July 18, 2009

another year older....

thank you for the birthday wishes yesterday - they were much appreciated and warmed me up. i read so many people with the ambitions for the year and i suppose i should make such a list (since i'm a listmaker) but realize my entire energy lately has been focused on finding employment and keeping myself occupied so i stop the slow slide into complete and utter boredom with my life.

so, these are my lessons from the past year leading into the birthday:

be grateful and cherish what you have because you never know when it all could be snatched from underneath you. i don't know if anyone really realized how dark the employment horizon was. i know that i thought i would be re-employed fairly quickly.

explore the simple. in the downsizing and streamlining of my life, i've found how much i enjoy just the simple things in life. cooking, sewing (new), photography, reading, thrifting... not that i was really fancy before - but i wasted more money than was rational.

love your family and your friends. they will be the support and strength in the tough times. they say things happen for a reason - part of what i've found is how much my family and my friends love me. being on my own in another city, it was easy to feel independent but isolated. what i found is that love knows no distance but going home to love is the most wonderful feeling and was exactly the balm i needed.

rediscover things about yourself. once upon a time i loved to cook for family but i let fall by the wayside when it was not fun to just cook for myself. time now gives me time to challenge myself to cut portions and preparations to enough for two or make enough for family. i have started sewing. i challenged myself to shoot everyday and i think my photography improved as i read and tried new styles. i found that i really love to watch the squirrels scamper and enjoy the comfort of a pretty yard. so my first garden attempts drowned in the rains, there is time to try again.

go out on a limb. i opened an etsy shop and have made respectable sales so far. rome was not built in a day and neither was a business. if not given these months off, i would have never had time for this. i would still be dreaming.

so...those are good starters. now - for this little recipe (super simple).

rose cottage blueberry muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking power
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. in a separate bowl, mix egg, milk and butter. add in dry ingredients, stirring until just blended (batter will be lumpy). add in blueberries (i used blueberries and raspberries). bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

enjoy with your favorite morning beverage - the muffins are not too sweet and the amount of fruit make them burst with moisture and happiness.


  1. Such admirable and enviable lessons to have learned. : ) There is nothing like a bunch of spare time to light a fire under your butt to keep busy. It leads you to all sorts of discoveries, rediscoveries, and lessons. : )

    Those muffins sound so good but I don't have any blueberries! I'll be needing to go to the market in a little while. ; )

  2. The silver lining inside the cloud ... It's wonderful to find such positivity in the face of adversity, and sharing it here for all of us to take something from. Many happy birthday wishes to you :)

  3. Happy Birthday a day late! Your lessons learned are things we should all do. Good for you,... and isn't it nice that something we are not happy about in the beginning turns out to give such gifts in the end?

  4. i don't know how i missed some of your posts! maybe i've been a little busier than i thought! but i want to stop and wish you a happy birthday! hope the weekend is great!

  5. i am sorry this is a bit late, but happy belated birthday! i hope your celebration continues as long as possible! ;)

  6. Great lessons Char, you sound like me when I first got sick. i did not know what to do with myself, so I kind of see our journeys are much of the same. Try not to let the heaviness of the unemployment load you down. and congratulations on your etsy shop. You are a doer, not a somedayer.

  7. Oops -

    Belated Happy Birthday, Char :) May it be the best year yet!

  8. you thrill me with your positive attitude...your birthday list is amazing just like you...happiness always char!

  9. what?

    i missed your birthday?

    oh, my gosh. i'm so sorry. i was gone all day yesterday, and then came home with a very sore throat. aww, man! i can't believe i missed it! happy happy happy birthday, miss char!

    here is to a year full of blessings and provision for you! i'm so glad you were born those {??} years ago. 20, right? i can't guess your age, because i've never seen a picture of you. so mysterious! :)

    i hope you had a blessed birthday, and will have a blessed weekend, and a blessed year to come and beyond.

    big birthday hugs from chicago.

    love ya!


  10. kudos to you and your "list". sometimes it is important to stop and write those things down.

  11. Happy Birthday, dear Char! You are a year older and it seems you have learned some precious lessons of life, so definitely wiser. Blessings and peace to you, sweetie.

  12. a year older looks great on you....not everyone can carry everything that's been thrown at you the way you have...

    and all those life lessons will remain forever as the best things that you as a student ever received...

    onward now to a new year filled with new dreams and new desires and new passions that will amaze all of us...but to you....to you, they will blow your mind !

  13. You have learned many good lessons this year. Going out on a limb...hmmmm I think I need to ponder this myself. I have been playing it too safe lately!

  14. You should be writing a column in a magazine or something for those unemployed who are trying to keep up their spirits. You write things so well, and with such hope for the future and the outlook for every day, that you could be a balm for many.

  15. Oh Char,
    I had a blogger weekend break and didn't check in for your birthday.
    Happy Birthday!!
    I hope you had a wonderful day and that pound cake you made looked absolutely amazing!

  16. Happy Birthday! hope you had a great one!

  17. Tho a bit late, I do hope you had a fabulous birthday!
    And do join us for next year's VA Blogfest. We had such a wonderful time! (And it's not a set group - any and all would have a blast!)
    Happy happy, my friend!

  18. Happy belated birthday my friend (I am sorry I am a little late). I hope next year will another beautiful year for you and your loved ones!

  19. Happy Birthday, Char!
    At the Blog Fest retreat, we were all talking about blogs we visit daily and I mentioned yours. I was thinking of you while in Virginia. So glad you had a good birthday weekend.
    And all this is so true. I hope employment finds you soon or you find it. But in the meantime, I applaud your outlook.

  20. Sometimes it takes times like this to dig deep and reinvent yourself. Happy Birthday.

  21. The older I get I find the more I reflect. You've got the top of my own list here:). As I whip up a batch of those delectable muffins I'll also learn to enjoy each day a bit more. One at a time...that's how it goes.

  22. Happy birthday my love!

  23. Wow...I didn't realize we were both July babies!! Yours is the 17th?? Mine is the 20th...well Happy Birthday! So sorry I missed it! Love your lists...you are a girl after my own heart...we have a lot in common! I'm thinking I want to go out on the Etsy limb like you! :)

  24. I can't believe I am just catching up on your blog now...only to find that I have missed saying Happy Birthday by two weeks! I loved this list and you have indeed discovered a lot since being unemployed...many people never discover these important lessons...best to you for the year Char!


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.