Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Different Way to Give

Have you ever wanted to give or do something charitable for someone
when misfortune struck?
Then because the scope of the situation was just enormous
and your inability to write a check that would alleviate the burden,
you end up doing nothing and in turn feeling guilty for the lack of doing?
Maybe that's just me.
Well, last February was pretty rough on the heart around here.
In addition to losing my friend Bob who was kind enough to share 
(and a year prior his wife,  Shirley who was one of my best friends ever,) 
we received the news that some friends' 4 year old little pixie of a daughter
was diagnosed with leukemia and was to the severity that her first treatment was scheduled three days later.
We of course sent what we could 
and actually continued to do so for a few months.
Isn't it strange how it seems so huge coming out of the account
but so insignificant when applied toward medical bills?
It was about that time that I was needing to get my hair cut.
But with all that was happening 
(There was more that happened that month, but we won't dwell on that.)
I just didn't have time.
Then the pictures of J. started being posted on Facebook 
as she began to lose her hair and gain that starchy, puffy appearance.
J's mom shaved her head so she wouldn't feel alone.
I was inspired to actually let mine grow.

I found an organization called
Wigs For Kids. 
Unlike other larger, more popular organizations,
Wigs For Kids doesn't charge for their wigs.
They do however require at least 12 inches of hair rather than 10.
That translates to extra growing time. 
This was actually a good 13" but was beginning to dry and curl a bit.
I realize that I'm not the only one to do this (thankfully!)
But when I hear folks say, "I have nothing to give," it makes me wonder.
We all have something to give. . . 
whether it be hair, time, encouragement, or yes even money.
I personally think money gets too much credit.
It amazes me how someone can lose a loved one in an accident
and people think the immediate solution is to throw money at it
when what the person probably needs most is a hug.
Everybody has enough to give a hug.

Little Miss J. is now on the road to recovery.
She looks more like herself once again and her hair is growing back.
Her trials are not finished, but she's made it over a huge hurdle.

So with all that, I would like to encourage you to ask yourself,
"What can I give?"


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Taking Notice

Over the course of the past few years, 
I have continually made and effort to work plastic out of our home.
I began with the kitchen since I really didn't want to be eating 
whatever mystery chemicals were being leached from plastic containers.
Some things are easier to replace or do without than others.
I haven't used saran wrap for years, but one of my favorite pitcher bowls
with handle and snap on lid - well,
I still have that.
So it's a slow process, but it is moving forward.
The easiest rooms to unplastic have been the living room,
the main bathroom, and our bedroom.
But it seems there is still some trace of plastic even in each of those.
The computer, the shower curtain, the alarm clock...
I have figured out not to get worked up over such things but just do what I can.
The computer is actually in a closet, so I can shut the door when it's not in use.
The shower curtain is needed and used.
The alarm clock - I would love to do without, but. . . 
Maybe it's just me, but I feel more grounded and relaxed 
in rooms without plastic.
There is a certain "calm" that is present when plastic is absent.  
Maybe it's the modern rush that plastics seem to trigger in our subconscious.
And so. . . .I continue.

Recently, I decided that our bedroom needed some attention.
Of all the rooms where one would want calm and repose, 
this should be up there on the list.
Not that there is a lot, but it's there, 
just hangin' out, sayin' "Hey look at me. Ha! I'm plastic so take that."
How rude!
Doesn't it seem odd how we don't really see what we are used to?
I was straitening up and actually noticed all the plastic in the closet.
Yep, in the closet.
I've de-cluttered the closet (my clothes) before.
It was when Mr LB said we to buy more hangers.
Instead, I went through my clothes and got rid of a bunch.
After that initial purging, it's much easier to get rid of clothes that are stained, damaged, or just don't fit right.
It seems funny now. 
Why was I so afraid to get rid of them?
How ridiculous.
Now even though there are far fewer clothes,
there are still too many and all hanging proudly from white plastic hangers - Ouch!
How did that happen?
The really sad part is a couple years ago when my grampa passed away,
Mom asked me if I wanted their wooden hangers.  
I said no so she took 2 black garbage bags to the thrift shop.
At the time we were getting so much "stuff" we just didn't want more.
The good news is I called the thrift shop.
Patty said, "Come on in.  We'll see what we can come up with."
So I went in and got wooden pant hangers - 
the good sturdy ones!
There were a few regular ones for shirts, which is what I needed most of.
There was also a basket of the ones that were crocheted.
You know the ones.
I asked what she did with them.
She said they usually go in the garbage - so I got them,
knowing what they were.
Once home, I began with the pants.
As I took each pair off the plastic and put it on the "real" hanger,
they gained something.
A couple pairs didn't even go back in the closet.
I don't have fancy, expensive clothes,
but there's dignity in being well cared for.
If I ever get to retire, half the clothes in there will go away.
Until then, I have office clothes and home clothes.
I'm not through the shirts yet, but have already eliminated about half dozen.
What about those crocheted hangers?
Well, I have scissors and have cut the yarn off 
to reveal the treasure hiding within.  
Some of them are wonderful reminders of times past.
It was a little tedious, but they were free so a little tediousness is okay.
I'm grateful for them.
I could go out and buy all new hangers, but I would be out the money and probably wouldn't have the same appreciation for them as I do this way.
Now when I walk in the closet, I notice - really notice.
It's strange how things invade our lives and we don't notice.
More and more, I'm trying to notice those little things and 
create an "intentional environment."
As I do, I take care of whatever it is and gain another level of peace.
That saying (cliche) "A place for everything and everything in its place."
There's wisdom in that.
Peace in it.
We still have a long ways to go, but each step closer lets us know we are headed in the right direction.
The less we have, the easier it is for that to happen.
Even using all these words, 
they seem inadequate to express the feeling I'm after.
But have you ever visited someplace, and upon walking through the door,
you feel like "Ah yes, this is it.  I'm Home."
You feel like you could just pick up your life and live there?
That's how I want our home to feel.

How 'bout you?
Is your home your sanctuary?
Or is it someplace you dwell?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


PS~ About this time of year, I like to put a little cedar oil on a rag and run it along the bar of the closet and the underside of the shelf.  I also take my sweaters and put them in the dryer for a few minutes with a few drops of cedar oil on the dryer balls.

Friday, April 28, 2017

One Pan Wonder ~ Pesto Chicken

Ah yes, those meals that dirty only one pan.
Gotta love 'em.
One of my favorite is Pesto Chicken.
I will delve right in and let you get to cookin'.
First start by putting a generous amount of butter 
in the frying pan on medium heat.

(Note: this can be done in the oven and is equally delicious, but more difficult to take pictures as I go so I used the stove top this time.  If you use the oven, it would be a hot oven about 400 degrees.)
Then, add the chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
Once you turn it, wait until the second side is about half way done.

Then spread pesto over each piece.
The one piece here was thicker so wasn't quite ready.
Then add either sliced fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes.
I have lots of diced and no fresh tomatoes at the moment 
so I used diced. 
This part really is better in the oven because 
the tomatoes become "oven roasted."
That translates to oh deliciouso!

Let the chicken finish cooking and tomatoes heat up.
That should give you just enough time to get your plate
and a good handful of spinach.
When the chicken is cooked through,
use a spatula to place it on the bed of spinach.
This is one of my favorite one dish wonders (meals using only one pan.)
I like to make extra in order to take some for lunch the next day too.

And one other little note:
I could probably eat pesto from the jar.
That song "You had me at hello" I sing as "You had me at basil."
I am hoping to make my own pesto this year if my basil cooperates.
That means I have to not eat it when I'm in the garden:)
That said, use as much or as little pesto as you desire, 
keeping in mind it does get milder as it cooks.

Also, I'm having some issues with photos and preview on my computer
so these photos are unmarked and unedited~ sorry.
I looked up the issue online, and there was some colorful language
describing the problem so hopefully I can get it figured out soon.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Well Hello there~
Before we get soaked, let's go inside.
It's been raining the better part of two weeks,
even had a couple of snowy mornings.

Can I put the kettle on for you?
You should stand by the wood-stove to warm up and dry off a bit.
I'll be right there.

There we go.
Now, I wanted to show you something.
I began doing this years ago,
but you know how some things just kinda slip by 
until you have a project on your hands.
It's these buttons, you see.
I've always kept my buttons.
I know lots of folks say they're not worth keeping,
but I keep 'em.
Whenever I go to cut a shirt for rags or a quilt,
I take the buttons first.
I haven't bought buttons in years.
They come in handy.
Mr. LB is constantly loosing buttons.
I just go to my dish of ugly, man buttons and find one the right size.
That doesn't sound very nice, but that's what I call them.

I was recently pulling some shirts apart for a project and pulled these.

Then what I do is get safety pins and string the buttons on those.
If there are too many, I just use a second pin and hook them together.

Then certain colored buttons go in various jars.

When I need buttons for a project, I just go to the jars.
This is the part that's slipped.
I have buttons in the bottom of this little basket,

and that wooden box,

and a variety of little dishes sitting around.

And there are more yet in jars that are in need of sorting.

So now it's a project~
gather up all my buttons and put them to right.
I might need bigger jars.

Oh listen, the water's hot.
Why don't you pick which cup you want to use,
and we'll sit and chat.
By the way, how are you at sorting buttons?