Monday, November 29, 2010


Family … mixed blessings some say but I come from a different perspective.  Family that comes back together after years of being separated is a special blessing.  The personality differences, the differences in outlooks on life and how it’s lived, friends and associates and lifestyles – they’re not as important as just having family around the table together sharing stories and laughter, games and good food.  Thanksgiving is a time for families and this year I am blessed to have my tiny family together and I’m going to look forward to many more of these occasions in my future. 

Be blessed if your family was able to come together and enjoy this time.  If not, look around you for others who are alone and make an impromptu family of your own.  Sometimes that can bring as much joy to you and you to them as getting together with “real” family. 

My own mother died over 40 years ago just two weeks before my first son was born.  She never had the opportunity to see my baby boy and I did not have the benefit of her love and wisdom during those early mothering years.  But I had a landlord who was so loving and kind and caring of my family that she became a surrogate “grandma” and a great blessing to me.

Forty years later I have a close and loving relationship with a widow whose own family are not very responsive to her needs and we are secondary mother and daughter to each other and this relationship is a blessing to both of us. 

Whatever the case -- enjoy the blessings of family whether blood or bond … and be thankful for all the wonderful people in your life.

The Story of Jonah

This is precious!  Hope you enjoy ...  http://vimeo.com/16404771

What a lovely little girl with a wonderfully expressive presentation.

Blessings, Ann

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Thankful

Being thankful … it’s harder than we think.  Oh, it’s pretty easy to list the big things – family, health, job, friends – but it takes a bit more thought to really look at your life and see the specialness of it – the things that God has provided for you … things that He knows you need even if you don’t know it. 

I don’t like upheaval in my life … had plenty of that in the past; but God knows it’s good to shake me up a bit from time to time so I don’t get too set in my ways and become accustomed to the ease of life as it is from day to day.  A few bumps in the road keep me closer to Him, the source of my strength and peace.

When I look around me and see so many friends whose families are struggling with life-threatening illnesses I give thanks that my family is doing well at this moment.  We’ve had our major health issues and we will probably have more in the future, but right now we’re all doing okay and I am grateful for this time. 

I see families who are facing the stresses of unemployment and know how mind boggling it can be.  In 21 years of marriage my husband has been unemployed seven years.  We’ve gotten down to our last thousand dollars with no prospects of work and then a blessing comes and we’re working to get back on our feet again.  Now during this very difficult economic time he is working and we’re putting aside all we can to prepare for whatever may come in the future.  We are thankful for the blessing of work.

I am distressed by the condition that our Country is in at this time and the path that we seem to be destined to follow and I pray that we will turn back before we lose all that the Founding Fathers desired for us when this republic was born.  But I am still thankful to live in this beautiful land with all the freedoms I still have – freedoms and opportunities that so many others will never have in their lifetimes – and I know that I am blessed.

I am grateful for eyes to see the wonders of creation around me every day … the early morning sun coming up over the mountain, the green of tree leaves blowing in the wind, words on the printed page that give me wisdom or take me away from my everyday life.  I am grateful ears to hear the singing birds and the voices of my loved ones … grateful for arms and legs that allow me to move about and work or play … for a body that basically functions as it should with only a few glitches from the stresses of life. 

And as Thanksgiving approaches and the kitchen is filled with the aroma of apple pie and other goodies, I give thanks for the food provided for us every day of the year.  And for the sense of smell to enjoy all the fragrances of the foods I love.  I read somewhere that without a sense of smell our sense of taste is compromised as well … they go hand in hand.  We are wonderfully made! 

May your Thanksgiving Feast be bountiful both physically and spiritually and may the coming year bring you many more blessings … 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are You Under the "Overs"?

There is an insidious trap that lurks in all of our lives – it steals our time, our money, our well-being and our joy leaving us exhausted, broke, sick and depressed.  Because of its nature we don’t notice it … we experience the results and don’t like them but we don’t recognize the problem.  We think we’re missing something so we work harder, play harder, spend harder and pat ourselves on the back saying “you’re doing ok” in this world.
Is that all you want?   To do ok in this world?  Isn’t there more … isn’t there a hole in your life that never seems to be filled … a craving that never gets satisfied?  Isn’t that what makes you want to feel more, do more, accomplish more?
Are you caught in the trap of the “Overs”?  Are you overstretched?  Overspent?  Overindulged?  Overconfident?  Let’s take look.
In today’s world the more you have scheduled in your day planner the more important you are – or at least that’s how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.  The more you can multitask the more others look up to you and marvel at how you can get so much done.  There are not enough hours in a day to get to all the things on your list and this gives you a sense of value and worth.  This is the trap of being overstretched. 
Take time to breathe ...

Is that really how you want to place value on your life?  When was the last time you spent a quiet time alone with your own thoughts and discovered who you are?  When was the last time you spent a few minutes talking to your Creator about your life and where you’re going? When was the last time you just took a deep breath and enjoyed those minutes of your life right then? 
Perhaps you feel you have to run – that your day planner has to be full – that you have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.  And maybe, for some, that is the case at the moment because you have been caught in the trap of overspending.  This is a merry-go-round that will not stop on its own … it’s a conscious decision one has to make to live within our means.  It’s not easy in today’s world.  We are bombarded from morning until night with every imaginable “treasure” sure to bring us happiness. But how can we find peace and contentment in our lives if we are always under the bondage of debt to others?
If you’re overstretched with your time or overspent in your finances, it affects your willpower; and if your willpower is out of control, then most probably your health is out of control as well.  God created a wonderful and awesome body for us and it has miraculous abilities to respond to whatever comes its way; but it does have its limits.  God intended for us to take good care of our bodies.  Paul said  in I Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  What is the shape of your temple?  Have you overindulged in food and drink and fun to the point that your body is run down and wearing out?  If so, you can’t enjoy your life when your body is overtired and overstimulated. 
Finally we come to the point where we need to decide where our confidence needs to lie.  Are we overconfident in our own abilities?   Do we place our confidence in God and trust Him to lead us and provide for us and work things out for us?  Or do we think we can do it  -- we don’t need help – we’re successful in our work, drive a great car, have a big house, and a great family.  But what happens if the job disappears, the car is repossessed, the house is foreclosed, and the family doesn’t live up to our expectations?  What happens if just one of these scenarios occurs?  Where is our confidence then? 
God created us to be in His image; He has a good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He wants us to be free of the “overs” so we can be all that He has designed us to be.  Living up to our potential in Christ will bring us peace, freedom, good health and a balanced lifestyle; and our true confidence will be centered in our Lord who gives us every good and perfect gift.  I say it’s time to free ourselves from the “overs”! 
Take time to enjoy your life ... Blessings,

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Waiting … not one of my good points.  Patience is not one of my virtues but God has taken me around that mountain many times and I’m learning … much better than I used to be at just waiting.

So some stuff is packed – crystal and some dishes I only use a few times a year, knick-knacks that needed to be thinned out for the “viewing” – all of which take a long time to pack because they are so fragile. 

I lucked out in buying a slew of moving boxes from someone who had just moved a four-bedroom house from Massachusetts to Tucson and had many, many boxes in all shapes and sizes.  Now they are sitting in my garage rather than his and reminding me that they all need something in them.

We’ve had a couple of showings and the real estate agent says both parties are interested.  Hmmm, I wonder what that means exactly.  Like interested enough to talk about it, interested enough to possibly make an offer, interested only in passing? I’m going to assume something good – we did have two showings in the first week on the market and this is not a good market … I’m sure you know what I mean … probably not so hot in your area either. 

So today will be another day of packing … time to weed out my closet of the rest of the things that don’t fit since I’ve managed to lose some weight – that’s a positive way to look at losing some clothes I really like.  I did, however, find a great pair of new jeans yesterday that fit great and look good!!  Yeah!  Yeah!   Last year I couldn’t even fit in a pair of jeans – that’s progress.  Very slow progress but ongoing and I’m getting closer to my goal of 50 pounds.  This time patience is proving good for me. 

Well, off to stuff some boxes! 

Make it a great day, Blessings, Ann

Monday, November 8, 2010


  Neatness … is next to craziness!!  Yikes … I’m reading through the instructions for what to do to sell your home quickly (a nice notebook of info from the real estate agent).  It includes such things as it’s nice to have a separate laundry room – which we do – however, no dirty laundry should ever be seen in it.  So … where do I put the dirty laundry … it’s only me living here during the week and the pile of laundry I generate is rather small. 
But it shouldn’t be kept in the laundry room and it shouldn’t be kept in a closet.  Other than the backyard or the garage, both of which will be inspected by any prospective buyer, there is no other place to put it.  Except … the trunk of my car!  There!  Problem solved. 

My husband was home for the weekend and his usual Saturday lunch is tuna fish … has been for years.  He’s the kind of guy that likes his routine and sticks to it.  But this week I had to remind him that the smell of tuna is not one that we want to have permeating the house.  So from now until the house sells (I wonder how long that is going to be) … no tuna for lunch and  no fish for dinner.  You know how fish smells linger … you get used to it and don’t notice until you leave the house for a few hours and then when you return it assaults your nose again – and you haven’t cooked fish for a week!

Everything I’m reading in this little notebook tells me that I want my house to have that lived-in look but don’t have anything showing or smelling or sounding or looking like it’s lived in.  That’s a pretty good feat if you can pull it off.  Before I leave the house to do some errands I run around looking to see what activity of daily living might be visible to someone visiting my home.  It’s funny really … how we have to give the impression that no one lives here, that this house just looks this way because it does and for no particular reason … just so someone else can picture themselves doing exactly the same thing we normally do from day to day.

Who are we kidding?  We all know that the pristine environment we see when we visit a home for sale is not how it’s going to look when we’ve moved in and made it ours.  Ah … but for the moment, the fantasy is alive and well.  And I’m doing my best to make sure it works.

Enjoying a chuckle from all this, Ann

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Changes … sometimes they are welcome; sometimes not but almost always they require effort.  We’ve put our house on the market and my fun is beginning.

I’m not fond of packing for a weekend trip so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be packing up my life into itsy bitsy boxes! 

To start, of course, is to hide all the personal items in your home – while you still live day to day!  I understand the concept … buyers do not want to envision your life; they need to envision their life in what is still your home.  So where did all this stuff come from?  And I’m not talking about the furniture, pots and pans, and linens.  I’m just talking about the mementoes of life, the eye candy that decorates the walls and tabletops, the comforts of home. 

Thirteen years ago we decided to sell our home and all our belongings and move onboard our 44’ sailboat, “Rainbow’s End” and move to San Diego from Boston.  What a freeing experience that was to get rid of the accumulation of 50 years of life.  It really was a load off my mind … an amazing feeling.  We lived onboard in San Diego for five years with only an antique secretary and personal family treasures kept in storage. 

Then the time came to move to Tucson so we bought a three-bedroom house and I spent eighteen months shopping to fill it with furniture and decoration.   Bear in mind we had nothing, not a thing to put in this house when we moved here.  Whatever everyday items we had were still being used on the boat so there were no linens, no dishes, no chairs, no table, no bed and no wedding shower to give us a start!

Somewhere along the line that all changed – now there is an abundance of linens, dishes, chairs, tables, lamps, beds, sofas, and knick-knacks! 

And eventually when someone else decides to make this their home all of it has to be packed into those itsy bitsy boxes! 

The saga continues …

Blessings on your day, Ann

My Oasis in the Desert