Category Archives: Beautiful Things

High Altitude Attitude Adjustment

 

Leaving Las Vegas.

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What a whirlwind of a weekend that began wonderfully and ended woefully.

My husband and I planned this trip weeks ago, a getaway for just the two of us.  We are housing an intern turned youth minister on our church staff for the past fourteen months, and now we are also helping our oldest son and daughter-in-love with a fresh start on the right foot.  Our once empty nest has been full!  We went on a few vacations in the past few years, but always with people, whether family or friends. Those trips were still fun. They were still memorable. We simply needed some time to simply be with each other.  It was a happy vacation…until Sunday night.

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We flew out on Monday morning after the Sunday evening massacre. On the flight home, an older gentleman sat in the seat behind me. He was chatty, and liked to accentuate each word or phrase with a hearty thwack on the back of my seat. This went on for some time, jolting me with each and every whack. When the beverage service came, I asked the flight attendant if she could ask the passenger to quit hitting my seat. She requested a few minutes to figure out how to address the issue without causing an issue, and moved on down the aisle.

And then I had a few more minutes to think about “the issue.”  Did I want to potentially cause an issue?  Was it really that much of a problem?  Was Thumper’s thumping bothering me so badly that embarrassment was necessary?

That is when God used the flight attendant to thump me.

When the attendant returned, I let her know that I was not going to bother with telling him to stop. She asked if I was sure and I let her know I was sure. She replied, “Just let me know if it becomes unbearable and I will take care of it.”

…if it becomes unbearable…

THUMP

Over fifty people lost their lives the night before.

…if it becomes unbearable…

THUMP

Over five hundred people were physically injured the night before.

…if it becomes unbearable…

THUMP

Over six hundred families, friends, and loved ones’ lives were immediately and irreparably changed the night before.

…if it becomes unbearable…

I am certain that any one of them would give anything to put up with a thumper sitting behind them on an airplane instead of going through what they are going through.

THUMP

God, forgive me when I don’t do all things without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14). Forgive me when I don’t love you by loving others (Matthew 22:37-39). Forgive me when my love doesn’t bear all things (1Corinthians 13:7). Forgive me when I fail (1 Corinthians 13:8).

God, comfort all of those affected by the massacre in Las Vegas.

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50 Simple Ways to Make Life Better

1. Read this entire list!
2. Say please.
3. Say thank you.
4. Say excuse me.
5. Accept a breath mint.
6. Brush your teeth.
7. Make your bed.
8. Smile!
9. Give a hug (or two or three).
10. Give a genuine compliment (or two or three).
11. Attend a free community concert.
12. Send a card or write a letter of appreciation.
13. Memorize a meaningful quote or poem.
14. Keep your car interior clean.
15. Hold a baby.

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16. Spend time star-gazing.
17. Give a gift hand-made by you.
18. Be grateful.
19. Go for a walk.
20. Learn how to laugh with others and at yourself.
21. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
22. Allow others to make mistakes.
23. Pick up trash.
24. Listen to a friend’s favorite music.
25. Invite a guest for dinner.
26. Learn something new about your town.
27. Visit a museum.
28. Plant flower seeds.

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29. Play a game with a child.
30. Sing a song.
31. Encourage someone.
32. Hold a door open for someone.
33. Let someone hold a door open for you.
34. Let someone else go first.
35. Let someone tell you their story.
36. Sit quietly and be still for 5, 10, 15 minutes.
37. Try something – anything! – new to you.
38. Give something away.
39. If you love someone, tell him or her.
40. Let an elder teach you something.
41. Let a teen teach you something.
42. Accept assistance.
43. Learn a few words in another language.
44. Put some change in a cup.
45. Go somewhere you’ve never been.
46. Visit with a friend.
47. Say yes to an invitation.
48. Stop saying “I don’t care.”
49. Recycle something.
50. Leave a happy note on a car windshield.
*Bonus
51. Occasionally fast from social media.
52. Share this post.
53. Make your own positive list.

A Roll of the Dice: Decluttering, Cleaning, Organizing, and Decorating the Lessaris Estate

 

Clutter and disorganization do not care about your income, your home’s square footage, or how many people/pets live in your home.  I live in a single-family home with my husband, no children at home and no pets.  Well, except for our fish…
Roll of the dice fish
Our home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a full finished basement, in all over 3500 square feet of space, plus porches and decks – and it is full of clutter and disorganization!
Roll of the dice front to back
Confession time (shared from my Facebook page) –
this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Roll the dice confession
This post is not written because I have it all figured out, but because I really do not have it figured out!  I am a List Lady, and I find it much easier and more likely to get done if I write it out step by step to be sure I have thoughtfully considered everything to be done. My hope is that this process helps you too.
I also do not intend to do this Every. Single. Day.  That would become stressful, physically fatiguing, and mentally strenuous.  I will implement my plan every few days, and each step in each room may take a few days to accomplish.  If you are exhausted, then you will give up too quickly, and your other daily tasks would suffer as well.
My plan to conquer the chaos begins with an overview of what I call
The Clockwise Process.”
No before pictures for today since, not only would that be overwhelming to me, it would be scary for you!  Read through the process for an idea of where we are going on this adventure, using my own home and my own needs as a starting point.
So fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
a goal without a plan is just a wish
Make a list of every area in your home.  Be specific and be thorough.  I have numbered my areas and rooms because, in order to defy my anxiety and distress at deciding just where to begin, I will be rolling the dice to choose the room.  Obviously (or not so obviously), I will be limiting the first several rooms to the first several on the list.
Or I could just use my dodecahedron dice…
Roll of the dice jar
+=+=+=+
Areas to declutter, clean, organize, and decorate (my home)
  1. Entryway
  2. Office
  3. Front hallway
  4. Sleepover suite
  5. Sleepover suite closet
  6. Studio
  7. Common bath
  8. Master bedroom
  9. Master closet
  10. Master bath
  11. Living room
  12. Dining room
  13. Liquor cabinet
  14. Kitchen
  15. Laundry
  16. Back hallway
  17. Back hallway closet
  18. Guest bedroom
  19. Guest bedroom closet
  20. Guest bath
  21. Stairwell
  22. Rec room
  23. Storage room
  24. Front yard
  25. Front porches
  26. Deck/fire pit
  27. Back yard
  28. Side yards
  29. Vehicle
{Note: If the room where you are working has a closet, treat it as a separate area. Do not try to include it in the clockwise process.  Perform the clockwise process on it as a room.  (Personal exception: My studio closet must be treated as part of the studio due to its function as a part of the room.) Notice that I have also included my vehicle in this list.  Sometimes I feel like I live in my Kia Soul!}
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Step one for each space is decluttering.  I really cannot clean and organize, and I won’t decorate, until the area is decluttered, because stuff gets in the way!  Isn’t that just life?  My focus is on one room at a time, one step at a time, so after decluttering I can move on to the other three aspects of making my home beautiful.
The Clockwise Process for De-Cluttering
You will need these supplies, plus possibly a friend, music, and maybe a glass or two of your favorite wine:
            Timer (not on your smart phone – too distracting)
            4 baskets/bags/boxes, labeled as:
Other rooms
Other homes
Donate
Trash
Work fifteen minutes at a time, then take a five minute break.  You can adjust these times as you need, but I suggest stick to some kind of time limit.  Go clockwise from your left hand as you stand in the doorway facing the room.  Decide if the first immediate item at your left hand is where it belongs. Use the baskets as follows:
  1. Items that go to other rooms simply go into the designated basket. Don’t try to put away each item as you come across it, or you may get distracted from the task at hand.  This basket can be sorted when the current room is decluttered.
  2. Items that go to other homes also go into its designated basket. These may be things you have borrowed and should return, or things you purchased for someone else (unless the time has not come to gift it – in this case, it should go into the “other rooms” basket so it can be placed into an assigned storage spot until the appropriate time).
  3. Items for donation should be in good condition – no breakage, no holes or tears, no stains. If you would not wear it or use it “as is” then do not donate it.  These items go into the trash bag.
Suggested donation sites:
FreeCycle
Goodwill
Salvation Army
AmVets
local charities and resource centers
  1. Items for trash go into the trash bag, the trash bag gets tied up, and the trash bag gets out of your house. No tosser’s remorse allowed!
=+=+=+=
Now for the roll of the dice.  And the winner is…
Roll of the dice die
THE DINING ROOM!

Putting Off Procrastination

Oops, I did it again…

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I promised myself that I would not allow myself to play either of my online games today until I wrote this post

and I haven’t.

What I have done is sorted through hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of emails in my inbox because I kept putting off dealing with anything that was not immediately important.

What I have done is spent a few hours perusing Pinterest after opening the app to find a certain quote I wanted to use today.

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What I have done is not get much of anything done that I intended to get done today.

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While we are postponing, life speeds by.  – Seneca

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In Fifty and Fabulous, I shared three goals I have set for myself, optimistically confidant they will be accomplished this year.  Goal one is fifty blog posts written and published.  This marks my second post since setting that goal six weeks ago.  Seriously slow moving…  Goal two is completing fifty projects.  Now I have given myself a copious amount of leeway on the definition of “project.”  Still, I have completed … one project.  Quick photo for both proof (and I am quite proud of how my office shelves turned out *pats self on back, then quickly stops because ‘ouch‘*) and as a sneak peak of an upcoming – hopefully sooner than later – post.

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Goal three is to lose fifty pounds.  I have lost four.  Now, that is nothing to sneeze at, considering how difficult and painful it is for me to even get out of my bed some mornings. Still again, four pounds is a looooooong way from fifty.

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The fact that aren’t where you want to be should be enough motivation. – unknown

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A long-held, long-observed season is almost upon us: Lent.  Traditionally, individuals will choose to fast, whether from certain foodstuffs, like candy or meat, or certain activities, like social media or video games.  I myself do not believe that these are harmful in and of themselves, but I would like to put a twist on this fasting observance.  How about giving up something harmful?

An accepted adage holds that one can make or break a habit in 21 days.  While that is not necessarily true, repetition does increase success.

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I aim to put off putting off the tasks I should do and need to do.  How about you?

What are you waiting for?  Do it now!

<<<<<<<>>>>>>>

and I am one step closer to goal one…

Fifty and Fabulous: A Clean Sweep

Today for me marks the first day after holiday/vacation mode. I sorted, saved on Pinterest, and scrapped well over a hundred “saved” posts on my family and friends Facebook page.  I have read, filed, deleted and shared hundreds upon hundreds of emails from my personal email account, and I am not finished (plus I still have two other accounts to sift through for my business and other income).  A holiday or vacation is wonderful while it is happening, but the aftermath of playing “catch-up” can be wearying.  So, instead of catching-up, I intend to make a clean sweep and set some new and different goals.

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This Thursday, I will reach level 50, which is a much more fun way to say it is my fiftieth birthday.  At a half-century of age, I could say my life is, at the very least, half-over.  But who wants to live with such a defeatist mindset?  Instead, I intend to celebrate each small victory as it comes, and downplay the disappointments.

Therefore, I have set only three goals for this Jubilee (I like this word meaning fifty years – just celebrate!) and they each have ties to my fiftieth year.inspiration-file *50 Blog Posts Written and Published

Everything Beautiful began in March of 2014.  In this almost two-year period, I wrote and published 48 blog posts. That number doesn’t sound so bad, and it is not bad for a beginning blogger.  I want to do more and reach more, so I must produce more.  Inspiration is no hindrance; I have 24 pages of thoughts, ideas, quotes, and outlines saved in a Word document.  Motivation is a hindrance; therefore, this is my reason for setting this particular goal.

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 *50 Projects Completed

My home studio, otherwise known as my craft room, also known as my crap room, is a hot mess.  After almost three years of some remodeling project or another with my studio being “the perfect just-for-now” place to keep displaced things, it is an overwhelming thought as to how I should go about planning and organization. With our home office as the last (hopefully!) re-do, I aim to be serious about redesigning and actually using my studio as a creative place instead of a catch-all.

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*50 Pounds Lost

I know, I know.  Everybody has “Lose weight” on their New Year’s Resolution List.  So does that make it wrong to include it in my goals?  No way!  I know that I have many, many health issues, and I know that losing weight may help alleviate some of the issues that accompany my issues.  (How many times can you use “issues” in the same sentence?)   I also know that losing weight will not cure any of my issues, except maybe for my obesity.  It will not be easy, it will not be fun, and it will not be painless.  I still need and want to do it, though, and that is enough reason for me.

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            In setting out to accomplish these goals, I know that there may be setbacks and failures, and I am telling myself, and you, that is okay.  I have heard it said that:

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            I am starting now.

Panic at the _______!

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A difference exists between panicking and having a panic attack.

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Have you ever lost your car keys, and you were worried that would get in trouble for arriving late to work?  Were you frustrated, irritated, and upset that they were misplaced again?  Did you turn your entire purse or your entire house upside down looking for them?

You probably panicked until you found them and immediately went about your day.

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Have you ever lost your car keys, and you were worried that you would be fired for arriving late to work?  And then worried that you would not get a paycheck, that you would get your utilities shut off, that CPS would take your children for not having electricity, that your house would burn down because you had to use a space heater for warmth in the winter when it got down to -25°F (because you know if you misplace your keys that each and every one of these things really will happen)?  Did you get dizzy, did your heart and pulse race, did you feel extremely nauseous, did your knees go weak, did you start shaking and shivering violently, were you unable to get your words into a sentence, were you looking for the escape route from the worst possible scenario?

Then you probably had a panic attack.

            …and I literally just now had to go make sure that my keys were where they belonged.  I almost sent myself into an attack by simply writing that scenario…

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I cope with my anxiety on a daily basis.  It is a part of me, it is a part of my OCD (no, I am not so OCD – I have OCD), it is a part of my life.  Unless you have had a panic attack, a for-real panic attack, it will be difficult for you to completely understand what is happening.

My family and friends know that I get these episodes occasionally.  They do not know what is going on inside of me, however.  I am pretty sure that most of them just think I am weird.

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I am extremely thankful for a husband that loves me no matter what (pretty sure he got the worse of “for better or worse”…), and a doctor that understands and cares.  I am thankful for a diagnosis that I am not crazy, and for medications and information to help me function like a ‘normal’ person.

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I have been asked, “But I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?  Should a real Christian have these issues?”

I cannot decide whether to cry or overturn tables when I hear this type of statement.

Even when that statement comes from inside my own head…

Isaiah 26:3 tells me that God will keep those that trust Him in perfect peace.  Why then, am I not in perfect peace?

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The Hebrew words for ‘perfect peace’ mean to be completely safe.  I understand this to mean that as I focus on Him, He will keep me safe within His plan.  I don’t know His plan, (As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9) but I know I can trust Him to stick to it and carry me through.  I am a human though, and my will to trust and have faith will falter sometimes.

That is why we have the Bible.  Think about it – if God knows everything, and He does, then He knows that we need reminding of His promises, and we do.

I will fail.  So will you.  The good news is that I am not a failure.  And neither are you.

So when I have that panic attack, and you just don’t get it because you see no reason for my distress, I hope you will remember what you have read here.  I hope that even if you cannot commiserate, you can be compassionate.  I hope that you will remind me of Isaiah 26:3 and help me focus and function.

I hope you will remind me that this too shall pass…

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Lessons Learned

Not everything that ends badly was all bad.

You can learn valuable lessons from even the worst mistakes and miseries.  Sometimes, you just have to look really hard to find the redeeming reward.

There is almost always one to be found.

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Personal case in point:

Relationships and marriages (…or some of what I learned from my exes…)

Ex #1 – I learned how to be a mom.  I was young, I made many mistakes, and I discovered a love so big that I felt my heart would burst.  I also learned that sometimes it is better to remain friends than to get married, and that you can remain friends after a divorce.

Ex #2 – I learned how to shoot a gun, how to clean a fish, and how to ride a motorcycle.  I also learned what it feels like to be at the wrong end of a loaded twelve-gauge shot gun.

Ex #3 – I learned firsthand how illegal drug use and alcohol abuse (his addictions) can destroy a marriage, a family, a life.  That is a place I never want to experience again.

Ex #4 – I learned how to hang drywall.  I learned about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the government.  I learned about how to study the Bible to find out what it really says instead of just believing what someone else says it says. I also learned that just because someone says they are a Christian and a patriot doesn’t necessarily mean that they live like a Christian or have the same definition of patriot as most people.  This is when I began to identify more than a little with Sarah Connor of the Terminator movies…

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            Example (not ex!) #5 – I learned that there are good, decent, honest, trustworthy, Godly, kind and loving men in the world.

davemy holy hottie!

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Another lesson that you may learn from your messes is how to make great meals!

From the mother of ex #4, I received this recipe for Hot Hamburgers.  It is spicy, but not too spicy (well, for most people – I still have to put sour cream on mine to calm it a bit).  It comes together quickly and cooks in the crock-pot as you go about your life.  It also makes great use of a beef cut that is rather difficult to prepare on its own, namely beef cubed steaks.  This dish comes out so tender and flavorful!

hot-hamburger-ingredients

Hot Hamburgers

5 cups tomato sauce

15 ounce jar of mild or hot pepper rings, undrained

3 medium onions, sliced or diced

1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon chipped red pepper

3 pounds of beef cubed steaks

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hot-hamburger-serving

Combine all ingredients except beef cubed steaks in a crock-pot.  Stir well.  Cook on low for two hours.  Add beef cubed steaks.  Cook on high for two hours.  Serve beef cubed steaks on buns or with cooked rice.  Top with sour cream if desired.  May substitute chicken breasts for the beef cubed steaks.

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