Category Archives: Simple Ways to Handle Everyday Problems

A Surprising Benefit to My “Favorites” Notebook

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Years ago I bought an 11×8½ spiral notebook with a photograph on the cover of a creek running through woods.  I decided that notebook would be my “Favorites” notebook. On the inside I wrote, “Favorites—things I liked when I saw them”. 

My “Favorites” notebook starts off with the poem “Refuge” by Lew Sarett, and is followed with passages by Faith Baldwin from her book Living by Faith, and Robert Traver from Anatomy of a Fisherman. The notebook includes other poems; bits and pieces which stuck out as I read different books and articles; newspaper clippings about nature, history, movie reviews; song lyrics, and people stories—people following their creative muses, and people acting in commendable ways towards people and animals. 

I have a few scrapbooks, too, but those I meant to keep in order, and that order got lost in the shuffle of the years (and never taking the time to sit down and arrange photos properly). Most of the scrapbook pages are faded, and not appealing to work at. Somehow it’s easier and more pleasing to me to keep my favorites notebook going. Plus spiral notebooks are meant to be written in, so I can add my thoughts to something I read. The scrapbook pages are not good for writing on.

I found a surprising benefit to keeping a favorites notebook: when I’m in a bad mood, my nerves are on edge, or my spirits are low, taking the time to look through or work on the notebook improves my disposition, calms my nerves, and raises my spirits.

©P. Booher

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Just Half-An-Hour (or how to get myself to do work I don’t want to do)

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One day last week I was perturbed that I had yard work to do. Usually I enjoy being outside in the warm weather, but not that day. I think the reason it bugged me is that I wanted to do some writing on the computer. But a look at the tall grass and weeds around the shoots of the peony bush confirmed I needed to spend time trimming and weeding.

At the moment the tug-of-war between the two activities escalated in my mind, the thought came, Give the trimming and weeding half-an-hour. If you don’t want to do anymore, that’s fine, you can quit. You’ll have been able to make some progress on it, anyway. But give it half-an-hour.

With that thought, along with a prayer for God to work on my attitude, I grabbed the grass shears and set to work. An hour-and-a-half later, I stopped, happy to have a nicer-looking front yard as my reward.

Since then I decided to use this tactic with other tasks which I need to do but don’t want to do. A half-hour is long enough to allow for some progress but not so long that a lot of time is tied up in a project I don’t want to do in the first place. At the end of thirty minutes, I can reevaluate where I stand. I can either continue, or quit and do something else.

©P. Booher

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It Takes Faith–A Word About An Empty Tomb

“…the women…found the stone rolled away  from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3) (NIV)

Although I didn’t go to church often when I was growing up, I knew Easter Sunday was the day Christ rose from the grave. I didn’t connect that fact to anything else in my life–it was just a “religious fact”.  Christ came; He died; He rose. The tomb is empty. That’s good–but what’s that mean?

Years later, that empty tomb–that knowledge I have by faith–gives me hope. The empty tomb gives me hope because Christ was (and is) too big to be held by it. If He is too big for that, He is certainly big enough to handle any and all of the problems I have now or ever will have. He is not at all bothered by any of my problems. He is not fretting about what to do. He has it under control!

The empty tomb gives me hope because it means Christ is living. If He is living, I can reach Him through prayer. I have access to all His comfort, all His kindness, all His understanding of me. He can give guidance, ease my fears, cancel my worries.

That is what the empty tomb means to me now. It takes faith.

©P. Booher

 

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Easy Tips for Saving Money

  1. Men’s old cotton T-shirts and babies’ cloth diapers work well for dusting. They are soft and won’t scratch the furniture. On the same order, towels and washcloths beginning to show wear can still be used to clean sinks, bathtubs, or the car. If you have pets, old towels work fine to put on the bottom of the pet carrier. If the pet messes on them, the towels can be thrown out.
  2. Years ago I worked at a discount store. It carried some clothing, but mainly knicknacks, artificial flowers, kitchen, bedroom and bath items. I marveled at the creative ways people could make low-cost gifts simply by putting different items together. For instance, for a wedding shower a person could buy towels, washcloths, sheets, and a few other goods, place them in a round laundry basket, and wrap the laundry basket with an extra-large vinyl disposable picnic tablecloth. A 54″by 108″ tablecloth did an admirable job of covering the basket, and there was even some tablecloth length to spare for tying the gift shut in a “bow”.
  3. This is the time of year living in the Northern Hemisphere, especially if you live where it’s often cloudy, can bring on “cabin fever”. I’m sure it’s more prevalent this winter due to the lockdowns, etc. of COVID-19. When I worked at the discount store, people got some relief from cabin fever without spending a lot of money by purchasing artificial flowers, vases, and candles in the new spring colors. Sometimes people bought new tablecloths and placemats too. They were able to freshen their homes for under $20.
  4. For many years I relied on clay litter when changing cat boxes. Eventually I had enough of choking on the dust. Fortunately I discovered an alternative—kitty litter made out of pine pellets. However, the 20-pound bags don’t last as long as I thought they would, and the only place I can buy them is some distance away. I discovered the local feed store carries 40-pound bags of pine-pellet horse bedding—at a cheaper price than the 20-pound bags of pine-pellet kitty litter. The man at the feed store told me a lot of people use the horse bedding for kitty litter. So on my next trip for bird food I bought a bag of horse bedding, and tried it out in Abby’s boxes. Abby’s OK with using it; I’m OK with the savings!

©P. Booher

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The Abby Chronicles–I Have A New Job!

abby-ready-to-write

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter XXI

The younger human has been spending more time sitting on the couch. That’s where she was awhile ago. Knowing her lap is soft and warm I jumped onto her lap. She was talking and listening to a long device. She held one end to her ear and the other end to her mouth.

Sometimes when she was listening she sighed and seemed stressed. The older human asked if she was “on hold” (whatever “on hold” is, I don’t know). The younger human said, “Yes, I’m on hold”. I snuggled up closer to her and nudged her hand with my head. She got the message and started petting my head. I started purring. She made comments about how nice it was to pet me. I noticed her stress level went down (cats notice that kind of thing) as she continued to pet my fur. I realized I gained a new job: help the human stay calm when she’s “on hold”.

I have a lot of jobs—no wonder I need my beauty sleep! 🙂

Abby

©P. Booher, secretary

 

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Do One More Thing

There are days I struggle with lack of motivation. Lately, however, a phrase keeps popping up in my head: “Do one more thing”. I think this is my mind’s combination of a quote from newscaster/explorer Lowell Thomas, “Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can”, and an article from literary agent Steve Laube’s blog. The article is titled, “The Devil is in the Procrastination”. You can find the article here: https://stevelaube.com/the-devil-is-in-the-procrastination/.

Regardless of the source, that four-word phrase, “Do one more thing” helps me accomplish a little more and decrease the stress in my life.

Its practical uses are endless: from filling the tea kettle before I go to bed so the next morning goes easier; to finding one more picture for a blog post; to organizing one more manila envelope of papers, to taking time to check the car’s windshield wiper fluid level (not good to run out while I’m out and about on a wet or snowy day!)

If I told myself “I need to do this, this, this, and this after I do that” it would be self-defeating. But mentally and emotionally I can handle, “Do one more thing”.

©P. Booher

Resources: I consider Steve Laube’s blog excellent for beginning and established writers. He and his team have much info. to share on writing and publishing. (www.stevelaube.com).

Newscaster/author/explorer Lowell Thomas packed a lot of adventure into one life. If you’d like to find out more, you can go to: https://britannica.com/biography/Lowell-Thomas.

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Low-tech Car Care Tips for Winter

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Author’s Note: Most of this is a repost from last year. Hoping this helps someone out this winter.

With winter weather here for people living in the Northern Hemisphere, the cold and snow bring challenges in everyday living, especially for those of us who don’t have garages.

Here are a few car-care tips to make life a little easier on cold mornings for those whose vehicles stay outside:

  1. If possible, park your car so the engine faces the morning sun. Even in very cold weather the sun warms the engine, taking a bit of cold-weather stress off the engine, and making it easier to start. This tip came from a co-worker of my mother.
  2. Many newer cars have a more aerodynamic design. For instance, the doors of my car are even with the body. There’s no overhang to protect the door seals from the elements. That presents a problem in winter when a storm hits: depending on the direction the snow or ice comes, the car doors freeze shut even though unlocked.  For awhile I sprayed cooking spray on the seals. Then a co-worker told me cooking spray deteriorates over time and draws moisture. He suggested buying a can of silicone spray from the auto parts store and applying that to the seals. While the silicone spray costs more than the cooking spray, it lubricates the seals better without breaking down. This is a case where spending a bit more is worth it!
  3. This next tip isn’t for the car, but for animals that may be around or under the car: Bang the hood with a broom—make some noise—before starting the vehicle. Cats are known to climb up around the engine, seeking warmth, bringing injury or death to themselves, and perhaps costly damage to the engine when it starts. Taking a few extra seconds to warn any cat or other animal will save the animal and your engine.
  4. This tip may help those who drive light-weight vehicles: put some weight in the back. I drive a light-weight front-wheel-drive car. Come winter, I throw a twenty or twenty-five pound sack of cheap kitty litter in the trunk. This “old-school” trick I picked up from my dad, who routinely put extra weight in the bed of his two-wheel-drive pickup in the winter.

©P. Booher

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Ideas for Giving Gifts

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Author’s Note: Most of this is a re-post from last year. Hope it proves useful to someone needing suggestions for gift-giving.

While these suggestions are not original with me, they are on a different track from the usual ideas. They do cost you in time/money, but you can easily adapt them to your resources. (Please note: these ideas work best if you are familiar with the recipient’s age, circumstances, and likes/dislikes.)

  1. Is the recipient someone who may not drive or someone “who has everything” and you’re stumped on what to buy him or her? If you are close enough to the person to know what brands of everyday products the person uses–facial soap, body washes, facial tissue, for example–buy some in bulk and wrap the items. Let your creativity come into play as you wrap the items. Some years ago I came upon this idea for gifts for my mother. It made such a hit with her that this is my “go-to” idea for Christmas and her birthday, which comes five days after Christmas. I buy products in the brands she uses and put them in a basket. I hide gift certificates to restaurants or stores among the items. Depending on the time/energy level I have, I either wrap each item or just wrap the basket. My mother enjoys opening her customized gift basket and finding each item hidden among the tissue paper. True, “everyday stuff” isn’t glitzy. But you know the recipient is going to use it; it won’t be placed in a cupboard never to see the light of day again. If the person comes into a situation where money is tight, the person will appreciate those everyday things even more!
  2. Give the gift of time. If the recipient needs a certain project done and you have the skill and the means to do it, schedule a time to do whatever the person needs–then make sure to do it. Your time is worth as much or more than the money you spend on a gift for the person. You may be surprised how appreciative the person is!
  3. As an offshoot to the above idea, if the person expresses a desire to learn a skill you know how to do, (say, a computer program or a small home-repair project) gift the person the skill! Get together and show the recipient how to do it. Most people want to be able to do things on their own, rather than have to call someone, so again, you may be surprised how much the person appreciates it, and you.

Happy gift-giving!

©P. Booher

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Mental Reinforcement

These are days I need to keep mental “ammunition” close at hand. Here is some of the “ammunition” I use:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”        (Philippians 4:8, KJV)

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”     (Psalm 27:14, KJV)

“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:13, KJV)

“But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33, KJV)

“Lo, I am with you alway, even until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2nd Timothy 1:7, KJV)

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, KJV)

P. Booher

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Love is—

People have many different ideas about love. I used to think of it as a progression: you like someone, then you love someone. Other people think of “love at first sight”. Still others think love is weak, powerless, to be despised, a wimpy sort of emotion.

Check out this definition of love:

Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered.

It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do.

Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.

Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.

Love never fails!

(I Corinthians 13:4-8, Contemporary English Version of the Bible)

Something I need to think about along with the definition of love:

“…God is love”.  (I John 4:8, NIV)      NIV–New International Version

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4:10, NIV)

“We love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19, NIV)

 

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

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