I can’t wait to send it to one of you.

All you have to do is: SUBSCRIBE to my blog, COMMENT, and SHARE my blog on Facebook. Once you have done all 3, your name will be put in a random drawing. If you are already a subscriber, you can skip that part.

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Here it is, “You’re Worth It” by Shelia Walsh. The winner will be announced next week. You can enter thru THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2017.  I sure hope you win, because you ARE worth it!

Where there is despair… Hope!

January 19, 2017

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As women we give. We give of our time, our hearts, and even our very souls. We pour out all we have to give then we pour some more. There are times we get to a moment when we wonder, “What difference does it make?” Those are hard moments. Those are the moments that are full of lies. That is when our enemy whispers in our ears that what we’ve done does not matter. You haven’t made any difference. It’s all been a big waste of time.

We’ve all been in this dark place. Some of you may be there now. The first thing that I want you to know is that you are not alone. Somewhere near by another wonderful woman, dear and precious like yourself is struggling with the same self doubt. At one time or another, we all wonder, why in the world did I do what I did, when it doesn’t seem to matter.

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YOU MATTER! All that you’ve done matters! Ask George Baily what he learned when he felt it would have been better if he had never been born. In case you are unfamiliar with George, he is the main character in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Clarence the angel tells him, “You see George, you really did have a wonderful life.”

There are moments in our lives when we clearly do not feel like we have a wonderful life. We have all suffered loss, deep disappointment and failure. We have all felt so VERY alone even when we walk with a savior who never leaves us or forsakes us. Even Christians can find themselves needing a Clarence to help them out in their dark moment.

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My children have heard me complain, I’m embarrassed to say, more than once of my sorrow at the lack of impact I feel that I’ve made in the world. They do not like to hear me say it, and often come back at me with a long list of all that I’ve done. Thank God for our children!! We sometimes need to be reminded that every negative thought trying to grab control of your soul is a lie!

So to begin with, I want to say something to YOU. I’m sitting here thinking of all the women who might possibly read this, and I really want you to know that I’m saying this to YOU! You are so special! There is no one else like you. You are lovely, and the love you give touches so many hearts. You and the wonderful gifts you have are so needed, and make a difference in this world. You have touched so many lives, and this world would be so empty without you and your smile. Who you are, and what you do matters!!!!

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On January 2, I turned 56. OUCH! As we age, it can be difficult to see all that we’ve accomplished more than we see that which we still desire to do. I’m a positive person, but I had been dealing with feelings of disappointment and failure. My precious twin 16 year old daughters are my most ardent encouragers and they, along with their brother Joshua, knew what I had been feeling and gave a birthday gift like no other. After I had opened all my lovely wrapped gifts, they handed me an envelope full of letters and said. “These are letters from all the people who love you and in whose lives you’ve made a difference.” Before I even read one, I burst into tears. I didn’t even need to read them and I knew in that moment that I was loved, appreciated, and that I did make a difference. Then as I read them one by one, I just blubbered.

Those letters really changed the emotional path I had been on. We have so much power to make a difference with such small acts of kindness. Today I want to challenge you. I have reminded you of the TRUTH that you are an amazing person, now it is your turn.

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Think of one person that you would like to encourage and write them a letter. Do it today before the idea gets lost and pushed off onto the to-do list. Mail it! Don’t let it sit on your counter waiting for a stamp for a month. We need each other. We need to tell each other how important each other are, and we need to know that we have friends who care. You can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life today just by writing a letter. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to change the world, and we become blessed when we bless others.

I love the prayer of St. Francis, and it’s a good rule to live by.

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So wonderful, amazing, kind, giving, loving, much needed woman, encourage someone else today and change the world.

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Please consider sharing this. I would love to bless zillions of women!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who wrote me letters, Donna, Dale, Dad, Judy, Becky, John, Dave, Nicole, Megan, Erica, Joshua, Jared, Anna, Emily and Noah

 

 

 

A Groggy Kind of Day

January 17, 2017

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According to Mr. Webster, groggy means weak or unsteady on the feet. According to the Spence dictionary it means grey and soggy and even a bit foggy. It’s the type of day where the sky and air become one and you even feel that you’re breathing in the grey. It’s the type of day that you are tempted to slog through. (Again I disagree with Mr. Webster, slog to me does not sound like hitting it hard and working steadily, it sounds more like the dragging of one’s self through thick mire.)  Definitions of words aside, I’m concerned that we may miss an opportunity to live life a little more fully due to the slog inducing grog.

Many of us, and yes, I include myself in this group, suffer from seasonal affective disorder. It is the lack of sunshine, got me in the dumps disorder. Some days when my eyes creak open to view the new day, and I am surrounded by suffocating dimness, I can’t deny that there might be grumbling in my heart. Few of us have the luxury of rolling over and calling a boycott until the sun returns, although we may be tempted.

I could regale you with perky quips that we all use to try and cheer ourselves and others up, and while a change in perspective and attitude greatly helps, if you’re grieving the loss of your dear friend the sun, you might need more than words. I’ll start today with a picture, one I know we’re all longing to see.

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The sun will return. It always does. Until that time here are some ideas for you to use to not only overcome the grey, but to help you sigh with contentment and possibly even, gasp! enjoy the day.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any amount of time, I’m sure you know that I’m a fan of picnics. I am. “A picnic on a groggy winter day?” you may ask. Yes indeed.

Fluffy pillows and soft cozy blankets are delightful indoor picnic necessities that you won’t get to enjoy in the summer. So throw them about your living room. (If the floor is not your friend, you can also have a picnic on your bed.) Move your coffee table, and set up the coziest spot you can. Use your fireplace if you have one. Do as much or as little preparation as you want. Be extravagant or bring home fast food, just eat it picnic style.

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Invite friends to join you.

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Set one up for you and your children.

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Surprise your husband and have a picnic waiting for him when he gets home from work.

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This picture made me think of inviting some friends over to have a good old fashioned box lunch. Fill each box with a yummy lunch and maybe even a few little treats or gifts.

When inviting friends to lunch, remember to ask them if they have any food allergies.

Besides food, you can include the following items.

For a one person picnic, grab your journal or a good book. Spend time in Bible study or prayer. Candles or twinkly lights create a soothing atmosphere.

For a group of friends, play a game. I love word games such as Scattergories, Taboo and Balderdash. Share secrets and dreams. Make sure you giggle and laugh!

For your children, create their picnic inside a blanket tent, and Mama, you get in there too! Read your children a classic, such as “Pip Camps Out’ by Myra Berry Brown. My kids love this 1966 book. Some other options include: “Piglet Meets a Heffalump” by A. A. Milne; “The Bunnies Ball” by Annie Ingle, and “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman. If you plan ahead for your picnic, you can stop by the library prior to your event.

Music enhances everything. The best groggy day, indoor picnic music has to be the soundtrack from “Pride and Prejudice.” My daughter Anna said, “Somewhere Beyond the Sea” by Robbie Williams on his “Swing when you’re Winning” CD, is a perfect happy picnic tune. We are also fans of Ole Blue Eyes, (Frank Sinatra) and the Piano Guys. The perfect music for you children’s picnic is, “The Best of Pooh and Heffalumps Too.” Even if you don’t have kids, this music makes you so happy.

I’ll let you use your own imagination for the picnic you plan for your husband.

The grog does not need to make us slog. Plan a picnic today and put a little sunshine in your life.

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Dear friend, thank you for reading my blog. If you have a picnic, please let me know all about it. My next few blogs will offer other ideas of how to flourish in the winter. I would love to increase my readership so if you can please subscribe, comment and share my blog on Facebook, I would be thrilled. Watch for my grog overcoming contest coming soon. Enjoy today and enjoy life.     Debbie

 

 

I’m Baaack!

January 15, 2017

I took a little vacation from writing my blog. Then it turned into a big vacation. Last year at this time we added a temporary daughter and together with my twins, I homeschooled them all. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching them to develop their own writing skills by exploring the field of travel writing. As they wrote, I didn’t.

Summer arrived and we hit the road, a lot of them. We visited 11 states, some of them more than once, and drove over 10,000 miles. I didn’t write about any of it.

Then it was time for school, my girls are now sophomores in high school and we still home school, my middle son started his senior year at The International House of Prayer University, and my youngest son moved to New Albany and began his adventure at Indiana University Southeast, where he auditioned and was accepted into the music composition school. Major educational milestones, that I also didn’t write about.

In November our family celebrated the first birthday of our precious granddaughter. It has been a year of pure delight as I have fallen in love with a little girl who squeals with delight when she sees her Grammy and Aunties. She has stolen our hearts and brought us so much joy, and my fingers never touched the keyboard.

This blog has been my attempt to entice you into a life of savoring. I have encouraged you to savor life, savor moments, and people that you care for. I’ve always wanted to make even a tiny bit of difference in how you look at life, not as something to rush through with an endless to-do list, but as something that should bring delight to your soul. I found delight this year as I focused on enjoying every moment with those I love. That’s why I didn’t write.

It has been an amazing journey since I first began this blog 6 1/2 years ago, and I am a different person. My preaching changed a life, and it was mine. I’d still like to share thoughts and ideas with you. I’d like to encourage you and maybe even inspire you. So join me once again, won’t you? Let’s learn to savor life together!