March 31

Books I Read In February & March


Two books for my book club, one audio book and one squeezed in-between.


Comfort Me With Apples is a memoir of Ruth Reichl, former restaurant critic of The New York Times and editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine.  Set in the 1970’s, it traces Reichl’s evolution from chef to food writer while also detailing the events both in her personal life and in the great revolution in American cuisine.

Unbroken is the story of Louie Zamperini–a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean.  What happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story of an amazing man who somehow maintained his sense of self and his humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered.

The Weird Sisters is the story of three sisters…one who never left home, and two who return home to help their mother battle cancer.   Each sister is at a crosspoint in life  The book explores the family dynamics of sisterhood, and it’s a fascinating look at naming, birth order and the twists of life.

The Crossing Places is the first mystery in a series featuring archeologist Ruth Galloway, of Norfolk, England.  Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson asks for Ruth’s expertise in identifying human remains found in a marsh near Ruth’s home.  The remains date to the Iron Age.  Harry is haunted by the kidnapping of 5-year-old Lucy Downey, and he thought the remains could be her’s.  When another young girl goes missing, Ruth and Harry fear the kidnapper is at work again.  Ruth is an interesting  heroine,  and the novel’s archeological details added a lot of interest.

Daily Inspirations


Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books), Lori's Lists | 6 Comments

March 30

The RBBP – Chapters 7-9



Next week, I start How to Paint an Owl.  I’m excited to get painting again.  This month, I’m reading The Right-Brain Business Plan.  I had a pretty strong aversion to this book, but I also wanted to work my way through it.  My solution…just read it and get over the fear factor.  Here are links to brief summaries of the chapters –Chapters 1-3 and Chapters 4-6.  This week, I finished reading the book.

Chapter 7 – Action Planning – Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Making your plan real with goals, strategies, and action steps.

Favorite Quote – “If your Right-Brain Business Plan is the visual map of where you want to go with your business, then the goals, strategies, and action steps are the landmarks, routes, and turn-by-turn directions to guide you to your desired destination.”

Chapter 8 – Weaving It All Together

Putting the finishing touches on your Right-Brain Business Plan.

Favorite Quote – “With your finished piece, you’ll be able to step back and see how it all fits together and where your plan is taking you.”

Chapter 9 – Maintaining the Magic and Momentum

Keeping your Right-Brain Business Plan alive.

Favorite Quote – “As you do in your business quarterly check-ins, make sure you check in with yourself regularly–not just regarding your work, but also concerning the other important facets of your life, like health and well-being, personal growth, relationships, physical space, and fun.”

I enjoyed reading through this book.  JUST reading through it took the pressure off and made it less daunting.  I do plan to go through this book again and do the exercises.

Daily Inspiration


God, why do I storm heaven for answers that are already in my heart?  Every grace I need has already been given me.  Oh, lead me to the Beyond within.

Macrina Wieherkehr

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 7 Comments

March 29

Estate Planning – An Interview With Dawn


My friend, Dawn, works in the Care & Counseling department at my church, Granger Community Church.  She also works in Aftercare Services at Bubb Funeral Chapel.  She graciously agreed to answer a few questions I thought would be interesting, with regards to funerals.

Do you have to have a funeral?

The short answer to that question is NO; however, it all depends on how you are defining the term funeral.  If by funeral you mean a casket for the person who has died and a scheduled time of visitation followed by a service performed by officiate with a eulogy and the sharing of memories by family and friends – then “no,” you do not HAVE to do that.  Many people cannot afford a full service and opt to do less.  There are things such as Memorial Services, Graveside Services and then there are options such as Direct Cremation, and Direct Burial where no service is held.  There are also circumstances when people have no family and/or have not had any advance planning done and no one willing to take the responsibility of planning a service and they then become a ward of the state and that state decides what is done with their remains.

In your opinion, what is the most valuable service a funeral home offers?

PrePlanning.  Hands-down. This is not the same as PreFunding where you pay in advance for your funeral – I think PreFunding is a great gift though, a very great gift.  PrePlanning means making the decisions in advance and having them on file with a funeral home so that your loved ones do not have to make the decisions later.

What services/benefits are offered by a funeral home that folks may not know about?

First, I don’t think that people realize that funerals are more for the living than the dead.  The funeral is an event to commemorate the life of a loved one, and a ritual in our society that helps people move forward.  A milestone if you will.  I have come beside people who have said that until the funeral service they could not actually accept that their loved one had actually died.  So, the primary benefit that a funeral home offers is, in essence, its existence. 

As for other services, I cannot speak for ALL funeral homes, but the one that I am affiliated with offers PrePlanning, PreFunding, AfterCare – which is what I do, as well as the funeral service itself.  They also will file paperwork with the VA, and life insurance companies.  I believe that most funeral homes offer these services. 

What is one (or more) of the things that people wish their deceased loved one would have done or told them?

Again, PrePlanning is the top.  Second is having a Will and organizing and keeping up-to-date their important papers.  So many people do not want to consider their own death and therefore leave it to their loved ones to sort out their estate.  This can cause a great deal of discord between the family members that are left behind.  Many people do not know that if you do not have a Will, the state they live in may impose one upon them.  If you’d like to read the law regarding this, you can read Indiana’s law here.  If you want to see how this law works, you can try this user-friendly “calculator” that helps explain the law here.

What’s something that surprises people?

When it comes to the funeral planning part, most people do not realize that there are 125+ decisions that need to be made within the first 48 hours.  The need to make decisions directly after the death of someone you love can be challenging for some people.  For some it means you have to set aside your grief, your emotions, and try to plan an event that you had not prepared for.  It can be very difficult and often people choose products and services that really do not fit their budget.  It can be overwhelming more than surprising.

Another challenge is the Obituary.  Sometimes just knowing how to write it or who will write it can be stressful, but funeral directors are very good about helping with this and quite often will write it for the family.  Another factor with this can be that we want to pay homage to the person who died but at the same time, those words of tribute cost money. 

Quite frankly, there are many things that people find surprising and that is why I think it helpful to do the planning during a time when you are not susceptible to emotional decisions; such as after a terminal diagnosis or after the death of the loved one.  If you take the emotion out of it, you are likely to make wiser decisions.  This is one of those gifts that you can give to your family that they will never want to receive but will be very grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Do you have favorite resources that you consistently recommend?

I find new resources every day.  My current find is a website called that has a funeral estimator and also a Funeral Pre-Planning Questionnaire that you can print out and use as a guide for pre-planning a funeral as well as a Funeral Arrangement Questionnaire that you can use at the time of need.  It helps you see almost ALL of the questions that the funeral home is going to need answered.

Another resource is Center for Hospice Care.  They have a GREAT bereavement center in our community.  You can see the services and support programs they offer here.  Many communities have similar organizations.

Thank you, Dawn, for answering these questions.  I’m thinking of more questions, and I’ll interview Dawn again.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the “Comments.”  Dawn has a wonderful blog, Just Venting…or something like it, and even has her “Last Wishes” posted…the girl “walks the talk.”


FROM THE BLOOPER FILES…Dawn despairing that we would ever get a “good” picture of the both of us, and our photographer, Susan, disobeying my request to not shoot my “rolls.”

Daily Inspiration


Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Posted by lori . Filed under If I Die Today | 4 Comments

March 28

Try This – Yo-Yo Bear


During the month of March, I’m making projects with yo-yos.  This week…a yo-yo bear.


I’m smitten.  I think this bear is adorable. 


I made it using an Indygo Junction pattern that I purchased many years ago.


That finishes my fun with yo-yos.  Little yo-yo bear is already off making new friends.

Daily Inspiration


Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.


Posted by lori . Filed under Try This | 9 Comments

March 27

Love This – Pogo Plush



This is a new favorite of Freedom, Casper and Nikki…Nikki, in particular.  Pogo Plush toys have an inner bouncy frame, no stuffing and a free-floating squeaker; plus, they’re machine washable.  Freedom, Casper and Nikki are pretty easy on their toys, so I can’t comment on the “toughness” of the toy.  We have a small and a large toy and both are well-loved and much squeaked.

Daily Inspiration


I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.

Gilda Radner

Posted by lori . Filed under Love This | 7 Comments

March 26

In My Studio – March 26


This week, I made a few holiday decorations using yo-yos for Wednesday’s “Try This” post.  Those are the only things I finished this week.

That’s not the only thing I did though…

I finally found a bedspread that I like and can be laundered in my washer.

I ordered new drapes for my living room for $40, thanks to a sale at Bed Bath & Beyond and their crazy coupon allowance.  Sometimes I feel guilty when I get that good of a deal.  I still take it…I just feel a little guilty.

My husband had our yard mowed…in MARCH!  That’s nuts!

I weeded the front of my house.  This is huge, because yardwork is my least favorite thing.  My goal is to keep on top of this.  Hope springs eternal. 

I totally caught up on laundry.  This happens about once a quarter and it feels AWESOME!  Boy, is my husband going to be surprised when he dresses tomorrow.

I also did some planning for a show I’m going to be in…All Things Handmade & Vintage Spring Market.  I found out about it on The Savvy Luna Bugg and there was still a small space available.  This will be the first show I’ve done in a long time, and I’m looking forward to it.


 Daily Inspiration


Beauty is not caused.  It is.

Emily Dickinson

Posted by lori . Filed under In My Studio | 9 Comments

March 25

Camp Millhouse


Last night, I went to the Camp Millhouse Dinner & Auction.  Camp Millhouse is a camp for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities.  Camp Millhouse was founded in 1937 and is located on 45 acres just south of South Bend, Indiana.  It is wholly supported by the community through fundraisers, monetary donations and campers’ fees.

I love this evening.  I get to spend time with my parents, eat Polish buffet, bid the silent auction and support a wonderful organization.

Polish Buffet in South Bend, Indiana is Polish sausage, chicken, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, green beans and dinner rolls, and I LOVE IT.

I had a great time with my dad and mom.  We were out until 10 pm…which is like midnight to me and 2 pm to my folks.  We are party animals!

Daily Inspiration


There are two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.

Hodding Carter, Jr.

Posted by lori . Filed under Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 7 Comments

March 24

10 Design Ideas


Last year, in April and May, I did a “Spring Spruce-up.”  I’m starting early this year because our temperatures have been so warm, I’m already getting Spring Fever. 

I love those idea lists in magazines because they help me focus on an area.  Here are 10 design ideas from a flyer I received from Better Homes and Gardens:

1.  Rearrange Your Furniture

Start with the biggest piece and turn toward a focal point, such as a fireplace or window.  Or angle a sofa, chair or bed that’s currently hugging a wall.  If you don’t like how it turns out, try it again!

I’ve been thinking about trying a new arrangement for my living room.

2.  Paint Your Front Door

A warm color at the entrance of your home makes it seem more welcoming.  Just pick a fun color, get a quart of exterior paint…you can transform your home in an afternoon!

What I really want is a new front door, but I might just have to settle for repainting what I have.

3.  Ungroup Matched Sets

Identical end tables, nightstands and lamps can make your home feel like a furniture store.  Swap out one of the pair  with something in another room.

I can skip this one…nothing in my house matches.  I’m naturally ungrouped and mismatched.

4.  Add a Folding Screen

Not only does a screen add visual interest, it also helps define open rooms and hide excess clutter.

I can’t think where I’d add a screen…so I’ll be skipping this one too.

5.  Dress Up Your Drawers

Replace ho-hum cabinet pulls with colorful artsy knobs that coordinate with the rest of your room’s decor.

This really intrigues me.  I can think of a few pieces of furniture that would benefit from this.

6.  Warm Up Your Walls

Give your white walls an instant glow with a coat of neutral beige paint.  It won’t overwhelm you with color or compete with brightly colored furnishings.

I must be very smart because I already did this when we had the family room and kitchen painted in October.

7.  Rethink Your Accessories

Create a whole new look – with home decor you already have!  Just gather your accessories in a room, then try items in new spaces.

This is a good idea…easy and inexpensive.  I’ll do it.

8.  Use a Big Basket

It’s perfect for collecting shoes and magazines…plus, if you love it, you can keep it out in the open for the world to see.

Yes!  I’m doing this too.  I need one for shoes…they’re all over the house!

9.  Get a Big Look From Small Pieces

Gather different sizes and shapes of paintings, plates, and mirrors to make a collage perfect for hanging above your sofa.

Hmmm.  I might try this on a small wall in my living room.  I need to think about this.

10.  Fall For Pricey Fabric – Guilt-Free

Just pick up a yard – it’s all you need to whip up pillows or a tablerunner that’s guaranteed to make a bold splash in any room!

This is a good idea.  I always admire the home decor fabrics in the fabric stores.  I could use a bright new tablerunner for a chest in my living room.

What are your ideas?  Do you have any plans for a Spring Spruce Up?

Daily Inspiration


We long for affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.

George Eliot 

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists | 8 Comments

March 23

The RBBP – Chapters 4-6



This month, I’m reading The Right-Brain Business Plan.  I’m not sure I want to turn my creative pursuits into a “business,” but I’m reading this book to explore the idea.  Last week, I read through Chapters 1-3.  This week, Chapters 4-6.

Chapter 4 – Getting the Word Out with Marketing

Finding and connecting with your perfect customers.

Favorite Quote – “When you’re clear about who you are and what your business stands for, it’s much easier to communicate a clear message, even when you’re not trying.

Chapter 5 – Managing the Moola – Color by Numbers

A fun, right-brain approach to developing a clear financial picture.

Favorite Quote – “You’ll be surprised to know that your right brain is actually an asset when it comes to your finances.  Your left brain will help you pinpoint your specific expenses, but your right brain will be able to discover the bigger picture and patterns, especially when you use visual aids.”

Chapter 6 – Corralling Your Creative Cohorts

Building business support so you don’t have to go it alone.

Favorite Quote – “When you enlist support, you can focus on your interests and natural gifts, maintain better balance, and have more fun.

I’m going to keep reading…no personal epiphanies.

Daily Inspiration

To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.

Robert Louis Stevenson 

Posted by lori . Filed under Creating the Creator (Creativity) | 6 Comments

March 22

Estate Planning – 12 Simple Steps


For the last three weeks, I’ve made lists of estate planning “Things To Do.”  I made of a list of Important Documents, Business Documents and finally, Personal Documents.  So where to begin?  If these three lists made your head spin like they did mine, here’s a list from Nolo that may be a little more palatable…12 Simple Steps to an Estate Plan:

1.  Make a will.

2.  Consider a trust.

3.  Make health care directives.

4.  Make a financial power of attorney.

5.  Protect your children’s property.

6.  File beneficiary forms.

7.  Consider life insurance.

8.  Understand estate taxes.

9.  Cover funeral expenses.

10.  Make funeral arrangements.

11.  Protect your business.

12.  Store your documents.

Next week…NO MORE LISTS!

Daily Inspiration


The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you’ll grow out of it.

Doris Day

Posted by lori . Filed under If I Die Today | 4 Comments