I’ve been home recouping from foot surgery for about a week. I have 2.5 weeks to go. Boredom has certainly set in! I’ve had plenty of time for social media…

Just about every day (for the past couple of months, actually) social media has had postings about the atrocity of people choosing to say Happy Holidays (or not “being allowed” to say Merry Christmas). Let me say first – I’ve only actually heard “Happy Holidays” once during this holiday season.

Yes, I say “holiday” season. It’s not just the Christmas season. It’s the season of Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali as well.

I am a Christian. I’m Catholic. I celebrate Christmas. I celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus (even though he couldn’t have been born in December – more likely in the spring. But that’s another post itself)! I attend Midnight Mass and look for the baby Jesus to finally show up in the manger.

I know Jewish people who celebrate Hanukah. I know African-Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa. I know Indian people who celebrate Diwali. Do the “Happy Holidays” dissenters not feel these friends should be wished a happy celebration as well? Do they think this is only the time of Christmas?

Is that very Christian-like?

So if you wish me a Merry Christmas, thank you! But I’m also not going to be distressed if you wish me a happy holiday. I’m just thankful you wish me well!

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So Merry Christmas to my Christian friends … and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to EVERYone :0-)

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I’ve done a lot of hiking/walking in the last week. We spent 5 days in the Hocking Hills of southeastern Ohio. We stayed in an authentic cabin built in the 1800s and went on daily hikes. The area is gorgeous! Old Man’s Cave. Cedar Falls. Ash Cave. So many more great hiking areas. All but one day at the cabin presented us with beautiful blue sky.

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Then on Sunday while the hubster was at Christmas at the Palace auditions, I decided to visit our local Marion Tallgrass Trail and take a 5-mile walk.

The fall color is a couple weeks behind schedule in Ohio this year. But even though the trees weren’t at peak color, God’s beauty was everywhere.

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I’ve always loved fall color against the backdrop of a gorgeous clear blue sky.
So I spent a lot of time looking up!

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It makes me thing that we need to do that more often.
Every day/ No matter where we are or what we are doing.

When it rains, look for rainbows.
When it’s dark, look for stars.

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We spend so much of our life looking down. Usually at a glowing screen.

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If our heads are down, we miss so much. We tend to do that when we are burdened with everyday troubles or just focusing on all that needs to be done on any given day.

You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.
~ Charles Chaplin ~

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We need to look up regularly. We need to look up to God. We need to look up to God’s splendor. We need to look up at the amazing people around us. We need to look up at all the blessings in our life.

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When we look up, it’s easier to have a positive attitude and to find joy and happiness in our life.

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Look up. Now look down.
Up is endless. Down has an end.
Always look up.

Have you looked up lately?

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I’ve never been poetic … I leave that up to the hubster. He used to write me poetry all the time … perhaps when he “retires” next year he’ll have more time to do that again! LOL

There have been a few occasions when I have written my thoughts in prose … I’m not all that good at it. But I must have been “down” one day back in 2003 because the following came to me … and it even rhymes!!!!

One Small Person

I’m just one small person
Among more than 6 billion
You have me up on this high pedestal
But I certainly don’t deserve your adoration.

Inadequate … as a friend
Not always around in the time of need
At times my own needs take over my life
Please forgive me, this I plead.

Inadequate … as a daughter
I know I’ve not always made you proud
I feel the disappointment in your face
As you sit up there on your cloud.

Inadequate … as a sister
In my own world and out of touch
I think of you all daily, but don’t let you know
Even though I miss you so much.

Inadequate … as a mom
Though unintentionally I expected too much
Of this I am wrong
Through life I never wanted you to rush.

Inadequate … as a wife
You don’t get near enough hugs
I want our house to be a home
But I hate the sweeping of rugs.

Inadequate … as a child of God
Not kneeling enough in prayer
Forgive me, dear Lord
For all these people I truly do care.

I’m just one small person … one day I won’t be
I’m working on it
And progress I’ll make
This promise to you all I commit.

(c) Lisa Cudd
01.29.2003

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The following came to my mind as I was sitting in Mass one Sunday 11 years ago…so where it says “28 years ago,” it’s actually been 39 years!

It’s hard enough to believe that Jeremy is 32, but the possibility that I could have a son who would be 39 is unbeliebable!!!!!

December … 28 years ago …
Should have been a happy time.
Instead of being born, he was given to God
This angel of mine.

 Conceived on one side
Out of escape and frustration.
Conceived on the other
Out of control and possession.

 His name was to be Kevin
My first angel of many to come.
I think of him often, an angel above
Waiting for me with a smile and a welcome.

 December … today …
A much happier time.
Given to me by God
Through this family of mine.

 Married to my best friend
Mom to a young man.
So content with my life
This was God’s plan.

 Bruce and Jeremy
The loves of my life.
Make me the world’s
Happiest mother and wife.

© Lisa Cudd, 12/15/2003

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We are often our own worst enemy. I know I am!

I’ve perfected the “what the hell was I thinking?!” mantra.

So how do you get OUT of that mind set?

Only YOU can do it. No one else … NO ONE.

Instead of being your own worst enemy, become you own best friend.

Self-talk needs to be embedded in your brain.

At a conference several years ago I heard Judi Moreo speak. The topic was “You Are More Than Enough.” She wrote a book of the same name. Go visit her website … now! www.judimoreo.com Her book and the companion Achievement Journal are a must. The journal will take you through an entire year. If you ever felt that you were meant to “be more than you are” or achieve more than you have, then this set is for you.

Judi taught me a lot that day! Now when I hear friends complain about themselves, I remind them they are “more than enough!”

This all boils down to accepting yourself. And if you screw up, you must learn to forgive yourself. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes.

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Yes, I’ve not always made the best choices in my life. But I can honestly say that I’ve learned from those choices. And that’s all that matters.

Yes, I’m fat. Now before you get on me about being negative and telling me I’m not really fat … yes, I am! I admit it. I’m not overweight … I’m fat! I’ve tried every diet and every supplement imaginable. I just have to accept that I’m never going to be 105 pounds again. But I’m healthy. I’m happy. The hubster thinks I’m beautiful. That’s more than enough!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bother trying to lose weight. If that’s what you really want to do, or if you need to for health reasons, go for it! I’m just saying that for me, I’m okay. I don’t need 2 seats on an airplane. I can still go up and down stairs without needing oxygen. I’m not grossly obese. I just have some extra “me” for my maybe-someday grandchildren to hug :0)

Am I the best housekeeper in the world? No. But did I attend every baseball and soccer game my son played in when he still lived at home? Yup. But even now that the kid is an adult, it’s more important that I spend quality time with the hubster when we can. We don’t live in a dump, but I wouldn’t want the house displayed in a magazine either.  And I work hard and put in a lot of hours, so when I do get home, sweeping the floor isn’t usually my priority. To me it’s more important to “be” than to have a pristine house. I’ve accepted that my house is often messy.

Those are just a couple examples. I’ve learned that I am happy with me. If others judge, well…that’s their problem.

It’s healthier for me to be happy with me.

Every day you need to do something that makes YOU feel good. It can be something for yourself or something for another. It doesn’t matter.

JUST BE GOOD TO YOURSELF.

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A couple years ago I decided I didn’t like who I’d become. I gossiped … about friends, about people I didn’t know, about family. And if there’s one trait I don’t like about other people, it’s being a gossip. I had become what I hate.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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The only person who can change ME is ME!

So I set out on a journey … to be kind. I think I always have been kind … maybe I should say I set out on a journey to be kindER.

I started making a conscious effort to do random acts of kindness. For people in my life. For strangers.

Most of the time, it’s not difficult to be kind. Random acts of kindness don’t have to cost money. Even though I do love to buy someone’s coffee or meal in the Starbucks or McDonald’s drive-thru. It could be something as simple as smiling at a stranger, or moving a shopping cart out of the middle of a parking space instead of grumbling about how lazy people are.

I have to say that I’m still not perfect and never expect to be. (That’s another pet peeve … people who DO think they’re perfect!) Do I still grumble at bad drivers? Yes.

But I’m trying!

I think the hardest part of trying to be kinder is not getting caught up in gossip. And when I do, I try to consciously stop … at that moment! I get really angry at myself … and disappointed … when I catch myself gossiping. I need to remember that everyone … EVERYONE … has a good side. Sometimes they just don’t show it. Sometimes they’re just having a really bad day. Sometimes their life is nothing what it appears to be.

I’m putting this out there … if you catch me gossiping … you’re more than welcome to call me out :0)

I’m making the commitment to be the change I want to see in ME.

What is there about you that you’d like to change? What are you going to do to make it happen? Make the commitment to be the change you want to see in YOU!

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335ffae1a16878da663f48464351b2e3I need to apologize for being “absent” the last couple of weeks. Spring weather in Ohio has been playing havoc with my body. Between the joint aches and the headaches, getting home from work at the end of the day is the best I can do. But this blog isn’t about complaints; it’s about blessings, so we aren’t going to concentrate on that.

Memories. They’re those snippets of time, pieces of your mind, who make you who you are today. We have good memories and we have not so good memories.

I once had a conversation with one of my sisters about the fact that I have very few memories of when I was a little child. I envied her memories.

My momma died from cancer when I was just barely 5 years old. In fact, she was gone less than 2 weeks after my birthday. How many memories or pieces of my mind can I have in just 5 years? The earliest I can remember would have been that summer of 1961, months before she passed away. At least I think it was that summer; perhaps it was before then … who knows? I don’t! LOL

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Those few snippets of my mind are mostly good ones. My oldest sister L helping to make tea and Kool-Aid for when she got home from Novena. Sitting on the sidewalk with my sister P on Saturday mornings watching for the brides to come out of the church across the street. Making outlines of our dream “house” out of leaves. Sitting patiently (?) waiting for my turn to have my hair braided. The day grandpa brought me a tricycle.

The very best memory was towards the very end. I was home alone with Momma in the afternoons because I only went to kindergarten in the mornings and the other kids were in school. She would make me home-made potato chips and we’d “nap” together. She’d stroke my hair. I can feel her stroking my hair just thinking about it. Being my momma’s child is definitely a blessing!

There’s also those not so great memories.

Crying in fear every time I heard the noon fire siren. Watching L set up the crucifix and candles for Fr. Snow to come over every week to pray with Momma. Visiting her at the hospital and seeing her cry as she lay there … so skinny and so weak. Sitting on the bed when Daddy told us that she wouldn’t be coming home from the hospital any more. The day several months later when we were taken from the only home I knew.

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Then move onto the years between 5 and 17. There are huge chunks of time that seem to be blocked from my mind. Where did those pieces of my mind go?

Those few good memories always involve my uncle who took me in. Visiting Santa’s Village and Frontier Town. Brushing my hair when I was little. (Just like my momma stroking my hair, that memory is so vivid!) Being so gentle as he put a Band-Aid on my scraped knee. Driving to Maine every summer. Teaching me to bake on Saturday mornings. Just sitting together enjoying the silence when it was just the 2 of us at home. Sitting on the floor at his feet to watch TV. Helping me with my shorthand when I was in high school.  He was my protector. I often thank God that it was he who chose to take me in. Definitely a blessing!

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Other good memories were when I spent time with my girlfriends Deb and Theresa. They were my life line. My escape from abuse. More blessings!

The not-so-great memories of that time usually involved my aunt. The control. The physical and emotional abuse. I’m not going to get into all that here. That’s a story in itself. That’s NOT a blessing. (If you’re a family member who never believed any of that, oh well. It is what it is.)

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Then there was the short period of 17-20 that involved a very abusive relationship … physical, emotional, sexual … that I wish I could say I’ve blocked out of my memory.

Then my life took a huge change. I met my husband, found true love, had the most awesome son in the world … and the rest is history. This is where the pieces of my mind collect into the best 35 years of my life … and the making of memories for the next 35 years.

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I remember our first kiss. Our first dance. The trust and laughter I’d forgotten how to experience. Our wedding day. Getting a text every morning from the hubster telling me he loves me (yes…E.V.E.R.Y. morning!).

The day I laid in the hospital staring at my little monkey-boy thinking, “what the hell was I thinking when I decided I’d make a great mom?” The countless baseball and soccer games in all sorts of weather. Getting a voice mail from the grown kid checking on us after a bad storm. Hearing him say, “Love you, momma!” Watching him graduate from college, being so happy and crying so hard I started to hyperventilate.

Girlfriend “dates”, movies, retreats and laughter.

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That’s not to say there are some sad moments. There were the daily visits to the fertility specialists. The countless miscarriages. The loss of loved ones. The heartbreak of losing a relationship with someone you thought was a true friend. The intense fear when you find out your kid was in a horrible car accident. Or when your heart breaks when his is broken by a girl.

But all those pieces of my mind made me who I am today. I like who I am. Does that make me arrogant? Nope. Self-absorbed? Certainly not.

Confident? Yes. Happy? Yup.

Grateful for all those memories, good or bad? Most definitely!

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God gave you a giftIt takes just a moment!

DO. IT.

You will be more at peace.

You will feel good.

It will make someone’s day.

It’s worth the tiny little effort.

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Weed? One of God’s flowers? Find beauty in everything! (c) Lisa Cudd

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Here are 10 projects I’ve started but didn’t finish before moving on to the next thing I got excited about:

  1. DIY headboard: at least it’s now put together, but needs to be painted
  2. Jewelry: making a bracelet for a friend and repairing another
  3. Crocheted afghan: started this years ago, but arthritis in my hands and fingers caused a lot of starts and stops
  4. Several counted cross stitch projects: I used to do this pretty much non-stop, but haven’t touched them in years
  5. Reprinting my childhood bedroom furniture and repairing some of the dresser drawers: I have the paint … That’s about it
  6. Building shelves and organizing the bathroom closet: I have some of the supplies
  7. Digitizing old photos: I bought a converter in December … It’s not been taken out of the box
  8. Artwork for our bedroom: have the supplies and the artwork is drawn, just need to add the mixed media and frame them
  9. Scanning paperwork in the home office: probably one of the more frustrating projects; the hubster gave me an awesome Neat scanner 3 Christmases ago!
  10. Repainting the dining room table and chairs: painted about a year ago … But needs to be redone because I really just went at it without researching how to do it properly … And the table legs aren’t even completely painted!

So why can’t I get these projects done? I’m not lazy. I’m just tired. I do work a lot of hours and when I’m home I often times just crash after getting the bare minimal done.

I get excited about something I see or read about. I gather and buy supplies right away, even if I know I’m not going to get right to it. Perhaps in the back of my mind, I think that if I invest in the supplies I’ll be sure to get it done … and quickly. That’s obviously not always true.

It stresses me out to even think about it.

And since 2015 is about me de-stressing and de-cluttering … here’s my plan!

  • Determine which of the above projects I can let go and remove from the list. Is it worth my time?
    For instance, I’m never going to finish that afghan with the arthritis in my hands and fingers, so why stress about it? Why look at it sitting in the yarn basket? Let. It. Go. Those incomplete counted cross stitch projects? I’d really love to get back to those, but then there’s that damn arthritis again. I put a lot of work into those items. Just give it up? For now I’ll just put them in a storage box and put them out of sight. When it’s time to pack up the house to move south, I’ll revisit them. (Hmmm…cop out, I know!)
  • Prioritize what’s left on the list.
    Do I want to complete difficult projects first or quicker/easier ones?
    Is there something I want done within a certain time frame?
    I think I’ll do a combination of both easier/needing by a certain time.
  • Set deadlines.
    I host card club at our home on April 9th. Therefore I really want the table and those chairs painted by then. Yes, card club has seen the current condition … but it’s a good deadline to set and will make one project get off that list. I’m going to set two deadlines: 1) remove the horrible paint job, put on the bonding primer, and paint by the end of the day this coming Sunday, and 2) apply the poly on the table top by the following weekend. That will give it a week to cure.
  • Conquer … One. Job. At. A. Time!
  • Post about each one as they are completed.
    Hold me accountable, people! LOL

So here’s my prioritized list:

  1. Head board – there isn’t a specific time frame this is needed, but I just really want to get it out of my dining room. Therefore – deadline March 29th.
  2. Dining table/chairs – deadline April 5th in order to be ready/cured by card club.
  3. Jewelry – I can honestly say that I fixed the one bracelet and gave it back to my friend yesterday. Just thinking about this post gave me the gumption to get that easy-peasy project off the list! Making the other bracelet has to be done before card club on April 9th. Well, it doesn’t have to be done by then, but I think 6 months is long enough for LT to wait for it.
  4. Artwork for the bedroom – I’m actually doing three of these (two for the bedroom and one for a friend). I need to have the one completed by the time I leave for Florida for a mini-vacation, but it will be just as easy to do all three at once – deadline April 19th.
  5. Childhood guest room bedroom furniture – I would like to have this done before my sister comes to visit at the end of June. Deadline – June 14th.
  6. Bathroom closet – also want to have this done before my sister visits in July. Deadline – June 21st.
  7. Digitized photos – Not sure the deadline on this … not a huge priority right now.
  8. Scanned documents – Same as #7. Once I can get through #6, then I can set a time frame on that.
  9. Counted cross-stitch (several) – Stored away for possible retirement projects :0)
  10. Afghan – Off. The. List.

Can I do it?

Yes I Can!

Yes I Can!

Keep your fingers crossed!

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