Who would have thought Vegas would have been so much fun?

A view from atop the High Roller ferris wheel....over 500 feet up...
A view from atop the High Roller Ferris Wheel....over 500 feet up...

Oh, I know....lots of people...but I really didn't.  I knew it would be nice to get away....and be with my husband - which is why I went along with it.  But THIS IS GREAT!

For those that are new and have no idea what I'm speaking of.....  I've gone along on a conference trip with my husband to Las Vegas.  We came out two days before the conference one day for traveling, getting the rental car and getting acquainted with the area, one day for just the two of us to sightsee and relax, three days for the conference (poor husband has to attend lectures which I guess is okay - for HIM - But I get to hang out in the room or by poolside with my books, paper and pencils to read and write to my heart's content ALL DAY LONG without interruption!), three evenings of shows, dinners and time together - ALONE- uninterrupted!!!- and another day for travel....

While I'm busy writing future posts, editing and writing picture book manuscripts, critiquing for friends, and reading all sorts of things - I thought I'd drop a few pictures here to let you see some of what we've been up to!  I hope you enjoy 🙂

There's someone in a parachute here.... really, there is!  We saw a group of about 7 or 8 of them gliding down... it was very hard to get a good picture though.
There's someone in a parachute here.... really, there is! We saw a group of about 7 or 8 of them gliding down... it was very hard to get a good picture though.
We have a thing about taking pictures of signs....  I longed to spot a Bighorn but the signs were all we saw on this trip.
We have a thing about taking pictures of signs.... I longed to spot a Bighorn but the signs were all we saw on this trip.
My sweetheart and I on the way to the Hoover Dam - stopped by Lake Meade- which I learned was created during the building of the dam.
My sweetheart and I on the way to the Hoover Dam - stopped by Lake Mead- which I learned had been created during the building of the dam.


The scenery in the desert between Arizona and Nevada.
The scenery in the desert between Arizona and Nevada.
My sweetheart overlooking the dam.... he's a lot braver than I.
My sweetheart overlooking the dam.... he's a lot braver than I.
Overlook from the Dam....and yes, we crossed that bridge!
Overlook from the Dam....and yes, we crossed that bridge!
On the way back, we came upon this sign....  It made us laugh.  I thought there would be more ways to get to Vegas---but apparently there's just this one.  Maybe that's why it's said that the things that happen in Vegas, STAY in Vegas....
On the way back, we came upon this sign.... It made us laugh. I thought there would be more ways to get to Vegas---but apparently there's just this one. Maybe that's why it's said that the things that happen in Vegas, STAY in Vegas....


So while I'm on my quest for imperfect progress, I'm still on my quest for stress management which really coincides well.  I know when I'm stressed, I become unglued more often.

The first chapter I completed in my book on Stress Management was titled Goal Setting and Time Management. I figured it would give the basic time management strategies one usually hears:

  • Make a daily to-do list
  • Block out media distractions
  • Get up earlier
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Be reasonable and don't over plan your day.

You know, basic stuff. The stuff everyone knows we should do but don't always do it.But the chapter really actually spent a lot of time on goal setting which is pretty important.  So I made some goals.

First, I had to come up with a list of my ultimate priorities.  They do not consist of the only things I find important in life but they are the most important. While the first 3 are in numerical order, the others could be interchanged. These are the things that I simply could not accept having to live without:

  1. God
  2. My marriage
  3. Mothering my children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Family
  8.  Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation (Yes, some would be surprised this made the list as it's the one that is overlooked most often - but it really is a priority for me)

Once I determined what my priorities were (that part did not take long), I needed to develop short-term, medium-term and long-term goals....starting with long-term.


  1. Develop a union and closeness with God - keeping Him ever-present in my mind and heart, allowing Him to control ALL - Choosing to always be on His side.  In Orthodox language - staying on the path of Theosis and climbing the ladder of divine ascent.
  2. Have a strong lasting loving relationship with my husband that will strengthen one another that can serve as a model to others.
  3. To have my children always know - without a shadow of a doubt- that I loved them and to be a Christian model to them and someone they can depend on for strength.
  4. To feed myself and my family, REAL food as provided by God and provide a safe healthy environment to maintain all of our health.
  5. To educate my children to the best of my ability throughout their elementary, middle and high school years and prepare them for life, especially by way of heart and soul.
  6. To write and publish several children's books and have a blog of several thousand followers (blushing a little here....wondering if I sound vain??).
  7. To engage in pleasant activities and communicate well and often with friends and family and also help them in whatever ways I can.
  8. To maintain an orderly clean and , yes, stress-free environment in our cozy well-maintained home (finding this current cozy little house in the woods is a great start to this goal!).
  9. To live within our means and not only have a security net but also be able to help others in need.
  10. To enjoy life and remember to have fun and RELAX!  (this is actually the hardest one for me---  but I think my Stress Reduction and path of imperfect progress I have myself on will help achieve this goal!  But I may need a LOT of encouragement here- so please feel free to comment on these posts and offer words of wisdom and encouragement and your own tales of imperfect progress!

From there, I did establish some 'medium term goals' that I hope to accomplish within the next 1-5 years as well as short-term goals that I hope to accomplish within the next few weeks up to one year.

Obviously for my first goal - forcing myself to get up at 5:30 each morning for my quiet devotional time and reading Unglued and working on my imperfect progress will help me to do that.  I must remember that my goal is not to be perfect and I must forgive myself when I fall.  That's the hardest part I think.  I have this deep inner voice that ridicules myself when I mess up.  It's actually NOT nearly as bad as it used to be... but I must focus more on remembering that God will forgive me - but I must forgive myself also.

I also set goals that were specific to the Unglued Participant's Guide to describe what I would like my 'new normal' to be:

1.  I do not yell or raise my voice when frustrated, angry or confused.

2.  I make it through my days without regretting how I've spoken to someone.

3.  I find ways to acknowledge what I'm feeling without doing either of the above and without stuffing those emotions down to boil over later.

Whew.... that's a lot of goal setting!  Now on with my day and hopefully make some progress!  Are you with me?




I got the idea from someone else’s blog that perhaps I should just post some random stuff on here since I am new as a way for people to get to know me a little bit better. So here goes:


1. I was raised by my grandparents. To me, they are my parents….my dad and my mom. Because they were there to do all the things that dads and moms do. While I have strong feeling for my still living father and my biological mother who passed away almost 9 years ago, my strongest attachment is with the parents that guided me and stood by me through all of life’s ups and downs.

2. I miss my grandfather (PapPap) To me he could walk on water. He was my rock. When he died, I felt like a piece of me went with him. I felt weaker.

3. I have three children. My daughter is almost 17 (WOW!), my oldest son is 13 and my youngest is 2! #3 was a BIG surprise but is loved just the same! He brings a lot of laughter to all of us.

4. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am dedicated to my faith and fully believe in it being the Truth, The Way and The Life. It is the original apostolic church still in its original form. I love the way we worship our Lord.

5. I have been married for almost twenty years. I love my husband. He is a wonderful man and I am truly blessed. We have days of not communicating well, but who doesn’t? We’ve been through a lot…and we are stronger because of it.

6. I used to have bipolar disorder….yep, you read that right. USE TO. I know. Most conventional doctors will say, wait, that’s not possible. Either you had it and you still have it or you never had it. But I did. Now I don’t. About 6 years ago, through some accidental discoveries, my family discovered that our illnesses were being caused by artificial ingredients in foods. This led to a radical shift in the way we eat…..and our health. There’s enough info on this one to be several blogs long…. I’ll write more about this another day.

7. I make a lot of our foods from scratch. I still buy already made noodles and canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (mostly organic if it’s financially affordable) but work on gardening and learning to can my own.
I sometimes make my own breads too but not always do I have time.

8.We own a dog, 2 cats and 2 guinea pigs.

9. I live in the country. The house is between two important spots: my husband’s work and our church. The hospital where he works is about 35 minutes north and our church (Holy Cross Orthodox Church of Williamsport, PA) is about 25 minutes south.

10. I am an introvert. I was incredibly shy as a child and had incredible low self esteem. I have come a long long way from that. I have a higher self esteem and can at least carry on a conversation when spoken too but still tend to be a sort of recluse. I need to MAKE myself go out and socialize. It does NOT come naturally at all.

11.I’ve had red or reddish brown hair all my life but seem to be becoming overtaken with these strands of hair that seem to be a much stranger color….gray I believe it’s called……ugh

12. I tend to have very random thoughts…..of which I will probably share some of on this blog. I hope you enjoy them! That’s enough randomness for now though. More another time!


Today was a long day. At least it seems that way. I'm not exactly sure why other than waking up at 5:00 am....not my idea of a good wake up time. I do that occasionally...just wake up early and can't get back to sleep. So this was about 1 1/2 hours early. I like to wake by 6:30 (well, like isn't exactly the word) because it allows me to get some things done and do some of my scripture reading for the day done before I actually have to get my toddler out of bed and really start the day. But at 5 AM, I'm not ready to do ANYTHING.

After breakfast, completing a writing lesson with my oldest son and giving instructions for lunch,
I went shopping and wasted a lot of time, in my opinion, because I didn't find much of anything I was looking for. Then I went grocery shopping which I loathe. I came home hungry and tired and needed to make dinner. During this process, the men came by to install our new oven. (I don't even want to go into how much it cost to replace our wall oven in time for my husband to do his annual Pascha Bread for Pascha in a couple weeks....there's no way the bread would have turned out well with the one we had...) It looked for a bit like they weren't going to be able to get it to fit in. With the help of our neighbor who specializes in cabintry though, we finally had success!

And then I completed dinner. Vegetarian Black Bean Chili.....It is soooooooo gooooood!It is my favorite lenten meal (followed closely by my clam chowder). I like cooking. I enjoy it. I just loathe the process of planning menus, planning grocery lists, grocery shopping, being in charge of every meal nearly every day and the clean up process. Luckily my kids (the older ones of course, not the toddler) are old enough and take turns cleaning up after dinner. But I still prepare breakfast, clean up, prepare lunch, clean up and prepare dinner and, because I'm just that way, clean up a lot of that as I go. Which means I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and sometimes I get very resentful of that. I wish there was a way I could find to simplify all of this and still have home-cooked, made from scratch meals for my family. But alas, there doesn't seem to be.

I know some people who make really large batches of whatever they cook and that's what they eat for the next 2-3 days or more. That just doesn't fly in my household. I guess I've spoiled them. But even I wouldn't want to eat the same thing for more than two days in a row.....and yet I would...at least occasionally.

I'm not even sure why I'm complaining about this today since today was probably one of my easier days in the kitchen. I guess I've just been irritated by it other days recently plus my grocery shopping trip. I usually have the older kids do the grocery shopping with me. Three people in a grocery store take up a lot LESS time than one! And the cooking from scratch is worth it. That's another story for another day.... which I do hope to write about one of these days....our family story will probably take up several posts to complete. But still, I wish I could have days off, you know? Where I wasn't in the kitchen and I wasn't the one doing all the food prep....so I'd have time to really get some other things done or just RELAX..... with a good book....or pencil and paper? Someday I'll get back to all that....but this (blog) is a start.