The Cup of Kindness – Part One


Robert Burns wrote a song we all know well. It’s the one we sing when stepping across the border from an old year into a new – Auld Lang Syne.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of auld lang syne ?

In case you ever wondered, “auld lang syne” basically means “days gone by.” We sing it to signify the passing of one way of things into another, like on New Year’s Eve. But this year, ideas in a New Year’s devotional have inspired me to sing it on January 1st.

Remembering is not just about looking at the past. It is about facing the future with confidence…
Consider writing down a highlight of your year before you even begin thinking about goals for next year.

I had every intention of doing a New Year’s highlight post (a video, actually), but I let it slide till later and went ahead with goal planning instead, right after the stroke of midnight. Goals are good…but it’s a mistake to move on to something new without first recognizing the benefits of the old.

Some stuff should never be forgot

What were your goals last year? Is it safe to say you wanted to do your best, be your best, make a difference in someone’s life? Well, how’d you do on those?

Asking myself that question, all I remember are the things I didn’t accomplish. The target dates I missed; projects I didn’t complete. All the time I diverted to other commitments, rather than my Official Goals. Problem is, I’m not objective—I see what I wanted to do, not what was actually done.

In other words, I forgot just how much I achieved.

Thankfully, other people remembered. I have e-mails, Twitter @s, instant messages, texts, handwritten cards, printed letters, blog posts, videos, even book dedications, from people I had the privilege of knowing or working with last year. “Thank you for the work you did…” “This wouldn’t have been possible without…” “You inspired me to…” “You are awesome!” “You make me happy…” and so many more. They’re amazing, because they remind me, again and again, that even if I didn’t measure up to my own expectations, I was part of something wonderful last year: another person’s life.

Now that I remember that, I’ve got a new goal: To compile all the supportive, encouraging messages I received last year, and make them available at my fingertips for reading throughout the months to come. To remind me what’s important; how far I’ve traveled in life; how much I’ve already done. Because without that perspective, working toward the rest of my goals is nothing more than “wandering many a weary foot.”

How about you? What’s in the cup of kindness from your auld lang syne?

More to do…
Keep that cup o’ kindness available for a right gude-willy waught! Or, in other words, tune in tomorrow, and I’ll show you some ideas for saving, organizing, and accessing those beautiful memories, so you can draw inspiration from them all the year to come! ~ Christine

© 2010 mousewords

Heating Safely in Frigid Weather

My thoughts and prayers are going out to anyone in the country who is dealing with the frigid ice and snow storms lately. I’m keeping in touch, well as I can, with friends in those areas, and every news report weighs heavily on my heart.

I’ve just heard from a friend whose neighborhood is struggling with ice storms. She mentioned widespread power outages and the dangers of hypothermia, which threaten residents—such as the elderly—who don’t want to leave their homes. They’ve also had reports of fires that were caused by people who brought their outdoor grills in for heat.

This news sent a different kind of chill through me—there’s another danger that many people may not be aware of, in this time of cold and ice. Carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. Many times the poisoning occurs when inappropriate grills and heaters are brought indoors, to an enclosed space without adequate ventilation.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is a byproduct of incomplete fuel combustion. Anything that burns can produce carbon monoxide. Fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters should be tested by the fire department, the gas company, or a heating technician every year, to make sure they are working properly. Also, adequate ventilation should always be made available—for example, kitchen fans that vent outdoors; chimneys and flues that are properly maintenanced; and windows that are opened a crack in furnace rooms.

But who has a window open during the middle of winter? When people want to heat their homes, they will be doing their very best to seal up all the cracks. This is danger enough simply with normal household appliances—but when outdoor grills or stoves are brought inside for heat, the carbon monoxide can accumulate and reach deadly levels.

If you know anyone who might be trying to use such methods of heating their homes, please spread the word about carbon monoxide safety. My family and I survived chronic exposure to CO, and came away with long-term damage. Yet we were lucky.

And I’ll keep the prayers going.



Happy Birfday!

I like to wish “Happy Birthday” to people through my blog, so that’s what I’m gonna do today!  Happiest of “Birfdays” to kellypuffs and many more! I frequently enjoy reading her blog, on my blogroll over there. Best wishes for a fabulous year!



Tales to Tell…

In here there be many tales to tell, says I…

Tide of Tales ACEO


This be me celebration for “Talk Like a Pirate Day”…arrr
They say dead men tell no tales…but live ones be sure to go on about their adventures…


Send Out the Marines!

'Glow in the West' ACEO by mousewords

It seems like it’s becoming inevitable. 

We’ve had at least a month of clear evenings–no clouds in the sky.  Late this afternoon, my family and I went for a walk in the hills just inland from the coast.  Bright, warm sunshine–piercing blue skies.  Lovely!  Then, as we headed back down to sea level, we felt ourselves being enfolded in that familiar, chilly, damp embrace of a rolling fog bank.  The hazy marine layer proceeded to engulf the coastline all the way up to the inland hills.

The topographical area where we live is something akin to a bowl–curving hills surround us on every side.  Well, right now that bowl is fiiled with pea soup!

We can hear plenty of fireworks going off around us…it isn’t quite dark yet, so none of the city displays have begun.  There’s still a chance it may clear away.  However, I’m distinctly reminded of last year—when we went up into the hills for a splendid view of the seashore and all the fireworks displays for miles around, only to find ourselves staring into a hazy grey mist illuminated by colorful lights.  With big “bangs.” 

Such is life on the coast.


Well–Happy Fourth of July, anyway!!!

Side note about the artwork : I drew this pastel ACEO late last year, but it turns out to be very appropriate for today.  Can you see the American flag hidden in the sky?  That was my subconscious putting pictures in my art again. 


'Eden' by mousewords

Ah, summer! The very thought of it brings greenery to mind—lush forests, tall grass, garden produce. With roots (so to speak) in the midwest, I remember the abundance of green that would overflow the horizon in summertime.  Paired with the tangible haze of humidity in the air, the green was vibrant.

After moving to California, I have exchanged green for a rainbow of other colors—the cacophony of flowers and plants that create a bright mosaic in Los Angeles; the lush gold of the parched, rolling hillsides in Northern California, topped by the stalwart, dusty olive tint of oak trees; and the bright blue of the Pacific Ocean, put together with the many hues of light that permeate the mist in the air.

 It’s not always green, but it’s good.

Tan Your Hide

I got a question. Sunless tanners. How to use them?

I reside in the mystical world of the coast, where cool ocean breezes wend their way through the air, and large banks of misty fog enwrap the land in a chilling embrace. Clear days of sunshine are welcomed like the visit of a friend from far away.

Poetic, truly—but it ain’t shorts weather.

Yet there are times when I find the need to travel to the warmer climates of the South, where tank tops and shorts are de rigueur. Coming from my days of blue jeans and long-sleeve tops, my attempts at LA fashion tend to remind one of the quote, “Her face, at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale.”

What does one do?

One goes to Wal-Mart.

Which brings us back to the subject of sunless tanners. How, exactly, does one use them? It never occurred to me before, but when you have the power to control your tan lines, where does it end? Do you stop fake-tanning where last month’s short-sleeve visit to LA left off? Or do you gel all the way to the wrists, risking a more pronounced farmer’s tan? Planning ahead to the Halley’s Comet-like occasion of actually needing to wear a swimsuit, do you tan one-piece or tankini? Hmmm…a bit too much time in front of the computer and not enough on the exercise bike will answer the question of tanning full skirt vs. French cut.

Trouble is, someone just put the power of creative choice in the hands of an artist.

I’m starting to think, “tattoo.”