Monthly Archives: February 2013

FIND Just How to Write That Better

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Do you ever just type and type and type and just feel the words flying off your fingertips? You feel that it is going really well, just as if you were totally inspired and that
you were created to write.

Then, you just sit there and look at that post, the one that you just finished.

It needs just a little correcting, a little editing, a little changing.  That just shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

Except that sometimes, we’re just married to our words. 

We just loveRed heart them and we can’t kill Broken heart them. But, that is just what we have to do.

Inspiration doesn’t guarantee perfection. Inspiration is the passion in the marriage between our heart and words, editing is the marriage counseling. We need both.

Good thing Windows Live Writer has a way that is just going to make your life easier and your writing better. It’s free marriage counseling for your writing.  You’re not using WLW yet? I wrote two blog posts about it, just for you.  Click the link above. Oh,  you like frustration when you blog?  Oh, well, read this anyway.  You can still learn something today as we talk about another Cool Tool.

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Click on  image then image.

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See?  Look!

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image the words that you just love to use the most.  Check out Words and Phrases to Avoid if you can’t see the error of your way yet. There’s even a great reason to not overly use the word was.

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Just as I thought.  I just use that word too much.

See that little blue box around one of my justs?  Remember that the cute little dialogue box had a image button? 

 

Click on it to shoot that blue box from JUST to JUST and you can just delete or substitute the words.

 

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Doesn’t that just stink? You can just check for other words that you use too much, while you’re at it.

 

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If you aren’t using Windows Live Writer to blog yet,  drop your text into a Word document and use the same functionality.  Click on image then look on the far right.

image Christian clichés you use too often or use to express a vague reaction instead of a definite action. I recently wrote an article and discovered with my handy-dandy search I’d used the same word four times in a section.  OOPS! I wasn’t saying it strong enough the first time.

it was encouraging 

I was moved

blessed me

The sermon was so encouraging, it just blessed me.

Instead of speaking Christianese, get to the heart of the matter.  How did what you hear change you?  Did it cause you to act?  Were you convicted? Don’t tell us you looked in the mirror and walked away.  Tell us what you saw in the mirror and what you did  about it when you walked away.

image words you tend to use incorrectly.  I forget to put the capital “P” in the middle of WordPress.  In one of my tutorials I called a product Microsoft Live Writer instead of Windows Live Writer.  Easy to find, easy to fix.

image adverbs by typing “ly” into the dialogue box and choosing “Match case.”  It’s commonly taught to seriously avoid using adverbs. Another instructed when to use them.

 

It’s the difference between my husband and my daughter pounding in a ten penny nail. My husband squarely hits the nail on the head with three strokes and imbeds the nail in the wood.  My daughter taps, taps, taps, taps.  She bends the nail. She straightens the nail.  She taps, taps, taps and taps some more.  Eventually, the nail is in the wood.  It ain’t pretty, but it’s done. We should write the way a strong man pounds nails.

 

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image helps you write with clarity and confidence.

What  words or phrases do you overuse?  Do you have any other writing problems  image could help fix?  Please share your personal example in the comments.  Just please  don’t use that word just too much, that would just drive me crazy.

 

Crabby Cashiers and Testosterone Trucks

People aren’t always aware of how they affect others with their attitudes and actions.

I was standing in the line of a very crabby cashier at Wal-Mart. Usually the people were friendly and helpful, so I was surprised.

I was also a little offended.

After all, I fumed to myself, they get paid to work with customers. She HAS to be nice to the customers. But she wasn’t.

I thought of a stinging remark to bring her to her senses, but the Lord put grace in my heart and tongue. He rebuked me before I could rebuke her.

Instead, when it was my turn, I smiled at her and asked her how her day was.

She almost started crying and told me she was leaving work early to go to a funeral. She had another one the next day. They were both unexpected deaths of people close to her.

I listened while she rang me up and spoke of the pain that caused the bitterness of her heart and mind. I told her I would pray for her and she reacted as if she wanted to hug me.

The Lord taught me something in dealing with Ms. Crabby Pants. There’s usually a reason people are crabby, and I needed to be more graceful in finding that reason and help bear that burden. Hurting people hurt people.

Fast forward about several years.

I was driving down the street, extremely distracted. I accidentally made a left turn in front of a huge pickup truck when it was his turn to go.

It was one of those testosterone trucks, you know with the huge tires, the noisy muffler, the fog lights – all the bells and whistles a man embellishes with when he wears his testosterone on the outside.

It wasn’t a close call, he’d barely touched his accelerator.  He just didn’t get to go first. A mom in a minivan beat him through the intersection.

He reared his huge arms in fists and shook them at me. He honked and yelled furiously. If I had gotten out of my car, I’m pretty sure he would have hit me. It took him less than five seconds to go from idling to furious.

I had just experienced five seconds that affected my life, too.

My doctor had just said,

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As this man abused me from the comfort of his testosterone truck, I sadly wondered if his reaction would have been different if he knew what I had just heard- a diagnosis of thyroid cancer – that I had a good reason to be a little distracted.

Probably not.

I was very thankful I hadn’t hurt anybody, that it wasn’t  a serious mistake, but it changed my view on other drivers.

Some are just jerks, no doubt.

But, you never know when someone  on the road driving stupid because
     ~they’re driving to a funeral
     ~they j
ust heard bad news
 
   ~had a medical issue.

Fill in the blanks.

Then fill your heart with grace, mercy and understanding.

Oh yea, and if they’re pulling out in front of you, make sure you hit your breaks.

Then, instead of shaking your fists, pray for them. You just never know how you could affect them.

 

 

Making your home sing Mondays

Wooden You Love an Upcycled To-Do List ?

We’ve lived in our current home almost seven years.
I figured it was time to get a few things done.


I was tired of ugly To Do Lists.

It’s not inspiring.

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This window is from my dream home, an older two story beauty. 
We lived there less than one year.
When we replaced the old wooden windows with
double-paned argon sealed windows,
there were stacks of windows on my lawn.

I SO craved keeping them and making something out of them.
But, this was back in the Olden Days when there wasn’t
a lot of blogging and there wasn’t Pinterest.

Ya’ know, the Dark Ages for Inspiration Time.

I kept one.

It was used for a picture frame, then sat in the attic for years.
I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it.

I know all the young crafty people think they invented
UPCYCLING,
but they just renamed it.
We‘ve always called it “making do.”

Why do you think my mom was raised wearing panties
that said “SUGAR” on the bum?

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First, I had to remove the bright craft  paint.
A paste of Comet and water works well.
Smear it on, walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Smear on a little more and walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Repeat until paint is gone.

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Almost  done!

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I wanted something to back the panes of glass and remembered this vintage curtain
that I’ve stored away for….
ummm…nearly two decades?

It might be called Dotted Swiss. 
I read about Dotted Swiss in a Nancy Drew book when I was younger.
This has dots but I don’t know if it’s Swiss.

It was very hard to cut up a curtain. 
It kinda’ gave me the heebie-jeebies
’cuz it was such a nice curtain.

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But, I cut it up into four squares and kept the scraps.
Maybe 20 years from now I might need them.

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I smeared the back of each pane with Mod Podge.
The majority of my life I called it Modge Podge
That’s what Kim in my High School Home Economics called it.
I believed her.
After all, she told me she was one of the Popular Kids.
Now I know better about both accounts.

The fabric was carefully smoothed over the back of panes.
Don’t put it in backwards!
The pattern has to face forward.
It was challenging to get the rows of dots straight.

Just in case you’re wondering,
if you spill Mod Podge on brand new carpeting
but wipe it up right away with a damp rag
you can get it all up.
Almost all of it, anyway.
Just in case you’re wondering.

Jim, crafts 132
It was going to be a bulletin board,
but the post-it notes fell off right away.

Remember post-it notes were invented because of a failure?
Oh, you didn’t read that
post?
You can read it now.

Well, my post-it note failure invented a better solution.

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I discovered dry erase markers work great on glass.

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Vintage tatted edging and clip-on earrings were later improvements.

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The final resting place, on an enamel topped table in my office.
Four panes to organize four parts of my life.

Suddenly, that To Do List is looking pretty good.

 

Online Post-It Notes for Blondes

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I love Dumb Blonde Jokes.

I grew up being tormented about having white blonde hair.  The teasing was so bad, I thought I was a freak for having such weird hair, especially since I had 5 siblings with the same hair.  Imagine six Toe Heads (yes, that is what I thought we were being called)  exploding out five doors of a paneled  Pontiac station wagon.

That’s what it looked like when the Brainard Family arrived.

Mindy Childhood

(Who doesn’t love the 70’s?  Could never keep that collar in line, but I loved purple!)

I was called

Hi-Lex Hair
White Tornado
Albino

When  I was in high school I  heard someone say “Blondes Have More Fun.”  I stopped in the middle of the hallway.  I made them repeat it.  I made them explain it.  After all, I am blonde.

Then I understood. Blonde was good. Blonde was not bad.  People wanted blonde hair.  People bleached their hair to look like me.

That’s when I began enjoying Blonde Jokes.

SO, what does that have to do with Cool Tools?  Stop squirming.  I’ll get to that.  Kinda’ on a roll here.

THE FOLLOWING IS A JOKE.  LAUGHING ISN’T MANDITORY.

Q – How can you tell if a blonde has been using your computer?
A – There’s
White-out on the screen.

Today, we’re putting something else on our computer screens.

Online  Post-it notes. Only Microsoft had to use their own special, little name so they’re called

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Sticky Notes.  But these kind don’t lose their stick.

(If you can’t find it, look under ALL PROGRAMS)

Bear with me, Young People Who Grew Up With Computers.  Could you type your manuscript on the typewriter in the picture above? Could you do your calculations on a slide rule? Could you use an old adding machine?  The one with buttons and the you-won-the-jackpot handle?  OK.  Patience. We’re teaching Old Dogs New Tricks.

Right click on the    image icon. Once it’s on your Taskbar, it’s easier to use.

 

To begin using Sticky Notes, right clickimage on the icon on your Taskbar.

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This dialogue box will drop down. Click on New Note.

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Look what you just made.  Now, ya’ wanna’ know why you need this, right?  Ever been typing frantically and then you remember you forgot to pick up the dry-cleaning?  Ever remembered you need milk when you’re wasting hours on Pinterest? 

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You have a quick way of keeping track of other things without breaking your stream of consciousness.

I used my Snipping Tool to cut out this Sticky Note from my computer screen.  Are you using the online scissors yet?  Didn’t I tell it it would be so fun?

 

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You can choose your color.  Lists can be color-coordinated, for each activity. They have click-n-drag functionality, so you can easily move them around.  Want to create a new note?  Click the + on the upper left corner.  Want to delete a note?  Click on the x on the upper right corner.

Need to change the size?  Hover your mouse over the border until the arrow appears.  Click and expand or decrease.

They’re amazing. You just can’t take it off the screen and take it with you. You tried it?  Don’t be hurt if I’m laughing.  Are you blonde, by any chance?

And speaking of blondes making mistakes, did you know that Post-it Notes were originally a mistake? Spencer Silver was an employee at 3-M trying to make a stronger adhesive.  OOPS!  It was weaker than the one on the market.  So weak, things could be stuck, but pulled right off.  It was set aside for four years. 

Then another 3-M scientist, Arthur Fry, was a little annoyed that the markers in his hymnal kept sliding out while singing in the choir.

He thought of the failed adhesive.

It worked.

So, the lessons we learned today:

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**********

 

Making your home sing Mondays

 



When Love Dies Giveaway Winner!

I really tried to grow-up as a blogger and update my giveaway technique.

I’ve seen other Big Girl Bloggers use Rafflecopter,
so thought I would check it out.
It’s really cool, and ya’ know how I love me some Cool Tools,
and it’s free, and ya’ know how I love me some free stuff,
but WordPress hosted sites can’t support it.

Give Away Drawing

We’re back to my vintage Jadeite bowl,
and my daughter’s lovely hand,
who now can tell the world she is a hand model.

Even if it’s for her mommy’s blog it counts, doesn’t it?

When Love Dies

I’m giving away the book I never knew I needed to read.
I should be giving away a box of Kleenex with it, too,
but I’m not.

Just something sweet.

Love Finds You drawing 087
Karen, I’ve sent you an email of congratulations!

To those of you who didn’t win, thank you for entering.

I appreciate all my blog followers and commenters. 
You are a tremendous encouragement to me!

I’m not endorsing this book because I know Judy,
or because I receive anything from her or Amazon.
I honestly believe this book 
is a huge blessing and needs to be shared.

To those of you who are hurting in their marriages,
or know someone who is,
click on the book above to buy it on Amazon.

The value of a happy marriage is
PRICELESS.

MONDAY????? MONDAY!!!!!

Have you ever wanted to wake up to this  headline?

“Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep.”

(Free calendars and adorable pintables from Hello, Cuteness!)

Mondays come so soon, and march in with big demands on my life.  The To-Do List is always longest on Mondays.  Plus, there are SO many of them! One day out of each week is a Monday.  That’s 1/7th of our life!

Some like to wax eloquent about each day being a gift.  But, Monday is a gift you can’t return. But, if you could, I’d save them all up and exchange them for a week of Fridays.  A week of delicious anticipation and thrill that the weekend is coming. A week of knowing all obligations and expectations are coming to a close and I have two days for relaxation.

It seems Monday comes sooner and lasts longer than any other day of the week.  I try to convince myself it’s the same as the rest of the days in the week.

The sun still rises.
The birds still sing.
The grass is still green.  (Where I live, anywayRolling on the floor laughing)

What makes Mondays bad is the bad attitudes about Mondays.

There’s a whole culture for Monday haters.  You can buy t-shirts on Amazon, and scope out Etsy for crafts, wall hangings and décor claiming your hatred for the first day of your work or school week.

What we dread,  becomes a thing of dread. Since 1/7 of my life is taken up by Mondays, I should wake up with the attitude,

“Wow, another week to love my family!”
“Another week to accomplish what I’ve been called to do!”
“Another week to serve the Lord!”

After all, when the Lord created  days and nights He said it was “Good.”

That means all the days.

That means Mondays.

That means today.  The Monday I wasn’t ready for, but jumped into anyway, still in my pajamas.

And ya’ know what Tuesday is?

A reward for surviving Monday.

 

Ten Things to Look for in The Perfect Man

 

For years I’ve joked with  single women, “You’ll never find The Perfect Man because I married him.”

My love for my husband grows and changes from year to year as we survive trials and tribulation.  They aren’t troubles within the marriage, they’re troubles outside we’ve weathered together. In fact, we’ve often joked that if the Lord had shown us the path we would  take together, we wouldn’t have gotten married.  Just joking, of course.  The truth is, life is hard for everybody, and going through life with someone who is your best friend and is there for you no. matter. what. is a joy and a privilege.

Years ago, my friend and her fiancé  took a test to see if they were compatible for marriage. They were asked questions about household chores, common interests, and expectations for future family. To me, it was shallow.

Who decides who’s going to do dishes before they’re married?

Life happens.  Some couples can’t have kids, others end up having more than they planned.  Other couples move and are exposed to new foods, interests and hobbies.  There are too many unknown factors to match up couples according to a simple list of physical things that will change.

The ideal is to  match the core of your ideals and ride the changes and hardships in life together. Choose a man who has a depth of faith and moral character that will endure for eternity.

Ten Things to Look for in The Perfect Man

Red heartThe Perfect Man loves the Son of Man more than you.  He is faithful to the Lord Jesus, His Word and His people. He actively uses his spiritual gifts to minister.  He should love the Lord more than you.

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man loves the real you.  There is no glass Cinderella slipper in his hand that you must fit into.  Yes, there are colors he  likes you to wear, or foods he wants to eat.  But, overall, he loves you for your passions, interests, and  beliefs. He wants you to become the woman the Lord created you to be, not the ideal mate he created in his mind.

Red heartThe Perfect Man loves you more than his possessions.  How does he react if you have an accident with something he owns?  When I dinged up our Suburban, my husband said, “It’s just sheet metal.”

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man loves the way you look, but his staying power isn’t dependent on your staying that way. Illness happens.  Babies happen.  Stress happens. I have two  6 1/2 inch skinny scars  that interweave across my neck like a macramé’ choker.  My husband  doesn’t see the imperfection, he sees the woman he loves. These blemishes don’t affect me, because they don’t affect him.

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man listens to you.  Yes, he needs to be reminded, he needs to be told more than once, after all the word MAN is still in that title, but overall, he listens to your words and understands the passion,  because he knows they come from your heart.

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man understands you come with baggage.  He’s willing to open up the baggage, help wash what’s inside and  repack it neatly.

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man knows when he marries you he marries the whole family. He won’t make you choose between him and them.  He doesn’t have to agree with their philosophies, approve of their life choices or enjoy all their activities.  He respectfully chooses to love them and be a part of the family because they’re your family.

 

Red heartThe Perfect Man is not afraid to ask for advice and is not too proud to act on advice given.  No person is an infinite fountain of wisdom, your life will always benefit from a man who is willing to seek out advice from others who are older and/or wiser.

 

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Red heartThe Perfect Man blesses you when there is a reason and when there isn’t. I get flowers on Valentine’s Day and the First Day of School. But, I also have been given lovely gifts like an usual rock or a twisted piece of wood when my hubby was out hiking. When he went to the ocean for the first time on a business trip, he brought home a takeout box of white sand so I could share his experience.

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Chocolate is always good, too.  It’s never about money, it’s about the thought.

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Red heartThe Perfect Man will pass the Bed Pan Test. This is the final and hardest test to pass.

Many  men will buy flowers.

Many men will buy chocolates.

Not many men will hold a bed pan.

The Perfect Man  holds the bed pan while you puke your guts out.Then he’ll wipe your mouth, give you a drink of water, and not care that your breath stinks.  That’s what my man did eight years ago when I went through my first round of thyroid cancer.

The Perfect Man grows more perfect through trials, clinging to the Lord for His strength and  wisdom. He endures poverty and riches, sickness and health, joy and sorrow with the same faith and joy. Because His love for the Lord endures, His love for you will endure.

Not all marriages will require a bed pan, but all couples will endure trials together. Many marriages end during cancer. Other marriages are destroyed while dealing with a prodigal child, a miscarriage, death of a child or financial troubles.

The bed pan signifies the commitment of a man determined to stick out his faith and his marriage, by the grace of God,  at any personal cost during every trial.  He’s willing to sacrifice for his bride, because He loves the One who gave up His life for His bride. How men handle frustration and trials will tremendously affect your marriage.

So, that list you have in your Bible.  C’mon, single girls, admit it.  I know THE LIST is in  there, that’s where I kept mine. Take it out right now and add one more thing:

“Must be able to pass the Bed Pan Test.”

And next time you look into the eyes of the young man you’re swooning praying over, if you’re confident he could hold a bed pan,  he just might be The Perfect Man.