“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

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!

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!!

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.

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?

OMG!! Help! I need educating!! Vapor shops?

I truly don’t understand!! What is the deal? I admit to being ignorant to this new “fad”…I admit I’m old and narrow minded! But really? Everywhere I go there are Vapor shops on every corner!! I know there are at least 20 – 30 right here in our town of 75,000!!

What am I not understanding? The only thing I do know about these “electronic cigarettes” is that they are supposed to be an alternative to the more harmful “real” cigarettes. Is that even accurate? I’m clueless! I don’t get it! I really don’t…and I need educating.

I’ve never been what I would consider a “big” smoker, but back when I was in my twenties, I tried it for awhile. I mostly smoked when I was hanging out with friends (in an attempt to “look cool”).

In my mind, I guess I’ve always felt like inhaling anything into your lungs other than oxygen can’t be a good thing!! I’m not even one to clown around by inhaling helium to talk funny like so many of my friends have done. When I did smoke, I was never very good at inhaling. Thankfully, I can’t say I was ever hooked on smoking like some of my dear friends and family are.

So what’s up? Are these really better? How do they work? What are you inhaling when you use one?

And is this a very competitive market? It must be!! I see shops everywhere!! If they all sell them for the same price, we wouldn’t need so many shops, would we?

“Vapor Lounge”, “Vape City”, “Mighty Vapors”, “Vapor Exchange”…shall I go on? In my day, to have a case of the Vapors meant something entirely different! What is going on? Is this a social experience, much like Starbucks and the like? Naturally, I’ve never walked into one, cause I have no need…so I really don’t know what goes on inside. But, they have just sprung up like overnight – or at least it seems that way!!

I’m boggled by it all – HELP ME UNDERSTAND, please??

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! 🙂

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!!)..

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