Sunday, April 26, 2015

Simply Spring #7: Even More Pretty and Practical

Dear friends,

Welcome back to my Simply Spring series. I'm picking up the Pretty and Practical theme again, with pictures and tips for home and the rest of life.

I love the mix of colors in the photo above. I fixed this food basket of sausage & cheese biscuits and fresh fruit the other day for some of our homeless friends. A bunch of them live in the woods within a mile of our home, and we see them often in parking lots or grassy areas. They tend to stick together, and have to move from place to place because they aren't quite welcome. I visit them often to bring food and bottled water. If it is cold or wet, I might also hand out inexpensive blankets, tarps, and ponchos. Melody had seen them when we were out on errands, but by the time we got back with the basket, someone had already dropped off several sub sandwiches for them. They were still so thankful for what we brought - especially since it was home cooked and hot! More folks would be along soon enough to help them eat it all. They are also always grateful that someone will stop and chat with them as friends. I am so inspired by the example of my sweet second daughter Julia, who just turned 26 this month. She organizes a monthly dinner for those who are homeless or in transitional housing. The dedicated group of volunteers also provide clothing, toiletries, laundry detergent, and more at the outreach. Read more here: 13 Ways to Help People Who Are Homeless.

I am also deeply inspired by reading the biography of Clara Barton with my Melody, who is 9. Clara was such an example of serving the poor and needy, even though she was painfully shy and only 5 feet tall. Before she was a Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross, she was also a school teacher and school founder. As a longtime home school mom, I am so encouraged at how she kept order in her classrooms, not with rigid rules and harsh discipline, but with imagination, understanding, and mutual respect. That's what I aspire to do as I teach, whether in a co-op classroom or at home. I'm still learning.

A few days ago, realizing we are just several weeks from the end of our school year, I planned out what we are going to read each week. We are studying American history this year, so I went through my shelves to see what we could reasonably cover for literature, history, and science. I typed the list of them into my computer so I can know which ones to grab each day. One of those is the Clara Barton biography, which I had intended to read a few months ago when we were in that time period. I bought it in February when we toured her home/headquarters museum in Maryland while visiting family.  (See Clara Barton House in Glen Echo.)

Speaking of books, after nearly 25 years of home schooling my 10 kids, we have a huge personal library. Last year I sold and/or gave away about 200 of them, but our shelves were still overflowing. I just pulled another 300+ off the shelves and boxed them up. Either I've already read them with my youngest, or I just don't think we'll use them. I am only planning to home school her for another year or two, so there is just so much I will probably never need and that someone else can put to better use. I identify so strongly with words and books that it's hard for me to part with so many of them at once, but it is also freeing. Besides, we still have several bookcases full! I will give some of the ones I culled to my four grandchildren, others to a friend who is a single mom, and still others I will sell at the used bookstore or the used curriculum sale.

I mentioned several weeks ago that I had bought a seed starter tray and flower seeds, but somehow I never got around to planting them until a few days ago. The only packet I could find was delphinium, so I planted them in 30 of the 72 tray compartments. I went out later and got more packets - maybe I'll get to them this week? (See my poem A Mother's Seeds.)

The tray is organized in sections of 6, so Melody and I talked about how to count them quickly by multiplying the number of sections (12) by the number of compartments in each section (6). We also multiplied the 5 sections planted to get 30, and subtracted that from 72 to find the remaining number (42, which is 7 sections times 6). Isn't it lucky that it's the 6 times table that she's learning now? I love to use real life to teach academic skills.

I usually like an abundance of flowers along my walkway. To my dismay, the ones I purchased and planted a few months ago have since withered away. I contemplated buying more plants, but then decided to just wait on the seeds sprouting in a few more weeks. I still have my potted white petunias and some flowering bushes, but for now the remaining bare brown ground is good enough. It's funny that when I was at the ladies Refresh retreat last week, two of the women at my table said they aren't doing flower gardens this year because they are so busy, and that potted plants will have to do for them. I can so relate. I don't have to put a lot of expectations on myself when my life is already a flurry.

I thought of that again yesterday when I walked into a neighbor's house (I had never been there before) and everything was so attractive, clean, and tidy. It made me depressed for a little while thinking of how mine is not usually like that. I am always fighting clutter and grime. Then I remembered - she has less children and they are older, and they had just cleaned up for a party. We do that too when we are entertaining, even if it means throwing bins of random stuff into my bedroom to get it out of public view. And even if all that weren't true, what good does it do to forfeit my peace and joy? Coming from a previous church background that focused a lot on rooting out sin, I started "playing tapes" in my head that said, "Stop sinfully comparing. You are just being proud and selfish and lazy and ungrateful." I had to make a conscience decision to silence those neurotic nagging voices and cut myself some slack. Besides, it wasn't just that single incident that had made me sad. It just happened to trigger a swirl of other icky emotions from other situations where I felt less than adequate, and then it all bunched up on me at that moment. It took a little while to untangle the knots in my soul, but it was grace, not shame, that pulled me through.

That does not mean I give up on improving my situation. I am still on a lifelong quest to get my act together. Two of my goals this year are to get more fit and to organize my home better. I'm recovering from a back injury and my chiropractor has encouraged me to use a resistance band and a foam roller to strengthen and flex my muscles and joints. He had given me a band, but I prefer one with handles since I have arthritis in my hands. They are so much easier to grasp.

I bought the Gold's Gym brand resistance band and the foam roller at Walmart. I found the exercise mat at the ReStore thrift store, which benefits Habitat for Humanity. (I love love love that they are getting disadvantaged people into houses of their own!)

Unfortunately, this stuff kept getting in my way and often ended up on my bedroom floor. Tripping over them would not be good for my back and I don't want my room to look junky, so I had to think of a solution. I had a hamper in my closet holding some extra blankets, so I emptied it out and now I store my exercise supplies in it, right where I can see and remember to use them.

Where did I put those extra blankets? I tucked them into a large basket that I had gotten Salvation Army last year.

Another problem to solve: the insoles of my flower sneakers kept slipping and flopping out whenever I took my shoes off. This went on for weeks, and it was annoying. So I finally decided to get out my little bottle of tacky glue and fasten them back in place. Works for me! I love wearing cheerful shoes!

Here is something for you to ponder from this post. What is bothering you right now? What problems - big or small - keep cropping up? What can you do to fix or at least alleviate them? Then think of a way to serve someone else who is having a tough time - maybe in your family, your church, or your community. You can't fix all their problems for them, but you might be able to provide some practical assistance and help them figure it out. Whether it is your problem or theirs, you are resourceful and creative. You can do it.

Oh! I wrote a new poem and posted it on one of my other blogs this past week. You can find it here: This Is Where I Am In Time.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Simply Spring #6: Refresh Retreat and Trades of Hope

Welcome back to my Simply Spring series!

What a blessing to attend the first ever Lake Baldwin Church ladies retreat on Friday and Saturday!

First some photos, then some of the encouragement I gleaned from my time there, and then a little about Trades of Hope...

Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora,
built in 1905

Checking in for the retreat -
36 ladies registered!
The tulip vases had lime slices in the bottom,
as in the photo at the top of this post.

Dinner at a cafe across the street
with several of the ladies

The Terrace Cottage, where my room was -
cottage, really? That place was huge!

Debbie Ianetti was our retreat facilitator -
she is a longtime foreign missionary
with Cru, now based in Orlando

Our worship leaders: Katie Pollard,
Glynn Vincent, and Katie Whaite
(see music video below)

Singing along

Little bits of beauty
in this vintage inn

Down by the lake



The theme of the retreat was "Refresh" and the ladies who planned everything did such an amazing job helping us relax and be renewed. The women came from all different walks of life - some moms like me, as well as singles of all ages, empty nesters, women working in and out of the home, lifelong Christians and those newer to the faith. I loved sharing a room with my friend Lee Del and having more time to get to know her.

Our Friday evening activity: Elizabeth Pennock, a professional Christian counselor from our congregation, led us in making collages with magazine pictures to tell something of our life stories and desires. (Interested in something like this? Daring Soul Care has similar workshops in Orlando!)

Here is mine:

In the two Saturday sessions, Heather Scott, Amy Heidmann, Molly Tilley, Katie Whaite, and Debbie Ianetti shared stories of God's faithfulness in their lives (throughout broken relationships, health crises, anxiety, depression, etc.) and our need to come to him for rest, help, strength, and guidance. We had time for table discussion as well as private reflection.

Much of the encouragement was based on Matthew 11:28-30.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Debbie also spoke on how her favorite thing about God is that he delights in us. (See Psalm 18:19, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 149:4-5, and Psalm 35:27.)

I think everyone's favorite song from the weekend is "Still, My Soul Be Still" by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Pardon the poor lighting in this video since I was shooting toward the windows.

"Still, My Soul Be Still"
by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Still, my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow

God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace, renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in you alone

Still, my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows
God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace, renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in you alone

Still, my soul be still
Do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming

God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace, renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in you alone

Still, my soul be still...

Trades of Hope...

On Saturday morning (before the first session) and afternoon (after the last session), I took the opportunity to explore downtown Mount Dora, a quaint little tourist destination. I had never been there before even though it is only an hour away. The Blueberry Festival dominated one of the streets just across from the inn, so I enjoyed visiting the artist and vendor booths. 

I was particularly taken by the Trades of Hope booth and how they empower women in Third World countries to support themselves with small craft businesses that produce jewelry and home decor. I plan to have a home party soon, so let me know if you're interested in coming!

I may even become a distributor with the help of Melissa Sirek. Seriously, this is probably the only kind of marketing opportunity I would ever consider. It has to be something which equips impoverished women around the globe, always on my heart. It reminds me so much of Ten Thousand Villages, and y'all know how much I love their mission! I'm looking forward to getting to know more about Trades of Hope in coming weeks. At this booth, I bought a bead bracelet made in Haiti, partly from recycled cereal boxes. Pretty, yes? And it reminds me again to pray for my sisters around the world who are facing so much bigger challenges than I am. 

Later on Saturday, I visited many of the artsy & vintage stores (love love love!) nearby and bought myself a tie dye t-shirt at Noni at the Olive Branch to replace my "happy hippy" shirt that's been wearing out. (Why yes, I did live in San Francisco in the 1970's!) I love the vibrant colors. That's the kind of life I want to live.

I'm glad I went to the Refresh retreat and had a bit of "wander and wonder" time to myself, too.

What has inspired you lately?

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Simply Spring #5: Calm, Creative, Cheerful Courage

Dear friends,

Here we are at week #5 of Simply Spring, with more pretty and practical ideas that I've been trying at my house.

I just created the new chalkboard art tonight and set it up on the hutch on my desk as inspiration. I originally drew a heart at the bottom, but then erased it. The words speak for themselves and I didn't want anything to distract from them. What gave me the idea is hearing about an old friend who faced challenge and extreme loss with calm, creative, cheerful courage. I want to let that spur me on. If I need courage (and I do, daily), at least it can be the vibrant and life giving sort, rather than a morose "just getting by" kind of survival.

I keep thinking of what I can do to make our home more comfortable and orderly. Trust me, this is a constant challenge with my crazy family. Just staying on top of the basics is enough to make my head spin. I know I already mentioned this in a previous post, but one very doable idea is to go on a tidy up binge, counting out a certain number of items to pick up and put away in rapid succession. I usually shoot for 50, often right before I go to bed. It's fun, gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and gets the job done. Well, maybe not all done (will it ever be with six kids still living here?), but it helps.

I also ask myself frequently what little projects I can do to make a difference. Yesterday I noticed that our storage room door's window blinds were really grimy. I had a son who owed me a favor, and he happened to be standing there just then, so I set him to work and paid him a $1 bonus. Then I noticed that my bedroom window blinds were quite dusty and wondered if that was contributing to my nasal stuffiness at night. (It's sort of hard to breathe with a CPAP machine when my nose is clogged!) I started to wipe the blinds with an old wash cloth but realized that would take forever. I don't know why I've never done this before, but I decided to get out my vacuum cleaner and use the brush attachment. Worked like a charm! Then I used anti-bacterial cleaning wipes to remove some mildew from the window frame behind them. Whether or not this helps with my breathing, it already looks a lot better.

After that, since I was on a roll cleaning in the bedroom, I took out some bins of stuff that didn't belong in there, and then sorted through two boxes of old papers, most of which ended up in the trash. Looking through them, I realized how much effort I had put into planning lessons when I was teaching in a home school co-op and a private school. It was a labor of love, but it also happens to be on my computer, so I didn't feel like I needed to keep binders full of the stuff. Out with the old, in with the new!

Paper versus computer? For me, the computer wins nearly every time. If I have paper, I will probably lose it. I am a piler, not so much a filer. I don't particularly like handwriting anything except for short lists and journal entries. I would much rather type the information and have it all there for me to search digitally when I need it again.

So here is how that works out in practical ways.

A few months ago I discovered that my iPod Calendar app was linked to the Google calendar that shows up on the screen in my Gmail account. I can expand it to full screen to see a week at a glance on my laptop. This was good news for me. I needed a painless way to communicate what family events and appointments are coming up, especially the kids have a lot going on and their dad often drives them around. I don't particularly like constant phone calls and texts. So I sent him a link to my on-line calendar, which I update whenever I schedule anything. Automating basic communications like this makes my life a whole lot more pleasant. I also use Facebook message threads to plan holiday and birthday gatherings with my adult and teen children, especially the ones who don't live here anymore.

I am now also using the computer to automate our family finances. I had mentioned in a post earlier this year that I had been using a spreadsheet to keep track of expenses in my own personal bank account. However, our joint account was another matter, since I'm not the only one who uses it. He was handwriting lists of my transactions (found in our bank account on-line) for me to categorize. I hated that. Like I said, I lose papers and was always balking at this task. I decided I really needed to start harnessing the power of technology in this area, and find a personal finance program. I went on and got us set up there. It's free and secure, so why not? It imports the transactions from our bank account and even automatically categorizes based on the payee. Of course, you can change these categories. For example, it would label McDonald's as fast food and Starbucks as coffee shop, but I've told it to assign both to the restaurant category. You can also set monthly budget amounts for each category, and it shows a graph of how you are doing at the moment. The key is that this is all on-line. This is an absolute must because we never ever use each other's computers, yet we each need to be able to access and enter information. The unfortunate thing about Mint is that you can't print reports, and downloading the data to a spreadsheet was cumbersome. I had wanted to use the Mint app, too, so I could do stuff from my iPod, but I can't upgrade to iOS 7. I would have bought Quicken (by Intuit, same publisher as Mint) since that has reports, but it doesn't let you do your work on-line. Oh well. Mint is certainly better than what we were doing, and he's happy that I took the initiative to get the job done with less stress for either of us.

This is all a big deal to me.

I simply have to learn to be more functional with schedules and budgets and other paperwork. I have to do more for myself and not just expect someone else to keep me in line. This Mom Grows Up, the name of this blog, is something of a mantra for me.

It takes a bit of ingenuity and just plain diligence. I've often said, "I'm a poet, not a bureaucrat," but my fluid soul still has to take care of the linear details. I'm just so thankful to have the boost from technology.

May all of this help me to be calm, creative, cheerful and courageous. May all of this help this mom grow up.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Enjoying Life as a Mom

Ben in tree, 2009

Do you enjoy your life as a mom? Why or why not?

Many moms and dads struggle to truly enjoy their children because they are so intent on building their character and correcting their errant behavior. This is especially apparent in the home school movement when we are (hopefully) making extra sacrifices to invest in their success. They simply have to turn out right, or how could we justify the time and money we spent?

Our children are treasures from God, whether they are complying with us at the moment or not. The atmosphere in our homes must become one of affection and acceptance, rather than grumpy disapproval. Otherwise, our kids will quickly discover that Mom's and Dad's religion is not the only game in town, and they will drift or even run to wherever they feel they're getting a fair shake and good vibes. "Rules without relationships reap rebellion."  

When you are thinking about enjoying God's gifts, I hope that your children are right at the top of your list! Take some time to have some fun with them as a whole family and one-on-one. How long has it been since you had an awesome vacation or even a day trip that wasn't strictly educational? Yes, it costs some money, but you only have so long with your children before they grow up and move away. (Ask me how I know this! As of spring 2015, four of my ten children have moved out, and I have several grandchildren.) Now is the time to start planning for summer!  

They grow up!
These three kids are now 9, 12, and 14!
Here are a several terrific ways to have some guilt-free fun with your kids.
  • Cuddle up on the couch with your kids to read a good book: How to Read Aloud and Enjoy It and When Mother Reads Aloud.
  • Do craft projects that have a low frustration level for parent and child.
  • Play table games like Pente and Mancala that use strategy, but are simple and fun enough for parents and kids to enjoy together.
  • Join your local YMCA so the kids can get fun PE time, and you can relieve stress by working out and getting in shape -- our family gets a 50% scholarship so ask about one if you can't afford it otherwise!
  • Take advantage of outdoor fun, such as taking a picnic lunch outside to the yard or a local park, or letting your kids take a book up into your tree to read while you take pictures!

Note: I wrote these thoughts in 2009 and just found them in an old Hope Chest e-magazine issue when I was looking for something else. The photos and embedded links are from back then, too. There was more in that e-mail I found, but the topic shifts so I will save it for another time.

However, you may also like these mothering posts written since then...

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    Simply Spring #4: Reality for Easter

    Happy Easter to you! (At least for the next five minutes. Then it's Happy After Easter Until Next Year.)

    I've been having a bit of trouble with my camera settings lately, getting the right lighting and focus, but my nine year old daughter managed to snap the stunning hibiscus photo above. What you don't see is that the rest of the bush isn't in all that great a shape. But back to that concept in a few minutes.

    So here we are with another post for my Simply Spring series. This week's edition is for Easter.

    Sort of. We'll get back to that, too. It's more about real every day life.

    I've been redecorating our living room a little at a time for the past few weeks. I was plotting it even before that. It started with a very old print that I inherited from my mother: "Hailing the Ferry" by Daniel Ridgway Knight.  It has been in her family for generations. My father brought it to me last year, as it was the one big thing of hers that I wanted after she passed away. I copied this image of it off of Amazon because I couldn't get a decent photo of it behind the glass in the frame. Even this one doesn't have quite the same tones of blue in the sky.

    Anyway, I got to wishing that my whole living room could be decorated in the brown, tan and blue tones from the painting, instead of the burgundy and yellow scheme we'd had for over 10 years. I took this photo about four years ago. The couches didn't have as many stains then. And they didn't sag so much and they didn't have rips. Ick. Really time for a change.

    I hatched a two phase redecorating plan on my iPod in the Evernote app. Phase 1 included minor repairs and deep cleaning of what we already had. Truth be told, I skipped most of phase 1 and went straight to phase 2 - replacement!

    I'm not one to want to blow a lot of money. As a mom of 10, I prefer the thrifty approach, which takes more patience because you have to wait for the right deals.

    First up, I bought the area rug at Old Time Pottery for $35. Then I found a brown couch (with recliners at both ends) at the Christian Sharing Center thrift store on sale for $100. I bought those last month. And then I waited for another brown couch. I mean actively waited because I made the rounds of thrift stores as often as I could. I found the second couch this week at Salvation Army, marked down to $140, also with recliners at both ends. Though not a perfect color match to the other, it was good enough for me! It was delivered yesterday morning.

    At that point, with company coming for Easter today, I decided to kick it into high gear. In spite of lot of other errands I had to run for my kids yesterday, I managed to buy six sets of blue taffeta curtains (enough for the two big windows), four throw pillows, the blue egg wreath, the lace table cover, and the small blue sign on the wall. Phew! It was quite a pain getting the first set of curtains up since I had to move a bracket. I got so crabby that in the best interest of my children's sanity I left the house for an hour. I zipped across town to the Joann craft store where I had seen the wreath earlier in the day. (I should have bought it the first time I saw it, but two of my kids were rushing me.) It had just been marked down by 70%, so I got it for only $6. Sweet deal! The whole room redo cost me less than $500, and more than half of that was for the two couches.

    I finished everything up around midnight. "Everything" does not include carpet or paint. Maybe later. Much later.

    Here's the big picture so far, then the little pictures.

    And now for a little reality.

    I can make one room look decently enough pretty.
    But that doesn't stop the mess.
    And you haven't seen the other rooms.

    The family (or most of it) can gather for a holiday meal.
    But we're a pretty crazy bunch.
    We've been hit by a lot of curve balls.
    I can see so many things I should have done differently.
    I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
    I get frustrated, sad, uncertain of the future.
    Real life can be heavy, even on a holiday.

    So though I can pour myself into a big burst for a special project, I've had to let go of a lot of other expectations.


    We had a bigger, fancier breakfast than usual, though I didn't get around to making the scrambled eggs. But we had bacon. Bacon covers a multitude of sins.

    Sign from my bookshelf
    We made it to church. Or at least most of us did. (Oops. We were late.) I was reminded that Easter is a time to renew my hope in God's resurrection power. And that he cared enough to come save me when I was in the deep darks of life. Make that present tense. He still cares when I'm in the middle of tough times. Sometimes that care comes through the kind words of a friend, like this morning. So church was good.

    No big fancy baskets here. I did manage to pull off little treat boxes with doodads from Party City while I was waiting for my son's haircut yesterday. Googly eye ring. Tiny slinky. Bracelet. Hello Kitty markers. A few chocolate eggs. That was the nine year old girl version. Nice to have a kid that is still amused by such things. The older ones got gum and key chains.

    Dyeing eggs? Not a chance. I always get too flustered.

    How about the Easter meal table? Somehow I didn't have the oomph to pull out the china and linens. Just. Couldn't. So when I stopped at the store on the way home from church to buy soda (which I had forgotten in my umpteen trips to Walmart) I also grabbed some decorative Dixie paper plates and plastic cups. Then we set the table with a plastic Easter table cloth which didn't exactly match and which one of my teenagers felt compelled to shred at the edge during dessert.

    Yeah. Like that. Not exactly Pinterest worthy, but I don't care. Nobody else cared either. My adult daughters brought sweet potato casserole, salad, and ice cream; the only foods I had to fix were very simple chicken (a little rotisserie seasoning sprinkled on top, and I set out a bowl of alfredo sauce for those who wanted it) and some buttered rice and biscuits. Works for me.

    After dessert, we adjourned to the newly nicely decorated blue and brown living room! Yes! 

    My second daughter (who is expecting her second baby) opened her birthday presents. She turns 26 next Saturday, but we decided to combine celebrations because it's hard enough to get everyone together for a meal. (Not everyone was even able to make it today.) I gave her a set of soft pastels and chalkboards since she likes to do that, too.

    I was going to do a nice chalkboard with "Hallelujah! Jesus is risen!" written on it to hang on my wall, but I just didn't get to it. Oh well. That's real life. Maybe next year.

    So here's the thing about real life, using flowers for a springtime analogy. Some flowers are perky, like the one at the top of the post.

    Others are shriveled or droopy.

    Or to switch analogies, sometimes life is like the old couches: saggy, stained, ripped.

    Not everything we experience is pretty and perky.
    Real life can be raw and gritty.
    Mine certainly is at times.

    Truth? I sometimes get resentful when I see women who seem to have it all together. Perfectly behaved kids. Perfectly loving marriages. Perfectly timed schedules. Perfectly clean and decorated homes. Perfectly balanced budgets. Perfectly planned feasts. Perfectly managed health. Perfectly meaningful ministries. With nary a cross word to spoil the picture.

    But here's the other thing. It just seems that way. Everyone has problems. Maybe some people don't have them as big or as often as the rest of us, but we still don't always know what challenges they are going through, and they aren't always at liberty to say so.

    I'll try to keep that in mind. I'll try to be kinder inside my heart of hearts when I meet the next Mrs. Perfect.

    Meanwhile, I will keep plugging away at my own imperfect life the best I can. Maybe I ought to go look at the sign I put up in the living room yesterday. (Want one? Walmart, $3.97.)

    Yes. That's it. Intention, boldness, destiny - no matter what adversity comes my way. Easier said than done. Too bad I can't buy a big bag of perseverance at Walmart. It still needs to be done. Upward and onward!

    Hey, do you feel like I do? OK, then. Here's another post about expectations, and having the liberty to be yourself rather than just like everyone else: How to Be Free by Melissa Camara Wilkins

    DoYourThing300But wait! There's more! Get her free e-book: Do Your Thing: How to Find Time to Do What Matters. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I like what I see so far!

    I wish you all the best that life offers. 

    I'd love to hear your comments.

    Grace and peace,
    Virginia Knowles