Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pretty Little Tree

Hey there friends!
If you really knew me at all, you'd know I adore the color purple.
For years, each classroom I had was decorated in purple. It was obvious to anyone walking in or by that the teacher in that room had a purple obsession. I spent most of my daylight hours there, so I figured it might as well make me happy and be a reflection of my style.
In my home, my laundry room is painted a dark eggplant purple and has white cabinets. It's got a nice window that lets in plenty of light and is a
room that I don't mind spending time in.

A few weeks ago, I redecorated my daughter's old room . She moved out just a year ago, so it was time to make this room mine! I painted the walls a warm beige and one big wall with a huge window is now a deep purple. I love it! We also re-carpeted and the room just makes me happy. This is my sewing room and on my days off, I spend a good amount of time in there. Over the weekend, I put up the little tree that was in my classroom for several years. It sits just to the right of my sewing table. I found a few more purply ornaments to  make it shine.
For some, it may be a little over the top. For me, it's just right.
It makes my heart sing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Never Too Late (to be thankful)

Hey there, dear readers (all 3 of you)!

I had totally intended to write a post prior to Thanksgiving, but I downloaded a new blog template and it cut me out of making any new entries!! Argghhh! I was so upset that I sent two emails to the template site I used. No answer. So I played around, and finally downloaded another template through Blogger. Satisfaction indeed. It made me realize how much I really enjoy this blog!

Orange was my mom's favorite color, so I chose this template. It's in her honor. I lost her 4 years ago this past November and she enters my mind every single day. Tears still come easily.

Anyway, I thought I'd list 10 things I'm thankful for this December 1st.

1. God. He loves me and accepts me with all of my faults.
2. My husband. Ditto on "He loves me and accepts me with all of my faults."
3. My kids. My son is 26 and my daughter is 23. Both are independent, employed and turned out OK, despite the trauma they put they parents through in their earlier years.
4. Health. Yeah, I deal with borderline cholesterol levels and my husband has some blood pressure concerns, but otherwise we are healthy and hoppin'.
5. Employment. Basically, I'm talking my husband's job. I quit my full-time teaching job in the spring of 2012 and have never regretted it. Since we were close to being empty-nesters and the house had just a few more mortgage payments on it, we knew we could swing it. God takes care of His sheep and He's taken good care of us. This year, I've returned to teaching in the substitute way and am loving it. I work 2-3 days per week and it's just enough for me to get my kid-fix and earn a few $$$.
6. Friends. I've never been one of those women who have hundreds of friends. I have several and only a few of those I consider very close. Those are the people who know me best and I can trust them with the best of secrets!
7. My community. Nope, I don't live in a wild, fun, exotic place. Is this heaven? Nope, it's Iowa! We enjoy all 4 seasons and have nature at our backdoor. On quiet evenings, we can hear cows moo-ing and trains choo-ing. I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world.
8. My skills and talents. Sometimes I wish I could do more things, like play the piano or guitar. I wish I could act, or speak comfortably in front of adults. I wish I had some athletic ability...just a smidgen would be nice. Instead, I can cook and bake like Julia Child. I can sew like Martha Stewart. I can write like...well, like an amateur writer. I love to do most anything crafty. I also love to sing and am part of the local, largest choral group.
9. YOU! Lastly, I am thankful for having 3 blog followers. I started this blog privately, not telling anyone besides my husband about it. I wanted to find followers anonymously, not by advertising through facebook or telling friends. Perhaps when I reach a grand total of 5, I'll take piano lessons or something. Who knows.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013

Kathy's Favorite Things from November 2013

OK, so I know it's been awhile. Life has gotten in the way. I started this post with all good intentions a few weeks ago when I saw other bloggers posting their favorite things. I thought, "Hey, I can do that too!" So off I went and started collecting my stuff, taking photos, putting the photos into a collage and then, blah. Teaching, cleaning up the gardens, providing counseling services to my kids, and the usual gamut of everyday living happened.

So, today I bring favorite things! If you follow me from the upper left hand corner and move in a clock-wise direction, I will divulge the details of each. (Note: these are not in any order of importance!)

*My Marilyn brush. I saw someone demonstrate this on a talk show a few years ago and knew I had to have one. It's a super back-combing brush with a bonus pointy end for lifting and re-arranging. My fine, thin hair loves it!

*Peanut M&Ms!! Need I say more? My all-time favorite candy. I've been known to have a hidden stash in several places.

*Fresh pears. I am picky about my pears. I only like Bartlett type and they have to be just the right softness with no bruises. I usually carry them separately when leaving a grocery store so they won't get battered by the jarred salsa. Putting them in a brown paper bag helps to ripen, if you want to know.

*Sheryl Crow CDs. I just love her style and her sound. We saw her about a month ago in Moline and she's a class act. She writes her own stuff too.

*Chapstick..not necessarily the trademark brand.  It's a staple in my purse, my pocket, my car and on my bedside table. Need it all the time. This particular brand is by Tashi and is super good.
*Cleomes. One of my favorite flowers. I planted a few of them several years ago and now they come up every year, so thick I have to pluck many out. They bloom continuously and come in purple, pink and white. Love them!

*Viking Ruby Embroidery and Sewing Machine. My sweet hubby bought this for me when I quit my teaching job and it has become my best buddy. It has helped to renew my interest in sewing and have made many gifts and projects with "Ruby".

*HGTV magazine. Greatest magazine ever to hit my mailbox. I devour it from cover to cover each  month.

*Cheaters. I do have prescription bifocal glasses for when I'm out in public, like teaching school or at church. But when I'm  home, I wear my cheaters (1.25 strength) for reading. I have a pair in every room. Real cheap at Michael's, especially when using a 40% off coupon!

*iPad. What would I do without this thing? It's my companion when I travel and gets me major points playing Words With Friends.

*Slip-on Keens. I wear these things all the time around the house. They are super comfortable and give great support with my plantar fasciitis. I also have a "shoe" pair for more serious outdoor activities.

*Last, by not least, my Praying Cross. A friend gave this to me a few years ago, and it is my mainstay accessory when praying...which I do often. It molds perfectly to the hand and reminds me that God is always with me. It's like holding His hand when I talk to Him.

OK, so there you have it. My favorite things.

What are some of your favorite things?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Blast to the Past!

Hello October!
So much for keeping up with this blog in September. I just get discouraged with no one reading the posts, but I must trudge on. If for no other reason, it's a good outlet for my thoughts and a great way to record some things that happen in my oh-so-exciting life.

The above pictures are what I found yesterday when I entered the fourth grade classroom that I was to sub in all day. I am sure I let out a little scream as I laid my eyes on this desk. This was MY desk for 7 years when I taught at this school! I had completely forgot about "the Titanic" desk for so many years. I guess I imagined it had been auctioned off or became firewood somewhere. What a great relief to know someone else is still enjoying it and commanding a classroom of young learners! Just to prove that I had been the master of this desk at one time, I had initialed the center drawer, as had the teacher before  me. You can see that the teacher after me did the same. So, so cool!

What would you like me to write about here? I love to write, read, sew, cook/bake, and garden. Maybe I'll even dream up a surprise for my first follower! Don't be shy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Turn for the Better with a Huge Leap of Faith!

OK, so I haven't done such a hot job at keeping up this blog. I'm a bit encouraged by seeing my stats increase for "lookie-loos", but still can't manage to get a follower. I'll keep dreaming...and writing. Sigh.

One Blogtember prompt this past week was to describe a time when your life took a turn. I suppose that could be a turn for the worse, or the better. Since I choose to look at life positively, I'll write about the turn for the better.

It's a pretty recent turn, but a really, really big one that happened about 15 months ago when I quit my teaching job. If you read back at a few of the first posts on this blog, you'll get an insight into my psyche back then. I was miserable and in such a sad place in my life. With a ton of prayers, and many long discussions with my husband, I decided it was best for me to hang up my teaching hat. It was such a hard thing to do. My  entire world revolved around my job...and maybe that was part of the problem. I didn't give myself a break in the evenings, on the weekends or even in the summer, I took classes to make improvements and learn new practices. I realized that I was totally burned-out and needed to cut loose.

For one full school year, I worked on healing my mental and emotional state after being in education for 28 years. I did volunteer in a 2nd grade classroom on a weekly basis, plus I mentored a needy little guy at the same school. I connected with a ladies group that supported me as I staged my new life. Going out to coffee with them weekly meant more to me than they'll ever know. I dusted off my sewing machine and realized how much I really love to sew. I worked on several rooms in the house to clean and reorganize and just plain throw out stuff, or donate to Good Will. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who can support me financially and even deal with me staying home. So lucky! He does appreciate the more relaxed side of me and says he can feel the absence of the stress.

So, this school year, I felt myself in a better place. I'd been open to new trails and new possible careers, but nothing presented itself. I applied to substitute in the elementary schools. The day after applying, I got a call for a 10 day job in special education. I took it and it's been interesting, to say the least! I have such a diverse group of kids in my room, from autistic to severe behavior disordered, to brain injured, to even a young man who I'd describe as "feral". They are all kids and they all need loving. I will give them my love and I will give their teachers great appreciation and respect for what they do on a daily basis.

Enough for now! What turn in your life made a big impact for you?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Useful Advice

Blogtember continues with:
Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 
With my loving husband, we've raised 2 kids, now ages 25 and 23. They weren't easy kids by any means. God gave them to us for a reason. Not sure what that reason was just yet, but we loved them every day and still do. Perhaps He thought we could handle these restless souls and mold them into loving, productive adults. We certainly tried and hopefully, God is pleased. They are good people finding their way in the world.
So for the advice part. If I were to do it all over again (raising kids, that is), I would add one important thing/activity into our lives. That is the activity of helping others in the form of community service. It's not that I didn't want to do this as a young parent, it's just that our children were not the type that we could take to places and get them to cooperate in a helpful way. Oh, I could go on and on about the difficulties we had. Maybe another day, another blog post.
Community service is such a great way to show kids how to help others. It builds that warm feeling inside that only can grow when you do something for others and expect nothing in return. If we had gotten involved in the soup kitchen, picking up trash in the parks, donating old toys, "adopting" a family at Christmas or any holiday, making a deal of random acts of kindness, I think my kids would have a more generous heart.
People need people. It's all we have in this world. We need to help each other in any way we can.
Be a blessing to someone. Practice kindness.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blogtember here I come!

So I came upon this challenge on A Plethora of Pondering's blog...(never mind that there is an apostrophe in that last word. It drives me nuts, but maybe that's why she does it. I'm just putting it out there as it's stated on her blog title.) The original challenge blogger asked bloggers to write a post stemming from an idea or question or activity, one being listed for each weekday of the month of September. Yeah, forget that it's already the 7th of the month and I'm just getting around to it. Nobody reads my blog anyway. :(

Yesterday's idea was to write about a time when something made you scared or afraid.

My childhood was filled with times like this! No kidding. My father was an alcoholic. Not one of those fun-loving, dance-with-a-lampshade-on-your-head kind either. He was the mean, violent kind. The kind that scares everyone. Especially little kids. My young life consisted of going to bed early, locking the bedroom door (a dead bolt was later installed), and shivering in bed waiting for sleep to take over before HE came home and woke the house. At some point, my dear mom joined me in my bedroom to sleep at night. She was tired of being brutalized and hurt, physically and emotionally. Not that being locked in a bedroom kept things quiet. No. Yelling, throwing things, stomping and all sorts of things happened that scare kids.

It took me a long time to trust men and realize that not all men are like my father. I married the dearest man alive that has proved it to me. It also took me a long time to not be afraid of the dark. I slept with night lights, flashlights and often some sort of weapon (a stick, baton or other battle-worthy object) for protection.

That man, biologically my father, will not take a hold of my life. He is not going to make me afraid anymore or weigh down  my soul. I suppose I have forgiven him, but mostly I have forgotten him. It isn't important really. He had a disease, if you want to call it that, and he suffered with it. Too bad he had to make so many others suffer along with him.

God, I hope the next blog idea is more enlightening!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crazy Quilter

I want to share a sewing project that I'm pretty proud of. This is a sewing machine cover that I made for a SewCanShe contest earlier this summer using the crazy quilt method. I'm not much of a quilter...yet...and this was really fun to do. I didn't win anything in the contest (sob), but I did get this photo on the home page of SewCanShe!

Jeez, I'd love to have a follower. Anyone???

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Movin' to Bloglovin'....big move for me!

Let's see if this works:

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

OK, so I'm making a half-hearted promise to myself to keep this blog updated with my musings of life. Let me forewarn that it's not all that a-musing! Still, I want to share my thoughts, projects, disappoints and minor details publicly. Whoa! Yes, I really said that. My priority is to keep each post upbeat and not lag on the downers in life. There's enough of that crap to go around.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My latest passion, er, obsession...

OK, since I quit my teaching job last June ('12), I have become great friends with  my Viking Ruby sewing and embroider machine. I have rekindled a love of sewing and new-to-me, embroidery! I have so many projects that I want to complete,, I don't think I'll live long enough. Many times I feel guilty spending so much time up in my sewing room that I try to avoid it all together. There are always closets to straighten, dust bunnies to chase, streaky floors to clean...but when I get near that machine, I lose all thought of the "supposed to's" in life.

Here's my latest project: I found these super bath towel wraps at Kohl's on clearance for only $5.99 each. Plus, I had a 30% off coupon which took it down to...well, almost nothing. I first tested my idea with just a "K" on my purple wrap. It worked swell, so I went on to applique my daughter's, then did another for the neighbor girl who's going away to college soon. I love them!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New life, new me!

It's crazy how long it's been since I was on here. I was damn near out of my mind at that time.

So what's been happening? First off, I quit my teaching job. It wasn't good for me. The stress, the long hours, the lack of appreciation, the headaches with behavior and PARENTS, the un-ending pile of papers to corrects and always, always more tasks to be responsible for. Do I miss it? Hell NOOOO! It's been almost a full school year since I've been out and not a day goes by that I don't think about some aspect of it. Earlier on, I asked myself constantly if I did the right thing by quitting. I mean, it's not a thing that someone does around here. Being a part of the public school district is one that is highly desirable and is usually a career, life-long job. It's almost unheard of to QUIT, like I did.

This past year, I've gotten to know myself better and I feel like a happier, better adjusted person. I strive to make the world a better place. To do kind deeds, to be helpful, to listen, to pray, to be a friend. I've read more books, cooked more meals, cleaned more of my house, picked up my sewing skills, learned to knit, painted a few house interiors, and taken a few more trips. It's wonderful, this life that I live now. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful husband who allows me these privileges. He's much happier seeing me happy and not so stressed.

I'm still open to a possible part-time job, but it's definitely go to be one that means I can leave at the end of the day w/o work to take home. Low stress, fun work environment and great people to work with are high priority. Does such a job exist?

Does anyone read this blog besides me? Leave a comment and let me know! Maybe I'll pop in here and post more often!