Annebella & Kate

Creativity, Clarity, Happiness, & a bit of Snark

Memorial Day 2016

Technically, summer doesn’t start until June 21. But many people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of the season. This year, we celebrate the holiday on May 30th. Many families will heat up the grill, head to the beach or take in a big blockbuster movie. But Memorial Day has the word “memorial” in it for a reason.

memorial_day

The holiday got started on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. It is an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.

memorialday

Remembering Those Who Served

It is customary to mark Memorial Day by visiting graveyards and war monuments. One of the biggest Memorial Day traditions is for the President or Vice President to give a speech and lay a wreath on soldiers’ graves in the largest national cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Most towns have local Memorial Day celebrations. Here are some ways you can honor the men and women who serve our country:

– Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars.

– Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.

– Visit monuments dedicated to soldiers, sailors and marines.

– Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

– March in a parade.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s incredible what a monumental day this is.  A time to remember that every freedom we have and enjoy is because someone fought for this country and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Many people go about their daily lives and don’t even think about it.  They will also spend this Memorial Day believing it’s about a family get together and a reason to have a nice barbecue.  They don’t realize that every single freedom they enjoy every single day; even HAVING their families intact, the fact that they are even able to gather together was given to them from the life of fallen soldiers’.

Millions of people in this country go about their daily lives living each day in peace and harmony not realizing it was brought to them through someone who believed in their freedom so much they gave their life fighting for it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Memorial Day Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

On this day of remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection.

We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray your peace, provision, hope and strength will fill their lives.

May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord’s mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray,

Amen.

“That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863

1 Comment »

Procrastination

pro·cras·ti·na·tion
prəˌkrastəˈnāSH(ə)n/
  1. noun
    noun: procrastination; plural noun: procrastinations
    The action of delaying or postponing something.  The act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention:

     

========================================================

procrastinator

That would be a full description of my biggest character flaw.  I am a ginormous procrastinator!  I wait until the LAST minute to do everyday tasks (except for work; those I complete early or on time).  I don’t even know how I’d function if I actually got something in my personal life done in a timely manner.

From walking the dogs, to making a Dr.’s appointment, to grocery shopping and everything in between; I find a way to put it off.

Do you procrastinate or do you “get ‘err done”???  If you use to be a procrastinator but figured out a way to overcome it, please let me know ~  Is there a secret to NOT being a procrastinator?  Do you have any tips or hints on how to STOP this vicious cycle?  If you’d leave me a comment I’d greatly appreciate it.

annebella_siggie

3 Comments »

Italian Lemon Chicken with Rice

Written by Kate

image

This is such as easy dinner to make. It makes your house smell good, it requires little effort, and my family loves it. Oh, and it’s all made in one skillet which makes for easy cleanup.

Italian Lemon Chicken with Rice
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown – long grain rice, not minute rice)
2¼ cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Instructions:
1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or pan (one that has a lid).
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste, and Italian seasoning.
3. Brown chicken in the butter for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Chicken shouldn’t be cooked through at this point)
4. Transfer chicken to a plate.
5. Add rice, chicken broth, lemon juice, and remaining Italian seasoning to the pan (no need to clean it first).
6. Place chicken on top, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes until liquid is dissolved.
7. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges for squeezing.
8. Serve immediately.

4 Comments »

World IBD Day

Written by Kate

image

In honor of today being World IBD Day, I thought that I would write about IBD – specifically Crohn’s disease. IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is NOT IBS! IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. IBD and IBS are very different. IBD is generally broken down into either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

I have Crohn’s disease. I was finally diagnosed in June of 2009. By October of 2009 I had already spent more than 60 nights in the hospital, had countless ER visits, been on too many medications to count, was finally started on Humira (a powerful biologic drug), and I was going through a week of inpatient chemotherapy. All of this was done to try and get my Crohn’s disease under control. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

In February of 2010 I had a bowel resection. I had two thirds of my colon and a portion of my small intestine removed because it was so diseased. My surgery went well, but a few days post op I went septic. I spent a week in the ICU fighting for my life. Then, I spent the following three months in and out of the hospital due to post op infections.

The past 6 years have been filled with too many hospital stays, ER visits, doctor appointments, and medications to count. My Crohn’s disease has taken my vision in my right eye, my peripheral vision in my left eye, my job, my independence, and far too much family time. I also have neuropathy, short bowel syndrome, and anemia – all caused by Crohn’s. I struggled with c. diff for years. The c. diff tried to claim my life, but once again I fought. After another minor surgery and a fecal transplant I have won the battle with c. diff. I’m telling you all of this not because I want sympathy or pity, but rather because I want people to know what IBD is. My goal is to raise awareness. IBD isn’t just “a bathroom disease.”

image

Despite all of my struggles with IBD, it has brought some good things into my life. I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. Crohn’s has made me face my fears, and I’ve come out with bravery I never knew I was capable of possessing. Crohn’s has also made my marriage stronger. My husband is Superman for everything that he has battled through right by my side. He is my rock, my biggest cheerleader, my confidant, and my best friend.

Today is World IBD Day, and I’m writing this post from my hospital bed. My Crohn’s is flaring, so here I sit. I’m in pain, nauseous, vomiting, and I haven’t been able to eat or drink in over 48 hours.

I had a really good span of time when I was doing okay. I managed to stay out of the hospital for 7 whole months. That may not seem like much to you, but for me it was the longest period of time that I have stayed out of the hospital. I see a pain management specialist, I had a fecal transplant, and I started taking high quality supplements that made a huge difference for me. You see, Crohn’s is a chronic disease. There is no cure.

Again, I’m writing this to raise awareness. I want to tell my story in the hopes that one day it might help someone else. Crohn’s might win some battles, but it won’t win the fight. As long as I’m alive I vow that I will always fight.

image

4 Comments »

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Delicious, mouthwatering, homemade 4 cheese Macaroni & Cheese; comfort food at its finest!  You could serve this as a side-dish but in our home it’s the main course, that’s how much they love it!

macncheese

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 ounces cubed processed cheese food (Velveeta)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the oil and the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain well and return to cooking pot.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter; stir into the macaroni.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Muenster cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Add the half and half, 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture, cubed processed cheese food (Velveeta), and eggs to macaroni; mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges; serve.

annebella_siggie

Leave a comment »

Boundaries & Forgiveness

Boundaries:   “Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.

Learning boundaries was a hard lesson for me since no one ever taught me how to have them.  I didn’t even have one boundary.  I didn’t know that boundaries existed.  I didn’t know where I left off and someone else began.

A very good friend and mentor taught me one day unexpectedly what boundaries were.  I had an argument with my sister.  She was upset with me (for personal reasons, ones which I could not explain).  I called her and she would not come to the phone to speak with me.  I became EXTREMELY frustrated after weeks of being ignored and treated poorly.  I tried to apologize but every time I called, she was “not home” or “sleeping”.

Finally, I wrote her a letter.  A heartfelt letter expressing my apology and letting her know how much I loved her and would never intentionally hurt her.  Days and weeks went by and still NO word back from my sister.  I was heartbroken but there was something else I was feeling which was taking over and that’s anger.  I was pissed off.  Here I was, pouring out my heart to her and making every attempt to make things right and she apparently was still upset with me.  What did I have to do, give her my first born?  WTF?!!!

I called my friend and mentor in a snit and said, “I’m calling her (my sister) and she is going to talk to me, I wrote her a letter and she owes it to me to talk to me.  I told her that I was sorry and that I loved her and there is no way she can possibly still be mad at me!  I mean, who does she think she is?  She owes me an explanation!” and my friend/mentor stated, “No, she doesn’t owe you anything.  She doesn’t HAVE to call you back, that’s her right and her decision and you just have to accept it”.  I paused.  I really paused.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  I knew in that moment that my friend/mentor was correct but it felt so unfair.  I surely would have called her if the tables were turned.

That is where the problem was for me.  All that time I had no idea what personal boundaries were.  I didn’t know that I had the right to say no to anyone for anything.  If for some reason due to unforeseen circumstances that I did have to decline someone, I felt irrevocably guilty.  So, people constantly took advantage of me and when I needed a favor, I was constantly told “no, I cannot help you” and I was living in a state of mass confusion and hurt feelings.

It wasn’t until my friend/mentor told me that my sister didn’t have to call me that it finally CLICKED for me that she does have the right to NOT accept my apology but at the same time that meant that I also, was able to say no or not feel forced into something that I did not want to do.  What a revelation.  It opened up new doors in my soul.  By nature I was inclined to say yes to people for everything even when it inconvenienced myself and my family.  I let the issue with my sister go.  I stopped expecting her approval or acceptance of my apology and believe it or not- we still have not spoken until this day (19 years ago).  It was never forgiven.  It’s been held over my head ever since and I’m okay with that.

no2

The changes in me were grand once I figured out that I should say yes to people asking for my help when I was truly able to do it with a happy heart.  So, that last minute babysitting job when I had a long day with my own kids and I was tired turned into, “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to pass on this one, I’m wiped out”.   Some were very resistant at first because they were use to me saying yes to everything and anything but they quickly learned that I was putting my family and myself first.

I really wasn’t doing anyone any favors all those years anyway because I cannot tell you the number of times I “dog sat” or “baby sat” or helped out in some way and my heart was just not in it.  I almost resented it at the time because I felt trapped.  Now, I say yes with an open loving heart and am pleased when I can help someone out.

no

What jogged this memory was tonight I was at my mother’s house and ran into this sister.  I said Hello to her her and she didn’t even acknowledge me.  When it was time to leave I say goodbye to her and she didn’t answer.  Still getting the cold shoulder after all these years.  It’s sad to me that someone can be so miserable after ALL THESE YEARS.  She’s not punishing me, she is only hurting herself with her hatred.

Not only did I learn about boundaries but I learned a lot about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is KEY in this life.  What cracks me up about forgiveness is that we ALL do bad things; we are human, we all make mistakes and most are unintentional.  But we’ve all hurt someone that we loved at one point or another.  We’ve ALL have misunderstandings that have caused feelings to become hurt so WHY is it so hard for some people to forgive others?

forgive.jpg

For me, these days it is not.  I just let it roll off me.  I know if I want to be forgiven by God, I have to forgive others.  I don’t even like the saying “I can forgive, but I’ll never forget”.  I also don’t like the saying, “Well, I can forgive but I’ll never be able to trust again”.  I just forgive and move on.  Surely the same person is not going to get one over on me more than once and I will not be anyone’s doormat, but to truly forgive is divine.  To harbor ill will or hate someone for wronging me would only harm my precious heart.  To dislike someone for something they did to me would be to let those feeling fester within and cause turmoil for myself – a constant state of being tense and hateful.  That is a waste of MY energy that I will not allow.  Hating others and not forgiving is only hurting yourself.  By forgiving you are truly setting yourself free.

forgive2

annebella_siggie

2 Comments »

Summer Wreath for your front door

SUMMERWREATH

I found this on Pinterest but had a hard time tracking down the source with directions.  I LOVE it and think it would be super easy to make.  This is the one I plan on doing for this summer. This would be a little burlap for the bow, some fake flowers, and a painted letter; hot glue gunned onto a grapevine wreath.  I love the way it came out.

1 Comment »

Patriotic Wreath Craft

I found this patriotic wreath over at Nap Time Crafts a few years ago and made it (I made a few of them and gave them as gifts).  They turned out adorable and can be made in different sizes.  It’s cheap and extremely easy to create.

patrioticwreath

It’s created by wrapping red, *cream, and blue yarn around a straw/Styrofoam wreath.

I like that she used a “cream colored” yarn instead of white and what I did was instead of cutting the stars out of foam, I just bought the pre-made ones and hot glued them on there.  I had small and large stars alternated on mine.  Her idea of distressing the bright white foam stars with ink to dim them down a bit is genius.

Have Fun!

annebella_siggie

2 Comments »

What?

what

What we’re eating this week?  Whatever frozen pre-packaged food there is in the freezer.  For realz.

What I’m reminiscing about?  The good old days; being a kid.  Footloose and fancy free.  Playing  kickball, playing kick-the-can, cops’n’robbers, 500, Ghost in the graveyard, jumping in a huge pile of leaves, running through the sprinkler, having water balloon fights, bike riding, skateboarding, playing baseball, playing basketball, playing softball, walking to the candy store, hop scotch, jump rope, tether ball, 4 corners, dodge ball, badminton, volleyball, and more……

What I’m loving?  This song ——-> Can’t Sleep Love by Pentatonix

What we’ve been up to?  Working hard for The Man.  Actually, sprucing up our yard a bit getting ready to plant some flowers:)

What I’m dreading?  Grooming both of the dogs this morning when I get home from work.

What I’m working on?  Planning a trip to NC to visit my daughter one last time before she deploys for Japan.

What I’m excited about?  Spending time with my daughter’s and my granddaughter on this upcoming trip ~ looking forward to bonding and having girl time.  Also, my sister Rosie is visiting from NYC and we are having breakfast together Wednesday morning.

What I’m watching/reading?  Nada.  Nothing at the moment because I don’t have the time, I’d much prefer to be blogging.

What I’m listing to?  Silence, it’s a beautiful thing.

What I’m wearing?   A new (very) blonde hair color and new jacket that I just ordered ——->

What am I doing this weekend?  Well, I’m fortunate enough to be watching my granddaughter Friday and Saturday.  Saturday morning early I will head over to my mom’s and clean her house first.  Then I have Aniya for the entire afternoon.  Of course I’ll have to find time to clean my own house!  Yay me.

What I’m looking forward to next month?  Oh, that’s easy peasy- WARM HOT WEATHER and possibly even a trip to the beach.  C’mon summer- you cannot get here fast enough.

What else is new?  Just ordered all new makeup at Sephora.  That was fun and exciting, have not done that in years.  It was time.  Really, not much new ~ much of the “same old same old”.  Work, Sleep, Clean………  WHAT about you?

annebella_siggie

Leave a comment »

Writing Challenge #3: Day 31: Epilogue: Write a letter to yourself.

Dear Self,

You are okay.  You might not think you are at times but I guarantee that you are.  You “overthink” and that can be your worst enemy.  It’s a form of worry that just wastes precious energy.  Try to remember catching yourself doing this and correct it when it happens.  Positive thoughts, positive life.  Also, why worry or over-think?  There are some things in life that you simply cannot change no matter how much you chew on it.  Let it go.

WHY are you so hard on yourself?  You are a child of God.  You are a gift full of potential.  Every time you put yourself down that is Satin speaking and getting the better of you.  You are not as hard on anyone else you know as you are to yourself.  It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s not realistic.  You cannot hold yourself up to perfectionist standards- that’s like an airbrushed photograph- perfect and lovely, but not real.  Be kind to yourself and love yourself the way God does.  Love yourself the way your parents do.  Love yourself the way you love your own children, family, and friends and then you’ll begin to see love blossom.

pray1

Rely more on the Lord, turn to him in your time of need because he’s there around the clock and he always listens.  Sometimes things take time, but be patient and pray.  Pray for his love and guidance.  Pray for his understanding and forgiveness.  Forgive others most importantly.  Love with an open heart and learn to forgive fully.  Hold no grudges, they only serve to hurt your heart.  Remember that if you want God to forgive you, you MUST learn to fully forgive others for their trespasses against you.  It’s the only way to be free.

Spend more time getting back to the “old” Annebella of yesteryear.  The care-free one that goofed off and laughed a lot more.  Draw and paint more, walk in nature, take the dogs for more walks, and find your center.  Take time for yourself.  Life is short and it goes by wayyyy too fast- take time to smell the roses.

Stay in your own lane.  Mind your own business.  Do not get sucked in to other people’s drama.  THAT is not your circus, not your monkeys – just be yourself and do what you do best.  Smile and try like crazy to stay positive.

Work hard and don’t let others at work get you down.  You are too good for that.  Just because someone else wants to see you down doesn’t mean you have to let them beat you.  It is what it is, and there are better things waiting for you around the corner.  Remember to pray for that person, she is sad and lonely otherwise she wouldn’t be acting this way to begin with.  Pray that God can open her heart and fulfill her.

pray2

Turn your anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD over to God.  When you are at your lowest remember that you are NOT alone.  Reach out for help if necessary and remember that “this too shall pass”.  It always does.  It may not feel like it at the time, but it’s a dark rain cloud that will clear to sunnier skies.  Rely and call upon your friends; that love and cherish you.  Call on your husband for reassurance and call your daughters!  Reach out to others you know that have mental illness and don’t feel worthless or inadequate.  You are perfect just the way you are!

Enjoy life, you only have one to live.  Sincerely,

annebella_siggie

Leave a comment »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 106 other followers

%d bloggers like this: