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Thoughtful Thursday

The following is solely my opinion on things.  At times what I have written seemed rambling and disjointed.  I hope I brought it together enough to make it worth your time.  Next Thursday will be easier to write.  I found myself concentrating awfully hard gathering my thoughts on the whole purpose of writing about such a broad subject.

Just committing to writing posts for Thoughtful Thursday has prompted me to be thoughtful.  Contemplating all the definitions of thoughtful, made me think and think hard.

1. showing consideration for others; considerate.

2. characterized by or manifesting careful thought: a thoughtful essay.

3. occupied with or given to thought; contemplative; meditative; reflective: in a thoughtful mood.

4. careful, heedful, or mindful: to be thoughtful of one’s safety.

I suppose being called thoughtful would be a very high form of praise indeed.  And I reckon thoughtfulness is a virtue to strive for.  It covers so many human characteristics that make one also kind and giving.  One who is dependable and honest and not prone to impulsiveness and impertinence.

One of my very favorite quotes is:

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? ~ George Eliot

If you can find it in yourself to consider this thought every day of your life, with every task, everything that is asked of you or required of you, it will certainly make some bitter pills easier to swallow.

Being thoughtful, to me, means putting the needs of another above your own.  It means considering the consequences of what you choose to do or not do in any given circumstance.  It recalls that age old Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And in my opinion, there is certainly not enough of that going around these days.

As I am sure most everyone has, I have done things for the good of someone else when it seemed the cost to me, personally, was beyond exorbitant.  And at the time, while I most certainly did what was required, I didn’t necessarily do it with a gladness.  At times I have felt bitter, used, put upon, taken advantage of.  Looking back, however, the act of going ahead with the right thing, the thoughtful thing, paid me back in ways I couldn’t see going in.  Such is life.  And at the end of mine, I want to know I lived my beliefs.

Sometimes one is discouraged from patting oneself on the back.  I am not so sure that is ever a bad thing.  Pride is a slippery slope, but unless you reflect on a good deed done, bask in the happiness or helpfulness you have brought about, how do you ever step up the next time you are needed in such a personal way?  Sometimes the praise or thanks is slow in coming or not forthcoming at all.  We can live with that.  Surely.  You were not thoughtful so someone else would compliment you and stroke your ego, telling you how good a person you are.  You did it so when you put your head on your pillow at night, you can sleep with a clear conscience knowing when called upon, you responded and in a way that made someone’s life less difficult.  Sometimes that peaceful rest and clear head is more than any “thank you” could ever be.

Often I used to say to my youngest brother “When you wake up each day you have choices.  You have to ask yourself, will I do the right things today or the easy things?”  More often than not, those things are not the same things.  I think he thought so many times I was being preachy and condescending.  That was not my intention at all.  I wanted him to be happy.  To have purpose.  I believe until you learn to enjoy doing for others even at great cost to yourself, you can never truly be happy.  As the quote says “what are we here for?”  What indeed?  If we do not interact with other human beings and more than just coexist, are we not just some terrible experiment gone wrong?  No matter what religion you call yourself a part of, if any, no matter what you believe about how and why humans exist, our humanity depends on our thoughtfulness.  Even if you don’t believe in anything, the fact of the matter is, how happy you are rarely depends on what others do for you or even what you do for yourself.  My contentment, happiness, peace, fulfillment, serenity wholly depends on my interaction with other people and how well I nurture my relationships.  Relationships, good ones, strong ones, aren’t happenstance.  They may start out serendipitously but they must be tended, cultivated, patched and treated as something of great value.  Protected even.  I guess what I am trying to say is a good, healthy relationship requires a lot of thought.

I have known both extraordinarily selfish people and extraordinarily thoughtful people.  Intentionally or not, they touched my life and helped me decide what kind of person I want to be.  That decision is one that evolves constantly.  As well it should. We will never handle every situation the way we should.  We will mess up.  We will hurt feelings.  We might even let our mean streak take over from time to time.   But it isn’t what happens to us, but how we handle what happens to us.  And we must always be mindful that how we react to these happenings almost never affects just us.  We should right wrongs whenever possible.  And remember forgiveness is for us not for the person we are forgiving.  And on the other hand, if you do your best to right a wrong and the offended person chooses not to forgive, then that is their burden to bear.  However, if we are thoughtful people, hopefully those times will be few and far between.

Circumstances change, people come in and go out of our lives, hardships and heartaches happen to all of us and hopefully we will all know, more than once in our lives, happiness and true bliss.  But if nothing else may we all be content.


Wednesday’s Woman: Ree – The Pioneer Woman

Welcome to the very first Wednesday’s Woman.  I think as I start contemplating getting into what I would like to call a “cottage business” once again, and as I spend precious time writing my thoughts down for others to read,  I am constantly amazed at the success some women bloggers have enjoyed.  The first one that came to my mind was The Pioneer Woman blog.  A WILD success story.  I have wondered if Ree Drummond’s success is kismet, or if she had a plan and executed it beyond even her wildest imagination.

There is likely NO need for introductions.  If you don’t know The Pioneer Woman then you must live under a rock.  Or you just got your first computer and I am the first website you stopped by when you logged on.  If that is the case, how you found me would be an interesting story!  Ree The Pioneer Woman has almost done it all.  She’s a happy wife, homeschooling mother, daughter, sister, blogger, author and one heck of a photographer.  Man, that sounds like a lot of people I know.  Even me! Well except for the photography part.

Ree really seems to have  a handle on everything.  Her blog is beautiful and so very addictive.  SO much to enjoy from her “Love Story” of how she met Marlboro Man (her hubs) to her Tasty Kitchen pages where if you don’t find something that makes you want to run into the kitchen, you are not paying attention! You will laugh. You will cry.  You will feel like you have a new friend.  Maybe not a real life friend but a friend who Forbes  ranked No. 22 on their 2010 Web Celeb 25–one of only three women. The Pioneer Woman was named Weblog of the Year at the 2009 Bloggie Awards and keeps growing and growing to nearly 22 million page views monthly.  Kind of amazing.  But if I read her right, I would imagine it means just as much to her that there are fan sites devoted to her. Of course with anyone famous, there are naysayers.  Yes, she’s successful.  That’s a good thing right? I think so.

I didn’t speak to Ree directly before making this post.  Likely she will never see it.  I can’t imagine that she has time to read everything written about her.  But I am pretty sure I haven’t said anything she would disapprove of.  And because I didn’t speak to her, I didn’t get permission to use a picture so I used a photo of the cover of her cookbook.  Really its so much more than a cookbook.  It’s beautiful.  Trust me.


I mean really, look at that cover.  Amazing.  And evidently I am not the only one impressed since this book was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  Not too shabby. If you click on the cover you can zip over and buy a copy.

So get yourselves over there and get you a big helping of what The Pioneer Woman is dishing up today.  But don’t blame me when you spend hours and hours trying to peek into every corner of her blog.  I don’t know that it can be done! But in your spare time then you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.  Frankly, The Pioneer Woman is everywhere!  And from what I hear, soon to be in a movie theater near you! Not kidding.

So there you have it.  The Pioneer Woman in a nutshell.  And as far as I can see she is one lucky duck.  A lucky duck I think has worked very hard for her success.

Tomorrow is Thoughtful Thursday. Stop by if you have a minute.


I am not going to let Facebook ruin my blogging!

Seriously.  I find I update my facebook page and feel like I would be repeating myself here! Not so.  Plenty of people have not gone the facebook route.  Many times I wish I hadn’t! So I am going to make it right!  Starting today!  I am going to catch y’all up on what has happened in my life since I last posted and reinstate some things that kept me writing and hopefully you reading!

WOW, where to start? Go ahead and get that cup of coffee or tea and a biscuit and have a seat, this may take a while!  And I will try not to confuse you and keep my timeline straight.

It honestly isn’t like I have been holed up not living life.  Au contraire, mes amis! This Summer of 2010 has been crazy busy!  Gardening, mowing, kids, grandkids, short adventures, long adventures.  I will admit the cooking bug has been squashed in this horrible endless heat.  We have had so many days over 100 and even a couple with the heat index into the 100-teens.  I don’t know all the statistics but July broke records for heat and drought in my area.  I will never believe anyone who says “But it was a dry heat so it wasn’t so bad.” BULL!  Hot is hot.

Last time I posted was my birthday.  And it was a very very good birthday indeed.  Big OLD 51.  Not a milestone but something about starting on the second half of a century is kinda mind blowing.  I got this great wagon from Jerry.


Isn’t she a beauty?  We have already put her to much use hauling pears from our one, insane pear tree.  These pears are inedible unless you are a raccoon or a possum.  And I forget how many Jerry said he hauled the last day he picked them up but it was a ridiculous amount.  They are gone and now the mama raccoon and her four little bandits are eating our cats’ food like crazy!  When Jerry gets home, if they are still around we are going to trap and relocate them before someone (namely Mo, Julius or Siobhan) gets hurt or killed.

Okay, so August moves along ~ rapidly it seems!  Jerry headed back to Tunisia the Monday after my birthday.  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of August. On the gardening subject, I have started some tomatoes I hope will be winter/greenhouse tomatoes.  This is a new thing for me.  I will see how it goes.  This is an early picture.  They are still alive, and have 6 little leaves, so that is a good sign, right?


Oh and I have new overalls!  I bought these for myself – sort of a birthday present – sort of I fell in love with them and needed them!


And the color is coffee!  Perfect!  And of course I needed new rubber boots and have been needing them for forever.  The ones I have are so dang heavy I can’t walk very far in them without getting leg cramps!


Cute huh?

Okay, let’s see.  OH both girls, Hannah and Rachel started college yesterday.  That is sort of getting my cart before my horse in the timeline but it is pertinent to the next bit of what is going on and what will be going on.  So yes, they are both Northwestern State University Demons as of yesterday.  Hannah is in Accounting.  Rachel in Fine Arts.  I am sure as time goes on, they will provide me with tales to tell!

With Rachel starting college, she is dropping the baking biz all together.  That was a given.  Baking does not fit in her very busy schedule.  So I did this order all by myself last week.


NOT FUN by myself!  Yes, that’s 16 boxes you count!  Petit fours, decorated cookies, mini Bakewells, cream wafers, chocolate chips…but it all turned out lovely and the customer was very very happy.


The person I made all this for is a friend from way back and she called yesterday to say it was all a hit.  So happy to hear that!  And I have a little baking order today and one for this weekend for family and I will try to get postings made of those.  But I learned a lot doing this big (to me) order by myself.  One thing, I want/need help for something that big.  Two, it’s not that much fun working in the kitchen by myself on something so important.  Three, I miss making soap.

There I said it.  I have been saying it to myself for 6 months. And to Jerry for almost that long.  Just blurting it out every now and again in the middle of a discussion that has nothing to do with soapmaking.  Then I would follow up with “I don’t mean that do I?”  I know how much he hated how the soap took over our house before.  Here is just a small example.  Look at all the soap stuff! My poor kitchen!


He even built me a shoppe.



And still there were oils in every corner, soap curing all over the place.  Stacks of wrapped. Girls wrapping soap.


Boxes waiting to be mailed.  UPS delivered something nearly every day. And this was a picture of my porch ONE DAY the week before Christmas 2007:


The post office sent a separate truck to my house. They were so excited!  So was I – as far as I know not ONE mistake in that day’s shipping!  Business was so good and then along came MaryJanesFarm!  WOW.  Amazing.

And then my mom got sick. And everything changed.  Everything.  Soap was WAY down on my list of things that mattered.

When I sold the internet part of my business and forwarded my wholesale customers information about the new owners, I agreed not to go back into the internet soap business and compete with the people I sold that part to.  However, I just learned last week that they are no longer making soap to sell.  And have closed their internet shop.  I found this out when an old customer of mine emailed me to say the site was down, she had been ordering from them since I closed, and I sent out an inquiry to try and help her get what she needed.  I got a response that said “I am still making soap, just not selling it at present.We have closed down the web site and do not now for the time being have an internet presence.”

WOW! Really?  So what does this mean?  Will they never?  Could I make and sell again without breaking my word?  I am still mulling all that over.  I never want to do wholesale again.  About all it did was keep a little money in the kitty for ingredients and work me half to death!  I don’t want to put up a website again.  For one thing I don’t want to maintain one.  That alone is a lot of work.  But I don’t think my making soap for customers who have asked for it since I quit, doing an catalog in pdf form and talking about it here and on facebook violates that.  Especially since they are no longer doing business.  It was almost like that was the door I was waiting to open.  I have not sold soap locally in over three years.  And that was always part of the agreement.  I could make and sell all I wanted to locally.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming again.   Some months I mailed 2000 bars of soap not counting the local wholesale and local retail.  It was too TOO much for just me. I always, ALWAYS, wanted to have my hands on every bar that left here. I never expected it to grow into something I needed to hire someone besides the girls to help with. And as girls grew up and got jobs outside home, they didn’t have time.  And now they are both in college.  And I don’t think Ben has one bit of interest in soap. Other than for his personal use 😉

So yeah…I’m a nut. That’s not news to anyone.  I have felt so happy since I decided to give the soap pot another stir.  I just have to keep it real.  Keep it manageable and do nothing to violate my agreement.  An agreement that may or may not exist any more.

Enough of that.  Here is what’s coming up.  Interviews this Autumn that you will NOT believe.  Seriously. I get butterflies just thinking about it.  Oh please, please, please don’t fall thru!  Opportunities of a lifetime!  To pick these brains!  And then share my pickins with you happy people!

So let’s see.  Soap? covered.  Interviews? said all I can at this time.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Now…more stuff. I am going to reinstate and reorganize some “Days of The Week with NotQuiteJuneCleaver”:

  • Magpie Mondays ~news from here, chit chat, talkie, talkie, interviews{squeeeeeeee!!!!!}
  • Treehuggin’ Tuesday ~ pretty self explanatory – I’m a treehugger and I am going to talk about it on Tuesdays! Green products, etc
  • Wednesday’s Woman ~ I will introduce you to a blog I follow and the woman who writes it-maybe even a short little something from her
  • Thoughtful Thursday ~ What ever is worth thinking about. Words of wisdom from all sorts of people who have inspired me & made me think.
  • Foodie Friday ~ Recipes and menus, food photography, trends, you know – food news 😉
  • Simply Saturday ~ things that simply find themselves bound to Saturday – movies, books, gardening, housework
  • So…It’s Sunday ~ recapping my week, announcing what’s coming up the next week, soap news – stuff, know what I mean?

This does not mean I will post everyday but I will at least have an outline!

AND I would like to do a  Photo Contest every so often.  Working on the details of that. Will announce that pretty soon.

So…whew.  Told you it would take a while. Okay, that’s what I have in mind.  Actually I have quite a lot in mind.  But the things I am most excited about are stirring up some soap and the interviews.  Whoa, baby! So excited!

By the way peeps, I LOVE comments.  So leave me some, mmK?  I know you visit.  I have a stat counter!  But you never comment.  I don’t mean NEVER never…but I do love comments.  Nice ones that is 😉 Okay, neither do I.  I visit the same wonderful blogs everyday but seems someone always beats me to the punch.  I think awwww someone already said that.  Well I have a new rule! I am not reading comments before I post mine.  If I repeat something well so be it!  I am saying my piece anyway!

Now for your Treehugging Tuesday Tidbit: Recycling Soup Cans – so cool! Click on the pictures to read all about it!


See you happy folks tomorrow.  It will be Wednesday’s Woman so stop by!

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