A new creation.

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Jackson Dane or Ella Harper

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Unfortunately, I’ve been MIA for awhile. Don’t confuse that with “inactive” because although I have been missing in action I have definately not been inactive or idle during this time.
July 2nd was the beginning of my official “staycation”. The grandkids that I care for are spending the entire month of July with their dad and other grandparents and so I only have Granny to tend to this month. That has allowed me to spend more time on some hobbies I enjoy.

In addition to getting back into walking in the morning, the first week of July I spent alot of time sewing/quilting. It was nice to not have to clean up my mess each evening because “little hands” wouldn’t be arriving in the morning to get into stuff!! 🙂 And of course, every summer I have at least one DIY project planned while the kids are gone. Last summer it was sanding and refinishing my kitchen cabinets. This summer it was re-doing our home office. So, Monday I prepped and taped. Tuesday I painted the walls and ceiling. Wednesday I painted all the trim and baseboard. Lastnight and today we’ve been working on putting it all back together. Pictures posted soon.

But, the best news of all – yesterday my baby step-son came by to show us ultra sound pictures of his new baby!! They just recieved news that they will be new, first time parents in February! They had a difficult, etopic pregnancy last year and so we were exercising caution until the doctor made it official and yesterday it became official! We and the happy parents are so excited!! Although a healthy baby is the priority we are in agreement that we would like a boy. If they have a boy he will have the same initials as his daddy, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather – J D for Jackson Dane. If a girl, she will be named Ella Harper (daddy’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name).

I guess my Maw Maw t-shirt will have to go back to the seamtress for an additional monogram! Yippee!!

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Been busy sewing, instead of blogging

Been busy sewing, instead of blogging

Sometimes I get on a track…and I have a hard time getting off. This week I was on one of those tracks. It was the sewing/quilting track. As much as there were other things to do and other things I wanted to do, I wanted to sew MORE.

In fact, yesterday I decided to have a little “crafting fellowship” with a few ladies from church. It was a spur of the moment decision – (those usually work out the best) with very little planning.

What I told the three ladies that attended was that “my motivation was quite selfish”. I told them that I was lonely for good Christian fellowship since I rarely get to go to church and see all my sisters in Christ. I also was motivated because of a conversation I recently had with one of the ladies about making quilts. She really wanted to get started on one, and was looking for “inspiration”. I suggested she come over so I could give her some tips to get started. So, that’s where it all began.

We had one 9 yr. old granddaughter of one of the ladies attend as well, and I don’t know about my 4 guests – but I had a great time! We spent about 4 hours (2 of which was all about quilting) laughing, eating and enjoying each other’s company. I’m so glad I decided to do it. It was just what the doctored ordered! (I wish I had taken some pics of all of us)…but the only pic I took was of this block I created right before their very eyes!!

I am so excited about this block because it’s from a class I am taking online called “Traditional blocks Made Simple”. It is so easy and comes together like “magic”. This is the second quilt I will be making from this pattern, having just finished my first one. Check out craftsy.com if you are interested. They are great and have some FREE classes too!

One of the ladies that attended is not a “craft type person” – it was all so “overwhelming” to her. I find it quite humorous and interesting at how different people and their interests can be. She was such a good sport at sitting though my little “class” that was mainly for the benefit of one lady. I told her the story of my closest friend, Karen – who I share very little in common with – and yet we are closest friends. Karen isn’t “crafty” either. I think most crafts just FRUSTRATE her. She doesn’t consider herself creative at all. She’s attended a couple “scrapbook socials” I’ve had and did most of the talking while the rest of us did the creating! LOL

The things I find relaxing, calming, and give my heart great joy are:

Crafts of all kinds
Reading
Writing
DIY & Organization (home improvements and renovation)
Re-purposing of an old item into something new

Shall I go on? No, some of you I am probably boring to tears. Suffice it to say, I had lots of topics I wanted to blog about this past week, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the sewing machine!! That is, when I wasn’t tending to grandsons, hubby or Granny. (I don’t sew during the day when boys are here. I like to give them quality time at the park, in the pool, playing games or reading and learning). I also love to feed them! Ethan says, “Mmmmm, Maw Maw this is good”…music to my ears.

Speaking of food…I made a yummy chicken salad for the ladies yesterday that I thought you might enjoy:

CHICKEN SALAD

12 oz. rotisserie chicken, chopped
1 c. grapes halved (red or green)
1 c. finely chopped celery
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/3 c. slivered almonds
1 c. light mayonnaise

Mix well and chill. I like to serve on sandwich thins. Also great served with crackers or on a lettuce leaf.

Stay tuned – I will try to get back to more important topics soon. School is out and I will have 4 granchildren to care for in June. Phew!

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Change your focus!

Change your focus!

After just getting paid the other day an acquaintance said to me, “I’ve got $80 left and I just got paid!” Hmmmm…So, I asked, “rent’s paid, right?” The reply was “yep”.

I’m not wanting to seem judgemental at all and I know times are tough now, but really? Shouldn’t we be thankful that we still have a roof over our head and the bills are paid?

$80 may not be much/or even enough to get this person to the next payday – but my only point – much of it is in our attitude. It’s worked for me!

God finds ways to supply our every need and provide for us when we need it the most. I’m living proof of that! But, I think there is a much greater chance of that…if we keep the faith! (A positive/upbeat attitude can take us far).

I’ve had my fair share of tough times and had $0 when the bills weren’t paid!! I struggled to stay out of God’s way. Although tempted to run to the bank and take a loan or borrow from a family member, many of those times – I just STOOD STILL! When we are constantly working out our own dilemmas and trying to bail ourself out of our own fixes, I believe we sometimes deprive God of an opportunity to show Himself and His miracle working ways!

I have gotten in God’s way more times than I care to admit. But, I’m a work in progress and He is faithful to stay the course with me.

We can’t envision ahead of time how God wants to bless us or what He will do or not do. That’s what faith is all about! “it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen”..(Hebrews 11:1)

So, as much as I wanted to say this to my friend – I knew she would take offense and think I was “preaching”. Honestly, I’m not! I’m just tapping into God’s word and those 62 yrs of experience I’ve had in the School of Hard Knocks.

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The Silly Games we Play, that Bring JOY to our Day!

The Silly Games we Play, that Bring JOY to our Day!

When my 5 yr. old and 19 mo. old grandson arrive each morning, I am still in my nightgown and have just finished waking, changing and feeding Granny. Ethan (5) is a big Netflix fan (Power Rangers, Transformers, Ninja Turtles etc;), but the baby, (Kash) is Maw Maw’s “helper”! So after we get breakfast out of the way it’s off to complete our “morning routine”. While making the beds there’s got to be some pillow pouncing and mattress jumping. (Yeah, I know – I’m a ‘cool’ grandma – not a stick in the mud that doesn’t allow any of that).

Then it’s off to the bathroom for some personal hygiene. Kash & Ethan both have their own toothbrush and bubble gum flavored toothpaste, but it’s just a chore to Ethan where it’s play and fun for Kash. He loves brushing his teeth. Of course, he’s chewing (cutting those eye teeth) more than he’s brushing, but he’s gotta participate when Maw Maw is brushing her teeth!

By the raising of hands and the wiggling of fingers Kash let’s me know that he want’s to peer out the bathroom window at the birdies that are perched on the patio furniture. This is a morning ritual! Of course, then we have to wave bye bye to the birdies when it’s on to my hair duties.

I have extremely long hair that has to be brushed and pinned up, but before I can do that I have to bend over, brush it over my head so my face is covered and then do my hands like a scary monster and chase Kash and his brother around the house! Oh, what fun! I know those are memories we will always cherish! Then, it’s back to the bathroom to finish my hair. While spraying my hair – Kash has to have a spritiz too!

You would think if there was vacumming to do, I would do it while the boys aren’t here…but I’ve discovered that they enjoy making a chasing game out of it. So while I vacumm the living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms and a hallway – they run and scream and jump up on the furniture while I chase them and try to “get them” with the vacumm monster!

Vacumm monsters, hairy monsters and tickle monsters are everywhere! Oh my, Maw Maw’s house can be such a scary and dangerous place! 🙂

My little helper has to water the plants for me, throw his diaper in the trash when I change it, help me sweep the kitchen floor. (He holds the dustpan, while I sweep the dirt into it).

They are both “all boy” – so they love fighting, building and destroying things – but anyone that says you can’t get anything done when you have little one’s in the house just isn’t organized! Mornings revolve around housework and in the afternoons we read books, build with blocks, play hide and seek etc;

With 14 grandchildren – but only a few that live close, I so wish I could have this much fun with all of them!

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Life as I know it, TODAY at 62!

Life as I know it, TODAY at 62!

No, it’s not my birthday (that was back in January), but unlike some women, I’ve never been afraid to speak my age. The way I see it, I have 62 years of experience. Experience is what they ask about when you apply for a job, right? So why not share all your years of experience? It’s been a crazy 62 years to say the least… Let’s see – currently my daily routine for most would be petty boring:

My entire day is built around my three priorities in no particular order:
1) my hubby
2) my 92 yr. old bedfast mother-in-law
3) my two young grandsons

I won’t go into how this all came about, but am glad to share, if asked…

You will notice – I’m not even on the list!! Not a good thing, I know. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the pic refers to the healthy salad I’m trying to eat at least 4 or 5 times a week to compensate for the fact that my ENTIRE DAY seems to revolve around FOOD!
The kitchen should be called the living room, because that is where I live! Anyway, my daily routine consists of:

1) Normal household duties (or “women’s work” as they used to call it in the old days).
2) Tending to all the personal care needs of my terminal mother-in-law who cannot sit up or get out of bed. She is on a catheter, pureed food etc; We are all “terminal” aren’t we? She has lived two years beyond the doctor’s prediction at this point. Keep in mind, I’m not patting myself on the back for keeping her alive, because her quality of life SUCKS, and she would have never wanted it this way. We’ve asked the question, “why God? She’s served you her entire adult life. Why did you not take her swiftly saans suffering? Why did you not grant her request?” We’ve not heard an audible voice or a clear and precise answer. The only thing we could come up with (when hubby and I reflect on things) is this: Is it possible that He has kept her alive to impact others, possibly even us? One thing I know for sure – I have grown tremendously in the process! Anyone who knows me, knows caregiving is not my forte’ or calling in life!! So as I care for Granny the only way I know how I also volunteer to help out a daughter who’s gone thru a rough patch by

#2) taking care of her two youngest of her five children while she works outside the home. Let me add, I’ve always worked outside the home and never had the opportuniity to stay home and take care of grandchildren. It’s been a bit over a year now that I have tended to the needs of a baby boy (7 mos – 19 mos to date) and his 4-5 yr. old brother! It has literally wore me out, but brought me great joy as well! I’ve done pre-K work with the 5 yr. old and made great progress. I’ve watched the youngest go from crawling to running and climbing. I’ve heard him say his first word and watched him discover the world around him and help “Maw Maw” (that’s me) with unloading the dishwasher to answering the phone! LOL

#3) I’m primarily a sounding board for a husband who’s also lost his identity as he’s been forced to semi-retire so he could help me care for his mother.
We found each other late in life and have only been married 15 years. We are “soul-mates” if there is such a thing, but the honeymoon ended long ago! I am proud to call him my husband (he’s a good, honest man, full of integrity, who loves his family). What more could a girl ask for?

#4) Hobbies!! I love all things crafty and while working outside the home and “pre-Granny” had little opportunity for all the crafts I enjoy. This has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve had the time to do some things I’ve wanted to do, but only dreamed of strictly because I’m “housebound”. Lately, my free time in between cleaning, turning, feeding, educating, playing etc; has been sewing; primarily quilting! Last year, since finances were limited my goal was to make simple patchwork quilts for most of the grandkids that lived far away by Christmas. (We have a total of 14). That was a fun endeavor and one I accompished with great zeal! This year my goal is to make several for close friends that haven’t forgotten me in my absence from the real world and to make one or two for myself. READING: I love to read. I read something “recreational” every night before bedtime. My favorite authors are Danielle Steel, Kristan Hannah, Karen Kingsbury, James Patterson, Maeve Binchy, Terri Blackstock etc;

#5) Religious/Spiritual: Although I’ve been much more involved in my church in the past, my current responsibilities here at home have not allowed me to fellowship with my home church family nearly as often as I would prefer. I had a friend who I took turns with on Sundays and Wednesdays. She would come and stay with Granny so I could attend church at least a couple times a month. Unfortunately, her family has been ill too, (her brother and daughter are currently under hospice care) and so I can’t/won’t rely on her nearly as often as I once did. This makes me sad – because I miss my brothers and sisters in the Lord so much!! I also miss singing in the church choir. My hubby would be willing to swap out services with me more than he does, but he is the primary sound technician for a church of 400/500 members and covers all funerals, weddings etc; as well. I understand. In fact, I recently thanked him for his committment to his ministry and his church family because if he will remain strong it will help me to remain strong. For now, I rely on prayer time and bible reading time spent with the Lord often over a cup of tea on my patio. I preview GodVine everyday online and it brightens my day. I watch an occaisional DVD, or listen to a CD of services that hubby will bring home from time to time. They bring me comfort.

#6) Health and Fitness: Phew! You will notice, this one is at the very bottom of my list! This would currently be my BIGGEST ISSUE. This is the one I beat myself up over, worry about, and get frustrated with and probably also pray the most about! LOL

WHY? Well, because as I stated previously, my entire day revolvs around FOOD! I’m either cooking for Granny, cooking for my grandchildren or cooking for my hubby!! I like cooking! I like baking! I’m here at home, what else is a girl to do? Especially, if she was raised in an old fashioned, “Women’s work” sort of way! My job before retiring to take care of Granny and grandsons was as a Weight Watcher’s leader for 4 years! I lost 55 pounds, and was looking and feeling mighty fine! But I digress…because as my title so aptly says – “life as I know it, TODAY…” well, it’s NOT about walking and running 5 miles per day or going to the gym 4 times a week or competing in 5k races, or eating the Hungry Girl way or tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) or keeping track of my BP readings etc; Nope, I’m not there and I’m struggling to get back to that place after gaining back in the last two years about 15 of those 55 lbs. I lost.

HELP! In every other way, I’M CONTENT. Nuff said!

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I’m having fun!

I'm having fun!

Because I am “forced” to stay home and take care of my 92 yr. old, bedfast mother-in-law, I’m getting to do things I haven’t done in years!

Currently, I am taking a quilting class online from Craftsy. This is my “pancake” or first completed block of the design Anita Solomon is teaching me. It is called Anita’s Arrowhead. I already had the fabric and when purchased, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. It seemed perfect for this design.

I’ve always worked outside of the home, and although I’ve always been crafty and creative, the only quilts I’ve made in the past were simple patchwork or crazy quilts which require less accuracy in cutting and placing.

When I’m feeling “isolated” or “forced” (as I said earlier) to stay at home and am unable to get out I remind myself of all the projects I’ve been able to complete in the last two years and how I would have had to hire someone to do most of it or it wouldn’t have gotten done.

I always try to look at the bright side when I feel that “ungrateful gripe” sneaking up on me! Now, it’s on to fixing lunch for my sweet hubby who is due home from church shortly.

It’s chicken quesadillas and refried beans today.

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