Sunday, January 05, 2014


Funny title, but it is true!  Plus, there was an app advertised on Facebook yesterday with the same title.  So of course I had to check it out.  It's really a sweet little social app where you can read what is making other people happy, along with posting your own happy moments.  I must have spent a good 15 minutes just reading uplifting and positive comments and personal stories.  With all the cynisism and negativity that surrounds us daily through the media and other social sites, this is such a breath of fresh air.  

There is an online course that will help you become a more positive person associated with the Happier app.  Of course there is a fee for that, but the app itself is free.  And I love free!  

Check it out!  It's simple!  Here's a screenshot...

Easy peeesy.  Nice to have that little icon on your phone to remind you, even if you don't make a status update.

One more thing I found on Facebook this  morning that really hit home.  Yet another reason I am 'Happier'.

And all God's people say AMEN!


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year 2014

Happy New Year!  And to all that read this, may you find happiness and contentment in the coming year.  I wanted to start off with a snippet from a love letter from my Heavenly Father...

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!... Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Isn't that awesome?  He writes the most wonderful things, many of which I have forgotten or yet to discover!

The year 2013 was full of all sorts of 'stuff'.  There was lots of good stuff, and there was lots of bad stuff.  When it came to the bad stuff, this child of God was making some very unwise decisions and harboring some very self-destructive emotions and thoughts.  UGH.  I would like to take it all back (wouldn't we all?), but if that would be the case I would not be sitting here today feeling a sense of peace and having hope.  This has been a very hard journey; emotionally, physically and spiritually.  All of which obviously needed some repairs.

God has a way about Him.  I couldn't understand why the challenges were there, why the tension was getting higher, why this wasn't working and that wasn't helping, what in the world was going on?  ....  I just couldn't see past my own nose.  God knew, and He chose to let me struggle until the exact moment when He knew I was totally broken to reveal the answers.  He knew I had lessons to learn, and they wouldn't GET learned if I didn't struggle.  Yes, He knows me pretty well.  

This isn't to say that now that the 'light' is back on, there won't be further life struggles or disappointments.  But I want to make 2014 a year to consciously make the effort to make each DAY special, each PERSON I meet feel accepted and loved, and never take things for granted.  Life here on earth just doesn't hold any guarantees.

Like the verse says "I'm doing a new thing", let's start celebrating with a large iced coffee.  Sounds rather small, but to me this is a HUGE treat.  Plus it's homemade.  :)

There is a Cornish hen involved with this, too.  Don't forget, my husband's hobby is being a chef!  

Shall we make 2014 a year of daily celebrations and fun?  Why not!  There is SO very much to be thankful for, and many many people to hug, make laugh, honor, and love.

Today is going to be one of probably MANY days I'm going to say thank you for blessing this world with coffee, Lord........ 

Sing it, Frank!  Get this year started with a jolt!!!

Peace and love.....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Simplify: Chapter 56A, Page 1

It's been nearly a year since my last blog.  Sounds kind of like going to confession in the Catholic church a bit.  But life is ever changing, and this chapter has opened with getting back to the basics:  Faith, Family, Friends, and Simplicity.

There has been no need for crafting, or achieving some new 'design' to brag about.  That's not where my spirit is in the beginning of Chapter 56.  I've done all that, and if the good Lord wants that part put back into my life again, so be it.  I certainly have the tools and supplies to handcraft numerous items.  :)  So if some of you follow there won't be much action over there (so no link is included).  I'm letting that part of life go for now.

With becoming a techno geek(ish) gal, loving all there is to the iPad and Galaxy we've been blessed with, it still doesn't meet the inner need for pen, paper, pencils and highlighters....  So.....

I've challenged myself with getting back to the basics of organization, keeping things simple, and being of service when the occasion arises.  This will be a LONG process, as even though we live in a small duplex, there is a lot to organize and let go of.  There is an organizer/planner out there called the "7 Minute Life Daily Planner" from The Seven Minute Difference.  It is only big enough for a 3-month span of time, or one quarter of a year.  Most businesses run this way, so why not give my own life this small increment of time to achieve some goals that MEAN something.  Not necessarily monetary goals, but ones that come from my heart, of who I am and where God would lead.  There are parts of this planner that I probably won't use due to the structure already put in place at work, and with my position.  But these can be tweaked into the values I want to incorporate.  The "5 before 11" section is where your top 5 priorities of the day should go:  get them all done before 11:00 am.  I'm replacing those with the 5 things I'm most grateful for during that day.  So the 11:00 am turns into an 11:00 pm.  It's also going to help me watch what I'm eating, and helping me to remember to DRINK MORE WATER!  That is not always an easy task at work.  But it's important.

So Chapter 56A will run for the next 90 days.

There is also a lovely church that has come into our lives, even though we have had so many discussions on whether an actual 'church' for us was needed.  It's never easy to get connected, that takes time.  But the pastor there is very passionate.  What more can you want from a leader, right?  So if you see me over on Facebook, you may see check-ins at North Pointe Community Church every other Sunday or so.  With new beginnings, you have to start somewhere and give it an honest try.

You may have noticed that I said every OTHER Sunday for church attendance.  That is because on the other two Sundays, I get to put some volunteer time over at Tabitha in their gift shop, which Facebook allows me to 'check in' at also.  What lovely residents I have met and visited with there.  It's good to hear the joys and the sorrows of the residents that come and see me.  It has taught me people need people, and with that comes patience.

I hope that this hasn't all been too boring, but when you take each day as it comes and find the beauty and simplicity of what is around, I'm hoping that there will be inspiration for some of you to find where your passion is.  And put it use!  We've all been given talents and gifts - it would be selfish to hang on to those and not share with others.

It's not 11:00 pm yet, but there are two things that will be written in my "5 Before 11" spot today (remember, I'm switching it from morning to-do's to evening thank-you's):

1.  Leftover morning coffee, poured over ice and blended with ColdStone Vanilla Coffee flavoring to enjoy after church.
2.  Income taxes all signed, sealed, paid, and driven to the post office personally.

Who knows what 3, 4 and 5 will be!  The day is young, and I'm leaning towards being grateful for a husband who keeps the tradition of cooking chicken on Sunday's alive and well.  The house smells divine.

Please feel free to leave feedback and ideas - I'm always curious as to what other people have found to work for their lives to keep them content, focused, but most of all passionate about what's in the soul and spirit.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Wedding Rings

Strange title, but that's one of my goals - to be able to get my wedding rings back on my hand.

So here is my challenge and will need LOTS of support through the next 8 weeks.  This scares me to my very core, but it has to get done for many reasons.

Yeah, Maxine here says a lot.  I'm tired of how I look, and how I feel.  The fat is getting fatter, but my job will continue to be sitting behind a desk and computer all day.  Something needs to give.

Along with being behind a computer at work, I do a lot of that at home, too.  Playing games on Facebook and looking at as much inspiration as I can on Etsy, Pinterest and crafting sites just means I sit and let the fat roll on in at home, too.

But since I was on Facebook at just the right time, there was a post from an ex-coworker about her expanding her business and an opportunity to get healthy.   And I trust this woman.

After a long day of thinking and praying on this, and a great discussion with my husband after work, I've taken on her challenge and will meet up with her this Sunday to get the ball rolling in a positive and healthy direction.  Something that has weighed heavy on my mind for over a year, maybe more.

Starting Monday, with the help and support of you all (please), I will be taking on an 8 week body transformation/makeover challenge.  Yes, there could be a prize at the end of the challenge, but that's not the important part.  What's important is that hopefully she will transform my thinking and how I see myself along with getting me to a size and weight that my bones were MEANT to support.  It's hard looking in the mirror every morning and feel that depressing feeling of being overweight.

After making this decision, she called me on the phone and we had a wonderful little discussion.  She herself will be my personal trainer, to which I still tear up this morning with gratitude.  She is a wonderful Christian woman with a strength within her that is so admirable.  As I said before, I trust her.  God put her in my life for the short time we worked together for a reason.  I would never have guessed that THIS was why.  Isn't He wonderful?

I weighed myself last night and realized I'm the weight I was when pregnant with our first child.  That's obscene and ridiculous.  With Shawna (our daughter) getting married in July, I can only hope that she will be proud to have her mother in some photos looking healthier and getting fit.

Yes, I'm ashamed of what has become of me.  Let's pray Renee can lead me to a better life, in whatever way she has to do it.

God is good, He is faithful.  And Bill will now have to learn to cook a bit differently, but HE has taken on that challenge himself to get us in better health.

Will keep ya posted.............

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Larry Vrba - Jewelry Designer / Nebraska Born

While helping unload the master's drums from his vehicle this morning, it dawned on me to try and pick one item from the 'treasures' in our garage to put on eBay to sell.  Digging is never fun, so I diverted my attentions to my "Karen Box" - the place where all things "Karen" should be stored.  Found high school junk, grade school report cards, the stuffed bear in remembrance of our first grandchild who went to heaven before his/her birth.  But the most surprising find was my grandmother's jewelry which I had thought was long lost.
Is this a grungy looking box or what?  But when I laid my eyes on this, my heart just started singing and remembering my Grandma Smith always brings a smile.  When the box was opened, everything was a jumbled mess and there was more in there than just grandma's jewelry - but this is the straightened up view of what she allowed me to have back in the late 1970's -
Some basic and classic jewelry pieces!  Not sure where she got the black beads, white beads or the green jeweled necklaces, but the bottom two necklaces were designed by her grandson (my cousin), Larry Vrba, and given to her by him in the 1970's.  During the 70's, Larry was a designer for Miriam Haskell Jewelry in New York and I would assume to guess these two pieces were his design work.

We probably haven't seen Larry personally for over 30 years and have lost track of him and what he is doing these days.  But there are some interesting links to some of the items he has designed on eBay and other places that carry his designs:

Opulent Style
Morning Glory Antiques
Art of Style
Milky Way Jewels
Jennifer Lynn's Timeless Jewelry
Casa Frela Gallery (with photo of Larry in 2009)
.... and many items on eBay...

What a treat it was to find a photo of Larry that's only a couple years old!  His designs are over-the-top and just a total JOY to look at!  Talk about creative - this man's full of creativity.

And to think, Larry came from small town Nebraska - Schuyler to be exact.  And our home is blessed to have two of his designs residing here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

973.8 Miles

We're home.  Settling back in.  Washer running.  Photos uploaded to Walgreen's to pick up later.  Everything put back in its place.

Vacation is technically over, and now it's time to reflect on all that we've experienced and enjoyed.

Our Hastings, Nebraska, experience was phenomenal.  Until 3:30 this morning.  But more on that later.  Yesterday was the beginning of a 3-day event celebrating Kool-Aid, which originated in Nebraska back in the 20's (under a different name).  While checking into the Comfort Inn on the south side of town, we enjoyed a wonderful visit with the desk clerk.  He proceeded to give us coupons for a free drink to Rivals Bar and Grill and gave us a menu for another place he'd give us coupons for the following evening.  Rivals was a great place and we were able to sit back and take care of emails and messages while enjoying a cold one.

Kool-Aid Days is a huge event than has attracted about 50,000 people each year.  We wanted to get a jump on it, and went to the Hastings Museum after lunch to get our fill of history, art, and Kool-Aid information.  As we were walking up towards the entrance, a local reported asked if she could interview us for a Kool-Aid spot on the news.  Heck, why not.  Most of you have seen this video we shot of the news over on Facebook, but here it is again.  I just don't want to lose this as we laughed so hard at what dorks we are.

Thought the iPad did pretty good actually - except it caught everything Bill and I said behind the 'camera'.

Didn't know we were going to be on TV, so shot a pic of ourselves off the hood of the car before we left.
I think we have both gained about 79.8 pounds on this trip.  Not eating in restaurants and eating in the hotel rooms means MORE food gets consumed.  (Yeah, the diet starts back up today.)  Bill thought it appropriate to wear his Pink Floyd t-shirt to the museum as their main display this summer is "Summer of Love - 1968 in America".  We absolutely adored the Kool-Aid portion of the exhibit!  It was bright, cheerful, colorful along with being interactive.  The 1968 exhibit was good, too, but realized that we probably had most of this stuff in our garage!  While looking at the guitar replicas that Paul McCartney and John Lennon had at that time and doing my own oo-ing and ah-ing, Bill chimes in and says, "Why don't they ever show the DRUMS???"  He was joking, of course, but it's a good question.

There were more animal displays in this museum that we'd ever encountered before.  Of course, there was a buffalo.......
.....enough said.

We totally enjoyed this whole experience, but decided it will be a LONG time before we do a museum or look at pioneer tools or Indian artifacts.  We are on history overload today, which isn't a bad thing at all.  We took the desk clerk's advice and went to Taylor's Steakhouse.  Yes, we took it back to the hotel to eat, and it was fantastic food!  The decor was right out of the 60's and 70's, but the food!!!  OOOOO, good stuff.  Highly recommend it.

Now back to why we are home a half day early.  At 3:30 this morning, our smoke alarm in our room started screeching and when we got up there was water coming down from the alarm, down the hotel door and a couple other places.  There was no fire, just someone above us forgot to turn the water off in his sink.  This same person woke us up at 3:30 the night before roaming around his room.  Anyway, by the time we notified the front desk, got more towels to wipe up the bathroom, put buckets and trashcans in place to catch the fast drips from the ceiling, we were stinking WIDE AWAKE!  We weren't about to move our junk from one room to another for only a few hours, and we had nothing super important planned for the day we wouldn't miss.  We just packed up and drove home.  Straight home, no stops, no coffee.

When the car was unloaded I was able to see all the beautiful yarns picked up in Scottsbluff at Brown Sheep Company.......
Yes, 7 bags full.  Two skeins had been pulled out mid-week to start a TygerLily bag and I've taken over my own OGI bag as the new knitting tote.
Life will now get back to normal.  Probably not many stories from us for awhile.  The coffee is on, and brunch  is being served (by Bill).  Bill really missed cooking - honestly.  He is happy to be back in his kitchen - I am, too.

A trip full of stories, memories and 973.8 adventurous miles.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing Nebraska Catch-Up

After leaving Scottsbluff after staying for three nights (we loved it there) our goal was Ogallala and Front Street.  Remember in an earlier post we had finally found it on our way out west, but it was closed.  On a weekday, around lunchtime, this is what we encountered at Front Street...........
......everything but the restaurant was closed.  Had wanted our pictures taken 'western style' but their sign said they were at the county fair.  Even the antique shop was no longer there and had moved across the street.  So needless to say, we left, never to return.  And it really put me in one fowl mood, shame on me.  Drove on to North Platte for the night and try to get my attitude straightened out.  :)
   But we made plans for the rest of the trip, and by the time we were on the road Thursday morning, we were both in a much better attitude and spirit.  On to Kearney, Minden and Hastings.
 We have been to the "Great Platte River Road" archway near Kearney before, but never took the time to actually walk around and enjoy the historical walk through that spans the interstate below.
 Here we go with a picture by a buffalo again.....  I think maybe it's just a big enough object that Bill can actually get a good focus on it with the camera.  His good eye has been giving him issues this week, so any picture that he offers to take is a huge blessing, buffalo and all.
 A beautiful mosaic out front of the archway - tons of pennies have been thrown on it like a wishing well.
 It's just a magnificent place, in looks and structure.  And the weather behaved beautifully.
 There was a little walk over bridge beyond the mosaic and the water was so blue.  We just had to walk over the bridge and see what was on the other side.
 On our way back over the bridge, we finally read this sign.  No fishing?  Bill was quite disturbed.  HA!  If anyone has been to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and know how the koi is under the big bridge there, that's how the fish were under this bridge.  Only these were good FISHING fish.  Bill couldn't make them out very well due to his eyes, but I could not believe how many fish were close to the surface and taunting us.  The little kids on the bridge were calling out the names of the fish.  That didn't help poor Bill's un-fishing attitude any.  But it was beautiful.
 Close to the end of the historical tour through the archway, there was a spot where you could stop and watch the interstate traffic and see if anyone is speeding.  Of course, when we were there, no one was.  Actually, there have been very few instances of speeders so far this trip!

On to Minden only a few miles southeast of Kearney....

 On our way into town, we knew to be watching for Bill's grandpa's arch that was reportedly along the highway before the entrance to the Harold Warp's Pioneer Village.  So being tourists, I stopped in the middle of the highway and snapped a pic quick.  Wasn't sure if we would see if good from the inside of the museum.
 But we did!!  This used to be the archway on the east side of Columbus, Nebraska back in the day to welcome you to their town.  Floyd Nichols (Bill's grandpa) is the artist and maker.
 The sun was playing perfectly off the relief work on the arch.
 They've preserved the newspaper article from 1980 explaining how Bill's mom, Ruth Nichols, had been searching for the arch to try and preserve it.  It had been torn down in 1962 to make way for a wider highway into Columbus.  This explains her work in getting it located and placed at this particular museum.

 Here is one VERY proud grandson - an he should be.  I was even emotional about it.  Bill's family is so full of art and creativity.

Side note:   If you check back to a previous post about David City, you will see more of Floyd Nichols sculptures at the entrance of the city park.  The David City artwork has a military theme and well worth taking a peek at.
With all the history we're encountered, and museums visited, we found plenty of historical items for my own craft and employment, and only drums that would reflect Bill's interests.  But there were no printing presses to be found anywhere and it's been my mission all week to find at least one!  And at Pioneer Village we finally located a room full of them.  And out of that whole room, NONE of them (not even a maker) matched anything we had ever had in our business, nor where he works now.  There were plenty of letter presses, and that particular hobby is quite popular on handmade sites these days.  But my mission was now complete.

We stopped for a root beer float before leaving the village which topped off a nostalgic day perfectly.  Back in the car and headed east to Hastings for Kool Aid Days, a 3 day event celebrating the fact that Kool Aid is part of Nebraska history.