Scrapbook memories of 3 graduates!!

ESTRANGEMENT…ugh.  I hate that word!  But, more than just hating the word….I hate the fact that our family has experienced way too much estrangement.  Some may call it “separation”, but since divorce, custody battles etc; have been involved I think “estrangement” is a more appropriate word…and I have been a KEY player since I also have experienced separation, divorce and estrangement.  😦

So, you ask…what does that have to do with graduating??  Good question.  Let me begin with the oldest graduate I am commemorating in this blog.  Christian is my first born grandson…ImageHe is my daughter, Theresa’s first born child.  He was born when she was unmarried and only 18 yrs. old.  My oldest child and only son had blessed me with two granddaughters and a third was on the way,  But this was my FIRST GRANDSON!  I was with my daughter all night throughout her labor and even got to cut Christian’s cord! Christian was a precious and happy little boy and Maw Maw loved taking care of him. Since Theresa was a single mom, I remember helping her to get set up with low income housing, purchasing second hand furniture and providing diapers for Christian the first year of his life.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.  There were other needs that Theresa & Christian had that I couldn’t supply…

Once Christian was a toddler it was decided that he should live with his dad in Minnesota. His other family was in Texas!  ESTRANGEMENT had reared it’s ugly head!ImageUGH!  By this time, Christian had a little sister.  They loved playing together and so it was going to be a lonely time for them both with the separation.

Infrequent summer visitations and an occasional holiday was the extent of time spent together.  ImageSince many miles separated us (Texas/Minnesota) and finances often prohibited us from visits as often as we would have preferred, we tried to make the most out of our times together! Mommy married and more siblings were added to the mix. 1st a little brotherImagenamed Preston.  One summer while Christian was visiting we all went camping!  ImageThey loved those hot Texas beaches!  Anything to do with water was always fun; for Maw Maw too!  ImageYum! Smore’s!!!

Another time Christian got to take a ride in Uncle Rob’s boat…ImageThere were only a few Christmases that Christian got to be in Texas with his mom, his siblings or Maw Maw and Paw Paw, but we tried to make the most of them when he was…ImageI remember even once when Christian flew to TX alone and I met him at DFW to pick him up for his visitation.  He was a brave young man to travel alone by plane to see his Texas family.  ImageThis awesome young man has 6 siblings!!  His mom has had four more children since he was born and his dad and wife have had 2 other children!!  It’s no wonder that Christian is an awesome big brother and even works as a babysitter for two young boys!  As Christian got older and more involved in sportsImage  his visits to Texas became less frequent and more sporadic.  I cherish the pictures his Minnesota family would provide us…

It helped me to feel as though I was a part of his life when in reality I wasn’t!  We were growing less and lessImagefamiliar with each other.  I hated that!  I remember traveling up North for a family wedding and picking Christian up for an overnight stay in a motel where he could spend time with cousins and we could try to re-connect.  ESTRANGEMENT! Ugh!  Once you’ve been estranged, it’s so difficult to re-connect!!  I struggled to KNOW my grandson.  He was a good boy, but I didn’t really know him.  That being said, it didn’t change the love a grandmother has for her grandson.  It didn’t change the desire you have for their well being and happiness.  

Well, just this past week I received confirmation of Christian’s well being and happiness when my two daughter’s (his mother and aunt) were able to attend Christian’s high school graduation ceremony.  Christian’s dad and mom (the one that raised him) received my daughter (his birth mom) into their home warmly.  I believe it was life-changing for all after more than a four year ESTRANGEMENT.  ImageCongratulations, Grandson!  I am so very happy to hear how you’ve turned out and so grateful to your Minnesota family for taking good care of you and providing you with a life you deserve.  After talking with you on the phone, I anticipate a visit from you before you begin college…but if it doesn’t happen I am at peace knowing you are well and that you got to re-connect with your mom a little.

Christian was born in February of 1996…My third grandaughter (his cousin) was born in August of the same year.  Rain is another grandchild that I don’t know very well.  ImageMy son and Rain’s mother were divorced by the time she was two years old.  Here we go again…ESTRANGEMENT!!  Shortly thereafter, Rain, her older sister, Skyler and her mother moved to Colorado.  More separation! ImageThis is a picture of them in our motel room after we made a trip to Colorado to see them. If was a brief visit, but we spent time eating out and playing in the motel pool.  ImageI have pictures to prove that we made efforts to see our grandchildren and have quality time together… so why do I feel so bad??  I just feel so sad when I think of how much I’ve missed of them growing up because we have lived so far apart! ImageFor a short while Skyler and Rain’s cousin, Hannah lived in Colorado and so they got to spend some time with her.  That was 10 or more years ago and they haven’t seen each other since!  Ugh! ESTRANGEMENT!! I hate it!  I know it’s a fact of life and some families are closer than others…but it doesn’t change my feelings on this lack of closeness that many in my family share.  I want it to be different!

Rain is such a precious and sweet girl!  For a couple of years her dad and step-mom lived just 40 miles from us.  AlthoughImagedad didn’t have custody Maw Maw and Paw Paw reaped the benefit of summer visitations and remember taking Rain shopping for some school clothes before she left to go back to Colorado.  ImageWhenever we had the opportunity to see Rain we would try to spend quality time together.  I recall one summer when we were up North for a wedding we celebrated Rain’s birthday early just so we could be together for it.  

ImageAll grown up now but back in Minnesota…Rain is once again living closer to her dad, step-mom and little brother.  I just wish I was closer as well!  I miss her so much!  The last time I saw her was in 2007!! That’s 7 long years!  Cards and gifts on birthdays and Christmases just aren’t sufficient enough for a grandchild to know they are loved.  Maybe they do know…maybe I’m just feeling guilty for the lack of time I’ve spent with some of them.  In my opinion, no amount of money can replace lost moments together.  Unfortunately, when families separate, move, divorce, have hard feelings & misunderstandings….ugh, there it is again – ESTRANGEMENT! Isn’t that an ugly word?  It’s even and uglier fact of life!  Did I mention, I hate it?  My youngest daughter, Tanya got to see Rain this week and got to celebrate a little bit with her.  ImageAuntie Tanya is always game for a little clowning around!  I smiled when she sent me this pic.  So, congratulations Rain!  Maw Maw wishes she could be present for your graduation next week but some much smaller grandchildren here in Texas are needing my time and attention.

Now that you have come of age, maybe you can make a trip to Texas to see us.  You would be welcomed with open arms!Image

Last but not least is my third graduate, Ethan! Ethan is Christian’s younger brother and 6 yrs. old. In Texas they make a big deal out of Kindergarten graduations…and so when my daughter asked me if I could attend the ceremony this past Tuesday I was all in! I took care of Ethan here in my home along with his younger brother, Kash until Ethan began school. Technically, I guess you could say I was his “Pre-K” teacher. We had lots of fun and I taught him how to read, spell, write, count etc;2013-01-03_10-18-35_563
Now, Ethan will be entering the first grade! Fortunately, I can say I’ve not been ESTRANGED from Ethan like I have some of my other grandchildren. Since he only lives 20 miles from me, I’ve been able to be a part of his life since he was born! Ethan is my 13th grandchild. We’ve love to build forts from blankets, play card games, build tall towers from the Jenga blocks and play with Legos.IMG_20130529_124131_325 Here Ethan is having fun with Play Doh.

I’m so proud of little Ethan!

Look at that grin!

Look at that grin!

Now that school is out I will see more of Ethan. In fact he and his brother Preston will be coming along with Kash on Monday to stay at Maw Maw’s house while mommy works. This is our last week to take care of Jackson…but next week will be crazy with four grandsons here! I will have to snap a picture so you can all see proof of four that I do get to spend lots of time with!

Ethan with his certificate

Ethan with his certificate

I’m not shy…so I hooped and hollered for Ethan as he was receiving his certificate. In fact, another grandma commented as I was leaving that I gave her courage to holler as well. LOL

A parting shot of us….

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

“Do as I say, not as I do”

I liked this blog and thought I would repost for those of you following/reading me. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

dancingthruyears

Dad & my baby girl (2)

This is “Bob” and my baby girl, Tanya back in 1981. He was my step-dad but the only “dad” I knew growing up. Bob died in 1995, but I can still hear him saying,

Do as I say, not as I do

!! I once had a psychologist tell me that when I had a thought ie; (message, life lesson) playing over and over in my head, that I should ask myself

whose voice it is

so I would be able to better judge it’s truth or validity. It’s been my experience that upon entering adolesence we begin to question the philosphy of our parents; their belief systems etc; Therefore when I was told

you need to…, or you should have…,

my come back was often,

why? you don’t do that,

or

you’ve always…

and I would hear,

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO!!

Isn’t that the very…

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Milestones of a “Ginger”

Do young mothers still keep baby books?  The three baby books I kept for my three children went to year 7 and then quit.  I was devoted to keeping them up to date, complete with pictures…noting every milestone from when they cut their first tooth to when they had their first haircut.  Is it my imagination or is this an almost entirely lost endeavor?  Once I became a scrapbooker, I transferred the information and destroyed the old yellowed pages of those baby books to make scrapbooks for each of my grown children all the way into adulthood, including jobs, spouses, their children etc;

Now, I am enjoying the milestones of grandchildren – up close and personal.  Our youngest and 15th grandchild (I have 10, my husband has 5)..is Jackson, our little “ginger”.

ImageHe is just over 3 months old and has begun to hold his head up in bed and check us out! How about that for a cute shot!!  So, low and behold I wasn’t at all surprised when I came into the bedroom to get him from his crib the other day to discover he had rolled over from his tummy to his back!!  I didn’t see it, but we always put him on his tummy for sleep (I know all the controversy and debate), but when he awoke he was on his back!!  LOL 

Jackson’s parents are first time parents, needless to say he is spoiled!  I think mommy and daddy think that if he lets out a peep he must be picked up!  It’s made it a bit more challenging for Maw Maw and Paw Paw because we get very little “down time” when he’s awake!!  He’s not real good at entertaining himself yet.  ImageHere he is being talked to.  He loves it when you talk to him.  His sweet personality is really beginning to show.  Just as equally his red-headed temperament is also often present!  LOL  Oh, how we love this little toot!!  He is such a joy to have around.

 

He has such a cute, high pitched wail…and when he decides he’s mad – there’s nothing a person can do but let him wail. He just decides – “I’m done being entertained!” Usually that means he’s either very tired, needs to be fed or needs to be changed. Sometimes tho, it just means “change my position”!! In other words…”walk around the house with me, so I can look around, or go outside and sit on the patio with me for awhile, or take me for a stroll in my stroller.”

Our big boy

Our big boy

Needless to say, we are enjoying taking care of “little” Jackson and will miss him when mommy is done teaching school in 2 weeks. He will return to us in the fall half grown I’m sure. It’s not that we won’t see him this summer…(of course, we will), but it won’t be the same as enjoying and appreciating all those milestones on a daily basis like we have.Jackson 4 This last shot is Jackson flirting with our Pastor’s wife at church. Love it!

Aside

The thought process I go through when I CREATE…

Seldom do my projects end up looking the way I thought they would when I began the process.  I have made very few quilts from a set pattern I purchased or found in a magazine.  I much rather create from my head.  I like to find a fabric that I like and go from there.  When I first began making quilts about 3 years ago…this was only my third & fourth quilt.  Very basic and simple patchwork, one tacked with buttons, and the other tacked with embroidery floss.  These were made for two of my son’s children – the grandson’s on the left and the granddaughter’s on the right.ImageI don’t really like to sew clothing, but I can sew a straight line!! Therefore, I love sewing quilts or home decor items, such as pillows etc; But, as I said, rarely do they end of the way I thought they would in the beginning.

I have discovered this about myself: I like to “design as I go”.  A prime example of that is this quilt I am currently working on:  I’m calling this my “Jumbo Pinwheel” toddler quilt.  It began with the royal blue, pastel animal print fabric.  I designed the entire quilt around it.  What is even funnier – my original plan was for it to be a Chevron (zig zag) pattern.  I didn’t like how it was looking, so I changed it to the pinwheel block.  After trimming this block is still 18 X 18.  You will notice there are 9 of these blocks with hot pink, yellow and turquoise solids.  When I laid the pinwheel blocks out, I realized that my quilt was going to be square.  I don’t like square.  I wanted it to be a rectangle.  So, in order to lengthen it, but not widen it I decided to add the stripe fabric on the top and bottom as a border.

ImageBut, after I laid it out, I didn’t like the stripe at the top and bottom with all the pinwheels in the middle.  It just didn’t look right!  So, I decided to break up my pinwheels and put a row of stripe in between instead.  See what I mean about the thought process I go through?  When I first began quilting I used to draw my pattern out on graph paper – the way I wanted my blocks laid out etc;  Nada! No more!  I just wing it, using my floor as a design wall! LOL  It’s more exciting that way!  It’s kinda like opening a present at Christmas.  You don’t really know what you will end up with, until you pull all the packing/tissue etc; out and see what’s in the bottom of the bag or box.

I am also a real big fan of putting a “frame” around my blocks.  The orange fabric is called “sashing”.  2 years ago I didn’t know what sashing was or how to add it to a quilt.  Now, many of my quilts have sashing.  I have tons of fabric, so I just kept experimenting with different colors until I came up with one I liked.  (This is a very inexpensive hobby for me, really).  I go to estate sales, garage sales, resale shops, goodwill etc;  Often my fabric has been purchased off a clearance table at Hancock’s or off an auction on E-bay.  Then once it was all laid out – I thought – hmmmmm those pinwheel blocks would look cute with a button in the middle….ImageWhat do you think?

ImageBut I quickly changed my mind about the buttons…thinking “if this is going to be a toddler quilt, then buttons would be a choking hazard”…Needless to say the buttons were axed.

So now that my top is done….I need to decide what fabric I will use for the back.  It will probably be a solid color. (Maybe I’ll use a soft fleece or flannel??)  I also need to decide if I want to make a “scrappy” binding for the edges or if I want it to be just one color. I also have to decide how I will quilt it, or if I will just “tie/tack” it with some yarn, embroidery floss or what?  If I quilt it should I “stitch in the ditch”, one of my favorite methods or “outline quilt” it?   ImageYou may wonder why I’ve asked these questions or even found it necessary to post such an odd blog.  Are you creative?  Do you want to be?  Believe it or not, I am very much a beginner quilter.  I am a quick study, but everything I’ve learned in the last 3 years has been learned online.  If you are inspired to tackle your first quilt, or maybe some other creative endeavor – I would encourage you to do so.  It has been a very fun hobby for me.  I have signed up and viewed a class on “free motion” quilting on http://www.craftsy.com/classes?_ct=wberqbdql-sbqiiui  but, I’m not there yet!  Much left to learn.  I need lots of practice!!  

So, now you know the thought process I go through when I sit down to begin a new quilt.  In closing I will share a couple of pics of some other ones I made in hopes it will inspire you to tackle some creative endeavor you’ve been putting off for far too long.

ImageThis was sold on E-bay but I have enough fabric to make another one at some point.

ImageBed size  9 patch I made for my older brother, Jim.

Image“Square in a square” tutorial I watched online motivated me to make this quilt for my daughter, Theresa.  So, guess what I will be doing all day this Saturday?  Sewing!  I have several projects started that I really need to get finished before I begin another one.  That would be my biggest quirk when it comes to quilting.  I like to work on several projects at one time.  (I’ve read that this is a common trait among quilters).  If it’s an unusually large quilt, I will get bored while working on it and will have to switch to something else for awhile.

In closing…I hope I’ve inspired someone to begin a new project or finish one they’ve started.  

My Daughters Inspire Me to be a Better Human Being!!

As I wind down from a great Mother’s Day weekend I am filled with awe and wonder over the two wonderful & beautiful daughters that I have!  I am so blessed to call them mine and filled with gratitude over the realization that they have grown into such awesome women! As a mother you often pray and hope that you will have a positive impact on your children and the adults that they become. But, rarely do we think about the reverse.  Rarely, do we think of how they as adults might impact us as parents or the effect they may have on our lives.  More specifically, and in commemoration of Mother’s Day – how our grown daughters may effect us as mothers!

ImageTheresa, Linda, Tanya – July 4th, 2011

I became a mother for the first time in Oct. 1969 when I gave both to my son.  That means I’ve celebrated 44 Mother’s Days!!  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun!  It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses by no stretch of the imagination – but if anyone would have told me how wonderful it would be to be the mother to two grown daughters – I would have gotten here quicker!!  

Theresa is mother to 5 children. Tanya is step-mother of one.  They have both suffered disappointment and heartache but have come through it gracefully.  

Theresa is a fun-loving, gregarious, outgoing personality.  She lives her life to the fullest among many setbacks.  She is a single mother that works very hard to provide for her family.  She’s creative & talented and loves her kids! She inspires me to be more tolerant & understanding of those around me.  No matter what race or religion you are, Theresa will be your friend.

Tanya is a more reserved but a very kind & generous personality.  She prefers a more “private & quiet” existence with her Police officer, husband, Rob.  She has great business & money sense and loves to bless others with the fruit of her labor! Because of Tanya’s influence I have found myself being friendlier with the girl at the check out counter.  Tanya inspires me to be more kind and generous with those around me and to avoid keeping score.  No matter how little or much she has, she is always planting seed in the lives of others.

This weekend it just became so much more apparent to me of how blessed I am to have these two beautiful women in my life!  It is so much fun raising little ones, but when they are grown and I see all that they have become – I can’t help but be thankful for the way God has moved in their lives and blessed me, as their mother!

ImageTanya, 34, Theresa, 36 – 2014

Friday evening, Tanya drove in from Wichita Falls, TX to spend some mother/daughter time together.  She’s a Type A, hardworking lady who rarely takes time off as a Realtor. She took me for a manicure/pedicure shortly after arriving and then we met her sister at the Theater for a movie.  Theresa had already blessed me with some really cute sandals, a wooden cross she had made and a Daytimer to keep track of all my projects!  ImageAren’t they cute?  They are very comfortable, too!

ImageThe picture doesn’t really do justice to this beautiful cross that Theresa made me.  Maybe I should have it on a blank wall rather than this busy wallpaper?  But, this is my prayer closet – a place I thought was appropriate for it.

Naturally, and as expected, neither of my daughters would let me spend any money this weekend! I am so blessed!! Tanya knew that after taking care of grandsons as much as I have and feeling the pain of a 20 lb. weight gain over the last 3 years that I was needing some “retail therapy”.  So, Saturday we had a “girl day” of shopping.  It still amazes me at how frustrating it used to be (when Tanya was a teen) when we went shopping. We never liked the same thing and she was (and still is) so tiny that the clothing she wanted and that was age appropriate was too large for her petite frame.  In order for clothes to fit, she had to shop in the children’s department or have adult clothing altered. She would get so frustrated and I would get so tired of even trying to help her find something!  We didn’t shop well together at all!  Nowadays, we love to shop together and both always find something pretty and new!  What amazes us most is how often we will spot something and call attention to it, only to find out the other was looking at the very same item!  Our taste is clothing is very similar now.  I guess my tastes have gotten “younger” and hers have gotten more mature?  Not sure, but we sure have fun helping each other put outfits together and trying on clothes together.  

We took a break while hubby met us for lunch at Cracker Barrel.  He doesn’t like Cracker Barrel much – but it was “all about me” yesterday (Tanya made me promise)…but I compromised by using an Olive Garden gift card Tanya gave me to take him to his favorite eating establishment today after church.  

I am a grateful person.  Gratitude comes naturally to me. But, today I am especially grateful! I received 6 text messages this morning from different girlfriends wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  I also received a beautiful (very private) letter from my hubby that brought tears to my eyes.  While at church, my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful card that had a very personal, sincere loving message written inside.  It also made me cry.  Then, just a little while ago after getting home from Olive Garden my step-granddaughter, Lani wrote a text that said, “Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks to you, you brought a beautiful lady in this world that takes care of my dad and loves me like her own.  I am so happy you are my family! Have a beautiful day, Maw Maw! I love you.”  Wow, what more could a mom, grandma want?

I am truly inspired by all this kindness and love to be the best human being I can be and to pay it forward as often as I can.  A more recent quote I read that I truly try to embrace says, “A rejected opportunity to give is a lost opportunity to receive”.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! Inspire someone as my daughters have done me. It costs nothing and the rewards are immeasurable.

I just don’t understand! Warning: Controversial subject

I am re-blogging this one…because I feel so strongly about this topic. I come into contact with people every day that want to remain in their victimization – I just don’t see the point!! Life is too short!

dancingthruyears

Let me first say that this is hindsight talking. It has taken many years of soul searching, God seeking and therapy to reach this place but that being said:

I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK!! I remember back in the late eighties or early nineties saying that to the Christian counselor I had sought help from. He asked me “how does that make you feel?” I replied, “I feel stuck!” His next question to me was “what do you need to do to feel unstuck?” And then, rather than giving me the answer he let me work it out in my own way and in my own time. He was an EXCELLENT COUNSELOR and I will be forever grateful for the many sessions that I had with him. He really helped me!

Why do you continue to blame your past for why you are the way…

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