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Weekly Letter from my Mother is always a Special Blessing!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

My mother loves to write letters the old fashioned way with pen and paper.
Each week, my 2 sisters & I and my daughter get a hand written letter from Mom. Mom turned 80 on November 30, 2012. She grew up in the era of 'penmanship.' Her hand writing is steady and very legible.
In this week's letter she informed me that she has written 239 letters to my daughter, since she went off to college on August 31, 2008. She promised my daughter that she would write to her each week while she was in college. Kate graduated last spring and is now working in Washington DC and Grandma is still writing a weekly letter. Grandma also informed me that she has spent $107.55 on postage writing to Kate. LOL! My husband said I should tell Grandma that email is "free!" My mom isn't into anything related to using a computer.
Anyway, she always writes her letters on cute little note papers. She always requests that we give her 'stationary' for her birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc. Today's note came on a cute little card she got from my sister for Christmas, with a very nice verse that I would like to share today.

May God give you...
For every storm a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise
And a blessing in each trial,
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Have a wonderful week, Spark Friends!

P.S. I decided to put this week's note into my 2013 Memory Jar!
(See earlier blog for details on what that is.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILEYBEE 3/19/2013 10:29AM

    Every time I come across an old letter from my Mother, it touches my heart. I read it and reminisce. The letters make me smile and provide some family history ... reminding me of what was going on in my life at the time.

I love to hear how your Mother has kept records and can tell you how many letters she's written and the price of postage. She sounds wonderful!

Thanks for sharing Maria!

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GRACEISENUF 1/26/2013 2:17PM

    Oh wow I am sorry I am late reading this one. How precious is you Mom! My Mother also writes letters and has sent a couple to my son in bootcamp since he left 7 weeks ago, she is 81.

THANK YOU for sharing this, what an example of "grace" in action she is to everyone she writes to.

(p.s. My Mom would count the cost of postage too, their generation had to count pennies).

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WARMSPRINGDAY 1/26/2013 12:15PM

    Oh, hang on to those letters. The day will come that you will treasure them. And they will be much more special than an email!

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1BEACHWALKER 1/11/2013 10:42PM

    emoticon I love to write regular letters and send them in the mail too! I have an aunt in Ohio who is 80 who writes me to this day and I love to write her back! I still am old fashioned and love to use the pen and pencil & paper more than the computer. But, of course can't give up sparking! So that helps me keep up with my typing skills! Looks like your memory jar is going to get full fast!!! emoticon
Thanks for commenting on my blog...I am getting better one day at time!! Just grateful I don't have the bad flu that is going around! Have a great weekend my friend!
You are the emoticon emoticon

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CARRENK 1/10/2013 2:28PM

    There is something so special about a hand-written letter. You and your daughter are so lucky to have that bounty of treasures. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate those little things of great importance.

Though I have to say, every time I read/hear anything like this, I feel the need to work on my penmanship! (For the record, my writing is atrocious!)

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SMARGED 1/10/2013 1:01PM

    Hi again, my friend. I read this blog first and then went to read about your memory jar... that's why I mentioned your mom there....

I think it's so beautiful that she writes so often - I've been a terrible letter writer all my life - that is, I never write! I do a little better with email, but not all that much. LOL!!!


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THINRONNA 1/9/2013 8:03AM

    My Aunt writes letters too...even to us over here! I think that is such a wonderful thing that your Mother takes the time and care involved in writing like that. You must treasure each letter! Your daughter too!

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SEATTLE58 1/8/2013 8:25PM

    What a blessing indeed, Maria! All I can say is, enjoy your Mother while you have her. That's a blessing that can never be replaced. My precious Mama has been gone almost 20 years now. It's not like I want a pity party, I just miss her so much that I always feel so inclined to make sure everyone else appreciates theirs and I know you do.


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MEADSBAY 1/8/2013 8:22PM

    That is so emoticon

My hubby's dear grandmother, whom we both adored, wrote to us every week (Sun morning before church) for the 10 yrs we lived out of state.
If she was traveling she would send a postcard instead.
We still have a shoebox with those letters.

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ROSEWCI 1/8/2013 7:38PM

    Your mother is such a blessing, & you are so fortunate to still have her in your life, Maria! EnJOY this special time w/her & cherish these memories!

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NEEDBU66 1/8/2013 7:17PM

    What priceless treasures. Hang on to them.

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Getting to Know Me!

Monday, January 07, 2013

"Copy and Paste into your own blog, change the answers to suit you
and help your SparkFriends get to know you."

A SP friend THINRONNA shared this on her page and it was really nice getting to know her a little better. So, I thought I'd share it with any of my friends who would like to know me better, too.
Here goes!

Where is my cell phone?
It’s sitting on the dining room table.

Yes, I'm married to Steve & we have a daughter that will be 23 in March.

Your hair?
Medium to Short. Dyed “Clove” to ‘blend away the gray.’

Your mother?
Ruth, a former High School Music Teacher, turned housewife. Mother of 6, grandmother of 7.

Your father?
Bill, a retired farmer.

Your favorite thing?
Being with my family: husband, daughter, parents, brothers, sisters & their kids, & extended family of aunts, uncles & cousins.

Your dream last night?
I don’t remember.

Favorite drink?
Unsweetened Iced Tea.

What room are you in?
Between the dining room & the living room sitting at the computer desk.

Your hobbies?
Walking, cooking, baking, gardening.

Your fear?
Being alone when I am old.

Where do you want to be in 6 years?
Still living on our farm. Growing vegetables in our High Tunnel Greenhouse and growing grapes in our vineyard. Raising cattle and poultry.

Where were you last night?
Home watching Oprah interview David Letterman on OWN.

Something that you aren't?
I’m not very adventurous. Need to take more chances.

Morning Glory or a good, fresh blueberry muffin.

Wish list item?
New flooring in our kitchen & dining room.

Last thing you did?
Made “Baked Ziti with Pumpkin & Sausage" for our evening meal tonight.

What are you wearing?
T-Shirt, hiking shorts (Yes, I know, I live in Minnesota & it’s winter, but I run hot!) tennis shoes.

Your pets?
We live on a farm. So we have outdoor dogs: 3 basset hounds: Zoey, Sophie, Boris; 2 yellow labs: Max & Lily & 2 Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Micky & Teddy. Lots of cats, a miniature horse named Sissy & a miniature donkey named Claire. And several indoor cats: Parti, Dottie, Lucy & Dewey.

I have a few close friends that I either knew growing up or worked with over the years. My sisters are my closest friends.

Your life?
My life is good. I am happily married with a grown daughter. I live in rural Minnesota that fits me to a tee. I love being able to go outdoors and have lots of space. I work part time as a Library Assistant. I left a banking career several years ago (30 years in accounting/banking). My husband & I are developing second careers for when he retires…hopefully growing vegetables for schools, restaurants, individuals. We built a high tunnel greenhouse, but lost that to a tornado in 2011. We are rebuilding this spring. We grow wine grapes. We raise beef & poultry for consumers, too.

Your mood?
Winter leaves me in a depressed state. I have to work on having a positive mood.

Missing someone?

Today, I had a diet Pepsi with lime.

Your car?
I drive a Ford F-150 Pickup truck.

Something you're not wearing?
A watch.

Your favorite store?
I enjoy going to Trader Joe’s but the closest one is over 100 miles from where I live.

Your favorite color?

When is the last time you cried?
Tuesday, January 1st when I said ‘good bye’ to my daughter at the airport as she left to go back to work in Washington DC.

Favorite place to eat?
A little Chinese Restaurant or a little Mexican about 20 miles away from where I live. They are both excellent!

Favorite place I'd like to be right now?
I enjoy going to Rapid City South Dakota and seeing to Mount Rushmore.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARGED 1/10/2013 1:11PM

    I enjoyed reading this blog, Maria. Of course, some things I already knew, but I learned a lot of new things too, so now I feel I know you even better! I'm going to do it right now on my blog..... so check it out later!

Thanks for being such a great friend! emoticon

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SEATTLE58 1/8/2013 11:24AM

    How fun to get to know you better. I might do that too. Have a super good day and week!

Comment edited on: 1/8/2013 11:24:50 AM

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THINRONNA 1/8/2013 4:23AM

It was so great getting to know you better! I just love that part about your animals. I read them aloud to Patrick and he said it sounds like it could be set to the music from the "Twelve Days of Christmas"! My cousins lived on a farm so I can relate to so much of what you write about it. I just love getting an image of you there! Very Minnesotian of you to be wearing shorts. People from Minnesota often always thing they get their heartiness from the Scandinavian influence but let me tell you Norwegians are wimps compared to Minnesotans! They are out in it...true...but are VERY VERY layered up compared to how we dress in Minnesota!

Maria thank you so much for sharing. You are such a terrific person and I feel so very lucky to have met you here. emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 1/8/2013 1:15AM

    We have some things in fave color is purple too! Why is it I can never find a nice purple blouse is beyond me! My fave drink is unsweet tea took awhile to get off the sweetner/sugar, but I love it now!!
You sure do have lots of pets! Of course, if I lived on a farm I would too, - I LOVE animals!!!
Happy your life is good! Sounds like things are looking up for the farm! Good luck with the business!
I am thinking of doing one of these too soon. emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 1/7/2013 7:43PM

    Awwww, I've enJOYed learning these things about you Maria! Thanks for sharing! How fun! I can see you are blessed w/a good life, my friend!

Happy New Year! emoticon

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Start a Memory Jar for 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I saw this on Facebook the other day and decided to start a Memory Jar today.

I am trying to be more positive and I think this little exercise might help!

“Start on January 1st with an empty jar. Throughout the year write the good things that happened to you on little pieces of paper. On December 31st, open the jar and read all the amazing things that happened to you that year.”

I took a quart size Mason jar and made a cute label and tucked it inside the jar so that it would peek out.

Here are the instructions:

1. Repurpose an empty glass jar.
2. Add a note every time something good happens.
3. On 12/31/13, empty your jar and read how amazing your life was in 2013. :)

I hope my jar fills up quickly, so I can find a nicer, larger jar! LOL!

Happy New Year to all of you! I wish you good health and much happiness in 2013!

~ Maria

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEISENUF 1/26/2013 2:17PM


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WARMSPRINGDAY 1/26/2013 12:18PM

    I am doing this, too, only I have a pretty box I'm putting my notes in.

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SMARGED 1/10/2013 12:59PM

    What a great idea, Maria! I love it...

And how blessed you are to still have your Mom and how great that she is doing well, and able to give all of you the joy of her letters! That is truly a blessing from the Lord!

Blessings, my friend, on you on yours! Marge

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1BEACHWALKER 1/8/2013 1:18AM

    I love the idea!! Maybe put some money in with it & that would make it even more nice! Like a dollar for everyone you put in! Maybe put a post it note on the dollar bill! Hoping you fill the jar full for 2013!! Have a great year!! emoticon

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LIFE-FAITH 1/6/2013 9:49AM

    I love the idea - thank you for sharing.
Happy New Year!


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ROSEWCI 1/4/2013 4:40PM

    I saw this posted somewhere too & LOVE the idea! What a wonderful way to celebrate a year gone by! Happy Positive New Year Maria! 2013 is gonna be the BEST ever!!!

emoticon Rose

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CHALLENGER15 1/4/2013 3:44PM

    I think it is a great idea! I saw it on FB, also.

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SEATTLE58 1/3/2013 5:05PM

    I've seen that too, here on SP. Now that I saw your blog about it also, it kind've re-affirmed in my mind that it's a really cool idea! Thanks for the reminder, Maria!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/3/2013 5:05:49 PM

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The Truth about 12 Confusing Foods

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I read an article on-line this morning from Prevention Magazine and thought it was worth sharing.

I don't exclude any of these foods from my diet. The key is moderation.

The Truth about 12 Confusing Foods

Even the most nutrition-savvy women can get lost in the headlines. Here’s what you really need to know:
By Sharon Liao

The foods discussed in the article include:
1. Coffee
2. Wine
3. Potatoes
4. Cheese
5. Fish
6. Chocolate - there it is again!
7. Red Meat
8. Nuts
9. Beer
10. Soy
11. Eggs
12. Margarine

You heard that eggs can be high in cholesterol, so you dutifully switched to whole grains for breakfast. Next, you swapped out red meat for fish—only to later learn that fish can contain dangerous levels of mercury...and eggs may not harm your heart after all. “With all of the different reports and headlines, it’s no wonder that many people get confused,” says Angela Ginn, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Real Talk Real Food in Baltimore. To help you make sense of these and other health head-scratchers, we consulted our experts and sifted through the research. Here, the new bottom line on 12 “healthy” foods.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARGED 10/26/2012 10:08PM

    Hi, my friend. I just read your blog - thanks for sharing! I did follow the link, and I'm glad I did - now I can enjoy my one or two cups of coffee a day (decaf) without guilt, and I can also have my occasional egg, cheese, which I love!, nuts (a handful almost every day) and my occasional chocolate!
Blessings and a hug!

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1BEACHWALKER 10/19/2012 1:56AM

    Yes, confused. Especially about the eggs! I have switched to all egg whites. But, eggs do count toward your cholesterol mg. everyday! And Dr. doesn't like too much of that!
I will check out the article.... emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/18/2012 6:54AM

    I recently read that cheese, nuts, coffee, & wine actually help reduce the risk of type II diabetes! Ain't that something! I say, everything in moderation!

Thanks for the info Maria! emoticon

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WARMSPRINGDAY 10/11/2012 3:22PM

    Eager to read this. These are confusing foods.

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MEADSBAY 10/10/2012 2:06PM


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LIFE-FAITH 10/10/2012 2:02PM


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GRACEISENUF 10/10/2012 1:36PM



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SNARDEESNIFF 10/10/2012 12:17PM

    Confusing! Isn't THAT the truth!! I need to read this. Thanks for posting it, Maria.

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MISSB8604 10/10/2012 11:42AM


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4ANEWME2DAY 10/10/2012 11:14AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Easy Ways to Boost Your Mood

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I am exploring ways to deal with stress in my life, WITHOUT reaching for food.
Also, ways to treat myself without using food as a reward. Little indulgences. I am working on my personal list of 'go to' items.

I came across this article today from O Magazine and wanted to share it with you.

* Reader Beware! CHOCOLATE does show up TWICE in this article!

Number 1 was to "Create a Pleasure Drawer"

Desks are usually receptacles for utilitarian paraphernalia. But in the interest of slipping a little self-nurturing into your days, it's time to turn one into your own on-the-spot spa. "Stock your drawer with personal mementos or simple indulgences," suggests Barbanel. Gather your favorite scents, textures and tastes so you can create your own multisensory stress-relief treatments. Our suggestions: tiny scented candles in beautiful tins; pop-art-inspired beanbag sachets scented with invigorating grapefruit and peppermint; Hershey's Kisses; tiny self-massage tools that slip onto your fingertips; a silky jasmine-laced hand lotion to soothe skin; eucalyptus and mint room sprays to combat midafternoon energy slumps; and a lavender facial mist to perk up your complexion.

Chocolate was the final item on the list in this article.

Go Ahead, Have a Bite of Chocolate

"Chocolate is better than a martini," says Oz Garcia, director of nutrition programs at New York City's Equinox gym and spa. "It contains alkaloids and magnesium, copper and other minerals that regulate and stabilize brain chemistry." It also creates a natural high, according to Harvard's Sichel. "Chocolate causes a serotonin surge in the brain, so you get an instant wave of euphoria."

Clearly, happiness can come from stimulating our senses– with short, but frequent, moments of pleasure.

You have dozens of little opportunities every day to indulge yourself–so do it.

11 Ways to Lift Your Mood (or Someone Else's) ~ O Magazine

By Christine Fellingham

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 10/19/2012 1:55AM

    emoticon Anymore if I have to have a sweet treat, I make sure to get 70% dark chocolate, then I don't feel guilty. As long as I don't have more than a serving or two, that is.
Like the drawer idea too! emoticon

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LIFE-FAITH 10/11/2012 8:30AM

    I was surprised that music was not on this list.
Thank you for sharing this info - I enjoyed it - off to have some chocolate.... emoticon

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    Thanks for sharing! I do need something like this! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/9/2012 2:54PM

    LOVE the pleasure drawer idea!!! I plan on implimenting this just as soon as I return home!

emoticon Maria!

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MEADSBAY 10/9/2012 2:03PM

    What a great idea!
I love the idea of having many tiny bits of pleasure throughout one's day.

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SMILEYBEE 10/9/2012 1:39PM


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CARRENK 10/9/2012 1:23PM

    Thanks for sharing! It's good to see your name popping up in my friend feed!

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MSROZZIE 10/9/2012 1:08PM

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. Good info! emoticon

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