Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 and Happy New Year - Back to Blogging!

Well, Happy New Year and it's 2018! I went through 2017 without activity in my blog! That's awful. I find I am now missing writing a bit, so I will try to update or redesign my blogs.

What did I do with 2017? I crafted, walked, and studied. I became more active in my Catholic church and paper crafting - mainly Artist Trading Cards and greeting cards. Yes, I do a lot of swapping with others, but I also try to remember all my family and friends with handmade cards for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, etc. It's been fun, but quite expensive! I started this new hobby last January and am too embarrassed to share what I have spent! Let's just say I spent the year building my collection of tools, stamps, dies, ink, paper, embellishments, and items to help me organize it all. I'm not complaining because I have loved it. I am just to a point where I have enough and do not need to buy too much more at this point, except adhesives, dimensionals, and some new blending markers. Of course, Stampin' Up (the paper crafting company I normally buy from) is coming out with some new things, as they do often to keep customers spending the dough. Willpower Niecy! You have plenty for now.

I will post many of my projects and maybe a few tutorials after I redesign my blog. It needs a face lift!

As far as Bible study, I really enjoy learning with the added fellowship. I have to admit that this takes me away from my reading for entertainment, which I've missed. I have to figure out how to handle my studies, keep up with my crafting and television programs, and still find time to read. I really must do that.

As far as walking, I took up this activity quite a while ago, as you can read about in older posts of this blog. It is the best exercise for me to keep up with. I started 2018 with an early morning 5K and beginning a 30 day plank challenge. I am feeling good about this. I am doing planks to help strengthen my core, which helps some of my back aches and pains. It's not difficult right now, but will get harder along the way. That's what makes it work, I suppose.

I still attend Weight Watchers' meetings and work to keep my weight under control. I've done pretty well with that. I still have a little to lose until I reach my goal (yes, it's been slow), but I am definitely successful with consistency and keeping lost weight off. For me, that is victory! It is no longer about weight or the way I look, to be perfectly honest. That's all important to me, but so is health. I am trying to stay in a place where I can live with my chronic disease, but still live an active, happy life. That has taken on huge importance for me as I am not ready to die or become an invalid. Let's just say, I am taking much better care of myself than I used to in my younger years. It's always better late than never!

That is it for today. I will be back. It feels good to be excited about writing and creating again. It really does.

Chao and be well!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Niecy's Musings and Coastal Fun

Niecy's Musings it is.

I have found myself writing lengthy Facebook posts lately. I just have things to say and tend to spend time there anyway. I decided my personal FB page wasn't really the place for it. Instead I started a new page called Niecy's Musings. It is a public page where I can write my feelings about the world, being retired, traveling, God, whatever. People who do not like to read lengthy posts on FB do not need to go there. That way, my personal page is still for quick, fast humor, messages, etc. I'm a bit excited about it because it means I am wanting to write again!

Now, I still have my writing blog - Zebra Or Polka Dots and More, so I will use both. I found myself writing a poem about the world's chaos, as well as the nation's, recently. It just flowed out. That's when I really love writing, when it flows out of me. I will share my writing in both places since I do have some readers on the writing blog, but have even more on FB. Why not? Some writing is meant to be shared.

We just returned from a six day road trip up and down the west coast. We first drove to San Jose, visited the Winchester Mystery House, went out for a nice dinner, and after two days, moved on. It was quick, but really enjoyable for my husband, my son, and myself.

The Winchester Mystery House was very interesting, not scary as some have reported. The architecture was a mixture of various styles. Of course, I loved the Victorian style of much of it. The inside offered many treasures from cabinet doors that opened to brick walls rather than actual cabinets, tiny steps that felt awkward to walk on, narrow hallways, small rooms with toilets only in odd areas, unfinished rooms, very finished and nicely decorated rooms, doors to nowhere, just an assortment of interesting treasures.

Sarah Winchester was an extremely generous employer and had the money to be so. She made certain all who worked for her were paid well and given comfortable accommodations. She also installed or purchased equipment to make their work less taxing, the best of everything. Personally, I do not believe she was crazy or haunted. I simply believe she was spiritual, which was popular in her day. She was superstitious and sincerely felt building in the house needed to go on 24/7 to keep all the victims of the Winchester weapons appeased. Does that sound a bit crazy? Yes, but I also saw her as a giving, generous, intelligent, lovely woman. I would have loved knowing her, superstitions and all.

After leaving San Jose, we went through Monterey and walked on Fisherman's Wharf. We had a nice lunch there and enjoyed the wharf atmosphere. We could not stay long, but I would really like to return with my husband and visit the popular aquarium there. We moved onto San Simeon with plans to see The Hearst Castle. We stayed one night there and visited our destination after some rest.

I really enjoyed The Hearst Castle and would have liked to explore more. We took one group tour of the Grand Mansion, which took us through the grounds, pools, and rooms on the bottom floor. We also learned about the many parties and visitors who stayed there, Joe Kennedy, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and more. Actually, the castle was a bit gaudy, full of interesting art - paintings, sculptures, tapestries, carvings - and more. That part of it was interesting as well as the architecture. The reason I say it was gaudy, although I'm certain that was not true of the time Hearst lived there, was that every wall was covered. The motif was basically gothic, dark in a sense. It made me wonder. How would someone with that kind of money to burn decorate today? I'm certain there would be expensive art and other collections, but would it be gaudy? I have seen some of Trumps homes on television, never in person, of course. I found his decorating gaudy as well. I believe it can be done with the best of everything, beauty all over, but not overdone. I would like to see that. I will never experience having that type of fortune, however.

The part of The Hearst Castle that I loved were the outdoors. The scenery for miles were mountains, green and brown plants, trees, animals roaming, the ocean in one direction, other smaller buildings used for employees who work on the working ranch, and more. With the sun shining and looking down from the top, it was magnificent.

I really wanted to tour the upstairs and outside cottages, but traveling with my husband is not always easy. He does not find treasures as interesting as I sometimes, and also has trouble being on his feet for lengthy periods of time due to bad knees. We did climb an awful lot of stairs and I worried about him being in pain.

From San Simeon, we drove to Lompoc to visit with some old friends. We stayed one night there, visited with them one evening, had a blast and caught up, and then slept ready to go again the next morning. These friends were originally my husbands, but I grew to love them too. Fred was hubby's best man, an is an intelligent, dedicated, hard-working man, and his wife, Cynthia, is just a beautiful, vivacious, happy individual. She is in the fitness field and full of energy and spunk. They also have two grown daughters who were little last time we saw them. These girls are now women, one getting married in Hawaii in September, already having a little girl with her intended. Cynthia told us they actually married at the Justice of the Peace when their daughter found out she was pregnant. They wanted to be married when the baby was born, but are now having a ceremony to include family and friends. The older girl is working on a Ph.D. in neuroscience somewhere in Iowa. She is following her dreams and is also very happy.

It amazes me how sometimes in life you know people you can be separated from for many years, but still pick up where you left off once you see each other again. That is the way it was with this couple and their family. I just love them and we are planning on visiting more often and enjoying some of the wineries all around them. I just love when I have friends like that.

Finally, we left Lompoc and drove to Santa Barbara to enjoy the beach. After enjoying some very tasty Mexican food for lunch, we drove to the beach area and walked and walked. The beach is always calming for me. It was such a great afternoon. While walking up State Street to see what shops we could explore, we found a great one called The Blue Door.  This little antique shop was three floors of interesting, old, beautiful, well-conditioned furniture, artwork, jewelry, clothing, household goods, odds and ends, and my absolute favorite, books! There was so much I would have liked to purchase, but this is a time in my life when I need to prepare to downsize. I restrained myself, but did take home some treasures - two books, two plates, and a teabag holder. They just caught my eye, I knew I would have a place for each, and they were affordable. One book was a collection of Mark Twain's work, and the other was a treasury of poetry and song by many authors going back to the 1500s. Did I need them? No, but I will treasure both.

We rested that evening at a beautiful Best Western - really nice one on Bath Street - and prepared to head home. After a nice breakfast at The Live Oak, on the hotel grounds, where we discovered the cook was from Hawaii and the menu was wonderful, we headed home to see our pooch and relieve our house sitter. All three of us had a great time, enjoyed our last trip together before our son leaves for college, and came home very happy individuals.

One experience of this coastal trip that I did not cover was the drive! From the San Jose area or a bit further down to San Simeon, the drive was right on the edge of mountains full of curves, turns, heights, white-knuckling moments! I had to keep reminding my husband to keep his eyes forward because he is not comfortable with heights and the trek was frightening. My son and I were both on the passenger side of the truck on the edge of the ocean making all kinds of sounds of concern. I don't know if I will ever take that route again. I know I do not really want to!

We are now home getting organized and back into a routine. The few days before we left were very difficult for our country. It left many searching for direction. It is nice to know that we could leave the sadness and chaos for a few days and enjoy life!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the Winchester Mystery House, but here are a from the outside:

From the wharf:

Teabag treasure found in Santa Barbara:

Small plate made in Italy. Thought it would be good either to keep jewelry in while on my dresser or even to put on a wall, if I find the right place.

 A Gold Leaf plate made in Japan:

My book on treasury and song:

A sample:


Mark Twain collection:

And finally, today's vocabulary:

to make better

                                                   Possessed of broadly humanitarian sympathies, 
he became interested in ameliorating the conditions of imprisoned debtors.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Letting Go

I had a difficult experience recently that turned into a beautiful one.

My husband had been out of town attending his annual trip to Las Vegas with the boys. This usually gives me some time to be a single mother for my son. My husband often cooks, as you know. I like to make special dishes, sometimes dessert, and spend a little more time with my boy when my husband is away.

While hubby was gone, I made a special Baked Macaroni, Cheese, and Bacon dish. My husband is not a lover of mac n cheese, but my boy and I are. The dish was not very Weight Watcher's friendly, but was delicious. I also cooked some Pork Chops with Shallots and Mushroom Sauce the next evening and served those with twice baked potatoes. These were both Weight Watcher's recipes, but also very delicious. There would have been a third dish, but my son went to the beach with friends one day and it was just me for dinner.

Sunday evening, D came to me and asked if his dad had mentioned the beach trip. He had not. My son's friends were driving to Huntington Beach early Monday morning and spending the day and part of the evening there. It scared me to death to think of him in a car on the freeway with friends. I like his friends, but I remember being that age. I talked to him for awhile and simply asked him to promise there would be no drinking or drugs going on. I also told him if his friends decide to do that, I needed his promise he would not get in the car. He said adamantly there would be nothing like that, but if it were to happen, he would not get in the car and also not let his friends in to drive. Finally, I asked him to charge his cellphone and text me a couple times while there to let me know he was okay and not to forget to take some money. He agreed.

I was trying desperately not to cry because the boy is 18 and leaving for college in less than two months. I knew I had to let him go and trust him to use his better judgment, but it was not an easy concept to grasp. He could see that I wanted to cry and it affected him. I'm certain it reminded him how much he is loved and that is never a bad thing. He hugged me and went to let his friends know he could join them.

I stayed up very late that night and knew D had an alarm clock. His friends were picking him up around 7:30am and I did not expect to be awake. Well, lo and behold, I woke up around 5:30, hung around awhile because I wanted to allow him to do it all on his own. I heard his alarm, and he was not shutting it off. I went into his room, shook him and asked if he planned to go. He nodded yes and got right up. I fell back to sleep, but he came in to hug me before leaving. Would he had gotten up without me? I'm not sure, but I suppose he will find out when off to school!

Around 12:30, he texted that he made it to the beach. Apparently, he and his friends spent the morning planning and grocery shopping. They did not get out of town until around 10:30 or so. Later he texted pictures of their fire pit and the BBQ chicken they were grilling. I was impressed and began feeling better about the trip as the day progressed. He was having a good time with good friends and that made me happy. I also knew he was eating!

D arrived home early the next morning, around 1:30am. I, of course, was up and waiting. He came home hyped up and we ended up talking about the day and life in general until 5:30am. Yes, we did. He was quite talkative and told me his fears and concerns with growing up. It bothered him that he was so timid and immature in some ways. I wondered if he was talking about girls, but he stopped short of telling me specifics. He stated that his friends are able to do things without hesitation and that he is always fearful. Basically, he lacks confidence.

Now, my son knows he is very intelligent. The immaturity is more along the emotional side. He spoke of being extremely sensitive and yet sometimes lacking in empathy when he knows the two should go together. It confused him. He also felt that he was behind his friends by about two years, again in emotional maturity. He is very excited to start college and get over some of these fears, but is very concerned about leaving home as well. I could tell he was extremely confused by the emotions.

As a parent, we want to have the right things to say when needed, but do not always know exactly what is best. I talked to him about his negative thoughts. I told him that we often create our lives based on thoughts - negativity brings about unhappiness, positivity brings happiness. I advised him to try his best to squash negative thoughts and to replace them with more effective ones. He understood what I meant and said he has come far with that, but needed to do more.

I reassured him that being a late-bloomer is not the worst thing in the world and that college will bring about so much learning and confidence due to exploration and independence. I told him he would sometimes feel a bit homesick in the beginning, but we live at a time where technology is wonderful for these times. We could keep in touch by Skye, Facetime, etc.

I believe I helped my son during those hours. He said he never talks about these things with anyone. We even spoke about why I feel having God in our lives is so important because He brings comfort during the troubling times. D understood what I meant and called it an anchor. He seemed more receptive to the idea than I had seen in a long time. He said he was still trying to figure out what his anchor would be, but knew exactly why he needed one.

We spoke about a few philosophical ideas and I told him he could explore more of those ideas in college. I even suggested a philosophy course at some point. I believe the reason this went on for hours was because D feels he cannot talk to anyone about these things and was relieved to get some of it off his chest. He talks to his friends up to a point but then feels his ideas are too deep to get into (would they understand or would they just agree to disagree were his fears). We spoke of space and time, meaning of life, finding purpose, working for years as an adult and not wanting to be unhappy in that work, to name a few. We also spoke about his father and how difficult he can be on D sometimes. I believe there are three reasons my husband is like that: 1) He regrets never going to college and is living a bit through his son; 2) He just feels he needs to control or micro manage things in his life; and 3) His love is so deep and parents always want better for their children. The reason he pushes is to ensure a prosperous, successful life for D. We then spoke how he wishes his father would have not pushed so hard sometimes because he needed to figure things out for himself. D understood this did not help him gain confidence in his own abilities. I certainly comprehended what my son was communicating. I felt a little sorry about it because I knew my own personality and how difficult it can be to challenge my husband. He gets frustrated and angry and neither my son nor I want to deal with that. I can walk away and do my own thing, but my son felt the heaviness of authority and doing what others thought was best for him and could not walk away from it. I fully understood how he felt. He loves his father deeply, but really needs out from under to make his own decisions.

Our time together was wonderful and sorely needed, I believe. My son does not open up like that very often and sitting there talking to him about so much reassured me he trusts me. Our relationship is entering a new phase as we both grow in the process. How magnificent is that?

My husband is home now and D was happy to see him. I knew this because he followed his dad around the house and told him about his beach trip. I do plan on asking hubby to try to see if our son will open up about girls a bit to him. I really think this is the area he feels behind and confused with when it comes to maturing (I could be wrong, but it needs to be addressed). I believe he is very shy and doesn't know how to be anything other than a friend. He doesn't feel comfortable in his own skin when it comes to that. I just want him to be reassured that all will come in time and it is perfectly okay. There is no doubt that we will see massive changes and growth in him in the next few years. Quite frankly, not getting involved in relationships of that kind up to this point has been helpful to keeping him motivated in academics. College may be a whole different story!

Letting go! Everyone keeps asking me how I'm feeling about my son leaving soon. I've been too excited for him to be sad. This last few days sure woke me up. I am going to be a basket case when saying goodbye, but I also know I must and that he will be alright. Daily prayers will not hurt at all either and I will ask God to protect and guide him, as I always do.

Today's vocabulary:

quick or skillful or adept in action or thought

Neither is he adroit in the exercise of his duty; instead performs it bunglingly; 
his thoughts preoccupied, and eyes wandering about.
~ source:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Feeling It Again

It's been a long time. I got away from writing because I wasn't feeling anything interesting to write. Lately, I have felt the itch again and thought I would begin here. I do not know if anyone would consider me interesting, even now, but I need to write.

I have been busy since December, 2015. I still do many of the same activities and continue with the same goals I had back then, however. I still try to make weekly healthy dinner menus. My husband does most of the cooking. He enjoys it, but appreciates menus and new recipes. He does not like to decide what to make so he leaves the planning to me. I am still working on getting to goal using the Weight Watchers program. I have changed my lifestyle with eating and exercise and do quite well except when traveling. I really struggle staying on plan when traveling. Regardless, I am in the 150s, which has taken a long time. It doesn't matter because the major weight is staying off. I still study the Bible, but have changed from the local non-denominational church back to the Catholic church. I would like to continue studying with the women I met through my local non-denominational church. I admire them and consider each a friend. I was feeling a little confused, however. I missed the Catholic church and realized they had started Bible study there (about time). I am studying the Catholic church as well as the Bible, which I needed to do. How many Catholics fully understand their religion? They need to so they can make intelligent decisions. I am faithful, but religion is man-made. It is imperfect. So, as you can see, much is the same.

The beginning of 2016 was spent researching and applying to colleges with my son. He truly had a rough time making a decision. He felt that since he was not 100% sure of what he wanted to study, he was behind the eight ball. Through much discussion, my son realized he needed to make a definite decision and move forward. The rest would come in time. (He graduated high school this past June.) D decided on the University of Colorado Boulder, which is an intriguing campus and beautiful town. I am excited for him because he has his whole life in front of him. He will do so much growing in the next few years. I take nothing for granted and pray that he will stay the course. We have taught him right from wrong. The rest is up to him.

I began a Great Course called The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins a year or more ago. I got sidetracked and the DVD and book sat without use. Today I got back to it. Studying word origins in the English language is interesting. The language exists with borrowings from many other languages - Germanic, French, Latin, Greek, and more. It has also changed through the years as we have progressed as a society. The English language definitely will continue to change as we do and there are still differences between the British English and American English; however, learning where it all began, how we have lost the use of words, how dictionaries came to be, and how linguists vote on words to keep as well as other subjects having to do with language is engaging to me. It makes me want to be back in the classroom teaching, well, at least in moments. I actually love being retired and the freedom it affords.

We have been and will be traveling this summer. We recently visited Denver and Boulder, Colorado, and fell in love with the place. We also spent some time in my hometown: Phoenix, AZ. It is always nice to visit with family, but we chose the hottest weekend of summer to date to have a graduation party for our son. We cut that trip short by one day for three reasons: we wanted to give my brother and sister-in-law a break from company before more came to visit; we were just too hot and didn't feel like doing much; and I needed my routine because I lost control with my eating while there. It was a good time, however, just a bit hot.

We are planning a coastal road trip. The three of us wish to drive up to San Jose, visit the Winchester House, then drive down taking our time to visit other sites as we come back down the coast. I am really looking forward to that.

Finally, we will be driving our son to Boulder to settle into dorm life and school. We will stick around for a bit to see the sights and make sure he gets settled. It looks like Boulder will be another place for us to visit repeatedly.

It is never a good idea to talk about traveling or being away from home where strangers with unfavorable intentions can make plans of their own. I must say that we live in a gated community, have wonderful neighbors, a dog, and a very good dog/housesitter. We also have law enforcement individuals living close by and they watch things for us. All should move on from that thought.

I hadn't read much lately other than the Bible and devotional type books and was missing it. I have many books on my Kindle and in print and began reading again. The book I am reading right now is about Marilyn Monroe. I have always loved biographies and her sad story has always intrigued me. I do not, however, need to read about all her love and sexual interests, so I may move onto another book if something more in the book doesn't peak my interest soon.

There is something about Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana's lives that I empathize with. They were both beautiful women who struggled with confidence and self-doubt regarding their worth. It saddens me when I know this about people. I think I identify with these struggles. It is not the outwardly beauty and sensuality I diagnose, but the inner strife I know to some degree.

I have an urge to write about some of the struggles and events in my life that changed who I was and who I came to be. I do not know if I want to do it here because it is very personal information. I would like to do this with a positive twist even in conflict. I am not unhappy with who I am today. What I have experienced in life has affected me greatly, but I never lost hope and joy. This is what I would like to convey, perhaps for young people struggling with their own self worth.

To end tonight's post, I have decided to improve my vocabulary. I'm certain this need came from learning about word origins; however, I have always wanted to do better with my vocabulary. I love learning and growing. It's just that simple. Here is a new word for me, however small it looks. It is one I have seen and heard many times, but felt I needed a refresher with its meaning and usage. My word today is:

the highest level or degree possible
Paris wholly has got to the acme of its frenzy; whirled, all ways, by panic madness. 
~ source:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Without Change There Would Be No Butterflies

It's been awhile, I know!

Life happened and I suddenly did not have the writing bug that I so often possess. I won't go into boring explanations. Let's just say, I felt like writing tonight and that's a good thing.

I am feeling excited. My life is changing, in small ways, in awesome ways.

Weight Watchers has launched a new program. Yes, again. They seem to reorganize every couple of years or so. It can be frustrating when you are used to a plan and then change; however, change is good. I see this as a new beginning for me as I am again playing with the same 5 pounds and need to work through and past those buggers. Where I will eventually settle and maintain is still a question I cannot answer.

It is not so much about losing all the weight any longer; it is more about improving my health, if even in small ways.

I cannot give a lot of details about the changes yet because I haven't been to a meeting. My change will not take place until my meeting day. What I do know us PointsPlus are out, SmartPoints are in. Calculations of points are no longer made with carbs, fat, protein, and fiber. They are now figured with calories, saturated fat, and sugar, I believe. Protein might be part of the calculation because the more lean protein a food contains, the fewer SmartPoints it will have. What I'm understanding is Weight Watchers a la Oprah is moving towards Simply Filling, Fitness, and Living Well.

I believe the list of foods for SF will change a bit. There is a bit of a discrepancy currently. One list states that reduced or low-fat cheese and dairy will now be allowed. In other words, fat-free will not be required. Another list has only fat-free, so I am currently unsure. I am hoping for the reduced fat option because I do not go fat free!

Points and weeklies (extra points throughout the week) are based now on a personal assessment. Everyone takes the assessment focusing on a person's lifestyle (sedentary, active, etc.). The results of the assessment will determine the number of SmartPoints and weeklies allowed and will change as a member loses and becomes more active.

My only concern about all of this is the cost of new materials. The plan books are part of membership, of course, but there are other items like a scale, cookbooks, and journals (trackers on steroids). I also have to be careful with protein due to having kidney disease, although I am allowed some protein daily. I just need to review this with my doctor again.

The fitness tracker of choice now is Fitbit. Weight Watchers no longer carries their own tracker. Fitbits are able to sync with WWs applications now.

There you have it: all I know about the new program right now. Change is good and provides a fresh start.

Other areas of my life that are making me happy and peaceful currently are my Bible study, the weather and having a fire almost nightly, reading, my son's growth as he gets ready to begin college, and a change in what I wish to see on TV or in the movies. Yes, I have stopped watching some of the TV that is adding nothing to my life. Even The Walking Dead doesn't interest me! I really do feel a shift happening within me. I know this is all connected to strengthening my relationship with Jesus. He is changing me and I like it.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

To Bake or Not to Bake - the Real Stuff, I Mean

When I was a girl, I loved to bake. I was not terribly interested in cooking, but loved baking. I do have a sweet tooth and have struggled with excessive weight for most of my life, so this makes perfect sense. Somehow, through the years, I began to really mess up my baking. Although my dishes tasted okay, there was always something wrong with my cakes or cookies - too much sugar or salt, too crumbly, under or over baked. I felt I had lost my mojo.

I have been watching a fun show on PBS. It is called The Great British Baking Show. The contestants are regular people, not professionals. Most of them just love to bake and do a lot of it for their families. They put their hearts into their recipes. You can see the frustration and hurt when their items do not turn out well, but you can also see their joy in what they are doing.

I told my husband that I may want to try baking again. Not Weight Watchers baking, but real baking. Yes, I know this can be dangerous for someone like me, but life is short. I need to do things that I enjoy and stop worrying about this issue I have had on my back my entire life! No worries. I will still try to be healthy most of the time and keep my weight in check, but once in awhile, a nice dessert and an old, but new hobby can be enjoyed.

Tonight the contestants made a Custard Tart. The recipe was one of the professional's (judges) and not easy to perfect. I found myself wanting to try it. I asked my husband if he would enjoy eating this and he answered in the affirmative. Most of the contestants struggled but I picked up a couple tips that might help me when I try this recipe. The first was lining the muffin tins so the tarts would come out easily. Only one contestant did this and made taking them out a cinch. The rest struggled big time. I also learned what caster sugar is as it is one of the ingredients. Apparently, it is finely ground sugar, not powdered, but finer than regular granulated. It is probably used more often in England, but I read it can be found in the states or can be made at home. Good to know. I do not know when I will try this for the first time, but I will soon. First, I need to get some pastry cutters and maybe a couple other items. I also need to purchase range-free eggs and whole milk, both of which I never use. I want to do this right - no substitutions in ingredients. Wish me luck and I will let you know how this goes.

On another subject, I woke up very tired and cranky today. I have felt this way lately and feel it could be the antibiotics I am taking for an infected ulcer on my thumb. It also could be that I have not been eating well nor walking lately. I went about taking care of my morning routine, definitely not in a good mood. I know this because hubby kind of tiptoed around me and spoke very kindly to me. Shouldn't he always? Of course, but he is moody, too. Later in the early afternoon, I sat at the table with my materials to do my daily readings, prayers, and homework for Bible study. I was about to begin but had the thought that I should pray first. I prayed for patience and energy because I knew I was feeling lazy, tired, and unmotivated. In my prayers, a word came out that I knew applied to me. I repeated this part of the prayer three times. The word was weak. I felt weak in my resolve.

Once I picked up one of my books, the one called, Jesus Calling, with daily readings and Bible verses, I read the entry for today. I am going to put a picture on here rather than explain it. Afterwards, I went about doing my homework, and something happened again. I will post a photo of that, too.

There you have it. I was reading exactly what I needed and prayed for. Call it coincidence if you would like, but this is not the first time something like this has happened. Upon completion of my work, my mood was lifted and the rest of my day went better. I find this amazing and very comforting.

I have my clothes ready for walking in the morning. I have set my alarm and plan to go early. I have not really felt like doing this for about 4 or 5 days. I also plan to track my food tomorrow and then post it to my WWs FB site for accountability. I do this sometimes because it helps. Wish me luck on this, too!

It's hilarious, isn't it? First, I write about baking real desserts and then I end with information about my weight journey...again. I am so conflicted sometimes, but the truth is I have to keep a watch on weight. I do not want to gain. If nothing else, I am maintaining instead of letting myself go.  Will I ever lose the rest of the weight - about 20 pounds to goal? Yes, I believe I will but not in any kind of a straight line. The roller coaster continues.

My niece's wedding is coming up soon and I decided I wanted to wear a dress. I do not do that often any longer mainly because I don't wear heels much any longer. Well, I am buying a dress and shoes. I hope to find some dress shoes with a small to medium heel. This is my plan anyway. I have purchased the dress online, will try it on when it arrives, and then go looking for shoes. I am hoping to feel feminine and dressy without looking too much taller than my hubby. Again, wish me luck!

Until next time...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Becoming Honest

I am changing. I am learning to value time. Maybe these things happen as we age or maybe it is living with chronic illness and knowing how very serious a disease scleroderma is. I'm not sure. I just know that I do love my resting and leisure time, and I don't like wasting it on unimportant matters. I have become a bit more selfish with my time also. I want to be with people who care about me and visa versa. I don't want one-way friendships or using my valuable time on people who have no real affect on my life. I hope that doesn't sound terrible because I am truly a very giving, loving person. Here is the post:

Facebook, it's a love/hate relationship for me, peeps. In a way, it is great because I keep in touch with cousins and other loved ones I do not see often. Today, some friends and I had a discussion about how very non-social social media is. We all can hide behind it and put forth our best selves. I know I do this intentionally. I try to remain positive always even though I deal with some heavy issues. So many of us do that, don't we? We use FB to give all the wonderful news about our lives and ensure people who read our posts feel we are doing great! In fact, how many times have you thought, "Gosh, everyone else's lives are going so well. What is up with me?" That is the false reality social media can give us.
I am normally a positive, happy spirit. It is the way I look at life in order to make mine more fulfilling. I do, however, have troubles, chronic illness being the major one, frustration with limitations in my life another, jealousy when I see posts of others out there living so well and doing so many wonderful things, and more because I am human. Even with all of these, I tend to withdraw on bad days rather than show others my vulnerability. I also will say I want people I sincerely care about and who genuinely care for me on here and not others. That is why I go through my friends list every so often and delete. It is not a personal slam; it is more of a "don't just stalk me, but know me" feeling and visa versa. I ask myself if I have a genuine interest in a "friend's" life. I try to be honest with myself and others. I can't please everyone, nor will everyone like me enough to be interested.
Having written all that, please do me a favor. Ask me questions, even tough ones, about my life and share your own lives, even struggles, with me. PM is great way to do this when you do not want it all blasted out there. Also, please PM me your home addresses and email addresses so I can add them to my phone book. You may receive a card, letter, or email from me just saying, "Hello, you are being thought about," or "I', praying for you today." I love doing those things.
Also, I have strong faith, more so today than ever. I know not everyone feels this way, but it has brought hope, love, warmth, and acceptance into my life. I wish that for all of you. I pray daily and would love to add any of your needs to my prayers. Just ask. Again, personal messaging might be more comfortable and that is fine. I would love to pray for your individual needs because I want to be more than just a FB buddy.
I am not one to cut and paste and forward things, nor do I really enjoy the games and quizzes all that much. I do it once in awhile, but not often anymore. Again, nothing personal, I just want to go out and live in my world a bit more doing what I love. I may look into some volunteering again as that venture has fallen by the wayside a bit. Now, you know a little more about me!
Blessings and God's love to all of you.

I am really growing in Christ and, as you can read, being very honest and open about it. I imagine this will turn off some people and I may lose friends. That is okay and I wish everyone well. I just like what is going on in my heart and do not want to be afraid to share.

The Pope addressed Congress today. I loved all he had to say, but I couldn't keep from knowing how very irritating this must be for some people. Don't we keep church and state separate? I imagine we will hear a lot in the next couple of days. I did love all he had to say, however. He is truly a compassionate man. He means a lot to Catholics, obviously, but I'm certain others are not happy. I am involved with both the Catholic church and a non-denominational church and I know how some people feel about the Catholic faith. On the flip side of the coin, there are many out there who are devoted to the church and the Pope is very important. It's a bit confusing. Maybe keeping church and state separate is the way to go, although I would like to see God in every aspect of our lives. This is not possible, however, and I must respect the feelings and beliefs of others. 

On a change of subject, we are going to do some deep cleaning very soon. We are going to go through the house and get rid of - either throw away or try to see at an upcoming garage sale - items that we just don't use anymore. I go through my closet every couple months because little by little, I am getting rid of clothing I no longer wear. Part of this is because I am not working and don't need everything and the other is simply vanity and what I wish to wear. I've lost weight, not a lot, but some, and I don't want to walk around with baggy clothes. I am also slowly buying some new items, mainly for church or other times I want to get out of my workout or kick back clothes. 

We just really want to stop with clutter, but I say that all the time. We have ordered a large dumpster for one week. Let's see what we can get rid of. We also want to clean baseboards, corners of dirt, the pantry, and tops of high selves we don't get to often. Yes, I plan to wear a face mask and try not to overdo. We are doing this while D is on fall break, so it will be a family chore. He can clean out that bedroom! It's time!

That's it for now. I realize I haven't had a lot of excitement to share, but my life is pretty quiet. What makes me happy may not seem all that exciting to others. What can I say?

Until next time...