Beauty in my Eyes

We all have our own ideas of beauty.  What catches your eye may slip right by mine.  How do I define beauty?  I’m not exactly sure.  I know it when I see it, though.

12994311_1040268042676959_7205009825890081950_nPlanners and notebooks in both bright colors and basic black catch my eyes.  Throw in a pretty, comfortable writing instrument and I am in my element, floating high on a writer’s cloud.  It’s just paper, you might be thinking.  Oh no!  It’s not just paper!  It is the recipient of my thoughts and dreams.  It is the listening ear of my troubles and sorrows.  It rejoices with me when I share joys of the days or conversations with friends.  It is my traveling companion and my confidante on sleepless nights.  These notebooks have a heartbeat of their own, in my eyes.

No, I cannot really define my idea of beauty, but I can tell you my friends are beautiful.  All of them.  Each one in 303233_2397092091761_1825382099_ntheir own special and unique way.  Take my friend, Piccadilly the Clown.  Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous!  But be assured there is much more than what catches the eyes.  Her beauty runs deep, shares laughter, instigates smiles, and warms hearts with her love of people and God.  She is generous.  She shares of herself and expects nothing in return and that, my friends, is beautiful.

12987067_1040266269343803_264469149487097492_nMakeup is beautiful.  Oh my gosh, the colors are all over the place!  Put a pretty lipstick and blush in a bright, shiny makeup bag and I’m ready to step out the door into the light.  Some black mascara on the eyelashes frames the soulful eyes of a woman, and can brighten the sad eyes that cried the night before.  Strategically placed color on a woman’s face can change her mood from “all hope is gone” to “I can face anything!”  A little lipstick on these pale lips can mean the difference from someone telling me I look sick all day, to telling me I look like I feel better.  Oh yes, makeup is beautiful.

Have you ever sat down to eat feeling ravenous, looked at 13001267_1040268329343597_7368945132206482458_nyour food, and then all of a sudden lost your appetite?  I love salads, but if they look a mess with everything just thrown in with no thought, I don’t love them so much.  But I LOVE a pretty salad!  I love pretty food!  With each topping in its own special place on top of that lettuce, it’s a beautiful thing.  The mixture of colors, textures, and tastes can make the difference between just eating and really enjoying my food.  And let’s face it, we have to eat.  We might as well eat for the joy and beauty of it!

Certain colors are sure to catch my eyes.  Pinks and purples will snatch their attention every time.  I love bright colors in the Spring and Summer.  They make me feel happy and full of hope.  The days go smoother when there is a joyful color in them.  12990889_1038006399569790_3297011779775416156_nAnd if that joyful color happens to be on my handbag, I am one joyful woman.  A handbag is useful, yes.  It can be a workhorse, an accessory, a compliment to a pair of shoes.  But add a splash of color to it and it becomes a work of art.  Magenta.  I waited weeks for this color handbag to arrive.  It’s so beautiful I’m almost afraid to pack it with me fearing that something might happen to it, that it will become covered in grease or tomato sauce or stolen by an art thief.  But as I said, almost.  It will not be nearly as beautiful sitting on a shelf in my closet, or housed in a dust bag.  To really enjoy it, it needs to be close by, in my hands where I can touch it, and let it carry that beautiful purple cosmetic bag full of pretty makeup.  It all goes together.  Beauty builds upon beauty.  It all has its’ place.

Of all the beauty in all the world, there’s nothing more beautiful to me than my fur Maggie3family.  Maggie is beauty in my eyes.  She is warm, wiggly, sassy, and smart.  She lives and breathes beauty around me.  She is full of love and spunk and occasional treats.  Her ears have been torn and have ragged edges, but that just adds to her character and charm.  She snorts and snores and reminds me in the night that I am not alone.  She adopted me and saved my life.  There is nothing more beautiful in my eyes.

What is beauty in your eyes?  Take time today to look around you.  There is beauty in the everyday.  There is beauty in our chores and in our play times.  God has created beauty all around us, if we will only take a few moments to see it.


A Word About Domestic Violence

148521_625465040810847_1969821255_nLadies, ’tis the season for shopping, decorating, family gatherings, and Yuletide carols.  All the joy and festivities bring memories and laughter to many and their families.  

But let’s not forget this season can also be stressful for some.  There may be money worries, family issues.  There may be more alcohol and drug consumption.  There may be more pain and abuse in an already turbulent relationship.

If you know of a man or woman already in an abusive relationship, check more often they are ok.  Encourage them to seek help to get out of the situation.  Be that listening ear if they want to talk.

If you are the one being abused in a relationship right now, my heart goes out to you.  Know that there is help.  Call your local police department or local domestic violence hotline for advice on what to do and ways they can help you.  You do NOT have to be a victim.  There is a whole new life waiting for you, if you will just take that first step to get help.

Maybe you’re in a relationship where you have some hesitation, wondering if his behaviors show signs that he may become abusive.  There is a very good list of signs someone may become a batterer at .  Be familiar with these signs.  Your life may depend upon knowing them.

My prayer today is for all men and women who find themselves in a domestic violence situation.  Please don’t be a victim.  Seek help.  

God Bless

5 Easy Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Alone

  It’s just a couple days until our major autumn holiday of Thanksgiving.  Most folks will gather together with their families for plentiful food and festivities.  Gatherings, both small and large, will be celebrating the day we give thanks for the harvest.  Blessings will be counted and prayers said around a table full of enough food to feed many more.  Memories will be remembered and created for both young and old.

But what if you don’t have family to fill all the chairs at the dinner table?  What if by choice or circumstances you are spending Thanksgiving alone this year?  Over the years, I’ve gone from dreading holidays and crying in my Diet Coke, to embracing my time alone.  Here are 5 tips to help get you through the day.

  1. Know what makes you happy.  Forget about what everyone else is doing that day.  Let someone else drown their sorrows in the gravy boat.  What brings you joy?  What makes you happy?  What are your favorite foods, TV shows, movies, games, books, activities?  Foods?  Make a list of everything.
  2. Make a plan.  Narrow your list to the things you most want to do.  Make a menu of food you are going to prepare or go out to eat.  Pay attention to details.  If you’re cooking at home, make a list of all items you need from the grocery store.  Plan when you’re going to eat and what you’ll be doing before and after.  If you’re volunteering at a shelter to feed the homeless, know which one and contact them.  If you’re going to wrap up in a blanket and watch old Doris Day movies, have that blanket freshly washed and the popcorn and movies ready.  Be prepared.
  3. Act on your plan.  Go to the grocery store.  Line up the movies you want to rent, borrow, or check out at the library.  Download a book you’ve been wanting to read to your Kindle.  If you plan on crocheting or knitting, have your yarn, hooks, and needles ready and waiting.  Get all your craft supplies together for a crafty day, or all the pampering skin care products for a home spa day.   Prepare yourself for having an awesome day!
  4. Think positive.  Maybe you’d rather be with Prince Charming than a DVD of When Harry Met Sally, but Prince Charming didn’t show up so forget about him.  This is your day to take care of you.  Take advantage of this time alone to do something you love to do and brings you joy.
  5. Be grateful.  You may rather have had the day be different, but focus on the positive, all the great things you can do and maybe even a new tradition or two.  God has blessed you with this day.  Put joy in it and be thankful for all you do have.

How will you be spending Thanksgiving?  Do you have a plan?


Do You Know Your Gifts?

I love that quote.  How many of us have not done something because we didn’t think we would be good enough, not talented enough?  How many of us have been afraid to try?

When I was young, I sang all the time.  I sang loudly, because I thought I could sing.  I was creating a joyful noise everywhere I could; in school, on the bus, in my room, in the car, in the barn, and not one single cow in that barn complained about my vocals.  Not one.

Then, about fifth or sixth grade, we were going to have our annual play.  I loved being in plays!  It was always so exciting.  Learning new songs and music, costumes and makeup, rehearsals and maybe even a few dance steps.  That year, I wanted to be a little Dutch girl.  The Dutch girls got to sing and dance and all my friends were Dutch girls. But I was told I couldn’t be a Dutch girl because I was too fat, and because I couldn’t sing.  Wow.  To put it mildly, that was quite a shattering blow to this tender soul.

That marked the end of my singing and dancing.  I never took part in another play, I stopped singing, and even stopped playing trumpet.  I felt worthless.  I thought I had talent, a gift, but I was wrong.

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d never stopped singing.  I might not sing like Adele, but maybe I would lift my voice to the Lord in song without feeling less than.  Maybe there would have still been songs in my heart that needed sung off tune.   Maybe God would have been happy that I tried.

We all have gifts and talents that God placed inside us to be shared with the world.  When I no longer sang, I wrote, and I discovered a new voice within me.  Poetry became a passion and stories found a place on paper.  Books became even better friends than they were before, and in my mind, I could be a little Dutch girl and dance all day.  As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens.

Have you discovered your gifts and talents?  What brings you joy and makes your heart sing?  What door has opened for you because another closed?

Please feel free to share.


12 Pet Peeves

Wikipedia’s description of a pet peeve is:  A pet peeve or pet hate is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to himself, to a greater degree than others may find.

  We’ve all got them, some more than others.  Those annoying little habits or actions that absolutely make us want to tear our hair out.  They make our blood pressure rise and our heart rhythm falter.

A friend described a few of his to me tonight.  I told him I was having trouble deciding on what to write for my blog.   It didn’t hit me until about 15 minutes later…hey!  I can jot down some of my pet peeves!  (Thank you for being my inspiration tonight, Chuck). You may even share some of these.

  • Drivers who drive way too close to my bumper.  This does not make me drive faster.  It does, in fact, make me drive slower.  It’s a bit of passive aggressiveness in me.
  • People who have no respect for my work space at work.  If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.  If you do touch it, put it back the way you found it.  Wipe away all fingerprints or I will hunt you down like a hound after a fox.
  • People who stare at me in public places.  I do realize many cannot handle my size of awesomeness, but try to be polite.  It’s rude to stare.
  • Drivers who don’t turn on their turn signals before turning.  It’s both inconsiderate and unsafe.
  • Those little plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store.  Am I the only one who can never get those things open?
  • Ordering a chicken sandwich and a Diet Coke at the drive thru and receiving a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and regular Coke instead.  Go ahead, try to kill the diabetic with carb overload.
  • Books and movies in which the family pet dies.  There is just no excuse for that.
  • People who make comments about what I’m eating at social functions, especially those who think they know everything about diabetes, but clearly do not.  I have a medical team to give me advice about my food, thank you very much.  And even if I didn’t, it’s none of your business.
  • Children who poke different parts of my anatomy with their finger.  I’m not a marshmallow or a bowl of Jell-O.
  • No toilet paper in a public restroom.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Facebook posts that say something like, “And you’ll never believe what he did next!”  They entice you to find out what he said, but when you click on the link, there are so many ads you can’t find the answer to what he said.
  • Drivers who pick their noses while driving.  You’re not invisible, we can see you.

Those are only some of my pet peeves.  I’m sure I will have more as we get closer to Christmas.  The holidays tend to magnify whatever quirks we may have.

What are your pet peeves?

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Quotes that Make Me Smile

I just love a good quote.  If it inspires me, gives me something to ponder, or makes me smile, I like it.  When I find one that really inspires me, it becomes a sign on my bathroom mirror, a card in my wallet, or a bookmark in whatever book I’m currently reading.  I thought it would be fun to share some I’ve heard over the years that have impacted me in a positive way, or made me smile:

  1. There is no such thing as an ugly woman. ~Vincent Van Gogh
  2. Sure God created man before woman. But then, you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece. ~Author Unknown
  3. Being a lady is an attitude. ~Chuck Woolery, Love Connection
  4. I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.  ~Gilda Radner
  5. Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.  ~Janet Lane
  6. A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. ~David Brinkley
  7. Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got. ~Sophia Loren
  9. If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. ~Thomas Edison
  10. I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~Louisa May Alcott
  11. Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book
  12. Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer
  13. I’ve got dreams in hidden places and extra smiles for when I’m blue. ~Author Unknown
  14. Optimist: someone who isn’t sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play. ~Robert Brault,
  15. Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus. ~Susan Longacre
  16. Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. ~Emory Austin
  17. Happiness is an inside job. ~William Arthur Ward
  18. Goals are dreams with deadlines. ~Diana Scharf Hunt
  19. Word by word the big books are made. ~French Proverb
  20. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. ~Attributed to Zig Ziglar

Do you have any special quotes that you often repeat to yourself, or have gotten you through difficult times?

Words are powerful.  They can be used as instruments, or weapons.  I pray that I always choose wisely.


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An Introvert’s Perspective

 Being an introvert has been a lifelong challenge.  As a child, I was so shy I wouldn’t speak to strangers.  As an adult, sometimes I’m the same way, though not so much now.   Some extroverts have a difficult time understanding me.  And that’s ok.  But if you’d like to get a little understanding of an introvert’s life, read on.

In the role of Office Manager at my church, I encounter people all the time.  Friends, acquaintances, and strangers are all in my office from time to time.  I’m perfectly fine with one on one, or maybe as many as five people at a time.  If there are more people than that Who are strangers to me, I start becoming uncomfortable, at a loss for words, I get quiet.

In small group situations, I’m ok if I know everyone pretty well, but if I’m in a room with twenty or more, and many I don’t know, not only am I uncomfortable, I get nervous. Like in church on Sunday morning, I need to sit at the end of a pew close to an exit.  I need to know I have a way out.  Put me in the middle of a pew with people on both sides of me and I feel trapped.  It’s uncomfortable, and a little scary.

I avoid functions where there’s going to be larger groups of people.  It’s not that I don’t like people, I just find the situation difficult.  The entire time I’m wishing I was home reading a book.  Yes, I can be there and talk to people one on one, but I don’t want to be.  There are too many sounds, voices, that make me want to retreat to my own quiet space.

I’ve had people tell me I’m crazy, that I’m unsociable, and that I don’t like people.  That’s not it.  I’m an introvert who likes peaceful surroundings and situations.  I love spending time with my pets, reading books, knitting scarves, and watching movies.  I just do.  That’s how I am.

It’s frustrating for me to have folks try to change me into a more outgoing person.  I’ve been pushed, pulled, coaxed, and tricked into going to different functions because someone else thinks it would be good for me to get out and about, to party and have a good time.  But that’s not who I am.

In my mind, I get plenty of social interaction at work and with other encounters throughout the day.   Then I’m done.  It’s such a nice feeling to get home to my pets, put my PJ’s on, and curl up with a good book.  Sometimes I’m writing instead of reading.  That works for me, too.

Being an introvert does not mean I hate people.  It just means I like being with them in smaller doses than others might.  In most cases, an introvert just wants to be an introvert.  Don’t try to change me, just let me live life my own way.

Thank you for letting me share a bit of my life with you.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?  Do you want to change who you are?


The Gift

  While at work this morning, someone stopped in the office and handed me this book.  She said she was going to put it in with items for the upcoming Holiday Bazaar, but she thought maybe I might enjoy reading it.  Well…YES!
This may seem like nothing to a lot of people, but it meant a lot to me.  For one thing, it was given to me by someone who doesn’t know me well, but it happened to be the perfect gesture.  I love books.  I love reading them and I love writing them.  I haven’t read this particular title, but I’ve read others by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them.

What a thoughtful gesture, to pass on hours of enjoyment to someone else.  With some books, it goes even beyond a few hours because the impact of the book can last for days, months, or even years.  It could be a gift filled with knowledge or wisdom.  It may be a book that provides entertainment and laughter.  It may be a book that takes me on a tour of the world, or just over the backyard fence.  To me, it’s just the perfect gift.

Even better than the gift is being thought of, considered, taking a moment out of their day to show that I matter.  It’s nice to matter.

I will be reading the book this weekend, and it will end up in the Holiday Bazaar.  Someone else will find enjoyment in this book, too.  And any money made off it goes to charity, so another person or two will reap benefits from this book as well.  

Maybe it will end up being a gift to someone else who matters.  What a blessing that would be!

Please feel free to share this post with another book lover who matters to you.

Dressing for Walmart

Ladies, no matter what your socio-economic background is, your ethniticity, your sexual preference, or your budget, there are a few guidelines that should be followed before heading out to the local Walmart for a shopping expedition. This is for all hours of the day or night, in all weather, at all times. Walmart may not enforce a dress code, but there is an unwritten dress code that I’m now going to share with you in writing.

  • Leave your pajamas at home.  No one wants to see what you sleep in, no one cares. Care enough about yourself to put some clothes on.
  • Clean yourself up.  Use a little soap and water and get to scrubbing all areas of your body, seen and unseen.  No one wants to smell your musty old body odor, either.
  • Cover yourself up, girl!  It doesn’t matter what size, shape, or color you are; cover it up!  There should be no nipples showing through or hanging out of a halter top.  Make sure your clothing is large enough to cover all cracks, folds, humps, and bumps.  No one wants to see your butt cheeks.  No one wants to see that fine looking butt crack tattoo.  Cover it up.
  • Wear shoes.  This is for your own safety, too.  We don’t want you to injure yourself, and we don’t want anyone to have to witness your dirty feet.  Flip flops are fine as long as your little tootsies are clean.
  • Brush or comb your hair.  Don’t let people see how lazy you are. And I can guarantee you will feel a little bit better about yourself if you do.
  • Take the curlers out of your hair before you leave the house.  Not only does it look cheap and tacky to be out shopping in them, it’s just a dumb thing to do.  Have some pride in yourself, for gosh sakes.
  • Use a little deodorant in those armpits.  No one wants to smell those sour pits.
  • If there’s any kind of larvae or big or small creatures crawling on your scalp, stay home.  Keep those things to yourself.  Have someone else do your shopping for you and to pick something up to kill those things.  Call your doctor if a prescription is required.

Well, those are the basic guidelines for shopping at Walmart or anywhere else.  I know it may seem like a lot to take care of, if you haven’t been.  But it gets easier with practice.  Take care of yourself.  It’s the right thing to do.

Please share this post with your friends or anyone who may benefit from learning the dress code.

Pickle People

A friend dropped by the church today and brought me a jar of my favorite pickles.  There was no reason for the gift.  She had just been in Amish country a couple days ago, knew how much I loved these pickles, and bought a jar for me.  I was ecstatic!  Pickles!  For ME!  Not only are these my favorite pickles EVER, I was grateful she even thought of me.

Pickles have a tendency to remind me of people.  You have your Sweet Pickles that remind me of folks like my friend, who do thoughtful things for no reason.  There’s an art to that.  And it must be a special gift God gives some of us, because not all of us have such thoughtful natures.  People who say kind things, make kind comments on our blogs, make thoughtful gestures and expect nothing in return, those are Sweet Pickles, and not everyone can be one.  Everyone likes a Sweet Pickle.

Then we’ve got Bread & Butter Pickles.  My mom made those every summer.  In fact, I thought growing up that there were only two types of pickles…Bread & Butter Pickles and Hamburger Pickles.  Because those were all I ever saw, and sometimes the Bread & Butter Pickles did double duty as Hamburger Pickles.  These type of folks are down to earth, hard working, dependable, and solid.  They become mature adults who spend their money wisely and make smart choices in life.  They are good to be around and make trustworthy friends.

I’ve known some pretty prickly cucumbers that became pickles.  You know the kind; the ones who are sensitive to every word and gesture you make and want to argue about it.  Those who get hurt feelings if you don’t say hello in just the right tone of voice, or if you don’t say hello at all.  And those people become so prickly that they become real pickles to be around.  I try to avoid those prickly ones.

Now, my favorite, the Garlic Dill Pickles.  Oh my, they do have a robust personality!  They make a statement, are artistic, often eccentric, and love experiencing life.  They might wear basic black clothes all the time, or something more eclectic and flamboyant, full of bright color and energy.  Their clothes make a statement.  Garlic Dills are never boring.  They may be a bit temperamental, moody, or overbearing at times, but they are never boring.  They are strong and fearless, full of surprises and discovery.

I know there are lots more pickles out there, so many different kinds and tastes.  That’s what makes life so much more interesting and exciting.  Because believe me, there’s nothing more boring than a plain old pickle with no taste, no style, no sense of wonder.  If I knew I had to be a plain pickle, I’d rather stay in the patch.