"...IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, DOORS WILL OPEN FOR YOU THAT WOULDN'T HAVE OPENED FOR ANYONE ELSE." - Joseph Campbell

"SOMETIMES ON THE WAY TO YOUR DREAM, YOU GET LOST AND FIND A BETTER ONE." - Unknown (as seen on River's blog, "Drifting Through Life")

"IT IS POSSIBLE AT ANY AGE TO DISCOVER A LIFELONG DESIRE YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD." - Robert Brault


"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN." - George Eliot

"WE DID NOT CHANGE AS WE GREW OLDER. WE JUST BECAME MORE CLEARLY OURSELVES." - Lynn Hall

"GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGED." - Henry David Thoreau



Saturday, December 31, 2011

* Saying Goodbye to Another Year *

One of my favorite movies is "When Harry Met Sally." There are so many great scenes and dialogue in it, but for tonight I must post a very appropriate one. It's at the New Year's Eve party. Harry just told Sally how much he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. After a little while, it's midnight and people begin to sing "Auld Lang Syne."  Following is their dialogue:




Harry:  My whole life I have never known what this song means.


Sally: I know exactly what you mean.


Harry: I mean, should old acquaintances be forgot. Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we do happen to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we forgot them…..


Sally: Maybe you're just supposed to remember you forgot them, or something – anyway it's about old friends.

~~~~     ~~~~


Welcome to my newest follower, Kelly. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!


Happy New Year to Everyone! May 2012 be our best year yet!


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain

Thursday, December 29, 2011

* Writing, Journaling, & Self Growth *

Yesterday I wrote about the 2012 desk calendar, Bylines, and what a wonderful aide it is for writers. Even though I love the technology and ease of my laptop, I still have to write things down if I'm going to remember them. Yes, I know there are calendars on the computer and on my Blackberry, but I am old-fashioned in many ways. I must write important notes, appointments, deadlines, etc. Then the words are right there, for me to see, in black and white (or whatever marvelous ink color I choose to use!) And because of my need for organization, I've just ordered my Bylines Calendar, and I'm establishing my goals.

*Note added 12/30/11 at 10:30am:  I just realized that Tama Kieves' photo looks remarkably like my profile photo! Mine was taken years ago. I swear I did not copy her pose!!

"My Life in 2012: Accomplishing My Goals." 

Part One:  Using my Bylines Calendar.

Part Two:  Writing Daily.

(And I don't mean blog writing, but there will be time for that, as well.)

My plan for daily writing will begin on January 2nd, (because it's Monday) and will involve Mari McCarthy's journaling book, "Peace of Mind and Body." Mari is a writer, singer, and journaling guru.
I received her jouraling book in a blog give-away a few months ago, but I never "found" the time to begin writing in it. I'm SO ready to begin now.


Tama Kieves is the author of "This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love." Tama's book was given to me a few years ago by someone who knew my dream of being a published writer. That book changed my life! Since then, I've purchased it once or twice to give as gifts to writer friends. It's one of those books you go back to from time to time, to re-read the inspiring words, to jump start that fire in your soul!


There are other writers and speakers who've written valuable books on these same subjects. I'll try to share them tomorrow.

Also, I've been reading blogs of other writers and their goals for next year. I'll try to share some of their ideas and suggestions tomorrow, too.

Instead of quotes this time, I'm posting two of the Sub Chapters in Tama's book:



"Just Start Dancing and The Band Will Find You."

"When You Nurture Yourself, You Nurture Your Dreams."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bylines Calendar for Writers

The 2012 Bylines Calendar is ready to purchase! I have one of the previous years and I can attest to the fact that it is an awesome desk calendar!




Here's some information from Sylvia Forbes, editor of Bylines:

The Bylines 2012 Writer's Desk Calendar is now available. The 2012 edition has 53 more great essays about the writing life, and includes even more literary holidays. It's a terrific place to keep track of deadlines and meetings, to list goals for the year, and to get inspired to write. Inside are listings of literary festivals, online writing resources, birthdays of famous authors, and more.

This year's Bylines features the desk of nineteenth century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson on the cover. His desk is actually a round table, and he wrote sitting in a rocking chair. His complete study is recreated at the Concord Museum, in Concord, Massachusetts, where Emerson lived. Many high school English teachers still teach about Emerson and his writings, over 100 years later.

This year, writers are from 25 states, plus Ireland and the UK. The state with the most entries is Kansas, with 4; however, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Oklahoma each have 3 entries. This year, two poems are included in the book.

It can be ordered from Amazon or Bylines Calendar. Price is only $14.95, plus shipping.

*I can certainly use one of these calendars again this year. I have writing plans and goals and need something to keep me organized!*


NOTE: Sylvia is currently taking submissions for Bylines 2013. Deadline is March 1, 2012.
See Submission guidelines
 

Welcome to my newest follower, Nicole Ducleroir. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!


“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” -- Diana Scharf Hunt

 
"A deadline is negative inspiration. Still it's better than no inspiration at all." -- Rita Mae Brown

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

** Almost a White Christmas **

Just a couple of days late!

 

The weather prognosticators said we might get enough snow overnight
for just a little dusting on the grassy areas.


Vern's first experience with snow at our house.


I think he preferred looking at it from the inside.

I slept later than usual today, so I missed the huge, wet flakes that came down sometime between midnight and 5:00am this morning. Most of it melted by this afternoon, but it's very cold again and the roads and sidewalks will be freezing.....Not a good thing, obviously.

We had a very nice Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends.
Then, The Ronald and I rested yesterday.....a lot!  I'll post more about Christmas soon.


"They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?" – Jeanette Winterson



Friday, December 23, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

Since Nostalgic Sunday falls on Christmas Day,
 I'm posting this early, on Friday afternoon, the 23rd.


It's time again for Christmases Past!

I may have enough old photos to post one more on
New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.
(to be determined!)



My mother hasn't been in any of the other Christmas pictures. I guess she must have taken most of them. But I know, too, she didn't like getting her picture taken. She wasn't happy with the way she looked. (Hmmm, imagine that? A woman past 40 who doesn't like photos of herself??)
 
 
 
This was taken in 1964. From left to right: My brother, Mike. My mother, my sister Marian, her husband and their two little girls, and then me....wearing one of many-more-to-follow-pointy glasses. (How do you like my white knee-socks with my jumper?!) Other sister, Jo Ann, must have taken this one.

This was a house we rented for approximately seven years. (my age was from about 10 to 17 years old.) Whenever my dreams include a house, this is the one that's in 99% of them.....still....after all these years. Do you dream about certain houses? Friends' houses? Other family members' houses? 
 
 
 
Can you tell what those red things are, hanging on both sides of the wall mirror? They are Christmas card holders that look like stockings. My mother saw a pattern for them in a magazine when we lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sewing was involved and she could actually sew. (Not me. She tried and Jo Ann tried and Marian tried to teach me...That story will have to wait for a different blog post.) The "stockings" were made of felt, with pockets on them, to hold the cards. There's also gold, zig-zag ribbon along the sides. I remember so well, watching her make them on her Singer sewing machine. They also had little sequins all over them, and I was allowed to sew some of them because that was done by hand. I would've been 8 or 9 years old then.
Fast forward many years, and voile' here is a similar one I made. It's actually the second one I made within a few years. Our Christmas things were/are stored in the basement, and the first one became wet and ruined when we had water damage. Youngest son, Mark, helped me with both of them. (The more I think about it, I wonder if I made one of these when Scott was little....)They were done the Miss Becky Homecky Way -- with super glue and glitter glue!


 
I wish you all a very beautiful and blissful Christmas!

"Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved." - Augusta E. Rundel

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

* Snow for Christmas? *

All I want for Christmas is a snowflake, or two, or more! According to our weather forecasts, we won't be having a White Christmas. I am SO disappointed. I'm spoiled because we've had very snowy winters the past few years. In actuality, the chance of St. Louis  having a White Christmas is something like 20%. So, like I said...I'm spoiled. I'm disappointed. I expect December snow every year now. Maybe that Cold Front will dip a little farther South and farther East than first predicted.....

I'll just have to look at pictures from last December....and remember.....




I probably won't be posting again until *Nostalgic Sunday* and since that falls on Christmas Day, I'll most likely post it on Christmas Eve.

But I WILL try to get around to as many blogs as possible, and leave comments.

Welcome to my newest followers, Run Away to Hike and Creepy Query Girl. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!


"Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers” -- Unknown

Sunday, December 18, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday

One week from today is Christmas Day! Unbelievable!
Time, once again, for Christmases Past.



This little snowman is about 3 inches tall. He's made of wax, and yes there's a wick on top of his hat., but I will never light it. This isn't from my actual childhood, but it is old. I don't remember where it came from, but I'm so glad to have it because we did have one just like him when I was little. We also had a candle angel with yellow hair, and altar boy with some red in his robe. I remember seeing them melt down after they'd been lit with matches and it made me sad. Don't worry little snowman. That won't happen to you!


I decorated our tree in vintage style this year, using tinsel/icicles and ornaments that were truly old, or made to look old. The blue ornament in the bottom middle of this picture is one of my old ones. It has the indentation in the front, where there's silver and red. It says West Germany on it. I'm not sure where this came from. I either brought it back from Germany when I lived there in the 70s, or purchased it somewhere in the states. Either way, I have five of them and they're some of my favorites.


I love this picture of my brother and me. He has his arm around my shoulder and we both look so sweet. Look at those Steve Urkel corduroy overalls he's wearing! And look at me! I was really knock-kneed then! Don't you love the kittens on my felt skirt, though?!



This is a much-loved Christmas picture and I'm so glad it somehow managed to wind up in my possession. This was in December 1959, so I was just about 2 weeks from being 7 years old. It was in the parlor at Webster College in St. Louis. (At that time, Webster was an all girl college, run by The Sisters of Loretto. Both of my older sisters went there at that time and lived in the dorms.) The doll was part of the display of gifts under the tree. Someone, either my mother or one of my older sisters, thought it would be cute for me to sit there, holding the doll, and have my picture taken. I'm glad they did!

I hope you've enjoyed another look into Christmases Past. I'll also post one next Sunday, the 25th.

Welcome to my newest followers, DL Hammons, Carol Kilgore (#2), ournest, Heather Gilbert, The Golden Eagle, and Sarah. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home."  ~Carol Nelson


Friday, December 16, 2011

** I Could've Fallen Down the Steps! **

* This is my post for The Deja Vu Blogfest. It was originally posted in June 2010. Whether you've seen it before or not, I hope it makes you laugh! *

Yesterday was one of those (rare) days when I had a lot of energy. I did some laundry, whipped up some homemade (from a box) brownies, picked up clutter around the house, worked on my homemade birthday cards, stopped at the library to pick up a book, stopped at the post office to mail a package and got some stamps, etc..etc..!!  I LOVE those kinds of days, because they usually are few and far between. I just do not have a high energy level...never have, and never will....I guess.

Anyway....I told you all about that, so I can tell you all about this.

 Because of my super energy yesterday, I was still in high gear after my husband had gone upstairs to bed. I made several trips up and down the stairs, returning things to where they belonged, etc. One of those times, as I walked up the steps, I carried a couple of folded t-shirts and was talking to our dog, Tiger, who faithfully followed me. Thinking my husband was probably still awake and watching TV in the bedroom, I was in my own little world...that is until I reached the first landing and saw something out of the corner of my eye. He was standing there, resting with his elbows on the railing, just waiting for me to look up and see him......and when I did..... he scared the absolute *%#$? out of me!!! I was SO mad at him... (because he scares me so many times by quietly coming up behind me, etc.)....I think I danced in place for a second or two, screamed, threw the t-shirts at him, and cussed like a sailor! Besides being scared within an inch of my life, what makes me the angriest is that he always acts so innocent!! He always says, "What? What did I do? I was just_______!  Just fill in the blanks...."Standing there, walking into the room, waiting for you", etc.

I would've loved to have seen the look on my face. Every time I think about it now, I start cracking up, which aggravated me at first....but still...in afterthought, it WAS hilarious! It makes me think of the scene below....... Ron's lucky I didn't react the way Ferris' sister did when the high school principal surprised her in the kitchen! I think it is THE funniest scene in the entire movie.


Please leave a comment and let me know if it made you laugh out loud, too!
AND, do you have friends or family members that enjoy scaring the heck out of you?? Or are YOU the one who does it?

“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.” -- Shirly MacLaine

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Deja Vu Blogfest

Hey everyone. I'm participating in a really cool blogfest that I learned about on Julie's blog, What Else is Possible? It's called The Deja Vu Blogfest at DL Hammons' blog, Cruising Altitude 2.0.

Please click on DL's link to learn all about it and sign up. The date for it is December 16th ( yes, that's THIS Friday!) All those taking part will re-post their favorite blog offering, or one that never received the exposure it deserved. Simple and fun!


I hope to read many fabulous blog posts, however long it takes me!


Welcome to my newest follower, Ron aka TheOldGeezer. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time - I think I've forgotten this before."
-- Stephen Wright




Sunday, December 11, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

It's Time for Another Nostalic Sunday

 

 
As I wrote on Friday's post, time is flying by....and here we are at Nostaligic Sunday again, where I'm highlighting my Christmases past.

I think I've mentioned before about not having many items from my childhood. I guess my Mother just wasn't a "saver" and also the fact that we moved a few times. Things were either discarded or lost. And so, I only have a very few Christmas tree ornaments from my childhood. As you can imagine, I've protected them dearly!

Here are two of those precious ornaments.
They are wafer thin bells and made of glass.
Notice the green thread? That's how the one on the left
 was hung on the tree for many years.


Here's a view of the inside. There never was a bell clapper.
If there had been, the delicate antique surely would have broken.

 

Here's another one from the same era. It's green and
has the ever popular "Snow in a Can" sprayed on it.
I can absolutely swear that the "snow" has been on
this ornament for years and years.
On the top, silver "lid" it says:
Shiny Brite. Made in USA (awesome!)



I was three years old this Christmas: 1956.
(my birthday is in January, so I was almost four.)
That's me, showing my Dad my new Tiny Tears doll.
Wow, was I ever excited!
That's my brother's new rocking horse in the background.
The above ornaments would have been hanging
on our tree that year, too.


And of course, Christmas wasn't Christmas at our house,
without Bing Crosby's White Christmas album!
I still have that old, heavy, scratchy album, plus a newer one,
from when they came out with a lighter weight, non-breakable material.  
This photo is of my CD version.
Christmas just isn't the same without old Bing!

♫♪ Jingle Bells, Ja Ja Ja Jingle Bells! ♫♪


Welcome to my newest follower, Stephen Tremp. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

 

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." -- Andy Rooney

Friday, December 9, 2011

* I WONDER *

Time for another I Wonder


There happens to be quite a few things I've been wondering about the past few days, but I'll only share two of them. My mind is usually like that Christmas song....I Wonder as I Wander.
                 
I Wonder:  Where the heck does the time go?? I get up early, and sometimes stay up late, too....and I'm busy, really busy doing things, yet nothing seems to get accomplished. On the contrary!

I Wonder: How many of you are familiar with the site Tiny Lights? I'm one of the writers who submits monthly answers to unique questions posed by Tiny Lights Guru -- Susan Bono. That area is called: Searchlights & Signal Flares.  Anyone can submit answers. Got that? Anyone! There is no payment, but it's certainly a great site for others to find your writing. Check out the guidelines and Go For It!

** Just added Saturday morning: Click here and be taken to my answer to Susan's latest question, What do you do when a story resists you?
(courtesy of: Tiny Lights - A Journal of Personal Narrative)


Welcome to my newest followers, Jean Tuthill & Glenn R. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"I am a conservative type of person, so sometimes when I'm chilling with myself, people always come ask me, 'What's wrong with you? What are you wondering about?'" -- Wayne Wonder

Sunday, December 4, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

It's time for another Nostalgic Sunday.


As I said in last week's Nostalgic Sunday, I'm highlighting Christmases past during December.

On Thursday of this week I actually made some homemade Christmas cookies. (Well, if truth be told, they were from a package mix, but at least they weren't purchased at the bakery.) My motivation was because of an invitation to a Cookie Exchange/Chili Luncheon. I love cookie exchanges and I haven't been to one in years, therefore I was excited about doing some baking.

I made 2 dozen Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies. I'm dangerous around these cookies...or is it they are dangerous around me?!



Then, I made something I haven't made since my youngest son (age 24) was a little boy. Christmas Cut-Out Sugar Cookies! I used a mixture of old and new tools. My handy-dandy Pampered Chef pizza and dough roller, and three of my mom's cookie cutters! I can't tell you how happy I am to have them.




I've never had cookies turn out so well. Not too brown on the edges or bottoms....


This is the bottom of a star cookie. All I can say is....it must be the parchment paper!
I've never used it before! (I'm sure there are some voices saying, "You haven't?!")
I'm a true believer and will always use it from now on.

Some of the finished product!

SO thought of my mom while I made these. When I was a little girl she always let me help: Rolling out the dough, pushing a cookie cutter into the dough, learning to put it on the cookie sheet without it tearing, and of course, the sprinkling of colored sugars on top!

I was home alone when I made these, except for Vern snoozing in the family room. I also had some Christmas music playing and I truly had fun. I was surprised at my feelings because I thought I'd be sad making these by myself. I did feel a bit melancholy but I also had fond, happy memories mixed in. I had a major "Aha moment," too, which was quite powerful and I hope it will help with my writing. (You just never know when those epiphanies will occur.)
I was either six or seven here. (1959 or 1960) I'm modeling the new robe I got for Christmas. Behind me is my sister Marian who I thought was so pretty and looked just like Betty Anderson, on "Father Knows Best." I was the flower girl in her wedding around this same time, too.


Here's another picture from the same evening. We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve, after Midnight Mass. Notice my brother, Mike, also received a new robe. I can't tell what he's holding, but it looks kind of like a pocket-watch. I don't remember anything about that. I do remember the chess/checkers game he got and the "Learn to Draw with Jon Gnagy" book. We both got one of those and I loved mine. I vividly remember drawing a dog; a boxer. I also see a couple of books there, which does not surprise me one bit. We grew up with books!


Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon, we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now. (lyrics from Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Martin/Bane)


 

This Christmas song has begun to mean more to me over the past few years....must be that aging thing.