Mystery Solved…

November 18, 2011

I know you have been patiently waiting for the answers to the last 2 blog posts.

I posted this and this.

  That would be a ‘traveling bag’ and a Vegas-style buffet plate.

I was lucky enough to spend 2.5 days in Laughlin, NV with my dad to celebrate his 70th birthday on 11-11-11.  (I mean, who wouldn’t want to be at a craps table on this momentous day?  –I watched…he played).

We gambled, we ate, we took a 2 hour boat ride down the Colorado River (and all it’s 6-18 inches of water in some spots) to see the London Bridge.

That’s right, the one that was falling down…  You didn’t know it was in Nevada?  Well, it is. 

It was a great boat ride down and a good nap coming back.

(sorry I couldn’t decide which picture I liked best!)

Happy Birthday, Dad!




This past summer, my sister was visiting for 6 weeks from Florida.  She used to live near me…until she took off and moved 14 hours away.

…up and took her adorable tow-headed kids and my free babysitting connection and moved her arss to Florida….

I’m not bitter…

Anyway, while she was ‘home’, she wanted to go to church to  hear one of our retiring minister’s last sermons.

A little background – our minister’s wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several months ago.  After an initial ‘moderate’ diagnosis, they returned to the doctor recently only to find that her cancer has metastasized and there was nothing else that can be done medically.*

His sermon was about how we, as Christians, are taught to pray that ‘Thy will be done’,,, to give it all up to God and be content with God’s will for us.

He went on to talk about the importance of letting God know our biggest hopes and dreams as well.

If we view God as our ‘father’, we should step back and think about how we, as parents, think about our children.  When you’re tucking your child in at night (or if you don’t have kids – think about when your parents tucked you in at night), we sometimes ask them what their wishes are, what their dreams are, what their wildest hopes are.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  What is your perfect day?  What do you dream about?

His personal prayer that morning – and that of a congregation of hundreds – was for miraculous healing for his wife.*

So, why don’t we let God (our father) know what OUR biggest hopes and dreams are?  While it is important to be content with God’s will, does it hurt to ASK for what we want?

The June 3rd entry of Simple Abundance (Yes, June 3rd – I told you I had a helluva summer) is all about this concept – asking for what you want.

I could paraphrase – but Sarah says it so beautifully:

“We want, we need, we desire, we yearn, but we don’t ask. Still our arms stay up in the air.  Longings cross our mind, but we don’t really commit ourselves.  We don’t lay it on the line.  We don’t ask because we are afraid sombondy will say ‘no’.  Who?  It doesn’t matter.  It could be Spirit, our spouse, or our supervisor.  But when wishful thinking doesn’t magically manifest what we want, we feel we’ve been denied.  So, in future, we choose not to ask, but continue to wish, existing in a constant state of deprivation.”

“Today, start asking.  You see a woman with a great haircut?  Ask where she got it…Ask for a riase.  Ask when the next sale will be.  Ask Spirit for a daily portion of grace.  Ask Divine Wisdom for operationg instructions.  Ask your guardian angel to manifset holy assistance.  While you’re at it, ask for a miracle.

Ask for what you need and want.  Ask to be taught the right questions.  Ask to be answered.  Ask for the Divine Plan of your life to unfold through joy.  Ask politely.  Ask with passion.  Ask with a grateful heart and you will be heard.

Just ask.”

What are YOU asking for?

*Our minister’s wife lost her battle with pancreatic cancer early this fall.  I know all congregants that heard the sermon that we heard that day took away a wonderful lesson.


March 1, 2011

I have an Aunt Janet.

You probably do, too.

Aunt Janet isn’t my mom’s sister – or my dad’s for that matter.

You see, where I grew up, we weren’t allowed to call our parents’ friends by their first names… or even a variation there of.  No Miss Sue, no Miss Judy, no Miss Phyllis.  If you were a parent of one of my friends, I called you Mister, Doctor, or Misses.  (chances are, I still do)

There was a rare occasion, though, where a relationship seemed too intimate to call an adult by Mr./Dr./Mrs.   In these cases,  my parents told me to call these people “Aunt” or “Uncle”.

This is the case with Aunt Janet.

She moved to California a hundred years ago – but I still send her holiday cards with a picture of my juhdorable family (whether she wants one or not… this year, she got 2 b/c I had forgotten that I had already sent one .. and sent another).

Over the past week or so, Simple Abundance has encouraged us to excavate even further to guide us to our true selves – our ‘authentic’ selves. ( I’ve discussed the nebulousness of this idea before. Sarah narrowed it down beautifully for me – saying –  remember yourself when you were 10?  THAT is your true authentic self.)

On Feb 20th, she included the following quote:

“Sometimes a person has to go back, really back – to have a sense, an understanding of all that’s gone to make them – before they can go forward. ” Paule Marshall

I have always known that I am an amalgam of all of the people I have known in my life.  From every person I have come in contact with, I have taken something that I Do want to be – or I have noted something that I Don’t want to be.  This was especially true of the women around whom I was raised.

Aunt Janet is one of those women.  She was always a TON of fun.  Her house is the first house  (of a non-family member) I remember spending the night at.  Her daughters babysat for me.

There was always a sewing project at her house – I remember a denim drawstring bag with a bright pink “H” on it that I treasured… and a stuffed walrus (that’s right a walrus… don’t judge) – that was as big as I was.

I have memories of my  parents having parties with them – there were card games and music playing  (piano, bass, trumpet).  I saw my first microwave oven at her house and thought it was so cool to eat scrambled eggs out of it.  …and I swear there was a ski lift in her backyard.

So as I’m reading about re-visiting my past this week in Simple Abundance, imagine my delight when I received this in the mail from Aunt Janet (who, mind you, normally just sends me a note after I’ve sent her a holiday card…and she DID do that this year, so this gift was a complete surprise.)

It’s a needle case.

Now, you might be saying – what in the WORLD will you do with a needle case.  Who repairs clothes anymore?  Aren’t clothes disposable?

It’s not just a needle case, it has a history.

She made one for my mom when we were young (I’m sure I’ll find it and feature it on another edition of “crap from my parents’ basement’ soon).

But what is even more ironic, serendipitous, or just how the universe works…. is that THIS is what my craft room looks like right now.

That’s right, THIS WEEK, I had dusted off the old sewing machine to make an apron for myself (in all of my 8th grade home ec sewing prowess).

Is someone trying to tell me something???  Or is this just help from above in my excavation process?


It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot… and if you’re reading Simple Abundance with me, you’ve been reading about it over the past few days.

It has caused some of you to e-mail me to discuss what it REALLY means…. or just what it means to you.

Merriam-Webster says authenticity means:  true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.

(do you feel like you’ve stumbled onto a 7th grade research paper… which are required to start out with “Merriam-Webster says…”)

One of my blog readers heard at a seminar that “Being authentic is being who you are AND sharing it with the rest of the world.”

Another reader sent me this:

“Today’s quote really hit home for me. Robert Browning’s quote “My business is not to remake myself But make the absolute best of what God made.” I really think I’ve been trying to remake myself for YEARS…into something I’m not created to be. But I’m realizing the real reason is because I’ve NEVER taken the time to find out who I really am. I’ve been playing a lot of roles for a lot of people. Braking that mold is hard, but the more time I get to spend with “the real me” the more I am liking her and the more I enjoy becoming a better me.”

I have said for years that we spend the first 18-22 years of our lives trying BE like everyone else, LOOK like everyone else, and blend in….and the last portion of our lives trying to set ourselves apart, show that we are unique, special, and different.

What does being authentic mean to you?  Are you taking steps to be sure you are staying authentic?

As our first month comes to an end, I have a few things on my mind.

#1 – If you WANTED to read Simple Abundance and haven’t started OR if you’re behind…there’s still time to catch up!

#2 – If you HAVEN’T started taking time for yourself, DO IT.

#3 – This past week’s readings give you a few different activities that are GREAT to do by yourself.

If you’re confused about the Illustrated Discovery Journal or the Personal Treasure Map, Tracy @ A Year with Simple Abundance did a couple of good posts explaining the difference.

Don’t feel like you need to do EVERYTHING – I know it’s overwhelming to think “Gratitude Journal, Illustrated Discover Journal, Personal Treasure Map….. on and on.”  So, don’t think of all of them…. the moral of the story is to find things that you LOVE and make a note of them.  Write them down, go through some magazines and rip out pictures that you like… even if said pictures SURPRISE you.

I view my ‘Vision Board’ as my Personal Treasure Map….. and my ‘idea book’ as my Illustrated Discover Journal.  This is where I keep pictures of things that I like or projects that I want to do.

Trust me, putting things on paper – whether it’s writing goals or tearing pictures from a magazine make you WAY more likely to do the project, buy the thing you want, or attract it to you in another way.


Throughout the month of January, Sarah Ban Breathnach has been encouraging us to stop waiting to live our lives.

We’re waiting until we get a better job.

We’re waiting until the kids get older/bigger/more independent/through this ‘phase’/out of the house.

We’re waiting until we get a bigger, better, more beautiful house.

Stop waiting – start doing.

For example, here’s an opportunity to start living.  There is a Simple Abundance get-together this Friday night.  We’ll talk about Simple Abundance among many other things….  and there will be eating…..and drinking.  If you’re local, I’d love to have you come, too!  If you’re NOT local, let me know if you’ll be around Friday night between 8 and 10p.m.  for a Skype call!

OR if you’re NOT local, why not find a friend that you’ve lost touch with and get together or call him/her?

Oh – and I’ve found a GREAT blog to help us along our Simple Abundance Journey.

Tracy @ is reading Simple Abundance this year, too.

Not only that, but she has a DAILY Simple Abundance post!  They’re short and sweet and to the point – and they’re great!  Check her out.

Here’s a game…

You’ve heard about these people who match their coupons up with sales and end up with an entire grocery cart FULL of food that they buy for $11.64, right?


I am NOT one of those people.  I don’t have the time or the patience – plus, my family doesn’t eat much pre-packaged, convenience foods.  (which are the foods that you GET coupons for)

I AM, however, a person who loves a challenge and likes to play the ‘let’s see if I can get groceries for free’ game.

So I”m going to set aside $10 per month to buy food for our local food pantry.  The challenge will be to see how MUCH stuff I can get for those $10.

If you’re interested in joining me – here are a couple of sites that match coupons with sales – or just give you good tips on how to use coupons to the most benefit.

If you have a favorite site for coupon match ups or just good information, please leave a comment so we can share.

Google “coupon match ups (and then the name of your town)”  to see if anyone does these for your area.

If coupons aren’t your thing, why not pick up a few boxes of pasta and some jars of sauce to take to your local food pantry.  It’s cheap and easy and you won’t even notice an extra $5 on your grocery bill!

…and with all of that good karma,  you might just catch one of these: