Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Hodge Podge - March 8, 2017

1. What is one area of your life where you’re a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

I used to be a perfectionist when I was younger. When I was an adult, my mom mentioned that I used to space the hangers in my closet about 1-2 fingers apart from one another. Everything looked very orderly.

What I remember about being a perfectionist as a child and teenager, though, was that in the attempt to doing something perfectly, sometimes I would try multiple times and still not feel the final product or effort met my expectations. That, certainly, wasn’t healthy.

When I was employed in the development/fundraising field, proposal writing and cultivation events demanded a high level of perfection and attention to detail. Those qualities paid off at that time resulting in grants that helped non-profits offer worthwhile and meaningful programs to the public.

This was definitely a good thing.

During the past six months, I created plans and activities for homeschooling and 4-H that I was so excited about and eager to implement. I have found that even with time-consuming planning and attention to detail that outside negative factors can have an unfortunate impact on what I envisioned.

Above: Olivia teaching youth about how to make a bird feeder.
Below: Sophia teaching youth about how to
make bath bombs using essential oils.

Being able to accept that things will not meet my level of expectations has been something I’m working on during the past few months.

2. What’s something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Some synonyms for “ridiculous” are “outrageous” or “unreasonable” or “nonsensical.” One of the things that fits this description, to me, are people who are in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
In Minnesota a few years ago, there was a case of a man who was driving his car and he hit a pedestrian who died. He insisted that the car accelerated on its own. A jury and judge didn’t believe him and he ended up being sentenced for many years.

During that time, it was determined that the particular make and model of the car he was driving did, in fact, have a problem just as the man described. There was a nation-wide recall to address the problem so it wouldn’t happen to anyone else.

To make a long story short, the man was released from prison far before the number of years he was sentenced for; and the crime was dismissed.

Although he will never get the years back that he served, he was grateful for being released; and being reunited with his wife and children.

There’s a man who I’ve been matched up with through a prison ministry letter-writing program. He, too, was convicted of a crime he never committed. His co-defendant, through extensive and persistent legal representation, was exonerated of the crime that he never committed because his DNA was never found at the crime scene.

However, the man I’m writing to still sits in prison despite his DNA not being at the crime scene either. His time with his parents and the outside world passes him by each day.

Despite the challenging situation he is in, he is trying to obtain his college degree and do good work while in prison so his time isn’t totally wasted. He has volunteered to help other prisoners who have medical needs or in wheelchairs by being an assistant to them; and been rewarded with that responsibility. He’s currently applying to be involved with the dog program; and was given honor status for doing well (which means extra benefits).

3. What’s a skill you’ve developed by way of that old-fashioned saying, “practice makes perfect?”

I wouldn’t consider any skill I have “perfect” by any stretch of the imagination.

Playing the piano at the nursing home in January 2014.

However, when I think of a skill I never had and then practiced or worked on it so I could have it, I would say playing the piano (though my skills aren’t as strong as they were when was a teenager); proposal writing; cooking/baking; embroidery; and making window stars.

4. What’s your idea of a perfect breakfast.

A perfect breakfast is one that I don’t have to make myself.

When I think of a perfect breakfast, my mind immediately went to three restaurants that have outstanding breakfast buffets: Lake Elmo Inn, Jax Café, and Lowell Inn.

Some of my favorite parts of the buffets: egg strata, Eggs Benedict, fresh fruit (especially flavorful strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and pineapple), bacon, sausage, Belgian waffles, or a made-to-order omelet.

5. What’s a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you’ve taken that you’d rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

There are so many trips that I look back on that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. There isn’t one that was a perfect 10. Something always seems to go wrong on trips (usually just minor things). That being said, none of the challenges have made a vacation unpleasant. I’m so grateful to have been able to travel and have a break from everyday life.

Sophia walking on the Great Wall.

The top two trips that come to mind are when we went to China to adopt Sophia and Olivia in 2001 and 2003.

The highlight of the trips, obviously, was the addition of two daughters to our family.
While we were in China, being able to see a variety of historical and cultural sites was memorable and exciting.

Tasting authentic Chinese food was fun – there is quite a difference in the taste and spiciness of food depending on where you are within China.

I'm feeding Sophia on the second trip.
Forks were not available - only chopsticks.

6. What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can’t do perfect, how about one that comes close?

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you’re waiting.” Joyce Meyer.

7. How would you spend $300 today?

I would invest it in a retirement account.

As the years towards retirement dwindle, I get more nervous.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We haven’t had internet service since Tuesday (March 7th) at 5:30 a.m. There was an outage in our area – perhaps due to the high winds from Monday evening through Wednesday (50+ mph) – or maybe some other reason. At any rate, over 9,000 customers were without the internet.

Trying to homeschool and run businesses from the home are very difficult when there’s no internet access. It’s surprising how dependent we’ve become on communicating with others through email, instant messaging, texting, and social media.

Research for homeschooling is often done on online, resulting in some subjects and projects being put on hold until the internet resumes.

Although living in a rural area sometimes can be a contributing factor. Other times, I truly believe, it is because of an ineffective and/or an inept provider. One of the managers I talked with said there are so many work orders for problems as well as new installations. So, it seems that it is a lack of technicians and people in the field to address customers’ problems.

This internet situation definitely has been a lesson in patience. The only way I'm able to post this is by going to the community center and using its internet connection.

The positive side of this is that I’ve been able to get caught up with some personal projects and orders for my Etsy shop; and do some nature journaling.

One of the rainbow stars I'm making.

I’ve been able to tackle some of the things I wanted to accomplish as part of the UFO Challenge and 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge that I’m doing now.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ann, I'm visiting after I saw your comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by. I loved reading all of your answers. What a wonderful ministry you are doing in your letters to prisoners. The stories you shared are heart breaking. I admire you for your homeschooling, too. I homeschooled my children and loved every minute of it. Our daughter is now homeschooling her children and what a joy that is to watch. Keep up the good work, you sound like an amazing lady!

Nonnie said...

The coat hangers remind me of our daughter. That is so interesting and very sad to think about people in prison who shouldn't be. What a wonderful thing to have those lovely little girls. And I love the Joyce Meyer quote. So very true. A trip to China? Now that's a trip!!

Lisa said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today! I loved reading about your girls and about your ministry. One of my daughter's friends used to keep her hangers exactly one finger apart! I saw her the other day and she said she doesn't have time to keep it "quite" as perfect now (she is 30!).

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Our church has a prison ministry also. I'm not involved in it but I so love hearing about the work they are doing and the lives they are leading to the Lord. I have such respect for homeschooling Moms. I don't think I could have done it. Blessings on the rest of your week!

Rita said...

I love your posts like this. :)
I think the rainbow star is my favorite one so far!

Suzanne McClendon said...

Your stars are beautiful. :)

While I'm much more patient that I used to be, I'm still not very good at waiting.

How blessed you are to have been able to adopt the little girls from China. Our youngest daughter wants to do the same some day.

Thanks for commenting on PS Annie! Have a blessed weekend.

David E. McClendon, Sr. said...

Our court systems do leave a lot to be desired. We have witnessed detectives who make assumptions that are later presented as facts and not challenged. We have judges who have heard it all before and "Know" that this particular circumstance is the same as all the others. We have lawyers who are only interested in drawing a fee and are not interested in justice. Meanwhile, there are innocent people who are sentenced for crimes they did not commit.

It seems that few in the justice system are actually interested in justice.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Thanks for visiting me. Great post - you're inspiring.