Category Archives: giving

New Mantra

Joshua Becker via becomingminimalist

Two years ago now, I made a donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith at least once a month, every month, in an effort to declutter our home. I made a lot of progress, but I’m trying to get started again.

This month so far we have made one donation – a whole bunch of glasses – glass and plastic – that were cluttering up our kitchen cabinets and pantry. I was truly amazed when my husband brought a 5 foot long box in from the shop to use. I was amazed when we filled it almost to overflowing!  We added a trash bag with an old crock pot and an old juicer, and that it was the first donation.

I’m going to continue in the kitchen/pantry/dining area for now. Since we are eating keto now, I’ve changed the way I’m cooking. I’m going to reorganize, so that the things I use the most often are in the prime storage spaces – or, at least, that’s the PLAN. :0)

It feels good to gather things others can use and donate them.

This year I’m not going to try for any particular number of donations. I just want to make steady progress in my effort to only have things around that I use and enjoy.

 

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Filed under Attitude, giving, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thoughts on a Thursday 1-9-2020

New Animalbook

We are getting rain. We had some last night, we’re having some today, severe weather possibly tomorrow, then maybe a wintry mix Saturday. I wish that Mother Nature could do this moisture over Australia…

Between storms, my husband and I drove to Ft. Smith this morning to leave our first donation of the year to the Veterans Thrift Town Store. I am really impressed with the people who run this place. The store is always clean, and the people who work there smiling and helpful. The people in the back who help us with our donation are always really nice. We now donate most everything we have there.  If you live in the area, their address is 3500 Jenny Lind Road, Suite B, Fort Smith, AR 72901.  Their phone number is (479) 783-7225. They are open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 6pm.

I am doing better with my keto eating plan efforts and my exercise.  I just took one of our favorites – an egg/sausage/cheese bake – by Suzanne Ryan – out of the oven for our dinner tonight. My husband actually requests this dinner. I serve it with a side veggie or a salad. Delicious. I’ve been doing lots of yoga lately to try to straighten out my back. It’s working. I’m almost back to normal now. A twinge, when I bend forward, like to pick something up off a table, but otherwise good. I’ll try to add my elliptical to the mix very soon.

I’m going to try another keto bread recipe probably tomorrow. The loaf I’m finishing is fine, but my husband doesn’t care for it. I would LIKE to find one that both of us enjoy. The search continues…. oh- I almost forgot to tell you! I’m on the hunt for Crepini Egg Thins with Cauliflower. Walmart usually carries them, but is out of stock at the moment. I’m planning to try using them as a wrap in place of sandwiches, since trying to eat things from rolled up lettuce isn’t really working for me.

It is dark outside, and it’s only 4:30! Looks like we’re in for another storm.

I hope you’re having a good day.

 

 

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Filed under DIET!, exercise, giving, Mother Nature, Thoughts on a ________

Thoughts on a Tuesday 1-7-2020

Varya and Weiss – Andy Seliverstoff

 

Today is a beautiful day in Greenwood, Arkansas. It’s 43 degrees and sunny. It’s supposed to get up to 57 this afternoon. Hard to believe it’s January. I’m lovin’ it!

fityourself.club

I’m delighted to report that my back is ALMOST back to normal this morning. I hurt myself three days ago, trying to put a big tub of Christmas stuff under our stairs. I had asked my husband for help. He said the tub would not GO under the stairs. I told him I knew it would because it was under there when I took the tub out in order to decorate. He continued to scoff, so I got angry and tried to PROVE to him it would go under there by doing it myself. STUPID MOVE. My anger resulted in 3 days of really bad back pain.  I have spent those days taking Tylenol, then switching to Ibuprofen, using Arnica gel on my back, using the heat pad most of the day and night, and doing multiple sessions of very careful yoga stretching. This morning I am MUCH better. Not 100% yet, but MUCH improved. My husband told me to punch him in the mouth – rather than hurting myself – the next time I get mad at him. :0)

 

YouTube

I wracked up a lot of gold stars with all the yoga sessions the past three days, but the best thing is that I learned how I can help myself feel better through my practice. I was mainly thinking of it as a good way to loosen myself up, increase my flexibility, etc., but now I know it’s therapeutic and can help me get through an injury or insult to my poor back.

I had started gathering things to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith before I hurt myself. So far, we have filled a long box with glasses that were cluttering up our cabinets and the pantry. The work was put on hold while I tried to recover from my stupidity, but I will GINGERLY continue with that today. I’m concentrating on the kitchen, pantry, and dining area (since they are all connected)  first. Hopefully, we can take our first donation by the end of this week.

I hope that you are feeling sassy today and enjoying nice weather.

 

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Filed under exercise, giving, Thoughts on a ________

Happy New Year 2020

We had a quiet evening last night. We ate some keto chili, and I celebrated by eating some no-sugar-added ice cream to end the old year happily.  Being old folks, we went to sleep right before midnight, so we don’t know if our backyard neighbors down in the valley shot off fireworks or not.

I found a wonderful way to celebrate each month of 2020.  Out of the goodness of my heart :0)  I bought an Australian Firefighters calendar. This is a fundraiser for them, and being SUCH a good person, I wanted to help. I’m going to share the photo each month, so that YOU can benefit from my donation, too.

 

And here we welcome January with Ben and Nullah. I hope you share my enthusiasm for the new month. You’re welcome! :0)

 

This is my newest group of note cards created with Unicorn Spit Stain/Glaze and grey webbing spray. I’m calling it, “Branching Out.”

I hope this is a wonderful day for you – the first day of what will be a great year for you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Christmas 2019

Alex Howitt

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Filed under giving, Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays

Christmas Honors – Fort Smith, Arkansas – 2019

In 2009 a local program was born – Christmas Honors. A group of founding volunteers decided that every headstone in the Fort Smith National Cemetery would receive a wreath. In 2009, over 1,000 volunteers participated in event. 12,000 wreaths and ribbons were needed to decorate each and every grave site.  In 2019, the number is around 18,000. It’s a small thing our community can do to honor the men and women who have served our country.
This is one of the wreaths and the bow we were tying on each wreath. What doesn’t show in my picture was the wreath glistened with silvery shiny stuff. Pretty!
This is the third year my friend, Carla, and I have participated in this. When I walked into the convention center, I was completely overcome by how MANY, MANY people were there – all to get the wreaths ready to put on the veterans’ graves. Tears came up and spilled over, that – with all the negativity in the world – THIS could happen.
There were people bringing in box after box of wreaths. Others bringing in boxes of red bows. Others walking around with bamboo type poles, where they gathered the finished wreaths and took them out to trucks behind the convention center. The picture below shows a cart used to gather finished wreaths.
Carla and I worked as fast as we could from 9:00 until 2:00. Thankfully, there was a chair we could share to plop down and rest for a minute or two every once in awhile. It felt good to be working together surrounded by a big, noisy room of others all dedicated to the same goal – honoring the men and women who have served our country. Christmas music played and we sang along.
This is my lovely friend, Carla. She simply exudes kindness from every pore.  She is also my partner in the booth in the local shop in Greenwood. We love being together, and it’s doubly good when we’re doing something for others.
Here I am. We didn’t work long before outer jackets came off and were tied around our waists.
Each hour we would stop and sing our National Anthem, standing, with hands on our hearts. The whole room was full of voices, filling our hearts.  About the half way point – 12:30 – the man at the microphone said we were behind schedule on getting all 18,000 or so wreaths finished, and asked some of the people doing other things to pitch in on tying bows.  We accomplished our goal.
This coming Saturday at 8 a.m.the wreaths will be available to family members who want to place their wreath privately, having a bit of privacy.  Then, at 11:00 there will be a ceremony where all the rest of the wreaths will be placed on each grave by still more volunteers.
The wreaths will stay up until the middle of January, I think. Then, still another group of volunteers will gather up the wreaths, take the bows off, and store bows and wreaths until next year.
A really nice tradition – Christmas Honors.

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Giving

Lisa Bearnes Richey

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Repost From BoredPanda.com of Wonderful Idea by a 9-Year-old Boy

This 9-Year-Old Russian Boy ‘Sells’ His Custom Pet Paintings For Food And Supplies For Shelter Animals

Not all heroes wear capes but their good deeds speak for themselves. This is yet another story to prove that even the smallest of us are capable of changing the world for the better and restore the faith in younger generations. Children come up with the most brilliant ways to solve problems that adults often fail at.

How to combine a love for art and help for stray animals? A kind-hearted 9-year-old Russian boy Pavel Abramov has the perfect answer to this question. The young artist from a small city of Arzamas in Nizhny Novgorod has been painting beautiful portraits of pets and not to make money for his toys or a new phone, as you would expect. He exchanges his lovely portraits for animal food and supplies and donates it to a local shelter. Everyone can help in their own way.

More info: vk.com | Instagram

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Pavel and his mother Ekaterina Bolshakova started this project called “Kind paintbrush” about a year ago. This idea originated in Pavel’s brilliant mind when the loss of a four-legged friend hit the family and he could no longer ignore stray animals wandering the streets of the city. He needed to take part in making a change in memory of his dear Barsik and he definitely did; in the most creative and generous way.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

 

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

But this wasn’t the start of their volunteering journey of helping animals in need. The duo has been managing a group on Russian social media site, VK, called “What a little volunteer is capable of?” which has been proving time after time that a little human being can bring a positive change and the others will follow. The young altruist doesn’t have a helping hand from funds and organizations; he doesn’t have managers and employees– but he has a huge heart and an undeniable talent.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Pavel paints real pets of owners who are ready to sign a deal to provide kilograms of porridge, meat, and supplies in exchange for a portrait of their beloved animal. He knows each of his models by name and often meets them when the painting is finished. He paints based on pets’ photos and is always interested in how owners met their furry family members. Pavel is deeply touched by the heartwarming stories of pets rescued from the cold streets and this is probably what makes up for all his efforts.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

 

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

This brave social initiative has already spread beyond Arzamas city. Animal lovers from all over Russia and even abroad want to have the portraits of their pets made while taking part in a charitable mission. Artwork made by Pavel’s kind paintbrush has traveled to Spain, Germany and more to come.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Pavel is the youngest volunteer of the only animal shelter in Arzamas that currently houses over 100 dogs. In exchange for his paintings, he asks for food, household supplies, accessories, depending on what the shelter needs at that particular moment.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Chuck’s portrait went to the customer in exchange for 5 kg of buckwheat, 10 cans of canned dog food, and skin medicine.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Charming Ksyusha’s portrait was exchanged for 6 kg of buckwheat, canned dog food, bandages and medicine.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Timofey’s portrait has been exchanged for a set of medicines and dog collars.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Jesse’s portrait was exchanged for 7 kg of offal and 3 kg of buckwheat.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Cheerful hamsters were presented to an owner in exchange for 4 kg of canned dog food, 2.5 kg of dry food, a leash, and a toy.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Portrait of cute Onyx for 3 kg of canned dog food, 2.5 kg of oatmeal, 4 kg of pearl barley, treats for dogs and household supplies.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

A portrait of these three girls in exchange for 15 kg of beef trimmings.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

Exchanged for 15 kg of selected beef delicacies for the shelter.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

The portrait of Rex, Tuzik, Keks and Lusya exchanged for 5 cans of canned beef, 1 liter of milk, 3 kg of cereal, a pack of dry food, and 5 kg of trimmings.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

The portrait of handsome Basi went to Natalia in exchange for 10 kg of buckwheat and 10 kg of pearl barley.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

10 kg beef bones for this portrait of lovely Sonya.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

This portrait of Mr. Puzan was exchanged for 15 kg of beef bones and trimmings.

Image credits: Что может маленький волонтёр?

“Our family is proud of his wonderful project. His days are scheduled to minutes, he wants to do absolutely everything, there is just not enough time,” the boy’s mother Ekaterina told Bored Panda. Pavel dreams of becoming an architect and building a big shelter in the future, and for now – he will contribute as much as he can with his art and humane initiatives.

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Goodness

The Age of Enlightenment via Janet Melendez – LinkedIn

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Been There…

The Literacy Site via Cathy Ruggiero

As we were getting ready to leave the bowling alley last night, a man came up to us. He apologized for bothering us, but asked if we knew anywhere he could get money. I won’t go into all the details, but as we all listened, he told us if he didn’t get to Houston by 8 am this morning, his daughter would go into foster care. He was desperate. He needed gas for his truck and didn’t have the money to fill up his tank and then get back again.

He told us he worked in Fort Smith. At first I thought it was a scam, but noticed he WAS wearing the shirt of a local business.  We asked how much he needed. He said it was a loan and he would pay us back, asking how he could find us. We just told him we would probably be at the bowling alley next Monday evening and he could pay us back then.

We have been in similar positions, needing and not finding help. When we needed money, there weren’t ATM’s and the local banks were closed, of course. Now we have credit cards where we could pay now and then worry about how to pay later – but he only had a debit card and it was all used up. He would get his paycheck today at noon – too late. We’ve been in the position of needing surgery and not having health insurance. Of needing medicine and not finding a pharmacy open or having cash to pay for it. Of not only trying to live paycheck to paycheck, but having to choose which bills to pay with what we had. We’ve been without jobs, selling whatever we had to make enough money to keep our home.

It made us feel good, though, that if he was telling us the truth, we were in a position to able to help him at least a little bit. I’m hoping, as I type this, he and his daughter are together now, on their way back to Fort Smith. I hope he can pick up his paycheck tomorrow at work – not in trouble for having to miss.

We don’t expect to see him again, but it would be really nice – restoring my faith in people – if we do.

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Giving

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

I absolutely LOVE this photo – especially the bird sitting on the man’s head. :0)

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Take What You Need

Christina L Paul – LinkedIn

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Today

Pinterest

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Sunday’s Project

Getty Images via FreeImages.com

I’ve told you that our son is home from Thailand for the first time in over three years. I can’t tell you what a wonderful time we’re having, with lots of good conversations, a few really bad movies, lots of laughs, hugs, and more.

One thing I wanted to do while he was home was go through the things we have that are his. I made sure he understood that whatever he wanted to store here, he could. I just wanted to know if there was anything he really didn’t need or want anymore that we could either sell or donate. It turned out there were a BUNCH of things that could go.

He brought things down from the guest room and up from the basement. He consolidated the things he wanted to keep in a big lidded tub in the basement. Yesterday I went through all the books, listing some for sale on Amazon and bagging up the rest to donate to the local library for their next fundraiser.

Today’s project is that I’m going through all the other ‘stuff’ he no longer needs or wants, listing things to donate to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. Our foyer is pretty full, although the picture I chose for this post is a bit of an exaggeration. :0)

We will end up with several large leaf bags of donation, so I brought one bag into the office to gather trash before I started on the foyer. Suddenly our son was here with a trash bag, gathering the trash! He’s a keeper, for sure.

I’m cooking for the holiday tomorrow, so I want to get this accomplished today.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day, too!  Wish me luck!!!

 

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Filed under giving, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Spreading Love

Cavalcantide Souza Augusto Cesar – LinkedIn

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Comfort and Strength

Smile and Shine via Cindy Basnett Thurman

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Hugs

The Happyologist

I’ve been smiling all over since Monday afternoon when we picked up our son at the airport. He’s been gone for over three years, living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Most of the time we can ‘forget’ that he’s half a world away. He’s made sure to tell us that if we need him, he’ll be here. We communicate on an almost daily basis via a secure chat program he set up plus a conference call program where we can see his face and talk to him real time. We’re closer than a lot of people are who live in the same city. Every once in a while, though, my hugs bucket gets really low and I miss him so much I hurt.

He’s home with us now. For his birthday, which we celebrated yesterday, and for Christmas, and a bit after that. Just knowing that he’s on his computer in the dining area right now and that I can go in and hug his neck makes me smile. And then he’ll show up in the office, pull me up, and hug me.

I can’t say enough about his hugs. They’re so good they make me tear up.  And he’s super generous with them.

 

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My Massage Therapist is Psychic, Too!

Clark’s Inn and Restaurant

 

I had a glorious massage this morning and my whole body is smiling.

My therapist’s name is Lynn Moody. If you’re in the Greenwood, AR area (including Fort Smith and surrounding towns) you will thank yourself a million times if you call Lynn and schedule a massage. Her location for massages is 320 South Coker, Greenwood AR 72936. Her phone number is 479-629-7601. Her email address is lynnmoody42@yahoo.com

I feel very close to Lynn. We exchange news about our families, what’s happening in our worlds, etc. each time I have a massage. I trust her as a friend – something rare and precious to find these days.

Today I told her that my husband and I were planning to take our son to a local restaurant, The Dari, for lunch to celebrate his birthday. When we exchanged Christmas gifts after my massage, I found a gift card for The Dari!!!!

Not ONLY does she give massages to die for, she’s psychic!

How LUCKY I am to have found her.

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Christmas Honors

Christmas Honors – Fort Smith Nat’l Cemetery – Do South Magazine

My good friend, Carla, lost her husband a few years ago. He is buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. That year she asked me if I would go with her to help volunteers put the bows on thousands of wreaths honoring the veterans. I was honored to be asked.

We spent several hours with lots of nice people. There were lots of others, like my friend and I, who attached bows to the wreaths. There were others who brought the wreaths and bows to us at the tables. Others who gathered the wreaths on long poles to be taken out to the big trucks that took them to the cemetery.

It was an emotional thing to be able to help honor our vets. There are other volunteers, I think the Boy Scouts, who actually put the wreaths on each grave, and then, later, there is a nice ceremony.

I’m pleased I spent most of a day helping other volunteers. I’m happy I could support my good friend. I’m so glad this is such a beautifully planned and executed effort to help us show our support and never forget their sacrifice.

And when this is over for the year, volunteers return to pick up the wreaths and take them back to the convention center, where people remove the bows and put them in protective bags. The wreaths and bows are carefully stored for next year.

Thanks to all who made this possible.

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A Candle

“A Candle”*

Poem and Photo by Kelly Mizell – LinkedIn

 

A candle is but a simple thing,

It starts with just a bit of string,

Yet dipped and dipped with a patient hand,

It gathers wax upon its strand,

Until it’s complete in colors and white

At last it gives a lovely light.

 

Life is so like that bit of string,

Each deed we do is a simple thing,

Yet day by day if on life’s strand,

We work with patient heart and hand

It gathers joy and makes dark times bright,

Giving at last a loving light.

Kelly Mizell

 

*Kelly published this on LinkedIn this morning. I was blown away and asked her for her permission to repost it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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Filed under Blog Repost - Wonderful Posts, Encouragement, Favorite Pictures, favorite poems, giving, Good Thoughts

Visions of Sugarplums Dance in OUR Heads!

The Salvation Army has a program called the Angel Tree program at Christmas time each year. The trees go up in your local town and people who qualify come and asked for their child to be added to the tickets on the tree. People choose a ticket and go and try to buy as many things on the list as possible for that child. The gifts are returned unwrapped by Dec. 7th to the people handling the Angel Tree and they and the Salvation Army handle the rest.

The child’s name, age, and gender are listed at the top of each ticket. Practical gifts, such as clothes (with sizes) are listed, plus a few ‘fun’ gifts on the wish list.

Each year we peruse the tickets and decide which one fits well with our ability to buy the things on the list. We have visions of an ‘idyllic’ beautiful boy or girl happily opening all the gifts, ecstatically happy with the choices with a wide open grin and whoops of joy. Reality is far different, probably, but we LOVE the idea of brightening a local child’s Christmas each year.

Last year we didn’t know where the tree was in time to participate. We were both really disappointed, so I wrote on my calendar this year to call City Hall in Greenwood to see if they were sponsoring the tree this year and when the tree would be up.

KVC West VA – KVC Health Systems

This year our choice was “Braden,” a 10-year-old boy.  We got clothes – pants (jeans) , a shirt (Flash), a puffy blue coat, boots, and then a remote control car and batteries. He’s into “paleontology stuff,” so we got him a big fierce-looking dinosaur. The “pokemon” cards he listed featured dinosaurs. We also got “Jurassic” hat, scarf and gloves set.

We took all the bags and the ticket, plus the receipt so that the mother would be able to exchange anything that wasn’t right back to City Hall and left them with the nice lady from the water department who is handling things.

It seems weird that we’re doing the Angel Tree before Thanksgiving. I guess that’s why we missed out last year. I guess they need the time to post all the tickets, gather the gifts, deliver them wherever they go, etc.

I love that the Salvation Army thought of this program and runs it, making it easy for local banks or government offices to administer it. I love that families can provide for their kids at Christmas will a bit of a boost from folks in the community. I love our ‘visions of sugarplums’ and the chance to give.

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Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Dreams, giving, Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays, kindness

Decluttering – Cleaning Out – Celebration!

Cosmopolitan

I told you recently that I’ve started on Phase II of decluttering my home. It’s been awhile since I’ve made any progress because I’ve been working out in the yard. Now that we’re having a rainy weekend and first of the week, I started on the master bedroom and bath.

With the sudden coolness,  yesterday we got the upstairs vacuum working well enough to clean both rooms. I found myself grabbing a hoodie to keep warm, so today I started on my closet in earnest. I moved the hot weather clothes into the guest room closet and the cold weather clothes into my closet. Now I’m doing sessions, trying on everything and deciding whether it’s wearable and I like it, or if it’s in good enough shape to donate to the Thrift shop, or…

A truly wonderful thing is that I’ve been moving a sweater with a leather front, leather flowers and a front zipper back and forth for at least 5 years now because I loved it, even though it was WAAAAAY too small.  Today I tried it on and it FIT!!!!! I got my husband to come upstairs, put it on, and even HE thought it looked really good. He said, “Not only can you get into it, it fits WELL and looks GOOD.” :0)

I like loose tops. I’ve found several, however, that are SO loose they’re either falling off my shoulders or come down so low in front I might as well not bother wearing anything. Woo HOOOO!  I have a pad and pen and some trash bags up there to receive the donations now.

I get tired and out of patience quickly trying things on and taking them off again, so I’m spacing out the sessions. I’ll try to finish things by this evening.

It really feels good to be celebrating getting rid of clothes that are TOO LARGE, as well as purging my closet in general.

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Pelican

Ogden Nash – Grammarly

When I was visiting my husband’s cousin’s wife, Murray, in Thibodaux, LA this week, she gave me three pelicans to adopt and bring home. She looked up this wonderful limerick by Ogden Nash and read it to me. Ogden Nash was one of my favorites.  Happily, I was able to find it just now so I can share it with YOU!

This is a tile mounted on a wooden background with a pull-out part that allows the pelican to stand. It has “Gerri” at the bottom – the artist who created it.

This is a second tile mounted in the same fashion. It doesn’t have Gerri’s name on it, so I don’t know if she created this one or not.

 

The final piece in my new collection is a painting by Delores Legendre of Lockport, Louisiana.  It’s called, “Brown Pelican near Beach.” It’s an oil painting done in February of 1996.

I’m looking around my home to find a suitable place for these wonderful treasures! Thank you, again, Murray!

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Love

Cuddle Sanctuary

My biggest ‘take home’ from my trip was love demonstrated in so many forms it was overwhelming.

My SIL and I are married to guys who are brothers. We went to see Murray, the wife of our husbands’ cousin. We lost our cousin recently, and we had planned to get together for a ‘girls vacation’ – just the three of us. Happily, Murray came home from the hospital with good news. We made sure she rested with her feet up while we were there. We had told her before we came that we didn’t need to be ‘entertained.’ We just wanted to be with her.

Murray is a big part of her community, doing countless volunteer things, being on boards doing good things for the community, such as the Thibodaux Children’s Museum, and more. She is active in her church and has given so much to her town of Thibodaux. She recently was in the paper, with an article naming some of the things she has done!

What happened from the time we arrived to the time we left was the absolute definition of love and giving back. Murray’s group of close friends is larger than the number of people my husband and I have ever known in our entire lives. There were phone calls constantly, with people checking in to see that she was doing all right or just to touch base. She always made sure that each caller knew how much they meant to her.

There was a steady stream of friends, her priest, her housekeeper when it wasn’t her day to be there, her massage therapist and good friend, who also massaged the neck and back of a second visitor while she was there – after giving Murray a food massage. There were friends who had been with her in the hospital and were checking in again. There were people Murray invited because she wanted them to meet Mary Lou and me. There were neighbors. There was the ‘Queen of Pralines,’ Murray’s long-time friend who not only visited one day, but had her son, Chad, deliver a big box of pralines the next day. ( learned that you don’t say “Pray-leens.” They are pronounced, “Praw-leens.”  I took two for my husband – since he LOVES anything sugary. He gobbled them up, smiled and nodded, saying, “These are truly heavenly. Don’t get me any more.”  :0)

(Chad was the one who got our cousin John to the hospital recently and then picked him up there and brought him home recently, before he passed.) Each visitor brought love with him. The whole house was enveloped with it. There is no way to remember them all. There was a steady stream of caring, interesting, wonderful people, all loving Murray.

She has a wonderful way of introducing people. I’m socially challenged, in that after saying something like, “I’m happy to meet you,” I have trouble coming up with something to say next. Murray makes that go away with a story about who that person is, or asks them to tell a story, which then makes you want more information, so conversation is easy. She also tells them something about US, so the other people have something easy to say, too. What a gift Murray has!

The priest was young and wore bright blue long socks with cartoon characters on them! He was great, totally down to earth, not preachy, and showed he was a truly great addition to Thibodaux.

We went to a restaurant called, “Bubba’s II” one night. We all ordered, and then the waitress brought a soft-shelled crab to Murray, wanting her to enjoy it free of charge – just because she is Murray. That’s the kind of thing that makes me tear up. Jean (pronounced, “Zhaw” – that’s as close as I can get to it) went with us. Not only that, he secretly went up and paid for all of us. See what I mean?

We managed to do some significant stuff to help Murray go through things and clean out while we were there, but it’s great to know that Murray is so surrounded by people who truly care and want to give back the love she has given for so many years.

Now that she received great news from her doctors, she can concentrate on getting her strength back and spreading even more around!

 

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Donation

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Yesterday I finished (more or less) cleaning out my closet.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to try to make donations to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith and our local library once a month.

Today was donation #9 for the year to the Veterans Thrift Store, so I’m a bit ahead on my goal!  I’m not doing as well on donations to the local library. I’ve only done 4 this year, so will have to step up my efforts.

It feels good to be going through our things, purging what we’re not using, seeing that other people have access to what they might enjoy, and having less ‘STUFF.’

I have some fine tuning on my closet, but I’m almost there. :0)

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Closet Purge/Reorganization Project Finished

I have now finished going through my closet with my hot weather clothes, all my shoes, purses, scarves, etc. For me, this is good. Before, my shoes were all over the floor, for example. To the right of the shelves you can see my scarves and a hint of my purses.

 

My shoes are actually in the shelves for shoes now!

 

Casual tops are on the top. Dressier (as far as I GET dressier) on the bottom.)

I’ve tried everything on and have brought a LOT of stuff downstairs and dumped it in the foyer corner until I start listing and bagging things for donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. THAT’S for another day, though.

I’m going to go put my feet up and dive into another book. :0)

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Filed under Challenges, giving, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Cleaning Out My Closet – Again

Due to the nice fact that I shed one size in jeans due to my efforts with Nutrisystem and exercise, I decided that today was a good day to go through my closet again.

The last time I did a good job was in the fall, so I have a full closet of warm/hot weather type clothing now. I’ve kept some of it because it was too small and “maybe” I could wear it ‘someday.’ I’ve kept other things because they were large enough to fit me.  Other things have just gone back and forth from the guest room closet to my closet and back again several times. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.

This time I’m going through everything thoroughly again, trying everything on and making the decision to keep it or donate it.

The fun part so far was getting rid of some now-too-large jeans and a pair of dress slacks that was new when Methuselah was a baby. (Do you get the idea I usually wear jeans?)  :0)

I brought down a big group of clothes I’m going to donate, but I got hot and tired and decided I would rest a bit and do something else, and then go back up for another session a bit later.

This time I’m not keeping something just because ‘it’s big enough to cover me.’ I’m also looking at the color, style, and deciding if I actually LIKE it or not. Imagine that! It’ll be a while before I can have JUST clothes I like, but little by little, I’m moving toward my goal.

I’m hoping that when I move the warm/hot weather stuff into the guest room closet in a few months and exchange it for the cool/cold weather clothes, I’ll be able to do the try-everything-on again job again and find more things that are actually larger than they need to be.

My goal will be to have a donation ready for The Disabled Vets Thrift Store by the end of next week. I’m also working on another donation for our local library, as well.

I hope you’re having a great Sunday.

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Marriage Box

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes, giving, kindness, life lessons, opportunities, quality of life

Good Day

Yesterday I was really good.

I scrubbed our kitchen within an inch of its life, moving everything, wiping it all down, scrubbing the stove and running its parts through the dishwasher, scrubbing the dining table and its lazy susan, the go-out table, the buffet, etc. and finishing up by vacuuming the pantry, kitchen, dining area, hallway, utility room and two half baths.

Later on, I listed the office supplies we were donating to the Veterans Thrift Store and bagged them up to take to Fort Smith today. I also continued reading the articles on the Nutrisystem site in an effort to know all I can before we start.

I’ve made up for my efforts yesterday by basically being a slug today. I haven’t accomplished much at all and even took a nap after we ate a late lunch.

The sun is finally shining after several days of really dark days with some good rain, so I’m feeling my spirits raise, as well. I hope you’ve had a good day today.

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Proud

I had a nice chat with our son this morning. He said he had spent most of the day today (It’s 1:00 in the morning tomorrow now) at a cafe he likes, doing computer work for a client.

All of a sudden a Chinese girl came into the cafe, distraught because she had left her purse in a red truck (taxi). Our son was able to talk to her in Mandarin, called the police and talked to them in Thai. They were able to find the particular red truck, the driver, and the purse. Our son said that would have never happened in China. I think it wouldn’t have happened in the United States, either. He said the Thai people are very nice.

I’m so pleased that he wanted to – and was able to – help, speaking in two languages. He has always thought it was important to try to learn the language wherever you are, showing respect for the country and its people. I’m happy that all his work on language classes actually helped someone in distress today.

(The picture above shows the Chinese people on the left, including the girl with her Cat’s Eye bag. The Thai red truck driver in the middle, and the Thai police on the right.)  It makes me feel good that the driver was honest, the police were helpful, and the girl was helped. There is still good in the world!

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, Family, giving, opportunities, Short Powerful Stories

Hams Helping Hams

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My husband got an email two days ago about a man in Van Buren, Arkansas needing help taking down his ham radio tower. My husband said he’d be glad to help. This morning he’s on the way to Van Buren to do what he can to help. The Vette is packed with tools. He has cell phone, cap, kleenex, chapstick, bottles of water, more tools than you can imagine (just in case), and the GPS is programmed with the man’s address. The man has hired a guy with a crane for the heavy part of the job.

Even though many of these people don’t know each other well, and, in some cases, have never met each other, there is a bond between them because of their interest in ham radios. Some are really into it and have been for years. Others, like my husband, like the idea and want to be able to find out what is happening in case of emergency. No matter the degree of expertise or why they’re interested, they tend to help each other.  I’m happy that my husband is trying to help his fellow hams; but, I have to admit, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when he’s home again in one piece. He tends to act as if he’s still a young man, rather than a man who’s a bit long in the tooth these days, and pays for it later.

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