My Affliates – “Your what?”

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As a rather newbie blogger, I can’t write the book on how to make money by owning and operating a blog.

I can however, write a blog post about what a mommy blogger knows about “Affiliates” and tell it to you in a way that will hopefully make sense, because I only speak ~mommy blogger code~ otherwise known as “simple language.”

So here’s the deal -

I am trying to sign up with a new affiliate company, namely Flex Offers.  They are over at www.flexoffers.com.

They specifically asked me to use their name on a webpage, so that they would know that I own the domain name and that means they want to make sure I own the name “DeAndrasCrafts.com.”

Okay, so now that’s out of the way….

What’s an affiliate?

The DeAndrasCrafts Answer (with help from my marketing genius husband):

Being an affiliate is where I as a webpage owner send traffic to another site, and I get a tiny commission from the other site if some other person clicks on the link on my webpage and purchases something.

With each affiliate company, Step 1 is to get approved by the company that you are going to try to make sales for them.

The three companies I currently have affiliates with are:

Amazon.com (they call us associates, not affiliates)

Commission Junction (cj.com)

and (shareasale.com.)

As I said in the first part of this post, I am trying to become an affiliate with Flex Offers.

How do you make money?

An affiliate company is just an online company that runs the affiliate links for other major corporations.  After you get approved to become an affiliate with the parent affiliate company, Step 2 is to become friends with the advertisers (aka merchants.)

This can be harder than it seems.  I’ve been rejected by both JoAnn’s and Target, two major corporations that I spend a portion of my own salary shopping at.  But that’s okay.  I’m sure they have their reasons and I will be trying to get approved to show their advertising links another day.  And yes, I still shop there.

Once you’ve been approved to use the website links as an affiliate, then you can use the advertising code provided by the affiliate company.  (That’s Step 3.) Learning code can be a tiny bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not as hard as it seems it would be.

Some more interesting info:

Each advertiser has his/her own commission rates.  This means that if you buy something from a Walgreens link on my page it will pay differently than a link from Craftsy.

I am very picky with my advertisers.  I don’t want to advertise companies that I wouldn’t personally shop at.  That’s just my thing.

One last tidbit of information – I don’t try to overwhelm you with advertising.  That’s one of my personal pet peeves when on a website.  I’m sure that method is working for many bloggers, but because I primarily keep this website up as a means to communicate my thoughts to my family and friends, I try to minimize the flashy ads to the banner links at the bottom of each post, and the text links throughout the blog post.

To Summarize on how to become an affiliate ~

Step 1: Get approved by an affiliate company.  The ones I use are listed above.

Step 2: Get approved by the advertisers to use their links.  More on my advertisers below.

Step 3: Use the code links provided from the advertisers on your webpage for people to click on and hopefully buy something from.


Finally, I present to you my current advertisers, you know, just in case you need anything…. ;)




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Disneyland Memes

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I’m not funny.

You’re not reading this blog because I’m funny, sassy, sarcastic, or witty.

I’m just me – but I am real and I want everyone who reads my blog, including my children (when they start reading it) know that I’m the real person behind the typing.

With all that said, I titled this post Disneyland Memes, but they aren’t the funny, witty memes you’re probably thinking of.

This post is on the insanity and the more interesting memories I had while on a five day vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

 There’s no real tips here, just memories.  Maybe I’ll get ambitious one day and give you some things we learned, but for today, I’m just sharing my favorite memories. 1Happy Place

Preface to the memes notes (the only real “vacation tips” you’ll get):

1. Even though we were there for five days, we went for three full days and only a part of the day for the first and fifth day.  The extra expense was worth it for the “calmness” factor.  We didn’t feel rushed like we were going to miss something because of the five day ticket purchase.

2.  I have three children, ages three (3), four (4) and eight (8).  The eight year old met the minimum age requirement to ride by himself.  That was a bonus because we are an odd numbered family. That was an unplanned yet fantastic advantage.0Kids on Caseys Train

3.  The three year old still takes naps.  We left the park every full day around 1 PM to 2 PM to have the two youngest take a nap.  The first full day, the oldest took a nap for about 45-minutes too  It worked well because the kids were rested for staying up past each of his/her bedtimes.


My Favorite Memories of Disneyland

I talked with my children what each of his/her favorite memories were.  My oldest’s favorite memory was making his own Light Saber.  My daughter’s favorite memory was riding the Matterhorn with her daddy and my youngest said his favorite memory was riding on Splash Mountain.

My favorite memory of my oldest:

In the future, I expect him to be angry at me for posting this memory, but it’s what happened and I will probably never forget it.

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses. Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Sometimes you have to put on your rosy-colored glasses.
Memes from Disneyland, DeAndrasCrafts.com

My oldest didn’t go on two rides that his younger sister and brother went on.  He chose to sit it out at the exit.  The important part of this memory for me is that he knows himself.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  My 8-year old son KNEW that he wasn’t going to be able to handle two roller coasters and he chose to sit on the other side of the coaster near the exit while his other family members rode the coasters.  It was both kind-of sad and amazing to me at the strength this little boy had to tell his mom and dad that he didn’t want to go on them.

My favorite memory about my daughter:

Always remember you are a princess. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Always remember you are a princess.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

On the first evening, we ate a Character Dining restaurant (Goofy’s Kitchen,) and my daughter was TERRIFIED of the masked creatures before her.  She was crying and telling us over and over again that she didn’t want to pose with Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, or Chip & Dale who were all in costume and wandering around throughout the dinner.  Towards the end of the evening, the actor or actress inside the Dale suit made it his or her mission to get my daughter to not freak out when a character was nearby.  “Dale”the chipmunk was able to get close to my daughter and even took a photo with her (in her daddy’s lap of course) as she realized that the characters were not going to hurt her.

Not quite understanding where this trauma came from, we were hoping that our next experience with character dining wasn’t going to be so traumatic.  We had breakfast on day three at Ariel’s Grotto, inside the park itself, and got to meet three princesses, including Ariel, Cinderella (above) and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog movie.  My daughter embraced these women as the real princesses they were to her and recounted throughout the remaining part of the vacation all the princesses she met.  (She met princess Jazmine from the movie Aladdin later on that day.)  It was awesome.

 My favorite memory of my youngest:

Basically this:

Dance like no one is watching. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Dance like no one is watching.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Probably one of the most enjoyable moments of my mothering life to date, my youngest danced to music playing during a parade at California Adventures.  It was incredibly adorable and memorable.  His expressions as he saw his favorite characters pass by in real life were priceless and made the entire trip worth it.

The Most Excruciating Memory (because they aren’t always good)….

5Expect some crazy

I could have cared less if we saw the “Fantasmic” or whatever it’s called light show at the end of the evening near the pirate island.  We did that on the end of the third day (second full day) and I was reminded of why I am a full-time working momma, not a stay-at-home mama.  That was one tough thirty-minutes.

The day was pretty great, the two youngest got about an hour nap each and we had enjoyed many rides that we didn’t have to wait too long in lines for.  But for some reason, five minutes before the light show began, my children were crying and throwing fits all at the same time.  My husband and I stared at each other in disbelief.  It was embarrassing, but as my wise husband told me later, “We don’t know those people.”

I had to hold one or the other of my youngest in my arms, and they each weigh close to 40-pounds.  The youngest was definitely done for the day by the time the show started and was putting his head on my shoulder off and on during the 15-minute program.  Oh, did I mention I had my leg brace on because I had a patella realignment surgery seven weeks ago and we had to stand the whole time?  It was not fun for me.  But, it was memorable for my husband and he got to check it off his personal “Disneyland Bucket List” that he had in his head and I am grateful that we did it.  Ugh.

My Top Three Personal Favorite Memories

Life is a trip. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Life is a trip.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

What surprised me the most was how much I loved Cars Land.  The photo above was taken in Filmore’s natural eats area.  My children are (for the most part) willing to pose for photos with me and this was no exception.  I am so glad we went to this area during the evening to see all the neon lit up.  It was both beautiful and extremely cool.

Everyone's a Character.... Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Everyone’s a Character….
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We stood in line for about fifteen to twenty minutes to see two fairies, Fawn (the animal fairy) and Tinker Bell, (a tinker fairy.)  My whole family is familiar with the world of fairies thankfully due to Netflix.

Tinker Bell is by far the most rebellious fairy in Pixie Hollow (in my opinion) but there are many other fairies to get to know in the short movies.

The actress playing Fawn in the photo above was phenomenal.  She was truly a woman who has been around children and dare I say, even like them; she was engaging all three kids like they were there to see her.  This was the moment that made Disneyland’s character portrayal’s important to me.

And lastly, I will not forget -

Stay true to yourself. Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

Stay true to yourself.
Disneyland Memes, DeAndrasCrafts.com

We walked into the “Innovations” area not really knowing what to expect.  One of the first things I saw when we walked in was every Iron Man Suit created.

My jaw dropped.

I started crying the happy tears.

It was like a stupid dream coming true.

But you know what, it was my dream coming true.  That’s what Walt Disney wanted (according to the movie we watched about him.)  My understanding of watching one of his biographical movies (while at the park) was that he wanted there to be one thing that you felt was the reason you went there for, and that one thing would be different for everybody.

The Iron Man suit exhibit was my one thing.

Bravo Disney people.  You got this one hard-nosed Marvel/Star Wars fanatic to know why I went there, and it wasn’t just for my children.


Pregnancy and Loss Remembrance Day

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So, I’m on Instagram.

I follow chels819 and she’s the author of a blog called Starbucks, Peace and the Pursuit of a baby.

Her blog on the title of this post is here:

TrialsBringPeace.com

 She posted an Instagram post this morning that really tugged at my heart strings. October 15 - pregnancy loss awareness day

Here is her notes about the post -

Today is set aside to join together for ‘Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day’ – a day where people can find support in community, sharing and giving love despite the fact that all our circumstances may be very different. We offer support to those who understand what we have gone through by loss and we receive support from those who simply love and embrace us as observers in our story. We are so thankful for you all. My #blog has been updated with a special post about this day and the link is in the profile. To be clear, today isn’t about looking for pity or sad eyes or making anyone uncomfortable. It’s about embracing the love we have to give and share and remembering these little lives that were cut short and now get to spend time in heaven with their Creator. Too many suffer from this pain quietly. I’m here if you ever want to talk … or just have someone listen. You’re not alone and your lost little ones were so loved. I ask that today, between 7-8pm in your timezone, that you light a candle in your home and join in a world wide “wave of light” as we remember little ones lost from our own family or in honor of the families who have suffered. What a beautiful wave this creates across the globe and is incredibly touching. (DM me a picture of yours if you’d like, I would love to join in with a prayer and heart of gratitude as I remember our 2 miscarriages and 7 lost transferred embryos. Or if your profile is set to public, you’re welcome to tag me in it). Help us celebrate this special day … Give these babies and infants the honor they deserve and the love their families need.

#miscarriages #miscarriage #pregnancyloss #infantdeath #october15 #waveoflight #awareness #tearsandremembrance

I think the thing about my miscarriages that I want to get across to everyone that reads this post is this: I am not looking for sympathy or to make anyone uncomfortable.  That is so not me.

I would rather tell you something that is hard for me to fathom on most days.

Despite my miscarriages, I was blessed with three healthy, beautiful, perfect (to me) children.

Me.

I was blessed. pregnancy & loss awareness day

I remember when I was pregnant with my fifth child, my living daughter, I told my husband that I was done having children, especially if this one didn’t make it.  Thankfully she made it to full term and is now turning five really soon.

And then we were blessed with our third precious child whom I usually refer to as #mybaby or E.  He is our gift and still is.  I know the Lord has great things planned for him, as he does with my other children of course, but he is such a gift.

My posted picture on Instagram was planned in my head all day, taken by my husband.  I had a miscarriage before I had my oldest son, represented by the first candle.

My oldest son was 22-months old when I had a DNC for my third child, one whom I got to see the heartbeat and one that I will always hold in my heart.  That loss hurts the most.

The fourth baby was ectopic but thankfully I was spared from another surgery.  I was put on medication for almost four months before my body finally dispelled the pregnancy hormones in its entirety.  Those months were awful mentally and that miscarriage was the reason I didn’t want to keep trying.

As we took this photo, my children didn’t understand why we were taking it.  I told them I wanted to and they went with it.  Did I mention they were perfect?

My story: My life is full.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And yet, I will never forget my losses. 

You have hope. There is always hope.  My hope lies in Christ alone and I pray you know him and the joy he brings.

I look at those faces and will always believe with every fiber of my being there is a God and he loves me more than I love those children.

As I write this blog, mostly for my children to understand me when they are older, I pray my words will help others know that you are not alone.


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I Love my Hamster Wheel

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I’m posting today about my little world.

Here is a link to one of my favorite celebrities recent posts on Facebook – Mike Rowe.  It truly gives perspective into my little world and the article itself really spoke to me.  It’s really long, but it’s a really good read in my opinion.

Mike Rowe – Off The Wall Stephen Adams, Auburn, AL “Hi, Mike…..

Why would I post about this you ask?

Well, because you asked….

 I love my hamster wheel.

This is a photo of me in the early morning sun on one of my projects.  I joked on FB that I knew I had a halo around my head and here was the proof.

This is a photo of me in the early morning sun on one of my projects. I joked on FB that I knew I had a halo around my head and here was the proof.

By my definition, a “hamster wheel” is the little contraption that sits in a hamsters cage so that the hamster can get exercise.  But the exercise it gets, never takes it anywhere.  It’s still stuck in a cage, still keeps running in the same place but works extremely hard, even if it never gets ANYWHERE.

The analogy of a “hamster wheel” is one that can be used for people who feel that they are constantly working with no result or not getting anywhere in their place of employment.

There are SO MANY BLOGS written by and about people who couldn’t stand working for someone else (and hence not going anywhere with his or her career/life) and “got off the hamster wheel” by either starting their own business or chasing after their dream of becoming a  _____________________ (you fill in the blank.)

Then there are people like me.

I love my hamster wheel.


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love everything about my job, but I do love the job itself, I love the sense of accomplishment it brings me and I enjoy (for the most part) working with the people I get to work with.

So what do I do for a living that I love so much?

Photo of men working on a box culvert in the County of Fresno.  They are pouring concrete into the base of the new culvert, or water diversion system.

Photo of men working on a box culvert in the County of Fresno. They are pouring concrete into the base of the new culvert, or water diversion system.

I am a Registered Civil Engineer that works for the County I live in (a government agency.)  My actual title is called a “Resident Engineer” but people are more likely to understand “Construction Engineer.”

I oversee the construction of projects by Contractors, ensuring that the plans and specifications are followed.  My duties include being a paper pusher, a manager, an Engineer, an advice giver, a listener, and an ambassador for Christ while working with men who need all those things in their lives, even if they don’t know it.

This is a paving machine at work in the hot sun. DeAndrasCrafts.com

This is a paving machine at work in the hot sun. DeAndrasCrafts.com

Many of these men go to work with little complaint.  Oh how we could learn from them.  They make great money but to much expense to their bodies and sometimes families.  They work in the hot sun, in the cold days and sometimes nights, bend their backs often, work around loud equipment and breath in fumes that would make any asthmatic person run away with screaming terror.

This is a construction worker cutting a sidewalk to improve it with a handicap accessible ramp.  He is using a sawcutting machine, that is extremely loud and makes you very dirty.

This is a construction worker cutting a sidewalk to improve it with a handicap accessible ramp. He is using a sawcutting machine, that is extremely loud and makes you very dirty.

But you ask many of them ~ and I have ~ and many of these strong men will tell you that they love their jobs too.

Oh how people complain when we work.  We disrupt their lives with our construction signs, our noises, our fumes and our traffic control to keep the public safe.

But these men are building bridges, putting in wheelchair and handicap accessible ramps, improving your roadways for a better driving experience in your vehicle and doing what needs to be done to complete a project in a specific amount of time, with a specific amount of money all the while trying to keep you (the public) safe from harm, sometimes harming themselves in the long run.

This is a bridge deck being built up.  There is a concrete pumper in the center of this picture and the men are stepping on the rebar portion of the deck while the concrete is being poured.

This is a bridge deck being built up. There is a concrete pumper in the center of this picture and the men are stepping on the rebar portion of the deck while the concrete is being poured.

I want to give a plug to Mike Rowe and his new show on CNN called “Somebody’s Gotta Do it.

I don’t have cable so I watched the first episode on the website link above.

The name of the show is exactly how I feel about my job and the people I work with.

I hope to enlighten those who don’t know what its’ like to work hard and still love his/her job.

It happens all the time.

People can love their job.

I love my job.  I hope you do too!


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Yoda Purse – An upcycled story

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Yoda Purse w-VansMy love for Star Wars has come to the point where I made myself a Yoda purse.

If you came to find this blog because of this purse, let me assure you that I absolutely love this purse and use it.  And no, it is not for sale.

Showing off my Yoda purses.

My own husband photo-bombed my special moment of posing with the two purses I created.

I hand drew this purse, based off of an image I found on the net.  I made this one for myself (instructions below) and then one for my friend.  Her purse is pleather (or fake leather) and I used the same process here with a couple more steps.  You can see those instructions here: Yoda Purse – Upcycled It Is

I found the Fossil brand name purse at the Flea Market with the specific purpose to draw Master Yoda on it.  I paid $5 for mine (real leather) and it was really clean on the inside. The Fossil purse I found at the Flea Market.

I used drawing items similar to the following:

Pitt Artist Pens – Wallet Set of All 4 Pen Styles in Black

Sanford Sharpie Permanent MarkersPilot

Gold and Silver Metallic Permanent Markers

I also copied and pasted this drawing to have a copy of.   The copy of the Yoda image I found off the net.

First of all, I simply cleaned the purse using a dry paper towel to wipe up any loose particles of dirt or grime. I didn’t rub the paper towel too hard either, as I didn’t want the leather to get anymore scratched than it already was. img_4576

As this was a previously used purse, you can see from the photos that the corners of the purse were already discolored from use. img_4574

I tried using a pencil to sketch the lines out for the Yoda, but it didn’t work. I ended up free-hand sketching the lines with the black art pens. img_4585 img_4587 img_4588I started at the top of the head again and drew the ears, forehead details, eyes, nose, mouth and chin/jawline, in that order.

Next I colored in the details of the hair and eyes with the silver and gold permanent markers. img_4592 img_4594 img_4596

I highlighted his facial features in a green permanent marker, to give some depth to the black lines. img_4601

I colored in the robe with a brown sharpie marker. img_4603 img_4606 img_4610

Lastly, I gave some additional highlights to the face and robe using a wide-tipped gold scrapbooking marker I’ve had for years. img_4615

I DID NOT spray the purse with any acrylic spray, although I will admit I tried it on the bottom of the purse to see what would happen. Just as I suspected, the spray turned the purse a darker color.

The permanent marker has not smudged (yet) on the purse and I don’t expect that it will.

Overall, I love it. I have gotten photos taken of it by complete strangers, I have been asked more times than I can count if I hand drew the pattern and where I got it, the list of questions goes on and on.

0Both Purses

Thanks for reading this! I hope you try to upcycle a purse in the near future too!



Why I enjoy Halloween

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Believe me, I’m not going to get all philosophical on you.

THAT IS SO NOT MY THING.

You can read a ton of other blogs on how Christians “should” view Halloween, or how Halloween was started out as a pagan holiday and all the rest of the “you decide” type of blog posts that get you thinking about something that’s supposed to be something fun in America, that in my opinion, some people take way too seriously.

That’s not what I’m about so I’m just going to get to the point:

I really enjoy Halloween.

What I don’t like about it –

Zombies, bloody corpses of any kind, and things that imply our individual, impending death, etc.

What I do like about it -

Kids thinking about all the things they could be.

Kids dreaming about being someone else, even if it’s for just one evening.

Planning and preparing and getting ready for just one special evening with my kids.

Okay, I really LOVE the last one!

My oldest probably has three, maybe four years left to go trick-or-treating before he gets to old and believe me, I remember this every year!

Happy Halloween from DeAndrasCrafts

Halloween 2013 of DeAndrasCrafts kids.


 We’ve been preparing for Halloween at our house.

I start Halloween talk in late August after my birthday by simply asking my children what they want to be for Halloween.  Usually and thankfully that leads to all kinds of discussions, mainly about characters that are “in” right now, and what might make a good costume.

Since the time that each of my children were three years old, I have asked them individually what they would like to dress up as for Halloween.  My oldest, now eight and almost nine, has picked out his Halloween outfit since he was almost three.

He’s been Darth Vader, Yoda, Iron Man, Boba Fett, Han Solo and last year he was Two-Face or Harvey Dent from the Batman series.  I made that costume and the link takes you to the Instructable that shows how I did it.

You might see a trend in his choices of costumes and I will say that my husband and I have always been a huge influence for the choice….

This year he has decided to be “A Jedi.”

Just a Jedi. I cheated  a little and bought a pre-made outfit to start with, but am in the preparing & creating phase to make it a better costume.

Don’t tell him but I’m pre-planning a FB post to my friends and family before he goes trick-or-treating to ensure that he is just going to be a Jedi, not someone in particular.

 Here’s the Jedi Robe I made one Sunday in September. Jedi RobeI got the instructions from Instructables – Sewing a Jedi or Harry Potter Robe.

My daughter, now almost five years old, has been Star Wars Child’s Deluxe Princess Leia Costume, Small, Queen Amidala, Hello Kitty, and last year was Tinker Bell.

This year, she’s planning on being Queen Elsa from the movie Frozen.  Thankfully that was an easy purchase for the costume from Amazon.

(Believe me, I have no shame in saying that.  I am just too busy to try to make a really good copy of the outfit.)

My youngest, at three-years old, had a hard time deciding what to be for Halloween this year.  He started out thinking he wanted to be a purple minion from Despicable Me 2.  It was going to take some work, but that was a relatively easy costume that I could put together.

Well, he changed his mind and wanted to be Super Mario instead.  This was after a discussion that he couldn’t be Darth Vader AGAIN.  (He was Darth Vader last year.)

Here’s a photo of the Mario Hat in progress. Mario Hat in progressI made this hat from an Instructable as well!  I will post the link of my Instructable when it’s complete.

Hopefully I’ll update this post with the instructions as I make the pieces of the costumes, but for now, enjoy the photo of my babies from last year’s Halloween.


Getting rid of the stuff….

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Boxes of StuffThe top photo is a photo I took at work.  It’s a hallway in a storage facility for the paper copies of old projects.

To my knowledge (and I’ve been working at the same place for 13-years) no one has tried to go through the boxes.

Now don’t get me wrong. This storage area has been “cleaned up” while I’ve worked there, at least twice that I can remember.  Someone had gone into the area and rearranged boxes, stacked boxes on other boxes, and I believe even thrown out boxes of paper work that were labeled over fifty years old.  I’ve known several people who have gone in there and swept the floor so we don’t kick up dust when we place more boxes of stuff in the room.

But as far as I know, no one has ever gone through the boxes.

I know why and I bet you could guess too.

No one has the time.

No one has ever really needed what was in the boxes, especially the old ones.

No one really cares.


I started what I think will be a short series on what I’ve been learning about myself lately.

I’m throwing it in amongst all the cool projects I finish and want to show off and the random bible lessons I’ve been learning along the way.

Today’s thoughts are on “my stuff.”

A very intelligent, wise woman told me recently that I have to “own” my stuff.

We were not talking about tangible objects at the time she told me this.  To me, this means that I have to own the junk, baggage, and issues that I have packed away in little boxes in the file cabinets of my mind.

I truly have not felt more enlightened than I did when this woman presented this concept to me.

It really seemed so simple.

I couldn’t blame my adult actions on what had happened to me as a child growing up.

See, my father left my mom, my brother and I several times when I was growing up.  He would come back, usually for anywhere from three months to even years before he would leave again.  From what I recall as a child of 8-years old until I was 14-years old, he left at least four times.  He would live with family members mostly – on couches and in spare rooms, in trailers in backyards, and at one point I remember him taking my brother and I for a weekend where he had rented a room in a house with two other people.

My father was not there for me as a child.

When I spoke with this woman about my issues, or what I thought were my issues, she asked me a question in the course of our conversation that changed my life: “When was the last time you felt rejected like that?

Without hesitation, I answered, “That’s easy, the last time my father left me as a child.”


My father left my mom, my brother and I for the last time, on June 17, 1990.

Yes, I remember the day.  It was a Sunday father’s day and my parents got into a huge fight on the way home from church.  My father, who hadn’t had a job in several months, spent my mother’s last $10 on gas, candy bars and soda from the closest mini-mart to church.  He claimed he didn’t know that was the last $10 we had to our name for the month.  Besides getting gas we were supposed to use that money for lunch for all four of us.

That’s how the story goes anyway.


If you haven’t read my blog before and you just read this post, let me assure you that my father is very much a part of my life.  He is the nanny to my three children and he is extremely co-dependent to me.  My mother and my father talk to each other at least three times a week and my father takes my mother places when I can’t.  We are extremely dysfunctional but it works for us.

So here I am in an office talking with a wise woman (draw your own conclusions) and she’s just asked me when the last time I felt rejected was.  And I told her.  And she responded with “I see.”

After a few more tense minutes of conversation with me she tells me that I have been using my father leaving me as an excuse to not do things.  It was an insecurity.

“What?  I’m not insecure about anything!” I told her.

Ultimately, (and seemingly ironically) my choices of not wanting to feel rejected and abandoned have hurt my marriage in choices I have made over the course of my life.

I had to own my issue that it was a feeling of abandonment that kept me from doing certain things, including keeping myself healthy and loving my husband for the fear of rejection by him.

I had to own it.

I realize that I did not describe what I learned from her as eloquently as she was able to describe it to me.

So let me go back to my boxes as that’s what helped me understand it further.

There is stuff (i.e. issues, insecurities, feelings of rejection and abandonment) in the boxes of the file cabinets in my head.  Let’s say those files are labeled “old and private”.

That stuff, no one else really cares about because it’s old, useless, and is just collecting dust.

But I hadn’t thrown it out yet.

More boxes of stuff as my life went on surrounded the boxes in those filing cabinets in my head.  They are labeled things like “marriage,” “children,” “vacation memories,” “life lessons,” the list goes on and on.

The filing cabinet, labeled “old and private” was still there, collecting dust and ready for somebody to read it.

But nobody cares. It’s in a filing cabinet in my head.

Personally, I now knew I needed to throw those files out.

I did throw them out.

I replaced the space with this verse -

The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalms 138:8

I am a precious work of the Lord’s hands.  I know that to be true without a doubt.  His love endures forever.  How could I ever feel rejected or abandoned?

I now own this verse.  Those feelings of rejection and abandonment are gone.  The love of the Lord is all I will ever need.  Ever.

Can you feel it?


Everybody has issues, right?

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Life Post #32It’s been a fantastic day.

I had a great day at work, a great morning and evening with my children, and got some things done around the house.

But, I’ve got issues.

I’ve got baggage from the past I can’t let go and I want to know why.

I’ve been soul searching lately.  I’ve been trying to find out what makes me excited to think about the future.

Well for me, the future generally means the next two months.

Literally.

We have a master calendar in our dining room that shows the next two months.  Right around my birthday in late August, I start planning for my two oldest children’s birthday parties (late October & early November), ask my children what they want to be for Halloween, plan for Halloween activities and find out when Thanksgiving day is because in the past we have had Thanksgiving at our home and I want to plan for it.

It’s August when I do this.

It’s now September as I write this.

My children’s birthdays have been planned – one at the end of October and one at the beginning of November with Halloween in the middle.

My children have decided on what their Halloween outfits are going to be.  I am in the process of getting them and purchasing them.

Did I mention I have issues because I know I do.


Today, I wondered why I do this.

I wondered why because I read about people who don’t do these things and I know I seem like one of those people that-have-everything-together.

There was a lady at church who was interviewed as part of the sermon this past week and one of her comments struck a chord with me. She said that she didn’t do Pinterest so that she could do everything else she had to get done in a day and that it’s unrealistic expectations on women to be able to do everything.

As much as I agree with that, my personality is to get things done.

It’s what I do and have done since I was an 8-year old girl taking care of my 7-year old brother as latch-key kids. I had a hard working mom and a father that was there one day and gone the next if he had a fight with my mom.  I had dreams of marrying a rich man when I grew up and having two boys and a fantastic day job making a ton of money so all my needs were met and I never had to stand in a food line like my mom did to get hard cheese and beans for free.

So far, every child hood dream has come true for me.  Definitely not in the way I’ve planned it, but they have come true.

I want to assure you that I don’t have everything together.

But I am trying.

I’m not kidding.  I am trying to have everything together.

That’s the only thing I can think of.  Maybe, just maybe, I am trying to have everything together so I get to look forward to the accomplishments that happen. That’s part of my motivation to continue to improve myself on a daily basis. A man's reach
Thanks for reading my thoughts.  I plan on continuing this discussion on subsequent blog posts.  The next one I’m planning for this series of personal posts is on letting “my stuff” go.


Please pray with me for our Nation today

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9-11I remember the day.

It was 2001 and I was driving to work early in the morning like I had been doing for the past few months. It was a few months after graduation from College for me and this was the first job I got after graduating college.

I live in California so 6:30 AM is 9:30 AM on the East Coast.

I don’t normally listen to the radio on the way to work but for some reason, that day I did, and the station was set on a local channel.  The DJ’s were mumbling something about a plane crashing into a building in New York.

As I continued to drive to work I continued to listen and details were coming in about a plane crashing into the Twin Towers in New York City.

We were under attack.Our Nation was under attack.

I will never forget.

I was twenty-five years old at the time.  I didn’t have any children and my biggest concern of the day was if I was going to get a pedicure or full set of nails.  I was also probably thinking I needed to go to the craft store, because I did that often back then, without purpose and just to spend money on the “someday” list of crafts to do.

I was a very different person thirteen years ago.

As I write this today I think of my children.  They weren’t around yet and I have a mix of emotions of feeling blessed that it wasn’t our City, our State, or anywhere near where I live.

I am still saddened that so many lives didn’t get to see their children, grandchildren and family members getting older.

I am joyful that more attacks did not happen.

I am thankful that the Lord blessed us all by saving us from attacks that could-have happened.

The older I get and the further away I get from that day you would think that I couldn’t remember details but I still do.

I will never forget.

I don’t think if you lived through that date and time you can forget.

Everything has changed since then and thankfully, things will continue to change.

I pray that the changes will be for the glory of the Lord.

I pray for our Nation, that we will again come to realize what the Lord and his son Christ has done for us and find our strength to fight the evil along side of Him that is hindering our choices and taking over our Nation.

I hope you pray with me.

Psalm 121:1-2

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Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam

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Sweet & Tangy Tomato JamSometimes having too many tomatoes is a good thing!

I have all the cheesy lines memorized for healthy living:

Nothing’s better for you than homemade!

With homemade, you know what’s in it!

and

Healthy eating starts with fresh ingredients.

The lines could go on and on for healthy eating.

You know what makes healthy eating difficult for me?  Spending time making it.

I’ve got three precious little ones to take care of, a husband, two dogs and aging parents.  It’s seemingly impossible to set three-to-four hours aside to make homemade-anything, let alone tomato jam.

But I did it. And I made it twice.  It was that good and totally worth it to use up the tomatoes growing in our backyard.

 June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoesOur first harvest of tomatoes

We were still thankfully harvesting tomatoes in July, and had a bowl full of them that weighed in at just over 5-lbs.

Five lbs of harvested, homegrown tomatoesThe recipe I whipped up this tomato jam from is here.

How do I describe tomato jam?  Well, it’s pretty much like ketchup, but 1000 times better.

This jam has a small kick to it so my children didn’t care for it much, but I couldn’t stop eating it because it’s just all the flavor’s I love – spicy from the chili flakes, sweet with honey, tangy with the ginger, and above all, it’s made out of tomatoes!  I love tomatoes.

These are of course, all my original photos and recipe card made for your use, based off of the link above.


The first thing you do is finely chop up the five pounds of tomatoes.  As I cut them by hand, this process alone took at least 30-minutes and with kids asking me for things throughout the entire process, I think it took me about an hour to cut them all up.

Finely chop tomatoesI cut the tomatoes in half and then in small slivers.  Most of the photos are from the first batch.  (The second batch was more chopped up in chunks, and that came out just as awesome.)

Next you place the chopped up tomatoes in a pan.  I used a stock pot because I was too lazy to clean my large wide pan.  (I’m not kidding.)

Add chopped tomatoes to pan

Add all ingredients togetherAdd all the other ingredients – 2-1/2 cups honey, 1/2 cup bottled lime juice, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Mix everything up and begin the cooking. Mix prior to cooking thouroughly

After the mixture comes to a roiling boil, set it on medium low and simmer.  STIR IT about every 15 to 30 minutes.  I set a timer for 15-minutes every time I went to stir it.  All that work and I certainly wasn’t going to let it burn.

Mine took close to 2 and a half hours to finally look like the photo below.

Tomato Jam is ready to can!

The first batch I placed in 16 oz Ball Mason Jars to eventually give away to friends and family to test out.  I did not seal the jam and made that clear when I gave the samples out that it had to be refrigerated and eaten right away.

 Non-canned tomato jam

I canned the second batch and ended up with five -8 oz. Ball canning jars and one full pint to eat.The second batch of jam I made getting canned.I am in no way, shape or form familiar with canning food.  I used the internet to help me, specifically this site: Canning Tomatoes on Instructables.

Five are now sitting in the pantry waiting for Christmas to be given away and the sixth one was consumed over the course of a month.  Happy to say it was good to the last spread of it!

Canned tomato jam

Total time involved – After chopping all the tomatoes I would say it took me a good four hours to get this recipe down.  There’s almost no way to mess it up though, unless you burn it.

I used this spread for a substitute for ketchup in many recipes, specifically for a couple crock pot ones.  I also spread it on crackers for snacks with cream cheese, and took it to a potluck where it got a great response.

I was surprised that some people were reluctant to try it!  I just told them that it was like a tangy version of ketchup, and a few co-workers told me that hadn’t tasted anything like it.  That’s the kind of stuff I like to make – surprisingly good.  Tomato Jam Recipe Card

Let me know if you try it and as always, thanks for reading!

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