Winter – Taking Stock

I will admit I am fighting the winter blahs right now.  A little on the depressed side.  My back has been hurting for a couple of weeks now off and on and I just don’t want to fork over the money to go to the chiropractor.  So, I am downing ibuprofen a couple of times a day. 

May I whine for a while?  We need a new bed – a BIGGER bed.  I need more space.   That’s all there is to it.  I want a Temperpedic, one of those that molds to your body.  Very expensive.  Of course, we bought a new big screen TV and a new sewing machine for ourselves for Christmas.  Let’s get our priorities straight, by gosh!  We need a new sofa.  You literally sink into the old one – no support at all and the cat has taken to scratching the arm of it when she is annoyed at us or wants out, despite the fact that I spray it with the stuff that is supposed to keep her from doing just that.   Our carpet is old and dirty and no amount of vacumming or spot treating is going to make it look any better.  WAAAAA!  I’m sick of the cold weather and the cloudy skies.   I’m only 2 pounds away from my heaviest weight ever (could that have anything to do with my back pain?  Nah… Pass the chips and dip, please)  Need I go on?  I think you get where my head is at.  Oh, yeah, my job is boring as ……..

So, I must fight the mental downward spiral and the best way to do that is to take stock of the blessings in my life.  It may not make the sun come out or my husband sleep on his own side of the bed, but it will keep me from taking a magic marker and writing inappropriate things on my office wall.

So here goes.  Things I am grateful for, not necessarily in order of importance, but just as they pop into my head:

1.  Family – a husband who is true blue, although a bit of a bed hog; a son who is doing well in college, almost completely self supporting; a sister who has added taking care of our elderly parents who live next door to her to her busy life;

2.  Friends – most of whom are better friends to me than I am to them; the ones in Colorado who graciously open their B&B/home to us every summer so that we can escape the stupid city we live in; the new ones I have recently made at The Hugs Project and the Edmond Quilt Guild.

3.  My faith – oh my God! literally!  What do people do without the assurance of salvation and the presence (even if I squash it a lot) of the Holy Spirit in their lives!?!  The endless struggle to measure up, to be what the media tells you to be, to put your faith in the change promised by Obama, and on and on…..whew!  No thanks!  I’m sticking with the Real Thing.

4.   Netflix – okay, coming right after God seems a little weird, but remember that I said I’m just listing things in the order they pop into my head.  Netflix and the fact that ALL 8 SEASONS of McLeod’s Daughters is now on Instant Play!!! Its a drama about 2 sisters running their dead father’s ranch in the Australian outback; “want a cupper?” “its just a little mossie bite” “what’s for brekie?”  Love it! 

5.  Youtube – specifially the music of Yanni.  Stop laughing!  Another Youtube favorite is the Homestead Series.  Videos produced by a young Christian man and his wife in Canada who live sustainably.  I ran across them yesterday somehow – link link link.  The first video I watched was on how to make your own laundry detergent.  I then remembered that I have the stuff to make it at home, just haven’t taken the time lately to do it.  Its easier to buy the toxic stuff at Walmart. 

6.  The pharmaceutical industry that has made a new allergy drug that will allow our son to come home for visits and not be totally debilitated by pet allergies!  Now I just need to do my part and start vacuuming and dusting more often to keep the stuff out of the air system and keep the cat out of his room even when he is not home so that everything in his room is not covered with cat dander. 

7.  Twitter and Facebook – just for the fun of it!  I’ve reconnected with all my cousins – although one of them still needs to approve my friend request – you know who you are!

8.  Pleasant surprises that let me know God is supporting me.  I had tried in vain a few times to start a Quilt of Valor group locally.  Even put it out here on the blog.  No responses – until last week.  A lady contacted me that has just moved to town and wants to do something worthwhile with your quilting hobby.  As I had just ordered fabric for my second QOV quilt, I invited her to help me with it.  She’s coming over Monday.  Another new friend.  THEN I got an email from a complete stranger who also read the blog post and has offered us her TUBS of fabric at no cost for our military quilts, just because she doesn’t quilt anymore and wants to donate it for a good cause.  See how the Lord takes care of things?  Another local organization has told me we might have a financial donation coming after her next fund raiser.  Woohoo!  And I was just about to give up.

9.  Spring – its not here yet, but the seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  I’ve ordered pepper plants from the food co-op due in April; the hope of fresh veges next summer; the fact that we built the raised beds LAST spring and don’t have to do it again THIS spring!! woohoo!

10.  Decaf tea  – now if I could just convince the cafe here at work that they need to put it on their menu.  I keep asking and they keep saying no, but one of these days I’ll wear them down!!

11.  Kashi bars – enough said

12.  My job – okay, I know, I don’t really LIKE my job, but I HAVE a job and for that I am truly grateful.  My husband and I are both employed full time, have health insurance for all 3 of us and can pay our bills.  Our standard of living is not anywhere close to the very wealthy of our community – and believe me, there are a lot of them here – but we live within our means, we are not in a huge amount of debt, we can help our son with things like expensive medicine and gas for his car, I can buy fabric to make quilts for soldiers in harm’s way, I can afford to travel to visit my parents every few weeks and can even put a little in savings on a regular basis and we can pay for a membership to the YMCA – hmmm…maybe I should start using that again….

Guess what?   I HAVE A GREAT LIFE!!!  What are you grateful for?

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2010 Census Begins – What you need to know

2010 Census to Begin

THIS IS PRETTY BASIC ADVICE

Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers by Susan Johnson

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau� (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.
The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country.
Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United  States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age,
gender, race, and other relevant data.
 
The big question is – how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:
If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice.
Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.

 
Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it
for the U.S. Census.

 
REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS.
 
While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION.
The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations.  Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.

 
AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.
 
Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.
 
Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit www.bbb.org 
 

Bald Eagles in Oklahoma – Awesome Sight!

Over the years we have made several treks out to our local lake, Lake Arcadia, to look for bald eagles that migrate here in the winter.  We have seldom, if ever actually, been successful – until today!  We hit the jackpot. 

The sun is finally out, not a cloud in the sky.  After a solid week of ice and snow and dark cloudy depressing days, it was just too nice to stay indoors.  Even though we still needed heavy coats, gloves and hats, it was a beautiful day to be out.  So we decided to go for a drive and pick which direction to head once we were in the car.  My husband, just on a whim, took along his binoculars. 

We decided to head east out of town toward a favorite eatery and made a detour to the lake.  We don’t go much since his mom sold her house out there.   The sun was shimmering off the water and we headed to the lookout point next to the dam.  There was a family with a terrestrial telescope and they told us they had spotted a bald eagle on the other side of the lake.  Sure enough, there was Mr. Majestic sitting in a tree with the lowering sun reflecting off his white topknot.  We could get a dim view of him through our own binoculars, but the telescope gave us a great view.  There was also a juvenile eagle – not old enough for the white head yet – soaring on the air currents, dipping down to the water and scattering the smaller fowl on the surface.  Looked like he was having a blast.

We decided to drive around to the other side to see if we could get closer.  We were using a large white house (i.e. mansion with two-story pillars) as our reference point.  At some point, driving around all the twisting little roads at the camping and picnic grounds we lost the view of the house.  We pulled over and got out to see what we could see.  Scanning the opposite shore with his binoculars, my husband said, “Hey come look at this and tell me what you think  it is.”  He had located a pair of eagles perched in a tree on the other side of the lake!   It was hard to tell at first because they were turned sideways, but soon they changed position just enough for us to be able to distinguish their white heads and tail feathers.  What a site to behold! We just stood there and stared at them, taking turns blocking the sun for the person with the binoculars.  It is something so rarely seen we were awestruck.

So, now we’re back at the house.  The hot chocolate toddy is warming me down to my cold toes and I just had to share.  I’m so hoping they are still around by the time we make it back next weekend.   We got another bonus, too. While we were driving around trying to spot the giant white house, we came across parking access to the lake’s equestrian trails.  A new spot for star gazing away from city lights!    Couldn’t ask for more.  What a great day…….thanks, Lord.