Monthly Archives: February 2009

“Only The Good” Friday – The Healing Power Of A Little Bird

Can you relate to the words “Quiet Desperation?  Can you remember a time, for one reason or another, when you wondered if you would emotionally make it?  I have to confess, there have been circumstances that set my life in an fervent a tail spin… one being…  a long and painful divorce.   There were times  when I wondered how I was going to make it through the day.

One  morning, when I was drowning in grief,  a small knock came at door.  Not wanting to see anyone, the tapping was ignored.  When it was realized that the person was not going to give up, the door was opened.


A neighbor, who lived some distance away, was standing there with a look of concern on her face.  In her hand, she held a small porcelain bird.  When she handed it to me, all she said was,  “Put this little bird in a place where you can see it every day and know that you are loved.”  She gave me a hug, quickly turned and walked away.

I closed the door and wept… not because of my circumstances but…  because I was so touched to know that someone was aware I was in pain.   The  little bird sat on a shelf in my dressing area for many years, as a reminder that someone cared.  Many hours have been spent  times marveling at the healing power of a little bird.   My neighbor offered very few words…. no words of advice… no sympathy… just a small gesture to let me know I was in her thoughts.

If you’re like me, sometimes I get caught up in thinking that I have to do some great deed…  or offer great words of wisdom… or give suggestion on how to fix the problem in order to show someone they are cared about.    For the most part, it’s the small tokens of concern, with out much  comment,  that are valued the most.

On this particular, Friday  I have made some simple suggestions  that can be done to extend thoughts and caring  to a family member, a friend, a co-worker or neighbor.  I know you could add to this list.

1.  Send a card  in the mail or sneak a “thinking of you note” on a co-worker’s desk.  2.  Give someone a hug, without saying a word.  3.  Offering to take a neighbors kids for an afternoon.  4.  Call, and treat a friend to lunch. (just listen… no advice.)  5.  Asking about a ill child or family member.  Acknowledging a deed well done by way of e-mail, a card or phone call.  6.  Shovel a neighbor’s walk.   7.  Drop off a pot of soup to a neighbor that has has a stressful week.  8.  Simply smile at someone who looks distressed.  9.  Help a young mother unload her groceries into her car so she can attend to a crying child quickly.

Do you remember a time when someone did a small thing  for you that made a great difference in your life?

On this,  Friday, share your “Good” thoughts in the comments area of this post.  Also, post some  deeds or ideas on your own blog so we can can catch your spirit.   Use this Friday, to think and do “Only The Good.”

I’m in the process of setting up a program that will make it a bit  easier for you to share your thoughts and ideas and deeds for “Only The Good” Friday.


Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Imagine what would happen in our neighborhoods if every blogger  participated in “Only The Good” Friday and offered a kind deed to a friend or neighbor.

P.P.S.  I found several “Way To Go” cards at the grocery store that I am mailing today!

Free St Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets

Here are a few St. Patrick’s day coloring sheets for your kid or grands to enjoy. Kids love to prepare and decorated for any occasion… and these St. Patrick’s coloring sheets gives them the opportunity to prepare for the “wearing of the green.”


Here’s a bit of St. Patrick’s Day trivia.

1. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.

Boy… that disagreement has lasted for a long time.

2. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.   Now that’s called getting along.

There are over 40 million American’s that can trace their ancestry back to Ireland. My mom is a Hamilton… which give me the inherent right to wear the green and eat corned beef and cabbage.

3. The New York parade has become the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the world. In a typical year, 150,000 marchers participate in it, including bands, firefighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs, and 2 million spectators line the streets.

Frankly…with that many folks crowding the streets… it’s a parade I would rather view from my TV at home… while eating corn beef and cabbage.


Here your your Free coloring pages for your kids.  I’ve included the same designs pre-colored in case your child just wants to cut them out.

1.  Leprecon black and white coloring page

2.  Pre-colored Leprecon

1.  Shamrocks  black and white coloring page

2.  Pre-colored Shamrocks

Hope your kids enjoy these St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Sheets.


Insightful Nana

P.S.  March is quite an exciting month in our family… my mom and 4 of her great-grand children celebrate their birthdays.

Seeing The World Through New Eyes

Several years ago, I enjoyed the movie Dead Poet Society.  There were many memorable scenes, but one in particular stands out in my mind.  English teacher, John Keating, played by Robin Williams, stands on his desk and encourages his students to “Look at the world differently.”  Standing on the desk was Keatings visual demonstration for seeing the room and the world from a different point of view.


He invites his students to also stand on the desk and see the world through new eyes.  “Just when you think you know something, you must look at it in a different way.”

This week I was introduced to a short video that made me look at the world differently.  It has certainly caused me to more fully appreciated what I have. This video has also inspired me to want to make a more profound difference in the lives of others.

I share this video with you.. in hopes you will also see the world with new eyes too.

Starting next week… I’m going to going join others in a movement called “Only The Good Friday.”  This group of bloggers are joining hands to actively make a difference and do “Good.”   Every Friday, I will be sharing stories of people who are making a difference in their families, neighborhoods and communities.   The idea is… to pass the “Good”  forward.  You are welcome to share stories and ideas as well.

Enjoy the video.

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Here are two of my blogging friends who are participating.  Shelly from This Eclectic Life and Sheila from Newbielifeline.  If you blog.  We would love to have you join us in this movement.  Let us know where you are.

P.P.S.  Be thinking about what you can do to pass the “Good” along.

If the world had 100 people in it. from John Chow on Vimeo.

Unite Or Die – We Surround Them

I was introduced to the Unite Or Die woodcut when I recently watched the full mini series of John Adams… which I watch many times and loved it.  Originally, the cartoon appeared along with Ben Franklin’s editorial about the “disunited state” of the colonies, and helped make his point about the importance of colonial unity. During that era, there was a superstition that a snake which had been cut into pieces would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset.   The cartoon has been reprinted and redrawn widely throughout American history.


Several  weeks ago… I happened to be listening to the Glenn Beck show when a disgruntled caller complained that he was discouraged about the state of affairs of the country.  He expressed that the principles and values he believed…  seemed to be no longer valued.  Glenn assured him that many people still hold true to good principles and values and promised this man he would prove it to him.


Thus the “We Surround Them” project was born. The old Ben Franklin woodcut has be slight revised as a symbol  of  Americans who want to unite and defend good principles and values.   This is a non-political movement.  It’s just a group of Americans who want to voice their conviction,  that good principles and values are still held in high esteem,  no matter which political party they belong to.  I invite you to take at look at  the “We Surround Them” project and see what you think.  If you agree with at least 7 of the outlined principles, send your photo to fox news.  Instructions are on the site.

On March 13th, the “We Surround Them” project will be unveiled on the Glenn Beck show on TV at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time… which means 3:00 p.m. Mt. Standard time… where I live.

I was not politically active during the last Presidency… even though I did a lot of complaining.   During this past campaign, I promised myself I would take an more active role in the democratic process.  I have e-mail my congressmen and senators in regards to the stimulus package… and I will continue to add my small voice when and where I can.

Again… take a look and determine whether you care to participate.

Till Later


Insightful Nana


P.S. Don’t be shy…. some time it takes lots of courage to stand up… and Unite… or Die.

Be My Valentine

Red Rose, Red Hearts, and Valentine cards all represent an invitation to… “Be My Valentine”.  It’s a holiday that gives us an opportunity to shower a little extra love on family and friends.  So, what is the history of this tradition?

Legend contends that in 269 A.D., Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married ones.  It seems like the married men became “homesick” for their wives and were not giving their all to the cause. The emperor thus outlawed marriage. 

A priest, who was recognized by the Catholic Church as St. Valentine, defied the emperor by preforming secret marriages for young lovers. When St. Valentines actions were discovered, Claudius II ordered St. Valentine to be put to death.

While St. Valentine was in prison, it was said that some of the couples would visit him and hand him notes and flowers through the bars in appreciation for his sacrifice.  During his confinement, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. 

Before the day of his execution, February 14th, he handed her a letter which was signed, “From Your Valentine.”  In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine.  A tradition was born.

When I was a youngster, Valentines were given in secret.  When the door bell would ring, my sisters and I would run to the door to find the Valentines left on the door step… the giver of the cards was no where to be seen.  My mom would leave “Little Lu Lu Comic Books”…such a treat!   We would pretend not to notice her head darting in and out of the bushes, enjoying our excitement.

Today, the holiday has become a 14 billion dollar business… 8 million roses are purchased (red of course) …36 million heart shaped boxes of candy are given, and according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year.  By the way…approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women.

I think we should extend the spirit of Valentines Day to an everyday experience… a little more kindness, a few more hugs and kisses, more expressions of love.  The simple sentiment of,  “I Love You,” goes a long way in making my day… How about you?

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  Be My Valentine

P.P.S   The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or more correctly, in-spite of yourself.  Victor Hugo

How To Prevent Weeds In Your Flower Beds

It’s not to early to prevent weeds from popping up in your flower beds in the spring and summer months.  Yes, gardening shops will say it’s too early… but according to my expert gardening friend, it’s not.

I’ve been watching my neighbor, Linda, tend her beautiful yard for several years now.  She is a master gardener for sure!  She spends a lot of time in her yard, planting, watering, clipping… but not weeding.  Weeds were a constant garden challenge for me, until she shared her “weeding” tip with me.

Preen Weed Preventer is her answer.  You can place the Preen in your flower beds, ground covers and around trees and shrubs and those little pesky weeds simply will not appear.

You can’t wait to apply the Preen after the weeds has surfaced.  It will not kill existing weeds.  For it to be affective, you must apply it before the weeds germinate and peek their little head above the soil surface.

Linda claims that folks wait too long before applying the preventer.  Once the weeds begin to appear…. they start dropping little seeds for the next go around. Her special secret is, “You need to nip them very early,” says Linda.  The nurseries say wait until April or May.  But, Linda says that’s to late to prevent weeds from coming up in your tulips and daffodils. “Get a handle on it early.”

Linda likes to apply her Preen when the snow is still on the ground.  February is not too early, she claims.  Weeds germinate about 1/4 inch below the surface of the soil…so when the soil heats up…here they come.  Sprinkle the Preen over your flower bed areas and let the melting snow settle the preventer into the soil…. no early spring weeds.  Because you’ve eliminated the early weeds, they don’t have the opportunity to drop their seeds which creates problems later in the spring and summer.

Now, I like to turn, or cultivate my soil and add mulch to my flower beds… and that can still be done after the last frost in in May.  After turning my soil over, I rebroadcast the Preen before planting my flowers.  You can reapply the weed preventer a couple of times during the summer months but I’ve found if I start early enough in the spring…it’s not necessary.

Now the disadvantage to Preen is, you can’t plant flower seeds… because they… like the weeds…they won’t germinate.  However, if you purchase your plant starts through the nursery or you’ve grown your own, you won’t have a minutes trouble.

The weather man has predicted the “white stuff” for the end of the week.  I have my Preen ready to apply.  Since it’s yellow in color… I can easily see where the granules fall on the surface of the snow.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  There are other brands of Weed Preventers, but I’ve found the the brand Preen to be the most effective for preventing weeds in your flower beds.

Valentine Open House – You’re Invited

You’re invited to a Valentine open house.   My good friend, Debbie, is hosting a Valentine Blog Open House  with lots of Valentine decorating ideas, gifts and recipes.

I love going to Debbie’s blog…Besides being bright and classy… something wonderful is always going on. She is one of the most creative ladies you’ll ever get to know.

And if you have anything to share for the Valentine open house… she invites you to participate.

I’ve known Deb for a long time… and one of her strengths is her ability to spot fabulous finds at thrift stores and garage sales. I swear… she can pick up some old thing and turn it into a diamond.

You ought to see what she’d doing with vintage jewelry. She’s writing an e-book that will tell us about all the fun things you can do with old vintage jewelry. Hurry Deb.

So head on over to Cottage In The Country and participate in a fun Valentine Blog Open House…. You’re invited.

Till Later

Insightful Nana

P.S. I’ve just signed up for her free valentine goody bag. Go do the same… at Cottage In The Country.

Independent Living Skills

If this photo does not express independent living skills, I don’t know what does. Living alone poses all kinds of challenges… one of them being, there’s is no “man” around to help do those… you know… those “manly chores”… like… check the oil, jump a dead battery, add car fluids, and pump up a flat tire.

I walked out yesterday to see a rear tire on my truck… flat… down to the rim. I know you’re not suppose to drive on the rim…and since I don’t have the convenience of AAA, I had to figure this one out for myself.  I have a very small compressor in the garage for pumping up bike tires and the like. Certainly, the air coming from it isn’t sufficient enough to pump up a truck tire.

But what’s a single gal to do?  So, I dragged out a long extension cord, hooked up this tiny compressor, grabbed a foot stool and sat down to pump up the tire.  No kidding, after a half an hour, the tire was barely full enough to drive on without endangering the rim.

My sister drove up in her car just about the time I finished and snapped this photo.  Not my usual well groomed, coiffured self… as you can see.

So what my point?  Sometimes we just do… what we have to do… with what we have….or as Sheila said, “With what we can afford.”  I’ve jumped many a dead battery, check a lot of oil, filled my car fluids, painted the exterior of my house, changed the guts of a running toilet, mowed lawns, shoveled snow, top soil and manure, and have taken on about every other household chore that’s considered a “man’s job.”

Actually, I’ve never felt myself put out by having to do such chores.  I think I can contribute it to the fact I was the one of six daughters, belonging to a father, who believed all chores were equal.  We learned to cook, sew, keep house as well as mow lawns, take out garbage cans to the street, and pour cement, etc.   I think those experiences helped all of us girls.  We’re all independent, hard working… and with the exception of one, we have our own businesses.

So, thanks Dad… for teaching us independent living skills… stripped of gender bias.  They come in mighty handy.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Now don’t get me wrong.. I do enjoy and appreciate a “man” helping me out.  My son, grandsons, sons-in-law, and brother in-law help me frequently.   It’s nice to get a break now and again from those heavy duty manly chores. Don’t want to take those “independent living skills” too seriously… ya know.

Back To Basics – Basic Survival Skills – Water

Water is the next “basic” you will need for your “Closet survival preparation.”

Behind electricity and heat, water is the next thing that is likely to “go down” after a natural disaster.

One can survive for several weeks without food, but only a few days without  water.  An adult needs about two litters a day and a child at least one quart.  If you have a baby… extra water will be needed for formula.  If you have to cut back on anything in your storage, it should be something other than water.

To be safe, you should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of the family.  If you’re unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can.  It may take some time for culinary water sources to be up and running again.  Remember, your water heater is a good source for drinking water.

Water for our “Closet Preparation” comes in the form of bottled water.  This water choice works well because it doesn’t need to be treated and  it can be stack on top of each other… clear to the ceiling.

Once the culinary water is restored… it’s best to run the water through a filter.  For our purposes, store a small filter that will handle from 200 gallons to 400 gallons of water.

These filters can be found at emergency storage retail stores or on line.  A small filter won’t produce the water as quickly as a large filter… but it’s sufficient and is easily stored in the closet.  Since they’re so small, storing two filters should not be a problem.  Of course, if you have room for a larger water filter, by all means, added it to your storage.

How much should you store above and beyond a 2 week supply?  You will need water to drink and the food in your bucket will need to be reconstituted.  That should help you determine the amount of water you store.  Keep in mind, clean water will most likely be restored at some time… so don’t worry about having enough to cover the entire 2-3  months.

Water for for bathing, cleaning, and washing of clothes, should come from other water sources.  Water in the toilet tank can be used for these purposes.  It should not be used for drinking.  If you have room for a 35 to 55 gallon water drum in your garage or carport, it’s a good alternative water source.  Now is the time to check on  alternative water sources; don’t wait until the emergency happens to go looking for extra water.

Now that you’ve  purchased your food bucket.  Now, go get your bottled water and water filter.

We’re off to a good start in preparing a closet for emergency preparation.

Till Later

Insightful Nana

P.S. The bottled water will take up the most space in your closet… but don’t skip on this necessary item.

How To Determine Your Moon Sign

Actually, I didn’t know you could determine your moon sign.  I’ve never been into horoscopes, even though curiosity gets the best of me now and again and I look up Leo on occasion.

Paper placemats used at Chinese restaurants often depict the 12 zodiac animal signs.   Since I can’t remember from one time to the next, I check out my birth year while waiting for my Hot and Sour soup.  I share the “Sheep”  with folks like, Michaelangelo, Julia Roberts, Andrew Carnegie and Kelsey Grammer.  Pretty good company.  However, The Fortune Cookies are another thing.  “Who writes those things!”  Can you imagine a job that just requires you to come up with generalizations about people’s personality?

A couple of days ago, I was sent an e-mail with this photo of the moon.  Wow!  What an amazing sight.  This is the moon at it’s lowest point and the sun is still shining beneath.  Notice the refection of the sun and the moon in the water.  It’s times like this, I wish I were a poet.

This photo got me thinking.  Are there moon signs?  Yep… there are.  I found my moon sign and by cracky… I couldn’t believe how well the description of my sign fit my personality.  Spooky!  For fun… want to determine your moon sign?  Go here!

My “Moon Sign” description is much more favorable than the zodiac “Sheep.”  (I’m not much of a follower…  a bit rebellious in nature, actually.)

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  Maybe there really is something about all this astrology business.