Monday, July 30, 2012

Survivor's Guilt...

Gayla and the Gang at Dave Matthews Summer 2010
I spent an amazingly fun and love-filled day with my "Gang" Saturday. We had a cake tasting for the up-coming wedding, we drove all over creation looking for linen suits for the grooms, and we laughed to the point of tears on several occasions (Think Sling Blade sings Call Me Maybe and One Direction). It was the perfect day. So I chastise myself for spending the entire trip home feeling like my friends would prefer that Gayla were there instead of me.

It makes no sense if you break it down. My sister Gayla and I shared our beloved friends so much so that our family just thinks of them all as our brothers and sisters of the heart. There has been much said about how the family we choose is just as important as the family to which we are born. So why do I question my placement in this family? Why do I berate myself with the taunts of, "They wish it had been you"? Why does part of me believe the taunt while the other part of me yells, "THEY WISH IT HAD JUST NOT HAPPENED, YOU GOOB!"

I spent much of Sunday reading about grief and survivor guilt to try to make my whole self understand. Not that all apply to this particular situation and feeling I am having, but here are some of the most profound thoughts to stick with me:

  • This Psychology Today article states, "Even though bereaved people share much common ground, every bereaved person is different, experiencing each death uniquely, grieving uniquely, struggling uniquely, coping uniquely, adjusting uniquely, and healing uniquely."
  • Dr. Phyllis Silverman wrote, "We no longer think of grief as following a formula such as suggested by Kubler—Ross (On Death and Dying). I agree that grief doesn’t express itself in a step by step manner but it does unfold. It may look different for each of us depending on who died, our own experience with grief, and where we are in our own life cycle. ... we need to recognize that grieving is a complicated part of living that changes us and from which we do not 'recover' as from an illness."
  • Kathleen Nader writes about survivor guilt following a tragedy and states when "good people die, survivors may reexamine their own goodness."
I think that last one hits the nail on the head. Gayla was everything good in a friendship. She was giving of her time, her patience, her understanding, and her heart. Sister was that friend who would be standing right by your side in all situations even if you weren't aware of it. Gayla put her friends first. She was fun at all times, always being ready for adventure. Gayla wanted what was best for you, and she went out of her way to make it possible if it were within her control. She was better at being a friend than I am so I guess my feelings of inadequacy are the culprit. Enemy number two is that I have no idea how to change this or how to emulate my beloved sister's ability in this arena.

Share with me how you are a friend. Teach me your secrets for being "good".

P.S. Sosie, no worrying about me or lecturing me. I know this is only in my perception and not reality. I love you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

UPDATED: Weight Watchers After Week Two...Perspective

This week was not as a successful as last. However, I did manage to lose one pound for a total of 7.4 in two weeks. I had only two sodas, which is better, and I tracked everything I ate, which is best. However, I only walked twice and didn't make it to yoga at all. I have given serious consideration to the personal training idea and am leaning more that way than I was last week. I am also looking into Lifetime Fitness because then I could have yoga every evening and Zumba too. Since it would be silly to tack on another goal when I didn't even achieve last week's, I am sticking with adding more activity this week.


Perspectives I reached this week:
  • These photos don't show squat but my clothes are getting bigger so I must be getting smaller.
  • To drink a 20 oz. soda, I would need to walk for an hour (6 POINTS).
  • Because I wanted to eat fast food this week, I did a little research:

Almost an Entire Day's Food Allowance--PERSPECTIVE
Almost 7 hours of walking at a slow pace--PERSPECTIVE
Almost 5 hours of aerobics, jazzercise--PERSPECTIVE
A little less than 2 hours of Zumba--PERSPECTIVE
Almost 5 hours of hiking--PERSPECTIVE
Almost 7 hours of yoga--PERSPECTIVE

Thank goodness, I opted for the Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad from Wendy's--12 POINTS.

UPDATE: I may need to find a different WW meeting each week. I felt a little judged during today's discussion on SALADS. Rather than making the stink face because I enjoy the 12 point Wendy's salad or the 10 point McDonald's salad, let's give me a high five for not consuming a Baconator, Fries and a Cola (40 points) or Chicken Strips with gravy (92 points). THAT'S SOME FREAKING PERSPECTIVE, JUDGY HATERS! Gosh!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012



Let's see, one of my favorite movies is Cutting Edge and another is Miracle and yet another is Cool Runnings. Are you sensing a theme? I typically root for the underdog, but, when given the opportunity, I go absolutely nutso for the STARS AND STRIPES, RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, UNCLE SAM, APPLE PIE, the whole nine yards (yes, I realize that only two of those movies are about team USA...did you see the part about under dog and you're just wrong if the late John Candy doesn't make you giggle).

Local Girly...Giving Her MUCH LOVE!

Much to my family's aggravation, this means I DVR Olympic events as if I am the sole source for documenting history. Too much hyperbole? Yeah, but you get my drift. I may shake my head in disgust and wonderment at the United States government at times and stamp my foot at the silliness that political machination brings out in everyone. However, when it comes to being a "team player" during the Olympics, I am all about American pride.

Growing up, Sister and I were all about the gymnastics. We both sported the Mary Lou Hair-Do...don't judge...we were CUTE as socks on a chicken. The grace and agility were talents we both coveted. My tastes have expanded with age. Volleyball, swimming, gymnastics...I get a wee bit bored by track but am in awe of the speed events. I was looking for movies to get me in the mood for some national pride...I think I shall try to watch them all. For whom are you rooting? Shout out your national pride below!

Olympic Themed Movies (Google "Movies about the Olympics")
  • Chariots of Fire
  • One Day in September
  • Munich
  • Miracle
  • Cool Runnings
  • Prefontaine
  • Without Limits
  • Cutting Edge
  • International Velvet
  • Personal Best

Friday, July 20, 2012

Making Sense of Senselessness...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

I wish I could remember what I was watching or reading when this profound nugget of wisdom entered my life. The man was saying that the only sin was stealing. If you murder someone, then you steal their life. If you lie to someone, then you steal their opportunity to know the truth. etc. etc. It broke my heart this morning when I heard about the thief that stole the lives and safety of the movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. He stole their peace of mind and security in the simple summer pleasure of attending a movie without coming to harm. He stole this from the rest of us as well. My heart is full of sorrow, and I send up my prayers that God may deliver peace to the families and friends of those lost, injured, and forever shocked. We will likely never know the "why" but can focus our energy on those in need of our prayers.

Weight Watchers After 1 Week

UPDATE: If you want to keep track of what you eat and the activity in which you participate, then check out the LOSE IT app for smart phones. It's almost identical to the WW app.

My goals last week were to make sure I recorded everything I ate and to cut out sodas. I succeeded at the first plan but fell down a couple of times on the no soda (wasted six points a glass x 3). I'm proud to report week one was a losing week! I just weighed in and lost 6.4 pounds. This week I'm "Making my Move" and going to implement this week's lesson. Let's see 9 ways to get what you like, pace yourself, set goals, ditch the all or nothing 'tude, don't go it alone, bring in a pro (?), make it easy (??), do different things, and keep track. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Maybe it was because I grew up in the south. Maybe it was because myMama grew up in the south in the 60s. Maybe it is because some of us have better sense than what God gave a billy goat. Nevertheless, there are certain words and phrases that myMama FORBADE us from EVER saying no matter how old we got (you know what they are and I sure ain't repeating them!).

As I was entering adulthood in the early 90s, we added one to the list--"YOU PEOPLE". After old Ross Perot dropped that booger on the NAACP, it became universally known that this particular turn of phrase was prohibited as well. It implied a certain racial divide that bordered on flat out insult. I think it also screams, "I AM ABOVE YOU PEOPLE" and "My excrement smells of roses and sunshine." You would think that after that hub-bub in 1992 that political advisers would spend at least a week making potential public faces of your campaign memorize and avoid ever using these phrases. Guess Annie girl just skipped class that week.

When I read about Ann Romney dropping the "you people" bomb today, I thought, "Holy moly! Did she just say that!?! Maybe she was referring to the barrage of media hounding her as in, 'You people who make me miserable with all your bantering and questioning my family's immense resources.'" That's probably more like it...then I watched the video. Is she flustered? Was the talking over the interviewer and vice versa just too much and she flubbed? Is she really just that out of touch with Americans that she just let it slip what she really thinks of us? It is kinda humorous the things that the media choose to harp on each day. It's also pretty sad. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

J-Me and DD: Up All Night Concert Tour DVD Review

Well, this is what I get for being puny and sending the Girl Child to the store with Grandma and LaLa. They come home with the DVD concert tour for One! I do have to say this wonderful girl child of mine did turn me on to being a Beiber fan so I may like these little buggers too.

Poor Darling Daughter is so in crazy One Direction love that she tried everything and blew up a ton of minutes trying to win tickets when they were in Dallas a few weeks ago. Part of me felt badly for her and the larger portion was relieved she couldn't
get tickets so I didn't have to stress about her going to Fair park ... scary.

About five minutes into the DVD tonight, I realized Grandma did me a solid. Girl child gets to experience the concert, and we don't have to fight traffic, screaming teeny boppers nor $7.50 sodas. DD did tell me she could start screaming if it made me feel more like we were at a concert. Pass!

Just to prove we were cool like that. I insisted we give ourselves facials while watching. Come on...everyone needs beautiful skin to go along with their concert experience.

My review: Cute kids...solid talent...could have done without the nakey behind the scene shots. OOGY! I have to say it was super duper nice to sit next to a smiling and singing darling daughter for a couple of hours.

Darling Daughter's Review: On a scale of one to ten, INFINITY...don't judge; we attend public school.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Craftastic! Couple's Shower Invitations

Much to my future brother-in-law's chagrin, La-La (sister-in-law) has decided she wants a couple's shower. I tell you what, gentlemen! Don't fret...they usually aren't that bad. When you join in the fun, there are usually gifts for you too...GASP!

The invitations needed to be simple but elegant if I was going to be a happy hostess. At Michael's, I found a Sizzix Embossing Folder with curlie cues, four packages of coordinating paper flowers, glue dots called Zotts, and a block of fall colored stationary cards and envelopes...all for around $50 for 200 invitations. Luckily, we only need 100 of the little gems so I have extra card making booty! Yay, me!

Now, let me tell you what is what! If you have the original Sizzix (giant red block of hard plastic with a lever and a thin board), these new embossing folders won't work without some finagling. Luckily for me, I have a genius Hubby Dearest! After a fruitless but thorough search of the garage for wood to supplement the space needed to make the impression with the folder and my old lever-operated Sizzix, we opted for a stack of index cards. Southern Engineering wins again!

Not one of the invitations is the same aside from the wording (NOT an Aunt J-Me original...Darling Daughter googles well):

Here comes the bride, here comes the groom. Let's shower them with gifts from room to room!

DD cut out the card stock center information, and I embossed the 4x6 cards. Using the glue dots attach the two pieces and pick out your paper flowers. Pick an envelope and you're good to go. Easy peasy! Now I have time to focus on the food and flowers and games.

Yay me???

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Closure If By Closure I Get to Leave a Crack in that Door Just in Case...

For more than a year, I have yearned to dream about my sister Gayla. I practice what I will say as I fall asleep each night. I beg and plead with God to let me dream of her. I have even had the idea to plan out my dream where she and I can be private eyes who solve crimes and fix situations like a cross between Rizolli and Isles and Quantum Leap. Once or twice it has happened (a dream, not the cheesy drama show dream), and yet it doesn't fulfill the need I feel. Something seems to distract me from telling Sister that I love her and miss her in each dream. [Don't judge me...I am not crazy...I am profoundly sad.]

My little family visited myMama and myDaddy this last weekend for Daddy's birthday. I seem to gain so much peace just from being in their home and being surrounded by family. Without going into too much detail, there was also some relief with my parents letting us know that the final details of the business of dieing is coming to an end. It will never bring my beloved sister back, but we can really in earnest start rebuilding our lives. As my Daddy said, "It's just the beginning of the next chapter."

On Saturday night, I fell into a deep slumber almost instantly because we had spent the day yard working, playing with the nephews and cooking a big birthday dinner. I can't remember doing my nightly ritual of begging and pleading because I fell asleep almost instantly.

I guess that is the key; don't ask and you will receive. I dreamed that I was sitting fully clothed in my parents' guest bathroom tub. As I was sitting there, the hand towel across the room started to float away as if being carried by some unseen person. I jumped up and chased the apparition into the next room yelling for it to please wait. When I caught up with the escaping hand towel, I threw my arms around the empty space and actually felt like I had caught something. Immediately, I began screaming at my caught ghost, "Please go find my sister Gayla and tell her that I love her and miss her so much!!! PLEASE DO THIS FOR ME!"

I felt the apparition enfold me in its embrace, and I heard as if she was right there talking into my ear, Gayla said, "I love you, my love. I love you much." And POOF...I woke up. I would like to say I felt a profound peace, but all I felt was a stabbing migraine. It wasn't until I was telling Hubby Dearest about the dream later on that I realized I had felt much better all day even with the headache...emotionally better. So tonight, I go to sleep and don't ask for anything. I just thank Him for all I have.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weight Watchers Round Four or is is Six or Seven?

What you eat in private shows up in public.

I tried not to look too miserable, but after
three shots and they all look horrible,
 I couldn't make myself smile.
It was both heartbreaking and a relief to confess to my Hubby Dearest that I have been sneak eating and overeating in order to fill a hole in my chest. Through sobbing tears, I told him of how making myself feel extra full makes me feel a little less empty inside. Then I admitted that it was probably that I make myself miserable physically to mask the misery I have on the inside.

The love of my life didn't flinch. He said, "Baby, it's okay. We will change this." Then I really started boo-hooing because I then had to tell him that this wasn't the worst of it. I confessed to embracing unhealthy habits from my youth that I'll leave to your imagination because Lord knows I am not putting an instruction manual to destruction out here. To his credit, HD did not waiver or become angry. He simply asked me what my plan was. My therapist asked me the same thing.

I have always hated the bathroom mirror
vanity shots, but this is the only way
to put myself out on front street.
So today for lunch, I attended my first (again) Weight Watchers meeting. In that meeting, even though I was feeling nervous and started having a panic attack with hot flashes for good measure, I heard the leader say, "What you eat in private shows up in public." Truth be known, the only person that I have been hiding from is myself. I doubt anyone who really knows me and loves me has missed the fact that I have spent the better part of the last six years growing and growing and growing, exponentially in just the last year alone. I can blame it on the disappointment of having the hysterectomy in 2007 and the heartbreak of losing my sister last year. I can even get away with blaming it on being depressed and fighting a thyroid issue. However, blaming and worrying are both like rocking chairs...they give you something to do but take you no where.

This week's goals: I will write ALL of my food and activity in the PointsPlusTracker they gave me. I will also cut out sodas.

Handcrafted Jewelry

Sculpe Light
Cookie cutters
Rubber stamps
Modge Podge
Beading String

Darling Daughter is modeling the homemade jewelry I made for her in May while I wasn't social networking.

In my efforts to find camp-friendly crafts, I was attempting to make it trendy and cool. Using the lite version of the molding clay allowed it to set in three days of air drying so no oven needed. I used rubber stamps to imprint designs and tooth picks to write the words.

On day three I swiped each bead and pendant in paint and smudged it off so only the imprint kept the ink. I left a bit much on some. After a day of curing, I covered each little gem in Modge Podge.

Once it was all dry, I strung them together to make the bracelet and necklace. Alone, the pieces look like errant cereal. Together, not too shabby. Hubby Dearest and I think using the bake-able molding clay might make this seem more crafty and less kiddie. Also, this may be a better activity for little gals. My teen was only humoring me. :-(

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Scrawl: You are CRAFT-TASTIC too!

Today is my Daddy's birthday! In honor of the craftiest man I know, I have been having a CRAFT-TASTIC week. This week in the blog, I have been sharing some of my craftiness with you. Now it is your turn to share with me! Provide a link to your tutorial of choice (preferably, something you have either created or re-created). It's Craft-Tastic! Happy birthday, Daddy! I dedicate this song to you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rain Stick Tutorial


If you have ever lived through a summer in Texas, then you understand the lack of rain. You might also understand my desire to make rainsticks. You might have empathy for me if you, like me, have purchased iTunes files with rain falling. I sleep much better when my brain thinks it is raining outside; it's probably related back that the whole germphobia ;-).

It is a widely accepted idea that if you sing "Johnny Appleseed" and/or shake your rain stick, it will start to rain. To test this theory a few weeks ago at GS Camp, I rode around camp singing, "Oh! The LORD'S been good to me and so I thank the LORD for giving me the things I need like the sun and the RAIN and the appleseed!" all the while shaking a home-made rain stick. It was the last day after all the campers left, but it rained. I thought I might have to swim home.

So to encourage the wettest summer on record, help a gal out and let's make homemade rain sticks today! The New Oxford Dictionary tells us the following: a rainstick is a percussion instrument made from a dried cactus branch that is hollowed out, filled with small pebbles, and capped at both ends. When slightly tilted, it makes the sound of falling rain. It originated in Chile, where native people had long used the sticks to serenade the gods in hopes of bringing rain. My hubby dearest is on the look out for a bamboo that he can dry out and hammer in nails so I have a Fancy-Nancy rainstick that lasts. However, let's go simple and use things you have around your house today!


Materials for the Non-Fancy-Nancy Rainstick:
empty paper towel roll
straight pins
masking tape
rice, beans, or buttons
shoe polish if you want to make it look authentic

Poke your pins in a spiraling pattern down your empty paper towel roll. Use the masking tape to close off one end of your roll. Pour in your noise makers (I like rice!). Use more masking tape to close off the other end of your roll, securing your rice inside the roll. Now, at camp, I ripped more masking tape and layered it onto the roll to give a kind of log texture to the roll. I also gave it a light coat of shoe polish. Once this dried, My Daddy couldn't tell it wasn't a real stick. Either that or he was just making me feel good!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Free Fries, Y'all!

At first, I was going to have a Craftastic week and only post crafty tutorials. However, then I had a fabulous anniversary weekend and just had to regale you with our misadventures! I wrote a note to myself in my sleep-deprived delirium that said:

  • Jazz hands
  • Free fries
  • Anniversary
  • Win big

Now that I am rested...

Other than this e-Card I saw on Pinterest, I am unsure of that first reminder. Unless of course I include that my Hubby Dearest said that the asterisks around your texts (in lieu of quotation marks) look more like Jazz Hands. Which prompted me to throwing my own majorette/dancer gang signs into our conversations all weekend, striking a pose and saying in my best dramatic voice, "Jazz Hands!"
Upon our arrival in Gainsville on Saturday to spend the evening at Windstar Casino, HD went in search of an ATM for our bank. I told him we may need to switch banks since it seems every anniversary he and I go in search of our bank's ATM and they seem to always, always, always be on the not-so-safe side of the tracks.

To distract me from our eminent danger, HD decided we needed sodas and cookies from What-a-Burger. After waiting in line for what seemed like an eternity, the drive through attendant asked if we would like salt and ketchup to which I scrunched my face and asked, "On cookies?" Then she asked if we would like free french fries...SCORE! Why yes, we would, thank you kindly. HD looked at me and said, "Free fries, baby! This is going to be our big night!"

I had my doubts since I only ever play the penny slots at the small, win small. In usual fashion, we walked around trying different machines and losing it all. We decided that we'd each play one more machine and then call it done. I found this one and HD sat at the one next to me. For giggles I always bet the max at least once to see what happens. I hit make bet, $6.00 and HD about croaked. I won $50, which looks like 5000 on a penny machine. HD warned me, "Baby, they can't all be $6 bets."

Without paying attention, I hit the re-bet button and was instantly worried. That was until this dang machine lit up like the Fourth of July! If you can't tell in the picture, that's $704 I won, which made my purse $774.74...I only needed $2.26 to make it $777 for our fifth anniversary! As the machine kept going up and up and up, I started giggling almost uncontrollably. Every time the dang thing started another spin, I would laugh hysterically and tell HD that I loved him. Then HD leaned over with his best jazz hands and said, "Free Fries, Baby! Free Fries!" (He may not remember the jazz hands as anything more than excited hand waving, but I remember jazz hands!)

We ended our run at the casino and stashed away enough to tell everyone we doubled our money. Then we used the rest to sleep, eat and play. The Bloggess may have Giant Metal Chickens for the 15th anniversary and Sloths and baby Kangaroos for the 16th anniversary, which I still envy, but I have FREE FRIES AND JAZZ HANDS FOR THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Paracord Survival Bracelet Tutorial


The be-all-end-all craze at GS Camp a few weeks ago was the Paracord Survival Bracelet. You know how it works...older girls get this craft because it requires more fine motor skills and all the little girls want to be like the older girls. Heck even this old lady wanted to learn. The joke was on me though! Turns out the gal who can pick up almost anything crafty and run with it was a little deficient in the following directions area. In my was 2 a.m. after almost 20 hours on my feet in the heat. Thank you to Shutterbug, TuTu, and Lefty for your patience (and jabs) to encourage me to keep trying. "Hi! My name is Dory...have we met yet?"

After a night of rest and several hours working on a sample in private, I finally got the hang of it. In fact, I went a little nutso (NO! NOT ME!) making dog collars, key fobs and bracelets once I arrived home.
  • Paracord, or equivalent 1/8" diameter cord (I visited the Army Navy store! $.12/foot)
Tape measure or ruler

Sharp scissors

Buckles (also at the AN story, $.50/each)

Lighter (we used a wood burning tool at camp)

The length of paracord varies depending on your project. The best rule of thumb is 1 in. = 1 foot of paracord needed.

1. Measure your wrist, neck, etc.

2. After you cut your length of paracord according to the measurement you took, fold the cord in half to find your center. Using a larks head knot, attach your paracord to one side of your buckle.

3. Okay, because this is the only way I know how to say this, your buckle has an "inny" and an "outy" part. Release the buckle and run your paracord through whichever end you haven't already used. Pull that part of the buckle to the length you need plus one inch for good measure (ie...your wrist is 8 inches, then make it 9 inches).

4. Now laying all parts flat, you should have two center pieces attached to your other part of the buckle and then two long free-flying pieces on either side of those center pieces. The knot is called a "cobra" stitch; if you know it, then you're good to go. Go here for FABULOUS photos (and better instructions). STORMDRANE writes, "Take the cord on the left side and place it under the center strands running between the buckle ends. Now take the cord on the right side under the left side cord, over the center strands, and thru the loop of the left side cord. Tighten up the cords so the half knot you just formed is next to the buckle. Now take the right side cord under the center strands. The left side cord goes under the right side cord, over the center strands and thru the loop of the right side cord. Tighten up the cords(not too tight, just until they meet the resistance of the knot) and now you have a completed knot. You will continue doing the alternating the left and right sides as you go. If you don't alternate, you'll quickly see a twisting of the knots, just undo the last knot and alternate it to correct." JUST GO TO HIS INSTRUCTABLE...IT'S AWESOME! Or go ask ShutterBug...I bet if you hire her to be your photographer, she'll teach you! ;-)

5. At the end, use your lighter to melt the ends of your paracord to keep them from fraying.

NOTE: I made the key fobs with experimentation, using the scraps that were not long enough to make another bracelet. StormDrane also has other patterns...I think the fish braid is a real wowie zowie!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Anniversary HD!!!--Daily Love Notes

Five years ago today at 2 p.m., I married, know him as Hubby Dearest. Our love story is a funny and sad one of on and off again for 13 years. Then one day in 2006, HD decided he was never going to let me go if I would give him just one more chance. I am often told I am too nice...well you know pays to be nice! Because I am a forgiving soul, I got to marry my best friend. Because I married my best friend, I get to be the Mama J-Me for Darling Daughter. Because of these two, my life's ambition of being a wife and mother are recognized, embraced and canonized.

The fifth anniversary is wood (TWSS) we plan to give each other wood floors in our living room. Goodbye nasty carpet! Also, since May, I have been sending my Hubby Dearest little "love notes" disguised as photos I took of my fingers each day. I share them now with you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review...from 1963! The American Girl Book of Teen-Age Questions

Growing up, I always wanted to be more like my sister Gayla. She was thin and beautiful. Everyone seemed to really appreciate her shy and gentle nature. I was loud and clumsy and have always had issues with my weight (and my mouth). It wasn't until we were grown women that Gayla told me she had always envied my ability to make friends and put myself out there and that I loved to learn and read. I wish our self images had been at the forefront of society's watch-glass back in the 70's and 80's. Sister and I could have worked together to boost each other rather than secretly envy each other. We could have done as we did in her last years and built each other up and refused to let anyone mistreat or tear us down.
Since becoming a mother of a daughter in 2007, I have worried and fretted every day over the self-esteem of my Darling Daughter. Having come to her party when she was ten, I worried about ME being in charge of her teen years. My hubby dearest pointed out to me early on that the best way to do this was to love myself and let her see what a healthy self esteem looked like. I am still working on that, and DD helps to remind me whenever I venture off the approved path.

When I stumbled upon this little treasure in the infirmary of Camp High Point, I thought for sure it would give some laugh-out-loud humorous responses since it was Copyrighted 1963 and all. I was pleasantly surprised that the advice the American Girl Magazine provided was pretty spot-on for maintaining healthy self-esteems of the young women of the time (and for that matter for today).

I wish I had made notes on the book to include in this post. I wish that the Girl Scouts still produced a magazine for the girls (1917 to 1979 American Girl Magazine, not to be confused with the popular dolls of today). In my quest to find out what the Girl Scouts have going on for self-esteem now-a-days, I found the following program where GSUSA and Dove have partnered to bring self-esteem to our girls. You don't have to be a Girl Scout or even involved in the Girl Scouting to take part. If you work with girls (heck some of our boys could use some self-esteem as well!).
Please check out the facilitator information at

  1. Celebrate you!
    Reward yourself when you have accomplished something! You don't need to wait for others to recognize what you've done.

  2. Surround yourself with positive people.
    Spend time with people who are upbeat and feel good about themselves. They, in turn, will put a smile on your face and help you feel good about yourself.

  3. Challenge yourself to try new things.
    Try a ropes course, learn some new dance steps, speak in front of a large group. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to try new things is a great way to grow.

  4. Be good to your body.
    Exercising, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep will help you move toward a healthier you—inside and out!

  5. Find and express the real you.
    No other person has the unique combination of qualities that you have! Be proud of yourself and be courageous enough to express your true feelings.

  6. Have a positive mental attitude.
    A positive attitude is contagious! You'll feel good and people will want to hang out with you.

  7. Learn from your experiences.
    Learn from your actions—both good and bad, and use the knowledge you gain to make positive decisions in the future.

  8. Find the humor in everyday life.
    When you can see the funny side of things, you'll be less stressed and more likely to handle tough situations better.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday Scrawl: Turn that Phrase!

Have you ever heard a song and wished you had been the one to come up with that turn of phrase? Among songs that I am compelled to love if only for their unique phrasing, The Star Spangled Banner is one of my favorites. I have an image of Mr. Key looking up to Old Glory and seeing her still holding her own among the bright lights.

"Oh, say can you see
by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars
thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Pick a line from a song that has struck you as poetic and write a post using it as your jumping off point. Link up and share the love!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day--A S'More a Day...Keeps the Blues Away

Photo by Crystal Smith of Little Bird Studio
Oh the sweet love that is chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers...S'more is a contraction of the phrase, "some more" as in I WANT SOME MORE! According to WIKIPEDIA, the origin of the dessert was first recorded in the publication "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts" of 1927. The recipe is credited to Loretta Scott Crew, who made them by the campfire for the Scouts.

At Camp High Point a few weeks ago, you've read that I participated in a week-long, volunteer-led and supplied, Girl Scout Resident Camp. One of the coolest features we presented to the girls was a different kind of S'More each night. Here are some great ideas for your S'mores (we didn't make all of these but I wanted to make sure to cover the bases). A huge thank you to the Mena, Arkansas McDonald's for donating 100 of their S'More Pies for us to give to the girls as they left camp on the last day.

Traditional S'More
Toast a marshmallow over an open flame until it is your preferred golden brown (I like mine a little scorched). Place the yummy sweet (scorched) cloud of goodness in between two graham crackers with a slice of Hershey's chocolate bar. I definitely want s'more!

Campfire Cones
Using a sugar cone, toss in some mini marshmallows and milk chocolate chips. Wrap the cone in aluminum foil and warm on a grill over low flames. It shouldn't take long before you have a handy little treat to share with a little less mess.

S'More On the Go
In a snack baggie, toss in Golden Grahams, milk chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. It's like a trail mix especially meant for camping. I accidentally left a bad in the car and found that melting all this together is like a Rice Crispie Treat but in the S'More Variety.

Frozen S'More
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lay out your graham crackers. Then spread marshmallow cream on each cracker. Place one scoop of chocolate ice cream on each cracker and top off with another cracker spread with the marshmallow cream. Freeze the little sweets to set the ice cream. Perfect for those hot summer nights when a camp fire just isn't going to cut it.

Magic S’more Bars (watch Borden's video)10 ounces graham crackers (18 whole crackers, or two cellophane wrapped stacks)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 pinch of kosher salt
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large resealable bag (or in a food processor), smash graham crackers until finely ground. Stir in melted butter and salt. Press into a 13×9″ pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. Sprinkle on chocolate chips. Drizzle can of condensed milk over graham crackers; follow with marshmallows.
3. Bake for 20 minutes more, until marshmallows are lightly browned. Let cool completely.

Have Your Cake and Eat S'More Too
Prepare a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing on the graham cracker crust described above. Top off with a meringue of marshmallow. S'More Cup Cake!

Brownie S'More
Top your favorite brownie recipe with mini-mallow...easy peasy!

Grilled S'More
Not to be consumed but maybe once in your life...toast buttered bread in a skillet as if you are going to make a grilled cheese. However, your cheese is replaced with Nutella and marshmallow cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. I wouldn't advise consuming this on your own...RICH, RICH, RICH!

I am sure there are more recipes out there...share your favorite s'more!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Reoccurring Nightmare Becomes Reality...

Holy all things archaic! For years my reoccurring nightmare involves me trying to call for help and only having a rotary dial telephone. I spend the whole dream trying to dial 9-1-1 only to have my fingers get stuck, the turn to not go all the way around, the line to be disconnected, etc.

I know this is interpreted as a feeling a lack of control, but can you imagine the panic I felt when I found this dinosaur in the infirmary of GS Camp back in June? As one of the first aid folks, in the event of an emergency, I was sure I would foul it up if I had to rely on that telephone. Lucky for me, calling 9-1-1 was never a need!
It did lead to some fun photo opportunities for the staff though.

NOTE: WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please sign the petition to make the CEO and COO of Diamonds Girl Scout Council answerable to the volunteers in this area. Click here!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Father's Day Pressie Art

NOTE: I can't believe I forgot to take a picture before I gave this to my Daddy...I'll repost later with a photo!

Being a good southern belle, you have to know that my mother and father will always be Mama and Daddy. My Daddy is a quiet man...he says, "I stay out of trouble if I keep my mouth shut." I know the truth though. He listens first and saves his words for the truly profound (kind of like Ferb from "Phineas and Ferb" and Mitchell from "Swamp People" God rest his soul). I wish I had learned to do the same.

My Daddy wants for nothing, which makes gift giving dang near impossible. However, in my Modge Podge addiction, I made something he would truly adore. I started thinking about past gifts I had given Daddy and made a list of the ones he truly loved. Every time, my memory kept coming back to a piece of art I made in college when I was healing from a broken heart. This thing is hideous and reminds me of the sadness that created it. I have taken every opportunity to secretly dispose of it like when my parents moved into my grandmother's home while they built their new home and again when they were moving into their new home. It somehow escapes my clutches like a slippery eel. I have abandoned any hope of disposing of it, mostly because my Daddy loves it so.

For this father's day, I combined one of Daddy's favorites past times, working the daily crossword puzzle, and his attachment to my art (BTW he has pieces from when I was a little girl too...a board with a flowery hillside painted on a plank of wood, a skillet with something on it...can't remember) and created a crossword puzzle using all of his beloveds' names.

Step 1: Tear pages from a weathered dictionary and circle in red the words that matter (love, family, ketchup, etc.).
Step 2: Modge Podge the pages in a scatter on a flat canvas.
Step 3: Coat the canvas in a lite layer of white paint. I went back and swiped over the words with a wet paper towel so that the circled words would stand out a little more. This gave a nice white washed appeal.
Step 4: I googled Crossword Puzzle Maker and found this site. I printed out the puzzle it created and then Modge Podged the puzzle onto the canvas. I through in "family" and "love".
Step 5: Using a straight edge and a pencil, you can draw the grid onto your canvas, use a black paint pen to make it stand out, and then write in each of your names/words. My lines weren't coming out like I wanted so I opted for cut and paste.
Step 6: I slathered on a layer of Modge Podge and let it dry.
Step 7: I went a little crazy with the flourishes in black, gray and yellow paint.
Sep 8: Layer on one more coat of Modge Podge and seek out a frame.