Going Boho, One Womans Journey

checklist

I’ve finally begun to work on me, and it’s been quite a journey. I always thought working on “self” rather than putting the focus on others was a selfish act. I’m finding that God intends for us to be who He wants us to be and sometimes we have to work at that.

“Practice loving yourself,” someone said, and I realized in order to love myself I needed to become someone I could love. Someone who didn’t give in and bend to everyone else’s whims. Someone who was true to self and stuck with that no matter what.

Mentally I went over every aspect of my life. Most things were in order. I have a good relationship with God. I have a wonderful marriage. Going down the list I checked a lot of boxes. But I often don’t speak my mind, deferring instead to the people around me. And I tend to “look like” others want me to look. In my childhood and young adulthood that was my parents. Now it’s my spouse.

The clothes we wear, and our jewelry and hairstyles, often reflect our “group.” My group is extremely conservative. For example, I’m always telling hair stylists to go crazy with my hair, and it ends up in a nice, safe bob tucked under. They see that conservative outer shell, even though inside I’m an artist, musician, and writer. Sigh.

I’ve recently re-discovered one of my favorite hobbies, sewing. I thought about the clothes I wear versus the ones I’d really love to wear, and that was the day I became Boho. Bohemian, with a modern flair. To me that means layers and lace and flowers. Soft colors. Flowy.

clothes closet new boho

I started making that sort of clothing. Some are completely made from scratch, feeling my way along. I bought a few pieces, since it’s not possible to make a whole new wardrobe overnight. Most of those were inexpensive since (1) I’m going to lose weight and (2) they’re stand-ins for the wardrobe I’m sewing.

If you’re’ changing your wardrobe, you’ve got to change your hair – see the Great Dreadlocks Debacle. And buy new shoes. And of course, once you’re a dreadlock-wearing, flowy, middle-aged bohemian you realize you can’t be uptight anymore. Enter yoga and meditation.

As Christians we want to reflect Christ’s love so all that Zen translates into projecting love to others. So now I’m wearing dreadlocks, flowy clothes, and lots of love of course. Hopefully love that spills over onto others — effortlessly.

My Boho Clothing Adventure

So, along with my hairstyle change came a clothing change. Or maybe the clothes happened first. Anyway I wanted to go loose, layered, and bohemian (boho). Thing is, it’s hard to find boho clothes under $400 that

  • Don’t look cheap
  • Aren’t see-through
  • Work for South Florida’s semi-tropical humidity and heat

Enter the sewing machine.

I sewed a ton but that was years ago. More recently I dragged out my machine and tried to re-learn. (I’m selling a few of them on etsy. I seem to love making little girls’ Princess dresses.) Anyway all that made it easier to make my own clothes, once I realized that’s what I have to do.

To me, boho is loose, layered, flowy. Cooler fabrics like linen — NO polyester! Big earrings, open sandals.

So here are a few ideas I had for a DIY boho wardrobe. The whole concept is on hold while I lose weight. What do you think? Do you have some favorite boho clothing ideas?

Click to enlarge

Pinterest sample from tanyabeads

All items are live and linked to their sources at https://www.pinterest.com/tanyabeads/diy-clothes/

What is Bohemian Style?

woman in sunflowers

When we speak of bohemian clothing, we’re not referring to items coming from a certain part of Czechoslovakia. Instead, we’re talking about a culture. Bohemians are nonconformists; most often they’re involved in the arts and don’t care too much about social conventions. The French word bohemian meant a nomadic person, usually artists who lived like nomads to earn a living.

gypsy wagon

More recently, bohemian refers to a style. The look, whether your home or your mode of dress, should be a perfect reflection of you. is shortened to “boho” or “boho chic.” Mixing and matching (or un-matching) loose, flowy clothing is the norm.  It was popular in the 70s and is making a great comeback now. There are no hard-and-fast rules, since being in harmony with nature and comfortable with your clothing is part of it. So the following are “general” guidelines.

You want a relaxed look, one that might slip easily into the gypsy category. So layers are in. Even wearing your bra over your shirt – especially a lacy bralette like this – is okay. To get a relaxed look, you might consider going up a size or two in shirts, vests, and jackets.

boho woman

A lot of fitted layers work with the flowy layers. You might wear a fitted lacy slip under a slightly shorter loose dress or tunic. You can put leggings under the tunic or dress — or these awesome velvet bike shorts I found. You can throw on an oversize jacket or a boyfriend cardigan.

Any rich color, and a mix of strong colors will work for the boho layered look. Mixing warm and cool colors together is also acceptable — and fun. Layering texture and pattern adds yet another dimension.

CUSTOMER FAVORITE
mauve spaghetti strap camisole
BUY NOW
*Click to visit this awesome boho clothing site I found!

One of my favorite things is to visit thrift stores for pieces I can take apart and re-create in a gypsy manner. Often the thrift store has vintage pieces that fit perfectly. I like big, worn clothing in cotton or linen. I take them apart, sometimes working two or more pieces into one new piece. I always look at the knits and laces too. And don’t forget macramé belts or beautiful silk scarves.

Never thrift shopped? Remember, the original bohemians probably didn’t buy new; they made do with old. Thrifting is fun, and easily addictive. If you can sew, you’ll start visiting your favorite second-hand store every week. Mine has 1/2 price items on Thursdays.

To maintain the “chic” part of boho chic, don’t accept clothes that are torn or stained. Sewing a patch or lacy pocket over the tear is fun and acceptable; showing a stain or blatant tear is not.

boho woman in studio

When shopping for clothes or fabric, natural fibers will stay truer to the lifestyle than synthetic fabrics. Plus – natural clothing is so much cooler! Look for hemp, cotton, rayon, and bamboo. You can also search online to find out which companies are selling or using fair trade fabrics.

Next, we’ll talk about Boho hair, jewelry and makeup.

Friday Five – May 5, 2017

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Habit Stacking, aka Many Steps to Self-Discipline

I’ve read numerous books by author Steve Scott, so it’s no surprise that I picked up Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take 5 Minutes or Less (affiliate link, but it’s free for Kindle.) It’s sort of exhausting to read, as the habits are sort of stacked (sorry!) right on top of one another so you need to stop and breathe every so often.

I also recommend reading with a pen/notepad or, if you’re paperless, a suitable typing device nearby. You’ll want to jot down some ideas. He had me at #5, Chunk Down a Task into Manageable Steps, when I got a lightbulb moment and realized I need to do that. As many years as I’ve been writing books, I can still become overwhelmed at the thought, “I’ve got to work on my book.” According to Scott’s methodology, I need to think instead, “I need to write (or edit) this one chapter.” This is easier, and maybe I’d stay out of the craft room and do it.

The book begins by explaining what habit stacking is – interestingly, I have used the same concept for (cough cough) a few years with my violin and piano students. I called it “tying to” rather than stacking; for example, tie your practice time to another daily activity, like eating dinner. That way it always gets done. Scott’s point is twofold, stack the habits for a good routine, and keep them under 5 minutes so you can squeeze them in when you have a little down time. [Note: For me that means lots of little lists]

Anyway the book explains all that and then breaks the habits down by category, like finance, health, and so on. Much like his other books, Scott’s Habit Stacking sort of makes me grit my teeth in places; for example one habit he lists is “check your social schedule.” And he goes on about aromatherapy, then dismisses it as possibly too “woo-woo” and states that he can’t prove it works. Hello, then delete it from your book?

Yet I keep coming back. He is a good writer, and overall it’s a good read, even if much of it feels like a fast-forward roundup of other people’s similarly rehashed words of advice. He takes the time in the end to give several real-life examples of habit stacks, and spends some time discussing our universal lack of motivation in doing our daily chores/habits, which is an extremely useful section of the book (maybe the most important part). I did get a few good websites/apps from it that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Here they are:

Rescue TimeThis is an app that promises to get the wayward writer or home-worker back on track. It runs in the background on your computer or device, and alerts you to how much time you’ve spent on an activity. It can also block distracting websites at your discretion. Awesome, no? (Not an affiliate link)

Eventful.com lists tons of concerts, festivals, movies in your area – yep even in my small town.

Only In Your StateThis site looks a little like The Enquirer of the Internet (Note to self: Stop revealing your age!) but the link will take you to River towns in my state, and they all look legit. And cool. Cool as in, not 90 degrees like down here.  I might have to go visit them.

Which reminds me, I just read a really good book set in Apalachicola, the #6 town on the list. Details below.

Friday Tip #6, or 1a: The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series: Books 1-4 (affiliate link but free for Kindle). It has 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, no small feat these days.

Written by Dawn Lee McKenna, who I don’t know but I’m pretty sure we’d be good friends, this is such a great depiction of the area (NW Florida). I’ve met writers who set their books in towns they’ve never visited, relying on cliché’s to build it (gag, choke). Not so with this series. McKenna is from Florida, and now lives in Tennessee – I lived in Tennessee and now write from Florida. Anyway she knows the area, and describes it well.

The books are short, but pleasant to read and full of dry humor. Suspenseful enough to keep you reading, but lacking in foul language, and there’s a little romance but not enough to keep me from recommending it to hubby. The characters are so well-developed that when a storm blows in you actually think “I hope so-and-so is okay!” (Then look over your shoulder to be sure no one actually caught you thinking that!) Check it out. I’ll be reading book 5 in the series this weekend.

Techno Free Day a Failure

I wanted to make today a gadget-free day. It’s Friday, I’m not under the gun for projects, and there’s plenty spilling off my to-do list that doesn’t involve a computer or iPad. It didn’t work. I just wanted to scan through my email quickly, but one thing led to another and three hours later, yep you guessed it, I was still online. It’s such a common problem it’s hardly worth mentioning, right?

But when it carries over to everything else in your life…nearly half of people in this survey reported being phubbed [phone snubbed] by their partners – and higher levels of phubbing create higher levels of relationship conflict. Ouch!

Hubby and I use the excuse that we live/work/play together. We even share an office. So if we play on are completely absorbed in our smartphones while waiting in a restaurant, that’s okay. But is it? You tell me.

One of the suggestions in this article suggested practicing phone etiquette, as if having etiquette is a new and unpracticed habit. Is it? Maybe so; I googled and found hundreds of articles with titles likeDon’t be Rude: 5 Tips for Proper Phone Etiquette”.

Being present means being where we are, which is not on the phone but rather face-to-face (with not only our loved ones but the cashier, the wait staff, etc.). A great Zen teach said that we must be as observers, seeing what we are doing but not clinging to it lest we become trapped by it. Maybe somehow he was predicting, decades ahead of time, our love affair with smartphones.

 

Do statins and other medications really cause cancer?

Yesterday I spoke with a friend who mentioned taking herself off statins. “They are said to cause Alzheimer’s,” she explained.

Another friend had done the same a few weeks ago because they cause cancer. I decided to do a little research, as I am not on statins but I want to be ready lest I be prescribed one someday.

After fairly extensive reading, I found that there are hundreds of article showing putative results from taking statin drugs. Studies suggest an increase in: acidosis, Alzheimer’s, anemia, cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes… need I continue?

I have said since the beginning of the cholesterol craze that I didn’t believe in the hype. Cholesterol is found in every cell in the human body. In some instances it actually prevents disease. It supports the myelin sheath, the immune system, and protects skin from certain bacterial and fungal infections. Again, I am not a doctor or any sort of medical professional, but reason would say cholesterol is present in the body for a reason.

So it sounds like the doctors in Forks Over Knives were spot on. I believe I’ve mentioned this film before; two physicians literally dedicated their careers to finding scientific reasons for changing our diets – the real culprit in diabetes and all the other health issues.

Check it out – watch the video, then read the plan (affiliate links) that will help transition you to a healthier diet. And don’t go off any medication without speaking to your doctor first.

Handmade Eye Candy

If you love browsing quality handmade items, take a look at Custommade.com. I stumbled upon it while hunting for artsy business cards. Here’s one business logo stencil ideas! Maybe I’ll hand make my business cards! (This is why I never get anything done). I have cards for my art website, cards for my Facebook page, and author cards. But now I have this. Need. More. Cards.

Crafty Homemade Napkins

You know what a craftaholic I am! I got excited over this Watermelon painted napkins project over at Ann’s Entitled Life. They’re perfect for summer, and picnics, and July 4. I think I’ll give it a try; anyone else want to try it with me?

When Your Friend Has One of Those Drama Fits, and You’re Trying to Be a Good Christian

 

 

I’ve had one of those weeks where somebody you thought was a friend turns out to be worse than an enemy. I’ve got to be a little vague, because I don’t want it to seem like I’m gossiping. And for the record, I won’t gossip about it, let’s not go there, please don’t ask me who it was. But I was attacked, some of those around me were hit by the flying mortars, and she went over my head to complain about me.

I would have taken a bullet for her – then I saw she was the one behind the trigger.

You’ve been there. Your stomach clenches and churns; your heart races, and its all you can think about. You get absolutely nothing else done because your mind keeps returning to The Situation. Eventually, you get a headache, or your back hurts, or you throw up.

You feel guilty, even though you’ve bent over backwards to try to make it right with this person and there isn’t any making it right. The agenda is not yours to control, and it goes from bad to worse as you try your best to fix it. In truth isn’t about making it right or smoothing it over or fixing it; it’s about this person being able to say she was victimized, she was stabbed in the heart by the dagger you hold, and you were responsible (even if you weren’t).

“You and I spend way too much time worrying about the fact that we were accused,” my daughter said. “Even if you had done what she’s accusing you of – there is no excuse for her behavior.”

It’s a really good point. The behavior was so outrageous I could laugh – except I can’t. Because I’m still on the verge of crying. Or throwing up. Or both.

I also question what I’ve done wrong in this situation. Could I have handled it better, or differently? Which leads me to thinking about mercy: did I have enough?

It’s something I think about often, because to me mercy, love and grace are three requirements for living well.

“You’re showing her a lot more mercy than I would,” a friend says. I get that a lot. I don’t really mind because I want to show mercy.

 The Bible is my guide for living and it says,
“The Lord comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV).

Here is the same verse in a different translation, The Message, which I love:
 “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message ).

The struggles we have, the ones you have and I have, have shaped us to be the people that we are. Those struggles have made us able to sympathize with people who are in need. Which is exactly why we can reach out and give us “the same comfort God has given us.”

Which is why I question myself.

Because I know this person is in need, I know that she struggles. I know she doesn’t have a lot of friends, and she considered me one of them. Before she attacked me. Before she burned all the bridges, and turned back around and built structures over them so that there was no way to ever go back.

And said, “I’ve blocked you on Facebook” like a third-grader.

Mostly I feel sad. I’m sad that she reached out and clawed, swiping again and again at me like a feral cat. I’m sad that she has lied, and will continue to lie. I know that those lies will be repeated to others, who may or may not believe them. A long time ago this would have hurt me and I would’ve spent a lot of time worrying about whether people would believe it or not. Now I just share sadness with her, sorrow that we’ve both lost a friendship over a simple mistake, a stupid misunderstanding that could have been resolved with a one-minute conversation. I’m sad for all the people like her who feel the need to create drama and twist and manipulate, and lose their friends. (I do that. I encompass the whole world, while I’m at it.)

I’m sad that people can be our age and still go through this.

I read back over our emails to each other endlessly, pointlessly. “Please call me,” I begged from the beginning. “I know we can resolve this just call me,” another one implored. No calls, as is her modus operandi. Just the sudden irrational attacks. And Facebook blocking, which I know people do all the time but it seems so…childish. Like: I have the POWER to block you! On Facebook!

Please.

To me mercy, love and grace are three requirements for living well.

I read back over the 2 Corinthians verse again, The Message version. I realize and I’m comforted by the fact that God will bring her alongside of somebody else, not me, who can comfort her. It’s not my problem. It’s not my job.

“Wow,” one of the standers-by who got dragged in and hit by shrapnel emailed me. “Best we move on.” (She was similarly given the don’t-contact-me-anymore order)

We should, and we will. I find myself okay with that, and okay in general – something that lets me know I’m in a really good place right now. I feel a measure of peace because I did the best I could, even if it wasn’t right or enough or there was some other agenda going on to negate my efforts. I feel good because I’m surrounded by an incredible group of close friends and the most wonderful husband anybody could imagine. Those are the people you need when things like this happen, and they’ve all come through.

There’s always a moral, a take-away, and this is no different. I believe the unhappiness, bewilderment, and ultimate coming-apart of this friendship happened because of a misunderstanding.

Yet we both made a commitment in the very beginning of the email barrage not to have that. “I don’t want any misunderstands [sic]” she wrote in the second one. “I don’t either, that is why I want you to call me,” I wrote back. She didn’t.

In life, we misunderstand, miscommunicate, and don’t hear each other.  We don’t make time for (proper) communication. We know we need to listen better, so we make promises like I will communicate more by phone, not text. Or I will listen to my wife better. Or I will be present when someone is talking.

Then we forget, and the miscommunication starts and we are upset and have headaches and lose people who are important to us. That is my take-away.

To that end, I’ve made a list of ways we can communicate better. The link is the big graphic at the bottom of this post. The list works from both ends (talking and listening) and although I have a Biblical worldview, it isn’t strictly a “Christian” list. Meaning some parts may related to a Bible verse, but there is no citation. They’re just my suggestions, actually they are more a very short “Notes to Self” than anything formal or spectacular. Maybe someday I’ll make it into an ebook or something, but for now it’s like lifting a bit out of my diary. Take what you like and try it. Let me know how it turns out.

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
― J.K. Rowling

Friday Five March 31

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If God is everywhere, why are so many people lonely?

friday five

I hear from readers about loneliness almost every day. One of my most popular articles is How to know God, but another one had the title “I Want to Belong Somewhere.“  We have an innate desire to belong and to feel loved. We want and need a tribe. It’s God’s plan that we have a sense of belonging. If that doesn’t happen we feel lonely.

And God is everywhere. So why do you feel so lonely?

The immediate answer in recent years usually blames Social media “it isolates us somewhat,” one counselor told me. That’s true; one friend said she’s made a New Year’s resolution to reach out by phone rather than messenger. But surely there is more to it than that…

I strongly believe the “love yourself” phrases and ideologies have hurt our culture much, much more than they have helped. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to love ourselves. (Jesus did refer to loving ourselves, in the sense that we already do. But he did not direct us to do so.)

True belonging only occurs when we become other-centric. By focusing on others, on their needs/wants/desires, we become more like Jesus. Isn’t that our goal? Jesus’ way of caring needs to flow from you and me down to those who are struggling. If we are walking with Him and focusing on lifting up others, we lose the lonely, isolated feeling and instead feel the depth of  true joy – God-joy, a feeling that is a result of our faith. This deep, honest joy can only be experienced by true believers. Loneliness becomes a thing of the past.

Reference:

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5).

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to love ourselves.

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Changes in Attitude

Being a freelance writer/entrepreneur, I’m always trying to improve on things. One of the areas I’m working on right now is spending enough hours per week writing. When you work for yourself, if you don’t write you don’t get paid, end of story.

I used to be a lot better at BIC (Butt in Chair) than I am right now. There are many reasons excuses. Those are the cause for my title, Changes in Attitude. It isn’t my office, desk, husband, appetite, editor, book subject, or anything else – it’s my attitude, or call it mindset if you will, that’s got to change.

I need to spend more time writing. Not surfing the Internet, playing a game, petting the dogs, or my favorite excuse: Eating. In years past I’ve done this little study where, when I become unproductive, I make myself write down what I am doing every 15 minutes for 3 days. You get honest real fast when you have to write TV four times in a row, and it was 2 pm.

I didn’t do that today; instead I wrote a note that said I was going to spend 4 90-minute sessions working on ONE project. (I read someplace that we do our best work in 90-minute segments followed by a break). Working this way, walking the dogs in between (dogs were thrilled) I pounded out more than I have in the past month. And I enjoy checking things off, so I got to put my little marks by the “4”.

Another helpful part of freelancer-gets-back-on-track is this cool app, Momentum. If you use Chrome, it is worth a try. It shows you a beautiful scene along with the words “What is your focus today” and if you fill it in, it prints that as your to-do plastered right in the center of the screen. Very helpful as a reminder to stay off the Internet, too.

Can you believe it’s almost Easter?

Me neither. I did manage to create some digital cards, though — Easter cards you print onto card stock from your computer! And they’re lavender! Get them here.

Enjoy Life

While working on the attitude/mindset change, balance is also important. I have to remember to enjoy life by getting my head out of work and into something meaningful. If you are that way too, remember to spend a few minutes every day seeking joy around you. Here are a few things from my list:

  • Work on something meaningful
  • Listen to good music
  • Read a good book
  • Watch the sunset
  • Help someone

Medication Alert

I was startled to learn that antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin (both of which I’ve taken in the past) have terrible, disabling side effects. Did you know about this?

The antibiotics are used for sinusitis, bronchitis, and other illnesses – but they can cause permanent problems with tendons, muscles, joints, nerves….hallucinations…

I first learned of this in this article

https://mountainsandmustardseedssite.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/this-antibiotic-will-ruin-you/

and I double checked it with the FDA here. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm500143.htm

Please read the warnings, they are quite serious.

Have a great weekend! I know I will — I am crafting with friends tomorrow. 🙂

 

 

 

friday five

He Has Numbered the Stars

“He has numbered the stars, and calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

I’ve created a colorful new bookmark/Journaling tag for you today with the above verse on it. You will receive:

(1) a margin tag/bookmark 2 inches wide (the size that fits my Bible)

(2) a margin tag/bookmark 1-1/2 inches wide (it fits most other Bibles)

(3) two different journaling cards, one with lines and one without, for writing your thoughts. They can be taped into your Bible, or simply tucked in.

All are on the Freebies page — go here!

 

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Friday Five March 17

Five Tips to Help You Grow, Develop, Flourish

This has been one wild week. I have 2 publishers waiting on books that… keep getting pushed to the back burner. Aaaaagh.

Yesterday I painted – my class is called “paint with a pro” and the teacher is awesome (here’s some of his work). Well it was less than 50 degrees, and I swear the wind chill was about 30. I know for most people that’s not so cold, but when you live in Florida your blood gets thin, so I never really warmed up, you know?

Anyway… here are Friday’s Five:

Hand Lettering

A couple weeks ago, my son and I discovered that we both separately developed an interest in calligraphy. As I searched online, I found that calligraphy has become quite a thing. Look at Amazon’s best selling calligraphy pens – they vary from Pentel pens to a Hogwart’s quill!

More exciting, I found that in working on it my regular (illegible) handwriting has improved! So now I’m more motivated than ever to master it.

Here are some of our favorite sites for calligraphy or handwriting:

https://thepostmansknock.com/ Lindsey offers both free and very inexpensive worksheets, and tons of great tips.

Dawn Nicole recommends brush calligraphy; she also offers free downloads, and a 30-day challenge.

http://www.1001fonts.com/calligraphy-fonts.html  I include this one because you can look at the fonts and copy the ones you find interesting.

Faust does giant calligraphy-style graffiti.

Sleep Schedules

I finally slept last night for the first time in at least 3 weeks. Usually I wake up every hour or two, with one long (2-4 hour) period of wakefulness in the middle. This article suggests staying awake all night to re-set your sleep pattern! I was almost desperate enough to try it; someone told me loss of a single night’s sleep increases the odds of psychopathology by 60%.

I’ve tried essential oils, melatonin, sleepy teas, music, silence, and I have a great bedtime routine. What do you use to fight insomnia?

Simplifying

I keep working ok I think and read about, and occasionally work at, simplifying. We had a garage sale and raised over $1,000 and managed not to bring *most* of it back in the house.

But some items do better online, like eBay. I have a bunch of items going on eBay, but that venue hasn’t worked so well for me in the lasts 2,3 years. I’ve been on eBay since ’98, when it was wonderful. Over time, it went slowly downhill. Now I am so glad to learn they’ve made one major change, which I consider to be a big PLUS for sellers: EBay is removing its 3rd-party ads and allowing sellers to place a promoted listing in that spot instead. The 4th and 5th spots will be dedicated to promoted listings, and they will have the word “promoted” on them.

They’re also working at other ways to drive traffic to eBay. I think that’s really great news for eBay sellers.

This blog explains sponsored ads for eBay sellers.

Going Paperless

In an effort to continue fighting clutter, I’ve gone paperless. This has been a slow process and I don’t have it down yet. One tool I’m using is Evernote. It’s an online note storage system where you can put unlimited photos, links, clippings of web pages, and more. To do that, you’ll need to set up notebooks, which will be extremely personal, as they’re tailored to you. Here are mine:

!Inbox (anything you start with a ! will show up first; I want the Inbox at the top)

Art and Craft Business

Blogging

Books in Progress

Books Read 2017

Challenges (where I put notes about various painting or craft challenges)

Cricut (where my friends and I keep a list of our craft cartridges, so we can share them)à this list can be viewed from each of our Evernote accounts)

Family

House Hunt

Illustrations

Jokes

Quotes

Reference

Shopping (I’ve linked up hubby so we can share the list)

Statistics (don’t even remember what stats I’m tracking)

Today (to do list, which I forgot was there and don’t use)

Web Stuff (Miscellaneous clippings that don’t fit everywhere else)

As you can see, most of mine pertains to writing books but you can fix it however you want. I love it! I’ve already cleaned out one whole desk drawer (not an easy feat for a hoarder like me) and I’m working on another one.

To get the full use out of Evernote, you might want Evernote essentials which is $9.99 for the paperback but if you do the paperless, Kindle Unlimited version it’s free.

How to Praise God

If you don’t attend church regularly, or you do but you aren’t one of the hand-lifter / hallelujah crowd, you might wonder how you can “praise” God. We’re often told to praise him first thing (in prayer) and praise him daily, but so often no one tells us how.

I’m going to try to explain it.

Praise flows out of our sense of wonder for the Creator. It is something we choose to do, both to give him glory and to help us build a deeper relationship with him.

Praise to God can be done either outwardly or inwardly. Inward means in our thoughts. You might say something like “God, I am so glad to be a part of your world; I want to praise you in every way!” You might quote a Psalm – like Psalm 150. When your heart is grateful to God, you’re probably already thanking, exalting, and praising him; you just didn’t give it that name.

Outward expressions might be singing a song to God, or doing art or music that you use to honor him. You could state your praise publicly. You could pray a pre-written prayer. Dan Burke admits this felt a little awkward at first, and describes how he personalized it.

Dr. Michael Youssef explains that praise “teaches us to be joyful and thankful regardless of our circumstances.” Perhaps that explains why some people are so good at remaining joyful; they practice praise. And, if we aren’t feeling so great, praise him anyway – it is important to commit to doing so, and to follow through. Which it turn teaches us to be thankful regardless of our circumstances … so it’s a circle.

In addition to Psalm 150, I like Psalm 95 and 98.   And Exodus 15:11 “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?….”

When we praise God, he works in us and through us. He honors us and protects us. Others might see our praise and come to know him.

Changes Again

If you’re female and over the age of six, you’ve heard of Stampin’ Up, a resource for card-making supplies like stamps, cardstock, ink, and so on. I have been a SU demonstrator for awhile, but just took the plunge and set up my website. I won’t be discussing it much here (it’s not the purpose of this blog) so if you need Stampin Up supplies, this is the link to my store and here’s my blog where I will (eventually!) show some card-making techniques.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that, should you choose to use them, will compensate me for the referral. 

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One Sentence You Need to Let Go of Right Now

Choose Prayer gif


We all have times when we think our circumstances can’t change, or we think there’s no way this can work out. We have dreams no one else knows about, but we’re fairly sure they’ll remain just that: dreams. We struggle because we really secretly want that dream, or the change in that circumstance, or a solution to a problem. We want someone’s health to improve. We want our child to do well in school.

You know what really bothers me? When we say “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it.”

As we say it, the shoulders sort of shrug and the posture’s a little hunched. “I guess…” is equivalent to saying, “I know this really isn’t a solution, but I can’t think of anything better at the moment.”

I guess we’ll just have to pray about it. I guess, until something better comes along, we can pray. Maybe that will hold us in place until we find the real solution.

And we’ll just have to. Just: a lowly place. Have to: something we don’t want to do.

You know what really bothers me? When we say “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it.”

So we’re shrugging, a little stooped, lowly, not really desiring to go to the Lord in prayer for our answer. Mumbling a stop-gap.

Now, wait just a minute. I’m a believer. I believe in God the Father. I believe, in fact I KNOW he can work behind the scenes and inside of people, inside the ones in this circumstance. Inside me, inside you – he can create change. And He’s there before we get there, working on that change. He knew the change was needed before you did. Before I even thought about it.

In Him there is strength and wisdom. He holds the knowledge – the key to this situation.

Now, God will let the circumstance or process go on if it means your disappointment, your struggle, your heartache will ultimately prosper you. It might help you grow. It might help you heal. It might help you see God differently. Faith sees us through that part.

And if you don’t give up – you will be prepared for the wonderful-ness that He has in store for you. (You weren’t thinking about giving up, were you?) He promises that with Him, all things are possible! That’s power. You have options – you aren’t stuck in that circumstance, or a hundred light years away from that dream. You can walk directly beside Him by trusting Him, by praying to Him about it and believing He will make the changes that are best for you, and praising Him throughout all the good and bad times.  Praise him when your spouse leaves a note on the table saying she’s moved out. Praise him when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Praise him when you with your human viewpoint can’t imagine how that addiction is ever going to be cured.

Choose to trust Him, and in choosing it you are also electing to live your life differently. You’re able to look for His goodness and “taste and see” what He has in store. You can relax, knowing who’s got your back. You know His strength, and you’ve put your trust in it.

When you have chosen this path, your posture will be a little straighter, your voice will be stronger, more commanding, and the next time “I guess we’ll just have to pray about it” will become “Let’s pray.”

Let’s take it to the Lord. Let’s find out from the Almighty, the Creator, the All-knowing, All-seeing One – yeah let’s see what He has to say about it.

There is power in the name of God.

Choose trust. Choose faith. Choose prayer.

Related Verse
“…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26, NIV

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