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My SW Daybook - July 2016 edition

July is underway, and I thought I’d catch up with another Simple Woman’s Daybook post. So here we go.

Looking out my window …

I see a stunning summer day. It’s quiet, at least for a moment, and everything is blooming in full force. Even the impatiens in my cone hanging baskets seem to be thriving this year. I have to say, that’s something of a miracle, ever since a certain somebody retired and began to fancy himself as a floral expert. My flowers, particularly the potted ones, have received prodigious amounts of Miracle-Gro and super-zealous daily waterings.

One might say their cups runneth over.

Yes, I am that lady who showed up at the garden center after summer was already in full swing, scavenging for leftover annuals to fill in for those that were drowned in my home pots by a well-meaning interloper.

And yet, for now, the impatiens is holding its own.

I am thinking …

Somewhere there is a list that spells out all of the items I wanted to pick up at the grocery store yesterday. I have no idea where it is, but we are already out of peanut butter and ketchup.

I am thankful …

Every day, I want to practice gratitude. And sometimes I actually do.

Even in these turbulent times, when headlines holler bad news, blessings still surround us. The sun comes up. We breathe and eat and sleep and spend time with special people. And Heaven awaits. God is still good.

One of my favorite things …

Maybe it’s not a thing, per se. But one of my favorite sensations is sinking my bare feet into soft, warm beach sand. In fact, I’m packing for a quick jaunt in a few days. I cannot get enough of the sun and the sand and the sweet rolling waves.

I am wearing …

The thermometer says it’s close to 83 (F) degrees around here, and the temperature is expected to climb into the 90s by this afternoon. What’s a girl to do? Grab a billowing sundress!

I’m sporting this simple frock to dart in and out for various appointments and errands today. Yes, I sewed it myself, using McCall's M6114.  I opted for the matching vee yoke and added two front-patch pockets. (Hey, a girl's gotta have pockets!)

Sewing is something of a stress reliever for me, when I can find the time to do it. What fun it is to wear something no one else wears! What’s more, I haven’t been exactly tempted by this year’s uber-skimpy sundresses in the stores. Even if I were still a teenager (um, not even close), I wouldn’t wear ‘em. So sewing fits the bill nicely.

Plus, this dress cost me less than $10 to make. Can’t beat that!

I am watching …

Netflix. We recently subscribed to this service, and I am winding my way through it, trying to determine what worthwhile movies or TV series I may have missed. My list is still rather short. Got any suggestions?

I am reading …

A friend passed along her copy of The American Heiress, by Daisy Goodwin. She said, “If you liked Downton Abbey, you’ll like this.” I’m just diving in, but it seems like an interesting story.

This is not Dorothy Eden’s American Heiress (about a trip on the torpedoed Lusitania in 1915). And it’s not Jeffrey Toobin’s American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. It’s a whole different story.

I am listening to …

Plug this in, and give it a listen. It’s “My Story,” by Big Daddy Weave. This song is a super reset for a creative writer … or anyone.

I am hoping …

Back to the weather: The forecast calls for midday thunderstorms. I am hoping those boomers and showers cool things down, so I can slip out for a run. You see, there’s this race coming up, and I’m running the relay with a bunch of athletic military veterans, and I’m not feeling all that athletic right now. So I need the practice and the build-up.

Plus, these spiffy New Balance sneakers need a workout.

I am learning …

Lookie there. It’s time for another hard life lesson. Just when I thought it was safe …

A publisher for whom I have written 10 columns monthly (for years) recently announced it was closing. Writers received about one week’s notice. I spent much of the past week downloading and saving PDF files/screenshots of my thousands of articles on the site, which is supposed to vanish at any moment. (The publisher had announced a closure date of four days ago, but failed to meet that deadline. Still, it looms.)

What’s the lesson? Maybe it’s time for a new chapter. It could be an altogether different pursuit. I might even finish the handful of books I have already outlined. This is definitely an occasion for evaluating current and future efforts.

I think there’s another lesson here. And it’s not a new one. Life is unpredictable. Plans change. Holding on loosely may be the healthiest option.

In my kitchen …

Midsummer it is, and that usually means I try to prepare simple, light, extra-healthy foods. Sure, I ought to do this all year round, and I aim there. But summer’s fresh and colorful bounty makes that a whole lot more fun.

Tonight is big salad night. I have a giant bin of cleaned lettuces, a tub of cherry tomatoes, a bunch of sweet carrots, a bag of broccoli, and some leftover herb chicken breasts from last night’s dinner. Oh, and shredded cheese. Gotta have that. (Did I mention we live in Wisconsin?)

In the school room …

My kids are out of school.

One might say I am sort of being schooled in exercise. Not officially, of course. But I am trying to build back up after an injury and a rough MS season that sidelined me for a while.

Just now, the Runkeeper app on my not-so-smart phone beeped in with this message:

“Isn’t it time to work out again?”


In my garden …

Certain plants are exploding in my garden at this point. This is both a bane and a blessing.

On the upside, the little cell pack of home-seeded hollyhocks a friend gave me last year turned out to be a giant gift. Those four baby plants have boomed and bloomed and now reach higher than the garage wall. I almost want to climb one of the plants and see if there’s a giant castle up there with a goose laying golden eggs.

Alas, bunches of downright aggressive orange daylilies seem to be set on taking over much of the yard. I have pitchforked and yanked out truckloads of these things, hoping to make room for perennials I like even better.

I'm not a flower snob. I just want to allow ample space for my favorites. Sure, the orange blossoms are cheery. But these are those everyday ditch lilies, just like the ones that grow by the highway. They're practically weeds. My garden is mature enough now that I have fluffy, fancy, pretty daylilies in lots of colors. It’s time to lose the basic orange ones that seem to spread almost hourly and supplant everything else that wants to grow. (Sorry. Had to.)

Board room …

Sometimes a little cattywompus isn’t half bad.” Got that right. This design comes on tee shirts, ball caps, coasters, tiles, hoodies, and all sorts of stuff. I might have to order one. So I pinned it to my Cats and Kittens board.

Post Script …

Shared Quote …

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

A moment from my day …

Gonna try to sneak off and see this old boy today. Love him!

The Simple Woman's Daybook logo - fair use
All photos copyrighted by LAN/Practically at Home,
except book cover and product image - both fair use.

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  1. Hi, Linda Ann, this is my first time visiting your blog. I really enjoyed your daybook. How clever of you to be able to sew a sundress instead of being stuck with what the stores sell us! Your creation looks cute and comfortable.

    I don't have a Runkeeper but I do have a FitBit that has not gotten in its steps quota this week. I'm going to hav to do better.

    Sorry about your column-writing job ending. I'm sure God has something else for you, but I know change is hard. Blessings to you!

  2. Ah, gratitude...something all of us could stand to do better at. The Lord taught me a lot about giving thanks in all circumstances when my husband was a few months in to what turned out to be 25 months of unemployment.

    Sinking my toes in sand---I love it! And I miss it. I now live in landlocked Idaho, but before that, I lived in Florida for 20 years. Beach days were common for me then.

    I was listening to the Christian radio station in the car yesterday, and after playing a Big Daddy Weave song, the DJ mentioned that Jay of that group recently had both feet amputated.

    Blessings on your day,
    Patti @ Embracing Home

  3. Hi Linda Ann, nice to meet you through the Daybook. It seems that it's even more important to practice gratitude through these rough times. I love the Daybook for that reason, it helps me see the good things in life.

    Your flowers are beautiful and I especially like those cone baskets. Nothing says summer like a new sundress:)

    Holding life loosely is something I often tell my kids, that and hold onto to God tightly.



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