Monday, January 28, 2013

Tip of the Month - Stop the Bleeding

It seems that over the years I’ve learned a thing or two that have just plain helped me out. (Somehow “over the years” seems to translate in my mind to “you’re older than dirt” but I’m just going to ignore that for the time being.) Whether it is an easier way to do something or a secret for getting a stain out of my favorite top, there are just a few tips that are too good to keep to myself. So, I’ve decided that once a month – until I run out of tips - I’m going to share some of my “wisdom” with you.

For my first trick (and yes, this one really is so amazing it seems like magic) let me share with you how to set the color in an article of clothing. The other day I was hand washing a dark red blouse (because it’s cheaper and generally more effective than dry cleaning.) As I washed it I noticed the water in the sink was turning as red as the blouse and if I didn’t do something soon, I’d have a pink top instead of a red one. Time to pull out the vinegar. DSC_0570 - Version 2Yep, standard household white vinegar. I filled the sink with water, added a couple of “glugs” (a highly technical measurement that one hears instead of sees) of vinegar and then put my blouse back in the water. I let it soak for about 15 minutes and bam, no more color bleeding! Amazing, right? This also works for those pesky blue jeans that turn your hands blue by the end of the day. You know, the ones that leave you thinking “has the circulation left my hands completely?” or “do I really touch my legs that often?” You won’t want to do this in the sink, of course, but it can be done in the washer, too. You might need three of four “glugs” of vinegar to compensate for the increased amount of water, but you get the idea.

There you have it. My easy peasy tip for stopping the color bleeding! (Oh, you weren’t expecting a medical tip when you saw the title, were you?)

Now, because this is my first monthly tip I’m going to give you a little bonus. Follow this link and go to my friend, Becca Grove’s blog. She has a hard-boiled egg tip that’ll blow your mind!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Walking Isn't for Wimps

I have taken up walking – for exercise, I mean, not just for moving from one place to another. This is not normally noteworthy, I understand, but what you don’t know about me is that I absolutely hate walking. My feet always hurt, I get bored, and occasionally I even sweat. And I hate sweating more than I hate walking. It’s just so, um, gross. Nonetheless, I have determined that walking on a regular basis would give me more endurance, and heaven knows I could use a dose or two of endurance.
I’ve tried walking regularly in the past, but to be honest I’ve been unable to find anything that would distract me from the pain – and yes, I’m talking about real, physical pain. It appears that my feet don’t enjoy the process any more than I do. My hope is that eventually they’ll just get used to it and stop their whining.

Thus, my first challenge was to find something that could shout louder than my feet. I figured out that podcasts required concentration and would give me something to focus on, kind of like Lamaze breathing during labor. My first day out I turned on my podcast, walked 15 minutes in one direction and then turned back towards home. I took my phone along in case I needed to call 911 somewhere along the way. Later that night, I was trying to figure out how far I’d walked, so I asked my husband for his guess based on the route I’d taken. When he said about a mile and a half I was shocked! So shocked that I actually got up out of bed at 11:00 p.m., put my coat on over my pajamas, and drove the route to see if he was right. Turns out, it was only 1.2 miles, but hey, this was just my first day!

True to their natural bent, my feet have indeed been complaining – some days more than others. Determined to have the upper hand in this battle of the wills with my feet, I walk anyway. After one particularly painful day a friend told me that she’d seen me walking. I asked her, “Did I look like I was about to cry?” (Because I was.) She told me that she couldn’t tell because I was looking down at the ground. Note to self: When you stare at the ground, it puts your whole body alignment out of whack – look up! I’m not sure when I started the practice of walking with my head down, but I’m going to guess it was during the 1980s when there were Lego pieces scattered all around our house. Those babies HURT when you step on them!

After my crying day I decided to take a day off and find other footwear, which I did. I actually found a pair of shoes that are pretty much an answer to prayer. But even perfectly fitting shoes have a break-in period, and apparently I forgot to pay attention to that fact. Before too long my feet were back to shouting in protest, but I didn’t want to quit. So I took a few Advil and persisted in my walking regimen. Apparently another friend spotted me out walking that day (you gotta love a small town) and told me, “Nancy, you know I love you, but when I saw you walking you had the worst look on your face.”

“You mean, like I was in intense pain?” I asked.

“Exactly like that.”

Who knew so many people would be watching me while I walk? And who knew that they’d expect me to look happy? That seems like a lot to expect if you ask me. Clearly walking isn’t for wimps.

I will persist. I’m convinced that once my feet understand my determination they will stop protesting so loudly. In the meantime, I recommend you buy stock in Advil. I hear it’s flying off the shelf.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dishin' Up Love All Year Long

In December I was honored to be asked by my friends at The Ruth Experience to be a guest blogger. My plan was to post this blog at the same time they posted my guest blog on their site. As you can see, that didn’t happen. The Ruth Experience girls are the ones who came up with the Advent Acts of Kindness idea I wrote about in November. For my “guest spot” I wrote a bit of a follow-up article on my experience with my own Advent Acts of Kindness. It may have been written during the Advent season but the sentiment behind it applies to every month of the year. If you haven’t read it yet click here to get to their blog and see what I had to say. Go ahead and read it now, it’s o.k.; I can wait.

If you read it you now know that I’m a huge fan of committing to Acts of Kindness all year round. We don’t need to limit them to the Advent season. There are plenty of ways that you can encourage and bless others that will cost you nothing other than your time. Today, I’d like to highlight one ministry you might consider getting involved with.  To be actively involved in this you’ll need to live within driving proximity of Burnsville, MN but the non-profit organization I’m going to tell you about has the potential to sweep the nation as more people get involved.

My friend, Kirsten Shabaz, recently started a 501(c)(3) non-profit called Dishin’ Up Some Love. What she does (along with a few volunteers) is put together freezer meals once a month and delivers them to families who are experiencing some sort of crisis. It could be they have a family member dealing with a stroke, going through cancer treatment, or any other type of life-altering situation. Dishin’ Up Some Love doesn’t just offer food, they also provide encouragement and prayers for the families they serve. I’ve known Kirsten for a long time and ever since we first met she has had a passion to provide for people in need. By the way, the meals she makes are delicious! I’ve personally been privileged to receive a couple of these meals when I’ve been sick.

There are three ways you can get involved with Dishin’ Up Some Love. You can:

Volunteer a couple hours each month to help put meals together. Even though I have a profound dislike of cooking, this idea sounds kind of fun to me. A bunch of girlfriends together, talking, and helping others in the process? It’s a win-win! Contact Kirsten at for the time and location.

Host a Partnership Dinner – invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or anyone else you like to have at the dinner to hear about Dishin’ Up Some Love. There is more information about this on the Dishin’ Up Some Love website in the newsletter found under the “about” tab.

Donate – As you probably know; food isn’t free. Kirsten does an amazing job of collecting coupons and planning good meals that can be made at a minimal cost. Nonetheless, funding for food is pretty much a necessity with this kind of a ministry. Look for the “donate” button also found under the “about” tab.

And while this ends my commercial for one amazing ministry it does not end my mission to continue with “Advent Acts of Kindness” all through the year. I hope you’ll join me in that adventure. Trust me, if you do, you will be blessed!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Perfect Moment

I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I know enough to recognize a great picture when I see it. And, sometimes when I look at a picture I wonder how the photographer managed to show up, at say the Grand Canyon, just as a storm settled over it and the lighting was perfect. I realize that people who take exceptional, National Geographic types of shots, spend a lot of time just sitting and waiting for the perfect moment. They get up early in the morning to catch the sunrise and sit outside in sub-zero temperatures for hours to capture the Northern Lights. I will never be that kind of photographer; primarily because I’m not a morning person and I’m not terribly fond of the cold. Nonetheless, sometimes a good shot is simply a matter of ending up in the right place at the right time. This weekend, I was in such a spot.

We were traveling in northern Minnesota and the hoarfrost was something to behold. The whole morning had been beautiful but at one moment in the trip we rounded a curve and the sight was like none I’d ever seen. The trees sparkled as though God had taken a shaker of white glitter and poured it over them.  It was breathtaking. I can’t even begin to describe the moment. I’d say it looked like a movie set but it was even more perfect than that. I actually got tears in my eyes. I know . . . it sounds corny.  But for a few minutes I felt like I was in the presence of God; the holy creator, designer and artist. It was AWESOME!