Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I am a list maker. I make lists to pack for trips, shopping lists, To Do lists, camping lists, reading lists, Christmas card lists, writing project idea lists.
I plan dinner parties with lists. I even dream about future projects with lists, even unlikely ones. I've imagined I'm the administrator of an orphanage in Africa, and I've spent hours planning how to make it run smoothly. Or I've imagined being called on to be the cook at a Seminary, cooking two meals a day for thirty people, and I've listed all the food I know how to make or would like to make.
Why do I do this? I've never questioned it before. It's just what I do. It's my way of making my frivolous daydreams somehow concrete and valuable. So that if one day, I AM the administrator of an orphanage, I'll already know how to make it work, or if TBS calls me, I can grab my lists of soups, salads, mains, sides and desserts and generate a month's worth of menus.
Do I do it to appear more organized? After all, it takes a lot of work to make something look effortless. Am I losing my memory and overcompensating by writing everything down? I don't know. My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer's Disease. That fear is in the back of my mind. I would hate to lose my memory. Sometimes, when I can't recall a conversation with one of my kids, they'll say, "Mom, don't forget me!" as if it has already begun.
If it does happen, get out my old notebooks and have a laugh at all the things that absorbed me for a few hours of my life, when I threw myself into an idea and brainstormed, even when it would appear to be a worthless exercise.
The thing with us daydreamers is, interspersed with all the nonsense could be a few good ideas. I hope so anyway. That's what Creatives do. We imagine, we dream, we plan, and then we get to work.
I saw a journal at Chapters called Listography. It made me smile. I guess I wasn't the only one.
I'm not really one for Top Ten lists. I've done a few but I'm too indecisive to prioritize. Mostly I catalogue as many things as I can. I've recorded the name, author and value of every book in my library. I add to the list as I purchase more books. Why? Maybe one day I'll put all that data into the computer. Or maybe I'll add it up and see the value of my library. Oh, wait, I already know: Priceless.
Maybe making lists just legitimizes my daydreaming; so I don't feel like I'm spending hours on something useless, which I am. If so, don't tell me. I'm not likely to change at my age. If anything, I'll be making more lists as my memory fades.
How about you? Do you engage in Listography?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year End

Outside my window...snow. Now, after Christmas is over. It might as well stay away. The moment is gone.
I am thinking...this has been a fascinating year. Protests everywhere, the death of Osama bin Ladin, Khadafi, and Kim Jong Il, a royal wedding, and our 25th anniversary trip to Europe.
I am hoping...they won’t close my unit this week and send me to another floor. I hate that.
I am thankful for...a relaxing Christmas. We had a few family celebrations and a lot of food, including a deep fried turkey at my sister’s house. It takes 3 minutes per pound and is crispy and juicy. You use cottonseed oil ( available at Bass Pro Shops) because it doesn’t transfer flavour. You can make donuts immediately afterward and they won’t taste like turkey.
I am yoga pants, a red Roots t-shirt and a black sweater.
From the kitchen...stuffed mushroom caps, Atlantic salmon, basmati rice, baby carrots, salad, chocolate mousse. We were supposed to have guests over but they had to cancel, so more for us.
I am daughter and her friend watch the family channel.
I am reading...The Memoir Project by Marion Roach.
Around the fourteen days off end tomorrow. Sigh. I know I can’t complain, but they did go fast. I got some writing done, some closets cleaned and Christmas done. We’ve had lots of people over.
One of my favourite things... new books. I got six, plus two more I ordered with my Chapters card. I also got two BBC Jane Austen movies, a Scrivener program, Turtles chocolates and coffee.
Some plans for the two nights and have some friends over on New Years’ Eve.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Reading List 2011

1.As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers
2.Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson
3.Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns-Clark
4.Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon
5.Serendipity by Cathy-Marie Hake
6.Sweet Devotion by Felicia Mason
7.A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
8.Thirsting Soul by Roger Fellows
9.Sunset Beach by Trish Perry
10.Within my Heart by Tamera Alexander
11.Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter
12.The Lightkeeper’s Bride by Colleen Coble
13.The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble
14.While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin
15.A Tailor Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
16.Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer
17.To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
18.Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck
19.Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones
20.Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith
21.A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher
22.Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West
23.The Perfect Blend by Trish Perry
24.Tea for Two by Trish Perry
25.The Winter War: a Novel by William Durbin
26.Unforgettable by Trish Perry
27.Me Talk Pretty One Day by Neil Sedaris
28.11 Secrets to Getting Published by Mary deMuth
29.Flames of Rome by Paul Maier
30.When Danger Calls by Terry O’Dell
31.A Cup of Cold Water by Christine Farenhorst
32.My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
33.The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins
34.A Billion Reasons Why by Kristen Killerbeck
35.Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher
36.Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner
37.The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund
38.Pompeii: City on Fire by T.L. Higley
39.Hook, Line and Sinker by Susan May Warren
40.A Proper Wife by Winnie Griggs
41.The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
42.A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons
43.Legacy of Faith by Lydia Brownback
44.Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley
45.The Help by Kathryn Stockett
46.City of the Dead by T.L. Higley
47.Life of Christ by James Stalker
48.The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
49.Every Writer's Dream by Jeff Goins

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goals for 2012

The beginning of a new year always brings about the inevitable questions about New Years’ Resolutions. Because most people are notorious for not keeping them, present company included, I’ve long since given up on even making any.

However, I do set goals for myself. I find if they are realistic and measurable, I can usually attain them.

I break them down into categories: physical/health, spiritual, professional/intellectual, relationships, household/financial, and hobbies. Then I think about what I’m currently doing that’s worth keeping, plan to continue that and improve in some small way in each category, so I’ll grow. New for this year, I’ll have a separate category for writing.

For example, when my daughters were still very young, I didn’t have much time for reading. So, back then my reading goal was for four books per year, because I figured I could manage one every three months if I worked at it slowly. It seems laughable to me now, since I usually read over 50 books a year. But, as I said, I made my goals realistic for how my life was at the time.
So, I think 60 books is a reasonable goal for next year.

As a Christian, I don’t think it’s unspiritual to set goals. I still need God’s help to reach them. But I do think that if your goal is to be a spiritually mature person, you’ve got to take steps to get there. It’s like saying, “I want to be a world-class pianist”, and then never practicing the piano. It doesn’t work that way.

So, that being said, I’ll share my goals, partly to make me accountable. I can check back at the end of 2012 and see how I did.

My Bible verse for this year is: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

-Yearly screening mammogram.
-Yearly physical, dentist twice a year.
-Walk Kody 45 minutes each day.

-Attend church twice a week
-Increase weekly tithing amount.
-Bible reading: Five chapters a day. Let’s try again.
-Attend at least one Christian conference.
-Continue with nursery, kitchen, lead College and Careers group, speak at Ladies’ Meeting.
-Take on support of a new ministry.

-Work full time.
-Obtain at least 20 hours of oncology nursing continuing education hours to keep up my C.O.N.(C) certification.
-Do the College of Nurses quality assurance requirements.
-Hospital on-line inservice and continuing education as required.
-Read at least two books on current events/social issues.
-Watch the news. Stay current on world events.

-Marriage—continue weekly dates.
-Travel with my husband for our 26th Anniversary in July.
Daughters—girls only trips, shopping trips, mani-pedi dates. Family photo shoot at Thanksgiving.
-Extended family—keep up socially, with facebook.
-Attend social events.
-Send Christmas letter update.
-Friends—facebook, twitter,blog.
-Entertain friends at least twice a month.

-Pay off Sears credit card.
-Continue to support other charities.
-Set aside money for daughters’ university fees.

-Read 60 books in total
-Watch as much soccer as possible. (I love goals like this. Everything isn’t about work.) Take in a TFC soccer game, if possible.
-Write book reviews as I read.

-Complete first draft of one of my works-in-progress, work on the others.
-Continue to blog at least twice a week.
--Read three books on the craft of writing.
--Attend ACFW writer’s conference in September, if possible.
--Find a critique group or partner.
--Read blogs and articles about writing.
--Continue to journal once a week.

Well, that’s me. I know that equals a busy life. Sure, I could sit around and watch mindless t.v. instead, but what is there to show for it at the end of the year? I hope this inspired you to make your own goals, instead of resolutions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Way of All the Earth

Outside my window...pitch black. I’m wide awake at 6 a.m. on a day off. I’m proving my theory that the older you get, the less you sleep because you don’t have much time left.
I am Kim Jong Il died. I wonder what that will mean for North Korea since his son isn’t much better, apparently. Also, Christopher Hitchens died this week. He was a “famous” atheist who wrote a book called, “God is NOT great.” If he died as defiantly as he lived, then he knows better now, sadly. Also, at the judgment, he’ll understand what the Bible means by, “and their works will follow them”. Anyone whom he has influenced will be added to his account.
I am have a productive week. I’m off for FOURTEEN days, and I’d like to get at least one special project done each day. I have some end of the year paperwork to do and a few closets to clean.
I am thankful for...getting my Christmas letter and cards sent. They were late, but at least they are DONE. Some years I’m organized. This is not one of them.
I am wearing...pajamas. Hey, it’s 6 a.m.
From the kitchen...chicken stir fry and rice, banana cream pie.
I am hearing...the howling wind. I’m glad I don’t have to walk the dog for a few more hours. Hopefully it’ll warm up when the sun rises.
I am reading... Every Writer’s Dream by Jeff Goins. It’s an e-book about a different approach to writing.
Around the house...ready for Christmas, mostly. We’re not too big on gifts this year, which is fine. We don’t need anything. I’ll be getting a few new books (don’t act surprised), and after Christmas we’ll buy a new t.v. since my husband has been in mourning since the last one died.
One of my favourite things...having my family around me. I not only love them, I like them, too.
Some plans for the week...writing projects. I have a lot of ideas for the Scarlet Thread project as well as more Interviews. Also, since our family Christmas events are hosted by someone else this year and we have Christmas day free, we’re trying to find something “helpful” to do on that day. The fact that it’s on a Sunday kind of messes things up a bit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Break

Outside my window...sunny and relatively warm. Amazing December so far.
I am thinking...typical CTV news. Ten minutes in and they’re already doing animal stories. Is nothing happening in the world? Like the elections in Congo?
I am thankful for...a peaceful family life.
From the kitchen...Schezuan beef stir fry and rice.
I am wearing...jeans and a cream coloured pullover.
I am reading...The Answers Book by Don Batten in preparation for my January message on Noah.
I am Mother-in-law’s heart procedure goes well today. This is her second one and I know she’s really nervous about it.
I am hearing...and 80’s channel on the t.v. Yes, I’m still in a time warp.
Around the house...I’m stringing Christmas lights on everything: beds, railings, bushes, and the tree. My mom came to the Christmas banquet Saturday morning. Then we decorated the tree. I found the decorations. My eldest was home, sick. She’s finished her exams and she quit her job at the bakery because it was too stressful as she wasn’t treated very well. We told her to concentrate on her last few months of school. Only four more to go. Yesterday, my daughter’s boyfriend came over for dinner and we had guests after the evening service and one overnight guest. My husband desperately needs a vacation, he’s not sleeping well and hasn’t had a vacation since Europe, which was an exhausting vacation. In my job I have a lot of time off, which I appreciate.
One of my favourite things...Christmas get-togethers. We had the Elders, Deacons and Wives Christmas banquet on Friday night at the Imperial Buffet. Saturday morning we had the Ladies’ meeting Christmas Brunch. We renamed ourselves to Women of Faith. I spoke on Esther and it was well received.
Some plans for the two or three nights. I’m going to take one of them off for bereavement as one of my uncles in Finland died. Then I’m off for 14 days! I know it’ll go quickly but I have much to catch up on since I haven’t even sent my Christmas cards or done any Christmas baking.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pikku Joulu

Outside my window...raining again. It's supposed to get colder later this week, down to one celsius, which is more seasonal.
I am was another good weekend. On Saturday we went to London for our Pikku Joulu, which literally means little Christmas, but it’s basically an advanced Christmas celebration with my extended Finnish family whom we can’t see over Christmas week. We usually get together in London as my cousin has a big house and we all stay overnight. Finnish Christmas food is mushy. My husband always comments that he doesn’t think Finns have teeth. Yeah, yeah, same joke every year. The little ones get gifts to open after dinner and then we went in the hot tub and sauna. Our family is growing as the boyfriends come to stay over, too. They didn’t seem to be scared off by our crazy family. One of the five year olds opened her gifts and said, “I’ve been wanting this my whole life.”
I am get Thursday night off. I’m supposed to work four nights, but I have one more vacation day to take before the last two weeks of December. I hope I get it.
I am thankful puppy. He is one today. We love him more all the time and can’t imagine life without him. He’s getting a big ham bone today. We saved it from the weekend. He’ll be happy. When we were away, his former owner came and stayed with him. He obviously missed her. He didn’t bark as if she was a stranger. He was so excited.
I am yoga pants and a purple sweater.
From the kitchen...cod and fried rice.
I am daughter getting ready for school. She also got tickets to a band called Marianas Trench so she’s so excited. She may be on t.v. again.
I am reading...The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.
Around the house...We still need to buy our tree this week.
One of my favourite things...I got my Christmas gift early. It’s a 30 day trial of a new software program for writers, called Scrivener. I tried to figure it out yesterday but it didn’t go very well. Even the video tutorial was too fast for me to follow. I’ll try again today. It has a lot of features that will be helpful if I could just figure out how to use them.
Some plans for the three nights, hopefully. Decorate the tree Thursday night. Go out Friday night for dinner with the Elders, Deacons and Wives for Christmas. Speak on Esther at the Ladies’ Christmas Brunch on Saturday morning.