F Simple and Serene Living: 2012 09 10
Monday, December 31, 2012

a no throw away project

Every year people make New Years resolutions and every year those resolutions get broken. I know I have been guilty of it. The  problem is we tend to be hard on ourselves when we don't or can't keep them. I mean seriously, how realistic is it that you are never going to get mad at anyone ever again, lose 50 pounds, turn into Martha Stewart, and send your kids off to school with a fresh hot cooked lunch every day. (Just for the record, my kids got pb&j every day and loved it. No they didn't like it, but hey, it beat the cafeteria food)

So this year I have decided that going into the new year, I am going to start it off with a new project. Oh boy, have you seen my depository for failed craft projects. 

That is why I have made it a simple one. One that anyone can do. Even those of you who claim that you aren't crafty.

All you need is an empty jar and bits and pieces of paper. 

It's a gratitude jar.


Here is my gratitude jar. It is empty right now, but tomorrow I am going to start filling it with all of the things I am grateful for in 2013, and I know there are going to be a lot. 

So Happy New Year sweet friends. Your names are the first thing I am putting in my gratitude jar. Hmmmmm!!! maybe I need a bigger jar.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

snowy dreams

As I stepped outside late yesterday afternoon, after a long day of cleaning and organizing I saw this snowy wonder and was reminded of one of my favorite poems.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The silence of a snow filled world and thoughts of my journey ahead were filling my head. I felt that both the world and myself were at peace in that moment.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

room with a view

This was the view I woke up to this morning. A perfect day, I think, for staying inside and doing a bit of cleaning and organizing. 

Right after I sit by the fire with a hot mug of tea.

What are your plans today?

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Friday, December 28, 2012

a couple of notes

I am heading out early this morning for my pre-op assessment at the hospital. BLEEH!!! But I wanted to thank everyone for your wonderful warm well wishes and cards yesterday on my birthday. Each and every one of them meant so much to me. 

I thought I would share this photo of me taken.....oh.....maybe a couple of years ago :)

My daughter posted it on Facebook yesterday. I had no idea she had it. I think I still had that same blender (before it was stolen recently). Those things were made to last. 

Also wanted to share that my other daughter is the featured urban farmer this week on farmmade. You can read her story here.

I'll be back tomorrow. 

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Thursday, December 27, 2012


when is it too late to start over?

at what age do we say I have had enough?

when do we stop pursuing our dreams?

I say never!

I have always had a vision of my future. I saw myself living in a little cottage, filling it with vintage and antiques, and working in my garden.

it is a simple dream. There was never a big house or riches in my dream. It was just a pursuit of a simple vintage life. 

so what has stopped me. only myself. yes, there have been lots of outside forces that have caused me to veer from my course, but the bottom line is I have allowed others to dictate my present and my future. 

now, today, on my 62nd birthday I am saying, not that I have had enough, but that I have had not nearly enough.

thank you all my dear readers who have stayed the course with me. I hope you will continue with me as I pursue my dream. 

I expect this next year to bring many changes in my life. I am having a second knee replacement in January, which should allow me freer movement than I have had in years. I am planning to move to Atlanta, next summer, rent a small apartment and enjoy the fun of decorating again. There will be more time with family and making new friends. I plan to spend more time promoting my business and writing my blog. 

No one knows what tomorrow may bring, but even with its ups and downs it is sure to be an amazing ride.

So, I am looking forward to it all with great expectation and I have written my name in the sky, because the sky's the limit.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Wishes

For unto us a child is born

and his name is Prince of Peace

Have a wonderful and joyful Christmas, my friends. I am taking a few days off from blogging to enjoy this time with family. I will be back on the 27th and can't wait to catch up with you then.


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Friday, December 21, 2012

make mine pink

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. 

Mom had to hold the cake so I could get a photo. I wanted to take a picture of my sister with the cake, but she said if I did she would have to kill me. Ha, I've heard that threat before, and I'm really not too worried, which brings me to the second part of this post.

Last night's lead story on our local news was about the people who are stocking up on survival gear for the end of the world today. Seriously??? Are we the only state in the union with a bunch of fools?

I mean first of all I am pretty sure the world is not going to end today. It wouldn't dare. My birthday is next week. Secondly, if the world does end, you won't be needing any survival gear.

I like the man who went in to the store to buy some gas masks. "These aren't for me, he said. They're Christmas presents."

Huh? The end of the world is on the 21st and the last time I checked Christmas is on the 25th. Do you really think your friends and family are going to be able to hold their breath that long?

Something tells me his wife wouldn't be too happy getting a gas mask for Christmas and if he is a big enough fool to give her one, he'll probably wish the end of the world had been on the 21st.

Note to man in store: Just in case you are handing out extras, make mine pink please.


I'm thinking I may wear one of these next time I am pumping gas at the Kroger store. It would make quite the fashion statement.

Have a great day (for as long as it lasts)


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

breaking free of the fear

As last week's event unfolded, I watched and listened as my fellow bloggers talked about how it has affected their lives. The fears, the  negativity, and the sense of hopelessness that many of you are feeling has me feeling concerned (yes, once a counselor, always a counselor)

There were a couple of things that caught my eye on the internet today. One was this photo.

original source unknown

The other was something I read in an email. You can read the whole article here, but this part stood out for me.

"The reality is we all get afraid.  It’s not about being afraid but what you do when you feel that way.  When you feel doubt, or fear, or anger, or frustration, know that you can let it go just as surely as you can pull your hand away from a flame.  Keep your life focused on the goodness, on the possibilities and on your most treasured dreams.  What begins in your mind ends up in your life.  Think continually of the way you would like to be, let these thoughts drive your actions, and your reality will reliably catch up to your thinking."

So maybe you are wondering why I put these two together. Well, a long time ago someone set that bike up against that tree and left it there. Over the years the tree grew around the bike and the bike became old and rusted. It virtually became part of the tree. 

That bike didn't have much choice as to whether that tree took over its life, but we do. We can decide to pull away from the fear and anger and not become part of it. We can walk away from it. 

No, that does not mean we are being disrespectful of the events that happened. It means that we choose to rejoice in our lives and work to change things so that events like the one at Sandy Hook last week don't happen again. 

The things we do can be big or small. They can be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger or kissing a loved one. Or they can be larger like writing about gun control and mental health access on your blog or contacting your representatives in Washington.

If we let events like this take over our lives then we will become like that old rusty bike.

So often we feel like we are alone in all of the chaos, as if we are the only one on a long empty stretch of beach. But we aren't alone, and the wonderful thing about a beach is the water is always coming ashore and bringing new sand. That is what our lives are like. The old things are constantly being washed away and new beginnings are happening all the time.

So, my hope for all of you my sweet friends is that you will never forget the tragedy that befell our country, but that you will choose to remove your hand from the flame and remember all of the wonderful things that life still holds for you.

With Love,

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

bits of Christmas whimsy

It has been a lot of fun decorating my mom's house for Christmas this year, and even though it is not the way I would normally decorate my own home, I have really enjoyed doing it. I'm more of a natural color kind of girl.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the whimsical elements, today.

Santa greeting visitors at the front door.

A blingy Christmas mirror.

Two Santas that I needlepointed for my sister and mother several years ago.

Santa overlooking one of the houses in the Christmas village.

and more of the kitchen tree.

I hope this Christmas season is a whimsical one for you. In many respects I feel like I have been transported back to childhood, a time that was magical and filled with warm homey feelings.

sharing today with:
Tweak it Tuesday
What's it Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesdays

With Christmas Love,

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day of Silence

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Monday, December 17, 2012

rainy days and mondays

Do you remember when The Carpenters sang rainy days and Mondays always get me down?

Well, it is Monday and it is gray and rainy, but I am not feeling down. Yes, there has been terrible tragedy in the news. I feel heartbroken for those families and the devastation this has caused, but I am also feeling that life is full of promise. 

This is a season filled with promise and hope, and today I choose to be happy and filled with joy.

Because even though we live in uncertain times, we have so many blessings in our lives.

Tomorrow I will be joining the blogging community in a day of silence to honor the victims of Sandy Hook.  You can join us by posting the graphic that you can get at this link.

 P.S. An update on The Little Entrpreneurs . There was no trading for broccoli yesterday, but they did raise their price to $5 an ornament, which they had no problem getting. Also, my grandson manged to score a free veggie hot dog along with the $5 for one of the elves. 

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

little entrepreurs

My daughters sell their handmade aprons, totes, etc. at the Grant Park Farmers Market in Atlanta each week, so my granddaughter Sidney came up with the idea of making and selling ornaments in their booth. 

clay ornaments

Sidney also came up with the prices. One for two dollars or three for five dollars. 

elves and wool wreaths

Sidney even made a great trade last week, an ornament for a large bunch of broccoli. 

That's my girl!

I'm not sure Jack Henry thought it was too great. He's not much of a broccoli eater :)

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Friday, December 14, 2012

kitschy kitchen tree

Earlier today, I started this post and put it in draft form to finish this evening. During the day, the terrible shootings occurred in Connecticut. My heart is breaking for those families and for the loss of those sweet and precious children.  I hope everyone will spend time with your loved ones holding them close to your hearts. I am sending my prayers up along with the rest of our country for our terrible loss.


I gave a little sneak peek, a couple of days ago, at our kitschy kitchen Christmas tree. It is a fun tree, full of toys and vintage and handmade ornaments. It is my favorite tree.

From the tumble of toys at the foot of the tree.

To the special ornaments and garlands of apples and candies

To its playful topper

It's a tree that seems to delight both children and adults.

Linking today with:
A Favorite Thing Saturday
Frugal Friday
Vintage Inspiration Friday
What's It Wednesday

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big old cranky pants

Stillness is the only thing in this world 

that has no form. 
But then, it is not really a thing, 
and it is not of this world.
~ Eckhart Tolle ~

source unknown

There was a big old cranky pants at my house last night and it was me. I had been up since 5:30 in the morning and didn't get home until almost 5:30 in the afternoon. 

First of all I had a failed attempt at trying to pay taxes on my van I sold last month. After driving around for 15 minutes trying to find a place to park, walking up 3 million steps (I know, I counted them), and standing in line for 20 minutes, I was told I couldn't pay them in that county. But, but, but.....it says right here on this card I received that I can pay them in any county. The snotty clerk just looked at me like I was something icky that was stuck to the bottom of her shoe and called the next person in line. but, but, but.....

Then it was a four hour auction and lugging lots of purchases to my car and mom calling in the middle with a crisis and .........well you know how it is. I'm sure you have plenty of those days, too. 

So, yes, stillness is good and a cup of eggnog in front of the fire counts as stillness in my book.

I'll be back tomorrow with more Christmas photos.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

mom's Christmas house

It has been a busy time decorating mom's house for her final Christmas here. 

From Poinsettias

to a vintage Annalee Mr. and Mrs. Santa

to a kitchen tree topper

the decorating is over and now it is time to enjoy it all.

I'll be sharing more with you in the days to come,

with Christmas love,


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Etiquette Tips

Today I thought I would share some Christmas tips. They were put together by my younger daughter, Katy who blogs at WinsomeHollow and feature my two grandchildren, her niece and nephew (photos taken a few years back)

Christmas Etiquette Tip #1 
The proper Christmas gift opening face (as demonstrated by Sidney)

Tip #2
Always be camera ready (as demonstrated by Jack Henry)

Tip #3
Be sure to take a picture of your kids with a strange bearded man in costume, so you can laugh at the photo for years to come.

Tip #4
Be sure to remember to use the boxes in which your gifts came (demonstrated here in a reenactment of an episode from Flight of The Conchords)

Tip #5
If your kids won't cooperate while taking your annual Christmas pictures, just stick a tree in the background.

Tip #6
If all else fails in your Christmas giving, be sure to have nicely wrapped packages....

Tip #7
When holiday shopping, be prepared for long lines, and avoid confrontations with other customers (* a demonstration of what not to do...)

Tip #8
When organizing Christmas afternoon games, be sure to form teams appropriately, based on size and age...

Tip #9
Finally when the day is through, allow yourself to let go and look forward to the New Year's festivities (and remember to plan for a designated driver, when like these two, you've had too much to drink)...Merry Christmas!!

Tip# 10 (from me)
Remember to not answer your phone or check your text messages on the day that you use your daughter's list lovingly and without her permission. 

Note to daughter: I did link to your blog and here's a link to your shop WinsomeHollow

Note to Readers: No alcoholic beverages were given at any time to children during the making of this list. I can't attest to what the grownups were doing. 

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