Prism Problem-Solving Predicament

I have been heartsick over a situation for the past week.  Friends are hurting, I am hurting, and a serious lack of understanding hangs over the entire scenario.

My husband reminds me often that there are always three sides to every conflict: the plaintiff, the defendant, and the truth.  That viewpoint seems to depend on one person being right and the other being wrong though.  I prefer to look it that in a different way: side one, side two, and the truth.  Both sides can be right and both sides can be wrong at the same time.  Each side knows their version of the truth.

Perceived Truth Prism

Even when both parties are telling their truth, the actual truth can become a little muddy.

And this is the part where outsiders come in to play.

We really only ever know two things about someone:

What he or she says

What he or she does

That is it.  Even these will vary from person B to person C with person A.

ABC people

I have heard this saying many times.

If you are not part of the solution

You are part of the problem.

This is not always true!

Sometimes you are not a part of it at all.



Sometimes the best you can do is stay out of it, and keep your own peace.

TMI? Top Ten Toilet Tips

toilet tips

  1. Make extra rolls of toilet tissue available and easy to find in every bathroom. No one, especially a guest in your home, wants to let everyone know when they are in need of this commodity.
  2. Have flushable wipes handy, also. A number two clean-up is sometimes not so effortless, especially for the elderly, the ill or disabled, or the young ones.
  3. Supply an air freshener of some sort. A candle and matches are not necessarily the safest offering.  Friends swear by a product called Poo~Pourri.
  4. Keep small supplies of sanitary necessities nearby for your lady friends. Some brands of these products carry variety packs with different sizes to cover most needs.
  5. Place a pack of disposal baggies near the sanitary supplies. This will help cut down on “accidental” flushes down the toilet of said items, thereby cutting down on plumber’s visits.
  6. Locate a small lined wastebasket within reach of the throne. See previous item.
  7. Establish a location for a plunger near each toilet. See item one.
  8. Invest in a self-closing toilet seat and lid set. No more smashed fingers and other “extremities” for the little ones, and no more jarred nerves from the slamming of the lid.
  9. In addition, change to a high-rise toilet, especially in the master bath. White toilets never really go out of fashion and rarely wear out from use.  Our bodies, on the other hand, do age and sometimes become difficult to manage.  Take care of your future self by preparing now.
  10. Make the bathroom a pleasant place to pass time, among other things. On average, by the time one is eighty years old, we have spent nearly three years using the facilities, not including showering and hand-washing.  There is no reason it cannot be beautiful!

*Bathroom Bonus*

King George V

Little Lessons – Road Trip!

My next vacation is only a few days away, and I am so stinkin’ excited!  It seems like our family tends to vacation during the warmer months, and we are stuck at home during the colder months when I would do anything to get away.

But not this time.

It is almost Frozen February, and I get to go someplace warm!

Cruise vacation 2012 240

The first and last legs of our trip involve travel by car between Indiana and Florida.  Two days of road travel doesn’t have to be terrible.  Planning and packing appropriately will resolve much of the stress of being on the road.

When packing for a two-part trip, I use separate luggage pieces, so my needs for road travel are not mixed in with my needs for cruise travel.  (See my cruise travel tips and packing tips.) I pack for comfort first and foremost!  Sitting in a car in tight jeans for hours is not my ideal form of relaxation.  I pack mostly workout/sweats outfits that I can dress up just a bit with a scarf or sweater for dining in a restaurant road stop.  If you choose to wear yoga pants or leggings for comfort, please be certain to throw on something to cover your intimate intersection for modesty, please!


Other items to remember for your road trip:

Small pillow – Unless you are the designated driver for the entire distance, you may want to snooze for a bit

Dramamine or similar if you are prone to motion sickness

A book to read or puzzles to work, knitting or crocheting, or a tablet loaded with no-wifi-required games

A small blanket – No two people have the same capacity for air conditioning or heating needs, and you don’t want to ruin a vacation by an argument over sweating or shivering!

Prescription or oft-needed over-the-counter medications

Toiletries, including wet wipes – You may want to freshen up during fuel stops and meal breaks

A car charger for your electronic devices since batteries run down quickly when roaming

Plenty of change for tolls – Even if the planned route does not include toll roads, you never know when you may have to be diverted from your plans.  Be prepared!

Snacks!  Include some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Snacking on all carbs, like chips, candy and crackers, can leave you feeling logy and lethargic, and they can mess up your digestion with all of the sitting required when on the road.  Also, bring lots of water and less or no soda.


Some other travel tips:

Take a photo of your car and of the license plate.  This will help when checking into a motel and in case of any incidents during your travel.

Get an oil change and have fluids in the vehicle topped off.  Check tire treads and tire pressure.  Clean out the inside of the vehicle of unnecessary items while you are at it, and vacuum the interior.

If you have reserved rooms at a night stop along the way, be sure you have copies of the reservation confirmation.  Check for coupons and deals online before traveling.

Cruise vacation 2012 203 (2)

Now get out there, explore, take lots of picture, make memories, and have fun!!!

Little Lessons – Clean Routine

Little Lessons – Clean Routine

The List Lady strikes again!  Today’s little lesson is my home cleaning schedule, with the bonus of my personal morning tasks.  This list may seem like mundane and common sense duties, I find that it helps me to have it in list form with handy boxes to check off when a task is complete.  Your list will very likely not look exactly like mine (are you writing an Everything Beautiful blog?) but is reasonably easy to change out and in the appropriate assignments.

Yes, I have “brush teeth” as a responsibility.  Hey, some days it may be the only entry that gets a check!

planner pages


  • Eat breakfast
  • Take meds
  • Brush teeth
  • Exercise
  • Bible reading plan
  • Positive Post Pledge daily post
  • Everything Beautiful daily post


  • Make beds
  • Unload, load, and run dishwasher
  • Wash, dry, and put away hand-wash dishes
  • Wash, dry, and put away one laundry load minimum



  • Living room
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust TV, tables, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture
  • Office
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust desk, computers, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor


  • Kitchen/Dining room
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Wipe down counters, sink, appliances, table chairs
    • Sweep and Swiffer floors, including back hallway
  • Laundry
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Wipe down appliances and folding surfaces
    • Sweep and Swiffer floor


  • Playroom
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust TV, tables, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture
  • Take trash/recycling to curb (evening)


  • Bedrooms
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust tables, shelves, etcetera
    • Remove sheets and take to laundry room
    • Take empty hangers from closet to laundry room
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture, including bed
  • Bathrooms
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Take towels to laundry room
    • Wipe down mirror, sink, cabinet fronts, shower/tub, and toilet
    • Sweep and Swiffer floor


  • Water plants
  • Sweep porch, sidewalk, and deck
  • Check hot tub chemicals
  • Clean car: empty trash, vacuum, put away anything that doesn’t belong in the car – wash, weather permitting



  • Check/change furnace filter
  • Sweep cold air return vents
  • Vacuum dryer lint trap area
  • Clean and drain washing machine


  • Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Clean display shelves
  • Wipe down light switches and outlet covers


  • Wash exterior windows and sills/tracks
  • Scrub decks
  • Purge and clean closets
  • Purge and clean garage

a time for everything

Little Lessons – Cruise Control

I am The List Lady.  My life is made up of lists.  If you need a list for almost anything, it is likely that I have one.


I don’t see this as a bad thing.


I will be enjoying my fourth cruise in a few weeks.  Of course, I have a cruise preparation and packing list at the ready.  I have it saved on my computer and printed, and I have laminated the sheet for durability and so I can use a dry erase marker to check items off as I am compiling and packing.  By using my system on this list, I rarely forget to bring anything!  (I have a separate packing list for the road trip to the port and home afterward, and another packing list for clothing for the cruise, not included here.)


Tips for What, When, Where, Why & How

Items in red are absolute essentials!  Everything else can be replaced on board.



  • Cruise documents (boarding pass, passport, visa, driver’s license, photo ID) – make multiple copies in case they are lost or stolen
  • Medical insurance card
  • Credit cards Be sure to call credit card companies before traveling to notify them of travel plans
  • Cash in small bills for tipping porters, valets
  • Prescription drugs, essential medications
  • Glasses, contacts and saline solution, reading glasses, sunglasses
  • Cell phone and charger
    • Change lock screen on your phone to display emergency contact information, including email address and an alternate phone number
  • Necessary toiletries and wet wipes
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Ink pen (not gel-type pens)
  • Lanyard with clear pocket
  • Vehicle keys

Do pack: (placing a dryer sheet in each piece of luggage will help to keep everything smelling fresh)

  • Use soft-sided luggage so it can be stowed under the bed after unpacking
  • Appropriate clothing needs (plan two outfits per day + 2 swimsuits)
  • Hygiene needs (for liquids in bottles – remove lid, place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening and replace lid to avoid spills)
  • Camera, extra memory card, charger or extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Waterproof phone cover
  • Small flashlight
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Extra folded duffle bag
  • Tote for excursions
  • Lightweight jacket or sweater
  • Watch
  • Small clock for stateroom
  • Ear plugs
  • Dramamine or seasickness bands
  • Tylenol, Advil or other pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrheal medication (*if you get diarrhea and go to the ship’s MD, you will be quarantined! Take care of it yourself if possible*)
  • Ziploc bags
  • Pop-up hamper or trash bag for dirty clothing
  • Travel coffee mug and/or insulated cup with straw
  • Clothespins – a half-dozen should be plenty
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Magnets or magnetic clips/hooks
  • Bottle of Mio or other water enhancer
  • Hanging shoe organizer
  • Highlighter marker
  • Multiple outlet converter
  • Umbrella
  • A few extra hangers
  • Clips to fasten towels to deck chairs
  • Dry erase board with magnets on back
  • Collapsible closet organizer
  • Small first aid kit (bandages, antibiotic ointment)
  • Lint roller
  • Safety pins
  • Hanging air freshener

Don’t pack:

  • Clothes iron or travel steamer
  • Weapons
  • Candles
  • Small electrical appliances (coffee pot, toaster, hot plate)
  • Cooler
  • Sports equipment (snorkeling equipment is okay)
  • Scissors with blades longer than 4”
  • Electrical extension cords
  • Swim towels, beach towels
  • Valuable jewelry
  • Liquor or beer


  • Complete online pre-registration
  • Bring your packed carry-on and don’t check it with your other luggage
  • Luggage tags affixed securely
  • Take a photo of luggage before checking in
  • Be on time! Checked in and onboard no later than 90 minutes before sailing time
  • Avoid the lunch buffet while waiting for the stateroom to be ready.
  • Download Royal Caribbean app to use for communication with the group
  • Choose a location for meeting other than staterooms
  • Check into embarking day spa specials
  • Check out the ship library for reading material


  • Turn cell phone off or to airplane mode and turn data OFF
  • Take advantage of free room service for breakfast and snacks
  • Order whatever you like at the main dining hall. You are not limited to one of each appetizer, entree and dessert in the main dining room. You can order two entrees or three desserts if you choose. You can also order appetizer-sized portions of entrees as starters or order a few appetizers for your main meal. It’s a great way to try new foods you’re not sure you’ll like
  • Check stateroom Bible for extras left behind for you by previous cruisers – drink cards, coupons, so on
  • Check out saunas, showers, and steam rooms – bigger shower stalls, more clean towels, fancy toiletries
  • Use the stairs – less crowded, burns more calories, plus see many great pieces of art!
  • Green apples and saltines will help combat seasickness
  • Use the slot machine as a loophole to get actual cash money instead of the expensive ATM. Just insert your card into the slot machine. Consider betting a nickel or so on a slot pull just for fun. Now cash out with the banker and you’ve just turned your onboard credit into cold hard cash
  • Main lobby deck is a good place to get away from hustle and bustle of upper decks


  • Check that all charges are accurate
  • Complete customs declaration form
  • Keep all ID documents in your carry-on
  • Count checked luggage. Take a photo of bags outside stateroom door.
  • Pack your carry-on same as for boarding, minus swimsuit


Above all, remember to have a great time on your vacation!  That is why you are going, right?

Finnegan Begin Again

On the eve of my final year before I reach the mid-century mark, I am still stubbornly holding fast to my age being 48.  Let’s face it, we are only 48 years old once, one day only.  Then we are 48 and a day, 48 and 2 days, 48 and 360 days.  We will cling to that year mark with every fiber, until, at last, the day changes, and here I am at 49 years old.

I tend to use my birthday as a back-up New Year’s Day, with another shot at being better at something, at anything.  In reality, every day is a new day and a new chance to change.

So, here on my New Day, I have set my sights on this goal:  I will.

Humpf.  Two tiny words doesn’t sound that awe-inspiring or groundbreaking, does it?  These two words could make all of the difference in my life, however.  So many times I hear these words coming from my mouth: “I can’t help it.”  Somewhere I read this little quip – I can’t means I Certainly Am Not Trying.  Really, what most of us mean when saying I can’t is that I won’t.

cant wont

            Obviously, I actually can’t help some things.  I can’t help it who my parents are; I can’t help it what race or ethnicity I am; I can’t help it that I am almost 49 years old.

However, I can help many aspects of my life and the lives of others, and my goal is that I will.  Three things that I can control and that are my focus are

My attitude

My outreach

My productivity

            My attitude is what I make it; no matter what the action is, my reaction is my own doing.  I have been through a lot of trials in my life that I would never wish on anyone else, and some of the memories still affect me today.  I can choose to let these situations overtake my life and drive me down into a hole of self-pity, self-loathing and despair.  I can also take these circumstances and use them to bless someone else who has gone through or is going through similar times.  I will have an attitude that blesses and encourages others and myself.

My outreach consists mainly of my work through blogging and Facebook pages that I manage, along with various groups which I am a part of, both on social media and face-to-face.  I need these groups of friends and acquaintances to keep me accountable, to keep me balanced, to keep me sane.  I will strengthen my outreach to help myself and others have and live a better life.

My productivity is tied in closely with my outreach.  I depend on my personal and business contacts to help spread the word about my blogs and early education website.  (Side note: You can help too, by sharing my blog posts with your friends and coworkers – thanks!)  My productivity depends on some things that are out of my control, also.  I have several issues like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and IBS, that affect my productivity in a negative way occasionally.  By developing and keeping control of my attitude and my outreach, I can counteract some of the impact that these health issues have on my work.  I can also work on health aspects that influence my physical problems.  I need to lose weight, I need to eat healthier, and I need to exercise.  I can control these habits, and I will.



Join me on the journey, won’t you?

Monday Memes defines “meme” as:

a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is             spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.

More easily explained, a meme is a picture with a phrase that gets a point across.  I enjoy creating memes, both the photography/making illustrations and the search for/creation of quotes and comments.  Sometimes, they are funny, sometimes, they are serious, and sometimes they are simply something to ponder.

Enjoy and feel free to share and use these memes!

you reap what you sow

If al the world were colorblind

guilt trip

Together we are an ocean

Satisfaction in solitude

We should always proceed

We learn by reflecting

say something kind

Happiness comes

Life becomes easier



Never Too Late


Did I offer peace today

urgent or important

Against the current



spending time with children

Love others

hospitality home

a mother is born

an egg in the nest


skinperspectivetime pic

A Beautiful Thing - Mother Teresa


List Lady

I am not a naturally neat and tidy person.  I struggle with so-called “lazy” tendencies, partly because I have health issues and partly because of lack of motivation and, yes, just plain laziness.  I am also very much a list lover – I have lists for almost every part of my life!  A short list of my lists:

  • To do list for the home and a to do list for general stuff
  • A list of Christmas presents already purchased or made, and a list of Christmas presents to purchase or to make
  • A list of Christmas stuff to do other than gifts
  • A list of art projects I want to do/make
  • A list of ideas for advice memes to make
  • A list of inspiration ideas for this blog
  • An ongoing grocery list

My lists help keep me organized and getting tasks done, even the very mundane tasks of everyday living.

The list I use most is my Planner Pages Project.  This is a list in calendar form, with daily tasks and duties entered with boxes for checking off completed responsibilities.

planner pages

planner pages multipage screenshot

planner pages two page screenshotYes, I do have brushing my teeth listed as a task!  Some days, it is a great accomplishment to even get that part of my list completed, and being able to check even one item off is a great mental boost.  I also have eating breakfast on the list, because I tend to forget to eat breakfast, and I have to eat before I take my medications, so if I don’t eat, I don’t take my meds.  Bad deal.

Another list I use daily is posted on my bulletin board near my work desk.  This one is a block calendar dividing my day into blocks for work focus.  This helps keep me on task and also keeps me from spending too much time sitting and working at the computer.  I have scheduled active and passive time frames, along with creativity chunks.  This same calendar will not work for everyone since not everyone has the same kind of time frame as I do.  Still, it can be useful when conformed to individual needs.Block schedule

I carry a steno-type notebook with me everywhere.  As I think of things that I need to do, to make, to write, to buy, to tell someone, I write it down in this notebook.  I have discovered that, partly as a result of getting older and partly from certain health issues and medications, my short-term memory is not as good as it once was.  By keeping this notebook handy at all times, I am much less likely to forget important tasks that come up, as well as ideas and inspiration.

list pic

Maybe you don’t need a list to get through your day – kudos to you!

Maybe you only need a grocery list and a normal calendar to be effective – kudos to you, too!

Maybe, like me, you need multiple lists just to function like a semi-responsible adult – kudos to you most of all, because you realize and recognize that you need the help and are willing to take steps to manage your schedule.

time pic

Little Lessons – Movie Night Gift Baskets

I am introducing a new category for Everything Beautiful E311 called Little Lessons.  These posts are about something you can do that is quick and easy and fun!  Confession: most of the time, Little Lessons will be posted when I really should write an in-depth, awe-inspiring, soul-searching and thought-provoking missive, but I just don’t have the time or motivation to dedicate to such an endeavor.

In other words, Little Lessons will likely make frequent appearances. winkie

šMovie Night Gift Baskets


This project is simple and cost effective, and almost always appreciated!  Most of the items you need to make this same basket may be found at Dollar Tree.  I included a popcorn tub, decorative shredded paper, microwave popcorn, hot chocolate mix, and a variety of theater-type candy boxes, along with the shrink-wrap bag.  Everything except for the hot chocolate came from Dollar Tree, which I would have purchased there but all of the boxes were crushed or bent, and that doesn’t make for a great gift presentation.

Total cost for this gift = $11 + gift card amount!

movie basket stuff

Here the steps.  From start to finish, it took me five minutes to assemble each gift box (minus the last one, since I was photographing the steps for you – not an easy feat since I only have two hands and an iPhone).

Step one: Filler.  I added a crumbled sheet of brown packing paper I had on hand for a fuller look, along with two bags of the decorative paper shreds.  You can use more or less to get the look you basket stuffing

Step two: Stuff.  Arrange the items in the popcorn tub.  I like to be sure that the recipient can see everything in the tub at once.  This requires layering and stacking, placing items at angles and differing heights.stuffingOOPS!!!  

(I just realized that I bought a box of “light” popcorn!  I hope they don’t mind…)

Step three: Nest.  The shrink wrap bag comes folded neatly and usually is rather stiff.  Open up the bag and then crush it down into a nest shape.  It is much easier to place the box inside this way rather than trying to slide the box down into the bag without dumping the contents.nest

Step four: Bag.  Straighten the sides of the bag and make sure the box is centered, then gather the top of the bag just above the contents, using your non-dominant hand.bagging the basket

Step five: Shrink.  In our house, there is one hair dryer and one curling iron, and both of them are kept in the studio/craft/room/music room.  This is about the only place they are ever used, and only for crafting.  Holding loosely onto the bag (because the air has to get out somewhere, and if you hold too tight, the bag won’t shrink due to the trapped air), use the hair dryer set on medium-high to high depending on your dryer.  Move the dryer slowly back and forth across the shrink-wrap bag.  As the bag heats up, the plastic will begin to tighten.  Do one side at a time, paying attention to the corners of the pieces inside the bag.  Let the plastic shrink around the corners of these items so that they will not easily shift when moving the completed bag.shrinking

Step six: Bow.  In the shrink-wrap kit that I purchased, a pull-type bow was included. You can use this bow or you can tie the bag with your preferred method.  Leave longer strings attached for the next step.bow almost finished

Step seven: Card.  I highly suggest giving a gift card for a movie rental unless you have included a movie DVD inside the gift bag.  Place the gift card inside an envelope.  Using a hole-punch, place a hole in the top left hand corner of the envelope.  Pull the long string that is attached to the gift bag through the hole and tie.  Either curl or trim the ends of the string.

the gift card

Step eight: Give.  Your movie night gift bag is finished and ready for the lucky recipient of your choosing!tada!


Rethinking Thankfulness

For the past few years, I have noticed a trend of people posting thankfulness posts on Facebook in November.  One thing is named each of the thirty days in November for which the writer is thankful, from having a good job to living in a warm home to enjoying the company of many friends.  I have nothing against this practice.  In fact, I am delighted that so many take the time to count their blessings, even if it is mostly just for the month and is usually seen as a challenge instead of an act of true gratefulness.

I propose a twist to this practice.  What if each of us still express our appreciation for our blessings in a more tangible way?  As my friend Kevin states, “Faith on your fanny is useless.  It’s faith with feet that matters!”  How about professing our gratitude with action in addition to our words?

Are you wondering how this could work?

What can I do

How about:

I am thankful for the home I live in and the comforts it contains.

Express your thankfulness by preparing some “Blessing Bags” to distribute to someone who doesn’t have a home with or without its comforts.

I am thankful for my place of employment, a great supervisor, and wonderful co-workers.

Show your co-workers and your supervisor recognition by bringing in some baked goods or other treats to share during breaks.

I am thankful for my children and family.

Help out a single parent by offering a baby break while he or she gets a little “Me time.”  Sometimes just a trip to the grocery store without littles means so much!

I am thankful for food on my table, in my cabinets, and refrigerator, and the ability to get more whenever I need or want.

Volunteer in a soup kitchen or a hot meal line.  Remember, these places and people can use volunteers year round, not just at the holidays.

I am thankful that my children get to participate in various programs, such as soccer, dance, music, basketball, and so on and son (and so on)…

These programs can always use support, in helping to teach or coach, in providing snacks or meals, in monetary support (besides fees), and in word-of-mouth advertising and appreciative words of praise.  Talk to program to see how you can help out.

I am thankful that my children or grandchildren have toys to play with.

Sort through the children’s toys and donate some that are in excellent shape with a distribution center for the less fortunate.  Some locations here in Indiana are found at Indy With Kids .  A personal favorite of mine is located in Lawrence County and is called Santa Joe

I am thankful for my health, whether it is fabulous or fatigued.

Monetary donations are always appreciated by many health organizations, but there are other ways to help.  Volunteer, participate in a fundraiser, spread the word about the services provided – sometimes it takes no money to make a big donation toward a worthy cause!


These are just a few ideas to get you kick-started on your own campaign of thankfulness!  Share your own ideas in the comments below.  I am thankful for my readers!