Friday, December 19, 2014

The Spirit

Sorry to be gone so long. 

It has been a rocky year for us. It has been a rocky year for a lot of people that I know. 

Unfortunately I am not really into the Christmas Spirit this year. I need to pep talk myself into a better mood. This year everything seems rushed. If it can go wrong, it has gone wrong. I have realized when you have an injury, you are less likely to be perky about the holidays. I kind of feel like Cindy Lou Who in the song Where Are You Christmas?

"It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
~ Dr. Suess- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

I have yet to mail Christmas cards and just started wrapping gifts. But Christmas is really not about that. It is about a little babe in the manager and the promise of hope that God gave us so long ago.

So Christmas will come and go this year. We may have less fanfare this year. But we will spend it with those we love, so that is really what counts. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

4 Letter Word

There are so many 4 letter words out there. One that is the very troublesome is HATE. 

"I hate this." "I hate that." "I hate (animal name, sports team, type of food)." "I hate you." "I hate."

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hate as (a) intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; (b) extreme dislike or antipathy.

What a more wonderful world this would be with less of the word hate. Instead of saying hate we should say dislike. Often when someone hates something, they do not understand it. The best way to conquer hate is to learn more about what you dislike. 

I am not too keen on snakes. I use to say that I hate snakes, but a wise person that I know pointed out that people hate things that they do not understand. So the more you learn and understand, the less you dislike something. Granted I will not touch a snake, but I also am not as afraid of them as I once was. They have a place in this world just like we do. They are an essential part of the food web and help to keep other animals in check. No animal is good or bad. They are just doing what they were created to do, survive.

I use to say that I disliked peas and a lot of people will admit to hating them. We had canned peas quite often growing up and I honestly can't stand them when they are squishy and smelly. But over time, I have discovered that I like fresh or frozen peas. Try a food a few different ways before you totally write it off. Same goes true with something that you entirely disliked as a child, our taste buds change and as an adult you might just like it.

Anger is another reason that someone says the word hate. Sure if you have an exceptionally rough day, you could say "I hate this day." But is that really going to fix anything? Tomorrow is always a new day, a fresh start. If you keep that anger bottled up inside it will bleed into the next day. Not everything can be fixed. Not everything is meant to be easy. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and then try again. It is not always easy to admit that we were wrong, but it does allow us to bounce back faster.

Here is a big one, what we say and do rubs off on our children. When a child says "I hate (so and so)." We need to stop and take the time to talk with that child. Just because someone looks different, acts different, or sounds different does not mean that they should be written off. We need to get to the root of the issue and find out why the child feels that way. We need to reinforce that even if someone is treating us unkindly or we dislike someone, that they are still a person. We all make mistakes and we need to be kind to one another. Walk away from the situation, find an adult if they need to, but don't react negatively. The second child is always the one to get caught getting into mischief and sometimes the first one walks off scott-free. Of course talking with a child about this type of stuff is easier said than done.

I am trying to lessen the amount of time that my children and I say the word hate. It is harder than it looks at times and we occasionally fall back into the trap. But I think that in the long run we will be much happier in using the word dislike and will gain more knowledge about why we might not like something. 

Will you take the challenge and try to limit the amount of times you say the word hate?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What A Hoot!

I like barred owls. They are one of the more common owls in our area along with great horned owls and screech owls. Barred owls are just beautiful with their dark eyes and barred chest that provide the perfect camouflage among the trees. Their frayed feathers allow them to move unheard. Their call is fun to make too: "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" That is how hubby and I find each other in stores. We whistle "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" I am pretty good at making the hooting noise. 

We had the pleasure of seeing a barred owl hanging out in our trees about a month ago. We were just getting ready to leave for the morning and I heard the call. It was sitting in one of the shagbark hickory trees in our front yard. Pumpkin and I looked at it for a bit, then it flew into the neighbor's sweet gum tree. They are so beautiful when in flight.

Owls are just fascinating. Their eyes are stuck in place, so they cannot move them from side to side like we can. But they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees. If our eyes were as large as an owls, our eyes would be the size of grapefruit. Wow! Like other birds, they have hollow bones. They lay their eggs during the winter, typically February and March. The owlets hatch about 4 weeks later. Other owls that can occasionally be found in our area include: snowy owl, long eared owl, short eared owl, barn owl, and saw whet owl.

Well I guess I need to make sure that my little owlets get off to bed.  Have a great week!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


This time of the year is all about changes.

Changes in season: Fall has finally brought the first hard frost of the year. Good-bye bugs!

Changes in temperature: It is like a yo-yo around here. One day up, one day down. Time to break out the blankets!

Changes in clothing: Hello fall and winter clothes. Good-bye spring and winter clothes.

Changes in time: Woohoo! We fell back an hour = an extra hour to sleep in this morning!

Environmental changes are good. They give us a chance to slow down and reflect on physical, emotional, and spiritual changes too. What changes are we expecting in the next few months? What changes do we want to make in the coming months? What changes will happen that will take our breath away?

Changes are everywhere. If we do not change, we cannot grow and we cannot thrive. We are continually adapting to the changes in our lives. Some changes are small and some are huge. Some are planned and some are unexpected. Some changes are good and other are heart breaking. Changes are like a roller coaster with ups and downs. The only thing we can control is how we react to each change. Will we take it in stride? Will we roar like a lion? Will we retreat and lick our wounds? Will we crumble and fall? Will we be an example to others? Changes.

I am not sure what the next few months will bring. The last twelve months has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. I hope that life will get easier, but I know there are many more bumps to navigate.

Changes that I would like to see:
- The kids helping more with keeping the house clean.
- Figuring out how to effectively relay information to my son.
- Slowing down, breathing, and eating healthier.
- Remembering to ask God for help more often.
- Figuring out how to lessen stress in our lives.
- Taking time to give more hugs and more kisses even when the kids are driving me up the wall.

What changes are happening in your life? What changes would you like to see?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Run For It

I meet myself coming and going quite a bit. I get myself turned around. I find myself upside down. Quite often I am overwhelmed. Life will get easier, right?

My sister got the front door painted lightening bug yellow a few weeks ago. She gave me a new wreath for my birthday, too. Isn't the combination pretty?

The kids have been playing in the leaves this weekend. Princess even sorted the leaves by color.

Last weekend, I carved the family's pumpkin. Somehow a deer bone is now sticking out from its mouth.

I won a free book a few weeks ago. It arrived last weekend: The Stress Cure: Praying Your Way to Personal Peace by Linda Evans Shepherd. Thank you Baker Publishing and Proverbs31. The book is fascinating and a down-to-earth. It centers on managing stress through prayer and scripture. I have only made it through three chapters so far, but I do enjoy the fact that information is related in easy to understand examples. Chapter Two was about being overwhelmed. That me, OVERWHELMED!

I have been taking some nature photography.


I have wrangled with the health insurance company about Pumpkin's specialist. Turns out that I was right and she is in-network. So the insurance company has five visits over the last year to correct. A sixty dollar co-pay is a big difference when it is a two hundred dollar (3) or five hundred dollar (2) per visit bill.

I had the opportunity to attend an ADHD & Special Needs training last week. I have gleaned some information that I can use with Pumpkin. I need to find the time to really sit down and read over all of the handouts. The speaker was very nice, informative, and engaging.

A few weeks ago we took Princess to a neuro-opthomologist in a neighboring town. We were sent by our eye doctor for a second opinion. Good news! Her eyes are healthy and there are no underlying causes for her atypically vision problems. Her glasses are within the acceptable range for what she needs right now. We were referred back to our eye doctor for a 6-month January check-up.

Pumpkin went grocery shopping with me this afternoon. He decided to ride in the cart. Then he strategically stacked and built structures with the groceries as they went into the cart. Gotta love the quirks of autism at times.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend! Don't forget Spotlight Sunday is tomorrow!