Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I think most people think of the Mayflower and Pilgrims.  But did you know who set the fourth Thursday in the month of November as a national holiday?  President Abraham Lincoln.  This occurred during the height of the Civil War.  I felt it was important to share his Proclamation with everyone:


Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863


By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Get Your Photos Off Your Computer & Into A Scrapbook

Picture taking has never been easier!  We have our digital cameras, I-phones, and I-pads!  The ability to digitally capture a moment or memory is available at our fingertips 24/7.  I looked in my iPhoto program and I have over 6,000 photos!  Wow - I really had no idea that I've had that many.  Can you imagine what 6,000 printed photos would look like??

It would truly be overwhelming.  Decluttering our photo program is another topic for another time, and I want to focus today on preserving the memories from your best photos.  So, where do you start?  Here are 3 tips from Rebecca Ludens, Scrapbook Expert:

1.  Choose Only the Best

Choose only the best. You do not need every photo on your scrapbook pages. Think about looking at this album 10 years from now. Which photos will remind you of the moment or event. Select only clear photos that tell the story or show the emotion. Look for photos that include close-ups, that do not have distracting background images, and that tell the story from a unique angle.  You may find that you have just one special photo that you want to highlight on a scrapbook page.

My First Half-Marathon



2.  Pick a Focal Point Photo

Pick a focal point. Once you have selected the group of photos that you will be using for your scrapbook page layout, select one photo that will be the focal point of the scrapbook page.  If you have a clear focal point photo, your scrapbook page will feel anchored. It will have a place for the reader’s eye to rest as she takes in the full story of the layout.

Notice the top photo is off center to draw attention

3.  Print Your Selections

Print your selections.  Now it is time to print your photos. Consider these two ideas:
1) If the paper that you have selected to go with your theme is overpowering or busy, you may want to print your photos in black and white.

2) You may want to print your focal point photo larger than the rest of the photographs to make sure that it is clear where the focal point is on the page. I frequently print my focal point photo as a 4x6 inch print and then print the rest of the photos a 2x3 inch prints (two per 4x6 inch page). You may also consider cropping some of the photos to be smaller in size.

If your photos are only on your phone or on your computer, when will your family and friends get to see and enjoy them? Also, when will you add that all important journaling to go with the photos. Print out some of your favorite pictures and scrapbook them today.

Happy Scrapping!

And if you need some supplies, visit my newly established E-bay store:  Create and Scrap.  New supplies added daily!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Beating Holiday Stress

It's November and before you know it, Thanksgiving is here, quickly followed by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the crazy holiday season!  How can you best prepare for this time of year?

Stress is a HUGE factor between November and December.  We tend to place unrealistic high expectations on ourselves and as a result, we feel pressure, a sense of feeling out of control and sometimes unhappiness.  Fortunately, there are many little steps you can take to gain control, reduce the pressure and have a more enjoyable holiday season.  According to Connie Bennett, certified health counselor, you can:

  • Take calm-down breaks. Soon after you awake, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and meditate or just relax. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place, think of a happy memory or visualize yourself succeeding at a cherished goal. “Quieting down your mind before you begin your day can help it get off to a great start and things will flow for you,” says Debra Berndt, an expert in creative visualization and hypnosis and author of the upcoming book, Let Love In: Open Your Heart and Mind to Attract Your Ideal Partner. In addition, whenever you get stressed out, anxious or feel overwhelmed during the day, take quick relaxation breaks of 1 to 5 minutes to calm yourself down. Conscious, slow breathing can help you when you’re feeling frustrated waiting in line at the supermarket, post office or drug store.
  • Put on rose-colored glasses. When people try to push their bad habits on you during this holiday season, tune into their motivations. For instance, before you get annoyed at Aunt Jane, who keeps urging you to try a piece of her apple pie, or your co-worker Frank, who keeps trying to fill your glass with booze, first take a deep breath. Then, step into their shoes and realize that Jane is just showing that she loves you, and Frank is merely trying to be convivial. Then graciously thank them for their misguided attention. Rather than view your situation with annoyance, be grateful instead.
  • Get moving. Perhaps one of the best ways to overcome stress during the holidays or any other time is to exercise regularly. Research shows that physical activity not boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your moods. In addition, exercise has been found to reduce anger, tension, fatigue and confusion. Despite the many demands on your time, this is not the season to stop exercising. Indeed, when regular exercisers are inactive, they begin to feel depressed and fatigued after just one week, according to a study from scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Exercise also can give you that much-acclaimed “runner’s high.” Indeed, research shows that rigorous physical activity of any kind pumps up production of endorphins, your body’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • Go for real foods mostly. Inevitably, at this time of year, you’ll be tempted with sugary, empty-calorie “treats” just about wherever you go. But to be your most energetic, focused and happy self, it’s best to eat foods that grow on trees or on the ground (vegetables and fruits) and to choose healthy fats (such as olive oil and flax seeds), lean protein (such as fish and organic chicken) and legumes, nuts and seeds.Take polite portions of “comfort” foods and drinks. During the holidays, it’s easy to “fall off the wagon” and use—or over-use—alcohol, sugar and caffeine. It’s best to think before yu treat your body like a trash can instead of a temple. The best way to stay true to the best you is to limit your consumption of such comfort or pleasure foods and drinks as apple pie, cookies, pasta and eggnog. When offered these and other “goodies,” try to take three to five “polite” bites and sips—and only after having a well-balanced meal with smart carbs (vegetables, fruits or whole grains), fats and protein. (See Tip #4.) Be aware that if you’re a sugar addict, you must be especially vigilant when it comes to desserts and quickie carbs.
  •  Prepare “Nice To Do For Me" and “Need to Do For You” lists.  Writing down all that you have to do during the holidays will help you realize how do-able your tasks are. Be realistic as to what you put on your lists. Then start tackling one item from each list in turn. For example, after buying gifts for your mom or significant other, take time to work out, too. By alternating between lists, you won’t feel deprived, because you’re being good to yourself. Better yet, as Cheryl Richardson suggests in her fabulous book, Take Time for Your Life: A 7-Step Program for Creating the Life you Want, prepare an “Absolute Yes” list, which will reflect priorities that inspire you to use your gift of time well. “When you practice extreme self-care and put yourself first, you are then fully available to others without resentment or anger,” she aptly points out.
  • 7.  Be generous. One of the best ways to stay calm, content and cheerful this time of year is to act generously with your loved ones, co-workers and friends. This doesn’t have to mean you’re spending a lot of money. You can be generous with your compliments. You can generously offer to do a loved one’s dreaded errand. You can generously write a fun, short poem. When you are creative with your gifts and thank you’s, people will appreciate your real, heartfelt sentiments.

    With just a few simple tips and smart choices you can relax and enjoy your holiday season.  

Bits and pieces of our lives.