Monday, July 24, 2017

Thank You, My Friends, For Answered Prayers

Thank you so much, dear Prayer Angels, for your recent prayers.

Back on July 9, prayers were requested for two. One of those was for a little baby. We just heard today that the baby is well enough to now be at home. This baby had issues and the family feared the outcome. Your heartfelt prayers were obviously heard and answered.

Hugs and thanks for all! And smiles for the family.

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for hearing the prayers regarding this family and for answering them and healing this baby enough for the baby to be home with her family. Please bless those who took that moment to send up prayers, as well, and bless them abundantly.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

About the Books...

Please forgive me if I cannot send or give a copy of that book to all of you on my wish-list. You have no idea how many people I would love treat to a copy. I’d need a dozen or two.

The publishers sent me 10 free copies. I can do whatever I wish with them: give them away, sell them, whatever. But I need a few for people who I know absolutely cannot afford one but who love cats. One should go to my brother. His would require mailing and even at that, I must wait until the 3rd for funds so that I can mail one to him and his wife. Of the 5 or so that would be left, I could sell and keep the funds as additional income. I just can’t see myself doing that - it just feels greedy. Plus “marketing” is not my niche.

They allow me to buy 20 at a time at a wholesale price and sell them at retail (retail is $14.95). I just cannot justify putting out those funds on the off chance I could sell the 20 and get my money back. It's only 1 story among 101 in the book, so it's not that much a selling point.

Quite frankly, I am happy with the deal as it is. I look forward to similar deals with them.

Going forward, my tastes and interests have changed over the years. My goals for future free lance efforts are to continue trying to snag Chicken Soup for the Soul deals. Along with that, I’d really love to crack the Guideposts market. They have lots of publications but they have a long “lead” time and anything sold to them could take a year before I’d get paid. But Guideposts is on my to-do list (I’ve already sent several things that didn’t “take”), as is Woman’s World (a favorite), and Reader’s Digest (why not aim big?).

My brother says I should once again try children’s books. I must admit I am past the book-stage. I know I can’t focus enough to bring one “home” - it’s the shorter pieces for me these days. I’m wise enough to understand my current skill level, my current interest level, and my current limits.

I’ll work within those.

Silent, Personal Prayers Answered...And Continued

For a year or so, I have been quietly praying for guidance, persistence, wisdom and spiritual help in once again pursuing my earlier love and career as a free lance writer. Today, I received my copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That?

I have one of the 101 stories in this volume which is mostly about rescue cats. Here is a link to explain what the collection is about. They pay a flat fee which I will get in September, about a month after the publication date, August 8. While it is a small amount, it will be more than what I pulled in on my craft sales for less effort. I love both: crafts and free lance writing. Each in its own time and place.

Meanwhile, you have no idea of the mental worry I went through during this time. My worries covered many angles. Did I still have to ability to write something publishable? Has the field changed much in the 23 years since I last sold something? Could I really do this?

Well, the field has changed - a LOT. And apparently I can still do it (after the 31 submissions I turned in all last year).

I can now swap those first fears and prayers for a big new one. I need to keep praying now for continued progress and more sales. Chicken Soup for the Soul publishes several volumes a year and they happily take previous contributors. I can’t get rich on what I’ll make but I can quietly and steadily begin to cover my expenses in a decent way.

Sweet, sweet Lord Jesus, thank you so much for hearing my prayers all this time. It was worth the effort and struggle. Now I need ongoing help if we’re to pull me out of the financially-challenged woods I am in. I have also asked the Holy Spirit for guidance in this matter. I know I can trust you, the Holy Spirit, and the Father Almighty. Once again, you have proven it to me.

Please Join Me in a Happy Dance!

I just received my copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? (on sale 8/8) with my story nestled in among 100 others. Here is a link to it so you can see what it’s about - I’m pretty sure every story in this particular volume is about rescue cats.

If you know me at all, or have followed me, you know that my background was a couple of decades as a bookkeeper/jr.-accountant, followed by a couple of decades as a free lance writer, ending with almost a decade of working for a government contractor. These past few years, I can no longer seek outside work. However, I did need to seek ways to supplement my lower-level income.

Crafts were fun, and my Etsy shop was great, but the income was meager at best when it came, compared with my needs.

About a year ago, quietly, I began once again exploring my real love: free lance writing. I kept silent for the most part. All last year, I worked and re-learned the field. You would not believe how much it has changed. It has been 23 years since I last sold something to a publisher. But I persisted. Last year, in the midst of broken pipes, water rationing, financial-challenges, I managed to submit 31 different articles. Then, this March, one of them SOLD!

I have been keeping quiet until I saw it in print because I know from experience over my earlier career that it’s not “done” until it’s in print or until you receive the check. Ok. It’s in print. I got some copies from Simon & Schuster today, and I truly am doing my Happy Dance.

Oh, it’s only one story among 101 others. But it means I can still do it. That’s one thing I was afraid of - that I had lost my touch, my skills, my ability. And it’s a flat fee, but that flat fee will pay off one bill’s balance when it arrives in September.

So, we’re off. And I am up to it. Time to sell some more, somewhere or other!

Muggy Day; Early Physical Activity

It is so sticky outside, and even in house. I was planning to take an early shower but then I decided to do all my physical activity (if any!) before Noon-ish, and then take that shower, which is when I would sorely need it.

So far, just before 9 a.m., I did the toilets, changed the cat litter, swept that area with the broom and shook out the little rug under the cat litter and 3 little rugs in the one bathroom. It’s not much but I am already moist all over.

In a few moments, before they begin the OJ Parole coverage locally on TV around 9, I will have 5 little frozen fish fillets in the toaster oven (they’ll go into the fridge for me to eat over the next couple of days), make the 2 small boxes of sugar free jello (they’ll make up 8 1/4-cup containers for grab and go snacks), and fix some pinto-beans/brown-rice/rotel for a mid-morning nibble and for a safe energy boost.

I need to gather some things to take to the charity crafting session tomorrow morning, and put them aside, and I need to do a few other things that require some activity.

Later today, after the shower, I can just concentrate on low-activity stuff like crocheting (must finishe 2 sleeves on a baby jacket), email/internet stuff, and some other things I haven’t decided on yet.

Good luck to me!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Humidity Seeped Into Pores of Home

Mine is a 40-year-old double wide mobile home. It doesn’t have the greatest insulation, etc. and it is on days like this that it is most obvious. We had a severe series of storms hit town this morning. All day, the temperatures were below 100 - that hasn’t happened since June 14th.

Normally that would be delightful. Because the temperatures were lower, the AC did not kick on as often.

However, these monsoon-driven storms come in from the southwest. They bring an incredible amount of humidity with them. This is not something we have on a regular basis. It only occurs here during July and August.

Anyhow, tonight I can really feel it in here. Yes, the temperature is lower. Yes, the AC does not need to go on often, and it does not.

But it feels as if all that humidity has seeped into every pore in this house - every nook, cranny, crack and crevice.

I’m not sure how I survived all that humidity when I lived back east in Philly and NJ. 
I lived in that until I was 40 and moved to southern California. But that might be the point. I was younger.

Ah, well. It won’t last long. Most of the year, here, it’s what we used to call Spring back east. It’s worth this to look forward to that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Silkie Fetched Her Own Morning Appetizer

Our morning routine includes my letting Silkie out around 5 a.m. for a quick visit outdoors. She rarely stays out longer than 15 to 20 minutes. This morning, she galloped in and quickly dropped something on the ground, between the living room and the kitchen. I realized it was alive and got ready to grab a Bounty or something to use for handling it. Thankfully, she gobbled it all up. I am certain it was a moth or something of that size. She didn’t even leave a wing or a leg or an antenna on the ground. At least she cleans her plate!

I’m trying to be productive, even in this heat. These days, a lot of my time involves food prep. That’s partly because of the broken lower dentures (food must be tender), and partly because I’ve been making my doctor happy with my labs because of what I’m eating. And some of it is because fresh food is cheaper than convenience food. Still, it requires a lot of rinsing, trimming, and properly packing the fresh fruit and veggies.

This morning, I forced myself to stay in the kitchen when I came home from the 99-Cent-Only store. I washed/trimmed 16 oz. of strawberries; I rinsed and plucked all two pounds of the seedless red grapes off their stems. I rinsed a small container of blueberries, and I opened a bag of triple-washed spinach leaves and put them into a container. Now those things are ready for whenever I am ready. I will be happy later on that I did this. If I leave an open bowl of a mixture of these on the top shelf, I will usually grab some of those instead of something bad. I always keep a similar open bowl of both green olives and black olives.

Later this week, I hope to pack all our baby things that we’ve made for Baby’s Bounty, a local charity. I hope to deliver it all this week or next. We have dozens of baby jackets, blankies, and caps. We’ve got a few other things as well.

I finally gave up trying to find the money for a haircut. It was driving me crazy in our desert winds when the sides would stick out like Bozo the Clown or Clarabell (remember him?). So last night, I just grabbed the scissors and had at the sides and crown. The rest will be okay for a while.

Not sure what else I want to do today. “Want to do” is far different from “Should do,” sorry to say. But I’ll do what I can. It should be interesting.

Is Any Prayer Too Trivial?

I suppose a lot of folks would consider some prayers too trivial. But then I remembered Mary asking her son to help the groom at the wedding with the wine. Ensuring their friend/host would have a good reputation as a host did not seem too trivial. That settled it for me.

Meanwhile, I have a prayer request for a dear friend. Her son will be bringing his bride-to-be to meet her. They will arrive next month. That’s not far off. She is very concerned that she will not be able to get her place in shape for the visit by then.

She has asked for prayers for help in doing what she needs to do.
I hope our Prayer Angels will take her request to heart and say a quick prayer on her behalf.

I truly feel for her and I totally understand.

Sweet Jesus, please look gently toward my friend. Please send her a surprising burst of wisdom (what to do first, and what she can ignore), patience (it will all work out but sometimes we don't quite believe that), stamina (to get through it without collapsing), and fortitude (the guts to tackle each item on the list, each in its own time). And, while we’re on the subject, I could use the same here in my life, as well - you know how I’ve been unable to get it all done. Jesus, we trust in you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Update on Neighbor with Tumor, Stroke Recently

Back in May, I mentioned a neighbor who was dealing with both a brain tumor and multiple strokes.

Your prayers have helped a lot. He has a long way to go, but is currently on the 3rd of 5 treatments for the tumor. He temporarily lost his voice - they suspect a little tonsillitis. But his spirits are good, and he is determined to get back to as good as he can get.

Thank you, all you Prayer Angels, for those prayers. He will need them for a while to come but there is progress...and that is a good thing. He has a very devoted wife with him, and that is another good thing.

Sweet Lord Jesus, thank you for continuing to look gently and compassionately upon this man who so needs your healing. We know that all it takes is a glance from you, a thought, and it is done. Thank you for bringing him and his wife so far along this troubled path, but please continue to ease their burdens as much as possible in as many miraculous ways as possible. We trust in you.

I Made A Sloppy Mess on Kitchen Counter Tonight

Somehow, I tipped over a small container of milk I was setting aside for the fridge for tomorrow’s cereal - all over one end of the kitchen counter. As I watched the delicious, cold, wet mess slowly slide and glide its way under all the “stuff” (most-used spice jars, kitty supplies, etc.) and laugh at me while it teased, hinting it would seep further, under the toaster and other things, I admit I felt a momentary desire to sob and sob loudly.

However, I quickly realized the roll of Bounty was hanging right above the mess, so I grabbed some of those and began blotting. I decided I would have to let the cry go until after I was finished cleaning up as quickly as I could, to minimize the mess.

Nope, it wasn’t the worst that could have happened. We’ve all had worse. Worse is slippy, slimy egg yolks. Worse is ants crawling on your counter. Worse is - well, we’ve all had worse.

The best was that it was over there, right underneath the hanging roll of paper towels! There have been times when something I spilled came down over the counter onto the floor. This? Not a biggie once it was over. Now was that good, or what?

Now, I realize that half of you have pristine, uncluttered, absolutely empty kitchen counter tops. For you, this would not have been an issue. But the other half, I suspect, are a little bit like me, at least a little bit. And you know that feeling.

Oh, and I ended up not needing that cry after all.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Update on Prayer Request for my Brother

For our Prayer Angels - about the request I made regarding the results of a nuclear bone scan test yesterday for my brother - he called me today to say that the low-level prostate cancer has not spread to the bones. They will treat the existing cancer with hormones. We had a little fun on the phone with that one - comic relief, in a way, to relieve the stress we both felt while waiting for results.

They did find a small spot on his kidney and will do a needle biopsy on that next month. The fact that they are waiting a month tells me that this needs to be checked but is not critical.

So, thank you my friends. For now, he is in a holding pattern and not in frantic mode. I thank you for your help.

Lord Jesus, thank you for hearing our prayers. Please continue to watch over my brother, and over all those who took a moment to pray for someone they don’t even know.

Vintage Knitting Sweater Pattern Wheels - A Question

Any of my knitting friends remember those cardboard sweater wheels for knitting from 1969? 

On one 12” square, with a spinning center, it gave patterns for sizes 6 mos to 48 (both men and women), for cardigan, round and v-neck styles, all long sleeve, and for yarn weights of fingering, sport and worsted, and in choices of set-in sleeves or raglan sleeves - 360 patterns in all, on just a square foot of cardboard, easy to stash in a project bag. And each one comes in its own plastic slip-bag for protection.

Back in the day, they only cost a couple of dollars. Now they are 1-year shy of 50 years old.

Well, I found the two Jane and I had back in the day. And I planned on putting them out there for sale before I closed my Etsy shop. Now I hope to maybe list them on Facebook.

The Question:

How much should I charge for them? I have seen these, believe it or not, just last week on eBay, etc., for between $35 and $75! Yes, I realize they are “vintage” and when you tack that onto a description, anything goes, price-wise. But as much as I need funds, there’s no way I can justify that.

So, my knitting friends, even though you wouldn’t need either of these nowadays, what do you think I could/should ask? The shipping will be tricky - they weigh nothing, but I’d want them in something sturdy so they wouldn’t bend. I’ll be pricing that this coming week.

I stopped using them when I stopped knitting, but Jane used them a few times. They look just about new and not faded and still easy to read.

Oh, folks should know that everything is made in pieces - you’d have to love the challenge of  “piecing together” a sweater to use one of these!

Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

2 Prayer Requests - Please?

Ok, my special Prayer Angels, and you know who you are...I’ve had 2 prayer requests over the past 48 hours. There are not a lot of details on either one, but we all know that in this day of social media, sometimes we don’t want too many folks knowing too much too soon. 

Often we don’t know all the details ourselves. Maybe it’s medical and we don’t want to alarm others until we know something for sure. Or maybe it’s for another reason. Either way, the need is what is important.

One involves a little child and one involves an older son.

If you have a moment, could you please keep these loved ones in your prayers? I say loved ones because even though I have not met those in need, in person, I know each one requesting the prayers, and I know how much this means to each of them.

Sweet Lord Jesus, please glance in the direction of these two children of the Father Almighty. Please take them to heart and help in whatever way the help is needed most. Often, our being human means we feel so helpless when we feel we should help most. Please shower your deep and abiding love upon everyone connected with these two in need. We trust in you.

French Toast Frenzy

Ok, I got tired of seeing small bags half full of various breads in my fridge. When there were 3 of us in here, we made sandwiches out of anything that didn’t walk off the bread. We were happy to be full and satisfied.

Now that I have turned my health around somewhat in the right direction, I rarely eat bread. But I’m so reminded of all the times I would have gone hungry in the past without a slice a bread, I tend to buy if it’s on the marked-down racks. And then I eat a slice or two a week. And the rest sits.

So I watched for a sale on both milk and eggs. And this morning, I went into French Toast Frenzy! I tackled it early, before 10, so that the kitchen wouldn’t get too hot in this Vegas heat. I am finished now, and I packed away (in the freezer) 5 “sandwich size” plastic containers with 4 slices in each. This way, I can either pull out one slice at a time, or a tub to use over the week. I still have one of those square flat non-stick griddle pans with a small lip up the sides - it holds 4 normal slices at a time.

French toast has such a different taste than plain bread, so it’s one great way to satisfy my occasional cravings for something different. I can either eat it as soon as it defrosts, just like that (love it) or dip it into a dribble of honey or syrup, or even make a little sandwich of some kind. When I was growing up, we always sprinkled ours with powdered sugar from a sprinkle-jar. And when I was married for a few years, he loved his with ketchup! He said people put ketchup on eggs and to him, this was “egg bread” and so was his logic.

For those who still have a house filled with different folks with different food preferences, if you love French Toast, do some up just for you! Every once in a while, you can pull out a piece or two, smother it with syrup or honey or whatever you use, and indulge - and without the work!

I make mine plain and simple: 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, for approximately 8 slices of bread. Today, it came out exactly, in a way. I used 10 eggs and 2-1/2 cups milk, for approximately 20 slices.

I had fun, too. I had several varieties of bread in that fridge. So one container is all 7 grain slices, 3 containers are all medium white slices, and 1 container was wide but narrow Jewish rye. On that rye, I cut each slice in half and filled the container with half sliced.

Sometimes when I do this, I get fancy and sprinkle nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon in the dip, or vanilla, or whatever I feel in the mood for.

I had a little egg-mixture left which I will use in a few moments for my veggie/egg omelet for lunch.

Happy, happy, happy!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Local Heat Observations - The Good and the Bad

Ok, we’ll tackle the Bad first and get it over with. It’s bad. But it’s not unusual if you’ve lived here in this area 23 years as I have. Yes, it’s still 113 in my neighborhood at 8 p.m., and Yes, my thermostat is set to 79 but can’t get the house internal temp below 81. And Yes, my back bedroom where my PC is and where I am now, is hotter than the other rooms in my home because it has less external protection. And Yes, all 4 of my ceiling fans are no longer working. And Yes, the newscasters are giving everyone excuses to do bad things because they’re continually talking about how the heat makes it harder for folks to control themselves. C’mon, folks, pull up your socks and get on with your lives. (I knew a gal who taught kindergarten all her adult life; she’s gone now, but that was one of her favorite lines.)

Now, the Good.
The heat does not stay this intense for long. When I was a little girl in Philly, those hazy, hot and humid days were forever in June, July, August, and half of September. As for the inside temp in my old mobile home, 81 trying to get down to 79 is great when you consider that as recently as 10 years ago in this house, it could not get below 95 on a day like this. You do not want to know what those electric bills were each summer. But now my roof is newly coated (about 1-1/2 years ago), the A/C unit is newer (as of about 6 years ago, thanks to a local agency), we have solar screens on the unprotected windows (that agency), and all the floor vents (all 11 of them) were sealed nicely (again, that agency). As for the room the PC is in, it is now only that warm for one or two hours a day on the worst days. On the folks who go ballistic in the heat - that really ticks me off. That’s just looking for an excuse to blow your stack. Rather silly. You just get hotter that way, for Pete’s sake.

The thing is, I am inside; I am reasonably comfortable; the cat is reasonably comfortable. We are not trying to sleep on a red hot pavement at night like the homeless are doing.

So, hot as it is, it is bearable. It is momentary in the scheme of the whole summer and it is what it is.