Tag Archives: Blogging A-Z

Reflections 2021 #atozchallenge ~Letters from the Heart

 

Reflecting on the end of a challenge. One door closes another one opens. What was good? What was bad? What was ugly?  What can be done different? How can things be better?  

 

THE GOOD

Through my Letters from the Heart series I’ve learned a lot about myself.  Other years I’ve participated, but not really participated. It was nice to reconnect with some past bloggy buddies as well as making some new friends. This year I put a little more effort into getting to know my fellow bloggers and what they stand for.  Networking, because isn’t that what blogging is? Bonding with the homogeneous.

As the years pass, as we write and interact with others, we change. Our writing changes, our moods change, our habits change.  Hopefully for the better.

Statistically speaking, I had visitors from 25 different countries, which I think is really cool. I received more comments than I could keep up with and trust me that count is not high.  I found that if you reciprocate, you tend to get more comments.

THE BAD

I really had it in my head to visit every single blog from the Master List. I didn’t do very well at this.  I found myself drawn to certain blogs which I loved.  It happens. Blogging is a clicky little world and you can’t avoid clicks. We all have the same number of hours in a day. What do you want to use those hours on?  I choose to spend mine on things that I enjoy. Unfortunately it didn’t leave a lot of time for exploring and finding new blogs. A few times I did visit blogs that I wouldn’t normally visit, but really didn’t find them enjoyable.  I left comments but for the most part if I didn’t get a response or at least and acknowledgement that I visited, I did not return to the site.

THE UGLY

Which brings me to the things I disliked.  Some of the website links were not user friendly.  A few of the websites I visited I found it to be a chore to actually find the A-Z challenge. Once I maneuvered my way to the actual post it was fine. But still it was an inconvenience that took valuable minutes out of my day. Others neglected to even post at all. If I visit a blog and can’t easily find my way around, if there is no indication that it’s part of the challenge, or  if I can’t find where to leave a comment, chances are I’m not going to visit again. Also if I visit more than once and have to enter my name, email, etc. every time to leave a comment, I probably won’t comment a second time.

DON’T BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW

What to do different? I had intentions of participating in the Road Trip. Unfortunately what I need to do is focus on areas where I need to improve before taking on another commitment. I think I jibber-jabbered about how we all have the same number of hours in a day, and we get to choose what we do with those hours. One of the things I noticed through the challenge this year is it’s much more enjoyable when you form a relationship or bond, per say, with some of your fellow bloggers. It’s important to reciprocate when they take the time to make a comment. I plan to take my own road trip.  I want to go back through all of my comments, not only this year, but all of the previous challenges, and respond to every comment that I neglected. Wish me luck.

COLLABORATION

How to make things better? Free advertising. I’ve included a few of my favorite bloggy buddies’ buttons to the right of the site. If you would to share yours send me your info. I’m at yahoo (everyone really is). We are the world of information. Knowledge at our fingertips.  What do you want to share? (Crackerberries discretion of course). I think that’s what this world needs: more sharing and just being kind. And if you think of it throughout the year, pop in on some of the bloggers you hooked up with and just say “HI”.  A random comment or nod might just be what someone needs to make their day.

That’s my take.  What’s yours?  Have you thought about what your theme for next year will be?  Be sure to leave your reflection link or blog link in the comments. I promise to do my best to come visit you and leave a comment back.

Have a great day!

Cheers,

Xtra Xtra Read All About It! ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

 

 

Dear Barbiella:

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the things you have planned or not planned work out like you had no idea they were going to work out? Be honest here. When you put down Xtra Xtra read all about it on the Theme Reveal List, you had no clue what you were going to write about. You just figured something would come to mind and you would get it done.

Perhaps you were going to use this post to list some of the favorite blogs that you have been trying to keep up with throughout the challenge.  

o Music
o Vacation
o Projects
o Cartoons
o Life musings

 

Perhaps you were going to have the news about the new opportunities that both you and hubby have at your places of employment. You are both waiting for that yeah or neigh to go through and maybe you thought  you could brag about those opportunities.

Perhaps you wanted to sing praises about your son and all of the awesome opportunities he has at Disney and Universal. Can’t wait to go on the new ride.  

 

You weren’t really sure until about 8:30 PM last Friday evening when you got the news. (You need to write these things down so you remember them in chronological order!) It’s still kind of a secret because all of the important people have not been told. But in your defense none of the important people read your blog anyways so you need not be concerned that they will find out here.

So you are gonna be a Granny! Isn’t that exciting?   Today is about CELEBRATION! YOU are finally going to be a Granny-mamma! How AWESOME! More to come at a later date.

Your constant and faithful,

 

The end is near … on the last three letters XYZ.  Don’t give up now. You can do this.  Try to get yourself a copy of the Master List so you can continue to visit other blogs throughout the year.  Buy a TSHIRT if you haven’t already.  Make some comments or share your linky-dinks on the social media platforms.  Have some fun.  Enjoy the ride…ooh Road Trip coming up.

Vicious Life Cycles ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Barbarinie:

It sucks that you picked vicious life cycles as today’s topic. Sometimes you have to face it. Life is not all skittles and beer or rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes life wants to push you down and fuck ya stick it you where the sun don’t shine. Not so much life, really, but people in your life or situations that come about that involve people in your life. You know like the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide.

Vicious life cycles are something like generational sin. It goes on and on until someone decides to stop it. Not that they can because you have tried to right the wrongs. Just because you speak it true, won’t make it real. You cannot control how others will react to your desires. You are not the Christ (coming up in a future post).

Vicious are the things in life that you want to change, you try to change, but you don’t have the power to change them. So what can you do?


1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In a day/week/month/year it won’t matter anyways.
2. Realize all people are messy. They deal with the same things you do.
3. Show grace. Everyone needs to be shown a little clemency.
4. Know when to just shut up. Remember what Thumper said in Bambi.


Practice these few things and that will be the beginning of stopping the vicious life cycles you find yourself in with people. Just know life is not always going to be smooth as velvet 🧶

Go have a good day now.
Your constant and faithful,

Can you believe we are on our last week of the challenge?  How’s everyone doing?  Having a good time?  I am going to be bummed to see it end.  How about you guys?  Are you going to keep at it and continue blogging on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?  How do you fit it all in? Just curious.

Salting the Wounds ~Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

Dear Salty Dawg:

Salting the wound is making an already unpleasant situation worse. As much as you want to share your little orange notebook entry for today’s letter, you know it’s not the right thing to do. Sometimes you just gotta know when to let people go. Sometimes you can’t fix the wrongs they feel in their life. Sometimes it’s not you. Sometimes you have to accept that you have done all you can. Sometimes they won’t let bygones be bygones.  Sometimes you need to let them go, scissor ✂them out of your life. Stop trying to fix them.

You probably should have picked Starbucks or Sunshine or summer or Sometimes… here’s a song by one of your favorites.  Perfect for this post…..


See ya,

                   

 

 

Marriage ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Woman:

You sure know how to challenge yourself with this years A to Z Blogging Challenge. Marriage? You really want to write about marriage?

A bribe to make a housekeeper think she’s a house holder.                                                     ~Thornton Wilder

An institution which is popular because it combines the minimum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.                                  ~George Bernard Shaw

Neither heaven, nor hell… simply purgatory.                                                                                                ~Abraham Lincoln

Another topic with potential of stepping on toes and being controversial.  Why you picked marriage for the M topic we may never know.  Here you are, trying to come up with something witty and sound like you know what you’re talking about when you don’t have a clue.

Here’s what you’ve learned:

  • Don’t put anchovies on pizza
  • Fruit does not go in beer
  • All potato salad is the same
  • No matter how you slice it, cake is not pie

There are other things but it’s too early in the morning, you’re brain has not had enough coffee.  You just asked for a tip from Tall Cool ☺ne.  His words of wisdom: Don’t get married until you know everything! 

Tomorrow we’ll talk about needful things.

Until next time,
Your constant and faithful



What is A2ZBlogging? Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z. It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself. The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

Love Letter ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge

Dear Barbie:

Do you know what a love letter is? An expression of love in written form. You are loved. Tall Cool ☺ne loves you so much. Look at that little note you found while trying to find the perfect picture for this post.

The frankest and the freest product of the human mind and heart is a l♥ve letter.

~Mark Twain

Something of substance. Something you can hold on to. It’s not an email or a text message that is going to be deleted with the next update.  People do that all the time on social media.  They share memes telling this one or that one how much they love them.  Unfortunately it’s usually after someone dies.  If it’s not important every day, why make it important when someone dies? 

Don’t conform to this world.  Make time to let the ones you love know how much you love them.  You are loved Barbie… so much. You love so many people and you do what you do.  Send them the old fashion handwritten letter.  They love that.

People are busy and people don’t have time.  So are you. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day.  It’s sort of like that saying it’s not the years of life you live, it’s the life in the years you live.  It’s not how many hours you are busy, but what is the business you are filling the hours with?

Continue making time to tell the people you love just that.

Until next time,

Your constant and faithful,

 

How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs? Shout out today to John for listing the perfect song to add to my blog today.  I’m trying to visit five new blogs each day but it’s not easy. Have you ordered a t-shirt yet? I really hope Jeremy creates a SURVIVOR TSHIRT for completing the challenge. Are you finding all of the letters so far in the scavenger hunt?  Don’t forget to check out the master list and select a few that you may not normally visit. Good luck and have fun.

Kids ~ Letters from the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021


Dear Mom: (it sounds like “mum” when you say it).

You say anchiladas instead of enchiladas, selsa instead of salsa, sireen instead of siren, dooryard instead of drive-way, and the list goes on and on. But this letter is not about your accent and how you say things the wrong way. It might be more fun because writing about kids is could be a little contentious.



Between you and Tall Cool ☺ne you have four kids: three boys and one girl. NRMZ in order of age. Our Nice, Radiant, Motivating and Zealous children.  One of a kind, our group of kids. They are grown adults. You don’t get to see them as much as you would like to.

Everyone says they live their lives for their kids, and every choice they make is for the good of their kids. You don’t think so. It’s hard to write about kids because someone’s feelings might be hurt, or someone else might judge you based on what you say.

It is hard to live up to the standards that people have for each other. You try to lead your kids to make good choices, what you think is the right choice. As much as you want to take care of every little issue that they have, sometimes you have to let them figure it out on their own.

When they call and say “Mom, I don’t know what to do.” That does not translate into “Mom, tell me what you would do because I know you have my best interest at heart and I can always count on you to lead me right.” Even though you think that now, they are not going to listen to you any more than you listened to your mother. You still aren’t listening to your mother, so don’t expect more from your kids than you can do yourself.

You think that one day all four kids, NRMZ with spouses and children in tow, are going to come to your house for a nice Sunday dinner. You have been talking about this since before you and Tall Cool ☺ne were married. Tall Cool ☺ne keeps telling you it’s never gonna happen. You can’t help having a dream, a wish, a hope.

This letter should have been about kangaroos or karaoke. Kids are too hard to write about. You love your kids. As much as you don’t want to admit it you want to control situations and relationships. You need to get over that and just let them be. They are not you and they do not see things the way you do. Enjoy their company and phone calls when you get them.  Stop mingling in trying to make everything like the Brady Bunch. You are not Carol Brady.

Until next time,
Your constant and faithful,

How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs? Did you get a TSHIRT?  Have you found all of the letters so far in the scavenger hunt?  Don’t forget to check out the master list and select a few that you may not normally visit. Good luck and have fun.

Ignore Negativity ~ Letters From the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021


Dear Sunshine:

Today’s submission couldn’t have come at a better time. You beat yourself up all day yesterday for being an unproductive member of the blogging society. You even read a couple of blogs and didn’t post a comment or like them. Shame on you! You slob, do your job. That will teach you to stay up late, drinking and partying half the night on a school night!

Speaking of one of the other blogs, lets give a shout out to John over at The Sound of One Hand Typing! He enlightened your musical knowledge. Tall Cool ☺ne has a song. It’s included with today’s contribution for your listening pleasure.


Pay attention to ignoring the nay-sayers. You are doing better at not getting involved in the controversial posts and conversations you see on social media. Your next step is to ignore them completely. Don’t read them, don’t write about them in your journal, stay away from them completely. No good comes of it.

Let’s use the COVID vaccination as an example. People are taking about it and have lots of opinions on yeah or nay for vaccinating. You were contemplating it and could go one way or the other, didn’t really matter to you.  After reading Steph’s post on Corona , it put your thoughts in different perspective. Tall Cool ☺ne, your kids, your parents, your friends, everyone around you has got the vaccination or is scheduled to so it was time to get on board. As of writing this post, you have your first booster scheduled (good for you).

Ignore the negativity. It serves no purpose.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs?  I’m trying to visit five new blogs each day but it’s not Have you ordered a t-shirt yet?  Have you found all of the letters so far in the scavenger hunt?  Don’t forget to check out the master list and select a few that you may not normally visit. Good luck and have fun.

Helping Those in Need ~Letters From the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021

Hello, Hello, Howdy and Hey-hey whaddaya say?

Your letter today is going to be short and sweet because Tall Cool ☺ne decided since it was Thirsty Thursday you guys would pretend you were back in high school and instead of him going home after Rockford Files he stayed, and you guys played… into the wee hours of the night (or morning). You are getting a little too old for that on a “school” night and it’s gonna be a long day on three hours of sleep.

Today’s offering is about helping those in need. You might interpret that to mean helping homeless helpless people. Not today my friend. Help is support for anyone who needs it. Just because you work at home don’t think there are not opportunities to help. It comes in various ways.

It can be as simple as a smile 🙂 over the phone ☎️ and if you try really hard people can hear that smile 🙂 in your voice. A gesture 🤙, a peace sign ✌️, a tip of the hat 👒, a nod of the head 🙃, even a like 👍on a social media site or other places you interact with people virtually.

Helping is a gift. Not everyone has the personality to be a helper…some are antagonists. Avoid them at all costs…just kidding, those are the ones who need the help the most. Remember that the next time someone comes along that you would rather avoid. Be the one person in their day that shines.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

What is A2ZBlogging? Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

Gardening ~Letters from the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021

 


Hey Bob:

(That’s just a little inside joke. When you call your mother, that’s how she answers the phone. ☺♥)

When the list was made for the “theme reveal” your letter about gardening was meant to be just that. Out in the garden, planting green beans, and cucumbers and tomatoes and all those fun vegetables that you and Tall Cool ☺ne love to eat through the summer and then can/preserve the abundance for later consuming.

After the past few days of self-reflection, gardening has taken on a new perspective. Think of it in a metaphorical sense. Maybe you need to go weeding.

Sometimes what we see as good and pretty is actually destroying what is healthy. For example the wisteria in the back yard is beautiful when in full bloom. The scent is a little over-powering but the flowers are gorgeous.  Unfortunately the plant itself is invasive. When Tall Cool ☺ne cut it back (to your dismay) azalea, camellia and gardenia bushes were revealed.

 

 

Sometimes giant pretty things need to be destroyed to reveal healthy little things.  What is in your life that needs weeding? What looks big and pretty that is covering up small and healthy?

Food for thought.

your constant and faithful,

 

How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs?  I’m trying to visit five new blogs each day but it’s not Have you ordered a t-shirt yet?  Have you found all of the letters so far in the scavenger hunt?  Don’t forget to check out the master list and select a few that you may not normally visit. Most of all, have fun! ♥

Fixing Faults ~ Letters from the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021


Dear Barbie

My dear girl, one of the best ways to fix some of the faults that were pointed out in yesterday’s letter is to give yourself a break. Yes, you heard right. Take a break. Take time to smell the roses or flowers 💐. Pour a glass of that fancy water you saw at your favorite store –  where you can shop and drink beer at the same time. Put on a pair of shorts to go with that new A2Z t-shirt you’re sporting → don’t forget the sunscreen.  You need some fresh air and organic vitamin D (sunshine)  so plunk your ass down in that porch chair and let’s have a little chat, shall we?

STOP HERE: NOTE *** At time of posting, we are taking a turn and re-writing what we had planned to post. Instead of examining each one of the faults from yesterday, we are going to focus on the one thing that will tie it all together.

Revelation: Most of your faults are self-induced. Do you remember how you felt when you woke up around 2AM this morning? It was complete darkness. When you said  you thought the power went out, Tall Cool ☺ne said that it had not because he could hear the cat fountain bubbling water. Complete darkness and your eyes were open. Do you remember that feeling that came over you? It only lasted for a few seconds but it seemed much longer. It was a scary feeling wasn’t it? Darkness everywhere. You cried out in your heart.  You were so scared because you thought you were blind. Darkness. In a few moments the outside electrical pole lights were restored and vision came back to light.

Patience is a virtue and if you don’t get that under control, one day it will control you. Take a break and rest. Wait and be understanding of things that take time while you still can, otherwise there will come a day when you don’t have that choice.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,


How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs from the master list? I’m trying to fit in newbies each day but it’s not easy because I always find another blog that I love and have to visit on top of the ones already on my daily jump in and visit list. Did you get a t-shirt yet? How about that scavenger hunt? How’s everyone keeping up with that? Good luck!

 

Aging Gracefully- Letters from the Heart


Dear Barbie,

If you get the opportunity, the day you look back on the series of letters you’ve written to yourself, your head of hair will be all gray. Every morning you seem to find a few more strands. Those little gray hairs are unruly aren’t they? Kind of like you when you were growing up.

Some people choose to cover up those gray strands. You have never colored your hair, except for that one time when you were thirty something and you wanted a gray streak down the side because you thought it would look cool. It may have for the short time it stayed gray, but the true colors bled through and that $30 streak washed down the drain in less than a week. Remember that you cannot hide your true colors from God. He knows your heart and He sees everything.

As the years go by, you find yourself wanting to look and feel like you did at 20-something. Get over it, cupcake. You are not a super model and your days of having Bo Derek’s figure are over. Those hips and thighs are here to stay.  As long as you are healthy, so what if you can’t get into those size 10 Levis you’ve been holding on to for the last 20 years. That’s why they have lycra and spandex now. Take those things to the Goodwill…say goodbye to size 10 once and for all.

Aging gracefully is more about being healthy and happy.  There is no covering up the grays and wrinkles. Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been. ☺ Those gray hairs and crows feet are rebellious little creatures that remind you of your disobedience to God. Wear them proud as a banner to the wisdom you have learned over the years. And with each new strand you find, tuck that bit of information you have learned from the experience under your cap. Keep learning and try not to make the same mistake twice.

Aging is a privilege. Some people are denied the opportunity.  Do not ever take it for granted. This is your legacy. One day you will be gone, but your words will live on forever. Make them count.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,



[Side-note: this is the short version. You promised your readers you would keep these posts short and sweet. The full version can be found in that cool orange journal you bought for yourself just for this project]

The Challenge

Blogging Challenge 2021

This year’s challenge is a rendition of something I started a few weeks ago, but didn’t have the fortitude to keep at it. The challenge is kind of like New Year’s Resolutions, for me anyways.

The challenge helps me start writing and I’m all gung-ho for the month and think I will continue for the year.  But then something happens, other commitments, chores, work, stuff and I stop. This year is gonna be different (yup, I say it every year…).  We’ll see what happens. This series that I’m working on is mostly for myself…to have LETTERS FROM THE HEART ♥ (a letter to myself) to read in my old age (if I get to be in my old age).

I hope you’ll join me in my A-Z adventure and get as much enjoyment reading the posts as I get writing them. And please offer up comments, thoughts, suggestions, likes, dislikes, anything you want. I love to hear from my readers.


Stay safe, stay real, and God bless you all.

Cheers,

your constant and faithful,
crackerberries

 

 

Lost a Friend

As the Blogging A-Z Challenge draws closer, it brings on a bitter sweet kind of feeling. I love the challenge and the opportunity to get back to writing. But this year, I am going to miss the comments from an old friend. Berta always had something nice to say. She even commented in a constructive critical way on the posts that she didn’t agree with. She was always there to offer words of encouragement, letting me know how much she liked my writing and how I had to keep at it. I’m keeping at it, Berta.

Whenever we spent the night when she was babysitting, Berta used to say “Bye” instead of “Good night”. She’d say if we didn’t wake up, she wanted to make sure she said “good-bye”. Last week she went to sleep and didn’t wake up. She was a trooper for sure but that seventh round with cancer finally wore her out and she was tired. God brought her home.

I think about those old adages: You never know how much you miss something until it’s gone. Appreciate it now because tomorrow is not promised. You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. We take so much for granted. Not just material things, like the GREAT TOILET PAPER SHORTAGE of 2020, but relationships, people … too many times we take people for granted. Relationships are a precious thing.

I have made so many mistakes in relationships. Let me tell ya, reconciling broken relationships is not as easy as saying what you think or feel at the moment. Kind of like losing weight is not as easy as eating a whole bag of jelly beans in one sitting. I’ve had some come to Jesus moments with taming my tongue, and I’m still restraining, I can assure you. But when someone you’re close to dies, you kind of think about the other people or relationships in your life that you’ve messed up, and haven’t take the time to fix. Or at least I do.

I wish I could right all the wrongs. I wish I had inserted my foot before the times that I opened my mouth. I wish I didn’t hurt people with tactless things I said or wrote. I can’t change the past. What is done is done. I can only press onward and forward. I hope one day to look back on all these posts and see how much I have changed from being the cynical controversial writer, to a more respectful humble journalist. This is my legacy. When I die, I want my writing to live on, and I can only hope it will be kind and noteworthy.

In closing, God has made each one of us. We all have a special gift to bring glory to the Kingdom. We should use those talents accordingly. We should never take for granted the blessings God has graced us with (people, relationships, l♥ve).

Thank you Berta, for always being that kind and encouraging person who pushed me onward with writing.  Thank you that no matter how hard and lonely it was while I was writing, I could always count on a comment from you when you were able. Thank you for always taking the time to read my posts. I am sorry that I never told you how much that meant to me.  I will never forget you.

Until next time,

~Barbie

 

Theme Reveal: Letters from the Heart

LETTERS FROM THE HEART ♥ (a letter to myself)


Has it been a year already? Where does the time go? I thought for a long time about whether to just be spontaneous and wing ding it every day or be a little more disciplined and go with a theme. Control won over and I’ve decided this year’s them for the A-Z Blogging challenge is going to be LETTERS FROM THE HEART.

I hope you will join me for this challenge and I hope to find the time to read many of my fellow bloggers posts as well. We all have the same number of hours in day and I know it’s precious, so I am going to do my best to keep my posts short and sweet.

Enjoy the trip my friends. I’ll be seeing you soon.

Cheers,
Your Crackerberries

Theme reveal

 

 

 

Aging Gracefully

B Being Bold

C Controlling Situations 

D Doing Chores

E Examining Faults 

F Fixing Faults 

G Gardening 

Helping those in Need 

I Ignore Negativity

J Journaling

K Kids

L L♥ve Letter

M Marriage

N Needful Things

O Opportunities for Growth

P People

Q Quiet Time ~ not what you think 

R Reflections of What Made You Who You Are

S  Salting the Wounds

T Thanksgiving

U Understanding Truths 

V Vicious Life Cycles 

W Weekly letters 

X Xtra Xtra Read all about it 

Y You are not the Christ 

Z Zebras are my favorite

 

 

Survivor

 

 

Completely forgot about the Reflections part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  Now that April is over the writing on a daily basis doesn’t seem as important as it was while keeping up with the challenge.  I wish we could do it all year. Or maybe do a monthly check in. I’d like to say thank you to all of my readers who followed my daily posts for the April blogging challenge.  It was nice to have the support and encouragement and I appreciate every one of you.  For me it was nice to check off another year √!  This makes six for me. 

 

I was quite surprised to see that there were only 510 bloggers who signed up.  WOW … I kept thinking there was something wrong with my excel sheet every time I opened it to jump over to visit someone’s blog.  It’s a shame there was not more of a turn out.  Maybe next year. Maybe we should plug the challenge all year long?  

 

I know I’m going to try to blog more and keep visiting more of the people from the list.  I’m also going to try to recruit people from my own blog to come next year.  We should all try to do same. It is hard to promote someone else, especially when we want the attention ourselves. It’s a great big world out there and blogging on a personal level has become lost in the commercialization and advertisement and propaganda.

 

If you need some fancy artwork for your web or anything check out  Jeremy Hawkins.  He did all the artwork for the challenge and he has a  Neat Shop — Very Cool Stuff

 

Stay real folks and stay safe. 

ZaRex





If you grew up in Maine in the 70’s you know all about ZaRex. Generations of New Englanders have enjoyed ZaRex since its introduction in the late 1930s. Zarex flavored drink concentrate has been a New England favorite for over 50 years.

It was a simple mixture: 1 part syrup + 7 parts water for a sweet, flavorful drink. It could be mixed with lemonade, or soda water. It was especially popular on snow cones (shaved ice in a paper cone). ZaRex fruit punches were especially popular at birthday parties.  The colored mustaches of children running around after drinking ZaRex was quite comical.

It appears that it is not being produced at this time but I will definitely keep watch. You can too here  BRING BACK ZAREX.   If you hear about it ….do let me know where to find it.

 



Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Yesteryear

The year is 2011. The morning is young.

2:18 AM Chow Maine thinks she is in combat and starts doing laps around the perimeter of the bed.  Four laps around and then pouncing from one pillow across the headboard over to the other pillow, and then leaping to the floor with a loud plop.  One would think she weighed 40 pounds.

2:37 AM    Tall Cool ☺ne has had enough. He gets out of the bed.  She runs out of the bedroom; he closes the door saying something about a stupid cat.

3:01 AM I can’t take her scratching and clawing at the door any more — it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I get up with the flash light, open the door and she peaks around the corner as if to say, “Want to play?”  I go out to the kitchen over to her dish. “Come here!” She thinks she is going to be fed.  I scoop her up, carry her back to the bed.  Chow Maine does a little kneading with her claws and settles in under the covers, purring.  I am just about to the land of “La-La” when she is out from under the covers, across the bed with a loud thump on the floor.

3:32 AM Grrrrrr, she is driving me crazy!  I get up and she immediately runs out of the bedroom.  I throw a sweatshirt toward the door at her hoping to dissuade her from coming back.  Tall Cool ☺ne snickers and says, “She is just going to keep doing it”.  I get settled back under the covers and start that deep breathing that comes just before sleep and …

3:55 AM Bow Wow, Wow, Wow; it is Foxtrot.  He has a deep southern drawl type bark that almost makes me think that he is saying, “I really don’t want to put too much effort into this barking thing but I feel like I should bark.”  He has the Sam Elliot of dog barks.

4:09 AM I lay there thinking, he won’t bark that long, he’s not real loud.  He will quiet down in a minute. He does. I’m back in that mode of falling asleep. Suddenly his brother, Charlie starts:  Ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff, and ruff!  He has that high pitched beagle in a big dog bark that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  He has the Pee Wee Herman of dog barks.

4:28 AM I drag myself out of the bed and open the window and yell for the two meatheads to be quiet, not in such a nice tone either.  Charlie, the daring one, tests me and barks a couple more times.  This time I yell just at him. Minutes later I am back under the covers and I am wondering why bother because it’s almost time for the alarm.  But sleep seems to come easy and just as I am sauntering off, plunk right in the center of my stomach.  Chow Maine is back… How the heck?

Sleep is one of those things that the value cannot be truly appreciated unless it is interrupted.  Years later, the dogs have found their place over the rainbow.  Chow Maine is still making her rounds reminding us how precious sleep is. Once we are up, she finds a resting place for the day, usually on the couch where she can bask in the sunshine.

Sleep is something I do not take for granted. As I think about this  I am convicted by how many things that I cannot place a value on because I have not been without them.  Food, water, shelter, clothing; all things I take for granted every day;  simple things like toilet paper. There are so many people that don’t have simple things. The things  that I take for granted every day. Things like being able to take a shower and wash my hair, a washer and dryer so that I can clean my clothes.  Maybe my deprivation from sleep was a wake up call.   Are there things I can do without?  I don’t think toilet paper is one of them and I know that sleep definitely is not.  Chow Maine reminds me of this each morning.     But …. I wonder……

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts.  Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings.  Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip. 

Xavier


Do you know Xavier? Me either. This morning when I woke up he was in my head. I knew where he was, I knew everything about him. I knew so much about him, that when I made my sleepy-eyed way out to the coffee maker, I had it all planned in my mind how I would talk Tall Cool ☺ne  into getting us a little Xavier. A new pet was in store for me. I was going to research the web and find me a baby raccoon.

Like so many times before, I get up and start writing down the details of the dreams that keep me awake half the night, and I think they make so much sense. Like so many times before as I was writing it down, plotting my case, I realized just how crazy my idea was.

Xavier means absolutely nothing to me now. I cannot even begin to remember the thoughts that were on the tip of my mind when I first woke up this morning. Even though they were explicit in my dream, now they are gone.  Why the heck would I want to take on the responsibility of Xavier?

Why does that happen so often when we wake up in the morning? Those dreams we have are so vivid and real, be it good or bad.  When we are fully awake they fall just below the subconscious, gone, never to return. Xavier came to me in my dream so that I would have something for the challenge today.   Xavier was the question to the answer. That is all. Do you ever have the answer come to you in dream?





Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Tame The Tongue

 

Remember the old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Too many times I’ve said something and then wished I hadn’t. Open mouth, insert foot. Most times it’s been both feet. Words are something you can never take back. Once they are spoken they are out there for the duration of whenever that other person decides to let it go. Sometimes they never do.

We should use our words to encourage and motivate, build up and praise, compliment and applaud one another. How many times do we take the opportunity to say “hey good job on that project you completed”, or “wow that’s a nice coat you’re wearing today” or even just “thanks for being here today”? In my workplace it’s hardly ever. (Not that they can see a smile or a coat I’m wearing, but that is just an example.) More times than not people are complaining about having to be at work, or the weather, or the customers, or each other…and we work from home!

I can’t say I haven’t had my share of tongue flapping. Proof is in my earlier blogs. I could flap my jaws like nobody’s business. James 3:8 No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. I’ve grown a lot in my last twelve years of blogging. I cannot say it’s been an easy road. Wisdom comes with experience and if we don’t learn from past mistakes, we are not growing at all. 

People always have an opinion. Opinions are different than words. We are all entitled to our own opinion. What some people do is take their opinions and convolute them into something that they believe is truth. Sometimes those truths are not real and people who spread these words hurt other people.

Example: Terry and Toni work the same shift on the same team. Every day Toni clocks in fifteen minutes later than Terry. Terry starts noticing this and decides to clock in fifteen minutes later than his scheduled time. Later that week Terry’s boss comes to him and asks him to stay fifteen minutes over to make up for coming in late the day before. Terry is pissed. Instead of asking questions to find out if there is an underlying reason why he had to make up his time but his teammate Toni never does, he starts spreading rumors about Toni and why she comes in late every day. The rumors he spreads are false and hurtful to not only Toni but Toni’s family.  What Terry didn’t realize was Toni only took a 45 minute lunch to allow her that extra fifteen minutes in the morning to take her children to daycare.”

It’s just a silly made up example, but those types of things happen every single day. People make stuff up about someone they don’t know anything about and rumors start to fly. Look at politics. I’ll be honest , I don’t. My favorite author started making his views about politics known, and quite honestly, I think it’s disgusting. I feel bad for all of the people who are in politics and I pray for them…both sides.  They have it hard. I know we are entitled to having our own opinion, but if it involves putting someone else down, keep it to yourself. Tame that little beast in your mouth.

Take the time to build up, encourage, compliment. All good things. That’s what the world needs more of.   Galatians 5:16, 22 Walk then in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of your flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.

That’s all for today my friends…. until next time.

Cheers!


Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Respecting Relationship Boundaries



Boundaries are anything that help differentiate one person from another. Age, gender, social status, skin color, vocabulary, where we live, even our emotional state can provide a certain protective boundary. Sometimes boundaries are misunderstood.

We all want relationships. The most basic need in life is for relationships. We want input and teaching from others. We want to learn different things and share the knowledge we’ve learned. We want friendships. In desire, everything comes with a price. We give a little, we take a little.

Standing up for our boundaries can be misconstrued. Sometimes people will think we are being rude and insensitive. Trespassing on other people’s boundaries carries consequences. If I do this, I know this will happen, if I do that, I know something else will happen. From a young age we learned these basic instincts.  Don’t touch the hot stove or you will get burned.   

Attitudes and beliefs are what we accept as being true. There are some people who want us to change our beliefs and attitudes to what they believe and accept as being true. Perhaps some family members, friends, relatives, or even neighbors to name a few.  People who refuse to respect the boundaries we have set ooze negative energy and leave us feeling worse whenever we’re around them. Be on guard for these toxic personalities. Quickly set boundaries and let them know what will and what will not be tolerated. 

Do you have anyone like this in your life?

• Lie on a regular basis
• Take advantage of your kindness
• Don’t respect your boundaries
• Manipulate you in order to get what they want
• Put you down
• Don’t encourage you to pursue your goals
• Don’t consider other people’s feelings or needs
• Feel entitled
• Are frequently angry or aggressive
• Rarely apologize
• Blame others and don’t take responsibility for their actions
• Drain your energy
• Have a lot of “drama” or problems, but don’t want to change
• Think the rules don’t apply to them
• Talk, but don’t listen

People might be angry or offended by our choices even though we aren’t setting boundaries to be mean or difficult. Boundaries are a way to protect ourselves and maintain individuality as well as sanity. Stay safe and be sure to practice social distancing virtually as well as while you are out in public. When boundaries are not accepted, sometimes we have to accept that we are better off without the toxicity in our lives.




Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Quarter Finals

I’m going to be quiet today because I know everyone else is taking advantage of the Q word no one wants to hear about anymore. It’s been a quandary for all of us and we are tired of it.

Besides, I have fig BBQ sauce bubbling away in the kitchen and need to get that canned up. But here’s a quick poem to make you laugh…


Quarter Finals
Stanley Cup Play-offs

Hockey is my favorite sport
They chuck the puck across the court.

I especially love it when they foul
And when the ref throws in the towel!

When they are down two to one
Three balls, two strikes, oh boy, home run!

Cheerleaders jump and yell with glee
Everyone loves that mean goalie

Peanuts, popcorn and ice cold beer
And people wonder what I’m doing here
Omigosh, wait I think that’s a birdie
Cellphone’s beeping; it’s my friend, Gertie
I love hockey look at that– a hole in one
Instead of that last beer, I should have had none.



See ya tomorrow with the letter R.

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts.  Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings.  Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip. 




Painting Pictures with Paper and Pens



Putting up with me is not always an easy chore for my Tall Cool ne. Pens and paper are always scattered around the house. I like my piles of proper writing tools. One cannot have too many pens. He thinks I’m a packrat but I’m not. I just pacify myself with pads of paper and pretty pens or pencils, but I prefer pens with blue ink.

Painstaking is the passion of a writer painting pictures with words we write.


This project or proposal that faces me,
Starts out on paper made from a tree.
Pen rolls ink, and pencil lays lead,
Words come together in chronological thread.
Ideas jotted at first in a mixed array or jumble,
Read out loud it sounds like a mumble.
Rearrange a word here, add a word there,
Pencil in an adjective chosen with care.
Creation comes together, and a short tale is told,
Perseverance, trial and error and sometimes being bold.
Grab a pencil and a pad, and let the lead flow,
Ideals will evolve of things you didn’t know.
A pen makes it permanent; written on paper is neat,
Portfolio of writings for later readings is a treat
Pens and pencils and paper on pads,
Never will be just one of those fads.



Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the pandemic we are experiencing. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.