“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

Back in my day…

I am a product of the 50’s and 60’s, being born in 1951 and graduating high school in 1969. Although we had sex, drugs and rock & roll back then too, life was much simpler. A step up in our technology would have been to get a COLOR TV!! TV’s were HUGE back then – no flat screens for sure! In fact most of us had what was referred to as a “Console TV” – it was typically once nice looking piece of furniture!! Console TV We had one very similar to this one when I was growing up.

I remember watching Ed Sullivan on that TV. I loved the Lennon Sisters…The-Lennon-Sisters-rocknroll-remembered-2553866-640-480 Third from the left, Janet was my favorite. I think she was the youngest of the four girls.

I also remember watching Mr. ED (1961-1966), My Favorite Martian (1963-1966), Father Knows Best (1954-1960), Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963) and so forth. All great, wholesome shows and shows you just don’t see any likeness of …anymore. We sat down to the supper table as a family every night without fail. I think it’s very sad that many families today don’t sit down to a table and share a meal much anymore (unless they are in a restaurant..and even then they are so busy looking down at their phones that they aren’t talking or connecting!)

My entire teen years were spent roller skating at the indoor roller rink in town every Friday and Saturday evening. I loved to roller skate and even competed in a few competitions and went on road trips with the roller skating club when I got a little older. The worst part of this activity was that it was also the local hangout for GI’s from the nearby Air Force base and I was an impressionable young lady at the time. Needless to say, it was subsequently where I met my first husband and then became pregnant with my first child at 18. You sure don’t see many indoor roller rinks anymore. There may be a few (there is one in this town where I live now), but the crowd is mostly made up of very young children and rarely do you see families skating together. Teens nowadays, for the most part, find roller skating boring. You will also see them donning roller blades, rather than the roller skates of my day..roller skates

I used all sorts of contraptions on my hair to make it curly …all sizes and shapes of curlers, orange juice cans (for a more relaxed look) and “ratting”, “teasing” or “backcombing” your hair was an absolute must, if you wanted “big hair”!! I curled my hair wet, and didn’t have anyway to dry it but by just letting it dry naturally…so it was not uncommon to go out during the day with curlers in my hair and a chiffon scarf tied around my head to conceal the curlers somewhat!girl w curlers

You rarely saw women back in my day with short hair. Long hair and dresses were quite common. Ribbons in the hair weren’t cheesy! I had a wide assortment. I believe it wasn’t until my senior year in 1968-1969 that they changed the dress code at my high school. Up until then, girls had to wear dresses or skirts (no pants or jeans). Can you believe it? We always wore hose with our dresses…no bare legs like you see now. In fact, if you wait long enough all the styles of the day do come back and repeat themselves. You know how you see all those crazy nylons, tights etc; nowadays? Well, here’s a pic of the “window pane” hose that I owned and wore often. They were one of my favorites…window pane hose

Democrat, Harry Truman was president when I was born. I really loved Elvis Presley in the 50’s and early 60’s, but he was quickly replaced by Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys. Jan and Dean

Beach-Boys-1 Can you believe it? Look at those well groomed, clean cut, young, good looking men? They don’t look anything like our music stars of today!! Or do they? Maybe so…maybe my narrow mindedness is showing. Life just seemed so much more wholesome back then. Maybe I’m just getting old and melancholy.

Oh, and speaking of Ed Sullivan (earlier in this post…just in case you won’t paying attention)…he introduced the Beatles to us in 1963 and teenage girls were going crazy all over the US! I liked them…but wouldn’t say I was “crazy” for them. I thought Paul McCartney was the best looking one and therefore my favorite. I thought Ringo was UGLY with a capital “U”!!Beatles

The Beach Party films of the mid 60’s were my favorite!! They featured Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon and I think there were six of them. Every time a new one came out…I couldn’t wait to see it. I know, CORNY!!..maybe it was because I lived in the “frozen North” that I enjoyed these beach party films so much. There may not have been much novelty to them, had I lived in Florida or California…but for North Dakota living, beach party movies were NIRVANA!!

Last but not least was WOODSTOCK! The year of my high school graduation was also the year of Woodstock! The Hippie movement…and “free love” was in full swing! woodstock_csg022 I was already married and pregnant with my first child…so my priorities shifted (temporarily)…but it was pretty cool that 3 months prior to Woodstock my home state had their own version of Woodstock…called “Zip to Zap”…located in the very small community of Zap, North Dakota!

So, at the close of 1969…after the birth of my son…I proceeded to “sow some of the oats” I missed out on sowing with my graduating class. My first apartment had beads in the doorway, inflatable furniture and a poster of a pregnant girl scout on the wall! Helen Gurley Brown and Cosmopolitan magazine were my “MO”!! As a single mom in the early 70’s I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that first male centerfold of Burt Reynolds!! I’d come a long way baby!!

I close by saying…I’m not that young innocent of the 50’s and early 60’s (I kinda wish I was). But, I’m also not the wild, young poncho & moccasin wearing hippie of the late 60’s and early 70’s either. (I’m glad I’m not). This was just a trip down memory lane. Today, I’m thankful for redemption and the blood bought life. I live for a higher calling and the greater good. But, everything I’ve done and experienced has made me who I am today….and for that I am TRULY THANKFUL.

Come and sit with me a while…

Come and sit with me a while….

I loved this and my fellow blogger, Diane inspired me to answer some of the questions she posed:

Here is my reply:

I envision us, Diane sitting in those Adirondack chairs sipping a cup of tea on a chilly morning covered up with two of my favorite lap size quilts, as we chat and become better acquainted. I find happiness in the world around me as well as the calm from within. I am a people lover, so people make me smile…especially people of like mind and faith. But, then there are those moments when I desire to be alone and allow my mind to wander or my creative juices to flow without any noise or interruption. I crave silence often!!

When I am low I call on a loving Savior who’s quick to comfort me and remind me that I’m chosen. You might find me on my knees in my little prayer closet or you mind find me reading His word. Once in awhile when I am down in the dumps I recognize the need to talk to someone “with skin on”…and will call on a best friend, someone I can trust (a person who will not mock, a person who will not gossip, a person who feels my pain and understands what I am going through.)

I recently told my husband on our 16th wedding anniversary that he was the one (besides the Lord) that gave me a feeling of safety, that helped me to know that no matter what – he was on my side and would always go to bat for me!!

I cherish the good childhood memories and can now laugh at most of the bad ones. I find myself embracing the title “Victor” rather than “Survivor” over my past and my dysfunctional family. They have helped me to become who I am today – and for that I am grateful.

I can tell you about a time when I performed the Heimlich maneuver on a young daughter when she was choking on a plastic Easter Egg – and how scared I was at the time, but how relieved I was when it worked!!

I would share my hurt & frustration with you of the many times I’ve witnessed someone being shunned or mistreated for whatever reason. I would share personal experiences of my own mistreatment and share with you how much I could relate to what they were going through. It truly is illogical!!

I would talk with you about the constant war I’m in regarding trying to eat right and exercise. I would share my embarrassment with you – knowing what to do, but not always doing it! I would tell you that cake is my cocaine LOL!! and that I just can’t have it in the house or I will eat it!! There would be times when I would be very quiet about my battle, and not say anything – but you would know as would so many of my other loved ones.

Diane, I’m not so sure I strike a very good balance between giving and taking – I’m much more a giver than a taker. I rarely ask for what I need – and you would know me to have a very “self-deprecating” personality…one that beats herself up way too much!! My friends would confirm that for you.

I work hard to stay on a schedule (same bedtime, same wake time each day) so that my body gets into a rhythm and I’m able to sleep. Sometimes it works, other times not – but I would share the good news of recently being prescribed Compounded hormones that have helped my insomnia tremendously. I love to have fun and you will often find me planning or organizing some type of get together or fellowship for that sole purpose!

At my age, I’m not planning a whole lot into the future. I take each day as it comes. That’s not to say I’m not a planner – just the opposite! List maker, organizer, lover of routine – that’s me! But, I’ve mellowed in my later years – thus I’m much more flexible than I was when I was younger.

In the seasons of life I find my faith grows stronger. He’s walked with me through many storms, but I’ve always discovered that there is sunshine on the other side of the mountain. I try to hold on and stay close to the ONE who can calm the wind and keep my chin up, because He sticks closer than a brother!!

That I had a brother who was in prison for 32 years – is no longer a secret! It was life changing for he and I when I began to share his story. That I had another brother that was adopted by my aunt and raised as my cousin, another once closely held secret that became an awesome love story between a brother and a sister who found each other later in life! My “secrets” are plentiful – many have suggested I write a book. And yes, there are some misdeeds I’m not proud of and some younger years that I lived void of a Savior. If only, I could have yielded to Him sooner!! So many mistakes could have been avoided!

But, no regrets – only joy that comes on that chilly morning, when you sit and chat with a friend over a cup of tea! 🙂

No matter where I roam, there’s no place like home!!

And that is as it should be!  Your home should be a sanctuary, a place where you can feel relaxed, calm, loved, safe etc;  There was a time in my life when I didn’t feel that way when I went home.  In fact, whether I was at work, or somewhere else I often dreaded going home.  That has not been the case for a very long time and I’m thankful for that!! But, I digress…

I just thought that was such an appropriate title for my post, since I love going on vacation but also love returning home.  What is it about vacations?  You always get so excited about going and look so forward to it, but by the time it’s over, you look so forward to getting home!??

Compliments of my youngest daughter and her husband, Rob, hubby and I journeyed to Ruidoso, NM for a few days of relaxation for our 16th wedding anniversary.  The view NM 073014It’s a long trip from our house, so we broke it up into two days.  We stopped the first night just 70 miles away from our destination in Roswell, NM.  Remember, the UFO sighting in 1947? http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record.html  I wanted to be sure I got a little exercise while on this trip, so I walked around the parking lot of the motel a few times (since the walking trail/park was already closed for the day) and then hubby and I drove over to Whataburger for a quick supper.  We were tired from all the driving.

We slept late and arrived in Ruidoso about 11 am, but not before going past a serious car/truck accident with survivors sitting on the edge of the road.  It was awful and if everyone survived what we saw, it was an absolute miracle!  We said a prayer as we were directed around the crash site and counted our blessings for sleeping late.  Our goal our first day was to pick up some groceries to take to the cabin with us and get settled in.  We did just that!  Thank God for Walmart! LOL  While hubby was unpacking the car, I made us each a sandwich for our anniversary lunch!  Ahhh…the simple pleasures of life.  I had been to the cabin once before with my daughter, but this was Jerry’s first trip.  I overdid it on my first day the last time I went and got pretty sick from the higher altitude, so we were determined to take it easy and not do too much our first day – especially, since my hubby isn’t the walking picture of health and fitness! Ha!

Here’s Jerry eating his sandwich and gazing out the kitchen window of my daughter & son-in-law’s modest mountain cabin.  The view was amazing, and Jerry loved seeing all the wildlife.Jerry - Cabin 072914We spent some down time just enjoying the relaxing environment, the peace and quiet and communing with our Creator.  It was awesome!  Our life at home can get quite hectic with taking care of grandbabies so we also seized the opportunity to “re-connect” as a couple.  No cable, no high speed internet etc; It was great!

That evening after we felt refreshed and rejuvinated we went to Cattle Baron Steakhouse in town at the bottom of the mountain to enjoy an Anniversary dinner.  They have a phenomenal salad bar.  I had been there before with my daughter (but because of overdoing it) had to get a doggie bag and leave early.  This time was much more positive and I even enjoyed what I wouldn’t normally eat (Rib Eye steak!).  I had the waitress take a picture of us, but if I showed you, you wouldn’t believe we were having a good time and that this post was all a lie!!  I look like I had been sucking on lemons all day!  OMG!  Terrible picture!!  In fact, if you saw it – you would ask, “16 years huh? Are you sure you are gonna make it to 17?”

Anyway, we capped off the night with watching a movie in the cabin.  What we found most humorous was most mornings we were up early (5:30 or 6:00 am), but that was OUR TIME! New Mexico time was an hour earlier…so that meant it was only 4:30 am!!  None of the stores, shops etc; open until 10 am!!  Our lifestyle at home starts early too, and so by 11 am we are ready for lunch & a nap and the stores were just getting started!  LOL.  Our goal the second day was to start looking for some antique stores to peruse.  We had looked them up ahead of time and we found a list of five of them.  Well, we found TWO!  The first one wasn’t anything to write home about, but this is the second one we found…NM Antique store 2014My husband “collects” Gillette double edged safety razors.  He really doesn’t collect them, but if he can find a great buy on one, he will re-sell it on e-Bay.  I on the other hand, just love looking at junk!  LOL  It is such a trip down memory lane for me when I go thru Antique stores and see old radio flyer wagons, or an old toy box that looks just like one I used to have!  I love looking at all the “vintage” stuff.  I have acquired a few possessions when we’ve gone but mostly it is just for the “sport”.  Antiquing 2014 quiltI wish I could have opened this up so you could really see it. It is a KING SIZE Texas star quilt that is completely hand quilted!!  It was amazing and in excellent condition!  

I loved the “vintage” fabrics used in this “log cabin” pattern.Antiquing 2014 log cabin quiltAlthough I had spend lots of time going through all the shops and boutiques with my daughter on the last trip to Ruidoso, my hubby was a good sport and went with me this time while I looked at all the cute (overly priced) clothing.  I had encouraged him to consider getting a massage while we were away and low and behold we discovered a place where an hour long massage was only $69.  Well worth it if they were any good.  And they were!! While hubby was enjoying his massage I continued shopping.  :-{ Sad face….all I found was a t-shirt! I was looking for a church skirt and even tried a few on – but no luck!

We had lunch that day at Schlotzky’s and it was delicious!  They have a Schlotzky’s, TCBY and Cinnabon all under one roof….OMG!! The smell of Cinnabon was amazing!  I resisted because I am still trying to watch my diet.  Oh, before going to town – I almost forgot, I did go for a 1 mile walk on the trail nearby…Hiking trail NM 073014At the cabin we were at 7000 feet altitude, and in our home town we are only at 371 ft altitude, so to say it was an adjustment for us would be an understatement.  You can get used to it, but having 20% less oxygen can make a big difference when you are overweight and out of shape!

That night we sat on the front porch of the cabin…Cabin - front yard 072914This was our view from the front porch.  We popped some popcorn and watched a movie.  Once again, relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.

While sitting on the porch that evening we discussed leaving a day early.  Not because we weren’t having fun but because there wasn’t a lot for us to do or see.  We had planned to go to Ruidoso Downs and watch the horse races but found out they were only open on the weekend. We had planned to do more antiquing but when we discovered only two local shops of five open we knew that would involve some driving.  We discussed driving home and making an overnight stop in Abilene on the way back for some Antiquing.  When we told my daughter and son-in-law (via text) that we were considering leaving early they suggested we come their way to Wichita Falls, Tx thus avoiding another night in a motel and checking out the Antique stores in Lubbock on the way.  We decided on Lubbock and Wichita Falls instead of Abilene.

So, the next day we got up, packed, cleaned up the cabin  Porch sweep cabin 073014and headed to my daughter and son-in-law’s home in Wichita Falls, TX.

It was probably the best part of the trip! They have a beautiful, relaxing home Tanya's living room 073114
We didn’t arrive until 7 pm and were in bed by 10 pm after enjoying some beef brisket sandwiches and a brief visit. We hung around and enjoyed Tanya and Rob’s company until after lunch the next day and then drove the 5 1/2 hours home.

We had all day Saturday to unpack, take care of any business that came in while we were away and rest up for a full Sunday of Apostolic praise, worship and word.

Then bright and early Monday morning the four grandsons arrived and it was back to work for Maw Maw and Paw Paw with only weekends to do as we please. Since we returned home, hubby has been battling some health issues, I’ve been trying to get walks and workouts in each morning before the boys arrive (threw my back out in the process), and been sewing feverishly on a T-shirt quilt that has to be delivered by Labor Day.

Been crazy busy (this post has been a “draft” for two weeks!!)..

“Abide in Me, & I will abide in you”…

Another one of the advantages that I’ve had with having the whole month of July off from taking care of grandsons is more time for prayer, personal reflection and Bible study.  In all my years of living for God, many mornings I will awake with a song on my heart, but never has God awoken me with a scripture on my heart until this past July 15th.  But when I awoke July 15th and heard Him say, “Abide in Me and I will abide in you”…I knew that would be the subject of my bible study that day.

Now, I don’t profess to be a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love to read and study God’s word.  And so the 15th chapter of John became my focus…here are just a few of my written notes:

verse 1) husbandman? hmmm…God is the master of the house, tiller of the soil; his business is to cultivate the soil.

verse 2) He prunes me!

verse 3) The word will keep me clean; the word will keep me from sin.

verse 4) There it is! What I woke up with! I can’t do anything without God! I am unfruitful without God!

verse 5) God and I are directly linked! We are connected! I will bear much fruit with God –but without Him I am nothing.

verse 6) I envision picking up all the dead branches laying on the ground when my husband mows and throwing them into the burn pile.  That branch can be me – DEAD – if I leave God out of the equations.

verse 7) OMG! Thank you God! There’s that condition again! I’ve often quoted James 4:3, but there’s a condition! In order to receive what I ask I must first abide in the vine and He in me!!

verse 8) disciple? hmmm…If I am a disciple for God, I will be able to “pay it forward”.  I will be effective for the ministry.  I will be an example; a witness. People will see a true & sincere change in me!

verse 9) my love walk will be perfected.

verse 10) A condition again!  “IF” I keep His commandments!! OMG! I will be able to replicate the love of the Father and the Son!!

Which then took me to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17   Remember…no Bible Scholar here….just my take on things….

1) No other Gods! He comes first!!  (TV, Sewing, Fitness – they can all be “Gods” if they become more important in my daily life then Him!!)

2) No idols! No images! Love Him and Him only – He will show mercy!

3) Don’t take His name in vain!

4) Sunday is an important day! Rest, relax, reflect on God. Don’t work!

5) Whether they deserve it or not, I MUST honor my mom and dad!

6) No kill

7) No adultery – stay emotionally and physically connected to your mate!

8) No theft!

9) Bearing false witness? hmmm…To lie or accuse without evidence.

10) Thou shalt not “covet”? to desire for things that are not yours!

Good stuff and much food for thought as I return to John 15….

verse 11) If I keep His commandments my joy will be full!

verse 12) Love!

verse 13) Love more!

verse 14) Obedience!

verse 15) A “friend” of God knows God and His ways!

verse 16) I am chosen!

verse 17) Love!

verse 18) Don’t fret over being hated! The Lord was hated first!

verse 19) When the world hates you that’s a good sign you must be doing something right!

verse 20) They will heed my words “if” I abide in Him. (That “if” is the condition, see it?)

verse 21) I will be persecuted for living for God!!

verse 22) It’s easy to remain in denial about my sin if I don’t walk in the spirit.

verse 23) They are ONE!

God the Father & Jesus the Son are one…and these words (if you looked) are written in red. That means he is speaking directly to us and although He is merciful and a just God – Yes, he loves us unconditionally, but IF we want the full and abundant life there are certain things we must do – there are some conditions.

This really benefited me.  I hope by sharing it, it did you too.  His word is so powerful and so enlightening and when I go there, I just want to go there more, and hopefully while I’m relaxing with my sweetheart in the New Mexico mountains we will both be able to spend some time reflecting on God’s goodness!

Vacation pics on the way!  Be blessed my friends!

 

 

The cycle continues…

I had a brief chat with a 30 something yr old young man not too long ago and he said, “When I marry it will be for life.  I will only marry once.”

Having lived a few more years than he had…and having experienced a whole lot more than he had – I was blown away by his naivety!  This young man “presented” himself as a bible believing Christian (that’s a topic for another post)…

Naturally, having experienced the heartache of divorce more than once I was also quite offended by his comment.  Politely, I replied “well, do you think it was ever my intention to marry more than once?”  “Don’t you think that everyone who marries only intends to do it once?”  “Do  you really think that anyone goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce?”  OMG!  

No, ladies and gentlemen – I never intended for any of my children to come from a broken home – even if I did!  And yet, 2 of my 3 children have experienced more than one divorce just like I have! As hard as I try to live right, do right and be a Godly example they still have to live their life and make their own choices, right or wrong.  I hate that!  I want them to learn from my mistakes, not to make their own.  But, I truly don’t believe we learn much from watching others make mistakes and bad choices.

I learned my lessons much later in life.  It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I began to see that I was the “common denominator” in a lot of my choices and that I was the one that needed to change – not them.  That’s also when my prayers changed.  Instead of praying “God make him the kind of husband I want him to be” it was “God, show me how to be the kind of wife you need me to be.”  I know it seems simplistic and my prayers often involved more words than seen here, but you get my drift.

So, why do I post on this topic, you ask?  Well, because I am witnessing the cycle continue.  My grandchildren now come from broken homes!!  My grandson, Kash is just one example.  He will be 3 in Sept.  He goes to Daddy’s for one week, then he’s at mommy’s for one week.  He’s at daddy’s the entire month of July – not to see his mommy, his four other siblings or his Maw Maw. I miss him.  But, more importantly, I’m sad for him.

No one really thinks twice about being from a broken home anymore.  Do they even use that terminology anymore?  It’s more the norm nowadays.  So many couples just live together now without the marital contract and bring children into that world as well.  If Hollywood says it’s okay then I guess it’s okay, right?  NADA!    I’m so sad about the direction our world is going.  

I know some will call me old fashioned.  Some will say what I desire is unrealistic.  Some will even say that I’m living in the dark ages.  I just hate that the cycle continues.

JURY DUTY…

Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection.  Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw).  Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more).  Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from).  Hmmmm….sounding interesting.

My name was called for the 70 member panel.  Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror.  (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected.  Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL

Oooops!  Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed?  Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end.  The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member.  Whoa!  Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me?  $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it?  Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance.  They may disqualify so many others that they may need me!  (I know – a little “grandiose”  LOL).

Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL  I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time.  Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?)  You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money.  I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out.  (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!)  Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week.  She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.

After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case.  It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”.  They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit.  At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury.  Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew!  That was out!  I was relieved.  I’d done my part. Now it was up to God.  If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it.  If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.

I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty.  I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant.  I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.

To God be the Glory!

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.

When are you closest to God?

OMG! The person that got out of my bed this morning was not me! I don’t know who that person was, but whoever she was…she was cranky, miserable was hating her life!  Just saying…honestly.  Fortunately, it only lasted a short while.  This was at 6:30 am, before my two precious grandsons arrived.  I am normally a very positive and upbeat person – full of faith (and the Holy Ghost) I might add …but today was not starting out on a good note.  Within 20 minutes of arising and realizing my cranky state I was berating myself and beating myself up for feeling so horrible!!  All I wanted to do was cry!! Once my sweet hubby realized my state and showed a little tenderness…I was doing just that!!  Sitting next to him on the edge of the bed having a good cry!  He’s such a good man and always helps me to see the “error of my ways”…or in this case my “thoughts”.  He put his foot down when I called myself stupid.  

You see, we had enjoyed an awesome Easter Sunday with both morning and evening church services, dinner at Red Lobster with eldest daughter, her boyfriend and my grandson, Kash.  We are Apostolic.  Church for us is like a teenager going to see their favorite rock concert.  We love Jesus and believe in making a joyful noise!  There is nothing sedate about Pentecostal worship.  We came home at 9:30 lastnight, sweaty, tired and all sung and danced out! (I’m in the choir, and hubby is the sound man).

So, why in the world was I feeling the way I was feeling this morning?  How in the world can I be on top of the mountain in church and then be in the mully grubs this morning?  Am I a hypocrite?  Is what I feel in church and sometimes even at home (when I’m prayed up, and in the Word) real?  Or is it a figment of my imagination?  All these thoughts/questions were what manifested themselves into me thinking I was really being STUPID!

But, my sweet hubby reminded me of another “being” that is just as real as God and knows exactly the right time to show up!!  The devil, Satan, ie; the “Prince of Darkness”…would like nothing better than to pull me down into the PIT.  And he really doesn’t care a whole lot about me and will leave me alone most of the time….BUT, when I’m at the top of the mountain, praising & glorifying God he HATES IT!  That is when I am closest to God!  And Satan is one very mad dude!  He is not one bit happy about my joy and my love of my Savior.  Within minutes of this realization, my hubby and I were praying and rebuking the enemy from further attacks.  I was done beating myself up for not recognizing this spiritual attack for what it was.  With my chin up and a better attitude I greeted two precious grandsons who arrived within 30 min. of each other and we went on with our day.

Jackson laid down for his morning nap within 30 min. of arriving and Kash and I took a walk to the park/playground.  Walking & fresh air always helps my moods too!  We played for about an hour while Paw Paw tended to Jackson. When we got back home Paw Paw was feeding Jackson his bottle.  While Jackson was still up and we had Paw Paw’s help, Kash and I made the beds and vaccumed the whole house.  I always feel better when the house is tidied up too!

It was still Monday.   I’m sure there is something about Mondays..not just for working adults but babies as well.  In fact, I’m convinced that babies don’t like Mondays either.  Kash had not been here in almost two weeks.  He spent a week long visitation with his daddy, and when he arrived home to mommy last Tues evening he was violently ill with a stomach virus!!  Poor baby.  Mommy had to miss last Wed. and Thurs from work to take him to the doctor and nurse him back to health.  She had good Friday and weekend off.  Kash began feeling better Friday so I got to spend a few hours with him on Friday having a little Easter egg hunt in the back yard.  After being at daddy’s for a week and then being sick for several days, he wanted to be the center of my world today and didn’t want to tolerate a fussy infant (Jackson) stealing his Maw Maw’s attention.  ImageIm ‘getting wet in this shot.  Who’s idea was it to buy water pistols at the dollar store, anyway?

Jackson, on the other hand – just doesn’t like Mondays!! He’s no longer in his familiar surroundings.  He’s had the weekend with mommy and daddy, no siblings + their undivided attention and today Maw Maw and Paw Paw just weren’t adequate!  He never slept for more than 45 min. at a time…mostly “cat napping” and seemed to have caught Maw Maw’s early morning crankiness!! 

ImageThank God for teamwork!  Paw Paw did more than his fair share to help me with the boys today.  He also washed, dried and folded all the laundry.  We were both glad to see 5 pm roll around.  I know tomorrow will be a better day. After all, it’s Tuesday! LOL

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