Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from Mama Making Changes!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter, filled with remembrance of the true meaning of the holiday, as well as family and friends and food. And, of course, I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you!

If you don't have a church to visit this morning, but would like to watch an Easter service, join us as our church will be live online at at 9:15 and 11:15 am EST Sunday morning. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013

Thanks for checking out the A to Z Challenge! Here's how it works: 

Each day corresponds with a letter of the alphabet. My post for that day must correspond with the letter of the day. On the schedule below you will see all of the letters on their scheduled dates. I will post a clickable link beside the day on the schedule each time a post is completed, making it easy for you to find them. 

Below the schedule, at the bottom of this post, is a list of links to all of the participating blogs. Please visit some or all of them. How many things can you learn about the start with the same letter each day?

Wish me luck! This should be fun!

A to Z: 2013 Challenge Schedule and Links to Posts

Week One:
April 01, Monday - Letter "A" - A is for Arlee
April 02, Tuesday - Letter "B" - B is for Bags
April 03, Wednesday - Letter "C" - C is for Climate
April 04, Thursday - Letter "D" - D is for Do-It-Yourself
April 05, Friday - Letter "E" - E is for Earth Day
April 06, Saturday - Letter "F" - F is for Food

Week Two:
April 07, Sunday - BREAK
April 08, Monday - Letter "G" - G is for GMO
April 09, Tuesday - Letter "H" - H is for Hemp
April 10, Wednesday - Letter "I" - I is for Insect
April 11, Thursday - Letter "J" - J is for Java
April 12, Friday - Letter "K" - K is for Kansas
April 13, Saturday - Letter "L" - L is for Light

Week Three:
April 14, Sunday - BREAK
April 15, Monday - Letter "M" - M is for Music
April 16, Tuesday - Letter "N" - N is for Novel
April 17, Wednesday - Letter "O" - O is for Opera
April 18, Thursday - Letter "P" - P is for People
April 19, Friday - Letter "Q" - Q is for Quiet
April 20, Saturday - Letter "R" - R is for Roasts & Rivers

Week Four:
April 21, Sunday - BREAK
April 22, Monday - Letter "S" - S is for Sugar
April 23, Tuesday - Letter "T" - T is for TheUselessWeb
April 24, Wednesday - Letter "U" - U is for Unusual
April 25, Thursday - Letter "V" - V is for Vegetables
April 26, Friday - Letter "W" - W is for What I Wish I Knew Then
April 27, Saturday - Letter "X" - X is for Xylitol

Week Five:
April 28, Sunday - BREAK
April 29, Monday - Letter "Y" - Y is for Yellow
April 30, Tuesday - Letter "Z"

Friday, March 29, 2013

From A to Z in April

The A to Z Blog Challenge is almost upon us! I've been working on a list of topics, one for each letter, and I almost have all of them. Did you sign up for the challenge? For more info click here! The Challenge starts April 1, so come back soon to see the topic I chose that starts with the letter A! 

In the meantime, what do you think of the bill that just passed that some are calling the Monsanto Protection Act? I could go on for hours about all of the reasons I dislike Monsanto...

Have you planted your garden yet? Mine is tilled but not planted. I feel like I am lagging behind, but maybe this weekend I will get it done. I'm soooo ready for some fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes!

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend and I'll see you Monday for Day One of the A to Z Challenge!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Real Deal: Part 2

The follow up is much less depressing than the original. I promise. I was in a mood yesterday for sure. But as I said before, tomorrow is another day, and that was today, and it was indeed. 

I noticed tonight that a friend had started her Facebook status this evening with "Things I learned today..."

I learned several things today myself. More than that, I was reminded of what I already know but had forgotten for a moment. Yesterday's events led to many thoughts that kept me awake most of the night as they overlapped and twisted and turned and disappeared and reappeared with some other thought in my whirling mind. And all of those thoughts slowly narrowed as I talked things through with several different friends at different times today. 

So here are just some of the things I learned or of which I was reminded today in the last twenty-four hours:

  1. Some people are really good actors. Even when a person seems to genuinely want to spend time with you, there may be some other motive. So sad that we can't trust people more than this.
  2. The world does not revolve around me just because I have created my own personal crisis. If a friend doesn't answer, it doesn't mean he doesn't care. It means he can't answer at the moment. And maybe he has his own crisis to deal with right now. A real friend will get back to you asap though. 
  3. Getting your hair done really does make a girl feel better! Instant spirit booster! Did I mention my hair is now red and my daughter's is now pink?
  4. Prayers are often not answered the way we expected. So when you pray for guidance in the way you should go, the path that opens up may not be one you ever even noticed before and it might even be one you were afraid to travel, but you should take it anyway. 
  5. There are a few rotten people that are on their way out of my life. But there are many, many more wonderful and supportive people around me. I just have to change my focus. 
  6. Sometimes my journey through life will be painful. Like it or not. But I will come out the other side a better person. 
  7. And finally, the thing I tell myself more often than anything else...
Everything happens for a reason.


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Real Deal

Tonight I am dealing with disappointment on so many levels that my normally tough shell is starting to develop hairline fractures. I can feel it cracking, and it makes me sad. 

I normally live by and share often with others the idea that all thing happen for a reason and therefore there is no reason to worry about how things will work out in the end. Even when things don't end like we wanted or expected, we learn and grow as a result. Everything that happens to us in life is an opportunity and a blessing and when things don't happen at all...well, they just weren't meant to be. This usually gets me through even the toughest days.

But today I was feeling a little neglected (and wondering if I might be getting ignored actually) by a man that has recently brought much happiness into my life. I'm not sure why he would do such a thing because, even if he didn't want to continue the relationship, he could simply tell me. Perhaps this is an over-reaction on my part and tomorrow will bring an explanation that makes perfect sense and I will feel really stupid for getting anxious today. In the meantime, I'm feeling very disappointed at not getting any attention from this guy today. Maybe that's selfish and silly?

Anyway, once I started feeling bad, I got into a groove. You know what I mean..."misery loves company!" I started thinking about all of the things that are wrong with my life at the moment and having a very nice pity party thank you very much. This is not something I normally do. In fact, I typically despise this sort of attitude and believe that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." But I guess we can't all be strong all of the time. 

So I started thinking about how I have to move soon because my home is in foreclosure and I don't have enough money saved if I needed to move tomorrow. I heard a noise from my engine, a noise that has become familiar and worrisome lately, as we drove down the road and thought about how I wish I had money to put my truck in the shop and fix whatever is wrong with it (or better yet buy a newer vehicle, preferably one that gets more than twelve miles per gallon). I really had it going right? But I didn't stop yet. 

Then I started thinking about how men like to be "just friends" with me. I've gotten along with the opposite sex better than my own for most of my life. I can fit right in as one of the guys. No problem until you get really lonely and want some real companionship, somebody to snuggle and watch a movie with, someone who will let you lay your head on his chest and just be there when you feel down, a person who will hug you and hold you. Maybe I found someone like that recently, but now I'm not sure...but most of the men I meet just want to be my friend, and oddly enough actually mean it. We end up being buddies and I enjoy their company and one of them is actually one of my very best friends. But I digress...

I know I need to get myself out of this slump. I feel tears building deep down inside and I know that if I do this long enough they will rise and rise and eventually spill and I absolutely do not want to go there. I know that many of my friends will say things like "what were you thinking" or "you need to swear off men for a while" or "have some more wine" and those things will not make me feel better today. Or they will say "you just gotta have faith," which I know to be true, but in my present mood I am not feeling it and that is the problem, not the answer. 

So I texted a friend that I haven't known for very long, someone that has a great smile and a generally upbeat attitiude, someone I have come to admire for exactly that. I told him (Yes him, I told you guys just wanna be my friend) that I really just needed someone objective to lend me an ear for a few minutes and help me turn my mood around. I asked if we could meet for coffee somewhere because I really needed a friend right now. And guess what?

He didn't reply. 

Hours went by and nothing. Not even a "sorry I really can't right now" or even a "hell no I don't wanna hear your problems." Great. Now I really feel like that pile of brown stuff that my dog left in the cold wet yard this afternoon. What now? 

I decided that perhaps I could distract myself. I did some laundry, checked emails and actually took care of the many requests for this and that they contained, played some music on Spotify, got on Facebook (where I experienced much more disappointment after reading many posts about how terribly people had behaved), walked the dog, got back on Facebook, checked on my blog...

Alas, I am sitting here still. But tomorrow is a new day. And this one has taught me much. Hopefully tomorrow will come with a new attitude, a renewed sense of faith, and superglue in the cracks of my shell. Maybe tomorrow.

My son just texted me that the birthday gift I sent him was by far his favorite birthday gift. That made me smile.

Isn't it amazing what a few words said or unsaid can do to your day?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DIY Earring Display

Tonight I am honored to offer you a guest post by one of my favorite bloggers! I'm really not the very good at coming up with creative project ideas, but I actually love DIY. When it comes to ideas for do-it-yourself, I search other blogs to get project ideas. But in a recent survey on MMC, you my readers said you'd like to see more posts on this subject, so I am honored to you a guest by one of my favorite bloggers, Shai from The Vagabond Studio. Enjoy!

Confession: I have a slight earring addiction. 

Many of these are picked up at Earthbound when they’re on clearance, and nearly all of the bronze/metal dangly ones were picked up as ‘maybe’ sets for the wedding (I wound up wearing pearls, go figure). I never wear them, though, because I can either a) Never find the match b) Forget they exist or c) Find it too much of a pain in the tush to dig through my jewelry box to find something. So... I made this! 

I just painted an old frame ($1 at a thrift store), and hot glued a section of a huge lace curtain (whole curtain was also $1 at the thrift store, and I still have most of it left) to the back of the frame. Voila! Done and done. In the photo below, you can see the glasses display frame I made a few months ago for my glasses collection. This would also work well for sunglasses (mine are all prescription glasses in an insane variety of ridiculous colors), and even hair clips for little girls! Hurray for upcycling and organization at the same time! ♥

Author Bio: Shai is a mom, student, artist, and blogger. Her popular blog, The Vagabond Studio, is full of healthy recipes, upcycling ideas, and inspiring posts about her thoughts on everything from parenting to peace, green living to green businesses. Head on over to check it out and maybe leave a comment, here or there, to let her know you love this post!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Not Good Enough: Recycling in the USA

Found this great infographic and wanted to share. Recycling is something we started taking seriously about a year ago. Before that we recycled plastic only, but now we recycle paper and cardboard, aluminum, and plastics. Recycling all of these items really showed us how disposable our society is, and in turn led us to reduce our consumption of many packaged items. When shopping, packaging plays a big role in my purchases now. Is it packaged in paper or plastic? Is there an option with less packaging? Can I buy that in bulk and package it in reusable containers at home? 

Anyhow, here is the infographic. Please share as many ways as possible. We need to get America recycling!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Eyes on the Arctic

Greenpeace is working with Inside Out on a special project, the brainchild of artist JR. As part of a protest against arctic drilling and offshore fishing, a team of young explorers will carry the compiled photos with them to the North Pole and claim the area as protected for all of those who live there now as well as for future generations and for the people of the earth. 

To participate in "Eyes On the Arctic" just submit a black and white photo of yourself in front of a white background with your eyes looking up to the North Pole as you think about the Arctic. Click here to submit your photo along with your basic contact information. It's easy! And your face will be on this special piece of art at the North Pole in April!

Here's the photo I submitted:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Free Straw Update

Did you remember to sign up for the Glass Dharma newsletter when I told you about the 1000 Straw Giveaway? Check your email! Instructions for claiming your straw are in the emial newsletter sent out on Monday, March 4, 2013. It's super easy and I've already claimed mine. I love the pledge that they are asking everyone to sign and I plan to print it and place it on the fridge as a reminder to everyone in the house. Are you printing your pledge certificate?

If you missed out on the free straw giveaway, you can still take the pledge. The following is copied and pasted from the pledge Glass Dharma sent and is in no way my work. I am only sharing:

The PlanetCare™ pledge

Five ways that I pledge active PlanetCare™ responsibility to make a difference in 2013 and beyond 

I, ____________________ pledge: 

1. To seek plastic alternatives by researching everyday items and finding manufacturers that supply plastic-free alternatives, like Glass Dharma drinking straws, ECOlunchbox stainless food containers, Pura Stainless reusable metal water bottles, ECOBAGS organic cotton bags, bambu kitchen & travel ware, etc… 
2. To rethink each purchase (How long will I use/need this item? Where will it go once I have finished using it?) 
3. To shop locally whenever possible to support my local community and to reduce shipping energy. 
4. To keep reusable bags, reusable water bottles, reusable straws and reusable food 
containers close at hand for shopping, traveling and eating out at Restaurants. 
5. To use my personal power to “choose what I use” and serve as an example for others in 
making a difference!

What Might Have Been

Many of the changes I've made in my life have to do with my attitude. I had to learn to have more peace and to let go of the anger. Pointing fingers, laying blame, and being angry do not make things better. It takes a level head to come up with a rational solution to a problem.

I had a lifelong love of reading, but for several years I had stopped reading, lost interest completely. I was stressed and couldn't settle down to enjoy a book. Now I'm reading again! Anything decent I can get my hands on (I am a little picky, but the point is I am always eagerly hunting the newest read lately). 

Yesterday I was looking at some of the very old books that I got from Grandmother, many of them having been handed down to her by her parents and a few from her grandmother. I wasn't wondering if they would be good reading material; after all, if they were worth keeping for the last hundred years, they are surely worth reading still. I was actually testing their sturdiness to see if they could withstand my reading them. 

I decided that many of them could not and should be handled very carefully, but I couldn't help carefully flipping through them before putting them away. I especially enjoyed seeing which selections made it into the 1916 booklet bound with string, "Worth While Poems Selected by Homer A. Rodeheaver". I enjoyed one selection so much and found it so appropriate that I took a snapshot with my cell phone to be able to flip back to it occasionally. 

And this is where I come back to attitude. This short poem is a great reminder. I'll share it with you. Tell me what you think....


It isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone-
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At the setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten;
The letter you did not write;
The flower you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night. 

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way;
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
And the gentle, winning tone
That you had no time or thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

Those little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind,
Those chances to be angels
Which we poor mortals find,
They come in night and silence,
Each sad, reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging
And a chill has fallen on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late;
And it isn't the thing you do, dear, 
It's the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache,
At the setting of the sun.

I don't want to lie in bed at night, regretting the things I could have done or should have done or the harsh words that wounded when kind words might have healed. I don't want to wonder how my actions might have changed the world or even just one person. Let's remind ourselves often that the right attitude can make all the difference.