Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Love...

I received this in an email from my friend Cathy the other day.  I really like it and wish I could tell  you who wrote it.  I like to give credit where credit is due.  I don't know who wrote it, but think it is worthy of reflecting upon.

Christmas ~ Corinthians Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
But do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
But do not show love to my friends and family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, sing carols in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity,
But do not show love to my friends and loved ones, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata,
But do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug a child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return,
But rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure forever.


Wishing everyone Christmas joy and love...xox

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

12 Days of Christmas...

The History of The 12 Days Of Christmas

From 1558 until 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly for fear of death.   The carol was written as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning and a hidden a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and NewTestaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit -prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.

Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Awesome!!  Susan, from Country Living Southern Style
, provided me with this fascinating history.  Thank you, Susan!  One of my all-time favorite Christmas carols!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My Lists...

I was tagged by Deb of Frosty Thoughts to list Ten Things That Make Me Happy.  Here they are in no particular order...


1.  My relationship with God...prayer and time spent with God daily is so important to me.  I need to stay connected with God or I feel lost.

2.  My close friends and my family...they keep me grounded and love me and I them.

3.  My five senses help me live life, and I LOVE to live.  They help me appreciate a song or a pretty picture.  They help me taste a wonderful chocolate bar or pet a soft rabbit.  I use my senses to live life to its fullest and also to calm myself down.

4.  Meditation and solitude...I spend some time in meditation and solitude everyday.  I have to.  It is my time and I love it.  I can connect back with my body and my spirit and find relaxation and peace.

5.  Nature...trees, mountains, lakes, birds, etc. help me connect with God.  They provide inspiration and awe.  I try to spend some time in nature daily.

6.  Seeing, giving and being the recipient of acts of kindness...smiles, hugs, laughter, volunteering, positive attitudes, helping out when needed brings me inspiration and makes my day so much more positive.  They really inspire me to be a better person and make me feel more positive about living in this world.

7.  My journal and on-line friends...I spend so much time with them daily and they offer support, encouragement and wonderful friendship.  I love you guys!!

8.  My kitty cats...They are a life-force in my home.  I live alone and they are constantly moving about showing me that I am not alone and I am loved.  They are so precious, but you hear enough about them...

9.  My hobbies...painting, taking pictures, my computer, reading, making jewelry.  When I work on a hobby it allows me to get out of myself and I receive energy and inspiration.

10.  Humor...I love to laugh.  What feels better than laughing?  I laugh harder and longer than anyone I know at a joke. Humor heals alot.

Those are the ten things that make me happy.  I noticed that some people were also listing five things that were quirky about themselves.  So here is that list also...


!.  I take tags off of all my clothes before I wear them...everything....shirts, pants, underwear, shoes, bras.  I even take tags off of sheets and pillows.  I can't stand tags!!   They make me itch.  I don't even give them a chance to touch me.  I just cut them off before I put a garment on!

2.  I am almost always barefoot.  I don't like shoes.  I throw them off first thing when I walk in the door.  If I can get away with it, I go barefoot outside.  I have been known to go barefoot outside in the winter-time even.

3.  I HATE, HATE, HATE the telephone.  You will never see me own a cell phone.  I have the answering machine answer all my phone calls.  I do call people back, but on my time.  I know this seems rude to some people, but the phone makes me nervous and exhausts me.

4.  I run fans all year-round.  I run ceiling fans during the day and a fan at night to sleep with.  I like the sound and I like the moving air.

5.  Lastly, I like to sleep in the winter-time with my window open.  Yes, I am in cold Pennsylvania.  I can't do it right now where I live because the window in my bedroom won't open.  Oh, how I miss the air!!

So, that is it.  Hope it was a bit interesting.  Have a good weekend, journal friends! xox

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Who Is On Your Christmas List?

"Love does not consist in words or feelings, but in deeds.  It is an act of the will, it is a gift, that is to say, a giving." - Saint Faustina

Hi journal friends and happy Saturday!  As many of you know, my brother-in-law, John, is having a bone marrow transplant in January, if all goes as planned by the doctors.  I am sure many of you know I have been trying to help gather things for John and Krissy (my brother-in-law and sister) that they need.  I decided to go ahead and tell John and Krissy that you all are sending them things, as I didn't want them to be anxious and unprepared for John's stay in the Transplant Center and their time at Hope House.  I hope this is okay with you all.  Your outpouring of love and support for them has astounded and moved them beyond belief.  They can never thank you all enough.  Not only are you giving them financial and material support, but great emotional support as well!   I can't even put it into words what it really means to all of us, so I won't.  I think you all know...

This got me to thinking.  I came from a family of eight.  A set of parents and five sisters and a brother.  We don't exchange gifts for Christmas.  We just make sure that the grandchildren are taken care of.  When we were teenagers and young adults we used to throw our names into a hat and choose one name and buy one thoughtful gift for that person.  That was really fun!  It is a thought for those of you who have large families or want to try something different.  Perhaps if you have a circle of friends you can try this, too!  If you concentrate on one person it makes it SO special!  Also, every Christmas I add Jesus to my list!  This is my most favorite gift of all!  Now, what is she talking about??  I try and think about this gift for awhile and come up with something that is true to my heart.  To give to Jesus is to give to someone else.  You can empty your cabinets of the food you aren't using (or are) and give it to a food pantry.  You can serve in a soup kitchen.  You can visit a lonely elderly person on your block.  You can buy a present and give it to a person that you have been fighting with for a long time and end the feud.  You can place some money in a Salvation Army bucket...oh, there are so many choices!  I pray for awhile before I make my choice.  Sometimes I give Jesus two or three gifts!  Let's not forget Jesus this season!  If you are not a Christian, you can put "humanity" or the "lifting the human spirit" on your list!

One way you can help humanity is by clicking
The Breast Cancer Site
every day this month.  They have double click December and every click's value is doubled by their sponsors to help provide a mammogram to women in need!  Thanks!

That's all for today.  I will be back next week with a new game I have decided to start!!  Yay, how fun!!  Have a good weekend everyone!! xox

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas Fun!...

I'm still here, everyone.  I have been getting used to an increase in my pain medication this week and it has made my head loopy.  Very loopy.  You wouldn't have wanted to read an entry from me with a loopy head ;-).  My head is feeling much better today.  I am so excited about having better pain control, SO, SO excited.  I don't know why I didn't do this much earlier.  I hadn't had an increase in a few years.  I take a medication that you build up a tolerance to and I feared to increase it.  I had been at my wits end so I increased it last week.  I don't know how I dealt with the pain before this.  Wow, it feels SO GOOD to be in less pain!!  I hope this lasts for quite some time!

I am very disappointed because I can't get any of the pictures to transfer from my camera to my computer.  I think the problem is with the connection cable.  Whatever that is called??  When I try to transfer them it says I have no connection device.  Yes I do!!  And it is plugged in correctly!!  I guess something is wrong with it.  I will have to go purchase another one.  I sure hope the problem is not within the computer, the camera or the software.  I hope the cable is easy to find and not too expensive.

Want some neat Christmas countdown banners?  They are at this
site!  You can paste them in emails or on your website and count down Christmas!  How fun!  They have a bunch to choose from!!  Yay Christmas!!

Want another site that you can get lost in for a long time?  Make
!!  You can write a message and they are saved!  They are so beautiful!  Give it a try!  If you make one, don't forget to send it to me so I can see it!

I just love The Christmas season!!  All the lights and Christmas carols and smiles and fun things to do!  Mostly I love it because it is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is my reason for living!

Hope you all are having a good weekend :-)...xox

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ack! Still can't post so I am IMing this to my journal, thus I have no title. Sorry. I wanted to show you all something that made me laugh this morning. Thanks for your hard work, StupidSheetGuy!! Click the link! You know you want to laugh, too!!! Good day, all!! xox

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

HEY AOL......This Bank of America ad on the top of my journal really does not go along with my idea of keeping my journal a joyful place and a place that doesn't promote greed. My journal is a precious spot for me as is this journaling community. It is the ONLY reason I have AOL. TAKE THE ADS OFF OF MY BLOG!!!!!!!!!! If you do not I will just find another nice place to take my business...

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Survey Like No Other...

Survey Like None-Other!

1. What sign are you? 
Scorpio...but I don't follow astrology

2. What is your favorite color?  I love blues and reds

3. How many waffles could you eat in one sitting?  
two, three if I were REALLY hungry

4. Can you touch your tongue to your nose? 
Hold on let me try.  Not even if I smash my nose down while trying. LOL

5. If you had to choose between cats and dogs, which would it be? 
Cats.  I love my two kitty cats.  I do like dogs, though.

6. What is something you have learned recently? 
Since my daughter just lived with me for a year (and since moved away) and hadn't lived with me for most of her life, I learned that children need their mom's even when they are young adults.  They need them to be "mom".  That the parent-child relationship doesn't stop even through distance.  It was a wonderful experience having her in my home!!!

7. What is your favorite quote?
    I don't know if it is  my favorite but I really like this quote right now - "Without play - without the child that still lives in all of us - we will always be incomplete.  And not only physically, but creatively, intellectually, and spritually as well." ~ George Sheehan

8. What is your favorite entry in your own journal? 
That's hard.  Maybe the one telling everyone about my father.  Or perhaps the one following my brain surgery where I was surprised that I didn't mind being bald.

9. What color is your bedroom?
Off-white.  I rent and can't change the color.

10. Where is your favorite place to visit?
Anywhere in nature.

11. What is one thing you want to accomplish this year?
Helping Krissy and John through John's bone marrow transplant.  I can't think past that.

12. Why do you write in a journal? 
I often think about this question.  I think it is to know that I am not alone.  It is to get the extra baggage out of my head and to feel validated.  I started on a whim and continued and am not sorry :-) !!

13. What is your favorite joke?
  Oh, I have a Thanksgiving one for you!!!  Why did the turkey cross the road??  He was stapled to the chicken!! LOL

14. Do you like the city or the country? 
The city is nice to visit, but I really love the country.

15. What style is your house decorated?  
No particular style.  "Valerie-style" LOL

16. Who is your favorite artist?  
If you mean musical, that is too hard!  I like way too many musicians.  Painting, well I love quite a few painters as well.  I appreciate so much in art!!  Wow!!  I do tend to look at my compilation of Van Gogh pictures alot.  I love the "moods" in his works.

17. Can you pat your tummy and rub your head at the same time? 
Oh, another experiment.  Let me try this, too.  Yes, I can.  I can also rub my tummy and pat my head!  Does this mean anything special about me?? LOL  Do I get a prize?? LOL

18. Are you a night owl?  Yes, it comes with chronic illness.

19. What is something you love in your house? (If you have a picture you get extra credit!)  My bed with a termpurpedic mattress and tempurpedic pillow!!!  Need I say more?

20. Do you believe in God?  Oh my, yes!  Not only do I believe in God and Jesus and angels, but I cling to them!!!

21. What hobby could you never give up?   My computer and my digital camera

22. What color makes you think of Hope?  Blue/white

23. What color makes you think of Love?  Blue again

24. What is your favorite flower?  violets for a spiritual reason and red poppies because they are so gorgeous and red geraniums and....oh goodness, I love them all!!

25. If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?   To know God and know peace.

26. Whats the best surprise you have ever received?   Perhaps my daughter deciding to live with me last year. 

27. What can you cook like no-one else?  Everything I cook is very good, but I don't have a "specialty".

28. What do you think about most?   God, my place in the world, my purpose in life, how I can help others, the usual heavy stuff..

29. Who is your favorite poet?  I like all kinds of poetry.  I do think that Poe is really cool.  I love alot of the poetry I find in journals now!!

30. And last but not least, if you could wrap yourself up in one word...what would  that word be?  LOVE

 Have a good day everyone!!! xox

Sunday, November 13, 2005

And The Winner Is..

It is almost the end of a weekend again and I have gotten very little done.  Almost nothing.  I have been getting extremely frustrated by my lack of motivation and my fatigue.  I have been wondering what the cause of it is??  Is it my illnesses or the chill in the air?  My brain seems to be wandering more than usual and it is "shutting off" alot.  I spent the morning looking for something that I hid on myself and found in my purse.  I seem to do that alot.  Lost hours searching for stupid things.  I am forgetting alot, too.  I am even forgetting conversations I have had with people.  Scary.  Excuse me while I laugh...Baby just came to me with a huge stuffed animal in his mouth and dropped it on my feet!  He wants to play fetch.  He looks hilarious walking around with something that is bigger than he is in his mouth!! LOL  Where was I?  Oh, my brain...I am doing very few entries with substance because I can't THINK of anything to write.  Well, I can, but I can't piece them together.  I can think of a thought here and a sentence there, but they don't make an entry...a whole entry.  I HATE it!!!!  I hope this gets better soon!

I wanted to congratulate Smiley Sims-playing
Sara for being the first correct guesser on this week's installment of "Up Close With Val"!!!  Yes, it was a potato!!  Quite a few of you guessed it correctly!!  Quite a few of you also thought it was a turkey!  I guess we all have Thanksgiving on the brain!  Here is your blue ribbon, Sara!:                                                                                                                       
Now, I am off to go clean house...if I can find my brain...and my house...and the motivation.  Nah, a nap sounds better ;-)  xox

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

"Up Close With Val"!...

Happy Hump Day, my friends!!  I have a new picture for you to guess today!  If you have an answer for me, please put it in the comment's section or send me an email at  I will let you know the correct first guesser and the object soon!  Good luck and have fun!!


I wanted everyone to know that Kellen is starting a new and exciting
game called Journal Tournament.  It sounds very exciting.  Follow the link and it will be explained!  Let's give him some support!!  Have a good day, all!! xox

Saturday, November 5, 2005

My Vivi Outfit!...

The Vivi Award Ceremony is tonight from 9 - 11 EST!!  Oh, how exciting!!  They will be announcing the winners!!  Krissy and I have tried on many outfits and I have decided on this one!!  What do you guys think?  Thanks for helping me get dressed, Krissy!!


I am so excited that I will be seeing alot of you there!!  I'm sure it will be a wonderful time!!  Good luck to all the nominees!! xox

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

How Much is Your Blog Worth?...

Is there somewhere I can cash in this money?  I could really use it!  LOL  How much is your blog worth?

My blog is worth $19,758.90.
How much is your blog worth?

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Happy Sunday everyone!  Wow, I love having an extra hour of sleep!  Love it, love it, love it!!  I feel so robbed in the Spring when they take away an hour, but boy do I love it and am so grateful to have that hour given back in the Fall.  Sleep has always been a problem in my life - I never seem to have enough - so when I can have more, I am happy.  I have had problems with insomnia for over 20 years.  I am beginning to lick it with the right medications, relaxation techniques, pain control and a memory foam mattress.  It has been a long, long haul.  Does anyone else have a memory foam mattress?  If you have fibromyalgia or general pain in your muscles from any condition this is for you!!!!  It changed my life!!  I also have a memory foam pillow.  I went from having miserable sleep, to sleeping quite well most nights!  Wow!

So, I got an incredible present on my birthday.  Two friend's of Chelsea's called around 9PM and said they were coming over to bring me a present.  In they walked and lo and behold, the present was CHELSEA!!!!  Chelsea has been here since Thursday and will be here until Friday!  She is the best birthday present I have ever gotten  :-)!!  They kept this secret from me for a month...sneaky, sneaky!

This week's
Scavenger Hunt's subject is "cute".  I must admit that when I saw the subject my nose wrinkled in dislike.  I don't like the word.  I like the words beautiful, pretty, handsome, stunning, eclectic, joyful.  I own nothing cute.  When I hear the word cute I think of children and babies (which I love).  That is all.  I looked up the word online.  It is defined as "attractive or pretty especially in a dainty or delicate way".    Hmmm....  I don't think that is exactly how we use the word cute nowadays.  I wanted to take a picture of kids in their Halloween costumes, but trick-or treaters don't come out until tomorrow in my town.  I searched my home.  No bows, no frills, no dolls, nothing "cute".  Actually, I think I would safely call myself anti-cute.  This is the best I can do for "cute".  Here is my kitty cat (oh no, NOT another cat picture!) Honey getting away from Baby.  This is her favorite spot now.   She comes here when she doesn't want to be bopped, chased, stalked or generally bothered.  Baby just won't leave Honey alone.


I wanted to congratulate Matt, my son, for getting a superior rating at District's on his solo!!  Good luck at State's!!

Toodles, all!  Chels and I are off to eat Chinese and visit family!  Mmmmmm....xox

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Trick-or-Treat Thru J-Land

This idea comes from Teresa.   Play along if you would like!  If you decorated for Halloween or did an entry leave your link so I can leave you a "treat"!  Thanks!!

Hey, everyone is looking for journal exposure or maybe would just like some fun. Let's do both!

Starting Friday night through Monday night visit as many J-land journals as you can, and leave a comment and a link to your journal as a treat. The more "houses" you visit the more trick or treaters you'll get.

Please call your entry "
".  If you come to a journal that does not have this entry title, consider it a door you knocked on and no one answered! Decorate your journal for Halloween, perhaps a picture of your front door or whatever grabs your holiday spirit. Leave links to your journals where ever you can.  Stop at the same journal only once!
Start 7pm Friday and end 9pm Monday...whatever your time zone. Report back here next week to let us know how many trick or treaters you had.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Who's 40??...

    "Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age."
        -Victor Hugo

Did you know that turning 40 means that you are older than 58% of America and have a 51% of being happy?  I found that out doing a search on the internet!  I turned 40 today!!  Do I feel different?  No.  Not yet.  I am wondering if I will.  I haven't felt "youthful" for quite some time.  I do feel young in my spirit, though.  Age-wise, numerically, well, I feel like I am getting older.  My children remind me of this often with their comments.  I do feel like I AM part of that 51% that are happy, though.  I have been happy for some time now.  That is the good thing about getting older.  I am finding much more peace and contentment and joy.  If that comes with age then bring it on :-)!!

I wanted to congratulate Linda from
Footprints in the Sand
for being the first correct guesser for "Up Close With Val" a few days ago!  The picture was a ONE WAY sign!  Good job, Linda!!  Here is your blue ribbon:


The Travelling
also guessed the picture correctly!  Way to go, Jeannette!

I have been hurting terribly because of the weather change.  My muscles have been spasming and throbbing.  It is my fibromyalgia.  It is driving me nuts.   If anyone has any hints or tips on what they do for sore, achey muscles I would appreciate it!  Anything other than the usual hot baths or heating pads.


Baby has now gained a pound and is 16 pounds!  I hope you all don't mind me talking about my kitty again?!!  I really think he thinks he is a dog!!  He plays fetch alot now and he likes to drink out of the toilet bowl.  He jumps all over you, eats absolutely anothing and he comes when you whistle.  He even lies on the floor like a dog!


Well, I am off to enjoy my birthday :-)!!  Toodles! xox

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"White" and "Up Close With Val"!...

I chose to pick the color white for this week's Scavenger Hunt brought to you by Krissy.  Hey, Krissy, congratulations on the Vivi nomination!!  I am very proud of you, by the way!!

We were allowed to pick a color of our choice.  I chose white.  I wanted to pick a color that was kind of hard.  The first two pictures are geraniums in my front yard.  They are still very beautiful which is interesting because we have had night's in the 30's and 40's already.  I don't think they will be this pretty for very long.  I love geraniums, especially red ones.  I had a red one, but it is no longer blooming.  My mom grew geraniums in my youth so I think that is why I have such an affection for them.

The second shot I took was the sky.  Today was quite beautiful.  The clouds were white/grey.  The sun was out most of the time and the temperature is in the 50's.  Quite a lovely day!!
I have one last shot for you.  I am going to use it for an "Up Close With Val" game!  It has white in it as well.  What do you think it is?  Leave your guess in the comment's section or send me an email at  I will let you know if you are correct.  Answer coming soon!!


Have a lovely week! xox

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Shunt is Working!...

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."
--Margaret Bonnano

I have good news to share today.  My shunt started operating properly late last week!!  I have had alot fewer headaches and much less body pain, so life is back to normal.  Whatever normal is.   Makes me think of the quote above.  We make life what it is on a day to day basis.  I like to decide how happy I am going to be for the moment and hopefully that will carry on for the hour and on for the day.  I am someone who likes to live in the present and get as much as I can out of it.  That is why I take life slowly.  I try not to miss anything.  I think I learned this from lying in hospital beds and lying in bed hurting, but I am not sure.  I think one can decide whether they can enjoy mundane tasks or not.  One can be happy in their mind.  This didn't always work for me when I was chemically depressed and my medicine wasn't working for my bipolar so I know it isn't always possible, but I strive to be as joyful as I can be.  It doesn't work now when I am very, very worried about something either or there is alot of chaos going on around me.  I do try to have my environment as stress-free as I can make it now.  My life is so much different than it was in my 20's.  So, so much different.  I have also learned that stressful situations don't last.  I used to panic and make them worse.  Now I can ride them out so much better.  I am not sure why I am writing about this this morning.  Maybe I needed to hear it. 

There is a wonderful new disablities journal,
As I Am, that is filled with courageous entries and information.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is intrested in the subject!  Thanks for starting it, Tammy and Andi!

I am taking a break from volunteering for a few weeks to take some personal time.  I want to have as little stress as possible.  I was wondering if stress could have caused my shunt to clog.  I was having some high-stress situations around the time it began to malfunction.  I am also trying to do some more fun things in my life.  I bought a book of sudokus and can't stop doing them!!!  Does anyone else do these?!?  I am so addicted!!  I am going to pick up painting again!  I am feeling the creative streak and I think I will start to make some Christmas presents for some friends and family as well.

This is a week of birthdays in my family.  I wanted to wish
to my Uncle Gene, Therese, and Carl!!!!  And, well, one other person has a birthday and she is turning 40, but that is a secret.  LOL

The Literacy Site
has double-click week and The Breast Cancer Site has triple-click month!!  They only take two seconds to click!

I am off to enjoy my day...take care! xox

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Baby!...

So, the picture I posted was a railroad track.  Ack, I guess it was just too hard.  Sorry about that!  I will post another, ummm, easier one very soon.  Thanks for trying, though!

Baby turns one this week!!  I don't know his actual birthdate because he was an outside, abandoned kitty, so I gave him the birthdate of October 12. 
Happy Birthday, Baby
!!  He is quite the handsome kitty now.  He is getting his winter coat in and is 13 pounds now!  He is still as feisty as ever and doesn't like to be held or petted.  He is quite cuddly when he is tired, though.  He sits next to me all the time and is my constant shadow.  He likes to talk to others all the time and is a chatterbox, too!  There is never a dull moment with him!  Hopefully I will have many happy years with him...

I haven't been writing too much about what is going on with me personally lately.  I am hanging in there.  I am still volunteering at a coffee shop at my local faith center twice a week and really enjoy it.  I am also trying to keep busy even though my brain pressure is giving me alot of pain and making me feel really stupid.  I have made so many blunders this week it is incredible.  I just have to laugh at my mistakes.  What else can I do?  I forget whole conversations I have with people and am just feeling so ditsy.  Perhaps I don't appear as daft as I am, but it seems apparent to me.

I can't wait for the leaves to change!  This is my very favorite time of year!  I wonder if the colors will be very brilliant?  I heard that it had to do with how much rainfaill there was the previous season.  Does anyone know if this is correct?  We had a pretty dry Spring and Fall and our water tables are low so I am thinking that perhaps we will not have very pretty trees.  I live in the mountains and the trees are usually just outstanding.  I am looking forward to long drives in the mountains to see the foliage.

Well, I am off to shower and get ready to go volunteer.  Have a good day! xox

Sunday, October 9, 2005

My Appointment and Some Clues...

It seems that this week's installment of "Up Close with Val" was a bit difficult.  I thought it might be.  No one was correct.  I am going to give you all a couple of clues and put in a picture that might be just a tiny bit easier.  This "thing" is found outside and you may or may not have one of these in your hometown.  There also have been songs written about these!  Good luck!
My appointment went pretty much as expected on Friday.  My neuro-surgeon believes my shunt is clogged and malfunctioning and has set me up for a test for next Thursday.  Yikes, I have to go back to Baltimore again.  He is running dye through the shunt to make sure it is really clogged and not working and is putting an anti-clogging agent in it as well.  He said this agent only works 15 percent of the time.  Not a good average in my opinion.  If he can't get it working I will have to have another shunt inserted.  That means another surgery and another bald head!  If I can get the shunt to work by Thursday I won't have to have any of this done, though, so I would LOVE prayers and good thoughts and vibes sent my way!!  Thanks!!  I am so very grateful for all of your prayers through this journal and through emails and IM's!!  They mean more than you all will ever know.

Hey, don't forget triple click October over at the
Breast Cancer Site!!

Have a great Sunday! xox

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

"Up Close With Val", Etc...

"A gossip is someone who talks to you about others; a bore is someone who talks to you about herself.  A brilliant conversationalist is someone who talks to you - about yourself."

I received the above quote in an email from a lovely girlfriend (who told me I was a brilliant conversationist :-) are too kind, Cathy) and thought it was so, so true!  Don't we want to be around others that affirm us and make us feel good and mirror us?!!  I don't know who the author of this quote is, but I really like it so I am posting it.

I realized that I did not mention when my appointment with Johns Hopkins is in my last post!  It is two days!!  Oh my...I thought I had said when it was, but my high-pressure, too much cerebral spinal fluid-brain is making me very ditsy!  I have done all kinds of silly, crazy, stupid things this week.  Oh well.

I have another installment of "Up Close With Val" for you!!  If you have a guess put it in the comment's section or send me an email at

They are having a triple-click October over at The Breast Cancer Site!  Go visit them daily and give some free mammograms to the needy!  Each click is worth three clicks through the month.  A click is so easy, takes a second of your time!  Visit
!  Bookmark it and visit their other sites, too!

Is everyone else having a problem getting all of their alerts?  I hope it is just me.  I am off to have a full day now.  Have fun with the "Up Close" picture! xox

Monday, October 3, 2005

My Brain Hurts and Jewelry!...

Happy Monday, all!  So, it's been a frustrating week or so.  My shunt has been malfunctioning.  It has causeed alot of headaches, migraines, vision problems and backaches.  For those of you who don't know, I had a ventricular-atrial shunt inserted a little over a year ago for chiari malformation and pseudotumor cerebri.  I had two brain surgeries.  It was a long haul.  If you want to read about the two conditions they are in my "Favorite Sites" in my side bar under intracranial hypertension and chiari malformation.  Anyway, the shunt diverts excess cerebral spinal fluid from my brain and spinal column into my atrial (heart) area.  It has worked beautifully until this past week.  I had forgotten how bad the migraines could get and how my face swells.  I am in good spirits, though.  I will let everyone know how my appointment goes.  I am just hoping it can be fixed without having further surgery!

I am late for this week's installment of
Krissy's Scavenger Hunt!  This week's subject is "your favorite bracelet".  I chose my silver, garnet and marcasite bracelet.  I don't wear bracelets too often, but this one I wear more than the others and I LOVE the red/orange color of the stones.  I love gems of the earth!
While I am speaking of gems of the earth, I wanted to show you a ring I had designed.  I had it designed because I had been searching for years and years for the perfect ring.  I have a large size finger - size 9.  It has been hard to find a ring that fit me that I liked.  There is a local jeweler here that makes jewelry so I decided to pick out my favorite stone and a simple setting (I love simple settings!).  I wanted a ring that I could wear every day that went with everything.
So, that is it for the day.  I must get off as I have a headache and I have lots to do today.  Have a super week all!! xox

Thursday, September 29, 2005

And The Winner Is...

Interesting.  There was a time in my life when I attracted chaos.  I thrived on it.  It is a bipolar history that is very painful.  I found it a bit surprising that according to Krissy's psychological test I view myself as soothing, calming and meditative.  I hope this is true.  Is it?  I know I want my environment to be this way.  I crave it.  I have really changed.  It is much more peaceful now :-).  According to her test others view me as independent, playful and soft.  I find that a bit funny.  I thought about the word independent and my choice of it.  I never thought I was as independent as I would like to be.  Life's situations have made me have to depend on more people than I have wanted to and has lowered my self-esteem.  I view myself more as unique and an individual and creative.  I am gaining more independence, though.  Soft is an interesting word.  I do think I am very feminine.  I love being a woman.  And, yes, I am very, very playful.  I think the test was very accurate, Krissy!!

Thanks to everyone who played yesterday's "Up Close With Val"!  It seemed to be a pretty easy one.  I realized after I posted and people started guessing that I really didn't know what the name of the object was!  It was a shower poofy net thingy that you use with shower gel or soap.  My sister says they are called Shower Puffs.  Perhaps that is their official name.  Who knows?! LOL  Anyway, the first official submission and correct guesser was The Fair
!!  Congratulations, my saussage!!!!!!  Here is your blue ribbon:


Have a happy Thursday, everyone! xox

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Up Close With Val"...

Happy Wednesday, all!  I have an "Up Close With Val" installment for you today!  I haven't done one for awhile and it was fun hunting for objects to photograph last night.  I wonder if this is an easy one?  For those of you who don't know what this game is...  I took a photograph of an ordinary object and perhaps played with it a bit.  If you think you know what it is, put your guess in the comment's section or send me an email at  I will let you know if you are correct by email or in an entry soon!  Go ahead, give it a try!!!  Have a good day!!! xox

Monday, September 26, 2005

Please visit....

Promise, a fellow journaler, is very, very ill.  Please visit this virtual candlelight vigil and lend your support.

Monday Morning Question...

Okay, Krissy, I will play along...

Krissy has a Monday Morning Question and this morning she posed this question...

Monday Morning Question:

Actually, this is three quick questions.  I am going to ask you to take a little psychological test.  Answer this either in your journal or in the comments section below.  Then come back to my journal on Weds. and I will tell you how to interpret your results.

1.  What is your favorite animal?  Name three adjectives to describe this animal.

2.  What is your favorite color?  Name three adjectives to describe this color.

3.  What three things things come to mind when you think of the word white?

Here are my answers...

1.  Cat - independent, playful, soft

2.  Blue - meditative, calming, soothing

3.  White makes me think of purity and sprituality and a clean environment.

Waiting for Wednesday....If you want to play along go to Krissy's at Sometimes I Think!!

Happy Birthday Mommy!!...


      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little mommy!!!!

             I love you very much!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hello and Saturday Six...

Hello and happy Sunday to everyone!  Gee, I haven't made a proper entry in ages.  Everyone is probably wondering how I am doing.  I am doing okay.  I have been dealing with some personal issues and have been taking a small break from journaling.  It has been really rough dealing with Chelsea being gone and I have also had some health issues and, well, some other things going on that are hard to get into here.  I have missed everyone tremendously.  My computer has been acting up terribly, too,  and I have been trying to fix it without having to start from scratch again.  It has been a huge trial.  This computer hasn't let me post entries, for the most part, or post comments and that is why I have been gone for so long.  I am going to try and get back to a regular schedule.  No, the computer isn't fixed, but I am finding ways around the problem to post.  We'll see how I do.  So, it's good to be back and posting :0) Here is Saturday Six brought to you by Patrick at Patrick's Place.

Hope everyone is doing well and I will try to stay current!! xox

1. Of the following, which one best describes you at your worst?  (You can't select "None of the above!")
    a. One who doesn't finish what he/she starts
    b. One who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk
    c. One who always finds the worst in a situation
    d. One who generally knows what's right but does what's wrong

A.  I am a chronic procrastinator and it has caused me alot of problems in my life.  I am still trying to figure out why I do this so often.  I start things just fine.  I can't seem to finish them, though.  My doc says I could have a problem with my "higher executive functioning" and carrying things out to its total completion because of damage to a certain part of my lower brain due to my neurological problems.  Go figure.

2. Not counting shows like Saturday morning cartoons designed specifically for kids, what single show that you grew up watching religiously is now the one you most hate to sit through?

Gee, I like to watch all of the shows that remind me of my childhood.  I really like Nick at Nite.  I don't think I have an answer for this as I don't hate to sit through any show from my childhood.

3. Have you ever been so angry with a company that you swore you'd never do business with them again?  If so, did you keep that promise?

I try not to get too angry.  Let's see.  I can't think of a company that I am mad at.  I can think of a couple of businesses I don't go into because they have been rude too many times.

4. Take this quiz:  Are you psychic?

You Are 70% Psychic

You are pretty psychic.
While you aren't Miss Cleo, you've got a little ESP going on.
And although you're sometimes off on your predictions...
You're more often right than wrong
So go with your instincts - you know more than you think

: What's the longest you've talked on the phone in a single phone call, and who were you talking to?

Probably about six hours to a gentleman caller.

:   (She recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas!)  How do you feel about gambling?

It's just fine if you aren't spending all of your rent and milk money.

Monday, September 12, 2005

My "Sevens"...

My sister, Krissy, tagged me so I decided to play along with this game that is going around J-Land.  Here goes...

7 Things I plan to do before I die:

1.  Make my own drum
2.  Write a book
3.  See a grandchild or two be born!
4.  Learn how to play the wooden flute
5.  See John (my BIL) totally healthy!
6.  Live in a permanent residence (non-rented) lol
7.  Travel around the country a bit


7 Things I can do:


1.  Take a good photograph
2.  Be a good mother
3.  Write backwards
4.  Make my own jewelry
5.  Do transcendental meditation
6.  Be optimistic
7.  Wiggle my eyeballs

7 Things I can't do:

1.  Understand apathy
2.  Be a racist
3.  Have too much energy
4.  Be in a loud, chaotic environment
5.  Fix my own plumbing
6.  Ignore my kitty cats when they ask for attention
7.  Seem to find time to get this darn computer re-configured, lol

7 Things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1.  Being a Christian
2.  Sense of humor
3  Intelligence
4.  Integrity (No Krissy, I AM NOT stealing your answers! LOL)
5.  Optimism
6.  Hands
7.  Eyes

7 Things I say most often:

1.  Right!
2.  I need a nap.
3.  What time is it?
4.  I can't remember.
5.  Oh, I hurt!
6.  Baaaaby...Hooooney!!!
7.  Shhhhhhhh!

7 Celebrity Crushes:

Alright, I will do this, but I don't idolize celebs, lol  This is kinda hard...

1.  Johnny Depp (now, HE wasn't too hard to pick. lol)
2.  John Mayer (what a voice!!!)
3.  Patrick Swayze (more a few years back)
4.  Josh Groban (LOVE his voice the most!!)
5.  ugh, three more, lol  um... Rick Springfield when I was a teen.
6.  Shaun Cassidy growing up!
7.  phew, finally...Clint Black (hey, I like a lot of the musical people.)

7 People I want to do this:

Miss O.

Hope you all enjoyed my answers!  Please visit these seven journals in a couple of days and see if they played along!  They are seven WONDERFUL people with wonderful journals!!!  Have a good day, all!! xox

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Check this out!...

I'm having a hard time posting still :-(  Here is my latest post.  Thanks for letting me use your journal space Krissy!!!

Friday, September 2, 2005

Please Visit...

If you are able to house a displaced family please consider it.  They are in such dire straights.  If you are lucky enough to be in the position to offer a house or a job or money or anything that is laid on your heart please don't give it another moment's thought.  Thank you.

To Give Housing

To Donate Money call 1-800-HELP-NOW

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Can You Help?

Wow, Hurricane Katrina left such devastation.  A city of a million and a half people is now under water.  80 percent were fortunate enough to have the money and gas and a place to go to get out of town.  20 percent were not.  Please pray for those who did not.  Thousands are feared dead.  If you wish to help please visit this site...

Network for Good

or call 1-800-HELP-NOW

Please continue to pray for our Gulf Coast region and its inhabitants.   Prayers are precious, too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hello there :-)

So, this is my latest entry.  I hope to be back soon!!  Love you all!! xox

Sunday, July 10, 2005


"Mauve?  Mauve is just pink trying to be purple."
 -James McNeill Whistler

Now isn't that true!?  There are so many shades of purple!  I found this out as I was looking for the color purple for this week's Scavenger Hunt.  I also realized that there are not many things that are purple.  I thought it would be easy to find, but it wasn't.  Sure, there were flowers, but I had taken alot of pictures of flowers recently and I wanted to be different.   So, I present to you purple:


Okay, these ARE flowers, but I did something a little different with them.  I like how they look like a star, too.  Does anyone know what kind of flower this is?  I found it in my Mom's neighbor's yard.

The second picture is a yummy treat!  A grape gummi bear!:


Thirdly, I have a purple jug for you.  I have a glass collection, as I have told you many times before :-).  This is a purple jug I found at an Amish lady friend's craft store.  It was the Amish lady that made my quilt.  I wrote about her, remember?  This jug has a picture of George Washington on it.  It held maple syrup.  I am not sure how old it is (or even if it is old at all), but I didn't purchase it for the age, I liked the color and style.:


Lastly, I have a clay picture I painted one afternoon of purple lillies.  Here is part of it.  It was too big to take the whole thing.  It was fun!:


I have been having a blast with Matt being here!  He is my sunshine!!  I will be back on regular schedule when he leaves Tuesday afternoon.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend!  Hope you enjoyed my purple items!  Sending out hugs and love! xox

Sunday, July 3, 2005


"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in the spring - these are some of the rewards of a simple life."
-John Burroughs

Matt, Krissy, John and I went to our local park yesterday to relax and feed the ducks and take some pictures of water for the Scavenger Hunt this week.  I had such a relaxing time!  Boy did I need it!  I was running around like a kid looking at everything.  Sometimes I think I am a kid in a big person's body :-).  Atleast when it comes to nature.  I can't stop looking at it.  I was discussing this with my sister yesterday and we recalled our Mama being the same way.  She used to point out every little wildflower and sunset. every bug and tree!.  When we went on car rides she was constantly saying, "Look!  Look!"  I don't think you can actually "learn" this from someone, though.  I think it comes from something internally.  You have it or you don't.  I am constantly pointing things out to my kids outside and I get groans back.  She is doing it again!  "Oh well, their loss."  I think.  So, onto The Hunt!!:

This week's subject is water.  Krissy and I took alot of pictures and I noticed a few had a theme, so I am posting those today.  The theme is "oddities in and around water".  Hope you enjoy them!

The first one is of a duck that was going under for food alot.  He kept poking his bottom up into the air.  So, here you have it - An upside-down duck! LOL


The next picture is a tree by the water that I thought was very interesting.  Look at the trunk.  I like how knotty it is.  It must be very, very old!



Finally, the last two trees by the water are very, very crooked.  I had to turn my camera at an angle to get in the whole tree for both pictures.  The second tree was even more crooked than the first.  Interesting.  It really was a gloriously beautiful day by the water!



"The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit." - Saint Teresa of Avila

Have a good holiday weekend everyone and be good to yourselves and to one another!  Sending love! xox

Friday, July 1, 2005

This Is So Sad...

This is so sad.  Mr, Cruise, I hope you haven't caused women and babies their lives by your lack of knowlege.  When you choose to speak up about something, please KNOW what you are talking about!  Let's hope this does the reverse as Ms. Shields hopes.

Kids and The Moon...

Madman Michael wrote a wonderful and informative entry about the moon and asked us if we had any "moon stories".  That got me thinking.  And reminiscing and laughing....


When Matt was young he had an active imagination.  One morning when he was about 20 months old Chelsea, Matt and I went behind my home onto a playground to play.  It was early enough in the morning where you could still see the moon.  It was big and bright and very, very close to the earth.  When Matt saw it his eyes got as big as saucers and he said, "Moooommmmmy!  A ball!"  Then he tried really hard to reach out and touch the moon!  Then he looked at me and asked me to get it.  He kept saying, "A ball!  A ball!"  Poor thing wanted to play with that ol' moon!  LOL  I had to try to explain to him as best as I could that the moon could not come down to the earth and play with us.  He was getting frustrated!  He wanted ME to pull it in!!  Ah, memories!  I laugh about that one alot still.

Another moon memory I have is when Chelsea and I and her father were driving in a car and Chels was in the back seat and she saw the moon or recognized it for the first time anyway.  She was just a tiny thing.  She looked back at it.  She was amazed.  Then wherever we went that night she kept commenting on how it was following us.  She became VERY upset that it wouldn't go away.  She was despondent that the moon kept following her!  Awww, poor thing.  She started to cry.  I guess it was hard for me to explain the moon to my kids at such an early age.

Do you guys have any moon stories when your kids were tiny?

I am off to see my Matteo...he just awoke!  Love to all! xox

Thursday, June 30, 2005

And The Winner Is..And Matt!!...

Yay!!  Matt is here!!!  Matt is here!!!  Matt is here!!!  I am so happy and excited that Matt is here!!  He got here at 11 o'clock this morning!!  He will be here for twelve days!!  I may be away a bit from journals, but not totally.  So don't be worried :-)

The picture for "Up Close With Val" yesterday was my Baby's paw!!!  See...

   It is easier to see that it is a paw when it is smaller, right?  It kind of looks like a paw now, huh?  I think so.  Anyway, I got it from a larger picture of Baby.  I was taking pictures of him yesterday.  It's funny...Baby is like a toddler when I pull out my camera - he gets so excited! LOL  He meows and purrs and runs to it and then he poses!  It is the funniest thing...    


Here he is posing!  See his tail wagging?  Up and down, up and down!  And he is kneading his paws!!  See how they are curling?  Too funny!  The paw you see there is the one I zoomed in on and cropped for the guessing game.

Oh, the correct guesser?!  It was Krissy.  Here is your blue ribbon, Krissy!:


Amy, who has a brand new journal, also guessed the cat's paw correctly.  Go check out her journal and support her!  Oh, and one more, Sara!!  She guessed correctly on her third guess...LOL  So, thanks everyone for playing!  It was fun!

Now I am off to go find Matt and have some dinner.  Yep, did I tell you he likes to cook :-)   Oh, and he cleans the dishes as he goes!  Aren't I lucky!!  Toodles, all!! xox


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Up Close With Val"!...

Howdy and happy Wednesday!!  I have an "Up Close With Val" for you today!  I haven't done one for awhile!  I've been so preoccupied!  What do you think this picture is??  Put your guess in the comment's section or send your guess to 


Have a super day everyone and enjoy!!! xox

Sunday, June 26, 2005


So, I just posted an entry and it RAN ALL TOGETHER and now it won't let me press the EDIT button, WHAT IS UP??  Sorry if you guys can't read my entry...

Odds and Ends...

Dear God, so far today, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, and I haven't lost my temper.

I haven't been grumpy, nasty or selfish, and I'm really glad of that!

But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot of help.

Thank you! Amen.  


Do you ever feel like this when you get up?  It sure was hard for me to get up today!  I tried to stay up all night last night.  It felt so, so strange without Chelsea here.  I finally heard from here around 2:30am.  They cancelled her flight yesterday and she and her friends (she went home with two friends) had to spend hours scrambling for a flight.  To top it off, their luggage was mis-placed!  I hope it is returned today!  Yes, it IS mighty quiet here today!  I miss you, Chels!!  It really hasn't sunk in that she is gone.  I imagine it will in a few days.   I have a couple of interesting photos to show you.  I want to warn you that they have rats in them.  We had two rats here this week.  Not in the house, but in a cage.  Chelsea was watching them for a friend who is on vacation.  Now they are on my charge.  I DON'T like rats, but I won't neglect them.  The pics I have for you are of my kitties playing with the rats.  One of the rats look astonishingly like my Baby.  Now, I didn't like that!  I was picturing Baby all week as a 12 pound rat!!! LOL  So, here are the pics...   


See, THEY DO look alike!!  The rat is to the left...See! 


Look how BIG Honey's eyes are! LOL  She looks transfixed! LOL  Baby is playing with the one that looks like him.  His name is Tito.  Mona, the other rat was not very social.  It was very interesting to see how the cats reacted to them.  Baby rolled on the floor and purred and purred and meowed.  Honey just stared! LOL  That is the last you will see of the rats.  I promise.   Are you all still here?  No one has fainted, right?  Sorry if that bothered anyone.  Rats aren't, like I said, my favorite either.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend!  It has been so, so hot in my neck of the woods.  No one is really venturing out very much.  It has peaked near 100 degrees.  And it is so muggy!  It is 93 degrees right now.  Yuck.  

I wanted to share with you all a couple of journals and journalers that I have recently met and think are very special.   

 Kellen is in high-school and is so inspirational.  He shares his Roman Catholic faith so eloquently in his journal at this address:  

Faith In Roman Catholicism  

He is a MUST read for any Catholic and is inspirational for anyone and has wisdom beyond his years!!  

Mark lives with chronic pain and is a tremendous artist.  He is super-intelligent and is very kind.  He is inspirational for those of us who are living with day-to-day struggles.  His address is here:  

Mark's Daily Journal   Mark also has a separate journal he keeps just for his artwork and photography.  It is incredible!!  Go see!:  

Landscape Artwork   Pay them both a visit if you can, it will bless you, I promise!!  

Hey, did you feed the hungry today?  

Ooops, sorry about all the links...I haven't written in awhile.  I wanted to save up all my time for Chelsea.  I have about ten journal entries stored up in my head!!  I hope to get them down soon!  Have a wonderful Sunday, all!!  Sending out love and joy! xox