Photo Books + Wasteful Living Update

I’m going to cover creating photo books in today’s post.  As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, I am a resolution maker.  For years one of my top resolutions was to organize my photos.  Early on in my marriage (and even before), I’d been pretty faithful in placing all my pictures in albums.  Then we had children.  That meant more pictures and less time.  In rare good moments, I labeled the backs of the pictures and placed them in albums.  More often than not, I just crammed the envelope of newly processed photos into an already overstuffed shoe box.  Eventually we moved into the digital age.  Our photography life still mainly consisted of vacation pictures (day to day life isn’t all that exciting), but we had an abundance of other pictures too.  Having a camera on my phone at the ready made spontaneous pictures more possible.  Hence, more to organize.

Continue reading

Sweet Strawberries

Have you ever been to a pick-your-own berry farm? I never had during my 50+ years of life. Maybe five years ago, I bought a strawberry tower pot. It was a dismal flop – no berries! This year I decided to leave the growing to the experts, but still get the experience of fresh fruit.

This past week, my husband and I headed off to a local you-pick farm. As we were checking in, I could hear people around us who sounded like they do this every year. I felt like a child in a new school. Thankfully we weren’t given a lot of rules. Basically we were advised not to pick immature berries and to be careful not to crush the small plants.

Continue reading

Breeding Worms (aka Wasteful Living)

I have a problem…I am wasteful. No big deal, right? I mean in the scope of sins we can commit, wasting must be near the bottom. But, it is there, over and over again, in the Bible.

The first thing that comes to mind is the story of the manna. In case you don’t recall the story in Exodus 16, here’s what happened: The Children of Israel had been delivered from their Egyptian task masters by a miraculous parting of the Red Sea (chapter 14). They were elated and they expressed their joy to God by composing a song about how great His deliverance was and how the Almighty would bring them into the Promised Land (chapter 15). Their satisfaction with their delivering Savior didn’t last long.  They hadn’t been on their journey very long before they angrily complained about being hungry. They went so far as to say that they should have never left their servitude because it was better back in Egypt. Instead of punishing these insolent people, God graciously provided special small, round pieces of bread, called manna. The people were to go out of their tents and gather it every morning. The one stipulation was that they were to take a specific amount. This guaranteed that they would have enough to eat, but not more than they could consume. Of course, some tested God. They took more than they needed and ended up leaving it overnight. In the morning, their wasteful bread attracted worms and it stank.

Continue reading

man with diabetes sign

The Silent Dangers of Diabetes

Today, March 28th, is American Diabetes Alert Day.  I am dedicating this blog post to alerting people to the facts of this disease, especially to Type 2 Diabetes.

I confess that when I was younger I knew little to nothing about the disease called diabetes.  My awareness really began because a friend of mine discovered she had it.  Besides being a friend, this lady was also a dental patient who I took care of.  In observing this woman, I would have never suspected that she’d be diagnosed with diabetes.  The biggest misconception I had was that all diabetics are overweight.  My friend was a slim, older lady.  If anything, she needed to put on a few pounds!  However, from a dental perspective, I knew that something was wrong.  As I continued to see her for dental cleanings, her periodontal (gum) condition steadily deteriorated.  That, plus the fact that she had a really high rate of decay, made me suspect she was in a different category from my other patients.  At first I thought the problem was poor nutrition.  She admitted to eating a limited variety of foods and not taking vitamins.  I figured that possibly she was really suffering from a lack of vitamin C and recommended she both add citrus fruits to her diet and start taking a good multivitamin.  I also stressed that she really needed to step up her oral hygiene and I scheduled more frequent cleanings at our office for her. Continue reading

It can’t be morning already!

You hear that dreadful noise coming through your dream.  That constant and annoying sound that just keeps going on and on.  You struggle to make sense of the repetition and slowly your mind sharpens to the point that you can make out that the irritation is your alarm clock going off.  You reach an arm out from under your warm cocoon and are startled by the frigid air.  Fumbling around, you finally locate the snooze button and quickly draw your hand back under the protection of the warm covers.  You snuggle back down into your comfortably warm cloud and float back into the world of tranquility.  You are just getting back to your pleasant dream when the peace is broken by that blaring noise again.  You repeat this process for the next thirty minutes in nine minute intervals before you finally  yield to the electronic pest.

Continue reading

Roller coaster

Out of Control

I have a little quiz for you today.  No groaning.  There are just a few questions, but you have to promise to answer honestly.  No hedging or justifying – just a simple yes or no.

  1. If you are going somewhere by car and traveling with others, short or long distance, do you prefer to be the driver?
  2. Do you prefer to do certain jobs around the house yourself (mowing the lawn, putting dishes in the dishwasher, doing laundry, etc) and typically reject offers for help in these areas?
  3. Do you take a leading role in projects and sometimes secretly revise others’ work when you are part of a group presentation?
  4. Do you seek opportunities at work or church where you can right the wrongs that you see (maybe you think the former person in this role didn’t put their full effort into the position)?
  5. Do you ever feel like your prayers are directing God?

I’m sure I could create more questions in other areas of life, but these are enough for now.  How did you score?  Did you answer yes to 3 of the 5 questions?  I think it’s time for all of us to look into the areas where we feel we need to be in control.

Continue reading

Mary Pickford sad photo

Valentine’s Day with a Broken Heart

BROKEN HEARTHow do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  If the thought of it leaves you feeling depressed or lonely, you’re not unique.  According to one statistic, about 40% of people have negative emotions when thinking about the ‘Holiday of Love’.  If you are currently single, widowed, divorced, or have recently broken off a relationship it may seem like everyone in the world is celebrating except you.  Although I can’t change your circumstances, my aim in this short post is to give you some alternative things to focus on.  What if you are happily in a relationship and these ideas seem far removed from you?  Chances are you know someone who could use a boost in their perspective.  Read my suggestions and reach out to someone who may be lonely.  Better yet, send them a link to my blog and suggest they read it for themselves.  It might change a dreaded holiday into one they cherish.

Continue reading

Sunset

New Year – End Your Day Well

Today is the last posting for my New Year series. I thought I should use this final topic to discuss setting ourselves up for a good tomorrow by finishing our day well.

My days have drastically changed in the last year. Many days have no specific deadlines now. I could wake up and go about my duties in a leisurely way, although I think that would be a foolish waste of precious hours.

Gears and cogs

There is one day that stays consistent through the waxing and waning of my life – Sunday. Sundays are…well, dare I say it?…choaos in high gear. Looking back, I have no idea how I held Sundays together when my children were little. Even now, when I don’t have little mouths to feed and little arms and legs to stuff into their Sunday best, I can barely get out the door. Some might point to the fact that I travel almost an hour to get to church or that many times I stay in my church area all day long. However, I really don’t think that my problem lies in those excuses.  I wake up 2.25 hours before I am supposed to leave. Any reasonable person (especially a person without others that are heavily relying on her) should be able to head out the door in peace with that kind of lead.

Instead, my Sunday face is not a pretty one. Most of the time I’m leaving with a look that contains a mix of frustration, panic, and even a bit of anger thrown in. Somehow those two plus hours go by with lightning speed and once again I’m walking out the door ten minutes later than I intended.

Continue reading

New Year – Prayer

Hello,

Today’s New Year’s topic is prayer.  Once again I’m terribly shortcoming in this area of my life.  In my younger adult years, I really struggled accepting that I needed to pray.  I figured that God knew everything that I ever would think about praying for way before I ever even knew about it myself.  On top of that, I had the attitude that God’s will would win out no matter if I prayed for it to happen or not.  So what’s the use of putting in the time to pray if it really had no purpose?  Oh and here’s the kicker, I actually became convinced that God was doing the opposite of what I prayed for.  People would ask me to pray for them.  Of course, I would tell them that I would pray and I even made sure I did (at least once), but in my head I would think, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking.’  Do you remember the Old Testament story in Numbers 22-24 about how Balak, the Moabite King, hired Balaam to curse the Israelite people?  Every time he attempted to curse them, he ended up blessing them instead.  Well, I felt like my prayer life was similar, only in reverse.  When I cried out for God’s blessings on someone, something bad would happen.  I was not the one you’d want on your church’s prayer team!

<aRomans 12:12 plaque (2)

Even in my rebellion, there would be times I would feel guilty for largely abandoning prayer.  I knew that Christians were supposed to pray.  You can’t read the Bible and escape reading about people who prayed – David, Daniel, Paul, and even Jonah (who was a prime example of a rebel) prayed.  Then, of course, there is the Lord’s Prayer.  If God acted completely without regard to prayer, why would Jesus give His disciples (and us) an example of how to pray?  I finally came to the conclusion that, even if the idea of why people should pray is beyond my comprehension, God wants us to pray and I needed to obey Him in this area.

Continue reading

New Year – Body Control




Hello again – glad you’re still with me for week three of my New Year blog posts.  This week I felt like I should talk about taking care of our bodies and keeping them under control.  The trouble is, I have no expertise in this area.  If I wasn’t so new at blogging and had more connections, this would definitely be a time I would have a ‘guest blogger’ take over.  I could learn a lot myself!  Instead of telling you what I’m doing to help my body, let me tell you what I should be doing.

I should be exercising.  During the warmer months, I definitely am better at this.  The trouble is, it is incidental exercise.  My husband and I enjoy bicycling and hiking in parks.  We like to walk around the nearby neighborhoods.  We are having fun doing the activity and exercise is just a by-product.  The trouble comes in when it is too hot, too cold, rainy, or icy.  Then we don’t get outside.  If I were more dedicated to movement for its own sake, I would find a way.  We have a treadmill in the basement, but I have come up with countless excuses why I don’t want to use it – the basement isn’t finished, I have no secure way to keep my iPad in place to distract me, I have almost fallen off multiple times….You get the picture and while you’re getting it, imagine an out-of-shape middle aged woman sitting on her comfy couch motionless (unless you count the hand to mouth movement)!  I must say that it did help when I listened to downloaded podcasts/Ted Talks while I was walking.  If the subject didn’t keep me distracted, balancing my iPad did.  If the topic was too interesting, I’d find myself slowing down until I was in danger of catapulting off the end.  Last year I tried walking outside even when it was icy by using crampons on my shoes.  This is a test of faith when your mind is telling you, “Don’t go there.  You’ll slip!” and you know your metal spikes should hold you upright.

Continue reading