Friday, March 30, 2012

Busy Life!

So I started a new temporary part-time job this week and while I love it and I'm learning a lot and I am grateful beyond words for the improvement it's making to our family budget, waking up at 6:15 a.m. every morning, dressing "up" and putting my brain to work in ways it hasn't for a while? Well, it's kinda kicking my bum just a little bit. But now that it's Friday I see some light and I think I just might be able to get used to this. I work with some very nice people in a very nice place and it's good to get up and get going every day. Having worked from home for the past ten years had gotten me into the habit of setting my own pace and often working in my jammies - good things, but part of me really enjoys the "real" workplace again. And of course I still have all of my own business ventures going strong, so life is just extra super-duper crazy busy these days to say the least. But I love it all and I am so grateful for my opportunities! And I have the best family to come home to, so that is a wonderful bonus!

It's times like this, when life cranks into high gear, that I am especially grateful for Rich. He is such a calm, kind person and he keeps me grounded and is always encouraging me to be my best. Hey hubby, I love your guts!

All right, time to go be a housewife for a while. Enjoy the weekend, folks!

"The busy man is troubled by but one devil; the idle man by a thousand."  —Spanish proverb

"The more we do, the more we can do."  —Dag Hammarskjold

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vanity: the good kind

You can keep your white Christmas or whatever: what I am dreaming of is a new bathroom! Before we moved into this new/old house we wanted to gut and re-do the master bathroom. But one thing led to another and the room that got our attention (and most of our money) first was the kitchen. And we LOVE our new kitchen! But having a nice kitchen only makes the bathrooms seem MORE dismal, if you know what I mean. So as we are on the brink of our second spring here, and with a decent tax refund on its way from uncle Sam, I am trying to convince the hubs that it's time to do something about the toilette. I've started collecting some pretty pictures and refining what it is what I want to have in the new space. The funds are tight, and holy Moses have you priced bathroom vanity cabinets lately? They cost some coin, let me tell you. But lucky for us I am very fond of the idea of re-purposing an old dresser or buffet cabinet, fitted with a new granite top and some lovely vessel sinks... so the planning process begins, and we'll see how it goes. Here are some of my inspiration photos. 

This will probably be a slow and gradual process, doing a little here and there as the budget allows. 
We already have a lovely large mirror and I've already purchased the light fixtures. And there's a large floor-to ceiling cabinet already in the space that I am going to try and refinish and move to the opposite wall. I just might post some "before" pictures sometime soon... but for now I gotta run. Duty and family call!


"Home is my favorite place."  —anonymous

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A strange thing happened yesterday...

While out and about yesterday I was exiting a store and began walking toward my car. Since it was an unseasonably warm and sunny day I had parked at the far end of the parking lot, under a tree where it was shady and cool. As I walked I observed a young woman putting her belongings into the back of her SUV, and I noticed an older woman approach her, speak for a moment, hand the younger gal a piece of paper, and walk away. The older woman then crossed the aisle and approached another woman who was headed toward her car. She said something, the woman shook her head no, and the older woman walked away. I then quickened my pace, trying to avoid this older woman and whatever she was trying to sell. As she stepped between a row of parked cars and headed away from me, I thought I was safe. A few seconds later, I heard a soft yet distinct "excuse me?" from somewhere close behind me. Feigning deafness (one of my favorite tactics in awkward public situations), I kept on walking. I was now just a few feet from my car. I hit the clicker, opened my door, promptly locked it, set my bags on the seat, and proceeded to put my key into the ignition. As I turned my head, the woman stepped toward my closed window and knocked on the glass! I was just a little bit startled and also the tiniest bit frightened. This stranger was boldly invading my personal space and I did not like it one bit! So I went ahead and started my car, rolled down the window just an inch or two, and said to the woman, "can I help you?" She then showed me a folded piece of paper and said to me, "I write poetry and give it away free. Would you like some?" This was such an odd thing for her to say and it caught me completely off guard and I said "no thank you" and rolled my window back up. The woman walked away and that was that.

I have to say that for some reason this experience really struck me. First of all, I wish I would have taken the sheet of poetry from the woman. I am now so immensely curious as to what was on that paper, and now I will never know. And secondly, I am a bit in awe of this woman's courage and tenacity in approaching total strangers and offering them her poetry. Now I know she may in fact be a certifiable nut ball and who knows whether the paper really did contain poetry that this woman had written or perhaps it was instead some sort of crazy rant, or maybe just nonsense, or maybe it might have been something completely sweet and harmless. Again, I will never know. If I go back to that parking lot, a place I have visited many many times before, I doubt that I will ever find that woman again. The moment has passed, never to be recaptured.

So, strange poetry-peddling lady, whoever and wherever you are, I hope you truly are who you claimed to be and if I ever see you again I will take your poems, and I will read them. I am sorry that you frightened me, and I am sorry I turned you away.

That's all for today.

Draw a crazy picture, Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-jumble song, Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance 'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world That ain't been there before.
                                                                    —Shel Silverstein

Monday, March 19, 2012

Take Some Time.

Tomorrow marks the first day of Spring. 2012 is almost 25% over, can you believe it? With the warming weather we have lots of projects planned around our new/old house, namely painting, some more new light fixtures, and lots of planting & gardening. In addition to that I am working on a few new and exciting work-related projects which are keeping me extremely busy and looking forward to some awesome new possibilities. 

2012 so far has also brought its share of trials and challenges, as does every year. There has been birth, death, illness, divorce, dented fenders (and bumpers, and broken mirrors), lost jobs, lost homes, and many other challenges. Yet on the brighter side of things there have been new babies, engagements, weddings, new homes, new opportunities, new business ventures, new songs written, hugs given, love shown, and life lived. And despite the rough times I would say that for me personally it's been an outstanding year so far, and it's looking like things will only get better!

The artwork I've shared today is from one of the many new collections that I've been developing. It's a good reminder that we all can benefit from. Life gets pretty hectic and noisy sometimes, so let's all take some time to sit and listen...  to our conscience, to our child, to our spouse, to a friend, or maybe just to the trees or the birds.

Here's hoping that this week is a fabulous one!

"There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it."  —Minnie Aumonier

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is it Spring Yet??

Hi friends. Just a quick, short post for today. Goodness gracious, lots of rain in these parts lately! We need the moisture but I for one am ready for Spring time. Over the past couple of weeks the trees have been blossoming like crazy, just a few days ago we mowed our lawn for the first time this year, and more and more I find my mind dreaming of some new things I want to plant to pretty up our place. And I can answer that in one word: Lavender! And some other things here and there, but a lot of lavender is on my brain. French lavender. Can't wait. 

Ok, it's time to go watch the American Idol results show...

Have a good night!

"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'let's party!'"  —Robin Williams

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No Place Like Home

One final post from Oz, and one last peek at my new Oz designs: There's no place like home! As much as I love being out and about I'm a home-body at heart. Being with my sweet hubs and kiddos, when they are around, brings me the most joy. I am truly at peace when we're all four safe together under the same roof. It can be a big bad world out there, and there really is no place like home!

The path through life is a personal journey. No one can hand us the answers on a silver platter. However, with the guidance of the gospel and the scriptures, we can make our way along the path and find our way home to our Heavenly Father.

When Dorothy learns to stops putting her faith in other people to solve her problems, when she discovers her inner spark, she attains the ability to be happy and she finds the strength to overcome her challenges. She discovers that her heart’s desire is an inward journey, not an outward one, and just like a personal testimony, she had to gain this knowledge on her own. These were truths she had to learn for herself.

Dorothy learned the wisdom of living in the present moment, rather than always dreaming for things to be different.:That grief is only temporary. To appreciate her loved ones, to count her blessings and be grateful, and to be at home with herself.

As we all know, good eventually triumphs over evil in the land of Oz. As the Wicked Witch melts, she curses Dorothy and exclaims, “Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?”

Good will indeed triumph over evil, of that we can be assured. Life is full of infinite possibilities, and we, each and every one of us, are all full of infinite potential. We are God’s children, and He wants us to be happy as we journey through life on the path toward our Heavenly home.

"Home, the spot of earth supremely blessed, a dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest!"  —Robert Montgomery

Friday, March 9, 2012

Are You a Good Witch?

Here's another sneak peek at the new "Oz" collection I am working on. Did you know there are good witches as well as bad witches? Which kind of a witch are you? That's the question that was asked of Dorothy when she landed in Oz. Dorothy had never before considered herself a witch at all. But each of us can use our power and influence in the world for either good or evil purposes, and it's completely up to us which way we choose to go: toward the good, or away from it.

By giving to others we actually bless ourselves. By putting the goodness within us to work for others, for nurturing love for love’s sake, by giving of ourselves unselfishly, goodness will flow back to us. Love expands, and selfishness contracts. The more you expand and feel for others, the more you purify your own heart, aligning yourself with the will of God.

So the message for today is: be a GOOD WITCH! Go out into the world and put some good where maybe there was none. Be nice, be good, and be happy. It's the way to the emerald city! 

"Goodness speaks in a whisper, while evil shouts."  —Tibetan Proverb

"Goodness is love in action."  —Robert Hamilton

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Being Green...

Recently I read a book, "The Zen of Oz," by Joey Green, which ties aspects of zen philosophy to the story of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. Small parts of the book were rubbish but most of it was pretty amazing. I took many notes and did my own comparison, tying the Oz story to Christianity and life itself. This has been an enlightening exercise. Many things have grown out of my research, including, of course, a new collection of designs for rubber stamps and wall art! It's still in the works but I thought I'd share one of my new designs here today. And here are some thought from Joey Green and I regarding life and our travels down the Yellow Brick Road:

We are all Dorothy. We are Prodigal sons and daughters venturing out into the world on our own, only to find out that there is no place like home, that the Wizard can't really give us anything we don't already have, that there is an inner spark of the Divine within each of us, that the Yellow Brick Road is an inner path that leads to the great beyond and that each of us must make the journey for ourselves. To realize that no matter where we are we are already over the rainbow, because we make our own rainbows. That life is a great mystery and that we are the greatest mystery of all, and that life is full of wonder and joy, as well as pain and sorrow.   

Never Let Those Ruby Slippers Off Your Feet. We are all born with an inner spark, a divine potential with the ability to grow in intelligence and become like our creator. We are all endowed with infinite potential for goodness and greatness. We have the free will to discover and nurture our inner spark, and we also have the free will to extinguish it through our actions. The ruby slippers represent the inner spark within us all. When Glinda, the Good witch of the North, tells Dorothy, “Never let those slippers off your feet,” she is actually advising Dorothy to never give up her passion, her individuality, her uniqueness, her spirit, and her soul.  “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”  —Doctrine & Covenants 18:10

The ruby slippers are obviously of great power and worth. Look at the efforts of the Wicked Witch of the West in trying to obtain them from Dorothy! One thing is certain: The Wicked Witch of the West extinguished her inner spark long before Dorothy arrived in Oz, and desperately seeks the slippers for the power and security they provide. The Wicked Witch was bitterly jealous of Dorothy’s goodness, and she sought to make Dorothy miserable like she was. Sound familiar? “The devil seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”  —2 Nephi 2:27

Embittered people who have extinguished their own inner spark justify their miserable existence by trying to extinguish the inner spark of others. Life is filled with people trying to get you down in the same hole that they’re in. Teachers, politicians, bosses, even family members and friends, may try to rob you of your integrity, your passion, your reputation, your spirit, and your divine purpose. They’re no better than the Wicked Witch of the West trying to steal Dorothy’s ruby slippers. But they can never get those ruby slippers off your feet — unless you let them. Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and never lose sight of your heart's desire. "Our progress on this journey is determined by recognizing the straight and narrow path, having an eternal perspective, and acting accordingly. Remember, our eternal progression is the very essence of our earthly existence. It is the Lord’s plan to get us all the way home to our Father in Heaven. This I know: Each of us can get there from here.” —Elaine L. Jack, April 1994 LDS General Conference

More from Oz later... the sun is shining here in NorCal and I have a date with my front lawn, my lawn mower, and a bag of fertilizer!


“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ… Behold, … this is the way” —2 Nephi 31:19-21

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Burnt Biscuits.

Thank you to my dear friend Lori for sending this to me. It's a message we all can benefit from...

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make “breakfast for dinner” every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad.  I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing... never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits.  And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired.  And besides - a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults - and choosing to celebrate each others differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for all of us today.... that we will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our lives and lay them at the feet of God. We could extend this lesson to any relationship. In fact, understanding, patience and forgiveness are the keys to any successful relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket — keep it in your own."  —unknown

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For Claire.

Claire was such a sweet little girl. Before she was born she was given the challenge of coming to a body with a less than perfect heart. Claire's short life has been difficult to say the least. Her mom is one of the bravest people I know, as is her dad. Well, last night Claire was called back to heaven. Her short life is over and she has returned to the arms of our Savior. While Claire's loved ones on the other side are rejoicing at the reunion, here it is a sad time. My heart is broken for Chrissy, Brandon, and their family. Life sometimes seems so unfair, and sometimes it's hard to remember that this life is meant to be temporary, and it's meant to be challenging. So we carry on, one day at a time, doing the best we can. And Claire is now free, unburdened by her failing heart, free to run and play and laugh and wait for the day when her family can be together again. I love you, Claire!

"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: 'There, she is gone!

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: 'There, she is gone!' there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!'

And that is dying."    —Henry Van Dyke