Day 31 of The Contentment Journal, July 1-3, 2019

Okay I’m having trouble with this.  I have been looking up “humility” and I think part of my issues of not following through, being scattered, all my “issues” could be the way I was raised. I have a hard time considering myself or my own needs at all.  I almost always put everyone else ahead of my needs.  I go out of my way to be friendly and helpful to strangers. Our parents taught us humility and to never build ourselves up, absolutely no bragging.

Sadly my elderly mother was talking about people at her assisted living facility “building themselves up”.  I was horrified.  I mean I know my mother is judgmental, but good grief.  I told her that a lot of people who live at her assisted living facility have led fascinating lives.  Did she ever consider that maybe they are telling the truth?

So I am going to take some time………

In the meantime tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s 13th wedding anniversary! She was a sweet 18 year old girl and now she is a 31 year old mother of my two darling granddaughters. We are going to the Elks Club with the kids for a barbecue.  My husband bought fireworks too!


June 30, 2019, The Contentment Journal

The first 30 days of Rachel Cruze’s The Contentment Journal is done.  I have always been grateful when I actually THINK about it.  Well for the past 30 days I have thought about it every single day.  My family is my priority, no doubt about it.  I am so grateful that my three girls are close, that I have three darling granddaughters and 3 fabulous son-in-laws.  I love my husband and am so lucky to have him and to have found him when I was only 12 years old. He was barely 12. He has stuck by me through the complete change in my life, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I could no longer be the same person I was before the pain started.

My discontent is mostly from not being able to do what I want.  I want to be able to work hard and not have the limiting pain that I have.  I want to sew all day without pain. I want to stand on my feet in the kitchen as long as it takes to make a bunch of freezer meals and not be sorry at the end of it. I know the only thing I can do is take care of myself.

Trying to be content and grateful when you suffer chronic pain every day of your life, can be a challenge.  I sometimes wallow in self-pity, mostly when my pain is a bit out of control. But then I remember that I will feel better after I rest, or take a pain pill, or sit in my recliner with my heating pad.  I know my husband will cook dinner and clean up if I am unable to do it.  I wallow in wishing I could still work and take some of the stress off my husband that comes with being the sole breadwinner.

I wallow in that I am the only child of my almost 90 year old mother who lives close enough to see her on an almost daily basis.  I wallow because I feel so responsible for her. I feel like it’s my job to make sure she has quality of life.  Yeah I wallow a lot.

But after this 30 days of reflection, I feel strongly I will be wallowing less!


June 29, 2019 The Contentment Journal

Today is another day of reflection….oh wait, the 29th is.  Well I am always a day behind anyway so I am reflecting today on the past week and looking back over the past 30 days.

First day 24: This day was to reflect on vacations the best you ever had.  We have not taken many vacations over our 40 years of marriage.  Our first vacation was when my older girls were 2 and 4.  We went to Santa Cruz and stayed with a friend whose parents had a summer home in Felton, CA near Santa Cruz.  My husband turned 25 on that trip and we had a great time on the beach boardwalk. That was 35 years ago.  We went camping many times, took the girls to Disneyland 3 times and had lots of weekend trips with sports.

The best “vacation” I have experienced was our trip to Hawaii in 2014 for my oldest daughter’s wedding.  We spent a wonderful week with our family.  My middle daughter’s wedding in Las Vegas in 2018 was a close second.  Again, the entire family except the bride and groom at a home in Las Vegas with a pool and a relaxing time.

For our 40th wedding anniversary in September 2018 my husband and I went on a cruise to Alaska. A relaxing time with beautiful scenery.   I will say I am a homebody so vacations do not really interest me as much as spending time with our family together.

Day 25: Prompt-What parts of your job do you like most now? My “job” is wife/mom/grandma/daughter/sister/friend.  I love everything about being a homemaker. Having worked almost my entire adult life I savor the time and the ability to decide what to do each day.  I visit my mom as much as I can since she is in assisted living.  I enjoy my granddaughters, my garden, my sewing room, even cooking.  I like to stay busy.

Day 26: Prompt-Have you ever set a really big goal for yourself and met it? I am in the middle of a big goal, paying our home off in 3 years starting at $99,999.00 on 1/1/2019. I’m pretty sure we can do it with a no spend 3 years (not buying anything we don’t need).  Besides the fact we have spent way more money in our life than we should have!

Day 27: Can you remember a time when generosity really moved you, either doing or receiving-One year I got a very unexpected Christmas Bonus from Mad River Hospital.  It was over $600.  My husband and I went to Target and spent it all on Toys for Tots.  It was so much fun, I absolutely had a great time and it was so moving to see the representatives from The Marine Corp when we took the gifts to them.  I had to fight tears the entire time.  I hope to be able to do that again some day.  We do buy gifts every year, but not $500 worth!!

Day 28 was a bit painful. Thank back to when you were a child and someone set aside time to make you feel special even though they didn’t have to how did it make you feel.  I cannot remember anything as a child.  As a teen (still a child) my husband had a cake made for my 16th birthday and I felt very loved.  It was a white frosting cake with the decor being a lightbulb and it said “you turn me on”.  It was so sweet and I should have seen right there his love language.  Food, preparing food, taking care of people is definitely what his love language is as he has shown over the past 41+ years.

In reflecting over the past week, I have been struggling with my inadequacies in organization.  I am going to spend this day of reflection on being grateful for what I have in my life, my family, my home……….and use that gratitude to do a better job for my family.

I’m ready to move on to Humility!

Day 23, The Contentment Journal, June 24, 2019

Today’s prompt is about friendship.  I have a lot of aquaintances, but only a couple of good friends, one being my older sister who is just under 3 years older than me.  I don’t know if there is anything I wouldn’t tell her.  We have been a strong support for each other over the years, but now we both deal with chronic pain.  I was first with the chronic pain and fibromyalgia diagnosis.  A few years later she started having severe pain in her joints and was  diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. So I don’t know what I will do when I lose my sister.  Hopefully I will go first!

I have a wonderful group of friends I met on the internet many years ago and we have stayed friends over the years.  I have met two of the ladies in person and hope to meet another soon.

Day 22, The Contentment Journal, June 23, 2019

Today is another reflection day.  I was thinking about what I learned this week and it mostly involves gratitude for my husband and how hard he works.  It was very evident to me this week as he was called out of town and I was pretty much forced to help cover as cashier at our car wash.  This involves lots of standing and walking on cement.  Thursday I worked 7 hours and Friday I worked about 8 hours.  Saturday I was in a lot of pain and then again today I feel pretty bad and am hoping I feel good enough tomorrow to do a little housework.

My granddaughters were over today and Pyper (4) finished two 9 patch blocks.  She was so sweet and proud of herself.  She wanted to bake a cake, so we did.  I made frosting and she frosted it herself, then I made a raspberry cheesecake ice cream.  The taste was great, but the cream cheese was clumpy so the texture was off.  I probably did not let the cream cheese come to room temperature.  I had it out for a few hours and thought that would be enough.

So my reflecting, again, is not taking my husband for granted and do as much as I can to make his life easier.  He does a lot because of my fibromyalgia, but I am hoping to use my time wisely when I am feeling good.

I also bought new walking shoes to try to walk Lila more.  I was thrilled they were $30 off.  I decided to get the more expensive pair because they had a thicker sole and just felt better on my bad feet.  I was totally prepared to pay the full price.  We got to checkout and they were only $39.99 instead of $69.99.  Hoping they work out for me.

Day 20 and 21, The Contentment Journal, June 21, 2019

Day 20 prompt is about priority and spending, What top two areas you spend the most money? Well I pulled up my YNAB report for year to date.  It is almost the end of June so it is a pretty accurate picture.

My two highest categories are medical and gas, but I don’t think that represents priorities, it is just the way it is.  The next two are Food and Gifts.  This is not surprising and I am okay with it.  In 2018 the amounts spent on food and gifts was ridiculous so I cut back a lot for 2019, am being much more mindful of spending.  I am also making a lot of gifts, but I am still spending a fair amount on gifts.  I would like to cut it back some.  So far this year I have spent $1351 for gifts, down almost $3000 for the same first half of 2018, absolutely shocking!

Food- Oh My Goodness! We eat very well, but our freezer was so full at the end of 2018, we were actually spilling over into KT’s freezer with turkeys that were ridiculously cheap and 40 pounds of chicken breasts, also super cheap at 99 cents a pound. So I called for a moratorium on all meat purchases to make room in our freezers.  So we are down about $2400 over the first half of 2018.  Again, I want to keep up with this trend.  Somehow our freezers seem kind of full again.  I did an inventory of both our freezer and pantry at the beginning of the month of June. I need to keep up on it and continue to do a good job with as little food waste as possible.

Day 21 prompt is what do you do for fun when it is just you? I sew.  I love to sew and create.  I cannot believe I didn’t do it for so long.  I learned to sew when I was pretty young, then had a semester in 9th grade where Mrs. Puryear made us rip out anything that was not perfect!  I made so many clothes, Ron’s shirts, and then I had the girls.  I just didn’t have time anymore.  I am so glad that I have time now.  I also love to garden.  My two favorite hobbies.  I also like embroidery, knitting and crocheting.  I love to make things for family, friends, and even people I have not met.

My goal is to make quilts for children, military babies, St. Jude’s, Project Linus, whatever I can.  I need to make sure I use my time wisely because I sometimes waste a lot of time.  I’m working hard on this!

Day 19 and 20, The Contentment Journal, June 21, 2019

For day 19 the prompt: What are two roles you get to play in your life that you are really grateful for? Why?

Wife-We had children so early in our marriage, I never really had much time to concentrate on being a wife.  For the next 26 years we raised 3 very active daughters while working full-time.  For about 10 of those years I was able to work at home which I just loved.  Medical transcription was good to me and I loved my job. Now I can concentrate on meeting my husband’s needs and taking care of him the best that I can.  Since retiring from the work world almost 3 years ago I have tried my hardest to take every bit of stress and chores off of his shoulders, even the yard work! Taking over the shopping and cooking was probably the most time consuming, but there were years that my youngest daughter and I were sitting at the dining room table waiting for my DH to walk in the door so we could say “What’s for Dinner!” I seriously cannot believe we did that! Why didn’t I start dinner?

Honestly he had some trouble giving up control of the food and he still mostly cooks on weekends.  It is nice to know that if for some reason I am having a really bad day with pain, I know he will pitch right in and make dinner. I do try to get some of the prep done early in the day since my pain seems to get worse as the day goes on.  But then of course, there is my own inability to moderate my activities…..though I am still trying.

My second role:  The best role ever……GRANDMA!!  I love being a grandma.  It is the job I was born to do.  I never knew either of my grandmothers, but I did have one very loved grandmother who was the 3rd wife of my grandfather on my mother’s side.  He was the kindest man, never had a bad word to say about anybody.  His third wife (my mother’s mother and his second wife both predeceased him) was Viola.  She was such a nice woman and treated us as though we were her true grandchildren.  The things I remember most are that she used to make grape jelly for me from their home grown Concord grapes.  As I grew older and had my own family, I could not make the trip down to see them as much, but she always would send home a jar of grape jelly for me.  I was so sad when she passed away.  Grandpa married again for a 4th time, but she also passed away, even though she was 15 years younger than grandpa.

Back to being a grandma.  First of all I LOVE my granddaughters, all 3 of them.  They are 10, 5 and 4.  The 10 year old and 4 year old are sisters who spend as much time as I can get them with me and grandpa.  I want to always make sure this is a fun place for them to come.  I taught the 10 year old to sew and just this week started the 4 year old on my lap, piecing some 5 inch squares that she picked out.  We always bake something or make something, this week it was strawberry jello/cool whip pie with a graham cracker crust.  Pyper (4) used the rolling pin to crush the graham crackers in the zip lock bag.  I have taught Ally (10) to make homemade macaroni and cheese by herself.   Another thing we like to do is make fairy gardens.  We have been doing it for about 4 years.  We made them last week and the girls had so much fun.

Ally and Pyper Fairy GardensTO BE CONTINUED…….


PROMPT: What has to happen for your favorite meal to reach you.  I have too many favorite meals and my husband makes them all.

  1. Pasta with shrimp (super easy).
  2. Carne Asada with pico de gait.
  3. Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
  4. Smoked brisket/tri-tip.
  5. Shrimp burritos with red bell pepper sauce.
  6. Recreated pasta sauce with chicken, italian sausage and shrimp.

I follow a woman on You Tube whose husband farms cranberries.  It’s very interesting and they have 7 kids, but two have left home.  Watching her vlog has certainly opened my eyes up to small farms.

We have a garden each year now that our kids are grown and gone  We have tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, carrots and corn.  We also have strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.  I do appreciate the American Farmer.  It’s a touch job. I am very grateful that my husband enjoys cooking!

Day 18 is complicated.  This is about who have you met at your job who influenced your life. My last job, I had two bosses and the male boss encouraged me to be my best sef.  It was a pleasure to work for him.

Day 16 of The Contentment Journal, June 17, 2019

Today’s prompt was one of my favorite topics: My daughters.  What are two characteristics in each of your children that make you smile.

#1: All 3 of my daughters are independent.  Even my youngest who married at age 18.  The baby flew back to North Carolina alone to visit her boyfriend at age 18.  She also has overcome social anxiety, is a great mom and a good wife to her disabled husband.  Her strength is amazing since she was pretty much coddled by the entire family!  Her husband was diagnosed with a rare eye disease, Stargardt’s just 9 months after she was married.  Her ability to maintain her relationship and mother her oldest daughter when her husband was deployed was a great example for other military wives.  Her strength in performing as the official photographer at several military funerals amazed the whole family.

My middle daughter….omgoodness. Along with her independence, she never met a stranger.  She would decide to move across the country to be near her sister, and changed her career from medical transcriptionist to 911 dispatcher.  She came back West and moved to where her older sister lives.  She has a very stressful job and she is great at it.  She married at age 37, and I am so proud that she waited for The One! She now has a double job of dispatcher and wife of a police officer along with being a stepmom that any child would love.  She is a girly girl who cares so much for her stepdaughter.

The oldest…also extremely independent.  She would decide to do something and do it.  She made the decision to change her career at age 25, after getting her first degree in criminal justice, working for 3 years and realizing this was not for her.  She explored her options and decided to go back for a 4 year degree in Medical Diagnostic Ultrasound.  She finished at age 29 and really likes her job.  It makes for some hilarious stories too!  She decided to get in shape and ended up competing in body building. She married at just before her 35th birthday and also waited for The One!  She throws a great party and is a good friend.  She loves her rescue pups and volunteers her time.

I know I’m leaving something out about each of them.  They are all so different, but in many ways are the same.  My biggest goal in life was to have daughters who were close and I think I accomplished that.

My commitments to myself are going well.  In fact very well! I have missed a few days of one thing or another, but overall it’s kind of amazing!

Day 14 and 15 of The Contentment Journal, June 16, 2019

I left my Mac Book at my daughter’s house on Friday so again I missed a day! But I’m not that mad at myself.  It is inevitable I am going to do things like that.  I was watching my granddaughters so my daughter could take her husband to the doctor (legally blind medically retired Marine).  I did laundry and the girls played together.  I have very sweet granddaughters.

So Day 14 Prompt is about time, What or Who makes free time a possibility for you?  That’s easy my husband makes it a reality.  He agreed that I could quit my job at 58 instead of continuing in my very stressful job, since my body was just done (fibromyalgia). I was diagnosed in 2010 after I finally stopped working and I was off work for 2 years, trying to deal with the fibro. It was really difficult until I saw a rheumatologist in my medical group who put me on Gabapentin and amitriptyline for sleep and to help any nerve pain. It helped tremendously and I went to work in an assisted living facility that I thought was going to be part-time.  It turned into full time and then turned again.  I went from assistant to the Executive Director to Executive Director myself.  Very stressful, rewarding job.  I did it for almost 4 years.

Okay back to day 15: This is the day for reflection on the past week.  What have you learned, and what practices can you take into the next week.  So much…..Be nicer to my husband.  Thank him more often.  Be careful with our money. Take better care of our home. Use my time wisely! Be grateful!

With that in mind I’ve just put this in the refrigerator for dessert along with a Father’s Day Dinner of smoked brisket, our version of Cowboy Caviar, baked beans and a green salad!

Happy Father’s Day to our wonderful fathers!