Friday, December 15, 2023

Five Things for Friday

 I haven't done a Five Things post in a long time and I'm done with November's posts and it's Friday, so no time like the present! Today's is more like a progress report and review of the year, so it's a little more wordy than usual. I'm not keeping it quite as pithy for this one!

1. Work is going well. I strongly believe that the blessings of keeping my covenants and staying close to the Lord, regularly attending and serving in the temple, and being a full tithe payer are happening in my life. My nonprofit job is giving me many new opportunities, some of which take me way out of my comfort zone, but it's good for me because I'm developing and growing in professional ways that weren't available to me as a stay-at-home mom (which is still my number one career choice, by the way). In the past six weeks, I've had an informational phone call with a staffer from a U.S. senator's office, I put together and did a webinar (which was terrifying, but I did it), and I'm in the process of getting a meeting set up with the senior pastor of a major Washington, D.C. church who is interested in the Op-Ed Lab that I manage and how it works. I'm also very much enjoying both the editing part of my job and being more involved with legislation and government and civic engagement. Editing and government are the two fields I was most interested in going into after college, so it feels like a special gift from Heavenly Father that I got this particular job that combines the two so well. And it also involves my religion, which is most dear to me. How perfect is that!?

2. Another work note: I wasn't really actively looking for this, but it kind of fell into my lap with relatively little effort on my part. I was recently hired to be the Managing Editor of Cape Cod Moms, which is just getting started. I really like the woman who runs it and I think I'm going to learn a lot from her. This also combines my love of editing and organizing content with another longtime interest and love of mine--Cape Cod! The job is part-time and flexible and I can do it from home on my own time and hours. I truly feel so blessed by these wonderful opportunities for work that feel like they were handpicked for me.

3. I'm at a really good place in my life right now. I don't want to jinx it, so a big giant KNOCK ON WOOD as I proceed both in this blog post and in my life. I feel content, happy, at peace, and excited about both my present and my future. I'm far from perfect but I know that overall, I'm living right, I'm healthy, I'm strong (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically--except for lifting really heavy things 😄), I like my new house--it's been so good for a fresh start, I love being a mom to my two sons who are both doing quite well, I'm doing fulfilling work in my professional life and learning and growing a lot there, I get to work at the temple twice a month which is the coolest place on earth, and I have family and friends who I dearly love. Things are under my control as much as they can be in life and I can run my household and my life in whatever way that I want. It's awesome. There are definite perks to being single, and I'm enjoying it. Would I rather be married? Yes, to a truly good and faithful (in all senses of the word) man who would never leave me or break his covenants with the Lord, and I know he's out there and that the time will come for that. I want that, but until it happens, I'm happy and doing well on my own. 

Because of the stresses of the last few years of my marriage and then the long and brutal divorce and all that it entailed, I haven't felt this good and this free in many years. At the beginning of this year, I had said that 2023 was my year to be free, and I'm so thankful that it actually happened--that the divorce finally took place and was finalized halfway through the year, that the house sold well and I moved to a place that's all my own (except for the fact that I don't actually own it 😆), that I've been able to get good work, and that I've been able to heal from some pretty deep wounds and hurts and I now have no painful ties to my former husband that I struggled with before. I'm free of all of it. I'm sure that things will still come up, but I'm well-equipped to handle them. I've got this, and that is a great feeling. 

4. Christmas! My favorite time of year! Because life has been so busy I haven't been as organized with it as I usually am. I've blocked out several hours in my schedule tomorrow to get organized, wrap presents, and see what still needs doing and getting. Once that's done, I should be able to truly enjoy the final week leading up to the actual holiday, which includes my favorite day of the year, Christmas Eve, and to feel the peace of this special season.

Speaking of the peace of the season, I LOVE what the Church did in Times Square on November 27th. (John was right there in Times Square two days before they did this!) This is magical and so well done, and it makes me think about how when Christ comes again, everyone will be looking up and will be awed by the angels and especially by the Savior whom they see, whether they're believers or not. (If they're not, they will be!) I've watched this video at least fifteen times because I love it so much.


5. I'm looking forward to 2024, which I'm already thinking of as "my year for more" -- more freedom from the things that have held me down, more happiness, more experiences, more learning, more growth, more romance (??), and more life changes (like John going on a mission!). I think it's going to be a big, tumultuous year in the world (at the very least because of the presidential election, but likely because of a lot more than that). I'm going to be ready for all of it! {KNOCK ON WOOD!} 
2023 was a good year and I'm truly thankful for it. I hope 2024 will be just as good, if not better!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

November 2023 Randoms

 November was a particularly busy month with work, travel, and Thanksgiving, so I didn't take as many pictures. This isn't a bad thing. 😄 Plus I got the whole month done in less than two weeks here on the blog! 

I googled John and found him on SVU's wrestling roster. Cool!

A few days after that, I got a special text from him:

And for my other son, I sent him this picture about Six Flags and Cedar Fair combining forces. For years, we've talked about the possibility of this happening. Sam is interested in going into engineering to design roller coasters and/or into business to help run a theme park empire (like the new one below).

I want this!

I went to an Emergency Preparedness Training that my stake did and it was really good. 
I think they should do this every year, and that many more members should go than currently do. We know that we're living in tumultuous times before the Savior's return and we need to be prepared in every way that we can. I'm glad that, thanks to my dad's encouragement, I've been a prepper for the last ten years. I'm not nearly as good as some people (like the amazing guy who gave the presentation above who I now want to be BFFs with), but I think I have a pretty solid foundation and understanding of what goes into it.

With my sister's help, I'm going to learn how to do this yoga move next year. 
This is one of my goals for 2024. Hopefully I'll do it without fracturing my nose. 👃 (Although it could be an improvement because I don't like my nose! 😝)

Speaking of yoga, I'm thinking about doing this program at Kripalu in February when Sam isn't with me during Winter Break. I've wanted to try snowshoeing for years and I have a nice pair of snowshoes from L.L.Bean that I've never used. Plus, it's Kripalu and yoga!
My question is, what will they do if there's no snow on the ground? I haven't been impressed with our New England winters the last few years. Overall, they've been kind of a bust when it comes to snow!

I love my walks in the woods. 😍

I'm a big fan of house slippers, and I have my eye on this pair for when my current pair bites the dust. Or maybe before that for some variety. 😉

I saw this cool LED owl at Target and I liked it but didn't buy it. A picture sufficed!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Wisdom, Humor, and Inspiration in November

This is true...

On a related note, I have to say that so far, my forties are my favorite decade. And that's really saying something given what the first two-three years of it were like!

The Babylon Bee was killing it last month. I love their humor and satire! 

It's a Wonderful Life inspires me and is one of my favorite movies. I watch it every year on Christmas Eve. 💖


But also this...

Watch the sugar intake~

:cough:my (past) marriage:cough:

My sister sent this to me after reading this at the end of one of our yoga classes. ⭐

I'm not including this to say that I'm smart, but I do think my self-awareness skills are fairly top-notch. 😉
Just don't overdo it with the introspection and self-analysis!

I like to do this.

A few more Babylon Bee gems to round out and finish up this post!

I like it but it is kind of a weird movie. 😆


I die 😂

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Crazy Times Scrapbook, November 2023

 Another Crazy Times post already, whaaaat!? That's crazy! 😜

My like-dislike relationship with social media continues...

I don't have much respect for Mark Zuckerburg. He consistently doesn't seem to care about what Facebook and Instagram can do to people, particularly the young. Not to mention anything about censorship, deceptive algorithms, etc.

Facebook is my social media (poison 😝) of choice because I like how it keeps me connected with friends and family. I haven't used Instagram in many years but I've been thinking about going back on it next year so that I can keep better tabs on John, plus I may need to use it for work. But I'm loathe to have more than one form of social media happening in my life.   

The ignorance and hypocrisy of many of those supporting Palestine is galling.

Funny but sad. 
Biden cannot run for president again. There's no way he can do this job for another four years.

This may be a little exaggerated, but not by much...
I totally agree with this WSJ editorial on the matter.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Around the House in November/Lonely Single Pet Lady

Unfortunately, I can't have DISH satellite TV at my new place, and I miss the monthly Dishscapes it had. Fortunately, I can kind of make my own by streaming YouTube videos to the TV. It's a lot better than nothing, which is what it was my first few months of living here before figuring out a solution for my too-quiet house. I like to have soft background noise and a pretty nature or home scene going, not all day but for a lot of the day. Thank goodness for YouTube and streaming!

Here I am sitting on the couch reading the paper and snapping a selfie. 😁

Violet is 13 now and she's showing her age. She sleeps most of the time and isn't as playful and animated as she used to be. She doesn't see well anymore and her hearing isn't as sharp either. I worry about cancer and that it might be growing in her after she had that big cancerous tumor removed in June. I cherish every day with my "sweet little lady." Her companionship means so much to me, especially when the boys aren't with me and I'm home alone. Just the presence of another sentient being in the house can be so comforting.

I'm going to put most of my selfies (which I'm not taking as much of anymore--dry your eyes) in my "Around the House" posts now because...I usually take them around the house.
This British soldiers sweater is one of my favorites!

An artsy shot of the dining room chandelier. Or at least, I think it's artsy. 😆

After over a year of living with me, my mom's cat Olive finally curled up on my lap one evening when I was watching TV. It was a dream come true! 😄 I'd been waiting for that to happen and it finally did! And then she moved out with my mom soon after. 😢 It was like she knew that she was leaving so she decided to grace me with her presence on my lap one time as a goodbye gift. What a tease!

Chillin' on the couch with my dog and cat. Life is good! 

In case you're wondering if I'm turning into a weird and preoccupied pet lady, I promise I'm not! I'm really not! That said...

Violet likes to cuddle up with pillows and blankets. She's not cuddly with people as much. She and Olive are alike in that way. Boo Boo was the best cuddler--he would literally lean into it. He was the best dog I think I'll ever have, and I can't wait to be with him again someday, along with all of the other pets that I've loved and lost in life.

Normally I'd include these in my monthly "Wisdom, Humor, Inspo" posts, but it's relevant here. 
This is true!

I'm thinking of getting a shelter cat next year in preparation for when Violet passes away, which hopefully won't be for awhile. I'd like to get a dog after that happens too, but that might be trickier since I live in a rental now. Maybe I should just get a husband instead before I go too far down the path of lonely single pet lady. 😉