Friday, January 16, 2015

A Simple Woman's Daybook~January 16, 2015

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Friday, January 16, 2015
Outside my window...It is pitch black out and 6:06 am.  It is cold in the house still and I need to get my socks on.  Burr.  I cannot believe it has been over 2 months since I did a daybook entry.  That is probably the longest time gone by between two entries since I started doing these years ago.  What I learn from that is that a whole lot happens in a couple of months that is forgotten without writing it down.  

Here a few highlights.  Hazel had her back surgery and there were complications so she went back into surgery just a few days before Christmas.  She just went back to school for a half day and is regaining her strength but is still working on healing. 

The holidays were wonderful as always and a whirlwind of activities. Thanksgiving dinner was spend with our cousins. We had great times at annual parties and seeing our Sacramento cousins as well.  

Christmas decorating that was something I really enjoyed.  I went all out as I usually do when I'm asked to participate in a Christmas Home Tour.  I do something festive in all our rooms. I love doing it and getting back into my design work a little.  As I do it I think about how much people enjoy that evening on the multiple house tour with friends and how I want to enhance their memories by doing the best I can.  It absolutely poured that night but somehow it added to the whole thing in a good way.  I find it gets harder and takes longer than it use to but it's still important for me to do.  But even though I am getting older, the experience brings renewal to me and I will do it as long as I can.  Of course Jim helped me so much.  It really has become a joint project.

We took a fantastic get-away trip to southern California to Long Beach the week before Christmas.  We stayed on The Queen Mary for a few nights and had a great time.  It was all decked out with dozens of big trees.  It was just spectacular and so festive. What a treat  to stroll along the promenade deck and see each one.   We went to the Big Chill.  It was a gigantic ice igloo with ice sculptures that were unbelievable.  There was a life size nativity scene carved from blocks of ice.  Very impressive!  It was an event right next to the ship so we didn't get in our car at all the whole time we were there.  There was an outdoor skating rink and live music, food venders, etc. 

 Sometimes we just work too much and we are going to do more of this kind of thing because it is wonderful and just pours new energy into these two aging souls.  It was lovely and great to be on an ocean liner that stays in port. No seasickness.  We were celebrating our 50th Christmas as a couple.   They upgraded us to a fabulous state room that was like an apartment.  Loved looking out the portholes to the water.

Christmas was so nice.  I felt the spirit of it quite keenly this year and I think that few days away helped.  One has to consciously eliminate some of the rush and stress.  I felt relaxed as I took time to study and ponder the gifts of the Savior in our lives.  We did not want to it end.  Proof of this...the last Christmas item was tucked away just yesterday.  We completely reorganized everything as we put it away for an easier time next year. 

We also had a beautiful little boy born to our sweet nephew the day after Christmas.    His name is Caden Nicholas and he is a handsome little man. He is the first boy of this generation on my side to carry on our family name.

I am thankful for...the knowledge that Christmas does not have to be hidden away by New Year's Day.  Who made that idea fly?  Some of our same age friends discovered the same lovely thought this year.  They are finishing their way, by taking down their tree today.  It is such a lot of effort to get ready for Christmas, there is no crime in taking time to enjoy it after the hustle and bustle.

From the learning room...writing is very therapeutic for me.  I need to do it.  I am now back on it.  I actually did a lot of writing over the holidays but most of it was on our Christmas blog. 

I am reading...on the Internet mostly trying to get ready for two teaching assignments coming up.  

From the kitchen...eating simply and moderately now after the craziness of the past weeks.  I have been blessed to be steadily losing weight since September so trying to keep that going.  One pound a week has been just right and no gain during December. Trying to stay healthy with wholesome foods and way less sugar and refined carbs.  Coupling that with Weight Watchers has been great.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...Feeling the LOVE...

Someone I am praying for this week...Hazel and all the kids' families struggling with various seasonal illnesses that are mostly respiratory. Robert is at the doctor as I write this checking for mono and pneumonia. Chris and his family have had lots of UK viruses wreaking havoc on their family.  Missy's father has been gravely ill but is seeing some improvements finally.  Jennifer injured her knee. Even Jim has been battling a respiratory thing on and off for most of the winter.  Not serious just persistent.  I have been blessed so far..knock on wood.

I am hearing...Kate Davis one of my favorite new music discoveries.  This young woman is amazingly talented.  She plays the standing bass, sings beautifully and composes some great songs with clever lyrics.  Her genre is primarily smooth jazz but she does other things as well.  You can find her on Youtube and of course in the iTunes store.  "All About That Bass" is a fun one on Youtube and "Movie" is another one I really like.  She has a little bit of an Adele quality to her voice on some songs like "We Are Growing Old."

One of my pleasures...Having a day all to myself to catch up.  I'm having it today and I am thrilled to get more organized for presentations on genealogy topics coming up.  

Pet clothes that fade.  Like pants.  Annoying.  And speaking of pants why are they all of a sudden so dang long?  I have never had to shorten a pair of pants in my life at 5'8" until this past couple of years.

Past Remembrance...I am thinking about Rootstech 2014 (genealogy conference) and how much I enjoyed it.  Now I am on the brink of going again in February and I am truly excited to be going with my good friend, Carol.  We are going to have a super time.

If I could change one thing it would be...that there could be more happiness and less suffering in this world.  If people would accept the gospel of Jesus Christ this would make all the difference.  Why? Because then people would be kinder, more forgiving and would make an effort to choose what is good and right and healthy.  People would love others and live by faith, not fear.  There would be a lot more of thoughtfulness and less selfishness. People would live by the Golden Rule.  There would be less fighting, more peace.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...5th season of White Collar.  Loved it.

I am curious about...lots of things that distract me from my work.  Hehe, that's life right?  Do we not all have a little ADD?  So many wonderful things in this life to be curious about.  So little time.

Plans for the rest of the week...In the next few hours I will be updating my PowerPoint for a 90 minute class on Tuesday night.  Date night tonight, WW meeting in the morning, taking a class tomorrow.  Then a baptism, birthday party and dinner.  Sunday church, Monday more prep for Tuesday, that is about as far as I have taken it so far.  I think I'll still be working though as I have an all day seminar I'm teaching on the 30th.  And then poof it will be February.  Valentine's day and a trip to Utah. Warp speed life, isn't it?

One of my favorite, my family and good friends.  You mean so much to me I cannot imagine my life without any of you. You are the reason I love getting up each day.  And you are the people who have taught me how to love. Thanks for the happiness and more importantly the joy you bring, the examples you are, and the smile that you put on my face every single day. 

One thing that made me so happy this past week...we found and bought a crystal chandelier for our dining room.  It is a vintage one and so perfect for our space in the cottage.  I have been looking for a couple of years for the right one.  I took Jim to see it because I loved it and right away he said "That is's perfect!"   I cannot wait to show it to you!  It makes me twice as excited that he loves it too.  It looks like we will be nesting all of our lives.  Home just keeps getting better and more comfortable all the time.

The most surprising thing this past week...a thousand dollar car expense for a smog clearance.  Ugh...not a good surprise.

Just a little souvenir from our faux cruise
 on The Queen for our Christmas Tree. 

This is a section of Long Beach that is called Naples.  Oddly it is more like Venice than Naples but that is OK.  Venice doesn't really look like this either.  It is a neighborhood where your backyard is the dock where you keep your boat.  It is quite beautiful and one of the prettiest places we been in Southern California.

Ah, now I feel I can get to work.  Thanks for coming by!

Take Care Of You For Me!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

One Word in 2015

Happy New Year, Dear Friends!  I have loved the Christmas break and all of the holidays this year in spite of the fact that I am feeling a huge relief that they are over.  Before Thanksgiving I had lost 17 pounds.  I managed by the undeniable Grace of God to stay the same, during a 5 day vacation, several parties and eating out more than I did all year prior to Thanksgiving in 2014.  Oh and goodies brought to our door nearly everyday during December were a challenge.  After handling that poorly, I have decided on a new approach for next year.  Simply put, divide these gifts into reasonable portions and freeze.  Snack bags are "in" at our house.

So I'm doing the One Word Challenge this year again instead of New Year's Resolutions for the third time.  I really like it.  It is uplifting and consciousness-raising to have one uplifting and hopeful thing to focus on every day of the new year.  The first year I used the word "Believe" to motivate me.  This past year my word was "Remember."  Oh, that was a good one.  I add the word to my blog side bar and the New Year's thoughts about it via a link to remind myself when I need extra motivation.  It works.  My word for 2015 is "Seek."

This word kept coming to my mind when I was thinking about what I want to do differently this year.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 13 Articles of Faith.  Google that to see what all of them are if you are curious.  The one I will be focusing on this year is #13 which reads.

"13.  We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
I love and believe all of this but this year I want to focus particularly on the last sentence. "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

I love that and I want my life to be filled with things that are virtuous and lovely.  I am a white hat kind of a person.  I don't like or enjoy the dark side of life.  It brings me down and makes me feel unmotivated and defeated.  Seeking the good in life is important to my health.  Mental, Spiritual and Physical, Emotional and Social.  If I am seeking the light of goodness I am far less likely to be sad, critical or unkind.  Goodness is a reason to feel motivated to move forward.

I don't want to stagnate or backslide or to be lazy.  So I have to seek the light to progress.  There is no joy for me in seeking the sinister, the dark, the things that promote unhappiness and dissonance in my life.  So I need to be seeking the opposite.  All the time.  Of course it takes intentional living and choices.

I want to seek to understand other people and their actions that sometimes confuse and upset me. "Seek first to understand then be understood," as Stephen Covey said.  If a person is motivated by good intentions but makes mistakes..I want to seek to be more tolerant and forgiving of that.  Seeking to understand another helps bring peace and a focus outward, not inward.

When we lose ourselves we find ourselves through loving what sometimes seems impossible.  With Christ it is doable.  On our own, not always so much.  So Seeking the blessings of the atonement to be forgiven for our own weakness is important and we should always seek it.  But this year I want to seek healing from the atonement more.  Belief in His Gifts allows us to change.  I am seeking change in my areas of weakness.  I will be seeking the things that come through studying, pondering and praying for the things we need and the things that others need in their struggles.  As I have sought that in the past I have become more aware all the time of the constant need of our prayers for others. More love and concern for others just naturally bring goodness and light into our lives.

I am seeking to be more adventuresome in certain areas, like getting out of my comfort zone and seeking to learn new ways of doing things that produce better results.  Especially with regard to health and reducing, if not eliminating chronic pain, etc.

I am seeking to find more ancestors though continual learning of the things I need to know.  Then I can share them and be a more effective teacher also.  I want to pursue many other areas of interest as well, by seeking new learning in all of them.  Learning is so importnat to me, it always has been but now more than ever before in my life.  I am seeking better time management skills and better sleeping patterns to eliminate fatigue during peak hours.  I have been working on this more and it is helping.  I'll seek to be like a fine tuned machine that functions at its best by very purposeful and intentional living.  This is a skill that can be learned.  It takes balance and discipline and desire and I am seeking all of those.

I truly do want to live that last line of the 13th Article of Faith everyday this year.  To do it I am also seeking grace.  Grace for my failures and weaknesses, with a focus on progress (which is uplifting) not perfection as the world views it (which can be oppressive.) I'm seeking to press forward in faith, believing the I can do it and remembering all of my blessings.  The kindness of wonderful people all around me and the love I receive daily for God, good family and fabulous friends is very motivating. And I am seeking to remember the words of the prophet, Spencer W. Kimball who said that the only real limits a person has are the limits he places upon himself.  With God all things are possible.

So I will be doing a lot of Seeking and Searching in 2015!  Are you going to choose a word to guide you this year?  I hope you try it, it's fun  I am seeking fun too!   Seeking the best with my better half!

Muir Woods for Seeking Peace!

Seeking the best for this tall, dark and handsome Italiano!

 If you want to know more about this idea read this article.

May this year bring you all that your heart desires.  For me that means being a SEEKER.  You?