Gratitude Challenge – Day 2


30 Day Gratitude Challenge

30 Day Gratitude Challenge, with gratitude to Crystal Wilkerson for the prompts and images, her link is below.


Day 2 – Prompt Day 19


Even though I had indicated already that I would likely skip around, I wanted to explain why I chose this one today.  I was going to use day 2, then another day, but I had a very bad day, and the one thing that made me feel a little better, was thinking about family, pretty much gone from my life now. I thought of a number that has appeared very often in my family. Nineteen was the day my paternal grandmother passed away, and the only person with her, was my mother. Thirty years later, my mother passed away on the VERY same day as her, but just a different year of course. Many other things happened on this month and day in my family, and it seemed to have meaning to us. It was the 19th of March. So, just for the heck of it, I chose 19, and the prompt was about family…my jaw almost hit the ground. So I knew I had to do this prompt today.

I was not going to do a prompt today. I had a very bad day, and was not feeling positive in any way really. I was depressed today, the project feels never ending, I miss my beloved, my conditions are hard, and even painful, and after over three months doing this, I am worn out in every way. I am discouraged by a bunch of other things, and needing something encouraging, very badly. You know those days, where you just feel battered and alone?  I felt that way all day today. I even broke out crying twice. I could not even figure out why. Upon reflection, part of me thinks it has to do with a sense of friction between me and my friend I have had all week (we talked it out tonight and I am feeling better by the way.) Part of me thinks I am just worn and tired and needing a long rest. Part of me thinks it is this awful bed I am having to sleep on that’s pinching my sciatic nerve and messing up my back, sleep, etc. But, a larger part of me thinks its grief trying to find a way to just happen. I miss my father terribly, and I really have not given my self the chance, nor have I had the time the past month, to just allow myself to feel bad and grieve. We all need that time, to release and let go, so we CAN feel better, and I just didn’t let that happen. 

You see,  this will be my first year ever celebrating Thanksgiving, without either parent in my life, even if at a long distance. I can no longer call my father up, and hear his warm voice on the phone and give him holiday wishes. He is gone now, and I think under some of the pain and pressure of my situation, its finally hitting me.  I have not had my father in my life for a large portion of it, he was a bit absentee for most of it, after my parents split up. He also turned to alcohol, and hence it took a toll on his heart over the years, and that’s why he is now gone.  And as a quick side note, I am going to address any of you that might be parents right now. PLEASE, I ask with all my heart, take care of yourself, for your kids, if not for you. I watched my mother suffer with illness for 17 years of my life, and then lost her in my thirties. I did not get to do usual mother and daughter things with her in my adulthood, that mother and daughter should get to do. I had to either watch her in pain with a terrible disease, or take care of her. I do not in any way begrudge taking care of her, it was my privilege to give anything back to an incredible mother. What I do feel bad about, is she did not take better care of herself. She took poor care and its part of the reason, aside from genetics, why she got sick. She deserved health and happiness, as much as I deserved a mother who was not suffering and we could enjoy life together. When other people went to high school graduation, I was rushing my mother to hospitals and doctors. Don’t get me wrong, her suffering was not in vain. She taught me a lot through it, which I will go into another time. I could NEVER ask for a better mother. I only wish she had taken care of herself, as it broke my heart to watch her suffer.

Then there is my dad. He pretty much drank until his heart could take no more. If he had gotten help and stuck with it, I would not have to be grieving him right now, and missing his wonderful smile and laughter. Please understand, I adore them both, and am not angry. I am only hurting and sad. So, I tell you this because, if you are a parent, or become one, please remember this story. Your kids need you healthy and whole, they need you to stick around, they want to share life with you, especially as you both get older. My mother smoked 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day. My dad, well, the drinking. I want them back so bad, as they are amazing people, but people who were in pain. So, please, moms and dads, keep careful watch over your health, because losing you young, hurts so very badly. Do whatever you can to improve your life and health, your kids need you so much, even when they are older. You never stop being Mommy and Daddy, no matter how old your kids.

Okay, so I just wanted to say that, but moving on, I will say I cried a couple times today, but I kept going getting my work done. My mind has gravitated tonight toward Thanksgiving being Thursday, and missing them both so bad. I have lost others too, but I am not able to go into that yet. I need time, and perhaps even interaction one day to get quite that brave. For now, let’s just say, there are worse things than losing your parents. But I won’t focus on that now.  What little family I do have left, a brother and his family, a couple uncles and aunts, and a scattered couple others, are on the east coast, and I am on the west. So, I can no longer celebrate holidays with any of my blood family. Its very painful.  I miss them all so much, it aches until it burns. And that leads me to today’s prompt.

As I said, I was not going to do one today, it was just that bad of a day. But when I got in for the night, my heart and mind nudged me and thought, perhaps finding gratitude will chase away some of the pain.  So, it was very fitting, that when I checked the 19th day prompt, it was about family! And now my mind turn’s to the light….


 Once again, as I will every day, before I respond to the prompt, I wish to offer gratitude to Crystal Wilkerson, for not only creating these prompts, but for her graciousness in allowing me to use them here. You can find her wonderful work at this site: 

Day 1 – Gratitude Challenge - Prompt 19

Day 1 – Gratitude Challenge – Prompt 19



 My response and thoughts to this prompt, are two-fold. One for what I did have, and two for what I currently have.


There is the past, the family that I had, the gatherings we used to have, the love I used to share with them, and the many warm and wonderful holidays, despite all the trials and sufferings we went through in between. In spite of  everything we endured, when they were together, my parents worked hard to make holidays nice, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. After the split up, my mother continued to work so hard on that. I sometimes cry with a smile when I think of Thanksgiving dinner, or Christmas morning with them both, and my brother.  

One other special note here, that I hold dear to my heart. When my father married my stepmother, my mother had already been very ill for more than half a decade (he had been married in between), so, well, sad to say, it somehow made it easier for them to be friendly with her, and for them to all be around each other. Now there’s something to ponder. Anyway, I invited them all over for a Thanksgiving one time, and they actually all came, as well as my brother and his family. I was fortunate enough, even with divorce and all, to have not only most all my closest family there, to be able to cook for them all, but also had BOTH my parents there with me too. I remember sitting at the table and looking at them all, and feeling such a profound moment of happiness, joy, and warmth, and almost as if my soul or mind  had specific reason for committing to memory, every morsel of that moment that I could. Now I know why.  That Thanksgiving and one birthday of mine, would be the last events I would ever have both my parents with me at the same time. I will remember it with utmost love in my heart forever. For that, I am SO grateful.

Then there is the present.  For the better part of a half a decade or more, I spent Thanksgiving, largely alone, especially the past few years. But when I got out west, my friend…my best friend, took me in, and made her family mine. One Thanksgiving I spent alone, because I had been shut down and just wanted it to go by. But the following couple of years, I shared Thanksgiving with her, her husband, and two older boys. They treated me like family, and to this day, her and I are pretty much like sisters. This year and last year, a new addition to Thanksgiving has been added, my beloved other half.  We have both spent it with her and her family, and I feel SO grateful for them in my life. It is my wish and hope, that next year, I can cook for it, and have people to our home. Also, my sweethearts family, has become mine. While we are not really close yet, I have spent a couple holidays with them, and it was really nice. His mother and I have only just started to get closer, and I truly think she is wonderful.  I couldn’t have asked for a better woman to be the mother of my soulmate.   And I am so grateful she raised him, exactly as she did. I might have lost most of my family from before, but I have new family now, and I really do feel gratitude for that.  Also, I have not lost hope that I will see some blood family back east again someday, outside of a funeral that is.

Okay, so…yes I do feel a bit better. Of course, it is not a miracle cure, and all my troubles do not go away. But it gets me one step closer, to how *I* handle it better, and how I can change my perspective with time, care, and effort. The world will always be chaotic, but I know deep down we have the power to perceive it for better or for worse. I do not master that power right now, but I will not stop working toward it. That is my vow to myself. I will come out of these storms somehow, and both my parents struggles and sufferings will not have been in vain. I have learned so much from them, even their flaws and struggles. I quit smoking 20 years ago, and do not drink more than a drink or two a week, or sometimes even over months.  Thanks to my mother’s strength and courage, I never did struggle with alcohol, and found the strength to give up the smoking, and have never gone back since. Thank you Mom! And thank you Dad, even with what has happened, you taught me a lot. 

While I still am a bit burdened by current circumstances, thinking about these things definitely has lightened my load just a little bit, so it really does work. It just takes work. I really am grateful for the love in my life, past and present.


So, what do you think? I would love your feedback, your stories, how this might have touched you, or applied to your life. Is there family, or loved ones in your life you can perhaps find gratitude for, if you don’t already? If you do happen to do this prompt, I would love to hear your stories too. I love to learn from others.



If I do not post again, before the holiday, I wish you all a truly wonderful and loved filled Thanksgiving, and for those that do not celebrate it, I wish you a great and loved filled week!

Also, I am grateful for you, the reader…thank you for reading my verbose, yet heartfelt writings and thoughts.

With warmth and gratitude,

Kat  :@





P.S. – I hope to do at least one more prompt before Thanksgiving, but there is a chance I might not get to it.  I have one other thing to be grateful for, that does not totally apply to this prompt, but to the concept of being grateful. Upon many talks, and the pains my sweetheart and I have endured while I do this project away from each other for over three months now, we decided it was time for me to have a break.  We agreed to come up with the money to get a storage unit up by home, and he is coming this weekend to not only share Thanksgiving with me and my friend’s family, but on Sunday, he is taking me home. He is going to rent a truck, load up whatever stuff is left, and bring home to put into storage for me to go through, until it is done, and we can get rid of the extra bill for that storage.  I am so glad for that, because I definitely need a rest.  A couple weeks downtime, and I think I can tackle the rest of this project. So, getting this stuff packed up, especially the loose stuff I’ve got laying around, is going to take a mad dash and burst of energy to get done, so that we can get back, and get him to work on time Monday.  So, I may or may not get in any posts between now and next week, but you can be sure I will be back as soon as I get a quick breather. Its all crazy here, but I really am grateful for the good things.


P.P.S. – I started this post before midnight west coast, so I am counting it as getting done in succession. 😉  It’s something!



Gratitude Challenge – Here I Go…

30 Day Gratitude Challenge

30 Day Gratitude Challenge, with gratitude to Crystal Wilkerson for creating these prompts. I normally use all my own images if I can, but I try to give credit where it is due. Both of today’s images were created by her, and her link is below.


Preface: So, as some of you might have figured, or read from my first post, this whole blog is about growth. I am starting with almost nothing, in both my life, and when it comes to this journey/experiment. In my life, I started completely over three years go. I moved from the east coast, to the west coast. I had lost my home, a lot of family, my life as I knew it, and some other truly precious things, which I might go into later. I came out here, with much of my stuff in pods, the rest of it in a truck I drove, my beat up old car on a trailer behind me, one cat, and a very battered spirit. A dear friend took me in, and basically I had given up hope. I just trudged through day to day, not really living, staying hidden away, just eating and breathing and sleeping, with this deep down hope that I could just do that until I could pass away. I would never do anything like take my own life, but I did not want to live either.  I was merely existing.

Over time, things in myself/my life started to get the down time I needed, and I started to heal. An energy, a love in me, started to heal. My mother was always filled with love, hope, courage, and perseverance, so there was no escaping it was in me. In time, I met a man who, well I am convinced we were designed with each other in mind. His soft-spoken, thoughtful manner, yet quiet strength came into my life, and has since been a part of what has slowly lifted me up. But the fact is, a part of me deep down had to be willing, and I had to have that time to observe the world around me, pressures temporarily away from me, to regroup, and much time to heal. We found each other at just the right time. 

Gratitude..something I have known for some time, I needed to keep close to my heart. A couple years ago I once started a gratitude journal, where I would just write lists of things I felt grateful for. I knew, and had seen from others around me, the more we highlight and accentuate the positive in us and around us, the more we see it, the more it takes us over, the more we become it! And when you fill yourself with positive, eventually, you push out the negative…it just has no room anymore! Mind you, it takes a REAL LOT of practice.

At first, I begrudged so much. And I often still do. I grew up with certain aspects of my family inducing negative in me. You get these “pre-recorded tapes” in your head. You get programmed with self-doubt, doom and gloom, and general negativity.  When bad things happened, I found myself playing those tapes in my head, mostly subconsciously mind you, and I ended up just being a victim.  And that is okay temporarily. We all need to live there sometimes, to lick our wounds, have compassion we might have lacked in our lives, and just regroup. But eventually, I needed to move out, or I would become a permanent resident of that “victim space”, and of suffering. Many can cause us to suffer, but somehow, we often wind up being some of the biggest causes of our own suffering.

 I am at the point where I feel grateful now, more than ever, but it’s not enough! When bad things happen, those tapes click on in my head, and I find myself complaining under my breath, getting mad, feeling like a victim, and getting mired in it all.  It is like a little monster in our heads, hearts, and subconscious.  While I have that gratitude now, its time to nurture it, feed it, grow it up, and make it so strong, that it just moves that negative monster right out! Negativity, there is NO ROOM for you anymore! Get out! Gratitude…move on in! And if the space I provide for you is not big enough, then work with me to clear this clutter out, and lets give you loads of space! And to the energy in the world around me, I shout out, POSITIVE is WELCOME! Come on in, I am ready for you.

Like the body and the mind, the psyche needs be worked to get it strong, and gratitude is part of that. You do not start an exercise program and in one day you have this rock like muscle. It takes time and work and effort. You move the muscle each day, work it, and nurture. In time that muscle gets stronger and stronger. And even when it burns a little, while you don’t push to the point of hurting yourself, you still keep going until you reach your desired result. I am going to be realistic here. I do not expect to emerge from this a week from now, a month from now, or even a year from now and suddenly I will be completely positive or Dalai Lama-like. Things like this can take years, even a lifetime. But, even if I have to fake it until I make it, I will keep going…good days or bad days. I will get there in this life, if I have to climb a hundred more mountains.  So here I go, making that gratitude muscle strong one day. I will work it, hopefully daily, but if not, just as much as I can.  Like my bicep, it is there, but rather wimpy and small. Time to pump up the volume! 😉



Okay, so preamble and my blabberings aside, here is the challenge. My highest goal is to do some sort of exercise in gratitude every day. I know that life is not that simple. It’s chaotic and stuff happens. But ultimately, I will just continue, even if I stumble and fall, even if I miss days, I will get up and keep going. I did a lot of searching on the various daily gratitude challenges out there. Many if not most or all of them are wonderful. But like anyone else, I needed one that felt right for me. I needed one that not only made me think about gratitude, but gave me some sort of writing AND mental activity to accomplish this goal. I have settled on what I think, will help this journey along the best for me. Many of you might have seen in your online travels, or heard about Crystal Wilkerson. I love her work. She made a 30 day gratitude challenge that I really love. I have been meaning to do it for nearly a year now. Procrastination kept moving in, and helping me to put if off. For this season of thankfulness, it is time.

In honor of thanksgiving, now only a few days away, I start this challenge. At first I wanted to do this for the whole month of November, etc, but circumstances here have delayed things. That’s okay! I find it kind of apprapo that I will be doing this challenge into the month of December. It is a season of love and giving with the holidays coming,  and the end to another year. So, this challenge will cross three paths! It will come through the season of thanfulness, the season of love and giving, and the season of endings and new beginnings. I find that so poetic! My outer most goal is to do it every day, but I am going to start off slower and do one either every other day or a couple a week, and hopefully build up to a more daily one. I am not going to be hard on myself when I do not do it, nor feel bad. I will simply just get back up from falling, and continue on until I get there.  I will not stop until I finish the entire 30 day challenge. When it is done, I might even follow another, or come up with a new one of my own. But, for now, I am somewhat dry on ideas there. So, I will work that muscle until it is strong on it’s own.

Will you come with me on this journey? Please feel free to chime in your thoughts on each day’s prompt if you like. Or perhaps you can grab a notebook and write down your responses as well. Or, if you are not up to those, just read and follow along on mine if that suits you instead. I would, as always, love to hear what others think and share this with any of you. But, if I have to go it alone, I will. I am that determined! =)  Well, not exactly alone, I have people in my life that love me, and I know my sweetheart and furry sweetheart, will be there with me every step of the way cheering me on. If nothing else at all, I hope anything in this journey, or any of my journeys, can bring you inspiration. Whatever that monster is in your life, I say, you can do it. Take it on, conquer it, and move it out! {{insert audience cheering sound clip here}}



 Before I answer the very first prompt I will tell you two more things. One, I am not going to follow these in order. I am going to pick one out each day that I do it, either what suits how I am feeling that day and what I am up to doing, or maybe even at random.  I will do all of them until they are all complete. The second thing is, I would like to thank Crystal Wilkerson for creating these. I wrote her and asked permission to use these on my blog, and she was gracious enough to offer her blessings to do them, and even wished me well in doing so.  Thank you Crystal! You did a very beautiful and thoughtful job creating these. You can find her wonderful work at this site: 


Forgive me for this preface being a bit long, but I wanted to give you some background, and explore the topic of gratitude and change. After today’s edition, my preface, if any at all, will be much shorter.

I picked this particular prompt because it fits what I am going through right now, so perfectly. And it also happens to be the actual day one on the challenge. How serendipitous. So, without further ado, here is the first day’s edition:




Day 1 - Gratitude Challenge

Day 1 – Gratitude Challenge




 Day 1 : When Trials Have Become Blessings in My Life:

Two trials come to mind right now.  One is all of the ones that led up to my move here. The other is the one I am going through right now. One I can tell you, most of what the good things are that have come out of it, the other I cannot tell you yet, but I am open to that possibility, and as I learn and discover what they are, I hope to share them with you.


The trials that led me out west and to where I am now; I am not ready to share all of them yet. Some are very hard to talk about or feel more personal. Some are just very painful. But, I have given you a rough sketch of a whole life turned upside-down, and completely changed. I basically lost everything, except my cat, a good chunk of my belongings (lost a lot of that too), and my car.  I was lucky enough to walk away with some money from the sale of my house. But circumstances left me with taking a huge loss, and I barely got 20% of what it was worth. It was enough to get across country, sustain me for a couple years, and buy an RV to live in until I could get on my feet. That process is still in the workings, but I am slowly getting there. This blog is a part of my own self-therapy.  It has been the most painful time of my life, ever, bar none. It is not just one trial, but a series of multiple trials that has taken a huge toll on my life, and on those I love. The good things to come out of it, are only just starting the last couple years, and I have a feeling, there are more to come. If I had not come out here, I would not have found the man I love with all my heart. If I had not come out here, I would not have found my precious Milo, and if I had not come out here, I would not have discovered in full experience, one of the truest friends anyone could ever ask for. I also, have discovered just how strong I really am, and allow that to fuel me forward whenever things feel painful or hard again.

I always say, “If I could drive 40 feet of train (my rented moving truck and car trailer) across country 3000 miles, by myself, with a 19 year old cat to take care of (senior kitties definitely require a lot more TLC and love, especially when bringing them long distance,) leave everything I knew behind, and start a new life…I can do anything!”

I cannot imagine never meeting my sweetheart, which I would not have, had I not moved out here. It is my hope and intention, to spend the rest of my life with this man. This IS the one.

Then there is my best friend, the one who took me in, when even family wouldn’t have done that…there are no words. I have learned what true love really is, and how it should look. Even her marriage, has lasted over 20 years, and through really rough times, and good times. That is what marriage should look like. When others give up, go for divorce, and walk away, she and her husband have stood their ground and stuck it out, and now have a couple decades of life shared together. In a family of divorce after divorce, I even had one myself, I never got to see what loving someone through thick and thin, and really toughing it out and making it really looked like. Now I have, and truly know what I want for my life. She has also shown me what true friendship looks like, and even what a family should look like. She has shown me what is is to stick to your morals, no matter what, and live by them. She has shown me true giving in every sense of the word, and truly, what love really is.

And then there is Milo. He is the most unique cat I have ever known, and I have had a LOT of cats in my whole life. He is adorable looking for one, and has the greatest temperament I could ever hope for. He is half Maine Coon, so the breed tends to be laid back, clever, and have a wonderful disposition to begin with.  Mix that in with a cooky tabby, and you have quite the character. He is almost always well behaved. (Other than insisting on playing with my blind cords and ripping and chewing on them. Even when I tie them up and tuck them away, he manages to get to them and have fun with them.) He never goes outside his litter box, he grazes and eats his food only as he needs, which means his weight stays nice, and I can leave extra food out without worry. I am very picky about what he eats too, but I will save that for another time. He is sweet and affectionate, but rarely needy…unless I am gone for a period of time.  (Though I am the type that does not mind if a kitty is needy…I could just drown in their love and affection.) He even tends to get along with everyone and anything. He rarely ever hisses at another cat, just look at them curiously if they do, or gets scared and runs away. He is just SO laid back. And one of the best parts, he is SO cooky and clownish. He will get into his “wild man mode” and run from place to place, flop down on his back, embrace his scratch board, ears back, eyes wide like saucers, and start attacking it and just generally going crazy.  He will just attack thin air, usually on my bed. He will chase a bug relentlessly, and loves anything string like. He also has a stuffed animal, I call him “Larry the Lion” (all cloth stuffed animal lion, with no parts that he can choke on) that he will pick up in his mouth, carry around while mewing, and at times flop down and attack it and chew on it. Its quite an amusing process to watch. Everyone who meets this cat adores him, and he makes everyone laugh. I am even tempted to create a cartoon about him, despite there are so many cat characters out there. This cat has helped me through some of the darkest days of my life, always sweet, always sunny, and never expecting anything of me, and loving me just as I am, whether good or bad, neat or scruffy.

Okay, sorry for getting sidetracked there, I just love that kitty, as my numerous images of him will attest to. The point is, I have had many wonderful things happen to me, and wonderful people (and kitty) come into my life since being here.  Sometimes, some of the most wonderful, incredible things happen to you, as a result of some of the worst things EVER to happen in your life. I could not see that a few years ago. But I do now.  As I said before, I have a feeling there are other good things to come. But for now, those are the good ones to come from these horrific trials.

Flash forward, I am here going through all this stuff and muck. It is so very painful, I cannot even begin to tell you. I am wriggling and writhing through this process, begging it to be over.  My body hurts so much, for multiple reasons. Mainly, I am sleeping on a very bad bed. I have a very bad pinched sciatic nerve. This process requires a lot of backbreaking work to boot, I am in bad physical shape (that I will conquer too,) and the setting for it is miserable. BUT, I will get through it, and I keep my eye on mostly one ball! It will eventually  be over-with, and I will get to a point where I get rid of a lot of stuff, that has been a weight around my neck. And best of all, I will get home to my love, and life will get better.  This is indeed a very big trial.

The blessings of this trial you might wonder? So far, it is hard to tell. As I said above, I know it will be done with, that is a good thing, I know I will get rid of a lot of things, that is a good thing, and it will further show me how much strength I have, further fortifying me for other life trials. And we all know those never end while we are here. Beyond those good things/blessings, I do not yet know the good outcomes. But, after all I have endured, I have faith that these trials will lead me to other good things. I cannot wait to see. I actually find myself, finally in my life, looking forward to what tomorrow might bring. I hope you will stay tuned and find out with me. I would love to share the fruits of my trials with anyone.  I would LOVE, to in turn, bless someone else, offer inspiration, and just generally help. 

So, what are your thoughts? Can you think of trials that eventually brought you good things? Can you find something in your life that you know is hard, but perhaps can see what good things it might be leading you to? Does anything I convey to you here, albiet in my verbose way, inspire you or give you hope?  It would mean SO much to me to know I could ever do that, after all those that have inspired me. One of my greatest wishes for my entire life, outside of the love and hope for people I have known and loved, is to “pay it forward!” I hope you, or anyone else, gives me that chance.


I hope you continue to come on this journey with me, and maybe eventually open up a two-way dialogue. This is not just a journey, but also an experiment and research. I want to see if I can indeed help shape my future, and find my way, through sharing with others. I even hope to evolve my path with your input. Let’s see what we can create together, hah? =)

It is the week of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. I have MANY things to be thankful for. I know there will be more. It is my hope to find at least one thing every day, or more, to be thankful for. I am so glad we have this period of time to doubly remind us, to be open to gratitude, and let it help heal our lives, and make it happier…for ourselves, and for others. Wherever you might be, even if you do not celebrate this holiday, it is truly my hope and wish that you can find things to feel thankful/grateful for, and allow them to help your life. It is my hope for that for me as well. 

I hope to do at least one more prompt before Thursday’s holiday, and it will likely be quite a bit shorter.

But for now, I wish anyone and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and lots of positivity and gratitude in your own lives. If you are enduring any trials right now, I hope you can hold on, get through it, and get to a better place on the other side. I might not know any of you, but please know I am pulling for you. 

Thanks for coming along, as always, and for reading. Have a great week all!

My sincerest wishes, hope, and gratitude,

Kat :@




Candy Cane Lane! Free Printable Journal Cards

Well, here it is, my first creation for the Christmas season! Candy Cane Lane journal cards.

Candy Cane Lane Journal Cards

Candy Cane Lane Journal Cards

Link for large size below


I make things like this for both journaling, and because I love to punch holes in them and put in my planner. Of course they are good for so many things, like albums and scrapbooks. They are free for you to print and use for personal use only.

Of course, I have a short little quip to tell you about creating these, but if you want to skip the chatter, scroll down for the download.




I started making these like a week ago, but my project here has often taken so much time, that it was a crawl to get this done. But I couldn’t wait to make something for the holiday season. I knew I wanted something pretty to put in my planner and see every time I open it up.  

So I sat down last night to finally polish it off, determined to finish. I threw some Christmas music on to listen to whilst I worked, to get me in the spirit. My beloved had come for one of his bi-monthly visits here for the weekend, to help me get through the stuff, and visit with me, until I can get back home. That alone made my night. So after he fell asleep, I worked on the cards until complete. As I listened to the Christmas music, nostalgia set in, as I reminisced about my childhood with my mother and father and brother. On one hand I felt happy and definitely in the Christmas spirit. Who can’t help but to bop their head side to side when hearing, “Holly Jolly Christmas.” But, on the other hand, there was Elvis. One of his Christmas songs came on, and I got a lump in my throat, and tears formed in my eyes.  

You see, I have not mentioned it yet, but my father passed away last month…actually it is now one month almost exact.  It happened while I was here knee deep in this muck of stuff. (Again see my peace post to get a better idea what I refer to.) My mind sadly wanders to that day last month.  Finances are rough for me, but my sweetheart and I scrambled for the funds somehow, and quickly caught a flight down south to visit my father, as I had been told he had been read last rights. The last time I spoke to my Dad, he did not let me in on how serious his condition had progressed. Well, his heart was just about done for. I knew he was on machines, and his heart was weak, but the issues had been ongoing for quite a few years, so it can be hard to tell. It had been much worse than he told me. So, here we were, trying to make it, so I could say goodbye, and well, believe it or not, so my other half could meet him for the first time (we have been together a year now, and I have been unable to afford to see my Dad.) I got ready in the wee hours of the morning, as I prepared for my flight. All the while, I kept pleading, somewhat under my breathe, to anyone or anything in the universe that would hear me…to God, to my dad, to anyone. I asked over and over, for him to hold on long enough for me to get there and tell him how much I loved him, how much he meant to me, and to hug him goodbye. I cried and pleaded.

Well, we had just arrived at our mid-point stop across country, readying to get on the next flight, which would land us near my father, when I got the call. My step-mother told me he had died about an hour or so ago. I hung up the phone and cried my eyes out, right in the middle of the airport, as passerby’s looked at me curiously, and quickly. And all my sweetheart could do, was hold me tight, until I had cried every tear I could. I was devastated.

No longer would I feel the bear hug of my six foot-five father, no longer would I smell the Captain Black scented pipe fill the room. No longer would I hear that hearty, soul-filled laugh that made everyone around him feel truly good. No longer would I hear those corny jokes. No longer could I look at that warm smile, that as a little girl, made me feel so deeply and completely happy. I can still see myself, running toward the door when Daddy got home from work, and leaping into his arms. And now, after losing my mother over ten years ago, when she was only 54, I have found myself an orphan, losing my other parent at a mere 64. It is a very lonely feeling.  

So, I sat here last night, and when the opening notes to, “If Every Day Was Just Like Christmas,” by Elvis played, in one sudden moment, I burst into tears. Elvis was my Dad’s thing. He had everything Elvis, he had every song, he saw and met impersonators, and even used to sing Elvis, in uncanny similarity, at mostly family events. Elvis will forever equate to my father, for me.  I have not really cried since I left my father’s home state, and the memorial and all. I came right back here and went straight back to work. I suppose I dove in, to ease the pain, or even try to bury it. So, since then, I have not really had much chance or time to grieve. It has been a grueling project. I am under both time and weather constraints. So, as I sat there and listened, the dam really broke open, and I cried for all that I had lost, all the world had lost in such a wonderful man. I looked over to the pipe I took with me from his home, as a memento of my father. It, for now, rests on a shelf under a lamp. As I cried, I picked it up, smelled it deeply, and held it close to my heart, as tears fell down upon it.  It, and some photos, an old plaid shirt, and my memories is all I have left of him. It was a very bittersweet and poignant moment.

Christmas, to me, has always meant family, love, and togetherness. It has always been akin to Mom and Dad. They made it so beautiful for me. It was a time of innocence and love and closeness, long before so much tragedy and pain struck my life, and sadly, both of theirs too. It was only 8 years of my early life with them, but those years mean the world to me, and I hold them dearly as long as I live.

So, now I will face my first Christmas… without both of them. It is a painful idea to grasp. But, as I wiped my eyes, and looked over at my beloved sleeping, I felt grateful, that after so many storms, and all that I had endured, to find a man so unbelievably wonderful, and with whom I share a love, that I know will last a lifetime, and then some. Sometimes, in a lifetime, if you are truly, truly lucky, you find THAT one…and you just know. So, I wiped my face, blew my nose, and smiled as I heard “Frosty” Christmas music play, and went back to work finishing these cards. You see, deep in my heart I know, it’s going to get better from here. Somehow, I believe, my storms are on their way out. So I hold on tight with faith, that not only can I endure this, as I have endured so much already, but I will be okay. If nothing else, I have learned just how strong I am. I know, I can thank my Mom and Dad for that.

Well, I just finally finished the journal cards. It feels good to be getting back into graphics and holidays again. I pretty much had given it all up for years, as I weathered my dark days.  So, if anything is not up to par yet, forgive me as I am rusty and slowly trying to reacquire my skills, now likely outdated, but that’s what “youtube” tutorial videos are for. 😉 Whatever creativity I have, I can also thank Mom and Dad for that, as they had it in spades, and I am fortunate that they passed it on to me. My mother also spent many an hour with me growing up, teaching me all she knew, and spending a lot of creative time.

One of the things that really struck me when I went to visit my father, and only got to make it for his memorial service, was a lovely addition he had made to his kitchen. My father had loved all things Christmas. It was very special to him. He had taken every beautiful Christmas card ever given to him, you know, those scenic Kinkade-like-ones, and adhered them to the front panels of his kitchen cabinets. So instead of the square panels on each door, you saw these beautiful scenes all over his kitchen. I was so grief-stricken at the time, that I did not think to take pictures, but you should have seen it. It was so lovely, and SO my Dad. He did it so beautifully. They all had very lovely scenes. It was truly breathtaking. I did not see this last time I was there, as it was years ago, and they had not been there then. So, when I think of Christmas, I think of Dad so much, even more now. And as I craft these cards, I think of him… and his smiles, laughs, jokes, and big bear hugs float through my mind.

 I know every time I see a Christmas scene of a log cabin, with pretty lights strung all around, and smoke slowly drifting out of the chimney, I will think of my father. So many warm memories I hold so very tight in my heart right now. Christmas will never be the same without him. Oh, if I could only hear his laugh one more time.




And to him:

Dad, I created these cards while I thought of you, and I dedicate them to you. I hope you are in peace, and know somehow, that I always have, and always will, love you with all my being. Goodnight Daddy, I will miss you dearly.



So, that is my story for today. And yes, I cried again while typing this. But that is okay. I know the past month I have needed that, and it will help me to move on. I have a wonderful man in my life to share my holidays with, who loves and supports me more than anyone could ever ask for. I know Dad would have loved him. So, I can smile knowing that, and for the love I have shared with my Dad while he was here.  You see, that is what makes these cards so special, is the feeling that is behind them. Even if they are not the prettiest or most incredible out there, that is okay, they come from a special place, and for that, I am pleased. =) I hope you enjoy using them, and putting them in with your own memories and stories. I share them with you, so that they may continue to be a part of what makes this season everything good that it is…Love.


I am sure I will be making other things for the holiday season, and it is my hope that I can return home in just a couple weeks. So stay tuned, I have lots of other wonderful ideas and goodies in mind for the site, and to share with you.

All my warmth and best to all of you this holiday season and always,

Kat  :@


 The above is the small size image, and click the link below for the large size.


The large size version for Download Here.



Stay Tuned, New Section Coming, Gratitude 30 Day Challenge!

So grateful for this little guy!

So grateful for this little guy!


In honor of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and the spirit of gratitude, I am starting a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. I will likely be starting it Monday. I wanted to have a few in, in time for the holiday. I will be continuing it for the full 30 days, into the month of December. With this project (my major stuff-sorting project here) ongoing, plus the mess it’s created back home, I might not be able to do one every day in a row, but I will do every days prompt until it is done, even if it takes me 2 months. The goal here, is to finish it. I truly believe gratitude, and finding it, even when it is hard to, can make all the difference in a life. So, feel free to join me and use them to prompt your own responses, maybe write them down just for yourself…or just read along as I do it.



Thanks as always for reading, and for coming along on this journey with me. Have a great weekend all!

Warmth and gratitude,

Kat :@

S O S Day




SOS Day…Serendipity, Omens, and Sedulity

No, I am not signaling that I need urgent help. Even despite using the word omen in my synonym. What I am doing, is exploring the words that are circling my thoughts today.  Did you know that omens can be good things?  Typically people come to know this word meaning to foreshadow bad things, but it can also be a foreshadowing of good things.  So, today, my mind is circling around these words, explore them for a few moments with me.

A quick preface first. I am still away from home, and still going through all my belongings, largely left outside under tarps and in piles. The majority of my furniture is in storage, thankfully, but my boxes and bins with belongings have been mostly outside for 2-3 years. Now I know you’re wondering why in the world my stuff would be outside. Still coming out of my shell, I will only briefly say, for now, I underwent numerous tragedies and losses in my life, and lost my home and had to relocate across country. A wonderful friend took me in, but much of my belongings outside of my furniture had to be stored on the property under tarps and such as I had no place else to store, and no financial means. For more detail, see my post on peace. Suffice to say, and summing up, I am in the process of moving up North to be with the love of my life, and I have come back here to go through my things. I have had to be here at least three months now to take on this task. Its been monumental and draining.  Everything from mold to bugs to weather has tried to stand in my way.  But, there is an upside here, as there always is if you look for it. I am enduring AND transcending.

So, with that prefaced, let’s just say after a few months of this, missing my sweetheart, my other kitty waiting home for me (Milo is here with me, he goes with me everywhere,)  and being utterly worn out, this morning I was searching for strength and momentum.  And don’t  laugh but (okay, you can laugh because it’s kind of funny, and true) when I am looking for inspiration, one of the many things I do, is plug in search terms on Pinterest.



Today I woke up way later than I wanted, had a migraine, sinus congestion, and worn down, not wanting to go on anymore (with this task.) It has been very cold out lately, unseasonably so for this area, and very hard to work in, as my fingers begin to freeze. So, as I sipped my first cup of coffee, I plugged these words, “how to get going,” into Pinterest. I like to reflect on how other people interpret thoughts, ideas, and words. It helps me explore my own. And I love to use this tool, as it’s very visual. I am such a tactile person. So can you guess what the returns were?  Can you guess what the VERY first return was? It was an image with a white background, and black text only words, with these words: “KEEP GOING, YOU ARE GETTING THERE.” Text only image of that! Can the answer be any more clear? I kid you not, go over to Pinterest and type in those words, you will see what I mean. Now THAT is serendipity my friends! It is as though the universe is trying to encourage me to plug on.  Then, after glazing over the next few pins, like recipes, how to beat a cold, other how-to’s, and even weird celebrity hairstyles ( =P go figure, right,) the next inspirational image caught my eye. It said, “Don’t let something that’s long gone continue to control you. It’s time to let go.” And another big wow from me! There is so much of my past that has weighed me down, and all this stuff has weighed me down as well. I have known for some time, that it is time to let go, but again, it’s as though the universe is reinforcing that idea. The good news is, I AM slowly letting go, and it is very freeing. 



While I consider those images I mentioned above as omens too, the next event really did feel like an omen to me.  That word has gotten such a bad rap with those movies and all. But honestly, it can mean very good things. Like a lot of this world, perspective has SO much to do with it. See that image above?  That is what I saw when I walked outside. I am trying to commit myself to doing some daily, weekly, monthly things to help facilitate my healing. I love photography, and can be pretty decent at it. But, like many things I have loved or done well with, I had largely abandoned it over the years, because of all the things I had been going through. Bad idea. It is the things we love and do well with, that get us through the darker days. So, as part of my commitment to healing, evolution, and peace, I am attempting to not only make sure I take photographs often, but I am leading up to a daily photo challenge that I am a member of on Facebook.

So I stepped outside, saw this vision from where I stood, and snapped a picture. Now, here is where perspective can come into play. When I was in a dark and terrible place, after all that had happened to me, I might have seen this snapshot as a signal of doom and gloom. After all, the clouds are out, a very rainy week is on the way, the trees are bare, and the lighting came out generally grey and foreboding. But…and here is a very big one…the sun is trying to peek through! See that?  Its coming through the clouds, despite that the clouds are numerous, despite the bare trees are in the way, despite everything, its peering through, and letting me know, better is coming. It tells me, that despite all the trials and pain, despite that things might look grey, the positive is there, and good things on their way. But, here is the thing. You have to see it. I have learned the VERY hard way, outlook is everything! And believe me, I know that’s far easier said than done. It takes time to pretty much train your brain to do it. But it can be done. I am living proof. So, I share that picture with you, to remind us all, no matter how it looks, good things are around, and do want to come to you. We just have to invite them in.



LOL!   I laugh first, because even my WordPress text box (spell-check has it underlined) does not know what this word means! Don’t feel alone if you do not know what it means either, until this morning, neither did I. Another thing along the lines of self-improvement that I am trying, is to increase my vocabulary. So, I take a thought or feeling, check synonyms, and then find a word I do not know and practice using it. =) Sedulity basically means perseverance or diligence. It is what I need so much now, to finish this task, so I can get home to my beloved other half, and other fur-babies. It is what I need to endure the harsh weather, the elements, the insect life, the conditions I am living in, and my body not always being happy with me.  I am getting up later each day, missing a lot of the sunlight to work in, having a lot more migraines, and my back is getting more and more achy. My body is literally objecting to continuing this task anymore. So, it is here I must endure, find strength, and continue on, so I can be done and go home.  Like the little train, I think I can! It just takes a lot of sedulity. I CAN do this.



So, yes, it is an SOS day in the traditional sense. I am struggling, and hurting, and trying to find strength to go on. But, the way I am choosing to see today, is a different kind of SOS day.  Today has Serendipity, Omens, and Sedulity (from me.)

So, I am going to grab my second cup of coffee, a quick bite to eat, and get out there and work with my last hour and a half of daylight here on the west coast. I will likely work into the dark hours too, so I can put in at least 5-6 hours of work today. It is my hope to start earlier tomorrow, but whatever may come, I will plug on until this is done. I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Whatever you are going through, I hope you find encouragement to go on. Someday I might share some of what has happened to me. It has felt like hell and back. But, for now, I am not here to vocalize those trials, I no longer need to talk about them as much (we all go through time’s where it is important to talk, and to work through them,) what I need now, is to create my new life, and to work with the present. It really is a gift to me.

All my best to all of you, and I hope you find your SOS’s (serendipities, omens {good ones}, and sedulity) today!

~Kat :@


P.S. I think I am getting a few readers…yay! My site stats indicates, if i am reading it right, that there are and have been visitors! It is okay if you are quiet, but feel free to chime in. I don’t bite, and will always try my best to respond. 😉

A second little teaser for you wonderful readers. Not only am I putting up my DIY over the next few days/week (as my conditions here allow me to), but I am working on a set of journaling cards. I am getting back into journaling, and loving journal cards as I can punch holes in them and quickly insert into my planner, to make sure I incorporate writing each week, or even each day. So, I decided to work on a festive Christmas set. I am going to share all six of them with you, for free. I hope to have them up in the next few days, or at least within a week. Stay tuned! And by the way, thank you for reading! Seeing those numbers made my day. =)

Seeing The Light…In The Dark



Thoughts of light and darkness and the contrast have been circling through my head today.  The literal and the metaphorical.  

I got to thinking about us as people having times when we are in the dark, or in the light, and what we see in ourselves. And it comes down to this, as how I see it: There is light in each one of us. Sometimes we see it, sometimes we don’t. The dark places can be lonely, but that is only because if we cannot see our own light, that is when it goes very dim.  So if we cannot see it in ourselves, then that makes it that much harder for others to see it either.  The more we shine on our own inner light, the more others will see it.  But it is only our own inner switch or dimmer that changes, not the fact that the light is already there. I hope me, you, we…let others see our own light.

Get Your DIY On!

I am very excited to announce a new section to my blog.
Each month, perhaps even weekly, I am still deciding on how frequent, I will be posting a new DIY in this section. After seeing the many DIY’s on the internet, Pinterest boards etc, it inspired a unique idea for me. I am always seeing DIY’s for almost everything, the home, the yard, crafts, and even planners. I am often seeing dollar store ideas. But I only rarely see planner (or other journal type things like art journals and scrapbooks) specific diy’s that encompass dollar store materials. And financially things are a bit rough for me at the moment. So, I felt inspired to make a new section, where something new and creative is accessable to me, despite having little money to work with. Hence, I also wish to make this accessable for anyone, whether you have much in the way of finances or not.

So join me as sometime this week I will be posting my first project. It has been done and pictures taken already etc. All I need to do is find time in the midst of my monumental task/project where I am, to write it up, work with the images, and put together this neat little package for you.

I basically walk through a dollar store, look at all the offerings, and brainstorm some sort of DIY for anyone to create. This may be more planner related items, or it could be broad enough to be used in any kind of journals or scrapbooks, or anywhere you might record your life and doings. You never know what I might come up with, so stay tuned!

Oh, and before I leave you with (hopefully) anticipation, I will give you a hint, the project involves a festive holiday theme to it. 😉

See you here soon, join me while I thrift some crafty finds for you/us!

Planner/Journaling Freebie – November Page Marker/Bookmark

Happy November All!  {{still hearing crickets}}

If you care not to read my ramblings, then just scroll down and grab the printable freebie I made for anyone to use, for personal use only please. But, I hope you will stay a few extra minutes and perhaps find something I say of mild interest. 😉

I have to admit, I am not only feeling a bit in a slump with writing for this week/past week, but feeling just slight discouragement at not getting any readers yet. But, mind you, this is slight. I have no intentions of giving up that easy. I always have been and always will be the fighter. 😉 I am not looking for a huge amount of readers. I am only hoping for a few steady ones, people to just share this journey with. After all, no one wants to feel alone on those journeys, especially the tough ones. I wish to grow this blog and the entire site, but I want it to be shaped by not just me, but readers. I want it to be a slightly cooperative growth. I feel like input will make it evolve so much better than I could do it alone. It seemed like an interesting experiment AND growth opportunity. But I sheepishly admit, I am not the best at networking with people, and I am only just learning how to come out of my shell. It has been a shell I definitely needed over the past few years though, not only to evolve how I have needed, but to guard myself and heal…which I also really needed. So, again, mind you, this is all a new process to me. Working with technology is not new, and neither is exploring the internet, or even working with graphics. I have done much involving those for nearly 20 years. But using all of this to actually reach out and connect with others, is very new. So forgive my process, and mostly my stumblings.

Anyway, I am of the mindset, “if you build it, they will come.” So, I will keep building. Now its important to note, this process is for me, and even if I get little to no readers, I will be sad at that, but I will continue to do this. Any readers, and any gentle guidance on my process will be very welcomed, but will not stop me from going forward. As a good friend of mine loves to say, “just keep shuffling your feet and life can’t bury you.” On that note, and my effort to continue building, I offer up something today to perhaps entice some to come in, and sit awhile, and just join me. I cannot buy you, the reader, a cup of tea, and say sit and chat with me, but perhaps you can use something I created this week. I started out making it just for me, mind you. A November Page Marker/Bookmark.

As I noted in my first post, I love to journal, and I love planners. I am trying to find a way, in my life, to blend the two nicely for me. I want my planner to eventually be the perfect combination of daily life journaling, and organization, and planning/scheduling. Some people have created lovely today/page markers, some have created wonderful bookmarks, some have made really interesting inserts etc. But I have found it tough to find at times, just what I am looking for. I wanted a today/page marker, but I also wanted a place to jot a few notes, or perhaps just noteworthy reminders for the month. I also wanted it to have a calendar. So, rather than pull out a few more hairs trying to search out exactly what I wanted, I came up with today’s offering.

This is for November, but if you like it, I will continue to do one for each month, and I am even hoping for input on how I can improve this, and tweak it to something even better. Like all things I will present on this blog, I am looking to evolve this creation with a little bit of user input. So, let’s create together, hah?

A couple notes: this marker’s dimensions are, without the tab on the top; 3 by 8.5. The tab adds about an inch or so to stick out of your planner or journal or album or whatever you like. I put the marker on an image size of about 6 by 11. This seems to be closest for those, like me, who have a planner that is 5.5 by 8.5 or roughly A5 size. But you can resize it to fit whatever planner or album etc. that you like. I just wanted to make sure the detail would be crisp enough for larger sizes as well. I also added an area on the left side that is intended to be the space where you would punch your holes. This was approximately a half an inch of space, but of course trim that area to how you like it.

I am not at home, and not near a color printer, so I cannot test it. So therefore, I welcome even more feedback as to how it comes out. I will be doing better testing when I am home. I am hoping the color comes out as I intended it. I might print out a black and white copy at my friend’s house, or go to staples or something to print a color copy. I want to be able to put it in my planner, and show you how I use it, but if anyone does use, and wants to share an image, I would be happy to post that here, or on my pinterest board.

A couple of ideas for you. You might try printing it and then having it laminated, and then you can write on it and then wipe off as you complete tasks or whatever you use it for. I can even make a more perpetual one for this very purpose, if there is enough interest. This would work nicely in any size planner, providing you adjust the size output, it could work nice in any journal, whether punched or just cut to slide into the pages. This could work nicely in a Project Life album, it could work in a scrapbook. This could even be used in a reading book. Use your imagination. But I would love to see how you use it.

I will be doing lots of things for planners and journals etc. I want to think of lots of new and interesting things to make for them. Input from you would help me evolve it into something truly useful for any of us. So please let me know what you think.

I love printables, and of course like many, my pinterest boards are loaded with them, and I hoard every printable on my computer that I can find. =) So, I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to creating more, and also looking forward to evolving those creations with others feedback.

As usual with anything I offer here, this is for your personal use only. You are welcome to share this with people you know, especially on socia media, as long as there is a link back to this site, and do not direct link to the image please. Link to this page where they can then download.

I hope you enjoy this page/today marker/bookmark, and let me know what you like about it, what you would like to see added, etc.

This is the small size image, and click the link below for the large size.


november page tab sm



The large size version for Download Here.


 Thanks for reading, and again Happy November! =)

~Kat :@


Site Update Today, New Background and Header



I am proud to present today, my new blog background, and new header.  I am trying to get to a point where I make everything myself, even one day, {{gulp}} my own theme files and css coding. But for now, until I learn the coding, I am going to work toward doing all else myself. The images all use my photography, right down to the pumpkin and leaves, tweaked using my graphic designing skills, however rusty they might be, and even having my Milo adding something to it as well.

The leaves I found out in the yard, the fall scene was taken right out toward the street, and even the pumpkin was sitting right outside. Milo is always quite hammy enough to allow me to snap lots of shots of him, looking content as usual.

I am quite happy with how this turned out, save for one thing I need to ponder. I am thinking his image in the background repeats too often, and distracts the eye. But I need to live with it a day or so, then decide and adjust from there.

It speaks of my love for fall, my never-ending love for my precious kitty boy, adoration for all things purple, and hopefully blends those all well.

I hope you like it, and always welcome thoughts and comments as long as it stays positive and constructive. 


Wishing all a great week!


~Kat  :@