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I’m going to be posting another double-header. My Celebrate The Small things post is in regards to The Color Vibe 5k Run. I saw some of my runner friends on Facebook doing this over the past years. I honestly thought I would have to run. When they told me I could walk…I began researching for the next color run in the area! I found The Color Vibe was scheduled here at the end of June. Oh boy my excitement levels skyrocketed.

However, I’ve had a lot of squashed excitement since TheHubs has gotten worse. I tried to prepare myself for the worst. It was hard. I wanted to do this just so we can have a little bit of fun. Then, I thought, even if he couldn’t do it, TheBoy might enjoy it. And my excitement returned. But he’s so void of emotion mostly. I think that has to do with our situation; but that’s for a different post…on the other blog. 😛

Anyway, I get home and present it to both. TheHubs is in so much pain he can’t think straight so no decision was made. I did tell him that we had to sign up by the 31st, which was the next day,  in order to get the cheaper rate. I also asked TheBoy if he wanted to do it. He said “I guess.” So, that night, I was left to wonder if that meant he wanted to or not. I hate forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. You know?

Saturday everyone wakes up. TheBoy tells me he wants to do it. YAY! I was starting to get all excited again. TheHubs comes downstairs and I tell him about it too. He’s unsure because of all the people, the noise, the bright sun, and his pain. I told him he didn’t have to walk, he could just watch. But then, I broke out my tablet and showed him the website. That’s when he started really thinking about it. He said, “It looks like the Indian Celebration of Color (Holi, The Festival of Colors) and that’s probably the closest we can come to experiencing that. Go ahead, sign us up. The more I look at it the more fun it looks. Can’t deny the family some fun time.”

So Double YAY! I’m now so excited I can’t contain myself! I so can’t wait for the end of this month. But I’m celebrating the small things…the triumph I had in convincing TheHubs to do this, the triumph he had over his fears and pain, and the triumph that the whole family will be doing something together soon, outside!

June Goals:

  1. FINISH WIP#1! Seriously! Finish it already! It’s only ONE MORE SCENE! —  Inching, inching away! I’m so proud of myself…So close!
  2. Keep up with blog posts for both blogs – this one and my Caring for My Vet. — I wrote one last week about my epiphany to live life positively. I included a previous #WriteMotivation post, but expounded on it to include what happened to TheHubs at the same time. If you haven’t read it, if you have the time, please do. Thank you.
  3. Comment/cheer on my fellow #WriteMotivation peeps on Twitter, FB, Google+ and their blogs. Trying to get to that this week. Between work, caregiver commitments, and trying to find time to relax, it’s rough.
  4. Continue with my positive thinking. I think I’m doing well with this so far. There have been a few moments that I revert. BUT, as I say, this is like an alcoholic’s journey. It is a constant battle to remain sober, or in this case, remain positive. So some days are easier than others.
  5. Read another book. I didn’t complete the book last month. It’s been rough, but I’m slowly working my way through ALLEGIANT. 

If you’re want to know more about #WriteMotivation go to their website, check out the twitter feed and the Google Plus Community. It’s really a wonderful group of people who love to help kick you in the patooty, or send Dino out on “motivational assignment,” or fling cookies. We ALL love cookies!

Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where we celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large the item in question. If you’re interested in learning more about Celebrate The Small Things, please visit their website, visit others participating, and sign up if you’re so inclined. It’s always great to see what everyone finds in their day to celebrate! And it adds to a positive outlook on life!

It is a blog hop, after all. 🙂 <3

LadyJai

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Celebrate The Small Things. Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where we celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large the item in question. This will definitely aid in my quest to find the positives in every situation, no matter how small. If you are so inclined, need a helping hand, or just want to recognize the positives in your life, I highly recommend you try this method, even just for a little bit. It can only help.

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So, last week was exhausting at work.  And I managed to weed half my rose garden. THAT is back breaking work! All I did this long 3 day weekend was laze around on our new sofa recliner and either play xBox or watch movies/TV. So yay for doing nothing.

But I wanted to tell you about something I found, and something shown to me.

I don’t know what I was searching for, or maybe I was cleaning out the mess beneath my bathroom sink. But when I pulled out my basket of hair stuff, I found a card my husband had given me, I don’t know when. I just sat there on the floor of the bathroom, reading and loving it so much.

 

A Card of Love 20140516_173332

“Of all the things I have done and regret, asking you to be my wife will never be one of them.”

Yup, you guessed it, it made me cry.

Of course I told TheHubs I found it and what it said. And of course, he said, “Absolutely true. I will never regret asking you. I love you.”

Then, a few days, maybe a week later, TheHubs showed me a video on YouTube. I’ve heard the song before and really like it. But TheHubs hadn’t heard it before. He said he heard it on the way to taking TheBoy to school and he thought of me and made him cry. It was how he felt about me.

And of course, it made me cry too.

But all these tears are happy tears. They are the little things that mean so much to the heart and to the soul. They are the positives we all need to find in our own lives. I am so glad to have found them and to share them with you. Because I know, if I share them, someone out there will be thinking about their own little pieces of positive. <3

Now, I must detour over to my May Goals for #WriteMotivation. That hasn’t been pretty. But hey, I’ve managed progress and that’s positive! 🙂

 

May Goals:

1. Since WIP#2 wasn’t working, I switched to WIP#1 and I’ve written a few paragraphs towards the ending. So, continue that. Unless my MC in WIP#2 starts talking to me again! I’m flexible like that! Still plucking away one sentence at a time. 
2. Keep up with blog posts for both blogs – this one and my Caring for My Vet. Started my “Many Hats” Series over at Caring for My Vet. I have managed to continue with this post and the new “Celebrate the Small Things” posts. But still haven’t decided what else to include. Do you have any suggestions?
3. Comment/cheer on my fellow #WriteMotivation peeps on Twitter, FB, Google+ and their blogs. Bad Jamie! Bad! I really need to work on this, but between work and home, it’s been difficult lately. Just like my writing. :/
4. Continue with my positive thinking Yup. Am still in this mindset. Hopefully it will continue for a very long time.
5. Read another book. Maybe a third or half way through ALLEGIANT. I may not finish it in time. But hey, I read when I can.

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If you want to take a look at what others have found to celebrate this week, or if you want to sign up, please visit the below links! It is a blog hop, after all. 🙂 <3

LadyJai

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I just found this AMAZING blog hop that fits in with my mantra of “Find the positive, in every situation, no matter how small.” It’s called Celebrate The Small Things. Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where we celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large the item in question. I didn’t find it for last week. So I am playing catch-up and posting today. Hope you can join me in this weekly blog hop and keep that positive energy going.

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

The one day everyone raves about what their husbands and children do for them. Breakfast in bed. Homemade cards and crafts. Surprise visits. Dinner out or at the very least, cooked by anyone other than the Mom. Now that I’m in a community with other Veteran Caregivers, I see a different side of Mother’s Day. Many feel the same as I do. Left out. Just another day. Wishing that someone would make them the priority, or even an effort. But there were so many other posts out there where their veteran was blowing up, arguing, ignoring, leaving. These ladies were feeling that they weren’t important or loved or even recognized. Their day seemed so much worse than mine.

It made me take a step back and look at my day. Yes, sure I woke up like every other day. I laid in bed until TheBoy got up. TheHubs was already awake, downstairs watching TV after a night of insomnia. Yes, sure I had to remind both my son and my husband to wish me happy MomMom’s Day. But, hey, I got hugs and kisses. Yes, I made breakfast. And yes, hubs went to bed soon after we woke up. I managed to wake him up around noon and asked if he wanted to go with us to get groceries and TheBoy a new set of swim trunks. His pain level was pretty bad and I gave him two hours to see if it would calm down. Nope. As per usual, it remained high. So TheBoy and I went out by ourselves.

I had those bad thoughts, those selfish thoughts again. But I didn’t let them get to me. The guilt tried to creep in, too. But I pushed it aside and did what I needed to do. I did do something bad, though. I bought some cookies, some donuts, and also the items to make strawberry shortcake. I also bought Subway for dinner. Hey, it was Me Day, right?! 😛  I wanted to go to the salon and cut off all my hair but decided I wouldn’t put the boy through that. I also wanted to look for a new swimsuit for me too. That whole ordeal, for both of us, was a disaster. But we did have a little fun with hats (in which I bought him one).

I went over my day and all the posts I read regarding Mother’s Day. And you know what? I need to let go of those unrealistic expectations, those magical dreams of the perfect holiday, and just enjoy the small things. Count them and watch them pile up. Soon, it will be a HUGE mountain of positive.

My husband’s alive. He loves me. My son is alive. He loves me. TheBoy made me a Mother’s Day card with love. We were together at the store yesterday and had fun trying on hats. We were able to enjoy some good food. And we made it through another day. I’d call that a win.

Today’s my Wedding Anniversary. I got a Happy Anniversary and then it was off to work with me, off to school with TheBoy. I will go home knowing that I’m loved and cherished and not expect my perfect dream. Because, really, “perfect” is reserved for only one entity. God. And He blesses me everyday with all the love.

(Want a little more behind this story? Visit my other blog post about Holidays.)

LadyJai

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This Is Life.

Posted October 11, 2013 By LadyJai

Watch this ballerina perform En Pointe on the tips of KITCHEN KNIVES!


The universe is so full of polar opposites. It’s a constant battle between hot and cold, light and dark, wet and dry, white and black, positively and negatively charged, good and evil, ugly and beauty. Our universe constantly pulls one way or another trying to find that perfect balance, but never really quite making it. It is in a constant state of chaos.

Life can be cruel. We are never settled in one state of mind. When life seems to be going smoothly, something always comes along to throw a wrench into our comfort zones. Our hearts are always battling our mind. Chaos.

The only thing we can do to manage some semblance of balance, is to live day-to-day, or even moment to moment. Frustration grows, negativity flourishes. Frustration that things aren’t going as planned. That things are piling up. That things will never be good. The more you feed the negative thoughts, the more they grow –  like mold spores, they infest the mind and kill the light, the hope, the heart.

Watch the clip again. Hear the ballerina’s frustration? But watch her feet. She’s graceful, despite the challenge. This is what we must strive for. Grace in the face of frustration. It’s what makes us strong. Makes us endure and overcome. Sure we’ll go down the negative road again. But on the other side, you’ll look back and see just how much strength you already had, the grace you held while dealing.

Find the positive, in any situation, no matter how small.

Between the dead decaying grass of winter and the concrete of our patio, the little viola pushed through and found a way to survive–offering hope in a bleak situation.

Remember to take it one day at a time. And if that’s too much, take it one moment at a time. Find the positive, no matter how tiny, in every situation.

LadyJai

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How is Common Core Better?

Posted September 6, 2013 By LadyJai

I’m sure there have been standardized tests since the dawn of, I don’t know, time maybe. I’ve read accounts of essays given to the students of Socrates. I’m sure there were tests given to young apprentices in their trade before they could venture out on their own. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that these examinations were a great way to test large numbers of people in a short amount of time.

We’ve all grown up sitting at our desk for four hours with a kitchen timer set to 20 minute intervals coloring in our bubbles with No.2 pencils. Nothing else will do. And you better have three or four ready because there’s no getting up to sharpen them during the test.  And put your head down if you finish early because there’s no talking, no moving, no anything except that exam. I remember it quite well.

But in my day (yes, I said it…no, I’m not THAT old), I remember my standardized tests happened one or two days out of the year. And in my schools, they didn’t teach the test. Although, maybe I had it different from most folks. I attended DoD (Department of Defense) schools up until the end of 9th grade. But we still had the same standardized tests that those in the public realm did.

It wasn’t until I joined the public education system did I see exactly how sheltered I was. My fellow students were writing exactly like they spoke. And we were still learning what a noun and verb were in the 12th grade. Seriously, WTF?! But I digress…

Back to standardized tests. We had them in the DoD schools. And we had them in Public Schools. Then, there was the ASVAB, the military entrance exam. And of course the SAT. Even back then when I was taking these tests, I never understood how they (they being those grading and placing) could determine how smart I was based on my test scores. Because I suffered test anxiety, my tests usually were lower than my overall grades. I never agreed with their strict usage. Don’t judge me on my number. I’m more than that. My knowledge and understanding is greater than that. I am capable of learning greater things. You place a number, label me, and you limit me.

These tests have been far from my mind over the years. It wasn’t until I had my own child who entered the school system did I start to notice what was going on…still…to a greater extent than I’ve ever remembered. We were determined to take an active role in our son’s education. If we couldn’t afford a private school, then we were darned sure we were going to supplement. Over the last four years, I’ve noticed a trend in the worksheets he brings home. All of them are pulled from an FCAT workbook. Now, they have a second workbook geared towards the PARCC. Everything they do, they teach the test.

My son was reading and writing on his own by three. We began teaching his times tables in kindergarten and carried through to the first grade. We taught him fractions in 2nd. He is advanced is so many ways. But the school limits him, holds him back. I’m sick of it.

He was told not to use cursive because it’s not taught and not fair to the other children who can’t read it.
He was told not to use multiplication to find his answers because they haven’t learned it yet and it’s not fair to the other students.
He was told not to use the lowest common denominator because they haven’t learned it yet, nor did they ever that I’ve seen, and it’s not fair to the other students.
He was told he could not read or check out books from the library that were above his grade level, even though he’s reading (and comprehending) at 4 grades above his.
His Advanced teachers have been limited to what they can teach (no more teaching outside the book) because it’s more than what is required. 

Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” How is this conducive to a proper education? How does this encourage children to learn? All I see it doing is stifling, brainwashing our children into being the mindless drones our government wants (NEEDS) so they can remain in power.

Yesterday, our son came home and told us that it took his teacher 45 minutes to go over two questions. They missed their entire recess period. And when we all went over the questions at home, the way we learned and the way we taught him, he had those two done in less than two minutes.

I posted this picture last school year on my Facebook page, before Common Core was introduced into our elementary state standards.
TheNewMath
I was afraid then. I even saw the building blocks when his math problems were expressed in block columns (like the lower part of that screen with all the x’s). Just ridiculous.

I became hopeful when there were measures going to our State Legislature to, at a minimum, delay the implementation of the CC standard. But it has been in the works for the last five years. But it still was allowed through. Florida is part of 46 other states who’ve already adopted the deal, based off bribery (No Child Left Behind waiver and Stimulus money) mostly and without parents knowledge or even a chance to vote. Our taxes go to funding this initiative yet we have no say in the matter. They just took the money given by the federal government and ran with it. And now, all the money is gone, and they still don’t have the computers necessary to administer the tests, the tests and full curriculum aren’t even ready, and the teachers aren’t fully educated in the process. I’ve spoken with several local teachers and they are not happy with the Common Core either. There is a movement of teachers to get rid of it. But the problem is, control has been removed at the local level.

Hell, control has been removed at the state level (don’t let the proponents fool you!)

Let’s look at what’s going on currently in my son’s school.
Here’s my son’s homework he brought home yesterday, the one that took the teacher 45 minutes to explain the first two problems.

Click for larger view This is the worksheet my son brought home. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It's not simple. It's not easier.

Click for larger view
This is the worksheet my son brought home. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It’s not simple. It’s not easier.

Let’s take Question number 2.
Ryan has nine 14 ounce bags of popcorn to repackage and sell at the school fair. A small bag holds 3 ounces. How many small bags can he make?

All he has to do is multiply the number of bags  by the number of ounces to get the total number of ounces he has on hand, then divide by 3 in order to get the new number of bags he will have after the repackaging.

My son knows this. He told me how to solve it the way we taught him. (9 x 14) / 3  = 126/3 = 42

Simple math. 2 steps.

Click for larger view This is him showing his work for answering the worksheet questions. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It's not simple. It's not easier.

Click for larger view
This is him showing his work for answering the worksheet questions. The questions are simple and require little work. Common Core requires more steps to get the same answer. It’s not simple. It’s not easier.

Common Core dictates a NEW way of calculating the answer. I’m not even sure I understand how to explain it.

His “show your work” worksheet says :
9 x 14 = 126
then
126-30
then
126/3 = (30/3) + (30/3) + (30/3) +(30/3)  +2
then
10 + 10 + 10 + 10 +2

then we have the answer of 42

This is indeed more steps, but I don’t even understand how you get 30/3  so there’s probably another step in there to get that. Does it even make sense to you? Seriously? I can’t even.

Since they pushed CC through so quickly, they’ve failed in providing the necessary education for the teachers. It’s quite apparent to me that 45 minutes to explain two problems means that even the teacher doesn’t know how to explain it well enough for the children to understand. And if the teacher doesn’t understand, how in the world can she make her students understand?

Then, we have the interest groups who’ve put money into this system. Corporate greed dictates what our kids will learn? Hmmm let’s see. Bill Gates invested heavily in the Common Core program. Microsoft stands to gain many times over. Jeb Bush pushed it through the Florida Legislature while his brother, Neil, co-founded Ignite!Learning–a software corporation set to benefit from CC. The list goes on and on.

No Child Left Behind started it. Common Core is just a continuation of it. And it will only get worse. Standards DICTATE the tests and testing DRIVES the curriculum.

This is only touching on the math part. I’m sure I will be seeing the English part soon enough. And that’s a whole other post dealing with the 70/30 technical/classical structure that kills the desire to read.

Oh and data mining and surveillance….don’t even…

Another favorite Einstein quote is this: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And if we can’t get anyone to think differently than those who dictate the curriculum, then each generation suffers even more. Common Core is NOT the answer. Rather than dumbing down our society because they can’t pass a test, how about we take interest in, and responsibility for, our children. Stop letting someone else raise your child!

It does NOT take a village, people! It takes parents!

Want to learn more about what Common Core is? Watch these 5 videos that explain it better than I can.

Part 1 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 2 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 3 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 4 of 5 Stop The Common Core
Part 5 of 5 Stop The Common Core

LadyJai

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Even Google wished me Happy Birthday!

Even Google wished me Happy Birthday!

So, today marks another trip around the sun. It’s been two years since I’ve managed to engage in a holding pattern as The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything. So this also makes me a TIME LORD! And I’ve inadvertently discovered time travel. So where’s my TARDIS??

Why is there not an animated GIF of a T-Rex flailing his tiny arms? Surely, I’m not the only one obsessed and find this image hilarious!

 

At least the universe is celebrating the day of my birth. So, help me party! Go out tonight, when the sun has set, and look to the heavens and watch.

The Perseids are one of the most predictable meteor showers we have. Tonight is their peak, averaging two flashes/streaks per minute (depending on viewing conditions). I am hoping for clear skies, as usually these are overcast here during this time of year with the nightly summer showers. But it’s supposed to be hot as all get out. And the last few years, the moon has overpowered the night sky. This year, though, it’s in its waxing crescent phase which will limit the moonlight and allow us to see the streaking meteors! *fingers crossed*

My August Goals so far:

1) Be Positive, Try to find the positive in every situation, no matter how small. This has got to be ALWAYS!! After last weekend’s “attitude” I had, I decided to try being more patient. WOW, can you say HARD! But I managed. TheBoy got to help me cook. And this weekend, we went shopping without incident….though TheBoy still dreads it, and his body language screams it, I tried so hard to keep calm and point it out to him. Not sure if it’s sinking in, but at least we didn’t butt heads like last weekend!  Not sure what kind of “positives” I can find in TheHubs’ situation when he’s constantly in pain, and now his insomnia is back! I feel so helpless. But at least I’m there for him.
2) Cheer others on with #writemotivation cookie flinging and positive thoughts! Another ALWAYS! Not entirely a fail, but without TweetDeck, I’ve been falling behind! I MISS TweetDeck!!!!! Nothing I’ve tried comes close to following hashtags/people, AND NOTIFYING ME of replies and posts by those tags! UGH! So frustrated!! So, out of sight out of mind and I’m really beginning to hate not being a part of this group! :(
3) Continue writing SOMETHING, EVERYDAY! Even if I can’t work on my novel, I’ll try my hand at short stories. Whatever it is, it has to be writing! DEFINITELY ALWAYS! So, I’ve worked a bit on a new opening to my novel. Trying to get into the main character and make people like her. Working out issues. But, really, watching the Science Channel is not conducive to actual writing. But daggum it, I sure got some FANTASTIC ideas….no real plots yet. But I’ve got ideas! 🙂
4) Read another book. Completed HJ for Andrew. Was worried about the notes I had for him but he reassured me they all worked. 🙂 Tried to read another book that just fell flat. The Main Character was beyond annoying for me. I wanted to chuck it at the wall. So, instead, I shelved it and started reading another. Halfway done with that one too! YAY me!
5) Continue submitting my short stories, “O.N.” and “S.S.”  Let’s see how many I can get before someone accepts me. :) I just received another rejection for S.S. this weekend. So that makes it 5 rejections for O.N. and 3 for S.S. And submitted S.S. to another venue this morning.  Hopefully, submitting on my birthday is good karma.

LadyJai

 

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A while back, end of last year I guess,  I suffered from a repetitive stress injury in my hand, shoulder, and elbow. It got so bad I couldn’t even lift a one pound weight. I had to go through physical therapy and readjust my work space. Luckily, my boss was kind and bought me an ergonomic keyboard. Not a lot to spend, and it really helped. The only problem I have is the whole CTRL+C and CTRL+P that I do A LOT when transferring high amounts of data from spreadsheet to spreadsheet. Teaching myself a new way of doing things is hard. I still haven’t “fixed” the copy/paste issue but the fact that the beginning part of the year really slows down a lot at work…meaning we aren’t bombarded with 10 project sites all at once like we do at the end of the year…has helped my arm heal. I no longer have to wear a brace, and the keyboard keeps my arms in proper alignment. I’m grateful for that.

I’ve had a foot rest under my desk for years because these cubes the government provides are not the best ergonomically designed systems. I’ve been to OSHA and a multitude of sites that tell you how best to sit at a desk. The problem I find is that if I adjust my arms properly, my feet dangle. The joys of being short! If I adjust for my feet, my shoulders are up to my ears. I have what I have deemed a “mouse arm” by which I mean the neck muscles are so tense and locked that it causes a pull on my spine. I’ve learned how to make a conscious effort to relax my shoulders while sitting at my desk. But it took a long while to become aware of my shoulder and sometimes still I forget. I think that was my first “work posture” related injury, but I fixed that on my own. Sorta.

Now, though, I’ve been noticing a constant pain going down the backside of my legs, which causes achiness in my calves, ankle and toes.  I didn’t quite understand it at first, and nothing…I MEAN NOTHING…took the pain away. In talking with several people, and doing my own research, I think I’ve narrowed it down to Sciatica. YAY! Not.

SITTING IS KILLING YOU!

A few years ago, an article about the dangers of sitting all day circulated the office. A few people even adopted the standing all day mechanism and adjusted their cubicles so they could work like that. On occasion, I’ve stood for an hour or two but never took the step to readjust my work space so I could stand all day. I’ve spent my entire teenage work life standing for 8 hour shifts. I didn’t want to have to go back to that. So I stood when I needed to. Though, bending over to type really wrecked the back I guess.

I’ve been seeing many Twitter peeps hop on the treadmill desk and thought that was the coolest thing ever. But treadmills are so expensive. And the treadmill desk is even more expensive. Besides, how the heck would I get it to work? I hate trying to find a used one. I’m not a yard sale person, and I really don’t trust a lot from Craig’s List. I’m paranoid, what can I say. (Guess that’s why I went into computer security, LOL) So, I’ve been dreaming from afar.

I’ve done a little research on my company’s internal site to find out what their policy is on ergonomics. I’ve taken the training video which was stuff I already knew about. And there are some ergonomic things that are offered in the catalog, provided funding and manager approval. So, I’ve asked my boss, again, for more ergonomics. He was away on TDY all last week, and he probably forgot by now. I’ve seen a sit/stand desk mentioned on the company site. And I wonder if we could get that. But I’d really, REALLY, like a treadmill desk.

You’d think that they’d be proactive about this. Rather than paying out workman’s comp, doctor’s visits, and physical therapy, plus the time the employ spends away from work, you’d think it would be more economical to purchase ergonomics for everyone. But no…we are a reactive society, not a proactive one. So, now I have to fight to get something I need. Figures.

BEFORE: The Sitting arrangement

AFTER: The Standing arrangement

In the mean time, I’ve rearranged my desk. I went from the sitting position to standing all day. My sciatic seems to be better. But now, O.M.G. my feet and lower back hurt so much! I’m stretching and trying to find yoga things to do while standing to help alleviate the pain, though. But the sciatic seems to have gone mostly.

And we’ll see what happens next with my manager/company. It might just take another year to get anything.

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 Now, on to my August Goals

1) Be Positive, Try to find the positive in every situation, no matter how small. This has got to be ALWAYS!! Saturday was a failure. Had to go school clothes shopping for TheBoy and he just did not want to be there. He hated trying on all his clothes at home to see what was too small and how much we had to buy. He hated going to the store to pick out anything. He had no interest in choosing his own clothes. I was in such a foul mood! Me, personally, I hate shopping anyway. Always have. Maybe I put him in the mood. I don’t know. But I know I sure didn’t help him. And I hate myself for it. But I think I’ve overcome the negativity it so far. I hope.
2) Cheer others on with #writemotivation cookie flinging and positive thoughts! Another ALWAYS! Another fail really. Ever since I lost TweetDeck, I’ve not been able to find a comparable phone app that does everything Tweetdeck did for me. I can’t follow a hashtag in Twitter or any of the other apps I’ve tried.  Nor do I get notified when I get mentioned in a tweet, or when someone tweets, period. So, out of sight out of mind and I’m really beginning to hate not being a part of this group! 🙁
3) Continue writing SOMETHING, EVERYDAY! Even if I can’t work on my novel, I’ll try my hand at short stories. Whatever it is, it has to be writing! DEFINITELY ALWAYS! I’ve been learning a little and had a sort of brainstorm at the end of last week on my novel. It isn’t writing, but it’s doing. I also started another short story….maybe….
4) Read another book. I’m currently reading the dark and angry HJ for Andrew. Halfway done already! 🙂
5) Continue submitting my short stories, “O.N.” and “S.S.”  Let’s see how many I can get before someone accepts me. :) I just received another rejection for O.N. this morning. So that makes it 5 rejections for O.N. and 2 for S.S. And I’m starting to wonder if I’m not good enough for pro-pay. :/ I’ll keep plugging away, working down my list, though.

LadyJai

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First July #WriteMotivation Update — FINALLY!

Posted July 5, 2013 By LadyJai

It’s been a very busy first week of the month, starting with the end of last month. I had a little mini-vacation and I took my family down to Disney for a little weekend excursion. And this happened:

Cheyenne and I

We got to meet up with Cheyenne and TheScottsman while they were in Disney on their vacation. Let me tell you, we feel in love with them! They are a great couple, really wonderful to talk to, and 3 hours was NOT LONG ENOUGH!!

Unfortunately, TheBoy kept us up the whole night. He must have eaten something bad and had to expunge it from his system. Of course, housekeeping was not available and he just missed getting to the toilet. But he swore after that he felt better. You know how concerned parents are. We stayed up most of the night, and then had to get up early for the park. Animals don’t like the heat. And, since it’s been raining most of the afternoon for the past month here, we needed to get some of our money’s worth out of the park, right? 🙂

TheHubs and I enjoying Disney

If you are friends with me on Facebook (my personal page), you’d have seen the progression of our trek and the rain coming in.  Despite the lack of sleep and TheHub’s constant pain, we managed a couple of days. We live for the moment, because, really, when you live in fear that your next super migraine will be your last, you live in prison. So TheHubs has resolved himself to “just deal” and live each day like it’s his last. (This is something new, and scary, and something I have to come to terms with as well. Easier said than done.)

The rain started on and off around lunchtime. And we managed a few more places before the deluge. TheBoy got so very disappointed because he was looking forward to riding his first roller coaster. He thought Disney’s Animal Kingdom only had one, Mt. Everest. And by the time we got there, the deluge had started. They had closed the ride a few times. The FastPass had wait times of 3 hours, which was quite convenient as the park closed in exactly 3 hours. So, we had to disappoint TheBoy. We hated it. But what could we do?

TheBoy’s first roller coaster ride Of course, my phone dies right after this picture.

We were on our last wave of energy by this point too. If we stopped, we would surely fall asleep, right there, where we sat, in the park. Well, TheBoy could have gone on much longer than we could have, I’m sure. As we made our way through to the exit, we went through the DinoLand part. They also had a roller coaster. By its description on the brochure, though, I thought it was something that went around and around in circles. You know, like the spinning tea cups, or the spinning wall where the floor drops out from under you but you’re plastered to the side from the centrifugal force? I don’t handle those too well ever since I became a teen. I don’t know why, but I guess puberty took its toll and made me motion sick to those things.

TheBoy’s first roller coaster ride… See the excitement?

But, as we walked by, it didn’t look so bad. Yeah, there were a few spinny round, but not continuous. And the wait was only 10 minutes. So, YAY! TheBoy had his first roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, TheHubs can no longer ride roller coasters due to his neck injury. I could only imagine the pain it would cause! ERG!! I still love roller coasters, and TheBoy had a BLAST! His adrenaline got pumped and he LOVED it! Laughed at me the whole time because I always laugh when I go on those things.

After this, we made our way back to the hotel. TheHubs crashed by 4:30. TheBoy crashed by 6:30. And I wasn’t so far behind. 🙂

I did take a day off work, Monday. But settling back into my normal schedule hasn’t happened yet. This week has been full up on the days off department. Yesterday was Independence Day and I had the day off as well. We BBQed and *tried* to fire off some fireworks. But, alas, the daily rainstorms continued. The air was so thick the smoke didn’t go anywhere. At least it wasn’t dry, though, or we probably would have had a burn ban. There is no middle ground in Florida, it seems. It’s always one extreme or the other.

But at least we got to pop off some, even in the rain! 🙂
See my Instagram feed, seeing as I don’t know how to insert the video I took…

 

Here’s my July goals. I hope to be able to accomplish!

1) Be Positive, Try to find the positive in every situation, no matter how small. This has got to be ALWAYS!!

2) Cheer others on with #writemotivation cookie flinging and positive thoughts! Another ALWAYS!

3) Continue writing SOMETHING, EVERYDAY! Even if I can’t work on my novel, I’ll try my hand at short stories. Whatever it is, it has to be writing! DEFINITELY ALWAYS!

4) find something to blog about other than these Update posts. I did a few. Not nearly as much as I’d like. But, I’m currently working on a blog post that may be a bit controversial in nature. But oh well. If you love me, you’ll accept my views and love me anyway, right? That’s what friends do.

5) read another book.

6) Continue submitting my short story, “O.N.” I’ve got 3 rejections, let’s see how many I can get before someone accepts me. 🙂

 

PS: What do you think of the new design? Not sure I’m liking it yet. hehe

LadyJai

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Me And My 2nd Amendment Right

Posted June 26, 2013 By LadyJai

bill-of-rightsI usually don’t make posts pertaining to political issues one way or another. If you love me, you love me regardless of my views, and respect them as I respect and love you. Right? That’s the way friendships work.

However, I find that my 2nd Amendment right is something I want to keep. And I want to share with you my reasoning:

First, and foremost, let me state the The Constitution is a limitation on the government, not the individual. Therefore, those rights are given to each and every one of the US citizens and cannot be taken away by the government. If we want change, we have to collectively raise our voice and  3/4 of the states have to approve in order to make changes to those rights. It’s not unheard of. It can be done. Case in point: The 18th Amendment is the only amendment to be repealed in all US history.

The 2nd Amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What does this mean?

This has been the question for God knows how long. Is it the state’s right? Is it an individual’s right? Personally, I believe it to be EVERYONE’S right, State, state, and individual. It is there to protect the people against a rogue government, much like what the government of King George did to the colonists. And how can we do that without guns? You may say the state “militia” means the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard are the “militia” in here. Or, you may say that each state has their own “militia” called the National Guard. But when you think about it, who actually runs the military? Or the  National Guard? The government, that’s who. So how can a government organization rise up and protect the people when they are taking orders from our government?

That’s where the individual comes in.

Let’s dissect the sentence, shall we?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” : Quite obvious The Founders saw the need for an organized body to protect  their country. The word “state” invokes the 50 United States in most of the population, I would venture. However, studying politics, I’ve come to understand the word “state” to mean an organized community living under a unified political system. They can be sovereign, such as whole nations, or they can be part of a greater structure, such as our united states. You could also argue that the word state could reference the condition of a person or thing with respect to circumstances or attributes (e.g. mental state, state of being, gaseous state).

So, the “security of a free state” could mean one of three things: 1) security of self, 2) security of the place you reside, or 3) security of the sovereign state, the nation. Whatever it is, it boils down to safety.

Now, notice the use of commas. I believe this is the reason everyone argues over whether it’s the state’s right or the individual’s right. But it’s plain as day in my eyes. There’s no comma used after the word people. The phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is complete and in tact.

If you remove the parenthetical elements ( being necessary to the security of a free State), then we can apply the “elements in a series” rule. We would have the militia AND the individual’s rights to keep and bear arms. And neither shall be infringed, as stated in the final phrase of the amendment.

The Supreme Court never addressed, probably never wanted to address, the 2nd Amendment wording, thus never ruling whether it was a state’s right or an individual’s right … at least, not until 2008 when they made a decision on District of Columbia v. Heller. In that ruling, the Supreme Court seems to see it the way I do (above).

The Court reasoned that the Amendment’s prefatory clause, i.e., “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” announced the Amendment’s purpose, but did not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause, i.e., “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Moreover, the prefatory clause’s history comported with the Court’s interpretation, because the prefatory clause stemmed from the Anti-Federalists’ concern that the federal government would disarm the people in order to disable the citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. – “See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment2/amendment.html#sthash.R6xXCBo9.dpuf

They also upheld the ruling that the District of Columbia’s total ban on handguns infringed upon the individual’s right to own a gun, any gun, putting restrictions on an entire class of weapon that the American people have overwhelmingly chosen lawful for the purpose of self-defense. It also upheld that complete disassembling of, or rendering inoperable, said weapon would make it impossible for the citizen to use the weapon for self-defense, thus violating the 2nd Amendment.

Notice I bolded a phrase in the last paragraph? Putting restrictions on an entire class of weapon that the American people have overwhelmingly chosen lawful goes against the 2nd Amendment.

For those who think that The Founding Fathers intended the 2nd Amendment pertained to only those “arms” from their day? Well, those weapons are now currently banned. So, if not those weapons, what?

I’ve had people argue with me on this point alone, saying “Why does anyone need an AR-15 or an AK-47.” My response is, and always has been, “I don’t need it. But it’s my right to own it.” (Although I don’t own one, I do want to one day, or at least fire one.) The majority of people have said that these types of guns should be banned, they are too violent. No one needs them for self-defense, or hunting.

No self-respecting gun advocate or responsible/ethical hunter would hunt with this type of weapon.  However, there is a certain amount of self-defense that comes with this type of weapon. That in which we need to arm and protect ourselves from a rogue government. What if our government decided to ban this weapon, yet put it int he hands of their own employees to defend against public unrest? Oh, wait, this is already happening! The IRS is being trained on AR-15s, the same type of weapons they want banned from the hands of US citizens. Don’t believe me? US House Representative Jeff Duncan is the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman and witnessed IRS agents doing just that.

IRS. What the hell?

So how’s that going to work if the government bans AR-15s and the like? The IRS is the government organization in charge of enforcing Obamacare. I’m afraid that their enforcement will be brutal if the training is any indication.

The government knows something’s coming. They know and are preparing. Why aren’t we?

Why are we still fighting over what should and shouldn’t be banned? Would you be so outraged if the IRS came in to your town and started rounding up everyone who didn’t have Obamacare and started shooting? It could happen. In my warped, demented mind, in the minds of history buffs and professors, and in all the minds of any dystopian writer, it’s already happened.

By no means do I want to diminish anything like the horrors of Sandy Hook Elementary School, or any other mass shooting that’s ever happened, or ever will happen. Those who do these things are evil, pure and simple. But people should not base their opinions on gun and gun owners on the acts of the few that are so over-reported on by the media. Doing so is akin to anyone who prejudges by race, creed, skin color, hair color, whether someone’s tattooed, or wears glasses, or what type of job someone has.

Just like any of our laws, we have plenty of them. We need to start enforcing them better, not making more. Banning for the sake of banning is not going to prevent the evil in this world. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if it’s not guns, it’ll be something else. Just look at what a small backpack and pressure cooker can do in a crowd at the Boston Marathon. They WILL find a way. And I want to be protected from that evil, whatever form it takes.

What we need is education! I strongly support background checks and wait times for purchasing guns. I also strongly support education of properly handling, shooting, and storing your weapon. Too many people die because of improper handling, improper storage. More of these types of gun deaths go overlooked in the media because it’s not massive, it’s not a money generator. Who’s going to read about some guy cleaning his weapon who forgot to remove the bullet from the chamber before he started cleaning? The media is a business and they are all about the profit. If it doesn’t generate enough of it, the story goes to a blurb on the back page where no one’s going to read it. The media controls our worldview. (But I’m getting off tangent here.)

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Here’s another reason I have for owning a gun: A few years back someone broke into a house and raped the woman in front of her three kids. It was in my parents neighborhood. A very nice neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect anything like that to happen. Well it did. I was scared for my mother’s safety until that monster was caught. If the woman had a gun, I highly doubt he would have gotten that far.

Here’s something that just went viral in the last day or two. A woman at home with her two kids. A man breaks into her home and beats her in front of her 3 year old daughter while her 1.5 year old napped upstairs. People are sick! And it can happen ANYWHERE.

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So, with all that said, yes, I now am the proud owner of a Walther PK-380. I have also started learning how to shoot. TheHubs was a Range Instructor in the Army and a Sharpshooter to boot. So, I am comfortable learning from him. However, I do want to enroll in proper Handling/Shooting from an NRA certified instructor, as well as Home/Self-defense classes at the local range here.  I would like to get a conceal carry license but I probably wouldn’t carry. My gun is for home defense. But it would give me the legal authority to carry my gun out in the open to and from the range. Although, I do like the security of knowing the gun is not readily accessible when I transport it in its case in the trunk, if we were to go traveling that option would be there. I still am not comfortable with handling my weapon. But with practice, the better I will become.

Here’s me firing for the first time:


This is after I bawled my eyes out when I first touched the gun. The guy in the lane next to me was firing a long rifle and just as I touched my gun, he shot off a round and scared the bejeezus out of me.

Here’s me firing, and my target:

My Target & Grouping

My Target & Grouping
TheHub’s is all in the neck, and the one in the head. I did everything else.

Me Shooting

Me Shooting

LadyJai

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Meet, 00-TARDIS, my new ride.

Double Oh TARDIS

Double Oh TARDIS                                                                                                                                                                because it’s BLUE, the front end looks like and Aston Martin, and it really is bigger on the inside.

After taking our 2000 Dodge Stratus to our mechanic to find out why the check engine light came on, he told us it was the catalytic converter. He jacked it up to find out what type we needed, only to find that we had a blown head gasket. I really like this mechanic. He’s honest and doesn’t jerk your chain. And he’s fair on his prices. He told us he couldn’t morally/ethically charge us for a part when there is something else majorly wrong and wouldn’t be worth fixing since it would cost more than the car is worth. So, he suggested we clear the code and take it directly to the dealer and get a new car.

TheHubs was kind of leaning towards buying a certified used car, but I told him I wanted peace of mind for the family. Yes, it would mean a car payment we haven’t had in 9 years. But still. Our luck with used cars has been worse than bad. And after looking at the used car prices, they really weren’t that much less. Maybe $2-3k less, and the miles would have put it off the warranty. I’m totally all for warranties. It’s why I bought the Stratus in the first place.

See, the car we had before the Stratus was a Pontiac Grand Am. We bought her used. It was our money pit. We had a love/hate relationship with her. She loved to break down and we hated her for it. Yet, we couldn’t afford a new car at the time. I think we put the same, if not more, money into her to fix her chronic problems…including the last major overhaul of the engine when she threw a rod. We fixed her up and took her to Germany with us. She performed well, but we think we may have abused her on the Autobahn 🙂 But still. The rules were, if she dies on the German roadside, I was going to leave her there to rot!

Six months before we were to rotate back to the states, she did just that. Died. Again, she threw a rod. Unfortunately, we couldn’t just leave her due to the German laws and our license plate giving us away as Americans. Luckily, there was a place about 10-15 miles from our house where, if we could drive her through the gate they would take her and dispose of her free of charge. The tricky part was driving her there. But we managed, with horrid knocking, and a whole lot of praying and giving her constant gas. She made it…barely. As soon as we drove through the gate, she died. Never to start again. The engine froze, locked up, seized. It wasn’t ever going to crank again.

And I was happy to be rid of her.

I was so pissed that she fell back into her “old ways” that I went online, configured a brand spanking new Stratus with all the bells and whistles and took it to the AAFES dealer. TheHubs came with me, but he knew how pissed I was and just kept his mouth shut. The dealer had everything I ticked off, except the color. But since we needed a car NOW, I had to settle on the Forest Green. It was our very first brand new car, ever! 🙂

She lasted a good 13 years for us. But you have to weigh how much money it’s going to cost in repairs to a new car payment and the reliability of the car. And now was the time to retire the Stratus. I liked it. It was a good car. I was sad to give her up. But never again will I have a sun roof. We can’t utilize it but maybe one week out of the year. I will never have leather seats again. It was a pain to take care of, and all the stitching had come apart due to the UV damage, I’m guessing and the lack of taking care of it. The paint, also due to the UV rays, was pealing pretty bad. We only got $500 for trade-in. Yes, all of the “extras” add value to the car, but only if you trade it in within 5 years. We had that car for 13.

So, with this new car, we were more conservative, and I did let TheHubs have his say. I still think I talked him out of a used car, and I might not have gotten everything we would have liked in this car. So, I do stumble sometimes and feel like a heel for getting this particular car. But, I do like it tremendously. And TheHubs is pretty much satisfied. I mean, it’s safe for the family car. The payments, well…we’ll have to deal with that. But keeping the family safe, and not having to dip into the savings every other month to fix a car, does seem to be a relief of sorts. 🙂

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Now that I am not researching cars, buying a car, and worrying about some additional things going on in my life, I can turn my focus to my writing routine again. I hope.

So, here’s June’s goals

1) Be Positive, Try to find the positive in every situation, no matter how small. I think I’m starting off on a positive note with the new car, safety, and the fact I’ve resolved myself NOT to worry about that “something”.

2) Cheer others on with #writemotivation cookie flinging and positive thoughts! I’ve been AWOL online for this first part of June so far. But I think I might be able to get back into it soon enough! If you need me, @ me wherever you need to! I’ll always respond. 🙂

3) attempt to FINISH THAT WIP! Or at least write SOMETHING! Well, I had this dream the other morning, between snooze alarms, where I was actually talking to Sir Patrick Stewart about my WIP. Don’t ask me why him…but it was freaking awesome! I’ve never really dreamed of celebrities before. But there he was. And all that I remember was him telling me “full circle”. I’ve been trying to think how to do this for the ending of my story. But, I’m still not writing….YET. However, I did find this anthology that caught my eye and I actually started writing a short story for it. So yay! 🙂

4) find something to blog about other than these Update posts. Currently, I incorporated that into this post. So, here’s hoping I can manage something the rest of the month. 🙂

5) read another book.  I finished 2 last month, one for pleasure and one for CP, and now I have 2 more CP books. This has been tough so far due to the busy schedule I’ve had and the fact that I’ve been emotionally exhausted this last week. But, I’m starting to get back into my normal routine, and I hope to have at least one of these finished by the end of the month…actually, I think my deadline is the 20th. *fingers crossed*

 

Also, if you’re interested, we’ve got a Google Plus community going, and we’re trying to organize a chit-chat hangout one of these weekends. If you want, swing on over, join, and let us know if you’re interested and when is a good time for you.

Good luck to everyone on their goals!

LadyJai

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The Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest

Pay It ForwardPaying it forward.

I saw this movie oh so many years ago and I fell in love with it’s premise. I grew up with the notion of paying things back to the one who dealt the deed. But really, it’s not about owing someone a good turn. It’s not about owing anything to anyone. It’s about sharing those good turns to get the maximum amount of goodness exposed….shared.

Do you remember The Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have done unto you. I really fear we don’t teach this to our children anymore. I grew up with this mentality.  And I sure wouldn’t want bad things to be done to me. So I try to treat everyone as I want to be treated, if not better.

Everyone tells me what goes around comes around,  be it good or bad. And I truly believe in Karma. I’ve given so much of myself in the hopes I would receive the same. But it always seems I’m the one wanting.

I’m supposed to talk about what good deeds that have been done to me, but what I really want to share are a few things my husband and I have done for others. There was a time, when my little one was actually little, and we struggled to make it through to the next paycheck. It was close to the end of the pay period…the paycheck was coming up the next week. We had to get gas and we were down to our last hundred dollars. If something catastrophic were to happen, I was never sure how we would handle it. So, holding on to all the money we could before the end of the month was very crucial.

Have you ever pulled into a gas station and have someone come up to you asking for a couple of dollars, just so they to get a gallon of gas? Most of these are scams. I’ve seen it happen in parking lots mostly. But a few times at the gas pumps where the person walks from car to car. If you watch them, they just wander. There’s no empty car sitting anywhere.  We don’t normally give to these types of people.

When we pulled up to our pump, we noticed the car across the way from us. It was a beater. There was a pregnant woman in the passenger seat. I mean PREGNANT. The husband was out side the car, looking. He came up to us and asked for $2. (at the time, gas was about that). He said he just needed enough gas to get his wife to her doctor’s appointment and back home. When we saw she was pregnant, we swiped our card and told him to fill it up. He looked at us in wonder. He said he couldn’t take that much. We insisted. He asked us for our address so he could pay us back when he could. We just told him to pay it forward. “Promise. If you ever see anyone in this much need, no matter if you could afford it or not, share the kindness.” The man promised and the woman cried. Which made us cry.

Another example of paying it forward happened not long after. Two doors down from us, a husband murdered his wife, leaving the two little boys orphans. I felt terribly heart broken for them. They needed some comfort. So I decided to make each boy a comfort quilt, to let them know that they are loved. I couldn’t imagine what emotional scars will come out of that. But if they could see that not everyone is evil, not everyone would abandon them, and that a stranger had love for them, maybe, just maybe they wouldn’t feel so alone. So I made them each a quilt and dropped it off to the investigator in charge of their mother’s case. When they asked who should they say it’s from, I just told them to tell the little boys, “from someone who cares and doesn’t want them to feel alone.” I know they may have been too young to understand at the time. But I do hope it helped them through, and that they remember and understand when they get older. Hopefully, they will be able to pay that kindness forward too.

This past Christmas, an old friend of mine sent me and a few others an email asking for prayers she could give her two daughters a Christmas. She struggled with medical bills and a bad divorce. All they asked for were a doll each and a Kindle Fire to share. I just bought a new laptop, and the deal was a free Nook. We already had a Kindle and a Sony eReader. I offered it to my son and told him about the two other little girls. It didn’t take him long to decide to help them, since he realized he likes real books better and he can use our eReaders if needed.

I’m reminded of another attempt at sharing kindness. It was during my husband’s deployment to Albania and Kosovo back in 1999. Here is the re-post:

8/20/02      It was about April of 1999 when they deployed my husband and his unit to the conflict in Kosovo. I kept current with what was going on over there through CNN, the Internet and the Stars and Stripes (the military newspaper overseas). One day in early May, I read a story that touched me on many levels. It was about a family going through a hardship because the father hurt himself and could not work any more, while the mother struggled to make ends meet. Despite their financial and emotional burdens, they wanted to help the soldiers in the Balkans by donating the mother’s new design of Angel Pins but she had no idea how to get them to the soldiers. She wrote a letter asking for anyone who could help distribute the pins. Here is the story of Patricia C. Gallagher and her family’s request:

Dear New Friend,
Two years ago my life was going well. I had four healthy children, a husband with a good job, and we were about to buy a new house in a great neighborhood for raising a family.

Then tragedy intervened. My husband was seriously injured in an accident. He spent five weeks in the hospital and came home to an orthopedic hospital bed set up in our living room. How difficult it was for all of us! I had never been a caregiver before. On many a summer evening, I sat numb in the back yard staring up at the stars and cried to God, “How… how am I going to do this?”

Finances became strained. It was a struggle to stay in our old home. Moving to the new one was out of the question. As the costs of co-pays and unreimbursed medical expenses mounted, my husband’s diminished salary did not even come close to meeting them. But I myself was unable to get a job because I had to remain at home as wife, nurse, and parent. One evening, feeling totally overwhelmed, I sat down and wrote a poem. I called it “A Team of Angels for the Overwhelmed” for I felt that only with heavenly aid could I survive. It helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself. And when, a few days later, I met with a friend whose son had died, I realized that as difficult as my own troubles were, those of others could be much worse. That realization, I sensed, was the Gift of the Team of Angels.

You may think me reckless and foolhardy, but I designed a Team of Angels lapel pin and had 10,000 of them manufactured and mounted on cards bearing my poem. To get the money for this, I took out a home equity loan, even though our family’s financial situation was perilous. From the porch of our house, I gave away 5000 pins to others who were struggling with personal crises. And because this was about the time of Kosovo, I donated 5000 more to our troops serving there. My friends and relatives were aghast. Well meaning people whispered, “Is she crazy? Buying 10,000 pins to give away to strangers when her own family is sinking financially?”

But God works in mysterious ways. As my Team of Angels pins circulated around the world, requests for them began to come in from anguished and troubled individuals everywhere. Though I could not afford to give them away any more for free, I decided to offer them for sale at a small cost. That was the best way, due to our family crisis and the blessed intervention of Providence, and so I started my own small business at home. Requests for Team of Angels pins have grown so that I am slowly paying off the home equity loan and beginning to reduce some of the deficit in our family’s personal finances. As I write this, more than 50,000 Team of Angels pins and poems are flying around the world spreading messages of comfort and hope.

In my own home, the effects have been just as dramatic. My husband’s injuries have diminished and he now takes an active part in my activities, guiding me with his business acumen and sound common sense. Our children have begun to customize Team of Angels pins for sale at local outlets. Their parents’ concerned faces no longer worry about them. And my parents, both 74, now assist me in the basement of our house with packaging and shipping. Family crisis brought us together – now more loving and caring than before.
How grateful I am! Grateful that my husband is on the road back to health, that the burden of worry has been lifted from my children’s shoulders, that I am as close to my parents now as I was as a child, that my family no longer faces financial disaster, and most of all, that I have been able to ease the pain of souls as troubled and hopeless as I myself once was. We still have our challenges, but we are trusting in God’s mysterious ways!

Sincerely,
Patricia C. Gallagher

I read her request and felt the need to help her get these pins to our soldiers while also showing those serving that there was someone who wanted to reach out and send them a gesture of hope and encouragement. So I wrote my letter to Mrs. Gallagher and a few weeks later, she sent me a box of 200 or so pins. I mailed them to my husband in Albania and enclosed the newspaper article and explained to him what it was I was doing. He loved his pin and wore it close to his heart despite it being “Out of Uniform”. However, he found the perfect place to hide it while still wearing it in uniform. 

My husband told me stories of how grateful some of the soldiers were for their angels. I was honored to bring a smile to someone’s face. I am happy to know that they know someone is proud of what they are doing. I ask nothing in return. If they so desire to do something small, my only wish is to “Pay it Forward”, just like the movie. (If you haven’t seen it, it is a must see!)

 

The Original “Team of Angels” Poem

A Team Of Angels
For the Overwhelmed

I need a team of angels, Lord –
I don’t think one will do.
Please send me all the help from High
For what I’m going through.

Guardians to watch over me
And help my soul to cope.
I’ll do the best I can to pray
And cherish gifts
of faith and hope.

 

Now a call to our Soldiers has come again. With the War on Terrorism into it’s second year, and Operation Iraqi Freedom into it’s third week, we all need to remember what it is we are fighting for. It’s not oil, it’s not money, it’s not fame. What we fight for is our freedom, our livelihood and our country. We must support our troops for they defend our rights. Whether you believe we should be at war or not, you must support those people who are willing to lay down their lives for you. They volunteered to defend our great nation. They deserve a show of appreciation.

07/25/2005

I created an embroidered postcard for Trish Gallagher. The back has her poem handwritten. I will be mailing it to her and hopefully she will like it. Here’s a picture of her Postcard Quilt:


There are so many little things we do, as well. Giving our hearts to our friends, never asking for anything in return. I always wonder if I do too much because I never see anything coming back ’round to us. I need to constantly ask the Lord to help me see, because I am sure I must be blind. I do remember one thing, recently, that helped lift me up. A friend wrote on his blog that I inspire him. This really touched me. It made me see that I am not doing this all for nothing. So I will continue to perform random acts of kindness and keep paying it forward. It really isn’t what we do for others, just that we care enough to do it.

Please see below for information on EC Stilson’s Random Acts Of Kindness Blog Fest.

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As a Random Act of Kindness, Wayman Publishing is offering these eBooks for FREE download during the Blogfest (May 27th – 31st).

The Sword of Senack
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Middle Damned
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How to Lose a Tooth
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Buy any of Wayman Publishing’s books—the FREE eBooks (above) included—and be entered into our iPad Mini Sweepstakes!
Visit this link for more info:
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Feel free to join up anytime from May 27th-31st.  Just sign up at the bottom of this post, then write a blog post about a random act of kindness that you’ve experienced in your life.

For the blog fest, you can write something for any/all days. Here’s the button for the blogfest:

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 LadyJai

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I want to thank Ida Chiavaro for nominating me to receive this award. Though I don’t usually tag others to receive, I offer it up to any one of my friends and followers. It’s always nice to know more about those you only met online.

I also want to thank Ida for the definition. I’ve seen this award several times, and although I know it’s a German word, that was the extent of my knowledge. But now I know that it means lovely or favorite. I am honored Ida bestowed that award on me! And what a wonderful post she chose to do it in. For her A to Z Challenge, R was for Receive. I love how she describes receive —

“receive always made me feel I just had to stand still and accept what was being given to me, let them be generous, kind, caring –  it is not a commitment or an obligation to give something in return, whether it’s unexpected or sought after you are being honoured and your efforts rewarded, just accept it with gratitude and without fuss.”

This has always been such a hard thing for me to do — accept without feeling obligated — yet I am willing to give everything about me and never expect anything in return. At the same time I received this award, I was also blessed to be a Thursday’s Child. My friend M. Andrew Paterson wrote about me for his “Inspired by” Thursday post.

It’s times like this that really make me feel like I mean something to someone. And I want to share with you my gratitude.

So, without further adieu… I will answer the 15 Questions Ida gave to me. If you want to find out more random facts about me, check out my other awards.

1) What is the nicest thing anyone ever said to you? “I love you” and “You matter”. Most times, I don’t really know I matter to much of anyone, despite my deep desire to make a difference for everyone in my life (RL or virtual) and then there are things like what Andrew posted, my son saying he enjoyed the little walk we took around the lake, my husband smiling (even if it’s brief), that really make my heart happy.

2) Something your parents taught you? Dad: The value of hard work and saving money. Wish he had taught me more, like how to invest in my future! I don’t get all that financial investment stuff. Mom: To eat 3 meals a day and not worry about things you cannot control. I wish my mom had taught me to cook!

3) Have you  ever dreamed of celebrities or famous people? Not that I remember.

4) Do you have any quirks, rituals or superstitions? Toilet paper has to go on a certain way. The dishwasher has to be loaded a certain way. Certain tasks I like done a certain way and it gets me all anxious when it’s not done *MY* way. As for anything else, I really can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

5)  What’s the most amazing thing you have seen in the sky? SR-71 landing at Langley AFB. My absolute favorite aircraft…next to the space shuttle, which I’ve also seen in the sky several times. But, alas, no more since Obama canceled our Shuttle program. Sad. Natural things: a Full Lunar Eclipse. A Full Solar eclipse..the best one was on top of The Zugspitz. The middle of summer and for 15 minutes, it snowed! Brilliant! Oh, and I’ve also seen several Meteor showers. When it’s clear enough, I make sure to wake my son and take him outside so he can see them too. Bucket list: Northern Lights.

6) What’s the craziest thing you have done with your hair?  After donating my hair to the Locks of Love, I got a hair up my patooty and decided to go shorter than it was. BAD MOVE! I used to wear my hair like this when I was in my teens. I also wanted my hair all one color. It naturally have blond, red, brown, and black in it. And I am so sick of people telling me I need to bleach my hair because my roots are showing. If anyone knows me, they know everything about me is all natural. But it’s very frustrating to have this happen ALL.THE.TIME. I never went black before. So, I figured, why not. NEVER. EVER. EVER. Again. I keep this picture to remind me never to do it. EVER. AGAIN! (When I was a teen, I wanted to see what I’d look like with strawberry blond hair. Since my hair was already mostly blond, the blond parts came out ORANGE! UGH! Never again with that either!)

I hate this picture of me. I love the look on my son’s face! 😀

7) Have you ever seen a baby being born? Well, I was present when my son was born. But I was a little too preoccupied to “watch”. 😛

8) Have you ever been with someone when they died? Does a cat count? I was there when my MikeyKat crossed the Rainbow Bridge. It still hurts my heart today. And I’m really afraid of being present when a human dies, especially someone close to me. It would just stab my heart to pieces.

9) Have you ever had a strange experience that you just can’t explain? I’ve always been fascinated with ghostly haunts and such. When I lived in England, you’d have thought I’d had experienced *something* but no. It wasn’t until we moved to Florida. The house we rented had strange things happen. I didn’t see many of them, but my husband was home more than I was and he got to experience many more episodes than I. Our son was around 3 or 4 when he kept telling us he saw green stuff floating down from the ceiling above his crib. I saw a young girl, maybe 7 or so, dressed in a frilly night gown walk from my son’s bedroom door and disappear in the kitchen. Toys would be played with in the middle of the night (but I think that had to do with dying batteries). And then, one night we were home alone, and our son saw a man in a red cap. After rationalizing it, we think this was my Uncle who had passed a few years before come to “meet” the new addition to the family, since he died on his way to a hunting trip, and he always wore a red hunting cap.

10) Are you an excellent speller, bad speller, or thought you were good but use spell check a lot? I think I spell ok. But there are always words that trip me up in their proper use. But then there are days when my brain doesn’t work and D-O-G looks wrong. 😛 Those red squiggly lines really irk me and I *HAVE* to fix my mistakes before I can go on with whatever I’m typing.

11) Do you have/have had any pet(‘s), pick a favourite. I grew up with dogs. But, I’m not a dog person anymore. They require more work than a baby. I currently have 3 Scottish Fold kitties (two are oxymorons, since they have straight ears) Previously, I had 2 cats that traveled the world with us. MikeyKat will always be my favorite.

12) where’s 12? I’m missing a 12, here!

13) What was the last thing you said out loud? something that would warrant my mother washing my mouth out with soap.

14) Where are you sitting while writing this? at my desk, in my cube, at the day job.

15) What does your name/names mean? Jamie is a form of James (which means Supplanter, a usurper: one who wrongfully or illegally seizes and holds the place of another). WOW. Such joy that is! :/ Funny, though, James has a long history in the genealogy of my maiden name.  Anyway…My whole life I’ve been mistaken for a male. I was bald until I was 2 and even when my mom and dad pierced my ears and dressed me in dresses, people would come up and say “awww what an adorable little boy.” It never stopped either. Growing up in England, where the spelling of my name was a boy’s name, people always assume. And people *STILL* assume that I’m male and address me as Mister, hence the reason I’ve adopted “LadyJai” as my name. There are a select few I allow, and enjoy having them call me, James or Jamison. <3 But not complete strangers. LOL

LadyJai

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Progress on the Positive

Posted April 7, 2013 By LadyJai

I thought I’d update you on my own positive progress since this month’s A to Z Challenge is all about the Positive. I am going to be honest with you, as it’s the only way for me to work through this. You don’t have to read this, or comment. It’s more of a way for me to vent, to get my emotions on (virtual) paper so I can manage and/or control them.

I’ve been having to take my anti-anxiety pills, and I really hate doing that.  I feel as though I’m weak because of it. I may just be a hypocrite because my husband has to take medication for a multitude of ailments (thank you Army) and when I tell him I don’t want to be dependent on the meds because then I’m not strong, he asks me if I think he’s not strong because he takes medication. By no means do I think he’s weak. He suffers way too much to be weak. But in my mind, if *I* take them, *I* am weak…not anyone else…just me. So how do I get passed this way of thinking? I don’t know.  Not yet, at least. So, when the anxiety panic gets too overwhelming and I have an elephant sitting on my chest, I take my meds. It helps. It clears my head and I can begin the road back to positive again.I’m beginning to wonder if I really have “depression.” I know over the years I’ve had bouts, even seen the doctor about them from time to time. Date rape wasn’t a “thing” when I was a teen and I didn’t realize it had affected me the way it did. But I got over it. Postpartum depression hit me really hard and had to seek help again. But I got over that too. And then, when I nearly lost my husband the first time, I started having anxiety/panic attacks and had to seek counseling, again. I got better, and quit my sessions. But now, with the recent transpiring events these last 6 months, I’ve been having anxiety/panic attacks more and more. I feel alone. My heart is heavy and I’ve been crying way too much. Again.

But does this mean I’m chronically depressed? I don’t think so. I think everyone goes through trying times. Everything cycles. Just like the moon waxes and wanes, the waves ebb and flow, so to do our emotional highs and lows.

Maybe I’m an empath (you know, like Deanna Troi). For as long as I can remember, I take on the emotions that surround me. If I’m with someone and they are happy, I’m happy. When I’m with someone and they’re angry, I’m get angry. When I’m with someone and they are sad, I do everything possible to bring them up. But sometimes, especially when you live with someone suffering from daily migraines, chronic neck pain & depression (PTSD), it just pulls me in along with it. Until I can’t handle the weight anymore. I break.

Even on the darkest days, seek out some friends and dance.

Even on the darkest days, seek out some friends and dance.

A few days back, it all came to a head when I had a bad dream. As all dreams go, most of it doesn’t make logical sense. I dreamed my husband was doing everything possible he could do to piss me off. Now, I’m not confrontational, and I let him continue until I couldn’t take it anymore and asked him why. All he did was smile. I got so mad at him and finally he said, “Because I want you to relax.” Yeah…like that makes any sense, and when I told my husband about it afterwards, he said, “That’s just silly. How does making you mad make you relax?” But that’s only half of it. In my dream, when he finally admitted why he was doing it, that’s when I realized, and began an uncontrollable sob. I said, “How can I relax when I have so much to worry about?”

I woke up sobbing. I scared my husband. He was telling me it was only a dream, but I kept saying, “It’s not a dream. It’s not a dream.” He told me that dreams aren’t logical and that makes no sense. But deep down I knew it was true. I’ve been worrying too much about everything. My mom is a chronic worrier, and I never want to be like her on that front because her outlook for everything she worries about is so negative. I have to focus on the positive! HAVE TO! But sometimes, the negative overwhelms me, and then this happens….

It weighed heavily on me all day and into the next, like an elephant was sitting on my chest. It’s hard to climb out of the abyss. The darkness hides the trail. But then, I looked up to the sky, on the most dreary of days and watched a flock of birds dance across the sky. A little voice inside whispered this to me: “Even on the darkest days, seek out some friends and dance.”

I think I’ve been stuck on the down swing now for the past several months, getting worse with each day, week, month. This has affected my writing so much it makes me feel lower than I should. I’m at the last two chapters of my first draft of my first novel, and I can’t get more than an average of a sentence a day out, most times less. It doesn’t help when my job interferes as well. But now, I’m waking up again.

Funny thing is, I think my mind is the worst culprit to my negativity and depression. I’ve been a long time supporter of positive thinking. (Read my epiphany). And I do my best to find the positives, no matter how small, in every situation. Sometimes, it’s the hardest thing to do. And all I want to do is just give up. Giving up is easy. But I always think that tomorrow may be better. Hope is the only thing that gets me through to the next day. I don’t want to be a quitter. I just wish I could remember to ask for help, to ask for friendship. I need to re-read this post I made a few months back!

I’m reading my daily Post-It notes, and everyone’s comments, and I am finding that more and more people seem to be enjoying them and that makes me happy. I have a huge heart and I want to make sure everyone is happy. I worry when I can’t do that. So, this month’s Post-it notes are benefiting not only you, my readers, but also me. And I thank you, deeply, for that.

Through the window, one can dream....or hope. It's always there

Through the window, one can dream….or hope. It’s always there. Just look.

 

 

Today, I’m 2 days free of needing anti-anxiety medicine. My outlook is more positive. Those negative voices are slinking back into the shadows of my mind, hopefully for a very long time. I’m actually smiling a little more each day. I’m finding the positives, no matter how small.

This is proof that the power of positive thinking heals. Here’s hoping it’ll continue longer than the down swing.

Hope.

It’s all I got.

 

LadyJai

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Tex-Mex Chicken Chili

Tex-Mex Chicken Chili

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 can Green Enchilada sauce
1 can Green Chiles
1 Large can Busch’s chili beans in Mild Sauce
1 large can Pinto Beans
1 packet taco seasoning
6 packets True Lime
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 onion, chopped*
1/2 teaspoon cilantro
and a couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce

*Because I haven’t found a suitable substitute for onions yet, I’ve kept it in for everyone. I do not use it because of allergy issues.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred chicken and mix back into chili. Serve. Sprinkle shredded Monterrey Jack cheese over the top and add some corn chips on the side.

Rebekah and Michelle came up with the idea to have a slow cooker blog hop. How nice! I need more of these recipes…would love it if someone cooked everything for me, but, alas, I can’t afford that. 🙂 So, I’m trying to get some more recipes to help with that time-suck. Working full-time, being a Mom and wife, and trying to write–well, I need more time! Who doesn’t, right? Slow cookers are a great way to give you back some of your day! So, here’s hoping I can get some good ones!

If you want to see more, here’s a list of the participants:

1. The Barenaked Critic
2. Rebekah Loper, Writer
3. The Merry Mennonite
4. Fairbetty’s World
5. Sue Ann Bowling
6. Thoughts of a Visual and Verbal Artist
7. Write Backwards – Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
8. Bonnie Rae, Just Words

If you want to share yours, just add it to the comments! I’d love more, seeing as I only have one…hopefully more after this blog hop!

LadyJai

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award, Awwww Thanks!

Posted February 28, 2013 By LadyJai

Thank you Cheyenne, for the lovely award and for finding me inspirational. I hope I’ll never let you down!

I’ve been AWOL for a while, dealing with my life, trying to remain positive, and escaping into my own WIP world from time to time. I’ve been quite a bit on the low side of being positive. It’s a daily struggle, as I’ve said many times before, to find even the smallest of positives in each day. And lately, for me, it’s been rough. Losing daily contact with my internet friends has put a damper on my positiveness as well. But I’m managing…mostly. 🙂

So, in an attempt to get me out of this rut, I’m writing words for all the world to see, writing a few “interesting” things about me. I don’t know how much is interesting. But maybe you will find them interesting?

1) Growing up, I moved every 4 years. I’ve lived, and traveled nowhere near the amount of places I want. To this day, I *STILL* get the itch to move every four years. But as I get older, and the lack of military assistance for the moving process, I dread it. The “new” and “start fresh” attitude, the dream of something bigger, still lingers; but historically, it always ends the same. The grass is always greener…I’m shy, I’ll never change. LOL

2) Most people know me as geeky, a computer wiz, a gamerchick, a sci-fi fangirl. I’ve only recently embraced that aspect, welcomed it into my life, and now flaunt it and wear it like a badge of honor. Oh so long ago, I was such an introvert, a sheltered child, a person who would take on the characteristics the company I kept . I hid who I really was because I thought people wouldn’t like me. The fear I had of disappointing others, the fear of no one liking me, that’s still there. But, you know what. I am me. It took me 40 some odd years to realize that. And the older I get the less I care what you think of me…though I’d love to have you as a dear friend.  I’ve resolved myself to being me. And to being alone. At least I still have the internet! 😀

3) I remember when we first got married, TheHubs wanted a computer so bad, and games. He would stay up all night playing them. Ignoring me. My husband never cheated on me, but I always considered that first computer as “the other woman.” It wasn’t until he “upgraded” that I decided that I was bound and determined to learn what fascinated him about it. I taught myself how to code a web page (that’s waaaaaay before WYSIWYG, I used notepad). I even got me a job at an ISP in Tech Support. I went from knowing nothing, to managing Tech Support in less than a year. 🙂 I got into gaming with TheHubs and we’ve been doing it ever since. (Oh, and am now *STUCK* in the IT career)

4) A lot of guys are jealous of TheHubs. He has a wife who will game with him…not play Farmville on Facebook, not play Uno on xBox, or puzzle games….*REAL* gaming, like Halo, Borderlands, Assassins Creed–hardcore games. You know?! I may not be the best gamer, or even gamerchick, out there; but playing with the family is always best. I don’t understand how those women out there can complain about their husband’s/boyfriend’s interest. You love them, you should try it out, get involved. The saying “Don’t knock it until you tried it” fits quite well here. You might like it. If not, then give the guy a little room, but don’t harp on it. And yes, there are guys who use it as an escape, too. But really, is that a “relationship”? I think not…but I digress.

5) I never had a cat until I got married. We always had dogs. But now,  I really do want to grow up to be the crazy cat lady. I’ve decided that I never want to come home to an empty house. I hope TheHubs and I can come to an understanding. He says 3 cats are too many, and that when it’s their time it’s so unbearably hard. Three cats is good, but I want at least 2 more! 🙂 And I agree with him that letting them go is unbearable, but I try to focus on the life they shared with us, and how fulfilling that is. I couldn’t come home to nothing. No headbutts. No comfort. No purring. *THAT* would be unbearable.

6) When I read, or watch a movie, I’m so into it. But ask me a day, a month, a year later, to describe in detail….nope, ain’t gonna happen. I can re-read or re-watch a movie and catch all the details all over again. I don’t know why. But, I can gather the general ideas together, but lose the details. Sad, isn’t it?

7) The ideas, the images of all the projects I ever have, always look fantastic….in my head. But when in practice, I can never achieve what I see in my mind’s eye. My friendships. My gardening.  My quilting. Any of the drawings I ever tried. Even my writing. I have the perfect everything…inside my head. I just wish someone would invent a way to read it all and just do it. 🙂 I give my love and support to everyone. I do the best I can with everything I attempt. I’ve learned to keep plugging away, even when it doesn’t turn out like I envisioned. It’s the best I can do. And, we are our own worst critic, right?

So, that’s pretty much all I can think of right now. If you want to know more about me I have some more “interesting things.” And you can always just ask. 🙂

Come back on Saturday for a slow cooker recipe (the only one I know), and links to others in the Slow Cooker Blog Hop! Who couldn’t use a time-cheat?

And don’t forget, #WriteMotivation kicks off in March! YAY!

LadyJai

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