Making a Prayer Book

Years ago a friend of mine embellished a notebook for me as a gift.  I didn’t want to use this beautiful creation just to jot down notes and scribble to-do lists, so I turned it into a prayer book.

I wrote in some prayers but mostly it was filled with friends and family that needed prayers and support.

I remember quite a few friends asking me, after they heard me say “I’ll put you in my prayer book”, what do you mean!!

But now, after many years of praying on the book and praying for every single person carefully written with love, it’s time to start a new book.

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If you would like to make your own prayer book, here are some ideas.

Choose a notebook of your liking.  It does not have to be fancy or expensive.  You can buy a very inexpensive notebook or composition book and cover it with scrapbook paper.  You could even go all out and use a 3 ring binder.  It will be your personal prayer book, be creative , or be a minimalist like me, simple.

This time around I will be using a book that has a covering that I think is called moleskin, and I’m really hoping it is not made from the skin of moles!!!  If it is, please don’t burst my bubble!!  It also has an elastic band that can keep the book closed, holding any slips of paper with prayers or quotes or prayer cards I may find that I decide to tuck inside.

The first page will have a favorite prayer, bible verse or quote, I haven’t decided just yet but I’m leaning to The Lord’s Prayer.  I was raised on that and The Hail Mary.

The remaining pages in the book can be filled however you want.  I just simply list prayers, quotes, bible verses and names of people that I want to pray for, and I write them in pen.  If you want to use pencil and erase them once the prayer has been answered you can, but I leave them in my book.

If you want to create a section with a page for each day of the week, designating that day to pray for something particular such as  Daily for spouse and children, Sunday for family and friends, Monday for school and teachers, Tuesday for world events, etc.

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You could also make sections for Blessings, Bible Verses, Inspiration or Self Improvement.  You might even want a section to hold funeral cards from family members that list their birth and death dates.  We need to continue to pray for our loved ones even after they have passed.

You can embellish each section or page if you want, if you like to draw go ahead and doodle something in your pages.  Use colorful paperclips or flags for sections, be creative if you like.

As we enter into the upcoming holiday season of giving thanks and spending time with those that we love, get a head start and make your prayer book!  Live well friends!

Happy New Year!

May you all be blessed with laughter and joy, peace and love, health and prosperity in the New Year!

If you make resolutions, good luck but do not beat yourself up if you mess up a little, you are human and will make mistakes.  As for me, I gave up resolutions a long time ago, too much pressure!  I just try to be the best person I can be, I try to keep myself grounded & positive, and surround myself with healthy relationships.  I try to keep my body as healthy as possible with good food, yoga and meditation.  I struggle with fibro pain on a daily basis, and believe it or not…dealing with daily pain really keeps life in perspective for me.

I also keep God in my life, my religious and spiritual faith keeps me going.

I hope you are enjoying a new day filled with delicious food and family and friends!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Puppy Love, with a Bully

I’m in love.  Puppy Love!  My son adopted a puppy…..at his house *whew. 

But I’ve been busy helping him because he works a lot.  And I want to steal the puppy.  I can’t keep my lips off his cute little wrinkly face.

I have to admit, when we went to look at Dozer, and clearly bring him home, I really wasn’t all that impressed with the breed…English Bulldog, AKA Bullies.  But as I held him and he licked my face, he stole my heart.

Watching my son learn to take care of another living being, has been a challenge as I sometimes feel I’m being very bossy but he seems to welcome the advice since he has never had a dog that he is responsible for by himself.  We have had family dogs, but I did all the training, he did all the playing and enjoying.  He has learned quickly how much is involved with a puppy.  And I am watching as he tries to develop his patience. *insert giggle

Unfortunately we didn’t know that the area where the “breeder” was located was well known for backyard puppy mills.  And surprisingly, 2 particular religious sects that I would have never imaged to “mass produce puppies”, are the biggest culprits.  I had NO IDEA!  The breeder’s house did have 3 outdoor pens with dogs in them so clearly dog breeding was a business for him.  At the time though, I just thought he really loved the breed but as my son was making the purchase and getting the papers, I wandered a little closer to the pens to get a closer look because my curiosity had peaked.  And there were a number of dogs in the pens. 

   Look at those toes!

My son is happy that he rescued one of the puppies.  The vet appointment showed a skin infection, parasites and worms in his stools all due to his living conditions.  We noticed that many of his nails had been broken back to his skin and I was concerned as to why, but the vet seems to think it was his living conditions as well and they will grow back. 

In the last 4 weeks, Dozer has gained 8 pounds!  He is still on meds for the parasites and worms but he is on the road to recovery! 

He’s a very happy and playful pup.  And full of sweet love.  I do on most occasions get bitten on the nose when I grab his face to kiss him!  And when I sit on the floor to play with him I usually get my fingers bit, but then he jumps on me and gives me plenty of puppy kisses!

I haven’t stolen him yet.  But the time is comin’

Things I Miss in my Life

I miss my…

Mom’s warm smile and loving personality

Dad’s mischievous nature and infectious laugh

Kids as babies

Brother, and everything about him

Nephew and his awesome hugs

 

I miss…

Living less than 10 minutes from the beach

The house I grew up in

Tucking my kids in bed at night and reading to them

Being tucked in by my Mom and Dad

Being able to eat anything and everything and NOT having to worry about fat, calories, cholesterol and weight gain

 

I miss my…

Grandfathers garage full of paint cans

Mammaw’s swing

Mom hamburg bar-b-q

Mom’s family speaking Pennsylvania Dutch

Youth

Grandmothers country farm cooking

 

I miss…

The book swap libraries at the marina’s I used to visit

Sleepovers at my both of my Grandmothers homes

Watching the sunset from the bow of a boat

Holding my Grandmothers hand

Rascal, my husky

 

I miss…

My Dad calming me down after I skinned my knee (but I don’t miss him ripping the band aid off)

Picking on my brother, in our adult years (it got wicked at times)

Having a garden and a patio

Having a tea party with my Dad

Having a back yard picnic with Mammaw

Recess

Naptime

My dolls

Playing a ridiculous card game called “Donkey” with my parents and aunt and uncle (laughed until I cried)

Going to the beach every summer with my family when I was a kid

 The innocence of my childhood and not having a care in the world

 

Dad’s Night

When I was a little girl, a very long time ago, well…not that long ago, really.  My Mom had her night out mid-week, every week.  Mom’s night out was going to the “hair dresser”.   We never knew what “color” my Mom was going to be when she arrived home and walked through the door.  It was always the “bee-hive” style, but the color, we just didn’t know what to expect.  There was Frosted, Orange-and I DO mean ORANGE, Black, Brown; any color imaginable in that decade, she tried.  I will never forget the teasing she took from my Dad too.  Which of course he usually got us kids involved, Dad was just pure evil with his teasing.

(Dad and Mom)

Anyway, on those nights Dad was the homemaker.  He helped us with homework, gave baths, played dolls and tea party with me, and he cooked.  Now, Dad was not much of a cook but he did make us things we liked such as tomato soup and grilled cheese.  Once, I remember the soup tasting like it was burned.  He of course, denied anything wrong and made us eat it.  And guess what?  I was in the kitchen helping with the dishes when he emptied the pot.  It was indeed, burned on the bottom.  Then there was breakfast for supper, pancakes.  Still love to do that!!  Spaghetti with hamburger meat sauce was another favorite and regular Dad-night Menu.  But my all time favorite was fried potatoes and eggs!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!  I know it sounds crazy, especially to love it that much but I did and still do!!!!

Back then Dad would slice up the potatoes and fry them to a slight crispiness but still tender.  He was the fried potato king!!!   Then he would pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and scramble them all together in an unbelievable yummy goodness!  I make them a little healthier and with a lot less oil than my Dad used, I simply use a half of a left over baked potato, sliced with a little olive oil to make them a little crispy and mostly egg whites.  I love using either dill, or my favorite “Herbes de Provence” .

So, for this past month of February, we hit the four year mark of my Dad’s passing, I have been thinking of him most of my waking hours, remembering all the memories.  On one hand it seems like yesterday that he passed; the pain of losing him and not being able to say goodbye still rips at my heart.  But on the other hand it feels like forever since I heard his voice, his laughter, heard a smartass joke or felt one of his hugs.  Some days I think I need to pick up the phone and say as I always did “hey old man…”

(Dad with my grandsons Hayden and Camron)

For now, until I get to see him again, I will just have to make do with the memories.  And cherish those memorable nights with Dad.

Cheers Dad, miss you

Bittersweet Birthday Week

At my age, birthdays should be celebrated in the length of a week!! And this year I have been doing just that thanks to my wonderful friends! However, my birthday week holds bittersweet memories of my family.

My brother and I were exactly one year and two days apart. I only knew my birthday as “Our” birthday. Growing up I never had a birthday cake that was my own, or my own birthday dinner, or birthday party. There were definitely times in my childhood years that I wished and hoped for my own special birthday. But now that I no longer have my brother, I truly miss having him to share our birthday. My fantastic friends always seem to make my birthday special and my own, but I still miss the days of a birthday cake that reads “Happy Birthday Kim & Kevin”. I totally miss the birthdays we shared as adults where I would undoubtedly smear frosting on my brother’s face and have him do something much worse to get even.

I also share a birthday with my Aunt, actually my brother was born on her birthday. We usually call each other on our special days, two days apart, and sing an off-key version of “Happy Birthday”!! And we certainly share the bittersweet birthday week. Many years ago, my Grandmother, my Aunts Mother, died but they hooked her to life support for a day only to disconnect her on my Aunt’s birthday.

And now, this week also marks the anniversary of my Dad’s passing. It’s four years now, although it seems like yesterday. Dad was still struggling with my Mom’s passing just six months earlier, in fact he was quite miserable to be around. He didn’t even call me on my birthday, he called a day or two later in an awful mood taking his sadness out on me which was fine, I certainly understood his depression, but right after that call he died in his sleep.

Soooo, my birthday is still fun, and exciting, and exhausting, AND I am very thankful for my fantastic friends! Along with the fun celebrations this week, there are lost loved ones to remember and cherish as well.

Cheers everyone!

PINK OUT, Women’s Cancer Fund

As I do every spring, I attend the Pink Out Women’s Cancer Fund event.  It is a night that is filled with fun, friendship, food and awe.  Money is raised for the Pink Out Fund, information is  HERE.  Please make a donation!

The mansion is a beautiful piece of architecture and design in itself but it is totally decorated in pink for this event.  The girls in the committee are all dressed in a theme outfit and we are greeted at the door by Jane Rice with a hug, a hug that is one that you would give your best friend as she enters your home for a girl’s night.  The committee women’s husbands wearpink polo shirts; they direct the parking and offer you a ride to the mansion in golf carts.  There are tall pink flags waving in the evening breeze as you drive up to the mansion, gorgeous pink flower arrangements are placed throughout the rooms (donated and crafted from plastic bottles and bags and painted), tables are adorned with pink fabric and ribbons, and beautifully hand-blown glass hats and purses dress the tables outside in the backyard.  The drinks for the evening are of a pink nature of course, made with cranberry or pomegranate juices, pink plates and napkins, pink food ~ pasta with a pink sauce and salmon, even the salad dressing had a pink hue to it! 

The entire place is filled with women in pink, it looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded!  It’s one the most wonderful things you can experience.  The sister-hood, the love, the caring.  And then you are humbled when you see someone that is obviously undergoing chemo treatments.  I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  She had no hair and my heart instantly ached for her.  She told me that she shaved her head for her daughter-in-law who has breast cancer.  LOVE

Volunteers for the evening, also in a theme outfit but different from the committee girls, are walking around all evening collecting your empty plates and cups.  There is also a  silent auction and raffle drawings. 

Then Jane speaks, her story of surviving cancer is amazing and makes me tear up every time.  A guest speaker spoke last night, a young woman; I could not move from where I was standing.  As she was introduced by her friend, it was mentioned that she was a tough cookie; she also mentioned a t-shirt that this young woman wore, it read “hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch”.  And cancer did.  This young woman’s story was shocking and heartwarming and I couldn’t help but cry.  She had a doctor appointment, had her breast exam and was given a clean bill of health, in a matter of 2 months I believe; she did her own breast exam and found the lump that changed her life.  She talked about how she wanted to “feel” what cancer was like so for a few days she didn’t take some medicine, which she said looking back was probably not a good thing, but she still wanted to feel it.  After a treatment she was so sick but still went to work, had to excuse herself and then went back to work.  She did then take the meds, and she said that she really couldn’t explain why she wanted to do that but she did.  She also told us how she would have a treatment and then go home to put on her bikini, hop on the John Deere and mow her yard.  Yea I think she might be a tough girlie!  She told us though, she was still depressed and sad BUT she was not going to let cancer live her life, she was going to learn to live her life with cancer. 

After she spoke and walked away we were asked if we remembered a young bald girl 2 years ago in a pink fluffy dress, a lot of us agreed that yes we did, that was her and she will be celebrating 2 years of being cancer free this month. 

Next, Jane asked all the women in the room that had breast, ovarian or uterine cancer to come forward.   Women from all corners of the room walked up, some beside me.  I just cried.  They held hands and stood around a tree that was decorated with names of those being remember or honored with women’s cancer.   It was so moving. 

At the end of the night as you walk outside you are greeted by the husbands in pink polo shirts again.  They help you down the steps, hand you a gift and escort you to your car in the golf cart.  They use lights to guide you out of the cart and walk you to your car, open your car door and get you in the car safely.  And finally, they tell you “get home safely”.

People that care. Friends, family.  Amazing.  Please make a donation, this is a wonderful organization.

Ladies, do your breast exams!!!

Christmas Music

Jumping in the car this morning, I turned on  a local radio station that is already playing Christmas music, 24/7.  It wasn’t until I pulled out of the parking lot that I realized I ran out the door a little too early.  Shocking if you really knew me in the morning.  Anyway, by the time I park my car at work, this old Christmas tune is playing,  Johnny Mathias, “The Christmas Song”.  I was transported back in time.  Seriously.  I sat there and saw my Mom as though it was yesterday.  In her skirt, heels and hose with an apron tied around her waist.  The couture very 60’s!  Beehive hair-do, and frosted nonetheless!  On the kitchen wall was the cat clock that wagged its tail and moved its eyes as it kept time.  Dad in the kitchen helping my Mom mash the potatoes.  In the living room my grandparents sat with my brother and me playing with our new toys by the silver tree I disliked.  Our stockings hung on the bookcase shelves because we didn’t have a fireplace.  On the rooftop was a Santa in his sleigh with all the tiny reindeer, and Rudolph with a red lightbulb for his nose leading the way.  The house was framed in those old-fashioned large bulbs.    And on the record player, a Johnny Mathias album.  “The Christmas Song” filled the house along with the aroma of a turkey dinner cooking. 

And as I sit here typing this, I remember the same album playing at my Grandmothers house.  She is baking cookies and wrapping her gifts so precisely that the gift wrap pattern matches, you cannot see any seams.  And the Nativity scene.  That is one of the things I love the most about my childhood Christmas memories.  I would lay on my belly and just gaze at Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  Oh and I cannot forget the ribbon candy!!!  She always had ribbon candy.  I didn’t think they made that anymore but someone brought some into work last week.

Hope you all have pleasant and happy Christmas memories too!

Holiday Time!

Now that Halloween is officially over in a matter of hours, I guess the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday is upon us.  There are cranberries and clementines in the markets.  Not to mention I think I noticed more frozen hams and turkeys too.   The Halloween decorations were shoved aside and put on sale so the other holiday items can begin to sell.

I’m wondering if I’ll see houses adorned with Christmas lights  this week or next.  Last year when I saw them early in November, I thought that due to the warm weather they had just put them up and were testing them.  But they’d be on every night.  I even saw some places with them still lit in February!!!

I will be totally honest with you and let you in on my little secret…I am a Christmas music junkie!!!  Been listening to some CD’s for the last few weeks.  I just love the tunes!  I can’t help it!  Was like this since I was a child.  And, Silent Night makes me cry, for some reason it makes me think of family members not with my anymore and I shed tears at the loss.   On another lighter note, I have also begun purchasing a few gifts, started months ago. 

But what gets me the most is hearing people already complain about “the season” and how much they hate it.  Really?  How can anyone hate the holidays?  Yea they have the right but then when I listen to why, I feel compelled to tell them that they are complaining about things they put upon themselves.  Enjoy the season for what it is, for what it really means.  If baking too many cookies or shopping for gifts is something you really hate and it takes away the joy of the season, DON’T DO IT!   Eliminate the things that you don’t like and learn to enjoy again.  The lights, the music, the giving, the togetherness, you can even enjoy everyone else’s decorations knowing that you aren’t the one that has to take them down and put them away.  So, I guess what I’m saying is, if you really don’t like this time of the year figure out why and fix it.  Learn to enjoy, learn to say no to the unimportant things.  I mean really, do you have to make 5 different kinds of cookies and do you really have to buy everyone you know a gift, or can you make only one batch of cookies or maybe even NONE.  Wouldn’t it be better to just buy a gift because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to.  Isn’t an awesome feeling to give a gift to someone you really love and watch the joy in their eyes when they open it?  That’s true giving.

And then there are the folks who don’t want to see ANYTHING related to Christmas till the week of.  Why? Does it hurt?   Who cares?  If it makes people happy, why not.  We need more happy people in the world!!  So if looking at and shopping for Christmas stuff/decorations in the stores as soon as Halloween is over, why does it really bother you?  I don’t particularly care for blood and guts scary movies that have been on for the last few weeks but it’s what other people enjoy, so let’em enjoy!  I’ll watch something else.

So I challenge all you Scrooges out there to take a good long look inside yourself and try to find a way to enjoy the upcoming holidays.  Try to see the holidays the way I see them.  Let me know how you make out.

Oh, and one more thing, donate a gift.  Contact you local Red Cross, your church, you can even go to Wal-Mart and grab one of those cards off the tree’s and buy a gift for a kid that way.  DO IT!  It’s an awesome feeling to know that you are making someone happy.

Enjoy the season!

Hugs and Love to all!

Train Trip Day ONE

Vacation!!!  Haven’t had a vacation get-away since April of 2008!!!  Heading to VT, MA, and CT, visiting friends and family.  I decided to do a train to the New England states.  I figured a flight plan to all stops would kill me financially and I was feeling adventurous anyway, so the train was the perfect choice.  I logged on to the Amtrak website, was easily confused trying to find all the stations that I needed to go to so I decided to make it easy upon myself so I ran to the nearest Triple A place and begged for help!  Then a few days before leaving on the trip I logged onto the site again to check out the luggage info and to see if they had a “Bar Car” that some friends told me about.  I discovered they had a “Cafe Car” instead, but still serve alcohol, and I also got my luggage requirements.  The luggage as a carry on couldn’t be larger than 28″ x 22″ x 11″ and weigh no more than 50 pounds, lucked out on the size but not so sure on the weight….seriously.  I was concerned that I went over.  I had no idea on what to pack, figured layering my clothes would be the easiest as far as staying warm or cooling off.  Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to overpack???

Here’s how day one is going so far:

Jumped on the train in Lancaster.  Train station is VERY old and falling apart.  I snapped a few photo’s but they didn’t turn out so well.  However, the station reminded me of something out of a movie.  Old wooden benches, information booths with fancy ironwork on the windows, a big clock and tons of people milling about.  My fiend and I checked out the tiny little station, then sat and chatted until they called my train.  No where do I find a place to weigh my luggage, the girl at the ticket counter just swooshed me away to Gate 1 with no regard to my bags.

My train is called, my dear friend escorts me onboard, hugs and he’s gone.

I settle into my seat, pull out my granola bar and snuggle in for a long exciting ride.  And then there’s this announcement.  We all need to get off the train and board another train.  No I didn’t make a mistake, I’m assuming the girl at the window that told us all to board at Gate 1 was incorrect.  So I drag my large heavy suitcase off the train, head back up the elevator, head to the other side of the station, get on that elevator to finally arrive at the other train, along with about 100 other folks.

So I snuggle in yet again, finish my granola bar and pull out my book.  The Conductor made his way about the train gathering tickets and “punching holes” in the ticket.  The scene reminded me of  “The Polar Express”.  I didn’t hear Tom Hanks shout “all aboard!” nor did the hole punching create the snowfall of paper holes, but I was expecting it!  Can’t forget to mention the train whistle, love hearing that as we chug along, going clickity clack.  Okay the Amtrak does not chug nor go clickity clack but I’m pretending that it does okay.  I mean, it sort of does.  And ya get shimmied a little too, sometimes a lot.

There was this couple sitting across the aisle from me, he couldn’t stop talking.  The conversation was interesting and rarely was he quiet.  The train made several stops to gather more people.  And then another couple joined them, now he never shuts up.  Ever.  Learned a lot about him and his family!!  He did however, come to my rescue!  As we all were getting off the train, the door started to close on me and he jumped in to save me!  Whew!  I can see the headlines now, “Woman crushed in NY Amtrak train getting stuck in doors, she was beyond saving but the luggage she was dragging had not a scratch on it, bizarre details at 11″……

The girl at Triple A told me that when I get into NY to go upstairs to find out where to get my next train.  She cautioned me that it was a very busy and very hectic station.  She instilled fear in me.  Now, I’m quite confident in traveling alone, I’m a very independent person but she definitely put the fear in me.  And to top it off, she pointed out that I only had 30 minutes to do so.  Piece of cake!  I drag my suitcase, did I mention previously that it was overpacked?, out of the train, managed to survive the attack of the train door, found an elevator along with about 8 other people and their overpacked suitcases, go upstairs and I see Subway signs and Amtrak signs and New Jersey signs and screens with departure info all over the place!   I just twirled in a circle of confusion.  Standing not but 10 feet in front of me is a conductor, I show him my ticket and ask for direction.  I hit pay dirt baby!  Its his train he says, follow me.  So I did. And he takes off down the stairs, he flies faster than the train did!  Now, I’m  trying to get down the stairs with my freakin heavy suitcase one careful step at a time, while 750 people are coming up, two steps at a time!!!  And the conductor is GONE!  When I finally get to the bottom, the platform is deserted.  To make matters worse, there is a train on either side of me, hmmm which train do I choose???  Then I have flashes of movies.  Movies in NY subway stations where the bad guys appear shooting the confused girl standing all alone on the train platform.   Eventually I see another conductor 3 cars down the platform, I make a mad dash in his direction and ask about my train, lucked out again and boarded my train.

Many of my friends told me that the Amtrak “flies” through the countryside and cities.  I’m really expecting to only catch glimpses of the area as we sail through but it wasn’t like that at all.  At times we just stop, for whatever reason I do not know.  Then we heard that due to the recent storms that went up the east coast, many of the Amtrak lines were damaged and dangerous.  Tracks had to be avoided and for a while the train moved at a snail’s pace, really it did.  Squirrels were running faster than we were. 

I did hear one story though.  As we approached a turn to go over a bridge two young girls were sitting on the bridge dangling their feet over the edge, (gasping) the train applied its emergency brakes, they got up and ran just making it off the bridge inches before they were run over but managed to tell the engineers “sorry” as he went past.  What would their Mothers think??!! 

Again, the conductor punches holes in my ticket, and I ask him about the cafe car and get my directions.  Thankfully the train is equipped with electrical outlets at every seat.  I charge up my phone and laptop try to blog for awhile.

and my big fat heavy suitcase is sitting beside me, I’m snarling at it….

But i get to see beautiful scenery.

and cute little train stations.

Cute little outdoor markets.

It was a long day on the train but the destination was worth it!  I finally arrive and ask my new conductor friend to help me get that blasted suitcase off the train.  What happened next was exhilarating!  I see my girlfriends husband as soon as I get off the train, give him a big hug and he points in the direction of Kathy.   I took off running, well sort of a run since I was dragging that you-know-what with me, no not you Jeff, and I see Kathy!  I hear Jeff yelling something about he’ll take the luggage but I for some reason can’t let go.  But then I do.  And I run into Kathy’s arms!  A better movie scene.  Hugging and laughing and then I start crying!  I haven’t seen her in years, we’re guessing about 25ish.

We had so much to catch up on and little time to do it in.  I think another trip could be in the making.

More trip stories later, and pictures!

Cheers!