Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Simple Woman's Day Book~March 30, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, March 30, 2009

Outside my is cold, dark, quiet and still. It was so windy yesterday that I am sure the sunlight will reveal lots of bits and pieces of branches, twigs and leaves that did not survive it. The wind usually blows away the clouds so I am expecting a sunny, crisp day. We had 82 degrees on Saturday. It was a sneak preview of the weeks and months ahead and everyone was excited about it.

I am thinking...that this is my 6th time writing the Simple Woman's Daybook and I am really enjoying it. It helps me think about the upcoming week and all that needs doing. It helps me feel more grounded in seeking an abundant life and reestablishing my path to that end. It reminds me that all my blessing comes from God.

From the learning rooms...comes a sure knowledge that the heart has an unending capacity to love and love more. You have heard that comment that goes like this..."I am not overweight, I am under tall." Well what I am thinking is that..."Grandmas aren't overweight, their hearts are just so full of love."

I am thankful for...prayers that are answered and for a Father in Heaven that is ever so patient with our struggles to get it right.

From the kitchen...I am having mixed emotions about our upcoming remodel. I feel so fortunate to have it coming in a couple of weeks but dreading the upheaval and wondering where I am going to put everything that has to come out of the cabinets. We did it once before with three kids so this time it should be a lot easier, right? Here's hoping anyway.

I am wearing...I'd like to say something more exotic and fashionable than jammies for variety but it is 5:50 am so...jammies.

I am reading...The Now Habit still and books and magazines about kitchens as I seek inspiration, and of course fun blogs.

I am hoping...that everyone that is sick will feel better today~especially the babies we are praying for.

I am creating...a more restful home by decluttering and finding more empty spaces for the eye to rest. I am going for the less is more idea, which is very challenging when I have 2 19'x13' storage units full of fun home decor for our decorating business. I am thinking 'rotate' as opposed to 'cramming' all I love into the cottage.

I am kitchen clock chiming 6:00 am and Always and Forever by Luther Vandross on my itunes playlist.

I am going...
to meet with three sweet friends this morning that inspire me so much as I do each Monday, then I have errands and a design consultation this afternoon with my optometrist, friend and client, Ivy Sun. Isn't that a cute name? She is a really sweet lady and I am looking forward to our time together.

My spiritual thoughts much I love the gospel and how grateful I am for it in my life.

Around the house...I see remnants of the weekend that need to be picked up but it is not too bad because I did a bunch of it last night.

One of my favorite things...taking a little nap in the afternoon on our recliner (I am loathing the man chair look, but it is oh, so comfy!) near our big window in the family room. At this time of year the sun shines in so brightly at that time of day and I feel like a household pet just being lazy and basking in the sun while I sleep. Getting up at 4:00 am or 4:30 I just need that little rest in the afternoon before completing the day with anything that resembles energy.

A few plans for the rest of the week...the maintenance of daily living, grocery shopping and food prep on Wednesday, a fun marketing meeting on Thursday followed by a field trip to a new home store with some designer friends, some painting on the weekend and preparing for some friends and their children that are spending a few days with us next week. Looking forward to a broadcast of the Semi-annual General Conference of our church over the weekend.

Here are three pictures and a thought I am sharing with you...
Just one year go we were so blessed to travel to Italy to see our daughter, Laura, her husband, Robert, and two of our grandsons, Spencer and Ross. We had the most beautiful and enchanting time and here is a photo of the setting sun in Venice.

Even more enchanting is our little grandson Rossie eating his first gelato~ as only Ross can do.It is not fair that any grandparent should have to go one whole year without seeing such precious boys as Ross and Spencer. It breaks my heart that he has grown into a much bigger boy who now prefers to be called..just Ross! Don't tell him but he'll always be Rossie to me!

And here is Spencer gearing up for a fun day in northern Italy. 8 year old boys just love to make funny faces for their photos. Sure do miss these guys! Sorry I got carried away with my photos and thoughts this morning.

I Don't Want to be An Alien!

This morning as I was preparing a group lesson for church I ran across this great poem that I feel is very poignant. The story goes that a very rich man was lying on his deathbed and not a single member of his family came to be at his side as he was about to leave this mortal life. A stranger was standing near and asked the man, "What have you learned during your life's sojourn?"

This was his reply,"

"I’m an alien, to the faith my mother taught me.
I’m a stranger to the God that heard my mother when she cried.
I’m an alien to the comfort that, “Now I lay me,” brought me.
To the everlasting arms that held my father when he died.
When the great world came and called me, I deserted all to follow.
Never noting in my blindness I had slipped my hand from His.
Never dreaming in my dazedness that the bubble fame is hollow.
That the wealth of gold is tinsel, as I since have learned it is.
I have spent a lifetime seeking things I spurned when I found them,
I have fought and been rewarded in many a winning cause,
But I’d give it all, fame and fortune and the pleasures that surround them,
If I only had the faith that made my mother what she was."

N. Eldon Tanner, “Constancy Amid Change,” Ensign, Nov 1979

I cannot imagine a life without faith and hope in the Savior....what a bleak choice! He is the way, the truth and the life!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


How has your Saturday been? Ours has been one of "those days!" We had a plan when we got up this morning but the plan has been foiled...repeatedly. Just mishaps and the know how it just goes south sometimes.

Jim had chapel clean-up this morning which takes a couple of hours. I was planning to go and help but had to do some e-mailing and calling neighbors on our irrigation system regarding possible rationing of the water this year. That took longer than expected with minimal results as no one was home so I left a bunch of messages and still have the task of gathering water usage figures from each person. Arrrgh!

Next I ran down to give the final approval on this gorgeous granite we had chosen and when we saw the actual slabs they brought in for us to approve, they were totally different than the one we had chosen in the showroom and from each other. Of course we understand that since it is a natural product there are variations but this went way beyond a slight variation. Like unrecognizable! So back to square one on that and trying to find another one and hoping the same thing will not reoccur.

Jim was planning on getting to work on the remodel right after the church work and discovered he had forgotten to round-up the another waylay as he did all of that. Poor guy he just has too much to do all the time. I feel for him.

So anyway, what I was thinking is that in life we just have to expect that if we plan, most days go pretty well, but occasionally no matter what we do we hit roadblocks. I think I am finally learning that this is just need to stress out over it. Just tuck and roll. Readjust your expectations and know "this too shall pass."

As we were beginning to stress out we kept running into each other in the kitchen. You know, food...the great anesthesia, right? Try as we would we just couldn't find any junk food to placate ourselves...thank goodness. (Just as a side does eating something fix the problem? It doesn't!)

So I then started thinking about what does fix it for me? I thought about something I really love to do to decompress and I have never heard of anyone else doing thought I'd share it.

I like to go to a nursery and just walk around through the aisles and look at the flowers and plants and just breathe! I like how everything looks just misted with little droplets of water and usually there is a little breeze and chirping birds and it does refresh me. I also enjoy listening to the ornamental water pieces where they often have running water. It is a great fix when a day out in nature is unrealistic. Does anyone else find this to be fun and relaxing? Just curious! I have seen hundreds of decompression tips but never that one. Have you?

flickr photos: cookies and flowers

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Son is 34!

Eat Cake, Baby!

Happy Birthday, Chris! Oh, how we do wish we could share this day with you. Maybe next year and all the years to follow! You have had a wonderful year.

You got your National Science Foundation Grant which doesn't happen to many professors, especially in their first few years. You got to take your graduate class to Europe for three weeks with Missy, you did some major remodeling in your beautiful home. You also passed your tenure boards at BYU with flying colors and made your entire family very proud of you and all your efforts and accomplishments. You traveled a lot for work and got to go to Washington DC for your first time! You have had a chance to see a lot of the world through your mission, ATL and now BYU. Awesome!

Most importantly you have been a great son, husband and father and brother, uncle and friend to many. We all love you and wish you a very happy and prosperous new year. Stay close to our Father in Heaven in all you do and it will be another wonderful year for you! We love you, son!

I have added some photos from this year at the end of the slide show of some of your life highlights! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pure Gold

Today I was doing the dishes and thinking about things. Do you know what is worth its weight in gold? Making choices that make you feel good about you!

As happy as I am about my recent weight loss, I really think the bigger benefit to me personally has been the way I can feel good about myself and what I am doing. Even though from outward appearances there is very little change in me, what has happened on the inside is huge. Whenever there is a discrepancy between what you know is true and right and what you are doing, it is hard to have self respect. True peace and harmony within comes from living what you believe and believing what you live.

It is also throwing off the shackles of doing what you should do and have to do for doing what you do because you choose it. Choosing to do good is proactive~the shoulds and have tos are reactive.

I want to be proactive and make good choices because I want to take the high road. I want to live the higher law~I don't have to. Isn't that what our agency is all about? Whatever we are doing in life it should be because we chose it. It there are things you simply must do then decide it is what you want to do. As long as you think you should or have to do something your body and spirit are at odds with one another.

President Kimball said simply "Do It." Not You Should Do It, or You Have To Do It! Right? Let it be your choice~it is so liberating. And then, as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's mother said..."Come what may and love it!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day by Day

Lombard Street (the crookedest street
in the world) in San Francisco, CA

This post is #601 for me on this blog since December 2007. That is kind of mind boggling for me when I realize how much writing I have done in 15 months just on this blog and I will admit to having several a few others.

I couldn't help reflecting upon when in school, sometimes we would get writing assignments and projects that would seem insurmountable. 20 pages on any given subject just seemed huge. I remember when Jim was working on his Master's degree and how "our" thesis seemed nearly impossible. That was back in the day when we had the old manual typewriter and I would sit on our bed typing for hours because we didn't have a proper desk, etc.

I deplored typing and every time I made an error it was whip out the old, round, pink, hard eraser with the stiff little brush on the end and start gently erasing and praying I didn't rip a hole in the paper! I didn't know what PMS was at the time, the phrase had not been coined. But that feeling of sheer frustration is the same as PMS, if ever there were two feelings that could be compared.

Riding the waves of life together!!

Flashing forward~if someone would have told me 15 months ago I would have completed 600 pages on random subjects of my choice, I would have considered them to be absolutely daft. I could not have even comprehended it, even though I have always loved to write. I use to pick up a large book and wonder how anyone could write so much about anything? Now I know. It is day by day, one word at a time that this is accomplished. You start to do it, find the value in it, repeat and then it becomes ingrained. For me it has even become necessary and a big a part of my life. It is the cheapest form of psychotherapy and I love it.

Isn't one day at a time really how we make all of our life changes really? Day by day, plodding along, molding and shaping the person that we eventually become? It is a great example to me of how hard things become easy when taken one day at a time and that to me has amazing value and application with regard to all the varied aspects of our lives. Day by day, we can do whatever we set our minds upon with energy and full purpose of heart.

We are all just enough different to make it all more interesting!

So thus we have another reason why I love to blog~it teaches me that "I can." And one of the fabulous perks~meeting and establishing new friendships and strengthen the tried and true. So I am in it for the long haul and I want to thank those of you who have hung in with me from the get go. It means a lot to me just to know that you are there. Your comments make my day and I love reading your blogs! I have learned so much from each and every one of you! So thank you and know that you are loved!

You are all as beautiful flowers, each with your own unique blogging style and qualities. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you peek my curiosity and inspire me. You make me happy and you make me a better person!

Hugs to all~

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook~March 23, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, March 23, 2009

Outside my window... it is very still after a very windy night and it is still dark and cold. It should be a beautiful Spring day once the sun comes up!

I am thinking...That going to dinner with friends tonight will be great if I manage my Weight Watcher points well all day.

From the learning rooms...I am realizing that planning, patience and vigilance are of utmost important in achieving any goal. Life is all about maintenance sometimes. Find what works, repeat.

I am thankful for...The Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and all the faith, hope and charity that it engenders in those who believe.

From the kitchen...I am relieved to say that since I did a lot of food prep over the weekend, I don't have to worry about it at all this week!

I am wearing...PJ bottoms and a white sweat shirt and I wish a pair of socks. It is cold this morning.

I am reading..The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.

I am hoping...our daughter, Laura, and her husband, Robert, had a wonderful time in Paris this weekend and that she has arrived back in Italy safely and that he has arrived at his current work assignment in a different country. I am also wondering if their boys enjoyed staying with their friends while their parents had a little R&R in the most romantic city in the world.

I am creating...some wishful thinking regarding where I am going to put all the home furnishings we picked up this weekend from a house that has been sold that we staged. Our warehouse is full but I will need to squeeze it in somehow for just a few weeks or until we decorate another house.

I am hearing...Helen Reddy singing, That Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady.

I am going...
to wish our son, Chris, a very Happy 34th Birthday this Friday! And try to understand how he got this old so quickly.

My spiritual thoughts gratitude for all our blessings and prayers for family and friends in need of special help right now.

Around the house...some gardening and winter clean-up needs to be happening rather soon! We need to hire a blow and go guy also since we had to fire the last one for coming to work drunk at 9:00 am one morning. That was not OK!

One of my favorite paint on the walls and no wallpaper!

A few plans for the rest of the week...things I never quite got to last week like getting the car in to be serviced and cleaning out the bathroom closet. Taking Jim down to see the granite I picked out for the kitchen, ordering more windows, a baby shower for twins of a very good friend's first grandchildren and a Friday night with my husband.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

I took this picture of the little farm house last weekend. When I see it it reminds me that even though the world seems crowded sometimes, we can seek our own places of serenity. They do exist and sometimes just visualizing them helps remove some of the chaos of everyday life. It can help us to step back and take a deep breath and say, "With God's help, I can do this!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trying To Be Prepared

This is a blog post from my health blog that I decided to include here so you can see the progress on the home renovation projects.

Today something very strange came over me~I felt like preparing food for the week! Actually I do this often but never on Saturday. Jim and our good friend from Utah, Doug Higley, are working on hanging louver doors, setting moldings, etc. It's overcast and kind of dreary out and being in the kitchen just sounded appealing. So since this happens so rarely to me I just did a whole bunch of stuff~striking while the iron was hot.

First I made Jim's soup so he is taken care of for the week. His latest thing is he likes to add in some cooked pasta. Rather than put it in the soup where it seems to keep cooking when being heated up, I just cooked a bunch separately and put it in a gallon size Ziploc bag. That way it is not added into the calorie/carb/point count for the soup and he can add as much as he likes right into his bowl of hot soup.

Then I made the Fiber One cereal haystack cookies which are 1 point for each one. Both Jim and I find these just a perfect little sweet signal that we have finished dinner and are done eating!

Then I cut up all my raw veggies for the week~a one gallon bag full to the brim that is ready for those panic attacks around 3:00 pm every single day.

Lastly I made the "South of the Border Brownies"~1 can of pureed black beans and a brownie mix, bake as directed. I did take a little bite~very deceptively delicious and 2 pts for a 2 x 2 square instead of the normal 5 points. We are having Doug back over for dinner tomorrow so I needed a dessert. He'll never know and neither will our waistlines!

And we have louvers on the utility closet and the pantry, Houston!

So the sun is about to set and I feel I accomplished something in the kitchen as well as selecting our granite and keeping the men happy while they worked by staying out of their way, etc. Good day and the topper is I have a DVD with four episodes of Grey's Anatomy for tonight. What more could a girl want, I ask you? Oh, and one more thing for the week past. I bought some new shirts all one size smaller! Woohoo!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Favorite Painting~

After Dark by Pino

I decided to participate in Julia's Hooked on Houses event hosted each Friday here. This blog is fantastic and I love Julia's post today!

Several years ago I was on the local real estate tour of homes and came across a home that had this beautiful painting in it. It must have been at least a 36 x 48 inch giclee on canvas and it was amazingly beautiful. I have been hooked on Pino's art ever since.

There is something so feminine and gorgeous about this painting and it reminds me of our sweet daughters, an elegant dining experience and an abundant life, not in the monetary sense but just in life itself.

I keep this picture in our antique kitchen cabinet and really need to find a new place for it somewhere in our house as we are changing the color scheme and style of our kitchen and it just won't work in this room too much longer. It will be a challenge but never fear~I will figure it out because I love this painting! What artists do you enjoy? I love the impressionists and I would love to be tagging around with our daughter, Laura and her husband, Robert this weekend in Paris! Hopefully they will get to Musee d'Orsay in their adventures.

How do you incorporate things that don't quite go with your decor but that you just love and want to keep near to you, your heart and soul? Being eclectic in style is a good thing~it allows for a more interesting look and it truly lets your personality shine forth ~ but it can be tricky. What works for you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Daffodil Principle

Yesterday was not the best day of my life. I came to some realizations yesterday that made me want to quit doing something I love and enjoy very much that I assumed was a good thing for others as well. I don't know about you but I am a big baby when my feelings get hurt and I usually just want to walk away from realities. I was ready to let it go but then I received an e-mail version of this today from an angel unaware. It made me realize that the most important thing is for me to do the right and good thing and not worry about the rest of it. So I am! I was thankful for this answer to my prayers last night.

I hope it may mean something to you as well!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Miss Piper!

Happy Birthday Piper! Wish we were there to party with you!

Piper is entering the double digit age today, turning ten years old! It does not seem possible that Jim and I have been grandparents that long and yet, I cannot remember life without her.

Piper is such a beautiful young lady. She is so sweet and funny and smart, smart, smart. She has amazing talents in her academics and her art. She is such a wonderful daughter and granddaughter and a great big sister to Julia, Chloe and Hazel.

Just recently she has been enjoying the Jonas Brothers movie and working on a genealogy project about her great great grandmother, Marguerite Ferrera. She did an excellent job on her science project and got to present it to all the fourth grade classes. Here she is in deep concentration over it all.

Piper is beautiful, tall and graceful but not feeling so
tall in this photo I am sure. Fun animals!

She shares a birthday with Jim's Dad, Grampa Fred who passed away in 1990. I am sure they would have been very close, they have many wonderful qualities in common. Piper hopes to get back to Scotland where she was born someday. Born in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, she is a genuine Scottish Princess!

To show you how grown up she is, her mom told me she decided to forgo a big friends party for some extra spending money on a trip to the mall with mom on Saturday. I wish I could join you guys for that trip! Love shopping with my girls! Have some Cake, Piper and a wonderful celebration! Check out what her mom says about her here.

We love you and wish you a fantastic birthday today!


Gramma and Grampa XOXO

Monday, March 16, 2009

Twin Sisters of Different Mothers!

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Family search - Family pedigree

Deanna had this on her blog and I thought it would be fun to check it out. It is not only fun but it is FUNNY! I am going to bed now thinking ....hmmm, if only......! Ahhhh, go ahead and try it, you know you want to!

Sweet dreams! B

The Simple Woman's Daybook~March 16, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, March 16, 2009

Outside my window... the dawn is just breaking and it looks pretty cloudy and like we might be getting some rain.

I am thinking...that when you mark your weeks by something like this simple daybook, you really realize how fast time flies by!

From the learning rooms...I am learning that happiness is a choice that we make every single day. More than seeking it, we have to choose it!

I am thankful for...discretionary time to do the things I want and need to do, having a job that isn't a 9 to 5 daily, and a design job tomorrow.

From the kitchen... come great memories of having an old friend over for dinner last night and realizing we need to get back in the groove of doing this more often.

I am wearing...PJ bottoms and a white sweat shirt but not for long.

I am reading..Remember 10 pages a day before I fall asleep at night it is taking a bit longer than usual to finish it. Current magazine that came in the mail last week are being perused, along with some wonderful blogs.

I am hoping...for more energy and inspiration for the week ahead.

I am creating...the color scheme and design features of our new kitchen remodel.

I am listening to...You Make Me Feel Like Dancing~Leo Sayer~a moldy oldie!

I am pick up a part for hubby's car at the Volvo Dealership.

My spiritual thoughts include...looking to Christ in every thought and not being doubtful or fearful.

Around the house...the work and organizing is never ending. I am cleaning out the closet in our bathroom today. I am trying to do a different area several times a week~and remembering days gone by when I use to be able to do lots of areas in one day!

One of my favorite things...iTunes and Playlists

A few plans for the rest of the week...Get my car into the Toyota dealership for servicing, attend a networking meeting with some fellow real estate stagers, redesign a home tomorrow, stop by a favorite home shop in Pleasanton to see what they have out for Easter, get the entry way painted and the windows installed in the laundry room and kitchen on Wednesday. Celebrate being a grandparent for ten years on Wednesday and get a haircut and color touch-up on Friday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Our grandsons, Spencer and Rossie,
exploring a vineyard in Italy.

The picture thought...
The path of life is so much more easily taken two by two, in the spirit of love and cooperation.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Renegade Petunia

As many of you know, petunias are annuals not perennials. What that means is basically that if you want petunias in your garden, they only have one blooming season in the spring and summer and then the plant will die. When fall arrives you usually dig them up and start over the following spring with a new plant.

Well, if you are lazy and don't clean out your pots and put them to bed for the winter, you may get a petunia that decides to be more than an annual. I found this yesterday in one of our pots~a petunia that is going the extra mile and blooming for a second year!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reasons I Love My Husband #936

Jim is a great worker and does so much to make our home beautiful. He never complains and just keeps at it until it is done!

Just getting started with wallpaper removal which is a terrible of the worst and we will NEVER have wallpaper again...No, Never!

The wallpaper is off and so now on to all the other stuff that needed doing before sanding, priming and painting with Restoration Hardware's the color. Jim is very detail oriented and does a fabulous job, no matter what he is doing.

Putting in the decking for our new counter top.

He painted 8 louver doors today that go in the laundry room, pantry, and entryway. The patio furniture and deck railing came in handy for drying.

Next he is priming the entryway for new paint which will be going on Monday. It is Restoration Hardware's Latte. This is the best neutral paint color ever! Then maybe he will relax for the rest of the evening. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Next we have to paint all the cabinets and change out the hardware and then finish the little half bath by reinstalling the toilet and putting in the molding. The windows and doors go in Wednesday and then we should be ready to move on to the kitchen. I want him to take a brake in between. I hope he will. But he is on a mission and if you know him at all, you know what that means. He is doing a phenomenal job but with only one day a week to do it all, it makes it very hard on him. He has been pulling some late nights after work occasionally too.

Since we work in the singles' ward at church, I am sometimes asked about what the girls should look for in a good husband. One of the thing I always say is be sure he is a man that is a great worker, someone who knows how to do things and if he doesn't yet, make sure he is willing to learn. Either that or make sure he is very wealthy! They are always a little surprised by that recommendation as they usually haven't thought that far ahead. But it truly is one of the things I treasure most about Jim. He loves our home and wants to make it nice and his willingness to step in and do the hard stuff gives me a lot of joy and saves us a lot of money too.

He makes the cake and I do the icing~we make a good team in that respect. I really enjoy working together. (Jim does most of the hard stuff but I enjoy being with him and being his gopher!) Do you enjoy working with your spouse on home projects? I hope so because there sure does seem to be an unending list of them to do if you are a homeowner.