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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The Power Of A smile

June 15th (today) is National Smile Power Day! That is awesome. I know there is a day to celebrate pretty much anything you can think of. And often I think, "Really? We need a day to celebrate....". But I think it's great we have a day to celebrate the power of a smile.

Smiles are contagious. If you smile at a person it is pretty normal to get a smile in return. And sometimes, you get a deep, genuine smile. These are the contagious ones. Not only to get a return smile. That is polite and being polite is always a good thing. But with a genuine smile you can see a deeper response from the return smiler. You see a bigger smile. One that meets the eyes.

When we take a moment to smile at someone, we make eye contact. When we make eye contact with someone, it helps us feel connected. It doesn't matter if you've known them for years or if you are complete strangers. If you take a the time in your busy day, to make eye contact and smile, it can really change the way a person feels about the day.

I don't know about you but when I can see that my smile made someone feel good, I feel better too! It's powerful. And it's free! We spend so much time behind computers and phones, driving and doing that a when we take a moment to pause and connect with another person, it can be a game changer for the day. For me and for them.

On any given day, we pass countless people. Most of them, we have no idea what thoughts are running through their minds. And that's ok. Navigating our own thoughts can be challenging enough. We don't have to fix everyone else. But how simple to it would be to smile? We've all had days where it feels like it's all too much. We worry how are we going to fix the problems on our minds? Life is tough and it can make a person feel so overwhelmed and isolated.

The good news is we are not alone. I challenge you to be mindful of smiling today. Make eye contact. Smile. Maybe even show some teeth. Not only will you potentially help someone else feel better but I believe you will feel better yourself. It's a win-win! Thanks for reading Java Talk.

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I Am Enough (You Are Too)

For too many years I really wrestled with this awful recording that would tell me, "I am not enough". I'm not sure when I started believing this lie but I truly did. Any time I didn't do something perfect, I would berate myself with the mantra that I was not enough.

If I made a perfect meal, I would be enough. But then a picky eater would turn their nose up at what I prepared....I was not enough (a bad cook). If I lost my temper....I was not enough (a bad mom). If the laundry wasn't put away...I was not enough (a bad wife). The list was suffocating and it was a terrible burden to carry.

Over the last few years, I've learned so much about myself. One big lesson I've learned is that I AM ENOUGH! I make mistakes. But that means I'm trying, right? I lose my temper from time to time. That means I work hard all day and have moments where I'm tired and irritable. I apologize and move on. I don't have to carry this guilt with me through the rest of the day. I've gained weight over the past few years. But I've also gained overall peace and happiness in my life. That means I'm content and I have learned to love myself as I am...even with the extra padding I've accumulated.

I am enough. I'm enough for me. I'm enough for my kiddos. I'm enough for my fiancé (just the way I am!). I'm enough for my employer. I am enough. Learning that little nugget has helped enabled me to stop that awful recording that was causing me to doubt my ability to do most things. I have gained confidence and joy and love and...freedom. Freedom from the fear and anxiety and self doubt and negative self talk. It was all so exhausting anyway.

I would encourage you to write down a list of examples of why you are enough. We all have bad days and tough moments. We need to be able to draw on what we believe about ourselves to get through these moments. And we need what we believe about ourselves to be true. What are you examples of how you are enough?

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3 Reasons You Need A Wedding Planner

Mr. Right has asked you to marry him! Congrats to you both. But now what? Brides used to flip through a stack of bridal magazines for wedding ideas. Today there is Pinterest, where a girl can "pin" pictures to a virtual board to gather any and all ideas for her dream wedding. Now there are plenty of ideas but how do you begin to bring these ideas to life?

You can hire a wedding planner. Recently I spoke with Kathy Monte, the owner of Vows Wedding and Event Planning.

Kathy is located in Cental PA. She has overseen indoor, outdoor as well as church ceremonies. Kathy has many gifts. From organization to creativity and everything in between. Kathy is able to find the perfect venue that meets the wishes of the Happy Couple. In fact, she is a Preferred Planner at many of the local venues in the area. She makes fantastic floral arrangements (see pics below). Kathy decorates for the wedding as well as the reception. And she coordinates all the other details that allow her clients to have a stress free and memorable experience they will recall as their wedding day.

After speaking with Kathy, here are 3 reasons you should hire a wedding planner.

1. A wedding planner is someone who has the vision and the resources to create the details that will make your dream wedding a reality.

2. Weddings are a production with 800 moving parts. Let someone else stress about the details. How many times have you heard a bride talk about her wedding day and she expresses she was so busy she didn't even have time to eat. In a perfect world, you only get one wedding, so enjoy it!

3. A wedding planner will see that your wedding and reception is an organized and wonderful event. Working with a wedding planner, you get to call the shots. You want simple and classic? Ok. You want stunning and elaborate? Ok. It's the planner's job to work with you, learn about your likes and dislikes. And to WOW you.

Let me say here, that I absolutely believe that the wedding day is "just a day". I think too many people spend so much effort on the wedding day instead of building a strong foundation for every day after you say "I do". But if you have met the perfect partner and you are both ready to journey into "until death do us part", I think having a wedding planner would be a gift! I lived through one wedding and that was more than enough for me. The idea of having someone tell me where to stand, when to stand there and make everything beautiful....where do I sign?

You can read more information about Vows Wedding And Events Planning at the following website.

Even if you are not in the market for a planner, there are plenty of people in our lives getting married. Feel free to pass the information on. Thank you again for reading Java Talk!

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Needed...To Fight Depression

Depression sucks. Big time. For the person suffering. And I can only imagine it also sucks immensely for the people who love the sufferer. And it seems, the more I talk about my experience with depression, the more stories I hear about other people who are fighting a battle with depression. Sometimes from the person who is depressed. But many times, I find myself talking to people who are watching their loved ones suffer.

One thing that comes to mind to share with everyone, is how important patience is in the process of healing. Patience all around. Every one needs to be patient. Sounds silly. Sounds like a pat answer of some sort. But it is real and very true.

Doctors are great. Medicine is great. Therapy is great. Support is great. But without patience, there will be an unending source of frustration. Depression is not rational and often many layers deep.

I absolutely believe that medicine can be very beneficial. There are lots of pills out there, but there is no magic pill. You have to try one...and wait. Wait for the medicine to start to work. You need to see if the dosage is right. You need to decide if it is absolutely not helping and then try a different pill. This takes time. Sometimes a long time. As in years.

Therapy takes time. It takes time, even if you click with the first therapist you sit with. I did not. Over a few decades I tried therapy several times. I never felt it was worth my time because I never felt like I connected with the person in the other seat. Over and over I would think to myself, "Why bother? It doesn't help anyway." And then one day I found myself sitting across from a woman who I felt really understood me. Even though I did not understand myself. Finding the right therapist is really hard and it takes time, but it is so worth the effort.

Supportive friends and family are an important part of healing. But they need to be patient. Again, depression is not rational. It doesn't make sense. You cannot be talked out of it. It will take time to recognize and unravel the many layers of depression. Even with great doctors, medicine, therapists and support.

Finally, anyone who is fighting through the heavy burdens of depression, you need to be patient too. Patient with yourself. You did not ask for this to happen. You need to take care of yourself. You need to know you are worthy of being happy. You need to know there are many resources available to help you. And it will all take time. But it will be worth it.

Since it seems so many people in our world are touched by depression, remember the importance of patience. Depression is very complex and although there are many similarities in symptoms, I believe each person's experience is different. In my mind, patience is necessary for all.

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Summer Camp Is Here

This is the first summer my kiddos are attending a summer day camp program. I'm very nervous about this. Not because I worry about their safety. I worry they won't be happy. I realize no matter what the plans for summer, I will hear "I'm bored" and "there's nothing to do". But the mom guilt of dropping them off somewhere they totally don't want to be makes me nervous. No matter how they feel about it, this is my plan for childcare this summer.

When I graduated from college, I spent my first few summers as a supervisor at a day camp, similar to the one my kids will be attending. It was tough to keep up to 40 kids ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade happy at all times. And the complaining....

One thing that makes me smile is that the camp my kids will attend, requires they bring a book to read. I think this is great for so many reasons. My favorite reason though, is because when I was in charge of my day camp, I required my campers to bring a book. Every day. For 20 mins, everyone took a down time break. We all spread out and read.

I thought then and still believe now, this break is necessary. The kids need a break from each other. The leaders need a break from the kids. Everyone just needs a few minutes to be by themselves and chill. I stood by it then and I'll gladly stand by it now.

This week is the first week of camp for my darlings. Keeping my fingers crossed they make friends quickly and find there is a lot of fun ahead. If they choose to not like camp, this is going to be a long summer.

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Today I Choose To Let It Go

If you aren't divorced this may not be something that you can identify with. But I know there are divorced moms who will know what I'm talking about. I will not go into any details but as I was thinking about a situation that happened recently, I realized there are other moms in my shoes that may benefit from my struggle. And maybe, there are moms who can share what's worked for them in similar situations.

My kids have a step mom. It's no surprise that having to share your children with another woman is tricky to navigate. Both internally as well as logistically. But it is part of having children and being divorced.

The kids having a step mom is not something I dwell on much. There's no point. For the most part, it doesn't matter to my world. I have no concern she will take my place so there is nothing to worry about. Polite conversation at the kids sports and kid drop off is comfortable so it's about at good as it gets I suppose.

Recently something happened that I felt should not and I was very upset. I feel I was justified to be upset. I wanted to call the kids' dad and give him my opinion on what had happened. I wanted to look her in the eye and "put her in her place". I was ready for a fight. But I was also rational enough to know angry words weren't going to change a thing so there was no point in the "discussion".

But what was I to do with these angry feelings?   After almost an hour of letting myself just feel angry about it and allowing myself to vent, I decided to let it go. Sounds stupid as I write this. But I did. I was driving in the car by myself and I spoke out loud, "if the situation was reversed, I would have wanted (my fiancé) to be there". Although in my mind I definitely do not feel it is exactly the same, it is similar enough that I knew my Ex would see it as the same. So really, what does it matter? It's over.  Make no mistake, this was not easy.  The anger was not gone.  But I had made a choice to not focus on the anger.   I had decided to stop having arguments in my mind and let it go.

That doesn't mean I won't struggle again with the same concern but for now, it is ok. My kiddos have gone from a house with a mom and dad to two homes, with a step mom and a soon to be step dad. I have to remember that these things are not a personal attack. We are all there for the support of my children. It's not easy co-parenting without a new person being added to the mix. Once someone else is involved, it only gets more complicated. But if all is done well, everyone should be on the same team...the team which stars my Kiddos.

I will agree it sounds a little lame to simply shrug it off. I promise you it was not simple. It was a choice. One that I feel will be better for me which will then be better for my kids.

If you know this struggle, what do you do when a step parent is added to the mix? How do you let it go? I really would like to hear what's worked for you. My kiddos are still pretty young and I have a lot of years ahead of me to co-parent with my ex-husband and his wife.

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Coming Home

Last week I was out of town for work. I don't do this is often. Most of the time I work at my desk in the office. But every few months I go on site for a week. I like the change of scenery and I also enjoy feeling like I'm a part of something bigger than me.

The hard part of being away....is being away from my people. It's hard working extra long hours and going back to an empty hotel room, no matter how fancy they are. It makes me miss my family so much more.

When I was able to leave for home, I could not wait to see my people. My kiddos both had plans at their dad's house so I knew I wouldn't being seeing them until Saturday. That was tough but I knew they were looking forward to their plans, so I could wait an extra night.

There is something about coming home.
When I walked through the door and was met by George (the dog) with his nubby wagging faster than fast and Mike, with the warmest smile, it was a perfect moment. Not to sound cheesy, but I remember the title of a movie called, "Waiting to Exhale", it was in that moment, I felt like I understood that title. While I was away, life was good and all was well. But the moment I was home, it was like I let go of a breath I didn't even know I was holding on to. Once again, I realized how happy and blessed I am. To be alive and surrounded by so many so many special people.

It was a great experience being on site. And I'd be more than happy to do again. It is good for me professionally and keeps things very interesting. And while I will continue to look forward to these opportunities to go on site, I will always look forward to coming home and knowing that I am home with the people who matter to me most.

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My Wish List Is Minus One!

I had previously posted a list of projects I dreamed of completing around my house. I am thrilled to announce I have completed the refinishing of my entryway pew. I had been looking for two years for a pew to bring home and add to my entryway. What surprised me was the price, even on Craigslist. Every pew I found was so expensive I couldn't afford it. So I waited and kept looking. Finally, last winter, I found one I could justify buying. I was so excited to bring it home. But now it needed lots of work. The biggest problem was not knowing what to do or how to do it.

This is what it looked like when I brought it home. Maisy approved :)

This big whole is due to the fact that I only bought 6 ft of pew. There were 2 sections of 6 ft pew connected together. I did not need 12 ft of pew, so I only bought one section. The gouge was the scariest part of the process. How was I going to cover this ugly slot? I considered this for several months until a friend told me about this great product called Wood Filler.

So I bought the wood filler and slapped it on. My pew sat like this for a few more weeks. (Look, Maisy brought "baby" to sit on the pew)

Then the sanding began. I've only used a sander once before. This was more difficult than I expected. Not sanding the entire pew but sanding the spot with the wood filler. In fact, I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded....painted the entire bench with primer and a first coat of paint...and saw that I definitely needed to sand that spot even more!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I began sanding, I had to remove the cushion. I grabbed a Philips head screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers and started pulling out staples, lots and lots of staples.

Then it was time to move this project outside to the garage. As I mentioned above, I used a primer to cover the entire pew. Then I found this great paint, Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x by Rust-Oleum. There weren't as many color choices to choose from as I would have liked but I couldn't believe how well it went on. And how little I actually used. I went with a bright white.

After the first coat, It was obvious that the wood filler needed MORE sanding. A dear friend with more experience in refinishing furniture came over and helped me get this as smooth as possible.

After the final sanding, I re-primed and re-painted the newly sanded side again. Once that dried, I applied the final coat to the entire pew.

The last step included getting the cushion/cover back in place. This was tricky as well. I began stapling and realized the fabric was just a smidge too short on one side....typical Dawn move, haha. So I pulled out the new staples and realigned my fabric. I this time I think I did a good job.

Here is a pictures of the finished product in good lighting. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

This is how it looks when it is where it belongs in my house. If you look real close (don't do that) you can see where the wood filler was used. There was a time in my life that it would have really bothered me that my pew wasn't perfect. Not anymore. I worked hard on this project and love the finished piece. Perfection is so overrated. It looks worlds better than it did when I brought this pew home. It was more work than I anticipated but I love the feeling of a finished project!

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