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Labor Day Weekend

I know many of my readers have already turned off their computers and headed out of town for the weekend. I’ve made my preparations for the three major parts of my weekend.

Saturday morning breakfast family style. One of the things I love about my husband is his great skill at making pancakes. Tomorrow we will have the joy of seeing extra faces at the table. Our oldest daughter is in town and in transition from one part of her journey to the next. Fresh orange juice and Jimmy Dean sausage will go nicely with the stacks of fluffy hot pancakes.

After breakfast is cleared up it’s on to the cabin for the rest of the day and in to Sunday. Nothing like sitting by a fire with a glass of wine and my favorite person in the whole wide world. We’re going to do some work on the water lines tomorrow. The well is full but the holding tank is empty. Mystery cabin style.

Sunday afternoon will see us back home for the end of an era. For the past 31 years I have watched the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon and it’s been my tradition to address my Christmas cards during the late hours. This year the telethon only runs from 6pm until midnight. Every year at the end of the telethon Jerry sings “Walk On” for his kids. This will be the last year. Jerry is retiring.  I have my Christmas cards all ready. This year I have decided to do something special in honor of the last Christmas Cards with Jerry. If you would like me to make a donation to MDA in your name post “Send my card to Jerry” before midnight Sunday night.

After all…if it’s not a labor of love it’s just another long weekend.

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Gifts of love

My love language is gifts.

I love giving them.

I love hunting them down and finding just the right something for someone.

I love mailing random little things to friends in the mail.

And I love receiving gifts that show someone sees my heart.

This week I received such a gift.

Ayish Kodesh

This prayer shawl was commissioned for my Jubilee year

and with great love and thought each color and symbol and word

have meaning in to my heart and my journey. 

And as with all great gifts,

most of those meanings are deeply personal.

“I am blessed beyond measure,

loved more deeply than I know,

standing on the Solid Rock

that is Amazing Grace.”

LV Jubilee

 

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Good Will and U-haul

I’m cleaning out my clothes closet. I do this twice a year. At the end of the purge there is always a bag of stuff going to the donation truck for Goodwill. The problem is with the stuff that I’m not willing to send to Goodwill just yet and so I stick it back into my closet to wait the next round.

Today I’m doing it a little differently. Instead of sticking things I’m not committed to wearing back into the closet I’m going to seal them up in a U-haul box. We have several left from the tween room remodel project and I hate to see them just sitting empty. Anyway, I’m going to itemize what’s in the box, just on the off chance I desperately need something, put an expiration date on the box and if it goes unopened until that date it will go to Goodwill and I’ll already have my donation list for the tax deduction.

Off to tackle the closet….

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Three In One

This morning I have a new perspective on the Holy Trinity.

I have been reading a lot on getting my “career” going and the direction I’m heading in has become broader instead of the nice narrow path I thought I was walking. I thought I was working on being a writer. Turns out to be a successful writer these days you also need to be your own marketing department. You also need to be your own web design, IT and graphic department. Not to mention your own researcher, board of directors, maintenance, admin and in your spare time social media expert.

Not at all surprising God lets us see Him in many differing roles. We are, after all, created in His image. He is vastly creative. He’s called the “Author (and this is the part that gets me) and FINISHER of our faith”. He has policy and procedures. His marketing plan is the most unconventional but most successful in history. His book is a permanent best seller, translated into more languages than any other. His webs are intricately woven with material that is delicate to the touch but strong as steel by workers who intimidate not with size but with simple appearance. His graphic department is emulated by every aspiring artist ever. Research isn’t so much of a challenge for Him as He has that whole before time thing going for Him. Board of Directors never really got off the ground after Job applied for the job. His idea of maintenance and ours doesn’t necessarily match up. I’m thinking it’s probably us who is going to need to shift the thinking on this one. He’s made some very interesting choices in the Admin department. Using the humble certainly does confound the mighty. His social media concept was and still is pretty counter intuitive to those who aren’t part of the organization.

So, I’m off to switch hats. The writing part is done for today. Now all the rest kicks in.

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PR Campaign

I am starting a PR Campaign. PR as in Personal Responsibility. In an effort to get some perspective and wisdom on personal responsibility I’ve assembled some experts. Here is a snipe of a “conversation” I would love to have over heard.

Eleanor: Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.

Sigmund: Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.

Scott: Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity.

Thomas: In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.

Barack: It’s time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.

Viktor: I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.

Richard: If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.

John: The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.

Time to grow up, people.
Take a look at where you are.
It’s exactly where your choices have led you.
Now look at where you want to be.
It’s going to be your choices that get you there or not.
Time to take responsibility for your own life.
Honestly, who else are you going to trust to make your decisions?

(Can you name the “guest” speakers today?)

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Because Of You….

This morning I am considering some of the things I do and why I do them. Most of them I am realizing are because of someone’s influence in my life. So I started making a list of the things I do and who got me doing them. See if you find your influence in the list.

Because of You I…

believe in happily ever after.
watch anime.
eat Ft. Point Pizza.
use Standard Theme for WordPress.
keep trying to learn to knit.
pray when I fold towels.
use Butter of London nail polish.
make homemade pasta.
keep growing African Violets.
ask questions.
recycle.
read.
check Facebook frequently.
put my garbage cans out early.
listen for the mailman.
hang my plants up high.
sit in the van and wait.
never stray to far from the sidewalk.
have great memories and high hopes.

And this one, dear reader, is easy. Because of you I am encouraged to keep writing.

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Over Condimented

So I was trying to put something in my refrigerator yesterday when I found an almost full bottle of ketchup. I know, that should be a good thing, right? It would have been if I hadn’t already found two other almost full bottles of ketchup. I added this third bottle to the growing collection of condiments on my counter. Three bottles of ketchup sat next to three bottles of regular French’s and one brown French’s. They were joined by an assortment of half empty salad dressings and no less than 6 different choices in the pickle family. As far as I know I am the only one in my little family who actually eats pickles. We won’t even discuss the olives. Just don’t go there.

So as I transferred the ketchup from the two smaller bottles into the large one, I wondered what other things have I picked up along the way without realizing I already have plenty at home. How easy is it to say “Yes” to a harmless bottle of ketchup or a new pair of earrings or the latest book or an opportunity or an invitation or a project? There is nothing wrong with ketchup or earrings or books or opportunities or invitations or projects but do you know when you have enough already? If you can’t fit your carrot juice in the frig because you have too much ketchup and mustard it’s a nuisance but if you have so many opportunities or commitments or projects that there is just no room left that is a problem.

Enough ketchup already….

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Psycho Mouse

Last Thursday I spent the day at Great America Amusement Park with my son and daughter. We got there early and were the first ones on the Psycho Mouse. Since there was no one in line we rode it twice! Yesterday I spent the day at the WordPress Camp and left pretty sure I would not be attending next year. There have been some conferences and retreats that I have attended more than once and I’d like to share them with you today.

The first one to become an annual for me was Women of Faith. I know in many ways it’s just an arena sized book tour but I enjoyed it. I also bought a lot of books. Over the years they have changed the structure of the tour and it hasn’t been as convenient to attend but I still enjoy it. The last one I attended was 2 years ago. It was the first one my daughter was old enough to attend with me. How we ended up on stage and with front row seats is an incredible story for another day. Let’s just say she has pictures and autographs with all the main speakers and does well in front of 11,000 women.

The second one is a four day women’s retreat set in the the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Seven years ago I read a book that changed the course of my life and has had great impact on the lives of many people I have grown to love. The challenge of attending this retreat is great. For women to set aside four days, pay for the retreat and travel costs to Colorado and then actually go is huge. With the support of my husband and the help of dear friends I have been able to go four times. The Captivating Women’s Retreat has been worth it each time.

I have only been able to attend my third and fourth recommendations once but wanted to tell you about them. The Precepts National Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn was a major stretch for me. It was a four day conference and I wish I had gone in a day early. Because of the time difference and the early program start time each morning, I found myself getting up at the equivalent of 3 am and in my seat trying to take notes at 6 am. There were two additional challenges to my time in Chattanooga as they were undergoing major road work and there was a motorcycle event in town that weekend, too. Detours and road closings made getting back and forth to my hotel frustrating.  I don’t see the national conference on their schedule but the Women’s Conference is drawing my attention.

My final recommendation is an event that only happened once. The Go Deeper Still Women’s Conference was an incredible four day event in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Mt. Hermon Conference Grounds. I recommend not the event but the experience. This event was the most challenging I have ever attended and the most rewarding personally. The team of speakers and staff were a blessing from start to finish. It was an event that I was blessed to co-ordinate. I know putting together an event is not something everyone is called to do but being a part of a group of women with the desire to draw other’s to the heart of God is something everyone can do. Stepping out in faith and making something happen that wouldn’t happen without you is worth all the risk.

So, now it’s your turn, dear reader. I would love to hear what conferences or retreats you would attend again. What would make you set aside the time, money and put your regular life on hold to be at? Hit or miss, what are your recommendations? What would get you back on the ride?

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WordPress Camp

I spent most of today in San Francisco at the WordPress Camp. For those of you who don’t know WordPress is my blog program. I use the Standard Theme which is a premium package. I use it because it has some nifty features that the free version doesn’t. Anyway, they had a three day conference at the University of California’s Mission Bay campus. I must say I was very impressed with the one building of the campus I saw and the catering the campus provided was incredible. Kind of lets you know where I stand on the material at the conference when the catering gets top billing.

The topics being covered today were aimed at “Bloggers and Content Creators” according to the program. Friday had addressed “Large Scale Installations”. Not my area. Saturday was “Developers and Designers”. Also not my area. So I just bought a ticket for today. Until this past Thursday they hadn’t announced the topics or posted an actual schedule so I was really going on faith when I committed to going. And it was a commitment. After I purchased my ticket my husband won all day passes with an all you can eat b-b-que at Santa Cruz Boardwalk for today. He took our daughter and they had a great time.

The first session this morning was “How the Web Works”. Nope. I’m not making it up. The speaker started with the history of ice transportation. 45 minutes later the second session, “Top 12 Features You Aren’t Using”, turned into a plug for the speaker’s sister’s photography and a lot of giggling over inside jokes and Easter Eggs. “Break Your Blog (and Fix it)” was actually the closest to useful out of the 6 sessions of the day. I didn’t hear all the sessions because there was a separate track of sessions running in another conference room.

After a wonderful lunch of b-b-que beef and chicken with roasted veggies and really good potato salad there was the most embarrassing set of Lightening Sessions that culminated with a woman trying to get everyone to sing along to Gershwin’s Summertime. I kid you not.

My afternoon rounded out with “WP and E-Commerce”, “Appearance is Everything” and “Level Up with Video”. Not a complete waste of time as I met a couple of very interesting bloggers in between. The one I was most impressed with today is David Spark. Very interesting guy with a good site.

So all in all it wasn’t a complete waste of a day. I did learn a few things but for the most part I was under whelmed and don’t see myself going next year. I’m sure there were plenty of folks who enjoyed every minute and can’t wait to go. It did give me something to blog about today.

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2 Days Off

So….I haven’t managed to make a new habit yet again. Haven’t broken any old ones and my “To Do” list hasn’t had any major overhauls.

But I have been looking at things and deciding which ones I am committed to keeping and which ones I am considering letting go. Some stuff is definitely on it’s way out. Some ideas and beliefs are getting a close evaluation as well. My two main groups are “Getting me where I want to be” and “Keeping me from where I want to be”.

As I consider, I find what I value is giving me clues to “where I want to be”. I wonder, dear reader, do you know where you want to be?

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