A New Year, A New Beginning


I know it sounds cheesy, but I do think of this time of year as a new beginning for myself, my life, my family, my perceptions, my hopes, my dreams, and my goals. While I may not make a definitive ‘resolution’, as I once did as a child, I do reassess my life and think about what I can do to make my life and the life of those around me, better. Not just financially or physically, but in a substantial way.

How can I improve myself and become a more effective member of society? What can I change about myself to make it easier for my family? Am I too selfish? Am I too sarcastic? Am I too judgmental? Do I make too many demands and not enough sacrifices? Do I really follow the adage of, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Would I really want people to treat me the way I treat people sometimes? Would I want to be my friend? (I hope those of you who are my friend say, ‘Yes!’.)

What can I do spiritually to make myself a better person? Do I need to read a few more self-help books? How to become a strong woman in a man’s society? Do I buy that hype? Does it matter?

Should I delve more into God’s Word and meditate on His scriptures? Certainly, as that helps me calm my mornings and gives a general peace to my day. But, where do I find the time to do this? Even being at home, one is always busy cooking, cleaning, caring for others, volunteering, being a taxi service to every member of my household. Where can I find the time?

The answer lies in what is really important to me. I find that if it is really important to me, I will carve out time in my day or week for it. If it’s not, it falls to the wayside.

I know that I have to work on managing my time. Realizing there are only twenty-four hours in a day, can make it hard to complete tasks which should be finished. Getting up to be somewhere every morning, shuttling people to school, work, church and other venues can be daunting and leave very little time to do the important things for self-care., for family-care.

When do I find the time to meditate? Spend time in prayer? Read my Bible?  Then I remember technology is my friend. Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have books on CD, iTunes, Audible? All I have to do is play and listen. That can help free up some of my day, as I can listen while in the car, or while working at home, etc. on various tasks.  I will admit that sometimes, I do crank up the tunes while cleaning the house; I even have an upbeat playlist for it. Just don’t ever peek in the windows or you might bust a gut laughing at me as I dance around the house with my broom and mop.

Seriously though, the most important thing for me this year, I think, is to make time to spend with those I love. Without family, I would be nothing. So, with that in mind, my husband and I have decided that not only will we continue our weekly family game night with our friends and family, we’ll also add an family fun night. This will be where one person chooses the evenings activity; watching a movie or TV show or Netflix, play a board game, or whatever they want to do (within reason.) Frankly, I don’t see us bungee-jumping in the near future, but you never know…..

That being said, spending quality time with my family, taking time to meditate on scripture, learning to compromise more will be what I try to accomplish this year. I won’t say that I’m making a ‘resolution’, per se, but I will say that I intend to be a better person starting now…someone that I would want to be friends with. Because, although I think I’m doing well at being nice, out-going, friendly and kind, I know that not everyone sees me that way, that no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement.

Happy New Year! May your 2016 be full of promise, love, hope, joy, peace, friendship, family and prosperity. Many happy returns!



Out & About


Living in a Heartland Hometown can be really great. One of the best things about ours is the 12th annual car show. It happens this Saturday, Oct. 3 in the great town of Mounds, Oklahoma. We are blessed with tireless car show committee members who strive to make this event bigger and better every year. Last year there were over 230 car show entries with more expected this year. How great is that?

There will be trophies awarded for various categories and classes, including a people’s choice award, which is always a hit. The park with be filled with vendors toting anything from food, jewelry, handmade goods, etc. This is indeed the event of the year.

This is also the same day as the City-Wide Garage Sale, so cruise town and see if you can find any good deals Out and About.

Show up, See Awesome Car Show Entries, Chow Down, Vote, Shop, Chow down, See More Car Show Entries, Shop some more, Purchase raffle and  50/50 tickets, then, if you drive your entry there, you can join the Cancer Sucks Cruise. Talk to Myra Burke on Facebook at Mounds Car Show for more information.

KaSandra Long is the Vendor Contact and I’ve pasted below her list of vendors for the event. Thanks so much to the Car Show Committee for all you do!

Come out to the 12th Annual Mounds Car Show to see some amazing cars and visit these vendors:

American Legion Post 36 – raffle tickets, memberships & information
Amani Jewelry – jewelry, wall plaques & crosses
A Picnic Place – soups, salads, sandwiches, chips, cookies, fruit
Assurance Free Will Baptist Church – FREE inflatables, water & goodies
Avon – products & catalogs
Boy Scouts Troop 224 – popcorn fundraiser
CASA, RSVP and Camp Fire – information
Christian Motorcycle Association & Black Top Disciples – bibles, tracts, pens, etc
Color Show Face Painting – professional face painting
Creek County Democratic Party – information
Creek County GOP – information
David’s Custom Wheels – wheels & tires
DJ’s Diecast – diecast cars
Erwin Products – stainless steel name rings
Family, Career, Community Leaders of America – hot chocolate, cappuccino, donuts, cookies, cupcakes
Festival Lights – bubble blowers, light sticks, t-shirts, military pins, coins, novelty items
Kettle Corn
Kona-Ice of Green Country – shaved ice
Locust Linez – striped panels, shirts
Mary Kay
MM Tools – car bling & tools
Mounds Middle School 8th Grade Science Class – bake sale & ring toss
Mounds Assembly of God – church information
Mounds High School Cheer – dunk tank
Mounds High School Softball – Indian tacos, funnel cakes
Mounds Historical Society – raffle tickets, cookbooks & historical books
Mounds Little League Cheerleaders – spirit items, bake sale, and FREE water
Mounds PTO – information
Oklahoma Square Dance Federation – raffle tickets
Pink Zebra – sprinkles, warmers
Real Time Pain Relief – topical pain relief
Sam’s Club of Tulsa Hills – information & memberships
Scentsy – bars, warmers
Seal Smart LLC – wood/concrete/masonry sealant
Tulsa for Bernie Sanders 2016 – information
Thirty One Bags – organizers, totes, bags
Tornadic BBQ – bbq pork & bologna
Triumph Worship Center BLAST (Believers Living And Sharing Truth) – pay to have someone serenaded, pay to have someone put in jail
Wood Shack – burgers, hot dogs, nachos
Metal art
Quilted items

Also, don’t forget to buy your 50/50 tickets and your tool box raffle tickets (watch the tool box be customized)!

So, if you’re not busy this Saturday, come on out to the Town of Mounds and join the fun!

Thoughts from My Comfy Chair


Slowing down is hard to do…and finding time to write can be difficult. Especially when I have a tendency to want to change tense, use slang, or ramble on for a few paragraphs. It can be hard to remained focused when I have kids hollering as they run through the house, the phone ringing in my ear or the television humming somewhere in the background. Procrastination had a tendency to creep in and has me ditch any writing I might want to do.

Finding my quite place can be impossible in the best of times. But, in the past few months, I have been re-learning how to find quiet time and a space all my own while I focus on reading, writing, studying and basically becoming more organized. This was a hard lesson for me to learn and I literally took a tumble to learn it.

In church… did I mention I was in CHURCH when this blessed event occurred? I keep wanting to tell people I was kick-boxing or something cool like that, but that’s really not how that went down. I was standing with my knees locked, while singing in the pews. Sounds innocuous, right? Wrong…blacked out, fell without catching myself and hurt my leg pretty bad. Bad enough to require surgery, which then required me to rely on others…and keep my bahooky seated with the leg propped up…so, I found time to write. I didn’t blog, which required sitting at the desk, but journaling in my comfy chair became my new thing. Forced exile from the world around me, was not an easy pill to swallow.

Some days I would lay there and mope, or read a book, ignoring the journal on my bedside table. I hate to admit it, but I was probably a little cranky as well. Other days, I would consider writing but thought poop on that, because I really don’t want to do anything. Finally, the need to write hit and I put pen to paper. On the days I felt like writing, which wasn’t many at the beginning, I re-discovered the joy of just writing – without deadlines, without a select theme, just writing whatever popped into my head. Some days it was intense, other days it was pure whimsy, but as I was writing, I began to really enjoy not just writing, but life around me.

In the past, writing had been a joy for me, but as of late it seemed to become a burden or hardship. This was probably due to the stress and lack of time which were consumed by the monster known as Procrastination. If I put stuff off, it was harder to focus on what needed to be done, in a timely manner. Just taking a moment to breath, think about what I needed to do and then actually do it, instead of ponder how it should be done at a later date, and voila!, the task was completed and I was able to move on to the next item and accomplish it. Whether it be changing a roll of toilet paper or writing a lesson for youth group, however mundane or great the task, it was done. Believe me, changing the roll of toilet paper was not the mundane task here.

This may seem like an easy task, but truthfully it wasn’t. Although I had the time to write, I either didn’t want to, or I was angry that I was holed up in my house and unable to get out and do what I wanted to do. As I (slowly) healed, the more I did, the better I felt about it. While it was only little things in the beginning – making certain I was helping, organizing and doing, made me a better person, parent, wife, friend and hopefully, writer.

Before the accident, I was always on the go, which is typical of a parent with kids in various activities. Our family would rush from one activity to another, be it a city event or school or church function, like a speeding bullet. Now, I couldn’t leap tall building in a single bound, unless Superman was toting me, crutches and all. It was ridiculous.

I suddenly came to appreciate handicap facilities and equipment. Gee Whiz, imagine how long you have to wait to shave your legs after knee surgery…then add a week or so, because it’s still too tender to touch… Ugh! (Don’t ask how long I waited between shavings prior to the accident. LOL) Or think about all the daily stuff you do and take for granted. I also learned patience and how to accept help…graciously. This again was a hard lesson to learn, because I don’t like to ask for help. It may have been my pride, but I like to think I can do things without anyone’s help…at all. Unfortunately, that is not the case, especially when recovering from surgery.

So, in my forced relaxation time, I learned to become more organized. Things like menu planning (because as much as I love Taco Bueno, I didn’t want to eat it everyday, as I couldn’t cook yet) or scheduling all the errands at once instead of between functions, because I had other family members running said errands became the norm. (Was I really so disorganized?)

With all of the organization and scheduling happening, I actually found time for me. I picked up a book and actually read all of it in a single sitting. I picked up a pen and jotted down seemingly unimportant words, which after a time, began to flow out on paper and become bread for my soul. The times I just spent sitting with a cup of coffee, rejoicing in the sunrise, were a blessing to me. I might have felt like a prisoner in my own body, bound by the laws of healing and gravity (don’t ask), but my soul was rejoicing in the time taken to slow down, unwind and listen to the world around me.

I find that in listening, I can write and in writing I can be free. With the healing nearly complete, I feel like I have found myself in the past few months, and I can honestly say I like myself now.

Mounds UMC to Host Herb Class


I’m teaching this class and am very excited to help out the community garden. 🙂 I hope to see you there!

Mounds United Methodist Church

herb class flier

Mounds United Methodist Church will host an Herb Class as a fundraiser for the June & Ivis Cumbey Memorial Community Garden, Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 10.a.m. 

The cost is $5/person and will benefit the community garden. Join us as we learn all about herbs and their uses. Attendees will receive a small herbal gift. For more information or to register, please call (918) 827-6705 or (918) 845-5780. We hope to see you there.

herb class registration form

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The Mom & Pop Store Legacy


country store

The Mom & Pop Store has a special place in my heart. I grew up in a small farm and garden store, crawling across bags of pig and horse feed for fun, making castles out of bales of peat moss, using stock tanks for swimming pools.

So, when the idea came to write a book on the Mom & Pop Store Legacy across Green Country and Route 66….I was all over it. I’ve met with several small business owners and the reaction is overwhelming. With the onslaught of box store mentality, many small businesses suffer financially. Many Mom’s and Pop’s have to make that excruciating decision to close down, or suffer the loss of their savings to keep a struggling business afloat. I know my parents made the brave decision to retire, but it was such a hard decision for them. I know I miss the Country Store deeply.

green country feed, turley ok

Meanwhile, box stores undercut the little man and lure in customers with huge buying power, deep discounts and an endless supply of part-time employees to keep shelves stocked. The customer service here is usually vague at best.

However, the customer service is usually without question, the best in the world at Mom & Pop establishments. I heard a customer tell my Grandpa Gene Sivadon, “You have some of the best workers in town. They are always eager to help.” To which my Grandpa laughingly responded, “Well, it’s been pretty slow today, they must be bored.” They had a laugh and went on. But that can be so true…with small businesses losing business due to many different factors, the customer base is dwindling.

We have a great hardware store here in my Heartland Hometown. It is run by one of the best guys around. He has anything and everything you need…and may even stop by your house on his way home, just to make sure you bought the right item and installed it correctly. (I’m speaking from experience here.) There is nothing like bona fide, true blue, neighborly customer service.

chambers mill

With that in mind, I’m traversing the countryside, taking photographs and speaking with business owners to not only get a glimpse of where they are today and where they came from, but where they hope to be in the future.

cobber deans jenks ok

So, in your journey to purchase that perfect spring flower, the right garden tool or a new hinge for your front gate, be certain to give the Mom & Pop shop a stop…You never know what treasure you might find tucked away on the dusty shelf.