Easy DIY Freshener

I have two active kiddos. I have two kitties that come with three litter boxes. We are on the go most of the time. Read: many sources of stinky/stale air. Today, I saw something on Pinterest that I thought was worth a try. It was so simple to make and I'm so happy with the results, I had to share!

You need a spray bottle, 4 Tablespoons of baking sofa, 1 cup of hot water and a 1/4 cup of Downy Unstoppable. I'm not going to lie, I was a little surprised at the cost of the Unstoppable, but decided I want to give it a try so I bought it anyway. I'm so glad I did. It will make so many batches that it is worth the cost.

Mix all the ingredients and let sit and dissolve. Once the baking sofa and Unstoppable have dissolved, pour into your spray bottle and top off with more warm water. Shake well, then spray!

My house smells amazing! I hung my spray bottle in the laundry area and will grab it again when I want to freshen things up.

I read if you wanted a more natural room freshening spray, you can use the essential oil of your choice.

I'm really happy with this little project. Let me know if you give it a try!

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It's T-Day

Not every one will get this. And for you, I'm happy. But for others, on a regular basis, we share our kids with their other parent. Each co-parent team has their own schedule. And sharing is hard.

For us, most of the time, we are week on, week off. The kids are champs. They go from one house to the other then back again. They never miss a beat. I'm really so proud of them for how they have handled this life change so smoothly. They didn't ask for this.

T- Day. For me (and many others too I would imagine), Transition Day (Get it? T-Day) is the hardest day. The day when they kids go back to their dad's house. To be honest, it actually starts the night before. As we start to wind down, I can't help but think about how tomorrow they will be gone. I feel a little more clingy. I give lots of hugs and tell them I love them over and over. Then, once they are back with their dad, I drive away and I want to reach out to them via text and tell them "I miss you already".

I know this is what I signed up for. It is the price of being divorced. And truthfully, it sucks. I love my kids with all I've got. I am so proud of who they are becoming. I'm so thankful for for my kiddos. I'm thankful for their laughter. Im thankful for their good health. I'm thankful for the chaos. I'm thankful for FaceTime which allows me talk to them each night before bed. And I'm thankful for phones so I can text them any time.

T-Day is hard. Tomorrow will be a little easier. My week will fly by and soon they will be back in my nest. I'm glad they have a Dad who wants to spend half their life with them. I know this is what's best for the kids in this situation. But it's never easy to let them go.

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Random Act of Kindness

This weekend, my son had a sleepover to celebrate his upcoming 12th birthday party. The good news for mom is that parties for this age are so much easier than when they were little. This group of guys played football in the front yard for most of the time, both Friday night and again on Saturday morning. I fed them and provided adult supervision but these guys were happy to be big kids doing big kid things.

At one point, close to dinner time, there were 8 boys playing in the front yard. I decided it was time to order the party food. Lucky for me I live right across the street from a local pizza shop. So I ordered a few pizza's while the kids played on.

I got the pizza home but wasn't quite ready to feed the masses so I let them continue their game. A few minutes later, the kids came in and said the pizza shop owner came over and told them a woman just bought the kids playing football across the street a pizza! Sure enough, we got another pizza!

This was such a simple act of kindness. For a few hours, I struggled with not being able to thank anyone. I texted my neighbor to see if it was him. I asked "did you buy an extra pizza for the boys?" He responded, "no, should I?" Oops! Guess I should have explained why I was asking first, haha! I finally decided to let it be what it was meant to be. A gift. And I wanted to share about how this stranger did something that was a huge help to this Momma at a time that really mattered.

Have you ever done something like that? Or been on the receiving end of someone's random act of kindness? It feels a little weird at first, and then it feels really good.

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My Child is Anxious

I have anxiety. This is nothing new. What breaks my heart is that my daughter, at 10 years old seems to be displaying signs of anxiety too. On one hand, I'm glad I know anxiety well, because I understand that it isn't rational. I understand the physical symptoms. I understand you can't just talk it away. On the other hand, my heart hurts because I am very familiar with all these things and I hate my child is experiencing the same struggles.

She worries at night that someone will break in and hurt us. It doesn't matter if she's at my house or her father's. She is fearful. I have an alarm system which seems to help but I still see the anxiety in her face at times. Undid some research a year or so ago, and it seems to be a somewhat common fear. It started for her around the age where she realized that bad things happen in our world. But it has been off and on for about 3 years and when I think she's "outgrown" this fear, it seems to start over again.

Last night, she was at her dad's and I started getting texts around 10 saying she was scared. She very wisely limits what she watches. She is very sensitive to violence. She watches almost nothing with violence. I've tried to talk to her, point out, nothing has ever happened bad before, so we have a good track record...we are safe. I've tried to joke the fear out of her...there's nothing in this house people would want to break in for...we are safe. We pray for peace. We talk about the windows and doors are locked...we are safe. But it never helps. So I lay in bed and feel guilty because she is laying scared in her bed fearful that something that most likely will never happen, will happen.

I've tried so many things I could think to do or say on my own that never seemed to help, so I began researching children with anxiety. First I found, I was saying the wrong things. Not because I'm a bad parent but because by trying to tell her there is nothing to be afraid of, I was minimizing her fear. I'm not too worried about this though since I do understand first hand what anxiety is like. And I also know in my heart, that my words were always very well thought out to try to avoid minimizing her fears.

Anyway, on to what I think worked. I told her I wanted her to think of what makes her happy. Specifically, I wanted her to think about getting her favorite pony at the barn, ready to ride. I wanted her to go through each step of getting him tacked up. And to think of the details. Think about what he feels like when you brush him. And the smell of your saddle. What noises does the pony make? Then I told her, after the pony is tacked up, imagine you get to ride him anywhere you want to on the farm. (When she takes her lessons, she always rides in a ring, I thought it would be neat if she could think about riding anywhere on the farm).

I told her I wanted her to think of as many details as she could because I believed that thinking about this happy routine would help her relax.

Her first response was " Ok. That might be hard because then I remember why I'm thinking about that and that it's because I'm scared". For a second, I deflated, but then I told her, "that's ok, then you have to take that pony in your mind, back to the beginning and start over". We said goodnight and I prayed she would sleep soon.

This morning I texted her and asked her if it helped. Was she able to fall asleep? She said it did help! Visualization isn't a new thing. It's just a new technique for my girl to try. And there is nothing that girl loves as much as riding the pony. This is somethings she's done almost 5 years. It is something she is passionate about. And it worked! I don't know if it will always work but it worked last night so I'm hopeful I've found a coping strategy for my girl that she can use when she finds herself anxious. Time will tell.

There are many strategies for dealing with anxiety. I'm not against medication at all, been on it myself. But for now, I'd rather find ways for my girl to learn to work through her anxiety and use medication as a very last resort. It's hard to watch your kiddos suffer. Especially when what they are anxious over is something in their mind.

If you have a child in your life that is anxious, what have you tried? We all love our children and it would be great if we could share our successes.

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What Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety...this is a word you hear so often in our culture. Everyone has it from time to time. But for some, it can be debilitating. And anxiety can look and feel different for each person.

For me, I feel anxiety physically as well as mentally. And it is exhausting. I feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest. And no matter how deep a breath I take, I cannot get enough air into my lungs. When I feel this way, I recognize it is anxiety and focus on my breathing. Sometimes, I remind myself that anxiety makes me uncomfortable but it cannot hurt me.

Anxiety can consume me mentally, which is much worse then the physical symptoms I deal with. I get stuck on a thought. I can't let it go. It's always about something I have no control over. And the more I think about it the more out of control it gets. And the panic sets in.

For example, last week I was very nervous about my 6th grader walking to school because he had to cross a busy intersection. For two days, all I could think about was him getting hit by a car. I'm sure this isn't unheard of. But when my anxiety takes over, I can't let it go. It just replays over and over. The thing about anxiety is it is pointless. It doesn't change anything. By it is very real and for those who suffer, it can be so damaging.

I'm happy to say that my anxiety doesn't run my life anymore. I have moments. And some of them feel like real doozies but it's not every day. Anxiety isn't rational. And I recognize it for what it is, which only helps a little but it does help. Knowing what it is doesn't make it go away but it does make it better to know that it will pass.

I'm writing about anxiety today because last night I was in the car with someone who also has anxiety. We were pulling into an awful parking lot. And while everyone was commenting on the terrible parking lot (it's a corner lot, shaped like an awkward triangle where some of the spots back out into the road...but the pizza's great!), my fellow anxiety sufferer says "this parking lot is like what anxiety feels like". Her words struck me. They were powerful. It occurred to me that this tiny space was scary and chaotic and felt dangerous. I usually describe how anxiety feels as the weight on my chest. But she created a very good visual of what it can feel like. And this comment prompted my thoughts on anxiety.

So many suffer. And for those who do not, it must be so hard to understand those who do. Anxiety is one of those things, it doesn't discriminate. People with anxiety are normal people. Living normal lives. But, we are not alone. I feel pretty confident, that most people either know anxiety well or know someone who suffers with anxiety. And it looks different on each of us.

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The Night Before School Starts

It's here. The night before school starts. There are a lot of firsts for us tomorrow. I have one entering middle school and one beginning her last year of elementary school. Where has the time gone?

We've bought new clothes and binders and pencils and pens. Calculators and highlighters and dry erase markers too. We've bought a ridiculous number of folders (seriously, one child was told to bring in 12!). We've taken our practice walks to school and talked about what time to leave.

I guess you could say we are ready for school tomorrow. At least the kiddos are. Me? I'm mostly ok. I'm actually excited for both of them. But I'm also kinda trying to beat down the panic because both of my kids will now be walking...walking to either the bus stop or all the way to school.

I didn't see the panic coming with this one. I myself was a walker. Starting in 4th grade, I walked 26 blocks each way to school (no, it wasn't uphill both ways but there was one nasty crossing guard).
I did this for two years and was fine. I've often thought back to some of those days. I've never thought my parents were mean or that I was scared. I just had to walk to and from school.

The problem is this. I've spent so much time and energy keeping my kiddos safe, now I worry I haven't properly prepared them. I don't know if I am a classic helicopter parent because I have some tough views on parenting (yes, I let my infants cry themselves to sleep. Judge me if it makes you feel better. But my kids were sleeping through the night by 3 months old and I never looked back). I am part Tough Love. And I am part...keep them out of that situation because they could get hurt. I don't grossly cater to my kids (they pack their own lunches). But I realized tonight, my son will be 12 in a few weeks and he has almost never crossed the street on his own. In my defense, I live on a busy street. And drivers are so preoccupied with their phones and everything else...right?

So here I am, the night before I send him off to school on his own and I'm panicking because how will I know if he's safe? He hasn't had to look in every direction as he crossed streets because I've always done it. Ugh...

What can I do? Like I mentioned above, we've taken a few practice walks to the school. I've talked to him about constantly looking around (but don't make eye contact). Watch for turning cars because if the drivers are running late, they won't be looking for you. I told him to stop and really look before stepping into the road. We talked about which side of the street will be safer (traffic-wise). And that's it. That's all I get. I will pray he is safe and that he remember what I've tried to share with him.

I know in a few days, this will be our new routine and I'll just laugh about all this. I know enough about myself to realize this is just because its new. But it still sucks. Because if I had thought ahead I would have seen this coming and he and I would both be better prepared.

I know I haven't done anything wrong. It just struck me that in my efforts to keep my children safe, I fear I have stunted their growth. They will be fine. I will also be ok. I know this too. But I am really looking forward to tomorrow after work when I get to hear all about the first day. A lot of firsts for us tomorrow. That's scary, but exciting too. I'll be praying hard for the safety of my kiddos and for my own peace of mind. When you think about it, it's all the "firsts" that make us stronger.

Are you ready for school to start? Have you struggled with a moment of "I should have let them..."? How do you "hold on loosely"?

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The Trading Game

I kid you not, the conversation started like this.

Son: Mom, all summer (at day camp) there's been trading going on at the lunch table. But I've never done it. Today I gave it a try.

Mom: (remembering the days of youth, where I too traded lunch items) I responded...Really? How did that go?

(Remind me next time not to ask, haha)

Son: Great! I got a 6 inch sub!

Mom: What?!?!

Son: (still impressed with himself) Yeah, I traded an Oatmeal Creme pie and got a sub! That worked so well, I traded a pack of Smarties for a bag of chips!

Enter teachable moment....ok kiddo. It's fun to trade part of your lunch. I remember doing it. And I don't mind if you do. BUT, let's make a rule where you only trade side items, not the main meal.

I went on to say the other kiddo (who was 13 and should know better) didn't have a real lunch because he traded it away. Now my son began to feel bad and worry about the kid with no sandwich. While processing all this, he relays to me that he didn't trade for the sub from the kid who brought it. The sub had been traded once before he traded for it. Hmmm.....

He did make a point of saying if it was in a Baggie he would not have traded for it. But this sub was still wrapped in the paper and sealed with a sticker, so it looked safe. (Score one for mom teaching her kids to not take food that could be contaminated....I think?)

I'm not mad at my kiddo at all. It's kind of funny to me. I feel bad for the kid with no real lunch and the parents that paid for my sons extra meal. The Trading Food Do's and Don't's conversation hadn't happened yet but I'm happy to report, we survived it.

Kids are great. I love living through their experiences. At least the funny ones. Do your kids trade at lunch? Have you set ground rules?

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You Know You're Old When...

You remember when the Internet was invented. I was talking to a co-worker and mentioned that I remember when the Internet became a "thing". I was in college when the Internet became popular.

I had heard of the Internet but did not understand it at all. I was very hesitant to use it because it seemed very scary. How does this computer that I type research papers on, actually know how to research information? I admit, I used it as little as possible.

I'm not sure when I started using the World Wide Web but now I use google countless times a day! We do so much different because of the Internet. People read less paper copy newspapers and magazines. Libraries now have digital books. And I'd guess that most research is done online as opposed to the searching through the card catalog and tracking down the smelly research book on the shelf.

As I finished laughing at my own expense while recalling my fear of the unknown, my co-worker responded with "don't tell people that, you don't look old enough to have lived that". And this statement made me laugh again! Which made me think of Java Talk and sharing this "remember when?" moment of before using the Internet was a way of life.

Do you remember before there was Internet? Were you hesitant like me or did you jump right in and begin the life of instant answers?

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The Power of Music

I love music. I think most people enjoy music. It has the power to bring back memories. It can be uplifting. When we are feeling down, sad music might be our choice. It can make the mood or feed the mood.

Make the mood? For me, I love a good "bouncy song". These are the songs that I turn up in the car and, you guessed it....bounce to as I sing along. Feed the mood? I think it's pretty normal to pull out a certain CD when we are having our low days. When I was in college, it was Sarah McLachlan. Everyone is different. Music move us in different ways. But I imagine it moves most of us.

You have the break-up songs. And the empowering songs. The current favorite of my girl is "Fight Song". When this song comes on, she sings louder and prouder. I hear it. I love it. I join in.

This weekend, my cousin and I went to the Mixtape Festival. Together we relived the soundtrack of our teenage years. It was great! We endured a downpour then sat through hours in the hot sun to make more memories enjoying the music we grew up listening to.

We had so much fun. A lot of laughing. And reminiscing. Music is powerful. Within a few beats, we were transported to many years back, giggling and sharing the "remember whens". I loved it.

Some people are drawn to the musical portion of a song. I'm definitely one who pays attention to lyrics. Music can be very emotional, good and bad. A song can take you back to a specific place or with a certain person.

Would you agree that music is powerful? Does music make your world better? What are your thoughts?

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Genius Idea Alert!

I just saw something great. Such a simple idea really. But so smart that it will change how you handle this task from now on. So easy that I can't believe I didn't think of this myself. Or at least know someone who thought of it.

What is it? What is this handy idea that the moment I saw it (on Pinterest of course), I hopped over to Java Talk to spread the news?

Ok, ok, I'll tell you. It is what I would call a "life hack" for hanging pictures on the walls. If you are anything like me, behind each picture on my walls, is most likely an splattering of holes. Eventually I get it right enough, and they are covered up anyway, so who cares? Right?

Tiny hole smatterings will happen no more! Next time I have something I want to hang, I am going to dab a bit of toothpaste on the back, where I want the nails to be. Then I'll press the frame against the wall. And when I remove the frame from the wall...da...da...da-da! The toothpaste will be on the wall as a marker for where those nails should go. Simple. Almost too easy. Why didn't I think of that? I don't know who came up with this little shortcut, but as you can tell, I'm thrilled that I found it. And I can't wait to give it a try.

Have you ever used this trick when you hang something? Have you found another way to help decorate the walls without all the damage? I'd love to hear what's worked well for you.

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Getting Creative To Get It Done

If we are friends in life, you will know I've started boxing again. I've already written about how much I've missed boxing over the past few years. For years I was a cardio junkie. Loved just about everything I did. Zumba, step aerobics, high interval training...and many more types of workouts. But then I discovered boxing and nothing else mattered to me. Couldn't keep my interest.

As I've already mentioned, I've missed the feel of the gloves. The sound of the punch connecting with the focus mitt. As well as the feel of the impact of the glove hitting hard.

I'll be honest. I have a bag. It isn't even filled. It's sitting in my garage. In the past I've included time on the bag into my workout. But over the past few years, the bag has yet to draw me in. Mostly because I like working out with a partner. But also, because it's an inconvenience to buy all the sand and actually fill the bag. I get the feeling I'll be filling it soon though.

Why am I writing all this? I'm writing because I wanted to share that sometimes when we want to do something, we have to be creative to make it happen. For years, I've missed boxing but I didn't have anyone to partner with. A gym membership is no longer in my budget. No boxing. End of story.

A few weeks ago, I had a great idea. Offer to teach my friends. Teach them how to throw punches as well as how to catch them. And then we can switch back and forth, both getting a great workout in. Everybody wins!

It's worked. Each week I hope to box two or three times a week. So far, there has been a lot of interest and I'm thrilled to be hitting again. In the last several weeks, I've met my workout goal each week. I love that my list of partners keep growing. This way my workout doesn't become a burden on someone else. The longer the list, the more likely there will be someone available to workout when it fits into my crazy schedule.

It took me a few years, but I got tired of "missing boxing". So I had to think outside the box. And it's paying off. What have you been putting off? What have you wanted to do but because you hit a proverbial wall, you continue to wish you could? I encourage you to get creative and find a way to make it happen. If I can do it, you can do it!

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Best Dessert Maker

This weekend my girlie made dessert for our family dinner. It was super yummy and I'm sure very bad for you. But with the chocolate and peanut butter combination, it just can't be wrong. And if it is wrong, then I definitely do not want to be right!

At this point, the cake was made (in the crockpot!) and the mini peanut butter cups were already cut in half. She had made the peanut butter glaze and was topping it off.

It was fun watching her bake for us. And it was great getting to enjoy her delicious dessert. She did a great job. Watching the kiddo's get older and gain independence can be bittersweet. This was one of those times that was fun and just the perfect amount of sweet!

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Happy Moments

Life can be tough. Real tough at times. Thankfully there are happy moments too. As I try to find the joy in my journey, I find myself being intentional about thinking about happy moments.

One of my favorites is the moment that Mike asked me to marry him. I love to close my eyes and think about it. I can't really recall another moment in my life that I can remember so clearly. I believe this moment has such a strong pull, not only because the man I want to grow old with asked me to marry him. But also because I had my eyes closed when this moment happened. My eyes were closed so my other senses were engaged.

It was my birthday. And I was surrounded by the people I love most. When the gifts were opened, Mike stands up saying he didn't wrap my gift so I had to close my eyes. In that moment, I remember smiling big and thinking to myself "I love this man so much. He knows me so well. Knows I hate wrapping gifts so he didn't wrap my gift, knowing I would be completely ok with an unwrapped gift." Literally, that is what was going through my mind.

I was not expecting, that while my eyes were closed and my smile was big, he was getting on his knees in front of me and all my loved ones surrounding me. The next thing I heard was this man who has brought so much joy into my life, asking me to marry him. My eyes flew open and I said yes. This was probably the most perfect moment of my life so far.

Memories are strong. That can be a gift. It's been months since that day but occasionally I find myself thinking about that exact moment. As I close my eyes again and recall this very special memory, I remember having such a fantastic day surrounded by the most important people in my life. There had been a lot of laughter, good food and fun. And finally there was a great future to celebrate.

I was 39 before I experienced a moment in my life that I can recall with such an emotional response. That's ok. This memory is pretty perfect in my mind and will be pretty tough to beat. Have you been lucky enough to have a memory you can close your eyes and it feels like you are back in that special moment?

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The Hardest Part

Five years ago, I had no need or desire to ever work again. The same is not true today. This week has been a tough week at work. Very long hours, late hours, on call overnight, and the stress that goes along with all of this.

One thing that occurred to me yesterday. Yes, I'm tired of this schedule. I'm tired of getting home in time for bed, to wake up at normal time (I can't sleep in anymore) then go to work late. But I like working. I like what I do. It is challenging. There is definitely frustrating aspects to what I do. But I am so thankful for a job that I like to go to (Monday through Friday, from 8-5. Haha!)

The hardest part about being a working mom, is nothing shocking. It's the mom part. I've talked about this before. And it's all still true. School/activity schedules, days off, parental involvement in the kids academic world, all has to work around my Monday through Friday work schedule. I have a little flexibility and can attend some things for my kiddos during the day and for that I am grateful. But it's not the same as when I was home. I took my kids to school and picked them up after. Packed lunches. Volunteered in the classrooms. Went on field trips. Things I did for the fun and experiences. Now I feel stressed when I'm asked to send something in for a class party. I want to help, but it's just "one more thing" I have to get done. Usually I do it, but it's a burden, not a pleasure.

Not working is no longer an option for me. And I'm happy to say, I'm ok with that. I just wish there was some way to be a working mom without all the guilt and missing out on so much where my kids are concerned. Again, I know this is not a new problem and I imagine all working moms are very familiar with the struggle. It's just something that's on my mind right now. In a few weeks, my oldest begins middle school and my youngest starts her final year in elementary school. It is all going so fast. I am so blessed to be a mom. And grateful for a job that I like to go to each day.

Working moms, what is your biggest struggle? How do you work around it?

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Letter To Me

Every once in a while, I feel reflective. Today is one of those days. I'm thinking about what I would say to my younger self. As different ideas were rolling through my head, I decided to ask a few of my co-workers what they would say to their younger selves. What they shared was very interesting.

The first things to come to mind, are listed below.

1. Do what you want to do. Go to school and be what you want to be. You will have to get up and go to work every day. You want to be happy with your choice.

2. Have more fun. Taking life too serious is stressful and it can rob you of the every day joys in life.

3. You are enough. You are enough in your school life. In your work life. In your relationships. You are you, you are great. And you are enough.

The most interesting thing about this little list is that although I only wrote down one of these myself. Both of the other thoughts are ones I've definitely said about my life more than once in the past. Three different individuals. Three different journeys. I find it fascinating that we would say very similar things to our younger selves.

What would you say to the younger you?

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These Encouraging Words

First, I want to say, thank you for reading Java Talk. Then I want to say, I'm still here. It's been a crazy few weeks. And work is a bit overwhelming right now. So today, I'm going to share a few happy thoughts that I really need to keep in mind. I thought, if I need a few warm and fuzzy words, maybe you would appreciate them as well.

Today, I choose to remember...

1. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

2. Don't stop when you're tired. Stop when you're done!

3. Stay strong beautiful!

4. Keep going no matter what.

5. Above all, I keep reminding myself that I AM Blessed.

The next week will fly by and things will settle down. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I will think on these little words of wisdom. I have to be mindful of a grateful attitude. And I will continue to look for ways to find joy in the journey.

When you are feeling the pressure caving in, what are the words that come to mind that help you keep focused and keep moving forward?

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The Power Of Trust

Trust is a necessary part of being human. We aren't meant to be alone and to live this life on our own. But to have part in a life where you depend on others in any way, requires trust.

Some relationships, you just begin with trust. I'm thinking of a child trusting in their parents. It doesn't occur to a child to NOT trust their parent. If a child doesn't trust their parent, it is learned through experiences.

We need trust in friendships. There are many different levels of friendship and the closer the friendship, the deeper the level of trust.

The more vulnerable you are with a person, the more trust is required of you. This is true with family, a significant other and with friends. This becomes tricky because I believe we need at least one person to be real with. One person who knows your strengths and your flaws and accepts you anyway. A safe place.

There are other layers of trust as well. We trust when we contract a service, it will be provided. We trust if we go to work, we will get paid. In general, we trust that when someone says they will do something, they will do it.

The problem is that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all find ourselves at some point where we have let someone down. And then trust is in jeopardy. Trust can be innate or earned but once it is broken, it is hard to repair. Sometimes, it cannot be repaired.

I know for me, over the past few years I've wrestled with trusting people. I felt let down and betrayed by many people I felt close to and that hurt has been very hard to put aside. I'm no longer angry. I haven't been for some time but if I'm honest, it has made it nearly impossible to try to re-connect to most of those people. When that trust was broken, there wasn't anything left to say. I did attempt to reconcile with a few of those individuals. After some awkward attempts at conversation, I realized there was no going back to the friendships we had. And I no longer trusted them enough to even want to try to start over. This experience has also changed how I go into new friendships. I'm much more guarded. I don't think that's a bad thing, it just is.

Trust is a big deal. It is something we take for granted. Think about the people in your life that you trust. And be thankful. Think about the people in your life that trust you. And be thankful. For most of the people in our lives, trust is earned. And that is a privilege. Be careful with it.

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Happy Feet Are Here Again!

I don't do too many product reviews these days. And I want to be clear, I am not getting paid for this post in any way.

Last week I shared that I was sad because I was going to have to say goodbye to the days of my beloved flip flops (sniffle, sniffle). At the end of that post, I asked if anyone knew of a flip flop that existed that provided decent support. I was shocked and very happy to learn that there this does exist!!!!!

I had a few people make different recommendations. I did some quick research and then ordered a pair of Orthoheels by Vionic Tide.

They definitely cost more than I would like to pay for a pair of flip flops (about $65 from Amazon...with my Prime membership I had them on my feet in 2 days!). As you can see, I chose cute black, sparkly flip flops. (Ignore the peeling skin in the picture, I'm still recovering from my vacation at the beach.) And I love them.

The first day they were comfy but a little hard. They didn't hurt in any way, I could just feel a firm support. I have worn them almost exclusively since Sunday. And now they feel amazing. I am so happy that I am not leaving the days of flip flops behind me any time soon!

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing!

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Back At It Again!

If you read back far enough through Java Talk (as in 4 years ago) you will learn that I was a boxer. I didn't compete in a ring but boxing was my passion. I know it isn't very "girlie" and sounds very aggressive but boxing is where I found my inner strength.

It made me feel a power I didn't feel in any other part of my life. It was something I was good at. It changed my body. At a time in my life where I had so little confidence in myself, I found something I was good at.

I loved boxing so much, I started the journey to become certified to teach. There were some obstacles along the way but then I finally achieved my goal and got certified.

And then my world went tilt...Depression. Divorce. Full time employment. Learning to live on a budget. Who had the time or money to bother with exercise of any kind? Not me.

While my life has never been better, I've gained about 25 pounds. When it comes to weight and food, I still have a few demons to beat. One day at a time, right? For the past two years, I've exercised pretty regularly but it's usually a struggle. I don't want to do it. It's not fun. It's something I have to do. Get it done and enjoy the rest of my day. Over the last three years, there have been so many moments where I have truly missed boxing. But it's not a very good solo sport.

I recently had a great idea (if I do say so myself)! I will offer to teach my friends to box and then work out with them. It will look something like this: I teach 4 combinations. I will catch the punches. Then we switch, and I put on the gloves and my partner will catch my hits. We go through this cycle for 30, 40, 60 mins...however long works that day! It's a fantastic cardio workout and it will tone your body as well.

Most importantly to me, it feels so good. I've missed boxing so much (I know I keep saying this but it's true). I've missed the sound. I've missed the feeling of the impact. And working out is fun again! Score one for me! I've already boxed three times over the past several days. My goal is to find a buddy two or three times a week. I'll never have the body I had back then, but I'm ok with that. I have no desire to workout for hours each day or to give up food. I really just want to be healthy and to enjoy the exercise that helps me get there. It feels good after such a long break. To be refocused and to have a plan to make it happen again.

We should all strive to find something that we enjoy that will make us feel good about ourselves. Is there something you've been putting off? What needs I happen to get started?

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Why Are People So Angry?

Yesterday I drove to Hershey to pick my son up from hockey camp. On the way back we hit terrible stop and go traffic due to a very bad accident. We were crawling for miles. A trip that should have taken 25 mins took over an hour and I even ended up re-routing to sneak past the accident site.

Anyway...so I'm driving (creeping really) patiently and enjoying the bonus time with my boy. When all the sudden, a honk sounds off behind me. I'm in the center lane and I look in my rear view mirror to see this man pulling in behind me from the left lane. Not unusual, but this man, he was irrationally fired up. He met my eyes in my mirror and called me a "F** B**!" The raw anger shocked me. We were driving so slow and I was pleasantly crawling along with everyone else. He must have had his turn signal on and assumed I didn't let him over in my lane. Which maybe I am guilty of this, but not intentionally. I never saw his turn signal. We were driving so slowly I wasn't looking around at other cars because no one was getting anywhere.

The look on his face was scary. But then it got worse. As he switched from the center to the right lane, he continued to look at me and call me a B**. Over and over. And when he turned his head to face the road ahead of him, he kept an eye on me in the side view mirror and CONTINUED to call me a B**, a few more times.

I don't get it. I get frustrated with other drivers sometimes. I'm much more likely to say something along the lines of "thanks a lot jerk!" but then I move on. This man was so angry, over something I was unaware of.

Maybe he was late. Maybe he was tired of being stuck in traffic. Maybe his entire day sucked. But seriously? Even if I had intentionally refused his entrance into my lane (which I did not), how does that warrant such rage? If we had been stopped, I would have been fearful he would have approached me. What is wrong with people?

Take a breath...listen Buddy, we were all stuck. I was simply enjoying conversation with my son, waiting to make whatever slow progress I could make. Getting that angry with me didn't change anything. I even raised my hands and shoulders in the gesture to express..."What did I do? And I'm sorry". It made no difference as he railed against me until he literally could no longer see me in his mirror.

This left me a little shaken and very disturbed. I do not understand how such ugliness was his first response. I hope he got wherever he was going and was able to enjoy the rest of his night. I on the other hand, kept seeing his face in the mirror and kept seeing the pure anger in the reflection.

Today, I will be more mindful of being patient with other drivers. I would never want to leave such an impression on another driver. Let's all try to remember we are all headed somewhere. If we can keep our cool, we should all get there safely. Drive safe everyone.

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Powerful Words

While driving to work this morning, I heard on the radio as a DJ repeated very powerful words said by former President George W. Bush. He was speaking at the yesterday at the Dallas Police Memorial.

Think on these words....

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Kids have bigger hearts

The sweet logic of my ten year old daughter. She has had this theory and every time she uses this logic it makes my mommy heart smile. It makes no real sense, but I love when she starts supporting her side.

What is the argument, you ask? It's so simple, really. It's the one where one person says "I love you" and the other person responds, "I love you more". One day, my girl Mini went a step further and explained, that "kids have smaller bodies which means they have bigger hearts. So it's not possible for you (remember she was talking to me) to love me more than I love you".

Hmmm...not really following that logic kiddo. But she stands firm in this matter. In fact, for the past few years this has been her argument for how she knows she loves me more. And I love it. I love it every time she sends me a text to say good night, and she tells me she loves me. I respond, "I love you more". And she quickly sends back, "not possible".

Some nights, that is enough. It's our special thing. It makes me smile and miss her. I love this little game we play. Some nights, I'm missing her a little more and I am quick to ask, "what do you mean?" Which is when I get the full, play by play of how she loves me more. On those nights, it's exactly what I need.

I love the simple words my Girlie uses to express how much she loves me. It make my mommy heart smile and I feel so blessed. Have you had a special phrase or game you played with your kiddos that you'd like to share?

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Such A Sad Time

There has been so much violence in the United States lately. The news is constantly throwing images and stories at us. Actually it's been going on for years. It comes and goes in spurts. Currently, we are in an actively violent phase. It's upsetting on so many levels.

I don't have any answers. I can't erase the violence. The pain. The fear. I just don't understand. I do not get this type of violence in our world where people have no respect for the value of life. Why do people think they have the right to take the life of another? Why?

Why do we all have to look the same? Or think the same? Or dress the same? Isn't that the beauty of America being the Melting Pot? Yes, there are challenges when you live among people who are different than you. But why is this so hard? I understand, different can be scary. It takes a little effort. But it can also provide us an opportunity to learn. Learn about another culture. Learn about what is important to the people around us. This is a great big world, with so much to offer. Why can't we be who we are without forcing our ways on each other?

I don't know. Like I said, I don't have the answers. I don't understand how any one person can feel they have "the right" to take the life of another. For any reason. How did we get to the place where we respect the value of life so little? It makes me sad. And scared. And angry. It makes me worry about my children growing up in this atmosphere, which will most likely continue to get worse.

It is overwhelming. Fear can cause panic which can and does lead to more violence. It needs to stop. We need peace. We need forgiveness. We need patience. We need healing.

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Timber! Or Not.

I feel like I always have to learn things the hard way. I have to tell you, it's getting kind of old. Recently, I've learned the value of being patient and taking the time needed to find reviews on the service people that I hire to do work for me. I hope that doesn't sound snotty. It's not. Here's what has happened.

On June 7th, we had a freak storm with hail that lasted 5-10 mins. No big deal, right? Well, for me, that storm knocked two huge branches out of my enormous trees in the backyard. The debris fell in my yard and in my neighbors yard as well as across the fence between us. As far as damage, I was lucky. Very lucky. But I had a real problem on my hands. I have 30 plus foot trees in my yard and they needed trimmed or cut down and it needed to happen quick. They were calling for heavy storms by the end of the week.

Right away I start looking online for companies. I came across a local business and left a voicemail message. I called a little after 9pm so when I got a return call a few minutes later, I was impressed. The owner agreed to meet me before work the next morning.

And he did. He showed up. We looked over both my back and front yards. We talked estimates and the next thing I know, I'm signing an estimate. I felt very worried about the upcoming storm and this guy was here and offering to get started.

I signed the paper June 8th. He showed up a few days later (which was expected). I was under the impression this would be done between Friday and Saturday that week.

They showed up and had one mechanical problem after another. Finally, they drove off for the day. One tree mostly down. Debris all over my yard. Oh, and he had a verbal run in with my neighbor that had parts of my tree now laying across his backyard. (I had to smooth that over)

They showed up another day the next week. The first tree is down and a good start on tree number two. But they had to pack it in again....this time because a machine was "leaking hydraulic oil all over my yard". Ok, fine.

By this time, I'm now on vacation and I expect to be notified that it's all completed while I'm away. Guess what? More excuses. My favorite is the one where he tells me he's left me a few voicemails. Yeah, ok. (I hate being lied to).

At this point, I've paid for half the job. It seemed like a fair practice so I paid at the time, expecting this to wrap up within a few more days. Fast forward another week (yes, it has been over 3 weeks since this started and it still is not done) and I get the story that a tire was falling off another machine. (Seriously? What is wrong with this guy's equipment? This is how he makes a living, right?)

This has been my view for 3 weeks. One tree is down and gone. The other...is just hanging around.

On June 30th, I have texted him twice and called a few times (guess who's voicemail is full?) and now I'm very angry because I've had no response and I still have half a 30 ft tree in the back yard and he hasn't even STARTED the front yard.

So, I sent him another text that day stating our contract only outlined the cutting down and hauling away the two trees in the back yard. I told him in "all caps", DO NOT cut anything from the front yard. I explained I have been extremely patient, that I understand things come up and I even let him lie to me about him leaving me voicemails (I totally call BS on this one.) but now he needs to call me so we can talk about when he is going to finish the job (minus the front yard).

Surprise....I got a call. Full of excuses "I left three voicemails" and "didn't you get my text?" I hate to tell you buddy, I text all day long AND people leave me voicemail and I get each one, from everyone but you....whatever. (Did I mention I hate being lied to?). I want to give him a piece of my mind. I want to tell him to get his supplies (yes he has left some stuff in my yard for over three weeks!). But instead, I know I have paid him for half the job and he has done less than half the work. So I put on my "patient, I understand voice" and accept that he will be by in the morning. To finish the job in its entirety. (I call BS on this too)

July 1st and he calls and reiterates he and his crew are coming over to get to work. But what he really wanted to tell me is that they are calling for rain and "you know I can't control the weather...blah, blah, blah".

July 2nd he called again...more excuses, not coming until Wednesday or Thursday next week... I told him to come next week and finish the work I paid for but I made it very clear I have been extremely patient and I'm now over this process. I told him without question he is not to touch the front yard. He is to finish what was contracted for which he began but has not completed, clean up and get out. He agreed. I want this all behind me and now I have to have someone else take care of the front yard.

We will see how long this nightmare goes on. But I have definitely learned a few things from my new "buddy".

The two big ones are:
*get a time frame for the project to be completed.
*read reviews on the business.

I was feeling so overwhelmed by the trees falling, damage to the neighbor's yard, how am I going to pay for this and so many other thoughts that were racing through my brain, that I signed the paper without getting other estimates or checking reviews on this business. I find it so stressful to have to make these big homeowner decisions on my own. This will not happen again. I just want this all over with and behind me. I have paid for a service that was started over three weeks ago. I have been more than patient and I'm so over it. I don't think it is too much to ask for business owner to provide the service that was paid for in a timely manner. I am choosing to chalk this up to another hard lesson learned. If you need someone to cut down/remove any trees, contact me first, I'll tell who NOT to hire.

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Party Craft Win!

A few weeks ago, I shared my idea for a party craft/take away for the girls invited to my daughters birthday party. This weekend we had the birthday party (insert whine because my baby is now 10) and we had a great time.

There was a photo booth.

There was karaoke.

And the girls made their Initial Craft. They turned out different from what I envisioned, but I loved that. Each girl did something different. And they were very happy with how they turned out. I wasn't sure how much I was going to help with this project and I'm happy to share that I did very little work on these projects. The girls really did a great job. Mom win!

My girl had a fantastic night with family and a few friends celebrating her precious life. I joke about being sad she is 10 by the truth is I'm very much enjoying the young lady she is becoming. I love her sense of humor and her view of the world around her. I'm so blessed that this girl calls me Mom.

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My 2 Greatest Pet Peeves

We all have things that drive us crazy. These are the things that happen (or don't happen) that annoy you. Usually, it's not worth doing anything about. It drives you crazy for a minute, you may huff in frustration but then you walk away and you go on with your day. The "fun" part about this is that each of us can be annoyed by totally different things. The good news is that we aren't all biting our tongue over the same issue. The bad news is that because we are not annoyed by the same things, the things that bother me will continue to bother me, because they might not bother you. Does that make sense?

What are my top pet peeves?

1. Not replacing the toilet paper roll. I feel this is one of the laziest things a person can "not" do. I just don't understand this. It is common courtesy. It is a simple thing that shows you care about your home, or someone else's home for that matter. I cannot count the number of homes I've been to, as a guest and when I have gone to use the bathroom, the toilet paper roll is sitting there empty. Most often, with a new roll sitting somewhere close by, visible for anyone to see.

2. This may sound silly but it drives me crazy. When you throw food trash away; paper plates, wrappers, etc, it makes sense to turn it upside down. When this trash is not turned upside down, it gets the food "yuck" all over the inside of the lid of the trash can. It's super simple. With just the flip of the wrist...sticky, stinky mess avoided.

I realize neither of these things really affects the world we live in. For that we can be grateful. But these are my two biggest pet peeves. I don't make a big deal about it. Usually, I just change the toilet paper roll or flip the paper plate over in the trash and then wipe down the mess. Simple. Done. Move on. I know these things don't bother other people and it's not my job to tell other people how to live (even if it makes complete sense, haha).

We all have pet peeves. What is the top thing that drive you nuts? Do you say anything or bite your tongue and move on? This should be fun, share below that thing that makes you crazy. I won't judge you if you don't judge me.

Thanks for reading Java Talk.

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Happy 4th of July!

Today is July 4th, in the U.S. its also known as Independence Day. This day is in honor of our independence from England...a long, long time ago.

Usually it means you get the day off of work. If you're lucky, you get paid for this day off. You may have picnics, parties, swimming and many other "summer" things to do. It's a great day. Most towns offer a show of fireworks to end the day.

On a day like this day, I am surrounded by my special people. I love it. It's always great to have a day off of work. But when everyone has the same day off, it is so much better.

It's going to be a low key day for me and my peeps. And I'm ok with that. My life is in constant motion. I'm always going. So I'm really looking forward to a relaxing day. Our big activity will be to head to the riverfront and watch the fireworks at dusk.

I hope you get a chance to slow down and enjoy your day. I hope you are surrounded by people who make you happy. And I hope you all stay safe.

Happy 4th to you!

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Sad Moment of Truth

I often hear how bad flip flops are for a person to wear...but, but, I love them. I mean, I'd rather be bare foot but if I have to wear shoes, flip flops are a go to.

I noticed last summer that I don't walk well in my much loved flip flops. I had bought a new pair and within two weeks I saw I had worn away the spot where the ball of my foot goes...ALREADY! Oh well. So that part of my shoe is thinner than the rest. Doesn't really matter. Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop.

This year, summer has kicked off and my happy shoes are in their rightful place. On my feet. But it's different this time. I notice my feet and even my ankles feel weird when I wear them. So I did what any smart flip flop girl would do in my situation. I bought a new pair.

Guess what? It still doesn't feel great. It doesn't really hurt, it just doesn't feel right. I'm more mindful of stepping down on my whole foot rather than putting all my weight on certain parts of my foot. Despite my efforts of even stepping, it still doesn't feel right.

This can only mean one thing. I'm going to have to give up my favored flip flops for some other type of shoe. This realization makes this day a sad day indeed. I don't care if it's a "getting old" thing or its just a "sucks to be me" thing. Same result. I have come to the place in my life where I need a more stable/supportive shoe on my feet.

And that makes me sad. I know it's not a "big deal". And I will adjust. I ask you to allow me this moment to mourn the loss of my beloved flip flops.

Have you had a similar experience? Flip flops or something else? Just cruising through life with your happy feet and then it's time to say goodbye? Any suggestions of what I can wear that will be close to a flip flop but offer good support for my "old" feet/ankles? If you have a shoe to suggest, leave it below. Looks like I'm in the market for a new shoe.

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Choosing Kindness to Self

It is so easy to get down on yourself. Once the tape starts playing it can be on "repeat" before you know it. Over and over we hear the negative self talk. As we compare ourselves to those around us or the "perfect person" we think we should be, we let those harsh words in our minds keep putting us down.

I would imagine that not everyone will know what I'm talking about. But I'm pretty I sure there are many people who are very familiar with the this self-destructive cycle. Something I've learned, is that I have to be kind to myself. Actually, I have to choose to be kind to myself. For me, over the past few years this has become easier. But I still have moments, sometimes days where I have that awful negative tape playing in my mind.

It's not easy but it is so important that we learn to recognize those harsh thoughts. That we realize that in most instances, they are not truth. And even if they are, we have the power to make the choices that will change that truth. We need to be kind to ourselves. As cheesy as it sounds, we really DO need to learn to love ourselves. If you can achieve this, I believe it is so much easier to find peace and contentment in life. If you can stop that tape before it gets stuck on repeat, you have a chance to change your attitude. The attitude towards a situation, your day and sometimes, the attitude towards life in general.

Life is hard. There are good times and bad times. It's in those hard times we tend to be our worst enemies. Latching on to anything that proves our faults make us less than perfect. Truth is, perfect isn't real. It's an idea that people can project an image of. But it isn't real. That is what we need to remember. We need to strive to be our best self. And we need to learn to love ourselves, flaws and all. When we are kind to ourselves we can stop the negative talk. Being kind allows us to accept our "imperfections". We can work to become better at some things. And the other things, we can learn to accept as part of who we are.

I challenge you today, to be aware of any negative self talk. And I want you to make the effort to be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

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Have You Ever Considered Blogging?

Just in case you've missed it, I really enjoy blogging. It's good for me. It helps me work out thoughts that keep rolling through my mind. 10 years ago, I would never have thought I one day would have a blog. But I'm glad I do.

Have you ever thought about writing for a blog? Have you ever considered sharing your expertise or thoughts on a subject. Java Talk is more of an inspirational blog but there are many different styles for a blog.

If you've ever felt you had a great idea to write about, I would like to invite you to write a Guest Post on Java Talk. It can be funny, serious, how-to....whatever you feel is your style. If you think it is something you would be interested in, PM me on Facebook and we can work out the details.

Writing Java Talk has been such a great experience for me. I'd love to hear what you have to share. I'm hoping someone (or many someone's) accepts this invitation to write a Guest Post for Java Talk.

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Beauty All Around Me

Last week, we were on vacation. We went to the beach and had a fantastic week. I enjoyed taking pictures of different "beachy" things. Many you will probably see again because I plan to use them as the background for upcoming inspirational quotes.

This is the epitome of the perfect morning (according to Dawn).

My favorite place to be. I'm not a huge fan of the ocean but I love me some beach time in the sand. I was in this position most of the week, listening to the waves, watching my people play in the water and I read a book....perfect week...check!

This picture captures the perfect night. It begins in the same place as the perfect morning.

The Pelicans and the waves. What could be more "beach" than this combo?

I did actually get out of my beach chair and take a walk. This pic is proof of that.

Not the clearest picture but I was impressed that I was able to snap this pic with my phone!

A shot from the aquarium. Big fish in lots of pretty water. I liked the angle of this pic.

Another peaceful morning.

I'm feeling relaxed and very blessed. Surrounded by people I love and a scenery that is soothing. The worst part of vacation is leaving and knowing it will be a year until I will be back. But, the good news is...I will be back.

Thanks for reading Java Talk today!

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Fun Party Craft For Girls

My youngest is having a birthday very soon. My baby is going to be 10. As in 10 years old. I've been through this once before, I know it will be ok. As I was thinking ahead to her upcoming birthday party I started to question what activities I need to organize for a group of (gulp) 10 year old girls.

When my kiddos were younger, we were trapped in that awful ritual of buying all these cheap toys to put in a party bag to send home with the friends. I was never a huge fan of receiving these bags or making these silly bags. It always seemed like such a waste of money for such junk.

Anyway, I was thinking about all these things when I realized, the girls are old enough now to MAKE their party favor! I felt like such a genius. So I headed straight to Pinterest (shocker, I know) for ideas.

I found the perfect project for these kiddos. Each girl will get the first initial of their name and they will wrap it in yarn designed to get an ombré effect. Ombré is where color gradually changes, typically it is several shades of the same color. So with my idea in mind, I headed to the local Hobby Lobby to get my supplies.

I needed the initial for each girl. Craft glue. Yarn in varying colors. I went with two shades of pink and two shades of purple. And for a final detail, I bought little ribbon flowers to decorate the finished product.

I was all set when I thought, I should probably make one ahead of time to make sure it's as simple as it looks. So I headed back to the aisle to grab my own "something" to wrap in yarn. I didn't want to make my initial, first name or last. So I decided to get a cross. I paid for my materials and headed home.

If you are anything like me, you know I went home and started my project right away. By the end of the night, I was finished. And I was very happy with how it turned out.

The curved tips were a bit challenging but I don't believe the girls will run into the same issue with their letters. If we hit any tricky parts, I'll be there to work through them.

I think this is going to be a great craft and the girls will really enjoy making something so pretty for themselves. That's my hope anyway. I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Stay tuned and I'll post pics of the finished projects after the party.

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Confessions Of An Online Shopper

I have a confession to make. I remember when the Internet became available. I remember being very afraid of the Internet. I was in college at the time and I used it as little as possible. Sounds ridiculous now as I am writing this blog post from my smartphone, which has 24/7 access to the Internet.

A few years passed and I became more comfortable with searching the World Wide Web. But then people started talking about shopping online. No way! Not me. Too scary. I felt this way for a few years. In fact it wasn't until 2006, after I had my second baby that I decided to give it a try. Wow, how this changed my life. That year, I had a newly 2 year old and a newborn. Christmas was coming whether I got to the store or not. And I was so overwhelmed with the idea of dragging these babies in and out of stores, that I finally gave Amazon a try.

And I've never looked back. Although I know there are stores that are suffering because online shopping exists, I still prefer to shop online. I don't say that with a mean spirit. I'm just acknowledging how real stores are fighting against online shopping but that I prefer the online method to purchase most things. The convenience cannot be beat. The ease of shopping online is great. But it can be TOO easy to buy things. It's literally just a click....and I get an email thanking me for my order.

I've bought pretty much everything online. Clothes, pet supplies, trinkets, vacuum, even a mattress (not an every day mattress but a spare one for guests)! I buy gifts for everyone online.

This takes self discipline on my part. Sometimes I feel like shopping. But I really shouldn't. So I have been known to "window shop" online. I will add things to my cart. Usually, I delete these items and think nothing more. Occasionally, I find I keep going back to that item and still would like to buy it. When that happens, I tend to purchase the item.

I'm pretty good about not blowing my budget by shopping online. What I am guilty of is not sending returns back. Thankfully this doesn't happen often. But it does happen. I will order something and not like it for whatever reason. I do not want to be bothered with returning items. I usually find someone to give these items to. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean someone else won't. I have learned over the years to frequent stores online that have a physical location close to my house. JCPenny for example. Then it isn't such a big thing to run in and make a return. I can even do that over my lunch break!

Are you an online shopper? I really did buy a mattress online. This is not a typical online purchase item. But it worked out ok for me. What is the craziest item you've bought online? Post it below and share.

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I Have Crappy Days Too

I post lots of happy thoughts on Java Talk. If you haven't started following Java Talk on Facebook, check it out. I try to post an inspirational quote each week day.

This may seem cheesy to some. That's ok. I put a lot of thought into the quotes I post as well as the pictures that are behind the quote. I wanted to take a moment to share that I do this as much for me as I do it for any readers. I love learning that people I know and people I've never met, read what I write. I really can't describe how it feels to know that people connect with what I have to say. But it's a great feeling.

Life is good for me today. Great really. And I'm thankful for that. Today I want you to know, that even though I choose to focus on positive thoughts, it doesn't mean I don't have bad days. We all have bad moments. Bad days. Even bad years. Even me. If you've been reading Java Talk, you know I've suffered from severe depression. I still have bad days. Just like you.

These happy thoughts serve as constant reminders to me, that it's a new day, that bad things happen, that pain passes and that life is good. Life IS good. Sometimes it is an intentional choice. I've had enough of the can't-get-outta-bed-blues. I never want to go there again. Although I know that "happy thoughts" won't fix everything, it helps me to keep perspective so I don't become consumed by bad moments.

I hope these quotes make you smile. I hope something that I've shared comes to mind when you've had enough. I hope that sharing my experiences via Java Talk reminds us all we are not alone.

Some will find these quotes cheesy. I'm ok with that. I have good days and I have crappy days too. I'm thankful for every day. I need constant reminders that "this too will pass" and that "it will be ok". I hope you enjoy these bits of inspiration I pass along.

Have a great day! Thanks for reading Java Talk.

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Surviving Life In The Home of A Sports Fan

When I met Mike, almost three years ago, he told me he loves sports. This is not shocking or unusual for people all over the world. In fact, I am probably the "unusual one" because I really don't care about sports. Never really have.

As a kid, I enjoyed going to Phillies games. I liked being with family. I have always been a people watcher and a stadium is filled with people to watch. And of course, I was obsessed with looking for the Philly Phanatic to see what shenanigans he was up to.

Over the years, I've been to high school games, college games as well as professional games. It's fun for the night but I'm really there for the social aspect, the fun food (I'll take an order of nachos please) and memories. I'm not there because I really care about the game.

The exception is watching my kiddos play their sports. I have had to learn a lot about several sports. But I truly love to watch them play.

I love spending time with Mike. It doesn't matter what we are doing. I'm just happy to be together. If you are not an avid sports fan, you may be interested in this list of 5 ideas to help pass the time during "the game". While those sports casters are droning on. And all the painted bellies are dancing on the TV.

1. Read a book
2. Play solitaire or Candy Crush - this totally depends on my mood. Either is a good choice.
3. Blog 😉
4. Pinterest - Pin, Pin, Pin away! Find those craft ideas and recipes, hairstyles and cleaning tips. It is amazing how much time can be lost while on Pinterest.
5. Ask lots of questions (about the game). I have found myself asking question after question about the current game. Which has led to more understanding which has led to more interest.

Between my kiddos and Mike, I have learned a lot about a lot of sports. To be more specific, I've learned a lot about hockey, basketball, volleyball, football and even NASCAR. I wouldn't say I'm a huge sports fan but I do enjoy tuning into the game when I take breaks from Pinterest, Java Talk or the book of the week. Even more surprising to me is noticing a trend of me watching more and more of the game. I'll probably never be a super fan but I am starting to tap into the fun of watching sports.

What would you add to this list of how to survive the big game?

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Bigger Than Me

If you've been reading Java Talk for a little while, I've mentioned working. But I don't believe I've ever explained what I do. My title is Implementation Specialist. Most organizations in this field would call me an Analyst. What do I do? I am certified in an extremely popular electronic medical records (EMR) program. As an analyst, I "build" the scheduling and bed planning modules for the inpatient rehab hospitals and LTAC (long term acute care) hospitals that are owned by my employer across the country. That's sounds really dry and probably doesn't mean much to most people reading. That's ok. Sometimes I still can't believe that this is where the road has led me. But I'm so thankful to be here.

Recently, I was in Cleveland for a week as two of our newest LTAC hospitals went "live" with our system. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be in the hospitals as we went through this transition. Although I only build two small pieces in this EMR system, it was such a great feeling to see how what we (me and my co-workers) build at our desks, affects real people in the hospital. It affects our users, doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians, admissions coordinators, case managers and so many more. All of the users in turn touch the lives of real patients who are very sick. It was an amazing feeling as I walked through the halls, to recognize that I am a part of something bigger than me.

The first time I went to a hospital go-live, back in December I had a moment that really made an impact on me. It sounds silly but as I was walking down the hall, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, I saw the room numbers on the wall. It occurred to me, that I build that. I literally build the rooms, assign them numbers and beds in the EMR system. And this was the real life display of what I built. I didn't actually build that room number in the system for that hospital, it had already been built before I was hired for this position. But I have built the rooms/beds for several other hospitals.

I loved being in Cleveland and talking with the staff about what they liked. Listening to what they were frustrated with. Change is always hard and there is a learning curve. But there is always room for improvement. And it's good to hear what the users feel would be more helpful. As well as what they really like about the product we brought them.

I don't physically help the patients, (I'll leave that to my sister who is a Doctor) but in a small way, I have a part in all this. I feel I need to do my job well in order for a real person who touches the life of a sick individual to be able to do their job well.

I'm thankful for this job for many reasons. And feeling like I'm a part of something important is is definitely one of those reasons. Leave a comment below and share what makes you feel like you're a part of something bigger than you?

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