Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Re-inventing me?

"Comparison is the thief of joy."  Theodore Roosevelt

I'd like to ask a  question:  If you could see the way others see you, what do you think you would look like?  I know, what others think about us shouldn't matter, but deep down, sometimes it does.  Whether you were the kid in school that was bullied and taunted, like me, or maybe an overheard conversation, or the voice in your head that is less than positive.  I struggle with self-esteem.  When my kids were teenagers, I felt dumb - maybe they were really slipping those imaginary "stupid Pills" in my tea, I'm not sure.
Me Net, the Super mom

I have been called Supermom.  Nope, that doesn't fit me at all, though I wouldn't mind having the cool costume and Wonder Woman figure.  I watch other people's kids, but I don't work miracles. There are so many people out there that blow my mind at what they accomplish or what they know.  Yeah, I stopped using my degree a decade ago.

How I really feel & look
Sometimes I think we give the wrong impression by making sure we put our best foot forward. While I would love for everyone to believe that I've got it together and I don't screw up, but I do.  Daily.  My home or family will never be featured in a glossy magazine, and I'm great with that.  Sometimes, I wish we had fewer dust bunnies and more finished things on our do list, or we had a little more updated or cohesive look, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.  Oh, and don't even get me started on the the space that outwardly resembles a garage.  Ugh!   I've often tried to express this, but never found the right words, but this morning, I was reading a friend's blog and I think she said exactly the way I want.  So if you'll follow the link to Diary of a Quilter, you'll see that it's "not always pretty and perfect."

So this week, let's allow others to see the not so pretty and perfect and maybe, just maybe, you'll find less pressure on yourself, and more bunnies on the ceiling fan. It will be okay.   

"You can't live a positive life with a negative mind." 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meeting Pioneer Women

Dinnertime Cookbook
After a really rough Thursday (full moon, rain, and Halloween don't mix with kids), I found out that I was down to watching one child on Friday until noon.  I was so excited because my friend Kim and I had talked about taking the day off for a "Mental Health Day" to go meet Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman for a book signing.  I ended up going by myself as Kim couldn't get the day off.
Ree Drummond
After a LONG morning at the DMV in regards to tagging my mom's vehicle here and not in her home state, I was more than ready for something fun.  Arriving 1 1/2 hours before the signing, I was surprised to find how far back people were already were - from the back aisle to the front of the store, I was smack in the middle on aisle seven.  
colored bubble wrap?  
While standing in line, I met the nicest ladies, was encouraged, and found new products in the craft ai
sles that I never knew existed! Did you know there are colored bubble wrap and round Kleenex tissue "boxes"?  

Sometimes my brain fog and nervousness get the best of me.  So what whitty and nice thing did I say when I finally got to meet her?  "I'm so excited, I think I'm gonna puke,"  to which PW said, "can you please do it over there", pointing behind us. I know, I'm such a dork!  Eventually I got my brain right and we spoke briefly about home stomping grounds and sending kids off to college and then it was over.  I walked happily out with my signed books (one for me and the other's belonged to Only, my friend Kim and Amy).
Mrs. Only with Miss I

Dinner with these lovelies at Noodles and had the best time catching up.  In the end, it was so worth 1/2 a vacation day!  
I've missed these sweet sisters! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Being Served

Today we ate lunch with complete strangers.  It wasn't planned and we certainly didn't think we ever would, but we did.  It all started 10 years ago.

We love to get to know our servers, what is their story, where are they going in life, college, etc.  We're not being nosy, we just love to getting to know them.  Each of them has a unique story, and honestly, serving the public is not an easy job.  Over the last 25 years, we have become good friends with several of our servers, but there is one in particular that we absolutely love! He started out in a new Chili's restaurant almost 10 years ago and after a few years, transferred to one just over the river. We had no choice but to follow.

 This young man is a gem.   He genuinely does care for those he serves. Many times, we call ahead to make sure we have a table waiting in his section, and he has our beverages and appetizer ready.  He greets us with handshakes and hugs, ask us if we are having our normal to confirm, and places our order.  He told us today that last week, the chef kept asking if we had arrived yet. Honey and I share a simple salad that is no longer on the menu, but yet he makes sure it is fixed the way we like it. Yep, we are that predictable.  He has watched our kids grow up from youth, ask what they're doing if they are with us,   attended Only's wedding, and last week we had him over for dinner. He knows that if his section becomes horribly busy, he can "neglect" us and tend to others, and we're not upset in the least.   When one of his other regulars had not been in for a few weeks, he called to check on them and found one was recovering from surgery.  Do you see his heart?  He is not just a server, but he truly cares about others. To us, he's like an extension of our family.  He's good at what he does because he does care.  I'm not sure what we're going to do when he graduates from college next year, but I'm sure the relationship will not end there. See, he stepped away from college to evaluate what he really honestly wanted to do with his life (and it's not waiting tables).

Today, when we arrived, his section was full, but a table was opening up.  As we sat there waiting (he didn't know we were there), his other regulars, an older couple we've seen him serve regularly, arrived at the right time. He proceeded to show them to the table we were waiting on, when he spotted us.  In the end, they asked if we would consider eating with them, "It was your table" the gentleman said.  We had a great lunch with complete strangers, found out their story, and the world got a tad smaller when we found they were from some of our old stomping grounds up and we knew of the same places.  He admitted it was a little weird to have us all sitting at the same table, but that's okay. I think God may have smiled at the melding of strangers.

  Can I tell you something else?  Did you know that almost every server we've talked to hates working on Sunday?  Do you know why?  Because Sunday crowds are the worst tippers and most demanding.  That's a pretty bad reputation, so I'd like to challenge you in two ways.

  1. When you go out to eat and there are servers, please treat them kindly.  You never know what kind of day they've had.  We've always taught our kids to tip on service and not on food quality, which is the correct rule of thumb, and we do tip more than 10%.   If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to go out to eat.
  2. Try to get to know your server a little, even if it's their name.  Try to use their name when you talk with them and say something kind. We always ask them "their story" of where they are in life at the moment.  Try to show them Jesus in your actions.  Leaving them a pamphlet or bulletin about church as a "tip" is really rude and not showing Christ at all and is very discouraging. You may never bring up Christ in your speech, but you do in your actions. Does this make sense?  

Even if you're not a Christian, these things can still apply. Actions really do speak loudly of your character.  Oh gee, this turned into something I didn't mean it to, but seriously, think of how you or your family would want to be treated if they were the person doing the serving. 

Do you have anything specific you do while eating out in regard to your server?  Do you have a favorite server? How do you let them know they are appreciated?   I'd love to hear your experiences.  

Ps, When I'm speaking of servers, you can include bank tellers, checkers, people that take care of your car, retail people, teachers, law enforcement, medical specialist, etc...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Listen with your heart

 It was one phone call, but he had them before.  A "customer"  was needing a new key made because they had lost theirs.  The "customer" kept repeating information that wasn't relevant to the situation, but he could hear someone in the background.  After requesting to talk to the other person, and then the customer again, the customer's present family came back on the line.  Honey spoke to the family and mentioned he had some concerns about the situation, and then there was silence on the other end.  It is hard to say those words, to admit it out loud, but quietly and sadly, the young family member confessed that the customer had Alzheimer's and they were in fact not allowing the customer to drive because it was dangerous.  It really saddened Honey to hear the pain and know the struggle they were going through and the journey they were on.

I remember the first time I admitted out loud to someone that my Mom had Alzheimer's.  It was so hard and made it seem all-the-more real. It hurt deep down in my heart and I dreaded the journey.

I am thankful for individuals who listen with their hearts.  To the police/troopers who come across an individual who is confused or lost and contact family and get them home.  To the business individuals who do not take advantage of them.  When Mom started showing alarming signs that we were not aware of, the bank, eye doctor, post master, and caring townspeople contacted us. That spoke so highly to us and showed us how much they truly cared.  While it would be so easy to not get involved - it's not our problem right?  There could be repercussions... 

Sometimes it takes just a phone call to check in, dropping by, a hug, or a smile.  Thank you to those that dare to care and listen to your heart. I really hesitated at posting this, I'm always second guessing myself, but I will.  It's really a thank you, so I'll quit while I can.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Bollstr - A Fashionable and Convenient Water Bottle Holder Holster and Giveaway!!!

(Image credits to The Bollstr Co.)
This giveaway is now closed, but I'm thrilled to announce that Becky Adams is the winner!  She has been notified and has 48 hours to contact me or I will pick a new winner. 
Becky:  Tough choice! I think is like the cross-body in Red Imber
Do you drink water throughout the day or know you should, but don't because it's difficult to keep a bottle of water with you?  If you had a way to keep a bottle of water with you, wherever you go and do, conveniently, practically, and attractively, wouldn't you consume more water?  

No worries!
Let me introduce you to the 
Bollstr-- a hands-free water bottle holder holster that comes in several great patters/prints and can be worn as a waist strap or a shoulder strap. While at a local health exposition, I spotted several people sporting these nifty holsters, was intrigued and had to find out more about them!  This product is very new to the market - only a few months in existence!  I could never explain their story like they do, so please take a few minutes to listen to their incredible story.  

bonus pocket
The Specs  I confess I only had eyes for the beautiful colors of the Meio fabric (shown in the above picture), but had a difficult time deciding between the Waist or Cross-Body design.  I agonized for 24 hours about it (far too long) and finally chose the Cross-Body design (and still debated whether I made the right choice).  Both designs are extremely comfortable and very well constructed.  The generous 50' strap is easily adjusted for an adult or child (even those of us with a little extra padding) An awesome feature is it can fit different sized water bottles and has velcro straps in the front to tighten as needed.  Because I have a larger phone, I sometimes put my phone in the spot for the water bottle and it is perfect!  
(Image credits to The Bollstr Co.)

 The Bollstr has two zipper (using heavy metal zippers, not cheap plastic ones) compartments in the back, perfect to fit your phone  (it would easily fit most smart phones, but the the iPhone 6 plus** or phones similar in size) and a smaller compartment to fit money, driver's license,  and credit cards in. There is a narrow long bonus "pocket" directly behind the water bottle pocket where you can store lip gloss, a pen or something similar. The designer said it was an unplanned pocket, but I love it!  I really appreciate that there is a water-proof liner to in the main water-bottle pocket and the small zippered compartment on the back, which protects your cash, cards, etc, from condensation from the water bottle.  There is even a grommet on the back, above the pockets, that you can easily thread your earbuds through and attach it to your phone, which is tucked safely inside the compartment.  
(Image credits to The Bollstr Co.)

**Upcoming design alert:   The Travel Strap Bollstr is larger than the Waist & Cross-body Strap Bollstrs. It will hold an iPhone 6 Plus and a passport (see blue chevron Bollstr to the right).  

Because I love it so much, I will be giving one Bollstr away, reader's choice of pattern and style, as listed on their website. 

This giveaway is now CLOSED.  Thank you for entering and stopping by to check out the awesome Bollstr!  Please feel free to stop by their website and get purchase  a waist or shoulder strap Bollstr for $24.99 on Bollstr Co.'s online store.  You can stay connected with with Bollstr Co on Facebook andTwitter!

  This a non-sponsored post. I personally purchased the product mentioned in this post and was not compensated for this review . All opinions are my own and were not influenced. 

Complete fine print rules for the sweepstakes: 
  • no purchase is necessary
  • Sweepstakes is limited to those living in the US. 
  • Sweepstakes will end on Friday, Oct. 23.   Rafflecopter will pick the winner and I publish it on a Update of this post AND email the winner, at which time, the sweepstakes will end.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me via email with their name and shipping address.  If the winner does not respond, I will pick a different winner, again using a random generator. 
  • I will purchase the Bollstr and have it shipped to the winner's address. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Guts Boxie Pouch

There has been so much craziness going on that I had to relax.  No massage or dinner out with the girls, but I turned on the sewing machine and decided to create a Boxie Pouch for Only to put her essential oils in when she travels.

Perusing Pinterest, I settled on the No Guts Boxie Pouch.  This wasn't my first pouch/sewing experience, so it should be easy, right?  After reading the reviews (who does that besides me?), I printed off the directions, which were a little fuzzy in parts, even for me, made some notes and since I have a hard time following directions in the first place, I was determined to do so this time...  I ended up googling for others who had made the pouch and posted more clear directions - here at Pink Stitches and Kelbysews

After a few text with Only, we settled on fabric and lining and then I decided I needed to monogram her initials on the pouch.  Easy Peasy with my wonderful Janome Embroidery machine!    I added plastic canvas between the lining and outer red chevron canvas for more stability, and love it more.  I think I will be making these for Christmas gifts this year.
In the end, I loved the pouch, but not all of the original directions.   Can hardly wait to give it to her on Friday!