Living A Simplified Life!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oklahoma Snow Storm

We have just come through another snow and ice storm, not as bad as we had at Christmas this year or the one of several years ago, but we still saw quite a bit and are still blanketed with ice and the white stuff.
Thought you might like to see a few pictures:


Can we say just a might cold here?
Been hearing tree limbs falling and now chainsaws so I guess the cleanup has begun!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AMBER ALERT......... Please Read

The Oklahoma FBI is searching for Aja Danielle Johnson, white female, age 7, born 1/5/2003. She is 4 feet tall, brown hair and eyes, 65 pounds.

Police are looking for Lester William Hobb, white male, age 46, born 2/20/63, 6’1”, brown hair (receding hair line), green eyes, 190 pounds. Possible moustache and goatee, with tattoos: Tony, left forearm and wings on his chest. He is considered extremely dangerous, and may be armed.

The abduction took place in Geronimo, OK., enroute to Rockport, TX.

Hobbs is driving a white 1995 Toyota Paseo with Oklahoma license plate number: 577bpw. He was last heard from in Geronimo, OK.

Aja is considered to be in grave danger and immediate danger. Anyone either in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, California or oregon that sees this man and/or car are asked to call the Oklahoma FBI at 1-800-522-8017 and your local Sheriff or Police Department.


An Amber Alert was called for all over the state of Texas and within hours it was lifted. This gave rise that the girl was found, and Hobbs arrested, but that wasn’t the case, and still isn’t.

The Amber Alert is only used in conjunction with other states when it is felt/believed the missing child may be in their state, otherwise no alerts are given. This is why I, and a couple friends here feel strongly about a National Amber Alert, that stays in full force until the missing child is found and returned home before it may become far too late.

So I propose this to you, and challenge you to do the right thing. Take what I have written, go door-to-door in your neighborhoods, get signatures, as many as you can when you have the available time. Enlist friends and family to help. A minimum of 1,000 signatures for small towns/communities, and a minimum of 5,000 for medium sized cities, and 20,000 or more for heavily populated areas. That, or set your own number/goal, for where you want this to be. Online petitions have no merit, but in this way, it’s many voices being heard at one time.

From there, mail out notorized copies of the petition,  with signatures to local city council members, State Representatives, Senators The Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Governor of your respective state.

This Amber Alert can be for the entire North American Continent, so those of you in Canada should do the same thing. It’s the right thing to do.

Kids are the life-blood parents pour their heart and soul into, and no matter how hard parents do their very best, sometimes even then, the best just isn’t good enough. It takes less than a minute to abduct a child, and often, days, weeks, months; a lifetime to ever find and return them home again.

Post this on your blogs, make others aware. It’s time to stop the face’s on the milk cartons. It’s time to stop the fears of if he/she is still alive. It’s time we set a standard that we won’t take it any longer.

**********To Whom It May Concern:
The undersigned do hereby demand that a National Amber Alert for missing and exploited child(ren) be immediately passed by law, by each individual state and by both the House of Representatives and Congress post haste. This Amber Alert, when issued, is not to be rescinded by any state until the child(ren) is found and returned home.


That’s all you need, that, and the ability to state your case to those you ask to sign which can’t be difficult.

Those of you in Canada, can change the wording where appropriate to get the point across.

I am not sure what the laws are regarding other countries around the globe, but those of you in other parts of the world, if you see the need for this, then apply it as you see fit.

No parent should have to bare witness to the humiliation of their child at the hands of a complete stranger, yet alone one the child may know.

No parent should have to bury their own child.

It’s time to stop this insanity

I Jumped The Gun!

Well, it looks like I kinda jumped the gun talking about getting ready for spring and tornado season when we were issued another Winter Storm Watch yesterday, advising us that another bad storm is expected in here on Thursday!

I was all set to be done with ice and snow! I'm already thinking gardens, spring and sunshine!

If you live in the South and Midwest and are expecting more bad winter weather, are you prepared?  Some of your preparations would be similar to having your "safe place" ready for tornado season but lets go over some additional preparations that you need to consider if there is lots of ice and snow!

Loss of Power of course is one of the main things you have to worry about with ice not only accumulating on streets underneath snow and making for hazardous driving conditions, but ice accumulating on powerlines which can snap and break under the sheer weight of the ice or because they are no longer flexible and have ability to sway in high winds. Several years ago we had a horrible winter ice storm. I had friends up in Tulsa who were without power for approximately two weeks. Luckily they had both a fireplace and were able to borrow a generator about 4 days after the storm hit.

Frozen water pipes in another worry. On those outside pipes, your water spikets for hooking up your garden hose, if you don't have any of those fancy "bonnets" made of styrafoam to put over them, at least wrap them in newspaper and hold it in place with some type of tape.  If your water heater is out in the garage, it would also be a good idea to have an insulation blanket around it.

Inside faucets and outlet pipes that are on exterior walls are also prone to freezing. Dripping BOTH the hot and cold faucets and opening up the cabinet doors underneath that area to circulate warm house air will help eliminate this problem.

Food, Water and Medicines are also important to have on hand in case you are stuck inside for several days unable to get to a store. If you are without power, you will need items that you can eat cold right out of the can. Now of course if you are like me, this is when you are craving a nice big bowl of hot soup or chili and you have to settle for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! If you have no way to cook anything, as in my case if I lose power, I am out of luck. You might see if you can't find a couple cans of "sterno" and use some light weight aluminum pans to try and heat things up in. But please, don't try to fire up the bar-b-q grill indoors!

Pets will also need to have protection from the elements if they are outside animals. Be sure that they have shelter to get to, warm bedding to snuggle into, plenty of food and fresh water. I know that many farmers use heating elements to keep the water flowing and not iced over. Little animals (especially cats and dogs) probably should be brought inside or if not into the house into some type of heated area if the temperatures are going to be prolonged periods of below freezing weather.

Check your neighbors, especially those that are elderly. Hopefully you will have phone service and can give them a call. If not, you might be able to venture out across the street or next door to check on them if they are living close by.

So now I batten down the hatches, in preparation for possible ice and snow with blowing winds to arrive over night tomorrow and be hanging around for a couple of days! I will curl up under a warm blanket with that  seed and flower catalog and dream of spring and that new garden I plan to put in.

Stay safe and warm everyone!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Are You Prepared?

Why does it take either a natural disaster or a man-made disaster to refresh my mind on how lax we are in taking steps on a daily basis to protect our families and our every day existence of our communities? With the recent earthquake in Haiti once again I am reminded how very important it is to have emergency plans in place to care for your family and neighbors as well as your community in general. I feel that everyone needs to try and take responsibility for themselves and not expect any type of government assistance to be coming to your aid.  As we have seen in past catastrophes, it can be days and weeks before assistance arrives, so it is necessary that you are able to care for yourself.

With tornado season right around the corner here in Oklahoma, NOW is the time to get our emergency plans in order.  We have been fortunate, our city has been spared for all the years that I have lived here. We’ve had them nearby and zooming up in the sky over our heads but not touching down in our city….. knock on wood!  Over the years we’ve gone to the shelter, waited out the warnings and in some cases been without electricity for several hours but we’ve not had the destruction that devastated a great portion of many cities in Oklahoma with the F-5 tornado that touched down May 30, 1999.

Get your shelter in order. 

I personally have an underground shelter.  This is the one thing when I purchased my home that HAD to be on my list of amenities as a MUST HAVE.

With the frequency and severity of the tornadoes that come through Oklahoma, I would suggest that if you do not have a shelter or an above ground safe room, that you look into putting one in place right away.  If you just can’t afford one, clean out a closet in the center of the house where you can take shelter.  If you have too many people in your family to all squeeze into a central closet, go to a central hallway, away from windows and be sure to have plenty of blankets and pillows near by that you can use to cover yourself with. Another good item to have handy are helmets, like bike or sports helmets for your children especially.

Put Important Papers Together

I have a plastic tote in which I have copies of my insurance policies for my home and my automobile, along with my car title, my birth certificate, a copy of my last will and testament, medical directive and a camera.  When I know that we are into bad weather warnings, I immediately take this tote down into the shelter. Otherwise, everything is already all together incase someone needs these documents.

Setting up your supplies

Down in my shelter, I have a small plastic rolling cart in which I can keep canned goods, a can opener, matches, candles and hygiene products along with pet food for my critters.  In a large plastic trash barrel are sheets, pillows and extra clothing. I even have some basic medical supplies stashed away in the trash can. On the table are the radios, lamps and flashlights.

Presently there are plastic chairs and a table down there, along with a weather radio and a regular radio. I used to have a little portable TV down there which is no longer useable thanks to the new digital TV receiving.  There is electricity down there, but if we were to lose electrical power, I would be able to rely on both flashlights as well as oil burning lamps.

Keep your purse nearby

I keep my purse close by during tornado season. That contains all my current necessary items such as car and house keys, debit cards and driver’s license.  If I took medications, I would be slipping those into my purse also so they would be ready to go to the shelter with me.

Critter Care

I have three cats and a parrot whose safety I am responsible for. When I know that we have bad weather in the area, they all go into their carrying cages.  The cats have individual carriers, for the simple fact that I don’t want them fighting with one another if they get frightened. They go down into the shelter early. Luckily they seem to know the drill, having been through this over the years. A couple of them will actually go lay inside their carriers when I bring them into the house, as if to say “okay, I’m ready when you are!”  Now the parrot is a different story, he doesn’t like his small cage and I do need to look at getting him a larger one this year.

Shelter Updates

This year, I want to do some major renovations down in my shelter.  Instead of plastic chairs to sit on, I want to build benches with storage underneath the padded seats. In this way, bedding and clothing items could be stored under the benches. With them being padded, one could actually sleep on them if necessary. 

The entire area under the stairwell, I would like to build in shelf units for storing food and other supplies. That way I would have more on hand for a longer period of time or at least would be able to share with and assist more people if need be.

One thing that my family needs to do is agree upon a way to contact each other and meet up with one another if we are unable to communicate by phone.  We also need to advise other family members who live in near by states of what our emergency plans are and how to go about locating us if something happened.

When there is widespread devastation such as happened with the F-5 tornado, Hurricane’s Katrina and Ike, the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, and earthquakes such as in Mexico and most recently now in Haiti, it becomes apparent that individuals need to prepare for their own safety and well being. It can take time for the government or other countries to bring aid to you. It is imperative that you have shelter, clean water, food and clothing. Some basic medical supplies as well as tools would also be helpful to have.

I would like to know how you have made preparations to protect your family?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Those Wonderful Round-To-Its!

I am a great collector of emails, ones I've read as well ones I haven't but have saved to read when I have more time!  I have a special folder......... Need to Read where I dump those that I haven't read but need to get around to it!.

I also have folders for all the other things that I "save" just because it was a cute joke that someone shared with me, or some great pictures of something or other, or great articles that I know if I don't save them I'll never find again on the Internet!

For some reason that is one thing that has been on my "to do" list for weeks now and I still haven't gotten 'round to it!  I wanted to have it done before the start of the new year but there it sits still not done.

I need to take one entire day and do nothing but read through and weed out all my emails. Does anyone else have the same problem?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year's Everyone

As we approach the bewitching hour of midnight many of us will have nothing more on our minds except drinking, partying with friends and making lots of noise.

Then there are those of us who will take this time to reflect on this past year and make our resolutions to make this coming year better.

Some of us will use these resolutions for personal reflection and growth while others will encompass broarder desires for how they can improve their community, their workplace, and the world itself.  Hopefully the majority of us will do a combination of all of the above.

Personally I know that I need to work on some areas of personal growth in my own life.  I need organization, a nice word for stop procrastinating!

Of course I can always try to justify that with the saying that "no decison is a decision to do nothing at all."  I need to work on time allocation so that I don't get distracted so easily. It is easy to decide to go sweep off the porches or go outside and do something when the weather is nice, rather than that chore inside that needs to be done that I keep putting off.

I am a great one for making "To Do" lists. There is something very fulfilling about as they are accomplished seeing a line drawn through the chore. I do have to remember though that I need to stop doing all the easy ones first and leaving the hard ones till last!  Sometimes those hard ones just seem to roll over to the next day and then the next and the next!  See my posting about the Parable of the Pebbles and the Sand! I am so glad that I received that and was able to share it with all of you, as well as realizing that I need to apply it in my own life.

Here is a list of some of the things that most people resolve to do in any given new year:

1. Lose weight and live a more healthy life style (which often includes the resolution to stop smoking) - this always seems to be the first thing everyone mentions when you speak of a New Year's Resolution.  When it comes to this, set yourself some realistic goals. Take the weight off slowly and sensibly because if you don't, it is going come right back again. If you plan to just lose between 3-5 lbs a month that is being realistic. Be prepared to hit a point where you will plateau and you will need to make some adjustments in both your eating habits again as well as your exercising in order to start losing the weight again. Don't get discouraged, just be aware that it is most likely to happen and be prepared for it. The more healthly life style of eating a more balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits will also help with the weight loss. Cut back on the red meats in your diet and start eating more poultry and fish. Set a goal to eat at least one meal a week where you don't have any meat/poultry at all but substitute with either beans or tofu for your protein that evening. Once you are accustomed to eating one meal a week without meat or poultry, increase that to two nights per week.

To stop smoking, especially if you have smoked for many years, will be extremely difficult to do and perhaps you won't be able to entirely quit but at least you may be able to cut back on the number of cigarettes that you smoke. Much of your smoking habit is just that, habit.  You get up in the morning and have a cigarette with that first cup of coffee. After you have breakfast you have another cigarette. You get into the car for your drive to work, you light up. On your first break at work you light up another and then another after you have lunch. In fact, if you have enough time on your lunch hour you might be able to sneak in a second smoke. Then the afternoon break, with either coffee or a coke. Finally, that drive home, you ease into the driver's seat, cinch down that seat belt and light up. Get the picture?  Is that a pretty typical senerio of your day?  Oh if you don't work, you just light up everytime someone calls you on the telephone, when you pour another cup of coffee, sit down at the computer to check your emails.  Am I right?  Chances are you also light up, then set that smoke down in an ashtray and start in typing away or doing a chore and let it sit there and burn half way up before you get back to it. Smoking is probably one of the hardest bad habits to try and break, so I am not going to lecture.
2. To Set up a budget, save money and stick to it this time around.  The quickest and easiest way to do this is start a journal where you record every cent you spend during the month, from that impulse pack of gum or coke at 7/11, every purchase at the grocery store, to all of your regular monthly bills. Then at the end of the month decide what things you are able to eliminate as well as ways to reduce some of your monthly expenses. 

3. To get organized. Another word for stop procastinating!. You need to really clarify this so you know what directions you need to go in. I will tell you this though, if you start by organizing your personal space, getting your house and your office in an orderly fashion, you will see your personal life also become orderly with very little effort.

4. To become more spiritual, to attend a church of one's choice more this coming year.  Start attending a church of your choice on a regular basis. If you don't have a specific denomination that you are interested in, go through your phone book, look at some of the different churches listed by faiths and plan to attend at least once to see if you might be interested in making it your home church. You can also go to and take their faith quiz.  This should help you with some decisions of what church might fit your faith needs the best.

Then there are those resolutions we make that are either for our community or for the world at large.

1. We pray for Peace, but what are we doing as an individual to help bring about that peace? 

2. To give money to charities or to provide assistance in some way to those who are less fortunate than we are

3. Become politically active in the decisions that are made by our government at either the city, county, state or national levels.

4. Help our community to become a better place to live.

5. Learn to be more frugal with our use of natural resources, to "go green" and save the planet.

6. To live in harmony with other nations

Research has been done on those who make resolutions and then are able to obtain them. It has been found that by writing them down and posting them where you can continually see them you are more likely to obtain them than if you file the list away somewhere. Those who  don't write them down at all are the least likely to even obtain one of the goals that they said they wanted to obtain. This not only goes for New Year's Resolutions but for each and every goal that you want to obtain in your life.

So to ensure that you reach your goals, write them down. Better yet, make yourself a Goals Board with pictures and affirmations of the goals you wish to obtain. Place it where you will see it often. Also take time to discuss your goals with a loved one or a friend. This will help you to be accountable to work towards obtaining those goals.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Show someone with cancer you care!

This is so important that I am going to post this on both of my blogs.

Cleaning for a Reason

 If you know any woman currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - 1 time per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.

 All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service.

Cleaning for a reason is the name of the website

 Please pass this information on to bless a woman going through Breast Cancer or any kind of cancer.
 treatment. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

parable of the pebbles and the sand

This was sent to me in an email this morning and I found it so appropriate that I wanted to share it with you here. Some deep thoughts as you start out this new year.

The following is an excerpt from the Early to Rise newsletter
published at I picked it out as a New Year
reminder of the things that are most important in life...

Dear Reader,

A philosophy professor and his student stand in a warehouse. A large
tin bucket and several boxes are in front of them.

The professor picks up a box that contains large rocks, each one about
four inches in diameter, and pours them into the bucket. The stones
reach the top of the bucket, and he asks the student if it is full.

"It is," the student replies.

The professor takes another box, this one containing stones about one
inch in diameter, and pours them over the rocks in the bucket. The
smaller stones fill in the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asks
the student if the bucket is full.

The student looks and says, "It is."

The professor then pours in the contents of a third box, this one
containing small pebbles. Again, the student looks in and agrees that
the bucket is full.

Finally, the professor pours a box of sand on top of the rocks,
stones, and pebbles. And once more, for the fourth time, the student
has to acknowledge that the bucket is full.

"The lesson," the professor tells the student, "is to do the most
important thing first, and each lesser thing in order of its priority.
In this way, you will be able to fill up your life four times, instead
of just once. If you do the unimportant things first, you'll be
filling your bucket with sand... and there won't be room for anything