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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here we go again!!! What is up with Blogger!

I have tried and tried to edit the below post several times today as when I was in the middle of writing it this morning I lost the connection. I was in such a rush and had not yet run spell check and as you can see not only are there several misspelled words (God knows how to keep me humble) but the post was also left here is the finish of the post!

The Saving Money series will run from April 1st through the 15th. We will have many blog giveaways during the month of April. Two or more each week. The only way you can win is by posting a comment or a prayer request. I will be uploading the pictures of the first two weeks of give aways when I return home on the 5th.

I would love for you to share with me anything from the simplifying your life series that you have put into practice or that has made a difference in your life. I am also seeking your request for upcoming series here on Bloom Where You Are Planted. Please Share!

Have a Blessed Evening.

Winners of giveaway and Last Day of Simplifying Series

The last two ways to Simplify from the inside out are:

EXERCISE: this is something that I have just started scheduling into my week. I can not believe the difference in how I feel physically AND mentally. I am sorry to say it has taken me this many years to finally accept that this is a discipline that is NOT optional if I want my life to be the Best it can be.. I encourage you all to do this for YOURSELF..Try taking a brisk walk several times a week.. Find what works for you.

MEDITATION: Taking just a small amount of time each day to meditate on God's Word or something positive will result in very POSITIVE results. Remember What you put into your mind comes out in your life...

The WINNER of the Journal is Sara (she posted on March 21st)

The WINNER of the paper crafting set is Kim's Kreations (she posted on March 28th)

Ladies please email me at with your address and I will send both packages out on April 6th.

We will start a new series on Wednesday the 1st. The series will be on ways to save money and be thrifty in this current economic situation. I have done my research and will have many tips and several websites to share with you. Reader involvement will be welcome and encouraged. This series will run from the 1st through the 15th.

I would love for you to share with me anything about the simplify your life series that you have found useful. I also would like feedback on future series that you would like to see here on Bloom. Please take a moment to share.

Have a blessed day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Simplifying from the Inside Out!

For the last two days of our series we will talk about Simplifying from the inside out.

For years I walked around like a pressure boiler just waitint to pop. I held every stress , resentment, pressure and negative thing inside. This resulted in unhealthy forms of escape, ulcers, deep rooted resentment and a pretty ugly attitude most of the time.

Today I know that the more I stuff inside without sharing the more unhealthy I am and the more complicated my life becomes. I am not unique. What is true for me is true for all of us.

So what are some of the things we can do to simplify our lives from the inside out?

For me that process has taken on many forms.

1. I pray. I realease everything to God. He knows EVERYTHING anyway. There are no secrets from Him. Will it really do me any good to try to hide the fact that I have a hardened heart towards someone from Him? OR would it not make more sense for me to share it and ASK Him to soften my heart and tell Him what I am feeling? I pray every morning and then I continue to talk to God throughout the day. Often I speak to him just like I am talking to you.

I Journal. I find that writing things down actaully helps me work things that I am conflicted about through. It also helps me release some of the stress that I am holding in. I write for my eyes only and if it is something I really never wish anyone ever to read then I throw that page away when I am finished. Most of the time my journaling is done in an actual journal that I keep.

I share with friends. I have a couple of close friends that I know I can share absolutly ANYTHING with. They will pray for me, hold me accountable and they wont judge me. I know what a blessing they are in my life and I try not to ever take that for granted. I am so lucky in the fact that my husband is also a friend like this to me and helps hold me accountable in several areas of my life. I also try to never take that for granted.

Here are just three ways I try to simplify form the inside out...On Tuesday we will discuss the other two.

Look at your life right now. What can you do right now to help Simplify your life from the inside out? OR What are you doing to simplify your life from teh inside out??

Let me know what you think of the series on SImplfying your life? Have you learned anything form the blog or from the readers that have commmented? I know I certainly have been blessed by many of the comments and have learned so many things from all of you. Thank you. I love your insight.

Today is your last day to comment to be entered into the drawing to be held on the 31st for the journal and the papercrafting package. See you all here on Tuesday for the announcement of the winners, to wrap up this series and announce the new one.

Until I see you again may God bless and keep you! Love, Susan

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Believe

1. I believe I’m a work in progress and there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

2. I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and do something meaningful.

3. I believe the true test of my character is whether I do the right thing even when it might cost more than I want to pay.

4. I believe no matter how I behave, some people will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I’ll end up with are the ashes of my own integrity.

5. I believe life is full of joys and sorrows, and my happiness will depend on how well I handle each.

6. I believe pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and if I can control my attitudes, I can control my life.

7. I believe kindness matters and snide comments and badly timed criticisms can cause lasting hurt.

8. I believe there’s joy in gratitude and freedom in forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.

9. I believe what is fun or pleasurable is not always good for me and what is good for me is not always fun or


10. I believe no one is happy all the time, but in the end I can be as happy as I’m willing to be.

11. I believe the surest road to happiness is good relationships.

YOUR TURN...Finish this sentence: I BELIEVE ___________________!

Have a blessed Sunday. We will be back to our regualr lesson on Monday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Family Updates and BOUNDARIES

FAMILY UPDATE: It is so hard for me to believe that Wyatt will be one in just a few days. This is the last picture I have of him from a week ago. He is so precious.

Sarah is doing well and has been taken off bed rest. She will see a high risk pregnancy doctor on April 23rd and she will continue on with her own OB/GYN as well. She loves him and as we Mommy's know..that is very important. Her baby is due on October 13th. We are so excited here.

Mom is still trying to adjust to her new diet (due to the blood thinner that she is on) and we are still working on regulating her heart medicine as well as her heart rate. I will take her to the cardiologist on April 6th.

Tyler will have his (four year old birthday ) as he likes to say in less than 4 months. He is growing up so fast. He prays for us at meals now and will pray for everything on the table..Prayers go something like this..."Fank(this is how he says Thank) you God for the chicken and the potatoes and that stuff and Bless us Lord for the green beans and don't forget the cup cakes..AMEN! This is one of the most precious prayers I have ever been privileged to hear!

Hannah is finishing off her second year in college and will be moving out this summer..Yes that means EMPTY will be hearing much more about this in months to come.

Ede is working full time as a graphics artist and media specialist as well as going to going to college at night..Busy Busy Busy!!

Aaron is CFO of Regency and doing an OUTSTANDING job!!

Matthew is working long hours at Montrose Ford witting insurance estimates.

Skip and I are BLESSED...Life is Hard but God is Good!!


We have talked about boundaries before and as we finish this series on Simplifying your life I think it is the most important topic that we have hit on. Without boundaries in our lives, life because out of control and chaotic quickly.
Skip and I are working together to create some new boundaries in our lives. When you have 5 grown children,(we are blessed to have all of our children living with in a few miles of us) 3 spouses of children, 1 that will be a spouse, 2 grandchildren with another on the way and your mother lives with you......BOUNDARIES have become something that we feel to avoid major problems such as burnout, lack of time together as a couple, no margin...etc...

Today I want you to share with me some of the ways you have implemented boundaries in your life or what boundaries mean to you. If lack of boundaries with family or friends is an issue with you..share about that as well. The thing that I have found to be such a blessing about this blog is that we not only learn from the lessons but from each other. I want to hear from you.

The other thing I want to open this blog up for is prayer request. Skip and I pray together every morning and I pray throughout each day. If you have a request simply label it prayer request in the comments. I will be working on the blog to set up a separate place for them after the 6th but for now..just labeling them will work. If you do not wish to publicly list your request you may directly email me at

Have a BLESSED day.. I will be back on Monday as I will be traveling all day Sunday.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Adapting to Life on Lifes Terms

We often think it would be wonderful if we could write a script for our life and all the characters in our play of life would read their lines correctly and speak them at the right times??

I think this sometimes but know it is not true. If I wrote the script I know I would be running the show based on MY will and not God's.

Life is HARD but God is GOOD...This is what I hold on to when I am feeling overwhelmed or at times defeated by this thing called life.

My life certainly was shaken this past week. As I am in the process of seeking God's will and asking what He would have me do I am also in the process of getting ready to leave for business on Sunday for six days..the day we return we will already have house guest (my daughter in law's parents and brother ) will be staying with us Saturday night and Sunday night (4th and 5th)..Our grandsons first birthday party will be here on Sunday the 5th starting at 3:30. Sometime when margin in my life seems too thin God takes me from the place I am in and puts me somewhere else. In this case He is doing this literally. I will be away from home and will have some down time that I normally would not have.I will use that time to seek Him...

When life becomes too much or you feel you have lost control (which in case you didn't know you never really had control anyway)..I encourage you to seek God's Will. Cry out to Him, Praise Him for the good in your life and lay all our burdens at His feet.

My question for you today is: How do you cope when Life throws you a curve? Share with me the last time you felt completely overwhelmed and what was going on at the time..

Drawing will be held on March 31st even as I am out of town. There will be two lucky winners. Prizes posted in earlier post this week.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We Interupt This Lesson.....

I have had many of my friends asking me to show my scrap pages here. Since this is more of a devotional blog and not so much a sharing blog, I have posted a few at the side but decided to upload a few that I have done. ..On Friday we will be back to the normal devotional theme...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So what are your gifts? What are you good at?

I think one of the best revelations I have had while seeking to simply my life is that there are things I do very well and gifts that I have that God has equipped me with that I can bless others with. The even BIGGER revelation was that there are also many things I am NOT gifted at...I used to try to do everything my friends did..If they made all their window treatments and childrens clothing..I thought I should too, If they ran the childrens department at their church... I thought I should too, If they volunteered at the animal shelter..I thought I should too...when the reality is that I should not do any of those things as that I am not gifted to do them ..therefore those task would be very tedious to me because I am not equipped with those talents or gifts..

My mother is a wonderful seamstress and she makes the most beautiful fabric covered baskets in the world. She made mine, my daughters and both daughter in laws wedding baskets for the flower girls and favors and people are always asking her to make them. Two Easters ago I decided that I would make my grandson a Thomas the Tank fabric covered Easter Basket. I asked my Mother for help..By the time I had finished the basket I wanted to throw it out the window..Tyler LOVED the basket and it is still used for his Easter basket..However..since I am not gifted in this area...the task became frustrating and not at all enjoyable to do.
How many times do we volunteer and or take on a task that we are not gifted in? Or maybe even worse..maybe we actually work in a job that we are not gifted at. In all the years that my children went to school from Kindergarten through College I have met several teachers that I believe chose the wrong profession..they did not enjoy what they were doing or they were not gifted at it and BOY COULD YOU TELL! At the same time I have met teachers that were so awesome and so impactful that they influence the lives the touch into adulthood and beyond.

I have taken time to write down my gifts and talents and have asked God to reveal to me any that have not been as well as areas of my life that I am spinning my wheels and areas of my life that I am trying to force due to (my own stubbornness or perhaps a bad case of gift envy :) ) As I described the above tasks..I took sewing lessons and never enjoyed sewing and honestly do not do it very well, I love children but am not gifted at working with them as a group, I love animals..but know I would not enjoy working at an animal shelter....

I have the gifts of Faith, Encouragement,Teaching, Mercy, Giving and Hospitality. Things I do very well are: cook, bake, artistic expression in the form of paint, photography, scrap booking, card making. journalism and mixed media. I encourage well and mentor women. I am a good listening, hostess and friend.

I continue to add to the things I am not gifted in or do not enjoy doing at all as well. Usually these things mirror each other.

So today I will ask you to simply post a list of areas that you know you are gifted..If you are having a hard time thinking of what your gifts might be, think about what you are passionate about and what you enjoy doing.. That is a great place to start. On Wednesday we will then look at the areas that we are not gifted..or they things that bring us no joy at all.

I can not wait to see your list..

Don't forget that all who post will be entered into a drawing on the 31st for the journal and paper crafting giveaway found below..

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Simplifying Your Life..Who Cares What People Think!!

Here are the pictures I have been promising of the giveaways that will be given away on March 31st. All you need to do is to post a comment between now and the 31st. Each post is another entry into the drawing.

Please notice that at the upper right of the blog I have added the layout I did of my friend Staci Compher that was interviewed last week on the blog. It is pretty intimidating doing a layout of her since she is the most published person I know. Her scrap art is AMAZING! But I did it out of love and I know she will like it for that reason alone if nothing else.

One of the things I am working on in the process of simplifying my life is letting go of what other people think of me. I have often found myself being excessively concerned about how others viewed me to the point it would occupy my mind for hours and sometimes days. Have you ever thought to yourself..Oh if I just wouldn't have said that or I wish I had not shared that or I wish I had not run into so and so at the store when I looked like this? If you have then you understand exactly what I am talking about.

I love this quote by John Milton: "A man's reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is."

We are never going to please everyone all the time and there is not one person alive that EVERYONE likes..not even one...So what I am focusing on is pleasing God, being true to who I really am and leaving the results to Him. This is a tall order especially for those of us that struggle with people pleasing.

I have wasted too much of my life worrying about what others think. What about you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

What did you put in your mind this morning?

Below is one of my favorite writing of Max Lucado. I so enjoy his work. I read it today and was immediately convicted to live this day at a time.

It was a very positive thing to read..I wonder how I would have felt if I had started my day reading the newspaper instead...instead of thinking about what I could do today to make a difference I may have been think about how angry I am about the AIG news or I could have been thinking about the young man that was just sentenced to life in prison for shaking his baby to death...NOT THE WAY I WANT TO START MY DAY. NOT THE THINGS I WANT TO DWELL ON BEFORE MY DAY EVEN BEGINS. As we finish talking about What we put into our minds (television,reading and music) let's really THINK about what we are feeding our soul.

I would love for you to post any feeling that you have about what we have been coviering or about the writing below from Max. Remember that everyone that post on the blog between the 15th and the 31st will go into a drawing for a journal and a paper crafting give away.

The winner from yesterday's one day Random Act of Kindess Drawing is Jan. Please email me at your address and I will get your surprise into the mail on Friday.

Today I will Make a Difference

Today I will make a difference.

I will begin by controlling my thoughts.

A person is the product of his thoughts.

I want to be happy and hopeful.

Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful.

I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances.

I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters.

I will avoid negativism and gossip.

Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark.

Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me.

Time is a precious commodity.

I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom.

I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant.

I will drink each minute as though it is my last.

When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever.

While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving.

Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me.

Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures.

I will admit them. I will correct them.

I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It's OK to stumble...

I will get up. It's OK to fail... I will rise again.

Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love.

My spouse, my children, my family.

A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love.

A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships.

Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world.

Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening.

Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Act of Kindness Day

Today I want to encourage all of you to do some random act of kindness that will uplift and bring joy to someone. After you have done here and tell us what your random act was and be entered into a special ONE DAY DRAWING for a SURPRISE gift from me as well as being entered into the March 31st drawing for the journal and paper crafting kit. I will join you and will challenge myself today to see how many random acts I can do. I will post mine right here on the board on Friday.

I have a busy day today with my 3 year old and 11 month old grandsons. Wyatt (11 month old) spent the night last night. I love to watch them sleeping. I just gaze at their sleeping little faces. As we know..they grow up oh too quickly. I don;t want to miss anything. My BABY celebrated her 21st birthday yesterday...All Mommy's take note..they grow up and are gone so fast.. Enjoy each moment. There is joy hidden there..even in the hard moments.

I can not wait to read all about your random acts today...
To me a random act of kindness means in your own special way doing something that makes the world a better place.” George, 6th Grade

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Introducing Staci Compher

Staci you have inspired me for over a year now as a scrapbook artist and even more with the powerful journaling . I know that you have used your creativity to work through your pain and that it has been very therapeutic for you. Can you please tell us what inspires you to use this form as an outlet for grief..

I never really planned on using scrapbooking as an outlet for grief, actually I remember, it took awhile after my husband (ED) passed even touch my scrapbook supplies...I felt guilty for even thinking of it.but I remember taking a picture of my husbands shoes that were by the front door, and wanting to scrapbook them before I put them away, so I did a layout about the shoes and journaled about how I felt, and in some small way it was healing getting those feelings down on paper through art, and then Rachel started her art journal group, and for the first year after he passed away I filled this journal monthly with my feelings,fears...and just sadness, but I was also able to watch myself grow through the journal, and get stronger, and when I am having a rough day..I often flip through it to see how far I've come, another thing is I think my girls will find it interesting when they are older to read this journal to.

Do you have advise for others that would like to start on their own journey of scrap therapy? What is the first thing you would tell them to do?

Use photographs I think they're very strong, and show a feeling or mood without words, and don't follow any rules, and just let it out...journal your feelings, get lost in the paper,glue...paint.

There is another area of your life that you have inspired me in and that is your choice to become healthy. Can you tell us what the turning point was and why what you are doing now is working for you?

After Ed passed away I remember telling a friends " I wouldn't care if I dropped dead tomorrow" because more than anything I just wanted to be with my husband, I know that is selfish..but it's honest..I just couldn't imagine life without him, then my Doctor told me that i was pre diabetic, and to make things worse they found something on my ekg and wanted to me see a cardiologist...all of a sudden hearing this news, my girls popped into my head, what about our girls? It was the first time since he died that I realized that I DO want to live, my girls had lost their father, and I owed it to them to at least try and get healthy, I owe it to Ed to be here and take care of our girls...and I owe it to myself. I found info about optifast, and found a doctor in my area, and six months later I have lost 117 pounds, and even though I still have a long way to go, but I've learned that I need to set an example for my girls, and that I have to have a new relationship with food, learning how to shop healthier, order food healthier..count calories..and believe it or not become a gym member. I feel like I have no choice, the free ride is over..but it's worth it...I feel great.

I know you have a blog because I am on it all the time. Would you mind sharing your blog address with us?

I know that I have shared with you that you inspire and help others just by being Staci and doing what your were obviously created to do..share honestly and create ART. I want to just take this opportunity to thank you for allowing God to use you in the lives of others and to help heal some of us that are broken.

Now before I let you go I just have to brag on you a bit. You have been published in more magazines than anyone I know. Please share with us the list of magazine you have been published in and where we can find you this month. I know we will all want to go buy a copy.

I've been very lucky to have been published with Scrapbook Trends, Scrapbook & Cards today, Scrapbooking and Beyond,For keeps, Scrapbooks etc,and this month you can find me in Creating Keepsakes and Somerset memories, and I am excited to have my first pub with Memory makers Magazine in july/august of this summer

I made a beautiful 12x12 tribute layout of my friend Staci but as I shared with you yesterday my son Ede borrowed my camera and I will not get it back until Sunday. I will upload it onto the blog then. I am making all my blog interview tribute pages 12x12 to fit into a special album I am doing. So for is a picture of the Divine Miss Staci. Thanks again for sharing with us Staci.

You can can see some of Staci's work over at TallyScrappers. Visit by hitting the TallyScrapper button at the top right of the blog.Rachel is there as well (Our January interview) and she has an ongoing art journal prompt that she shares twice a month. Oh and I am over there too..I would LOVE to have you join us!!! See you Thursday. Remember...What goes into your mind comes out in your life. What are letting into your mind today?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Simple request!

Since we are talking about what we put into our mind going out into our life, my request for you today is to simply write down what you have read, listened to or watched today..Until we really write things down and pay attention to them we seldom think about them. We will talk more on Thursday about this.Be sure to post it here and be entered into the drawing.

On Wednesday I will introduce you to Staci..I can't wait for you to meet her and to read her interview. I think it will change your life!

I know I told you I would post a picture of the scrappy paper crafting giveaway today but I forgot I loaned my camera to my son and will not have it back until Sunday..SO..I PROMISE to get it up next week. I know you are going to LOVE it and all want it..the only way to get it or the journal pictured is to post a comment between now and the 31st when they will be given away.

Today..just post what has been going into your mind (books, television, music)..and anything else you wish.

Have a blessed night.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Winners , Annoncements and Simplifying Oh My!

The Winners of the journals are:
Latte_Grande and

Please email me your addresses at and I will send them off to you.

I have a journal and a paper crafting/scrapbooking RAK to be given on the 31st. Pictures post on Tuesday. All who post between now and the 31st will automatically be entered to win.

I am so excited to announce that this week I will introduce you to someone that just might change your life. She certainly has impacted mine. She is SO talented and creative..any of you that are involved in the scrapbooking world may recognize her name as she is published in one publication or another just about every month. She has used this gift of creativity to begin to heal through one of the most difficult times in her life, to leave a legacy for her children and to document her goals and achievements. She encourages my heart and I know she will yours. Get ready to be blown away. Our interview is scheduled for Tuesday so it will go up on Wednesday.

Today as we start the back half of our How to simplify your life series we will look at what influences our daily life. It can be what we listen to, what we watch, what we surf or look at on the web and what we read. Did you know that what goes into your MIND comes out in your LIFE?! It's true. I have just started to look at this area of my life again and how it is influencing how I feel at the end of the day, how it is influencing my thinking and at times my actions. We will be working on this for a few days. Today I want you to take a bit of time and write down what you are watching, listening to and reading today. Post it here or email me if you would rather do this in private. If you wish to keep the list to yourself just post here that you are doing this assignment and you will still be entered into the drawing on the 31st. I think we will all be surprised at what is going into our minds through Media each day. Have a blessed day. See you Tuesday.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you ever read the childrens book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? This is the best way I know to describe this past week (not day) for me. Some days (or weeks) are just like matter who you are or where you live. So for this Friday posting I want you to share with me something positive in your life right now. Let's focus on how we are blessed. I will start...I will share my blessing instead of my rants so to keep us focused in the right direction. I am so blessed to be the wife of my best friend, the daughter of the best mother that ever lived, the mother of five wonderful children , Nana to two (and a half) beautiful grandchildren and a child of God.

Now it's your turn..tell me something wonderful or something you are thankful for. Everyone that post will be entered into the drawing on the 15th for the beautiful journals pictured in yesterdays post below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So Sorry I Have Been Away

Victorian Journal...Blog Giveaway...Post to be entered..winner announced on March 15th. Two will be given away!
To say it has been a hectic week is an understatement. As you know we have been talking about priorities and my top three have taken over my life over the past week. We have had our three year old grandson for a total of 24 days this coming Saturday. His Dad and Mom will pick him up then. It has been a joy but I am oh so tired. I know this is why God gave us seasons in our lives.

Let's talk about quiet time. I have found for me when I take time in the morning to read my Bible and pray my day always flows better and my life is simplified. I am centered and not as stressed. When I ask for help and for is available.I am able to make wise and discerning choices that help keep on from over committing and help me stay aligned with my goals of simplifying my life. Did you notice that I said when I TAKE time and not when I HAVE time. That is because I never HAVE time...I have to schedule it or take it. For me that means getting up an hour earlier everyday. This is also the time that I usually take to write the blog.

When can you take quiet time to pray, meditate and or journal?
Will you make that commitment?
Tell me one thing that you are working on right now in your life to simplify it.
Share anything you wish.

I will be uploading the picture of the blog giveaway later today. I just need to take the picture and am off to do that when I am finished writitng.

Have a blessed day. I can't wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First Things First..How our priorities help us simplify

On my quest to simplify my life I found that starting with a solid list of personal priorities has helped me make not only small decisions but major decisions on how I spend my time. My priorities look like this.

1. Personal relationship with Jesus
2. My Husband
3. My Children, Grandchildren and Mother

4. My Friends
5. Serving Others via Project Ed Bear (children with cancer) or where I feel God leading me to serve.
6. Time for Myself to write, photograph and scrapbook

I will use the last two months as examples on how this list has helped me.I have made one list into the top three and the bottom three. The first three things on the list come before anything and anyone else...then the next three..then anything that is not on the list is given time as I feel led by God.

I dedicate two days a week to spend with my grandsons. I make sure that that time is set aside and I have personal one on one time with them so that we can bond and have quality time together. I make this a priority. I do not schedule other things on the days that I have committed to them. Even if I would like to spend time with a friend (bottom three)..I will not schedule that time on a day that I should be spending time with my grandsons (top three). I have missed going to tea and other activities because I kept my priorities in order.

Now at first this was a problem because I was never giving myself permission to have time for me..I am learning how to schedule that time into the week just like other events I have scheduled.

I found that the last part of 2008 (September through December) was a blurr to me because I was so involved in Project Ed Bear (a non profit for children with cancer that my son Ede and I founded 15 years ago) that I had let my other priorities slip and that time for myself had fallen completely off the list. It ended up in burn out, fatigue and resentment. I am praying and working on balancing even the areas of my life that are on my priority list.The is why I divided the list into top three and bottom three.

The first part of this year has offered me several opportunities to align myself with God's will and look at where He would have me spend my time. My husband was hospitalized in January and my mother was hospitalized in February. We have had a miscarriage(our son and daughter in law), a new pregnancy that has resulted in bed rest for my daughter, our three year old grandson is living with us for 24 days (between the 8 days in February and the 16 days in March)while his parents are out of town or country.My husband and I were out of town for 10 days on business and a little pleasure. I have struggled with the stress because I have not made first things first..If I make my relationship with Jesus first by spending time in His Word and Prayer..then the result is His Peace that surpasses ALL Understanding.

How does this list help me to simplify? When something new comes into my life..(example someone ask me to take on a project or join a committee or even something fun like a writing convention and a weekend crop) I look at my priority list..if the request or invitation does not line up with my priorities in my life at this time..It is easy for me to decline...If it is something that is a fun thing that would fall under the category of Time for Myself on my priority list, I look at the list, my circumstances today and make my decision based on the information I have at the time.

We have but just begun to hit on this very important topic of priorities. I am excited to hear from you and would love you to share how priorities help you define what is important in your life. Please share with me how you feel about defining your priorities and anything else that you would like to share about defining your life.

All who post will be entered into three blog giveaways on March 15th (to be announced by the end of the week)..Can't wait to see what you have to share!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blessings / Winners/ and Simplicity Oh My!!

So wonderful to be back among you. Please let me take a moment to share this blessing in my life. A week or so ago I asked you to pray for my daughter Sarah as she had just been told that she had miscarried. Last Thursday she went to her doctor to a follow up on the miscarriage and to be seen for the first time since the hospital had shared the awful news with her. She was still having symptoms of pregnant so he decided to do his ultrasound only to find that baby dear is alive and well with a strong little heartbeat. She is 8 weeks pregnant. We have been overwhelmed with several emotions..anger (at the doctor at the hospital), gratitude (that she did not opt to have a d&c when they gave her that option upon telling her she had miscarried) and PRAISE TO GOD ( for our little blessing that is snuggled in his/her mother's womb growing and getting stronger everyday). I will ask you for continued prayers for Sarah as she does have a blood clot and that is what had caused the initial bleeding. She is on bed rest now. I will keep you updated.

The Winners of the two books of choice from the recommended reading so far are :
ScrappyDoo2U and Kristen (congrats ladies..please email me your choice of book and your address too The winner of the journal is Minda. I am excited for all of you...
Book Choices again are:
1. Margin by Richard Swenson
2. Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
3. Eliminate Chaos by Larua Leist
4. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley
5. Body Clutter by Marla Cilley
6. Boundaries

Today we will talk about JUNK MAIL...we all get it, therefore we all have it somewhere in our house. In my quest for simplicity I have started doing the following things when mail arrives at my home. I sort it and deliver it to the proper owner. Then..I take everything addressed to myself and to occupant and stand over the trash can and throw out anything I do not want. I place catalogs in a paper bag to go to recycle unless it is near the Holidays and then I may keep some of them to look through and possibly buy from. I keep all of my magazines in one place (we will talk about how I sort those in a later lesson). I keep anything with a deadline or a due notice in a folder in my desk..THIS IS BIG for me....I just started a folder for correspondence or thanks yous that need sent. Cutting out junk mail will eventually cut out much of the clutter that has taken over my office.
What do you do to control your junk mail? Do you have a system that works for you?

Post here any thoughts on the above subject or share any secrets you have to junk mail clutter control and be entered into the new drawing that will be held on the 15th of this month. I will announce the prizes on Tuesday.

On Tuesday we will look at the priority list that we have made and talk about how it can help us make major life decision in our life and help us to simplify our lives at the same time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Life Comes At You Fast!

So sorry I have not posted in a few days. We have had two very interested months in our family. Our latest incident occurred this past Friday. My mom lives with us and she woke up early Friday morning and her heart was skipping beats..I immediately called 911 and they took her to the hospital where we found that she has

Atrial Fibrillation And Pneumonia.

She was in the hospital for a few days and is now back home with us. She is still ill with pneumonia and will need to be on two medications for her heart for the rest of her life. Please pray for her. We have an appointment with the doctor on Monday for a follow up. I am asking you to keep her in your prayers! Her name is Irma.

Last night we had our 10 month old grandson here overnight and we have had our three year old grandson with us since last Thursday . He will be here a total of 16 days. I know why there are Seasons in our lives. I am EXHAUSTED!!!

I want you to know that I plan to start back on our series on Monday and that I am giving you one last day to post a comment for the three giveaways since I have not posted to the blog in a few days. s I will draw the names and announce the winners on Monday . So post a comment today for your chance to win the following and remember you can go back and comment on precious post from this series to qualify for the giveaways as well.

Two people that post will be chosen to receive one of their choice of the following books on March 1st and one person will receive a beautiful journal for a total of three giveaways.
1. Margin by Richard Swenson
2. Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
3. Eliminate Chaos by Larua Leist
4. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley
5. Body Clutter by Marla Cilley
6. Boundaries