Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- In Review

In retrospect, I suppose 2011 has been better than 2010.  In some ways, much better.  In other ways, not much at all...  Here are some major points that happened:

January- March:
  • My professional camera went missing and then was found.
  • My blog hit 1,000 page views! :)
  • Cute Gremlin #4 turned 3
  • We got snowed/iced in at the house for 4 days and everything got organized and sorted! (For a little while, anyway.)  Plans for redecorating/renovating my room were begun.
April- June:
  • I participated in the A-Z Blog challenge,  nearly tripling my followers list! :D
  • I spent time at the beach and with good friends
  • Cute Gremlin #3 turned 6
  • I turned 30
  • I got to return to the beach :)
  • I made many more blog friends, and my page views topped 10,000! WOW!
  • I got to see "Wicked" at the Fox Theatre!
  • Cute Gremlin #2 turned 11
  • I began to set some strong goals and plans for my future, even in the midst of much uncertainty.
October- December:
  • My blog page views have now surpassed 25,000!!! Amazing!
  • I participated in NaBloWriMo
  • I began the 52 weeks of mail project, and pen pal-ing.
  • I got a job at Hobby Lobby- a direct answer to prayer!
  • Cute Gremlin #1 turned 13
  • The Cute Gremlins had a wonderful Christmas
  • [Update: what I originally wrote here has been removed for revision/prayer/privacy/etc] The Lord is my Rock and my Refuge.  I am clinging to Him and He will never fail me.
As my current Facebook status reads:

Dear 2011,
It wasn't your fault.  You tried to be a good year and gave me all your 365 days to live in.  So, thanks.
Dear 2012,
BRING IT ON.  I'm ready for you.

I'm still writing letters and trying to get caught up on blogging.  I'm sticking to plans that I've made:
  • Growing my income with Lucy Jane and Avon, etc.
  • the 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge in April
  • saving up for my England trip in June of 2013 (more about that in another post soon!)
  • Spending time with my kids and creating a happy and healthy life for them.  Plans for trips to the park and local attractions and events, church events and other fun things.  We're going to be fine.
  • Most Importantly: reading my Bible every day and following the Lord wherever He leads me.
Happy, happy New Year, everyone!  2012 is going to be wonderful!

Love to you all,

Monday, December 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Weeks 10 and 11

Before I get into what came in and went out via USPS, I think I should share that I have a problem that is related to/rivals that of my stationery addiction (highlighted in this post, if you missed it.)

Remember I said I was super busy and still writing letters on top of it all?  While I tried to get ready for Christmas?  Well, maybe now it's over I can claim half of my bed back.  Because this is what it has looked like for the past month:

The plan this week is to get my room back to being organized and useful!
Meanwhile, here's what arrived in week 10 of 52 Weeks of Mail!

A wonderful letter from Laura of The Daily Dodo, one from Lucie-Jane in England, a sweet card with a tea to try from my Nashville, TN penpal (that's the purple square one), a photo Christmas card from the Bestie, and (center) my first card from New Zealand!!! :D

Also got a card from the Pen Thief, a card/letter from a new pen pal in MI, and a post card from Snailmailfan of 100 Days of Snail Mail

Close up of my Christmas card from Misty, The Pen Thief. :)
And here is week 11's incoming:
Gorgeous Christmas Card from Lucie-Jane.  She lives on the Isle of Wight.
Christmas Cards from a local friend (snowman) and a lovely new
Nebraska pen pal (Noel) !
Sue, the Knitting Assassin, sent me a package from the UK!
Know what was in it besides this lovely Emmanuel card??
Thank you, Sue! :)
It's not a whole lot, but here is what got sent out those 2 weeks:
The giveaway prize letter pouch got sent to Germany; Christmas cards and post cards
got sent to [other parts of ] GA (4), PA, TX (2), TN, OH, MA, New Zealand and Ireland.
I'm getting emails with pen pal requests too, so the lists in the upper left sidebar will be changing soon! :)
See you at the mailbox!

PS- If you've written to me and I haven't written back yet, it's coming!  January in retail sees a huge drop in my hours, so I'll have some mornings free to put pen to paper! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

It's Christmas Eve.  I am alone, in my room, perched precariously on one side of my bed, typing out a quick post so that you all don't think I've forgotten you.  The other side of my bed is filled with letter writing supplies, clean laundry that I haven't had time to put away yet, wrapping paper, my "to do" notebook, and other assorted ... stuff.

In the floor by my bed is a pile of gifts still to be wrapped.  I also have to work from noon until 6 tonight.  After I bake a batch of cookies as a gift for a family member I will see at 7:30 tonight, after work.  (They don't read this blog, so it's ok to mention it.)

I'm down from 40+ hours/week to under 30 on next week's work schedule, so I'm hoping to grab a few hours to seriously sit down and get all of my blogging news caught up.  Frank's had about a dozen adventures that need to be blogged still, and I've had more awesome mail, Music Mondays, book recommendations, and general life news to share that I just can't seem to get to unless I'm falling on my face tired and then the posts come out all disjointed and lame.  And I can't give you lame posts, dear readers.  That would be bad.

I hope you get what you want for Christmas.  I hope you spend the day in company with people you love and who love you.  Actually, I hope that's what you want for Christmas.  All the other stuff is just extra.  I love each and every one of you.  Remember that Christ is why we celebrate the season!  Love came down to us!  Emmanuel - God with us!

Blessings, warm fuzzies, love and twinkle lights.  Those are a few of my wishes for you, not just today and tomorrow, but for a long time to come.

See you soon.

Merry, Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Weeks 7, 8 and 9

I don't drink alcoholic beverages- or lattes, for that matter-
but I may consider ordering one of these soon, the way my life
 has been going these last couple of months. LOL
Some MAJOR life things have been happening here, most of them too private and personal to divulge on a blog.  Any blog.  Not just mine.  So.  I'm a bit behind in many of my regular posts, but let's start getting caught up to speed with a 52 Weeks of Mail update!

Week 7:
Great Thanksgiving card from a friend in TX, and a letter from
Kate of Birdcage Cards in New York.
One of Katie Marlowe's cool Peter Pan envelopes! (and a good letter
inside!) and also received my new return address labels. :)
Week 8:
Awesome "Where's Waldo" postcard from Bev Sykes of The Penpal Project.
(You had to find the REAL Waldo from among the impostors!)
And a lovely wintery postcard from Suvoni in Ireland of . simply. .
Another one from Katie Marlowe, in reply to one of mine.  What's fun
is that this is my favorite stationery from Studio 18 cards and I
bought out all that my Michael's store had and sent a bunch.  Now, thanks
to awesome Katie, I have one to keep with a lovely letter on it! :)
I also got a penpal letter from a friend in TN, but I didn't get a photo.
Snailmailfan of 100 days of Snail Mail in Canada sent me this sweet
Christmas card and enclosed 2 plantable postcards embedded with seeds.
So cool!  I haven't written her back yet, as she's been on holiday, but
I plan on writing her a looooong letter very soon!
Week 9:
I'm such a distracted ditz.  I bought stamps at the Post Office
and then hurried out after ensuring my mailings were all set to go,
leaving the stamps on the counter.  The next day in the mailbox
I got them and the sweet note saying I'd left them.  I love my local
postal workers!  Also in the mailbox was a card and a mini stocking
 from my friend who signed me up for Avon.  Thank you, Beth!
Later in the week was a card from some Civil War reenacting
friends and a letter from a penpal in Ohio.
The backs of the envelopes from Ohio penfriend Cathy are always awesome!
A couple of really good mail weeks!! :)


Working 40 hours a week (PRAISE GOD!!!) at Hobby Lobby, plus seeing to the Cute Gremlins, plus getting ready for Christmas, plus that personal mess I mentioned earlier, plus working Avon orders, Lucy Jane orders and 2 wedding gigs, I seriously don't remember what I sent out on what days.  I know I had it all together for a photo, though, so here is what went out during that 3 weeks:

They included a baby congrats for an expecting friend (more below), a wild Hoops and YoYo Christmas card with sound for the Bestie (who text messaged me that she was slightly afraid to open the envelope, based on the madness on the cover! lol), cards to a pen friend in OH and one here in GA, a letter out to England and 2 Christmas postcards; one to The Pen Thief and one to Bev at The Penpal Project.
That box with the penguin on it is a birthday care package to a friend of many years (more on that below as well).

Here is detail of the Baby Congrats card.  The front says "What are we waiting for, Pooh?" "You'll see, Piglet.  A dream is about to come true."
And here's what was in the Birthday Box:

Rosie's a penguin NUT.  Being the indulgent friend of 15 years that
I am, I've contributed probably a good 80% to her penguin collection!
She's also into anything 80s retro, as that's more or less our growing up era.
So I got her some 80s glam sharpies to go with the penguin madness. :)

All the stuff fit in this penguin-y bag and then
this bag fit in the box. :)
So, in all, 7 pieces plus a package.  Not my best, but it's been a busy season and I'm usually at work during Post Office hours.  So far my only day off is Sunday, so that doesn't get things mailed either! :P

Week 10 was WAY AWESOME for mail.  Show it off in a bit. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Letter Pouch Giveaway WINNER! :)

Hi!  I know I have a few weeks of blogging to catch up on, but I'm posting this first:

This was up for grabs:

The Cute Gremlins were all in bed, so I did the drawing myself- with the help of the trusty un-biased bird tin, of course:
Yes, that's my blue polkadot pj pants and pink bath robe.
Blogging from the comfort of my own bed. :)

Congratulations, Pocci of Vanessas 52 Weeks of Mail blog!
Email me your snail mail addy and I'll get this pouch (plus some goodies!) in the post to you!!! :)

Thanks, everyone, for entering.  Remember, if you didn't win this one, there will be a few more given away in the future!

I'm off to draft some more posts, in order to get all caught up!
See you soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Gratitudes

While the first thing that tends to jump to people's minds at the word 'November' is likely Thanksgiving Day, I did my very best to not lose sight of my blessings from the first day of the month to the last.  I am blessed beyond measure.

  • 11.30- Leftover 'Fish Legs' from our date at Joe's Crab Shack
  • 11.29- Jake's home improvement accident involving a work knife and his arm could have been so serious. I'm thankful he didn't die. No, really. It could have gone that way and God kept it from being so.
  • 11.28- Tallied up the hours scheduled for this week and it merits a low, "how awesome is this!" whistle
  • 11.27- Excellent message at church from Pastor Godwin
  • 11.26- Same as yesterday
  • 11.25- No fights breaking out in our store
  • 11.24- Happy Eat-Yourself-Into-A-Stupor Day! :)
  • 11.23- Quick closing at work so that we could come home and get ready for Thanksgiving.
  • 11.22- Grocery shopping by myself for some quiet down time
  • 11.21- Several friends are expecting! I love new babies!
  • 11.20- Choir practice and cute pass-along clothes from friends
  • 11.19- A soft bed to sleep in
  • 11.18- Sturdy shoes
  • 11.17- Great day at work, wonderful last Bible study class, a good car to run all over town doing errands in, and books waiting for me at the library. :)
  • 11.16- I GOT THE JOB!!! :D
  • 11.15- A good rainy, snuggly kind of day to get my room cleaned up and then write letters and catch up on other work
  • 11.14- Quiet time writing letters at the new library
  • 11.13- Church and bringing Christina with me! :)
  • 11.12- All day of a gorgeous wedding and wonderful people to photograph!
  • 11.11- Getting an elephant made and delivered and getting to have a chocolate peanut butter milkshake afterwards
  • 11.10- Getting to tour the wedding venue early to compose some shot ideas
  • 11.9- My pastor
  • 11.8- Morning: spending time at the new library while Emily was in daycare. Writing letters, finding books for myself and letting the older 3 kids browse. Also thankful for my right to vote. Evening: spending time visiting with my friend Adam Jones.
  • 11.7- Quality time spent with Emily at the new library and grocery shopping
  • 11.6- My mother in law coming to church with us before she had to head back to south GA
  • 11.5- Morning: The new library is open! Evening: Going to see Joe M. Turner's magic show
  • 11.4- An evening at the opera. So beautiful.
  • 11.3- A (once again) stellar Bible study session
  • 11.2- Dayquil
  • 11.1- My awesome Aunt