Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Odds and Ends and Expenses, Oh, MY!!

I don't really have a lot to say today, but it has been an age since I posted, so I figured I'd share a little glimpse into the foggy windows of my life...

  • Saturday (last post) we dropped Big Red off at the Toyota dealer for some torture. The check engine light had come on, and since Ornery was supposed to go out of town Sunday, we had Elizabeth meet us at the dealer after our last training session. The service technician said he thought it might be something that was covered under warranty. Then she dropped him off at work to pick up the rental car he was taking to Clovis, NM. 
  • Sunday morning, bright and early, Ornery left for Clovis. There is no cell phone service there with our carrier, so we talked via the computer or his land line room phone. He worked 17-18 hour days, then drove home on Thursday. 
  • Tuesday we found out the pickup was going to cost $1700. to repair. The main issue was indeed covered by an extended warranty (although the 2007 truck only has 45,000 miles on it) but the other issues were not. Since it is our only vehicle and we intend to keep it a long time, we went ahead and had it repaired.
  • Wednesday afternoon the vehicle was finished, and they drove it home for us and parked it in the garage, so it was here ready and waiting for Ornery when he got home Thursday night! :) 
  • Friday, July 3 was a holiday, so Elizabeth took him over to work to return the car, and his mom came over to work a puzzle with me. We enjoyed the long weekend.  Elizabeth and Michael went to Toys R Us and bought a few toys for our house,  because we just plain didn't have anything for our grandkids to play with!  I'm not sure I would have gotten the Lego Technic set Elizabeth selected, but Ornery and I spent an enjoyable Saturday morning building the three pieces. :)  It was the first time I had ever built one, as Ryan had never wanted my help when he got them as a kid. Before we knew it, Monday had rolled around again.
  • Monday morning a man came to clean our dryer vent. It is not a good design, and feeds through the wall behind the dryer, up into the attic and out the roof. He took the pipe apart inside the attic, and located the problem--a bird had built a 12" deep nest in the top of the pipe, which impeded airflow considerably. The birds ended up in the garage for a few hours, cheeping and carrying on like they had been sorely abused. We were able to get them out eventually.
  • Tuesday morning, a man came and fixed our sprinkler system--it had frozen over the winter and we were just now finally getting around to having it fixed. THAT was an expensive mistake!  Ornery had plugged in the heat tape, but either it was just too cold for it or the GCFI receptacle was bad and we didn't know it. 
  • Monday night we had a call from the company that is training us in Real Estate, and that took pretty much all evening from 4:00 to 9:00.  We signed up for more training... It's all good, and I think this will be the best part as it is one-on-one mentoring.
  • The week flew by, although I can't really tell you what we did.  Friday night, however, we hosted our kids and grandkids for burgers and dogs.  It was a delightful time. Micah really enjoyed the Lego set, and Makayla was quite taken with the horses and play food. 
  • Ornery went to work a bit on Saturday, mowed the lawn, and did some online training. I did a bit of art, read some books, and lounged around.  My hip has been really aggravated lately for some reason, and it just wasn't appealing to be out and about.
  • And here we are back in a new week. We just had our first mentoring call and did part of our first assignments. Ornery is assembling my new desk chair. 
  • I signed up for a pocket letter group and several Swap Bot swaps and am looking forward to spending a bit more time in my art room this week.  
That's about it. When I condense it down to a short paragraph, it seems like a pretty shallow existence...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Little by Little

I sort of flaked on posting a weekend review, and here it is almost another weekend so I thought I would take a moment to check in.

Today is our second day of boots on the ground training for our real estate education, and if the first day was any indication, our heads will be swimming again this evening when we are finished. We learned so much yesterday about how to be successful in wholesale real estate, and the instructor had us already taking action, even while we were in the class.  It was great!

This morning I ordered Ornery some new business cards and magnets for the sides of his truck--a feature I NEVER thought to see on any of his vehicles!!  He is very determined to make this business successful, and I am doing everything I can to help him along.  He seems to appreciate my encouragement and coaching, so I don't feel like I am just an unusable appendage!

We are still both slowly losing weight, which is quite exciting!  Elizabeth is also losing weight and is delighted with her results, and I have spoken with my sister who has exceeded her monthly weight loss goal of 10 lbs. per month (with a week left in the month!) and has much more energy than before. She gave some to her husband who was dragging his tail, and it perked him up so much he is starting to take it.

I have tentatively reached out to a few people I knew who had done the hCG weight loss program when we were doing it, but I haven't really done much else to promote it, even though the Facebook group I am in has testimonies of people overcoming a plethora of health issues and losing massive amounts of weight just from taking two capsules of these supplements twice every day.

I read a post about a woman this morning who has terrible tremors in her hands and the Heart and Hydration drink has helped her to get part of her life back--she is not completely healed, but remarkably better.  Others have Crohn's Disease, Lyme Disease, IBS and Fibromyalgia  have seen remarkable improvements in their symptoms.  Depression, ADHD, Thyroid conditions, High Blood Pressure and even Diabetes medications have been reduced or are no longer needed at all. The positive results simply amaze me, and the conditions which the human population has accepted as "normal" or acceptable are so debilitating--it makes me sad.

So, as my post title says, little by little things are moving ahead here.  We have committed to do between 1 and 5 small actions every day toward success in our business. It seems crazy to think progress would happen with so little, but over time, those little actions add up, and the results are cumulative.  It's so different from my old ways of overwhelming myself by biting off whole elephants at a time! I think this is more sustainable, and hopefully more productive in the long run. We shall see!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Weekend in Review: Update

We have been taking the new supplements for a few weeks now and the changes are gradual but marked. Ornery took his blood pressure this morning and had a normal reading for the first time in several years. It hasn't been high enough to need medicine, but he had worked pretty hard before and it was not much better than it is after just three weeks on these supplements.  He has lost enough in his stomach and back side that his jeans are droopy in the back and his dress pants are comfortable again.

We both have had better mental clarity and sustained energy, although I have periods during some of the days when I crash hard in the afternoon, but after a short nap I am right back at it again.  I have also noted that my clothes (which are admittedly fairly baggy to begin with) are looser than they were, and while I haven't really lost much on the scales, I can tell from the way I feel that I am losing inches. I have also noted more flexibility and that I am able to stand and walk longer than I had been before and am more comfortable laying down.

Ornery has especially noticed that he is no longer craving snacks all the time, and we both drink at least twice as much water as we had been before we started. Other body signs are indicating improved overall health, so we are very happy with the results.

In the Facebook group where members are able to view many before and after pictures, I am constantly amazed at the transformation that is taking place in so many people's lives. The younger ones are obviously losing quicker, and those with less to lose seem to show it very quickly--some even during the 7 day trial pack--but even the old dogs like us are seeing dramatic results.  There have even been a couple posts of 100 lb. losses.  The company is only a year old, so I can't see any problem with results like that!

I set up a landing page in blogger for trial packs, and there are links there as well to the main company page for more information. I haven't really advertised this anywhere other than here on this blog because it is still fairly new to us, and I'd prefer to have a really WOW story to share, but I'd really love for many of my friends and family members who are struggling with various health issues and overweight to check it out and hopefully get some great results, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend in Review: Memorial Day

While the sun is almost blinding in its intensity this morning, it has been conspicuously absent all weekend. Memorial Day weekend has typically found us wringing out from a deluge, and this year was no different. I don't know just how much rain we got from Thursday through Monday, but it was over 5 inches. We were blessed to not have to be out in it, or near any of the streams or rivers that swelled way beyond their banks.

While the skies wept, we were snug and comfy in our house. My hip bothered me all weekend, so most of the projects I had hoped to see accomplished went undone, but we did manage to clean up the mess in the garden room and plant the flowers Elizabeth gave me for Mother's Day. Elizabeth came over for a few hours on Sunday and worked on her shawl.

Saturday and Sunday Ornery watched a bunch of webinars and I read, caught up on my correspondence, worked some puzzles and made washi tape note cards. Monday I did all the laundry while he went in to work. He said it was quiet and he was very productive--always a nice feeling.

His mom came over to work a jigsaw puzzle with me in the afternoon, but she scared herself driving in the heavy rain on Friday and was hesitant to stay late for fear she would be caught in it again. I asked her how her house was coming after the neighbor's huge tree had landed on it, and she said that due to all the rain they hadn't been able to do anything other than remove the tree and put a tarp on the roof. The tarp has not kept the rain from dripping inside, so she has huge fans on the carpets, and is still living in a local motel awaiting the repairs. Those repairs are pretty extensive, since the tree crushed the upstairs guest room and did damage to the master bedroom below.

Last night as soon as they finished unloading the moving truck, Ryan came over to pick up the van and we had a nice visit. He starts his new job today.

We are both really happy with the results we are seeing from the supplements we are taking--plenty of energy, reduced appetite, and noticeable weight loss. I got on the scales for the first time today, so I don't know exactly how many pounds I have lost, but my clothes are getting pretty loose, and Ornery's jeans are hanging on him. He has been weighing from the first, and has taken off 4-5 lbs. in the week he has been on the product.

As usual, we spent hours and hours discussing all sorts of things and I am always sad to see him leave after the weekend to go back to work. Here we are in the last week of the month, closing in on the half-way mark for the year. So far it has been exciting and a lot of work, but we are both really encouraged by the prospects, and in one of our discussions this weekend we both agreed that at the end of 2015 we will have seen some significant changes rather than reflecting on a year that was ending the same as the previous one, five, ten or twenty. That feels really good!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Health and Weight Stuff

As you may or may not know I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life.  I have tried so many products, programs, plans—some with great temporary success, others with little to no results. I’ve never been a huge fan of exercise, but for a period of time (about 2 years several years ago) I was very faithful to workout daily. While I had marginal success with it, I also had a lot of joint pain in my hip that finally drove me from it.

The last serious weight loss program I did was injecting hCG combined with a very low calorie diet (VLCD). I lost weight—over 100 lbs—but the program required on for 6 weeks, off for 6, then on again for six and off again for 12, with each interim period doubling from the previous.  During the interim periods, carb and fat intake was strictly limited, and frankly, after only eating 500 calories for six weeks, I was not all that excited about continuing on that path. I did several cycles of the injections/VLCD, with less and less loss each round and eventually was only managing to take off the weight during the injection period that I piled back on in the interim.

It wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle for me.  It was costly, difficult to maintain (the food choices were so limited that eating out or socializing around food was impossible), and required a lot of other lifestyle changes. I did not cheat during the program, but in the interim I couldn’t seem to follow the plan. I was really weak when I was eating so little, and that was a new experience for me. In addition to the issues with the weight gain between rounds, I had severe muscle cramps in my legs and passed out twice from them, and it messed up my hormones.

I decided I didn’t want to be thin badly enough to put my body through that kind of torture, so I gave up. And when I gave up, I mean I really lost hope. The next couple of years the weight piled on. At my lowest weight I was around 225 lbs. I almost doubled that over the next three years. I could hardly walk from one end of the house to the other, had no energy, my ankles practically disappeared from the swelling, and I became a recluse. I quit driving and Dave took over all the grocery shopping and errands I had done for years.

Dave, who had also lost a fair amount of weight on hCG/VLCD, piled on the pounds, mostly around his middle—the place they say is the most dangerous. He made desultory attempts to lose various times, but he hit an all-time high for his body (225 lbs.) around the same time I hit my high. He was aggravated with himself for allowing his body to get into that state, but I was sinking fast into a deepening state of depression.  Many days I just prayed for God to take me home.

In October of 2013 I told Dave I was done. I didn’t care if I lived or not, but what I was doing was NOT living, merely existing. We had a heart-to-heart discussion about the situation and decided to try once again with the chiropractor/applied kenisiologist we had worked with successfully before. It was an expensive option, around $400 per month including visits, adjustments and supplements, and not covered under health insurance. The only option really covered was surgery, which I knew was not an option for me.

Dave took time off from work to drive me to the appointments, and really helped me a lot to overcome that sense of hopelessness.  I made slight progress, but the doctor wanted me to give up sugar, dairy, yeast, nightshades, and at various times other foods as well. He joked that it may come to the point where I could have ice cubes and toothpicks. I didn’t laugh.  I could sustain that limited diet for a few weeks, but not long term. If it had been one or two foods at a time, I would have had no problem, but soon I sensed that the doctor was frustrated with me, and I was not happy either.  I had made enough progress, however, to move beyond my deep despair, and began to get interested in life again.

I joined a swap group online, got interested in doing art and writing letters to pen pals, and slowly came out of my emotional slump.

After almost exactly a year, I quit going to the chiropractor, and haven’t been back since last October. I found sources online to order the supplements he had me taking, and on the last visit he prescribed something for my hip that really helped a lot. With the pain lessened, I was able to do more activities, not a lot, but more than I had done. Week by week I have made some small improvements (I even drove a couple of times this month!), but still no weight loss.

In March of this year, we decided to take wheat out of our diet.  Dave lost a pound or two; I didn’t lose much if any. However, we both felt better not eating it, and decided it wasn’t anything we really missed. We had purchased a used recumbent exercise bike we hadn’t really used much, but decided to incorporate some exercise into our days. Again, Dave lost a pound or so, but I didn’t have the stamina to stick with it long enough to make any difference for me.

It sounds like we just didn’t want it badly enough, doesn’t it? That may be part of it, but after trying so many things with limited or no success, I had once again decided I was destined to live the rest of my days in this massive body, embarrassed to be in public, refusing to have my photo taken, and limited to staying close to home.

In April, one of the pen pals I met last year posted pictures of herself on her Instagram account showing some pretty remarkable weight loss in just two weeks using a product someone at her church had shown her.  I asked her about it, and after a couple of weeks decided to try it. She didn’t give much information on her post, but I did a Google search and found some more information. The product is by a company called TruVision Health.

I researched a bit about the ingredients in the products, looked at the videos on their site for results, and was really encouraged by what I saw.  Rather than primarily address the weight loss issue like most diet products, these supplements are designed to work on rebuilding health, to balance blood chemistry and detoxify the organs, which in turn creates an optimal environment for the body to get rid of the fat on its own. My new friend added me to a secret Facebook group, and I saw a lot more information about how the products work, the results people were getting, and how great the support system is.

I ordered a 7½ day sample pack from her for $25.00 + $3.00 for shipping. I began taking them the day after they arrived. Two pills, twice a day. I kept taking my other supplements for a few days but then dropped those to see what this would do alone. Today I finished my first week sample pack and this is what I have noticed:
Increased energy
Better sleep
Decreased appetite
No cravings—in fact the sweet stuff has really not even tempted me
Clear mind
Less back and joint pain
More flexibility
One of the product ingredients is something I have not been able to take in the past so I was really skeptical at first which was why it took me a couple weeks to order the sample, but I have not had jitters, racing heart, or any of the other side effects I was anticipating.  The energy is not hyper energy, just enough that I want to move more. I am sleeping more soundly, but I wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, and don’t feel the overwhelming desire to take a nap every afternoon like I had been. I have not weighed, and won’t measure again until the weekend. I can already tell I have lost some fat around my stomach/buttocks area, though.

So, I talked Dave into trying it. He began Tuesday, and today is Thursday. In two days he has lost three pounds on the scales, and enough in his stomach that it is visibly noticeable. He has never been a morning person, but he is waking up energized in the morning, and maintaining that level of energy throughout the day.  He has also noticed a decrease in his cravings for sugar and hasn’t felt the need to snack throughout the day like he had been--all these results in two days.

I don’t know if this is the ultimate answer for everyone, but I can tell you that for Dave and me it has really given some hope that we will finally be able to conquer this life-long battle of the bulge. The stories I have seen on the TruVision website as well as those in the Facebook group are nothing short of amazing. It is not a quick fix, but a long term project. The product works without diet changes or exercise programs, but because of the increased energy and loss of cravings for bad food, I am making wiser choices with what I eat, and moving more because I feel like it. The biggest lifestyle change I have had to make is to increase my water consumption, something I should have done long before. I am not saying you won't be changing your eating habits if you take this, but the products make it much easier to say no to the things your body doesn't want or need which is half or more of the battle any time we want to lose weight.

The sample pack is a one-time offer.  It is designed to give potential customers the chance to try it for a week to see how their body reacts. Some people lose weight that first week.  Others don’t lose for several weeks because of the work that must be done internally to repair organs and stabilize blood chemistry. I am always up for the things that will improve my health, and I think this is just the thing I have been looking for. As for the cost, it is less than what we were already paying for supplements, so that is a good thing.

If you would like more information, would like to try a sample pack, or want to join the Facebook group to look around just let me know. We have to be friends on Facebook for me to add you to the group, (link on the sidebar) and I would be happy to share what information I have.  Here is a link if you want to look at the website to see pricing and so on. You can’t buy a sample pack there, you will need to email (contact form above) me your paypal email and I will send an invoice from my end. Eventually I will get a cart website set up; I just didn’t want to wait any longer to let you know about this wonderful product.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vision Boards and Defining Self

Today I am working on two projects, one (a vision board) is an assignment from my coach and the other is the result of Brendon Burchard's 6 Guiding Questions for High Performers.  I think I will begin with these three questions he asks himself everyday:

  1. Am I living my truth?
  2. What 3 words really define who I am as a person
  3. What 3 words define how I should interact with others?

1) Am I living my truth?  Well, I don't really know! I never thought much about this, just sort of drifted along with the life I had carved out for myself, or that which was the result of circumstances surrounding either my decisions or those who influenced me.  However, I would like to reconnect with that and truly live my truth--that is, who I want to be based on a conscious decision.

So, who exactly am I? It would be easy to jump in and say what I do... I am a homemaker, or I am a wife, mom, etc.  But I don't think that what I do, or my position in a company really defines my nature, which is I believe the purpose of the exercise.

Ornery and I have gained a great deal of insight through the messages of Dr. Jim Richards, and one of the things he often says is that we should get our sense of self-worth by agreeing with what the scriptures tell us who God says we are in Christ. We have already been given everything we need for life and godliness, (2 Peter 1:3) and we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) so we have attributes of His nature.  Among other attributes, His nature is love, (I John 4:8) and His grace is ever expanding our capacity (2 Cor. 12:9) to receive the good things He has already provided for us (2 Cor 1:20)

2) So now I think I have the three words that define Tracy:

  • First, as a child of God, I believe my nature is love. That would encompass just about any other thing I would want to be, but for the sake of the exercise, I will add two more words that define myself as I want to be known.  
  • Second, I would say I am creative. Whether with my art or solving a problem, I seem to be able to step outside the expected box and view life from a different perspective. 
  • And finally, I would say I am encouraging, which could certainly be an aspect of love, but I think it needs to have its own bullet point. :)
3) So, the three words that define how I should interact with others need also to align with the truth of who I am.  I interact with others:
  • loving- genuinely caring about others rather than being concerned with how they feel about me.
  • vibrant- bringing creative energy into the relationship or conversation so they leave feeling energized and open to new and bigger things than they imagined
  • encouraging- building up their confidence and helping them to see the good in their situation, life, etc. by sharing encouragement and genuine concern for their well being and ways to express gratitude. 

Am I living my truth?  Most days I don't have much interaction with other people, but I try to live out these defining words in my life whenever I can. In the past I was more judgmental than loving, and didn't realize how important that characteristic was, or maybe rather I didn't understand just how to go about doing that--being that. But now I DO know how important it is, and I am a work in progress for the learning how to do that in every situation. But I'm getting there.

Before I go tackle the vision board, I want to say that was a good exercise!  Have you thought about the 3 words that define you? or the 3 words you want to have define the way you interact with others?  Please share!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend in Review: Anniversary Celebration

Tomorrow is our 36th wedding anniversary! Yes, Ornery has stuck it out for all those years and even says he still loves me! :)  I know that I am more in love with him every day, and our lives seem to be just getting richer and fuller as the days pass.

So, this weekend we celebrated.  We went out to Panera for breakfast on Saturday morning, then to lunch at a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch/early supper. We have been eating much cleaner and I started on some new supplements designed to detoxify and balance my system, (more on that another time) so the different foods did not set well with me and I ended up feeling pretty raunchy all morning on Sunday.  But, we did do something over the weekend that we have been talking about for a couple of weeks, and at the encouragement of Ali Brown via her free e-book, 100 Ways to Elevate your Success, we reworked our office space to make it more business-like for both of us.

We purchased another chair mat and two magnetic white boards, and replaced our old ceiling light fixture with a new ceiling fan.  The old light only had two bulbs and didn't give much light, so the new one with four lights, even at only 40W each, is still brighter.  The fan is nice, too, since the huge picture window lets a lot of heat in during the morning hours.   Ornery rearranged the furniture we already had in there to accommodate a space for me to work so I could separate my art from my business tasks. I'll be taking my chair back and forth between the two rooms until we buy me another chair, but it works for now. We also spent some more time refining our goals then working with each other to get past some hurdles.

Ornery often struggles with articulating his feelings; in fact sometimes even feeling things.  So I helped him with some visualizing and walked him through a few feelings, hopefully which he will be able to replicate later. He helped me to set a realistic schedule for my writing, household tasks, and webcasts. I tend to plow through lots of stuff on Monday, then by Wednesday I am burned out because I didn't take any time for myself.  He encouraged me to build in some "me-time" which I did.  Then, once I have accomplished all my goals for the week, I am scheduled to take a whole day--no cooking, cleaning or any work, just play.  I can tell you that is a challenge for me! However, today went like clockwork and the accomplishments are energizing.

Learning how to care for myself, not just the basics of eat and sleep, but also how to be kind to myself in other ways is something I am really working on right now. Elizabeth and I were visiting about this during her morning coffee time, and I said, "I make a huge list of 732 things to do, and rather than celebrating that I accomplished 700 of those things, I lament the 32 I didn't get done."  So, I am changing that and celebrating each and every victory!  I'm sure my coaches will be pleased to hear that! :)

I am super excited about my writing this week.  I have several blocks of time built into my schedule to work on my memoirs, but I also have some open times and I hope to flesh out a second book --an idea that came to me as a result of conversations Ornery and I had this weekend about feelings.  I have a list of thoughts already written down, and I am really excited about where this could go. So, while I hope to move forward with my memoirs, I am not just focusing on that.

I signed up for a writing Boot Camp that begins tomorrow; I think it is just one video per week, but is to cover all aspects of self-publishing and writing a book. Since I have paid for the subscription to take it, I am hoping I will utilize it fully, and capitalize on all the pointers, hints and ideas that I am given. I am also enjoying Brendon Burchard's High Performance Academy videos, and am learning all sorts of things about myself in the process.  For a young whipper-snapper he seems to be pretty on the ball. :)

I guess that's about all I have to say about our weekend. It was nice to be with my beloved the whole time, and it was a bonus to see him so excited about the office makeover.  I don't think I realized how much I have missed being in there with him, and evidently he has missed it, too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend in Review: Stuttering

You know how it is; you get all excited about things--new ideas, goals, projects-- just changes in general--and the next thing you know all the wind disappears from your sails and you are stalled. Becalmed. I am calling it a stutter. It's not that I have completely lost momentum, just that I took a break, and will have to refresh my memory of things I have learned before launching once again.

Ornery left on Thursday for a site trip in Clovis, NM. It has rained practically the entire time he has been gone with hardly any sunshine to speak of, either literally or metaphorically.  I don't like that I am so dependent on his presence to pursue my path, but apparently I am. I got a lot done on Thursday, but the next three days were a bust and I have gotten nothing done. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

To add insult to injury, the Fiverr book cover designer I hired couldn't come up with any ideas for my book cover and asked to be released from her contract.  So I even lost ground on that front. Where I thought I would have all this time to write and practice my homework for the courses I am taking, I really haven't accomplished a thing. Here it is Monday, and I am finding slightly more motivation, but I am so disappointed in myself. :(

Mother's Day was nice. Ryan called and we had a nice visit. Elizabeth came by and worked on her latest shawl. She is trying some new ideas, and if she wasn't trying to add additional fibers throughout the shawl, she could have been done.  The fringe is on, and this shawl is stunning. I would photograph it, but I haven't been able to get a good light on it to show the colors. It is so far my favorite of the ones she has made.

The rain has finally cleared out for a couple of days, and left behind an unseasonably cool day, but at least the sun is out! I have already had my coffee and breakfast, listened to a coaching call and visited with Elizabeth. Getting ready to talk to Ornery, and hopefully he has good news like he is coming home today, but if not it should be tomorrow.  I have another call at 1:00 and between times, I plan to do some homework. I am really not used to being so busy, and if I am brutally honest with myself, I really liked my life of leisure before I started all the courses.  However, I am determined to make some headway into changing our future, and if that means a bit of discomfort, well, so be it. I think my lack of motivation is as much laziness as anything, and I need to just kick myself in the rear and get back on track.

I can do this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Weekend in Review: Super Dooper

Hello, poor deserted blog. Honestly, if I hadn't scheduled all my A to Z posts, I am not sure I would have posted more than a handful of times in April.  Life is zipping along.

This weekend we spent a lot of time working on the courses we signed up for at the Millionaire Mind Experience*. We are currently in two programs, one is called Master Wealth Creator and the other is Mastering the Markets*.  Both courses had already begun when we joined, so we started out behind.  This weekend we worked on getting caught up.  We updated our wills, recorded all our expenses for the month of April, and listened to all the calls for one program. I think we are mostly caught up, but it has taken a concerted effort!  There is still a lot of homework, (practicing and memorizing mostly) and we still have all the actions required and weekly calls for the two group coaching programs we were signed up for prior to Dallas.
(* Please Note: the above links take you to the sites and use our affiliate numbers to give us financial imbursement should you attend the event or sign up for the products/services.)

I also signed up for a free 7 Day Book Writing Challenge that begins today. Well, for me it will begin tomorrow, because the time slot on my new Week at a Glance planner for writing was in the morning and we haven't gotten our first assignment yet.  Ornery is at a disadvantage since he has to go to work everyday--I can work on the modules while he is gone, but he has to do the work in the evenings.  Later this week he is headed to New Mexico for his job for a few days, so that could create even more of a time crunch for him.  However, the nature of the job is that there is a considerable amount of waiting around doing nothing, so he might be able to do some studying then.

I had another emotional breakthrough this week: this one is related to my thinking and learning.  When I was in the 7th grade, my Dad was married to his second wife.  It was a stressful time for me, and even more so when I missed a week or more of school  at the end of the first semester due to illness.  I got my first ever failing marks on my report card (ironically one was in Home Economics) and I missed some key concepts and fell so far behind in math that I never really caught up.  I was in honors math at the time and we were studying algebra. From that time on I struggled with numbers, math, and anything related to them.  It was the subject I had the hardest time teaching my kids, and even the remedial math class in college was beyond my comprehension. I would look at the material and freeze.

Whether the emotional burden of having a difficult home-life was to blame or what, I don't know.  But one of the courses we are taking is for learning how to trade in the stock market (Mastering the Markets). At first I felt like I would be able to handle it, then panic set in and my conditioned mind took over. Gah!

So, yesterday I spent some time after my sauna session doing some EFT, and then later did some Heart Physics meditation to put off the fear of failure in the area of math and numbers and put on the mind of Christ.  That was before I really spent any time in the modules learning the material.  I'm not sure whether the teachers are just that good or if my mind really isn't as mathematically challenged as I have always assumed, but I actually understand everything they have presented so far, and while I will continue to review it and practice doing the work, I am relieved that I am not panicked about it anymore. In fact, I am really excited about doing the trading. :)

We got a call on Saturday (?) from our son who shared some exciting news with us that he and his family are moving back to Oklahoma as he has gotten a job in Owasso, a nearby town. We are excited that we will be able to see our grand children from time to time, although I am not going to count on that happening very often. They are moving over the Memorial Day weekend, which will be here before we know it!

I got to spend some time on Sunday playing in my studio with a few art projects and writing some letters.  Ornery also spent some time with his hobby; he cut out some more rings on his scroll saw to make the basket/bowls everyone likes so well. I cut his hair, bought groceries, cleaned up the kitchen and got the laundry done.  In all it was a very productive weekend.

It's only Tuesday, but my week has also seen a lot of productivity, and I have to say I like that a lot! I've been cooking every day, and trying some new things.  Yesterday I baked GF brownies, Saturday I made a GF pumpkin pie. Ornery says he has broken through to a "new" lower number on the scales (in the period of a couple of years.)  I haven't weighed, but I may have lost as well.  I am much more mobile this week than I was even last week, and have started taking a cane with me when I go out so I can walk for longer periods of time.  My energy/stamina is much improved, and I seem to be able to focus fairly well.  So, that's our weekend (and first part of the new week) in review! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Zentangle

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

You have probably done a fair bit of doodling in your life, but have you ever seen Zentangle designs? Wow! They require way more patience than I usually exhibit, but I can completely enjoy looking at them.  Since I don't do them myself I don't have photos to share with you since I don't want to post other people's work without their consent.  However, if you do a Google search for Zentangle, you should prepare to get lost in the beauty for a long while.  All you need is a pen and some paper to create these fabulous drawings, so in fact anyone can do them.

Thank you for joining me this month on this A to Z blogging challenge.  It has been such great fun, and I hope you have been inspired or learned something you didn't know about in reading my posts.  Let's stay friends, shall we?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(Belated) Weekend in Review: The Beginning Stages

My weekend in review is a little late, but I hope you will find it worth the wait...

My heart is just exploding right now and I have to write my thoughts and feelings here even though this is a long post. They say people connect when they are vulnerable, so I'll just whip it out here, and you can decide if you still want to hang out with me or not. So, here goes.  Are you ready?

At the end of 2014 Ornery and I sat down and wrote out some goals for 2015. Celine Dion's song Another Year Has Gone By on Ornery's Christmas music track was an ear worm reminding him that time was passing and things were still the same as they were 5, 10, 15 years ago. He was really frustrated with his lack of retirement options, so he determined to change things in the coming year.  Our goals and plan of action were stringent, uncomfortable, and focused.  Uneducated, but very focused.  There were a few things we did know: 
  • We didn't have much of a retirement fund and at the rate things were going he would have to work until he died--and if anything happened to him I would be up Poo Creek in a leaky boat without a paddle.
  • Our single rental property wouldn't come close to funding our dreams, much less our basic living expenses if anything should happen to his job--especially not with the repair expenses being more than the income every month so far this year.
  • We knew that the key would be to find something we could do together; a business that I could tend while he worked at his job until it would pay for him to be able to quit.
  • We researched several options, but also determined to work on improving ourselves first so we would be able to handle success without self-destructing, or losing everything.  
  • Not only would we need to research vehicles for passive income, we would need to take some significant action. 
So, since we knew that the greatest change in our outer circumstances would be affected by the beliefs of our hearts, we started there.  We started at the end of December reading Proverbs every day, along with Dr. Jim Richards' The Prayer Organizer and Connie Witter's Bible Study, Because of Jesus.  We set the alarm for 3:00 AM and started each day in the Word and in prayer.  While there were a few days we missed this, for the most part we have managed to complete four months of daily quiet time. (In almost 36 years of marriage we have not been able to maintain the practice for more than a month at a time, despite numerous attempts!) 

Dr. Richards always says that the more modalities you use the quicker you will see transformation, so we made some other changes, commitments and goals as well, but this was the first one to get implemented and the only one that hasn't altered since we began. Ornery determined to do the work required to get some online business activity going, and I committed to writing my memoirs.  We cut back on other outside commitments so we would not feel pressured by the additions to an already fairly full schedule.   

One of the things we felt would be beneficial was to start a DIY blog, and Ornery stepped way out of his comfort zone and did so. He took pictures of a couple of his projects and posted them, then work got extra busy and he began working more overtime. That was good for the checking account, but not really good enough for us to think it would help financially in the long run.  

Then things began to happen.  Thursday, March 5th it snowed here in our little corner of the world. Despite the fact that Ornery's job is a mere mile from the house, the steep driveway was slicker than a greased pig, and since he had plenty of vacation stored up he stayed home. To pass the time, I read aloud to him. All day.  Little did I know the journey that would begin on that day!  Here is an excerpt I wrote in a post on March 11, 2015:

Last Wednesday when we were snowed in, Ornery and I began reading aloud Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker. We spent several hours that day, and have continued to work our way through it a bit each day since then.  We should be done reading it for the first time by this weekend. We have also signed up and made hotel reservations to attend a Millionaire Mind Intensive seminar, and been faithfully following the advice in the book, in as much as we are able.
 It is time consuming and emotionally intensive to address long held beliefs and take the steps to alter those thought patterns.  However, it is another step in the progression of the goals we set at the beginning of the year, and we are both on-board with the plan.  It seems when we are both in agreement with anything, we make serious progress, so it is exciting to consider the future and what it may hold in store for us.
 Our ultimate goal at the beginning of the year was to replace Ornery's income at his job with self-employment and/or passive income within 5 years.  We thought to do it with real estate, but it requires much more investment capital than we have been able to secure, so we are taking some different paths.  So far we haven't made any money, but we have learned a LOT and I think we are moving in the right direction. Time will tell, but we aren't quite through with the first quarter of the year and we can already see that things are aligning to bring about the changes we seek. 
We have both continued to maintain a lot of the routine we set for ourselves in January. We know that success in the financial arena will require that we have good health and stamina, so part of our daily routine has been to spend time doing the sauna, exercising and eating for health.  We have gone a couple of weeks now without eating wheat, and Ornery says he has lost about 5 lbs. so far.  We are also still having a quiet time each morning, reading from the Proverbs, Psalms and two different Bible study books depending on the time we have.  We are fairly consistent (more so lately) in our nightly journaling exercise wherein we track the daily activities that will bring us closer to our goals. 
One of the quotes by Jim Rohn that has really helped us to focus is, "If it's easy to do it is also easy not to do." Doing those little "easy" things every day makes change and will create the lifestyle we seek. But it isn't possible to just do something once and establish a habit or change core beliefs--it is by repetition every day that will achieve success. Easy to do, but easy not to do. And life is so DAILY! 
This is the longest period of time we have been able to maintain our momentum, and that is really encouraging to us both. We have been able to remind each other of the potential benefits, and have had some really deep discussions and addressed some heretofore unknown issues in ourselves. I would say the last month has been one of the most rewarding times relationally we have ever had. And that is saying something because we have always had a very close relationship!
Once we had signed up for the program, we began getting emails for webinars and other things, so we started taking advantages of those programs.  We signed up for some group coaching, then after we saw another webinar we signed up for MORE group coaching.  We are listening to two coaching calls each week and doing the related actions. We added a reading session in the evenings to go along with those we were doing in the morning.  We read Harv's book through again in the mornings and read Dr. Richards' book, Wired for Success, Programmed for Failure in the evenings.  We read just one chapter a day, but it always sparked discussion and moved us closer to being prepared for the changes we would experience at the Millionaire Mind Intensive. 

So, here we are, almost two months after we picked up that first book.  We attended the Millionaire Mind Experience (formerly Intensive) this past weekend.  I can't even tell you the number of ways we had to get out of our comfort zones to attend, but one of Harv's principles is that your comfort zone = your wealth zone. If you have a small comfort zone, you won't make much money, but if you work to expand the number of situations in which you are comfortable, your entire world will expand. Ours ought to be explosive after all that, just sayin'.  

The personal victories this weekend were astounding for both of us.  Ornery eradicated his lifelong fear of failure, and I broke the mental and emotional chains of a lack of self worth. Both of us have been battling with these issues for years, and they have limited us for way longer than they should have. Despite having a number of tools at our disposal to conquer them completely, (Heart Physics, E.F.T, etc.) for whatever reason, we were still being held captive by our conditioned minds and hearts.   

Seeing my shy, wall-flower husband on the stage dancing and wearing a big smile several times throughout the weekend, watching victories all over the room together and supporting each other through some incredibly potent exercises designed to write new truths at a cellular level created an even deeper sense of intimacy and commitment to each other than ever.

The energy generated at the MME was intense, healing and long lasting. I am still fired up, and rarin' to go! Yesterday I was super-productive and maintained an upbeat attitude through some pretty frustrating circumstances. I had even more emotional healing yesterday as I was doing some reviewing of an old Darren Hardy program we did in 2010 when I had to answer the question of whether there was anyone in my life that I had not completely forgiven. I got quiet, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and asked my heart if there was anyone I had not yet fully forgiven and when the person came to mind, I took care of it. :)

One of the tools we are using for change (and have been since January) is a transformation journal we write in each night just before bed.  Various actions we are working to establish as habits are given a point value with the objective of making 100 points every day. There are enough activities on the list to make this possible even if you don't do every single thing, but when I had done the exercise in the past, after a few weeks my focus would wane and I would start accumulating fewer and fewer points each day--sometimes as few as 40 points--end then just quit altogether.  It is a rare day now when I don't have 125 to 140 points. I am more focused than ever, yet yesterday I spent thirty minutes just sitting outside listening to the birds sing and admiring my lovely flowers, so I am getting more done and still taking time to regenerate.

While we were at the MME seminar we signed up for several more training experiences. So many of the things we had been looking for as far as passive income were addressed at the MME and will be thoroughly covered at the other events.  I'm not going to lie--it was scary to hand over the credit card (which was finally almost at a zero balance again!) and commit to such a significant financial expenditure, but we knew we had to take action now.  The next couple of years will be a wild ride for us. Changes will happen rapid-fire, but the personal growth promised by these opportunities will be worth any sacrifices we may decide are necessary to get to our goal. 

When we left here last Thursday I had three objectives: 
  1. Make friends with three or four like-minded people/couples we could connect with socially 
  2. Re-set our Financial Blueprint so we would stop sabotaging our success
  3. Get training to establish passive income
MME delivered on all its promises and I was able to meet all my objectives and more. We are both more excited about our future than we ever hoped to be.  We have more tools, new skills, amazing support and increasing energy; and with the blockages to success removed, the sky is the limit.  

Thank you for reading all this, and I want to say that if you are sharing any of the same frustrations that we have felt for many years--no end to the rat race, getting wealth is too hard, or whatever other lies you have told yourself-- I hope you will at least pick up The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and read it through.  If it speaks to you, or if you click the link to the MME sign up page above and you resonate with the message in the promotional video, I hope you will take the first action of attending one of the three day seminars. It will be worth every moment of your time and every dime of the money it takes to get there.  And if you go, will you let me know?  I would love to cheer you on. It's been less than two months since we really started the program and the change has been incredible. I know we still have a long way to go, but for the first time ever, we believe we have found the help we need to make the journey.

Blogging A to Z: Yupo

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

One product that I have recently discovered in my foray into the art supply jungle is Yupo paper.  Yupo is an incredibly durable, waterproof synthetic paper that is 100% polypropylene, has a smooth finish and is awesome to use with alcohol inks and (I am told) watercolor. It comes in loose sheets or pads, and a variety of sizes.

So far I have used it for alcohol ink because the surface tension allows the ink to sit on top and do its thing with brilliance, but I intend to try it with watercolor as well.

Thank you for dropping by today!  I hope you learned something new or were inspired in some way. Tomorrow is the last A to Z post!  Wow, this month went by fast!  I am so happy to have made so many new friends.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blogging A to Z: X's and O's

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

The letters X and O are often used to signify kisses and hugs.  But they are also very popular marks in mixed media art.

The green marks on the right side in the middle of the page are stylized X's and O's on a Crafter's Workshop stencil.

Circles are especially popular right now, but one of my favorite mixed media artists, Roben Marie Smith uses them both a lot in her work. One of my favorite art tutorial videos is the scalloped flap mail art and was my first introduction to adding x's to my work. Now they show up quite often. :)

Thank you for dropping by today.  I appreciate all your comments and follows.  We're almost to the end of the month, but I hope to enjoy your company beyond April!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Washi Tape

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

I can't believe I had to wait all the way to the last week to talk about one of my favorite craft supplies: Washi Tape!!  Now to some this may seem like an overpriced roll of tape, but to me I see it as instant happiness added to just about any project, surface, letter or envelope.  I may have a few rolls of the stuff...

But I use it a lot! I love to make cards with it...

And I have been known to use it in my art, both alone;

 and as an accent;
 or main theme on Artist Trading Cards;

I have found it to be one of those addictive pleasures, but as I said, I use it a lot. Even if I just collected it, though, it would be a fun hobby! :)

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you were inspired!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Variety

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

I often say I have crafter's ADD (attention deficit disorder) because I bounce around from one style, theme or medium to another, but variety is the spice of life, right?  I think so! That is the essence of art for me--to reach inside my soul and pull out some little nugget of creativity and explore it in some new way. That's why I hate to reproduce my work or I have always avoided it if I could, but lately I have been thinking about having some prints made, possibly some stationary or note cards using some of my favorite designs. At any rate, I am sure I will continue to switch things up a lot.  It's just the way I roll.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blogging A to Z: U is for Unexpected

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

There are a few things I like to use in my art that are unexpected. Upcycling is sort of a buzzword in the art field, and many people like to bring new life to old objects.  Here is one project I did for my daughter using a favorite shirt she wore out and hated to part with.  Some of the fabric was still in good shape, and the colors fit her house, so I made a mixed media piece for her using the shirt as the background.

I would call it a collaboration with the fabric designer, whoever that might have been.  The design was pretty awesome to start with, so all I added to it were the flowers, but it is pretty rare other than in quilts, to see old clothing get new life in a frame!

I have used pockets from old worn out jeans to decorate the fronts of journals.

Underpaper, which is one term for the newsprint or file folders I put under my work while I am working, catches a lot of excess media and can turn into pretty awesome art by accident.  I have used this underpaper for art journal backgrounds and mail art. It's a nice way to use up the dabs of mixed color and excess ink that doesn't absorb into the original art. In fact, some of the underpaper pieces are my favorites!

Thank you for stopping by today!  I hope you learned something or were inspired.  Please let me know of your visit by leaving a comment.  I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Texture, Trading Cards and Twinks

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

As mentioned in my E post, one of the elements of art is texture.  I love texture!!  I add it in a variety of ways: layers of paper or tape; textured papers such as hand-made or other textured scrapbook papers; mediums like super heavy gesso, modeling paste or glass bead gel; glue, glossy accents or texture spray such as "Goosebumps"; a variety of non-art related products such as drywall tape which comes in a variety of styles, corrugated paper, mesh bags, etc.; fabric such as burlap or other loose weave; fibers such as yarn, string, hemp, thread... You can imagine that just about anything can be used!

One of the first things that captured my interest in mixed media art was Trading Cards, commonly known as ATC's (Artist Trading Cards).  These are 2.5 x 3.5" little miniature works of art.  They can be made with any style or form, the only hard and fast rule is the size.  I have a nice collection that I keep in two large binders filled with sleeves like those used for sports card collections.

Twinkling H2O watercolors, (twinks) are little pots of watercolor infused with minerals to create a shimmer effect.  They were my first real art supply after I left the world of scrapbooking. They come in so many colors, and every single one makes me happy! :)

Thank you for coming by today!  I hope you learned something or were inspired.  I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Stencils, Stamps and Shimmer

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

A few favorite things I use in my art show up in today's line-up: Stencils, Stamps and Shimmer.

I have talked about stencils here a bit, because I use them for modeling paste and glass bead gel a lot.  I also use them with spray inks, and have quite a large collection of these little plastic jewels.

Stamps are another popular tool with mixed media artists, and while I used to think a stamped image must be perfect, squared, and colored exactly, I have certainly changed my tune!  I no longer look for elaborate design stamps, but instead prefer stamps that either say something or give impressions rather than exact images. Here is an example of some I have been lusting for...Actually the site I had hoped to feature apparently sold out of the sets I had been eyeing, but they will probably come back again later.

I do have a smallish (comparatively speaking) collection of stamps.  My favorite are the clear stamps, but the images are (supposedly) better with red rubber stamps.  Those can be purchased mounted or unmounted.  I am a big fan of unmounted stamps because they take up less space.

My last S word for today is shimmer.  Oooh. I love shimmery goodness!  In fact I have a rather large array of products that provide shimmer and sparkle in my art.

Thank you for stopping by today!  I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Rolos

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

I have mentioned these in at least one other post during this monthly blog hop, but Rolos deserve a full post all to themselves.  Rolos are Altered Rolodex Cards and are one of my favorite little art venues because they are easy to make and can be displayed on a Rolodex spinner on my table. I have only been making them for a few months, but I already have a nice collection.

These are standard 2-1/4" x 4" size, but there are other sizes as well.  Here are a few favorites from the ones I have made.

The back side is usually also lightly decorated, and I prefer to have the holes in the bottom on the front and the design so the holes are at the top on the back so when I flip through I don't have to turn the Rolodex around to read the back. They are pretty cute little bits of art, and I have enjoyed swapping them!

Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope you have been inspired or learned something new.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend in Review: Planty-plant-plant

Ah, spring in Oklahoma. Rain, wind, rain, a bit of sunshine, more rain... the yard is rather swampish, and the weeds in the yard have reared their lovely heads en masse, a state certain to rankle our neighbors who all meticulously groom their lawns.  The rain gauge showed a whopping 2.5" of rainfall this week, so it's no wonder we sloshed through the muddy mess to finish planting our garden.

But plant it we did!  We have five tomato plants, two zucchini, six celery, a dozen or so pepper plants of various types, a bunch of lettuce and a rather impressive collection of herbs: sage, tarragon, rosemary, chives, cilantro, coriander, parsley, two types of thyme, lavender, Corsican basil, oregano, sweet marjoram and stevia.  We also put in a few flowers; some carnations, petunias, nasturtiums, zinnias, hollyhocks and Irish Poet flowers.

It appears that everything that was supposed to return  from last year is doing so, including one of the two hydrangeas I thought had both perished due to my excellent skills at neglecting things. The only plant I haven't seen yet is the stunning dahlia with pink and white striped flowers, but if that is all that doesn't come back (and I am not sure but what it is just too early for it yet) then I will be pleased and surprised!  This week the cannas began coming up, and many of the perennials have already started blooming.  The bees are hard at the task of pollinating, especially the perennial salvia. I am delighted! :)

Ornery's mom and I worked a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on Saturday.  It took us 7 hours, but we had worked it before. She says she had never worked it before, but she says that about every puzzle and I don't think I have any that I haven't worked with her at least one time! I haven't really figured out how she gets any pieces together since she doesn't "get" the design in the picture, not even after I have explained to her what the images are. She handed me a pile of pieces that were forming a calendar grid and said she "hadn't figured out all these little flowers." There are letters and words, but she completely ignores them, or misreads them, or something. She doesn't use the same logic for shape that I use, and she doesn't distinguish color very well, so the division of labor is usually about 95% me, and 5% her.  But she seems to enjoy doing puzzles, and always says how grateful she is that I included her in my day.

We also listened to another coaching call, and even did some of the action points. This week's theme was health and wellness, and it is also our priority category for the 16 weeks. Ornery had great success getting into shape several years ago with the Power 90 workouts, so he has decided to start doing them again after several years of mostly sedentary lifestyle. Ugh.  I couldn't really even get through the stretches, and while he did parts of the whole session, I think he was sore today.  It will take some time working up to that again.

It was a nice weekend, though, in spite of Saturday's rain. Hopefully Ornery will be able to mow the weeds tonight before our next coaching call. It seems we missed the replay of last week's call until the weekend, then scheduled another for this morning, which we watched, and have another one from a different program tonight. It seems that saturation is the order of the day around here!

Blogging A to Z: Quinacridone

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

  1. Quinacridone is an organic molecule utilized in the formation of organic pigments. It is an organic compound with the molecular formula C₂₀H₁₂N₂O₂. Wikipedia
What? Say, WHAT? Well, besides being a word I always stumble over, quinacridone is one part of the name of some of my favorite colors.  Other than that, I couldn't tell you anything about why this does what it does. But it shore is purdy. :)

Thank you for dropping by today.  Hope you learned something new or were inspired in some way.  :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Paint, Pens and Pencils

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

Today's letter is P, and I have to say, it will be really difficult to top my last P entry in the A to Z challenge. If you want to see it, you can click here.  But, for today, since my theme is art and not poetry or punnery, I will stick with paint, pens and pencils. Because those are certainly artistic mediums!

Paint: I prefer acrylic. I use a variety of brands and styles, from cheap craft paints to luxurious Golden brand paints and a variety of others in-between.  I also enjoy using watercolors, but I will save those for a later post.

Pens: Paint pens, gel pens, fountain pens- they all have their own uses, and one can never really have too many, can they? (don't tell me if it's so.  I don't want to hear it.)

Pencils: Besides just the standard No. 2, there are Prismacolor (wax based and my daughter's personal favorite medium); Watercolor pencils including Aquarelle, Inktense, and Stabilo All; Charcoal and other graphite pencils; and my personal favorite, mechanical pencils.

Thank you for dropping by today.  I'm so happy you are here. It would be so nice if you left a comment to say hi!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blogging A to Z: Neutral

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

Many people enjoy soft NEUTRAL colors, and that is really obvious if you look at Pinterest and focus on decorating ideas.  The current obsession with white walls, white furnishings, white accents holds absolutely no appeal to me.

BUT... they have their place in art, just like any other color.  White, brown and black are all amazing accents and when done well, a piece that uses only neutral colors can be very peaceful. It is not my preference, but then without the addition of black or white to colors there would be no variety either.

Here are a few Artist Trading Cards I have made using all or mostly neutral colors.

Thank you for dropping by today!  I hope you enjoyed your visit and I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blogging A to Z: M for Mail Art

April is here!! It's time for daily blogging, lots of visitors and meeting new friends.  In other words, time for the Blogging A to Z challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of minions.  Thousands of other bloggers from all over the world participate in this blog hop each year, and anyone may join in as long as they blog each day during the month of April, (except Sundays) the blog posts correspond to the appropriate letter for that day, and they sign up on the link list. Simple!

Oh, my.  I had so many choices for M--modern, mixed media, modeling paste... but I'll settle on one today that makes me oh, so happy; Mail Art.  The post office doesn't even have to have the correct address on my mail (although I'm sure it helps!) to deliver it to me.  My incoming and outgoing mail is almost all highly decorated--or at least sports a strip or two of washi tape...

I'll Share a few photos with you and leave it at that for today. They speak for themselves. :)
Recycled Chiptole take-out bag.  Yes, I mailed it with the handles still on it. :)

Black and white...

This postcard was made mostly from junk-mail pieces. 

Phone book map envelopes.

Another postcard from junk mail pieces. 

Altered file folder filled with goodies and enclosed in a clear bag for mailing.  
Thank you for dropping by today.  I'd love to read your comments if you care to leave any.