Thursday, January 29, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Love

I haven't spoken much about my foster grandchildren on the dregs. Part of me has wanted to respect & and the kids' privacy. But part of me has held back because this isn't my story to tell. 

But, while I've been interacting and helping and participating something has happened. I've been living a story. I've given my heart fully away to these little ones. They are no longer foster grandchildren, they are my grandkids. Period. 

Which leads me to some interesting observations. 

1) I'm risking my heart. I'm going to get hurt. The tables could turn, the kids could end up being placed somewhere else. The kids could stay with our family and one or more could chose a heart crushing path. Their time in my life could be just months or years. I have no control. 

2) Even though I risk pain and sorrow by loving them, I'm going to do just that. No matter what. Because my life would be less had I never had the 3 year old button champion search my shirt for buttons to practice with. Or the look of triumph on her face when she met her goal of being green at preschool. (Long story. Green is good.) Or the 6 year old's smile when he lost his first tooth. Or the hugs and kisses, or his mermish. Or the 7 year old's smile when she gets to just be a child and play, or help me make treats to take to church, or to hear the confidence in her voice as she grows into a stronger reader. Giving my heart is a bargain when I consider what I gain. The soft, tiny hands in mine. Joyful rediscovery of the old and mundane. Answering questions that force me to think first and work on the answer that will make sense. Laughter. Tenderness. Small bundles cuddling with puppies or stuffed animals, or curled up on my lap. 

While I cuddle with my puppies who are so loved and spoiled I can't help but think that just until a few months ago, my grand babies weren't even treated as well as my dogs. And that stinks. Because every child in this world should have at least one human being who adores him or her. If it costs me my whole heart to be one of those people to these little humans, then it is a bargain indeed. 

3) These very stark truths about love pretty much are the definition of love, aren't they?  Kind of like tying my heart to a string and letting it float out of my reach. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles - Hey Sunshine!

Our Iowa weather is insane. The last few days we have had temps in the 50's! The girls and I (emphasis on I) have ENJOYED long walks the past two days. I can't believe it's January! Makes me wonder what to expect the rest of the year!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Wisdom from the Hundred Acre Wood...

 And it that isn't enough to get you through the week, I do know someone who is bigger than all that, bigger than even Christopher Robin. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ The Rant...

Scrounged lunch.
So here's my rant. Ready? It's kind of a 1st World Problem. But it's also a comment on professionalism and how we can impact something much bigger than ourselves by our actions. 

Part of my "other duties as assigned" job description includes sharing an important calendar with a co-worker. This calendar is the lunch schedule that we make available to medical supply companies and drug representatives. The companies set up a time to bring in lunch for the staff and in turn get to share data and information with the prescribers in our office. (There are things I could say about this practice, but it is what it is and it has drastically changed over the ten+ years I've been the keeper of the calendar.) 

There are extremely professional men and women who work for these companies. A good representative is friendly, courteous, respectful, able to read body language, succinct and cares more about people than getting data pounded into a provider's head. These professionals make their company look good. 

And then there are some completely clueless individuals. We've refused a lunch appointment a time or two because of unprofessionalism and lack of common sense. And, trust me, their actions certainly impacted their company. 

Tuesday we had a no show lunch. Over the years we've asked people to call the day before to confirm. A full half would not. We tried e-mailing and getting a confirmation. That worked better. 

But we still had no shows or last minute cancellations. 

So this is part of a representative's job...setting up appointments to promote their product or service. In our office we do our best to make sure all the providers know who's coming and make it simple for them to see the person during the appointment time. I am still shocked at the way people look at these appointments. For starters, a dozen or so people plan on lunch coming to the office. Four of these people are busy prescribers who often only sit still long enough to wolf down food between patients. No lunch might mean a doctor goes hungry or gets behind in their schedule because they have to leave the office. In our clinic we place a calendar out with the representative's name and company on the appropriate date. So a no show or late cancel is known by everyone. Oddly, that doesn't seem to make a difference to the ones who don't care. My co-worker and I don't like to babysit or hound reps. But we like to know people are going to keep their appointments because a dozen co-workers looking at us wondering where food is kind of sucks. 

So Tuesday's lunch was set up a mere 14 days before. Shouldn't have had a conflict come up. Right? Right. So he leaves a voicemail at 9 o'clock that morning on a co-worker's voice mail that he needed to chat about lunch. At 10:30 she called and got his voicemail. At 11:30 she got real concerned when he hadn't called back. Long story short. Since we didn't call him back before 10:30 he thought it would just be okay to just not come because he wasn't "feeling good" and "since he didn't hear from us" he thought it'd be okay. Really? Those details were shared after my co-worker called his company and asked how she could get hold of him and explained the situation. He finally called her. Then he said he'd make it up to us by bringing a really nice lunch someday. 

Yeah. That's not going to happen. One of the doctors and a PA were ticked. Neither will use his company. (There are other providers to choose from that do a better job, so it won't impact patient care. This is also a company that has not had a great track record with patient response and active involvement with our office and he was trying to put them back on our to use list.) Like the doctor said. "If he can't handle an appointment with professionalism then how can we trust him with patients who need their supplies?" 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Hump Day Mind Dump

Do you ever struggle with this question? Can one person really make a difference? It's a good question. In the scheme of things it doesn't seem like it would be possible for one person to make a significant impact. When the entire population of earth is billions? Even something significant isn't going to make a ripple that will be felt around the world, right? And with limited resources doing good can be overwhelming. Like seeing an ocean of need and you possess a mere teacup of supply. (My mom)

Then there's the possibility of having to dig out of a hole first, when you've made some poor choices and you now face the mountain of consequence.

But, the experts, the powers that be, or the anonymous (someday I'm going to meet them.) say that the first step in getting out of debt is to stop spending and the first step toward breaking an addiction is to admit your problem. And that the car you drive now is your cheapest car. That the sun will come out tomorrow. etc.

Case in point. A friend just admitted he's a hoarder. And boy, having a conversation with him after that revelation didn't feel like he was on top of the world. Nope. The work has just begun. And the whole issue came up when I was sharing my 1000 thing purge with him and his wife. For weeks now they've been discussing his problem. She went so far as telling him the description of how he feels when told he has to get rid of something is exactly how she feels when she walks into a room and is assaulted by his piles of treasures. This poor guy has great intentions and strong motivation to change but this is going to be costly for him. However, the compulsion of hoarding was taking a different kind of toll. Outing himself is really a huge step toward freedom.

Oddly, this thought process came out of something entirely different. A rant. A completely different schtick. Not sure how my brain shifted. But there we have it. Steep on this. The Hump Day Mind Dump. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Thump in the Night...

Another fairly normal weekend at my house. I have begun to get ruthless with my clutter purging. I'm building a pile of clothes that I put on in the morning and for whatever reason take off. Either it doesn't feel right, look right or match. In just a few weeks if I don't pick the item back out and wear it, it's outta here. 
Cookbooks are also on my chopping block. I'm actually going through them and if I don't see recipes I'll make or feel inspired by they are outta here, too. 

The other night Rob and I headed upstairs. As per usual, Gladys went downstairs to get her toys. The usual whining during the attempt to gather all of them in one mouthful drifted upstairs. Then a weird sound, a slow thump, pause, thump...repeat. She was dragging a huge rope tug toy and it hit each step with a thump. The picture is her enjoying the toy as a pillow. 

The other picture is raspberry frosting that was going to go into cake pups I made for the Vet tech program at Rob's school. (They work for food, as in they used Gladys and Gertrude's surgeries for training and the promise of treats. Nice deal.) But, I had to make more because while I was busy doing something else Rob was putting our dinner on plates. We had Gardein stuffed cutlets that came with gravy. So with my back to him,  I gestured to the little plastic gravy bag and said, "Hey, there's gravy for those." I turned around as he was smearing the frosting from the bowl on his cutlet. Oops! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Scribbling

Sunday's sermon included a simplistic explanation for a very frustrating scenario. The scenario? The attempt to live a Christian life. I say attempt because I mean that so many of us (I've got more fingers pointed at myself) just try to live better, do better, be better. A truly authentic Christian life isn't going to have much of me in it. My attempts at living that life are me. Me trying, me doing, me fixing, me. Me. Me. 

In case you are wondering this book is in my shopping cart.  Not sure how it has not entered my radar field it was printed in 2003. My pastor's copy is well used. 
Little Miss 3 year old's idea of beauty. 
"Most of my life I heard the message loud and clear that Christianity was all about coloring within the lines and coloring well. If I was a good Christian, if I loved Jesus and wanted to please Him, if I read my Bible, prayed, and went to church, then I would get better and better at coloring. And if I lived a long and godly life, I would eventually be able to draw close to the perfect drawing. "
"Christianity is not about learning how to live within the lines. Christianity is about the joy of coloring. The grace of God is preposterous enough to accept as beautiful a coloring that anyone else would reject as ugly. The grace of God sees beyond the scribbling to the heart of the scribbler." Mike Yaconelli - Dangerous Wonder

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Scraps and Snippets ~ Pumpkin Pasta Salad

Pumpkin Pasta Salad

16 ounce box of macaroni cooked according to package and rinsed
3 TBSP minced onion
2 TBSP minced celery
1 Cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling with the seasonings)
1 Cup mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon sage

Mix pumpkin, mayo and spices together with chopped veggies. Toss in pasta and stir well. In addition you could add some of the following. pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds), diced mushrooms, chopped kale, fresh chiffonade sage instead of the dried (use 3 Tablespoons)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ This is

 what my introverted brain concocted on Picmonkey on a bitterly cold winter night after spending the past few weekends with loads of fabulous people and while listening to the Norah Jones Pandora channel. 

Just sayin....

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Numbers and Nuggets

 My getting rid of project is clicking right along. My count is at 534. I love the fact that I've got space in most of my drawers and closets. Don't worry. I can still keep going and make my 1,000. I decreased my Christmas decorations even further after Christmas. Why? Because what I didn't put out lots of my stuff. And I needed to assess why that was. Most of it went. I also haven't missed a single thing I've gotten rid of.  Every day I've managed to find a handful of items slated for the get rid of pile. 

And my new additions (just 2 items, except the toys....some of which have already had the squeakers excised so I'm not counting them) winter coats for the girls. Ha. Ha. How cute are those? I need to make some adjustments the neck velcro is a little tight and keeps popping.  

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Flirty Pups

I went to Minnesota for the weekend and came home with a handmade toy for the pups. 

Michelle sent me this link and wondered if I wanted to make one while visiting. Since the temperature high was in the low 20's and low was wind-chill-minus-20-something I thought that seemed like a great idea. That and the fact that the little misses at my house always need a few sources of entertainment. Gertie has very sensitive feet and doesn't care for the snow, and neither of them should be bored since they come up with ways to entertain themselves. This thing seemed like a win win. 

Michelle's dog is a Boxer, her grandpup is a Dachshund and Gertie and Gladys are small Beagles so we each made different versions of the stick and I think have play more so in mind than training. But training is actually something I'm going to put on my radar.  We went to Home Depot for the supplies. Twice. And managed to have some fun in both stores. We even got scolded. Ha. Ha. Apparently, me trying to slip a dangle of rope hanging 10 feet over my head into a 1/2 inch round PVC pipe to see if it fit constitutes me trying to hit people with a stick while my partner was filming me. Granted, I was laughing, I'm sure it looked ridiculous (it did, I saw the video) she was filming, and anyone coming down the aisle could've been in danger...but it was all legit. And when we explained what we were doing we even made a "friend" (Kinda. He was a wee bit starchy, if you know what I mean.) 

Of course the rope we got was "wrong" according to her husband. 

But I digress. We went with 1/2" PVC because the 3/4" called for in the recipe was HEAVY. However, if you want an upper body work out,  go for it. Michelle made hers long, slightly less than 6 feet. I cut mine down to 3 1/2 feet because I'm clumsy. Seriously. I have enough trouble just walking sometimes. Arthur's was 2 feet. 

I chose to have double 1/4" nylon (that's the proper one, see above) because I wanted to be able to tie the toy on. And since I'll be watching the entire play time I'm not super concerned about the dangling rope. This also lets me tie it high or low on the end of the rope. And of course we found cute duct tape at Michael's. The toy was clearance at Petsmart, a real bargain if you don't consider that I also bought some other clearance items. 

All told, without the other "deals" factored in and with the rope oops we spent less than $10.00 each. Gertie and Gladys, once they got over the barking at the stick, began enjoying the heck out of it. And it's no longer a Christmas toy since the Santa hat was ripped off the head of the two squeakered muskrat/squirrel/beaver thing.

I'll share a video tomorrow. Consider yourself warned. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Serials and Scenarios ~ Michelle Griep Strikes Again ~ Brentwood's Ward and Interrogation Skillz

You know all about my relationship with Michelle Griep. She's an influence in so many ways. (I don't know that this is a good thing, just sayin !)

Her spankin brand new book debuted yesterday. (I LOVE that cover.) We cooked up a little video to share. Here's the link to view some parts and pieces of our scary and ridiculous brains when merged together on a project. Go to Writerofftheleash for the definitions to the archaic words, and the details on Brentwood's Ward.  

Brentwood's Ward
by Michelle Griep (Author)
Paperback – January 1, 2015
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press; Gld edition (January 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163058679X


Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.


Michelle Griep is an artist with smells being her forte. Seriously, this woman can paint an olfactory smorgasbord. Unfortunately, she writes gritty historical details that leave the smells...well, more pungent than pleasant. 

But, blessedly, Griep doesn't just stick with smells. The woman can write a scene. Whew. A near kiss, a glance, kidnapping, torture, meals, she offers up rich sensory emotions as well.

Rich prose full of amazing sentences and paragraphs build complex characters. Those bad guys are wicked bad. The heroines are multifaceted and either unfurled rosebuds just waiting for the courage to bloom, or wilted wounded blooms in need of a gentle touch, or thistles requiring the some serious groundwork. Her heroes are good men who've had bad to overcome and are in need of redemption and man enough to be aware of it. 

Brentwood's Ward. All of that and more. Action, check. Love, check. London society, check. Danger, check. Sorrow and loss, check. A happy ending, check. 

If you love a good historical, a touch of escapism or just a fine page-turner, get a copy. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer