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THANKSGIVING  is such a FAVORITE holiday! Time with Family and Friends!

I used to find myself racing around trying to cook, decorate, and oh, lets not leave out clean, so that everything could be “just perfect” for friends and family.  The funny thing was, they didn’t  really care if my house was spotless, and they all knew I wasn’t such a great cook; and…all I really wanted was to be with family and friends–spending time laughing, talking, playing games, etc. My life changed once I put those things into perspective! I don’t kill myself anymore.  Instead, I suck up the biggest dust bunnies with the vacuum, drag the picnic table into my living room with 2 card tables pushed end to end (so that everyone can sit together in the same room). I set the table with beautiful  mismatched  china  and everyone brings part of the meal!  It’s wonderful and what fabulous memories are made!  I wouldn’t change a thing! I am truly so VERY, VERY THANKFUL!

Give yourself PERMISSION to simply enjoy time with family and friends!  Great things are waiting!


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STOP: 1,2,3…


Yesterday was a prime example of how I don’t want to go through the holiday season.  It started at 5:15 in the morning and ended at 11:30 at night with a list at my bedside of what to do as soon as I woke up this morning! In fact, the best part of my day yesterday, was that we did not have to wait at the vet for our doggie check up!  Really, what’s that all about? 

This morning, as I think about yesterday, I have to ask myself, was everything on my “to do” list a top priority? I find that hard to imagine! However, I find that when I’m “in the moment”, it feels like it ALL has to be done–NOW!  What I should have done was simply…1,2,3.

1.  STOP! Instead of screaming–Stop the Madness–I should have just stopped. I should have had a bite to eat (while sitting at the table), taken a shower, had a cup of coffee, a little quiet time simply to gather my thoughts, just for a few moments.

2. B  R  E  A  T  H  E  D   S  L  O  W  L  Y … Wow–what a difference that little exercise makes!  It gives me a chance to get some oxygen to my brain so I can think a little clearer.

3. PRIORITIZED.  Everything is not “do or die!”  And…the person putting the pressure on me was ME!  How crazy! Prioritize, make a list and check it off from most important to least. If the list doesn’t get finished, oh well. Let me also not forget that on that priority list should be a little time for food and exercise-for me. 

After all, if I’m not on my priority list, and I don’t take care of me, how can I take care of other?

Today will be a different day!

Give yourself PERMISSION to make yourself a priority today.  1, 2, 3…Great things are waiting!


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I LOVE carnivals! I love the bright lights, the Carnies, the smell of cotton candy and especially the rides!  There’s just something a little more daring about carnival rides; they sling you around more, they’re faster, and I’m sure they don’t meet the safety codes of OSHA!

One night my family and I were on our way home from a dinner, and there it was in an empty shopping center parking lot– A CARNIVAL!  Bright lights blinking, that carnival music blaring…STOP!! Oh, let’s go ride the rides, I begged!  Just a few!  My dear husband, much to his dismay,  made a u-turn and swung into the parking lot.  The two older kids stared in amazement that I would want to ride, but I knew the youngest, Matt, would be on my heels anxious for wild thrills of the “Octopus”, “Scrambler” or my all-time favorite, the “Tilt O Whirl”!!! We didn’t buy many tickets (the prices have skyrocketed over the years, and the rest of my family only wanted to watch-boring); but we had enough for three rides!  Matt chose the first 2 and we laughed and squealed and screamed the entire time they swung us around, jerking us from side to side, up and down, barely missing the other riders! Then it was my turn to choose. Yep, you guessed it, the TILT O WHIRL!!! I was sooooo excited!  As we gave the Carnie our tickets, I said to him, “This is my favorite ride in the whole world! Can we ride an extra long time?” (Really, does that sound like a five-year old, or what?) He said not a word, just latched us into that ride and hit the go button. Oh, what fun!!! I LOVE this ride! We went up and down, round and round, and all the while, Matt and I were making it twirl in its own circle! Now most rides last about 2 minutes-truly. But not this one.  No, that Carnie took me at my word! In fact, I think he went to lunch, then had a  nap, did a little shopping and then slowly mosied on back.  I’m not sure how long we actually rode, but let’s just say, by the time I got off that ride, I was so dizzy and nauseated that I went straight home to bed-my husband and kids laughing at me the whole time!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d still get back on that ride. However, I probably wouldn’t ask for the extended version!

Give yourself PERMISSION to ask for what you want.  But…be careful, because you just might get it!  Great things are waiting!


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I love to walk through the woods and I do it for me, almost every day. My daughter goes with me as does our dog, Grace.  Now, no doubt, I started walking because I needed the exercise and since I love nature, the walk in the woods became a perfect match.  My daughter and I usually hoof through the woods trying to beat our times, get our heart rates up, etc., etc., all while solving the problems of the world. Grace, however, is not interested in the exercise part of the walk; no, Grace is fascinated with every detail along the way. She likes to stop and sniff each tree, stand with her head in the wind to feel the breeze, snatches the fallen acorns and tosses them in the air and then runs to chase them down.  Yes, Grace is enjoying the journey along the way! Sometimes, as I’m sweating, and beating myself up for being 2 minutes slower than the last time,  I think, “I wish I could be like Grace!”  I wish I could relax more, not be so hard on myself, stop and sniff the air, play more and enjoy every moment through the journey of, not only the walk but, all aspects of my life.  And then I think, “why not?” 

 So…I’m trying to give myself permission to do just that! 

Give yourself PERMISSION to enjoy the journey! Great things are waiting!


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I know that this may seem almost ridiculous to many of you, but to me this has been an act of patience that has been manifesting over several years! As usual though, patience prevails and, finally… I got him! 


As you all know I love my garden. And in late June through August, the hummingbirds migrate through, stopping in my little corner of happiness to chatter about, see what new flowers I have for the year and to drink the nectar before they continue their long journey  south.

 It always starts with seeing “flashes” of something that flies by so quickly, you are not really even sure you saw anything. Then there will be a “pair” flashing by together and a little “chattering” between the two.  When I finally realize it is the treasured hummingbird, I’ll quickly fill the feeders with the sugar-water they so love.  Afterall, I want them to want to hang around and eat, so that I can enjoy them every minute I can, especially if I only have a couple of months.

I am truly amazed and awestruck by these tiny birds.  You can probably imagine that it’s not enough for me just to enjoy them.  No… I have to capture them on film! And this, mind you is not an easy task for a novice photographer with a ho-hum camera.  So far to date, it hasn’t mattered how long I lie in the bushes or crouch down disguised as a tree limb, or how uncomfortable I am standing motionless while a mosquito chews at my ankle…no, I’ve never been able to catch these glorious creatures on film.  That is…until this past week!  I was out one early morning with our dog, Grace, and noticed there was quite a bit of activity from the little buggers!  They were zipping here and there, chattering away and really paying no attention to Grace and me. So I rushed Grace through her business, took her back inside and grabbed my camera. I stood like a statue in my pajamas, hidden behind a tree…nothing! They’d disappeared. But being unrelenting this time, I took a position behind another tree even closer to the feeder. Propped barefoot on the tree roots and leaning against the rough bark on the tree, I stood poised with my arms outstretched as close to the feeder as I could.  After several minutes, miserable and about to give up, it happened …Mr. Ruby Throat appeared!  I could see him, but since I can’t see well without my glasses, I couldn’t see if he was completely focused in the camera.  So I did the only thing I could think… I just started clicking, clicking and clicking. Then as quickly as he came, he disappeared again.

To my surprise, this is what I had captured…

I know, you have to look close, but I got him!!!

Give yourself PERMISSION to be patient! Great things are waiting!


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Is it just me or is this familiar to anyone else??? It seems that all through my house I find…



…and more PILES!!

The amount of newspaper, mail, receipts, kid’s homework, magazines,etc, etc…is simply overwhelming to me. Albeit, I’m not a very organized person, and the paper trails seem to be never ending, but… there comes a time when even I have to say…STOP~ tHe PAPER MaDNesS~!!!!

And that’s just what happened yesterday!  You see, I was out on a business trip, with my brother-in-law, in a large crowded convention area. He asked if I had something in my purse, so I dangled it loosely on my arm to peer inside…

YES!! That is what I was looking into! A deep black hole of untamed receipts, brochures, and sticky notes wadded together! You name it, it probably resides in my PURSE!!!! But to make matters worse, as I dangled my purse trying to look intelligent and find the one thing he asked me for, it happened…

I DROPPED IT!!! Yes, that mess hit the concrete ground and filled the convention floor!! My brother-in-law was on his knees, 2 people who were working the convention were on their knees and I, trying to contain my laughter, was on mine; all of us wildly trying to gather the spilled contents of unimportant minutia that had been stuffed into that red purse!

Yes, this was the moment when I knew! I knew it was time to put the skids on, take a deep breath, and give myself permission to slow down long enough (no matter how busy) and clean out the mess. And not just the mess in my purse, but the pile on the dining room table, the pile in my office, etc, etc…

Give yourself PERMISSION to take a few moments to get your piles cleaned out and organized!

GREAT  things are waiting!


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Do you believe in signs?  I DO!!  I am always looking for signs! In fact, I am often afraid that the subtle signs will get by me, so  I really like the ones that sort of smack me upside the head.  Afterall, when that happens…well, I believe someone wants my attention!!

With that in mind, I want to share a story…

My dad’s name is Jesse Bateman, aka JB.  A year ago in July he passed away.  We lived together and we were very close. In late August,  early September of that year, I would be working in my garden (one of my favorite places to be) and every time I would go out, a beautiful lemon yellow butterfly, like I’d never seen before, would appear!  Just out of the blue!   I tell you, this was my dad!  Call me crazy, but I know he was out there checking on me and letting me know he was fine! As the weather became cooler, he stopped coming.  I wondered if he would return again…

Fast forward to a week ago, Saturday, August 7.

I was outside walking up my driveway. There he was!!  But he wasn’t in the garden, he was right in front of me sitting on the trunk of his car-a brilliant blue Ford Taurus that my older son now affectionately drives. He just sat there and made sure that I saw him!  I know he was checking on me again, and his car, and once again letting me know he was fine! 

Well, that was Saturday, and on Sunday night, my sister sent me an email.  It read…”dad came to see me last night in a dream! We hugged each other, said  I love you, then I woke up”.  Ooh!  I love those visitations because they are so real, but on this occasion, I wasn’t too jealous, because…I already knew he was in town. He’d not only come to see me as the butterfly, but on Sunday morning, (before I received the email), I had walked down my driveway to pick up the newspaper.  As I looked down at it lying on the ground, I was astonished at what I read!…


Now I don’t know about you, but signs don’t get much clearer than that!!!!

Dad, thanks for stopping by for a visit!!              

Give yourself PERMISSION to believe in signs!   

GREAT things are waiting!


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By now I’m sure you think that I actually did do something horrible to my husband-like throw him off  Mt McKinley, and then I disappeared deep into the Alaskan tundra never to be found again…!  Sounds like a great story, but,after finally getting to the airport, Mark actually calmed down, and we had a wonderful trip.

Beautiful scenery, 2 weeks with close friends, great food-what could be better?

Well, I will tell you, while it was a wonderful adventure of a lifetime, I am exhausted!! I have never traveled in a tour before. Our family vacations generally revolve around the laid back ocean and /or island time, or getaways with no particular destination or timeline.  Alaska was different! It was: have your bags out at 5am or 6am, on the bus, train or ship by 8am, followed by see all you can see and do over the next 16 hours! And lets not forget-you could really sight see for 24 hours straight, because it is still rather bright at 3am in the morning!!

…and, believe me, Alaska is a BIG!  There’s a lot of  wilderness out there! Now that being said, we saw…

Beautiful landscapes

Not  so “wild” animals

And Great times with Wonderful Friends!

Great fun? YES!!  Relaxing? NO ! But then who said all vacations should be relaxing?

Give yourself permission to be open to new adventures, even when they are not what you expect!

Great things are waiting!


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Alaska -Here I Come

Very seldom do I go on really big trips, but I have been planning this one for almost two years. You see it was my 25th wedding anniversary in March, and this was gift that my husband and I had given to each other.  Now, please understand that my husband, bless his dear soul, is NOT a good traveler –and that’s probably an understatement.  And it’s not really the traveling, but more the preparation.  In fact, I have wondered if I could actually pull this particular trip off without a divorce or at the very least a major injury–from me to him! 

But the morning is finally here and if I can sit on my suitcase to close it, and get him to the MARTA park and ride, we might actually be on our way to a fabulous adventure! 

I will be gone for two weeks, but plan on exciting stories when I return.  Please pray for our safety, our children and a special prayer that we make it before I clobber my husband!

Give yourself PERMISSION to seek great adventures even in the face of adversities!

Great things are waiting!


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