Friday, December 31, 2010

Journaling ~ The Benefits & How To's

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Journaling is a term used for the practice of keeping a diary or journal to explore your thoughts and feelings attached to the events of life.  To get the best benefits of journaling you have to do more than just keep a "log" of the daily events in your life.

Journaling is an ancient tradition dating back to at least 10th century Japan and has been a tool for many successful people throughout history.

There has been scientific evidence showing that journaling can provide many unexpected benefits such as:

*Growing in your spirituality by using it as a prayer journal/study journal
*Strengthening your immune system
*Decreasing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
*Clarifying your thoughts and feelings
*Knowing yourself better
*Reducing Stress and negative effects thereof
*Solving problems more effectively
*Resolving dissagreements with others
*Tracking patterns and trends over time
*Tracking your improvement and growth over time.

The act of writing accessess your left brain, which is analytical and rational.  This leaves your right brain free to create and feel.  Writing removes the mental blocks and allows you to use your full brain to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.

How to Start:

1.  Buy A Journal.  I use a simple composition book.

2.  Set Aside Time.  I usually journal with my morning devotions and then again at bedtime.

3.  Start Writing.  There are no rules.  No guidelines that you have to follow.  Each journal entry can be completely different from the last.

4.  Write About Thoughts and Feelings.  Again, you don't just want to log the daily events.  Although some nights, if I'm really tired, that is about all I can manage for that day.

5.  Keep Your Journal Private.  You don't want to have to worry about someone reading your journal because this will probably make you censor what you write.  You want to be able to write honestly and about any situation without the fear of repercussions.


1.  Try to write each day.

2.  Writing for 20 minutes is ideal but if you only have 5 minutes, write for 5 minutes.

3.  If you skip a day or 2 or 3, don't quit.  Just pick back up when you can.

4.  Don't worry about neatness or grammar.

5.  Don't self-censor.  Just write what comes and not what you think you "should".

A Few Things I Do:

1.  I do my devotions or read scripture first and then note a specific verse at the top of my journal entry with any thoughts I might feel about the verse/topic.

2.  Ask for quiet.  Sometimes I have to actually kick family members out of my bedroom so I can be alone.

3.  Have a good pen.  I can't stand it when my pen skips.

4.  I journal in the morning with my morning thoughts for the day and then again at night to empty my brain for a good night's sleep.

5.  I also use my journal as a prayer journal.  Some days I just write to God.

6.  I use it as a memory journal also.  I can staple/glue in any special pictures from the kids, cards, sermon notes, bulletins, programs, ticket stubs etc.

7.  I set aside one composition book per month and start a new book on the 1st of the month even if there is space left.  This keeps me from feeling like I have to condense my thoughts so that one day will fit on one page.  I'm anal like that!  lol


This has turned out to be a much longer post than I had originally planned but I wanted to share all the information with you today so that you can start your journal on January 1st if you so choose.  Although, it doesn't really matter.  You can start anytime.  Again, anal!  lol

It really does help and I'm finding that I really enjoy it.  I actually look forward to getting up in the morning to do my devotions and journal.  At night I make sure I have a set time to get ready for bed so that I can have my quiet time to journal.

Do you journal?  Would you like to start?  Now would be the perfect time.


Feel Good Friday ~ 12/31/10

"Just make a list. List 5 things that made you really happy this week. No matter how bad or boring you think your week was, I bet you can find 5 things."

1.  Had a great time with the ladies in my family on Christmas Eve having our jingle gift exchange!

2.  The excitement of Christmas Morning!

3.  Having Doug off work and Kaylee off school all week!

4.  Seeing family over the holidays who live away and we don't see very often!

5.  We didn't get ANY of that big snow storm that hit the East Coast and we've been having beautiful weather!

{this moment} ~ Christmas Morning Surprise

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Yours & Mine" Pillowcases

Sweet Mary S. made each of the ladies in the Harvester Class a set of embroidered pillowcases.

She chose this set for me.  Aren't they beautiful?  I know she worked on some of the sets at Craft Time but she made sure that I didn't see her working on this set.


"Yours" (Doug's)

Doug wanted to know why he got the "Yours" and I got the "Mine".  I told him that technically they are both mine and I'm just letting him use one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Potholder Towels

I know I've been on the Potholder/Towel Combo kick lately but I did want to make some Christmassy ones to give as little gifts to the ladies in my family.

I had 4 towels which would make 8 "Combos".  I needed 8 gifts.  Perfect. 

I gave each one their pick of pattern. 

Michele and Aunt Tina, I'll be sending yours to you.  I forgot to give them to you before you left!

I love each one of you and it was so good to see you all!

Linking to:
Homemaking Linkup
We Did It Wednesday
Wednesday at Tea Rose Home
Strut Your Stuff Thursday
Fantabulous Friday
Check Me Out Saturday
Made By You Monday
Making Your Home Sing
Homemaker Mondays
Fabric Tuesday
Domestically Divine Linkup

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: "LFYI North Pole ALASKA" by Loree Lough

Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska

Book Description

A former Marine is no match for the spunky Sam Sinclair. Bryce Stone has returned to his hometown of North Pole, Alaska and he’s not very happy about it. “The Town Where It’s Christmas All Year Long” does not appeal to the self-admitted scrooge. What’s worse, Bryce must postpone his dream of opening a furniture shop when his Aunt Olive retires and leaves him to manage the family’s cluttered Christmas boutique.
Bryce hires a petite and inexperienced young woman to run the store, figuring that if she fails, he can sell the place! But Bryce underestimates Sam, who grew up with seven rowdy brothers and is out to prove her mettle in the frozen north.
It’s a battle of wills and the two soon find that they’re fighting for more than just the shop. After all, love takes as many forms as the snowflakes that blanket the streets of North Pole.

My Thoughts:

I chose to read this book now, the few days after Christmas, because I still wanted that Christmas feeling for just a bit longer.

The cover is more than a bit misleading.  The book is about North Pole, Alaska.  In the summer!

It is a touristy town whose theme is Christmas but it just wasn't what I thought it would be.

The cover shows Sam all bundled up in a parka, scarf and toboggan with snow and a snowman in the background.  Nowhere even close to being in the story.  I think she got to Alaska in May and it was just starting to get to be wintertime in November by the end of the book.

While Bryce, the hero, seemed real enough; Sam was a little too perfect and it was emphasized a great deal. Tiny, petite, gorgeous, pink tipped fingernails, tiny little feet in heels.  It kinda made me not like her very much!   lol

Saying all that, I wasn't displeased with the book.  It was a sweet romance.  Maybe I'm just being a little PMS-y.

Book Review: "LFYI Snowball Arkansas" by Sandra D. Bricker

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas

Book Description:

So what if she can't hook a fish? This city girl has a plan to snag something else...and his name is Justin. Lucy Binoche is reasonably attractive, intelligent, and fit. She has French lineage and betterthanaverage hair. So why is she nearly 30 and still single?

Justin Gerard is the rugged hottie new to her churchs singles group. When he signs up for a camping trip in the Ozarks, Lucy loses no time writing her name on the line beneath his. Theres only one problem Lucys idea of "roughing it" is suffering through a long line at Starbucks.

She assumes she can rely on the grace of God and the assistance of her friend to get through. But at the campsite in Snowball, Arkansas, Lucy bungles everything she attempts as she tries to impress Justin. She cant fish, hike, or ride a horse; caves make her hyperventilate; and hotair balloons make her ill.

Soon, events are snowballing out of control. Will Lucy pretend to be someone shes not just to snag a boyfriend? Or will she discover someone who loves her just as she is?

My Thoughts:

This is my favorite "Love Find You" book that I've read so far.  I shouldn't be surprised.  I've loved every Sandra D. Bricker book that I've ever read.

The predicaments Lucy finds herself in are hilarious and Matt is by her side the whole way.  I love the fact that they have been best friends for years and finally see each other in a new light and take action on those feelings.

This book makes me want to take a vacation and stay in one of Dave and Betty Sue's cabins.  One of my favorite things to do on vacations is to rent a cabin.  I could cook with Betty Sue but I definitely don't think I would go crawling through caves and I just don't bait my own hook.  No way.  Not unless they are the fake worms.

The main point I am taking from this book is that God made us each individuals and we need to see ourselves in the light that He does.  He loves us just as we are.  We are perfect in His sight.  Can we accept ourselves the same way?

Can we love ourselves the way our family and friends love us or do we only see our faults and shortcomings?

This is something to work on in my life.

Thanks, Sandra, for a great book!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Caroling

I've mentioned that some of us from Church went Christmas Caroling last Sunday evening.  There were only about 10 of us that braved the cold and I mean COLD.  The rest stayed in the nice warm Church Building eating cookies without us.

But first, my dad read us the real Christmas Story as told in the Scripture.

Then we went out and sang our hearts out to the good people of Hyndman.

Here are a few of the rosy faced carollers when we got back, ready for that hot chocolate:




Aunt Donna





We had a lot of fun, as we always do when we get together.  But there is just something about caroling that is so uplifting and makes me feel like a kid again!

Linking to:
Spiritual Sundays
Making Your Home Sing
Simple Pleasures

"Fancified" Oreos

Last Sunday evening, our church went Christmas caroling and then we always head back to the church for hot chocolate and goodies.

So in the afternoon, the girls and I made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz and then we fancied up some Oreos to take also.

By the time we got to the Oreos we were running low on time so we just did the dip-it-in method.

You start with a yummy, plain Oreo.  That just doesn't even sound right.  There is nothing "plain" about Oreos!

We used some Candy Melts to dip in but you can also use chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips.  Pretty much anything that melts.  We wanted the red and green for the Christmas spirit.

I put some of the melts in a microwave safe bowl and nuked them in 30 second intervals until they were melted enough to mix into a smooth mixture.

Then, every grabbed some Oreos and dipped!  The girls LOVE dipping.  I do too!

Sit them out on some wax paper until they set back up.

FYI, the Candy Melts harden a lot quicker than any of the "chip" variety so keep that in mind if you are pressed for time.

You can make so many variations and fancy them up even more.  Your imagination can go crazy.  Drizzles, garnishes, sprinkles...

Dip these babies in some milk and ahh....enjoy...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scripture Memory Verse ~ 12/26/10

Memory Verse ~ 12/26/10-1/1/11

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." 

Colossians 3:17

Hide these Words in your heart and they will be with you always.

I Hit 200 Followers!!!

I just got home from church and started checking all my regular computer stuff.  Email, Facebook, Blog.

When I opened to my blog, lo and behold it said 200 Followers!!!!!

I love each and every follower that I have but I would like to introduce you to my 200th follower because it appears that she is a brand new blogger.

She is Crafty Mommy at A Little Stitching.

My Photo

I just became her very 1st Follower, so please go over and give her a big welcome to the blogging world.

I'm going to have to think of a great way to celebrate this week.  I'm thinking a giveaway might be in order.

I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning Tradition

A few years ago my mom and dad started staying over at our house Christmas Eve so they can be here with the kids first thing.  Before that they would come over as soon as the kids woke up.  The kids love that Grammy and Pappy have a sleepover.  So much fun!

We have a Christmas Morning tradition that has been in place for as long as I can remember.  We all go sit patiently by the Christmas tree as my mom reads:

Jesus' Birth in Bethlehem
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Luke 2:1-20

1  Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

2  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

6  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8  In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

9  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

10  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

11  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12  "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14  "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

15  When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

16  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

17  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.

18  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

19  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

20  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

After the scripture has been read, we can open our presents!

TSMSS ~ On That Not So Silent Night

Last week I featured "Silent Night"  by Jackie Evancho.  This week I'll feature "On That Not So Silent Night"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Feel Good Friday ~ 12/24/10 Christmas Eve

"Just make a list. List 5 things that made you really happy this week. No matter how bad or boring you think your week was, I bet you can find 5 things."

1.  It is Christmas Eve!

2.  We're all feeling better at my house!

3.  My Dad was severly dehydrated but is on the mend!

4.  My cousin, Steph, flew in from Iowa for the holiday and will be here 10 days!  Love you , Tess!

5.  The sun is shining!  But we're supposed to get snow!

{this moment} ~ Kaylee's Flute Solo in Church

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Christmas Card Prayers

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I've been enjoying getting Christmas cards at church and Christmas Cards in the mail.  I have them on a pile on my desk at the moment.

Usually, I tape them around the arches in my house, but they inevitably fall down one by one and that can get very aggravating.

My mom has a great tradition with her Christmas cards.  After Christmas is over and things settle down she gets a little blue that the holidays are over.  So, she takes an afternoon and sits down at the table with all her Christmas cards that she received and reads over them one by one.  Really taking the time to appreciate each one in a way that she was unable to do when she received them.

I just discovered another way to put our Christmas cards to use during the entire year.  Put them in a basket and everyday pull out one card and pray for that person/family.

I  got this idea over at Lessons Learned, Lessons Lived, and Lessons Still to Come.

I love the idea of having those Christmas greetings around throughout the whole year to help keep the Christmas spirit going and also as reminder of family and friends who cared enough to give me a card.

I might keep them on my bedside table and each night along with my devotions and journaling, pull a card and take some extra time talking to God about that person. 

Or maybe once week, pick one card and send that person a note or card of encouragement as well.

Don't you just love that idea?  Christmas all year long...

My 500th Post!

For my 500th post, I'd like to wish you all a:


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Review: "There's Something About Christmas" by Debbie Macomber

There's Something About Christmas

Book Description:

A smalltown Washington reporter learns to love fruitcake in Macomber's chick-lit take on A Christmas Carol. Emma Collins ("kinda cute in an uptight sort of way") hopes that writing obituaries and selling ads for the Puyallup Examiner will lead to a journalism career.

Instead, her first plum assignment—interviewing three finalists in a national fruitcake recipe contest—lands her in the cockpit of devil-may-care pilot Oliver Hamilton, whose good looks and charm remind her of her shiftless father. Despite Emma's fear of flying, Oliver takes her to Yakima, Colville and the San Juan islands to meet three women who all figure that when life gives you lemons (or anything else), make fruitcake.

Emma tastes the thrice-married barmaid's liquor-laden concoction, the tender-hearted widow's chocoholic dreamand the struggling young mother's no-bake graham-cracker confection.

While she tries to capture in print lessons learned from the three cooks, Oliver's plane is grounded by a snowstorm, Emma and Oliver kiss, she gets thrown out of her apartment trying to rescue a stray dog, he falls in the water trying to rescue her and she decides Christmas isn't as bad as she thought.

It all adds up to another tale of romance in the lives of ordinary people, with a message that life is like a fruitcake: full of unexpected delights.

My Thoughts:

I give this my highest compliment of "It made me want to try fruitcake".  And that is saying something!

A great Christmas read!