Category Archives: Encouragement

You’re Not Only One Thing – Take 1

Public Domain Pictures

“Who anyone is” is a complex issue.  I keep bumping into this question lately, and it’s started me thinking – a LOT.

I’ve told you I’m trying to go through my art room, decluttering, reorganizing, gathering things others might be able to use, throwing away a bunch of stuff. I’ve discovered – to my surprise – that getting rid of things in my art room is an emotional thing for me. As I make decisions about what to give away or throw away, I’m shedding things that used to say who I am.

I used to be

  • a teacher
  • a reading clinic owner
  • an administrative assistant
  • a medical transcriptionist/bookkeeper

I still am

  • a wife
  • a mother
  • an animal lover
  • a friend
  • a crafter, stained glass artist, a yard critter creator, and  a metal artist with my husband. I etch and paint glass. I paint stationery and note cards. I create greeting cards. I crochet. I paint fabric for tees, aprons, placemats, tote bags. I’m sometimes a bit of an artist.
  • an appreciator of creativity of all kinds
  • a blogger
  • a gardener
  • a reader

People are never only one thing.  People change labels as they grow, their circumstances change, their thinking changes. People are complex and wonderful – amazing in their ability to wear many hats, fill many different roles depending on what is needed by those around them. We are only seeing the surface.



Filed under Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

Do Not Quit

Your Tango


“When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but do not quit.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, favorite poems, Favorite Quotes

Short, Powerful Stories – Take 2



Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70s what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said;
“Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

On This Valentine’s Day 2018…

If you don’t already do this, don’t just concentrate on celebrating the special holidays of the year with the one you love. Don’t worry about whether he gets you something for Valentine’s Day, your birthday, your anniversary. Wouldn’t you be happier if he thinks about you and tries to make you happy MOST days of the year?

This doesn’t happen accidentally. It starts with YOU. When YOU show HIM that he’s special, thank him when he does something he doesn’t have to do that saves you time, effort, worry, he might return the way you make him feel in kind.

Yes, there are days you chase him around the house with a fly swatter when he’s being obnoxious. Yes, there are days you think about how satisfying it would be to bash him – just a bit – with a frying pan. Yes, there are days your feelings are hurt. Yes, there are days you want to yell until you’re hoarse. Yes, you might enjoy some time to yourself.  That’s called living with someone who ALSO has wants/needs/ideas/hopes/dreams.  Those feelings go both ways.

It’s up to YOU to see that the GOOD feelings/warm thoughts/melts-you-into-a-puddle acts go both ways.

And YOU go first.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy tomorrow, and happy the-day-after-that….


Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Encouragement


sun gazing via diana roggen bucke brown on

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement


Planting Peace via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Hanging In

You KNOW I’m weird – who else do you know who made ‘throwing-out-an-extra-bag-of-trash-each-week’ a New Year’s Resolution? I also made resolutions to make donations each month to our local library in Greenwood for their fundraising sales and to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith because we have too much ‘stuff’ around here and the people running the store are good people who take pride in a job well done.

Under the category

I’m trying to go through our 30+-year-old home room by room, closet by closet, shelf by shelf – as my word for this year is ‘LESS.’ As I purge (either donating things that are still good or throwing away things that should have been discarded long ago, and then cleaning and reorganizing what is left, I feel better.  Somehow I feel I’m taking control of my life. I’m keeping everything we really use or need, plus everything that gives me pleasure, but the rest is going. I’m beginning to see a difference! :0)  (There will always be the funny thing where I can see all the things we could get rid of that are my husband’s – and vice versa – but that’s the subject for another day.)

I also want for there to be less of ME. To this end I’ve redoubled my efforts to find really good low carb recipes so that both my husband and I will lose much of the lard and feel as good as possible.  So far I’ve lost 20 lbs and 15 inches. We have our next quarterly appointment with our primary doctor May 2nd. I would like for both of us to have lost more poundage and for our blood tests at that time to show good improvement.

So far, I’m hanging in….

Leave a comment

Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement


Nino Chaketadze-Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Dreams, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Life Lesson

Gilda Radner via Carol Auclair Daly


“Delicious ambiguity.”  What a WONDERFUL way to describe life.

I’ve spent much of my life wishing it away – wanting to be out of high school, waiting for my now-husband to come back from the Marines on leave and then for good, wishing away much of college because we were again apart, wishing the time away so we could finally get married.

Once I finally had my family, I switched gears – NOT wishing the time away, but worrying about what MIGHT happen, trying to CONTROL as much of it as I could.

What a waste. I finally learned that there is little of importance I can control and that worrying about something that might happen just stresses me out and doesn’t change the outcome. I’m apparently a slow learner, but I HAVE made some good changes.

  • Now that I’m older than dirt I realize my limitations and don’t stress (much) about things over which I have absolutely no control.
  • I realize that my warped sense of humor saves my sanity, allowing me to stand back a bit, and if not laugh, give it a great smirk.
  • I realize how wonderful my life is now. I truly appreciate how spoiled I am.
  • I’m grateful for the husband who drives me to distraction much of the time. How empty my life would be without him. I’m grateful, too, for our animals – even though I spend much of my time cleaning up after them – for their unconditional love and companionship.
  • I treasure the friends I’ve made. I don’t make friends easily. I have people I enjoy doing things with, but real friends are rare, and I’m lucky to have some.
  • I have more interests than I have time or energy. I love being able to mostly choose how I’ll spend my time each day – diving into projects head first, feeling the satisfaction of a job well done, or playing in my art room, dreaming about my greenhouse and spring in my raised bed square foot garden, re-reading wonderful books I’ve collected over the years and finding new authors I love, re-painting some of our mailbox decorations or metal yard critters that need attention in the shop while my husband works on a project at the other end of the room…
  • I’m grateful that I’m healthy enough to do most of what I would like to do.

None of us knows what will happen next. What Gilda Radner says about ‘taking the moment and making the best of it’ really resonates with me. Life is a series of ‘moments.’ If we concentrate on paying attention and making the most of each one, we can relax and enjoy her ‘delicious ambiguity.’


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Encouragement

A Good Life via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

“Love is Where You Live”

Nanea Hoffman – via Lisa Bearnes Richey

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Favorite Quotes


Leo Tolstoy via


“Happiness is not in our circumstance but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.”  John B. Sheerin


“Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress.” Epictetus


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  Marcel Proust




“Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” ~Gretta Brooker Palmer

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement

Be Yourself

Oscar Wilde via

Now that I’m older than dirt, many things are becoming clearer.

I would prefer that people like me. I love it when people enjoy my blog or some of my art work. I’m delighted when someone wants to spend time with me.

But more and more I’m self-contained. I have so many things I want or like to do that I’m never bored. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by materials I can use to make things. I have wonderful books and magazines to read, plans to make on my greenhouse and raised bed square foot garden, new low carb, low sugar recipes I want to try, animals to love, a husband who annoys me only part of the time, (;0)  – life is good and I’m so lucky.

I could stay up here on top of my ridge line for days at a time, only coming down for supplies of various kinds. I’m able to reach out to people via social media, my blog, chat programs, phone and letter. It just doesn’t get better than this.

I still would like to improve, but I no longer want to be like others. I’m content within my own skin. I would like to lose some lard and feel stronger and more flexible. I would like to continue to learn things. I would love to have more time and energy to play in my art room.

I hope that many people live to look around and realize that their lot in life is pretty good. Things are never perfect, but they sure could be a lot worse.

Be content being yourself. Find things that make your spirit soar. Surround yourself with people you cherish. Live every day – embracing it, wringing every bit of joy out of it that is possible.  “Be yourself….”


Filed under Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

In This Year to Come…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” ~ Neil Gaiman, British author

It’s late to post this – on the 20th of January – but I think it’s important. Expanding your horizons, moving out of your comfort zone, is a way to keep your juices flowing.  I hate it when people I care about start ‘closing down.’  I want them to be overflowing with enthusiasm about SOMETHING, whether it’s a new author they’ve found, a new idea for their home, a new exercise they’re trying, a new picture puzzle they’ve started, a new hobby….

My husband and I are so busy all the time we don’t know how we EVER found time to work full time – as we did for most of our lives. The day begins and it’s over. We cram as much as we can into each one, but always make time to relax and take a nap to replenish energy, if needed. The days go so fast our hair blows! We have too many good things to do for each day.

Right now we have two main things we’re focusing on: I’m trying to clean/declutter/reorganize our ‘stuff’ one area at a time and my husband is building a new computer for me.

Yesterday I

  • finished getting things together for taxes for our CPA. We’re waiting for one more thing and then we can go dump it all on him. :0)
  • I also cleaned out the fridges in the kitchen and the pantry.
  • We received a BUNCH of boxes via UPS yesterday afternoon. We unpacked several computer components, plus the case they’ll all go in. We spent the rest of the afternoon and much of the evening putting the components we received into the new case. Now we’re waiting for a CPU and the main memory, and then I think my husband will start installing the operating system.

Meanwhile, my husband found a DVD via YouTube on TIG welding. He has done this for years, but really would like to do better. The DVD is wonderful, with an expert who makes it look easy. My husband is happy-as-a-pig-in-s_ _ t” watching the videos, ordering things he didn’t know existed to make his welding go more easily, plus downloaded a project to make a part for his metal lathe.

Also, meanwhile, I’m trying to get my greenhouse organized and functional, hoping to get a jump on the upcoming spring planting season. I’m researching, making notes, starting to spend a bit of time in my greenhouse as our weather is warming up a bit, listing plants I want to start, and figuring out how to get set up, at least initially, to start seeds.

Not to mention the newest member of our family, a yellow lab ‘puppy’ who is now 10 months old and 91 pounds, who is definitely giving us a run for our money.

The point is that we’re trying to branch out, do things that are a bit intimidating, trying to get healthier. Our interests are broadening and we’re loving our lives. We’re ‘Doing Something”

I hope you’re pushing yourself to ‘do something,” too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement


Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement

Promise Me

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement

Lesson on Being Polite

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Funny Signs - Humor

Good News!

Sassy Senior Lady

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes


Growing Bolder via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Childlike Fun, Encouragement

Productive Day

I worked hard today, getting many things on my list accomplished.

I finally got my tax prep done to the point I can just plug in numbers and put receipts in the booklet our CPA sends us each year. Then I wait for one more thing to come in the mail and we can take it all and dump it on our wonderful tax man. This is the earliest I’ve ever done this, so I’m feeling particularly good – and a giant weight has been removed from my shoulders.

I shopped for groceries this morning, did two loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, and cleaned up the kitchen.

I listed the stuff we’re donating to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I’ll call them tomorrow before we put the bags in the car because tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day and they might be closed.

I received an order for two sets of thank you notes from a good friend. I made good progress on them this afternoon.

I did the leash training walk with Amber without having the no-pull collar on. She did PERFECTLY. She stayed right by my side on the short leash. We walked out to the shop, then farther out to the garden, then all the way back, behind the house, out to the greenhouse, and then all the way across the front yard, into the garage and into the house. Amber got lots of love, hugs, praise, and a big dog biscuit.

I’m about to go start fixing our dinner, but I wanted to share my small victory lap with you. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement

One Word Essays – Companionship

Thanks to email from Bill Lites

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement


Mary Oliver – artwork by Lisa Bearnes Richey

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement

Take a Moment

Peaceful Moments for Women via Carol Auclair Daly

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement

Ships and Water

Lisa Bearnes Richey

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Out With the Old….

I’ve been working in my dining area and kitchen for parts of 3 days now, trying to purge/reorganize/clean. I have now done

  • the window sill
  • the top of the buffet
  • the dining table
  • the divider top between the kitchen and the dining area
  • the kitchen counter tops

It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ accumulates around here. I swear to you that there is some hanky-panky and things are reproducing when we’re not watching. What is helping me on the counter tops is picturing my husband with too many plastic bags in each hands fighting with the dog when he’s trying to bring in a load from the car and plopping the whole bunch down on a part of the counter top. I’m trying to make sure that there is nothing breakable, “spillable,” or “dumpable” on a good part of each area, having learned the hard way that no thought will be given as the bags come plopping down. In this effort I’ve relocated a lot of things and gotten rid of the rest.

I’m enjoying a rest now and then I’ll tackle what we call the ‘go-out’ table (holding things we want to take with us the next time we go to town) which unfortunately also acts as a dumping table.

The remaining project for today will be trying to make sense of my hats and scarves in the utility room. This is more complicated than it sounds because nothing can be down low, due to the cats. Nothing can be high, because then I can’t reach them, and hard decisions will have to be made on which things should be given away…

As I move through the house, though, I’m feeling better about being in better control of my space. I’m getting rid of a BUNCH of ‘stuff,’ relocating some things that should live elsewhere, gathering things that I’ll donate to the library or the Veterans Thrift Store, and things being easier to clean when there are fewer THINGS.

I’m hoping that this urge to get my things in better order will continue. It’s quite unusual for this old broad, so I’m doing a bunch of it as quickly as I can…




Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering


Jack Kerouac via Lisa Bearnes Richey

So MANY controversies – so little time.

On 60 Minutes last night, Lesley Stahl spoke with Margarita Simonyan — the head of Russia’s state-owned news network.  At one point, Margarita Simonyan said (paraphrased) “The U.S. prides itself on allowing freedom of speech. What happened to it? What has happened to the United States?”

She raises a very good point. I never remember such discord before in our country.  I don’t remember many instances of not allowing someone to speak, although I do remember instances where the Ku Klux Klan announced they would be in a location and protesters coming. A good yell was had by all. No one listened to anyone who disagreed with them, but I don’t remember property damage or bloodshed. My memory may be faulty.

My point is that it seems that –

  1. We are gradually losing the right to freedom of speech in our country, and
  2. Somehow, when we DO speak, we have forgotten that, along with freedom of speech, there may be consequences to our speech or actions, and we should be ready to pay the price.

One example – Women – particularly in Hollywood – are speaking up about sexual abuse they have suffered in the past, insisting that things change and that the men responsible be punished. I think this has been a long time coming and that powerful men should be learning that, along with increased power comes greater responsibility to be respectful of those around them or be ready to lose it all.

Some women, though, have accused men of abuse and rape, only to be proven liars – sometimes years later. They have ruined men’s reputation and lives. If/when it is known that they accused falsely, though, nothing seems to happen to them! I can’t believe that a woman merely has to accuse someone in order to ruin them. Now THAT is power! People who falsely accuse should be sent to prison with THEIR reputation in ruins, or something equivalent – maybe some way of trying to make it up to the person they wronged.

People who are abused should feel free to speak up about the wrong and get help with making the abusers pay for their crime. Falsely accusing someone should come with STIFF penalties. Otherwise, it will get to the point where no smart man will EVER consent to being alone with a female for any reason, fearing their lives could be ruined.

Our country is divided on too many issues to count. The people holding different views are really hostile, some threatening to end the lives of people who oppose their views. This is NUTS!

May 2018 bring awareness, of what we’re losing,  bigger brains and ears, and more tolerance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

One Word Essays – “Hope”

Email from Bill Lites

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams, Encouragement

When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve’

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

I LOVE to watch figure skating. It’s one of my favorite things in life. My husband found that the contest for who would go to the Winter Olympics in figure skating was on television Friday and Saturday nights. I was in Heaven. The ladies skated on Friday and the men on Saturday. Seeing so much dedication and talent in one place is awe-inspiring.


Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

The women were all very talented, but it seemed to me that the contest wasn’t as close as the men’s.  I have to say I’m really pleased to live on the same planet as these talented people.

The reason I titled this post “When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve'” is the people who ‘help’ me watch the performance. Yes, they’re professionals. Yes, they know better than anyone how well the people skate. They’ve watched these folks in practice. They have been where these young people are and know what they’re feeling and how nervous they are.

My pet peeve is that I don’t want to listen to them! I want to watch the ice skating. I want to listen to the music they’ve chosen. Even “I” who can’t tell the difference between a ‘quad,’ and a ‘triple lutz’ (spelling?) can SEE when someone does a brilliant job of skating. I can tell if they almost fell or actually fell on their butts. I don’t care what the name is of the thing they’re about to do. I don’t want to know how nervous they are or that they had trouble in practice. I JUST WANT TO WATCH THEM SKATE AND LISTEN TO THE MUSIC. The commentators can talk in-between performances, even showing ‘where-little-Johnny-fell-on-his-butt’ over and over again, if they would like.

The result of this pet peeve is that once the skater begins, it’s about 4 seconds before one of the commentators HAS to tell me what is coming up and how important it is that little Johnny doesn’t fall on his butt this time. I mute the sound and watch, then unmute to see if I can hear at least a few seconds of the music before another commentator HAS to break in to tell me that little Johnny said that this performance was really important to him tonight. Well, DUH!

So, the performances are largely done in silence in the Lewis household. Amazingly, even without listening to the commentators, we can tell who did a good job and who didn’t. We realize all the years each of these talented people have practiced. We have an idea of what they’ve given up to get to this place. We want them to do well.

I just WISH we didn’t have to appreciate them in silence…

Leave a comment

Filed under Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, Favorite Things, Pet Peeves

Will I Be Hit by a Meteor?

I’m already a lucky woman – but I would LOVE to be a gazillionaire who could change lives. To that end, I bought –

  • 1o MegaMillions tickets, and
  • 10 PowerBall tickets today.

I’m also entering the PCH Sweepstakes regularly….

If I could win one, two, or all three of them I would smile my face right off the front of my head. :0)

These things are so large now that I HAD to participate. They say the odds of getting hit by a meteorite are much better than winning either of these games, and are probably the same for the PCH sweepstakes. But I know my chances of winning are “0” if I don’t enter.

The drawing for the MegaMillions is tonight.

The drawing for the PowerBall is tomorrow night.

The PCH contest winner will be announced Feb. 23rd.

And – while the winners have not been chosen or announced, I have a little bitty pinpoint of hope that “I” might be the one!!!!!!!


Filed under Attitude, Encouragement


Doreen Virtue via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement

Happy New Year – 2018

Diane Dobson Barton via Cathy Ruggiero

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, holidays