Posts filed under ‘Writing Challenges’

Friday’s Fave Five June 23

I am watching 59 musicals this year. Today I watched The Flower Drum Song. Below are some of the lyrics to a song I heard.

♮ ♪ ♭ A hundred million miracles are happ’ning ev’ry day, ♩ ♬ ♯♫ And those who say they don’t agree ♫♩ ♩♭ Are those who do not hear or see. ♮♪

Some “commonplace” miracles that are mentioned are noticed only by those who will hear and see. 

  • Changing weather
  • Swallow eggs that hatch as fully formed birds
  • Toddler learning to walk
  • Creating music

Friday’s Fave Five are (usually) commonplace miracles noticed only by those who deliberately look for them. I looked and want to share my five. Go here to link up your commonplace miracles post or leave a comment at the end of this post.

ONE. Projects. Twice a month (at least) a group of gals (12-80) gathers to sew/craft items for Operation Christmas Child. Lucy (coordinator) and I met to sort the projects so that those who do not use a sewing machine could have plenty to do when we meet.

  • Sew buttons on the “purses” for cloth menstrual pads
  • Stuff doll arms and legs
  • Slip ribbon into casings for pillowcase dresses and marble bags

Related Posts . . . Love in a Box … I Help Because I am a Parent, Auntie & Missionary

TWO.  Underground Tour. I have the honour of over-seeing the PEP 55+ ministry at my church. This past week we maxed out the 11am slot (20 people) for the Underground Tour in Old Sacramento. It was interesting to hear how Gold Rush events impacted that area. Afterwards we lunched. Each car full of folks went some place different. I love field trips and I spending time with everyone, especially the ladies in my car.

Related Post . . . Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches

THREE. Quotes. This past week I finished A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson. It is on my Summer bucket list. I don’t remember who recommended it. But once I found out that the main character lived a yearlong “quest,” I KNEW I had to read it. I am fascinated by those types of books. Here is my post that shares my favourite quotes from the book.

Related Posts . . . Why I Put Quotes With My Signature … Favourite Quotes from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers … Finding Laughter: 15 Quotes 

FOUR. Father’s Day Breakfast. For the past two years. the men from my church cooked a pancake breakfast on Mother’s Day. So this year we decided we should do the same. We had egg casseroles with lots of sausage, coffee & orange juice. Muffins and fruit salad (with whipped cream)  were also offered. Not only did LOTS of people donate food but there was a steady crew of ladies in the kitchen: serving and cleaning. It was a festive atmosphere and people lingered over breakfast.

Related Posts . . . Favorite Quote from Yesterday’s Hospitality Class … French Toast Supreme Casserole for 2 … What surprise ingredient do you put in your eggs?

FIVE. Dinner with Friends. Since I live alone, I spend a lot of meals alone which is okay with me. But it is a SPECIAL treat when I get to have dinner with someone else. And this week I had dinner with two different “groups” of people. Of course the food was tasty. But the special part for me was spending time with friends apart from work related functions.

Related Posts . . . My cooking means someone died? … Hospitality Goofs and Chicken Tortilla Soup

Those are my five faves.

Your Turn . . . Share yours!

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Friday’s Fave Five June 16, 2017

Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. – Kak Sri

I have not had adversity this week, so I will keep this quote handy for a day when I do. And I can also use gratitude to paint my week even in more lovely hues. Please read on for my week’s most grateful memories.

ONE. Visitor. My daughter spent the weekend with me. I always have a TON of ideas of how to spend our time. One thing we did was to make three new recipes – all salads. I need more salads in my life and was happy that Elizabeth was cool with my agenda item. I wrote this post about salads and linked to the three we tried. And I must confess that 3 new food loves were part of these salads: kalamata olives, blood orange balsamic vinegar and mango peach salsa.

TWO. Celebration. Last weekend was also a time of celebration. One friend finished high school (Jordan) and another (Marsha) celebrated her 70th birthday (at the zoo). I am part of a community and I LOVE that I get to be part of celebrating milestones in the lives of my friends.

Beautiful tiles capture the beauty of the various plants

THREE. Field trip. I don’t think that I will ever be over the excitement of going on a field trip. My team and I organized an all church trip to the Davis arboretum. The age range was wide (7-80 years old). The activities were varied: played cards, walked, loved on the dog who came, photographed the beauty around us, chatted and chatted, and climbed trees.  And we all ate lunch together. FUN time. But I forgot my kite!

FOUR. Vacation plans. Several months ago I got a GREAT deal on airfare and cruise. I mean a STEAL. So did two others and we are looking forward to our trip in the Fall. Yesterday I got together with Scotti. We are narrowing down our excursions and finalizing details (packing list, fancy clothes, suitcase requirements, etc). I am grateful for this vacation and the folks I will accompany.

FIVE. Read. Last week was so busy that I didn’t get to read at all. I made up for it this week. And I got a special treat. I have been waiting for Elly Griffiths newest book, The Chalk Pit. I am 11/24 on the library’s waiting list. A friend, Marsha, mentioned that she has the book because her book club is reading it this month. Marsha surprised me with the book, knowing I could finish it before she needed it this weekend.

Your Turn . . . What is on your gratitude list this week? Join in with your own list in the comments. Or go here to find out what Friday’s Fave Five is all about.

I am linking to Friday’s Fave Five at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

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Friday’s Fave Five June 9, 2017

“Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble,” (Benjamin Franklin).

That is a healthy way to live. So endeavoring to write in marble today, I will share some of the benefits of this past week.

ONE. Declutter Bug. Every once in a while I get the urge to purge. Thankfully this is one such week. The shelves above my microwave and basket on the toilet tank received my attention. I hope this “bug” sticks around for a while.

Your Turn . . . How do you maintain possession overwhelm?

Related Post . . . Identifying Not Just Goals, But Legacy Goals Makes Junk Tossing Easier

TWO. Read. Even when it is busy, I usually take time to read some everyday. Reading helps me wind down and stay OFF social media especially at night. This week I finished The Eden Prophecy by Graham Brown. 

Your Turn . . . What do you do to wind down? Name the last, best book you’ve read.

Related Post . . . 13 Benefits of Reading

THREE. Facetime. I am always grateful to spend in person time with family. But when I can’t, I LOVE Facetime. This week I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to have FT with my grand daughters.

Your Turn . . . How do you keep in touch with family especially grandchildren?

FOUR. Accountability. School is out for the summer. That means I get to spend more time with my teacher friends. One friend (Michelle) and I are summer accountability partners. We want to lose weight by August 10th. Each morning we text each other with our weight. I also text her my blood sugar number. I have already seen some good changes (and results) happening because of this focused attention.

Your Turn . . . Have you found accountability to be a useful tool?

Related Post . . . 12 Motivating Ideas for Goal Achievement

FIVE. Summer bucket list. Since I am already working towards one thing from any to-do list I have, I thought I’d also make up a comprehensive Summer Bucket List. I love making such lists. I love dreaming about all the possibilities. And when I have accountability built-in (like by posting this and doing a half-way through review post), I get more done. And that is also exciting.

The things that would make the most impact on my Summer are losing weight and learning Spanish. The first item is seeing progress. The second? Nothing so far. But I want to keep telling myself that I Can do Hard Things. 

Your Turn . . . Are you a Bucket List Fan? What Activity Are You Still Working Up The Courage To Try? Looking back at Summer 2017, what two things could you do that would make it AWESOME?  

Related Post . . . How Does God Fit in with Goal Setting?

Please join us and make your own list in marble. New to Friday’s Fave Five?  Go here to find out what it is all about. Or leave your gratitude comments on this post.

I am linking to Friday’s Fave Five at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

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Friday’s Fave Five – November 3, 2016

fff-delicate-leavesIt’s the beginning of November and gratitude is in the air and in my heart. I am joining in with this meme (Friday’s Fave Five) to make sure that the gratitude stays in my heart. Feel free to join in the meme or in the comments with your gratitude list.

Blessing One – Shoe and Sock Drive and Food for Neighborhood Meals. Once a month our church provides a yummy dinner for people (homeless, lonely, low-income). This month the Women’s Ministry from my church recruited folks to make meatloaf and brownies. And we had a successful sock and shoe drive. I am grateful that Cheryl took oversight of this project.

I had dinner and a chat with one of our guests. He told me,  “I can’t believe that I got new socks and a pair of shoes that fit! [He is a TALL gentleman.] AND I got this hooded sweatshirt that FITS as well. I am so grateful.”

I am grateful that someone came to the church while we were setting up and donated a BIG plastic tub FULL of things like that hooded sweatshirt. And I am grateful that despite a rainy afternoon (but dry evening), 90 folks received the blessings of a home-cooked meal and footwear.

Jeremy, Bip and Susan (me) showing off our carved creations.

Jeremy, Bip and Susan (me) showing off our carved creations. It was easier using tools from a carving kit

Blessing Two – Carved real pumpkins. Last week I decorated faux pumpkins with my grand daughter and her great aunt. This past week I carved a real pumpkin with Bip. She told me she’d never carved a pumpkin before and I thought we needed to rectify that.

I finally learned how to take a photo at night. I don't know why it took me so long to learn.

I finally learned how to take a photo at night. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn.

I provided the pumpkins and her husband, Jeremy, provided the toolkit. I don’t have a lot of patience for carving so mine is always basic. But this year I did the eyes a little differently. And I think it is just right for being in the middle of this set of 3.

I am grateful for the friendship and company of these two folks who are also ministry partners. And I am grateful that we got to make some fun memories together.

Blessing Three – Watched a movie after I read the book. This year one of my book reading goals is to read books that were made into movies this year. So far I’ve read the following:

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The First (of Three) Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Children by Ramsom Riggs
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo

And on Tuesday (movies are $5), Bip and I watched Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was a good portrayal of the book.

Going to the movies was our reward for doing some things for our Saturday morning Sisters in Prayer Reveal.

3-pumpkin-centerpieceBlessing Four –  Fall Crafting. Seems like this time of the year, I HAVE to take time to do some crafting. This past week I made two fall centerpieces. I craft not only for the finished product, but also because it is so relaxing.

Ths is one of the projects. The “pumpkin” on the bottom is really a yellow and green squash. I sponged orange paint on all three vegetables before inserting toothpicks and hot glueing them together.

I will make another centerpiece. I will use a bigger pot next time as I think this one is a little on the small side.

Big sister dressed up as a butterfly for Halloween. In this photo it looks like Sissy is surprised at her older sister's costume.

Big sister dressed up as a butterfly for Halloween. In this photo it looks like Sissy is surprised at her older sister’s costume. When you take LOTS of photos, you can often luck out on a great one.

Blessing Five –  Halloween. I worked in the morning. And while there, we had 20 Trick-or-Treaters. 3 days a week there is a memory care day group at our church. Every year they come to the office to get sweets and they always give us a decorated bag of sweets. too.

Then I drove to my son’s home. I got to  Trick-or-Treat with my grand daughters. I spent the night so I had extra time to apply faux tattoos, bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, read, and  do some crafting.

I had a blessed week. I hope you did ,too.

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Five Blessings and No Complaints

fff-delicate-leaves

Time to remember and share another five blessings from this past week. Doing this helps me stay on target with no complaining. I am doing this gratitude exercise and linking up at Susanne’s blog, Living to Tell the Story. Join us in this weekly meme. There is plenty of room.

I am on Day 19. My goal is 21 days in a row of not complaining.

Blessing #1I made it through another week of not complaining. I almost lost it on Day 17 but I remembered in the knick of time to ask for what I wanted. Asking for What You Want Is Scary But It Stops Complaining. On Day 18 I was able to stop my complaining mid-sentence. Adding a “BUT” Turned Situation from Complaining to Resolved.

grandma-with-2

Blessing #2 – I spent the day with my grand children on Saturday. We hugged and talked. We walked to a harvest festival where we ate pizza with cheese and basil, walked through a HUGE bubble and petted a goat and bunnies.

pensive-with-pumpkins

Blessing #3 – I had creative time. I was at a team meeting tonight and one of the ladies said, “If Susan is involved in something there will be a craft.” Yep, and even when I visit my grand kiddos there will be a craft. Saturday night we decorated faux pumpkins from the Dollar Store. The medium choices were paint and/or gluing on torn bits of construction paper. I did only gluing. Sofia chose to glue on paper and paint. Tia chose the only painting option. That one was given away to a friend.  . . . The pumpkin on the far right is melted crayons. I made it two weeks ago and when I showed Sofia (via FaveTime) she asked  if she could have it. Of course, sweat pea. Of course.

Blessing #4 – I had a healthy and tasty snack 3 days last week. It was an easy to prepare, old-fashioned snack of cold, fresh celery logs topped with almond butter. Yummm. I cannot remember the last time I ate that. I need to buy more celery and almond butter.


bannerBlessing #5 –
I have a photography app on my iPhone that I’ve had forever and I just started using it this week: PicsArt. It is so fun. It turns photos into watercolour, deco art and so on. This is the photo that I doctored.

I love the quote, too: “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” I want to live my life this way.

Your Turn . . . 

  1. What is your easiest, favourite, healthy snack? Do share.
  2. How do you release your creative juices?

fruitfulwords125Related Resources . . . 

Read about two folks who took this challenge and the impact it had on them.

I am joining 100’s of others at #write31days to write every day in October on a single topic. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words. The category is Personal Endeavors. I will spend time each day on this topic to improve the quality of my thinking and the words coming out of my mouth

I am committing to this online writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016

Today is Day 21 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Asking for What You Want Is Scary But It Stops Complaining

fruitfulwords1Yesterday I was told to hush and stop sharing my opinions on my Facebook page. This is what I naively shared . . .

“A measure of any society is how it treats its’ women and its’ girls,” Michelle Obama. . . . Women/girls being treated poorly, bothers me. . . . . “This is disgraceful and intolerable. It doesn’t matter what party we belong to. This isn’t about politics. It is about right and wrong.”

The conversation took on a life of its own. So I took the conversation to the private arena of Facebook Messenger with one person. That person told me (among other things) that I should hush as my views were contentious, disingenuous, a disappointment and flat-out wrong.

I felt dismissed and bullied and let my feelings get hurt. Because of past situations I let my reaction be bigger than was called for. Instead of talking to the person, I complained to my sister.

I had good reasons (I thought) to not talk to the responsible party.

  • I was afraid of her response back to me.
  • I don’t like confrontation.
  • I am not good with words.

But this morning I did. I thought and thought and then wrote how I felt and why. I wrote to her because we have good history (I thought) and because I would no longer be dismissed and silenced by others.

I asked for what I wanted.

I’d like to think we could agree to disagree concerning how we express our views. I respectfully give you space to do as you feel led and I’d like the same respect back.

And if we can’t, then we part ways.

Complaining made me feel … yucky … a victim … hopeless.  . . .  And there was no resolution.

Because I choose to take positive action, I feel  . . .

  • Yucky. I still feel this way because I have high regard for this person and this may truly be the end of the relationship. And I am still wounded by her words.
  • Empowered. It felt good and strong to express how I felt as a result of her words and attitude.
  • Proud. Like I said, I don’t like confrontation. But saying something is the only way through to us having an equal, respectful and honest relationship. And I am proud I showed enough respect for myself to say anything.

And while the situation is not resolved regarding our relationship, it is resolved in that I took the steps I needed to take.

F.Y.I – My sister is good about listening and then pointing me to taking a positive step to rectify the situation.

Today is Day 17 of my No Complaining Challenge. . . . I’ve discovered that a reason I complain is because I am too fearful to politely speak up and ask for a positive resolution. Today I took action and asked.

Your Turn . . . Does fear of confrontation lead you to complain instead of positively addressing the situation?

Related Resources . . .

  1. Goal: Complaint Free for a Whole Month
  2. You Just Might be a Potty Mouth
  3. 31 Days of Finishing (2014 #Write31Days series)
  4. Finding Laughter (2015 #Write31Days series)

Today is Day 19 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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Adding a “BUT” Turned Situation from Complaining to Resolved

fruitfulwords125

I don’t normally drive my older car because it has a (new) history of wanting to die. It has been in the shop a couple of times and we can’t figure out why. However, yesterday I drove it to work to make sure the battery got enough of a workout. I had no issues going to work.

But on the way home the engine kept sputtering like it was going to quit. I hit every light. I was getting more and more agitated as my car kept getting more and more agitated.

I was afraid. At the next to last light before my home I cried out loud,

“Oh, NO! I can’t believe it, This car is going to die on me.”

I realized I was in full complaint mode.

Here I was on day 16/21 of no complaining.  And now because I was complaining I was going to have to change my bracelet to the other wrist. Then in the midst of my distress I remembered how to choose the complaint that brings peace.

I added a “BUT” to my sentence. I added words of a positive solution.

“Oh, NO! I can’t believe it, This car is going to die on me.”

Then I continued speaking out loud with these words . . .

“BUT if it does die, I will be okay. I can coast to the side of the road. I have a towing package. I can call for help. This is not the worst thing that can happen. I am safe.”

And you know what? I calmed down. It was okay. And luckily the car didn’t die. 

Even while stressed OUT, I really was able to go from a non-productive compliant to a solution-oriented response.

Adding that BUT turned my attitude and thinking around. It helped me with my fear. And because I was calm, I was able to find a good solution. High Five!

Your Turn . . .

  • When you find yourself mid-sentence in a complaint, how do you turn that around?

Related Resources . . . 

Today is Day 18 of the #Write31Days online October writing challenge. My topic is 31 Days of Fruitful Words INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING. I know I will be challenged in more ways than writing every day. If you’d like to have more fruitful words coming from your mouth, please join me from October 1-31, 2016.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts from this series.

Go here to see what #Write31Days is all about, the categories and the bloggers who are participating.

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