Half bath

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I hope your Easter celebration left you feeling filled with God’s presence. I had the joy of celebrating with my family and extended family. The weather led to a beautiful outdoor meal and a rousing few games of croquet. I must say, I am exhausted today. I had little energy to catch up on my blog. I sat on my bathroom floor and was able to clean out half of my bathroom cupboard today.

As you can you see from the picture, it is a mismatch of stuff. Expired meds, old lotions, dried up makeup remover, old loofah, hairbrush, jewelry cleaner and so on. It felt good to clean and toss. I can now get my hairspray and brush out without knocking over a million things. Yay. I still need to clean the other side. Yet, that is for another day.

No major revelations today. I am just too tired. I will just say this, I pray that the hope and purpose of Easter stays with you every day of this year. That is my goal. Maybe I’ll invent a new part to Easter – post Lent resolutions or something like that. Oh, I like that. Let’s make it stick.

Dream Big!

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Eggs and soup

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Notice the color purple? Remember in the beginning of this blog I said anything purple would be tough to part with? Here are two purple Easter egg decorations. One is ripped so I decided to get rid of both. I pondered keeping one. After all, it’s purple. I took me about twenty minutes to decide to get rid of them. I even asked my daughter who was helping me decorate the house for Easter. It amazes me that I still am struggling with meaningless things for petty reasons (it’s purple). I am grateful I pressed on and am passing them on.

The other items I tossed were more canned goods. This time, soup. I have a storage area in the garage for Costco stuff. The big box of Goldfish crackers, canned goods that come in a pack of 24, peanut butter, and much more. I restocked some items that we used up. The shelf is now pretty full. I decided to check a few dates. My cream of mushroom soup expired in 2013. I had the pack of 24 or whatever amount they sell it in at Costco. The cool thing is the reason I have so many left. I rarely prepare make-ahead casseroles anymore. The main ingredient in most of those dishes is cream of mushroom soup. I have a ton of casserole recipes from friends at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) when my kids were little. Now, I cook differently or we are grabbing takeout.

My sad canned good item is seen below.

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We went to San Francisco a few years ago as a family and I wanted to buy the clam chowder to bring home. The authentic stuff! However, we never made it to the Boudin store. I was bummed. My friend went awhile later and I asked for 5 cans. She graciously brought them to me. Forgive me but I never got around to eating them all. I had to toss the rest. They had expired. Waaaa. That is some good soup too.

I want to return to my first topic – Easter and decor. I have two reasons. One is to confess that we own 372 plastic Easter eggs.

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My kids love them. They are in various colors and shapes. I suggested we get rid of them this year and all three kids screamed “NO!” They do play with them and have egg hunts and other creative games with them. The entire assembly line of them counting and sorting took nearly an hour. It isn’t a necessity nor does it highlight the true meaning of Easter. However, my kids played together for an hour and had fun. That is worth the storage space for all those eggs. We can toss them in a future year but for now, they are all staying and I’m sure they will get some more to add to it this year as well.

My second reason to talk about Easter is because it is the main celebration in the Christian faith. Whatever your Easter traditions are: egg hunts, honey baked ham, Easter baskets or other stuff (we do all 3 that I listed), the celebration is empty without the hope of the empty tomb. For those that don’t know – Easter is the celebration that Jesus is alive. He was killed on a Friday and rose again on Sunday. That is why we celebrate Easter. Our God isn’t dead. He is alive and living in us and through us. If you don’t have “attending an Easter service on Sunday” as part of your traditions, I encourage you to try it this year.

However you choose to celebrate, know that there is the one true God who loves you enough to sacrifice His Son, Jesus, to die on your behalf but loved us enough to bring Him back to life to give us life forever. Enjoy your Easter!

Dream Big!

Spring break and cleaning

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Sorry for my absence. My kids were on spring break and we went to Arizona for a week. We swam, ate, swam, ate, played miniature golf, ate, swam, went to a fair, ate, swam and drove home. Whew!

Upon returning home, I embarked on the other spring event – spring cleaning. I couldn’t handle my son’s closet anymore. It is not his fault. It is purely mine. I am the one who didn’t take time to get rid of clothes he has outgrown and to pull down hand-me-downs he might fit. So 3 huge bags later, his closet only contains clothes that fit. There is one small bag of future clothes instead of 3 huge ones. We widdled it down to what he actually likes and will wear. I am glad to pass on what was passed onto me and what we have outgrown. It feels good.

My son also found an old toy he missed playing with and got rid of a huge one he is done with. It opened up so much closet space. Sorry space guys, but we need the space.

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I even made room to store his school papers that are in matching clear storage containers. I put in the empty ones I’ll need to finish out his school days. It feels good.

Spring has another event that is definitely overlooked by far too many – Easter. Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ – God’s Son. You see, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (disobedience to God) but three days after they buried Him in a tomb, He rose again – that is Easter day. We have a living, Savior. He lives in our hearts and guides us daily if we let Him. I hope when you embark on your spring break (if you haven’t had it yet) or your spring cleaning (we all need to do it), take time to reflect on the best part of spring – the hope of eternal life and abundant life today because of Jesus.

Dream Big!

Files from the past

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I am getting rid of an accordion file box. I decided to get rid of it after asking everyone in the family if they had a need for something like this. When they all said no, I asked a friend who said yes. I offered it to her.

However, it just hit me that this is the box I used when I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference many years ago (1999 I think). Anyway, I used it to hold my book proposals, resume, speaking brochure and miscellaneous paperwork at the conference. I feel a small tug in letting it go. More so, I feel proud at how far I have come since that conference. I got a book deal at that conference. I was hired to coauthor Weddings 101 that published in 2001. I also met some dear friends that I am still in touch with today. Lastly, I am back in a season of writing. I took several years off to focus on my children. They are all school aged now and my season of writing has returned. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

I’m grateful for you, my blog followers. You are part of this new season of writing for me. As I said in the beginning, I’m not a blog kind of gal. I don’t follow a ton of blogs (if you have one, I will follow you. Please let me know.) I felt led to share this journey with you. Releasing my stuff is a tough, soul searching process for me. The tougher part is confessing it all to you. I share very openly when I have an opportunity to speak at any group. Writing it down is different. It is the permanence of words on paper (or in this case in a computer’s memory) that brings the trepidation. I trust you and even if I don’t know you, I trust God who led me to this place. I appreciate the safe place this blog is becoming for me. I appreciate you for receiving my words, thoughts and opinions. I hope in a year or two I can say I have another book deal. When I do, you deserve credit in my acknowledgement section. You challenge me to keep writing because I know you are waiting for another blog to read. You encourage me by sharing how this blog is impacting you. You love me because you are there. Nostalgia brings out my appreciation for not only the past but the present. So thanks!

Dream Big!

Emergency clothing

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Today’s blog is part what I got rid of and part public service announcement.

A week ago, we had a rather significant earthquake in Southern California. It was centered where my parents live. We felt it at our home 35 miles away. This was one of those wake up calls that caused me to look at our emergency plan. This is the public service part of the blog – if you don’t have a plan get a plan. A few tips:

1) have a bag ready with extra clothes, food, water, flashlight, radio and other supplies you may need. Also, don’t forget your pet. Have food and water for them as well.

2) discuss the plan of connecting with your family if you are not all together. One part of that plan should include having a relative or friend in another state that you can call to pass on information. Local lines may be tied up but long distance could be open.

3) discuss the plan of action when an emergency arises – drop, cover and hold is the new earthquake motto. My kids and I discussed where to go in every room of the house.

4) pray and ask God to help you as prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

As for me, I decided to go through our emergency bag to make sure it was still stocked. In the bag I found clothes for children labeled 4T. I also found a bag with diapers and baby socks. Obviously I hadn’t updated this emergency kit as often as I thought. My oldest daughter is a teenager in a few weeks. I don’t think 4T is the right fit for her. My kids were cracking up that we had diapers in our emergency bag. Obviously, I removed all of the items that were too small or unnecessary for our emergency kit. They are my items to donate these past few days. Here’s a picture.

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The kids then supplied me with t-shirts, socks and a jacket for the bag. I had three old, large sweatpants that were earmarked to donate, that I included too. I still need to include shoes for them. Hopefully we will never need this emergency bag, but at least we know it’s current. I’m grateful we didn’t have a true emergency, just a scary earthquake. It gave me a reminder I needed to update our bag. It also served as the content for this blog.

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I also got rid of some Bisquick that expired a few years ago. I kept thinking I would use it but never did. Now I won’t because it’ll most likely make me sick. I bought this “just add water” brand when my daughter’s class had a pancake party 3 years ago. Fun party but the batter is too old now. I was checking our stock of food in the garage for emergency preparation when I found these.

Take some time and prepare your family, prepare an emergency kit and most importantly, prepare your heart by keeping it connected to God. Ultimately, He is our best emergency kit in any kind of crisis – physical or emotional. How grateful I am that I have that tool in my emergency kit.

Dream Big!

VHS – a thing of the past

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Do you remember when the VHS recorder entered your home? I do. I grew up in a TV home. We watched everything. I hated staying up late to watch the finale of a show or the Friday night movie. I am a morning person. VHS changed that. We could record it to watch at a more convenient time. I loved being able to watch my favorite episodes over and over again. Joanie Loves Chachi, Little House on the Prairie, Cheers and other popular shows filled tapes in my home. I taped every time Barry Manilow had a TV special or appeared on the Tonight Show. The scary part, I still have a ton of those tapes. Here is the Trader Joe bag full of VHS tapes that are leaving my home.

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I decided to toss them. The quality is probably gone anyway. Anything I really want to see is most likely on youtube or not worth watching again. I easily sorted out what was important and what wasn’t. I found an old musical I had performed in high school. Keep. Other performances through the years were uncovered. Keep. Finale of Cheers. Toss. Barry Manilow on the Sally Jessie Rafael show. Toss. And so it went.

Here I sit today. April 1. April Fools Day. I decided on today for one reason only. If I get cold feet, I can say it was an April Fools joke and save them all. I don’t plan to do it but it’s nice to have the option.

It is interesting to me how important those VHS tapes have been over the years. I haven’t watched them for some time. It is scary to think how they survived several moves and a remodel. Why? I hold onto the past. I cherish the memories evoked from seeing an old TV show. I invested in shows and their characters. They were like friends. I used to rewatch those shows to cheer me up after a bad day. When Chachi sang to Joanie and professed his love, I escaped from reality. (If you were a Scott Baio fan, it’s sad we thought the poor boy could sing.)

Today, I rarely rewatch episodes of my favorite shows. I still escape with TV at times but it’s no longer my go to. I would rather type my blog, read a book, pray, call a friend, or listen to a worship song. I have outgrown the need for the VHS tape. Not just because I love my TIVO (which I do) but because I have outgrown the need for it. I have healthier options when I need a break from reality.

I started writing this morning with anxiety about releasing the tapes. After writing this blog, I can finally say, VHS is a thing of MY past.

Dream Big!