The Boys Love These Cards!

My daughter has these First Words Touch and Feel Cards by DK and the boys LOVE them!

You can buy them from Amazon by clicking on the picture. 

The boys both just turned one year old and they just love looking through them and touching the tires on the tractor wheels, the fur on the dog, the plastic on the ball and the kernels on the corn.

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I’ve looked at a lot of touch and feel books and cards and sometimes the “touch” part is a little weird and doesn’t really match what it is supposed to be. But these cards are really great!

The cards are thick and can hold up to the kids chewing on them and bending them. I mean, they are not indestructible but they are pretty sturdy.

Educational picture cards may not be the first thing you think of as a gift for a one year old, but let me suggest that you consider these cards. They are really cool!

Peace,

Jill

“Letters To My Younger Self”

A few years ago I was asked to contribute to a book about motherless daughters. I wrote an article then changed my mind.

For years I have swung back and forth about writing about losing my mother and my sister and being raised by an emotionally absent father and his dysfunctional 2nd wife. I don’t like to appear like a whiner or a victim or use my loss as a way to manipulate or get attention.

But the truth is that all that loss, tears, grief and pain left a hole. A hole that probably can never be filled. But it has also made me who I am today.

I have to function without the advantages a mother and an older sister can bring to one’s life. There’s a lot of wisdom, wisdom that could have been personally tailored to me, that is lost to eternity. So, I’m forever searching, listening and watching.

I follow an actor on Instagram, Matthias Schoenaerts

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and surprisingly he posted a photo of a book he’s reading, called “What I Know Now: Letters To My Younger Self.” It’s a collection of letters that women have written to their younger selves. Why Matthias is reading it, I don’t know, but I’m impressed, almost as much as some of the roles he’s played. Being curious, I looked it up and bought the kindle version.

The impressive contributors to the book include such women as, Madeleine Albright, Nora Roberts, Macy Gray, and many other successful and influential women.

It is a very interesting read and includes some very wise counsel like…

“You´re going to have to learn how to pat yourself on the back eventually. Start now. It´s not gloating.It´s taking pleasure in life´s goodness” 

I would recommend it for your late summer reading.

Peace,

Jill

55 Years Old Now!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted. I’ve been busy getting this and that done on my book. I had hoped that it would be ready today, but I’m worried that the release will be a few days later. Oh, well, stuff happens.

One stuff that happened is that I turned 55! I’m so glad that I was able to celebrate it with my kids and Grand boys.

I wanted to see what 55 candles would do to a cake and so we LIT IT UP!

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The husband wasn’t able to be with me so he sent some pretty flowers…

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I thought it would be funny to do a milestone facebook post like all the new moms do to mark the development of their babies. So, I did one and Little G helped me with a photo to go with it.

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I hope to be able to say that my book will be available later today or tomorrow, but we’ll see.

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Peace,

Jill

“Love Begets Words”

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So, I’m doing everything I can do to avoid doing some last minute work on my book. Eating a cheese quesadilla, trying to make a snapchat video – which I always seem to forget how to do, playing with my grandboy, trying not to call my daughter to find out what my other grandboy is doing. I was even reading some works from medieval Ireland, “The Maxims of King Adfrith of Northumbria.” This one got my attention:

“Love begets words.”

My mind immediately went to Shakespeare, the Brownings, Byron…you know. So, I think this maxim is true.

Love really does inspire words. The beauty, passion and exquisite pain of it all. People who are wordsmiths have to try to describe it, document it, speak about it for all of us.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Use the words you have. They don’t have to be fancy. I love you is good enough.

Peace,

Jill

My New Book Coming August 1!

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I’m excited to announce that my new book will be available on August 1st!

Having been a teacher for 17 years I wanted to share some insights I have in the educational process. I wanted to take some pressure off of parents and students and help them see there is more to school than grades.

There are skills that students learn that are more important and more valuable than the subjects they study.

I describe 6 skills that not only successful students possess but successful adults.

I wanted to encourage parents to raise adults not children!

I hope you will share my book with anyone who has a child from Kindergarten to 12th grade!

Share it with teachers. I give away a few teacher’s secrets in my book which they will be glad that I shared!

Look for it August 1st!

Peace,

Jill

 

 

Instagram Love

In addition to my friends and family I follow a bunch of other people and companies on IG. I thought I’d share a few (doesn’t even scratch the surface) of my favorite Instagramers with you this morning. These are just a few of those who make me smile with their posts.

Chris Pratt is hilarious and just a good guy. He’s really cool about posting real moments. You get the feeling that this is really his personal IG account and not his publicist posting for him.

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When I was having my Smash Cake Frenzy, I watched some of Cupcake Jemma’s YouTube videos to learn how to pipe icing. She’s a cute, perky British baking master and she has her own shop called Crumbs and Doilies. You can see the amazing creations her shop turns out and you can follow her IG, too, at Cupcake Jemma.

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Jack Black! Just a hoot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been following Hugh Jackman forever and he so consistent and like Chris Pratt you get the feeling that he is actually posting his photos. He’s just a real, down to earth guy and he’s not bad to look at either.

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I follow several IG accounts from Scotland because it is my dream to visit the land where my mother’s family is from. Visit Scotland posts beautiful photos from around Scotland.

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Pumpkin the Raccoon is a fun IG to follow. The photos of Pumpkin and his pals are so fun, great quality and the person who writes the captions makes me laugh every time! I went to an office supply store one day and lo and behold there was a Pumpkin the Raccoon wall calendar!

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Rhea The Naked Birdie is a sweet IG. A young woman in Boston has adopted a Love Bird that has a condition where it can’t grow feathers. She loves this bird and takes good care of her. Rhea’s followers make clothes for the little naked bird and her owner takes photos. The bird seems to love to pose! It’s crazy! My favorite post is a short video of Rhea wearing a crocheted Batman cape and running through the house (because she can’t fly – no feathers).

 

 

 

Bats of Queeland! These bats are not creepy they are SO cute.

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History Photographed is a great IG that posts old photos. Not just celebs like the young Jack Nicholson here but photos from history.

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I follow a lot of artists, too, and Matt Tommey is a sculpture basket weaver from North Carolina. He does amazing work!

 

 

 

 

 

Who do you follow on IG?

Peace,

Jill

#nofilterneeded

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My last post was about my addiction to the feeling new things bring. Thanks for the comments and responses. It’s nice to know it’s not just me, I’m not the only one.

I was scrolling through my twitter feed today and someone tweeted something to the effect of, “Stop discarding and start living.”

That’s the challenge isn’t it?

Discarding, downsizing and organizing can become addictive as much as buying new things.  It’s easy to get caught up in the eddy of the process and never really start living.

The challenge is to find the same enjoyment in living that we’ve found in getting new things or throwing old things out.

 

As I mentioned before, I see a lot of people come to minimalism after a crisis, as a way to sort through their lives and find peace and meaning. Minimalism isn’t the peace and meaning but a process to filter out the things that are blocking, interrupting, taking up too much of our time and space so that we can enjoy our lives.

The challenge is to move from the process to the living.

It’s not as easy as you would think, especially if you’ve lived life with pain and hurt. Maybe you didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol or sex or other popular addictions to numb the pain, maybe you collected, purged, hoarded, lived austerely. Anything that kept your attention away from hurt.

However, if you’ve come this far and rid yourself of the distraction and you’re left with yourself, the temptation is to go back, stay in the eddy of process where you were safe and it felt good.

The unfiltered, undistracted life is a little raw and real.

All the stuff and activity kept us cushioned and padded from the hurt.

To live without the padding takes time. Like when air hits a scrape, it stings, we recoil but the more you expose it to the air the less it hurts in time.

It takes time to learn to enjoy life’s flavor without all the condiments. The footage without all the CG. The photos without the filters.

Life with #nofilterneeded is a wonderful goal, can we get there? Is it possible?

I’m going to try.

How about you?

Peace,

Jill