Discipline v. Freedom?

Today, it feels great to be sitting back in the office/studio, Lexie in her chair, music on, (Listening to Rick Tiger, fyi), and planning what to say here again. There is never a total loss of what to say, there are so many things to discuss. Today, I saw these two topics:

“A life without discipline is a life without joy.” Muriel B

“Today, I will remember that self-discipline is in my self-interest.”

By moving back into the office/studio, I am practicing discipline. From probably Thanksgiving until yesterday, I’d lounge with the Chromebook, writing the blog while watching Rachael Ray. I had a great old time. It was relaxing (which I needed), it gave me time to focus on making our Christmas season special for us (and gave me time to refocus on my sadness about the season, from the kids being gone to not getting to see our youngest grandkids very often), and to force myself to focus on what we have, not what we don’t have. The have’s so outnumber the have not’s when you analyze it, I feel a little foolish to dwell on what’s slipped through my fingers instead of what’s in my hand right now. My hands are overflowing!

In life as well as in my author/creator/quilter/crafter/artist world, I need the discipline to enter the room where the magic happens in order for it to “happen.” Magic happens when I’m fully engaged. I cannot be fully engaged when I’m listening to how to make Rachael Ray’s Eggplant Parmesan with part of my brain while trying to write with what little is left to use at that moment.

Discipline has been a word with both a good and a bad definition. As kids, we grew up equating discipline with a spanking. Some kids defined it as a beating at home. Yes, there were many homes like that. While I was raising my kids, I started out with what we all learned, a mild swat on the bottom. Sometimes you had to get their attention. Most of the time, mine would be quiet, and well-behaved. Discipline meant something different to my kids, and was usually grounding, never a beating!

Discipline now may mean loss of screen time (which may trigger a tantrum), losing a special snack, or taking a time out. Discipline is also what we need to keep ourselves on any path; whether it is the Keto Diet, watching a video class for your craft, reading your idols latest publication, it takes discipline to get to a task and perform as you need to.

You will never reach whatever goal you have; losing weight, finishing your novel, learning to paint, producing ribbon earning quilts, or whatever. It sometimes takes more energy to get off the couch and open the laptop than to actually sit in the chair and write 500 – 1000 words. Done and Done!

Discipline no longer is a burden we have to do but hate doing. Doing what needs to be done is the only thing that will get us where we need to go. It’s the only way we can measure our progress, which happens to be my “word of the year.” I get joyful when I see I’ve made progress. I get joyful when I end another post for blogging. I get joyful when I put dinner in the crockpot by 9 a.m. Dinner’s done and I have more time to write, read, and learn. Bonus!

Let’s all celebrate progress by remembering discipline is the best friend we can have; it’s the vehicle that is equipped to get us where we’re going. It doesn’t matter if you’re an alcoholic in recovery, a PTSD or other trauma survivor, a person losing weight for health reasons, or an author writing a book. You soon discover self-discipline is in your self-interest. The trick is not becoming obsessive or compulsive about it, which is a topic for another blog.

Have a beautiful Monday! It’s a clear but cold day here, and at Noon or so, the Babe and I are going to pick up our granddog from the kennel where she stayed while her family was at the Dance Team competition in Minnesota. They’ll be home late this afternoon after the kennel closes. Josie needs to greet her people when they arrive home! Let’s greet self-discipline like a 50 pound lab mix greets her people; you’ll get where you’re going for sure. See you tomorrow!

Let’s Be Joyful!

Saturday Shenanigans?

Still overcast at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Maybe that, not procrastination, is the reason I’ve left our Christmas tree up. The header photo is from this morning; I told the Babe I just love how it looks by the fire, with the dogs all napping and us just chilling’. It’s a part of life you cannot buy. You create that space with your family/friends/significant other, and it just feels so good, so right, so untouchable. It takes practice and trust to relax, let your hair down, relax your shoulders, and just be in the moments you are sharing. So grateful for our life.

I also have a planning meeting with the other officers of the Auxiliary at 1 p.m. The Babe is off doing bookwork and another Honor Guard Funeral this morning. I am so proud of The Babe, he is working a lot, but he’s a person who can’t retire and relax. He is using his need to be productive in a positive way. Yes, sometimes it can be frustrating, but it’s very rewarding for both of us. As long as we’re able, we will volunteer as we are.

The agenda for today? The dogs were naughty, tearing open a trash bag full of some decorations. Floral picks I used on a tree, red plastic grapes, giant pinecones, all scattered through the family room. It’s a mess. Girls! I need to clean that up later. I also have some boxes to sort through so all of like items are together and labelled before they go on the shelves. It’s coming along nicely.

I need to return my Jury Panel Questionnaire. On one hand, I hope to be chosen. It’s fascinatinig to be on a jury. It changed my life in 1981. That story will be in my book, The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons, which is my WIP (work in progress). There are so many heartbreaking, wild, difficult, mind-numbing events over my own life, some of them are the basis for what Katie experiences and grows from. Each event she experiences is from life – not necessarily mine – and have happened to real people. Some of the people she learned the hardest life lessons from are a patchwork for some of the characters. Despite everything, she remains a loving person, a believer in God, and a person of strong faith. She always knew God was leading her the way she went.

Fun Top for January. Snowy, not Christmas-y!

I love this new shirt. It has a plethora of snowflakes on it, at the boarders of the sleeves and bottom. It’s part of my smaller sized collection I’ve bought since losing 40 pounds on KETO. Time to get back in the saddle, boys and girls. I’m going to be doing raw veggies, protein, salads, and the one Halo Top Sea Salt Caramel Keto Pop. They’re heavenly! They’re expensive, but worth it, I believe. If you know me at all, you know I have a love of all things ice cream. Since I was a kid, it always represented fun, delicious times. That is a story for another day.

As we both make progress with our day and intentions, let’s be safe out there. Let’s be careful out there. See you tomorrow.

December 4. My Favorite Day!

Today is my favorite day of the Christmas season. Why? Well, not only are we moving the furniture around to make way for our Christmas tree, it’s also the day of the season we go see Yesterday and Today. The McGuigan Brothers have again added some new twists to the show they have been doing for many years. It’s a new venue, too. They have been talking about the acoustics in their new home, and it sounds extra special. More about that tomorrow.

When approaching the holiday season, some of us ask for the grace of a glad heart. Sometimes, we have to fake it until we make it. In the beginning, we try to fool ourselves. If we’re working to improve our outlook on life, and making gratitude a new way of life, we can get to the point where we’re not faking it anymore. It becomes part of who we are. We come to have a glad heart, and it’s what we need in this world today.

My Zoom call was more like a Doom call. We both had video, and she had sound. I did not. We communicated and decided to talk on the phone on Monday. I will call her at a certain time. That PST vs. CST is weird. I had it backwards, so now, I have it right. Hopefully, Monday will be better. I think it will.

I want to make this holiday season happier for my heart than it has been. Living in the present is what is the best to do. Being happy for the now is what I choose to do. I need to remember the reason for this season, that is my focus. Since we’re doing decorations like I used to, it’ll be a great time to assess what I can donate and what I want to keep. What I really want to keep. No extras.

I have some ideas to make small reading areas around the house. One in our bedroom, one in my office studio, and one in the lower level. Also have places on the deck and the patio. My spots will double as spots to hand quilt; hand sew things; or embroider. All things I love to do, just more organized. I think this will help me get my whole life organized and running smoother. I can always use more organization.

Some of the author groups I’m in talk about how they take books with them wherever they go. I do, and my brothers have similar habits. While our reading material is varied, the end result isn’t. We are entertaining ourselves, we are passing the time in a productive manner, and we are learning something we didn’t know before. Our parents taught us well. Bored? Couldn’t utter the word. If we did, it was, “Go get a book. Pick up the Newspaper. Draw something.”

Dad worked for the newspaper, so it was always in the house. He also loved drawing. He wanted to be a cartoonist. He was quite good. I have his “Learn to Cartoon” books. I think it’s partly why he loved the Charlie Brown cartoons. Especially Snoopy. If Dad laughed, you knew it was funny. Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, he would say, “That damned dog!” while nearly rolling on the floor. It’s a great memory.

It’s time for me to mix up the egg casserole for breakfast tomorrow (back at the Keto), and finish getting ready for the day. I want to locate the boxes of decorations to start with. I’m going to make it a good season. It has to be. I’m accepting no substitutes. More lights! But no ladders for these old folks!

Techie Tuesday

Today will pretty much be computer work nearly all day. I’ll have a break in between, to go pick up Addison from school, after getting my COVID booster. I feel better getting it, especially with the new variant. Enough of this stuff! Let’s get rid of it! It wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up locked down again. The upside to that is I have plenty of writing to do; and I can learn some more quilting techniques. There’s always more to learn, and more to do. I certainly won’t be bored!

Bored is a word we were not allowed to use growing up. I haven’t cared for the grandkids using it. It’s clear this generation has a very different idea of what fun is. Addison was convinced for a long time parks were all decked out with rides, like Disney World. They’ve been there a number of times. She has even danced there. It was a fun trip to see that. Downtown Disney is quite a busy place.

While Disney is touted as the “happiest place on earth,” I watched the crowd a lot and saw lots of kids who cried incessantly. My guess is they were over tired, over stimulated, as were their parents. They’re just not going to eat or sleep when they should. I hope they had fun, though.

To me, parks have always been green spaces. The parks near our home had activities for kids during the summer. We could either walk there or ride our bikes when we were old enough to do so. It was fun to see your school friends there. The days were long, we never vacationed like some people. My best friend Peggy went camping with her folks; I remember her dad built a camper. Seriously, I remember him putting shingles on the sides (our house had a similar outer wall covering it), and they were probably made of asbestos. All the good stuff was back then, you know? Before we knew it was so bad for us.

I had an errand this morning. Afterwards, I stopped at the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) called The Quilted Moose. It has so much beautiful fabric it’s almost overwhelming. All the ladies were talking and it had a nice atmosphere. Talk about doing what they love! They’re looking for help, it would have been a great job when I could still stand up and do stuff all day. My back and lots of other stuff is too damaged to do that now. But it’s a great opportunity for someone.

I’m still mulling over my dream/idea/plan to create Grandma Kathy videos. It’s worth a try. The worst that could happen? Maybe an author’s lawyer sends me a “cease and desist” order? No, I’d seek permission first. It will be an interesting process. You’ll come along, to learn with me, won’t you? Thanks.

I need to make a smoothie for breakfast/lunch in a minute, KETO approved, I think. A mixed berry Ensure, blended with a handful of frozen berries. It’s good, full of protein, and on the menu for me. There’s more Keto foods in my future again, as I work to keep off the 45 pounds I’ve lost so far. Not sure how much further I should go. I can tell you the best feeling is giving away what used to be snug. And my friend is delighted as she’s lost a bunch of weight and gets some still like-new clothes to take with her to Hawaii tomorrow. Have fun, Lora!

As you move through your day, be mindful of creating your own beautiful world around you. It has nothing to do with your bank account or possessions. It has to do with how you look at your world. Some of the poorest people in the world are happy in their hearts. Find the positive. It’s in there somewhere. You notice the shift when you start to see the good part when bad things happen. Gratitude is essential to a happy life. Enjoy today. See you tomorrow!

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Excuses Vs. Reasons

Jonathan Swift said, “An excuse is a lie guarded.” That is not far from the truth. We often delude ourselves as we delay work we need to do on ourselves, on our bad habits, on our addictions and on our silly excuses we don’t live our best lives. We all do it, you know. Me, too.

I know people who dwell on the wrongs done them as excuses why they don’t get something done, why they never found love, why after 50 years they didn’t do something differently. I’m serious. Some folks have excuses they blurt out like a litany in the Catholic Church services. It’s sad, but it’s also hilarious. Blame is placed on someone else. It becomes the excuse they use to stay frozen in place, where they think they’re safe. But they’re not. They’re unhappy, negative, and live a stagnant life.

Life wasn’t meant to be an existence that is static. As humans, we are created to experience growth and change. Our bodies are constantly changing, growing new cells, working to live, and craving more energy to keep alive. Our brains need new experiences, new challenges, new creations. Art, music, and reading feed our souls, minds, and beings.

Yes, it’s risky trying something we’ve never done before. But why not? It doesn’t hurt to try. Better yet, how about doing? Some folks have lied so much to themselves they believe their own excuses. I believe excuses are just that. Reasons, however, are valid. They are obstacles placed in your way; like I can’t do the 50 Mile Walk because I broke my ankle. That is a valid reason. An excuse is, “It might rain, (take an umbrella), I have to work, (you could take vacation).

Alcoholics and addicts have the best excuses ever. “Someone was driving at me the wrong way on the street.” Ha! You were the one that crossed the center line; it’s on you, not someone else.” “I lost track of time.” Sure, you were passed out somewhere and missed your surprise birthday party. When dealing with these folks, we have to keep track of their records.

Delusions may crop up in our minds about those negative, toxic relationships. They are no good for us. They are no good for the addicts or addicts either. The delusion continues when we let them back into our lives and they continue with their excuses without skipping a beat. “Maybe I was too hard on him.” No, you weren’t. An adult keeps their promises. An adult shows up. An adult doesn’t run scared. Another chance? Enter at your own risk. You may likely be the only one hurt. Don’t risk it again, unless you are certain the alcoholic quit drinking for good, the addict is clean. And they haven’t switched one bad habit/addiction for something else. You are worth more than that.

The more you practice making healthy decisions, the better off you will be. The only risks you may be taking are those on doing something you’ve always wanted to do. You. For yourself. We have a friend who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. In between, he had a double knee replacement. This may be a bit extreme, but he loved it. Do something and conquer it. You’ll stretch your world. You’ll become bolder, brighter, and a whole lot happier. Dwelling on the past and your excuses is counter productive.

Using myself as an example, I’ve snacked needlessly the past week or so. I’m horrified at how easily my resolve to eat healthy has gone out the window. The Babe is done with eating healthy. He’ll do what he does. I’m not fond of it, but it’s his decision. I refuse to make our time together miserable because I want him to be healthier. Why become a nag, making our life together unbearable? Not how I want him to remember me. Not how I want to be, either. I could use the excuse, “He brought home cookies, donuts, ice cream, chips and popcorn.” It’s not the Babe’s fault I caved on my own resolve. I need to step up, be responsible, and not blame someone else.

I will lose the 5+ pounds I’ve gained being naughty. I will be happier with myself and feel less sluggish. Keto friends, stay tuned! I’m loving putting on an outfit and the Babe telling me, “It’s too big.” What?? I haven’t heard that for a long, long time, if ever. It’s nice. And my knees don’t hurt like they did. I was close to asking for a replacement. Yes, I have a lot of arthritis in them, they’re bone on bone. But, the squats I did all summer must have strengthened a part of the knees so they don’t hurt. I’m amazed at what a 45 pound weight loss can do. You can do it to.

Once I stopped accepting bad treatment by others, I gained respect, love, and realization what I deserved vs. what I received. I gained the Babe. I gained self respect. I gained a new view of life. I am amazed at the last twenty five years of my life. I’m also amazed that at the age of nearly 70, I’m living a great story. I’m starting to share my story. It’s a story that could help others. I believe I’m being called to do just that. Stories about kids for kids; as Grandma Kathy, and stories about women for women; as Kathy Raabe, Author. What I’m learning, what I’ve experienced, and the risks taken aren’t so scary now. Time for some more big risks. Yes! I can hardly wait.

Thanks for reading today. More minor decluttering today. Getting stuff done. And some novel writing, too. Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

Super Sunday

Yesterday, I went to an art exhibit to see the works of Liz Boutin. She is a new friend and artist I’ve just met, and she has her works at the VFW Post 2503 for Veterans Day Week. It was nice to see her nature paintings. She does some beautiful work. I purchased a Dragonfly painting. It’s in three parts, and she cautioned me it’s a real job to get all three parts equal when hanging. The Babe will have fun with that! A photo of the painting is in my header photo today. I love the colors. Since we have a Wetlands behind us, we have a bunch of Dragonflies in the yard. I love them! So beautiful. Thanks, Liz!

Today will be spent gearing up again for writing. It takes more than having an outline and a half of an idea of where I want the characters to go. It takes having the house clean – dusted, vacuumed, decluttered, and how it should be all the time. It takes having some meals planned so we don’t have to eat out. I’ve fallen deepy in love with carbs and ice cream again, so I need to get back on the Keto bandwagon. I will not backslide after losing 45 pounds. I’ve given away my big girl jeans.

It also takes plotting the play time with Goldie. She requires a lot of activity. Last winter, I got smarter and threw her toy down the basement stairs. She would run up and down, get her energy out, and stop when I tell her, “It’s time for a drink.” She laps up her water and goes to take a nap. Perfect! It’s that time of year again. If it’s 30 degrees outside and windy, forget about it!

I’m glad to be able to get back to writing. That first week, it was easy, then life got in the way. It’s ok though. Having 30 days is somewhat forgiving in case you have situations that need attention crop up. And the more you want to get done, the more interruptions you get. Murphy’s Law, you know?

The sunny morning yesterday gave way to clouds which stuck around today. The house is clean, and I’m done working for today. The culinary challenge of the day is figuring out which containers in the freezer contain meatloaf, and is it still edible? We have too many things leftover and frozen to buy new stuff. I’d like to clean out the freezer before adding more to the tundra. It’s interesting how I usually think I’ll be able to do so much every day. The days I get stuff done, it’s not unusual to crash in the afternoon, like I did today. I need to remind myself I did a lot of work, got the house amazingly clean, and moved furniture and decorative items and put out some new ones.

Cozying up with some new decorations.

I’m going to plot some points tomorrow morning for the story, book, and check how they will fit with what I have so far. It’s going to be a session in planning and time management, since I’m meeting our artist friend Liz Boutin, at the Post tomorrow. She will dismantle the exhibit she showed last week about PTSD. I’m a little sad it’s all over, but the holidays will soon be upon us, and people will be busier than ever. I hope the days are good and the nights short.

Thanks for being here today. I we’ll see each other tomorrow, and it will be another great November day. See you then.

Thankful Thursday

I made a killer Pumpkin Smoothie the other day. I used the Pioneer Woman recipe, and subbed Stevia for Sugar. I also used 2% Milk, and 3/4 cup of Heavy Cream. It was the best. The Babe didn’t want any, and I get to have three more of them. I guess that can be a Keto Recipe, right?

I had a physical earlier today and had great results. It feels good to be in a different place a year later than I was last year. We can have huge impact on our health when we need to just by changing our habits. I’m grateful to have success and hope to continue.

Didn’t get time to write before now, and it’s 8 p.m. What a day! We had some unexpected things happen today that require some other things be ironed out tomorrow, and I’ll talk about it in a few more days. Just know the Babe and I are grateful to God for continuing to be good to us. It’ll make sense later. I didn’t get any time to work on my outline/plans for writing next week. Hope to make time tomorrow.

Be Grateful!

I’ll see you tomorrow! Be safe out there.

A Clean, Fresh Slate Again

Here we are, starting the “ber” months. Debates about Pumpkin Spice will flood the airways, and I will love getting out my hoodies, sweatshirts, and jeans. It’s meant to be! I love living where there are seasons. Sure, it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Since it’s all I know, I’m not sure what it would be like to be one season all twelve months.

Weather balance is a good way to describe it. Being retired, we don’t have to go anywhere. It can snow all it wants. I remember the days when if we didn’t get to work, we didn’t get paid or had to take a vacation day. Dad gave us the example of never missing work unless you were very sick.

In another re-start on my Keto journey, I’m making a “resolution” for September. 30 days should give me a jumpstart since I’ve been at a plateau for more than six months. Time to get real.

No added sugar.

No alcohol.

No bread.

Eat lots of veggies.

Eat a reasonable amount of fruit.

Lots of protein.

To focus on my personal mission of helping Veterans and to support our Police Officers, I vow to do this every day:

22 Wall Push Ups

Bike 22 minutes a day

Do 71 squats a day to remind myself of the Veterans who die by suicide every day. The total for 30 days will be about 2200 for the month.

By committing to these things, I’m reminded of the commitment made by our military and our first responders. My 69 year old knees, back, legs and hips will benefit from the activity, and my mind will become more focused and creative. And the thing of it is, I’m stating it to the public. To all of you. To my friends and readers. We’ll have to check in on my progress. Thanks in advance for keeping me on track. Let’s do this!

Join me. It’ll be fun. Think outside of yourself. Help others. You’ll feel better for it. I’m off to do my biking. Taking Mom to the doctor later. Hope you have a beautiful day today. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Thank you.

Feelings are really Habits?

What do you think about this meme? I suppose it is true, and I’m going to change some starting tomorrow.

It’s the first of September, and I’m going to commit to doing Keto with the passion I first had. The determination that helped me lose 30 pounds and keep it off, even though I’ve cheated quite a bit since the first of this year. I think I need to give it one last time, then try my hardest to break through this plateau.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to vow to spend the whole month of September doing these things:

Having no sugar.

Having no alcohol.

Having no bread.

Riding my recumbent bike 22 minutes per day.

Doing 71 squats a day to total 2,220.

Do 22 Wall Push Ups a day.

22 minutes a day, 2200 squats a day, 22 wall push ups a day will remind me of the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide due to PTSD. Organizations I volunteer with are very cognizent of this. I vow to be also, so I can help them and the Veterans.

The past summer has been so good with the fundraising efforts of VFW Post 2503 for the help of Veterans with PTSD. I want to help. I want to help other organizations help. We will persevere. It’s what is needed to change those statistics from 22 until none.

This is brief and to the point tonight because it’s been a long day. Spent it with Mom at her house, and I’m glad to have done it. It’s funny, she doesn’t have wi-fi, so I couldn’t do anything blog/computer/or VFW Post related. You miss it when it’s not available.

Have a good evening tonight, and a pleasant day tomorrow. I’ll be spending the day with Mom again tomorrow, so know we’ll talk a little in between. All is well, have a great day, and remember; you are making the world a better place with however you help and volunteer. See you tomorrow!

Saturday/Sunday Summations

I’m ready for a quiet weekend. One of reading, binge watching Heartland on Netflix, and lots of naps. Last night, we enjoyed the tales and songs of Rick Tiger at the VFW. He was in his element, telling stories to the Veterans, sharing his belief in common sense and Jesus. Not necessairly in that order, but you get my drift.

Sorry to have skipped yesterday’s blog. It just wasn’t coming to me. I think my brain needed a day to just chill. We did. Nice long nap, too. That helps. You know, creativity is tiring. When I’d write over 500 words on my novel, it was tiring. It was also based on some life experiences, etc., I’d seen people go through. Recalling stressful situations is exhausting, too. As is dealing with difficult people. I thought it was weird, until I asked someone in my I Create Daily Facebook group. I miss interacting with them. Since this Apple ID thing, I only go on FB maybe once a day. It’s pretty cumbersome going back to a tablet or a laptop. Isn’t that funny? Technology has us so spoiled.

It’s official now, “Goldie, WHAT are you doing?” won’t be printed this year. To take a lot of stress off Cartney and myself, we had a Facetime talk Friday, and we’re pushing the deadline back to Christmas for completion. I’ll be looking (hopefully) at a January, 2021 release date. Then the FUN starts! Cartney starts college soon, and will be getting used to dorm life, and classes. And working. And studying. And making new friends.

I often wonder what that would have been like. I got married right out of high school – graduated May, married in September 1970. He got a low draft number, if you know what that means. Not a good reason to get married. We thought it made sense. We grew separately and it’s been proven men who were stationed away from families when a child was born often never bond with the child who went from the womb to being a toddler (or older) before they return. It may be different now, with technology. Communication stunk when you could only write letters.

You may not realize it, but letters often went by ship. Now, they all go by air. An Air Mail Stamp was more expensive than a regular one. All military mail going overseas went by Air, so I learned from the gentleman at the Post Office counter I didn’t need to spend money on the Air Mail stamp. Even telephone was horribly expensive, so no one could call from a base camp in Vietnam, Laos, or Thailand. Now, husbands can Facetime or Skype or Duo their child being born, a birthday party, or other events in a family’s life. God Bless this use for technology. The world is at the fingertips of these young couples who are separated by deployments. How nice they can communicate often and look into each other’s lives while they chat.

The Babe and I have been cleaning stuff up and he powerwashed the deck. It’s so beautiful outside, we need to go have some time on the deck. Hope you have a beautiful rest of the weekend. Next week, we’re sitching around some schedules, and I hope to add in a day or two a week for my other loves – quilting, crocheting, embroidery. So many options! Be safe out there. Stay healthy.