Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Canvas Art Class Project

About a month or so ago, I signed up for a class through a local Arts & Crafts Center. The class was on how to make Vintage Canvas Art. This past Monday the class finally happened.

This post is rather picture heavy. :-)

This is our instructor with all of the papers we got to choose from.
The hardest part was picking just seven. I found 12. Yeah....
So, I narrowed it down. The papers on the left were going to be: the top 3 were going to be embellishments; the bottom one was to be the middle. We had to find the 7; place them; and then fold them down around the canvas using Popsicle sticks (or as I called them Tongue Depressors)

As you can probably tell, it changed. Out went the clocks and in came the one on the bottom right. Why? My theme was vintage travel. Clocks fit okay, but not as well as the replacement one. Also, the "baggage" one got top right instead. This is the placement of all of them (minus the middle one) after they were folded down.

Once we had it placed how we wanted it, then came the gluing. We glued (using Modge Podge) from the bottom one going up in layers. The "map" was first; then the top left one. The middle right had to be placed, then I used a pencil mark to mark on the canvas where it was to stop.

All glued minus the top one.

I missed a picture. Sorry.
The middle one ("stamps" from around the world) glued on next.

While the whole thing dried (I glued down the corners which left glue on other bits as well), we chose embellishments. Those embellishments are the balloon (top left); camera (middle left); "Cherish the Moments" (under the camera); and the olden bicycle (bottom right). We used more Mod Podge to glue them down.

Then came the antiquing. Since the instructor didn't have any Antique Mod Podge, I used Distress Ink in Walnut Stain to brown the white bits to "age" the art.

Better, no? If you can't tell the difference, compare the picture above the bike on this picture and the one above the ink. Also, if you look closely, I added something "extra" to the Telegram. Can you guess what?

After the ink dried a bit, we sealed it with a sealer. This time it was Satin finish Mod Podge. I chose that one since I didn't want it is vintage after all right?

This is the canvas just a few minutes ago....after 1 1/2 days of drying. I love it! I just gotta find a spot to put it.

Now that the class is over and I've learned how to do this, I have a feeling I'll be doing more of these. They're the perfect "scrapbook page"-type art to show off special occasions or unforgettable events.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Brush with 112--Part I

While my injury story started on a Saturday morning, the reason why I was where I was happened about a month prior.

Every year, a Bible conference is held at Interlaken in Switzerland. It's not cheap, but from everyone who has went has said that it is worth it. It's a yearly event that occurs not long after July 4th. Hubby was on a 6-month business trip and our pastor's wife convinced me to go. I found a great deal on a room and a friend, that was already going, wanted to tag along with me and pay half the gas. Yeah! Reservation made, room booked, bags packed, a house/dog sitter booked, dog food bags made up, and lists made. Everything was going perfect except for one little detail:
Going from the north-eastern part of Italy where we live to Interlaken meant one of two ways....1) Go through the mountain via a 5 (or 10..don't remember now) mile tunnel OR 2) go over the mountain where you could glance out your passenger window and see straight drops. Oh goody! Sounds like something that would make me either hurl or pass out. Since I hated both ideas, but the thought of plunging to my death (slowly) off a steep mountain was worse, I chose through the looooooong tunnel. Dear Adele (above said pastor's wife) asked to ride along when we got to that point. Yea, a God-fearing lady who has been to the conference for at least the past 9 years chooses the tunnel over the over-pass if she has the option...."Although the tunnel's not ideal." Ummmm....WHAT?!?!

The closer to the day, the more nervous I got. I was so nervous (butterflies and all) the night before that I barely slept...not a good thing given that I was about to embark on a 9 to 10-hour drive....part of the way through a looooong tunnel. Oh! And Interlaken is snug in a mountain valley, so more mountain driving. {See why I was a tad nervous?}

I woke up the morning of July 9th, 2011 with a tummy-full of butterflies and a pit of dread in my gut. I prayed starting almost from the moment I opened my eyes. I got up at 4:30am. I took a shower and finished the last bit of prep. I had packed a suitcase for staying in a dorm-type room....I had enough clothes and toiletries for the week along with dish washing stuff and a few things to keep me entertained during downtimes. I had packed the Jeep the night before and had parked it downstairs in the attached garage (originally built as a ground-floor house with its' own entrance, but work stopped when the son changed his mind....the vehicles are normally parked underneath the bedroom/half-bath/office) so that it was safe as well as enclosed for the last few items. I shut the dogs behind the hallway door that led to the bedrooms and grabbed the first of 2 loads I had left to take. In my arms were: my handbag (that had my phone and a bottle of water for the drive), pillow (I take it with me when I travel as a sense of home), and a bag of recycling that needed to go (as a last prep for the dog/housesitters).

This first pic is looking down the stairs from our "livable floor."
 This pic shows the height of the stairs. Taken from the ground floor looking towards the back. Around the corner is where we can park our vehicles out of the elements.

Now that you know what I was carrying, visualize that......

Arms full.

Italian steps (higher than American ones).

A bottom step that has an extra inch-ish because it doesn't quite touch the concrete floor.

Oh! And slippy sandals. The type that when you take a wrong step, your feet tend to slide in them.
This is not the offending shoe. That one was tossed by a dear friend of mine. Hopefully with Oomph! lol

Now that you know the background, the stage is set for what happened next.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Resolutions for 2012 and 2013

At the end of Summary for December 2012, I mentioned New Year's and how the house got a bit emptier. For the New Years Eve post, I talked about what we did and a few Italian traditions. I still didn't talk about the rest.....emptiness.

Resolutions. They are theory. A lot of times in practice, not so much.

Most of the times those "resolutions" end by the time the Super Bowl kicks off. To change that habit in myself, I altered the name to "Goals" for 2012. I'll post just how I wrote them back on January 1, 2012. They were:

1. Toss at least 1 item per day of excess.

2. De-Clutter!!! & Purge!

3. Have a cleaner, emptier (of junk), & more organized house.

4. Be a healthier & skinnier me. did I do? Let's see....
1. This,.....altered. About half way through January, I found a post somewhere on Facebook that mentioned they did (in 2010 or 2011)....hard to remember how they explained it, but suffice it to say that I did the same with 2012. My new goal was to get rid of SIX items each day January through June and then FIVE items each day July through December. The total result (the hard to explain part above) was 2, 012 items gotten rid of in the year of 2012. Cool, huh? And............
I succeeded!!! Now, not all of the items, hand-held. Some of those items were electronic. Electronic clutter is still clutter. I was keeping "CDs" on iTunes that I NEVER listened to. Why? Gone! Those must-keep-these-efiles-to-read-sometime-in-the-future? Gone! However, the majority of the items were physical. Toss, donate, sell, shred.....gone. Because I did it over the course of a year, it's hard to tell "yes, it's emptier". But looking at some earlier house pics.....totally can tell. Some though are easy to notice, like the furniture we sold.

2. Obviously did rather well on this one. Is the house completely de-cluttered? Not a chance. At first, finding things to get rid of was really easy....that easy type of clutter always is. You know? The ripped/stained/holey clothes that you should have tossed ages ago. The read-it-one-day stuff you know you're never going to get around to....5 years after you kept it. As time went on, it got a little harder. Fortunately it was something I wanted to do as opposed to something I was forced to do. The more sentimental stuff does get harder....especially for us women. Women tend to be more sentimental/emotional/etc. about items that men are. Not all, just for the most part. Hubby? Rarely sentimental. Me? I can find sentiment in things from paper to fabric from metal to digital. Fortunately I had some "prep work" behind me. A switch had been flipped (literally I think) after reading a book then a blog. Something about it just....clicked. The author is Brooks Palmer. His approach was like the flip of a switch. Want the book? Found here to buy. The blog found here to read.

3. Cleaner? Well, depends on the day. It is emptier thanks to De-Cluttering Fest 2012.

4. Half and half. Skinnier? No. Healthier? Yes. In July, I was bitten by....who-knows-what-kind-of-bug and had an allergic reaction. Me and a guy are the two people on the whole base that had been seen. TWO. Period. Oy! Allergic reactions to three medicines later, I was better, but still trying to figure out why the reaction wasn't gone. Fast forward to August. My base doc had sent me for test upon test upon test to rule out all of the "biggies." One of the things he had me do was get a bone scan. In an upcoming post, I'll tell why the worry, but long story short: nasty break in left leg; surgery to install 2 plates and 16 screws; 1 1/2 years later. Did the infection enter into the bone and/or metal? Only the bone scan would tell. Have you ever had one? No? Well, they inject a radioactive dye into your arm (yeah, in.....glowy bits) to travel throughout your body to take pics (for lack of a better word) to see the inside of the bones.

After going through that, I got to thinking about chemicals. OK.....I had already been thinking it since I had been reading on blog after blog about going greener. And a friend mentioned getting back to the basics (including natural stuff...not a nudist stuff). Soooo the foundation was laid when I had this day-spent-at-the-Pordenone-Hospital. Over the next few months, I changed a LOT about the products I use. The items swapped out:

Dish Soap (no machine dishwasher....only me)
Shampoo (realized my hair does better without conditioner...go figure)
Face Astringent (have you read some of those labels?! Perfume?!?!?! No wonder we break out. Geesh!)
Shower Gel
Clothes Soap
Dryer Stuff (use woolen dryer balls....cheaper and healthier)
Napkins and Paper Towels (both now linen....haven't bought paper versions in about a year!!!)
Cleaning Supplies
Canned Dog Food (for Belle....Natural or for Seniors {she is 13 after all})

Along with the above, I've also swapped out linen or glass or wood or metal for a lot of plastic items around the house.
Am I where I want to be? No. I have gotten rid of a lot of chemicals and my body is still trying to adjust to the lack of. I started breaking out on my forehead. First time since....teens? A friend whose into natural remedies for ailments said it's my body's way of helping me. One way to get rid of toxins is through the skin (largest organ after all) and that removal can cause an overabundance of oil. There for a while I could cover a tissue twice (or more?) a day in oil from my forehead. It's slowed down recently. Good thing.

For 2013, my goals are:
1. Get rid of 1 item (or group) per day
2. Be healthier and skinnier
3. Finish Bachelor's Degree

What about you? How did you do? What are your goals for this year?

Disclaimer: Nothing I've mentioned have I been paid to promote...I just approve of the products on my own.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's Not to Like?

I know this post should have be the end of the year post, but I'm putting that off until later.

I read a post from one of the blogs on my list and thought it sounded like an interesting topic. She was talking about foods that others love, but she just can't stand for one reason or another. Sooooo here's my turn at it. :-)

Five foods that I just cannot eat.

1. Cooked Carrots and/or Onions.

Can't do it. For me, it's mainly a texture thing. Carrots should crunch. Onions, well, I can eat them cooked on a pizza or on a burger/wrap. When onions are in a sauce, can't do it. When it's chew, chew, crunch my stomach turns. *shudder

2. Cute Animals

I can't eat a piece of meat knowing that this cute, innocent little animal is behind it. Cows? Ugly. Baby cows (calfs)? Adorable. Sheep? Cute. Deer? Cute and I think of Bambi. Chicken? Ugly and mean.

3. Seafood

A lot of folks, including hubby, would look at the above picture and drool. Me? Not so much. First off, it doesn't help that I'm allergic to the smell as well as the taste of fish...and pretty much the rest too. Fortunately for seafood-loving-hubby I have a strong stomach. He can order/eat his seafood and I eat my chicken or salad. I accidently got a tuna and mayo sandwich (it wasn't labeled and I don't understand a lot of Italian). About half-way through my stomach reminded me of why I don't eat seafood. Period. I kept it down, but just barely. I felt ill for a good hour after. Oh well. such is life.

4. Iced Coffee

On this one, I did try. I love coffee. Italian espresso is my favorite. Some is strong enough to give a nice little jolt to a caffeine-addict like me. So, when a friend handed me her iced coffee to try, I thought Why not? I had to force my throat to swallow. Nope. Coffee has to be hot apparently. When things are outside their norm, apparently my taste buds reject them. Oh well, guess I'll have to drink it the Italian way: Hot and straight.

5. Mushrooms

This one is a mix of three reasons. One, there's no real taste to them....they take on the flavor of whatever you're mixing them with. Two, the texture thing...yeah, no. And the biggie: I know how they're grown. Just like hotdogs and bologna, I can't do it. Knowledge is power, but can also remind you how that item came to be. I won't go into it, but.....No. All I think of when I see a 'shroom isn't the trip the 60s teens took but how they're grown. Hotdogs and flattened hotdogs (or bologna).....same thing. Once I know how it's grown or made, the willingness to eat it goes plunging out the window.

What about you? What are your "EWWWW" foods?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year's Eve

At the end of the last post I mentioned this post. When I started typing it, I realized that it was going to be a long one if I crammed both together, so it'll be two posts instead of 1. Since New Year's Eve comes before the 1st of January, that's up first. :-)

If you've followed along, you've gathered somewhere along the way that we currently live in Italy. Italians are rather obsessed fond of fireworks. As is seriously fond of. They tend to go off for random reasons along with holiday ones. If a favored football (that's soccer to Americans) team won a sought after game, fireworks are shot off. Sometimes hubby and I wonder if they even know. ;-)  The typical times are from New Year's Eve pretty much through the night before Epiphany. Epiphany is the 6th of January. The night before is La Befana. I'll get to that when I get caught up with these posts.

Setting off lots of fireworks is a beloved tradition. Last, for the end of 2011, fireworks were set off constantly over the course of 30 minutes....from the stroke of Midnight on. Yeah, they love 'em. This past year, they.......

Wait.....I'm getting ahead of myself. Back up a few hours.

On Sunday (the 30th of December), after church a bunch of us went out for lunch. After it was over, a few of us stayed a bit longer and chatted. Ms. Adele (our lovely pastor's wife...a second mama/my Italian mom) has her birthday on December 31st. One thing she loves is seafood. Well, long story shorter hubby and I made plans to meet up with them around 11 on the 31st to go on a day trip. We did. It was: Pastor Sam, Adele, their grown son, their grandson, hubby, and I. We met and followed them (they knew how to get there, we didn't) to Caorle and then onto Jesolo....both in Italy. Caorle is on the water....the Adriatic and is highly favored by Pastor and Adele for their seafood.

I guess if you want good, fresh seafood, it's better if you go to the sea as opposed to it coming to you. Their son, their grandson, & I ordered other stuff (they got pizza, I got a steak-type dish and salad). The rest got plates of seafood. After a yummy lunch, we walked around the town

and then along the beach for a bit.

It was beautiful and not as cold as I thought it would be given that it was on the water. They too have a leaning tower, but obviously not as famous as another one.

We didn't stay too much longer because we wanted to go to Jesolo.

They have a sand nativity scene set up that was only running for a few more days. We all wanted to go, so off we went.


These aren't all the pics or all of the sand sculptures. It was housed in a HUGE tent. There is a group of artists that take mounds of sand and transform it into works of art.

We stopped by a restaurant on the way home to get take away. We chose to take it home and spend the evening alone together. While waiting for our food, we looked up Italian traditions. Interesting. Some are food related, others are....superstitious at best.

One of those is fireworks. Now, back to the beginning where I left off. As stated earlier, at the end of 2011 fireworks were set off constantly over the course of 30 minutes....from the stroke of Midnight on. Yeah, they love 'em. This past year, they didn't let them off continuously as before. But, by the time we heard the last firework go off, it had been well over an hour. Yep, a bit past 1 AM. The best part is that where our house is, we can stand on our outside landing and see fireworks on three sides...the house is blocking the fourth side. The best picture would have been to our left. You can see the church steeple and they were shooting off fireworks that hit just to the left of it. Apparently about a week earlier (maybe for a test run), they were shooting off fireworks and hubby stated they were hitting just over and around the steeple. Either way...a beautiful sight. Ringing in the New Year with my little family of me, hubby, and our dog Belle was perfect for us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

December 2012

Since I'm almost caught up, I will do a summary post for December.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, hubby came home from the Middle East just before Thanksgiving. I was still working on a class for college. He had been home about a week when he had the desire/need to return to America in order to see his grandma. To take some the load off his widow mom raising 3 young girls, his grandma offered to raise him. His mom (probably frustrated and stressed) agreed. His grandpa had passed back in 2000. His grandma was fine for a while, but her kids decided to see if she would live with them on a rotating basis. After his grandma had a minor fall, she agreed. Also around that time, she realized she was getting Alzheimer like her mother. Being alone could potentially be dangerous. Recently, it was mentioned by her kids that it is getting to be more and more difficult on the family to "handle her" and it might be a good idea to look into assisted living...or something similar. The kids are in their 60s and up and grandma.....well, her short-term memory (and recognition at times) isn't what it used to be...and it's not going to get better. They figure it's better to look into a place while there's time as opposed to an urgent decision later. Well, hubby felt the need to go see her while she was still in a regular-type setting. I had tons of school to do (still 2 weeks behind at that point and 2 1/2 weeks left of school....OY!), so I stayed home.

While hubby was gone for just under two weeks, I was able to get caught up....submitted the last assignment the last day of class. I could only have done that with an understanding teacher. Thanks to him! I got my class done, hubby got to visit lots of his family...Win, Win for both of us. He got home a week before Christmas and I was able to just "go with the flow" since I had nothing pressing.

On Christmas Eve, our church has an annual Candlelight Service. For an hour or so, the congregation sings Christmas songs. If anyone wants to sing a solo, they're more than welcome. We end the service with the candle part. Pastor lights his candle, then lights the candle of the person at the end of each row. The end person lights the one next to them and so on. Once all of the candles are lit, someone turns the lights off and we sing the verses of Silent Night. After the service is over, we go downstairs for a potluck Dessert Social. After the service, hubby & I went to grab take away since I didn't eat anything and chocolate just doesn't cut it for dinner.

We went to Pastor's house for Christmas dinner. There ended up being 16 total (including 3 kids) for dinner. We ended up chatting for about an hour or so after dinner while the off the food rested their eyes. We left not long after and opened our gifts to each other.

Christmas week was back to work for hubby and a regular week for me. New Year's? That's for another post...along with how the house got emptier this last year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankfulness Day 30

Nov. 30
This day was spent at two get-togethers. The first one was a welcome back bbq at one of hubby's co-workers. All of the folks were deployed together along with their significant others. Met a few new folks and got a recipe for yummy mac 'n cheese.

The second one is a (normally) monthly women's get-together called LIFT. LIFT is Ladies In Fellowship Together. We try to get together one Friday each month. Every month has a different theme and any lady can volunteer to host one. This one was hosted by three of the Italian ladies that go to the church. They each made (and showed us how) a dish. We all got to try the three dishes and took home the recipes. Afterwards a few of us went to a local cafe for a hot chocolate or a tea before heading home on a chilly, rainy night.

What I'm thankful for happened next. I had just gotten home when a friend's hubby called to tell me she had been in a minor accident. The reason he had called me was we had loaned them our car to drive the last couple of weeks before they moved. My friend was driving that car when the accident occurred. Fortunately no one was hurt. The car got damaged and needs to be fixed, but cars are replaceable. Friends? Not so much.

I am thankful for the Lord's protection over family and friends.

This isn't the first time I've been thankful for this. Years ago, months before I got married, my sister called me at work to let me know my mom had been in a car accident. The car was totaled, but she was fine. The steering column had locked up while she was driving down a hill. The car went between more trees than one would believe possible. It only stopped (although she kept pumping the brake....nothing) when it slammed into the back of a parked truck. The owner worked night shift, so had been asleep when it occurred. She walked away with hair full of glass and a sort shoulder muscle from trying to make the wheel turn even though it had locked up. The reason why the car stopping was a good thing was that if it had kept going, there was a lake further on that is used as the drinking water for the town. Months later I saw the car while visiting. It was bad enough that even though I was standing beside my mom (who was still uninjured), I burst into tears realizing how the Lord had protected her.

Knowing His hand is over loved ones even when I don't specifically ask is a thankful indeed....and a perfect one to end a Thankful Month of November. :-)

Thankfulness Day 29

Nov. 29
I am thankful for prayers.
Growing up, I listened to country music and hair bands. It was the 80s after all. One of the biggies in country music was Garth Brooks. His song Unanswered Prayers says a lot.

I remember begging God for one thing or another....whether it would be a specific guy or a certain job/school. Sometimes He answered them with a Yes. Other times He would answer them with a No. I didn't get it. Didn't understand it growing up. Didn't understand it after I graduated from High School and into the Air Force. Didn't understand it through most of my 4-year military stint. Until one day I did.

My husband and I had been married a few years and I "happened" to hear this song one day. I got it. God didn't give me everything I wanted, but He did give me everything I needed. It took me many years to understand that just because His answer is No doesn't mean He doesn't love me (or you). It means that He knows best. He knows better than you or I do about what is best for us. I have looked up a few of those "please God" guys and what they're up to now. Most of the time I've said a resounding Thank You!!!! to the Lord for not giving me a Yes all of those years ago.

This isn't just about when He says No, but it's also thankful for the Yeses. There are times that I've prayed about something that has been answered with a Yes. I've prayed for safety for friends and family. I've prayed for patience (Oy! Be careful what you ask might get it). I've prayed for understanding in a situation. I've prayed for taking care of me while going/doing different things. What I've found mind-twisting is that He doesn't always answer how we think it should work. One is my accident (another blog post). I thought one way....He answered another. The result was more and a deeper understanding than could have ever have happened otherwise.

Regardless of whether I get a Yes or a No, I know for a fact that Jeremiah 29:11 is correct:
"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Thankfulness Day 28

Nov. 28
This day I am thankful for blogs.
A few years ago I had never heard of blogs. Although I created one not toooo long ago, the idea of one....well, it didn't really click. Fast forward to about a year ago. I didn't like the state of the house and cleaning was going waaaay too slow for me. So, I did what any person would do: I did a Google search. I found my first blog. Having started to read it, I came across a comment that it's hard to clean around junk, it's better for it to be organized. So, I found more blogs about organizing. By this time I was hooked on 2 or 3 different blogs. I came across one site (I think it was Fly Lady) that made the comment about how you can't organize have to just get rid of it. Hmmmmm So that led to (if you're following closely you'll know) blogs.

If you look on the left side you'll notice that I have went from zero known blogs to a list that I keep up with on a whenever-they-decide-to-post basis. One thing is that the blogs on that list are ones that I've read from beginning to whichever-post-they're-on. I hate reading a story from the's better to start at the beginning so you get an idea of what's going on and who the characters are. I am thankful to blogs and to the writers that post them....they have helped in more ways than just one. My house is also emptier for them. How? Well, that's for another post. ;-)

Thankfulness Day 27

Nov. 27
The day this was supposed to be posted was a Tuesday. Tuesday nights our church has Prayer 'n Bible Study. That fact brings up this day's thankful: I am thankful for Freedom of Religion.

Many years ago, "pilgrims" came over from Europe because of the desire to worship the Lord without persecution--Thankfulness Day 22. One would think that all of these years later, things would have changed. America is "supposed" to be more tolerant. Truth? Only towards certain things and people. In other parts of the world, if you aren't that countries religion, it is believed that you follow a cult. In some countries, Christians are persecuted just as in Biblical times. Followers are thrown in jail, killed, or tortured. Bibles are burned and families are ripped apart. I too thought that those stories were a thing of the past. Sadly, there are many Christians and missionaries that tell a different story....a story that makes you thankful that you're not there and to pray for those that are. Here in Italy, if one is not catholic, their church is considered a cult. Period. I am thankful that we still have the freedom of religion; the freedom to worship the Lord God in public and not have to hide in someone's basement; the freedom to carry a Bible with you if you choose to do so; to pray over your meal sitting in a cafe or restaurant; to witness to others about His love and His grace and His salvation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thankfulness Day 26

Nov. 26
This day is a day to be thankful for blessings.
There are many seen and known blessings in each of our lives. For me a few are: health, a roof over my head, clothes in the closet, food in the fridge and pantry, a family that loves me, the internet, etc. There are also "taken for granted" blessings. Many of the above count. So does electricity, a washer and dryer, not one but two working vehicles, and a microwave. You many think that those things are "well, everyone's got that." Which isn't correct. This past Sunday I sat in church while listening about a trip taken to a couple small villages in Romania. Romania itself is rather poor as a whole. One of those villages....very heart-wrenching. The people there still use a "rub board" as my mom calls it, to wash their clothes. They have a pump that gives out cold water, but it must be heated to bathe, to cook, etc. There is no indoor plumbing. The picture shown (out of dozens taken, but time was too short to show them all) was heart-breaking. We tend to take the simple things for granted until we learn of those that go without. I for one am thankful for even the "minor" blessings that most take for granted and hope that I never forget like that saying...."But for the grace of God go I."

Thankfulness Day 25

Nov. 25
I am thankful for traditions.

The main reason behind this thankfulness is Sundays in particular. Growing up, my parents instilled traditions. Some I grew out of like Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. Some continue. Sunday was a day of rest. We got up, got dressed, and went to church. After church, we went somewhere for lunch. It didn't matter if we had eaten out every single day that week or if we had eaten at home, we went out for lunch on Sundays. The afternoons were spent being to speak. Sometimes it was a drive somewhere after lunch. Sometimes it was sitting outside just relaxing in the shade. Sometimes it was spent sitting around reading. Half of the time, it meant a nap for my dad in his recliner. After I grew up, moved out, and got married, a lot of the traditions I had grown up with changed or stopped. A few years ago we started going back to church. Lunch out started out yet again....just like when I was growing up. Lately hubby and I have been trying to eat at home more. It's cheaper and healthier for us. Sundays? We still schedule lunch out after church....continuing the tradition.

Thankfulness Day 24

Nov. 24
One of the reasons I had gotten behind on thankfulness is because of school. That is actually ironic because this day I am thankful for the Freedom to go to School.

I decided a few years back to go back to school in order to obtain a degree. Being that hubby and I weren't stateside and not going to be, how to get a anything. I did a bit of research and found out I could take on-line classes through a few choice schools. The one I chose was University of Maryland University College....UMUC.

When I started, I thought a Business degree. That would get me into doing....something...and figure out exactly what later. I finished my Associate's and received my diploma in the post....I chose not to "walk." Now onto the bachelor's. After taking only one class for my "minor," I switched majors. My major became my minor and my minor became my major. I am now (as of this typing in January) two classes away from a major in Accounting with a Business minor. Yes, I should have been done long before now, but....well, life happened.

What I am thankful for is the fact that I'm in school at all. For one, there are many countries that won't even allow females to get any kind of proper education...let alone a college degree. Two, if all of this would have occurred back when I was in High School, an on-line degree was a thing of lofty dreams and imaginations of inventors. If the base didn't offer the class, I would have been out of luck. Because of the advances in technology and dropping prices of laptops and internet service, distance isn't an issue any more. I've lived in two different countries while working towards the degree and my professors have been all over the world....from Germany to the US west coast; from the US east coast to Japan. Everything coming together in order for this degree to happen is amazing and unheard of not too many years ago.

Thankfulness Day 23

Nov. 23
This day was started years ago, but just became an unofficial holiday not too many years ago. I'm referring to the day after Thanksgiving...Black Friday.
Years ago when businesses actually used ledgers to record money going out and money coming in, they used red ink for any amounts that were taking away from "the bottom line" and black for income. For the majority of the year, most businesses operated in the red (negative). However, come Thanksgiving and the shopping days prior to Christmas, shoppers upped their sales and boosted the businesses into the black (positive). The typical busiest shopping day is the day after Thanksgiving....hence the term Black Friday (the first day when businesses operated on the plus side).

I have a confession: I have never been out shopping on a Black Friday. I've heard some of the horror stories long before the shoppers that were killed by the stampeding flock a year or two back. I would wait until Saturday or even the following week to skip the crazy crowds. A few months back, however, I jumped onto the de-cluttering bandwagon. Our garage (the jumping off point) has never looked so messier and cluttered, but the house is slowly being de-cluttered. One of the positives in this is that the desire...the shop for needless things isn't there. I don't want stuff that isn't useful adding to the clutter. Do I appreciate the folks that buy me things? Yes. Would I love them less if they didn't get me a gift? No.

My thankfulness for this day is this: I am thankful for the choice and the desire to stay home on Black Friday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thankfulness Day 22

Nov. 22
The third Thursday in November has been set as an American holiday--Thanksgiving. I am thankful for the reason for today.

Years ago, English men and women wished to worship the one true God. The problem was, the government didn't like that idea...they wanted their laws and rules and choices over the people's choice of worship. Instead of bowing to the government's wishes, they started meeting in people's houses and had "look outs" in case any local police (bobbies) came to check up on them. After living like that, they knew that there had to be a better way. And what? A land founded by Columbus and Amerigo Vaspuchi (sp?) years earlier. They called it The New World. So....they hopped aboard a boat (well, by today's standards) via the Netherlands (safer than leaving from England) and off they sailed across the vast waters. Months went back until they finally spotted land. Where they first landed wasn't very hospitable, so they sailed further north and then around the tip....finally landing for the final time. There they finally were able to build a building that was used (for a while) as a hospital. Fast forward. By the time spring (it was winter when they first landed) came, many more had died of sickness and lack of proper nutrition and nutrients. They met two "Indians" who assisted them with planting crops that would grow locally and to hunt game. When harvest came, the "pilgrims" and part of the first Indian's tribe came together as friends. The "pilgrims" were thankful to the Lord that they had made it across the unknown ocean; through a horrible winter; through spring planting season; through summer growing season; and now to harvest; thankful for natives that helped them learn skills in order to live in this New World.

I am thankful for the original reason for today: the desire for freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and their obedience to His will.

Thankfulness Day 21

Nov. 21
Hubby came home from deployment to the Middle East the morning of the 20th. The 21st was spent running errands. I am thankful for a sense of normal.

When a military member leaves for a long trip like hubby did, it is hard for the first week or two until I get a routine down. Once that occurs, day by day is marked off the calendar as a temporary routine occurs. Sunday is church, Monday is errands, Tuesday is a local market, etc. The hard part comes when the routine is so down pat that when the loved one returns, it's hard to break the routine and re-instill the old one or to invent a new one. Hubby & I have done this for a few years now and are getting a little better at re-establishing our routine that takes precedence over my temporary one. It's we because I need to figure out how to stop my old one and allow a new one to form; while he needs to give me time and us patience for it to form. The good thing is that this day we ran errands (I had pushed back to help) just like we would have done if he had been off work and was going along with me. That sense of normal was reassuring and comforting. It's nice to know your loved one is safely home and just going about your day-to-day he had never left.