Monday, May 18, 2015

What? Words? What About Words? And Other Ramblings

Boy, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I wrote a blog post. There are times when I consider not blogging. I haven’t read blogs in about as long. I fell off the grid. I finished the rough draft of my children’s book… illustrating.

I went to SLWG meeting presented by Catherine Rankovic on titles and designs of book covers. Most everything made sense and was useful. Then I heard someone ask a question about children’s books and it was said, “Never illustrate your own book.” I haven’t touched my book since.

The power of words. The power of other people’s words. That same afternoon of the workshop, I ate lunch and read through a dessert cookbook a friend had given me. Long story short, as I experimented, I burned my hand. Really, really bad. I was grateful I had just purchased some Lavender Essential Oil and I doused my entire hand with it. I was sure this burn was going to require emergency medical attention, but thanks to Lavender Essential Oil, you have no idea a burn took place.

After burning my hand, I resigned to take it easy on the couch and read. I pulled several books from my library. The book I ended up reading was Hidden Language Codes by R. Neville Johnston. If anyone thinks that God doesn’t have a plan, well, I’d like to debate.

In Hidden Language Codes it talks about the power of words. It opened my eyes. I’ve read things like this before. I knew these things about the power of words. Sometimes when I hear it a different way—boom, a light goes off… again.

The part about God and His plan… the thoughts about not illustrating my book were going through my head, along with ‘what shall I do today?’ on the day I burned my hand and that settled doing anything… but reading. What I read changed my attitude about so many things. More specifically… I may have heard, “Never illustrate your own book.” But I will. I will do it with confidence and joy.

Did everyone have a Happy Mother’s Day? I did. My two daughters came over and cooked me dinner. It was delicious! We napped. We chilled. It was a lovely, love-filled day. Thank you, Stinkers!

Here’s a few pictures.

 Jessica and Rita

Did anyone go to Listen To Your Mother event? I did. My two daughters came with me. (Thank you, Linda!) This event was fantastic and the three of us cried. I recommend going next year. This was the third year. I’ve gone to all three. Each year, I think, can it get any better than this? And it does. But then all stories from the heart are so touching. This year there were two men and bravo to them.

Oh and I went to two baby showers... one hosted by my stepdaughter, Jenn and she had the place decorated so cute. Another by my bff grade school friend... she's going to be a grandmother and she can't wait. Of course her decorations were cute too. Here's a cute idea for a watermelon baby shower:

My youngest daughter moved out of her place – and can I mention I helped and she’s border-hoarder? She will be moving into another place in due time. After the last load, she said, “Hhmmm, maybe I’ll become a minimalist.” I thought it was a good idea.

My Uncle George is dying. He’s my dad’s brother. My Aunt Lee will be the last of the nine siblings. When my sister’s and I visited Uncle George, he had moments of being his robust self. He was not careful with his words! Ha. We all laughed, as did he. And I wondered, when I’m in that place, will I have a filter?

For those who read this, thank you. I am ever so grateful. For those I read when I get around to it, thank you. You all inspire me.

With love…

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Very Inspiring Blogger, uh huh, sure.

My good friend, critique/writer buddy Tammy presented me with this award, oh some weeks ago. Not sure what happened, but life gets in the way sometimes. I’ve been a very busy person lately baking… you’ll see later after this Very Inspiring Blogger Award… which I don’t think my blog is all that inspiring, but maybe the baking could be. So thank you, Tammy. I just love Tammy. Not only does she write the most awesome prose (And. I’m. Not. Just. Saying. That.), but she’s super sweet.
On to the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! The rules are these: 
• Display the award on your blog
• Link back to the person who nominated you
• State 7 things about yourself
• Nominate 3 bloggers 
Here are the 7 things about myself.
1) I must have inherited my mother’s genes for baking and cooking or it’s like anything else, practice, practice, practice. I do love to cook and bake. The weird thing is that I don’t taste anything while I’m cooking and sometimes I panic right before serving because I have no idea how it’s going to taste. Usually it needs salt.
2) I used to have a fear of using a public bathroom and I’m pretty sure in all the years of going to school, I never used the bathroom. I waited until I got home. Now I scope out where the bathrooms are upon entering a place and never pass up the chance to use the toilet.
3) If you've read Tammy’s number one thing about her, you’ll find that her mother broke her leg right before Tammy was born. My mom had appendicitis before I was born and apparently serious enough that we both could’ve died… but we didn’t. It was Friday the 13th – not so unlucky, now, is it?
4) I’m an introvert. I used to think something was wrong with me because when I’d meet new people, words would not come out of my mouth and if they did, it was something ridiculous and embarrassing. Once you get to know me though, and one on one, I can hardly shut up. Just ask my husband. I still say some ridiculous and embarrassing things, but I don’t freak out as much with knowing people.
5) I take things way too serious, even when they’re a joke. Just ask my husband (again). He keeps telling me I need to go to clown school. Don’t get me wrong, I’m able to take a joke, even if it’s played on me. I think I have a healthy attitude and can laugh about myself and I can be incredibly goofy. So wait, what?
6) I had a step-mother, so I was a step-child. Durp, what an observation. I have step-siblings. I am currently a step-mother and have step-children and step-grandchildren. I’m still in contact with my first step-child even though I divorced her dad some 27 years ago. “Step” always has a negative aspect to it and I only use “step” to make it clear that I didn’t birth six children, just three. But we’re all family. Once my daughter was doing a family tree for school and there were so many branches just for the immediate family that it became too complicated even for her. I have 80 first cousins… no steps in there either.
7) Do you know how hard it is to come up with 7 things about yourself? I love dancing and singing, but I can’t do either and usually don’t. Back in the day when I was a wild woman, I’d get on the dance floor, but it wasn’t pretty. Not being a wild woman, when I sing, it’s not pretty either and I’m usually asked to hush.
Now, I’m supposed to nominate three more people, but I’ve left this go for so long that I’m sure everyone I know has been nominated. If you read this blog and you are a blogger, please tell me 7 things about yourself. It’s an idea for a blog, yes? And if you’re not a blogger and want to comment about 7 things about yourself, I’d love to hear it. Really, I would.
And here is my latest baking dishes. The first four were for my daughter’s 30th birthday, which was on the 3rd of April. In addition to what you see here, I also baked her a gooey butter and a cherry pie. Well, aren’t I just the bragger baker?
Sleepy time cupcakes. Everything is edible. Those blankets are Starbursts, softened and then rolled out.
Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes - since Jessica lived in Boston for a while, they wanted these.

Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes. Spaghetti is one of Jessica's favorite dishes, but this doesn't taste anything like the real deal.
Oreo Cake. This looks rather dull, but inside is a surprise... it looks like a big oreo and on the top and bottom is a layer of oreos.

And this is what I made for Easter… my two daughters and I were pretending to have bunny mouths… see, told you I can be goofy.  
PS... Blogger doesn't put spaces in my text (after paragraphs as you will see above) and makes some text REALLY big, when I have it all the same, except for under the pictures. I have even added the correct HTML in the html code and it still doesn't work.... AAARRRRHHHH. I tried again and now it seems to work...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Another Grand Tea Party

I had a tea party for the two granddaughters when they were seven and eight. Now they are 12 and 13. I didn’t think they’d go for it when I suggested we have another tea party, but they were excited about it.

This time, we did things a little differently than we did the first time. And you can see how much they have grown since the first time.

Until I read the blog from five years ago, I didn’t realize, I had them help with the food. But with this tea party, I prepared the food ahead of time, so there’d be more time for fun.

I picked them both up after school. We had dinner with Grandpa and then went shopping for our outfits. We went to a thrift store where they tried on a ga-zillion outfits. Here are a few shots. I’m sure the employees loved us having to hang up all those clothes.

Lots of giggling took place. After they settled on the perfect outfit (which you’ll see later as it’s not any of the above), we hit the shoe rack, then the hat rack, and then the jewelry rack. They picked out a purple outfit for me and found me some matching shoes.

We came home and they were so excited that they changed clothes to show Grandpa. Since Lily had a birthday the day before, I had made some panda bear cupcakes and we sang Happy Birthday!
We then made lipstick to match our outfits. 

After that, we painted nails.

Once the nails were dry, we headed to the bedroom to play Pass the Pigs, and finally to sleep.
Morning came and we began make up. Then hair and we had an oopsy with Lily’s hair as I didn’t realize a brush curling iron would tangle in long hair… 

Lily was a good sport about it and after trying every trick in the book to untangle the mess (even demolishing the curling iron), we ended up cutting her hair. However, you can’t even tell. So there.

We got dressed and headed to the “Tea Room.” I had saved some old dishes of my mom’s. I split the set and “dished” them to my kids, nieces and sisters. Two of the sets were still here, so I dug them out and we used those for our tea.

Talking in our finest British accent, we commenced with the tea party. Princess Flame (aka Logan) 
and Princess Frost (aka Lily) 

behaved themselves in the finest manner, even when an unexpected guest showed up. They were gracious in allowing Auntie Jessica (who was not in proper attire) join in for a spot of tea. 

Queen Grandma-ma Purple Plum invited both Princess Frost and Princess Flame to join me for tea on an annual basis, with the stipulation that two other princesses would be invited (if not more). It was “quitely” divine. Quitely was a new British word we created.

Here we are posing to show off our shoes. Oh, the shoes. I don’t know how the heels could be any taller. You can’t see Princess Frost’s heels, but they are taller than Princess Flame’s or mine.
Guess how quickly my fur, hat and shoes came off? Before the tea party was over.

A dear friend shipped some fine Teddy Bears to me to be included in the tea party and here they are with Princes Frost and Princess Flame. Have you ever seen two more angelic princesses?

I shoo’d the girls off to play while I cleaned up. Grandpa-pa took us out to eat again—while in route, Princess Flame and Princess Frost sang to … ack, a popular singer that escapes me. Country and Western, if I recall. Ah... Taylor Swift.  They knew every word and they both sang just as good as Taylor, if you ask me.
Back home, we continued to play—making bouncy balls from Auntie Rita, and teaching Auntie Rita how to play Pass the Pigs. After Auntie Rita left, we learned how to zentangle. Both Princesses are quite artistic.

The princesses stayed the night again and Grandpa-pa chauffeured them home the next day while I was at church.

Ahh, what's not to love about a tea party?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fifth and Forty-Fifth Anniversary

It is the 5th anniversary of my blog! Can you believe it? I remember when I first posted, dedicating this blog to my mother on the 40th anniversary of her death. I blogged daily! Now I'm lucky to blog monthly. I'm not sure what happened... life got super-dooper busy.

Did I mention Mom died on a Friday the 13th and today is Friday the 13th – the 45th anniversary of her death?

I suppose it can be kind of strange to celebrate the anniversary of someone’s death, but her death did so much for me in so many ways. Writing to her, the way I started this blog, helped me to get out of my shell and expose myself as a writer. I remember how petrified I was. With that came publication. And joining a critique group. That was even more petrifying. However, friendships have formed and I just LOVE those gals! They've been the best thing for my writing soul. And then I thought I might be performing my story about my mother, for Listen To Your Mother, but I didn't make it. And it's really okay. I've been to the first two shows and they were fabulous. I am going to this year's show, which will take place Saturday, May 9th. There are two shows—tickets on sale now. You might want to check it out.

Each step has brought me to another step to another part of my life that I’m incredibly grateful for…

So Mom, although you’ve been gone for 45 years now, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do as you journey on.

And if you’d like, take a look at my first blog post five years ago!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Behind the Scenes - Inner Guidance

Since I was going to write about two things, I wondered what to title this blog post, and I thought, hmmm interesting—that “behind the scenes” is our “inner guidance.”

I was at the ECKANKAR Missouri Regional Seminar here in St. Louis this past weekend. For those of you who may not know, I’m a member of ECKANKAR. This seminar I was in “training” to learn the audio/visual and technical “behind the scenes” stuff. What makes everything work when people get up on stage to speak, to sing, or play their instruments. There’s a lot to learn, and there’s so much that I do not know. And it’s not just this seminar, but also all the events where I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. I think about this when I’m at an event of any kind—all the love and service that goes into it that I’m not always aware of.

The guest speaker at our seminar, Anne Archer Butcher, author of Inner Guidance: Our Divine Birthright, facilitated workshops and spoke. I’m still in awe. If anyone ever has a chance to hear her, I highly recommend it. I guarantee you will walk away with something that will inspire you. However, there is Anne's book

The seminar also included other talks and creative arts; one just as beautiful as the other. The youth sang too! I’m so grateful to have attended and been a part of this event. I’m giving a big hand to all.

I have an inner guide. We all have inner guides. They are with me whether I recognize them or not. Always there, behind the scene, waiting to guide me… if I ask… if I listen.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blogger Slacker

I just want to apologize to all my blogger friends out there... those who have been gracious enough to read this blog and comment. I have been a blogger slacker. Sometimes I'll take a quick peek at one of the many blogs that I follow, but lately I've been neck deep in stuff. Aren't we all though, too busy? But I have been doing creative stuff too... like writing a letter every day and drawing every day and journaling every day.

I have a website that I'm getting ready to take down and thought I'd incorporate some of it here in this blog... hmmm. You can see for yourself. I'm a bit wordy, I'll admit, but then, hey, I am a writer. But also as a writer, we are to be concise, to the point. My husband and son feel like I babble on before I make my point. I'm thinking it's the difference between how males and females like to tell stories. The men give no details, while the women probably give too many, but... I like details.

What about you?

At any rate, I love all you bloggers out there - and all of you other peeps out there. I'll get it together, maybe... but if you really want to hear from me... just say the word and I'll write you a word or two or three...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Wait. What? I hadn’t blogged since November 2014? It’s 2015, in the second week no less.

I thought once 2015 hit, things would slow down a bit. Not so. January appears to be as busy as December. I’ve been contemplating what goals and intentions I’d like to set for 2015, but first a little recap for 2014... in the way of creativity.

I had submitted about 10 things for publication.
I had two articles published.
That’s it for writing, other than daily journaling and illustrating my children’s book, oh and the never-ending letter writing (by choice of course!).
I designed, drew, and created my own Christmas card.
I crafted handmade gifts for family and friends for Christmas.

Now, here’s what I sent out via the good ole postal service in the way of cards and letters: 809 items. If you include the family newsletters that I do quarterly, that brings the total to 1,321. Excluding the newsletters, I averaged 67 items per month. Not too bad.

I think I’ve talked about Letter Writing Month that is held in February. I decided that I’m going to write a letter/note a day. Why just do it in February? That might be a rather huge task, but at least it will keep me writing as I continue to illustrate on my book… that’s the other goal, to have the illustrated draft completed by the end of 2015 (if not sooner). Long term is to have it published by 2018 (if not sooner, again).

I’d like to challenge any of you to write a letter… say just one or two for the year. Anyone reading this, if they’d like a letter written to them, just let me know via email: lober13(at)gmail(dot)com and put LETTER in the subject line.

I have lots of other goals too, but… I’ll leave you with one of last year’s sketches…

Remember to keep the end result of your intentions in mind – the acting as if principal.