Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paper Clutter

Apparently I am not alone. I have a problem with paper clutter and today I am going to do something about it. Well, at least start to attack it. I am tired of stacks of paper taking over important work areas so I decided to do something about it. To my surprise and relief there are ways to get a handle of this deluge of paper.

So I googled and here are some sources and ideas:

I came across an article on how to divide and conquer paper clutter into four general areas, sort, handle, and dispose. Separate the papers according to priority first.

Set up four folders:

Urgent attention: bills, medical situations, forms that require signature
Not immediate but needing action: setting up appointments, bills but not urgent
Forms and statements needing to be Filed: birth certificate, receipts, warranties, etc.
Recycle/Dispose Things not needed

To do this you first need to find a comfortable place to lay out or spread your clutter. For some people that will be the floor, but I can't sit on the floor too long, so I think I will go with the living room table. Frankly once I get started, I plan to gather all the letters and papers from the little neat and not so neat piles and place them in a basket and then start the process. Some people stop at that. I mean the basket stage and walk away. They have a temporary fix, the table or counter is cleared off, so they feel they are off the hook and stop. I know. I've done it, but not today.

I think I need to label the piles some how with one being to recycle (lets remove the guilt issue, right away) maybe a paper bag where the letters, magazines, and fliers can easily be dropped in. Perhaps a little box for coupons. You have heard, "everything in its place, and a place for each thing."

I would really like to hear from those people who are neat freaks and how they do it. How do you tame the paper dragon, that is? If you could leave just one or two pieces of advice, I would be very grateful.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lot of Shaking Going On

Another earthquake in Puerto Rico in less than a month. That statement isn't totally accurate because there have been several minor earthquake, but two earthquakes in less than a month gets my attention. I was in Puerto Rico during the last earthquake but that one had its epicenter 60 miles under Aguas Buenas near the center of the island and measured 5.4. That one was felt by everybody it seems.

Today's earthquake was slightly weaker at 5.3 and had its epicenter slightly north of Puerto Rico, thus it wasn't as strong. Of course, as soon as I heard something had happened I called PR, and my sister told me she hadn't even felt it. She went on to tell me that her ex-husband was at Plaza Las America and he had felt it. I quickly went to Puerto Rico Seismic Network website and got all the information I needed. By the way, this website is bilingual and you can get this same information in Spanish.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chinese Snacks

I teach an ESOL tutoring class after school twice a week and since we practically go directly from our last class with only a 3 to 5 minute break, we are all hungry. Well, I told my students that they could eat a small snack and guess what? One of my Chinese students brought snacks for everyone, but they were snacks I had never seen before in my life. It was the first nutritious junk food I had ever tasted. You know what it was? Crunchy green peas! They are really petit pois, as the French would say and they are delicious. They come in tiny little diminutive foil packages, which actually make you feel skinny, because you remember that most Asian people are thin except Sumo Wrestler, of course, and very rich ladies. Any way, I am not thin, but just thinking I could be satisfied with this tiny snack makes me hopeful. I tried them and I think I am hooked on them already!

The larger package, has soda crackers. Don't be fooled, they aren't just any soda crackers. If you enlarge the second picture you will see that these are seasoned soda crackers; they are seasoned with chives and carrots. Could you imagine my surprise when I pulled out the first cracker and it had bright dark green slivers of chive poking out of the cracker? Now I understand. The Chinese pack their snacks with flavor and believe me they are delicious!
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Some New Paintings on Etsy


I've been painting geometrical representations for the past week. Actually, the top two pictures are close ups of the bottom green painting. As part of what I have been painting, I went back and retouched the third painting, because it seemed unfinished. You can find these paintings at my ETSY store. Hope you will visit.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pinones, Puerto Rico


A picture says a thousand words.
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Curious Little Things


Curious little things drawing our eye.
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Miramelindas After a Rain Shower

Flowers of the Day. The loveliest flowers on the side of the road. I did have to use an umbrella and get my feet tangled in the brush but it was worth it I think. This is part of visiting El Yunque National Rainforest, and driving up on the loveliest road in Puerto Rico. I could do this everyday.
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Yesterday I Joined Northland

I became a member of Northland, a Church Distributed. It was a delayed decision which I should have taken a long time ago. This church is huge and can be very impersonal if it were not for the fact that God always shows up. Let me give you three examples.

One Sunday, my beloved children Juan, Rosita and I were going to church, and my son Juan was complaining that he didn't like going to this huge church because he felt anonymous there. On my, what do you say to that? Anonymous, big word for a sixth grade, and it was coming from the depth of his heart. So I told him that we were not anonymous to God. That God sees everything about us, he knows all our steps and that I was sure God was there. I basically put God on the spot. Truly, we only knew a couple of people at the church and we had only gone one other time to this huge church, which at the time met in the "Rink," the refurbished Longwood skating rink, with five services, ushering people in and out every hour and a half like a revolving door. He was right. We all felt like no one knew us.

So we got to church. We parked the car in the grassed lot and headed to the rink. At the time the church had the pews in six sections divided by two wide aisles. We entered on the left, and since the service had already started they needed to find us three seats. The man on the left had no seats, so he signaled to the usher on the right, and he waved us forward and to the front. When he took us there, to our utter surprise, the only three seats available were next to the only family we knew in the whole church: the Walthers, some of Rosangela's friends! Of course, we realized God was telling us we were not anonymous to Him!!! Curious enough the message that followed was on the importance of reading which meant a lot to Juan, since he had a learning disability. That message was a turning point in his life, too.

Fast forward years later, a lovely couple whom I had taught at Wesleyan Academy, Joan Pijem and her husband, Emilio Solis, moved to Orlando. It did not matter where I parked, I would always see them going into church but most often coming out. We are talking about a church that easily has two to three thousand people at a service. Then one day, my daughter Ana came from out of town, and as were leaving the parking lot a car starts honking. It was Ana's old school mates, Emilio and Joan, saying hello from their car. We laughed! We knew God was doing his thing. They even knew it because they recognized that no matter if they chatted with friends or if I delayed at the bookstore, the Lord took delight in seeing us greet each other and exchange blessings. They recently relocated to Puerto Rico, but not before letting me know and saying goodbye.

Then today, I went to church in Longwood, well, just because I joined the congregation yesterday, formally after 15 years. It was about time and I think I should have done it sooner. I was on my way to the bookstore, among the throngs of people, when I ran across, three old friends, Ingrid, Debbie, and Belle who had her 87 year old mother with her. They invited me to go have lunch with them at Bahama Breeze... and I had such a lovely time.

We are definitely not anonymous to God, I can almost hear Him say.

Chariots of Fire

Recommend you see it. Chariots of Fire, an old movie from the 1980's, definitely a classic brings encouragement to us all to live up to our convictions. I had seen this movie before but for some reason had always been distracted while watching it, perhaps with children or chores, but tonight I really got to watch it, as it portrays the life of Eric Liddell, an Olympic runner, his training, his everyday life, rivals, and who he revered. You can see images and a brief note, about Eric Liddell here.

On continued research on Eric Liddell, I came upon more details about his life and character on Wikipedia. An interesting note on Wikipedia, which differs from the movie, is that Liddell learned of the date of the qualifying heat being on a Sunday (which conflicted with his conviction that Sundays were holy) at least three months before the 1924 Olympic competition. It is not far fetched to speculate that he endured a great deal more psychological persecution by those who wanted him participate the qualifying race, than that one incident with the Prince of Wales, as shown in the film.

Not long afterward Liddell returns to China to serve there as a missionary. He went on to marry the daughter of Canadian missionaries, Florence Mackenzie, and have three daughters. During increasing Japanese aggression during the Second World War he sends his family to safety in Canada while he is placed in an internment camp and subsequently dies there of an inoperable brain tumor and malnutrition. Of his life in the internment camp, Norman Cliff, a fellow missionary and author, wrote a book about their experiences in a book titled, Courtyard of the Happy Way. Other books, by and about him, as well as documentaries, are also listed. The excellent information found at Wikipedia portrays a man who consistently lived his life in total surrender to Christ. It was later learned after his death, that he in fact had been offered liberation from the prison camp in China but refused it and instead let a pregnant woman take his place.

By coincidence, I realized that his birth was on January 16, 1902, a day like today.