An old wive’s tale….

My now deceased mother-in-law used to say that “whatever you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long”. Well, I think about that every Jan. 1 and wonder if I’ve done what I want to be doing all year long. Hmmmmm…since moving to Texas I also have heard that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s day. Blecckkk!! I don’t like black eyed peas and not being the superstitious type it’s gonna take more than the promise of good luck to get me to eat them! But, I digress…

So, let’s see what did I do today? Well, I made my bed. That’s a good habit to have all year long, I guess. I washed my face and brushed my teeth more than once so I guess that’s another good thing I can manage all year long. Hubby started a new novel today. He loves to read and I guess that’s not a bad thing either. Hmmmm…let’s see, BUT did I do anything of real significance or importance, that is the question…Well, I began my day with devotions; talking to the Lord aka praying, and reading some scriptures – I could definitely get better at that and make sure that it is not a neglected task this year!!

I had a very restless night and didn’t sleep well, therefore I slept in this morning not waking up until about 8:30 (having only fallen asleep at 4:30 am). Ugh! That is not something I want to continue in the New year! I didn’t eat “healthy” today, but plan to the rest of the year!! I didn’t exercise today, but plan to the rest of the year. So, I guess if the old wive’s tale is true I am going to have challenges in the “healthy lifestyle” area this year. That being said, I do have a plan to meet my girlfriend at the gym first thing in the morning and I do also plan to start tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) again!!

I did quite a bit of sewing today (cord covers, pillow shams and quilts). Since, I love to sew, that would be something that I would love to continue all year long. I also made a trip to the fabric store today to take advantage of their awesome New Year’s Day sale. Taking advantage of sale prices can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It rained all day today. Does that mean it’s going to rain all year long? Hope not. Hubby napped most of the afternoon. Oops!! Not so sure about that one! But, he does have a business appointment first thing Monday morning which means he will be writing some business and making some money! A good way to start the New year.

So, as I continued to ponder what Granny used to say about today, I took it to the next level. Did I say a kind word or kiss my hubby? Yep, many times! Did I show kindness to a stranger? Yep, at the fabric store! Did I speak kind things to myself? Not easy, but yep I did. How about friends and loved ones besides hubby? Did I tell or show them that I care in some way? Yes, (primarily via text) but that counts nowadays, doesn’t it?

Those are all things that I definitely want to continue all year long. I also want to add blogging to my year long “to do” list. I want to be more consistent with posting a blog at least once a week (I admire those that can blog every day) – not this girl, not gonna happen; but once a week, I think I can do that. So, as I end this first day of 2015 – I look forward to what lies ahead and appreciate the simple things in life.

Stay tuned and I will be posting in a few days the little “excursion” hubby and I just returned from. Happy New Year, friends!

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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!

Normal or Nuts?

Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News has a segment called “Normal or Nuts”? that I get to see from time to time which is what made me come up with this blog title…

I’ve pondered some personality quirks that I & my hubby possess and decided that it would be a good question to ask. “Am I normal or nuts?” You see the other day when I was feeling a bit sequestered and suffering a bit of cabin fever I realized that I ALWAYS feel better when I make my bed!! My new comforter

I can be having a troublesome, stressful day and all I really need to do is make my bed and I feel better!! Is that normal or nuts? When I was pondering this, I was thinking about a conversation my younger daughter and I had recently in which she stated that she could lower her stress level by vacuuming her carpet! If her carpet has lines in it from vacuuming she feels better! Is that normal or nuts? LOL

I get so frustrated sometimes with my hubby’s little idiosyncrasies. He is what I would call “very particular” about so many things. If he’s EVER gotten sick after eating at a certain establishment (does not matter if it was 30 years ago and under different ownership/management) he will NEVER eat there again! Normal or Nuts?

The other day we were having a conversation about tennis shoes. You see, he needs new ones really bad. He has been looking for/shopping for new ones for about 3 months now!! (Do they still call them that?) Athletic shoes? Anyway, I digress. He’s looked in several different cities, shopped online etc; and still has no shoes!! He insists on only wearing Reeboks because he gets the best fit from them and feels the most comfortable. He has been this way since I’ve known him (17 years). PARTICULAR!! He won’t spend a whole lot of money (under $100) which also limits his choices!! PARTICULAR!! He has worn the same “model” for several years now and has them in white and black. (Both are wore out). Oh, did I tell you they have to be ALL WHITE? or ALL BLACK? LOL PARTICULAR!! They can’t have a blue stripe, red stripe, green stripe etc; or any other color on them!! Ugh!! He is so darn PICKY!!
Wait a minute – keep reading…I haven’t even gotten to the punch line on this one yet.…so the other day, he thought he had finally found them online and was fixin’ to purchase them…but then he discovered they didn’t have the leather upper, but were canvas. My perplexed state of mind just didn’t understand why that mattered!! My husband replied with, “it’s winter!!” like DUH!! I just didn’t understand that position! Is he NORMAL OR NUTS? or am I? You see, I lived in North Dakota most of my life and always wore canvas tennis shoes! It was snowy, 40 below zero and wet! I get it! But, we live in E. Texas where we rarely get a freezing rain, snow or cold weather! I don’t get it! To top it all off my hubby grew up in Texas, is hot natured and yet he’s worried about his feet getting cold???? NORMAL OR NUTS? Needless to say, he hasn’t purchased any tennis shoes yet!

When he eats potato salad, he wants WARM potato salad and won’t eat it when it’s COLD. NORMAL OR NUTS?? When he eats jelly, he wants it room temperature, not cold out of the fridge…so we just don’t buy it in the jar because once opened it must be refrigerated!! NORMAL OR NUTS??

The reason I like Netflix is because I can watch all episodes in sequential order and not miss one. If I miss one, it really messes with my brain trying to figure out where it left off and what I missed! NORMAL OR NUTS?

I like to do things in order of priority…if I have three sales for quilts, cord covers, embroidered towels etc; I will complete and fill the first one first, the second one second etc; I think that’s pretty NORMAL isn’t it?

This blog would be an exhaustive one if I were to continue…suffice it to say…if I’m NORMAL – that’s great! But, if I’m NUTS…that’s kinda cool too! I don’t really care…now hubby, on the other hand, well I’m stuck with him cause neither of us is going anywhere – so I’ll just choose my battles and the tennis shoe battle is not one I care to quibble about. He’ll find some shoes eventually, and if I stay un-involved I can’t be blamed if they don’t work out! LOL!

P.S. It’s gonna be a good day. My bed is made!!

My first born turns 45!!

Well, I was going to write this post one week ago today when my son actually turned 45, but I was out of town tending to my grand kitty and so my draft of my his 45th birthday remained in limbo. Sort of like our relationship lately…but I digress.

Wow! Where has the time gone? My ONLY son turned 45 Oct. 12th!! I was 18 when I gave birth to Troy in 1969. Here he is playing ball in 1975…Little ball player

I was wondering who else might have been born in 1969…so I did a little research: hmmmm

Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Donnie Wahlberg, Jack Black

Jennifer Aniston, Tyler Perry, Marilyn Manson, Chaz Bono

Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee’ Zellweger, JUST TO NAME A FEW…

Troy’s dad and I were married but were not together. My mom was by my side the day Troy was born for 13 hrs. of hard labor and subsequent C-section. I was a child having a child!! I was scared to death and miserable!! Even though the “shotgun wedding” was well intentioned, the marriage was doomed before it began! I discovered I was pregnant in Jan of my senior year. I married in Feb. Due to major morning sickness I was forced to drop out right before graduation. I never considered adoption or abortion and my son was born the following Oct. Maybe my son would have had a better life I I had considered adoption? I don’t know. I just know that I loved him from the moment of conception and couldn’t consider any other way. My mom agreed to help me and be a support.

So, six days after Troy was born we went home to my parent’s house. That was not what I had envisioned. Going home to my parental home with a new born son when all my friends were going to football games etc; was not part of my life plan! Hmmmmm…

My mom had given birth to my little sister just two years earlier, so Troy’s #1 playmate those first few years was his Aunt Tammy…Christmas pals

I loved my boy, but he had to compete for the affection of his grandparents, since they had a little girl that was born late in their lives. It was so unfair, but a fact of his little life.

Troy’s dad went to Viet Nam and eventually served me with divorce papers so he could remarry. I worked, I dated and sometimes dated men that weren’t good father figures for Troy. But then, when Troy was 5 years old things turned around for us when I met up with an old school friend (the brother of one of my closet girlfriends)and we married. We were now a trio. Troy’s step-dad and I agreed that he should adopt Troy so that when he began first grade he wouldn’t have to be questioned about the change in his last name. Troy’s step-dad and I met and got re-acquainted when we met in a bar after a night of drinking. That should have been my first red flag. But, as we often do when we are young and stupid we ignore all the warning signs.

We were together 10 years. Troy was a teenager by the time his step-dad and I split up and the damage had already been done. The bright side in those ten years was that Troy had two little sisters that were born!! 1977 - 26 yrs. old (2)

Theresa was born in 1977 when Troy was 7 1/2 yrs old. Tanya came next when he was fixing to turn 10 in 1979. He loved his little sisters and was a great babysitter! I heard much later in life when they were all grown that he used to put on rock concerts in the living room with his buddies when we were out and he was in charge! LOL His little sisters were told to sit on the sofa and not move while he and his buddies entertained them. I’m surprised that we never got a call from neighbors.

Anyway, there’s much more history and much more I could say, but suffice it to say I miss my boy! You see, Troy hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year now. I sent him a beautiful birthday card that spoke from my heart in secret hopes that it might open a door. Maybe it will – it hasn’t so far. He knows how to reach me. In fact, maybe he’ll read this post. He knows about my blog. In fact, the last time he got mad at me…it was because of this blog. The time previous to that it was because of Facebook.

Maybe you understand a little bit more why I don’t really like all this Social Media crap. Your thoughts?

Some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I was just contemplating the other day how much I don’t know about my folks and how much I’ve had to find out second hand or from other sources about them and their past, and it made me kinda sad.  When we are younger oftentimes we don’t really take an interest in where older people “come from” or want to listen to the “story of their life”.  Unless we had folks that talked openly and freely about their past life (before, we, their children, came along) we don’t know much unless we ask.  I am the “family historian” in my family and therefore have done quite a lot of genealogical research on my family and have been amazed at the info I’ve discovered.  That being said, I cried when reminiscing the other day about some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I’m named after my father:  His and my middle name are both Leslie. (My granddaughter, Hannah also shares the same middle name).

That same father hung himself when I was just five years old.  He was an alcoholic.  That I know to be factual.  The rest (that he was a tormented soul and suffered with depression as Robin Williams did) is only my assumption.

I’ve always loved brussel sprouts!! Even when I was a small child the only vegetables I would eat were corn, cabbage and brussel sprouts!  Oh, I liked butter beans, too!

I’ve never weighed more than 115 lbs. until I was pregnant with my first child at the age of 18.  It’s been a battle ever since!

I won my first and only beauty pageant when I was just 11 years old at Girl Scout camp!  Nuff said.

I quit believing in the Easter bunny when my mom was too busy working, thus sent me to the store with $20 to buy my own Easter basket!  Sad day for me!  LOL

I quit believing in Santa Claus when my step-dad fell down the stairs in the middle of the night with the new record player Santa was bringing! LOL

Even though I wasn’t raised going to church, I have had a strong, profound faith in a God since I was as young as 7 or 8 years old.

We began a move from Pennsylvania to North Dakota in the middle of the night when I was just 6 yrs. old because my step-dad was running from a wife he was separated from at the time.  (My mom and I were his “new family” even though he left 3 small children behind.)  I think they call them “deadbeat dads” now.

I called my step-dad by his first name, “Bob” until I was in my 20’s.  (I wrote him a letter on his birthday one year, asking him permission to begin calling him “dad” – feeling unusually close to him at the time.)

I had a lot of teeth pain, cavities etc; when I was small.  (Mom was afraid of dentists, and therefore would not take me to the dentist.)  I, on the other hand, when old enough and financially responsible enough (age 24) began to have my teeth fixed.

I had one dental emergency in which the school insisted I go to the dentist.  I chipped my front tooth when I was 16 in gym class.  Mom was more scared than I was.

Footnote:  I have fond memories of mom packing my cavities with a cinnamon flavored “wax” – I think it was called Red Cross toothache medicine – and holding me on her lap/rocking me to sleep if I awoke in the middle of the night with a toothache.

I once owned a ton of “original” Barbie clothes.  I had the very first Barbie wedding gown!!.  I gave them all away to a playmate (before my mom knew) when I felt I had “outgrown” playing with dolls!

I also had the very first Barbie doll ever created!  OMG!  How I wish I had some of the great toys I once had – I wouldn’t have a $$ worry in the world!

Remember, Betsy Wetsy? How about Little Miss Echo?  The one baby doll I did hang onto, my mom gave to my little sister when she came along.  I was 16 and no longer interested in that baby doll with the plaster head, but she was still my doll!  I was her “Mommy Dearest”!! She had strapping tape on her head where it had cracked open when she fell down those same stairs my step-dad fell down with my record player!  LOL

I was a very picky eater as a child (with exception of those brussel sprouts!)  I was constantly complaining about what was being served.  My step-dad would tell me to “go out in the yard and eat worms”.

I can’t recall ever having a homemade birthday cake.  My cakes always came from the bakery and were beautiful, flower adorned, heavily frosted white cakes!!  I still love heavily frosted white cake to this day!! The real deal with the Crisco icing!!  I still want the end cut and the extra flower too!!  Oh, and I’ve got to have ice cream with it, too!!

I can’t recall my mom ever baking cookies!!  She was a pretty good cook, but not much of a baker!  On the other hand, I love to bake cookies and often did with my children when they were growing up, and now with my grandchildren too!

My step-dad was the one who woke me up in the morning, fixed my breakfast and took me to school when I was in Jr. High while my mom worked the early breakfast shift at a local restaurant.  My step-dad had been a cook in the Army and had owned his own restaurant in Pennsylvania prior to us moving to North Dakota – so I could request whatever my heart desired for breakfast.  The menu often included, french toast, eggs over easy, poached eggs, pancakes, always bacon (never sausage) and never HOT OR COLD CEREAL!  I still don’t like cereal!!

In high school (when I was 16) my little sister was born.  I was overjoyed to have a little sister, but not overjoyed to have lost my parent’s undivided attention!!  My mom began to work evening shift so daycare would not be necessary.  My step-dad and I took care of my little sister until I graduated from high school and was by then, pregnant with my own child.

I was once (when I was about 10 yrs. old) hit by a city bus.  I was riding my bike at the time and fortunately it was minor and I wasn’t seriously hurt.  I was only 1 block from my home at the time.

I have lived in six different cities in my lifetime.  1) Wilmington, DE 2) Thorndale, PA 3) Minot, ND 4) Minneapolis, MN 5) Fargo, ND 6) Longview, TX

My Uncle Paul Flynn (now deceased and Aunt Polly’s first husband) used to sit me on his lap and sing this song to me:  I loved it and him and can still hum the tune..

LINDA
Ray Noble with Buddy Clark

When I go to sleep
I never count sheep,
I count all the charms about Linda.

And lately it seems
in all of my dreams,
I walk with my arms about Linda.

But what good does it do me for Linda
doesn’t know that I exist?
Can’t help feeling gloomy,
think of all the lovin’ I’ve missed.

We pass on the street,
my heart skips a beat,
I say to myself, “Hello, Linda.”

If only she’d smile,
I’d stop for a while
and then I would get to know Linda.

But miracles still happen
and when my lucky star begins to shine,
with one lucky break,
I’ll make Linda mine.

I know there are more memories I could share but for now – I’ll close with that very fond one!  Be blessed, my cyber friends!

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.

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

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!

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