Archive for the 'PSR' Category

Documentation of deeds

Sometimes I get to the end of a day and feel like I haven’t gotten anything done. Or I think, “I know I was busy all day, but I don’t seem to have accomplished anything.” At 3:15 PM yesterday, I decided that, while they were still fairly fresh in my mind, it might be encouraging to list all the things I had already done that day. Here’s my list.

– read the Bible
– worked out at the gym
– prayed while pumping the elliptical
– walked to the gate and back
– put Scott’s insurance card in the Honda
– picked tomatoes and watered them
– worked on cleaning the inside of the Durango windshield
– vacuumed the porch, living room, breezeway, and playroom
– swept the porch steps and a bit of the walk
– cleaned and filled the hummingbird feeders
– texted with Katie about what foods were probably still good after she’d been without power for 7 hours
– brought the mail in
– cooked up some fresh green beans but forgot to use olive oil and did them in bacon grease; not sure how they’ll be
– talked to Virginia about her lost church directory and printed one to take to her on Sunday
– sent out a prayer request for Nila
– made and froze two small meals of Calico Beans
– threw out part of a no-good watermelon and cut up part of a good one
– emptied the dishwasher and washed another two big piles of dishes
– listened to 1.5 hours of an audio book I really enjoyed, “One Summer: America, 1927” by Bill Bryson
– talked on the phone with Scott’s mom for 55 minutes
– typed up two recipes that have been on my phone for months and four more I’d clipped out of magazines
– saved the Josiah pictures from Scott’s time with him in California
– texted Kiesha about her move
– called Sister Jean about rides to connect group
– printed and folded 35 bulletins
– placed an amazon order
– emailed Kris about her dad’s test results
– called Amber and talked with Richard about his and her health stuff
– emailed Dina something that may encourage her about her daughter
– texted Tabitha back about a discipleship workbook for Bekah
– changed Charmaine’s contact from text to email for prayer requests
– texted Tamara to get her mailing address
And later in the day, I also:
– washed, dried, and stored lettuce and made a salad
– did my afternoon stretches
– started working on the October helps ministry calendar
– enjoyed a video chat over Skype with Jessica and The World’s Cutest and Happiest Grandson
– worked through two days of material in my Real Life Discipleship workbook
– talked with My Hero
– read for a few minutes (“Three Weeks with My Brother”)
So even though I sometimes feel behind and get frustrated with my seeming lack of productivity, this post is proof that — at least on one day — I really did get a lot done!

I remember when

I’m not pining away for “the good old days,” and I’m not wishing for things to be as they were, but with my 59th birthday approaching next month, I’ve been thinking back over my childhood and young adult years. Here are a few memories that have recently surfaced.

I remember when milk came in glass bottles that were left in a special box on our front porch. They had foil/paper caps on top.

I remember when major appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators and freezers, ovens) and small appliances (irons, mixers, can openers) routinely lasted 20+ years; sometimes 30+ years!

I remember when gasoline cost 28 cents per gallon. At the service station, a bell would ring, the attendant would come out to the car, Dad would say, “Fill ‘er up with regular,” and the attendant would check the oil while the tank was filling. then he brought the ticket to the window on a little plastic tray. The driver never got out of the car.

I remember when paying with a store charge card involved the clerk putting your card in a special “machine,” stacking a multi-layer carbon paper “sandwich” on top of it, and shoving down (or sometimes across) a heavy handle that to imprint your information on the paper.

I remember those ghastly “edgers” with the sharp sprocket-looking blades that my dad ran, grinding along the edge of the lawn in the days before weed-eaters.

I remember when kids played outside, wandered through neighbors’ yards, and rode bikes blocks away from home, and no one thought a thing about their safety.

I remember when grocery items had individual price stickers on them.

I remember when banks gave suckers to kids.

I remember when telephones were wired to the wall, used rotary dials, and had nifty coil cords connecting the handset to the base.

Good memories!


I like to send birthday and anniversary cards to people I care about, and, being old school, I use the kind that are printed on cardstock; the kind you put a stamp on and send via “snail” mail. However, most of the time I write my cards a month at a time and put sticky notes on them, telling me which day to mail them. That system works well for me because I can pull out my cards and labels and stamps, get on a roll, write the whole next month’s collection of cards in a couple hours, and then not think about doing them again for several weeks. It’s not that I don’t think about the people; I just don’t think about the cards. Well, I do re-read each card the night before I mail it. And I often pray for the person.

Anyway, I did my September cards today. Finishing my cards by the 25th of the month and balancing my checkbook on the 7th are two of my highly satisfying monthly events. I thought I was done with cards when I got to the end of September, but I flipped to October, just to make sure there weren’t any birthdays or anniversaries in the first few days of the month. When there are, and when I forget to flip my Monster Grid paper wall calendar to check the next month, I end up writing those cards late and mailing them late, and then they don’t get to the special person till after his or her special day. Bummer.

It turns out that I do have a friend with a birthday on October 1, so I was relieved that I had flipped, but as I looked over the October calendar, I saw something very strange. October 2 said “Patty Roberts #59,” but October 2 is NOT my birthday! Each year, usually some time in late December or very early January, depending on when our kids are here – being with them is always my priority – I transfer all the birthdays and anniversaries from the old calendar to the new one. Obviously, in January of 2019, I did not remember my own birthday! Silly me, but my trusty STAPLES Correction Tape saved the day. Hopefully my own birthday is the only one that was wrong this year.

A few things I’ve learned

  1. When geocaching, wear long pants, carry a walking stick, and keep a pen in your pocket.
  2. This summer’s weather in Walnut Shade is much like weather in Florida: raining heavily – but briefly – every day.
  3. It is important to hang the Irish Spring around your tomatoes when you first plant them. Waiting a few weeks can have devastating results.
  4. Intermittent problems, whether electronic, physiological, or automotive in nature, can be virtually impossible to solve; with the result that they are infuriatingly maddening.
  5. Two things that are extremely energizing and life-giving for me are getting things done and getting rid of things.

A few of my favorite things

~ daffodils blooming

~ blue hyacinths blooming

~ waiting on the driveway for kids to come home

~ sunlight through new, tender, green leaves

~ tomatoes sprouting

~ waiting at the airport glass doors for Scott to come home

~ almost anything spring

~ editing, proofreading, blogging, writing

~ The Great British Baking Show

~ walking along or sitting beside the creek

~ organizing things or procedures

~ strawberries, peaches, watermelon

~ decluttering

~ walking out of the gym after finishing a workout


Why I’ve felt like a 1990’s gymnast

I took a selfie, but it didn’t show up – which is actually good! – so I will use words to describe the situation.

I am play a significant role in three entities: our family (a.k.a. “Team Roberts”), our ministry (“Take the Challenge”), and our family business (“Roberts Vacation Rentals”). I like to send Christmas cards, and although our family mailing list has expanded and contracted through the years, it currently sits at 187. That’s a lot of Christmas cards to sign. I do that signing, and one year I made the mistake of doing it while Scott was around. When he saw me prepping Christmas cards, he asked if I had any extras (DUH, I’m a beaver; what kind of a silly question was that?) and said he’d like to send some to our TTC ministry partners. Hmm…  And maybe it would be good to send some to our RVR guests. Hmm… again. So I asked me to give me names and addresses, and that ended up involving way more than my extras, so we had to real quick go buy some – at the peak of the Christmas card season; not a good idea – and the whole project became a massive pain, but we got it done.

Then last year, I asked him earlier in the fall about it, and yes, he wanted to send them to both of those additional entities and it ended up being about 200 each, which added to our family ones came to nearly 600 Christmas cards to sign, stuff, lick, label, and post, along with everything else in life.

But I’m nothing if not creative. HA! So in January of 2018, I asked Scott if he wanted to send TTC cards in 2018. “Yes.” And what about RVR cards in 2018? “Yes.” And how many? “200 of each.” So in the first week of January on the deep discount, I ordered 200 cards for our family, 200 different cards for TTC, and 200 yet again different cards for RVR. Gotta’ keep up with which is for what, you know. And each entity got them for half price and when they came I labeled the boxes so I’d know what I had for what. AND I decided that I wasn’t about to wait till mid-November to star dealing with 600 Christmas cards! No way. I would begin signing them little by little in the summer. Brilliant, huh?

Well, summer was busy. Andrew graduated. We went to Waxhaw. We all went to Yellowstone. Jessica and Matthias came to visit and then went back to Hong Kong. Scott went to Ghana. Andrew moved to MSU in Springfield. And I handled lots of responsibilities and breathed, but didn’t start signing Christmas cards. I did, however, print return address labels for all three entities in August…

Then just today, I bartered with Scott on a project and got from him the wording he wanted in the RVR cards. And I decided maybe I’d sign maybe 18 per day (they’re in boxes of 18), you know, do it little by little, so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming. I pulled them out and opened the first box of 18. They’re really pretty and they have gold glitter around the edges. I repeat, they have gold glitter around the edges. By the time I had written, “Merry Christmas from Roberts Vacation Rentals!” on just four cards, there was glitter all over my desk and keyboard. Sheesh. It was pretty, but this was going to be a messy project. If I did a box a day, I’d be re-cleaning up a LOT of glitter 11 or 12 times!

Scott was gone to town, so I just ducked my head and plowed forward. Two hours and 35 minutes later, I finished. 198 RVR cards are signed and ready to be stuffed, licked, labeled, and posted. WHEW! But when I met Scott at the door he LAUGHED at me! Turns out my face, my hair, and my shirt were very sparkly. This glitter is teeny tiny, like powder, and it was a bear to get off my face. I tried to brush it off with a dry wash cloth. No go. I looked like those little gymnasts a few Olympics ago (well, probably more than a few) when glittery faces were all the rage for little girls. That’s when I should have taken the selfie, but I didn’t think of it. Instead, I wet the wash cloth and scrubbed for all I was worth. It’s mostly gone now, but there are still errant flecks of gold on my face.

And just for clarification, I won’t be taking a tumbling run any time soon; I only feel like a 1990’s gymnast from my neck up.

“I’d rather do it myself!”

This is definitely true for me much most of the time, but more and and more I find myself feeling varying degrees of resentful that now I HAVE to do “it” myself, and wistful about the days when I didn’t.

The following seem to be normal parts of life now, Although some of the following are now just normal parts of life, they weren’t always!

~ Pumping our own gas – Before about 1970, service station attendants did this; now I live next door to a gas station that is so self-serve that it employs no humans at all!

~ Using an ATM to get cash from a bank  – Although our bank does still employ tellers… for now.

~ Self-checking our groceries – I simply refuse to do this if I have more than a handful of items.

~ Assembling a brand-new electric floor fan or a patio side table – Should it really be possible to buy either of those in a flat box?!?

~ Printing our own postage – I generally refrain from this because I like stamps.

~ Entering our own information into some/any company’s database – We do this nearly every day, so often that I’m pretty sure I’m not even aware that I’m doing someone else’s job.

But every now and then I get some truly excellent, old-timey customer service from a real-live human person, and it does make me smile.

(With apologies to Julie Andrews): “These are[n’t] a few of my favorite things.”

I am ready to admit that there are a number of specific things I just don’t like. Here are a few that come to mind.

~ Lettuce on anything other than a salad. Please leave it off my burgers and sandwiches.

~ Losing things; even things of no monetary or sentimental value.

~ Canoes. Give me a kayak any day of the week. In a canoe I am powerless, but in a kayak I am free!

~ Clutter – on my desk, in my closet, on the kitchen counter, on the dining room table; really anywhere that affects me personally.

~ Teriyaki anything.

~ Having to do things at the last minute. And it’s probably worth noting that my minutes are incredibly long.  = )

~ Carrots. I’ll eat them when necessary, but I don’t like them.

~ Re-doing work.

~ Doing other people’s work.

~ Calling customer service and getting stuck in an endless automated phone system loop and finding it impossible to access ANY human, much less a native English-speaking human.

~ Hot drinks.

~ Red grapes.

~ Senator Claire McCaskill.

Drop-out… and am I being an ostrich?

The past few days, I’ve had the TV on more than we usually do. I’ve watched a bit of Jeopardy while ironing, sorting mail, and working in the kitchen. I’ve watched some mindless HGTV stuff when I really should be doing something else but I’m feeling too lazy to tackle it, and I’ve watched two local and one national newscasts, mainly because I never do and I thought it might be good to at least see what much of the U.S. sees on their evening news.

It’s a good thing I love to learn because the latter has been an educational experience, and I’m pleased to report that I am now dropping that class. (This is only the second “class” I’ve ever dropped. I dropped a poetry class during my freshman year of college because the professor made everything – and I do mean everything – sexual.]

Thankfully, I am not depressed, but I’m sure that I would be if I watched the evening news on any kind of a regular basis. However, although I don’t watch the evening news, I’m not totally uninformed. I have become a podcast junkie. (For the uninitiated, a podcast is a radio show that you can listen to whenever you want. And I want quite often.)

In this season of my life, my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being all require me to be fairly disciplined first thing in the morning. Meaning that once I’m up and moving, I do about 22 minutes of exercises and stretches, followed by about 45 minutes of walking. While I’m walking, I review memory verses and pray, but during my stretches, I listen to The World and Everything In It, a conservative Christian news podcast from WORLD News Group. To balance that out, after my shower, while I’m getting dressed, I listen to Up First, a liberal secular news podcast from NPR.  And then throughout the day, when I’m cooking or cleaning or hanging laundry or driving, I listen to other podcasts. Some of my current favorites are The Lazy Genius, Focus on the Family, Planet Money, Clutter Free Academy, and A Prairie Home Companion.

But back to the news… Since I listen a lot but don’t watch much, I don’t recognize the people who are in the news. For example, I know Pastor Brunson’s been under house arrest in Turkey, but until I watched the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight, I didn’t know what Brunson looked like. I’d never seen a photo of Robert Mueller either. Anyway, one of the most frustrating things about the evening news on TV is that since I was watching it live, I couldn’t forward through the commercials, and were are a LOT of commercials! Not only that, but the same ones run over and over and over, and they all seem to be either political ads (and could we PLEASE say something – anything! – positive about ourselves instead of so very many negative things about our opponents?) or prescription ads. I think tonight I may have finally figured out the prescription ad thing. They are all for meds to treat COPD or cancer or diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis; diseases that mainly affect older people. I guess the networks have figured out that young people don’t watch TV newscasts any more. They get their news online. So the commercials in a TV newscast are all geared to old people, and old people have health problems. Hence those ads. But I must say that even if I did have COPD or cancer or diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, I don’t think I would ask my doctor to prescribe a med that causes severe and possibly life-threatening diarrhea, shortness of breath, internal bleeding, nausea, headache, blurred vision, depression and suicidal thoughts, joint pain and/or bone loss. Sweet Georgia Peaches!!!

And content-wise, while I do realize that we need to know what’s going on in the world, and I know that bad news sells, personally I just can’t deal well with a father murdering his pregnant wife and two preschool daughters, a teenage girl pushing her friend off a 60-foot bridge into a river, a man who had already shot at a deputy in June murdering a woman in August, a horrible vehicle accident, a body found in a parked car in a shopping center parking lot, and a man burning down his stepdaughter’s home. All in less than 30 minutes! I clearly don’t have what it takes to process that much violence and tragedy that quickly, and I’m not willing to try to develop it.

I’ll just stick to my The World and Everything In It and Up First podcasts, and I’ll take my news – at least my national and international news –  on my own terms, heard and not seen. Local news? I’m not sure what to do about that. If anyone has some good ideas, please send them my way!

Prayer alarm

It’s a good thing people have prayer requests.

We all garage our cell phones on chargers in the kitchen, theoretically at 9:00 PM. Last night I was working at my desk after our dinner with Josiah at Hook and Ladder Pizza Company, and when I looked up, it was 9:50 (my bedtime) and my phone was still up with me on my desk. I didn’t want to bother taking it down, so I took it into our room and plugged it in there.

This morning, my alarm went off as usual at 5:55, and as usual, I got up, turned it off, and got back in bed to lie there for a few more minutes before starting my day; few being a number between five and ten.

Suddenly my phone dinged with a text message, and I looked at the clock. 7:18!!! I leapt out of bed, looked at my phone, saw that it was a prayer request, prayed, and began hastening through an abbreviated version of my morning routine. Between Bible reading, stretching, walking and praying, harvesting, watering, showering, applying my face, lotioning, dressing, fixing my hair, and occasionally grabbing something to eat or drink, the full version takes about 2.75 hours, but as I needed to leave the house promptly at 9 AM, several things would obviously have to be omitted.

I did the essentials in high speed, but had my friend not texted me her prayer request, I suppose I might have slept all the way through church!

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