How I’m Living-25 June 2022

Watch the entire YouTube video to the end before you start the project.
Be your own craft influencer.

At the beginning of the pandemic I found myself going to the fridge way too much. I’m going to blame the Pacific Northwest weather and the overabundance of Skype/Zoom/Team meetings. So in an effort to keep the COVID-19 pounds to a minimum and a desire to express myself, I started crocheting. It was something I learned as a child and thought it would be easier than painting.

Two years later I find that I most enjoy crocheting while watching sports or attending yet another Zoom/Teams meeting. Real talk, crocheting during the game keeps my hands too busy to partake in the chips & dip. Or texting my friends when I’m in one of those long mandatory meetings.

I’m not doing this to sell on Esty or at the local Farmer’s Market, I’m doing this for me. I have thought to give a few pieces as gifts to close friends & family or even to donate some to a local shelter, but I’ll see how God leads me. And I’ve gotten fancy with my projects too. I figured they’re artsy so I started naming my pieces. You never know what will be in a museum to represent life during the COVID pandemic in 100 years.

The picture below was my first attempt once I remembered some of the stitches. A crude rendition of a square but hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere.

Simple Square AKA This Meeting Should’ve Been An Email

Some Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Crocheting:

1st Attempt, Simple Clutch
  1. Have a project in mind before you buy the yarn. If not, it may sit for six months before you do anything with it.
  2. Buy the yarn on sale. Repeat, buy the yarn on sale.
  3. Have a crochet or crafting buddy. Sure you can talk about the price of yarn and keep each other accountable too.
  4. Watch the entire YouTube video to the end before you start the project. And then one more again to make sure you really understand it.
  5. Don’t worry about the trends, take time to discover what you like about crocheting. Be your own craft influencer.
A Bag….To Carry My Crochet Tools

Bonus – did ya’ll know you can get yarn and stuff from Goodwill or Value Village?

How I’m Living-12 June 2022

…heap burning coals on the heads of those that perpetuate domestic terrorism.
This time-out, like in sports, would stop them from making stupid comments or making rash decisions.

So in preparation for this post I wanted to get the correct dates for the Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, NY and Brooklyn, NY shootings. My heart clenched when I came across an article from The Washington Post that said there had been over 250 mass shootings as of 2 June 2022(https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/06/02/mass-shootings-in-2022/). That is not only shocking but devastating as well. Yet, here I am with a heavy heart and feelings to work though.

On 12 April, I heard the news about the shooting in the subway in Brooklyn. I started praying, selfishly at first, for my siblings and their families to be safe and unharmed. Then my prayers went out to the 10 people reported as wounded. Then, because I know the subway wasn’t empty, I continued praying for the injured and transit staff. After I prayed, I had a thought which I’ll share later in the post.

On 14 May, I heard about another NY shooting, in Buffalo, in a supermarket. I’m calling it a massacre because of steps taken by the shooter beforehand. Again I prayed for the situation, only this time, my heart was heavier. I kept thinking about the grandchildren that would miss the hugs from their grandmother. I kept thinking about the veteran and how on November 11th things would be different for his family this year. I kept thinking of the young lady that lived through the pandemic and overcame leukemia, only to die going to the grocery store. This time I had a couple thoughts.

On 24 May, I was in the middle of a big work project when I heard about the shooting in Uvalde. As the tears started falling, the project wasn’t so big anymore. I still prayed because it really hurt to think about another school shooting happening. Damn it people, there’s no prize to the state with the most shootings. Another school shooting caused a lot more thoughts. I wish they were poetic but nope, they are genuine and may step on some toes. Consider yourself warned.

My first thought, on April 12th was that somebody needed to do something different to prevent stuff like this from happening. So I asked God to heap burning coals on the heads of those that perpetuate domestic terrorism.

On May 14th my thought was that once again domestic terrorism was at work. I was thinking that the AR-15 manufactures, retailers and NRA lobbyist need to explain themselves to that community. Maybe they needed to sit in a room, face-to-face with the survivors and hear the outrage, the overwhelming hurt and sorrow from the community. Oh yeah, they needed hot coals too.

So on May 24th I was really in my feelings. I wondered, how much more hate can happen in this country? I wanted to ask God to put such hateful people in Sheol and then into the Lake of Fire, but that’s for Him to work out. Then, with a little inspiration from the NBA (the playoffs were happening), I thought we should treat our three branches of government like athletic team coaches. You know, if a coach doesn’t take their team to the conference finals, the playoffs or wins a big title in a certain amount of time, they’re fired. Like Mr. Spacely did George Jetson on the regular (https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/b64e98cb-4a24-4fe3-b048-3430d4ddf1b6). Unlike Mr. Spacely, we as voters could ensure anyone from the fired team didn’t get immediately rehired. I know there are more details to work out but hey, given what we have now, my idea could work.

Since then, when I hear of other shootings, I think that our government officials, the gun lobbyist, the NRA, the gun retailers and manufactures all need a time-out each time there’s a shooting. They would have to sit in glass cubicle wearing headphones, listen to the 911 calls about gun incidents from all over the USA and view the funerals, memorial services and eulogies of those that died. This time-out, like in sports, would stop them from making stupid comments or making rash decisions. And just like when a parent puts a child in time-out, we’d expect some change in behavior. God knows, we need them to think about what they’re doing. Or maybe they need to be in a naughty chair, like the Supernanny, Jo Frost uses. She used it to help families regain order in their homes, to help families get better.

And that’s how I’m living, waiting for better…https://youtu.be/7Z8e-xrw4hw

Oh yeah, I still think burning coals will bring about changes too.
Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

#4 Recipe Bucket List

Yup, you see a bite….

Earlier this month we experienced some really nice spring days, with lots of sunshine and high 60 degree temperatures. Add the daylight savings change and it was great. So great that I spent a lot of time on my patio and found that I forgot to take the meat out for dinner. Thank God my Pinterest board includes recipes for just this type of situation.

I found something that I’d wanted to try for the last two years, yes it is COVID motivated. For a warm sunny #PNW spring day I planned to make chicken croquettes or fritters, depending on who you ask. Some say a a croquette is a dumpling, filled with chicken, breaded and deep fried. Some say a fritter is chicken, flour, egg, seasoning and pan fried. Either way, my recipe was a mix of both, a perfect spring time dinner and it was good. So good that I didn’t get any left overs.

Have you tried any canned meat recipes lately? Yup, you see a bite on one, that’s all I got; and that’s how I’m living, with no leftovers.

How I’m Living-14 March 2022

At the beginning of the year I didn’t make any resolutions. Actually, it’s been over 20 years since I felt the pressure to say I was going to improve on something in my life. You know, the usual goals like losing weight, getting a promotion or stop spending so much money. I look back and see why I failed and I’m okay with that. I’ve grown and I’m more intentional about improving my life. That is until year two of the pandemic. Now, as Spring 2022 is just around the corner (hopefully with consistent warmer weather), I’ve got a few new goals for my vision board.

#1 – Drink the coffee while it’s hot; only one reheat allowed per day. Sipping a hot cup brings me a little joy and don’t we all need a little more joy in our day?

#2 – Walk around, but not to the fridge…again. Real talk, can’t say I’m trying to be healthy and most of my steps are just to the fridge. Got to make a change (in my Michael Jackson, Man In The Mirror voice) and start walking outside. Even 10 minutes of cloudy vitamin-D energizes me.

#3 – Remember to check the mute button, especially if you’re trying to catch a few Golden State Warrior highlights on ESPN or playing your favorite game for a quick minute. Yeah, I almost got busted but only one other person knew what I was doing. Now I’m laughing, I wonder if he was a Bucks fan?

So that’s how I’m living, anxiously awaiting warmer northwest spring weather with a few new goals. Like Wendy Williams says, how you doing?

How I’m Living-27 February 2022

During this pandemic I’ve noticed some things in my life are better. One of real importance to me is that I have more days waking up without an alarm clock and it feels great. My body is rested, my mind is rested and I just feel so much better.

I’m reminded of the Bible lesson on Noah. Yes, Noah and his family built the ark even though they didn’t know when it was going to rain. And yes, he and his family endured some ridicule from their neighbors, but they kept preparing. FYI, Noah, his family and all those animals were on the ark for over a year (Genesis 8:13)! When it finally stopped raining, when the water receded, when the dove finally returned with the olive leaf, they left the ark and they were in a better place.

As I hear reports about the virus, boosters and mask, reports of devastating circumstances all over the world, reports of war, I keep thinking that sooner or later, we will be in a better place.

And that’s how I’m living, holding onto hope for better.

How I’m Living-11 February 2022

Well it’s almost the big day, not the Super Bowl silly, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. You know, flowers, chocolate, cute or sexy red greeting cards and all that stuff. Well, it’s really more than all that stuff, it’s about our hearts.

Mary J. Blige sang, “real love, I’m searching for a real love, someone to set my heart free, real love, I’m searching for a real love.”

The Winans sang, “Jesus said, here I stand, won’t you please let me in…”

Photo by hasan kurt on Pexels.com

Real love comes from God above, 1 John 4:7.

The violence, hate & destruction has escalated lately around the world and since it’s Valentine’s season, I thought we all could use a reminder about love.

How I’m Living-18 January 2022

Taking a few days off work is just that, a few days away from your grind….

I made an astounding discovery last year. Did you know there’s a difference between taking days off work and a vacation/staycation?

Okay, some vocabulary first, and this is just my interpretation. A vacation is when you travel to another city, state, region or country with the intent to relax, to enjoy the culture, food, scenery and attractions; to return revitalized. A staycation is when you stay in your local area with the intent to chill-out, to enjoy the culture, food, scenery and attractions; to return rejuvenated. Taking a few days off work is just that, a few days away from your grind; maybe a long weekend.

In my line of work, we earn vacation days every month. In the last two years, I’ve noticed several coworkers needing to use their vacation days or lose them (don’t trip, there’s a process before the days are lost). Well they haven’t gone on any regularly scheduled vacations or even taken days off to wait on the cable guy because of COVID-19. So what happened was, from October through December, there were lots of people out of the office. Not working from home, not out for a long weekend but they were away for at least a full calendar week. Thank God, I was blessed to take days off and enjoy a couple staycations too during this time. And that’s how I noticed the difference between the days off and staycation days.

When I took days off, I still got up with the alarm clock . My schedule wasn’t very structured but I knew I needed to get stuff done each day. And on my days off I did chores or ran errands. I usually went out early to avoid crowds and traffic. Note, in December, there are always crowds and traffic. We’re still in a pandemic (not sure if this is the middle or what) but them streets were packed and everyone was not observing the guidelines to stay healthy. I pretty much felt like I was in a contest to get as much done as possible so that I’d have some down time to binge Lupin or Beat Bobby Flay. And then, before I could breathe deep, it was time to go back to work. Sure, I checked stuff off my list, too bad it wasn’t rest & relax.

When I was vacaying, the alarm was off, and schedule was a bad word. I made a point of doing chores only when absolutely necessary. Hey, I figured laundry would wait…and it did. I took my time with breakfast, sometimes I drank two cups of coffee and watched the news! I also took time to journal, to meditate for more than three minutes and to think about my goals. I’ve realized that reflecting and planning are a sure path to rest and peace for me. And then, as COVID-19 guidelines and weather allowed, I ventured out, unrushed, to the museums & galleries, holiday festivals or local farmer’s market. And again, everyone was not observing the guidelines to stay healthy but praise the Lord, since my time was truly my own, I could adjust the when & where I went with ease. I really enjoy being a local tourista. I love to take time to explore tourist attractions and frequent the hidden neighborhood gems. I’m not trying to brag; just know that the PNW has a lot to offer besides rain and coffee. When I returned to work, I’m sure my coworkers could see a difference, as much as a mask allows. I felt refreshed and ready for whatever the work day would bring. And it wasn’t like I had a new SuperGirl cape or anything like that. I simply had what I needed spiritually, mentally and physically to do a good work.

So I’m sure many of us have scheduled vacation days but used them for appointments (doctor or hair, your choice), conferences, interviews, home repairs and waiting for the cable guy. We were off work, but not vacaying and when we returned, we were not refreshed. And returning recharged, rejuvenated, revitalized or refreshed is the point of a vacation/staycation.

And as we are already half-way through January 2022, that’s how I’m living, refreshed and ready.

December is Coming Fast

…and my heart remembers

December is coming fast and so are my tears. I thought I was all done, but it’s not that way I fear.

Sometimes the tears come and I don’t know why. Then there are days I laugh just so I won’t cry.

My grief isn’t linear, definitely not a straight line. My grief doesn’t even tell time.

I’ve spent most of this year trying to keep the tears at bay. I’ve sucked it up, I’ve meditated too, but I just couldn’t today.

I’m reaching out to you, so you’ll know how I feel. I reaching out to God, for His comfort is real.

Yes it’s almost December and my heart remembers she’s not here. And just like that, here come the tears.

How I’m Living- 15 November 2021

Yeah, back in the day, if you had $20 you was balling.

Do you remember back in the day when having $20 in your purse was a big deal? Well let me tell you about the $20 bill that’s floating around my house.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

So a few months back I asked my husband to pick-up some bougie organic popcorn from Whole Foods.  I gave him a $20 bill, I didn’t have anything smaller and I guessed he’d see another snack for us to try.  He brings home a couple bags of the popcorn & some “healthy” chips; he puts the $20 on my nightstand.  I thought that was very nice but I knew Whole Foods was pricey, the popcorn was about $5 a bag, and I didn’t want him to pay for my fickle taste buds so I put the $20 on his nightstand. 

A couple weeks later while I was emptying my piggy bank,(don’t judge, I put it in a savings account) I found the $20!  Okay, I thought, “he’s being a good provider; I’m going to give him this money”.  So this time I put the $20 in his drawer in our bathroom, under his vitamins.  That was over three weeks ago and as of today, I haven’t seen the $20 but I haven’t checked my piggy bank.

Photo by Joslyn Pickens on Pexels.com

I had a little reflection time last week and thought, I am truly blessed. Now I can spend $20 on bougie junk food. I have $20 to hide around the house so it’ll be a pleasant surprise for my husband. I remember when shopping with $20 was exciting, impressive even. If you were getting groceries, you could get milk, bread, OJ, cereal, bacon and eggs. When you went to Kmart (be real, we all shopped there or it’s regional look-a-like), you could get a cute top, a pair of socks and some candy! Yeah, back in the day, if you had $20 you was balling.

So now I’m here thinking how grateful I am that my mom had $20 to get groceries so we didn’t go to school hungry. Or the times I got $20 gift certificates for Woodies from my uncle at Christmas. Then there was first official paycheck from my first official job. I think I cashed it at the bank at Forestville Mall and then went straight to Kmart! My word, God has been good to me. When there wasn’t enough, He made it last. With every need, He has provided. Even with my wanting the specific popcorn (like I needed more snacks in my life), He provided. And that’s how I’m living, like Jacob, thanking God for all my Goshen experiences.

How I’m Living – 29 September 2021

I went to the Verizon store Saturday for some assistance with setting up my new phone. I am sporting the new Galaxy Z Flip3. I like it; it’s purple, really depends on who you ask at the store because they say it’s violet or lavender, whatever, I love the color. So, there’s some things I need to learn about it but basically it’s just got a couple more tricks and widgets than my last phone.

I go in and explain to the young lady that I need help. Well, let me backtrack. I arrived on my bicycle (hey gas is too high to zip all around on pretty northwest Saturdays in the summer) and it took me a couple minutes to secure it because there are no bike racks in the area. Several employees watched me from inside the whole time but didn’t offer any assistance; anyways I lock my bike then go in the store, mask & helmet on. It took more than a couple seconds for someone to speak to me but finally one young lady stepped up.

I don’t know if they have some kind of rotation system or something but on my way to the sitting area, I passed by one employee and was in the direct line of sight with the guy that sold me the phone initially when the young lady came to speak to me. Anyway, so I start explaining to her that I want to make sure I’ve done the transfer correctly before I turn in the old phone. Notice I said start because she jumps in and starts to tell me about the Smart Switch app that’s supposed to do it all for you. I tell her that I’m not convinced that everything transferred. She tells me it could take a long time and ask how long did it take when I tried it. At this point I’m a little annoyed; I’ve asked for help but now I’ve got to justify why I need help. So, I just tell her I don’t know but I would like some help, some extra attention.

So we finally start the transfer process and she ask if I want to transfer this and this and that. Whoa (in my Joey Lawrence voice) this was an eye-opener; when I tried on my own, I didn’t have those options. I told her so and she told me that I’d have to sit in the store during the transfer. Then she notices that one of the selections was text messages and ask if I wanted the last month or last three months worth of messages. I was like, I want all of them. I don’t think she was pleased with my answer. With a little side-eye she said that I’d be sitting for a long time and I said I got it.

Photo by Anthony DeRosa on Pexels.com

So I sat there transferring all my pictures, all my apps, all my text, all my contacts and voice mails; you know everything. I was there for over 90 minutes and I chuckled to myself, shoot, they don’t know who they’re dealing with, they better ask somebody! First of all, God got me to their store, on my bicycle, safely and early-like 10 minutes after it opened. And I have plenty of experience waiting. I was in the Army for a few years so I know how to sit down and wait. I’ve waited for somebody to tell me it’s time to move-out, I’ve waited for something to happen and I’ve even had the opportunity too hurry-up and wait. So waiting in a warm building with hundreds of electronic devices and 5G was too easy. I laughed when the employee came over to check on me asking if I was still waiting or if the process was done. I was like, I’m good, thinking to myself, clearly she’s never been in line at CIF or the DIFAC on Soul Food day. I’m glad I know how to wait because once the transfer was finished, I could clearly see that I’d missed a lot when I tried it by myself. Although it was kind of like pulling teeth, I had time to reflect on God’s favor and the state of customer service today.

So that’s how I’m living, enjoying my new phone with a properly completed transfer 🙂 .

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