Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday, Febuary 22nd, 2010

    Happy Monday!

My sister  Susie was kind enough to point out the other day that "You haven't been publishing on your blog much." 
Thanks for noticing.  :)

So, I'm going to try to make an effort to post more.  There are days (like today) when I really don't have anything to say.  At least there's nothing on my mind right now that I want to share.  But, I'll try to just at least say hi and talk to you all anyway.  I hope it doesn't get boring.

Last week was a little crazy at work.  We were slow at all the times when we were caught up and had plenty of people hanging around, and busy at all the wrong times.  My co-worker who I work the most with has been on vacation the whole month of February.  It's made things interesting... :)  But, it's all good.  Things always seem to work out somehow at the flower shop no matter what the problem is. 

Anyway, I'm off to work.  Then home to do my laundry and clean the bathroom.  I also borrowed Mom's vacuum, so I'll vacuum the living room today.  Our vacuum cleaner has been out of commission for a long time now, so once a week or so I borrow Mom's.  Thankfully she has one of those 8 lb. Oreck's so it's easy to toss in the back of the Dawn Treader.

And THAT is how exciting my life is today. 

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Friday, February 19, 2010

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

   And they're not even kidding...

RECIPE courtesy of my lovely friend KRISTA of the IDD Blog.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Luke and Sarah B. Must Have Found the Wardrobe....

   Because it sure looks like they're in Narnia!

Photo credit/photo-shopping goes to SUSIE and there are more pictures on HER BLOG so check it out!!! 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Self Confidence (or The Lack Thereof)

I've struggled with low self-confidence my entire life.  I'm a natural introvert.  As a child I was never more than an arms reach away from my mom and often so close behind her that if she stopped suddenly I would run into her.  If someone spoke to me I answered in monosyllables and hid my face.  When I was eleven we joined a Bible club at a local church.  I cried and my mom had to stay with me the whole first night.  Even at age 18 I made multiple excuses not to make phone calls.  I was terrified to use the phone.  I stayed home when I was invited to parties with excuses of "headaches.  Actually, the truth wasn't far off.  I got instant headaches at the thought of socialization.  There were times that I cried for hours before going to a social gathering merely because I didn't want anyone to look at me.  If they looked at me I knew they would know what a failure I was.     

When I went to work at the flower shop I had to do major overcoming.  I had to drive to people's houses and knock on their doors!  Let me tell you, though, when you walk into an office building carrying a bouquet of flowers EVERYONE looks at you.  But, surprisingly they aren't thinking "Who is that strange girl and what is her problem?"  They're thinking "OOOO.... I wonder who's getting flowers?"  My boss required me to make some difficult phone calls for her and once I even had to run after a customer who "forgot" to pay.  Some of the things I had to do would have been a cake walk to other people.  They were mountains for me.  But, the thing about mountains is that once you've conquered them they become monuments, things we can look back on as battles fought and won.  Every victory is a step higher.   

Only a few weeks ago I was talking with a co-worker.  It was a rather deep discussion and at one point I referred to myself as "Shy.” 
She looked at me in disbelief.  "You are NOT shy!"
I stared at her blankly.  "Well, I am…" 
She shook her head. "Well, I've never thought of you as shy. I mean, you're quiet and you're certainly not a big talker, but you're friendly and you certainly don't ACT shy!" 
I was still perplexed.  I'd worked with this woman for almost 7 years.  Could she really not know?  "I am shy... I always have been..."  
She continued to stare at me "Well.  You certainly cover it well!"

And that's when I realized the truth.  I'm really not nearly as shy as I used to be and my self-confidence is really SO much better.  I still don't like crowds of people.  I'm still a horrible conversationalist.  I'm good at listening, but really not good at talking myself.  I'd still much rather be alone with my own thoughts than at a party and I still don't like anyone to look at me.  I'll always be that way.  But, I've learned to cover it well.  I've learned to "fake it."  And it's made a huge difference in my life.  I'm not an expert.  I still struggle with self-confidence.  I still cry at night when I'm feeling 2 inches tall.  I still don't have a lot of social skills that most people don't ever have to learn because they just come naturally.

But, there are a few things I've learned that help me get through a day at least faking self-confidence.  :) 

  • Don't beat yourself up, especially for the sake of humor.  While it may cause people to chuckle at the time it's really not worth it in the long run.  And it sends a message like a flashing neon sign "REBECCA IS OK TO PICK ON."  A fellow IDDiot and I were talking the other day about making disparaging remarks about ourselves in order to lighten the mood and make a conversation.  Here's what I said   "[We] need to develop [our] self confidence and present [our] self-confidence... I don't really know how to describe this. This is something that I have FINALLY started learning how to do. There are still times when I cower and feel like everyone around me is SO much more accomplished, intelligent, etc... and there were/still are plenty of times when I made a conversation out of my inadequacy. Why did I do that to myself? Desperate for something to say, I guess and having nothing to say, without sounding stupid I just kind of announced my stupidity... ??"  Girls, please, please don't do this to yourselves.  You are worthy of being praised. 
  • Learn your strengths and depend on them.  It's never okay to ignore our weaknesses but it's certainly not necessary to hide our strengths.  Work on your weaknesses.  Meanwhile, put your best foot forward. If you find yourself in a conversation that's out of your depth, don't be discouraged or draw attention to your inability.  Instead, learn what you can from it and speak up when you can it's a subject familiar to you.  Don't let your weaknesses overshadow your strengths!  Make it the other way around!
  • Smile.  Even if you're quaking inside, even if you'd rather be anywhere rather than where you are.  A smile is the universal sign of friendship.  If you don't say a word your smile will still make an impact. 
  • The secret to dealing with a lack of self-confidence is Don't Let Anyone Else Know!  Acting can be your best friend.  In the movie Wives and Daughters, Cynthia says, "The French girls would tell you that to believe that you are pretty would make you so."  There's a lot of truth in that statement.  A woman who thinks of herself as beautiful will act beautiful.  She will take extra care with her clothes, hair and makeup.  She will cultivate her beauty.  Similarly, acting confident (even when you are not) will give you a confidence.  Or, at the very least, it will give everyone else the idea that you are!  
  • Remember that God is confident in you, His creation, even if you are not.

  • I'll let you in on another secret.  You're most likely the ONLY person that knows that you're self-conscious and awkward feeling.  I often think that EVERYONE must be able to see how awkward I am, but the truth is people don't really notice as much as you think they do.  If you start focusing on others all the time and stop focusing on your own failings you'll find yourself much more relaxed in social situations.
  • As Oscar Wilde said "Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken."

Take it one step at a time. Don’t expect to change from shy to outgoing overnight. It takes time and practice. It’s worth it in the long run, though.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Remains of V-Day

I make GOOD messes



Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010

I've been busy, Oh so busy
It's amazing how busy I feel!

(Yes, I've been listening to the West Side Story soundtrack.  And, yes, Hayley Westenra is the best Maria ever. No contest.) 



My new laptop has arrived!   And I've been busy, oh so busy, *ahem* playing with it.
Windows 7 has my thumbs up, by the way.  Not that my thumbs up really counts for anything at all.

I named the new laptop Riley.  Because I name things. And because... RILEY!  *grins*

Other things that have been keeping me busy are as follows and in no particular order:

  • Writing (mostly for the IDD blog)
  • Valentine's Day. 
  • Keeping my house clean.  Explain this to me.  We're gone most of the day. Which means we aren't home to mess it up.  And yet, there is ALWAYS housework to do.  Why is this?  I conclude that either
    • a) We are VERY messy when we ARE at home.  or 
    • b) it has something to do with the second law of thermodynamics. 
      • It may in fact, be both reasons.  And the first reason may be because of the second reason.  But, I don't know for sure, because I am not a physicist.  I'm a florist.  And the flower shop is pretty messy this time of year too.  But that's because of, like I said V-Day.  Or, the second law of thermodynamics.  Hmmmm..... This is obviously proof that the second law of the thermodynamics is directly related to Valentine's and that all florists should moonlight as astro-physicists.  
  • I completely messed up my iTunes library and iPod and all that in my attempt to transfer my iTunes library to my new computer without the help or supervision of Katie.  I was trying to be smart and not bug her.  Ended up looking not smart and bugging her anyway.  
  • Reading the Fitzwilliam Darcy books.  Only a couple of breaks to read Agatha Christie.  Has anyone read the Darcy books?  
  • Itching for spring!!!  I ordered some flower seeds... they came in the mail... I was so excited I couldn't sleep that night because I was trying to plan my garden in my head.  But, obviously, I won't be able to actually get out and start working for at least another 6-8 weeks so it's all like some kind of cruel joke I'm playing on myself.  *sigh*
Well, I think that's all for now.  Have to get going to the flower shop and as my mom says "Make pretty flowers!"  for all of those lovers and sweethearts out there.  Do you think I will ever have a sweetheart?  I'm beginning to doubt... But, that's usual for this time of year...  

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

On Books and Life

   There are those who say that 
life is like a book, 
with chapters for each event in your life 
and a 
limited number of pages 
on which you can spend your time

But I prefer to think that
a book is like a life,
particularly a good one
which is  
well worth staying up
all night to finish.
- Lemony Snicket

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

My New Ride

Ok, this isn't actually MY car.  This is a picture I pulled off the internet.  I didn't want to take a picture of my car, because it's really dirty right now (because I live in Wisconsin and it's February).  And, it's difficult to take a good picture without getting the liscense plate in the picture.  And also, my computer doesn't like my sister's camera, so getting pictures off the camera onto my computer is like a 5 step process.  (I exaggerate.  Maybe only 3 steps.) 
Anyway.  This is my new car.  It's a Ford Escape.  'And it is RED.'  (points to whoever knows what movie I just quoted.) 
I absolutely LOVE it.  It's my dream car. 
I named her Dawn Treader.  :)

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Proverbs 31:13

      She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly 
with her hands
 -Proverbs 31:13

The main part of this verse that caught my eye was "She worketh WILLINGLY with her hands."  Probably every one of us is familiar with that ancient saying "A man will work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done."  I have my doubts whether or not this saying is really true of the sexes in general.  I've met men who never stop and woman who like to take plenty of breaks.  :) 

Regardless, every single woman in this world, married or single, mother, sister or grandmother has more than enough projects, jobs, etc. (feel free to fill in the blank here with whatever it is that keeps YOU busy) to distract her every minute of every day.  How many of us have moaned for the luxury of 36 hours in a day instead of 24?  In fact, I'm pretty sure we were having a conversation along these exact lines on the IDD forum just the other day.  :)  I'm convinced however that whether we were given 36 hours a day or even 48 every single one of us would remain just as busy and behind on our "to-do" lists as we are now. 

Here's why:  From the minute I wake up in the morning, and often even before I've woken up in the morning, I am planning my day.  I wake up with a list in my head entitled Things To Get Done Today.  I get out of bed and before I've even washed my face the list has grown.  It goes like this:  On my walk to the bathroom I add Sweep Kitchen Floor and Make Coffee.  As I'm putting on my makeup and brushing my teeth I mentally add Buy a New Toothbrush, Look at Garden Plan, Save Money, Wash Towels and Talk to Mom about This Weekend. All of this is before I've even poured my coffee or eaten breakfast.  As soon as I open the refrigerator to get out the milk I start adding things to the Grocery section of my list and planning dinner.  I check my e-mail during breakfast (Three cheers for multi-tasking!!) and start adding more things to the list Pay Insurance, Write a Blog Post, Check on Library Books Due Dates, Water Plants.  If I'm feeling super organized I might even pull out my phone and start putting my list into a drafted text message that I keep for this exact purpose.  But, honestly, the thoughts come faster than I can put them into my phone and realistically I can't walk around with my phone in my hand all day long adding things to my list.  I walk to my car and the list grows.  Get Gas, Take Out Garbage, Practice Piano.  I arrive at work and my "Home" list retires to a "Look at Later" file and my "Work" list comes out.  Re-cut Flowers, Clean Roses, Order Plants, FIND MORE PENS, Clean vases, Call Other Shop....  During the day I think of people and add their names to my "Call and See How They're Doing List."  But, who has time for an hour long conversation with each of those 25 people?  I'll be perfectly honest.  By the time I've arrived home at the end of the day I've forgetten 80% of the things on the list, and of the remaining 20% maybe 5% of THOSE actually get done.  I fall into bed and try to sleep as the image of my "Things to Get Done Today" list haunts me with it's lack of check marks.  Imagine how it would be if we had 48 hours to spend thinking of things to do?  I, for one, would definitely be just as behind on my projected goals as I am now.  Maybe more so.

This is the life of a young, single woman with no husband to think of and no children to care for, and supposedly plenty of energy.  I'm not trying to give you the impression that I work uber-hard and deserve a vacation in Hawaii.  (Although that would be nice...)  As a matter of fact, I'm really trying to show you how discouraging it is to NOT get things done.  I, of course, take the lions share of the blame for things not getting done.  I could be more efficient.  I could prioritize better.  I could be less selfish and choose to spend my time doing the things that I know need to be done but I don't really want to do.  I could probably sacrifice an hour of sleep. 

Above all, I could have a better attitude.  That's all I'm really trying to say here.  The Virtuous Woman WORKS.  It's true.  But, more importantly, she works WILLINGLY.  You've heard the saying "Attitude is everything"?  It's absolutely true.  I would be willing to bet that I could sweep the floor faster and more efficiently if I have a good attitude versus sweeping the floor with a bad attitude.  If I go through my day with a willing heart I'll probably remember more of the things on my list.  I'll probably get more of them done and I'll definitely be a better example, a better employee, better sister and all around a better person to know.  On the flip side, if I scowl and complain about everything I do, I'll probably talk myself out of doing things, be less productive and no one will want to be around me. 

A woman's work is never done.  And, according to Proverbs 31, the Virtous Woman is WILLING to shoulder that burden.  Something every single one of us can work on every single done.  Because as long as there's work to be done, there can and should be a willing attitude to go along with it. 

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Monday, February 01, 2010

January Book List

 1. Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie (****)  Pretty good.  I did think the answer seemed obvious, but...  maybe not.  :)

2. As You Like It by William Shakespeare (****)  I'm helping my brother with his Shakespeare class.  (rephrase that:  He and I reading Shakespeare together IS the "class")  Tons of fun!

3. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (****)  I love the surprise ending of this one.  :)

4. Jeeves and the Tie That Binds by P.G. Wodehouse (****)  Cute and funny.  Wodehouse is some kind of genius. 

5. An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott (*****)  Such a sweet story.  The very beginning and the end are best.  This is another book that I find myself grinning like a fool as I read the end.  *sappy sigh*

6. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
(*****) I absolutely LOVED this book.  And for so many reasons.  Some of which I can't tell you because it would be giving away the whole story.  It is an excellently written, beautiful, touching story of a 16 year old girl proving up a homestead claim by herself.  A true coming of age story and I absolutely loved it.  I cried for both grief and joy.  Based on the homesteading experience of an actual young girl named Hattie Inez Brooks.  Read her story.  You will love it. 

7.  Horseradish, Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid by Lemony Snicket- (****)  If you like Lemony Snicket, you'll love his Horseradish.  Quite cunning.  :)

8.  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse -(****)  Pretty funny.  :)

9.  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aiden- (***) This is my second time reading this series and I have to admit it's not quite as fun the second time around.  I feel like Aiden has a hard time filling the dead spaces in Austen's work and has to make up what Darcy is doing meanwhile.  There are too many passages that tell us in minute detail exactly how Darcy is training his dog or practicing fencing...  Anyway, I did like the book and I already checked out the sequel from the library. 

10.  The Golden Ball and other stories by Agatha Christie - (**)  Mostly ghost stories.  Not really my thing. 

11.   Poirot Loses a Client by Agatha Christie- (****)  I think this plot survives only because Christie is such an amazing writer.  She tells us EVERYTHING we need to know but in such a way that we all read ourselves right into the wrong ideas.  Amazing.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Duty and Desire by Pamela Aiden (***)  I like these books for several various reasons.  The whole concept of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's point of view is interesting.  Also, I like the history and how we learn about the life of a gentleman in this time period and that's interesting too.  This book is a little different from the other two in the series.  Aiden is a bit at a loss for material since at this point chronologically in P&P we have no idea what Darcy is doing.  She spends the first half of the book with Darcy at Pemberly with Georgianna, his family, in London... all very nice and Darcy-like.  The second half of the book however takes a very non-Austen like turn and, while it's a not bad plot, and quite engaging, I have to say it really doesn't seem very Darcy-ish.  Anyway, in my opinion, Aiden should've left all of that out and made the series only two books rather than three.  The secondary plot could easily have been expanded to a full length novel perhaps featuring a different main character?  I don't know. Just my opinion.  I do like Fletcher.  :)

13.  The Feminine Minority, A Brief History of Feminism and the Modern Woman by Patricia Regar- (***)  As history lessons go, this book is phenomenal.  It's a clear, well-formulated look at the birth of the Feminist Movement.  The author makes some conclusions regarding the modern woman that I don't completely agree with, but I found the history very interesting and thought provoking.  I've had some good conversations on the subject brought on by reading this book.

14.  One, Two Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie- (****)  Another good Christie... :)
  It amuses me that so many of her mysteries are inspired by nursery rhymes. 

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