Gratitude 27July17 Money and a Fool

Que the O’Jays song “Money, Money, Money”

ScroogeCountingMoneyOne of my favorite people on Facebook started a fascinating discussion about money earlier this week. It was interesting to read what people wrote. Some wanted millions, some enough to be content, and there was the few who believed money is the root of all evil.

I have never been one who believed all that glitters is gold.

It’s not the money itself. You are who you are. Money just makes you more of that person. If you are a kind person, chances are you will do good with a lot of money. If you are an asshole, you’ll probably just be a bigger one with money.

I see my money as a life force. I live on a fixed income and because of that, I respect what I do have and treat it accordingly. I place value on quality of life in terms of what I can afford.

I use a Feng Shui philosophy when it comes to my purse and wallet. That is based on the following belief of doing different techniques to attract money into your life.

Take care of your purse or wallet. Keep it in good repair. Red wallets attract money. Get rid of receipts or trash in your purse or wallet that no longer serve a purpose. Keep clutter such as old business cards out your wallet. Don’t carry more than one or two credit cards at a time They represent money leaving and debt. They don’t believe in personal pictures of a family being in wallets. Personal and business shouldn’t blend.

If you would go into my wallet right now, you would find all of my bills organized by denomination facing the same way. I am weird that way. I am the one when a cashier hands me a crumpled up or old bill, will ask “Do you have a nicer one?”

I believe because money is a gateway between a person’s creation, skill, and hard work it should be treated with respect. That money is then the bartering tool for another’s creation, skill, and hard work in some capacity.

As much as possible I am a cash person. I keep what I can afford a week in cash in my wallet. As I make purchases, with my money in order, it is easy to see what I have left. It is my reality check.

I am often a needs vs. wants money person. My use of money is based on those two variables. Very straight forward. Is it something I need? Is it something I want?

My weakness is Target, who knows all of my secrets through my RedCard in exchange for that 5% off and my Cartwheel discount.

Today I am thankful

  • It is always kind of crazy when I wake up in the middle of the night to write.
  • I am thankful for my financial well-being.
  • My time with my bestie last night. One of my very favorite things to do is sitting in her kitchen while she does her magic and cooks.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it’s what you do with the money you have.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 26July17 Adding to Beauty

broken in japan


The Japanese have a fascinating centuries old tradition on broken items.

They don’t see broken as trash, nor do they try to fix them in such a way that hides the repair.

The Japanese art of Kintsugi is the philosophy of restoring something to a state more beautiful than what it originally was.

This is done with the use of fine metals, often gold. silver and platinum. The pieces are then coated with lacquer.

The results are quite stunning and have become an art.

I have a few items in my home that I have a sentiment connection to that show the battle scars of repairs over the years. They have been fixed with super glue, not gold. However, the stories of their survival over the years just adds to their charm of memories.

Today I am thankful

  • I saw Girls Trip last night and it is funny. I will definitely see it again with a friend.
  • I am looking forward to time with my grandson.
  • Thinking of all that I have to be grateful for.

I like the Japanese thought of broken as it would pertain to people. No matter how broken, that flaw is seen as unique to their history and adds to their beauty.

affectionately yours, Laura


Gratitude 20July17 Another Suicide

Another suicide. Chester Bennington, 41 of the band Linkin Park. Just a few months before, it was Chris Cornell, 52 of Soundgarden.

They were close friends. Bennington has ended his life journey on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.

chester-bennington-4Words of shock and accolades are filling social media and the airwaves.

How can this be? Someone who has everything?

Mental illness does not discriminate. It matters not what race, religion, how much money you are worth.

We live in a society that is shocked by suicide but is unwilling to acknowledge or take mental illness seriously. It is still the embarrassing illness. “Girl, you know she’s crazy.” “Yay, man. He just isn’t right in the head.” The stigma is as strong as ever.

We are witnessing history and the value our government places on the well-being of the mentally ill. All health care benefits for the mentally ill have been set to be eliminated under the new Trumpcare if passed.

As a person who has depression, days like today are especially hard. I am reminded of my mortality. I am a statistical survivor for the number of years I have fought this illness.

No one is Superman or Wonder Woman. Mental illness does, like today, win the battle.  #gratefulsurvivor

People wonder how any one could possibly commit such a horrendous act.

Mental illness is the disease of a sick brain. When a person gets to the point in their thought process that death is the only option — like a stage 4 cancer — it has poisoned a brain to a point that it is no longer capable of rational thought.

I guess it is callous to say don’t take it personally. But, those close cannot. That’s the heartbreak of it all really. You watch, you help, but you can’t save them.

Today I am thankful

  • I splurged on a pedicure. It was delightful. I now have funky blue toes.
  • A heartfelt thank you to each of you who reads my words and takes a moment to hit the like button or a minute to leave me a DM or a note below. Your support is invaluable.
  • I am reminded with each passing day, an action is worth so much more than words. To you who take the time, thank you.

My heart goes out to all those affected by the approximately 121 suicides that happened in the United States today. *American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

My heart goes out to all those affected by the loss of Chester Bennington. Sadly, most people are more loved and famous in death than life.

Before I close, please, I beg of you, if you or anyone you know is thinking of hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 19July17 Loud Red Bird

For the past week and a half, I have had an unusual guest peeking into my home and observing my life.

A loud red bird has been sitting in the tree across the street from my home. The perch he has chosen as “his” looks directly into my house where I sit to do my writing, reading, and television watching.

He is not quiet about his presence. In a matter of fact, if I didn’t know better, the way he struts about and hollers, he wanted me to know he is there.

So, I got out my binoculars and gave him a good look back. It would appear I have acquired a handsome male Cardinal admirer.

There is a poem by Victoria McGovern that says “Cardinals appear when angels are near,”

The word Cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo meaning hinge. Some perceive this to mean in a bigger sense that the Cardinal acts as a “hinge” between the earthly world and the spiritual world.

There is the belief when life on earth ends, that you exist in a spiritual realm and you become a form of energy. As energy, you can present yourself to your loved ones in the form of say a living creature or do something like, turn the bathroom lights on and off.

In that sense, many people will say, I felt her walk by, I swear I smelled his cologne or I felt how he would tickle my neck. If we did become a source of energy, that would be possible. 

Given Cardinal’s coloring and volume, he might be a good choice for a spirit to say, “Hey! I’m thinking of you!”

Cardinals live in one location year-round. It turns out that he is renowned for that loud chirping and singing. And it wasn’t my imagination when I thought I heard him singing “Cheer-cheer” as I drank my coffee!

He has one partner and they tend to mate for life. Male feeding of the female is part of the Cardinal mating ritual. I like that.

Cardinals are known to be feisty. Their breed is known for health, strength, vitality. They say the crown on the top of the males head is evident of their fiery personality. When in a defensive posture, the crown will turn to flames of a fire.

More than just the spiritual piece, the Cardinal is an interesting creature.

Today I am thankful

  • One day away from getting out of the city for a few days.
  • It’s a beautiful Minnesota summer day. I treasure each of them.
  • I finally got my Book Writing program software downloaded. What an adventure that was. Major operator error.
  • Some days are just harder than others. I value the days that my soul is free and my brain is clear.

I had a chat with Mr. Cardinal just so we had an understanding. I am not sure if he is a spirit or just a bird?

But, just in case — it’s my mother or worse, my dad in bird form — life goes on in Lauraville as always.

I have actually grown a bit attached as the days have gone on.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 16July17 Belly Dancing Moves

I am a bit shaken up.

All resulting from an unfortunate encounter with my hassock, WiiFit board, and living room wall.

This whole situation started because of a posting on about Belly Dancing.

Seeing that got me thinking about a friend who is a great belly dancer.

With her encouragement, I accomplished one of my bucket list items and belly danced at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

Tonight, after a glass of wine and rewatching my memories, The wine said: “Laura, I bet you don’t remember any of your moves.” Challenge accepted.

I dug out my belly dancing scarf, threw on some funky jewelry for effect, and Spotify music.

Shakira would have been impressed. As the song says “my hips did not lie.” Okay. The wine maybe could have said that, too. I was having a blast and shaking my coins until my unfortunate stumble.

You see, what happened was I got carried away with the whole coin shaking thing.

On the scarf you tie at your hips, are coins. As you shake your hips, they make these delightful melodic noises. I got to shaking my hips, listening to the sound and BAM.

It all happened quickly as falls do. Over the hassock compounded with a baby toe stub, major trip on the Wii Fit board, reach for the wall to steady myself, misjudge distance and slide down the wall.

Holler from next door neighbor, “You alright over there?” “Everything’s fine” as I checked for a concussion and broken bones.

Today I am thankful

  • A life lesson, one stumble should not stop the joy of the dance.
  • Beautiful summer day.
  • Many summer events are happening.
  • My favorite summer dress with flip flops.

Life is one adventure after another. I just might look into novice belly dancing classes again.

My belly dancing moves were soothed by soaking in Epson salts, and ibporphen is my friend.

To my belly dancing friend wherever you are, I am sending you love, good wishes, and always the joyful sound of shaking coins on your skirt.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 13July17 Rise and .. Nope

I woke up this morning and did my usual prayer, stretch, and mantra. Then I got up and tried my best to get a “Rise and Slay” attitude. Go forth into my day and really kick ass.

Alright, forget the “Rise and Slay,” I had a cup of coffee and downgraded to “Rise and Shine.” Go forth into my day and accomplish a lot.

A cup and half of coffee later, I have decided maybe “Rise and Shine” is a stretch. I am going to settle on “Rise and Give Thanks” today. I am going to do the best I can.

Some days are like that. Not every day is a “slay it” day. Oh, I know. I see the blogs and the posts that encourage me to perform at warp speed every day to get ahead. And I admire those that can accomplish at that pace on a daily basis. That is just not me.

As I type, I have texts and emails lining up encouraging me to slay.

I should call my senators on the ACHA. I can’t forget to nourish my creativity and register for a painting class this month. My energy level is full on Duolingo for my French lesson. The least popular message popped up from my Wii Fit reminding me I haven’t been on to weigh-in.

Umm .. yeah .. I think today I will prioritize my top three things and then do the best I can with the rest. I am being mindful of my well-being.

Today I am thankful

  • A sense of calm that everything is alright.
  • A delightful time with a friend last evening.
  • I am excited to get a new writing program and begin some editing.

I don’t see today as a bomb. It’s just a different level kind of day. I mean, after all, I have my Wonder Woman underwear on, and I am feeling special.

If no one else has given you permission, I do, toss that guilty away and be grateful for what you can do, at your pace, to the best of your ability every day.

affectionately yours, Laura



Gratitude 12July17 Oh, SNAP

I saw a post on Facebook today that had gone viral that caught my attention.

A Philadelphia comedian, Jay Jay McGuire, was going around posting signs at stores with a message for people who use EBT cards.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are used for the purchase of food on the program Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Thirty-nine years ago, I was a single parent of a one-year-old with a full-time job while going to college part-time. During that time, I was also the recipient of the State of Minnesota food stamp program.

I was extremely grateful for the benefit it provided myself and child at the time.

There seems to be a large misconception about the average person who utilizes the SNAP program. And ignorance is in abundance as this comedian is a testimony to.

These statistics are from 2013: Of those receiving food assistance, 48.7% are children, 8% are elderly (60+ and older), 19.8% are disabled, non-elderly, and 23.6% are a non-disabled adult (18-49) in a childless home.

Of that 23.6 % able-bodied adult group without dependents, they receive only 3 months of benefits in any three-year period, unless they are working a minimum 20+ hours per week.

It is important to note any household gross income, in order to qualify, must be at or below 130% of the poverty level. In 2017, the 100% poverty level for a one-person household is $13,670. So, you need to be 30% below that.

In 2013 the House of Representatives passed a measure that cut 40 billion dollars from the SNAP Program over the next 10 years. The 2018 Budget is looking for another $193 billion in cuts over the next decade from the program. Or roughly — 25% of the program’s budget.

The irresponsible rhetoric of “Get a job” when the majority of people receiving food assistance do have jobs. Children, elderly, and disabled are unable to work.

I can’t imagine the embarrassment and discouragement a sign like that would cause for someone struggling. I think of myself 39 years ago seeing that sign as I walked into that store.

For a very short period of time, food assistance gave me a step up until I could carry myself.

Today I am thankful

  • I am so blessed to have what I have.
  • My time with my grandson this afternoon. A Santi day is always a good day.
  • Oh, Lawd, my little studio is hot today. I am thankful for my ceiling fan. I need to get my air conditioner in.

Please, in the days ahead, pay it forward if you can.

affectionately yours, Laura

*Forbes | Who Receives ‘Food Stamps’? And Why It Is Critical To Continue Their Support | Beth Huffman | September 23, 2013

*Mother Jones | Trump Takes a Big Bite out of His Voters’ Food Stamps | Jenny Luna | May 23, 2017