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The Simple Life

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. * * * A Simple Faith A writer is always on the
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 6, 2006
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      The Simple Life


      By Sheryl Simons





      "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
      happy."

      * * *

      A Simple Faith

      A writer is always on the lookout for interesting insight into
      things that happen in life. Whether it's for an article, or a
      novel, there is great material all around us.

      A couple weeks ago, a friend was telling me that he had a
      great professor in college. The professor had explained to the class
      that religions were just invented in ancient days by people who needed
      to somehow understand the meaning of life. They used religion to
      explain great tragedies such as earthquakes or floods. I was rather
      dumbfounded, but there wasn't time to ask any questions.

      A week or so later, this same friend saw me using a red pen.
      A simple little red pen, which had just happened to be available at the
      time I needed a pen. "Red! Why are you using a red pen!
      That's not good Karma! It's bad luck," he said.

      I laughed. "It's just a red pen. I don't believe
      in Karma anyway," I said. He handed me a black pen. "Here, use
      this."

      Right then and there, I knew I had my weekly column all
      wrapped up. It's true that everyone needs something to believe in.
      His professor was right about that. What happens when an atheist falls
      overboard in the middle of the ocean? He screams, "Oh God!, O
      God!" If given the chance we will all turn to God in the end. But
      why wait until the end?

      It's been said that anyone who had seen a baby, knows that
      God exists. Having seen my own babies, as well as my granddaughter, I
      have no doubt. All babies are miracles. Who could believe different?
      Miracles don't just happen. There was no "Big Bang" that
      happened billions of years ago, that "evolved" into man.

      It amazes me that we can go through life and chose not to
      believe in the God who gave us our very breath. We go through day after
      day and don't seem to care that the creator of the world is waiting
      to help us through each of those days.

      Ever watch a three year old getting dressed? You are in a
      hurry to get to an appointment, but when you try to help them, "I do
      it myself!" they demand as they put their arm in the wrong side of
      the shirt. We are not unlike that child. We demand from the
      air-craft-controller of the universe, "I can do it myself!" We
      hang on to our crutches and excuses, arrogantly believing that we know
      better. We could ask for simple guidance through our day, but would
      rather stick to our stubborn independence. We wander around in the
      deserts of our lives with the oasis just over the next dune. But we
      can't see it because we don't ask for directions.

      Everything that happens to us screams, "I am here! Call
      on me! I want to help you!" But when do we pull out our "Get
      out of jail free" card? We usually wait until it's a last
      resort. We wait until a loved one has cancer, or we get a flat on the
      way to an important job interview.

      Many people believe that God is love, so everyone will be in
      heaven. Can't possibly be true. Why? Because of free choice. We
      choose to be kind, or hateful, or be a bank robber or a teacher. No
      matter what we believe or don't believe, it takes faith. It takes
      faith to be an atheist. It takes faith to believe the teachings of a
      charismatic professor. It takes faith to think, "I'll deal with
      this when I'm old."

      But no matter. God is patient. He will wait as long as it
      takes. Now or later. And sometimes, never. He just wants to hear
      those two little words, "I believe." Now how hard is that?

      * * *
      Simple Home Fries:4 large Potatoes -- scrubbed1/3 cup
      Vegetable Oil1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt1/8
      teaspoon Black PepperSauce:1/2 cup Miracle Whip®1/2 cup Catsup
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a large baking sheet, pour oil onto
      baking sheet and spread to completely cover. Sprinkle all seasonings
      evenly over oiled surface, then set aside. Using a large knife, or a
      decorative slicer, slice each potato into long strips, about 1/2" x 1" x
      4". Lay strips on oiled baking sheet, turning each one to coat with
      spiced oil. When all potatoes have been prepared on baking sheet, bake
      for 20 - 25 minutes, or until fries are beginning to turn golden on
      edges. Serve hot as a side dish with the sauce.


      * * *



      Simple Cider Cure

      A man had a serious problem with heartburn for the last three years.
      They were purchasing Pepcid Complete once every other week at around $17
      a bottle. He got a tip from a relative of taking a tablespoon of Apple
      Cider vinegar at night before bed or before any spicy meal. It's hard
      going down but does the job wonderfully. Since starting this, he has not
      had one episode of heartburn and the $2.49 bottle of cider (which lasts
      a lot longer than two weeks) is much cheaper than the $17 we were
      spending.



      Keeping it Simple,
      Sheryl


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Sheryl Simons
      Spring is on the Way! The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. It may be snowing outside
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 14, 2006
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        Spring is on the Way!

        The Simple Life
        By Sheryl Simons


        "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
        happy."

        It may be snowing outside right now (yes, it is!)
        here in lovely `ol Michigan, but spring is in the air. Richard, (my
        husband) saw 9 robins in the yard yesterday. I'm pretty sure they
        are hiding today, but in a couple days, they will be back, pulling
        the worms from the yard. We've seen cranes, already, in fact, the
        whole bird population seems to be exploding.
        Bird watching is a great family entertainment that
        is not costly. Taking a walk in the woods where ever you are, is
        cheap, especially when you pack a lunch. The exercise is a fringe
        benefit.
        Keep a calendar. It doesn't matter which year. If you
        see a bald eagle, or another rare sight, jot it down. Maybe you see
        a bird really early in the spring one year. Or you visit the beach
        and see another kind of bird for the first time. It can be quite a
        fun hobby for the whole family. You can also take some photos and
        keep them in an album. Whatever your hobby, your family can think
        up great ways to enjoy it together. Do it on a regular basis. There
        are all kinds of new things to notice with each season, as well.
        The internet has also opened a great new world of exploration. When
        you see a new bird, for example, you can find perhaps thousands of
        articles of information on the subject.
        I recently met someone who told me about being a naturalist.
        I really didn't know what a naturalist was, but he learned it from
        his own father. He and his family spend time each month noticing
        nature, and documenting sightings of different kinds of plants
        animals, and even bugs! It's definitely not expensive, but what a
        great way to spend time as a family.


        * * *
        Simple Gardening
        Did you know that for the most part, soil test kits are really not
        necessary? After all these years "experts" admit that most soil, on
        any given property is "average". Something most of us amateur
        gardeners suspected all along. Most soils need amendments. Good
        old fertilizers, such as manure, or green manure. If you know a
        farmer, or someone who raises rabbits or has horses, manure won't be
        too expensive, maybe free. Or, you might want to raise chickens or
        rabbits on your own.
        Composted manures are better since the weeds seeds have
        been destroyed by the heating process in the composting. So if you
        have sand, clay, or good ol' loam, you can all benefit from some
        good ol' fertilizers. And whether you have sand or clay, you both
        need the structure. Sand drains too well, so needs other materials
        such as chopped lawn clippings, manures, chopped straw, chopped
        leaves, or worked in green crops, to help keep moisture in the
        soil. Clay soils need the same added structures to help it drain.
        If you have very fertile soil, you don't want to add too much
        nitrogen, however, to garden plants or flowers, because nitrogen
        encourages "green" growth instead of flower and fruit growth. If
        your land hasn't been chemically fertilized in a while, you may
        qualify as "organic", which is really important lately with all the
        new information about chemicals that we have been finding out. No
        one really know the effect some chemicals could have on us, so
        staying natural is important. If you sell your produce at all, being
        organic is a really good thing.
        So save the money from your test kit and just add some
        simple compost.
        * * *
        "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right
        thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing
        you can do is nothing."~~ Theodore Roosevelt

        "Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of
        one." ~~ Thomas Carlyle

        * * *
        Sugar Cookies
        1 stick oleo 1/2 t soda
        1 stick butter 2 1/2 c flour
        1 1/4 c sugar 1 t vanilla
        1 egg

        mix ingredients as listed. Form into balls. Roll in sugar and
        flatten with fork. Bake @375` about 8-10 minutes until just lightly
        turning brown. Remove immediately from pan.




        Keeping it Simple,
        Sheryl
      • Sheryl Simons
        The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons When you are content to be simply yourself and don t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. ~~ Lao-Tzu Finding
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 21, 2006
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          The Simple Life
          By Sheryl Simons
          "When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or
          compete, everybody will respect you." ~~ Lao-Tzu

          Finding peace in your life is all about the simple life. I
          have to laugh at some of the incongruous ways that people try to
          make a living. There are some pretty stupid criminals. The guy who
          was trying to rob a convenience store and left his wallet behind.
          And with all the surveillance cameras, you can't hardly get away
          with anything. But who wants to go through life looking over his
          shoulder wondering "will I get caught today?" One man fled to
          another state after a crime, but recently was picked up after 10
          years. Ten years of looking over his shoulder.

          No one can be truly happy when there is no peace. Life is
          about being true to oneself. It's about hard work, and honest
          living. It's about integrity and being able to look yourself in the
          mirror.

          Anything you can't be really proud of is an area that needs
          improvement. It's not about getting even or seeking revenge, as we
          sometimes feel. Guilt is a good indicator. What is it you feel the
          worst about? You don't have to be a criminal to have things in your
          life that beg for a deeper look. We can spend our lives trying to
          prove to others what a "good" person we are, but we all deal with
          being the same on the inside as we are on the outside.

          I recently heard a man turn down an alcoholic drink. "I
          know I can't handle it," he admitted. Wow. Humbling to be sure.
          But he knew what he had to do. I don't know if he felt strong, but
          he was really showing his strength. It takes a big person to admit
          their weaknesses.

          A woman I know realized she was yelling at her kids too
          much. She sat down with herself one day and thought about it. She
          realized it was the stress in her life, and had nothing to do with
          her kids. It had also been a pattern in her family when she was
          growing up, and she didn't like it. Right then and there she quit
          yelling. She told me it wasn't even tempting once she figured out
          why she was yelling.

          A man had to quit a good job because he was being asked by
          his superiors to do some dishonest things. He was told to look the
          other way, at times. He did it for a while, but eventually, he
          couldn't do it any longer. He quit. He gave up the paycheck.
          Things were tough. He had to sell some "toys" that his family had
          enjoyed. He may never find a job that pays as well. Maybe he will
          move. But now he can live with himself. His life is already
          better. He's spending more time with his kids. He hasn't even
          realized that he did the right thing yet, because it still stings.
          There is fallout to doing the right thing at times. Sometimes it
          takes a while to realize you did the right thing. Simple living is
          being right with yourself.

          * * *
          "There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship,
          communion, or company than a good marriage." ~~ David Ben-Gurion

          Simple Squash Casserole

          1 pound yellow squash, sliced,1 onion, finely chopped, 1 cup grated
          Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup half and half, 2 Tablespoons butter, 1 egg,
          beaten, Dash of nutmeg, Salt and pepper to taste,1/2 cup cracker
          crumbs, Paprika to taste

          TO PREPARE:
          Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam squash and onion until done.
          Drain. Combine squash and onion in a large bowl, add cheese,half and
          half, butter, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place
          mixture in a greased casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs and
          paprika. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until slightly browned.

          Doesn't this recipe make you hungry for that fresh squash
          from the garden? I can't wait to get my fingers in the soil, but
          right now my garden is just a mucky mess. When you can walk on your
          garden, you can plant peas, onions and a few other veggies that
          frost won't hurt. It's almost here! It's not too late to plan how
          big or small you want your garden. A grape tomato plant in a pot or
          a –half-acre menagerie – it's up to you!

          Keeping it Simple,
          Sheryl
        • Sheryl Simons
          The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons Gardening is the heart of simple living. A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry farm, and bought 8
          Message 4 of 23 , Jun 28, 2006
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            The Simple Life

            By Sheryl Simons

            "Gardening is the heart of simple living."

            A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry
            farm, and bought 8 quarts of strawberries, just picked that
            morning. There berries were fantastic! My friend had bought someat
            a local fruit market, and they were all mushy. When she took them
            back, she found out they were from Mexico! I don't know how long it
            takes to get strawberries from Mexico to MI, but several days to be
            sure! So if you want the most yummy berries, BUY LOCAL GROWN!

            My hubby cleaned them, I chopped them up with my hand chopper,
            the kind from Pampered Chef (works great) and made two batches of
            jam. I like the reduced sugar Sure Jell. Making Jam is so easy. I
            cook the jam, and put it in jars. My mom had given me all her
            canning stuff, but when she saw my jam, she wished she had not given
            it away! I gave her some jam, and told her we will do a batch
            together.
            For dinner, we had warm homemade biscuits, covered with
            strawberries and whipped cream. The biscuits were still warm.
            Yumm! I always use the recipe from the back of the Clabber Girl
            biscuit can
            1/3 c marg (the recipe calls for shortening, but this is better)
            2 1/4 c flour
            2 t Baking Powder
            1/2 t salt
            2 T. sugar (my addition)
            about 3/4 c milk
            The dough should be almost dry enough to not be sticky. If it's too
            sticky, add a bit more flour. For good biscuits, don't stir it any
            more than you have to. Put some flour on your pan ( I use a baking
            stone) Preheat oven to 450`. Pat out the dough on the stone, using
            a bit of flour under and on the dough. Pat out to 1/2 inch. Cut
            with biscuit cutter, or glass. place one biscuit on top of the
            other to make a double high biscuit. Bake for 12 minutes. THESE
            ARE THE BEST BISCUITS EVER!!!! Very Simple. If you have biscuit
            mix, just add 2 T. sugar. You can double this batch easily!

            Now what is more simple than a strawberry dinner in summer???

            * * *

            From a tomato in a pot to crops in a huge plot, a garden
            grounds us. It brings us back to basics. It makes us see what
            matters. It gives us the responsibility to realize that when we
            nurture something, we touch the earth, and it touches us back.
            If every child had a plant to take care of, or maybe a small
            garden, the violence in this world would be almost non-existent. We
            all need to learn to nurture. A child who learns to grow things
            doesn't want to hurt things, but learns to take care of things. We
            need to feed and water a plant to get it to grow. Watch a gardener
            walk among his plants. He talks to them. He waters them, feeds
            them, trains them in their growth. He waits for them through long
            winters and welcomes them each spring. And each morning, he walks
            among his plants, touching them, enjoying the fragrances, noticing
            what kind of care his plants need. Weeds are plucked, flowers
            deadheaded to encourage more blooming, watering here, harvesting
            there. And then, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Sliced
            strawberries on a bowl of cereal for breakfast, an onion slice on a
            hamburger for dinner, or an ear of juicy-sweet corn steaming and
            dripping with butter for dessert.
            Gardening is a peaceful endeavor. Gardening is inexpensive –
            from the cost of a seed packet or two, to the cost of a flat of a
            variety of plants. Maybe a pot and some potting soil and a bit of
            fertilizer. But when combined with some freezing, drying and
            canning, it can be a money maker. Think of the cost of strawberry
            jam for a year. Now think of the cost of a few jar lids and some
            pectin, and you have free jam for a year! Gardening can be good
            exercise, from building a new plot with a shovel (the best way), or
            it can be merely relaxing by planting a few plants in a pot and
            watering them.
            However you choose to garden is your choice. But no matter
            how you do it, it will make the world a better place. Even with a
            few weeds, (and not all weeds are a nuisance) No doubt about it – it
            makes your corner of the world a great place to start!
            * * *

            "Hope is seldom found in the things we can see; it is the sweet
            fragrance of grace."

            "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find
            out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to
            find out there is." ~~ unknown

            "If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written
            upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old."~ ~James A.
            Garfield
            * * *
            Simple Watering
            Having a garden means watering. But watering doesn't have
            to be expensive. Water plants well, and mulch with newspaper,
            plastic, leaves saved from last fall, grass clippings, or old strips
            of carpet. When mulched, plants need little watering unless it is
            very dry.
            If you must water, consider it a pleasure to walk among your
            plants and water each plant. It gives each plant a good drink, as
            well as a chance to observe insect problems, and also doesn't water
            the weeds like a sprinkler would do. Watering each plant starves
            the weeds. After watering, take a few more moments once a week to
            move your hoe lightly along the surface of the soil. That is all it
            takes to eliminate the small weeds. No large equipment needed. Or,
            if you have a large garden, do several rows a day. Keeping it
            simple in the garden.

            * * *
            Simple BLT's and Strawberry Shortcake

            Fry up some bacon and slice up a nice juicy tomato from the
            garden, and wash some bibb lettuce from the garden. Add some salad
            dressing and you are on your way to a great sandwich dinner. Slice
            some strawberries and mix in a bit of sugar or splenda. Spoon over
            ice cream, with a dollop of whip cream. Put a sweet biscuit under
            it for shortcake. To make easy biscuits, use a biscuit mix, adding
            a tablespoon or two to a batch making them just slightly sweet.
            Warm biscuits, fresh from the oven, under your shortcake is truly
            the best strawberry shortcake there is!

            Keeping Summer Simple,
            Sheryl
          • Sheryl Simons
            The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. Lessons for the Garden A garden that one makes
            Message 5 of 23 , Jun 25, 2007
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              The Simple Life
              By Sheryl Simons

              "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
              happy."


              Lessons for the Garden

              A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's
              personal history and that of one's friends, interwoven with one's
              tastes, preferences, and character, and constitutes a sort of
              unwritten...autobiography. ~Alfred Austin

              "If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional
              love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of
              flowers can bloom and grow." Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

              * * *
              This week we put up a new arbor, painted Buttercream. I
              mixed the color, adding just a little yellow paint to some white I
              already had. It is not easy to paint an arbor, there are a lot of
              nooks and crannies, but I did get it all covered. I had a
              beautiful `heavenly blue' morning glory to climb up it, along with a
              few other colors, and when it was all put together, the effect was
              beautiful! I had some morning glories that came up from seed on
              their own. But I had to transplant them. Why is it when they come
              up from seed, they don't come up where they should be? The next
              morning they were looking pretty wilted, even though I was so
              careful. By the next day, though, they were looking healthier. They
              are going to make it!

              In the garden we are still planting some seeds. With no rain
              now for a week, we are sure to give lots of water to our healthy
              plants. Especially when they are just coming up, they really need
              water every day to help keep them strong. It's getting harder to
              find seeds, but there is still lots of time to plant things like
              radishes, beans, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and many favorites.
              Even some plants that need a longer growing time, can be found with
              shorter days to harvest. Good care helps, too. The proper watering
              and fertilizing help to get plants producing. Too much dryness,
              stunts growth, and keeps the plant just hanging on instead of setting
              fruit.

              So, if you are wanting to plant some fall crops, pick up your
              seeds while you can still find them! If you have extra seeds,
              storing them in a cool, dry environment can help lengthen their shelf
              life. I keep mine in tins, veggie seeds in one, flower seeds in the
              other.

              For watering plants around my deck, I use tap water that
              would normally go down the drain. My tap runs almost a gallon of
              water before the water gets hot in the kitchen, but I don't just let
              it run down the drain, I use it to water the plants close to the
              house, and a few indoor plants. I try to conserve when possible.
              Keeping my fertilizer right under the sink makes it easy to add to
              the water.
              * * *

              Simple Pork Chops
              4 to 6 pork chops
              1 cup ketchup
              1 cup Coke
              Brown pork chops and place in baking dish. Mix Coke and ketchup
              together and pour over pork chops. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for
              45 minutes. You could also grill these, wrapped in foil, on a medium
              grill. Nice and tender!

              * * *
              No one has an exclusive on opportunity. When the sun rises, it rises
              for everyone. ~~Chinese proverb


              When your bow is broken and your last arrow spent, then shoot--shoot
              with your whole heart. ~~Zen proverb



              Keeping it Simple,
              Sheryl

              Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
              ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
              Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
              columns.
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thesimple_life
            • Sheryl Simons
              The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret. Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins 1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal 1 C
              Message 6 of 23 , Jan 28, 2008
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                The Simple Life
                By Sheryl Simons

                We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret.


                Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins

                1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal
                1 C Milk
                mix and let sit for 5 minutes
                Add:
                1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
                1/3 c brown sugar
                ½ t salt
                ¼ c oil
                1 egg
                1 c flour
                1 t cinnamon
                1 T baking powder

                scoop into greased muffin cups. Makes about 8 muffins. Bake @ 425
                for 20 minutes until golden brown.
                * * *
                Special Delivery

                When you wish to give a plant to someone in the hospital, put
                together your own and take it to the hospital to the volunteer desk
                with the patient's name and room number. It'll be "delivered" by the
                volunteers just like the florist shop items! This can save a lot of
                money because you use your own container purchased from a thrift
                store or garage sale and your own plant and make your own delivery.
                The patient just knows that you were thinking of him/her, and then
                you can make a visit later that day or the next day if you are in the
                same vicinity. Try it. No one questions your dropping off a gift to
                be delivered. This also gives you incentive to repot those `extra'
                plants, like those extra baby spiders plants, or take cuttings from
                your philodendra. Even orchids make baby plants you can get starts
                from! When you get them established, you can get them potted up in a
                nice pot for a birthday or "cheer –up" gift. You could also look for
                clearance plant sales, just to get a start! When a friend gave me an
                orchid, she also gave me a note card with instructions for care, and
                the likes and dislikes of the particular plant. It's easy to look up
                plant names on the internet and make your own little plant cards and
                keep them in a filebox for your own reference.

                * * *
                I try to get out every day and get some fresh air, and go for a
                walk. Even though I don't often feel like getting out, especially
                when the wind can be so frigid, but I really enjoy it, once I get out
                there. The past few days 6(!)Bluebirds have been entertaining us
                right in front of our bay window. I was watching them this morning,
                and the thought crossed my mind that maybe we were the ones being
                watched. Maybe they feel sorry for us, thinking we are stuck in the
                cage called a house? Who knows who is the watcher and the watchee!
                They flit about and sing, and ruffle up their feathers to look
                bigger, and now that there are 6 instead of 2, and even though there
                is about a foot of snow still, there they are. If they can stand the
                cold and the snow, just maybe I will make it too. While they have
                cheered me up this morning, who can I cheer up today?

                * * *
                I have been spending a lot of spare time working on our family
                history this winter. There are a lot of free sites you can access
                from the Internet, just by searching genealogy, family history sites,
                etc. I am combing through family photo albums, and notes as far back
                as I can find. The other day I was able to add my Great
                grandmother's middle name (Nora), and some other details, all one at
                a time. It's like adding more and more pieces to a puzzle. I hope
                to just keep adding more and more. I even found a cousin Sue, that I
                have never met on the internet. We share a great-great grandfather!
                If you are looking for a simple, and yet meaningful hobby, family
                history is really fun, and it can get creative and artistic. You can
                find lots of ideas at libraries, and most local libraries have
                genealogical societies, that will be glad to lend you a hand, and
                point you in the right direction.

                * * *
                Keeping it Simple,
                Sheryl

                Email: thesimple_life@...
                Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
                columns.
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